The religious liberty right to believe that algebra is an abortifacient

The religious liberty right to believe that algebra is an abortifacient November 25, 2012

The lawsuit involving Tyndale House’s “religious” refusal to provide health care for female employees raises some intriguing questions.

Tyndale is Protestant, and thus lacks any longstanding doctrinal or theological basis for its alleged religious objection to contraception. So Tyndale House is pretending it’s not about an objection to contraception, but to abortion — because, contrary to science and reality and Tyndale’s own religious tradition, they “believe” that contraceptives are “abortifacient.”


Say you have a public school student who is an observant Jew. That student has a reasonable religious liberty objection to being offered only school lunches containing pork. But what if this student were to refuse school lunches containing beef, asserting that he believes beef to come from pigs and therefore to violate his religious commitment to keeping kosher.

Does the school have an obligation to accommodate the delusional belief that beef comes from pigs? Tyndale House says yes. The Christian publisher says it has a right to its own sectarian facts and sectarian reality, and that no such thing as objective truth exists that might constrain that.

The Rutherford Institute — which is like a much more thoughtful and interesting version of the religious right — is making a similar legal argument on behalf of a Texas high school student who objects to the GPS tracking in her school’s student ID badges.

One could certainly argue that this is an intrusive violation of students’ privacy, but the religious right does not believe in privacy. So instead the Rutherford lawyers are arguing that the ID badge violates the student’s “religious liberty,” because she believes she’s being asked to accept the Mark of the Beast spoken of in the book of Revelation.

Note that any sort of objective, knowable reality is irrelevant to this legal argument. It does not matter that the Northside Independent School District is not, in fact, the Beast of John’s Apocalypse. Nor does it matter that this student ID is not, in fact, the Mark of the Beast.

The student’s beliefs are factually wrong — demonstrably so. Her beliefs are based on poor exegesis, scientific ignorance, a haughty disdain for others, and a preference for fearful lies over objective truth. Yet they remain her beliefs. And thus, Rutherford says, she has a legal right to be foolishly, fearfully wrong. Sure, her church seems to be the sort of place that abuses the Bible, cherry-picking distorted proof-texts to reinforce a stunted, fearful incomprehension — but it’s still a her church.

Religious liberty cannot only mean the right to believe in that which can be proved. Nor can it only mean the right to believe in unassailable religious claims that can neither be proved nor disproved. It also has to include the right to believe in sheer nonsense that can be or even has been disproved. The state does not want to get entangled in the business of evaluating the relative respectability or legitimacy of various religious claims.

This is why the law surrounding religious freedom attempts to remain neutral about the legitimacy of religious claims, restricting itself to evaluating instead whether or not the state has a compelling secular interest in regulating behavior related to those claims. A school district can probably manage some accommodation for a student who claims to think ID cards are the Mark of the Beast, but what of students who claim to believe that vaccination is the Mark of the Beast? Or what if a student, emboldened by Tyndale House’s suit, claims that his religion forbids algebra because it is an “abortifacient”? (That claim would have as much basis in reality as Tyndale’s own supposed “belief” about contraception does.)

The bottom line, for me, is that we should try to accommodate even delusional kooks just as long as they are not hurting anyone else. The Texas student doesn’t seem to be hurting anyone else, so she can likely be tolerated as That Weird Kid With No ID Because She Thinks Everyone Else Is The Antichrist. She may cling to a theology that literally demonizes the entire school district, but since it’s also a flaccid, impotent theology that doesn’t require her to confront this supposedly Satanic evil in any meaningful way, she’s probably mostly harmless.

But Tyndale House is not harmless. The publisher is refusing to provide the health insurance its employees have earned. That is “wages kept back by fraud,” as the book of James says, and it should not be legally permitted, no matter what trumped up religious delusions Tyndale claims as justification for such wage theft.

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  • Dr. Rocketscience

    If you read a bit more carefully, you’ll find that Fred has made your first argument for you: Tyndale, like the high school student, has the right to believe anything they wish to believe, even things that are a) not matters of faith, and b) factually incorrect. (That this particular belief is not, in fact, in line with what they claim are their doctrinal beliefs just makes this a particularly odd hill for them to fight over.) Fred’s objection is that Tyndale wants to make decisions for it’s employees based on their beliefs. 

    “Tyndale objection is the fact /some/ products classified as “contraception” may have an abortifacient-like effect…”

    Then they ought to be suing for exemptions for those specific products, should they not, rather than relying on bullshit reasoning?

