June 19, 2013

Female politicians "have resorted to flexing their womb-manhood."

Writes Kathleen Parker, riffing on Sarah Palin's statement that "goes something like this: 'I’m more fertile than you are.'"

(If you scroll down you'll get to the actual quote: "I say this as someone who’s kind of fertile herself." Palin was reacting to Jeb Bush's recent awkward reference to the fertility of immigrants. Parker seems to like to rewrite quotes: What Jeb said "sounds an awful lot like, 'Hotahmighty, those people can’t tie their shoes without getting pregnant.'")

It wasn't just Sarah Palin who flexed her womb-manhood to make a political argument. Parker also points to Nancy Pelosi:
When challenged about the difference between late-term abortion and the killing of babies who survived late-term abortions at the hands of the convicted murderer Dr. Kermit Gosnell, Pelosi hid behind the skirt of her own bassinet.

Rather than answer the question, she invoked her five children and declared any discussion of abortion “sacred ground” to her Catholic sensibilities. Fecundity, apparently, triumphs over moral reasoning.
Parker acts as if Pelosi were claiming authority solely by virtue of her motherhood and declined to engage in "moral reasoning," but Pelosi was saying I believe in Catholic doctrine. She didn't just say she had 5 children. She said "my oldest child is six years old the day I brought my fifth child home from the hospital." That's offered as proof that she believes the doctrine — including the proscription against birth control. In my book, that translates into a statement of morality. Maybe some people don't think that's "moral reasoning," because it's the acceptance of religious doctrine (and not individual philosophizing). But clearly Pelosi was saying: I have very deep beliefs about morality here and my life as I've lived it vouches for the sincerity of these beliefs.

Parker's next sentence is:
Most likely, Pelosi is deeply troubled by what her politics requires and what her Catholic mother-heart tells her is true. 
Catholic mother-heart? Pelosi claimed she is a believing Catholic. Beliefs exist in the brain as well as in the emotions. You can call the emotions "heart," but it's still not just something her heart is telling her. It's religious doctrine that she knows and purports to accept. Now, of course, it's very easy to say that Pelosi cannot square her support for abortion rights with her Catholic beliefs. And Pelosi deserves that hit because she did have a how-dare-you shaming tone in her voice and she refused give an elaborate response to the questioner who wanted to hound her about Gosnell.

But I know what the answer is. It's that when the question is about enduring a pregnancy, the beliefs of the woman within whom that pregnancy exists are what matters. The true moral answer is that you should never have an abortion — that's the Catholic's religious belief — but the legal answer is that every woman has freedom of belief and her own beliefs control what she does with her body.

I think this is like what Jesus said about divorce:
The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”

And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”

He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
I know that Moses didn't say it, but one might say abortion is permitted because of the hardness of your hearts.

With 2 references to hearts — Parker's "Catholic mother-heart" and Jesus's "the hardness of your hearts" — I am reminded again of the Supreme Court's notion of what it called "the heart of liberty": "the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." That's the basis of the right to have an abortion: the individual's freedom of belief.

But where was Kathleen Parker going with this column? Two highly partisan women used their own personal fertility to leverage a political argument. Noted. The 2 women are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but they were arguing about different issues: immigration and abortion. Now, we know Palin is pro-life, and Parker declares Palin's position "more palatable," but she proceeds to knock her for "her coquettish reminders that her field is still tillable," which, Parker says, "diminishes her credibility as anything other than a one-liner comedienne." I take it that's Parker's way of stating the conclusion that women ought to refrain from flexing their womb-manhood.

I think it's fine to include one's own personal experience as part of a political argument. It's a problem if you do it badly. (You don't want your audience to perceive you as coquettish!) And it shouldn't be your only argument. (You don't want to seem to be saying I have more children then you, so shut up.) But talking about real-world experience gives depth, color, and credibility to a politician's speech. As with any political speech, you need to do it well.

138 comments:

Ann Althouse said...

"Hotahmighty" does not appear elsewhere on the internet, according to Google, so apparently Parker also likes to make up expletives to pop out of Jeb's head. Consider naming your next baby Hotah — oh, you people of fertility. The internet tells me you'd be appropriating a Sioux word for "brown," which tinges the Parker paraphrase with even more racism than I bet you're about to argue it never had at all.

Jay said...

I know that Moses didn't say it, but one might say abortion is permitted because of the hardness of your hearts.

Right. Because adultery is totally the same as killing.

And of course the word of Moses was the same as the word of God.

Or something.

betamax3000 said...

Fertile Immigrant Robot says:

In the Morning Before Going off to a Day'sf Undocumented Work I Want Only Three Things:

1. Breakfast

2. Coffee

3. To Start Making Babies.

betamax3000 said...

Fertile Immigrant Robot says:

At Lunch Time while the American Workers Eat Hot Dogs from the Convenience Store I am in the Cabin of My Pick-Up Truck, Making Babies.

Jay said...

Female struggles with Dem logic:

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) on Tuesday refused to answer why she opposed legislation to ban late-term abortions after 20 weeks — even if it would “save one life.” The question related back to Democrats’ frequent argument for gun control.

Too funny.

betamax3000 said...

Fertile Immigrant Robot says:

In the Evenings when the Americans are Playing Video Games in their Mother's House I am Home, Making Babies.

Ann Althouse said...

"Right. Because adultery is totally the same as killing."

That's why Moses didn't say it.

But I like the analogy.

I know everyone has to say that abortion is murder again, but that opinion is very well-known, and I would like to open up some new lines of discussion.

betamax3000 said...

Fertile Immigrant Robot says:

Sometimes I Even Make Babies In My Sleep: it is Part of Who I Am.

betamax3000 said...

Fertile Immigrant Robot says:

I Do Not Have a New Car. I Do Not Have a Renovated Kitchen with Chef-Quality Appliances. I do Not have Granite Counter Tops. I Have Babies.

If I Did have Granite Counter Tops I would Be On Top of Them, Making More Babies.

betamax3000 said...

Fertile Immigrant Robot says:

My Children May One Day have Granite Counter Tops. I Hope They Use Them to Make Babies.

Jay said...

But I like the analogy.

I know, mainly because you don't know how preposterous it sounds because you don't know much about religion.

betamax3000 said...

Fertile Immigrant Robot says:

If I was on One Side of a Border Fence and My Wife was on the Other Side, We Would Find a Hole Somewhere in that Fence, and We Would Make Babies.

C Stanley said...

Jay I disagree. It's actually less prepoterous if you understand theology because anything that separates us from knowing God, or choosing our will over His, is bad, and there's less hierarchy among those bad things than if you take a purely rational or utilitarian view of morality.

Henry said...

I know, mainly because you don't know how preposterous it sounds because you don't know much about religion.

You mean like stoning adultresses?

Jay said...

But I like the analogy.

There is no analogy.

Jesus, not Moses, said:
but from the beginning it was not so.

I'm sorry you can't understand all these words, nor the difference between the time of Moses, dispensation of Sin in the Old Covenant, but when you talk about religion it is frankly embarrassing.

virgil xenophon said...

Fertile Immigrant Robot have Heap Big fertile imagination. Unfortunately FIR is channeling the truth.
As Mao said, political power comes out of a barrel, but it actually comes from a far more pliant and flexible tube & orifice than that of a gun..

Henry said...

The point of the analogy is to highlight the latent evil and folly in the human condition. Unless you want to get all Deuteronomy on them, you have to face the incapacity of law or moral suasion to force people into line.

The opportunity offered right-to-life proponents by the issue of late-term abortions is the clarity it offers.

And yet the miscreants persist.

Jay said...

I don't think that American's hearts are "hard" in this day age.

C Stanley said...

I think K Parker has a point. I think this is probably a stage that we're going through, where women on the right in politics want to proudly display their motherhood and women on the left are forced to defensively display

Eventually there will be an end to this phase and liberal women will boldly proclaim that they chose to abort because they had higher ambitions, and liberal voters will embrace them for it.

C Stanley said...

I'm sorry you can't understand all these words, nor the difference between the time of Moses, dispensation of Sin in the Old Covenant, but when you talk about religion it is frankly embarrassing.


Ok, now I see your point Jay....but I think arguably one could agree that secular law is and will always be more like the OT religious law, albeit with "Enlightenment" values. Men cannot accept God's law, without God.

betamax3000 said...

