A very slightly less ‘fake’ argument from Mark Galli in Christianity Today

At Christianity Today, Mark Galli’s voice isn’t always this high-pitched. That’s just the Doppler effect on account of his back-tracking so fast from his earlier post attacking Jonathan Dudley for supposedly “fake history.” It’s only a half-baked correction, but at least Galli acknowledges that his earlier post was misleading twaddle.

Galli’s latest is also misleading. He qualifies the sweeping nonsense and historical errors of his earlier post, but still clings to it with weasel-words like “some” and “don’t necessarily.” Yet these grudging qualifiers can’t be reconciled with the logic of his position or the coherence — such as it is — of his argument. Galli writes:

Dudley is correct is suggesting that some pro-choice advocates do indeed believe that the fetus has moral value, and that they don’t necessarily think abortion is the principal answer to the control of human reproduction. … The problem is that a large part of the pro-choice community — which includes millions beyond the U.S. — do indeed fail to see that the fetus has moral value, and do indeed champion abortion as just another method of birth control.

A qualification and concession, then a false bit of maliciously dickish hogwash — “just another method of birth control” — and then Galli is off to the races, dismissing those few “some” who “don’t necessarily” fit his bogus caricature of the international sisterhood of the pro-choice conspiracy and returning to the same false binary choice of his previous post.

Does a zygote have no moral value at all? Or does it have greater moral value than an adult woman? Those are your only possible options.

Galli’s official, tribally sanctioned “stance” on abortion requires him to dismiss any consideration of pro-choice views that “do indeed believe that the fetus has moral value.” In doing so, as Galli reluctantly concedes Dudley is correct to say, he must therefore dismiss the view that the majority of evangelicals held just 40 years ago — and the view that more than a third of us hold today.

Everything Galli argues after dispensing with the “some … do indeed” qualifier above is based on this binary view that every zygote is either: A) morally indistinguishable from a human adult, and therefore legally more significant than the women who carries it; or else B) of zero value and zero moral significance. Allowing for those two — and only those two — options, Galli concludes that “A” is the only acceptable position for real, true Christians.

That’s not a coherent argument, but it’s a smart one for Galli. If he wants to keep his job at Christianity Today, then “A” is the only acceptable position.

The problem with constructing the question in this binary way, however, is that it prevents Galli from hearing, understanding or even imagining the actual view of the actual people who disagree with him. And thus it also prevents Galli from understanding or even imagining the actual view of American law. That law is based on the idea excluded by Galli’s binary framework — the idea that a zygote or fetus has great value and moral significance, but that it’s value is less than that of the adult person who carries it. Her rights therefore carry greater weight than its rights — her humanity counts for more, legally and morally, than its potential humanity.

This is not an obscure idea — it’s embodied by and embedded in all of our cultural traditions and rituals, including our religious rituals, from birthdays to baptisms. This is why we mourn for a lost pregnancy, but not in the same way that we mourn for the death of a child. This is why when the tragedy of a miscarriage occurs, we wonder, “How far along?” — gauging our response by the answer, the further along, the deeper the tragedy.

We know this. All of us, including people like Mark Galli, know this.

So why exclude this possibility? Why pretend our only choices are the binary options of zero value or greater-than-a-woman value?

One reason to pretend such a thing might be hinted at by Galli’s insistence that legal abortion is the province mainly of cavalier sluts for whom it is “just another form of birth control.” No, he didn’t explicitly say “cavalier sluts.” He didn’t need to say it explicitly. One can’t wind up where he winds up — with this glib, nasty garbage about “just another form of birth control” — without starting from the presumption that women are cavalier sluts who cannot be trusted with the fetuses in their own bodies.