    The school in this hypothetical scenario would have the option of allowing Students to bring lunch in from home, thereby “opting out” of the otherwise government mandated food choices with no penalty attached. “

    Will the school be paying for these lunches? Not much of a government mandate if they don’t.

    If there exists a state in the union that does not have a religious objection exception to vaccination requirements, I’m not aware of it.

    Your argument about wages assumes that James was using the word in the same (conveniently narrow) terms you want to use it. Fred takes James’s “wages” to be synonymous with “compensation”. And all compensation is earned. That it isn’t strictly monetary doesn’t make it any less compensatory. The government already mandates a minimum compensation, measured in U.S. dollars per hour. 

    Tyndale would be harming Employees Who are mugged if Tyndale did not provide every Employee a loaded gun to carry around. 

    What were you saying about red herrings?

  • Lunch Meat

    For a citation that birth control pills thin the uterine wall, it’s on the back of the box (and their website):

    First of all, I never said that contraception doesn’t affect the lining of the uterine wall. I said at that dosage, it doesn’t affect it enough to have an impact on whether or not embryos can implant, because there’s just not enough hormone there. Secondly, by “citation” I mean some kind of scientific study. Prescription drug product information lists all sorts of side effects that “may” occur, even if they’ve never been proven. Again, employers shouldn’t be allowed to refuse to offer insurance covering certain products or services based on hypothetical side effects.

    By the way, Mirena is not a birth control pill. Pills and IUDs are quite different.

  • Antigone10

    In our games, “Cure disease” will take care of a pregnancy.  It’s basically like getting rid of intestinal parasites.

  • EllieMurasaki

    How specific does the spell need to be? Because I can easily imagine a pregnant person who’s got the flu or whatever wanting to use the spell to be rid of the flu but not the pregnancy.

  • Wednesday

     Actually, the opposition-to-contraception thing by the anti-legal-abortion movement (not to be confused with “within the general population which identifies as pro-life” or “within Christianity” or even “within the group of people who morally oppose abortion, whatever they call themselves”) has been going on for a lot longer than just this past year.

    It’s been going on since 2006 at the very least — the deliberate and dishonest conflation of emergency HBC with abortion and pharmacists refusing to fill emergency HBC prescriptions dates back at least that far, and probably longer — that’s just when I started to be aware of it. And Crisis Pregnancy Centers have long been known to discourage clients from using contraception.

    The anti-legal-abortion movement (again, not to be confused with
    Christians or “pro-life”ers in general) recognizes that contraception is
    really popular with everyone in the US except for a handful of people (moistly old celibate dudes), and  they’ve been deliberately and steadily trying to rebrand it as ABORTION!!!1. (See, eg,

    That it has become a relatively mainstream matter of tribalism is just an indication of how successful that group has been, not an indication that opposition to contraception is a new thing due to Oh Noes Black President.

  • Dan Audy

     I’m wondering how bad the schools in that district are, that they have to use RFID to keep track of students. (It certainly implies to me that the students would rather be anywhere else.)

    Absenteeism has a huge amount to do with why these RFID tracking systems are being implemented.  However their interest is not so much in monitoring or preventing truancy but maintaining their funding even when a child or youth is not actually present.  States pay a per diem to the school for every student attending classes but withholds it if they are absent (whether due to illness or truancy) as an attempt to reform the system because schools used to keep dropouts and students who moved on the books when payments were based on enrollment.  The schools know exactly how easy it is to trick the system into believing a student is present by having a third party carry their tag but rather than this being a flaw it is seen as an advantage because it gives them ‘documented proof’ of the presence of their students and ensures that they get their per diem pay.  Since the cost of implementing the system is pushed to the state or school district but the profits are kept by the school, it provides perverse incentives to the schools to push for this expensive and ineffective monitoring system.

  • Shayna

    1. Actually, no.  Warnings to that effect were originally put on emergency contraception and hormonal contraceptives because scientists thought they might do that.  More recent studies show that EC (and by extension HBC) do not work that way.  There was an article in the NY Times not too long ago that linked to said studies.

    2. You cannot have an abortion without a pregnancy, you cannot have a pregnancy without an implantation.  So, even if HBC did result in uterine thinning, it wouldn’t be an abortion.  I will admit that this would probably be regarded as semantics by Tyndale though.

  • Lunch Meat

    You cannot have an abortion without a pregnancy, you cannot have a pregnancy without an implantation.  So, even if HBC did result in uterine thinning, it wouldn’t be an abortion.  I will admit that this would probably be regarded as semantics by Tyndale though.

