Dear Pro-Lifers: STOP ERASING WOMEN

I’ve talked before about pro-lifers erasing women in their discussion of abortion. Well, I was perusing the Patheos evangelical channel and I found this YET AGAIN.

“I’m sure evangelical youngsters everywhere would rejoice if their elders decided that they should have sex with great frequency because “if a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate.”  But alas, there is a key distinction between a sperm and a zygote.  A zygote, left to develop naturally, will tend to develop into a human being.  You can have a tank of millions of sperm, but without an egg not a single one will develop into a human being.”

Did you see where women got erased? Here, let me help you out:

A zygote, left to develop naturally, will tend to develop into a human being.

There, right there, is where women are removed from the picture entirely. Somehow zygotes magically develop into human beings…like, by themselves. Nothing else involved there. No one else effected. But that’s simply untrue. A zygote will NOT develop naturally into a human being if left to itself. Rather, in order to develop into a human being it has to have massive intervention from an outside source. Namely, a woman. Without this intervention, a zygote will not become a human being.

I’m sorry if it seems like I’m splitting hairs here, and I realized perfectly well that the author of that piece probably didn’t even realize he was doing this (which almost makes it worse), but every time a pro-lifer erases women like this, I can’t help but cringe. No, more than that, I want to yell.

I am a person! I matter! You can’t erase me like that! 

And yet they do. Over and over and over again. Sometimes I think they are blissfully unaware that they’re doing this. And then they wonder why women get mad. And then they react with confusion when people accuse them of being anti-women.

So, note to pro-lifers: STOP ERASING WOMEN.

Because that’s the problem, isn’t it? If zygotes didn’t live inside women’s bodies, this wouldn’t be an issue. Sure, keep the zygotes alive! Care for them until they’re fully mature, put them up for adoption! Great! Who would oppose that? The trouble is, zygotes aren’t some sort of physically independent entity. Rather, they have to live inside of and feed off of women. If you want to legislate that all zygotes must be allowed to develop into the physically independent entities we call babies, you have to come to terms with the fact that that intimately involves women and their bodies. And yet, pro-lifers can’t seem to do that. Or, when they do admit this, it’s to offer pregnant women free cribs. And baby clothes. Or, you know, to talk about how women are supposed to sacrifice.

If someone wants to make a case against abortion, they need to actually address the reality that this discussion involves women’s bodies in an intimate and completely invasive way. They need to stop pretending they can talk about zygotes and fetuses without mention of women. They need to listen to women and understand what is involved. They need to realize that “saving babies,” if that is what they must call it, involves convincing or forcing women to allow the zygote or fetus to physically occupy their bodies, turning their lives upside down for nine months. Maybe if they actually act like they understand what it is they are asking, maybe then we can talk about it. Until then, I can’t. I’m too angry

Pregnancy and abortion intimately involve women’s bodies. You can’t separate that out of the equation and just talk about zygotes and fetuses. It’s time pro-lifers realized this. I am tired of being erased. Enough is enough. 

Edit: The article I quote in the OP stated that “You can have a tank of millions of sperm, but without an egg not a single one will develop into a human being.” Reader Adele just left a comment pointing out that “You could have a tank of millions of zygotes but without a woman not a single one will develop into a human being.”

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Vanessa Morriss (@softmutt)

    Couldn’t agree with you more…..We are invisible in this debate. Just a warm safe womb for it to develop.
    Bugger the fact it might kill us.
    Well said.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/hallq/ Chris Hallquist

    Great post. This is something I admit I didn’t get for a long time, in spite of having no problem with abortion at least early in the pregnancy. Now that I get it, I want this message spread far and wide.

  • machintelligence

    Here is a literal case of fundamentalists erasing women.
    http://madartlab.com/2011/05/10/hillary-clinton-erased-from-history-not-so-fast/

    • http://AztecQueen2000.blogspot.com AztecQueen2000

      A very low moment for my people. (Now you know why a Jewish reader follows a blog written by an ex-Christian.)

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    “Maybe if they actually act like they understand what it is they are asking, maybe then we can talk about it. Until then, I can’t. I’m too angry.”

    Wow. This. Exactly this. Well-said, Libby!

  • CT

    <3

  • http://www.fromtwotoone.com from two to one

    It baffles me how the religious pro-lifers, often evangelical or fundamentalist, can simultaneously preach complementarianism –and therefore the intrinsic DIFFERENCE (but “equal”!!) essence of womanhood — while completely dehumanizing/de-female-ing women in the abortion debate. They can’t have it both ways. I agree: Enough is enough.

  • ScottInOH

    I’m sorry if it seems like I’m splitting hairs here, and I realized perfectly well that the author of that piece probably didn’t even realize he was doing this (which almost makes it worse), but every time a pro-lifer erases women like this, I can’t help but cringe. No, more than that, I want to yell.

    No apologies. Insistent reminders of this fact are the only thing that will change the debate on this issue.

    Also, the anti-abortion side isn’t choosing it’s language by accident. Maybe the writer you cite is unaware of what he’s doing (as Chris Hallquist said, plenty of us have made that mistake honestly), but the leaders of the movement are doing it 100% on purpose.

  • Nathaniel

    I left a comment over there with the short version of your argument. Lets see if it makes it past the moderation firewall.

    • BabyRaptor

      You struck a nerve, dude. For what it’s worth, I took up for you. My original comment is still “in moderation,” though, so there’s no telling if anyone will ever see anything I said.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Wow, I just looked over there. Do you remember me asking “how do we bridge the divide” on the culture wars? Well, as long as people are unwilling to listen to the other side, to even consider other arguments, it will never happen. I may have strong views on an issue, but I try always to listen to the other side and to understand it because to simply ignore opposing arguments would be as dogmatic as how I was raised. Thing is, the commenters over there don’t seem to do that. Which is really sad. How are we ever to resolve this with this inability to even listen?

        Also, for what it’s worth, I have a follow up post coming tomorrow addressing some of the points they were making. Why? Because their arguments seemed less rooted in “abortion is murder” than in “women shouldn’t have sex if they don’t want to become mothers.” I want to ram my head into a wall right now. :-(

      • ScottInOH

        Yep, that’s their position, Libby Anne. It is explicit in Catholic teaching and implicit in many other arguments. I didn’t have any hope for the commenters over there, but I would have liked to see the blogger himself engage some of the issues raised. Maybe later, I guess.

  • smrnda

    I recall one of the people promoting a personhood amendment phrased it as “It doesn’t matter if your father is a serial rapist, this bill will protect you.” There was no mention of the woman at all. I think it’s just that the idea of forcing women to remain pregnant against their will isn’t something anybody wants to admit that they are doing, so they have to use some sort of euphemism or rhetorical trick of shifting the debate. It isn’t about rapists having a right to impregnate women against their will, it’s about not discriminating against the (potential) children of rapists.

    In other reproductive rights issues, it’s the same deal. Contraceptive coverage is seen as an issue where the only party that can be victimized is the employer. (Yeah, I feel SO sorry for those employers with their deep pockets full of cash weighed against the interests of the women working for them.) Women having access to contraception is being portrayed as a trivial concern that if women only weren’t somehow incapable of going without sex (but my question there is, why should they?) wouldn’t be an issue. (Meaning it’s implied that female sexuality is a problem in and of itself.)

    • Rosie

      Yah, I always wonder how those men who say that women should “just keep their legs shut” plan on getting laid. Ever.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        You don’t need to RESPECT the women you get laid with, silly! The world needs Good Girls to be put on pedestals and Bad Girls to use and abuse. Men in conservative societies have known that for millenia.

    • Sunny Day

      The argument about employers having to endure additional hardship to pay for contraception is absolute bullshit too.

      Contraception brings health care costs down for employers. The insurance companies have all the data. Which is least expensive for them? Paying for contraception, or the costs of pregnancy and birth?

  • Adele

    Completely right of course. It seems so obvious, but then I have to remind myself that either pro-lifers don’t understand or really are simply evil, so I guess it is not as obvious as all that. Does the author of the excerpt not realize that this slight alteration of his last statement is also true and completely invalidates his argument? “You could have a tank of millions of zygotes but without a woman not a single one will develop into a human being.”

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Ack! Love love love LOVE! How did I not see that? Brilliant!

    • ScottInOH

      Brilliant, Adele!

      Your comment made me go back and read Dalrymple’s main post in its entirety, and it’s even worse than I thought, because he does mention women, but only in ways that erase them as independent human beings.

      First, they are uteruses: Discussing whether a fetus and a baby are equivalent, he writes, “Being inside or outside of the womb does not much change the nature of the [fetus/baby].” A woman might as well be a room or a box. She/it is something to be inside of or outside of, and it really doesn’t make any difference.

      Then they are egg donors: Sperms are not potential babies, “because — I hate to give a basic biology less here — the female contributes half the genetic endowment via the egg.”

