Does It Make Sense to Be a Pro-Life Atheist?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, answers the question: Does it make sense to be a pro-life atheist?:

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • purr

    confused kitty is a good one

  • $7977616

    Look lady (you sound old the way you try to talk down to me). I’m not taking you seriously because it’s obvious you can’t see how close this regime is to Hitler. Youve made yourself blind to the truth. We are losing choice and liberty every day because of the hard-core agenda of the extremist leftist cadre who’ve seized control of at least one and half branches of our government. You don’t take my (our) moral objections to killing unborn life seriously. I can’t take you seriously. You diminish the significance of my concern, how do you expect me to listen and gravely consider the merits of your fake arguments and hokey hypotheticals.

  • purr

    Oh, you went there.

    Obama = Hitler

    fer realz?

    http://abillionlaughs.com/pics/7/Grumpy-Cat-And-Obama.jpg

  • $7977616

    The historical correlations are there. (History. it’s stuff that happened before 2008. Google it.) Ohbummer’s no different in that way than every other proponent of arbitrary pragmatic centralizing government that represses individual liberties and religious freedom and consolidates power in the hands of the corrupt few. Deal with it. But I wouldn’t go where you lied and said I did. I wouldn’t actually say that Obama = Hitler. (Hitler was not an incompetent fool and an empty suit for one thing, more’s the pity.) I would say that Obama = Marion Barry or that Obama = Jesse Jackson.

    I bet you threw in the “fer realz” to prove you’re not just an old white crone. (smirk)

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

    Okay, now I know I don’t have to take you seriously. I’m an actual leftist (center-left on the global scale) who has been immensely disappointed with the Democratic Party’s turn to the right. The US has no strong leftist parties- it has a center-right party (the Dems) and an extreme-right party (the Repubs).

    You know what an actual, full-on Social Democrat’s policy agenda would look like? Tax rates up to 75% on the wealthiest. Minimum wage of $15, indexed to inflation. Single-payer health care. Publicly provided daycare for all children starting at age 3 (not mandatory, of course, just available). A ban on vouchers. A massive infusion of cash into public schools, including paying teachers like the professionals they are. A return of Glass-Steagal. Cutting military spending by at least 10%, maybe more. A guaranteed minimum income wouldn’t go amiss.

    Obama has been a vast disappointment to the Left.

  • $7977616

    Wow. I knew there were still a few of you out there. Is it a huge embarrassment to admit this in public after last century? You know there’s something I’ve always wondered. Is blindness to history something you’re born with if you want to be a good leftist, or is it something you learn? How did you develop your own intellectual cataracts? How does it feel to espouse the bloodiest and most repressive political ideology mankind’s ever come up with?

  • purr

    Yeah honey, here’s a note: her ‘socialism’ is actually to the right of Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower.

    During Eisenhower’s time the tax rate on corporations was 50% 😛

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    Don’t tell ’em that Adam Smith supported a graduated income tax, or that Hayek supported a social safety net. Or who created the National Park System, or what president signed OHSA and the Clean Air Act. Or which made that commie Interstate Highway System. Or what Barry Goldwater thought of abortion. Or Reagan, before he ran for president. Or how many times Reagan raised taxes.

    They’ll be bits of head-asplode shrapnel everywhere, and I’m not cleaning it up.

    Leftists. ROFL!

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    Er, I’m pretty sure 90% was the top marginal rate for individuals. Top corporate rate was 52% (PDF warning).

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

    Because the Scandinavian countries, who do what I advocate and more, are doing so very poorly. Clearly, I have completely ignored history and current policy practice to kowtow merely to ideology.

  • $7977616

    Clearly you know very little about said Scandinavian countries.

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

    Right. Because I have clearly not researched them in order to try to move there, nor have I made moves in that general direction only to be stymied by their fairly strict visa policies and really very difficult languages to learn.

    Your unsupported assertion has shown me to be completely ignorant of which I speak.

    /snark

  • $7977616

    My “unsupported assertion” (i.e. wild-ass guess) seems fairly well on target. You don’t even speak a Scandinavian language and you’ve never actually lived and worked there. You’ve “researched” it? Oooooo. You’re *such* an expert. /sarc

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    Is blindness to history something you’re born with if you want to be a good leftist, or is it something you learn?

    I know, right?

    After the Deluge, who could trust those sneaky Scandinavians ever again?

    Remember Warsaw!

  • $7977616

    So is this you making light of the hundreds of millions of victims of 20th century socialism?

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    Clearly not. It is me making fun of you consistently not understanding even the simplest illustrations of difference between correlation and causation. Hitler ate sugar; are the victims of the Shoah victims of sugar-eating? Socialism can work just as easily alongside tyrants as democratic republics (USSR or modern Sweden, for just one contrast) just as capitalism easily can support either. One of the pleasant Cold War-era political shibboleths conclusively obliterated by the facts-on-the-ground over the last thirty years or so was the naive notion that market liberalization necessarily leads to political freedom; China has almost effortlessly demonstrated that a transition to market capitalism need not be accompanied by freedom and justice and all that other good stuff. Russia, post-USSR, is teaching a much similar lesson. Reality is inconvenient to cherished ideology.

    The thing of it is, Feminerd and I for sure and probably a few others you’ve talked at to have studied this stuff, for serious, from actual experts, and can claim a decent degree of expertise as a consequence ourselves. Now, you can reveal yourself as a real idiot by discounting the weight of expertise in favor of how you prefer against evidence to believe the world works, in which case Feminerd was right and there is no need to ever take you seriously, or you might learn something. This isn’t a left/right liberal/conservative collectivist/libertarian sort of deal; this is you just being an uninformed ideologue who only ever reaches for the surface feel-it-in-your-gut (or heard it once and it sounded good) so-it must-be-true explanation. I’m on the Right and think so, Feminerd on the Left, ditto. Flush your headgear or stop wasting our time.

