‘If conservatives really believe in the evil of abortion, they are morally obligated to embrace a policy that stands to limit it so impressively’

Eric C. Miller, writing at Religion Dispatches, calls the bluff of evangelicals and others who have based their entire politics on opposition to legal abortion.

Miller presents the compelling argument for contraception as the most effective approach to radically reducing the abortion rate. If that is the goal — as opponents of legal abortion claim — then the Affordable Care Act is a more effective means of achieving that goal than overturning Roe v. Wade would ever be.

But what if that goal was only a pretense? What if opposition to legal abortion wasn’t really based on a desire to reduce the number of abortions, but were based mainly, instead, on a desire to control and punish women?

Well, if the latter were true, then those claiming to want fewer abortions would be among the loudest opposing the Affordable Care Act and fighting for the candidate who has pledged to repeal it.

This is not hypothetical. This is the evidence we have. This is proof — political action that contradicts the sanctimony and pious words. This is the proof that exposes the disingenuous lie that has shaped American politics for more than 30 years.

Here’s a big chunk of Miller’s piece, “Barack Obama, Pro-Life Hero“:

On October 3, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine published a study with profound implications for policy making in the United States. According to Dr. Jeffery Peipert, the study’s lead author, abortion rates can be expected to decline significantly — perhaps up to 75 percent — when contraceptives are made available to women free of charge.

… As most observers surely know, the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”) requires insurance coverage for birth control, a provision staunchly opposed by most of the same religious conservatives who oppose legalized abortion. If Peipert is correct, however, the ACA may prove the single most effective piece of “pro-life” legislation in the past 40 years.

… Dr. James T. Breeden, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, called the data “an amazing improvement,” adding, “I would think if you were against abortions, you would be 100 percent for contraception access.”

But it remains the case that, by and large, those most opposed to abortion are not “100 percent for” contraception access. In fact, Peipert’s study comes at a time when more than thirty federal lawsuits have been filed by social conservatives bent on overturning the ACA’s contraception mandate.

… In providing strong documentation that no-cost contraception is successful in dramatically limiting abortions, Peipert has placed the ACA’s opponents in a potentially difficult position. Fierce resistance to abortion is a central plank in the social conservative platform, and has for decades served as one of the standards around which millions of activists and voters have rallied. That a path to the drastic decline in abortions that these individuals have so desperately sought has suddenly been provided them by a president they so openly despise is, at the very least, a political puzzle.

But by addressing the problem of unintended pregnancy—rather than the politically fraught problem of abortion — “Obamacare” addresses the issue at its root. Though abortion has served as the central locus of the “culture war” for nearly forty years, it has always been a secondary concern — a problematic solution to a deeper and less sensational problem. By insisting on mere illegality, pro-life forces have turned a blind eye to the troublesome side-effects of illegal abortion even as they dedicated themselves to a largely symbolic political victory.

In the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, we have a previously unimaginable opportunity for satisfying compromise on abortion. In accordance with liberal demands, the procedure will remain safe and legal, and reproductive choices will be extended to those who have been unable to afford them in the past. In exchange, conservatives will see abortion rates plummet, achieving a result comparable to that of illegality but without the fierce controversy or government imposition in the lives of individuals.

… If conservatives really believe in the evil of abortion, they are morally obligated to embrace a policy that stands to limit it so impressively.

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  • Katie

    /sarcasm/ But don’t you understand, all birth control causes abortion!?! /sarcasm/

  • cwgmpls

    Conservatives don’t really want to stop abortion.  They just want to know that anyone who permits abortion to happen is immoral.

  • Carstonio

    Who can come up with additional answers to “if pro-lifers really believed in the evil of abortion, they would…”?

    Here is one of my answers: “…be buying contraception in bulk and giving it away to single women, begging them to avoid getting pregnant.”

  • banancat

    But having birth control will remove the risk of sex so people will have exponentially more sex, so much so that they skill cancel out the >90% effectiveness rate of contraception, therefore causing more unwanted pregnancy. Or at least I think that’s what the Catholic church is trying to claim. I don’t see how people could increase sex ten to a hundred times and still have time for anything else, but I can’t figure out what else that argument could possibly mean.

  • Jurgan

    And if you reduce tax rates far enough, people will work harder and pay enough extra taxes to make up for the lost revenue!  You’ve just invented supply-side birth control!

  • DoctorChimRichalds

    I think it’s a more generalized fear of sex, instead of specifically controlling women. It’s a two-step thought process: (1) sex is an evil scary boogeyman unless it’s under the very specific conditions we think God’s down with; (2) abortions should be illegal so people will have less sex, regardless of whether that will actually be effective. We see the same disregard for the way people actually behave with abstinence-only education.

    Now, granted, women are disproportionately harmed by the opposition to abortion, but I think that’s a byproduct rather than the intent.

  • Tricksterson

    Fear and hatred of sex.  They may be pro-life but they tend to be anti-anythingthatmakeslifeworthliving.

  • EllieMurasaki

    They’re the spiritual descendants of Puritans. How does that Devil’s Dictionary entry go?

  • Jurgan

    Here’s what always confuses me about that: Doesn’t birth control also prevent children from being born?  And so if you believe God’s will is thwarted by abortion, isn’t it also by birth control?  That’s the Catholic position, I suppose, and it makes some sense to me even if I disagree with it.  At some point, you’re stopping the birth of a child.  People argue over whether Plan B causes abortion, and even though it doesn’t meet the scientific definition of abortion, it seems semantic to me.  If you’re preventing the birth of a potential child before conception, why is that considered morally different from after conception or in the third trimester or after birth?  The question is complicated and different people will answer it differently, which is probably why the government shouldn’t make laws about it.  Also, I’ve never understood how God is powerful enough to create the universe but is defeated by science we created.  Couldn’t he just override birth control or prevent a woman from getting an abortion if it’s really His will?

  • Lunch Meat

    Doesn’t birth control also prevent children from being born?  And so if
    you believe God’s will is thwarted by abortion, isn’t it also by birth
    control?

    If birth control is thwarting God’s will, so is any and every attempt to manage or control one’s own life situation and future. If I should not be attempting to prevent pregnancy because pregnancy is always an unmitigated good and something commanded by God, and it’s wrong of me to choose a different path, then I should also not be saving any money or spending money on insurance. Instead I should give away all the extra money I have, because charity is clearly good and commanded by God, and I should trust God to take care of me. If pregnancy only happens when God specifically wants it to happen, then the same holds true of stock market crashes, job losses, and disabilities, and I should accept those willingly.

  • Kirala

     Jurgan: After conception (fertilization, really, but the terms are interchangeable to most pro-lifers), the DNA is unique – which is a logical place to stop calling it “mother’s body” and start calling it “child’s body”.

    It’s also a tidier milestone than anything else short of actual birth, and given the fact that preemies have survived from almost any point in the last trimester, actual birth isn’t necessarily the same thing as “beginning of more-or-less independent existence”.

    Do I sound like a pro-lifer? Probably because, ethically speaking, I value life and haven’t heard any pro-choice arguments delineating the point at which a fetus might be considered human. Of course, valuing life and quality thereof, I can’t support any legal policies which foster unwanted pregnancies, treat women as incubators rather than humans, or place a damaged, stillborn “life” at the potential cost of an otherwise-healthy, thriving life. And I don’t know where I’d draw the line for fetal rights myself, since fertilization seems awfully early and birth seems awfully late.

    Which is to say that I’m happy to argue or explain a pro-life or pro-choice stance as a matter of theory, but I’d rather not argue my own stance as it’s an ill-defined place in the middle prone to fire from both sides.

  • Carstonio

    haven’t heard any pro-choice arguments delineating the point at which a fetus might be considered human.

    I suspect that’s because such arguments aren’t necessary for the principle of preventing government from forcing decisions on women regarding their pregnancies. A government that could force women to carry pregnancies to term against their will can just as easily force them to have abortions.

  • Random_Lurker

     Defining the point that “life” begins is rather like defining the point where the day ends and night begins.  Sure, you pick an aribitrary point- but will it really be different on one side or the other?  The process is too slow to tell.  Ultimately, this means the decision can only be made by the mother and her doctor for her specific circumstance.  This kind of grey thinking isn’t palatable to the conservative thinker, so you won’t see the anti-abortion camp even address it most of the time.

  • Kirala

     Defining the beginning of life is difficult, but rather crucial. I wouldn’t like to say that it’s okay to drown a one-month-old because of a hitherto undetected birth defect. I’d be fine with a wide legal gray zone so that, for instance, women and their doctors wouldn’t have to prove a health problem or get through paperwork to get through an emergency late-term abortion. I might be fine with extending that gray zone up until delivery of the child. It’s just that… given that it has been ethically acceptable in human history to kill infants for eugenics programs, I’d like to make sure that it’s ethically understood that the time to terminate a healthy pregnancy is before *** point.

  • banancat

    I am so tired of this false analogy. If a one month-old child is physically attached to my body in a non-transferable way and is taking nutrients from me, then I do think I should have a right to remove it from my body if I choose to.

  • Kirala

     I’m not using a false analogy. I’m concerned about the last trimester, wherein the baby is often quite transferable. Of course, I don’t know why anyone would choose to wait to have an abortion when it’s so much riskier than early on, so I’d assume that any such late-term abortions were from necessity and not from needlessly dire analogies.

    So if the bright-line humanity is when the child is transferable and able to live without taking nutrients, it’s still prior to birth and actually (given neonatal care) not a terribly bright line.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Hey, if child protective services wants to take the fetuses away once they’ve been removed from the woman’s body and place them in a state-run home and terminate the woman’s parental rights, I think we might be able to hammer out a  compromise.

  • banancat

    It isn’t part of the mother’s body because a woman isn’t a mother just because she’s pregnant. Stop this disingenuous framing.

  • Kirala

     I’ll try to refrain, but it’s just as framing to refuse to use the term “mother”, and once the baby is independently human the woman is at least the biological mother. There is no unbiased term for the Schrödinger’s state I’m describing where some might consider the fetus a human baby and some might consider the fetus a bunch of tissue. “Woman” presupposes that the woman in question has no special connection with the baby-or-fetus.

    It’s therefore not disingenuous framing. It’s the closest I can come to approximating my fear that pro-choice could slide into a lack of value for human life. Until a truly neutral terminology can be devised, mine will probably reflect my edgy tendency to err on the side of protecting life. (Please don’t attack me as someone wanting to deny women and their doctors the legal right to determine their own necessities. Just because I want to err on the side of life doesn’t mean that I want to be the queen of determining when life begins.)

  • banancat

    I completely disagree. It isn’t disingenuous to refer to a woman as a woman, mother or not. And regardless of when a fetus becomes a person, we don’t consider people to be parents until after a baby is born. I’m a descriptivist and I realize that language changes, but this is one change I object to, not on arbitrary grounds of tradition, but because it is a dishonest appeal to emotion in an attempt to reframe the whole issue. Some pregnant women are mothers and some aren’t. It is wrong to exclude the women who aren’t mothers, or to try to include them by forcing them into an inaccurate label. I don’t care how pro-choice you are; it’s still wrong to frame it that way.

  • Kirala

     I didn’t say it was disingenuous to refer to a woman as a woman; I said that I was not being disingenuous in my word choice, but picking the best word available. Of course, if we’re going the descriptivist route, I’ll acknowledge that it’s very possible that my language sense in this issue has been heavily biased by the evangelical culture by which I’m surrounded. Which is why I’m willing to try to avoid the terminology that you dislike, since I dislike loaded terminology on principle – but I still have to avoid the terminology you prefer, because it strikes me as equally loaded. And since (as I said in my first post) I prefer not to argue my position on abortion because it is ill-defined, I doubt any absolute need to choose a term will come up any time soon for me.

  • banancat

    You keep insisting that you won’t define your position on abortion, yet nobody has asked you to. I specifically said that it doesn’t matter for this issue. Do you think that I would suddenly stop caring about your use of the loaded language if I found out you were as pro-choice as me? I have called out other pro-choicers on this very blog about using the term that reframes the whole debate. No matter what your intent, it is still wrong to use a term that excludes many pregnant women.

  • Kirala

     *exasperated* I’m trying to accede to your terms; the only reason my intent comes into it is the term “disingenuous”, which is a term specifically regarding intent. I dislike having my intent defined wrongly. Believe me, I was quite ingenuous in my inadvertent use of loaded language.

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

    Jurgan: After conception (fertilization, really, but the terms are
    interchangeable to most pro-lifers), the DNA is unique – which is a
    logical place to stop calling it “mother’s body” and start calling it
    “child’s body”.

    I’ve never really followed the DNA argument.

    Doesn’t that seem to imply that identical twins, due to having the same DNA, are actually one person and have only body — despite having every appearance of being two different people with two different bodies?

    What about chimeras — organisms with two genetically different sets of cells originating from two different zygotes?  This happens less in humans than in animals that usually have multiple births — since it begins when one fraternal twin zygote absorbs another — but it does happen and more commonly than was once thought.  Are chimeras two different people with two different bodies, despiting having every appearance of being only one person with one body?

    Given that it’s possible for one person to have more than one DNA code, and it’s also possible for two different people to have the same DNA, using DNA to determine when something becomes a unique and independent human life seems highly problematic to me.

    (That’s also one issue I have with the idea that “life begins at conception” — which I generally take to mean, “The baby gets a soul at conception” because the egg and sperm were already alive before fertilization.  Just like there isn’t a 1:1 correspondence between unique DNA and the resulting person, there isn’t a 1:1 correspondence between fertilized eggs and the resulting person.  Sometimes one egg becomes multiple people, sometimes multiple eggs become one person.

     Does that mean identical twins have only one soul between them?  Or that when the one zygote splits into two, God goes, “Oops!” and sticks an extra soul in?  Do chimeras have multiple souls, or does one of the souls die?  If the latter, which one?

    But that’s another discussion altogether.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Do chimeras have multiple souls, or does one of the souls die?

    Maybe they’re their own soulmate?

  • JustoneK

    If that’s the case, identical twins would be too.

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, if we’re going by DNA, identicals would have one soul between them and chimeras two souls a customer. Different concepts. Same term maybe, but different concepts.

  • JustoneK

    I love overthinking cosmological academia.  :D

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

     Which would then imply that killing one of a set of identical twins is OK (since the soul isn’t being killed) but that removing the genetically different tissue from the chimera would be murder, since one of the two souls WOULD be killed. 

    (Special bonus question: how much of the genetically different tissue has to be present for the soul to remain alive?  If it’s only a small amount, does that mean that, say, an organ donor is still alive because the heart/kidney/whatever is?)

    This is why I prefer souls remain exactly one per customer. ;-)

  • EllieMurasaki

    And this is part of why I don’t, in nonfiction contexts, like the concept at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=687121933 Carrie Looney

    “Which would then imply that killing one of a set of identical twins is OK (since the soul isn’t being killed) but that removing the genetically different tissue from the chimera would be murder, since one of the two souls WOULD be killed.”

    No cancer surgery, then!  Cancers almost invariably mutate, to a massive extent.  To the ‘life begins at conception’ crowd, how can we justify removing a new, genetically divergent life-form from the host it depends on to live?

  • Kirala

     Excellent points, and why “a logical place” is not remotely the same thing as “the right place”. Doesn’t stop me sympathizing with people who opt for the easy answer. :)

  • AnonymousSam

    A fascinating discussion nonetheless.

    I remember a chimera woman whose children were genetically not her offspring — her ovaries came from an absorbed sister, so she was genetically her children’s aunt.

