October 1, 2009

"I'm in a board meeting. Having a miscarriage. Thank goodness, because there's a fucked-up 3-week hoop-jump to have an abortion in Wisconsin."

Twittered the Brazen Careerist blogger Penelope Trunk. She got the attention she wanted:
The Wisconsin resident said that her attempts to schedule an abortion in that state turned into a bureaucratic nightmare when she attempted to go through her insurance provider. She subsequently made an appointment to have one in three weeks in Illinois. But within three days of the appointment, she miscarried, she said.

"I thought a lot of people would be responding about having to cross state lines to get an abortion, but a lot of it has also been [about] whether you should be sad about miscarriage," Trunk told ABCNews.com. "I think the issue surrounding the three-week wait is controversial, but not the relief."...

"If the public at large had to face up to the fact that not every miscarriage is met with a vale of tears, that could have a dramatic impact on how we regard pregnancy, abortion, and women's diverse experiences with our reproductive functions," wrote Amanda Marcotte in the women's issue blog, "XX Factor."
Oh, Amanda Marcotte is there with the commentary. I've had my issues with Marcotte over the years, but did you know that Penelope Trunk once interviewed me, then blogged that her attempt at interviewing me was a "bust" and proceeded to explain what she thought I said and got it completely wrong? When I blogged about that, she showed up in the comments and it didn't go too well.

As for Marcotte and Trunk's attitude toward abortion, it does not help the cause of abortion rights. Abortion rights are most firmly grounded in the recognition of the pregnant woman's serious search for meaning. As Justice O'Connor wrote in Planned Parenthood v. Casey:
Our cases recognize "the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child."... Our precedents "have respected the private realm of family life which the state cannot enter."... These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.
If this process of finding meaning excludes respect for the potential life of the unborn, it becomes much harder to accept the woman's right to freely choose. Should Trunk (and Marcotte) pretend to care? It would be a good strategy for preserving abortion rights, I think. But shouldn't we want to hear the truth?

157 comments:

Shanna said...

If the public at large had to face up to the fact that not every miscarriage is met with a vale of tears, that could have a dramatic impact on how we regard pregnancy

What a bizarre statement. Would it be better for society if people started thinking miscarriages are no big deal? I'm not sure what she's trying to get at here. Besides Yay Abortion.

Bender said...

Is Amanda John-Edwards-sycophant Marcotte still around?

BTW - most folks believe that it was Anthony Clueless Kennedy who is responsible for the infamous "sweet mystery of life" passage, not Sandy baby O'Connor.

Ann Althouse said...

@ Bender Probably because they remember him quoting it in his opinion in Lawrence v. Texas.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

I have to agree with Justice O'Conner.

It's just that I believe the time to make the choice about reproduction is when you into the sack with some one, not after you have already created a new life.

rhhardin said...

If this process of finding meaning excludes respect for the potential life of the unborn, it becomes much harder to accept the woman's right to freely choose.

I don't follow, unless you mean she can then decide against her beliefs.

The fetus is human (not wolf) but not a human.

The meaning would be in in the parents and the future, say you have bought a crib and decorated a nursery; that's not a false attachment or a false meaning and a miscarriage brings grief. When you have those plans the fetus has a soul, we say.

If you have no plans, and indeed reject them, then no soul, no grief.

Goffman somewhere describes "say-foring," where the parent says things for the child, giving him relationships after birth; that can go on before birth.

This woman is not doing that.

Seven Machos said...

I've never understood the line of argument that O'Connor makes. I can't park wherever I want, use whatever drugs I want, marry as many hotties as I want, or put up whatever strip mall I want on my property. And now there is a push to force me to insure myself.

Yet, when it comes to child birth, I have unfettered rights, even though there is another person involved who has no rights at all.

Insane.

Abortion law in this country is simply ridiculous. It should be left up to Congress or the state legislatures. We either determine how we want to live, or we don't.

Cabbage said...

But shouldn't we want to hear the truth?

We've heard a lot of truth over the past few days.

Here, they are just arguing that it's not alive-alive or murder-murder.

Theo Boehm said...

If you read her tweets, Ms. Trunk sounds like a trouble-haver.

Loses her wallet in the airport. Kids screaming. Forgot kid's dress shirt for Rosh Hoshanna. Suing her landlord. Has a miscarriage in a board meeting.

