Rep. Todd Akin’s views typical in southern PCA churches

So right now there’s a political and media firestorm over a creepy white Southern man after he said some appalling and untrue things about the victims of rape.

Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., was caught off-guard by the response to his comments, because he wasn’t saying anything new. He was simply repeating things he’d heard said, for years and years, by his fellow “pro-lifers,” his fellow Republicans, and his fellow leaders in the Presbyterian Church in America.

Todd Akin is not a fringe character in any of those groups. And Todd Akin’s views are not fringe views in any of those groups. His views are typical, customary, widespread, commonplace and — within those groups — utterly uncontroversial.

For his fellow pro-lifers, fellow Republicans and fellow PCA leaders, Akin’s only crime was one of candor, not heresy. For them, his mistake was his tactlessness, and not the substance of what he said.

Here, again, was what he said:

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

In Akins’ PCA community, no one blinks an eye at statements like that. Akins’ views are extremely common and typical in the ultra-reformed strain of Southern-Gothic Presbyterianism he inhabits.

Todd Akin was a follower of the late D. James Kennedy. Kennedy, founder of Florida’s Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, was not a fringe character in American evangelicalism. He was well-known and well-respected — and his views on rape victims were the same as those expressed by Akin.

Todd Akin is a product of Covenant Theological Seminary — that’s where you go if you want to be trained in patriarchal misogyny with a side of disturbing nostalgia for the Old South.

As Sarah Posner writes for Religion Dispatches:

This is not a situation where Akin sat in the pews of the church of a controversial pastor, or once attended a conference or seminar where controversial views were discussed. Akin has a Masters in Divinity from the PCA’s seminary, and proudly claims he took a political rather than a pastoral path after seminary. His denomination has not only opposed abortion in all cases, including rape, but has suggested that the number of pregnancies by rape is overstated, and even questioned the veracity of rape claims.

Go into any PCA church south of the Mason-Dixon line and you can routinely hear the same arguments Akin made this weekend, stated just as off-handedly as he stated them — casual remarks about what everyone just sort of knows to be true about rape victims, sluts, abortion and lady-parts.

Todd Akin is not unusual. Todd Akin is not alone. The pernicious, ridiculous lies he got in trouble for are widespread and blandly typical in his subculture — in the PCA, the GOP, and throughout the anti-abortion movement that has replaced what used to be evangelical Christianity.

 

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  • Jeff Weskamp


    Go into any PCA church south of the Mason-Dixon line and you can routinely hear the same arguments Akin made this weekend,….”

    Or, as Robin Williams described it, the Manson-Nixon line….

  • Ethan

    What would be nice is proof of all your assertions:

    1. That Dr. D. James Kennedy said the same exact things Senator Akin said
    2. That if you “go into any PCA church south of the Mason-Dixon line and you can routinely hear the same arguments Akin made this weekend”
    3. Covenant Seminary is “where you go if you want to be trained in patriarchal misogyny with a side of disturbing nostalgia for the Old South”
    4. Fellow PCA leaders only believe his statement was tactless
    5. “He was simply repeating things he’d heard said, for years and years, by his fellow ‘pro-lifers'”

    You make a lot of claims without any proof. A couple of quotes would be nice. Perhaps in context.

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    On rape exceptions, the PCA report cites a report on abortion by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, which addresses rape exceptions by arguing that “Actually there are extremely few cases of this kind: less than one in 5,000 abortions is performed on such grounds, and that figure includes pregnancies arising from statutory rape as well as, we assume, some cases where rape has been falsely alleged.” (emphasis mine). Actually there are more like 30,000 pregnancies by rape a year, but the OPC report goes on, inexplicably, and without documentation: “In Washington, no documented rape cases resulted in pregnancy over a 20-year period.”

    But acknowleding that indeed such pregnancies do take place, the OPC asked, “should she seek an abortion? We must reply in the negative. We are here weighing the shame, pain, and inconvenience of the mother against the life of her child, and we have no choice but to decide in favor of the latter. The unborn child must not be put to death for the sin of a parent. A Christian must indeed sympathize with the plight of a woman in such a situation, and must be prepared to give counsel, prayer and other help. In spite of her suffering, she should be helped to see from God’s Word what a privilege it is to bring a child into the world, and how the child, even from such an origin, may be one of God’s elect—a blessing to God’s church and to the world.”

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/sarahposner/6298/the_theological_roots_of_akin's_%22legitimate_rape%22_comment/

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

    What would be nice is proof of all your assertions:
    1. That Dr. D. James Kennedy said the same exact things Senator Akin said

    Fallacy: moving goalposts. The assertion is that Dr. Kennedy’s views on rape victims were the same as those of Representative Akin. 
    Further, all that blue, underlined text? Those are “links”; if you click on it, you can find quotes, in context, that support those assertions. 

  • Ethan

    Here is a quote:

    ST.
    LOUIS, Missouri – August 20, 2012 – Covenant Theological Seminary has
    never taught, and in no way affirms, that the female body is capable of
    preventing pregnancy caused by rape.
    Covenant
    Theological Seminary affirms that rape, in all its forms, is wicked. In
    regard to rape against women, men, and children, we believe that the
    Gospel calls us to show love, compassion, and support for the victims
    and their families. In all circumstances surrounding the trauma, we must
    name the evil, seek justice, and care for those affected by such
    horrendous acts. In instances of rape against women that result in
    pregnancy, this includes caring for the unborn child as well.

     

    Media Contact

    Allison Dowlen, Director of Communications

    Covenant Theological Seminary

    communications@covenantseminary.edu

    314.434.4044

  • JustoneK

    Well, I’m convinced.

  • Guest

    As for the facts:
    There are few if any reliable numbers how often rape results in pregnancy.
    For Germany i found no numbers at all, for the US i found 4,7%  allegedly stated by the CDC but i was not able to substantiate that.
    In any case it seems the probability for pregnancy through may be lower than in case of normal, consensual sex and but not by a large margin.
    ‘Gods shield’ does not exist. 

  • http://twitter.com/Jenk3 Jen K

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8765248

    Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1996 Aug;175(2):320-4; discussion 324-5.
    Rape-related pregnancy: estimates and descriptive characteristics from a national sample of women. Holmes MM, Resnick HS, Kilpatrick DG, Best CL.Source
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29425-2233, USA.

    OBJECTIVE:We attempted to determine the national rape-related pregnancy rate and provide descriptive characteristics of pregnancies that result from rape.
    STUDY DESIGN:A national probability sample of 4008 adult American women took part in a 3-year longitudinal survey that assessed the prevalence and incidence of rape and related physical and mental health outcomes.
    RESULTS:The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45); among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. Among 34 cases of rape-related pregnancy, the majority occurred among adolescents and resulted from assault by a known, often related perpetrator. Only 11.7% of these victims received immediate medical attention after the assault, and 47.1% received no medical attention related to the rape. A total 32.4% of these victims did not discover they were pregnant until they had already entered the second trimester; 32.2% opted to keep the infant whereas 50% underwent abortion and 5.9% placed the infant for adoption; an additional 11.8% had spontaneous abortion.
    CONCLUSIONS:Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency. It is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies and is closely linked with family and domestic violence. As we address the epidemic of unintended pregnancies in the United States, greater attention and effort should be aimed at preventing and identifying unwanted pregnancies that result from sexual victimization.

  • Ursula L

    CONCLUSIONS:Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency. It is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies and is closely linked with family and domestic violence. 

    Emphasis mine.  

    I suspect that for people like Akins, there is no such thing as “rape” in family/domestic violence, particularly a husband raping a wife.  In their extreme patriarchal mindset, a husband has a right to sex with his wife, and a wife has a duty to have sex with her husband.  Consent is irrelevant, or at least an irrebuttable presumption, following from the commitments made in the marriage ceremony. 

    It fits with the general way in which the Bible defines sex as either forbidden or obligatory.  Or even the way the Ten Commandments forbid adultery but not rape.  

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    “First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,”

    Along with the disturbing candor and lack of medical knowledge expressed by this member of the House Science Committee, here is the implication that pregnancy from rape is not a problem because of its rarity.  As though one pregnancy from rape was not one too many.  As though a problem that happens rarely is hardly worth addressing.

  • Jurgan

    But if there are ten cases of voter fraud in a decade, that’s worth pulling out all the stops to stamp out!

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    Rape and pregnancy are temporary conditions.  The effects of voter fraud can last a lifetime!

  • Green Eggs and Ham

    I grew up north of the 49th parallel and I too heard this claim that women do not get pregnant from rape.  Here too the claim was not considered controversial.

    @8a28558d2f55aa46509618c7ecd396d9:disqus  I noticed that Allison Dowlen commented on “…caring for the unborn child…”  The implication is that a woman who becomes pregnant from rape should not have an abortion. 

  • Wingag

     I read it the same way, Ethan.

  • Guest

    Don’t forget the Catholics–I was told in Catholic gradeschool that women were unlikely to become pregnant from rape. 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Though she had never specifically heard it, when I related what Akin had said, my wife’s immediate reaction was “Well, technically, stress and physical trauma can upset your cycle, so I guess if that’s what he meant…”

  • Tonio

    I thought I would have heard about this nonsense long before now, since my father came from a Presbyterian family. Of course, I haven’t been in a Presbyterian church since I was a toddler.

  • Jurgan

    I’m a lifelong Presbyterian from the South, and I’ve never heard this nonsense either.  I was stunned when I started reading this article, but a little googling suggests the Presbyterian Church in America is distinct from the Presbyterian Church USA.  I’d never heard of PCA, but it appears to be an evangelical breakaway, as opposed to the more mainline PCUSA.  I know PCUSA has taken a more measured stance on abortion, not condoning it while at the same time admitting it may be acceptable in some cases, and rejecting attempts to legislate on it.

  • Tonio

    I was born in Fred’s home state, and I was unable to determine which faction is prevalent there. But I did find out that many congregations are bolting PCUSA over its decision to allow LGBT ordination. (I was about to rant that no one should even give a shit about someone else’s  sexual orientation, but I wouldn’t blame you if you left.)

  • Magic_Cracker

    As odious as it is to spend several decades lying to children in order to create an ignorant and ineducable subculture that you can manipulate into giving you power, I’m also concerned that their success in creating said subculture will only encourage them to apply this strategy to other issues, so I have gazed into the future and bring you Brave New GOP Talking Points from the year 2022:

    You know, I’ve never heard of anyone dying from murder; if it’s legitimate murder, there’s a certain secretion that the body secretes that prevents you from dying.

    Woah!  Chill out people! I misspoke! I meant ‘forcible muder.’ I apologize if you crybabies were offended by misunderstanding my comments.

  • Drtummy

    When you say murder, you’re talking about abortion right?  I think you have your parties mixed up…

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

    By the way, a large number of women who call contraception help lines do so because their male sexual partners sabotage the women’s birth control. http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2011/02/18/what-abusers-and-pro-family-conservatives-have-in-common/

    Akin has done the misogynistic equivalent of a prominent Republican saying the n-word. Everything they say and do is racist, but they’re not supposed to be so very blunt about it. Personally, as a woman who could get pregnant if she were raped, I prefer Akin to the mealy-mouthed bullshit about “protecting” women we get from most Republicans. Give me honest hatred and stupidity over hatred and stupidity pretending to be something else any day.

  • Macbookfanatic

    Yea, I guess I’m curious about the data indicating this is a standard belief of the GOP.  I really dont’ belong to either party (Fiscal conservative, social moderate to liberal).  I grew up in a “Republican” family and with Republican friends all over the country.  I would state in an unequivocal manner that nobody believes that.

    I can’t speak for PCA folk, never really have delved in there so I plead ignorance, but I’m wondering if you shouldn’t as well here.  Seems more innuendo and baseless fact.  It’s unfortunate that people have forgotten that data and proof should really be the basis for accusation.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    Yea, I guess I’m curious about the data indicating this is a standard belief of the GOP.

