How Effective Will the ‘Abort Theocracy’ Campaign Be?

The group Secular Woman is launching a new project today that… well… just rubs me the wrong way:

Abort Theocracy is focused on the intersection of religious power over a women’s bodily autonomy, dedicated to terminating that connection by opposing religious influence in government.

The idea behind it isn’t bad at all. The larger the spotlight we can shine on legislation that’s bad for women, that serves to control their bodies, that spurs women (and men) to contact their legislators to vote against the bills, the better off we are.

But the metaphor of treating that legislation as something to be “aborted,” or to be “terminated,” just doesn’t make sense to me.

We celebrate defeating those awful bills; we don’t celebrate abortions.

Those bills are meticulously-planned and written. Pregnancies don’t always work that way.

For most women, an abortion is not something they aspire to have — they’re usually a necessity or the result of serious deliberation; the anti-abortion bills, however, are written by politicians who championed their ability to limit women’s rights.

No doubt this in-your-face campaign is hard to ignore — that’s pretty much the point — but I worry it will just give ammo to our cultural opponents who already, wrongly, see us as “people who want to kill babies.” Will anyone on the fence about these issues really be swayed by this campaign?

On another note, the use of the word “theocracy” bothers me, too. Because no matter what you think about conservative politicians, I’m pretty sure 99% of them would tell you they have no desire to establish a “theocracy.” They’ll tell you they respect the right of people to choose and live by their own beliefs. Sure, they’ll vote based on their Christians “values,” but I doubt any of them (Texas reps excluded…?) would argue that we should replace the Constitution with the Bible when it comes to how we are governed. Using the word “theocracy” just reeks of over-the-top hype that isn’t based in reality.

I’m all for fighting religious-based legislation — or any legislation that limits the control women have over their own bodies. I hope this campaign finds a way to do that effectively. But I’m doubting it can do that right now. Instead, it’ll just give conservatives something new to raise money off of.

(For what it’s worth, I raised many of these points to Secular Woman President Kim Rippere last night and, while she didn’t agree with me, she noted my concerns.)

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/janice.clanfield Janice Clanfield

    I like it. Sometimes a sledge hammer is necessary. The theocrats have been pushing hard, way too hard, to put women in their godly place.

    • The Janitor

      A purely rhetorical sledge hammer that doesn’t even accurately represent the opposition? Goebbles would be so proud of you!

      • Charles Honeycutt

        It’s funny how, as with Orwell, whenever someone talks about GOEBBELS, it accompanies proof that they don’t actually know anything about him.

        The opposition keeps trying to control womens’ bodies and health based on religious beliefs. It’s extremely well-documented. You are either ignorant of that, or you are a liar. Take your pick. “Both” is also an acceptable option.

        • The Janitor

          You just make an empty assertion: that it’s extremely well document that opposition to abortion is religiously based. But as I pointed out above, if you do a Google search for “Catholic argument against abortion” the first thing that pops up, which is from a Catholic website, isn’t a religiously grounded argument.

          But let’s suppose you’re correct that most arguments against abortion are religiously grounded. Does that make it rational to pretend that abortion is simply a theocratic issue, as this campaign does, by ignore those arguments against abortion which are not religiously grounded?

          • Gus Snarp

            I don’t know, how about you make one of those arguments and we can have a go at it?

            • The Janitor

              I’ve noted several times now where you can access one and I’ve even tried to post a link to one… but my comment doesn’t seem to be loading. It may be marked as spam because of the link.

              • GCT

                Present an actual argument, because your “noted several times” have not actually shown us a single argument that isn’t based on religion.

                • The Janitor

                  Please show where Kreeft’s argument rests on a religious premise.

                  Again, this should be *very* easy since apparently you’ve already spotted the premise. All you have to do is copy and past it here.

                • GCT

                  The moral premise is that all humans have the right to life because all humans are human.

                  Here, he makes the assumption that a fertilized egg is a human that deserves rights because it has a soul. Game over. Go home.

                • Gus Snarp

                  The religious premise is that a fertilized egg has a “human essence”, i.e. soul. Pure religion.

              • sunburned

                That or it’s an obfuscated Gish Gallop refined for the digital age. Hey, look at all these *arguments* they are all so convincing. Just google “this” and wade through 1.78 million returns to find the convincing *secular* arguments.

                • The Janitor

                  Uh except for the fact that I first tried to link directly to it and then I specified which result I had in mind and it was that it would be the very first return.

                • sunburned

                  Right:) So pay homage to the great FSM and copypasta.

              • Spuddie

                Here is a nice tool for identifying BS arguments. Although used for dealing with holocaust deniers, it works well with others as well
                http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/orgs/german/einsatzgruppen/esg/revisionism.html

                You response is an example of:
                1. Creamed Mush with Fog Sauce — Never provide evidence for your
                assertions. In fact, respond to demands for evidence the way
                Dracula responds to crucifixes. Do anything you can to avoid it.
                Throw insults. Change the subject. Obfuscate. Laugh derisively.
                Claim you already gave the evidence or that someone else did. But never provide any evidence yourself (unless you provide an
                incomplete or incomprehensible citation along with it).

          • GCT

            You know, I just did that search, looked at the first link, and you are lying. It’s a religious argument, just like all the others.

            • The Janitor

              Again: Point out the religion premise (and again, the post that turns up for me is Kreeft).

              • GCT

                I have. You’re ignoring it in order to troll.

                Why do you hate women and atheists so much?

            • Spuddie

              Lying is fairly common for the anti-abortion crowd. It should not surprise anyone.

          • RobMcCune

            People create arguments that they feel will appeal to the other side, so the content of a person’s argument doesn’t speak to their motivations, those are two separate things. Just because their are secular arguments against abortion doesn’t mean that the majority of political opposition to abortion is not based on religious beliefs, arguments and identity.This is the case for the majority of opposition to abortion, so yes it is rational to address the religious motivations in the issue since they are so prominent.

      • GCT

        Godwin. You can go away now.

      • Carmelita Spats

        I had an abortion in Texas five years ago and dealt with “the opposition”…I had to WAIT 48 hours, I was subjected to MANDATORY counseling and had to LISTEN to a pre-recorded message from the Fundamngelical STATE legislature, BIG GOVERNMENT, about how abortion is a)evil, b) bad for the skin and c)it will make your vagina explode. They want to stick a greased-up wand up my vagina for a sonogram even if it is NOT a medically necessary procedure recommended by a gynecologist. This is transgressive, aggressive, sexual assault coupled with the usual grotesque Christian voyeurism. Fu)k you.

  • SeekerLancer

    As someone who studied in PR, I don’t like the wording either.

    To me it seems like a built in goalpost mover for Christians who will just want to ignore what we’re actually trying to say and go off on atheists supporting abortion instead.

    I feel like it’s not really making the blunt point it’s trying to make with metaphorical language that fuzzes it up with other issues.

  • Just Sayin

    Terminate with extreme prejudice?
    Something Freudian going on there…I think some atheists let the cat out of the bag.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      Moron troll is a moron troll.

      Moron troll also had to imagine a phrase that is not to be found above. Do you have paranoid hallucinations all the time, or only when you’re desperate for an argument?

      • Cynical

        Looks like Just Sayin got Charlie riled up!

        But I agree, I think the atheists did let the cat out bag and will now try to excuse it. There is no doubt they mean to terminate with extreme prejudice if they get the chance.

        • GCT

          Bigot.

