My Gruesome Debate With a Pro-Lifer

My Gruesome Debate With a Pro-Lifer July 26, 2019

Pro-lifers find me, and they find me irritating.

After the recent Republican push to restrict women’s reproductive rights, I reposted my 2018 column Pro-Life Is About Oppressing Women. That’s All. This was a post that described the way pro-life propaganda erases women by focusing on the fetus; in it, I cited a post from the Patheos blog Catholic Working Mother, which discussed the matter of abortion and never once mentioned the mother. (Incidentally, I was just using Catholic Working Mother’s post as an example of a phenomenon I’ve noticed for years. Whether discussions originate from the pro-life or pro-choice side, I find it disturbing how comfortable we are engaging in debate over women’s reproductive rights without talking about women.)

A Poor Excuse for a Debate

Trent Horn, a Catholic apologist, public speaker and podcast host, appeared in the comments section of my repost and invited me to discuss the matter on his podcast. We figured out a time for me to talk to Trent in his studio via phone, and the resulting podcast is on his website here:

Dialogue: Do Pro-Lifers Oppress Women?

I’m reluctant to listen to the podcast myself, the same way you’d feel reluctant to watch a video of yourself being mugged. Trent is a seasoned debater and has quite the bag of tricks, and the only thing I wanted to do was explain my point about the erasure of women from the matter of abortion. After Trent recited passages from my article with all the brio of a ten-year-old reading aloud from a schoolbook, I started out by trying to establish that there’s a significant difference between a fetus and an infant: the woman herself. Trent responded that he didn’t consider the woman “a morally relevant difference.”

There’s nowhere a discussion about women’s rights can really go from there, except downhill. And that’s exactly where it went. On the bright side, my loyal detractors will no doubt enjoy hearing me drown in a deluge of leading questions.

Enter The Mom

The fun continued when JoAnna Wahlund from Catholic Working Mother, after hearing Trent’s podcast, responded to my post with a rebuttal entitled—you guessed it—Pro-Life Isn’t About Oppressing Women. JoAnna claimed that I was wrong to criticize her for not mentioning the woman in her original article. After all, she was dealing with the science of the matter, which in the pro-lifer’s unique reformulation appears to exclude the woman:

Trent mentioned this excerpt and then said, correctly, that the purpose of my article was to discuss the science of human development and the scientific proof that an unborn child is a human being. He said, “She’s not even talking about abortion, she’s making a scientific point.”

Well, science fans, at least give me credit for consistency. I don’t buy when you guys use science words to validate your prejudices, and I don’t buy it when pro-lifers do it either. I mentioned to Trent during our discussion that the idea that “science says” that human life begins at conception is just the sort of arbitrary distinction that pro-choicers feel uncomfortable making. Questions about when someone acquires humanity, and where life begins, are philosophical questions, not scientific matters.

JoAnna claims that pro-lifers are all about helping women. Just look at the slew of services that pro-lifers offer to women in need:

The solution to crisis pregnancies are to fix the crisis, not kill the unborn human being. Are there financial concerns? We want to provide help and resources, free prenatal care, etc. Is she in an abusive relationship? We want to help her get out the of the abusive relationship, get counseling, get employment, etc. Does she not feel capable of being a parent? We want to help with classes or counseling or forming an adoption plan.

It’s just that easy! It makes you wonder what color the sky is in JoAnna’s world, where typing words on a screen creates a robust social safety net and motivates the entire community to roll out the red carpet for millions of desperate women in need.

Demonization Without Justification

Predictably, the conclusion of JoAnna’s post is just more of the baby-killer rhetoric that’s the first, middle and last resort of the pro-lifer:

We love the woman and we want to HELP her improve her circumstances, not oppress her. We don’t want to perpetuate the lie that the ONLY solution to her problems is the end the life of another human being. If we thought that violence was a solution to problems, we’d be pro-choice. And if preventing one human being from killing another human being is oppression, all laws prohibiting murder are unjust.

Here JoAnna is just paying more lip service to the idea of helping a woman. Forcing her to endure pregnancy and childbirth against her will, even if it’s the result of a rape or assault, is the dictionary definition of oppression. Furthermore, the idea that anything is the ONLY solution to her problems is one that only pro-lifers assert: they want the woman to have no other option but to continue with the pregnancy and give birth whether she likes it or not. The references to violence and killing are just stock devices of a pro-lifer with no qualms about spewing moralistic invective against sexually active women.

Escape from Responsibility

I happen to agree with JoAnna and Trent that the matter of abortion is all about responsibility. However, they consider the responsibility to be on the part of a woman who (whether she got pregnant through consensual sex or after being raped) has a responsibility to bear the man’s child without complaint just like in the old days. I think it’s more about our responsibility to justify our opinions about public policy and take ownership of them rather than pass the buck to science or religious dogma. It could very well be that the entire matter of abortion boils down to a choice between dehumanizing a fetus or dehumanizing an adult woman; I’ll admit I’m more comfortable with denying the rights of a human who hasn’t even been born yet rather than reducing a living, breathing woman to a mere housing for a fetus.

If you want to talk about responsibility, I think it’s obvious that pro-lifers cling to the baby-killer trope merely because it absolves them of any responsibility for the consequences of forcing women to give birth. Joanna says as much in her rebuttal:

You kept claiming we “erased the woman” by ignoring the reasons women seek abortion — financial circumstances, involvement in abusive relationships, not feeling capable of parenthood, and so on. We pro-lifers aren’t ignoring anything. We know there are myriad reasons women seek abortion. The thing is, we believe that those reasons are not sufficient reason to violate the human rights of another human being.

If a woman claims that she doesn’t have the emotional or material resources to care for a child, and chooses to prevent a child from being born, I see that as taking responsibility. However, the pro-lifer doesn’t seem to feel the need to accept responsibility for forcing a woman in such a situation to undergo pregnancy and give birth. Trent even conceded that the maternal mortality rate in the USA is the highest in the developed world, but the prospect of a woman dying giving birth to an unwanted child still didn’t complicate the issue for him. If the child is born into a situation where it’s subject to deprivation, neglect, or abuse, that doesn’t seem to concern the pro-lifer either. To me, that amount of indifference to suffering—the real suffering of conscious women and children—is irresponsible to the point of psychopathy. And it entirely negates the pro-lifer’s appeals to her boundless, noble compassion.

Politics and Pro-Life

It behooves us to keep in mind that pro-life Catholics like JoAnna and Trent are politically conservative. So it’s safe to assume that they’re not so staunchly opposed to the suffering of children that they’d support gun control measures that would protect them from mass shooters. The suffering of children in the aftermath of the USA’s wars of empire abroad, or in detention centers along the Mexican border evidently doesn’t motivate them to write blog posts. And it goes without saying that neither has gone on record as condemning the Catholic Church for the reprehensible child abuse it enabled and covered up.

I don’t see this as some weird aberration or oversight on the part of pro-lifers. It’s exactly what we’d expect to see from people who claim to care about the plight of children only insofar as they can exploit their suffering to demonize and oppress women. I know I’ve said some nasty things about the New Atheists, but listening to these people vent their twisted piety makes me want to kiss Hitch’s feet.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Dave Maier

    One one-millionth of a point is awarded Trent for the clever title of his podcast: The Counsel of Trent.

  • Raging Bee

    …where he counsels himself?

  • Oh. Now I get it.

  • johnsoncatman

    They are NOT “pro-life”. They are forced-birthers. They are fetus-fetishists. Call a spade a spade.

  • R.

    Steve, with respect, you found out that actually having a conversation with someone about a differing point of view is a lot harder than writing blog posts for the internet machine in your well-worn, comfortable corner of the blogosphere.

    Nobody put a gun to your head to accept Trent’s invitation. You didn’t perform well. You’re not doing yourself any favors with this follow up post.

  • David Bates

    Trent was polite, courteous and gave you plenty of time to speak, but you’re trying to paint it as though it was an elaborate sting operation! Could it be that you just didn’t present a very compelling case? I’d invite anyone reading to listen to the episode and judge for themselves…

  • David Bates

    …or rather than refute the argument, call the person names.

  • David Bates

    No, “counsel” is a noun. It’s like saying “The Advice of Trent”

  • Hi Teddy K!

    I’m not sorry I did it. The things I end up regretting are the things I did or didn’t do out of fear, so I’m glad I at least gave it a shot. It certainly went a long way toward validating my opinion that without the baby-killer rhetoric, you pro-lifers don’t have much else to say.

  • I generally agree that cheap shots aren’t a substitute for dialogue. But “forced-birthers” is hardly inaccurate, since in essence, that’s what pro-lifers advocate: forcing women to undergo pregnancy and childbirth against their will, whether the pregnancy is a result of consensual sex or assault. Pro-choicers want to leave the decisions up to the woman, her family and her doctor.

  • David Bates

    So it’s a lazy logical fallacy which shouldn’t be committed…but in THIS case it’s perfectly justified because you particularly don’t like the pro-life position? Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop it being either lazy or a logically fallacious.

    Can you imagine if everyone took the same approach? All dialogue would end and you’d just be left with name-calling.

  • ClanSutherland

    Unless the argument is false and the names apply, then it’s just truth.

  • David Bates

    The argument actually has to be disproven first… and I don’t think it’s possible to listen to that podcast and conclude that Trent lost.

  • materetmagistra

    since in essence, that’s what pro-lifers advocate: forcing women to undergo pregnancy and childbirth against their will,

    Huh? Who exactly caused the unborn child to be where he or she is?

    Pro-choicers want to leave the decisions up to the woman, her family and her doctor.

    ……leave exactly “what decision” up to the woman?? The decision of whether or not to end the life f her already existing son or daughter?

    Pro-lifers do not believe that ending another human being’s life is moral, even if the person doing the “ending” happens to be the parent of the “ended.”

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Gotta disagree with you on this one, on two counts.

    First, I wouldn’t make that “repress women” statement about all religious pro-lifers. Having grown up in such a family, I speak from personal background. This kind of gets to my take on one of “Another White Atheist’s” recent posts. In many cases, it’s a sincere belief in a hierarchy being ordained by an omnipotent being. She, on another part of dealing with the religious, only focused on individual personality, not the belief system behind a personal take. In addition, while it’s possible there are “self-hating women” or whatever, I wouldn’t travel too far down that road.

    Second, take big note that I above said all religious pro-lifers. Dunno where you fit someone like the late atheist civil libertarian and pro-lifer Nat Hentoff in here, but … not at all, it seems like.

    (And, while I disagree with him, he’s a good example of why, per Idries Shah, this issue also has more than two sides.)

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    “Counsel” is either a noun or a verb. “Council” is only a noun. The Catholic conclave was the “Council of Trent,” so unless Trent is a lawyer or a psychologist, it’s not a pun, it’s bad grammar.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    OK, let’s try again, since either Disqus ate my comment in the moderation queue after I hit refresh or else Shem killed it. Who knows, since I didn’t stay logged in after the refresh. Thanks, Disqus.

    This is simply not true.

    There are many pro-life Protestants — and a fair number of pro-life conservative cafeteria Catholics — who are very pro-death penalty, and believe their stance is totally moral.

  • David Bates

    Either you don’t know that one meaning of the word “counsel” is “advice/guidance/instruction”, or you don’t understand how puns work. Either way, it’s a pretty petty complaint.

  • materetmagistra

    Would those people recognize a difference between an innocent child and a convicted criminal?

    Yes, technically my sentence did not make that difference clear. It’s easy enough to fix:

    Pro-lifers do not believe that (intentionally) ending the life of an innocent human being is moral, even if the person doing the “ending” happens to be the parent of the “ended.”

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    I’m an editor. It’s true that you didn’t say “counsel” is only a noun, but I inferred that you were implying that, and comments about grammar are never petty.

  • johnsoncatman

    A fetus is not a human being.
    .
    Birth control is not 100% effective, so even if protection is used, sometimes a pregnancy can occur. Some people do not want children, and they should not be forced to carry a pregnancy to term.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    That said, this assumes that every person who is executed is actually guilty. And, assuming by your handle that you’re Catholic, makes you a cafeteria Catholic.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Also, per Johnson? As Francisco Ayala has said more than once, if there is an omnipotent, omniscient deity, then

    GOD IS THE GREAT ABORTIONIST as 1/4 or so of conceptions are spontaneously aborted.

    And, Francisco Ayala identifies as Catholic, while we’re here:

    https://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2008/04/ayala-to-iders-god-is-greatest.html

  • materetmagistra

    Some people do not want children,

    So, your argument is that as long as a parent does not want their child, intentionally killing that child becomes moral?

  • materetmagistra

    Not sure how those assumptions are warranted/supported.

    In the situation we are speaking about, the life of an unborn human being, I think we are safe to assume innocence.

  • johnsoncatman

    Once more, a little slower for those that intentionally do not understand: a fetus is not a child.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    I’ve not seen Shem post any comments since my original one. I’m not expecting anything beyond agreement to disagree on my first point, but, I am, in case it wasn’t clear, inviting you to comment, Shem, on your take on non-religious pro-lifers. If you have one.

    Ditto for anybody else who agrees with Shem. Your invited to explain how secularist pro-lifers fit within your views here — if you’ve ever considered the idea that they might even exist.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    I wasn’t talking about that. I was talking about the death penalty and conservative cafeteria Catholics not acknowledging that they’ve supported the execution of possibly innocent people (as well as ignoring the Pope).

    I think that was pretty obvious. Lest Shem’s filters put me in moderation again, I’ll just leave that there — I think my previous comment was pretty obvious.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    And I also tend to look more askance at Disqusers who hide their history. You can just “deal with it.”

  • materetmagistra

    Once more, a little slower for those that intentionally do not understand: a fetus is not a child.

    Look up the definition of the phrase: with child.

  • materetmagistra

    And I also tend to look more askance at Disqusers who hide their history.

    Why not deal with the discussion at hand, with the comments made in this thread? Why the need to go look for past comments I might have made? Looking for something in particular? Why not just politely ask?

  • materetmagistra

    I wasn’t talking about that.

    You were confused and needed clarification. I provided it.

    Back to the point: Pro-lifers do not believe that (intentionally) ending the life of an innocent human being is moral, even if the person doing the “ending” happens to be the parent of the “ended.”

  • So never mind medicine, this topic you want to turn upon the deciphering of an English idiom?

    Nah. I’ll go with medicine. Medicine’s better.

  • Poverty of stimulus.
    Context.
    Relevant context.
    People sometimes deceive.

    Or were those rhetorical? I can never tell.

  • johnsoncatman

    You keep trying to make a fetus into a “human being”. It is not. In most cases, it is merely a clump of cells, and it most definitely cannot survive by itself. It could even be described as a parasite:

    an organism that lives on or in a host organism and gets its food from or at the expense of its host.

    And most definitely, YES it is moral because it is the right choice for those who choose it.

  • johnsoncatman

    I will save you the trouble of looking up the definition of abortion:

    Abortion is the ending of a pregnancy by removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus before it can survive outside the uterus1. An abortion that occurs without intervention is known as a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion.
    An old phrasing does not make a fetus a child.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Why not deal with the discussion at hand …

    Why don’t YOU do that, Cafeteria Catholic? You’ve dodged the issue of innocent people being executed and also of whether you accept papal teaching on the death penalty. And, otherwise, you DON’T get to tell me how I am supposed to comment.

    Finally, as an ex-Lutheran, the RC never was my mother and teacher as either a Lutheran or a secularist.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Posting this separately since nobody has answered so far:

    Dunno where you fit someone like the late atheist civil libertarian and pro-lifer Nat Hentoff in here, but … not at all, it seems like.

    Shem, or those who agree with him in general, want to respond????

  • You’re not doing yourself any favors with this follow up post.

    We can learn from failures as well as successes. Shem is admitting his imperfections while discussing the issue. That alone is quite rare and deserving of praise.

  • baby-killer rhetoric

    The bloody aftermath of a medical procedure? It’s a medical procedure–why is this surprising?

    What I find horrifying is a box of Plan B! Just the thought of that cute microscopic cell not being able to implant … >sorry< … just getting a little choked up here …

    /s

    https://i5.walmartimages.com/asr/14c2fc34-cdd0-49c7-b4de-d4a622ea6e59_1.06f729d1aea9d0979d8264867f5f63a0.jpeg?odnHeight=450&odnWidth=450&odnBg=FFFFFF

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Still waiting for Shem … or others … to explain how secularist pro-lifers do … or don’t, it seems … fit in their world views.

  • Judgeforyourself37

    David, when you can become pregnant speak about what a woman should do with an unwanted pregnancy, until then, please refrain from opining on the subject.

  • Yes, that’s a puzzle. I’ve read their stuff, and it’s not compelling at all.

  • Judgeforyourself37

    OK, let’s go over this again, as you do not seem to comprehend, masteretmagistra, a fetus is not a child until it exits the birth canal. OK? Got it now? Good, I hope so.

  • Judgeforyourself37

    Why are all you who are opining on the issue of abortion seem to be men?? If you are women why use male screen names. Use a gender neutral screen name, if you wish. Men should not venture opinions on women’s reproductive choices.

  • Flint8ball

    an autonomous human trumps an unborn fetus. It’s that simple. Abortion is an unfortunate reality, but the rights of a woman far outweigh any obligation to a fertilized egg all the way up to _________. The contents of the blank (time/development) can be morally argued, but not the right to an abortion.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    Interesting essay.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    I remember reading an essay on abortion by Hentoff in Free Inquiry years ago. I thought his argument was quite weak, even though he was an atheist and quite reasonable in other areas.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    I’ve read the articles of at least three secularist pro-lifers and attended a lecture by one. In general, I think their arguments are wrong. They usually consider the human organism to be a person with human rights from the moment of conception. I disagree. I don’t think the fetus becomes a person until it acquires the capacity for consciousness at approximately 24 weeks post conception. It is at that point that the fetus should be assigned human rights which must be taken into account vis a vis the rights of the woman.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    I disagree. Both men and women and others should venture their opinions on women’s reproductive choices. Why should any gender’s opinions be banned or censored? I think that would be unethical.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    I agree with you on that point, Bob. It’s not persuasive.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    Forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term is not always unethical or illegal.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    I agree with you that name calling is not an argument. It is a cop out.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    However, I think that you assume that forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term is ALWAYS unethical or illegal, and it’s not. The “forced birther” term is not a derogatory as you would like it to be.

    For example, when the fetus becomes a person and has human rights and when the woman wants an abortion for a BAD REASON, and there are many, then it would be ethical and should be legal to force her to finish the pregnancy and give birth. If you think otherwise, then present your case.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    Your estimate of 1/4 is way too low. I believe around 2/3 of all conceptions end in death before birth.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    Some fetuses are human beings and others are not. When the fetus acquires the capacity for consciousness, then it becomes a human being or human person. This occurs around 24 weeks post conception.

  • David Bates

    Comments about grammar are never petty? I strongly disagree, particularly when it comes to puns. Having said that, there is nothing grammatically incorrect about “The Counsel of Trent”. He simply swapped out a word which describes a synod with a homophone which means “advice/guidance/instruction”.

    You say he’s offering evangelism, but actually, the majority of his episodes relate to him *instructing* his listeners in Catholicism, giving *guidance* on how to have meaningful dialogue about the Faith and *advice* about how to beat lines at Disneyland. In short, the word, “counsel” works perfectly well.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    Unfortunately, “child” has two accepted meanings: 1) any offspring of two parents at any stage of development, and 2) any offspring of two parents between two years after birth and puberty.

    It is not helpful to use the term “child” in a discussion of abortion since the word is equivocal in meaning.

  • David Bates

    > “A fetus is not a human being”

    Fetus simply refers to a level of development in an organism. “Zygote”, “embryo” and “fetus” are all simply labels which describe the developmental stage of the human child, much like “infant”, “toddler” or “teenager”.

    You can have an elephant fetus, a cow fetus, … The question is what kind of fetus is in a human?

  • Gary Whittenberger

    Your qualification “before it can survive” is too narrow.

