Commenter John on handfuls of unthinking, unfeeling cells.

On my post about Iowa lawmakers trying to make abortion the same as murder, someone named John had the following…thought.

I don’t know why I continue to be gobsmacked by those of you who violently refuse to connect the dots between “a handful of unthinking, unfeeling cells” and a human being. But I do, indeed, continue to be so.

Gee, I don’t know John.  After all, they both have 23 pairs of chromosomes and share much of the same DNA, so I can see where you’d think they were the same.  If someone had to wager a crazy guess for why people like me don’t think removing a glob of cells from a woman is the same as putting the gun to a kindergartner’s head and pulling the trigger, they’d probably not all the ways the two are different once you get past that one similarity.  A full-fledged human being can do things like feel pain, have friends, eat ice cream, watch Judge Judy, and all the other things that differentiate their experience from the world from, say, a watermelon’s.  Not so much for a glob of cells.  So while those unthinking cells are certainly “alive” in the same sense that the grass in your lawn is alive, a zygote cannot experience its own loss.  Compare that to a human being who actively does not want to die.

And don’t just crawl up my ass for noting the universe of differences between a clump of mindless cells and your mother/dauther, even Christians don’t act like “a handful of unthinking, unfeeling cells” is the same as a human being.  Who has ever asked for a death certificate and a funeral/visitation for a miscarriage?  Meanwhile, I’ve known a couple people to bury pet mice.  That should tell you about the value even the most devout Christian really puts on those cells.

And, if zygotes/blastocysts/fetuses are people, then miscarriage is a global health crisis, way worse than cancer and much more serious than the “people” lost to abortion.  Why are we not dumping billions of dollars into researching how to save these poor “people?”

So why don’t you go be gobsmocked with your churchmates, or in the closest reflective surface, and then come back and tell me how my life full of love, fun, and responsibility is of identical value to a clump of cells that doesn’t even have the capacity to experience anything, let alone joy.

  • Glodson

    I found myself gobsmacked too. The argument was just stupefyingly terrible.

    • John

      Pithy, Glodson. Pithy. Truly, you are my most worthy foil! Or not.

      • Kodie

        Congratulations on the spotlight, hoarder guy!

      • Glodson

        Oh, let’s see what laughter producing argument you provide for my amusement today, asshat.

  • sqlrob

    Who has ever asked for a death certificate and a funeral/visitation for a miscarriage?

    Michelle Duggar

    • Andrew Kohler

      See also Yoav’s comment with a link to some crazy proposed law in Georgia in the original post about the Iowa bill:

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2013/02/iowa-lawmakers-trying-to-make-abortion-the-same-as-murder/

      The one solace when one hears about such reactionary bills in Iowa is to think about how that state has marriage equality and it must drive people like Steve King absolutely nuts :-) (In case you’re lucky enough not to know: King is a ghastly US representative from Iowa and buddy of Tom Tancredo; King is perennially one of the worst members of Congress in either chamber, whereas at least the equally awful Tancredo is no longer in office.)

      Ah, Michelle Duggar. Who, indeed, has a very healthy approach to procreation and family (it must be great to be raised on television with 18 siblings). Wikipedia informs me that all 20 children (including the miscarried female fetus) have names that start with J (including Jinger–!), the fetus being Jubilee Shalom. This is unacceptable. The article said that the couple had suffered the loss of a baby previously; it would seem that this was in fact another miscarriage, given the name Caleb (although the gender was unknown–it was after their first child, so I guess the J pattern wasn’t yet established). So, I guess that makes 21 children total.

      A miscarriage is certainly a very sad thing, and I don’t at all wish to dismiss the pain it may cause. But, I have to say that the spectacle of this television show devalues for me the humanity of the whole situation (as does opposition to birth control in general–I just found out the Duggars’ brand of this is called the “Quiverfull” movement). I don’t doubt people with this ideology love their children very much, but it still makes me uncomfortable.

    • Kela

      While Dugger is a very public figure that has request a death certificate/funeral for a miscarriage. It is not that uncommon at least for those miscarriages that occur later and when those pregnancies/children were highly desired.

      The thing that both sides fail to see (or reveal when arguing) is that this is not a black and white issue.

      To someone with an unwanted/unplanned pregnancy, that clump of cells has a huge bundle of negative connotations and consequences that come along with it. The loss of those cells would probably mean little more to them then the skin cells that flake off every day and not being pregnant would likely have a net positive effect.

      But for the couple who has been trying to conceive and desperately wants a child that same clump of cells holds all of their joy and hope for the future. The loss then of those cells becomes so much more emotional and heart rending not because of any intrinsic value of those cells but because of the connotations the bearer places on them.

      The pro-choice stance of arguing that “it is just a clump of cells” and does not have any value, no matter how factually accurate, is just as cruel to say to someone who is pregnant/recently miscarried/infertile as the pro-life people telling women with unwanted pregnancies that they are killing babies.

      For me it comes down to personal choice, body autonomy and reproductive healthcare. Both of the above stances are perfectly valid for any individual to have and to abide by themselves. But it ends there. They should have no say in the views and decisions for others. There are very few circumstances when healthcare decisions should be made by anyone but the individual involved, possibly the family and their physician. It matters not one iota whether a gamete, blastocyst, or fetus is a”human being” or not, if it is residing within another human and potentially having a negative impact on their life and health.

      • Drew

        The important thing to remember here is that the value placed upon the fetus is external to the fetus itself. It is not an inherently valuable thing. The value it holds is based on the love the parents have for the fetus that they believe will grow into a conscious entity capable of returning their love. It is the same as when people value objects that were given to them by loved ones more than they would value the same object if they had purchased it themselves.

  • Daniel Schealler

    I don’t know why I continue to be gobsmacked by those of you who violently refuse to connect the dots between “a handful of unthinking, unfeeling cells” and a human being. But I do, indeed, continue to be so.

    Violently?

    Really?

    *eyeroll*

    I don’t know why John continues to be gobsmacked by the existence of people who disagree with him, but I’m bold enough to hazard a guess: Simplicity and bias.

    Simplicity is easy. Complexity is hard. If the shallow answer agrees with your initial position, then it takes consistent effort and self-doubt to dig deeper. Most people don’t do that on a regular basis – that’s not a Christian thing, it’s a human thing. We’re all vulnerable to it.

    As shallow answers go, ‘killing humans is bad and taboo’ and ‘human embryos are human – it says so right there in the adjective’ are right up there. If those agree with his position, then it is very easy to stop right there. Not only would digging require more effort, it would also introduce cognitive dissonance. Easier to just stop.

    So John can rest comfortably in the notion that he already knows everything that is relevant to the discussion. He knows he’s right, and he knows his justification fits, so his justification is complete, so he knows his conclusion is right, so the justification is good because it fits the conclusion he knows is true.

    So when people keep coming out of the woodwork who disagree with John’s conclusion despite having access to all the information John himself has, he can only be gobsmacked. His ignorance of the fullness of the arguments against his position coupled with his inability to perceive his own ignorance in this matter gives him no other reaction except that of smacking his gob (or whatever).

    Just a guess, but I’d like to think it’s at least an educated one.

    • David Hart

      As far as complexity goes, some people seem to have terrible trouble with the idea of emergent properties. In this case, we can say that, in the course of normal development, an embryo eventually becomes an adult, and we can also say that an embryo is not an adult, but we cannot put a bright line at any point and say “this is where an embryo becomes an adult”. Not least because it must first pass through some intermediate phases that we usually call foetus, baby, child and adolescent.

      The fact that we can’t even put a hard-and fast line between those intermediate phases (except in the legal sense where an arbitrary line has to be drawn between, say, persons old enough to vote and persons not yet old enough) poses a problem for the ‘discontinuous mind’ (in Richard Dawkins’ well-chosen phrase) – i.e. for people who insist on sorting everything into pigeonholes and can’t accept that something may be part way between one ‘pigeonhole’ and another.