  • The Janitor

    Part of the problem is that it demonstrates how delusional/dishonest abortion rights activists are, since the primary arguments pro-let’s use are in no way theocratic. Basically it’s a campaign to stir up the the new atheists who will champion any cause so long as you tell them it’s fighting something religious.

    Hemant, you did abortions are *usually* a necessity. Can you demonstrate that?

    • Gus Snarp

      since the primary arguments pro-let’s(sic) use are in no way theocratic

      Meanwhile, all the pro-life slogans I see on bumper stickers around me are Bible quotes or Mother Theresa quotes, and most of the pro-lifers are Catholic or Evangelical. There are two kinds of pro-life arguments: religious ones and lies.

      • The Janitor

        Because it’s always good to understand your opponents positions by bumper stickers. In which case, the primary atheist arguments are… oops I guess atheists don’t have any arguments, just mockery like the FSM and “thank God I’m an atheist”.

        But let’s try to be serious. First of all, which pro-life bumper stickers do you see that quote Bible verses? Which Bible verse? How does a Mother Teresa quote automatically make it religious? Did Mother Teresa use exclusively religious reasoning? Next, the fact that most pro-lifers are Catholic or Evangelical is supposed to show that their arguments are religious? Uh, not sure how that works.

        • Charles Honeycutt

          “oops I guess atheists don’t have any arguments…”

          And there’s the proof that you’re just lying. Thanks for playing.

          Does Jesus love that you lie?

          • The Janitor

            You should have noticed I was just applying Gus Snaps’s own modus operandi. Jesus doesn’t love your poor argument following skills ;)

            • Gus Snarp

              No one ever seems to be able to properly type Snarp.

              • The Janitor

                Sorry I couldn’t remember your handle and I only glanced up briefly to get it.

              • FelyxLeiter

                Snape!! Dammit…Snoop!
                Snock?
                This is so hard.
                SNARP!!!
                Where’s my cookie? :)

        • Gus Snarp

          Pro-lifers believe that at the moment of conception two cells become a complete human life, worthy of all rights of a human being, and at least as important as the complete woman carrying them. Science says they’re cells that cannot possibly feel or think or anything else. The notion that life begins at conception is a religious one, born of the notion that god magically puts in a soul when the gametes fuse together.

          Arguments about fetal heartbeats, pain, eyes, and so forth later in development: A. have no bearing on the notion that life begins at conception, and B. Are completely at odds with what we know about cardiac cells, neural pathways, and embryological development. In other words, they’re lies.

          • The Janitor

            Gus,

            Actually science says a new human being life begins at conception. Science doesn’t and can’t tell us that something that can’t feel or think isn’t life. That would be a philosophical conclusion, not a scientific one…

            Arguments about fetal heartbeats etc. aren’t concerned with life beginning at conception and most abortions that pro-lifers are concerned with are concerned with abortions that occur relatively long after conceptions.

            • GCT

              Actually science says a new human being life begins at conception.

              Add either ignorance of science or science denial (and lying) to your list of sins. This is simply not true.

              Anti-choice is based in religious dogma and pretty uniformly meant to control women and make them into sex slaves for men.

              • The Janitor

                “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed” – Human Embryology & Teratology. 2nd edition.

                “The development of a human begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.” – Sadler, T.W. Langman’s Medical Embryology. 7th edition.

                I could add a lot more here, but I guess that’s enough to show ignorance of science or science denial is actually on *your* list of sins :)

                • Gus Snarp

                  Yes, just ignore the words “development of” and “continuous process”. There’s nothing in there that says that fertilization results in a complete human being, or that the “distinct human organism” is a human being in terms of human rights. The argument that you and Dr. Kreeft are promoting is fundamentally dishonest, period.

                • The Janitor

                  The textbook supports that an embryo or zygote is a human being. It I didn’t ignore those words since they only refer to the fact that the human being isn’t mature yet. It doesn’t support or imply in any way that the human being is not a “complete human being” unless by “complete” you mean *completely developed* but guess what, a 13 year old girl isn’t completely developed either. So what?

                  How is Kreeft’s argument *dishonest*? Where does he lie?

                • Gus Snarp

                  By complete, I basically mean “possessing a brain”. This, by the way, is why it’s a religious argument and why it’s dishonest, and I thank you for helping me get at this nugget of the argument:

                  Kreeft (and/or you) reads the words “human organism” and translate that to “having a human essence” (Kreeft’s words from your source). That is something science does not support, it is a purely religious notion, that there is a “human essence” that is characteristic of a human being with rights. He uses that term dishonestly, because what he means by it is “soul”, something science does not support.

                  From a scientific viewpoint, the source of all human thought and emotion, what makes us unique, is the brain. There is no soul and the mind is what the brain does. Without a brain, there’s not a human being. There is “human life” in the most generic sense, but what Kreeft believes is that there’s something special from the moment of conceptions, a “human essence”, a soul, that separates the bundle of human cells from the nearly identical bundle of chimpanzee cells, frog cells, or broccoli cells.

                • JRB

                  No it doesn’t. I posted this above but in case someone has it sorted so this shows up first, After the bit The Janitor has quoted above Human Embryology & Teratology (3rd Edition) specifically says that a “human organism” =/= a “human person” and recommends another book for further discussion of the topic. While it briefly discusses it, the textbook makes no claim on when cells become a “person” and The Janitor is doing one of the following things:

                  1) Repeating an argument he found some where else and hasn’t actually read the textbook

                  2) Doesn’t understand the section of the textbook in question
                  3) Is lying about what the textbook says.

                • Gus Snarp

                  Let’s play a little game. It’s called the Socratic Method. We’ll begin by clarifying what you mean when you talk about being pro-life. We need to establish what you really believe. So I’ll ask four basic questions:

                  1. Do you believe abortion should be illegal in most cases?
                  2. Do you believe abortion should be illegal in cases of rape or incest?
                  3. Do you believe abortion should be illegal when the mother’s long term health is in danger?
                  4. Do you believe abortion should be illegal when the mother’s life is in danger?

                • The Janitor

                  Oh goody, I’ve been reading a lot of Plato recently. This should be fun.

                  Abortion should be illegal under all cases, except maybe triage where there is reason to believe that even letting the mother die to give birth to the child will most certainly still result in the child’s death shortly after birth.

                • FelyxLeiter

                  Wow, you’re a real asshole. Just…wow.

                  Allowing a woman to die in childbirth is fine, regardless of the circumstances of pregnancy (which are none of your business), so long as the child has some chance of surviving?

                  Let me guess…the woman has to give up her life/suffer irreparable internal damage, etc. (in the best-case scencario, undergo life-altering physical and emotional changes while being a total-body donor for nine consecutive months) as the result of her decision to have sex on the one night birth control failed. Or the
                  night she was raped. It’s always her fault, so she has to pay. Only her, because of her plumbing. Eve and all that.

                  It must be nice to make life-and-death decisions for other people that you will never personally be subject to.

                  If you hit someone with your car and you puncture one of his/her lungs, should you be forced to donate one of your lungs to him/her? If so, why don’t you petition for government-coerced organ donation with the passion you seem to feel for forced childbirth? Hell, how about petitioning for mandatory blood donation, which is astronomically lower-risk than childbirth, and would save countless lives? *crickets*

                  My mother could really use another kidney.

                  Oh, right. Because only organ and blood donation would actually affect you.

                  “Look at the way GCT tried to shift topics and pretend like we were discussing human personhood deserving full human rights when we were talking about when a human being begins.”

