April 4, 2008

"For me, 'I had an abortion' should be as morally loaded as 'I had a Pap smear.'"

Amanda Marcotte's morality:
The underpinnings of the moral angst about abortion — the idea that a woman has no right to pry loose a flag a man has planted in her (even if he agrees with her decision, as most men in this case do), or that she should be punished for having sex — offend me to the core, and that many women go through anguish over getting abortions depresses me.
Well, it offends me to the core that you think material like this helps preserve abortion rights (which I support).

The subject of the post at the link is actually this "I was raped" T-shirt that was written about on a NYT blog today. Marcotte is saying it makes a lot more sense to wear an "I had an abortion" T-shirt than to wear an "I was raped" T-shirt. Both shirts can be seen as an attempt to conquer shame, but obviously the messages are very different. The "raped" shirt is intended to help rape victims "own the experience," but it advertises the fact that the wearer has been attacked and overcome. Is that the first thing you want everyone to know about you? If it is, you ought to think through why it is.

The "abortion" shirt, on the other hand, admits that you've done something for yourself that involved sacrificing what many people believe is another human being. Why do you want to say that by T-shirt? In Marcotte's view, it's to show that you're proud of "taking care" of yourself "despite all the misogynist messages out there." I thought it was more to normalize abortion — to make it seem ordinary, widespread, and something that would be done without shame by nice, upstanding women.

125 comments:

rhhardin said...

Marge Piercy's Right to Life is probably the definitive statement, on the pro-choice side.

Online all over, here for example, has a nice formatting.

A little long for a tee-shirt but perhaps you could excerpt.

Bullwinkle4Amy said...

"For me, 'I had an abortion' should be as morally loaded as 'I had a Pap smear.'"

For me, "I had an abortion" should be as morally loaded as "I shot someone on the freeway."

The fact that each of us can hold these positions and defend them is precisely the reason that I feel that Roe v. Wade should be overturned, and the issue returned to the state legislatures, where it belongs.

former law student said...

This is how I understood Amanda's argument.

The same woman created both t-shirts, yet one is creepy and thus unwearable, while the other not. Why the difference?

I was raped = I had no choice; I was a victim.

I had an abortion = I had a choice and exercised it; I was not a victim. Moreover, the choice was morally neutral.

rhhardin said...

Stanley Cavell gives an interestingly parallel philosophical analysis to Piercy's position, talking about first slaves and then embryos

here , under when is a person not a person.

former law student said...

For me, "I had an abortion" should be as morally loaded as "I shot someone on the freeway."

Have you ever gone to a funeral for a miscarriage? Neither our society nor our churches have ever really considered embryos to be the equal of born human beings.

Zombie Flanders said...

It seems that in Amanda Marcotte's mind, the thin veneer of angst and crude language is the same as an in depth reasoned argument. There are a lot of pissed of jerks out there though, judging by her i-popularity.

Revenant said...

For me, 'I had an abortion' should be as morally loaded as 'I had a Pap smear.'

If I saw a woman wearing an "I had a pap smear" t-shirt I'd pretty much assume she was f***ed in the head, too.

Isn't Marcotte the dippy bitch who kept on accusing the Duke university lacrosse players of rape well after everyone with common sense had realized they were being framed? Or do I have her confused with some other crazy "feminist"?

rhhardin said...

Rape for a woman is a violation of modesty, which itself turns on her value in the marriage market being compromised.

Feminism both wants and does not want to do away with feminine modesty, so attack and violence are stressed.

But no such vehemence is attached to assault in general, just this particular assault. Where I'm saying that the feminist position ought to be that it's all just assault, and that's all that ought to matter.

Any value in the marriage market ought to be done away with as a concept, in the feminist view.

At least the received feminist view. It would be a false consciousness, in the Marxist view.

There's another feminism as well, to be found.

Synova said...

I've never gone to a funeral for a miscarriage but I would never suggest to any woman who miscarried that she didn't lose a child. I sincerely hope you have the native common sense not to do so either, FLS.

I can see how someone might wear an "I was raped" T-shirt *because* of the shame of it. Because there is pressure to keep that to yourself when it wasn't your fault. So it's a defiance of shame.

But an abortion? People who feel ashamed *don't have them*.

And I dispute that "I had an abortion" gives the message of responsibility, choice, autonomy, or anything like that at all. The message it sends is, "I got pregnant because I was too stupid and irresponsible to use birth control so I had an abortion to make it all go away."

Now, maybe abortions should be legal because there *are* women too stupid and irresponsible to use birth control and out of control of their lives that they need to have an abortion (and will, legal or not) to make it go away, but why do we have to pretend that's not what's going on?

And those situations where women are forced or otherwise coerced? Well, abortion doesn't make *that* go away either. Though forced and coerced abortions are common enough, too.

Simon said...

I have an ancillary question to pose for anyone who wants to tackle it: is a statement such as Marcotte's more damaging to the pro-choice movement than is a statement such as that by Ted Turner that Althouse noted the other day to environmentalists, and why? I ask because there seems to be a thread between them: Both seem to be inflammatory and beyond the boundaries of good taste, but convey a sense that they aren't the result of intent to shock so much as self-assured incomprehension of how they land on the ears of those who might agree with them bt think differently.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Remember, Mandy was John Edwards' hand-picked ambassador to the blogosphere.

She is amazingly open in her dismissal of ANY argument she disagrees with, no matter what evidence is out there (Duke, for example). Her inability to see others' positions marks her as a likely sociopath (along with being a real drag at parties).

Revenant said...

Neither our society nor our churches have ever really considered embryos to be the equal of born human beings.

Of course, neither our society nor our churches have ever considered that women have the right to do whatever they want with their own bodies, either, so I don't see how bullwinkle's attitude is any sillier than Marcotte's.

Tibore said...

Simon, I'd say the answer is "No, they're both pretty tin-eared responses", and there's really not much more analysis to add beyond yours. Both Marcotte and Turner seem to be more concerned with displaying a sense of moral superiority disguised as outrage than they do with engaging in debate. Both seem to pretty much agree that anyone disagreeing with them are either addled or somehow deficient in logic. So yes, both are mired in what you called "self-assured incomprehension of how (their words) land on the ears of those who might agree with them b t (sic) think differently."

JohnAnnArbor said...

Both seem to pretty much agree that anyone disagreeing with them are either addled or somehow deficient in logic.

It's more than that. Marcotte, at least, hates those who disagree with her and unhesitatingly calls them evil and wishes bad things would happen to them. For her, it's impossible to disagree with her and NOT be evil.

MadisonMan said...

I agree with synova: the message the shirt sends is I am irresponsible. Probably unreliable and undependable, too.

John Lynch said...

Reductio ad absurdum done by the target herself.

former law student said...

