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.

  • Johnee

    I despise buzz phrases like “pro-life” and “pro-choice”.

    However, I have met atheists that are anti-abortion unless it’s medically necessary.
    I disagree with them overall, but I can see their point from a non-religious level. The rational goes like this: Once there is a fetus there is humanity. So what if it has to develop more?

    My response to that would be that simple life does not a human make. It may very well be life and human in it’s genome, but that doesn’t make it a sentient PERSON at such an early stage of development; not to mention a host of other issues and agonizing choices on the parents part.

    • brianbrianbrian1

      I see your point. But when does sentience occur? And if we determine it happens at, say, 20 weeks, would you agree to banning abortion after that point? Just curious.

      • badgerchild

        Sentience doesn’t arguably occur until a point considerably after birth, in point of fact. A newborn baby is considerably less sentient than my cat, for example, who many would argue is not sentient at all.

        But even if the fetus were proven to meet the arbitrary definition of sentience that you have not actually proposed yet, it would merely shift the subject of the debate from “the opposition of the continuation of the pregnancy to the rights of the pregnant woman” to “which sentience has the right to prevail over the rights of the other”. There are existing arguments that address this, primarily involving thought experiments where an adult is grafted to and dependent upon the body of another, unconsenting, adult.

        • brianbrianbrian1

          Again, it’s not just choosing whose rights prevail but the relative weight of rights. In one case, it’s the right to exist. The woman does not face this threat.

          • badgerchild

            The pregnancy has no intrinsic right to exist if its existence conflicts with the rights of the pregnant woman.

            I think it’s pretty damn clear by now that you insist on sweeping away the pregnant woman’s rights to be anything but a baby container. I don’t think you could have made it any clearer.

          • allein

            Sometimes women do indeed face this threat. When it comes to life-threatening complications for the mother, whose right to exist takes precedence?

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

            Actually, she does face the threat of nonexistence. In the US, the maternal mortality rate is 21/100,000. ~30,000 women each year will nearly die, and ~1.7 million per year will be permanently injured/maimed.

            The death rate for living organ donors is 1/3-1/4 that of being pregnant, and yet we don’t require that. You’re more likely to die in pregnancy than be struck by lightning. Pregnancy is a life-threatening condition. All women have the right to make the choice of risking their lives for a potential other person. Or not, as the case may be.

          • purrtriarchy

            The right to exist doe not override the right not to have one’s body infringed upon.

            If it did, we would throw people in jail for killing their rapists.

          • Spuddie

            The weight of the being utterly dependent on a single unique person for existence will always be less than that unique person who sustains its existence.

          • KrisDStar

            Exactly where does it state in the constitution that one has the “right to exist?” And also, did you forget to read the part that rights are granted to citizens, and it clearly defines who is a citizen.
            In no case of citizenship is a fetus considered a citizen.

          • Anat

            No. It is the right to control one’s body. You get the right to exist only if you don’t infringe on another person’s body.

            • badgerchild

              Anat, I don’t go that far. That’s because I am carefully avoiding arguments like “do you have a right to exist if you live off taxpayer money”, which in the radical opinions of Libertarian types means you are dependent on the labor of their body to survive. There is a difference between the dependence involved in pregnancy, where the unborn has only potential and no actual value to society (even if they have an intrinsic value to their family), and the born person dependent on social support, who society supports because they are part of society.

          • KrisDStar

            Where is the right to exist? There is a right to continue to exist once one is born.

      • Anat

        I wouldn’t. A fetus is infringing on the bodily autonomy of the pregnant person. So it is up to the pregnant person to decide if the fetus should be allowed to stay or not.

    • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      I agree with your view on where to place value: sentience. On that criteria, I don’t even consider a baby at birth to really be a person yet. But I don’t think that using some sort of “personhood” really settles anything ethically. There are Buddhists who walk around brushing the ground in front of them to avoid stepping on bugs, which they value as highly as they do people. Do I think that makes sense? No. But neither can I construct a rational argument for why their view is ethically wrong in any sense, or ethically better or worse than my own view.

      We all have to come to our own conclusions about the value we place on life- human, non-human, and at all stages of development. And that’s fine, and seems to carry no societal ramifications as long as we maintain the proper distinction between our individual feelings about the value of life, and our inclination to enforce those feelings by the force of law.

      • badgerchild

        I honestly can’t use sentience as the borderline, because there are born humans (including all very young babies) who are not sentient, or who have through some illness or genetic malfunction lost their sentience or never had it. It doesn’t mean they have no rights in common with other born people. I can’t even use genetics as the borderline (i.e. having the same genetics as “humans”) because I have a dear friend with a partial chromosome deletion and therefore I can’t consider him “not human”. What I consider relevant is the pregnant woman’s choice, and that’s really it. After the pregnant woman is no longer pregnant, what she wants to do with her body is tangential (breastfeeding, for example, rather than formula feeding) and naturally the right to an abortion is moot for that particular pregnancy.

        • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          Certainly, you should define the borderline in whatever way makes the most sense within your personal moral code. But don’t confound that with “rights”. Rights are defined by society, and there’s nothing besides convention that says that all “born people” have the same rights. There’s nothing in nature that says we can’t choose to define rights only for sentient creatures.

          • badgerchild

            That’s true. After all, we have animal rights, don’t we? The key there is that we can presumably assign animals the right not to be mistreated without violating the bodily integrity rights of the farmer, for example. You simply can’t assign rights to a pregnancy that are in conflict with the rights of the pregnant woman, or if you do assign the pregnancy those rights, you can’t enforce them without violating the pregnant woman’s bodily integrity.

      • Leah

        If a baby at birth is not sentient, and therefore not a person yet, would your personal code of ethics allow for that baby to be killed if the parents decide that’s what they want?

        • Spuddie

          Which is why the “life begins” argument is inherently crappy. Viability makes more sense. It depends on her to live, therefore the mothers interests are aways more important than the unborn can ever be.

          • The Starship Maxima

            That seems like a rather convenient cop-out to me. A newborn baby is only very slightly less helpless than the unborn fetus.

            If a mother decided her rights allowed her to leave the baby in a dumpster, she’d be charged as a criminal and rightfully so.

            • badgerchild

              And so she should be, because the born baby is a separate person with separate rights. The physical separation is important.

              • The Starship Maxima

                Why? Is it your view a unique human being isn’t one because it’s not yet outside the mother’s body?

                • badgerchild

                  What difference does it make whether it’s unique or not? It could be triplets made by cloning the mother. If she wants the pregnancy to stop, that’s her choice over her own body, and the fetus(es) have rights once they are physically separate.

                  If a woman could stop a pregnancy by sheer force of will, without medical intervention, would you think the fetus had rights? Would you think the pregnant woman had rights?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  and the fetus(es) have rights once they are physically separate.

                  No. To me that is a personal philosophy. In civilization, we generally agree that a human being has a right to exist by mere dint of being human.

                  Or at least, I do.

                • badgerchild

                  Tough shit. You don’t get to harm me to preserve the conflicting so-called rights of something inside my body. I don’t care how sincere you are.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  That’s what I find repugnant in all this. If you harmed a child in your car, or in your home, of if you removed your comatose child from life support, even as it’s mother, without proper protocol, I would be allowed to stop you.

                  But if the child is defenseless in your womb, some sense of women’s liberation and mish-mashing of personal philosophy over science means I can’t.

                  The very notion makes my teeth grate.

                • badgerchild

                  Yeah, grate your teeth. While the fetus is in my body, you have to go through me to get to it. Just try violating my rights to “protect” those of something inside my body. Just fucking try it on for size.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  If I thought the greater good would be served, I would, and to hell with the consequences.

                  But, nothing would be served. I get that.

                  I hate it and I resent it all the same. And I always will.

                • badgerchild

                  You people who are willing to violate rights and destroy people for some religious or philosophical “greater good” are scary sociopaths.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  What is scary is that a human being’s right to exist is now listed as “some religious or philosophical ‘greater good’ “.

                  I wonder if part of the reason our world is so fucked up now is because we hold human life so cheaply.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Human life has always been cheap.

                  60-80% of zygotes spontaneously abort.

                  And women have traditionally been enslaved to their reproductive capacity. Something you wish to propagate. Because to you, women aren’t people, just walking incubators.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  A majority of children born in the third world don’t live to 30. If I went to Haiti and used that logic to kill children, I’d face human rights violation and probably execution. And I’d deserve it.

                • purrtriarchy

                  They are living children.

                  Not zygotes.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  A zygote is alive and it is a human being. It can’t live unassisted and it doesn’t speak or emote, true. But medically, it’s a living, unique, being.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Human being is a value judgment.

                  And since human beings are *sentient* and *sapient* and clinically braindead persons are removed from life support, the no, a zygote is not a human being, it is only a potential one.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Human being is a value judgment.

                  You’re not serious?

                • purrtriarchy

                  When it comes to a zygote it sure is.

                  You are using human DNA as your marker

                  But that doesn’t mean a goddamn thing

                  Since every cell in your body has that same DNA and even cancer has it’s own ‘unique’ DNA and will grow and thrive if given shelter and nutrients!

                  Beating heart cadavers also have human DNA, yet on one complains when their organs are harvested because NO ONE IS HOME.

                  So yes, it’s a value judgment.

                • Carmelita Spats

                  LOL! Prenatal homicide! So you would ban chemical contraception since it can endanger tiny people by affecting the lining of the uterus and disallowing the implantation of a fertilized egg? The Catholic Church views the pill and the IUD as ABORTIFACIENTS since they can cause miscarriages…

                  The Pill Kills Babies…
                  http://www.thepillkills.org/

                  Al Mohler, former head of the Southern Baptist convention believes in banning chemical contraception because it kills people…

                  http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/11/17/were-all-harry-blackmun-now-the-lessons-of-mississippi/

                  Rep. Bobby Franklin of Georgia wants to investigate every miscarriage as a POTENTIAL homicide…

                  http://www.opposingviews.com/i/rep-bobby-franklin-looks-to-criminalize-miscarriages

                  So what types of birth control should women access if they don’t want to booby trap their uterus and turn it into a Dachau for fertilized eggs? Should Homeland Security investigate vaginas and yank out IUDs because Jesus? Should pious ladies shove their fingers up their vulva and sniff vaginal mucus as per the Catholic Rhythm/Billings/Creyton Method? I’m plumb puckered out from all the fake crying I do in public over miscarriages. Praise!

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I am a firm believer, supporter, and encourager of contraception.

                  And, I’m no Catholic.

                • God’s Starship

                  Even though most hormonal forms of birth controls (the ones most commonly used) work to prevent implantation, not conception? You do know you’re contradicting yourself here, right?

                • KrisDStar

                  So is the mother. She is a living, unique human being with the right to control what is allowed to reside inside of her body.

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

                  Medically, every single guinea worm is a living, unique being too. So is every aggressive cancer. So is a hydatidiform mole.

                  Should we not provide chemotherapy, because that kills a unique human organism?

                • badgerchild

                  We don’t, demonstrably, hold the right of the pregnant woman to live and make her own reproductive decisions cheaply, but evidently you do. You just can’t stop cheapening the pregnant woman, can you?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I will never as long as I live not hold the right of an innocent being who’s wrong no one, and cannot survive without the womb of the woman who (outside of rape) willingly brought it into the world , along with her partner, below that of the woman who, outside of extreme circumstances will survive the birth.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy.

                  And a fetus is neither innocent nor guilty

                  Though it could be argued that it is not innocent considering the fact that it is genetically programmed to assault the woman, stealing nutrients from her body and suppressing her immune system.

                  Oh, and birth = violent assault. If the pain of childbirth was induced by any other means it would be considered torture.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  You’ve got to be kidding me. Disregard of the possible consequences of an act, don’t absolve you of those consequences.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy.

                • badgerchild

                  Oh, I see, you want to punish the pregnant woman, by loss of her bodily autonomy and responsibility for an unwanted child, for changing her mind about wanting a pregnancy. Thanks for the clarification. I’ll tell that to my pregnant teenage friend whose boyfriend swore he was going to marry her when they graduated from high school, but found another girl in college he liked better.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Long before I outlawed abortion, which I still would if I could, but my FIRST priority, would be to find some way of making it impossible for men to walk away from their unborn children.

                  I joked once about making abandoning pregnant girlfriends a capital offense, but nobody but me thought that was funny.

                • badgerchild

                  Eh… no. I don’t think it’s funny either. I really did like your comment about doing everything possible to prevent unwanted pregnancies from occurring, and instituting a social safety net to make it safer for women to carry to term and have their babies even if they are unwanted. I wanted to cheer. I would back you up a thousand percent.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Well you have to understand my pov. A man abandoning his pregnant partner covers nearly 96.% of the reasons for a pregnancy.

                  By doing that I hold him responsible for the death of the unborn child and for leaving the woman in a position such that she’d choose it.

                  In my mind, such things skirt dangerously close to warranting death.

                • KrisDStar

                  Because healthy relationships to raise children in are ones in which neither parent wants to be with each other but are forced to?
                  Apparently you have failed to read about the psychological damage that is done to children who are raised in homes where the parents are in constant conflict with each other.

                • KrisDStar

                  The pregnant woman has wronged no one either. She is also an “innocent.”
                  She didn’t willingly bring it into the world if she is forced to remain pregnant.

                • KrisDStar

                  The “good old days” myth.
                  Abortions have always existed in one form or another.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Why do you hate women so much?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I love women. I utterly hate that human life requires justifications to be valuable and precious.

                • badgerchild

                  Go stop a war somewhere and keep your unwanted opinions off the ownership of our reproductive capacities, OK? Born human life is more valuable and more at risk than unborn human life.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I don’t need to keep my opinion to myself anymore than you have to keep your (as I perceive them) suspect ethics to yourself.

                  You’ll do well to remember that.

                • badgerchild

                  Great, go on with your unwanted opinions, just don’t make them into laws that violate people’s right to bodily autonomy, there’s a good cupcake.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Knock that shit off. You don’t like my pov. I sure as hell don’t like yours. But I’m doing my best to have a respectful dialogue with you in spite of that. You’ll treat me with the same courtesy.

                  Further, I have as much right to fight for the right thing to me, as you have to fight for yours.

                  As it is, I wouldn’t waste time trying to outlaw it. But that’s for me to decide. Not you.

                • badgerchild

                  I’m glad you don’t seek to outlaw people’s right to bodily autonomy. Many others who agree with your assertions do not share your enlightened viewpoint in that respect.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Don’t be mistaken, I would certainly usurp the right of people to their bodies if I thought it would protect the right of a human being to exist. If I ran a country, I wouldn’t hesitate to send troops to some banana republic that was burning villages full of kids.

                  As it is, I so desperately want the greater good served, I’m willing to work with pro-choicers, in spite of their repugnant morals, if it means not another abortion would take place.

                • badgerchild

                  Villages full of born children have rights separate from the mothers who bore them because they are physically separate from them. You have no right to make an equivalence between murdered children and the right of pregnant women to terminate their own pregnancies. That is propaganda and it’s not working.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Not propaganda. Truth. My value of a human life is not dependent on whether it is viable.

                • KrisDStar

                  Then you are for forced organ donations?

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

                  You would ” usurp the right of people to their bodies if I thought it would protect the right of a human being to exist”? But you just said you thought forced organ donation was a bad thing, and you were angry at me for daring to suggest that you might have to lose control over your own body even for a time. You were horrified. You didn’t want to walk that walk.

                  Guess what? Neither do I.

                • Cake

                  Ugg. Do you expect consistency from Maxima? This thread has several examples where they go, “Thats a really good point and I don’t have an argument against that. So anyway as I was sayin women aren’t really people.”

                • allein

                  I’ve noticed him saying that in other threads as well. At first I respected him for admitting it but I’m starting to think it’s a bit disingenuous. “I don’t have an argument against that but it still won’t make me even consider changing my mind.”

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

                  Yeah, I have seen it. It’s like he sees he has no reply, and just … files it away in the circular bin instead of realizing that maybe he should change his mind if all his ideas are being so thoroughly rebutted.

                • purrtriarchy

                  yeah. a couple of actual scientist types here actually explained to him, repeatedly, that ‘science doesn’t say’…

                  and he agreed with them

                  saw their point…

                  and then went on saying ‘science says human life begins at conception’

                  /boggle

                • purrtriarchy

                  oh god yes this a thousand times this

                • purrtriarchy

                  I’m willing to work with pro-choicers, in spite of their repugnant morals

                  And you whined about how *we* were smug and condescending

                  broke my irony meter there

                • KrisDStar

                  You only love woman in the capacity that they can be human incubators.

                • KrisDStar

                  You would deny a unique human the right to decide so that you could “save” a different unique “human.”
                  Mental gymnastics that makes no sense.

                • Ella Warnock

                  #1 – I’m not sure that’s a fight you’d want to start, not with me, anyway; and #2 – oh, yes there would indeed be consequences. Legal ones, certainly, assuming you didn’t manage to foolishly get yourself killed by someone with FAR more skin in the game than you have. I’m pretty well-trained in self-defense, and I have a CC license. Naked aggression on your part would be to . . . choose poorly.

                • KrisDStar

                  Plenty of people choose to let their newborns die. “Proper protocol” is your threshold, and abortion is part of that “proper protocol” for ending a pregnancy.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  Do you understand the difference between walking up and shooting someone at random on the street, and shooting someone that is in the act of trying to rape you?

            • Spuddie

              Not at all. It’s more logical than your conflation for one key reason. ANY person can take possession and care of a born child. ONLY the mother keeps a fetus alive. So her decision is always paramount in such situations. Your POV involves willfully ignoring such a material distinction in an irrational manner.

              So your view involves not only ignoring a mother, her will and her unique and singular burdens, but also ignoring what every maternity ward, adoption agency and child services knows implicitly

            • KrisDStar

              In a dumpster, yes. In a hospital, in a fire-station, at a police station no, those are all perfectly legal places in which to leave an unwanted infant. In fact, almost every state has laws which permit the mother to drop off a baby at “safe” locations without being criminalized. Safe Haven laws. Google them.

          • Leah

            Fair enough, but still waiting to hear how C Peterson provides further rationale for the “personhood” argument.

            • Spuddie

              I can make it real easy. If it needs an umbilical cord to survive, it can’t be considered a person. :)

              • Leah

                Why?

                • badgerchild

                  I agree, Spuddie, your definition is too facile and doesn’t properly address whether something that doesn’t need an umbilical cord to survive (such as a fetus gestated in an artificial womb, or a baby too young to survive without assistance) is necessarily a person.

                  The real answer to Leah’s question is to point out that the question of whether the fetus is a person is irrelevant. If the fetus is not a person, it says nothing of importance to the question of the permissibility of abortion. If the fetus is a person, then you reach the question of whether rights of that person must remain subordinate to the rights of the pregnant woman. Since only an affirmative answer to that question is defensible, abortion is permissible.

                • Spuddie

                  Because it means unlike any born being, it’s existence is a zero-sum game with the woman on the other end of that umbilical cord. Because of its state of total, absolute and impossible to change in its current condition dependence on said woman, it can never have interests or autonomy which are fundamentally basic to personhood.

                  When it is born, the condition changes and it can be considered a person with autonomy and personal interests independent of any human being. Until then, it is the mothers possession in te womb.

        • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          My personal code of ethics would not allow for the baby to be killed, but not because of any concern for the rights of that baby. Since I don’t consider the baby to be a person, I don’t think it has any rights (at birth). The reason I would argue that it’s ethically wrong to kill the baby is because even if it has no value to the parents, it is likely to have value to others, and there is no harm to the parents in giving up a child they don’t want (and it is easy to do).

          In practice, of course, we have to draw a somewhat arbitrary line that defines when we recognize personhood to begin. I’m satisfied with a very conservative view, that abortions should be unrestricted through the second trimester, and limited to medical need in the third, and that personhood is defined to begin at birth.

          • Leah

            Why should abortion be unrestricted through the second trimester and limited in the third? Because it’s just that much closer to personhood?

            Have you ever been pregnant?

            • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

              Any boundary will have some degree of arbitrariness, at least until neurology advances beyond where it is today. I pick the end of the second trimester simply because it is certain beyond reasonable doubt that no sentient being exists at that point, and it seems to be a line that most people can accept. I don’t deny the value of societal consensus in defining morality.

              As a male, it is unlikely I will ever be pregnant! I don’t see that as relevant to my ethical views regarding abortion.

              • Leah

                The end of the second trimester is 28 weeks. So that means the “pain” or “viability” arguments wouldn’t factor into your ethical judgment for when abortion is valid? Those typically come into play shortly after 20 weeks.

                I ask if you’ve been pregnant because that experience often changes how a person thinks about abortion. I just got done being pregnant 4 months ago. Before being pregnant, I had a “stance” on abortion, but didn’t really feel that strongly about it. I do now.

                • allein

                  I know people who went the other way after being pregnant. Seeing the profound effects on their own body/mind/life, they realize that anyone who goes through it should do so willingly and are firmly pro-choice as a result.

                • badgerchild

                  I happen to be one of those people. Ironically, the reason I carried that pregnancy to term was that I intended to give the baby up for adoption; I couldn’t bring myself to have an abortion. But after enduring the pregnancy and considering the impact on my life and health, even though I didn’t even keep the baby, if I had it to do over again, I would have had the abortion.

                • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  No, neither pain nor viability enter into my judgment here. Only sentience, memory, and experience, none of which are close to existing at 28 weeks.

                  Of course, life experiences are part of what forms our moral codes. If you are opposed to abortion, that’s fine. It’s a perfectly reasonable position, although it differs from mine. If you would remove the option of abortion from other women by force of law, however, in the absence of any societal consensus that abortion is wrong, I’d consider that unethical.

                • KrisDStar

                  I’ve had four children, and it in no way changed my view on abortion. My choice is my choice. A different woman would have made a different choice, and I will always stand behind the woman, no matter what her choice.

                • Anat

                  Leah, I’m a mother. I have been pro-choice since I was 12. Pregnancy did not have any effect on that. Arguing on the internet made my position much stronger. Now I support third trimester abortions on philosophical grounds (though for the sake of the women I hope they aren’t needed).

              • Carol Lynn

                Do you want to absolutely ban abortion after the end of second trimester? NO exceptions? Not for the life of the mother? Not for non-viability of the fetus? If you say, “well, of course, I didn’t mean that it should be banned absolutely. There are times when a late term abortion is necessary.” then why not leave it to the woman and her doctor? Why do YOU have to be involved in strangers’ pregnancies and second guess their medical conditions?

                • purrtriarchy

                  meh, c petersen once argued that slavery would be moral if all of society agreed that it would be moral…

                  he didn’t think that maybe the slaves should be consulted too…

                • Carol Lynn

                  Who are slaves in your mind? The women or the fetuses?

                • purrtriarchy

                  I am pro-choice

                  the women of course

                • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  I still believe that. I know of no way to judge morality except by the standards of the society that creates it.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Yeah.

                  Except, the slaves are *part* of that society..

                  And what if they don’t like the idea of being slaves?

                  In ancient Rome, slaves outnumbered Roman citizens..

                  Why should the pov of a slave count for nothing?

                • Anat

                  The social consensus changes. And it changes because individuals change
                  their minds. Somebody thinks ‘the social consensus on X is wrong!’. Can
                  you imagine yourself coming up with such a thought?

                • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  Did you read what I wrote? I didn’t say there shouldn’t be third trimester abortions. I said I was okay with purely elective abortions not normally being allowed after the second trimester. My ethics don’t require that, but I think those of society probably do.

              • Leah

                So if, at some point, society concedes (not uniformly, but a good majority) that abortion is immoral, would you be fine with it being outlawed (except for in some of those extreme cases)?

                • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  Of course. Our laws follow our societal moral code (although sometimes they lag). My personal moral code would still hold that there’s nothing wrong with abortion, but my personal code is not, and should not, be what determines the laws an entire society operates under.

                  We should never attempt to legislate morality. Rather, our legislation should be driven by our morality.

                • Leah

                  That sounds fair.

          • Leah

            What about if a baby was born with deformities that the ultrasounds did not pick up. This doesn’t happen all the time, but happens often enough. Would you be ok with a decision to kill the baby?

            • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

              It’s not an answerable question. I’m not opposed to euthanasia, but you’ve provided nowhere near enough information for me to respond with a simple yes or no.

            • allein

              That would depend on the deformity. If it was something incompatible with life such that the baby will die in a matter of hours or days, I don’t have a problem with the parents choosing to help it along (I’m thinking something like anencephaly). Something that they can live a reasonably decent, if challenged, life with, perhaps Down syndrome or missing/deformed limbs, then no. There are a million in-betweens, however, and then I would have to honestly say, I don’t know.

              • Leah

                All right, I hear you. Although with the first example, I’d prefer to make the baby comfortable as best as possible rather than kill it right away. But that is based on my personal idea of personhood.

                • allein

                  I would as well; I would probably want to hold my child. But I wouldn’t try to make that decision for anyone else.

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

              Why not? We have Fido and Fluffy “put down” to spare them suffering; should we not offer the same to humans? (Or, in the case of a gravely ill infant or child, should we not offer the parents the same choice?) How is it moral (or humane) to force a person to suffer?

              • purrtriarchy

                I spent a couple of days reading LAN and the asshats there made some compelling arguments for anencephalic babies:

                1) they might feel pain, or maybe they won’t, so we should err on the safe side and not cut them up in the womb

                2) an anencephalic baby should be allowed to live and *experience life* even if it is only for a few short hours or days

                Love #2

              • Leah

                What counts as gravely ill to you?

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

                  I’m comfortable leaving that determination up to doctors, but it does include conditions incompatible with life (such as anencephaly.

        • Anat

          Personally, I think humans develop personhood some time after birth. I wouldn’t be opposed to moving legal personhood to a timepoint somewhat after birth, as long as it is well before the earliest known development of behaviors significant for being a person.

          • Leah

            Would you be willing to respond to my question, then?

  • Bee Ess

    pffft

    ‘Pro-life’ people would be protesting and throwing tomatoes at prisons which kill prisoners who have been given the death penalty. They would be picketing nursing homes which allow ancient residents to stop taking nutrients and fluids in order to die. And as you say they would be actively visible advocating for birth control at every turn. They don’t, of course.

    ‘Pro-life’ people are about controlling women, particularly the fertile females, same thing our primate cousins the chimpanzees are so preoccupied with.

    Don’t let them set the terms of the debate by using their language.

    Thanks for your work, Hemant.

    • Bee Ess

      Would like to add: those who wish to end abortion might like to consider a few things. One, why are so many pregnancies naturally aborted? Does their God have some issue with those particular embryos or fetuses? Maybe get some education about biology. Two, why do people resort to abortion? Study the reasons, this information is available. Does it have something to do with a culture that is inhospitable to women who have little in the way of support, especially financial support? There are other reasons, too that a sincere anti-abortion person might want to know.

      • Josh Oakley

        The first two questions are non-sequiturs, since we’re talking about ATHEIST pro-lifers.

      • UnePetiteAnana

        People also die from accidents, natural causes, etc. but it’s still not legal for humans to choose to murder a person by sticking scissors in the back of their neck and severing their spinal chord, or bathe them in saline solution, or kill poison them.

        • badgerchild

          Gee, that might be because murder victims are born people whose right to live does not depend on damage to the rights and/or body of a person upon whom they are inseparably physically dependent. That wasn’t hard.

          • UnePetiteAnana

            You said a whole bunch, but didn’t really say anything at all.

            • badgerchild

              I guess I have to dumb it down for you then. Murder victims are born people with their own independent rights. They are not pregnancies with rights that cannot be separated from the rights of the pregnant woman’s. They are different.

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

          It is legal for people to kill other people by refusing to donate bone marrow, blood, or organs though.

          • UnePetiteAnana

            That’s not actively killing them. That’s not taking their life into your hands.

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

              Well then abortion isn’t killing either. It’s merely removing the embryo/fetus from the body. The fact that the fetus requires an ongoing blood and nutrient and organ donation to live doesn’t mean the abortion procedure kills anything. It just removes the organ thief from its illegitimate location and then death naturally ensues. You can’t have my organs, fetus can’t have my organs- death either way. They are of equal moral consequence.

              If organ and fluid donations must be consensual, they must be consensual all the time, even for pregnant women. Unless, of course, you don’t think pregnant women actually have the right to control who uses their bodies, how, and when?

            • purrtriarchy

              Abortion is self-defense.

        • KrisDStar

          Actually, the legal systems kills people all the time. Ever hear of the death penalty? That is humans choosing to kill another human by poisoning them.

        • Anat

          Yes, but all these people are not living inside other people’s bodies, are not potentially endangering other people’s health merely by existing.

    • Johnee

      Yeah, but you are talking about ‘pro-life’ religious right/dominionist nut jobs.

      BTW your second paragraph is not quite accurate, since so many of them are women. Female religious fundamentalists are evey bit as rabid as their male counterparts. I live in Texas; believe me, I know.

      • Carla

        You assume that other women cannot be motivated by acceptance of patriarchal ideas to want to control other fertile women?

        • Johnee

          C’mon. While the stereotype barefoot and pregnant hillbilly wife that has a bible bangin tyrant of a husband exists… you are over-simplifying things. Toxic gender roles go both ways. Many of these are trad/con matriarchal ideas as well. I have been at many a dinner table with a spoiled child like matriarch. A lot of these religious/conservative women don’t want to be adults but an eternal child that is patronized and catered to…FOREVER.

      • Bee Ess

        Where did I say this was limited to males?

        • Johnne

          My bad. You did not. However their motivation may be different “Ya’ll gotta hev them babies fer Jeebus. cuz Jeebus jus luuuuvs them babies”.

          Now of course it’s still about control, well…. because religion is ALWAYS about control. But that is not how they rationalize it.

          • Leah

            Which regional dialect are you imitating here?

            • badgerchild

              There is a certain dialect commonly associated with Christian fundamentalists in Texas, who because of their views avoid what they consider to be the opportunity of sin as much as possible. This includes, but is not limited to, having unacceptable thoughts and entering situations, such as academic ones, in which unacceptable thoughts are common. They are anti-culture, anti-reason, anti-science, and anti-intelligence. They congregate in country towns where that sort of dialect is common. I know people in such towns who are not Christian fundamentalists, but they are in much more of a minority than people with similar views in a city. If I was to try to portray someone with anti-rational views that derive from their Christian fundamentalism, I would choose the accent typical of the people who hold those views.

              Glad to help out.

              • Guest

                something tells me Johnee is currently in therapy to deal with an abortion she had….

                wishing you healing Johnee.

                • badgerchild

                  Oh, what tells you that? Nothing in this thread, surely. Are you just being fake-condescending?

              • Johnee

                Hey, you picked up on it! Very observant.

                Oh, and yes it was not simply mocking; as you say they (fundie rednecks in Texas) typically do speak that way

                • badgerchild

                  I’m sorry, I’m a little lost. Is Leah your sockpuppet?

                • badgerchild

                  OK, I got bit by the stupid system’s habit of switching names around. Sorry. It originally said a different name, but it corrected itself. Thanks, Disqus, for making me look like an ass.

                • Johnee

                  Lol No worries.

                  I bet I’ve got you beat in the ass hattery department for stuff like that.

                • Leah

                  Love it.

              • Leah

                Do they say “Jeebus” too, or did you just get that from the Simpsons?

                • Johnee

                  No, that small bit was the actual mocking part.

                  To be clear, I will reserve personal attacks on a limited basis if the person(s) has exhibited a very clear disdain for reason and critical thought, is a bigot, or both; this is not simply because I disagree with them.

                  Oh, and yes I recognize the difference between a well meaning person that is just displaying ignorance and some one that holds toxic anti-science, fundamentalist dogma, and racist, anti-gay beliefs.

              • Lucky

                where do you think science came from? who created it?

                • Johnee

                  Lemee guess….you are going to say god, right?

                • badgerchild

                  Are you high?

                • badgerchild

                  Damn, I got zapped by that name thing again, Johnee, I meant to reply to “Lucky”.

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

                  …yes. Yes I am.

                • Lucky

                  I was ASKING the question. funny how it was avoided with no answer?….

                • badgerchild

                  I tried to answer you but Disqus is a brat. The answer to your question is that the origin of science is completely irrelevant. Suppose you make your case for why atheists should or should not be for or against a pregnant woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, and we answer that. We can talk about whether there is or is not a God in other discussions.

                • Lucky

                  How come Atheists always avoid the question of where they think science came from? OR how we all came to be?

                  I do not think religion and abortions have to be intertwined. I am about protecting an innocent human life that cannot defend itself. Terminating a pregnancy is the most selfish act you can do. Most abortions are a result of the baby not being convenient for the mother. It is VERY rare that a women is choosing to have an abortion because it affects her life. Even a child conceived not out of love (rape, abuse, etc) deserves a chance at a life. Has anyone ever met a person who was the product of rape? They are JUST like us. Would you tell them to their face that they should have been aborted because they were conceived in a horrible way? I cannot imagine the type of person who would tell them that. We do not know what that babies life is going to be like. None of us know the future but they all deserve a shot.

                • badgerchild

                  We don’t avoid it, it just isn’t appropriate to the discussion. it has been answered all over the Internet.

                  And I recommend you read the rest of this thread for answers to the rest of your half-wit ranting

                • Lucky

                  You asked the question and I answered it for you. Why so harsh?

                • badgerchild

                  Because I think that the refusal to read, think, and stay on topic merits a certain amount of harshness.

                • Lucky

                  Suppose you make your case for why atheists should or should not be for or against a pregnant woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, and we answer that.

                  Made my case for you.

                • badgerchild

                  Where?

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

                  I have met children who were the product of rape. Some of them would have preferred never to be born, knowing how much their very existence hurts their mothers and destroyed their lives. I would never want my life at the cost of another’s freedom, and that is what you are saying. You think women are slaves to their fetuses.

                  Pregnancy is not a mere “inconvenience”. A zygote literally drills into a woman’s uterus, through the flesh and into a blood vessel so major the woman’s body cannot shut it down. It sucks blood and nutrients into itself, expelling its wastes into the woman’s bloodstream for her kidneys and liver to deal with. It injects her with hormones that raise her blood pressure, blood sugar, and suppress her immune system. None of these things are healthy- high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and low immune system are things we usually try to treat, and they can all kill or cause permanent damage (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and various infections). This all happens in ‘healthy’ pregnancies- I haven’t even gone into actual complications yet.

                • Johnee

                  Oh c’mon you had me nodding my head in agreement in the first paragraph but lost me in the second.

                  Pregnancy is natural and can be a healthy thing. While some women can and do experience complications ( my wife for example), for most women In the 21st century western world, pregnancy isn’t a high risk venture. Some of the most laziest wimpiest individuals that I have known have given birth; one of them has 6 kids.

                  We have friends in Norway (where my wife is from), Denmark, and Sweden and I have heard many remarks from our female friends there that they think a lot of American women are whiners (I’m actually being polite). As most of us know, this is the place where true feminism rules. Giving birth isn’t a big deal to them. Only in America do we coddle and have a cow about it

                • badgerchild

                  Quite a lot, if not the majority, of pregnancies in America are to low-income women. In the US, they do not have access to health support and social support networks like they do in the other countries you mention. The complications from pregnancy are more often overlooked and untreated because they don’t have the means to pay for treatment. They are more likely to happen because it’s less likely that pregnant women have proper prenatal care. The infant mortality rate in this country is shocking. What’s the country in Scandinavia that gives all new mothers, including its Queen, a box of baby supplies? There’s the difference.

                • Johnee

                  I’m not being sarcastic or pissy; this is a serious question.

                  What is the source or citation that you are using for infant mortality rates and complicated pregnancies in the US?

                • badgerchild

                  For complicated pregnancies, my own case, common sense, and talking to obstetricians about the issue over the past 25 years. I’m sure I’ve seen the issue brought up lots in other places, but I can’t link those to you so I can’t rely on them.

                  For infant mortality rates, this will do: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_infant_mortality_rate You can sort by rate by clicking the header “CIA 2013 estimates”. Check and see where we fall in comparison to other First World countries.

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

                  Natural, yes. Healthy, no. Never. Remember, I didn’t talk one bit about complications. Pregnancy always involves elevated blood pressure and blood sugar and suppressed immune system. It always involves significant stress on the heart, kidneys, bladder, and endocrine systems. It always comes with significant risks of infection, hemorrhage, organ prolapse, and pelvic floor damage.

                  Some women are lucky and have easy pregnancies. Others are not so lucky. Even those who usually have easy pregnancies and labors can have something go horribly wrong- all it takes is once. One umbilical cord wrapped around a neck, one shoulder dystocia, one transverse birth, one major genetic anomaly, one big head ripping flesh apart, one placenta not coming all the way out, one badly placed connection point in the uterus. There is no possible way to call pregnancy in general healthy or not risky, and each woman has the right to choose whether or not she wishes to go through it.

                • purrtriarchy

                  She is asserting that all pregnancies are unicorn farts and rainbows.

                  And that vaginal tearing ain’t a thing!

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

                  Feel free to copy/paste it to her. I can’t find her on this giant mess of a thread lol!

                • purrtriarchy

                  nvm misread, thought you meant to SM

                  oh, she is gone

                  she left, and whined about how LJF is an evil echo chamber…

                  she was hilarious though, she kept demanding our *medical credentials* when we told her that pregnancy wasn’t safe

                • ansuz

                  How many times has she flounced and come back, though?

                • purrtriarchy

                  2-3 times

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

                  She does realize that Niemand, at least, has those medical credentials and then some?

                • purrtriarchy

                  fyi, TSM ignored your consent lecture, and your innocent person car crash organ donation question

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

                  I am unshocked.

                • ansuz

                  “Pregnancy is natural and can be a healthy thing. While some women can and do experience complications ( my wife for example), for most women In the 21st century western world, pregnancy isn’t a high risk venture. Some of the most laziest wimpiest individuals that I have known have given birth; one of them has 6 kids.”
                  Oh, fuck you.

                • Johnee

                  Fuck you back .

                  Is my statement untrue? Are you stating that the millions of women that give birth are ALL doing something heroic? This is madness.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Yeah, they are.

                  Since pregnancy maims and kills and puts tremendous stress on a woman’s body.

                  If a person risked death and disability to save a life you would say they are heroic.

                  Well here’s a tip, pregnancy is a huge risk, that can end in death and permanent injury.

                • Johnee

                  THIS shows the idiocy of you statements.

                  Women are human beings, and as such means that just like men, there are a significant number of them that are NOT heroic and are amoral, lazy, and cowardly. Many of these women are giving birth.

                  Working as a roofer in the middle of summer can end in death, working on a construction site can end in death, working on a fishing boat can end in death. The death and injury rate for these jobs is very high. I have done all three and I don’t claim to be a hero.

                  Quite patting yourselves on the back.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Except we don’t *FORCE* people to put life and limb at risk to save others.

                  What about that don’t you understand?

                • purrtriarchy

                  p.s. you’re a fucking moron

                • Johnee

                  p.s. you’re a fucking wuss.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Yeah, because I want to avoid fecal incontinence, vaginal tearing, anemia, eclampsia, prolapsed uterus, dental and bone loss, caner, sepsis, and death.

                • Johnee

                  I didn’t say YOU should give birth genius. Are you reading what I am writing?

                  I am talking about your w-h-i-n-i-n-g.

                  If you want equality and egalitarian feminism like the tough gals in Northern Europe, then you need to suck it up and be out there with the men pulling your own weight.

                  Are you kidding? Do you know what kind of social stigma that I would face if I gave a list of potential injuries that I COULD face from some of the dangerous stuff that I’ve done and many other men do AND complained about them?

                  “Pussy” is probably the nicest thing that I would be called.

                • badgerchild

                  You’d doubtless agree that not every herb marked as “natural” is healthy to ingest. Similarly, just because pregnancy and childbirth are “natural”, it doesn’t mean they are safe and effortless. They take their toll on a woman’s body and many women’s bodies, in the absence of effective birth control and access to safe abortion, just wear out over the course of several pregnancies one right after the other until they die. Once an organism can no longer effectively reproduce, it has no particular worth in the evolutionary scheme. Human beings choose to expend resources to keep the old and sick alive, but the body itself has no such scruples.

                • ansuz

                  Poo is also natural. Dying in childbirth is natural.
                  Yes. Giving birth is heroic. I’d kill myself rather than do it.

                • Johnee

                  You have a disproportionate sense of reality.

                  Kill yourself? I hope you get help.

                • ansuz

                  I get lots of help, thanks.

                • purrtriarchy

                  IMO Johnee is the biggest fuckwit on the blog today.

                  EDITED: used a bad werd

                • Johnee

                  Quis ut Deus is the biggest whiny little girl on the blog today.

                  FYI I am treating you exactly the same as I would a man if he brought me this “oh poor me” whiny crap.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Yeah, I am whiny for pointing out medical fact

                  Oh, the horror

                • Johnee

                  No you are whiny thinking that the world should be perfect and completely risk free, when others statistically face far greater dangers and don’t utter a peep.

                • purrtriarchy

                  No, dumbass. I don’t believe that.

                  i believe that we shouldn’t FORCE people to take risks that they don’t want to take.

                  For instance, I can’t force you to swim in shark infested waters even though your chances of dying from a shark attack are lower than dying of a bee sting. EVEN IF it would save a life.

                  Understand now?

                • Johnee

                  Yeah? What’s your point? Why do you think I would argue with that ? No one is forcing you to have a baby.

                • purrtriarchy

                  You have been bragging about how macho your wife is, and how no one else should be afraid to take on the risk of pregnancy because she’s so fucking macho and so are you

                  Spare me.

                • Johnee

                  Uh no never said that. She essentially responding to the Henny Penny the sky is falling list where you made it like most pregnancies are the same as being in a war zone. She was calling THAT for the bullshit that it is. Totally different!

                  Oh, and she is macho. You could learn a thing or two from her. Like why don’t you actually get your hands dirty and help someone change a tire on the road for once, learn how to fix a car, or learn to how to fix a toilet by yourself.

                • purrtriarchy

                  287,000 women die per year, worldwide, from pregnancy

                  Pregnancy is the leading cause of death amongst adolscent girls worldwide

                  Pregnancy is the #2 killer of women worldwide between the ages of 15-44

                  In certain African countries it is customary for women to bid goodbye to their families before labour because death is so common.

                  Pregnancy throughout history has been the top killer of women. Only in modern times, and in first world countries, has it become relatively safe.

                  This does not erase the fact that pregnancy, in it’s ‘natural’ state, without modern medical intervention, is dangerous as fuck.

                  Like why don’t you actually get your hands dirty and help someone change a tire on the road for once, learn how to fix a car, or learn to how to fix a toilet by yourself.

                  Hey asshole, I have 1) changed flat tired – on a truck btw, took me hours but I finally managed to lift the huge fucking tire onto the rim 2) I collect my own wood, and this summer I moved 3 fucking cords of birch all by HAND. I cut the trees with my 353 Husqvarna, and I carried them to my house by hand in a wagon.

                  So fuck you.

                • purrtriarchy

                  OH, and I shovel my road.

                  By hand.

                  In the winter.

                  Wet snow.

                  I live in the country, it’s a long road, uphill.

                • Johnee

                  “In first world countries” it’s relatively safe.

                  Exactly!! Hello!! I never said tribal communities without adequate medical care had an easy time of it. The modern world has taken a of the shit that used to be high risk for both men and women and reduced it dramatically.

                  YOU live in one these first world countries. I am talking about western women. They aren’t all heroes, which is what you have been claiming.

                  As for your last paragraph…good for you. Keep doing more.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Yes, but first world countries are not without risk, that’s the thing.

                  And pregnancy is still not a state of wellness.

                  Birth is painful.

                  I would rather not take that risk – no matter how small.

                  And if someone does not wish to be pregnant, pregnancy can be a deeply unpleasant experience.

                  And even if someone DOES wish to be pregnant, it isn’t all fairy farts and unicorns.

                  I think you would be hard pressed to find a woman who says she enjoys morning sickness, and all of the other associated disabilities that come with pregnancy.

                  The person who is facing that risk should be the ONLY person who gets to decide whether or not they will continue on that path.

                  No on else.

                • purrtriarchy

                  http://www.husqvarna.com/asia/products-2526/chainsaws/353/

                  It is a beautiful saw.

                  Dont’ be too jealous.

                  Damn near broke my heart when I had to get it dirty:((

                  Easy to start too – don’t even have to choke it.

                • Anat

                  Anyone who is arguing to limit access to legal abortion is forcing someone somewhere to have a baby they do not want.

                • Johnee

                  WTF ? Why do you keep throwing out points that I am not arguing with?

                • ansuz

                  He certainly doesn’t have much regard for mental health.

                  (Yeah, I’m not a fan of the word you originally used.)

                • Johnee

                  This from the person that said she would rather “kill herself”

                  I DO have a very high regard for mental health. I am not joking and very serious when say I hope that you get help for this.

                • ansuz

                  I told you that I am getting help. Lots of help. I have mental health issues, and what you were doing was trivializing those issues while dismissing my view because of them.

                • Johnee

                  Hey if that is the case, I sincerely apologize.I was not trying to trivialize your issues and I really do hope you are making progress in your therapy.

                  I made an assumption on gender because of your handle. My bad. Sorry.

                • ansuz

                  Thanks for the apology :)

                • ansuz

                  And I am not a ‘her’. Please use gender-neutral pronouns when referring to me. Wikipedia has a nice page of them and I have no preference among them.
                  Thanks in advance.

                • purrtriarchy

                  DianaG2 is dumber than a fencepost.

                  She has been mocking us here:

                  http://liveactionnews.org/parents-share-their-son-with-the-world-though-he-only-lived-5-hours/#comment-1148057033

                  With all her pals, claiming that we are stupid, uneducated, vile, hateful, depraved, sick, baby killing monsters.

                • ansuz

                  *sigh*
                  Almost certainly a fair amount of stigmatizing of mental illness going on there, too, after the things I said.

                • purrtriarchy

                  There is no such thing as a healthy pregnancy.

                  Every pregnancy has side effects.

                  Normal, frequent
                  or expectable temporary side effects of pregnancy:

                  exhaustion (weariness
                  common from first weeks)

                  altered appetite
                  and senses of taste and smell

                  nausea and vomiting
                  (50% of women, first trimester)

                  heartburn and indigestion

                  constipation

                  weight gain

                  dizziness and light-headedness

                  bloating, swelling,
                  fluid retention

                  hemmorhoids

                  abdominal cramps

                  yeast infections

                  congested, bloody
                  nose

                  acne and mild skin
                  disorders

                  skin discoloration
                  (chloasma, face and abdomen)

                  mild to severe backache
                  and strain

                  increased headaches

                  difficulty sleeping,
                  and discomfort while sleeping

                  increased urination
                  and incontinence

                  bleeding gums

                  pica

                  breast pain and
                  discharge

                  swelling of joints,
                  leg cramps, joint pain

                  difficulty sitting,
                  standing in later pregnancy

                  inability to take
                  regular medications

                  shortness of breath

                  higher blood pressure

                  hair loss

                  tendency to anemia

                  curtailment of ability
                  to participate in some sports and activities

                  infection
                  including from serious and potentially fatal disease

                  (pregnant women are immune suppressed compared with
                  non-pregnant women, and
                  are more susceptible to fungal and certain other diseases)

                  extreme pain on
                  delivery

                  hormonal mood changes,
                  including normal post-partum depression

                  continued post-partum
                  exhaustion and recovery period (exacerbated if a c-section
                  – major surgery — is required, sometimes taking up to a full year to
                  fully recover)

                  Normal, expectable,
                  or frequent PERMANENT side effects of pregnancy:

                  stretch marks (worse
                  in younger women)

                  loose skin

                  permanent weight
                  gain or redistribution

                  abdominal and vaginal
                  muscle weakness

                  pelvic floor disorder
                  (occurring in as many as 35% of middle-aged former child-bearers
                  and 50% of elderly former child-bearers, associated with urinary and rectal
                  incontinence, discomfort and reduced quality of life — aka prolapsed utuerus,
                  the malady sometimes badly fixed by the transvaginal mesh)

                  changes to breasts

                  varicose veins

                  scarring from episiotomy
                  or c-section

                  other permanent
                  aesthetic changes to the body (all of these are downplayed
                  by women, because the culture values youth and beauty)

                  increased proclivity
                  for hemmorhoids

                  loss of dental and
                  bone calcium (cavities and osteoporosis)

                  higher lifetime risk of developing Altzheimer’s

                  newer research indicates
                  microchimeric cells, other bi-directional exchanges of DNA, chromosomes, and other bodily material between fetus and
                  mother (including with “unrelated” gestational surrogates)

                  Occasional complications
                  and side effects:

                  complications of episiotomy

                  spousal/partner
                  abuse

                  hyperemesis gravidarum

                  temporary and permanent
                  injury to back

                  severe
                  scarring
                  requiring later surgery
                  (especially after additional pregnancies)

                  dropped (prolapsed)
                  uterus (especially after additional pregnancies, and other
                  pelvic floor weaknesses — 11% of women, including cystocele, rectocele,
                  and enterocele)

                  pre-eclampsia
                  (edema and hypertension, the most common complication of pregnancy, associated
                  with eclampsia, and affecting 7 – 10% of pregnancies)

                  eclampsia (convulsions,
                  coma during pregnancy or labor, high risk of death)

                  gestational diabetes

                  placenta previa

                  anemia (which
                  can be life-threatening)

                  thrombocytopenic
                  purpura

                  severe cramping

                  embolism
                  (blood clots)

                  medical disability
                  requiring full bed rest (frequently ordered during part of
                  many pregnancies varying from days to months for health of either mother
                  or baby)

                  diastasis recti,
                  also torn abdominal muscles

                  mitral valve stenosis
                  (most common cardiac complication)

                  serious infection
                  and disease (e.g. increased risk of tuberculosis)

                  hormonal imbalance

                  ectopic pregnancy
                  (risk of death)

                  broken bones (ribcage,
                  “tail bone”)

                  hemorrhage
                  and

                  numerous other complications
                  of delivery

                  refractory gastroesophageal
                  reflux disease

                  aggravation of pre-pregnancy
                  diseases and conditions (e.g. epilepsy is present in .5%
                  of pregnant women, and the pregnancy alters drug metabolism and treatment
                  prospects all the while it increases the number and frequency of seizures)

                  severe post-partum
                  depression and psychosis

                  research now indicates
                  a possible link between ovarian cancer and female fertility treatments,
                  including “egg harvesting” from infertile women and donors

                  research also now
                  indicates correlations between lower breast cancer survival rates and proximity
                  in time to onset of cancer of last pregnancy

                  research also indicates
                  a correlation between having six or more pregnancies and a risk of coronary
                  and cardiovascular disease

                  Less common (but
                  serious) complications:

                  peripartum cardiomyopathy

                  cardiopulmonary
                  arrest

                  magnesium toxicity

                  severe hypoxemia/acidosis

                  massive embolism

                  increased intracranial
                  pressure, brainstem infarction

                  molar pregnancy,
                  gestational trophoblastic disease
                  (like a pregnancy-induced
                  cancer)

                  malignant arrhythmia

                  circulatory collapse

                  placental abruption

                  obstetric fistula

                  More
                  permanent side effects:

                  future infertility

                  permanent disability

                  death.

                • Johnee

                  The severity differs in large degree depending on the woman.

                  Sorry but the gloom and doom of your last few are well…let me just say my beautiful Norwegian born wife walked by and read some of these and other comments and said “Awwww poor baby”.

                  She fully expects a “fuck you”.