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

     Was it this woman?

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

    Apparently she was asked to get a paternity test to show her ex-husband was the father of her children and the test showed that he was the father… but she wasn’t the mother.

    Accusations of fraud ensued until it was discovered that while her skin and hair wasn’t the genetic mother of her children, her reproductive system was.

    (According to Wiki it was a lawyer for the prosecution who read an article about a similar case and suggested to the defense that she might be a chimera.  Good on him/her for wanting to find out what actually happened and not just get a conviction!)

  • AnonymousSam

    Quite possibly. And yes, that is awesome.

  • wendy

     I value life and haven’t heard any pro-choice arguments delineating the point at which a fetus might be considered human.

    I find that one pretty easy. 

    At the end of a human life, there’s general agreement  amongst doctors, lawyers, clergy and laypeople that brain activity or lack thereof is how we tell the difference between a human being and something that just looks like one. It’s how we know when to turn off the machines. It’s how we know when it’s okay to take parts for transplant. It seems fair to use the same standard for the beginning of a human life. 

    (The cerebral cortex attaches and begins to function at  approximately 22 weeks)

  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t think that’s a fair standard to apply to this end of the process, though. If a fetus is to be treated as equivalent to an adult on life support, that requires treating the woman as equivalent to the life support machine. Life support machines do not have rights. The only way to treat the woman as human is to say that fetuses (whether people or not) do not have the rights to life, nourishment, shelter, or health care, and neonates have rights to all of the above.

  • wendy

    I was answering about when do I think fetus=person; I’m still in agreement that this smaller person doesn’t have inherent rights to use another person’s parts without her permission. 

  • cwgmpls

    No.  At the end of life, the family, with advice from their doctors and their clergy, decide when life is over.  Brain activity is one factor to consider, but the family makes the final call.  The same should be true with a fetus as well.  When life begins is a family’s decision with advice from their doctors and clergy, until the 3rd trimester.  Afterh the 3rd trimester, most states consider the fetus a viable human.

    There is no guesing or wondering required, it is written in our current laws.

  • Carstonio

    Beyond the legal definitions, the final call in both situations has to be made by the people directly involved as an ethical and moral principle. We shouldn’t assume that every individual knows what’s best for hirself, simply because of the limits of knowledge. But the principle of self-determinations means that the individual has, as a default, the final decision over what’s best for hirself. Just as people who have never wrestled with end-of-life issues shouldn’t presume to know or tell others what to do in those situations, men like me shouldn’t decide for women what to do with their pregnancies.

  • cwgmpls

     Yes, the family should have the final decision, but there are legal boundaries.  Assisted suicide is not legal.  Neither is killing a baby after birth.  In many cases, ending a pregnancy after the 3rd trimester is not legal. 

  • Carstonio

    That doesn’t acknowledge whether those laws have a solid ethical basis and a compelling government interest. The debate in the US has never really addressed the issue of assisted suicide from an ethical standpoint – too many of my fellow citizens react in fear as if the next step were Carrousel from Logan’s Run. I have no position on it myself.

    Similarly, I’ve heard too many pro-lifers insist that Roe v. Wade legalized abortion up until birth. That ignores not only the law that you mentioned but also the fact that almost no women seek elective abortion in the last trimester. But that didn’t stop opponents from the demagoguery of decrying “partial-birth” abortions which are really done to save the mothers’ lives. In both cases, I suspect much of the lawmaking has more to do with fear and the exploitation of it than any sound medical ethics, but I don’t know that for sure.

  • cwgmpls

    Sure, it is good to continue debating the laws, and adjust them when there is agreement. But the original question was what a pro-choice definition of life is, and I think a pretty good summary of the pro-choice definition of life is found in current law.

    Yes, we need to continue discussing the laws and changing them when needed. But pro-choice people do have a definition of, and place an extreme high value on, life itself.

  • Carstonio

     I think it’s a mistake to consider the wording of the current law “a pro-choice definition of life.” Many pro-choicers believe that abortion is wrong, and there may be a few who even believe that life begins at conception. But most of the ones I’ve met sensibly refuse to get into a philosophical discussion about when life begins, because the pro-choice position is about abortion being legal. Definitions of life under the law shouldn’t be confused with philosophical propositions, because the former are attempts to balance the interests of individual with the interests of others, or of society or government. Obama had a point when he told Rick Warren that when life begins was a matter above his pay grade.

  • Mrs Grimble

     

    That ignores not only the law that you mentioned but also the fact that
    almost no women seek elective abortion in the last trimester. But that
    didn’t stop opponents from the demagoguery of decrying “partial-birth”
    abortions which are really done to save the mothers’ lives.

    TRIGGER WARNING:  baby death, death in pregnancy
    Partial-birth abortion is also carried out when the child is severely malformed and will not survive vaginal birth, usually because they have hydrocephaly.  It’s also done in cases where a well-developed fetus has died in the womb and begun,  um, ‘spoiling’; when you see those pictures of tiny blackened corpses that pro-lifers like to wave outside abortion clinics, they’re pretty nearly always of babies who have died that way.

    Our strangely absent troll clearly thinks that all babies are not only innocent, but physically perfect.

  • Carstonio

     Thanks for the explanation. Now I picture those pro-lifers engaging in dumpster diving.

  • P J Evans

    Assisted suicide is not legal.
    That’s arguable.

    ending a pregnancy after the 3rd trimester is not legal
    Didn’t you know that’s a full term pregnancy?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Reasonably sure that “ending a pregnancy after the 3rd trimester” is what most of us call “childbirth”.

  • Loki100

    Probably because, ethically speaking, I value life and haven’t heard any pro-choice arguments delineating the point at which a fetus might be considered human.

    That’s because being “considered human” is a philosophical question and not a scientific one. Scientifically speaking, you can’t actually create an argument delineating that. Scientifically speaking, you can’t actually create an argument delineating male from female. No, seriously, you can’t. Pick a place to set your line (gonads, morphology, DNA) and you will be unable to create a nice clean line with all the men on one side and all the women on the other. Similarly there is no nice clean line where “life” is on one side, and “not-life” is on another. There’s also no clean line where “human” and “not human” lie. In order to actually understand these issues, you have to understand the concept of spectrum, and that biology tends to fall along that spectrum.

  • snowmentality

     Jurgan, that logic leads to the argument that every time you abstain from sex, you’re also preventing the birth of a potential child before conception and therefore thwarting God’s will.

    Catholics get around this reductio ad absurdum by arguing that God created sex for reproduction, so enjoying sex while taking steps to prevent reproduction is misuse of God’s creation, but if you’re not having sex at all then you’re not misusing anything. Preventing sperm from
    meeting egg by not having sex is OK with God, but
    preventing sperm from meeting egg by any other method is not.

    They also like to add in some naturalistic fallacy. Hence “Natural Family Planning,” in which you use fertility awareness
    methods (temperature charting, etc.) and abstain from intercourse during fertile times. That’s evidently OK with God too, because it’s “natural.”

    I mean, the real underlying moral logic is that sexual pleasure is inherently sinful, and you shouldn’t have sex at all except for strictly reproductive purposes. NFP gets by because it still forces you to minimize how much sex you have, and adds all the work of tracking ovulation, so you still can’t have too much fun.

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

    Naw, I’m pretty sure the Catholic objection is that if women can control their fertility there will be fewer children to molest. (j/k,obv.)

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

    > if you believe God’s will is thwarted by abortion, isn’t it also by birth control? 

    Presumably it’s being equally thwarted by my not having sex with a mutually fertile partner right now, if you approach the question from that perspective. After all, that’s a potential fertilized egg I’m not creating!!!

    (shrug) At some point one has to make a decision as to how actual a potential has to be before it’s worth caring about at all. Once we draw that line, caring about the system further back in time than that will feel ridiculous, and not caring about it after that line is crossed will feel monstrous.

    As you say, different people draw that line in different places.

    The folks labelled “pro-life” in the U.S. mostly draw the line at conception. Drawing the line before conception, most people agree, is ridiculous… though as you say, positions on contraception do seem to muddle this.

    It’s an arbitrary place to draw the line, of course, but it’s not an insane one… somethinginteresting happens at conception, after all, which is really all you need for a line to be drawn. (All of this stuff about “life beginning” then is nonsense, of course. The cells involved were just as alive before fertilization as afterwards.)

    A lot of people draw the line at birth, for similar reasons. Drawing the line after birth, most people agree, is monstrous.

    And some people draw the line at various points in between, while others don’t draw a line at all and just see a continuum of increasing humanity.

    Socially, the problem is that when two communities draw the person/nonperson line in different places, you get mutual incoherence. One group thinks the other is being ridiculous, the other thinks the first is being monstrous.

    But none of that addresses the point being made here, which is that wherever I draw the line, I ought to treat the system after that point consistently as something worth caring about. If I treat it as a person for some purposes (e.g., mandating the mother’s behavior) but not for others (e.g., providing care and support), I invite the interpretation that I’m just pretending to draw the line there to justify some other thing I want to do for other reasons.

  • banancat

    For those that get existential about birth control, they really should take it further and consider abstinence a sin. I have personally prevented the existence of at least 17 people since menarche, five of which were through abstinence alone. If I ever have a kid, I’ll prevent about nine more potentials during that pregnancy. In fact, not using fertility drugs means some twins and triplets will never get to born.
    Frankly, if God could get a virgin pregnant, I don’t see how contraception or abortion could thwart him.

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

    How do you count having been abstinent 5 times since menarche? Wouldn’t any time spent not pregnant between puberty and menopause count? 

  • banancat

    I meant that I could have had about five births between menarche and the age I started having sex, if I had started having sex right away with the intent to have as many kids as possible.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Aside from the Quiverfull folks, I don’t think that anyone claims that opposition to birth control is about maximizing babies. Rather, they believe it’s about minimizing *sex* (I mean, realistically, it’s about minimizing female power and control particularly vis a vis sex but they won’t admit to that). The point of banning birth control is not to compel people to have unprotected sex instead, but is really under the assumption that people denied birth control will opt out of having sex instead.

    Again, results don’t matter; it’s all about their *stance*.  Opposing birth control and abortions, they say, is about forcing women to accept the “consequences” of sex. It’s not about whati t accomplishes; it’s about maintaining a properly anti-sex *stance*

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     Frankly, if God could get a virgin pregnant, I don’t see how contraception or abortion could thwart him.

    AND an 80-year-old woman, IIRC.   Though that was via her husband.

  • Turcano

    I figure if you can do that but not punch through a millimeter of latex, then you officially have the lamest superhero weakness ever.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I would very much appreciate it if this time no one derails the thread by protesting my reminder that ‘lame’ is a poor choice of words due to its denotation that whatever is being derogated is not up to standards in the same way that someone with a mobility disability is not up to standards. There are many ways to say that something is not up to standards without using a word that says people with mobility disabilities are inferior to people without.

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    Doesn’t birth control also prevent children from being born?

    No. It stops children or foetus from being conceived. Egg and sperm don’t meet so the question whether a fertilized egg, or an 8cell blastocyte, or a 1week foetus, is already life and child, is moot.

    And so if you believe God’s will is thwarted by abortion, isn’t it also by birth control?

    1. Why does God want so many children to die by natural abortion = miscarriage? Especially with many women who desperately want to conceive? Who are devastated when a miscarriage occurs in 3rd trimester?

    2. They call themselves pro-lifers, because their official argument is that they want to preserver life. They call a fertilized egg life and compare it to murder.

    They don’t talk about God’s will, because God’s will is difficult to determine. The Bible doesn’t say anything about abortion.

    3. What is God’s will towards born children, who die of hunger or treatable health problems, even in the US (highest rate of <5year old mortatility among the western nations) because the poor don't get enough aid, because single mothers are derided as welfare queens instead of lauded for keeping the child, and because pro-lifers = consies oppose Obamacare?

    4. You should read up on the biology of conception and birth control from an objective or scientific source, not from pro-lifers or a Christian fundie "pseudoscience" site before you talk about it. Thousands of sperms are wasted each time who don't implant. How do you know it was God's will that this sperm and not that sperm implanted? Why does God cause eggs to wrongly implant in the tubes and not the uterus? Why does God allow pregnancy in girls (12 year old and similar) who have been molested and raped by their fathers/ stepfathers/ uncles? Why is it God's will that women with severe health problems who are forbidden to use health control by their religious leaders get pregnant, which risks their life, while other women have to struggle with several miscarriages?

    Also, I’ve never understood how God is powerful enough to create the  universe but is defeated by science we created.  Couldn’t he just
    override birth control  or prevent a woman from getting an abortion if
    it’s really His will?

    The question isn’t whether God created the universe. It’s what he’s done after that. Is God the kind of micromanager who allows RTCs to find a parking space (or a seat next to Chloe in an airplane)? Then why does God allow so many bad things to happen?
    Or did God write down some laws and let things run their course since – so we don’t see somebody stopping the sun for a whole day so every enemy can be slaughtered?

  • http://www.facebook.com/sara.rosenbaum.35 Sara Rosenbaum

     If you’re going to go that way, abstinence is a 100 percent effective method of preventing the birth of a child. So if you don’t want to prevent the birth of a child, shouldn’t you be having as much heterosexual vaginal sex as you possibly can?

  • Guest5489

    While people try and demean those that care about stopping the killing of innocent life,  over 6000 unborn innocent children are killed each week, only 3% due to rape, incest or the life of the mother. Keep trying to deflect away from that truth to justify your position.

  • EllieMurasaki

    While people try and demean those that care about stopping the forcible invasion of others’ bodies, over six thousand such invasions are repelled every week (assuming 5489’s statistic is accurate). This is something to celebrate!

  • Carstonio

    This isn’t about people who simply believe abortion is wrong. This is about people who want to make the procedure illegal. Doing that would punish women in a variety of ways while preventing very few abortions. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to reduce the numbers abortions – the best and most humane way to do that is to make sure women have the tools, education and support they need so they conceive only when they wish to do so.

  • Guest5489

    The best way is to stop the killing! Keep justifying!

  • EllieMurasaki

    Okay, all legal abortion in the United States has magically ended thanks to you. How are you going to support all these children? How are you going to provide the money that their mothers need to feed them and clothe them and shelter them and educate them, money that, if the mothers already had it, would have meant the women would be delighted rather than terrified by their pregnancies? How are you going to ensure the health of the women who are now facing preeclampsia or worse because they must continue the pregnancy instead of ending it? How are you going to keep the women who are pregnant from rape from being traumatized again every day when they realize they are still pregnant, and every day after that when they realize they still have the rapist’s kid?

  • Guest5489

    So are saying that people should have no personal responsibility for their own choices? That if you choose to make a baby someone else should pay for it?

    I think as good people we should do all we can to help those in need but there comes a point where is is enabling, not helpful.

    Keep justifying!

  • EllieMurasaki

    I am saying that if your choice brings a child into the world, you have responsibility for the child, and this is no less true of the people who prevent a pregnancy from ending than it is of the people involved in its beginning.

  • Guest5489

    What? The choice is made by the man and woman to conceive not me. So no its not everyone else’s responsibility only the two parents.

    Keep deflecting and justifying!