    Abortion is any act by any of several methods which causes, by intention and design, the premature removal or exit of any human organism at any stage of development from a host woman, usually with indifference to the life and well being of that organism. However, abortion may be rational or irrational, moral or immoral, or legal or illegal, depending on the circumstances.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    The arguments regarding abortion and the death penalty are quite different. I am against the death penalty in all cases, but I am against abortion in a small percentage of cases. I believe the woman should be forced to bring the pregnancy to term in certain specific instances.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    A fetus is neither innocent nor guilty since it does not have the capacity to make moral or legal decisions.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    No, we are not safe to assume innocence. The term is not applicable to a fetus, just as the term “guilty” is not.

    However, both terms “innocent” and “guilty” are applicable to adult human persons.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    Let’s not confuse the issue by using the term “child” in a discussion of abortion. Let’s just use the term “fetus.” It has a clear standard meaning.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    I think you should stick to the abortion issue here. This is not about discovering hypocrisy in Catholics.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    A fetus is never “merely a clump of cells.” That is propaganda language and is as bad as the prolifers using the term “unborn baby.”

    Abortion is usually moral, but not always.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    “Cafeteria Catholic”? That’s not an argument, only name calling. Let’s talk about abortion, not about finding hypocrisy in Catholics.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    David, you have a right to opine on the subject as much as you want. We do not discriminate against people because of gender here.

  • johnsoncatman

    A woman should NEVER be FORCED to bring a pregnancy to term in ANY circumstances.

  • johnsoncatman

    Anyone can have an opinion on abortion, but the ultimate decision on whether to have one or not lies with the person that will either have the abortion or not. It is their choice and no one else’s. If you do not want to have an abortion, don’t have one. If you are not in a position to make the choice, it is not up to you. Be supportive of the decision of the person who has to make that decision.

  • johnsoncatman

    Yes it is. “Forcing” does not allow a person the freedom to choose. Since your screen name is “Gary”, I presume that you are a male and that you would never be in a position to have to make the choice to abort or not. You have no right to assert that any woman should be FORCED to carry a pregnancy to term.

  • johnsoncatman

    womb1 really?!

  • johnsoncatman

    bodily1 JFC WTF? The filter is ridiculous.

  • johnsoncatman

    A fetus becomes a person when it is born. Abortions are legal up to a certain point. That point is generally when a fetus becomes able to exist and live outside the womb1. After that point, abortions are not allowed except in unusual circumstances. It is NEVER ethical or legal to FORCE a woman to bring a pregnancy to term when it is within the legally defined period. Forced-birthers are constantly trying to restrict that period because they do not believe that a woman has a right to her own bodily1 autonomy.

  • materetmagistra

    So, your argument is that an unborn human being does not have parents?
    So, what exactly then does a prenatal paternity test determine? You know, if there are no parents at that point?

  • materetmagistra

    However, both terms “innocent” and “guilty” are applicable to adult human persons.

    OK, you need more clarification. Does this help?:

    Pro-lifers do not believe that (intentionally) ending the life of an innocent human being or an immature human being is moral, even if the person doing the “ending” happens to be the parent of the “ended.”

  • materetmagistra

    Abortion is the ending of a pregnancy by removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus before it can survive outside the uterus1.

    It is worth noting that unless his/her life is intentionally ended by procured abortion, the preborn human being is surviving just fine.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    It’s not compelling on the first trimester. It’s more compelling on the second, and much more compelling on the third trimester. Per Flint above, with rare exceptions (mother’s life and health only) I draw the line at the end of the second trimester myself. Hence my comments about two-siderism.

    And, “liberty interest” issues, when separated from religion, do have a certain legal rationale in general.

    Anticipating some people?

    If you say even a third-trimester developing life (neutralist? language) is not viable outside the womb, a toddler isn’t viable outside of adult supervision. Of course, you could be like Pharyngula and defend even that stance.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Shem, I have no idea on what your moderation filters are … bit frustrating.

    It’s not compelling on the first trimester. It’s more compelling on the second, and much more compelling on the third trimester. Per Flint above, with rare exceptions (mother’s life and health only) I draw the line at the end of the second trimester myself. Hence my comments about two-siderism.

    And, “liberty interest” issues, when separated from religion, do have a certain legal rationale in general.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    OK, having whacked half my first answer off before it got approved???? Here’s what I whacked:

    “Anticipating some people?

    If you say even a third-trimester developing life is not viable outside the womb, a toddler isn’t viable outside of adult supervision. Of course, you could be like Pharyngula and defend even that stance.”

  • Sorry, man, I was away all weekend and didn’t have internet access up in the mountains. My apologies about the Patheos spam filter, which has been causing chaos across the site for months now.

    I think that anyone who talks about “unborn children” and equates terminating a pregnancy with killing a toddler, whether they’re religious or not, is guilty of denigrating women and erasing the woman from the matter. I tried to make it clear in my original post and in my discussion with Trent that focusing on the fetus serves political ends, because it de-emphasizes the woman’s being and the situation that we’re ignoring by talking about the fetus’s human rights. Just because we’re more comfortable talking about fetal brainwaves and chromosome counts than we are sociopolitical problems and the plight of women in society doesn’t make the woman’s being a morally irrelevant factor in the matter of procreation.

  • Look up another ancient statement: Casting out demons.

  • I understand your point. I’ve said before that pro-life men are just using baby-killer rhetoric to denigrate women, and also that plenty of New Atheist bros chime in on issues like abortion and the burqa strictly for anti-religion yuks and not because of a commitment to women’s rights. Women’s bodies aren’t just rhetorical battlegrounds for guys’ pissing matches.

    That said, I’m not setting myself up as a spokesperson for women. I’ve tried to engage with matters concerning knowledge, science, and culture in ways that often owe a lot to feminist approaches, and I’ve been honest about my debt to feminist thinkers and writers. If my appeal to the importance of women’s experience doesn’t seem accurate or sincere, please point out where my effort could improve.

  • Is a “preborn human being” in a similar category to a “prelaunched ocean vessel” which is as yet only a just-laid keel in a shipyard? For example, can we term what we see in this picture from 1948; the prelaunched USS United States?

    http://gallery.military.ir/albums/userpics/10259/USS_United_States_keel_laid.jpg

  • since in essence, that’s what pro-lifers advocate: forcing women to undergo pregnancy and childbirth against their will,
    Huh? Who exactly caused the unborn child to be where he or she is?

    As I stated in the part of the sentence you deleted, the pro-lifer doesn’t make any distinction between an “unborn child” whose existence resulted from consensual sex or a rape.

    So if you advocate forcing a rape victim to undergo pregnancy and childbirth against her will, even though she had no say in the circumstances of this “unborn child”‘s conception, how exactly do you propose that you’re entitled to the moral high ground here?

  • materetmagistra

    A fetus is not a human being.

    I’m pretty sure the author of this blog post is writing about fetal human beings versus fetal chimpanzees or fetal whales or fetal cats.

  • Exactly. As I tried to get across to Trent, “unborn child” seems as vague as “unbuilt house.” And maybe that’s just the point, to make us forget that this “child” is still developing inside a woman’s body.

  • Seems to be similar to an “uncleared homesite” which is still virgin forest.

  • As the author of this blog post, I wish I didn’t have to clarify that I’m well aware that a pregnant woman is gestating a human fetus.

    The sperm and the egg are human gametes, too. Nonetheless, the fact that they contain human DNA in no way makes them human beings.

  • While all these conflicting categories still ignore the woman herself, and her well-being.

  • Yes, that’s roughly my position as well. The single cell isn’t a person, and the newborn is fully a person. During the gestation period, the zygote/embryo/fetus becomes a person.

    (To the Christian who argues, “It is too a person as a single cell!” I tell them I’m happy to use another word and invite them to do so. “A newborn is a person, while the single cell 9 months prior wasn’t”–replace “person” with an acceptable word. They never can do it.)

  • As for the moderation filters, you do know that Patheos has imposed a new naughty-word filter that puts comments into the moderation queue if they contain any of the words in the list?

  • johnsoncatman

    No. You are being intentionally obtuse. Of course that is not what the argument is. Would you like to move the goalposts any further?

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Is “Pharygula” a naughty word? (And I thought it was probably Disqus not Shem and I should have phrased better.) No, that’s OK.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Toddler? Adult supervision? Stance? Anticipating? This is like playing 20 questions.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    If you say even a third-trimester developing life is not sustainable outside the maternal environment, a toddler isn’t sustainable outside of adult supervision. Of course, you could be like Pharyngula and defend even that stance.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    OK, either V – I – A – B – L – E or W – O – M – B upsets Disqus.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    It may be. That said, Ayala is an evolutionary biologist and probably knows better than I do. It’s his number.

    And, that’s of course secondary to the two main issues.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Uhh, wrong on me being confused, first.

    Second, if I WERE confused, I would neither be asking, nor accepting, your help.

    Don’t kid yourself.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    I wasn’t the one who brought it in. When Mater did, it opened her up to hypocrisy on the moral high ground.

    No, I’ll stick with saying what I did.

  • materetmagistra

    The boat does not build itself, eh?
    Given nine months of simply passage of time and nothing else, the human being would be nine months older. The ship, given nothing but the passage of time, would probably be nothing except a rusty keel.

  • No, but words to do with reproduction might be.

    It’s Patheos, not Disqus.

  • ginger_katz

    PLEASE! They’re not “pro-life.” They’re misogynists. Which by now is evident to anyone reading your post.

    Debating them is like debating creationists. Useless and depressing, and can even harm the cause of equality.

  • At the point where an issue becomes one of public policy, all opinions will be a factor in the outcome whether we want them to be or not.

  • Wait, wait. Are you saying that Gary is responsible for all the pregnancies on Earth?

    Wow.

  • I don’t think there’s much to explain, mainly because they represent a tiny aberration. There are, for example, such a thing as Christian Atheists, but their theological perspective is extremely rare, and consequently doesn’t really speak at all to most queries about what being a Christian or being an atheist is. There are, like, five secular pro-lifers in existence, and their arguments do not appeal to secular people in the main, nor do they much appeal to pro-lifers in the main. They are their own little cul-de-sac with their own peculiar stances on the basic terms of discussion; as such, interrogating their idiosyncratic take is unlikely to shed any light on the general discussion.

  • “It ain’t necessarily so!”

    You claim:
    QUOTE: “Given nine months of simply passage of time and nothing else, the human being would be nine months older.” UN-QUOTE

    So, “nothing else“, really? Those were your exact words. Deny a potential mother-to-be food and shelter, but let her have access to a clock and a calendar?

    Its been amply demonstrated that all Pro-Life agenda Is About Oppressing Women! Additionally, your lot seems to care nothing about any distress children may suffer during the interval after birth and up until before they reach majority . . . traditionally age 21. None of you seem to make any protest about clergy sexual abuse of minors.

    FIRST – let’s make this clear. If the embryo receives absolutely no blood and nutrients through the umbilical cord, then it simply will NOT be getting nine months older in a living state – but will likely just wither away inside the womb. That dead, decaying, “nine months older” embryo would not, in essence, be in any different class to that “rusty keel” except for being at one time part of a hosted symbiotic relationship instead being part of a steel structure lying on supports.

  • Yeah – you may note that I use the phrase “part of a hosted symbiotic relationship” in one of my posts. Take away the host’s health or their life- and what has one?

  • Here is the only real other choice (i.e. alternative choice) to legal abortion access-
    Dangerous remedies: ending the horror of backyard abortions
    https://theconversation.com/dangerous-remedies-ending-the-horror-of-backyard-abortions-10472

    http://assets.feministing.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/CxFb1cZWQAA1l-_-e1530544192712.jpg

  • I realize both Trent and JoAnna are religious pro-lifers, but I’ve never heard either make arguments against abortion that were out-and-out religious. Arguing about “when life begins” and “whether the fetus is human” is making a lot of arbitrary distinctions, but it’s secular enough for the sake of discussion.

  • Hey, you asked “who put it there?”, as if the woman’s engaging in consensual sex was the point. But if it’s “there” because of a rape or assault, that doesn’t change the situation at all for you?

    You really consider that compassionate, forcing a woman to endure pregnancy and childbirth after having been assaulted?

  • I’m of the (admittedly minority) school of thought that an argument cannot be divorced from the person’s intent in employing it. Arguments are tools for people to achieve their ends, and so the wielding of that tool must be understood in the context of the end to which it is being employed.

    To that end, I find arguments put forth by religious pro-lifers which are, shall we say, ‘passably secular’, are nonetheless employed in direct service to an approach to the issue shaped entirely by a religious worldview, and cannot really be understood outside of that framework. It is one of the reasons why these passably secular arguments are extremely flimsy; they do not exist to justify to the person making them their truth, but are rather are a use of putatively neutral ground to disguise the theocratic intent behind the position being held. They are, at best, supplemental to the core religious arguments and stipulations which move those people to be pro-life, and so skate at the best of times on the edge of bad faith, and usually upon being scratched at the surface quickly take the full plunge.

    Actually secular pro-lifers employing their actually motivating arguments are another thing entirely. Even when they use the same secular arguments as religious pro-lifers, the emphases are different because the existential commitment is concomitantly distinct. They actually are committed to believing that these arguments must justify their core position, and so do not have the luxury of the religious framework to default to when the secular arguments fail. To that end the way they construct and present those arguments tend to lead to entirely different ground than that which the vast majority of people are standing on when we argue about the freedom to choose to remain pregnant or terminate that status. And while exploring new ground can be edifying and fun, when the intent is to explicate a matter of public policy, indulging in the idiosyncrasies of the extreme oddballs generally serves only to distract and confuse the audiences at large.

  • johnsoncatman

    The “preborn human being” is only surviving because it is operating as a parasite to the host. Without the host, it would not survive.

  • johnsoncatman

    Until a fetus is born, it is not an individual member of the species. It is still in a parasitic relationship with the host.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    I disagree. Please provide good evidence, reasons, or arguments for your claim.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    JC1: Yes it is. “Forcing” does not allow a person the freedom to choose.

    GW1: I disagree. In general, you are correct about the nature of forcing, but isn’t forcing the right thing to do sometimes? For example, we have a law against robbing banks. This is a good thing. The law here is a type of forcing. We should do the same thing with unethical abortion — enforce a law against it.

    JC1: Since your screen name is “Gary”, I presume that you are a male and that you would never be in a position to have to make the choice to abort or not. You have no right to assert that any woman should be FORCED to carry a pregnancy to term.

    GW1: Here you are engaged in gender discrimination. Everyone has a right to make assertions about the morality of abortion, regardless of their gender.

    GW1: Also, you are being a bit dishonest by not presenting your correct full name. Why should we trust you?

  • Gary Whittenberger

    JC1: A fetus becomes a person when it is born.

    GW1: Please present some good evidence, reasons, or arguments to support your claim here. Why would you believe this idea?

    JC1: Abortions are legal up to a certain point. That point is generally when a fetus becomes able to exist and live outside the womb1. After that point, abortions are not allowed except in unusual circumstances.

    GW1: So, it appears that the law disagrees with your claim and treats fetuses as persons after they become viable.

    JC1: It is NEVER ethical or legal to FORCE a woman to bring a pregnancy to term when it is within the legally defined period.

    GW1: So, it is ethical and legal to force a woman to bring a pregnancy to term when she intends to abort within a specific period and doesn’t have a good reason for her intention. There are many bad reasons to abort a fetal person.

    JC1: Forced-birthers are constantly trying to restrict that period because they do not believe that a woman has a right to her own bodily1 autonomy.

    GW1: I am a circumstantial forced birther because I believe that there are specific circumstances in which a woman should be forced by the state to carry her fetus to term. I’ve already presented one good example of this, but here I’ll present another. A man and a woman make an embryo through IVF. Because the woman is unable to carry a fetus, the couple contracts with a surrogate to carry the fetus. At 25 weeks the surrogate demands an abortion. In this case she should be forced to carry the fetus to term.

    GW1: Pro-choicers often oversimplify a complex issue and make an ethical mistake.

  • johnsoncatman

    “Forced” means that the person has not been give a choice. That is wrong.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    I believe that Ayala is mistaken by quite a bit, but since this is a secondary issue, we can just set it aside for later research.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    Big mistake.

  • johnsoncatman

    Birth certificate. The legal document that declares it to be a person. Also, before that point, it is a parasite that draws everything it needs from a host.
    .

    the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 26% of reported legal induced abortions in the United States were known to have been obtained at less than 6 weeks’ gestation, 18% at 7 weeks, 15% at 8 weeks, 18% at 9 through 10 weeks, 10% at 11 through 12 weeks, 6% at 13 through 15 weeks, 4% at 16 through 20 weeks and 1% at more than 21 weeks.

    Over a quarter of the abortions performed in the US were done before 6 weeks, and over three-quarters performed before 10 weeks. Abortions performed in the third trimester are rare and usually have extenuating circumstances. The decision to abort should always be between the woman and her physician, and she should not be forced to carry it to term. I presume that you are male because of your nym, so you really don’t have any skin in the game (neither do I), so you should defer to women to make their own choice.

  • johnsoncatman

    murder1. I really dislike the filter.

  • johnsoncatman

    Why wouldn’t you use murder1 for your example like the other forced-birthers do? The woman is not robbing a bank, nor is she committing murder1.
    .
    You don’t seem to be making an assertion about the morality of abortion. You are asserting that a woman should be forced to do something that has no bearing on you. It is between the woman and her physician.
    .
    You don’t have to trust anything I say. It makes no difference to me. But just because I comment under a nym does not make me dishonest.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    JC2: Birth certificate. The legal document that declares it to be a person.

    GW2: No, the birth certificate declares a live birth, not personhood. Roe v. Wade treats the fetus in the third trimester as if it is a person. Regardless of law, when does the fetus become a person? Defend your answer.

    JC2: Also, before that point, it is a parasite that draws everything it needs from a host.

    GW2: It doesn’t matter whether it is a parasite or not. It matters whether it is a person. The use of “parasite” talk is just propaganda, just like “unborn baby” is, only on the other side.

    JC2: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 26% of reported legal induced abortions in the United States were known to have been obtained at less than 6 weeks’ gestation, 18% at 7 weeks, 15% at 8 weeks, 18% at 9 through 10 weeks, 10% at 11 through 12 weeks, 6% at 13 through 15 weeks, 4% at 16 through 20 weeks and 1% at more than 21 weeks.
    Over a quarter of the abortions performed in the US were done before 6 weeks, and over three-quarters performed before 10 weeks. Abortions performed in the third trimester are rare and usually have extenuating circumstances.

    GW2: I accept these statistics. So what?

    JC2: The decision to abort should always be between the woman and her physician, and she should not be forced to carry it to term.

    GW2: Your mistake here is to claim “always.” Please defend this position.

    JC2: I presume that you are male because of your nym, so you really don’t have any skin in the game (neither do I), so you should defer to women to make their own choice.

    GW2: You are discriminating against men, even though you are a man. That is very odd, but Trump supporters also vote against their own interests. I don’t understand that either.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    JC2: Why wouldn’t you use murder1 for your example like the other forced-birthers do? The woman is not robbing a bank, nor is she committing murder1.

    GW2: My analogy works just fine.
    .
    JC2: You don’t seem to be making an assertion about the morality of abortion. You are asserting that a woman should be forced to do something that has no bearing on you. It is between the woman and her physician.

    GW2: I am implying two moral assertions, which I will make explicit here: 1) The pregnant woman SHOULD carry her fetus to term when the fetus is a person and she does not have a good reason to abort. And 2) The state SHOULD force the pregnant woman to carry her fetus to term when the fetus is a person and the woman does not have a good reason to abort. There you go. Your moral assertion goes something like this: The woman SHOULD abort whenever she and her physician agree that she should abort, regardless of the status of the fetus and her reasons to abort. That is an incorrect assertion.
    .
    JC2: You don’t have to trust anything I say. It makes no difference to me. But just because I comment under a nym does not make me dishonest.

    GW2: You should be presenting your correct full name. Your use of a nickname is unethical. I don’t trust your opinion very much. But I will give you another chance to change my mind. Defend your position on the issue at hand.

