‘Pro-life’ groups still silent on protecting pregnant workers

A few weeks ago we looked at the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (HR 5647), a promising and necessary piece of legislation currently stalled in Congress.

You can download a fact sheet on the bill from the National Women’s Law Center, which explains that the PWFA would “let pregnant women continue to do their jobs and support their families by requiring employers to make the same sorts of accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions that they do for disabilities.”

If you’re a disabled worker, then you’re protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you’re a pregnant worker and not hindered in job performance, or if you’re pregnant and completely unable to work, then you’re protected under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. But if you’re a pregnant worker and able to perform some, but not all, of the functions of your job, then you slip through the cracks and you’re SOL. That means that some pregnant women may be forced to choose between keeping their job and keeping their pregnancy.

Now, since the “pro-life” and “pro-family” movements of the religious right are all about preventing pregnant women from choosing not to keep their pregnancies, this would seem like legislation they ought to be supporting.

And yet, as I noted last month, I haven’t yet seen any support for this, or even any mention of it, among such groups. The PWFA would help to remove one powerful economic incentive for abortion — a real situation that real people face. Anti-abortion groups therefore ought to support it. But if any of them are supporting it, they’re doing so very, very quietly.

Maybe I’d just missed their statements backing this bill? To double-check, I asked the folks at NWLC if they had heard of any support for this workplace protection from anti-abortion groups. Liz Watson, a senior advisor at NWLC, responded:

Supporting pregnant workers so that they can continue their jobs and have healthy pregnancies, is something people of all political stripes should agree on, regardless of their stance on other issues, including abortion. As yet, we are not aware of any support from pro-life groups, however.

One possibility is that these groups are simply not yet aware of this legislation. In that case, one hopes, they will learn of it soon and bring their powerful political muscle to bear in rallying congressional support so that pregnant workers “can continue their jobs and have healthy pregnancies.”

There are other possibilities, but I’ll avoid outlining them here, as the implications from those other possibilities all tend to make these groups look pretty bad — to make them look, in fact, like duplicitous agencies whose alleged concern for “the unborn” will always take a back seat to their paramount concern with controlling uppity women.

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  • Wingedwyrm

    One of the problems with pro-life groups is the tendancy, among them, to assume that there are no legitimate pressures to have an abortion.  They’ll take being pressured by boyfriend or sexual abuser, but to them that’s just in line with the general evil.  Everything else has been classified “convenience” and “selfishness”.

    A woman has three children, her income is limited with or without a father financially contributing.  The fourth child may make it impossible to meet the needs of any of the children in her household.  This is a financial insentive to have an abortion and the pro-life side of the debate categorizes that of “selfishly putting my needs above the unborn child”.

    A woman is in college or highschool.  Either because the school in question is private or because the public school in question is getting away with breaking this particular law, the woman will expelled or suspended on the event that the pregnancy is revealed.  This means that, even given an assumption of a healthy pregnancy without complication, given the assumption of the perfect adoptive parents waiting to adopt, given the assumption of everything just going perfectly, carrying the baby to term will mean getting set behind for a year of education.  The pro-life side of this debate categorizes that of “having an abortion because it’s convenient”.

    Having so determined that they know, ahead of time and for everybody else, that their reasons for having an abortion are all a matter of selfishness and loose morals, it might not even occur to this group that there’s any connection at all between facing termination for pregnancy and abortion.

  • TheFaithfulStone

    This is the sort of thing ACTUAL pro-life people would vote for, but since we don’t have any of those, it falls to the same old crowd to pass it.  You know, those people who are ACTUALLY concerned about limiting human suffering.  Dirty rotten liberals.

  • Xclamation

    I’m willing to be wrong on this (and hopeful that someone will correct me if I am), but I had always sort of just assumed that pro-life activists, in general, held the belief that mothers shouldn’t work outside of the home. I imagine the logic goes something like, “a woman who has a baby is a mother. A mother who raises her baby is a mom. A woman who has an abortion is a murder. A mother who works is a feminist.”

    I only bring this up because, if true, then I can see how the pro-life movement might consider a bill like HR 5647 to be antithetical to their aims. Anything that makes it easier for mothers, or mothers-to-be, to work creates an environment which makes it permissible for women to focus on things other than children. And they just can’t let that happen.

    The way they see it, the absence of the protections HR 5647 would provide doesn’t induce pregnant employees to abort their fetuses. Rather, it provides incentives to abort their careers.

  • fraser

    Unfortunately a lot of anti-abortion conservatives are firm believers that “mother at home” is the only good way to raise a kid. It’s not that this is a logical outcome of being right to life but right-to-life often stems (based on listening to or reading anti-abortion screeds over the years) a general belief in a woman’s place. So yeah, laws that make it easier for mothers to work are anti-family.
    Besides, once they ban all abortions, the woman won’t be able to get one, so then she’ll have to stay home. And if she can’t support her family, Social Services can take the baby away as she’s obviously an unfit mother.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    And if she can’t support her family, Social Services can take the baby away as she’s obviously an unfit mother.

    I really would not mind this option so much if, as a society, we actually had a really decent safety net for catching and rearing unforeseen children.  

  • Rowen

     I’m willing to be wrong on this (and hopeful that someone will correct
    me if I am), but I had always sort of just assumed that pro-life
    activists, in general, held the belief that mothers shouldn’t work
    outside of the home

    Not all. My mom is VERY Catholic and conservative, and is a college professor and is very anti-abortion.

  • fraser

    It’s the same logic by which the way to prevent unplanned pregnancies is never “Use birth control” but “the slut shouldn’t have sex.” And if they do have sex, therefore, they’d better be prepared to give birth like God intended.

  • Magic_Cracker

    One possibility is that these groups are simply not yet aware of this legislation.

    All you need to do is copy-paste the salient details into the next right-wing spam email you get from your deranged uncle sends you and then forward it to all of your other right-wing relatives. Take care to do some minor copy editing to make it look like Obama is against it.

  • phantomreader42

     They don’t actually READ those emails, they just scan for keywords to froth about. 

  • readerofprey

    Ah, but this bill might make it easier for an unmarried woman to be pregnant, therefore it actually causes abortions by contributing the “anti-life culture” of our country in the modern era by conceding the possibility that a man and a woman might have sex for reasons other than wanting a child, even if they’re not married.  The only way to cut down on abortions is to return to a Victorian standard where sex outside marriage is so unthinkable that polite society can’t even admit that it exists.  See also, why contraceptive use actually creates more abortions.

    Because, you know, the Victorians didn’t have any problems with unwanted pregnancies, certainly not to the extent that they had to invent the horrific practice of baby farming to cope with the sheer number of unwanted children that women had to keep secret in order to survive:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_farm

    *WARNING*  Do not click that link unless you have a strong stomach.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    But Rowen, how does your mother feel about other women combining career with pregnancy?

    Many prolifers are in favour of their own reasons for having an abortion, etc; they just don’t think any other women can have a good reason for doing so. Many conservative women have careers outside the home, often simultaneously with arguing that other women shouldn’t.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

     Many conservative women have careers outside the home, often simultaneously with arguing that other women shouldn’t.

    Indeed. Fred has written often about Beverly LaHaye (wife of Tim) who believes so strongly that women should stay at home and not work that she spends most of her time 3000 miles away from her husband to run Concerned Women of America (for a very handsome salary, I wager).

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BYRV35EWCL4AKVA3APJHDTND6A Steve

    Root Cause Analysis in action – if you want to end abortion, end the conditions that prompt people to consider it a viable option.  You’ll also solve a few other problems along the way (as is usually the case with a good RCA).  A rising tide lifts all boats.

  • AnonymousSam

    Root Cause Analysis in action – if you want to end abortion, end the
    conditions that prompt people to consider it a viable option.

    Unfortunately, that’s exactly what they think they’re doing. They’ve just determined that what prompts people to consider it is sinful immorality, and the solution is to whip the religion on them even harder with an extra-saucy layer of guilt and shaming.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

    Personally, I think we’re skirting around the real issue here, which is the extent to which fundamentalist Christians sincerely believe that pregnancy and the burden of being responsible for an unplanned-for child is actually a curse levied against all women, including married women, resulting from “Eve eating the apple.” 

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    skirting around the real issue here, which is the extent to which fundamentalist
    Christians sincerely believe that pregnancy and the burden of being
    responsible for an unplanned-for child is actually a curse levied against all women

    How would you go about choosing between this theory, and the related theory that these people stress the “curse-on-all-women” Eden narrative (a punishment that was apparently not lifted as a consequence of Jesus’ intervention, which should at least be remarkable for a Christian theologian) as a way of justifying in theological terms their social and political stances?

    Because if that second theory is true, and the theology is being driven by the politics rather than the other way around, then it seems to follow that the “real issue” actually is the politics, and discussions of the theology would be skirting around it.

  • fraser

    Yes, there was that Texas pastor who proclaimed that taking pain medication during birth was sinful because God wants women to suffer.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    IIRC that was a prevailing notion back in the day, and it only became acceptable after one of the Queens (I want to say Victoria) had it done to her. 

  • christopher_young

    I want to say Victoria

    You’re right to say Victoria. But it’s unfair to our ancestors to suggest that they all thought the pain associated with childbirth was a good thing right up to the 19th century. Mostly they just couldn’t do anything about it. The same applied to surgery. As soon as reliable anaesthetics were discovered, they used them enthusiastically.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CE6FTHLHRMXUGOOGCMG3ROXBH4 David

    The PWFA would help to remove one powerful economic incentive for abortion

    They don’t want to do that.  They want there to be very good reasons why women would not want their pregnancies, when those pregnancies are the result of unapproved sexual activity.  Those pregnancies are meant as punishment.  They oppose contraception for the same reason they oppose abortion – because they allow that punishment to be avoided.

    If punishing sluts means children have to grow up in poverty, or resented by their parents, or abandoned altogeter, if it means that even faithful married women have to lose their jobs or even die from complications in pregnancy, well that’s a price they’re willing to let other people pay.

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    Human needs shall not curtail the rights of America’s true patriots: its corporate citizens.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    Even simpler: Follow the money.

    In the UK, if you want to adopt a baby, you’re unlikely to be found a baby by a British adoption agency (there’s no shortage of young children who need to be adopted, but most women in the UK who know they don’t want a baby, have an abortion). If you decide you really want a baby, and money is no object, you go to the US.

    Always makes me grin (not pleasantly) when I see prolifers alleging that “abortion is big business”. In the US, adoption is big business – and the birth mother doesn’t make a cent, though the adoptive parents pay thousands. 

    This comes out occasionally when British parents in the public eye (like David Miliband) have to admit they basically went to the US, paid £20,000, and came home with two babies. Legally adopted, and the Millibands say they write to the birth mother, but still – the private agency they used charges £7,000 per black baby, £13,500 per white baby, plus medical expenses.