A good reference to our changing attitudes about abortion can be found here. A century ago some two million abortions were performed each year in the US. Our great-grandmothers thought of it as correcting a delay in their menstrual cycles. In 1904, some 6-10,000 abortions were performed in Chicago, alone:

Reagan, Leslie J. When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1997 1997.

http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft967nb5z5/

Revenant said...

A good reference to our changing attitudes about abortion can be found here.

I'm not sure how that describes "our changing attitudes about abortion". It just argues that lots of women had abortions when it was illegal. That's hardly surprising.

Bullwinkle4Amy said...

former law student: Have you ever gone to a funeral for a miscarriage? Neither our society nor our churches have ever really considered embryos to be the equal of born human beings.

I'm an adopted practicing Lutheran father of a miscarried child, so I'm afraid your response falls into the "epic fail" category. If you wish to discuss the history of beliefs about abortion in Judaism and Christianity, I'll happily do so, but first I must ask you one thing: how much time have you got?

HoraceGumdrop said...

How about a counter t-shirt that read "My child beat up your abortion"?

That said, if I saw such a woman, I think it would tell me that it's no surprise that the same woman who had the audacity to kill her baby most definitely has the audacity to walk around proclaiming it to the whole world. Because that's what abortion is: killing babies, only, shriveled little ones that look like a wet golden raisin. That you can not unnaturally use "that" as the relative for babies should be further support for former law student's position that society grieves less for the aborted than the living.

Lindsey said...

My aunt lost 3 "embryos" due to an incompetent cervix. No one was invited to the funerals and, yes, all 3 have headstones. No one in my family discusses this, and I'd bet it's more common than people know.

Meade said...

T-shirt worn by Amanda's boyfriend:

I'm with stupid
I'm her equal
So I got this equally stupid T-shirt

(And yes, we seem to keep missing periods)

Kathy said...

Have you ever gone to a funeral for a miscarriage?

Well, I haven't, but that's because only family attended. Our church has had at least one funeral for a miscarriage in the past year. The other miscarriages that I know of did not result in funerals (because they were very early) but have included a great deal of grieving.

JohnAnnArbor said...

T-shirt worn by Amanda's boyfriend:

Nah. Given what she wrote?

"Patriarchal Oppressing Flag-planter"

PatCA said...

I put these two women in the same category as the nutty pregnant man/woman making the media rounds (Oprah, People) before publishing his book: dangerously narcissistic and deeply neurotic, and unfit to be parents. Nothing is "morally loaded" for them; self is all.

Sick, sick, sick.

SteveR said...

that many women go through anguish over getting abortions depresses me.

I don't know how many do at the time, but having come of age about the time Roe v Wade was decided, I know more than a couple who have come to deeply regret doing so. I'm not sure Ms Marcotte really understands what being depressed is.

laser72 said...

Hmmm... I'm having trouble seeing what Professor Althouse's objection to Marcotte's statement is. If she supports abortion rights, surely she doesn't believe abortion is wrong. Most Americans agree that abortion isn't wrong. Even most people who say they're against it agree in some respects also. (when was the last time any politician answered a question about possible prison sentences for women who have abortions in a world where Roe was overturned?)

Does Professor Althouse believe abortion should always be treated with moral angst as some do. It should be treated always as a "necessary evil"? Even if many people believe this, does Professor Althouse believe that people should not speak out against that belief? Should people censor their true beliefs just because other people might disagree? Was Marcotte's statement truly outrageous? I think most people who think abortion is murder understand that other people feel the opposite way. They can handle it. I also think most people who hold the "necessary evil" view are open to being persuaded that they don't need to hold that belief.

Meade said...

"Patriarchal Oppressing Flag-planter"

Good one. You're right. Or how about:

"I played capture the flag with Amanda and all I got was this lousy T-shirt"

laser72 said...

Oh, and for people who don't seem to understand the "flag planter" stuff. It obviously refers to man's traditional ownership of women. This isn't hard to understand. Sex has been viewed as "conquest". Women are "given away", etc.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Meade, THAT's funny!

laser72, don't assume we don't get that. Mandy's humorlessness is not shared by us.

laser72 said...

johnannarbor- well the fact that you're joking about it, doesn't lead me to the conclusion that you get it. I think her phrasing is a somewhat humorous way of describing patriarchal oppression of women. It certainly doesn't deserve being joked about by saying her boyfriend should wear an I'm with Stupid T-Shirt. Or maybe you're agreeing with her, and I'm just too stupid to understand. It's possible, but I doubt it.

Eli Blake said...

Realistically, an abortion represents a failure.

No one ever has sex with the idea or intent that they or their partner will end up in an abortion clinic. So it is either a failure to use birth control, or occasionally a failure of the birth control employed itself. But in the majority of cases it represents a $500 surgical procedure that could probably have been avoided with a seventy-five cent condom.

So what is the shirt saying in that context? That you're too cheap to buy a condom, or that you're so rich that the difference in cost doesn't matter to you?

JohnAnnArbor said...

Hmmm. So Mandy thinks getting an abortion is the equivalent of getting a normal medical procedure, like a Pap smear. Or a kidney stone removal. Or a tooth extraction.

I have one of my wisdom teeth where I keep cufflinks and collar stays. Sometimes, doctors will show the patient an extracted stone, especially if it's large or unusual. Old implanted medical devices might be given to the patient as souvenirs. More rarely, but not never, patients request to see amputated limbs.

In other words, extractions from the body range from normal to normal but perhaps gross, disturbing only in a blood-and-guts fashion, if at all.

Does Mandy think that the result of the "extraction" that is abortion would only register as "gross" if shown to the patient? After all, it's just another procedure, right?

JohnAnnArbor said...

It certainly doesn't deserve being joked about by saying her boyfriend should wear an I'm with Stupid T-Shirt.

Looks like you're humorless, too. Too bad.

laser72 said...

johnannarbor- do you really think you're doing yourself any favors by calling Ms. Marcotte "Mandy"? Do you know her? Does she regularly refer to herself as "Mandy"? I don't think so. Calling her "Mandy" makes you come off as a dismissive you-know-what.

laser72 said...

johnannarbor- yes, I don't find patriarchal oppression of women very funny. sorry.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Now I'm the big, evil patriarchy?

Cool! Do I get get a special lapel pin?

Trooper York said...

I thought Amanda was more fun when she was talking about the Red Sox. Now that's a bunch of abortions if there ever was one.

Blue Moon said...

laser72:

I call "BS" on your "most americans don't think abortion is wrong" statement. Most americans are conflicted about it.

Blue Moon said...

johannarbor:

Why you get a flag pin of course.

Revenant said...

If she supports abortion rights, surely she doesn't believe abortion is wrong.

Looks like somebody missed the boat on what Constitutional rights are. There's nothing unusual about thinking that an act is both (a) Constitutionally protected and (b) morally wrong. Using the n-word to refer to black people, for example, is your Constitutional right -- but I think we can all agree it is morally wrong.