                • badgerchild

                  Your Norwegian wife is, I’m sorry to say, an ignorant, compassionless, condescending twit sadly in need of a few lessons in what it’s really like to be poor, sick, and desperate. But I won’t go so far as to actually wish that on her, because I do know what it’s like.

                • Johnee

                  She’s talking about the whining and moaning you are doing…not poor desperate and sick people. Way to straw man.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Yeah. Good for her. She should get a medal for her bravery.

                  Just because she has heroic pain resistance does not mean that the rest of the world has to feel the same way.

                  What is true for her might not be true for others.

                  How a person experiences pain and *disaibility* is purely relative

                  Which is why medical decisions are best left to the people who are pregnant.

                  And not anyone else.

                  Is that too hard to understand?

                • Johnee

                  Is this hard for you to understand?

                  I am not arguing but agreeing with “my body my choice”, so I don’t even know why you are bringing THAT up or where it came from.

                  Secondly, OF COURSE it isn’t 100% hunky dory safe for everyone in every circumstance!!!!

                • purrtriarchy

                  BTW, kudos for your wife, if she thinks she would be happy to live like this for the rest of her life:

                  http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/obstetric_fistula/4_fistula_incontinence.jpg

                  Not everyone is as brave as her!

                  You should also go here:

                  http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/dec/10/torn-apart-by-childbirth

                  And tell these women who are suffering from fecal incontinence that their pain is a joke and that they are a bunch of fucking crybabies because they aren’t loving that colostomy bag.

                • johnee

                  You are giving examples of what CAN happen. Way to straw man it again.

                  She would never ridicule anyone that is suffering from medical complications.

                • KrisDStar

                  What does happen.

                • KrisDStar

                  Exactly how is an entity that is living inside a woman taking all of her nutrients and energy, increasing her blood pressure, increasing her heart size, putting pressure on her hip and pelvic bones in any way construed as “healthy?”

                  A “healthy” pregnancy and birth is one in which both the mother and infant retain life. Maternal morbidity is high.

                • Anat

                  No, it is in countries with proper medical systems that women are properly cared for. The US does very poorly with maternal health care.

                  But the point is, any pregnancy can very suddenly take a turn to the worse. And it can impact one’s health negatively in the long term. Gestational diabetes increases the risk for chronic diabetes. Blood pressure problems from pregnancy increase the risk for cardiovascular problems later on. And birth itself can go wrong in so many ways.

                  It is one thing to see the risks and take them out of choice, because one wants the outcome. But to force risks on other people is immoral.

                • purrtriarchy

                  The woman is incapable of defending herself from the ravages of pregnancy unless she chooses to expel the attacker through abortion.

                  And what Ferminerd said: I, and many other pro-choicers, are not so selfish that we would feel *entitled* to another person’s body just so we can live.

                  Unlike you, I don’t think my right to live overrides your riight to freedom.

                • KrisDStar

                  We don’t ignore how we came to be. We study evolution, we know how we came to be. It is you that refuses to acknowledge the evidence and replace with unsubstantiated claims.

                  At no point in the history of humanity has the “chance of life” been held above the right of those already living.

                • Anat

                  Science comes from observation, experimentation and thought. And I thought we know at least the big picture of how ‘we’ came to be.

                  Many woman who terminate pregnancies are already mothers. Many women who terminate pregnancies go on to have one or more children at a later time. If adding another child turns living conditions for existing children from barely OK to unstable, isn’t it more selfish to have that extra child than not? If one can terminate a pregnancy in order to have a child at a later time when one expects conditions to be better for one’s child, wouldn’t having a child *now* be selfish?

                  As for conception as a result of rape – it is the pregnant person’s choice whether to bring the pregnancy to term, not anyone else’s. I wouldn’t tell anyone that they should have been aborted because it is not my choice to make, it was their respective mothers’, and once they are born the choice was already made. but I do know at least one case of a woman who regretted the fact that she did not have the choice of abortion (it wasn’t a legal option at the time and place). Her relationship with said child was problematic until the child grew up and left home.

                • DavidMHart

                  where do you think science came from? who created it?

                  We did, of course. Gradually and painstakingly, building up our abilities over the centuries, adding to the work of those who had gone before, we worked out how to count, how to measure distances, how to add, subtract, multiply and divide, how to perform more complex mathematical arrangements, how to measure weights and volumes, how to perform statistical analysis, how to get better data by taking larger samples, how to use control groups to see what your testing against, how to only change one variable at a time, how to ‘blind’ our experiments to try to keep out biases, how to discover our cognitive biases so as to better compensate for them, how to do calculus to allow us to work out the trajectory of objects in space, how to build tools to bend light so as to allow us to see things too small or far away to see with the naked eye, how to detect forces that we have no native senses to detect, such as radio waves, etc etc etc. What other answer could you possibly expect?

                • Lucky

                  And who gave us the ability to do all of the above? Where did that come from?

                • badgerchild

                  This is not an argument about the existence of God. That argument is outside the scope of this comment thread. If you want to argue the existence of God, I invite you to participate in the forums in which it is being discussed right now.

                • Lucky

                  Oh it’s not? Gee thanks.

                • badgerchild

                  No, it’s not, because you can’t bring God into the discussion without affirmatively demonstrating that such a thing exists, which you cannot do. All you are doing is taking potshots at science. Even if you managed to demolish all of science, it would not constitute a proof for your God. And the arguments would take up time that we want to use to address narrower questions about atheism and abortion.

                • DavidMHart

                  And who gave us the ability to do all of the above? Where did that come from?

                  Well, the first thing to note is that you have completely shifted the goalposts. “Where did science come from” is a completely different question to “Where did our collective ability to create science come from”.

                  The second thing to note is that you are presupposing that there was a ‘who’ in the first place (i.e. the word ‘who’ rather than ‘what’ strongly implies that you think that the source of our cognitive abilities was a sentient person rather than a non-sentient process), without presenting any evidence at all to justify you making that assumption.

                  As it happens, we have turned our scientific talents onto that question, and all the evidence points to the conclusion that our cognitive abilities developed gradually over many generations by a process of evolution by natural selection, from the first self-replicating molecules, to the simples cells, to more complex cells, to the simples multicellular life, to the first multicellular life to have specialised tasks for different tissues, to the first life to have real-time control by way of simple nervous systems, to more complicated nervous systems, to fully centralised nervous systems with a control centre, gradually becoming complex enough to be called a ‘brain’, to developing sentience and consciousness, to developing more complex conscious problem-solving abilites, to developing symbolic language to allow us to network our conscious problem-solving abilities, to developing writing to allow us to store and reproduce the results of our verbal networkings until we reach the start of my last post about where science came from.

                  Of course, some things are still to be fully worked out. How the first self-replicating molecules came into existence (abiogenesis) is still an open question, indeed, one which may never be conclusively answered given the sheer time elapsed since then, and to what degree memetic selection rather than genetic selection may have driven the unique development of the human brain with its powers of reasoning and communication that outstrip even our closest non-human competitors (so far as we can tell) … but to claim that this question as a whole is still a mystery, or to assume that there is any good evidence at all that a god did it, is just perverse given our present state of knowledge.

                • KrisDStar

                  That would be the telltale sign of someone who didn’t pay attention in high school when the teacher taught evolution.

                • Anat

                  Evolution. Biological and cultural. Standing on shoulders of giants.

                • Guest

                  Nobody created science, derp.

          • Lucky

            how is religion all about control? enlighten us.

    • brianbrianbrian1

      Some pro-life are, but not all. It’s like labeling all atheists the same way.

      Re language use, one of the funny terms I find is ‘fetus.’ If you are keeping the child, everyone says “how is your baby doing?” The pro-choice movement pulled in a technical scientific term to make it not “your baby.”

      • badgerchild

        The distinction is a necessary one. Otherwise the anti-choice contingent could continue to obfuscate the issue by claiming pregnant women are “baby killers” in full knowledge that the automatic mental picture they create is of someone murdering their born child. Since the key issue is whether the pregnant woman has the right to decide what to do with the pregnancy while she is still pregnant, calling a fetus a baby is a deliberate attempt to avoid that key issue and ignore the pregnant woman.

        • brianbrianbrian1

          You guys are reversing history. No one chose to “call a fetus a baby” as some sort of assault on women. Pro-choice people did not one day “let people decide” whether to use the term baby. Fetus is a recent technical term applied to get rid of the term baby, basically to dehumanize.

          • badgerchild

            Nope, it’s a scientific term meant to precisely define the period between “embryo” and “neonate”. Forced-birthers choose not to use the precise term because precision works against their propaganda.

            • brianbrianbrian1

              Do you use “homo-sapien” instead of person? Canis lupis familiaris for dog?

              There are technical terms for most things. The questions are why is it used here, when did this use start, and for what purpose? Answer: It was introduced specifically to dehumanize and justify abortion. It’s Orwellian basically.

              • badgerchild

                No, you are wrong. When the words were introduced, and for what purpose, is a red herring. What would be my purpose in deliberately choosing a scientific term unless I had a reason to do so? The fact is that the forced-birth brigade deliberately chooses the word they choose for the reason that it clouds the issue most effectively, just like all propagandists.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  That is a bizarre argument. The word ‘baby’ was in use long ago before the whole abortion debate. It was used by average folks just talking, not because they were part of some “forced-birth brigade.” It is fetus that has been introduced recently for political reasons.

                  Also: You say why the term is used is a red herring…but then you suggest this is exactly what the pro-lifers have done. Either the why matters or it does not. And for words, “why” always matters (read some Wittgenstein).

                • badgerchild

                  Thanks for your unnecessary condescension. The issue is not one of linguistics but of deliberate word choice on the part of forced-birthers to conflate fetuses with neonates. The distinction is important, and the refusal of the so-called “pro life” contingent to recognize the distinction says a lot about them, mostly that they’re anti-intellectual and anti-reality.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  My gosh you like to insult rather than discuss. Anti-intellectual, anti-reality, and fanatical have all come off your tongue in a few minutes.

                  Not sure what the condescension is. I simply pointed out that you contradicted yourself. Your most recent answer again supports the idea that why a word is used matters. So, I think we agree now on this point.

                  Your last entry is muddled. The “distinction is important” is exactly what’s being debated. It is a deliberate intent to change word usage. And, as I mentioned, only used when you are not keeping the child. Whether you are keeping it or not, the entity is the same. But if your sister is keeping a child, it’s her “baby.” If someone else is not, “fetus” gets used. The shift to different labels is mere politics.

                • badgerchild

                  I see you are recognizing the pregnant woman’s choice here. Very good, that’s progress.

                  I also see that you’re trying to accuse me of committing certain ad hominem fallacies. It is an affirmative defense that the thing you are saying about the person is true. It is true that pro-lifers avoid thinking about facts that conflict with their irrational beliefs, and that those beliefs, if unquestioned, are fanatical.

                  My last entry corrects a muddled notion of your own. It is popular to think that etymology determines current meaning, but that is an error. Etymology only describes the linguistic history of a word’s development. The words mean what they mean right now, and the fact is that the scientific terms are “embryo”, “fetus”, and “neonate” for the stages of fetal development and birth. They are not and were not attempts to dehumanize anything. “Fetus” in particular is Latin and dates from ancient times.

                  “Baby” has a common meaning. When you say, “Look, there’s a baby”, you aren’t pointing at a pregnant woman, but at a born child. Anti-choicers deliberately use that common meaning to make people think that pregnant women who seek to terminate their own pregnancies are as bad as murderers of born children.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  I wasn’t arguing etymology. I was pointing to the use of words. A scientific word has recently been introduced into common usage. The introduction was for a political purpose and is done selectively – fetus if aborting, baby if not. The common usage of baby is not quite what you say – we use it for the newborn and for the unborn child if you are keeping it. Go to some meeting for pregnant couples and see how they talk.

                  The paragraph I just gave you is full of facts. Since you keep ignoring them, I guess I should classify you as a fanatic using your terminology. I won’t however – despite your condescension, the debate is between reasonable people both drawing on evidence.

                • badgerchild

                  The scientific word has been in use for medical purposes for literally hundreds if not thousands of years. I don’t know how to convince you other than to point you to online dictionaries and such. It is not the conspiracy you appear to be convinced of. In this case the facts are on my side, not yours.

                  Since my opinions are based in fact, and because they are arrived at through a logical process of questioning, and because I would change my mind if someone presented me with a compelling reason to privilege the fetus over the woman carrying it, I am not a fanatic.

                  Words do have meanings. And, of course, known histories.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  For the 19th time, I am not debating how long the term has been in a scientific text. Please read what I’ve said. No one uses the scientific word for dog…they say dog. The importing of a scientific term into common usage is very new. It has been put forth by the pro-choice movement. It does this because baby makes us think human and fetus does not (i.e. for political reasons). And, it is done inconsistently according to whether you are keeping the child or not. We like thinking of a child we are keeping as a human; we don’t like this thought when we are aborting. The entity does not change, only the terminology does.

                  P.S. I did not call anyone a fanatic. Again, please read.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  For the 19th time, I am not arguing when the word was invented technically. We don’t use technical terms generally. What has shifted is the common usage. This shift is: i) recent; ii) promulgated by the pro-choice movement; iii) done for a political purpose of de-humanizing. Baby makes us squirm. Fetus makes it easy. iv) The term is applied inconsistently. It’s used when you are aborting but baby is used if you are keeping it despite the entity being the same.

                  p.s. I did not call you a fanatic. Again, please read. My point is that b/c you think your position is the most reasonable, everyone else becomes unreasonable and fanatic. I have been dropping reasons for a half hour (which of course, you may feel are wrong) so fanatic is NOT relevant for describing either one of us.

                • badgerchild

                  OK, I disagree. The word “fetus” by the pro-choice people is 1) not new and 2) not done for the purpose of de-humanizing something, because nobody argues that human fetuses are not human. The word is the correct choice in the context of pointing out the autonomy of the pregnant woman. The word “baby” is the correct choice in the context of attempting to cast pregnant women as the equivalent of murderers of born children.

                  Careful speakers will try to avoid engaging in loaded words, even if they were not the ones who loaded them. Maybe my use of “pregnancy” is a better choice.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  It’s now new? Do you think if you searched historical documents in the 1930s, you would find “fetus” in common usage? Did your grandparents in their youth talk about the fetus? How about 1880? 1750? It’s entirely new to use this term in daily speech. That, respectfully, is a fact.

                  Then you say no one argues that human fetuses are not human. Well, actually, this is a key plank of the pro-choice movement. “It’s just a bunch of cells.”

                  And of course, you ignored my point IV that the term is applied inconsistently. (You say it is used to make aborting folks into murderers. Really? The pregnant folks at a prenatal class aren’t just using the term colloquially, but are trying to label others murderers? And the pro-choice person who asks her pregnant friend how the baby is, is really trying to label someone a murderer? And again you ignore history – the usage of this term for the unborn predates this debate).

                  What I have said above does not negate making a pro-choice argument but there is little doubt that using this term in common language is new, derives from a political agenda, and is applied inconsistently. These, my friend, are facts.

                • badgerchild

                  The idea that it needs to be used in daily speech makes no sense whatsoever. I explained why it is used, for precision in medical contexts. When we need to talk about the subject precisely, we use the precise word. That is what it is for. The fact that we didn’t discuss abortion in the 1930s does not make the use of the word today sinister. The continued use of “baby” in an inappropriate context by anti-choicers is a deliberate tactic, however.

                  Yes, it’s a bunch of cells. Human cells. Nobody is attempting to say they’re not human cells. What other kind of cells would they be, Pomeranian?

                  The pregnant folks in a Lamaze class, and the friend of the pregnant woman speaking colloquially, are quite simply and obviously not using the word in the context I specified.

                  Please, please take your fingers out of your ears. You know damn full well that the anti-choicers use “baby” because they want to conflate the unborn and the born at the expense of the rights of the pregnant woman. It would be more honest of them to come out and just say, “The rights of the fetus are the same as the rights of the neonate” if that is what they mean, but they are using a propaganda trick to convince with an emotional word what they can’t defend with an actual argument.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  I did not say it was “sinister” but political. The pro-lifers (or anti-choicers per your lingo) use baby because they think it’s a baby. Pro-choicers made a tactical decision to use technical jargon because it sounds cold and unhuman. It was a deliberate strategy. One may argue it is justified, but the history of i) language changed, ii) done by a specific party; and iii) for a specific political reason is straightforward.

                  And, again, you ignore that pro-choicers alternate their choice of terms. You say it’s “contextual” – yes, precisely, but the context is not, as you say, medical precision. The term is not new to medicine at all. The use in daily language depends on a different context: does the women want to keep the baby or not? One term emphasizes its humanity, whereas the other lacks this.

                • badgerchild

                  I don’t call them “pro-lifers” because they are considering only one life of the two important, and also because they typically don’t even value that life much after it’s born.

                  You did not in fact use the actual word sinister, but you heavily implied it by claiming a “cold, unhuman political agenda”. (What else did you think we would get out of that? Disingenuous of you, isn’t it?) And you’re still wrong about the so-called pro-choice “strategy”. But if you have information that is unavailable to me, it would help us a lot if you actually did present that conclusive evidence. Maybe in the form of a link to a policy document circulated by Planned Parenthood, for example, that showed what you’re trying to assert. Otherwise it’s just so much mudslinging. At least it’s clear that the anti-choicers know that using the word “baby” muddles people’s minds.

                  And again, nobody is saying the fetus isn’t human. It is human by definition. The right to have an abortion (or the right not to) does not depend on the fetus being sub-human or non-human. It depends purely on the rights and choices of the pregnant woman.

                • Meghan

                  Who doesn’t value the life after it is born? How is it not valued?

                • badgerchild

                  Conservatives in the US and abroad who advocate against the rights of people to have their basic food, clothing, shelter, and health needs met. These people are overwhelmingly anti-choice and punitive-forced-birth advocates. Even so-called liberals who are anti-choice don’t do much to ensure the well being of unwanted babies.

                  I applaud the efforts of people who really do something. I think that there is too much abuse and neglect in foster homes and orphanages, though. Also, I know of a Catholic church that promises to help pregnant women and arrange adoptions. I have been through a similar program myself. After the adoption, they put me on the street as something with no further value. Don’t attempt to tell me I was valued as anything but a baby container. I have never heard of a program that tries to help the woman after they’ve got what they wanted out of her.

                • Demi Lynn

                  So you’re a female? Your above post talking about you sleeping with women made it sound like you were a male.

                  I’m conservative and value all life. I volunteer at a woman’s shelter because their life is just as important as any baby and I want to see them go down the right path. I agree that all could do more to help but unfortunately there are many selfish people in this world. What conservatives advocate against the rights of people not having clothing/food/shelter? I’ve never met any.

                • badgerchild

                  I didn’t say I slept with women. I happen to be married and straighter than quality control at a ruler factory. Not that it matters, but I thought I’d clear up some confusion possibly caused by Disqus’s stupid tendency to shuffle names around. :)

                  You must have your head in the sand. Political conservatives. Republicans. Libertarians. Tea Party adherents. The Conservative party in the UK. Fidesz in Hungary. Det Konservative Folkepart in Denmark. Pick your moral monsters.

                • Demi Lynn

                  Very, very confusing with the names skewed.

                  That is a discussion for a different post for sure because that can be MAJORLY argued :)

                • KrisDStar

                  Exactly how does “sleeping with women” automatically imply heterosexual male? This is 2013, you know.

                • TheUnknownPundit

                  This issue is one of those issues where the opposing sides talk past one another. One side is talking “rights” while the other is talking “morality” or “moral obligations”.
                  I think it is inarguable that the word “fetus” is used in the abortion debate as a substitute for “baby” in order to make abortion rights more palatable to the conscience of some folks. As I posted up-thread, fetus is Latin for offspring. And even if modern usage is to designate a certain period of a pregnancy, it doesn’t have any bearing on the arguments that pro-life advocates are making.
                  I think ignoring the moral issues raised surrounding this issue does the pro-choice movement harm. I think pro-choice advocates need to be intellectually honest and note the moral concerns of others but then explain that you think the choices and rights of the born outweigh those of the unborn. IOW, you are merely drawing a line in the sand in a different spot than they would.
                  Ironically for me, it was something I read on a conservative web site that pushed me firmly into the pro-choice camp. In short, a writer described what the punishments would likely be if abortion laws could be enacted to the anti-abortion folks liking. This writer championed laws that would severely punish the people performing abortions, but would allow immunity for women who testified against her abortionist. It made no mention as to what the punishments would be for women who didn’t receive immunity, which I found telling. It was clear to me that the writer understood that if women were punished under abortion laws, political support would decrease considerably, thus the light finger touch for women netted under their version of abortion laws.
                  IMO, this would be an unjust situation because if abortion is the immoral and therefore criminal act they say it is, then both are responsible for the criminality and both equally deserving of punishment. To punish one side severely and one not at all is the very definition of injustice under these circumstances.

                • badgerchild

                  The moral or other value of the fetus is irrelevant in any context but the context of considering whether its value and rights conflict with the value and rights of the pregnant woman. I would take your argument more seriously if you recognized that the pregnancy can’t be given rights as if it were separate from the pregnant woman, because it is in physical fact not separate from the pregnant woman.

                  It is at least honest to say that you believe the unborn has more moral weight and value than the born person, if that is what you believe. It is honest to say that you think a pregnant woman relinquishes her autonomy to her husband, her doctor, or the state. It is disingenuous to claim that the pregnant woman has a right to make choices about her health and about her bodily autonomy, and then to turn around and say you’re against her making the choice to have an abortion.

                • Guest

                  the posting system is off…but I did reply to this below.

                • badgerchild

                  I saw it, no worries.

                  You know, it occurs to me that if we were arguing this in a bar we’d have bought each other a round of drinks by now. ;)

              • Lucky

                Brian- you are ON A ROLL! love it.

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

        The value of a fetus is dependent entirely on whether the woman values it or not. So you’re correct, pro-choice people let people decide whether or not the biological parasites called fetuses should be given value by terming them “babies” or not, because technically they are not but many people nonetheless refer to the fetus inside them by the appellation they hope it will achieve.

        • TheUnknownPundit

          Fetus means offspring in Latin. I can’t say as to when the medical profession began using the word in the scientific sense that it is commonly used today. It seems that learned people of the past couple of centuries liked to use Latin when naming things essentially in an effort to show they knew Latin.
          Personally, I see the fetus as nascent human life. No, it isn’t a baby in the sense of a born child exited from the womb, but it would develop into that barring an abortion or miscarriage.
          While I do support abortion rights, I find many elective abortions morally problematic because I do see the fetus as nascent human life. I like being alive and I assume that fetuses will like being alive if allowed to come into the world. However, for me the rights of the impregnated woman trump the rights of the nascent human life developing in her womb. IOW, the wishes of the already born trumps the unborn, if you will. So if a woman chooses to abort her pregnancy for reasons I would find morally suspect, I respect her right to do so. I think there are many who view the abortion issue in this manner.
          Lastly, I’m glad my mother decided I wasn’t a biological parasite. I’m not sure why anyone would use such an ugly and loaded word to describe unborn, nascent human life. YMMV.

          • badgerchild

            Doctors use the word sometimes, because it’s literally true that a pregnancy is parasitic according to the strict definition of what a parasite is and does. Admitted that it’s an ugly word and shouldn’t be used to describe someone’s pregnancy unless you mean it in the strict medical sense, and that it certainly does not imply “eww get it off me”.

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

            I use it because it’s true, biologically speaking. Many pro-life people don’t understand the biological ugliness of pregnancy, nor how genuinely harmful it is to a woman’s body. Calling a fetus a parasite brings out how painful, detrimental, and difficult pregnancy is and makes the point that being pregnant isn’t merely “inconvenient”. An unwanted pregnancy is more detrimental than a guinea worm infestation, and it’s important to acknowledge that.

            I understand and respect your position on the issue. If a woman wants to be pregnant, as I hope to be in the future, she is still choosing to host a parasitic nascent human life! That doesn’t change just because it sounds bad. I’m aware that gestating involves hosting a parasite, but if I choose to host one then I’m consenting to it, and that’s what really matters. The consent to the process. We agree on that part.

  • wallofseperation

    YES. Each embryo is a unique combination of millions of years of human evolution and should be cherished as such. We should be protecting these embryos as possible important variations within our population not only for the next generation but for thousands of generations of human evolution into the future, in our personal lives.

    With that being said, Under no circumstance should I have the right to impose that philosophy on any one else…ever.

    • Carla

      And that is the difference between a pro-life religious person and a pro-life atheist.

      • UnePetiteAnana

        Actually, that’s not true.

        • badgerchild

          Please feel free to clarify.

    • Aureliano_Buendia

      I suppose the question then is “What encompasses ‘pro-life’?” The way I see it, “pro-life” is a position on the legality of abortion, not on the approval of the practice itself. I have seen people equivocate to the extent of “I am pro-life personally, but pro-choice legally,” but I’m not sure if pro-life would be the proper term for personal feelings. Certainly the “pro-life” movement in general calls for the legal ban of abortion, so calling oneself pro-life but not wanting to enact legislation against abortion seems to differ from what most mean when they say pro-life.

      But now I’m just tripping myself up on labels. To answer the original question, yes, atheists can be pro-life, whatever the label means. As corps_suk pointed out quite well, belief in gods is not necessary for opposition to abortion (though lack of belief and being pro-choice correlate well).

    • revyloution

      Corps-suk, isn’t each unfertilized egg also a possible important variation within our population? All those eggs lack is sperm, and there is always an over abundance of that stuff. Do you also feel we should be protecting those potential humans also?

      • brianbrianbrian1

        An unfertilized egg will not naturally become human and is not one (genetically different).

        • baal

          Neither will a fertilized egg. The majority of them either don’t implant or terminate on their own. I’m also not sure what genetic identity has to do with moral worth.

          • brianbrianbrian1

            Until the modern age, probably half of newborns died too but no one said, ‘go ahead and kill a newborn.’ Natural death is unavoidable. The issue here is not whether something might conceivably die (since we are all in that boat), but whether to purposely terminate.

          • brianbrianbrian1

            As for “genetic identity,” the issue here is whether it is a human being or not. Our genes separate us from a cow. An unfertilized egg is not a cow, but it’s not a person at all. Valuing persons is intrinsically tied to genetic identity.

            • baal

              A fetus is not a ‘person’. A human organism is not a person. Terry Schaivo wasn’t a person at the time they terminated external life support. Hellene LanceHenrietta Lacks’s immortal cancer cell line is not a person. I don’t mean a legal person, I mean the common usage of ‘person’. A fetus is a fetus; it lacks an independent existence from the mother. Even the bible says a baby is not a baby until it is born.

              Persons are not valued for having human DNA nor for being ‘human beings’. They (we) are valued as people when we are people.

              • badgerchild

                Just a thought… There was a debate about Terri Schiavo’s rights because we like to err on the side of born people having the same rights as all other born people. Sometimes it is an error, and it was arguably an error in Terri Schiavo’s case, but we choose to accept that margin of error when cases are genuinely debatable because of the respect we have for those involved.

                It is not debatable that a pregnancy has rights apart from those of the pregnant woman who is carrying it. An error in that direction would always be an error. Awarding rights to a pregnancy that conflict with the rights of the pregnant woman would always be disrespectful of the born person.

                The Henrietta Lacks (HeLa) cancer line is a cancer. (shrug)

                • baal

                  HeLa is human DNA and a distinct genetic identity and thus a person (per the argument we’re seeing from the pro-lifers).

              • joey_in_NC

                A fetus is not a ‘person’. A human organism is not a person…A fetus is a fetus; it lacks an independent existence from the mother.

                Given your logic, one can reason a baby is also not a ‘person’ and thus advocate for infanticide. A baby completely lacks “an independent existence” from the person (usually a parent) who prevents it from dying.

                • badgerchild

                  No, a baby has a physical separation from the pregnant woman and thus we can assign it rights without an unresolvable conflict with the rights of the woman who formerly carried it. That is what is meant by “independence”. As you point out, any other definition, in this context, of “independence” leads to absurdity.

                • baal

                  Being dependent on an umbilicus for calories, nutrients, and hydration and an uterus for shelter is more than a little different than a crib and a bottle.

                • joey_in_NC

                  Being dependent on an umbilicus for calories, nutrients, and hydration and an uterus for shelter is more than a little different than a crib and a bottle.

                  You’re right, it is a little different.

                  Alright, given your definition of ‘independent existence’, then a viable fetus is capable of living an ‘independent existence’ apart from the mother. So, does that make a viable fetus a person?

                • baal

                  No, you get ‘person’ at birth since that’s an effective and appropriate legal rule. I will grant, however, a Roe like understanding that the later term fetus that’s otherwise healthy and not putting the life of the mother at risk does have increasing relevance. I don’t accept 24 weeks version of ‘viability’ as a rational break point for all rights /no rights and certainly don’t think of a ball of cells as having rights.

                • KrisDStar

                  It can live independently from the mother. Anyone can raise an infant. An aunt, an uncle, a grandparent, a stranger. It does not rely on a single mother source for life. In fact, human infants are unique in that they form attachments with many individuals so that their chance of survival is increased.

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

                Hellene Lance = Henrietta Lacks?

                • baal

                  nuts, thanks for the correction.

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

                  You’re welcome, I was just wondering if there was a second immortal cell line!

                • baal

                  I think there are several but none so old or well studied.

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

              Do you consider a hydatidiform mole a person? What about an ovarian teratoma? A cancer cell? They have unique DNA, all of them, and some even have teeth and fingernails and hair.

              What about twins? Are they one person or two?

              What about chimaeras like Lydia Fairchild? Are they one person or two.

              Personhood is so much more than mere DNA.

      • Loic

        I’ve got to go with Revyloution on this one. Of course variation within the population is good for a robust species. But taking the next step to say an embryo should not be destroyed for this reason is illogical. (Emotionally understandable, however.) Embryos aren’t rare. They are super easy to create. If we say that a woman who inadvertently lets one be created is then morally obligated to carry it to term, we are saying that SHE must be punished for that lapse–or at the least, she is morally obligated to let that addition to the gene pool be born, and care for it for X number of years.
        If one bases one’s anti-abortion belief on “variation within the population,” why not take it the one step further, and be sure every egg you produce (if you are female) is fertilized to become an embryo, and if you are a male, try to fertilize as many eggs as possible? Of course, both people need to take steps to allow the fertilized egg to eventually go on to reproduce, or the genetic variation is lost. Oh, wait, that’s called being a parent….

    • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

      “Pro-life” with a capital “P” is a specific type of wacko. MOST of us are lower-case-p “pro-life” unless we believe that genocide or culling or war is a viable solution to things.

      “Pro-life” with a capital “P” are specifically people who want to ban abortion. BANNING ABORTION DOESN’T REDUCE ABORTION, IT JUST FORCES IT UNDERGROUND AND MAKES IT UNSAFE FOR WOMEN.

      “Pro-life” is not just misleading, it is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what it says it is. It DOESN’T SAVE ANY FETUSES it just KILLS WOMEN.

      Preventing abortions is about education and contraception, not jailing women at their most vulnerable and forcing them into back-alley coat-hanger abortions.

      • brianbrianbrian1

        I think you are making assertions. Do you know for sure it doesn’t reduce the abortion rate? And it is also possible to be pro-life and to wonder if it should be enshrined in law simply because of the negative consequences you speak of. If you believe a fetus is a baby (if you’re keeping it, no one will ever call it a ‘fetus’), then it is hard to see what separates killing a one week old newborn from doing the same thing a few weeks earlier. You don’t have to agree but it hardly requires one to be a wacko to think this way. There is a logical argument.

        • http://CoffeeShopAtheist.com/blog Patrick

          MyScience is pointing out facts that any skeptic who’s taken a moment’s notice of the debate knows.

          http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-20/countries-banning-abortion-see-higher-rates-of-unsafe-procedures.html

          Everything that MyScience said is correct. Outlawing abortion is attacking vunerable women and results in death, infertility, uterine damage and unwanted children.

          Also you seem to have ignored his final paragraph’s statement: “Preventing abortions is about education and contraception,” which lowers the number of Babies/Fetuses in the first place. The issue with the Pro-Life movement is that their goals are to control sexuality for religious purposes, not to reduce the number of abortions.

          I would advise reading this to gain a bigger perspective: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/10/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement.html

          • baal

            I need more up votes for Patrick and everyone should go read the 2nd link to the lovejoyfeminism piece regardless of where they stand on the issue.

          • brianbrianbrian1

            Patrick, your links were very good. Thanks.

            I would add that you are still blanketing all pro-lifers into one basket. The US is very polarized in its politics, but lots of people do not fit into the poles at each end. (And even more so once you leave the US I believe).

    • badgerchild

      I have a cold. The cold germs are also the product of millions of years of evolution. As I have the right to determine my own health, I’m doing all I can to assist my body to remove the unwanted organisms and I’m not going to get all worshipful about evolution and have second thoughts about it.

      If I wind up getting a secondary bacterial infection, I will have no particular qualms about taking an antibiotic for it, even if it temporarily kills off the symbiotic gut flora that evolved right along with humans for millions of years and that contain possible important variations.

      If I wind up getting pregnant, I’m not going to let some idealistic nerd arrogate the right to inform me what they think I should do with my body; thanks.

      • M.S.

        Oh. My. Word. In this analogy you compare a fetus to a bacterial infection and an abortion to an antibiotic. Face palm. This is where pro-choicers lose pro-lifers. What a sad, sad comparison to make.

        • badgerchild

          It’s only sad because you believe that you have the right to tell another person to do what you want them to do with their own body. That’s what’s really sad.

          • brianbrianbrian1

            Well, the debate is really about whether you are dealing with simply your own body or someone else’s. Pregnancy is this odd thing where there is another body inside your body.

            • badgerchild

              The argument that the fetus trumps the rights of the pregnant woman is based in the religious concepts of sin and purity. There is no rational basis for the valuation of the fetus over the born woman. The pregnant woman is more than just a pregnancy.

              • M.S.

                I believe the fetus in my right now trumps my rights. I would die to save it. The basis of this is love that I have for the fetus. Is that irrational?

                • badgerchild

                  By definition. But it’s your choice and I respect that completely, just as I would respect you if your circumstances and feelings were different.

                • Carol Lynn

                  For YOU, it’s not irrational. You have absolutely no right nor expectation to MAKE everyone else do what you do or feel what you feel.

                • badgerchild

                  No, no, this is important. It is irrational, that is, a conclusion arrived at through hormones rather than reason, that M.S. loves her fetus. (Naturally there are rational reasons why loving your fetus is good, but the love itself isn’t a rational thing.) It is irrational, not a conclusion arrived at through reason, that she feels she would die to save it (after all how could she carry it if she died)? It is an irrational belief that her particular pregnancy trumps her rights as the pregnant woman, but it is her free choice according to her own circumstances and her own feelings, and that’s what counts for her and in her own case.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Don’t force others to live by your beliefs.

                • KrisDStar

                  If you died to save it, you could not birth it, and it would die with you anyway. Complete logic fail.

              • brianbrianbrian1

                I think you overstate. Choosing the pro-choice position results in the death of the child. Choosing the pro-life position does not result in the death of the mother. Your reference to valuing the child “over the mother” is just not how many people see it. It’s simply a ‘do not kill’ ethic which requires zero religiosity.

                • badgerchild

                  I think you fail to take into consideration the humanity of the pregnant woman making the choice to continue or discontinue her own pregnancy. Your so-called “pro-life” position is no more or less than a “forced birth” policy in which you hold the fetus sacred and the pregnant woman wishing an abortion sinful. By holding this view you are implicitly in favor of measures that persuade or force, against her will, the woman wanting an abortion to lose control of her own body for reasons that seem good and virtuous to you, and cruel and arbitrary to herself.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Please drop the “sinful.” I have no interest in the term.

                  I get what you are saying. It is a valid point. The issue is this: after a child is born, the burdens on the mother are generally greater than when pregnant. She now has 18 years of caring for the child. Innumerable sleepless nights, crying, issues later at school, practices to be taken to, the economic burden, etc. etc. etc.

                  Yet, if she decides a few weeks after the birth that it is too much, no one will defend her if she kills the child. We may empathize with her plight and the strains she faced, but no one says ‘that is her right.’

                  So: why is it okay a few weeks earlier? What happens at birth? Do we now value her less? (Before her rights trumped everything, but not now)? No. Her value to us is the same before and after the birth. The difference is whether the child’s rights have changed.

                  THIS IS THE KEY ISSUE: Abortion is not ultimately about women’s rights since we can value the woman before & after the birth. The question is entirely this: when does the child have rights.

                  You say at birth. Fair enough. I find it hard to say the unborn is not a child, has no rights. It doesn’t seem logical.

                • badgerchild

                  The fetus has no rights apart from the pregnant woman, because you can’t give a pregnancy rights that conflict with the pregnant woman’s. The earliest time that you can give rights that conflict is when the two organisms are physically separate.

                  Why is this so hard?

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  It’s not hard to understand, but you’ve kind of just made this up. Why is physical separation the obvious distinction? Why not, say, independence (which would mean terminating the young is okay)?

                  Also, would you be okay with someone aborting at 39 weeks? That baby is sentient, will feel pain, etc. Just curious.

                • badgerchild

                  That baby is not sentient. Not that it matters, since I don’t consider the presence of sentience to be the defining moment; if I did, I would have to argue that you could kill children until they were sufficiently cognitively developed, and I don’t argue that.

                  Decent people want to cause as little pain as possible, but the idea that birth itself is not painful and traumatic for the baby is known to be false. Indeed maybe the pain is greater, because the baby arguably survives with subconscious memories of the process (depending what school of psychology you belong to). The pain of birth is not, of course, an argument against it.

                  Separation is the obvious distinction because it is the point at which the bodily integrity and right of choice of the pregnant woman need no longer be a consideration.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  So you are okay with abortion at 39 weeks?

                • badgerchild

                  This argument is a common red herring argument of forced-birth advocates. Termination of a healthy pregnancy at 39 weeks of normal development is not an abortion resulting in a dead fetus but a surgical birth procedure resulting in a live baby. You might as well call me the result of a miscarriage because I was born eight weeks early.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  It’s not a red herring here because you keep saying that separation is the dividing line. I’m just looking for logical consistency.

                • Carol Lynn

                  No, you are not. You are being an obtuse idiot with an obvious agenda. It’s not a hard concept.

                • NANA

                  And Carol- you have no agenda or argument. You’re making Brian look even better.

                • Carol Lynn

                  I’ve never denied the agenda. But I’m not being obtuse or idiotic about it.

                • NANA

                  In what way is anything he saying idiotic? Is it because what he is saying doesn’t perfectly align with you?

                • badgerchild

                  It would be refreshing to see you propose actual substantive arguments instead of deliberately being annoying. Don’t be a troll. Join the discussion.

                • UnePetiteAnana

                  Wait, you mean ones that no one here knows and won’t “refute” right out the gate?

                • badgerchild

                  Please, go ahead and propose some of those.

                • Carol Lynn

                  No. He’s free to disagree with me. But when he seems unable to follow the logic of a simple rebuttal, it did make him seem a bit dense. Do you have the same difficulty?

                • UnePetiteAnana

                  Yeah Brian! Get used to this sort of atheist thinking that if you don’t agree with them (ie Carol) then you’re a unreasonable ill-witted human being! Oh, wait, you probably think this, too.

                  It’s hilarious to me how atheists like to coin the religious, yet are cannibals themselves.

                • Carol Lynn

                  Oh, you can disagree with me all you want. It would be nice if you did it in a way that wasn’t obvious trolling. Brian seems to be intelligent and thoughtful, most of the time. It’s when he refuses to see obvious points that he’s being deliberately obtuse and looks idiotic.

                • UnePetiteAnana

                  Right, because words like “idiotic” and “obtuse” imply intelligence and thoughtfulness.

                • badgerchild

                  You are deliberately attempting to confuse the argument by making nonsense assertions. It is perfectly clear that Carol Lynn meant that Brian is usually intelligent and thoughtful, but occasionally the reverse. That wasn’t difficult to comprehend, you’re just trying to make it difficult so you can pretend Carol isn’t making sense.

                • Carol Lynn

                  He wasn’t being particularly thoughtful or intelligent in that particular comment. Invoking the ‘OMG! 39 weeks!’ argument was a red herring as it’s an idiotic argument. Claiming to not understand the very clear explanation of why it is a red herring was obtuse.

                • badgerchild

                  Oh, and to answer your direct question, if the pregnant woman wishes to induce labor or get a Caesarian a week early, that’s her choice.

                • UnePetiteAnana

                  Actually, it’s not her choice most of the time. You’ll have to find a doctor that will do it.

                • allein

                  In most cases, the only real reason a doctor is likely to not allow a delivery a week early is that they don’t have room in their schedule. People schedule c-sections (or induced labor) all the time, for reasons of both convenience and medical necessity (my coworker’s wife has had 2 scheduled c-sections because of back issues that make going through labor and delivery a bad idea for her – both were scheduled shortly before her expected due date to lessen the chance of her going into labor at all, and the first time she went into labor a few days earlier than planned; the second was last week and she and the baby are doing well). Determining due date is not an exact science, so unless there is some medical indication for waiting, a week “early” isn’t uncommon.

                • KrisDStar

                  Considering that most hospitals in the US have between a 30% and 50% rate of c sections, which are usually done prior to 40 weeks, then most doctors do indeed end pregnancies early.
                  A recent poll of doctors showed that 92% agreed that they would induce delivery after 37 weeks at the mothers request.

                • Carol Lynn

                  Ah, so you are another of those who focus on the outliers. You do realize that the great majority of abortions take place when the ‘baby’ is a nearly microscopic aggregation of mostly undifferentiated cells, you’d just rather discuss it in terms of a week before and after birth because then you can be all shocked and horrified. If a women DOES need to terminate a late term pregnancy, it’s usually because she’s dying or the ‘baby’ is already dead or dying inside her. And its none of your business to be in her health care decisions, ever! Shall we all start thinking of you as an equally evil misguided person if you do not immediately donate a kidney and some bone marrow? That’s a KEY ISSUE in an actual someone’s life right now. You’ll still be alive and perfectly healthy with only one kidney and you won’t even miss the bone marrow. Why are you being so incredibly selfish as to demand bodily autonomy for yourself in that area?

                • NANA

                  Why are you being so incredibly selfish to defend killing babies? Thats right, A HUMAN LIFE, not a “cell”.

                • badgerchild

                  Nobody is arguing that fetuses are not human, Lucky.

                • Carol Lynn

                  So you save your toenail clippings and harvest all your ova/sperm? They have HUMAN CELLS!!! They could be a UNIQUE HUMAN LIFE, if only the technology was sufficiently advanced! Why are you so selfish as to throw away your ova/sperm on the months/days when you decide to be not pregnant/inseminating? You selfish murderer! I’ll bet you’ve never even donated a kidney to a dying person!

                • badgerchild

                  Nobody is arguing that fetuses are not human or not a life. That’s not the main issue.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Why are you being so incredibbly selfish by demanding that women be treated like livestock?

                • KrisDStar

                  Why are you being incredibly selfish in demanding that someone else carry a pregnancy that they don’t want?

                • UnePetiteAnana

                  “You do realize that the great majority of abortions take place when the
                  ‘baby’ is a nearly microscopic aggregation of mostly undifferentiated
                  cells …”

                  You should really look this up and see what a fetus looks like at 6 weeks. Women don’t have an abortion 1 week into pregnancy because, SHOCK!, women kinda have to miss a period and then take a test. Most women don’t just run down to the abortion clinic to have an abortion out the starting gate. Reasonable people think about what this will do to their psyche and emotional stability. Don’t believe me? You should talk to women who have an abortion.

                • Meghan

                  Love your points!

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

                  The vast majority of abortions occur before 12 weeks. At 12 weeks, a fetus is ~2 inches long and looks like a little blob of flesh if not viewed under a microscope. Seriously. It looks kinda like http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ls6w7phG8f1qi68z9.jpg

                  Reasonable people know that women have all sorts of feelings about abortion, with relief being a very common one. Some regret is also common, but actual mental illness (such as depression or PTSD) is far more common among postpartum women than women who’ve had abortions. Abortions aren’t bad for women’s psyches or mental stability.

                • UnePetiteAnana

                  You totally missed the point of my reply. Carla said the fetus is microscopic … I’m missing the microscopic image of a 6 week old fetus somewhere …

                • UnePetiteAnana

                  Carol, Carla … whatever.

                • purrtriarchy

                  That pic is awesome!

                • Carol Lynn

                  You are right. Most women do not have abortions. Other than that, I don’t think you’ve got any good points here. You are as blind as those who just assume that every atheist has never heard of Jesus and simply needs a Bible thrust into their hands to instantly come to god. Rather silly of you to assume I do not know what fetal development consists of or that I have no experience with people who have had abortions. Besides, in case you haven’t noticed, they now sell pregnancy test kits OTC that can tell if you are pregnant before you miss a period. All that science-y stuff works.

                • purrtriarchy

                  61% of abortions are before 9 weeks

                  91% are before 13 weeks

                  1.5% are past 20 weeks – for health reasons

                  A typical pre-9 week abortion looks like this:

                  http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ls6w7phG8f1qi68z9.jpg

                • CassandraJK

                  In addition to this, around 70% of women opting for abortion already have at least one child. The number one reason they give for having an abortion is to protect the child(ren) already born from suffering because they don’t have the resources to provide for another.

                • KrisDStar

                  Actually in three out of my four pregnancies I tested positive for pregnancy prior to the first missed period.

                • UnePetiteAnana

                  Did you immediately run down to the abortion clinic?

                • KrisDStar

                  What makes you think that it is any of your business?

                • UnePetiteAnana

                  “Actually in three out of my four pregnancies I tested positive for pregnancy prior to the first missed period.”

                  That wasn’t any of my business but you offered that up, didn’t you? You said that to make the point that people can find out that they are pregnant relatively early, right? So, that’s why I asked if you ran right on down to get vaccuumed because that was *my* point … women don’t generally just run right down to the abortion clinic immediately after finding out they’re pregnant, making their fetus bigger than microscopic.

                  I really actually don’t care if you did or didn’t, and I agree it really isn’t my business (to know whether you did or didn’t, not the fact that women as an aggregate have “the right” to abort their babies). As a result, maybe you shouldn’t open the door to your personal life with statements like the above.

                • ansuz

                  “women don’t generally just run right down to the abortion clinic immediately after finding out they’re pregnant, making their fetus bigger than microscopic.”
                  Don’t they? I would (not a woman, but I don’t think that’s a gendered thing).

                • KrisDStar

                  It was evidence that you don’t know what the heck you are talking about, and how your little verbal diarrhea over knowing when a woman is pregnant means that she somehow has this magical, special, fetus inside of her.

                • UnePetiteAnana

                  You still haven’t shared any evidence that isn’t your own experience, obviously limited to 4 pregnancies.

                  Most women don’t abort their babies when they’re a microscopic “clump of cells”, which was the original argument. I mean, why don’t we call abortion what it truly is: getting rid of a living consequence for (most of the time) purely selfish reasons, after choosing to create said life.

                  Do women who rabidly defend abortion have to do so to ease their own conscience? Maybe so. Some women are coaxed into abortion because someone told them it was OK. Some women know everything they need to know and willfully choose abortion. It doesn’t matter, the result is the same.

                  Also, I’m really surprised I haven’t seen more people bring up Kermit Gosnell. These babies were “born alive” – albeit by botched abortions – and were then murdered. Most people would agree this is horrific, but for some reason I get the jist that by the arguments posed here, we’ve all been too stupid to “see the light” that really, Gosnell has the right idea.

                  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/kermit-gosnell/

                • KrisDStar

                  Limited to four pregnancies? So what?
                  Your body dumps a life inside every month. Your egg is alive, every month, it just cannot thrive and mutate without a sperm. Your definition of “alive” has no bearing on if the fetus is worthy of personhood at all.

                  The results are the same because the only result wanted is to not be pregnant.

                  And if you think sex is selfish, then I really feel sorry for you. That kind of sexual oppression is not healthy.

                  “Despite the potential that a fetus has for becoming a human being, and its similarities to a human being, we cannot say that a fetus is a human being. A fetus resides in a legal and social no-man’s land, where rights and personhood can have no force or meaning, unless women are kept thoroughly oppressed. Plus, there are many significant differences between a born human being and a fetus, which creates reasonable doubt as to its status. Because there can be no consensus on the matter, the value accorded to a fetus is a subjective, personal matter. Individuals, not society as a whole, must choose what the status of a fetus should be, based on their personal beliefs, morality, and circumstances. And ultimately, this choice belongs only to pregnant women.”

                • Ella Warnock

                  Hold up a minute. Non-procreative sex with your own husband is purely selfish? For whom? Or is it just a normal part of married life? Which is it? I can’t even believe I’m asking this question . . . pffft, sex with my own husband for no other reason than the joy of intimacy. Selfish. I think my head’s gonna explode.

                  And I’ve never even been pregnant, so there’s hardly any raging conscience that needs to be salved.

                • KrisDStar

                  You saw the photo of a pre-9 weeks abortion. You can call it whatever you like, but the fact remains it is not a “person” and is not granted any rights.

                  If you need to, I suggest you reread the constitution, because it clearly defines who has rights in this country.

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

                  “…nearly microscopic aggregation…”

                  I misread that as “…nearly microscopic aggression…”

                • purrtriarchy

                  And it is accurate.

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

                  Actually, choosing the pro-choice position results in the mother controlling her own body. This may or may not result in the death of a fetus- M.S. very much wants her fetus, so her choice is not abortion, and everyone supports her.

                  Or do you think all pro-choice women have no children, hate children, and want to abort them all? Because yeah … that’s so not how it works.

                  “Give me liberty or give me death”. There is a long, long line of political and philosophical thought valuing liberty/freedom over life itself. Abortion is one of those places; do you value the life of a nonsentient piece of tissue smaller than the period at the end of this sentence more than the liberty and possibly life of a breathing, sentient, sapient person? I don’t.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Feminerd, I didn’t say any of the things you put in your last paragraph. Best to address what people say rather than give them positions they didn’t take and then criticize those.

                  As I’ve already said, you posit it as simply the woman controlling her body, but pregnancy is this odd reality of one body inside of another body. The question really stems to what are the rights of that other body. I gather you feel none, but understand that this is the issue being debated.

                • badgerchild

                  As I mentioned, the fetus has no rights apart from the pregnant woman. After the fetus is apart from the pregnant woman, its rights can be considered apart from the pregnant woman’s. Until it is separate, the pregnant woman is the rights holder. You can’t just brush aside the rights of the pregnant woman the way you insist upon doing.

                  I can write this out a hundred more times if one reading is not enough.

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

                  If I were to need a blood transfusion in order to live, can I take it from you without your consent and against your will?

                  If I were to need a liver transplant in order to live, can I take it from you without your consent and against your will?

                  What about a kidney transplant? Lung? Heart?

                  The answer is no, I can’t. I can’t take even a single drop of your blood without your consent, even if I were to die without it. I have zero rights over your body, and you have 100% rights over your body. If the law doesn’t require you to donate organs and fluids to me, a fully sentient being and unquestionably full person, why do you think it should force me to donate organs and fluids to anyone (because I’m pretty sure you see a fetus as a person)?

                  Also think about this. We don’t take organs from corpses without prior permission. We don’t take organs from corpses even with questionable prior permission unless the family also agrees. We value bodily autonomy so highly we are willing to let people die because we won’t violate the bodily autonomy of corpses. What you’re saying is you think a dead woman should have more control over her organs than a living one. Why is that?