    Just as the US prison system/war on drugs has effectively re-created slavery for black men, so it frequently seems that the US adoption system has effectively recreated one aspect of slavery for poor women: to have a baby and effectively to have the baby sold, admittedly (hopefully) to a good home.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw


    the US prison system/war on drugs has effectively re-created slavery for black men

    A few years ago, I did a fair amount of research in an attempt to understand why the USA’s war on drugs, criminal justice system, and prison system are such a disaster.

    I reached the conclusion that they are working exactly as they were intended to work.

  • reynard61

    “There are other possibilities, but I’ll avoid outlining them here, as the implications from those other possibilities all tend to make these groups look pretty bad — to make them look, in fact, like duplicitous agencies whose alleged concern for ‘the unborn’ will always take a back seat to their paramount concern with controlling uppity women.”

    And making shitloads of money while doing so.

  • banancat

    I think most people who are anti-abortion really care most about making women dependent on men and making sure that men retain as much of their power as possible.  The most honest ones wouldn’t support this bill because they’d say that the woman should just quit her job, get married if she isn’t already, have the baby, and then depend on the man to support her.  The less honest ones will only think this but won’t say it out loud.  If the family really needs that second income, they’ll say to just pray harder and trust God, or the pragmatic ones my allow the woman to work, but always in an appropriately feminine job for an appropriately low wage so the man will still have more income and can use it as a threat to control her.

    If women have more chances for education and better careers, we don’t have to worry so much about keeping men happy just to have enough food and resources for survival.  We can say no to marriage proposals, divorce abusive men, and demand that men pull their weight within the marriage when it comes to childcare and household chores.  But having more kids than we can handle would hold us down and it make it much harder to leave.  Helping a pregnant woman keep a job would go against making her more dependent on a man.

  • Bnerd

    This is wholly unsurprising. We already know two things about “pro-life” groups on this subject: 1) It’s not about the welfare of the mother. It’s about the fetus. Fetus fetus fetus. That’s what matters above any other considerations…. And 2) They’re free marketeers. Surely corporate CEO’s know what’s best for women… not the stupid Government!…. But seriously, I’m not shocked they don’t support this. 

  • banancat

     Just a nitpick, but pregnant women aren’t automatically mothers.  It’s telling that the anti-abortion has had so much influence that we reflexively call pregnant woman mothers even if they have no children yet, but it’s worth the effort to try to stop framing it that way.  The better term is “pregnant woman” or simply “woman”.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Whoa, whoa! Hang on guys. I see a lot of assumptions and speculations here about what ‘pro-lifers’ believe or don’t believe. Painting with a broad brush and making these assumptions is why we aren’t actually talking about these issues. I work f/t. I’ve always worked in some form. Every pregnancy, I have had support from each employer. I’ve worked with many pregnant mothers who stayed as long as they needed or wanted. I would have to investigate to see why this bill was introduced and why it stalled, and there’s just not enough information here to comment on that. Is lack of support from pro-life supporters the reason it stalled? What else is in it? Why is it important to the author of this post? Is it actually duplicate legislation in support that is already available? This looks like a post that was created for the sole purpose of finding a stick to poke in the eye of pro-life supporters and a spoon to stir the pot among the pro-choice. Since it seems many of the replies here seem to show that you all don’t actually know any people with pro-life views and how they live their lives, let me encourage you make some new friends today! :)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Every pregnancy, I have had support from each employer. I’ve worked with
    many pregnant mothers who stayed as long as they needed or wanted.

    Congratulations on being lucky and on making sure the pregnant women around you are equally lucky.

    But let’s assume, because I don’t feel like mounting an argument when I haven’t done the research, that you’re right that all employers everywhere are nothing but supportive of their pregnant employees. Here’s something else pro-life people could be noisy and vehement advocates of, to prove that they’re not anti-woman:

    I have a coworker who’s out on maternity leave. Kid was born late in July, and she’s due back to work late in September. We get regular emails asking us kind and generous people to donate our sick leave to other state employees because they left work on this day and ran out of paid leave on that day and their expected return date is this other day. Last week we got one of those emails with coworker’s name and the dates late July to late September.

    See, the Family and Medical Leave Act mandates that my coworker be allowed to take a couple months off to bond with her kid and that her job be waiting for her when she comes back. But it only mandates a couple months (other countries have as much as a year, and they have it for both parents), and it doesn’t mandate that that leave be paid.

    Want to prove you’re pro-life and not anti-woman? Round up your pro-life buddies and start a letter-writing campaign to Congress on the state and federal levels to the tune of ‘speaking as a pro-life individual, I want you to mandate paid parental leave; some women consider losing a sixth of their annual income to unpaid parental leave to be enough reason to get an abortion, so I want them to have paid parental leave so they do not feel they need to get an abortion’. For bonus points, advocate for more parental leave and advocate for both parents being able to take parental leave, simultaneously or sequentially as the parents in question choose, and advocate that some of that paid parental leave be the pregnant woman taking off the last few weeks of her pregnancy, because that’s often the hardest part of pregnancy.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Here’s an interesting article entitled When Gentlemen Dispute:

    “attacking the possessor of an idea is one of the last refuges of those bereft of
    the soundness of their own ideas”


  • Thecuriouscottage

    “Want to prove you’re pro-life and not anti-woman?”  My original reply was about the bill itself. The questions I had were about the bill that stalled in congress and those weren’t answered. From your reply it looks as though you and I agree that we don’t want people to feel the need to abort their pregnancy. Do we agree on that? Why do we agree? What is it about the aborting of a pregnancy that is negative? You are appealing to me on those grounds and attempting to persuade me and others who are pro-life to prove that we are truly pro-life by supporting legislation that you think is important. You want my help with this issue that means a lot to you, so if I join you in supporting legislation that you think is important, that will prove to you that I am pro-life. So, if you and I agree that aborting a pregnancy is a negative, then I guess we may both be pro-life..yes?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Huh. Are you suggesting that among modern English speakers the labels “people who identify as pro-life” and “people who believe aborting a pregnancy is a negative” refer to more or less the same group of people in the world?

  • Thecuriouscottage

    I’m not suggesting anything in particular. I’m asking Ellie a question based on what she said. She seems to understand my question and she answered me.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Ah, sorry. Hadn’t realized it was a private conversation.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Not necessarily. You can participate. She had already replied to what I asked and understood what I meant. Did you want to ask any more about that? I wasn’t going to keep up with this anymore after today.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Abortion entails an invasion of a woman’s body, and in most cases presupposes a different such invasion. (In the other cases, the pregnancy is wanted–it’s not an invasion if there’s an invitation–but something’s gone wrong such that ending the pregnancy with the woman and baby alive and healthy, or if it’s a multiple pregnancy, with the woman and all the babies alive and healthy, is chancy at best.) Therefore, though abortion is morally neutral, it is something to avoid wherever possible. It is not always possible to avoid abortion: in a situation where the only way to save the woman’s life or health is to end the pregnancy, or a situation where the fetus will not live long enough to be born (or, though this is debatable, will not live very long after birth, or will have severe disabilities), or a situation where the pregnancy is multiple and any attempt to keep all the fetuses alive is doomed to failure, then abortion is a moral good. Also, forcing a woman to stay pregnant is abhorrent, as is (to exactly the same degree and for exactly the same reasons) forcing a woman to have an abortion, which I know you’re against.

    I am not asking you to prove that you are pro-life; you say you are and I have no reason to disbelieve you. I am asking you to prove that you are not anti-woman, that is, that you do not share the belief common to most pro-lifers that the only thing that need be done to ensure that an unexpected pregnancy is not a risk to a woman’s physical, emotional, social, or financial well-being is to make sure she only has sex if she intends to get pregnant. The simplest way to prove that you are not anti-woman is to take action that supports women, especially the women who you want to make sure won’t have abortions. Mandating paid parental leave would be a good start. So would mandating comprehensive sex ed and expanding access to contraception.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    I would like to find some common ground from which to begin talking about this. There are several things here in your reply that we would need to get past to get to your question of whether or not I or others that identify as pro-life are anti woman. You say that abortion is morally neutral. If a ‘moral’ is defined as a practice within a moral code, you and I live under two completely different moral codes. If the woman who is pregnant is carrying another woman than wouldn’t killing one be anti-woman? You have defined morality and support of women under your own moral code. Your implication is that the moral code that you follow is superior to mine and that I must prove that my actions are acceptible under your moral code. Of course I cannot, for the moral code under which I live places the right to live for all first and foremost over all other rights. I didn’t create this code from my own thoughts. I could not. The code is created by a the Creator.  We can talk about that if you like, but I hope I have been able to convey that that you and I are not starting from the same foundation.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I’m trying to imagine a grown woman inside a uterus. It’s not working so well. Killing a fetus isn’t anti-anything, anyway, any more than eating a walnut is anti-walnut-tree, unless the abortion is motivated by some characteristic of the fetus’s–sex-selective abortion is certainly anti-woman, or at least as practiced it is (never heard of anyone aborting a male fetus out of desire not to have a male child). I don’t have the faintest idea how to prevent sex-selective abortion, though, considering I don’t want a woman who wants an abortion to have to prove anything other than that she wants an abortion; undoing the cultural factors that make male children more desirable than female should do it but is a long-term project.

    One must not cause harm if one can avoid it, and one must increase happiness whenever possible, and it’s all right to do harm in order to prevent equal or greater harm but one must be very sure beforehand that that’s what one’s doing, and the action that’s acceptable or even necessary in one circumstance isn’t necessarily acceptable in another. That uncertainty means that morality cannot be codified without arbitrariness.

    You say the right to live trumps all. I assume you mean that any given woman has that right too. If so, then one of two things follows. Either she has the right to live her life the way she likes, which includes having sex if she wants to and if whoever she wants sex with wants sex with her, and which includes not being pregnant if she doesn’t want to be, or she has the right to live but she does not have the right to live the way she likes, in which case I need to know who’s setting the rules and why their wishes for her trump her wishes for her.

    If you’re starting with ‘God says’ instead of ‘this hurts’, then of
    course we’re not starting from the same place. I’m an atheist.

    I get the impression that you don’t want to lobby legislators for mandated paid parental leave, mandated comprehensive sex ed, and expanding access to contraception. Why don’t you?

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Your answers are detailed and patient. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in a civil way with me. I’m going to ask some questions. They are real questions and not an attempt to mock. If I asked you who wrote the morals to which you refer, so that I can go read them too, where would I go? What is the answer to how I can know a morality that likens killing a fetus with eating a walnut? Is this your own moral code or is there another author? Is it science? Does science deny that a fetus is alive, human, male or female or is it simply neutral? When does it become moral? There is an Author and Creator for this brief lifetime that we all share in common. He is alive and His morality is written and searchable.  I will not lobby legislators for paid parental leave, sex ed and contraception, because I serve the Creator who said:

     “Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die;

    save them as they stagger to their death.

    Don’t excuse
    yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.”

    For God understands all hearts, and he sees you.

    He who guards your soul knows you knew.

    He will repay all people as their actions deserve.”