Most Americans agree that abortion isn't wrong.

You are completely wrong on that point.

Most Americans believe abortion is morally wrong. Most Americans also believe that it should be illegal except in cases of medical necessity, birth defects, and rape/incest -- i.e., in all but a small minority of cases. You and I might regret that most Americans feel that way, but denying that they feel that way is both dishonest and counterproductive.

laser72 said...

bluemoon-

maybe they are conflicted, but I think a pretty large majority think it should be legal. Again, you'll almost never hear any politician discuss jail terms for women who have abortions. if there were more people who really were conflicted, I think you'd have more of an open debate about that. Basically, I think that debate is over. Also, even if people are conflicted, why shouldn't Marcotte speak out that there's no reason anyone should feel that way about it? Before I started reading a lot of feminist blogs, I had a lot more sympathy for anti-abortion arguments. After considering the arguments, I now have much less sympathy for anti-choice arguments. People like Marcotte convinced me. I have no problem with them trying to convince others.

TMink said...

fls wrote: "I had an abortion = I had a choice and exercised it; I was not a victim."

The victim does not get to wear any t shirt.

Trey

JohnAnnArbor said...

I have no problem with them trying to convince others.

Nor does anyone here. You're engaging in the common assumption that criticizing what someone says is the same as saying she shouldn't be allowed to say it. Mademoiselle Marcotte may say what we wishes, and we may criticize it as we wish.

Blue Moon said...

If I go 50 in a 40 in my car, no one is going to advocate I go to jail, and yet 80+% think we should have speed limits enforced with police power and fines. Just because no one talks about locking up Susie 16 year old doesn't mean they don't think it should be illegal.

Imagine Roe disappears tomorrow and it is up to each state to decide. How many states would allow third trimester "I changed my mind about having a baby" abortions? Not many. I wonder why.

Marcotte can say whatever she wants. And so can I. I believe an embreyo is a human that should not be killed. You may not. We come on forums to debate, sometimes it gets heated and impolite. But don't equate ridicule with censorship. And don't equate pro-lifers like me making fun of Marcotte with making fun of pro-choicers in general -- some of my best friends are pro choice ;-)

laser72 said...

revenant-

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11795147/

this is from 2006 (3 years more recent than your 2003 numbers- 52% vs. 43% say it should be legal in all or most cases

Again, find me examples of politicians discussing jail terms for women who have abortions. If people actually felt it was wrong, they'd be more open to considering jail terms for women.

As for Althouse talking about constitutional abortion rights, I'm not sure where you get that from the context of what Althouse wrote. It seemed pretty clear that she wrote that she supports the right of women to have abortions and wasn't just talking about the constitution.

Middle Class Guy said...

People still take that lunatic seriously?

JohnAnnArbor said...

Again, find me examples of politicians discussing jail terms for women who have abortions.

No point in going that far if the Supreme Court has declared the entire subject settled by their infinite 1972 wisdom, is there?

laser72 said...

blue moon- find me stories about people having third trimester "I changed my mind" abortions. I don't think you'll find any.

http://www.lifeandlibertyforwomen.org/issues/issues_partial_birth_abortions.html

This essay is worth reading. It confirms that people who have late term abortions have them for severe health-related reasons.

Your argument about speed limits is unpersuasive. If there was more support for the idea that women who have abortions are moral wrongdoers, society would be more open to punishing them.

Zeb Quinn said...

maybe they are conflicted, but I think a pretty large majority think it should be legal.

Not really. It breaks pretty close to 50:50. Which explodes the myth of your statement, "...Most Americans agree that abortion isn't wrong. Even most people who say they're against it agree in some respects also.... " The vast majority of people who say they favor legalized abortion also say they want restrictions on late term and partial birth abortions.

Thankfully Gen "X"ers and Gen "Y"ers are nowhere near as narcissistic as boomers, hence abortion rates have dropped through the floor.

rcocean said...

Oh Mandy,

Well you came and you blogged without thinking - but I read you anyway, oh Mandy!

And where's my "Patriarchy" check? My daughter needs it for her college education.

laser72 said...

johnannarbor- but plenty of politicians talk about how they would like to see abortion outlawed. They talk about constitutional amendments, etc. Yet they don't talk about jail terms.

Look, I'll agree that some people might not like the idea of abortions. I think that's a "soft" dislike though. It's especially soft in that I'm sure if g-d forbid someone in their family faced an unwanted pregancy, they would be all over the right of their loved one to have an abortion.

Ann Althouse said...

laser72 said..."Hmmm... I'm having trouble seeing what Professor Althouse's objection to Marcotte's statement is. If she supports abortion rights, surely she doesn't believe abortion is wrong. Most Americans agree that abortion isn't wrong. Even most people who say they're against it agree in some respects also."

Well, if you're having trouble, you'll need to think a lot more. Your reasoning is weak. Supporting individual autonomy in no way implies that there are no moral problems for the individual to deal with. I do in fact think abortion is wrong. I think most Americans agree with me and think it's wrong but not the role of government to police.

Blue Moon said...

Adultery is not illegal in Texas, so I guess we don't think it is immoral.

It's not illegal for me to set up a house of female drug addicts and exchange sex for a roof over their heads and food, but I guess that means my neighbors would think that was okay.

The measure of the public's view of the morality of something is not solely found in the Penal Code or Title 18 of the US Code.

laser72 said...

"Supporting individual autonomy in no way implies that there are no moral problems for the individual to deal with. I do in fact think abortion is wrong. I think most Americans agree with me and think it's wrong but not the role of government to police."

Fair enough, but should people who disagree have to shut up about it?

"Adultery is not illegal in Texas, so I guess we don't think it is immoral.

It's not illegal for me to set up a house of female drug addicts and exchange sex for a roof over their heads and food, but I guess that means my neighbors would think that was okay.

The measure of the public's view of the morality of something is not solely found in the Penal Code or Title 18 of the US Code."

I think the distinction with adultery is that everyone thinks adultery is wrong. You can't make that argument about abortion. As for you offering material goods for sex with drug addicts... I think that's actually illegal.

Simon said...

Blue Moon said...
"The measure of the public's view of the morality of something is not solely found in the Penal Code or Title 18 of the US Code."

Hence the distinction between acts malum in se and malum prohibitum in determining whether an alien has been convicted of a crime of "moral turpitude" and thus their admissability vel non under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A), presumably.

Simon said...

laser72 said...
"Fair enough, but should people who disagree have to shut up about it?"

I didn't think that was her point. I thought her point - pretty obviously from the post, really - was that Marcotte's comments are unhelpful and counterproductive for those who want to keep abortion legal.

Blue Moon said...

But if everyone believes adultery is wrong, why isn't it illegal? Perhaps for the personal autonomy considerations Ms. Althouse mentioned perhaps? Maybe the sad spectacle of Springer-esque Courts for the Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue is something we don't want to endure.