  • EllieMurasaki

    If the woman and man do not sex, no baby, thus no responsibility. If the woman and man do sex and the woman has baby, yes baby, thus yes responsibility, for both woman and man. If the woman and man do sex and the woman has abortion, no baby, thus–not no responsibility, but responsibility discharged in full. If the woman and man do sex and Guest5489 prevents the woman from having abortion, yes baby, thus yes responsibility, for the woman and the man and Guest5489.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sara.rosenbaum.35 Sara Rosenbaum

     I think the point is that they DON’T choose it.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Which ‘they’? The woman who wanted an abortion or the person who wouldn’t let her get one? Because the latter is no less responsible for the existence of the kid than the former, or for that matter the babydaddy.

  • alsafi

    Ooh ooh ooh! Slut-shaming and BINGO!

    Also, a troll with a catchphrase? I didn’t know they came in a “even more obnoxious” model.

  • Kirala

    So are saying that people should have no personal responsibility for
    their own choices? That if you choose to make a baby someone else should
    pay for it?

    So you’re saying that when women are raped, they 1) should choose to have any babies that might result, and 2) should accept responsibility for “choosing” to keep the baby, and 3) should therefore have responsibility to raise the baby themselves?

    So you’re saying that when a husband and wife are on minimum wage without health insurance, without savings, without parents with disposable income, and to top it off the condom broke, they should bear the consequences for not “choosing” to abstain from marital relations until they could afford an extra $10,000+/year to raise their child?

    Or are you saying that the children conceived under these circumstances deserve a life of perpetual insecurity, want, and hardship? Or are you saying that the children conceived under these circumstances deserve no life at all?

    Keep justifying yourself as a crusader for the sake of the children!

  • Guest5489

    97% of abortions are  not due to rape, incest or the life of the mother. I am focused on those not the 3%.

    For the husband and wife who cannot afford a child? Condoms. But we know sometimes they break, rarely but it does happen. Its called an accident. Like every other accident the people responsible are responsible. Snuffing out an innocent life you created is not being responsible.

    And as far as your hypothetical that they will live a life of perpetual insecurity, want, and hardship, an equally plausible hypothetical is that the economics of the parents will change, they will work harder, make some sacrifices and be able to feed, clothe and house their child.

    You seem to be stuck in an entitlement mentality that everyone deserves to have everything they want. They don’t.

    I will check back later and respond maybe but now I must go.

    Keep justifying while I am gone!

  • VMink

    If abortion is considered by law to be equivalent to murder — which is the rationale for making abortions illegal — what punishment would there be for a woman who has had an abortion?

    If the punishment is not the same as punishment for murder, then why not?

  • JustoneK

    Keep justifying your position!  I’d love to hear why you think starving children is reasonable and logical.

  • Lunch Meat

    You seem to be stuck in an entitlement mentality that everyone deserves to have everything they want. They don’t.

    Yes, how dare I believe that I have the right to keep things out of my body if I don’t want them there. How dare I believe that I have the right not to become a mother if I’m not ready yet! How dare I believe that my doctor and I know better than you what is best for my body, and that my husband and I know better than you what is best for my budget!

    Such entitlement!

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    I will check back later and respond maybe but now I must go.

    A flounce followed up immediately by more posts? Anybody got a bingo card?

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    97% of abortions are  not due to rape, incest or the life of the mother. I am focused on those not the 3%.

    I wonder where, along with the 6 000 per week, those figures come from.

    But given that so far he’s a one trick pony with a tired catchphrase, it’s probably not worth asking.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     So… People should be punished for irresponsibility by forcing them to undergo pregnancy and childbirth.

    And we’re the ones who’re immoral?

  • Wingedwyrm

    “And as far as your hypothetical that they will live a life of perpetual insecurity, want, and hardship, an equally plausible hypothetical is that the economics of the parents will change, they will work harder, make some sacrifices and be able to feed, clothe and house their child.”

    What you have hear, 5489, is as clear an example of a just-world fallacy as can be imagined.  You’re saying that someone who is not in financial position to be able to adequately provide for a child will, just by virtue of working harder and with the assumption that poverty can only happen to those who don’t work *hard* enough, be able to do so.

    The reality doesn’t fit your claims.  So, if you want every conception to become a living, flourishing child, you need to make sure that every family with children has the resources necessary to provide food, shelter, healthcare, education, etc for that child.  The simple truth is that not every family is in position to gain more money simply by working harder.

    Proclaiming it the fault of the parents is saying that you really don’t care whether or not the child flourishes, or even lives to adulthood.

    In addition, your consistant refrain that women take responsibility is a form of slut-shaming, which re-enforces a sense, in women who face unplanned and horribly ill-timed pregnancies, of issolation which actually makes them more likely to abort.  If, on the other hand, you were to take an attitude of saying that you want any pregnant woman to know that she has a foundation of social support available so that she need not derail her career or her education and that you would (as I would) gladly pay taxes towards that goal, that would be more likely to stop abortions from happening than all the laws and slutshaming in the world.

  • Daughter

     And there’s the “make some sacrifices” part. I caught part of a story on the radio this morning, of a GOP politico saying something about how the government needs to cut back, just like a family that’s struggling financially who will forgo a new car.

    Conservatives make these analogies a lot about cutting back on eating out, vacations, big screen TV’s.  It doesn’t seem to occur to them that for many people, those things are already out of reach, and they’re struggling on a more basic level, not simply because they’re unwilling to sacrifice a few luxuries.

    Take the car example. My car is 10 years old, and my husband’s car is 19 ; both have  more than 168,000 miles on them.  We’re both college educated, we both have jobs, but still, finances are tight (and I’m not ungrateful because we know a lot of people are worse off than we are). We’re not even thinking about buying new cars. Instead, we always hope there’s some money left after paying bills at the end of each month to repair one of the many things wrong with our vehicles so we can keep them on the road for a few more years.

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

     And there’s the “make some sacrifices” part. I caught part of a story on the radio this morning, of a GOP politico saying something about how the government needs to cut back, just like a family that’s struggling financially who will forgo a new car.
    Conservatives make these analogies a lot about cutting back on eating out, vacations, big screen TV’s.  It doesn’t seem to occur to them that for many people, those things are already out of reach, and they’re struggling on a more basic level, not simply because they’re unwilling to sacrifice a few luxuries.

    Conservatives also ignore the other thing that struggling households do when money is tight: look for ways to bring in more money. Maybe Dad takes a second job, or Mom starts babysitting for money; maybe instead of cutting back, the government needs to try taking in more, like more money from corporations paying next to nothing, or more from capital gains which are already taxed lower than most income. No, no, no, it’s all “belt-tightening”…

  • TheFaithfulStone

     I think anything who would seriously suggest letting children starve in order to make the mother ‘take responsibility’ for ‘her’ ‘choices’ is a piece of sub-human shit and I wonder how it can simultaneously flap it’s mouth hole to regurgitate AND eat all of that bullshit.

    That’s not “justifying my position” – that’s an ad ‘hominem’ (and I use the term loosely) attack because you’re a waste of perfectly good carbon.

  • Madhabmatics

     “I hope these babies starve and die because their parents don’t listen to me” – The Culture of Life, 2012.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    “Is there anything more quintessentially American than punishing children for choosing the wrong parents? I don’t think so.”  – Davis X. Machina

    (Note for the sarcasm-impaired:  He was joking.)

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

     Abortion is taking personal responsibility.

    A few more catch phrases and I’ll have anti abortion bingo.

  • Baby_Raptor

    You keep putting up strawmen. Consenting to sex does NOT mean consenting to pregnancy. Two totally different situations there.

    Further, nopony has abortions out of convenience. Maybe if you got a grasp on the reality of the situation, you’d see it differently.

  • AnonymousSam

    (Not so) hypothetical situation: Suppose a woman is experiencing severe economic hardship. A single parent with a deadbeat dad who never pays child support, she barely has the financial resources to keep her child fed, much less herself. There are some months where she plays Musical Chairs with the electricity, heating and water bills, where some stay and one is gone without. Her son has been wearing the same clothing for too long, his shoes have holes in them and if it weren’t for school lunches… well, she doesn’t want to think about that.

    One evening, Deadbeat Dad comes to visit. What happens next isn’t something she can control. She doesn’t want to think of it as rape, because that’s opening a can of worms (he’ll just say she wanted it, will it just come down to he said/she said hearsay? She can’t afford to take this to court and lawyers willing to go pro-bono are rare where she lives). She gets pregnant. She knows that there’s not a chance in Hell that she’ll be able to afford this child. Not any possible way.

    What should she do?

  • Nezumichan

    Making a baby isn’t automatically a “choice.” Even disregarding rape and incest, someone who’s using birth control and gets pregnant anyway didn’t choose to have a baby — and if you’re saying they should take responsibility because they did something that had the chance to cause that, then why is the concept of legal liability for accidents something that exists? You knew you were in a situation where something bad could happen, and it did, so it’s your own fault despite your taking every precaution. Sound ridiculous? That’s because it is. It’s no less ridiculous in this circumstance, unless you really think we need to punish women that badly for not holding to your arbitrary moral code.

  • Carstonio

     Using your premise, how do you propose to do that?

  • Guest5489

    Because of the way the comments are arranged I don’t know what you are asking. How to top the killing or how to give away free condoms?

  • Nezumichan

    [i]The best way is to stop the killing! [/i]

    Your tautology is tautological. How do we “stop the killing”, as you put it? It’s not as easy as just saying “stop the killing.” Reputable studies indicate that banning abortion won’t actually stop abortions — they’ll just make them unsafe, making it so that, by your standards, it’s likely they’ll end two lives instead of one. What’s moral about potentially doubling the deaths caused by abortion? What supports life about it?

    Meanwhile, studies also show that providing access to effective birth control [b]will[/b] reduce abortions, by reducing unwanted pregnancies. So why oppose birth control? Note: evidence is that birth control pills do not stop eggs from implanting… and even if they did, putting all women on the pill would [b]reduce[/b] failed implantation as compared to the natural rate of failure, as fewer women would conceive in the first place.

    To quote you, “Keep justifying!”

  • Magic_Cracker

    Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes. So why do self-described pro-lifers and pro-life groups focus exclusively on abortion? Won’t somebody think of the (living, breathing) children?

  • Guest5489

    Its both not an either/or.

    Keep justifying!

  • Magic_Cracker

    Not justifying anything — simply pointing out how unjustified groups that  identify as “pro-life” are in calling themselves “pro-life” when they are more accurately described as “anti-legal abortion” groups, as banning legal abortion is their singular focus.

    Actually reducing the number of abortions performed (or saving lives already being lived) is not part of the programme. For all the noise anti-choicers make about objecting to being complicit in others’ sins (by making contraception widely available, for example), they somehow don’t see themselves complicit when their preferred policies — banning abortion and supply-side economics — actually increase the number of abortions performed. 

  • Vermic

    Guest5489, are you in favor of free access to contraceptives by women, which will drastically reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and thus reduce the number of abortions?  Are you in favor of the ACA’s contraception mandate?  If your answer to either question is “no”, why not?

  • Guest5489

    I am in favor of free condoms.

  • Random_Lurker

    Re: Free Condoms

    Good.  Do you also support free hormonal birth control (pill, depo, etc)?  I’m interested to see if you’re willing to back up the rights of women to manage their own reproductive health or not.

  • Guest5489

    No if condoms are not good enough you should pay for your choice if you want to use something different. Condoms are very effective.

    By your logic, those needing section 8 housing should be able to choose to live in a Penthouse or mansion. Those needing food stamps should get enough to eat in Michelin star restaurants. The entitlement mentality is astounding!

  • JustoneK

    Keep justifying your torture of the poor, which includes mothers and children.

  • Guest5489

    Your attempt is feeble and falls apart quite easily in the face of logic, reason and morality . But hey keep justifying!

  • JustoneK

    I don’t have to justify shit to you.  I am not even a pregnant woman.  And yet here you sit, saying that you are perfectly willing to let newborn babies starve if it means they aren’t aborted.

    This is not a hypothetical, you disingenuous entitled clod.  You have _no clue_ what poverty is.

  • Jurgan

    I’m pretty sure hormonal birth control is cheaper in the long run than condoms for people who have regular sexual activity (such as married people).

  • Münchner Kindl

     Over here, where both sex ed. and easy access to contraception is accepted as standard, there’s a lot of discussion about the pill vs. the condom. Not only because the condom also prevents a lot of STDs (and AIDS is not dead, sadly, but making huge progress in Asia and Russia/ Eastern GUS)*, but because the old pill at least had side effects over long run against many women. Tinkering with a complicated system of 4 major hormones (and maybe some other ones) that make a woman’s menstrual cycle is not as easy-peasy as the ads say, esp. with the huge variation that women bodies have.

    The new pill is supposed to better because the hormonal dosage is much lower and mixed better, but still, there is opposition and discussion based on medical reasons only, about “which method is the best?” (not “should we use contraception?”)

    A “pill for the man” has also been developed. The main reason many women still use the pill despite the discussion is that it empowers them instead of relying on the man to have a condom ready, or wanting to use it, which is still not always a given.

    Those men who complain that the woman lied about being on the pill when she wasn’t don’t have a leg to stand on, though – if they don’t want to become fathers, they can use a condom regardless of what the woman says!

    * Remember that Dec. 1st is World AIDS day with a lot of actions about getting information and giving support. Wear a red ribbon or buy a teddy bear for support!

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     But you have to take a pack of pills *every month*.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The margin of error re timing is a lot smaller than with the daily multivitamin, but if one’s got the time of day bit down then it’s no worse than the daily multivitamin, unless estrogen fucks with one’s system. So I’m told, anyway. Haven’t yet had the nerve to ask a doctor about it, and my sex life is nil and my periods not too terribly painful or irregular so it’s not precisely an urgent question.

  • P J Evans

    The margin of error re timing is a lot smaller than with the daily
    multivitamin, but if one’s got the time of day bit down then it’s no
    worse than the daily multivitamin

    It gets a bit tricky when you travel across several timezones, though. Better to use another method then. If you can.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Or one can buy a ten-dollar watch at Walmart to set to local time and keep one’s usual portable timekeeping method set to home time. Unless said automatically changes to local time, in which case set the Walmart watch to home time. If one’s traveling such that one’s usual pill time is during local time sleep cycle, it’s a concern, but otherwise it shouldn’t be.
    Redundancy in contraceptive methods is generally a good thing, though.

  • Vermic

    No if condoms are not good enough you should pay for your choice if you want to use something different. Condoms are very effective.By your logic, those needing section 8 housing should be able to choose to live in a Penthouse or mansion. Those needing food stamps should get enough to eat in Michelin star restaurants. The entitlement mentality is astounding!

    While I sincerely applaud your approval of condoms, and wish more pro-lifers felt that way, is it just coincidence that you’re only OK with male contraceptives, while birth control for women is handwaved away as “entitlement”?  Equating the Pill with a penthouse apartment is just a teensy bit hyperbolic, don’t you think?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=687121933 Carrie Looney

    It’s not just the Pill. In the recent Washington University study, they gave women the option to have more hands-off forms of birth control – hormonal implants, IUDs, etc., the kind of ‘premium’ birth control that women without good (or any) insurance don’t usually have access to.  Many chose these methods over the Pill.  I certainly did (I have a premium health plan, simply because I’m lucky enough to work for a good employer), and Implanon is _so_ much better than the Pill.  I don’t have to remember to take the pill every morning, I don’t have to worry about taking it with me when I travel, etc. – and because it’s easier, it’s also more _effective_ in real-life use.  Particularly for people whose lives are likely not as stable and low-stress as mine is (again, I’m lucky).

    I fully support my hard-earned tax dollars going to provide ‘penthouse’ birth control to make low-income women’s lives a little easier and to let them take charge of their own fertility.