I’d urge Galli to read a recent post at the dead authors club (via Abi at Making Light) in which Chris discusses “Fetal personhood and criminalizing abortion: a prosecutor’s perspective.” Chris writes:

First off, I want to talk about an abortion ban that leaves exceptions in place only for instances of rape, incest or life of the mother. The first thing that I want to say about this policy is this: this is a pro-choice position. The proponents can call it whatever the hell they want, but the bottom line is that this position is pro-choice. A person who takes this position is acknowledging that a woman has the right to terminate a pregnancy. What we are actually quibbling about here is who gets to decide when the woman’s reason is good enough. With the classic pro-choice position, the person who gets to decide if the woman’s reason is good enough is the woman. Herself. The rape/incest exception people – their position is that they get to decide if someone else’s (i.e., some other woman’s) reason is good enough. I am pro-her-choice. They are pro-their-choice.

In addition, however, to the extraordinary presumption and paternalism inherent in the position that you – whoever you are – should have more control than the pregnant woman over her reproductive future, is the absolutely, unequivocally impossible enforcement situation that this policy would create.

I’m skipping quite a bit here, and no one should skip any of Chris’ post — read the whole thing — but I want to highlight one other part, in which she walks through much of what Galli refuses to think about, what he is unable to think about due to his embrace of a binary view based on a slanderous lie about those with whom he disagrees:

So, personhood for a cluster of cells means that abortion could equal aggravated murder. Really, do Republicans want us prosecuting girls and women for the aggravated homicide of their zygotes? Is that the plan here? Do they actually want to impose the death penalty, or will life in prison be sufficient to satisfy their pathological need to punish women for the crime of being sexually active? …

But if that isn’t their goal, if they would say “of course we don’t want that,” well, then, I have to ask, “what the hell do you want?” Because if you actually believe that a zygote is a person, then how can you demand anything less than justice for the murder victim? Acceptance of less than full accountability means that the zygote has less meaningful protection for its personhood than other persons. And if you can accept this, then it must mean that you don’t actually think it is a person, because we don’t have degrees of personhood in this country. If it is a person, then it absolutely must enjoy the same rights and protections of every other person. So, if you aren’t actually prepared to deal with the consequences that flow from granting it those rights and protections, then you cannot justify calling it a person. Words have power and meaning, and if even you don’t really think it is a person, then what the f–k are we all having this discussion for?

 

Rusty Houser hated women. He learned that at church.
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  • Consumer Unit 5012

     And yes, we should heal people who’ve been injured.  But you know, sometimes, that which does not kill us just leaves us in an iron lung for life.

  • Matthias

     Before you turned 18 (or 16) you were unable to legally consent to anything  and consequently unable to enter contracts. This had to be done by your parents.

    Now it is really good to hear that your mother was a decent person who never abused this power.
    But there are other cases were the parents used this power to send their childrens to be cured from homosexuality and the affected children couldn’t do anything till they turned 18.

    So I affirm my point that until the the 18 birthday a child is not a full person because their parents have the power to force them to do things which they cannot do afterwards.

  • http://www.dreamwidth.org/thecosmicdance SB

    Though I
    wouldn’t take it out on the kids; it’s the full-grown adults who hear
    about and encourage this who should be ashamed.

    Kids are not smart about their eating habits,  it’s the job of adults to teach that if they would like to see their children grow into healthy adults, or grow up at all.   And- I guess this started out seeming maybe out of left field,  but  it’s yet another way the anti choice crowd doesn’t seem to care much about children after they’re born. 

    Invisible Neutrino nd how many of them love telling down-home bromides about their mommies making them eat their veggies

    Oh I’m sure.   And every family with children has a mother that can stay home and make three homecooked, healthy meals a day. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    Well, someone might believe that abortion is a societal good in comparison to making a woman go through months of body horror when she doesn’t even want the end result, but not a societal good in comparison to that same woman not getting pregnant in the first place (e.g., through access to birth control).

    NO SHIT.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Your point seems to imply that there are circumstances where a woman should have an abortion, and that raises ethical questions about individual self-determination even in the abstract.