      The problem for John is that whatever we mean by ‘human’ in this context, it is clearly an emergent property that gradually fades in as an embryo becomes a baby (if it was merely the possession of a human genome then the cells you shed from your skin as you go about your day would count as human too, and he’s not arguing for that) – or at least, if he wants to define it as not an emergent property, but a property that either is not there or is fully there, he is going to need to justify that position, and explain why he is not just trying to shoehorn a complex gradual process into a simple discontinuous box.

      • John

        And the problem for you, David, is that you fail to see the complete and utter inhuman monstrousness of your line of thinking.

        For all of the philosophical pretzels the “emergent properties” argument creates, the bottom line is this: how do we know when something is “fully human,” and when is it not okay to kill it?

        • Loqi

          If it’s been born is a good place to start.

          • John

            So there’s a fundamental, biological, scientific difference between a biological organism that exists outside of its incubator host, and one that is not?

          • sqlrob

            Err, yeah. It’s inside the woman. There’s the fundamental, biological, measurable difference.

            And your phrasing shows your contempt for women.

          • John

            When it doubt, drop the “racist/sexist/misogynist/homophobe” accusation.

            Please. You can do better than that. Think a little harder and try again.

          • Loqi

            When it doubt, drop the “racist/sexist/misogynist/homophobe” accusation.

            It’s more like “when someone says something misogynistic, say so.” Really, if you are getting called a racist, sexist, and homophobe often enough that you have a canned response, maybe you’re missing something.

          • sqlrob

            I notice you didn’t address my other point.

          • John

            I notice you don’t have another point. Again, think a little harder and have another try.

          • sqlrob

            You are saying there’s no difference between being inside a uterus and outside. So yeah, there is a point, and it happens to be on the top of your head.

          • Kodie

            I notice you don’t have another point. Again, think a little harder and have another try.

            John, you haven’t actually made an argument yet.

          • baal

            Being born has been a really good rule for a long while.

        • Kodie

          What deters you from accepting abortions in the first trimester?

          • John

            What compels you to accept it in the third?

          • Kodie

            Not this stupid game again.

          • Kodie

            Stop trying to distract people away from what a hoarder you are.

          • John

            You’re telling me. Geez.

          • Loqi

            More getting asked a question and not answering? Classy, John.

        • Brad1990

          ” how do we know when something is “fully human,””

          Way to prove David’s point, you pillock.

          “So there’s a fundamental, biological, scientific difference between a biological organism that exists outside of its incubator host, and one that is not?”

          Umm, yes. The fact it’s inside it’s “incubator host” (It’s a two-word salad! Is that like a two-bean salad?) and is incapable of survival without that host is a farly fundamental difference.

          “I notice you don’t have another point. Again, think a little harder and have another try.”

          Ah, the argumentative equivalent of “Nah nah, I can’t hear you!”. You are aware you have yet to make any point?

        • John Horstman

          For all of the philosophical pretzels the “emergent properties” argument creates, the bottom line is this: how do we know when something is “fully human,” and when is it not okay to kill it?

          Well, there’s an issue right there: whether it’s okay to kill something with human DNA really doesn’t hinge on whether we consider that thing/person to be “fully human”. Killing slaves and women on the basis of their lack of full humanity has never been okay, while killing Hitler or an armed burglar (fully human by some estimations) and zygotes (not fully human by some estimations) totally is. The actual determining factor is their impact on other people. Arguments about sanctity of life or somesuch are a derailing of the debate, as very few people actually believe that killing humans is universally wrong.

        • David Hart

          For all of the philosophical pretzels the “emergent properties” argument creates, the bottom line is this: how do we know when something is “fully human,” and when is it not okay to kill it?

          I leave it to people better schooled in human development than I, as a non-biologist, to answer the question of when a foetus becomes capable of feeling pain, and thus potentially deserving of some ethical concern (though to assert without evidence that this ethical concern automatically trumps the concern for the woman’s bodily autonomy is some chutzpah).

          But what I will say to you is this: where we draw the line between just undifferentiated cells and “fully human” in your emotionally loaded phrase, we can be entirely confident that that point has not yet been reached when it is not yet kitted out with any form of nervous system that could be capable of feeling pain, and therefore to seek to prevent women from terminating a pre-sensate embryo is to restrict the rights of sentient adults in favour of a thing which cannot yet be an object of our ethical concern (apart from in the weak sense that the woman herself may value it as something with the potential to later become an object of ethical concern) is a bit rich coming from someone who’s calling my position monstruous.

          It seems you are still thinking with a discontinuous mind. Try harder. In fact, I recommend you start by reading the article in which the phrase appears – it might help you work out where you can’t just get away with a black-or-white approach.

  • Melisa

    Ask him why he isn’t gobsmacked with the people who can’t connect the dots between a womb and the living, breathing, constitutionally protected human being carrying it around. That’s one that keeps flooring me.

    • Glodson

      You put the bar too high. Aim lower. Much lower.

    • iknklast

      Human being? Who said women were human? They’re just incubators, aren’t they? And they certainly aren’t important enough to consider in the equation. Of course, John totally avoided answering the question about rape, except by mouthing platitudes about how only a small percentage of abortions are the result of rape. Yes, so? He can’t answer this honestly without (1) revealing himself to be a totally insensitive human being or (2) revealing himself to be the hypocrite he’s so busy accusing others of being.

      Besides, even if the woman isn’t raped, isn’t in danger for her life, and isn’t the victim of incest, she should still have the ability to decide what to do with her body. And no, you don’t get to just say she made that decision when she got pregnant. Decisions about bodily autonomy are ongoing decisions that continue to confront us as we go through life, because things change. Our body changes. When our body changes, we have to make a new decision.

      That would be like saying that my mom shouldn’t have made the decision to stop eating sugary foods when she got diabetes, because she had already made the decision to die of diabetes when she ate sugary foods. Her fault she got sick? Maybe…but that doesn’t change the reality that we make wrong decisions (like unprotected sex) and follow them later with correctives.

      • Naked anthropologist

        I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy.

        • Too Good To Be True

          Yes it is; in legal terms its “assumption of risk”.

          • Drew

            “This defense is commonly asserted in cases of injuries occurring during risky recreational activities, such as skiing, paragliding, and scuba diving, but actually extends to all dangerous activities.” I wasn’t aware that sex constituted a dangerous activity. Besides, we have already determined that a woman has the right to decide whether or not the be pregnant.

          • LeftWingFox

            And yet we have no laws demanding that we refuse medical treatment to skiers with broken legs.

          • Glodson

            And yet we have no laws demanding that we refuse medical treatment to skiers with broken legs.

            You raise a good point. We should be allowed to deny them medical treatment. How do we know they really didn’t want to have their legs broken? Did you see those ski boots? They were just asking for it, and now they regret it. They are just using medical treatment as a means of masking their past mistake by skiing in the first place. All this bothers so those dirty skiers can maintain their lifestyle.

      • sqlrob

        But she *is* in danger of her life. Pregnancy isn’t a cakewalk, and the fatality rate of childbirth is much higher than the fatality rate of abortions.

    • John

      Oh, you can ask me directly.

      Because living, breathing, Constitutionally protected human beings come from a womb. Like, duh. You don’t still fall that whole stork thing, do you?

      • Loqi

        So you don’t know the difference between a thing and where that thing comes from. Well shit, I guess I just bought a Target store, since I bought some barbeque sauce there.

      • Amyc

        It’s called a uterus, and please let us know where that uterus is located.

      • Brad1990

        Yes, they come from a womb. They don’t exist in the womb.

  • Jasper

    Was inspired to try to make a person/embryo/watermelon chart:

    Here

    • Brad1990

      I think I just developed a bit of a man crush on you…

  • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    Poop contains a lot of living human cells from your body.

    Won’t somebody please think of the poop?

    • baal

      violently refuse to connect the dots between “a handful of unthinking, unfeeling cells” and a human being

      I was going to go with cheek cells. It’s trivially easy to say scrape off a million (more than a handful!) of unthinking unfeeling cells from your cheek (inside the mouth side) and have them as part of dinner. You’d be hard pressed to avoid this genocide of auto-cannibalism if you tried.

