Contraception ignorance: Stupid or evil?

“How many people really are so stupid that they don’t know how hormonal birth control works?” BooMan asks.

Millions. Tens of millions.

But, again, it’s not a matter of innate stupidity. It’s the same willful, voluntary, pretense of stupidity that permits them to pretend to believe in a vast conspiracy of scientists, insurance companies, wildlife and glaciers promoting the “myth” of climate change. The same deliberate stupidity that enables them to look at the night sky without questioning that the universe is 6,000 years old. It’s a defiant ignorance that chooses to cling to ignorance and to vigilantly guard against any alternative.

If you choose not to know how hormonal birth control works, then you can pretend to believe lots of other things. You can pretend to believe that contraception is an “abortifacient,” thus enabling you to pretend you’re morally superior to those evil, evil people using it. And then you can lecture those people without having to feel guilty about lying to them, because you can pretend that it’s not really lying if you’re also willing to deceive yourself.

In other words — for those keeping score in the neverending game of “Stupid or Evil?” — I’m putting this one solidly in the “Evil” column.

Jesse Singal gamely tries to make a case for “Stupid” before sliding into sarcasm because, well, it’s just impossible to believe that anyone is as innocently stupid as these folks are pretending to be. In a post called “Contraception: That’s Not How It Works, Guys,” Singal writes:

Reading the comments that have been made recently, you get the sense that the people — mostly older guys — puking out these sorts of arguments haven’t quite grasped the basics of circa-20121960s contraceptive technology.

… Here’s a quick primer. This debate is mostly about the pill, not condoms. It’s not the case that every time a woman has sex she has to take a pill (though something like that also exists for emergency situations, and I’m aware that this enrages you). Rather, women get a prescription for these things called birth-control pills that are generally taken every day. So it’s a fixed prescription cost, and like many such costs, if insurance doesn’t cover it it can get out of hand really quickly because our medical system is an octopus riding a donkey riding a skateboard into a sadness quarry. But there is no proportional relationship between the amount of sex a woman has and the number of standard birth-control pills she consumes. Why, there are even women who aren’t sexually active who take the pill for medical reasons.

Rachel Maddow was slightly more successful at following through on the premise that the false claims being made and repeated about how contraception works might be an innocent error of simple ignorance.

What if that were really the case? What if all of these politicians and pundits and pastors arguing that contraceptives are “abortifacient” really don’t know any better? What if they really do somehow genuinely believe that those who have sex more often must have to take the pill more often too? What if they just never had “that little talk” with their parents and they honestly just don’t know how this works?

I suppose it’s possible, in some cases. A lot of these folks, after all, were raised in the kinds of conservative Christian homes where “that little talk” never actually happens. So what if they’re really, truly as ignorant as their comments, behavior and legislative proposals suggest?

Maddow tried to dispel any such potential ignorance with a helpful segment titled “The Man Cave’s Not-Too-Upsetting Guide to Down-There Parts.”

The strongest argument for “Stupid” is probably to consider the case of Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., since no one is going to make the mistake of regarding Murphy as a smart man. But Murphy provides a classic example of how deliberate, defensive ignorance works. Confronted with facts correcting his preferred misapprehension, he doesn’t just challenge those facts — Murphy challenges the possibility of any facts at all. Murphy denies that there is any such thing as objective reality — only competing religious assertions:

SEBELIUS: There also is no abortifacient drug that is part of the FDA-approved contraception. What the rule for preventive care …

MURPHY: Ma’am that is not true. … Is the morning after pill or something like that an abortifacient drug?

SEBELIUS: It is a contraceptive drug, not an abortifacient. It does not interfere with a pregnancy. If the morning pill were taken, and a female were pregnant, the pregnancy is not interrupted. That’s the definition of abortifacient.

MURPHY: Ma’am that is your interpretation, and I appreciate that’s your interpretation.

SEBELIUS: That’s what the scientists and doctors …

MURPHY: We’re not talking about scientists! Ma’am we’re not talking about scientists here, we’re talking about religious belief.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius defines “abortifacient” as having the effect of interrupting a pregnancy. Murphy doesn’t like that definition. Why? Because he desperately wants to believe that hormonal contraception is a baby-killing abortion drug that he can thus condemn loose women for using. So Murphy redefines the word “abortifacient” to mean, roughly, whatever “religious” believers want to pretend it means.

It’s not a coincidence that Murphy’s views on contraception precisely parallel his party’s views on climate change. You think carbon traps heat? “That’s your interpretation. But we’re not talking about scientists here, we’re talking about religious belief.”

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  • Anonymous

    There are a lot of things out there which I don’t know the details of, and I am dimly aware that the authorities are arguing about, but I don’t have enough information to judge which side is right. For tens of millions of people, contraception is right up there with string theory as an esoteric question which they haven’t really thought about except to say, “I trust Fox News and WORLD magazine, and they say such and such.” Remember that in the echo chamber, you are taught that The Media is not to be trusted, and that personal religious beliefs are not subject to challenge or even skepticism.

  • Anonymous

    You know poor communication usually kills but in this case it impregnates

  • http://leftcheek.blogspot.com Jas-nDye

    You know poor communication usually kills but in this case it impregnates

    Unwanted, unplanned pregnancies are lethal as well… so we could argue this fight against contraceptions is (also) not pro life.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    It’s not ‘stupid’ or ‘evil’. It’s obedient to a central dogma.

    The basic, fundamental belief at work is this:
    “No woman, anywhere, should ever be able to have sex without the fear of becoming pregnant and the risk of either becoming a mother or dying.”

    Every belief, every learning, every act of ignorance or malice or confusion, it all is drawn from this wellspring. There are no other underlying values. So when these folks lie, or distort, or equivocate, it’s not out of stupidity or malice, but out of a misguided fidelity to that singular principle.

    This crowd learned long ago that they didn’t need to overturn Roe V. Wade to neutralize it. They’ve methodically chipped away at that decision, limiting it and condemning it to death by a thousand cuts. And now that they’re feeling particularly successful, they’ve moved on to their next target, what some might say is the “real” target: Clark v. Griswold.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jam-Blair/711692344 Jam Blair

    I understand that Plan B does not interfere with fertilised eggs (I’ve been linking my Catholic friends on facebook to studies staying this for a week now).

    However, is the drug “ella”  (ulipristal) covered by the mandate? I’ve seen it compared to RU-486, which is an abortion drug. However, “ella” seems to be classified as a contraceptive.

    People complaining about abortiofacients believe that interfering with implantation of a fertilised egg is abortion. Disregarding the high rate of natural miscarriages at this stage and all the arguments against this definition… if one accepts their definition, perhaps “ella” is abortiofacient.

    When I was taking the pill for non-sexual medical reasons (I’m actually asexual), it *did* have a warning on the box that part of how it works might be to interfere with implantation. I believe this is not scientifically accurate any longer (?), but since it says so on the box, and these people believe that flushing a fertilised egg is abortion, maybe they’re not completely batty, like. By their definition, “abortions” are occurring.

    I appreciate any comments or thoughts on this. I’m not defending those quoted above. Just friends of mine who’ve done a bit of research.

  • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

    Further study is needed to answer the question with more certainty, but so far it doesn’t appear that ella has a post-fertilization effect when used at the proper dose for emergency contraception:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2971744/
    http://ec.princeton.edu/news/Glasier%202010%20-%20UPA.pdf

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jam-Blair/711692344 Jam Blair

    thanks. I’ll have a read thru these and see what I come up with.

  • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

     Actually, I misread the first one to be making a stronger claim about ella than it was, so I think I’m going to amend my statement to “we don’t know.”

    I’m also going to put in a good word (no pun intended) for the use of the term “contragestive” to refer to an agent that prevents implantation of an embryo. I think if more people used this instead of “abortifacient”, things might be clearer. (For the record: birth control pills, theoretically contragestive but no evidence to back that up. Plan B, by this poing pretty clearly shown not to be contragestive. ella, may or may not be.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jam-Blair/711692344 Jam Blair

    considering that Plan B is not “contragestive,” (yay a new word to use!) I highly doubt the pill is as well.

    “we don’t know” isn’t enough to run around shouting BABY KILLERS! on. >_> but, at the same time, it will trouble the consciences of the sensitive. hmm.

  • Tricksterson

    Except the folks on the anti-contraceptive side of the argument don’t want things to be clearer because then they’d lose.  In contrast you and Rysdux are taking active measures to reduce your ignorance.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    By their definition, “abortions” are occurring.

    Morilore covered my thoughts on this.

  • gocart mozart

    “if one accepts their definition, perhaps “ella” is abortiofacient.”

    If one accepts that all contraception is made out of pork then all contraception would be not kosher.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jam-Blair/711692344 Jam Blair

    this is true, but irrelevant.

    the issue here is, are these people lying or stupid by thinking abortion drugs are covered when they’re not? their definition of “abortion” matters in this case. We can argue that they should change their definition till we’re blue in the face, but that doesn’t change the fact that they might possibly come by their convictions honestly.

    that being said, I don’t think they have a real case here, judging from the evidence I have seen. altho’ Ms. Maddow seems to actually bolster their case by saying the pill, IUDs, etc. prevent implantation. I’m not seeing the science behind that however.