    Yes, of course there are circumstances in which a woman should have an abortion. I named a few. Notice that in none of those scenarios did I say she should have an abortion if she thinks that’s not the best choice for her situation.

  • AnonymousSam

    It’s not fat shaming. It’s not poor shaming. This is children with vegetables on their plates, saying “no, I don’t wanna,” and their parents saying “Good for you! Tell those Nanny State Nazis what-for!”

    Everyone is free to do what they wish with their bodies and make their own choices, but I think there’s a line to be drawn with praising and encouraging unhealthy eating. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

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

     Great. Glad we can agree on that much.

  • Carstonio

    Notice that in none of those scenarios did I say she should have an
    abortion if she thinks that’s not the best choice for her situation.

    But by saying that a woman in those circumstances should have an abortion, that automatically rules out whatever she sees as the best choice for her situation. The same would apply if you said that the woman should carry the pregnancy to term. It’s not your place or mine to say what a woman should do either way in those circumstances. Especially mine because of my gender.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I do not recall saying that a woman in that situation should have an abortion. I recall saying that if she did, it would not be a bad thing.

  • Carstonio

    A new variation on slut-shaming:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/11/09/why_did_romney_lose_fox_news_blames_single_women.html

    The overall narrative of the segment is, to paraphrase: Single women are so obsessed with birth control and abortion that they can’t be bothered to care about the economy or even take care of their kids. There were many jaw-droppers during the segment, but my favorite might be Gretchen Carlson saying that married women vote more on the economy, “because when you’re married, abortion is not really—or contraception for that matter—is not maybe a huge part of your life.” In Carlson’s bizarro world, only single women have sex and only married women have kids.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Where do they think younger siblings come from?

  • Carstonio

    I recall saying that if she did, it would not be a bad thing.

    I have strong reservations about even that level of judgmentality. Seems to me that only the woman in that situation can judge whether it’s a good or bad thing. The rest of us can only judge that it’s a good thing for her to be able to make her choice, whatever it is, and a bad thing when she’s prevented from doing so.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Let me just make sure we’re clear–I said that abortion is not a bad thing in all situations, example example example, and for that you’re attacking me, rather than the people who say that it is always a bad thing?

  • Carstonio

    No disagreement that banning abortion, or making it harder for women to obtain, is the far greater wrong. What I’m attacking here is the idea that abortion is objectively either a good thing or a bad thing in any situation, and I have the same ethical reservations about both of these. A government that would force a woman to carry a pregnancy term is just as capable of forcing her to have an abortion. I think the pro-choice position requires a neutral stance on whether abortion is good or bad in a particular situation, otherwise there’s no basis for permitting the woman to make the choice in the first place.

  • EllieMurasaki

    …you know, I don’t recall saying abortion is a good thing, either. Ever. What I recall saying here is that it is not a bad thing. So why are you yelling at me again?

  • Carstonio

     My apologies for yelling. I don’t believe in a right to an opinion, only an informed opinion. When a woman is considering an abortion, no one else’s opinion is valid because it’s almost impossible for that opinion to be an informed one.  It’s not unreasonable to suspect that in that situation, the woman wouldn’t want others having an opinion about her private business.

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

    I think the pro-choice position requires a neutral stance on whether abortion is good or bad in a particular situation, otherwise there’s no basis for permitting the woman to make the choice in the first place.

    Wait, what?

    The only way this claim makes sense to me is if I also believe the following: “if X is good, X should be mandatory; if X is bad, X should be illegal. We should only permit individual choice if X is neutral.”

    Are you presuming that? Or have I missed a step somewhere?