    FWIW, I’m married, and I have a great deal of desire for my husband and zero desire for kids.  I go for the most effective birth control possible because of that.  I don’t know what I would do if it failed (the chances are infinitesimal, not zero) and I became pregnant; that would be a decision to make in that eventuality, with the help of my doctor and my loved ones, but I would want all options available to me.

    And anyone who thinks otherwise can snort my taint.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sara.rosenbaum.35 Sara Rosenbaum

    what the … ok now I know you’re a troll. You’re saying that we need to STOP THE KILLING, but we shouldn’t spring for the most effective way to STOP THE KILLING since paying budget to STOP MAYBE SOME OF THE KILLING BUT NOT ALL OF IT is probably enough. Wow.

  • AnonymousSam

    I’m sorry, I thought you said you were thirsty? I spit on the ground for you. I suppose now you want me to fetch you a jug of spring water from the Alps?

  • John (not McCain)

    I am in favor of sterilizing filth like you.

  • Lunch Meat

    While people try and demean those that care about stopping the killing
    of innocent life,  over 6000 unborn innocent children are killed each
    week, only 3% due to rape, incest or the life of the mother. Keep trying
    to deflect away from that truth to justify your position.

    This isn’t deflecting. The post demonstrates that the ACA will reduce the number of abortions (by possibly as much as 75%), and thus, according to your own framing, there would be 4500 fewer killings of innocent life every week. Do you support the ACA? If not, you are the one deflecting.

  • Guest5489

    Yeah right! Meanwhile that will not bring back the more 6000 lives snuffed out each week. Yes we should do what we can to reduce the number of abortions by dealing with the absolute selfishness of someone who would kill an innocent life for convenience sake, but stop the killing first.

    Keep justifying!

  • Lunch Meat

    Meanwhile that will not bring back the more 6000 lives snuffed out each
    week.

    I’m confused. Are you saying criminalizing abortion will bring back all those lives?

    Yes we should do what we can to reduce the number of abortions by
    dealing with the absolute selfishness of someone who would kill an
    innocent life for convenience sake, but stop the killing first.

    If you support contraception for all the reduce the number of abortions, then this post isn’t targeting you, and you can rest easy.

    Do you regard having a small lifeform living inside you, stealing your nutrients, disrupting your ability to function day to day, and endangering your life, for the better part of a year, merely inconvenient?

  • Guest5489

    I am saying that if abortion were much, much harder to get we would save those that, next week and the week after, will be killed. What you propose is that we work only on trying to provide support so women will more likely choose to have their child instead of killing it. That will take years if not more while the body count piles up. That’s just not good enough for a moral and ethical society.

  • JustoneK

    Keep justifying your torture of babies and mothers.

  • Lunch Meat

    I am saying that if abortion were much, much harder to get we would save
    those that, next week and the week after, will be killed. What you
    propose is that we work only on trying to provide support so women will
    more likely choose to have their child instead of killing it. That will
    take years if not more while the body count piles up. That’s just not
    good enough for a moral and ethical society.

    If abortion were much, much harder to get, and that was the only change from society as it is now, no net lives would be saved–because women would start dying, either from botched abortions or from pregnancy complications. We have tried this before and it didn’t work. Your refusal to recognize that women are people too and that their desires and needs should be taken into account–as well as your shaming of women who dare to have sex without being independently wealthy and healthy enough to support a baby–is cruel and short-sighted, and your proposal will not work.

  • Carstonio

    There’s no way to make abortions harder to obtain without shaming women who don’t want to be mothers. The mandatory ultrasound laws are based in the horridly sexist notion that all women want to be mothers and that the ones who seek abortions are in denial. The laws’ advocates apparently want a Movie of the Week ending where the woman sees the ultrasound and breaks down in tears, unable to go through with the procedure.

    And there’s no way to make abortion a criminal offense and enforce such a law without controlling women, even ones who would never have an abortion. One inevitable consequence is women seeking abortions would serve prison time and give birth behind bars.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

     Piling up body counts?  Shoot an abortion doctor!  Justifiable homicide in the line of saving lives, right?

    And yet, something tells me you won’t be putting your ass on the line like that to prevent all these horrible deaths you claim to be so concerned about.

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

    You are completely wrong. Official: studies have shown that the abortion rate in countries that ban abortion are no different than in countries that allow it. Country with the fewest abortions, IIRC, is Norway, which has free birth control for everyone and everyone knows how their icky parts  fit together. 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Yes, but they do it without adopting the proper stance so their low abortion rate doesn’t count.

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

    I am saying that if abortion were much, much harder to get we would save those that, next week and the week after, will be killed.

    Not true: 
     Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. For example, the abortion rate is 29 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in Africa and 32 per 1,000 in Latin America—regions in which abortion is illegal under most circumstances in the majority of countries. The rate is 12 per 1,000 in Western Europe, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds.
    Source: Guttmacher 2012 study, found here: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_IAW.html
    Specific sub-section source: Sedgh G et al., Induced abortion worldwide in 2008: levels and trends, Lancet, 2012, (forthcoming)

    Don’t take my word for it. Follow the link, read the report. Access to birth control of all types leads to fewer abortions. Making laws that restrict abortion, or require numerous unnecessary steps, does not. 

  • Daughter

     What you propose is that we work only on trying to provide support so
    women will more likely choose to have their child instead of killing it.

    Yes, exactly.

    That will take years if not more while the body count piles up.

    No, it won’t. Most birth control methods take effect within days or weeks, and some immediately. And per this discussion, a plan to provide birth control without copays has already gone into effect! What do you know!

    And as for social supports for women facing unplanned pregnancies, that’s an issue of community will. Many such programs already exist, and funding them can happen in a short time  frame (usually less than a year), if the will to do so exists.

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

     

    What you propose is that we work only on trying to provide support so
    women will more likely choose to have their child instead of killing it.

    I’d settle for you working on trying to provide support in addition to trying to take that choice away from women. Actually, at this point I’d settle for you not interfering when we try to provide support, frankly.

    That will take years if not more while the body count piles up.

    On your account, you have already wasted decades trying to implement your preferred strategy. Spending years on this project is clearly not something you’re opposed to.

    If you knew for certain that over the next twenty years trying to restrict choice would result in more abortions than expending the same resources trying to provide support, would that change your strategy?

    That’s just not good enough for a moral and ethical society.

    If abortion is immoral and unethical, then a moral and ethical society does what reduces the number of abortions. Even if that turns out to be letting women make their own choices and giving them the resources to do so.

  • AnonymousSam

    I am saying that if abortion were much, much harder to get we would save those that, next week and the week after, will be killed.

    Historically speaking, when abortion is almost impossible to get, that doesn’t stop women from getting it anyway — but it has a tendency to kill them in the process. In my book, that’s unarguably murder and not good enough for a moral and ethical society.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ray.mcintyre Ray McIntyre

    A foetus is human life in potentia, the needs and rights of a foetus do not outweigh the needs and rights of the actual life carrying it.

  • Nezumichan

    But making it harder to get has been proven not to reduce abortion rates.

  • Münchner Kindl

     How many born children die each week of hunger or treatable, but uninsured, illness (in the US and in the world)? Stop deflecting from the truth that people only care about life when it goes against women.

  • JustoneK

    Clearly he only cares about life when it’s rich people, who contribute to society, unlike those dirty bottomfeeding mooches, breeding and eating without a care in the world.

  • cwgmpls

     So why don’t pro-lifers back universal healthcare?  Or state-funded daycare?  Or financial subsidies to families with babies?  German does all of the above and its abortion rate is 1/3 that of the U.S.

    Making abortions criminal will not reduce abortions.  Germany has proven how to reduce abortions.  Why don’t you support implementing Germany’s family support policies in the U.S.?

  • http://www.facebook.com/sara.rosenbaum.35 Sara Rosenbaum

    I’m glad to know that you and the rest of the Right are fighting to make sure that health care, welfare and education are there for those potential 6000 unwanted children/week, and their mothers, and adopting so many of those babies into your loving homes.

  • Baby_Raptor

    That would be because those of us who are doing the supposed demeaning are in touch with reality. We understand that an embryo is not an “innocent child.” If you choose to believe otherwise, fine. But be a decent person, if you can scrape it up, and don’t force it on us. 

  • Loki100

    And over five million innocent BORN children die of hunger each year. They die because vile people like you don’t want to give them food due to your hatred of the “entitlement mentality.” The only person who is “deflect[ing]” and “justify[ing]” here is you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vendor-Xeno/1080204331 Vendor Xeno

    If conservatives who claim to value the lives of the unborn were honest about it, they’d consider the millions of unborn that die for reasons other than abortions a national epidemic. Seriously, if we look at all the fetuses that for a variety of reasons fail to reach term,we have an epidemic on our hands on par with cancer. And yet there’s no effort made on the part of the pro-life crowd to address this at all. So how can their claims regarding the value of these lives be taken seriously? The only lives they seem to care about are the ones wedded to their political position, all the other lives lost they are indifferent to. 

  • Guest5489

    Humans, born and unborn, dying because of disease etc. is not even remotely the same thing as choosing to end a healthy life. Keep justifying!

  • Random_Lurker

     If protecting already-existing, healthy lives is your goal, have you adopted an abandoned drug baby that desperately needs someone to care for it?

    No?

    So where’s the “life” part of that “pro-life” thing? You’re just anti-abortion.

  • Guest5489

    First of all you don’t know what I have done or what actions I have taken. Second of all you are simply deflecting but I would be in support of our government/churches/foster families providing assistance in those cases.

  • Random_Lurker

     It’s not deflecting to point the inconsistencies in the pro-life position.  Or the typical position, anyway.  When someone says they are pro life, and then turns around and doesn’t support actual lives such as needy children in search of adoptions, it shows very clearly that they are not pro-life after all.  That makes their motives and goals suspect and shows you can’t trust them, which is worth pointing out.

    You havn’t yet addressed the main question of the thread, from the OP: do you, or do you not, support the ACA’s condtraception mandate, given that the mandate will reduce the number of abortions far more then just making it illegal would?

  • John (not McCain)

    “First of all you don’t know what I have done or what actions I have taken. ”
    I bet all of whatever you’ve done involves you being a complete jackass.  Just donated $10 to Planned Parenthood because of you. Keep posting!  Think of the children!

  • AnonymousSam

    (Not so) hypothetical question: Say a woman is two months pregnant, but has recently discovered that she has leukemia. Giving her chemotherapy will terminate the pregnancy, but may give her a chance to live. She will not live long enough to bring the pregnancy to term without chemotherapy. Either way, the pregnancy ends and the unborn child dies, but local law considers chemotherapy’s effect of terminating the pregnancy to be abortion.

    What do you advise?

  • JustoneK

    WTF is with these randomass trolls.

    Women don’t need to justify not letting their other children starve to death in favor of a new pregnancy.  They don’t need to justify not letting their other family members, their ailing parents, go without medical care in favor of a new pregnancy.  They don’t need to justify keeping their own sanity, possible jobs, careers, education over a new pregnancy.

    Either you want healthy and unhealthy lives to end right now in favor of the unborn, or you want to prevent the unborn from interfering and then living through that exact same shit the living are dealing with.  That is what you are advocating, you sick fuck.

    You want babies to be born into torture.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Keep justifying!

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.  /inigomontoya

  • Guest5489

    It means exactly what I think it means:

    1. 
    make something seem reasonable: to serve as an acceptable reason or excuse for something ( often passive )2. give somebody reason: to give somebody an acceptable reason for taking a particular action ( often passive )

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

    OK, if that’s exactly what “justifying” means, why do you keep using it as though it’s a bad thing?  Using just the dictionary definition given, justifying is exactly what we ought to be doing, and what you’re doing an awful lot of yourself.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I thinkk 5489 is focusing on the ‘seems reasonable’ bit, which does rather imply ‘is not in fact reasonable’. There’s words that don’t carry that implication, which is probably why 5489 isn’t using them.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.  
    /inigomontoya

    Beat me to it.  :)

  • TheFaithfulStone

    What if opposition to legal abortion wasn’t really based on a desire to
    reduce the number of abortions, but were based mainly, instead, on a
    desire to control and punish women?

    Bonus points if as many of those women as possible are minorities!

  • JustoneK

    Oh, but those minorities there, they aren’t in poor underclasses because of racism, they’re just not working hard enough.  This is a meritocracy after all.

    Ugh.

  • Random_Lurker

    I’ve gotta go but I’ll leave this here.  Anyone who wants to make abortion illegal should watch this.  It’s a news special by Walter Kronkite from when abortion ACTUALLY WAS ILLEGAL IN USA.  Want to know what will happen if it’s outlawed? We don’t have to guess.  Here it is.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=3204142n

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I got this editorial cartoon linked at me today: The new GOP logo

  • Vermic

    I like Bennett as a cartoonist; he’s able to make his points without overloading the detail and labels.  And his opinions are generally non-awful.

  • Madhabmatics

    I remember when Chesterton wrote “Let all babies be born, we can drown the ones we don’t like” as a joke. It is not a joke anymore in the year of our lord 2012

  • Kirala

     Meh, I think it’s alarmist to think anyone would non-jokingly suggest drowning babies in 2012. Eating them, however, has been a popular option since 1729, at least. Let no man talk to me of other expedients…

  • Münchner Kindl

    I’m a bit surprised that Fred thinks this is news.

    For over a decade, since Bush slewed funds from sex-ed. programs that worked towards “abstinence-only” programs, all numbers have shown that sex ed. prevents pregnancies better than abstinence (because it fails too often), and also prevents other health problems that women have there (PLAN calls the classes they give in the 3rd world … reproductive health because it’s about women’s parts.

    So if the pro-lifers were serious about preventing abortions from unwanted pregnancies, they would support those programs. Instead they cling to the disproven idelogy that if you don’t tell horny teens about sex (other than icky, don’t do it) they won’t, but if you tell them how, they will go at it like rabid rabbits.

    This has shown us for a long time that for the consies, pro-life = anti-women.

    It’s also why so many pro-lifers = consies = fundie christians are FOR death penalty. After all, these aren’t innocent children used as hostages against women; those are bad (often black) men who have sinned once. It’s not like Jesus told Petrus to forgive 70 times 70 if the brother had sinned. (Oh wait he did). No for consies Christians it’s three strikes for criminals and death penalty for killers, because “Father forgive them they don’t know what they do” doesn’t apply. (Over here, people ask me in consternation how pro-life = pro death penalty, and when I try to explain, say “that’s crazy”.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-White/1605859612 Sue White

    So if the pro-lifers were serious about preventing abortions from unwanted pregnancies, they would support those programs.

    They’re not interested in preventing abortions, or reducing the demand.  Their goal is to make it unavailable altogether.

  • Münchner Kindl

    I don’t remember the link, but some time ago somebody linked to a study on what the reason for abortions was, and the stereotype of “unwed underage teen girl who wants to finish school not ruin her life” was less than 30 %; a big percentage were mothers in their 40s and older who had already had one or more children who were now almost grown up. They knew exactly from experience what a pregnancy meant for them and their body; and what joy their children were; but faced with a late-comer, they decided against it.

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

    So are saying that people should have no personal responsibility for
    their own choices? That if you choose to make a baby someone else should
    pay for it?

    *sigh* This tired old piece of crap gets hauled out again and again even by those who should know better.

    Really, you can’t polish a turd. Stop trying.

  • JustoneK

    It also conveniently ignores rape.

