No 5k for the biggest killer — so does anyone really believe it’s a killer?

October is a busy time of year for those who hit the streets for charity.

This month, in my area, there’s a 5k for multiple myeloma, a walk for breast cancer, a 5k AIDS run, a 5k for Lupus, a 5k for juvenile diabetes, a 5k for carcinoid, two separate 5ks for kids with cancer, a 10k for multiple sclerosis, a 5k for ALS and a 5k for children with physical disabilities.

Name a disease and there’s a charitable research foundation committed to finding a cure, and for just about every such foundation there’s a corresponding 5k race or walkathon, lemonade stand, bake sale, golf tournament, banquet, concert, gala or festival to raise funds.

But for the biggest killer of them all, there’s nothing.

No 5k or 10k. No walkathon. No foundation promoting research. No research.

The deadly scourge that claims half of all human lives ever conceived is completely ignored.

Here’s Jonathan Dudley discussing this killer in his book Broken Words:

Due to hormone imbalances, genetic anomalies, and a number of unknown factors, between 50 percent and 75 percent of embryos fail to implant in the uterus and are passed with the monthly menstrual flow. If we agree with pro-life advocates that every embryo is as morally valuable as an adult human, this means that more than half of humans immediately die. This fact provides pro-life advocates with an opportunity to follow through on their convictions. Surely, a moral response to a pandemic of this magnitude would be to rally the scientific community to devote the vast majority of its efforts to better understanding why this happens and trying to stop it. Yet the same pro-life leaders who declare that every embryo is morally equivalent to a fully developed child have done nothing to advocate such research. … Even if medicine could save only 10 percent of these embryos — and we don’t know because no one has cared enough to ask — it would be saving more lives than curing HIV, diabetes, and malaria combined. One could say that this massive loss of human life is natural, and therefore, humans are under no obligation to end it. But it is not clear why the same argument could not be used to justify complacency in the face of AIDS, cancer, heart disease, and other natural causes of human death.

For anyone who genuinely believes the pro-life argument that “every embryo is morally equivalent to a fully developed child,” the sort of research Dudley describes ought to be an inescapable obligation.

And yet there are no charitable events to support the foundations funding such research. No such foundations exist to be supported. No such research exists to be funded.

That suggests one of two things. Either these pro-life advocates are complacent monsters every bit as callously unconcerned with saving unborn babies as those they oppose. Or else, just like those they oppose, these folks do not really believe that “every embryo is morally equivalent to a fully developed child.”

Perhaps there is some third explanation. There must be, right?

I mean there are millions of Americans who insist that every embryo, from the “moment” of conception, is a human person — the full moral equivalent of any other human person. That belief, more than any other, shapes our national politics, frames our national elections, and determines our national government. Because of that belief, millions of Americans will vote for Mitt Romney, regarding it as unthinkable to do otherwise.

Millions of votes will be cast based on this belief. Tens of millions of votes have been cast based on this belief. But there has not been even a glimmer of a notion of a thought in the direction of the sort of human-life-saving research that Dudley describes above.

Why not?

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  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    As a kid I used to wonder why if 50 – 75% of embryos never implanted we were also warned that even a single instance of unprotected sex at the wrong time would “almost certainly result in pregnancy”

    Which is to say in general pro-lifers don’t believe the 50-75% figure because pregnancy seems too common for that.

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

    we were also warned that even a single instance of unprotected sex at the wrong time would “almost certainly result in pregnancy”

    Wow. Sounds like you had some absolutely terrible sex ed.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     Not from my school. It was pretty reasonable. This was the impression you got from the early 1980s PSAs and anti-teen pregnancy documentaries that were out and about at the time in the UK. Early 1980s UK sex advice tv was full on doom and gloom even when aimed at adults (AIDS and Cervical Cancer and the dangers of pregnancy oh my!). My mother thought it was hilarious. (Though she went on a lot about the virtues of condoms).

    Things are a lot more sensible now.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

     I’m ashamed to admit, but I didn’t even know this statistic until just today – because of this post.

    We got the exact same “Zomg if you sex there will be babies!” thing,  and I guess I just never had cause to give it more than a cursory questioning since.

    I generally like to think I’m reasonably well educated and intelligent, so… that’s pretty damn embarrassing. (x.x) *facepalm at self*

  • Cogwell

     I have to cop to something here: I was part of the generation raised aggressively on the either “say no to sex or, if you *absolutely  must*, use a condom and pills and, just for good measure, rhythm it and pull out too right after” generation.

    And all to the good during my teen years, I suppose. Had sex. Used condoms and pills. Enjoyed a disease- and pregnancy-free adolescence and early adulthood.

    But ’roundabouts my late 20s, married and stable, we decided to have a kid. And I have to say, doing it  . . . um, au naturele, felt . . . weird. I mean mentally. Felt *extremely* transgressive, like, “OMG, I am SO not supposed to be doing this!” Like I was an ultra-Ortho rabbi who’d snuck into the International House of BLTs wearing a Groucho nose and glasses.

    Can’t say I’ve been able to bring this up in many conversations or even web forae, but my intuitive feeling is that lots of us raised in the 80s and 90s felt this way: We were raised in, essentially, a postmodern Purity Code. Only difference between us and Leviticus was that we didn’t have to stone adulteresses to death: We were told their inevitable death from AIDS would take care of that on it’s own.

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

    Pretty much this. Being as I have had sex with men, the lurking horror of condomless sex equalling instant HIV was something that was always in my mind when I would make dern sure I had them when I was ‘doing it’ with someone. :O

    People really don’t realize how much we’ve retreated from the ‘free love’ of the 1960s and 1970s for all that Republicans in particular like to bash young people for seemingly boinking whenever and whereever.

  • Bakakurisu

    Could you guys PLEASE stop making arguments on our behalf, and just listen to reason?

    What you’re saying is that since people die of natural causes, we have no grounds to try to illegalize homicide against unborn children.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     No, monster, we’re saying that since you have no right to force another human being to become an enslaved life support system for another person, then you have no grounds to illegalize a medical procedure on an adult woman which does not murder a person, even if a fetus were a person, still would not murder them, just evict them and make it their own look out if they die or not.

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, what we’re saying is that since people who oppose legal abortion are nearly all also vehemently opposed to measures that would reduce the number of people needing abortion, and since these people also do not en masse support measures that would reduce the incidence of miscarriage, it looks really convincingly as though people who oppose legal abortion are doing so out of a desire to punish uterus people who have sex with penis people while being unwilling or unable to give birth and/or raise a child. The ‘innocent life’ thing looks like a smokescreen.

    Nothing you have said has dispelled that impression.

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

    I mean there are millions of Americans who insist that every embryo, from the “moment” of conception, is a human person — the full moral equivalent of any other human person.

    It doesn’t matter if they do. I don’t see those people screaming that everyone must donate blood regularly. I don’t see them claiming that you must share your home or even extra money with another person who needs it, let alone your body. They’re not trying to pass laws to make people donate kidneys or bone marrow. They don’t even care about after-death organ donation.

    They want women to be punished for being women. They think fetuses are important, but women are not. Not our health, not our lives, not the integrity of our bodies. They think a woman’s body exists to be an incubator and nothing more, and that we must have no say whatsoever in how it is used. The fact that a woman risks her health and her life with pregnancy, that it is hugely painful, that it changes a woman’s body permanently, are absolutely nothing to them. Because to these people, women are absolutely nothing but walking wombs. 

  • reynard61

    “They want women to be punished for being women. They think fetuses are important, but women are not. Not our health, not our lives, not the integrity of our bodies. They think a woman’s body exists to be an incubator and nothing more, and that we must have no say whatsoever in how it is used. The fact that a woman risks her health and her life with pregnancy, that it is hugely painful, that it changes a woman’s body permanently, are absolutely nothing to them. Because to these people, women are absolutely nothing but walking wombs.”

    QFT, Lliira. QFT.

  • Carstonio

     If Fred’s idea were posed to strident pro-lifers face to face, I would be curious to hear their reactions and their rationalizations. I imagine them twisting themselves into rhetorical pretzels in trying to avoid stating the motive that you described.

  • Shilohbluerabbit

     I’ve been looking at the posts, and came on to give [u]my opinion[/u].  Since I am a strident pro-lifer, I hope to answer your question.  If I am reading Fred’s idea correctly, we strident pro-lifers are callous and do not care when people die.  Any people, whenever.  The difference I see is the difference of intervention.  When a spontaneous abortion happens, it’s the same as if you died suddenly from a stroke or heart attack – no one could know that would happen.  When an abortion happens, another person has intervened in the baby/embryo and the woman’s life.  Should we investigate why spontaneous abortions happen?  Absolutely.  Do I have the money to fund such research?  No, I do not.  So saying that all pro-lifers (strident or not) are callous and do not care when people die is really an idea that does not make sense to me. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    So it’s all right to let a woman die of pregnancy complications, her fetus with her, because at least no one intervened to kill the poor innocent baby? And you don’t need to be able to singlehandedly fund research into preventing spontaneous abortion, you just need to be able to put $25 in the appropriate foundation’s pot every now and again.

  • Shilohbluerabbit

     I do not know of any complications other than ectopic pregnancies, and even those turn into abdominal pregnancies.  So I’m not sure what complications you are talking about.

  • P J Evans

     There are a lot of possible complications, many of which will kill either the fetus or both mother and fetus. And that’s without getting into the stuff that can happen after the 5th month..

  • EllieMurasaki

    Oh Jesus God. Google ‘eclampsia’. Google what happens when an ectopic pregnancy stays in the fallopian tube and the mother doesn’t use a lifetime’s supply of luck on surviving the pregnancy. Google multiple pregnancies where one fetus dies and what happens to the other fetus(es) if there isn’t a nearby doctor who’s trained in the technique for extracting the dead fetus on the grounds that the hospital won’t employ anyone trained in techniques used for abortion. Google…actually I can’t remember the word for it, but the thing where the fetus is perfectly normal except for the absence of most of the brain. Google ‘died in childbirth’, for fuck’s sake! Pregnancy is historically the number one killer of people with vaginas! Pregnancy can go wrong in LOTS AND LOTS OF WAYS, and many of those ways kill.

  • Lori

     

    Google…actually I can’t remember the word for it, but the thing where
    the fetus is perfectly normal except for the absence of most of the
    brain.

    Anencephaly

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

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    Sounds like these are the same magic women’s uteri that have ways of dealing with real, forcible rape.

  • Lunch Meat

    If fetuses are people with souls, does it bother you at all that half of all souls created by God never see the light of day? Why would God create a reproductive system so faulty?

  • Shilohbluerabbit

     To your first question, does it bother me?  No…. I don’t think it does.  To your unasked question of why doesn’t it bother me: Because as the Creator, God owns the world and all that is in it and we are just stewards – even of our souls.  Why should I be upset when He wants one person one place and another person another place?

    To your second question: He didn’t create the system faulty.  Adam and Eve messed it up.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What was in that apple that it so profoundly changed Eve’s reproductive system? And if it doesn’t bother you that an embryo that dies before implantation has a soul that goes straight to heaven, how can it possibly bother you that an aborted fetus has a soul that goes straight to heaven?

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

     Obedience fetishists like you are what creep me out about religion.

    If God owns the world, then it must be okay with abortion, otherwise it would stop it. Owning the world and all.

    And hearts attacks, along with cancer and other big natural killers have billions of dollars of research poured into their prevention and cure. Being such a fervent pro-lifer, maybe you can explain why someone like you has a number of foundations to invest in for breast cancer or sickle cell anemia, but not the deadly scourge of pregnancy based fetuscide?

    Other than anti-abortion activists being full of shit.

