The Religion and Abortion Question in Tonight’s Debate

There’s a lot to say about the vice-presidential debate tonight, but I want to limit my comments right now to one particular issue. It involves this exchange on abortion and Catholicism:

MS. RADDATZ: I want to move on, and I want to return home for these last few questions. This debate is indeed historic. We have two Catholic candidates, first time on a stage such as this, and I would like to ask you both to tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion. Please talk about how you came to that decision. Talk about how your religion played a part in that. And please, this is such an emotional issue for so many –

REP. RYAN: Sure.

MS. RADDATZ: — people in this country. Please talk personally about this if you could. Congressman Ryan.

REP. RYAN: I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do. My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, about how to make sure that people have a chance in life.

Now, you want to ask basically why I’m pro-life? It’s not simply because of my Catholic faith. That’s a factor, of course, but it’s also because of reason and science. You know, I think about 10 1/2 years ago, my wife Janna and I went to Mercy Hospital in Janesville where I was born for our seven-week ultrasound for our firstborn child, and we saw that heartbeat. Our little baby was in the shape of a bean, and to this day, we have nicknamed our firstborn child, Liza, “Bean.” (Chuckles.)

Now, I believe that life begins at conception.

That’s why — those are the reasons why I’m pro-life.

Now, I understand this is a difficult issue. And I respect people who don’t agree with me on this. But the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortion with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.

What troubles me more is how this administration has handled all of these issues. Look at what they’re doing through “Obamacare” with respect to assaulting the religious liberties of this country. They’re infringing upon our first freedom, the freedom of religion, by infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals. Our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain their religious — religious liberties.

And with respect to abortion, the Democratic Party used to say they want it to be safe, legal and rare. Now they support it without restriction and with taxpayer funding, taxpayer funding in “Obamacare,” taxpayer funding with foreign aid. The vice president himself went to China and said that he sympathized or wouldn’t second- guess their one-child policy of forced abortions and sterilizations. That, to me, is pretty extreme.

MS. RADDATZ: Vice President Biden.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: My religion defines who I am. And I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And it has particularly informed my social doctrine. Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who — who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help.

With regard to — with regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a — what we call de fide (doctrine ?). Life begins at conception. That’s the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life.

But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and — I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman.

I — I do not believe that — that we have a right to tell other people that women, they — they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor, in my view. And the Supreme Court — I’m not going to interfere with that.

With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy — any hospital — none has to either refer contraception. None has to pay for contraception. None has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.

Now, with regard to the way in which the — we differ, my friend says that he — well, I guess he accepts Governor Romney’s position now, because in the past he has argued that there was — there’s rape and forcible rape. He’s argued that, in the case of rape or incest, it was still — it would be a crime to engage in having an abortion. I just fundamentally disagree with my friend.

I saw a few atheists criticizing Martha Raddatz for even raising the religion issue in the first place, but I thought that was a powerful question — certainly one that will be relevant in the next term.

Paul Ryan‘s answer was horrifying. Just because you give your daughter a cute nickname doesn’t mean you have justification to control other women’s bodies. Ryan said he “respected” people who disagreed with him on the issue… yet he would support Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v Wade. And then he lied about Obamacare paying for abortions with taxpayer money.

Even though his views on abortion were similar to Ryan’s, I thought Joe Biden had a great answer. He has his personal beliefs, influenced by his faith, but — importantly — he said he would never impose his views on other people.

That’s how separation of church and state should work.

You can have your religious views, but you can’t legislate your personal morality. It’s the same reason religious arguments against same-sex marriage have no business in policy discussions.

Based on this answer alone, anyone who cares about a woman’s right to choose should stay the hell away from Paul Ryan (and Mitt Romney), whose religious beliefs would dictate that he support the appointment of anti-choice Supreme Court justices. We can’t give them the power to do that.

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://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ trivialknot

    “I saw a few atheists criticizing Martha Raddatz for even raising the religion issue in the first place ”

    Really?  Why?  Examples?

    • Baal

       I had a few seconds of digesting her question (Hemant has it above in OP).  During that time, I had an initial thought, “Why is she asking about god’s role in government?  It seemed to imply that duh, god is in government is the default assumption.   Upon further reflection, it was a good question because it put both men on the record with regard to secularism (she could have been more direct but this was as good a vehicle as most).  Ryan was clear, theocracy is good.  Biden was nearly perfect with his split of personal views vs how to govern.

  • guest

    Not sure if she’s an atheist or not, but Irin Carmon wrote about it on Salon. She’s criticizing the fact that rather than framing the question in terms of women’s rights (access to contraception, rights for rape victims, equal pay etc) Martha Raddatz chose to frame it in terms of religion. The question leaves women completely out of the question. http://www.salon.com/2012/10/12/the_debates_abortion_question/

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=750428174 Paddy Reddin

      Whether she is atheist or not is irrelevant, Irin Carmon is looking from a feminist point of view. I think the question was coming from a secular point of view.

      The question was how religion influenced their views.

      Now, it is true that Martha Raddatz could have asked about the Lilly Ledbetter act, or other subjects of a more feminist nature, especially in light of the recent “War on Women” from the right, but for reasons best known to Martha Raddatz and Martha Raddatz alone, she asked one of a secular nature, albeit about a subject that primarily effects women, but still it was a secular question, not a women’s rights one.

  • Baby_Raptor

    You don’t respect people if you choose to take their rights and choice away. You can make noise about it all you want, but there’s no respect there. 

    And anyone who would actually do such a thing is pondscum. *Everyone* should be free to live how they believe, not just people who happen to agree with X view. Don’t like abortion, or choose to believe that it’s wrong? Don’t have one. End of story.

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

      “Don’t like abortion, or choose to believe that it’s wrong? Don’t have one. End of story.”

      That’s a vapid response. It comes off as “Don’t like murder? Don’t murder anyone! End of story.” It completely begs the question in favor of abortion being a harmless personal decision. You may get high fives from the choir, but it makes the Pro Choice position look intellectually bankrupt and encourages Pro Lifers.

      • Greisha

         Why?

      • http://www.bricewgilbert.blogspot.com Brice Gilbert

        If their argument against abortion is that God told them it’s wrong or some other personal preference that they can’t demonstrate to others then I see little reason to see it comparable to murder. Similarly in terms of government support of abortion he needs to find a secular reason for its banning.