    Let’s see, here:

    There’s Ed Kilgore, reporting from the FAMiLY Leadership Summit, attended by Steve King and Rick Perry.

    There’s HR 212, the Sanctity of Human Life Act, co-sponsored by Todd Akin and — wait for it — Paul Ryan.

    Also, King, Paul Ryan, and Todd Akin were co-sponsors of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.  King’s response to a question about whether he’d support abortion in the case of a 12 year- old girl getting pregnant from rape?  “Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been
    brought to me in any personal way, and I’d be open to discussion about
    that subject matter.”

    Those are the words of someone who isn’t even entertaining a hypothetical.

  • Gooberpeas

    My grandparents voted (R) because the Democrats were “racist bigots”.

    Now that was the 1960s, and obviously those that were racist bigots didn’t speak for the whole party.  I guess that using your logic though we should continue to believe that.

  • Snapdragon

    The landscape of those parties changed radically after the civil rights movement. The racist bigots jumped the Democrat ship for R-land after the Civil Rights Act was signed. http://www.addictinginfo.org/history-democrats-republicans-on-civil-rights-equality/

  • Get Real

    That information is about as objective as a Swift boat ad.

  • JustoneK

    Well, I’m convinced.

  • Snapdragon

    Your dislike of the source doesn’t really change the history of what happened. 

  • Snapdragons Conscience

    Because it’s slanted and about 5.7% true (and I’m being generous with the percentage).

  • Snapdragon

    And you know this… how? Care to post *your* above-reproach, documented sources?

  • Snapdragons Conscience

    You haven’t given me anything reputable to disprove!  When you do, and if it’s incorrect, it’ll happen!

  • JustoneK

    C-, please see me after class.

  • PJ Evans

     It is, however a fact that the racists mostly joined the GOP after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    Wow.  Who lit up the Troll Signal?  I count three out of 16 unique commentors far.

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

    There are always eager trolls when Fred talks about abortion and/or rape. It’s one reason I mostly avoid the comments on those posts. Which means the trolls win that battle (from my perspective) most of the time, but I generally save my energy for things other than attempting to argue with people who do not think I am a person.

  • vsm

    Organized right-wing trolls doing damage control, I presume? I just hope they’re getting paid.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     Organized right-wing trolls doing damage control, I presume? I just hope they’re getting paid.

    It is funny how they all show up with bizarre, basically meaningless names and agree with each other, innit?  It kind of makes me hope they’re getting paid, because, really, that’s just sad if they’re doing it because they want to.

  • Justaguy

    There are nuts on each side of the political “line”.  Very easy for a nut (or a group of ’em) to associate to a group of people.  The nutzos in both parties have done their part to alienate me over the past few decades.  I would be careful to impune a larger group though just because of some rotten apples.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     There are nuts on each side of the political “line”.  Very easy for a
    nut (or a group of ’em) to associate to a group of people.  The nutzos
    in both parties have done their part to alienate me over the past few
    decades.  I would be careful to impune a larger group though just
    because of some rotten apples.

    Let me guess.  You think Tim McVeigh got a raw deal because the Weathermen totally did the same thing.  And I’ll bet you think that Romney shouldn’t be called on his lies because Obama lies, too, and you can prove it because someone made an ad for Obama that stretched the truth.

    Oh, and, really, the FRC shouldn’t be counted as a hate group because the SPLC is a bunch of jerks.  And somebody got shot in the arm in the FRC’s headquarters, which is the exact same thing as them actually sponsoring legislation that calls for the death of gay people in Uganda.

    Sound about right?

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

    There are nuts on each side of the political “line”.

    There are nuts everywhere. So, sure, if the metric I cared about most was “does this group have nuts”, I’d have no basis for choosing among groups.

    Fortunately, there are other metrics I care about more.

    Is it the metric you care about most?

    I would be careful to impune a larger group though just because of some rotten apples.

    I observe that the nuts in different groups don’t necessarily say the same stuff.
    For example, nuts in group A might say that all queer men want to marry their dogs, which nuts in group B never say, while nuts in group B might say that the primary intended function of the Catholic Church is to molest children, which nuts in group A never say.

    Do you observe that distinction as well, or is it your sense that nuts in different groups all say pretty much the same stuff? For example, is it your sense that Republican nuts and Democratic nuts are equally likely to claim that we should disband the military? That aliens in their basement have told them that world peace depends on legalizing marijuana? Because that’s not my sense at all.

    Assuming your sense is the same as mine: why do you think that is?

    Because me, I think it reflects the fact that certain kinds of nuttery align more closely with the mainstream of different groups. And if that’s true, we can infer from the differential behavior of group A and group B nuts certain things about the mainstream of those groups. E.g., that group A has more of a problem with queer men than group B, and group B has more of a problem with priests than group A.

    Does that seem plausible to you?

  • Tonio

    The columnist below calls these “absurd, illogical and borderline lunatic comments,” and while I won’t contest that description, the real problem is the comments reveal worldviews that seek to make the US a more unjust society.  

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-schaller-akin-20120821,0,3822974.column 

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

    the real problem is the comments reveal worldviews that seek to make the US a more unjust society

     (nods) Yeah, that’s basically my feeling. The “these are just nuts, there are nuts everywhere” reaction misses the fact that the particular flavors of nuttery that get expressed or suppressed in a community are marker signals for what the mainstream view is.

  • Snapdragons Conscience

    So some crackpot who shoots up a Sikh Temple – his worldview is the world view of Milwaukee, WI?  That nut who shot up the theatre in Aurora, CO is a marker signal for what Aurora, CO has to offer us?

    You can’t ignore patterns, but that’s just way too broad a brushstroke.

  • JustoneK

    And you continue to drop your grade average.  Tsk, tsk.

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

    If I look at a bunch of different places with Sikh Temples, and I find that crackpots in one set of places shoot up Sikh Temples from time to time, but crackpots in a different set of places never shoot up Sikh Temples, then yes, when a crackpot shoots up a Sikh temple, that tells me something about the place he did it.

    If I look at a bunch of different places with theatres, and I find that nuts in one set of places shoot up theatregoers from time to time, but nuts in a different set of places never do, then yes, when a crackpot shoots up a theatre, that tells me something about the place he did it.

    That’s not the same thing as saying a crackpot’s worldview is the world view of Milwaukee, but I assume you understand that they are different things and were putting the latter phrase in my mouth rhetorically.

  • Snapdragons Conscience

    if a guy moves from NC or CO to Milwaukee and shoots it up,is it a function of Milwaukee’s culture?  If some nut moves from California and shoots up a theatre, is that a function of Aurora’s culture?

    This nut Akin comes from MO, so does that mean that Claire McCaskill is a nut as well?  These type of broad brushstroke takes on things are what get us in trouble in a country.  Condemn the man and anyone who supports him and his out-of-touch and harmful view of society (or rape, pregnancy, or women) but dont’ lump everyone together.

    Over-generalization is a dangerous thing.

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

     

    Over-generalization is a dangerous thing.

    Sure.

    Of course, the assertion that an individual’s actions ought never increase or decrease my confidence in beliefs about the group they are associated with is also an overgeneralization.

    I agree with you that it’s possible to over-value the behavior of an individual and thereby draw unjustified conclusions about groups from it. Happens all the time.

    It’s also possible to under-value the behavior of an individual and thereby fail to draw justified conclusions about groups from it. Happens all the time.

    If you’re looking for a blog-comment-long answer to “How do I know exactly how much to value the behavior of an individual when judging groups?” I don’t have one to offer.

    But “Zero” is not always the correct answer.

  • Snapdragons Conscience

    Do you think it’s fair to lump ALL Republicans in with this idiot though?  All southerners?  All Conservative Southerners?   All Republican Southerners?  All pro-life folks?

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

    I don’t think it’s fair to say “Akins said X, and Akins is a Republican, therefore all Republicans think X.”

    If that’s what you mean by “lumping all Republicans in with Akins”, then no, I don’t think that’s fair. (Nor have I done this, nor have I seen anyone else on this thread doing it.)

    If that’s not what you mean, then if you give me a concrete example of what you’re asking about, I’ll tell you whether I think it’s fair.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     The problem with this assertion is that the nuts in the Democrats are relegated to flaming each other on DemocraticUnderground..  The nuts in the Republican Party are getting elected to office.

  • JustoneK

    One of these things is not like the other one, one of these posts don’t beloooong~

  • Christina39

    OMG Todd Akin is an idiot. Why didn’t we secede from the south?  Those people have no brains at all. Their fairy tale religion. Their belief that everybody goes to hell (which was invented by a Catholic pope in the 1400s) but themselves. They are really holding America back.

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    Letting the South may not have helped in the case of Missouri. It was a border state which sent soldiers to both sides during the Civil War, more to the North than to the South. The official government did not secede from the Union but secessionist forces did break away and form a Confederate government which was represented in the Confederate government; however, controlled no territory. If the Southern states had simply just been allowed to secede, it is likely a portion of Missouri would have broken away, like West Virginia did from Virginia, but the US would still have the larger portion.

  • Ged’s Mom

    Disagreement with baseless statements = trolling?

    Geds, I’m disappointed in you!

  • JustoneK

    Get off the internet, Ged’s Mom, you don’t even use the apostrophe right!  They’re all gonna laugh at ya!

  • Your Mom

    Did HR 212, the Sanctity of Human Life Act state those apalling and untrue statements about rape (which most Republicans would state are just disgusting)?  I can’t find it.

  • Ged’s Mom

    I’m not Geds’ mom, I’m Ged’s Mom!

  • JustoneK

    Right then, carry on.

  • Ged

     Mom!

  • Ged’s Mom

    Get off the internet, you’ve been grounded because you’re being too Conservative!  That’s as good as Satanic here!

  • Facts Are Optional APparently

    “Also, King, Paul Ryan, and Todd Akin were co-sponsors of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.  King’s response to a question about whether he’d support abortion in the case of a 12 year- old girl getting pregnant from rape?  “Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been 

    brought to me in any personal way, and I’d be open to discussion about 
    that subject matter.”
    Failing to see how someone choosing a pro-life stance means they hold those disgusting views about rape and pregnancy.

    Try again professor.

  • Lets Play Nice

    ProLife folks will quote Psalm 139 (here I’ll post v13-15):

    You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.This is used as a biblical basis for belief that life starts at conception in the mothers womb.  Many adhere to that and thus take a pro-life stance.  Personally, I’m pro-life but the government should have no involvement here.  If one believes in God, Jesus Christ, and life after death than they need to contend with their transgressions here on earth.

    For those who want to crucify those who take a pro-life stance, it’s unfortunate.  They believe is something noble, just as those who are pro-choice believe in freedom and the sanctity of a woman’s body.  Getting the government involved here is a lose-lose-lose situation.

    Be pro-life (and those that are pro-choice, respect their opinion), but keep the government out of it.  

    (on the flip side those who are pro-choice and advocate the government staying away form a woman’s body, you can’t have it both ways like you claim Republicans do when they want less government with fiscal policy and more with social).  Don’t be hypocrites.

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

     

    Personally, I’m pro-life but the government should have no involvement here.

    Can you clarify what you consider government involvement here?

    For example: a pregnant woman wants an abortion. A doctor provides one in exchange for money, which she has and is willing to spend. A police officer arrests the doctor. Is this government involvement?

    For example: a pregnant woman wants an abortion. A doctor provides one in exchange for money, which she has and is willing to spend. A private group pickets the doctor’s office, impeding her access to the office. A police officer arrests the picketers. Is this government involvement?

    For example: a pregnant woman wants an abortion. A free medical clinic, funded in part by tax dollars, provides one. Is this government involvement?

  • Lets Play Nice

    Government shouldn’t regulate abortion.  If the picketers break the law, arrest them.  If abortion is legal then under what circumstances would the doctor need to be arrested?