  • Kirala

     And ironically, it objectifies the baby in the exact way that the “pro-lifer” is “trying to avoid”. If the baby is a human being, it deserves a human life – and it made no choices in its own existence for which it ought to be held accountable.

    On the other hand, if it’s just an electric train set that Susie begged for but failed to take out of the rain, it’s Susie’s problem, not ours.

  • Dan Audy

    Really, you can’t polish a turd. Stop trying.

    Actually you can.  However, it still stinks just as bad.

  • MaryKaye

    By insisting that poor people rely on condoms because other forms of birth control are more expensive, you take power out of the hands of the woman.  If she is raped, she cannot force the rapist to use a condom.  If she is under pressure (from a date/boyfriend/spouse) to have sex she may well not be able to persuade them to use a condom.  If a mistake is made in condom use, the person making the mistake is not the one paying the heavier price for the unwanted pregnancy. Taking the Pill or using an IUD transfers the power to the hands of the person most at risk.  Having good male contraceptives *too* would be excellent, and the condom is a good disease prevention tool, but I cannot support “condoms only for the poor” because it is too disempowering for women.

    Also, different individuals with different lifestyles, bodies, and other factors will have different needs for birth control, and this should be respected.  I cannot take the Pill, for example; I react horribly to estrogen.  I had to take it for 2 months due to bleeding problems and I developed obsessive/compulsive disorder and anger management problems–it was awful.  But I get along fine with an estrogen-free IUD.  Other people find the IUD messes up their periods or leads to frequent infections, and they need something else.

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

    I was just going to point out the same thing as MaryKaye:  like any other medication or medical procedure, one size does not fit all.  As well as different women having different needs re. hormonal birth control, there is also, for some, the issue of latex allergies.  Non-latex condoms are difficult to find, and also considerably more expensive.

    For that matter, who says that contraception has to be either barrier or hormonal, but not both?  There’s always “double Dutch” (named for its popularity in the Netherlands):  condoms plus pill.

    Another reason why women need full capability to choose whichever contraceptive method is right for them is the issue of birth control sabotage.  Implants and IUDs would, I imagine, be a boon to women with abusive or manipulative partners attempting to control them through an unwanted pregnancy — but since they often don’t know about the sabotage, abortion must remain a back-up option.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     If she is raped, she cannot force the rapist to use a condom.

    I dimly remember hearing about one rape case where the victim managed to beg the rapist into wearing a condom. 

    The court decided that made it ‘consensual’.

    WHARRGARBL

  • Robyrt

    Every time this comes up I feel the need to point out that the “pro-life movement” (essentially a right-wing political organization) doesn’t represent all pro-life people by any stretch. I am both pro-life and pro-contraception, for all the sound reasons stated in the original post. I have no sympathy for the Catholic Bishops of America or anyone else whining about their religious freedom being infringed because their non-religious organizations have to play by the rules.

    I do think there can be good justifications for outlawing something we find morally wrong or socially undesirable even if that does not affect the rate at which it occurs. If you could decrease the rate of child abuse by decriminalizing it, would you?

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, but I also wouldn’t insist on its being outlawed and then avoid any question of what the punishment for offenders should be, as anti-legal-abortion types invariably do. Nor would I insist on its being outlawed and then punish the people who have no choice in the matter and not the offenders, as anti-legal-sex-work types invariably do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=687121933 Carrie Looney

    “If you could decrease the rate of child abuse by decriminalizing it, would you?”

    I know you threw that off as a flip hypothetical, but my immediate reaction is ‘hell yes.’  I have no idea how the simple act of decriminalizing it would possibly reduce its instance, but convince me…

    Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if education and the thing we’re already discussing here – women’s control over their own fertility – had a far stronger impact on reducing child abuse than criminalizing it.  So even if I took your false equivalence at face value, I wouldn’t find it persuasive.

  • Daughter

     Maybe decriminalizing would result in people prone to be abusive coming forward for counseling and treatment.

  • banancat

    I fully support decriminalizing prostitution, which is responsible for much child abuse, because decriminalizing it would reduce some of that abuse. So my answer to your question is yes, only if there is good evidence that decriminalization will be effective.

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

    I do think there can be good justifications for outlawing something we find morally wrong or socially undesirable even if that does not affect the rate at which it occurs.

    I think you meant to say there can be good justifications even if outlawing something doesn’t positively effect the frequency. 
    Because, as we’ve seen over & over in history, outlawing things we find morally or socially intolerable often has a history of negative side effects.

    Instead of flip hypotheticals, why didn’t you choose something that many people do find morally wrong/socially undesirable, for which criminalization/decriminalization has been tested? Something like, say, consumption of alcohol in the United States? 

    Prohibition didn’t eliminate drinking in the U.S.
    It didn’t cure the social ills it claimed it would.
    It did expose drinkers to unsafe, unregulated products that caused blindness and death.
    The people negatively affected during prohibition were the poor, especially minorities. The affluent weren’t drinking adulterated moonshine and going blind; they were able to flaunt the laws with bribes, private services, or simply traveling out of country to legally purchase alcohol. 

    Notice any parallels to our current topic? 

    If you could decrease the rate of child abuse by decriminalizing it, would you?

    When we treat child abuse as a public health, safety, and education issue instead of a criminal one, we do see decreased rates of abuse. (Where have I heard this before?) When abusers are required to receive education, are monitored and corrected during gradually increasing access to their children, and further monitored to look for evidence of relapses, we get lower rates. 

    Abortion rates are the consequences of unwanted pregnancies. Addressing the root cause, through comprehensive sex education in public schools and increased access to contraception, leads to fewer abortion rates. 

  • alsafi

    If good, solid evidence indicated that decriminalization of child abuse would actually decrease the number of children being abused, then yes, I would. Because if that was the case, it would mean that obviously, the way we are approaching prevention of child abuse was not working. And the important thing, then, would be to reduce the occurrence of abuse, even if it meant decriminalization, as counter-intuitive as that might sound. A law that is actually working against its own desired outcome should be rethought. The actual, living victims would deserve better than to be used as footballs in order to keep a law on the books simply to make us feel good about ourselves. If decriminalization of child abuse would mean that measurable numbers of children would never have to experience what I did growing up, you’d better believe I’d be out there knocking on doors to try and make that happen.

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

    This statement:

    “If you could decrease the rate of child abuse by decriminalizing it, would you?”

    Contradicts:

    “If you could decrease the rate of child abuse by decriminalizing it, would you?”

    If criminalizing abortion doesn’t decrease, then why exactly are you criminalizing it?

  • ako

    If you could decrease the rate of child abuse by decriminalizing it, would you?

     I wouldn’t want to do that, because I have an emotional side that goes “Child abusers are complete scum and deserve to suffer horribly for what they did, so therefore it would be good to make that happen.”  However, that side isn’t actually very good at decision-making, so I don’t make it the authority in terms of how I treat people.

    If there was evidence saying that legalizing child abuse would decrease it, I’d look it over with aggressive skepticism, because if I supported that policy and the evidence was wrong, the consequences would be horrible.  (Also, because it’d be really easy to fudge the definition of abuse in a way that would create the illusion of a decrease, but that’s not relevant to the analogy.)  However, if I was truly convinced that legalizing child abuse really would reduce it, I’d accept that actually protecting abused children was more important than satisfying my own personal vengeful feelings, and support the action that it made me sick to contemplate.  Because I don’t want to look at a battered child and go “I could have helped you, but it would have required me to do something emotionally uncomfortable.”

  • AnonymousSam

    If you decriminalized child abuse, even if it reduced the rate, it would leave no legal recourse for those who continued to be abused.  In order for this to appear to be a valid choice, it would have to eliminate child abuse, not “reduce” it.

  • Tapetum

    How about if it were decriminalized, but provisions were left in place to allow other recourse – like removing the children from the home, if other measures were unable to stop the abuse?

    The thing that gets me is that criminalizing abortion doesn’t just not reduce the number, it drastically increases the number of women who die or are permanently injured. If we were to relate it back, it’s as if keeping child abuse criminal not only caused more child abuse, but more spousal battery and murder as well. The pro-forced birth brigade can only justify it by either hand-waving it, or by saying, effectively, that the sluts deserved it. So dead women don’t matter – but we’re the immoral ones. Got it.

  • AnonymousSam

    I don’t know how you can enforce nonexistent laws to remove a child from abusive parents who aren’t breaking the law by being abusive, and if you’ll recall the tendencies of abusers, this child is unlikely to be offer much initiative in opening up and telling everyone that he or she wants to leave.

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

    @AnonymousSam: “decriminalizing” doesn’t mean “removing all laws from the books”, it means “removing criminal penalties”. If you park in a no-parking zone, there are no criminal penalties: you will not face imprisonment. If you are caught turning without using your turn signal while driving, you will not be detained. (unless you live in Texas) 

    The suggestion to decriminalize child abuse means that abusers won’t face jail time, a criminal record that shows up on background checks, or lengthy parole. 
    It does not suggest that the state is powerless to act against abusive parents, merely that the consequences for child abuse to parents will not include being thrown in jail and receiving a permanent criminal conviction.

  • JustoneK

    The citations in this one are really nice:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/10/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement.html

  • Random_Lurker

    Lots of good arguments here with a surprisingly wide range of viewpoints. Kudos to the online community.

    Sadly, since this is such a Tribal Identification issue, none of that will matter at all to those most vocal about it.  I think Fred is on the right track by pointing out how tribal and hypocritical the PL movement is.  If they can be discredited, they lose their political power, then we can move on to valuable discussion instead of Todd Akin style politics.

  • Taina

    re: The “abstinence is murder” discussion; I recently spent some time reading through a collection of Finnish folktales gathered in the nineteenth century and came across various versions of this gem.

     (TRIGGER WARNINGS: death by childbirth, What God Does To Women Who Don’t Want Lots Of Babies)

    A young girl either witnesses or is told about a really difficult birth, which scares her so badly that she decides never to go through it herself. After some searching, she finds an unusually understanding man who agrees to marry her in the understanding that they’ll never having sex. Many decades later, the woman is dying of old age, still a virgin. At midnight,  the door to her sickroom opens, and fifteen tiny, hideous creatures enter. She demands to know who they are, and they explain that they’re the ghosts of the children she was supposed to have birthed during her life. The ending of the story varies, but usually involves the woman having to suffer the pain of fifteen labors at once and/or going to hell for defying God’s plans.

    Now, I know there isn’t a one-to-one correlation between the worldview and the stories of any given culture, but still. YIKES.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Okay, that trumps the CS Lewis next-Jesus-wasn’t-born-because-contraception thing. Ugh.

  • Daughter

    Two stories: first, re: non-condoms being compared to mansions and Mercedes. I had an IUD inserted last year, something my doctor said was preferable to hormonal birth control now that I’m over 40.

    Using my mom as a guide, I’m a good 10 years away from menopause.  The IUD cost $800.  That works out to $6.15 per month for the next 10 years.  That’s much less than the Pill, and not much more than the condom for regular sexual activity.

  • Daughter

    Second: I had my one and only child in my 30’s – she’s now 7. I always wanted more children, but she was conceived during our “year from hell.” During that year, my husband, a diabetic, had emergency open heart surgery; my father-in-law died; one sister-in-law had a stroke, another had kidney failure and a subsequent transplant, two relatives died of cancer, and our car was totaled.

    I had gone off the pill because my husband was unable to work and had high medication costs (even with insurance), and the pill was one expense we couldn’t afford. So when his doctor said we could try sex again, we weren’t sure if anything would happen exactly (because ED is a side effect of all he was going through), so we didn’t want to stop to put on a condom in case he did get an erection.

    And guess what, I conceived. But we wanted children, so this was a wanted pregnancy, and I was healthy and working, so we thought it would all work out.

    Well, I ended up having a very high-risk pregnancy, hospitalized three times and on bed rest for about 4 months of it. (My husband joked that when he was at his sickest point, he had thought to himself that maybe someday he’d take care of me the way I had taken care of him. He just didn’t think it would happen that soon). And so we had, for a period of time, no one in our household able to work.

    A pro-life pregnancy support center helped us during that time, and I am forever grateful for that, and forever grateful for our daughter. But we ended up drowning in medical and other bills from that time in our lives, and have only been able to begin  rebuilding our finances in the last year after declaring bankruptcy.

    I knew, after having my daughter, that I never wanted to get pregnant again, even though I had always wanted more than 1 child.  We would never recover financially from losing my income again; and I could never physically go through that again – I still have physical challenges left over from the pregnancy. And now I have a child to take care of; I can’t imagine being bedridden like that again, especially when she was younger (and now any pregnancy would be even riskier because of my age).

    But birth control was a challenge. I gave birth at a Catholic hospital, which doesn’t perform tubal ligations, and because of my husband’s health challenges, a vasectomy would be risky. His on and off problems with ED means he can’t use a condom. So it was the Pill for me, until I got my IUD.  The 6 years before getting the IUD were scary times for me, because I knew the Pill wasn’t 100% full-proof. For the first time in my life I began to realize that I would consider an abortion if something went wrong and I got pregnant.

    Someone on here quoted a statistic that a majority of women who have abortions are over 40 and already have children. Thankfully, I didn’t get pregnant again, but I very easily could have been one of them.

  • Madhabmatics

     Thank you for sharing your experiences.

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

    Thank you for your story, and best wishes for your family’s future.

  • Cradicus

    I like when trolls just show up and start making demands of folks in discussions and then move the goalposts and pull out the ol “You’re still wrong TRY AGAIN” thing when confronted with evidence/other viewpoints. That’s a good trolling style, if a little obvious. Why folks keep going multiple rounds with people like that is beyond me.

  • Katie

    Our obnoxious guest is also ignoring the fact that sometimes, women have abortions because its the best thing for everyone involved, including the fetus.
    (Warning, gross and traumatic medical details to follow)

    I’ve already told my abortion story here, but I’ll recap.  Last year, I became pregnant.  The pregnancy was very much planned, and very much wanted.  At seven weeks, I developed a hematoma, and started bleeding.  This sent me rushing to the doctor, which lead to a series of ultrasounds, which lead to me discovering, at nine weeks, that I was pregnant with severely conjoined twins.  They were joined along the entire abdomen, and there was only one umbilical cord, which connected them to a single placenta.  This meant that they could not get enough oxygen and nutrients to develop normally, one fetus was already showing signs of abnormal brain development.  The most likely outcome was that sometime between where I was, and twenty weeks, I would miscarry, which would be dangerous and difficult.    In the highly unlikely event that I were to be able to carry to term, a separation might not be possible, and even if separation was possible, there might not be a full set of developed organs.  Needless to say, separation would have killed one baby immediately.  Either way, there was no good outcome.  There was only pain and death.  For the fetuses, and possibly for me as well.

    So, I did the only thing I could.  I chose to have an abortion.  It was better for me, and it meant that the nine week old fetuses never reached a point in their development where they were capable of feeling pain, or being aware of their suffering.  And then, to put the cherry on top of the shit sundae, I had to jump through all the hoops that assholes like our obnoxious guest have put in place to make sure that women who choose to get an abortion suffer.

    In case anyone is wondering, my mental and physical health are much, much better in the little less than a year that have passed since the abortion, and I’m happy to say that I’m pregnant again.  Its still early days, but this fetus appears to be healthy.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Thank you for sharing. Sorry for your loss and best wishes this time around.