    This is also true. If an egg is extracted from me and fertilized with someone’s sperm, I am not suddenly pregnant just because an egg that came from me has been fertilized. I am not a mother just because an egg that came from me has been fertilized. If that egg is later destroyed, it is not an abortion. If an egg is fertilized in my body, I am not pregnant if it doesn’t implant–even the best, most accurate, and most sensitive pregnancy test would show a negative. However, I don’t focus on this argument a lot because it does seem to be a matter of semantics, and if you regard an embryo as morally equivalent to a baby, then preventing implantation is just as bad as abortion.

  • Joykins

    ” So, even if HBC did result in uterine thinning, it wouldn’t be an abortion.  I will admit that this would probably be regarded as semantics by Tyndale though.”

    The distinction is that if you do something that happens to thin the uterine lining, or if the zygote does not implant by chance or some unknown mechanism, then this is fine and dandy.  If you take something for the purpose of birth control that might  (along with other unrelated mechanisms) inhibit implantation– ZOMG ABORTION.  So apparently the only abortions here it’s OK to have are the abortions God gives you. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    About that. A lot of people say God saved them and he used a doctor’s hands to do it. Why then is it impossible that abortions are God-given regardless of whether a doctor is involved?

  • Carstonio

    In this case, intent is evil magic.

  • P J Evans

     Wonderful. More ways for schools to cheat on attendance and grading standards. (I bet they don’tmake sure the kids are aware of what handing off the IDs can do.)

  • LOS Rules? I’d say the fetus remains part of the woman, who can be targeted by line-of-sight, or more likely make it range Touch like most Healing/Harming spells.

    My opinion has always been that life begins when you get your own character sheet. 

  • Matri

    … That’s just disturbing on so many levels.

  • stardreamer42

     Heck, there’s an anti-acne drug which is a popular DIY medical abortion drug in countries where legal abortions are hard to get.

    That would be Accutane. I took a course of it once, and it is nasty, nasty stuff — my skin dried to the point where my lips cracked and bled and no amount of lip balm would help, all my bones ached like I had advanced arthritis, and I suspect it did some permanent damage to my hip joints. And to add insult to injury, it didn’t work.

    But more to the point, I had to sign about a dozen different forms swearing up and down that I was not pregnant and had no intention of becoming pregnant while taking it before they’d give me a prescription. It’s a vicious teratogen, which is why it works as an abortifacient.

  • stardreamer42

     If your employer is going to issue a within-company employee ID, it is supposed to be in addition to your SSN. The SSN is specifically only supposed to be used to identify your earnings records to the Social Security Administration.

    Or at least that’s what I was taught in school. It could very well be that things have changed since then, in the name of “deregulation”.

  • stardreamer42

    They have indeed been opposed before now. The anti-Pill movement has been riding on the coattails of the anti-“morning-after pill” movement almost from its inception, and the (inaccurate) claim that the Pill prevents a fertilized egg from implantation has been there from the very beginning. It’s just that until this election cycle, you mostly heard about it in cases involving pharmacists refusing to prescribe.

  • A person I know was going to try Accutane, but was put off by the fact that the side effects were so potent.

  • ILU-486 is a short story based on real pieces of legislation right-wing legislators have floated and failed to pass in our world.

  • VJBinCT

     A mechanical lock is a machine, so your observant Jewish friend with a key was technically in violation of the sabbath.  In her youth, my long-gone MIL was a sabbath goy in her largely Jewish neighborhood, so I got a grounding in these laws.

    Perhaps the student needs the equivalent of the Key Master from ‘Ghostbusters’ to carry her RFID tag. 

  • Carstonio

    Chilling. Thanks for the link. I admit I was expecting the story to involve women being locked into life-support machines during their pregnancies, and uterus monitors that would instantly detect a pregnancy.

  • Yeah. It’s pretty scary how realistic it feels and it makes me wonder how close to reality that story is to the 1960s and 1970s when abortion was illegal but medical science had advanced enough to make it safe to do.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    …the profits are kept by the school…

    “Profits”. You’re funny.

  • Dave Green

    Just keep your plane geometry in your pants!

  • AnonaMiss

    I suspect the situation would be different if FGM were a Christian tradition/practice.

    Point taken, though.


    If your employer is going to issue a within-company employee ID, it is supposed to be in addition to
    your SSN. The SSN is specifically only supposed to be used to identify
    your earnings records to the Social Security Administration.