  • $7977616

    Wow. I had to laugh a long time after I read that you and Fermi have “studied this stuff, for serious from actual experts”. Oh man, that’s priceless; it still makes it hard to type. I just can’t stop laughing. You are beautiful in your imbecility. Look, ‘nope. Think what you want, the truth is that you are a half-assed student while I am an expert with real experience. I’ve actually been to those countries you mention for the purpose of studying and engaging in these very issues. Moreover I’m fluent in four languages and conversational in half a dozen more. Boze, Vy ste ale somari.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    You hide it really well.

    Did you invent Capitalism, too?

  • $7977616

    Mockery. A sure sign you feel stupid and need something to help you save face.

  • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

    Or, perhaps due to encountering someone or something ripe for mockery.

    Nah, that’s impossible, right?

    The last word is yours.

  • purr

    He is going to walk away thinking he won, which makes it even more amusing.

    The best part: He has been to those countries and speaks 4 languages!!!

  • ansuz

    Also, wth. America’s left is so far to the right, it’s absurd. Other countries think your government is ridiculous. If you didn’t have your argumentum ad baculum military budget, it would be hilarious (except for the reasonable people living there). As it is, it’s terrifying.

    EDIT: Okay, bit of an exaggeration there. Mostly not, though.

  • $7977616

    Most real Americans I know think that most other countries are ridiculous so we’re even there.

  • $7977616

    You must be Canadian from Quebec or Ontario.

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

    Please to point out any superstition, misinformation, or malevolence in my post, thank you. Assertion of claim requires evidence of claim.

  • $7977616

    Superstition – 1. An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome.

    “Fetuses aren’t people until, maybe, 28 weeks (probably not until birth, though, given the hypoxic state of the fetus). Abortions don’t happen that late except in dire emergencies.”

    I rest.

  • purr

    You haven’t shut the fuck up yet?

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

    You just claimed medical FACT is “superstition”.

  • purr

    Yeah, and he also claimed that rape/slave victims who abort are depraved individuals.

    http://asset-f.soup.io/asset/2699/5252_f7ff_500.jpeg

  • $7977616

    No. (Don’t get discouraged though. Keep working on all those bald-ass guesses. You’re probably an intuitive person and all you need is practice.) What I claimed was that none of that “FACT” [sic] is a reasonable basis for a social policy of terminating pre-born human life at whim.

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

    You do realize that those are completely factual statements, right? The brain waves of a fetus don’t even begin to achieve the coherence we associate with sentience until 28 weeks. Fetuses are also known to be hypoxic, that is, oxygen-deprived. We know our brains don’t really work in hypoxic states, and so arguing that personhood arrogates to a fetus only once born and breathing (that is, when its oxygen levels rise to a high enough level for its brain to work) is a valid argument to make.

    Furthermore, only 1.5% of abortions take place after 20 weeks gestation. The vast majority of those take place before 24 weeks. Abortions at 28 weeks are extremely rare and only occur when the life of the mother is at risk or the fetus has been diagnosed with fetal anomalies incompatible with life.

    So please tell me how any of this is an irrational belief, let alone one that isn’t logically related to a course of events. Facts and evidence are your friends. If an irrelevant dictionary definition is the only argument you can muster, as the statement “I rest” indicates, you have already lost.

  • $7977616

    None of your arguments address the issue of personhood. You seem to equate personhood with sentience. Does that mean that smarter people have more value than dumber ones? What is irrational in your system of thought is the idea that any of these arbitrary developmental benchmarks give you the right to terminate human life at whim.

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

    General capacity for sentience is one of the markers of personhood to me. Existence independent of another person’s body is another. I do not consider a human being with anencephaly a person, nor a beating heart cadaver. No one considers beating heart cadavers people, by the way- we harvest organs from them while they’re still “alive” by your definition. Do you think this is murder? Or do you admit that capacity for sentience plays a big part in your idea of personhood?

    Besides, no person has the right to steal another person’s body or a piece of it for their own survival. The personhood argument is a red herring, but still worth pursuing to bring home the point that an embryo or fetus isn’t of the same moral weight as the woman it’s trying to suck dry. However, in the end, the reason abortion is moral is the same reason not donating a liver lobe is moral- it’s your body, and your bodily autonomy is strictly more important than another person’s life. The implications of arguing otherwise are horrific.

    Also note that assertions require evidence to back them up. You argue that sentience isn’t a marker of personhood, but why not? And what is your alternate definition? We already know DNA is just not going to cut it, so what do you suggest instead? You argue that sentience is also an irrational marker of personhood- why?

  • $7977616

    Well at least you’re willing to admit that your support for systematic killing of unborn human life is entirely based on your subjective personal conclusion (based on superstition) that according personhood to individual unborn humans depends on arbitrary developmental markers. Of course to me that makes you the moral equivalent of Saddam Hussein or Kim Jong Un or Idi Amin, or Stalin or Hitler. You have delusions of Godhood.

  • Fred

    It must be opposite day on your planet.
    Still waiting on your definition of personhood.

  • purr

    You are the one who is superstitious – pretending that an insensate clump of undifferentiated tissue is a *person* deserving of more rights than the woman in which it resides.

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

    Oooh, fun word salad full of pure ad hominems and no actual argumentation. My favorite!

  • purr

    ‘word salad’ does describe his writing style, doesn’t it?

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

    It really does. He’s just spluttering incoherently now and not answering anyone’s arguments.

  • ansuz
  • purr

    hahahahhaha brilliant

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

    So awesome! The glare over the glasses is perfect.

  • ansuz
  • purr

    good one!

    do you think stories like this are faked:

    http://clinicquotes.com/testimony-of-a-medical-student/

    Every few months there is some depressing ‘testimony’ from some poor soul who saw an abortion and became pro-life…

  • ansuz

    That one? Probably yes. If I’m reading it correctly, the writer contradicts hirself regarding whether the fetus stayed intact or not, and covers the emotional things while fudging the technical things.

    How easily the person dismisses their pro-choice arguments in the face of a little gore when they would have probably already seen videos or pictures and when they already should have known exactly what was going to be happening? Also sits a bit wrong. I’m not exactly typical, but I don’t understand seeing something upsetting and then completely throwing out the old views because of a single emotional reaction. Taking that as a reason to reexamine views? Yes. Toss them? No, especially as people tend to be pretty emotionally attached to their views.