  • Lunch Meat

    In what meaningful sense can an embryo be resurrected/sent to heaven? In other words, in what sense is a person in heaven the same soul as a person who was on earth for about three days, and during that time had no experiences, no emotions, no struggles, no joys, no sorrows, no thoughts, no hopes, no dreams, no wishes, no desires, no love, no beliefs, no actions? What is a person without all of that? Is there anything meaningful left? Even a baby that dies at birth experienced warmth and love and the sound of its parent’s voice in the womb, but an embryo that lasts for a week and never even implants has nothing.

  • Lunch Meat

    Perhaps a better way of putting it is, in what meaningful sense can a soul continue if it never really started doing/being anything?

  • NoDoubtAboutIt

    So you’re saying then that God didn’t create Adam and Eve.  Clearly, if Adam and Eve messed things up, it’s because the manufacturer’s design was faulty.  

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     To your second question: He didn’t create the system faulty.  Adam and Eve messed it up.

    Well, if all it takes to hopelessly screw up God’s Divine Plan was someone eating the wrong fruit, God obviously never heard of the concept of ‘error recovery’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    If I am reading Fred’s idea correctly, we strident pro-lifers are callous and do not care when people die.

    Well, now see, there’s your mistake.  You must’ve been reading the StrawSlacktivist site, and gotten it mixed up with Slacktivist.  I don’t know how you ended up commenting here, though.

  • Carstonio

     You’re not reading Fred correctly. Your post doesn’t say whether you simply believe abortion to be wrong, or whether you believe it should be illegal. But you use the term “pro-life” for yourself, which ONLY means the latter. And making it against the law would force women to carry pregnancies to term. It’s legitimate to ask why so many people focus on preventing women from having abortions instead of helping them avoid unwanted pregnancies. Maybe they really believe it’s the will of their god that those women get pregnant. My usual response is “You don’t know that.”

  • Lori

     

    They think fetuses are important, but women are not.  

    They obviously don’t think fetuses are important either, at least not as human beings. They just find fetuses to be a convenient tool for controlling women.

  • http://blog.carlsensei.com/ Carl

    In Catholic theology, what makes something bad is its being “unnatural.” (Of course, that term requires a ton of unpacking.) Spontaneous abortion is “natural,” so it doesn’t require heroic measures to prevent. Moral crisis, averted.

    I don’t know how Protestants would defend against this though.

  • EllieMurasaki

    …in that case, why the Catholic opposition to removing life support from someone who will never again show significant brain activity but whose other organs can continue indefinitely given sufficient nutrition? Extending life with a feeding tube = not natural.

  • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

    Catholics have this whole (largely nonsensical) system of morality involving concepts like “double effect” – where you can do a bad thing as a side effect of a good thing, but only if you don’t intend the bad thing to happen.

    (Yes, to Catholics, intent is magic.)

    Removing a feeding tube could only be justified if you did it without the intent to kill the patient, and only if there was a comparable offsetting good (can’t think of one offhand). This kind of attitude leads to some seriously evil consequences (which Catholics of course don’t care about since their moral system is not consequentialist).

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, like the thing where a woman’s chance of future pregnancy is halved if she goes to a Catholic hospital to get her ectopic pregnancy dealt with, because they take the whole fallopian tube without intent to kill the embryo therein, thereby leaving no way for eggs from the ovary on that side to get to the uterus, rather than taking only the bit of the fallopian tube with the embryo attached or using pharmaceutical means to remove the embryo, thus leaving the fallopian tube there and at least mostly intact in order to facilitate future conceptions with eggs from that ovary.

    No comprendo.

  • Rachne

    This is even more confusing when you try using it the other way around on them. This mother has no intention of killing this embryo, but she cannot allow it to implant, or continue to use her uterus to grow because that will cause her to take weeks away from her job that she needs to feed her children. So isn’t contraception and abortion ok because of her intent? Catholic church says: nuh uh. 
    Double speak.

  • Lori

     

    Removing a feeding tube could only be justified if you did it without
    the intent to kill the patient, and only if there was a comparable
    offsetting good (can’t think of one offhand).   

    With rare, movie-of-the-week-fodder exceptions, no one removes a feeding tube with the intent to kill the patient. A feeding tube is removed with the intent to allow the patient to die. IOW, for the patient to have the natural of his/her health condition. Not the same thing.

    The offsetting good is that it ends suffering and in some cases makes organs available that can save the lives of others. Or doesn’t that count as Catholic-style good since both suffering and dying of diseases that requite organ transplants is “natural”?

    This kind of attitude leads to some seriously evil consequences (which
    Catholics of course don’t care about since their moral system is not
    consequentialist). 

    So very convenient, that.

  • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

    With rare, movie-of-the-week-fodder exceptions, no one removes a feeding tube with the intent to kill the patient. A feeding tube is removed with the intent to allow the patient to die. IOW, for the patient to have the natural outcome of his/her health condition. Not the same thing.

    In Catholic moral logic, what matters is that the death of the patient is the intended result. The official argument is that being fed is not unnatural even if it has to be done via a tube, so they don’t consider feeding tubes as being “extraordinary” measures. (They only allow discontinuing extraordinary measures of life support if it’s clear that the patient will die soon regardless, whereas PVS patients can survive for decades as long as they’re kept fed.)

    The offsetting good is that it ends suffering and in some cases makes organs available that can save the lives of others. Or doesn’t that count as Catholic-style good since both suffering and dying of diseases that requite organ transplants is “natural”?

    The “makes organs available” part actually makes it worse in Catholic logic, since then you’re using the patient’s death as a means to an end.

    The double-effect thing means that it is sometimes permissible in their logic to, for example, administer painkillers to alleviate suffering, without actually intending that the patient die of an overdose; and likewise they don’t make it obligatory to continue extraordinary measures of life support if no good is being achieved and suffering is being prolonged.

    But to Catholics it is never licit to intend death as an escape from suffering; that is suicide (if the patient does it themselves) or euthanasia (if someone else does it), and in official church pronouncements they have written some seriously sick and twisted shit about it.

  • EllieMurasaki

    to Catholics it is never licit to intend death as an escape from suffering

    Which I can sympathize with to a certain degree. Death shouldn’t be the first choice of escape route. Probably not the fifth either. And whenever someone is contemplating or attempting suicide (assisted or otherwise), everyone else needs to assume that not all alternatives have been explored until such time as it is demonstrated that all alternatives have in fact been explored.

    But sometimes there is a point at which all alternatives save ‘live with suffering’ and ‘die’ have been exhausted. If someone in that situation prefers to live, they need to be able to make that choice. If someone in that situation prefers to stop suffering, they need to be able to make that choice too. If there’s no way of knowing the preference of someone in that situation–Terri Schiavo being a prime example–then the choice goes to next of kin to decide based on what the NoK thinks the person would want. Emphasis on choice.

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

    The “makes organs available” part actually makes it worse in Catholic logic, since then you’re using the patient’s death as a means to an end.

    It is exactly this kind of tortuous sophistry that so repels me about the Catholic Church these days. Doctrinal statements like that which ignore the fact that in death can
    come life as a medical fact – that sort of thing could only have been
    dreamed up by someone more concerned with logic-chopping involving souls
    than any improvement in material well-being of people who are capable
    of living in more than a technical sense.

    All the bombastic pronouncements and speeches and encyclicals and whatnot blizzarding down fail to obscure a vital, salient, basic fact:

    The Catholic Church does not take anything seriously except preserving and entrenching the power of their hierarchy and the people who inhabit it against anyone who would pierce that power to bring wrongdoers to justice, because clearly, the souls of those who inhabit the hierarchy must be kept cleansed rather than the souls of those who were harmed being healed.

  • Tom S

    In the Catholic CCD to which I went, we were told that the Church was ok with taking people off of respirators, feeding tubes etc. when they were unable to survive without artificial assistance, with the idea being that you aren’t allowed to kill yourself but it’s ok to die if you can only survive with artificial aid.

    Has that changed since? I always thought that was at least a reasonably coherent policy- I’ve never heard the moral calculus Andrew G is discussing.

  • EllieMurasaki

    http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=26167 discusses Terri Schiavo. My understanding is that the PoV of that article’s author reflects official Church opinion on the case.

    Remember that Terri Schiavo had been comatose for fifteen years when she died. Except for the first couple months of that, her diagnosis was ‘vegetative state’ which more or less means nobody expected her to wake up, doubly so once the first anniversary of that diagnosis passed.

  • Rachne

    This. I found the whole fiasco on Terry Shiavo incongruent when it was going on, and that was when I was a practicing faithful conservative catholic.

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

    Developing cures for diseases is unnatural: nature fully intends for us to die from them. Extending the human lifespan is unnatural; we are not supposed to live into our 90s and 100s. 

    One might argue the whole of medical science is predicated on being ‘unnatural’. I don’t see how they reconcile this with running hospitals and the like. Pretty insane, if you ask me. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    For that matter, the whole agrarian social system that lets us feed more than maybe a few hundred million people* on this planet is unnatural.  So, if they’re OK with that, as they seem to be, then they aren’t really arguing about doing or not doing things because they’re unnatural.  They’re just discussing how far they’re prepared to take their rationalizations for the positions they want for some other reason.

    This one, at least, definitely isn’t unique to the Roman Catholic Church, or even Christianity in general, though.  It’s pretty much all over the place.

    * Just an offhand guess; I’m pretty sure it would be under a billion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.jukkola Peter Jukkola

    For those of us who believe in Creation, death and disease ARE unnatural.  God created this world “very good,” and death and disease came about because of man’s sin and the resulting curse upon Creation.  Research and medical treatment to reduce death and disease are completely in line with this concept.

    Your comment is more in line with evolutionary thinking, in which nature only improves as a result of the “less fit” being allowed to die.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If we must go there, why did God create a world so easy to break and so hard to fix?

  • http://www.facebook.com/henning.micah Micah John Henning

    Perhaps the concept of pro-life is as simple as this: Do all that’s possible to avoid death, natural or not.  Though that’s not the same thing as ‘ensure there are as many lives out there as possible.’

  • Jason C Person

    But then cancer is also natural by that definition. Do Catholics not care about cancer research?

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

     This. This. This. So much. Been having that thought myself lately.

    And whadda ya know, another post on the odious catholic section fits neatly into this post’s point, along with a check mark for the kitten burning coalition.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2012/10/bloodthirsty-baby-killers.html

  • Tom S

    Ugh, I’d forgotten the degree to which the Catholics have allowed themselves to be drawn into the overtly politicized Religious Right bullshit in the last decade or so.

    The key phrase in that article is that Shaivo was “not receiving any ‘extraordinary medical treatment'”- I think I’m still correct on what the Catholic doctrine is overall, but in this case (and presumably others) they’ve chosen to interpret it in a ludicrous way, altering ‘extraordinary’ from the previous and ideologically consistent meaning of ‘anything artificial’ to ‘whatever puts us in line with this idiot shibboleth of a case’.

    Ugh, man, I am grossed out just reading that article, I’d forgotten how noxious and abusive hat situation was.

  • Nirrti

    Okay, so the repubs love the little children so much, huh?  Then why do they want to annihilate  the heck out of programs such as SCHIP, AFDC, WIC, and most public school funding  if children are so darn precious to them?

    Oh, and why does the city I live in have the highest infant mortality rate in the U.S. and the repubs aren’t raising holy hell about it during their political campaigns? I’m sorry, but..fuck them. They don’t give a damn about people in general much less kids.

    And we need to quit playing this stupid game where they can pretend to care about “life” while they consistently promise to send people to die in more senseless wars and do absolutely nothing for the lives that already exist.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    Okay, so the repubs love the little children so much, huh?

    Well, you just answered your own question there.  Little children.  They only love them until they’re, what is it, about 20 inches or more.  After they’re bigger than that?  Fuck ’em.

    (Granted, this doesn’t expain their apathy about the infant mortality rate.)

  • Nequam

    Okay, so the repubs love the little children so much, huh? Then why do they want to annihilate the heck out of programs such as SCHIP, AFDC, WIC, and most public school funding if children are so darn precious to them?

