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Friday, February 08, 2008



[[[In Britain it has recently come to light that on many occasions Dr. use that argument for things that are very easily fixed with surgery (ie Cleft Palate, etc).]]]
Do you have a source for this? Either the doctors were very unethical,in which case they should lose their licenses. Or there was another,underlying condition which COULDN'T be fixed with surgery,and the reporter is fudging the facts.

[[[The other dilemma is what happens as the age of survival roles back? At current rates its safe to assume that with in 10 years we will likely have a case or two of survival at 18 weeks. In 25 years its possible we could see 15 -- what if there were huge advances made that reduced it to 10?]]]

What if,what if,what if? Perhaps if an artificial womb was invented then women who don't want to be pregnant could transfer the unwanted zef to one of those. Then the abortion argument would end overnight. But this is just science fantasy right now. A 10 week old fetus will need to spend six and one-half months in an incubator,not the best of scenarios.


O Dearest Authors, I have a fairly long and rambly comment hung up in the spam-trap. When you get a moment, could you liberate it please?



At least your comments follow logic. Most argue that sentient is a criteria then completely support late-term abortions. But now you walk a slippery slope. Who regulates what a Dr. determines as compatible with life? In Britain it has recently come to light that on many occasions Dr. use that argument for things that are very easily fixed with surgery (ie Cleft Palate, etc). The other dilemma is what happens as the age of survival roles back? At current rates its safe to assume that with in 10 years we will likely have a case or two of survival at 18 weeks. In 25 years its possible we could see 15 -- what if there were huge advances made that reduced it to 10?


Unbelievable... It is her right, though it is a very hard decision.


After much thought, I would argue for legal bortion with few restrictions up to 12 weeks(right now,most abortions are performed from 6 to 10 weeks). From 12 to 20 weeks,then restricted. Any later than 20 weeks, it can be safely assumed the woman WANTS to go to term. So no abortion after unless there is a medical need. Such as a doctor determining the fetus has a condition "incompatable with life", or continuing the pregnancy will endanger the mother's health and/or life.



I have been trying to stay on the topic of abortion but seem to get pulled into these other topics. These seem to just be tools to distract from the main issue. You stated in one of your earlier posts "I draw the line with a combination of neural development and viability outside the mother. If it has as much neural development as a viable extremely-preemie, then I consider it a person." So would you agree abortion is murder after this point (20 weeks as a number)?

Let's resolve this and then we can talk about birth-control and sex.


Unbelievable, I think we're operating from different fundamental assumptions. I assume that women are agents in, not victims of, sex-- it's good to have birth control because then women are protected from pregnancy and can have sex more freely. I don't assume that sex exists, exactly*-- there's procreative sex, recreative sex, and the latter can be pretty varied. I don't assume that all sex is procreational; I know quite a few people who *never* have sex that could result in pregnancy. They have separated reproduction from recreation, and I cannot see that as anything but good.

The reason for sex, throughout evolutionary history, has been reproduction, genetic recombination, making more copies of DNA. However, I assume that just as people have rights as people rather than animals, we have other reasons for things like sex. Like I said, most times humans have sex, it's not for wanting babies. It's for fun, communication, stress relief, whatever. It may not be procreative.

As for birth control and abortion leading to women being seen only as sex objects... I don't think that you can point to a year, say, "This is when women began using safe, reliable birth control," and blame any rise in antifeminism and misogyny on that. Everything is interconnected. You might say that since birth control became safe, reliable, and widespread, there has been an increase in kidnappings-- but there hasn't been. We just hear more about it.
I will not go back to a time when I cannot control my fertility. I like sex. My peers like sex. We are not being used as sex objects by men any more than men are being used by sex objects by us-- okay, perhaps a little more, given the number of lesbians I know, but I don't think that anything that divorces sex and reproduction can be bad for us. We can have sex and have careers (though this is a problem sometimes-- women are advised not to wear wedding rings or talk about their families when applying for jobs in some fields, because they're women, so of course they'll leave in a few years to pop out babies... which they definitely would if they were of nonlimited fertility and having sex without birth control).

It's not just your stance on abortion I disagree with. We don't think about women, men, sex, or society the same way at all. There's no way to talk about one issue in that tangle-- it's like arguing over what color the couch is when one dissenter really wants a recliner.