    Generally? I’d guess that more than half of them would be made up, but I’m pulling that out of nowhere.

  • purr

    It sounds like a typical conversion story.

    I didn’t believe in God, but then I crashed my car, and I saw Jesus, so now I am no longer a God-hating atheist, but a follower of Jesus, praaaise the Laawwwwd!!!

    http://www.gamerdna.com/public/images/user_image/set69/image/69083/JesusCat.jpg?1225157443

  • ansuz

    D’aw, Jeezuscat.
    But yeah, pretty much.

    Anyway, I distracted myself long enough to eat something. I should probably get back to studying (or possibly go to sleep) now.
    Goodnight!

  • purr

    I just realised the other day that I have spent the last few months spelling ‘hydatidiform’ as ‘hydratiform’

    I saw it spelled the wrong way just once, and ever since then my mind has simply ignored the proper spelling when I saw it and inserted the incorrect spelling. Every time.

    And nobody bothered to correct me!!!!

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

    That’s cuz no one knows how to spell it lol. It took me awhile to be like, okay, hy-da-ti-di-form, because that t sound then d sound isn’t common in English.

  • purr

    hi dat

    idi

    form

    yeah, that’s how I will remember it for now on

    that is one unintuitive word all right

  • $7977616

    No. I despise the agenda of the NEA and the teachers’ unions and the mess they’ve made of public education.

  • $7977616

    yes, money for poor foreign students. Obama benefited a lot from that sort of generosity.

  • ansuz

    No, dude. My parents are in the 1%, and they (and I) were born in the same country as (and in my case and my dad’s case, within two hours’ drive of) the school in question. It was a purely merit-based scholarship — decided based on reading comprehension and mathematics test scores. Nice try with the classism and racism, though.

    EDITed for a typo.

    http://www.sabinabecker.com/media/shakespeare-cat.jpg

  • $7977616

    Well that explains your elitism and insensitivity. (Also your incapacity for understanding the plight of the vast majority of girls who seek abortions.) I was making a facetious point. Sorry if the sarcasm didn’t translate well.

  • ansuz

    Elitism and insensitivity? Where? What is your understanding of the plight of the vast majority of girls who seek abortions, and how am I not understanding?

    *so confused* (about what your facetious point was, and in general)
    http://mealtimehostage.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/confused-cat.jpg

  • purr

    Such pretty blue eyes.

  • $7977616

    meh.

  • $7977616

    No. I just like picking on bullies.

  • Red-Star

    Ah I see you proved yourself as either a really good troll or a full on teabagger. Yes their are places that aren’t majority religious that are OMG! peaceful and even prosperous. Crazy to comprehend I know!

    This guy has nothing to debate guys. Stop doing it. He thinks Obama is a Stalinist or whatever paranoid fantasy he has in his little head. Clearly he has no history knowledge outside of “America is great except when them Liberals are in charge”

  • purr

    Apparently he was born in Canada, but escaped to the USA, hates Candians, British, and people from NE USA, and is living as a pilgrim on a farm in wyoming or some shit.

  • $7977616

    You’re a flat out moron. Sorry. Tried to think of something less blunt but it didn’t work.

    I’ve lived and worked in countries on four different continents including several post-communist/post-socialist countries. I’m intimately familiar with the fall-out of your ideology, unlike you I’m afraid.

  • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

    What’s with the whole ‘right to life’ argument anyway? What exactly does that even mean? ‘I’ve totally got the right to live so screw you cancer!’. And cancer totally is going to tuck it’s tail between it’s legs and slink off to find somebody who doesn’t know their rights? ‘No, Mr Blue Ringed Octopus, you can’t sting me, I know my rights and that would totally violate my right to life!’ And don’t even get me started on the weather. ‘Fuck you, hurricane, you can’t go blowing in here, I’ve got a right to life!’

    And oh, wait…. sorry, little fertilized ova that just naturally miscarried like 90% of them do, totally sorry your right to life got violated, let me get you signed onto the class action lawsuit and we’ll get your settlement to you in 4-6 weeks, don’t spend it all in one place.

  • purr

    Yes, and if they start with that premise how can they ever lose? (according to them)

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

    He… might want a shovel, there, if he’s gonna keep digging.

  • purr

    I have never used a facepalm emote/kitty pic.

    Until tonight.

    With yippee.

    He is a special individual.

    Actually, if I was going to create the most idiotic pro-life troll, I would have created him.

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

    I’m not sure if he’s a troll, or just. that. much. of a douchenozzle.

  • purr

    I’d go with douchenozzle. Troll is giving too much credit.

  • $7977616

    not a bad closer. have to admit. raw. but honest. I can deal with that.

  • purr
  • $7977616

    Of course they’re not Nazis literally (hello? historical disconnect? anyone?). They’re obviously not even “Nazis” in the banale 20th century leftist quasi-intellectual ala Bill Maher sense of the word. What a silly suggestion. But what they are is adrift in a sea of human depravity. I’d like to hear the stories of the courageous women who didn’t abort their babies… since you so stridently insist on abusing the stories of those who after being raped and impregnated then murdered the poor unborn innocent conceived as a result of the rape for your modern day political agenda. Maybe poll the descendants of those rape survivors and see if they’d all rather have not existed.

  • purr

    Ok, rape victims who abort their pregnancies are depraved individuals.

    Slaves who are raped and impregnated from the age of 12 up until they die are even *more* depraved if they try to end a pregnancy.

    You, sir,have some fucked up ideas. Then again, I wouldn’t expect someone like you to have any empathy whatsoever for a rape victim, let alone a woman who is born into slavery and beaten, abused, raped, and treated like actual livestock for her entire life.

  • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

    http://www.imnotsorry.net

    Hey, and while we are at it, let’s poll the descendents of all the people whose fathers didn’t get blowjobs and see if they’d all rather have not existed!

    Down with the oral sex! Donja know it kills babies!

  • purr
  • $7977616

    Is that a roundabout way of saying that if you’re pro-life but you don’t support federally-mandated abortion funding you’re not really pro-life? Are you arguing that unless you love you some federal government you’re not even alive? That’s so absurd.