Fertile Immigrant Robot says:

When I Told My American Boss that My Wife Was Pregnant Again He Laughed and Asked Me if I Was Trying To Have Enough Kids to Make a BasketBall Team.

Americans.

Basketball Team, No: Soccer, Yes.

edutcher said...

All Miss Sarah did was emphasize the point that Brother Jeb may not be the smart brother, after all.

Pelosi Galore once again showed she's either as big a hypocrite or a lunatic as that other "Catholic" Democrat, Shotgun Joe.

Renee said...

"I know everyone has to say that abortion is murder again, but that opinion is very well-known, and I would like to open up some new lines of discussion."

But at times it feels like we do have to repeat ourselves...

As a woman, I'm sick of the Obama administration and Niki Tsongas, my representative in Congress speaking as if I don't care about women's health. Pro-life women care about women's health. So whenever abortion comes out, the issue is framed that we hate women. No we don't hate ourselves.

Here is the email I received today from Organizing from America

"Meet Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona congressman who introduced a House bill last week that would fly in the face of Roe v. Wade and effectively ban abortions after 20 weeks.

Rep. Franks isn't a doctor, a priest, or a person who could be in the position to consider an abortion himself. But he thinks he should be making the calls on American women's decisions about their own health care.

What's terrifying is that his bill passed the House today -- just a few hours ago.

This is where OFA supporters who care about women's health step in...."

"Last month, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a budget that strips funding from Planned Parenthood -- which for some women is their only option for preventive care like pap smears and mammograms. "

----------

You can get a pap smear from your primary, as well as an order for a mammogram to be done at your local hospital. You need to see a doctor that is affiliated with a hospital to get an mammogram. How come they didn't bring up abortions, when they mentioned Planned Parenthood funding, but did when they reference the Catholic Church?

There are plenty of places you can get a pap smear or a mammogram, but Planned Parenthood is usually the only place you can get an abortion.

Sister Helen Prejean was on the Rachel Maddow Show last night, so liberals don't mind blending religion with public policy when they agree with it.

betamax3000 said...

Fertile Immigrant Robot says:

My Wife and I did Not Have Twins this Last Time. I Must Work Harder at Making Babies.

Saint Croix said...

"the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."

With this bit of poetry in the middle of an abortion opinion, the Court seems to suggest that reality is not real. The universe is not real. There is no actual human life that we have to respect. There is no universe whose laws we have to obey. As human beings, we have authority to define reality and define the universe. In fact, each human being has an independent authority to define reality and define the universe.

The Supreme Court in Casey is bringing Justice Blackmun’s secret memo to life. It’s all arbitrary, really. You say baby, I say tissue. Baby! Tissue! And whatever we say is right. Specifically, whatever mom decides is right. Mom has been given an awe-inspiring power to turn tissue into baby and baby into tissue. She can go back and forth in her mind, and the baby’s reality shifts with her. The Supreme Court recognizes this and applauds it.

I call this “poetry” because it suggests we are an author, a creator. But in human reproduction, we are not creating a book or a play or a movie. We are creating a human life. And as the creator of human life, we apparently get to determine what it is. We get to say “it’s a baby” and it’s a baby. We get to say, “it’s nothing,” and it’s nothing. Like any writer, we can kill off characters we don’t like. “No, no, I don’t think Jane should be pregnant in the third act. Let’s erase that.”

The Supreme Court is describing the heart of liberty as a right to play God. You get to decide if somebody else is alive or not alive. There is no reality, no universe, outside of your own will. Your will is all, and you can remake the universe according to your will. You define what the universe is to be.

There is a danger, a hubris, in playing God. Because we are not God. We do not have a power to redefine the universe. An abortion does not turn back any clock. You are not undoing a pregnancy, you are stopping one. If this baby is alive, you are stopping a life.

This is not to say a “baby” in the womb is a baby. Maybe it is not. Maybe pro-lifers are wrong. But it is to say that the answer to this question is outside of our will. We cannot will a frog into a baby or a baby into a frog. There is an objective reality--a scientific universe--outside of our will.

YoungHegelian said...

@virgil,

As Mao said, political power comes out of a barrel, but it actually comes from a far more pliant and flexible tube & orifice than that of a gun..

Actually, virgil, Eldridge Cleaver said exactly the same paraphrase of Mao about the role of black women in the creation of black power, but he said it in a characteristically rude manner which I will not repeat here.

traditionalguy said...

Cultures that were recently farming lands (all of the world in man's memory before the 1900s and 90% of it today) values women highly for their procreation ability. Intellectual women is an anomalous thought in those cultures.

Which is what makes Madison, Wisconsin such a special place.

Texans have always relied on more fertile Texans that lived there under Spanish and Roman Catholic government before the Scots-Irish Sam Houston and his Tennessee friends took it from them.

traditionalguy said...

It is very interesting that every one has suddenly Marc Steyn's 10 year old thesis that birth rate determines the winners in the world 20 short years down the road.

The key thought about demgraphics is that overall ethnic population percentages are of little importance. What is very important is the 18 to 23 year olds population segments as ethnic percentages.

They start and fight the wars.

Ann Althouse said...

WI call this “poetry” because it suggests we are an author, a creator."

No, it says freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of belief.

These are basic American values about the autonomy of the individual. Who decides?

You could control people a lot more to limit sin, but the American idea is that the individual gets to choose what to believe, even to believe things that are untrue and to act even when it is foolish.

There are still laws to protect people from hurting others, and in the case of abortion, we have the unique problem of trying to decide when there is an "other" to be protected.

The abortion cases recognize that the decision belongs to the woman prior to viability, because it's seen as too difficult to answer the question and someone must decide.

You can think this is wrong, but you are wrong to characterize what the Court has said the way you do. You're not able to reach people who do support abortion rights if you insist on repeating mischaracterizations of the legal opinion.

Saint Croix said...

A major, major problem with the left and abortion is their inability to discuss the procedure honestly and openly.

Abortion is a surgery. It's a surgery the doctor will be doing blind, without being able to see what is inside your uterus, unless he uses an ultrasound, which feminists have unhelpfully described as a "rape."

Abortion is a surgery that may increase your risk for breast cancer later in life, and increase your risk in your next pregnancy. You are more likely to suffer a premature delivery after an abortion, more likely to be infertile. Your risk of suicide and depression increases dramatically.

And in many cases you have killed a baby. The state and state-run media will help you hide the body. But American citizens, who have a right to speak freely, will remind you of the infanticide for the rest of your life. Indeed, having a child--or seeing a child--will remind you of the baby you terminated.

In short, modern day liberalism is a very bad religion, a shallow and superficial and stupid religion. And Casey is the most explicit example of indoctrination in this shallow and stupid religion. And like any shallow and stupid religion, there is a great deal of lying about reality, and covering up the truth.

Simple question for liberals. Why are there no abortion photographs in the media? Why do we not see an abortion at 6 weeks, at 10 weeks, at 14 weeks, at 22 weeks? You say it's a right thing to do, and it's not infanticide. Okay. Let's look at the photographs then. Show us what we are talking about.

Instead we have Justices violating their judicial oath, doctors violating their Hippocratic oath, and journalists acting like the New York Times covering up Stalin's crimes. For the hubris of writing Casey, Kennedy, O'Connor, and Souter were all forced to participate in Carhart.

It's time for liberals to stop talking about the mystery of the universe and talk about the subject at hand.

AJ Lynch said...

Kathleen Parker never seems to notice when a dumb Dems put their foot in their mouth. But Parker will tell you she is a conservative.

Ann Althouse said...

Can you pro-lifers see why abortion rights supporters don't want to talk to you?

I can understand Pelosi's exasperation.

You're so sure you know something, and it's so vital and important to say it again and again. Even when you are invited to a place where there are things we could talk about by someone who's being very respectful toward your ideas, you insist on saying things the same way over and over again and disrespecting anyone who tries to seriously engage with you.

And then you'll probably turn around and insult Islamists for the way they doggedly stick to the precepts they are so sure of.

rhhardin said...

You don't have to make it a matter of religious belief at all.

Through the miracle of language, you already believe that a fetus is not a person, usage says that a fetus is not a person, and that birth is the bright line where that changes.

Religion can intrude on that, with sort of a theoretical dogma, that the soul must be a thing and owing to no obvious bright line that the soul must be a property of a fetus because it has one when it comes out.