  • johnsoncatman

    The decision should always be between the woman and her physician. How is this not the case? Should her cousin Betty or her friend Biff be included in the decision?
    .
    No discrimination. You can have any opinion that you desire. But you are not a woman and will never have to make a decision on whether to have an abortion or not. So you should defer to women who do have to make that decision for what is right for themselves.

  • johnsoncatman

    Unethical?! You are a laugh riot. I am not going on a news program or a debate stage and presenting evidence under a fake name. This is a blog forum. In case you haven’t noticed, most people use nyms and not their real names. I have presented my opinion. That is what it is: an opinion. Everybody has one. I do not care if you change your mind or not. I am not interested in changing your mind.
    Since this was my last chance, I don’t expect to have to justify myself to you further.

  • materetmagistra

    First, no fetus is an “innocent human being.”

    The fetus is an immature (not adult) human being.

    Secondly, not all fetuses are “human beings.” They don’t become human beings until they acquire the capacity for consciousness

    So, your argument is that in order to have human rights, a being would not only need to be a human being, but would also need to be a human being exhibiting some quality or ability?

    I need to ask, who gets to determine which quality/ability is vital?

    Pro-lifers believe that being a human being is enough: Skin color, ability, age, income-level, and residence do not matter when it comes to human rights.

  • materetmagistra

    a fetus is born, it is not an individual member of the species.

    The tools of modern genetics can be used to identify the unique and distinct genetic make up of the human being growing in utero. How else would a prenatal paternity test work?

  • johnsoncatman

    Moving the goalposts again.

  • materetmagistra

    this “child” is still developing inside a woman’s body.

    As with each of us, we grow and develop throughout our lives. How does being young rob a human being of his/her human rights?

  • materetmagistra

    it is operating as a parasite to the host.

    Parasites and hosts are never of the same species.

  • johnsoncatman

    No matter how much you try, you do not make a fetus a human being by simply asserting it as so.

  • materetmagistra

    Shem, you did not answer my question: If I post a line up of ten different faces, or ten different ultrasounds, what is the distinction, or distinguishing feature, that would signify the circumstance of said individual’s existence (whether conceived in rape or not)?

  • materetmagistra

    So, “nothing else”, really? Those were your exact words. Deny a potential mother-to-be food and shelter, but let her have access to a clock and a calendar?

    The mother really need do nothing else than carry on with her normal day-to-day existence.

    your lot seems to care nothing about any distress children may suffer during the interval after birth and up until before they reach majority .

    At least being alive provides the opportunity for the distress to be mitigated. What type of hope does yoursolution (that being procured abortion) offer?

  • materetmagistra

    A fetal human being is a human being – a living, distinct individual of the species Homo sapiens. If you do not believe so, indicate what species said being belongs to.

  • johnsoncatman

    That is not necessarily true depending on where you get the definition. In this case, the fetus meets the requirements of the definition I provided earlier:

    A parasite is an organism that lives on or in a host organism and gets its food from or at the expense of its host.

  • I’ve noticed that in all your posts on this thread, your focus is on the fetus.

    Did you notice that the entire thesis of this discussion is the fact that pro-lifers don’t consider a woman’s being any sort of relevant factor in the subject of abortion? You’re demonstrating my point very effectively.

  • johnsoncatman

    How ridiculous are you? A pregnant woman almost certainly will have to alter her “normal day-to-day existence” because of the pregnancy, in some cases, to an extreme degree.

  • materetmagistra

    Moving the goalposts again.

    The question was: If the human being growing and having being within the womb of his/her mother does not have a distinct and unique genetic make up, how does a prenatal paternity test work?

  • materetmagistra

    I’ve noticed that in all your posts on this thread, your focus is on the fetus.

    You do realize that is because it is the point of contention:

    If the tiny being existing within the womb of the mother is not a human being, there is no moral dilemma with intentionally ending that being’s life.

    However, if the tiny being existing within the womb of the mother is a human being, intentionally ending that being’s life is immoral.

    pro-lifers don’t consider a woman’s being any sort of relevant factor in the subject of abortion?

    I beg to differ. Which type of person supports the women being in crisis pregnancies: the pro-lifers or the pro-choicers?

    Pregnancy Resource Centers provide a wide range of services for women finding themselves in crisis pregnancies – services that respect the being of both the women and their children.

  • I see what you’re saying. That’s basically my take on pro-lifers in general: they may say they’re motivated by compassion for unborn children blah blah blah, but what they’re doing is clinging to the baby-killer tactic that exempts them from the responsibility of looking at the consequences of their cheap moralism as it impacts women, families, and society.

    What makes these arguments ring hollow, regardless of whether they’re peddled by religious or secular folks, is the way they appropriate the language of the oppressed and use it to push an agenda that oppresses women. The claim that fetuses are being dehumanized, or that their rights are being violated, is a monstrous misuse of individualist thinking. The way Trent uses examples of women being objectified and oppressed (like FGM and honor killings) and applies them to fetuses rather than pregnant women is truly diabolical.

  • lady_black

    Nat Henthoff was free all of his life to never have an abortion. And that’s the only response required.

  • I’ve noticed that in all your posts on this thread, your focus is on the fetus.

    You do realize that is because it is the point of contention

    Except it isn’t. As I keep saying over and over, it’s the way pro-lifers have found convenient to relieve yourselves of the responsibility of acknowledging the consequences of your cheap piety on women, their families and society.

    I don’t believe for a minute that this is about anything except the pro-lifer’s need to claim the moral high ground.

  • lady_black

    “Life” (to me at least) implies far more than a breathing sack of meat. Therefore, it’s not erroneous to assign more value to the life, in the holistic sense of the word, of a thinking, breathing person, the woman.
    I can prove it to you with a thought exercise you’ve heard before. Fertility clinic is in flames. On the way out, do you grab a freezer full of blastocysts, or a crying 4 four year old? If you are truly pro-life, you grab the one four year old.
    And NO, child abuse has NOT “skyrocketed” since the legalization of abortion. What’s considered child abuse has skyrocketed, but not actual child abuse. Back when I was a kid, all parents were child abusers. We didn’t have car seats for children, and as a child, I remember riding unrestrained in the back of pickup trucks to midget football games, swimming pools and the like. We also walked many places without parental supervision, and stayed there for hours, and were expected to return in time for supper. When I was a child, we called that “childhood.”
    As for the UK judge, that ruling for forced abortion was every bit as anti-choice as the Texas judge who rules that a girl must continue her pregnancy. What is missing in both situations is what the pregnant woman herself thinks about it. And it’s disturbing that you are blind to that elephant in the room.

  • lady_black

    We do not care about your “sincerely held belief in a hierarchy, blah, blah, blabbitty-blah.” That informs your decisions, not those of others. Stay in your lane!

  • lady_black

    Anyone can take care of a toddler. Even you. Can you be pregnant?

  • lady_black

    Plan B one step works solely by preventing the existence of the cute little cell. If you have already ovulated, it’s too late, just as it is with daily birth control pills.

  • I thought the idea was that the egg cell might or might not be fertilized, and Plan B could be taken days afterwards to prevent the next step in a pregnancy. No?

  • materetmagistra

    have found convenient to relieve yourselves of the responsibility of acknowledging the consequences of your cheap piety on women, their families and society.

    I find this comment very interesting. Which type of clinic truly acknowledges responsibility: Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRC) or Abortion Clinics?

    It is not easy nor cheap to support women through crisis pregnancies. The PRCs support women (and their children) throughout pregnancy and beyond. Pro-life people across America understand the importance of walking with women through said difficulty. This provides no relief – rather, just the opposite….it takes many man/women-hours and quite a few dollars to provide said support.

    Abortion clinics offer one option – that the mother sacrifice her child (and the child, his/her life.) Shamefully, they also profit monetarily from this option.

  • tophilacticus

    Good on you Shem. I for one am done with conversations with pro-lifers unless it means standing in their way to power. We need look no further than the case of the pregnant Alabama woman who was shot but charged with the death of her own fetus to see this is about control, specifically of women, and they view women as little more than baby making machines.

    I see little point in a discussion with people who repeat mantras about the sanctity of life while simultaneously foaming at the mouth to separate children from their families and vilifying them for fleeing violence. Yes #NotAllProLifers but those are the ones in power, and anyone aiding this crusade (the “pro-life anti-immigrant”) is guilty of this absurd hypocrisy.

  • johnsoncatman

    Your PRCs do not honestly support women. They make a general practice of lying to women in an effort to convince them to not abort, and they will use any tactic to force women to carry a pregnancy to term. On the other hand, Planned Parenthood offers plenty of options including options for women who want to continue their pregnancies to term. They also offer many services for low-income people, such as cancer-screening, that they would otherwise not have access to. The PRCs are a one-stop shop of forced-birtherism.

  • johnsoncatman

    What is in the womb1 is not yet a human being. It is a developing fetus. Yes it has human DNA, but it has not developed into the individual human being that you are trying to assert that it is.

  • johnsoncatman

    Your question is irrelevant. Answer his question: would you force a woman that has been sexually assaulted to carry that pregnancy to term?

  • materetmagistra

    offers plenty of options including options for women who want to continue their pregnancies to term.

    What kind of support does PP provide mothers? Clothing? Housing? Formula? Parenting classes? Diapers? Job placement resources?

    Pregnancy Resource Centers provide help such as (yes, cut and paste because this list is quite complete):

    – referrals for applying for Medicaid and for receiving prenatal care from obstetricians in our area to every woman who receives a positive pregnancy test.

    – a resource list of community resources that provide assistance with food, housing, medical services, insurance, adoption, domestic violence concerns, legal services, prenatal and parenting classes, mental health services, miscarriage and infant loss concerns, employment services, addiction concerns, and more which we give to every woman who has a positive pregnancy test and to many women and families who have needs in these areas whether they had a positive test or not.

    – a Friendship Room filled with gently used maternity and baby clothing, baby equipment, baby food, toys, etc. which is available to anyone in need at no charge.

    – prenatal classes, childbirth education classes, infant care and parenting classes at no charge with the added benefit of class participants earning new items such as diapers and cribs for their baby through their participation in the classes.

    – professional counseling at no charge to those who have a need for professional counseling services.

    – help to facilitate private adoptions for those women who decide that adoption is the best choice for their baby. (This is a little different than most pregnancy resource centers who provide referrals for adoption services rather than providing those services themselves.)

    – when women choose abortion, we continue to be available to them following the abortion if they feel a need for emotional support or professional counseling.

  • materetmagistra

    but it has not developed into the individual human being that you are trying to assert that it is.

    Does the fetus have a complete amount of DNA? If not, what more is needed, and where does it come from?

    The fetus is an autonomous living being – directing his/her own growth and development. What type of living being is it, if it is not a member of the species Homo sapiens?

  • materetmagistra

    Your question is irrelevant.

    My question follows directly from your claim:

    the pro-lifer doesn’t make any distinction between an “unborn child” whose existence resulted from consensual sex or a rape.

    What distinction is to be made? How can you tell whether your neighbor was conceived in rape or not?

  • johnsoncatman

    I can see from your constant circular responses that you willfully fail to understand that the fetus is not a distinct individual until it is born and separate from the host.

  • Cake

    It’s never a “person” in the womb.

  • johnsoncatman

    PRCs do everything in their power to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term no matter what the right choice for the woman is.

  • johnsoncatman

    If it was autonomous, it would be able to live without the host.

  • Yep, pro-lifers understand that the prospect of forcing rape victims to carry and give birth to the rapists’ children is a real moral hurdle for anyone with a shred of conscience. That’s why our friend here (like Trent in our dialogue) is very evasive concerning the matter, and invariably tries to change the subject to —what else?— ultrasounds and fetuses.

    This is exactly why I deplore our willingness to talk about abortion as if it’s something that happens to a fetus. Let’s talk about abortion in terms of how it impacts women, families and society.

  • Cake

    Look up the definition of rug rat.

  • lady_black

    This is most definitely NOT a matter of public policy. It’s a private matter between physician and patient, just as any other medical treatment. The public gets to mind their own business.

  • lady_black

    That’s not your place to decide what is ethical or not ethical.

  • lady_black

    Life began millions of years ago. Since then, it’s been on a continuum. And being human entitles you to BUPKISS in the use of someone else’s organs for your benefit, and without consent. I don’t get to do that. Neither does a fetus.

  • Medical treatment is a matter of public policy.

  • lady_black

    It’s difficult to know what the nanny-filter deems unsuitable for adult conversation. I got caught up in it for using the word “r@pe” in a discussion about r@pe.
    Don’t waste your time trying to figure it out. You never will. Not even all of the “naughty words” are even in the sexual realm. So any word that could be considered controversial, use your imagination to get the point across.

  • lady_black

    You keep saying this. But it’s not true. Of course a toddler is viable outside adult supervision. No one watches a toddler, or is required to be in direct proximity of a toddler 24/7.
    And that’s the point. I could drop my toddler off at day care, at Mom’s house, or with a sister, brother or friend, or have someone come to the house after the kids are in bed if I needed the afternoon or evening off. A woman cannot drop off her pregnancy for someone else to deal with.

  • materetmagistra

    So, your argument is that the son/daughter existing within the womb of the mother is somehow part of the mother? Therefore, for nine months the mother would have four arms, four legs, four eyes, two brains, maybe even male parts, two hearts, etc.

  • lady_black

    You don’t get to “draw the line” ANYWHERE, Buster. I ended my second pregnancy at 35 weeks and it was perfectly legal for me to do so. That’s called a delivery. It’s done all the time.

  • lady_black

    I’ve seen pretty awful things in my nursing career. All of them much worse than a first trimester vacuum aspiration abortion. Hell, I’ve had worse periods than that.

  • lady_black

    Live birth is what makes a person.

  • materetmagistra

    If it was autonomous, it would be able to live without the host.

    For one, can you tell me which party, the child’s body or the mother’s body, is responsible for the corpus luteum continuing to produce progesterone?

    And, two, how is it the mother directs the early development of the tiny human being living within her body if she doesn’t know she is with child yet?

    The developing being certainly is directing/driving his/her own development.

  • lady_black

    The fact that the owner of the body it’s living in, at that body’s expense, doesn’t WANT it there! That’s the only distinction needed.

  • lady_black

    The distinction is whether the owner of the body wants it there or not. Stop erasing women!

  • lady_black

    Nope. I believe it’s moral to decline to keep human beings alive under certain circumstances.

  • lady_black

    SO WHAT?

  • lady_black

    In generic terms, yes. In individual circumstances, no.

  • johnsoncatman

    Deflection is a specialty of yours, isn’t it?
    .
    It is part of the host in the sense that it has a parasitic relationship with the host.

  • johnsoncatman

    Can it live without the host?

  • Gary Whittenberger

    JC3: Unethical?! You are a laugh riot.

    GW3: Yes, unethical. Your emotional reaction (laughing) is not an argument.

    JC3: I am not going on a news program or a debate stage and presenting evidence under a fake name. This is a blog forum.

    GW3: Yes, this is a blog forum and you should use your correct full name. Why are you hiding?

    JC3: In case you haven’t noticed, most people use nyms and not their real names.

    GW3: Multiple wrongs don’t make a right, in case you haven’t reached this conclusion.

    JC3: I have presented my opinion. That is what it is: an opinion. Everybody has one. I do not care if you change your mind or not. I am not interested in changing your mind.

    GW3: You didn’t say anything new about the issue at hand.

    JC3: Since this was my last chance, I don’t expect to have to justify myself to you further.

    GW3: You just stated your opinion and didn’t present any good evidence, reasons, or arguments for it. You didn’t make a defense. I’ll give you another chance.

  • johnsoncatman

    Yes or no: would you force a woman that has been sexually assaulted to carry that pregnancy to term? A one-word answer is all that I need from you, not more obfuscation.

  • johnsoncatman

    Nope.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    GW4: First, no fetus is an “innocent human being.”

    M5: The fetus is an immature (not adult) human being.

    GW5: So, I assume that you agree that no fetus is an “innocent human being.” Fetuses can be neither innocent nor guilty.

    GW4: Secondly, not all fetuses are “human beings.” They don’t become human beings until they acquire the capacity for consciousness

    M5: So, your argument is that in order to have human rights, a being would not only need to be a human being, but would also need to be a human being exhibiting some quality or ability?

    GW5: You are equivocating on the term “being” in this sentence. You are using it with a different meaning on two occasions. This is a reason to avoid using the term “being” in any discussion of abortion. There are much better terms. All fetuses are human organisms, but not all fetuses are persons. We should assign rights to persons! A fetus does not become a human person until it acquires the capacity for consciousness. What is your alternative and why do you claim it?

    M5: I need to ask, who gets to determine which quality/ability is vital?

    GW5: People using reason. Why would you pick any quality/ability other than the onset of consciousness? Why would you pick anything else to denote personhood?

    M5: Pro-lifers believe that being a human being is enough: Skin color, ability, age, income-level, and residence do not matter when it comes to human rights.

    GW5: Speak for yourself, not for all pro-lifers. When do you believe the human organism becomes a person and why do you believe this? I accept neither the pro-life nor the pro-choice position. I promote the pro-person position.

  • Val–Standing

    I can prove it to you with a thought exercise you’ve heard before. Fertility clinic is in flames.

    OMG, are you really going to go to that decades old canard, again? This disingenuous “gotcha” question that has been adequately addressed many times in many ways.

    Here is my contribution.

    First, deliberate abortions never involve newly fertilized eggs, because pregnancy cannot be detected that early. The vast majority of abortions involve killing an embryo with a beating heart.

    Second, the fact that the infant in the building would be sentient would make choosing the infant a humane choice.

    Of course, this exact same reasoning could be used to save the infant if–instead of unimplanted embryos–the choice were between an infant and a thousand comatose, near-death BORN individuals.

    Or, how about a scenario of saving a loved one over a thousand strangers in a burning building?

    Now, it’s my turn.

    How about this scenario, for “progressive” abortion supporters to answer.

    What if a universal healthcare bill were offered that would undoubtedly save countless lives of BORN people, but the bill “might” not cover “some” elective abortions. Would you still support it?

    Sadly, this question is not so “hypothetical”, as the state of Colorado showed.

    Because my comments seem to go into “moderation” when links are included, I will ask readers to close the 3 spaces for link.

    https ://www .motherjones. com/politics/2016/09/colorado-ballot-measure-universal-health-care-abortion/

    Or, you can simply google “Mother Jones–Here’s Why Abortion Advocates Won’t Vote for Universal Health Care in Colorado”

    This article unintentionally summarizes how these abortion-worshippers put this deadly procedure above all else.

    While even most poor women could find a way to get a legal abortion if they wanted it badly enough, the same is NOT always true for cancer victims.

    In fact, without access to affordable healthcare, many cancer victims would likely not even be diagnosed until it was too late to save their lives.

    The Democratic party’s choice to “litmus test” their candidates for abortion-extremness–rather than their willingness to enact truly universal healthcare–is one reason that I will no longer vote for them!

    “And NO, child abuse has NOT “skyrocketed” since the legalization of abortion. What’s considered child abuse has skyrocketed, but not actual child abuse”.

    Sorry, that doesn’t fly as an explanation for ALL of the sudden and dramatic increase in child abuse in that occurred in so many different categories–both in the US and elsewhere. You are simply attempting to rationalize away facts that you don’t want to hear.

    As for the UK judge, that ruling for forced abortion was every bit as anti-choice as the Texas judge who rules that a girl must continue her pregnancy“.

    I am not the one who claims the “pro-choice” mantra in regards to killing the youngest humans among us. In fact, I am as adamantly “anti-choice” in regards to that as I assume that you are regarding the “choice” to kill newborns.

    The fact that legal abortion supporters claim to he “pro-choice” when they praise an illegal abortionist-by-mail who was also responsible for clearly anti-choice abortions, and either belittle or actually praise the UK judge who ordered a forced abortion on a disabled woman (yes, a so-called “pro-choicer” on secularprolife did just that), tells me that the “choice” label is hypocritical and very much misapplied.

