Hobby Lobby takes human biology to court, loses

The Hobby Lobby retail chain continues its court battle to avoid having to provide health insurance for female employees. This, the corporation says, is a matter of corporate religious liberty. Corporations are people, my friend, and corporations have the right to worship their corporate deities as they see fit.

“All they’re asking for is a narrow exemption from the law that says they don’t have to provide drugs they believe cause abortions,” Hobby Lobby attorney Kyle Duncan, a general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, told CNN affiliate KFOR in November. “Our basic point is the government can’t put a corporation in the position of choosing between its faith and following the law.”

This is a weird claim of religious liberty. Duncan carefully says that the company should be exempt from covering medical care “they believe” causes abortion.

Duncan is careful to say that because he is aware that the drugs in question do not, in fact, cause abortion. Emergency contraception is just exactly  that — contraception. It does not end or interfere with an existing pregnancy.

It doesn’t matter if the evangelical gazillionaire owners of Hobby Lobby “believe” that emergency contraception causes abortions. It does not do that.

Nor does it matter if this belief is passionately sincere and sincerely passionate. Sincerity and passion won’t make it any less incorrect.

So Hobby Lobby’s legal claim is that a company has a “religious liberty” right to avoid anything they say causes abortion even if it does nothing of the sort.

If Hobby Lobby were to be granted such an exemption, then, what would prevent any other corporation from claiming that it believes minimum wage laws, OSHA regulations, nuclear safety rules and fire codes are also “abortifacient”?

What Hobby Lobby is seeking isn’t merely some legal permission to be exempt from providing health insurance. The corporation is seeking the “religious liberty” to redefine reality and to rewrite the laws of medicine, human anatomy, biology and chemistry.

I don’t think even the Supreme Court of the United States has the jurisdiction to allow them to do that. I suppose the justices could join Hobby Lobby in pretending that emergency contraception is not contraception, but even a unanimous 9-0 ruling declaring it to have properties it does not, in fact, actually have would not alter the fact that this nonsense about “abortion pills” remains just that: nonsense.

As Ari Kohen writes:

The bottom line is this: If you own a company and don’t understand how women’s bodies work, you might end up having to pay a million dollars a day to remain faithful to your understanding of what contraception means.

  • Lori

    Pretending moderates don’t exist doesn’t help anyone.   

    The problem is that on this issue there’s really not much of a moderate position. One believes that women have bodily autonomy or one does not. There’s a lot of blah, blah, moral significance, blah that can swirl around that but it still comes down to women are full human beings who own their own bodies or they are not. You can tell because of the wildly different ways that things like moral significance come into play in discussions of the bodily autonomy of women vs that of men.

    As long as a person doesn’t want to legally restrict my ability to exercise control over my own body I don’t exactly care if s/he thinks I don’t really, truly own it, but I don’ t think think of that person as particularly moderate either. In fact, I think the only way that believing I’m in any way not the sole owner of my own body can be considered moderate is when it’s compared to extremist views. In that sense, self-styled moderates benefit from the existence of extremists.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I’m pretty sure you and I hold nearly identical views wrt the legal status of abortion. Hobby Lobby’s position is bullshit. Littlepanchuk said it was bullshit, but because she also said let’s maybe consider that some people are coming from a position other than “punish sluts hoorah” she got told that she wants to ban abortion.

    I don’t think “let’s not declare that a large, heterogeneous group of people think exactly and only thus” to be a magnificently moderate position myself, but it seems to get pushed that way.

    I have been in that many conversations where a big group says “if pro-lifers were for real they’d try to reduce the circumstances that drive the need for abortion but they don’t so they’re all full of shit huh huh?” And someone will point out that there are, in fact, many pro-lifers whose number 1 priority is reducing poverty among women and whose number 2 priority is making sure everyone has access to and knows how to use contraceptives. But they’re not as loud as the other lot, and the other lot exist so we’ll continue to assert that they’re ALL the same. Or someone who thinks abortion should be legal (and funded by public health care)  but expresses concern about the social and moral implications of, for example, sex selection or terminating pregnancies because of Down Syndrome or cleft palate, and they’re told that it’s a ridiculous argument that they don’t really care about, and they actually just want to control women’s bodies.