I can make my meth ho house legal -- put up to meth hos, be nice to them, and eventually... Happens ALL the time.

Synova said...

"It's especially soft in that I'm sure if g-d forbid someone in their family faced an unwanted pregancy, they would be all over the right of their loved one to have an abortion."

Why? Because I want my grand-babies dead?

I know people say this again and again that if it were *you* that suddenly the pro-life sentiments would blow away in a dry breeze... that it's all about forcing other women to have babies they don't want because it's all about controlling and oppressing women.

It's not.

laser72 said...

to clarify about adultery... I don't think it's relevant to the argument. There's no one who is saying that adultery (as distinct from consensual swinging or open relationships) is a good thing. Obviously there are lots of people who feel that abortion is completely moral and unproblematic, and I think it's fine that they speak out about it.

laser72 said...

"I didn't think that was her point. I thought her point - pretty obviously from the post, really - was that Marcotte's comments are unhelpful and counterproductive for those who want to keep abortion legal."

I.e.- shut up about it!

Synova said...

"I think the distinction with adultery is that everyone thinks adultery is wrong."

You don't get out much, do you.

Synova said...

Oh, okay, so the word "adultery" excludes the exact same behavior so long as people don't disapprove of it? Swingers, Open relationships and Poly sorts *can't* have sex outside of marriage?

Synova said...

I think Marcotte should open her mouth even wider.

I think she should compare abortion to things other than pap smears and do so often.

laser72 said...

"You don't get out much, do you."

Obviously people do it. You won't find anyone defending that behavior as completely moral, though.

"Oh, okay, so the word "adultery" excludes the exact same behavior so long as people don't disapprove of it? Swingers, Open relationships and Poly sorts *can't* have sex outside of marriage?"

Don't know what you mean. All I meant was that as far as I'm concerned those things are not immoral (and I think most people would agree), because both spouses consent.

joewxman said...

"blue moon- find me stories about people having third trimester "I changed my mind" abortions. I don't think you'll find any.

http://www.lifeandlibertyforwomen.org/issues/issues"


What is bullshit is the nonsense that "partial birth abortions" are done to save the woman for future fertility as this web site states. The fact is no doctor would intentionally bring a full term baby down in a breach position as this poses a much greater risk to a womans future fertility then a c-section.

The problem here is that the choice crowd won't concede an inch because if they give in here they fear losing all abortion rights. So they frame the arguement that it is for the health of the mother.

If resonable people controlled the debate maybe we could come to some sort of uneasy truce on this issue. But sadly the extemists on both sides shriek the loudest.

BTW for the record 15 years ago my wife and i faced the prospect of a third trimester abortion because our baby would not survive after birth. We found out 3 weeks before the due date. He died 90 minutes after being born via c-section because a breech delivery would have potentially damaged the uterus for future fertility.

Synova said...

You said everyone thinks adultery is wrong.

And then you say *you* don't think it's wrong when people don't think it's wrong.

So... does everyone believe fornication is wrong? And those who don't believe it's wrong are simply having sex while not married?

laser72 said...

"You said everyone thinks adultery is wrong.

And then you say *you* don't think it's wrong when people don't think it's wrong."

Please. I was talking about consensual open relationships when I said I didn't think it was wrong. Adultery, as I understand the term, is done without the knowledge (and thus) the consent of the other spouse.

Revenant said...

this is from 2006 (3 years more recent than your 2003 numbers- 52% vs. 43% say it should be legal in all or most cases

First of all, you claimed that most Americans think abortion is moral. Your URL offers no support for that (which is unsurprising, considering that you're wrong about what Americans think).

Secondly, the reason people answer "yes" to the question "should abortion be legal in most cases" is that they enumerate the cases and find most of them acceptable. I.e., most people find it acceptable to abort in cases of rape, incest, medical necessity, or severe birth defects, but not acceptable to abort simply as a means of birth control. Thus, most people answer "yes" to that question. My point was simply that the overwhelming majority of abortions fall into the latter category. Hence, most of the abortions performed in America are ones which most Americans feel shouldn't have been illegal.

Pollingreport.com has a good list of polls. Read down through the ones that actually talk about the morality of abortion and about which specific circumstances it should be legal or illegal under. You find, for example:

- October '07: Only 39% of Americans thought it should be legal to abort "unwanted" pregnancies (Fox/Opinion Dynamics)

- October '07: 54% believe abortion should either be banned or restricted to only cases of rape, incest, or to save the mother's life; only 24% felt abortion should remain as unrestricted as it is now (CBS News)

- July '07: 73% of Americans believe abortion is either sometimes or nearly always morally wrong (Pew Opinion Research)

Etc, etc. As the MSNBC article you linked notes, Americans have conflicted and contradictory positions about abortion. But two things remain constant: most Americans think abortion is morally wrong, and most Americans think the "abortion as birth control" that comprises the majority of abortions in the United States shouldn't be legal.

Again, find me examples of politicians discussing jail terms for women who have abortions. If people actually felt it was wrong, they'd be more open to considering jail terms for women.

That probably makes sense to a person like you, who can actually refer to "the patriarchy" with a straight face. But you've offered no rational explanation as to why "abortion should be illegal" implies "women who get an abortion should be locked up". There are plenty of activities which are illegal but which carry no prison sentence.

Besides, even if it were true you wouldn't see many people discussing prison terms for women, because the Supreme Court won't even allow the issue to be voted on. It doesn't matter what you or I think about the legality of abortion; that issue is decided by nine elderly judges in Washington. :)

It seemed pretty clear that [Althouse] wrote that she supports the right of women to have abortions and wasn't just talking about the constitution.

The Constitution protects rights; it doesn't grant them. If you think that the Constitution protects a right it naturally follows that you think the right actually exists. If Ann thinks the Constitution protects the right to an abortion, it naturally follows that she thinks women HAVE a right to an abortion which the Constitution protects.

I get the feeling that you really don't see how it is possible to believe that something is morally wrong without also believing it should be illegal. You should hang out with Pat Robertson; he's on the same page. :)

Revenant said...

I thought her point - pretty obviously from the post, really - was that Marcotte's comments are unhelpful and counterproductive for those who want to keep abortion legal.

That's exactly it. Marcotte makes it clear that she views fetuses as unwanted parasites on the female body, planted there by the hated male. The problem with this position is that it strikes pretty much everybody in America as completely flippin' insane. To the extent that the pro-choice position is identified with misanthropy, the pro-choice position suffers in the court of public opinion. Most people do not view a pregnancy as the moral equivalent of a venereal disease.

Simon said...

laser72 said...
"I.e.- shut up about it!"

I don't think so. I suppose it depends what you mean by "it" - if you mean the general subject of abortion, not at all; it's an objection to a counterproductive way of discussing the topic not an objection to its discussion. Although I must admit, unchivalrous though it may be, in my view Althouse would be well within her rights to not only tell Marcotte to shut up, but indeed, to fuck off and choke, given some of the things Marcotte's said and written about her.