    Tax dollars shouldn’t be involved in clinics for it, but it shouldn’t be illegal.  Gov’t needs to be keep its hands completely out of it.  Plenty of privately-funded options can and would exist for it.  Dont’ condemn, don’t condone.

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

    Thanks for your answers regarding the first two cases, they help clarify my understanding of your position. Regarding the third…

    Tax dollars shouldn’t be involved in clinics for it

    If a free medical clinic provides abortions, should it lose government funding altogether? Or is it sufficient for it to maintain separate accounting streams, such that the government funds don’t go to providing abortions, and the abortions are funded privately?

    That is, is it the services government should stay out of, or the organizations that provide those services (as well as others)?

  • Lets Play Nice

    Well, there’s a slippery slope and isn’t this very issue the cause of some news in the past few months?

    I’d be curious to find any organization that can truly say that they can keep separate fund streams.  I know where this could go – if the gov’t pulls funds from an organization that conducts abortions but also provides healthcare for those that need it, is it not a tacit “hand-slap” at that organization (or worse) and isn’t the gov’t in affect taking a stand by doing so (when they were trying to avoid a stand to being with)….

    No-win situation, which is exactly why this will never happen.  You pull federal funding from clinics and facilities that care for those that need it but ALSO conduct abortions and you’ll have pro-choice folk up-in-arms.  You do fund them but do the “separate bookkeeping” (to over-simplify) and you’ll have pro-lifers.   I’m also unconvinced that the “separate fund streams” is really workable. 

    Hypothetical – Dave’s Clinic is a clinic for those in need for women’s care but also will conduct abortions.  They get 10M for the clinic but 15M from private donors and pro-choice organizations.  Personally, I’m not sure how you can keep the funds separate, especially if the clinic portion is in dire need and 10M doesn’t cut it.  Why not “raid the cookie jar” (and it the hypothetical could go the other way).  Fancy accounting is a very slippery slope and not a long-term option.

    ONe more hypothetical – gov’t pulls funding from any organization that does abortions, putting the clinic portions at risk.  They then will offer subsidies, discounts, and free medication and equipment to these groups and materials that don’t directly impact the other part of their practice.  Now you’ve got more bureaucracy…

    It’s really a no-win :)

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

    So… it sounds like your answer is that the government funding an organization that provides abortions is a form of government involvement,  but that the government not funding an organization that provides abortions (if it provides other valuable public services as well) is also a form of government involvement.

    Did I get that right?

    So it sounds like the principle of “no government involvement in abortion” is unimplementable?

    Perhaps we need a different principle?

  • Daughter

    Nonprofit organizations with annual budgets of $500,000 or more have to have an independent audit every year. If you’re doing fancy accounting, you’ll get caught.

  • Daughter

    And although you don’t have to have an audit if you’re a smaller nonprofit, many grantmakers and donors feel better about giving to you if you do, so many smaller nonprofits get one anyway. (IOW, a nonprofit unwilling to open its books is going to have a harder time raising the money to do slippery accounting in  he first place).

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    I’d be curious to find any organization that can truly say that they can keep separate fund streams. 

    It’s the easiest thing in the world to keep separate accounting streams.  Simply form two different entities. 

    All money that goes into Corporation A stays in Corporation A’s bank account until it is paid out, and then Corporation A makes the payment.  All money that goes into Corporation B stays in Corporation B’s account until it is paid out by Corporation B.

    When it comes time to pay employees, you take proportional amounts of money out of both Corporation A and Corporation B’s accounts, and put it into a third account in the name of a different entity — Corporation C.  Then Corporation C pays the employees.

    That way, Corporation A’s money never touches the money of Corporation B and vice versa.

    I don’t know for sure if this is the way Planned Parenthood does it.  Though since it has something like 100 subsidiaries, it would not surprise me a bit if it were.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Are there any other medical conditions that you think should be excluded from being covered by the funding the government gives for health care?

    It’s not a neutral stance when you would have the government pick out this one thing and say “This one, though medically no different from any other covered procedure, isn’t covered so that we can maintain neutrality.”

  • AnonymousSam

    God-via-Moses advocated a law which required that pregnant women
    suspected of adultery drink a potion which would abort the fetus and
    disfigure the woman’s womb — if God deemed her guilty, which she was
    automatically assumed to be (the procedure for bringing the woman to
    trial was equivalent to the procedure for bringing a confirmed
    prostitute to trial and involved mass amounts of public humiliation and
    potential molestation). The law also made no remark upon the man, save to say that he would bear no guilt for what happened either way.

    The practice was so barbaric that Jews officially abandoned it in the first century, but vestiges of it remain in Numbers 5:11-31.

    So apparently the Bible isn’t such a good resource for anti-abortion.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     As long as you’re posting psalms, how about Psalm 137, verse 9?

  • JustoneK

    This escalated quickly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/VLabs Victor Manuel Labrada

    Fred Clark, you are a troll. Congratulations.
    Signed, Victor Manuel Labrada
    CTS 2013 (not 1984) 
    Member of Granada Presbyterian Church in Miami (south of the Mason-Dixon) which boasts a large Latin American congregation that has never heard the stereotypical sermons you describe. (sorry to ruin your generalizations, perhaps you must do research next time?)

    PS. That’s a hole in the ground, not your ass.
    PPS This comment does not reflect the views of CTS… officially.

  • Paul Reynolds

    I, too, go to CTS. I actually go to church with Todd Akin, and have for the past two years. I’ve had several conversations with him and consider myself a friend to three of his kids, including both of his daughters. I’ve been there nearly every week for the past two years and heard every sermon. I’ll even say I am pro-life. The first time I heard the position Todd espoused on that talk show was yesterday when I saw the footage online. YOU DON’T GET CLOSER THAN ME to the faith community he is in. That position is NOT typical, and I’ve never heard it before. There, I just did more research than the author of this blog post.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Hate to break it to you, but the fact that you’ve never heard anyone express Akin’s position before proves nothing except that you’ve never heard anyone express Akin’s position before. I’d never heard anyone Catholic say that gayness is bad or that abortion is bad until I hit college, and I’m a cradle Catholic; ‘gayness is bad’ and ‘abortion is bad’ are two defining beliefs of the Catholic hierarchy.

    What percentage of your congregation believes that a woman pregnant by her rapist should be able to get an abortion without risking compounding her trauma by having to prove to anyone’s satisfaction that she was raped? If that’s too near admitting that abortion isn’t unmitigated evil for your congregation’s taste, or even if it’s not, what percentage of your congregation believes that a woman pregnant by her rapist should have the financial support of her community for at least the duration of her pregnancy so that this physically and emotionally trying time will not also be a financially trying time?

    The higher those percentages are, the easier time you’ll have getting us to believe that the only person in your congregation who believes what Akin said is Akin.

  • Lori

    Wow, the flying monkeys really came out for this one. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/VLabs Victor Manuel Labrada

    Yeah, the internet is on computers now.

  • Lori

    Is that supposed to be clever? If so, you’re going to need to up your game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/VLabs Victor Manuel Labrada

    Ok, how about this:

    I’ve perused patheos before, and sympathized at times, but never felt the need to comment on anything until I read this post. I don’t like Todd Akin; think he’s a buffoon actually. Don’t like James Kennedy either (and I was in his presbytery). This post is just a ball of tarnish that Fred Clark is trying to throw on anything he seems to have a gripe with. Covenant is liberal by Clark’s PCA standards and I’ve never heard anything like “patriarchal misogyny” at any point in the last two years. I think, and I’m being modest here, that makes me infinitely more informed than Fred Clark or you, Lori, on the claims made in regards to Covenant Seminary. I’m sorry I don’t have nigh 5000 posts on this website, but I’ve been busy getting educated on how to hate women and all that (SARCASM). I’ll come back after my 4902 comment and maybe then I can be taken seriously.

  • Paul Reynolds

    We’re not allowed to represent our community like this author misrepresented it?

  • Lori

    Of course you are. We’re just not obligated to much care about statements made by strangers who simply appear and make claims that can’t be verified.

  • Paul Reynolds

    What’s the standard on verifiable claims? Fred’s not in the PCA, has probably never been to Covenant, certainly hasn’t been to my church, and doesn’t know Todd. Are his claims verifiable? You have my name and my school, so I’ve just left a trail where I can be found to verify my claims. Coincidentally, I’m in the PCA, go to Covenant, go to my church, and I know Todd. And if you like, you can come visit my school and church and ask as many people as you like if they’ve ever heard what Todd said about pregnancies caused (or allegedly not caused) by rape.

  • AnonymousSam

    As an extension of good faith to our newcomers, welcome to the blog.
    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt in saying that since I have no
    familiarity with the CTS and am in no position to verify the claims that these beliefs are widespread.

    It is dismaying to hear that Akins is receiving support for his statements however, so apparently his beliefs are more widespread than some would like to think.

  • http://www.facebook.com/VLabs Victor Manuel Labrada

    That is dismaying. Is it “maying” that so many evangelical Christians (and his seminary in an official statement) disapprove of his comments? Perhaps his beliefs are not as widespread as others would like to think.

  • AnonymousSam

    As with the dubious statistics he lays claim to (which I’m dubious about because I read this study awhile back which seems to indicate it’s not that uncommon), even “one” would be reprehensible. The Susan B. Anthony List and Family Research Council have both offered their support; the latter is somewhat unsurprising given their own reprehensible comments in the past.

    The article I nipped up spur of the moment quotes a woman as saying that she doesn’t support abortion even in the hypothetical case of a ten year old child being raped because “if a life is conceived it was meant to be conceived,” which is really just a flowery half-step away from saying that rape is justified.

    Akins also had support for his attempt to redefine rape into categories, some of which recognized as “forcible”, some not — support to the tune of 173 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives who were negligently silent when the proposed bill would have created precedent to think of statutory rape, marital rape and date rape as still in some form the fault of the woman involved.

    With the rape-enabling tendencies of our culture, sometimes a knee-jerk reaction is inevitable and one lashes out at innocent parties. Too often, they’re not actually innocent at all. It shouldn’t be so hard to tell, but it is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/VLabs Victor Manuel Labrada

    There is a conflation of three different issues here. 

    The first is Akin’s insinuation that there is legitimate and non-legitimate rape. Good luck getting ANYONE to say they agree with that assessment. This was Akin being buffoonish and definitely against the grain of most (mark that all) evangelicals I’ve had more than a five minute conversation with.

    The second is that Akin apparently believed that raped women cannot conceive. This is false and many Christians do not believe or support this false theory.

    The third issue some Christians do support. Akin is Pro-Life to the point of preserving the baby (or fetus for those who prefer that term) even in the case of a rape. That is not an unpopular opinion, especially with the belief that only about 1% of abortions are in direct consequence of a rape. I provide decade old statistics which you are free to dismiss. Even one rape is too many, but the belief that the baby should not be punished for the crimes of another is not especially barbaric. This is not a new or secret view either.

    So what happens when Akin makes an ignorant statement? Certain talking heads conflate the three opinions to be the same. Covenant and evangelical Christians I know decry the first two issues, but hold to the third. 

    If anyone wishes to berate public approval of the first two issues I have presented, I will join them in that attack. If you wish to disapprove of the third issue, I will have to stand on this side of the line.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What are you doing to make sure that the rape survivor is not being punished for the rape?

    What are you doing to make sure that the rapist is being punished for the rape?

  • Kubricks_Rube

    The first is Akin’s insinuation that there is legitimate and non-legitimate rape. Good luck getting ANYONE to say they agree with that assessment.
     
    There are two ways to take Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment, and both have support in some quarters.
     
    1) By “legitimate,” Akin actually meant “forcible.” This is what Akin himself claimed when prompted by not-exactly-fringe-figure Mike Huckabee: “I was talking about forcible rape,” [Akin] said. “I used the wrong word.”
     
    This language had also been included in the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which had 173 (mostly GOP) sponsors. Forcible, legitimate, whatever word you use, this distinction is troubling for many reasons, not least of which is that it represents a radical redefinition of consent.
     