    The message I get from a crapload of people (including from Fred) is that you have a choice between believing exactly as they do–not just about consequential, legal and policy issues but every single moral nuance–and being Rick bloody Santorum. I don’t think that’s a helpful choice.

    (I also don’t like people being held to radically different standards because they might be part of the wrong group, and I’ve seen many an instance where commenters lost their shit over someone else’s slight implication about what they might “really” think, so I don’t like seeing Littlepanchuk subjected to much stronger version because she had the temerity to express some sympathy for what some pro-lifers might believe.) 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Yes,yes, we get the fucking picture.. you are a super brave hero.

    Well, my girlfriend says she prefers me in the blue cape rather than the red one, but only for special occasions.  

    More seriously though, what else is going to correct such men’s misbehavior other than harsh disciplining?  

  • Makabit

    The fact many of the people who make this argument also have abhorrent views about women and sex doesn’t have any bearing on my point.

    Yes, actually it does, since those views speak to the sincerity of their alternate science, alternate moral vision, and alternate deep and convenient beliefs about how biology works. Those views also provide the root of their conviction that their interpretation of biological morality should have legal standing which impairs another person’s ability to act on their own moral and philosophical beliefs.

    The belief that the embryo before fertilization has ‘moral significance’ grows out of a preexisting world view, it does not inform one.

  • Makabit

    It just concerns me when we act as though medicine and science have or will answer our moral questions for us.  Medicine and Science answer “is” questions, not “ought” questions.

    Which is yet another good reason for not torturing the science to make it yield ‘is’ answers that match your ‘ought’ answers. Which is what folks do when they play games like the one we’re discussing.

  • Makabit

    It does happen that doctors are wrong about how doomed a fetus is, yes. Although there seems to be a fair amount of lying on the subject that goes on as well.

    As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m currently (very) pregnant, and earlier in the pregnancy we had a false scare about the baby possibly having Down Syndrome. While hunting for information and personal stories on the web, I was amazed by the sheer number of times that a woman’s friend or sister had been told that her baby had Down, been pressured to abort (right here in the dark blue, evil as sin San Francisco Bay Area, no doctor or genetic counselor to whom I spoke said anything one way or another about what I should d0), refused to do so, and then had the baby be totally normal at birth.]

    About eight repetitions in, it dawned on me that this hadn’t actually happened. Or maybe it had happened once.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    No, of course, you’re completely right. Violence is the only thing that solves anything and all those people who say otherwise are morons. Your violent fantasies in the absence of actual action are exactly what oppressed people need. Thanks.

  • Makabit

    If you’re talking about littlepanchuck, s/he said nothing to suggest that s/he’s a “pro-lifer”.

    That makes me less patient, not more. If you believe, if you will tell me with honest tears in your eyes, that an unimplanted blastocyst is a full human being with all the rights that accompany that exalted status, I will think you’re mistaken, and I will fear and resent the political agenda you may carry, but at least that’s what you believe, and we have a place to start.

    If you’re just explaining the thought process behind the fake science as though I could have never even considered that these folks have Moral Concerns, and that science doesn’t solve all of our problems, you’re just condescending to me, and being a nuisancy sophist.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     Violence isn’t discipline.

  • Dan Audy

    More seriously though, what else is going to correct such men’s misbehavior other than harsh disciplining?

    Therapy.  Most MRA’s that I’ve encountered are projecting their anger at one or two particular women onto the gender as a whole.  Beyond that having people they care about encounter those situations, have people they respect show them how harmful their attitudes are, or even just sustained public disdain for them and those they choose to associate with.

    Violence is a virtually useless response to awful and hateful speech.  Beyond the fact that you are the one who would be punished or imprisoned (and rightfully so) it is largely ineffective.  I don’t know about you but I got bullied a lot in school for being weird or saying things people didn’t like and getting beaten up never made me ‘think right’ but rather sharpened my anger and reinforced that belief or behaviour, even when that behaviour or belief was actually bad.  The ‘best’ you can hope for is that you will cause someone to hide their anger inside out of fear of being further beaten but they still often act out in other ways, sometimes subtle and sometimes overt but socially acceptable.  It is the very core concept of the cycle of abuse and you think that starting it is worth making someone stop saying something stupid that makes you angry?

