April 1, 2008

"I don’t want them punished with a baby."

A quote from Barack Obama, talking about the importance of teaching kids about contraception.



Or do you think he was talking about abortion? Sean Hannity does. And the blogs go wild.

Obama is obviously talking about contraception education, but there is an implicit — albeit deniable — signal about abortion rights. Note that he says "I'm going to teach [my daughters] first of all about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby." If they make a mistake, doesn't that mean they failed to use contraception? It suggests that to a lot of people, but I think he took the position that it would be a mistake to have sex at all, and therefore he wants them to know to use contraception — that is, to make a mistake with less consequence.

150 comments:

TMink said...

Punished with a baby? God have mercy. There is this new idea, it is called adoption. That way the Senator's daughter would only be punished with a pregnancy and the innocent child would not be punished with his as a grandfather.

Trey

Henry said...

Whatever Obama meant to say, "punished with a baby" is a bad phrase to make in saying it.

It sounds like he's equating having a baby with getting clap.

For a guy who's supposedly a gifted speaker, Obama sure is sloppy with words.

former law student said...

I read it as "teach abstinence, but keep the condoms handy," because most people's values and morals prohibit their teen daughters to have premarital sex.

The Drill SGT said...

I will give this one to Obama. I think that in segment provided, he was making a statement that referred to abstenance education (equating that to moral education) and then saying that we also need to teach about contraception (to prevent babies and AIDS). You can clearly make a case that he equates those two disasters (babies and AIDS).

I don't see an explicit statement about abortion in the piece.

However in the general sense, Obama has not met a pro-abortion law that he didn't like including not mandating parental notification for young teens or partial-birth , etc.

peter hoh said...

Trey, are you suggesting that adoption is a reasonable alternative to contraception?

peter hoh said...

drill sgt, has Obama voted for any pro-abortion bills, or just against anti-abortion bills?

MadisonMan said...

I wouldn't want my daughter punished with a baby either. But I wouldn't say it that way.

Trey, pregnancy and childbirth both carry some risk to the mother. Would a father want their daughter to face that risk?

George said...

The correct idiom is "burdened with" not "punished with."

Sen. Obama did not grow up, for the most part, in the United States (and one might convincingly argue that Hawaii's culture is quite different from that of the mainland), and both his fathers were non-Americans.

He just simply does not know the lingo.

As others have suggested, he's playing a role. He's very good at it, but every once in a while we see behind his make-up.

One of these days somebody backstage with a cellphone camera is going to capture him saying something truly peculiar, and won't that be the viral video to beat all....

(One might also wonder, given that both of his mother's marriages failed, if he somehow doesn't feel that he was a 'punishment' to her. I dunno.)

peter hoh said...

By the way, I have to say that I agree with tis point: babies aren't punishment. They are blessings.

Unfortunately, if you do everything right, they grow into teenagers, and having teenagers is a form of punishment.

Trooper York said...

What's the big deal? That's how his parents felt. They couldn't wait to drop him off with the racist granny. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

That he managed to overcome that background and have a loving and stable family life speaks very well of him. Although I bet Michelle has a lot to do with that.

Middle Class Guy said...

I agree with Henry that the phrase was a poor choice of words. I will also give Obama the benefit of the doubt. He was discussing the larger issue that contraception education should include several elements, including abstinence. He used his own daughters and his personal opinion as a parent as an example.

Was Hannity wrong? Not really. Barack Obama, through his poor choice of words, left himself open to broad interpretation. Of course, the haters will see it differently.

AJ Lynch said...

Yeah Obama is not too eloquent with unscripted questions.

Of course, he is referring to a situation where an abortion would be unavailable to his daughter who got pregnant but did not intend to.

Middle Class Guy said...

peter hoh said...
...and having teenagers is a form of punishment.


More like torture at times.

ZPS said...

Thankfully, if this is the kind of baloney that the likes of Hannity and the "blogs" are going to be shrieking about for the next 7 months...we should be just fine.

Anyone who chooses to believe that Obama is somehow "anti-babies" should not be allowed to vote and, frankly, should be aborted from this country.

The Drill SGT said...

Peter,

I did a quick google and found a CBS piece that included this section He had a 100 percent rating from the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council for his support of abortion rights, family planning services and health insurance coverage for female contraceptives.

One vote that especially riled abortion opponents involved restrictions on a type of abortion where the fetus sometimes survives, occasionally for hours. The restrictions, which never became law, included requiring the presence of a second doctor to care for the fetus.

"Everyone's going to use this and pound him over the head with it," said Daniel McConchie, vice president and chief of staff for Americans United for Life.



I will note that Hilary and NOW attempted to pound him for being less than 100% behind the pro-abortion agenda, but Obama fought back claiming he's on board 110%.

I'm not going to chase this one much farther.

AJ Lynch said...

Trooper:

I have not heard it expressed that way before but you are right (except the part about "racist" granny).

Obama's parents sure did "drop him off" with the grandparents pretty damn soon after he was born.

Henry said...

Peter Hoh -- Nice one.

I read somewhere that happiness researchers had determined that the most unhappy americans were ...

... people that lived with teenagers.

Middle Class Guy said...

ZPS said...
Anyone who chooses to believe that Obama is somehow "anti-babies" should not be allowed to vote and, frankly, should be aborted from this country.


More humor? Or is your real position that people who believe certain things, no matter how crazy, should not be allowed to vote and lose their citizenship and be deported?

Trooper York said...

I was just joking about the granny. Plus they hadn't invented nannies then where you could dump your kids like everybody does these days. I blame it all on Juliet Mills.

Joan said...

The Google search needs the phrase enclosed in quotes, here.

Very poor choice of words on Obama's part. I don't think he meant to refer to abortion, but he at least alluded to it, however inadvertently.

Peter Hoh: to me it read as if Trey was saying that adoption is a good alternative to abortion.

MadisonMan: if you believe that abortion is murder, then the risks of abortion far outweigh those of pregnancy. Pregnancy risks for healthy young women with access to good health care are minimal these days.

Fritz said...

Only someone that devalues the unborn would use such language. It's a flippant comment, very revealing.

AJ Lynch said...

Trooper:

I know you were kidding. Just did not want to give the loony lurkers the idea we thought that.

peter hoh said...

Flippant language? Like "Bring it on"?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Thankfully, if this is the kind of baloney that the likes of Hannity and the "blogs" are going to be shrieking about for the next 7 months...we should be just fine.

Heh, Hannity is the least of your problems.

Hillary still running and sucking the DNC dry? I mean what kind of progressive is she anyway? I mean why is she all concerned about her individualism and not thinking about the good of the collective...whoops...I mean the Party. Doesn't she know it takes a village to beat McCain?

Zeb Quinn said...

It doesn't matter what he supposedly meant. The words he chose to use cannot be spun to mean anything good.

Trooper York said...

"Doesn't she know it takes a village to beat McCain?"

Does that mean we all have to wear black pajamas and those conical hats? I sure hope not, we just got a bunch of sun dress and sandals in, that's gonna screw up my spring order.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I have not heard it expressed that way before but you are right (except the part about "racist" granny).

Why? Obama said she spouted off some racist comments that made him uncomfortable. Doesn't cracking off the N-word demonstrate someone's racist bona fides or does one need to wear the sheet as well?

peter hoh said...

drill sgt, I know that Obama is an abortion supporter, but the legislative action these days is about restrictions, not expanding abortion.

You said, "Obama has not met a pro-abortion law that he didn't like."

But you followed that with two examples of laws that would limit abortion. They are not "pro-abortion laws." That's the basis of my response.