As if langauge never uses markers, but every noun must refer to a thing.

I put it down to religion and diagramming sentences.

An unborn puppy has a soul if you're cleaning up the house to puppy-proof in preparation for it. Soul is about relations to others, and for quite a while the adults are the ones stabilizing the language.

An unwelcome puppy, and unwelcome fetus, does not.

People look in the wrong place when a noun comes up.

It's how a fetus can have a soul or not, depending on the parents.

Usage.

C Stanley said...

The abortion cases recognize that the decision belongs to the woman prior to viability, because it's seen as too difficult to answer the question and someone must decide.

I raised an objection to this in one of the other posts. Isn't the decision to let the decision rest with the pregnant women actually the worst possible way to resolve this? After all, if I understood you correctly in that post, you were comparing it to murders where the law recognizes that people might mistakenly kill others in what they believe to be self defense. How in the heck can you justify placing such a weighty decision for the personhood of a whole class of humans on the faulty decisonmaking of those who are in an emotionally frail state? Add to that our culture which emphasizes women's need to get higher education and embark on careers in order to have social value, and the deranged notions promoted by dfeminists that pregnancy is a scary disease, and it's no wonder so many women choose to abort.

AJ Lynch said...

Betamax 3000 is on fire today!

C Stanley said...

When prolifers find the need to reiterate that abortion is murder, what we are saying is that we can't engage the point you are making because it ignores the central fact of abortion.

Please tell us how to say that respectfully.

Renee said...

"It's how a fetus can have a soul or not, depending on the parents."

Is there any scientific proof we have souls?

Souls are a belief. I doubt most atheists think of themselves as 'soulless' though.

Renee said...

@Saint Croix

"Abortion is a surgery that may increase your risk for breast cancer later in life...."

The OganizingForAmerica, Obama's political organization says you are lying.

From the email I recieved

"And Ohio's Republican state legislature is considering a bill that would require doctors to tell their patients about a link between abortions and breast cancer -- something that science doesn't agree with."

Saint Croix said...

You could control people a lot more to limit sin

I'm not concerned about sin in this context. I'm concerned about infanticide.

the American idea is that the individual gets to choose what to believe, even to believe things that are untrue and to act even when it is foolish.

Abortion is a very bad fit in the First Amendment, which is why the Supreme Court has never even attempted to place it there.

There are still laws to protect people from hurting others

The Supreme Court continues to define unborn babies as sub-human property. You deny this, but it's true.

in the case of abortion, we have the unique problem of trying to decide when there is an "other" to be protected.

You only have that choice because the Supreme Court first defined the baby as sub-human property. Now you are free to create a baby in your mind, or deny a baby in your mind. The baby's reality is ignored, because the Supreme Court deems her life unimportant (and, in fact, defines it out of existence).

you are wrong to characterize what the Court has said the way you do.

I speak the truth as I see it. There are tens of millions of pro-lifers, Althouse, and we all seem to be saying the same thing.

You're not able to reach people who do support abortion rights if you insist on repeating mischaracterizations of the legal opinion.

The fact that the Supreme Court has defined the baby as a legal non-person is universally recognized by law professors everywhere, and is explicitly stated in Roe v. Wade. I say they have defined the baby as "sub-human property," which is the same thing.

Renee said...

@C Stanley

"Add to that our culture which emphasizes women's need to get higher education and embark on careers in order to have social value, and the deranged notions promoted by dfeminists that pregnancy is a scary disease, and it's no wonder so many women choose to abort."

It's scary if no one is willing to help you, even threatening you if you don't abort that they (parents) will stop assisting you in college.

In my family, a few women had babies, unmarried still in school or some combination. But as a family we just helped her and the father out until they graduated and stabilize the situation until then.

Everyone turned out OK.

traditionalguy said...

Freedom is what we offer to Americans. So the female Americans get freedoms too. Female Americans are now in military front line units, so that is that.

The sneaky do gooder Facist Controllers are what we really need freedom from these days. They expect all of our money to be under their control to do mythical good deeds with...even pretending they can control the weather.

But saying 51% voting in a law cannot take away our basic freedoms is a beautiful thought.

Renee said...

"There are still laws to protect people from hurting others"


If you need a bone marrow transplant and I'm a match, but refuse am I hurting you and should I be prosecuted?

Can the law force me, to save your life?

Remember I'm a stranger, not a parent/child relationship.

Which is odd, if I neglect my child's needs to the point of death even though I had not physically killed the child I can be charged for the death.

C Stanley said...

WI call this “poetry” because it suggests we are an author, a creator."

No, it says freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of belief.



Freedom of conscience and belief don't extend so far as to suspend the laws of nature. There is an actual clump of human tissue present in the uterus, with DNA unique to a new individual human being, which will grow into a fully formed adult human unless natural death occurs OR another human ends the being's life. Those are the facts.

These are basic American values about the autonomy of the individual. Who decides?

who decides really is the crux of it. In what other situation involving human life or death do we say that society can't decide, but instead one individual has the power to choose the life or death of another individual?

If society decides that this is to be a unique exception, due to the unique status of the humans in question, at least it ought to be framed that way. Frankly, that would not only force women perhaps to see the act differently (that they are performing a killing) but also force us as a society to admit that we default to this because we feel guilty about the burden on individual women but don't want to do more to assist with the burden.

rhhardin said...

Renee asks Is there any scientific proof we have souls?

Souls are a belief. I doubt most atheists think of themselves as 'soulless' though.


Yes. The whole thing can be settled with this unlikely word.

A passage in Cavell has the key, which even he fails to pick up on in his discussion of abortion. (paragraph with Henley and Shaw in it)

As far as usage goes, soul marks our relation to others.

Check it out in all the natural examples you can think of, of having a soul or not having a soul.

Religion theorizes it into dogma as a thing, which is handy but unenlightening when the question of soul comes up and it's used as something other than a marker.

Take even religious expressions with soul as marking relations to others.

May his soul rest in peace.

That translates very nicely and appropriately.

Baron Zemo said...

Ann Althouse said...

Can you pro-lifers see why abortion rights supporters don't want to talk to you?


Abortion rights supporters are only interested in having abortions. There is nothing you can say or do to change their mind.

The only way to change the law is to have enough people who believe that killing babies is an abomination. God willing some day that will happen. Perhaps there will be a backlash when the government starts mandating abortions like they do in China.

Baron Zemo said...

It is especially distrustful when the devil quotes Scripture.

Saint Croix said...

You're so sure you know something, and it's so vital and important to say it again and again.

Althouse, you bring up the subject. Again and again and again. I am missing work to speak with you on this.

Even when you are invited to a place where there are things we could talk about by someone who's being very respectful toward your ideas

You are very respectful and polite. Not always to other people! But to me you have been. I don't know why you've been so nice to me. I guess because I'm sincere and I'm upset.

you insist on saying things the same way over and over again and disrespecting anyone who tries to seriously engage with you.

Yes. And abortion doctors have been shot. And an abortion doctor was convicted for murder for killing babies. This subject upsets people horribly. Quoting the dreamy rhetoric of Casey might sound good, like a speech. I'm sure the authors of Casey thought they were resolving the issue.

It didn't turn out that way.

I sincerely like you, Althouse, and I mean no disrespect.

C Stanley said...

@Renee- yes, did you see Penelope Trunk's article? What she descibes about the pressure she felt from everyone she loved and trusted, is sickening to me. It is what I have always assumed happens in a lot, or even most, cases. I can't prove that of course, but i think for as many women to be choosing this as we know there are, there HAS to be a strong force in society that is pushing against their moral and biological instincts to protect life.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

Can you pro-lifers see why abortion rights supporters don't want to talk to you?

Because they know all their euphemisms and doublespeak won't be tolerated?

Because "abortion rights" is an oxymoron?

Because they know they're killing a person?

rhhardin said...

Consider phlogiston, the cause of fire.

Fire is caused, but not by phlogiston.

An investigation into phlogiston doesn't get you anywhere.

It's worse if half the people believe in phlogiston and half don't.

The enlightening explanations are found completely elsewhere than belief, for example chemistry or physics or fire safety brochures.

Dante said...

Jeb Bush: We need more babies. Let's import peasants.

Sarah Palin: We can make our own babies.

Kathleen Parker: Sarah Palin is so, so, Wrong! I'm going to mock her for discussing the role of women in the reproductive cycle.