  • Carstonio

    My point is based on “pro-choice” being support for abortion’s legality, with the morality of abortion as a separate issue, which is what Jonathan Dudley emphasizes. Opponents often deliberately mischaracterize the legality as government saying that abortion is a good thing. Government is not a moral authority. Laws are about balancing the interests of the individual with the interests of society. There are good things that the government rightly doesn’t make mandatory because they would interfere with individual rights, and the same goes for bad things that the government doesn’t ban.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    Here’s the thing. Talk to most Christians and they will say that it CAN.
    I certainly think that it’s possible for a woman to be sexually
    assaulted, become pregnant from it, and love the child that results from
    it because I have seen it happen. It’s the evidence of my senses, not
    the tugging of my heart that tells me this.

    It is unfortunately easy, when justifying abortion in the case of rape, to veer into language that invalidates the choice of women who choose to carry such pregnancies to term or invalidates the existence of children conceived by rape.

    Which is one of the many many reasons why you’re already in a world of trouble when you start to argue on the basis of which abortions are morally valid and which ones aren’t.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    One
    of the things that the fetishization of motherhood ignores is that
    one’s parenthood might be one’s REASON for needing an abortion.

    Given that we’ve got an account of Mitt Romney telling a pregnant woman she was “selfish” for wanting to remain alive to be a mother to the children she already had, rather than dying from a medically futile pregnancy, I think “ignores” is not a strong enough word.

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

     (nods) I agree with all of this, certainly.

    I tentatively infer that by “the pro-choice position requires a neutral stance on whether abortion is good or bad in a particular situation” you mean, not that being pro-choice requires that I not have a good/bad opinion, but that it requires that I consider my good/bad opinion irrelevant to the legal question.

    Do I follow you correctly?

  • Carstonio

    That’s my point about the legality. My other point was about the ethics of holding an opinion about a individual’s private matter when one can’t know what it’s like for that specific individual to be in that situation. I’m still angry about how the family drama surrounding Terri Schiavo was exploited by fundamentalist demagogues in and out of political office, people who wanted to make this issue look, sound and feel like the abortion issue.

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

    OK.

    I completely agree with your point about legality.

    I also consider it perfectly ethical to have opinions without perfect information, including opinions about other people’s behavior when I don’t know exactly what those people are experiencing.

  • SororAyin

    “So I affirm my point that until the the 18 birthday a child is not a
    full person because their parents have the power to force them to do
    things which they cannot do afterwards.”

    I’m sorry, Matthias.  I just don’t see your argument.  Personhood entitles one to dignity, respect, and compassion from one’s fellow human beings.   The laws of our land do not conspire to deny juveniles these things on account of their age.  The laws of our land do deny children the full rights of citizenship, but I contend that citizenship is an entirely different matter.  We may simply have to disagree on this point.

    BTW: I have found this little debate with you engaging and thought-provoking.  I’m glad to have met you.

  • LL

    Generally, you know someone is trying to pull a fast one or just think they’re so damn smart when they give you these either-or, extreme, no-choice-is-a-good-choice dilemmas. That’s a pretty good indication that they’re full of shit and don’t actually want a debate, they just give you two ironclad “choices” and challenge you to argue for one or the other. 

    Like people who want to “debate” with you  (for example), “Would you rather burn to death or drown?” “Um, I choose neither.” “You can’t do that.” “Uh, yeah I can. Dick.” 

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

    It could be argued, however, that personhood and access to full civil rights go hand in hand to an extent.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Personhood entitles one to dignity, respect, and compassion from one’s fellow human beings. The laws of our land do not conspire to deny juveniles these things on account of their age.

    The child of Jewish parents forbidden to attend Vacation Bible School with a Christian friend; is that child’s right to religious freedom being respected?

    The child of socially conservative Christian parents who send the child to people who swear that suffiicent of their care will ensure that the child will cease being gay; is that child’s right to basic human dignity being respected?

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

    Personhood entitles one to dignity, respect, and compassion from one’s fellow human beings.   The laws of our land do not conspire to deny juveniles these things on account of their age. 

    Can you say more about how specifically American law respects the personhood of adults, and provides them with dignity, respect, and compassion?

    Perhaps if I understood how you think we do this for adults, I would understand better why you think we do it equally for children.