*I know I'm getting into weird definitional territory.



I didn't say whether I supported birth-control or not but I am not making that argument here. I will say I think that unfortunately for women, too many of them believe your argument that all of that is anti-women. Take out what anyone believes about the pill and look at what has happened to the treatment of women since its release. Women have become sex objects and treated as such at a much higher rate then in times prior to birth control. Unfortunately most men and women look at sex as just a self pleasure activity as you indicate. For men this turns women into a sex object that they need for one reason and then can abandon. So to me anti-women is much more the result of abortion and birth-control not vice versa. Going further down that track if you look into the history of the feminist movement without known exception, the early American feminists condemned abortion in the strongest possible terms.

Finally you talk about the reason for human sexuality. Let's look at just simple natural law here - what is the only reason for sex in nature? Reproduction, that is abundantly obvious in all of nature. The orgasm and other associated benefits are the side effects - not the child. Just because our culture wants to justify its behavior and feed the instant satisfaction mentality we all tend to share - doesn't mean that the main goal of sex isn't simply reproduction. Choosing to ignore it or trying to rationalize it doesn't change it. You can't possibly believe in evolution if you can't acknowledge that the fundamental reason for sex is reproduction. None of my children were planned, each was a surprise, and each was very much wanted. I feel bad if someone gets their self -worth from the fact their mom didn't choose to abort them. And even though you couldn't make the argument now - what if she wouldn't have choosen to keep you? You would prefer that outcome to the one of being alive even if she didn't initially think she wanted you - what if she changed her mind a year later?


Julie -

This is all too common - use a percentage to make it seem small and use a number to make it seem big. Let's use your 1% number. That runs about 100,000 at least each year. 100,000 is a lot of lives - far more than the 4,000 that have been lost in Iraq and get much more media attention (not to discredit their sacrifice which is very real and significant - just a comparison number that is well known). So yes it is many - using your own numbers. If you want to use the sentient argument - then you must be willing to say abortion after 20 weeks is absolutely wrong - otherwise there is no logical way you can use that as a basis in determining whether or not abortion is an acceptable practice.


"Many abortions are carried out well after this." Source,please? The latest data says late term abortions compromise only 1% of all abortions performed in the United States. Although political hysteria has apparently inflated these numbers. Sometimes, something goes horribly wrong with a wanted pregnancy and the woman's doctor determines the fetus has a condition that is "incompatible with life" or continuing the pregnancy is dangerous to the woman's health or life.
Heartbeat and brain waves are irrelevent to the discussion because the fetus is neither sentient nor viable at these times - and could be lost via miscarriage.
Your second paragraph shows your true agenda: "if the woman fails to act responsibly" and becomes pregnant, the state should step in and treat this woman like an incubator? That is a positively Communistic attitude, this was done to Romanian women. Abortion is another way of showing responsiblity for an unwanted pregnancy. Also, adoption is all fine and dandy, but some women don't see it as an option, according to this study by Guttmacher:http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2008/01/07/index.html


Unbelievable: while I am glad you support birth control (it is distressingly common for anti-abortion activists to be anti-birth control and anti-sex-- anti-women, essentially) it's not a panacea. I know at least two women who got pregnant while on birth control. Other people can address that, though.

A thought experiment: would you agree with inducing labor rather than terminating the pregnancy in cases where there is some chance of the fetus surviving? I'd love it if this were possible-- if we had Bujold-style uterine replicators and the resources to support the children born from them.

The "If you didn't want a kid, you shouldn't have had sex," argument fails on another front, though. Most human sexual acts are not done with intent to reproduce. They're done with intent to orgasm, to communicate, to bond, to whatever other motives there are. If a pregnancy results from recreative sex-- meaning any kind that wasn't done with intent to reproduce-- then... it's a side effect.
And if there isn't a separate decision to continue the pregnancy, the child is a side effect.
I don't agree with this. I think that sex is sex, and pregnancy is pregnancy. These are two separate decisions. They have to be, or people are side effects, consequences... and someone will say punishment.
I exist because my mother wanted me to exist. She didn't get married and then have to have a kid. She didn't have sex and then have to have a kid. She didn't trust the wrong man and then have to have a kid. I am not a side effect. I am not a consequence. The reason for me is me. I will always know that I was wanted, because if Mom didn't want to have me, she didn't have to. I know my brother was wanted, because if she didn't want him, she didn't have to have him. I know my sister was wanted, because she is here.
We aren't side effects of orgasm. We are our mother's reason for having us. We were *chosen*, not endured.