      • Frank

        That because the pro choice position is intellectually bankrupt; morally and ethically bankrupt as well.

        • Baby_Raptor

          Yup. It’s totally wrong to protect a real, breathing person with rights over a clump of cells that has about a 50/50 shot of becoming a person. 

          Do you even think about your positions, or are they just fed to you from a pulpit?

          • coyotenose

            Do you have to ask, or was that a rhetorical question?

            Or was THAT a rhetorical question?

            AGH MY BRAIN

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

          Not if morality is about improving the lives of conscious beings, which it arguably is.

          • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine

             And yet you’d ruin the lives of other conscious beings. The only “beings” you care about are fetuses. What about the women? Do you care even the slightest about women who would rather not have a baby? Whose lives would be completely destroyed if they had a baby? How about the child who will be born into the arms of a woman incapable of caring for them? Or even to a woman who’d be incapable of LOVING them?

            No, screw the women and the children. It’s about fetuses for you forced-pregnancy defenders.

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

              I’m Pro Choice and was suggesting that abortion choice — at least arguably — improves the lives of conscious beings, especially women in situations like those you described.

              I probably should have quoted what I was responding to, so it would have been more clear.

              Frank: “That because the pro choice position is intellectually bankrupt; morally and ethically bankrupt as well.”

              Me: “Not if morality is about improving the lives of conscious beings, which it arguably is.”

              But thanks for vigorously agreeing with me! ;)

              • Drew M.

                Naw, you were clear enough.  A lot of us here read for confirmation, not comprehension.

            • amycas

               I think Garren is in agreement with you. Xe was responding to another comment that said the pro-choice side is intellectually and morally bankrupt.

        • RobertoTheChi

          The last people who should be talking about being intellectual are the puppets for the church.

        • C Peterson

          Only by your personal standards of morality and ethics, which clearly deviate from those of society… the only ones that matter when it comes to defining laws which all of society must live by.

          As far as “intellectually bankrupt”… you’ll need to be more clear about that. Certainly, it is possible to produce solid, rational arguments that support legal abortion.

      • Baby_Raptor

        It only makes it look that way to people who already see it as such, namely people who think that removing a clump of cells from a woman’s uterus is “murder.”

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

          Again, Pro Choicers who characterize abortion as merely “removing a clump of cells” are an embarrassment.

          Abortion does kill a distinct, living human organism. When you admit that, you’ll be ready to move on to the adult conversation of whether/when it is morally acceptable to kill humans.

          • DealWithItBrah

            Being a “distinct, living human organism” doesn’t automatically imply a status of human “being”. People aren’t defined solely by genetic classification. That’s one thing that makes us people.

            Claiming a fetus has rights “equal” to its mother automatically implies that a fetus is more of a person than she is, since her rights actually have to be taken away in order to give them to the fetus.

            • Mandocommando23

              When does “equal” mean “more?” Someone needs to go back to math class.

              • DealWithItBrah

                Not before you go back to grammar school since you obviously don’t know how quotation marks work.

                • Mandocommando23

                  I’m an editor, and I assure you that I do. When quotes go at the end of a sentence, the punctuation should be inside the quotation mark. This lesson brought to you by the Chicago Manual of Style.

                • amycas

                   That rule is also in the Associated Press Style Book, and in the Green and Blue books for legal writing.

                • C Peterson

                  There is no rule, there are only various styles. The style you prefer is common in American publishing, but not in English, for example.

                  People should use the style that works best for them, and not worry about the styles of others. I’m not going to worry about where punctuation is placed around quotes when there’s an actual argument of substance to be discussed!

                • DealWithItBrah

                  Which has exactly zero to do with what is implied when quotation marks are put around a single word, such as I did with “equal”. Looks like you need help with comprehension as well.

                • Mandocommando23

                  My bad. I’m glad my alleged improper use of quotation marks has allowed you to completely avoid the real issue. 

                • DealWithItBrah

                  Oh, you mean like this piece of irrelevance:

                  “Mandocommando23
                  When does “equal” mean “more?” Someone needs to go back to math class.”

                  Since I have to spell it out for you, my comment had nothing to do with your usage, but your complete disregard/misunderstanding of mine.

                • http://www.facebook.com/abb3w Arthur Byrne

                  Only if the punctuation is a period or comma. According to the online  Chicago Manual of Style, Chapter 6, Section  10, “Colons and semicolons—unlike periods and commas—follow closing quotation marks; question marks and exclamation points follow closing quotation marks unless they belong within the quoted matter.”

              • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

                No one has the right to someone else’s bodily autonomy.  I can’t use your organs without your consent, even if you’re dead.  Forced gestation is in no way equal.

                • Mandocommando23

                  It’s not an equal comparison. The fetus has no choice in the matter.

                • DealWithItBrah

                  Implying a fetus has the ability to choose anything at all.

                • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

                  See my post below…even if I hit you with my car and you need one of my kidneys to survive, I can’t be forced to give my kidney to you, even though you had no choice in the matter of being hit.  You don’t have the right to someone else’s body or organs, period.

                • Mandocommando23

                  No, but you will be held responsible for hitting me with your car, so again, not an equal comparison.

                • Earl G.

                  Women who get abortions are also being “held responsible.”  It is not a pain-free, costless procedure.

              • Deven Kale

                 That’s exactly DealWithIt’s point. When you claim that the fetus has equal rights, you’re actually saying that it has more rights than the mother because the mothers rights have to be taken away. They’re saying that you don’t mean “equal” at all, and when you say it what you’re actually saying is “more.”

                • Mandocommando23

                  Unless a woman’s life is at risk, the claim that “equal rights” means “more rights” is not a fair equivocation. Pregnancy rarely results in death of the mother, whereas abortion always results in the death of the fetus. I’m not claiming that there are not instances where abortion is the lesser of two evils. I’m just saying that a fetus is more than a “clump of cells,” as many people claim, and it’s rights as such should be considered. I feel that the misconception that an unborn child is akin to a tumor prevents some pregnant women from making a fully informed choice.

                • Deven Kale

                   No, it is completely fair. You are asking to give the exact same rights of an adult to a clump of human cells with no more consciousness than a plant or the cells that we shed thousands of every day. In order to give them these rights, you must take away the mothers right to bodily integrity and reduce her to little more than an incubator for the potential (not current) child to be. This is granting the fetus more rights than the mother, no matter how you spin it.