  • http://www.aqualgidus.org/ Michael Chui

    Obligatory share: http://xkcd.com/154/

  • Lonespark

    Obligatory grin/cry response.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    At Jesse Singal’s blog, one of the commenters, “Chris” by posting signature, insists that having sex is a lifestyle choice and that no one ought to be forced to pay for your lifestyle choice.

    Got that? According to certain of the social conservatives, Heterosexual non-reproductive sex is right up there with same-sex relations and polyamory. A lifestyle choice.

    Whee.

  • fraser

     One of Sally Fluke’s co-students made the argument that she shouldn’t have to pay for Fluke’s birth control. Of course, she’s not paying, unless she means other people’s medical expenses raise the university’s insurance costs so all the students bear the brunt. Which would imply she also thinks that she has some right to oversee what everyone else in the student plan spends their insurance on.
    More likely she’s simply a really inept arguer who can’t put together a coherent case. As evidence of which were her arguments that a)since Fluke isn’t clergy, she isn’t qualified to discuss the First Amendment; b)Fluke’s a skank.
    So yeah, not a high level of rhetoric.

  • http://twitter.com/Rhysdux Rhysdux

    Er…Fred?

    I don’t know how hormonal birth control works.

    Never had Health class. I got the Kotex commercial at school when I was eleven. Biology class never even covered reproduction.  Religion class featured lesson after lesson of pictures of aborted fetuses. I knew that some kids in high school peddled their mothers’ birth control pills in the cafeteria, but I didn’t know how it worked. (I’m pretty sure their customers didn’t know how it worked, either.) I didn’t know what a condom was until law school. I first read about IUDs and diaphragms in Time.

    I’ve read about birth control, but I don’t understand all of it very well, mostly because I don’t know the names of a lot of the bits. So I get embarrassed and confused at the same time. (I didn’t know that there was such a thing as a clitoris until two years ago. Does that give you an idea?)

    I have more of a concept of the theory of relativity than I do of birth control. 

    Does this make me ignorant? Oh, hell, yes.  Does it make me stupid? Maybe. I don’t like the idea that I’m stupid, but maybe I am. Does it make me evil? I don’t think so.

    However, I will say that Rachel Maddow’s videos were very helpful. I didn’t know how hormonal birth control worked before. Thank you for that.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

     

    Does it make me evil? I don’t think so.

    Do you hold strong opinions about hormonal birth control, despite not knowing how it works? Are you trying to pass laws about contraception without knowing how it works?

    I’m going to guess you don’t and you aren’t, and that’s why your ignorance is not evil. It’s also what makes you different from the people Fred is talking about.

  • http://twitter.com/Rhysdux Rhysdux


    Do you hold strong opinions about hormonal birth control, despite not knowing how it works? Are you trying to pass laws about contraception without knowing how it works? 

    No, I don’t. I support birth control, because I know a hell of a lot of women who need it for a variety of reasons. I don’t know how a lot of medicines work, but I’m in favor of people getting the treatment that they need.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Does it make me evil?

    It would if you tried to control the lives of others from your position of ignorance using the issue about which you are ignorant as your justification without so much as trying to put a stop to your ignorance.  It absolutely would.

    Now, as near as I can tell, you’re not doing that.  So no.

    My ignorance of how to preform surgery doesn’t make me evil.  If I told everyone I was a surgeon and started operating on people without actually changing my total ignorance of how to preform a surgery then that would absolutely make me evil.  Fred is talking about applied ignorance.

    People who legislate based on it, people who advocate based on it, people who vote based on it, and in all cases people who harm others based on it.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Does it make me stupid? Maybe. I don’t like the idea that I’m stupid, but maybe I am.

    Well, did you make arguments about birth control while being ignorant of it’s functions? Did you make factually incorrect claims due to your lack of understanding? For this discussion, I think “stupid” means “not letting ignorance keep you from expressing an opinion”.  

    The key question is what you did next. Did you seek to expand your knowledge, to fill the gaps in your understanding? Or have you chosen to remain ignorant, or to accept only information that confirmed your pre-existing beliefs?

    It sounds like you watched the videos, and have made an effort to learn more. Which means if you were stupid (shooting off your mouth on a subject you don’t understand) you’re less stupid now.

  • Aiwhelan

     The more I read things like this, the more grateful I become for the sex ed I got- from my mom, in Health class, in Biology, in Religious Ed- My parish priest taught us how the Pill works, correctly, so he could explain why the RC Church doesn’t permit it. There is something deeply disturbing when people feel they need to lie about the mechanics of birth control to argue against it. Your theology has failed if you need to lie about the physical world to support it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Victoria-Keeney/100000050360931 Victoria Keeney

     the explanation given to me back in the day about how the pill works was this:
    the pill uses hormones to trick your body into thinking it’s pregnant so no ovulation.  If you don’t release an egg you can’t get pregnant.  this is also why you take the different colored pills to get your period.  your body is not getting the hormones and a period should result.  no egg, no chance of aborting it.

  • Tricksterson

    No you’re not stupid.  First of all I’ve read a number of your posts and all, including this one are intelligent and articulate.  Second you’re most certainly not stupid in a wiful way because you seek out opportunities to lessen your ignorance.

  • Anonymous

    MURPHY: We’re not talking about scientists! Ma’am we’re not talking about scientists here, we’re talking about religious belief.

    Religious belief does not entitle you to change the meaning of words in the English language to suit your argument argle BARGLE FARGLE GARGLE!

  • cyllan

    Does this make me ignorant? Oh, hell, yes.  Does it make me stupid?
    Maybe. I don’t like the idea that I’m stupid, but maybe I am. Does it
    make me evil? I don’t think so.

    What Naked Bunny With a Whip said: it only crosses into evil if you try to legislate other people’s actions based on your ignorance.  Stupid…not really.  Uniformed and in need of more information — or maybe not.  Do you need to know how it works? Do you take it? Are you sexually active? Because if you’re not any of those things, and you’re not making decisions about other people’s use of contraception choices, then you don’t need to know about these things any more than I need to know how a library is organized.*

    *Enough to know when to consult a professional; otherwise it doesn’t matter to my day to day existence.

  • Anonymous

     then you don’t need to know about these things any more than I need to know how a library is organized.*

    *Enough to know when to consult a professional; otherwise it doesn’t matter to my day to day existence.

    Use only as directed.  Store in cool, dry place.  Keep well within reach of children.  Not for internal use.  If library comes into contact with eyes, please use the door.  Consult your counselor, librarian, or friend if any of the following symptoms occur: Befuddlement, bafflement, bemusement, bellicosisty, bears.  Consult your loved ones if any of the following symptoms occur: joy, wonder, ebulience, happiness, new-found knowledge; they may wish to share.  Use prohibited where unlawful but why should that stop anyone unless you’re a book-burning savage?

  • Matri

    The bear can keep the book. I didn’t need it that badly anyway.

  • gocart mozart

    “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets
    you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t
    so.”

    Mark Twain quotes

  • ako

    MURPHY: Ma’am that is your interpretation, and I appreciate that’s your interpretation.SEBELIUS: That’s what the scientists and doctors …
    MURPHY: We’re not talking about scientists! Ma’am we’re not talking about scientists here, we’re talking about religious belief.

    Ah, the Facts Are Against My Religion defense.  Used in such popular arguments as You Can Too Stop Being Gay and The Earth Is Six Thousand Years Old And Dinosaurs Were Made By Satan. 

    Can I start a “Right-wingers are not in politics” religion and accuse them of violating my religious beliefs every time any of them campaigns for something?

  • Kiba

    Can I start a “Right-wingers are not in politics” religion and accuse them of violating my religious beliefs every time any of them campaigns for something?

    Where can I sign up?

  • Daughter

    I think that the “you’re not evil if you’re not trying to legislate or opinionate on what you don’t understand” is a good point, but I think the ignorance issue Fred’s talking about is more basic. You don’t have to understand the biochemistry of how birth control pills regulate hormones and prevent ovulation to move out of the “ignorant” category. The understanding at issue here is that birth control pills are taken daily, and are only effective if taken daily, and the quantity of birth control pills taken (one per day per woman who uses them) bears no relation to the quantity of sex the woman is having.

    That’s the question here. Do the men castigating women on BC as sluts not know this basic fact, or do they know it, but are deliberately trying to mislead for their own evil ends? 

  • Daughter

    And an added thought: most of these guys (other than the Catholic bishops) have wives who have probably been on the pill at some point. Those wives at least should know that the only way the pill works is if you take one per day, every day.

  • ako

    That’s the question here. Do the men castigating women on BC as sluts
    not know this basic fact, or do they know it, but are deliberately
    trying to mislead for their own evil ends?

    Based on the behavior I’ve seen, my impression is nearly all of them are doing it because they get a thrill out of being nasty to women and being able to pretend righteousness while they do, while a small number are genuinely misinformed and acting out of sincere, but misguided belief.  Every once in a while I see one who doesn’t seem to be taking pleasure in the nastiness and isn’t eagerly jumping on any excuse to bash women, but it’s a fairly small percentage.

  • Ken

     

    Based on the behavior I’ve seen, my impression is nearly all of them are doing it because they get a thrill out of being nasty to women and being able to pretend righteousness while they do, while a small number are genuinely misinformed and acting out of sincere, but misguided belief.

    Most of the comedians are running with a third explanation:  That a lot of these guys think women take a pill every time you have sex, because that’s what they have to do. 