  • lady_black

    Forced abortion is every bit as anti-choice as forced gestation. I don’t care what some random person on the internet told you. He/she was incorrect.
    No one is talking about killing newborns. There is no need to kill newborns, as a newborn doesn’t need to live inside anyone’s body.
    And NO, child abuse hasn’t skyrocketed. Offer a citation or disappear.
    And NO, frozen embryos are not “newly fertilized eggs.” They are blastocysts, frozen at the stage where implantation would take place. Newly fertilized ovum would be pretty useless, as the newly fertilized ovum is incapable of implanting in a uterus.
    Beating hearts do not impress me. Show me a mind if you want me to be impressed.

  • Cake

    Yeah lets just play word games and pretend that a human being and a human person is the same thing. No wait they aren’t and you are just using the confusion to hide your actual agenda.

  • materetmagistra

    So, your argument is that a human being, if needy, if too young or too disabled to care for himself/herself, does not have basic human rights?

  • Cake

    The developing being certainly is directing/driving his/her own development.

    Then it can continue to do so when removed from the host.

  • Cake

    Yeah, that’s it exactly! You hit the nail right on the head. It’s truly amazing how accurate your arguments are when you purposely set aside the basic human rights of an already existing person to focus in with lazer like intensity upon the purported rights of imaginary people.

  • Cake

    Again, not a child. Still waiting for you to demonstrate that a fetus is a person.

  • Cake

    YAY, After disregarding the rights of actual people you want to move onto playing word games with archaic phrases.

  • johnsoncatman

    Again, you can’t simply answer a yes or no question without trying to obfuscate and distract. Yes or no: can it live without the host? A one word answer is all that is required.

  • Cake

    – when women choose abortion, we continue to be available to them
    following the abortion if they feel a need for emotional support or
    professional counseling.

    HAHAHAHA!

  • Cake

    The mother really need do than carry on with her normal day-to-day existence.

    This is precisely what the pro choice position is. Remove the fetus and let the woman carry on with her normal day-to-day existence.

  • Cake

    No the argument is that for all your crocodile tears about “human beings” dying you give zero craps about them.

  • materetmagistra

    So, your argument is that not all human beings are human persons?…that not all human beings are beings with rights?
    How do you know that?

  • Cake

    They do a lot of chanting “Baby, baby, baby” like it’s a magic spell that supposed to convince you because (reasons).

  • which you’d hope would be followed by “and that’s why I am personally against abortion, though I do respect others’ right to it.”

  • johnsoncatman

    Woman = human being with all rights.
    Fetus = not a human being and does not have equal rights to a woman carrying the fetus.
    Woman’s rights are greater than Fetus rights.
    Is that simple enough for you?

  • Cake

    Because it takes a mind to be a person. See beating heart cadavers and Perm Veg State. All are human beings, all are alive, all can have their lifesuport removed

  • materetmagistra

    Explain, please, how a human being mother can have a non-human being offspring….

  • johnsoncatman

    Round and round and round. Read the other comments that have been posted. This has been explained to you numerous times.

  • lady_black

    But I’m NOT personally against abortion.

  • lady_black

    You are goalpost-shifting. It has nothing to do with a neighbor, a random photo or random ultrasound. If it’s in my body, it’s my purview, plain and simple. You get to sit down and shut up about it, or go whine to the mirror.

  • lady_black

    The ovum and sperm are not parts of a person. They are sex cells, containing a haploid number of chromosomes, making them less than actual cells. They are produced by an individual person, but not part of them.

  • lady_black

    Get over it. They aren’t the same thing. A human corpse is a human being, but it’s not a person, and has no rights.
    Yet, you STILL cannot help yourself to it’s organs to be used for your own benefit without prior consent. Congratulations: You have just now assigned less rights to a female human person than are given to a corpse.

  • lady_black

    The brain dead are actually dead, whether there’s a heartbeat or not. Trust me, I know. I had to care for one sent to the nursing home where I was working until the heartbeat inevitably stopped. If I went into great detail, you would probably lose your supper. Suffice it to say, it was the only time in my life I regretted being a nurse.

  • lady_black

    Genetic makeup does not a human being make.

  • lady_black

    The same way a post-mortem paternity test works.

  • lady_black

    Autonomous! Snort! ROFLMFAO! Maybe a dictionary would help?
    No, it does NOT direct it’s own growth and development. Epigenetics is a thing.

  • I thought we were talking about secular pro-lifers. That’s who I was giving that imagined quote to.

  • lady_black

    The mother’s body. And sometimes, the mother’s body doesn’t produce enough progesterone, leading to early pregnancy loss. This is actually quite common in women with PCOS. The embryo isn’t “directing” Jack Shit. The woman’s body is not producing enough progesterone, and the corpus luteum is no part of an embryo, it is part of HER.
    In the case where this is happening, supplemental progesterone is administered to the woman (again, NOT to the embryo), and that will make the difference between the pregnancy being retained, or sloughed off with the rest of the endometrium in an early miscarriage.
    She doesn’t HAVE TO *KNOW* what is going on inside her body. Her body will go through it’s paces whether she knows she’s pregnant or not. IN SOME CASES FOR THE ENTIRETY OF THE PREGNANCY! Maybe you heard about that poor raped PVS patient in Arizona that gave birth in a nursing home? What are you claiming SHE knew???
    Now, sit down, and STFU. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You are dangerous!

  • lady_black

    Don’t listen to this poster. IT doesn’t know what it’s talking about.

  • lady_black

    Who CARES if it’s human? That entitles it to nothing.

  • lady_black

    Ah. If I said that, I would be lying. And, if a secular pro-lifer said that, he/she would be lying.
    By the way, they are about as “secular” as Federal Express is federal. They simply puke out religious notions dressed up in science-sounding terms.

  • Well, no. In all circumstances, medical treatment is both a matter of personal privacy and a matter of public policy. This is why many medical issues, not just abortion, are particularly fraught when they intersect with politics. It is a bummer, but it is an unavoidable aspect of the conversation.

  • lady_black

    Nonsense! I don’t need the public’s permission for a procedure. It’s not “a bummer” because it’s no one’s goddamn business.

  • David Bates

    Well, firstly I responding to johnsoncatman who who said “A fetus is not a human being”, which is a nonsensical statement. Elephant festuses are not human beings, but human fetuses are.

    But returning to your statement, if being human doesn’t entitle you to human rights…what does?

  • lady_black

    “Human rights” do not include the use of the bodies of other human beings without consent. I am aware of who you were addressing. I was addressing YOU. I can do that.

  • That’s a perfectly fine position to take about the ideal circumstance, but that is not how any of this works currently in the world. Medical decisions that intersect with issues of medical ethics, personhood, and the like are going to collide with public policy issues, unavoidably. When they do, it is incumbent upon the government to balance the resulting issues and form policy to that end.

    Thankfully, due to Roe and its legal progeny, when dealing with policy issues resulting from medical abortion the law requires any governmental policy to hold the pregnant woman’s choice as dispositive in as many circumstances as would be plausible to do so. This is definitely a good thing. But it would be a category error to not recognize it as a political result bearing upon public policy.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    What if I am OK with first-trimester abortion, have some reservations on second-trimester but reject most third-trimester, here in the muddy middle? Am I a “forced birther”? Are you then an “abortion on demand” person?

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Posting this one separately as well as a reply to her! 🙂

    Mater? Mormons believe that millions of “unborn Children” are out there on Planet Kolob. All that does is prove that maybe they’re even nuttier than you.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Wrong. This is like saying nobody other than the family of a m – u – r – d – e – r victim has any sort of skin in play. Third-trimester viability and liberty interests are a reasonable argument.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    There are no such things as “abortion clinics” as opposed to your pregnancy resource centers.

    Planned Parenthood offers a full range of birth control options. Everything your “can we help you stay pregnant” center does plus abortion counseling.

    PP IS anti-union. That’s another story, and I have grown to like it less for that and other reasons.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Also to Mate: No, what I’m doing is PROVING that your claim that abortion is such a great evil is host by its own petard. You’ll continue to deny that, of course. It’s still true.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Mater? Mormons believe that millions of “unborn Children” are out there on Planet Kolob. All that does is prove that maybe they’re even nuttier than you.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Nope, pointing out moral hypocrisy is never a big mistake.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Well, given what Trent does, and what Mater’s handle is, they’re both arguing from religious backgrounds. So, I’ll respectfully infer that their arguments, even without express words, are religiously based.

    3lemonope speaks for me well here, on details.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    That’s a lie. I’ve read enough of Hentoff to know it’s a lie. Might as well get past the politeness stage with you.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Let me be more explicit. By adult supervision, I don’t mean that it has to have an adult 24/7. I mean that it cannot be WITHOUT an adult 24/7.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Tosh. By that reasoning, only people about to be m – u – r – d – e – r -e -d can write m – u -r – d -e – r legislation. And, of course, on a social media comment form, I don’t know if you actually are a woman or not, to boot.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Actually, I am. Or at least 20 percent of them. I am the immortal Genghis Khan.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    That’s basically where I’m at.

    That said, while I reject the phrase “abortion on demand,” it seems many secular prochoicers (as we’ve seen here) want little to no restriction on third trimester abortions.

    I’m not aware of “Name” secularists who are openly in the “muddy middle,” but I’m sure they exist. If we cut a Hentoff-type argument to the third trimester, I’m comfortable with it; so, using his name as an intro. (If you have a “Name” secularist who IS in the muddy middle, please post it.)

    That then said, as you’ve seen, people in the muddy middle on this issue take potshots from both sides. That’s why I comment on it so little.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    As I said to Gary, secularist pro-lifers was a “wedge” on my part.

    I’m not aware of “Name” secularists who are openly in the “muddy middle,” but I’m sure they exist. If we cut a Hentoff-type argument to the third trimester, I’m comfortable with it; so, using his name as an intro. (If you have a “Name” secularist who IS in the muddy middle, please post it.)

  • But you are confirmed a cheat if you just now try to change the parameters a SECOND time.
    Then you produce additional confusing details-
    QUOTE: “The mother really need do nothing else than carry on with her normal day-to-day existence.” UN-QUOTE
    Just who is this newly introduced mother? Cannot be that pregnant woman who lost her life nine months earlier because she was not identified as being a mother.

    If you need reminding, your exact words in the earlier post were:

    QUOTE “Given nine months of simply passage of time and nothing else, the human being would be nine months older.” UN-QUOTE

    You allowed only the passage of nine months time, and nothing more! So, I answered to the effect that denied any food or any shelter two corpses would indeed be nine months older– i.e. you’d have a decaying corpse of a human being- the potential mother-to-be, and the decaying remainder of what once was a living embryo just a span of nine months earlier.

    So, once again – not all that much different from a ship’s keel where the workers had abandoned all labor and left it to the elements.

    You finish your dishonest post with strange words:

    QUOTE: “At least being alive provides the opportunity for the distress to be mitigated. What type of hope does yoursolution [sic] (that being procured abortion) offer?” UN-QUOTE

    Just what kind of distress are you addressing? If the twin corpses have just laid about for nine months, how would parents (and grandparents-to-be) have their distress mitigated? The parents (and other relatives) would be the only living ones in this situation. Then there is that unidentified mother? What kind of distress in her case needs to be mitigated?

    Further, you seem of the opinion that a procured abortion is TO be labelled “yoursolution” – can you shed further light on that confusing labelling situation?

  • Gary Whittenberger

    In this case it is a big mistake because you are diverting the discussion away from the original topic — abortion. Please be straight forward about your own opinions about abortion and abortion rights. Take a position and defend it, clearly.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    F2: That’s basically where I’m at.

    GW2: If that’s basically where you are at, then your position has several errors, which I pointed out.

    F2: That said, while I reject the phrase “abortion on demand,” it seems many secular prochoicers (as we’ve seen here) want little to no restriction on third trimester abortions.

    GW2: That is true, but please be clear about what you want. What restrictions do you want and why?

    F2: I’m not aware of “Name” secularists who are openly in the “muddy middle,” but I’m sure they exist. If we cut a Hentoff-type argument to the third trimester, I’m comfortable with it; so, using his name as an intro. (If you have a “Name” secularist who IS in the muddy middle, please post it.)

    GW2: Present a Hentoff-type argument for the third trimester that you agree with. You seem overly cautious about clearly stating your position.

    F2: That then said, as you’ve seen, people in the muddy middle on this issue take potshots from both sides. That’s why I comment on it so little.

    GW2: I endorse a pro-person position, which is probably in your “muddy middle,” and I get potshots from both sides. I am confident that my position is correct and I am ready to defend it. If you are in the muddy middle, speak out and defend your position. Don’t be afraid of the mud.

  • johnsoncatman

    Forgot that murder1 is on the list.

  • johnsoncatman

    That is a false equivalence. Murder1 victims have a murderer. Are you calling the woman a murderer?
    .
    An abortion is a decision that is between a woman and her physician. The physician is not going to perform an illegal abortion, and third-trimester abortions are only allowed in rare circumstances. Why do you think you or anyone else should have a say in the private medical decision of a woman?

  • Gary, quit being an overbearing jerk. You don’t make the rules here.

  • johnsoncatman

    sex1 The filters make the discussion of some topics nearly impossible.

  • johnsoncatman

    The overwhelming majority of abortions are done before 20 weeks, with over three-quarters done before 10 weeks. There are very rare cases where it may be allowed after that, but a physician will not perform an abortion that is illegal.
    .
    Other than that, I think that the restrictions that conservative/republicans place on abortions should all be struck down. Abortions are one of the safest medical procedures that a woman can undergo. There is no need for a two or three day waiting period. That just causes an undue burden on the woman seeking the abortion (which is the intention of the laws). “Fetal heartbeat” laws are the latest attempt by conservatives/republicans to try to sound “sciencey”, but there is not a functioning heart at 6 weeks. I believe that an abortion should be a decision that is between a woman and her physician, and that she should be able to get it without a waiting period. I also believe that comprehensive sex1 education should be required in schools and that contraception should be easily available to whoever wants it. Those two things alone have been proven to reduce the number of abortions.
    .
    People are going to have sex1. It feels good and it is fun. Those who think that sex1 is only for procreation are welcome to put that restriction on themselves, but they have no right to hold other people to the same restriction. Also, they should not be allowed to punish people who have sex1 by forcing them to carry a pregnancy to term. By eliminating ignorance about sex1 and making it as safe as possible, there would not be as many abortions. I would think it would also reduce the number of unwanted children and break the cycle of poverty for some women.

  • lady_black

    And I don’t know if you are actually a man, but that’s irrelevant. Guess who makes decisions about the care of pregnant women? The pregnant woman and her doctor do. Just like you make decisions about your own health care.
    Don’t you DARE compare that process to a crime that deprives anyone of his/her rights, and is done against the person’s will. You certainly have your fair share of chutzpah, but you are no authority, and you get no say in what happens between a stranger and her doctor. You will not even be consulted. Choke on it!

  • lady_black

    Stop babbling about murder! I have no interest whatsoever in your vile fantasies.

  • lady_black

    Well, a non-viable fetus can’t be without the physical body of a specific adult for every second of every day. And guess what? She doesn’t have to pony up that body.

  • lady_black

    I’m not talking about Hentoff. Your reading comprehension, not to mention your imagination, needs a lot of work. I didn’t mention Hentoff even once. What the eff are you on about?

  • lady_black

    Two of my children didn’t “naturally exit the womb.” And by the way, I have a name, and it’s NOT “Womb.”
    There is no “child existing.” That’s what you get at the end of the pregnancy, not something that’s been there all along. There isn’t any child until I build one out of my blood and pain. And NO ONE is entitled to my blood without consent, even if they die without it.
    And NO, you have not posted a single link to me. Try again. As far as “born alive infant protection law” that is 17 years old, at the federal level. Take it to the senior prom and ride off into the sunset with it. You are NOT going to pass laws that penalize physicians for failing to do everything possible. Neonatal hospice care is a thing, and that’s a decision made by PARENTS, in consultation with their physicians. Not by legislators.
    And yes, a random person on the internet is a random person on the internet. If that random person defends forced abortion, they are NOT pro-choice.

  • Cake

    Explain, please, how a human being mother can have a non-human being offspring….

    That’s easy!

    It’s the purposeful ignorance of people like you who will lie and prevaricate and dissemble dishonestly about what you’re talking about. This is why you ignore the hard answers about the questions being asked of you. It’s why you ignore any and all medical knowledge presented to you. Your only arguments are pathetic word games and emotional quips where you you declare victory by fiat. Demonstrating an unwillingness to interact with other people honestly.

    In short you are worse than ignorant. You are deliberately ignorant because you already know that mindless scraps of flesh are not “babies”.

  • Cake

    Well, firstly I responding to johnsoncatman who who said “A fetus is not a human being”, which is a nonsensical statement.

    And you’re falling into materetmagistra’s idiot trap by playing word games. Nobody on the choice side is denying the human origin of the fetus. She’s deliberately conflating personhood with being and Johnsoncatman took her at face value and is using the same term she does.

  • Reuben Andrew Herrle

    Shem,

    My friend and I listened to this podcast episode. You evaded just about every tough question Trent asked. Your views of the unborn are unclear as evidenced by the fact that you couldn’t define “abortion” when Trent asked you. So let me ask you very plainly: What are the unborn? At the moment conception occurs, what species comes into existence?

    Thanks,
    Reuben

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    I STARTED the conversation about secular pro lifers on this post, and I STARTED IT by specifically mentioning Hentoff by name. So, your reading thoroughness is what’s needing to be called into account, first. That said, and secondly, you’re lying about secular pro-lifers in general. You’re about as intelligent as military intelligence, to FedEx right back to you.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    EFF Patheos. Reposting

    I think that, by mentioning “liberty interests,” and how the liberty interest of the fetus comes forward after v i a b i l i t y, I have stated my position. Perhaps it didn’t seem clear because I was using the legal language of liberty interest, and not philosophical or sociological language. And, I’d already mentioned both “24 weeks” and “third trimester.”

    24 weeks, or third trimester, as noted, since trimesters, not weeks, are in American law, and per 3lemonope, that’s our context.. So, the only thing I think was previously unclear was any exceptions I would allow in the third trimester.

    Maternal life and health the only exceptions.

    Maternal mental health is too slippery a slope.

    R – a – p – e or i – n – c – e – s – t ? Those are actual criminal allegations. Against individuals. Can’t offer third trimester abortion unless such things actually do pan out as criminal allegations. Besides, on r – a – p – e , it’s really too late to pursue it as a criminal charge six months later. On i – n – c – e – s – t? Wanting an exception for that is a red herring as much as anything. If the pregnant minor hasn’t come forward before then, without social support, she isn’t coming forward in the third trimester.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    And, with that said, I’ll quote Shem from above:

    Gary, quit being an overbearing j – e – r – k. You don’t make the rules here.

    (I say that a bit more politely than Shem, and certainly with less familiarity, but it seems like this may not be a new issue?)

    And, since I’m not afraid of anything, what are YOUR exceptions? (Apologies if I missed them, but so far, you’ve only said 24 weeks. Or maybe you don’t have ANY after then?)

  • lady_black

    Well, military intelligence IS intelligent. However, I have hung out at “Secular Pro-Life” and I can tell you there’s nothing “secular” about them. There are two types of so-called “secular” pro-lifers. Misogynists, and religionists who are fooling no one but themselves.
    There simply IS no secular reason to give a grape-sized fetus more rights than the woman it resides in, unless you really hate women. And then there are those who put a thin patina of science over religious ideology.
    In plain language, 1) either you scratch them long and hard enough, and it comes down to “she shouldn’t have spread her legs,” or 2) rather than babbling about an “immortal soul” they substitute “a unique DNA combination” and babble about that instead. Which amounts to exactly BUPKISS in the way of human rights, because guess what? She has a unique DNA combination as well, plus she has a mind, and a life outside of any given pregnancy.
    Of which type was Hentoff, because I’m not all that familiar with him? I’m thinking “misogynist” myself.