    Does size matter? Does quality of life for the adult trump life over death for the child? Does every discussion about this issue have to come down to an either/or for the mother? Why is life, breath and heartbeat not first on the list of priorities? We are all very small to the God that you don’t know, but He writes that He knew us before we were formed in the womb.
    I serve this God alone. So, I cannot deliberately serve another moral code. 

    Is it evil in your eyes to serve this God and His law? You have chosen to serve another law, perhaps a law unto yourself. That is certainly your choice. It’s good that we at least agree that we’re not starting from the same place. I think we’ve also discovered there are very few places that our paths might cross…but we can look harder. :)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Didn’t I just say morality can’t be codified? There is no moral code. There is no author of the moral code. I can point you to a few lists of good general rules, but in the end there’s only your own best judgment, given what you know and what you have no excuse for not knowing.

    A fetus is a potential person. A walnut is a potential tree. Aborting a fetus is no more killing a baby than eating a walnut is cutting down a sapling.

    In saying that you do not support paid parental leave, comprehensive sex ed, or expanded access to contraception, you are going against the very rules you claim to follow. Have you not read the Bible? Did you not see the parts where God said to help the poor? Making a woman choose between having a baby and feeding herself is not helping the poor. Keeping a woman from knowing how to have sex without making a baby that she must then abort or find a way to feed is not helping the poor. And I get the distinct impression that if God exists, She’s not gonna be too happy with any of you lot who insist that women don’t have at least as much of a right to self-determination as fetuses. Left hand with the goats. If the point of this exercise was to reinforce my belief that ‘pro-life’ means ‘anti-woman’, congratulations, you succeeded.

    Oh, and ‘God knew us before we were formed in the womb’ is a shitty argument unless its point is that people exist before their parents meet (and therefore I should take my grandchildren into consideration in all my decisions; I’m twenty-three), or that God knows perfectly well which fetuses are going to be aborted and is fool enough to put souls into those fetuses anyway.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Thank you for answering again. I guess we won’t be finding any common ground. You codified your own morality and declared it superior to those with whom you disagree. You asked me why I don’t lobby legislators to support laws YOU think help women. I told you that it’s because you and I don’t live by the same morality. Your ways don’t help women. They distract by claiming these things are scarce and feed endless discussion while fetuses of both men and women pile higher and higher as the months and years go by. We are now 53 million Americans short since 1972? 1973? What is that? 1/6th of our population? If you feel personally called to champion the issues of contraception, abortion, paid parental leave and comprehensive sex-ed…again, that’s your choice. You have decided these issues, in the form in which you demand that they be provided, are pro-women and any disagreement or attempt to meet needs that don’t go the way you think they should go is anti-women. You don’t have to like or agree with anything that I have said, but you have created your own world with it’s own rules and if by everything I’ve said I’ve broken one of your self-made laws, why should I concern myself with what you say? Why should we discuss this issue at all? You advocate breaking all of God’s laws, mock that God and then claim to hold a biblical standard of helping the poor. Is there a biblical mandate for any of the legislation that you are demanding I champion? There is not. You’ve decided that your judgment is best. You’re making it up as you go along.

  • AnonymousSam

    Ellie isn’t emptily claiming that education, financial security and social safety nets are scarce. They are scarce. There are plenty of places where sex education consists of “Don’t have it. You’ll die.” I had such an education in my school. If pregnancy were to be a reality for me tomorrow, starvation would be a guaranteed consequence; I’m not eligible for any food benefit programs. As for money, let’s just say I’ve been laughing since I completed my college education. That degree is worth roughly a piece of paper, perhaps less.

    Three groups of people have spoken out against policies which would ease these concerns for me: religious persons, pro-life supporters, and Republicans — usually the same group.

    That’s why we in this blog tend to find the “pro-life” tag ironic. Usually it refers to “sorry, you’ll just have to suffer until both you and your child dies! :)”

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Well, let’s go back to the original start to this discussion. The post here is criticizing pro-life supporters because they haven’t championed this specific piece of legislation and it has stalled in congress. I asked for more details. Still, I have none. The criticism was not for blocking a policy. Ellie was specific about what legislation she was talking about, and asking why I’m not lobbying legislators to pass them. There will be no actual ‘meeting of the minds’ if we don’t continue to speak in specifics. Ellie and I have established that we don’t live by the same rules. That will make for a lot more disagreement on what legislation will actually help people. If legislation forces people against their will and their beliefs and their consciences to pay for abortion services and contraception, you aren’t going to win any arguments by claiming you will starve if you found out you were pregnant. That’s hyperbole to make a point and I understand that you are trying to make that point in earnest, but it doesn’t come across the way you are intending. Religious persons and pro-life supporters have many, many ministries and resources available to assist anyone in need, especially here in the US. Their methods of assisting are faith-based and specific to their doctrine, which is why those who are not religious and not pro-life claim that resources are scarce. They either won’t take advantage of what is available, or they don’t know.

  • AnonymousSam

    I don’t have the requested details, but when such legislation has been raised in the past, usually it meets with active attempts to reject it. Big business and their puppets don’t want to not be able to fire employees for having children. They don’t phrase it that way, but that’s the bottom line.

    Hyperbole? No, sorry, that was a point made in all seriousness. My financial situation is not such that I could support pregnancy, much less a child. I’m in a better position than I was a few years ago (when I was spending less than a dollar a day on food and often closer to around 34 cents — and yes, “dying of malnutrition” is an accurate and wholly honest phrase to describe what I was doing to accomplish such a feat of fiscal responsibility), but I’m still deeply behind the poverty line, paying off a my school loans in a home I rent with a landlord who’d be happy to kick me out at the slightest provocation. Pregnancy would be life-ruining, metaphorically and probably literally.

    I hold no illusions that the social services in the area would be adequate to my needs because I’ve already been in a situation where I needed their help and the answer was definitive. Not willing to convert to Catholicism? Not willing to renounce sinful ways (i.e., the sexual preferences with which I was born)? Have some coffee and then please see yourself out.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Ok. So, you are living below the poverty line, paying off school loans. Is the possibility of getting pregnant imminent? I assume you are working and paying rent and all of your own expenses. For a family of 1, that would be under $11, 100/ year. According to this same chart, for our family, we lived below the poverty line for the US for 20 years. I am familiar with what is available. I’m assuming I am much older than you and so I may know of many more resources of which you are not taking advantage. By the way, I am not Catholic, although most all of my family was born in a Catholic hospital. My husband was helped in large part by Catholic charities when he nearly died from a blood clot and we had no insurance. We applied for medicaid as well, and they provided some help after all other means were exhausted. The Catholic hospital that helped us was the most help. We were not cajoled into converting. Not once. We were asked if we required any faith-based assistance, as they would provide a chaplain of our faith if we needed one. So, what I’m saying is that I think you are not aware of the many, many ways that you can seek help. I won’t ask you here to give any other details for which you don’t feel comfortable. What makes it difficult to seek the help you need is that you actually have to talk to individual people and not institutionally or government trained personnel and that is uncomfortable, especially if you feel condemned…even if condemnation is never conveyed to you personally. You know what you have heard about sin and you disagree that anything you might be doing should be called sinful and that you shouldn’t have to suffer the indignity to be around those who believe such things just to get food.  There is a vast difference between talking to individual people and passing legislation, though. I keep harping on it, but lets remember why this conversation was started. I and others like me are reaching out to offer help, but instead we are being told we must lobby for government legislation based on a morality we cannot support in order to ‘prove’ we meet the standards of that morality. You sound like you may need some help now and not if and when you might get pregnant. Waiting for legislation to pass isn’t going to help you now. I would like to talk to you more, but not sure how to do that here.

  • AnonymousSam

    In my specific case, I’m not about to tolerate being called sinful when Peter has made it abundantly clear that I have been made pure and am not to be called impure, Jesus made it clear that we are not to be judged on Earth, Luke/Matthew/and Timothy made it clear that there is to be no reservations in giving alms, Matthew says not to make a public burden of your faith… a day, a day, yada yada.

    In other words, my need does not constitute consent. To take it as a given because I have no other choice is an evil act. Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds — no charging admission for ticket prices here. Jesus healed the lowliest prostitute without demanding that she convert, or reminding her of her sinful ways, or warning her not to use his healing as an excuse to abort a pregnancy.

    I’m in no immediate danger of becoming pregnant (my choice of significant other has much to do with this and also much to do with why our landlord would toss us out at the drop of a hat), but there are plenty of people in my same circumstances who don’t have the luxury of the freedoms I do, and I want them to have the aid of those programs whether they’re Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Pastafarians.

    Part of this is because I don’t like abortion and the quickest way to make abortion less likely to occur is to ensure that pregnancy and children don’t ruin lives. Protections for pregnant women and aid for new and struggling parents does more to ensure completed term than all the soup kitchens in the world.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    I answered this on your other reply, and this will conclude all of my replies on this post. You live and work in a different ‘field’ than I and others like me. I am glad to help you in the name of Christ. There is no other name under which I can offer it. Thank you for talking.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I and others like me are reaching out to offer help, but instead we are
    being told we must lobby for government legislation based on a morality
    we cannot support in order to ‘prove’ we meet the standards of that

    What is objectionable to you about making sure my coworker can afford to feed her family during the time she is taking off from work to bond with her newborn? What is objectionable to you about making sure my coworker can afford to make sure someone cares for her newborn after she’s gone back to work? How can it possibly be morally wrong to make sure expanding one’s family doesn’t strain one’s ability to take care of the rest of the family?

  • Tonio

     Also, “based on a morality we cannot support in order to ‘prove’ we meet the standards of that morality” is too vague.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Those ministries and resources you say exist often turn away people who are not of their specific faith, or require people who want help from them to accept conversion attempts as well as the help they came for. This means that, for people who neither belong nor want to belong nor are willing to pretend to belong to any of the denominations offering such help in their area, help is not available. And even for the people who are or who are willing to become or pretend to become members of the denomination offering help, the help is usually insufficient.

    I remind you that my coworker is missing out on two months’ pay to take care of her baby. Are any of these resources you mention able and willing to give her eight thousand dollars over eight weeks? If not, then mandating paid parental leave would help her more than would her coming hat in hand to one of the resources you mention, and mandating paid parental leave would ensure no strings would be attached to the money, which is something I cannot trust would be true of any help she might get from a religious source.

    Are any of these resources willing to care for her baby at no charge to her or at a price she can afford once she’s back at work, and if so, is that still true once you know she works nights at this job and weekends at her other one? If not, then arranging government-funded child care would help her more than would her coming hat in hand to one of the resources you mention, and government-funded child care would also have no strings attached, which, see above.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Okay, I’m going to try and talk about as much as I can from what you have here.