  • Lori

    Personally, I’m gobsmacked by the fact that people think there must be a rational, “scientific” way to prove or disprove the existence of personhood or humanity, which would seem to be the sole criterion upon which the difference between “murder” and “not murder” hinges. If you use criteria like “the ability to feel pain” in determining personhood, then all non-human animals suddenly become persons, as do fetuses of the human variety (and probably of the non-human animal variety, as well.) Clearly, this definition is problematic for people who support a woman’s right to access a safe, legal, and affordable abortion. It’s also problematic for people who eat meat and use other animal products. If you use criteria like “the ability to watch Judge Judy,” which presumably means “the ability to comprehend a court TV show,” then you exclude from the definition of personhood everyone who is either too young, too debilitated, too poorly educated, too unfamiliar with American culture, or too senile to comprehend Judge Judy. This definition of personhood is problematic because it justifies practices like infanticide, the slaughter of uneducated people or immigrants (most of whom are probably poor), and the forced euthanasia of ill or elderly people . Most people (whatever the word “people” actually means) are a bit repulsed by the ideas of infanticide and forced euthanasia, although some would probably approve of the wholesale slaughter of people who are too uneducated, poor, or unfamiliar with American culture to comprehend Judge Judy. Be careful and thoughtful when making pro-choice arguments: more often than not, a person’s conviction that he/she is right just because he/she isn’t blinded by religious ideology stands firmly in the way of his/her ability to construct a solid, logical argument in support of a woman’s right to choose.

  • Jimmy

    If the basis of human life is to: ” feel pain, have friends, eat ice cream, watch Judge Judy” etc. does that make a newly born baby a human? or a person in a coma? or a person who is deathly ill?

    Is logic saying that a human needs to do things to be a human?

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

      All of those are problems with defining what, exactly, a person is. It’s a very hard set of rules to lay down. I prefer to go with non-parasitic*, but I know some people don’t like that definition. It does still leave open late-term abortions for convenience, after all, and I’m not actually comfortable with those. Fortunately, those don’t happen, so practically speaking my definition doesn’t lead to the deaths of people. And really, my comfort levels shouldn’t determine what is legal for other women do with their bodies and their situations, it’s just where I happen to sit on the spectrum.

      *Parasite in the biological definition. I just can’t think of a less derogatory term for a fetus that still covers what I mean. Basically, it’s not a person if it’s still inside a woman. Once it’s outside, it’s a person.

      • John

        “It does still leave open late-term abortions for convenience, after all, and I’m not actually comfortable with those.”

        Full stop.

        Question: Why?

        • Glodson

          Full stop!

          You see, we know that at some point, the growing mass of cells may become a human. Many of us are aware of this. There’s no soul that occupies a mass of cells. There’s no brain functions for much of the pregnancy. We don’t have a person yet.

          A point that has been made to you, several times by several different people. Stop being obtuse.

          • John

            *blink*
            *blink*

            “Soul?”

            You’re asserting that a “soul” must occupy a mass of cells in order for said mass of cells to be considered a person? On an atheist blog you’re asserting that a mass of cells must be occupied by a SOUL to be considered a PERSON?

            Check and mate.

          • Glodson

            Ha.

            No. I am saying that life doesn’t begin at conception. I am saying there’s no soul to justify labeling the mass of cells as a person. I’m saying that higher brain functions are what makes a person a person.

            You stupid fuckwit, you don’t even grasp that. I am saying there’s no soul at all, let alone one that magically occupies a group of cells. Sorry if that wasn’t crystal clear, moron.

          • John

            Are those higher brain functions present only in the third trimester of pregnancy?

          • Glodson

            That question has already been answered.

            Parts of the brain, like the thalmus, don’t develop until the 20th week of the pregnancy. That’s midway through the second trimester. It isn’t even until the 28th week that the brain can even begin to register pain. That’s when the brain is, or at least very close to, being fully developed.

            Already answered this. If you want to talk about limiting abortion once the brain starts to show full development, I would consider talking about into the 20th week, which is about 4 weeks before most states stop allowing you to have an abortion. Note that I said I would only consider it, as you would have to explain why I shouldn’t allow it as that is only a week when the thalmus develops, not a fully functioning brain.

            You question is dishonest. Most abortions occur before the 14th week of the pregnancy, well before then. Often late term abortions only occur when there is a problem with the pregnancy, or because abortion access is limited. In this, late is considered after the 16th week.

            Now, let’s get further into this. No fetus is viable before the 21th week. Nearly all are viable after the 28th week. Which means there’s a spectrum here of viability. About 5% of all abortions occur between weeks 16 and 21. If we include from week 13, that increases to around 11%. These are the latest normally occurring abortions. Abortions can occur past the 21th week, but they are rare, and often tied to complications.

            What’s my point? It is that abortions are normally illegal already past the 28th week, when we know the brain is function and the fetus is viable. Most aborted pregnancies, the overwhelming majority, occur well before the brain is fully formed or the fetus even viable. And that many late term abortions, as defined by past the 16th week, are done thinks to people limiting access to abortion, making this a creation of anti-choice people.

            So, yea. No soul, only brain functions, and the exception to past the 28th week is normally for cases when there exists a complication to the pregnancy that could cost the mother her life.

    • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      Hi Jimmy, you’ve got it backwards, I’m afraid.

      You’re the one saying the clump of cells, a number less than the number of demonstrably living human with real-human-DNA cells than I shit in a day, is the same as a human.

      • John

        So, it’s a measurable and quantifiable number of cells that defines a biological organism as “human?”

        Pray tell, what is that number?

        • Loqi

          He didn’t say that at all, in fact. But you know that. At least I think you do. I haven’t decided yet if you are just dishonest, or if you’re both dishonest and stupid.

          • John

            You and Kodie must party hearty together, cuz you sure do have a problem with understanding the basics of direct communication.

          • Kodie

            Don’t blame other people for your reading comprehension problems. You have nothing better to work with than to deliberately take other people’s words and delude that they somehow agree with you. Pretty shoddy argument you have so far.

          • Loqi

            You and Kodie must party hearty together…

            Unfortunately, no. I’m stuck with people much more similar to you in meatspace. It’s truly a sad state of affairs.

            …cuz you sure do have a problem with understanding the basics of direct communication.

            The only basic of communication I can think of that any of us might be having trouble with is breaking things down into smaller words so that even you can understand them. Maybe there’s some other basic of communication I’m missing since, after all, I apparently don’t understand them. Care to tell me which one it is?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

    Ah, John, you’re hanging around here still. Good. Maybe you can answer this now since you didn’t on the other thread.

    So let’s say you went to a concert and saw an awesome violinist. At the end, you shook his hand and told him you thought he was awesome.

    Two weeks later, you woke up tied to him by IV lines while he lay on a cot next to your bed. A nurse came in and apologized, saying that he has a blood disorder. In about a year, he’ll be finished with treatment, but until then he needs to someone else’s blood, plasma, and nutrients or he’ll die. Since you’ll be sharing the treatment, you might have some side effects. They probably won’t permanently injure or kill you, but they could be uncomfortable- nausea, swelling, constant urge to urinate, elevated hormone levels, and hypersensitivity of smell are common. There is also a small chance of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, tissue tearing right around the scrotum/anus area, hemorrhage, and death.

    Has your bodily autonomy been violated? Should you have the right to rip out the IV lines and get on with your life? Are you morally obligated to keep this person alive, when you gave him no consent to tie himself to you? Should you be legally obligated to keep this person alive, no matter what the moral obligation is? Should your personal moral opinion be the same one that governs everyone else who might find themselves in this situation?

    If you think a fetus is a person, how is this any different from pregnancy?

    I’ve extended the tied-to-violinist metaphor, but I forget the original author of it. It’s definitely not my original idea though.