And that was before lunch on Tuesday. Admittedly she had since the previous Wednesday, but what a week it was!

Are they ALL like this in Ms.Trunk's world?

rcocean said...

She doesn't seem to make much sense. Something about feeling she's a "bad Jew" because she twittered on Yom Kippur.

class-factotum said...

Doesn't a miscarriage take longer than just two hours? As in, you're pregnant, the baby dies, you wait and wait for natural miscarriage to start and it doesn't so five days later, you get a D&C?

blake said...

Excellent observations from Cabbage and Theo:

Maybe we should agree that abortion should only be allowed in the case of rape-rape and incest-incest, not just rape or incest.

And, yes, not surprised am I that such lives revolve around misery.

Theo Boehm said...

And just what do you do if you have a miscarriage during a business meeting?

Do you just get up and say, "Excuse me. I seem to be having a little medical issue. If you don't mind, let's take a break for 20 minutes. I should be fine then."

And what about the blood on the carpet?

john said...

I'm in total agreement with Ms. Trunk. The State has a compelling interest if not the ultimate responsiblity to ensure she will not bring another innocent life into this world.

Meade said...

If the public at large had to face up to the fact that not every miscarriage is met with a vale of tears, that could have a dramatic impact on how we regard pregnancy

I think she may have meant to coin a new idiom:
veil of crocodile tears.

"Vale of tears" means something else entirely.

DrSquid said...

Have to agree with Edjimacated Redneck, a woman exercises her reproductive freedom when she buries the baloney. After that if she decides to become an un-parent she is killing a person.

Julie said...

Is it too much to ask that we (as a culture) dial down the coarseness a bit? Do women really think swearing like a sailor and casually tossing off the contents of your uterus are empowering?

I feel for her children.

Also, she's 42 and she hasn't figured out the birth control thing yet?

phosphorious said...

I realize that this is all just another opportunity to bash liberals as souless, evil baby-killers, so i should probably not get involved, but. . .

Should there be a legal requirement for a woman to mourn a miscarriage?

Or even a moral one?

What can be said here except that you don't like the kind of person that Ms. Trunk is?

victoria said...

No no no no no. Neither the state's or the congress have a right to determine my reproductive rights. Ms Trunk is no a good example of, well, anything. No restrictions.

Ann Althouse said...

"Here, they are just arguing that it's not alive-alive or murder-murder."

Maybe we can solve the abortion debate by agreeing that the fetus is a person but now a person-person.

Darcy said...

Lovely woman, huh? A real keeper.

m00se said...

A prime example of my arguement that women are insane. What bothers me the most about abortion is that the very same gender that claims they love their children utterly can also abort them.

Like this twit.

I feel that abortion needs to be legal for all those insane women that think abortion is a good thing. Because they are clearly insane.

Penny said...

Isn't it interesting that, for the most part, the group that fights the hardest for a woman's control over her own body and her right to choose, fights so little for individual freedom for others?

*Dichotomy Alert*

Darcy said...

Umm, moose? Women are insane? Was that a typo somehow? There are a lot of men who are just fine with having their babies aborted as well. Are they insane?

Shanna said...

What bothers me the most about abortion is that the very same gender that claims they love their children utterly can also abort them.

Well, since there is only one gender that can have babies, that's not terribly surprising. And are you saying that men as a gender don't "claim to love their children"?

Shanna said...

Also, what Darcy said.

Off to see Zombieland.

daubiere said...

i bet she shops at whole foods and cares deeply about barack obama.

maybe her fucked-up boyfriend/husband/unfortunate male companion should learn about birth control before he jumps her fucked-up hoop next time. then they wont have to endure the subsequent fucked up hoop-jumping required to snuff the next unwanted baby trunk, just in case "goodness" doesnt provide her with another convenient miscarriage.

imagine the nerve of that fucked-up baby interrupting a board meeting.

i do wonder what "goodness" shes thanking for the miscarriage... i think yhwh would be unhappier about that than her twattering during yom kippur.

Maguro said...

I see that Amanda's prose is as turgid and incomprehensible as ever. If that's the end result of a degree in Womyn's Studies, no wonder it's so hard to get hired with one.

Eli Blake said...

What I don't get about abortion opponents is this:

In many cases they were the same folks who were opposed to sCHIPS. Given that we have a much higher infant mortality rate in the United States than in most other industricalized countries, is it only until birth that they care whether the baby lives or dies?