  • Amused To Death

    You lead a rich inner life, don’t you?

  • Reuben, if you listened to the podcast, you’d know I talked about how nebulous the idea of an “unborn human” is. It’s like talking about an “unbuilt house.” It gives us no information about what stage of development has taken place. You’re comfortable redefining the instant of conception as if it’s the birth of a human being; as I told Trent, it’s our reluctance to make such arbitrary distinctions that motivates pro-choicers to leave decisions about the pregnancy to the woman.

    And as I’ve said all along, it’s our willingness to treat this issue as if it’s only about the fetus that erases the woman. If the woman’s body, her being itself, doesn’t constitute a morally relevant distinction between an unborn human being and a born one, then you’re demonstrating my point very effectively: that pro-life is about oppressing and erasing women.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    F3: I think that, by mentioning “liberty interests,” and how the liberty interest of the fetus comes forward after v i a b i l i t y, I have stated my position. Perhaps it didn’t seem clear because I was using the legal language of liberty interest, and not philosophical or sociological language. And, I’d already mentioned both “24 weeks” and “third trimester.”

    GW3: That could be. IMO, you are not communicating frankly and clearly on these issues.

    F3: 24 weeks, or third trimester, as noted, since trimesters, not weeks, are in American law, and per 3lemonope, that’s our context.. So, the only thing I think was previously unclear was any exceptions I would allow in the third trimester.

    GW3: Yes, you are correct that “the third trimester” is used in American law and was mentioned in Roe v. Wade, but the trimester concept is arbitrary and invalid. It was chosen mostly because a full term of pregnancy is usually 39 weeks and 39 divided by 3 is 13. The beginning of the third trimester is not tied to any particular feature of the fetus and thus should not be used to demarcate personhood or when rights should be assigned. However, the end of the 24th week post conception is a good demarcation for the beginning of personhood since it is tied by empirical evidence and theory to the onset of consciousness in fetuses. If you believe that human rights should be assigned to the fetus after that point, then we agree.

    F3: Maternal life and health the only exceptions.

    GW3: We agree on those two.

    F3: Maternal mental health is too slippery a slope.

    GW3: But mental health is part of health, so there is no reason to exclude it. There would be no “slippery slope” if relevant diagnoses are specified.

    F3: R – a – p – e or i – n – c – e – s – t ? Those are actual criminal allegations. Against individuals.
    Can’t offer third trimester abortion unless such things actually do pan out as criminal allegations.

    GW3: So you believe that rape and incest should be exceptions to a law against abortion after 24 weeks if the man who helped produce the fetus is convicted BEFORE that time?

    F3: Besides, on r – a – p – e , it’s really too late to pursue it as a criminal charge six months later.

    GW3: It is neither morally nor legally “too late to pursue it [rape] as a criminal charge six months later.” I don’t know where you got that idea.

    F3: On i – n – c – e – s – t? Wanting an exception for that is a red herring as much as anything. If the pregnant minor hasn’t come forward before then, without social support, she isn’t coming forward in the third trimester.

    GW3: A red herring? What are you talking about? After the fetus becomes a person, if the pregnant woman CORRECTLY claims that her fetus is the result of incest and she wants an abortion, regardless if she is a minor or not, should the state allow her to get an abortion? Defend your position.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    The richness of my inner life, or yours, is irrelevant. Would you like to make a relevant comment about the topic we are discussing?

  • Hans-Richard Grümm

    Not at all. They have unique DNA, not the DNA of their parents.

  • materetmagistra

    You’re comfortable redefining the instant of conception as if it’s the birth of a human being; as I told Trent, it’s our reluctance to make such arbitrary distinctions

    Steve, there is nothing arbitrary about such a designation.

    At fertilization a distinct being is formed. Prior to fertilization there are two gametes…an egg cell that is part of the mother’s body, and a sperm cell, part of the father’s body. After fertilization, there exists a new and unique living being. The life functions can be demonstrated (evidence of growth and development exists)…….the genetic array can also be demonstrated.Those are demonstrable facts not arbitrary distinctions.

  • Where is this “new and unique living being”?

    Where are these “life functions” taking place?

    When it comes to demonstrable facts, you leave out the ones that aren’t to your liking.

  • materetmagistra

    Where…..?

    Well, usually within the fallopian tube, but sometimes in a lab. I’ll agree – demonstrable.

    Now, how does that change the other demonstrable facts: after fertilization there exists a new and unique living being ??

  • tophilacticus

    So then genetics defines a living being? Was not expecting such a reductionist definition of a human that excludes the soul and is exclusively biochemical. I think you will find even with attempting a biochemical definition there is ambiguity.

  • You can’t even bring yourself to admit that a woman is even tangentially involved in this process.

    Like I said, you’re making my case: pro-lifers are about erasing women from relevance in the entire matter of procreation and abortion.

  • materetmagistra

    You can’t even bring yourself to admit that a woman is even tangentially involved in this process.

    Huh? She is most definitely directly involved.

    Now, back to whether fertilization is an arbitrary or definite point in regard to the beginning of a new and unique living being……which is it and why?

  • My thesis here is that the pro-lifer’s reluctance to include the woman’s being in the moral framework of abortion is an attempt to evade responsibility for the personal and social consequences of forcing women to undergo pregnancy and childbirth against their will. Scientific-sounding rationalizations are just diversion tactics.

    What I’m trying to establish here is whether rhetoric like “the beginning of a new and unique human being” is being used to erase the woman from moral relevance in the matter at hand. If this human being is developing inside a woman’s body, doesn’t that complicate the matter?

  • materetmagistra

    If this human being is developing inside a woman’s body, doesn’t that complicate the matter?

    How does where the being reside change what the being is?

    Wouldn’t you agree that we need first to determine what the being is before we can discuss whether the where matters?

  • Um, well, because a woman’s being is more than just a location, a vague environment inhabited by the fetus. If the woman herself doesn’t matter to pro-lifers in the least, then I guess my point about pro-life being motivated by the oppression of women is well taken.

    Do you think I’m wrong to detect misogyny in such language?

  • materetmagistra

    Do you think I’m wrong to detect misogyny in such language?

    Do you think I’m wrong to detect deflection and dishonesty in your answer?

    In order to have a discussion about the woman’s role and the question of her responsibility, don’t we need to know what the being is we are referring to? Is it a liver fluke? Is it a tumor? Is it a hydatidiform mole? Is it a parasite? [Not that any of these are necessarily beings – just other subjects I’ve seen people try to use as analogies.]

  • In order to have a discussion about the woman’s role and the question of her responsibility, don’t we need to know what the being is we are referring to?

    Not for me, or any other pro-choicer.

    We have ethical qualms about reducing a woman to a mere housing for a fetus.

    We think it’s bad for women, for families, and for society to force women to undergo pregnancy and childbirth against their will.

  • materetmagistra

    We think it’s bad for women, for families, and for society to force women to undergo pregnancy and childbirth against their will.

    I agree – it is criminal, it is morally evil, “it’s bad”, for a man (a rapist) to force a woman to become pregnant.

    Question for you: In society, who is primarily responsible for feeding, nurturing, and otherwise caring for a child?

  • I’m curious how your account deals with identical twins and triplets, which invariably form after conception during the early stages of developmental mitosis. Your argument is that there is a non-arbitrary moment where not-a-person becomes a person, so can we do the same with when a person becomes two or three people?

    If you want to really have some fun the theological implications of the person coming into existence at conception for twins and triplets is even more tangled, but I think even at the level of biology you are attempting to make something artificially clean that in reality is irreducibly messy.

  • materetmagistra

    Your argument is that there is a non-arbitrary moment where not-a-person becomes a person, so can we do the same with when a person becomes two or three people?

    I for one haven’t used the term person yet.

    Does the tiny being formed by fertilization have a distinct DNA?

    Yes.

    Does it matter that due to some as-yet-unknown trigger the DNA divides in such a way to result in two (or more, or even just one) beings?

    No. The beginning point of the new being(s) is still the fertilization.

  • It’s interesting that although you’re not even pretending to engage in a dialogue on the subject as I’ve described it several times, now you’re brazenly mocking any attempt to make you acknowledge it.

    Did I say interesting? I meant tedious.

    At least assure me that you’re lucid enough to admit that this isn’t your blog. And consider yourself warned.

  • The beginning point of the new being(s) is still the fertilization.

    Ah, no. This is a dodge. If the fertilization event leads to conception, that is the creation of a genetically unique being, using your language, then that event is distinct from the later mitosis event that causes the creation of two (or more) beings that are distinct physically (though, not really genetically).

    So, not only are the events giving rise to unique beings separate, but it highlights a problem with your “genetically distinct” prong (as twins are fully distinct, separate people). Should we understand the mitosis event as another conception? Does this erase the momentousness of the original conception, since it did not give rise to a “unique genetically distinct being”?

  • materetmagistra

    Should we understand the mitosis event as another conception? Does this erase the momentousness of the original conception, since it did not give rise to a “unique genetically distinct being”?

    Does what you refer to as “the mitosis event” happen without fertilization happening?

    And, is the being at fertilization a distinct individual, that is, before any “twinning” event?

  • Cake

    I for one haven’t used the term yet.

    Of course you didn’t. Once you do the wheels fall off your absurd argument about the magic of unique DNA

  • materetmagistra

    Of course you didn’t. Once you do the wheels fall off your absurd argument about the magic of unique DNA

    Not quite.
    I will need your definition of person to show you why.

  • Cynthia

    Since I’ve debated with Gary on the topic of late restrictions, I’ll clarify my position, which I believe a number of others share.

    Nobody actually thinks that a deliberate termination in the 9th month is a great idea. Many will be perfectly fine with medical guidelines and doctors that will result in “turnaways” – those who request abortions too late.

    We have issues with laws on this issue, though, because:

    1. There are rare but serious situations, often involving late diagnosis of severe fetal defects, where late abortion is needed.

    2. We worry that laws will go (and in some cases, do go) much farther than prohibiting a procedure to deliberately terminate a third trimester pregnancy via abortion.

    In our discussions, Gary wanted a law that not only banned abortions but ANYTHING that ended a pregnancy prior to the spontaneous onset of labor if the risk to the fetus was increased. That would include c-sections and induction of labor – a VAST increase in government control over reproductive decisions. Early deliveries are how many pregnancy risks are handled, and practice guidelines are more than sufficient. When you introduce full laws, you introduce more red tape and restrictions that can result in doctors failing to act on time to prevent really bad outcomes.

    We have also seen “fetal protection laws” that criminalize women with mental health issues and/or substance abuse problems instead of providing them with access to health care, and that even demonize and criminalize women for pregnancy problems which may have been beyond their control. One awful trend has been to charge women with murder in cases of stillbirth or neonatal death following premature birth if there is any concern that the mother was taking drugs – even if there is no solid proof that the drug use caused the fetus or neonatal death. No, nobody thinks that drug use in pregnancy is a great idea. We do think that if someone is addicted to drugs badly enough that they still use during pregnancy, they have a health issue and it isn’t a deliberate decision to cause harm. We also think that such laws are more likely to prevent an addict from seeking prenatal care than they are to get an addict to simply quit using. Authorities also tend to underestimate how common pregnancy loss is, so they are more likely to assume that the pregnant woman caused it. I just saw a story about a women being charged with first-degree murder of her twins born at 23 weeks, because they had drugs in their systems. Cue the outrage – except the average person might not know that going into premature labor at 23 weeks isn’t that uncommon in twin pregnancy, and that it is extremely rare for anyone born that early to survive even if the mother was healthy and not using drugs.

  • johnsoncatman

    You dishonest idiot1. A rapist1 is not forcing a woman to “become” pregnant. He is sexually assaulting her and impregnating her. She does not “become” pregnant. She has a pregnancy forced upon her.
    .
    Question for you that as far as I can tell you still have not answered: would you force a woman that has been sexually assaulted to carry that pregnancy to term?

  • materetmagistra

    A rapist1 is not forcing a woman to “become” pregnant. He is sexually assaulting her and impregnating her. She does not “become” pregnant.

    im·preg·nate
    /imˈpreɡˌnāt/
    gerund or present participle: impregnating
    1. make (a woman or female animal) pregnant.

    Does every woman who is raped become pregnant?
    Why or why not?

  • materetmagistra

    Sorry, johnsoncatman, Shem does not care for my dialogue/questions. He marks replies as “spam.”

  • Oh, get off the fainting couch already. I’m trying to keep up with the Patheos spam filter and it’s no easy task.

    I’ve lost interest, but if other people feel like it’s constructive to engage you, I say let ’em.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Cynthia, that’s just weird.

    Gary, care to comment? I already asked what exact prohibitions you supported in the third trimester. Care to challenge, or add to, what Cynthia said? So far, you’ve not responded to me.

  • Fmr ATrealDonaldTrump

    Well, since you’re
    A. Intransigent
    B. Spreading the degree of untruth
    Then
    C. I’ll beat the rush in another way.
    Bye.

  • Cynthia

    Here is an example of why Im concerned about politicians grand-standing and passing laws on later abortions without fully considering the implications: https://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/stories/my-late-term-abortion/

  • Cynthia

    Gary’s position in this can be found here: https://www.skeptic.com/reading_room/how-science-might-inform-personhood-abortion-rights/

    See comment 145 at the end for his response to my point about inductions and c-sections. He wants a medical panel to approve them – which would cause massive delays and administrative headaches, and eliminate OB services in smaller hospitals.

  • Cynthia

    I don’t know about the US, but there are dedicated abortion clinics in Canada. PP has a much smaller presence since Canadian residents get universal health care. The clinics exist because you don’t need a hospital for most abortions.

    That said, the crisis pregnancy centers have fought for the right to lie to women. I have no problem with organizations that offer genuine support and assistance, and have helped some. I distrust most CPCs though, because they have a track record of pretending to have medical personnel when they don’t, giving false medical information, preaching at women, harassing women, and failing to deliver promised assistance.

  • johnsoncatman

    Would you force a woman that has been sexually assaulted and impregnated to carry that pregnancy to term?

  • johnsoncatman

    You know by now that it is not constructive as materetmagistra keeps going around and around with the same arguments that have been repeatedly refuted. It is the same dishonest tactic that many forced-birthers use as if ignoring the refutations makes them invalid.

  • johnsoncatman

    That is an embryo, not a “being”. Are you still trying to assert that that embryo, or for that matter a fetus, is an autonomous living being?

  • It’s not like I expect pro-lifers to approach this exclusively on the terms that I’ve laid out; this is a debate, after all. My whole point about the abortion matter is that pro-lifers focus on the fetus because they think that allows them to ignore any and all ethical questions relating to women, families, and society.

    But just barking questions and demanding that people answer them, while not just evading but basically mocking anyone’s attempts to address any issues outside the amniotic sac, isn’t the best way to show you’re arguing in good faith.

    I’m done with M et M. But they’re your hours, spend ’em how you will.

  • materetmagistra

    What is an embryo?
    What is a fetus?

  • materetmagistra

    Are you suggesting that just because terrible violence has been committed against her, this mother gets a pass at committing worse violence against her own son or daughter?
    Are you suggesting that those humans whose fathers are criminals don’t have the same rights as other humans whose fathers are not?

  • johnsoncatman

    Would you force a woman that has been sexually assaulted and impregnated to carry that pregnancy to term?

  • johnsoncatman

    embryo = early stage of a pregnancy
    fetus = a later stage of a pregnancy
    .
    Are you still trying to assert that that embryo, or for that matter a fetus, is an autonomous living being?

  • materetmagistra

    What is pregnancy?

  • johnsoncatman

    pregnancy = part of the reproductive cycle
    .
    Maybe you need to attend some classes if you don’t know these answers already. Oh, you do know the answers. You are just being intentionally obtuse.

  • materetmagistra

    Not quite. Just finding out what you mean when you use the word(s).

    How does one know one is in the “part of the reproductive cycle” known as pregnancy?

  • materetmagistra

    I believe mothers and fathers have a responsibility to feed, nurture, and otherwise care for their children…..and that society can require parents to be responsible for their children (which is why men should pay child support.)

    Do you know the statistics regarding the numbers of women who are forced by rapists to become pregnant, to become mothers, and who decide to not end the life of their sons or daughters?

  • johnsoncatman

    Yes or No. Would you force a woman that has been sexually assaulted and impregnated to carry that pregnancy to term? Stop questioning a question with another question. Your dishonesty is showing.

  • johnsoncatman

    Just stop. I have answered multiple questions. Answer mine: Yes or No: Are you still trying to assert that that embryo, or for that matter a fetus, is an autonomous living being?

  • materetmagistra

    Are you still trying to assert that that embryo, or for that matter a fetus, is an autonomous living being?

    Well, is that not the crux?

    You are making the claim that fertilization does not result in a whole, separate, unique, living human being, while I make the claim that it does.

    To my supportr:
    -Once the egg cell and sperm cell are fused, a being exists.
    -That being is alive – growing and developing and maintaining/regulating own life functions.
    -The type of being can be determined by (1) biological truism and (2) genetic proof. [Biological truism: Like begets like: Human parents beget human children. Genetic proof: Genome of Homo sapiens.
    -Whole….nothing more need be added….the genome is complete.
    -Separate…..the genome indicates uniqueness….this developing being is not a part of the mother.

    What support is there for your claim?

  • materetmagistra

    You load your question to support your narrative. If your claim is true, it should look true from all angles.

    Why do you think that not all mothers and fathers have a responsibility to their own children? Why are you in favor of allowing some children to be harmed by their parents? Which children shouldn’t be protected from parents that would harm them?

  • materetmagistra

    Under a pro-life paradigm, women would have absolutely no recourse in that case.

    Who is this recourse aimed at?

    The perpetrator?

    Or, the woman’s son or daughter (too young to have done any wrong yet)?

  • johnsoncatman

    Are you suggesting that just because terrible violence has been committed against her, this mother gets a pass at committing worse violence against her own son or daughter?

    Your question is not logical. You must be assuming that the woman already has children that she would commit violence against. The fetus is not a son or daughter, and an abortion is not commiting violence.

    Are you suggesting that those humans whose fathers are criminals don’t have the same rights as other humans whose fathers are not?

    Again, for about the tenth time, a fetus is not a human yet. This has been covered already.
    .
    Do they teach you in forced-birther school to just keep asking the same questions over and over, maybe re-wording slightly, but still the same questions?

  • lady_black

    The brain trust who compares a voluntary medical procedure ending a non-viable pregnancy to *murder*? Yes, I think you should say “bye.” You don’t pack the gear to debate me.

  • johnsoncatman

    You are making the claim that fertilization does not result in a whole, separate, unique, living human being, while I make the claim that it does.

    Whole – if so, why does it need the host?
    Separate-then why does it need the host?
    Unique living human being-not until it is born.
    Can it live without the host? The answer, in case you refuse to answer truthfully, is no. That supports my claim and refutes yours.

  • materetmagistra

    Whole – if so, why does it need the host?

    Why does the child need the mother?
    Children, especially the very young, need their parents’ care for the basics: food, shelter, protection, cleaning, etc. How does needing care make one unwhole?

    Separate-then why does it need the host?

    So, do you really believe that parasites become part of the host? So, if you have a liver fluke, it is part of you? A scientist can most definitely help you there – it is easy enough to demonstrate that the liver fluke is one organism, and you are a different, a separate, organism.

    Unique living human being-not until it is born.

    So, your claim is that the child’s DNA changes as it exits the birth canal?

    Can it live without the host? The answer, in case you refuse to answer truthfully, is no. That supports my claim and refutes yours.

    Young children cannot live without assistance. Those with certain disabilities cannot live without assistance. Steven Hawking could not live without assistance. Not quite sure how recognizing that some humans need assistance of others proves anything. Maybe you can elaborate further?

  • 3vil5triker .

    All I’m saying is that she has no recourse against being pregnant against her will. If you want to twist that into something else, then you’re on your own.