  • Dan Audy

    About eight repetitions in, it dawned on me that this hadn’t actually happened. Or maybe it had happened once.

    When you realize that the stories and ‘facts’ being presented may not be trustworthy because there is someone out the with an agenda who is poisoning the well is one of the worst things about researching on the internet.  Figuring out whether a story is a true tale, an urban legend, or a position piece takes a level of discernment that I struggle with.  The other tough thing is to identify that even when the anecdotes are true whether it represents a reasonable possibility or whether the extraordinary nature causes it to overshadow the hundreds of thousands of standard outcomes.

  • Carstonio

    And someone will point out that there are, in fact, many pro-lifers whose number 1 priority is reducing poverty among women and whose number 2 priority is making sure everyone has access to and knows how to use contraceptives.

    If they also advocate making abortion illegal (which is the definition of pro-life), then that position alone negates those other, reasonable positions. People could hold those positions and still believe that abortion is wrong, but if they advocate keeping it legal, then they’re pro-choice.

    someone who thinks abortion should be legal (and funded by public health care)  but expresses concern about the social and moral implications of, for example, sex selection or terminating pregnancies because of Down Syndrome or cleft palate, and they’re told that it’s a ridiculous argument that they don’t really care about, and they actually just want to control women’s bodies.

    That response is probably far rarer than you suggest. I have seen those concerns used as a Trojan horse for shaming women. At best, the people who raise those concerns seem to falsely assume that abortions are done only for the woman’s convenience, so they’re making a slippery slope argument with other instances of alleged convenience. Sex-selective abortions are really a problem of societal sexism, and it’s been suggested that persecuted women in such cultures often choose to abort female fetuses as a form of euthanasia. There should be a way to raise the concerns you’re talking about without calling the woman’s motives into question, as if her agency were the core problem.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah. Fuck if I know how to prevent abortion on the basis of the child having the less-desirable set of genitalia or having a disability that’s apparent in utero, because I want abortion to be available to any pregnant person asap upon request with the only questions asked being to establish whether the pregnant person is being pressured into an abortion. (If someone is applying such pressure, or if the pregnant person volunteers that they want an abortion because they can’t afford a[nother] baby, the appropriate response is to figure out how they can keep their baby.)

    But by the time someone’s seeking an abortion on sex or disability grounds, it’s already too late. The way to keep those abortions from happening is to fix gender equity and ableism on the societal level.

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

    More seriously though, what else is going to correct such men’s misbehavior other than harsh disciplining? 

    The thing is, in our society (Canada and the USA do shar e several common cultural heritages so I’ll use this shorthand), once the target of interest gets out of childhood and into teenagerhood and adulthood it’s usually accepted that one tries to use wisdom, logic, and other forms of verbal persuasion to get that person to stop behaving badly.

    The use of force should be a final, not first, resort and because you keep seeming to treat it as a first and not a last resort is what gets some folks here a mite concerned about you.

  • Carstonio

    Exactly. It’s another version of addressing the reasons some women choose abortion, instead of the cruelly paternalistic tactic of trying to convince women not to have them. Such as forcing them to watch ultrasounds in the hope that mommy magic would kick in.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I’m very uncomfortable with the idea of saying “No, you misogynist|ableist, you don’t get to have an abortion because your fetus is female|disabled! As punishment for your misogyny|abelism, we will force you to raise a child* that you hate and resent! That’s sure to end well for everyone!”

    * (Yeah, okay. Because adoption is great alternative that will invariably lead to disabled infants getting the supportive loving families they need)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Which isn’t a thing anyone says even if abortions on those grounds are banned, provided abortion for no stated reason is permitted, which I continue to insist it should be. All the pregnant person has to do is not say it’s a sex- or ability-selective abortion. And fixing gender equity and ableism on the societal level can’t be a completed project until sometime after people have stopped valuing children with penises over children with vulvas and TAB children over children with disabilities.