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  you know Feminerd, that is an interesting point.

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

                  It is. It certainly hardened my position quite a lot when I ran across it.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Someone once argued that the corpse analogy isn’t valid because ‘the corpse can’t give consent’

                  I guess he was trying to say that the pregnant woman ‘gave consent by engaging in sex while female’

                  However, he was arguing against himself because clearly, the corpse doesn’t have to give consent and the family CAN choose to donate organs.

                • allein

                  but pregnancy is this odd reality of one body inside of another body

                  The key word there being “inside.”

                • KrisDStar

                  Being debated by whom? The law and the constitution are clearly on the side of citizen rights. And it also defines who is a citizen. A fetus is not a citizen, and therefore is not granted any rights.

                • allein

                  Being pro-choice does not mean you will choose to abort. And inflexible restrictions on abortion do lead to plenty of unnecessary maternal deaths.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Choosing the pro-life position does not result in the death of the mother.

                  but it can result in the death of the mother
                  or the permanent injury
                  permanent mental health problems
                  auto-immune diseases

                  and pregnancy itself, is not healthy
                  a woman is not *better off* pregnant than before she was pregnant

                • KrisDStar

                  It most certainly can lead to the death of the mother. In many cases it does.
                  Your “do not kill” ethic is in conflict with forcing a woman to remain pregnant when that pregnancy and birth could kill her. There is no way to accurately predict every case in which a pregnancy or a birth will kill a woman. Birth outcomes are postdictions, not predictions.

            • Tracy

              completely agree brian. what makes one life more important than the other? i don’t think i deserve to live more than the person sitting next to me on the plane. why do we pick and choose who can live and who cant?

              • badgerchild

                Look at all the men telling women we aren’t as valuable as our pregnancies. Isn’t that cute!

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Half the pregnancies are female too Tracy. And lots of people opposed to abortion are female; lots of supporters are male. It’s actually just a tricky topic.

              • brianbrianbrian1

                I’m puzzled. The pro-life position says you don’t choose. You allow both to live. The pro-choice says precisely you do get to choose whether the child lives.

                (The only time that might be relevant to your suggestion is when the mother’s life is in danger in which case I think she decides. But that is very rare.)

                • KrisDStar

                  There is no child until birth.

            • KrisDStar

              And that body only has the right to be there if I grant it the right to do so. I can revoke the right for that body to be inside of my body.

          • Tracy

            Whats the difference between murdering a child when its in the womb vs 7 seconds after its born? Its HER baby, it was in HER body. Its HER choice. Wouldn’t the latter cause her to go to jail? Where do we draw the line?

            • badgerchild

              We draw it at separation, where the born person has their own rights of bodily integrity. Also, separating a healthy late pregnancy is often known as “induction of birth”, resulting in a live baby, not murder. You really need to take a step back and wipe your frothing mouth before you post.

              • Po Po

                so since the baby is no longer in the mother it all of sudden has rights? but not one second before? it needs the mother after it is born to survive (or any one to take care of it), just like it needs the mother before. your “separation” argument is one of the most pathetic statements i have heard.

                • badgerchild

                  The pregnancy does not have rights that conflict with the pregnant woman’s. Because we want to assign rights at the earliest possible moment when conflict with the pregnant woman’s bodily integrity and freedom of choice is no longer an issue, we choose the moment of physical separation. A possibly legitimate case could be made for setting that borderline later, but it cannot be made for setting it earlier. But because we actually do want to err on the side of personhood for the child, we do set it as early as we can.

                • Po Po

                  So a baby at 39 weeks has no rights? and it can be “terminated/murdered” because all of the sudden the mother decides it doesn’t want it in her body anymore? you would be okay with that?

                • badgerchild

                  As I said elsewhere in the thread, the separation of a healthy pregnancy from the mother’s body at 39 weeks is not an abortion resulting in a dead baby, it is a birth resulting in a live one. And it is perfectly OK for a woman to choose this. In fact it is not uncommon to ask to be induced a week early for various reasons, including simple convenience. Do pick fresher red herrings.

                • Po Po

                  It’s okay for a mother to terminate her baby at 39 weeks? You are saying she gives birth and then kills it? And thats okay? Sorry, I’m trying to understand your argument.

                • badgerchild

                  Terminating a pregnancy at 39 weeks is not the same as killing the baby.

                • Po Po

                  How is it not?

                • Carol Lynn

                  Do read for comprehension. A ‘terminated’ pregnancy at 39 weeks is a BIRTH, unless there is something so seriously wrong with the mother or the fetus that either or both would have died anyway. Are you seriously advocating for letting the mother die carrying or birthing an unviable fetus at 39 weeks, rather than terminating it if necessary?

                • badgerchild

                  Terminating a pregnancy is separation of the fetus from the body of the mother. Natural birth is an example of the termination of a pregnancy. Killing a baby is a deliberate action to terminate the life of a baby. Therefore terminating a pregnancy and killing a baby are two separate things.

                  Termination of an early pregnancy usually has the same result as an early miscarriage. The death of the fetus follows from the termination of the pregnancy. The only goal of an abortion is to make a woman not pregnant. The fact that this often results in the death of a fetus means that we have no way to preserve its life at that stage, or that it is necessary to effect the abortion.

                • Johnee

                  This is a good point that few have picked up on.

                  My wife had a high risk pregnancy with our twin boys. In no uncertain terms the Doc told us that if she herself started exhibiting signs of infection then the pregnancy could very well kill her. I know it’s supposed to be her choice but I wasn’t having any o that. I was all “Uh uh, if that happens then you’re gonna have the Doc terminate the pregnancy, I’m not gonna lose you too”. Fortunately she agreed.

                  Anyways the pregnancy was terminated at about 7 months give or take. My kids ended up surviving, but they just as easily could not have.

                  So yes, a terminated pregnancy does not equate with killing the baby.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Late term abortions are usually induced labour or c-section

                • purrtriarchy

                  *yawn*

                • KrisDStar

                  Terminating a pregnancy at 39 weeks is not killing it.
                  Have you no clue on the birthing process?

                • purrtriarchy

                  oh please

                • KrisDStar

                  terminating a pregnancy at 39 weeks is called birth, derp. And a large portion of women willfully choose to end their pregnancies between 37 and 40 weeks.

                • KrisDStar

                  “all of the sudden has rights”
                  yes, try reading the constitution.

            • Carol Lynn

              Again with the outliers. I’ve got an idea! Let’s argue the outliers the other way! Tracy and Brian, how dare you casually toss out your toenail clippings and cut off hair instead of saving them in the hope that technology will eventually be able to allow them to develop into the persons they were meant to be? Think of all those wasted unique cells! You shed skin cells every day and just let them fall on the ground and be swept away as if they might not contain precious genetic information! If you do not wear a wear a plastic suit to save them all, you are selfishly depriving them of LIFE! You can never know as you shed the skin cells or cut off the toenails which of them contains DNA transcriptions errors enough to be considered a unique person! It only takes sufficient technology to save them, after all! Tracy, every egg you discard in menses – Brian, every sperm you callously waste – could have been a unique, special person if you were not so selfish! I deny you your choice to discard so much genetic potential in the name of preserving humanity!

              • brianbrianbrian1

                Um, okay.

                • Carol Lynn

                  Your argument is equally ridiculous, you know.

                • KrisDStar

                  What an intelligent and fact filled answer.
                  /snark

              • AndrewM

                You are comparing yourself to toenail clippings? Weird.

                • Carol Lynn

                  No. Do read for comprehension. I’m saying that too many of the pro-lifers want to frame the debate in terms of “what’s the difference between killing a baby a minute pre- and post- birth” and in terms of women who casually decide at 39 weeks to abort their perfectly viable pregnancies, when they know darn well that neither of those scenarios is reasonable or likely. So why not frame the issue from the other, equally unlikely, extreme? After all, given sufficiently advanced technology, those discarded toenail clippings and shed skin cells could certainly be grown into a perfectly viable person, and some of those cells may have enough DNA transcriptions errors or developmental differences to be unique persons. If they do not value the absolutely certain genetic potential of their own toenail clippings and shed skin cells, or their own discarded ova and sperm, how can they get all worked up about preserving someone else’s 16-cell blastocyst? If they are truly and fully pro-life, they ought to value all those cells equally – and they clearly do not. I am therefore, free to call bullshit on their concern.

                • purrtriarchy

                  The technology already exists to take a skin cell, fuse it with an ovum, and create an embryo.

                  An embryo that, if implanted in a uterus, could potentially become a baby someday.

            • KrisDStar

              Birth grants rights. Conception does not grant rights.

      • wallofseperation

        Hey, if you equate bacteria to human embryos that is your right.
        Also, it’s arrogant
        Now, if you think the variability and fitness of the entire human population isn’t greater than you…THAT is arrogance exemplified.

        • badgerchild

          Hi, let me introduce myself. I’m a born person, not an abstract concept, and something I don’t want in my body. I’m not arrogating the right to tell you what to do with your body. You’re the one with the religious adherence to a romantic notion that your ideas of variability and fitness get to influence what I can and can’t do with my body. Remind me not to invite you to lunch, in case you decide the human species would be better off without my individual gene contribution. And I hope you never have to be in the position of having someone else make an arbitrary decision to deny you healthcare that you need.

          • M.S.

            What’s funny is I never said I am pro-life, and corps-suk specifically said that he would not impose his beliefs on others. This is you projecting. This is your issue.

            • badgerchild

              Damn straight it’s my issue, and the issue of every woman who could potentially be or become pregnant. Any issue that focuses on some nebulous abstract concept to the exclusion of the actual woman needs to be reconsidered.

        • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          Hey, if you equate bacteria to human embryos that is your right. Also, it’s arrogant.

          Why? I can’t think of how people choose to compare one kind of life to another as anything other than a consequence of personal viewpoint. I can’t really think of a way to even compare these ethical judgments to say that some are better or worse than others. (I’m not a moral relativist in the most common sense; I do believe that ethical views can be compared and rated as better or worse… just not all ethical views.)

          I think one could make as solid an argument that considering an (unwanted) human embryo to be more valuable than a bacterium is just as “arrogant” as the opposite.

          • brianbrianbrian1

            You’re not a moral relativist? Your statement above might be cited as a definition of one.

            • badgerchild

              You seem to think that “moral relativist” is an offensive term. Maybe you should make yourself clear, and also explain why moral relativism is always inappropriate.

              • brianbrianbrian1

                Definitions are key: you say some moral systems are better than others. I was using moral relativist as meaning they are all the same.

                • badgerchild

                  All right, then you’re just incorrect, as C Peterson explained.

                • Leah

                  Please see my reply to C Peterson above. I’d like your perspective, too.

                • badgerchild

                  My perspective is that you misunderstand moral relativism as being arbitrary. Even conclusions made using moral relativism can be compared with reality and judged according to whether they match what is actually the case. This is a process commonly referred to as casuistry, and it’s a legitimate mechanism for evaluating apparently conflicting moral conclusions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casuistry

                • Leah

                  Casuistry is a fine pragmatic device for moral examination, but can it actually objectively, absolutely decide what is “Right” (with a capital “R”)? What if two rationalists carefully and thoughtfully examine the same case without bias and come to different moral conclusions about it? Which one is right?

                • badgerchild

                  You’re attempting to defend moral absolutism tautologically, Leah (“this conclusion is right because it adheres to moral absolutist principles”). On what grounds did/do you select your particular absolutist principles from all the other possible absolutist principles you might have chosen to formulate your moral system? There’s your answer, in a nutshell.

                  If two people disagree, one of the following must logically be true: the first one is correct and the second incorrect; the first one is incorrect and the second correct; they are both incorrect. The way to determine which applies is to compare it with the facts of the case under discussion. What causes difficulties is that the facts of the case might be incompletely or incorrectly understood, or that different values are applied to the elements of the case.

                  If logically, properly, and sincerely applied, and given an equal understanding of the facts (which I admit is rarely the exact case in practice), casuistry should lead to similar conclusions between the two rationalists; they may differ, but not in important respects. Two rationalists, to use a trivial example, might disagree on how long to cook a steak on the grill, but neither one would probably agree to burn it or serve it raw.

            • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

              How so? I believe that many ethical views can be rationally argued to be superior to others.

              The fact that I don’t believe there are any moral absolutes doesn’t mean I think that all moral systems are equally valid.

              • Leah

                Maybe some ethical views or systems are more rational than others, and that makes them more valid – in your worldview. But who says that “rationality” is the criteria by which a ethical view can be judged superior? Maybe you think that, but someone else doesn’t. There is nothing to say that your standard for judging ethics is right and someone else’s is wrong. Therefore, objectively speaking, don’t all moral systems have to be equally valid (according to moral relativism)?

                • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  All I can use is my own judgement in deciding what is or is not ethical. I recognize my own moral code, and I recognize that there is a consensus code adopted by the society I live in. My personal job is to live within both as well as possible.

                  I consider moral systems across different cultures separated by time to be largely incomparable. For instance, I don’t consider slavery as it existed throughout history to be immoral. I don’t consider human sacrifice as it existed throughout history to be immoral. Of course, I’d consider either in today’s world to be hugely immoral. In today’s connected world, no cultures exist in isolation. We are all part of a world culture, even with our individual cultural differences in place. That considerably narrows the range of possible ethical variation between cultures. And within any one culture, ethical values can be better or worse. While there is no way to compare being opposed to abortion with viewing it as ethically neutral, we can certainly compare the matter of choice, where different rights are materially affected.

                  So no, all moral systems are not equally valid.

      • LifeNOTDeath

        Size: True, embryos are smaller than newborns and adults, but why is that relevant? Do we really want to say that large people are more human than small ones? Men are generally larger than women, but that doesn’t mean that they deserve more rights. Size doesn’t equal value.

        Level of development: True, embryos and fetuses are less developed than the adults they’ll one day become. But again, why is this relevant? Four year-old girls are less developed than 14 year-old ones. Should older children have more rights than their younger siblings? Some people say that self-awareness makes one human. But if that is true, newborns do not qualify as valuable human beings. Six-week old infants lack the immediate capacity for performing human mental functions, as do the reversibly comatose, the sleeping, and those with Alzheimer’s Disease.

        Environment: Where you are has no bearing on who you are. Does your value change when you cross the street or roll over in bed? If not, how can a journey of eight inches down the birth-canal suddenly change the essential nature of the unborn from non-human to human? If the unborn are not already human, merely changing their location can’t make them valuable.

        Degree of Dependency: If viability makes us human, then all those who depend on insulin or kidney medication are not valuable and we may kill them. Conjoined twins who share blood type and bodily systems also have no right to life.

        • badgerchild

          I am getting pretty damn tired of pointing out that it doesn’t matter whether the fetus is a gold-plated magic genius that will save the world and the pregnant woman is a toothless drunken hag who sells poisoned apples. The fetus has no attributes or rights that the pregnant woman doesn’t also have. The rights of the fetus cannot be enforced without involving the pregnant woman, and if the rights of the fetus conflict with the rights of the pregnant woman, you harm the pregnant woman by attempting to enforce the conflicting rights of the fetus. You do not have the right to violate the pregnant woman’s bodily autonomy by forcing her to be pregnant or not to be pregnant as you arbitrarily determine desirable.

        • purrtriarchy

          True, embryos are smaller than newborns and adults, but why is that
          relevant? Do we really want to say that large people are more human than
          small ones?

          They are not simply smaller. The homunculus theory of development was abandoned 100+ years ago.

          Level of development: True, embryos and fetuses are less developed than
          the adults they’ll one day become. But again, why is this relevant?

          A four year old girl is not incomplete and unformed. A born child is, for all intents and purposes, a complete *viable* indiividual.

          Additionally, a 4 year old girl is not infringing on anyone’s bodily autonomy.

          Environment: Where you are has no bearing on who you are.

          Bodily autonomy. Also, we can flip your logic around. If you believe that a fetus has the right to use another person’s body as life support. then why can’t a born child demand blood and tissue from it’s parents?

          Why should a fetus have rights that born children don’t based on it’s location???

          If viability makes us human, then all those who depend on insulin or kidney medication are not valuable and we may kill them.

          There is a difference between being disabled and dependent on drugs and needing to use another person’s body as life support.

          And a person with a disability is capable of sentience – a fetus is not.

          Conjoined twins who share blood type and bodily systems also have no right to life.

          Conjoined twins are separated all the time. Even if one will die. Sometimes abortions are performed, and one twin is removed, to save the others.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      If that means that you advocate against people having abortions, that is your right. I also believe in free speech. It’s when you make it illegal that it’s a problem. Or make it incredibly difficult. Other than that, you have a right to your own opinion. It’s only when you impose that opinion on others that it matters to anyone else what you think.

      • wallofseparation

        OMLogic… Did you even read my post, because you should. Would have saved you a rant.

    • KrisDStar

      The population is under no risk of losing genetic variation.

  • Miranda Flemming

    I would prefer that people learned to be more responsible in avoiding unwanted pregnancies. Those that are raped and choose to abort shouldn’t be condemned. Restrict late term abortions to medical reasons. While I dislike abortion because it involves killing, I cannot align myself with the pro-life extremists who see only in black & white and call those who abort murderers. I do not agree with them that human tissue with insufficiently developed nervous system etc can feel pain & is a ‘person’. Ethics and morals are not B&W issues. Christian pro-lifers expect teens to just not have sex and don’t provide sex ed & contraceptives. So, they are higher risk than average for teen pregnancies and secret abortions. It seems more about wanting to stop people having sex than saving lives. Once people are here, they’re considered to be dirty, rotten sinners

  • Carla

    I don’t mind if you’re pro-life. I mind when pro-life means anti-abortion, rather than meaning taking care of a living human so that they can flourish in life. You can’t just stop women from having abortions then wish them luck for the rest of their lives. Pro-life has to mean pro- ENTIRE life.

    • skeptical_inquirer

      One of my major problems is that a lot of the anti-abortion people also keep mocking single mothers, cutting programs like SNAP and have little regards to the quality of life after birth so they seem more pro-birth than anything else.

      • RickRussellTX

        Why sugar-coat it? All of these prohibitions come not from being “pro-birth”, but from a position of “anti-sex”.

        Many pro-life/anti-abortion proponents would ban contraception if they could. Many would shame unmarried pregnant women and find ways to make public examples out of them, as a way to increase the negative consequences of sexual activity. Many would suggest that we go back to the state where unproductive sexual activity, even between married partners, should be shamed (at best) or prohibited (at worst).

        It was not that long ago that anal or oral gratification was illegal in most states in the US in all forms, including between heterosexual married partners. It wasn’t often enforced, but when it was — for example, when invoked in a custody battle — the results were disastrous. ,

        • brianbrianbrian1

          Yes, but what is interesting about pro-life atheists is you can ditch all the anti-sex stupidity but still see an issue with ending the life of the unborn. The two positions are not necessarily linked.

          • Spectrall

            That’s probably theoretically possible, but I’ve never personally encountered an anti-abortion atheist that didn’t have all those sorts of old school conservative hangups surrounding people’s personal lives.

            • brianbrianbrian1

              I know some.

              • Spectrall

                OK, fair enough. I think if we hunt down some polling data, we’ll almost certainly find that the vast, vast majority of pro-life atheists are politically conservative. Do you disagree?

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  No clue. Also, this may be unique to the USA where politics are tremendously polarized. In, say, Canada or the UK, results might be more complicated.

                • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

                  Aggregating GSS data for the years 2000-2012, requiring both RELIG(4) unaffiliation and GOD(1) disbelief to identify “atheists”, and using ABANY abortion question for identifying “pro-life” vs “pro-choice”, while the pro-life slightly tend more conservative than their pro-choice counterparts, even given the sample size limits there is less than a 1% chance that even a technical 50.01% majority self-identify as even “slightly conservative” on POLVIEWS.

                • badgerchild

                  Nice3 work, abb3w, good database jockeying :D

                  As far as I can simplify for the layman, your findings indicate that the majority of atheists who report having anti-abortion views do NOT identify as conservatives.

                • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

                  A good simplification, for those who don’t care about the green jelly bean weasel-wording.

                  Berkeley’s SDA on-line repository, including both the GSS and ANES, is one of the most fantastic social science resources on the Internet. It makes getting a rough idea on this sort of question the work of perhaps fifteen minutes with a web browser (and faster with experience), for what used to take months and sometimes serious money — especially if you had to pay for specific polling. I heartily recommend taking the time to play with it, if you like having informed opinions when arguing social politics on the Internet. (Razib Khan’s GNXP blog has a few tutorials.)

            • The Starship Maxima

              Well, with this post, you’ve met an anti-abortion theist who doesn’t have all those sorts of old-school conservative hangups and yet I see a grave issue with the ending of a unique human life, colloquially known as murder.

              • The Starship Maxima

                Damned tags, only “grave” was supposed to be bolded. Oh well.

              • Spectrall

                It’s easy for me to understand pro-life theists. If one believes in ensoulment, it logically follows an embryo is a person and shouldn’t be killed. I think that position is wrong, but not incoherent. Take away the ensoulment and it gets a lot harder to defend the position though. Then an embryo isn’t a person in any coherent sense and it’s a matter of the competing rights of a sentient woman and a clump of cells, which is an easy decision.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Yes, let’s lose the ensoulment argument.

                  We’re still left with this basic fact, life does NOT begin with the first emergence of sentience, it begins with conception . That did not come from Fox News. The Tea Party didn’t event that. That is scientific fact, the kind atheists and liberals overall so pride themselves on embracing.

                  Therefore when you abort a clump of cells, you are destroying a unique human being.

                • Spectrall

                  Wait, are you actually asserting that there’s no life before conception? Unfertilized eggs are not alive? I assume that’s not what you’re alleging, so you must be ascribing a strange value (perhaps ensoulment?) to genetics. There’s no real reason to regard “genetically unique” and “human genetic material” as the standard by which an entity gains more rights than the sentient woman it’s contained within. Dress it up in whatever pseudoscience you like, this is still just an ancient superstition of a soul, only rephrased as “genetically unique”, as though that grants rights.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  You’re being serious?

                  No, I am not asserting that there is no life before conception. I am repeating what every scientist has said since they studied the mammal life cycle.

                  Eggs are “alive” in the same way my teeth are alive, or my ex-girlfriend’s hair is alive. Removing a tooth or cutting her hair would not end our existence. If you’d gone back in time and kicked either of mother’s in the womb when they were pregnant with us and caused a miscarriage, you would have killed us.

                  If you have some science that disproves this, I’m all ears.

                • Spectrall

                  Eggs are “alive” in the same way my teeth are alive, or my ex-girlfriend’s hair is alive.

                  So much for the supremacy of genetic novelty as the defining factor then, I suppose.

                  I have a great deal of contempt for dressing up what amounts to a superstitious belief that embryos have rights as “science”. There’s nothing scientific about the argument at all, it’s an ethical argument that’s purely tangential to science. It’s trivial to establish that genetically unique material exists post-fertilization, but that has nothing at all to do with whether it’s a person.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Says you. Science however says that upon conception, a new, unique genetic code has been created and a process has begun that will yield a fully formed person.

                  What I see here is trying to overwrite science with personal philosophy. I have great contempt for such thinking.

                • Spectrall

                  You’re simply repeating yourself at this point. Just saying, “science, science, science!” won’t actually make a valid argument. If you want to argue that a unique genetic code grants supremacy for an embryo over a sentient woman’s rights, you’re going to have to make an ethical argument, not a scientific one. There’s simply no scientific stance on the matter at all and thinking otherwise is scientific illiteracy.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  With all due respect Spectrall, I think that’s a crock of shit. Liberals appeal to science early and often. I’m saying that with the science in hand, believing in a being’s right to its existence is consistent with nearly every other law and statue in every civilized society since the Book of Genesis, or since the Bronze Age if you prefer.

                  Since it is pro-choicers who would usurp an accepted right of a human being, it is you who needs to demonstrate what justifies it. And most of the justifications I hear are lacking.

                • hf

                  Science, if Many-Worlds is true, will say that no genetic code is unique because there are countless copies of everyone. And it probably shouldn’t be possible for discoveries in physics – that aren’t about love or joy or laughter or beauty etc – to destroy your entire morality.

                  Look, do you actually think someone sitting in a dark room alone, thinking about “person-hood” or consciousness, would infer the existence of a chemical called deoxyribonucleic acid? Or do you think there’s no logical connection between this chemical and the value of a person – that a different form of life could be just as valuable if it happened to fulfill functions like joy and pain and reason?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Badger, I have to admit, I’m not as intellectually quick as many people here. It’s the truth and I’m not proud of it.

                  Could you explain that question please?

                • badgerchild

                  I will as soon as Disqus settles down and informs me whose name is really whose name on what post. Right now it says you’re Johnee, responding to Johnee. Urgh. :)

                • God’s Starship

                  We noticed.

                • baal

                  “Science however says that upon conception, a new, unique genetic code has been created and a process has begun that will yield a fully formed person.”

                  Better than the other guy who tried to say science was on the side of pro-life today but the pro-life side talking point that uses the word ‘science’ has to be said very carefully if it’s to retain it’s (limited) accuracy.

                • KrisDStar

                  Not will yield, possibly may yield.

                • fifitrixibel

                  You could achieve the same effect by going back in time and preventing your mother from having sex that month. Would that also be murder? The are billions upon billions if “potential humans” that are never created. I will concede that the issue becomes more and more Grey as the pregnancy progresses, but an embryo that has not yet developed sentience is no more alive than your teeth.

                • badgerchild

                  Nobody can tell me what a fetus has (that matters in context) that a pregnant woman doesn’t have. A fetus has life, a unique genetic makeup, a soul, rights, sentience, no matter what you choose to say a fetus has, the pregnant woman also has. Johnee, elsewhere, pointed to “innocence”, but the pregnant woman isn’t automatically guilty, and in any case, asserting the innocence of the fetus is just a way of saying it should be “punished” by being aborted. Punishment is not what’s being inflicted on the fetus. Punishment is what anti-choicers want to inflict on the pregnant woman for the sin and guilt of sexuality.

                • badgerchild

                  “… should NOT be punished by…”

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Call it whatever you like. In most places, taking away someone’s right to life IS a punishment. No that’s not right, punishment implies something was done worth punishing.

                  It’s a crime.

                • badgerchild

                  There is no question of a crime when the action is inflicted against the self. You can’t throw a girl in jail for battery for cutting her arm with a razor blade. You can’t throw a person in jail for embezzlement for taking money out of his Christmas savings account for a beer binge. You can’t call it a crime when it’s a pregnant woman asserting her right to remove a pregnancy from her own body.

                  You keep forgetting about the pregnant woman.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  If I cut my own wrists, I am causing direct life harm to my own person. If I rip out one of my teeth, I’ve cause myself a great deal of pain, but nothing more.

                  Removing an unwanted pregnancy ends the life of another .

                  And all the available we have corroborates this.

                • badgerchild

                  Ahem. (points to the pregnant woman)

                  That is who we’re talking about. When you can manage to preserve the rights of the pregnant woman while also preserving the rights of the fetus, then we can have a productive discussion.

                  Honestly? I sure as hell hope you can find a way to do it, because I agree that abortion is miserable. But sometimes it’s less miserable than an unwanted birth.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I sure as hell hope you can find a way to do it, because I agree that
                  abortion is miserable. But sometimes it’s less miserable than an
                  unwanted birth.

                  I……have no ready answer to that.

                • badgerchild

                  Yeah, I know. In the case where I had the choice to end a pregnancy, I chose to give birth, but because of the things that happened to me afterward, I would never require anyone else to make that same choice. But I would surely support any of my younger friends if they were pregnant and desperately wanted to keep the baby, even if I thought it was a bad idea, because I care about them and their right to decide.

                • ansuz

                  If I cut my wrists while pregnant, the other life dies, too. Nevertheless, I have every right to do so.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Well……I’d consider it abortion as well. But……since the person you’re first harming is yourself, my first priority would be to save your life.

                  (thinks) Damn, that was a good hypothetical.

                • ansuz

                  Yeah, my mental health issues are such that if I became pregnant the options are
                  1. Safe, legal abortion as soon as I found out,
                  2. Increasingly dangerous methods of illegal abortion, even if it killed me,
                  3. Being forcibly imprisoned, restrained, and intubated (and taken off my meds, because they’re not safe for pregnancy) for the duration of the pregnancy. Afterwards, I’d probably kill myself.

                  There’s just no way to get live me and live baby out of this.

                • M.S.

                  but from the perspective of a pro-life person, YOU keep forgetting about the unborn child.

                  this is why this issue is so complicated and heavily debated. because it’s NOT black-and-white.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Wha…? How?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Wrong person. Nvm.

                • badgerchild

                  I certainly don’t forget about the pregnancy. I just remember who it belongs to.

                • Keljopy

                  Too bad “unborn child” is a misnomer. A fetus is not a child. It has no sentience and is not considered a person under the law. Even if, for debate purposes, it was a person with rights, those rights still would not trump the rights of the pregnant woman to bodily autonomy. Even with a born child, if, for example, it needed a kidney transplant and the mother was the only match, she would still have the right to decline. That doesn’t mean I am forgetting about that child’s right to life, however that child only has that right insofar as it does not infringe on someone else’s rights. Even taking a pro-life perspective of the fetus being a person, I am not forgetting the “unborn child” when I say the pregnant woman’s right to bodily autonomy trumps the fetuses right to life, as the right to life does not include a right to use someone else’s body to maintain that life.

                • purrtriarchy

                  The minute you force a woman to remain pregnant against her will, you sugjugate her to the fetus.

                  Which effectively ERASES the woman.

                • Spuddie

                  Not forgetting, just knowing its appropriate and logical place in the situation. Subordinate to the only life on the planet whose will keeps it alive. Anyone can keep a born person alive, not so with a fetus.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Forcing someone to remain pregnant against their will is a punishment.

                • KrisDStar

                  The unborn have no rights.
                  Citizens have rights. And the definition of a citizen is one who is born as a citizen, or one who is naturalized.
                  Neither case describes a fetus.

                • badgerchild

                  Fetuses have rights. Their rights are derived from the rights of the pregnant woman who is carrying them.

                  Here’s an interesting example I thought of, that partially relates to other discussions in this thread about how we treat cadavers. If a pregnant woman dies near term, we are allowed to assume, in default of any better knowledge, that she wanted to give birth, and we can justify violating her body to the extent of performing the necessary surgery to perform the birth. If the woman died near enough to term that the fetus had a chance of survival if born, but we knew she wanted an abortion (for example, she knew she could not take care of the baby or mentally cope with an adoption), then we need to consider whether the rights of the dead woman have diminished to the extent that the rights of the fetus could be considered superior. I could make a case that since the fetus is no longer dependent upon the woman’s body and it is an emergency, the rights of the fetus and the ideals of preservation of life then become relevant and imperative.

                  Naturally if a pregnant woman dies with fetus with no chance of viability, the above discussion is moot unless some sort of alternative gestation technology is available.

                • KrisDStar

                  And therein lies the reason for the pregnancy clause in advanced directives.
                  Medical professionals will ask the next of kin in lieu of an advanced directive, just as they would for harvesting anything out of a body after death.

                • badgerchild

                  Indeed, and the next of kin are tasked with carrying out the wishes of the dead person. They often carry out their own wishes instead, but that’s always been the case and still counts as a violation of the dead person’s wishes. I think the next of kin, even if perfectly respectful of the dead person’s wishes, would still go through some thought process like the one I mentioned, balancing the life fetus’s rights against the dead woman’s.

                  Incidentally, the current version of the (secular) Hippocratic Oath includes a clause in which the doctor vows to have “utmost respect for human life from its beginning”, which might induce them to default to delivering the fetus whether or not the next of kin say to do so. I’m not sure the doctor would be wrong to do it, either. A reading of the Declaration of Geneva http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_Geneva might be of interest in considering such a case as well.

                • badgerchild

                  “… balancing the *live fetus’s rights…”

                • KrisDStar

                  That is the problem with death without an advanced directive. Even if the person has stated they do not want their organs harvested the next of kin may decide to consent to it anyway. They may also decide to use life saving measures that the person did not want if the person did not have a signed DNR.

                  The Hippocratic Oath is more of a guideline than any sort of legal responsibility. Hence why medical ethics is heavily taught in med school.

                  I would wager that when the next of kin decides to save the infant it isn’t so much a question as the infant’s right to life, but rather the next of kins right to that infant.

                • badgerchild

                  I see what you mean. The next of kin wouldn’t necessarily analyze the question like we’re doing, and would likely be actuated by non-rational considerations. But an analytical look at the situation would have to identify potential conflicts between the rights of the living woman, the dead woman, the fetus, the doctor, and the next of kin. It would be a great essay question for a law student :)

                • KrisDStar

                  I think it would be a great question for medical students also.

                • Fred

                  “Nobody can tell me what a fetus has that a pregnant woman doesn’t have.”

                  I can tell you at least one thing the pregnant woman has that the fetus does not. Complete bodily autonomy.

                  It seems that Pro Choicers want to strip that away from the woman so that “fairness” is achieved. I think that’s wrong.

                  (edited because I might have misread what Badger was getting at.)

                • badgerchild

                  I think you have it backwards. Pro-choicers believe that the pregnant woman has the right to complete bodily autonomy. Anti-choicers believe that it is right and proper to disregard all or part of a pregnant woman’s bodily autonomy in order to grant rights to the fetus that conflict with the rights of the pregnant woman.

                  What I meant by that statement is that people say that the fetus is a human life. Well, so is the pregnant woman. They might argue that the fetus has rights. Well, so does the woman. They might argue that the fetus has a soul, sentience, or a projected choice to live, but so does the pregnant woman. They might argue that the fetus is innocent, but that implies the pregnant woman is guilty, usually because she’s an impure, sexual, sinful person. The argument that a fetus is this thing or that thing seems to be floated experimentally to see if other people can be brought to agree that a given attribute is a way to trump the pregnant woman’s bodily autonomy and right to make decisions regarding her own pregnancy.

                • God’s Starship

                  Life beginning at conception is not a scientific fact. You don’t know what you are talking about. Please stop.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  If the best you can do is “you’re wrong” with not a quarter of an ounce of anything to substantiate beyond your own opinion, then it is I who will ask you to stop.

                • God’s Starship

                  Dude, there’s 524 posts and counting. The world doesn’t need me to jump in. The job is being taken care of for me. And there’s nothing to debate. You said something untrue. It’s that simple. I’m just asking, for decency’s sake, please….. please, please, please….. don’t be that guy.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I did not ask what 524 people’s opinions were. I asked for reputable science which contradicts this statement:

                  Fertilisation (also known as conception, fecundation and syngamy) is the fusion of gametes to initiate the development of a new individual organism.[1] In animals, the process involves the fusion of an ovum with a sperm, which eventually leads to the development of an embryo.

                  If you cannot refute it, then for the sake of decency, stop.

                • God’s Starship

                  Nah, it’s just a fetus. Flush it.
                  Do you take bribes? Will bribery make you end this?

                • Cake

                  Beating heart cadavers are alive. They are most definitely not people.

                • KrisDStar

                  So what? Where does it say that the embryo has an inherent right to life that greater than the right of the being that is carrying it to remove it?

                • allein

                  Yes, who is this “science” anyway? “Science is not an entity that can “say” anything.

                • God’s Starship

                  You’re thinking of Herman Science. He was talking about Oscar Science.

                • ansuz

                  But eggs and sperm have unique human DNA, too. They’re the haploid stages of the human life cycle. What makes diploidy special?
                  Seriously, I don’t value my species because it is my species. I couldn’t care less about human cells — or human zygotes — in a petri dish. Similarly, I’d recognize a sapient alien or computer as a person with inherent value (i.e., the ability to value themselves, even if they don’t value themselves). As far as I’m concerned, non-sapient entities only have externally assigned value.
                  Is there any reason why I should consider non-sapient fetuses to have inherent value?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Yes, my sperm, and hair, and eyeballs, and teeth (crooked though they are) all have a unique genetic code. But they are all coded to the unique being who here calls himself the Starship Maxima.

                  My partners fetus is coded for a whole other person. And if we aborted them, we’d destroy that person before they even had the ability to beg for mercy.

                  The very thought is chilling.

                • ansuz

                  No, actually, your sperm has DNA that is very different from yours.

                  I recommend that you read the ‘overview’ section of this.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meiosis

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Okay, true. But my sperm, alone, do not represent another unique living creature. My partner’s fetus, does.

                • ansuz

                  “But my sperm, alone, do not represent another unique living creature. My partner’s fetus, does.”
                  Where do you think the difference between them is?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  One is a unique, complete, human being. The other is a piece of one.

                  Similar to an engine block being part of a car, but not a car by itself.

                • ansuz

                  But that’s the question I’m asking: why is a fetus a unique complete human being and a sperm cell not?
                  If having DNA that is different from its host makes something a separate being, that applies to your sperm as well as a zygote.
                  I genuinely don’t understand why people get so hung up on conception :/
                  EDIT: that should read ‘conception and amphimixis’

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Because a zygote is the earliest and first emergence of any of us as a life form.

                  If we get hung up on it, it’s because we’re looking at the objective facts and making a value judgment based therein.

                • ansuz

                  “Because a zygote is the earliest and first emergence of any of us as a life form.”
                  So it’s narcissism, then? Because sperm and egg cells can be quite legitimately be considered life forms in their own right.
                  (In some ferns [and probably in more things] the haploid portion of the life cycle is physically separate from the diploid portion of the cycle such that your sperm cell would be called your child and the zygote would be called your grandchild. The reasons for not naming things in humans this way are tradition and lack of physical separation, not because of any scientific thingy that I’ve ever heard of.)

                  /getting tired, so my coherence level is probably going down.

                • purrtriarchy

                  I love when you talk about it from the scientific angle:)

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Whose science are we discussing now? It isn’t the one I know.

                • purrtriarchy

                  tsara

                  ze is very knowledgeable

                • ansuz

                  XD I was just studying for finals, and I found notes for an old bio class — fern life cycle notes and meiosis notes. Looked at them both, and went ‘huh’. Then I took them to a plant bio prof and asked, and he went ‘huh’. Then I took them to a life sciences prof and asked, and he went ‘huh’.
                  Here endeth the tale.

                • KrisDStar

                  Complete? Then you have no problem with aborting a fetus that is not complete?

                • purrtriarchy

                  Every single sperm is UNIQUE actually.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  So is every bone and piece of bone tissue, and bone cell.

                  None of them is a unique human being . Actually.

                • purrtriarchy

                  And neither is a zygote.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  What was that meme about fundies ignoring science, but atheists being all rational and accurate?

                • purrtriarchy

                  A zygote is in fact a genetic blueprint.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Quis, by that logic, the human body is one giant genetic blueprint.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Biologist Scott Gilbert writes:

                  Genetics

                  This view states that a genetically unique person begins at conception – a fertilized egg now hosts a complete genome, making it distinct from the sex cells that came before it. This definition has the advantage of saying that a new individual has been created that can be distinct from its parents, but is still limited by the fact that this embryo is still in an early stage of development and far from viable as an individual.

                  This view also causes a funny paradox in the case of monozygotic (identical) twins: each twin does not exist as an individual when “its life begins” – that is, when it is conceived as the embryo doesn’t split into two parts until later. This paradox could possibly be resolved by considering the pre-twinning embryo as a disparate entity from either of the resulting embryos. This is why viewing the formation of life as a continuous process rather than a single event is beneficial.

                  The details of how twinning happens were discovered in the 20th Century, and, basically, a few days after conception, a single human organism might split to become identical twins –or even identical triplets.

                  Well, since identical twins/triplets simply don’t physically exist as individuals until days after conception, exactly when should it be claimed that “life” began for just one of them?

                  A completely new factor, in the description of “human life”, was discovered a couple decades ago.
                  It turns out that when fraternal twins are conceived (two completely separate egg-fertilizations), the resulting organisms don’t always stay separate. It is possible for them to merge together, to “jointly as a team” construct a single overall and often fairly ordinary-looking human body. The brain might be constructed by one member of the team; the heart might be constructed by the other member of the team. And so on.

                  This process is called “chimerism”, and it is basically just another variation on the theme of a “society of organisms”. The relevant fact here is, the merging of the two original organisms occurs several days after conception, much like the formation of identical twins/triplets. When exactly do we say that this chimeric human life began? The two conceptions might have occurred hours apart!

                  Instructions for Development and Heredity are NOT all in the Fertilised egg. The view that we are genetically determined by the combination of parental DNA has been shown to fall far short of the complete story. How the DNA is interpreted can vary greatly affected by things such as the maternal diet. Similarly some development requires certain bacteria to be present. Thirdly, and most surprisingly, the level of maternal care can determine which areas of DNA are ‘methylated’ which radically alters how they are interpreted. As such the view that we are ‘complete but unformed’ at conception is far from accurate.

                  The Embryo is NOT Safe Within the Womb. Modern research shows that 30% or fewer fertilised eggs will go on to become foetuses. Many of these early miscarriages are because of abnormal numbers of chromosomes. The view that every fertilised egg is a potential human being is wrong in around 70% of cases.

                  There is NOT a Moment of Fertilisation when the passive egg receives the active sperm.Again recent research has shown that the previous commonly held view that the fastest sperm races towards the egg and, bingo, we’re up and running is wrong on many levels. Fertilisation is a process taking up to four days. As such there is no magic moment, rather there is a process.

                  There is NO consensus amongst scientists that life begins at conception.There isn’t even consensus amongst scientists as to whether there’s consensus. However, Scott Gilbert’s paper lists embryologists who support each of the major view points belying the common and oft repeated assertion that there is consensus amongst embryologists, let alone scientists.

                  Neurology

                  Just as death is usually defined by the cessation of brain activity, so the start of life can be defined as the start of a recognisable Electroencephalography[wp] (EEG) pattern from the fetus. This is usually twenty four to twenty seven weeks after conception.

                  The point of using neurological factors rather than other signs such as a heartbeat is that this is a much more useful indicator from the point of view of science. A heart beats using mostly involuntary muscle movements so is really little different from any other spontaneous motion or metabolic processes. A heartbeat means relatively little in real terms, although it is more dramatic from an emotive point of view.

                  When discussing the philosophical and/or ethical issues, surrounding the start of life the desire for science to provide a clear cut human/non human boundary is very understandable. We need to be able to define this because it is important in our laws and our understandings. However, even from the brief descriptions given above, it is clear that there is no simple answer that science can give. It may well be that reality doesn’t have an answer for us, and that “when does life begin?” is, in fact, a meaningless question.

                  The entity created by fertilization is indeed a human embryo, and it has the potential to be human adult. Whether these facts are enough to accord it personhood is a question influenced by opinion, philosophy and theology, rather than by science.

                  Indeed, the potential for human life can begin very early, but it is personhood that is the sticking point. The question is very much whether the two are equal and therefore happen at the same point. Leaving the answer in the hands of philosophy and opinion however makes the distinction between “life” and “non-life” purely subjective and the answer will be different for everyone. This is the most important fact to bear in mind, particularly when discussing legalities – subjective thoughts cannot and should not be forced upon everyone fairly.

                  http://www.amazon.com/Developmental-Biology-Scott-F-Gilbert/dp/0878932585

                • The Starship Maxima

                  While fascinating, I fail to see how one scientist’s “when looked at from this angle” while failing to dispute any of the accepted science as it is, constitutes some sort of proof of your argument.

                • purrtriarchy

                  1) that is the accepted science – a unique viable human being is NOT created at conception, which isn’t even a’ moment’ but a process

                  2) there is no consensus on whether or not a ‘human being’ is formed at conception because that is a VALUE judgment that people make based on what they want to believe a human being is

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Quis, WHY does it need to be a person?? Is it not enough that it is a unique human being and that it exists?

                  If not, why not?

                • purrtriarchy

                  Human being is a synonym for person, fyi.

                  It is human. this is true. And it is alive.

                  But is that *enough* to give it the right to use a woman’s body against her will?

                  And bear in mind, no human being/person has the right to use another human being/person as life support without consent.

                • Carol Lynn

                  That’s only a limitation of current technology. It would certainly someday be possible for ANY human cell to be grown into a new person. ( So many pro-birthers seem to suffer from a failure of imagination…)

                • KrisDStar

                  Instead you force a pregnancy on a woman that has already begged for mercy and relief from the pregnancy. How chilling.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  So, if I was pregnant with identical twins, you’d be okay if I aborted just one of them, right? In fact, by your logic, I’d have to, wouldn’t I? Got to be unique to count, right?

                • Sunnyhorse

                  No, you’re destroying a clump of cells.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  That would seem to contradict medical science. I thought that was something only fundies did.

                • badgerchild

                  The pregnant woman’s right to an abortion is still valid even though the cells are unique, human, and living. Stop with the ‘clump of cells’ thing.

                • Pofarmer

                  All sorts of things destroy unique human beings all the time. It would seem to me, that the most ethical time to do that would be in the stage when it is still a clump of cells. I am generally anti-abortion, but, I have no problem with contraception or the morning after pill.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Nor do I. Those things don’t destroy unique human beings. They prevent them from forming in the first place.

                • KrisDStar

                  Not entirely. Birth control pills also work by making the uterus inhabitable to a fertilized egg.

                  http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/how-do-birth-control-pills-work

                • purrtriarchy

                  No, life actually began with the emergence of homo sapiens.

                  Every sperm and every egg are a potential baby, just as the zygote is.

              • badgerchild

                Did you mean “atheist”?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  No. I am a Christian, a kind of theist. One of my biggest and most lasting failings is that I routinely sleep with women I’m not married to. And on a few occasions, women married to someone else. There is a reason I go to extraordinary lengths not to throw stones, living in this glass condo and all.

                  I’ve fallen in love with unwed mothers, women who’ve gotten abortions, feminists, and even the occasional atheist.

                  Quite frankly, growing up in NYC, I have little use for the June Cleaver-type ’50s submissive. I’ll take a Murphy Brown woman anyday.

                  With that said, I feel, strongly, a human being’s first right is it’s right to exist.

                • badgerchild

                  Oh, OK, I was just asking because Spectrall said they’d not met an anti-abortion atheist who, yadda, yadda. Thanks for clarifying your position :)

                • M.S.

                  “A human being’s first right is it’s right to exist”. Well said.

                • Spuddie

                  Until they are born. Then you don’t give a rats ass about them. Especially if those human beings have active female reproductive organs.

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

                  “A human being’s first right is its right to continue to exist”. It has to exist first as a human being and a person to be arrogated any rights at all.

                  FTFY

              • allein

                Murder is a legal definition. Abortion is legal, therefore it is not murder.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I concede that point, albeit resentfully. I mean once upon a time, slave was a legal definition as well.

                • allein

                  I would be more likely to equate abortion with self-defense, which is also perfectly legal. Forcing a woman to remain pregnant when she does not wish to be would be more analogous to slavery.

                • Cake

                  No what you are doing, on purpose (which is something that fundies do), is to conflate being alive with being a person.

                • purrtriarchy

                  This is exactly what he is doing.

              • purrtriarchy

                Then how much jail time should women serve for murdering the unique life within them?

              • KrisDStar

                That is not what the definition of murder is.
                “The unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice.”
                Abortion does not fit that definition.

              • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                Several years ago, a man attempted to use my body against my will. I stabbed him with a weapon that was close to hand.

                Like him, you have no problems with using my body against my will. And you clearly think I am a horrible person for attempting to end his ‘unique human life’.

                Yet you seem to think you have the moral high ground in this debate. I find that… sad.

                • purrtriarchy

                  And he is quite proud of his misogyny.

                  He said that he cares for human life, and that if it makes him a misogynist, too bad!

                  I am enjoying the moral outrage. He is utterly disgusted by our complete disregard for unique human life that was raped into being by women engaging in consensual sex.

          • RickRussellTX

            Correct, I think there is a consistent ethical position that says we need to value human life as part of the social contract, and to some controlled extent this right should extend to human fetus. The extent to which rights apply to the fetus is clearly also a matter of social consensus taken with the rights of the mother in mind, as there is no universal law to which we may appeal.

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

            What you can’t do is ditch the idea that if a fetus has a right to life, a woman becomes nothing more than a passive life-support system for a fetus, all her rights abrogated.

            You may ditch the anti-sex stupidity, but you aren’t ditching the controlling-women stupidity.

            • The Starship Maxima

              It is a time honored tradition in most any civilized society to curtail the rights of the individual when they interfere with an innocent life, which an unborn child is.

              • badgerchild

                “Innocent”? So the pregnant woman is guilty of something? What, being sexually impure?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Of course not. But I’ve never heard of any fetus trying to stop its mother from existing.

                • badgerchild

                  And trying to terminate a pregnancy is automatically a crime, I suppose. I think that’s why Christians are told not to judge, because of absolutist and inflexible assumptions like this that they wouldn’t make if they were in full possession of the facts.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Strawman. Trying to terminate a pregnancy that has little chance of success and/or poses a significant risk to the mother is ethical.

                  Terminating an otherwise uncomplicated pregnancy is a crime in the same vein as removing someone from life support without any authorization.

                • badgerchild

                  You’re ignoring the pregnant woman again. Funny how that’s such a reflex. Calling the fetus “innocent” is just a way of saying it doesn’t deserve the “punishment” of being aborted. But abortion is not a punishment, or intended to be; it’s not a form of vengeance against a pregnancy, it’s simply an exercise of medical choice on the part of the pregnant woman who finds it undesirable to be pregnant (for reasons that are none of our goddamn business).

                • The Starship Maxima

                  False equivalence. Nobody is ignoring anything. I’m saying that my view of any innocent human life is that unless it poses a threat to the life of another, it has the right to exist.

                  I can sympathize with why someone wants to usurp the rights of another. And still NOT agree with it.

                • badgerchild

                  OK, fair enough. I am saying that even an “innocent human life” does not have an inalterable right to exist if that right depends on violating the rights of another person to, at minimum, bodily autonomy.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I strongly disagree with that. ……..But, I find the argument strangely compelling.

                  For me I believe a human being’s right to exist justifies temporary loss of autonomy of another. After all, the fetus didn’t choose to be there.

                • badgerchild

                  And the pregnant woman doesn’t always choose to be pregnant. But that’s a bit of a side issue. The choice of the fetus isn’t any more relevant than the choice of a cancer. If you sneak into my hospital room while I am sedated and install a pregnancy, that fetus did not choose to be there. If I have a party on Halloween and sleep with every man dressed as Satan and I get pregnant, that fetus did not choose to be there. It does not matter what the fetus “would choose to do” because in every case the fetus would choose to live. That’s completely beside the point. The choice that matters is the pregnant woman’s.

                  Arguing that a person can lose autonomy is the same as saying that slavery is permissible. Wait, that sounds more extreme than it is. Slavery is the assumption of someone’s autonomy by another person. It doesn’t matter whether it is voluntary slavery or involuntary slavery, we still say slavery is wrong. In the US, even a contractual arrangement to be a slave is null as soon as the putative slave wants to exit the agreement.

                  If slavery is OK with you in the context of forced birth, then you might be OK with it in other contexts. I grant that you might say that is indeed your position. But you should consider that telling a woman she must use her reproductive capacity as you wish her to is not different from telling her she must submit to being pregnant when you wish her to, or must get an abortion when you wish her to.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  The thing about slavery is, in that analogy the fetus is more like the slave, and the mother is more the master.

                  The fetus didn’t get there by choice, and saying that makes no difference, I believe, is false.