  • Sayak Banerjee

    I would urge Marshmellow and Jennifer to maintain civility and not to jump to conclusions about my point of view. Now some clarifications.

    Even today medical practitioners routinely make calls in case of complications whether to counsel for abortions to mothers who may not want it. Since Marshmellow was talking about harm caused by pregnancy and arguing for abortion that way, i merely pointed to the fact that this decision should be done by the medical community. If one is putting a medical argument, why such outrage when I say doctors get to decide if the argument of medical danger works or not? To some extent Marshmellow was putting up an odd argument, very few mothers who have normal pregnancy go for abortion because of the relatively modest physical inconveniences caused by the presence of the fetus. (If there are surveys that show this not to be the case, i will retract this assertion.) The causes are primarily sociological and psychological and economic. They are potentially very reasonable causes, but they were not the ones you were talking about.

    Rapist Question:- In the extreme off-chance the victim has a perfectly obvious way of incapacitating the rapist without killing him and she knows it at that time but still chooses a second deadlier alternative, then I am not sure. Never happens for a rape in general. But in a police-offender situation more common and the police person can be punished for using excessive deadly force when other means of incapacitating the offender were available. Secondly the the degree of harm done by a rapist is usually of a greater magnitude than a fetus. Bodily infringement is not some holy cow that justifies everything, If my dog jumps in your lap and you blast its brains off with a pistol because it was infringing ur space, i am going to sue even if you have some mild allergy to dog hair and put it as ur defense.

    Let’s take this self defense argument off the table shall we? Most mothers don’s suffer severe complications and if fetus’s right to life were to be recognized, all that would be needed to redeem “inconvenience caused” concerns is to mandate adequate compensation (generous disability benefits) to pregnant women! While that might be good idea in and of itself (i will vote for it), that is hardly sufficient to redress the kind of reasons that REALLY motivate a woman to choose abortion.

    Let me be clear, for many people are mistaking my stance. I am PRO-ABORTION, but (except for medical complications) I believe abortion to be analogous to Positive Discrimination being temporarily in place to balance out the effects of an existent social evil. This evil is the heavy burden of motherhood being laid upon women by society. This burden ranges from social taboos (single moms, teenage moms), economic burdens (loss of career, jobs, educational opportunities) and many others. But the point of a Positive Discrimination is to alleviate some of the consequences of a social evil while efforts are being made to cure the evil in the first place. There would be no need for positive discrimination when a women no longer has any concerns about raising a child regardless of her station in life and society, a point where one does not have to plan ahead for 10-15 years to feel comfortable about starting a family. I think what the bodily autonomy and self defense argument misses is that most women choose abortion because of deeply inlaid socio-economic and psychological duress in a society that either actively punishes or is indifferent to the hardships of child rearing responsibilities.

  • purr

    I would urge Marshmellow and Jennifer to maintain civility

    I am deeply sorry Mr. Banerjee. Allow me to apologize on behalf of Jennifer. She, and other persons with uterii, really need to learn some civility after being told (as you have so eloquently explained in your above post) that women are:

    1) too stupid and/or mentally incompetent to make their own medical/health decisions or decide who or what will use their bodies

    2) she and other persons with uterii should just accept that they are for making babies, and that with enough social/financial support they can fulfill their evolutionary/god-given role as baby factories

    Thank you so much for laying it all out so clearly. You have single-handedly solved the abortion debate.

    I don’t know where the women of the world would be without kind souls such as yourself to mansplain to them about what reproductive rights and choices a woman should be permitted to make.

    God Bless

  • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

    —-I would urge Marshmellow and Jennifer to maintain civility and not to
    jump to conclusions about my point of view. Now some clarifications.—

    Then I would urge to not to be a dumbass who supports slavery.

    Let’s say I am 12 weeks pregnant. I wish to have an abortion. How do you intend to stop me?

    —-very few mothers who have normal pregnancy go for abortion because of
    the relatively modest physical inconveniences caused by the presence of
    the fetus. (If there are surveys that show this not to be the case, i
    will retract this assertion.)—

    No, they have abortions because of a combination of the physical, mental, emotional, lifestyle, financial, etc… inconveniences.

  • http://www.NoTerminationWithoutRepresentation.org/ Acyutananda

    You haven’t said anything to shut off communication, so I’m replying.

    “What sacrifice could be greater. . . . What sacrifice would you consider equal to that?”

    Here you’re talking about the degree of the sacrifice, which I think is a very valid point to talk about. As I’ve explained to others on this page, I don’t think some issues that people raise (and that would include your earlier “control over your body” and so-called “enslavement”) are key issues IN THEMSELVES if the degree of the sacrifice doesn’t happen to be much. As I said, “You can always define a certain nature of sacrifice that group A might make that group B would be unable to make, and then say, ‘Since group B doesn’t make it, group A shouldn’t have to either.’ But the important consideration is the degree of the sacrifice.”

    You wrote: “Women go blind. They get osteoporosis. They get sick. Their veins and arteries break under the strain of high blood pressure. Their organs are damaged or destroyed by high blood sugar.”

    You’re right, these would be big sacrifices. What I had said was that pregnant women should sacrifice for helpless children who will die without them, and that men should sacrifice for helpless children who will die without them, and that unpregnant women should sacrifice for helpless children who will die without them. And I also said, “There is some [upper] limit to the degree of the sacrifice that society should expect.”

    But it seems to me there must be some lower limit also. Even Judith Jarvis Thomson, who made a famous analogy in which a violinist is plugged into a person’s kidneys, suggested that the person (meaning anyone) should be ready to tolerate the situation for an hour, if that would suffice to save the violinist’s life. Wouldn’t you feel that that hour should be an obligation? (This question is similar to the question I asked that started this whole discussion.)

    I had previously referred other commenters to an article in which I wrote:

    “A person who physically resides in a room within another person represents an extra degree of complication for the second person, opening up the possibility of exceptional measures by the second person under some circumstances. . . . In any society, the decision should be made (except in a medical emergency) by a judicious and sensitive panel. It would be desirable for all the panelists . . . to be women . . .”