    You say:

    – “Those ministries and resources you say exist often turn away people who are not of their specific faith”

    – “And even for the people who are or who are willing to become or pretend to become members of the denomination offering help, the help is usually insufficient ”

    – “Are any of these resources you mention able and willing to give her eight thousand dollars over eight weeks”

    I’m going to use ‘you’ and ‘I’ for clarity, but understand that I’m talking about faith based ministries and those who need help…So, what I’m understanding is that if you are pregnant and have to leave a $4000/mo job, you believe that faith based ministries most of the time won’t help you unless you are a member. So, you can’t get help there unless you pretend to sign on to their beliefs, but even if you did that or if that wasn’t required and help was available, it wouldn’t match your income level. So, the help is unwelcome because it’s too little for the lifestyle to which you are accustomed. You scorn the attempts to help you by faith-based ministries and then insult them because they won’t leave their ministries and their conscientious objections to champion the cause of government-funded aid. I’ve been married for 25 years and my husband and I own a home and raised 3 children, 2 of which will be graduating from college in 4 months. We have never made more than $3000/mo combined. For 20 of those years, we never made more than $2000. So, what you are asking of faith-based ministries for which we and others like us labor and support is something we cannot give you. Your assertion that faith-based ministries ‘often’ won’t help unless you are a member is the kind of generalized fib that attempts to guilt us away from our ministries to stand in line for government and community created organizations with ‘no strings attached’…and we do actually come and help anyway. We still pay the taxes required to fund these ‘government’ funded ventures. Some of us homeschooled our kids, but have consistently paid our taxes to fund the public schools in our community. We spend our time on food ministries, clothing, shelter, prison ministries, pregnancy, adoption, foster parenting, counseling, youth, medical, elderly…but that ‘God’ component is always there, nagging and pestering and dancing and singing and it’s pretty annoying, isn’t it? I don’t think it’s that we don’t show up and don’t help you. It’s that for you, people of faith should be ‘seen and not heard’. You want institutional, nameless, faceless help. And..well…money. So, you create more and more laws to force the faith-based community to do it your way. We won’t champion your causes. No. Because as I already said, we cannot. You say, ‘I’m pregnant’. We say, ‘Here, let us help you.’ You say, ‘I need $8000 or I’ll abort this pregnancy…oh, and leave me alone’. The reality is actually the other way around from what you are stating. You don’t want our help unless we convert to your version of help.

  • Beroli


    So, what you are asking of faith-based ministries for which we and
    others like us labor and support is something we cannot give you.

    Thank you. Please inform every Republican politician who argues that the role of government welfare can be replaced by individual charities of this fact.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    This is the concluding sentence to a long discussion. Did you read it? In case you haven’t, the point of which, again, goes back to the original post and the reason that I replied to this post:

    If you are seeking champions of government-based legislation to support your own version of morality, faith-based ministries cannot help you. If you actually want help, let’s talk.

  • Beroli

    So you, like Michele Bachmann, are unaware of the existence of anything called the establishment clause in the Constitution?

  • Thecuriouscottage

    You seem to want to spar specifically about partisan politics. I would be inadequate for that. Sorry.

  • Beroli

    …You are under the impression your wall-of-text posts are apolitical, or politically non-partisan, or non-combative? Seriously?

    I’ll take that as a “Correct, I don’t know what the establishment clause is,” by the way.

    What is the main purpose of the church? I’ll answer that. The main purpose of the church is to make disciples of all nations.

    That’s fascinating. The main purpose of the church is to propagate itself? Anything else it might seek to accomplish is secondary at best to making converts? That’s an interesting Catch-22 there: A Church that prioritizes converts over life, health, joy, or humanity is by definition one not worth joining. Why would anyone want to be part of a virus?

    (Note, this is not meant to be critical of Fred Clark’s religion, or the religion of anyone who wouldn’t say that the main purpose of his/her church is to make converts.)

  • Thecuriouscottage

    What did I say? I said you want to spar over partisan politics. You want to talk to and argue with a Republican. You’ll have to look somewhere else.

    I’m sorry you don’t like the purpose of the church, but it is what it is. You’re welcome to come, but it’s your choice to stay away. I am not mocking you or coercing you to abandon your morals to join the church, but Jesus told His disciples to preach the gospel to every creature and make disciples of all nations. It is primary.

  • AnonymousSam

    So you won’t get behind secular-based societal safety nets because they’re not religious, and you won’t give up the religion in your own safety nets. If that means people have to do without and suffer the consequences, oh well!

    Nothing about that seems coercive to you?

    Literally in a position to decide whether people live or die, and still claiming to be persecuted by the misunderstanding masses. Ah, it must be good to be Christian.

  • Tonio

    If we were talking about one person helping another, Cottage’ gripes would sound like passive-aggressive attempts to discourage the other person from seeking help. The problem with combining charity with attempts at recruitment is that the clients’ religious affiliations or beliefs are not the charity’s business in the first place. There’s no valid reason that the charity can’t simply help people regardless of religious affiliation and leave the proselytizing out of it. Otherwise, it’s the equivalent of a timeshare sales pitch with the promise of a gift card at the end.

  • AnonymousSam

    Even in the most benevolent circumstances (of which I have rarely witnessed or experienced), it’s still coercive. Back before companies largely started policing themselves, drug companies had to submit to reviews by a board of ethics to determine whether or not it was ethical to pay people who were in dire straits to try potentially dangerous new drugs, whether it was something that would help them or not. I see this in much the same light: “We’re offering something which may or may not be hurtful, but since you’re not in a position to refuse, you have to submit to it anyway. If you feel soul-crushing unhappiness, that’s just a side-effect.”

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Ok, so have you contacted your legislator about the bill mentioned in the original post? Do you know what is in this bill? Do you know why is stalled in congress? Because I can’t seem to get anyone to answer that question. Every comment here has confirmed my thoughts that the post was just to stir the pot and not to actually talk about specific legislation. The church’s main purpose is to make disciples. That’s the MAIN purpose. It’s the demanding attempts to get the church to lobby for legislation that YOU like best that I am attempting to point out. If you like it so much, then explain it and support it.

  • Tonio

     I don’t know much about the bill itself, so I really don’t have much of a position on it. As far as “getting the church to lobby for legislation,” I don’t know what that even means, since I’m not religious. I just oppose the idea of any group using charity of any sort as a pretext for trying to recruit new members, whether such groups are religious or secular, because that smacks of exploitation of vulnerable people. I’m not saying that soup kitchens do in fact harass their clients.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Those who replied to my initial post here informed me that they would prefer to go to non-faith based organizations and government-funded safety nets for help with needs, because they don’t agree with their beliefs and don’t want to hear anything about sin, God, Christ, the church or the church’s mission, etc. If you need medical care and the hospital available to go to for care has a cross on the wall in every room, a bible on the table, nuns and priests and religious artwork and verses of scripture around the entire facility, I wouldn’t call the medical care a pretext to recruit members. You are turning the purpose of these ministries exactly the wrong way around.

  • Tonio

    I can’t speak for anyone else here. I wouldn’t be bothered the sight of the religious imagery. I would be bothered if, hypothetically, the staff harassed me and my loved ones in an effort to convert us. There’s no reason why I should trust such an organization when its stated position is that it’s immoral not to belong to that religion  – I wouldn’t be surprised if the staffers attempted last rites on non-Christian patients without their consent. Not that farfetched when one considers that the Latter-Day Saints posthumously baptize Holocaust victims even though the families have asked that church to lay off.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If you need medical care and the hospital available to go
    to for care has a cross on the wall in every room, a bible on the table,
    nuns and priests and religious artwork and verses of scripture around
    the entire facility, I wouldn’t call the medical care a pretext to
    recruit members.


    Maybe not, but it’s definitely (1) a strong indication that
    Protestants and nonChristians are less welcome there than Catholics, if
    they’re welcome at all (shockingly enough, making people feel unwelcome somewhere makes them less likely to come), and (2) if the care needed involves something
    that Catholics don’t want to do–say, ending an ectopic pregnancy before
    it threatens the woman’s life–then the care is unavailable, or not
    available in the form the patient wants. Most pregnant women who
    discover that the pregnancy is ectopic are women who want a baby, and
    who therefore want not to halve their fertility in the process of not
    dying of complications of the ectopic pregnancy, but Catholic medical
    personnel use only one method of ending an ectopic pregnancy, and
    halving the woman’s fertility is an inevitable consequence of that

  • EllieMurasaki

    The church’s main purpose is to make disciples. That’s the MAIN purpose.
    So if God snapped her fingers and made everyone in the world the same flavor of Christian, without changing a single thing else in the world, the church’s job would be done? Even though there would still be hungry people and homeless people and ill people, and people who have no leisure time because if they did then they wouldn’t have enough money to avoid being hungry and homeless and ill, and people discriminated against because they’re female or LGBT or of color or with a disability? Nothing whatsoever matters to the church except expanding its numbers? I’ll grant you that making everybody the same religion would end religious discrimination, at least for a while, but it’d come back the moment somebody asked an inconvenient question.
    And you wonder why you lot have such trouble winning converts.
    Piece of advice with regards to that: scenario 1, I walk in to your faith-based ministry and ask for help. You ask enough questions to be sure of what sort of help I need, and you give me that help without further ado. You make sure I know you’re helping me because your god wants you to, but you do so subtly, and you make it equally clear that my religious beliefs are not something you care about or are trying to change. Your focus is on making sure I get the help I need.
    Scenario 2, I walk into your faith-based ministry and ask for help. You quiz me on my religious beliefs and why they differ from yours, and you assert repeatedly that I would be better off if I change my beliefs to match yours, that I might need to change my beliefs even more than I need the help I came in for, which might not be forthcoming if I don’t agree to at least consider changing my beliefs. Your focus is on converting me.
    Which scenario is more likely to end with me coming to have a look-see at the religious community that produced your attitude toward me?
    Hint: it’s the one that treats me as though I am a person, not as though I am nothing but a potential convert.
    (If I come in asking questions about your religious beliefs as well as asking for help, it’s probably open season on converting me, but scenario 1 is still likelier to convert me than scenario 2.)