    This tickles me although it probably indicates nastiness on my part.  (There is some evidence for the idea, if only that many of these men are in their fifties and older. Also google “Limbaugh customs Dominican” for a laugh.)

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I think it might be helpful to remember that good sex is good for you, both physically and emotionally. To have good sex, you have to respect your partner/s and care about them as human beings. 

    The real envy in politics these days seems to be right-wingers being envious of anyone who has lots of good sex. Poor dears. 

  • Lunch Meat

    I wish Rachel Maddow had made the point that although contraceptives can theoretically affect implantation, usually only if you use the larger doses, there is no proof that they do and that is not the main way that they function. This is important to understand. Basically, preventing implantation is more like a rare side effect of the pill, so no one is asking religious institutions to provide coverage for abortions. Are the personhood amendments still dangerous? Obviously, because as we know, lawmakers aren’t beholden to facts and could easily ban birth control “just in case.” And we also know that they want to restrict women’s control over their own sexual lives and reproductive organs as much as they can. But it’s still important to know the facts, and not to continue spreading the misconception that contraception primarily or even secondarily prevents implantation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jam-Blair/711692344 Jam Blair

    perhaps better to focus on the fact that “personhood” amendments can turn miscarriages into murders and prevent women from obtaining abortions in clear cases where their lives are in danger…

  • Burnable

    Watching these arguments reminds me of this sketch from Chris Morris’ Jam (contains NSFW language) about stupid people being hired to win arguments.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGex0kLgNok

  • arghous

    But it is evil!  Don’t you know that by partaking in the Pillcharist, the pill is transubstantiated into the Afterbirth of Babylon herself?  Just say no!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jess-Goodwin/28602067 Jess Goodwin

    Much as I hate to defend this guy, I think he’s possibly being misinterpreted a little.

    If I understand the exchange correctly, Kathleen Sebelius says the pill won’t interrupt a pregnancy because she’s using the scientific and medical definition of pregnancy: that it begins with the fertilized egg implanting in the uterine lining.

    Congressman Murphy is using his religious leaders’ definition of pregnancy: it begins earlier, the moment the sperm enters the egg to fertilize it.

    From his point of view, scientists interpret pregnancy as beginning with implantation, while he believes that it begins with fertilization. It’s not a question of objective versus subjective reality, when he says the morning-after pill terminates a pregnancy. It’s that he’s using the word “pregnancy” to mean something different from what scientists (or the Secretary of Health) do.

  • Beroli

     

    Much as I hate to defend this guy, I think he’s possibly being misinterpreted a little.

    I don’t think so. My impression of the exchange is that he’s only really interested in, “The morning-after pill is an abortifacient,” and is waving away any aspect of reality which doesn’t lead to that conclusion. Knowingly, even; he reacts to the word “science” like a vampire seeing (heh) a crucifix.

    But if there’s any trace of legitimacy in his viewpoint at all–he’s certainly going out of his way to avoid showing it.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    He didn’t let her finish her sentence. You’re giving him *way* too much credit. He’ll believe whatever tells him he has the right and duty to control women’s sexuality, and that they haven’t got the right or ability to do it themselves. And he will not let a woman who disagrees with him about this misogynistic lie he tells himself finish a sentence. 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    And he will not let a woman who disagrees with him about this misogynistic lie he tells himself finish a sentence.

    One of these days, I would like to see some guy in a public debate with a woman on this subject get punched in the face by the woman for such a display of disrespect. 

    Do not offend the chair leg of truth.  It is wise and terrible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jam-Blair/711692344 Jam Blair

    except that the morning-after pill, as we understand it now, doesn’t prevent or interfere with implantation in any measurable way.

  • Lori

    Related to this: Conor Friedersdorf wants Rush to be shamed into debated Rachel Maddow. That will never, ever happen but man would it be awesome if it did. Rush, like most of his fellow Right wing celebrities, can only function on home ice. Put him in neutral territory against an smart opponent who isn’t afraid of him and he’d be crushed. Which is why it will never happen. Still a nice thought though. 

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/03/rush-limbaugh-should-be-shamed-into-debating-rachel-maddow/254072/

  • Dawn

    I agree with others who think this post is being a little uncharitable to those “confused” about how birth control works by saying it’s an abortifacent.

    Those people who think abortion is murder define abortion as ending a pregnancy, where “pregnancy” is the thing that begins not when the egg implants in the uterus, but when the egg is fertilized. If “pregnancy” is medically defined as starting at the moment of implantation (which I, a feminist and fairly well-educated person, didn’t know), well fine, call the other thing “shmegnancy” and they’re opposed to any willful termination of THAT. But at any rate, if you think abortion is murder, clearly it’s the fertilized egg that matters, not whether it’s been implanted yet.

    So in the sense of “abortion” relevant to the moral argument that people actually make in public discourse today, birth control can in fact cause abortions. Calling it an abortifacent is still a bit misleading since it primarily works by preventing conception to begin with, but again, if you think abortion is murder, it’d be inconsistent of you to think that even a SMALL chance of preventing a fertilized egg from implanting and therefore causing its death would be acceptable.

    Attack the premise that abortion is murder….the rest of it kinda follows, though.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I am tired of people bending over backwards to be “charitable” to a bunch of men who think I shouldn’t be allowed to control my own body.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    I think you can be charitable, but if you find yourself arguing that it’s reasonable to suggest that the pill causes abortions of because of a bizarre new definition of words like “pregnancy” and “abortion” that they just cooked up a couple of weeks ago as part of an ill-conceived political ploy, then… maybe you’re being too kind. I mean, yikes, we’re rearguing Griswold, for pete’s sake!

    (For those in the know, do mainstream pro-life people actually oppose contraception to this extent? I thought that most people were at least comfortable with the general idea of birth control, even if they were opposed to abortion. I’m legitimately surprised that this is even a controversial issue.)

  • Katie

     This isn’t an issue for the vast majority of people.  Who it is an issue for is some Catholics, who think that using contraception is against God’s plan, and some Protestants, who think that people aren’t supposed to have any control over reproduction at all.  However, these people make up a influential chunk of the Republican base, and since they’ve manage to win the debate, at least among Republicans on abortion they’re working on moving the goalposts.

  • Anonymous

    Funny that the Catholic Church taught that the rhythm method was an acceptable form of contraception, when contraception of any kind is ‘against God’s plan’.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Look, there’s plenty of things to complain about in the teachings of the Catholic church without misrepresenting their position. They don’t hold that “contraception of any kind is Against God’s Plan.”  The teaching of the church is that sex is supposed to serve several functions all at once (it is NOT, as many people claim catholicism teaches, strictly for procreation.), and deliberately and unnaturally altering that process for the express purpose of defeating one of those functions is bad. So “deciding not to have sex tonight”, whatever the reason, isn’t altering the process, whereas a barrier method or, say, taking medication to alter one’s natural biological process, is.

    I don’t agree with this interpretation. I think that it’s an example of the church’s widespread inability to hold on to any sense of proportion that always leads to them making the perfect be the enemy of the not-utterly-reprehensible.

    But it’s their position. It seems like every time the catholics come up around here, soem of the commenters feel that it’s not enough to complain about the church’s actual policies which cause tremendous harm and suffering, but instead need to make up things which are *outright false* about the church’s position in order to complain about them.

    Stick to what the church *actually teaches*. There’s more than enough there to be upset about.

  • Lori

    Yes, the church acknowledges that sex has purposes other than
    procreation. However, it conveniently makes all other processes less
    important than procreation. For example:

    So “deciding not to have sex tonight”, whatever the reason, isn’t
    altering the process, whereas a barrier method or, say, taking
    medication to alter one’s natural biological process, is. 

    So a couple decides not to have sex tonight when they’d very much like to or they have lousy ego & soul-crushing sex because one or both of them is totally stressed out & distracted due to being terrified of that an egg will end up fertilized. How is that not interfering with the unitive function of sex?

    Clearly it is. Apparently it’s OK to interfere with the unitive function in support of not interfering with the procreative function, because you’re only supposed to be having sex that’s open to reproduction. This sends a rather clear message that the unitive function of sex is effectively optional, but the procreative function is mandatory in so far as the couple controls it.

    The difference between that and sex being only for reproduction is pretty academic for any couple that is, as far as they know, fertile.

  • Tonio

    deliberately and unnaturally altering that process for the express purpose of defeating one of those functions is bad

    What are those functions, and why is that deemed bad? The big problem is that “supposed to” can’t be translated into secular terms, yet the practice above is claimed to be universally bad instead of simply proscribed for Church members. It would be like the Amish saying that using autos and utilities is wrong for everyone. If a religion is going to make declarations of universal right and wrong, it shouldn’t be too much to expect at least an attempt to include secular arguments for its declarations. Otherwise, the religion is effectively taking the stance that the individual has no moral (as opposed to legal) right to follow the religion of his choosing.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I’ve seen many anti-choice people say that contraception is the worst thing that has happened to our country. 

    There’s this cabal of weirdos who don’t interact with the rest of the country, and they’ve taken over the Republican party because people refused to think that they could “really” think that. Some feminists have been trying for years to wake people up to the fact that yes, this is what these weirdos really believe, and this is what they really want to do. Only to be told we were being mean and paranoid for believing what the weirdos said about themselves and being “close-minded” for not liking the names the weirdos like to call women.