  • johnsoncatman

    A fetus is not a child. You keep making the same mistake. You have claimed that the pregnancy consists of the woman and an autonomous other being. Are you abandoning the “autonomous” label now? What is in the womb1 does not need “their parents’ care” in the way that you are so dishonestly trying to imply about actual children who have been born.
    .
    So now, you are agreeing that the embryo/fetus is a parasite. Good to know. Glad I was able to make you see the light. The liver fluke, like the fetus, is in a symbiotic, though parasitic, relationship with the host. In that sense, it is part of you.
    .
    Nothing changes about the DNA makeup, but a live birth makes a live person.
    .
    Young children (those who have been born), disabled individuals, and Steven Hawking are not inside a woman and using her as a host for their every need. Not quite sure how you willfully won’t understand such a simple fact.

  • johnsoncatman

    In case you haven’t seen the comments in this thread by materetmagistra already, twisting is what it is all about.

  • The liver fluke, like the fetus, is in a symbiotic, though parasitic, relationship with the host. In that sense, it is part of you.

    During my discussion with Trent, I mentioned the parasitic nature of the fetus’s existence and compared laws against abortions to prohibitions against having a liver fluke removed. He claimed he didn’t know what a liver fluke is, and I was too embarrassed to continue with my line of reasoning.

    Like I said, he’s good.

  • johnsoncatman

    Genetic tests check for genes. Those genes can be compared to the parents and prove that the DNA makeup is a combination of the DNA from the parents. It still does not make the embryo or fetus a son or daughter until it is born.
    .
    Covered enough that you know the response to the questions. You just keep asking the same questions, so the answers are still the same. I am not working on a math problem, so “proof” is not required. You would reject anything as “proof” anyway, as you have already done because you are a forced-birther. You do not believe that women have the right to bodily1 autonomy and nothing will change your misogynistic opinion.
    .
    Just curious, are you a man or a woman? I must be crazy to ask because you do not answer questions directly. You have to twist and obfuscate, but I can hold out hope.

  • johnsoncatman

    Too bad I can’t upvote you more than once on this.

  • materetmagistra

    In case you haven’t seen the comments in this thread by materetmagistra already, twisting is what it is all about.

    Really, the only twisting is turning your claims back upon themselves to see if they make any sense. If you have a strong argument, it should certainly withstand examination and scrutiny.

  • materetmagistra

    Genetic tests check for genes. Those genes can be compared to the parents and prove that the DNA makeup is a combination of the DNA from the parents. It still does not make the embryo or fetus a son or daughter until it is born.

    So, you admit the being has parents……..human being parents at that.

    But, you claim this being is not a son or a daughter, yet.

    So, clumps of cells, non-beings, have “parents”?? How does that work?

    And, what magic happens to this being by exposure to the atmosphere that changes it from “not a son or daughter” into a son or daughter?

  • johnsoncatman

    Wow! Are you wounded that I would criticize you? I am impressed that you would notice.

  • johnsoncatman

    Birth.
    .
    .
    .
    I notice that you did not disclose whether you were a man or a woman. Interesting.
    .
    .
    .
    Regarding proof: it has been proven that comprehensive sex1 education and universal access to birth control reduces the number of abortions. Do you support those initiatives? If not, why not? Abortions would be reduced, which you support, right?

  • materetmagistra

    is in a symbiotic, though parasitic, relationship with the host. In that sense, it is part of you.

    OK. So, you are admitting that in the biological (objective) sense these are separate organisms.

    Nothing changes about the DNA makeup, but a live birth makes a live person.

    You do not think a doctor could provide ample evidence that the child in utero happens to be alive?

    What magic happens to that being when exposed to the atmosphere? You have already noted the DNA does not change. What does?

  • johnsoncatman

    A liver fluke is not connected to the host through an umbilical cord.
    .
    Is the woman alive? Then the embryo or fetus may be alive. Without the host being alive, and before the fetus is viable, it will die.
    .
    It breathes on its own. Air. How the fuck1 does it work?

  • materetmagistra

    A liver fluke is not connected to the host through an umbilical cord.

    You do realize that the placenta is part child DNA/cells and part mother DNA/cells? The interface is very thin, but distinct (either child’s DNA or the mother’s.) The umbilicus is completely the child’s – completely part of his/her body. The child and the mother have separate parts….as I said above: in the biological (objective) sense these are separate organisms.

    Then the embryo or fetus may be alive.

    And, do you not think the doctor could provide ample evidence of which it is?

    It breathes on its own. Air. How the fuck1 does it work?

    So, that is how it changes into a human being? It breathes air? So, what about those babies who never do breathe on their own and get put into incubators or on breathing machines? Not human beings?!

  • johnsoncatman

    If they are separate, then the host is not needed. Is that what you are saying?
    .
    If the host dies, the fetus dies if it is not viable.
    .
    So, a breathing machine is not using air?

  • 3vil5triker .

    Your absolute indifference regarding the woman’s desire to be pregnant, or even consent to sex in the first place just proves the point the blog author is trying to make. I’m done with you.

  • Oh . . . really? (He inquired sarcastically) Just who are these mysterious other persons who you infer have “rights” that outweigh those of the woman who carries an unwanted, or outright dangerous pregnancy?

    The “rights” of hospital administrators in charge at a Irish hospital in 2012, who’s rulings led to the torturous, week-prolonged, death of 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar in their hospital? Just HOW was Savita Halappanavar’s “well-being” assured?

    The very actions, and attitudes, of anti-abortion campaigners put the lie to your post-leading feeble attempt at denial.

    You may as well be shouting:

    Its MY way, or the Backyard Coathanger – WOMAN!

    Anti-abortion campaigners call themselves “pro-life”, but whose life are they pro?
    https://www.vogue.com.au/culture/features/antiabortion-campaigners-call-themselves-prolife-but-whose-life-are-they-pro/image-gallery/160408e3ff7b763b108482fb1dcdded5?pos=1
    QUOTE “The death of 31-year-old dentist Savita Halappanavar in 2012 caused huge public outcry. She arrived at an Irish hospital in pain, in the midst of a miscarriage. Her pregnancy compromised and her own life under threat, she asked for an abortion and was refused. She lay in hospital for a week as sepsis crept through her body, probed every few hours to see if the doomed foetus still had a heartbeat. It had. She died in agony with her husband helpless to intervene beside her.

    Where we see the so-called “heartbeat bills” in the US, they don’t think about women like Halappanavar. They don’t see the grey areas that cases like hers inhabit. They see absolutes; black and white, right and wrong. They call themselves “pro-life” – but whose life are they pro?

    Primarily male legislators are playing to a base of conservatism . . . ” UN-QUOTE

  • Matt

    What is your definition of a Human Being?

  • Matt

    In the podcast, Trent constantly tried to get concrete and not vague, yet every time he did, you responded vaguely without actually answering it and typically went back to “but what about the mother?”

    What I wish Trent would have said is we have to set some basic, concrete first principles (like what is the definition of a human being, when does life begin…etc) before we can even have that conversation. Once we have established those, we can then discuss the emotional difficulty of the situation for the mother and what is in store and how to prepare and what we can do to help her.

  • Matt

    Don’t forget, most pro-lifers write mainly about the fetus because most choice do the exact same thing and right only about the Mother. They want to point out there is another individual in the equation here that we seem to forget about.

  • Matt

    This is exactly why we have to establish first principles and actually define specific terms. What is a life? When is it morally permissible to end a life?

  • Well, the dispute seems to boil down to whether or not the woman’s being constitutes a morally relevant difference between a fetus and an infant. Defining “a life” in complete isolation from its context is only going to validate one’s assumptions.

    If you think a woman’s body, her being itself, is a morally relevant distinction between a fetus and an infant, then there’s no reason to have a debate. And if you don’t, then there’s no point.

  • Matt

    I appreciate you taking the time to respond and engage the conversation.

    Defining a life is not about validating my assumptions (and side note, even if it was, the whole point of an dialogue is to identify an individuals assumptions and whether they are valid or false). It is the starting point to build from and then we can define things that could “potentially” validate your assumptions as well and I am happy to (for example, even if it is a life, we do believe there are circumstances when a person can take another’s life – self defense, war…etc).

    Do you believe, no matter how morally relevant a parent’s life is, that when they are under pressure, stressed, overwhelmed in parenting a 1 year old (and have 2 other children), staying up all night, having to put that child’s need before every one of their needs, that they are aloud to terminate that life before it reaches it’s natural end? I would assume no because it’s a life (which is why we need to define that) and protected under the constitution. It does not matter how complicated, how difficult, how traumatic the parent’s situation is. That is why we need to define a life. If the fetus is not a life, then it becomes a very different conversation.

    So I ask again, what is your definition of life?

    I completely understand the mother and father’s situations are difficult when pregnancy begins. Pregnancy itself is not fun (just witness a sibling go through this), the first 6 months of waking up every 3 hours is incredibly difficult. Prior to birth you could set your own schedule, your own routine and have peace and quiet. That goes out the window. It is a major life transformation (I would argue the first child is potentially the largest life transformation you will experience).

  • That is why we need to define a life. If the fetus is not a life, then it becomes a very different conversation.

    The point of all my pro-choice diatribes, though, is that we’ve become accustomed to discussing abortion as if it’s only something that happens to a fetus. Aside from the fact that you say so, I see no reason to accept that the woman’s situation is irrelevant. Why doesn’t the fact that this “life” is developing inside a woman’s body at least complicate the matter?

  • Matt

    It complicates the matter drastically. If a mother (and father, sine this will affect him for 75 years with her as well) come to me and ask for advice on a situation due to emotional, physical and financial stress, the advice and support I would give them changes drastically if it is a life or if it is not. If it is, then that life has to be factored into the equation (which we can talk about what magnitude) and if it is not life, then it will get factored in very differently. I am trying to begin discussing the woman’s situation to offer support but I can’t until we establish what is a life. I am having a hard time understanding how it is so hard to define this. I want to talk about the woman’s situation deeply but can’t until you will define what a life is. If not, I will be offering very poor support and advice. Imagine if I went to a friend and asked for advice on a complicated situation and he gave advice with incomplete information. He wouldn’t be a very good friend. I am trying to help all parties involved to the best of my abilities and to do that, we need to define what a life is.

    Thus, what is your definition of life?

  • Matt, anytime you want to stop hectoring me to define a “life” for you, would be swell.

    At least acknowledge that you understand my position doesn’t depend on whether the fetus is a “life” or not. I’m not disputing that. What I’m trying to establish is that the woman’s body, her being, is a morally relevant factor here.

    Forcing women to carry pregnancies to term against their will, and undergo childbirth to have children they don’t want, simply has far too many negative consequences for women, families and society. Pro-choicers just feel like decisions about procreation should be left to women and their families.

  • Matt

    No one (including myself or Trent Horn) has ever stated that a woman’s body is not a morally relevant factor. In fact, Trent Horn on his podcast (and I affirm) very clearly stated it is and in fact it is morally equivalent to a man’s body and to a child’s body (whether inside the womb or outside). I 100% acknowledge and will go a step further than you and say it is not only morally relevant, it is morally equivalent.

    Now, the reason for defining life is exactly needed for your second point. For your first point, whether it is a life or not does not change the moral relevance of the woman’s body. Whether it is a life drastically changes whether what is inside the body is morally relevant and morally equivalent. If it is a life then you second point about forcing women to carry pregnancies to term having for too many negative consequences is disproven. If it is not a life, you are correct. Simple as that.

    Since you have dodged probably the most critical question to the pro choice / pro life debate (similar to every question Trent asked), lets try another question. I am going to ask you what you have asked me but from the child’s perspective (because that is a part of the equation as well)

    Do you believe the life inside the women’s body is morally equivalent to hers?

    Also, you state the decision should be left to the family. We need to define what decision that is. If the decision is ending a life (again which is why we must define it), then absolutely not. That is not a decision any human being is aloud to do (with few exceptions like self-defense but that’s not even really a decision but a reaction). If it is not a life, then you are correct.

  • No one (including myself or Trent Horn) has ever stated that a woman’s body is not a morally relevant factor.

    Anyone who listens to the podcast will hear Trent say that the woman’s body is not a morally relevant difference between a fetus and a toddler. Let’s be clear here: he thinks a woman’s being doesn’t make the least bit of difference in the matter.

    If it is a life then you second point about forcing women to carry pregnancies to term having for too many negative consequences is disproven

    Once again, I don’t see why that’s true. All it means is that there are certain cases when terminating a life is permissible. If we’re talking about a life that’s living inside a woman’s body, then we have to make an exception or else we’re not acknowledging that her being is morally relevant.

    Do you believe the life inside the women’s body is morally equivalent to hers?

    Of course not.

    As I said in response to another poster, it may very well be that this issue forces us to make a choice between dehumanizing an adult woman and dehumanizing a fetus. I guess it says a lot about people that they’d rather dehumanize a woman, reduce her to a broodmare, and force her to undergo pregnancy and childbirth against her will, rather than admit that she’s more morally significant than an unborn child, a being who’s not even conscious and has never taken a breath.

    And denying that the consequences of your making decisions for women and families should even be taken into consideration isn’t just irresponsible, it borders on pathological.

  • Matt

    Yes, I agree with Trent’s statement and it doesn’t contradict what I just said. You asked a different question: is the woman’s body morally relevant? The answer is yes, a women’s body is morally relevant. You did not ask if it is morally more relevant than the fetus/life inside her. That is a different question. I knew what you were truly asking but I wanted to go down this path first to show why my question is very applicable to answering your real question (i.e. is the woman’s [and man’s] life more morally relevant than the fetus/child?). The reason for asking if it is a life impacts our analysis of moral equivalency. If we determine it is not a life, then her body is morally more relevant and your position is valid in my opinion. If we determine it is a life, then no matter how far along in the development process it is, it is morally equivalent.

    Let me ask you this:
    Is a person in a comma or a person who needs oxygen because they can’t breathe on their own or a person unconscious, or a 1 day old baby (who can’t talk, can’t walk, can’t take care of itself and can’t contribute to society) morally less equivalent than you or I?

    And in addition to that, at what point does the fetus become morally equivalent to the woman and thus unable to be killed?

    Also, dehumanizing a woman or dehumanizing a fetus is a false dichotomy. Those are not the choices being made here.

    I am going to ignore that last paragraph because you have leaped over umpteen assumptions that are false to make that statement.

  • at what point does the fetus become morally equivalent to the woman and thus unable to be killed?

    As I also said to Trent during our discussion, pro-choicers deny that we can make these kinds of distinctions. The idea that we can pinpoint exactly where life begins, or where something assumes its humanness, is magical thinking. If you’re convinced that the instant of conception is where a human life begins, then I guess you’re a lot more comfortable than I am with making arbitrary distinctions.

    Also, dehumanizing a woman or dehumanizing a fetus is a false dichotomy. Those are not the choices being made here.

    Well, essentially that’s what it comes down to. If you have no ethical qualms whatsoever about forcing a woman to undergo pregnancy and childbirth against her will, then you’ve basically dehumanized her. And if your deed to the moral high ground is more important than having to acknowledge the personal and social consequences of forcing women to bring unwanted children into the world, then that just goes to show how selective your compassion is.

  • johnsoncatman

    Shem: You should note that Matt, up to this point, has a grand total of 8 comments. It would not surprise me if it was someone who had already participated on this blog post under a different nym.
    .
    Also, if Matt had bothered to read the rest of the comments on this post, he would have seen that the argument over “what is life” has been beaten to death, and no forced-birther will give up the claim that life begins at conception, whereas reason dictates that, until the fetus is viable enough to live outside the womb1, it is not a life.

  • Matt

    Your assumption: Viability = life (correct me if I am wrong).

    Would you support a bill that bans abortion completely after 24 weeks given that over half the babies will survive (and that’s assuming you apply 50% as the threshold; if the point is any viability, then it would be earlier (say 22 weeks).

    My questions for you:

    1. How do you define viability? Is a 1 day old baby newly born that is 100% dependent on another humans time, energy…etc considered viable?

  • I was thinking the same thing. But his IP addresses don’t match any that have been used before on the blog, so it just goes to show how well-worn his arguments are.

  • johnsoncatman

    Would you support a bill that bans abortion completely after 24 weeks

    No. There are certain circumstances when an abortion should be an available option in the third trimester. The rates of survival of a fetus born at 24 weeks are between 20 and 35 percent; at 25 weeks it is 50 to 70 percent and at 26-27 weeks is about 90%. The VAST majority of abortions (91% according to the CDC) happen at or before 13 weeks of pregnancy. Only about 1.3% happen after 21 weeks of pregnancy. The best way to reduce abortions is to provide comprehensive sex1 education in schools and allow contraception to be freely available. The decision of whether to have an abortion or not is between a woman and her physician. The physician will not perform an illegal abortion. A fetus is viable if it is born and lives.

  • Making birth the distinction is just pragmatism on the part of pro-choicers. If a “life” is inside a woman’s body, I think we should have ethical qualms about making decisions for the woman that will impact her, her family and society for a long time to come. You obviously have no such qualms, and you seem proud of that.

    As I say in the article above, “when life begins” is a philosophical question, not a scientific one.

  • johnsoncatman

    It is not a life at conception because it cannot live without the host. That is not arbitrary. You really should read through all of the comments because the forced-birthers like you keep bringing up the same fallacies. You really don’t have anything new.
    .
    I have never met any women named Matt, so I presume that you are a man. Since you will NEVER have to make the decision on whether to have an abortion or not, you should defer to the women who DO have to make that decision for themselves. They are not trying to force anyone to have an abortion. They are making a MEDICAL decision for THEMSELVES with the assistance of their physician.

  • Reuben Andrew Herrle

    Shem,

    I did listen to the podcast. Thanks for responding to my question. I want to push further on your “reluctance to make such arbitrary distinctions”. From my understanding, a human organism, or what we normally call a human being, begins to exist at the moment of conception. Do you agree that this is a scientifically accurate view, or do you have scientific reasons to think otherwise?

  • Reuben, as I’ve stated in the article above, distinctions like when a human being begins to exist aren’t scientific. You’ve merely chosen an arbitrary point, based on whatever premises lead to the conclusion you prefer, and are trying to dress it up in the guise of scientific legitimacy.

    I keep saying that preventing women from having control over decisions involving procreation has major consequences for individual women, families and society. Women die in childbirth and can suffer major health problems because of pregnancy; unwanted children are subject to neglect and abuse; families suffer when they can’t support unwanted children, particularly those with developmental difficulties; there are economic and political problems that derive from women’s disempowerment. And so on and so on and so on.

    If you’re more concerned about the details of gestation than about these consequences, then I think I’m well within my rights to say that you’re not looking at this matter in its entirety.

  • PD

    I listened to the first half of the interview and was surprised that you didn’t stop Trent when he first described the fetus as a child. Once a fetus is a “child” in a location, a certain set of moral assumptions will have entered into the discourse. But in developmental psychology, and for good reasons, a fetus is a fetus, then we have a newborn tenuously autonomous (able to function as an individual organism). Then we have the toddler, the early child (about 3 yrs.) and so on. It’s not that a fetus should ever be aborted without seriously contemplating all the options; but we’re not talking about walking into the bedroom of a 3 year old boy or girl that knows your face and voice, calls you “Mommy” or “Daddy” and then shooting that terrified, screaming child dead in cold blood. The child already has a very strong relationship with the mother and father, is already operating in the external world with considerable skill,etc.

    Anyway, I agree with your main point, that discussions tend to focus on the fetus as a moral agent (a controversial claim) at the expense of a fuller discussion of the moral implications of giving birth under various circumstances for the woman whose body is at issue, and who will bear responsibility for this baby’s life, and may not– for many reasons– be in a good position to do so.