    My father’s social security card looks almost exactly like mine (My son’s and my sisters both are much different, having a security pattern printed in the background). The major difference between the two is that on his card, under the number, in small print are the words “It is unlawful to use this number for the purposes of identification”

  • Michele Cox

     “Or is this one of those Trinity-esque “it’s both at the same time” things that, as a materialist, I have a hard time grasping?”

    The theory is that while the essence is transformed to the body and blood, the accidents remain the accidents we associate with bread and wine.  I would expect that would include alcohol :)

    There are basically three approaches to the question of “what happens in the eucharist” — 1. transubstantiation, in which the essence of the body and blood boots the essence of the bread and wine out, leaving only the accidents of bread and wine; 2. consubstantiation, in which the essence of teh body and blood is added to the bread and wine, which also retains its original essence as well as its original accidents; 3. memorialization, in which the transformative power of the eucharist is centered not in the transformation of the bread and wine, but only and directly in the transformation of the believer via contemplation of of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

    That’s an oversimplification, but it’s usually good enough for going on with.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What do ‘essence’ and ‘accidents’ mean in this context? I can make that paragraph make sense if we’re talking about a body-soul duality thing, like, when the priest prays over the wafers and wine, they change from being wafers and wine in both body and soul to being wafers and wine in body and Jesus Christ in soul. But I don’t know how accurate that is.

  • Michele Cox

     That is a truly *excellent* and powerful short story; thank you for sharing the link.

  • Michele Cox

     “accidents” are the things about something that are not, and I’m *really* sorry about this phrasing but it’s English, “essential” to its nature.  So, the ability of a chair to hold your body up when you sit on it is essential, but the color or fabric or material or design or what have you are “accidents.”

    The language comes from medieval philosophy, and is not exactly common these days.


  • EllieMurasaki

    Huh. Because I would say that an essential part of bread’s nature is that it contains carbohydrates, and the carbohydrate content of communion wafers is a physical property that doesn’t change during the Mass. But you’re saying that all the properties of communion wafers that don’t change during the Mass are accidents, that they’re not essential.

  •  Have you ever seen the episode of the Simpsons where Lisa goes to a fortune teller at the carnival? Before she does, the police chief  is hosting a cabinet of curiosities, and one of the exhibits is the mythical Esquilax, the horse with the head of a rabbit and the body of a rabbit (That is, it’s a rabbit).

    Remember, catholic theology evolved out of neoplatonism (Though catholic orthodoxy explicitly rejects gnostic dualism).  Everything that physically exists has both physical properties (“accidents”) and an underlying nonmaterial quiddity (“essence”) that gives it the intrinsic property of being what-it-is rather than just a random collection of attributes (It is also the thing that all instances of a thing have in common. Some cats are large, some cats are small, some cats are fluffy, some cats are bald, some cats are even just images in my mind, but all have in common the trait of essential catness (also, they are gray when it rains. I have no idea what this means, except that it’s a proverb in french)).

  • Huh. Because I would say that an essential part of bread’s nature is
    that it contains carbohydrates


    But seriously, you’re using “essential part” in the normal everyday sort of way, not in the metaphysical sense.

    I find it convenient to think in these terms: If it is an essential property, then it is present even when the thing is imaginary.

    Imaginary bread has no carbs. But it does have breadiness.

    (If this all sounds ridiculous to you, all that means is that you are probably an existentialist.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Have you ever seen the episode of the Simpsons


  • EllieMurasaki

    I can sort of follow that. Mostly not. When a little kid’s playing tea party, it’s generally imaginary tea with imaginary cookies, which means imaginary calories. But for the duration of the tea party, we are…I think the best description is we are the collective authors of a piece of real-person fiction starring ourselves, and our fictional selves exist on the same level as the fictional tea and cookies. On the Watsonian level, the cookies have real calories. We can reboot the fictional universe at the conclusion of the tea party so that our fictional selves can eat their own weight in cookies and never gain an ounce, and of course our actual selves out here on the Doylist level are consuming no calories because our actual selves are consuming no actual cookies.

    The point is that ‘cookies have calories’ is not a property that is lost when dealing with imaginary cookies, provided one is dealing with the imaginary cookies on the level at which one deals with all imaginary things. But ‘cookies have calories’ is a property that is retained by real cookies when one applies the same transformation to the cookies that is applied to communion wafers at Mass, which means that Michele Cox is calling it a nonessential property of cookies and I am calling it an essential property. Which still leaves me with question marks hovering over my head.