    2) By “legitimate,” Akin meant that women lie about being raped to get an abortion. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church report that Fred linked to includes this claim that pregnancies from rape “include pregnancies arising from statutory rape as well as, we assume, some cases where rape has been falsely alleged.” Notice that this combines both plausible interpretations of Akin’s statement.

  • Paul Reynolds

    Thank you for the welcome! I appreciate the benefit of the doubt, as well. I would offer one clarification to your assertion, and that is Todd is receiving support as a candidate. His statements are not (from what I’ve seen, and admittedly there’s been so much commentary written on this that it’s difficult to know what information is out there!) receiving support, at least not widespread. Several other members of my church who are very very pro-life have made Facebook posts that make it clear that they support Todd as a man and as a candidate, not the statements in question (about “legitimate rape,” not the desire to protect babies). If his statements are receiving support, could you provide me with links to the sources you’re finding? I’d like to join you in your disappointment if that is the case.

  • Tricksterson

    So they support him, just not anything he says?

  • AnonymousSam

     Eww. I could have done without finding this quote of his as well.

    Well, I think NBC has a long record of being very liberal and at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God…. This is a systematic effort to try to separate our faith and God, which is a source in our belief in individual liberties, from our country. And when you do that you tear the heart out of our country.

    Which he then tried to turn around and paint “Liberalism” as if it were a political party with a negligible few members…

  • Gerin St. Claire

    I’m a friend of Victor’s and Paul’s. We really all go to Covenant, and Paul really goes to Akin’s church. I’ve been at Covenant for 2 years and they’ve never said anything that even slightly resembles Akin’s views. My heart goes out to any rape victims who have been hurt by this debacle.

    Gerin St. Claire
    http://www.redemptionblog.com

  • EllieMurasaki

    My heart goes out to any rape victims who have been hurt by this debacle.

    Does your heart go out far enough to help ensure that no rape survivor is forced to carry her rapist’s child? Or at least to help ensure that no rape survivor who chooses to keep the baby has to deal with the rapist having parental rights toward the child?

  • Gerinteed

    Same here. Well said Victor.

    Ellie, if I didn’t sincerely believe that unborn babies were alive, I would definitely be on your side in all this, but I think that unborn babies are alive. That’s the issue.

    Also realize, though, that having an abortion just adds one trama to another. Did you know that of women who have abortions, 50% report substantial feelings of guilt, 24% report sexual dysfunction, 42% experience depression, 39% experience anxiety disorder, and 27% report suicidal ideation?

    Abortion is not a get out of trama free card. Its traumatic in its own right. Many women regret it for the rest of their lives. So I don’t think you should speak of abortion as if its salvific. 

    Source:
    Coleman, PK, VM Rue, and M Spence. “Intrapersonal processes and post-abortion relationship challenges: a review and consolidation of relevant literature.” Internet Journal of Mental Health 4.2 (Nov. 2007): 34p. CIINAHL with Full Text. EBSCO. SOCC Library, North Bend, OR. 4 Feb. 2009

  • EllieMurasaki

    Okay, let’s take abortion off the table for a minute. What are you doing to make sure that bearing and raising a rapist’s child won’t be a burden on the woman? What are you doing to make sure the rapist faces justice?

    (Other than insisting that every rape survivor report the rape to the police, thus opening her up to compounding the trauma by having to relive it for the police and the courtroom and whoever else, and also letting people know she’s a rape survivor and that it’s therefore open season for calling her insulting names et cetera. As I have at this point no reason to think that you have anything less in mind than the best possible situation for each rape survivor, I know better than to think you’d advocate that every rape survivor should report the rape.)

    Supposing I take your numbers regarding abortion as the honest truth: how do those numbers compare to women who, finding themselves unwantedly pregnant, do not get an abortion? Unwanted pregnancy is traumatic in itself, raising a child one does not want is traumatic for parent and child both, and how dare you say that there are no cases in which it would be better all around if the woman got an abortion?

  • Lori

    If, as Victor claims, CTS isn’t teaching misogyny then I have to ask where you learned yours, because your post classic misogyny.

    On one hand you’re saying that in every case the life of an actual, living, breathing woman is less important than your fictional notions about the personhood of a fetus*. On the other hand you’re claiming that your insistence of having the right to make decisions about her body is really for her own good and that you’re protecting her by not allowing her to make her own decisions. Obviously not as much as you’re protecting the fetus, who is in every case more important then the she is, but protecting her nonetheless. She should be grateful for your care and concern, right?

     Pure misogyny.

    *That’s the issue we’re discussing, not whether or not the fetus is alive. Lots of things are alive, relatively few of them a persons. The pregnant woman is absolutely, positively a person. The fetus is not.

    Abortion is not a get out of trama free card. Its traumatic in its own
    right. Many women regret it for the rest of their lives. So I don’t
    think you should speak of abortion as if its salvific. 

    I don’t think you should presume to tell any woman what is best for her, especially based on a poorly designed “study” and some cheap statistics.

    In general, men should not be telling women what to do about pregnancy resulting from rape. Men can be rape victims, but they can’t ever get pregnant as the result of being raped. Men are never, ever going to be the experts on this issue.

  • Lori Needs Help

    Misogyny: hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women.

    THat’s pure misogyny.  Make sure you have a clue and put emotion away for a moment.  When you debate from pure emotion you lose, period.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Misogyny: hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women.

    To quote Lori, whose post you responded to:

    On one hand you’re saying that in every case the life of an actual,
    living, breathing woman is less important than your fictional notions
    about the personhood of a fetus*. On the other hand you’re claiming that
    your insistence of having the right to make decisions about her body is
    really for her own good and that you’re protecting her by not allowing
    her to make her own decisions.

    How is it not hating and/or mistrusting women to say that an embryo–a clump of cells less than an inch long–is of more importance to you than a grown woman? How is it not mistrusting women to compel her to do what you want rather than trusting her to do what’s best for her?

    How, therefore, is it not misogynistic to forbid abortion in the first trimester?

    (After that I’m willing to entertain arguments that abortion restrictions are not inherently misogynistic, but do be advised that abortion must be easily obtainable at least well into the second semester for any reason or no stated reason, to account for the women who didn’t know they were pregnant and the women who faced delays getting a first-trimester abortion, and abortion must be easily obtainable right up to the point where it’s possible to do a C-section and put the newborn in the NICU–at state expense, of course–when continuing the pregnancy would put the woman at risk of life or health (and any state unwilling to pay for the C-section and NICU must be willing to provide an abortion instead), and abortion must be easily obtainable at any point in pregnancy when there’s no way the fetus will survive anyway or when allowing one fetus to live risks the other(s).)

  • http://www.facebook.com/VLabs Victor Manuel Labrada

    We need a word for hating babies. Mismoro (greek for baby)? Lori why are you being a mismoro? Why do you hate babies so much? What about baby rights?

    I’m being facetious (mostly). If you don’t believe that fetuses have personhood, then that is where we disagree. I would like to know why you arbitrarily pick birth as the stage for imbuing personhood? Why not go Peter Singer style and say it’s not a person until 28 days after birth? Please argue for your point and maybe I’ll argue for mine.

  • Lori

    Why do you hate babies so much?

    I love babies. I love them enough to A) want them all to be wanted and loved and B) not confuse them with fetuses.

    Please argue for your point and maybe I’ll argue for mine.

    Oh, maybe you’ll argue for your position. How can I refuse such a generous offer?

    Oh yeah, I can refuse it because nothing you’ve said here makes me believe that you’re arguing in good faith, so it’s not worth my time. If you were really interested in why a fetus is not a person you could look it up. It’s not like it’s a secret and you clearly have internet access.

  • http://www.facebook.com/VLabs Victor Manuel Labrada

    Personhood is a philosophical distinction, not a scientific one. Please look up Peter Singer, ethicist, who makes an argument for what “personhood” actually is. He would describe it as a biographical concept, not biological. Meaning, a person who is not aware he is a person is not a person. Most people don’t agree with him, but at least he’s consistent. 

    Thus, the opinion that “personhood” begins at conception is granted as being arbitrary (why not at sperm or egg?). It is philosophical assumption based on Biblical understanding (Jer 1:5, Psalm 139:13, please tell me you’ve heard this before). The assertion that personhood begins at birth is also arbitrary. What’s the difference between a fetus’ heart and brain and level of consciousness from a minute before birth to a minute after? Does breathing in air make you part of the human race? I trust you do not agree with Peter Singer, who says that parents have a right to “abort” up to 28 days after birth since a 28 day year old has as much self-awareness as a fetus. Singer acknowledges that 28 days is an arbitrary number, but he would not like to say “until the baby starts recognizing you.” Yes, we read some Peter Singer at Covenant, since he is a leading secular ethicist on beginning and end of life issues.

    Rather than wade through a sea of internet irrelevancy, please tell me, Lori, why you believe that personhood does not begin until birth and not a day later or sooner. What are the philosophical underpinnings for that belief. It’s not just true “because it’s true.” I’ve revealed my biases (Scripture and ethical consistency); please reveal yours.

  • EllieMurasaki

     The assertion that personhood begins at birth is not in fact arbitrary, not in the slightest. Before that magic moment when the fetus emerges from the uterus and the umbilical cord is severed, the pregnant woman is the source, the only possible source, of the fetus’s oxygen and nutrition. After that moment, the newborn uses its own lungs and can take in nutrition via an IV, formula, or breastmilk sourced from someone whose uterus the newborn has been nowhere near. It is therefore reasonable to say that before birth, the fetus is part of the woman’s body, and after birth, the woman and the newborn are separate persons.

  • Lunch Meat

    Thus, the opinion that “personhood” begins at conception is granted as
    being arbitrary (why not at sperm or egg?). It is a philosophical
    assumption based on Biblical understanding (Jer 1:5, Psalm 139:13,
    please tell me you’ve heard this before).

    Unfortunately, those verses really don’t prove what you think they do. They do not make any statement about the personhood of the speaker. The statement “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” is about God’s foreknowledge and providence, not about Jeremiah’s personhood. If it were about Jeremiah’s personhood, that would imply that Jeremiah was a person “before God formed him in the womb”–before he was even conceived!

    Likewise, Psalm 139 is about how awesome God is as a creator and again about God’s intimate knowledge of the speaker. If the fetus is a person because God forms it and sees it being formed, then everything is a person, because God created everything.

    Rather than wade through a sea of internet irrelevancy, please tell me,
    Lori, why you believe that personhood does not begin until birth and not
    a day later or sooner.

    I don’t know about Lori, but mine is Genesis 1: “Then the Lord God … breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

    And birth is hardly an arbitrary marker. It’s the point at which the fetus is no longer dependent on the woman to live. This is important because abortion is not about killing babies. It’s about ending a pregnancy. If we had the technology to painlessly and safely beam a fetus out of a woman’s uterus directly into an artificial womb, and if we could guarantee that that fetus would then be wanted and protected by whoever took responsibility for it, then no one would want an abortion.

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

    If we had the technology to painlessly and safely beam a fetus out of a woman’s uterus directly into an artificial womb, and if we could guarantee that that fetus would then be wanted and protected by whoever took responsibility for it, then no one would want an abortion.

    I’m not at all convinced that’s true; I can imagine a woman in such a world preferring that a fetus grown from her egg be aborted rather than gestated outside of her body, in the same way that I can imagine a man in this world preferring that a fetus grown from his sperm be aborted rather than gestated outside of his body.

    But I agree with you that if a fetus can be extracted in such a way that it can develop into a baby, how we think about whose preferences matter and how we resolve conflicts likely changes.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     It’s important to remember this: you abort a *pregnancy*, not a *fetus*. (or embryo or zygote or blastocyst or whatever).