    Like our heroic soldiers, they’re only precious as an abstraction.

  • Baby_Raptor

    The politicians don’t care because they’ll never need those programs. 

    The sheep? Cognitive dissonance. I live with a TeaBagger who pissed and moaned about being denied the Medicare he “deserved” (age-he wasn’t old enough yet) the entire time the Obamacare debate was going on. Medicare was something he was owed, but others getting help to get medical care? Socialism. 

  • Lori

     

    Oh, and why does the city I live in have the highest infant mortality
    rate in the U.S. and the repubs aren’t raising holy hell about it during
    their political campaigns?   

    They are raising holy hell about it. Didn’t you hear Romney criticizing unwed mothers? That’s their version of raising hell about things that harm children. No need to provide programs to help children and their families (culture of dependence, punishing success by taking money from the rich at the point of a gun, blah, blah, tax cuts, blah).  Just shame the lower orders into not having sex and all will be well.

  • Elizabeth2000

    Actually, there *are* some people interested in the failure of embryos to implant, and are doing research into it – IVF specialists. IVF doctors and scientists are critically interested in why some embryos implant and survive and others don’t – and are trying to research to find out how to enhance the ability of embryos to “stick” and be nurtured.

    So the Tea Party, Catholic Church and Fundigelicals should all be falling over themselves to fund IVF research, right? Right? And yet…

  • Darakou Hasegawa

    Kangaroos and about 100 other mammals are able to freeze embryonic development indefinitely after conceiving, effectively storing the pregnancy until ready. If researchers could understand how they do it and even replicate the effect in humans, I wonder how the pro-lifers would react. In theory wouldn’t that be a win-win? Women still get to choose, and all those innocent babies just stay on ice for a while. But it’s not about the babies, is it?

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

     I suspect it would go something like this:

    Pro-Choice side – “Okay so there’s this thing now – instead of abortion, you just freeze the embryo;  this solves our dispute right?”

    Anti-Choice side – “?!?What do we do now?!?” *ten minutes with Frank Luntz later*  “Embryonic freezing is murder!  Popsicles of DEATH!!” *rage* *fume*

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    So those of us who believe that embryos and foetuses do have some essence of humanity, but who don’t vote conservative, don’t lobby for abortion to be criminalised, do strongly advocate blood & organ donation, prenatal care, contraception, poverty reduction and medical research–which corner would the slacktivist community like us to sit in so you can ignore the existence that is inconvenient to your political point?

    Maybe it’s because I don’t live in the insanely politicised abortion mileiu that is the USA, but the abortion posts always give me the shits. Stupid hypocritical pro-life arseholes who are all just as I simplistically characterise–yeah, boo to them!

    Maybe I’m also rather distraught at finding out through your learned commenters that according to the nonsensical morality of “the Catholics” I, my family and a few doctors are all up for excommunication since we took my father off life support and let him die. Imagine my horror to discover on your blog that, despite my experience as a lifelong Catholic, we oppose that. Well holy fuck, isn’t my face red.

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

     You might want to update on what Pope Palpatine has to say on the subject lately. Just because you are Catholic and okay with with drawing life support, doesn’t mean that opposing such actions isn’t the official line.

    Don’t like that fact, take it up with the Vatican. Your concerns are very important to them.

    BTW, if you support legal abortion, you’re pro choice. So this post ain’t about you. 

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    No, I’m not pro choice. It’s been made clear to me, repeatedly, by many pro choice activists–including some people here–that I am not welcome in their camp if I believe that abortion is anything other than always, unreservedly morally neutral or good.

    And besides, Fred didn’t address this post to people who want to criminalise abortion. He addressed it to people who attribute moral worth to embryos.

    As for your other comments…screw it, I’m tired of it. See you around.

  • Jim Roberts

    This is what happens when you let other people define you.

    So, if you’re doing the things that he says people should do, we’re still not talking about.

    I feel much the same as you do about abortion – it’s usually the worst option in a perfect world, but too often it’s the best option of those actually available – and do what I can to mitigate its use and support those who end up having to make the choice. The question is, why is it only the two of us? Why aren’t there massive organizations set up to make sure these other choices become possible?

  • Carstonio

    Obviously many pro-choicers have no moral qualms about abortion, but I had understood that the term referred to one’s position on the legality and not necessarily the morality. Similarly, I had understood “pro-life” to mean not just opposition to abortion but support for laws that would either ban the procedure or make it very difficult to obtain.

    Plenty of pro-choicers favor the goal of reducing abortions, through empowering women with the tools and education so they conceive only when they wish to do so. But with attempts to ban abortion, the most charitable motive that comes to mind is the clueless idea that passing a law against it will magically make it go away. At least one pro-lifer has told me that even if that law didn’t accomplish anything, it should still be passed to “stand up for the unborn.” As if criminal statutes were mere proclamations. I usually say that making abortion a criminal offense would almost reduce women to wards of the state.

  • fraser

     The same logic behind abstinence-only sex ed and opposition to the HPV vaccine, I think: It doesn’t matter about the consequences, what matters is that they take a stand for chastity. Which allowing their daughters to get the virus would not do.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I think this is one of those “stance” things: it doesn’t matter to them that their position has the effect of suffering women and “dying” embryos, nor does it matter that comprehensive sex ed would reduce teen pregnancies or anything like that, because the *consequences* don’t matter. WHat matters is maintaining the proper “stance”. So no teaching kids about contraception, not, as they claim, because it will encourage children to have sex they otherwise wouldn’t (because this is demonstrably untrue), but because, whatever the outcome, it proceeds from a pro-sex *stance*. Sure, it’ll cause girls to get cancer, but denying them the HPV vaccine is the right *stance* about premarital sex.

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

    With all these “stances” one wonders if they’re just eager to get to their golf games.

  • sadie

    “…the most charitable motive that comes to mind is the clueless idea that passing a law against it will magically make it go away. At least one pro-lifer has told me that even if that law didn’t accomplish anything, it should still be passed to “stand up for the unborn.” As if criminal statutes were mere proclamations.”
    That, in my opinion, is the absolute heart of what pro-lifers believe. I do not, personally, think they are obsessed with controlling women (too many of them *are* women, and it assumes that they have thought through the consequences of anti-choice law or “personhood” law, which in my experience, most of them haven’t). They just believe that if they don’t “take a stand” against abortion, God will judge them in the afterlife. It’s all about getting off the hook with God and avoiding the judgement God will mete out on an “Godless nation” that allows abortion to take place.

  • sadie

    Which is, now that I think about it, pretty much how they think of preaching the Gospel: you just have to stand on something and shout about it, and as long as it’s been PROCLAIMED, it doesn’t matter if it’s been done well or poorly, or in the spirit of Christ. A billboard is just as good as a friend’s witness, by their math. 

  • Lunch Meat

    I hadn’t thought of it in that way before, but it makes sense to me. One
    of my “friends”* just said the other day, “I do not want to stand
    before God and tell him why I supported someone who is okay with killing
    babies.” No word yet on why she thinks God would rather she support
    people who are okay with materialism, greed, bullying, sexism, etc. When
    I tried pointing the similarities out to her, a long conversation
    ensued with her declaring that “she knew people wouldn’t like what she
    had to say, but she posted it anyway because she had to stand up for the
    truth, even if it isn’t easy or popular and doesn’t feel good. A lot of
    people have been deceived because they were lazy and apathetic in their
    faith and only want to be accountable to themselves and do what is
    right in their eyes, etc, etc.” I’m just a little frustrated with her
    right now.

    *of the facebook variety

  • Lori

     

    No word yet on why she thinks God would rather she support
    people who are okay with materialism, greed, bullying, sexism, etc. When
    I tried pointing the similarities out to her, a long conversation
    ensued with her declaring that “she knew people wouldn’t like what she
    had to say, but she posted it anyway because she had to stand up for the
    truth, even if it isn’t easy or popular and doesn’t feel good. A lot of
    people have been deceived because they were lazy and apathetic in their
    faith and only want to be accountable to themselves and do what is
    right in their eyes, etc, etc.”   

    Oh yeah, “standing up” for treating women as less than fully human while ignoring the greed of the powerful, that takes some real courage. I’m sure that she’s the only forced pregnancy advocate in her social circle, making her the lone voice, crying in the wilderness. She is indeed a brave soul and I’m sure God will be super impressed by her efforts. [eyeroll]

    Which is to say, funny how she doesn’t consider that attacking women while ignoring things like economic injustice may be lazy & apathetic on her part.

  • Lunch Meat

    Yeah, I’m not sure what she thinks of the fact that she got to hold a pro-life event in our college’s student center, while I not only was shut down when I tried to start a GSA, I wasn’t even allowed to announce LGBTQ-related events during class/chapel or reserve space anywhere on campus to hold them.

  • Carstonio

     When my college held a fair for student clubs, the pro-choice table was all females and the pro-life table was several males and one female. I asked one of the men why they were involved since they can’t get pregnant. (The unstated premise behind my question was exactly what Coates described.) His answer? “Because we’re selfless.” I felt then, and feel now, that a truly selfless person doesn’t use that word for hirself, either to others or in hir own mind.

  • Lori

     

    “Because we’re selfless.”  

    That guy desperately needed a visit from Inigo Montoya

  • Carstonio

    Heh! I had a head-desk moment when I read this quote: “If scientists discoverd a fetus on Mars, would they consider it life?” I guess that’s the modern version of showing a fetus and whale with the caption “Guess which one isn’t protected?” #falsequivalence

  • EllieMurasaki

    …if there’s a fetus on Mars, either it’s dead, in which case it is not life but evidence of past life (however recent), or it is part of a (much more fascinating) living female specimen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    I don’t know if you do Facebook or not, but one picture I’ve seen several times around there over the past few days has a fairly typical picture of a developing embryo at a late stage, or maybe very early fetus, with a big caption (all from memory, wording may vary) saying “this is not a human,” and a smaller caption underneath, “does this piss you off?  It shouldn’t.  This is an elephant embryo.”

  • Lunch Meat

    This one? http://qpwoaksl.tumblr.com/post/34247372168/umad-moralfags

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    Yup, that’s the one, thank you.  Though, really, did they have to throw “moralfags” in there with it?  WTF.

    ETA: Looking at the minor differences between my remembered wording, and the wording in the actual picture, suddenly gives it a different interpretation in my mind. “Ceci n’est pas une pipe.” After all, it points out it’s “a picture of an elephant embryo.”

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     

    “I do not want to stand
    before God and tell him why I supported someone who is okay with killing
    babies.”

    How about killing babies AND grown-ups (such as Iraqis, or Iranians, since they seem to be next)?  Is God supposed to be OK with that?  (History and cynicism says yes, but I suspect most religious people would rather say no.)

  • banancat

    You think they don’t care about controlling women and I think you are being naive. Considering that the Bible doesn’t support their stance on abortion or when life begins, I don’t buy that they’re just concerned about God’s approval of their intentions. Even if they are just misunderstanding their own holy book, at least those at the top are obsessed with controlling women enough to convince others that their misinterpretation is correct. And maybe others are easily convinced because it’s what they already want to believe.

  • Lunch Meat

    Considering that the Bible doesn’t support their stance on abortion or
    when life begins, I don’t buy that they’re just concerned about God’s
    approval of their intentions.

    You may be underestimating the extent to which people in this group are indoctrinated into believing a) that the Bible/God says everything their leaders say it does, and b) that if they ever even consider the possibility of thinking about changing their mind, they will be in danger of hell because they didn’t trust God to know better than they do.

  • Carstonio

    Your description might be accurate for the female pro-lifers. In my experience, the male ones aren’t necessary “obsessed with controlling women” but they are focused on shaming female sexuality. They seem to believe that all women want to be mothers and that the ones who want abortions are in denial, which can be broken only by forcing the women to watch ultrasounds.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     It may be important to remember that in among the people like you describe — and  I’d imagine those are the ones who gravitate to the positions of prominence in the forced birth movement — there are quite a lot of people who haven’t really thought about it all that deeply and don’t understand or appreciate the consequences of their positions. You can tell, for instance, when you say “If abortion is murder, what punishment should women getting abortions get?” and it becomes clear that it *never even occurred to them*. (and this is not always explainable in terms of “They don’t think of women as people”).