Ann Althouse said...

I mean:

Maybe we can solve the abortion debate by agreeing that the fetus is a person but not a person-person.

Diamondhead said...

Or even a moral one?

There already is, and the overwhelming majority abide by it. That's why this bitch's behavior has such capacity to shock.

garage mahal said...

is it only until birth that they care whether the baby lives or dies?

Yes.

Darcy said...

Come on, garage. That's beneath you.

Do you only care about babies once they are born? You going to answer yes to that, too?

rhhardin said...

Cavell on (slavery and) abortion is good, link.

Probably some online google books version exists now too.

Not often that I agree with garage.

Ralph L said...

Hey Bender, loosen up!

Hey Victoria, tighten those knees together!

Must be my allergy medication.

jr565 said...

Darcy wrote:
Come on, garage. That's beneath you.


It is? Because that sounds about right for him.

ironrailsironweights said...

It's interesting that she says "thank goodness" instead of "thank God," yet doesn't use a euphemism for the f-word.

Peter

AST said...

Reading O'Connor's language, I thought, "So that means that society has to allow itself to be aborted out of existence?" Then I realized that a society that had made abortion so universal and casual as Ms. Trunk seems to view it, has probably already lost its soul.

I'm not sure whether abortion should be legal, but I am sure that the only moral excuse for it is to protect the health of the mother or that the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.

I'm also sure that the court should never have ruled on it, since it basically rendered itself a third political branch, instead of a judicial one. Now ever confirmation becomes a political contest instead of merely a review of qualifications. It used to be a matter for state legislatures. Now it's a federal issue. Bad move.

I'm also impressed by the quality of the comments here.

Darcy said...

jr565: I guess I've been around just long enough to have seen a different garage. Funny. Decent. And people say things (on both sides) when talking politics that are a little outrageous and inflammatory.

I like him. So yes, I do think that's beneath him. I think it's beneath Eli, too.

Penny said...

"Maybe we can solve the abortion debate by agreeing that the fetus is a person but not a person-person."

Maybe you and I could resolve the debate that way, Althouse, but those who reside in the black and white see no gray.

Eric said...

In many cases they were the same folks who were opposed to sCHIPS. Given that we have a much higher infant mortality rate in the United States than in most other industricalized countries, is it only until birth that they care whether the baby lives or dies?

That infant mortality thing has been debunked numerous times. The numbers come out that way because they're not based on the same criteria. And I think you probably know that, too.

Quayle said...

There is a certain compassion that a woman that doesn't want a newly forming baby can get rid of it.

Compassion for the baby, that is, being spared the parenting of such a woman.

What baby wants to belong to a club that doesn't want it as a member?

miller said...

Some people have never learned the dictum "not everything you think should be spoken or said."

She is one of those.

That someone is emotionally disconnected from a miscarriage doesn't mean that miscarriages are therefore trivial. Or does it?

Revenant said...

If the public at large had to face up to the fact that not every miscarriage is met with a vale of tears, that could have a dramatic impact on how we regard pregnancy

Marcotte's comment would carry more weight if it hadn't already been established, during the Duke rape hoax, that she was devoid of basic human empathy.

Penny said...

Opposition to SCHIPS because that group believes parents should be responsible for their children's welfare, is totally in sync with believing that the parents of a fetus are responsible for that life or "life to be" if you prefer.

m00se said...

Rephrase then.

Women profess to care deeply for their children. This twit already has 2 children. How do you define someone who says they care for a child or children in general who is not only willing to to abort their fetus/child but is thanking God for a miscarriage? Wouldn't that be a something of a schizoid response?

I mean c'mon! "Mommy's so glad your little brother died! Whew! I was getting so bummed by the paperwork".

This is not a sane position. The need to abort a child is not a sane decision. Clearly, men don't count. We get no say in 99% of abortions, so don't try to dilute women's insanity with men's selfishness. Doesn't work.

Penny said...

Devoid of basic human empathy, you say?

So Marcotte is an aspy?

Not sure about you, Revenant, but I just love dime store pysch.

Alex said...

Yay! Abortion - yet another winning issue for the GOP! Keep it up 'Pubs.

Alex said...

m00se - maybe you heard of a little thing called OVERPOPULATION!!! Thank god this woman has enough sense not to strain the planet's finite resources even more!