                • Mandocommando23

                  You are a perfect example of my problem with certain people in the pro-choice movement. Have you seen what an aborted fetus looks like? It’s no more a clump of cells than you are. You’re just farther along in your development than it is.

                  And a pregnant woman is much more than an incubator. When I was pregnant, I didn’t lose any of my integrity as a woman. I simply chose to give life as opposed to take it. That’s what abortion is–taking a life. And this misconception that a fetus is not human, but merely a clump of cells prevents many women from considering the full seriousness of the choices they are making.

                • Deven Kale

                  Yes I have seen what they look like, it hasn’t changed my mind. My opinion has nothing to do with what it looks like. I do not deny that it’s human, nor that it’s alive. What I deny is that it has any more rights than any other non-conscious (different than unconscious) life, such as a plant. Consciousness is the factor which makes a plant different from an animal.

                  When the brain of the fetus develops to the point which allows consciousness (generally considered to be around 26 weeks IIRC), that’s the point where the government steps in and says that that clump of cells is finally a “person” and gains official rights, regardless of what the family thinks or intends. Before that point any rights granted to the fetus are only those which the family is willing to give it. This is why killing a pregnant woman who meant to have the child is considered a double-homicide.

                  I have no problem calling a pre-conscious fetus a clump of cells because that’s all it is. A clump of human cells no more a human being than the cells that we shed every day, or the plant that was in the car of that man when he had the accident that made him a paraplegic. The fact that it looks somewhat human is a non-issue.

                • Deven Kale

                   I’m glad that you consider a pregnant woman more than an incubator, because I believe she is too. But what you’re advocating for is exactly that. You’re saying that a pregnant woman must take the pregnancy to full-term, regardless of whether she wants her body to be used in that way. For the woman that doesn’t want that, I have no trouble imagining she would feel like you’ve relegated her to nothing but an incubator. I would agree with that.

                • amycas

                   A woman’s life and health is always at risk, in every pregnancy. There is no such thing as a risk-free pregnancy.

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

              Slow down, Brah.

              I didn’t say anything about personhood. I was just correcting someone else’s assertion that an embryo/fetus was just a “clump of cells.” If you accept that abortion involves the killing of a human, you shouldn’t have any beef with what I said…only with what you imagined I might say next.

              I hope people notice I’m trying to improve Pro Choice rhetoric here.

              • DealWithItBrah

                 You’ve already compared abortion to murder, so your position on fetal personal seems fairly clear.

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

                  I’m Pro Choice. I’m just Anti Bad Arguments.

                • DealWithItBrah

                  That’s hard to take seriously if you yourself make a bad argument in the form of a false equivalency.

              • SphericalBunny

                Actually, when I had a miscarriage, it really was just a ‘clump of cells’. Seriously indistinguishable from a period (other than time + pain factor). Yes, it was early, but if you’ve heard certain ‘pro-life’ arguments, you’d know that at a certain point, it’s entirely applicable. Hell, us adults can be appropriately accused of being an organised structure of many and specifically oriented cells. As to ‘killing of a human’, and your comment of trying to improve rhetoric within 2 sentences…you should probably note that for most women the issue is removing an unwanted foetus from their bodies. The fact that this is mostly done well before the point of viability for most foetus’s is a non-issue. 

          • Glasofruix

            It is a human organism no one is denying that, however it is not a person.

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

              I’m glad you see it that way, but unfortunately people ARE denying that.

          • http://CoffeeShopAtheist.com/blog Patrick

            Technically when we pick the skin from under our nails or scratch ourselves we are killing distinct living human organisms.  When you understand that there is a difference between a fully, functional independently-stable self-preserving human being and a lump of cells, you’ll be able to move on to the adult conversation of whether/when it is morally acceptable to kill humans.

            • Mandocommando23

              Dead skin cell/=developing human being. If you left the dry skin on your arm, it would not grow into another person.

              • Ibis3

                 If you leave a zygote on your arm, it won’t grow into another person either. But you’re free to give it a try.

                • Mandocommando23

                  That is not an equal comparison. Let me spell it out for you. If you leave dead skin cells on your arm, they will not grow into another human being. If you leave a zygote in your uterus, there is a very good chance that it will.

                • Tainda

                  Do you have a uterus?

                • Mandocommando23

                  Yes. Why does that matter?

                • Tainda

                  Just wondering.

                • Mandocommando23

                  I also have a child, in case that matters to you as well.

                • amycas

                   That depends on the uterus. Without medical intervention (including counseling the pregnant woman on healthy food and lifestyle choices for pregnancy), there’s a very good chance that it wouldn’t develop into a human. A huge chance in fact that there would be a miscarriage, or death at birth of either the baby or mother or both. A zygote left in the uterus with no other intervention is not guaranteed to develop into a person. The woman has to intervene and change her medical habits, her eating and drinking habits, in many cases her daily activities.

                • Mandocommando23

                  I never said it was guaranteed to survive, and arguing for bad habits of a pregnant mother is totally unethical. Do you have that little respect for human life?

                • SphericalBunny

                  ‘Bad habits’ is a very different thing when argued in the perspective of, say a single college student, as opposed to an expectant mother.

                  Without knowing if they are pregnant or not, please tell me if driving to the speed limit/having a glass of wine at night/having a heated argument with your significant other is a bad habit or no?

                  One set of answers (please, don’t consider individual circumstances) will, apparently, condemn you to having ‘little respect for human life’.

                • amycas

                  I didn’t argue for bad habits. I was pointing out that a woman has to change her habits–some of them may not even necessarily be bad for you, but it’s only bad for the fetus, or it’s just something that makes her ill while pregnant. I’ve seen both my sisters pregnant multiple times. There were plenty of things they had to give up, not to protect the fetus’ health, but to protect their own health because of how the pregnancy was affecting them. Do you have so little respect for women that you would ignore the sacrifices they have to make and then insist that they must make those sacrifices against their will?

                • Deven Kale

                   True. But unless it’s your uterus, you have no right to say what goes in there.

              • http://CoffeeShopAtheist.com/blog Patrick

                If a fertilized egg is outside the womb, it would not grow into another person.