Personally, I'd like to see Roe overturned so that legislatures will have to vote for real on the issue.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Does that mean we all have to wear black pajamas and those conical hats? I sure hope not, we just got a bunch of sun dress and sandals in, that's gonna screw up my spring order.

Don't worry Trooper, the VC look to so 1967 and has been pretty much out since the end of Tet. A beret, maybe a kahki field cap and Che t-shirt is still a fashion hit and can probably be purchased in bulk from some Obama supporters.

MadisonMan said...

Pregnancy risks for healthy young women with access to good health care are minimal these days.

You include two huge qualifiers. Grant that Obama's daughters probably fall in such a group == their risks also depend on their genetics. I suspect my daughter will have very easy deliveries, because her mother did, and so did her mom's mom. If Michelle O. had wretched pregnancies -- would Barack O. want the same for his young daughters? Would any father?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Not that I think young girls should be 'punished' with a baby if they have unprotected sex or be hounded from polite society as it were in days of yore.....but.... how can anyone learn from their mistakes if there are never any consequences? any ramifications? no responsibility? Here's a clue.... don't want babies...don't f**k.

Children and adults today have no accountability for their actions of any kind. It's easy to erase a baby from existence if not from memory. Ooops, my bad I mistakenly had sex.

The meme is: blame everyone but yourself for stupid decisions you make.

Bad grades? It isn't because little Susie didn't study, must be the teachers fault.

Made a bad decision and got pregnant by your Kenyan husband and would rather enjoy your life free and unfettered....no problem. Dump the kid on Grandma and Grandpa. They've got nothing else to do.

Got a loan that you in no way qualified for? .It must've been the big bad bankers and you deserve to be saved by the taxpayers who are making their payments on homes that they CAN afford.

Other than the appointing of Supreme Court justices which may or may not happen and who may or may not overturn Roe v Wade (a good thing IMO), why are we even discussing in a Presidential Election such personal decisions as teaching your children about sexual responsibility, abortion vs adoption etc? Its all just another example of the overreaching of government into what should be individual and personal responsibility.

TMink said...

Peter asked: "Trey, are you suggesting that adoption is a reasonable alternative to contraception?"

A fair question! No, I would recommend it as a moral alternative to abortion.

Madison man wrote: "Trey, pregnancy and childbirth both carry some risk to the mother. Would a father want their daughter to face that risk?"

Another fine point and question! Good fathers do everything they can to help their sons and daughters avoid pregnancy outside of a stable committed marriage. If one occurs, I would love and support my son or daughter in that situation and help them make a decision which is in the best interest of them and the innocent child.

My son or daughter should face some responsibility as they made a choice that carries with it perhaps the ultimate obligation! The same thing would apply to me or you. But the innocent child, being truly innocent, has the trump card in this moral equation as far as I am concerned.

I do not think that the Senator is anti-child, but I do think that the phrase did not come out of the ether! I would never use the phrase "stupid Jew" because that kind of bigotry is not in my heart or vocabulary. That the Senator said "burdened by a child" says something about the way his mind works.

Trey

peter hoh said...

DBQ, does your critique of those who don't want to accept the consequences for their actions extend to the likes of BearSterns directors, employees, and stockholders?

peter hoh said...

Trey, yes, adoption makes sense as an abortion alternative. Contraception also makes sense as an abortion alternative, but some seem to believe otherwise.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

DBQ, does your critique of those who don't want to accept the consequences for their actions extend to the likes of BearSterns directors, employees, and stockholders?

Yes.

Sloanasaurus said...

However in the general sense, Obama has not met a pro-abortion law that he didn't like including not mandating parental notification for young teens or partial-birth , etc.

This is exactly why the punishment comment has more meaning with Obama.

Obama is outside the mainstream on abortion. Most Democrats running for national office say things like "while I am personally opposed to abortion, I don't want to make moral decisions for other people...blah blah.." Instead Obama expressly supports the most radical abortion legislation. It is my understanding that Obama was the only Senator in the Illinois Senate to actually stand up and make arguments opposing the Infant Born Alive act. I would like to read or hear his arguments, so we could all learn what the man thinks about life and when life begins.

Sloanasaurus said...

Maybe Obama will blame his comments on his staff like he does everything else.

ZPS said...

MCG:

Ideally, people who are idiots (the people who think Obama is an anti-baby non-flag pin wearing racist and the people who think that Bush orchestrated 9/11) shouldn't be allowed to vote. But hey...idiots! They're what makes this great country so wonderful.

DaveW said...

Note that he says "I'm going to teach [my daughters] first of all about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby." If they make a mistake, doesn't that mean they failed to use contraception?

No, in the context of "values and morals" (and in the broader context of the speech) it means the mistake was to have sex.

Mind you, I'm not "one of those", but that's clearly what he's saying.

MadisonMan said...

The democratic theory is that if you accumulate enough ignorance at the Polls you produce intelligence.

(Philo Vance)

Nels said...

I'd hope he'd be more tactful with his daughter than to suggest that a baby - as she once was - is a punishment, but but from his own quote - even without the context of the question - it's clear he was talking about contraception and not abortion.

Modern Otter said...

If this statement (and pro-contraception rhetoric in general) is considered controversial to significant numbers of people, I guess it makes a long-time question of mine relevant: Can >Griswold survive the overruling of Roe?

rhhardin said...

So many interest groups ready to pounce! Obama was trying not to offend any of them, by touching all bases, even the abortion lobby.

1. Don't have sex before marriage.

2. Use a condom.

3. Abort any conception, lest you be punished with a baby, which also covers this case.

But if you're going to be a single mother, you might as well start young, I say.

Elliott A said...

When I first heard the comment, my first thought was that he was talking about abortion rights. "Punished" seems to refer to ther consequence of a society not permitting abortions to an already accidentally pregnant girl/woman. Listening the second time, I was not so sure. I can see how one could argue either way.

Kirby Olson said...

"Punished with a baby" might make a good Saturday Night Live skit, to make fun of a hypothetical Democratic regime under Obama:


Judge: You robbed a bank and killed someone?

I sentence you to take care of a baby! Bailiff, give this gentleman a baby.

(Bailiff brings out a baby, who's crying under a pink blanket.

Cut to closeup of bank robber's horrified face.)

Talk about a cruel and unusual punishment!

Mateo said...

I first saw mention of Obama's comments in an item from Politico's Ben Smith, headlined "Stop these abortions" about a woman's impassioned plea about abortion at the town meeting.

While Smith does say Obama's "punished with a baby" remark was in response to a different and earlier question, the sequence of Smith's quotes and his headline left an incorrect impression on me, and I assume many others (perhaps including Hannity?)

Either way, I think Obama deserves the benefit of the doubt on his word choice (say I, a McCain supporter). He said "baby", hesitantly, as shorthand for "the burdens of parenthood"--a word choice I'm sure he'd take back given the chance.

AllenS said...

In commie China, you can be punished for more than one baby.

Roger said...

I am with those that think it was a poor choice of words. It seems to me that Obama is not nearly the gifted orator as many believe him to be when he has to respond to questions and give and take. Debates can, of course, be spun so that any question is morphed into the sound bite stump speech. Q and A from a hostile crowd; eg, Obama's chicago presser the other day, is not a format he does well in. Its going to bite him a lot harder in coming days, I think.

MadisonMan said...

But the innocent child, being truly innocent, has the trump card in this moral equation as far as I am concerned.

That stances cheapens the life of the mother, IMO. Sorry daughter, the needs of the innocent child are paramount now.

I suspect we will not agree on this particular aspect :) Anyway, I work so this is nothing I'll have to go through. I suspect Obama does the same thing.

Joan said...

MadisonMan: That stances cheapens the life of the mother, IMO. Sorry daughter, the needs of the innocent child are paramount now.