Rev said:
"The Constitution protects rights; it doesn't grant them...."

More specific than that, even: it protects them from government action.

Simon said...

Revenant said...
"The problem with this position is that it strikes pretty much everybody in America as completely flippin' insane."

Exactly - including many people who are at least nominally pro-choice. Put another way, just because you're against the war doesn't mean you're ready to vote for Dennis Kucinich.

David said...

Margaret Sanger was right, we'd be up to our ass in black babies without abortion.

Her boyfriend's shirt would read "I've been with stupid."

Professor Althouse's view in a nutshell-- "You have the constitutional right to go to hell."

laser72 said...

First of all, you claimed that most Americans think abortion is moral. Your URL offers no support for that (which is unsurprising, considering that you're wrong about what Americans think).

I don't think I said they think it's moral, but in any case, some, most or all (I won't go looking for more polls), think it should be legal in some, most, or all cases. To me, this suggests that there's relatively little hardcore opposition to abortion.


There are plenty of activities which are illegal but which carry no prison sentence.

well there's generally some kind of consequence for doing an illegal act. Fines, civil penalties, etc. Do Americans really think women who have abortions should be subject to them? I haven't seen any evidence to suggest it. Maybe they think abortion is sometimes wrong or always wrong. However, they don't care enough to support stopping them through governmental power. Thus, I think their opposition is "soft". Was Marcotte's statement really so outrageous that it would cause people to change their minds about abortion being free from criminal penalties? I doubt it.

laser72 said...

That's exactly it. Marcotte makes it clear that she views fetuses as unwanted parasites on the female body, planted there by the hated male. The problem with this position is that it strikes pretty much everybody in America as completely flippin' insane.

alright, I guess we're just on different wavelengths, but I should let you know that when you suggest I shouldn't be discussing the patriarchy with a straight face, it makes you seem pretty ___(insert your own adjective meaning not well informed/ignorant).

Synova said...

I realize that adultery isn't relevant but my dictionary has only one definition. "Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a partner other than the lawful spouse." There's no necessary element of spousal disapproval or betrayal in there. Married person. Sex with non-spouse.

Though maybe it is relevant that "moral" doesn't mean "legal" and someone can certainly say abortion should be legal without ever ever thinking it's in any way moral.

A person can even believe that abortion is certainly killing a human being and not call for criminal punishment or murder convictions.

Synova said...

"Maybe they think abortion is sometimes wrong or always wrong. However, they don't care enough to support stopping them through governmental power."

AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!

Anything bad should be forbidden and anything good should be compelled. The State over all.

Synova said...

(I want a T-shirt that says, "Tool of the Patriarchy.")

((It could go with my "Uncle Jimbo's Bimbo" shirt from Blackfive.))

laser72 said...

Anything bad should be forbidden and anything good should be compelled. The State over all.

That's not what I said. You would agree, though, that if people thought something was definitely wrong, and not just a private matter, a reasonable person would expect the state to coercively prevent such a wrong.

Middle Class Guy said...

David said...
Professor Althouse's view in a nutshell-- "You have the constitutional right to go to hell."

You do have the constitutional right to go to hell. It is your life. This is America. If you keep your private life private no one can criticize or judge you. Why would any sane person wear a tee shirt that says I was raped or I had an abortion unless your personal private life is a political statement.

What is an abortion? It is elective surgery, for the most part. No different than any other elective surgery, even cosmetic. It is between a patient and a doctor. What goes on between a patient and a doctor is their business and no one elses, including the government's. Part of the argument for Roe V. Wade was a right to privacy, if I am not mistaken.

How we went from a private matter to blasting it all over is beyond me. Maybe there should be tee shirts for men- I had a vasectomy. How about a tee shirt for women- these boobs are bought and paid for? Maybe gays should wear I am queer shirts.

Marcotte is probably certifiably insane. She hates men- though she claims a boyfriend, she hates most normal people, and she probably hates herself.

If you want to screw like a rabbit, abort the results, and keep on going, it is no ones business but your own. If you want to publicize your sins you deserve all the flak. If you make your private life public you no longer have a right to prviacy.

Now, excuse me while I pour another glass of Pinot Noir.

blake said...

Actually, having done a lot of work (as a third party) for NARAL and CARAL over the years--I think I've mentioned this here before, pardon me for repeating--I can assure those who feel oppressed by the patriarchy that it's the matriarchy that does the oppressing as far as abortion is concerned.

Men, dogs that they are, see abortion as a "get out of jail free" card. Not all, obviously, but these are the ones who keep it legal.

Women, not least of all women who have had abortions, are the ones who tend to be against it.

The pro-life people love folks like Amanda Marcotte. Abortion is sold as a "necessary evil" to the general populace, and people like Marcotte force them to associate with positions they don't like.

It's like libertarians pushing prostitution, polygamy and flag-burning.

Synova said...

"You would agree, though, that if people thought something was definitely wrong, and not just a private matter, a reasonable person would expect the state to coercively prevent such a wrong."

No.

blake said...

Statists crack me up.

Revenant said...
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Revenant said...

I don't think I said they think it's moral

You said "most Americans agree that abortion isn't wrong". That is obviously only possible if most of them think it is morally acceptable.

(I won't go looking for more polls)

I.e., you've chosen to ignore any evidence that doesn't support your position. No wonder you still believe in the patriarchy. :)

laser72 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
laser72 said...

"You would agree, though, that if people thought something was definitely wrong, and not just a private matter, a reasonable person would expect the state to coercively prevent such a wrong."

No.

So... what wrongs are there that aren't private matters that the government should not step in and regulate? Maybe there's some grey area when it comes to economic issues. Some think the free market is an effective coercive force. I sympathize with this view, but for the most part, I think government regulation can help keep the free market really free. But assuming you completely disagree, is that it? Is there anything else?

Revenant said...

"a reasonable person would expect the state to coercively prevent such a wrong."

No.

More importantly, even if the state DID coercively act to prevent such a wrong, the obvious way to do it is by going after abortion providers -- not pregnant women. There are over 800,000 abortions performed each year, but fewer than 2000 doctors performing them. Or, like I suggested in an earlier thread, you could just revoke the license of any doctor who performed an abortion. Then you'd only actually have to prosecute doctors who performed abortions and then continued to practice medicine without a license.

Like I've said before, I'm pro-choice, but the NARAL arguments typically disgust me; they are intellectually dishonest. Overturning Roe won't make abortion illegal, and making abortion legal won't throw hundreds of thousands of women into prison. That's the kind of paranoid nonsense only the most hysterical fringes of "feminism" could believe in.

Amanda Marcotte, for example. :)

Revenant said...