                • badgerchild

                  The fetus doesn’t get a choice until it has the capacity to make a choice. Until then, its choices are made for it. Projecting your choices on the fetus does not equal knowing what the fetus would choose. You understood that sometimes the birth of an unwanted child is more miserable than its abortion, and I think you understood why that might be the case. In those terrible circumstances you might well say the fetus would choose not to be born.

                  What I think you are having trouble with is that you hear ‘pregnancy’ and your mental picture is of a smiling white woman in a sunlit bed holding a swaddled bundle while her husband and family gather around. But people don’t abort pregnancies when everything is going good for them. Abortions are more expensive and invasive than birth control. Women choose abortions as a last resort. You can probably imagine what sorts of circumstances could lead to the belief that having a baby right now is a bad thing.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Studies suggest it is women with disadvantaged backgrounds and minimal education that turn to abortion. That tends to black and Hispanic women. Like my mother.

                  The thought that I could be killed in spite of having done not a Goddamn thing wrong is nearly as horrific as the concept of being a slave. No…more horrific.

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

                  You wouldn’t ever have existed. You wouldn’t know the difference. There just never would have been a you.

                  That’s why killing a sapient being is much more morally fraught than killing one that literally has no capacity for thought or pain. Abortion is ending things before they ever begin.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I readily admit it might be “pathetic” Christian leanings, but I don’t decide morality or ethics based on pain felt.

                  If I did, then having sex with a woman too incoherent to notice wouldn’t comprise rape.

                • purrtriarchy

                  A clinically braindead corpse cannot suffer, and yet these corpses are routinely unhooked from life support all the time.

                  Because they are braindead.

                  Because no one is home.

                  When the majority of abortions occur a fetus has the same EEG’s as that braindead corpse.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  There is a difference between a child who, due to something amiss in the womb, was born without arms, and a person having their arms chopped off.

                • purrtriarchy

                  In the majority of abortions the fetus is removed intact.

                  It doesn’t matter *how* a non-viable fetus is removed – it dies because it is separated from the woman’s body.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  The point is, there is a difference between a brain dead person and a being that is so new it doesn’t show brain function, but has every expectation of doing so .

                  I assure you no one with the slightest ounce of ethics would remove someone from life support if there was the most miniscule chance they’d wake up.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Potentiality is not actuality.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  According to my living will, if certain criteria are met I am to be taken off life support. This includes situations in which I may even be conscious. I hope that should such a situation occur, those in power have the ethical fortitude to honor my wishes.

                • purrtriarchy

                  *YOU* would not have existed.

                  A fetus has no personalty.

                  A zygote is merely a genetic blueprint.

                  You are working backword and projecting your personality onto that of the fetus.

                  Just think of the child that *does* not exist because your mom had sex when she did. If she had had sex even 5 minutes earlier, a different sperm would have fused with the egg.

                  You are alive, and because of that, another child didn’t get to live.

                  p.s. how could you be so selfish that you would enslave another so that you could live. what is your mom to you, a fucking cow?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  When I was one-month old, I couldn’t process the past, present, or the future. I had no moral compass. I had no concept of ethics, nor could I make ethical decision.

                  Would my death have been less tragic then?

                • ansuz

                  “The thought that I could be killed in spite of having done not a Goddamn thing wrong is nearly as horrific as the concept of being a slave. No…more horrific.”
                  Really? I was an accident and not well-planned (EDIT: not well-timed, as in, I came at a pretty bad time), and my mother kept her options open right until the end (going to the secular hospital that would perform an abortion if anything went wrong with the birth rather than the closer Catholic hospital).
                  I’m quite grateful to know that she didn’t endure anything more than she felt she could.

                • badgerchild

                  The thought that I could exist today because someone forced my mother to endure the horrific despair and sense of being raped that is an unwanted forced pregnancy is nearly as horrific as… actually it’s more horrific than anything I can think of besides being buried alive.

                • Keljopy

                  The thought of you being killed as a fetus before sentience and therefore before there really was a “you” isn’t really any more horrific than the thought of you never having been conceived in the first place. Looking at it from a world where there is a “you” it seems horrific, but there are countless combinations of human genes that have never been turned into people, and nobody seems to find that horrific.

                • Anat

                  A slave experiences its suffering, a fetus does not. Therefore no equivalence whatsoever. Your projection of what being killed *now* might be like onto a fetus is not valid.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  You do realize that had your parents engaged in a different sex act, you would have instead been swallowed and digested? OMG BLOWJOBS ARE TEH EVILS THEY MUST BE BANNED IMMEDIATELY WON”T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!111eleventy!!!

                • purrtriarchy

                  And this is a hint that he is terrified of non-existence. He is a very special snowflake after all…

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  And yet there are so many situations out there in which non-existence is preferable to existence. I bet he is also adamantly against the right to die.

                  And what the fuck is all this ‘right to life’ stuff? What is a right to life? Who has it? Without food, I shall die. Are you therefore obligated to feed me? Without shelter, I shall die. Are you therefore obligated to let me live with you? Without medical care, I shall die. Are you therefore obligated to pay all my medical bills? Without a kidney, I shall die. Are you therefore obligated to give me yours? Should it be the law that obligates you, by threat of force?

                  Who has the right to life? If you try to rape me, am I obligated to not defend myself out of worry I may accidentally kill you? If you try to rob me, am I obligated to just hand over whatever you desire out of worry that putting up a struggle could result in your death?

                • purrtriarchy

                  I just found out last night that he is a Christian.

                  I bet he believes that every zygote gets a ‘soul’.

                  But he replaces ‘soul’ with ‘science’ and thinks we will fall for it.

                • KrisDStar

                  If the fetus didn’t get there by choice, then it cannot choose to remain there. It has no choice in the matter at all.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  “The thing about slavery is, in that analogy the fetus is more like the slave, and the mother is more the master.”

                  How, exactly, do you justify that bit of BS? The mother is the one whose body is working at the service of the fetus. Do you just not understand how the whole ‘pregnancy’ thing works or what a uterus does?

                • KrisDStar

                  And another person didn’t choose to have kidney disease. So when can we sign you up for forced kidney donations?

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  By that logic, we should get to harvest whatever of your organs we want as long as you could theoretically survive the process. You don’t need two lungs, or two kidneys, or a whole liver, right?

                • Spuddie

                  Innocent is used to contrast guilty dirty women. So a sense of innocence trumps any consideration of her. Her will must be subordinate to the clearly more moral outsider who knows better what is best for her.

                  Well that is the official unstated position of the antiabortion crowd.

                • sarah5775

                  That is absolutely ridiculous. The term innocent is meant to specify that the baby has committed no crime and therefore should not be put to death. it has nothing to do with saying the mother is guilty

                • JamieHaman

                  Calling bs on that sarah5775, no one EVER says a thing about the innocence of the mother. It is only an innocent unborn child.
                  One hears lots about “keeping her legs together” “what a slut” “why wasn’t she using bc?” and in the case of rape.. “what was she doing out at that hour” “what did she think was going to happen if…” “what did she expect wearing that” ad nauseam.

                  Spuddie has it exactly right.

                • purrtriarchy

                  If you are raped by someone who is sleepwalking, they are for all intents and purposes ‘innocent’ but as long as they are infringing on your bodily autonomy you have the right to remove them from your person – even if they die in the process.

                • Spuddie

                  Bullshit. It is precisely why you use the term innocent and act like it material to the discussion.Somehow your moral judgment on the woman trumps any of her personal concerns for what goes on in her body.

                  You are displaying a trait common to all anti-abortion people. You are deliberately ignoring the role of the woman and her body in the equation here. You have to minimize her, deny her existence or bury her in cheap petty moralizing to support your views.

                  Its a zero sum game. You can’t discuss the fetus without its impact on the mother. You try to win it by pretending one element is not worth considering. That is where “innocence” comes in. Innocent fetus is always contrasted with the dirty fallen woman who seeks an abortion.

                • ansuz

                  If I am being raped by a mentally ill person (who is not responsible for their actions) do I have the ethical right to act in such a way to end that violation without regard for the safety of the rapist?
                  Note that I’m not asking about shooting the person in the head; all I want to know if I am obligated to consider their safety before I act. If I’m going to push them off of me, do I have to check that I’m not going to push them into anything? If I hit them or bite them do I have to make sure that I won’t do any serious damage? Or can I put ending the use of my body as my priority?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Yes, you have that right. And while it would be ethically preferable if you used non-lethal force, I’m from the school of “if under attack, you ANY and ALL means to neutralize”.

                • ansuz

                  That is all I would be doing with abortion. I talked about my mental health issues in the other thread; I have a lot of mental health issues. There is absolutely no way (other than abortion) a pregnancy would not be terribly damaging to my mental health. I would need the embryo or fetus out of me.
                  If a method of transferring care of the z/e/f to another human or to a machine existed, I’d probably take the nonlethal method (assuming it was safe)(I say ‘probably’ because I really don’t want to pass my mental health issues on), but that method doesn’t exist.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  You make a compelling argument. Quite compelling. But now we get into the question of “how liberally are we applying the tags, ‘imminent harm’ or ‘self defense’”?

                  George Zimmerman applied them his way and there’s now a dead teenager. Extreme metaphor, yes, but you see my train of thought.

                • ansuz

                  I tend to go with this:
                  a) We have compelling evidence that nonconsensual use of somebody’s body does significant harm (see: prevalence of PTSD among rape victims).
                  b) We have compelling evidence that pregnancy significantly alters the bodies of those who go through it, and is not a state of wellness (see, for example: the fact that pregnancy is an immunosuppressed state).
                  c) We have no way of ending a pregnancy that is safe for the embryo or fetus and is also not disgustingly inhumane to force on an unwilling person (see: c-section and labour, and how painful and damaging they are. If the pain of labour were artificially forced on anybody, we would call that ‘torture’.).
                  d) We have no evidence of sapience or sentience in a fetus until very late in a pregnancy, and some evidence that neither sapience nor sentience occurs until first breath.

                  Because of (a) and (b), being pregnant and not wanting to be constitutes sufficient harm or danger to end a pregnancy. Because of c) lethal force is justified all the way through, and because of (d) I don’t find it to be troubling until the very end.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  Metaphor doesn’t work – Zimmerman is a lying jackass.

                • badgerchild

                  I can agree that the pregnancy has a “right” to continue until the pregnant woman wants it discontinued. The pregnancy is not objectively valueless, but it’s the choice of the pregnant woman whether other considerations are more valuable that counts here.

                • KrisDStar

                  You want to usurp the rights of the woman for the the nonexistent rights of a fetus that may possibly one day be a person.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  And yet here you are, constantly advocating usurping the rights of the person involved – the woman.

                  All pregnancies take their toll on the body, each and every one of them has a risk. Why do you think you have the right to determine the level of risk a woman has to assume? Why do you think you have the right to demand a woman give up the rights to her own body?

                • KrisDStar

                  False analogy. The person on life support is already born, already has rights, and is already an autonomous person.

                • Liya

                  interesting. So you are ok with people removing their relatives from life support – killing a human being- because they just don’t want the emotional and financial expense (in some cases they choose to keep them alive for decades).
                  But you think the same considerations from a pregnant woman don’t deserve respect?

                • JamieHaman

                  You got this half right. The second half, not so much.

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

                  I have. Well, not trying to, because it requires sentience to actually intend anything. But killing its mother or very nearly so? Oh yeah, that’s common.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I did say that abortion is desirable, perhaps even ethically mandated if the fetus poses some threat to the life of the mother.

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

                  It. Always. Does.

                  The maternal mortality rate in the US is 21/100,000. That means 600-700 women per year die in the US alone. One or two women every day. A fetus always poses a risk to the life of the woman.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I find it extreme false equivalence to equate a 0.021% chance of failure to the 100% mortality rate of abortion.

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

                  Abortion has a maternal mortality rate of 0.6/100,000, actually. It’s significantly safer than pregnancy and labor.

                  What do you consider to be “high enough” risk? Is the rate of ~1% that is natural (ie, sans modern medical treatment) high enough? The 4% of controlled sickle cell anemia? The 90%+ of heart disease? When is pregnancy “dangerous enough” to warrant abortion in your book, and why should any woman have to run her risk tolerance past you to “deserve” an abortion? If a woman decides 21/100,000 is too much risk, why do you get to tell her nay?

                • sarah5775

                  Actually, there are MANY things wrong with that statistic.

                  1. The maternal mortality rate is calculated as deaths per 100,000 births, not 100,000 pregnancies, not including stillbirths and miscarriages

                  2. The figure of maternal mortality calculates ALL deaths of pregnant women, including suicide, homicide, and accidents, and therefore is inflated.

                  3. There are NO reporting requirements in any state on abortion deaths. It is voluntary to report them. Many doctors don’t do it, for varous reasons. Abortion clinics obviously have a conflict of interest. Emergency room doctors may want to save the patient’s family embarrassment. In contrast, there are very strict reporting laws for maternal deaths

                  4. death certificates after abortion are often vague, whether intentionally or not. A woman can die of a uterine infection caused by retained fetal tissue. Official cause of death: systemic infection. Actual cause of death: Abortion

                  5. The abortion statistics only cover the first few weeks after a woman’s abortion. Some fatal complications show up up later. For example a number of studies show that ectopic (tubal) pregnancies are much more likely in women who have abortions…they can be fatal…but you woulnd’t know it until a subsequent pregnancy. If a woman contracts an std or infection from her abortion, or has an std that is untreated and aggravated by the abortion, this can take a long time to kill her and be out of the purvey of the study.

                  You need to look at these commonly tossed around statistics carefully.

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

                  Oh trust me, I have. Our maternal mortality statistics suffer from much the same reporting problems (death from heart attack because of pregnancy reported as heart attack, for example), so if you’re going to argue we’re undercounting abortion deaths, you should also recognize we’re undercounting maternal mortality deaths. Also note that because maternal mortality does only include births, the actual rate is likely higher because stillbirths and miscarriages are frequently more dangerous and deadly than childbirth.

                  We know the death rate is very low from abortion, because the complication rate requiring hospitalization is also extremely low. One reason that requiring abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges is a barrier to abortion access is because hospitals don’t want to give privileges to doctors who may send them one or two clients over the course of a decade. Lack of complications indicates a very safe procedure.

                  You should apply your skepticism more carefully, and in all directions, not just in the direction you want to be true.

                • JamieHaman

                  Care to share some links to the 5 things you listed? I’m not finding the same information at all.

                • KrisDStar

                  Or the 100% mortality rate of life?

                • sarah5775

                  Then you must be against second and third trimester abortion. They is more dangerous than childbirth

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

                  Nopety nope! Even late-term abortions are in fact significantly safer than childbirth.

                • purrtriarchy

                  I need your opinion on a related subject. It’s one that mostly has me stumped, because I don’t know a lot about the subject.

                  Can I ask here or would you prefer the duplex or soemthing?

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

                  Duplex is probably best.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Thanks

                  Take your time

                  Wall of text etc

                • Anat

                  Evidence?

                • purrtriarchy

                  But if the fetus simply causes her to go blind? Develop diabetes?

                  Lose teeth, develop osteoperosis

                  All of that is just dandy in your opinnion?That permanent disability is something that women, and ONLY women should risk to preserve a life?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I always strive to leave room for individual cases. If my wife was going blind, I don’t know that I wouldn’t consider an abortion (God help me).

                  And no, I do NOT believe women should be responsible for preserving life alone. That they are is a greater crime against humanity, greater than even the killing of the unborn.

                  I utterly and categorically loathe abortion, and if I could I’d outlaw across the galaxy tomorrow. But….if there was a way to force fathers to share the fate of the women they impregnate, I’d do that the very next hour.

                • purrtriarchy

                  A Polish woman went blind because she was denied a therapeutic abortion.

                  Many people seem to believe that blindness and other disabilities are risks that women sign up for when they ‘spread their legs’

                  Of course, no one else is held to that standard. Just women. Who are apparently not people. Because actual people have the right to bodily autonomy.

                • Guest

                  I pity your wife that you would chose what lies inside her body over her health and wellbeing. Poor woman.

                • Anat

                  I loathe people who interfere with women’s access to abortion. They are enslavers of women, whether they intend it or not. The answer is not to punish men too, the answer is to let people have the means to control their lives, safely.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  Fortunately, it’s not your choice, it is hers. It’s telling though, that you think it’s your choice to determine the level of risk your wife gets to assume. Contrary to what you apparently believe, women are people with their own minds and decision making abilities.

                • sarah5775

                  http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3711005.pdf

                  4% of all abortions are done for health reasons…and that classification includes mental health reasons, such as depression or anxiety about her pregnancy. What about the other 96%?

                • purrtriarchy

                  It doesn’t matter *why* a woman wants to end a pregnancy.

                  And just because a woman doesn’t list the risks doesn’t magically make them go away.

                  Her body. Her health. Her life. Her future. Her choice.

                • Anat

                  Any pregnancy can turn into a dangerous one very quickly. It is wrong to force women to undergo risks against their wishes. A woman’s body is her own, not for you or the government to control.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  http://www.thelizlibrary.org/site-index/site-index-frame.html#soulhttp://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/004.htm

                  40% of women have a complication resulting from pregnancy. All abortions are done for health reasons, as health includes not only physical, but mental wellbeing and stability. There are women who abort because otherwise they would lose out on their jobs/education, a very unhealthy thing to do.
                  If people GENUINELY wanted to make instances of abortion go down, they’d be fighting tooth and nail for MORE planned parenthood buildings and making birth control MORE easily available. Oddly, they aren’t, which makes it clear it’s not about ‘protecting life’, but about controlling women.

                • KrisDStar

                  There is always the risk of death and illness to the mother. Hence the ob/gyn care during pregnancy. The ob/gyn is first and foremost the mothers doctor. There to keep her as healthy as possible during pregnancy.

                • KrisDStar

                  Of course they do. You should probably look up maternal death rates, maternal illness rates,etc.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  In some countries, the maternal mortality rate is 1 in 7. That means 1 in 7 women die during pregnancy or due to the act of giving birth.

                  Currently, due mainly to asinine forced-birthers like yourself, the maternal mortality rate in the US is rising due to women not being able to get adequate medical care such as birth control (which includes abortions)

                • purrtriarchy

                  They always dismiss maternal mortality rates from the developing world. As if it doesn’t count at all as a fact that pregnancy, in and of itself, is not safe.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  As near as I can tell, they dismiss the ‘maternal’ entirely.

                • sarah5775

                  and the woman can’t be innocent as well as the unborn? What kind of logic is that? They are Both innocent. I wouldn’t support killing the mother either. The point is, innocent life should not be destroyed. (though as a pro-lifer I also feel guilty life should not be destroyed, I oppose the death penalty and war too)

                • purrtriarchy

                  If you are forcing a woman to remain pregnant against her will she is going to regard that as punishment

                  Especially if you say she should be held ‘accountable’ for her ‘actions’

                • sarah5775

                  So if I get pregnant and feel judged by people telling me to carry to term, I can abort? How about if my two year old cries in a restaurant and makes me feel judged by others?
                  Can I kill her too? If abortion kills a human being (and science proves life begins at conception) why is killing her justifiable?

                • purrtriarchy

                  Your two year old isn’t living inside your body.

                  If abortion kills a human being (and science proves life begins at conception)

                  Does not.

                • Anat

                  The killing of a fetus is justifiable because the fetus infringes on the bodily autonomy of someone who does not wish to be so infringed upon.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  You can hand over your two year old for someone else to take care of.

                  So, by your logic, abortion is fine. We are just handing over the fetus to be cared for by someone else. Not our fault they haven’t figured out how to keep a zygote alive without a uterus.

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

                Really? Huh. I could have sworn that even the Bible says that causing a miscarriage is clearly not murder.

                There is no such thing as an unborn child. Children are, by definition, born. Fetuses are either A) intentionally hurting their hosts by injecting hormones that are extremely deleterious and can thus be removed in self-defense, or B) are unheedingly harmful in the way wasps and fire ants are and can thus be removed in self-defense.

                Innocence is no excuse for hurting or killing people.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I have absolutely NO idea what you’re talking about.

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

                  It is a time honored tradition in most any civilized society to curtail the rights of the individual when they interfere with an innocent life, which an unborn child is.

                  That’s what I was trying to reply to, anyways. If Disqus is screwing up again, I apologize for the misplaced post.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I got that, what I don’t get is how you disregard a unique human being’s existence, simply because it isn’t developed enough to live outside the womb yet.

                  I find it difficult to swallow, actually.

                • badgerchild

                  Nobody disregards it, they just don’t disregard the rights of the pregnant woman in the way you continually do. It doesn’t matter if the pregnant woman is pregnant with the next Mozart (and you could somehow prove this). She should not be forced to give birth against her will.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  You feel since the woman is clearly sentient in an observable way, her entitlement to her freedom supercedes that of a human being that hasn’t demonstrated sentience.

                  Is this correct?

                • badgerchild

                  No, I don’t think it has anything to do with sentience at all. I would support the pregnant woman’s right to choose to terminate her pregnancy even if the fetus was fully aware and had the right to communicate its objection to the procedure.

                  There are analogies in some thought experiments that you’ll see elsewhere, dealing with, say, waking up in the hospital and finding another adult grafted to your body so that removing them would kill them immediately, and the adult being fully aware and objecting to the separation, though they did not necessarily choose to be grafted to your body in the first place.

                • badgerchild

                  “… had the ability to communicate…” sorry, I can’t edit as a “guest”

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Badger, you’d support the right of a woman to eject a unique human being, even if it begged for mercy ????

                • badgerchild

                  Eject them from a home? No. Eject them from a family? No. Eject them from a job? I’d certainly do my best for them. Eject a sex partner from my vagina if I was unwilling to continue sex with him, despite the fact that he wants to finish in me? That’s getting a little closer. Eject a person from inside my body IF I DIDN’T WANT THEM IN MY BODY? Yes, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I……see. I don’t agree, at all.

                • badgerchild

                  I can respect that and even see why you think it’s just too cold and terrible a choice for you to make.

                  I think of it much like the poor Jehovah’s Witnesses kid who needed a life-saving implant that he thought he’d be *damned* for getting, and they forced him to get it anyway. Can you imagine what that poor kid feels like now? Can you see that an unwanted pregnancy can feel like that implant? Countless woman have risked their own deaths in illegal abortions or even killed themselves rather than deal with unwanted pregnancies, because of that feeling. [TRIGGER WARNING] It’s (I am not exaggerating) like a rape that won’t stop.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Your case is compelling. Too f**ing compelling actually, but still.

                  But here’s my question. Isn’t there a difference between an unwanted invader/rapist and a child who did not ask to be in your womb?

                • badgerchild

                  Sure, but the difference is that the rapist/invader is “guilty” and the fetus is “innocent”. That’s why the thought experiment usually involves a sedated person with no awareness of having been grafted to your body. I’m saying that the motive or status of the unwanted person doesn’t matter; what does matter is the fact that there is a woman, and she is pregnant, and she wants to not be pregnant. If there was a way to transfer a pregnancy to a woman who wanted it, I’m sure it would be a huge relief to millions of women who made a choice that they wish they were never in a position to make.

                  Even if the woman wanted to be pregnant and now doesn’t, it doesn’t matter. Circumstances change. I could get pregnant from my husband [checks calendar] in about two weeks, but if he got drunk and abusive in six months and moved his ass back to Europe so he could escape the obligations the US would place on him, it doesn’t matter that today we want a baby. It doesn’t even matter that I’m 47 and have little chance of ever having another pregnancy. I wouldn’t want the abortion, but I just couldn’t have a baby. Choosing to have an abortion is not easy and not arbitrary.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  Which is why pro-lifers are morally no different than rapists.

                • Spuddie

                  Why of course!!!

                  It’s in her body, using her organs for life support. How is it not ever her choice?

                  As long as its in her body it is only her will which keeps it alive. The debates about when life/sentience begins is an irrelevancy. It is just a way to avoid discussing the woman’s role/burdens in the process. You can’t protect a fetus without attacking the mother in one form or another. You have to pretend she is some kind of evil selfish slut unworthy of making her own decisions.

                  Unfortunately for you, such decisions are not for you to judge. They are personal and private. Your input means nothing to hers. It’s in her body, her will keeps it alive. Her decision is the only relevant one here.

                • KrisDStar

                  Yes, because the unique human being that is the pregnant woman does not want the pregnancy.

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

                  It’s. Hurting. Someone. It could kill them.

                  Thus, it can be removed ethically from the person it is hurting, even if that removal will kill it. This is not a hard concept. We let you legally and ethically kill someone who is trying to kill you, we let you legally and ethically kill someone who is trying to rape you, we let you legally and ethically kill someone who is assaulting you, we let you legally and ethically kill someone who is breaking into your house, and in some states we even let you legally and ethically kill someone breaking into your neighbor’s house.

                  Every human being is a unique one, and yet we have all these circumstances in which killing them is considered an acceptable thing to do. I don’t think fetuses are people, but even if they were, so what? If they’re hurting someone (assault, attempted murder) and using her body against her will (rape, basically), they can legally and ethically be killed.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  And not a single one of those examples involves an innocent person.

                  A better example would be inviting someone over to your house, deciding you don’t really want them there, and killing them.

                • badgerchild

                  That’s only a valid example if you invite them to take up residence inside your body and live exclusively as a parasite. So long as the person is separate from you, they have their own rights, innocent or guilty. So long as they are part of your body, they are subject to your rights, innocent or guilty.

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

                  What does innocence have to do with anything? People have been found innocent for making a mistake and thinking someone was going to hurt them, and so pulling the trigger. If a mentally ill person broke into my house, they have no mens rea intent to harm me, but killing them is still a legitimate option.

                  If a fetus is hurting someone, and it always is, intent is entirely irrelevant. Or do you consider it immoral to kill wasps and fire ants, because they’re innocent of intent to harm me?

                  Unless you actively try to get pregnant, no fetus has been invited in, and even once invited, it can still be evicted. A far better example is accidentally leaving your door open and finding someone in the house (or even finding someone who broke the lock inside), and the only possible way to evict them also happens to involve their death. If there were other options, that’d be great, but it’s a sponge on your resources (you have to feed, shelter, and clothe your uninvited guest at your own expense) and no one else can do it. Also, they’re going to sneak into your room every night and inject you with hormones that make you sick. They’re going to hide your clothes so you have to get new ones. They might just kill you with an overdose of those hormones, or a stroke, or a major infection. Then, in nine or so months, they’re going to torture you for hours and hours until they finally move out. This torture process could kill you too.

                  Are you going to say that every person who finds an uninvited guest with these parameters is required to host them?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  A wasp isn’t human. Neither is a fire ant.

                  And yes, a pregnancy exposes a mother to certain risks. Yes. I fail to see that as imminent harm in the way a loaded firearm pointed at your face is imminent harm.

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

                  I don’t understand your point. You said a fetus was innocent; so are wasps and fire ants, so clearly innocence isn’t a criterion that actually matters to you.

                  Now you say fetuses are human, but I am not forced to donate my organs to any born humans, even if they’ll die without them. I don’t have to donate so much as a single drop of blood to my newborn infant, for example. Hell, even corpses are immune from forced organ donation, we value bodily autonomy so much more than life. Why do you think women should be forced to donate their whole bodies to fetuses? And why do you think dead women should have more control over their organs than living ones?

                  Why do you think fetuses are human, anyways? They have unique human DNA, sure, but so do hydatidiform moles and cancers. Twins have non-unique human DNA; are they one person or two? Chimaeras have two sets of DNA; are they one person or two? Clearly unique human DNA isn’t the marker of personhood either. So why are fetuses people in your brain? And what makes them such important people that they get rights over other people’s bodies that no born human has ever had?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  The fetus didn’t ask to be in your womb. Short of rape, you, and your partner, put it there.

                  Now once it’s there, once it exists, I believe it has the right to continued existence the same as any other human being.

                • badgerchild

                  Just curious, since you said in another post (paraphrasing) that you agree that a pregnant woman has a right to bodily autonomy and you would be unwilling to enforce the continuation of an unwanted pregnancy with a law, how do you think that a person who believes a fetus “has the right to continued existence the same as any other human being” should act on that belief?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  By working to stem the onslaught of unwanted pregnancies and by promoting the respectful treatment of human life so that the children and people already born live full lives.

                  Better sex education and access to contraceptives accomplish the first. The second is accomplished by a far more extensive and intensive process of promoting human dignity and welfare.

                  One step in that process is to destroy, once and for all, the rampant misogyny in our culture.

                • badgerchild

                  (Shakes hands vigorously with Starship Maxima)

                  Totally 110 percent agreed. Let’s get a beer. No, Scotch. I hate beer. We can argue about that for a while instead. :)

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Sadly, you are married Badger. But someday I’ll get a beer, and we’ll get you a Jameson. (On my salary, Johnny Walker is out of the question, lol)

                • badgerchild

                  That’s Irish, but my Irish husband approves. :) I’ll even bring the Glenmorangie.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Bring him along. It’ll be a blast :)

                • ansuz

                  A good way to end abortion would be to come up with artificial wombs to which unwanted pregnancies would be transferred. The bodily autonomy issue is then resolved, and what’s left is to figure out how to raise all those babies.
                  As long as abortion, labour, and c-section are the only means of ending pregnancies, there will be abortions.
                  (And if we don’t find a way to fix all of the systemic issues that make raising a child unfeasible even for people who wouldn’t mind doing so, we’ll have some problems.)

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Agreed.

                • God’s Starship

                  Hold on a second. If you truly believe that life begins at conception (which you claimed above)…. you couldn’t possibly support contraceptives.
                  You don’t know how birth control works, do you?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Are you a troll God’s Starship, or just that intellectually incompetent? Or both?
                  Do I know how birth control works? Yes, because I read , something you really must try.
                  Life does begin at conception, and ends at death, therefore anything done before or after cannot, by definition constitute murder.
                  Preventing conception cannot be the same as an abortion. How can you take a life that doesn’t exist?

                • God’s Starship

                  No, I’m not a troll. Don’t get pissy with me just because you don’t know how girl parts work. Because I do read, I know that birth control often works after conception. You clearly do not understand that by your own logic, if life begins at conception, as you choose to believe, when sperm and egg meet, then preventing implantation through birth control is tantamount to abortion.

                • KrisDStar

                  Birth control pills also work by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting. Hence why most birth control pills are combination pills.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  Perhaps we should start with your rampant misogyny and have you acknowledge that women are people who should have a say over what bodily risks they choose to assume and what uses their bodies are put to.

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

                  Consent to pregnancy is not consent to sex

                  If every human being has a right to continued existence regardless of its infringement on the body of others, I need your blood factors, stat. I know people who need organs to live. You can survive minus a kidney, lung, liver lobe, some bone marrow, and a bit of blood.

                  They’ll kidnap you and take you to the hospital whenever they need. Don’t be a baby about timing, it’s for saving a life! The fact that you can’t afford to take time off now, or it might exacerbate some health problems, or you might have to stop taking some meds for a few days in order to clean out your system is really irrelevant. Besides, you probably won’t die. It’s only major surgery, and it’s way safer than pregnancy.

                  After all, if your bodily autonomy is less important than another’s life, you should walk the walk right along with every fertile woman and girl out there. Live with the knowledge that at any time your body can be stolen from your control. Enjoy knowing that your health is far less important than the life your organs will save.

                • badgerchild

                  Is that backwards or am I missing something? I mean, it’s true in that an asexual person might want to become pregnant without the horizontal harassment, but I don’t think that’s how it usually goes. :)

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Disregard of possible consequences doesn’t eliminate said consequences.

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

                  There’s no way you read it that fast. Keep in mind that consent must be both enthusiastic and revocable.

                  That means that using any form of birth control is quite clearly explicit nonconsent to pregnancy. Not using birth control is like not saying no to sex- if a woman doesn’t say yes, it’s still rape. The consequence of an unwanted pregnancy is having to make a difficult choice- to keep, adopt out, or abort. The consequence is not to be forced to gestate.

                • God’s Starship

                  This is why I never made it as a Catholic. I don’t believe a child should effectively be a punishment for consenting to sex.

                • KrisDStar

                  Then if you get in a car crash we shouldn’t give you health care? Disregard for the consequences of driving doesn’t eliminate said consequences, and you should just live with it (or die from it).

                • purrtriarchy

                  Since the man is also guilty then you support forcing fathers to donate blood tissue and organs to preserve fetal life should the woman fall ill during the pregnancy?

                  And since the born child can also fall ill do you support forcing fathers to donate tissue to preserve their child’s life?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  More than that. WAY more.

                  If I had my way, the father would be obligated, under legal penalty, to support financial support, possible housing, and yes, medical support if needed.

                  My belief that a human being is responsible to the human life it brings into the world goes quadruple for a man.

                  A man who doesn’t care for his children is less than slime on a subway track to me.

                • Anat

                  Medical support does not include being required to give pars of your body and risk one’s own health.

                • KrisDStar

                  It didn’t ask to be there, and it can’t ask to remain there.

                • KrisDStar

                  That is because it is not your life that is at risk during the pregnancy.

                • KrisDStar

                  The pregnant woman is innocent. Sex is not a sin. It is not a crime unless it is forced upon her. She committed no crime in the act that got her pregnant. The pregnant woman is an innocent life.

                • Anat

                  If I don’t want someone in my house, I have the right to remove them from there. If I don’t want someone in my body, I have the right to remove them from there. That’s what abortion does. Remove one who has overstayed their welcome.

                • Andy Anderson

                  “And not a single one of those examples involves an innocent person.”

                  Others have shown you examples that do, which you claim to have found “compelling”, yet here you are arguing the same point again as if nothing had ever happened.

                  You have a serious problem with honesty.

                • Proteus

                  That’s why they’re called apologists.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  Nope, it’s exactly the same as someone coming in because the door happened to be unlocked and you telling them to leave, then defending yourself if they force the issue and refuse to leave, which you are LEGALLY ALLOWED TO DO. Again, it’s amazing how much ‘pro-life’ arguments resemble pro-rape arguments.

                • KB

                  Feminerd, you are depressing me with absurd assertions. The feminist nerd in me frowns.

                  I think the vast majority of people are on board with the idea that if a pregnancy is threatening to kill somebody, then of course an abortion would be completely justified. Why are you trying to make it out like a normal pregnancy, by definition, is hurting somebody? Is your definition of “being hurt” so loose that all it takes is for something to happen to you without consent to equal hurt?

                  The dialysis scenario, or forced organ donations, so completely miss the mark as serving as appropriate metaphors. If you get pregnant as a result of your own actions (and I am not against sex, it is a very natural and healthy thing to engage in, but we must always take into account the consequences for our actions), then for the former, a closer metaphor is that somebody’s kidneys have just failed. They will die, except you have a burst of generosity and donate one of yours. You don’t really know the consequences of your actions perhaps, but you did it in a fit of compassion. Now, a few weeks, or few months later, you are noticing your body doesn’t feel like it used to. You aren’t necessarily dying, or even having any physical ailment, you just don’t feel yourself. You go back to the hospital and demand your old kidney be taken out of the patient and returned to you. That is more the “bodily autonomy” rights we are talking about. I’m not talking about rape in this case. Just consensual sex resulting in pregnancy. You aren’t being robbed by the patient in this case, like you aren’t being raped by a fetus. You, or I, or any other woman engaging in consensual sex resulting in pregnancy, put it there! Sex is good and wonderful (Please, use protection or BC or both!). But this is a simple fact of causality.

                  As far as the actual physical impact of pregnancy, no, forced organ donation is not similar. Pregnancy can result in problematic situations (as can anything you do, including breathing, eating and sleeping) but it is not an inherently dangerous condition, particularly for a healthy adult And again, if it were to become dangerous, we can all agree, that the termination of a non-viable fetus would be the sad, but logical conclusion. But it is a natural process. There is absolutely nothing natural about organ removal. Our species and many others have evolved to have redundancies for the very good reason of injury, failures and capacity. I applaud those who do donate, but failure to donate is not killing anybody, like abortion is.

                  Does this help you to understand the stark differences between your metaphors and the reality of abortion?

                • Fred

                  Funny.
                  You’ve handwaived away the medical facts Feminderd has put forward as mere assertions and countered with assertions of your own in lieu of medical facts.

                  I’m assuming you are intending to be ironic, otherwise your thoughts are quite horrific.

                • Carmelita Spats

                  Some things in this exhausted world zip right by “touching” and race right past “disturbing” and lurch their way, heaving and gasping and sweating from
                  the Christly armpits, straight into “Oh my Jeeeebus, what the hell is wrong with you?” If we were to tape your mouth shut, you’d actually fart yourself to death.

                  “I’m not talking about rape in this case.”

                  Why NOT? So it’s slut punishing and YOU get to pinch and cull a prescriptive denotation of “hurt” for someone else? Fuck you and the connotations are free. I would NEVER dictate “hurt” to ANYONE unless I was a shit salesman with a mouthful of samples, just like you. My definition of “hurt” is very concrete but I’m open to widening the lexicon…If a nine-year-old is viciously fucked and impregnated by her stepfather, she should have access to ABORTION. The nine-year-old could have survived a pregnancy and a C-section with a scar across her vagina that would remind her of the rape…Oh, and because pregnancy is psychologically inappropriate for a THIRD GRADER, you get to sit her on your lap and tell her that she and her step-daddy made a special baby, “Just like Mary and God when God tongued Mary’s legs open and touched her in her nether parts and made a baby with her. Rape makes you special.”

                  If you are “pro-life”, I don’t see why the manner or method of conception should matter…You should happily hog tie the nine-year-old, ankles to ears, and legally obligate her to squat and squirt out her attacker’s crotch dropping.This is what the Roman Criminal Church wanted to accomplish on the body of this third grader. Fortunately, her mother battled Eucharist-munchers and was allowed to obtain a legal abortion…I doubt the nine-year-old regrets her lost maternity and thank Jeeebus for her mother’s rapid-fire burst of extreme selfishness. Praise!

                • purrtriarchy

                  There is no such thing as a no-risk pregnancy

                  Birth = torture

                  What is natural is nor necessarily ‘healthy’

                  Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy

                  Every single pregnancy is harmful to the pregnant person’s health. This is FACT.

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

                  Um, because a normal pregnancy is by definition hurting someone. It probably won’t kill them, but it’s nowhere near healthy, and the woman would be much better off without it from a purely health perspective.

                  A zygote/embryo/fetus is a biological parasite. A zygote literally drills into a woman’s uterus, through the flesh and into a blood vessel so major the woman’s body cannot shut it down. It sucks blood and nutrients into itself, expelling its wastes into the woman’s bloodstream for her kidneys and liver to deal with. It injects her with hormones that raise her blood pressure, blood sugar, and suppress her immune system. None of these things are healthy- high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and low immune system are things we usually try to treat, and they can all kill or cause permanent damage (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and various infections).

                  Also note that consent must be ongoing and revocable to be consent. My uterus is still mine even if something is squatting in it. My blood is still mine, even if something is diverting it. A kidney, on the other hand, ceases to be mine once it leaves my body, so I can’t demand it back. You fail to note the rather crucial distinction between one-time consent and ongoing consent. I must be acknowledged to have the right to cease letting any entity use my body at any time, or the entire concept of consent is meaningless. There is a reason that we call sex that continues after a person says no, even if ze said yes to begin with, to be rape. Once consent is withdrawn, use of the body must end, and the person being used is allowed to use any and all means up to and including lethal force to enforce it. Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy.

                • purrtriarchy

                  A normal pregnancy can result in any of the side effects listed below. They all harm the host:

                  Normal, frequent
                  or expectable temporary side effects of pregnancy:

                  exhaustion (weariness
                  common from first weeks)

                  altered appetite
                  and senses of taste and smell

                  nausea and vomiting
                  (50% of women, first trimester)

                  heartburn and indigestion

                  constipation

                  weight gain

                  dizziness and light-headedness

                  bloating, swelling,
                  fluid retention

                  hemmorhoids

                  abdominal cramps

                  yeast infections

                  congested, bloody
                  nose

                  acne and mild skin
                  disorders

                  skin discoloration
                  (chloasma, face and abdomen)

                  mild to severe backache
                  and strain

                  increased headaches

                  difficulty sleeping,
                  and discomfort while sleeping

                  increased urination
                  and incontinence

                  bleeding gums

                  pica

                  breast pain and
                  discharge

                  swelling of joints,
                  leg cramps, joint pain

                  difficulty sitting,
                  standing in later pregnancy

                  inability to take
                  regular medications

                  shortness of breath

                  higher blood pressure

                  hair loss

                  tendency to anemia

                  curtailment of ability
                  to participate in some sports and activities

                  infection
                  including from serious and potentially fatal disease

                  (pregnant women are immune suppressed compared with
                  non-pregnant women, and
                  are more susceptible to fungal and certain other diseases)

                  extreme pain on
                  delivery

                  hormonal mood changes,
                  including normal post-partum depression

                  continued post-partum
                  exhaustion and recovery period (exacerbated if a c-section
                  – major surgery — is required, sometimes taking up to a full year to
                  fully recover)

                  Normal, expectable,
                  or frequent PERMANENT side effects of pregnancy:

                  stretch marks (worse
                  in younger women)

                  loose skin

                  permanent weight
                  gain or redistribution

                  abdominal and vaginal
                  muscle weakness

                  pelvic floor disorder
                  (occurring in as many as 35% of middle-aged former child-bearers
                  and 50% of elderly former child-bearers, associated with urinary and rectal
                  incontinence, discomfort and reduced quality of life — aka prolapsed utuerus,
                  the malady sometimes badly fixed by the transvaginal mesh)

                  changes to breasts

                  varicose veins

                  scarring from episiotomy
                  or c-section

                  other permanent
                  aesthetic changes to the body (all of these are downplayed
                  by women, because the culture values youth and beauty)

                  increased proclivity
                  for hemmorhoids

                  loss of dental and
                  bone calcium (cavities and osteoporosis)

                  higher lifetime risk of developing Altzheimer’s

                  newer research indicates
                  microchimeric cells, other bi-directional exchanges of DNA, chromosomes, and other bodily material between fetus and
                  mother (including with “unrelated” gestational surrogates)

                  Occasional complications
                  and side effects:

                  complications of episiotomy

                  spousal/partner
                  abuse

                  hyperemesis gravidarum

                  temporary and permanent
                  injury to back

                  severe
                  scarring
                  requiring later surgery
                  (especially after additional pregnancies)

                  dropped (prolapsed)
                  uterus (especially after additional pregnancies, and other
                  pelvic floor weaknesses — 11% of women, including cystocele, rectocele,
                  and enterocele)

                  pre-eclampsia
                  (edema and hypertension, the most common complication of pregnancy, associated
                  with eclampsia, and affecting 7 – 10% of pregnancies)

                  eclampsia (convulsions,
                  coma during pregnancy or labor, high risk of death)

                  gestational diabetes

                  placenta previa

                  anemia (which
                  can be life-threatening)

                  thrombocytopenic
                  purpura

                  severe cramping

                  embolism
                  (blood clots)

                  medical disability
                  requiring full bed rest (frequently ordered during part of
                  many pregnancies varying from days to months for health of either mother
                  or baby)

                  diastasis recti,
                  also torn abdominal muscles

                  mitral valve stenosis
                  (most common cardiac complication)

                  serious infection
                  and disease (e.g. increased risk of tuberculosis)

                  hormonal imbalance

                  ectopic pregnancy
                  (risk of death)

                  broken bones (ribcage,
                  “tail bone”)

                  hemorrhage
                  and

                  numerous other complications
                  of delivery

                  refractory gastroesophageal
                  reflux disease

                  aggravation of pre-pregnancy
                  diseases and conditions (e.g. epilepsy is present in .5%
                  of pregnant women, and the pregnancy alters drug metabolism and treatment
                  prospects all the while it increases the number and frequency of seizures)

                  severe post-partum
                  depression and psychosis

                  research now indicates
                  a possible link between ovarian cancer and female fertility treatments,
                  including “egg harvesting” from infertile women and donors

                  research also now
                  indicates correlations between lower breast cancer survival rates and proximity
                  in time to onset of cancer of last pregnancy

                  research also indicates
                  a correlation between having six or more pregnancies and a risk of coronary
                  and cardiovascular disease

                  Less common (but
                  serious) complications:

                  peripartum cardiomyopathy

                  cardiopulmonary
                  arrest

                  magnesium toxicity

                  severe hypoxemia/acidosis

                  massive embolism

                  increased intracranial
                  pressure, brainstem infarction

                  molar pregnancy,
                  gestational trophoblastic disease
                  (like a pregnancy-induced
                  cancer)

                  malignant arrhythmia

                  circulatory collapse

                  placental abruption

                  obstetric fistula

                  More
                  permanent side effects:

                  future infertility

                  permanent disability

                  death.

                • KrisDStar

                  I find it difficult to swallow that you would disregard a unique human’s right to end a pregnancy that she did not want.

                • God’s Starship

                  Now you know how it feels.

              • purrtriarchy

                http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~ras2777/judpol/mcfall.html

                he Plaintiff, Robert McFall, suffers from a rare bone marrow disease [aplastic anemia, a disease where the patient’s bone marrow fails to manufacture certain necessary blood components.] and the prognosis for his survival is very dim, unless he receives a bone marrow transplant from a compatible donor. Finding a compatible donor is a very difficult task, and limited to a selection among close relatives. After a search and certain tests, it has been determined that only the Defendant [David Shimp, a first cousin to 39-year-old McFall] is suitable as a donor. The Defendant refuses to submit to the necessary transplant, and the before the Court is a request for a preliminary injunction which seeks to compel the defendant to submit to further tests, and, eventually, the bone marrow transplant.

                Although a diligent search has produced no authority, the Plaintiff cites the ancient statute of King Edward I, St. Westminster 2, 13 Ed., I, c 24, point out, as is the case, that this Court is a successor to the English courts of Chancery and derives power from this statute, almost 700 years old. The question posed by the Plaintiff is that, in order to save the life of one of its members by the only means available, may society infringe upon one’s absolute right to his “bodily security”?

                The common law has consistently held to a rule which provides that one human being is under no legal compulsion to give aid or to take action to save that human being or to rescue. A great deal has been written regarding this rule which, on the surface, appears to be revolting in a moral sense. Introspection, however, will demonstrate that the rule if founded upon the very essence of our free society. It is noteworthy that counsel for the Plaintiff has cited authority which has developed in other societies in support of the Plaintiff’s request in this instance. Our society, contrary to many others, has as its first principle, the respect for the individual, and that society and government exist to protect the individual from being invaded and hurt by another. Many societies adopt a contrary view which has the individual existing to serve the society as a whole. In preserving such a society as we have it is bound to happen that great moral conflicts will arise and will appear harsh in a given instance. In this case, the chancellor is being asked to force one member of society to undergo a medical procedure which would provide that part of that individual’s body would be removed from him and given to another so that the other could live. Morally, this decision rests with the Defendant, and, in the view of the Court, the refusal of the Defendant is morally indefensible. For our law to compel the defendant to submit to an intrusion of his body would change the very concept and principle upon which our society is founded. To do so would defeat the sanctity of the individual, and would impose a rule which would know no limits, and one could not imagine where the line would be drawn. This request is not to be compared with an action at law for damages, but rather is an action in equity before a Chancellor, which, in the ultimate, if granted, would require the submission to the medical procedure. For a society, which respects the rights of one individual, to sink its teeth into the jugular vein or neck of one of its members and suck from it sustenance for another member, is revolting to our hard-wrought concept of jurisprudence. [Forcible] extraction of living body tissue causes revulsion to the judicial mind. Such would raise the specter of the swastika and the inquisition, reminiscent of the horrors this portends.

                The court makes no comment on the law regarding the Plaintiff’s right in an action at law for damages, but has no alternative but to deny the requested equitable relief. An Order will be entered denying the request for a preliminary injunction.

                ————

                Ruminate on that, cupcake.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Dammit. Good one.

              • KrisDStar

                Not so at all. In that case, if you are a match for a someone on a kidney transplant list you would be forced to donate a kidney against your will because to refuse to do so would interfere with an innocent life.

              • Anat

                There is no such thing as an ‘unborn child’, just like there is no ‘married bachelor’.

                People with capacity to suffer are deserving of moral consideration, not those human entities that have yet to develop such capacity.

                And those entities whose existence requires the utilization of another’s body should receive no more consideration than what the person on whom they depend is willing to give, regardless of capacities of the dependent entity.

            • KB

              Not at all. With regards to the life inside her, yes, she cannot compel another to cease existing for her convenience. Beyond that, she is completely free.
              Is saying that I can’t shoot someone in the face in cold blood controlling me? Yes, I guess, to a degree, but our society is built upon restricting some freedoms, and safeguarding others.
              The question is how much does a law control somebody’s freedom to act, and what are the consequences of having that freedom (or not having that freedom). The consequence of that freedom is nothing less than death, the loss of the right to life – that is, the most fundamental freedom you can have.
              I’d not compel a woman to be a mother (and there are options for her to avoid that before – contraception, and after pregnancy – adoption, custody to the other parent), but I’d also not compel a human being to end it’s life.

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

                Actually, you carry within you multiple ways of preventing cessation of life. Your blood, your bone marrow, your kidney, your lung, and a liver lobe could all save lives. Why don’t you donate them? Convenience.

                Also note that abortion doesn’t kill. It removes a biological parasite from a woman who doesn’t want to host it. The fact that the parasite dies without a host is irrelevant. A fetus has no more right to my blood or uterus than you have to my bone marrow or kidney. The fact that the fetus or you will die without parts of my body is, frankly, not my problem.

                Oh, and no, pregnant women aren’t free. They’ve been jailed for failing to show up for prenatal care. One was forced into inpatient treatment and lost her job for confessing to a past painkiller addiction that she had successfully kicked. Women have been jailed for child endangerment because of drug addictions. Women have been court ordered onto bedrest or to have Caesarians because the judge decided it was in the best interest of the fetus, and the woman was merely an incubation system for the fetus which was clearly the only important party to be dealt with. The woman with the past addiction? Her fetus got a court-appointed lawyer. She didn’t. So don’t fucking tell me pregnant women are free. You and yours show your colors and desire to control women’s lives with every arrest, every court decision, every step that erodes women’s control over their own bodies and relegates them to the nonhuman status of a heart-lung machine.

                • KB

                  I said “compel”. I can stand in front of someone about to take a bullet (prevention) that is not the same as shooting that said person in the face (compelling that person to die). Why I don’t donate them I answered in a previous post.

                  And you are wrong. Abortion does kill, and then it removes, except for the abortion pill. D&E dismembers and vacuums out, saline killed, then those dead fetuses were born.

                  And like I said to Quis, that is a problem with the state, that I would be right along side you fighting against. think it is unjust for women to be subject to state standards of pre-natal activities? Ok, that is what you fight for then! Not for the right to simply be able to kill. Target the problem you are actually against (poverty, health, inequality, misogyny) rather than fighting for that thing that has a huge cost to someone else (the unborn), and might not even be effective at actually solving the problem (RvW is alive and strong yet poverty is getting worse, rape cases like Steubenville are reducing my faith in humanity to actually treat men and women as equals, and the income inequality in the states is growing. So much for RvW making a dent on those things)

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

                  I do both, actually. That’s why I’m a Social Democrat who advocates and works for higher tax rates, better social safety nets, higher minimum wages, more labor protections, stricter financial regulations, paid parental leave, stricter environmental regulations, sex education, free long-term contraception, and much much more. If we could get rid of unwanted pregnancies and life-threatening pregnancies altogether, that would be awesome. Since we can but reduce the rate, abortion must remain legal and accessible. Abortion rights are also a key litmus test in seeing whether people see women as fellow people or as objects-who-incubate. People are allowed to control their bodies and decide who gets to use them, how, and when; incubators are required to perform their function of incubation.