  • SororAyin

    I would like to address your comment from the standpoint of someone who suffers from mental illness, specifically depression and PTSD.  I agree that the Gods “can make wonderful things out of horrible circumstances” because I have seen this first hand.  I believe my struggles with depression have helped me to see how truly precious life is.  I have learned to be thankful for the joy, and I have learned the necessity of taking care of myself in times of despair.  My PTSD has taught me to be introspective and helped to gain a deeper insight into the inner workings of my mind.

    But, here’s the important part.  In all my stuggles and in all my pain, I have been the one to make the hard choices about how to manage my illness.  No one else gets to decide the best way to handle my condition.  When I was 14 and my depression first made its appearance, therapy was my own choice.  No one forced it on me.  I was distrustful of antidepressants and didn’t want to go that route.  No one forced me to.  I was allowed to control my own recovery, and in so doing, I gained a sense of agency.  Depression felt like some invader that was holding my life hostage.  By being able to deal with it however I chose, I slowly learned that I am not powerless before this illness.  I have options.  I have weapons.  This is a battle I can win.

    I am pro-choice because I want women to have similar freedom to manage pregnancy in the way that they deem most fit.  I believe this is especially important in matters of rape or incest since sexual violence robs a woman of her sense of personal agency.  We as a society shouldn’t be placing limits upon her at this point in her life.  I believe it is our responsibility to provide her with as many options as possible and to support whatever decision she makes. 

    Besides freedom is a two-edged sword.  While the Gods can certainly “make wonderful things” out of this tragic situation, They can only do so if the woman is free to allow Them to do Their transforming work.  If she is not completely free to reject the pregnancy, then she can never be free enough to embrace it. 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Sure, you got fewer abortions, but at what cost? Socialized medicine? If socialized medicine is the price we have to pay for fewer abortions, it’s just not worth it.

    What good is it to defeat gay marriage yet lose tax cuts for the rich?

  • SororAyin

    “The child of socially conservative Christian parents who send the child
    to people who swear that suffiicent of their care will ensure that the
    child will cease being gay; is that child’s right to basic human dignity
    being respected?”

    I stand by what I said.  The laws of our land do not *conspire* to deny juveniles their dignity.  In the scenario that you’ve given, the laws sadly will have just that effect, but that was never the intent of the law.  You may think that I am splitting hairs here, but I don’t believe I am.  The intent of the law is important.  If the law were specifically written to keep children in a place of inferiority, I would concede your point and Matthias’ that children are not fully persons.  But I can discern no clear intent to this effect within the law.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Intent: NOT FUCKING MAGIC.

  • SororAyin

    So far as I understand, the laws of our land don’t say anything about personhood whatsoever.  Isn’t personhood a rather abstract and mystical concept, rather like the concept of the soul?  Truth be told, I’ve been wondering why Matthias and others chose to use that term in the first place.  Citizenship and rights now, those are things you can make laws about.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I should clarify. In abortion debates, I nearly always speak as though all women have uteruses and all people with uteruses are women. This has the effect of erasing trans men and uterus-equipped genderqueer individuals. I don’t mean to do it, and I really ought to know better since I am a uterus-equipped genderqueer individual, but the fact that I do not intend to harm anyone by this does not make it so that I am not harming anyone. The laws are not conspiring to disrespect the personhood of the gay child sent to pray-the-gay-away camp. Woohoo. That doesn’t mean that kid is being treated as a full human, or even as the same level of protohuman as that kid’s heterocis sibling. And the effect, not the intent, is what matters.

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

    I am asking about personhood because you were talking about it, and I’m trying to understand what you’re saying and why you’re saying it. If you’d rather talk about citizenship, or rights, that’s fine, but I’ve lost track of what you’re asserting, if indeed you’re asserting anything at all.

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

    Backtracking rapidly would cause your voice to appear lower in pitch to a listener due to the Doppler effect. Running towards a listener would cause your voice to appear higher in pitch.