    Shem, as you must know, Disqus channels will disappear in a great cloud of smoke and fire come the midnight hour of August 31. Of course Driven to Abstraction will survive the apocalypse, and I want you to know that my humble little philosophy channel will also squeak through in the form of a blog which you can get to via Disqus here: https://disqus.com/home/forums/books-ideas-blog/ or directly here: https://disqus.com/home/forums/books-ideas-blog/

    I meant to tell you earlier, but so many things came up that I forgot. But today, I saw comments on one of the reposts which originally appeared– yep– on Anti-Science Channel 3 years ago!! Is it that long? I also had posted it on Books&Ideas at the time, but I remember posting it on the old Anti-Science Channel. In case you want to leave a comment under the Kuhn-Popper post (even if it’s just, “Hey! Nice blog, PD!”) you can do so here: https://pdna2.blogspot.com/2019/08/the-popper-kuhn-debate.html

  • n=2^i – 1

    Questions about…where life begins [is a] philosophical question, not [a] scientific matter.

    Really? I’m pretty sure this falls squarely into the realm of biology. And I’m pretty sure, according to biological texts, the life of a human organism begins at conception.

    What defines personhood, and should it be separate from life? That’s a philosophical question. But these matters aren’t covered in The Constitution, therefore they should have been left to the States.

  • PD

    Shem, I just edited into a comment that contained a few links. It was fine before, and the links were already there 3 hours ago– I only added normal text. Still it’s now “waiting to be approved by Driven to Abstraction.” Please approve it. Talk later. – PD

  • Nice to see you again! Sorry I didn’t get the chance to respond sooner. It’s been a really busy summer for me.

    I haven’t been able to listen to the podcast. Like I said, I’m not proud of the experience. Pro-lifers know damn well that fixating on the fetus, and using nothing but emotionally loaded rhetoric about “unborn children,” constitute the only way they can conceivably claim the moral high ground while they demonize and denigrate women. You could tell I was insistent about focusing on the woman and her situation during the debate, and I felt I was entitled to do so since that was the thesis of the article Trent initially responded/objected to.

    Anti-Science! Those were the days. I’m sorry to see the Disqus channels go. As soon as my summer’s over I can devote more time to the Patheos blog. I’m glad you resurrected your blog on WordPress, and I’ll definitely be stopping by. Also good to see my sibling-from-another-extraterrestrial Honey Crisis commenting there.

    Thanks again for checking in.

  • Pennybird

    “… we believe that those reasons are not sufficient reason to violate the human rights of another human being.”

    Some reasons that are sufficient would include the color of one’s skin, refugee status or country of origin, sexual orientation, not belonging to the correct religion and so on.

  • Carol Lynn

    I say we gather up all the pro-lifers – they have no choice in the matter – take them down to a children’s hospital, and divvy them up to the children who will die without the pro-lifers’ body parts. After all, if the ‘child’ in the womb has the right to use without consent a specific person’s body providing them with support while they are inside it, then surely every actually-born-but-dying-child outside a person’s body has the same right to use another person’s body over *every* adult human who can provide useful body parts the child needs to survive. The pro-lifers to be consistent *cannot* be allowed to refuse to give those children both kidneys, their liver, their eyes, all their skin, heart, lungs, etc. There is no room in their ‘pro-life’ position for the mother of the ‘child’ in the uterus to necessarily survive a pregnancy in good mental or physical health, so, again to be consistent, there is no necessity to ensure that that pro-lifers will survive donating their body parts to those dying children who need them. (I’m sure Savita would approve.) While they are being dragged off and their bodies being used without their consent, the pro-lifers can take comfort thinking of all the human children who will be saved by the pro-lifers’ erasure from being fully human and having no rights of bodily autonomy to determine who can use their body, when, and for what purpose. They don’t want pregnant fully human people to have those rights – and they expect the pregnant person to ‘save the unborn child’ at *any* cost – so it seems fair they don’t get those rights either.

  • For the life of me, Shem, try as I might I couldn’t seem to find a single idea of yours I disagreed with in this post. I must be slipping. 😉

  • Truly a miracle!

  • Chris DeVries

    No. ​​Life’s ​​beginning ​​is ​​a ​​red ​​herring, ​​a ​​non-issue. ​​Because ​​life ​​doesn’t ​​begin ​​at ​conception69. ​​Or ​​birth. ​​Life ​​began ​​precisely ​​once, ​​a ​​few ​​billion ​​years ​​ago. ​​Since ​​then, ​​every ​​generation ​​of ​​every ​​species ​​to ​​evolve ​​has ​​merely ​​been ​​one ​​more ​​link ​​in ​​a ​​chain ​​of ​​life. ​​Every ​​single ​​cell ​​that ​​is ​​removed ​​from ​​your ​​nose ​​when ​​you ​​scratch ​​is ​​it ​​alive ​​(oh ​​the ​​humanity, ​​a ​​veritable ​​genocide69 ​​is ​​committed ​​when ​​someone ​​scratches ​​their ​​nose). ​​A ​​sperm69 ​​is ​​alive. ​​An ​​ovum69 ​​is ​​alive. ​​And ​​the ​​entity ​​that ​​forms ​​when ​​they ​​combine ​​and ​​scramble ​​their ​​genetics…that’s ​​alive ​​too. The ​​ONLY ​​thing ​​that ​​makes ​​an ​​embryo69 ​​any ​​different ​​is ​​its ​​unique ​​genetic ​​code. ​​But ​​we ​​don’t ​​assign ​​rights ​​based ​​on ​​having ​​a ​​unique ​​genetic ​​code. ​​If ​​we ​​did, ​​two ​​identical ​​twins ​​would ​​have ​​one ​​set ​​of ​​rights. ​​One ​​could ​​kill ​​the ​​other, ​​and ​​it ​​would ​​count ​​as ​​suicide69.

    We ​​give ​​adults ​​more ​​rights ​​than ​​children. ​​Why? ​​Because ​​they ​​are ​​more ​​mature, ​​have ​more ​​developed ​​brains, ​​so ​​we ​​figure ​​they ​​can ​​handle ​​the ​​responsibility ​​of ​​those ​​rights. ​​Things ​​like ​​voting, ​​driving ​​cars ​​(at ​​16), ​​using ​​mind-altering ​​substances ​​like ​​alcohol69 ​​and ​​tobacco, ​​and ​​of ​​course, ​​the ​​right ​​to ​​make ​​decisions ​​in ​​one’s ​​own ​​life ​​without ​​another ​​person’s ​​consent ​​(children ​​generally ​​have ​​to ​​have ​​their ​​parent’s ​​permission ​​to ​​do ​​certain ​​things). ​​And ​​similarly, ​​we ​​give ​​children ​​more ​​rights ​​than ​​we ​​give ​​fetuses69. ​​Children ​​have ​​the ​​capacity ​​to ​​suffer. ​​To ​​feel ​​pleasure. ​​In ​​fact, ​​they ​​can ​​feel ​​a ​​wide ​​range ​​of ​​emotions ​​and ​​sensations. ​​Fetuses69…can’t ​​even ​​feel ​​pain ​​until ​​the ​​middle ​​of ​​the ​​3rd ​​trimester.

    The ​​rules ​​laid ​​down ​​by ​​the ​​US ​​Supreme ​​Court ​​have ​​said ​​that ​​there ​​needs ​​to ​​be ​​a ​​compelling ​​reason ​​to ​​get ​​an ​​abortion69 ​​in ​​the ​​3rd ​​trimester. ​​A ​​reason ​​like, ​​the ​​fetus69 ​​won’t ​​survive ​​if ​​born ​​due ​​to ​​some ​​painful ​​medical ​​condition ​​that ​​is ​​not ​​treatable, ​​or ​​the ​​mother’s ​​life ​​depends ​​on ​​an ​​abortion69 ​​(for ​​example, ​​she ​​needs ​​to ​​take ​​chemotherapy ​​for ​​cancer, ​​but ​​the ​​drugs ​​will ​​kill ​​the ​​fetus69). ​​I ​​would ​​argue ​​that ​​this ​​rule ​​is ​​unnecessary. ​In ​​Canada, ​​we ​​don’t ​​have ​​any ​​legal ​​restrictions ​​on ​​abortion69, ​​but ​​because ​​the ​​procedure ​​is ​​both ​​free ​​and ​​easy ​​to ​​access ​​(for ​​most ​​people…a ​​small ​​minority ​​have ​​to ​​travel ​​a ​​fairly ​long ​​distance ​​to ​​access ​​an ​​abortion69, ​​a ​​problem ​​that ​​we’re ​​trying ​​to ​​solve), ​​99% ​​of ​​abortions69 ​​happen ​​before ​​the ​​3rd ​​trimester ​​anyway. ​​It’s ​​almost ​​like ​​if ​​you ​​trust ​​women, ​​they ​​will ​​not ​​put ​​off ​​having ​​an ​​abortion69 ​​until ​​the ​​fetus69 ​​can ​​suffer…they ​​will ​​get ​​it ​​done ​​as ​​soon ​​as ​​possible, ​​because ​​they ​​are ​​responsible ​​human ​​beings. ​​What ​​a ​​concept!

    When ​​possible, ​​suffering ​​should ​​be ​​avoided. ​​That ​​is ​​a ​​moral ​​principle ​​I ​​stand ​​by. ​​An ​​adult ​​woman ​​can ​​suffer, ​​and ​​pregnancy ​​is ​​no ​​joke ​​(i.e. ​​it ​​involves ​​mental, ​​emotional ​​and ​​physical ​​pain). ​​The ​​risks ​​of ​​pregnancy ​​FAR ​​outweight ​​the ​​risks ​​of ​​an ​​abortion69. ​​Therefore, ​​to ​​undergo ​​9 ​​months ​​of ​​gestation69 ​​should ​​always ​​be ​​a ​​choice, ​​and ​​a ​​woman ​​should ​​always ​​be ​​able ​​to ​​revoke ​​their ​​decision ​​since ​​it’s ​​their ​​body ​​that ​​is ​​hosting ​​another ​​life ​​form. ​​In ​​literally ​​NO ​​other ​​circumstances ​​do ​​we ​​force ​​people ​​to ​​give ​​up ​​their ​​body ​​(or ​​part ​​of ​​it) ​​to ​​keep ​​someone ​​else ​​alive, ​​why ​​should ​​pregnancy ​​be ​​any ​​different? ​​To ​​say ​​that ​​a ​​woman ​​made ​​a ​​choice ​​to ​​get ​​pregnant ​​(if ​​indeed ​​they ​​were ​​trying ​​to ​​get ​​pregnant*) ​​is ​​fine, ​​but ​say ​​I ​​choose ​​to ​​donate ​​part ​​of ​​my ​​liver ​​to ​​another ​​person ​​who ​​needs ​​it ​​to ​​live, ​​but ​​then, ​​we ​​get ​​into ​​the ​​operating ​​theater ​​and ​​I ​​chicken ​​out. ​​Do ​​they ​​say ​​to ​​me ​​”too ​​bad ​buddy, ​​you ​​chose ​​this…tough ​​luck!”…? ​​No. ​​I ​​can ​​change ​​my ​​mind. ​​There ​​is ​​never ​​an ​​obligation ​​to ​​sacrifice ​​one’s ​​own ​​body ​​for ​​another ​​life ​​form.

    *I ​​would ​​dispute ​​the ​​contention ​​that ​​consent ​​to ​​sex69 ​​is ​​the ​​same ​​thing ​​as ​​consent ​​to ​​pregnancy, ​​but ​​I ​​won’t ​​get ​​into ​​those ​​particular ​​weeds ​​here. ​​Suffice ​​it ​​to ​​say ​​that ​​most ​​heterosexual69 ​​couplings ​​do ​​not ​​result ​​in ​​pregnancy ​​(and ​​the ​​ones ​​that ​​do ​​often ​​self-abort69 ​​anyway…before ​​the ​​5th ​​week, ​​something ​​like ​​50% ​​of ​​all ​​pregnancies ​​end, ​​and ​​the ​​person ​​who ​​was ​​pregnant ​​probably ​​doesn’t ​​even ​​realize ​​it), ​​plus, ​​if ​​contraception69 ​​was ​​used, ​​it ​​is ​​reasonable ​​to ​​expect ​​that ​​there ​​will ​​be ​​no ​​fertilization ​​of ​​an ​​ovum69. ​​Men ​​have ​​sex69 ​​all ​​the ​​time ​​without ​​consenting ​​to ​​pregnancy, ​​so ​​if ​​women ​​are ​​to ​​be ​​truly ​​equal ​​to ​​men, ​​why ​​should ​​they ​​be ​​any ​​different? ​​Consent ​​to ​​sex69 ​​is ​​consent ​​to ​​sex69…that ​​is ​​all.

  • But these matters aren’t covered in The Constitution, therefore they should have been left to the States.

    So you agree with the Court in Olmstead that states can decide their own criteria on when to bug your phone and listen to your conversations, as phones are not mentioned in the Constitution?

    Or do you agree with the Court in Katz, when they realized just how silly the Olmstead position (i.e. your position) really is and so changed their minds?

  • lady_black

    So what?

  • lady_black

    So what if it is?

  • lady_black

    No, the neonate DOES NOT need it’s mother. It needs caregiving from an adult, not necessary for the adult to be a parent.

  • lady_black

    Profound differences in form and function happen when “exposed to the atmosphere.” Nothing “magic” about it.
    So sorry you are not aware of the physiological differences between a fetus and a neonate.

  • lady_black

    Actually, the placenta is totally a fetal organ, arises from fetal cells, along with all other chorionic tissues. The placenta is the first fetal organ to develop completely, and it is fully developed by week 12. Women do not have placentas inside them, just waiting for an embryo to move in and start forming. The embryo/fetus grows it.
    The placenta interfaces with maternal cells, but doesn’t consist of maternal cells. The chorionic villi invade the woman’s blood stream and take oxygen and nutrients from her blood and dump fetal waste there.

  • islandbrewer

    For example, the right to life of the fetus which is also a person at some point in the womb outweighs the right to bodily autonomy of the woman if she does not have good reason to abort.

    Says who? I certainly don’t think that, and neither do most people, according to most recent polls (not that a majority or minority of opinion decides the matter).

  • Cathy Young

    After reading the comments, I noticed forcing men to take their share of the responsibility is never mentioned. There is a LOT of forcing women to bear a child against their will while the male is apparently completely absolved of his. If women had to give a list of their sexual partners, who were then forced to give DNA to find the father, and then forced him to support the child until it turned 18 this discussion would not happen. Men are quick to tell a woman to be responsible for her choice while giving males a free pass

  • LAnnH

    So most of the wildly volatile infighting here about oppressing women seems to be by men. How surprising! (I didn’t have time to read 410 comments, but from here…)

  • Thanks for making such a substantive and thought-provoking contribution to this discussion.

  • However, the pro-lifer doesn’t seem to feel the need to accept responsibility for forcing a woman in such a situation to undergo pregnancy and give birth.

    To the limited extent of personal experience, that seems to be a quite common aspect of the anti-abortionist mindset. They just do not seem to care much or at all about what the woman might want or be in a position to take responsibility for. The sentient human vs not sentient fetus distinction is also apparently not relevant at all, or at most it is a minor concern for most anti-abortionists. Some or many of the males with the anti-abortion mindset seem to also be sort of OK with letting dads off the hook for child support. I would not be surprised if some had an extra offspring unit or two that they weren’t supporting.

    Arguably, there is not much point in debating these things. With very few exceptions, adult minds do not change no matter what. Facts and logic are significantly or mostly irrelevant. Bill Nye the Science Guy debated Young Earth creationism with Ken Ham some years ago. It was mostly pointless. The one redeeming thing about such debates is that they at least sometimes are heard by open minds and younger folks who are more willing to seriously listen and consider the case on the merits. For the most part, adults only defend their existing beliefs.

  • Good point.

  • Ellabulldog

    If the State can force a woman to have a fetus the State can force a woman to abort a fetus.

    It is her body. Her life. Her decision.

    The science is that it is a fertilized egg, blastocyst, embryo, fetus.

    A human being is the end result. A fertilized egg is not a human being, nor is a blastocyst. Nor an embryo.

    I don’t see any of them walking around.

  • Ellabulldog

    very few abortions are late term and you would find near to none abortions of healthy fetuses.

    no woman carries a child for months to abort it late. unless there is an issue with the fetus.

    most abortions are early and weigh less than and ounce and are smaller than 5 centimeters.

  • Your either/or is as invalid as the either/or of the anti-abortionists. Development of personhood is gradual, not a step function, and “birth” is an irrelevant event in whether a living thing is a person or not. .

  • In a democracy, we all get to participate in determining public laws.

  • Yes, they are all human beings. They are not persons.

  • No, both sperm and eggs are human beings. Multicelled animals go through a haploid/diploid life cycle. Both the haploid and diploid stages are members of that species.

  • Children are in a parasitic relationship with their caretakers. We still cannot kill them at will.

  • johnsoncatman

    “Children” are living, breathing, separate organisms. Not the same thing.

  • johnsoncatman

    “Birth” is the point at which the legal status of personhood is established.

  • johnsoncatman

    How did you get s p e r m through the filter?

  • johnsoncatman

    A fetus is developing into a human being. It is not “quite clearly a human being”, otherwise there would not be discussion on the topic. Excised moles and expelled s p e r m are NOT human beings. They have human DNA, but they are not human beings. Can they register to vote?

  • A fetus is alive, and genetically human, hence a human being. What does voting registration have to do with what species a living thing is?

  • I don’t know.

  • Legal status is a variable social choice. It is also an effort to reflect a more fundamental background reality. Someone is a person, even if they have traveled to a region with no rule of law.

  • The morality and logic of burden of care for a dependent entity is the same, whether that entity is inside or outside a woman’s body.

  • johnsoncatman

    If they are travelling as a fetus inside a host, then they are not yet a person.

  • johnsoncatman

    Still, not the same thing.
    .
    Speaking of morality, would you force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term if she did not want to do so and it was still within the time to obtain a legal abortion?

  • Reuben Andrew Herrle

    Shem,

    I apologize for the late response. I do not receive notifications when you comment.

    You said, “distinctions like when a human being begins to exist aren’t scientific.” By human being, I mean human organism. Human organisms – if you want to put it that way – begin to exist at the moment of conception. That’s the definition of conception. Do you have any scientific data supporting your assertion that I am incorrect? If you do, and it turns out that I am wrong, then I will happily change my mind and say that women should be able to abort whatever it is that is growing inside of them. It just seems as though you want to avoid the question of when human life begins all together.

  • Reuben Andrew Herrle

    Here is a sample of the evidence that has influenced my position that human life begins at conception. If you have scientific evidence pointing elsewhere, I am happy to view it.

    https://www.princeton.edu/~prolife/articles/embryoquotes2.html

    Also, I do not receive notifications when you respond. So I apologize for the delay. If you want, we can take this to e-mail. I am interested in hearing you out in detail. My e-mail is rherrle7@gmail.com

  • Reuben Andrew Herrle

    Your question is ambiguous. Can you clarify?

  • lady_black

    I mean SO WHAT if a human organism begins to exist at “the moment of conception” (which isn’t a moment at all, but a process)?

  • Reuben Andrew Herrle

    Conception is a moment within the process of a developing human being.

    I take the view that ALL humans have equal worth and value. What about you?

  • lady_black

    You are not treating me as an equal. You are treating me as a thing.

  • Reuben Andrew Herrle

    lady_black,

    Asking you a simple question is not treating you like a thing. If you want to have a serious conversation about an important issue, I am happy to do so. If you’re going to troll me, then let’s stop now.

  • Reuben Andrew Herrle

    lady_black,

    I am obviously not treating you as a thing. All I did was ask you a simple, direct question. If you want to have a serious discussion about an important issue, I am happy to continue. If you are going to troll me, then let’s stop this now.

  • George

    LAnnh you don’t have to read 410 comments before you talk sence..!!!

  • Reuben Andrew Herrle

    If you want to have a real conversation, let me know. If you are going to troll, then let’s stop this now. Asking you a simple question is obviously not “treating you as a thing.” Things cannot respond to questions. People can. If you cannot respond to my question, then it is you who is treating yourself as a thing; not me.

  • lady_black

    Look, Reuben. I have addressed your question, and I’m not inclined to repeat myself.
    If you believe that women ought to be forced to gestate and give birth against her will, you are not treating her as an equal. Full stop.

  • lady_black

    The recourse is aimed at restoring the woman’s sovereignty over her own body and life. That won’t happen by aiming at one of the aggressors and not the other.