  • Thecuriouscottage

    I’m having trouble following the links to the replies, as I am talking to you and Ellie, still. I am offering to help you find the things to meet your needs. Faith-based ministries will help you and if they can’t they have a lot of resources and can point you in the right direction. People of faith contribute and help and labor and obviously live next door and in your community. You and I both are benefitting from the taxes and labor of both religious and secular citizens. The original post is about legislation which you say you do not know the details. I also do not know, but the author of the post is blaming me and others like me for it stalling in congress. Since you don’t even know the details, I’m guessing you also are not lobbying congress to pass it. So, all of your accusations and emotional statements are hypocritical. If you are pregnant and you can’t work at your job anymore and there is no societal safety net to help you and you come to a crisis pregnancy center for help…oh. Wait. You won’t come there, because you might see or hear something that makes you feel guilty. So, you decide to abort the baby. We don’t know you are out there. You never came. Who is dying here? The baby will die. I had no choice to try and help you because you didn’t come. You misunderstand because you don’t want to understand, and yet you blame the people who didn’t know. You didn’t go, because you find their methods coercive. Did they ask you questions about your life rather than just hand you some cash? Or was it just not enough to be fed, clothed and offered prenatal care for you and the baby? Did you want more, but they didn’t have more? You seem to have some experience with scripture and the church, but your responses contain more hyperbole about life and death and lots of missing information in your references to scripture.  What is the main purpose of the church? I’ll answer that. The main purpose of the church is to make disciples of all nations. That is the main purpose. Show me the masses of women dying from an unwanted pregnancy. Show me a Christ that would tell them to go and have the baby aborted. Christ did tell people to not sin, AND to come to Him and He would give them rest. Christ healed people of their sickness. He came to seek and save the lost. He fed the 5000, THAT CAME to HEAR HIM SPEAK. The prostitute worshipped Christ and kissed His feet. Do you worship Christ? Are we sisters? Because if you and I both love and worship Christ, we are both part of the body of Christ, the church. Show me a Peter who would tell the church to give a woman alms so she can have the baby aborted. Show me any commands from God for the church to give up the gospel in place of secular based societal safety nets. Show me this doctrine, because I have never heard it or read it and don’t know it. Would you like to know where to find life and find it abundantly AnonymousSam? I will gladly share more of the gospel with you and I have already offered to help you with whatever you need with or without the gospel, but you seem more interested in arguing with me. As a Christian and part of the church, the body of Christ, it is good. It is very good. You would know if you are in fact forgiven and all of your sin forgotten and you are a new creature, as you said. You are welcome to come to Him, you who are weary and heavy laden and He will give you rest. Take His burden and lay down your own and learn from Him, and you will find rest for your soul. His burden is light. Lay down the burden of fighting for government-funded this, or taxpayer funded that, or societal-safety nets…lay down your nets and follow Christ…that is exactly what Peter did.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Show me a Peter who would tell the church to give a woman alms so she can have the baby aborted.
    As I have said several times now, if a woman can afford to take care of herself only if she’s not taking care of a baby, she’s a lot less likely to have the baby than she is if she can afford to take care of herself and the baby. I don’t know what Peter would say on the legality or morality (which are and should remain very different things) of abortion, and I don’t care. I am however absolutely confident that Peter would say give the woman some damn money so that she can afford to take care of the damn baby.
    Show me any commands from God for the church to give up the gospel in place of secular based societal safety nets.
    Y’know, we aren’t saying faith-based charities shouldn’t exist. We’re saying faith-based charities can’t non-coercively help people of other faiths unless the faith bit is mentioned so little that the charity is effectively secular, and we’re saying charity, whether secular or faith-based, is not enough to help everyone. We need the secular societal safety nets to exist. That doesn’t mean we don’t want charities to exist.
    We’re also saying that your message of caring for all the unborn children would get a lot more traction if you also visibly cared for women and born children.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    I’ve read all of your replies to me, but will only comment here. I came to this blog post to read what it had to say. Since this site is having conversations on faith, I looked at the comments. I ran down the list and saw comment after comment of mocking assumptions about pro-life supporters as though they are one homogenous group of the same faith, family size and milk and cookie consumers. I thought I might talk to you. I have tried repeatedly to bring the meandering comments back to the original post’s point. This legislation was created by ? and stalled in congress because ?  The criticizers in the comments don’t even know the details of this bill and aren’t lobbying congress.  The blog post and comments blame pro-life supporters for not championing your own cause. You don’t want what is offered by faith-based ministries…you say there isn’t enough money offered to women to take care of their children. You say faith-based support for pregnant women is not visible…or is it too visible and too faith-based? Which is it? You can say anything you want to about what’s available and what’s not and how much pro-lifers and the people in the church don’t care about women and you don’t have to prove any of it’s true. I would say you are lying, except I actually think you just don’t know. You aren’t aware, because you’ve not tried to find out. Would a cross on the wall and a chaplain offering spiritual support scare you off? How about Muslim symbols or dress or Jewish? Have you ever lived in a large city? I grew up in Chicago. I expect the Jews to act and look like Jews. I expect the Muslims to act and look like Muslims. I expect the Catholic nuns at the convent to act, talk and pray like Catholics. I expect the same of Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists. If I needed something, I know I could go to a faith-based ministry. I know they would help me or help me get help. Should it hurt my feelings if I was asked if I was interested in finding out more about their faith or their church or mosque? If they told me that they regard all life as sacred and would help me, but they don’t pay for abortions or offer contraception, should I sneer at what was offered as too little? Would I be right to demand that they lobby congress to force themselves or somebody to provide more?  You say that if the ministry would just give you the money and whatever else you want and look more secular while doing it you might consider coming back and checking things out. I don’t know how to respond to that.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If you needed help and the only source of help you could find was an atheist group, and they were only willing to help you if you were willing to read Richard Dawkins, would you take the help and the Dawkins, knowing that Dawkins has a really good track record of making people who read his work realize that religion is stupid?


    Then don’t you dare sneer at anyone who won’t take help from you because the help has a conversion attempt attached.

    You are still dodging my question: what do you have against the fetuses of pregnant women with jobs? It must be something, because your persistent refusal to work to make sure no woman ever has to choose between her pregnancy and her job is doing nothing to save those babies from abortion.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Did this happen to you or someone you know? Was there a friend of yours who was hungry and food was withheld until she read the bible? Really? I’m not sneering at anyone for not taking help. It’s irritating and feels like a waste of time to talk to you to have you turn things upside down or take it ten miles too far. A reasonable reply instead of exaggerating would be helpful.

    Maybe I don’t understand your question about pregnant women with jobs. Do you mean why won’t I lobby congress to pass legislation to make all companies provide paid maternity leave? I’ll leave that task to you. I think I addressed this at the very beginning. I said that I’m not standing in your way if you want to lobby congress for this, but demanding that faith-based organizations champion this along with all the other benefits you want included is wrong. We already talked about the morality vs. morality angle. You are trying to persuade on this point by saying that it will save babies from abortion if the paid maternity leave passes. If you insult Christians, Christianity and the man and words upon which their faith is based simply because you wonder why pro-life supporters won’t stand behind paid maternity leave, well then why don’t we save the insults and just talk about that.

  • EllieMurasaki

    http://www.gbcmpk.org/PoliciesAndProcedures.htm –scroll down to the part where that church refuses to be charitable to anyone who isn’t part of that church, and anyone who asks for help despite not being part of that church gets lectured on the necessity of being part of that church.

    Yes, do let’s talk about why you think women who work and who want to have babies should be punished for the latter by being denied a substantial fraction of the benefits of the former.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Thank you! That link is very helpful. I’m not in California, but I see this is a local church with a benevolence ministry. They will help someone who is not a member in other ways besides giving money. Money help goes to the members and if possible, they prefer to provide vouchers…I’m guessing that’s more like gift certificates or gift cards for specific stores for food and I know our church would pay people’s utility bills. Why do you suppose their benevolence policies are this way? Why might a ministry attempt to help in ways that doesn’t include handing over cash? I can tell you from my own experience. I’ve done prison ministry and also ministry with people who have been released from prison or have substance abuse problems. Just giving cash is unwise. You need to find out more about the needs and try to actually meet needs and not conveniences as this church says they do. This policy is biblical:

    counsel the applicant to seek assistance in the following order of priority:
    Family (relatives),Home Fellowships,Benevolence Committee

    This is a biblical priority list. Family is the first line of help. It is their God given duty to help. Home fellowships would be the closest ones to you before approaching the church/ministry. So, as I said in another reply, meeting needs through actual hands of actual people is where faith-based ministries labor. Anyway, good link. Good example.

    As for the last statement you made, I already told you that I have worked at least part time most of my marriage. With my first child, I worked for a small company and they let me bring the baby in on the weekends and work all summer. With my second, I had saved up sick days and vacation days to help with my time off. I drove a schoolbus and was able to come back in the fall and bring the baby on the bus. With my 3rd child, I was self employed and I continued to work after he was born. I made my life work for my lifestyle. I didn’t rely on the government to come up with a way to make it work for me. If your coworker just can’t see her way to make it work at this late date, then help her, if you have the ability. Grace Bible will help her and she wouldn’t starve if she went to them, but they wouldn’t hand her $8000 either.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So what you’re saying is that my coworker should ask her employers if she can bring the baby to work with her, and when she is, as I’m sure she would be, turned down (I don’t know about the beauty salon, but my place of work, we’re on the phones all the time, and the last thing we need is a crying baby in the room), she should quit both jobs and look for one that’ll pay better or allow her to bring the baby with her. In this economy, where someone who loses a job is pretty much guaranteed not to get another one, never mind a better one. Or she should quit her jobs and start her own business. In this economy, where somebody looking for a loan to start a business with is shit out of luck unless their dad’s Mitt Romney, and half of all small businesses go under in the first five years.

    Yeah, that’s absolutely going to help her, I’ll pass on your advice when I see her next. What’s wrong with making her employers keep paying her while she’s out on parental leave?

  • Thecuriouscottage

    I never took out a loan. I just started working. So, she’s a beautician? She could certainly do that on her own. What’s wrong with making you pay her while she’s out on parental leave?

  • EllieMurasaki

    You seem to be implying that rather than go into debt to get the college degree that will allow me to get a better-paid job, I should settle for making thirteen dollars an hour forever. What have I done to offend you such that you wish to condemn me to a lifetime of scraping by?

    I do not have eight thousand dollars lying around. If I did, I’d be delighted to write my coworker a check, but I don’t. Our employer, however, does have eight thousand dollars lying around, and there’s no reason why that money shouldn’t go towards the paychecks my coworker’s missing. The only reason it doesn’t go towards those paychecks is because employers are notoriously difficult to persuade to do anything that cuts into profits; if the law requires paid parental leave, they’ll provide it, but not otherwise.

    Why should the law not require paid parental leave? How does it benefit infants and parents of infants to not have paid parental leave?

  • Thecuriouscottage

    You don’t have to go into debt to go to college. Where are you going? Harvard? Like I said, I have 2 kids that will graduate in December with degrees and no debt. Would you like to know how? And since taking from other people who have saved their money is the plan instead of saving and giving yourself, why wait for a silly law? Why not just steal it if taking from someone else is the right thing anyway? Is it the right thing? Is it part of your moral code to take from others and give to others who didn’t prepare? Because the people who didn’t prepare couldn’t help it, right? We can’t ask people who make $13 an hour to help a friend, when there are richer people somewhere else who can spare the money, right? Taking from other people to give to someone else is not part of my moral code. You can ‘legalize’ anything, but that doesn’t make it right. You are right there near your friend. You are single, I assume and not taking care of children. $13 an hour is more than I’ve ever made and I’m offering to help your coworker find help. I will not lobby government to provide these things.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I have 2 kids that will graduate in December with degrees and no debt. Would you like to know how?