You make it sound as if getting pregnant is a death sentence.

Der Hahn said...

An abortion maybe less risky to a woman's health than pregnancy, labor, and delivery but there seems to be an assumption floating in these comments that it's a risk-free procedure. I doubt that it is.

Freeman Hunt said...

I agree with everyone who has written that "punished with a baby" is a horrible phrase. And I agree with this comment by Fritz:

Only someone that devalues the unborn would use such language. It's a flippant comment, very revealing.

That sort of talk treats babies as though they aren't human beings. Would anyone ever say something as bizarre as "I don't want them punished with a neighbor" or "I don't want them punished with grandparents" or "I don't want them punished with a sibling"? Why when speaking of babies do some people think it alright to act as though they are burdens to be endured?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

That stances cheapens the life of the mother, IMO. Sorry daughter, the needs of the innocent child are paramount now.

Actually, yes.

Just as the needs of the 'daughter' should have been paramount when she was conceived, so should the needs of her innocent child that she conceived. The needs of the next generation are paramount to those who will be eventually stepping off of the treadmill of life after having donated to the future survival of the species.

What goes around comes around. Karma, ya know.

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

Does any of this matter to the fact that Obama only scored 37 while recently bowling in Pennsylvania. I wonder how he will do with the first pitch. Can he throw a ball?

Middle Class Guy said...

Sloanasaurus,
He shoots hoops.

carly said...

Maybe it's because I'm a pro-choice social liberal (and not a parent) who doesn't consider the mere fact of having sex (necessarily) a "mistake", but it never occurred to me that Obama was NOT talking about having the right to choose abortion to avoid being "punished" with a baby. A pro-life person surely should not be faulted for interpreting this statement as referring to abortion, as I did; especially given the fact that Obama has had much to say on the subject of abortion; has outspokenly clear (and extreme) positions against parental notification and in support of any and every abortion procedure no matter the circumstance/no questions asked.

The statement doesn't offend me (though Obama's far left wing views, lies and racism DO mightily offend me), but it was utterly graceless, unwise, crass--reflecting a disconnect between him and anyone pro-life. His characterization is seriously offensive to anyone who believes in the personhood of a fetus.

paul a'barge said...

Off Topic:
Here is yet another example of Liberal Hypocrisy in Madison, WI

Sorry to park it here.

Trooper York said...

Elston Howard was the first black Yankee. He was a great hitter and a wonderful catcher but a slow and lumbering runner. When they asked manager Casey Stengel about him, he said:

"I finally get one and he can't run."

Sometimes stereotypes don't fit ya know. Just sayn'

Simon said...

Der Hahn said...
"An abortion maybe less risky to a woman's health than pregnancy, labor, and delivery but there seems to be an assumption floating in these comments that it's a risk-free procedure. I doubt that it is."

Of course it isn't. It's fatal in 100% of successful abortions.


carly said...
"[I]t was utterly graceless, unwise, crass--reflecting a disconnect between him and anyone pro-life. His characterization is seriously offensive to anyone who believes in the personhood of a fetus."

Well, sure, but he'll listen to us. And I think we can all agree that if there's one thing above all else that matters in a Presidential candidate, it isn't their views, it's whether they'll listen to people with different views before going ahead with what they were going to do anyway. He was the editor of the Harvard Law Review don't you know!

Synova said...

Anyone else think of this?

"for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart."
Luke 6:45

A baby as punishment isn't an *unusual* opinion to have. My grandmother greeted every pregnancy announcement with dismay... it was almost comical and almost enough to convince me to have yet another. My father thought this was simply horrible. He viewed every baby as a wonder and a blessing. But grandma was concerned most with wealth and social status, though she never had a great deal of either. My dad was concerned with love, acceptance, and family.

The thing I can never get my mind around is how a *grandparent* can want his or her grandchild aborted *or* given up for adoption.

I've tried to teach my children values and morality and if *they* make a mistake I've made utterly clear that I love that child. No one in my home is going to be "punished" with a baby.

John Stodder said...

Oh, just to go against the grain here for a minute, let me try to explain the pro-choice mentality. We're not all a bunch of indifferent or bloodthirsty creeps.

If a teenage girl or young unmarried woman gets pregnant and doesn't want to be pregnant, she doesn't necessarily attach herself emotionally to the event going on inside her as a baby. For the government or a religious community to claim such an attachment on her behalf seems intrusive, arrogant and dismissive of her own humanity.

In that context, it would indeed seem like "punishment" to be required as a matter of law to carry the child to term, even if adoption is the ultimate outcome.

Now, I have no problem with the woman's family and doctor encouraging the woman to have the child and do an adoption. But if the woman considers this and decides to have an abortion, she should be permitted to find a safe and legal place to do that. To deprive her of that choice is, arguably, "punishment" for her mistake in getting pregnant. It's the state stepping in and saying, "You had sex, you didn't use birth control, and so these are the consequences."

If abortion is ever outlawed, many will rejoice, of course, but no one should pretend women in that situation won't believe they are being "punished" for making a mistake.

Obama's stupid phrasing is yet another gaffe that is making him less electable by the day, I grant. But in a way, I think his bluntness does help clarify the issue. Anti-choicers: Isn't it fair to say what you stand for is forcing a girl or woman who gets pregnant to bear the child, even if she doesn't want to? And how do you plan to enforce this requirement?

Trooper York said...

O-B-A-M-A B-A-B-Y M-A-M-A
This goes out to all my baby mamas
This goes out to all my baby mamas
O-B-A-M-A B-A-B-Y M-A-M-A
This goes out to all my baby mamas
I got love for all my Obama baby mamas

It's about time we had our own song
Don't know what took so long
Cause nowadays it's like a badge of honor
To be a Obama baby mama
I see ya payin' ya bills
I see ya workin' ya job
I see ya goin' to school
And girl I know it's hard
And even though ya fed up
With makin' beds up
Girl, keep ya head up
All my

I see you get that support check in the mail
You open it and you're like, "What the Hell?"
You say, "This ain't even half of daycare"
Sayin' to yourself, "This shit ain't fair"
And all my girls who don't get no help
Who gotta do everything by yourself
Remember, what don't kill you can only make you stronger
My Obama baby mama
(Baby Mama, Fantasia Barrino
album: Free Yourself 2004)

Or not.

Spread Eagle ® said...

John Stodder:

It only works the way you say if the welfare of the baby is of zippo concern and if the baby has zippo right to live. That's where you lose pro-lifers.

Synova said...

John, I don't quite see how a lack of attachment has any relevance to what is objectively true.

I don't think I *attached* to my first baby until he looked at me. Before that my care was intellectual. Knowing, not feeling so much. If you've got any children you know how long it takes before a baby *looks* at you.

So does my lack of *attachment* mean anything important? Does holding the baby right after he was born and reacting with, "Huh, now that's odd." mean that he was disposable?

I don't think so.

Some women get *attached* to their baby while it's in the womb. Some, probably many, do not. Particularly if they don't already have children. I don't see how this makes any difference to objective facts.

Synova said...

Also, I know at least one man who is disturbed by thoughts of his aborted baby. There was an element of always knowing that he did, almost, have a child in the world.

Why is it so unreasonable to think that, even if an abortion seems like a good plan now, that a nice fat percentage of women won't view that aborted child differently later? Women have terrible times dealing with natural miscarriages, viewing those children as children who died. Why is it so unreasonable to have care for the *mother* in this respect?

Freeman Hunt said...

I don't see how it makes any difference whether a pregnant woman is "attached" to the baby or not. My regarding someone else as less than human does not give me the right to kill that person.

Revenant said...