Paddy O said...

"because you don't know much about religion"

Very few people know much about religion. A lot of people know about their own experiences with religion. And some, like Althouse, also know the political and legal aspects.

Indeed, one of the reasons I've stayed around Althouse these years is because she brings an inquisitive insight to religious questions in our society and has always treated the religious question with the sort of respect that I think the Founders had. Which means I think that Althouse really gets religion in America, seeing it as part of our shared identity, more than most.

She also brings a very common religious approach in her own experiences, which allows her to be a very informed representative of many people's perspective--which is respect-filled yet involves personal distance from organized religion.

Paddy O said...

"Abortion rights supporters are only interested in having abortions."

This. And oftentimes making sure the "less desirables" have plenty of access to the same.

Bob Ellison said...

I will try to use "hotamighty" as an interjection henceforth.

Hotamighty, that's a fluffy cat!

I don't know, son, but hotamighty, it probably goes pretty fast.

By the thunder of Grivdon, I call upon the demons of Happle to defeat thee! Hotamighty!

Jay said...

Ann Althouse said...

Can you pro-lifers see why abortion rights supporters don't want to talk to you?


Who cares?

I'm not at all interested in what people who lie to themselves and others about the nature of abortion have to say.

Baron Zemo said...

"personal distance from organized religion"

Good point. Some people should keep their distance from organized religion. Because their personal philosophy and beliefs are totally outside the doctrines and beliefs of the faithful.

That is why people like Pelosi and Cuomo and all the rest of the pretend Catholics who push the abortion agenda should be denied the rites and even membership in the Catholic Church in a public and clear way that brooks no misunderstanding.

I remember when the Church refused to bury a Mafia hit man with the rites of the church because he had supposedly killed about 20 people.
Pelosi and Cuomo are responsible for the deaths of millions.

Baron Zemo said...

Andy Cuomo pushed a radical abortion bill simply to establish his bona fides as a radical advocate of abortion.

He is beyond redemption.

Dante said...
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EMD said...

Parker used the laborious pun "womb-manhood" for that, she should be excoriated.



Bender said...

I remember when the Church refused to bury a Mafia hit man with the rites of the church because he had supposedly killed about 20 people.

Baron, that's just an opinion that 20 "people" were "killed." Besides, let's move on -- such opinions are very well-known, and we would like to open up some new lines of discussion.

Bob Ellison said...

Jay said...
Ann Althouse said...

Can you pro-lifers see why abortion rights supporters don't want to talk to you?

Who cares?

I'm not at all interested in what people who lie to themselves and others about the nature of abortion have to say.


I heard a bit of Rush Limbaugh yesterday. He was talking to a caller named Jesse (sp?) who claimed to be a centrist who listens to both sides all the time. Limbaugh said that was wrong; the left is wrong 99 times out of 100.

Most people, I think, do not adhere to principles. They think the right position is somewhere in the middle, always. Somewhere between the murderer and the victim is the bullet, and they want to find that bullet. They're happy if they feel vindicated by public opinion.

El Pollo Raylan said...

traditionalguy said...
Cultures that were recently farming lands (all of the world in man's memory before the 1900s and 90% of it today) values women highly for their procreation ability. Intellectual women is an anomalous thought in those cultures.

Which is what makes Madison, Wisconsin such a special place.


Madison was built on cleared forest and drained swamp and sold as a speculation. Native Americans didn't particularly revere its now hallowed ground and hollowed ideas either. Sure, they left a few sacred burial grounds behind but for them it was a merely a stop along a trail and a place to fish without bicycles. The fecundity of Dane County always resided in the surrounding lands and still does.

C Stanley said...

"Abortion rights supporters are only interested in having abortions."

And for the men, making sure that they can push the decision off on women. It's a win-win for men who don't want to take responsibility for making babies.

elkh1 said...

Parker is a sick jealous bitch.

Methadras said...

Hotamighty just sounds folksy and that's why it was fabricated. Also, Nanci Pelosi is about as Catholic as Jesus as a Muslim.

Baron Zemo said...

It is fine to open new lines of discussion if you just want to steer the discussion away from the truth.

Abortion is an wrong. Evil. Those who support and facilitate it are both.

Of course bluntly stating the truth is something that we should move away from or delete. Let's open up a new line of discussion.

Hey that Lebron James is great doncha think! I wonder how many abortions he has paid for?

Methadras said...

Bob Ellison said...

Most people, I think, do not adhere to principles. They think the right position is somewhere in the middle, always. Somewhere between the murderer and the victim is the bullet, and they want to find that bullet. They're happy if they feel vindicated by public opinion.


It stems from the stupid notion of the three truths: My truth, your truth and the real truth somewhere in the middle. Idiocy.

El Pollo Raylan said...

Abortion rights supporters are only interested in having abortions. There is nothing you can say or do to change their mind.

I think they're much more interested in a kind of absolution which people cannot give. Failing that, they seek to subvert authority and deny opprobrium. We see it in many many other moral conflicts as well.

Baron Zemo said...

I mean Lebron is not Antonio Cromartie with 10 kids from 8 baby mamas.

Antonio does not believe in abortion.

I bet Lebron has a house account with Planned Parenthood.

edutcher said...

Baron Zemo said...

Andy Cuomo pushed a radical abortion bill simply to establish his bona fides as a radical advocate of abortion.

He is beyond redemption.


No, but the flaming sword Constantine saw is going to have to stick him in the ass.

Baron Zemo said...

Unless Lebron likes dudes.

Hey maybe he can get gay married and become a national hero.

That's the ticket.

ricpic said...

I doubt invite-Mexico-in-Bush felt awkward about his declaration of Mexican fertility superiority to those *ugh* natives. The contempt in which the ruling class holds the country class is now nakedly on display. A new peasant people is all but inevitable and the would be feudal lords are getting bolder and bolder.

ricpic said...

Althouse can't deny the deleterious results of abortion, both physical and mental, so she calls pro-lifers "so sure you know something" that it infuriates her and the other thoughtful reasonable abortion pushers. It's a FACT that abortion has negative physical and mental effects. It's a KNOWN KNOWN.

Ann Althouse said...

@Paddy O

Thanks.

Henry said...

Is it possible to add any wrinkle of doubt or complexity to the pro-life position?

Consider the number of embryos and fetuses that are spontaneously aborted. The rate of spontaneous abortion is well over 10%. It may be over 40% for woman over 40. Around 900,000 pregnancies spontaneously terminate each year.

If you think of every fertilized egg as a human, than this is truly a holocaust.

Do we as a society mourn for these million the same way we would if they were small children struck down by natural calamity -- disaster or epidemic?

Do individuals respond to the unplanned failure of a pregnancy -- wrenching as it may be -- with the same grief as the death of a child?

Do religious institutions perform rites for the lost? Are their souls incorporated into a theology?

If not, why not?

My argument is that almost all of us do make an emotional distinction between the born and the unborn especially when the unborn are early in gestation.

Perhaps this visceral distinction represents a failure of moral imagination. Perhaps we should force ourselves to mourn more deeply. Or, perhaps, it represents a moral reality -- that the qualitative physical difference between a first trimester fetus and a newborn baby maps to a moral difference in their personhood as well.

Let me anticipate a counter argument: that abortion is different because of the culpability of the mother and the abortionist. That does create a different moral situation, but it doesn't change the terms of life and death, however you apply them to the unborn. The death of a child isn't made more palatable just because the cause was accident rather than murder.

Baron Zemo said...

There is a big difference between a miscarriage and a abortion. One is natural and the other is the overt act designed to take a life.

Miscarriages are mourned by the people who go through them. I know many people who had already named the child and pray for it's soul even at the three month level.

wwww said...
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C Stanley said...

@Henry, the difference is the same as the difference between any other death from natural causes and deaths caused by malice or negligence. We can see the tragedy in all of those circumstances and mourn the dead, but only the deaths caused by man bring morality and the law into play.

And yes, some religions do in fact perform rites and encourage prayer and mourning for the souls of those who die before birth. An old Catholic dogmatic belief was that these souls are in Limbo. Many Catholics, and I presume other religious, mourn babies after miscarriages. If you are unfortunate enough to be a politician who shares an intimate story about that, you get mocked (Rick Santorum.) Perhaps that mocking is why you don't hear more about these practices.

Renee said...