    The complete article is here:

    http://www.noterminationwithoutrepresentation.org/personhood-and-citizenship/

    When an abortion is proposed, the panel should take into account the mother’s potential remaining future life and potential quality thereof (considering her mental resilience or lack thereof, and her attitude toward the unborn child, among other things); and the unborn child’s potential remaining future life and the quality thereof; and the family members’ potential remaining future life and the quality thereof; and the support society can offer, and the impact on society; and make a decision aimed to maximize life.

  • purr

    And how many of your medical decisions should be left in the hands of a committee?

  • Jennifer Starr

    Probably none, after all he’s a MAN, don’t ya know. But the woman’s body and uterus belong to the government and society–how dare we have the gall to think we own our body parts instead of breeding for the good of society? Just who do we think we are–actual people? *snort*

  • purr

    Did you read Sayak’s reply to us?

    Holy hell in a handbasket.

    He mansplained that pregnancy is a modest inconvenience, and that women should *temporarily* be permitted abortions in order to counteract the effects of a society that treats pregnant women poorly. However, once women are given financial incentives and appropriate support, they can go back to their job as broodmares.

    I linked it to you on the other site.

  • Jennifer Starr

    I’ve read it. I swear, it’s like he’s related to Acyu–what is it with these long-winded blocks of five-dollar word salad? Did no one ever teach these guys to be concise? And I’m going to reply to him as soon as I’ve stopped repeatedly banging my head against hard surfaces :)

  • purr

    I wasn’t gonna go here…but…

    What country is currently the rape culture capital of the world?

  • Jennifer Starr

    I think it’s India, but I’m not one-hundred percent sure of that. But if it’s not number one it is definitely somewhere in the top 5.

  • purr

    I surprised myself. I was going to reply to Sayak with something long winded, but I managed to condense it. Because that really is his position in a nutshell. That everyone but women should make health decisions for pregnant persons. Kinda similar view to Acyu…

  • Jennifer Starr

    I guess when you believe in mandatory organ donation and that you’re related to women and their fetuses, it’s not a far jump to believing that women should be forced to have their most personal medical decisions decided by a panel of strangers. Did anyone ever explain to you that The Handmaiden’s Tale isn’t a how-to manual?

  • Jennifer Starr

    And you still don’t seem to realize that true sacrifice and altruism means something because it’s done voluntarily by choice, not forced upon people by law.

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

    An hour of being forced to give my blood to someone? No. I have every right to remove an intrusion, from a person or a machine or an IV line, from my body for any intrusion of any length. Many rapes take less than 10 minutes- are they less harmful for being short in duration?

    Now, would I give blood to the dying violinist if it only took an hour? Almost always, the answer would be yes. I would weigh the factors of my time, what I had to do that day, what harm was likely to result, and then reluctantly consent to the hour because the harm done to me would most likely be minimal. Whoever hooked us up, though, would get both an earful and a whole lot of criminal charges against them, because doing that is not acceptable. And if that hour happened at a time that, say, I needed to be at my chemotherapy session, or at the hospital giving birth,or defending my dissertation for my last chance ever, or I was severely anemic and giving blood was a huge risk for me, or losing my job and my house and watching my kids starve because I can’t afford to be late? I’m ripping out that IV line. Even an hour is too much if it’s the wrong hour.

    A person in the same room as you is not the same as a person in your body. Get that through your head. Unwanted pregnancy is a rape that won’t stop for nine months. It is never moral or ethical to force someone into that position.

  • http://www.NoTerminationWithoutRepresentation.org/ Acyutananda

    “A person in the same room as you is not the same as a person in your body. Get that through your head.”

    I’ve got it so far. In those two sentences, you’re saying that the nature of the sacrifice is important, not only the degree. The first paragraph of your post probably says the same. But here —

    “Unwanted pregnancy is a rape that won’t stop for nine months”

    — you change direction. (For this discussion, I will ignore the peculiar analogy between a rapist and a totally innocent and helpless person, and stick to the main point.) Here you’re saying that the issue is the period of time, that is, the degree.

    So it’s still not clear. Is “in your body” an important issue IN ITSELF, apart from degree of sacrifice, or isn’t it?

    An example that (like all of Thomson’s analogies) would be far-fetched, but might make the question clear, would be this: If pregnancy were risk-free and only for 90 minutes (you refrain from killing an innocent baby, which means you lend your body, for 90 minutes, including labor and delivery), followed by immediate adoption of the baby by someone, would you have a moral obligation to carry the baby to term, or would it be only a morally-optional act of generosity for you to do so? You are at the hospital already (so abortion is an option), but your health is fine, and you will not lose your job or anything by having the baby. The hospital folks can kill the baby in 15 minutes if you say so. Do you have any moral obligation?

    One more way to put it: Should society declare an unborn baby’s life to be forfeit NOT to spare the mother a sacrifice that is proportionate to the value of the baby’s life, but just to uphold an ideological point?

  • purr

    The nature *is* the degree because it’s inside your body. Tell us acyu, would you let yourself be raped for an hour, non-violently, if that would save a life? And what if you were forced by law to undergo rape on a regular basis to save a life? Would you sign off on that? Should all of society?

  • ansuz

    “If pregnancy were risk-free and only for 90 minutes (you refrain from killing an innocent baby, which means you lend your body, for 90 minutes, including labor and delivery), followed by immediate adoption of the baby by someone, would you have a moral obligation to carry the baby to term, or would it be only a morally-optional act of generosity for you to do so?”
    Maybe morally superior, but the law should not be able to compel someone to go through with the ninety minutes or to not go through with the ninety minutes. Period. Ever.
    An intrusion — determined by my state of mind — on my body is functionally rape. A pregnancy that I want to abort is an intrusion on my body. The moral agenthood of the thing doing the intruding is not relevant to the fact that it is in my body and I do not want it there.