I agree with what seems to be the emerging consensus: he was referring to contraception, not abortion, but his choice of word ("punished"?) was lousy. It plays into the "pro-choice = hates babies" meme that the pro-life movement promotes.

Kirby Olson said...

HEADLINES IN DAILY GLOBE: Obama Hates Own Children! Leadoff sentence: Democratic candidate Barack Obama has admitted that he feels his children are a punishment, and wishes he had aborted them, and has further said that if he wins the presidency, he will round up all children in concentration camps...

TMink said...

John wrote: "It's the state stepping in and saying, "You had sex, you didn't use birth control, and so these are the consequences."

We disagree. The state is immaterial in this natural process. You might say it is biology, I say the miracle of birth, but it is well beyond the power of the state to dictate that sexual intercourse (even while using contraception)sometimes leads to pregnancy which in turn sometimes leads to child birth. Those consequences are quite natural and predate the formation of the state. 8)

What is un-natural and a state intrusion is allowing, condoning, or paying for the termination of that natural process.

Pregnancy is different than a cancer.

Smokers are sometimes "punished" with the natural consequence of cancer.

These are very different consequences.

Trey

SteveR said...

It was a lousy choice of words. He would do well to take Hillary's path, avoid any chance for unscripted answers by avoiding anything but softball interviews or otherwise answering any questions without a prepared answer, with a cackle, squirm and quick shift to a prepared topic.

TMink said...

Madison man wrote: "That stance cheapens the life of the mother, IMO. Sorry daughter, the needs of the innocent child are paramount now."

I see your point, but I cannot agree with the term "cheapens." Our daughters would have the ability to choose and would know of the likely consequences. Of course, if the child were conceived in a rape, we would agree more than disagree I think as their choice would have been violated.

But, aside from that word, you are correct in stating my position.

Part of the difference in the abortion debate is when the differing sides support the power of choice. I protect the choices of the unborn you might say!

"I suspect we will not agree on this particular aspect :) Anyway, I work so this is nothing I'll have to go through."

I make sure of that as well my friend. Good choices to both of us.

Trey

Simon said...

John Stodder said...
"Anti-choicers: Isn't it fair to say what you stand for is forcing a girl or woman who gets pregnant to bear the child, even if she doesn't want to?"

Yes: that's the inescapable result. And it's horrifying, appalling and so forth. I don't like that that's the result. But you're correct, it is. So what can we make of this? How can I hold such a position - especially, after all, since, as Amba one noted, I see "the equality of men and women [a]s nonnegotiable"? Because one can't ignore the other side of the ledger, John, as you do. As I said two years ago:

"Whatever one might think about the merits of abortion, it remains inescapably true that its regulation places a invasive, draconian and discriminatory burden upon women. While it is frequently acknowledged by pro-choice groups that abortion is a bad thing that should generally be a last resort (the Clintonian 'safe, legal and rare' formulation), tacitly acknowledging that it is something more than a mere routine surgical procedure, it is less often acknowledged by pro-life groups that restricting abortion does have the effect of effectively commandeering the uterus of a pregnant women, not always voluntarily, to carry a child to term. In my view, in order to justify so extraordinarily invasive a law as a ban on abortion, there must be an absolutely compelling interest on the other side of the scale to weigh in favor of the law."

The only reason that could possibly meet that burden, and thus, "the only legitimate reason to be anti-abortion[,] is because one is pro-life and [thus] believes that abortion is murder." That conclusion compels the need to balance the interests of the mother against the life of the child to be terminated. To be pro-life, I noted, "is a statement that the child's life has some worth to be considered, not a statement that in any way reduces the value of the life of the mother.

Beyond that, I join Freeman Hunt's 4:26 PM comment, which leaves nothing of your "attatchment" point standing, in my view.

titusmusicofthenight said...

Good evening fellow republicans and lovers of the Bush Doctrine.

How is everyone this evening?

I have been horny lately.

The warm weather makes me horny. As well seeing all of the hot guys at the gym make me horny too.

I am going to a gym that is probably 90% straight now and I am liking what I see. The straighties like to show off their muscles and I like to worship them. Sometimes when a straightie is working out next me and knowing I am watching him he flexes in the mirror and then looks at me for my reaction and that is hot and I get a little hard.

titusmusicofthenight said...

I dont really want to have sex with the straighties. I just want to see them undress and wank off.

I am tempted to offer to pay them to do it for me.

They seem to enjoy pulling up their shirts to show their abs and flexes their arms and then watching me watch them.

How hot is that?

MadisonMan said...

Off Topic:
Here is yet another example of Liberal Hypocrisy in Madison, WI


Paul, wrap your little mind around the fact that Tomah WI is not Madison.

titusmusicofthenight said...

Tomah is about 1 hour northwest of Madison. It has a big prison there.

I feel bad for people who are horny and don't get any sex. That must suck.

Middle Class Guy said...

Titus,
You never heard of prison sex?

titusmusicofthenight said...

Does Tomah have a prison?

What is that big building off the "interstate" by Tomah.

Waupaca has a prison, right? Tomah is probably more like 1 hour and 1/2 from Madison-by Sparta.

When I moved out east they never heard of "interstate". Big highways are called "the expressway" out east.

My daddy has a hunting lodge in Ladysmith and we always drove by those little towns on our way up to Ladysmith. We ate breakfast at the Embers in Eau Claire.

What do ugly people do if they can't have any sex because no one will do them? That's a sad state of affairs.

titusmusicofthenight said...

Prison sex could be hot Middle but I would never want to be raped.

It would only be hot if the guy was really hot and he serviced me.

Sure, I would want to touch his bulging biceps and hard pecs but that is about it.

Otherwise, not hot.

titusmusicofthenight said...

Are Embers still around?

Middle Class Guy said...

titusmusicofthenight said...
What do ugly people do if they can't have any sex because no one will do them? That's a sad state of affairs.


Beer! Getting ugly people laid since its invention.

titusmusicofthenight said...

What about Perkins or Country Kitchen's? Those were other restaurant fixtures in Wisconsin.

edward penishands said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
titusmusicofthenight said...

"Beer! Getting ugly people laid since its invention"

Well that is a relif. At least they are getting it and that is what is important.

What about Stuckeys-are they still around?

We used to always go by them down south when we went on our family vacation to Lake of the Ozarks and that country western place in Missouri-needless to say it wasn't Titus cup of tea.

titusmusicofthenight said...

When I was in Kentucky they had something called Sonics-they were awful.

We don't have any of those chains here.

What about Long John Silvers-are they still around?

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
titusmusicofthenight said...

What about Bridgemen's-are they still around.

My mommy used to take me to Rennebohms in Madison for friday fish.

Also, we would go to Barnabys for pizza.

I know Rennebohms is gone from Madison and so is Barnaby's but are there any where else?

I love all those kind of restaurants back then.

Now all I go to is fancy places that are really expensive.

titusmusicofthenight said...

Rennebohms was a drug store and restaurant all in one.

Those places were cool.

titusmusicofthenight said...

I am gonig to be leaving next Wednesday on my cross country road trip with the rare clumbers.

I am very excited.

A black 325xi with New York plates and two exotic dogs may be a target for being terminated in the south though.

Maybe I should throw a Bush-4 more years sticker on for reinforcement.

titusmusicofthenight said...

Tonight I am having granola and yogurt for dindin.

titusmusicofthenight said...

Is granola fattening?

titusmusicofthenight said...

If I a hung from a tree somewhere in the south I give Althouse the right to publish my comments.

All proceeds will go to the rare clumbers who will go to my parents in Wisconsin.

My Prada collection will go to my good friend "B".

titusmusicofthenight said...

I am driving all the way to Mexico and I hope to reenact the scene from Brokeback Mountain where he walks down some Mexican alley and goes into a room and does a Mexican.