"Consider the number of embryos and fetuses that are spontaneously aborted. The rate of spontaneous abortion is well over 10%. It may be over 40% for woman over 40. Around 900,000 pregnancies spontaneously terminate each year."

Miscarriage is a natural death for the fetus, for whatever natural reason. We all die, one way or the other. Geesh...

Henry said...

There is a big difference between a miscarriage and a abortion. One is natural and the other is the overt act designed to take a life.

In either case the life is still taken.

Miscarriages are mourned by the people who go through them. I know many people who had already named the child and pray for it's soul even at the three month level.

That is true. But when we talk about law, we aren't talking about how individuals choose to express their belief. We are talking about how all people are forced to behave.

The easy case is the later term fetus. I don't see how anyone can advocate abortion for a baby that is viable outside of the womb.

But I'm not sure the easy case supports an absolutist position for all cases, up to the point of conception (and why stop there?).

You mention three months. But what about three weeks? At three weeks, many people will still be avoiding announcing the pregnancy. They know that the chance of miscarriage is still relatively high. There is an evolving change in mindset that accompanies the successful progress of the pregnancy.

Curious George said...

"Ann Althouse said...
Can you pro-lifers see why abortion rights supporters don't want to talk to you?

I can understand Pelosi's exasperation.

You're so sure you know something, and it's so vital and important to say it again and again. Even when you are invited to a place where there are things we could talk about by someone who's being very respectful toward your ideas, you insist on saying things the same way over and over again and disrespecting anyone who tries to seriously engage with you.

And then you'll probably turn around and insult Islamists for the way they doggedly stick to the precepts they are so sure of."

What a steaming fucking pile.

Bender said...

But what about three weeks?

What about three weeks?

Whether everyone in the world mourns over the death of child three weeks in utero, or whether no one gives a damn, is entirely irrelevant to the scientific fact that such child is a living human being.

Let's just stick to biological science.

Baron Zemo said...

Henry said....
The easy case is the later term fetus. I don't see how anyone can advocate abortion for a baby that is viable outside of the womb.


Well tell that to Obama who signed on to the bill that allowed abortionists to kill a baby that lived after a botched abortion.

Or Andy Cuomo whose new bill allows people who are not doctors to perform abortions and decide to let a baby that was born alive die because of the mothers "mental health."

When you think about it they truly are monsters.

But we musn't think about it. Or talk about it. It's boring to restate that. We need to not keep repeating it. Let's find new areas to discuss.

Yep that's the ticket. Let's turn away.

Bender said...

And, just as emotions are irrelevant, neither is whether the entity in the womb is a living human being a matter of opinion.

Isn't it bad enough to be morally obtuse, must you pro-aborts also be ignorant of scientific fact?

C Stanley said...

Henry, you are making much over the fact that people vary in how much they value babies at different stages.

Do we consider that when talking about homicide of people after birth? If someone isn't able to contribute to society, or isn't loved, is it legitimate to snuff him out?

I'd say those are all cases where the state has a legitimate interest in protecting life, when there isn't a lot of sympathy for that person.

So consider- many early embryonic human beings die of natural causes. Well, so do many elderly human beings. So do many with incurable diseases.

Many early embryonic human beings aren't loved or wanted. Well, neither are many babies born into poverty or drug infested homes. Neither are many elderly. Neither are many vagrants.

If we don't condone killing of the born in those cases, then how can those standards justify it for the unborn?

I Callahan said...

There is a big difference between a murder and a death from heart attack. One is natural and the other is the overt act designed to take a life.

Then Henry says

In either case the life is still taken.

I fixed the first paragraph. Are you still willing to conflate the two and say the two should be treated the same?

Trudy said...

Henry asks

"Do individuals respond to the unplanned failure of a pregnancy -- wrenching as it may be -- with the same grief as the death of a child?"

Yes, I lost a child at two months gestation, and there was wrenching & lasting grief. It is very hard to have never held, never seen, and never heard your child.

I have a friend whose child died in an accident. She has memories and photos - she had time to enjoy her child.

Can you compare our sense of loss? Can it shed any light on anything?

Is this not another negative consequence of abortion, that the grief of those suffering a miscarriage must be judged as a lesser grief?

Trudy

Bender said...

If no one mourns for Henry when he goes, does that mean he was never really alive in the first place?

If more people are upset when Bob dies than when Tom dies, does that make Tom less human?

It is precisely the unwanted and most vulnerable who are most in need of the protection of the law.

Henry said...

Renee wrote: Miscarriage is a natural death for the fetus, for whatever natural reason. We all die, one way or the other. Geesh...

My goodness, you are awfully cavalier about death.

Actually I acknowledge the truth of your proposition. We do all die, one way or the other.

But consider expressing that sentiment not about miscarriage, but about childhood leukemia. Is there a distinction in your mind? Why?

This is the point I'm after: that as a society and as individuals we really do feel differently about early-term fetuses than live babies. If you assert that human life & personhood begins at conception, you have to square that belief with way you feel about the death of a baby via natural miscarriage.

Henry said...

@Trudy -- My condolences. I'm not trying to trivialize or lessen your grief. I have three children. I can't imagine the horror of losing one. My wife miscarried once. It was a wrenching experience, but, at least for me, it doesn't compare to even the thought of losing a child.

C Stanley said...

Henry, as humans we get attached and form bonds with other people as we spend time with them. We don't have an opportunity to form the same kind of bond with a baby if it dies in the womb, as we do when we have a child that we are raising (or in the case of imagining the loss by parents who have a child with a terminal illness.) it becomes less of an abstraction- instead of just any child, it is a particular child with that cute lock of hair that always falls in her eyes, or that adorable giggle, or the desire to be a firefighter.

Can't you see though that these emotional attachments can't be the basis for the law?

Renee said...

@ Henry

I think there may be a better way of making your point. True most miscarriages happen within the 1st trimester, as the embryo develops dramatically. This is when something that will mostly likely something may develop wrongly, and the embryo/fetus dies.

Anyone familiar with this, knows not to tell someone you're pregnant unless you have then tell them you miscarried. And if they have a big mouth, well.... what a mess.

This is why women should wait.

Not to say we keep our distance from bonding with the pregnancy, but it is a known fact that most women are aware of. Because once you know you are pregnant, you find out the due date and pretty much everything revolves around 'that date' for the weeks you were pregnant, before you miscarried.

Inga said...
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Inga said...

"Abortion rights supporters are only interested in having abortions."
-------------------
"And for the men, making sure that they can push the decision off on women. It's a win-win for men who don't want to take responsibility for making babies."

6/19/13, 10:43 AM

There are plenty of people who are abortion rights supporters who have never had nor ever would have an abortion themselves. People who think pushing one's religious beliefs on the non religious should be legal.

A legal abortion right by the 20th week or even the first trimester still gives a woman, an American, who lives in a Democracy or Republic, whatever you choose to call it, a choice in what she may do with her own body. How can we deny this right? Does anyone really understand the societal implications of millions of unwanted babies being born?

Give the unborn baby rights as a human being and an American after it has sufficient brain activity to feel pain. We can't continue this abortion argument year after year without legally defining when human life begins.

Inga said...

*People who push their religious beliefs on the non religious are mixing their religion into the political, using it to control others.*

C Stanley said...

Inga, you are right that my comment (the second one you quoted) was an overgeneralization. I was trying to make the point though, that legalization and increasing acceptance of the idea that it should be only the woman's decision, is very convenient for some men. They get to walk away from the responsibility of a pregnancy and delude themselves that they are being magnanimous in doing so.

In this way, the feminists' backing of abortion rights makes the burden of pregnancy greater on women instead of lesser- but they also delude themselves that abortion relieves the burden.

Phil said...

I think Prince wrote a song about women who could flex their womb-manhood.

Saint Croix said...

Is it possible to add any wrinkle of doubt or complexity to the pro-life position?

Of course! For instance, I have never said that life begins at conception. I think, as a legal matter, a baby's life begins with the onset of brain activity in her brain stem. I think brain activity is important because all 50 states have agreed its important. We have laws on the books in regard to when people die.

A state is free to change its death statutes, and thus free to change the point when abortion kills a baby.

The point I am dogmatic on is that a state cannot allow abortion if it would kill a baby under the state's own rules about when people die.

I also insist that a person, legally, is a "live human being." Thus the life-death question is paramount.