                Herein lies the crux of the problem: The zygote is 100% dependent on the uterus, and is not independent, just like the skin on your arm.  They both contain enough DNA to make a person, and are both dependent on the body for survival.

                You just explained why you should allow abortion.  You are inches away, so I hope you aren’t a fundamentalist and can actually connect logical dots.  Although the below replies suggest you lack the intellectual honesty to do so.

                • Mandocommando23

                  You are completely ignoring the fact that a zygote is a uniquely individual human being with DNA separate from the mother. Yes, it is dependent on the mother for survival, but that doesn’t negate the fact that it is an uniquely individual entity that is, every minute growing and developing, with it’s own heart, brain, nervous system, etc. To equate a zygote with another type of tissue is a false comparison. Am I saying it deserves the same consideration as the mother? NO. Am I saying abortion should never be allowed? NO. Sometimes it is the lesser of the two evils, but I’m sick of pro-lifers calling an embryo or a fetus “a clump of cells,” as though it were something so easily discarded. An unborn child deserves a bit more respect and consideration than that. Abortion does stop a life. I hope you have the intellection honesty to connect those dots.

                  And FYI, I’m an atheist.

                • amycas

                   ”Yes, it is dependent on the mother for survival”

                  That’s the whole point. It is dependent on another person’s body. That other person must give consent for them to use their body.

                • Mandocommando23

                  The fetus doesn’t have the ability to ask for consent. And the fact that it is dependent on it’s mother’s body for survival doesn’t negate the fact that abortion does end a life. I’m not saying abortion isn’t sometimes necessary, but I’m sick of people calling a fetus a clump of cells. It makes it too easy to write off the very real ethical dilemma of abortion.

                • Brian Pansky

                   allowing people to not be forced into blood transfusion/symptoms of pregnancy/risks associated etc is “sometimes necessary”?  Bodily autonomy of people is only sometimes necessary?

                • coyotenose

                   An embryo is not a child.

                • Brian Pansky

                   cows can’t consent.  I suspect the unborn have less brain function than trout.

                  Many cells in your body have unique DNA, UV radiation does mutate them.

                  “end a life” is a red herring.  trout are life.  Carrots are life.  They are not people.  I suspect trout are closer to being people than the unborn.  Guess what?  These are all easily discarded.

                  Courts have ruled against forcing people to perform blood or bone marrow transfusion, even when someone requires it.  You are going to have to overturn that ruling as well.   Be honest about that.

                  I’m sick of people’s lack of honesty on these myriad fronts.  It makes it too easy to write off the very real ethical dilemma of controlling/invading women’s bodies under any circumastances.

              • Pascale Laviolette

                However the developing human being could not develop without its mother.  It is not an independent living organism – it is still a part of mom’s body, which she ought to have control over.

                If you’re pro-life, then you should also be anti-contraception of any form.  If the women getting abortions could have prevented the pregnancy pre-implantation — they would have.  Without that ability, abortion is an unfortunate, but often necessary solution to ensure women have bodily autonomy.

                • Mandocommando23

                  I don’t understand the logic behind your claim that people who are pro-life should necessarily be pro-contraception. I believe it’s just the opposite. The time to prevent a pregnancy is, well obviously, before it occurs. Then you don’t have to make the difficult choice of ending a life. Because that’s what abortion is. Just because the fetus is dependent on the mother’s body doesn’t negate the fact that it also a unique, individual human being. 

                • DealWithItBrah

                   Except saying that a fetus is a human “being” is entirely your opinion and not actually fact.

                • Foster

                  I wouldn’t say it’s entirely a matter of opinion, since we can look at other marginalized classes of real or hypothetical people we accord the status “human being” and require sacrifices of liberty/safety from and talk about how they compare with fetuses and mothers respectively.  For example, coma patients and drafted soldiers.

                • Mandocommando23

                  The idea of when a human is considered such has been hotly debated for years, and the accepted position on when that occurs continues to change. First it was when a baby is born. Then it was when it could survive outside the womb. But scientific advancements are making that point happen earlier and earlier. But it’s not an infinite regress. A unique human life is created at conception. It is a fact. 

                • SphericalBunny

                  Yes, that is a fact. It is also a fact that no other person has a right to whom I lend my vital organs to; or to whom I let reside within my body. You would give unique regard to the unborn. On what basis?

                • amycas

                   What happens when that “unique” human life that was created at conception splits in the uterus and becomes twins? What happens when two embryos that are unique actually merge together? Are the twins to be counted as one person? Is the chimera to be counted as two people?

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

              “Technically when we pick the skin from under our nails or scratch ourselves we are killing distinct living human organisms.”

              Not true. Check mainstream Biology textbooks for what it means to be an organism vs. parts of an organism; and check mainstream Embryology textbooks for what this means for human embryos.

              What you’re doing here is giving Pro Lifers a scientific victory. It’s little different from what happens when conservatives deny climate science because they’re worried about political ramifications.

          • Tainda

            I hope you don’t masturbate.  

            • Revyloution

              Sometimes I feel bad being a mass murderer.  But most of the time I laugh manically as millions writhe and die on that tissue.

              • Willy Occam

                 You spermicidal maniac, you!  ;-)

              • Tainda

                Do you name them?

              • coyotenose

                 Can’t… escape… mental… image…

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

              That’s another thing Pro Choicers should never say. Sperm cells aren’t organisms and I don’t know of any Pro Lifers with views that imply anything like that.

              The Monty Python song comes from a separate Catholic hangup regarding contraceptives and “spilling seed.”

              • Foster

                and while we Catholics regard masturbation as misdirection of sexual nature, it is not nearly so grave a sin, as evidenced by the fact that intentional abortion carries with it automatic excommunication until repented, unlike masturbation.  The difference is that another human life is being terminated.  Although catchy, Monty Python’s song mischaracterizes Catholic social teaching.

                • amycas

                   Too bad raping children doesn’t come with automatic excommunication…

          • Stev84

            It can’t be all that distinct if it can’t exist and live outside the uterus

          • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

            Hitting someone with my car at a high speed also means killing a distinct, living human organism.  However, I cannot be legally compelled to donate my organs to the person I hit, even if I’m a perfect donor match and it’s the difference between life and death for the victim (who is unquestionably a sentient, conscious human being with pain receptors).