I hope I can find that alley.

titusmusicofthenight said...

What if down south some religious man chains me to a radiator, like Christina Ricci, and prays the demons out of me?

Who would feed the rare clumbers and what would the heat do to my hair?

titusmusicofthenight said...

What if down south some hillbilly man makes me oink like a pig like Ned Beatty in Deliverance?

titusmusicofthenight said...

So many questions fellow republicans but no answers.

somefeller said...

It's interesting that thus far no one has answered the second question in John Stodder's final pair of questions: "Anti-choicers: Isn't it fair to say what you stand for is forcing a girl or woman who gets pregnant to bear the child, even if she doesn't want to? And how do you plan to enforce this requirement?" And kudos to Simon for facing the first question head-on, even though I don't agree with his position.

So, how is this requirement to be enforced? It's easy to posture and say that abortion is a terrible thing and how terrible it is for Obama to talk about people being "punished with a baby", but what do you suggest as the alternative legal regime? In other words, who goes to prison, for how long, and for what actions (late term abortions, provision of morning-after pills, driving a woman across state lines for an abortion if such transport is banned?)?

truman peyote said...

I hate to break it to you folks, but none of you are pro-life.

You are pro-coat hangar.

Cue: the bogus statistics "proving" that back alley abortions never killed anybody in five...four...three...two...

Revenant said...

It's interesting that thus far no one has answered the second question in John Stodder's final pair of questions?

It isn't a particularly interesting question to answer in comparison to the first one. I'm pro-choice personally, but if I was tasked with figuring out a way to ban abortion I'd suggest stripping any doctor who performed an abortion (or prescribed an abortifacient) of his license to practice medicine. Good luck finding a doctor who'll run THAT risk just to help a teenager fit into her prom dress.

That's how we handle pretty much all the other medical procedures that the medical community considers grossly unethical. We don't need a special branch of the Pregnancy Police to deal with it. :)

Revenant said...

Cue: the bogus statistics "proving" that back alley abortions never killed anybody

A pro-life person would observe that of course back-alley abortions kill someone -- that's the whole point, isn't it? It is just that they sometimes kill the mother along *with* the baby.

The question is whether legal abortion increases the total number of deaths (babies + mothers). The answer is "yes, enormously" -- the number of dead mothers drops slightly (not much, since illegal abortions were generally performed by medical professionals too), but the number of abortions (i.e., dead babies) goes through the roof.

somefeller said...

Revenant, I'll agree the first question is the more interesting one. Questions of morality and ethics tend to be more interesting than questions of law. However, it's the questions of law that need to be answered if this is going to be a serious public policy discussion, which it should be, rather than just posturing.

Your suggested punishments are worth noting, however, if abortion is murder (or something similar to that), shouldn't the punishment be harsher than what you suggest, if the people making the pro-life argument are serious about it? I will say, however, the punishment you suggest is probably the best way to make sure the medical profession becomes adamantly pro-choice. No one in the guild wants to increase the opportunities to be booted from the guild, especially if outsiders are the ones making that happen.

Middle Class Guy said...

titusmusicofthenight said...
What if down south some hillbilly man makes me oink like a pig like Ned Beatty in Deliverance?



Burt Reynolds will appear and put an arrow in him.

truman peyote said...

Revenant said...
A pro-life person would observe that of course back-alley abortions kill someone -- that's the whole point, isn't it? It is just that they sometimes kill the mother along *with* the baby.


A pro-life person who observed that would be (a) extremely stupid and (b) somebody in denial over the fact that back-alley abortions killed lots of women.

I.e., not pro-life but pro-coat hangar.

Trooper York said...

"You are pro-coat hangar"

Yes indeed I am. The best brand of coat hanger for commercial use in a store in my opinion is the Joy Mangano Huggable Hanger set sold on HSN. These are slim lined velvet hangers that when used properly can increase the capacity of your racks by more than 30% Now they aren't that strong, so you can't really use them for heavy coats, but they are perfect for blouses, pants and sun dresses. And they collapse into a very small space when not in use. If you are a real coat hanger fan, these are the hangers for you.

Simon said...

Somefeller, I think the answer to the second question is fairly uncontroversial - you target the supply and channels. You provide criminal penalties for providing or facilitating an abortion, with a medical necessity exception. That last part is the tricky bit. Some people who are on my side as to abortion won't accept a medical necessity exception because they argue (completely correctly) that it's a loophole that will be exploited to abort even where there's no medical necessity at all (risk of post-partum depression or other fuzzy psychological concerns, for example), and it's very difficult to imagine language that would permit abortion in cases of genuine medical need but that wouldn't be a loophole. Still, I'm optimistic enough to think that, with the issue consigned back to the laboratories of democracy, a workable solution will be found. The great hope of federalism is that, contra meetings, some of us is smarter than all of us.

Revenant said...

however, if abortion is murder (or something similar to that), shouldn't the punishment be harsher than what you suggest, if the people making the pro-life argument are serious about it?

Neither the pro-choice crowd nor the pro-life crowd is in any danger of being considered rational or morally consistent. I simply offered a way to eliminate legal abortion by reducing the pool of people capable of legally performing an abortion to zero. I'm not interested in getting into an argument about whether or not an abortion doctor truly is the moral equivalent of a serial killer.

I will say, however, the punishment you suggest is probably the best way to make sure the medical profession becomes adamantly pro-choice.

Er, what? They're the ones performing the abortions. How much more pro-choice can a group of people get? They train and license people to perform abortions and impose no restrictions on the reasons for them beyond the mother's personal whim. That's a position so pro-choice that even NARAL might feel vaguely sheepish about endorsing it.

nansealinks said...

At least break up the discussions into the groups of women who get abortions.

teen who cannot handle a baby and have no support whatsoever from mothers
.
teens who are embarrassed for whatever reason

teens who are just careless and can't be inconvenienced.



older women who are embarrassed by affairs etc

older women who have careers or affairs that can't be inconvenienced

older women who cannot manage a child for lack of support or demands placed on them


now to each of those groups permutate the different types of males

-caring
-not to be inconvenienced
-cautious

in about one third of those cases, it becomes deciding to go to a just war, if you believe there is such a thing as a just war. Dare we get ri of soldiers? Or soldiers with guns?

However, now there is the adoption option which is not without total psychological consequences of the children and parents involved.

Revenant said...

A pro-life person who observed that would be (a) extremely stupid and (b) somebody in denial over the fact that back-alley abortions killed lots of women.

Maybe back-alley abortions did kill lots of women; I'd be interested to see some legitimate statistics on that.

But the point I was making, which you missed (probably on purpose), is that from a pro-life perspective the whole point of an abortion is to kill an innocent person. A woman who dies during a back-alley abortion is, from a pro-life perspective, a person who died in the act of murdering an innocent child. That's a tragedy, but it is obviously pretty silly to expect pro-lifers to be sympathetic to the woman in question. That's like being sympathetic to a rapist to contracts HIV from his victim.

Meade said...

"I'm going to teach [my daughters] first of all about values and morals...[and educate them and give them information on contraception and sexually transmitted diseases]."

Good on ya, Mr. O. But what do you mean GOING to teach?

May I offer a little word to the wise from one father of a daughter to another?

Your daughters are 7 and 9. If you haven't ALREADY taught them about values and morals and the punishing dangers of sex, you, my man, have some serious catch-up father-to-daughter teaching to do. Especially the nine year-old. Those hormones have already left the barn (as we used to say back home in Indiana).

But stay strong, Barak, and be grateful you don't have to deal with what some of us had to deal with ten years ago: trying to parent our daughters (and sons) into puberty and through adolescence while at the same time the President of the United States is claiming that oral sex doesn't count as "sex." Be sure to teach your daughters that there are a number of diseases transmittable by way of even "just a blowjob."