    I point this out not because it excuses them, but because it speaks to how we interpret and deal with their action

  • Carstonio

     Slate posed that question to readers two years ago. Themes in the answers were that “women don’t know what they’re doing, that they’re all coerced, that they’re just occasional users” of abortion.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2010/09/fetal_exception.single.html

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

    I do not, personally, think they are obsessed with controlling women (too many of them *are* women

    Women can be awfully obsessed with controlling other women. AWFULLY obsessed.

    The worst rape-cheerleading, victim-blaming stuff regarding women being raped I’ve ever seen has come from other women. Sucking up to the biggest bully in the room is a gender-neutral trait.

  • Carstonio

    I suspect the cause isn’t sucking up but denial. They would rather blame the victims than admit that they themselves could be victims.

  • Deborah Moore

    At least one pro-lifer has told me that even if that law didn’t accomplish anything, it should still be passed to “stand up for the unborn.”

    I think this is about right.  As our host is fond of commenting, to many Evangelical Christians (and others, see Jonathan Haidt on this), intent is more important than consequences.  Taking a maximalist stance against evil is important.  Harm mitigation strategies are seen as compromising with evil.  And, as someone above has commented, this is the same logic that opposes HPV vaccination.  And needle exchange programs.  And making contraceptives available to unmarried women.  And . . .

  • EllieMurasaki

    Harm mitigation strategies are seen as compromising with evil. […] this is the same logic that opposes […] needle exchange programs.

    So the solution is to make drugs illegal and do nothing to ensure that people shoot up with sterile needles, thus permitting people to die of infections transmitted by dirty needles. Letting people die is evil, surely. So wouldn’t the actual compromise with evil be the one that ends with letting people die?

  • reynard61

    “But with attempts to ban abortion, the most charitable motive that comes to mind is the clueless idea that passing a law against it will magically make it go away. At least one pro-lifer has told me that even if that law didn’t accomplish anything, it should still be passed to ‘stand for the unborn.’ As if criminal statutes were mere proclamations.”

    So if someone, say, robbed (or worse) that person, couldn’t the robber (or worse) theoretically argue that he should not be prosecuted on the grounds that the law against robbery (or worse) is merely a “proclamation” meant only to “stand for the robbery (or worse) victim” even if it doesn’t actually stop any robberies (or worse)?

    That so-called “pro-lifer” needs a clue-by-four upside the head in regards to how the Law *actually* works.

  • Bakakurisu

    Even more advocates of life support empowering women and giving them what they need to support their children. Have you ever heard of Crisis Pregnancy Centers? They give women contraceptives, pregnancy tests, prenatal care (vitamins, medicine, doctor referrals, checkups, etc.), counseling, help in getting financial assistance (welfare, financial aid for education, employment assitance, etc), adoption referrals, baby care, etc… These are run by pro-life people, and they outnumber your abortion mills by nearly 5:1 in this country.

    I know you guys like to vilify us as bible-thumping women-hating rednecks because that’s something simple and stupid you can stand against… The truth is, WE are the ones that history will remember favorably. Our numbers are growing, and we’re placing more and more restrictions on this holocaust.

    You are on the wrong side of morality, the wrong side of human decency, the wrong side of human compassion, the wrong side of logic, the wrong side of facts, and the wrong side of history.

    Posterity will be ashamed of you.

  • Lori

     

    You are on the wrong side of morality, the wrong side of human
    decency, the wrong side of human compassion, the wrong side of logic,
    the wrong side of facts, and the wrong side of history.

    Posterity will be ashamed of you.
     

    This is 100% true. The problem is that you don’t realize that it’s true of you, not of Carstonio.

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

    “abortion mills”?

    Are you seriously for real?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Crisis pregnancy centers. You mean those places that use all means necessary to pressure pregnant people into not having an abortion and cease to give a shit once the baby’s born? Or has literally every first-hand account of such places I’ve heard (and I have heard many) been a lie?

    Define ‘abortion mill’. I’ve never heard of such a place outside pro-forced-birth fantasy.

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

    Well holy fuck, isn’t my face red.

    I’d be embarrassed, too, if I went on such a self-indulgent tear over an imagined slight.

  • Lori

     

    No, I’m not pro choice. It’s been made clear to me, repeatedly, by many
    pro choice activists–including some people here–that I am not welcome
    in their camp if I believe that abortion is anything other than always,
    unreservedly morally neutral or good.   

    It’s also been made clear to you that many of us think that as long as you’re in favor of a woman having the legal right to make her own decision about a pregnancy you are pro-choice and the rest is personal opinion. You are now (and have been for a while) ignoring us in favor of being butthurt because a couple of vocal posters feel differently. How is that different than what you’re accusing “us” of?

     

    And besides, Fred didn’t address this post to people who want to
    criminalise abortion. He addressed it to people who attribute moral
    worth to embryos. 

    So you think that an embryo has the same “moral worth” as you do? Because that’s the claim Fred is addressing here.

  • Boidster

    I am not welcome in their camp if I believe that abortion is anything other than always, unreservedly morally neutral or good.

    Sounds like confusion between pro-choice and pro-abortion.  If you agree with the “safe, legal, and rare” sentiment, then I think you’re in agreement with the great majority of people who label
    themselves “pro-choice.” Arguments over the moral worth of the fetus don’t enter into it, for most of us. Which is not to say none of us see any moral worth to fetuses, only that the consent and choice of the mother is paramount.

    Such arguments about “moral worth” are the very core of the anti-choice side, though, and that is what Fred is addressing here. It doesn’t sound to me like you or people like you were a target.

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

    No, I’m not pro choice. 

    Do you believe abortion should be illegal? No? Then you’re pro-choice. You might be a douche-bag about it, whining and complaining and butting in on other people’s lives to make sanctimonious quips, but at the end of the day, you still believe a woman is allowed to make decisions about continuing her pregnancy.

     I am not welcome in their camp if I believe that abortion is anything other than always, unreservedly morally neutral or good.

    If your belief includes a right to badger, harass, or shame others for making a decision that you object to, then no, you’re not welcome. You’re the asshole dinner guest who accepts the invitation, and then criticizes the menu, complains about the food, pointedly mentions the low-quality of the flatware, and makes endless unfavorable comparisons to other, better dinners.

    And besides, Fred didn’t address this post to people who want to criminalise abortion. He addressed it to people who attribute moral worth to embryos.

    He addressed it to people who attribute the same moral worth to embryos as to fully-developed children. That phrase (“every embryo is morally equivalent to a fully developed child,”) is used twice, almost back to back, yet somehow in your ‘poutrage’ you completely missed it. Either than or you deliberately mis-read his post just so you could make it all about you! 

  • AnonaMiss

    Stupid hypocritical pro-life arseholes who are all just as I simplistically characterise–yeah, boo to them!

    This post is criticizing specifically pro-lifers who believe that “every embryo is morally equivalent to a fully developed child.” I think you’re Australian, so you may not have experience with these nutters, but they’re all over the place in the USA. You’re taking a post directed at a subset of the pro-life camp – a subset I take it you don’t agree with – way too personally.

    If you do agree with that camp, though, then yes, you should take it personally. If you do agree that an embryo is morally equivalent to a child, then you need to ask yourself: When was the last time you donated to an anti-miscarriage research fund? Have you ever donated money to any other charity? If the first answer is “never” and the second answer is anything other than “I am too poor to be donating my money to anything”, you should reconsider your attitude to this post, because it is a prophet calling you the fuck out.

    A metaphorical prophet, of course.

  • vsm

    When was the last time you donated to an anti-miscarriage research fund? Have you ever donated money to any other charity?
    Now that we’re on the subject of cultural differences, this idea of donations to charity being a reliable measure of your goodness is a rather American idea. I don’t know what the culture is like in Australia, but at least in Western Europe we  generally trust the state to cover things like research funding and social programs from our taxes. There are still charity drives, often for foreign aid or breast cancer research, but the scale seems to be much smaller than in the US.

  • Carstonio

     ” this idea of donations to charity being a reliable measure of your goodness is a rather American idea” – Fred may or may not be using that measure, but his point was about moral consistency or the lack of it. Similar to how many opponents of same-sex marriage claim that the institution is for procreation, but insist that this wouldn’t exclude opposite-sex ones who are infertile by circumstance or choice. Two phrases I’ve heard them use recently are “potential for procreation” and “sexual complementarity.”

  • AnonaMiss

    this idea of donations to charity being a reliable measure of your goodness is a rather American idea… There are still charity drives, often for foreign aid or breast cancer research, but the scale seems to be much smaller than in the US.

    It wasn’t intended to be a measure of goodness, but a measure of sincerity – putting your money where your mouth is. The idea being that if you’ll donate to breast cancer research over miscarriage research, it indicates that you consider the suffering and deaths of relatively few adult women over the deaths of half of all embryos conceived – which, if you deal in the rhetoric of “embryos are morally equivalent to people”, is a good indication that you don’t actually believe, or at the very least haven’t thought through your rhetoric.

  • vsm

    a measure of sincerity – putting your money where your mouth is
    In my political culture, it would still come off as a very weird question. People don’t generally seek out charities they want to support, but give a couple of euros whenever they see a fundraiser for some good cause. Funding research is not seen as something private citizens should concern themselves over. But, like I said, I don’t know how this works in Australia.

  • Bakakurisu

    How is he calling anybody “the fuck out”?

    So… Because we’re not doing enough to prevent natural causes of death, we have no position to illegalize the deliberate slaughter of innocent children?

    Does anyone who doesn’t donate to women’s charities have no position to oppose rape? Does anyone who doesn’t donate to childrens charities have no position to oppose child abuse?

    You pro-aborts just love to make up arguments for the pro-life side, because all you really have is bumper sticker slogans to support yourselves. You erect armies of strawmen, and refuse to acknowledge facts or logic.

    Sorry to “call you the fuck out” like that… But you really need to be put into your place.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, there’s a certain amount of ‘put your money where your mouth is’. Waived on an individual level because individual circumstances vary, but when a WHOLE POLITICAL MOVEMENT is talking up saving fetal lives but putting their money in forcing pregnant people to give birth (instead of ensuring that they never become pregnant people if they don’t want to be regardless of whether they’re having penis-in-vagina sex, or that pregnant people have the resources to be parents if they want to be, or, crucially, in research into preventing the deaths by miscarriage of half of all fetal lives ever), then there’s a question to be asked about why the movement as a whole is not in fact putting its money where its mouth is.

    What’s your point?

  • Carstonio

    From my reading, Fred seems to be ignoring folks with your positions not because it’s inconvenient to his point, but because he generally agrees with those positions. Your post suggests that you rightly reject any strategy for reducing abortions that involves controlling women.

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

     So those of us who believe that embryos and foetuses do have some
    essence of humanity, but who don’t vote conservative, don’t lobby for
    abortion to be criminalised, do strongly advocate blood & organ
    donation, prenatal care, contraception, poverty reduction and medical
    research–which corner would the slacktivist community like us to sit in
    so you can ignore the existence that is inconvenient to your political
    point?

    Um, I’m pretty sure that the corner the Slacktivist community would have you sit in would be “the middle of the room.”

    Seriously, I’m as stridently pro-choice as I can be, but I’m pretty sure you and I would agree on pretty much everything here, with the possible exception that you might be completely against abortion whereas I’m in favor of allowing the choice.  I don’t think it’s either a moral good or neutral.  I tend think, however, that it’s a definite moral negative to force a woman who doesn’t want/can’t afford to bring a child into the world to bring that child into the world.  The planet is already quite well populated as it is.  And while I’d like to believe that every unwanted child could end up in a home that loves and can support that child, I’m a little too aware of how reality actually works to consider that more than magical thinking.