  • http://leftcheek.blogspot.com Jas-nDye

    bizarre new definition of words like “pregnancy” and abortion

    The problem is these definitions are not new. They’re quite mid-century.

  • Dawn

    I don’t think taking care to accurately represent a person’s position is “bending over backwards” for them. It’s baseline.

    I think abortion should be legal, I think Fred’s obviously right that none of the people who claim to think abortion is murder really think it is, and I think birth control should obviously be covered under insurance. But it seems perfectly natural that if you are worried about the moral status of abortion, they’re going to be tied to what happens after fertilization, not after implantation. I just don’t see why there’s any need to paint that particular part–defining “pregnant,” for the purposes of moral discussions, as based on fertilization rather than implantation–as crazy or stupid. There are plenty of other, much better things to pinpoint as crazy or stupid….

    But if what you’re saying is just, “I don’t care whether it’s true, it bugs me to hear people worried about whether they’re treating these d-bags unfairly when they’re such bastards and so unfair to everyone else,” well, that’s an understandable feeling.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    “But it seems perfectly natural that if you are worried about the moral status of abortion, they’re going to be tied to what happens after fertilization, not after implantation.”

    Why? 

  • Dawn

    The reason it’s natural, for people worried about abortion, to worry about whatever happens after fertilization rather than whatever happens after implantation is that the idea is that, “life begins at conception.” Surely you’re familar with the slogan? The idea is that a sperm and an egg, separately, are not yet anything needing protection, but a fertilized egg is, because it’s a new human life.

    WHERE that egg is – whether it’s implanted in the uterus or not – is not the locus of the worry. It would, for instance, be just as wrong to destroy eggs fertilized in a petri dish for fertility treatments, despite the fact that they’re very evidently not yet implanted in a uterus.

    (Of course, the DNA doesn’t actually recombine to form a new set of DNA distinct from the parents’ DNA for a couple days after “conception” as the moment when the sperm wiggles into the egg, which complicates matters some. Does life actually begin when the sperm enters the egg, or just when the new DNA has been constructed? The latter makes more sense, of the two, but it doesn’t seem quite as satisfying. But at any rate, the relevant moment is NOT implantation, and you can see why they wouldn’t think it is.)

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I can see why they wouldn’t think that is. It’s because they think every sperm is sacred, but women — actual, living human beings — shouldn’t have autonomy. That is not a belief I respect, and I’m not going to pretend to. Nor am I going to pretend to believe the contortions they perform to arrive at their claims, or that their claims arise naturally from any legitimate belief. I’m not going to pretend to have the memory of a gnat, and only believe what they say about themselves right now right here, when I’ve seen them say so many other things.

    But they can go ahead and have whatever belief they want so long as they don’t impose it on others. Which is what they’re doing — imposing their religious beliefs on my body, and the bodies of all female-bodied people. I see no need to be “charitable” to people who want to control me sexually

    I’m not Christian. If you are, or you want to give people who want to control other people’s bodies the benefit of the doubt — people who don’t let women talk about our own bodies, people who think it’s funny and smart to joke about forcing a woman who chooses to have sex to perform sex acts for them, people who think that men are the only ones who should have the right to do or not do what they want sexually — knock yourself out. 

  • Dawn

    Mischaracterizing people to make them sound stupider than they are can feel good, but it isn’t helpful. It promotes hateful discourse, gives people who we might otherwise have been able to persuade to our side good reason not to listen to us, and generally hinders conversation and understanding.
    Refusing to even try to be fair to someone who disagrees with you, or to understand where they’re coming from, isn’t a virtue. The fact that their position is really bad doesn’t turn unfairness into a virtue, because if their position is that bad you should be able to show that it’s bad without any unfairness at all.

    “Uncharitable” is a standard term of evaluation of arguments. What it means to be “uncharitable” in this sense is simply that you’re interpreting what someone says in such a way as to make it sound stupider than it is. The contrary of uncharitability, in this sense, isn’t charity in the sense of being nice to someone, giving them allowances. It’s an intellectual virtue, a kind of honesty.

  • Lori

     

    Refusing to even try to be fair to someone who disagrees with you, or to
    understand where they’re coming from, isn’t a virtue. The fact that
    their position is really bad doesn’t turn unfairness into a virtue,
    because if their position is that bad you should be able to show that
    it’s bad without any unfairness at all.

    The thing is, this isn’t anyone’s first time at this rodeo. We’ve all heard all the versions of the anti-choice argument before. It’s counter-factual and illogical in suspiciously convenient ways. Choosing not to engage with that every. single. time. isn’t unfair so much as it is a survival mechanism.

    Willful ignorance is not a valid defense.

  • Anonymous

    That’s kind of funny, since millions of IVF eggs have been destroyed over the decades without a peep from the so-called ‘pro-life’ movement–at least until they were wanted for stem-cell research. Even now, I haven’t heard of people protesting IVF clinics or doctors.

    Not as much fun as harassing women at Planned Parenthood who are just going in for their annual PAP smear, I guess.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Actually, while I see lots of people making similar “WHy don’t pro-lifers ever protest IVF?” comments, there are reports at least as far back as 2001 about pro-lifers protesting at IVF clinics. In 2003, Italy passed a bill that on the face of it would require fertility doctors to knowingly implant defective embryos — and forbidding a woman from changing her mind about having the implantation done once the embryo was created.

    There was also some weird thing a year or two ago where a US congressman showed a poster on the house floor made by a 9 year old showing frozen IVF embryos begging to be allowed a chance to live as part of a proposal to ban the disposal of left-over frozen IVF embryos.

    So yeah. They do complain about that too. It just doesn’t get as much coverage.

  • Lori

     

    Even now, I haven’t heard of people protesting IVF clinics or doctors. 

    That may change now that the Pope has come out against fertility treatments.

  • http://scyllacat.livejournal.com Scylla Kat

    That’s kind of funny, since millions of IVF eggs have been destroyed
    over the decades without a peep from the so-called ‘pro-life’
    movement–at least until they were wanted for stem-cell research. Even
    now, I haven’t heard of people protesting IVF clinics or doctors.

    Remember that this is also part of class warfare.  IVF eggs belong to rich people.  Planned Parenthood is there for the poor.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Except that *also* isn’t true. The morning after pill’s primary function is not to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. It’s to prevent fertilization. (I think that the morning after pill *might* be able to prevent implantation, but as I understand it, that’s not proven. Seems unlikely to me that outside of laboratory conditions one could actually get the pill to work in such a way that it doesn’t prevent fertilization, but still has enough time to bring about enough of a change in the uterus to prevent implantation.).

    There is, though, a sense in which you’re right. The “religious” definition in question here isn’t “when does pregnancy happen” but “when does fertilization happen?”

    Because science tells us that fertilization happens typically 1-5 days after intercourse – an egg is only viable for a few hours out of the entire month. Generally speaking, the sperm has to be sitting around waiting when ovulation happens. But the “religious” view is unsurprisingly reluctant to remember that the woman *has* a role in this little dance, so as far as Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) is concerned, the woman isn’t pregnant when implantation occurs. And she isn’t pregnant when fertilization occurs. She is pregnant the second the Manly Man Plants His Magical Man-Seed In Her Fertile Baby-Oven. As far as they’re concerned, the fact that ejaculation, fertilization and implantation are three separate processes that can take place *days* apart is “talking about science, not religion”

    Edit: That said, insofar as Fred’s post is uncharitable, it is such in that it overlooks the fact that many who believe these false things about how contraceptives work are neither stupid nor evil, but rather are *victims* of lies told convincingly by people who are stupid or evil.

  • P J Evans

    many who believe these false things about how contraceptives work are
    neither stupid nor evil, but rather are *victims* of lies told
    convincingly by people who are stupid or evil

    Stupid or evil, because they make noe effort to find out if they’re being told the truth by their leaders, and because, even when they;’re told that they’re being lied to, and where they can find true information, they refuse to change their positions, but cling to them more tightly. These are people who are afraid that they’re wrong, afraid of truth, and afraid of anything that doesn’t reinforce the tight little worldview that they live in.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    People can be victims and also villains. They have been told lies, but they continue to believe lies, and continue to try to impose those lies upon women’s bodies. 

    Adults have a responsibility to inform themselves about the world. I have exactly zero sympathy for people who not only don’t do that, but who also try to tell me what I’m allowed to do with my own body based on their own ignorance and prejudice. These men — and most are men — are trying to control my sexuality, *my body*. I have not consented to this, but they don’t care, because they don’t think I have a right to either give or withhold consent.

  • Anonymous

    (I think that the morning after pill *might* be able to prevent implantation, but as I understand it, that’s not proven.

    Plan B doesn’t prevent implantation.  I mean, it really really doesn’t.  Multiple studies, meta-analyses, observations of the uterus to see if it even affects the uterine lining in a way that might lead to implantations, statistical studies on human women, direct experiments on mice and rats…no one’s found any evidence of an effect on implantation.  (I’m not going to pack this with cites, but throw “levonorgestrel implantation” into Google Scholar and just browse through all the abstracts.)  In fact, progestogens like Plan B are used in in vitro fertilization to ready the uterus for implantation.