    Is it something that everyone who goes to college can take advantage of, or does it rely on stacking up $250 scholarships from groups that can’t afford to give more than one $250 scholarship per group per year? Given the way the numbers keep coming out on my and my brother’s and sister’s FAFSA forms, the first answer is ‘no’ and even if the second is ‘yes’ it’s ‘no’, because FAFSA has the impression that all three of us were saving for college and nothing else, that our various incomes are for college and nothing else, that the sum of our parents’ rainy-day fund and our parents’ retirement fund is entirely available for my college, that that sum is entirely available for my brother’s college, that that sum is entirely available for my sister’s college, and that we don’t have little sisters who ought to have a share of the money my parents have saved for their kids’ college. And none of us have yet encountered a college where the financial aid package from the college stays the same regardless of the presence of outside scholarships–those $250 scholarships, and all three of us did get a stack of them, invariably drop the amount of our tuition that the college pays by $200 to $250 apiece, rather than going towards the part of our tuition that we’re expected to pay or towards textbooks or room and board or any other expenses. Therefore, student loans.

    We can’t ask people who make $13 an hour to help a friend, when there are richer people somewhere else who can spare the money, right?

    Of course we can ask people who make $13 an hour to help a friend. What we can’t do is ask people who make $13 an hour to be the only ones helping. We earn shit at my job. Seventy percent of the country’s breadwinners make better money than we do. And because we’re bottom of the totem pole, not only are things more expensive (ever owned a clunker? ever noticed how you end up paying more than you would if you’d bought a better car, because the clunker breaks down more often, but you can never scrape together enough money every month to pay the higher car payment for the better car?) but we have less money to begin with, making it a great deal harder to save for a rainy day.

    Taking from other people to give to someone else is not part of my moral code.

    So you’re not planning on voting for Mitt Romney, because most of his fortune came from Bain Capital and tax evasion, that is, stealing from the employees and previous owners of every company Bain took over and stealing from the federal government. Good to know.

    Not clear on how paid parental leave is taking from anybody, anyway. If my coworker hadn’t had the baby, she’d have got a paycheck this past Friday same as me. That’s money that our employer expected to be paying her, and I see no reason why it shouldn’t be money our employer did pay her.

  • Tonio

    We should add that the companies that offer such leave also benefit – better employee morale, increased long-term productivity, improved retention and so fourth. To describe a requirement for paid parental leave as taking money from others is not only mean-spirited but inaccurate, as if only the parents who would use it would experience any benefit. 

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Ah, but see too, this will make it more difficult for young people of child-bearing age to get work, because companies aren’t going to want to hire them, especially small ones, if they can see an automatic $8000 loss per child. It’s not mean-spirited at all to call it what it is. You are forcing a company to make these kinds of decicisions. Imagine, in the case that I am piecing together from what Ellie is saying: You own a beauty salon. You rent the facility and hire beauticians to have a chair in your shop. You have to save money just like everyone else does, but, surprise! 3 of your girls get pregnant and are due within a month of each other. Where does that $24,000 come from? No, sir. This law will  make it that much harder for a young woman go get a job. The reasoning  behind this legislation is unraveling and cause for it stalling in congress is becoming clear. Think of the laws that would have to be put into place make sure there is no descrimination, and the lawsuits…what a burden. This does not help women. It will ultimately hurt them. Again, there is local help available, but no one seems to want to look for any of that. The benefits you cite sound great, but it doesn’t actually work that way. I know. Even at half pay with short-term disability and being able to keep healthcare benefits at the company I work for, do you know how many mothers actually come back to work after having a baby? They come back at the end of the limited time off for short-term, which is a year, and work a week, which is required, and quit. And I’m not exaggerating. We’ve had 2 do this and one…well, we will wait and see. Your thinking changes dramatically when you are home with that baby.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    I just thought of something else! Why not have the employer with every new hire set up their medical savings account and some will be taken out of every paycheck to accumulate to 2 months pay at the end of nine months? After that, the employee can decide how much to contribute. The money can be used for whatever services the employee wishes, because the account belongs to the employee. That would solve all of these problems where my morality and your morality don’t meet. Health savings accounts are already available. If women’s health services in whatever form you want to have them are not eligible for use of that money, that’s where you need to be lobbying congress. Take away this legislation that even your guys in congress can’t get a hearing and put something out there that everyone can get behind. Congress may not even need to get involved in that. It will require more research.

  • Tonio

    Putting aside any merits or flaws in your proposal, I’ll ask a dumb question – what moral conflict would this resolve? 

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Let’s say that I am a faith-based ministry and I have 10 employees. The government has now passed a healthcare mandate that requires that I pay into a fund that will provide abortions for unwanted pregnancies and I am required to pay for health care coverage that provides contraception, like birth control pills, that are abortifacent, meaning that a fertilized egg will be destroyed or unable to implant and this causes a moral conflict. Also, there is legislation in congress that is getting ready to tell me that I also have to provide $8000 per employee for 2 months paid maternity leave, should anyone decide to have a baby, adopt a baby or whatever else constitutes family or parental leave covered by this legislation. I am proposing that the health care accounts we already use be modified to cover this issue. If money comes out of your own paycheck to fund a health care account, why can’t that money be used for contraception services and family medical leave? If the laws don’t allow it to be used for that, then they can change existing law to accomodate this. As the owner of a faith-based ministry, I have no problem with you saving your money in a healthcare account to cover these expenses. This solution would not infringe on my morality if an employees morality tells them it’s ok to use birth control pills. It would not infringe on my morality if that money was used to obtain comprehensive sex-education for the employee. It would not infringe on my morality and take money from other people to pay for leave. It would allow the employee to save for their own leave. There’s no moral conflict with the employee saving and preparing for their own needs.

  • Tonio

    To my knowledge, no one is proposing a health care mandate to cover abortions, so there’s no reason for you to use that as an example. And it cannot be emphasized enough that birth control pills are not abortifacients. They prevent fertilization, not implantation.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    What if it only prevented implantation sometimes? The purpose is to prevent fertilization, but what if there was a risk it would allow the fertilization and not the implantation? The information about what the pill does is easy to find. So, you don’t have to agree with me that the risk of it being an abortifacient is great enough to not support it as a birth control method. You may think the risk is small and not worth haggling. We disagree on the morality issue again, and that is fine. The healthcare mandate that passed and went into effect on August 1st does in fact compel abortion funding. That mandate is already here and done. If you wonder about it, just search under healthcare mandate and abortion funding.

  • Thecuriouscottage
  • Thecuriouscottage

    I would like to stay around and talk about this more, but I’m going to have to let all the many words I’ve already said just stand the way they are. I’m out of time on this one. Bye, guys. :)

  • Lunch Meat

    what if there was a risk it
    would allow the fertilization and not the implantation? The information
    about what the pill does is easy to find. … The healthcare mandate that passed and went into
    effect on August 1st does in fact compel abortion funding. That mandate
    is already here and done. If you wonder about it, just search under
    healthcare mandate and abortion funding.

    I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but you are incorrect. I have read the FDA report on birth control. There is absolutely no evidence that it can interfere with implantation. I have also read the Dept. of Health and Human Services’ information on the Affordable Care Act. It does not mandate funding for abortion. This is information from non-partisan sites. I urge you to go read them, not just the first result you get from google.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The healthcare mandate that passed and went into effect on August 1st does in fact compel abortion funding.

    [citation needed]

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

     One of the greatest difficulties in discussing this stopic is when you run across someone who just flat-out doesn’t know anything about contraception. Not in the political sense, but they just don’t know how it works on a biological/medical level. Some of them can’t distinguish between the contraception and abortifacient drugs; others, like Rush Limbaugh, seem to think that the pill has to be taken before each sexual encounter, so people who have sex more often must take the pill more frequently. 

    When someone’s understanding of the general concepts like that is that low, their actual political opinions are hard to engage with. I mean, that’s like discussing NASA funding with someone who thinks that Mars is a Latin-American country, or discussing the war on terrorism who thinks that the 9/11 attacks were conducted by Hindu extremists operating out of Nepal. How do you even begin to have a discussion with that kind of person?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave


    How do you even begin to have a discussion with that kind of person? 

    I generally start out by asking them what they believe, and why they believe it, and why it’s important. When I believe something different and I agree that it’s important, I then share my beliefs on the subject and why I believe them.

    How they respond to that shapes the rest of the conversation.

  • CharityB

    True, but the underlying problem might not come out. I mean, if someone genuinely doesn’t know how the birth control pill works, but thinks that they do, they might not even realize that they have this misapprehension. It might not even come up when asked since they don’t realize that there’s this huge gap in their understanding.

    I just remember being bewildered by Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” comment because it sounded as if he thought that the pill was similar to Viagra, and I wondered how many people out there (on both sides of the issue) really don’t understand how the pill works. I had before assumed it was common knowledge and not worth bringing up, and it occurred to me that Limbaugh and people like him might think that their misapprehension was common knowledge, and not bring it up as a “belief” when asked.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave


    True, but the underlying problem might not come out.

    Well, I certainly agree that asking people to explain what they believe, why, and why it matters doesn’t guarantee that I’ll discover what they believe, or find the flaws in it.

    OTOH, I’ve yet to find a technique I consider more reliable.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    You know, I never really thought that Rush actually thought that the pill worked that way. I just figured he said it because insulting a woman for cheap laughs is his thing, and it’;s not like he believes most of the stuff he says anyway. It’s one of those “truthy” statements that conservative blowhards make because he coul;dn’t just say “Women aren’t really people, just a person-like object for the use of men.” 

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

    That’s likely why Limbaugh chose to say that. I did talk to a few people who seemed to think that too, and they definitely weren’t of the same mindset as he did. I think that there are probably at least a few people who think that you can take the pill if you’re planning on having sex that day, and you don’t if you’re not. I can imagine having that belief without being a misogynist or a troll because that’s how a lot of people treat medicine (“If I feel like I need it today, then I’ll take it, and if I don’t feel like I need it, then I won’t”).

    OTOH, I’ve yet to find a technique I consider more reliable.

    Your technique sounds pretty good to me. It’s just that I can’t think of a way to get past Donald Rumsfeld’s, “unknown unknowns” thing — when you don’t even realize that you don’t know about something. Even someone arguing in absolute good faith can run into that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw


    I can imagine having that belief without being a misogynist or a troll
    because that’s how a lot of people treat medicine (“If I feel like I
    need it today, then I’ll take it, and if I don’t feel like I need it,
    then I won’t”).

    That’s really frightening.

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

    Yeah, (lack of) adherence to medication is a really serious problem in health care; some papers say that between to 50% to 70% of patients don’t take their medicine as prescribed. Some patients don’t realize that skipping doses of certain (daily) medicines because they happen to feel good that particular day actually makes the medicine less effective and contributes to higher costs due to more complications and adverse effects over time. If people treat potentially life-saving medications that they themselves consume that way, it’s not all that hard to believe that they might treat medications that other people use and that they aren’t personally familiar with the same way. (“Sure, you can save money on birth control by having sex less often!”)

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

     And to my knowledge, this law does not cover ministries, churches, synagogues, or temples. Unless “ministry” has some other definition…

  • Tonio

    this will make it more difficult for young people of child-bearing age to get work, because companies aren’t going to want to hire them, especially small ones, if they can see an automatic $8000 loss per child.