    Believe you me, I grew up with that magical thinking.  I was the sort of Evangelical Fred addresses in his post.  I still remember the time I sat through a sermon wherein the pastor said that unless you were doing everything you could to stop abortion you weren’t a real Christian.  I still remember calling him out on that, not because I disagreed with the fundamental point that abortion was an awful thing, but because I thought he’d gone way too far in making that the only definition of what it means to be a Christian.

    The problem that Fred is bringing up is the Evangelical Just World Fallacy, and it’s one that I know all too well.  The Evangelical Christians who dominate the dialog in America are, largely, suburban, white, and somewhere between firmly middle class and wealthy.  The ones that aren’t are largely rural, white, and possess a rural distrust of the cities (which is why one of the easiest dogwhistles to use is “urban” because “urban” means “black people”).  In their minds women who get pregnant do so because they want to or because they deserve what they get for their behavior.  They also genuinely believe that if that child is born “god will provide.”  The way god provides isn’t articulated and it certainly doesn’t carry over to a belief that the government should give single mothers money to buy food for their children.  But god wants that child to be born, so god will make sure everything happens.

    Evangelical Christians in America are basically like Tom and Daisy in The Great Gatsby.  They casually and cruelly destroy lives through their own insular nature, then they retreat into their wealth without ever realizing what they’ve done.  In America the pro-live v. pro-choice debate isn’t just about abortion.  It’s a central issue in a massive conflict of social parameters that gets pushed forward mostly by people who don’t actually think through their positions and don’t give a shit about who they’ll ruin with them.

    There’s room for disagreement on the actual nature of the fetus.  There’s room for discussion of the morality of abortion itself.  The Christians Fred is addressing don’t want to have those conversations, however.  They want everyone to agree with them that all abortions are bad and that if we just outlaw abortion then god will give us a Just World in which those babies can be raised as good little Christians.

    Fred is writing to a primarily American audience about a specifically American political and religious problem.  As such, the Americans that are on the pro-choice side of the argument and listening to Fred’s are most likely going to make a primary association with a sub-set of Evangelical or Evangelical-minded Christians.  Over here it’s not a matter of polite discussion.  It’s part of an existential fight over the rights of women to choose their own destiny on one side and a culturally hegemonic power that seems to think it’s a persecuted minority even though they have something closely approximating half the political power and 75% of the political will in the country.

    It’s not polite because a lot of Americans aren’t polite about it and a lot of other Americans don’t have the luxury of being polite.

  • Carstonio

     “I tend think, however, that it’s a definite moral negative to force a
    woman who doesn’t want/can’t afford to bring a child into the world to
    bring that child into the world.” – My own stance is more general than that. A woman shouldn’t be forced to carry a pregnancy to term, just as she shouldn’t be forced to have an abortions. What she herself should do with an unwanted pregnancy is another matter.

  • Bakakurisu

    Once a child is conceived, he or she is ALREADY “in the world”.

    Abortion isn’t just some frivoulous non-issue like gay marriage or something – legalized abortion is a holocaust.

  • AnonymousSam

    No, once an egg is fertilized by sperm, there’s still a better than even chance that this baby-to-be is going to be flushed out of the uterus-owner’s system along with everything else that month. In the statistically unlikely scenario that the fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall, there’s still an incredibly high chance that, through mechanisms and for reasons medical science doesn’t even really yet understand, the uterus-owner’s body is just going to hiccup it out in a miscarriage.

    So no, conception ≠ “in the world.” Conception = “developing tissues.” Potential is not the same as actuality.

  • Bakakurisu

    Once again, you’re insisting that since some humans die of natural causes, it should be OK to slaughter them. Why does this not apply to people who have been born?…And yes, conception DOES equal “in the world”…. You’re not one of those idiots that think that a human being magically comes to life when Baby-Mama’s darn good ‘n’ ready, are you? Here… Let me educate you:”Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being – a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.”- The official Senate report from Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, Report, 97th Congress, 1st Session, 1981
    Background on the Committee testifiers:A group of internationally-known biologists and geneticists appeared to speak on behalf of the scientific community on the subject of when a human being begins. They all presented the same view and there was no opposing testimony. Among those testifying:
    Dr. Micheline M. Mathews-Roth, Harvard medical SchoolDr. Jerome Lejeune (“Father of Modern Genetics”)Dr. McCarthy de Mere, medical doctor and law professor, University of TennesseeDr. Alfred Bongiovanni, Professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics, University of Pennsylvania School of MedicineDr. Richard V. JaynesDr. Landrum Shettles, sometimes called the “Father of In Vitro Fertilization”Professor Eugene DiamondGordon, Hymie, M.D., F.R.C.P., Chairman of Medical Genetics, Mayo Clinic, RochesterC. Christopher Hook, M.D. Oncologist, Mayo Clinic, Director of Ethics Education, Mayo Graduate School of MedicineThere’s plenty more where that came from. Just ask if you need more. ;)

  • AnonymousSam

    Not interested, thanks. The fact that pregnancies happen whether the mother is “good ‘n’ ready or not” is why abortion needs to remain legal (that and when and where it’s illegal, you start seeing incidents like what I linked above — men start prosecuting women whenever they fail to give birth for any reason). We also tend to run into the issue of pregnancies which are genuinely wanted, but impossible due to birth defects which place the lives of fetus and uterus-owner in jeopardy — and it being illegal to do anything about it, so both die needless deaths instead of one dying an inevitable death and the other being able to try again or adopt.

    Or, for that matter, scenarios such as Rosa Hernandez’s daughter, who (due to living in an area where abortion is illegal) was unable to receive chemotherapy for her leukemia until it was too late to be effective. The Dominican Republic laws were interpreted that chemotherapy would be an abortificiant, so she just had to make do without. To the obvious conclusion.

    You’re conflating human identity with human tissue, when an embryo has more in common with a teratoma than a baby. The life of tissues does not equate to human identity by any definition more meaningful than philisophical. Philosphical meaning can be poignant, powerful — I’m not sold on the potential of a baby being worthless myself, but it doesn’t supercede the existing identity and rights of the uterus-owner. (If this phrasing seems awkward, it’s because not everyone with a uterus can or should be considered female.)

    No one’s happy with abortion, but the alternative is monstrous. Consigning an unconscious mind to oblivion is merciful compared to the stress placed upon the pregnant person’s body, the threat to their livelihood and sometimes life, and the cruelty of bringing an unwanted child into the world.

    Trying to ban abortion by fiat doesn’t work. The only way to get rid of abortion is to eliminate the need for it in the first place.

  • Bakakurisu

    You pro-aborts sure love to romanticize abortion, and ralley behind the baseless claim that if it’s illegalized, every woman in the world will die a horrible, screaming, gurgling death in a back alley with a coathanger sticking out of her vagina. Here are the FACTS:
    __________________
    Research indicates that 98% of all abortions are related to issues of “personal choice.” The primary reasons women give for having an abortion include not feeling emotionally capable (32%) or financially capable (25%) of raising a child, and concern that having a child would drastically alter her life (16%).

    The three most frequently cited “hard cases” in which some argue abortion might be justified are rape, incest and protecting the life of the mother. However, women rarely report that they are seeking an abortion for any of these reasons:
    Rape: 0.3%
    Incest: 0.03%
    Protection of mother’s life: 0.2%
    In other words, out of 1,000 women procuring abortion, only three cite rape as the primary reason, and only two cite protecting her life as the reason for the abortion. Out of 10,000 women procuring abortion, only three cite incest as a reason.
    Sources:
    Guttmacher Institute. 2008, July. Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html.Johnston, Wm. Robert.
    Reasons given for having abortions in the United Stateshttp://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/abreasons.html._____________________If you want to keep it legal in the EXCAPTIONALLY rare circumstances of the need to save the mother’s life  you have my support.

  • Bakakurisu

    My post was truncated.

    That last line is supposed to read:
    “If you want to keep it legal in the EXCAPTIONALLY rare circumstances of the need to save the mother’s life you have my support. “

  • Lori

    That’s mighty big of you.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Which means Savita Halappanavar and those like her suffer while the doctors debate whether this abortion is actually necessary to save her life, and then she dies anyway and the doctors belatedly realize that yes it was.
    No. We will not play that game. Abortion legal in all instances that the pregnant person feels a need for it, and it is no one’s fucking business but the pregnant person’s and the pregnant person’s doctor’s why there’s a need for it. If you want to reduce abortions, reduce the incidence of reasons people feel the need for abortions.

    I have yet to see any indication that you give a flying fuck about any method of reducing abortion bar instructing uterus people not to have sex with penis people.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     If we’re moving to this level of specificity, I think perhaps it might be better to say that a pregnant person shouldn’t be in the position of “feeling the need for” an abortion; rather, a pregnant person would feel the need to stop being pregnant, and their doctor would be responsible for coming to an agreement with the pregnant person about the best medical way to make that happen, and the law is involved only insofar as assuring that the techniques and practices involved are subject to necessary standards of safety and best medical practice. Which is pretty much how the whole rest of medicine works.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Good point.

  • Lunch Meat

    The primary reasons women give for having an abortion include not
    feeling emotionally capable (32%) or financially capable (25%) of
    raising a child, and concern that having a child would drastically
    alter her life (16%).

    So you think money is just an issue of personal choice? You think that someone who wants to be able to feed, clothe and house their family is just being selfish? You think someone with a difficult mental or emotional background who doesn’t trust themselves to take care of a fragile human being without hurting it just wants what’s convenient for them? That’s incredibly rude and dismissive of you.

    What this little blog is saying is that since you don’t FEEL that we’re doing enough to end NATURAL causes of death, we have no ground to
    illegalize homicide against the unborn.

    You have missed the point so dramatically it’s shocking. The point is not that you don’t have “grounds” to advocate against abortion. The point is that when you act so horrified and saddened about abortion but dismiss natural miscarriages completely, it makes it pretty obvious that you’re lying about your motivation.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    I find it weird that this guy thinks that the huge umbrella of “personal choice” somehow doesn’t mean that women will be willing to put themselves at risk to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.  History just doesn’t bear out that view.

    I guess he also hasn’t heard about stuff like unreported sexual assault, or birth control sabotage.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I love how he doesn’t seem to think someone emotionally or financially or really in any way unprepared for parenting might be someone ill-suited to become a parent.

  • Lunch Meat

    If legalized abortion is a holocaust, what did you call it back when abortion was illegal, but women risked their lives to get them, thus leading to dead women and dead fetuses?

    And what would you suggest I do if say, a condom breaks and I find myself pregnant without being able to support a child? Suppose I already have a disabled child that I had to quit my job to take care of? Suppose we are three of the 40 million people living below the poverty line (that’s less than $20,000/year for a family of three)? Suppose I am worried about how that child will feel if I have a baby and give it up for adoption? Suppose I am worried about my ability to take care of my disabled child when I’m very pregnant? Suppose our parents are on fixed incomes or otherwise unable to help out? What do you think?

  • Bakakurisu

    Getting an illegal abortion is elective. Being aborted is not. Think about it. A few hundred years ago, slaves were forced to work out on plantations under the bullwhip. Now they’re traded in seedy back alleys under the gun. Should we bring slavery back so it can be “safe” again?

    I would suggest giving the child up for adoption. Homicide is not the solution to a life that MAY be less than perfect.

    I believe that the circumstances of one’s inception, whether boon or burden are irrelevant; it is one’s own right to determine one’s own self-worth.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Sure, lots of women will die, but hey, you have to have moral values, right? And those values are: Women are slaves, their uteruses belong to the state. Their suffering means nothing. They have no freedom, are not real people.

    When you don’t advocate the torture of women, we can have an adult conversation, until then: fuck you, you monster.

