Why ‘pro-life’ Christians should support Title IX

Becka Wall of the National Women’s Law Center offers a look at Title IX — the law best known for expanding opportunities for women and girls in athletics.

But as Wall says: “What many people don’t know is that the benefits and protections of Title IX aren’t limited to athletics.”

Wall lists four less-known ways that Title IX benefits women and girls, including that it also requires equal opportunities for girls and women in career and technical education programs, it offers legal protections against sexual harassment and bullying, and offers protections for survivors of sexual assault or rape.

And here’s the big one — the reason that anyone who is pro-life, and not just seeking legal bans to abortion for partisan political reasons, ought to be a big supporter of Title IX:

Protection for pregnant & parenting students

Title IX requires that pregnant and parenting students have equal access to schools and activities, that all separate programs are completely voluntary, and that schools excuse absences due to pregnancy or childbirth for as long as it is deemed medically necessary. In short: pregnancy should be treated no differently than a temporary medical condition.

Yet many pregnant and parenting students still face discrimination in their schools. Take the story of Lisette Orellana, a straight-A student who had taken all the usual precautions and still got pregnant, and instead of support from her favorite teachers, she now faced discrimination and bullying from not only her fellow students, but also her favorite teachers. Despite the fact that it was a battle to go to school every morning and face those who were actively rooting against her, Orellana graduated with honors. Orellana is a rare success story, however — only about one-half of teen mothers get a high school diploma by age 22, compared with 89 percent of women who do not have a child during their teen years. One-third of teenage mothers never get a G.E.D. or diploma, and less than 2 percent of young teenage mothers attain a college degree by age 30.

Or look at the discrimination faced by Stephanie Stewart, a 27-year-old student at a public university in New York City who was told by a professor (in a class entitled “Roles of Women”) that she would not be allowed to make up tests or assignments resulting from any pregnancy-related absences. When Stewart went to the dean and other administrators to reverse the decision, they told her that professors have the right to set their own rules about absences and make-up work. They declined to intervene on Stewart’s behalf and recommended that she drop the class. The National Women’s Law Center recently filed a case on her behalf against the City University of New York.

Pregnant women have advocates in feminist groups like the National Women’s Law Center. In theory, “pro-life” groups should also be forceful advocates for the legal rights, legal protections, and social benefits that pregnant women need. But that help is not always forthcoming. Sadly, the pro-life movement seems more focused on imposing legal limits to the options facing pregnant women than on creating an environment in which such women have greater options, greater opportunities to thrive.

As Pam Spaulding writes, “Pregnancy can still get you fired; where is the outrage from the ‘family values’ crowd?

Spaulding cites E.J. Graff’s Salon article, “Being a pregnant waitress can get you fired.” Graff outlines the myriad ways in which, if you are poor or working-class and pregnant, every economic incentive is lined up against carrying the pregnancy to term.

That would seem like the sort of thing that people opposed to abortion ought to be upset about, yet we almost never hear even a peep about it from the religious right. Spaulding writes:

Where is Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council on this issue? He’s too busy making the media rounds to get face time as he  worries about the Boy Scouts and its ban on gay scouts and leaders. What about John Boehner and other GOP leadership? What about calls to stop persecuting working women with this discrimination by the elected officials around the country that have been focused on passing state-sanctioned rape, er, mandatory transvaginal ultrasound bills?  Crickets are chirping.

… It’s time to ask the family values crowd why they have a lot to say about the fetus, and little to say about protecting the ability of the mother to earn a living to support that fetus — or the freedom to hold off getting pregnant in the first place.

See earlier:

Why aren’t ‘pro-life’ groups backing legal protection for pregnant women?

‘Pro-life’ groups still silent on protecting pregnant workers

 

  • Evan

    Of course, someone still could support these measures and oppose the rest of Title IX.  This’s still a good point, however:  there’s at least this good part.