  • http://www.NoTerminationWithoutRepresentation.org/ Acyutananda

    Thanks for your reply. I in turn have written you a reply, and due to its length, I have posted it here:

    http://www.noterminationwithoutrepresentation.org/personhood/#comment-86

    In that reply I have referred to you as ASZ and to Feminerd as FMD. If either of you would like to appear there as ansuz or Feminerd, please let me know.

    If you reply, you may reply on that page or here or both, as you wish. I will continue checking here for a few days.

    And if anyone, for the sake of the discussion on this page, would like to quote here my entire above-linked reply, they may of course do so, but my judgment is that it would be too long.

  • ansuz

    1. I’m not a woman. Please use gender-neutral pronouns.
    2. What, in your view, distinguishes rape from sex? What makes rape horrible? If rape is not horrible solely* because it is an intrusion — which, yes, is determined by my state of mind, because if I wanted the sexual contact it wouldn’t be rape — on my body… then what?
    Do you consider date rape to be ‘real rape’? Is it rape if it’s my spouse? Am I not equally violated if the rapist is determined by a court to be incapable of criminal responsibility?

    *other things can add to the horribleness, but the horribleness of my body being used without my consent is quite enough horribleness to be getting on with

  • purr

    He ignored my reply. I wonder why.

    EDIT: I guess it just wasn’t intellectual enough. The thought of being violated with a dildo to save a life was just too offensive a thought for the poor boy. I lack civility, and refuse to discuss uterus owner’s rights in a genteel fashion.

  • ansuz

    Rape culture, Libby Anne’s ‘two box’ sexual ethics, purity culture, and punishment-based ideas of justice… really fuck up this issue.
    And the discussions are further fucked up by people not understanding that being offended is not the issue with slurs, so that there’s a difference between saying that uteruses and the meat sacks they’re inside are for ‘babies’ and saying the word ‘fuck’.
    *sigh*

  • purr

    His entire argument can be distilled to ‘biology is destiny’

  • http://www.NoTerminationWithoutRepresentation.org/ Acyutananda

    While you’re thinking about mental paradigms, try out this one for a minute: “My neighbor’s unborn baby is my kid sister or brother (or other sibling), looking up to me with complete trust that I will always protect it.”

    You don’t have to believe it. Just pretend you believe it for a minute, and see what happens.

    Will get back to your other post as soon as possible.

  • ansuz

    I’ve done this one before. Many times. I don’t care if what’s attached to me is my teenaged brother, my favourite author, Albert Einstein, Jesus Christ, or Nelson Mandela. I have every right to eject them from my body.

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

    Okay, now you try this one:

    “My neighbor is my sister, looking up to me with complete faith that I respect her as a person and will always support her. She knows I see her as a full person, always, no matter what. I will never render her invisible nor depersonalize her completely by literally erasing her existence in a metaphor of mine.”

    You don’t have to believe it. Just pretend you believe it for a minute, and see what happens.

  • ansuz

    And why am I so invested in what’s going on in my neighbour’s body? That’s a bit creepy.

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

    R’amen to that. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one.

  • purr

    Why are you refusing to address my numerous arguments?

  • http://www.NoTerminationWithoutRepresentation.org/ Acyutananda

    After seeing your thoughtful “Supreme Court” post, I thought “Maybe we can talk now.” But then I saw where you invented an imaginary pal for me, based on a perceived unsatisfactory ethnicity, and where you wrote: “I lack civility, and refuse to discuss uterus owner’s rights in a genteel fashion.”

    I’d be happy to have a polite, non-demonizing, non-stereotyping conversation with you, but is it possible?

    If it were, it would have to go on bit by bit over a period of time.

  • purr

    Well then why did you ignore my post about the dildo?. And your views really are quite sexist. You shouldn’t be surprised when you get pushback. You appear to believe that anatomy is destiny, and that women should be subservient to a mindless biological function. And you expect women to be nice to you while treating them like mindless incubators. Do keep in mind that dehumanizing women like this is quite offensive to those with uterii. And it does not matter how much you dress it up with flowery language. You still want to force women to give birth against their will because you value embryonic life over female liberty.

  • Jennifer Starr

    That’s a cop-out if ever I heard one.

  • Jennifer Starr

    You really don’t seem to understand why women get upset at your posts. Why we get angry and emotional about this subject, and I’ll tell you why that is. You see, for you, this is just a rhetorical exercise that you can approach with a degree of detachment, but for us this is our bodies, our health and our lives. You can blithely talk about sacrifice and life-threatening pregnancies and wanting women to go in front of ‘life panels’, secure in the knowledge that it will never be you who is faced with that choice. We can’t. So instead of getting all huffy and sensitive at perceived insults and indelicate language, why don’t you at least try to understand where we’re coming from?

  • purr

    I don’t have the right to enslave my neighbour if my neighbour doesn’t want to have kids.

  • Cake

    I pretended.
    Then I wondered why I was ascribing thoughts and feelings and innocence to something that isn’t sentient and is parasitizing another human being.

    Now pretend that its opposite day and see…….

  • Gehennah

    Why would my neighbor’s fetus be your kid brother or sister?

    But even pretending that it was, it doesn’t change anything because I know it is a fetus. It isn’t actually my kid brother or sister. Just like I can pretend Santa is real and delivers presents to me on Christmas, but my mind calls BS on thoughts like that.

  • Jennifer Starr

    Kind of creepy that you would think this way about your neighbor’s pregnancy. You don’t own other women, or their fetuses. Are you one of those people who likes to go up and rub strange women’s stomachs?

  • http://www.NoTerminationWithoutRepresentation.org/ Acyutananda

    “1. I’m not a woman. Please use gender-neutral pronouns.”

    Oh, sorry. I’ve fixed it on the blog. Is “his” good enough?

    “If rape is not horrible solely* because it is an intrusion — which, yes, is determined by my state of mind, because if I wanted the sexual contact it wouldn’t be rape — on my body… then what?”

    You had written:

    “An intrusion — determined by my state of mind — on my body is functionally rape.”

    This could be paraphrased “ANY intrusion, even an accidental touch or an event that didn’t really happen at all, is functionally rape if I deem it or even imagine it to be an intrusion,” couldn’t it?