  •  Okay. My son loves cookie monster, so this is apropos. There’s a cookie monster sketch where he paints a picture of a cookie and explains that if he paints the cookie, he can enjoy it twice as much as if he just eats the cookie. (The punchline is that he eats the cookie, then eats the painting, then for good measure eats the easel too, but this is neither here nor there) What if it’s a painting of a cookie? A painting of a cookie is not a cookie (Thanks Magritte!), but in order for it to be a painting of a cookie, there must be some thing that a cookie is for it to be a painting of.  That cookie in that painting has no calories. It is not a painting of an imaginary cookie — that would be ridiculous — so it does not have imaginary calories. It is not itself an imaginary cookie, so it does not have imaginary calories. (And frankly, I’d dispute the idea that when I imagine a cookie, it somehow also has imaginary calories. I’m the one doing the imagining, and I’d know if I were imagining calories).  If there is a real cookie which it is a painting of, the real cookie has real calories, but *that* cookie has those calories; the one in the painting is not (thanks again, Magritte) the one with those real calories.

    Or put another way: Suppose I presented you with an object which was like a cookie in every way except that it had no calories. What would you call it? Would you say “Well sure, this is round and crunchy and delicious. But since it has no calories, it is clearly not a cookie.” 

  • EllieMurasaki

    The first thing is going to take some thinking over, but the second one, what exactly is this object composed of? I know there’s sugar substitutes that take advantage of some quirk of chemical structure to taste sweet but be indigestible and therefore calorie-free, but I don’t think there’s a similar substitute for anything else on the ingredients list of any cookie recipe ever.

  • AnonaMiss

    It occurs to me that if Catholic theology is cool with things having an inner ‘essence’ completely divorced from their outer form, you’d think that this would make Catholics or at least the Catholic hierarchy more open than most to the idea of trans people – e.g., the person’s “accidents” are female (uterus, breasts, XX chromosomes, etc.), but his inner “essence” is masculine, making him feel he’s in the wrong body. Otherkin would seem to be another natural consequence of this kind of divorce of form from essence.

    As a materialist trans-ness is valid to me primarily in that it’s experiential – in the case of the trans man, whatever his body, he experiences things as a man and since he knows himself better than I do, I defer to his judgment. But if we postulate that Platonic forms exist and that trans identity is a reflection of greater-than-usual disparity between the Platonic ideal and its manifestation in this world, then it would make sense that even objects which don’t have the ability to experience could be “mis-assigned.”

    I am quite amused by the idea of the eucharist as bread and wine that “identifies” as flesh and blood in the same way that a trans person identifies as a different gender.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I think I have it: a painting of a cookie is not a cookie, any more than is a vase or two faces. It bears a visual resemblance to a cookie, just as that image bears a visual resemblance to either the faces or the vase depending, but the moment we begin speaking of the painted cookie as a cookie and not as a painting, we are engaging with the painted cookie as we do with fictional cookies (probably because the painted cookie is in fact a fictional cookie), and fictional cookies still have fictional calories.

  •  It’d be a gimme if the gnostics had won. They’d explain transmen as having an icky flesh body SO degenerate that it was one of those horrible disgusting inferior barely-human females. Though they’d probably be at a loss to explain how a lowly female soul could end up in a horrible disgusting but slightly less inferior male meat-prison.

    But the Church rejected that kind of dualism, instead following what was basically an aristotelian not-quite-dualism wherein a body isn’t simply a meat suit that the “real essential you” wears. In orthodox catholic thought, the soul is not the essence of a person; rather, has-a-body and has-a-soul are both essential traits of being a person: a body without a soul is not a person, and neither is a soul without a body in the same way that flour and sugar and butter aren’t a cookie.

    Now, you can still make the basic philosophical argument that you make, but it’s a bit more complex. You have to argue, basically, that the gender of the body is an accident, and that trans people have bodies with one of those fleshy imperfections in the genital department.  But this is a bit tricky, because it’s hard to argue that what are for some people perfectly good genitals are for other people defective — defects tend not to work that way.  You can do it, but it’s hard to get your mind around.

    So instead, just like the basic Catholic argument about contraception, they see it as something derived from dualist heresy: a normally functioning male body or female body is not defective (in much the same way that a female body being fertile is not a defect), and to reject a normally functioning body’s normally-functioning-ness is, they say, treating your body like it is a thing or possession rather than essential.

    One might even call it gender “essentialism”. In fact, let’s.

    From a purely philosophical standpoint, I find this a pretty compelling argument, but not a conclusive one. Namely, I don’t think it is necessary to view it as “soul makes a unilateral decision to treat the body as an Other and override it,” and also, I think you could make an equally compelling argument in the opposite direction about letting the body run according to factory specs at the expense of Othering the soul.