Julie -

So would you agree that all abortion after 22 weeks is wrong? Many abortions are carried out well after this. Yet there has been at least one birth at 20 weeks and several at 21 weeks where the baby has survived. 25 years ago it was 25 weeks. Let's look at what we know - the heart begins beating at 21 days, brian waves are readily measurable between 6 and 8 weeks, by 11 weeks all body systems are functioning, and we have proven that by 20 weeks the baby responds to all kinds of stimuli. So if we later prove that they respond at 11 weeks will you then agree that abortion should be illegal at 11 weeks?

There is no double standard and the comparisons with organ and blood donation are just not relevant. The women who doesn't want to get pregnant has many choices available to her: abstinence and a variety of birth control - that is her control of fertility as you describe. If she fails to act responsibly and does become pregnant then there is another life involved and the state should be obligated to protect that life. Pushing her further into poverty is just ridiculous - there is something called adoption.


I think Diatryma meant "forced birth" rather than "forced pregnancy".
Even if the state's "protecting" that "innocent and helpless" life (that makes it sound as if the woman is guilty of something) tramples on a woman's rights to bodily autonomy and control of her fertility? You would be comfortable with other women having their rights taken away?


WHAT studies? The lastest data I've found states response to pain stimuli isn't shown until the 22nd week of pregnancy. LONG after the cut-off date for legal early-term abortions. Science hasn't proved the early-term fetus is sentient - not by a long shot.
Wait a minute, if the state can't force someone to give blood or donate an organ, how can you justify the state forcing women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term? That double standard won't fly. Not even with that lurid scenario you proposed. The fetus is human,but it's not a PERSON under the U.S. Constitution and therefore has no right to be born. If the state steps in to "protect" the fetus,it will also be trampling on the woman's right to plan her childbearing.
I am also well aware some women are successful moms, but those mired in poverty will be pushed further down the income ladder if they are prevented from controlling fertility themselves. The state does not nor should it have this kind of authority over fertility. It's not qualified.


Diatryma -

Interesting but I don't find your comments (though insightful) to be relevant here is why: you stated "A forced pregnancy is no different from...". Who forced you to get pregnant? Unless you were raped you were not forced to get pregnant. Pregnancy was your choice. There are specific consequences to our actions and despite all of our attempts to avoid consequences they still exist.

So you are right the government can't force you to do any of the long comments you were making because no one is directly involved. You deciding not to donate a kidney doesn't actually cause the person who needs a kidney to die. It might decrease the chance of that person living but it does not cause that person's death. An abortion directly and intentionally causes another person's death. There is a big difference. And in this case that person is innocent and helpless and thus the state should be required to protect that life.


Unbelievable, thanks for bringing up giving blood. It is NOT actually analogous to abortion-- I mentioned organ transplants, where there is significant danger to the donor. But blood work too.

See, I give blood. A lot. Last month, I got a call saying that my white cells matched a patient, and when you need white cells, you're in big trouble. I was asked-- not ordered-- if I would be willing to give white cells to save this patient's life.
This was a person. The nurses who called me knew her. The nurses who sat by me while I gave white cells knew her. And still, they would not have come to my house and demanded that I go through the fairly complex white cell donation. If I had said no, they would have either found someone else or the woman would have gone without white cells for that day, and possibly died.
A person that they knew would probably die without my help, and still they did not demand, because I am not morally obligated to harm myself to help another.