  • Grogs

    I think there’s a lot of potential common ground between reasonable people on both sides of this issue. If your goal is truly to reduce the number of abortions, removing the underlying causes is a great way to go. Unfortunately, I think the reasonable voices on the pro-life side are drowned out by the whackaloon brigade with members like like Tony Perkins. For them, I honestly believe their goal is more about punishing women who dare to have unsanctioned sex. They want them to suffer for their sins, and any program that would either reduce unwanted pregnancies, or reduce the suffering (and thus make abortion less needed) is right out. Unfortunately, i don’t see that situation changing any time soon.

  • Carstonio

    The movement acts as if it wants teenage girls to become pregnant. Its behavior would make perfect sense if its gender ideology amounted to motherhood being the only allowed or proper role for women. 

    But no, that supposition is ridiculous. Those folks just have to believe in protecting life for its own sake. There’s no way they could believe that restricting women to the nursery is a good thing. They couldn’t be that monstrous, could they? ;)

  • Hexep

    Where is Tony Perkins? Why, he must be off lying!

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

    Sadly, the pro-life movement seems more focused on imposing legal limits to the options facing pregnant women than on creating an environment in which such women have greater options, greater opportunities to thrive.

    That’s all it has ever been focused on.  It isn’t interested in *reducing* abortions.  It just wants to make them unavailable altogether.  In that sense I don’t think their actions are inconsistent.

  • Carstonio

    Favoring laws that ban abortion is an extremist position, because as you said, it doesn’t address the underlying causes. The reasonable position of keeping abortion legal includes many people who believe abortion to be wrong and many others who see the moral question as decided by the individual woman.

  • stardreamer42

    This is all of a piece. The soi-disant “pro-life” movement has never been about protecting children — born or unborn. It’s all about controlling women’s sexuality and punishing sluts.

    Think I’m over-generalizing? I’m perfectly willing to believe that individuals may not share that agenda — but based on the statements and actions of the people running the movement, I have no choice but to consider that the official position.

  • AnonymousSam

    Hopefully his arms get tired. </lame humor>

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

    “Pro-life” groups are doing their very best to criminalize the bodies of fertile females. A woman in Utah was recently charged with murder when she miscarried one twin. 

    It’s not about protecting women or children. It’s about hating women (and transpeople who get caught in this misogyny wringer). If the pro-life movement actually cared about abortion, they would be at the forefront of demanding excellent sex education, funding birth control, fighting for women’s education around the world. Instead, they do the exact opposite. 

  • flat

    I am principally against abortion.

    So that’s why I support sex education, birth control, women’s education and oppose rape culture.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    We now have a common saying about letting “the perfect become the enemy of the good.”

    Most times I’ve broached the topic of how to reduce abortions with someone who is pro-life, I’ve gotten the response back that they don’t want to reduce the number of abortions, they want to stop them all.  No discussion of whether or not that’s even a possible goal is allowed.  There’s only that goal and *only* one imagined means of achieving it, through law.

    That, along with the other positions that people who support the pro-life position tend to support, leads me to believe that the primary issue isn’t the sanctity of life, but the organization of life.  Women have a place, men have a place, sex has a place, workers have a place, etc.  Deviation from that place must be punished.  Sometimes, that punishment must be in the form of a child.

    That’s why people look fondly on such eras as the 1950s and the Antebellum South.  It was a perfectly organized world in which the wealthy or the middle class (which is wealthy in that they can still expect to eat on a regular basis and get an education for their children) do not have their lives infringed upon by a disorderly forced acknowledgement of the fact that the world just isn’t as pleasant as it’s made out to be.

  • Jessica_R

    I think it’s more than just wanting to control women, it’s that a lot of Anti-Choicers just plain hate women. And when you hate women, you don’t want them to not lose their job because of pregnancy. Quite the opposite, you seethe that such laws would make it so a woman who wanted to leave a relationship could do so without having to worry about how she will support herself and her child financially. 