                  Funny, you seem to be the one trying to argue both when a “human being begins,” and the assertion that said “human being” deserves the right to life over any other human being.
                  No one has the legal right to your lung. Or kidney. Demanding that a fetus deserves your entire body against your will isn’t “full human rights.” It’s above and beyond what we accept as full human rights. Decent people call involuntarily giving your body to another person “slavery.”

                • Gus Snarp

                  Oh, well then, I guess you’re consistent, if utterly immoral.

                • Spuddie

                  “Apes read philosophy, they just don’t understand it”
                  -Wanda Gershowitz

                  Abortion is legal for a reason you will never understand nor acknowledge. Only a mother’s will keeps a fetus alive. Nobody else in the world can. Her life will always be a higher priority than the life inside her. If the mother does not to keep a fetus alive, you can’t do anything but forcibly restrain her movement in response. Something which has no justification among rational people who have an appreciation of life and the lives of others.

                  A fetus can never be a person because it is not capable of independent life without the mother’s will for it. This is why equating it with a baby is either ignorant or completely dishonest crap. Any human being can keep a baby alive (a born human) only the mother can keep a fetus alive. A fetus can never exercise rights greater than its mother’s.

                • GCT

                  I could add a lot more here, but I guess that’s enough to show ignorance of science or science denial is actually on *your* list of sins :)

                  You can add as many quotes as you want, but I fail to see why you think adding quotes that simply don’t support your position is somehow beneficial for you.

                  If you actually understood the quotes you are listing, you’d realize that nowhere do they claim that the fetus is a person deserving the right to inhabit another person and all of that jazz. They talk about stages of development of a human being, meaning an organism that we recognize as human based on genetic makeup. (BTW, what about twins that separate after fertilization? Oh yeah, science expert that you are, you must have an answer for that, right? LOL.) The science is clear. The inferences you make from it are based on your religion, which is also clear. Thanks for playing, but you lost.

                • The Janitor

                  Again, we see atheists here who can’t follow an argument. Since you’re having difficulty, let me spell it out for you.

                  I said: “Actually science says a new human being life begins at conception.”

                  At which point you objected that I was ignorant of science or a liar, because of my claim that science says a new human being begins at conception.

                  At which point I provided two science textbook quotes stating that a human being begins at conception.

                  At which point you tired to do the atheist-shuffle and object that the quotes don’t show human beings are person deserving full rights of personhood… Nice try.

                • GCT

                  I said: “Actually science says a new human being life begins at conception.”

                  At which point you objected that I was ignorant of science or a liar, because of my claim that science says a new human being begins at conception.

                  And, I would be correct. But, please continue to display your ignorance for all to see.

                  At which point I provided two science textbook quotes stating that a human being begins at conception.

                  The development begins at conception. Big difference. Sometimes it’s more than one human being. Sometimes it spontaneously aborts itself. Lots of things can happen.

                  Of course, this doesn’t even touch on the fact that “human cells” != “personhood” which is the dishonest bait and switch tactic that you are trying to employ here.

                • sunburned

                  And the next few sentences after those? Cherry picking is a sad way to go about life.

            • Gus Snarp

              Science doesn’t say that at all. Two cells are not a human being. Neither are four, nor eight, nor sixteen, thirty-two, sixty-four, 128…..

              Science says that it can’t say, with absolute certainty, where the line is that a human being begins, but it can tell us that a blastocyst is not equivalent to an adult human. It can tell us that a viable infant is pretty clearly a human being. In between is grey area. Pro-life Christians do not believe this, and make statements about what science says that are simply not true, i.e. lies.

              I found a first google result as you suggested, by the eminent philosopher Peter Kreeft, believer in the cosmological argument, among other terrible, dishonest, and unscientific ideas. His argument rests largely on this unscientific premise about what constitutes a human life worth of full human rights, along with some other false premises. It’s garbage, and like his other good friend, the cosmological argument, is an attempt to dress up what is really a purely religious belief in the trappings of science and reason, but like putting a pig in a dress, it’s still a pig. He also doesn’t seem to know the definition of the word “skeptic” and spends a disproportionate amount of his argument about abortion arguing against a straw man of skepticism completely unrelated to it.

              • The Janitor

                Gus,

                Not sure if you’re just behind in the debate or not… but I provided two quotes from two embryology science textbooks that prove you wrong.

                Even if you think Kreeft’s argument is garbage, you should have the decency to admit his argument isn’t religiously grounded, which is all I was trying to demonstrate… instead you bring up red-herrings about what you think of his cosmology argument and so forth.

                • Gus Snarp

                  Yes, I replied to your quotes. You and Kreeft are not being honest. I believe I did explain that the argument is not grounded in science, before I brought up the rest of his dishonest thinking. Certainly I didn’t spend as much time on unrelated philosophical arguments as he did in that awful piece.

                  What I said from the beginning stands,there are two kinds of pro-life arguments: religious ones and lies. You are (more or less, I won’t go into it) correct that that argument is not religiously grounded. It’s the other kind.

                • The Janitor

                  Gus,

                  You said: “I believe I did explain that the argument is not grounded in science,”

                  But let’s consider carefully what you said in the post you refer to. You said “His argument rests largely on this unscientific premise about what constitutes a human life worth of full human rights”

                  Now it may be true that his argument about what constitutes a human life worthy of full human rights is not a scientific one. But that would only be because *it’s not a scientific question!* In other words, you just make a trivial observation and pretend like it’s significant. But it’s also the case that no pro-choicer has a scientific argument for what constitutes a human life worthy of full human rights.

                  Clearly, you and your compatriots here are the one’s guilty of dishonest tactics. Look at the way GCT tried to shift topics and pretend like we were discussing human personhood deserving full human rights when we were talking about when a human being begins. And now look at what you’re doing with trying to make a big deal that a philosophical issue, by its very nature, is not scientifically grounded.

                • GCT

                  But it’s also the case that no pro-choicer has a scientific argument for what constitutes a human life worthy of full human rights.

                  Epic fail. You do realize that you just invalidated your own argument, right? Right?….Oh you poor thing, you didn’t realize that.

                  Look at the way GCT tried to shift topics and pretend like we were discussing human personhood deserving full human rights when we were talking about when a human being begins.

                  Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, can you really be that dishonest/dense? What the hell do you think the abortion debate is about? It’s about personhood. The dishonesty is your bait and switch technique whereby you claim that a clump of cells is a person because it has the requisite number of chromosomal pairs (the bait) and then switch out to claiming that abortion is wrong because it is a person and has all the same rights and privileges as all other persons. That I called you out on it doesn’t make me the dishonest one.

                • Gus Snarp

                  Trivial? It’s only the central premise of his whole argument. That science tells us that embryos are human, and that everything human has the right to life, therefore killing an embryo is depriving a human of its fundamental right to life. That’s the whole thing, and it rests on a false premise. The word human is used in two different ways and it breaks his chain of reasoning and makes his logic entirely faulty. Science does not tell us that an embryo is human in the sense that everything human has rights. Those are two different uses of the word human, so his conclusion simply does not follow from his premises.

        • RobMcCune

          Next, the fact that most pro-lifers are Catholic or Evangelical is supposed to show that their arguments are religious? Uh, not sure how that works.

          It’s strong evidence that their motivations are religious, given their theology. Since they make up a large block of people who oppose abortion in most or all circumstances, it’s not a stretch to conclude that political opposition to abortion is religiously motivated.