And if you don't believe me, just ask Titus why he chooses to be always the batter and never the catcher.

Revenant said...

while at the same time the President of the United States is claiming that oral sex doesn't count as "sex."

Even THAT was a bit of after-the-fact goalpost-moving on Bill's part. What he originally said in his famous "finger-wagging" press conference was:

I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.

You can credibly argue that oral sex isn't technically sex. You cannot argue that oral sex isn't sexual relations. That's why Clinton and his supporters were careful, once it was no longer possible to deny Clinton's Oval Office blowjobs, to pretend that he'd said "sex".

truman peyote said...

Revenant said...

But the point I was making, which you missed (probably on purpose), is that from a pro-life perspective the whole point of an abortion is to kill an innocent person. A woman who dies during a back-alley abortion is, from a pro-life perspective, a person who died in the act of murdering an innocent child. That's a tragedy, but it is obviously pretty silly to expect pro-lifers to be sympathetic to the woman in question.


I didn't miss the point you were making; I just don't take it seriously. If the pro-coat hangar crowd actually gave two shits about human life, I might, but since IMHO the vast majority of them oppose abortion for reasons that have far more to do with things like misogyny and keeping the lower classes in line, I don't.

truman peyote said...

Meade said...
May I offer a little word to the wise from one father of a daughter to another?e to deal with what some of us had to deal with ten years ago: trying to parent our daughters (and sons) into puberty and through adolescence while at the same time the President of the United States is claiming that oral sex doesn't count as "sex."


Apparently that claim was presented to the public because of an act of God, rather than the act of an out of control power-abusing pruriently obsessed prosecutor (hired by Republicans whose sex lives were even messier) to bring Clinton down no matter what the means.

That gives me tremendous comfort...

Revenant said...

If the pro-coat hangar crowd actually gave two shits about human life, I might, but since IMHO the vast majority of them oppose abortion for reasons that have far more to do with things like misogyny and keeping the lower classes in line, I don't.

What a sad little fellow you are. I just wish you weren't on my side. :)

Maguro said...

"What a sad little fellow you are. I just wish you weren't on my side. :)"

You've got a lot of nerve, talking to a world-famous music critic like that!

John Stodder said...

Some women get *attached* to their baby while it's in the womb. Some, probably many, do not. Particularly if they don't already have children. I don't see how this makes any difference to objective facts.

My point about "attachment" is not quite what you and others represent it to be.

I was looking at it from the standpoint of the pregnant woman who does not want to be pregnant. I was defending such a woman as not a monster, not a murderer. When she goes for an abortion -- and I can only defend this in the early weeks after discovering a pregnancy -- she is not intending to "kill a child" but to "terminate a pregnancy." If she did not feel that way, a normal woman obviously could not go through with the abortion, anymore than she could pop a cap in her neighbor.

The only reason I raised that issue was to offer a possible explanation for Obama's mindset in saying "punish her with a baby." I do think he was talking about unwanted pregnancy in terms of punishment -- there's no ducking that point by saying he merely misspoke. But what I extrapolate from his comment is his identification with the underage girl with an unwanted pregnancy, seeing the situation from her point of view.

When my son was conceived, he was a baby from the first moment I knew he was there. A desired pregnancy is, I figure, a person immediately to the mother and everyone around her. But if the mother doesn't want to carry the pregnancy to term, it's not a person, at least not for awhile.

Look, I realize the moral justification for abortion is almost as iffy as the case against it. But women have been looking for and finding the ability to abort unwanted pregnancies for thousands of years. Are they all murderers?

If a woman can live with her choice, she should have that choice. It places her in a God-like position with regard to her own offspring. Within limits, I don't think that's inappropriate.

John Stodder said...

If the pro-coat hangar crowd actually gave two shits about human life, I might, but since IMHO the vast majority of them oppose abortion for reasons that have far more to do with things like misogyny and keeping the lower classes in line...

Tru,

Here's a clue, if you can find it. If you need to resort to ad hominem arguments, you're out of your depth. If said ad hominem argument is nothing but wishful thinking on your part, then you've drowned.

I disagree with the politics of pro-lifers, but this hoary old one-liner that they "don't care about human life" is completely false. These are folks who do most of the charitable heavy lifting in this country, dealing with human needs at the most tangible level.

Someone like you? Your idea of compassion is voting to raise someone else's taxes, and then covering your ears when you find out that most of the money's going to fund civil servants' pensions. Something tells me you're going to miss the Humanitarian of the Year award this year again.

Like Revenant said, get off our side.

Synova said...

Look. I'm not certain that I'd like all abortion made illegal. It's easy to sympathize with women dealing with an unexpected pregnancy they don't feel able to deal with. I'd *like* to tell them it's not as bad as they think and that they'll make it through with a little bit of determination.

But it's hard to say that when what we're *told* over and over and over is that having a baby is a disaster.

Mostly, even if abortion stays legal, even if just in the first trimester, I would like us all to stop treating a baby as a curse or a punishment. It doesn't really matter if the context is contraception or abortion if we depend on motivating our teenagers by stories about how children ruin your life.

Telling children how children ruin your life.

Maguro said...

"But if the mother doesn't want to carry the pregnancy to term, it's not a person"

This is one bit of liberal philosophy that I don't get. If you're going to argue that a fetus at a given stage of development is human or not, I can buy that. But to say that one 16-week fetus is human while another identically developed fetus is not because of the mother's feelings doesn't make any sense.

The reality of the fetus/baby does not depend on the feelings of the mother. For example, sometimes the clump of cells doesn't know it is just a clump of cells and tries to escape from the abortionist's instrument. Disregarding mom's feelings, it instinctively tries to survive.

My guess is that a newly fertilized egg is not human, while a 9-month old almost-newborn clearly is. Somewhere in between is the line between mass of cells and human being. Exactly where, I don't know.

Meade said...

"But women have been looking for and finding the ability to abort unwanted pregnancies for thousands of years. Are they all murderers?"

No, but they are all choosing to stop a living pulsing human heart.

At the point which the unwanted embryo becomes an unwanted person, as in, "we the people" - some say that point is when the measurable neural spark first occurs, around 15 weeks - then, yes, the abortion becomes murder just as human euthanasia is considered murder when a person with a human life is terminated before being measurably "brain dead."

titusmusicofthenight said...

I happen to love abortion.

I only wish there was more of it in the world.

State with highest divorce rates and abortion rates: Mississippi.

State with lowest divorce rates and abortion rates: Massachusetts.

Go figure, guess Massholes aren't all that bad.

Revenant said...

No, but they are all choosing to stop a living pulsing human heart.

I'd also point out that women have been committing infanticide for even longer than they have been seeking abortions. Is that murder? Well, nowadays we think of it that way, in THIS country. But there's nothing magical about the moment of birth that transforms a "fetus" into a "human being". The point at which to draw the line and say "this is now a human with human rights" has always been an arbitrary one, and it hasn't always been set BEFORE the moment of birth.

Even within the Judeo-Christian tradition the approach to these issues has changed over time. The Israelites treated induced miscarriage like a property crime, for example, and the casual attitude towards the killing (and replacement) of a man's children in Job speaks to this attitude as well.

John Stodder said...

This is one bit of liberal philosophy that I don't get. If you're going to argue that a fetus at a given stage of development is human or not, I can buy that. But to say that one 16-week fetus is human while another identically developed fetus is not because of the mother's feelings doesn't make any sense.

If only for the sake of nostalgia, I'm thrilled you called me a "liberal." I say I'm a liberal, but most liberals tell me it's a big fat lie.