    • Jimmy

      One way this might be different than a pregnancy: The cause of the man’s dying is not from you removing the connected IV lines but from his blood disease. Whereas the cause of the fetus’ dying is directly from the abortion. (your action)

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

        I disagree. He’ll die if you remove the IV lines and live if you don’t. In both cases, your action directly causes someone else to die. The exact mechanics of the death are unimportant. A fetus dies during some abortions because it is not developed enough to live outside a woman’s body- it can’t breathe, eat, or excrete yet on its own. Technically, the abortion doesn’t kill the fetus in the same way removing the IV lines doesn’t kill the violinist. In reality, your action or inaction determines the other person’s* fate.

        *Note I am here conceding that a fetus is a person for the sake of the argument. I don’t believe it is, but this argument is to show why I think that even if a fetus were a person, abortion still needs to be legal.

      • Kodie

        It’s weird how you can see two similar things and think that they are completely different.

        If you remove the life source of either, they are both afflicted with a condition in which it is impossible to live without the host life source.

        How is it that one dies from whatever affliction they have that requires a life source, and the other dies because the life source was removed? The life source they are each dependent on is a human being, they are both deprived of that source, and they both end living.

        • John

          “It’s weird how you can see two similar things and think that they are completely different.”

          It is, isn’t it? Where you see a glob of useless cells, I see a human being in the early stages of biological development whose life is as worthy as my own.

          Funny, that.

          • Kodie

            Yeah, that’s fucked up. It’s like hoarding used condoms.

          • Kodie

            It’s also weird how Jimmy thinks that it would be merely letting the violinist die of his disease, but actively killing a used condom. That’s even more fucked up.

          • Loqi

            I notice you didn’t actually respond to M, John.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

            Yes, I know. That’s why I am comparing a clump of cells to a full-fledged adult human being in my post, because I know to you they are the same and have the same value and moral weight. So please tell me your opinions on the ethical and legal ramifications of removing yourself as a life-support device and causing another human being to die.

        • John

          Good eye, Loqi. Good eye.

          • Loqi

            I assume you either never will, or you’ll pretend M said something else, like you’ve been doing in every other thread. I’m just making sure it gets called out.

          • Kodie

            John, is it true you are just a bag of shit or do you consider yourself more a sack of turds?

          • John

            My goodness, Loqi, but you’ve certainly shamed me. Well done.

            Kodie, you might want to wipe those flecks of spittle off of your monitor. That’ll get gross if you just let it sit.

          • Kodie

            So your answer is A, then.

          • Loqi

            We call this the “LOL I WAS JUST TROLLING” defense.

  • Mark

    The abortion in America has its roots in genocide. A 2008 CDC report might be evidence to the contrary. It found that the abortion rate among black women is 3.4 times that of white women and the abortion rate among other ethnic groups is 2.1 times that of white women. According to the data, almost half (47.1%) of black children are killed before birth.

    • http://noadi.etsy.com Noadi

      And you don’t think that might have more to do with higher rates of poverty, poor education, and lack of access to effective birth control among those groups? Look at people from similar socioeconomic backgrounds and the abortion rate is pretty much identical, poor white uneducated whites have just as many abortions as poor uneducated blacks. Unfortunately one of the worst effects of racism in this country is that many blacks have no chance to get out of poverty or get their children a better education so they can have a better life. If you really cared about reducing abortion among minorities you’d be talking about getting women out of poverty.

      • Glodson

        I was going to reply to this… then I read this reply.

        So yea, pretty much this.

    • Desiree

      So black women like me are incapable of making the choice of having an abortion? Are we being dragged into clincs and having abortions forced on us? What is your point with the statistics? Just more fake concern over black women and children. Please stop using us as a ploy for your forced birth agenda.

  • http://noadi.etsy.com Noadi

    Who has ever asked for a death certificate and a funeral/visitation for a miscarriage?

    For early miscarriage, I don’t know anyone who has, but I know more than one family who have chosen to have a funeral or memorial service after a late term miscarriage. When it’s a wanted pregnancy that goes badly people do grieve for the loss and giving the fetus a name and funeral can be a way to move on.

    I know JT didn’t do this directly (though some other commenters have), but I get very uncomfortable when I see people mocking the Duggars or the Santorums for how they choose to grieve the end of a wanted pregnancy (and do you know how hard it is for me to defend either of them, especially Santorum?). You can support reproductive rights without dismissing or belittling the grief some women feel after miscarrying. I may take it a bit personally since I had to comfort a friend after she miscarried at 5 months, she was devastated.

    • John

      Why would she be devastated over losing a glob of inhuman cells that had not yet presented all of the properties that might emerge from the process of parasitic incubation? It was only at 20 weeks, which is the second trimester. It wasn’t yet the third trimester, so it wasn’t yet a person. What’s the big deal?

      M and Glodson, help me out here.

      • sqlrob

        The Duggars don’t exactly fall under the “sane” end of the spectrum.

      • Glodson

        Aside from repairing portions of your brain that seemed to be damaged, I cannot help you.

        Why would she be devastated over losing a glob of inhuman cells that had not yet presented all of the properties that might emerge from the process of parasitic incubation? It was only at 20 weeks, which is the second trimester. It wasn’t yet the third trimester, so it wasn’t yet a person. What’s the big deal?

        Here we need to fix the portions of your brain that deal in empathy. Empathy is important for the functioning of humans in a social sphere. Now let’s see if you can understand this part of too: Not every woman reacts differently to a pregnancy. A woman who wants to have a baby, who wants to be pregnant, might feel devastation form the loss of a pregnancy she is electing to carry to term.

        She is investing emotionally in the person to emerge through the process of gestation. As the zygote becomes a blastocyst then an embryo, into a fetus, this is the process of this mass of cells becoming a human. A woman who wishes to bring this process to term will likely have feelings for the growing mass. I know, as a father, I felt this myself. And I felt sympathy for my sister in law when her pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. I didn’t mourn the loss of a niece or nephew. And she was hurt, but she didn’t mourn the loss like she would a son or daughter. She was hurt because she wanted the child, and I wanted her and my brother to be happy. It sucked. I felt elation as my wife and I watched the mass of cells develop into a human. I felt happy as I watched this process unfold.

        I would have been hurt to see it end prematurely. But that was because my wife made a choice. We talked it over, and we made the choice that we wanted the baby. If the pregnancy had ended in a miscarriage, it would have hurt. If we had been put in the situation to end the pregnancy to save the life of my wife, it would have hurt. The loss would have been real as we had put in an emotional investment into what this process would have resulted in. This loss would not have been near what it would be if I felt it now, knowing my daughter as a human being instead of just the potential for being one.

        This comes down to what the woman wanted. She wanted the baby. I feel for her, I understand what that investment means, and how easy it is to get attached. I know that people react differently. I can make these distinctions based on real criteria, criteria laid out by me and others.

        If you don’t understand that, that’s your problem.

        • John Eberhard

          Nice.

          • Glodson

            Thanks. It was kind of rough to write, as certain emotions came to the forefront. This is why I am pro-choice. Women need to be free to make this choice, not have it forced onto them.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

        I was going to post a long thing, but Glodson said it well, so I’m just going to second that.

      • Brad1990

        Listen, you inhuman fucking douche, it is only a glob of cells, but that glob of cells has the potential to become human so if that glob of cells happens to be developing inside a woman who wants a baby then it’s loss is obviously going to be devestating. And 20 weeks? A Human foetus does not develop lungs capable of inhaling air until the 26th week. So no, it wasn’t a human. But it had the potential to become a human being that that family wanted. And don’t you dare come out with the crap argument that the fact it is a potential human mean’s it’s wrong, because by that logic every time you eat a fried egg you’ve just killed a chicken. It’s a stupid fucking argument.

  • Loqi

    inhuman cells

    Nobody has said that the cells aren’t human cells. Again, you’re either being dishonest or stupid.

    What’s the big deal?

    She wanted a baby, and never got one. What’s hard to understand about that? Oh, right, you do understand that, you’re just being dishonest.