      • Tainda

        You mean there is one kind of argument: religious ones and lies…
        :)

        • The Janitor

          Notice that the responses here are going to be, in the majority, empty rhetoric or insults. Shouldn’t that bother atheists, the uber-rationalists?

          • GCT

            Shouldn’t it bother you that you can’t make an argument worth responding to?

            • The Janitor

              Shouldn’t it bother you that you spend your time in worthless activities by your own reckoning (e.g., responding to me)?

              • GCT

                Well, you are pretty worthless, and your sneering bigotry and contempt for atheists and women is rather evident.

          • Gus Snarp

            Who said we were uber-rationalists? We’re atheists, not Vulcans or robots. We do, in fact, have senses of humor.

            • The Janitor

              Well I figured, based on new atheist chest thumping about how illogical it is to believe in god, that they must be uber-rationalists… but I guess they would prefer to say that we are uber-stupid and they are just average rationalists? So the “Average Brights” would have been a better fit I guess?

              • GCT

                You are just a giant bigot, aren’t you?

                • Ibis3

                  Well, seeing as he advocates slavery of women, I’d say that “yes” is pretty clearly the right answer.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      The entire anti-choice movement was and is based on religion. A few nonreligious outliers doesn’t change that, and they are very few. Basing laws on religion is theocratic. This isn’t hard.

      Weird how there are no actual examples of dishonest pro-choice arguments, huh?

      • The Janitor

        *This* is an example of a dishonest pro-choice argument. The pro-life argument is actually based primarily on secular reasons, as anyone can see if they study some of the foremost pro-lifers like Scott Klusendorf of Frank Beckwith.

        The fact that Scott and Frank are religious doesn’t make their arguments religious. But lots of atheists can’t seem to understand that for some reason. In fact just do a search for “Catholic argument against abortion” on Google and, guess what, the first link that pops up won’t have anything to do with religion. Why can’t atheists just admit that?

        • GCT

          *This* is an example of anti-choice lies. You can’t name a single argument that isn’t religiously based.

          • The Janitor

            Actually I provided a link to one, from a religious website no less :)

            • The Janitor

              If the link doesn’t show up (because it marks it as spam) then please just do a Google search for “Catholic argument against abortion” and it will be the first link that pops up.

              • GCT

                Did that. You fail. It’s a religious argument. Why lie when it’s so easy to check? The only thing I can come up is that you’re so infused with your atheophobic religious privilege that you think making the assertion is enough as long as your assertions are against atheists.

                • The Janitor

                  Well either you’re blatantly lying or else you found the wrong link. The first link that comes up for me is Peter Kreeft’s “A Logical Argument Against Abortion”

                  If this is religiously grounded please point me to the religious premise(s) in his argument. That should be simple enough.

                • SeekerLancer

                  Kreeft’s argument includes “morality is based on metaphysics” and you’re trying to sell it as not a religious argument?

                  I’m not saying there aren’t secular arguments out there, just find a better example maybe.

                • The Janitor

                  Seeker,

                  Since when does metaphysics = religious? I know a lot of atheists who would be surprised to hear they are religious.

                • GCT

                  Gus Snarp already did above. The packaged assumptions are religious, which Kreeft attempts to cover up with science-y sounding language, in order to defend the religious assumptions. It’s a bait and switch to make a religious argument appear to be secular. You’re either too dishonest or too stupid to realize it.

                • The Janitor

                  Gus Snarp didn’t point out a single religious premise. Instead he drug a red-herring across the trail. Guess you chased it.

                • GCT

                  Their premises are based on the “conception” = “god put a soul in there” religious dogma. You can’t escape that fact.

                • allein

                  Why didn’t you just give the title of the article in the first place (even if your link did somehow disappear), instead of telling people to google some words and hoping they come up with the same first link? It only serves to annoy people and make you look weaselly.

        • Spuddie

          You haven’t given one allegedly rational anti-abortion argument. We have all been waiting.

          • Tainda

            I clocked out when he was talking about how abortion should be illegal even in the cases where the woman’s life is in danger.

            • allein

              Actually I think he argued that it should only be allowed if both the woman and the baby will almost certainly die. If the baby can be saved, the woman’s life doesn’t matter. (Which led me to this thought: How does that fit with the religous argument against gay marriage, that a child needs both a father and a mother? A grieving single father is better than two parents of the same gender, I guess..?)

    • GCT

      Part of the problem is that it demonstrates how delusional/dishonest abortion rights activists are, since the primary arguments pro-let’s use are in no way theocratic.

      Delusional? Dishonest? Cite please. And, please present an argument for the anti-choice position that isn’t based on religion. K thx, Bai.

      Basically it’s a campaign to stir up the the new atheists who will champion any cause so long as you tell them it’s fighting something religious.

      Oh how I love atheophobic religiously privileged bigotry in the morning.

      Hemant, you did abortions are *usually* a necessity. Can you demonstrate that?

      When you demonstrate basic reading comprehension skills, you’ll see why your challenge here is inane.

    • Kirby_G

      You’re not reading the whole sentence, or even the whole phrase:

      “they’re usually a necessity or the result of serious deliberation;”

      • The Janitor

        I left out the rest of the phrase because the fact that abortions may be the result of serious deliberation doesn’t entail that these women don’t aspire to have abortions.

        • Gus Snarp

          Aspire. I don’t think that word means what you think it means…

          I mean, either that or you’re a complete idiot. No one “aspires” to have an abortion.

          • GCT

            It is probably both (meaning both an idiot and ignorant of what the word means).

          • The Janitor

            “Direct one’s hopes or ambitions toward achieving something”

            So no one ever hopes or has ambitions toward achieving an abortion? I would say every abortion that is a matter of convenience is had by aspiration. That’s definitely more than “no one”.

            • GCT

              Yes, women spend all day dreaming about getting pregnant so that they can go have an abortion. That’s why Planned Parenthood has those punch cards (you know, where if you have 10 abortions you get the next one free!)

              Here’s a pro tip too: they probably want you (YES YOU) to be the one that gives them the child they can abort, because they are all secretly lusting after you and think you are god’s gift to women! Even the atheist ones think that you are god’s gift, because they secretly believe in god, but act like they don’t so that they can go get the abortions that they crave so much.

              • The Janitor

                Funny, I don’t see any dictionary defining aspire as “dream all day” about the thing in question. Guess you’re the one who doesn’t have a firm grasp on the word.

                And, gosh golly, wasn’t it the atheist Dawkins who was trying to say theists were secretly atheists not too long ago? Must suck when atheists mirror what you mock.

                • GCT

                  Wow, you’re too dense to even get it when you’re being made fun of. Must suck to be you.

            • Gus Snarp

              Only if you want to parse words based on pure technical definitions down to the smallest root and ignore all connotation and how the English language is actually used. Or you know, you’re fundamentally dishonest.

              • The Janitor

                Actually you’re the one trying to save your assertion by playing a word game by reading more into “aspiration” than is necessarily present.

                • DavidMHart

                  Are you really going to need it spelled out?

                  People do not generally aspire to have a foot amputated. However, if someone is in a car crash, or a climbing accident, or whatever, that crushes their foot such that, if left untreated, it will be a potentially fatal infection risk, or be left such that the ragged nerve endings will be a constant source of pain, most people would want an amputation to be an available option; a least-worst outcome under the circumstances.