    Ella may well prevent implantation, if it’s taken after fertilization has already occurred.  It’s a chemical derivative of RU-486, which does have that effect, and it’s known to somehow prevent pregnancies even after fertilization in animal models.  Hasn’t yet been proved to do so in humans, but I’d bet that it does.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    It’s not a question of objective versus subjective reality, when he
    says the morning-after pill terminates a pregnancy. It’s that he’s using
    the word “pregnancy” to mean something different from what scientists
    (or the Secretary of Health) do.

    This still would cut no ice considering that fertilization often doesn’t happen for several days after copulation, and the morning after pill (primarily?) acts to make said fertilization more difficult.

    But even that is giving the guy more benefit of the doubt than he deserves. Guys like this, I think, actually believe life begins at ejaculation.

  • http://dumas1.livejournal.com/ Winter

    Obligatory:

    Every Sperm Is Sacred

    I’m rather curious ablout all those kids singing along and how they explained it to the parents.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I go by an assumption that all children are told about human reproduction as soon as they’re old enough to understand the language and basic concepts. The fact that some children do not know what sperm is horrifies me. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rafi-Cate/600717825 Rafi Cate

    “Lifestyle” choice…  Hmmmm.  I personally did not choose to be female at all–rejecting my inborn xx physiology by my subsequent alteration of it.  Could Rep. Murphy actually be coming out in support of us transgenders by asserting that gender is NOT a matter of biologically determined physical characteristics?

    These ultracons seem terribly ignorant of history considering their unnatural attachment to the past.  The word “lifestyle” was coined in the 1920s by Edward Bernays, nephew of Freud.  Like his pessimistic uncle, he viewed humans basically as bundles of unconscious desires.  With no greater purpose. Certainly nothing like any telology. Very easy for Bernays to switch from WWI propaganda to pushing consumer goods as the fulfillment of those desires.

    I also read comments earlier today regarding something scientific.  As usual, the trolls hit.  Claiming conspiracy, unproven, opinion, and just plain vitriol aimed at, as one put it, “all those people with letters behind their names.”  Well, I have them.  In theology, yet.  But I spent 30 years as a blue collar mechanic.  I know when something is, uh, broke.  If the ultracons and their holy-headed allies were actually so pro-religion and anti-science, they would be so fully. Without hypocrisy.  Which means parking the truck, turning off the TV, and refusing modern medicine.  Because all of those things are products of… SCIENCE.

  • Matri

    Because all of those things are products of… SCIENCE.

    No, those are all the products of a genie stepping out of a lake and nodding her head.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rafi-Cate/600717825 Rafi Cate

    A genie?  A she?  Such blasphemy.  Oh, the horror, the horror…
    And, uh, where can I get one?

  • pharoute

    I hope the Jehovah’s Witnesses chime in soon and demand no one gets coverage for organ transplants and blood transfusions.

    Also since thee’s no way to tell if conception has taken place until implantation (afaik), taking emergency contraception is sort of Schroedinger’s cat territory: she really is pregnant and not pregnant at the same time, we’ve just skewing the results one way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rafi-Cate/600717825 Rafi Cate

    That’s kind of a whole new spin on boxes and what’s in them. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=581585394 Nicholas Kapur

     

    Also since thee’s no way to tell if conception has taken place until
    implantation (afaik), taking emergency contraception is sort of
    Schroedinger’s cat territory: she really is pregnant and not pregnant at
    the same time, we’ve just skewing the results one way.

    Next year’s Republican platform: installing real-time, pre-implantation conception detection devices in all United States women (costs to be paid out-of-pocket by said women; no-bid contract awarded to Halliburton).

  • Aiwhelan

     wait- so you _can_ be “a little bit pregnant”?

    sorry for the terrible joke.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rafi-Cate/600717825 Rafi Cate

    Evil or stupid?  Uh, I dunno… Okay, let’s have stupid for $200, Bob.

    I get ta pick somethin’ behind the curtain?  Whoa, awesome!  Waddya mean my neighbors punched the hole for “R” and now I gotta live wid it!  Anyway, wasn’t that WTO thing Clinton’s?    

    Now my retirement fund got raided to pay the CEOs who ruined the company… AND I got no job?  Plus “R” gang thinks I don’t deserve no more unemployment? See, they don’t give me no respect because I got callused hands. 

    But callused hearts, now that’s just fine.  I shoulda picked evil.  Seems everybody else did.           

  • Anonymous

    The thing is: I have to assume that nearly all of these people have, themselves, used birth control.

    Maybe not Rick Santorum. But looking for information on Tim Murphy, I find that “Tim and his wife, Nan, live in Upper St. Clair and have a daughter, Bevin.”

    That’s a nice Irish name. And perhaps they were only able to have the one, and perhaps they would have loved six or seven, and I’m a mean-spirited meddler…but there’s too many of these people, with their small modern families, for me to be wrong about all of them.

    Mostly, these people foaming at the mouth and ranting about the evils of birth control use birth control. And then they turn around and talk this nonsense.

  • Anonymous

    To believe that personhood begins at implantation requires you to believe that the majority of persons die before being born of natural causes. Funnily enough, I’ve yet to meet a political pro-lifer who even acknowledges this, let alone has an explanation for why a God so mad keen on zygotes kills an order of magnitude more of them than abortions ever will.

  • Tonio

    Mitch Albom once said that GWB’s rhetoric on stem-cell research was intended to make the issue look, sound and feel like the abortion issue. That was the case with Terri Schiavo as well, and that’s the case with contraception now. I suspect that many opponents on those issues are addicted to self-righteousness, where they’re looking for any issue that will give them another fix of phony morality.

    Making abortion illegal is horribly ineffective if one’s goal is to reduce abortions. The same is true for compulsory ultrasounds, where the assumption is that all women have mommy magic that would kick in at seeing the image. But these work great if one’s goal is to shame women who want to have sex without wanting to be mothers.

    I’ve often argued that it’s possible to oppose abortion morally but also favor its legality as a pragmatic approach. But the people we’re talking about don’t care about addressing the reasons some women have abortions. If they really wanted to reduce abortions, they would favor better access to contraception and sex education so that women have the tools they need to conceive when they choose to do so, and better support for women who do choose to give birth.

  • Lori

    Mitch Albom once said that GWB’s rhetoric on stem-cell research was
    intended to make the issue look, sound and feel like the abortion issue.
    That was the case with Terri Schiavo as well, and that’s the case with
    contraception now. I suspect that many opponents on those issues are
    addicted to self-righteousness, where they’re looking for any issue that
    will give them another fix of phony morality. 

    I think what they’re addicted to is winning. Abortion is the one culture war battlefield where they absolutely have the upper hand. They’ve managed to lie and manipulate their way to big wins in the war on women, even as they’re losing on other fronts. Making other issues look, sound & feel like abortion is a deliberate attempt to move them from sure losers for the Right to the win column.

    In spite of decades of rhetoric demonizing feminism, women have not decided en masse to take off their shoes and go back in the kitchen. Some women choose to be stay at home moms, but they still have a disturbing (to Right wing men) tendency to expect to be treated like actual human beings. What to do? What to do? Contraception! If we take back their ability to control when they have children soon they’ll all be knocked up and back in the kitchen by default.

  • ako

    Letting right-wingers get away with selectively redefining “pregnant” as something other than the actual scientific definition seems like a really bad idea.  It gives them unwarranted power and contributes to the spread of inaccurate information.  (Get enough people saying that the pill ends pregnancy and causes abortions and a lot of people listening will come away thinking that means the pill ends pregnancy and causes abortions.)   If they want to change the English language into something that’s ideologically biased to support their views, I’m not going to help them do it.

  • Lori

    For those thinking that Limbaugh and/or his listeners need to be given more charitable consideration I point you to Rush on Tracie McMillan. Ms McMillian is the author of a book called The American Way of Eating, about the US food industry. To research the book she took various jobs, including picking produce and working at Applebee’s. The portrait of the food industry that she came away with is not flattering*.

    Rush finds this intolerable and as a result he totally gives the game away for anyone who has missed the last 2 decades of his show, with the following: “What is it with all of these young, single white women? Overeducated doesn’t mean intelligent.”

    Yeah, how dare young women be single and have opinions of their own?

    http://inthesetimes.com/duly-noted/entry/12837/limbaugh_takes_on_tracie_mcmillan_author_of_the_american_way_of_eating/

    It’s also worth noting that Rush’s stirring defense of the food industry included a whole thing about how you should only eat USDA Prime meat and how school lunches have terrible meat because the government controls them and if private industry had control instead kids would be fed Prime meat and blah, blah blah. That’s right up there with “Keep the government away from my Medicare” for sheer stupidity.

    Willful ignorance is not a defense.

    *I haven’t read the book, but I’ve read a couple excerpts and several reviews.

  • Ayn Marx 666

    (I wrote the following before I read Jess Goodwin’s near-equivalent post above, but I think it’s different enough to it to merit posting.)

    It really is a matter of religious belief, and Murray feels that he can ignore the science because the distinctions it makes are to him distinctions without difference.

    If one believes, as Murphy evidently does, that a zygote is a full human being, than the difference between an abortifacient and something that prevents implantation is the difference between murdering a man as he walks the trail and murdering him after he’s made camp and bedded-down for the night.  The most important element is ‘murder’, not the location.