Oh, and I should point out that there are plenty of people in the pro-life movement who believe abortion doctors should be prosecuted. So there, laser -- there's your call for criminal prosecution.

Middle Class Guy said...

Trooper York said...
I thought Amanda was more fun when she was talking about the Red Sox. Now that's a bunch of abortions if there ever was one.


Hey, I heard that Congress is going to approve the Red Sox for stem cell research.

laser72 said...

Oh, and I should point out that there are plenty of people in the pro-life movement who believe abortion doctors should be prosecuted. So there, laser -- there's your call for criminal prosecution.

yeah, but there are some problems with this. First is that I don't think it would be any more popular than going after the women.

second, it seems kind of ridiculous to let the woman off the hook. If you're going to punish abortions, why not punish the person who is actually killing their fetus. Letting women off the hook seems to suggest that women lack the moral agency to make the decision about the abortion. Yet another example of the sexist ideology underpinning much of the "pro-life" movement.

Fen said...

It should be treated always as a "necessary evil"?... I also think most people who hold the "necessary evil" view are -

I don't understand what you mean by necessary evil. We know that birth control is not 100% effective, we know we are taking a risk, and we exercise our CHOICE to accept the consequences of that risk.

Ralph said...

Marcotte:
women who get abortions or rape victims—two groups dehumanized and demonized in an effort to strip them of their rights
What happened to her?--mauled by man and then his defense attorney, or is she just deluded?

Laser, many of us men believe that easy abortion, and the sexual revolution in general, have made it much easier for men to be selfish and irresponsible--and women pay the piper.

Revenant said...

First is that I don't think it would be any more popular than going after the women.

That's nonsense. Inconveniencing 2000 abortionists is obviously going to be a LOT more popular with the public than prosecuting 800,000 pregnant women, around 40,000 of whom will have an emotionally wrenching story of rape, incest, or medical trauma to tell.

If you're going to punish abortions, why not punish the person who is actually killing their fetus

That would be the doctor, whom I already pointed out was the obvious target for prosecution.

Letting women off the hook seems to suggest that women lack the moral agency to make the decision about the abortion.

You seem to think that the primary goal of people who dislike abortion is the punishment of those involved in abortion. In reality the primary goal is ending abortion. Going after the doctors prevents most abortions from occurring in the first place. Going after women *after* they have an abortion misses the point, since the fetus is already dead by then.

Yet another example of the sexist ideology underpinning much of the "pro-life" movement.

Yes, yes, we're aware of your paranoia on that point. Let's move on.

Cedarford said...

former law student said...
For me, "I had an abortion" should be as morally loaded as "I shot someone on the freeway."
Have you ever gone to a funeral for a miscarriage? Neither our society nor our churches have ever really considered embryos to be the equal of born human beings.


Society changes. Visit a colonial-era cemetery and you notice a neat thing every now and then - little headstones marked "female infant aged 2 months", "Boy, name known only but to Our Lord, died 1 day after birth". Even "Remains, unborn infant of Samuel and Polly Whittington". Some family plots had 10 or so of the little headstones with no names on them. After about a year, names of the dead begin to appear on headstones.

That was when high child mortality had society and religion avoiding investing emotionally or religiously in giving infants names or mourning - until it looked like they would survive.

At the same time though, when say, a pregnant women was killed, the penalties on the perp were worse because they saw it as a life and potential life both terminated not by the will of God, but the evil or negligence of man.

When health got better, the rituals former Law student mentioned were soon applied to all infants in advance nations, and growingly, to "trgic miscarriages".

Nowadays we have the "Right to Life" religious nuts on the fringe arguing all potential life is fully human life that should have full legal rights. Despite knowledge that over half of fertilized embroyos are discarded as wastage, new knowledge that most miscarriages are nature or Gods gift to women to abort geneticaly unfit fetuses and free the womb for a healthy human - and that RTL nuts do not have funerals for discarded tampons or toilet wastes in the chance a zygote or blastula was ejected. And, on the other - the nutty feminist zealots that say a woman has the "right" to terminate any pregnacy on whim, with a few whack jobs even endorsing infanticide if the baby would "harm the woman's love life or career goals".

But we already know what would have happened if the fucking lawyers in robes hadn't overeached and usurped American society from crafting modern abortion laws. We would have laws like exist in countries where democracy wasn't usurped. Abortion would exist in most American states with laws passed - with a 12 week limit except for rape, life or health of the mother, qual by having one a list of severe birth defects that could not be detected in 1st 12 weeks. With mandatory counseling on alternatives, training on irresponsibility in needing an abortion in the 1st place...

Michael_H said...

FLS said: "Have you ever gone to a funeral for a miscarriage?"

How damn dare you ask that question.

Having spent hours, days and years mourning with my wife the loss of three unborn children through miscarriage, I find that question to be arrogant and so, so typical of the shallow belief that an unborn child is of such small value as to have its destruction celebrated on a tee shirt.

rhhardin said...

How damn dare you ask that question.

But it's a good question, showing that, by and large, fetuses aren't people in ordinary usage.

The resolution itself follows ordinary usage, that to see if a fetus has a soul, look at the parents, not the fetus.

If they're decorating a nursery, buying baseball mitt and bat, and so forth, they have a connection to the fetus, the fetus has a place with them.

We are inclined to soul talk when there's a connection to others.

On the other hand, taking offense makes it collapse as ridiculous, as if only puffing yourself up was what ensured ordinary usage. Ordinary experience wouldn't be good enough for you.

Mom said...

former law student asks, "have you ever gone to a funeral for a miscarriage?"

Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I have. They gave it a different name, but it amounted to the same thing. And I've helped plenty of people through the very real grief that results from miscarriages. Whatever you may believe about them, they feel to most people who experience them as the loss of something real and valuable.

As the historical beliefs of society and churches, so what? Society used to believe it was fine to keep slaves. Churches used to believe scientists should be excommunicated for saying that the earth revolves around the sun. We didn't cling to those ideas after we outgrew them. Why would you insist that we can't similarly outgrow the ancient and scientifically disproven idea that a fetus doesn't "quicken" (come to life) until the mother feels it move?

rhhardin said...

Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I have. They gave it a different name, but it amounted to the same thing. And I've helped plenty of people through the very real grief that results from miscarriages.

What's real was the prospective attachment, say the place made for a child.

So it sort of honors the making of places for children as something people are inclined to do.

But then there are people, sometimes the same people at an earlier age, who are not inclined to make a place, which is also a human possibility.

So there's an argument over who ought to be forced to see it the other guy's way, as if there were only one way to see it.

Taking a miscarriage as an example tends to give you a case where a place has been prepared for the child.

Roger said...

Trooper: agree--Amanda nee Cyrus is much more informed when talking about baseball--who knew?

TMink said...

"You would agree, though, that if people thought something was definitely wrong, and not just a private matter, a reasonable person would expect the state to coercively prevent such a wrong."