    Whether or not a woman has the right to demand the destruction of some tissue after it’s been removed from her body is an entirely different moral issue from the morality of abortion

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

     Fair enough. My point was that if the technology existed to allow a woman to end her pregnancy without terminating the development of her fertilized egg, there would still be women (and men) who prefer that development terminated, regardless of the terminology.

    But I agree with you completely that their right to impose such a preference is a different moral question than the right of a woman in the actual world to end her pregnancy.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    The reason I point it out is that the right of a woman to have a pregnancy terminated is not the same thing as the right to have one particular procedure. If it becomes medical best practice to terminate pregnancies by the method of “beam the relevant tissue into the donor uterus,” and other methods are deprecated, that wouldn’t be an infringement on the right to choose; it’d be how modern medicine works.

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

     Sure; I agree with all that.

    The reason I consider it irrelevant to what I’m saying is that I’m talking about the preference some people would express to have the fetus destroyed, not what rights they may or may not have or what medical best practices are. (This was all in response to someone asserting that were “beam the relevant tissue” an available technology, nobody would want to terminate the fetus. I continue to consider that assertion false.)

  • Tonio

    Also, it’s unconstitutional to use Bible quotes as a basis for making secular laws that define personhood.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    Thus, the opinion that “personhood” begins at conception is granted as
    being arbitrary (why not at sperm or egg?). It is a philosophical
    assumption based on Biblical understanding (Jer 1:5, Psalm 139:13,
    please tell me you’ve heard this before).

    It’d be a neat trick for the authors of Jer 1 and Psalm 139 to have assumed life began at conception, as the process of human conception wasn’t known until the 19th century, before which the human ovum was not known, and the prevailing theory was that men ejaculated tiny little baby seeds, which spontaneously germinated sometimes years after the “generative act” (This was why it was so important that brides be virgins; you could never be sure, even years later, if a child produced from that union was yours, or a leftover baby-seed from a previous lover).

    And for what it’s worth, I believe personhood is a*process*, and I find it pretty diminishing to the stuggles, setbacks, and accomplishments my son has faced over the past several months in the process of learning to become a person when someone claims that it’s something magically conferred just by virtue of me and his mother managing to solve a fairly straightforward spatial relations problem a day or so before she ovulated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/VLabs Victor Manuel Labrada

    Also, Lori I want to apologize for being so cutting in earlier comments. I am passionate about this and I can tell you are too. I’ll try to keep the snark at bay.

  • PJ Evans

    I would like to know why you arbitrarily pick birth as the stage for imbuing personhood?
    Well, for starters, they’re fetuses until at least the point of viability, which is the 5th month, roughly. And you need to read about the chances of 4-month-premature babies before you start telling us how wrong we all are. And if you haven’t heard of stillbirths, you’re really not qualified to talk. (I know a woman who lost her chiold during delivery. THINK.)

  • AnonymousSam

    I followed up on your source and sites which gave similar statistics and they all seem to cite the same few people- Reardon in particular. Reardon I know as David Reardon of the Elliot Institute, a tax-fraud committing organization with Reardon as the director, who went nearly a decade before having a single other full time member. Research into him brought up exactly where those statistics come from: a series of surveys he sent out in the 70’s and 80’s to women who were searching for counseling.

    I don’t like to invoke the “poisoning the well” fallacy, but these are very untrustworthy. The Ph.D he boasts about comes from an unaccredited correspondence school, meaning degrees by mail. His “random sampling data” came from a very specific demographic and prove nothing more than that traumatized women report symptoms of trauma, especially when they were already suffering symptoms of clinical depression before their abortions (which many of them were, he eventually disclosed). His studies also failed to differentiate between women who genuinely wanted to have a baby and those who did not.

    When peer-reviewed, his research methods were deemed controversial, misleading at best, and outright wrong in other categories. When other research groups have investigated his claims more thoroughly and with more professional methodology, they had very different findings. In particular, Vincent Rue’s “post-abortion syndrome” is not recognized as an actual diagnosis or condition and although legal abortions of unwanted pregnancies do correlate with “sensations of regret, sadness, or guilt, the weight of the evidence from scientific studies indicates that legal abortion of an unwanted pregnancy in the first trimester does not pose a psychological hazard for most women.” A later study even determined that the groups most at risk for negative emotions following an abortion were equally as likely to suffer the same effects from giving birth.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Hell, I can remember those ridiculous “the juices don’t flow” one-liners from the 1990s.

    Republican politicians have a long and storied history of using teh bay-bees as props in their culture war, as rather colorfully related here.

  • Ashamedofhumanity

    There is no hope for America if people even need to argue about his position on this issue.  There is nothing to discuss he is scientifically wrong, morally wrong, ethically wrong and unfortunately highlighting the ignorance of his views and that of his supporters.  

    America you disappoint me,  the people that took on a wild landscape, defeated the British and claimed independence were true warriors and survivors, willing to die for liberty and freedom!  Now you are prepared to sell your constitution out to protect the views of a religious few, don’t disagree or you are creedist (yes I know it is not a word, but it needs to be), unless its about muslims or illegal mexicans..Anybody even questioning whether the female body has a biological anti pregnancy safety net that automatically protects the egg/ovaries (Im still trying to figure out how this biological anti conception works) from conceiving must be missing the basic mental capacity needed to function without supervision.  

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

    Wow, this thread is a mess.  

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

     FWIW… it’s not news that some people believe that the moral value of increasing the chances of a fetus being delivered (e.g., if it doesn’t spontaneously terminate, like many fetuses do) outweighs the moral value of increasing a woman’s autonomy over her body.

    And I can appreciate why someone who believes that would be upset at being treated as if they also believed that rape can’t cause pregnancy, and wants the line of discourse drawn between abortion opponents who believe that and abortion opponents who don’t.

    More generally, I can appreciate why we all want to draw the lines of discourse such that demonstrable falsehoods are on the other side of the line from where we happen to stand.

    That said, I can also appreciate how someone who doesn’t believe that considers the important line to be between supporting and opposing a woman’s freedom to choose whether to bring her fetus to term.

    It’s no surprise that conversations between those camps go south quickly.
    “Stop illegitimately lumping my not-false position in with that false one!”
    “Your position legitimately belongs on the same side of the important line as that false one!”

    I really liked EllieMuraski’s response to this logjam: “OK, never mind those lines. Instead, let’s talk about the line between people who support rape survivors and endorse punishing rapists, and people who don’t. What side of that line are we all on? How are we demonstrating that?” That seems like it stands a chance of being productive.

    Personally, one way I support rape survivors is by endorsing them getting to choose whether they deliver the resulting fetus, if there is one.  I am willing in principle to believe that someone can oppose that but still be equally supportive of rape survivors, but I have trouble imagining how they do it.

  • N Mc Lucy

    As a Presbyterian (same “P.C.A.” as Akin), I can’t believe Akin asserted that the female body can auto-abort and implied some distinction in cases of rape.  It’s wrong, it’s shameful, and it’s just plain dumb.

  • Lori is a Nut

    I can think of no worse crimes than rape, murder, or any crime involving a child.  I wouldn’t even want to try to rate one over the other.  They are all horrific and if anyone doesn’t believe this, then you are a non-starter in this conversation.

    Akin is an idiot, and should get out.  Impugning a group for an individual’s action is no better and if you do that you’re an idiot as well.

    Lori is throwing out the term misogyny like bird-feed at a pet store.  She’s an idiot since she’s warping the true meaning of the term and has no clue.

    If a woman is raped and becomes pregnant (anyone who still holds to a belief that the chances of pregnancy decrease should be roped down and taught the truth with a spatula) has a choice to make.  If they dont’ hold to conservative Christian values then they should give less than 2 sh*ts about what Akin and others say.  They need to find a support structure and if that means ending the pregnancy then let them do it and work to continue to heal (as much as one can after being violated).

    Nobody should be condemning another in this situation at all. There is only one primary victim here and that is where the focus should be.

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

     

    If they dont’ hold to conservative Christian values then they should give less than 2 sh*ts about what Akin and others say.

    Except, of course, that Akin and others want to enforce their views by law, and them saying what they say is how they intend to make that happen, and there’s reason to believe they might succeed, which would make it impossible to “find a support structure and if that means ending the pregnancy then let them do it and work to continue to heal”.

    If that weren’t true… e.g., if this was all just Internet chatter, and no laws depended on it… I would agree that we should all just cut it out and focus on supporting the rape survivors the way your last sentence implies.

    But in the actual world, I don’t think it actually works to draw the line between focusing on the rape survivor on the one hand and talking about politics and policy on the other. In the actual world, politics and policy are a primary means of supporting the rape survivor.

  • AnonymousSam

    First of all, please pick an actual name by which you can be identified, regardless if it’s a pseudonym or not. Changing your name with every post while launching ad hominem attacks is a very weak debate tactic to say the least.

    Also, we’re inclined to give two shits about what Akins and other conservative Christians say considering they have political influence. Akins is in office. He has sponsored bills with large amounts of support. I’d say that’s something to which bears paying close attention.

  • JustoneK

    Dafuq.

    The random trolls here are getting less and less coherent.

    Who’s the primary victim here, again?  Is it the entirety of folks who identify as Southern and conservative?  Oh wait, it’s folks who identify as Christian and don’t want to be lumped in with Akin and his ilk.

    Protip:  if you’re a self-identifying Southern conservative Christian type who disagrees with Akin’s bald-faced lies, this post is not about you.

  • Gerin St. Claire

    @Lori, I’ve never been accused of being a misogynist by anyone who actually knows me. My view on Abortion stems from a high view of unborn children, not from a low view of women.

    Also, you said, “I don’t think you should presume to tell any woman what is best for her, especially based on a poorly designed ‘study’ and some cheap statistics.”
    1) Do you have a study that says my study is poorly designed? I suspect you are just saying that to win your argument.  My study is from the Journal of Mental Health. I gave you the full citation. You can’t just dismiss an academic study like that… not unless you cite something better, which you’ve made no attempt to do.
    2) I didn’t tell any women what was best for her. I cited an academic study. I also said that unborn children are alive and helpless and need to be protected. That’s not misogynistic, and if you call it so, you are robbing the word ‘misogyny’ of its real meaning, which should be reserved for actual misogynists.

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

     

    My view on Abortion stems from a high view of unborn children, not from a low view of women.

    I’m not sure this is a distinction that makes a difference.

    I would say that your view (as you describe it) stems from a belief that a child being born is more important than a woman getting to choose whether to bear a child. My view stems from the reverse belief. Whether any of those are “high views” or “low views” I have no real idea… “high” and “low” compared to what, if not one another?… and I’m not sure it matters.

    As for this semantic argument you’re having… (shrug).

    If I assert that the freedom of Jews to choose whether to worship is less important than the convenience of Christians, I’d likely be called antiSemitic. If I objected that my view was based on a high view of Christians rather than a low view of Jews, nobody would care; the relevant factor would be that my positions acted against the interests of Jews.

    The situation here seems similar.

    I suppose one could argue that “misogynist” is the wrong word for that and the right term is “anti-woman”, just as “antisemitic” is less accurate than “anti-Jew”, but that sort of lexical precision is rarely the most important thing to address in a conversation for me. 

  • Beroli

     

    I’ve never been accused of being a misogynist by anyone who actually knows me. […]
    That’s not misogynistic, and if you call it so, you are robbing the word
    ‘misogyny’ of its real meaning, which should be reserved for actual
    misogynists.

    *checks off “No True Scotsman” and “You devalue the word by using it somewhere I don’t want it used+” on the Bingo card*

    +Anyone have a shorter, snappier name for this type of argument? Most often, as far as I’ve seen, it takes the form, “By using the word ‘rape’ for an incident where a woman’s boyfriend merely didn’t listen to her saying she didn’t want to, you devalue the word and insult every woman who has really been dragged into the bushes by a stranger and legitimately raped.”

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

     I can’t think of a snappier term in common usage.

    It’s kind of a special case of excluding the middle, I suppose, in that it treats the word as though it applies to only the most extreme examples of its reference class. 