  • Kodie

    So far, I notice John hasn’t made his own argument. There is nothing of substance that he’s asserted on his own so far. His full extent is to “turn the tables” and quote-mine people and misrepresent the context to a size and form that he can manage to try to belittle. If he were honest, he could try to make a substantial supporting opposition to what people actually have said but he doesn’t have anything.

  • Jimmy

    Kodie – I would consider the primary or original cause of death of the violinist his blood disease but his immediate death was caused by the decision to remove the IV. The key thing is that he was already sick/dying. I would consider the glob of cells primary or original cause of death the abortion. The key thing is that it is not already sick/dying but growing.

    I assumed the glob of cells was living but if we assume it is not a living thing, it is still growing and an abortion stops that growth where the man hooked to the IV was not still growing but deteriorating prior to being hooked up to the IV

    • Kodie

      But you’re removing the life source. I think a glob of cells is afflicted with not having functional organs yet, similar to the violinist’s kidneys also not functioning. Not just to live, but to continue growing, an embryo or fetus needs to literally feed off the incubating woman. A violinist is a whole person who would need to be hooked up to your organs in order to function, and you leave the violinist to die of causes (which is your right). You are able to think of a human being without its host life source and that is not killing it. But you are looking at a glob and thinking it will die if it is removed! And for some reason, you think that’s different and murder.

  • Loqi

    I would consider the primary or original cause of death of the violinist his blood disease but his immediate death was caused by the decision to remove the IV. The key thing is that he was already sick/dying. I would consider the glob of cells primary or original cause of death the abortion. The key thing is that it is not already sick/dying but growing.

    The violinist was dying without the host. The fetus is in the same position. It just didn’t have a “before” in which to be dying.

  • Jimmy

    I think the scenarios are different because the violinist is dying before entering into the scenario and thus changes your responsibility to his death. The fetus is not dying before hand and so you are fully responsible for that death. Sorry if I didnt respond exectly to your arguement, this is how I interpreted it

    • Kodie

      You are at least using your thoughts and words to come up with something to say unlike John, who only piggybacks and seems to have no original thoughts or observations on a problem, so thank you.

      I think the thing here is affliction. If a violinist is afflicted with a kidney problem and you deny them your body to keep them alive, then to me it is the same thing as denying an embryo, afflicted with the non-functional organs as well. Why would the latter be murder just for separating them from the life source, but it would be justified since the violinist is an adult, that you could just cut him off and let him die – how is that not murder?

      To me, it’s the other way around. In the problem, it is suggested we consider the embryo a person just for comparison’s sake. Nobody has the right to force you to serve them with your body, even if they will otherwise die. People can and do voluntarily do these things, but if you are attached to an embryo as if it is a full-grown person, especially when it’s not yours but you want this mandated to everyone, and you know that group never includes men, not even sexually active unmarried men, it comes up against superstitious reasons to keep something alive that’s not really anything, if the person doesn’t want to go through pregnancy nor raise a child, and blatant disregard for women and their bodily autonomy.

    • sqlrob

      It’s also different because the fetus has no brain or brain activity. It is not an individual.

    • Azkyroth

      No, you think they’re different because only a woman physically can have her bodily autonomy compromised to sustain a fetus against her will, you just won’t come out and say it. Same old.

  • Loqi

    In your explanation, you consider what state the violinist would be in if the host had not entered into the scenario, saying the violinist is dying beforehand. What happens when you do the same with the fetus? Is it not dying?

  • Jimmy

    Kodie, I do not think the murder(removal of the IV) of the violinist is justified because he is an adult but because he is already dying. I understand that the fetus seems to be in the same state of dis-functioning organs but does that mean it is dying?

    Side note: I am not saying that it is justified for any dying person to be killed but that in this case the person attached to the violinist is not fully responsible for the death, because the bloos disease is the primary cause

    • Kodie

      Not having organs would be a cause of death, if you consider the embryo a person and it can only survive not just being inside the host but being made of her. I don’t think of an embryo as a person, since it’s not yet. I think, just because we looked at some birds together, why do I have to build a birdhouse? Out of my body!

      Why do you look at it and see a human being that has to continue uninterrupted and I look at it up to a certain point (if I choose to or someone else chooses to) as a birdhouse. I don’t have to build it. I don’t have to start building it or wait and see if I change my mind about it. It isn’t built yet so why should I invest any emotion into it at all if I can see that I don’t want to spend the rest of my life taking care of it. Why is cutting off the construction of the birdhouse made of my body compared to the violinist with a disease? Because you’re right – the embryo doesn’t have a disease it’s dying of. It isn’t even built out of a woman’s body yet to have that much going on first.

      • Jimmy

        Kodie- I do not have a good answer for you now, thanks for the good discussion and thought provoking comments though!

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

      But Jimmy, you’re forgetting a very important aspect of the violinist story. HE WILL GET BETTER! In only about a year, treatment will succeed- when you pull out the IV lines, you’re not removing them from a dying man. You’re removing them from a sick man who will get better if you’re patient.

      Removing life support is removing life support. Nonfunctional organs are nonfunctional organs. If a woman can be compelled to lose her bodily autonomy to another, anyone can. If you’re pro-forced birth, I presume you’re pro-forced blood donation and living organ donation as well (you only need 1 kidney and 1 lung, and livers grow back). After all, your selfishness in wanting to hold on to your organs means other people die!

  • Azkyroth

    I don’t know why I continue to be gobsmacked by those of you who violently refuse to connect the dots between “a handful of unthinking, unfeeling cells” and a human being. But I do, indeed, continue to be so.

    Understandable. I mean, it’s not like he has any more of a working brain or capacity to function independently than a blastula.

  • Daniel Schealler

    @John

    Here’s a test John.

    Can you explain to us a common position against a prohibition on abortion using your own words?

    The test is to see if you actually understand the positions of people who have contrary views to your own.

    If you cannot do this, then the reason you are gobsmacked by the existence of dissenters is likely to do with ignorance of their actual arguments.

    Hoping to get a response from you this time.

    • John

      Golly, Daniel. I’ll sure try. I’ll only use the big crayons to make sure I spell all my wordz right.

      Can you explain to me a common position for the prohibition of abortion without descending into name-calling or anti-religious zealotry?

      The test is to see if you have the understanding…

      Oh, nevermind.

      • Glodson

        Answer the fucking question and knock off the tone trolling.

        • John

          Wah wah wah.

          • Glodson

            Thought as much. You don’t have an answer, you respond to a question asked directly by not even answering the question and try to rationalize it by reading in an insulting tone to Daniel’s question, which was asked in good faith.

            He’s right. You cannot back up your own position, let alone understand how to deal with the positions of others. Jimmy, in this thread, got far better treatment. Even though I disagree with him, he at least showed a bit of good faith in his arguments.

  • neatospiderplant

    John (or any anti-choicer)

    You are in a burning building. There is a 6-month old baby and a petri dish of a dozen human embryos. You can only save one of them. Which one do you save and why?

    • tubi

      That’s easy. I kneel down with both the 6 year old and the proto-humans and pray that God will provide me a way out of my dilemma. So we all die, but gain the brass ring in the end, I guess.

      • sqlrob

        I sent a firetruck…

        • Glodson

          Prayer works! God exists!

          Because firetrucks!

          • sqlrob

            I was just riffing on this

          • Glodson

            Oh man, I had never seen that. Yes… that’s quite the argument for god.

            I do hope it is more an attempt at humor, but I am sure that’s the underlying message. “Hey, don’t worry if you only see people saving you, they are just carrying out god’s will.”

    • Ibis3

      I like the presentation of this dilemma, but I think it more appropriate to make the child 6 years old rather than 6 months. A six year old knows its name, is pleading for help, enjoys certain legal rights, wants presents for its birthday, knows what it wants to be when it grows up–indisputably a person. I don’t believe for a second that any “pro-lifer” would abandon such a child to die so they could save a hundred petri dishes filled with embryos. On the other hand, many of them are perfectly fine with killing a pregnant woman rather than let her have an abortion. It’s all about control and punishment of women, not “saving babies”.