  • lady_black

    Sometimes, one doesn’t know.

  • lady_black

    I think there is no responsibility to a pregnancy one doesn’t want.

  • At one time, the state could force a woman to get sterilized. That law was overturned in a 1950s (I think) case. That is where SCOTUS first announced a fundamental constitutional right to procreate. The constitution is silent on it, so the court announced it due to the urgency of the times. Medicine had progressed to the point that sterilization had become a relatively safe surgical procedure.

  • Ellabulldog

    For the State to get involved there needs to be a reason to stop a woman from having an abortion. The State actually has a good reason to encourage abortion as most are performed on women that do not have the means to support a child.

    With 7 billion plus humans there is no shortage. With 330 million in the US there is no shortage.

    If a person doesn’t want an abortion that don’t have to have one. If someone wants to or needs one they should be inexpensive/free and easy to access.

    Some are using this topic to deflect from other issues. SCOTUS ruled it legal decades ago. Ireland just made it legal. It’s not going away. Ever.

    Most women when the need an abortion have one. Most abortions in the US are performed on Christian women. Catholics abort at a high rate.

    Some women are lucky that their husband/boyfriend doesn’t leave them when pregnant. Are lucky they don’t get pregnant by a rapist. That they didn’t get pregnant at 15. That they didn’t get pregnant in college. Or when young and need to work and can’t work and be pregnant at the same time. Lucky they don’t have a medical issue and need an abortion to survive a pregnancy.

    Some women do.

    None of anyone’s business why they want a medical procedure that is their right. Not anyone’s business when the result of a pregnancy is the woman’s and the effects of the pregnancy only effect her and her body/life.

  • Conception is a moment within the process of a developing human being.

    I take the view that ALL humans have equal worth and value. What about you?

    I have a hard time taking this kind of pious rhetoric at face value. You’re denying that there’s any difference between the importance of a fertilized egg at the instance of conception—a “person,” as it were, without organs or consciousness of any kind, someone even you admit is still developing, and who is physically inside another human being—and the woman carrying this “person,” to whose being, body, and situation you refer so rarely that one would think you’re unaware that she’s even involved in this process.

    The fact that you pro-life folks would force this woman to undergo pregnancy and childbirth, regardless of the physical, psychological, or material consequences for the woman and her family, even if she were pregnant because of sexual assault, demonstrates the lack of proportion with which you frame this matter. It seems obvious that the fetus’s “humanity” is something you exploit to make it sound like your indifference to the plight of women facing momentous decisions about procreation is motivated by the consequences of a logical syllogism rather than contempt for women.

    All along, I’ve been saying that this focus on the fetus is a diversion tactic. But even outside the online slapfights, I consider it more of a relief fantasy than a genuine commitment to the well-being of all humans: mouthing nice-sounding words about life beginning at conception allows you to handwave away any moral concerns whatsoever about the suffering of women, children and families, or about the empowerment of women in our society.

  • sabelmouse

    spade!

  • sabelmouse

    why a women is pregnant is neither here not there unless it’s seen as punishment for having sex.

  • sabelmouse

    it IS always unethical!
    there are NO bad reasons.

  • KIZMET

    Recommended.

    Damn it. I want to get into the discussion between GW1 and JC1 from 2 months ago. 🙁

  • Women are people

    A rape like that is traumatizing because it removes the victims power over her body.

    You know why rape crisis centers always be sure to ask her permission before they touch her? Because it gives her back her power. The entire healing process is about reclaiming power.

    Telling a woman she can’t abort is furthering that trauma by removing her power to say no to how her body is used.

  • Women are people

    Would you argue an human erythrocyte was also a member of the species h. sapiens? Or would you instead describe it as coming or taken from a member of that species? A direct yes or no answer will be appreciated

  • Reuben Andrew Herrle

    Well that was a lot of assumptions you made there.

    Shem, this is a repeat of your podcast with Trent. You don’t address the issue of whether the unborn are humans. If they are, then why should they be put to death? (rhetorical question). I do not think a women being sexually assaulted is anything to ignore or make light of. But since abortions in the case of rape are incredibly rare, I wanted to ask you about the other 99 or so percent. Do you believe that there are there any cases where a women should NOT be allowed to pay a doctor to end the life of her unborn child? If so, what?

  • Reuben Andrew Herrle

    Friend,

    Excuse me, but asking, “So what?” and then claiming that I am not treating you as a human isn’t addressing my question. It’s throwing out incomplete thoughts in a haphazard manner.

    Having said that, I am happy to have an actual back and forth if you genuinely want to.

  • Reuben Andrew Herrle

    Women are people,

    I couldn’t agree with your name more! From what I’ve gathered, human erythrocyte’s are red blood cells. As such, they are not a member of the species homo sapiens, but are rather a part of an individual human organism.

    I think I see where you are going with this, but correct me if I am wrong. Would you claim that just as red blood cells are a part of a human and are not humans themselves, the unborn are likewise not human? If that is where you are going with this, then you are operating with a misunderstanding. While unborn humans – much like new born humans – are DEPENDENT on their mother to live, they are not merely a PART of their mother. If they were, then women who were pregnant with a boy would “have” male genitals. That’s obviously the wrong way to look at it.

    I look forward to your response!

  • Women are people

    While it’s true that all new human beings began at conception, you are making the colossal error of assuming that all conceptions are human beings.

    Just because all thumbs are fingers does not mean all fingers are thumbs.

    Similarly, all jackpot winners start off as lottery tickets but not all lottery tickets are jackpot winners. All lottery tickets are potential jackpot winners until the drawing (aka birth).

    Your position is scientifically flawed because you are making an assumption here against the evidence. You “assume” that the DNA within the zygote is complete. The fact is that the DNA during meiosis is goes through the process of “crossing over” and replication. Those processes are pre speciation events that change the DNA of the gamete by calculable degrees. Those changes and others lead to the expression in the zygote of life that cannot form a human being at least 70 percent of the time. As you know, in order for a product of conception to be classified as human life it must be to some extent capable of yielding a human rspecies through birth. So most zygotes are not human life at all. Most are simply products of conception. One stage of life before human life is the speciation stage during meiosis. If meiosis does not produce a human gamete/haploid or if mitosis every does not produce a human diploid life there isd no human life possible. In such a case, fusion during fertilization will not create a human species. As a biologist you are aware that most zygotes do not produce human life. The reason is because speciation can change the DNA during meiosis such that human life is impossible,

    A single cell zygote has unique dna, but then again so does every single cell in your body (due to the replication errors I mentioned above). So the cell the new cell split from is – by definition – unique. Your renal cells are unique from your brain cells and those are unique from your cardiac cells.

    If I take my lungs out of my body, do these now count as distinct members of the species? Yes or no?

    Would you argue an human erythrocyte was also a member of the species h. sapiens? Or would you instead describe it as coming or taken from a member of that species? A direct yes or no answer will be appreciated

    Let’s say for the sake of argument that a ZEF was a distinct human being….
    Is there a right for one human being to use the body of a non-consenting human being to persist? Another direct yes or no answer will be appreciated.

  • Women are people

    Would you argue an human erythrocyte was also a member of the species h. sapiens? Or would you instead describe it as coming or taken from a member of that species? A direct yes or no answer will be appreciated

  • Women are people

    There is a assumption that you make that destroys your credibility. You “assume” that the DNA within the zygote is complete. The fact is that the DNA during meiosis is goes through the process of “crossing over” and replication. Those processes are pre speciation events that change the DNA of the gamete by calculable degrees. Those changes and others lead to the expression in the zygote of life that cannot form a human being at least 70 percent of the time. As you know, in order for a product of conception to be classified as human life it must be to some extent capable of yielding a human rspecies through birth. So most zygotes are not human life at all. Most are simply products of conception. One stage of life before human life is the speciation stage during meiosis. If meiosis does not produce a human gamete/haploid or if mitosis every does not produce a human diploid life there isd no human life possible. In such a case, fusion during fertilization will not create a human species. Since you are trying to pretend you know so much about biology, you are aware that most zygotes do not produce human life. The reason is because speciation can change the DNA during meiosis such that human life is impossible.

  • If your response to my accusation that you don’t care about each human being equally—since you ignore women’s beings and situations—is to keep on ignoring women except to characterize them as reprehensible baby-killers, I’d say my assumptions about your lack of sincerity and sympathy are pretty accurate.

  • Reuben Andrew Herrle

    Aaaaand you put more words in my mouth.

    I care about women. I think that women who procure abortions generally are good people who are in incredible difficult situations and are often times pressured into doing so without their full consent or desire.

    Now can you address even just one of my questions? Or are you just going to keep making accusations about me and my motivations?

  • Women are people

    Hello there! Thanks for liking my moniker.

    I’m trying to draw your attention to the distinction between ‘human’ and ‘human being’. Clearly these two things are different, as one is a being, and the other an adjective.

    You clearly agreed that a human erythrocyte was not a human being, but rather a part of a human.

    How is a single celled human embryo different than a single cell erythrocyte in order for you to justify claiming that one cell is a human being while the other is taken from a human being?

    I agree that pregnancy is the process of genetic material from a human being, gradually forming into a human being over time. I do not agree that a human embryo is a human being immediately following the process of gamete fusion anymore than I believe batter is cake from the moment the first two ingredients are mixed together.

    Edit because I inadvertently missed one of your points, (my apologies):

    “The woman pregnant with a boy would have male genitals”

    A human embryo does not have genitals, or even a norochord and cannot even be categorized as a vertebra.

  • Women are people

    Once again, you keep equating the word human with the word human being, as if the descriptor automatically makes it a noun.

    My hair is human. Is it “put to death” when I cut it?

  • Women are people

    An the moment a cell metastasizes, it is now a distinct genetic entity that operates independent of the host. Guess what I’m talking about? Cancer.

    Cancer is genetically distinct. Is that a human being?

    People who say life begins at conception completely ignore the fact that not all conceptions are even capable of developing into human beings, therefore, human beings start at conception, but not all conceptions are human beings. Need evidence of this?

    Molar pregnancies. It’s a conception. It’s a pregnancy. It’s a tumor.

  • Women are people

    “After fertilization there exists a new and unique living being.”

    That’s not a demonstrable fact as I’ve already explained to you. Molar pregnancies occur after fertilization. It’s a tumor.

    Your definitions are sloppy and your logic is sloppy.

  • Women are people

    Exactly. As with your example of twins, how does the prolifer square their insistence that “new human being is formed” with the existence of molar pregnancies?

    Biology is irreducible messy.

  • Women are people

    Oh for f’cks sake. A single cell is not a being . It’s a cell.

    A virus, under your absurd paradigm is also a being, which is odd, because it’s not even biologically considered alive, despite that unique dna sloppy argument.

  • Women are people

    A single cell is not a being.

  • Women are people

    Why are you equivocating the biological term of alive with the colloquial usage of the word alive? a teratoma is alive under the biological definition of alive.

    Further, a beating heart cadaver is also alive, but colloquially considered to be dead.

    You are attempting, rather dishonestly, to apply literal biological definitions with more philosophical ones. When it comes to human existence, we don’t consider “life” by growing cells…surely you don’t consider a mass of cancer cells to be “human life”, do you? Of course not.

    So it seems dishonest for you to oscillate between the meanings as if they are equivalent. That gets you into a corner that you don’t like being in.

    Human life is considered, measured, and acknowledged by the ability to experience life. By having a brain capable of consciousness beyond reflexes. Because when that brain dies, we consider and accept that the person is dead, even if their body continues it’s biological functions.

    At the time that the overwhelming majority of abortions occur, the brain development is rudimentary at best. A common housefly has about a billion more brain cells than an embryo. What is beginning to form at that point, and is giving off electrical impulses, is the brain stem. Guess what? The brain stem on a brain dead patient is giving off more electrical impulses than an embryo.

    I think for a lot of people without a scientific background, they misinterpret gestation and human growth with their emotions rather than objective consideration. For example, most people who think “heartbeat” means the presence of a heart. When the heartbeat starts, there is no heart..it’s a cardiac tube. What is beating are the “pacemaker” cells. We can make those beat in a Petri dish.

    People have a bad habit of thinking that the formation of body parts is equal to the ability to use them. For example, The eyes forming does not equal the ability for sight. Just like a computer needs the motherboard before the processor can work…You need the mind to process the information. One step further, you need the formation of the brain before you can have a mind. You need the foundation of a house to be laid before you can consider it a house. And so on. I hope you are getting my point.

  • Reuben Andrew Herrle

    “How is a single celled human embryo different than a single cell erythrocyte in order for you to justify claiming that one cell is a human being while the other is taken from a human being?”

    I invite you to watch the following (brief) video for a comprehensive yet succinct explanation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wURL0rVLbY. Trent does call-in radio shows on Catholic Answers Live where he takes calls from Pro-Choicers. He also has his own podcast at http://www.trenhornpodcast.com where he often speaks on the issue of abortion.

    You also said, “A human embryo does not have genitals, or even a norochord and cannot even be categorized as a vertebra.” You assume that I think an embryo has genitals. My only point is that an unborn human organism is not merely a part of its mother (unless you’re willing to claim that a pregnant women has 2 hearts a few weeks after conception). Rather, he or she is an individual who is dependent on their mother.

    I am curious – from your perspective – at what point in their development does a unborn human become an actual human being? You seem very certain that it isn’t at the moment of conception.

  • Reuben Andrew Herrle

    I posted a video to help clear up your misunderstandings about when human life begins. Every credible, up-to-date, scientific source I have ever found claims the same thing: the life of a human organism (what we normally call human beings) begins at conception. After viewing the video I sent, I’m happy to read your response if you are able to cite scientific articles/sources that contradict any of the material found within the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wURL0rVLbY.

  • Women are people

    Forgive me, but I’m asking you. In your own words.

    The videos you posted are, frankly, a bastardization of the science.

    It completely ignores the fact that in 70% of all conceptions, human life is not possible, despite its growth for a small amount of time.

    This is simply a biological fact…reproduction is a wasteful process, with most fertilized eggs arresting development at some point prior to viability.

    Again, in order to be considered human life, the blastocyst must be at least capable of yielding a human life through birth.

  • Women are people

    Again, the videos are a gross oversimplification, and frankly mostly false because of the assumptions of complete dna, as I’ve already explained to you.

    “My point is that the unborn is not merely a part of its mother (unless you are willing to claim the mother has 2 hearts just a few weeks after conception)”

    Ok. This is the kind of thing i mean when it’s a gross oversimplification of the facts.

    Just a few weeks after conception, there is no heart. Its a cardiac tube. Not a heart. There is no ventricle, no aorta, no atrium, no pericardium, no cardiac muscles, no nothing. It’s a tube. What “beats” at 6 weeks are the pacemaker cells.

    This is what is beating:

    https://youtu.be/SfxCJji_RHo

    https://youtu.be/WLtJTywFpoI

    So cool right? Science is so awesome! It’s still not a heart, though. You might as well call an acorn a 2×4 with how far ahead of yourself you are getting.

    I’m happy to answer your question, however, I only answer after the individual I’m talking to has not dodged the question I have asked. It ensures that the other person doesn’t engage in the frustrating tactic of goal post moving. So let’s get back to my question.

    Two cells. One cell is a human erythrocyte (although I’m happy to substitute another cell type if you like), and the other is a human zygote. How is one cell taken from a human being, but the other single cell Human being .

    What makes this single cell a separate human being but not the other single cell? Please be specific.

    I can assure you that I have far more in depth knowledge of biology than Trent, but if you are going to make the argument, then YOU need to demonstrate it. I look forward to the demonstration of your justification for your argument.

  • Women are people

    If something is connected into her circulatory system, then it is very much apart of her.

  • PD

    Shem, I left a comment on this thread just now and it’s caught in the filter again. Am I doing something wrong?

  • Reuben Andrew Herrle
  • Reuben Andrew Herrle

    From the articles I just shared…

    “The conclusion that human life begins at sperm-egg fusion is uncontested, objective, based on the universally accepted scientific method of distinguishing different cell types from each other and on ample scientific evidence (thousands of independent, peer-reviewed publications).”

    Frankly, if diving into the science doesn’t convince you of this, then I am not going to be able. I’m not a biologist. I just try to listen to what the biologists reveal to us.

    I am still curious to hear you answer my question: When does an individual human being begin to exist, if not at the moment of conception?

  • Women are people

    *sigh* yes. None of these state that all conceptions are human beings.

    We know that this is not true, because molar pregnancies are conceptions. They are pregnancies. They are not human beings, they are tumors.

    We also know this is not true because 70% of all conceptions do NOT produce human beings.

  • Women are people

    You listen to what biologists reveal to you? Good to know. You are talking to one right now. I hold my doctorate in Evolutionary Biology. Dna is my jam as my young niece likes to say.

    You are taking simplistic introductory pieces, and trying to apply that to board and complicated reality.

    As I’ve tried to explain to you, when the gametes fuse, it begins the process of replication or crossing-over. There are lots of replication errors that occur that change the dna so that human life is NOT possible.

    I’ve also tried to explain to you that molar pregnancies exist. They are conceptions. They are not human beings; they are tumors.

    Life for individual human beings begins at conception. That is true and there is no argument.

    So how do you get from “all human beings started with conceptions” to “all conceptions are human beings”??

    This is a false conclusion.

  • Women are people

    *broad and complicated reality

  • Women are people

    It’s funny that you say boom science when it’s more like “boom. Simplistic introductory levels of science that don’t really apply to a much more messy biological reality.”

    Also, the Princeton page represents the opinions of a few scientists, not the scientific consensus.

  • Reuben Andrew Herrle

    If you can find a majority of scientists who do not believe that human life begins at conception, and if they present scientific evidence of this claim, then I will take your assertion seriously.

    I am still curious: If a human being’s life does not begin at conception, when does it begin? A day after conception? Week? Month? At the moment of birth?

  • Women are people

    I am happy to answer your question, as soon as you demonstrate that you are arguing in good faith by answering mine. I will give you only more more opportunity to do so, before I conclude that you aren’t interested in anything beyond what comports with your already established beliefs.

    Not all conceptions are human life. This is a demonstrable fact.

  • Women are people

    Perhaps you are just unable to articulate why these two singular cells are different.

    Could it be that the foundation of your argument that erythrocytes are different from fertilized ova is that fertilized ova can turn into human beings and erythrocytes cannot?

  • Women are people

    Denying the use of your body to another person is not harming them anymore than denying your kidney to a child that needs one is harming them.

    Harm would be if you taken something away that was rightfully theirs. A woman’s body is her own. Saying that she must allow someone else to use it, at detriment to her, is taking away her body from her.

  • Women are people

    Yes, life of a human organism begins at conception. You cannot draw the conclusion from that statement that all conceptions are human life. They aren’t. I’m fact, 70% of them are not.

  • Reuben

    There are a lot of comments floating around. Would you mind restating your questions via e-mail? You can message me at rherrle7@gmail.com

  • Women are people

    “With a heating heart”

    Nope. Pulsating cardiac tube. I know you get warm fuzzies about this, but it’s not a heart. The majority of abortions are done before 10 weeks, before there is a fully formed heart.

    Fold up the tiny violin.

  • Women are people

    “Of course, this exact same reasoning could be used to save the infant if–instead of unimplanted embryos–the choice were between an infant and a thousand comatose, near-death BORN individuals.”

    So you fully recognize that brain activity is what makes a human being a person.

    And as far as 1,000 strangers? I would save whoever was closest to me, because pushing past people about to burn so you could look for your loved one makes you pretty f’king monsterous. Also, 1000 strangers can f’king walk. I’d be helping all of them get out, while desperately scanning for my loved one…

    The difference is that saving as many as you were able to would be attempted. You wouldn’t even THINK about TRYING to save the canister. Now own it.

  • Women are people

    You can manage to reply to me asking me to email you, then you can manage to look at previous notifications on disqus. Go to notifications, and hit recent replies from the drop down. I’ve literally asked you this question in every reply to you. I’m not giving you my personal email.