            The “adult” conversation revolves around forcibly compelling a person to give her body (and possibly her life, as may be the case in pregnancy) to support another.  Please explain why abortion is the sole exception to the rule.  And how making half the population virtual slaves to their bodies while the other half is exempt is in any way free and equal.

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

               This is the argument that I think works best. If you state that life doesn’t begin at conception or that a fetus isn’t fully a human you’re going to get into a lot of splitting hairs arguments. It’s a whole lot more clear when you explain it as a life support slavery issue. If there were a person who could cure AIDS, write incredible musicals, draw beautiful paintings, and solve world hunger, but this person was going to die unless you hooked them up to your organs and shared your body with them, there’s no laws forcing you to do that against your will. So why should a women be turned into living life support systems for this human/clump of cells/whatever you want to call it? Even if you believe it’s a human being that deserves all the same rights as everyone else, you have to admit that no other human being has the right to forcefully use other people to stay alive.

          • C Peterson

            Our society does not grant rights to “distinct, living human organisms”. It grants rights to people. While all people are, in fact, distinct, living human organisms, the converse is not true.

            In fact, it is morally acceptable to kill humans under all sorts of cases, because the standards of society have made it so- and in most cases those humans that we recognize as morally killable actually are people… and not simply a clump of cells that cannot rationally be seen as a “being” at all.

            • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

              “In fact, it is morally acceptable to kill humans”

              It would be interesting to know how many of the so-called ‘pro life’ folks are also hardcore pacifists. Support the troops, drone strikes, or the death penalty? Then whatever else you are, you’re not ‘pro life’.

              • Mandocommando23

                Well there’s at least one, and that’s me! I’m a pro-life pacifist and anti-death penalty.

                • http://www.facebook.com/rick.jackson.963 Rick Jackson

                  Thank you for being consistant at least in that regard.

              • amycas

                 I only use this argument against the actual politicians who claim to be pro-life (because almost all of them support the death penalty and the military). I don’t use it against individuals who claim to be pro-life, because it’s entirely conceivable and reasonable for them to be a pro-life pacifist.

          • amycas

             It’s acceptable when that human is using my body to live and I don’t want it using my body to live. I will remove it. Yes that might kill the human, but I have every right to not have my body used by somebody else without my consent.

      • DealWithItBrah

         Abortion can’t logically be compared to murder, since no one has been able to prove that a pregnant woman is in fact two separate people at any point during pregnancy.  Until/unless someone does, women are more important than fetuses.

        • Foster

          This is what I hear: “Slave-owning can’t logically be compared to a violation of human rights, since no one has been able to prove that a slave is in fact a legal person with human rights at any point during his lifetime.  Until/unless someone does, slaveowners are more important than slaves.”

          • Deven Kale

             LMAO! Typical Foster…

            • Foster

              More argument, less bluster, friend, since you’ve chosen to break your promise to yourself not to respond.

          • DealWithItBrah

             Clean out your ears because you make little sense. Both murder and slavery are already violations of human rights. What’s in question is who deserves those rights and whether it can be proven. You’re just more poorly stating the already false abortion/murder, fetus/person comparison.

            • Earl G.

              I think Foster’s point was that there was a time in history when slaves were not considered legal persons with human rights.

              If we wish to counter his/her point of view on abortion, we need to understand that s/he may feel that human rights, or something similar, are being violated.

              • Foster

                Quite right, EG.  The history of human rights is of their being gradually expanded to include greater and larger classes of people, from Hamurabi to Magna Carta, to the Declaration of Independence to the Emancipation Proclamation.  Whether they are awake or unconscious, waiting to awaken when they have developed enough to do so, their mothers owe them a chance to survive and choose for themselves.

                • SphericalBunny

                  You seem like a nice enough person, but seriously, fuck off. I do not ‘owe’ anyone a chance to take advantage of my body.
                  You might be an amazing person who would personally feel great that if science discovered that you possessed a fabulous enzyme that would enable an entire generation to live disease free, but could only be extracted against your will with life-long consequences; if all this was true except the willing part, I would fight for your corner. I do not understand why you would not fight for mine unless you consider me little more than a brood-mare; think I am less of a person than a ‘potential’ person, or are into the whole slut-shaming rhetoric.

          • C Peterson

            Quite correct. This follows from the idea that there are no natural human rights, merely the rights that humans, primarily through their society, choose to define. While slave-owning is a violation of human rights by our current standards, it was not always so, and throughout most of history slaves have been second-class humans, less important than slave owners- something entirely ethical within the definitions of other societies.

            Under our current ethos, a fetus is not recognized as a person, and is therefore not able to have rights. Thus, abortion is morally acceptable within our culture. That has not always been the case, and potentially it could cease to be true in the future.

            Ethics flow with society.

            • SphericalBunny

              K, I understand your point an’ all, the problem is there is a difference in category here; people classed as ‘slaves’ and ‘sub-human’ have not fundamentally changed; the acceptance of their rights has. Scientifically, the age of viability for foetus’s has substantially changed (yet only within a week to week based margin). The ethics you talk about changing are applicable to the pregnant woman, not the foetus; as in women are now marginally recognised as people with the right to refuse life-saving/prolonging care to another human life; regardless of circumstance. It would probably have seemed ethical in certain times to have lifted a vital organ from an ‘underclass’ in order to have saved a ‘superior’ life, but we’re still talking about the already born here. If there is is some future point where the >9 month old foetus can be incubated as a properly separate entity from the mother, the discussion can be raised as to whether cutting off nutrients from the host would be a bad thing or not, but right now, it’s a science fiction scenario and irrelevant.

              I agree that ‘ethics flow with society’, but that does not mean we can’t call bullshit on pre-existing ethics, nor that some of ours cannot be called into question.

              • C Peterson

                I don’t know how to challenge the ethics of a different society. The only way I know how to judge them is by their own standards. I don’t consider it possible for an entire society to act unethically unless they choose to do something that they consider wrong- something I can’t really think of an example of in actual practice.

      • Michael

        The real problem is that many of those who are opposed to abortion feel that every conception is a life that “god” planted there.  There is no explaining to these people the scientific reason why a tiny little glob of human cells inside a woman is just that- a tiny little glob of human cells.  Until religions stop teaching this (yeah, right), it will never change.