    So I replied, “‘Determined by my state of mind’ means regardless of any degree of real harm or risk, hence a purely ideological commitment to bodily autonomy.”

    Note that “regardless” does not mean that there WAS no intrusive intention or harm done, it just means that there MAY HAVE been none (for instance if the event was accidental or imaginary).

    If, even when there was no wrong intention or harm, you consider it as rape (since “rape” means wrong intention & some degree of harm, at the very least in terms of your time), I’m calling that a purely ideological commitment to bodily autonomy.

    Wasn’t my reply correct?

    “Do you consider date rape to be ‘real rape’? Is it rape if it’s my spouse?

    This is a new topic, isn’t it? I’m open to the possibility of new topics (though not infinite new topics), but I ask because I’m wondering if this is a rebuttal to anything I wrote. If it is, to what?

    “Am I not equally violated if the rapist is determined by a court to be incapable of criminal responsibility?”

    If I understand correctly, your question is in response to this sequence:

    ===================================
    ansuz: The moral agenthood of the thing doing the intruding is not relevant to the fact that it is in my body and I do not want it there.

    Acy: . . . treating an unborn baby like a rapist, since a rapist does not need your body to live, means considering the life of the unborn baby to be not only forfeit — due to being inside your body — but also completely valueless. [I see that I should have said: “. . . treating an unborn baby like a rapist, since a rapist does not need your body to live, means not only considering the life of the unborn baby to be forfeit — due to being inside your body — but also treating it as completely valueless.”]
    ===============================================

    My reply wasn’t necessarily to your “moral agenthood” sentence, because elsewhere also you equated an unborn baby to a rapist. But since now you are asking about criminal responsibility, maybe you thought that I had addressed “moral agenthood,” and maybe you understood me to be saying that moral agenthood was relevant to “intrusion/violation.” I didn’t mean to say that, but now you’re asking me to weigh in on a similar question:

    “Am I not equally violated if the rapist is determined by a court to be incapable of criminal responsibility?”

    Do you mean violated according to the terms of your argument (“determined by my state of mind”)? If so, the answer is contained in the question.

    Or according to me? I think that in your mind, it should be possible to be supremely indifferent either way, and that you should try for that. But as far as your outward response, I think we should act toward “capable” wrongdoers in one way, and “incapable” wrongdoers in another way.

    Or according to the court? That might depend on what country we’re talking about.

    Now I’m no longer so open to new topics! Enough time’s being spent on the present ones.

  • ansuz

    “This could be paraphrased “ANY intrusion, even an accidental touch or an event that didn’t really happen at all, is functionally rape if I deem it or even imagine it to be an intrusion,” couldn’t it?”

    Yes, and I stand by it. Each individual gets to define hir own experiences, and rape is a designation that is about the one who was raped, not about the rapist. If, for example, my friend with PTSD from the sexual abuse she experienced as a child has a nightmare, or is accidentally pushed into a corner by someone two feet taller than her, is it not valid for her to freak out? For her to say that, psychologically, she did just experience rape, even if she was just reliving something from the past?

    Is it not valid for her to use the label when she looks for comfort or support?

    Is it not valid, when she experiences those things, to take steps reasonably proportioned to end any immediate and ongoing physical violations or feelings of violations? If she taps the person blocking her way out of the corner on the shoulder, or shoves them away from her in a panic, is that not a valid response — thinking of ending her feeling of rape rather than on whether or not she is, by her response, labelling the person who bumped her into the corner a rapist and whether or not zie deserves that designation?

    “If, even when there was no wrong intention or harm, you consider it as rape (since “rape” means wrong intention & some degree of harm, at the very least in terms of your time), I’m calling that a purely ideological commitment to bodily autonomy.”
    Rape has nothing to do with wrong intention, in my view (though a criminal charge of it might). I don’t believe in punishment for the sake of punishment, and I do believe in consequence mitigation. To label an experience ‘rape’ does not mean that the person who triggered my friend with PTSD is a bad person, or a rapist, or should go to jail, or that my friend would be justified in shooting them in the head — it just means that zie needs to not be blocking her way out of the corner. And is my friend not being harmed? Not all harm is physical, and to call something ‘rape’ implies harm.

    Same thing with a fetus. It isn’t (necessarily) that a fetus’s life has no value, it’s just that:
    1) the physical harm done by pregnancy and the psychological damage done by rape (and remember: we can’t know how much psychological damage is being done, but pregnancy is much more intimate, changes the body much more, and lasts much longer than rape) are both huge
    plus
    2) we have no means of ending a pregnancy that is being experienced as rape (through most of the pregnancy) that is not fatal to the zef.

    And… there are a few more points in there I should get to, but I’m really tired.
    Also, I’m not a man, either. Wikipedia’s got a page of gender neutral pronouns.

  • purr

    treating an unborn baby like a rapist, since a rapist does not need your body to live

    So what. Just because someone might need your organs to live doesn’t mean they have the right to take them. Fetus, rapist, or person needing your kidney to survive.

    You are falling back on ‘biology is destiny’ as your argument. Your pal Sayak Banerjee didn’t manage any better. You misogynists are saying that women should be subservient to a mindless biological process because women were ‘made for it’ and too fucking bad if they don’t like it. The ‘baby’ needs their body to live, and who cares if they might feel it is rape, all that counts is the value of the *potential* yet not actualized life inside them.

  • purr

    1) On the basis of the Supreme Court precedent interpreting the Thirteenth Amendment’s prohibition of slavery and involuntary servitude to protect individual liberty and equality, the government may not prohibit abortion. To do so would be to require physical service from a woman for the benefit of a fetus. And according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (fetii are not mentioned, only born people):

    Article 3.
    Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

    Article 4.
    No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

    Article 5.
    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    2) How, you ask, can one treat a fetus as some sort of alien parasite, and pregnancy as a unnatural violation, when pregnancy is the most natural thing in the world? Well, sexual intercourse is also the most “natural” thing in the world; but when it is involuntary, it becomes rape. Likewise, when the “natural” process of pregnancy is involuntary, it too becomes an alien intrusion or violation.