  • AnonymousSam

    I had posted this way back in the D’Souza thread, but yeah — I consider it a collection of answers from pro-life conservatives to the question, “What should the punishment be for a woman who gets an abortion in a jurisdiction where abortion is legally murder?”

    http://feministing.com/2013/01/17/new-report-shows-how-the-principle-of-personhood-is-already-criminalizing-pregnancy-in-the-us/

    Their answers appear to be “Convict her of murder at any time she fails to give birth as we demand, regardless of the lack of proof that her pregnancy was ended intentionally.”

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

    Okay, so other people need kidneys to live. You have two. Go donate one.

    Okay, so other people need plasma to live. Let’s make it illegal for anyone to not-donate it. 

    If you’re principally against abortion, don’t have one. But there is no way to take a “principled” stand against abortion that does not insert yourself into other people’s bodies without their consent. 

  • ReverendRef

    I know this has been said before (I’ve said it before and other people have implied it), but I’ll say it again:

    I’d have more respect for the “pro-life” movement if they were also pro-prenatal care, pro-maternity/paternity leave, pro-adoption, pro-universal health care, pro-HPV vaccination, pro-vaccination of any kind, pro-living wages, and pro-anything that actually, you know, helps people live.

  • MaryKaye

    Such people do exist:  they tend to self-identify as pro-choice.  My mother was one.  She was so strongly opposed to abortion that she refused one when her life was in danger, and spent three months in the hospital while they tried (and succeeded) to save both her and the child.  (And never told us.  I found out from her doctor just after she died, twenty-one years later, of the same thing that had threatened her back then.)  But she would never have acted on that opposition to abortion by hurting pregnant women.  And she voted consistently pro-choice, because doing otherwise hurts pregnant women.

    I have nothing but respect for her views.  (I don’t know if I would feel the same if I had become an orphan at 12, though.  Thank the gods it didn’t come to that.)

    It’s not hard to find ways to make life better for mothers and children.  The program which sends nurses around to infants’ homes to provide extra care is incredibly cost-effective–in fact it more than pays for itself–and you could lobby to spread its implementation, or contribute directly.   You could also contribute to programs to feed women and infants.  That pays off long-term by avoiding malnutrition during critical development periods.  My mom contributed to causes like these, and again, if that’s what “pro-life” means to you, more power to you.  You could also pitch in to Bill Gates’ anti-polio initiative mentioned up above.

    When I personally faced, or thought I faced, a choice between abortion and a horrible outcome for my existing family, I had pretty well decided to make the opposite choice from my mother.  I think she would have supported me, sadly, but compassionately.  (As it turns out I was not pregnant, I was just trying to bleed to death, and frankly it was a relief to find *that* out.  Contraceptive research saved my life, by the way:  the only workable treatment we found for the bleeding was a Mirena IUD, which works perfectly.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

    The angriest I have ever become as a result of a Facebook encounter was in 2011 during the Mississippi fetal personhood debate, when a woman whom I did not know but who claimed to have been the product of rape (pre-Roe) responded on a friend’s FB page to the question of “What do you think should be done about a 16-year-old rape victim who has an illegal abortion?” with the words “lethal injection.” I turned off the computer, took a Klonopan, and left the house, I was shaking so badly. 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    That’s all it has ever been focused on.  It isn’t interested in
    *reducing* abortions.  It just wants to make them unavailable
    altogether.  In that sense I don’t think their actions are inconsistent.

     Not “unavailable altogether”. Just as available, but horrifically unsafe and performed illegally by inadequately trained back-alley abortionists under unsanitary conditions. YOu can tell because abortion bans have approximately zero effect on the number of abortions. Some of them have even admitted that they know bans will literally kill women, but are okay with it because “Hey, you have to have moral values.”

  • Baby_Raptor

    That story right there is the perfect example of why I refuse to call these people “pro-life.” They’re pro-forced birth. They don’t care about life. 

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

    Wow. (O_O)

    There are no words.

  • Hexep

    I hope he’s not carrying any aerosol deodorant or anything. When that stuff hits the ground at terminal velocity, it’ll go off like an artillery shell.

    Wait, scratch that – I absolutely do hope he’s carrying some aerosol deodorant.