Do you give blood? Whole blood's easy, every two months if you're not anemic. Platelets are a bit more uncomfortable, but you can give more often, save more lives. White cells are complex and I at least was kind of shambly-shaky all day, but you can do that every four days if someone needs it. Are you on the bone marrow registry? Do you have both your kidneys? Why? Why aren't you asking your doctor if there's anyone who needs one? If you're in the US, have you made it clear that you are an organ donor? And, just a note, the government does not take organs from those who refuse. People die waiting for the kidneys we bury and burn. People scream waiting for skin grafts we use for cosmetics, bury, and burn. And because the government has said that the wishes of the dead with respect to their bodies outweigh the needs of the living, it keeps happening.*

A forced pregnancy is no different from, say, a uterus donation. The woman donates her body to the embryo, which develops into a fetus, which eventually reaches a point where it doesn't need the uterus any more. If the woman does not want to put herself in danger-- if she does not want to donate her uterus-- then the pregnancy stops. Sometimes this is done by inducing labor so she doesn't have a stroke. Sometimes this is done with intent to save the baby. Sometimes this is done via abortion.

I am not morally obligated to throw myself in front of a bullet so someone else will live.
I am not morally obligated to harm myself for someone else's benefit.
I am not morally obligated to put myself in danger for anyone.

Neither are you. Make your choice, and let me make mine.

*I think many problems would be solved with an opt-out system rather than opt-in, so anyone who did not want to be recycled could have their wishes honored, but the apathetic would be added to the pool of potential cadaver donors. I do not think that people who have clearly expressed a desire that their body be not shared should be forced to do so, even after death.


Julie -

Three issues with your response. First, sentient refers to being aware or responsive. Many recent studies have shown that the fetus exhibits all measurable signs of pain in reaction to painful stimuli. You could go further but science is readily proving that a fetus is at least as sentient as many impaired individuals outside the womb. How do you continue to justify abortion if science proves the fetus is sentient? Second, the state can't force to donate blood is irrelevant because we are only talking about the women. The state can't take that freedom away - unless it is to protect other individuals. Don't think for a second the state couldn't force us to donate blood if the alternative was millions of people dying. In the case of a fetus there is already another human (as you yourself stated) and that human has rights that must be protected - that is one of the primary jobs of the state - to protect those who can not protect themselves. Finally, are you suggesting that women aren't capable of managing a family and success in your last sentence? I know many who are very capable at both and the fact they have children hasn't affected their otherwise success.

BJSurvivor -

The gift of life would be a gift from God. I am not arguing that point. The Declaration of Independence states "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Life is a right protected since the founding of our country -- not a gift.


The egotism and arrogance exhibited by forced-gestation proponents is truly astounding.

I consider my life to be a gift that my mother gave me. I was taught that to EXPECT or DEMAND a gift is the height of rude, crass behavior. It bespeaks poor upbringing. Or narcissism.


Unbelieveable: We know the fetus is human,where has anyone denied this? Legally,the woman has precedence because the U.S. Constitution recognizes her as a PERSON. She is sentient,the fetus isn't.
Morally,the woman has the right to bodily autonomy. To paraphrase Diatryma,if the state doesn't have the right to force another person to donate blood or a kidney,then the state doesn't have the right to force a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.
In conclusion, I don't buy the argument that possible future contributions to society are a good enough reason to ban abortion. There are women living right now who could not have gone quite so far if the state had denied their right to plan their families.


this blog is very insightful, but i'm having trouble reading it using Firefox due to all of the ad tags on the site. just thought you'd want to know this.


If it is not diploid, it is not a person, so eggs and sperm are not people.
If it is not beyond the stage that it can be separated into twins, it is not a person, because it might be two or four or eight.

I draw the line with a combination of neural development and viability outside the mother. If it has as much neural development as a viable extremely-preemie, then I consider it a person. Any time before then, it's not.

And yet... person or not, it's kind of weird there. If the mother will die if she does not abort the pregnancy, her life takes precedence. It's like organ donation-- yeah, it'd be great if everyone gave a kidney to those who need them and will die without them, but no one *forces* us to undergo risky surgery for a stranger's sake. No woman should be forced to risk her life for a stranger, no matter who the stranger is.

Also, more people does not mean more money for all of us. If this were true, economists would be pleading for immigration amnesty and more lenient immigration laws. Instead, the US government is doing its best to expel people from the country.