                  RvW just said abortion must be legal, and 20 years later crime rates have dropped dramatically at least in part due to the unwanted children not born into dire poverty and psychological distress. Taking lead out of things helped a lot too, of course, but multifactorial problems like crime always have multifactorial solutions and it’s good to try to pinpoint as many different factors as possible. RvW was one of those things. It was not, and was never going to be, a panacea for poverty. If you actually thought RvW was going to end poverty, then frankly, you’re an idiot. That’s not a good way to measure its impact. The fact that illegal abortions have dropped considerably, along with women showing up to hospitals with perforated uteruses and bowels, hemorrhaging almost to death or to death, requiring emergency hysterectomies to control the bleeding or infection, and/or dying of infection is a pretty solid indicator of RvW’s success in saving women’s lives, though.

                  As disgusting as Steubenville is, it represents progress. Not 20 years ago, no one would have cared. At least this time it blew up and caused a stink. It exposed a lot of ugly ideas and rape culture and backwards ideology that’s still out there, but it was news. The fact that that is progress is sad, I agree, but at least it’s a step forward. The majority of people actually agreed that raping a girl who was unconscious was actually rape!

                • purrtriarchy

                  If you actually thought RvW was going to end poverty, then frankly, you’re an idiot

                  *chuckle*

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

                  Well, it’s true!

                  Patient: “Doctor, the antibiotic you gave me didn’t fix my broken bone!”

                  Doctor: “That’s because it was never supposed to. You didn’t die from infection, it did its job.”

                  We’d call hypothetical patient an idiot too.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Oh I know. I was just recalling our discussion from the other day about how you occasionally haul out an insult ..I approve!

                • purrtriarchy

                  Not for the right to simply be able to kill.

                  We do not fight for the right to kill. We fight for the right to be treated as people, not incubators.

                  I would rather DIE than be pregnant.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Modern America

                  “In 1966, the United States had 10,920 murders, and one out of every twenty-two was a child killed by a parent.”

                  Despite our predilection for considering modern civilization “advanced,” the crime of infanticide has continued to pervade most contemporary cultures. The major difference between the nature of infanticide in the twentieth century, when compared to the rest of recorded history, however, is due to the impact of one modern medical advancement: the widespread availability of safe, and legal, means of abortion. The ability to easily terminate a pregnancy, and thereby eliminate an unwanted child before it is born, has had a profound effect on the prevalence of infanticide. The human species has killed almost 10% – 15% of all children born. The majority of these murders have been associated with reasons of necessity at least in the minds of the infanticide parent – or with untoward reactions against an unwanted birth. With little ability to abort an unwanted pregnancy safely, troubled parents have had little choice but to wait until full-term delivery before disposing of the conception.

                  Of approximately 6.4 million pregnancies in the United States in 1988, 3.6 million were unintended and therefore subject to dangerous consequences. 1.6 million of those unwanted pregnancies resulted in abortion. In Britain, more than 160,000 legal abortions, or terminations of pregnancy, were carried out each year during this same period of time. The Family Planning Association in Russia says that there are more than 3 million abortions performed each year, more than double the number of births. In France, there are almost one million abortions each year, equal to the number of births. This means that over five million pregnancies were aborted in the Western world alone each year, and if the births of those children would not have been prevented, it is very likely that many of those infants would have been victims of infanticidal rage.

                  Morally right or wrong – a case of murder or manifestation of a woman’s right to choose – the fact remains that the frequent use of abortion has eased the necessity for killing an infant after its birth.

                  Statistical Analysis – United States

                  Statistically, the United States ranks high on the list of countries whose inhabitants kill their children. For infants under the age of one year, the American homicide rate is 11th in the world, while for ages one through four it is 1st and for ages five through fourteen it is fourth. From 1968 to 1975, infanticide of all ages accounted for almost 3.2% of all reported homicides in the United States.

                  The 1980′s followed similar trends. Whereby overall homicide rates were decreasing in the United States, the rate at which parents were killing their children was increasing, In 1983, over six hundred children were reported killed by their parents, and from 1982-1987, approximately 1.1% of all homicides were children under the age of one year of age. When the homicide of a child was committed by a parent, it was the younger age child who was in the greater danger of being killed, while if the killer was a non-parent, then the victim was generally older.

                  The characterization of the type of parent that is likely to kill their child has changed little over the years. As far back as the middle ages, the children of the poor “Were by far the most common victims of the parental negligence and despair.” Today, infanticide is still most commonly seen in areas of severe poverty.

                  And just as infanticide was described as a crime that was committed by the mother in medieval times, such a likelihood remains true today. Although men are more likely to murder in general, statistical review of prosecutions show that infanticide is usually committed by the mother. When mothers killed their children, however, the victim was usually a newborn baby or younger infant. Some research shows that for murders of children over the age of one year in the United States, white fathers were the perpetrators 10% more often than white mothers, and black fathers 50% more than black mothers.

                  Other risk factors can include young maternal age, low level of education and employment, and signs of psychopathology, such as alcoholism, drug abuse or other criminal behavior. The most common method of killing children over the ages has been head trauma, strangulation and drowning. Most of the murders today are committed with the use of the mother’s hands, either by strangulation or physical punishment.

                  Copyright © 1998, Dr. Larry S. Milner. All rights reserved.

              • purrtriarchy

                An example of how pregnant women are, more often than not, considered to be property of the state:

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_re_A.C.

                • KB

                  So fight against those unjust scenarios! I would agree and fight with you that women shouldn’t be chattel of the state. That is the problem to fight – unjust conditions for women (and their childrne!), not – let’s kill the unborn.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Forced pregnancy means that women’s bodies *are* the defacto property of the state.

                • KB

                  Nobody is being force to become pregnant. Nobody (as far as I know – and I would fight against that) is being forcefully inseminated. The choice being taken away is not to be able to become or not become pregnant, but to not kill another human being.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy. And consent can be revoked. And forcing a woman to remain pregnant and to give birth is to treat her like property.

                • KB

                  Consent to sex is consent to the risk of pregnancy. It’s a biological causality. And nobody forces a woman to remain pregnant. Nobody is forcing her to hold onto the unborn child, for example, past it’s birth. What is being proposed is that she not be allowed to kill the child. That this results in her being unable to terminate her pregnancy at our current technology is an unavoidable byproduct of that biological fact. But it is not the pregnancy that is being forced, but the right to kill that is being denied. Maybe one day, that would change (It would certainly make this whole conversation easier).

                  Any physical removal of her to a hospital for pre-natal care, or something like that, would constitute her being treated like property. I would be against that. However, I am not allowed to kill other people because they infringe on certain rights of mine outside of the right to life (I might not like a trespasser, but if they are not threatening me, if I kill them, I will be liable). Does that make me treated like property?

                • purrtriarchy

                  You can kill your rapist. Pregnancy maims and kills. Birth, if induced by other means, would be classed as torture. Consent to sex is no more consent to pregnancy than eating is consent to choking. The right to life does not override the right to bodily autonomy.

                • ansuz

                  Given the discussion on state injustice against pregnant people, I’d like to ask:
                  I have a bucketload of mental health issues, and they are such that if I became pregnant the options are:
                  1. Safe, legal abortion as soon as I found out,
                  2. Increasingly dangerous methods of illegal abortion, even if it killed me (and, by extension, the z/e/f),
                  3. Being forcibly imprisoned, restrained, and intubated (and taken off the meds that keep me from feeling suicidal because they’re not safe for pregnancy) for the duration of the pregnancy. Afterwards, I’d kill myself.

                  Those are your only options; there’s just no way to get live me and live baby out of this.

                  In a world where the laws looked the way you wanted them to look, which of those three outcomes would we get?

                • KB

                  1) I think it’s clear, I would not support that.
                  3) I think it’s clear, I would not support that.

                  2) Is of course the scenario that is often put forth. People kill people all the time, that doesn’t mean we go out of our way to legalize all forms of murder. People, including the mentally ill, put themselves in dangerous scenarios all the time. That doesn’t mean we have encourage them. People drive dangerously over the speed limit all the time, putting themselves and others at risk. We don’t solve that problem by eliminating the speed limit. I’d be sad that you’d resort to that, for both you and your child, but I don’t have the power to stop you, just as I don’t have the power to stop a murder in another state. (I hope it is obvious that if the pregnancy were indeed going to be the thing specifically that killed you, I’d support a termination)

                  I don’t love that personal outcome for you. I don’t love the personal outcomes for the thousands who are killed before they can draw a breath. I wouldn’t love that outcome for me not being allowed to draw my first breath. there are a lot of things I don’t like. The question is, what is going to improve the lives of people the most? A much more restrictive abortion policy, in conjunction with a much better social safety net, is going to do that.

                  Obviously, the most ideal thing in this scenario is to ensure you personally have no wants or needs regarding access to cheap, or even free birth control, and the knowledge of how to use it, if you don’t have it already, or if it is what you personally want, sterilization. Prevention is I think a huge part of the solution, but it’s not the only part.

                • ansuz

                  Well, at least you’re honest :/
                  I don’t usually get a straight answer when I ask this, so kudos for owning your position.

                  “People drive dangerously over the speed limit all the time, putting themselves and others at risk.”
                  But in no other situation would my death necessarily mean the death of another.

                  “(I hope it is obvious that if the pregnancy were indeed going to be the thing specifically that killed you, I’d support a termination)”

                  Well, no, it isn’t, really. Mental health is part and parcel of general health, and failing to recognize that my starving myself to death (or trying to claw my uterus out of my body with my fingernails again) is the direct result of the physical changes that occur in pregnancy amping up my gender issues and physical dysphoria* — which are half of what gave me an eating disorder in the first place — should get any physician’s licence revoked. Mental health, again, matters just as much as physical health, and if there are exemptions for physical health there should be exemptions for mental health.

                  *EDIT: And we’re not even mentioning the clinical depression or the anxiety.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Just fyi, there was no ‘you’ when the genetic blueprint that is a zygote was ‘created’.

                • Carolina

                  I don’t know how old tsara is, but in general doctors won’t sterilize young, child free woman (or genderqueer people with uteruses).
                  Now regarding the illegal abortion thing: I live in a country where abortion is banned, at least in practice. Here women get cytotec (misoprostol) on the black market, the medication is grossly overpriced and I would not be shocked to find out that it is used way past the time when a chemical abortion is safe. That’s not the most concerning thing, though, the people that are giving women this medication have absolutely no concern nor they care about their lives, once they get the pills they’re on their own, so tough luck if something goes wrong. Surgical abortion runs about $2000, most people don’t have that amount and again good luck if something goes wrong. Now, a lot a of these women do go to the hospital, but they are risking their freedom by doing so, and I know that because my aunt is an obstetric nurse and she sees them the whole time. So in reality making abortion harder to obtain, doesn’t stop women from getting them and just makes the procedure more likely to kill them.

                • ansuz

                  “I don’t know how old tsara is, but in general doctors won’t sterilize young, child free woman (or genderqueer people with uteruses).”
                  21, white, conventionally attractive for a woman (now that I weigh above 100lbs), the child of a doctor who happens to be friends with a large majority of the doctors in my area who do sterilizations (so they all see me as a child), and not out about being genderqueer. My psych issues, on paper, also look like pretty standard stuff for teenage girls (ADD, depression, anxiety, eating disorder) and the magnitude of those problems isn’t really clear — I was never hospitalized for my eating disorder because my parents were able to look after me and pay other people to look after me, I didn’t have to drop school in the middle of the semester when my parents showed up and realized how bad things were because my parents were able to work things out with the school administrators and a few other people, etc. My psych issues, IOW, make me look like someone who should be protected by paternalistic physicians from making permanent decisions, rather than someone who should be prevented from reproducing.
                  Ugh.

          • purrtriarchy

            Yes, but what is interesting about pro-life atheists is you can ditch all the anti-sex stupidity

            From what i have witnessed, pro-life atheists are just as much into slut shaming as religious people, and ‘unique human life ‘and ‘fetal pain’ are the new stand-ins for ‘it has a soul.’

            • brianbrianbrian1

              You are the one who keeps bringing up slut. I think you are a bit obsessed with the religious right (with some justification admittedly). But now you are inserting religion even when it isn’t there.

              Some people just think human life should be valued. If you think that requires religion, that’s really your view.

              • purrtriarchy

                I bring up slut because it’s true.

                If the pro-lifer repeatedly argues that:

                1) women must be held accountable for their actions

                2) your right not to suffer comes second to a zef’s right to live if you put it there by choosing to have sex

                3) a rape victim did not choose to have sex, therefore, she should not be forced to suffer in service of a zef

                That is the very definition of slut shaming.

                The argument can be distilled to the wish to police sexual morality. Specifically, female sexuality.

                Some people just think human life should be valued.

                Of course. But funny how they only think that fetal life created through consensual sex should be valued?

                How is a rape baby any less valuable than a non-rape baby???

                • joey_in_NC

                  Of course. But funny how they only think that fetal life created through consensual sex should be valued?

                  How is a rape baby any less valuable than a non-rape baby?

                  Wuh???

                • purrtriarchy

                  Many pro-lifers offer a rape exception.

                  Perhaps you are famliar with it.

                  Rape victim gets to have an abortion.

                  Slut who spread her legs does not.

                • joey_in_NC

                  Many pro-lifers offer a rape exception.

                  Yes, and all of those people have no regard for logic given their premise that the fetus is a human person.

                  These “pro-lifers” are in the minority.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Are they?

                  Todd Akin didn’t get very far with his ‘legitimate rape’ comment…

                  but yes, you are correct

                  and that makes them monsters

                • joey_in_NC

                  Are they?

                  Maybe they’re majority for the atheist pro-lifers, but not so for the religious pro-lifers.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  How about someone who gets pregnant in wedlock. You’re a bit obsessed with sex in this argument (again, I think you are fighting the Religious Right even when they’re not in the room).

                  The rape issue is not too hard to grasp. We are dealing with a difficult weighing of two rights – the woman’s right to control her body and the right to life of the child. It’s a tough situation. Rape, for some, tips the balance the other way because now the woman has this additional trauma to deal with.

                  And yes, there may be a sense that you are more responsible for actions you took than what was done to you. That principle holds in lots of areas that have nothing to do with sex. A similar feeling of responsibility is why we force men to be financially accountable for children they sire. I guess we’re slut shaming them too?

                  So chill with the slut stuff.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Slut shaming (also hyphenated, as slut-shaming) is a concept in philosophy on sexuality. It is a neologism used to describe the act of making any person feel guilty
                  or inferior for certain sexual behaviors or desires that deviate from
                  traditional or orthodox gender expectations, or that which may be
                  considered to be contrary to natural or religious law. Some examples of
                  behaviors over which women are said to be “slut-shamed” include:
                  violating accepted dress codes by dressing in sexually provocative ways, requesting access to birth control,[1][2][3] having premarital or casual sex, or being raped or sexually assaulted

                  Slut-shaming includes having non-procreative sex. Telling a woman she must be ‘responsible’ for her ‘actions’ and to ‘accept’ the ‘consequences’ is the very definition of slut-shaming. Because she is choosing to have sex without also choosing to procreate. It is slut-shaming whether it occurs out of wedlock or within a married relationship.

                  And yes, there may be a sense that you are more responsible for actions you took than what was done to you. That principle holds in lots of areas that have nothing to do with sex

                  Except having non-procreative sex isn’t something that people should have to ‘account’ for or ‘take responsibility’ for.

                  And women who take all precautions and STILL get pregnant are told that they should ‘accept the consequences’ of their ‘actions’.

                  So clearly, the problem is with non-procreative sex.

                  And a slut is generally known as someone who has sex for recreation, rather than pro-creation.

                  Choosing to engage in non-procreative sex while female is NOT a crime. Yet it is treated as such. In fact, it is considered so egregious a crime here by some, that a woman is expected to suffer mental and physical harm, because of an automatic bodily process (feritlization) that she has no control over. It is punishment, essentially, for being sexual while owning a uterus.

                  Hence the term ‘slut-shaming’ and this is why I will continue to use it.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  I read over your definition. I made no mention of any of those items: dress, having sex, being raped or sexually assaulted.

                  For some reason you have expanded the definition to mean “any reasons opposed to abortion.” You have this manichean view of the issue because you don’t give any consideration of the view that the child is a life and has rights too. I accept you don’t grant that, but I thought you would be able to see that if someone does feel that way, someone’s ‘sluttiness” (whatever the heck that is), becomes irrelevant. The predominant issue is, there is a life.

                  As I mentioned elsewhere, men are affected by this too (ongoing responsibility for the child unless it is put up for adoption) but you don’t see that as slut-shaming.

                  Curious: do you think a man is responsible for child support if the woman keeps the baby?

                • purrtriarchy

                  I read over your definition. I made no mention of any of those items: dress, having sex, being raped or sexually assaulted.

                  I wanted to provide the full definition for completeness sake and not truncate it.

                  You have this manichean view of the issue because you don’t give any consideration of the view that the child is a life and has rights too.

                  Not everyone agrees that a zygote IS a child, and in fact, children are born entities, zef’s are not. The fact that you are calling it a child demonstrates that you are projecting your own thoughts and feelings onto it.

                  And, no, fetii don’t have rights. Because they are not born. They are not legal persons. And because they are living inside someone else’s body.

                  You lose your right to live when you assault someone. And pregnancy + birth is a violent assault. If the pain of labour and birth was induced by other means it would be regarded as torture.

                  A pregnant person who does no want to be pregnant is esesntially a victim of torture. And just because it’s ‘natural’ does not mean it’s healthy, or free of suffering.

                  I accept you don’t grant that, but I thought you would be able to see that if someone does feel that way, someone’s ‘sluttiness” (whatever the heck that is), becomes irrelevant. The predominant issue is, there is a
                  life.

                  That is not the predominant issue when pro-lifers permit a rape exception. The minute they permit a rape exception, it goes to show you that they do not view a zygote as having the moral equivalent of a born child.

                  I doubt any pro-lifer would say that a rape victim should be allowed to kill her born children if they were created through rape. So why let her kill the embryo if it was created through rape? If that embryo has the exact same moral worth as a newborn? or a toddler?

                  Why do they let this embryo murder happen in the case of rape? Because the woman didn’t *choose* to have sex, and therefore, cannot be held ‘accountable’ for her ‘actions’. And bear in mind, being held ‘accountable’ for one’s actions can also include abortion. But pro-lifers don’t consider that one, obviously. Because their problem is with the non-procreative sex, therefore, responsiblity = having the baby.

                  Curious: do you think a man is responsible for child support if the woman keeps the baby?

                  In cases where the woman lied to the man about b/c or stole his sperm or something I truly believe that he should be off the hook for child support.

                  I can understand why the state forces men to pay child support anyways – their care is for the child. The state often does overstep it’s boundaries, and I disagree with that. Such as forcing sperm donors to pay child support. And arresting pregnant women and forcing c-sections on them.

                  A man also has the option to waive his parental rights. Also, it’s not like the woman is off the hook either. Unlike the man, she has to pay and suffer for pregnancy and all of it’s attendant health problems, pay for the labour and childbirth, and support the kid for 18 years.

                  It’s not like women get a free ride, if that’s what you are suggesting.

                  And no, your wallet does not = your body. If that is the MRA talking point you are going to try to use.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Several things:

                  I was not projecting calling it a child – I was explaining the other point of view. You only see slut shaming because the notion that it is a child is one you rule out. For those who don’t rule this out, no slut shaming is required. I’m not debating whether it’s a child with you – just trying to point out why slut shaming is not part of this discussion for many.

                  “You lose your right when you assault someone.” That, my friend, is bizarre. Assault is a crime. Would you criminalize the newborn? Assault requires intent.

                  Your comments on feti don’t have rights is a whole paragraph of assertions. I am not asserting the reverse; just pointing out that this is what is being discussed.

                  I already discussed rape elsewhere – if you see the issue as a difficult balancing of two rights (the woman’s to her body and the child’s to life), then adding rape in tilts the balance for some folks. Again, no slut required.

                  Lastly re men: you say if the woman lies the man should be off the hook. But how about if they just accidentally get pregnant and she decides she won’t (or feels she can’t) abort it. She keeps it. Is he responsible now? And, um, is that slut shaming the guy? It would seem to hold him “responsible” for his actions (the very terms you said automatically imply slut shaming). Or, um, might we speak of responsibility without calling everyone a slut. I have sex. I think it carries responsibilities. I really don’t think I’m a slut (but hey, who knows?).

                • purrtriarchy

                  I was not projecting calling it a child – I was explaining the other point of view.

                  Yes, and the other point of view is one of projecting childlike qualities onto a genetic blueprint

                  You only see slut shaming because the notion that it is a child is one you rule out.

                  I see ‘slut shaming’ because the concept of ‘holding women accountable for their actions’ IS what slut-shaming is all about.

                  We don’t condemn people to torture and suffering if they didn’t do something bad. And non-procreative sex = a bad thing, in the mind of many a pro lifer. And the child IS used as punishment.

                  Assault is a crime. Would you criminalize the newborn? Assault requires intent.

                  No, it doesn’t. A sleepwalker/schizophrenic/delusional person can start beating the shit out of you, and they are, for all intents and purposes, lacking ‘intent’ because they have serious mental health issues.

                  The fetus does in fact assault the woman considering the fact that it drills into her blood vessels, steals sugar, iron and calcium (amongst other nutrients) from her blood. Which often results in permanent diabetes, bone loss/dental loss and anemia. Also high blood pressure, and a host of other side effects. And labour/birth is an assault, period. It also suppresses her immune system, making her vulnerable to infections during pregnancy, and auto-immune diseases after.

                  Your comments on feti don’t have rights is a whole paragraph of assertions.

                  No, they don’t actually have rights because they 1) live inside someone eles’s body 2) are not legally regarded as persons.

                  She keeps it. Is he responsible now? And, um, is that slut shaming the guy?

                  No, I think he should be able to waive his parental rights. And no, it isn’t slut shaming the guy, it’s a matter of providing the child, which is now born, with a fighting chance to succeed in life.

                  Throughout most of history, and up until very recently, men have been able to walk away from sex. No man has ever died of an ectopic pregnancy. No man has ever been permanently disabled from pregnancy. A man can knock up a chick, and walk away. The woman is left with a pregnancy that can destroy her life, and leave her on the hook looking for a kid for 18 years.

                • Fred

                  I wouldn’t criminalize a newborn. A fetus doesn’t even qualify. Intent doesn’t matter. A fetus like a house fire or a rockslide cannot have intent, good or bad.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Quis – I read some more of your postings tonight. I gather given your deep involvement in the pro-choice movement that you have probably dealt with enough cons Xns to last a lifetime (and really, two might be enough). It gives me a bit better understanding why you’ve got all these slut shaming references.

                  That said, I think there is a logic you might be buying into that many cons Xns would buy into, that might look (loosely) like this:

                  Shame = Responsibility

                  You disagree with them (strongly) that the situation requires shame but I think, maybe, you are still buying the basic equation.

                  Where I differ, is I just throw out the whole equation. Responsibility stems from many situations that require no shame. As I mentioned below, I would feel responsible if my wife got pregnant, but I would be really puzzled how I should feel shame.

      • brianbrianbrian1

        agreed.

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        Exactly. I’d have more sympathy for people who care about fetuses if they gave a crap what happened to those fetuses once they are born.

      • sarah5775

        That is not true of all pro-lifers. For example, Live Action (one fo the most well known and also most demonized pro-life group out there) recently ran an article from a pro-life atheist calling for more help for the poor, including the point that pro-lifers should oppose food stamp cuts. don’t paint all of us with the same brush- that is wrong to do to ANY group

        • ansuz

          If you’re in the US and you’d vote for a pro-life politician who cuts funding for food stamps and Planned Parenthood over a pro-choice politician, you’re complicit. If you don’t speak up against the hypocrisies of the pro-life movement as a whole, you’re complicit.
          If we’re looking at reality, the pro-life movement is against subsidized prenatal and contraceptive care, it’s against SNAP, it’s against Planned Parenthood, it’s against comprehensive sex ed. If you claim that label, you claim the baggage that comes with it; own that shit.

          (copy pasta from myself)

    • KB

      Agreed. Pro-life means entire life. Conception to grave. Education, healthcare, opportunities to live a just and happy life. We’ve found common ground! Hooray!

  • $925105

    Does it make sense to be in favor of slavery whether you are an Atheist or not? No.

    • cary_w

      This sums it up perfectly. All other arguments aside, forcing a woman to continue a pregnancy against her will is essentially slavery. It is never OK.

  • bamcintyre

    If (and that’s a big IF) by Pro-Life you truely mean “pro life” and not just “pro-birth” as many on the fundamentalist do. No death penalty, education for all, healthcare for all, no child should be buried in poverty and hunger.

    When the fundies call out Pope Francis as being too “socialist” for them because he follows the teachings of his Jesus, then you know that religion in this country has really left the rails.

  • The Starship Maxima

    I’ve met atheists who share my utter disdain for abortion, so I’d say it’s possible. Without knowing more about the atheist mindset, I cannot say if it “makes sense” per se.

    • DavidMHart

      There is no such thing as ‘the’ atheist mindset – we are a diverse bunch, with no more of a necessary mindset in common than any other group – try using the phrase ‘the people-who-don’t-believe-in-vampires mindset’ to see what I mean. But what we can say is that to the extent that most of the opposition to abortion stems from theological considerations – either the idea that each embryo has a soul from the moment of conception which deserves a shot at life (though there is essentially no support for that hypothesis in the Bible), or, rather more often, the puritan impulse to discourage sex by making it as dangerous as possible, atheists will have fewer reasons to oppose abortion, and thus will have a much lower statistical tendency to do so.

  • ferfey

    i’m not anti-abortion, but i have complicated feelings about this topic. as an atheist who is against the death penalty, against war, pro-environment, in favor of humanitarian/relief efforts, etc., i clearly value life.

    i think placing the emphasis on sex-education and awareness is the key. too many people use abortions as a form of birth control.

    i believe abortions should be legal, don’t get me wrong. however, the fact that so many pregnancies are spontaneously and naturally aborted does not mean we shouldn’t consider the developing life. a fetus is not a complete person but the potential is there, rapidly progressing, and the agency involved in deciding to abort is different from nature taking its course. the same is true for all losses of life, at whatever stage of development.

    when hemant asked “atheist pro-lifers” not to hinder sex education i almost laughed out loud. i wouldn’t use the term pro-life to describe me, but given my secularism, contraception and sex-ed is entirely my focus! never fear, hemant. science always wins! science, and learning.

    • ferfey

      let me add that i don’t believe anyone but the individual who is pregnant has the right to decide, i just think we should continue to educate and support humans across the board.

      • guest

        and your feelings on the morning after pill?

  • unbound55

    My definition of pro-life is a bit more encompassing. We should strive to support human life from beginning to end, not just being concerned with the fetus. Only showing concern for a fetus without corresponding support for the underfed population of this world and support of universal healthcare for all is simple hypocrisy.

    In regards to abortion, I’m not a fan of it, but I understand the necessity. More importantly, I understand that the situations involving abortion are always complex and that I do not have a right to make a determination for anyone else. I will fight for anyone’s right to try to keep a fetus alive as well as a woman’s right to terminate for her own reasons, regardless of what those reasons are.

    • Leah

      “regardless of what those reasons are”

      See Bee Ess’s post below.

  • Zach Wilson

    I hold the notion that, until the umbilical cord is no longer transferring blood, the foetus is little more than a complex organ. I also believe that humans have inalienable rights to do with their body as they so choose. This includes the elective removal of organs that they feel are of no use to them; only insofar as that organ is scientifically known to not be absolutely perfunctory to survival, or to provide a prosthetic–or organic–replacement.

    • Johnee

      Wow. Now I completely agree with your comment regarding the sex of the fetus.

      However, how can you say on a philosophical, moral, and intellectual level that there is a quantitative difference between a baby that is only minutes or seconds from another in terms of a simple cord being cut. As you can read from my comments I am “pro-choice” for lack of a better term, but THIS is an extreme that is fundamentally inconsistent.

      For example how can there be selective outrage and horror if parents brought their baby home from the hospital and say, the dog killed the child. Would you say it’s only terrible because the parents feel bad, or because a human life got snuffed out? If your answer is the latter then that’s extremely problematic.

      • Zach Wilson

        Not to sound jaded, but I would have to say neither and, potentially, both. The grief, outrage, or any plethora of emotions, expressed by the death of any being, is completely subjective, as well as perceptive. Even where one may argue that “that dead baby could’ve been the next Carl Sagan”, there is room to rebut that “that dead baby could’ve been the next Adolf Hitler”. This, of course, is just an argument, to the extremes, of the semantics of nature/nurture (in fact, it’s more likely that that dead baby would’ve just grown up to be an average consumer).

        I’m not undermining human life, but I’m not going to elevate it to some unnecessary pedestal, either. Reality, unlike the irrational chemical substrates in our skulls, is not subjective. It is an objective force that takes no prisoners, and ensures that no one gets out alive. For that ephemeral flicker that each of us possesses, we each assume diverse, strange roles. More than likely, we are all misguided in such. Even I will admit that I may be wrong in believing that the prolonged preservation of humanity is not priority. Yet, I still hold to that belief, that we are still yet on the road of evolution, nowhere near any pinnacle or ideal, thereof. Whatever form we assume, hence, need not be weighed down, or stifled, by the need to preserve its ancestors.

        I’m digressing. My point is that we are tumultuous beings, with tumultuous ideals. In that chaos, somehow, we arise with order and morality. The storm is never far behind, however, as our morals are always in flux; regarding our attachments to faith, philosophy, discovery, and even bias. Where you see inconsistency in my belief, I see the potential of an idea. Where you raise questions as to the value of human life, I assume that human life is only as valuable as the comparatively superior beings, yielded from its evolution…be they biological, or otherwise.

  • Bee Ess

    Here is the question that makes those of us who are pro-choice hesitate: abortion of female fetuses. Discuss.

    • Johnee

      Huh? I know you are trying to raise healthy debate, but why should the sex of the fetus matter?

      If you are trying to expose an uncomfortable sexist bias that you or others may have then I applaud you. It takes a lot to admit to our irrational prejudices. However, if you are trying to rationalize it ( a female fetus is more important) in some way then that’s just…..messed up.

    • Zach Wilson

      I think this argument is lacking, even bordering on sexism. It’s essentially the same as asking, “Is violence against women wrong, because women are frail?”

      We, of course, know the answer. No, violence against women is wrong, because violence against anyone is wrong. The same goes for abortion. Aborting a foetus is the same, regardless of gender. The only exception to this is sexual selection, which can still be construed one, of two, ways. Either it is the choice of the parent(s) to terminate the foetus, because it is not the gender they want, which I see no real problem with; or it is the selective pressures of an authoritarian society, which I do have a problem with.

    • badgerchild

      You perhaps think unborn females have an importance that trumps the importance of the free choice of adult pregnant females. Isn’t that a little inconsistent?

      Or maybe you are talking about preferential abortion of girls so that a higher ratio of boys to girls can be born. To which I say, if the pregnant woman’s circumstances are such that she feels she can’t go on with the pregnancy, regardless of reason, it’s her body and her right to decide. Period.

    • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      Why should that impact a person’s view on abortion?

      The question of sex selection is an entirely different one. That discussion is one worth having, and is amenable to a reasonable degree of rational analysis. But it has nothing to do with abortion. Sex selection might be just as easily implemented via some other technique- a pill that ensures only male or female fertilization takes place, for instance.

    • Spectrall

      I don’t really hesitate. It’s always up to the person that has to actually carry the pregnancy, at least from my perspective. I assume that they’re in a better position to know whether they want to do that than an outside person is, and it’s not really my business to legislate against their decisions. If those decisions stem from some form of misogyny, that’s a cultural problem that needs to be worked on, but simply legislating to force pregnancy isn’t a fix.

    • baal

      Gender selection is not a reason to ban all abortions. Where merited, you can solve a large part of the problem by not telling parents the sex of the fetus. Otherwise, improving the lot of woman in society is a better route.

    • Tiffany Marie Murphy

      Most abortions performed in the western world are performed before sex can biologically be known. So, your argument, whatever sexist argument it might be, is invalid.

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

      Speak for yourself!

      As much as it sucks that there are people practising sex-selective abortion, uhhh… no. I don’t “hesitate” at all on that issue, because the choice should still, always, be hers.

      What we should do, however, is educate that population, provide needed goods and services at low or no cost (especially health-related stuff) — especially for the women! — and work to dismantle the patriarchal structures (and other forms of oppression) in societies worldwide, thus eliminating the societal pressures that force women to terminate female fetuses. (Fetii?)

      Of course, doing that is an Epic Task in itself, and may take several generations, and will present new, unique, and occasionally bizarre obstacles along the way. And it will require cooperative effort…

    • ansuz

      Seconding wmdkitty. In some cultures and for some people, raising a male child is significantly different from raising a female child (even if the differences are just in that person’s head!) — so different that it changes the pregnant person feels about the pregnancy. Sometimes, feelings can change enough that the pregnancy is no longer being consented to and carrying it further (esp. being forced to) would be psychologically damaging.

      The thing to do is change the culture so that there is no significant difference between raising a male child and raising a female child. This will mean that there are no patterns of sex-selective abortion; every time it happens will then be a discrete event based on personal issues of the pregnant person (i.e., the significant differences between raising a female child and raising a male child are in the pregnant person’s head.)(Note that this does not make them invalid.)(I would recommend that people who care get early testing [if they can], though, so they can abort as soon as possible).

  • Dennis Baker

    Abortion kills. By definition.

    • Spectrall

      Sure, but there’s nothing automatically unethical about killing – we kill plants, bugs, larger animals, fungi, and all sorts of life forms all the time without a second thought. The meaningful question isn’t whether abortion is “killing”, it’s whether an embryo is something that shouldn’t be killed.

      • Dennis Baker

        You were once an embryo. A zygote.

        • KrisDStar

          So what?

          • Dennis Baker

            I’m just stating facts. What you do with them is another story.

            • KrisDStar

              And it is fact that you too will die.
              And it is fact that you were born because your mother chose to allow you to be born.

              • Dennis Baker

                So what?

                • KrisDStar

                  I’m just stating facts. What you do with them is another story

    • guest

      But it also saves lives in some instances. Would you rather a mother of 4 children sees a pregnancy through to full term knowing it may cost her her life? Or that the child may be born deformed/mentally handicapped and it will require a life time of assistance? Or would you rather she abort that fetus so she can stick to around to raise the other 4 already here?

  • badgerchild

    It doesn’t make sense to be anything but respectful of the pregnant woman as a human being with the absolute right over her own health. If having an abortion was a contagious disease, then we could talk about it being a public health issue, but it is not, it is a matter of individual choice up to the moment the woman’s body is no longer involved. You can no more legitimately force a woman not to have an abortion than you can force her to be pregnant, or force her to get an abortion if she is pregnant.

    • Guest

      Most legal abortions in the US are performed before the sex of the baby can be biologically known. Your argument, whatever sexist argument it was, is invalid.

      • badgerchild

        I think you meant to reply to another pose, Tiffany. I can’t fathom what in this post had anything to do with the sex of the baby or with a sexist argument. Thanks.

        • badgerchild

          *post

      • Spectrall

        I realize it’s the new internet cool thing to do, but you probably shouldn’t just randomly declare arguments sexist when there’s not even a hint of a suggestion that it’s accurate.

    • Tiffany Marie Murphy

      Sorry it was a wrong post. I realized it after I saw who it replied to. My bad

  • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

    The myth that banning abortion does not reduce abortion is a myth but is not a deity. It is a myth perpetuated by religious people, but one that a lot of people, religious or not, still believe. (Even many pro-choice people aren’t aware of the statistic – in nations where abortion is banned, the abortion rate is no less than here – the fatality rates of the mothers however, are catastrophically higher.) So, it is technically possible to be an atheist and pro-life.
    Generally speaking, for people who don’t believe in deities, it often takes more than a religious argument to convince them of anything as skepticism of deities often indicate a resistance to believing other irrational things, but being an atheist does not automatically insulate you against all stupid.

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    Most of these videos are pretty good. But IMO, this one is a train wreck. It dangerously continues the false notion that atheists have any sort of common beliefs. It conflates “pro-life” with “anti-abortion”. It confuses correlation with causation.

    Once again: we should not expect atheists to hold any common beliefs. If atheism correlates with being pro-choice, it’s because the sort of thinking that causes atheism also causes humanism, and humanism can certainly cause one to be pro-choice.

    How did the referenced survey define “pro-life”? Were the non-religious people who claimed to be in this category anti-choice, or were they simply opposed to abortion on ethical grounds? Because there is a huge difference between those two positions.

    The ethical position of being opposed to abortion is as strong as the position of considering it ethically neutral. There’s no way to compare those two- it simply comes down to our personal view of the value of life (the comparison to vegetarianism was a good one). The ethical position of being opposed to choice is something we can argue against on rational grounds, however.

    I feel like the real issue discussed in this video wasn’t whether atheists can be pro-life (a bad question), but whether humanists can be anti-choice (a good question).

  • Jason Hinchliffe

    This is a stupid question. It’s one of those that may appear thoughtful on the surface, but upon deeper examination is utterly vapid and ridiculous. What part of being an Atheist speaks to how you personally value life? Nothing. There’s no relation here. It makes as much “sense” to be a pro-life/choice atheist as much as it does to be a pro-meat/vegan race car driver.

    • Neko

      The thing I dislike about some of these videos is that they tend toward establishing an atheist orthodoxy, which, as you point out, is without foundation.

      • Jason Hinchliffe

        It’s exactly what is going to happen. People want community. The prevalence of information makes religion untenable. So people will ditch the God, but establish new dogmas. “Athesim” will hilariously be codified.

  • guest

    I’m pro choice since NOBODY has the right to tell another person what they can or cannot do with their body. I’m also for capital punishment because it is not worth the time, money or effort to try and rehab a confessed murderer, rapist or pedophile. Why should those animals be housed, clothed and fed on my dime? Those genes need to be eliminated from the pool.

    • badgerchild

      We legitimately have the right to force someone into quarantine to help contain a contagious illness. Your analogy with dangerous criminals should be to that, not to the right to an abortion. Your demand that certain criminals should be put to death would be equivalent to the demand that certain contagious people should be put to death. There’s an argument there, but it’s orthogonal to the one we’re discussing.

    • baal

      Another idiot making the people are animals argument. History is replete with examples of why that type of thinking is unacceptable (including slavery in the U.S.).

      You then frost your shit cake with eugenics. Eugenics does not work – we have too many genes to ‘cull’ and drift / mutation will restore the alleles you’re selecting against anyway. Also, you’d need to control the breeding a huge number of people.

      You also seem to think the justice system is just. It isn’t.

      So yeah, fuck off.

    • DavidMHart

      At the risk of being a pedant, doesn’t ‘injecting someone with a cocktail of lethal drugs’ or ‘passing an electric current through their body until they die’ count as an extreme case of telling another person what they can or cannot do with their body? Essentially – you cannot do anything at all with your body, ever again, apart from rot.

      I’m not going to get into a debate on the merits or otherwise of the death penalty here, I just needed to point out that your second position appears to be logically incompatible with your stated reasons for holding your first position.

  • James Jackson

    Atheism is, at its heart, a mindset based on reason. If you can come up with a reasonable defense for banning abortion, then yes, it makes sense to be an anti-abortion atheist. I have not yet seen a reasonable argument against all forms of abortion (i.e. one not based all or in part on religious preference).

    • joey_in_NC

      I have not yet seen a reasonable argument against all forms of
      abortion (i.e. one not based all or in part on religious preference).

      What are the reasonable arguments against some forms of abortion?

      • badgerchild

        The only reasonable argument against any abortion is that it is performed against the will of the pregnant woman.

        • badgerchild

          It occurs to me that I put this too strongly. I should properly have said that the only reasonable argument against any abortion is that the pregnant woman did not actively consent to the abortion.

          The known cases of proposed abortions for a woman not able to give meaningful consent to the pregnancy in the first place or meaningful consent to an abortion in the second (mentally incapable, a child, etc.) present additional problems to consider that I still need to think about.

          However, in the case where a woman is capable of meaningfully giving or withholding consent to an abortion, her choice absolutely governs whether an abortion is justified.

    • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

      I’ve heard one, from a founder of secular pro-life, though (if I remember correctly) she did specifically allow a life-of-the-mother exception.

      Contrariwise, I didn’t agree with her argument, because of rejecting some of the starting premises. Additionally, while she was willing to follow her premises to the pro-life conclusion, she was not willing to accept and convincingly address how those principles also seemed to equally (if not more strongly) imply conclusions mandating veganism, plus personhood for chimps, dolphins and elephants. As such, it seemed less rational argument than rationalization.

      Nohow, I found her argument no more inherently religious than any other that involves “ought” conclusions.

      • joey_in_NC

        Additionally, while she was willing to follow her premises to the pro-life conclusion, she was not willing to accept and convincingly address how those principles also seemed to equally (if not more strongly) imply conclusions mandating veganism, plus personhood for chimps, dolphins and elephants.

        I’m not sure I understand your objections here. Her premise #3 states, “Human beings possess human rights.” She makes no claims about animal rights.

        • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

          The link I gave goes to their standard outline of their position, not the particular presentation that I was at. In that, the question was raised why having rights cut off at the species line of human was itself not just as arbitrary and capricious as the various suggested demarcations of person within human that — as the outline notes — they reject. (I think Jerry Coyne’s blog has had some discussion on how the biological species concept is itself a bit fuzzy at the edges; though useful in biology despite said fuzz, the fuzz makes the arbitrariness worse.) She seemed to be taking a traditional US law school “natural law” perspective on the nature of human rights — possibly derived from the work of Locke? I’m not sure, as I’ve not spent enough time in philosophy to trace arbitrary roots; and anyway others in the SPL group may have reached the same conclusion by different means.

          There were other issues as well; contrariwise, it’s entirely possible I’m not giving their position a fair presentation, since I disagree. Nohow, I’m not that interested in discussing my own exact position. I mainly noted that I wasn’t satisfied so that people wouldn’t presume I consider the secular pro-life position as correct (which has happened before, when mentioning them). I just think it looks secular.

  • skeptical inquirer

    Banning abortion just puts the fetus’ existence as a priority over the woman’s life. There was a case where a hospital refused to terminate a non-viable pregnancy even though it put the woman in danger and she ended having premature labor outside the hospital door. There was also a case in Ireland where they let a non-Catholic woman die even though it was also non-viable.

    I have heard some anti-abortion people espouse doctors lying to their patients.

    Because of this blatant disregard for women’s value in and of themselves and seeing them just as a fetus container, I think unless you want to put yourself or someone you love at the mercy of such people, you really need to stand for choice.

    This is not a hypothetical.

    • badgerchild

      Well said.

    • brianbrianbrian1

      Well, this is only true when the woman’s life is in jeopardy. In such cases, it has to be up to the woman. But this is a tiny percentage of abortions.

      • badgerchild

        We know you’re a forced-birth advocate who privileges the pregnancy over the pregnant woman. Honestly, stop with the indefensible garbage. Assertion of a position is not the same as a defense of it, and asserting a position in the face of evidence to the contrary (which you have had quite a lot of) is simple fanaticism.

        • brianbrianbrian1

          Badger, I’ve answer this several times. For many, not killing the unborn equates with not killing the newly born. The latter does not privilege the child “over the mother.” For many, the earlier situation is quite similar. I understand it’s not for you.

          I could call your stuff “indefensible garbage” too, but I don’t think that is useful, nor accurate. Your arguments have merit, you make sane points. I just think the counter-arguments may be stronger. “Fanatic” is just an ad hominem. I am very far from a “fanatic” – I find the issue very complex.

          • randomfactor

            “For many, not killing the unborn equates with not killing the newly born.”

            Yeah, a lot of people make that mistake.

            • brianbrianbrian1

              well, I was trying to have a discussion rather than just score points.

          • badgerchild

            Brian, you find it complex because it is impossible for you to accept that the pregnant woman has bodily integrity and ownership of her pregnancy, that neither you nor anyone else can legitimately violate. Really, you’re just making a mountain out of a molehill, and I know why–you’re an ordinary decent person who thinks that abortion is always a tragedy, regardless of the circumstances or choices of the pregnant woman, because it presumably results in the loss of a potential human, and you value humans. I’m just trying to get you to see that you are wrongly devaluing the pregnant woman in an attempt to assign disproportionate value to the pregnancy.

            • brianbrianbrian1

              some of what you say is right. I wouldn’t say it is “impossible” for me to think what you say. I agree with bodily integrity but just wonder what this means for the child. I do think abortion is a tragedy, but I’m not always against it (e.g. woman’s life in danger). I really don’t think I’m devaluing the pregnant woman. As I explained elsewhere, a woman of a newborn has rights too and a far, far larger burden than the pregnant woman. In saying she cannot kill her child, we are not denigrating her even a bit. We can value her both before and after the birth. The issue is actually about when the child attains rights.

              • badgerchild

                OK, fair enough. I think it is not possible to assign the pregnancy rights that conflict with the pregnant woman’s, because you can’t avoid affecting the pregnant woman. Clearly the fetus has value, I’m not saying it is valueless. Clearly we should advise a careless pregnant woman to be careful of her pregnancy and not smoke, drink, etc. if we know she wants to carry to term and birth the baby. We can, at the moment, legally hold a woman liable for damages to her born child if she was negligent in certain ways during her pregnancy, though this is fraught with problems too. But we can’t reach through the pregnant woman’s body and affect the fetus without affecting her, and we can’t pretend she’s not there.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Certainly we cannot pretend she’s not there. I agree with your general take that the issues are complicated.

              • baal

                ” The issue is actually about when the child attains rights.”
                Bible says at birth.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  No, the Bible doesn’t say that. And the Bible is irrelevant. The Bible says slavery is valid and that homosexuals should be put to death.

                • baal

                  I’ll agree with you that the bible is bunk but the pro-lifers tend to like it. For the argument, click here. In brief, the bible says if you injure a woman so that she loses a pregnancy, the legal remedy is a fine. Murder or negligent homicide is treated more severely.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Yes, but that is why it’s not pro-life. The unborn child is not treated equal to the born.

                • KrisDStar

                  Actually the bible says that the child does not have any value until a certain age, at which point is it completely moral according to bible to sell said child into slavery.
                  According to the bible, a newborn infant has no monetary value, and is basically worthless.

          • KrisDStar

            It is not complex. It is in fact, rather simple.
            The woman has the choice to do what she wishes with her body. She may wish for it to carry a pregnancy, she may wish for it not to.
            Neither case is dependant on what you believe should be done, as it is not your body and not your choice.

      • http://batman-news.com Anton

        Well, this is only true when the woman’s life is in jeopardy. In such cases, it has to be up to the woman.

        Just out of curiosity, why would it be up to the woman in that case? I mean, the fetus is still a “human being” regardless of whether the pregnancy is causing harm to the mother.

        Usually, you pro-lifers are fulminating that the sexually active woman “should have known” that she could get pregnant before having sex. Shouldn’t she have “known” that hundreds of women still die in the USA every year because of complications of pregnancy and childbirth? If she decided to risk it, why is it the fetus’s fault?

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m a pro-choice Christian. But I just wondered how the argument goes.

        • brianbrianbrian1

          No, she would likely think she could get pregnant without dying. It’s quite rare. At that point, my personal view is the woman has a slight edge. the child is dependent on her in any event. She also is embedded in society, has numerous relationships, and has you might say a fuller life. I don’t think this is a 90/10 sort of thing but it gives an edge to her existence where you absolutely have to choose. So let her choose.

          Analogous: during times of starvation or war, some parents sometimes have to decide to let certain children live and not others. There are times where life is brutal.

          • Carol Lynn

            So why do you get decide for her when that moment is ‘bad enough’ that she finally has autonomy in the issue and the right of choice?

            • brianbrianbrian1

              A doctor would tell her her life is in jeopardy. Not me.

              • Carol Lynn

                So, again, if there is a time when a woman and her doctor do have the right of making the choice to keep or terminate a pregnancy, why do YOU ever get to restrict that choice? Isn’t this something that should always be between a woman and her doctor? It’s almost voyeuristic to want to watch and judge these private issues.

          • baal

            “It’s quite rare” [regarding death due to pregnancy, this stuff has numbers]

            so, um what’s the acceptable preventable death rate for you and can I make that decision for your wife/sister/daughter instead of her?

      • Carol Lynn

        How do you justify the “murder” in the cases where the mother’s life is in jeopardy? In your view, it’s still “murder of the baby”, right? In your world-view, why should the women ever have the choice to terminate the pregnancy? I’m just trying to figure out your logic here. If a woman ever has a right to chose, what is your justification for limiting it? Besides, if you ban abortions, the woman in jeopardy will not be given a choice. She will not be able to get an abortion even to save her life.

      • skeptical_inquirer

        I’m going to be blunt. I turn up two completely true times that it
        killed
        one woman and put the other through hours of hell and you’re all “Oh,
        whatever, it doesn’t happen that much.” I’m sad that the suffering of
        actual walking talking females matter so little to you.

        It shows how blatantly if that the baby can’t be saved, the container does NOT matter.

        You’re the best example of what I’m talking about.

  • Sylvia Suttor

    I am an atheist and my attitude towards “pro-life/pro-choice” issue is not solely based on theist/atheist philosophy/logic. I also look at it from a biological perspective, specifically the viability of fetus. Several years ago I met a couple whose daughter was born at 24 weeks of gestation. The baby survived and is thriving. While chances of survival are much lower for premature babies born before 25 weeks the fact remains that, once delivered, there are all “human”. The advances in neonatal science and technology still continue to increase viability and decrease negative complications that are often associated with premature birth. The question still remains is fetus a human? Well, that depends whether you subscribe to the legal “born alive” principle and laws associated with it. I believe that a developed fetus is a human being regardless of whether it takes its first breath outside of uterus. Just because a fetus is not fully developed it doesn’t make it less human. People who are “born” with mental or physical problems does not cease to be humans, neither those who are attached to feeding and breathing tubes. Underdeveloped fetus is a medical condition/process and medical science treats them as such every time they try to save a preemie. Yes…I’m an atheist. I am against death penalty. I am also pro euthanasia. I am really divided on the issue of “pro-choice”. At this point I definitely oppose abortion after 20 weeks but I’m pro-choice when it comes to first trimester or when “mother’s” life is in danger. Maybe one day when science improves our knowledge about the first trimester I will become completely against abortion.

    • joey_in_NC

      At this point I definitely oppose abortion after 20 weeks but I’m
      pro-choice when it comes to first trimester or when “mother’s” life is
      in danger.

      To put it bluntly, you are “anti-choice” after 20 weeks.

    • joey_in_NC

      Maybe one day when science improves our knowledge about the first trimester I will become completely against abortion.

      You are the type of the more reasonable “pro-choice” advocates that the unreasonable pro-choice advocates completely freak out over. And for good reason.

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

      The earliest a fetus has ever survived birth is technically 21 weeks, and most people think that fetus was actually at least two weeks older given its size and general development. The 24 week survival rate is about 10%, and 20% of the survivors will have severe disabilities (think; blind, brain-damaged, unable to ever walk or talk sort of disabilities). Survival rates don’t hit 50% until 28 weeks. This is because at 20 weeks, fetuses’ brains aren’t even developed enough to register pain, let alone any higher brain functions. Their EEGs look like those of brain-dead people (official name is beating heart cadavers); static, but no real patterns. We harvest beating heart cadavers for organs, because they aren’t people anymore; their brains are dead. If they’re legally dead enough for us to remove their hearts, livers, kidneys, corneas, and other organs for donation, it’s awfully hard to say a fetus with the same brain wave patterns (or lack thereof) is a person.