Phil said...

I think Prince wrote a song about women who could flex their womb-manhood.

El Pollo Raylan said...

C Stanley wrote: In this way, the feminists' backing of abortion rights makes the burden of pregnancy greater on women instead of lesser- but they also delude themselves that abortion relieves the burden.

A Wombman's Burden:

A man may shirk from son to son
but a wombman's shirk is never undone.

damikesc said...

You're so sure you know something, and it's so vital and important to say it again and again. Even when you are invited to a place where there are things we could talk about by someone who's being very respectful toward your ideas, you insist on saying things the same way over and over again and disrespecting anyone who tries to seriously engage with you.

Professor, let's say one of your students was an ardent Nazi.

Bought into it totally.

How much would you be willing to tone down your rhetoric to listen to their beliefs? If they started to discuss how the Jews did all of these horrendous things, or how horrible gays were, etc --- would you sit there and try to reason with them?

Pro-lifers are willing to negotiate. I don't see any pro-lifers calling for a banning of abortion.

Meanwhile, we see pro-choicers going to the mat to fight banning procedures that simply ARE infanticide by any rational measure.

At a certain point, there is right and wrong. It is not a sign of an open mind to treat them as being the same.

Note: Abolitionists thought slavery supporters were exasperating to talk to. And, ironically, the political parties in that dispute at the end are the same ones opposing and supporting abortion.

We can't continue this abortion argument year after year without legally defining when human life begins.

Pro lifers have no issue with some determination of when life begins.

Pro abortion folks --- not as interested.

Saint Croix said...

The dogmatic pro-life position came into being, by the way, because of Roe v. Wade. Texas had a nuanced view of abortion. It's kinda like murder and it's kinda like birth control. So Texas defined it as a crime worth 5 years in jail. 10 years if the woman did not consent to the abortion. And no punishment for the woman, only the doctor (or non-doctor, as the case may be).

The Supreme Court took this nuance and used it to dehumanize the child altogether. I paraphrase: "Because of your discrimination against the unborn child, we are finding the baby a legal non-person who has no right to life."

Now one can imagine a Texas law that had different penalties for the killing of black people and the killing of white people. And one can imagine the Supreme Court's reaction to that!

But instead of being outraged by this dehumanization, the Supreme Court constitutionalized it. The legal upshot is that no state is allowed to treat abortion as a homicide. It can't be murder. It can't be manslaughter.

A nuanced Supreme Court might have asked Texas to bring its homicide, abortion, and death statutes into alignment if it wants to protect the baby's life. Instead the Supreme Court defined the baby's life as irrelevant. And thus a pro-life movement was born.

(Actually, there was a pro-life movement before Roe, but it took gigantic steps forward after the Supreme Court's dogmatic and extreme step of using state discrimination to define the baby as sub-human property.

damikesc said...

This situation is why I hope gay marriage is passed by legislation and not by judicial fiat.

Nothing insures an issue remains a constant problem quite like a court shutting down all debate.

Baron Zemo said...

When pro abortion people tell you they are willing to put some limits on abortion they are simply lying.

There will never be any meaningful limits such as it being banned when the baby is viable because they will never vote for it or for politicians who would support it.

For crying out loud the President signed on to a bill that would allow a doctor to let a baby who survived a botched abortion die in pain and degradation.

If he took a different turn in his life an actually studied when he went to school he could easily have become Kermit Gosnell.

Andy Cuomo will even let people who are not doctors commit these atrocities to secure a woman's "mental health."

Abortion rights supporters are absolutists. For them it is all or nothing. They have never, ever supported any meaningful restriction on abortion. Not viability. Not banning third trimester abortions. Not nothing.

You can't sorta half-way free a slave.

Crunchy Frog said...

Miscarriages are mourned by the people who go through them. I know many people who had already named the child and pray for it's soul even at the three month level.

Been there, did that (at four months). Then had to suffer the indignity of having the bastards at Blue Cross send us to an abortion clinic for the aftermath.

Tom Vee said...

I think that Ann and the 'loyal opposition' comments about whether or not one can be 'open' to different perspectives on abortion confirm that it is truly an intractable issue.

My personal perspective: I am a father of wonderful children. We also suffered miscarriages and lost a child to SIDS. So I have some experience with the loss of a child, the loss of a fetus and the joy of raising children. I would never suggest that it is possible to universally determine the relative loss felt by me or anyone else from any such loss through legislation or otherwise. There is no appropriate governmental role here.

I have also come to the grudging conclusion that I, as a man, have no right to tell a woman what she can or can't do with her body or with what is in her body before childbirth. Some not insignificant part of me wants to proclaim that, all things being equal, I should have an equal say. But all things aren't equal. It is her body, not mine; it is something (feel free to substitute 'someone') growing in her body, not mine.

The bottom line for me, at least right now, with respect to abortion and many other things is that I DON'T CLAIM TO KNOW WITH 100% CERTAINTY THE RIGHT ANSWER. And my problem with many pro-life advocates (including many in the comments here) is that they claim to have that 100% certainty, even though I expect they acknowledge that humans are entirely fallible in pretty much every other arena.

Having those advocates smugly (or even gently) repeat that they are 100% right and anyone who disagrees is 100% wrong and, likely, evil (all pro-choice people want more abortions? Hardly), does nothing to advance understanding.

Again, maybe there can be no real understanding or bridging of this chasm.

But it seems to me that any area in which there is such an impasse is generally not improved by legislation.

Baron Zemo said...

Tom I respect your opinion and I am sure you are referring to me in your comments. You are of course entitled to your opinions and have more experience then most to shape them.

But here's the thing. Sometimes there is right and there is wrong. Sometimes you need to draw the line.

You don't have to agree. Or respect the other person's opinion. Or listen to what they have to say when they make excuses and justifications and plea bargain's and claims to righteousness. Whether it is religious righteousness or the worship of a feminist sensibility to "control her own body." You just have to decide what side of the line you are standing behind.

In recent days we have seen that real life has aped fiction in ways that we never thought possible. 1984 is here with big brother looking into every aspect of your life. You can think we are heading to the "Handmaids Tale." Or that we are on our way to "Soylent Green."

You know what? Soylent Green is people.

El Pollo Raylan said...

But it seems to me that any area in which there is such an impasse is generally not improved by legislation.

This could easily be turned around into an argument against Obamacare, gun control, the current immigration bill--you name it. All that's required is an impasse.

C Stanley said...

Tom-
I'm an absolutist. For me, it isn't so much that I think I am 100% right, but rather that I don't think the moderate positions make any sense at all and the absolutist abortion rights position is completely reprehensible to me.

damikesc said...

I have also come to the grudging conclusion that I, as a man, have no right to tell a woman what she can or can't do with her body or with what is in her body before childbirth.

So, if she does drugs and the child is born addicted to them --- no penalties at all, huh?

And are you opining that only members of a specific group can pass any laws that impact that specific group?

That seems to be an exceedingly poor idea.

damikesc said...

Also, should we force men to pay child support for kids they don't want?

It's THEIR property that is being taken, after all.

El Pollo Raylan said...

@Tom: Part of the impasse is the intractable position posited here (to cite an easy example). I could add the rhetoric and position of then Senator Obama as counter examples of "100% sure's" on the other side of the impasse. It takes two opposing forces to make an impasse.

Tom Vee said...

Baron Zemo: Thanks for the response. The problem--and I think Ann pretty much nails it--is that your belief on right and wrong in this instance, no matter how deeply felt, is not universally accepted. It may not even be generally accepted. I also accept that what you characterize as the feminist "my body, my decision" belief is not universally accepted. But, isn't "my body, my decision" a more appropriate approach in the light of the impasse? Women who consider all or most abortions to be murder, won't get them. Men who feel the same will (hopefully) only have procreative sex with those women. And the same will be true on the other side of the impasse.

I do think there is room with many for trying to lessen abortions, because even though I don't believe I or the government should have the right to tell any woman that she can't have one, I am not ever happy when one occurs. Providing access to services/options that make it more likely that a woman will choose to carry a baby to term is all good.

However, it is not okay to mandate medically unnecessary procedures--such as vaginal ultrasounds. I think it is incredibly inappropriate for the government to intrude in such an incredibly personal way. I presume it is based on a belief that women are choosing abortion only because they aren't capable of thinking it through themselves and don't realize what they are carrying. To me, that is the definition of patronizing, and I am aware of no research that justifies any such governmental intrusion.