      Then they are fragile darlings who might regret their abortion decision later: “I’ve known many, many women who regret their abortions.” (This, of course, is also a red herring, since he wouldn’t change his stance on abortion even if no woman ever regretted it.)

      Finally, they are whiners: “No one is asking her to die for her child, or even to completely overturn her life for eighteen years — just to get the child to birth and give it up for adoption.” Oh, just that.

      To sum up, he pays all kinds of attention to women, “So there’s really no reason for all the hysteria about the arrogance and misogyny of trying to control women” among pro-choicers.

      • http://ripeningreason.com/ Bix

        Wow…thanks to modern medicine, far fewer women die in childbirth today, but women do still suffer serious health complications and death due to pregnancy. It does still happen. Women do still die. Saying ‘no one is asking her to die’ is so, so fatuous.

      • Aurora

        Not to mention that the experience of pregnancy and childbirth permanently alters the woman’s body, both in technically not tremendously important ways (that still really matter to the woman herself, but are admittedly no big deal when compared to the concept of abortion as murder) such as stretch marks and in life-altering ways such as incontinence, potential inability to enjoy sex (oh, wait, women aren’t supposed to enjoy sex anyway), and other issues that permanently and irrevocably diminish quality of life.

        But I guess quality of life for someone who’s been alive for at least a decade, if not several, is far less important than making sure there’s one more unwanted baby in the world to be passed around foster care, right?

  • http://TheBereanObserver Bob Wheeler

    But if God doesn’t exist, why should I care about the baby? Why should I care about the mother? Why should I care about anyone but myself? Life is the struggle for MY existence!

    • smrnda

      Not sure if you’re joking or serious, but I think there are good reasons to care for other people aside from God – if I want to be treated decently myself, the best way to insure that this happens is to make sure that everybody is treated decently, since the chance of me actually doing well in an “everybody for self only” system is pretty low. Societies with low levels of religious belief tend to do pretty well.

      The other problem is IF there is a God, folks like William Lane Craig have said that God really did order that children and babies be murdered, but that it’s okay since they all go straight to heaven. If that’s the case, then abortion guarantees the baby goes to heaven.

    • Anat

      You may not care for anyone but yourself, but in the long term for most people to survive in an enjoyable state they need the presence and flourishing of others. If you think long and hard enough, you might realize this applies to you too. But if you don’t, thanks for letting us know. Those of us who care about our own existence and flourishing will be on the lookout for you.

      IOW there are two completely selfish reasons for you to care about others: To have a working society that supports your continued welfare and to avoid the negative sanctions of those who wish to protect themselves and others from you. My estimate that enlightened self-interest can bring one to at least 90% of the way to reasonably moral behavior.

    • Paula G V aka Yukimi

      You need someone to order you, command you or look over your shoulder to care for other people? I don’t think you really believe that. I care about others, not because of some inexistent god judging my choices, but because I think it’s the good thing to do, for me, for the other person and for society in general. I also think it’s the moral thing to do. There’s not going to be a final check at the end of my life to see if I’ve been a good or a bad person but I still want to be a good person and I think that’s a pretty common feeling in people regardless of if they believe in a supernatural being or not.

    • BabyRaptor

      Buddy, if you need a sky daddy to make you care about people…

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      “Why should I care about anyone but myself?”

      …Because you’re not a sociopath? Right?

  • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

    I really like this post- I am going to link to it from my blog. I am unsure where I stand on being pro-life or pro-choice, but like you said, the effect of pregnancy vs abortion on individual WOMEN cannot be ignored- it is one of the most important elements of this debate.

  • http://TheBereanObserver Bob Wheeler

    I was more or less playing the devil’s advocate here. What I had really wanted to say is that, except in the case of a rape, the pregnancy had to have resulted from a voluntary decision on the part of the woman, and therefore she should take responsibility for it, and carry the baby to term. But then I realized that it is useless to argue that way with an atheist, because to an atheist there is no such thing as a “right to life.” The decision about whether or not to have an abortion will be made by the mother, who sees herself as an autonomous individual who is accountable to no one but herself. Thus she will make the decision based on the inconvenience that the pregnancy poses to herself. But then she has to accept the fact that whether or not society permits her to live will be based on the basis of her inconvenience to society. If, for example, she becomes elderly and is confined to a long-term care facility, using the logic of abortion there is no reason why the taxpayers should keep her alive and keep paying for her care. Given current social trends I think it is highly unlikely that abortion will ever again become illegal, but that euthanasia will become generally accepted, and then eventually we will begin “culling the herd” of undesirables.

    • SophieUK

      “the pregnancy had to have resulted from a voluntary decision on the part of the woman, and therefore she should take responsibility for it, and carry the baby to term”.

      1) It is not a baby!!

      2) Why isn’t having an abortion taking responsibility for her actions? It’s not responsible to create a child if you’re not in a position to give it a decent chance at a certain quality of life so the really irresponsible thing for women to do would be to carry every pregnancy to term. Women can’t live without sex during all periods of their lives in which they aren’t able to care for a child (they should be extremely careful with contraception during these times but accidents do happen).

      3) Their decisions are not usually determined by their own selfish wants and needs. they are often determined by the needs of the other people the woman is responsible for caring for.

      Woman are in an impossible situation. If they want romantic love at any point in their adult life, they have to expose themselves to the risks of pregnancy. Some women face far higher risks than others. They have a right to their health more than a bunch of sells has a right to their body.

      • Alex

        “Women can’t live without sex” is an unfortunate phrasing that undermines your argument to some extent — nobody, of either gender, dies of sex-starvation, after all. It would be more accurate to say that women shouldn’t be expected, and certainly shouldn’t be forced, to live without sex at any given time during their adult lives. I expect that’s what you really meant, anyway, but the way you said it gives the pro-lifers a strawman you don’t need to give them.

      • Niemand

        No one dies of lack of sex? Not directly, maybe, but lack of sex often means lack of a stable relationship similar to that of a marriage and it’s been demonstrated that unmarried people die at a younger age. So sex appears to contribute to a long and happy life. Expecting women to do without it or face unwanted pregnancies is ridiculous.

      • http://freiheit86.blogspot.com/ Georgiana

        I’m firmly pro-choice and think you made a lot of good points here, but this sentence really bothers me, “If [women] want romantic love at any point in their adult life, they have to expose themselves to the risks of pregnancy.”
        The reality is, if STRAIGHT women want romantic love then they expose themselves to the risk of pregnancy. I realize that encompasses the majority of women out there, but your sort of argument totally erases gay women from the equation.

    • SophieUK

      And I’m sorry, but if you can use a word like “inconvenience” to describe an unwanted pregnancy then you don’t know the first thing about pregnancy and how dangerous it is for a woman’s physical health and mental health.

      • http://ripeningreason.com/ Bix

        Oh, the use of ‘inconvenience’ bugs me no end. An ‘inconvenience’ is having to take a detour due to road construction. The question of whether to carry a pregnancy to term and/or raise the child is WAY bigger than a matter of ‘inconvenience’. Phrasing it in those terms is being awfully cavalier about procreation and parenting. Pregnancy and birth is a huge life event, not some minor bump in the road.

      • Christine

        For most women “inconvenience” does describe it, and the differences between most women vs some women are where a lot of the arguments end up going off the rails in the first place.

    • ScottInOH

      Bob Wheeler:

      But then I realized that it is useless to argue that way with an atheist, because to an atheist there is no such thing as a “right to life.”

      But you were wrong in that “realization” and in your larger understanding that atheists can’t have any moral code.

    • Lusy

      Bob, seeing as you seem to use a rights-based paradigm for morality, let me ask you:

      Do you believe that a woman has the right to self defense?
      Do you believe that a woman has the right to use lethal force in self defense if it’s the only way to protect herself from being raped?
      If so, would you agree that you are saying that a woman has a right to use lethal force to prevent someone from forcibly penetrating her vagina?
      If so, how come you only believe women should have the right to self defense if the one forcibly penetrating her vagina is doing so from the outside in, rather than the inside out?

    • Rosie

      Um, Bob, it’s a long, long way from aborting a fetus to euthanizing old people. Old people aren’t *physically tied to a young person and dependent on him or her*. They might be dependent on machines, but machines are not *people*. Machines don’t have life, they don’t have human needs and desires, they don’t have anything to do except what they are made to do. Machines are not capable of making choices. Or do you think of women this way too, having nothing (legitimate) to do with their lives other than make babies?

      On a side note, if you believe women should not consent to sex unless they’re willing to consent to pregnancy also…how on earth do you hope to ever get laid? (I’m assuming you want to have sex, and with women, which may not be the case for you in particular, but is indeed the case for most men.)