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

    Technically, our obnoxious guest isn’t ignoring your situation, he’s marginalizing it.  (he has yet to return with any evidence or citation for his numbers)

  • Katie

     I thought of that, but he seems to be assuming that the 97% of pregnancies that are done for reasons that are not rape or to save the mother’s life are done for convenience, so I thought ‘ignoring’ was equally apropos.
    And to be clear, I don’t think that I’m in any way special because  I was aborting a wanted pregnancy out of dire need.  As I was in the waiting room, it was painfully, horribly obvious that none of the women there wanted to be there.  Like me, they were choosing the least-bad option.

  • Daughter

     Thank you for sharing, and my good wishes for this pregnancy also.

  • Lunch Meat

    In case anyone is wondering, my mental and physical health are much, much better in the little less than a year that have passed since the abortion, and I’m happy to say that I’m pregnant again.  Its still early days, but this fetus appears to be healthy./blockquote>

    So glad to hear things are going well this time!

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

    Chiming in with thanks for your story, condolences for what you and your husband went through, and best wishes for the current pregnancy.

  • MaryKaye

    I like Franklin Adams’ poem about Prohibition, which also seems to apply here:
    Prohibition is an awful flop.

    We like it.

    It can’t stop what it’s meant to stop.

    We like it.

    It’s left a trail of graft and slime,

    It don’t prohibit worth a dime,

    It’s filled our land with vice and crime.

    Nevertheless, we’re for it.

     

  • Random_Lurker

     It’s been clear for a long time that pro-lifers are not pro-life.  It’s been clear for a long time that they are not willing to put their money where their mouth is.  Still, it’s their rhetoric that continues to dominate the national conversation.  I think that’s probably not a coincidence; I think they like (or are being manipulated by leaders who like) the power that comes from scaring people.

    Firstly, it’s been known for a long time that the “frivolous sex” kind of sterotype for who gets abortions is not true.  A lot of them buy into it anyway, though they don’t talk about it publicly much. This 1998 survey shows how it was broken down 14 years ago (http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/facts/reasonsabortions.html).  Unfortunately the top reason on the list is kinda vague, but all three of the top choices relate in some way to the mother/family’s ability to care for a(nother) child.  It looks like it’s a decision that’s being made responsibly, with a care for what kind of life the potential child would have.

    Second, scroll to the bottom to find this:

    “An April 2004 Zogby
    poll found that 56% of Americans support legal abortion in only three or
    fewer circumstances:  when the pregnancy results from rape or incest or
    when it threatens the life of the mother.”This means that as long a 8 YEARS AGO, abortion could have been outlawed by majority vote IF IT INCLUDED THOSE EXEMPTIONS.  That his was never done, or even talked about, very clearly shows that pro-lifers never wanted to end abortions; the means have been within their grasp all this time, and they have not reached for it.  And if the numbers have changed, or 56% isn’t high enough, combine that result with the other survey results: Health and sexual assault exemptions, plus a campaign to help pregnant women pay their maternity bills and find homes for those children, could have reduced the number of abortions by what looks like about 70%.  Overnight.  Instead, all that pro-life fundraising money goes into scare ads, political lobbies, and Republican election campaigns.  Here’s the main point summarized: If pro-lifers were really pro-life, they could all but end abortion within the next election cycle.  The data has always been there, telling them how to do it.  They could have done this any time in the last 14 years, minimum.  The fact that they have not reveals a great deal about the movement and its motives.

  • Random_Lurker

     Bad link due to a misplaced ).  Erase it at the end, or use this one instead

    http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/facts/reasonsabortions.html

  • Mary Kaye

    AnonymousSam wrote: 

    She gets pregnant. She knows that there’s not a chance in Hell that she’ll be able to afford this child. Not any possible way.

    If she is young and healthy and white, she can very possibly get financial support from a childless couple in return for promising to give them first crack at adopting her baby.

    When I realized I was infertile I attended, once, a support group for the childless couples who try this route.  It’s a pretty awful process.  All parties involved tend to be desperate, which attracts predators.  Peoples’ emotions are not easily pushed aside to ‘do the rational thing’ so there are a lot of last-minute, ill-advised changes of plans on all sides.  And basically, you are getting money involved someplace it’s not at all appropriate–the arrangements, while legally regulated, can sure feel like “buying a baby.”

    We decided we couldn’t be involved in this, and adopted an older child instead.

    If the woman is not young, not healthy, or not white, this route is not likely to work out well for her.  And depending on her personality, bearing the child and giving him/her up for adoption may do significant, lasting emotional harm to her.  Finally, if the child is not healthy the arrangement may fall apart catastrophically, leaving her with a child she can’t raise, or landing the child with DSHS–neither of them good options.  (I live every day with the consequences of a child’s being in foster care too long.  They aren’t good.)

    There are *no good solutions* to this situation currently.  People who pretend there are are trying to make themselves feel better at the expense of disconnecting from reality.  I don’t like abortion but there are circumstances in which it’s the best choice available to the individual woman.  Certainly it’s one of the better choices available to AnonymousSam’s woman, especially if she is not young, healthy and white.  In any case she’s the one who has to live with it, so I shouldn’t get to choose for her, and neither should anyone else.

  • Carstonio

     In the abstract sense, yes, abortion is the preferable to the alternative. In the specific sense, no one other than the woman herself should be making the determination as to which alternative is preferable.

  • AnonymousSam

    It’s pretty heavily dependent on how generous other people feel toward her. The scenario generally assumes “not very” since quite a lot of women in that situation (and the one I was thinking of) are generally treated like the scum of the Earth for daring to get pregnant under these circumstances. I’ve known a few who still had the child and made it work, but never for a moment would you ever forget what the family gave up to have that minimal level of functionality. Significantly crooked teeth, a house with no front door (much less electricity), a water jug for bathing needs, food brought home from McDonald’s where the mother worked (she had to walk 6 miles every day to get there)…

    She made it work, but I look at how and I simply don’t wish that extra level of complication on anyone, much less without their full consent.

  • AnonaMiss

    Incidentally, if we want to be consistent in our treatment of individuals across species, we can look to animal behaviorists, e.g. the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_test .

    Presumably a human infant below the age of having the cognitive capability to pass the mirror test lacks one of the primary components of personhood – the existence of a self-concept. That the more sapient animals, despite having evolved their near-sapience independently, pass the mirror test suggests that it is indeed a ‘symptom’ of personhood or near-personhood. Because individual infants may have other reasons for failing the mirror test (e.g. vision difficulties, linguistic disabilities, not understanding or not caring about the instructions), to be safe, the conservative estimate of when it would cease being morally acceptable to kill an infant (with parental consent) would be at the earliest point at which it’s been suggested that they might pass the test – around 5 months after birth.

    Placing the time of personhood separate from the time of birth also syncs well with our understanding of the progression of hominid natal development – that as our brains became bigger, we were born less and less developed.

    I don’t mind placing the line at birth itself, because that’s the point at which the woman can walk away if she likes; but suggesting that a woman should be forced to risk harm to herself for a non-sapient is ridiculous and awful.

  • Münchner Kindl

    I still don’t accept either the 6 000 per week or the 97% figure without
    backup from neutral sources and therefore am not willing to debate
    them.

    As for decriminalizing abortion: when the German parliament
    got to decide about a new definition of §218 (which regulates abortion)
    after protests by women, they decided that abortion is illegal, but
    will not be punished under most circumstances. This makes clear that
    it’s wrong and not to be used light-heartedly; but also doesn’t punish
    the women who make this difficult decision after counseling or for
    medical/ criminal reasons.

    As for contraception: besides horny
    teens whom the consies deny contraception because they should not have
    *gasp* sex, many married couples have good reason to use contraception:

    The woman has one of many conditions where a pregnancy could threaten her health

    They already have as many children as they can economically and emotionally provide for, further children would be worse off;

    They
    can not afford for the woman to give up her job (given the anti-family
    legislation in the US that does not provide mothers one year off fully
    paid to care for the baby, or one year off for father or mother mostly
    paid to bond with the child)

    In all those cases, covering
    contraception is not against the weird (two-box morals) of consies, yet
    they still are against contraception. Why?

    As for decriminalzing
    child abuse, I don’t understand: Child abuse is already legal  in many
    US states, where parents are allowed to beat their children and can even
    allow teachers to beat the children, as long as the euphemism
    “spanking” is used. Fundies can publish books about how to train a
    toddler to obedience with endless frustration, stunting their
    intellectual development by shutting down their natural curiosity,
    instead making them stay on a boring blanket, without any reaction.

    So
    if teachers who went to college still haven’t taken notice of 130+
    years of development in pedagogy and learning theory (M. Montessori, J.
    Piaget, A.S. Neill, Skinner etc etc all show conclusivly that positive
    reinforcment is the strongest force for learning and that negative
    reinforcment creates fear which hinders learning) and justify spanking
    to keep order – then obviously child abuse is already legal.

  • EllieMurasaki

    In defense of spanking, it’s kind of hard to positively reinforce a pattern of not touching the kitchen knives, and it’s not real bright to let the kid touch the knives with the intent of letting her figure out for herself whether she ought to be touching them. (Stoves are different–she touches the burner, she goes youch and jumps back, she’s got a little burn that’s no big deal to treat. She cuts herself, she’s bleeding and she might have hit a tendon which could fuck her up.) If she’s too young for words to mean a hell of a lot, really the only appropriate response to catching her reaching for the knives is to smack her hard enough for her to associate ‘knives’ and ‘ow’ in a manner that doesn’t risk cutting her fingers off.

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

    Can I convince you to replace “the only appropriate response” with “one appropriate response” here? I have no interest in judging others’ parenting styles here, but as it stands you really do seem to be condemning the parenting style of anyone who doesn’t smack their kids hard in this situation, which seems unjustified.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Consider it so replaced, though what other response would be effective, I’ve no idea.

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

    How about grabbing their wrist firmly, withdrawing their hand forcefully, and a loud “NO”? No whapping required.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If that works for you, awesome.

  • Münchner Kindl

     It works for millions of families outside the US and some families in the US who read about modern parenting.

  • Ursula L

    How about grabbing their wrist firmly, withdrawing their hand forcefully, and a loud “NO”? No whapping required.

    Rather than withdrawing the hand forcefully, gently pushing the back of the hand so that the palm is moving towards the inner wrist will naturally open up a grip on an object.  Thus removing the child’s grip on the object without the risks involved in trying to forcefully remove a sharp knife.  Generally speaking, an adult can hold a small child’s forearm and push the hand down with two or three fingers to release the grip, and use their other hand to take away the unsafe object.  It is forceful in the sense that a child cannot stop it, but not forceful in the sense of causing pain, or using strength to completely overwhelm a child.  
    This is a useful trick to know with infants who might grab and pull your hair.  (Particularly if you have long hair.)  You want them to let go, you don’t want to hurt them, and you don’t want to punish an infant for the natural instinct of grabbing things.  

    A useful distinction to use is the difference between “tools” and “toys.”  (One my parents used.)  A child may play with toys as they please.  Tools require an adult’s help and supervision, both for the child’s safety and because the tool is valuable/expensive enough that the parents reasonably don’t want the child to accidentally damage it.  

    For example, when I was four, the portable record player was a “toy” and I could play my records on it as I pleased, with reasonable limits such as bedtime, mealtimes, or if the noise would otherwise disturb my parents.  (Such as if company was over, or they were listening to a record [no big deal for me, as I could listen to that!] or other odd situations, such as a headache.  Normal consideration for others that any child needs to learn, and will learn easily based on natural empathy.)   The record player on the good stereo was a “tool” and if I wanted to listen to records on it, I needed to ask my parents for help.  

    So, if a child grabs a sharp knife, you take hold of their arm at the wrist, and gently push their hand down to release their hold on the knife, and take the knife away.  As you do this, you can say “Knives are tools, not toys.”  And you do this in the context of a household where parents and children frequently talk about the difference between tools and toys, and that if a child wants to use a tool, they need to talk to the parent first, because tools can either hurt a child or be damaged by being used the wrong way.  

    Nothing (as far as objects goes) is absolutely forbidden.  Some are toys, safe for a child.  Some are tools, requiring adult supervision, and perhaps not allowed until a child is older.  Objects can shift from one category to the other as the child learns to use the object appropriately. For example, when I was four or five, sharp knives were tools, not to be played with as toys.  But I could use them as a tool, with supervision.  Such as, when my dad made pizza for dinner, helping slice pepperoni, with his supervision.     (Made easier if you don’t keep things like guns in the house, where the safety concerns are amplified and the “toy” possibilities for a small child are nonexistent.)  

    Even now, at age 40, the tool/toy distinction still has meaning in my life.  My e-book reader is a toy, and I’m completely relaxed in using it.   The stove and sharp knives are tools, and if I am using them, it means that I need to pay attention, for the sake of my own safety.  It is a distinction that was not merely a way to control my behavior as a child when dealing with objects unsafe for a child, but a way I was taught to look at the world, considering the safety of myself, others, and things people value.  

    ***

    From my own experience, as a child raised this way, this works wonderfully for keeping a child safe, and teaching a child to be safe, with no need for spanking.  It encourages thoughtfulness about safety, and also an understanding of the need to learn the appropriate use of tools, and the confidence that even if you can’t use a tool safely yet, you will be able to learn to use it safely.  

    I don’t have kids, but I’ve spent years working in group homes for developmentally disabled adults, some of whom were at a developmental level where the concerns you have about children and sharp knives applied to their own safety.  And this sort of method worked quite well for keeping them safe.  

    It was also effective for helping them learn to keep themselves safe, with the usual provision with significant developmental disabilities that a lesson is rarely learned and retained, but rather is often a matter of consistent and ongoing reinforcement of the lesson.  

    ***

    The few people who had trouble with this type of safety-learning were those who had been spanked/hit/physically-abused in their pasts.  The fear of being hit meant that they were fearfully focused on figuring out how to avoid being hit, rather than interested in learning how to be “happy and healthy and safe and sound.”  And even those who had a history of being abused responded positively to rules and instruction that was explicitly about “keeping you and everyone around you happy and healthy and safe and sound.”  The positive ideas of life were wanted, but much harder to take naturally, because of the background of fear.  

    From which I can only conclude that adding spanking or other physical violence to safety-education is counterproductive, because it distracts from the idea that safety is a wonderful thing, and instead necessarily shifts the focus to avoiding physical attacks.  

    And it is downright heartbreaking to have the job of caring for someone who has been abused in their past.  

    ***

    “Sharp knives are tools, not toys, so you don’t play with them like toys because they can hurt if you use them the wrong way” is an absolute truth.  “If you try to treat a knife as a toy rather than a tool, I will stop you, because I love you and it is may job to keep you safe” is also an absolute truth, when said by a loving parent to a beloved child, or even by a mediocre parent to their child.

    “Sharp knives are not toys, and if you play with them you’ll get spanked” is a complete non-sequitur.  It doesn’t teach a child why they shouldn’t play with knives.  It only teaches that if you are caught playing with knives, you’ll get hit. 

  • renniejoy

     I’ve never heard of that approach before; it’s awesome!

    Thank you. :)

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

    As someone who’s hoping to have a kid some time, thank you for this advice.

  • Münchner Kindl

    “Sharp knives are not toys, and if you play with them you’ll get
    spanked”  is a complete non-sequitur.  It doesn’t teach a child why they
    shouldn’t play with knives.  It only teaches that if you are caught playing with knives, you’ll get  hit.

    Bravo. A very good explanation of why fear of punishment doesn’t work.