    “Only Everest is a Mountain”?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    I’ve never been accused of being a misogynist by anyone who actually
    knows me. My view on Abortion stems from a high view of unborn children,
    not from a low view of women.

    How is “But women,– and only women — can sometimes have their absolute right to soverignty over their own bodies taken away from them purelty for the benefit of another person” not a “low view of women”?

    However high your view of a fetus, once you start saying “And therefore women have to lose their basic human rights in favor of the fetus,” that is by *definition* a low view of women. YOu view a born, adult woman as being less deserving of the right to control her own body than the life of a clump of largely undifferentiated cells.

    A “high view of unborn children” that isn’t a cover for misogyny is “It is an unavoidable tragedy that sometimes there is no way to respect the rights of the mother without terminating the fetus. We should get to work on inventing a medically-safe fetal teleporter so that there can be an alternative that doesn’t involve removing the basic human rights of the woman.”

  • JustoneK

    I have to wonder why the rights of the unborn continue to trump the rights of the already born is the main thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/EarBucket David Coulter

    I grew up PCA (in Southern Illinois, about an hour and a half from Akin’s district), and I find a lot of their theology and politics horrifying, but I never heard anything like this, from the pulpit or the laity. This is an awfully broad brush you’re painting with here, Fred.

  • Tonio

    One can believe that abortion is wrong and also believe that it’s wrong to force women to carry pregnancies to term. I would love to hear from someone who holds both positions and who agrees that the way to reduce abortions is to empower women so they conceive when they wish to do so. Making abortion a criminal offense would reduce women and their wombs to wards of the state, the complete opposite of empowerment, and would do almost nothing to reduce abortions. HIPAA would have to be suspected for gynecologists, and many women would avoid that care altogether and many practitioners would switch to other fields rather than be considered criminal suspects.

  • EllieMurasaki

    One can believe that abortion is wrong and also believe that it’s wrong
    to force women to carry pregnancies to term. I would love to hear from
    someone who holds both positions and who agrees that the way to reduce
    abortions is to empower women so they conceive when they wish to do so.

    Hi. Far’s I know most pro-choicers are like me, actually–abortion is wrong, but in many cases it’s the least wrong option given the circumstances, and had therefore damn well better be as easily accessible as possible. Not to mention safe, and without complications such as transvaginal ultrasounds or anti-abortion protesters mobbing the clinic or having to listen to a presentation designed to evoke an emotional response in the woman that will cause her to do something other than what she’s already decided is the best or the least bad thing for her to do.

  • Tonio

     

    having to listen to a presentation designed to evoke an emotional
    response in the woman that will cause her to do something other than
    what she’s already decided is the best or the least bad thing for her to
    do.

    I’ll take “Fetishizing Motherhood” for 100 points, Alex…

    Probably many opponents refuse to believe that any woman would not want to be a mother, so they tell themselves that such women are in denial, or swayed by greedy abortionists, or pressured by selfish husbands or boyfriends. (The latter does happen, but apparently it’s far more common for the pressure to be in the other direction.) Perhaps something like the mentality that Fred discusses in the Bildad thread. These people crave a Movie of the Week ending where the woman collapses in tears upon seeing the ultrasound, confessing that she can’t go through with it. Very patronizing and infantilizing of women.

  • Hey now

    I believe there could be people who are governmentally pro-choice but personally pro-life.  I believe John Kerry held a viewpoint similar to this in the 2004 election and there are a large number of Libertarian Republicans who fall in the same camp.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I believe there could be people who are governmentally pro-choice but personally pro-life.

    I know for a fact there are. These are the people who are capable of being pregnant and who believe (and who am I to gainsay them?) that abortion is never (what, never? hardly ever) the best choice for them personally, but who know that other women are not them and should not have anything blocking them from choosing abortion or giving birth as they desire.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    I believe there could be people who are governmentally pro-choice but personally pro-life.

    *raises hand*

    I believe that abortion is morally wrong. I also think it should be very legal.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    One can believe that abortion is wrong and also believe that it’s wrong to force women to carry pregnancies to term. I would love to hear from someone who holds both positions and who agrees that the way to reduce abortions is to empower women so they conceive when they wish to do so.

    We’ve covered this exact ground several times on this very blog in just the last year. Yes, there are many people like this. This is, in fact, the position most commonly held among the Catholics I know–that abortion is not morally neutral, but that it should be legal, safe and accessible, and that we should be pouring shitloads of effort into everything that reduces the number of situations where abortion is someone’s least bad option.

    I fid the entire pro-life/pro-choice dichotomy immensely unhelpful to those millions of us who are excluded from both camps. I consider myself to be pro-life, but not part of the pro-life movement because I’m repeatedly told by both sides that the essence of the pro-life movement is wanting to make abortion a criminal offense. I don’t identify as being pro-choice either because too many people have insisted that pro-choice means thinking that abortion is morally neutral and that no one has a right to believe otherwise. Personally I don’t think you should call yourself pro-life unless you’re also a capital punishment abolitionist but identity labels aren’t subject to coherent classification systems.

    Anyway. Tonio, the type of person you describe and say you would love to hear from is, in my experience, both very common and very likely to stay out of abortion discussions because nuance tends to get screamed at and/or ignored all round.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    I consider myself to be pro-life, but not part of the pro-life movement
    because I’m repeatedly told by both sides that the essence of the
    pro-life movement is wanting to make abortion a criminal offense. I
    don’t identify as being pro-choice either because too many people have
    insisted that pro-choice means thinking that abortion is morally neutral
    and that no one has a right to believe otherwise.

    Well expressed. And ditto.

  • Daughter

    I’d say that the vast majority of USians (I know neither you nor Sgt. Pepper are from the U.S., but I don’t know the stats in your country) have mixed opinions about abortion, although maybe not expressed in the exact same way. I’ve seen statistics that indicate that about 20% of USians think abortion should be legal in all circumstances, 20% think it should be legal in no circumstances, and the other 60% think in some instances yes, in some instances no. That breakdown allows both extremes to claim that the vast majority of USians agree with them.

    I will say this, though, from my time on progressive forums: even many who think abortion should be legal in all circumstances don’t necessarily think it’s morally neutral. However, they believe the morality of it should be determined by the woman making the decision.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I’ve seen statistics that indicate that about 20% of USians think abortion should be legal in all circumstances, 20% think it should be legal in no circumstances, and the other 60% think in some instances yes, in some instances no.

    The 2004 Australian Electoral Study showed 54% support for abortion on demand, 35% support for legal abortion in specific circumstances, and 4% support for complete ban. Separately, the 2003 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes had 81%* of respondents agreeing that a woman should have the right to choose whether or not she has an abortion–including 77% of religious respondents generally, 72% of Catholics and 53% of evangelical Protestants.

    *Around 10% neither agreed nor disagreed, or couldn’t choose. 9% disagreed.

    Separately, it is just never an election issue. At the 2010 federal election some conservative Christians were trying to stir up support for the Liberals, saying that Tony Abbott as a conservative Catholic would surely crack down on abortion. Both Abbott and the shadow Health Minister officially said, no, they would do nothing at all about abortion law or funding but the cCs assured me that they were lying, don’t you worry about that. Despite not doing anything about abortion during the 13 years of their previous term in government. But I guess it helps one’s self image to imagine that you vote out of concern for babies rather than because you don’t like poor people. Anyway, point is: the response of both sides of Australian politics to abortion is please let’s not politicise abortion.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    I’ve seen statistics that indicate that about 20% of USians think
    abortion should be legal in all circumstances, 20% think it should be
    legal in no circumstances, and the other 60% think in some instances
    yes, in some instances no.

    This is one of those ‘People have defenses against thinking thigns through” things I mentioned before. Because the whole “In some cases yes, in some cases no” thing is only sustainable by avoding asking the question “How do we make that decision?” because there’s an unconsidered implication there that a pregnant woman should have to go to some board of ethics and plead her case to get *permission* to have control of her body. 

    When you come right down to it, I think the “mixed view” on abortion is really verysimilar to the (I swear, I’m not godwinning) hitler problem for universalism: just as, on a visceral level, a lot of people would be okay with universalism for the most part,  but have this little hang-up where they say “But what about hitler? surely *he* goes to hell?”.  Likewise, I think the stumbling block for a lot of people that leads to a “mixed view” is the (still misogynistic) position of “Well sure, abortions should be legal, but what about the sluts? Surely *they* shouldn’t be allowed to “get away with” using abortion as a form of birth control?”

    And as I said, even if you *were* to concede that some women do not “deserve” body soverignty, never mind that there’s actually no way to determine whether the particular woman seeking the particular abortion falls into that category without stripping *all* women of the normal legal protections about health information (If I break my arm, there’s no medical board that’s allowed to look at my history and demand to know what Iwas doing so they can rule as to whether or not I “deserve” to have it set).  (*This* is why abortion is a privacy issue. If you start from aplace where “some abortions are okay and some are not”, *the right to medical privacy* makes it impossible for law enforcement to determine which are which.

    And nevermind that “Sluts getting abortions because it’s easier than birth control” does not actually happen (And you can shut up right no, guy who is about to claim that he knew a girl once who had six abortions every year because obamacare made them cheaper and more fun than condoms. Pix or you’re a fucking liar), and never mind that “Because you abused your abortion rights, your punishment is that we will force you to become a mother… Which, given that we’ve already, in our smug superiority, declared you a person of poor moral character, and given that you’ll be an unwilling mother, probably bodes ill for this child. But still, we are goign to force you to be a mother as punishment for your immorality.” is a pretty fucking depraved argument on at least three levels

  • AnonymousSam

    I swear I have known someone like that, but in fairness, that area of Michigan is not known for producing women of principles. Any principles. Like “woof woof woof!

    But it’s not as though her existence invalidates the argument. Hell need not exist for Hitler either. The concept of the afterlife and justice therein is a comfort for the living. The dead have far different priorities, regardless of your beliefs.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Likewise, I think the stumbling block for a lot of people that leads to a “mixed view” is the (still misogynistic) position of “Well sure, abortions should be legal, but what about the sluts? Surely *they* shouldn’t be allowed to “get away with” using abortion as a form of birth control?”

    I’d expect much more of the “Of course abortions shouldn’t be legal – but what about women who get raped?”

    Just… for the record. As someone who knows a lot of anti-abortion types.

  • EllieMurasaki

    My first thought was actually “if the woman’s made it past the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy without getting an abortion, it’s too late for her to change her mind, and it’s probably cheaper to pay her to stay pregnant till full term and give the baby up for adoption than it is to C-section her and put the baby in the NICU and then up for adoption”. Though what relevance this has, given that abortions that late in pregnancy are invariably either because someone’s kept her from getting an earlier abortion or because something’s gone wrong such that an end result of ‘healthy mother and baby’ is no longer an option, I don’t know. And even if we did ban abortions after week 24 except in cases of risk to the fetus’s or woman’s life or health, the so-called partial-birth abortion ban is made of evil, because what that actually does is ensure that a stillborn baby has to be removed from the uterus in pieces, rather than as an intact corpse the bereaved parents can hold and cry over.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart
    Likewise, I think the stumbling block for a lot of people that leads to a “mixed view” is the (still misogynistic) position of “Well sure, abortions should be legal, but what about the sluts? Surely *they* shouldn’t be allowed to “get away with” using abortion as a form of birth control?”

    I’d expect much more of the “Of course abortions shouldn’t be legal – but what about women who get raped?”
    Just… for the record. As someone who knows a lot of anti-abortion types.

    Another caveat I’ve commonly heard is agreement that abortion should be legal where the pregnancy carries a considerable risk to the woman’s physical and/or mental health and/or social wellbeing, but not because the parents wanted a boy but it turns out to be a girl; or because the foetus has a non-debilitative deformity or health condition. Of course, there one can get into debates about how much one’s very strong sex preference, for example, may impact on one’s mental health and/or social wellbeing, or where the line between debilitating and non-debilitating disabilities is, but none of this is easy.