      • Leonora F

        Actually old people are very often dependent on younger people. In fact, past a certain age, it’s the norm for older people to be dependent on younger people. Machines used by old people cost money. Care staff cost money. What if an old person’s child is not in a position to care financially for an old person anymore? If I can abort a foetus because I don’t feel that I am in a position financially to care for it, then can I euthanize my grandfather because no one has the money for his care home bills? What if he has dementia and doesn’t really understand what’s going on around him and isn’t in full possession of his mental faculties? I’m not saying whether I am pro-life or not here; I’m just questioning how solid your argument is.

      • ButchKitties

        My grandparent is dying of kidney failure and I’m the only possible matching transplant candidate. Do I have the right to refuse the donation? Yes. My grandparent needs to have surgery and wants family members to donate blood. Do I have the right to refuse to donate blood? Yes. When my grandfather was dying in hospice, the people who were holding his hand and giving him his nebulizer treatments were all there voluntarily, and none of us were hooked directly into the machines keeping him alive. We all had the right to get up and walk away, to stop being involved in his care, at any given point.

        In the case of McFall v Shimp, a man (McFall) needed a bone marrow transplant. Many family members went in for the initial round of compatability testing. Only one person (Shimp) was a possible match. Shimp declined to go through the second round of testing or subsequent donation, so McFall sued to try to force him to donate, on the grounds that his right to life entitled him to the donation. The courts ruled in favor of Shimp.

        From the judge’s decision: “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. ”

        Whatever your personal opinion of a man who refuses to donate bone marrow or a woman who refuses to continue a pregnancy should not affect their legal rights to make those decisions. The right to life does not include the right to directly parasitize another person’s body in order to stay alive. We do not allow this kind of gross intrusion of bodily autonomy for the sake of conscious persons. We don’t even allow people to take needed organs from corpses without some kind of permission. (And many so-called pro-lifers shriek in horror at the suggestion that we switch from an opt-in system to opt-out system for cadaver donations.) Why on earth do people support subjugating women for the sake of an unconscious blob of cells when they do not support making similar requirements of everybody for the sake of actual living, breathing, and conscious persons?

      • Niemand

        n the case of McFall v Shimp, a man (McFall) needed a bone marrow transplant. Many family members went in for the initial round of compatability testing. Only one person (Shimp) was a possible match. Shimp declined to go through the second round of testing or subsequent donation, so McFall sued to try to force him to donate, on the grounds that his right to life entitled him to the donation. The courts ruled in favor of Shimp.

        Just to emphasize about this case: The only reason McFall knew that Shimp was a possible match was that Shimp voluntarily allowed someone to test his HLA type to determine whether he might be a match. No one jumped him in a dark alley and forced him to give blood for HLA matching. He didn’t get drunk one night and wake up with a swab mark in his cheek. No one told him that you can’t get matched the first time so it’s perfectly safe. He voluntarily and knowingly agreed to donate. And was later allowed to back out. So much for the “she agreed to have sex so she agreed to the pregnancy” argument.

      • Niemand

        Machines used by old people cost money. Care staff cost money. What if an old person’s child is not in a position to care financially for an old person anymore?

        Erm, there’s this thing called “Medicare”…

        But even if there weren’t or if Medicare doesn’t cover the particular treatment, no you can’t euthanize your grandparent. You can refuse to be responsible for his/her bills unless you are the legal guardian of said grandparent, however. Not at all analogous to the situation of a pregnant woman where the fetus is dependent on her and her alone, with no option to walk away.

    • victoria

      I used to have a somewhat similar opinion, back when I was a teenager listening to lots of pro-life sermons at church. Eventually I read the statistics on women’s death rates in Nicaragua when abortions were made illegal and it convinced me that from a moral standpoint, legalizing abortion was the only way of really protecting lives, since women will have abortions regardless of whether abortion is legal or not; the only difference is whether they’ll die from an illegal abortion or be able to have a safe procedure* in an environment with some oversight. I accepted abortion as something that needed to be legal but that I would never do. But still, I didn’t understand why it was such an imposition for women to just have the baby and give the child up for adoption. It’s just nine months, right?

      And then I got pregnant. In a stable, happy married relationship, with good health insurance, a high income, and a lot of social support, I hasten to add, just to forestall the “well, you should’ve taken responsibility for yourself” arguments.

      I’m not sure if you’ve ever had food poisoning — the kind where you spend about twelve hours huddled against the toilet projectile vomiting and praying for death? If not, count yourself lucky. If you have, then you’ll understand what my days were like for about six months after I found out I was pregnant. I spent most of my pregnancy either hospitalized or unable to stand up for lack of fluids, and had I been pregnant 100 years ago I would have died, full stop. Then after I gave birth I started having migraines — full-on aura, photophobia, vomiting, the works. I was unable to work and for a good bit of that time, unable to care for my child for upwards of ten days a month. I spent almost four years like that, until medication finally brought them under control, and I still have effects from the medicine I was on for that condition and occasional neurological problems today. As a result of “nine months of inconvenience.”

      These days I don’t believe that a zygote or an embryo is a child; I can accept the idea of a ‘right to life’ and I’ve studied ethics seriously, but I can’t see a consistent way to define life in such a way that it includes a zygote but doesn’t include embryonic stem cells or tumors. (For what it’s worth I could support some restrictions to abortion after the brain anatomy that would allow higher cognitive functions is developed, around 20-26 weeks, which is the earliest point I can agree that it’s a human life. The fact that we disagree on when life begins doesn’t make you more moral than me.)

      But what I know now that I didn’t know before I had a kid, and before I saw some of what my friends went through either with their own pregnancies or with their kids, is that pregnancy is a dangerous, dangerous business. Not just “inconvenience.”

      * Safe? Sure. The physical risks of abortion are substantially lower than the physical risks of carrying a pregnancy to term.

      • SeanRJ

        “pregnancy is a dangerous, dangerous business”

        Exactly. It’s truly horrifying how the lifers brush over this glaring fact. It’s mind-blowing how they belittle this suffering and risk by calling it an “inconvenience.” In no other situation would they demand ANYONE go through that much danger and misery for ANY reason.

    • Anat

      What I had really wanted to say is that, except in the case of a rape, the pregnancy had to have resulted from a voluntary decision on the part of the woman, and therefore she should take responsibility for it, and carry the baby to term.

      So people who were in a traffic accident as a result of a voluntary action to get in a car should take responsibility of their actions, let’s not provide them with emergency care? What about people who were in a traffic accident following a decision to get in a car and not use seat-belts? Or getting into a car and driving recklessly? We provide care for all these, we let them not pay the physical price of their decisions – why a woman who is pregnant should get any different treatment?

      because to an atheist there is no such thing as a “right to life.”

      In the US legal system, one’s right to life starts when one no longer requires a particular person for physical support of that life and ends when the physical support of a particular person becomes required (see the case of organ donations). When the support can be provided by any of a group of interchangeable persons we can speak of a ‘right to life’ – as in the case of an infant (who can be adopted) or the elderly and the infirm (who can be cared in institutions or by any willing persons). In the name of a ‘right to life’ we may impose on other people’s pockets (in some limited ways) but not on their bodies. At most, we may ask nicely.

    • Niemand

      Thus she will make the decision based on the inconvenience that the pregnancy poses to herself.

      If you call being more likely to die than a person with an airline ticket for 9/11/01 an “inconvenience” then I suppose so.

    • BabyRaptor

      1) The fact that I choose to enjoy sex does NOT mean that I should have to deal with a pregnancy, the damage it could cause to my life, the damage it could cause to my body, and the damage it could cause to the father’s life should something fail. And nobody but people who want to make sex taboo again insist that it should.

      2) There is no such thing as a right to life. And not only Atheists believe that. There are plenty of people of other religions who believe that as well. Hell, the christian god doesn’t even believe life starts at conception. See Exodus 21:22. And, frankly, nobody on the Right ACTUALLY believes in a right to life. If they did, they would support comprehensive access to healthcare and other things that make life livable.

      3) Why do you think you should have any say on whether or not a woman has an abortion? Because your ego is so big that you feel you have the right to deny other people their rights based on your whims? Your opinion isn’t based in fact, whether or not you choose to accept the facts as they are.

      4) When I was contemplating abortion, I didn’t do it because the pregnancy was inconvenient. I did it because the father is halfway across the country, still in school and neither of us are emotionally or financially ready to have a child right now. Not letting the fetus develop into a person and be born was the better option, because I could not give that baby a good life. Nor were the father and I ready to handle me going through a pregnancy with him half a country away, and then me handing the child to someone else before he could even see his firstborn. And guess what? If I had aborted when I wanted to, I wouldn’t have been ending a life, because life at conception is a heartstring pulling lie. (Ultimately I miscarried, so the choice was taken from my hands. But we hand decided that I would abort. And I wouldn’t have regretted it. I know I made the best decision for the two actual people involved, and the potential person that could have been involved.)