      • neatospiderplant

        To me, it doesn’t matter too much if the child is 6 months old or 6 years old. Either way it’s still person vs. potential people. But I didn’t come up with this scenario myself and I would think that 6 months is a good age since an infant would be completely dependent on you to save them from a fire where someone might argue that they’d take the petri dish since a 6 year old would have a decent chance to get themselves out (assuming they just have to walk out the door. If they had to climb out a window or some other tricky maneuver, it might be different.)

  • SB

    FFS John! Whilst there are ‘dots’ that connect “a handful of unthinking, unfeeling cells” to a human being, it doesn’t mean that the two extremes are equivalent. It’s your binary attitude that’s the problem. It’s obvious, to any reasonable person, that there is a point after which the fetus shouldn’t be aborted and that is where the debate should focus, not some ridiculous cells = human argument.

  • John

    A young, 17-year old Iraqi immigrant girl from Dearborn, MI gets pregnant. Her secret boyfriend is non-Muslim. She is devastated, and knows that her devout Muslim family, especially her father, will see this turn of events as dishonor upon the family. Scared and fearing for her life, she runs away from home.

    The following months are extremely difficult as she stays on the move to keep away from her father. After a great deal of struggle, she decides she wants to terminate the pregnancy. She makes several attempts to go through with the procedure, but she cannot overcome her deeply rooted cultural stigma against it.

    At the end of nine months, her flight from her father’s wrath finds her in Cleveland. Having been in and out of shelters, she has avoided all help for fear of her father following her trail. She finally gives birth in the back alley where she has been sleeping for a couple of weeks. Hungry, disoriented, in pain, and scared out of her mind, the young girl manages to cut the cord, wrap the baby in trash, and leaves it in a dumpster. She flees the alley, never to return.

    Please choose one of the following options:

    A) There is no ethical dilemma in this circumstance. While the fact of a live birth is noteworthy, the unwanted crisis pregnancy and the intention to terminate supersede any ethical responsibility to the newborn. There is no cause for concern in this matter.

    B) There is an ethical dilemma in this circumstance. While the mother’s intention was to terminate the unwanted crisis pregnancy, the fact of a live birth, indicating a status as a functional human being, becomes the overriding concern. The fate of newborn deserves further consideration.

    • Kodie

      Nobody has to engage with you since you have been nothing but a troll. You have answered every question asked of you with a question or a troll. If the bulk of your argument rests on avoiding having any answers or arguments of your own, there is no point in engaging you or giving your inflated sense of ego a boost by answering your questions in good faith while you are evasive and dishonest.

      • John

        …and yet, a mere four minutes after I post my question, you choose to engage with a reply.

        Ego boost: check!

        • Kodie

          You never answer any questions so nobody needs to answer yours. Your curiosity to know what pro-choicers think is not as interesting to us as you think it is, mostly because all you do is quote-mine people and not actually listen to what is being said.

          That’s why nobody should answer your questions, at least not until after you answer questions we have all asked you. You are just a bag of shit and not actually smart or interesting. Of course you’re going to say something substanceless like “wah wah wah” or “spittle flecks” and not actually acknowledge why people think you’re a bag of shit.

          • Glodson

            Exactly.

            Jimmy, while wrong, seemed to be arguing in good faith. I saw Mark in here as well, and while wrong, he seemed to be arguing in good faith. I think they are saying things harmful, but at least they seem to want something of a conversation. And at least their responses show some reflection.

          • Kodie

            John has had many opportunities to jump in with a substantial and thought-out position but instead chooses to mock people, usually using our own words to deliberately misrepresent us. That’s a fucking shitbag thing to do and demonstrates a complete lack of anything substantial of his own to offer the debate. He knows if he puts his own ideas out there, they will be ripped to shreds, they will be countered by sensibility and reason, and exposed to for sure be the superstitious misogynist he has already revealed himself to be.

            John lives in a fantasy world where he is winning the argument without actually saying anything. I just got through another thread like this on another blog where the guy would keep asking the questions and never answer any. By all means, pretend the abortion issue is about late-term abortions and avoid stepping in your own shit because you can’t rationally defend an opposition to early abortions. John just can’t carry this argument off in the principles department, the substance department, or even the intellect department.

            John, so you believe early abortions are ok, and really only have a problem with late-term abortions.

          • Glodson

            The only reason I respond to his arguments is that I hope others are reading them. I hope they are seeing what he is doing. He’s got nothing. Even this last example, it might be based on a real life example, but the problem here isn’t abortion. It is the social pressures of religion and rampant misogyny. Like I said in my response, we allow the young woman to get an abortion, the problem is solved. If she didn’t feel the pressure to hide the pregnancy for fear of her religious father’s reaction, or because of the religion of her boyfriend, she could talk to her family and find a good solution.

            The problem isn’t even abortion. It is the lack of service, and the toxic environment that many young women face.

            Okay, I also enjoy insulting him. But that’s one of life’s little pleasures.

          • Loqi

            Indeed. Never argue with an idiot because you want to reach the idiot. Argue because you want to reach the spectators. And yes, insulting him is enjoyable. I’d call it a guilty pleasure if I felt any guilt over it.

          • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

            I know we’re not talking about Christianity for a change, but I thought I’d inject a little Scripture into the conversation for entertainment value alone.

            Proverbs 26:4:

            Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.

            Hang on, that wasn’t the one. Lets try again.

            Proverbs 26:5:

            Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.

            That’s the one!

    • Glodson

      This is a bad example. Here’s why: we’ve addressed this before. I know I have set limits on when it is and isn’t acceptable to have the abortion. Remember? I have told you the limits. I have explained why, and I’ve even did a brief overview of fetal development. This is an ethical concern because the pregnancy had developed a fetus that was both viable and with a fully developed brain.

      However, there’s an underlying problem here. One that highlights the damage religion, and anti-choice people, create. If she had been allowed access to abortion, she could have easily terminated the pregnancy long before this ever happened. So this is a problem which we need solving because this problem would exist thanks to the meddling of religion and anti-choice people.

      If she didn’t have the religious superstition hanging over her head, and her father’s head, the problem would have been easily solved, with no fractured family. Abortion here isn’t the issue or problem. It is the social pressure, and the real threats at times, women feel because of their sex. The boyfriend doesn’t feel this pressure like she does. She’s got to take the consequences of both their acts, both in terms of social sanctions and the real damage done to her body.

      There is cause for concern. There’s cause for concern as she brought the pregnancy to term. Once you give birth, abortion isn’t an option. There’s a cause for concern because these pressures are felt by millions of young women, the pressure to remain chaste despite their own sexuality and the pressure from their boyfriends to have sex, the pressure of guilt created by an irrational belief that they are obligated to take an unwanted pregnancy to term, the real threat of abuse from families where allegiance to a religion supersedes compassion. Christians behave in much the same way, pressuring young women in much the same manner.

      This shows the need for easy access to abortion. If she had an abortion earlier, she would have avoided the problem. This shows the need to eliminate the influence of religion on society. This is a problem created by religion and superstition.

    • Kodie

      Anyone who is against early abortions is a hoarder. Religious reasons are obviously dangerous to women and babies.

    • Kodie

      Shame brought on of sexuality due to religious reasons and forced birth killed the infant. That could be prevented by losing the stigmas of sexuality, birth control, and early abortion. This article hates women. John is a misogynist who wants to blame the woman for killing her infant.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

      C) There are multiple ethical dilemmas, none of which you adequately described.

      C1) The dilemma of patriarchy. This girl was scared to be pregnant- she was literally scared her family would kill her if they found out. That is, for lack of a better term, a problem. She didn’t feel safe going to her parents, a teacher, an aunt, or a trusted friend to help her figure out her options and what she wants to do.

      C2) The dilemma of the newborn. If she had been able to go through with the abortion, there is no dilemma. The fact that she was brainwashed by her religion is a problem, but a tangential one to the situation at hand. Once born, a newborn is still a person. Abandoning it in an alley is not acceptable, but it is understandable given the situation. Hopefully Cleveland has well-publicized ‘angel baby’ laws which state that anyone can abandon an infant at a hospital, no questions asked. If she does that, the dilemma is solved.