  • Guest

    Weren’t a lot of treatments originally cures for assorted diseases? 

    Off-topic, if the treatment you’ve got ever stops working and you consider a hyst, go robotic. They’re AWESOME i.m.h.o. Good support too, like Hyster Sisters site. Just 2 things to watch out for: the “princess in the castle” lingo (no, really; do you hear guys talk like that in the pulled-groin wing?);  and that the docs for faster & easier rounds sometimes place all patients in the M&B ward unless you ask otherwise.

  • banancat

    I’m really very hesitant to give the benefit of the doubt to those very rare people who think abortion is generally wrong but identify as pro-choice or label themselves pro-life while supporting the things that progressives generally support like sex ed and easily available birth control.  Someone hypothetically judging me for having an abortion doesn’t really make me feel good just because they’re not actively trying to prevent me from doing it by legal means.  “Not as bad” is not the same thing as “good”.  Judgmental people who think it’s just kinda sorta wrong for me to have an abortion aren’t what I want for allies.

  • Superninfreak

    The problem is that I think a lot of these same people would be uncomfortable with women working.

    A lot of them want old gender roles to come back.

  • Lori

    Do you really care that much about other people’s opinions of you? People judge other people all the time. If you’re like most of us you are judged about something or other pretty much every day and you probably judge at least one other person every day as well. If you don’t know the person and s/he isn’t actually trying to hurt you then how much does their opinion really matter? Why aren’t they entitled to their own moral judgements as long as they’re not interfering with yours?

    I don’t see how any of us can justify setting the bar for ‘good person” at “either agrees with me about everything I do or has no opinion whatsoever.” That’s not how people work. Telling someone that they have to BYOB is one thing, telling them they can’t have thoughts about you that you don’t like is another.

    At the end of the day I’d far rather have judgmental people as allies than as enemies. I can deal with my own I don’t need their approval, I just need full personhood and with it the right to own my own body.

  • Carstonio

    I was allowing for the possibility that at least some of those pro-choicers are judging only the act and not the person. If they’re judging both, you’re exactly right about the noxious nature of their judgmentality. I would be inclined to hold my nose and accept them as allies only if it meant preventing forced births. 

  • Carstonio

    I see a distinction between judging public matters and private ones. One’s treatment of others should be up for judgment. Things like one’s sexual orientation shouldn’t. Neither should a specific woman’s reasons for wanting an abortion – that’s no one else’s business. I hope there are some folks who oppose abortion in the abstract but recognize that the woman’s reasons are her own.

  • Lori

    People judge stuff that’s not their business all the time. If they’re not in your face about it and they aren’t trying to actually control your choices I think that’s all any of us can expect. We might prefer not to be judged, but like I said, “Agrees with everything I do or literally has no opinion about it at all” is a really high bar. One I dare say none of us meet it and therefore need to be careful of expecting from others.

  • Carstonio

    I agree with those who say that there’s no right to an opinion, only to an informed opinion. By default an opinion about someone’s private life is uninformed. That doesn’t mean that the opinion holder should be stopped from having that view, but just that the holder is in the wrong. “If they’re not in your face about it and they aren’t trying to actually control your choices” – that’s a big if. In my experience, the folks who regularly judge things that aren’t their business tend to also disregard others’ boundaries in other ways.

  • banancat

     Of course I care about people’s opinions.  Everyone cares, because it matters.  It is impossible for anyone to separate their opinions completely from their actions.  That’s like saying I shouldn’t care about some man’s sexist opinions as long as he doesn’t discriminate against me in hiring or whatever.  Even if he tries very hard to not let his opinions influence his actions, he won’t be completely successful.  So maybe I wouldn’t have a problem with a hypothetical person who  thinks my abortion is amoral but is completely uninfluenced by that opinion in how they act toward me, but if I ever find that person they’ll surely be riding a unicorn with the living Elvis and that lady who had an abortion at 8.5 months just for the fun of it.