  • EllieMurasaki

    it’s hard to argue that what are for some people perfectly good genitals are for other people defective — defects tend not to work that way. You can do it, but it’s hard to get your mind around.

    How long’s it been since someone first said some variant on ‘one person’s trash is another’s treasure’?

  • Yeah. but “trash” and “treasure” are different essentia. My broken mug might be your useful art supplies, but it won’t be your functional mug. Whatever use someone else might have for my defective eyes, it won’t be “fully functional eyes”. (I suppose the natural parallelism might be “his perfectly normal penis is her unfortunately-penis-shaped vagina” but I’m not sure that solves more difficulties than it creates.)

  • AnonaMiss

    So the physical properties of the eucharist are all “accidents” and unrelated to its essence – it can change essence from bread to flesh without any change in outer appearance – but some of the physical properties of the human are essential? Even suspending my disbelief on Platonic forms, that seems suspicious to me.

    Plus, I was under the impression that Catholic holds that being made perfect in heaven includes the removal of sex differences – in God there is no male and female, and all that. If so this would seem to indicate that sex characteristics are inherently defects (no moral judgment on my part, I here solely indicate a deviation from the Platonic ideal), which would seem to indicate that there’s no such thing as a non-defective penis or a non-defective vulva.

    I’m not surprised that the fathers of the church would teach that their junk-privileges are innate in their “essence”, but it seems to contradict other parts of their philosophy to me.

    Also all this talk of essence and penises is sending lines from Dr. Strangelove running through my head. 

  • Lori

    (I suppose the natural parallelism might be “his perfectly normal penis
    is her unfortunately-penis-shaped vagina” but I’m not sure that solves
    more difficulties than it creates.)  

    Actually, his perfectly normal penis is her unusually large and multifunctional clitoris, so I’m thinking this doesn’t really work.

  • Do women have a never-ending affirmative responsibility to ensure that their uterine walls are as receptive as possible to potential blastocyst implantation? Why do we let them outdoors or allow them to feed themselves potentially harmful substances if this is such an important responsibility for them that it becomes a societal and/or legal issue?

  • EllieMurasaki

    And why do we let them refrain from het sex.

  • Sex is evil, but it’s a lesser evil than abortion or birth control or a non-procreative marriage.

    By the time we’re discussing whether certain birth-control drugs (hormonal pills or IUDs) might have secondary effects on the uterine lining that could inhibit the attachment of an undetectable fertilized zygote or blastocyst to the uterine wall, a process known a implantation and that medically denotes the beginning of a pregnancy, we have to admit that we’re putting restrictions on women simply because of their possession of uteruses that may have the potential to incubate fetuses to term. A woman’s uterus at that point is no longer under her control, because the potential existence of a small bundle of cells who may require uterine attachment for further growth are said to have a stronger claim to that woman’s womb than the woman herself. A woman is no longer a person: parts of her anatomy can be taken away from her arbitrarily based on the merest suspicion of potential for pregnancy, and those parts are forcibly reconsigned to a small clump of cells that may or may not exist. It doesn’t end with the womb either: women could never be allowed to ingest toxic substances, for example, which might lead to the womb formerly considered hers cutting off any attached parasites leaching oxygen and nutrients from the woman’s bloodstream. A pregnant woman really has no right to bodily autonomy over any part of her body, since her entire bodily health must be held subservient to the zygote or embryo or fetus growing within her, with or without her consent.

    If I had some rare disease that could only be treated if I were to crawl up the vagina of you or your mother or sister or wife or any other woman, whereupon I would attach to her blood supply and start sucking out her nutrients, meanwhile distorting her physical shape and hormonal balance and emotional state like crazy, and this many-month-long process held the potential for serious or even fatal health consequences for the woman, and even after this painful and injurious process you would still be legally responsible for my care for a number of years—if I were to come down with that sort of disease, would you consider it my right to take you or your female friend and subject her to that abuse with no concern for her choice?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Direct that screed at Ginny Bain Allen or another known anti-legal-abortion advocate, if you don’t mind. I am pretty sure I am well known in these parts for being vehemently pro-legal-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-the-whole-sexual-and-reproductive-freedom-package, and also sarcastic.

  • Ah, I wasn’t aiming that at you in particular, I was agreeing with your earlier comment and then started dumping more stream-of-consciousness thoughts into the comment box. Sorry for the confusion.