                  Similarly, women do not generally aspire to have an abortion, but when they find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy (an unwanted anything is by definition something which you do not aspire to have), then most would want abortion to be an available option as a least-worst outcome under the circumstances. Remember pregnancy is also a painful and life-threatening condition.

                  People do not aspire to have problems that need medical intervention; that does not mean they would not want those intervention to be available if they should need them.

  • http://twitter.com/M_Shale Marcellus Shale

    I like it. Having seen a lot of very subtle campaigns by right-wingers recently they seem to be fixated on camel’s nose arguments. They are essentially saying to minorities that your sympathy for x should make you care about y.They are pushing for people who might not feel entirely comfortable with every minority rights issue to take a stand against all of them, because those darned minorities are doing it again.They aren’t saying choose me, they are saying choose against x or y. This is saying affirmatively, choose my side. We are confident you don’t require sugar coating, they aren’t.

    • The Janitor

      I’m not sure which pro-life argument you’re referring to. Could you spell it out a little more?

      • Spuddie

        There aren’t any rational ones so you can take your pick of:
        -emotional appeals
        -”slut shaming”

        -religious appeal
        -equating it with infanticide
        -conspiracy theories about keeping minority populations down

        -Arguments about when life begins while ignoring that a fetus can only survive because the mother wills it so
        -hurling insults

  • Gus Snarp

    I think it’s pretty awful. It’s not going to win anyone and is likely to push people who might otherwise be allies away. As an internal rallying cry for a select group, it might be very effective at motivating people, but the effect on the wider world will be awful. And I say this as someone who’s nearly as far in the pro-choice camp as one can be.

    • The Janitor

      Nevermind the fact that it’s just not truthful I guess? I agree it’s tactically a bad move, but why aren’t any atheists on here complaining that it’s also factually incorrect? Aren’t atheists supposed to be concerned with facts?

      • GCT

        What’s not factual about it? Anti-choice arguments are rooted in religious ideas. Once you stop lying about that, maybe we can hold a productive discussion. Until then, you’re just a dishonest troll.

        • Gus Snarp

          Well, if by not truthful your referring to the word “theocracy”, I guess you’re just ignoring that Hemant covered that pretty well in the OP. I didn’t comment to reiterate what he already said.

          On the other hand, attempting to control women’s bodies according to religious precepts is a facet of a theocracy, so at the very least there’s a case to be made for the use of the word.

          • The Janitor

            I’ve clearly taken issue with the fact that you and others are trying to frame the pro-life side as grounded in religion, when that’s obviously false.

            Again, the two most prominent pro-lifers that any religious person who is well informed about the pro-life position will know of are Scott Klusendorf and Francis Beckwith. You have to really be pulling the wool over your eyes if you want to say they make their case on religious grounds.

        • The Janitor

          It’s not factual because pro-life arguments are primarily secular and don’t rely on religious premises. Go Google “Scott Klusendorf” or “Francis Beckwith” and you’ll see two of the the most prominent religious pro-life figures giving exclusively secular arguments.

          Then you can apologies for calling me a liar when you clearly haven’t done your homework.

          • GCT

            It’s not factual because pro-life arguments are primarily secular and don’t rely on religious premises.

            You found 1 argument which is not actually secular despite your lies about it and that now somehow amounts to anti-choice arguments being primarily secular? I guess lying for Jesus is part of your religion.

            Go Google “Scott Klusendorf” or “Francis Beckwith” and you’ll see two of the the most prominent religious pro-life figures giving exclusively secular arguments.

            No, I won’t, because they don’t provide exclusively secular arguments.

            Then you can apologies for calling me a liar when you clearly haven’t done your homework.

            Even if those 2 people did provide secular arguments (they don’t) you would still be lying.

            • The Janitor

              To pretend that it’s 1 argument is lying on your part. Their arguments are *consistently* and *primarily* secular. That Beckwith or Klusendorf may have at some time made a religious case, such that they haven’t been *exclusively* secular means you won’t even give them a look only shows how hard you want to remain in the dark about this issue.

              • GCT

                Um, the fact that you assume I haven’t given them a look is pretty telling.

                The fact remains, their arguments are based on religion. The soul is made at conception and therefore abortion is murder. That’s the religious idea that they try to rationalize any way they can. Since we live in a secular democracy (barely) they try to come up with arguments that hide their purposes, but it’s all subterfuge based on making up “facts”, science denial and/or distortion, and dishonestly hiding their religious motives.

                And, when I wrote that, it was 1 argument that you were harping about – Kreeft’s argument, which is also religious in nature.

                Lastly, your idea that you can find 3 people who make arguments that are religious in nature but who try to frame them as not religious somehow makes the majority of anti-choice argument secular is laughable at best and really dishonest. Face it. You’re a bigoted liar who hates atheists and women.

      • Gus Snarp

        Well, if by not truthful your referring to the word “theocracy”, I guess you’re just ignoring that Hemant covered that pretty well in the OP. I didn’t comment to reiterate what he already said.

        On the other hand, attempting to control women’s bodies according to religious precepts is a facet of a theocracy, so at the very least there’s a case to be made for the use of the word.

      • Jesusdoppelganger

        Self-identified evangelicals are much more likely than others to oppose elective termination of pregnancy. Furthermore, many Christian denominations and their affiliated churches actively support anti-abortion activities both financially and through logistical practices. So, while they make arguments that appear to have a secular basis, I’m not convinced that the underlying motivation for the opposition is a secular one.

  • http://twitter.com/nicoleintrovert Nicole Introvert

    You don’t think Dominionists want what would basically be a Theocracy? Isn’t that their whole schitck?

    • GCT

      Yes, it is. They aren’t the only ones either.

    • ologies

      Dominionists aren’t really a large issue on a broader scale. We’re looking at the most common representatives — in as much as some conservative, religious Republicans are shitheads about separation of church/state and other legislations that are religiously-motivated, I think it’s reasonable to assume many of them would draw the line at a full-blown theocracy.

      • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

        Sarah Palin and Rick Perry are both Dominionists. Palin was governor of Alaska, and Perry is governor of Texas. Palin was the VP nominee in 2008, and Perry was considered a very serious candidate for President in 2012.

        • ologies

          I’d like to gently point out that neither of those people were elected, nor were they ever considered serious candidates at any point in their presidential bids. Perry was run out during the Republican primaries, which is when the evangelical vote comes out in droves and gives rise to the crazies.

          Additionally, in order to install a theocracy, it’s not sufficient to simply have a president who wants one — we have a whole series of checks and balances for that kind of thing.

          • Yiab

            Scalia is not alone.

            • ologies

              And yet in 40 years of public service, has still somehow failed to install a theocracy.

              • GCT

                The desire to install a theocracy is quite different from the ability. We were discussing their desire.

                • ologies

                  Why bother? I agree we should keep a watchful eye out for destructive legislation, but let’s not pretend it’s bigger than it is. If they have shitty desires and are being actively blocked from installing them, then things are working precisely how they should on that issue.

                • GCT

                  Well, for starters, accuracy. The original claim was that the vast majority of Xians don’t want a theocracy. It’s important to note that this may not be and probably isn’t the case. Talk of whether they can institute a theocracy is an exercise in moving the goal posts.

                  Another reason to be concerned with it is that we do have attempts at legislation brought by those who would seek to install a theocracy. And, sometimes those attempts succeed. It seems a bit of a false dichotomy is being implied here that if they can’t institute a full-blown theocracy that no danger exists.

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    The best ad campaign I’ve seen is the “…and I’m a Mormon” videos produced by the LDS.