  • Lunch Meat

    “If they’re not in your face about it and they aren’t trying to actually control your choices” – that’s a big if. In my experience, the folks who regularly judge things that aren’t their business tend to also disregard others’ boundaries in other ways.

    That doesn’t really make sense to me. We’re talking about people who would be silent about their views. How then would you know if they are regularly judging things and be able to evaluate how many boundaries they disregard?

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.farago Andrew Farago

    I’m just boggling at the notion that there are people out there opposed to Title IX.  Varsity soccer can’t possibly be that bad.

  • Carstonio

     I’m talking only about people who voice their judgments. If I read you correctly, there are many people who would see Person X do something they believe is immoral but keep silent about it. That doesn’t seem to speak well of their character.

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

     

    people who would see Person X do something they believe is immoral but
    keep silent about it. That doesn’t seem to speak well of their
    character. 

    So, I’m close enough to a consequentialist that I guess you could say that whenever I see people causing injury, they are doing something I believe is immoral.

    But I frequently see people doing things I believe injure themselves in various ways, or see people participate in relationships that I believe injure others in various ways, and stay silent about it because I don’t feel it’s my place to tell other people how to treat their own bodies or minds, or how to be in relationships, outside of the context of a few very special people with whom I feel I have a relationship that allows that.

    If I’ve understood you, on your view that silence on my part is a sign of poor character… yes?

    That’s… interesting. I’m pretty sure I disagree.

  • Cathy W

    I know some of the opposition right now on the athletic front is on the basis that women’s athletics is now coming at the cost of men’s athletics – the requirement that scholarships be balanced means that a lot of low-visibility men’s sports are being dropped while low-visibility women’s sports aren’t. Throw in a big helping of “nobody actually watches women’s sports anyways,” and yes, you get people opposed to Title IX.

    (Meanwhile, I might suggest that the dropping of low-visibility men’s sports is not a reason to oppose Title IX, but maybe one more factor in reconsidering having a football team…)

  • Carstonio

    My example was about silence in the face of Person X injuring others, such as committing fraud. Yes, Person X injuring hirself is a tricker situation. Self-injury is not immoral in and of itself, although specific types can be immoral because of the harm it also causes others, such as drunk driving. The standard you recommend is a good one.

    “participate in relationships that I believe injure others in various ways” – I suspect this involves a stronger moral imperative to speak up, but again this hinges on the closeness one has with the person.

    People like James Dobson dub abortion to be mass murder, yet their actions suggest that they believe otherwise, a point that Fred has emphasized many times. If someone who believes that abortion is murder, I would expect such a person to feel compelled to speak up whenever a friend or acquaintance wants or has an abortion. If the person believes that it’s not hir place to tell others how to treat their bodies, that would seem to automatically preclude the abortion = murder stance. Maybe zie sees abortion as lower down on the immorality scale like adultery.

  • Lunch Meat

    There are definitely people who believe abortion is wrong, but not that it is murder, or that it even injures another person. If I was one of those people, what I’d be hearing from this thread is that either I remain silent and have poor character, or I speak up and am thus getting in people’s faces and trying to control their choices to some extent. My only other option is to force my internal moral judgment to change because of the hypothetical possibility that someone might not want me as an ally if they knew about it, even though I never talk about it at all.

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

     

    Self-injury is not immoral in and of itself, although specific types can be immoral because of the harm it also causes others

    Well… hrm.

    So, you started out talking about “people who would see Person X do something they believe is immoral but keep silent about it.”

    You now seem to be talking about what actually is immoral, regardless of people’s beliefs.

    The transition is confusing me.

    That is, I don’t agree with you about the morality of self-injury. That’s fine; we’re not obligated to agree, and I don’t intend here to argue it here. My question was, if I see someone injuring themselves in a way I believe is immoral (whether it really is or not), and I say nothing (because I don’t think it’s my place to do so), is that on your view a sign of weakness in my character?

    Or, conversely, is my silence on such matters actually a sign that I don’t really believe self-injury is immoral?
     