    And making fun of someone’s, especially a man’s, argument as “high-pitched” – which description seems to have no point here except to poke fun – has its roots in the misogyny that uses feminine concepts to insult people, especially men. See also “shrill”.

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

    Differing degrees of personhood is a concept no longer enshrined in our laws.

    Again, I bring you gay marriage.  Less enshrined than it was a few days ago, thankfully, but still a long ways to go.  And not to mention protection under equal opportunity laws and the like.
    (I haven’t looked at the next two pages yet, so someone might have said this already.)

  • http://mmycomments.blogspot.com/ mmy

    Removed because my login didn’t work properly

  • Lunch Meat

    Thank you for sharing your perspective. I do hope you know that I was being satirical; I do not want to force disability or pregnancy on anyone. People can make sacrifices or choose to accept whatever painful “learning experience” they are given, but it’s not up to me or society to force it on anyone.

    Perhaps the highest moral good is to sacrifice and donate all the organs/blood one can in order to save those who would otherwise die. But if I force that on someone, it’s not sacrifice; it’s theft. I think the pro-life crowd could stand to learn that.

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

    I guess it kind of is. I mean, it’s not like 16-year olds aren’t really people just because they can’t vote or rent cars, right? Personhood is kind of a vague concept; it kind of means ‘humanity’ but it doesn’t really (the debate of embryos as “persons” isn’t the same as debating whether or not embryos are humans or something else, like squid or beets or something). It kind of means citizenship (in the sense as legal rights) but in the US at least you don’t have to be a citizen to be entitled to most legal protections/rights under the law (in practice may be a different story).

     The law generally stays away from the idea of degrees of  personhood because it’s so vague and relies on mystical concepts that not everyone wants to codify into a statute somewhere. Even in slavery times, black slaves were deprived of their rights and not treated as citizens, but no one tried to legally declare them non-persons (even the 3/5ths compromise doesn’t say that, though it’s a common misconception) even though culturally they were treated that way. 

  • P J Evans

    I thought a blog this progressive would not engage in food shaming.

    It doesn’t look like food shaming to me. He’s writing about people who throw vegetables away instead of eating them – and I’m not surprised when kids do that at school. The veggies that were in the school lunches when I was that age were really awful.
    Now their parents, who may be talking a lot about Michelle Obama trying to get people to eat more vegetables and less junk food, they may deserve some shaming.

  • Will Hennessy

     Oh, I don’t doubt for a second that good can come from it, that the love of God can be shown to a child of such horrible circumstances. It requires an awful lot of strength that I admittedly do not possess.

    And I agree completely that our legislation should not act that way. And having grown up in very conservative circumstances, perhaps I should not be as shocked as that. But perhaps it’s just recent developments in my life (i.e., Jesus taking me and making me a liberal like my pastor’s wife) that have caused me to look at that a new way and realize, hey, these women are actually defending rapists over the unlucky women who are their victims.

    A child of rape is still a child of God like us all. But women should not be saddled with having to carry rape-babies to term. It’s their decision, not the state’s.

    (And these cries for more legislation come from the ‘small government’ crowd–I know this was also covered in the post, but it’s worth repeating. Make of it what you will…)

  • Will Hennessy

     Or, better yet, her teenage daughter. Sick, I know, but it’ll make you think.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    I used to think that Roe v. Wade was one of the worst decisions ever
    made by the Supreme Court, but the older I get, the more I think it was
    actually pretty darn good.

    It wasn’t until I studied the rest of privacy law that I got the argument for Roe v Wade.

    The legal argument is a lot stronger and more complex than “None of your damned business”: the argument boils down to this:

    Suppose we illegalize abortions. Doesn’t matter what the penalty is per se; the important point here is that we have a law and that law must be enforced. So, how do we find the lawbreakers?