      C3) The dilemma of homelessness. She’s been living on the streets for months. No one has found her or helped her, either from her old life or from the government. That speaks worlds about the dysfunction of our society, but you just toss it off like it’s ‘the way things are’.

      C4) The dilemma of the boyfriend and the family. What are they going through? This girl ran away and disappeared! While their sadness and worry are not nearly as important as her story, they are still hurt by the sequence of events.

      Now I’ve engaged you, John. Answer my violinist scenario above, dammit!

      • Glodson

        He won’t.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

          I know. Hopefully this’ll just keep pounding it in to people that John’s not actually engaging anyone, arguing in good faith, or being a reasonable human being.

          • Glodson

            I think it is painfully obvious at this point. Hell, I think the post by Daniel on this page illustrated it well. The question was plainly asked, nothing negative in his message, and no answer to the question was given.

    • Brad1990

      Option c) Remove the stupid religious “Pro-Life” (read: anti-womena nd anti-sex) stance from her viewpoint, thus allowing her to get the abortion and solve the issue.
      Option d) educate the father to stop him being such a racist, misogynistic thug.

      • David Hart

        At the risk of becoming de-raily, if you’re describing the father in this scenario as ‘racist’ because he would object to his daughter having a non-Muslim boyfriend, that’s not racism, that’s religious bigotry. It’s still a form of bigotry, but it’s an important one to distinguish, because religious people shouldn’t be able to deflect criticism of their religion by 1) equivocating good-faith criticism of the contents of their religious beliefs with personal bigotry against them as persons who hold those beliefs, then 2) equivocating bigotry against them as persons who hold their particular beliefs with bigotry against them as persons who belong to a racial or ethnic group amongst which those beliefs are prevalent.

        A common example of this bait-and-switch would be ‘criticism of Islam = ‘Islamophobia’; Islamophobia is a type of racism’. We need to be careful to spot this meme and call it out, even while we also call out genuinely race-based bigotry (and indeed religion-based bigotry).

  • Kodie

    A 17-year-old girl had sex with her boyfriend and got pregnant. She realized that she wanted an abortion and nobody tried to stop her so she did.

    • Niemand

      Kodie, hopefully there’s an epilogue to your story: After the abortion, she and her boyfriend made another appointment and sat down together with a medical professional who discussed the risks and benefits of various forms of contraception with them. Together, they chose one that worked well for them. She never got pregnant again until and unless she was ready. The end.

      • Kodie

        I more or less deliberately left out anything they could or should do next. It’s just a counterpoint to the dramatic story of the girl who was so afraid of getting an abortion and so afraid her father would kill her that she ran away and when it came down to it, she actually concludes that the better option was to dump her newborn infant in the garbage. How do we live in a world where that can happen when we can live in a world where people can get an abortion without fear or drama.

        More importantly, why did John choose such a dramatic story that doesn’t even make his point? How are we to blame her ultimately ending up at having this as her best option? I agree that she should have left it with a safe haven, but otherwise, what does dumping a baby have to do with abortion? Her life was in danger from religious stigma over her sexuality and disobedience therein – that is a major problem for that version of the story. That is why people shouldn’t get so hysterical and taking away people’s freedom to choose and haunting their sexual behavior with shame. If she could choose an abortion and freely ask her dad or boyfriend to escort her to the clinic, and they were glad to help out, we wouldn’t have the dramatic dead baby in a dumpster. In John’s story, he seems to imply she should have not killed her baby but instead faced her father, and any consequences for having sex with a boyfriend outside of her ethnicity or religion was what she deserved! Only 2 choices here were given – dead baby or take the punishment, and we’re supposed to say, obviously, “dead baby is the wrong one.”

  • John

    M, I’ve not responded to your violinist dilemma is because it’s a loaded, ham-fisted, biased scenario. I lose no matter how I answer.

    If I say “yes, I have a moral obligation to keep this person alive,” then you’re all over me for consenting to rape and violence against women. I’m advocating that women be “forced” to give birth against their will. I am a misogynist who should be punished.

    If I say “no,” then you crow that you have vanquished my puny, parochial point of view and revealed me before the world as a hypocrite. Your intention is not to engage in a “conversation.” It is to force me to accept the premise of your metaphor as worthy of serious consideration. Which I do not.

    Your metaphor hinges upon the idea that pregnancy descends upon a woman by circumstances outside of her control. It positions a baby as an unwelcome, unnatural, and unworthy parasitic intruder. Like so many of these types of arguments from the pro-death side, the argument is rooted squarely in the “rape and incest” defense, diverting the line of questioning away from the act of abortion by daring all comers to defend heinous acts of violence. Sorry, but I’m not playing that game.

    Abortions performed on account of rape or incest total 0.5% of all abortions performed. Rape and incest abortions are not the problem. The other 99.5% of abortions are. It is intellectually dishonest to argue the defense of abortion from a 0.5% position. It is a dodge, a distraction, and utterly disingenuous.

    Your violinist dilemma is unworthy of consideration.

    How, then, shall we discuss this topic?

    I hope we can all agree upon the biological fact (science!) that the female of the human species is endowed exclusively with the ability to bear children. As inconvenient as this fact (science!) may be, no amount of foot-stomping or tantrum-throwing will turn us into seahorses. Alas, the man is biologically denied this role (science!).

    When one consents to sex, it is true that one does not necessarily do so with the intent to become pregnant. But it is also true that by inserting Tab “A” into slot “B,” one sets into motion a biological process (science!) in which pregnancy may very well result, because that is, in fact (science!), the ultimate purpose of the act.

    So when conception occurs, you progressive, scientifically-minded fashionably atheist types suddenly become complete fucking idiots. Instead of seeing the initiation of the development process of a new human being, a new life, as something to be protected and nurtured as a good in and of itself, as something inherently worthy of humanity because it exists, you instead act surprised that it has happened. You will twist yourselves into all manner of cognitive pretzels in order to justify an act of convenient barbarity.

    For all of your collective smartz, you can’t even agree as to how to acknowledge this new life as a legitimate person. Some of you draw an arbitrary line in the sand and say “third trimester,” acknowledging that it may be a little before or a little after that line, you’re not sure, but it definitely has to do with the ability to feel pain, which occurs in the third trimester, even though there’s evidence that it may be as early as eight weeks, but whatever, because pain recognition is the threshold of personhood. Others are more cut and dry: inside the woman, not a person. Outside the woman, a person. Which is a head-scratcher, because if the woman decided three days before giving birth that she wanted to terminate, that would be okay because the thing in her tummy isn’t technically a person until it passes through the magical vajayjay pixie dust barrier that will imbue it with valued personhood. To say nothing of the fact that it will cause the third trimester folks to become disconcerted, because they coulda sworn that whole pain thing was a good idea.

    The state of being “wanted” or “unwanted” is also important. This is closely related to the idea that a fetus lacks an inherent value, with said value being granted by an external determination of the parents. A “wanted” pregnancy is of value, thus preempting the need for magical vajayjay pixie dust. An “unwanted” pregnancy is not valued, is not eligible for magical vajayjay pixie dust, and is thus to be disregarded, much like the “unwanted” Christmas – er – Festivus gift from your rotten Republican aunt. Unless, of course, you’re an inside/outside person, in which case if the “unwanted” baby passes through the pixie dust, it’s all good.

    Then there are those who equate personhood with a quantitative count of the number of cells present in a human body greater than the number of cells in their own turd. I tend to ignore those folks, because clearly, they’re just assholes.

    None of this apparent incoherency is to be a bother, however, because the difficulty in pinpointing an exact moment of personhood, thus triggering “ethical considerations” in regards to pregnancy termination, can be explained away by the theory of “emergent properties,” which carries with it the added value of denigrating those who disagree by identifying them as possessing “discontinuous minds,” which is a fancy way of saying that they’re all mindless simpletons. (Science!)