  • Lori

     

    I have been in that many conversations where a big group says “if
    pro-lifers were for real they’d try to reduce the circumstances that
    drive the need for abortion but they don’t so they’re all full of shit
    huh huh?” And someone will point out that there are, in fact, many
    pro-lifers whose number 1 priority is reducing poverty among women and
    whose number 2 priority is making sure everyone has access to and knows
    how to use contraceptives.   

    I have literally never encountered anyone I would refer to as ‘pro-life” (opposed to a woman’s right to safe, legal abortion should she choose to have one) whose 1st and/or 2nd priority was poverty reduction and BC availability.

    Even if such people actually exist I don’t know why I’m supposed to treat them any differently than anyone else who wants legal control over my body.
     

     

    Or someone who thinks abortion should be legal (and funded by public
    health care)  but expresses concern about the social and moral
    implications of, for example, sex selection or terminating pregnancies
    because of Down Syndrome or cleft palate, and they’re told that it’s a
    ridiculous argument that they don’t really care about, and they actually
    just want to control women’s bodies.  

    I think that when someone expresses concerns about abortion instead of about the status and treatment of women and the disabled they’re focusing on the wrong problem. Not only are the focusing on the wrong problem, they’re helping to reenforce one of the problems they claim to be concerned about—the low status of women. Judging women’s reasons for having abortions is part and parcel of treating them like they’re less than, because it rests on an underlying assumption that women can’t really be trusted to make their own decisions about their own bodies.

    I have known people who had abortions for reasons that make me personally uncomfortable. I make it a policy not to discuss those issues in general forums because ultimately it reenforces the idea that people have a right to judge whether or not a woman’s abortion is OK. IMO that way lies nothing but badness. I’m certainly not going to give back pats and cookies to people for only wanting to judge some really icky, bad abortions.

    If someone wants to talk about the ways to improve the status of the disabled and women I’m there. If someone wants to talk about abortion I’m going to think their issue is abortion and not helping women or the disabled. And I’m not going to feel guilty about the fact they don’t like having their motives questioned while they’re questioning the motives of women who have abortions.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    About eight repetitions in, it dawned on me that this hadn’t actually happened. Or maybe it had happened once.

    I think the most likely thing is that the doctor told them that one of the tests indicated an elevated probability of trisomy and made it clear that if they weren’t prepared for that, the should make the appropriate plans, and some combination of panic, preconception and the telephone game morphed that into “the doctor said her baby had Down Syndrome and pressured her to have an abortion”

  • Lori

    I think that scenario has probably happened on more than one occasion. I also think it has very little to do with why Makebit saw the same story over and over on the forums. That’s basically just urban legend at work.

  • Mark Z.

    The problem is that on this issue there’s really not much of a moderate position.

    There are certainly some positions more moderate than others. Right here in this thread we’ve discussed “abortion and contraception are wrong and should be outlawed” vs. “abortion is wrong and should be outlawed, but contraception is okay”. There’s a substantive difference between those. Also different is “abortion is wrong, but should not be outlawed”.

    Those are real positions, BTW. I can name people who hold them.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I have no doubt that many, maybe even most, forced-birth advocates think that their concern is with protecting life and not with punishing women.

    But I submit that they are mistaken about their own motivations

    It does not matter how passionately and sincerely I say I believe that keeping a raw steak in my pocket repels tigers. After the third or fourth time the tiger rips my pants off, any objective observer is right to conclude that my actual reason for keeping the raw steak in my pocket is something else, and that thing about the tiger is either a lie or a delusion.

    Opposition to abortion does not have the effect they claim it has, and it does have the effect of slut-shaming and hurting women. These are not bugs but features. These results are both obvious and inevitable. Therefore, someone who claims that they oppose abortion because their opposition has the effects they claim to desire, and that they do not want to slut-shame is either deluded or lying.