    This is a problem. Women generally only have abortions after they’re showing if there’s something seriously wrong (There’s exceptions of course), so how are you going to know that a woman who was pregnant and is now suddenly not had an elective abortion, miscarried, or had a medically necessary abortion? And most abortions are in the first trimester, so how are you going to know she was even pregnant at all?

    The real answer, the practical answer, is that such a ban would be selectively enforced against known and suspected “sluts” and used as a mechanism for abusive authorities to hassle people they don’t like. (In much the same way that anti-sodomy laws are only ever enforced against “known or suspected” homosexuals — a way for your neighbors to make your life suck if they don’t like you).

    Unfortunately for the people who like that kind of law, the constitution is pretty explicitly against laws that can’t be enforced equally.  So, you wantto enforce these laws fairly. What does that require?

    It requires that any time a woman has an abortion, the police can have access to her medical records to determine if it was medically necessary. But there’s more…

    If a woman miscarries, the police can have access to her medical records to determine if the miscarriage was natural or induced. But there’s more…

    If a woman misses her period and then gets it again, the police can have access to her medical records to make sure that she actually just missed a period for some reason, and didn’t get pregnant and have an abortion on the sly. But there’s more…

    Since that last bit (and indeed some of the other bits) can all happen without a doctor’s supervision, every woman will need to show up at the police station once a month for a gynecological exam in order to verify that they didn’t get pregnant and have an abortion. 

    As it turns out, though, there’s this thing called “doctor-patient privilege” which would actually prevent the police from just demanding medical records for all women (Interestingly, that privilege isn’t recognized at the federal level. But as it turns out, the year after Roe v Wade, the federal government did enact a law protecting medical information. It was called “The Privacy Act of 1974″).  And requring all women to submit to regular inspections by the uterus police? Well, if the fact that the entire idea is utterly reprehsible and you should be ashamed of yourself for even thinking about it isn’t enough, it’s also kinda a thing that you can’t be forced to furnish evidence against yourself unless they already have enough evidence to get a warrant.

    So, we’re back to “Any law prohibiting abortion could be enforced only by violating the constitutional rights to due process to women, either by selective enforcement only against suspected loose women, or by compelling women to furnish evidence against themselves without a warrant.” 

    And *that* is why it’s a privacy matter.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The sad thing is, for some of these women, I’m not sure it will.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Can I steal that? Not necessarily word for word, but I know a few people who need to be hit upside the head with those facts.

  • Will Hennessy

    Oh, we absolutely should heal people who have been injured. Perhaps I was unclear: I DO agree that good things can come from horrible circumstances, and so in that sense, she is correct. I am, however, appalled that her political stance dictates that raped women should be forced by law to carry any children resulting from said non-consentual  sex, while her attacker, in the unlikely event that he is caught, tried, convicted and sentenced (rape is a very difficult crime to prove since ultimately it comes down to he-said-she-said: “she asked me to give her those bruises, your honor, and didn’t want me to wear the condom”) would come out essentially scot-free, minus perhaps some financial restitution.

    The point is, a pregnant woman should rely on her own intuituion/belief set/convictions/what-have-you to decide how to handle said pregnancy, not the laws of the state.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     A lot of pro-choicers still feel the need to make a big point that “Don’t get me wrong, in an ideal world there would never be any need for abortion. But since we don’t have an ideal world, we have to allow it”.

    I tend to point out that no one ever says “Don’t get me wrong, in an ideal world there would never be any need for bypass surgery. But since we don’t have an ideal world, we have to allow it.”

    (Though when I said this to my wife, she nodded and says “yes, I agree with the second one too”)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Bypass surgery is not a thing that anyone feels the need to disallow, is the big difference there. But both are things that if the situation’s got to the point where that’s an option then it’s a shitty situation, and both are things where some forethought and planning would in most cases obviate the extreme measure.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Knock yourself out. Privacy law is the one of those things that I think the general public is not nearly informed enough about, to their great detriment.


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