        • Glasofruix

           The real problem is that they care more about the fetus when it’s inside a womb, but once it pops out they’re all go “oh well, give it to adoption, don’t care what happens next”…

      • C Peterson

        Ethics are the produce of societal consensus. If half the population considered it morally acceptable to kill a person for arbitrary reasons, you could compare the cases. But they don’t… which is why we consider it murder in most cases when one person kills another. But at least half of Americans consider abortion to be morally acceptable and to not constitute murder. So the suggestion that those who feel otherwise should simply not get an abortion themselves is perfectly reasonable.

        It is very difficult to justify society creating laws that are based solely on moral principles when there is no societal consensus about the morality involved.

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

          What you’re doing here is adding reasons for not legally banning abortion. Good! The post I was replying to was reasons-free and only begged the question. Bad!

          Make sense?

          • C Peterson

            It is always good when short comments are explained in more detail. But that doesn’t automatically mean that an unqualified short comment is vapid or has anything wrong with it. The advice to not get an abortion if you find the procedure morally objectionable is sound, even if it is not adequate to entirely frame the question of the morality of abortion.

        • Foster

          “It is very difficult to justify society creating laws that are based solely on moral principles when there is no societal consensus about the morality involved.”  Yeah, that’s what the slave-owning confederates said.  How about some philosophical consistency?

          • C Peterson

            I don’t consider owning slaves to be inherently wrong. I consider slavery in most societies, including the American south during most of the time it was practiced to be perfectly ethical.

            • Silentbob

              *clunk*
               
              Sorry, that was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor.

      • Earl G.

        I’m happy to hear someone else say this.  I’m as pro-abortion-rights as they come, but the “so just don’t have an abortion” argument makes my skin crawl.  It completely fails to acknowledge where the other side* is coming from and as such is intellectually dishonest.  It’s not an argument so much as just plain snark.

        *By “other side,” I mean the anti-abortion folks who honestly have moral/emotional objections to killing an embryo.  You can tell who these people are because they are in favor of things that actually prevent abortions, you know, like sex education and contraception.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=750428174 Paddy Reddin

    Must say, as soon as I heard that question I knew it would make an appearance on this site.

    Kudos to Joe for his secular answer, I applauded at the tv.  So did the pro life Christians  I was watching with.

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

    Thanks for the report, Hemant.

    I think secular cases can be made for forbidding abortion, but Ryan isn’t even trying to do that. “This is my religious belief, therefore I will push for it to be U.S. law.” *sigh*

    • Baby_Raptor

      There is no case for banning abortion. Not if you actually care about ponies, as compared to a romanticized notion of a baby.

      Every “pro-life” argument completely strips women of their autonomy. Women don’t even register in most of the arguments. We’re just the environment the fetus is in. 

      When there’s a way that the little clump of cells everyone is so in love with can be moved to a willing woman, one who actually WANTS to go through a pregnancy, then fine. We can begin to discuss limiting abortion more than it is. But until then, any moral decision protects the right of the woman, the living, breathing, real person, to make the decision. 

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

        OMG ponies!

      • coyotenose

         Exactly! Why is there anypony who can’t get this?

    • C Peterson

      You are right, secular arguments can be made for banning abortion. The fact that such arguments are not persuasive in
      convincing society to ban abortion doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

      Example of a secular argument: when you abort a fetus, you potentially
      prevent the birth of someone who might go on to become a great person,
      and improve the state of humanity. Is it a very good argument? No. But
      it’s unquestionably true, and it’s unquestionably secular.

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

        Yep, I’m glad to see someone recognize that reasons or arguments can exist in favor of some position without finding the to be *persuasive* reasons or arguments.

        • C Peterson

          How else can a rational person arrive at a decision except by placing all of the arguments on both sides of an issue on their personal scale and testing the result?

          We all place different weights on arguments depending on our philosophical worldview… to completely ignore any arguments, however, makes it impossible to develop a fully informed opinion.

      • kaileyverse

        You could also be aborting the next Pol Pot, Hitler, or Stalin. That argument is extremely insipid and totally invalid. 

        • coyotenose

          He knows. It wasn’t an argument being made, only an example of one.

        • C Peterson

          The argument is a poor one (in part for the reason you give). But it is certainly not invalid. The statement itself is true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=609238798 Peter Eakin

    Ryan’s description of HIS experience was moving. For him. The only way he makes the jump from personal experience to mandated policy for EVERYONE is if he really believes that his holy book is the word of god. He does and that’s the problem.

  • http://twitter.com/blamer ɹǝɯɐןq

    To say “you can’t legislate your personal morality” is I think to overlook what these two religious leaders are telling us about their approach to moral responsibility.

    Ryan: “Our faith informs us in everything we do”

    Biden: “My religion defines who I am”

    Hence they’re describing “liberty” from completely opposite angles;  top-down versus bottom-up.
    Ryan is teaching the faithful: ”I respect people who don’t agree with me on this” (read: you’re free to disagree) but our President should make this moral decision instead of leaving it to individual women.Biden’s version: “I accept my church’s position on abortion… I just refuse to impose that on others” (read: moral governments leave citizens free to make their own conception/life choice).

  • Guest

    There’s nothing wrong with abortion at all. Murderers should not be replacing themselves anyway.Less people, more share of resources.

    • Graham Martin-Royle

      Abortion isn’t murder and it’s silly to try to say it is.

      • Guest

        Depends on how one defines life. Since the fetus is alive, then it follows that abortion is taking life. Then of course, there is always the problem of what kind of life we are talking about. Animal life is also life and plant life is also life. So we can all be regarded murderers in some sense. It comes down to the definition of how important one feels the life is. For the religious there is such problem since they believe that human life is santified( I think). For those without religion, the importance of life must vary from person to person. Some regard life no more than a digit in statistics.

        • Glasofruix

          The cells on your balls are also considered as life and human at that, do you get arrested every time you scratch them?

          • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

            If that were to happen I’d be in jail for a long time. I scratch my balls a lot.

            And then I use my colleague’s letter opener to clean my nails.

            • Tainda

              GAH!  I’m locking up my letter opener from now on rofl

        • Brian Pansky

          First half: “ya, so eating carrots could be murder”

          Second half:  “bla bla I’m so informative to all these people who don’t think things through”

          “For the religious there is such problem since they believe that human life is santified”

          Let’s focus here.  It’s a red herring.  It doesn’t matter if human BEINGS are sanctified if the unborn are not BEINGS.  You cannot murder something that is not a BEING, that does not have conscious mind.  (there are some complications here, but nothing that compromises abortion)

          The religious have multiple problems, not just “life is sanctified”.  There is “life begins at [arbitrary point] because of [soul nonsense] therefore [ignore pregnant person's rights]” and sometimes [sex is bad] and [victim blaming] are thrown in for good measure.