    Even the “moderate” ones. (Because even the moderate ones, the ones who say “Legal except when…”, are engaged in magical thinking. Most obviously the “except for late-term abortions” folks and the “Except for all those women who use abortions as birth control,” because they’re both imagining this class of fickle women who find surgical procedures a convenient alternative to condoms. Like if my afforementioned pocket steak repelled unicorns.)

  • Lori

      There’s a substantive difference between those.   

    There’s a substantive difference between the first two, but neither of them is moderate. “Moderate” does not mean “less offensively batshit than that guy over there”.

    And as I have said many, many times now (including twice in this very thread) I consider anyone who thinks that abortion should be legal to be pro-choice. The details of their personal issues are not important to me as long as they aren’t trying to legally prevent me from having full ownership if my own body.

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

    How would you characterize someone who advocates for a woman’s legal right to choose whether to continue or abort a pregnancy (insofar as the choice is possible… for example, the choice to continue a pregnancy obviously isn’t one that modern medicine can guarantee), and also considers one of those choices morally superior to the other?

  • Lori

    Do you mean always morally superior or morally superior in a specific instance. I obviously can’t speak for Ross, but personally I characterize the latter as obvious and the former as morally unserious.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Can’t speak for Ross, but as long as this person isn’t trying to insist that any given pregnant person follow the course of action that this person considers morally superior even when it conflicts with the pregnant person’s needs and/or morals, I’d call this person a friendly.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     “pro-choice”. You can tell because “advocates for a woman’s legal right to choose” is right there in the sentence.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    What the hell, Fearless?

    Anyways, I don’t think ‘harsh disciplining’ will correct their misbehavior anyways.  It’ll just make them angrier.

  • AnonymousSam

    I can’t speak as to other people, but my version of being a moderate is to believe that abortion should be readily accessible, relatively cheap, and with as few hoops to jump through as possible — while also believing that the value of a fetus is not as black and white as necessity of argument demands it be presented. However, I believe this fear applies more to the possible future than to the present day. I don’t have time to discuss it at the moment though, and also don’t want to derail the thread unnecessarily.

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

    I agree with you that the latter is obvious, and I don’t really know what the former means.

    I mean, I consider giving someone pie a morally superior option to shooting them in the head, but I would also say that if an evil supervillain credibly threatens to blow up Manhattan if I don’t shoot someone in the head, shooting them in the head is morally superior.

    If my hypothetical advocate feels the same way about births as I do about not shooting people in the head, I expect they would reject both of those options.

    Perhaps I mean morally superior all else being equal?

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

     Oh, pro-choice without question. But is their judgment of their motives sincere, or is it delusional? Or is that only a judgment we can make about forced-birth advocates?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Not enough information, I think.

  • Lori

    I don’t really know what the former means.

    When I say morally unserious I mean that anyone who thinks that in every circumstance abortion is the morally inferior position is a person who is trying to avoid doing the hard work of dealing with difficult, complex reality. There are very, very few things I can think of that are always morally superior to the alternative and I think the notion that abortion is one of them is completely indefensible.

    Perhaps I mean morally superior all else being equal?

    I’m not sold on the idea that all else is ever equal, but like Elie & Ross in that as long as the person wants abortion to be safe and legal I’m not going to get into it them about it.

  • Makabit

    Well, we were getting an amniocentesis, and I certainly was not going to hold out some sort of hope that if it said Down was present, it was somehow a big mistake. The science works, and the chromosomal workup is very accurate. So I was sure that the anecdote didn’t represent a reasonable possibility.

    But I sort of freaked out when I realized that I was trying to get real information about a real thing, and the information I was trying to get was laced through with obviously faked stories by people who didn’t care about me or my child, they just wanted to say anything possible to prevent me from aborting.

    It poisoned my trust in what people were saying quite a lot.

  • Makabit

    This is the thing. If I believe that what a woman does about her own pregnancy is her own judgement call, I am not in a position to tell her that her reason for having an abortion is stupid or immoral, even if I think it is.

    I know that India actually has laws against gender-selection abortion. They have a different situation going on, and I have to assume they have made that choice for what seems like a good and sufficient reason to them. In my own country, I accept that people will abort for reasons that seem to me trivial, stupid, heartbreaking, or just wrong…but I accept that having the woman who is pregnant make the judgement call is, as Churchill might have said, the worst of all possible options, except for all the other options.