    This cognitive dissonance is astounding. You can look at the arc of a person’s life and accept as fact the inherent humanity of a five-month old that is developmentally different from a 15-year old, from a 45-year old, from an 85-year old. But your fucking heads explode when you are challenged to include in this biological arc (science!) a nine-month gestation period. You become philosophically and ethically incapable of wrapping your heads around the fact that what happens the first moment that fertilized cell divides is directly related to what happens when it celebrates its Bat Mitzvah, graduates from college, and buries its parents. You pride yourself on constructing your own moral structure based upon the sweet, clinical objectivity of observed science. Yet when you can’t see what happens to life at 12 weeks with your own two eyes, you develop convoluted philosophical constructs with no objective coherency that allow you to snuff it out because you can’t come up with any better ideas. Pretty pathetic for a bunch of wizards of smart who think themselves so much more clever than the rest of us knuckle-draggers.

    None of this is to diminish or belittle the very real and very difficult circumstances in which pregnancy can occur. For all that we might do to improve the circumstances of all women everywhere, the fact of the matter is that unexpected pregnancies happen to unprepared women for any number of reasons every day. My position, and the position of people like me, differs from yours in that we want to protect the life of the mother AND the child. Life MUST come first, and we must do all that we can to help protect and nurture ALL parties involved.

    This, obviously, is a different position than yours. You’re willing to kill. How very humane of you.

    The good news is that, in the end, my side will win. Life always wins. Always.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

      Life wins, species don’t. 99% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct … but that’s a scientific, evolutionary fact, so you probably don’t believe that either. And if we (or our descendants, or the descendants of some other species that achieves intelligence) never get off the planet, Earth-life will end in ~8 billion years when the sun goes supernova. Killing one person (if I thought a fetus was a person which I don’t) doesn’t end life or put the human species at risk, so I’m not quite sure what you were getting at.

      That amusing side-jaunt done, I don’t think you understand the real health risks and life-changing circumstances a pregnancy represents. The violinist scenario isn’t at all about rape or unwanted sex- it’s about unwanted pregnancy. That’s it. I mean, the guy in the scenario admires and likes the violinist- he shook his hand and expressed his appreciation! Obviously he would want the violinist to live! That’s my (admittedly somewhat obscure) reference to consensual sex. So what I want to know is, if having expressed appreciation for the violinist and, perhaps, a wish for a long and joyful life, the man has the right to kill the violinist?

      You seem to think consent to sex is consent to pregnancy. It’s not. Consent to sex is consent to sex. It does come with the knowledge that pregnancy might happen, but there is absolutely no obligation to carry it to term. Consent to skiing is not consent to broken legs. Consent to surgery is not consent to bleed to death. We treat or mitigate negative consequences of dangerous actions all the time- while I don’t think sex is dangerous, you put it in that category, so treat it the same way.

      Also, it is you with the convoluted ethical structures, to create a system in which a microscopic ball of cells is of greater importance than the woman it’s feeding off of. My philosophical position is both clear and simple- you, and only you, have the right to determine what happens to your body, who uses it, and for what. If I have the right to kill a man who’s trying to rape me (and I do), then I have the right to kill a fetus trying to feed off me.

    • Kodie

      You mean the side with the father that would murder his daughter rather than let her have an abortion?

      That’s the side that wins?

      WTF is magical vajayjay pixie dust? You are in favor of protecting an embryo for magical reasons. What is that magical fuck fuck fuck aw yeah oh no dust that establishes this parasite as a person with more rights than its host? There is absolutely no rational reason to hang onto it if you want it gone, and you have yet to explain yourself. Trying to keep the focus on late-term abortions isn’t helping your case. You also have yet to acknowledge anything anyone has actually said. Instead, your post is full of straw men and women. It’s completely made out of straw with the taint of mockery, which we’ve established is your favorite since it saves you the trouble of forming a valid argument. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT EARLY ABORTIONS, JOHN. You avoid saying anything about it, so I assume you are just having a problem with the late-term abortions, aren’t you, John.

      Try not to be a hypocrite so much, hoarder.

  • Glodson

    You knuckle dragging moron, your arguments have been pathetic to nonexistent.

    But your fucking heads explode when you are challenged to include in this biological arc (science!) a nine-month gestation period. You become philosophically and ethically incapable of wrapping your heads around the fact that what happens the first moment that fertilized cell divides is directly related to what happens when it celebrates its Bat Mitzvah, graduates from college, and buries its parents. You pride yourself on constructing your own moral structure based upon the sweet, clinical objectivity of observed science. Yet when you can’t see what happens to life at 12 weeks with your own two eyes, you develop convoluted philosophical constructs with no objective coherency that allow you to snuff it out because you can’t come up with any better ideas. Pretty pathetic for a bunch of wizards of smart who think themselves so much more clever than the rest of us knuckle-draggers.

    Been addressed. Repeatedly.

    Abortions performed on account of rape or incest total 0.5% of all abortions performed. Rape and incest abortions are not the problem. The other 99.5% of abortions are. It is intellectually dishonest to argue the defense of abortion from a 0.5% position. It is a dodge, a distraction, and utterly disingenuous

    You believe that life begins at conception, because magic. So… answer the question: should the victim of a rape be allowed to abort their pregnancy? I don’t defend abortion because of this. I defend the right to an abortion because I think a woman has the right to decide if her body will house a growing mass of cells that isn’t a person yet. Again, we’ve talked about the fetal development. For me, this isn’t a problem. This is a problem for you.

    So, which is it? Murder the unborn produced by rape or force the mother to carry her rapist’s baby to term?

    Instead of seeing the initiation of the development process of a new human being, a new life, as something to be protected and nurtured as a good in and of itself, as something inherently worthy of humanity because it exists, you instead act surprised that it has happened. You will twist yourselves into all manner of cognitive pretzels in order to justify an act of convenient barbarity.

    You repeat this, this phrase, over and over again, albeit with different wording. And what about all the zygotes that don’t implant? Around 30% to 70% of all zygotes, which are the same as humans according to you, don’t implant. Source.

    My position, and the position of people like me, differs from yours in that we want to protect the life of the mother AND the child. Life MUST come first, and we must do all that we can to help protect and nurture ALL parties involved.

    So you are for increased spending for welfare and other social programs? You think we should insure that people all have easy access to medical care? And what happens when there is a complication? Like an Ectopic pregnancy? What then? Is it okay to murder the baby?

    This, obviously, is a different position than yours. You’re willing to kill. How very humane of you.

    The good news is that, in the end, my side will win. Life always wins. Always.

    Unless you are against war and the death penalty, your side isn’t the side of life. I find the use of deadly force to be something we should seek to avoid. And I’m still pro-choice. Because terminating a pregnancy is not killing. You see, we use this stuff called evidence. More than one person has presented in. You, however, pull something out of your ass and expect us to accept it.

    We don’t. You’re an idiot.

    • Glodson

      Oh, John, you aren’t winning.

      Not according to opinion polls.

      • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

        Maybe he’s “winning” in the Charlie Sheen sense?

  • http://deep-friedfreethinkers.blogspot.com Tweenky D

    Two years and five days ago today, my son was stillborn and I almost died. This is a very personal subject for me.

    When we found out we were pregnant, it was already 22 weeks and we knew it was a risk at my age and in my condition. Nevertheless, we agreed to take the risk since it would be our one chance to have a child. What died on Feb. 11th was our hopes and dreams. What died was the potential for a son. He never took a breath. He never dreamed a dream. He never knew anything about rights or responsibilities.

    There is no law in the U.S. that can force me to give blood, tissue, or organs to save another’s life. To give the unborn the right to use my blood and organs without my permission is to give them rights greater than those of actual born citizens. Fetal personhood has no legal or scientific merit regardless of whether the unborn is wanted or not.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

      I’m very sorry to hear that. *Internet hug*

    • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      I admire your courage for sharing such a painful and personal event. Thank you for sharing your experience and how it informs your stance on this matter.

    • Glodson

      I wish I could do more than say I’m sorry for the pain, and thank you for sharing this.


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