          All of this is a toxic load of nonsense which needs to be washed away.  Not just some of it.

    • amycas

       I guess the baby of every woman who has ever died during child birth is guilty of at least man-slaughter then…

      • kaileyverse

         Or woman who has suffered a miscarriage.

  • Salmantica

    “I just refuse to impose that on others”

    Period. Very well said.

  • Sailor

     If you are against abortion the rational way to deal with it is first off to keep it legal, because making it  illegal does nothing to reduce abortions, and secondly to make sure every woman has easy access to effective birth control, because this has been shown in studies to cut abortion rates in half.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/12/world/12abortion.html?_r=0
    http://www.bendbulletin.com/article/20121011/NEWS0107/210110313/

    • Pascale Laviolette

      WELL SAID.

    • Earl G.

      Sailor, you know ACTUAL DATA isn’t going to convince these people.

      Really though, the fact that they couldn’t care less about actually reducing abortion rates makes it utterly clear that their goal is not to save “babies” at all.  Their goal is to repress and control women, especially poor women.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Ryan: My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, about how to make sure that people have a chance in life.

    Indeed. Ryan’s faith in Ayn Rand informs his position about taking care of the vulnerable, and contributes greatly to his position on such matters, which can be summed up: “Fuck the poor.”

  • Mandocommando23

    Ryan wasn’t citing his religion in his argument. He was citing the ultrasound as evidence of a life having begun, and I agree with him. It’s not just a woman’s body–it’s another body living inside her body. Although abortion is sometimes the lesser of two evils, I wish the pro-choice community would recognize that a fetus isn’t a tumor or a growth. It is a developing human being, and as such their rights deserve to be considered and recognized to some extent. 

    People used to say that life begins at birth. But then medical advances made it possible for fetuses to survive outside the womb and increasingly earlier stages of development. So then the standard was that babies could be aborted up until they could survive outside the womb. Or maybe up until they have been shown to feel pain. The point at which a fetus is considered to have full human rights keeps getting earlier and earlier. But it’s not an infinite regress. That life begins developing at conception. It’s a scientific fact. Let’s stop pretending it’s not.

    • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

      “People used to say that life begins at birth. But then medical advances made it possible for fetuses to survive outside the womb”

      You know we have a word for the process by which a fetus gets outside the womb and its own life begins – it’s ‘birth’.

    • bmmbooshoot

       a heartbeat does not mean it is “alive”.  if it is not beating to pump blood throughout the body, to support a life that already is, it’s just an automatic meuromuscular reaction that begins when the tissue forms. if you took mr. ryan’s “bean” out of the body, the thing you saw, you would not call it a “life”. it would be “potential life” at best.

      • Glasofruix

         Also, no brain + no neural activity = not a person

      • Foster

        “A heartbeat does not mean it is ‘alive.’”  Really?  Time to take a biology class.  Argue that the convenience of the conscious human outweighs the life of the unconscious human, but don’t resort to such obviously false arguments.  And yeah, I’m a Catholic pro-lifer.

      • Earl G.

        The whole “alive” thing is such a non sequitur.  The last time I blew my nose, the tissue was full of “life,” including human life.  We should all be condemned to hold in our boogers for nine months!   

    • amycas

       ”it’s another body living inside her body”

      Exactly, and it shouldn’t be living inside her body without her consent. Also, it’s not simply living insider her body–it’s taking her resources. It puts a drain on her physical and mental health. It puts a drain on her social life, education and career. It doesn’t simply sit there and grow and then pop out with no complications.

      • SJH

        the baby came into being with her consent. When you participate in an action you consent to the risk of that action. In this case the possibility of pregnancy. To say that she does not consent is silly.

        Regarding the fact that it is taking her resources, and being a drain on her mentally and physically, isn’t this true with a newborn as well?

        • Deven Kale

          By that same logic, when you get in a car you consent to being in an accident which paralyzes you from the neck down. To say that you don’t consent to this is silly, and filing a lawsuit against the person responsible for the accident is just being irresponsible. After all, you should have known that could happen and be prepared for it already.

          • SJH

            I do not agree with your analogy.  In your example, there is an additional individual along with their actions involved which are outside of the woman’s control. Your example would be more similar if rape were involved. But, in general it is an inconsistent analogy.

            • Deven Kale

               You only disagree because your religious ideals dictate that “life” (a generally poorly defined word to begin with) begins at conception. While that’s true, it’s true in the way you think it is. In reality, it’s more like if the paraplegic had a plant in the car when they got in the accident. From reading your other comments though, I can tell that no explanation of what makes a plant different than an animal, or a fetus no different than a plant, would fall on deaf ears. I guess that means disagreeing is the best possible outcome of a discussion on this, and I will just have to end it at that.

              • Foster

                Perhaps, but your analogy was still deeply flawed.

                • Earl G.

                  How is it flawed?  If you consent to driving, then you are consenting to the risk of dangerous awful things happening to your body.  Just like consenting to sex.  Yet you for some reason have no interest in punishing all those slutty drivers.

                  To complete the analogy, there should be a loud batch of conservatives trying to take away people’s access to airbags and seat belts.  After all, they just encourage more driving, right?

        • kaileyverse

           Sex =/= equal consent.

        • coyotenose

          “When you participate in an action you consent to the risk of that action. In this case the possibility of pregnancy.”

          “When you participate in skiing, you consent to the risk of breaking a leg, and can’t justify treating the injury.”

          —————-

          “…isn’t this true with a newborn as well?”

          That’s irrelevant.

        • amycas

           Anybody can take care of the newborn. Only the pregnant woman can give her resources.

          No, consenting to sex is not consenting to pregnancy. That’s like saying that consenting to driving a car is consenting to being in a car wreck.

    • kaileyverse

      I  don’t think I hear anyone arguing that a fetus is not a human being.  The question is not about that – it is whether any being (born or not) has the right to usurp the body of another for survival.

    • coyotenose

      Life doesn’t “begin”, it continually changes and grows.