  • Makabit

    Very probable, because that happened to us, and that happens all the time. We had a 1 in 21 chance of Down, and while that was enough to make me spend three weeks in complete agony, worrying every second of every day, it’s still very good odds for standard paired chromosomes.

    The problem is, often the goddamn clinic calls you about the panel and says ‘it’s positive’, which makes it sound as though it’s, you know, positive. And I talked to women who said that they had actually been told, with odds much better than mine, that the baby actually HAD whatever trisomy it was.

    That said, the stories were too identical for me not to think they were being distributed for a specific purpose, which was fairly obviously to get you to not listen to your doctor if that might lead you to abort.

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

    If I want your opinion about a decision I need to make, and you believe that what decision I make is my judgment call, and you also believe that one of my choices is stupid or immoral, is there anything I can do that makes it OK for you to tell me so?

  • Makabit

    Depends. If you want my opinion, and you are my dear friend, I will probably tell you what my opinion is. 

    If you want my opinion, and I am your therapist, my job is not to tell you what I think, it’s to help you get to what you think.

    If you are someone I don’t know well and have no emotional or professional relationship to, why are you telling me about your reasons for having an abortion, and how is this any of my business?

  • Lori

    In India the main issue is that women were (and still are) being placed under incredible pressure to abort females. So weirdly that particular law restricting abortion is on balance more respectful of women’s choices than it’s absence. It’s still a bad idea in that women are still under pressure to abort females, and now also face being pushed to have unsafe illegal abortions. It’s a perfect example of why I think abortion rules are really not the way to address problems with the status of women in society.

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

    Beats me why I want your opinion, hypothetically.
    I often want people’s opinions.
    And if being your dear friend makes it OK for you to give it to me, that’s cool with me.

  • Francis Dickinson

    Probably.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people thought that Plan B
    and RU-486 were the same drug.  I only know they’re not because it was
    one of the few things NRL actually bothered to tell the truth about.

    Nope.  They think Ella and RU-486 are the same drug.  (For the record Ella, as well as preventing ovulation prevents the egg opening to receive the sperm which is why it’s more effective for longer than Plan B – but gives a risk of the egg implanting later in the cycle if contraception fails again.

    And someone will point out that there are, in fact, many pro-lifers whose
    number 1 priority is reducing poverty among women and whose number 2
    priority is making sure everyone has access to and knows how to use
    contraceptives. But they’re not as loud as the other lot, and the other
    lot exist so we’ll continue to assert that they’re ALL the same.

    Where are these people?  Show me they exist in significant numbers.  Especially those with that number 2 priority.  Show me the “Condoms and the pill because we are pro-life” marketing campaign.    Because I know there are a few people who are both pro-life and anti-poverty, but everything I’ve seen makes me think they are either Catholic (and anti-contraception) or extremely marginal.

  • Carstonio

    If I believe that what a woman does about her own pregnancy is her own judgement call, I am not in a position to tell her that her reason for having an abortion is stupid or immoral, even if I think it is.

    I go further and say that I’m not in a position to even form a judgment about her reason. I’ve never had a womb so I cannot know what it’s like to be pregnant or face the possibility of pregnancy. Similarly, I’ve never had a loved one who was kept alive after hope of recovery was gone, so I must not judge someone else’s decisions for hir own loved ones.

  • Makabit

    When I was dealing with the Down situation, one of my closest girlfriends made it clear she thought it would be best for me to abort if the amniocentesis came back positive for trisomy. She had reasons, and she listed them. She also told me that she loved me, and it was my decision, and that once I made that decision she would offer her support for it, regardless.

    It takes someone who is just that close to me to be able to tell me what I ought to do in such a painful situation, and not have me want to rip their throat out. And I knew she knew who I was, and what the situation was, and what I was thinking about, and…it’s impossible for me to imagine just offering my advice randomly to someone whose life I don’t know.

    Another woman, to whom I am not close, happened to find out what was going on and offer her opinion for free. It was not fun.