      Your personal views on abortion are just that–personal views. You’re free to hold them. But they are not based on fact, and they completely deny half of any given situation they pertain to–Your view does NOT consider the woman involved. So you can expect decent people with a respect for facts and truth to argue with you.

      Do the decent thing and just stop trying to force other people to live by your views. And don’t whine when that light gets turned on you one day, and someone is taking your rights away from you based on personal opinion and bullshit. If you’re perfectly okay with doing it to us, you have no right to whine when women stop being convenient to the Republicans and they target you next.

    • Aurora

      What I had really wanted to say is that, except in the case of a rape, the pregnancy had to have resulted from a voluntary decision on the part of the woman, and therefore she should take responsibility for it, and carry the baby to term. But then I realized that it is useless to argue that way with an atheist, because to an atheist there is no such thing as a “right to life.”

      If we assume that a fetus is a person and has a right to life, which I will concede is a perfectly acceptable view regardless of what I or anyone else personally thinks, then your first sentence is completely irrelevant. If a fetus is a person and abortion is murder, this is true REGARDLESS of whether it was conceived through consensual sex or rape. Your first sentence makes it completely clear that you are not, in fact, arguing for the fetus’s “right to life” but rather pregnancy as punishment for women who choose to have sex. Why does a person whose father was a rapist have less of a right to life than a person whose mother wanted to have sex?

      That said, of course, anyone who thinks a rape victim should be forced to carry the rapist’s baby to term is a sick, evil person. But anyone who thinks abortion is a-okay in cases of rape but murder when the sex was consensual is hugely inconsistent in their views and should really sit back and think about what that means.

  • SophieUK

    Did you ever write a post outlining your ideas on how to make a good case for abortion to a pro-lifer Libby-Anne? Think I remember you saying you were thinking of doing this at some point?

    I was thinking about this the other day and I think there are several angles that might be productive (although not living in the fundie-saturated US I can’t really try any of them out).

    First I think the “right to self protection” angle might chime well with them, since so many pro-lifers seem to believe in the right to bear arms. If they feel they should have the inalienable right to self defence and personal protection in this way, maybe it’s not too big a step to believe that women also have a right to self protection? Should a woman be denied safety just because the threat is internal rather than external?

    While pregnancy and child birth might not be anywhere near as life threatening as they once were, they still involve some pretty massive health risks for the mother. I read recently that up to 1/3 of women suffer from PTSD as a result of childbirth, and the incidence of birth injuries is also far higher than I think a lot of people realise – some of these can be healed but some women are left with the results for the rest of their lives, even in first world countries. Add that to the ones people know about (eg PND etc and the obvious mental health implications of having to carry a rapist’s baby to term and then either give it away or living with it as a reminder of the attack) and you have a pretty strong case that a pregnancy is not at all unlikely to damage a woman’s health in some way. Women need to be protected! They like this argument in other contexts!

    You could also tie this in with their belief that women shouldn’t be able to fight in the army. They’re big on the whole “protecting women from the danger and the trauma” thing but maybe if you point out that birth can bring on trauma to an extent they may have only ever associated with the battlefield (ie PTSD), they might start to see it in a different way.

    And when they argue against Obamacare, it’s often to protect their own interests health- wise, irrespective of the fact that others suffer. If being “selfish” isn’t a bad thing in this context then why can’t a woman protect her own health interests without being called “selfish”?

    Sure I had another idea but it’s not coming to me at this current time. But I think taking the principles they do believe in and using them as the basis of an argument for the right to choose is maybe the way forward?

    Enjoyed all the articles about bridging the gap you’ve posted or linked to recently by the way Libby Anne!

    • SeanRJ

      Excellent ideas! The self-defense/self-determination angle should resonate well with other things they claim to believe in.

  • Kevin Alexander

    “A zygote, left to develop naturally, will tend to develop into a human being.”

    He didn’t hear himself admit that a zygote isn’t already a human being. So abortion isn’t murder after all.

  • Minnie

    St. Augustine said, “Any woman who acts in such a way that she cannot give birth to as many children as she is capable of, makes herself guilty of that many murders.”

    Martin Luther wrote: “God created Adam lord of all living creatures, but Eve spoiled it all. Women should remain at home, sit still, keep house and bear children. And if a woman grows weary and, at last, dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her die from bearing; she is there to do it.”

    “Anders Behring Breivik christian terrorist, pro-forced-birther.
    What he thinks about womens rights, women need to breed, breed, breed.

    1. Limit the distribution of birth-control pills (contraceptive pills): Discourage the use of and prevent liberal distribution of contraceptive pills or equivalent prevention methods. The goal should be to make it considerably more difficult to obtain. This alone should increase the fertility rate by 0,1 points but would degrade women’s rights.
    2. Reform sex education: Reform the current sex education in our school institutions. This may involve limiting it or at least delaying sex education to a later age and discourage casual sex. Sex should only be encouraged within the boundaries of marriage. This alone should increase the fertility rate by 0,1 points.
    3. Making abortion illegal: A re-introduction of the ban on abortion should result in an increased fertility rate of approximately 0,1-0,2 points but would strip women of basic rights.
    4. Women and education: Discourage women in general to strive for full time careers. This will involve certain sexist and discriminating policies but should increase the fertility rate by up to 0,1-0,2 points.
    Women should not be encouraged by society/media to take anything above a bachelor’s degree but should not be prevented from taking a master or PhD. Males on the other hand should obviously continue to be encouraged to take higher education – bachelor, master and PhD.”

    “Self-Described ‘Christian Counterpart To Osama Bin Laden’ Arrested In Plot To Bomb Abortion Clinic
    Justin Carl Moose describe “himself” as the Christian counterpart to Osama bin Laden. Moose wrote: “I have learned a lot from the muslim terrorists and have no problem using their tactics.”

    Each year about 890,000 women have abortions in Pakistan, and every day 10 women die because they had an unsafe abortion. Some 560,000 Filippina women have unsafe illegal abortions every year, with 90,000 suffering complications from the procedure and 1,000 dying.~

    Pro-forced-birthers favorite piece of literature of all time.

    Genesis 3:16
    “I will greatly multiply your grief and your suffering in pregnancy and the pangs of childbearing; with spasms of distress you will bring forth children. Yet your desire and cravings will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

    “In the 1800′s when chloroform was introduced to the US to help ease the excruciating pain of childbirth for women, it was woman-hating Christians who fought against its permitted use on the grounds that easing women’s childbirth pain was contrary to God’s will. They cited the book of Genesis where God punishes women with the curse of pain in childbirth.”

    What pro-forced-birthers think of raped little girls.

    ”Church excommunicates mother of 9-year-old rape victim – but not accused rapist.”

    “A senior Vatican cleric has defended the Catholic Church’s decision to excommunicate the mother and doctors of a nine-year-old rape victim who had a life-saving abortion in Brazil.”

    “Police believe the girl was sexually assaulted for years by her stepfather, possibly since she was six. That she was four months pregnant with twins emerged only after she was taken to hospital complaining of severe stomach pains.”

  • Minnie

    Christians are LIARS their god is in no way pro-life, but he sure does love to torture women and little girls with pregnancy and childbirth. Oh and like pro-lifers he is pro-little-girl RAPE. It is embarrassing to be a liar, there for it is embarrassing to be a pro-lifer Christian. Any one can read your book and see that you are LIARS.

    What the bible says about cannibalism.

    Christian bible god is pro-people eating their children.

    Leviticus 26:29
    “You shall eat the flesh of your sons and of your daughters.”

    Jeremiah 19:3
    “And say, Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the Lord of hosts, The God of Israel: Behold, I am going to bring such evil upon this place that the ears of whoever hears of it will tingle.”

    Jeremiah 19:9
    “And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and their daughters, and they shall eat each one the flesh of his neighbor and friend in the siege and in the distress with which their enemies and those who seek their lives distress them.”

    What the bible says about little girl rape.

    Christian bible god saves man, Lot, who offers, NO begs, that a gang of rapist men take his two virgin daughters and gang-rapes them.

    Genesis 19:8
    “Look now, I have two daughters who are virgins; let me, I beg of you, bring them out to you, and you can do as you please with them. But only do nothing to these men, for they have came under the protection of my roof.”

    Numbers
    31: 17 “Now therefore, KILL every male among the little ones, and Kill every woman who is not a virgin.

    31:18 “But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves.”

    Christian bible god telling soldiers to rape twelve and thirteen year old virgin girls.

    Peter one of Jesus Christ chosen twelve calls Lot, a man who offered up two virgin girls to be gang-raped, righteous. Did Jesus Christ know Peters character before choosing him? Yes he did, and he chose a man, Peter, who called pro-gang-rape of virgin girls “Lot” righteous. Jesus Christ did not pick any sexually abused women as apostles, only rape is irrelevant men.