And, yes, I recognize the irony of the liberals who 'worship' at the altar of government only telling it to stay away in this particular instance.

C Stanley said...

How is your solution to the impasse any different than the antebellum solutions to slavery, Tom? The idea that negroes were human (and legally protected persons) wasn't universally accepted.

Should people have not fought to make that idea universally accepted?

Tom Vee said...

C Stanley:

Excellent question, and I struggle to come up with an acceptable, much less excellent, answer.

It is easy, of course, if one is sure of his or her beliefs. If abortion is murder, of course it must be banned. If an abortion ban makes a woman a slave, of course it must not be allowed. And I do agree that both sides contribute to the impasse.

For me, again, the problem is that it is an area where I do not see absolutes but I do see very deeply personal issues (about a woman and her body, about what it means to be a human life, about when it is ever appropriate for the government to intervene on such personal issues where beliefs sharply diverge). And I don't want the government to wade into such murky waters. Heck, Lincoln was willing to avoid those waters with regard to slavery if the South hadn't tried to leave the Union.

EMD said...

You know what? Soylent Green is people.

But it's not human.

El Pollo Raylan said...

For me, again, the problem is that it is an area where I do not see absolutes but I do see very deeply personal issues (about a woman and her body, about what it means to be a human life, about when it is ever appropriate for the government to intervene on such personal issues where beliefs sharply diverge).

Suppose that a woman ingests a small gold bar belonging to another person. Does that gold bar become wholly part of that woman until it comes back out? Snark aside, is it ever possible that something can be inside a woman without it becoming wholly hers?

Tom Vee said...

Ingesting a foreign substance owned by someone else and then retreiving it is not a good analogy in my opinion.

The fetus is not owned by someone else. Half of it is wholly-generated by the woman. All of it is dependent upon the woman. It materially affects the woman throughout and after gestation. Absent some binding legal agreement to the contrary, the woman is legally obligated to care for and raise the child after birth. Those are the facts that lead me to conclude in this murky area that the tie goes to the woman, even though, of course, both the woman and the man should have a say and a continuing role. But often that isn't the reality--sometimes just due to circumstances; sometimes because of the woman; sometimes because of the man.

C Stanley said...

@Tom-
I can understand the gray area that some people see in assigning personhood before birth, so particularly in early gestation I see why some people don't think abortion is murder.

I find it harder to see why women are necessarily enslaved if abortion is prohibited. Do women lack the ability to prevent pregnancy? Only in the case of rape is that generally true.

If the combination of inaccessibility to abortion and patriarchial gender roles in our society previously led to a lack of choice for women, then why do so many people seem to think that women couldn't have been empowered to overcome the latter without resorting to the abortion as a means of liberation? To me, the mindset really was about using the law to try to artificially give women access to the same consequence-free enjoyment of sexuality that men always enjoyed. I don't think that is either possible, in reality, or desirable.

C Stanley said...

I don't think any analogies work very well for abortion. Preganacy is a unique situation. It is not like other health issues, in that it is not a disease state but does carry some risks. The fetus is dependent in the mother in a way that differs from the dependence between any other two human beings. The father and mother both have a potential interest, and are potentially responsible for the life that will emerge from the womb.

So using analogies regarding the conflicting interests is of limited usefulness. I think it's better to look instead at the ways this situation is unique, and then weigh the various interests.

To me, the interest of life of the baby trumps any interest of the mother, except for her own life. That doesn't mean that I don't see the concerns for the mother, just that they don't trump or even tie with another individual's right to life.

Tom Vee said...

To be honest, I am not particularly conversant in feminist theory. However, I do empathize with the perception that they are left 'holding the bundle' so to speak if the man does not voluntarily and permanently accept his share of responsiblity--and I don't think the right to chase through paternity suits and/or child support provides much assurance on that front. And there is the inescapable biological fact that they will have to bear a physical burden through the pregnancy that the man will never share.

I do agree that for some (maybe many) on the pro-choice side there is frustration that a man can--physically at least--just walk away from the issue if there is an unwanted pregnancy, while the woman obviously can't, absent abortion. To me, that is another reason why the tie goes to the woman. If there really was a way to assure that the man would take on a 'fair share' of the responsibility in the event of an unwanted pregnancy (and I have no idea how one would decide what was a 'fair share'), maybe I could be convinced otherwise. But I don't see how you get from here to there in any way that will be palatable to many in this country.


is much more than cold comfort.

Tom Vee said...

"To me, the interest of life of the baby trumps any interest of the mother, except for her own life. That doesn't mean that I don't see the concerns for the mother, just that they don't trump or even tie with another individual's right to life."

I understand that is your position and belief and appreciate the respectful discussion. I also agree it is a unique and thorny area. Intellectually, I could envision a sliding scale of the mother's rights/concerns/exposures balanced against the potential baby's viability, also somehow wrapping in a sharing of the burdens by the father. I also recognize that sounds somewhat like the Roe v. Wade majority opinion.

As I have repeated too much already (so I will stop), it is murky; the real world and the ideal are far apart; it is an incredibly personal issue; it does have deep potential impact throughout society; yet, it doesn't seem to be something that can be neatly resolved empirically. So I am essentially punting to the individual who is closest to the matter, and relying--ultimately--on her to make the call in the final analysis if there is not consensus between her and the potential father, and leaving the government out of it. An ideal solution? No. But all others are to me even more problematic.

C Stanley said...

Tom I understand but to focus on abortion rights is to move backward on getting men to take responsibility. If we give up before trying, of course we won't succeed, and the effect has been morally corrosive for both men and women. Women feel they have to choose abortion, and men feel they have no right to tell them otherwise. It will never get better (we'll never get to fewer abortions, which you've expressed as your moral preference) under these conditions.

I don't have a lot of time to explain how this relates, but I just finished a book called The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Religion and Politics by Jonathan Haidt. It is excellent and I highly recommend it (much more insightful than the usual tropes about why we are polarized) and think it may interest you.

Saint Croix said...

I, as a man, have no right to tell a woman what she can or can't do with her body or with what is in her body before childbirth.

"Honey, I'm going to inject heroin into my body."

"That's fine, baby."

"And after I inject heroin into my body, I'm going to have plastic surgery so that I have three breasts."

"I'm a man. None of my business."

"And then I'm going to have an unlicensed, unregulated abortion by a non-doctor. Because I don't think the state has any business passing safety regulations to protect my body. It's so damn paternalistic. You men ought to be ashamed of yourselves. So what if there's cat shit in the abortion clinic? I want to go to the cheapest abortionist I can find, and I've had it up to here with men treating me like I'm a child or something."

"Right!"

"And then I'm going to work for a sub-minimum wage."

"That's right. Wait a second..."

"I've taken a job for $2 an hour."

"No, no, no!"

"And I'm working in an illegal bakery. 16 hours a day. I love it! We're calling it Lochner Bread. I'm baking with my body, sweetie. It's my body, it's my choice."

Saint Croix said...
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Saint Croix said...

to focus on abortion rights is to move backward on getting men to take responsibility.

Yes, that's exactly right. Roe v. Wade relegates the father to footnote 67. And the baby, of course, is defined out of existence. The upshot is that pregnancy is a "woman's issue," while men get to James Bond their way through life.

Abortion? Or single mom? Those two choices suck. And yet, because of Roe v. Wade, more and more women are forced to make the Supreme Court's awful choice.

(The other choices--the good choices--adoption and marriage, have always been there. Roe just added two really shitty options to the mix).

Saint Croix said...

However, it is not okay to mandate medically unnecessary procedures--such as vaginal ultrasounds.

Is it actually horrifying to require a woman to undergo an ultrasound as a part of a medical procedure? Or is it more horrifying for the doctor to perform an abortion in ignorance, without knowing anything about what’s going on inside the uterus?

At first glance, abortion might seem quite simple as a medical procedure. It’s not brain surgery or a heart transplant. An abortion is not a complicated medical surgery where the doctors are fighting to keep a person alive. All you’re doing is killing a life, and a tiny one at that. While there are ethical issues involved, as a matter of medical technique it seems like abortion would be quite easy for a medical professional to do.