    The same facile argument could be made about any other type of employer-provided benefit. Any benefit that an employer provides, whether it’s parental leave or health insurance or college tuition, is an investment that pays for itself in tangible and intangible ways.

    This law will make it that much harder for a young woman go get a job.

    You do realize that new fathers use parental leave as well? As I read your post, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, which would be some version of “mothers should be at home instead of working.”

  • Thecuriouscottage

    I already said this: “Ah, but see too, this will make it more difficult for young people of child-bearing age to get work, because companies aren’t going to want to hire them, especially small ones, if they can see an automatic $8000 loss per child. It’s not mean-spirited at all to call it what it is..”

    You must not have noticed it because you were just waiting for me to fulfill whatever preconceived notions you had about what I believe. We have a young father at in our department who saved all of his vacation to be home with his wife when she had their first child. My own husband stays home with our kids while I work. What you were waiting for was for me to reveal your own prejudices toward me. Well, you revealed them yourself.  

  • Tonio

    You claimed that the law would make it harder for young mothers to get jobs, without mentioning young fathers. You also claimed that the mothers who come back to work generally quit, citing only your own workplace’s experience. I’ve encountered far too many people who use such claims as jumping-off points to push “traditional” gender roles, meaning women in the nursery and kitchen. Such people usually grouse that women are  too much bother in the workplace because they inconvenience the men by getting pregnant. I wasn’t accusing you of that mindset, just observing that my suspicions were raised.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     It’s not clear to me that it’d be particular right to require companies to gve workers paid parental leave. I mean, work’s still got to get done, the business is down a person, has to find and train a replacement for a temporary position, plus they have to keep paing for the employee who isn’t in a position to work? I think guaranteeing them that their job will still be there for them when they choose to return is enough. It’s not clear at all to me that the company is the ones who benefit from parents  taking parental leave.

    But it’s absolutely clear to me that *society* benefits. So it should be the *government* that pays  the salary of the parents during parental leave.

  • EllieMurasaki

    It’s not clear to me that it’d be particular right to require companies to gve workers paid parental leave. […] But it’s absolutely clear to me that *society* benefits. So it should be the *government* that pays  the salary of the parents during parental leave.

    Okay, fair enough, I can get behind that. Think that would get Curious Cottage to support it, though? Because the question this whole thread has been, why do Curious Cottage and other pro-life advocates make a point of refusing to support measures that not only help pregnant women, infants, new parents, and society but also reduce the number of abortions? What is more important to Curious Cottage and other pro-life advocates than reducing the number of abortions?

    Though I do suspect that the answer to that last is somewhere on this list: Governmental measures that help people deny Curious Cottage the ability to personally help people and thereby prove that she is a generous angel. Governmental measures that help people deny Curious Cottage the ability to attempt to convert everyone who needs help. Governmental measures that help people deny Curious Cottage the ability to condescend to people who need help and who are in a situation that can be construed (regardless of the actuality) as their own fault. Any measure that makes pregnancy or childrearing less onerous also makes it less of a punishment for the slut. Any measure that was proposed by someone who isn’t Us is Inherently Evil, even if it’s something that We advocated before They decided it was a good idea, and even if it does advance Our goals as well as or instead of Theirs.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Jesus fucking Christ. My coworker makes twenty-six thousand dollars a year. She has to take care of herself, her newborn, and her older child on twenty-six thousand dollars a year. (It’d be more if either babydaddy ever paid child support, but she ain’t heard from the first one in some time and expects nothing from the second.) I’m not sure what their rent is, but the local real estate market being what it is, anything that doesn’t have all three of them sleeping in the same room is probably a thousand  a month. Food’s probably another six hundred. I don’t know her car payment or how much she spends on gas, but if her car’s as cheap as mine, that’s another four hundred dollars easy, more if she got something unlikely to break down regularly, and public transportation isn’t an option, there’s very little of it around here and what there is doesn’t run at midnight when she and I get off work. I don’t know how much she pays in child care, but livingwage.mit.edu estimates five to six hundred per month per child. Two children. Another thousand dollars. The month’s supply of money is three-quarters gone and I haven’t even touched anything that isn’t food, shelter, transportation, or making sure a child and an infant have adult supervision while their mother’s at work.

    Maybe you should advocate for minimum wage being a living wage to make sure that women less fortunate than my coworker can afford to raise children instead of getting abortions, as well as making sure of paid parental leave so that women no more fortunate than my coworker don’t have to figure out how to make ten months of pay cover twelve months of expenses.

    If you needed financial help and your church couldn’t afford to provide any but the local Muslims could, and the local Muslims had as a condition of the help that you visit the mosque once a week, would you do it? What if it were the local atheists, and they wanted you to read Richard Dawkins? If you wouldn’t do it when the help and conditions come from people whose religious beliefs you disagree with, why should anyone who doesn’t subscribe to your particular flavor of Christianity take help from your people that has Christian strings attached? And if you would do it, if you’d squash your religious beliefs and your personal pride far enough to accept help and conditions both from these people, can you at least understand why others shouldn’t be made to do the same?

  • Thecuriouscottage

    And you don’t have to accept any help from me or anyone else that offers it in the name of Christ. We are back to the beginning. Have you lobbied your legislators to pass this bill? This is your bill and everyone else on here that is supporting it. Take the precious time you are spending arguing with me and write to them in support. I have asked for details of the bill and no one seems to have any. So, all of the ranting at me is in vain. Thank you again Ellie, for talking through this issue with me.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So someone who won’t listen to your faith-based diatribes but who
    has no other option that will ensure that she and her baby can eat
    should either let them both go hungry or avert the situation by having
    an abortion? Which would you prefer?


    Of course I’ve lobbied my legislators to help women in all the ways
    I’ve mentioned the law should be helping women. How could I do

    Something I’m still not clear on, though. If many women are given a choice between their pregnancy and their job, some will choose pregnancy and some will choose job, and you, as a pro-life advocate, wish to maximize the number of women who choose pregnancy. If the choice is instead pregnancy or job or pregnancy and job, some will still choose pregnancy and some will still choose job, but both numbers will be smaller than in the first scenario, because most women will choose both pregnancy and job. Which means some of the women who in the first scenario would have gotten abortions will in the second scenario instead have babies. That means fewer abortions, which means a win for pro-life advocates, doesn’t it?

    So why do you keep saying you can’t support mandated paid parental leave, or preventing women from being fired because their pregnancy keeps them from doing part of their job? What do you gain, what do the pregnant women gain, what do the fetuses gain from your forcing women to either take a hit to the finances or get an abortion?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ken-Meyer/100003386713780 Ken Meyer

     Why not stick to a policy which demands that the individual be responsible or him or herself?  I.e. – one voluntarily gets pregnant, then one accepts the responsibilities of getting pregnant…and that means carrying the child to term, accepting responsibility for raising it, and NOT demanding that others (such as the employer) take on that responsibility in their place.

    No one is forcing anyone to “take a hit” on their finances; rather, society is simply expressing the belief that individuals should be responsible for their finances THEMSELVES!  Is that (i.e. – personal responsibility) such a mysterious concept today? 

  • AnonymousSam

    Define “voluntarily.” Until we get a comprehensive sex education program, there are no feasible applications of this term.

    Then define “others,” because I’m pretty sure this form of slut-shaming has a tendency to backfire by giving the entire country another generation of unwanted children.

    Then define “consequences” in the implicit usage you have given it: Why is a woman getting pregnant grounds to fire her? Why should she be stricken with poverty because this country is absolutely hateful toward women? Why should she have to spend the next sixteen to indefinite years of her life sharing those consequences with a child?

    Libertarians have this tendency to confuse responsibility with their right to be an asshole. Congratulations on not coming across as an exception. The next time you need something, consider precisely how many people have collaborated to make it possible for you to have what you want and need.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Why not stick to a policy which demands that the individual be
    responsible or him or herself?  I.e. – one voluntarily gets pregnant,
    then one accepts the responsibilities of getting pregnant

    So you’re in favor of mandating comprehensive sex ed and expanding access to contraception, which will minimize unwanted pregnancy? Good to know.

    No one is forcing anyone to “take a hit” on their finances

    My coworker is on FMLA parental leave. She had a baby and our employer is covered under FMLA, therefore she is required to take two months off to bond with the baby. FMLA leave is unpaid. Therefore my coworker is required to lose two months of pay in order to have the baby. What do you call that if not a negative impact on her finances due to having a baby?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave


    Why not stick to a policy which demands that the individual be responsible or him or herself?

    Your examples suggest that by “responsible” you mean exclusively responsible — that is, if I am responsible for myself that means nobody else is responsible for me.

    I don’t stick to such a policy because I prefer living in a world where people share some responsibility for one another’s well-being, and to demand that individuals be exclusively responsible for themselves precludes that.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Also if we are exclusively responsible for ourselves and fetuses are people, then it’s the fetus’s responsibility to find somewhere to live that’s willing to have a fetus living there. A fetus that takes up residence in an unwilling woman’s uterus is the only one responsible for said fetus’s eviction.

  • EllieMurasaki

    How is my coworker being helped by not getting paid for the two months she’s taking to get to know her newborn? How is she being helped by having only two months with her newborn? She was already working two jobs to make ends meet. I have no idea what she’s going to do about child care and I am seriously worried for her. Speaking of child care, making it free or cheap would do a lot to prevent abortion among women who worry about how they’d be able to make sure the child’s cared for while they’re working; how does it help a single parent or a household where both parents need to work not to have free-or-cheap child care? How does it help a woman to never tell her that she can in fact get pregnant the first time she has sex, that she can in fact get pregnant while menstruating, and that douching with Diet Coke won’t prevent pregnancy? How does it help a woman to keep her from buying the hormonal contraceptives that will keep her from conceiving a child she doesn’t have enough money to care for or the barrier contraceptives that will keep her STI-free?

    What, in short, are pro-life people doing to prove that they are concerned with the well-being of pregnant women, parents, and children, as well as with ensuring that every fetus conceived lives to be born?

    You do know that there’s a biblical mandate for keeping slaves and for forcing rape victims to marry their rapists, don’t you? And that not everyone in the country or the world considers the Bible the be-all and end-all of moral law? I don’t think whether something is biblically mandated should be the key consideration regarding laws concerning that something, particularly given that laws by their nature apply to people of many differing religious beliefs.

  • http://dcmoosings.blogspot.com LouC

    ‘m willing to be wrong on this (and hopeful that someone will correct me if I am), but I had always sort of just assumed that pro-life activists, in general, held the belief that mothers shouldn’t work outside of the home.

    Except when it comes to mothers on welfare. They should go to work, otherwise how are their kids going to develop a work ethic. It’s only middle-class women who should stay home with their kids. 

    At least that’s what I gather from all the conservative talking points out there. Else, why would they keep cutting welfare and food stamps back? 

  • AnonymousSam

    This is typically where I bring up Numbers 5:11-31, which
    describes in part the ritual of Sotah, which, among other things, is designed to produce an abortion and permanently disfigure a woman’s uterus.