    I don’t agree with this ‘acorns are oaks’ premise, but I believe we have to understand our opponents’ thought processes correctly, not just in ways that make us feel better in mocking them (although I think we will feel better in the long run if we make the effort).

  • Tonio

    Probably no one can really define “when life begins,” which is why the personhood laws that have been proposed are so horrific. There may be no way to create a legal definition that doesn’t end up criminalizing any intercourse that isn’t intended for procreation.

    I doubt that this is the explicit intention of most of the personhood laws’ backers. Instead, I suspect they don’t understand what laws are for – they’re not about enforcing social norms or attitudes. In my experience, they argue that laws against abortion “send a message” that life is important. Never mind that any goal of reducing abortions can’t be done by treating it as a criminal justice matter.

    Sure, the outcome of their position is that pregnant women would be sent to prison to give birth there. But most opponents either don’t connect the dots, or they delude themselves into believing that only doctors would be punished. In their minds, the women want to be mothers and they’re being pushed into aborting by selfish boyfriends and/or predatory abortionists. (I’ve read that it’s actually more common for boyfriends to push their girlfriends into carrying the pregnancy to term.)

  • http://scyllacat.livejournal.com Scylla Kat

    I’ve been “a little bit pregnant” a couple of times.  My body thought it was pregnant, and it made a home for an embryo and everything, but someone at the Ikea Baby Warehouse forgot to put in a critical wrench, screw, or nut (pick your own double entendre), and the whole thing went belly up. 

    Another problem with the rhetoric is that if you let “the Pill causes Abortion” get out there, aNOTHER statistically significant number of people will believe they should NEVER be on the Pill because their Future Fertility will be affected.

  • http://thegoldweredigging.blogspot.com/ FangsFirst

    I was educated in thorough schools (compared to many, it seems, at least). I have an older sister and the pill was discussed nonchalantly regularly in front of me between her and my mother.

    My mother’s doctorate is in “Animal Husbandry,” or “reproductive physiology” depending on who is asking and when, and I didn’t exactly get “a talk,” more because she gathered I already knew from elsewhere, but that didn’t stop her from unabashedly discussing things if they came up.

    It was here in digging after a really confusing article told me there were not abortifacients present that I discovered this about ella and plan b.

    No one ever–ever!–felt the need to explain the details of fertilization (in the sense of time-frames between intercourse and fertilization and time-frames between that and implantation), or maybe they did and the details just went over my head because, good grief, sure as heck weren’t relevant to me at the time. And even if I had been sexually active many years before I was, the time between intercourse and fertilization and implantation would not have been relevant to me. If I had been with a woman and we both wanted pregnancy, it would be “Let us attempt to have a child” (hopefully not stated in that fashion. Total mood-ruiner, I suspect.). If not (as was always the case) protection was involved, and if it wasn’t it would have come to matters of what to do from there.

    This is nuance, of a kind, and it’s lost on most people, because the fact that “sex leads to pregnancy” is the most important fact for most people. As such, there’s a perception (which I shared, without animosity toward responding to it) that “once sex is effective, it counts as pregnancy.” Of course, this is only retrospective or retroactive or something, but it’s a real perception, however unreal the facts might make it.

    I think it’s extremely, extremely unlikely that anyone knows these things, agrees with the definition of pregnancy as post-implantation and still says them. Responses like the interview quoted seem like one thing to people who have views like most people here, and it’s my own first instinct as well. But the probable truth–based on years of observing people, however singular my data might be–is that Murphy has perceptions of science or scientists that suggest that their data is cold, clinical and absent of “morality.” Or that it’s all an obfuscation over what Murphy perceives as the “real truth” underlying these things, and that scientists are–for whatever reason–covering this up with unnecessary complications: this truth, of course, is “sex leads to pregnancy.”

    If you have someone who has been told for years that this is the case (and almost all of us were as far as I can tell, I’ve known few, outside of people who do heavy research for their own purposes like the only two women I know who desperately wanted children, or for their careers, like my mother) then this is a bedrock understanding: details are irrelevant and ways to make excuses. Because, well, “sex=pregnancy.” If it doesn’t “work,” well it was the wrong time and we all do know *that* one. If it works, then whatever magic is in that process, it worked, didn’t it? And you just interrupted it! The “starting point” already happened, so if you take something after “the starting point,” clearly you are stopping it.

    No, that isn’t the reality.

    But you have to convince people that they’ve misunderstood all along and that isn’t actually the starting point, especially with regard to preventing fertilization. An awful lot of people are absolutely sure that pregnancy-effective sex starts its pregnancy right after sex, that by the “next morning,” it will have occurred and the process started–nevermind details about implantation and such, fertilization will have occurred–they believe.

    Is this ignorance? Absolutely. It definitely is.

    But I think it’s a stretch to think it’s willful and defiant and evilly-motivated in and of itself. It’s such an utter simplification of people…it’s disheartening to me, because I know this is the end, morally-right belief, but the responses to opposition feel like the same broadstroke nonsense coming from the belief I think is absolutely wrong. “They’re just evil and ignorant and want to be!”

    This assumes that anyone knows research is necessary, that they have the capacity to understand that, hey, guess what, fertilization doesn’t even occur right after sex. It’s easy to take that stance when you know it’s true and you’re looking at someone who doesn’t, or because you’ve been raised and taught or learned that science can clarify things or change the perception only of existing facts. The belief that underlies this is that science is being used to make up excuses for how “no no, that doesn’t really count,” versus “No, really, that acutally doesn’t count.” That’s not always an easy understanding for people. And it’s about the difference in understanding what pregnancy is. To people who say things like this, pregnancy is the comingling of two people that results in another person. To suggest that technically the comingling occurs and then a few days later it gets around to finishing is not something they are going to process easily, as it seems, well, rather weird. And I say that as someone raised with chunks of medicine and science all bloody over the place. My mother worked, for that matter, directly in porcine artificial embryo implantation, possibly one of the first to even do it–she worked in research for crying out loud. And I didn’t know these things, and I still find it a little odd, but I understand the inherent messiness of biology. Finding out things are that weird and “inefficient” and so on is not something most people can grasp–there’s the assumption that all conditions or states should be “cure-able,” which means they are perceived as more concrete and simple than almost any of them are. That scares the crap out of a lot of people. And, hell, then you get the reaction to that knowledge: “You mean the doctor might not be 100% sure what this is?! How can I trust anything doctors say?!” And then the perception that something like “redefining” (in reality clarifying) pregnancy is reckless and possibly ignorant. It’s easy, of course, to see it in the “spiritual” terms, where complications and grey areas can be rapidly written off if one sees it in certain ways.

    But, again, that stems from the ability to understand that you don’t know something about pregnancy. If you “know” that sex at the right time=pregnancy, why the heck would you go looking to find out how you were wrong? Hell, I only looked because my perception was, “Now that isn’t true, and this person didn’t even address this part where it covers these two drugs!” so I started looking because, well, the drugs don’t bother me morally even if they do prevent implantation, etc.

    I don’t know. I hate writing about this as I feel like it inevitably invites a tirade about how it’s absurd to give anyone any kind of benefit of the doubt, so on and so forth. And I get that that stems from how endemic this crap is, but it all just kinda seems to end up here in this place where most of us agree and so the opposing viewpoint is easy to look at simplistically or with assumed intentional loathing behind loathsome actions.

    I don’t have anyone to personally defend who feels this way. I don’t like the people who feel this way, and especially do not like, of course, that they can have an effect on things like laws. But pretending they are unholy monsters is basically what they do, and it comes from this fundamental lack of comparative understanding, so it just ends up being the same offended–however more justified and morally appropriate–bitching to no real end. It’s really depressing. I mean, don’t get me wrong, sometimes (see: Limbaugh to be immediate) they are just vile people, but even then it’s not often lying.It’s just someone who’s vile, who is operating on the same ignorance often used for less vile reasons, if no different vile ends.

    EDIT: some part of me knows this is stupid to write here (or anywhere), but the interest for me is in changing things, which is rarely achieved by talking about how stupid and evil people are. Even when they are evil or actually stupid and not just ignorant. It immediately shuts out those who agree with the actually stupid and evil, even if that is simple ignorance. This just really bugs me because I want it to be different, and all Jesus-y and Christ-like on the side that works toward the same perceptions the philosophy there is founded upon. Or maybe my neurosis about hypocrisy is just wildly out of control at this point.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    “bitching”

    If you could not use that word to describe — anything, I for one would really appreciate it. Especially when the subject is people who want to take control of my body away from me because I’m a woman. It already takes a lot of energy to talk about this subject; seeing misogynistic terms used here, in a place where I don’t expect them, is like being slapped in the face.

    I think the problem we’re having here is this: some people don’t believe in evil as a concept, or maybe don’t like seeing it applied except in what they acknowledge are really obvious cases like genocide. Others do believe in evil as a concept, and see it all around us, just like good. I’m in the latter group, and I suspect Fred is too. And I think these men who are trying to control my body against my will are evil. They don’t think they’re evil, but evil people aren’t supervillains, cackling and twirling their mustaches at how evil they are muahahah. 

    Does that mean I think they’re inhuman monsters? Of course not! Only humans (and possibly other sapient life forms) are capable of evil. They’re also capable of redemption. People change. Almost any of these men could change, and it would make me very happy if they did. The fact that they are capable of change, but instead cling to ignorance to further their misogynistic ends, is what makes them evil. 