I don't think my point of view is liberal so much as it is irreligious.

Religious people think God knows that baby from the moment of its conception, loves it, and commands us to protect it. Irreligious people think the mother is the one who decides, at least until the child is viable. If she believes in God and assigns her authority to Him, that's her right. But that's not a job for the state.

To me, the cure for abortion is already in place. The culture has evidently changed, because the incidence of abortion is down. Maybe religion had something to do with that. They should be proud of this accomplishment, if so. As long as women are making the decision to carry their pregnancies to term voluntarily, it's all good.

Law is not the only force for positive behavior change in this society. Religions that screamed for a constitutional amendment underestimated their non-governmental power. Their moral authority was always more effective than their legislative clout. Change hearts, not laws. That's your specialty.

Meade said...

"Even within the Judeo-Christian tradition the approach to these issues has changed over time. "

We once thought that the universe revolved around the Earth. Which was flat. And that some beings were only three fifths of full persons. Only property owners could vote. Females and children were chattel and had none of what we now call "human rights."

This is 2008. We have the technology to precisely measure human electro-neural activity. Using your own prodigious brain, where do you believe constitutional personhood rightly begins and ends?

Simon said...

Synova said...
"But it's hard to say that when what we're *told* over and over and over is that having a baby is a disaster. ... It doesn't really matter if the context is contraception or abortion if we depend on motivating our teenagers by stories about how children ruin your life."

Surely that's a problem that isn't going to go away as long as society makes a fetish of a mediocre Fleetwood Mac song? How can we tell people that the point of life it unfettered freedom to do whatever they choose above all else, and then be astonished that they regard responsibilities (and anything producing such) that necessarily curbs such freedom as a disaster? Put another way, has American veneration of liberty and freedom (a good, to be sure) metastasized into something entirely more problematic: fear of responsibility? (And is such a mindset compatible with widespread restigmatization of abortion, which is, far more then legal restrictions, the key piece to the puzzle?)

Simon said...

Meade said...
"This is 2008. We have the technology to precisely measure human electro-neural activity."

Constitutional personhood begins at birth, unless you're a living constitutionalist. Those of us who are originalists and who look to Justice Scalia et al as our men (and women) on Mount Olympus can't escape that conclusion, and Our Hero has said so. This means, of course, that the Constitution's protections are not coextensive with natural law, but that's an unexceptional point, in my view.

Simon said...

^ Sorry, I chopped off Meade's quote too early - I meant to quote the entire final paragraph of his/her 9:36 PM comment, and my reply hopefully makes more sense in that light.

Palladian said...

"If the pro-coat hangar crowd actually gave two..." blah blah

You could put a lot of coats in this hangar. On hangers, even.

Anyway, no one cares about the generalizations of miserabilists like you anyway. If you're going to reduce a broad spectrum of philosophies and beliefs into such a crude and ugly generalization like "pro-coat hangar [sic] crowd" then don't whine when people generalize your "crowd" as the pro-baby killer crowd.

And you might want to reassess your precious "lower classes", the majority of whom are also likely "pro hanger".

somefeller said...

I disagree with the politics of pro-lifers, but this hoary old one-liner that they "don't care about human life" is completely false. These are folks who do most of the charitable heavy lifting in this country, dealing with human needs at the most tangible level.

John, I'll agree that Truman is a bit overripe and isn't helping out the pro-choice side all that much, but I have a lot of doubts about the facts underlying that last sentence. Maybe things are different where you live, but from what I've seen the most vocal pro-life people come from the Evangelical megachurch crowd (Hagee-Dobson types), whose lack of a genuine social conscience is only outmatched by their sense of self-righteousness. I'll grant you that the Catholic social services crowd is pro-life and does a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to charitable works, but they aren't the sharp end of the pro-life spear from what I've seen (at least from a political and activism standpoint), particularly in so-called Red states. (I say so-called because most states aren't heavily Red or Blue, and these things change from election to election.)

Revenant said...

We once thought [...] that some beings were only three fifths of full persons

No, we didn't.

The three-fifths rule was a compromise between the slave states (who wanted slaves, who couldn't vote for Representatives, to count as population for purposes of allotting Representatives) and the free states (who didn't). But anyone with common sense can immediately see that the free states weren't advocating the position that slaves didn't count as human beings, and obviously the slave states weren't arguing that slaves were deserving of full human rights. It was purely about how many Representatives the slave states would get.

So ask yourself: would it have been better for the slaves if the Constitution had said that they counted as full people? Answer: absolutely not. They would still have been slaves, but the slave states would then have gotten more Representatives as well as more votes in the electoral college, enabling them to more effectively fight off the abolition movement and impose slavery on the newer states.

Revenant said...

This is 2008. We have the technology to precisely measure human electro-neural activity. Using your own prodigious brain, where do you believe constitutional personhood rightly begins and ends?

Constitutionally? I defer to Simon, who wears the smarty pants around here on those issues.

Scientifically? I suspect "personhood" begins sometime after birth. I don't know for certain, though, because while we can indeed "precisely measure human electro-neural activity" what we can't do -- yet -- is figure out what thoughts it represents. My suspicion is that a newborn is about as sentient as a mouse, and I think sentience is what makes us human.

Until we invent a mind reader, though, that's pretty much a moot point. I'm fine with deferring to popular opinion, whatever that may be, on the subject of what counts as human.

Revenant said...

Maybe things are different where you live, but from what I've seen the most vocal pro-life people come from the Evangelical megachurch crowd (Hagee-Dobson types), whose lack of a genuine social conscience is only outmatched by their sense of self-righteousness.

That is true only if you define "social consciousness" as "the belief that it is good to spend OTHER peoples' money on charity".

As this Hoover Institution summary indicates, religious people (who are overwhelmingly likely to consider themselves conservative) are farm more likely to give to charity, regardless of their income level, than overwhelmingly-liberal secularists are. And believe me, as a secular type I would relish the opportunity to point out Christian hypocrisy if this wasn't the case... but, sadly (for my ego) it is. Those "Hagee types" you deride really DO do most of the "charitable heavy lifting". They just don't brag about it much.

peter hoh said...

"But if the mother doesn't want to carry the pregnancy to term, it's not a person"

This is one bit of liberal philosophy that I don't get. If you're going to argue that a fetus at a given stage of development is human or not, I can buy that. But to say that one 16-week fetus is human while another identically developed fetus is not because of the mother's feelings doesn't make any sense.

Yep. It doesn't make any sense when you look at it that way. Now explain to me how there can be an exception in cases of rape.

Right now, the battles are over banning some abortions, and that kind of debate favors the pro-life side, which has been making progress politically and culturally.

When pro-lifers get the chance to push for laws banning all abortions, we'll see how well that goes over.

I don't think this issue will be resolved. Americans are conflicted about abortion. Just ask an abortion doc about the pro-life protesters who come in for abortions for themselves or for their children.

former law student said...

Pro-life people: Do you know for sure that your 8th grader is not having intercourse? If she got pregnant, would you consider it an unmixed blessing; a pure gift from the Almighty?

Synova said...

Yes.
Yes.

Synova said...

FLS, I realize what you're trying to do there but really *really*, no matter how I felt about one of my daughters telling me she was pregnant the CHILD would be a blessing and a joy.

Just exactly the same as any other grandchild I ever have.

Holly P said...

I don't think Obama was making any statement in regards to abortion. He hints at people not taking responsibility for their actions, which is a huge issue in today's society. People tend to blame others for their mistakes- it couldn't possibly be their mistake. So it is important to teach individuals the consequences of personal actions-baby or AIDs. There are methods in society that help prevent consequences and for that reason moral education is imperative. The mistake is that people do not take responsibility for their actions.

AllenS said...