  • Carstonio

    That’s an oversimplification. I guess I don’t understand what moral reasoning such a person would use for deeming abortion to be wrong, if zie rejects the pro-life rhetoric about it being murder. Such a person may very well have a valid ethical argument for not speaking up, I just wouldn’t know what it would be.

    “Controlling their choices” also misses the point about bodily autonomy. It’s too easy for someone to tell Woman X what choice she should make, since the choice directly impacts her and not the person telling her.

  • Isabel C.

    Like most people, I have a number of friends whose choices I wouldn’t necessarily make. Some of them are simply not for me; a very few I do consider wrong, or senseless, or just a bad idea. Unless they specifically ask what I think about whatever-it-is, or those choices present a clear and present danger to themselves or others, I shut up. If they do ask, I try to make my case without condemning the person, and to stop as soon as I’ve made my point. I expect the same courtesy, and I get it, because there’s a reason my friends are my friends.

    The difference between this and what Fred calls out James Dobson and so forth for doing is the rhetoric level. Some of my friends think it’s wrong to eat meat. None of them have compared my occasional steak dinner to the Holocaust, and I don’t believe they think that way either. If they did, I’d expect them to speak up. I would also probably stop being friends with them, so there’s that. 

  • Carstonio

    My question was, if I see someone injuring themselves in a way I believe
    is immoral (whether it really is or not), and I say nothing (because I
    don’t think it’s my place to do so), is that on your view a sign of
    weakness in my character?

    My point is about immorality as actions that injure others. I admit I don’t understand the basis for deeming self-injury to be immoral in and of itself, but I recognize that other people do see it as immoral. I would think the reason one would speak up, following your standard about the closeness of the relationship, is because one cares about the person and not because one wants to give hir a punishment or a morality speeding ticket.

    In any case, it’s not clear to me whether the type of abortion opponent we’re talking about sees the procedure as self-injury or other-injury.

  • Lunch Meat

    Well, some people are not consequentialists. They may feel that because there is no way to objectively prove their beliefs, they should not attempt to influence other’s actions; or that it is more wrong to shame people for having abortions than to attempt to prevent the abortion, and therefore it’s better to keep silent rather than the chance of hurting someone.

  • Carstonio

    Isabel’s stance comes closest to my own. I stay away from gambling because it feels bad to me, but I don’t label it as “objectively” immoral. Why? Because I don’t have an argument for how the common good would be served by no one gambling. (That’s different from arguing against predatory types of gambling operations.)

    They may feel…that it is more wrong to shame people for having abortions than to attempt to prevent the abortion

    Is there a relevant difference between the two? I would have assumed that shaming was a prevention tactic, to discourage women from having abortions. A tactic that I condemn.

  • Lunch Meat

    Yes, believe it or not, some people who believe abortion is wrong also believe shaming is wrong and condemn it right alongside you.

  • AnonymousSam

    I don’t like abortion, or many of the arguments used to justify it. In my ideal world, abortions would never happen, not even in cases of rape, incest, or because of medical necessity. I just happen to want to bring about that idea world by eliminating unwanted pregnancies via contraception and education; eliminating rape by properly stigmatizing it, prosecuting it properly and criminalizing coercive-yet-”legal” sexual predation; giving CPS greater authority and resources to work in tandem with local police to prevent and stop child abuse; and bettering our medical system to reduce or eliminate miscarriages and dangerous prenatal diseases and conditions.

    You know, a pro-life agenda. Because last I checked, all of us were alive and had a right to respect and happiness, not just fetal tissues. What? You mean that sounds a lot like a pro-choice agenda? Well, yeah, if people were reasonable, we wouldn’t have two positions. The fact that many people calling themselves pro-life seem opposed to all of the above is a sick, terrible shame.

    As far as I’m concerned, many of the people calling themselves pro-life are projecting their own murderous desires onto women and doctors because they don’t want to admit to themselves that they’d be killing people if they had the power and freedom. You can’t accuse people of wanting to kill babies when your own policies seem intended to bring about death to everyone not like yourself. Including babies.