    2 Peter 2:7
    “And He rescued righteous Lot, greatly worn out distressed by the wanton ways of the ungodly and lawless.”

    Obviously gang rape of virgin girls is very Christian-bible-god, godly.

    The Pro-Rape bible consistently condemns none virgin women and girls. But it does not consistently condemn the men who rape them.

    The Ten Commandments does not say, Do not Rape. Jesus Christ never said, Do not Rape.

    Christian bible god is a happy-go-lucky self proclaimed baby killer.

    Isaiah 13:16
    “Their infants also will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be plundered and their wives ravished.”

    Ezekiel 9:6
    “Slay outright the elderly, the young man and the virgin, the infant and the woman; but do not touch or go near anyone whom is the mark. Begin at My sanctuary. So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple [who did not have the Lord's mark on their foreheads].”

    2 Kings 2:23-24
    “He went up from Jericho to Bethel. On the way, young [maturing and accountable] boys came out of the city and mocked him and said to him, Go up [in a whirlwind], you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!

    And he turned around and looked at them and called a curse down on them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and ripped up forty-two of the boys.”

    2 Kings 15:16
    “Then Menahem smote Tiphsah and all who were in it and its territory from tirzah on; he attacked it because they did not open to him. And all the women there who were with child we ripped up.”

    Hosea 13:16
    “Samaria shall bear her guilt and become desolate, for she rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword, their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women shall be ripped up.”

    1 Samuel 15:3
    “Now go and smite Amalek and utterly destroy all they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.”

    PSALM 137:9
    “Happy and blessed shall he be who takes and dashes your little ones against the rock!”

    Christian bible god making sure women and little girls know they are crap in his eyes.

    Genesis 3:16
    “I will greatly multiply your grief and your suffering in pregnancy and the pangs of childbearing; with spasms of distress you will bring forth children. Yet your desire and cravings will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

    Exodus 21:7
    “If a man sells his daughter to be a maidservant or a bondwoman, she shall not go out [in six years] as menservants do.” Christian bible god pro-female slavery.

    Leviticus 12:1
    “And the Lord said to Moses, Say to the Israelites, if a woman conceives and bears a male child, she shall be unclean seven days, unclean as during her monthly discomfort.”

    Leviticus 12:5 “But if the child she bears is a girl, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her periodic impurity, and she shall remain separated sixty-six days to be purified [from her loss] of blood.” Baby girls make their mothers extra dirty.

    Leviticus 27:1-7
    “And The Lord said to Moses,

    2: Say to the Israelites, when a man shall make a special vow of persons to the Lord at your valuation,
    3: Then your valuation of a male from twenty years old to sixty years old shall be fifty shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.
    4: And if the person is female, your valuation shall be thirty shekels.
    5: And if the person is from five years old up to twenty years old, then your valuation shall be for the male twenty shekels and for the female ten shekels.
    6: And if a child is from a month up to five years old, then your valuation shall be for the male five shekels of silver and for the female three shekels.”

    Christian bible god makes sure women and little girls know they are worth less then men and boys. People who teach this extremely hurtful, hateful crap to their little girls are just penis worshipers.

    Christians promote the bible verses that benefit their agendas and flatter their egos, and sweep under the rug like liars the bible verses that don’t.

    Their life manual the bible testifies against them that their life manual, the bible, was written for slave owners, and little girl rapist.

    If these bible verses are not true then the Ten Commandments and the creation story is not true either.

  • Minnie

    How pro-lifers feel about women after they have given birth and their new babies.

    “House Republicans have been facing a backlash after voting for a plan authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) that would dismantle Medicare while cutting taxes for the rich. But that plan also included deep cuts in discretionary spending, the destructiveness of which is becoming more apparent as the budget process moves forward.
    For instance, the Republican budget would implement a 15 percent cut in the agency tasked with policing oil markets, even with energy speculation at an all-time high. That same portion of the budget — which is being

    marked up by the House Appropriations agricultural subcommittee — would also cut $832 million from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a program that provides low-income women and children with food, counseling, and health care.”

    • Minnie
      • Liberated Liberal

        Minnie – you deserve a medal and a hug. I am so with you regarding everything you said. I can feel the anger and I feel it, too.

        Libbie – great post.

        Bob – Please respond to Minnie’s posts, and the others. You’re going to have to back up what you say a lot more to be taken even remotely seriously.

    • Steve

      For them life begins at conception and ends at birth. I’d also point out their endless warmongering

  • http://TheBereanObserver Bob Wheeler

    Frankly, I think that Minnie’s comments were filled with hate, slander, libel and blasphemy.
    Most of the biblical quotes were taken out of context. They were usually pronouncements of judgment on a wicked society, and not endorsements of rape and cannibalism.
    Calling someone a liar is a serious accusation, and I will not dignify the charge with a response.
    And since I am not a Catholic, you will have to find someone who is to defend their position. Suffice it to say, I do not expect to see Pope Alexander VI in heaven.

    • Noelle

      Do you want the fewest number of abortions possible? If we look to other countries for guidance on this issue, it is the ones with the most free and available contraception that do the best at this. I know I want the fewest number of abortions, so I want lots of free contraception and education on basic human physiology.

      Do you want more girls and women to carry pregnancies to term and raise their children as good productive citizens? Then you’re going to want full health care coverage for both her and those kiddos and good jobs available for mom with generous maternity benefits and safe and affordable child care available 24/7 so she can support them. If the girl or woman has not finished her schooling, you’re going to want schools with flexible schedules that allow for childcare, as well as on-site day care.

      If you’d like men involved with the decision, you need a culture where every boy and man considers every act of sexual intercourse as a possibility he may end up pregnant and raising a child alone.

      Making something illegal doesn’t make it go away. If we can agree on making it rare, then I think we can work on solutions. If you want to make something better, you should learn all the whys and hows first.

    • BabyRaptor

      lol Quoting the book you claim we should all be forced to live by is bad?

      Head’s up: Something cannot be both slander and libel. You might want to learn the meaning of big words before you use them.

      Further, you accusing someone of taking a biblical quote out of context is hilarious. The entire christian movement against gays is taking one verse out of context.

    • Minnie

      The bible is filled with hate and slander against women, little girls, and baby girls. Get over your entitled self.

    • Niemand

      They were usually pronouncements of judgment on a wicked society

      So then infanticide, mass murder, and rape are ok if the society they are being perpetrated on is “wicked”?

  • Uly

    Quite aside from everything you said, it’s factually incorrect to say that a zygote WILL turn into a baby.

    Nearly 60% of all zygotes never even implant. So, at best, a zygote has a 40% chance of becoming even an embryo. And then it still has only a 70% chance of not being spontaneously aborted as an embryo.

    The fact is, it’s kinda remarkable if ANY zygote makes it all the way to the finish line. (And yet, it happens all the time. People sure do like to have sex.)

  • Minnie

    @ Liberated Liberal

    I was a conservative, republican, Baptist Christian two years ago. Then when they started going on about forcing sexually abused girls under the age of eighteen to breed with their rapist it got very personal, I started researching. The pro-lifers made me, someone who hated feminist, and was scared to death of atheist, a feminist, atheist, pro-choicer.

    This is what I have learned as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse from pro-lifers, Christians, and republicans. Little girl rape is pro-family, and little girl rape is pro-life, and rapists are great collaborators with Christian biblegod.

    If they are going to use the bible to hurt gay little boys and sexually abused little girl we can use it back on them. And if we care about sexually abused little girls and litle gay boys we will.

  • SophieUK

    “Frankly, I think that Minnie’s comments were filled with hate, slander, libel and blasphemy.”

    Yes, because she quoted the bible. I’m sorry, but anyone who derives their morals from a god who advocates genocide and murder isn’t in a position to comment about ethics.

    • Steve

      It’s always like that. If they like a verse it’s the holy, inerrant, unalterable word of god that needs to be enshrined into law immediately. If they don’t like something it’s “taken out of context”.

  • smrnda

    Uly, thank you for the medical information. When people are freaking out over zygotes (such as when people argue that the morning-after pill is the same as abortion) it seems to be based on a false understanding of both when a pregnancy can even be said to be established along with the idea that zygotes will naturally implant all the time without human intervention. Given the low rate of implantation, using the morning after pill only really can be said to increase the likelihood of what is really the most likely outcome to begin with.

    All said, the Bible (among other things) says that the right way to handle a rape is to have the rape victim marry the rapist. Rebellious kids should be killed – no question as to whether or not the parents might have actually been in the wrong. I just can’t take the book seriously as a guide to moral behavior.

    • ButchKitties

      People who argue that taking the morning after pill is abortion don’t understand the underlying biology. There’s no real evidence that the single hormone morning after pill prevents implantation. The kind of morning after pill that is most likely to cause implantation failure is the mixed hormone version, which is rapidly falling out of favor because it just doesn’t work as well as the single hormone version.