No, not at all. I expect the government to protect those that cannot protect themselves and leave the majority of us alone.

The reason some of us want to outlaw abortion is to protect the innocent. You liberals are the ones who want the state to coercively prevent what you consider wrong about all sorts of trivial issues.

There are large differences in these philosophies, the similarities are only skin deep.

I think that people who cannot financially or even emotionally support a healthy child should not have children. I believe this deeply and with conviction! Yet I have no inclination to involve the state in the matter. You liberals think and act that way, we conservatives are different from you. You cannot understand us without understanding that we think quite differently from you.

Trey

News Editor At Large said...

Maybe if she dressed like a lady, she wouldn't get raped.

and Abortion is murder, period.

Anyone who says otherwise isn't a true conservative, nor Christian.

rhhardin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

The conservatives I run into favor abortion rights.

That conservatism is more about taking perverse side effects into account when considering direct action, which is why the saying is : if you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart ; if you're a liberal at thirty you have no brains.

dbp said...

In order to persuade somebody that they are wrong, you have got to understand why they believe whatever it is that they believe.

Amanda Marcotte is not interested in persuasion, she is a cheerleader for her side. She has no interest in why there are people who think differently than her.

Her views on abortion show that she doesn't even understand why people on her own side are pro-choice. Every thoughtful choicer I have met would agree that a fetus has some value, just not enough to outweigh other considerations.

TMink said...

"Maybe if she dressed like a lady, she wouldn't get raped."

Equating being truly victimized by a rape with the choice to have an abortion is the flimsiest of straw men I have seen in a considerable length of time.

Congratulations, or something.

Trey

Kirby Olson said...

Most children over five can read, and I think it would give them nightmares to see such a t-shirt.

The public sphere ought to be safe for children. Adults forget that in their attempts to injure one another with t-shirt slogans that children can be collateral damage.

I hope that Ms. Marcotte's t-shirt slogans don't catch on. If Marcotte and women like her had had her children instead of offing them they might understand this concern...

There are a lot of terrible things that happen, but children don't have to be exposed to every last one of them every time they go outside.

Even in smaller towns you see graffiti that I'd rather not have to explain to my children. What possessed someone to spray stencil the F. word all over my town? What good did this for the children of the town?

The public sphere would just be made even more terrifying for parents if Amanda Marcotte's ideas became the norm. People think they are invulnerable until they have children, and then they realize how troubling the world is to those who still believe that Santa exists, and that Spongebob is a real person. How do you explain to children that some parents don't want their children to even exist?

Marcotte wants to hurt men with her t-shirt ideas. But in her rage to hurt men, children can be hurt, too.

It is wrong to hurt children. Let's keep them innocent as long as we can.

Fen said...

"Maybe if she dressed like a lady, she wouldn't get raped."

Equating being truly victimized by a rape with the choice to have an abortion is the flimsiest of straw men I have seen in a considerable length of time.

It was a sock puppet pretending to be a conservative.

fabius.maximus.cunctator said...

kirby olsen

"If Marcotte and women like her had had her children instead of offing them they might understand this concern..."

With all due respect I think this actually a really terrible idea. Nasty people breed nasty children. I have two small children. By no means wd I wish to have them brought into contact with the potential offspring of that sort of individual.

I d rather explain a T-shirt. Any child who has been to kindergarten or school knows there are nasty people in this world. As a father I cannot hide this fact from my children but to certain extent I can create a sphere where the nasties cannot enter.

blake said...

Fen,

Yeah, but about half those kids are going to grow up into the evil patriarchy, so consider it pre-emptive damage.

And, yeah, "News Editor At Large" is another Moby. I get a total "Norman Rogers" vibe off of it.

former law student said...

Those are Jennifer Baumgardner t-shirts; Amanda Marcotte would wear one but not the other.

somefeller said...

The "abortion" shirt, on the other hand, admits that you've done something for yourself that involved sacrificing what many people believe is another human being. Why do you want to say that by T-shirt? In Marcotte's view, it's to show that you're proud of "taking care" of yourself "despite all the misogynist messages out there." I thought it was more to normalize abortion — to make it seem ordinary, widespread, and something that would be done without shame by nice, upstanding women.

The two messages aren't mutually exclusive. Also, I read through Marcotte's piece, and I don't see where she said anything that would make one think that she dismisses or is opposed to the second message. She was focusing on the "taking care of yourself" message so as to make some distinctions between the abortion t-shirt and the rape t-shirt, namely regarding why she thinks it would be good to wear the former and not the latter.

While I agree that the abortion t-shirts may cause a negative reaction with some people, I can understand the strategy behind promoting them, if the long-term goal is to increase support for abortion rights by getting rid of the stigma that still may exist about abortion, via some in-your-face actions. There may be some initial backlash, but if that serves to provide a stronger base for abortion rights in the long run, that backlash would be worth it. Overton Window and all that.

However, that strategy is a gamble. Sometimes the window doesn't move.

LoafingOaf said...

I'm pro-abortion rights, and don't lose a whole lot of sleep over abortions. I don't believe there's a soul, I don't believe a fetus feels any pain or suffering or is aware of anything, and it seems abortions have done a lot of individuals some good and society as a whole some good )reduced crime). Of course it would get more complicated if I had a fetus growing inside me and was the one making the choice. A fetus isn't nothing and deserves some consideration.

I wish more of the people who have hearts big enough to get so worked up over some fetuses would also open their hearts to the horrendous and needless torturing and extreme barbaric abuses of animals (many of them very feeling of pain and suffering) being done all around us by the meat industry, while our laws remain almost completely indifferent to requiring anything approaching ethical treatment/standards.

Trooper York said...

I have a T-shirt that says:

I had a Veal Cutlet.

somefeller said...

Well, this thread is pretty well played out, but all this talk of t-shirts triggered a memory.

Several years ago, I paid a visit to the Tate Modern while visiting London. I was looking at a piece for awhile (I forget which, definitely not a dreadful Tracey Emin piece) and turned around, and a guy who looked like Falstaff with a big mustache and a giant shit-eating grin was standing there right behind me, wearing a t-shirt that said "Who Farted?". Did I mention that this was at the Tate Modern in London?

I figured the guy was either a great artist without a care in the world, or the most obnoxious tourist ever. I hope it was the former, though I suppose (in the vein of my earlier comment) the two aren't mutually exclusive.

Simon said...

LoafingOaf said...
"I'm pro-abortion rights, and ... I don't believe a fetus feels any pain [during an abortion]...."

If you were shown evidence to the contrary (stipulate credible evidence, arguendo), what effect would have have on your position?


somefeller said...
"While I agree that the abortion t-shirts may cause a negative reaction with some people, I can understand the strategy behind promoting them, if the long-term goal is to increase support for abortion rights by getting rid of the stigma that still may exist about abortion, via some in-your-face actions."