    To put it another way: it’s easy and possibly fun to decry anyone who has moral qualms about abortion as being a bigoted arsehole who likes to blame the sluts. But I know a lot of people who wrestle with the nuance and are primarily motivated by concern for the humanity of marginalised groups, like girls and people with disability.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I would love to ban abortion for reasons of not wanting a girl baby or a baby with a disability…but how to accomplish that while maintaining, as I do, that no one should have to give a reason for getting an abortion?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I don’t know.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    I would love to ban abortion for reasons of not wanting a girl
    baby or a baby with a disability…but how to accomplish that while
    maintaining, as I do, that no one should have to give a reason for
    getting an abortion?

    While I sympathize with that position, I can’t see any way that doesn’t amount to “Because I find your bigoted beliefs socially unacceptable, you should be punished for them by being forced to bear a child you don’t want and will therefore probably mistreat.” (or the more magical thinking-y “you should be forced to bear a child you don’t want and this will somehow magically cure you of your bias.”)

    I mean, I don’t like the idea of someone having an abortion because of the gender of their fetus, but I like babies going to parents who don’t want them and resent having been compelled to give birth to them a lot less.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t like the idea of someone having an abortion because of the gender of their fetus, but I like babies going to parents who don’t want them and resent having been compelled to give birth to them a lot less.
     
    The second doesn’t automatically follow from the first. China’s sex ratio would be skewed a lot worse than it is if every girl abandoned for not-boy-ness had been aborted or infanticided, and part (a teeny part, but a part) of why the US has more females than males is US couples adopting said abandoned Chinese girl children. I take your point, but.
     
    And it’s not, or not entirely, magical thinking to believe that having a girl child will undo the parents’ anti-female bias. http://jezebel.com/5262701/sometimes-it-takes-a-daughter-to-make-a-man-a-feminist –people, men especially, are more likely to vote feminist if they’re parents of a daughter than if they’re not. Doesn’t work every time–my mother has four daughters and I don’t think anything will ever convince her that the Catholic Church is wrong about contraception–but it works often enough to have a noticeable effect.

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

     

    I know a lot of people who wrestle with the nuance
    and are primarily motivated by concern for the humanity of marginalised
    groups, like girls and people with disability.

    So, I’m curious: the people you know whose concern for marginalized groups extends to ensuring that people are born into them… would they be just as opposed to a technological intervention that differentially prevented conception?

    Just to make it more personal for me, because this sort of thing can suffer from getting too abstract, I often think in terms of policies that prevent queer children from being born. That’s hypothetical technology, but not impossibly so; we might develop it at any time.

    Such a policy would horrify me.

    This has essentially nothing to do with the moral status of fetuses. If it turned out that the technology in question prevented the conception of queer kids rather than prevented their gestation, my horror would not significantly diminish, despite there being no fetus involved.

    All that said, though… so, OK, a pregnant woman comes to me and says “Dave, my fetus is queer, and I’ve thought about it, and I’ve decided to terminate its gestation on that basis. But because this is a bizarre thought experiment, you have the legal right to veto that decision. What’s your call?” And now my choice is to ensure that child is born to a mother who would prefer no child to a queer child, or allow that child to not be born.

    I hate that situation a lot. And I’m not too crazy about the person, either. But once I’m in the situation, I don’t see how vetoing her decision improves anything. Ultimately, it makes no sense to me to say that I don’t trust her to make choices about her child, and will therefore ensure that she bears that child.

    It seems the proper intervention to make is one that prevents that situation from arising in the first place.

  • Tonio

    Journalists and commentators frequently talk vaguely about the ethical issues about prenatal technology, and it’s frustrating for me when they don’t go into specifics. The ethical issue with your thought experiment is the same as with abortion – you’re exactly right that any veto power equates to not trusting women to make these choices. I would go further and say that the veto would rob women of a major portion of their autonomy in general, not just their sexual autonomy.

    Seems similar to the legal concept of competency. We don’t automatically assume that the individual is the best qualified person to make personal decisions in hir best interest, but we do assume as a default that the individual has the right to make those decisions.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    So, I’m curious: the people you know whose concern for marginalized groups extends to ensuring that people are born into them… would they be just as opposed to a technological intervention that differentially prevented conception?

    I’m not crazy about the part of the sentence before the elipse. I’m tired, so I can’t tell if you’re sarcastically saying that people who claim to be concerned about marginalised groups want more people to be marginalised.

    But assuming not, then I expect the answer would be mixed, but some would certainly be opposed to the idea that the problem of marginalisation lies on the shoulders of the marginalised. As in–if you lot didn’t exist for other people to be upset about there would be no problem.

    The idea that the solution to marginalisation is to get rid of the people who become marginalised is something I find ridiculous, but I have personally come across it, especially wrt various disabilities.

    It seems the proper intervention to make is one that prevents that situation from arising in the first place.

    No disagreement there. However, the best intervention doesn’t happen a lot of the time; and we can discuss ideas about one thing without precluding all other and better possibilities.

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

     

    I can’t tell if you’re sarcastically saying that people who claim to be
    concerned about marginalised groups want more people to be marginalised.

    No, I fully believe that we would far prefer that the groups (and, consequently, the people in them) not be marginalized in the first place, and work towards that end. But I think we do want people to continue to be born into those groups (whether they are marginalized or not), as I said initially, and we want the groups to continue to exist.

    Though, having said that, I should admit that I have trouble embracing that principle when it comes to group markers that are uncontroversially seen as disabilities. That is, I freely acknowledge that medical intervention to replace the disability with typical function (for example, letting blind people see) actually eliminates the group (if everyone can see, there aren’t any blind people), and that in general that’s problematic, but I nevertheless balk at the idea that we therefore shouldn’t perform such interventions.

    I’m not arguing here that I’m right to feel this way, merely admitting that this is in fact how I seem to feel. In particular, I know this is a real source of concern within the Deaf community, where giving up Deaf culture is seen as an inevitable and too-high price of giving up deafness. I do accept that where something is seen as a disability by some people and not others, it’s problematic to treat it as above, even when I’m one of the people who sees it as a disability. 

    All that said, killing a blind person is an entirely different thing from restoring their vision, despite the fact that both acts result in one fewer blind person.

    And while I recognize that reasonable people of good will do disagree about whether aborting a pregnancy is a different thing from killing a person, as far as I know nobody believes that preventing an egg from being fertilized is the same thing as killing a person.

    Which is why I was asking about preventing conception. That is, is the goal to avoid killing people? Or to ensure that people are born?

     

    However, the best intervention doesn’t happen a lot of the time; and we can discuss ideas about one thing without precluding all other and better possibilities.

    Absolutely.

    That said, when I find myself faced with a “Well, this sucks, but the alternative sucks too!” situation, I often find it useful to address the problem that created such a horrible choice, rather than to champion one horrible alternative over another.

  • Tonio

     

    In particular, I know this is a real source of concern within the Deaf
    community, where giving up Deaf culture is seen as an inevitable and
    too-high price of giving up deafness. I do accept that where something
    is seen as a disability by some people and not others, it’s problematic
    to treat it as above, even when I’m one of the people who sees it as a
    disability.

    The debate over the presidency of Gallaudet involved those larger questions. While I wouldn’t have anything remotely like an informed opinion on such questions, as a general principle I would go with personal preference instead of the assumption I know what’s best for another person.  If a particular deaf person doesn’t see it as a disability, I would be very reluctant to label it otherwise.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I often think in terms of policies that prevent queer children from
    being born. That’s hypothetical technology, but not impossibly so; we
    might develop it at any time.

    How does one identify someone else’s sexuality or gender identity without asking that person? One could guess that of my mother and her siblings, the one most likely to be gay is the youngest brother (who is in fact gay), but being male and having two older brothers only made it more likely that that particular uncle would be gay, it didn’t guarantee it, and there’s disagreement over whether the older-brother deal actually means anything anyway. It certainly doesn’t explain my oldest-child bisexual self. And people tend to assume that ‘boy wearing pink’ means ‘gay boy’ or ‘trans girl’ when the truth might well be ‘straight boy likes pink’. No, the only sure way is to ask, and if the kid’s capable of answering, we’re years past abortion being feasible, months more past the feasibility of contraception.

  • AnonymousSam

    I think this is assuming that homosexuality is caused by genetics and that we will eventually find the exact DNA sequences responsible for it.

    I don’t think that’s actually the case. My prediction is that long before we become capable of identifying the genetic markers that would indicate this, it will have ceased to be a concern for most people.

  • Jenora Feuer

    I think this is assuming that homosexuality is caused by genetics and
    that we will eventually find the exact DNA sequences responsible for
    it.I don’t think that’s actually the case.

    The scientific consensus seems to agree with you.

    My understanding from an old Scientific American article is that given if you take two related people, one of whom is homosexual, the probability of the other being homosexual as well tends to increase as the closeness of the relation increases.

    The key points are at the top end:
     – The probability of the second of a pair of fraternal (non-identical) twins also being homosexual is greater than that for two siblings born at different times;
     – The probability of the second of a pair of identical twins also being homosexual is still only about 50%.

    Basically, there may be genetic predispositions to it, but epigenetic details such as hormone levels in the womb have non-trivial levels of say in the results.

  • AnonymousSam

    *Nods* About the same things I was hearing when I was taking psychology classes in college. We spent the better part of an hour talking about it in Abnormal Psychology while covering some of the revisions of the DSM, specifically how they had thrown out the classification and diagnosis of homosexuality as a mental disorder.

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

    Yup, absolutely agreed with all of this.

    It doesn’t change my sense that fetal markers that correlate highly with atypical sexuality and/or gender identity could easily be discovered, or that many people would be motivated to terminate the development of such fetuses. 

    But, as I said to Ellie below, I could be wrong about that, and would like to be.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     My inclination is that the sort of person who would want to terminate such a fetus would first have to be persuaded that minority sexualities and gender identities aren’t something you get recruited to.

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

    No, the only sure way is to ask

    Agreed.

    And if you think the fact that they can’t be sure will stop people from deciding to terminate the development of fetuses with genetic characteristics that turn out to correlate highly with certain sexualities or gender identities, supposing those characteristics were discovered tomorrow, I envy your expectations and wish I shared them.

  • EllieMurasaki

    *shrugs* Somebody sufficiently heterosexist and/or cissexist to abort a gender/sexual minority fetus has excellent odds of belonging to a heavily pro-life population. In the US, anyway.

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

     (shrugs) For my own part, I find a fair bit of heteronormativity and cis-normativity in the pro-choice population as well, so I’m not quite so cavalier about it. But I don’t have reliable data, so I’m willing to either agree to disagree or to be convinced by reliable data.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I’m sorry, what’s heteronormative or cisnormative about pointing out that the instant you start asking a pregnant woman (or man whose reproductive organs were biologically female, but who identifies as a man) what reasons they have for aborting and start trying to categorize those reasons into “good” or “bad”, you take away their agency. You take away their right to govern their own bodies as they see fit and anyway?

    They can always lie to you about the reason for an abortion and you won’t know.

    So I categorically am in the camp that refuses to label abortions as “bad” based on any feeling of mine to be competent an arbiter of moral choice.

    Because the instant I regard myself as the arbiter of moral choice beyond “do not harm other beings, human or not, except insofar as that act preserves human life even if at the expense  of non-human life”, I’m setting myself up to claim I know better than a particular person about that particular person’s own life-choices.

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

     

    I’m sorry, what’s heteronormative or cisnormative about pointing out
    that the instant you start asking a pregnant woman (or man whose
    reproductive organs were biologically female, but who identifies as a
    man) what reasons they have for aborting and start trying to categorize
    those reasons into “good” or “bad”, you take away their agency.

    Nothing at all, as far as I can tell.
    Why do you ask?