      It basically goes like this. Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) regulates the maturation of an egg into a follicle. The follicle produces estrogen, stimulating the growth of the uterine lining. Then a second hormone called Luteinizing Hormone (LH) stimulates the follicle to pop and release the egg. The follicle then becomes a corpeus lutem, which continues to produce estrogen but also starts producing increasing amounts of progesterone, which acts as a sort of timer. Progesterone suppresses LH. Once progesterone levels get high enough, LH production ceases. When there is no more LH, the corpeus lutem shuts down. With no more hormones coming from the corpus luteum, if there is no fertilized egg implanted in the lining (and not infrequently, even if there is) then the lining is shed and the whole process starts over again.

      The morning after pill is a high dose of synthetic progesterone. It prevents pregnancy by suppressing the production of LH, which in turn prevents ovulation. It is a contraceptive, not a contragestive. The same hormone in Plan B is sometimes prescribed to women who are trying to start families but have a history of early miscarriages, as they can sometimes be caused by insufficient progesterone.

      The warning that Plan B could possibly prevent implantation was basically FDA-speak for, “Someone suggested this is possible. There’s no evidence that it does, but we can’t prove it doesn’t without performing unethically invasive tests on thousands of women, so for the sake of political expediency we’ll just say it could happen.”

      • smrnda

        Thanks for the information, it had been a while since I took anything related to reproductive biology.

        I think a problem is that people actually believe that sometime during sex the pregnancy actually becomes established, but I don’t expect much better from people who believe that the world is 6000 years old.

      • Noelle

        Can I say how happy I am to see another internet soul teaching physiology? I try so often. Spread the word!

  • http://jw-thoughts.blogspot JW

    http://jw-thoughts.blogspot.com/2012/09/dnc-issues-and-responsiblity.html

    For what it is worth, my wife and I were watching the DNC without the commentators. I hate commentators because they tend to try to tell you what you should be thinking. My wife is Filipino and doesn’t understand all of the politics in America. Yet, last night, something happened in her enough that she went to the computer and put down some thoughts and posted them on her facebook page. I put the quote on my blog and I wanted to share it here to see what your thoughts are on it.

    JW

    • ScottInOH

      Two quick thoughts:

      1. Without control over pregnancy, women in practice have very little control over the “more important matters” of “education, career, and financial independence.”

      2. The term “irresponsible sex” is loaded and should be avoided.

      • http://Patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        This. Without being able to control their reproduction, women can’t effectively do all those other things. Having control over out bodies is foundational to being able to do anything else.

    • http://dream-wind.livejournal.com Christine

      Because if the right to contraception and abortion is taken away, a woman’s life WILL revolve around her reproductive organs, in the worst way possible.

  • Nurse Bee

    I do agree with your point (even as someone who is pro-life). If pro-life people want to seriously cut down on abortion we need to embrace birth control and maybe even admit that places like Planned Parenthood do offer some good services. We aren’t all nuts (just like I’m sure some of you liberal/atheists are nice too :) )

    • Niemand

      Forgive me if I’m wrong, but you sound like someone who thinks that abortion is a bad idea, possibly sinful, possibly dangerous, but not something that should be illegalized? Is that correct? If so, then you’re not “pro-life” but “pro-choice.” Lots of pro-choice people would like the rate of abortion to go down. Clinton and the “safe, rare, and legal” meme and all.

      • Nurse Bee

        I think the idea of making it illegal these days is just simply not going to happen (although I think it probably should be illegal except in extreme cases (rape, health, etc). The problem is that too many pro-life people want to just say “abortion is bad and wrong” and leave it at that, instead of looking at why women are having abortions and working at the problem from there.

        And forgive me if I’m wrong, but it seems like quite a few commenters on here have absolutely no problem with abortion, to the point of being pro-abortion rather than pro-choice. Which honestly I find a rather disgusting point of view.

        If everyone could just agree that abortions are not a good thing and work together to find a way to decrease them instead of fighting over the right to have them/make them illegal……

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Nurse Bee:

        And forgive me if I’m wrong, but it seems like quite a few commenters on here have absolutely no problem with abortion, to the point of being pro-abortion rather than pro-choice. Which honestly I find a rather disgusting point of view.

        No, “pro-choice” is the fair term because being “pro-choice” means that you support a woman’s right to choose, whatever choice she makes. No one here is talking about forcing women to have abortions, but simply about supporting their right to choose for themselves. Hence “pro-choice.”

        If everyone could just agree that abortions are not a good thing and work together to find a way to decrease them instead of fighting over the right to have them/make them illegal……

        …except that not everyone sees abortions as “not a good thing.” In fact, if I had an unintended pregnancy and decided that I did not want to carry it to term, an abortion would be “a very good thing.” Everyone does agree that unintended/unwanted pregnancies are bad, and that we need to find a way to deal with them, both by expanding birth control so that we won’t have unintended pregnancies in the first place and by making abortion available, especially in the first trimester (I include abortion here and not just birth control because abortion is a way to deal with unintended pregnancies, though birth control is obviously the first line of defense given that it prevents unintended pregnancies from happening in the first place).

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        The problem with the idea of a rape exception is that it would be cruel and really downright impossible to actually implement. You’d be putting a pregnant rape victim on trial to determine whether or not she can have a time-sensitive medical procedure. That’s already a problem and that’s assuming that the justice system is perfect and convicts rapists every time which is certainly NOT true. And even if it were true, that’s assuming that it’s even always possible to prove that a rape took place. Would you force a woman to have a rapist’s child if there were no witnesses or physical evidence of her having been raped. Do you know how common that is? How would things work for, say, a woman who is raped by her boyfriend? In private? Even with a semen sample, all that could be proven is that intercourse with a man with whom the victim was in a relationship took place. Nothing and nobody to say that she did not consent to it, except the woman herself. And, some how, I doubt that would be enough.

        People who believe “no abortion except for rape” either no nothing about rape or haven’t really thought that through. Most often both, in my opinion.

        And you’re right. I don’t agree that abortion is a bad thing. I think it is a morally neutral thing, in general. And, in particular individual cases, I think it CAN be a good thing. A great thing! It can prevent lives from being ruined. That’s a good thing, in my book.

    • smrnda

      The main issue on that one seems to be that some people not only oppose abortion, but they can’t stand the idea of other people having sex and using contraception. It’s the same mentality that causes people to promote abstinence based sex ed that doesn’t work. They are very emotionally invested in the idea that certain kinds of sexual behavior are wrong and they have to create a culture of shame around it. They feel like something would be lost (something they value, but not me) if society just approved of using contraception to avoid pregnancy and quit caring about nonsense like ‘sexual purity.’

      I experienced this when (at a public school IN A CITY) I was given abstinence based sex ed. I already knew about contraception, and all I heard was the “only way to 100% avoid disease and pregnancy is through abstinence.” I pointed out that about nothing is 100% safe, so I asked “What if I decided I wanted to have sex? What should I do?” I was basically told by the teacher that she wasn’t going to ‘support’ that decision and so if I died of AIDS, it’d be my problem and not hers. After asking questions that made it clear that I was trying to find ways of bringing up condoms and such, I just got kicked out of class.

    • Stony

      Of course you’re not all nuts. Neither are we all anarchist baby-eaters (only some of us). ;)

      None of us, including the so-called Planned Parenthood drive-thru abortion malls want MORE abortions. We would like women to have the access to safe affordable contraception and the education that goes with it, AND the autonomy of their own bodies to make the decisions that affect them.

      We want to be treated like real human beings, not uterii with legs and no voice. I want my doctor to be able to terminate a dangerous or unviable pregnancy without fear for her license. I want our congressMEN to stop making asinine comments about how my body supposedly works, but that will probably only happen after swine take flight.

  • Niemand

    Fertilization is the EASY part. It’s so simple we’ve been able to do it in a test tube (well, petri dish) for decades. Just put the sperm and egg together someplace with appropriate pH, salinity, moisture, and heat and shortly thereafter…fertilized egg. Gestation is hard. Can’t do that in vitro even now. The difficulty of getting from a zygote to a baby is much greater than that of getting from a sperm and egg* to a zygote.

    *Actually, an oocyte. The human oocyte only undergoes second meiosis after fertilization.

  • Stony

    “But then I realized that it is useless to argue that way with an atheist, because to an atheist there is no such thing as a “right to life.” ”

    Bob, until your worldview evolves beyond “Christian = good, atheist = bad”, you will continue to spout the same pack of delusions that most of us have rejected based on real-life, actual experience within the Christian world.
    In Bob Wheeler’s world, Christian women never, ever have abortions. I got news for ya, Bob.

  • Rilian

    Sometimes more than nine months. That is to say, some pregnancy problems last for the rest of your life. How about, sorry, I’m not going to sacrifice myself for anyone just because you say I should?