Whereas I regard its restigmatization as almost as valuable to the pro-life cause as overruling Roe. But assuming your goal, I don't see how it helps to state it as baldly as does Marcotte, since it will repel those who haven't made up their minds. It's a genuinely repulsive statement, regardless of the rights or wrongs of abortion, and that just doen't seem helpful.

Trooper York said...

Simon has a T-shirt that says:

Ad usum Althouse!

Simon said...

Trooper, I deny ownership of any such t-shirt. Cafepress these days has a wide selection of clothes and apparel that can bear your message...

theobromophile said...

second, it seems kind of ridiculous to let the woman off the hook. If you're going to punish abortions, why not punish the person who is actually killing their fetus. Letting women off the hook seems to suggest that women lack the moral agency to make the decision about the abortion. Yet another example of the sexist ideology underpinning much of the "pro-life" movement.
As opposed to the pro-choice movement, which makes a singular exception for the idea that you ought not to kill people in order to get out of the logical consequences of your actions?

First of all, there is a huge logical flaw there: you assume that, because the pro-lifers do not want to imprison women, they are stating that women lack moral agency. Not true. Here's a quick rundown of prosecuting abortion, from a pro-life standpoint:
1. The doctors are not pregnant. Not them throwing up for nine months; not them with stretch marks, gestational diabetes, lousy boyfriends who refuse to support them in pregnancy, laws which mandate that they give their rapist the opportunity to oppose an abortion. Differently-situated parties ought to be prosecuted differently.

2. Pregnancy is indeed onerous. While pro-lifers do not find it onerous enough to justify ending it, legally and with the sanction and aid of the State, we do find it onerous enough to not want to prosecute women who do it.

3. Why do pro-choicers oppose things like Coercive Abortion Prevention Acts and informed consent laws, which mandate that the woman see the ultrasound before aborting? They rave about how women make an "informed, difficult decision" to abort, and the ultrasound won't change that/shouldn't change that/patronises her/offers her information that she does not need, but never address whether or not women ought to be offered information that, statistically, changes their minds in 75-90% of the cases, or whether such information is that which she could get while mulling over her "tough decision."

4. That is some of the reason, incidentally, that pro-lifers view women who abort as the second victim of abortion. "Abortion stops one heart and breaks another" is not just rhetoric; there's a reason why there are six times as many post-abortive women in National Right to Life as there are in NARAL. Why prosecute a victim?

5. Two analogies to the mentality of "prosecute the doctor but not the mother": a) drug dealing and b) prostitution. Sweden was very successful in eliminating sex trafficking and helping women to get out of prostitution when they made it entirely legal to be a prostitute, but illegal to solicit one. Likewise, we often give much, much stiffer sentences to drug dealers than to users, and will even let users off the hook if they testify against the dealers.

6. There are all sorts of human rights reasons for not arresting women who abort - starting with harassing every woman who miscarries and ending with the parade of horribles routinely trotted out by the pro-choice movement. Political choices are hardly indicative of moral judgments: they are simply how we choose to best enact laws.

Final question: why should the supposed merits, or lack thereof, of pro-lifers have any bearing on the validity of their position? If it is a human life and worthy of protection, then it's a human life and worthy of protection, whether defended by Mother Teresa (wait, scratch that, she was pro-life), Susan B. Anthony (whoops, ditto), Gandhi, or Pol Pot.

somefeller said...

But assuming your goal, I don't see how it helps to state it as baldly as does Marcotte, since it will repel those who haven't made up their minds. It's a genuinely repulsive statement, regardless of the rights or wrongs of abortion, and that just doen't seem helpful.

I didn't say her method would work ("However, that strategy is a gamble. Sometimes the window doesn't move."), just that it could work, and I can see why she'd give it a shot. Whether or not it works is a question of taste and audience response.

blake said...

there's a reason why there are six times as many post-abortive women in National Right to Life as there are in NARAL.

I don't know if this number is accurate, but it wouldn't surprise me. Women drive this discussion.

Synova said...

I think that women drive the discussion because men have either been told they aren't invited (they aren't supposed to care about any children they conceive unless a woman says they should and then they are supposed to care with the profound love of fatherhood) or they've found it's an easy way to get their feminist creds (and sex), or they do see it as a get out of jail free card (and sex), or they realize that if they so much as suggest that knowing that they might have had a child in the world breaks their heart just a little, they'll be vilified as the oppressive patriarchy... and that's not useful.

But certainly... it's women pushing pro-life. No matter how much pro-choice is presented as a "women's issue" and "us" against "them."

John said...

This is probably already dead, but to Laser72, if you think back to history, you never heard abolitionists demanding that slave owners be punished for kidnapping and murder. That doesn't mean the abolitionists didn't think slavery was wrong.

I guess that most pro-lifers know that there would be less support for banning abortion if it necessarily entailed punishing women. What motivates us is wanting to save (what we think are) human lives. I don't want to control or punish women. I just want to save their kids. Punishing the women is not only not my goal, it would be counter-productive to saving the kids. Is that morally inconsistent? Well, if I can save more lives by being inconsistent then that's what I would choose.

Secondly, I think you can't punish people for doing something wrong when their society is telling them it is alright. It lacks the mens rea to make a homicide into a murder.

And also, we did hold a kind of funeral for a miscarriage. My wife lost a child six months along. The baby was cremated and we scattered the ashes on a mountaintop.

Shelley said...

My take on the t-shirts is a little different. I think both rape and abortion are far more common than most people realize. Women, understandably keep these experiences to themselves for many reasons. The problem with this discretion is that it creates an illusion that only certain people are raped or have abortions. As a young woman in college(20 years ago) I was shocked to learn that fully 2/3 of my dorm-mates (women of all ages) had been raped or sexually assaulted. As a culture we won't really change our attitudes about violence against women and abortion until we understand that it effects all of us-- it is our sisters, cousins, grandmothers, neighbors, the church organist and the school prinicipal. All quietly bearing our private crosses. The t-shirts are a way of giving testimony.

Nicole said...

I am also pro-choice and also think this argument is ridiculous. Even though I am pro-choice because I ultimately think a woman's moral standing is greater than that of a fetus, I do not think it is a light issue. It IS a morally loaded issue and should be addressed as that, even by pro-choice supporters. Personally, I do not agree with abortion because I think if you have sex, you should take all of the necessary precautions but realize that there is still the possibility of pregnancy. Therefore, it is your responsibility. But I can't hold everyone else in this country to my standards, so ultimately it is the woman's choice. As for the T-shirt thing, I don't understand why anyone would want to advertise either of these things. I don't see the rape one as empowering. In fact, I think it does show that the rapist owns that person (not the other way around) and they are advertising it to the world. The proper way to show overcoming the situation is to move past it and lead a successful life full of healthy relationships. I don't think a rape T-shirt is the best way to do that. And both can be seen as making light of two very serious issues.