      Also note that 20 weeks is the first time people know about a lot of fatal genetic anomalies. Sirenomelia, anencephaly, and other fatal genetic defects are caught in the 20 week ultrasound. If you ban abortion at 20+ weeks, you are forcing women to carry fetuses who are doomed to die after a short, painful life instead of effectively euthanizing them. You are also forcing women who will die if their pregnancy continues to, well, die.

      Do also note that only ~1.5% of all abortions happen after 20 weeks. They occur because of health reasons or genetic defects or rare, tragic cases where the (usually very young) girl or woman didn’t realize she was pregnant. Banning abortions at 20 weeks would only hurt women tremendously by forcing them to carry to term fetuses that can’t survive, forcing young girls to give birth when that is incredibly dangerous for them, and forcing women to give up all hope of survival if they need immediate medical treatment that might harm a fetus. There is nothing good about a 20 week ban.

      • Sylvia Suttor

        I am aware of the statistics. I do not oppose abortion (regardless whether early or late term) if pregnancy endangers woman’s life or if there is a problem with fetus and its development. I’m saying that if a human can survive at 24 weeks of gestation, do we have a right to terminate that human being outside of uterus?

        • badgerchild

          Termination once a full or near term baby is outside the uterus is not an abortion.

          • Sylvia Suttor

            but abortion is termination of human life… so termination (abortion) of human being from inside of uterus is equivalent to termination (killing) of human life outside of uterus. Again…it’s just my opinion…

            • badgerchild

              Your opinion is a dangerous oversimplification and a blatant attempt to confuse the issue.

              • Sylvia Suttor

                how can “oversimplification” confuse the issue?…
                BTW, there is a difference between “brain dead” people whose condition is deemed irreversible and that of a brain that is still developing and if kept alive will function. Truth be told I’m neither pro-life or pro-chice on this issue. I do think that abortion should be available as a life saving measure/procedure but it should be regulated. Ideally, abortion should not be used as a birth-control measure. I think that pro-life and pro-choice people strive to be mutually exclusive in their attempt to influence laws regarding abortion. I think there are valid pro and con arguments to be learned from both of those camps.

                • badgerchild

                  Oversimplification confuses the issue because it conflates things that should not be conflated, and draws comparisons between things that are not comparable.

                  I’m glad you feel all virtuous and above the debating rabble, but there are obvious right and wrong answers in this debate that you are too lazy and arch to spend the necessary mental energy on.

                • Sylvia Suttor

                  hm…personal insults..how very mature. Is this how you usually finish your debates? And all this because I believe that it is reasonable to think that 24-week fetus is a human and deserves the same rights and protection regardless of physical environment it is in.

                • badgerchild

                  Your beliefs are not founded on facts and you refuse to reconsider them in the light of facts. You actively negate the importance of the “physical environment” (which, by the way, is a pregnant woman with rights that you must recognize). Your emotions are less important than the emotions of the pregnant woman directly involved in a given case.

                • Sylvia Suttor

                  I recognize women rights but, unlike you, I think other factors should also be considered when discussing termination of human life. I do not advocate to eliminate women rights to chose. I just think that termination of life should be a medical decision, not exclusively a social one. I believe one day we will figure out how to protect women rights and human life together in this debate, but not if we continue to be arrogant and unwilling to expend our notions about the value of human life.

                • badgerchild

                  I wonder why you think I don’t consider other factors. Do you think I’m heartless? Of course pregnancies have value. This needs to be considered fully. It’s difficult to make the point clear that, however valuable it is, the pregnancy doesn’t and can’t have rights that conflict with the pregnant woman’s.

                  If there was a medical breakthrough that provided for the gestation of pregnancies outside the body of the pregnant woman, we would be talking instead about the choice of the pregnant woman to avail herself of the technology, and about the legitimate rights of the fetuses so preserved, since they would be entities that could possess their own rights separate from those of the pregnant woman.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Now THAT is a fascinating point! I wonder though…would we? Would pro-choicers think it okay to take the baby out…and then gestate it in some medical incubator, eventually to be put out for adoption? That would be interesting.

                • Carol Lynn

                  This was new idea to you? Sheesh. Buy a clue. It’s ALL technology driven. Do you think we’d even be having this conversation if “quickening” or ‘the rabbit died’ was still the standard for knowing for sure a woman was pregnant? Or when it was impossible for a pre-term fetus to survive outside the womb at all if it couldn’t get modern NICU support? Who pays for that medical incubator for unwanted fetuses? Think the pro-birth people could be taxed for it?

                • Sylvia Suttor

                  I was not suggesting that you are “heartless”and neither am I. I don’t want to ban abortion. I just think that this is not just a “women rights”, it’s a human rights issue. Cheers!

                • badgerchild

                  It’s a women’s rights issue because men can’t get pregnant. Women’s rights issues are a subset of human rights, not a set of rights that excludes other humans. The rights of the woman are exactly what we are discussing in this thread.

                • Sylvia Suttor

                  Rights should exist within reasonable boundaries; they should not be use as a blank check for termination of human life.

                • badgerchild

                  Nobody is arguing for a “blank check” to terminate a pregnancy. I’m assuming you mean by a “blank check” something that allows a woman to get as many abortions as she wants. Abortions don’t happen for fun, they happen because for some reason a pregnant woman found it necessary to terminate a pregnancy. Nobody volunteers to become pregnant and then have an expensive, invasive procedure. Nobody says, “Yippee, I have to get an abortion”. Nobody really wants one. Nobody wants to be in the position of needing one.

                  The boundaries are clear. The fetus is within the boundaries of the pregnant woman’s rights to bodily autonomy. Once the fetus is outside the boundary of the woman’s body, it is “born” and can have its own boundaries.

                • baal

                  see feminerd’s point about gestational times
                  24 weeks is unrealistic.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  badger is big on the personal insults and the “I-am-rational-and-my-opponents-are-extremists” canard.

                • badgerchild

                  So far you haven’t proved me irrational or yourselves moderate.

            • KrisDStar

              It is not the same at all.
              The human life that already exists has supremacy.
              I am pro-life of the mother above whatever it is that may reside inside her.

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

          24 weeks is the current cutoff. With broad exceptions for life and health of the mother, I can get behind that as a legitimate compromise.

          Here’s the thing, though. A woman always controls her body. It is hers. If she decides she does not want another literally feeding off of her, she gets to make that decision. At 24 weeks, a super-preemie is going to need well over $1 million in NICU care. Are you willing to absorb that cost, especially given that the fetus still only has ~10% chance of survival at that time, if the woman doesn’t want to? You ask if we have a right to terminate a fetus at 24 weeks, but I think that’s the wrong question. I ask this instead: do we have a right to tell a woman she can’t terminate?

          • Sylvia Suttor

            OK..24 weeks sounds reasonable. “do we have a right to tell a woman that she can’t terminate”? hm… that depends how we define “human life”, when does it start?, is all human life equal and worth the same protection? Do we have a right to make a termination decision based on socio-economic factors. If yes, what are the limits? How do we deal with issues of rape? What about sex/gender specific terminations? If a woman has a right to “terminate” baby who was BORN before 25th week of gestation can she do it alone or does she need a consent from her partner (now that the baby is no longer a parasite feeding off of her). Maybe it should be a doctor’s decision because of the cost associated with medical care? What if the parents are rich and can pay for the long term cost of care, should they be allow the priviledge of keeping the baby? At this point I cannot support either pro-choice or pro-life organizations.Personally, I don’t support late term abortion BUT I do not advocate on behalf of pro-life people. It is possible that once all of my concerns are addressed I can be strongly pro-choice on this issue, I just don’t think I’m there yet.

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

              Actually, it depends on how we determine the worth of bodily autonomy. If we say a woman may not terminate, we are literally stealing the control of her body away from her. I’m not comfortable doing that, ever.

        • KrisDStar

          It only survives because of medical care that the parents choose to allow it to have. It does not survive on its own simply by having been born. Not anyone can care or keep a preemie alive.
          Just about anyone can keep a fully developed “on time” infant alive. There is a difference.

    • KrisDStar

      The baby survived because the parents chose to allow it to have medical care. The parents could have morally and ethically decided against such measures, in which case the premature infant would have died.

  • Don

    Whether I’m pro-choice or anti-abortion has nothing to do
    with my atheism. I’m an atheist because I don’t believe in any and all gods.
    That’s all. Being free of that encumbrance, I try to use reason and evidence to
    reach my decisions, although we can never entirely dispense with our emotions. I
    no more want some atheist from on high telling me what opinions and positions
    to hold than I want some self-proclaimed messenger from god telling me what I
    must believe.

  • cryofly

    When abortion came up in my family, I opposed it. Recently, I did get to meet that child (who is now 4). As rational animals, we are capable of reasoning out what we are doing and what we are planing to do. And the ability to understand the meaning of that capability, is what that differentiates us from the religious fanatics. I would feel bad if someone aborted, just because they do not want a child at that point of time. But there is no reason for judicial or governmental or moral nazi oversight over life. I would also like to die on the day of my choosing and wish everyone had that right as well.

    • joey_in_NC

      But there is no reason for judicial or governmental or moral nazi oversight over life.

      Right. Repeal all murder laws!

      • baal

        Dying on the day of your choosing is not murder. Watch your logic.

        • joey_in_NC

          cryofly’s mention of euthanasia was clearly an afterthought (hence the “I would also like…”), mentioned only after expressing his/her thoughts concerning abortion. Watch your reading comprehension.

  • Tiffany Marie Murphy

    I am curious about something. Why would an atheist be pro choice for abortions but not pro choice for circumcision? Is a penis more important than a life?

    • badgerchild

      I am assuming you mean by “not pro-choice for circumcision” the idea that cutting off the foreskin should be against the law. The two arguments have zero to do with each other. There is no attempt that I know of to outlaw cutting off an unhealthy foreskin the way there is to outlaw aborting an unhealthy fetus or aborting a fetus that is making the pregnant woman unhealthy. There is no attempt that I know of to force medical schools to not teach the proper way to perform a circumcision. Most importantly, there is no attempt that I know of to force any man or boy of sufficient age who articulates a desire to have his foreskin removed to not have the procedure done.

      • Tiffany Marie Murphy

        They are the exact same argument. As Hermant states in his video, atheists shouldn’t judge the actions of another’s choice. I am a true pro choice. If a woman can choose to abort, than parents can choose to circumcise, both in a sterile hospital room, and done by professionals. Neither of the children in this case have a choice. One faces no skin *GASP* and one faces death. You can’t say one has a choice and once does not. That makes you a hypocrite as much as the next religious person.

        • badgerchild

          Once the child is separate from the mother, it is its own person with its own rights of bodily integrity and choice, same as the parent.

          I imagine you’re also pro-violent-discipline (oh, sorry, “spanking”) on the grounds that the parent’s choice trumps all of the child’s rights. Or are you a hypocrite?

          • Tiffany Marie Murphy

            Children’s rights go so far as being fed and loved and protected by the parents. If a parent feels it is more hygenic to circumcise, who am I to judge. If a child gets a spanking for running out in front of traffic for the millionth time, that is a parent protecting their child. A child has a right to life after all.

            • badgerchild

              Oh, I was right, you do believe that a child doesn’t have bodily integrity and a right to be free from violence just like other people do.

              Just one more person who values the unborn more than the born, folks, move along, nothing more to see here.

    • DavidMHart

      By the time you have a baby (i.e. after birth) you have presumably decided that you want to bring a new person into the world, which means we afford that newborn certain rights – which ought to include the right to decide for him or herself whether to have any medically unnecessary body modifications performed, once they are of an age to give informed consent.

      Before that point – i.e. while there is still a foetus, but not a baby, it is still open to the woman carrying that foetus to decide whether or not to continue to do so.

      • Tiffany Marie Murphy

        A baby cannot make decisions on their own. Based on your argument, I can’t dress my baby in baby gap because they can’t decide what to wear.

        • DavidMHart

          In what way does putting on clothes, which are easily removed at the end of the day, violate the bodily integrity of a baby? More to the point, in what way is it remotely comparable to performing a permanent, irreversible unnecessary body modification? If your baby grows up to decide that they don’t like the clothes they had to wear as a baby, no one’s forcing them to continue wearing them (if they even could). But by circumcising your baby, you are permanently precluding them from ever making their own informed choice about whether or not they want to have a foreskin.

          And your stated reason – that someone thinks it more hygienic – doesn’t stand, because what if they grow up to disagree with you about that – why should your belief trump theirs? Or what if they grow up to believe that, yes, it is slightly less hygienic to have one, but they still prefer to do so, because really, they’re not that difficult to wash under?

          • Tiffany Marie Murphy

            As a woman who has been with both, I can tell you for a fact circumcised is much cleaner. And most circumcised men I know are more concerned with their lives, ie careers, children, wives, hobbies, whatever than worry about a piece of skin they never even remember having. Stop being a whiner and go live your life. There are more important things to worry about.

            • DavidMHart

              Well, you’re the one who brought the subject up, so I don’t see why my responding to you makes me a whiner. And I never claimed that it was the be-all-and-end-all. But it is an unnecessary violation of a baby’s bodily integrity – nothing you’ve said has refuted that. The question is not ‘how many people who were circumcised as babies grow up to deeply resent it?’ (the answer is ‘a few, but not that many’). The question is not even ‘how many people that grew up uncircumcised, taking everything into consideration (and in the absence of any medical necessity) decide to go ahead and have it done?’.

              The question is :’What right do you have to decide to have medically unnecessary irreversible surgery performed on someone who is too young to give informed consent? If there are indeed more important things to worry about, then that logic appies to anyone who considers getting their baby circumcised – they ought not to bother because there are more important things to worry about.

              • Tiffany Marie Murphy

                If the parents find it necessary to circumcise their children in a sterile hospital room with professionals. who are you to tell them they are wrong? And if a child grows up to be a man with no real attachment to the skin, pun intended, it doesn’t matter. Period.

                • baal

                  Fuck you.
                  I was circumcised and I’d rather have that ever so irrelevant piece of skin. I’m sure you’d be ok if I stopped by and started removing bits of skin that I think you don’t need and shouldn’t be attached to? (I can’t hardly even type that question).

                  You’ve also apparently missed the stories of Jewish boys dying from herpes from some mohels.

                • Tiffany Marie Murphy

                  YOU obviously missed my point of STERILE hospital rooms with PROFESSIONALS. A jewish rabi who sticks it in their mouths after is far from sterile or professional…

                • baal

                  Sterile or not, I’m not fond of your utter and complete dismissal of the foreskin and apparent support for male circumcision.

                • Tiffany Marie Murphy

                  I’m not fond of your utter victimhood. The skin is gone! Get over it man! You still have a working functioning dick that still gets pleasure. Sooooo?

                • baal

                  i don’t even

                • purrtriarchy

                  No shit

                • purrtriarchy

                  No. If your parent forcibly cut off your earlobe, your ears would still function and it would still be child abuse.

                • DavidMHart

                  Not wanting to speak for Baal here, but I’m not fond of your utter lack of compassion. Who are you to decide that someone who has had a piece of themself removed that you personally think is unimportant should be required to share your assement of its unimportance. Who are you to omnisciently declare that Baal doesn’t now have less sensitivity than they otherwise would, even if there are still a lot of nerve endings?

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  It’s not just her personally. There might be a billion others. And who claimed omniscience? I kind of agree that it’s a bit ridiculous to claim such victimhood. My god, who is not a victim these days?

                  And Baal told her to F-off (amidst several other comments). Curious why no one found this over the line?

                • baal

                  I find ‘fuck off’ and entirely proportional response to “you don’t get to care about your own body”.

                • KrisDStar

                  And you want to force parents to leave a piece of skin on their child because YOU have a personal attachment to it? That’s not crazy at all.

                • DavidMHart

                  Well, in general, except in cases of genuine medical emergencies, leaving bits of tissue* on babies is ethically preferable to surgically removing them.

                  But where on earth do you get the idea that I have a personal attachment to other people’s foreskins? I am only asserting that people should have the right to decide for themselves whether or not to get rid of their own foreskin, and that if they are too young to make that choice, we should leave it until they are old enough to do so.

                  *Calling it ‘skin’ is a bit misleading, since it is not mere dead epidermis, but contains live nerve endings.

                • KrisDStar

                  We remove umbilical cords before the blood stops flowing through. It is attached to the infant. The infant may be forming some kind of personal attachment to it. Shall we wait for the infant to consent to removing the umbilical cord before we do it?

                • KrisDStar

                  Those who are too young to decide fall under the jurisdiction of their parents. Parents have the legal authority to decide on issues for their own children.

                • KrisDStar

                  Sorry, but if my infant had a skin tag hanging off of his or her face I would have it removed. How it would be ethical for me to leave it there is beyond me.

                • KrisDStar

                  An infant cannot form a personal attachment to something it is not aware exists. You are assuming that the infant has some sort of personal attachment to it. You are assuming that it is important to the infant in the first place.

                • Johnee

                  C’mon Tiffany for someone that has shown only compassion for both men and women in all your other comments, this lacks a significant amount of empathy.

                  We don’t even have to go into the horror clitoral mutilation: what if girls at birth were being altered in some way by slicing off bits of skin on their breasts or vagina and they were still “functional”.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Tiffany got a bit harsh here but Baal has been extreme in his comments the whole time. No one objected when he told her to F-off.

                  I do think the victimhood part is right. It’s one of those “white people’s problems.” And it’s not at all equivalent to clitoral mutilation which eliminates the potential for sexual enjoyment.

                • baal

                  Again, an argument I did not make. Please figure out what I actually said. You upto about three rebuttals to things I never said (and for some, wouldn’t agree with).

                • KrisDStar

                  Wrong. Clitorial mutliation is not akin to foreskin removal, it is akin to removing the entire penis.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Still body modification. Still wrong

                • purrtriarchy

                  Your tits could be removed in a sterile hospital room with professionals and you wouldn’t feel pain or get an infection.

                  doesn’t make it right!

                • DavidMHart

                  Yes, but we aren’t talking about cases where it is necessary. We’re talking about cases where it is entirely elective – done for religious or aesthetic reasons rather than because of any quantifiable harm to the child that will result if it is not done. And you can’t guarantee that the child will grow up to not care. You can’t even guarantee that the surgery won’t cause irreparable harm even when perfomed by skilled surgeons in sterile conditions. In cases like these, who are we to not point out that parents shouldn’t be taking those kinds of risks without the possibility of informed consent?

                • Tiffany Marie Murphy

                  The only reason a child WOULD care is if everyone made a big deal out of it. My son has no idea he was circumcised and he is perfectly fine. Why? Because it’s not a big deal, either religiously or in general conversation.

                • DavidMHart

                  I still don’t see how that’s a valid justification for carrying out a painful, irreversible, medically unnecessary, and potentially dangerous medical procedure on someone unable to give informed consent. If someone being okay with having something done to them is predicated on them never finding out that it was done to them, that doesn’t speak well of the desirability of doing it. If you’re so adamant that it’s not a big deal, why are you defending people’s right to do it so vociferously?

                • Tiffany Marie Murphy

                  Painful? Sure. But the pain isn’t permanent. My son isn’t still crying years later because of a procedure done as a newborn. He doesn’t miss it. Sooo?

                • DavidMHart

                  Well, the first thing to note is that this is a horrible attitude to take with your children. The fact that they will recover from pain and not remember it years down the line does not make it okay to hurt them now. The second thing to note is that, assuming your son is genuinely happy about the choice you made for him, then he isn’t one of the people we are concerned about. The people we are concerned about are those (like Baal above [edit - or possibly below; I don't know how this crazy Disqus ride is going to pan out order-of-commentswise]) who do feel themself to have been violated, and those who suffer medical complications as a result of the operation. There is no surgery without risk, and if there is no benefit to the surgery (which is more-or-less by definition true in a case of medically unnecessary circumcision) then it is unethical to carry out that operation, even if the risks are relatively low. Why are you so keen to defend it?

                • Tiffany Marie Murphy

                  Because if parents have a right to abort, they have a right to circumcise in a safe manner if they so choose. To not allow it or to excuse one and not the other is DOUBLE standard.

                • DavidMHart

                  Didn’t I already explain that above? Declining to bring a new person into the world (either by avoiding getting pregnant in the first place or by terminating a pregnancy before the point at which the foetus has become an entity capable of experiencing any significant pain) is not remotely comparable to deciding to bring a person into the world and then arrogating to yourself the right to decide whether that person should have irreversible unnecessary surgery performed on them – and if you think that they are, you will need to provide some good argument as to why.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  She gave arguments.

                • DavidMHart

                  But she didn’t give good arguments as far as I can see – she effectively just asserted that the two cases were morally comparable without giving any explanation as to why.

                • purrtriarchy

                  She gave absolute shit arguments.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  The angry insults really don’t help.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Not angry, statement of fact.

                  1) he forgot about it

                  2) it was done by professionals

                  3) he can still experience pleasure

                  Is not a good argument

                  And baal has every right to be offended

                  Stop tone trolling

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Oh, but f-bombing her gives her no right to be offended?

                  And, actually, it’s not a bad argument.

                • purrtriarchy

                  No, it’s a terrible argument.

                  I can’t cut off your body parts and say it was acceptable because 1) i felt like it 2) it was done by professionals 3) you won’t remember

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Well you might if you are the parent and there is a decent enough reason. Parents sometimes do this if someone has a 6th toe (not sure if that’s the right move, but a case can be made).

                  The problem is you are painting it as too black-and-white. As I mentioned, even the World Bank sees value in circumcision.

                • purrtriarchy

                  yes, because of this misandrist belief that men are too stupid to clean their own private parts

                  and there have been a number of studies that dispute the claim that circumcision reduces hiv transmission

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  But other studies show there is a risk. Enough to persuade the World Bank. So, if the other person is wrong, some people get circumcised. And, if you’re wrong, some folks get AIDS.

                  It’s not misandrist. It can happen to some teen boys in particular who just aren’t careful enough yet.

                  Stop being a soup-Nazi dude.

                • purrtriarchy

                  WTF is soup Nazi-ish about it???

                  And condoms work best, if not for the fact that the RCC opposes them, so many Africans do without

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  But since not everyone uses condoms….you might decide to circumcise.

                  The soup-Nazi is that you are entirely intolerant of those holding contrary views.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  I might add that the “I’m a victim because I was circumcised” is top candidate for the most invented victim cause of the past 2 or 3 decades. It’s like a little icon to the age of victimhood.

                • purrtriarchy

                  No, it actually causes some men extreme pain.

                • baal

                  Again, not the argument I made.

                • DavidMHart

                  It’s only an expletive – it’s a bit like witchcraft in that it only ‘harms’ those who have been conditioned to find it harmful (as opposed to a slur – a word which is used to belittle and dehumanise members of a group). Sure, should we avoid using it if we want to avoid causing offence? Yes. But should we be surprised that Baal used it when he was being callously belittled and dismissed by someone who made it quite clear that she thought his negative experience doesn’t matter? No.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Baal went with the F-bomb first. And it’s use was quite clear. He was also making strong accusations about the kind of parent she is.

                  And, I mean no offence, but I find the “I’m a victim b/c I was circumcised” a bit much. I wrote elsewhere it’s like a tribute to our age of victimhood.

                • purrtriarchy

                  You do mean offense.

                  It is not your place to judge what counts as ‘pain’ buddy.

                  Just because it might not hurt me to pound by fingers with a hammer doesn’t mean it won’t cause pain in others.

                • DavidMHart

                  Well, it obviously affects some people very differently from others. Some suffer no apparent ill-effects at all. Some suffer a degree of psychological trauma, like Baal presumably does. You can tell such people to snap out of it and stop considering themself a victim, or you can recognise that, whether you think their reasons are valid or not, they do feel themself to have been victimised, and that the better option is to argue against parents doing it to their unconsenting children in the first place.

                  If you can argue for Tiffany Marie Murphy’s right to feel offended at an arbitrary set of phonemes, I can with at least as much justification argue for Baal’s right to feel offended at the unnecessary and without-consent removal of a part of his body.

                • purrtriarchy

                  People who tone troll often don’t have much of an argument..

                • Tiffany Marie Murphy

                  @disqus_ymOi9la8Zb:disqus would deserve to be offended if his entire penis ended up in a medical waste bag. Skin isn’t a big deal. It’s skin. I have more compassion for an entire fetus’s body in a medical waste bag, but I am not going to judge a woman based on her decision. I would much rather her have an abortion than for her to shove a live baby in a toilet tank.

                • baal

                  I didn’t claim i was a victim. I was offended that Tiffany was belittling the importance of foreskin (let alone her support for spanking and not caring about even transitory pain for children). She doesn’t get to tell me how much I get to care about ‘just a little skin.’ It’s highly offensive that she thinks it’s ok for her to set my concern for my own body.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  I responded above. The world bank advocates it as an AIDS prevention mechanism for example in Africa. The cleanliness, fear of infection and later circumcision is another. I did not circumcise my son but there really are arguments.

                • DavidMHart

                  Oh, I see. But I think we may be talking at cross-purposes. You’re talking about arguments in favour of circumcision to lessen medical risks, but I was talking about arguments in favour of the hypothesis that abortion and circumcision are morally comparable, which is what Tiffany Marie Murphy is defending without having provided good arguments for.

                  As regards your comment, there may be some good to be gained from circumcision in terms of some protection against infection risks, but I remain to be persuaded either that these outweigh the risks at all, or that they outweigh the risks so overwhelmingly as to justify our normal requirement for infomed consent before performing surgery.

                • KrisDStar

                  You gave no good argument either, other than you believe that it shouldn’t be done. Good for you. Don’t do it. Your beliefs on if it should or should not be done have no part in the decision I make to do it or not do it.
                  Your opinions on the issue do not dictate what decisions I make for my children.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Your parents could have cut off the tips of your toes when you were a baby and you 1) would not remember 2) probably woudln’t miss them

                  That doesn’t make it RIGHT

                  Because removing body parts = ASSAULT

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Do you like CAPITALS?

                  It’s not assault if you have reasons. The World Bank has acknowledged it reduces the likelihood of AIDS transmission for example. Would you say if someone does not have their child circumcised and he acquires AIDS when he’s 15, is that assault?

                • purrtriarchy

                  Those studies have been brought into question…

                  And it is assault if you are doing it for aesthetic reasons, yes

                  Just like it would be assault to put your baby’s head into a tight cloth in order to elongate the skull.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  So you acknowledge the issue is in question? Hmmm.

                • Keljopy

                  No, aborting is saying that the woman’s bodily autonomy is more important than the life of a not yet sentient fetus that is parasitizing her. Circumcising is saying that the parents have the right to make a choice to permanently alter the body of a child. The whole point you are missing is that abortion is not about whether parents have a right to destroy a fetus or not, it is about whether a woman has the right to decide to stop allowing a fetus to parasitize her body. The death of the fetus is simply a byproduct of the fact that the fetus is an obligate parasite. You are trying to compare the fetus to the infant, but the proper comparison is between a pregnant woman (who has the right to bodily integrity, even if the fetus will die if it can’t use her body) and the child with the penis (who has the right to bodily integrity, even if the parents would prefer he have some bits of his genitals chopped off).

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Many folks have heard of males who got some type of infection and had to have circumcision or other issues later in life. They want to avoid that. In Africa, it is shown to reduce transmission of AIDS. I’m not arguing for it, but there is a logical position to be made.

                  I honestly find people’s emotions on this are a bit over the top.

                • purrtriarchy

                  If you are for real you are a fucking idiot.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Chill. I’m no fan of circumcision but geez.

                • KrisDStar

                  It isn’t medically necessary to retain the foreskin.
                  The parents have the right to informed consent, not a minor.
                  I am defending the parents right to decide. Their right. To decide. You want to remove a right.

                • DavidMHart

                  The parents have the right to informed consent regarding an operation performed on them. The fact that they may strongly want to carry out a medically unnecessary, potentially risky and painful procedure on a baby unable to give consent should not, in itself, entitle them to do so. Would you say that parents who wanted to have their baby tattooed should be allowed to do so? Why on earth should the baby not be allowed to choose whether or not to have an unnecessary body modification performed on themself once they are old enough to understand the risks and benefits? Why should we be denying them that right?

                • KrisDStar

                  There are cultures that tatoo children. There are parents who pierce their infants ears. There are people who practice “cupping.”
                  Simply because you deemed it unnecessary does not mean that I have. And as the parent to my child, what I think in regards to my child is supreme.
                  Birth is potentially risky to the infant too, shall I wait for the infant to consent to being born before I birth it?

                • Guest

                  * who, not use. Ugh.

                • purrtriarchy

                  It is child abuse. Let the kid decide when old enough.

                • Keljopy

                  And if the parents find it necessary to cut off their child’s arm in a sterile hospital room with professionals (because after all, the father only has one arm, and left hands are so hard to keep clean), who are you to tell them they are wrong? And if a child grows up to be a man with no real attachment to the left arm, it doesn’t matter. Period.

                • Tiffany Marie Murphy

                  Skin….arm….skin…arm…which has more use? You are comparing apples to oranges

                • Keljopy

                  As are you.

                • Tiffany Marie Murphy

                  No, not really, life lost vs skin lost…which is more extreme?

                • Keljopy

                  But in the first case there is an actual individual person to consider in addition to the fetus. The fetal life lost is only a side effect of stopping that life from parasitizing another’s body. It is not killing the fetus for the sake of killing the fetus. The proper comparison is between the pregnant woman and the circumcised child. Besides, the life lost is not a sentient person, the child losing skin (and the adult who must live with it) is. You argue that the position of pro-choice and anti-circumcision is inconsistent, however when you look at it from a position of bodily autonomy of the individuals involved it is very consistent. Apples and oranges is you’re comparison of the fetus to the child being circumcised as in these two situations, the fetus is analogous to the foreskin while the child is analogous to the pregnant woman. In both cases we value bodily autonomy – that of the owner of the body. The fact that the fetus dies when it is prevented from using the woman’s body is not reason enough to prevent the woman from choosing what to do with her body. The actual comparison is between foreskin lost and forced parasitization.

            • baal

              As to cleaner, you can ask the guy to wash carefully and with soap…

            • SAPilgrim

              As a woman, who doesn’t personally have a foreskin, it’s not my place to decide whether it’s important for a man to have or not.

              • Tiffany Marie Murphy

                As a mother of a young boy, and with his father’s blessing, we got him circumcised. My son’s father actually has one. So yes, I do have a say. Don’t presume to speak for me or my family.

      • KrisDStar

        Except that right to decide what happens to the infant is granted to the parents. The parents can decide for or against medically necessary treatments.
        It is not medically necessary to retain the foreskin anyway, so your argument is moot.

    • Aureliano_Buendia

      “Why would an atheist be pro choice for abortions but not pro choice for circumcision?”

      I can only guess at the reasoning of others, but several responses that came to mind:
      1. Many people are pro-choice because of a mother’s right to her own medical choices. Circumcision is an alteration to someone else’s body when they cannot grant the right to make changes to their body. They may see it as a permanent bodily alteration without consent.
      2. There is a defining line between a fetus and a child (namely: birth) that has to do with reliance upon another person’s body. That’s a very different argument than with circumcision, where said argument does not exist.
      3. In general, people are not “anti-choice” for circumcision, but against childhood circumcision. If adults want to do it, they usually don’t object. Contrast that with the pro-life movement, which is generally* “no abortion, at any time, for any reason.”

      A better comparative argument might be between circumcision and vaccination. Most of the arguments I’ve read for and against abortion do not really apply to circumcision.

      *generally meaning the movement in politics. According to polls, only 21% of respondents are truly “anti-abortion in all situations,” meaning not even if a mother’s life is at risk/in the case of rape/incest/sexual abuse. But the pro-life political movement is certainly anti-abortion.

    • Anat

      I am pro-choice for circumcision. The choice belongs to the owner of the penis in question. Once you are born you have bodily autonomy. Thus in the question of continuing a pregnancy the choice belongs with the pregnant person and with circumcision the choice belongs with the penis-owner.

      • Tiffany Marie Murphy

        Until the child is 18 they aren’t allowed to do modifications. So if a parent chooses it, that’s the parents choice.

        • Keljopy

          No, it is the choice of the penis-owner, although action on that choice may be delayed until they become of age to properly consent. Just as it would be wrong to allow parents to tattoo their infant/child (or their teen without their consent), it is wrong to allow parents to cut off bits of their child without consent (or valid medical reason like a cancerous tumor). If something like a tattoo is to be done before 18 it generally requires parental consent IN ADDITION to the kid’s consent, but I highly doubt anyone would be ok with allowing a parent to tattoo their kid if the kid didn’t want it done or was too young to even understand the permanence. The same goes for chopping bits off of their genitals.

          • Tiffany Marie Murphy

            Chopping off genitals…or cutting off skin…chopping off genitals…or cutting off skin…Geez you guys compare apples to oranges.

            • Keljopy

              Foreskin is more than just skin. And I said bits of their genitals, by which I meant foreskin. The comparison I made was between tattoos and circumcision. Nice try though.

              • Tiffany Marie Murphy

                foreSKIN. It’s a flap of skin covering the penis. The penis is the genitals. The foreskin is not…

                • Keljopy

                  I suggest you look it up. It is more than just skin and it is part of the genitals, by any reasonable definition of the term.

  • EricNeoMatrix

    No, it doesn’t make sense. Pro-life atheists might as well be Christians.

    There is no rational reason to oppose abortion access.

    • http://CoffeeShopAtheist.com/blog Patrick

      Atheism ~= Rationality/skeptic.

      Getting one question right doesn’t instantly make you correct in every other viewpoint, nor does it entail any intelligence whatsoever. “Are fairy tales true” is pretty straightforward and doesn’t mean you’ll be rational in other arenas.

    • brianbrianbrian1

      Eric, that is silly. It is perfectly possible for someone to make the argument that life begins at conception. Science takes this view.

      I’m not saying there are not pro-choice arguments but your “no rational reason” comment is not valid. And Christianity is totally irrelevant.

      • baal

        “Science takes this view.”
        no.
        Science doesn’t use pro-lifer meanings for words like “life”.

        • brianbrianbrian1

          A science textbook will tell you that life begins at conception. Go to a library and find one.

          • badgerchild

            I think you mean “a new human life”. Life is a broad stream whose headwaters lie in the Hadean era.

            Nobody is arguing that a pregnancy is not a life (unless a living fetus died).

            • baal

              3b1 is playing a word game where life = person = MURDER!
              Science has no part in that.

              • brianbrianbrian1

                baal. No word game. Was simply making a point that you said “there is no rational reason.” I simply offered the rational reason behind the pro-life position. I understand you don’t accept it, but it’s still valuable to understand the logic in the other’s view. I see the logic in pro-choice. Both sides have some points in their favour which is what makes it a tough issue.

                • purrtriarchy

                  A hydratiform mole counts as a new human life by your standards. And no, there is no consensus amongst embryologists that life begins at conception.

                • baal

                  EricNeoMatrix made that point. That wasn’t me. I said that you’re playing word games (even if it’s unintentional). Ending “Life” is not inherently immoral. Ending ‘human life’ is also not inherantly immoral.

                  There isn’t logic to your viewpoint.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Not sure where you are going with “ending human life is not inherently immoral.” Unless there is a super-compelling reason, we generally say that it is immoral.

                • purrtriarchy

                  If human life assaults you, you have the right to defend yourself.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Exactly. There are circumstances. But generally we consider it immoral. You need a very good reason and “I didn’t like her” doesn’t suffice.

                • purrtriarchy

                  What don’t you understand about “pregnancy is not a state of wellness”

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Huh? Where did I say that? Where did this come from?

                • purrtriarchy

                  From your own twisted definition of what constitutes ‘life’

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  Um, okay.

                • purrtriarchy

                  I think I responded to the wrong comment

                  *shakes fist at disqus*

                • purrtriarchy

                  It came from the fact that abortion = a good reason because pregnancy is not a state of health.

                  Pregnancy maims and kills.

                  Pregnant people have the right to self-defense.

                • baal

                  Except in the cases where we don’t. cf euthanasia, brain death, early pregnancy abortions etc. I’m trying to get you to pay attention to the critical issue of when you have a ‘person’ and you don’t have a ‘person’. I’m not saying it’s always cut and dry but few argue that stabbing a 20 year old to death is not murder. Many will argue about forcing someone with late stage ALG to stay alive against their will on feeding tubes and other heroic care.

                • brianbrianbrian1

                  I think we’re not really disagreeing. Just some terminology.

                • MarkTemporis

                  Here’s the thought experiment: we can save embryos in deep freeze. There are a thousand-plus embryos at risk, and one twenty-year-old person, and you can only save one. If you pick the person, you don’t actually think embryos are alive in the way people are, and the pro-life argument is hogwash. If you do choose the embryos, you’re pretty much a monster and illustrate the pro-life mentality perfectly.

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

                  It is not immoral to end a human life if the person is assaulting you/hurting you/trying to kill you. Self defense is moral.

                  It is not immoral to end a human life if the alternative is a hideously painful, unavoidable death and the person consents. Mercy killing is a moral thing.

                  It is moral to kill someone trying to kidnap or enslave you. Liberty > death and all that.

                  It is questionably moral to end the life of a soldier in war.

                  It is questionably moral to end the life of a person who has done a great deal of harm and, if not stopped, will continue to cause more harm in the future.

                  Morality is not black and white. If you think a fetus is a person, abortions still falls under the self-defense and anti-enslavement morality exceptions to killings.

          • baal

            The closest you get is genetic identity begins at conception but that’s not entirely right as there is gene editing, recombination and such that happens in the post conception time.

          • Carol Lynn

            No. Life began 4 billion years ago.

          • purrtriarchy

            Wrong.

          • purrtriarchy

            Science tells us that development begins at conception.

            Science does not tell us that a unique individual *person* is created at the moment of conception.

            Which, btw isn’t a moment.

            Conception happens over a period of 4 days.

            . If “personhood” is a simple yes or no question and not a matter of development or, then when precisely in this process is a new person created?:

            -The egg and sperm membranes fuse (but the nuclei are still separate)
            -The egg goes through chemical changes to prevent other sperm from fusing
            -The egg finishes meiosis to become haploid and forms a polar body (which doesn’t happen until after the membranes have fused)
            -All parts of the sperm except the nucleus dissolve
            -The chromosomes from the egg and sperm replicate separately
            -Both nuclear membranes dissolve
            -Spindles form to bring all of the chromosomes together (approximately 3-4 hours after the membranes fused)
            -The cell goes through mitosis ending in 2 cells (repeat many times)
            -The embryo implants in the wall (approximately 9 days after the sperm and egg membranes fused)

            Tell me, Mr. Science, at which point during this process is the new ‘life’ created.

            Furtheremore, the zygote can, during the first 14 days, split into twins (or triplets…etc) recombine…then split again!

            Also, chimeras are created during pregnancy when two separate embryos fuse to create one person. One person can have two sets of DNA. Head and heart from one twin, rest of the body from the other.

            So, it is not as clear cut as you think. A single, unique, viable individual is not in fact created at the ‘moment’ of conception which is not in fact a moment at all.

  • DeanG

    Here’s the part I don’t understand.

    If you’re pro-life, and you wouldn’t get an abortion yourself, but you don’t fight to prevent others from getting abortions, aren’t you, in actuality, pro-choice?

    Pro-choice people aren’t saying that everyone _should_ get abortions. They’re saying that everyone should be _able_ to get abortions. And then it’s their choice to get an abortion or not.

    Pro-life people are saying that _nobody_ should get abortions.

    • http://facebook.com/betteroffdamned Better Off Damned

      I was going to comment this same thought.

  • kickinitincrik

    Of course atheists ought to be pro-life. One of their main arguments against God is that he allows so much death in this world – seems that God is pro-choice, right? – and you hate him for it. If it’s immoral for God to end the lives of those he creates then I guess we shouldn’t either. There, I settled it for you guys – consistent atheist logic says “go pro-life.”

    • badgerchild

      Wow, that made so much sense. I’m certainly convinced. I’ll go tell the atheist pro-choice conspiracy that we might as well pack it in. ;)

    • http://CoffeeShopAtheist.com/blog Patrick

      no, no, no. God being pro-death is old testament! Thanks to the new testament, God is pro *suffering,* what with hell and boils and coming back with a sword vomiting out of his mouth and rivers of blood made from human heads and all.

      So in order to be against that God, the one that changed, atheists should be against *suffering* meaning not bringing in more unwanted children, not forcing painful etopic pregnancies, not forcing septic uteruses, and you know.. just not being shitheads like God.

      The God who is pro-suffering. You should pick up a bible or you’d know this stuff! Geez!

    • Spectrall

      One of their main arguments against God is that he allows so much death in this world

      No, not really. I don’t think you’ve understood the arguments that you think you’ve read.

    • DavidMHart

      I’m honestly not sure whether you are being sincere or joking here – Poe’s law strikes again – but on the chances that you are, I should fill you in.

      Our main argument against gods is the utter lack of any good evidence that any gods exist. The fact that there is so much suffering in the world (note that I use the word ‘suffering’ rather than ‘death’ for reasons I will explain below) is not an argument against gods in general, but rather an argument against the traditional Judeo-Christo-Islamic all-powerful and all-loving god, a being whose existence would be logically incompatible with the facts of this universe (which Jewish, Christian and Muslim theologians have been trying to gloss over for hundreds of years).

      As a practical matter, a large fraction of the suffering that results from religious beliefs is caused by belief in the Judeo-Christo-Islamic god, so it is worth attacking those beliefs even if it doesn’t rule out the existence of other, non-omnipotent and/or non-omnibenevolent gods.

      But the objections to the Judeo-Christo-Islamic god is not death per se. No one would be objecting if such a deity regularly showed up to inflict death on trillions of non-sentient bacteria, or even on millions of barely-sentient insects. It is the suffering that is the issue – the Judeo-Christo-Islamic god is depicted as killing thousands, even millions of people who suffer terribly as they die, and whose death causes yet more suffering for their loved ones who are still around to mourn their loss. If we happened to be a species of animals that were completely unconcerned about our own destruction, and completely unable to feel pain, then genocide by fire and flood wouldn’t really be ethically problematic. But that is not the universe we live in.

      Of course, you can see where this is going: the ability to feel physical and emotional pain is, of all the possible bases for morality, the one which needs the least ad-hoc justification. Therefore, foetuses which are not yet able to feel pain, or whose capacity to do so is extremely limited, cannot be considered morally equivalent to children and adults to whom the full scope of suffering is starkly open, and cannot be used to trump the rights of those who do not want to continue an unexpected pregnancy (or a pregnancy which has developed unexpected complications).

      • kickinitincrik

        At least you had a well thought out response. Your final point makes sense. But I think one should tread cautiously when deciding what type of human life is worth something. When can an infant,fetus,child truly feel pain? Debatable I suppose. Does it matter in the long run – also debatable, especially if you are a materialist. For an atheist the abortion issue has to be a judgment call – but who gets to draw the lines? And why should we assume that they’ll stay put? There are a couple other issues I have with your comment. 1) You lump together Christians, Jews, and Islamists. The theology and the practical outworking of those religions are quite different. It would be akin to lumping atheists with Buddhists to make a point. You also made a point in saying that most religious destruction comes from these religions. Very much a generalization and you wouldn’t be able to say it without Islam (thus the need to lump). I suppose it an easy thing to say when almost half the world’s population are one of those religions. But again, your point fails for the simple fact that you cannot connect Christ’s actions or words to any sort of violent compulsion on account of his followers. 2) “Good evidence.” Why not just say evidence? By applying the world “good” to evidence you are being selective, or exclusive to certain types of evidence. I can say that there is good evidence and it’s equally as meaningless to you because of your naturalistic assumptions even if the evidence is verifiable – if the verifiable evidence points to a god then it’s discounted. 3) Suffering is not always evil. People with character tend to develop that character through suffering. And Christianity hardly glosses over it when it preaches that God himself took on human flesh in order to suffer. Theologically, Christianity doesn’t so much seek to eliminate suffering (like the Buddhist) – it seeks to rise above it, consuming it with the light of Christ.

        • baal

          ” if the verifiable evidence points to a god”
          OT but I’m still waiting for some. I throw on the ‘good’ adjective since xtians will point out the window and say, “behold, there are trees and god made them so god must exist” and call that circular argument ‘evidence’.

          as to #3 – i don’t like “evil”. Suffering is always a harm. Whether or not that harm is justifiable in a given circumstance can be debated. Suffering to glorify christ / god is kinda sick. I hope the folks who do that are otherwise masochistic and not being oppressed by it.

    • baal

      “and you hate him for it.”
      Again, don’t tell me what I think.
      I don’t hate god, I think he’s a fairy tale.
      I hate what his followers do in his name.

      • brianbrianbrian1

        Not sure that changes the point much.

        • baal

          All the worse that he threw in the pointless point then.

  • HK

    I’m an Atheist, Pro-Life, and Pro-Euthenasia. It’s completely possible to be all three.

    My reasoning is tied to something Dawkins said in his book “The God Delusion” and is something I’ve always held true, even before I read his book. “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.” The sheer impossibility that you, I, or that unborn baby even exist is staggering; so the idea of just killing it because it’s inconvenient for us and not giving it a chance to experience life is a sickening precedent. Now, before you get in a tizzy, please read the rest of my post.

    Science has advanced far enough that reliable(not condoms or the pill) contraception is out there. Contraception prevents the need for abortion almost entirely. At this point in human society abortion is almost completely unnecessary as a form of pregnancy control/prevention/etc; excluding only instances of low survival odds(either mother or child). We can even keep dramatically preemie babies alive now which decreases even more the need for abortion to protect the mother is some cases.

    The problem is that laws and policies prevent young men and women, or those with one or no children, from accessing opt-in reliable/permanent contraception. Often times you have to be over 30 years old and/or already have 2 or 3 kids before doctors will let you have an IUD or permanent sterilization procedures. It is not their place to mediate regret, only to do no harm; and by denying these procedures to young men and women(who know they don’t want kids or aren’t ready for them) they are doing harm to them and the children they will likely have as a result. Studies have proven that when contraception is made easily accessible abortion rates drop dramatically. Now imagine how far they would drop if the method of contraception was more reliable than condoms or the pill.

    I also support euthanasia as a form of mercy for the dying or suffering. I support it for mothers who won’t survive childbirth and need an abortion, if they want it, because there are no medical procedures that could save both her and her child(that hard decision is no one’s business but her’s). I support it for unborn children who are genetical malformed to the point where they would have no quality of life and for those who will not survive outside of the womb. I support it for every other stage of life too. I don’t believe anyone should be made to suffer for someone else’s moral hang-ups.

    There are economic and social benefits to both of these but I feel cold and detached when I talk about them but they are mostly obvious.

    • Spectrall

      At this point in human society abortion is almost completely unnecessary
      as a form of pregnancy control/prevention/etc; excluding only instances
      of low survival odds(either mother or child)

      Your argument hinges on this point, but this point isn’t actually true. People plan poorly and bad things happen; when that occurs, we shouldn’t say, “well, tough titty for you, should have planned better”, we should seek to minimize bad outcomes. If an individual woman plans poorly (or is spectacularly unlucky, or is assaulted) and becomes pregnant and doesn’t want to be, I see no plausible reason to prevent her from getting an abortion. Keep in mind, this isn’t some weird edge case that almost never happens, but something that occurs many thousands of times every single year.

      • HK

        I never argued to control their decisions about getting an abortion, just that medical science has advanced far enough to make these situations you mentioned nearly nonexistent if society set out to educate and make available, no questions asked, reliable contraception. I’m not arguing for laws, I’m arguing for intelligent prevention of the need. Ultimately abortions will happen in times of “I don’t want a baby” and that can’t be controlled by anyone. That’s just the way the world works; but if we fight against it with education and reliable contraception we can almost eliminate the occurrence. I simply forgot to include cases of assault in my post(a situation which is going to take a long time to correct in society and probably won’t ever be eliminated and I consider this on the same level of choice as the mother’s life being in danger because, cold as it may sound, we don’t want those kind of genetics being passed on.) Poor planning is something that largely relies on education and access to reliable contraception.

        I can be pro-life without wanting laws to dictate everyone else’s lives. Not once did I ever say that my position on circumstances should be forced. I hold them for myself and my own family. I just think that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to teach comprehensive sex-ed and eliminate birth control restrictions.

        • HK

          TLDR:

          I want to reduce abortions, not outlaw them.

          PS. I simply forgot to include cases of assault in my original post, sorry.

        • Spectrall

          I guess I’m not clear on the point then. Pretty much every pro-choice individual is also in favor of widespread sex-ed and birth control availability. I don’t know who you’re arguing against. This seems like one of those sorts of self-serving, “I’m being reasonable and not at all like those extremists” posts. There aren’t really a ton of people advocating that women should head out, get pregnant, and get abortions as a general matter of course, ya know?

          • HK

            I think maybe it’s you that’s confusing what I’m saying to make a point, :/ or maybe by accident. I also never said people go out and do it on purpose or that sex lives should be controlled. I’m pro-life, not pro-choice. I don’t think it’s right to end a pregnancy simply because you were irresponsible and got pregnant/got someone else pregnant but I know it’s going to happen. As I said, it will simply be at a significantly reduced rate in the presence of comprehensive sex-ed and restrictionless IUD(or similar quality non-pill/condom temporary birth control)/sterilization; something that either isn’t currently universal or isn’t currently accessible.

            I’m not sure if you’ve encountered this but, you cannot get anything but the pill or condoms unless you meet certain age/family size requirements. In a lot of areas you also can’t get anything but abstinence only sex-ed. Currently. Right now. Both of these things increase the occurrence of abortions and unwanted children. It’s not just people being irresponsible. Even though irresponsibility will be there despite comp sex-ed and reliable contraception, responsible people will be better able and equipped to make responsible choices. Abortions aren’t something that only irresponsible people do and so we need to give responsible people a fair chance to avoid that kind of situation in the first place.

            I just feel like I’m having to spell everything out letter by letter at this point because you’ve assumed I’m a complete nut job. You don’t have to be crazy to be pro-life, and you also don’t have to be black/white, hill/valley, right/left, yes/no on the issue. Life is never one extreme or the other, it rests somewhere in-between… We’re just conditioned to think it is. I don’t see why you’re having such a hard time believing that. There’s nothing self-serving about being one extreme or the other. I personally think that the extreme ends are self-serving. Do or die, right or wrong, legal or illegal.

            The article asked pro-life atheists to make a case for their position and I did it honestly. So what if I am, indeed, being reasonable? I thought a large part of being an atheist was being reasonable and not blindly following extremes. Sure those people exist but they don’t make the rest of us irrelevant.

            • HK

              Sorry I think I accidentally deleted a word.

              “There’s nothing self-serving about being one extreme or the other.” should have been “There’s nothing self-serving about not being one extreme or the other.”

              • Spectrall

                The problem is that there’s effectively no such thing as an extreme pro-choice position. You’re battling against a strawman there. From a policy standpoint, what you’re espousing is literally identical to the mainline pro-choice position, just with a helping of, “but I wouldn’t personally do it” tacked on.