    This is officially where I’m too weary to do so today.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Ok, Sam. That’s fine. If you come back later, I’ll still get the notification, but I guess we’ve talked this one out.

  • AnonymousSam

    Ellie has said virtually all that I would, and I might add one thing: It
    isn’t possible to convert me to Christianity. Please take that as a
    given: I know the Bible better than you do and I’m not interested in
    hearing it clumsily recited to me by people looking to boost the numbers
    of the church, whether out of perception of the love of an allegorical
    man-god or the Lovecraftian horror/platonic Ero-Zeus hybrid the New
    Testament sometimes makes him out to be (when it’s not affirming the
    laws of the Old Testament as in Matthew 5:17-19, and said laws include
    things like Deuteronomy 20:10-14’s tenants on the procedure for
    eradicating villages and dividing up the women for sex slaves and
    Deuteronomy 13’s admonishment to murder anyone who suggests worshiping a
    different god) or because of the presumption that there exists an
    objective basis for all laws and morality of the universe (I asked God
    of this personally and I was informed that society changes too often for
    such things to have meaning, much less to try and base such laws and
    morality on a society thousands of years after the fact).

    Just don’t. There is no pride or indignation involved. I’m not an
    atheist — you could, albeit inaccurately, classify me as a sort of
    pantheist. My understanding of God is more expansive and personal than
    the belief in–as Ellie described it recently– God torturing himself to
    death in order to take on the punishment God assigned us for breaking
    rules God made. For one thing, it’s a rude presumption whether we’re
    having dialogue or not; proselytizing is an act of love, not
    salesmanship, and you’re pouncing on it like a feral cat on a wounded
    mouse. I don’t know you and you can’t even even hope to pronounce my
    name. Our relationship, while not antagonistic, is not on grounds of
    which you could hope to make that kind of connection with me even were I
    receptive to the message.

    Which I’m not, certainly not at the limited level of which you have
    communicated it thus far. “Jesus has infinite love for you” is a
    meaningless concept to me, thanks in part to having a personality
    disorder which renders my understanding of emotions to be largely in the
    abstract. You can quote the first book of John until you’re blue in the
    face (1 John 4:7-21 is the best part of the book for those keeping
    track at home) and while I consider it beautiful in its way, it has no
    emotional significance to me. It takes a more concrete display of such
    messages to make an impact on me, which is why you’ll find me here among
    Christians who actually want to improve the world, rather than those
    who passively wait for God’s judgment (and more specifically, God’s
    wrath) to improve it for them (preferably by casting all the
    bad people down into a fiery pit to be tortured
    forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever). That idea is
    incompatible with love or justice and you won’t find many people here
    who believe in it.

    So I maintain: John, Luke, Matthew, Timothy and Jesus have their
    message. Jesus in particular had a little bit about how Christians are
    to comport themselves (Matthew 25:34-45 if you need a refresher). He
    said nothing about measuring the worth of the individual by their number
    of converts. He didn’t even say anything about who had received the
    Gospel. He did say things which can be applied quite neatly into the
    legislation you are rejecting.

    And I’m putting up my sword for the rest of the night. Thank you, drive through.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Jesus in particular had a little bit about how Christians are to comport themselves (Matthew 25:34-45 if you need a refresher).

    Also Matthew 6, 7, and 23.

  • AnonymousSam

    I opted for the epilogue in the name of brevity.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right
    hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your
    Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”   – Matthew 6  …and if you want to see how Christians are to comport themselves, you need to read the entire new testament. Also, you might want to ‘refresh’ yourself and read the whole of Matthew 25 to understand this passage you guys are referencing and to whom Jesus is speaking.

  • EllieMurasaki

    In Matthew 25, Jesus tells of the Judge speaking to the people condemned for not helping people less fortunate than themselves. The people condemned specifically include people who do not feed the hungry and shelter the homeless.

    Since you’re so vehemently against making sure my coworker (who, I remind you, isn’t getting any pay from late July to late September, because she decided she’d rather have her baby, like I’m sure you wanted her to, than get an abortion) can pay her rent and her family’s food bill this summer, and since you’re so vehemently against mandating the paid parental leave that will ensure that no future employed pregnant women will look at the prospect of a couple months’ unpaid leave and decide that they’d rather have money for rent and food than have a baby, the people Jesus is chastising include you.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Again with the exaggerating. Am I ‘vehemently’ against your coworker getting paid maternity leave? The legislation will never pass in time to help her. Is there really no other option for her besides aborting the baby? Is there no help for her anywhere? What has she tried? I’m glad to try and help her get help and look at what is available.  You are very young, Ellie. As I said, you may be unaware of all that’s available already. Do you all live in a city or rural area?

    As for Matthew 25, do you feel that feeding the hungry and giving shelter to the homeless can only be done by government mandate? What about individual people? Your coworker is your coworker. Why would I be chastised for not helping her instead of you? You are right there close. Are you able to help her?

     Matthew 25 , “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He
    will sit on His glorious throne. All
    the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one

    Do you notice who is gathered before Christ here? All the nations. This is a prophecy of coming judgment. These aren’t just a bunch of Christians standing there being sorted out by who fought for the most government regulation to help to pay women’s rent and food while they stayed home to care for the baby they didn’t abort. We don’t know poverty here in the US like poverty is known in other parts of the world. Church and ministries send teams of people out as missionaries to build houses and bring food and medicine to needy people. When I was young, I wanted to train to travel on one of the Mercy Ships that bring medical care to places without. My life didn’t go that direction, but that ministry is still going. Did you know about it? There are so many other ways to meet needs besides government legislation. It may take several people helping, but that’s the way faith-based ministries work. It’s not just handing over the cash and walking away.

  • EllieMurasaki

    She has already had the baby, and I stand fully behind her choice to have the baby, but were I in her position I’d have gotten an abortion. She has an older child to think of as well as herself, and she was already working a second job to make ends meet, and I have no idea how she’s going to make ends meet now.

    I have student loans. I have done what I can to help my coworker but I cannot help her enough. Conveniently, however, I am not the only one capable of helping her. Mitt Romney has a fuckton of money; if he paid his fair share of taxes, the federal government would bring in ten or twenty million more a year, and that ten million would cover food for a year for several thousand people. Multiply that by however many people there are as rich as Romney, and we could eliminate hunger in this country. We really could. If Romney and his ilk took it into their collective head to eliminate hunger in this country via private charity, that would be equally effective, but they haven’t so I expect they won’t. And do keep in mind that one of the major driving factors of the abortion rate is the fear that the cost of caring for a new baby will make it difficult or impossible to feed oneself and one’s other dependents. If nobody in the US was afraid of going hungry, a lot fewer people in the US would get abortions.

    I am aware that there are both faith-based and secular programs in place to alleviate poverty in areas of the world that have more and worse poverty than the US. The faith-based programs have, as they have always had, the same problem there that they do here: they’re more interested in saving souls than lives. And lots of them have a couple other significant problems, namely, instead of asking the needs of the people they’re trying to help and addressing those needs, and instead of paying an expert to  do what needs done when their own skills are insufficient, they do what they think needs done and they do it themselves. Sometimes this means a horde of US teenagers build shacks for a Mexican village, shacks that will fall down in two months because neither the teenagers nor their chaperones are carpenters, because they think the village’s houses aren’t good enough shelter, when the villagers if asked would have said they’d much rather have a few dozen portable water purification systems because their children keep coming down with water-borne illnesses and they’re not worried that their houses are drafty, and for bonus points they’d like the teenagers (a Protestant church group) to stop implying that the villagers’ souls are in danger because the villagers, being Mexican Catholics, ask the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

    And there’s absolutely no reason for you to imply that the worse problems elsewhere mean we don’t dare try to solve the problems here at home.

    You still have not given me a straight answer for why ‘having baby = two months with no pay’ is not in your opinion a problem that needs solving.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Well, let’s suppose that I found out that I was pregnant at the ripe old age of 45. My husband is disabled and I still have 3 other kids living here. If I intended to keep the baby myself and not abort or give it up for adoption, I would save all of my vacation time for my maternity leave. I would investigate my company policies on leave and find out what’s available. My company has short term disability at half pay. I would also cut back my expenses to. the. bone. It doesn’t matter to me what Mitt Romney has.

    As for your cynical statements about hordes of US teenagers building shoddy shelter, I take exception to that. My 16yo son is a skilled carpenter with all of his certificates for commercial and residential construction. He has build 2 Habitat houses. I have numerous missionary friends and family and you persist in the insults of faith-based ministry. I am glad to talk to you about things, as you seem to be only aware of things about which you can make sweeping generalizations and instantly declare that they are worthless. I need to get to bed now. Keep on helping your coworker and let me know if you actually want me to look into ways to help her.


  • EllieMurasaki

    Okay, so your son’s a fine carpenter. Awesome for him. Most teenagers aren’t. And if you were to become pregnant right now, you’d be in a much better position re taking care of the child if you got paid parental leave that wasn’t your vacation time or your sick time. Also, pregnancy is not a disability, what the fuck.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Your youth and inexperience betray you. As I suspected, you don’t have enough knowledge of what is already available to be shilling for legislation of any kind. Most teenagers could be a lot of things, but they too don’t realize what is available to them. We can talk about what’s available and how to get it, but you don’t seem to really want to know.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Is what’s already available guaranteed to be enough for every pregnant woman everywhere in the country to be able to afford to take care of herself, the baby, and any other dependents, without any of them being harassed about their religious beliefs as a condition of getting the help?

    Didn’t think so.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    “I know the Bible better than you do and I’m not interested in hearing it clumsily recited to me by people looking to boost the numbers of the church” –

     Charming. Thanks for talking Sam. You can put your sword away for good. We don’t need to talk again.

  • maddog23

    Joni Mitchell: “Oh come lets run from this ring we’re in where the Christians clap and the Germans grin…” The one assumption that turns my stomach is that comparison of the fetus and the lowly walnut. What does that really do for humanism?

  • EllieMurasaki

    If you have a better visual for fetus:baby::potential:actual than fetus:baby::walnut:tree, I’d love to hear it.

  • AnonymousSam

    The healthcare mandate that passed and went into effect on August 1st does in fact compel abortion funding.

    Our host felt the need to respond to this directly in a more recent post here.

  • Tonio

    Cottage’s idea of medical spending accounts for abortion and contraception is bothersome, because the real goal seems to be protecting the alleged moral purity of the employers. 

  • Lunch Meat

    Not to mention that HSAs have fees attached and an insurance policy is often required along with it, and we already know how much trouble people have being insured. Even my high-deductible policy costs $290/month, and that’s just for one person; my husband is not included. This is not the sort of thing that employers will just be jumping at the chance to provide. In fact, it’s the same kind of benefit that they just had to be forced to provide through legislation.

  • LouisDoench

    Wow, I just got to say that y’all were remarkably nice to that lady.  She was arguing in incredibly bad faith.