      An embryo or fetus is not a person, which is the basis for possessing rights. But perhaps more to the point, a *developing* human being is often not even a human either. It doesn’t possess all the features of a human until well into development. It spends months being a *potential* human, which is arguably not any different than being an egg.

      Ryan’s argument at that moment does not stand alone in a vacuum. Context matters.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    Joe gave the correct answer that religious rationalizations for things should not play a part in developing social policy for a diverse population where everybody doesn’t hold those particular religious beliefs.  Period.

    On developing social policy, arguments should only be based on sound secular reasoning.  If someone wants to invoke “the hand of God” arguments in developing social policy, they should really go to seminary school and become a preacher and stay away from politics and developing social policy.  Then they can preach about how God loves these people and hates those people and give the congregation a nice warm fuzzy feeling (and leave the rest of us alone). 

  • Baal

    “Life begins at conception.” <–this makes god quite the murderer.  I'm remembering that half to 2/3rds of concepti fail to implant.  That means the concepti will die.

    • Foster

      This really isn’t anything compelling, since most Christians today believe that innocents like the “concepti” you mention will go to heaven and be in eternal bliss.

      • coyotenose

         That’s a bizarrely pointless setup. I reckon that’s what happens when you don’t have any competition for creating reality and can just screw around with the customers.

      • Glasofruix

        Don’t they believe that you have to accept jebus as your personnal slave owner before being allowed throught the perly gates? Because i can clearly see a big fat problem with unborn fetuses right there…

      • amycas

         Then why not abort all pregnancies? Then the babies would have no chance to grow up and be tempted. They would all go to heaven. Sure, the Christian god might send the woman to hell, but that would be a wonderful sacrifice for all the aborted embryos that got to spend eternity in heaven. In fact, that’s a bigger sacrifice than even Jesus supposedly made. He died and got to come back after three days and then go to heaven, the woman who aborts the fetus and sends it to heaven will go to hell for all eternity.

  • Philbert

    I was irritated by Biden’s boast about how Catholic hospitals don’t have to touch contraception – because we all know that access to contraception is a good way to prevent abortions.

    But there’s little Biden could realistically have said that would make him worse than Ryan on this issue, who is against abortion because of science – and science being that he saw an ultrasound. 

    On the plus side, at least Ryan was honest enough to say that Romney’s policy would be to “oppose abortion”, unlike a recent interviewer who let Romney weasel out of saying that by stating that he was “not aware” of legislation against abortion that he’d support. First off a candidate can choose what to be aware about. Secondly the president has plenty of power beyond legislation. 

  • Glucksberg42

    “Now, I understand this is a difficult issue. And I respect people who don’t agree with me on this. But the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortion with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.”  
      
    I understand that he can hold respect for a *person* who disagrees with him, but Congressman Ryan cannot possibly respect the opposite *position* if he pursues policy to the extent he’s explaining it, and that’s comparably as bad as disrespecting them as a person for holding those views.

    Just because you can have intellectual respect for an opponent in a debate doesn’t mean you’re necessarily off the hook for harmful policy.

  • SJH

    If you believe that life/personhood begins at conception (which is a rational opinion) then doesn’t it make sense to protect the life of the unborn? His answer is perfectly reasonable. From this regard, the discussion should be about when life begins.

    Biden’s answer was terrible. He states that he believes life/personhood begins at conception but does not believe that those lives should be protected. So is it the government that decides who’s life is worth protecting? Is it the government who decides who’s rights trump another’s. A woman’s right to choose when to have children trumps an unborn’s right to life ? We can have our beliefs and I can respect that but Biden’s belief doesn’t make any sense. He needs to be consistent.

    It would have made more sense to say that the question of personhood is a scientific one not spiritual one and that he believes that personhood does not begin until x-months and therefor abortion should be legal until x-months. Then he would be consistent.

    • coyotenose

       What Biden actually said was that he doesn’t get to use his religion as the basis for morality in a secular government.

  • anon101

    One
    should stop with this “you can’t legislate your personal morality
    on other people” trope. This is what politics is about. Legislating
    your personal morality on other people if you find a majority that
    shares your views. This is exactly what you expect people to do when
    they vote on marriage equality this election to impose their personal
    morals that it is wrong to discriminate against somebody because of
    their sexual orientation on the rest.

    • kaydenpat

      Actually, since we don’t live in a theocracy, I would take exception to a politician legislating their personal religious convictions on society as a whole.  If you don’t believe in access to birth control or abortion because of religious reasons, that’s your personal business.  Don’t try to push that down my throat. 

    • coyotenose

       Calling out intolerance is not intolerant, opposing religious bigotry is not being bigoted against religion, arresting kidnappers is not kidnapping, and fighting totalitarian control is not imposing on the totalitarians.

  • Elerena

    Ryan’s (and most Republican’s, and many others) position on abortion remains one of the most intellectually dishonest possible.

    If you truly believe that humanity begins at conception, then there is NO moral justification to support, or even just fail to oppose, exceptions.  If you believe humanity begins at conception, than abortion is murder, and allowing it in ANY case is allowing murder.

    But, of course, none of these people are principled enough to actually follow through on what their stated positions actually result in, and in some cases are so pathetic that they don’t even actually hold the position to begin with.

  • TheG

    Uh, in my experience in healthcare, there are only two reasons for an ultrasound at seven weeks: because you are going to get an abortion or you are concerned about an ectopic pregnancy (and are about to get an abortion).  Either way, any ultrasound tech will tell you the possibility of finding a heartbeat is very rare.  I’m sure there are other reasons, but those would have to be so infrequent as to negate the possibility that this happened to the wife of an anti-choice advocate who is running for vice-president.

    It seems to me that he is either lying about the ultrasound or lying about the intentions behind the ultrasound.  Now, if he had said that after the procedure, he went out and ran a four hour marathon, I might have found it believable. 

    • coyotenose

       I knew that sounded off, but didn’t have the experience to articulate why, so thank you. It’s extremely common for these folks to lie to support their position, even without it being Marathon Man.

  • kaydenpat

    Biden: “I — I do not believe that — that we have a right to tell other people that women, they — they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor, in my view. And the Supreme Court — I’m not going to interfere with that.”

    Funny that Republicans go on and on about freedom and liberty from government interference, yet want to put themselves in the doctor’s office when it comes to women’s reproductive issues.