    This is a useful trick to know with infants who might grab and pull
    your  hair.  (Particularly if you have long hair.)  You want them to let
    go, you don’t  want to hurt them, and you don’t want to punish an infant
    for the natural instinct of grabbing things.  

    If you’re holding the child, or otherwise paying attention, putting
    the child down after a hair-grab for 30 seconds to a minute, saying “no
    hair-pulling” and withdrawing attention briefly, is enough to convey the
    message that hair-grabbing, or other things  that can hurt, aren’t fun,
    aren’t play, and will result in sitting alone on the floor for one  minute while the parent puts their hair up in a bun and takes the time
    to calm  down after being hurt, or is otherwise no longer interested in
    playing when playing  starts to hurt.

    My mother used a different trick with three girls of different ages: when the Baby started to grab onto somebody’s long hair, she would take Baby’s hand and softly unclench it and make a stroking motion “Make ei [nice], not ouch”. Baby quickly copied patting a person’s hair with flat hand as “making ei = being nice, not making ouch”.

    I think it was R. Dreikurs writing in the 30s, asking a father who was sure that “a good thrashing” would teach the kids:
    “Are you ready to bet their life that a good thrashing will keep them from running into traffic (age: toddler, < 6 years) so much that you won't watch them anymore?"
    Father: "Of course not, I still have to pay attention, they might ignore it and traffic's too dangerous!"
    Dreikurs: "So if thrashing won't work sure enough for something dangerous like traffic, why would it work for anything else?"

  • Ursula L

    My mother used a different trick with three girls of different ages: when the Baby started to grab onto somebody’s long hair, she would take Baby’s hand and softly unclench it and make a stroking motion “Make ei [nice], not ouch”. Baby quickly copied patting a person’s hair with flat hand as “making ei = being nice, not making ouch”.

    This makes a great deal of sense.

    My point about pushing the palm towards the inner wrist is that it naturally loosens the grip on the hair (or the grip on anything else being held), with less difficulty or discomfort than trying to pry a grip open.  Strictly a suggestion for physically getting your hair free, without either getting it painfully pulled or hurting a child by trying to pry their grip open with force.  

  • AnonymousSam

    Thank you for taking five posts before getting around to explaining what it was you were talking about. Those four posts of sneering derision do wonders to make your audience that much more receptive to the idea.

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

     I highly doubt that Europe is as culturally homogeneous as Münchner Kindl makes out.

    Especially considering that for a long time, Eastern Europe was isolated from Western Europe so modes of thought regarding child discipline must needs vary from country to country.

  • Münchner Kindl

     I didn’t say Europe is culturally homogenous. The UK took a very long time to understand that corporeal punishment is wrong and outdated. European countries banished barbaric punishments like death penalty and corporal punishment at different rates.

    But in comparision to the US which allows beatings of children (and hasn’t signed the US children rights convention) and has death penalty, yes, Western Europe countries have more in common with each other than with the US. The same way that a person from Boston, from Florida, from Texas and California all have a different culture, and yet more in common with each other regarding deeply held values and conviction than with a person from Spain or Sweden.

    As for Eastern Europe, the Iron Curtain fell over 20 years ago. A whole generation has not only grown up but starts having babies of their own, without ever experiencing communism first-hand and being exposed to Western media and values. And unlike the days after WWII, when teachers were in short supply, this time, teachers and kindergarten teachers got additional schooling to get up to speed on Western curriculum (at least in East Germany after re-unification).

  • Münchner Kindl

     Saying that beating is behind modern pedagogy is a fact. It’s not intended as “sneering derision”, but if you want to take every thing that’s done differently elsewhere as criticsm, because only the American Way is right or what else, then I can hardly stop you.

  • AnonymousSam

    Who said I believed “the American Way” is right? I fully agree with the methods described previously. You, on the other hand, seem determined to treat every American as though they were knuckle-dragging savages.

    It’s only “some Americans who read books about modern parenting” who figure out how to do it properly (the European style), and meanwhile — what? The rest of us are completely ignorant? The fact that the laws don’t prohibit spanking as defined (they do, at least in the states I’ve lived in, have fuzzy language regarding “excessive discipline”) means everyone must agree with beating children? Way to marginalize people.

    30% of Americans are not in favor of the death penalty (including myself and many of the people here). 45% are not in favor of spanking children (including myself and many of the people here). 72% are not in favor of teachers spanking children (including myself and many of the people here).

    Why in the blue blazes are you assuming that I’m in favor of any of these things? Oh, right — because I’m an American and I couldn’t possibly think ill of my country, being a swagging, jingoistic neanderthal like everyone else in this blog, yes?

    Extra points from Gryffindor for the hypocrisy of speaking contemptuously while talking about using positive reinforcement to teach a lesson. Practice what you preach.

  • Münchner Kindl

    It’s only “some Americans who read books about modern parenting” who
    figure out how to do it properly (the European style), and meanwhile —
    what? The rest of us are completely ignorant?

    Like
    I said, it’s that teachers in several states don’t know how to handle
    children except with spanking/ paddling = beating. It’s that right in
    this discussion, people have not heard of other methods to teach
    children besides hitting them.

    I can’t say “x% of Americans use
    non-beating methods” because I don’t have reliable numbers. So I use
    “some” to mean ” a number I don’t know, somewhere between 10% and 40%”.
    It can’t be a very high number because every time beating children is
    discussed, several people chime in with “it’s the only method”.

    The fact that the laws don’t prohibit spanking as defined (they do, at least in the states I’ve lived in, have fuzzy language regarding “excessive discipline”) means everyone must agree with beating children? Way to marginalize people.

    No,
    the fact that the laws in several states allow parents not only to beat
    children at home, but also transfer it to teachers, and not only
    teachers of private, fundie schools, but also normal state schools.
    Again if the teachers themselves don’t know better, and there’s broad
    consensus in the population, noto nly the fundies, but also the
    conservatives one, and the discussion is not to stop corporal punishment
    as wrong altogether, but to limit it to little swats – then it’s
    worrisome.
    I don’t know if every EU country specifically forbids
    beating children or if it goes under the general umbrella of not
    mishandling children. But there is a general consensus that pedagogy
    uses other methods. If I put my child to school in any of the EU
    countries (excepting UK here, which is halfway different), then I can
    expect the child not to be beaten at school by a teacher and for it to
    be ok.*
    The same can not be said for every state in the US.

    30% of Americans are not in favor of the death penalty (including myself
    and many of the people here). 45% are not in favor of spanking children
    (including myself and many of the people here). 72% are not in favor of
    teachers spanking children (including myself and many of the people
    here).

    So 70% of Americans are in favour of
    death penalty. And the number against it is much smaller. So saying
    there is a general favour pro death penalty is not wrong. (I didn’t say
    everybody is for it).
    So 55% of people are in favour of spanking children, which is the majority.
    So
    28% are in favour of teachers spanking children, but the laws that
    allow it still stand. (where did you get the last two figures from?)

    As for how the majority of people here think, I don’t presume that because I didn’t run a poll here.

    Why
    in the blue blazes are you assuming that I’m in favor of any of these
    things? Oh, right — because I’m an American….

    No, because of how you reacted and argued against it.


    for the hypocrisy of speaking contemptuously while talking about using
    positive reinforcement to teach a lesson. Practice what you preach.

    1. I’m not here to teach you.

    2.
    Saying that most Americans – by your own numbers above, 55% – are in
    favour of spanking and therefore 130+ years behind modern pedagogy, esp.
    given that teachers haven’t learned any other methods either, is a
    fact.

    Saying that more than 50% of Americans don’t accept evolution and are therefore 120+ years behind science of biology is a fact.

    Saying
    that a significant portion (might be more than 50% or below, but
    certainly more than 30%, but I don’t have current numbers) of Americans
    don’t accept Global Climate Change and Anthropogenic Global Warming, and
    therefore are 30+ years behind climate science, is a fact.

    Stating any of these facts is not derisive.

    If
    you don’t belong to these Americans, but accept current science, why do
    feel attacked by stating these facts? Why do you call me names for
    stating these facts?

  • P J Evans

    If you don’t belong to these Americans, but accept current science, why do
    feel attacked by stating these facts? Why do you call me names for
    stating these facts?

    Maybe because your posts come across as you being morally superior to us?

  • Münchner Kindl

    So you don’t like that I state facts that are considered obvious here but contested in the US as obvious?

    If you want to assume things about me, I don’t see how I can stop you. I accept evolution and global warming as obvious, too, so I guess according to your logic that makes me morally superior.

    Actually, it mostly makes me frustrated that so many Americans, including many on this board, can’t accept simple facts and look for solutions, but instead argue about the facts themselves.

  • Münchner Kindl

    So you don’t like that I state facts that are considered obvious here but contested in the US as obvious?

    If you want to assume things about me, I don’t see how I can stop you. I accept evolution and global warming as obvious, too, so I guess according to your logic that makes me morally superior.

    Actually, it mostly makes me frustrated that so many Americans, including many on this board, can’t accept simple facts and look for solutions, but instead argue about the facts themselves.

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

    Cool; thank you.

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

    In defense of spanking…

    It’s important to distinguish between  limited use of a technique as part of a larger, more comprehensive approach to discipline, education, and boundary-setting versus a default tool to be used as often as desired, in response to any manner of situations. 

    The ‘spanking’ @f4454954e784e0a00b6fa1dd89e9bfa1:disqus is referring to is the “beat your child for being defiant/rebellious/sinful” business described here.  And for what it’s worth, in the U.S., children can and have been taken from parents using “Biblical” discipline. 

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

    And for what it’s worth, in the U.S., children can and have been taken from parents using “Biblical” discipline.

    I’m surprised. I would have thought they’d have managed to bully Social Services into slinking away after bellowing about lawsuits and their Christianity being under siege for whapping their kids with a leather belt.

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    It’s important to distinguish between  limited use of a technique as
    part of a larger, more comprehensive approach to discipline, education,
    and boundary-setting versus a default tool to be used as often as
    desired, in response to any manner of situations.

    Actually, no. It doesn’t matter if you call beating a child “spanking” or “Biblical discipline” and whether it’s with a paddle in a school or with a slap for a toddler at home. In both cases it’s wrong, and it’s forbidden over here.

    Because pedagogy has discovered other much more effective ways to teach children.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     The thing about spanking is that the same word covers “an open-handed swat on the posterior through pants that is just firm enough to be unpleasant” and also “repeated beating with a leather strap on bare skin with the intent to draw blood and result in utter submission.”  It can therefore be confusing to discuss if when I say I don’t see any major problem with an occasional spanking, I’m talking about the former, and a listener looking for license to assault their children concludes I’m on their side.  I suspect what you’re defending is closer to the former, whereas “real” spanking advocates are leaning toward the latter.

    (Also, be careful about the stove. Burn injuries are notorious for being the sort of thing where you can do a surprising amount of damage in the span between contact with a hot object and becoming aware of the pain.)

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    The thing about spanking is that the same word covers “an open-handed
    swat on the posterior through pants that is just firm enough to be
    unpleasant” and also “repeated beating with a leather strap on bare skin
    with the intent to draw blood and result in utter submission.”  It can
    therefore be confusing to discuss if when I say I don’t see any major
    problem with an occasional spanking, I’m talking about the former, and a
    listener looking for license to assault their children concludes I’m on
    their side.

    Again, not what I meant. I know that a lot of pro-beating adults use the soft definition or argue “spanking is done in a calm manner when breaking rules so that the child knows beforehand and is limited in amount, whereas a beating is uncontrolled in anger with the child not knowing what punishment for what infraction.”

    While the latter is obviously worse than the former, it’s still not necessary to spank at all. No matter how “soft” your swat is, it’s an admission that your method of education failed, because you couldn’t convince your child with another method.

    Do we spank or cane or beat adults in western countries? No, we’ve abolished that. Why? Because it doesn’t work and we consider that we have better methods of changing bad behaviours. (That a large part of the USians who are bent on the revenge principle of law and order make prisons intentionally places of horror doesn’t change this – in the rest of the western world, punishments for adults are non-corporeal, and punishments for children are non-corporeal, too.)

    Generally, when you want a behaviour to discontinue, you don’t pay attention to it and instead encourage good behaviour. Now obviously sharp knives can’t be ignored; but praising a kid for playing with toys or listening to you works tons better than ignoring the child and only swatting it when it’s doing wrong. What the child learns is “I must act up to be noticed at all”, which doesn’t stop bad behaviour.

  • Beroli

     

    Again, not what I meant. I know that a lot of pro-beating adults use
    the soft definition or argue “spanking is done in a calm manner when
    breaking rules so that the child knows beforehand and is limited in
    amount, whereas a beating is uncontrolled in anger with the child not
    knowing what punishment for what infraction.”

    While the latter is obviously worse than the former, it’s still not
    necessary to spank at all. No matter how “soft” your swat is, it’s an
    admission that your method of education failed, because you couldn’t
    convince your child with another method.

    Also, who judges what’s “calm” and what’s “uncontrolled anger”? I can personally testify that the parent-wh0-believes-in-corporal-punishment and the child can have quite different opinions on the subject.

    No, P J Evans, no child “needs” to be hit.

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    Also, who judges what’s “calm” and what’s “uncontrolled anger”?

    That’s precisly one of the reasons to generally stop all corporeal punishment: the advocates always claim that because they “administer discipline” they act in a calm manner; what happens in reality  too often is that the justification of disciplining is used for beatings in anger that escalate.

    The current method seems to be that if a child is beaten bloody, it’s abuse, but if there are no visible marks it’s okay (More correct information on the principles Child Services use are welcome). Forbidding all corporal punishment no matter what makes it easier. (Also demeaning treatment = psychological abuse is also forbidden, but sadly very very very difficult to prove).

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    Also, who judges what’s “calm” and what’s “uncontrolled anger”?

    That’s precisly one of the reasons to generally stop all corporeal punishment: the advocates always claim that because they “administer discipline” they act in a calm manner; what happens in reality  too often is that the justification of disciplining is used for beatings in anger that escalate.

    The current method seems to be that if a child is beaten bloody, it’s abuse, but if there are no visible marks it’s okay (More correct information on the principles Child Services use are welcome). Forbidding all corporal punishment no matter what makes it easier. (Also demeaning treatment = psychological abuse is also forbidden, but sadly very very very difficult to prove).

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    Also, who judges what’s “calm” and what’s “uncontrolled anger”?

    That’s precisly one of the reasons to generally stop all corporeal punishment: the advocates always claim that because they “administer discipline” they act in a calm manner; what happens in reality  too often is that the justification of disciplining is used for beatings in anger that escalate.

    The current method seems to be that if a child is beaten bloody, it’s abuse, but if there are no visible marks it’s okay (More correct information on the principles Child Services use are welcome). Forbidding all corporal punishment no matter what makes it easier. (Also demeaning treatment = psychological abuse is also forbidden, but sadly very very very difficult to prove).

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    Also, who judges what’s “calm” and what’s “uncontrolled anger”?

    That’s precisly one of the reasons to generally stop all corporeal punishment: the advocates always claim that because they “administer discipline” they act in a calm manner; what happens in reality  too often is that the justification of disciplining is used for beatings in anger that escalate.

    The current method seems to be that if a child is beaten bloody, it’s abuse, but if there are no visible marks it’s okay (More correct information on the principles Child Services use are welcome). Forbidding all corporal punishment no matter what makes it easier. (Also demeaning treatment = psychological abuse is also forbidden, but sadly very very very difficult to prove).