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

     (nods) Yup.

    There’s a reason why the question I asked was what I could do to let someone know unambiguously that I want their opinion and that it was OK to provide it, and why it wasn’t how I could volunteer my unasked-for opinions about other people’s choices.

    I’m not really interested in doing the latter; it doesn’t seem to provide any value to anyone.

    That said, I dislike it when someone asks for my opinion about their choices when I strongly suspect that they don’t really want my opinion so much as my approval. It’s OK if I happen to approve, but if I don’t, then  it seems whatever I do disrespects them… either by voicing disapproval of their choices, or by refusing to give them the honest opinion they asked for.

    I usually end up saying something mealymouthed about how it’s a very personal thing and I don’t really feel like my opinion is worth much. Which usually gets me off the hook, but it also contributes to the social norm whereby such phrases become understood to be code for “I disapprove but don’t want to admit it.” Which I’m also not thrilled about.

    So, I dunno. I have yet to come up with an answer I like, here.

    But in the meantime, I would very much like not to ever put other people in that position. And it seems the only two ways to avoid it are to never ask anyone their opinion, or to ask it when I do in a way that makes it unambiguous that I actually do want it.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Where
    are these people? Show me they exist in significant numbers. Especially those
    with that number 2 priority. Show me the “Condoms and the pill because we
    are pro-life” marketing campaign. Because I know there are a few people
    who are both pro-life and anti-poverty, but everything I’ve seen makes me think
    they are either Catholic (and anti-contraception) or extremely
    marginal.

    Yeah, Catholics.
     What I’m talking about is the most
    commonly held viewpoint among the many practicing Catholics I know.

    I assume you
    meant “Catholics (and therefore anti-contraception)”,
    because otherwise it reads as if Catholics, like extremely marginal groups, can
    be dismissed. But the large majority of Catholics are not, in fact,
    anti-contraception. I thought that was pretty much universal knowledge at this
    point.

    If creating and
    personally supporting marketing campaigns is the only valid form of activism
    then I suspect most people who read this blog, on all sides, can be dismissed.
    I’ll be at the top of that list. Of all the things I can spend my time and
    money on, advertising campaigns are way, way down the list.

    Of the group I’m
    referring to, the largest number probably take action through the same
    mechanism as many others here: they vote for political candidates whose
    policies will reduce poverty and improve access to healthcare (especially for women
    and children); they don’t vote for those who might reduce access to
    contraception and other forms of healthcare; and they talk to people they know
    about why these are important issues.

    Others I know
    are more deeply involved, in ways that are arguably much more effective
    than giving large sums of money to an advertising company. They belong to community
    groups, charities, political parties etc and work at the grassroots to make
    these things happen. They are politicians themselves, and bring their perspective
    to caucus discussions and votes. They raise money or give time to organisations
    that support women in need. They get involved in their local school to make
    sure contraception is covered well in the curriculum. They try to show the “ban
    abortion” folks what a terrible idea that policy is. And within the church,
    there are a hell of a lot of us—laity, nuns, priests and bishops—arguing from Catholic
    theology for change to the church’s stance wrt contraception.

    These are
    personal anecdotes so anyone who wants to believe that I’m making it all up can
    continue to do so. There’s nothing I can do to prove to everyone’s satisfaction
    that I’m talking about a group that really does exist. I have heard from this
    community, though, that it’s incredibly exclusive to tell people they don’t
    exist, or that they don’t exist in sufficiently large numbers to deserve their
    existence to be acknowledged. I thought that sounded like a pretty decent
    universal principle.

  • Darren

    Except that the drugs in question have no effect upon fertilized eggs / zygotes.

    Early on, there was suspicion that the drugs _might_ prevent fertilized ova from implanting, but this has been conclusively disproven.

    It makes a lot more sense one really understands how pregnacys happens. The  thought that a woman ovulates, she has sex, gets pregnant is just not the case. Instead, a woman has sex, the man’s sperm sits around for 5 to 7 days, if she ovulates in that time she gets pregnant.

  • Darren

    Just realized you were channeling there, never mind.


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