  • Bakakurisu

    Wow… So… Because I want to end the legal, brutal slaughter of 1.2 million innocent children every year… I’m a monster who wants to enslave women???

    When you don’t advocate a holocaust and back it up with stupid bumper sticker slogans, we can have an adult conversation. Until then, fuck you, retard.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     You believe that fetuses are human beings, right? So you believe that one human being has the right to, by force of law, require that another human being give up her liberty and use her very body to provide without compensation and against her will resources purely for their own benefit, at the cost of permanent changes to the woman’s body and risk to her physical health, mental health, and future fertility.

    How do you define slavery? And what would yoiu call someone who likes to torture and enslave women like that?

    Can I cut you open and take your kidney? Then stay the fuck out of the uteruses of people I love.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What penalty do you wish imposed on someone who gets an abortion in a jurisdiction where you have successfully ensured that abortion is legally murder?

  • Carstonio

    So can we assume that you support effective and humane strategies such as sex education, access to contraception, economic opportunities, and support for mothers? Instead of, say, sending women and their doctors to prison? Because surely your goal is reducing abortions, and not the cruel and vindictive idea of punishing women who don’t wish to become mothers.

  • Bakakurisu

    I absolutely support the effective and humane strategies you listed…. I presume you support these strategies as well, and not the cruel, vindictive idea that children deserve to be punished by being ripped to pieces and sucked through a tube because they were conveived in the wrong place at the wrong time..

    …At what point did I say anything about punishing mothers?

  • Carstonio

    Making abortion a crime most definitely punishes women who don’t desire motherhood. It’s wrong to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term, and this is very compatible with a belief that abortion is wrong. 

    The goal of reducing abortions cannot be accomplished by treating it as a criminal justice issue – that prevents almost no abortions. It cannot be accomplished by treating it as a matter of women making choices one doesn’t agree with. Any woman’s reasons for considering abortion need to be taken seriously regardless of one’s stance on abortion itself. Criminalizing abortion merely turns women and their wombs into wards of the state. 

    As an analogy, I’ve never smoked marijuana and I never intend to smoke it, and I still think it should be legalized, because the prohibition approach has been a colossal failure.

  • Bakakurisu

    Here’s a question… Who’s forcing women to conceive children? If we’re not forcing women to conceive children, then we’re not forcing them to carry any pregnancy to term, now are we?

    Abortion is NOT just a “choice” that some people don’t agree with, it is homicide. Your defense for abortion could just as easily justify slavery or rape. Abortion isn’t just some frivolous non-issue like gay marriage here, it ends the life of a human being. Laws against abortion won’t make a woman’s womb into a ward of the state any more than laws against rape make men’s penises wards of the state.

    I support marijuana as well, and I smoke it on occasion. I support one’s right to do what they want with their OWN body. *GASP!*

    Now… If I saw someone blowing marijuana smoke into a child’s face, I’d have a serious problem with it. Do you get it now?

  • Lori

     

    Here’s a question… Who’s forcing women to conceive children? 

    Sometimes rapists. Sometimes bad luck. Sometimes bad judgement.

    None of those things mean that a woman doesn’t own her own body.

     

    I support marijuana as well, and I smoke it on occasion. I support one’s right to do what they want with their OWN body.    

    This argument is so painfully dumb, but you went there, so I’ll play along. The clump of cells you erroneously call a person can do whatever it wants with it’s “body”. It just can’t live in or suck nutrients out of mine.

    Do you get it now?

  • Carstonio

    I make no defense or criticism of abortion itself, partly because I’ve never owned a womb. My point isn’t about whether the woman’s choice is right or wrong, but about others making the choice for the woman. Outside control of her body equates to outside control of her life.

    Legal personhood for fetuses (which is the real issue, not whether a fetus is biologically a human being) would render personhood for women null and void, because they would very likely be criminally liable for any actions that risk their health. Criminalization of abortion would seriously damage OB/GYN practice, with doctors leaving the discipline rather than deal with themselves and their patients being suspected of planning abortions.

    And after all that, criminalization would do nothing to actually stop abortions. So it makes no legal, ethical and moral sense to pursue a law that would not accomplish its stated objective, while causing needless harm to women and their doctors. Cases like Savita Halappanavar’s, where women die after being denied abortions for nonviable pregnancies, happen frequently in Catholic hospitals here. One can oppose abortion and still condemn the horrific injustice of such policies.

    If we’re not forcing women to conceive children

    That’s slut-shaming. Women should be able to pursue sex without wanting to become mothers. Consent to sex doesn’t equal consent to pregnancy. The claim that a woman should only have sex if she wants to become a mother – that’s simply a variant of motherhood being the only natural or proper role for women.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Unless you are willing to commit armed insurrection against your government to stop abortion, take up arms and shoot down abortion doctors in the streets, you are lying.

    If abortion is a “holocaust” then nothing less than taking up arms is called for. So if you don’t believe that taking up arms and murdering those who don’t believe in enslaving women, then you don’t actually believe it’s a “holocaust”.

  • Bakakurisu

    So, you are certain that I don’t know for a fact that legalized abortion is a holocaust because I’m not reacting the way you would? I am pro-LIFE. If I start slaughtering people that I disagree with, I’m no better than the people I’m fighting against. Yes, it’s VERY frustrating to have to fight beuracracy, red tape, politics, and egregious willful ignorance and stupidity of the general public to get people to stop killing children, but I will not be baited into murder.

    …And by the way:
    hol·o·caust
    /ˈhɒləˌkɔst, ˈhoʊlə-/ Show Spelled [hol-uh-kawst, hoh-luh-]  noun 1.  a great or complete devastation or destruction, especially by fire. 2.  a sacrifice completely consumed by fire; burnt offering. 3.  ( usually initial capital letter ) the systematic mass slaughter of European Jews in Nazi concentration camps during World War II (usually preceded by the ). 4.  any mass slaughter or reckless destruction of life.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     You’re not pro-life. You’re pro forcing-women-to-give-birth. On a scale of “pro life” to “anti life”, you’re down at the Darkseid end.

  • Bakakurisu

    Yes… Because I’m TOTALLY forcing women to conceive childeren.

    I’m “anti-life” because I’m making it illegal to slaughter innocent children.

    Ya got me, Kid.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So you admit that being pro-life is actually being pro-punishing-women-who-have-sex-without-wanting-to-be-mothers.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Fetus in utero != child in world. But since you seem to believe the contrary, what are you doing to prevent the deaths of the many zygotes that die without so much as implanting in the uterus?

  • Bakakurisu

    Wow… You pro-aborts are painfully stupid…
    child (chīld) n.
    A person between birth and puberty. An unborn infant; a fetus. An infant; a baby. One who is childish or immature. A son or daughter; an offspring.

    The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical DictionaryCopyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.So… Because you THINK I’m not doing enough to preven death by NATURAL causes, I have no place to try to illegalize HOMICIDE?Nice try, Moron.

  • AnonymousSam

    You “pro-deaths” are painfully limited in rhetoric and basic consideration of others, which is a point you should be ashamed to be hearing from me, a diagnosed sociopath. You’re spouting tired arguments which fail to address the scope of real world scenarios. A fetus, to you, is an abstract and lofty concept which you imbue with purity and significance well beyond actual people. What does a fetus have which a grown human does not? Why should its genetic impetus (the same impetus shared by parasites, cancer, viruses and government) be given priority over the life already in progress?

    Congratulations, you found a dictionary which agrees with you. Up until relatively recently, the DSM defined homosexuality as a mental disorder. Now it does not. Within a few years, it is very likely that other sex-related disorders will be declassified as the stigma against them is reduced from de jure to merely de facto, and gradually not even that.

    I see a parallel.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You…do realize that the very first definition you give not only supports my point but contradicts the one you wish me to use, yes?

    I am not in any way pro-abortion. I am pro-the-mother-of-three-not-having-to-be-a-mother-of-four. I am pro-the-teenager-not-having-to-be-a-parent. I am pro-the-person-scared-of-pregnancy-not-having-to-be-pregnant. I am pro-the-person-endangered-by-pregnancy-not-having-to-be-pregnant. (I am most emphatically pro-someone-who-wants-to-be-a-mother-being-a-mother; in the Texas case I recently heard about in which a teen is suing her parents for trying to force her to have an abortion, I’m on the teen’s side, and I hope a pro-choice Texas organization will join the pro-life Texas organization that’s funding her lawyers.)

    What do you plan to do to ensure that a mother of three does not have to be a mother of four unless she is able and willing to be a mother of four, that a teenager does not have to be a parent unless she is able and willing to be a parent, that someone scared of or endangered by pregnancy does not have to be pregnant?

    Don’t say ‘don’t have sex’. That is a method of avoiding pregnancy that any person can ethically use and can ethically require their potential sex partner(s) to use but cannot ethically force on a third party, and incidentally doesn’t always work because rape is in fact a thing.

  • Worthless Beast

    I’m kind of like you, I think.  I’m asexual and have never been pregnant, so I probably shouldn’t even have an opinion here, but I’m a woman, so I do… and it’s kind of “gray.”  I seem to do that – some people go straight black to white/white to black when changing their views on something – I tend to “go gray.”  As for this issue, by technicality I’m pro-choice, but I’ve never felt “rah, rah, yay!” about it.  When I was ardently a “pro-lifer” I thought I was in support of “saving lives and standing up against a cold, evil world,” you see.  I don’t have quite that fervor on the other side of the fence because the issue feels to me more like “necessary evil”, or like my feelings on War – something that should be prevented but you’re being unrealistic if you think it always will be.
    It’s not as fun to have the realistic view as it is to have the idealistic view.  It’s more fun to think you’re “fighting evil” than it is to think you’re only in favor of preventing further pain in an already complicated world.  Sometimes, I wonder if I would have more fun if I “went back.”
     
    Seriously, I think it would be cool to live in the world of a fantasy series I like where babies literally grow on trees and only form when the parents tie a ribbon to a branch and make a wish.  (People in that world still have sex, it just doesn’t make babies).  
     
     
    In the end, I think this *should not* be a “religious” issue like it is in the United States.  I think it should be in the realm of pure ethics.  I’ve *known* atheist and agnostic pro-lifers, and as seen Fred is a pro-choice Christian. Both types go against what the cultural climate says they “should be” because they’ve contemplated the ethics of it, apart from religious beliefs/non-beliefs, for themselves.    Here, Fred is just pointing out some of the oddness and hypocrisy inherent in the platform used by many in the political realm of it. 

  • Wednesday

    @ Worthless Beast
    I definitely wish we had magic baby trees like in Twelve Kingdoms. Or opt-in fertility and Summon Baby spells like Sherwood Smith’s Inda books.

  • EllieMurasaki

    In Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books, Athena produces children via purely mental gymnastics with the mortal babydaddy. This, one, would be a hella cool trick if the rest of us could do it, and two, leads me to believe that she can and does make babies where the mortal parent is also female.

  • Worthless Beast

    I didn’t want to get into a big anime-gush. Glad to know someone knows what I’m talking about!  I (had) the first three light novels, too… I leant the first two to my now-ex boss and don’t expect to ever get them back.

    I suppose God or Nature or Whatever didn’t give us baby-trees because early man might not have been interested in using them if sex came for “free.” They’d make sense in our modern world, though. Kids come to those who can take care of them and want them. The only major problems with it are the once in a while loss via shouku-cross-world portal and the occasional kid who comes out half-animal (Rakashun and Taiki are my favorite characters of that series, though…)  What I always wondered about 12 Kingdoms with that, though, is whether or not the baby trees grant the wishes of same-sex couples or of single people desiring a child.  What I’ve read of the books so far has not answered that. 

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

    It’s because you don’t live in the U.S. It is different here. This post is not talking about you — not one bit. Because you are not lobbying to take away a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion or to use birth control. In America, that means you’re a feminist, far left, etc. Because you respect the fact that women are human beings.