  • Rilian

    I believe in a right to life. Life, liberty, and property. You own yourself, and all the fruits of your labor. And that’s WHY I’m pro-choice.

  • http://TheBereanObserver Bob Wheeler

    I don’t have the slightest doubt that many people, perhaps most, act inconsistently. The question is, what follows logically from their premises. Logically, if you look at the underlying value system, which political party should be pro-choice? Which party shares the feminist emphasis on individual freedom and economic opportunity? Which party doesn’t like to admit that we share a responsibility for the weak, the poor, and the helpless? Feminists belong in the same party as the former CEO of Bain Capital.
    It is absolutely not true that child abuse is “pro-family.” I honestly do not know where Minnie got such an outrageous idea. What the Bible actually says about rapists is that they should be put to death. You cannot breed with someone who has just been executed.

    • http://sidhe3141.blogspot.com sidhe3141

      Logically, if you look at the underlying value system, which political party should be pro-choice? Which party shares the feminist emphasis on individual freedom and economic opportunity? Which party doesn’t like to admit that we share a responsibility for the weak, the poor, and the helpless? Feminists belong in the same party as the former CEO of Bain Capital.

      Not sure where you’re getting anything about the weak, the poor, and the helpless; from what I’ve seen, most feminists are involved in other areas of social justice.

      It is absolutely not true that child abuse is “pro-family.” I honestly do not know where Minnie got such an outrageous idea. What the Bible actually says about rapists is that they should be put to death. You cannot breed with someone who has just been executed.

      I know where Minnie got it:

      22:23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
      22:24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.
      22:25 But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die.
      22:26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:
      22:27 For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.
      22:28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
      22:29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

      • http://sidhe3141.blogspot.com sidhe3141

        Aargh, blockquote fail.

        Edit: Fixed!

    • BabyRaptor

      Read your bible before you go accusing others of not reading it. The bible DOES NOT say that rapists should be stoned. It says that women should be forced to marry the man who rapes them, unless the woman is already married. Then the rapist pays a fine.

      I know that all too well…My family disowned me because I refused to marry the man who raped me, and instead took Plan B and attempted to press charges. He’s a pastor at a decent sized church now, and god knows how many other women he’s raped. Why? Because my grandparents refused to allow me to press charges.

      • Minnie

        BabyRaptor that is horrific! I am so sorry. The man who sexually abused me was a bible loving, bible verse quoting, southern baptist thug.

        “TIME ranks Southern Baptists’ rejection of sex-offender database as a top “underreported” news story of 2008″

        http://stopbaptistpredators.org/index.htm

      • Niemand

        The bible DOES NOT say that rapists should be stoned.

        Technically, it does say that rapists-and their victims-should be stoned if the woman who was raped was married or engaged. Because the man has stolen something from the woman’s husband/owner and the woman because she didn’t try hard enough to prevent it. Or something like that.

      • Niemand

        Babyraptor, I didn’t read all the way to the end of your post before responding. I’m so sorry! That’s absolutely horrible, both what the pastor did and how your family responded.

  • http://TheBereanObserver Bob Wheeler

    I just saw Rillian’s last two comments, and I think they illustrate perfectly the point I tried to make about the right to life, and the individualism of the Republican Party. Rillian’s comments sound as if they came straight from Ayn Rand, who was an atheist and a Libertarian, and was one of the formative influences on Paul Ryan.

    • BabyRaptor

      Ayn Rand was rabidly pro-choice. You know that, right?

  • http://TheBereanObserver Bob Wheeler

    Well, I stand corrected and owe Minnie an apology!
    What is hard for us to understand about this passage (Dt. 22:28,29) is that this is in a context in which most marriages were arranged. The idea that people marry for love is a fairly recent phenomenon. In this particular case, the concern would have been 1) no one else would want to marry the woman, since she was no longer a virgin, 2) she might be pregnant, with the prospect of single parenthood, and 3) she would be left without the visible means of support, or left dependent on her father for support. To protect the woman, then, the man was forced to marry her without the option of divorce. The overriding concern was not the personal feelings of the man and the woman — they come and go — but the social and financial stability of the relationship. (Women were generally dependent on men for financial support). The Bible does not condone rape, but rather tries to regulate existing social customs.
    The New Testament imposes a very strict standard of sexual morality. The Bible is very clear and explicit on this point: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness . . . they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal. 5:19-21). Suffice it to say, little girl rape is definitely NOT pro-life or pro-family!
    What I gather happened to Minnie is tragic, and unfortunately her case is not unique. I can scarcely imagine what it must be like to be in that position. But please don’t blame God for the perverse behavior of some ungodly person, behavior which God condemns.

    • BabyRaptor

      The idea of making a woman marry her rapist for protection is sick and sadistic. The fact that you’re defending this shows that you have issues.

      Also, answer me this: Why does what your god has to say about anything matter to us? If you wish to live your life by his laws, that’s fine. That’s your right. But the same law that gives you that right gives the rest of us the right NOT to, because we have the freedom to have other rights. Why do those rights simply not matter to you? Why are you perfectly okay tossing our rights out the window?

      And how hypocritically loudly are you going to scream when someone does it to you?

    • BabyRaptor

      Also, your god DOES get the blame for stuff like this, because if he really, honestly cared, he could stop it. If the bible is true, he has the power to. But instead, he lets it happen. So, no. I WILL blame your god for not stopping people who supposedly worship him and act in his name from committing horrible acts.

    • ButchKitties

      The Bible doesn’t condemn rape wholesale. It only condemns raping a woman who doesn’t belong to you. That’s why the few prohibitions in place all talk about raping a virgin or raping another man’s wife. As long as you’re raping your own property: your spouse, slave, or prisoner of war, the Bible has nothing to say against it.

    • Rosie

      You’d think, if the Biblical God really cared about women, he could have said something to the effect of “and let your women have all the same rights and responsibilities as men” when he was handing down commandments on those stone tablets. But instead, he just said that a man should not “covet thy neighhbor’s wife, or his ass”, placing a man’s ownership of both at the same level. You can try to excuse it by saying, “that’s just how things were back then”, but if God is really God, he could have changed it. If he thought it was important at all. He instituted all kinds of social changes in making his people “a people set apart”, but it’s interesting to note that none of those changes benefited women.

    • Minnie

      Actually the pro-rape bible says if a man rapes a girl the father of the girl can sale her to her rapist. If the girls hymen has already been promised to another man the rapist gets put to death for stealing the mans hymen which happens to be in the raped girls body. How the girl feels is irrelevant, its about what the girls father can get out of her rape and that another mans opportunity to break a hymen got stole from HIM.

      We know how Christian men love to take their hymens (daughters) to purity balls and peddle their hymens around for all their Christian man friends to see. Perverts fixated on their ownership of a little girl’s hymen, and one day HE will give it to another man. And that is what all this is about, vagina ownership, and how MEN are owners and dictators of vaginas. Christianity is so misogynistic and abusive it makes me want to cut my self, keep the evil crap out of my life and body. Just because this gives you a thrill does not mean it gives every body a thrill, and people who love women and little girls, and hate rape do not have to be subject to it.

      As someone who was sexually abused as a little girl I find the bible to be extremely offensive and massively hurtful. The first time I read the bible from the start I threw it away and cried, that is how your sick book made a teenage girl feel who had been raped.

      My vagina did not belong to my rapist, and my vagina does not belong to the pro-forced-birthers.

      Deuteronomy 22: 28-29
      “If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not betrothed, and he seizes her and lies with her and they are found, Then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her; he may not divorce her all his days.”

    • http://cfiottawa.com Eamon Knight

      The Bible does not condone rape, but rather tries to regulate existing social customs.

      This is a stupid excuse. In Leviticus, God goes on at great length setting up that society and its customs — what you can wear, who you can have sex with and when, what foods you can and can’t eat, regulation of land ownership (also BTW: people ownership), and proper religious observances. But somehow, the idea that women shouldn’t be property (for that matter: that people shouldn’t be property, period), and their value as persons is not as a sexual and reproductive resource to a man, is too radical for Him to explain and issue edicts about. No, all he can do is tinker a bit with the institution of patriarchy to make it a little kinder and gentler (and manage to get even that bit wrong).

      As I said in a previous thread on this topic: a better commandment would have been to help and cherish the victim, and not regard her as “damaged” — and to castrate the rapist to make damn sure he never does it again.

  • smrnda

    I can understand the idea of marriage for love being a recent phenomenon that wasn’t common in Old Testament times, but the idea that ‘marrying someone you don’t love’ and ‘marrying a rapist’ are in any way equivalent is pretty screwed up. The rapist is going to ‘protect and provide’ for the woman?

    The problem with this view of sexuality is that it doesn’t see a man who RAPES a woman as any different from a guy who has sex with her and it’s consensual. Rape here isn’t even being considered a crime against a woman – it’s a property crime against whatever man owns her, her father or her husband. The woman’s feelings are irrelevant.