And yet, there are some aspects that make abortion a rather difficult medical procedure. Consider the abortion surgery from the point of view of the doctor. When a woman is pregnant, she has a baby who is inside her uterus. In other words, the doctor cannot actually see the baby as he does the abortion. So immediately we see one problem. The doctor is doing an operation while he can’t see what he is doing. As Dr. Hern writes in Abortion Practice, “Abortion is a blind procedure."

This is one reason why I believe an ultrasound should be required before any abortion. There are medical reasons for doing an ultrasound. It helps inform the doctor. It helps him “see” what is going on inside your uterus.

For instance, an ultrasound before the surgery might be necessary if the doctor feels the need to make a determination if the baby is viable. A doctor might want to confirm how old the baby is. The doctor might also want to see if there are twins, or if anything else is going on inside your uterus that he should know about. An ultrasound is information. It informs medical practice.

Saint Croix said...

One abortion clinic learned the hard way about the importance of an ultrasound. A Planned Parenthood chain in San Francisco was sued by a woman who suffered a botched abortion in one of their clinics. A Yugoslav immigrant, referred to as “J.B.” in court documents, received an abortion, and the doctor did not do an ultrasound. And so neither the doctor nor his patient had any idea that J.B. was actually pregnant with twins.

After the abortion, the doctor counted all the pieces of the baby on the tray, and concluded that the surgery was finished.

Around six weeks later, J.B. returned to the abortion clinic, complaining that her stomach was swollen, and she had morning sickness. At her request, a nurse performed a urine test, and she was surprised to discover that the patient was still pregnant.

This clinic did not perform sonograms, so the doctors referred J.B. to another clinic that did. There she had her first ultrasound, which revealed a second baby, who was still alive. The only problem was, this baby was now missing an arm and a leg. The Planned Parenthood doctor had accidentally dismembered the child.

J.B. had been considering keeping this baby before she had the sonogram. But horrified at what had happened, she felt the need to go ahead and have another abortion.

She filed a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood for the medical mishap. In a trial before San Francisco Superior Court Judge Douglas Munson, the jury awarded J.B. $650,000 for mental anguish, $1,870 in past medical costs, $14,500 for future psychiatric expenses and $6,240 in lost earnings.

Her testimony was so horrifying that three jurors later said they wanted to give her over $1 million.

According to her attorney, Christopher Dolan, J.B. still has severe emotional distress. She cries uncontrollably when she sees children, and is unable to function in a romantic relationship. "She testified on the stand that she hallucinated and saw blood all over her lower legs and pelvic area,” said Mr. Dolan.

I would suggest the trauma that J.B. suffered was due to medical ignorance. The doctor had no idea she was pregnant with twins, because he didn’t do an ultrasound.

So rather than demonize this innocent medical practice, we should require it as part of any abortion. Both the doctor and his patient should have as much information as possible about what is going on insider her uterus.

El Pollo Raylan said...

If you were having a tumor removed wouldn't you want the doctor to have an ultra sound first--no matter which kind was best. Who opposes that?

I think opponents are objecting to medical professionals forcing a women to view the ultrasound because a happy bonding miracle moment might occur.

Baron Zemo said...

Ultimately we all have to answer for our decisions. For what side of the line I stand on.

I know when I face that final judgement that I proud of the side of the line I stand on.

Can you say the same?

Baron Zemo said...
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Saint Croix said...

I said this...

A major, major problem with the left and abortion is their inability to discuss the procedure honestly and openly.

I should make clear that I was not referencing Althouse here. I do not place her on the left, nor do I think she is a socialist. She is a classic old school liberal. As such she believes in free speech, among other things.

Simple question for liberals. Why are there no abortion photographs in the media? Why do we not see an abortion at 6 weeks, at 10 weeks, at 14 weeks, at 22 weeks?

Again, this question is not directed at Althouse, who has published photographs of abortion on her blog. She has always been honest and open about her feelings. And she strives to give a platform to pro-life people. In this regard she is a fantastic liberal. I wish the New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, 60 Minutes, Time, The Washington Post, etc. had even a little bit of her integrity.

Note that even so-called "conservative" media do not publish photographs of abortion. Althouse does.

Saint Croix said...

Why are ultrasounds important? Why are photographs of aborted babies important? Or, to frame it slightly differently, why are we fighting over control of images and media? Why is the press hiding images of aborted babies? Why do feminists oppose the ultrasound?

The answer is obvious, at least to me. We don't see photographs of abortion in the media because it's upsetting. And it's upsetting because the baby looks human. Thus a photograph of an abortion is a photograph of a tiny baby that's been ripped to pieces.

Althouse claims that women have been given control over the choice. That's true. But she has to know that an entire legal and political apparatus has been put in place to hide abortions from our people. This is an attempt, from powerful people, to keep information out of the hands of our people.

To put it another way, if CBS, ABC, NBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post began covering abortion like it was an infanticide, this fight would be long over. No amount of feminist poetry can win an argument with a photograph of a mutilated corpse.

The people who are most strongly pro-choice are "intellectuals" who deal in words and ideas. It's all about theory to them, particularly feminist theory. And they repeat their feminist theory to each other, and it informs how they report on our reality. (And what news stories need to be repressed).

The problem with all this ideology--and ideology is just an idea with the force of the state behind it--is that you have to repress, deny and hide reality that conflicts with the idea. And sooner or later the information--the facts--will make its way into the public consciousness.

creeley23 said...

I should make clear that I was not referencing Althouse here. I do not place her on the left, nor do I think she is a socialist. She is a classic old school liberal. As such she believes in free speech, among other things.

Saint Croix: Well said. Excellent comments.

I get cranky with Althouse when she goes into her all-knowing, all-lecturing mode, but she has been sterling on the abortion issue.

I'm also interested in her attempt to get some genuine discussion between the two sides, though I'm not sure it's possible given the emotional stakes and the chasm between the positions.

Of course, that's the general problem these days in the Home of the Red and the Blue. It seems that civil debate is a losing approach compared to good old-fashioned shout-downs of one's opponents.

betamax3000 said...

Re: my earlier post:

"Fertile Immigrant Robot says:

I Do Not Have a New Car. I Do Not Have a Renovated Kitchen with Chef-Quality Appliances. I do Not have Granite Counter Tops. I Have Babies.

If I Did have Granite Counter Tops I would Be On Top of Them, Making More Babies."

Thought This Would Kick Off the American Dream Conversation. I Think I Get Too Opaque.

wwww said...
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Saint Croix said...

Assumptions are made all the time with people talking past each other and yelling. Relatives cannot talk honestly with each other for fear of upsetting family dynamics.

The rhetoric tends to be inflammatory which results in both sides radicalizing. Common-sense compromise solutions are not likely to result as the discourse is polarized. The extreme rhetoric will continue to polarize people and belief systems on all sides will continue to harden.


It's slavery all over again.

Saint Croix said...

How can people talk to each other about such an emotionally charged topic when basic definitions are confused and contested to the point of incoherence?

To me that's one of the most astounding things about Roe v. Wade. Prior to reading the opinion, I always assumed they had made a finding about the baby's life. I thought viability was important. I assumed the Supreme Court had picked a point in good faith, and people were arguing about the rightness of the point.

And of course the actual opinion blows that idea out of the water. "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins."

The baby's life or death is left unresolved, in limbo. Resolve it for yourself, the Supreme Court can't be bothered. So millions of Americans are making their own minds up.

Althouse (and the Supreme Court) want us to focus on the woman's right to choose. But of course for pro-lifers this right is profoundly unsettled, since the baby's life or death is unsettled. Are we really to accept a maybe-homicide?

Althouse's proposed solution is that we ask every pregnant woman to decide if it's a homicide. Okay. But if people are having these conversations, and some people are loving embryos, while other people are decapitating babies outside the birth canal, it seems to me that these conversations are going to be loud, and angry, and divisive.

There's a sort of passive-aggressiveness in Roe v. Wade. The opinion pretends that it's not resolving anything about the baby's life. It's up to you, Mom!

On the other hand, it's rather like turning off all the lights in a building and firing a gun. Did you kill anybody? "We need not resolve the difficult question."

The Supreme Court is asking other people to fight over the issue, and to accept that there will never be consensus, never be agreement. It's like the worst murder mystery ever! The "resolution" is to leave the murder unsolved, to shrug your shoulders and say "it's up to you to decide." It's the Rashomon of judicial opinions. Which might be great art, but it's a fucked up way to resolve an actual homicide.