    It is so so different here. I cannot tell you how much I envy women in other countries. Countries where getting an abortion doesn’t mean running a gauntlet of people screaming that you’re a baby killer for not choosing to risk everything to bear a child. Countries where the idea of birth control being made illegal is laughable. Did you know that in many U.S. states, there is only one place to get an abortion in the entire state? 

  • Joshua

    I liked your post. I think you are correct, and for myself I agree.

    But, having done this before here, I am not going to get into an argument about it again, and will see the rest of you in the next post.

    I just didn’t want to watch a dog pile and remain silent in a cowardly fashion.

  • Tofu_Killer

    Oh man…you just totally gave away the surprise plank in the 2016 Republican Party Platform.

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

    Also? Canada gets some of the spillover from the US abortion debate, and we have our own “Genocide Project” people (who really just throw up lurid pictures of aborted fetuses and use scaremongering crap tactics to try and push their anti-abortion stance) as well as abortion clinic pickets.

  • MaryKaye

    At least TWO things go into supporting a charity:  (1) do I think that what they’re trying to accomplish is good? (2) do I think my money can help them accomplish it?

    Anti-miscarriage research founders, in my opinion, on (2), no matter what you may feel about (1).  A very substantial proportion of those pregnancies miscarry before the woman has any way to know she’s pregnant, meaning that the target population would have to be “all women of childbearing age.”  This is going to lead to crappy cost/benefit ratios.  Also, a very substantial proportion of those pregnancies involve gross chromosome-count abnormalities.  We have no hint that we can save such fetuses.  Triploid babies are occasionally born alive, for example, but they don’t ever thrive or develop, they always die before they’re a year old, and we have no clue what to do about it–there are gross abnormalities in almost every bodily system.  The same is true for all the missing-chromosome syndromes except Turner’s, and all the extra-chromosome syndromes except Downs’ and Klinefelter’s.

    I would find it not at all inconsistent for a person to say “I value the lives of the unborn but I think that anti-miscarriage research will not pay off and is not worth investing in as a result.”  I personally say “I value the lives of babies but I won’t support research to save triploid babies” and I find this a logical position to take. It’s not that it would be bad, it’s that I don’t think we *can*.

  • Deborah Moore

    These seems a reasonable viewpoint, but I suspect a lot of the really hardcore pro-life types would disagree.  I am thinking about, say, Rick Santorum and his wife.  They have a trisomy 18 daughter who is almost certainly destined to suffering and untimely death, and they very strongly oppose abortion in such cases, regardless. 

    I would not be surprised if they would donate to an anti-miscarriage fund if it became available, well aware that it would lead to the birth of many triploid babies who would only suffer and die.

  • veejayem

    I once provided maternity cover for a young woman. She and her husband had tried to have children “naturally” but her pregnancies ended in miscarriages, so they tried again with help from “unnatural” IVF treatments. The young woman gave birth to a baby girl, her colleagues rejoiced at the news ~ and the child died a few days later. Tests subsequently carried out on the poor little thing showed a disastrous genetic incompatibility between husband and wife. I think of this young couple whenever I hear the “marriage is for the procreation of children” mantra.

    There has indeed been a lot of research into the causes of miscarriage. But as Fred and other commenters have pointed out, it’s a thorny question for some. God ~ or Nature ~ has made plenty of human beings, He can afford to be careless with them regardless of the heartbreak that may result. Such profligacy might suggest that the unborn aren’t so sacred after all, except of course to parents who lose a wanted child or must decide to abort a seriously damaged foetus.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    So the person I dated for several years in grad school was an anti-abortion Catholic (he considered himself pro-life but didn’t actually think abortion should be made illegal in the current social climate).  In general, we respected each other’s beliefs on this topic as two reasonable people who disagreed on when a fetus gains whatever property by virtue of which it’s not OK to kill it.* 

    However, the one time I remember it caused a dispute was when I made exactly the point that Fred is making — a large percentage of fertilized eggs never implant, so shouldn’t people who believe that this property begins at conception be more concerned about it?  He felt like I was suggesting that he wasn’t really being consistent in his beliefs — which I suppose I was.

    I think there are reasonable arguments one could make about not being concerned about failure to implant despite thinking that the no-kill property starts at conception, the main one being that it’s not clear that we can actually realistically do anything about it.

    However, I think it raises a deeper question, which is: If God considers a fertilized egg to have the same worth as an adult human, if God deeply loves and cares for each fertilized egg, then why do we have a system for reproduction that involves the deaths of a large number of these infinitely precious fertilized eggs?

    Not that I don’t think people could come up with arguments for that, too, but I think it poses a problem similar to the problem of evil: the idea that there’s some power in the universe that considers a fertilized egg an infinitely valuable human life doesn’t seem consistent with what we know about human reproductive biology.

    *I’m not very fond of the phrase, “when life begins” since it suggests that the sperm and egg weren’t already alive (which they were) and that it’s always wrong to kill something that’s alive (which no one except maybe raw-food vegans actually believes).  IMO, the question isn’t “when does life begin?” — about 3.8 billion years ago, but that doesn’t really help — it’s “when does the fetus aquire whatever property by virtue of which it’s wrong to kill a human being but not (according to most people) wrong to kill a chicken?”  YMMV.

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

    A different argument one could make, if one wanted to make arguments about this subject, is that because people are valuable interfering with the process whereby people come to exist in the future is lowering the value of that future, which is a bad thing to do.

    Of course, this depends on believing that people are uniquely valuable… that I can’t make the future more valuable while at the same time causing it to have fewer people, for example. I mostly don’t believe that, but I don’t think it’s a ridiculous belief either. I know people who do seem to believe it, and while I don’t agree with them, we can usually find common ground.

    It also depends on believing that the value of people in the future can meaningfully be compared to the value of people in the present. I kinda-sorta believe this… e.g., I mostly endorse being willing to undergo unpleasantness now in order to avoid unpleasantness in the future, like going to work today to earn a paycheck next week… but it’s not straightforward.

    I recognize that this whole way of framing the question is not the way most people think about human development, though.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Of course, this depends on believing that people are uniquely valuable… that I can’t make the future more valuable while at the same time causing it to have fewer people, for example.

    Surely quality of life is a factor. Overpopulation’s much less of a concern if our goal is maximum lives, rather than maximum lives the planet can support at all or with a moderate or high standard of living.

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

     (nods) Yup, this is one of the reasons I don’t believe it.

    OTOH, I don’t endorse eliminating N% of the human race so that the surviving (1-N)% can have a higher standard of living, either, so it’s moderately clear to me that my own value judgment here is not as simple as “quality trumps quantity,” either.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t endorse eliminating N% of the human race so that the surviving (1-N)% can have a higher standard of living, either

    Nobody does. Everybody who’s alive has the same rights to adequate nourishment and health and shelter and so forth as everyone else. Contraception (and abortion where necessary) to reduce the birth rate, that’s perfectly fine, or should be. But if the goal were to maximize lives, they wouldn’t be.

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

    Agreed that if the goal were to maximize lives without consideration for quality, birth control would not be OK. And agreed that it’s extremely rare for anyone to endorse reducing existing lives in order to maximize quality of life for the survivors.

  • Lunch Meat

    I can imagine a science fiction/dystopian future which is committed to creating as many people as possible, so every woman has all of her eggs removed at puberty so they can each be matched with sperm. The overpopulation problem would be addressed by freezing the embryos and implanting one every time a person dies. Of course, there would be a huge (and increasing) backlog of embryos. I’m not sure where I’m going with this, it’s just a random thought.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I think such a scenario would be desperately looking for more human-habitable planets and more efficient ways of getting people to them. Beyond that I’ve no clue either.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Off-topic but pertinent; quoth MaddowBlog: CNN ran a piecetoday with this headline: “Do hormones drive women’s votes?” Here’s the lede: “While the campaigns eagerly pursue female voters, there’s something that may raise the chances for both presidential candidates that’s totally out of their control: women’s ovulation cycles.” I’m not making this up; CNN actually published this today, on purpose. http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/24/do-hormones-drive-womens-votes/

  • reynard61

    “A post previously published in this space regarding a study about how hormones may influence voting choices has been removed.

    “After further review it was determined that some elements of the story did not meet the editorial standards of CNN.

    “We thank you for your comments and feedback.”

    Apparently CNN either (probably depending on one’s politics) grew a brain or a yellow stripe down it’s corporate back.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Huh. The ovulation-influences-politics article was there yesterday. I checked before I posted the link.

  • Lori

    I assume they caught some serious flak for it, because it was taken down pretty quickly.

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

    I prefer to think a brain. Yellow-stripe indicates cowardice, but cowardice implies that they would double down and refuse to take down an article clearly offensive to the cognitive capabilities of women.

    You … may want to rethink your phraseology.

  • Shilohbluerabbit

     I’ll run with this a little.  Addressing the huge and increasing backlog of embryos.  When the eggs are removed at puberty, the woman is genetically tested for genetic anomalies that may occur in her children and her medical history is taken into account.  If any MAJOR things that would be genetically transmitted show up (i.e. cystic fibrosis, Down’s syndrome, etc.), then the eggs would be destroyed. 

    I do NOT know whether harvesting all the eggs would put all women into menopause, but that might be a consideration. 

  • Wednesday

    I realize you’re just running with a hypothetical, but Down Syndrome doesn’t exactly work the way you seem to think it does.

    Down Syndrome is a trisomy (three copies of a chromosome instead of two). The extra copy can come from either genetic parent. Generally, chances of a trisomy (for any chromosome) increase with parental age. So harvesting the eggs early would already greatly reduce the chance of producing any trisomy. So if we’re controlling for maternal age already, unless there’s been some breakthrough about how trisomies happen I don’t know about, the only way that screening the _mother_ would tell you about the chances of offspring having a trisomy would be if the mother herself had a trisomy. Which doesn’t usually require additional screening.

    So you’d have to screen the eggs individually for having duplicate chromosomes, but I don’t think that can actually be done without destroying the eggs. The other option would be to create a bunch of blastocysts, let them replicate their cells a few days, and take one of those cells to run your genetic screening on.

    Really, screening the egg donor only gives you half the picture. I guess you can get rid of the nasty single-gene recessive diseases like Tay-Sachs by destroying eggs from carriers (so no blastocyst gets two copies), but to avoid the dominant diseases or the more complicated multiple-genes-involved conditions, you’re going to need to screen the sperm donors as well

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    Down Syndrome is a trisomy (three copies of a chromosome instead of
    two). The extra copy can come from either genetic parent. Generally,
    chances of a trisomy (for any chromosome) increase with parental age. So
    harvesting the eggs early would already greatly reduce the chance of
    producing any trisomy. So if we’re controlling for maternal age already,
    unless there’s been some breakthrough about how trisomies happen I
    don’t know about, the only way that screening the _mother_ would tell
    you about the chances of offspring having a trisomy would be if the
    mother herself had a trisomy. Which doesn’t usually require additional
    screening.

    My understanding is that current thinking is that the eggs exhibiting trisomy don’t develop the abnormality  over time, but start out that way, and the reason they’re linked to age of the parent is that the extra chromosome literally makes the egg slightly heavier, and this makes them gravitate to the bottom of the pile, as it were, causing the lighter non-trisomy eggs to be “launched” first.

    If that’s true, harvesting the eggs early won’t reduce the incidence of trisomy without screening (and might, I suppose, increase it, depending). Though if I’m right about it being a literal matter of weight, screening should be easy enough.

  • Wednesday


    My understanding is that current thinking is that the eggs exhibiting
    trisomy don’t develop the abnormality  over time, but start out that
    way, and the reason they’re linked to age of the parent is that the
    extra chromosome literally makes the egg slightly heavier, and this
    makes them gravitate to the bottom of the pile, as it were, causing the
    lighter non-trisomy eggs to be “launched” first.