  • Tinker

    99% don’t want to establish a theocracy? Hemant, you must be very lucky to only speak to rational Christians. Mormon doctrine talks about establishing a theocracy, People in the South are all for using the bible as the bases for all of our laws. I think that maybe 99% of politicians would not say anything about theocracy, but the people they represent would love to see it. There are some local governments that get pretty close. Mesa, AZ is very difficult to get elected in if you don’t pander to the Mormons.

  • http://twitter.com/Ro542124 Gideon

    I agree with Hemant, for the most part. Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare…because responsible adults are using contraceptives.

    That said, theocracy is as theocracy does. Meaning, they may not say “theocracy”, but some of these people want the 10 commandments posted everywhere as a supposed “basis for all law”. “No other gods but Yahweh” as a foundation for society? Theocracy ahoy!

  • schnauzermommy

    While 99% of them might tell you that they have no desire to establish a “theocracy” I think they’d either be flat-out lying or kidding themselves. Have you seen the current polling on how many Americans would like to officially enshrine Christianity as a state religion? And considering how many of these conservative politicians are dyed-in-the-wool born-agains, do you really think they are big supporters of church-state separation? Now, the actual wording of the campaign, that’s another issue, and while I am ok with it, I see where it could be off-putting.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    Hemant, my friend, you are demonstrating everything that is wrong with the left’s defense of a woman’s right to reproductive freedom.

    abortion isn’t “icky.” if a woman chooses to have one, for whatever reason, that’s totally OK. abortion isn’t “fun,” but it’s also no less fun than a prostate exam. people have them both, because, they can and should. it’s long past time for defenders of a woman’s right to reproductive freedom to stop treating abortion as a ‘difficult choice that should be rarely made.’ you want to blow your nose, you grab a hanky and do so. i want to clean out my uterus, i have an abortion. not a big difference.

    all rational, science based people agree: a cluster of cells =/= a whole person. all critical, history based people agree: the reason some oppose a woman’s right to reproductive freedom is because of sexism, and the desire to control women and punish them for sexual activity. it’s also a double standard; there are no campaigns by any group to limit a man’s right to use a condom. some people don’t want women to have sex, some people don’t want (white) women to be free to choose not to reproduce. most of these people are men.

    words like “abort” and “terminate” are powerful, and they should be. it’s time to reclaim them, as this campaign is doing. instead of saying “oooh” and “um” you should be applauding the bravery and forward thinking ways of these women/people. stop pussyfooting around, be loud in your support of a woman’s right to reproductive freedom! after all, it’s not like this is anything YOU have to worry about, right?

    • The Janitor

      You said: “all rational, science based people agree: a cluster of cells =/= a whole person.”

      “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed” – Human Embryology & Teratology. 2nd edition.

      Guess not all rational science based people do agree. But then what do you mean by “whole” person? I guess you could correctly argue that a *fully developed* human being doesn’t come into existence at conception… but that’s hardly significant or if you think it is significant then it’s pretty scary.

      This has nothing to do with sexism or religion. People only tell themselves that because they can’t deal with the real arguments.

      • GCT

        Guess not all rational science based people do agree.

        Actually, in order to be considered part of the group of rational, science based, you have to have some basic literacy skills and/or basic intellectual honesty. You’ve shown a dearth of both of those in this thread.

        This has nothing to do with sexism or religion.

        Bullshit. Your motivation to lie about the science and insert your own religious ideas is not based on religion and a desire to control women? Oh please. I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night.

        • The Janitor

          I quoted a science textbook. So are you saying that I misread what the textbook is saying? Below I quoted another one. I could add a lot more.

          Can you demonstrate that I misread the science textbook or are you just bluffing hoping other new atheist readers of this forum are so fundy that they’ll believe you just because you asserted it?

          • GCT

            You quoted a text book, but you clearly didn’t understand the contents of the book. You’ve taken a scientific description of the development of human life and grafted on your religious ideas to claim that it says something it doesn’t.

          • Jesusdoppelganger

            Quote from embryology textbook != truth. Since when do textbooks represent an unassailable fountain of universal truth and wisdom?

            Even my son’s high school physics textbook has a page of gobbledygook about why physics and God-stuff are Gouldian non-overlapping magisteria. It’s written by a Ph.D. level professor of physics somewhere. Since it’s in a textbook, must we assume its veracity? It takes no large mind to find the weakness in this reasoning because an existence claim is a physical claim as is a claim that there are forces that can arbitrarily shape known measurable physical forces and matter. No, textbooks are fallible.

            • r.holmgren

              “when do textbooks represent an unassailable fountain of universal truth and wisdom?”

              When they agree with what you want to believe.

          • The Captain

            “I quoted a science textbook.” Ha,hahahahaha! haaaaaaahaaha.

            Everyone look! He quoted a “science textbook”! He has to be right about what he says now! he used words form a science textbook, you can’t beat that, checkmate!

          • JRB

            The Janitor:
            Here’s a Protip: cherry picking a single sentence from an easily available resource that goes on to say a bunch of stuff that disagrees with the point you’re making is a terrible way to make a point.

            The paragraph after the one you quote continues: “Debate has occurred over the philosophical conclusion whether the human organism is (1) ab initio i.e. from fertilization, an actual human person in a philosophical sense, or (2) a potential person becoming actual at a later time.” Followed by a bunch of more words that don’t answer the question and a recommendation that the reader look up another book for a more detailed discussion.

            So to summarize, while the book you are quoting says that fertilization creates a new “human organism”, it also says that a “human organism” does not necessarily equal a “human person” and then directs the reader elsewhere for answers to the question.

          • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

            Just because something is in a science text book does not mean:

            1) it is scientifically accurate, or
            2) it is accepted theory.

            http://www.textbookleague.org/ttlindex.htm

      • RobMcCune

        Does the text book you quoted oppose abortion?

      • ologies

        “You are full of shit.”
        - Abraham Lincoln, The Emancipation Proclamation, 3rd ed.

    • lasthop

      I agree that many people oppose reproductive freedom because of a sexist ideology, and that they employ double standards.

      I disagree with the implication that Hemant calls abortion “icky”, or in any way implies that it’s not OK to have one. He does present abortion as an unfortunate event – but I think there’s plenty of evidence that abortion is an emotionally and physically trying thing for most women, regardless of the circumstances. The suggestion that it’s as simple as blowing your nose seems patently absurd.

      Also, I don’t think that Hemant says that anyone should pussyfoot around, or is in any way opposed to provocative or aggressive messaging – his criticism is that this particular message falls flat and may just be counterproductive.

      “it’s not like this is anything YOU have to worry about, right?”

      You’re going to pull that bullshit with someone who is clearly a Feminist? If you consider yourself a Feminist, then you should believe that Hemant DOES worry about women’s reproductive freedom.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

        i knew someone would fail to get that joke. i was being sarcastic. it’s hard to tell on the interwebs, i know.

      • Ibis3

        He does present abortion as an unfortunate event – but I think there’s
        plenty of evidence that abortion is an emotionally and physically trying
        thing for most women, regardless of the circumstances.

        I think much of the angst is *because* of the stigma. It’s a little like the fact that homosexual people have higher depression and rates of suicide, so the homophobes say we should discourage “the gay lifestyle” and coming out–it’s so dangerous after all. But what makes it difficult to come out, what causes most of the depression is society’s problem with people being gay. The way to diminish the bad outcomes is to diminish the stigma, not to encourage it. Abortion *ought* to be no more of a problem than blowing one’s nose or getting a haircut. It should have the same moral value as deciding to wear a condom before having sex (i.e. neutral to beneficial).