Why is a full grown women more important? Is it size? Is a 2 year old less important than a ten year old? Where is the line? The day the baby's born? The day before? When - When do you think someone has rights? Is it because the embryo is dependent on the mom? So should all dependent people be expendable? The problem with the abortion argument is that you have to somehow make a distinction of when a person has rights. Given what we know about science there is absolutely no way you can make a logical argument that an embryo isn't a human being. Any argument you try to make you would then have to also be willing to apply that view to old people, disabled or other groups that according to your argument would also be expendable. Or you have to not be logical and just cling to denial and say that because it hasn't been born.

My position was that is absurd to say that someone that might possibly face losing their house has no choice but to have an abortion. Your position seems to indicate that when life is a struggle that it might be better to be dead. So then maybe we should round up all the people living in poverty and euthanize them? That might get this economy going again. Yes I do believe being alive is a good thing even if there are struggles. Yes my parents struggled. Yes there were hard times. But 30 years after they decided that I should also have a chance to live and have a chance to make my life better (this is America and some people do believe in the American dream) I worked with them and we created a multi-million dollar business. Now I can't take all of the credit but they couldn't have done it without me just like I couldn't have done it without them. So what was the best choice for them? Should they have aborted me because it would have been one less thing to worry about while they were struggling? Can you tell me what the baby might have contributed to these women's lives or to society? They might have actually been able to contribute something great.

Finally - if we are going to look at the real financial impact of abortion it is abundantly clear that abortion has had a huge and profound impact that has cost this country untold billions of dollars. If the 50 Million babies that have been aborted so far would have grown up and paid an average amount of taxes they would be contributing to tax base and the rest of economy. At an average income rate they could have affectively increased our economy by 17%.

So who is the selfish one? The baby for coming along? Me for thinking that all human beings have basic rights regardless of size or dependency. Me because I am glad my parents gave me a chance to live even though it was hard? Or the women who thinks a baby might be an inconvenience to her? I am sorry but you gave up the right when you decided to get pregnant. Once another human being is involved they also have rights.



Not defensive -- I don't have any qualms about supporting a woman's right to abortion. I do, however, have serious moral opposition to the pro "life" position of considering a woman as less valuable than the jellybean-sized embryo that's part of her own body.


But, as I said, this blog is full of plenty of comments that could not possibly be more oppositional than whatever you wanted to post -- a reality you'd understand just fine if you read other posts and saw the many anti-abortion commenters all over them. So it's hard to get a lot of credence for the idea that your post wasn't printed simply because it's an opposing view. Again -- this blog has plenty of those. What would be so special about yours?

I will point out, though, that for some reason this blog gets tons of annoying spam, and their spam filter is so strict I've been unable to post before. Once I had to retype an entire paragraph I'd cut-and-pasted from an article elsewhere, as apparently the spam filter frowns on that. (Why?)

Your position seems to be: since your birth parents didn't die simply by virtue of having a baby, and their lives weren't *totally* ruined, therefore all people whose lives would be worsened by having a baby should just have it anyway. Poverty? Homelessness? Starvation? Despair? Choosing between feeding your child and yourself? Never seeing any way out? Suck it up! You're not dead, therefore you're doing okay. And, hey, somewhere down the line your life might get better. But whether it will or won't, you've gotta have the kid anyway.

And the main way you buttress this position is that the baby was you. The height of arrogance and self-centeredness -- ironic, since when women decide that they have a right to consider their own lives when deciding whether or not to continue a pregnancy, your side calls this "selfish."



I tired to say my piece. I repeatedly tried to post it without success - thus my comment. The reply message was - it was submitted to the Blog creator for review so they have the ability to post it if they like. Apparently they don't want to. Why should I spend more time on the site when its not open for debate? I am not wallowing and frankly don't care - you seem to be rather defensive though - why? My story was simple, my parent's where at least as worse off as these stories and probably quite a bit more so. Food had to be given to them for over a year - I am sure glad they understood there was another option - I believe its called giving birth.

Not surprised

I agree with "Unbelievable"--you don't seem to let opposing views get posted. Why are you hiding opposing viewpoints that provide opportunities for dialog? If you sincerely believe that Truth is on your side, you should welcome the opportunity to help opponents come to a better understanding of your views. Otherwise, you merely reinforce people's impressions that abortion clinic counselors are deceitful.

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