    I thought that was logical. -_-

  • Carstonio

    Sure, and I wasn’t claiming otherwise. Maybe my confusion is that I use the terms right and wrong as having universal meaning. Not that everyone agrees on what is right and wrong, but that “wrong” seems like the incorrect word to use for my reason for not gambling. 

    I read “attempt to prevent the abortion” as “attempt to prevent the woman from having an abortion,” and not the measures that AnonymousSam advocated. I admit that I don’t like abortion either and I agree with all those measures. Sam didn’t say that women should never choose abortion. I’ve been defining opposition to abortion as the belief that no woman should ever choose to have one, so I didn’t understand why someone with that belief would refrain from voicing that stance to a woman having or considering an abortion. If I read you correctly, some people feel the same way about abortion the same way I feel about gambling. Is that accurate?

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

     

    I would think the reason one would speak up, following your standard
    about the closeness of the relationship, is because one cares about the
    person and not because one wants to give hir a punishment or a morality
    speeding ticket.

    Well, I can’t speak for others, but the reason I would consider speaking up a good thing would be if it stood a reasonable chance of reducing the amount of harm being done to entities I care about… such as, for example, people engaged in self-harm.

    Which is related to my basis for deeming self-injury immoral… it increases the amount of such harm being done.

    The closeness of the relationship doesn’t really affect my judgment of how bad it is to harm people — in principle, I accept that strangers being harmed is just as bad as my friends and loved ones being harmed, although of course I respond emotionally more strongly to the latter.

    It does affect my estimation that I can actually reduce the amount of harm being done, though. Ignorant interventions can do more harm than good.

    Agreed that the desire to punish people or give “morality speeding tickets” is not itself a legitimate basis for intervention. 

    it’s not clear to me whether the type of abortion opponent we’re talking
    about sees the procedure as self-injury or other-injury. 

    Nor to me. Nor, indeed, whether injury is even relevant to them. It’s hard for me to say, not being one of them myself or having had much occasion to discuss the subject with them.

  • Lunch Meat

    If I read you correctly, some people feel the same way about abortion the same way I feel about gambling. Is that accurate?

    Yes, maybe, if I understand what you’re saying about gambling correctly. But I’m really not trying to get into defending that viewpoint, because it’s not one that I hold. All I’m saying is that this conversation is coming uncomfortably close to telling people what they should think. If people are trying to control others’ choices or are getting in people’s faces, yes, that is a bad thing and I am opposed to that. I don’t what to get into telling people what they should think is right or wrong, if they are not doing the above–and if they are, I think it’s better to tell them not to do that, not worry about changing their thoughts.

  • Carstonio

     I see your point about general harm. A big reason I don’t apply morality to self-injury is because it doesn’t involve the interpersonal concept of consent – it’s not about forcing injury on someone else who didn’t consent to being injured. Also, the idea of self-injury being immoral might rule out instances of people facing certain injury or death to save others from the same fate.

    My reading is that you’re defining immorality to be anything that’s bad or undesirable, and we agree about the undesirability of harm to one’s self or others. I’m focusing on individual choices, their effect on others, and individual accountability for the outcome. As one Slacktivite put it years ago, pursuing one’s own happiness in ways that don’t interfere with one’s own happiness.

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

    I can respect  your view about defining morality in terms of consent, though I don’t share it. There are plenty of cases in which, given a choice between minimizing harm and minimizing violations of consent, I would judge that minimizing harm is the more moral choice.

    That said, in practice I suspect we might agree about the right thing to do in many cases, and merely disagree about how we label it.

    E.g., I suspect that there are cases about which you would say “Well, that’s not really a consent violation, so it’s the right thing to do” and I would say “That absolutely is a consent violation, but it’s still the right thing to do.”

    > Also, the idea of self-injury being immoral might rule out instances of
    people facing certain injury or death to save others from the same fate.

    (nods) It might, if one framed the idea in such a way that rules out causing harm in order to avoid greater harm, which people often do. 


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