                • HK

                  On a scale of “for all situations or none” there are extremes and they do exist… Plenty of people think abortion for any reason is fine and don’t care either way. Plenty of people think that no form of abortion is ok even right down to contraception. I do not think that all situations are best solved by abortion nor do i think that they should be banned for all situations. I simply lean more pro-life. Being more one side or the other doesn’t mean I have to be an activist for it or that I can justify the choices of others in my own mind by telling myself “whatever.” I’m still going to not like the choice they made and that’s all ok because I’m not going over to them and telling them about how wrong I think they are. Like I’ve said before, the only reason I’m putting my opinion up here is because the author asked for it to be posted.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Plenty of people think abortion for any reason is fine and don’t care either way.

                  Can you give an example where someone has said that an elective abortion 30 seconds before birth is totes ok?

                  Because this is a strawman often touted by pro-lifers, and I have never seen a pro-choicer express this view.

                • HK

                  “For any reason” does not directly translate to “for any point in the pregnancy”

                • purrtriarchy

                  I misread.

                  However, that *is* a strawman that I see pro-lifers use *repeatedly*

                  They spend the majority of their time talking about 9.5 month abortions…

                • HK

                  I see it a lot too. lol

                • purrtriarchy

                  It is an appeal to emotion argument that is used to ‘make people think that a baby is tortured in an abortion’

                  However, they can’t actually make people feel sorry for an embryo that is smaller than a jellybean, so they try to make people think that actual infants are being viciously cut up.

                • HK

                  I think some level of emotion should be attached to the decision but trying to shock someone into switching sides is are really horrible thing to do. :(

                • purrtriarchy
                • baal

                  As I tell my pro-life coworkers, whenever I see the fetus banner on a bridge or flown behind a crop duster, I give to planned parenthood.

                • HK

                  Great article. It really never does any good to throw poop. It eventually hits the fan and covers everyone.

                • HK

                  Also, I never said I leaned more pro-choice.

                • purrtriarchy

                  I didn’t think you had!

                • HK

                  Sorry, misunderstood your intent with the comment then. Haha

                  I got used to being attacked for things I didn’t say.

                • purrtriarchy

                  I love DIsqus.

                  It is telling me that every comment made by ‘HK’ is in fact by ‘badgerchild’

                  Had to refresh to view your name properly.

                  This happens all the time with people who have greyed out nicknames..

                  grr

                • HK

                  Yeah, sorry about that. I tried to make an account but I never got a confirmation email and I got tired of waiting.

            • purrtriarchy

              So you are a slut shamer. Forced pregnancy for the crime of having sex while female.

              • HK

                Again I NEVER SAID I WANTED TO FORCE THIS ON ANYONE, I JUST SAID I THOUGHT IT WASN’T RIGHT AND THIS GUIDES MY OWN PERSONAL DECISIONS THEN EXPLAINED DIFFERENT WAS OF REDUCING ABORTION WITHOUT FORCE. Jesus christ people, READ.

                Fing hell. I can be pro-life without begin a god damned crazy jerk. You know all those people who don’t go out of their way to talk about the issue? Those people are middle of the road too. I’m only talking here because the Author requested input.

                • badgerchild

                  We understand you have strong feelings about the issue. Too bad they aren’t substantive thoughts, instead.

                • HK

                  Could you explain what is unsubstantiated about making comprehensive sex-ed and reliable birth control readily available to all in an effort to REDUCE(not eliminate) the need for abortions? Countless studies have already shown that this works so I fail to see how the position could lack value. With these two things made available, abortions will still happen for all kinds of reasons and I’m not saying that they should be illegal; but when people have access to education and prevention less abortions happen. I’m talking about reducing the thing I don’t like(reducing it benefits everyone, even pro-choice people)by giving everyone a fair chance to make informed, unchallenged, unrestricted decisions about their own bodies and sex lives because neither is anyone else’s business.

                  Whether my personal choice against abortion is unsubstantiated TO YOU(your’s looks equally unsubstantiated to me since my position is one about my own body and personal choice, which(because I’ve already made that point painfully clear) means through the continued insults you’re telling me I can’t do that) doesn’t matter because I’m not trying to force it on anyone else through any means…

                  This thread is not about proving one side or the other right, it’s about explaining one’s position. It wasn’t an open invitation for people to ‘shame’ other atheists for their positions and I’ve not once done it to any of you. You don’t have to change your view about abortions to see the value reducing them. Less abortions mean fewer medical costs(which reduces premiums for everyone and also total out of pocket costs for everyone), less emergency care for infections and unintended damage from accidents that MIGHT happen during an abortion(has the same effects on costs), saves more parents from ever having to make that decision in the first place because some(NOT ALL; gotta make sure people actually see that this time) of them actually do regret it, helps more people avoid the stress and anxiety of the experience no matter what the reason for the abortion would have been by not putting them in that position, reduces the number of child abuse cases by reducing unwanted pregnancies, and so on.

                  Being pro-life does not mean I go about telling people they’re wrong for having abortions. It doesn’t mean I try to pass laws to make abortion illegal for all or all but a few circumstances. It doesn’t mean I’m going to tell you that you have to change your mind. It doesn’t mean I’ll sit here and tell you that your position isn’t “substantive.” Abortion isn’t a black and white issue, it’s mostly just grey area and all this shit slinging doesn’t help anyone.

                  Being pro-life means that I won’t personally choose an abortion for reasons of inconvenience, though I may choose it for other reasons(such as the child having no quality of life or not surviving outside the womb.) It means that I might persue an over all reduction in abortion rates through means that don’t involve shame, abstinence, adding invasive hoops to jump through, or making it punishable by law. Not everyone who doesn’t get abortions is out to tell you that you can’t have one. I PERSONALLY would not be able to live with myself if I ended a pregnancy for reasons of convenience. I doubt I’d be able to live with myself if I did it for any other reason(genetic defect that negates quality of life, survivability, etc.) but in those cases I’d take the emotion hit for the good of the child.

                  I don’t see how anything I’ve said thus far means that I’m trying to shame anyone for their choices or to force other people to be pro-life.

                  Current science makes abortion ALMOST unnecessary and in the future it could help reduce the need even more and this is why I think it is capable of dramatically reducing abortion rates; but current policies, laws, practices, and restrictions make them necessary for a large amount of people who aren’t given/allowed access to the education and conraception. I believe that forcing people into situations that make abortion something they need to consider, as a direct result of these things, is wrong and damages actual PEOPLE in both pro-choice and pro-life sides of the argument. It’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong; it’s about doing the least harm.

                  Disclaimer, since you guys seem to need one: Most abortions do not cause damage to the mother. Abortions do not cause cancer. Not all parents are emotionally distressed by having an abortion at any point before during or after the process. I’m not telling you to be pro choice. Pre-Thanks for not bringing up these tired arguments.

                • purrtriarchy

                  You are still a slut shamer.

                • HK

                  Slut shamming requires one to make a point of acting or speaking out against people they deem as being sexually irressponsible. I’m doing nothing of the sort, nor have I ever done such. I’m not saying women should be forced to have unwanted babies, just that I don’t like it and don’t see why we, as a society, haven’t allowed science to help reduce abortions. Some people think sky diving is dangerous, irresponsible, and would never do it themselves. This doesn’t mean that these people are shaming sky divers, just that the thought of themselves or even other people doing it freaks them the hell out. o_o

                  There’s a world of difference between me saying I don’t like abortion in instances of inconvenience and the things Rush Limbaugh has said and done against people who are pro-contraception(something I happen to be) and/or pro-choice. You can have orgies every week if you want for all I care and I’d happily pay taxes for you to get the healthcare you need to live that lifestyle even if it was covering viagra, sterilization, IUDs, the pill, condoms, patches, abortions if it came down to it, etc. Just be smart about it and don’t expect that I should like it too. Worse things can implant than an egg and those things can’t always be corrected.

                • KrisDStar

                  You said you said nothing of the sort:

                  “I don’t think it’s right to end a pregnancy simply because you were irresponsible and got pregnant/got someone else pregnant”

                  That is speaking out against an action that you think should be punished by forced pregnancy and forced birth.

        • purrtriarchy

          How about “I don’t want to suffer the agony of childbirth and forced gestation”

    • purrtriarchy

      Pregnancy is not a state of wellness. Forcing a woman to remain pregnant against her will is to cause suffering. I know five people on patheos who would rather die than be forced to give birth. You arr completely erasing the pregnant person in favor of potential. And no, a zygote is not a homunculus. And all forms of contraception have known failure rates. You are privileging potential life over actual life.

      • HK

        I never said I was trying to force anyone to have a baby just that I didn’t agree with all reasons for abortion. You can successfully not agree with something without also insisting that it be banned. I also don’t agree that Kanye West is the most amazing singer ever but I don’t go about petitioning for banning him from the music industry. Shit happens, I’m never going to like everything that happens in the world but that doesn’t mean I should be forced to like or pretend to like it either.

        I personally HATED being pregnant with both of my children. Bar none the worst experiences of my life and one was textbook. I didn’t have an abortion because I couldn’t justify it to myself. If you can justify it for yourself then so-be it, but don’t go about acting like I should like it. I’m not going to go up and ride you or them for it. I wouldn’t even be talking about it now had the author not requested that opinions like mine be explained. It’s as simple as that.

        • KrisDStar

          Nobody is going on like “you should like it” because it does not matter if you like it or not. It only matters for yourself. You like or dislike of something has no impact on the validity of someone elses decision.

      • HK

        I also now use and IUD and other prevention methods so that I’ll have the least chance possible of ever having to go through it again because I’m no longer restricted by policy or laws against accessing them due to family size or age due to now having 2 kids. I love my kids but I’d have preferred to be given access to more reliable birth control in the first place and having that available for other people who are young and don’t have kids that don’t want them or the experience isn’t such a bad thing.

    • HK

      Now that replies have died down, I’m outta here and won’t be replying to anything else.

      Bye.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    I refuse to use the term pro-life. Who is “anti-life”? In the literal sense I am pro-life I guess. What I am not is anti-abortion. I am pro-birth control and pro-sex ed. Some of my fundie relatives go to an Evangelical church where they are big on abstinence only. The high school girls keep getting pregnant and they can’t seem to figure out why. If they’d just tell the boys to wear condoms this wouldn’t be happening. but no. “Condoms don’t work”. Of course they don’t, if you don’t wear them!

    • MarkTemporis

      Who is anti-life?

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        Ha! You beat me to it. I believe that long after I stopped reading comics he actually found the anti-life equation even!

  • Jason Eden

    Assuming links work here, I’ve written up a full treatment of the abortion issue which points out that no one is really pro-life (including most religious folks who claim to be), tries to come up with a scientific definition for when recognizably human life begins, and why I feel the extreme pro-choice position is also logically untenable:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DIYfFdQzCb4qu1kMLy4cDYPSHJ08COTkUo_2EBKj27k/edit?usp=sharing

    • badgerchild

      Thanks, Jason, is there a forum where we can address your specific objections that aren’t addressed already in existing posts here in this thread? It’s really difficult to address your paper in someone else’s blog comment thread.

      • Jason Eden

        Badger – I’ve just turned on commenting on the paper (sorry, meant to do that in the first place.) Looking forward to any discussions!

        I don’t know of a specific forum outside of the paper though. I mainly posted the link at Hemant’s request for arguments on the other side. I don’t think most pro-lifers would consider my stance pro-life, but most pro-choice advocates don’t agree with my views either. Which, of course, I take to mean I’m probably onto something… :)

        • badgerchild

          Onto something? The fence. ;) I’ll go read your paper :)

          • Jason Eden

            I think you’ll find my positions to be quite clear. I simply tried to look for scientific and logical justification as to where the fence should be put in the first place. :)

    • purrtriarchy

      Your paper is quite good however I disagree with how you have presented the ‘extreme’ pro-choice viewpoint.

      I have never in my time on pro-choice boards encountered a pro-choicer who advocates ‘elective’ abortion at 9 months.

      What pro-choicers DO advocate for is laws that allow doctors and pregnant persons to make the decisions that will affect their lives.

      Once you start enforcing arbitrary cutoff dates ‘life of mother’ ‘health of mother’ you run into all sorts of problems.

      This is why Savita Halappanavar died in Ireland.

      She wasn’t yet ‘close enough to death’ for a therapeutic abortion to be justified in the eyes of the doctors.

      In NY state, for example, a late term abortion is only permitted if the mother is dying. Well, what if the fetus develops something like Potter’s syndrome after 24 weeks? And it is causing the woman extreme pain all day every day until the end of the pregnancy because all of the amniotic fluid has leaked out. What if the woman can’t even stand properly?
      but, she isn’t actually DYING. She is just ‘disabled’.

      So, this poor woman basically had to stay pregnant until 10 months AND GIVE BIRTH TO A DEAD OR DYING BABY. And yes, this actually happened.

      Canada does not have any abortion laws, and the country gets along just fine. No babies get ‘murdered’ at 37 weeks because pregnant persons decided, on a whim, to end the pregnancy. But if there is a sudden health reason, the woman will get help. Without having to look over their shoulders worrying about what laws they might be breaking because the woman isn’t nearly ‘sick’ enough.

      Pro-choicers argue against arbitrary laws that hurt pregnant persons and babies.

      And FYI, no sane pregnant person is going to wait 9 months and then have a recreational abortion.

      • Jason Eden

        Quis – Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I don’t think you and I would have much to disagree about. I do think, however, that many in the pro-choice movement would disagree with you, and would argue that abortion should be legal at any point prior to birth and without any medical justification whatsoever. I think you are probably mistaken when you assume that abortions at 37 weeks don’t happen though.

        As for terminal or seriously debilitating diagnoses discovered after the 20-week mark, I would view those situations much like I view doctor-assisted suicide debates, which is a whole different matter entirely and would not affect 99%+ of abortions I’m discussing in the paper. I haven’t tackled that issue yet, but I tend to think I would fall in line with where I think you are.

        • purrtriarchy

          I think you are probably mistaken when you assume that abortions at 37 weeks don’t happen though.

          For health reasons, not elective.

          At 37 weeks the baby would be delivered through induced labour since that is the safest way

          Late term abortions are incredibly dangerous, and it is NOT something that is taken lightly

          I do think, however, that many in the pro-choice movement would disagree with you, and would argue that abortion should be legal at any point prior to birth and without any medical justification whatsoever

          Have you come across people who have seriously advocated for this?

          I have spent the last year or more on RH reality check, these blogs, and a few others, and never once come across a pro-choicer who argues that abortions should be elective at 37 weeks.

          Oh, and I spent ages on yahoo comments too. And I have never met a pro-choicer that extreme.

          If they do exist, and they probably do, they are in the minority.

          I have met far more pro-lifers, however, who believe that a woman should suck it up and die from a pregnancy gone wrong becaus she chose to ‘spread her legs’

          • Jason Eden

            Quis – I’m not saying late-term abortions happen a lot (as only a small percentage of abortions happen after the 21st week according to most data I’ve seen) but in places where it’s legal, subjective “emotional distress” can count as a health reason for performing one. The safety issue at this point in the pregnancy is why the “partial-birth” abortion method was created. Again, I suspect it to be rare, but I’d be shocked to learn it had actually never happened.

            And yes, I make a point to run in circles of all kinds with people who believe all kinds of things, and I have met a substantial and vocal number of folks who advocate for what I label as the extreme pro-choice position. Years ago I remember a politician who is still in office today claiming that the right to abortion should be extended until the baby comes home from the hospital. Logically defensible and almost necessary position to take if you are going to argue for elective (or easily obtained) late-term abortions and be consistent.

            • purrtriarchy

              but in places where it’s legal, subjective “emotional distress” can count as a health reason for performing one.

              There is only one place in the USA right now that performs late term abortions.

              The clinic is in NM and the abortionist there does NOT perform elective abortions at 37 weeks.

              She WILL NOT DO IT.

              • Jason Eden

                Quis, I’m really not trying to debate whether it happens or not. I’m trying to get to whether it should be legal or not, and under what circumstances, etc. Where would you draw the legal cut-off line for elective (non-medically justified) abortions? 24 weeks? 20 weeks? 30 weeks? And why? That’s the question here. I think we’re on the same side, in violent agreement. :)

                • purrtriarchy

                  Canada has no abortion laws.

                  It is a 20+ year experiment that has worked out well.

                  Doctors here refuse to terminate a pregnancy past 24 weeks, unless there are serious side effects – fetal deformity, life health of mother.

                  I think that 24 weeks is an acceptable compromise.

                  But, the health and life of the mother must *always* be taken into consideration.

                  As should fetal deformity – imo it is cruel to force a woman to give birth to a dead or dying baby.

  • SJH

    Non-belief in a god has nothing to do with whether or not a woman is allowed to kill the unborn human within her? Either abortion is good for society or it is bad. If it is bad for society then you should be against it regardless of your belief in the supernatural. Why is this even a question?

    • baal

      You’re very reductionist. Good or bad for society is pretty nebulous. The better question is what types of harms result from banning abortion vs the types of harms that result from having the option available for some women.

      I’d respect pro-lifers a lot more if they pushed the (R) to support governmental support for the well being of children instead of cutting food stamps and other social supports (head start, etal) all the time.

      I’d respect pro-lifers a lot more if they weren’t against accurate sex ed and supported condom distribution programs.

      I’d respect pro-lifers a lot more if they supported cheap and easy access to birth control.

      I’d respect pro-lifers a lot more if they went out of their way to empower women and girl.

      Why?

      All those things reduce the harms and likelyhood of needing abortions. There would still be medically necessary abortion (ex tubal pregnancy, lethal hemorrhaging) but the goal should be fewer unwanted or unsupportable pregnancies.

      Context!

      • brianbrianbrian1

        Yes, but you can be pro-life and be all those things. You may be conflating the Religious Right (a contingent phenomenon of recent America) with the larger philosophical & ethical question.

        • baal

          no and i feel like swearing no
          In the U.S. at least, there isn’t a nice divorced from reality theoretical discussion about abortion. The societal context matters and makes clear that the pro-life side is really 1) pro-birth and 2) pushing christian conservatives destructive views on sexuality onto everyone.

          To insist that we can just jaw in the ether is to extinguish the harms of the pro-lifers.

          • brianbrianbrian1

            No, it’s not. You can think the Religious Right is nuts and argue against their stance on, say, contraception or sex education and still be pro-life. To say you can’t do this is kind of odd. This issue is larger than American politics in 2013 (not that this is unimportant of course).

            • ansuz

              You can do that, but if you’re in the US and you’d vote for a pro-life politician who cuts funding for food stamps and Planned Parenthood over a pro-choice politician, you’re complicit. If you don’t speak up against the hypocrisies of the pro-life movement as a whole, you’re complicit.
              If we’re looking at reality, the pro-life movement is against subsidized prenatal and contraceptive care, it’s against SNAP, it’s against Planned Parenthood, it’s against comprehensive sex ed. If you claim that label, you claim the baggage that comes with it; own that shit.

              • purrtriarchy

                tsara, you were on a roll last night!

                • ansuz

                  Thanks!

                • purrtriarchy

                  Those people are *awful*

                  They are over bragging on LAN that they ‘crushed’ us and that we are ‘rude’ ‘whiny’ ‘children’ who cannot form a coherent, ‘adult’ argument.

                  Meanwhile over on LAN these geniuses are talking about how women should be forced to give birth to anencephalic babies so that the baby can ‘live a short while and experience life’

                  Yes.

                  Let that sink in tsara.

                  *experience* life

                  /eyeroll

                • ansuz

                  Anencephalic babies experience life.

                  http://i.stack.imgur.com/jiFfM.jpg

      • SJH

        ” The better question is what types of harms result from banning abortion vs the types of harms that result from having the option available for some women.”
        You seem to be asking the same question but worded differently.
        Is it harmful or not? The only difference is that you want the question answered for individuals only. I want the question answered for individuals as well as societies. Does abortion lead to a more violent, life taking society? They are both important questions. Neither of which should be ignored.
        Regarding your other points, there is simply a disagreement as to what is healthier for women and society. I think that you would find that the pro-life community has very good arguments for their side. Take the time to look into the more sophisticated side of the pro-life community and you will find a lot to appreciate.
        Regarding medical necessity, again you must look to see of the long term benefits out way the short term outcome. What might be good for an individual might be bad for society in general. I would argue, however that it is never good for the individual but that is another story.

        • baal

          1. “Take the time to look into the more sophisticated side of the pro-life community and you will find a lot to appreciate.”
          Make the point here. I’m not going down the rabbit hole to carry your burden. The word I bolded is also a giant red flag to me. I was told to chekc out Frank Turek, WLC and other sophisticated theologians and it turns out that while they use more complicated argument structures, it’s the same old apologetics in shiny new wrappers and no more compelling for it.

          2. Nope, Harms means all harms. I tend to focus on harms to the pregnant women in the abortion debate since they tend to get erased from the discussion. I also think that making a women stay pregnant with a dead or sure to die fetus is a horror worse than most horror movies. Really, it’s way up there in my list of things-I-can’t-fathom.

          The harm to society from allowing abortion does not exist. We need more children? We need a ‘culture of life’ that sacrifices adult women who are needed for their own children? We need a society that supports the christian relgion (oh hell no, you all are a net bad). Feel free to actually say how allowing women to control their body harms society. It’s not even clear that abortion reduces the overall birth rate. It changes the timing of live births as much as anything else

          I’ve never seen evidence that allowing abortion means more rapes / assaults / murders / muggings / property crime etc. Quite the opposite – forcing births when the pregnant women does not or cannot take care of the child means more burden to society and increased crime from failed rearing and less healthy babies.

          3. You missed that I called for a comparison of harms. I’ll grant for the sake of argument that allowing abortion has harms. Those need to be weighed against the harms of not allowing abortion (that includes dead pregnant mothers which means dead fetus/babies as well and broken families). Methodologically, this is very different from considering a generic, one-sided and non-specific “harm to society” model as you suggest.

          • SJH

            Ok, so this is getting off topic here. To answer your questions you can turn to many resources. They are out there. Also your statements of what harms and does not harm are only conjecture and assertions. Again, legitimate counter assertions are out there.

            Regarding the original point of atheists being pro-life, we are obviously having a nonreligious discussion about abortion so I think it confirms my point that being pro-life and atheism have nothing to do with each other.

            • baal

              I agree that the narrow defn of atheism is silent on pro-life/choice. I don’t agree that it’s an entirely non-religious discussion since the “secular” pro-life side seems to be using the words and arguments that religious pro-life side do (sans the god flavored frosting).

              • SJH

                The discussion the country is having, of course has the flavor of Christianity because our country is predominantly Christian. That, however does not mean that the topic is exclusively a religious topic. An atheist should be able to discuss the pros and cons of both sides honestly and be able to pick one side or the other.

                On a side note, given that atheists tend to be on one side of the abortion question, I must ask myself, why?
                You can make legitimate arguments on both sides yet atheists seem to predominantly choose one side. Why is that? What about the atheist worldview influences them to believe that it is ok to kill another person/human/fetus? What about their worldview makes them decide that they can define personhood? Surely an atheist can define personhood at conception and believe that abortion equates to the murder of another human can’t they? After all, science defines the human species not religion. Who defines personhood? Does science? Does the collective? The government? The powerful? If science defines humanity does it make sense that the same definition would apply to personhood? Why would it be different?

                • baal

                  Like I recently said to someone else, stop using ‘science’ in weird ways. It’s just not right. The pro-life side doesn’t get to borrow the authority of science to support its claims.

                  This formulation is inherantly offensive, “What about the atheist worldview influences them to believe that it is ok to kill another person/human/fetus?” Not that all offense is complaint worthy but you’re conflating three very different things from a morality standpoint. “Persons” get legal protections. Humans usually get protection but only as “persons” and then they also tend to need to be citizens. Fetuses are a special case.

                  I’m not seeing much honesty from the pro-life christians, it’s one specially baked talking point after another followed by endless misuse of words.

                  My best guess, and it’s mostly speculation as to the mostly pro-choice bias of atheists in the U.S. is that we’re more concerned than most about morality and having a woman decide for herself is enough of a protection against “societal harms” while respecting her rights as an existing person. Also, most of the factors that allow someone to become an atheist in a opresssive mostly christian society are the same factors that support being generally liberal politically. You could similarly ask why conservatives ignore or deny the harms of not allowing abortions.

                  So you going to list out how abortion harms society now? I’m still waiting on that one. It’s not a fair conversation if you’re asking all the questions and I have to dance to your tune.

                • SJH

                  How is the pro-life side “borrowing” science? Does science not belong to everyone that we have to borrow it from atheists? Science determines what is human because it can make differentiations between living things by use of observation and experimentation. How is that borrowing from science. I am using science not borrowing something you own.
                  I don’t think I am conflating anything. I am saying that there are three things between which we have drawn a distinction. What I was asking (tangentially) was if science defines humanity then who defines personhood and why aren’t they the same?
                  Regarding how it harms society, I really don’t want to get into another discussion that cannot be completed because it is far to complex to discuss in comboxes. However, I will give a brief answer in fairness since I asked so many questions. (Keep in mind though, I did not ask questions in an effort to discuss them but because I want people to think critically about them.)
                  So, on that note, abortion harms a society by helping to create an atmosphere of apathy, disunity, individualism and selfishness. Can I prove any of this? Of course not. A society has far to many factors to account for everything. All I can do is base it on common sense. If you can prove it otherwise I am open to it but good luck. I’m sure you have heard all of this before and I have heard all of the other arguments from the other side so there is no need to keep going and regurgitate them on this blog.

                • purrtriarchy

                  So, on that note, abortion harms a society by helping to create an
                  atmosphere of apathy, disunity, individualism and selfishness. Can I
                  prove any of this? Of course not

                  Women have been obtaining abortions for thousands of years. It’s nothing new.

                  Abortion rates are also highest in pro-life countries – illegal abortion, that is. And women die.

                  During the 1950s, abortion was illegal, and rates then were about the same as they were after RvW. People STILL had pre-marital sex. People still slept around. And people still got pregnant.

                  Only, before the advent of contraception + legal, modern abortion, women and men were forced into shotgun weddings. And long, unhappy marriages.

                  I don’t see anything remotely ‘superior’ or ‘moral’ about a society that suppresses sexuality to the point that people are trapped in unhappy marriages with children they resent.

                  Furthermore, happily married monogamous couples with children also have abortions. There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to limit family size. And sadly, as has been the case throughout history, in the absence of birth control and abortion, people kill their kids.

                  Every child should be wanted and loved. Every child should be brought into the world by parents who are ready for it, and who want to give it the best life possible.

                  Forcing unwanted children on people only creates more misery. It doesn’t make people any less apathetic or moral.

                  If you are looking for the cause of apathy, look elsewhere.

                  And I suggest you read this:

                  http://www.infanticide.org/history.htm

                • SJH

                  I don’t really want to get into this discussion once again. I don’t have the time or the patience right now unfortunately. As I said, I have heard all of this stuff before and also heard the counter arguments. I feel that the counterarguments win out. I will say that many of your arguments are filled with non-science, conjecture, assumptions and potential misinformation. I think you should look into them a little more. That is all I have to say about that matter.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Suuuure.

  • revyloution

    There is a big difference between thinking abortion is a stupid form of birth control and being ‘pro-life’.

  • John Doeppelganger

    I identify as both atheist/non-theist and pro-life. I do not see an inherent contradiction between the two. I would expect that people who self-identify as ‘atheist’ would be more likely to also identify as ‘pro-choice’. But, this is not me.

    While my initial involvement with the pro-life movement was through the Catholic Church, my position has evolved from strongly held dogma to a more secular viewpoint consistent with my own worldview. I have often been concerned when people express skepticism that the two categories have workable overlap.

    Because of this criticism, I have questioned my motivations at length. I consider the marginalization of women, the sliding scale of viability, the insanity of abstinence only programs, the hypocrisy of painting too narrowly with the ‘pro-life’ brush, the competing weights/arguments of ‘reproductive freedom’ and ‘fetal rights’. Wherever possible, I condone the empowerment of the marginalized, the breakdown of oppressive power structures, and the embrace of reason tempered by compassion.

    Yet, I keep circling back around to my belief that the inherent dignity and worth of life, which in my mind covers newborns to centenarians, ought be extended far back into the womb. I believe that this status morally trumps most other interests, even in light of all the practical, social, and comparative rights-based problems that come with it.

    My lack of faith certainly opens up how I analyze the problem. I don’t have all the answers. This isn’t so much to make an argument for being ‘pro-life’; this is simply proffering myself as an example of a person identifying as both atheist and pro-life.

    • badgerchild

      John, I really like the way you put this, and I just want to make two comments.

      First, the value of the life in the womb is not zero. I think everyone agrees it has significant value. The pro-choice argument is not an argument against the value of the pregnancy, and it’s not an attempt to force abortions against the will of the pregnant woman herself.

      Second, no matter how much value you assign to the pregnancy, you can’t represent its interests unless you also represent them in a way either consistent or inconsistent with the rights of the pregnant woman. To resolve this conflict, you must take a stand on whether you believe the rights of the pregnancy can legitimately conflict with the rights of the pregnant woman. If you choose to resolve this conflict in favor of the fetus, you can’t enforce your resolution without causing injustice to the pregnant woman.

      I hope that helps clarify a few things. Thanks for your well-considered post.

      • John Doeppelganger

        Thanks for the response! As long as I’ve been involved with this, you’d think I’d be less-anxious about whether responses would be negative.

        I have thought about both of the above points. I have heard similar points throughout the years but you nicely summed up a couple of particularly important ones.

        Most people who believe human life has value and have a viewpoint on the concept of prenatal rights certainly don’t deny some rights interest or value to unborn. And, for the sake of this article, I would be skeptical of a claim that says atheists tend not to fall along a spectrum of belief in such ‘interest/value’. Unfortunately, there’s a near-unresolvable semantic puzzle among the concepts of “pro-life”, “pro-choice”, “pro-abortion”, and “anti-abortion”. These phrases are so often couched in political or religious jockeying that they lose most meaning useful for reasonable analysis.

        Your second point is also well-received. The reality of abortion doesn’t square well with justice. There is an injustice worked upon women when fetuses are opted for. There is, I believe, an injustice worked upon human fetuses, albeit unconscious, when the woman is opted for. The tragedy is that there must be a weighing at all.

        Sorrowfully, to me, this tragedy can be diminished by denying the complexity and opposing the humanity of the fetus and, conversely, by blaming the woman and ignoring her humanity and social situation as more than a vessel. For me, a humanistic position is to never trivialize the situation, never ignore it, and never give up on a dignity-maximizing solution.

        I suppose where my atheism comes into play is when I consider that the fetus and woman are not made by a supernatural creator but rather are wondrous mere products of nature. Concerns about their rights are not divine but rather something true about how people collectively think, and no less important because of that. I know the late Christopher Hitchens did not really consider himself pro-life, but I think he did an interesting job of musing on the dilemma.

        I wish I could say more, but I need to get back to studying for my law school exams (3L!). I hope others have interesting replies.

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

      Are you in favor of forced organ transplants for all people, if a life is at stake? If you believe all life has dignity above and beyond the bodily autonomy of others, surely you think that you too should be at risk for having your body harvested for blood, bone marrow, plasma, a kidney, a liver lobe, and/or a lung if someone else’s life is at stake.

      • joey_in_NC

        Are you in favor of forced organ transplants for all people, if a life is at stake?

        This analogy keeps being brought up as an argument by the pro-choice side, but it’s simply not apt.

        Not being in favor of forced organ transplants does NOT mean you are in favor of someone having the right to actively/directly kill the person whose life is at stake. Because of this fallacy, the analogy simply falls flat on its face. Sorry.

        • purrtriarchy

          It is apt.

          Because pro-lifers are stating that there is a principle that exists, and that principle is “the right to life overrides the right to bodily autonomy’

          All you are doing is giving fetuses a right that no other human being has based on *location*

          If you truly believed in this principle you would also agree that parents should be legally obligated, after birth, to donate tissue to their children. And that fathers, during the pregnancy, should be forced to donate tissue should the fetus/woman requite it (for the preservation of fetal life, natch)

          are in favor that anyone has the right to actively kill the person whose life is at stake.

          If they are assaulting your body, you have every right to remove them.

          And the fetus dies, pre-viability, because it no longer has use of the woman’s body to sustain it’s life.

          • joey_in_NC

            If you truly believed in this principle you would also agree that parents should be legally obligated, after birth, to donate tissue to their children.

            Parents are legally obligated to feed their children. Is this requirement an infringement to bodily autonomy? In a sense, yes…it is.

            • purrtriarchy

              Yes. to FEED their children

              Not to give blood, organs or tissue

              Feeding is not an extraordinary means of presevation

              Forced bodily support, however, IS

              And that is slavery

              Which is why tissue donation is not mandatory

              And furthermore, if you really can’t feed your kid, you can give it up for adoption

              The problem with pregnancy is that you cannot give an embryo up for adoption if you no longer want to suffer a pregnancy. It will die upon separation from the womb. But that’s how it is.

              And actual life trumps potential life.

              • joey_in_NC

                Feeding is not an extraordinary means of presevation

                No kidding. Providing shelter and nourishment are not “extraordinary” means of preservation, which are precisely what a mother provides to her unborn child.

                And furthermore, if you really can’t feed your kid, you can give it up for adoption.

                That is true. But that doesn’t mean you are free to immediately stop caring for your child after you’ve made that decision. No, what you would have to do is to continue providing shelter, care, and nourishment to the best of your ability until the proper authorities arrive to remove your child from you, however long that may take. Otherwise, you would still be charged with child neglect and sent to prison, and justifiably so.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Providing shelter and nourishment are not “extraordinary” means of
                  preservation, which is what a mother provides to her unborn child.

                  Pregnancy is not merely ‘shelter’ and ‘nourishment’

                  Seriously.

                  Pregnancy maims and kills.

                  The fetus assaults the woman’s body.

                  It suppresses her immune system, steals sugar and iron from her blood (causing anemia and diabetes), and a list of about 100 other deleterious side effects.

                  Risking, and even, experiencing disability in order to *preserve a life* is what extraordinary preservation is.

                  Donating blood is considered to be extraordinary preserveration. Which is why we don’t force people to donate blood. Or bone marrow. And bone marrow donation is waaay safer than pregnancy.

                  And lest you forget, every pregnancy ends in either an agonizing birth (and the woman can still die of PPH after birth) or a c-section – which has it’s own host of problems.

                  So no ,pregnancy isn’t just ‘shelter and nutrients’

                  It is a serious medical condition, and stop erasing the woman and pretending that pregnancy is the equivalent of keeping the kid in a crib and feeding it twice a day.

                • joey_in_NC

                  Risking, and even, experiencing disability in order to *preserve a life* is what extraordinary preservation is.

                  “Extraordinary” simply means something out of the ordinary. How can you label pregnancy “extraordinary” when absolutely every person who is living and who has ever lived on this planet is/was the result of a pregnancy? Pregnancy and birth are as “ordinary” as you can get. Same goes for shelter and nutrition for survival.

                  As for blood transfusions and organ transplants, those could be considered “extraordinary” since an extremely small percentage of the world population has had such procedures to continue living.

                  The point is, the guardian of a child should be responsible providing ordinary means of preservation for the child…at least until it is possible for someone else to take over those responsibilities. In the case of a pregnant woman, she is providing ordinary means of preservation for the unborn child by continuing the pregnancy. The “forced blood transfusions and organ transplants” hypotheticals are simply not apt. So people should stop using them.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Your moronic wordplay aside…

                  http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/extraordinary

                  adjective

                  1a very unusual or remarkable:the extraordinary plumage of the male [with clause]:it is extraordinary that no consultation took place

                  b unusually great:young children need extraordinary amounts of attention
                  ———

                  you are using 1 a

                  I am using 1 b

                  You are saying that because ‘lots of people do it’ it is not ‘out of the ordinary’

                  But by that logic, if suddenly 100million Americans were forced to donate bone marrow once a month, giving it would be ‘ordinary’,commonplace

                  The useage that I am using is 1b, which means that one goes above and beyond what is expected.

                  Dragging a person from a car crash is ordinary. Pledging to donate your kidney to them is extraordinary.

                  Feeding and clothing your child is ordinary. Donating blood, organs and tissue to your child goes above and beyond what is expected of parents

                  In the case of 1b, the definition you are using is that giving young children ‘extraordinary amounts of attention’ would be ‘ordinary’ because lots of people do it. Young children, however, require unusual, one might say, extra attention, and this is the meaning that we are using when we say that pregnancy – like tissue donation – is an extraordinary means of preservation. It requires *extra* effort. Pregnancy is not merely providing ‘food and shelter’ and your ignorance, and dare I say, misogyny, is showing if you believe that pregnancy, which is extremely hard on a woman’s body, and is essentially a form of organ donation, is the equivalent of spooning food into a child’s mouth and sharing a home with them.

                  Normal, frequent
                  or expectable temporary side effects of pregnancy:

                  exhaustion (weariness
                  common from first weeks)

                  altered appetite
                  and senses of taste and smell

                  nausea and vomiting
                  (50% of women, first trimester)

                  heartburn and indigestion

                  constipation

                  weight gain

                  dizziness and light-headedness

                  bloating, swelling,
                  fluid retention

                  hemmorhoids

                  abdominal cramps

                  yeast infections

                  congested, bloody
                  nose

                  acne and mild skin
                  disorders

                  skin discoloration
                  (chloasma, face and abdomen)

                  mild to severe backache
                  and strain

                  increased headaches

                  difficulty sleeping,
                  and discomfort while sleeping

                  increased urination
                  and incontinence

                  bleeding gums

                  pica

                  breast pain and
                  discharge

                  swelling of joints,
                  leg cramps, joint pain

                  difficulty sitting,
                  standing in later pregnancy

                  inability to take
                  regular medications

                  shortness of breath

                  higher blood pressure

                  hair loss

                  tendency to anemia

                  curtailment of ability
                  to participate in some sports and activities

                  infection
                  including from serious and potentially fatal disease

                  (pregnant women are immune suppressed compared with
                  non-pregnant women, and
                  are more susceptible to fungal and certain other diseases)

                  extreme pain on
                  delivery

                  hormonal mood changes,
                  including normal post-partum depression

                  continued post-partum
                  exhaustion and recovery period (exacerbated if a c-section
                  – major surgery — is required, sometimes taking up to a full year to
                  fully recover)

                  Normal, expectable,
                  or frequent PERMANENT side effects of pregnancy:

                  stretch marks (worse
                  in younger women)

                  loose skin

                  permanent weight
                  gain or redistribution

                  abdominal and vaginal
                  muscle weakness

                  pelvic floor disorder
                  (occurring in as many as 35% of middle-aged former child-bearers
                  and 50% of elderly former child-bearers, associated with urinary and rectal
                  incontinence, discomfort and reduced quality of life — aka prolapsed utuerus,
                  the malady sometimes badly fixed by the transvaginal mesh)

                  changes to breasts

                  varicose veins

                  scarring from episiotomy
                  or c-section

                  other permanent
                  aesthetic changes to the body (all of these are downplayed
                  by women, because the culture values youth and beauty)

                  increased proclivity
                  for hemmorhoids

                  loss of dental and
                  bone calcium (cavities and osteoporosis)

                  higher lifetime risk of developing Altzheimer’s

                  newer research indicates
                  microchimeric cells, other bi-directional exchanges of DNA, chromosomes, and other bodily material between fetus and
                  mother (including with “unrelated” gestational surrogates)

                  Occasional complications
                  and side effects:

                  complications of episiotomy

                  spousal/partner
                  abuse

                  hyperemesis gravidarum

                  temporary and permanent
                  injury to back

                  severe
                  scarring
                  requiring later surgery
                  (especially after additional pregnancies)

                  dropped (prolapsed)
                  uterus (especially after additional pregnancies, and other
                  pelvic floor weaknesses — 11% of women, including cystocele, rectocele,
                  and enterocele)

                  pre-eclampsia
                  (edema and hypertension, the most common complication of pregnancy, associated
                  with eclampsia, and affecting 7 – 10% of pregnancies)

                  eclampsia (convulsions,
                  coma during pregnancy or labor, high risk of death)

                  gestational diabetes

                  placenta previa

                  anemia (which
                  can be life-threatening)

                  thrombocytopenic
                  purpura

                  severe cramping

                  embolism
                  (blood clots)

                  medical disability
                  requiring full bed rest (frequently ordered during part of
                  many pregnancies varying from days to months for health of either mother
                  or baby)

                  diastasis recti,
                  also torn abdominal muscles

                  mitral valve stenosis
                  (most common cardiac complication)

                  serious infection
                  and disease (e.g. increased risk of tuberculosis)

                  hormonal imbalance

                  ectopic pregnancy
                  (risk of death)

                  broken bones (ribcage,
                  “tail bone”)

                  hemorrhage
                  and

                  numerous other complications
                  of delivery

                  refractory gastroesophageal
                  reflux disease

                  aggravation of pre-pregnancy
                  diseases and conditions (e.g. epilepsy is present in .5%
                  of pregnant women, and the pregnancy alters drug metabolism and treatment
                  prospects all the while it increases the number and frequency of seizures)

                  severe post-partum
                  depression and psychosis

                  research now indicates
                  a possible link between ovarian cancer and female fertility treatments,
                  including “egg harvesting” from infertile women and donors

                  research also now
                  indicates correlations between lower breast cancer survival rates and proximity
                  in time to onset of cancer of last pregnancy

                  research also indicates
                  a correlation between having six or more pregnancies and a risk of coronary
                  and cardiovascular disease

                  Less common (but
                  serious) complications:

                  peripartum cardiomyopathy

                  cardiopulmonary
                  arrest

                  magnesium toxicity

                  severe hypoxemia/acidosis

                  massive embolism

                  increased intracranial
                  pressure, brainstem infarction

                  molar pregnancy,
                  gestational trophoblastic disease
                  (like a pregnancy-induced
                  cancer)

                  malignant arrhythmia

                  circulatory collapse

                  placental abruption

                  obstetric fistula

                  More
                  permanent side effects:

                  future infertility

                  permanent disability

                  death.

                  —————

                  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.

                  Pregnancy/childbirth was a leading cause of death
                  of American women of childbearing age at the turn of the century. It remains a leading cause of death of women in many countries in the world.

                  People don’t die providing food and shelter to their children. That risk is not accepted as being merely ‘ordinary’

                  All pregnant women, by virtue of their pregnant status,
                  face some level of maternal risk. Data suggest that around 40% of all pregnant women have some complication.
                  About 15% … [have complications] that are potentially
                  life-threatening.

                  “That means each year in the U.S., about 700 women die of pregnancy-related complications and 52,000 experience emergencies such as acute renal failure, shock, respiratory distress, aneurysms and heart surgery. An additional 34,000 barely avoid death.”

                  Data modeling suggesting 21/100,000 US maternal mortality rate

                  In 2004/2005, 1.7 million women per year suffered adverse health effects

                  http://search.worldbank.org/data?qterm=us%20maternal%20mortality%20rate&language=EN

                  http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/campaigns/demand-dignity/maternal-health-is-a-human-right/maternal-health-in-the-us

                  http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/why-are-so-many-u-s-women-dying-during-childbirth/article_dd916b4b-38f0-5bae-ba42-ddee636e4cf4.html

                • KrisDStar

                  Someone is unaware of the huge problem in the US with hunger and shelter issues, and that includes children.

            • ansuz

              Parents can also find somebody else to feed their children. If you can find a way for me to give an embryo or fetus to somebody else to incubate, then we can talk about abortion being immoral.

            • purrtriarchy

              If you can force a woman to gestate an embryo, then you can force anyone to do so.

              Let’s say that it does become possible, in the future, to transfer an embryo to another person.

              And let’s say that this embryo could be forcibly implanted inside YOU…

              How would you feel about that scenario?

        • ansuz

          It is apt. You can bet that some enterprising lawyer with a rich client would use pro-life laws to to force someone to donate an organ if people lost the right to revoke an ongoing uterus (and nutrient and kidney and generally full-body) donation.

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

          Abortion doesn’t actively or directly kill the fetus. It removes the fetus from a woman’s body. The fetus then dies from lack of nutrients and organ support thereafter. The exact same lack of organ support, incidentally, that occurs when I refuse to donate my kidney to someone.

      • John Doeppelganger

        Nope. But honestly, I don’t think this particular board is a useful place to exhaustively explain why. It’s hard for me to stay on the topic of whether I can be atheist and pro-life when these sorts of conversations convert to substantive debates about abortion alone. I would hope the argument isn’t, “unless you can justify abortion in a manner immune to reasonable criticism, you cannot sensibly be a ‘pro-life atheist’”. This seems to be simply asking if being pro-life can be ‘sensible’, whatever that means, with personal atheism as little more than a tack-on, interchangeable with as many identifiers as one likes. Unfortunately, it is very difficult, if not impossible to consistently extrapolate a working moral life-stance onto all possible contingencies. Difficult issues like abortion or stances on life issues seem to force a bit of cognitive dissonance in anyone when reviewed critically enough. There’s always implications: a ‘but’ or ‘what-if’ hypothetical. At the very least, I can say it makes ‘adequate sense’ to me that I identify as both. I can more confidently say that I do not think one has too much bearing on the other.

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

          Well, I think it’s too easy a question and not worthy of substantive debate. Of course you can be an atheist and pro-life. Atheism doesn’t inherently have any political views tacked on.

          Now moving on …

    • joey_in_NC

      Yet, I keep circling back around to my belief that the inherent dignity and worth of life…

      …My lack of faith certainly opens up how I analyze the problem.

      If you believe in the inherent dignity of human life, then I think you certainly do have faith.

  • Mario Strada

    I think this is a false dichotomy. One cannot just be “Pro-Choice” or “Pro-Life”. If there ever was a nuanced topic this is it and to reduce it to these two choices (with all the baggage they carry) is unfair.

    I certainly fall on the side of “pro-Choice” when the rubber hits the road, but not because I think Abortion is a swell idea that everyone should do regularly.

    If the “choice” happened in my own family I would be pro or against it depending on the circumstances. When we were much younger, my wife got pregnant but at the same time she was discovered to have a heart condition that would have made the pregnancy very difficult or fatal.

    We didn’t even stop to ponder the matter too long. We decided to have an abortion right away. Yet, I still wonder at what it might have been. I love my daughter to pieces, but the thought that she could have had an older brother still makes me long for having had that baby. But it was the right choice at the time.

    On a societal level, my position is that I prefer abortion to be available and affordable rather than illegal. I know all too well that abortions are going to be performed regardless, only the risk to the mother is greatly increased if it is done by back alley practitioners.

    I simply don’t feel that my opinion on the matter should hold all women bound to it. Will some choose to abort as a prophylactic? Sure. Some will. Still it’s not a good reason to deny it to everyone else.

    At the same time, if my daughter were thinking about it, I would make sure to give her all the options I was able to offer. Including post-natal care, baby sitting and financial help.
    The pro-life crowd is very vocal about preventing mothers from having abortions, but as soon as those babies are born, the can care less about them. I find that more reprehensible than abortion itself.

    • badgerchild

      Mario, no pro-choice advocate is in love with the idea of abortion and think everyone should have them for the fun of it. Your attitude is far from unique; in fact it’s the prevailing view among pro-choicers. That’s why we are pro-choice and not “pro-abortion”. I think you are lovely for putting the welfare of your women and girls first and understanding what is good for them. I wish every father shared your views, then more mothers and children would be happy and healthy and feel loved and wanted.

    • ansuz

      I’m one of the most strongly pro-choice people I’ve ever met — I believe abortion should be available at any time and for any reason — but I don’t like abortion.

  • Blacksheep

    From a purely cold, logical perspective I don’t think it does make sense. Abortion is sometimes a practical choice in a complicated world. Only faith (to the faithful) trumps practicality.

  • justaguy

    I am an atheist, and as of right now I am pro-life. I have yet to see a good enough argument to convince me otherwise, though I would welcome one, because so many people seemed so convinced on this subject, but it seems so muddled to me…

    I can see the argument for abortions when the mother’s life is at risk, that makes total sense. I can see the argument for abortion when it is a rape case, that makes sense too. I can even see the argument for abortion when the child will have severe mental and/or health problems that would leave them living nothing but a life of pain.

    However, I do not see this as an issue of choice for the woman. The woman has a choice not to have sex, or to have protected sex. (By the way, I also believe the man in these situations should be held to as much responsibility as the woman.) But when that child (fetus) begins life I do not see it as a choice for the woman, except for special circumstances. The argument is really about when fetus life is a human life. If a woman enters a comma and will be in a vegetative state for 9 months, no person has the right to pull the plug on her, no matter how inconvenient the situation is for them. Why is a fetus life not protected the same?

    I understand the logistical problems of overpopulation and children born into poverty, but life supersedes those issues, always has, otherwise exterminating part of the population would be regular practice when times got hard. Just because a child may be born into poverty does not mean we should not give that child a chance to live. There are plenty of adults who were born into that who would rather have lived than been aborted, I am sure.

    Dissenting views are welcome, of course. I just want to know how so many people agree so much that a fetus is not worth protecting, aka not human. Why it is not worth going out of our way just a bit more to protect life that will soon be human, even if, as with a comma patient, it is not what we consider “fully human” right now?

    • purrtriarchy

      I can see the argument for abortion when it is a rape case, that makes sense too.

      Why a rape exception?

      • justaguy

        Because we do not destroy on life to save another. I cannot begin to try to understand what a rape victim goes through, but I can see it destroying a life through mental anguish, and I can see how forcing the woman to carry that baby to term would make the problem much, much worse.

        • purrtriarchy

          So you are saying that rape babies are of less value than babies created through consensual sex?

          So abortion is ONLY murder if the woman chose to have consensual sex while female?

          • justaguy

            No, my reply was fairly clear. The manner of the fetus starting it’s life cycle is irrelevant. What matters is what affect that fetus would have on others, and if that affect is bad enough to end another life, then I would support aborting that fetus. Health issues during the pregnancy is one example, rape and the mental health of the mother is another example. If you are adamant about not allowing abortion in rape cases, then maybe you could agree to the idea of having a psych evaluation to see if the mother could handle the stress of carrying the fetus to term.

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

              Pregnancy always causes harm, though.

              An unwanted fetus is a nine-month invasion of the body. It’s more physically taxing than a guinea worm infestation, more painful than one too. It’s as mentally stressful as rape in some cases, because it involves using the woman’s body against her will continuously. Any unwanted fetus has horribly detrimental effects on others.

              • justaguy

                I can see that point of view. I personally still do not see a common pregnancy as harmful enough to end a human life though, if we argue that a fetus is a human life.

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

                  Really? You don’t think a nine-month period of hormone injections that suppress the immune system, raise blood pressure, and raise blood sugar is harmful enough? You don’t think the torture for 6-70+ hours at the end, plus all the attendant risks of death or permanent injury is harmful enough? You don’t think the loss of a job, of house, of food, of already-born children starving, is harmful enough?

                  Living kidney donations are 3-4x safer than pregnancy. Why don’t you argue for forced kidney transplants to save lives?

                • purrtriarchy

                  How about being punched in the stomach for up to 73 hours (labour) and then having a cantaloupe shoved up your ass?

                  Would you consent to that to save a life?

                • justaguy

                  Honestly, Yes.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Do you think people should be FORCED to do that to save lives?

                • justaguy

                  I get your point, but if that person CHOSE to be put into that position, then yes. If I chose to be put into a position where I had to be (punched in the stomach, etc…) in order to save a child’s life, and that child was there by no fault of their own, then yes, I should be forced to do it.

                  Now I know the point of a woman “choosing” to get pregnant is always debated, but there are plenty of methods to make sure it doesn’t happen, including one method that is full proof (except for rape cases, which we have already covered.) I know it is unfair to say a woman should be abstinent if they do not want to have to bear a child, but not say that for men, but it is equally unfair for the child in this case as well.