    If that’s true, harvesting the eggs early won’t reduce the incidence
    of trisomy without screening (and might, I suppose, increase it,
    depending). Though if I’m right about it being a literal matter of
    weight, screening should be easy enough.

    Oh, that’s pretty cool! Thanks for correcting me. :)

    Hmm… if that’s the case… uterus-having-people who are on hormonal BC for most of their fertile years should be less at risk of conceiving an embryo with a trisomy if they do try to conceive at a later age than uterus-having people who use other methods (controlling for risk due to sperm provider’s age, etc). Since they’ve ovulated less often and therefore have more of the lighter eggs.

    Oooh, does this give us a non-invasive way to test the “heavier eggs are released later” hypothesis?

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

    I guess you could test the eggs released every menstrual cycle and weigh them. That doesn’t require any poking about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    I think the point was that if the premisses are correct, then women who used hormonal birth control considerably should have fewer babies with trisomies if they become pregnant at an older age.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Wouldn’t that also imply that women who use hormonal birth control reach menopause later (Another one of those things I heard qualified by “researchers aren’t sure but the leading theory is” is that menopause is triggered by the low-egg warning light coming on.) by roughly the same number of months as they were on birth control?

  • Wednesday

    I should’ve said “inexpensive and non-invasive”.  I was thinking that obtaining the eggs released every menstrual cycle would be a major PITA, because even if everyone in the study used a menstrual cup and the full contents of those were gone over in a lab, you could still miss a lot of eggs since they’re so damned small and even cups aren’t going to capture every single cell of menstrual flow. And you’d have to keep this study up for a while to get the necessary data.

    Whereas you could just survey women giving birth in their 30s on their previous use of hormonal BC and a few other things you’d want to control for, and check whether their infants had a trisomy.

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

    MRI or X-rays, then. More eggs = more protons or more absorber material for scattering, so you might get an idea of the weight of the eggs if the mass is proportional to the volume.

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

    More like maybe women actually can decide for themselves what policies they’d like. Y u do this, CNN?

    women (57/39), men (48/45) [ Obama/Romney ]

    http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2012/10/obama-wins-debate-by-11-points-in-swing-states.html

    Clearly, Obama has made his case for women that he would better protect their legal rights in the workplace and secure the option for them to get an abortion if they want one.

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

    And now of course all my posts on the Catholic blogs about this issue are now forever in moderation. Par for the course for these people. 

  • Lori

    Speaking of dying in child birth, Ta-Nehisi Coates has written about why he is pro choice. The short version is that giving birth to their son very nearly killed his wife and he does not believe that anyone should be forced to involuntarily take on a job that could kill her. While being pro choice in the past he expressed serious reservations about abortion. He has now changed his beliefs about that.

    I no longer have “deep problems” with the termination of fetal life. I
    don’t think it’s my place. I don’t think I have much right to any
    qualms. I will never be pregnant. I will never be subject to the many
    biological functions that precede pregnancy and the ones that follow. I
    cannot know what it is to subject my body to such a process for the
    benefit of another. I don’t believe everyone’s opinion should be weighed
    equally. Some people carry more than others.

    He then tells the story of the peripartum cardiomyopathy that caused Kenyatta to nearly die of congestive heart failure. His take-away from the near-tragedy is this:

    For reasons beyond me, childbirth — in the popular American mind — is
    swaddled in gossamer, gift-wrap, and icing. Beneath the pastel Hallmark
    cards and baby showers, behind the flowers, lies a truth encoded, still,
    in our wording, but given only minimal respect: The charge of
    shepherding life is labor. It’s work.
    And you need only look to the immediate past, or you need only look
    around the world, or you need only come close to losing the love of your
    small, young life to understand a correlating truth–pregnancy is
    potentially lethal work.

    He makes some other comments and then concludes with something that I think every so-called pro-life man needs to think about long and hard.

    Every day women choose to do the hard labor of a difficult pregnancy. It’s courageous work, which inspires in me a degree of admiration
    exceeded only by my horror at the notion of the state turning that
    courage, that hard labor, into a mandate. Women die performing that
    labor in smaller numbers as we advance, but they die all the same. Men
    do not. That is a privilege.  

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/10/pregnancy-as-labor/264070/

    The comments are also well worth reading. One person commenting on the emergency C-section that she had, and nearly died from, summed up my belief on the issue very well (emphasis mine):

    My second child was born by emergency C-section because he had his cord
    around his neck. It was a last minute emergency in an otherwise perfect
    pregnancy. I came close to bleeding out on the operating table. It was
    pretty bad. No one should be forced to take that risk. Motherhood
    should be an all volunteer army.
     

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

    That’s pretty much my own take as well; largely from listening to the women on Shakesville back in the day.  For most of us with boy-parts, it should be a no-brainer  to say “It’s not my decision, I don’t have those parts.”  (And I feel like that usually ought to be followed up with “… but I’ll support whatever you decide is best for you.”)

    But then I guess that goes back to what Lliira said at the start of the thread.

  • Amaryllis

     Thanks for the link.

    And I’ll only add that I logged in specifically to “Like” this excerpt under my own handle.

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

    I will never be pregnant. I will never be subject to the many biological functions that precede pregnancy and the ones that follow. I cannot know what it is to subject my body to such a process for the benefit of another.

    This? Is why for the last 20, 25 years (i.e. since I was old enough to grasp the concept of abortion and pregnancy) I have been adamantly pro-choice. As a man, I can do no other.

  • Carstonio

    Coates and Neutrino have it exactly right, and that’s why I’ve been pro-choice since my teens. “Motherhood should be an all-volunteer army” – now I wish I had come up with that phrase.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Yup.  Thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, we tend to forget that without said miracle, childbirth kills women ALL THE TIME, it kills the babies more often than it kills women, and even more often than either permanently injures one or both of the two participants.

    The aforementioned miracle of modern medicine has reduced the risk of death in childbirth dramatically, but it hasn’t taken it to zero.  Pregnancy and childbirth is still a major medical event.  It’s not like asking the woman to wear a backpack for nine months and at the end you unzip it and take the baby out.

  • Münchner Kindl

    The only excuse I can think of for pro-lifers not campaigning for research about “natural” abortions is that they simply don’t know – given how little knowledge in general (and a lot of lies) they have about the female body and reproduction itself if from fundie background.

    Similar, it’s understandable (not acceptable) that it’s easier for a person to go along with boycotting an abortion clinic or demonstrating against abortion without giving a thought about what happens to families after birth through lack of good pro-family laws in the US, because that would require a lot of effort in many different areas and again, lack of knowledge might excuse.

    However, (as the example in this thread shows) it doesn’t really hold because once you ask the pro-lifers and tell them the information, they don’t stop to think over their position, they just handwave with “don’t exist” or “God wants it (and is unfathomable, ours is not to question why)” and similar excuses.

  • http://thisculturalchristian.blogspot.com/ michael mcshea

    Surely the brilliant idea of perfecting the science of embryo transplants from an un-wanting to a willing parent must be discounted by the fact that females don’t have or don’t deserve the outrageous unfair health care costs that would be dumped on and be a burden to the Health Care Industrial Complex. Mere life is one thing. But profits are GOD!!!

  • http://twitter.com/chris_laning Chris Laning

    I may have missed it since I don’t read this site regularly any more, but has Fred ever written about just HOW some conservatives have come to regard ALL contraception as equivalent to abortion?

    If it was clear from the evidence that by employing certain methods embryos were conceived and then lost, then I could see condemning THOSE methods as  running too high a risk of abortion. But I can’t imagine how a method that actually does what “contraception” means — i.e. prevents the fertilization of eggs — could be regarded as a form of abortion.

    Surely in some cases it’s magical hand-waving and claims that it doesn’t matter because sinful women who have sex are getting what they “deserve” (which, BTW, I don’t believe for an instant).

    But there are some clearer thinkers out there, and I’d like to know how they are coming to such a conclusion (if they are). Either they are being given data on what happens in contraception that is simply not true, or their reasoning is very odd.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Either they are being given data on what happens in contraception that is simply not true, or their reasoning is very odd.

    Some of both, is my understanding. Though there are certainly people who oppose both contraception and abortion without confusing the two.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Last week we established that a good many people don’t know (or “know” but don’t have functional use of the knowledge) that the urethra and the vagina have separate openings.

    With that in mind, it is not hard to see how a lot of people might similarly fail to grasp that “conception”, “fertilization”, “implantation” and “ejaculation” aren’t all the same thing.  (Which is totally not helped by educational films which show  the whole process via time lapse making it look like the whole thing takes only seconds. Heck, I probably would have said it only took a minute or so until I had cause to look it up a few years ago)

  • Jhgtiv

    Citation needed? I was not aware of that statistic and the stated error bar was not exactly inspiring confidence in the method.

  • Diane

    The vast majority of the embryos “washed out” before implantation are not viable. That is, there is no chance that they could ever live. As current technology stands, we cannot make them live. There is no “massive loss of human life” as a result of the body shedding non-living embryos. Dudley has no argument.

  • cyllan

    What is with the zombie abortion threads?  Is there any way of funneling all of these zombies into a kill-chute so we can deal with them all in one place? 

  • Bakakurisu

    OK, let’s drop the bumper sticker slogans and rhetoric, and look at this LOGICALLY.

    What this little blog is saying is that since you don’t FEEL that we’re doing enough to end NATURAL causes of death, we have no ground to illegalize homicide against the unborn.

    Do you all run 5k’s to help cystic fibrosis? Then you have no grounds to oppose ANY homicide.

  • Lori

    It’s tough to deal logically with someone who thinks that typing in all caps makes their argument better.

    Also?

    Do you all run 5k’s to help cystic fibrosis? Then you have no grounds to oppose ANY homicide.  

    You need remedial logic lessons. There are a couple of good podcasts I can recommend if you’re interested.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I run 5Ks for ovarian cancer. Does that give me the street cred you require in order to listen to me when I call bullshit?

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Bakakurisu, I’ve got a series of questions here which I’ve yet to see any anti-abortion commenter give direct answers to.

    Case #1: A single mother has become pregnant while working two jobs to support herself and her child. She found out too late that her now ex-boyfriend sabotaged her birth control. She has no insurance, and lives in a country without universal healthcare. She can’t afford pre-natal care, and if she takes too much time off, she could lose one or both jobs. How does restricting abortion benefit her?

    Case #2: A teenage girl has become pregnant due to acquaintance rape. She knows that proving the assault would be extremely difficult, especially as she failed to go for a rape exam afterwards. She does not want to submit to the further humiliation of having her personal life pored over at a public trial, or of being called a liar by her community. She has told her family that having a physical reminder of her trauma is tearing her apart psychologically, and that she just wants to put the experience behind her as thoroughly as possible. How does restricting abortion benefit her?

    Case #3: A teenage girl lives in a strict religious community which insists on abstinence-only sex education. Because she and her boyfriend were not given proper sexual information, she is now pregnant. Her family is likely to abuse her, or throw her out of the house, if they find out. How does restricting abortion benefit her?

    Case #4: A woman must take strong prescription drugs to stabilize various medical conditions. On the drugs she functions well, succeeding at her job and her relationships; off them, she can barely take care of herself. In order to have a healthy pregnancy, she would have to stop taking her medications for six months before even trying to conceive; therefore, she has chosen to remain childless. Now her contraception has failed. How does restricting abortion benefit her?

    Case #5: A mother has been secretly putting money aside so that she and her children can leave her abusive husband without risk of being tracked down. She knows that her pregnancy will deplete the physical and financial resources she needs to make a clean escape, and she also realizes that pregnant women are under twice as much risk from abusive partners. How does restricting abortion benefit her?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Silly ShifterCat–the fetusbaby is the only actual person in any of those scenarios! Unless we’re counting the babydaddies.

  • cyllan

    My new word of the day is EXCAPTIONALLY.  It must always be typed in all caps and means “a way of making a non-supported and non-supportable argument sound impressive by typing words in ALL CAPS.”

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled flame war.


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