    3) A woman is clearly justified in killing a rapist in self-defense (assuming no lesser measures would be successful). Rape is one of the most profound and traumatizing assaults on one’s personhood that it is possible to inflict; so killing is not a disproportionate response to the seriousness of rape. But a rape need not involve physical injury or pain; if the rape victim is intimidated into failing to resist, then in purely physical terms a rape may be indistinguishable from normal, consensual intercourse. Rape need not be violent in any overt sense. Yet it is a rape for all that; for any sexual use of another person’s body without that person’s consent is a rape. What gives a woman the right to kill as rapist in self-defense, then, is not that he threatens her with pain or injury, but that he uses her body in the most deeply intimate and personal way, without her consent (even if she originally consented, then changed her mind). And it is precisely this same fact that gives a woman the right to kill her unwanted fetus not that it threatens her with pain or injury, but that it uses her body in the most deeply intimate and personal way, without her consent(even if she originally consented). Hence abortion is not a disproportionate response to the seriousness of the boundary-violation it counteracts:

    (a) One has the right to kill in self-defense if the threat is sufficiently serious.

    (b) The threat posed by an unwanted fetus is sufficiently serious.

    (c) Therefore, one has the right to kill an unwanted fetus in self-defense.

    Doesn’t this analogy ignore a vitally important difference – namely, that the fetus is innocent? The fetus did not choose to violate its mother’s boundaries; the violation occurred as a result of natural processes over which the fetus, in the nature of the case, could have no control (since these are the same natural processes that produced it).

    Yes, this is of course an important difference; but it is not important in the relevant way. An unwanted fetus is an innocent threat, but is a threat nonetheless. A boundary-violation does not cease to be a boundary-violation just because the boundary-violator was acting involuntarily; nor does such involuntariness transform a profoundly personal intrusion into a minor inconvenience. When the threat is as personal and intrusive as an unwanted pregnancy, it is difficult to see how the innocence of the fetus could make enough of a difference to justify forcing the mother to quietly endure nine months of what is tantamount to rape. Analogously, even if someone has been involuntarily hypnotized into becoming a literal rapist, his victim still has the right to kill him in self-defense.

    A woman never has an obligation – or at any rate, never has an enforceable obligation – to let herself be raped. Which is why, acyu, I could not FORCE you to undergo 9 months of being gently butffucked with a dildo even IF that would save a life.

    4) The process of childbirth is (a) life-threatening, and (b) extremely painful.(If the pain involved in childbirth were induced by other means, it would generally be recognized as a form of torture, and a nation that required women to undergo it would be found in violation of Article V of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.) As things stand, then, abortion is not disproportionate to the seriousness of the threat it counteracts, and so is not a wrongful boundary-invasion; we surely have a right to kill in order to avoid being tortured.

  • purr

    I have an idea acyu. I will donate bone marrow and even half a liver to save a life if you consent to…

    Having a nice fellow:

    http://newseastwest.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Amit-Singh-copy.jpg

    Gently insert this up your rectum for 5 minutes every week:

    http://pleasuremenow.com/ProductImages10/cherry_dichroic_glass_dildo.gif

    Very gently. With lube, even. It will be painless. A ‘modest’ inconvenience.

    And at the end of 9 months you’ll get this in the ass:

    http://www.teamorganicnyc.org/photo/Cantaloupe.jpg

    ——————————-

    Now what do you say? The *degree* of sacrifice that you will be expected to endure will actually be a lot less than what I will endure, as I will be giving up parts of my body and undergoing potentially fatal surgery to save a life.

    You will just be gently fucked in the ass. Which is, really, a minor inconvenience.

    What do you say?

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

    Yes, “in your body” is an important issues IN ITSELF. Our bodies are our selves. We exist purely for the time our flesh and brain are alive and functional. There is nothing more personal than the self, nothing more private than one’s own body, nothing more important than the body’s survival and integrity.

    Your 90 minute theoretical question- there is no moral obligation to carry the baby. It is a morally optional act of generosity to do so. Like the with the dying violinist, even an hour can be too much, too long, too hard, if it is the wrong hour. Do I have to submit myself to an hour of torture for a stranger to survive? Do you consider that morally obligated? Do you think it should be legally obligated?

    Pregnancy and labor are torture- they are so painful and so dangerous that they were considered a curse from God in at least one notable ancient culture (the Israelites). Women got to Valhalla in Norse cultures by dying in childbirth; childbirth was recognized as being as dangerous, bloody, painful, and traumatic as a battlefield. Women in much of Africa, even today, bid farewell to their families when they become pregnant and even in the US, it is highly encouraged to update one’s will when one discovers one is pregnant. In at least one African country, a woman announces her pregnancy by saying she has one foot in the grave.

    Society should absolutely declare any person or entity’s life forfeit NOT to spare anyone any sacrifice, but to uphold the absolute integrity of the principle of bodily autonomy. If you need to rape someone in order to survive, is anyone morally obligated to let you? Or should we declare your life forfeit for a principle? That is what you are asking. My answer, in the famous words of Patrick Henry, is, “give me liberty or give me death”. You have no legal or moral right to rape anyone, even if not doing so means you will die.

  • http://www.NoTerminationWithoutRepresentation.org/ Acyutananda

    Thanks for your reply. I in turn have written you a reply, and due to its length, I have posted it here:

    http://www.noterminationwithoutrepresentation.org/personhood/#comment-86

    In that reply I have referred to you as FMD and to ansuz as ASZ. If either of you would like to appear there as ansuz or Feminerd, please let me know.

    If you reply, you may reply on that page or here or both, as you wish. I will continue checking here for a few days.

    And if anyone, for the sake of the discussion on this page, would like to quote here my entire above-linked reply, they may of course do so, but my judgment is that it would be too long.

  • purr

    I can’t help but notice that you ignored my response completely. It wasn’t ‘genteel’ enough for your finely tuned pseudo-intellectual brain.

    It also cut to the heart of an uncomfortable truth. That having your body repeatedly violated, in service of another, isn’t exactly the most pleasant thought now, is it? Even *if* it is to save a life.

  • $7977616

    you didn’t really read the entire conversation did you.