That's not a prison you see from the freeway in Tomah, but a Veterans hospital.

somefeller said...

That is true only if you define "social consciousness" as "the belief that it is good to spend OTHER peoples' money on charity".

That's not how I define social consciousness, though I do include the extent to which people are willing to support necessary social services as part of the equation. I also consider which group of people is more likely to (i) shun others who disagree with their religious views, (ii) make life difficult for people who disagree with their "moral" views [i.e. any gay or just plain secular person who has the misfortune of working with them or being their kid], and (iii) having a very unforgiving attitude towards the mistakes of others, while always finding a way to pardon the sins of those who are in the group, i.e., have found Jesus (as defined by them). And, the extent to which a group of people does all things while maintaining a smug attitude of moral superiority also goes into my calculus.

Now, are social conservatives the only people in the world who do that sort of thing? No, but they, in my experience, tend to do that more than others, particularly if they are of the Evangelical Protestant persuasion, and that ties into my view of their "social conscience".

Also, one study and poll from the Hoover Institution, while interesting, isn't necessarily the last word on the topic. Further, here's an interesting line from the study: Note that neither political ideology nor income is responsible for much of the charitable differences between secular and religious people. For example, religious liberals are 19 points more likely than secular liberals to give to charity, while religious conservatives are 28 points more likely than secular conservatives to do so. It would appear that religious liberals were a part of the poll, making a simple liberal secularist/religious conservative dichotomy untenable here, and that religiosity is more important than political conservatism or liberalism in this poll.

Simon said...

Rev said...
"Constitutionally? I defer to Simon, who wears the smarty pants around here on those issues."

Well, to be sure, you can make an argument that the unborn are Constitutional persons. You can make an argument that the Second Amendment prohibits not only gun ban laws but gun registration laws, too. You just can't (as it seems to me) make that argument without abandoning the principles that most conservatives claim to regard as touchstones in Constitutional interpretation. I don't see how treating the unborn as a person is remotely compatible with the original understanding. As Scalia says in the speech linked above, the very next sentence after the equal protection clause "says representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers counting the whole number of persons in each State. You think they were counting fetuses?" Now, I don't much like that result, and I suspect Our Hero doesn't either. Far better to just announce that the Constitution protects a right to life and short-circuit all that messy "persuade your fellow citizens" stuff. But I don't think that's a reasonable construction of the Constitution, so I don't think that's a legitimate way to go, and in any event, how's that strategy working out for pro-choicers? Not well, it seems to me.

Holly P said...
"I don't think Obama was making any statement in regards to abortion. "

I incline more to Carly's comment above, but even if we stipulate that he wasn't talking directly about abortion, his phrasing reveals a cast of mind that speaks to his views on abortion.

TMink said...

truman wrote: "If the pro-coat hangar crowd actually gave two shits about human life, I might, but since IMHO the vast majority of them oppose abortion for reasons that have far more to do with things like misogyny and keeping the lower classes in line, I don't."

Stunning blanket generalization there pal. It makes YOU look like the ideologue.

Trey

TMink said...

Maguro (great screen name) wrote: "The reality of the fetus/baby does not depend on the feelings of the mother."

Depends, nope; influenced by, absolutley! The newest brain research shows that from about 20 weeks on the fetus smells, feels, and tastes everything that the mom does. The orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the brain that regulates the ability to self sooth, think while upset, and attach to others, has a crucial period of development from 20 weeks gestation to 9 to 12 months post delivery.

I now always ask about the mom's emotional state of being while pregnant when working with children because it really matters in how the children were able to develop a robust brain.

Trey

Synova said...

So, Trey. What you're saying is... the Scientologists are right?

;-)

Synova said...

Oh, and a was going to say something about smug moral superiority.

Sure, some people are smug, but I've not met many of them.

What I have met is a whole lot of people who view any statement of "this is better than that" as an outright attack and it's not *possible* to tone it down enough to avoid that.

One example is any suggestion that an intact and stable household with two parents, preferable one of each sex, is the best situation for children. It's getting a little bit easier to say that these days (but maybe not the one of each sex part) but 20 years ago a person really *really* could not make any suggestion whatsoever that two parents were in any way better than one without being accused of horribly attacking those poor defenseless single mothers.

These days, 20 years later, it's a bit easier to explain that all sorts of households are less than ideal and most kids grow up fine but 20 years ago I could never get that far because of the explosions going on.

Another example in my experience is homeschooling. Sometimes the mere fact of homeschooling is enough to be interpreted as an attack on parenting choices. It's enough, just by existing, to imply or suggest that someone *else* didn't make the right choice. And if someone is going to react that way they are going to react that way and the ONLY way to avoid it is to not mention that you homeschool. To lie.

So I just don't buy this idea that the moral goody-goodies have to be projecting any sort of smugness at all to be seen that way. All they *really* have to do for a great many people is express any sort of personal choice. Because their choice means that they decided that what they're doing is better than the alternative.

The only solution is to not chose anything at all. To never make any judgment that one choice is better than another choice.

It's not just not being *smug* about it. No smugness is necessary. All a person has to do is say that (for example) I *do* know that my 9th grader is not having sex. Ta da! Smugness.
Because I've just "suggested" that anyone who doesn't know what's going on with their 8th or 9th grader is deficient somehow. Even if I haven't suggested that at all.

Mister Snitch! said...

"The correct idiom is "burdened with" not "punished with.""

On the nose, George. A small slip, but it makes a big difference. No doubt he wishes he could go back in time and make the correction.

Maguro said...

Stodder,
I described your argument - not you personally - as liberal. I probably should have been more precise and said "pro-choice".

One of the things that I think would help both sides of the abortion argument would be to make a distinction between early and late-term abortions. As others have noted, most people are somewhat conflicted about the whole thing and don't see things in black and white. I have no problem with first-trimester abortions remaining legal, but think there should be restrictions on later-term abortions.

Revenant said...

That's not how I define social consciousness, though I do include the extent to which people are willing to support necessary social services as part of the equation.

The big churches *run* programs for providing necessary social services -- aid for the poor and sick being the biggest example.

But I suspect what you meant was "necessary GOVERNMENT-RUN social services". The thing is, somefeller, there is no such thing as a social service in which government involvement is necessary -- not unless you want to count things like the military and police, or the building of roads, as "social services". The government is involved in charity work, but it isn't necessary for it; for the most part it does more harm than good (e.g. foreign aid, Welfare, Social Security). You've mistaken the knowledge that government usually makes things worse, with a lack of desire to make things better.

I also consider which group of people is more likely to (i) shun others who disagree with their religious views, (ii) make life difficult for people who disagree with their "moral" views [...], and (iii) having a very unforgiving attitude towards the mistakes of others, while always finding a way to pardon the sins of those who are in the group

People like you, you mean? Or did you not realize you're exhibiting every single one of the behaviors you're talking about? And what the heck has a church's attitude about homosexuals got to do with whether or not the church is a force in charitable works?

Also, one study and poll from the Hoover Institution, while interesting, isn't necessarily the last word on the topic.

If you had actually read the article I linked, you'd know that the Hoover Institution didn't conduct the study -- and that it represented a lot more than a poll. But you're right that it isn't the last word, as other studies have found the same thing.

But if you think the study isn't representative, offer evidence -- not just more ad hominem attacks on religious conservatives -- to rebut it.

TMink said...

Synova, ouch that hurt.

A lot.

Grumble grumble.

Trey

Synova said...

Sorry, I couldn't resist. :-)

I think the brain stuff is real interesting.

Nikii said...

haha i love how fox news makes stuff up. just because he didn't use the best choice of words doesn't mean his position is bad. the news just likes to take everything out of context and make it a big deal.