  • http://thegoldweredigging.blogspot.com/ FangsFirst

     

    If you could not use that word to describe — anything, I for one would
    really appreciate it. Especially when the subject is people who want to
    take control of my body away from me because I’m a woman. It already
    takes a lot of energy to talk about this subject; seeing misogynistic
    terms used here, in a place where I don’t expect them, is like being
    slapped in the face.

    Crap. Sincere apologies. They aren’t connected in my head at all, so I don’t think about it. Let me go tweak it (this and your post will confirm I’m not whitewashing or pretending I didn’t say it)

  • ako

     This just really bugs me because I want it to be different, and all
    Jesus-y and Christ-like on the side that works toward the same
    perceptions the philosophy there is founded upon.

    I can understand wanting this, but this is one of these areas where one has to be careful about how one deals with the desire.  There have been a lot of people who’ve managed to turn their desire towards Jesus-y moral purity into an excuse for being obnoxious scolds who spend most of their time and energy going after their own side, so people are often gun-shy about the whole “be more charitable” thing. 

    Part of it is you need to convince people it’ll work.  Not necessarily perfectly, but you need to show that you can achieve some real successes with this approach.  (And not “Martin Luther King did it half a century ago on a different issue”, but that it’ll work here and now.  Also, if you’re going to be telling people what to do, you have to show that you are putting in the work.)  Because there are a lot of people who are perfectly happy to have more niceness, but think it’s less important than, for instance, women’s reproductive rights and won’t trade one for the other. 

    To be honest, I think the internet is one of the worst formats for this kind of thing.  On the internet, you heard what people tell you, so it’s much harder to lead by example in a way that seems natural.  Don’t say what you do and people don’t see it.  Do say, and it can look like bragging, or making up convenient stories to make a point.  And it really grates to get the “Why aren’t you being compassionate like Jesus?” lecture from someone who hasn’t shown that they are making the same effort.  (Plus, not everyone who agrees with you on a particular issue is going to share the moral framework that makes extreme compassion to one’s enemies a good thing, and agreement is not something you can demand of them.)

  • http://thegoldweredigging.blogspot.com/ FangsFirst

     

    Don’t say what you do and people don’t see it.  Do say, and it can look
    like bragging, or making up convenient stories to make a point.  And it
    really grates to get the “Why aren’t you being compassionate like
    Jesus?” lecture from someone who hasn’t shown that they are making the same effort.

    I will say my intention is not, “Do what I do, because I’m better than you,” nor even “Do what I do” at all as I’m incredibly imperfect at it. When I do it, it’s instinctive for me, not a need to “concern troll” or prove I’m awesome (oh, but if I had the self-esteem for that! …I certainly wouldn’t use it FOR that.) In point of fact, I tend to downgrade its value in me because it is so instinctive. That means, to me, I’m being lazy by not putting in effort past the part I don’t have to, where other people would have to really stop and put effort in to do that much. I’m coasting, as it were.

    And more than anything, it’s, I guess, the idea that greater understanding is greater understanding: hey, we have the right, true and good answers on, say, these issues (I’m enough of a moral relativist on most things, but things like reproductive rights, I don’t think that there are multiple right answers, for various reasons), that should be enough to not just shut down and turn to, “They’re lying and deliberately evil!”

    What really bugged me was that it stems from the assumption that everyone: 1) knows that’s not how pregnancy works, or 2) somehow knows that everything they probably “know” is incorrect, ergo it was a lie deliberately, or in willful ignorance. I think the end result IS evil, and, indeed, I’m fine with the idea that it makes a person evil regardless of intent (semantics, to me).

    But evil does not necessitate specific claims about “lying” and “willful ignorance.”  It’s not about compassion in the sense of “these people aren’t evil! Just misguided! Leave them alone!”

    It may be wholly my own experience informing this, but I don’t think this is common knowledge at all, nor do I think it’s an area commonly understood not to be common knowledge. Most people I’ve ever spoken to, listened to and myself–it’s “Sex -> Pregnancy.” And then it’s an issue of whether doing something between the two to stop the second is acceptable. Not defining what those things are first, or how they progress.

    So it rings as inaccurately (not to be confused with “unfairly”) assumptive about people, and THAT is what bothers me. Because I don’t see the basis for the claim that this is all based on lies or willful ignorance. Not a lack of basis for calling the end results evil, or even the means because they lead to it. I suppose “Jesus-y and Christ-like” was a stupid thing to write, as that’s a poor way of describing what I mean.

    I mean not just jumping from “has this view” to “is a knowingly evil person.” Again: I’ll grant “IS an evil person,” because I’d agree the actions are. But the “knowingly” is just…there’s a lot of assumption involved, and in this case it feels wildly inaccurate.

    I really don’t mean this as a “concern troll” to say “be nice to them.” Not at all. I just mean, to probably put my foot in my mouth and be too simplistic: “Don’t sink to their level of simplistic rhetoric and assumption.”

    But nevermind. I’m not claiming (nor trying) to be the morality police here. It’s an idea in my head and maybe it should stay there.

  • Anonymous

    This post is not meant to reflect any personal anger or hatred at you or anybody specific who’s more or less on our side of things. I do, in fact, hate conservatives and Republican wholesale. I don’t mean I don’t like them. I don’t mean I disagree with them. Both of those are true, but what I mean when I say hate is that visceral, choking, incredibly powerful feeling you get right in your gut, the feeling that makes your blood pump and renders you unable to think  clearly. 

    My nice Aunt JoJo who I used to visit when I was a kid and would do anything to help me? She is what’s wrong with America, because she votes for and supports Evil.I’ve spent three years watching the President of the United States attempt what you’re saying here on the Republican Party. I’ve watched centrists and independents and whatever else groups do that try to make deals and be nice and refrain from being mean to the Right. It was and is outrageous and offensive to think that being nice to the rabid dog is going to convince him not to rip out your throat. Individual members of evil groups aren’t necessarily evil, but they are contributing to the whole, and fundamentalism and conservatism are Evil.My mom argues basically what you’re advocating for here, on a utilitarian ground; yelling at people never gets them to change the way you want. This is valid, but only when we’re discussing people who are amenable or open to reason at all.From a purely utilitarian perspective then, this approach Does. Not. Work. I can summon up fifty separate and interesting instances in which reaching out the hand of friendship to conservatism and offering them a chance to help with our country’s problems has resulted in the President pulling back a bloody stump. What did the President get for holding down Healthcare for, what, a year? While he wrangled and appeased with these fuckers?He gave away so much, as he is wont to do, because, you know, gotta give these guys the benefit of the doubt. They really want what’s best for America, right? He gave them so much to secure even the slightest bit of support. After incorporating so much from Republicans and thus weakening Obamacare significantly, how much support did Republicans afford him on this?Not a single vote, I believe. Not one.Evaluate what the Right has been doing for, oh say, the last fifteen years. Now tell me that the Right as a whole isn’t fucking Evil capital E. Evaluate the result of everything these bastards have done and then tell me the problem is that we’re not being nice enough and we’re not reaching out enough and we’re not trying to make peace enough.We’ve tried. Many of us have tried, including Presidents all the way down to just folks like you and I. We’ve been trying for decades. It hasn’t worked. By the Gods, it hasn’t even slowed down the rate at which these fuckers try to ruin the country.Their only response to anything that you, as a dirty communist atheist socialist liberal say or do, is “From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee. For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.” What you suggest would work to convince people who are functionally human, but the hardcore Right isn’t functionally human in that sense anymore. They literally do not accept your input in any form. Some of the people on the edges might be reachable, maybe, although you’ll need to present solid evidence of that, and even so, most of the people who were going to get off the psychosis bus have done so by now.I’ve gone from angry to really, really miserable through the course of writing this because some liberals have been shouting this very warning I’m giving now for literally decades and getting ignored by folks like the President, with universally disastrous results.You cannot reason with a Teabagger or, a little more on topic, somebody who’s last line of resort is “Well, but you do the thing that makes Jesus cry because I say so.” They reject reason, and they will tell you as much to your face.

    Your impulse, to treat them fairly and honorably and honestly and nicely and Christian, is a noble one, but in this case, it’s not the right path. We have to treat them like an enemy to be, if they’re lucky, knocked aside so that other, better folks can get to fixing our country’s many, many problems. We have to stop Conservatives, because they’ll sure as Hell itself never stop themselves.

  • Anonymous

    FangsFirst, thank you for writing that lengthy and very interesting essay! (Hey, you! You who went TL;DR and scrolled! I highly recommend you find the time, because that rocked.)

    Do you mind if I reproduce the great majority of that on my own blog, credited to you (and do you like FangsFirst, or is there something else I should credit?)

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    @openid-122622:disqus
    “bitching”

    If you could not use that word to describe — anything, I for one
    would really appreciate it. Especially when the subject is people who
    want to take control of my body away from me because I’m a woman. It
    already takes a lot of energy to talk about this subject; seeing
    misogynistic terms used here, in a place where I don’t expect them, is
    like being slapped in the face.

    THANK YOU. this, this, this, this, this.

    In my household, we’ve substituted the perfectly cromulent and non-gendered word (that we know of — we’re open to correction) “kvetching” because it gets across the idea of “complaining, perhaps stridently and at length, perhaps with validity, perhaps not” without encumbering it with the connotation of “y’know, like them bitches do, amirite guyz? Hi five!”