    They can always lie to you about the reason for an abortion and you won’t know.

    Yup, that’s true.

    So I categorically am in the camp that refuses to label abortions as
    “bad” based on any feeling of mine to be competent an arbiter of moral
    choice.

    That’s fine.

    Me, I see no problems with respecting people’s agency about their own choices (including but not limited to their reproductive choices) and also considering some choices better than others.

    Of course, nobody is in any way obligated to give a damn what I consider better than something else. They might, if they respect my opinion. Or they might not, if they don’t. That, too, is their choice.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Because the instant I regard myself as the arbiter of moral choice beyond “do not harm other beings, human or not, except insofar as that act preserves human life even if at the expense  of non-human life”, I’m setting myself up to claim I know better than a particular person about that particular person’s own life-choices.
     
    Which brings us to, what happens when many people making the same apparently-harmless life choice has a negative effect on everyone? Overpopulation. Human-driven climate change. Stay-at-home moms. There’s nothing inherently wrong with two adults choosing to have four children, or choosing to keep their house at the same temperature year round instead of wearing sweaters in winter and shorts in summer, or choosing to sacrifice the woman’s career rather than the man’s so that the children will have a parent at home at all times. But when most of the country does each of those things, the population grows (and the earth may well already have more people than it can support), electricity (mostly drawn from coal, which worsens climate change) is wasted in immense quantities, and people carry on with the assumption that a woman of childbearing age in the workplace is just biding time till she has children or that she doesn’t need as much money as a man (all else equal) because her income is supplementary to her husband’s rather than being the household’s primary money source.
     
    One abortion because the parents found out the fetus was female and they don’t want to raise a girl child, disturbing but not a problem. Many such abortions, and in twenty years there’s going to be a lot more young men than young women. If a significant fraction of those young men are willing to be half of an m/m couple or part of a polyamorous arrangement with more men than women, and if society doesn’t object to either situation, then it’s not a problem in itself. (Symptom of the problem of valuing men over women, yes. Problem in itself, no.) But most people are straight, and history indicates that people would much rather a man with at least one wife than a woman with more than one husband, and societies tend to look down on same-sex and polyamorous arrangements. So the more prevalent sex-selective abortion is, the worse of a problem the skewed sex ratio is going to be.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Overpopulation and human-induced climate change, though, are acts that will ultimately harm human life. The proper response, though, must preserve human agency as much as possible.

    So removing tax incentives that promote population growth and climate change, and putting in place voluntary incentives that work oppositely, are the things to do.

    In addition, while sex-selective abortions are an issue, taking away agency by banning abortions given for reasons of sex-selectivity will just mean people will lie about why they want an abortion, and doesn’t really solve the problem.

    What does solve it is changing cultural incentives, and that preserves agency, because it doesn’t BAN people, instead, it changes the weighting people assign to the decisions they voluntarily make.

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

     

    acts that will ultimately harm human life. The proper response, though, must preserve human agency as much as possible

    I really don’t know what the proper response to such acts must or must not do.

    Speaking personally, I can think of situations where I choose to avoid harming people, even at the cost of reducing people’s agency. I can also think of situations where I choose to preserve people’s agency, even at the cost of harming people.

    I suspect that’s true of most people.

    Perhaps that means we behave improperly… that would not surprise me at all.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I think both camps exist. I think the ones I described would be the “Pro-choice, but thinks the hard-liners should just compromise with the pro-lifers because maybe we can find a set of restrictions that aren’t too bad” camp, and yo’re describing the “Pro-life but willing to be generous with the granting of exceptions” camp.

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

    (nods) Though the argument admittedly sounds a bit different when the board of ethics (or equivalent) is denying bodily autonomy to a woman who chooses to be pregnant. Which also happens, from time to time.

  • Tonio

    If you start from aplace where “some abortions are okay and some are not”, *the right to medical privacy* makes it impossible for law enforcement to determine which are which.

    And the only way to solve that artificial problem is to strip women of any privacy, not just medical. For argument’s sake, if we as a society deem it unacceptable that a few women have six abortions a year, or that some families abort for sex selection, then we shouldn’t treat all women as if they have some motives. There’s probably no way to asking a woman to justify why she’s having an abortion without putting her whole sexual life on trial, and possibly her whole life in general.

    I would love to ban abortion for reasons of not wanting a girl baby or a baby with a disability…but how to accomplish that while maintaining, as I do, that no one should have to give a reason for getting an abortion?

    Excellent point. Sex-selective abortion is really a symptom of “man-orientated” attitudes that devalue females. Empowering women would, in the long run, not only lead to fewer abortions but fewer ones for sex selection.

  • Tonio

    Sorry, I meant that we shouldn’t treat all women as if they have those motives.

  • Tonio

    That’s exactly why I avoid those labels and try to describe the positions themselves. Ultimately the morality of abortion and the legality are two separate questions, and my focus is strictly on the latter. 

    The definition you’ve been give of the pro-choice movement (as distinct from people who use that label)  sounds far more like a straw man than does the definition you’ve been given for the pro-life movement (again with the same distinction). That’s because the concept of choice is an implicit rejection of moral absolutes. 

    It’s the latter movement that does seek to criminalize abortion, and these are the folks who have been using other legal maneuvers to hinder access to abortion without conflicting with Roe. People like Akin would criminalize it in a second. But the truly relevant distinction between the Akins and the Catholics you describe is is that the former are using abortion as a proxy for sexist attitudes about families and gender roles. They often say or imply that it’s the logical outcome of feminism, which is really a type of Godwinning.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    The definition you’ve been give of the pro-choice movement (as distinct from people who use that label)  sounds far more like a straw man than does the definition you’ve been given for the pro-life movement (again with the same distinction).

    The definitions are what I’ve been told by quite a few people here over numerous conversations. I wouldn’t have created them thus myself, but what I described is the definition that enough people who do self-identify as pro-choice gave that means I am uncomfortable including myself in that group.

    That’s because the concept of choice is an implicit rejection of moral absolutes. 

    Well, on this we disagree.

    But the truly relevant distinction between the Akins and the Catholics you describe is is that the former are using abortion as a proxy for sexist attitudes about families and gender roles.

    Akins is a monstrous dick. On this we agree.

  • Madhabmatics

    Hahahaha his twitter is full of whining about the “liberal elites” picking on him for ~being honest~.

    I’m loving the fact that his clarification to Mike Huckabee was “I wasn’t saying rape is okay, I was just saying that women lie about rape all the time!”

  • Tricksterson

    Was that luterally what he said?

  • Madhabmatics

     the “all the time” part was being hyperbolic, although statements like “women frequently lie about being raped so that they can have abortions” have been thrown around pretty frequently this week, the actual quote is:

    AKIN: You know, Dr. Willke has just released a statement and part of his
    letter, I think he just stated it very clearly. He said, of course Akin never used the word legitimate to refer to the rapist, but to false claims like those made in Roe v. Wade and I think that simplifies it….. There isn’t any legitimate rapist…. [I was] making the point that there were people who use false claims, like those that basically created Roe v. Wade.

    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/08/21/721791/akin-clarifies-legitimate-rape-comments-women-make-false-claims-about-being-raped/

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    If Akin gets re-elected, THEN can we make insulting generalizations about the people who voted for him?

  • Rhubarbarian82

    I have a friend whose girlfriend had to get an abortion, and it was an incredibly traumatic experience for both of them, both physically and emotionally (more so for her, obviously). I highly doubt that there is a statistically significant number of couples willing to experience that grief and physical pain over the gender of their child, especially at the stage where the gender is identifiable. Anyone trying to use that as a justification to limit access to abortion had better have some damn good statistics to back them up before I see them as anything but grasping.

    Also, allow me to add that seeing someone pull the childish stunts that I’ve seen in this thread really doesn’t make me feel inclined to take them at all seriously.

  • EllieMurasaki

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_sex_ratio –the world has 101 males for every 100 females. Counting only under-fifteens, 106 males to every 100 females. China has 106 males to every 100 females in total, 117 to 100 under fifteen. India’s a bit worse. Arabian Peninsula countries are all fairly bad. The UAE’s worst of all, 219 males to every 100 females. Most places skew the other way, as evidenced by how close to even the worldwide ratio is, but the place with the fewest males per hundred females is the Northern Marianas Islands at 89. The ratio at birth is consistently 103 to 107 males per every hundred females, some places as low as 101, only Albania, Azerbaijan, China, and India above 110. Albania is otherwise about average, and I think Azerbaijan’s ratio at birth is an overcorrection, they’re 97 males per 100 females overall.

    Sex-selective abortion is a thing that happens. So is sex-selective infanticide. Especially in cultures that put a great deal more value on men than women, such as China and India and Arabia.

  • Rhubarbarian82

     Sorry, I was being all egocentric and only referring to the United States. I know it’s a major issue in other countries, but didn’t specify that in my post. My mistake, lesson learned, thanks for the correction.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Also, allow me to add that seeing someone pull the childish stunts that I’ve seen in this thread really doesn’t make me feel inclined to take them at all seriously.

    What childish stunts?

    Edit: Never mind. I skimmed through the first couple of pages earlier but just went back and had a proper look.

  • Libs are Idiots

    Who better to represent your pro-choice views than Bill Clinton and TEd Kennedy.  They’ve raped or killed more women than probably anyone on this discussion thread!

  • EllieMurasaki

    [citation needed]

  • AnonymousSam

    You’re accusing people in this thread of raping and killing people? Seriously?

    As the resident sociopath, I take offense to this.

  • Tricksterson

    I thought I was the resident sociopath.  I challenge you to a duel for the honor!  babypults at twenty paces.

  • Madhabmatics

     Is this a reference to famed vaporware MMO “Dawn”?

  • Madhabmatics

     You are one Carter short of the hat trick

  • Daughter

    To lighten things up, I thought I’d share something a friend posted on Facebook:

    Once upon a time, a mother made her son a
    wristband. On it was written: WWJD. This, of course stood for: What
    Would Jesus Do?’ She instructed her son to look at the wristband before
    making decisions on how to live his Christian life.

    A week later she was shocked to see that her son had become friends with prostitutes, was hanging out with ‘sinners’ – even buying people who were already drunk yet another round of beers!
    Worse still, he had walked into their church the previous Sunday and
    tore down the book store, overturned the tables and threw the cash
    register through the window, he then made a whip and chased the pastor
    out of the building, declaring he was turning God’s house into a den of
    thieves. Most shocking was what happened when his mother went
    to picket the local abortion clinic. To her embarrassment, her son was
    also there, but he was standing with the women who just had an abortion,
    and yelled at the protesters: “You who is without sin, throw the first
    stone!” The mother was very distressed, but fortunately she
    found a solution to this terrible problem. She made another wristband,
    this time it read: WWAPD, this, she explained to her son, stood for:
    What Would A Pharisee Do? She took the old WWJD wristband and burned it.
    Since her son has been wearing the new wristband, looking at it to help
    him make his decisions, he has become a dedicated tither, a public
    prayer warrior, an active condemner of ‘sinners’, a passionate defender
    of the Old Covenant law, and has a great reputation as a godly young man
    amongst other religious people. Needless to say, the mother is very happy now. She only wishes Jesus would take notice and follow her son’s good example. 

  • erikagillian

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a discussion of abortion on the internet get rid of the trolls by just continuing to discuss it in a rational and polite way.   Bravo!

    But I had such scathing things to say when I started to read the thread and now they’re pointless.

  • Tricksterson

    Don’t worry little buckaroo,  Save them up.  The world is full of idiots.  You’ll get to use them eventually, probably soon.

  • erikagillian

     Why thank you, sirrah!   If I could have caught up with the discussion about Ryan on Whatever I could have used a lot of them.  Am kind of amazed how many ‘he’s on my side!’ posts there were there.

  • Drtummy

    This is ridiculous.  I belong to a PCA church south of the M-D line (in DC) and the people there are much more intelligent than the average blogger.  


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