                • purrtriarchy

                  All known forms of contraception fail.

                  And if you go to Tanzania, and drink water from a dirty puddle, and get an intestinal parasite, did you CONSENT to letting the parasite reside in your body?

                  NO, of course you didn’t. Even though you did something stupid. You took a risk. And you deal with it – by taking a pill to rid the body of the parasite.

                  Pregnancy is a medical condition. You should know this by now.

                  And if you hurt yourself doing something dumb, you get treatment for it. Abortion, imo = treatment for a medical conditon.

                • justaguy

                  Abortion is taking a human life (if we agree it is). If you hurt yourself, you have no right to heal yourself by taking another’s life.

                  Also, a parasitic worm is not equal to a human life. If you want to argue that it is equal to a human fetus, then ok, but if we argue that a fetus is human life, then it is a completely different set of circumstances.

                  Also, abstinence does not fail. I know it is a harsh measure, but when human lives are at stake.

                • purrtriarchy

                  If you hurt yourself, you have no right to heal yourself by taking another’s life.

                  You do if you hurt yourself in such a way that the other ‘person’ is hurting you.

                  Also, a parasitic worm is not equal to a human life.

                  You missed the point of the analogy in that we don’t make people ‘live with the consequences of their actions’ by denying the medical treatment.

                  Also, abstinence does not fail

                  yes, it does

                  absitnence only states have the highest rates of teen pregnancy

                  and you’re smoking crack if you believe that a married couple can stay abstinent for 30+ years of marriage if they don’t want to have more kids

                • Keljopy

                  If you use the same definition of “typical use” for abstinence as they do with other forms of contraception, abstinence actually has a fairly high failure rate.

        • KrisDStar

          Forcing a woman to remain pregnant can indeed destroy her life.

    • badgerchild

      Women do not always have the choice to have sex. Even when they have the choice to have sex, they might take steps to avoid pregnancy, like using birth control, but get pregnant against their will anyway. Even if they get pregnant freely, circumstances might change that make it impossible to consider carrying the baby to term. The pregnancy is subject to the rights of the pregnant woman while it is part of her body.

      If you want to give a child a chance to live, feel free to become pregnant and bear one. If you want to support a poor family so that they don’t feel obliged to abort a pregnancy, by all means do so. If you want to heal a sick person who is taking drugs that could result in a damaged fetus, I beg you to do so. If you feel that abortion is murder, feel free to tell everyone that’s your opinion. But don’t arrogate to yourself the right to decide for a pregnant woman what she can do with her own pregnancy. Just keep your hands off the reproductive rights of other people.

      • justaguy

        But it is a life we are talking about here, not a preference for food, or some other trivial matter. In no other place does a person have the right to decide whether or not another person lives (except capital punishment, which I am also against). That is why I say that it is not an argument of choice, its an argument of when is life a “human life”.

        In other words, I fully support legislation to make murder illegal and heavily punishable, I am sure you do too. No one has the right to choose to murder another human. So the argument is whether or not a fetus is a human, and I have yet to see anything scientific or heard any logic that convinces me it is not. Not to the point where I am comfortable saying “ok, you have the right to take that life since your circumstances have changes slightly and you no longer want it.”

        • badgerchild

          Nobody said it wasn’t a human life. It is a human life that exists inside of, is fully dependent on, and is subject to the rights of a pregnant woman. Only her reasons matter, not our opinions about her reasons.

          • justaguy

            Thank you for a thoughtful response, many people here just want to fight.

            I can see that point of view, when you point out that it is dependent on the other person. There is no other parallel that I can draw really, except maybe to think of parent/child. A child is fully dependent on, though not living inside of, a parent. But we make absolutely no exceptions for a parent killing a child, unless that child attempted to harm the parent or another person (which, for the sake of argument lets says its a 9 month old who cannot do that.) The parent’s reasons would matter a lot for why they killed that child. So once again it comes to; is that fetus a human or not? How do you view it, is there a specific time where it is a human?

            • purrtriarchy

              A fetus is human.

              But unlike a child, it is infringing on the pregnant person’s bodily autonomy.

              There is no valid reason to kill a child. The child can be handed over to caretakers.

              An embryo however, cannot.

              • justaguy

                Good point. It is a complicated subject, I know, but for some reason I cannot get on board with completely open abortions. I guess I just don’t see a common pregnancy as harmful enough to warrant ending a life. However, I am male, so it would be harder for me to see from that point of view.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Abortoins are not completely ‘open’

                  However

                  Given a choice, women will take an abortion as early as possible.

                  Late term abortions – 1.5% of the total – are for health and life issues.

                  Think about it. What woman in her right mind is going to carry an unwanted fetus around for 9 months and then have a frivolous abortoin before birth?

                  Give me a break.

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

              Want to fight? A bit. This isn’t an intellectual exercise to me. This is my life you’re talking about. You are literally debating, as a fun after-dinner exercise, whether I get to be counted as a person with full rights or not. You are deciding over cocktails whether enslaving me to a biological parasite is morally acceptable or not.

              This isn’t just a game to me. You know that shrinking feeling you get in your gut when people talk about castration or kneeing people in the crotch? Imagine that, only 100x stronger because you are literally trying to tell me that I’m not a person, but a passive life-support system. That once my uterus is filled, my brain and body have no meaning and no purpose other than nurturing that other life. This is real to me. This is talking about me. Want to fight? No. Wish I didn’t have to.

              • justaguy

                I can understand being passionate about the subject, but simply picking fights with someone who disagrees with you will only drive them further away from understanding you. However, I do not believe that is what you did, I just meant in general it is not a good idea.
                You are a person, and as I wrote in my first post, there are plenty of valid reasons as to why an abortion is the right thing to do in certain circumstances. To me, your health is more important than that fetus’. Once again the question comes in to whether or not that fetus is a human life, to whom we owe the same protection that we grant all human life’s. I believe your answer would be no, and that’s fine, but at what point does it become a human life? Birth? Once it has a heartbeat? And once it become human life, if it is still within you, do you still have the right to terminate it’s life? I am just curious as to what you think?

                I understand and respect that as a woman you have ALOT more at stake than I do as a male, but to suggest that my opinion is 100% invalid is dishonest. I am able to sympathize with woman to some degree, just as you can with a man. And when a (potential) human life is at risk, discussions need to be had, even if they are painful for some people. I am sorry that you feel the way you do, I honestly do not look at woman as how you described, I just want to make sure as much life is protected as possible.

                • purrtriarchy

                  to whom we owe the same protection that we grant all human life’s

                  Except we don’t

                  Parents cannot be forced to donate blood/tissue/etc to save their children’s lives.

                  born children = people

                  for a fetus to be treated the same as a born child, it should have no RIGHT to use the pregnant person’s body without consent

                • justaguy

                  A good point, thank you.

            • Fred

              Nobody is denying that a fetus is a human.
              Being a person whose livelihood supersedes the rights of it’s host however is another thing altogether.

            • badgerchild

              The fetus is human at all stages of its development. What else could it be? The specific earliest defensible time when its rights can be taken into consideration separately from the rights of the pregnant woman is when it is physically separate from the pregnant woman, that is, born.

        • purrtriarchy

          In no other place does a person have the right to decide whether or not another person lives

          Yes you do. If someone is raping you, you sure as hell have the right to remove them, even if they die.

          Pregnancy assaults a woman’s body. The fetus is an attacker. That is what it is programmed to do.

          In other words, I fully support legislation to make murder illegal and heavily punishable, I am sure you do too.

          How much jail time should women serve for procuring an abortion?

          10 years?

          50 ?

          life?

          • justaguy

            Yes, I see you point, I should have added and addendum to my statement to say that: In no other place does a person have the right to decide whether or not another person lives, except when said person is attempting to harm the former. A fetus is not placed within a mother by their choice, while a raper is choosing to perform an action that he knows is illegal.

            I think you misunderstood my statement about legislation to make murder illegal. I was not talking about abortion at all, I was talking about murder, one person to another. If someone breaks into my house and murders me, type of murder. I am sure you agree that that should be illegal, right? I am innocent of harming that person, why should they have the right to chose to kill me? Maybe my house is inconvenient for them and they want to get rid of me?

            • purrtriarchy

              A pregnancy is not an inconvenience.

              • KrisDStar

                It certainly can be construed that way. But the over all point is it does not matter why the woman does not want the pregnancy, she can have any reason she wants.
                Not wanting to be pregnant simply for the sake of not wanting to be pregnant is reason enough to allow her the choice in the matter.

            • KrisDStar

              The fetus did not ask to be there, and therefore cannot ask to remain there unwanted.
              It has no “choice” in the matter at all.

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

      First off, consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy. Consent has two major components: it must be enthusiastic and revocable. Enthusiastic means saying yes, not just not saying no. Revocable means that one’s mind can be changed at any time. Remove either of these two components, and no true consent to anything, including sex or pregnancy, can be achieved.

      Next: a zygote literally drills into a woman’s uterus, through the flesh and into a blood vessel so major the woman’s body cannot shut it down. It sucks blood and nutrients into itself, expelling its wastes into the woman’s bloodstream for her kidneys and liver to deal with. It injects her with hormones that raise her blood pressure, blood sugar, and suppress her immune system. None of these things are healthy- high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and low immune system are things we usually try to treat, and they can all kill or cause permanent damage (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and various infections).

      So, now that they physical realities of pregnancy are known to both of us, I have a few questions for you. Pregnancy is clearly an organ donation situation- the woman donates her uterus, blood, and nutrients to the fetus. So, first off, if a person needed your kidney or liver lobe or blood to survive, are you morally obligated to donate it? Should you be legally obligated to donate it? If you may not be legally obligated to donate blood to a newborn, why do you think a pregnant woman should be legally obligated to donate her whole body to a fetus?

      Second, we value bodily autonomy over the right to life in this country. Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders are common and legally binding in this country. There is no bystander obligation to intervene in a dangerous situation, even if someone will die without the intervention. We value bodily autonomy so highly, in fact, that we do not harvest organs from corpses without prior permission from the now-dead person and hir family, not even when someone will die without the organs. Why do you think a dead woman should have more control over who gets to use her organs than a living one?

      Finally, no one says a zygote is not alive. It clearly is. The question is if a zygote/embryo/fetus is a person, a being whose rights we must respect (since we clearly do not respect the rights of, say, cows), and if its right to life overrides the woman’s right to bodily autonomy. My definition of a person is a being who is sentient (able to perceive and feel things) and at least potentially sapient (aware of self). I also strongly lean towards requiring independent existence (not dependent on another creature’s body to survive). What is your definition of a person?

      • justaguy

        Thank you for the well thought out response.

        My definition of a person is very similar to yours, but would that definition not also exclude persons in a vegetative state? If, for instance, a person was to get in a car accident and be reliant of machines and medical treatment to live, are they not also not a person? (Not arguing, just asking). And if not, would the fact that they are trapped in this state for 9 months mean that the doctor has a right to terminate their life, even if they knew that the person would recover in 9 months.

        And I agree with everything else that you wrote above. My only caveat to all of that is that a woman can chose not to take risks that might result with a fetus within her. I know there are many circumstances where that statement is not true, and I believe that special accommodations should be made for those. But lets say that I somehow chose to take a risk that directly resulted in removal of another person’s kidney, and they will die without a replacement, but my kidney is a match, should I be forced to give up my kidney then, when I chose to take a risk that would put myself into that situation? The current law would say no (I am fairly sure), but I am not sure I can say “no” morally.

        Anyway, thank you for your opinion.

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

          I do separate the ethics and the law. Ethically it’s a lot harder. Legally, abortion must be legal and safe.

          Do note that a person on life support isn’t reliant on another person, but rather on machines. That changes the equation entirely, and I wouldn’t support the removal of life support if the person would recover in several months (and the person had expressed prior interest; some people do not want to be intubated, even if it means they’ll die without it). No one’s bodily autonomy is compromised by a person on mechanical life support.

        • purrtriarchy

          A person in a vegetative state can potentially *recover* if they already have the *capacity* for sentience, and the brain damage is not so severe that all of the brain cells haven’t died off yet…

          However..

          A fetus cannot *recover* since it *lacks the capacity* for sentience when most abortions occur. And, *potential* sentience is not *actual* sentience. Until the brain structures are formed, the fetus will be incapable of sentience.

          And potentiality is not actuality. We will all be corpses one day. This doesn’t mean that we should start treating one another like walking zombies.

  • Juan Antonio Martínez Maldonad

    I’m an atheist from Spain and I am against abortion in most of the cases. I have my reasons and I think they’re very strong, but even though I can understand people who think abortion is OK, I’m sorry I must desagree with you this time, Hemant. I claim the right to be pro-active against abortion. My reasons are cold and simple:

    There are two main questions about abortion: a) ¿when does that set of cells become a person? And b) ¿is it fair to kill it/her/him? I don’t know the answer to the first question. I think that happens when the embrion starts developing its nervous system, but I’m not the one to draw a line and say this is a person and this is not. But I don’t think anyone has the right to do so. What I’m sure about is that a 2-months fetus is already a person, just like a 5-months premature baby, or a 9-months one, and very probably an 1-month embrion is a person too for the same reason: they’ve got developing nervous systems.

    The second question is easier for me: if it is not a person then I’m OK with this, but if it is a person, then hell no, it is not fair to kill an inocent person against his/her own will. And I think we can all agree this point is not about a personal option, it is about the rights of the fetus. Therefore, coherently, I think abortion should be banned, its performers should be prosecuted, and we should see it as bad as we see infanticide, in spite the (I don’t even doubt) difficult situation in which the mother could be envolved. Please don’t misunderstand me, I don’t support harassment to aborting mothers. What I want is a change in minds, laws and society. I totally support the right to decide BEFORE having a new life, because once it has started, you are already a mother.

    I really appreciate your opinions, and I watch all your videos, so I hope you understand my point. I left my catholic faith last year, and I recently wrote about it in my blog (http://oesocreoyo.blogspot.com.es/). It would be great if you could check it out (if you can read Spanish). Sorry for my English, btw.

    • purrtriarchy

      it is not fair to kill an inocent person against his/her own will.

      It isn’t fair to enslave one person in service of another.

      Forced pregnancy = slavery.

      • The Starship Maxima

        I can see that. But unless a woman was raped, how is this a forced pregnancy again?

        • badgerchild

          It’s a forced pregnancy if you force her to carry it against her will. But you knew that.

          • The Starship Maxima

            I suppose you and I see “victimization” and “slavery” very differently.

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

              Would you consider being forced to donate blood through an IV line to a person you had to carry on your back to be slavery?

              • The Starship Maxima

                Not slavery, but I would see it as an infringement upon my rights.

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

                  Would you think you had the right to remove the person, even if they’ll die without your blood?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I would want to do that yes.

                  But I admit, my moral code probably means I’d lack the stomach to do it if it meant their certain death. Even if it meant my own.

                  Being a Christian leaves you with in this weird place. You lack the courage to live up to the ideal, but then you also lack the courage to simply look out for your own hide.

                  *Sigh* I wish I was better. But I’m not.

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

                  I didn’t ask if you would do it. That’s a much tougher question.

                  But should you be legally obligated to carry that person on your back and give them your blood?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I…..don’t know. I know I wouldn’t have the courage to do it myself.

                  I honestly don’t know if I’d force that choice on another.

                  ……..You have given me pause.

        • KrisDStar

          Because she didn’t consent to the pregnancy.

      • Juan Antonio Martínez Maldonad

        I wouldn’t call it slavery, but I’m agree there is a conflict of rights. Whose right is higer? The fetus’ right to life or the mother’s right to not being pregnant?

        • purrtriarchy

          The woman’s since her body is the one that is being used by the fetus.

          The woman because she is actual life, and the fetus is merely potential.

          • Juan Antonio Martínez Maldonad

            Well, I can see no guilt in the fetus. Anyway, your second answer is the key. The fetus’ life is actual life, that is fact. The point is if it is a person or not, and so what is a person and what is not, and I think that is a too hard debate for easy answers. I know it is unconfortable, but if it is a person then you know abortion is so wrong.

            • purrtriarchy

              I know it is unconfortable, but if it is a person then you know abortion is so wrong.

              Nope. Because born children are people, and parents are not forced to donate blood and tissue to preserve their livess.

              • Juan Antonio Martínez Maldonad

                Hahaha now I have a perfect excuse when they ask me to donate blood on the next campaign :D

                • Carol Lynn

                  Oh, it’s FUNNY now. You *always* had the choice of whether or not to give blood.

                • KrisDStar

                  They *ask* you to, they do not * force* you to.

            • The Starship Maxima

              Amen.

            • KrisDStar

              There is no guilt in the mother either. Consensual sex is not a crime to be guilty of.

              Even if it is a person, the right of a person cannot infringe on the rights of another person. The rights of the fetus cannot infringe on the rights of the mother that is already born.

        • KrisDStar

          There is no conflict of rights. The fetus has no rights.

    • badgerchild

      Oh, look, a man trying to tell pregnant women what he thinks they should do with their pregnancies. Sorry, cupcake, you don’t have that right. Your opinions don’t count unless a pregnant woman cares about them, and even then you don’t have the right to make the decision for her.

      • The Starship Maxima

        Another person trying to argue over another being’s right to exist, even though it can’t counter argue.

        From where I sit, based on that rationale, your opinion counts very minimally above nothing.

        • purrtriarchy

          Your right to exist does not override another persons’ right to their body.

          • The Starship Maxima

            I view it completely in the reverse.

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

              Then I need your blood factors, stat. I know people who need organs to live. You can survive minus a kidney, lung, liver lobe, some bone marrow, and a bit of blood.

              They’ll kidnap you and take you to the hospital whenever they need. Don’t be a baby about timing, it’s for saving a life! The fact that you can’t afford to take time off now, or it might exacerbate some health problems, or you might have to stop taking some meds for a few days in order to clean out your system is really irrelevant. Besides, you probably won’t die. It’s only major surgery, and it’s way safer than pregnancy.

              After all, if your bodily autonomy is less important than another’s life, you should walk the walk right along with every fertile woman and girl out there. Live with the knowledge that at any time your body can be stolen from your control. Enjoy knowing that your health is far less important than the life your organs will save.

              • The Starship Maxima

                This continued equivalence to a being I have no responsibility or even knowledge of, vs one I more or less invited into my being VIA MY OWN ACTIONS.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy.

                  What is so hard to understand about that?

                  Tell us.

                  if you injure someone in a car accident, or just, injure them in daily life – should you be legally obligated to act as life support to extend their lives?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I’ve mentioned that I think that’s actually a neat idea.
                  But with that said, the law generally allows for reparation for wrongs done, in lieu of body parts. We call these torts.

                • purrtriarchy

                  And how about criminals?

                  Should they lose the right to their bodily tissues?

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

                  That’s only if there was actual wrongdoing. What if it is truly an accident? Should someone be legally obligated to donate blood and body parts to an injured party when, through no fault of their own except perhaps being in the wrong place at the wrong time, they hurt someone?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  No.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Is consensual sex a crime that must be punished?

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

                  Then why do you think a woman should be legally obligated to donate blood and body parts to a fetus when, through no fault of her own except perhaps being in the wrong place at the wrong time (fertile time), a zygote implants in her body? Remember, you hurt someone VIA YOUR OWN ACTIONS in this scenario too. Why shouldn’t the state force you to “take responsibility” for your actions, since you think it should do that for pregnant women?

                  If I’ve misread you, and you’re all for legal abortion even though you personally think it’s immoral, then that’s something we can agree to disagree on. I care about beliefs because they inform actions, but if your actions aren’t hurting people, then the beliefs become less important. Not unimportant, but less so.

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

                  I have never invited a zygote into myself. I’ve had sex, and I’ve even been plenty stupid and had unprotected sex (I timed it with my periods, but even so, it was definitely dumb), but I’ve never said to myself “I want to be pregnant”. Thus, I’ve never invited a stranger to set up shop in my body and start using me for food.

                  If you exist, and someone needs your organs to survive, you’ve got responsibility to them. That’s what you said. I’m just holding you to it. Sucks, don’t it?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  If you undertake an action, you do so with the full knowledge of the possible outcomes, within reason. If you smoke, you accept that lung cancer is a possible outcome.
                  Further, you don’t seem to share my view that you have an obligation to the life you bring into the world. Separate and greater than obligations to other life you had no hand in bringing to the world.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Should a rape victim be obligated to bring a life into the world?

                  p.s. if a smoker gets lung cancer we don’t just let them die, we treat them

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Rape is a special case. I don’t know that I’d force a rape victim to carry the child.
                  No, I wouldn’t force them.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Why not?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  That particular woman did not initiate any action that caused the child to be in her.
                  In that case we are dealing with two equally innocent lives. Innocent in that one’s actions did not impact the other.
                  In that case, I’d say the woman can make whatever choice she likes.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Yeah, so, congratulations.

                  You’re a slut shamer and you don’t truly value all human life, since you somehow think that a rape baby doesn’t have the right to life based on *how* it was conceived.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Fuck you. I’m trying to aim for the best, most possible, most moral outcome. I aim for that in any given situation.
                  That you’d even suggest I think a baby has a right to live is more disgusting than I thought you capable of.

                • purrtriarchy

                  That you’d even suggest I think a baby has a right to live is more disgusting than I thought you capable of.

                  wot?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  That you’d even suggest I think a baby DOESN’T have a right to live I meant to say.
                  I need a moment to think.

                • KrisDStar

                  It is no way moral to force someone to do something with their body that they did not consent to.

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

                  …I hope I never have the misfortune of meeting whoever downvoted this.

                • KrisDStar

                  So, a woman who chooses consensual sex is not innocent?

                • Gehennah

                  Why punish the baby for the acts of the rapist?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I’m trying to balance the rights of the mother against that of the child.
                  Contrary to popular opinion I’m some white Texas Republican woman-hater. I don’t ignore their rights, and I try to weigh them as ethically as I can. As I would anybody’s right.

                • Gehennah

                  I’m not saying you are a woman hater. I don’t think you hate woman, I just don’t think you have a real understanding of what a woman actually goes through when she is pregnant (admittedly, I don’t have a full understanding either, but I have had to work with and been friends with many pregnant women and have seen some major complications come about).
                  But why do you think that a woman who uses birth control and still gets pregnant needs to bring the child into the world and yet a woman who is raped doesn’t? Drawing a line there makes no sense to me.

                • KrisDStar

                  That is incorrect. You are trying to create rights where none exist.

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

                  Yeap. And the consequence of an unwanted pregnancy is needing to go get an abortion. It is not fun, it is not comfortable, and it is not cheap (way cheaper than pregnancy, but still a couple hundred dollars at least).

                  The consequence of unwanted pregnancy is not being obligated to gestate a parasite for months at risk of my own life and health and future. It is birth that brings new life into the world- conception and implantation don’t actually do that just yet.

                  Or do you say that if you smoke and get lung cancer, that’s just too damned bad, and we won’t treat you? The treatment for unwanted pregnancy is abortion. Why will you prevent women from treating their medical ailments?

                • purrtriarchy

                  Cuz of this:

                  The Starship Maxima

                  4 minutes ago

                  That particular woman did not initiate any action that caused the child to be in her.In that case we are dealing with two equally innocent lives. Innocent in that one’s actions did not impact the other. In that case, I’d say the woman can make whatever choice she likes.

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

                  I guess it’s time to link the sex is not consent to pregnancy thing I wrote. Again. /sigh.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Do eeet.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Repeating a justification does not make justified.

                • purrtriarchy

                  wtf?

                  You are saying that Feminerd should not be allowed to post one of her excellent essays because you will refuse to listen?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  You are seriously exasperating my patience.
                  Where did I say Feminerd, or anyone else, can’t post whatever they wish.
                  I said, her insistence on it doesn’t make it right or moral or correct. If I said, “Let me post this Bible verse again,” and Feminerd said “I think you Bible is bullshit and posting verses from it 100 times won’t change that,” you’d break your keyboard upvoting it.

                • purrtriarchy

                  then why are you here if you think there is never any justification (except in the case of rape) for a woman to end a pregnancy?

                  since we can *never* ever every justify abortion in your eyes, then why the fuck are you even bothering with us?

                • The Starship Maxima

                  Because I NEED . I find these some of these viewpoints so repulsive I want to shout at the screen.
                  But, my moral indignation, my soapboxing, my pearl clutching, means SHIT next to saving lives. And not just unborn children. But the children already here, the mothers already here, the fathers. Like I said, HUMANITY is my tribe.
                  And to save it, I have to be willing to swallow my own moral code and work with people like you. You know things I don’t. You’ll talk to people I can’t. You’ll help me see where we can work together to save lives.
                  You think I was bullshitting with you? I am NOT bullshitting with you. I’ll do any fucking thing under the sun, including being willing to sit down, shut up, and listen, if it means that just ONE less baby will be aborted, ONE less desperate woman will seek an abortion, ONE less man will abandon his family.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  God I can’t write shit. I meant because I NEED YOU Quis.
                  Us Christians tried this lone cowboy shit. It doesn’t work. We only climb out of this together. I’m old enough to see that.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I’m also “bothering” with you because all of you are the women in my life.
                  I was raised by women like you, went to school with women like you, work for women like you. I’ve cried with women like you, argued with women like you. I’ve fallen in love with women like you.
                  For that alone, I cannot, will not, turn my back. Just as, I’d hope, my views don’t mean you’d turn your back on me.

                • purrtriarchy

                  I think you Bible is bullshit and posting verses from it 100 times won’t change that,”

                  Feminerd wouldn’t say that.

                  XE is far too articulate.

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

                  Erm, well, I have said stuff like that before. I’m not always articulate lol. Sometimes I’m ragey and spluttering and foul-mouthed.

                  But I appreciate the compliment nonetheless!

                • purrtriarchy

                  I like it when you get angry.

                  But seriously, you can be articulate while some of us *cough* hurl insults:P

                • KrisDStar

                  It is immoral to force a woman to remain pregnant against her will.

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

                  Well, here it is. Please read it in its entirety- Quis wasn’t joking when she called it an essay :/

                  It is not a justification. It is an exploration of what consent means, what it doesn’t mean, and what happens to all of us when we stop caring about consent.

                • purrtriarchy

                  I r bookmarking that shit!

                  :P

                • SAPilgrim

                  I wish more pro-lifers would read first hand accounts about what it feels like to have an abortion before they start spouting off like people have abortions for fun.

                  (I’m told I’m far too much of an optimist about human nature, though.)

                • Carmelita Spats

                  Not all women regret their abortion. I’m sure the mother of this nine-year-old rape victim in Brazil was relieved when her child was allowed to have an abortion. The third grader had been viciously raped
                  and impregnated by her stepfather. The Roman Criminal Church tried to hog tie the nine-year-old, ankles to ears, and make her squat and squirt out her attacker’s semen demons (she was pregnant with twins) because a
                  C-section and a pregnancy are (in the minds of the Eucharist-munchers) “appropriate” for a nine-year-old. The Roman Criminal Church PUBLICLY
                  excommunicated the mother and told her that she was no longer welcome in the cult. They excommunicated the doctors. The ONLY brute who was NOT excommunicated and can still open wide for a mouthful of Savior is the
                  RAPIST. Every pro-lifer needs to STFU and open their daughters’ raw vulvas to a “snowflake baby” for Jeeeezus. Hell, they need to experience a vicious
                  rape with a rusty grappling hook and NO Astroglide….

                  Nine-Year-Old’s Abortion:
                  http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1883598,00.html

                  The adoption nightmare:
                  http://www.shakesville.com/2009/03/breaking-silence-on-living-pro-lifers.html

                  Snowflake Babies:
                  http://www.nightlight.org/snowflakes-embryo-donation-adoption/

                • SAPilgrim

                  I’m not sure if this was intended to be directed at me?

                  I meant my comment as in I wish the people who are anti-abortion would read and understand what an abortion feels like, so they don’t think women are just being sluts and using it instead of birth-control. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

                • SAPilgrim

                  (I had replied. I think Disqus ate it.)

                  I don’t know if this comment was meant for me, or in reply to something else?

                  The point of the following:

                  “I wish more pro-lifers would read first hand accounts about what it feels like to have an abortion before they start spouting off like people have abortions for fun.

                  (I’m told I’m far too much of an optimist about human nature, though.)”

                  was that I wish more people who espouse the idea that women are running out and having abortions for fun would take the time to read a first-hand account, from the woman’s perspective, of what an abortion feels like and how painful it can be.

                  Sorry if it was unclear.

                • KrisDStar

                  So pregnancy is a punishment for women who have sex?
                  You don’t value life, you value punishing women for being sexual.

            • purrtriarchy

              Great. Then don’t whine when someone steals your kidney to save their life.

              And don’t kill the person who is raping you – their right to live overrrides your right not to be violated.

            • KrisDStar

              Thank the powers that be that our founding fathers did not feel the same way you do.

        • KrisDStar

          Another being does not have the right to exist if that right infringes on the rights of the other being.

    • Fred

      “There are two main questions about abortion: a) ¿when does that set of cells become a person?”

      Birth seems to be a damm near indelible line to cross. I always start with birth. It’s the fairest to both the host and the fetus.

      • Juan Antonio Martínez Maldonad

        What is the difference between a fetus about to be born and a just born baby?

        • Fred

          Birth.
          One is inside and affecting the life of its host.
          The other is outside. We can treat them as two separate people.

          • Juan Antonio Martínez Maldonad

            I still can’t see why birth is such a trascendent event, since it doesn’t change the baby’s body (well, his lungs open, but that’s all), so I hope you understand why some people think birth is an arbitrary line.

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

              Actually, it does. The lungs open, bringing more oxygen to the system which was hypoxic before. The fetus, which was completely sedated, basically wakes up and becomes conscious for the first time. The umbilicus is cut, severing the infant from hir mother’s body and rendering it a completely separate entity. The infant’s digestive system starts working to be able to process colostrum. It has its first bowel movement. Those are some pretty major changes.

              • Juan Antonio Martínez Maldonad

                Well, THAT is a good point. I didn’t know that birth was the first conscious moment, and it is indeed important. But you also know the human mind is more than consciousness.

                • purrtriarchy

                  And the fetus doesn’t develop the capacity for sentience until at least 24 -26 weeks.

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

                  Is it? What else is it, then?

              • Gehennah

                My line is more along the lines of when the fetus can viably survive outside of the womb without extensive medical care.

                This line is a lot fuzzier though, but it’s not a huge deal for me since abortions that late in a term are very rare, and are almost exclusively to save the woman’s life.

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

                  Yeah. Without extensive medical care? We’re looking at 32 weeks at the very earliest, more likely 36. Even with extensive medical care, only 50% of 28-weekers survive.

                  Abortions that late pretty much don’t happen, as you pointed out.

                • Gehennah

                  Exactly, which is why it is a non-issue for me in general. The percentage of time that it does happen for non-medical reasons is almost non-existent.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  What? Tell me more please.

            • Fred

              Birth is most certainly not an arbitrary line. It’s definitely a transcendent event. It is an irrevocable change in status to both mother and fetus. I can’t understand why you seem to be unable to grasp this concept.

              Aside from its lungs opening, it’s no longer dependent on it’s host for its second to second survival. .

            • Fred

              You’ve given no reasons to think of birth as an arbitrary line.

            • KrisDStar

              It does change the baby’s body. The babys body is no longer reliant on the host (mother) to live.

        • Carol Lynn

          The baby is separate from the mother. That’s pretty damn obvious. Why do pro-lifers always go for the outlier position? I am so tired of that misdirect. The only abortions that happen that late term are done to save the life of the mother – which even the staunchest pro-lifers generally say is OK – and usually mean the fetus was unviable anyway. If the baby and the mother are healthy, it’s called birth at that stage! Why don’t you try and argue there’s no difference at all between a not-yet-implanted egg and a fetus about to be born? That would at least be a legitimate argument. I probably would still not agree with it, but at least it would be germain.

  • SalG13

    I am an atheist and I find myself on the fence with this issue. I am for sex education and availability of contraception.

    It seems to me that at some point we have to acknowledge that the fetus has rights. Some people draw the line at birth, however, in our society, most people draw the line sooner. That is why late term abortions are generally frowned upon. (This questions, to me, seems like Sorites paradox, thank you wikipedia. Or, in the reverse, when does a pile of sand become a pile?)

    I would like to err on the side of sooner rather than later, as the pile of cells does stand a decent chance of becoming a human if not interfered with. But again, I’m on the fence… I do not advocate making abortions illegal or hard to get. From a practical standpoint, I guess that makes me pro-choice, but from a philosophical standpoint I think I’m pro-life.

    • badgerchild

      The trouble is that you can’t enforce fetal “rights” without impacting the conflicting, prior, and superior rights of the pregnant woman. So the conflict can’t be resolved until they are physically separate.

      • SalG13

        Perusing this comment blog has been very valuable for me so far. I think your comment above summarizes the actual reason for being pro-choice, however, the examples and analogies throughout this comment thread flesh it out…. I’m still on the fence, but I have more to think about.

  • nkendall

    My wife and I, both atheists are what we call “personally pro-life and socially “pro-choice.” I guess this means we are pro-*choice* and use our choice accordingly. Personally I believe I am “pro-life” in that I believe (as I believe many of you do) that abortion should always be a last option except in cases of trauma, rape, incest &c &c. I also believe children should be guaranteed stable, loving houses and if that cannot be provided for one reason or another, there is no point in bringing the pregnancy to term unless you have already set up a family to adopt the baby immediately.

    What I mean is that my wife and I are well off, educated, stable, and decently well-to-do. If she were to get pregnant tomorrow, we have little legitimate reason for terminating the fetus other than it would spoil our next five years of travel and enjoying not having any kids. We would have no problem bringing a child up, hell our parents were not nearly as well off as we were when we were born. Then again, we don’t really have any qualms whether or not a tiny fetus is a living human so… *shrug*.

    However, we also understand that we are probably more of an exception and cannot really ask of others what we ask of ourselves. I cannot expect a parent or parents who are not as well off or not as stable to act like they have our lifestyle. That is crazy. I don’t really like any arguments from the anti-choice side, I am very isolated by them.

    As many people have pointed out, those generally considered pro-life are very, very not pro-life they are just anti-women. They don’t like the idea that women don’t have to be saddled with the burden of childbirth if they choose not to be. I often have brought up the “well you pay for it, then” argument with those who from one side of their mouth demand banning abortion and from the other demand cutting welfare to all those people with “too many kids.” As surprising as it might be, you cannot force people to have their cake and eat it too.

    • KrisDStar

      Except not. Many people are pro choice in that abortion is the protected choice of the woman for whatever reason. It doesn’t have to be the “last option.” It can be the only option she considered. She doesn’t have to have any trauma, rape, incest, or otherwise guaranteed risk to life or limb. She can have whatever reason she wants. And “I simply don’t want to be pregnant” is reason enough.

  • sailor

    As one who grew up when abortion was illegal it seems to me the arguments outlined by most people on this blog seem to be on theory not practice. Very few people think oh I’m pregnant, “whoopee, let’s go have an abortion party”. Which means that people on both sides of this issue are basically at least somewhat against abortion. People have abortions because to them the alternative of pregnancy is worse. So to those who are against abortion (we are all pro-life to a degree) what do you think happens when it is illegal? People still get abortions – usually riskier ones with a higher rate of infection, and there are studies that would indicate that there are more abortions in countries where abortions are illegal than those where they are not. If anti -abortion people would stop bothering their heads about the theoretical evils of abortion and come together with pro-abortion people to minimize abortions it seems to me we could easily make progress. The conditions that lead to minimizing abortions seem to be – readily available birth control, good sex education, and legalization of abortion because, making them illegal does not stop them it just makes them unsafe. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/18/abortion-rates-higher-countries-illegal-study_n_1215045.html

  • ansuz

    Question: Is there more than one person using the name The Starship Maxima here?

    • purrtriarchy

      No, it’s Disqus.

      There are certain people with the greyed out names…and Disqus gets confused and will often temporarily rename them using a random name on the page.

      Just refresh.

      It happened to me with Niemand – everyone was Niemand on one site!!

      It was very confusing.

      • ansuz

        No, I’ve been following via email (I automatically subscribe to everything I comment on). I think I’ve seen other threads with two The Starship Maximas expressing very different views (though in that case it could have been disqus; I can’t quite remember). Here I’ve seen (via email) someone called The Starship Maxima express view about changing hir mind that don’t seem to gel with what I’ve seen of The Starship Maxima previously.

        • purrtriarchy

          There is only one ‘starship maxima’ replying to me, and it is the greyed out name

          However, before refreshing, my screen would look like this:

          greyed out SM
          blue SM
          blue SM

          and my notification window would look the same

          greyed out SM
          blue SM
          blue SM

          So, what Disqus is doing, is giving people who post after a grey ‘nym the same ‘nym…

          And if it was showing up as all ‘starship maxima’ in my notification window, then it was probably doing the same thing in your email

          cuz disqus is whack

          EDIT:

          and the blue ‘starship maxima’ would be the folks who were disagreeing with him…

          but they were given the same nym by disqus

          just refresh, that’s what I did

          so

          greyed out SM
          blue SM (disagreeing)
          blue SM (disagreeing)

          after refresh:

          greyed out sm

          new ‘nym a (disagreeing)
          new ‘nym b (disagreeing)

          • ansuz

            hm… I’ll check through those comments, then. I don’t want to mentally attribute some of those comments to The Starship Maxima.

            • purrtriarchy

              fyi

              Princess Jasmine wrote:

              “”Oh…and clearly Tsara is unstable…. I just read her last comment before I unsubscribed
              I wouldn’t engage anymore if I were you… she’s playing the hapless victim now.

              But they’re all the same.””

              http://liveactionnews.org/more-lessons-from-the-pro-abortion-crowd-how-to-wage-a-war-on-children/#comment-1149672522

              • ansuz

                First thought: Gah, my pronouns. (That’s a large part of why I stopped responding to MarcusFenix seriously)
                Second thought: Yup, there it is.
                Third thought: I wonder which comment she’s talking about? It could be the allcaps one, or the one in which I commented that Lucifer was a pretty name (With a heart! <3), or… well, a lot of them. XD

                • purrtriarchy

                  Fenix is the most irritating

                  He thinks he’s this elite intellectual

                  But his argument was:

                  1) yeah well we don’t force people to donate organs but like pregnancy is an exception to that rule BECAUSE I SAY IT IS and if you don’t like it too bad, you whiny people

                  2) organ donation is forced in China, therefore, forced pregnancy is totes acceptable

                  3) consent to sex is consent to pregnancy (naturally) with rape exception

                  4) pro-lifers are enacting trap laws because they truly truly care about women and there is no hidden agenda and any ob/gyns who object to it have a hidden agenda cuz MONEY

                • ansuz

                  He didn’t cross my whutnoyourviewsijustcant line, but that’s a pretty high bar for me (though too many people leap over it); it requires that someone doesn’t admit that I (with my mental health issues) should be able to access an abortion if I were to get pregnant.
                  I don’t really know, but I think he could have been reasoned with :/

                • purrtriarchy

                  He reminds me of Albert – relies on semantics and smug superiority. And i despise that type most of all.

                • ansuz

                  Well, I have a lot of patience for that type of thing. Though I never did get a response to that essay I wrote for him while trying to avoid writing an essay for school.
                  Even Albert at least humoured me with my pronouns, though.

    • The Starship Maxima

      I’ve seen that happen.
      However, I’ve been told I zig-zag all over the socio-political-religious spectrum. So, it could be that my response to one argument and my response to another on the same topic might be different.
      Is there a particular discrepancy you’re referring to?

      • ansuz

        This one:
        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/12/03/does-it-make-sense-to-be-a-pro-life-atheist/#comment-1149608072

        It’s more because you generally seem pretty open to changing your than anything else *shrugs*

        • The Starship Maxima

          Nope, that’s me.
          I hold that human life is precious, and that nearly every law, every statute, and perhaps even every endeavor in human history revolves in that belief.
          Unless someone can show me where the science is wrong, I see a zef as a human life as entitled to the same right to exist as you and I have.
          That said, I try to aim for the greater good and the ideal moral outcome, rather than doggedly holding to a specific goal.

          • purrtriarchy

            and perhaps even every endeavor in human history revolves in that belief.

            that’s funny

            really

            no, only the human life of your ‘tribe’ is precious

            and only then, it is considered ‘precious’ as to how it can be used by the powers that be

            if people really thought human life was precious, they wouldn’t go to war so quickly

            Unless someone can show me where the science is wrong, I see a zef as a human life as entitled to the same right to exist as you and I have.

            Science says that a zef is human, and that it is alive. But it says the same about every cell in your body. And cancer.

            Science also says that a beating heart cadaver is human, and alive (a beating heart cadaver will have a dead cerebral cortex, but a working brainstem which keeps the body alive)

            Doesn’t mean all of the above are *people* ie *Human beings*

            • The Starship Maxima

              Science says that a zef is human, and that it is alive. But it says the same about every cell in your body. And cancer.

              For God’s sake Quis, we’ve been over this. The individual cells that make up your fingertips don’t comprise a. Unique. Individual. Life Form.

              No, only the human life of your ‘tribe’ is precious

              No. The human race is my “tribe”.

              if people really thought human life was precious, they wouldn’t go to war so quickly

              I am pro-life. I’d give nearly anything if I could stop the morons who start wars they never have to fight in from doing such madness.

              • purrtriarchy

                Unique. Individual. Life Form.

                Tthe uniqueness of perhaps 60-80% of all human conceptions does not keep them from dying of perfectly natural causes, before birth.

                While it might then be argued that that fact merely makes the other 30% even more precious, it can equally be argued that it is extremely easy for most sexually active adults to make more conceptions, each one just as unique. One result is, every time some employer says, “There’s plenty more where you came from!”, the individual uniqueness of even an adult human can easily be totally ignored. Which means that human uniqueness can also be ignored before birth, as happens whenever a woman seeks an abortion.

                Furthermore, the beating heart cadaver, and the anencephalic baby are also ‘unique life forms’, and that hasn’t stopped anyone from declaring them dead and pulling the plug. Because without a mind, there is no person.

                And no, at conception (which isn’t a moment, but a process that can take up to 4 days) there is no ‘unique individual life form)

                The zygote can split, forming twins…oh hey, they don’t count as unique individuals!

                It can split…reform..split again…

                Fraternal twins can combine to form one person with two sets of DNA

                Oh, and by that logic ‘unique individual’ – a clone is not technically a ‘human being’ because it isn’t ‘unique’

                No, you will need more than ‘unique human life form’ to proclaim that a zygote is a human being at conception.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  I’ve noticed that liberals of all stripes reach for extreme examples to try and negate general truisms.
                  Aborting a zef that will/is twinning is not somehow not destroying human life, it’s just a semantics of how many lives you’re getting rid of.
                  And comparing life terminated due to direct action to special cases of life failing or ending naturally is almost laughable false equivalence.

                • purrtriarchy

                  You are missing the point.

                  i was not talking about aborting a zef that may or may not twin

                  i was pointing out that a ‘unique individual human life’ is NOT formed at conception

                  And comparing life terminated due to direct action to special cases of life failing or ending naturally is almost laughable false equivalence.

                  Not doing that either. I am just applying your logic.

                  1) human

                  2) alive

                  3) organism

                  And all of that applies to beating heart cadavers. Which means those 3 criteria are *insufficient* for defining personhood.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  If the ancephalic baby or the beating heart cadaver had a chance of waking back up, and you simply killed them, I’d say you were a murderer.

                • purrtriarchy

                  An anencephalic baby isn’t ever gonna wake up, cupcake.

                  http://webspace.webring.com/people/xr/rhiannonmeh/anencephalicinant.jpg

                  http://webspace.webring.com/people/xr/rhiannonmeh/anencephalicinant.jpg

                  And beating heart cadavers (which have the same EEG readings as pre-viability feti) are often unplugged and their bodies harvested for organs.

                  Anencephalic babies, upon birth, also have their bodies harvested for organs.

                  And no one calls it murder.Because it isn’t. Because without a functional cerebral cortex there no ‘person’ just a bag of skin and bone.

                • The Starship Maxima

                  (Sigh) I know that Quis. That was my point.
                  I, different from you, feel that it’s just about consciousness at that moment. If consciousness is expected to return/begin, it must be protected, just like present consciousness.

                • purrtriarchy

                  It’s not consciousness.

                  It is the *capacity* for *sentience*

                  An anencephalic baby lacks it.

                  As does a pre-viablity fetus

                  As does the beating heart cadaver – which is NOT the same as a coma.

                • badgerchild

                  Once again, sentience or the capacity for it is not the issue in abortion (maybe you have strayed on purpose from this argument).

                  We don’t harvest organs from a cadaver without the known permission of the original possessor or of the next of kin, who are trusted to best know and carry out the original possessor’s wishes. The cadaver came from a born person with their own rights.

                  The fetus is not in such a fortunate position. The fetus cannot exist without the pregnant woman who carries it (if it could, it could be born and acquire its own separate rights). The rights of the fetus are subordinate to the rights of the pregnant woman much as the biological life of the fetus is dependent upon the biological life of the pregnant woman. While the woman is pregnant, the fetus is part of her body, and she has the absolute, inviolable right to decide what to do with her own body. This applies whether or not the fetus has an irrelevant attribute such as the capacity for sentience.

                  Someone asked me offline whether I can ever justify a violation of a person’s bodily autonomy. To this I answer that it is still a violation, whether justified or not. Such a violation is never justified where a person has the capacity to express their wishes. Such a violation can only be justified if a person is incapable of expressing their wishes, AND their unexpressed wishes can be absolutely known, AND they wish to consent.

                  This person also asked me if I consider imprisonment a violation of bodily autonomy. Yes, as a matter of fact I do, but the conflict is not unsolvable. The prison is where we keep people for a time who violate the rights of others, until the point where we consider that the harm done to them balances the harm done to others or to society. We don’t, that I know of, pretend that is is anything but a harm and a violation of their bodily autonomy. For this reason we choose the mildest possible violation (humane confinement) and release the prisoner at the earliest opportunity. Or at least we used to, before some of us decided they had the right to abuse the system designed for justice to viciously punish and abuse prisoners instead. This is a whole different discussion though and I’m including this summary here simply for the sake of completeness.

                • purrtriarchy

                  Capacity for sentience does play a role however. That plus the bodily autonomy. Because it is a matter of subjugating women to potential life…I like to combine arguments because pro lifers are fond of dismissing the bodily autonomy on its own…

                • purrtriarchy

                  I misread

          • ansuz

            “I hold that human life is precious”
            Why, though? There’s nothing particularly special about them. I don’t value my species because it is my species; I value minds.

            “that nearly every law, every statute, and perhaps even every endeavor in human history revolves in that belief.”
            Really? Does ‘Give me freedom or give me death’ not ring any bells?

            “Unless someone can show me where the science is wrong, I see a zef as a human life”
            Well, I pointed out this out:
            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/12/03/does-it-make-sense-to-be-a-pro-life-atheist/#comment-1149604810
            And when you tried to make the distinction between a thing and a part of a thing… that’s really murky territory to get into. Are my mitochondria part of me, or organisms in their own right? What about the e. coli living in my bowels? etc.

            “as entitled to the same right to exist as you and I have.”
            But how much right is that?

            Anyway, I will never like any moral/legal framework that wouldn’t permit me to get an abortion if I were to become pregnant, and I’m about as certain as I’ve been about anything ever that my way of looking at the issue is correct, but there are still things that could change my mind (and this topic is extremely emotional for me, largely due to body issues).

            This is a thing I posted in this thread in response to you that I don’t know if you saw. It’s a brief (for me) summary of the argument I find compelling enough that I would still find abortion ethical if z/e/fs were sapient (and therefore just as valuable as I am) all the way through pregnancy. Obviously, you don’t have to agree with it. Not all pro-choice people agree with it.
            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/12/03/does-it-make-sense-to-be-a-pro-life-atheist/#comment-1149492962

            This is a thing I posted elsewhere on friendlyatheist in response to someone else. It has a lot of things about the different words that are used in this debate and how they are used, and it has some science. It’s really long, but you may find it informative. (Maybe not, I don’t know.) (It also isn’t as long as it looks — the bottom third or quarter of it gets into a discussion of the word ‘supernatural’.)
            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/11/08/what-would-you-say-to-the-religion-professor-whos-had-it-with-strident-bullying-new-atheists/#comment-1118612187

            • purrtriarchy

              They are special if they were the result of *consensual* sex.

              • Ella Warnock

                It’s not about them at all. Women having consensual sex purely for pleasure must be shamed and punished. Her ROLE, her VALUE, is in producing more males.

    • cyb pauli

      God’s Starship maybe?

      • ansuz

        No, that’s not it. Thanks, though :)

  • Brodestar

    It is possible to be both an atheist and pro-life since they are not mutually exclusive. Being an atheist simply means you dont believe that supernatural gods exist or ever did. It is a personal belief not an overall world view. That being said as a humanist I disagree with the pro-life stance.

  • cyb pauli

    Ill just say this, someone who is bigoted, be it a homophobe who thinks man on man sex is unnatural, a misogynist who thinks female reproductive rights end at conception, an ableist who thinks disability is nature’s way of branding the inferior or a racist who thinks whites were just born to lead… will quickly discover that atheism is no barrier to his or her positions. Just change “God” to “nature” or “science has proved that…” or even “that’s my opinion” and you’re all set. Being correct in one’s assertions, moral, progressive, just or humanist are not tenets of atheism.

    I’ve had life long atheists tell me they were saving their virginity for marriage and needed no justification what so ever. If you don’t believe in god(s) you’re atheist, no matter how socially regressive you are.

    The only quirk is that many people lose their religion because the bigotry is often built in and the only way they can escape the socially conservative dogma is to abandon the divinity aspects.

    • purrtriarchy

      Yeah, one of the more popular atheist pro-life arguments seems to be ‘the uterus was made for the baby’ which is just gender essentialism at it’s core.

      Anatomy = destiny

  • The Starship Maxima

    As….interesting….as this discussion on abortion has been, I’ll go back to the question from Hemant, does it make sense to be an atheist and be pro-life? The answer is similar to the question of “can one be a Christian and support abortion”?
    My answer, yes. Now, before going further, we need to make sure we’re not conflating “making sense” with “correct”. And we need to understand that “making sense” to one person, will be complete insanity to another.
    Caveats out the way, yes, one can hold atheist beliefs and be pro-life in such a way that is *internally* logically consistent. It might be rare, just as a pro-choice Christian might be, but it’s possible.
    Interestingly, with other topics that usually involve an atheist railing a Christian for inserting their personal faith into questions of civil law or objective, observable science. Abortion is unique in that it tends to be Christians, or other brands of conservatives, touting the observable, objective facts and railing against a more liberal approach of imposing personal philosophy unto them.
    An atheist could choose to view a human being’s existence as beginning at conception; which would be consistent with known science. She might then place the needs of the defenseless human life that will surely perish outside the womb, as outweighing those of a healthy mother, who’s physical being is not endangered by the pregnancy and whose direct actions (outside of rape) resulted in the existence of said life (along with her partner, of course); which is generally consistent with how we treat all other human beings.
    She might also decide that simply because the zef would feel pain, that wouldn’t make it’s death any less real or permanent, in a similar manner that a woman who was drugged and raped and woke up not even remembering it happened does nothing to change the truth of her violation.
    None of these things requires Biblical belief. We can all argue about how “right” that belief is, but it seems the two can coexist without resort to intellectual gymnastics.

    • purrtriarchy