    @FearlessSon:disqus  One of these days, I would like to see some guy in a public debate with a
    woman on this subject get punched in the face by the woman for such a
    display of disrespect.

    You and me both.

    One day, I was at my parents’ house, and Dad was watching CNN Money or whatever it is while I was poking around on my computer at the table. And two people, a man and a woman, were arguing economics and taxes. I forget the subject. But at some point I just about saw red and burst out, “Will he please let her finish a goddamned sentence?!”

    Dad laughed and said he was under the impression that she had been constantly interrupting him.

    Which floored me. After a few minutes, I came to the only conclusion that made sense given what I’d just witnessed and what Dad seemed to have witnessed: That part of male privilege is believing that once a man begins to speak, he has the right to speak; and if a woman tries to continue her sentence despite his having begun speaking over her, she is the one who has actually done the interrupting. She didn’t immediately shut up and yield him his God-given manly right to speak when and where the spirit moves him, see.

    Well, the other conclusion that makes sense is that I misheard the conversation and that Dad was right. Which is possible, I suppose, as so many things are. But it’s no secret that another part of male privilege is, “If a man and a woman disagree over how things went down, the man is right.” So I’m going to stick with trusting my own eyes and ears, thanks.

  • LL

    Birth control pills have been around since the 1960s. If an adult in the U.S. doesn’t know how they work, it’s not because it’s difficult to understand or determine, it’s because he or she did not want to know. Here is a helpful and quite easy-to-find URL for those who are still confused, despite the technology having existed for 50 years now: www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/birth-control-pill-4228.htm (scroll down to “How Do Birth Control Pills Work?”)

    But this is all just academic. People who are opposed to birth control or “abortifacients” do not care about how things actually work. If they did, contraception, in the 21st century, would not be the least bit “controversial.” 

    That doofus arguing with the Secretary of Health and Human Services does not care how it works. He only cares that somebody told him, at some point, that birth control is wrong. Whether he is actually stupid or just pretending to be stupid is irrelevant. 

    Trying to make an intellectual argument with people like this is like arguing with a 3-year-old as to why he can’t eat nothing but candy and ice cream. Using logic or reason is kinda pointless. Not saying nobody should use logic or reason in a discussion, just saying, don’t expect it to go very far with people who are determined to stay stupid. It is unfortunate indeed that the largely ignorant U.S. public has chosen so many equally ignorant people to represent them in various public offices, though, to be fair, if you could only elect people who were at least knowledgeable enough to know how birth control pills work, you’d end up not voting at all, leaving only the proudly ignorant to select our leaders. Maybe we should make common knowledge like this one of the requirements of holding public office, in addition to residency and age requirements. Certainly, of all the things that American adults should know, a general knowledge of how birth control pills work is one of them. It’s just technical enough that it demonstrates some intelligence but not so technical that it would be an impossibly high standard to fulfill.

  • P J Evans

     I’d like to have all candidates for public office take and pass the GED exam as part of their qualifications. Because way too many of them seem to know less about the world and how things work than your average high-school student.I am including their knowledge of law and government in that, too.

  • Matri

    Because way too many of them seem to know less about the world and how
    things work than your average high-school student.I am including their
    knowledge of law and government in that, too.

    Considering some of the things they do, some days they make you wonder how these people wake up and get dressed in the morning without stabbing the dog, blowing up their car and irradiating half the neighborhood while trying to figure out their toilet sink.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    Even if you don’t understand exactly how birth control pills work, it’s difficult to not have at least a basic understanding of the fact that they aren’t something you only take on an as-needed basis before having sex.  At a minimum, most people should understand that taking the pill is a daily occurrence, whether you’re having sex or not.
    Seriously, I’ve known that since I was a kid.*  Granted, I was a pretty smart kid, but that hardly excuses grown men from knowing that much.

    *I distinctly recall a scene from some TV show in either the late 1970s or early 1980s – though I don’t remember what show it was – that explained that.  It was some show set in a high school (a sitcom) and there was a girl who, in talking about her plans for the evening, mentioned that because she was going to be having sex, she wanted to borrow one of her friend’s pills.  The teacher overheard and explained to her (and to young Jon, who was half-watching, half-reading comic books) that it doesn’t work that way
    I don’t think it was a very long-running show, and given the sort of freewheeling attitude that was demonstrated towards sex, I imagine it had to have been the 1970s.  Certainly it was before 1984, at the very latest.  So I’ve known that much about birth control pills since I was, at the oldest, 11, and at the youngest, 7.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Even if you don’t understand exactly how birth control pills
    work, it’s difficult to not have at least a basic understanding of the
    fact that they aren’t something you only take on an as-needed basis
    before having sex. 

    The way I see it, if you’re a Congressman and you don’t understand something about a topic currently up for discussion, you should ask your clerks to look into it.

    Or, if you happen to be holding a hearing on the topic, why not subpoena a doctor or a nurse or a law student or someone like that and ask them?

    Or, if that’s too much trouble (and it isn’t — it’s your job that you are paid a lot of money to do), just open up your laptop or turn on your iPhone or do something other than insist that you can’t be expected to know what you’re talking about.

  • Matri

    other than insist that you can’t be expected to know what you’re talking about.

    Anything noticing the current republican trend?

    The amount of character assassination and mud slinging performed by a politician is inversely proportional to the amount of knowledge they have in general matters.

  • Tonio

    Here’s a Murphy constituent’s letter to him, and his jaw-dropping response:

    http://amaditalks.tumblr.com/post/18156955975/on-tuesday-after-liveblogging-my-read-through-of

    For any Pennsylvanians reading this, has Murphy even tried explaining what religious belief has to do with contraceptives allegedly being abortifacients?

  • Tonio

     Sorry, I meant a letter to Harry Readshaw, a sponsor of PA’s version of the Virginia ultrasound bill.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Okay, from now on, any legislator attempting to impliment policy based on “morality” will be forced to write “I will not attempt to legislate morality” one-hundred times on a whiteboard.  Protest of or distraction from this disciplinary action will result in a further disciplinary whack with a yard stick. 

    This will continue until legislators stop trying to make morals enforced. 

  • Tonio

     We shouldn’t even calling it “legislating morality,” because that implies that the legislator is justified in deeming it immoral when a woman wants to have sex without becoming a mother. There’s nothing moral about treating a woman’s sexuality as though it belongs to society and not to her.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Hence why I put “morality” in scare quotes.  It is morality to the legislator.  The point is, the legislator should not be trying to apply the moral standards that they choose to live by to other people. 

  • Daughter

    I wonder if part of the problem with people not knowing that ejaculation, fertilization and implantation are separate, time-delayed processes has to do with how reproduction is taught. On several occasions as a teenager (in health class and in biology class), I saw actual footage films of the beginning of pregnancy at a microscopic level. In each of the films, you see a bunch of sperm rapidly swimming toward the egg, one successfully penetrating it, and the egg immediately beginning to divide, divide again, and again and again, and then that blastocyte swimming down to the uterine wall, all in less than a minute. It always gave me the impression that pregnancy occurred almost immediately after sex.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     That’s an interesting point, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that explained why ordinary people (ie NOT legislators armed with subpoenas or ideologues backed by a huge think tanks filled with people who do nothing other than research things and accumulate knowledge)

  • Daughter

    I don’t recall it ever being explained to us that the footage is speeded up or actually how long those processes actually take. If it was explained, the information was easy to forget compared to the visual impact of speeding sperm and a rapidly dividing blastocyte.  (Images which popular culture has reinforced, such as the conception scene in the movie Look Who’s Talking).

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

     

    @ec0c3750d3b1d04704f1382766a9ad42:disqus (Images which popular culture has reinforced, such as the conception scene in the movie Look Who’s Talking).

    I was about to bring up that very scene in response to your previous.

    For those who haven’t seen it: The scene shifts from two characters clearly about to have sex, to a time-dilated sperm-and-egg film much like those in the sex ed videos, thence to the leading lady throwing up in the office restroom, giving the strong impression that all of this happened within a span of 24 hours.

    I came away from that movie not only with the idea that “conception happens during sex” reinforced, but also the idea that morning sickness happened the day after conception.

  • P J Evans

    I remember seeing stuff like that too – although I suspect that they didn’t know some of the stuff we know now. And they should have said ‘time-lapse film’ or ‘in a Petri dish ‘ (which it maybe was) or ‘simulation’ (the other likely kind of film).

  • http://bjsurvivor.livejournal.com/ BJ Survivor

    Let’s get this straight. Forced-birthers wax on and on about zygotes being full-fledged persons, but it is yet another lie. No one believes this, not really. I know this because I make it a point to ask pro-liars this: “Since you believe that fertilized eggs are people, do you hold funerals for your/your wife’s feminine hygiene products? After all, we hold funerals for people, especially our loved ones, but even indigents are given funerals.” I have yet to get any sort of answer at all, because it leaves them in a real Catch-22. They don’t, but the certainly won’t admit that because it would reveal their hypocrisy, but they can’t denounce such a thing as the ludicrous action it is, because that would also be a reveal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     I honestly don’t understand how the Bible could even be the source for the whole, “life begins with conception” thing. How would people back then even be able to measure the development prior to ‘quickening’?


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