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    If she’s too young for words to mean a hell of a lot, really the only
    appropriate response to catching her reaching for the knives is to smack
    her hard enough for her to associate ‘knives’ and ‘ow’ in a manner that
    doesn’t risk cutting her fingers off.

    Do not use your hand if twenty words are enough.
    Do not use twenty words if one word is enough.
    Do not use one word if one look is enough. (Rudolf Dreikurs IIRC).

    Actually there are other methods, considering that in Germany all spanking is forbidden yet we manage to teach children to keep away from kitchen knives or not run out into the street.

    It may require more effort, like watching the child, argueing and explaining more, building a trust relationship so words will work – but it is possible.

  • Ursula L

    If she’s too young for words to mean a hell of a lot, really the only appropriate response to catching her reaching for the knives is to smack her hard enough for her to associate ‘knives’ and ‘ow’ in a manner that doesn’t risk cutting her fingers off.

    If a child is too young for words to mean anything, then you’re talking about a crawling infant, or maybe a toddler.

    And if a child that small gains access to a sharp knife, the person who needs spanking is not the child, but the adult who left a sharp knife where a small child could reach it.  But it is natural even for adults to overlook such things, and the fright a loving parent gets when they see their crawling infant with a sharp knife should be enough for them to learn to be more careful in the future, without any spanking needed.  

    If you smack a child for playing with a knife, they won’t naturally associate the knife with “ow.”  After all, the knife did nothing to hurt them.  The “ow” will be associated, naturally, with you, the person who inflicted the pain.  

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    As for contraception: besides horny
    teens whom the consies deny contraception because they should not have
    *gasp* sex, many married couples have good reason to use contraception:

    I suspect that for a lot of the anti-birth-control crusaders, they have no principled objection to married couples using birth control per se; rather, they are strongly opposed to unmarried couples having the option of safer/non-procreative sex, and, for some reason, the idea that a married couple would want to also use contraception with each other simply doesn’t occur to them — or if it does, they consider it a marginal case that’s acceptable losses in the War On Sluts.

  • Lunch Meat

    I suspect that for a lot of the anti-birth-control crusaders, they have no principled objection to married couples using birth control per se…

    Yes and no. I don’t hang out with the extremely conservative crowd, but I do spend time with a lot of older, more traditionalist people. And I frequently hear that I’m selfish or immature for not wanting children yet, or that I’m not trusting God enough to provide for my family. Most often I say “We’re not ready for kids yet,” and people answer, “Silly, no one’s ready for kids until it actually happens. You just have to go for it.”

    Fortunately, my parents already have grandkids and my in-laws had children late, so that’s one direction we don’t get it from.

  • Daughter

     I call BS on it not occurring to anti-birth control advocates not realizing that married couples use it.  I don’t personally know anyone, no matter  how deeply Catholic or conservative evangelical they are, who has tons of kids. I know a handful of families with four or five children, but the vast majority have one, two or three.

    And I’ll bet you that most of the anti-BC politicos have limited family sizes themselves. And why? Because they’ve been using birth control.

  • Katie

    I think that the kind of discipline that works depends very much on the child.  I’ve known children where verbal correction did the job, and who were capable of accepting the tool/toy distinction.  I’ve known other children (many of whom were kinesthetic learners) where a smack on the hand was needed to make them understand the concept.  I also think that there is a difference between a smack on the hand and an abusive beating.

  • P J Evans

    My parents used spanking – generally one or two swats – to reinforce the message of ‘don’t do that’. It was effective without doing any damage. Even ten or twelve-year-old kids sometimes need it. (They used the flat of a hand, or sometimes a flat paddle.)

  • Münchner Kindl

     “I was beaten as a child and it didn’t damage me at all” has been said for countless generations.

    Doesn’t make it right. Doesn’t make it the only or the best method of pedagogy.

    “Things had always been done that way, a thousand dead people couldn’T be wrong.” Except for when they indeed are.

  • P J Evans

     And I say that you aren’t in my family. you don’t know me, and you aren’t qualified to tell me what I should think.

    You’re really trying to impose your views on the rest of us. Don’t.

  • Beroli

     

     And I say that you aren’t in my family. you don’t know me, and you aren’t qualified to tell me what I should think.

    You’re really trying to impose your views on the rest of us. Don’t.

    Wow, good thing you didn’t assert that children need to be hit, or that would be an incredibly hypocritical thing for you to say.

  • Beroli

    Yeah…

    The, “I want the child to associate [X] with pain” argument hinges on presuming children are really, really stupid. No matter how young I was, I promise, I always knew the primary reason why my father hit me was that my father had chosen to hit me.

  • Daughter

    I just looked up “School Corporal Punishment” on wikipedia, bc to my knowledge corporal punishment isn’t allowed in schools in the U.S. It turns out that school corporal punishment is illegal in 31 states, including the three I’ve lived in. However, in the rest, most have parent and/or student opt in/opt out clauses, in which the school has to have parent and/or student approval before administering corporal punishment.  (For the students, I imagine they’re given a choices such as, “either accept a paddling now, or have detention for three days.”)

    The same article noted, however, that school corporal punishment wasn’t outlawed in Canada until 2004, and that in about half of Europe, corporal punishment is outlawed in the schools only, not in the home.

  • AnonymousSam

    I have no problem with you stating facts. I have a problem with the fact that you took five posts to get around to explaining the superior teaching style you were talking about. You spent four posts building a box for “Pro-Beating Parents” and another box for “Over Here where we know better” and tossing every single person in this this thread who wasn’t jumping up to decry spanking into the former. Your automatic assumption and the tone of every post is how much better Europe is compared to the United States.

    Post number one: “Child abuse is legal in many US states. Teachers who went to college still haven’t taken notice of 130+ years of development in pedagogy and learning theory.” (My Developmental Psychology class spent a great deal of time going over this material. As Daughter points out, there are 31 states where a teacher physicaly disciplining a child is illegal.)
    Post number two: “It doesn’t matter whether you call it spanking or Biblical discipline, in both cases it’s wrong and forbidden over here because pedagogy has discovered better ways.” (Is this post necessary at all? No. You can rewrite it as “No, you’re wrong and I’m right.” This is a dick post. Nothing more and nothing less.)
    Post number three: “We don’t use any method like what you describe and yet we get on just fine.” (That’s nice. Again, another post of “You’re wrong and I’m right, but I’m not going to tell you why or what we do.” Another dick post.)
    Post number four: “It works for millions of people outside the US and some US people who learned it from others.” (Because no US parent ever discovers these ideas on their own. They have to have help, you see… did I mention you’re a dick?”

    And finally by post number five, you get around to actually talking about what you’ve just spent four posts rubbing our noses into. You’re right, you’re not here to teach anyone. Teaching people, that’s so much more difficult than boasting about your moral superiority.

    Ifyou don’t belong to these Americans, but accept current science, why do feel attacked by stating these facts? Why do you call me names for stating these facts?

    I don’t feel attacked by you stating these facts. My objection is to the fact that you can’t seem to express any idea without first passing it through a filter that rephrases it in the worst possible way toward Americans, as if we all believed the same things. That hyper-polarization in politics extends to more than just which imaginary political animal we identify with, you know. We also have a sharp divide between people on one side and government officials on the other, who (it shouldn’t need to be said) really don’t make the slightest effort to represent every social class or way of thinking.

    Here’s a news flash: You’re not the only person to have noticed that the United States is lagging behind other countries in social development. Some of us “USians” (protip: this is a perjorative term in every site I’ve ever used. Somehow I’m not certain you’re ignorant of this.) are aware of and rail against the large groups of people who continue to recycle centuries-old arguments for brutal, ignorant behavior. This blog just so happens to be a place where this occurs on a regular basis, oddly enough. Incidentally, it also frequently talks about tribalism quite a lot…

    Here’s a brand-spanking new idea: Try assuming people are part of the enlightened minority and not the problem before you start typing. You don’t automatically assume that every person here is a conservative Christian who wants to ban birth control and prohibit women from holding office or make it illegal to shave, do you? Then don’t assume we’re all “pro-beaters” either, and try actually discussing reasons for spanking not being an effective way to teach instead of sneering down from your throne of lofty condescension. That way, we might actually, I don’t know, accomplish something useful. Otherwise, piss off.

  • AnonymousSam

    And for the record, my parents almost never spanked me and I turned out out terrible. =p

  • Carstonio

    I’m a lifelong US citizen who is opposed to corporal punishment for children in all circumstances. It teaches children that violence is acceptable. The mindset is similar to fraternity hazing, where actives who are subconsciously resentful over their pain and humiliation as pledges get to take out those feelings on the new pledges.

  • Alena

    I have to seriously disagree with you take on the ACA. Before
    I even tackle the “contraception reduces abortion” argument, it’s
    crucial to mention a couple of points that you did not include.

    1) The ACA, with the mandate for institutions to provide contraception for
    employees via mandatory healthcare insurance, violates freedom of conscience.
    Setting aside the fact that hormonal contraception often causes very early
    abortions, and whether you (collective “you”) believe that
    contraception is sinful or not, the fact remains that there are thousands of
    Catholic, Christian, Orthodox, and other religious hospitals, schools, small
    businesses, and the like that are being required to provide a service that
    directly contradicts their moral and religious beliefs. Let’s say for the sake
    of the argument that contraception does in fact drastically reduce abortions
    and that it would do a lot of good to the society. However, the government still
    cannot step in and demand that the employers at the Catholic hospital down the
    street, who believe in the sinfulness of contraception and therefore cannot in
    good conscience purchase a healthcare plan that would provide free
    contraception for its employees, provide this anyway. It does not take a
    constitutional scholar to recognize that this is a blatant affront on the right
    of people of faith to freedom of conscience. If the government can’t force Jews
    to purchase or sell non-Kosher items, it certainly cannot force other people of
    faith to provide something that contradicts their beliefs.

    2) In 2014, certain provisions in the ACA will go into effect that force people
    enrolled in certain healthcare plans to pay an abortion premium from their own
    pocket, irrespective of their religious or moral convictions. So basically,
    people objecting to abortion will have to go find another healthcare plan that
    doesn’t contain this premium. This hardly seems an attempt to reduce abortion.
    This is one of numerous articles that I found from back in the spring when this
    premium was finalized: http://www.bdfund.org/obamacareincourt

    Even if both of these points didn’t matter, this post makes a moot
    point, because contraception has not helped to reduce abortion in this country.
    Although I could explain why myself, it’s more economical to simply link you to
    this post:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2012/11/does-contraception-reduce-the-abortion-rate.html.
    I’m not linking it because this guy is Catholic – it’s excellent simply for the
    logical
    and factual evidence he presents as to why contraception should not and
    cannot be used as a means to reduce abortion. I’d like to add one stat
    that I
    don’t think he mentions in this article. There is a report by Edin and England
    (“Unmarried Couples with Children”) that shows that since the introduction of
    “family planning” (i.e. contraception) in the U.S. via Title X,
    nonmarital
    births were 5.3 % in 1960, 11 % in 1970, 18% in 1980, 28% in 1990, 33%
    in 1999, and 41% today. If contraception limits pregnancy rates, we
    should not see this enormous explosion of extramarital births since the
    introduction of the pill.

  • EllieMurasaki

    [citation needed]

  • Lunch Meat

    It does not take a constitutional scholar to recognize that this is a blatant affront on the right of people of faith to freedom of conscience.

    So I assume you’re in favor of making sure Jehovah’s Witnesses institutions don’t have to purchase health care plans that cover blood transfusions? Institutions whose owners are vegan don’t have to purchase health care plans covering drugs made from animal products or tested on animals? Institutions whose owners believe in faith healing don’t have to purchase health plans that cover physicians and medicine? Institutions whose owners are Jains don’t have to purchase health plans covering antibiotics or chemotherapy?

    There is a report by Edin and England (“Unmarried Couples with Children”) that shows that since the introduction of “family planning” (i.e. contraception) in the U.S. via Title X, nonmarital births were 5.3 % in 1960, 11 % in 1970, 18% in 1980, 28% in 1990, 33% in 1999, and 41% today. If contraception limits pregnancy rates, we should not see this enormous explosion of extramarital births since the introduction of the pill.

    Are you serious? Lots of married people use contraception (me!!) and many unmarried people don’t use contraception. That’s a completely irrelevant report. You should be looking at whether contraception reduces unplanned pregnancies. (Unfortunately I’m at work and don’t have time to read BadCatholic’s post currently.)

  • Lunch Meat

    In 2014, certain provisions in the ACA will go into effect that force people enrolled in certain healthcare plans to pay an abortion premium from their own pocket, irrespective of their religious or moral convictions. So basically, people objecting to abortion will have to go find another healthcare plan that doesn’t contain this premium.

    I’m not sure what provision you’re talking about, since the article you cited is short and vague, but this: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/mar/21/blog-posting/does-barack-obamas-health-care-bill-include-1-abor/ seems to cover your assertion. The short answer is: Yes, if you choose to be enrolled in a private healthcare plan that covers elective abortions, you will be “forced” to pay a premium to that healthcare plan. That’s how premiums work. But every insurer that offers a healthcare plan covering elective abortions must also offer a healthcare plan that does not cover elective abortions, and they must inform their customers which is which. No individual will be forced to enroll in a plan that violates their consciences. How is this not good enough? Do you want to mandate that no one is allowed to offer insurance plans that cover abortion, just to make sure no one accidentally pays for it because they don’t pay attention?

  • Greenygal

    From the linked report: “As Guttmacher researcher Stanley Henshaw noted in his review “Unintended Pregnancy in the United States“, “contraceptive users appear to have been more motivated to prevent births than were nonusers”. The CDC has consistently reported that the majority of abortions are performed on women who were using contraception at the time of their last menstrual cycle, that is, at the time they conceived. If contraceptive users are more motivated to have abortions than non-contraceptive users, then it is not ridiculous to posit that the increased use of contraception in the USA was a major factor in the simultaneous increase in abortions.”

    There are several relevant points here:
    1) The CDC report linked is from 1998.  More recent data would be nice.
    2) The majority in question is 58%, so not an overwhelming percentage either way.   (It’s from a study conducted in 1994 and 1995, so I also question “consistently.”  If he has more extensive data, I’d like to see it.)
    3) The CDC report follows that statistic up with an entire paragraph about how the women’s use of contraception “might have been inconsistent or incorrect.”
    4) That paragraph concludes: “Therefore, education regarding improved contraceptive use and practices as well as access to and education regarding safe, effective, and affordable contraception and family-planning services might help reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancy and, therefore, might reduce the use of legal induced abortion in the United States.”  If you’re quoting a report that doesn’t agree with you, I think it’s more honest to say so.

    As for what he thinks the reason is for why the use of contraception causes people to have abortions that they would not have otherwise, I’ve read that paragraph three times and I’m still confused:

    “The use of contraception is the attempt to have sex while avoiding having children. To conceive a child despite using contraception means that that attempt has failed. If the attempt fails, then that newly created human life naturally represents a failure. The contraceptive mentality — a mentality I believe can exist whether or not one uses specifically uses contraceptive devices while having sex – carries over into pregnancy. If I want to avoid a child while having sex, chances are I will want to avoid a child when my partner becomes pregnant. This is not to say that all couples who use contraception will always abort. Of course not! This is merely to say that the contraceptive mentality leads to a temptation to abortion, and where there is temptation there is failure, and where there is failure, the stats reflect it.”

    What this actually seems to be saying is that people who don’t want children don’t want children.  Fair enough.  I still don’t see any support for the idea that using contraception makes them not want children, instead of the other way around.


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