        • Anonymous Atheist

          For that matter, I think some bad haircuts cause more angst than an abortion. ;-)

        • lasthop

          I think much of the angst is *because* of the stigma

          I agree – just knowing that a large portion of the population so irrationally condemns abortions and those who have them adds excessive and unnecessary angst. Diminishing that stigma is something everyone should work toward.

          That said, if a woman is pregnant, there’s a lot more going on than when she has a stuffy nose. For one thing, her body is undergoing pretty dramatic physiological changes. For another, it brings into bright relief, however briefly, the prospect of parenthood.

          Practically speaking, I don’t expect that either of those attendant effects are negligible for most people, and I think that casting pregnancy as ‘equivalent to a haircut’ is the kind of false analogy that will get pro-choice advocates justifiably criticized.

          • Ibis3

            I didn’t say pregnancy was equivalent to a haircut. It’s a life-threatening medical condition which should only be undergone with the full and informed consent of the person involved. What I said was having an abortion shouldn’t be any more problem–in terms of stigma–than having a haircut.

            Even taking the comparison at face value as you did, I still wouldn’t say it’s a false analogy. For some people, getting their hair cut is emotional, for others it isn’t. Some people might be okay having a trim, but be devastated at having their hair shaved (just as some women might feel that an early abortion is a pretty negligible decision and procedure but would be more upset about an abortion later in the pregnancy). For most women, the emotion they report feeling at having had an abortion is relief. That says to me that if we were conditioned as a society to treat abortion like any other private medical procedure, it really wouldn’t be a big deal for most women (i.e. it would be approached emotionally just as we approach contraception), except in cases of a termination of a wanted pregnancy gone wrong.

          • http://www.tulgeywooddesigns.com Amphigorey

            Abortion is more like getting a filling or maybe a root canal. You don’t want to have to do it, but you’ll be relieved when it’s done. Nobody really likes going to the dentist, but nobody wrings their hands about the emotional trauma, either.

            It should be the same with abortion. Abortion = root canal. Not something you’d pick to spend your day doing, but not something to agonize over, either.

        • http://westcoastatheist.wordpress.com/ Katie Graham

          I’m more offended by it because it’s a medical procedure, not because of the implications of the stigma of having it. I would be just as upset over a “mastectomize religion” or “hysterectomize theocracy” campaign. It’s tactless.

    • http://westcoastatheist.wordpress.com/ Katie Graham

      It’s still a tough and painful medical procedure, not as simple as blowing your nose.

  • http://twitter.com/DanAllosso Dan Allosso

    I’m hoping for a bumper sticker.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elsa.l.roberts Elsa Roberts

    I hear your concerns, but, as you might guess, as VP of Secular Woman, see it a little differently. This campaign isn’t designed to appeal to people who are already anti-choice or moderate or on the fence, it is designed to unite and appeal to women (and men) who find in your face and unapologetic support for abortion and women’s bodily autonomy appealing. We will have other campaigns that are designed to appeal to moderate audiences, this just isn’t the one.

    Also, I think you overestimate the value conservative politicians place on the rights of others. There are definitely Representatives and Senators who believe in creating or at least attuning the US toward theocracy. They may not be the majority, but they are out there.

    • Ibis3

      Thanks, Elsa. For what it’s worth, I like it.

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

      I find myself on the fence about whether I like it or not. I love the artwork, though!

  • schnauzermommy

    Seriously, you can’t figure that out yourself? Try christianity state religion america for starters.

    • The Janitor

      Thanks for giving some key words for me to Google. I think I found the poll you’re referring to. The poll says the majority oppose having a state religion, but 34% support having a state religion.

      As I suspected, that does nothing to support your claim that 99% want a theocracy.

      • GCT

        You have serious issues with reading comprehension.

  • baal

    I visited their website. It’s awful. It’s stance on advocacy has overridden most other considerations that I can think of. For example, the http://secularwomen.org/Open_Letter_Poll has a sample size of 170 respondents for a survey and while they correctly state you can’t draw any conclusions from it, they go ahead and do so anyway. There are similar issues with the six items I looked at. While that’s not a review of the entire site or an over time examination, by their standards, it’s enough to dismiss them entirely as I’ve now done.

  • The Captain

    It amazes me as an abortion supporter how I’ve watched my entire life as the pro-choice movement has consistently used bad messaging, poor argument construction, bad debating tactics, and generally falls flat on it’s face every time they try to defend themselves in any way.

    The only billboard they need is one that says “a clump of cells is not a human and you have no right to force that ridiculous belief on anyone else!”

    • MichaelD

      Umm… obviously they need more then that. I think every pro-life person who’s tried to change anyone’s mind has heard “a clump of cells is not a human and you have no right to force that ridiculous belief on anyone else!”. So obviously you need to go farther or you’re saying prolife people have never heard this argument.

      That’s like saying the only billboard atheists need is one saying “religion is made by people not gods” and then calling it a day safe in the knowledge that we changed everyone’s minds with our one argument.

      • The Captain

        The problem is i’ve seen several cases in the last few years of girls who where not religious, had no religious reasons, throw condemn themselves to poverty because they just thought it was a “baby”. Now grated, these where not deep thinkers, but I really believe that decades of anti-abortion propaganda has convinced many people (and people for whom and abortion would help greatly) that it’s a “baby”. I mean for their whole having “baby”, “baby”,”baby” shouted at them, and yea, for some it starts to become a meme they just take for grated as real.

        • MichaelD

          And I don’t see how that makes your billboard slogan any more accurate or effective as a messaging tactic. They know its cells they still want to carry it to term for their own reasons.

    • SJH

      I’m sorry, but I think your tactic would fall flat on its face as well. Consider those women who have given birth. Convince your average mother that the child they gave birth to was at some point just “a clump of cells”. I guarantee that a huge number of women would feel insulted that you would call their children that.
      Although it is a scientific question, the fact is, you are dealing with people, including men and women, who have deep emotions. If you want to make an argument you have to tailor it as such.

      Not to mention that your statement is a false one. It may be a clump of cells but the fact is that it is a clump of human cells that make up a unique individual living creature that is among the human species and therefor human. There is no avoiding that. You can choose to redefine humanity (personhood if you wish) to exclude a group of the human species but it is arbitrary to do so. Southerners tried to do it with African Americans, Nazis did it with Jews, other civilizations have done it to women. Now you want to do it with an unborn human.

      Your argument is also flawed because everyone knows that we are not just talking about abortions when the human is a “clump of cells”. Women can have abortions in the second and even third trimester in many cases. Are you going to argue that a human creature that has a brain, beating heart and the ability to grasp their hand is a “clump of cells”? Good luck with that argument.

      Another flaw in your argument; we are all just clumps of cells. Adult humans are just more complex clumps. At what point does a “clump of cells” become sufficiently complex that it is no longer a “clump”. Is it after ten cells are formed? Or perhaps after 1 million are formed? Should we use the number of cells as our measure? Or maybe the health of the cells? Maybe the color of the skin cells? What should be the measure? Pick one, they are all arbitrary and scientifically unfounded. All methods of measuring are simply man-made tools to suite our convenience. Giving a woman the right to kill the unborn human within her is equivalent to saying that a mother’s right to choose to have a baby trumps her baby’s right to live. It is that simple.

      • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

        Sometimes an egg is fertilized by two sperm instead of one, and sometimes an egg devoid of genetic information will be fertilized by a single sperm. In either case, the resulting clump of cells has human DNA that is distinct from either parent, but it will develop into a tumor instead of an embryo. Is it murder to terminate a molar pregnancy? Remember, the tissue being removed is genetically distinct from either parent, and it is indisputably human.

        Once an egg is fertilized, can you guarantee the number of resultant humans?

        Are Abigail and Brittany Hensel (dicephalic conjoined twins) one person or two people? If they are two people, why is that?

        Is Lydia Fairchild (a chimera or person with two distinct sets of DNA) two people or one person. If she is one person, why is that?

        • SJH

          If the resulting clump of cells results in a tumor then at the point it is determined to be a tumor then it is no longer defined as a person. Am I missing something? I’m sure this is more complicated than that. please clarify.

          What does guaranteeing the number of resultant humans have to do with it?

          Regarding the Hensel sisters, I would guess they are two individuals but I am not a bioethicist. But they still don’t deserve to die. What is the point you are trying to make?

          Regarding Fairchild, I don’t get your point either. They are all human persons that deserve to live.

          Again, please clarify.

          • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

            You claimed that, “[...]the fact is that it is a clump of human
            cells that make up a unique individual living creature that is among the
            human species and therefor human.”

            But if I use this criteria for defining a human person, then molar pregnancy tumors are people, Abby and Brittany are a single person, and Lydia Fairchild is either two people or she’s guilty of manslaughter.

            My point is that you ultimately don’t believe your own definition of a human. Why should anyone else accept it?

      • The Captain

        “It may be a clump of cells but the fact is that it is a clump of human cells that make up a unique individual living creature that is among the human species and therefor human”. Congratulations, that’s the stupidest sentence I’ve read all week and I read Reddit. Let’s play a game, here’s why that argument is bullshit and one that you don’t even buy. Try this, It may be a clump of cells but the fact is that it is a clump of oak cells that make up a unique individual living creature that is among the oak species and therefor oak. Now then does that mean you would support your local home owners association to fine you for the cutting down of a tree every time you ran over an acorn with your lawn mower? Somehow I don’t think so.

      • GCT

        Godwin. You can go away now bigot.

    • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

      It doesn’t matter if the clump of cells is a person with full rights. The right to life is not the right to use another person’s organs to survive. Abortion should be legal for the same reason forced organ donations are illegal.

      • FelyxLeiter

        Bingo.

  • SJH

    I agree. If a person sees abortion as a violent, undesirable act (even if they think a woman has a right to perform it) then this will push them away rather than attract them. The point of this seems more like it is meant to rally the base rather than change minds.

    Also, I think the vast majority of people know that no one wants a theocracy. Because everyone knows this, this is more like propaganda. They are embellishing, using extreme language for something that they see as the truth in order to sway public opinion.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    Fuck yeah! Let’s scrape out religion-based legislation with a metal coat hanger! On second thought, they might prefer to use a plus sign.

  • rgcustomer

    “we don’t celebrate abortions”

    Have you had one? Me neither.

  • vexorian

    I’d say, I celebrate leg surgery, because it can allow plenty of people to walk even after they have an accident. This does not mean I celebrate accidents.

    I celebrate successful abortion. It doesn’t mean I celebrate unwanted pregnancies. But it is good when people are given freedom and it is great when they use it.

  • Mairianna

    May I point out that the word “abort” does not only have one meaning “to end a pregnancy”? Per Merriam-Webster:
    a’ bort: intransitive verb
    1: to bring forth stillborn, nonviable, or premature offspring
    2: to become checked in development so as to degenerate or remain rudimentary
    3: to terminate a procedure prematurely: “the pilot decided to abort due to mechanical difficulties.”

    I like the ad because it requires an intelligent sense of humor to understand the nuance of the word. I can easily see that the campaign is not being done to “attract” the religious.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1552682209 Mary Ellen Sikes

    But I do celebrate abortion. An abortion saved my daughter’s life and made her daughter’s life possible – a child who is now a beautiful, lively, intelligent, imaginative five-year-old whom I cherish, and who is privileged to have my loving, resourceful daughter as her mommy. I never lose sight of the fact that in a state where abortion is vilified and severely restricted, my daughter would have died while doctors discussed what they were allowed to do — exactly what happened to Savita Halappanavar in Ireland. Shying away from the word “abortion” for PR reasons … soft-pedaling “theocracy” because the word might offend some Christians … what is really important here? Semantics, or saving lives? These words accurately describe the issues being addressed by Secular Woman, and they will resonate with people whose well-being these draconian laws are willing to sacrifice.

  • smrnda

    I think you’re wrong on how many want to impose theocracy. Plenty of people seem willing to do so, with calls for Christian prayers in schools and government meetings being things you post enough about on this blog. Lots of elected officials clearly want to make this an Officially Christian Nation.

  • DealWithItBrah

    Women generally don’t aspire to have pap smears either, but we get them for our heath and no one really sheds any tears over it. They’re more of an annoyance than anything.

    Abortion isn’t wrong, nor does it have to be framed as some sort of necessary evil or traumatic life experience. It’s really not much different than a pap smear. The only reason we feel anything different about it is because everyone else tells us we should. Women are more important than fetuses and I don’t see any reason to feel guilt or shame about that. To me, abortion isn’t much different from picking a scab or clipping your nails.

    I don’t see intent of individuals as being relevant in terms of theocracy and its use here. Individual Christians aren’t necessarily responsible for the theocratic direction in which our government is heading anymore than individual males are responsible for patriarchal culture. It’s the denial or inability to see that theocracy is a real problem that I think makes the term acceptable to use.

    • Rwlawoffice

      Wow, engaging in a procedure that stops a beating heart and kills a developing human life and you call it the same as picking a scab. Tragic

      • DealWithItBrah

        It’s unfortunate for you that you feel that way. Doesn’t bother me at all.

  • http://liberaloutlook.wordpress.com/ Arpit Chauhan

    There is a problem in which people become too entrenched in their ideologies and thus (deliberately or indeliberately) frame issues in a manner that does not do justice to them. e.g. on abortion, the people on the (extreme) right are just concerned about the “human being” or “soul” they think the fetus is from the moment of its conception. And, thus would not agree to even an abortion in the first week of pregnancy.

    And, then there are those on the left, who would NOT even acknowledge that the pain a fetus feels is relevant to the issue. The only thing they can see is a woman’s right to privacy and control of her own body. Fetus’ pain has no moral relevance to them. [Just like animals' pain is of no concern when people are asked about meat-eating. And like blacks' pain was of no concern to master of slaves. Of course I'm not saying that fetus is as conscious as a being, but the leftists don't even allow one to think of this. It's about woman's rights. Period.]

    Guess what, in such instances people like Dawkins (or Harris in other matters e.g. Islam) make sense and consider all the issues. He tweeted:

    “Unlike many pro-choice friends, I think fetal pain could outweigh woman’s right to control her own body. But pig pain matters too.” [ http://bit.ly/11GvGOK ]

    [Of course, the indignant leftists like @MiraBarHillel would not concede that fetus' pain should be considered. Consider this tweet by her:

    "I take exception to men presuming to take over women's control over their own bodies." [ http://bit.ly/11GvTBC ] ]

    My general observation is that leftists are just as despicable as those on the right, when the matter at hand does not fit their ideology. Consider progressive GMO truthers, Affirmative Action supporters etc.


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