    Things like this are evidence that the Bible is clearly the product of human beings and not of divine origin. It never really sees beyond the moral outlook of the time. It’s a product of barbaric, violent, time and people. If the Bible was supposedly the creation or revelation of some just and benevolent God, you’d think it’d do better than the societies it was in. God seems overly obsessed with trivialities and can’t seem to get the moral issues of slavery or rape right.

    • Steve

      The “marrying your rapist” thing still exists in some Muslim countries. The reason now as then was a barbaric honor code. Since only virgins were valued and not being a virgin dishonors the family or tribe, her marrying her rapist was seen as a way to protect or regain her honor and virtue. Of course the easier solution would be to not place such a ridiculous role on biology and consider the circumstances of the devirginization.

  • SophieUK

    “In this particular case, the concern would have been 1) no one else would want to marry the woman, since she was no longer a virgin, 2) she might be pregnant, with the prospect of single parenthood, and 3) she would be left without the visible means of support, or left dependent on her father for support. To protect the woman, then, the man was forced to marry her without the option of divorce. The overriding concern was not the personal feelings of the man and the woman — they come and go — but the social and financial stability of the relationship. ”

    Actually speechless. For a moment. Do you have any idea of how traumatic rape is???Feelings come and go in other walks of life but not when it comes to rape. In order to protect someone from abuse you don’t marry them to their abuser. It sets them up for a lifetime of trauma relived day after day after day. And maybe the man isn’t forced to marry her. Maybe she wouldn’t marry him under normal circumstances, so he just has to rape her and voila, she’s his.

    Couldn’t your god say that in such cases the community should support the woman financially? Or that it would be entirely preferable for her to remain dependent on her father than have to live a life married to the man that raped her??? I just don’t think you have any grasp of the meaning of a word such as protection. If there’s a community there that is strong enough to force one person to marry another then it is strong enough to come up with a solution that doesn’t involve creating an abusive marriage. Like, maybe they could support the woman herself?

    And you think such a marriage would be conducive to social stability??? Do you honesty think that a marriage that one or both parties has been forced into as the result of a traumatic crime is really going to be socially stable? That the two people will be able to have a joyous wedding day and then settle down to play happy families?? The bible is about as moral as the nazi party.

    • Rosie

      As a rape survivor, I can confidently say I’d rather have been sentenced to death than married to my rapist. Because the abuse at least can’t continue once I’m dead, nor would I be stuck dealing with the after-effects of the rape (PTSD, at the very least).

  • smrnda

    If a guy doesn’t want to marry a woman because she is a rape victim and not a virgin, that guy is an asshole. Why didn’t the Bible say to men that holding being raped against women was a shitty thing to do? That might have seemed particularly enlightened.

  • Judy L.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that all the debate about a fetus’ personhood or right to life doesn’t matter one way or the other, so when pro-lifers want to trot out those discussions, I just regard that as a diversionary tactic that I won’t engage with.

    The fundamental question is whether or not anything or anyone has the right to reside in another person’s body without that person’s ongoing consent. The religious right has been pretty clear about how it regards women: as walking incubators whose own personhood and rights to bodily autonomy disappear when conception occurs inside her body (if they ever had personhood and human rights to begin with). And I’m in full agreement with your analysis, Libby; we need to start using language that reveals the truth: “saving babies” is simply a pleasant euphemism for enforced pregnancy and childbirth.

  • melissa

    actually, he dismisses women sooner. he said ‘“I’m sure evangelical youngsters everywhere would rejoice if their elders decided that they should have sex with great frequency because “if a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate.”
    He actually dismisses women right there because apparently its not femal eyoungsters he is talking about, because then it would have read IF AND EGG or SPERM IS WASTED…

    so already he has made it clear that women dont even have sex. men have sex with a woman as the objectified party. and here’s another one for ya. Since it has been demonstrated that generally the man usually takes a more dominant and stronger role in almost any sexual act or relationship, whether in a marriage or by hiring a sex worker, why do we keep blaming and laying all the fault and responsibility on the woman? Most women who dont want a child do their darndest to prevent pregnancy. If the men kept in in their pants we would be fine.

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  • A. D.

    Pregnancy is sooo dangerous and limiting… But abortions?! Dude they are like totally safe and like nothing EVER goes wrong during one… Like EVER. And I love how you suggest how women who regret their decision to kill their offspring are “delicate damsels” (seiously how can ANY woman regret THAT) but the ones that cannot handle nine months of pregnancy, you know something women have been doing since before cavemen times without the quality of technology and medicine that have have today… are tough, strong women that can handle anything!!!

  • A. D.

    I apologize for some of my spelling and/or grammatical errors. Typing from the screen on my phone is a bit tedious. Also, the reason why it seems like prolifers focus too much on the “blobs of cells” vs the woman is not because the woman doesn’t count. It is because her humanity is obvious and its not one that there is much to debate on. The offspring in question is a different story. There is room for debate and discussion on the humanity of the unborn bc that’s where a lot of the disagreement lies. Also, not supporting somebody’s right to kill another doesn’t mean that the human whose life we are trying to protect is more valuable than the one whose choice we don’t support. For example, if I say that a store owner shouldn’t be allowed to kill a thief in order to recover her property, does that mean I think she has no right to own a store? Does that mean she has fewer rights than or matters less than the person she is not allowed to kill? No. That is intellectually dishonest.

  • A. D.

    And yes you are right we DO want women to just sit at home and pop babies out all day and have no careers. That’s why groups like Femenists for Life exist to offer financial and educational resources to pregnant women in colleges so that these women can *GASP* continue their path to the careers they want to possess. And as far as contraception is concerned, what we want to expose is the hypocrisy of demanding that government stays out of your bedroom while demanding that if forces taxpayers to fund the supplies for the activities in those bedrooms. We are not demanding that Walmarts, Targets and other pharmacies close down. You want birth control? FINE. Pay for it YOURSELF. Not a difficult fucking concept.

  • A. D.

    Smrnda- perhaps forcing death on an innocent child because you don’t feel like letting it live is something people are uncomfortable admitting they are doing so they need euphemisms like, “Choice” and focus on not the fact that the woman is KILLING her offspring, focus in the fact that the WOMAN is killing her offspring. If you have a vagina, the moral complications if your choice shouldn’t matter. The mere fact that the person making the decision TO KILL an innocent human being is a WOMAN is all that matters. Not the dead child, not the sibling of a brother or sister that that sibling will never get to know, not the fathers who don’t have a say in wether or not their children get KILLED in the womb, ( but they better shut their mouth and pay child support for a child they didn’t have a say in the woman bringing into the world if they don’t WANT to become fathers). No, the fact that the child is physically dependent on the woman for survival invalidates that child’s humanity. If you don’t agree yous a sexist, woman-hating pig who can’t stand the fact that females are being aborted in preference if male babies in many countries,

    • Anat

      In order to become a child one must first be born. There are no unborn children.

      If you don’t agree yous a sexist, woman-hating pig who can’t stand the fact that females are being aborted in preference if male babies in many countries,

      BS. I support the right of a woman to abort a fetus of any sex, for any reason of her choosing. If she aborts a fetus for being female it’s because she knows how her society treats females once they are born.

  • A. D.

    Libby Anne, how incredibly hypocritical of you to demand that WE listen when you don’t demand that of people on YOUR side? Sure, YOU make the effort to see things from our perspective, ( I can’t think of a good example of how and when, but I will take your word for it) but most of your commenters have not

    • Anat

      We have listened to your side – you have been screaming long enough and loudly enough. We find your position morally wanting.

    • Twist

      Everyone’s heard your arguments eleventy million times. They are illogical, and frankly, immoral.

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  • The_L1985

    Indeed. The only “irresponsible” sex is sex without consideration for your partner’s wants and needs. Not being married or not wanting children hardly make someone “irresponsible.”

  • Zaphod Beeblebrox

    If you were so concerned about covering the cost of people having sex, why haven’t you protested Viagra already being covered under insurance? Birth control has many other uses, uses required for health purposes, than just birth control. Viagra, not so much. In fact, the reason the Obama administration decided to cover birth control was because an entire panel of scientists said it would improve the health of women. Once again, Viagra, not so much. It’s just an anti impotence drug. 1.5 million women on the pill are on it for reasons for health. Finally, the new insurance requirements will be covered by INSURANCE, not taxpayers.

    • Christine

      Viagra is still (on occasion) used for it’s original purpose, it’s not just an anti-impotence drug.

  • Anat
  • Anat

    If the humanity of the woman is so obvious why doesn’t she gets treated as such? Even corpses aren’t required to donate organs to save anyone’s life. Pregnant women – less than corpses. That’s the ‘prolife’ position.


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