MadisonMan said...

I've never doubted that some women have greeted a miscarriage with relief. It's probably always been that way. Do Ms. Marcotte or Ms. Trunk recognize that some people greet any pregnancy as the ultimate in cherished gifts?

Darcy said...

moose: Thank you for the rephrasing of that.

I agree with you, for the most part. I can't personally begin to understand a mother regarding her unborn child this way. I reject the idea that you can't compare men the same way though, simply because they have no choice. That doesn't absolve them from their feelings toward the unborn. Any many, many men play a significant part in the decision to abort. I'm sure you know that.

traditionalguy said...

This Blog is getting into profound territory this week, which is very challenging and good for the mind. The cost benefit analysis of having and raising, or even putting up for adoption, a human child is never enough for an ambitious career men/women. The MORALITY argument is all that exists to stop the extermination of Junior.The fact is that the abortion procurer will have the guilt that comes from any deliberate murder of an innocent human, and that is a curse that needs to be avoided.FYI Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta will find a good christian adoption home for any child that is unwanted.As a former foetus myself, I am very emotionally opposed to abortions. The Catholic Church done a wonderful service to all Foetus descendants for sure.

OhioAnne said...

I always thought the reasoning behind Roe v Wade made more sense in support of gay marriage than it did abortion "rights".

jr565 said...

Alex wrote:
m00se - maybe you heard of a little thing called OVERPOPULATION!!! Thank god this woman has enough sense not to strain the planet's finite resources even more!


You know what else would work real well? Global warming. Have a few cities flood due to rising oceans instant population reduction. The good thing about that is, it's quick. It wipes out all the non people AND all of the pregnant women at the same time who are in the city. That way its controlling the population even more efficiently.
You know what else is good for population control? Malaria. Works great. Damn that George Bush and his doo gooderism!

Treacle said...

trying to figure out how this fits in with Ann's more recent thematic rages against those who are above the common moral code

MnMark said...

I like what the guy said about how the decision not to have a child should be made before you get into bed, not once the new life is formed and developing.

I used to be rock-solid pro-choice until the 18-year-old daughter of a friend got pregnant. I was certain that it was obvious that she should get an abortion - she was so young, had her whole life ahead of her, it would be an imposition on her parents, etc. She had the baby, a little girl, whom I met when she was three or four. Just the nicest little girl you would ever want to meet. And for the first time I came face to face with an actual person, and a wonderful person at that, who I was sure should have been killed because it would have been inconvenient for her to be around. I wasn't so sure abortion was moral after that. What possible inconvenience - even the inconvenience of 9 months of carrying a baby and giving birth - could possibly outweigh this actual life of this human being standing before me?

Also I feel very sorry for that women's children...not just that they have a mother that is so crass and vulgar but that she is so obviously ambivalent about having children.

rhhardin said...

Rush said once that if you want phone calls to your radio show, discuss UFOs. You'll have no listeners, though.

Eric said...

Yay! Abortion - yet another winning issue for the GOP! Keep it up 'Pubs

That's not the winning issue you think it is. Most Americans support some restrictions on Abortion.

Synova said...

When was it, do you suppose, that the need for legal abortions in order that desperate and probably abused women wouldn't have to go the back alley or coat-hanger route, turned into a complete disdain for life and the need to alleviate the suffering of a woman in dire circumstances, became the need to accommodate a woman of means who can't be bothered to control her fertility?

Oh, and Marcotte officially dis invited all of us who have suddenly discovered that rape-rape is a bad thing, to try to "help." We're not wanted.

(The truth of that, of course, is that conservative cooties trump all feminist issues. Rape is her property and if rape gets cooties it's like stealing her personal thing.)

Smilin' Jack said...

Abortion rights are most firmly grounded in the recognition of the pregnant woman's serious search for meaning.

WTF does that mean? I guess a woman who just wants an abortion without getting a PhD in philosophy first is just out of luck.

A large fraction of human fetuses spontaneously abort (miscarry) before birth. If God has no problem with performing abortions, why should you?

Synova said...

I'm not God?

garage mahal said...

Ok I'll retract, but only because Darcy took exception. And thanks Darcy, I think you're pretty swell too.

Darcy said...

Nice stab at that question, Synova. LOL

Aww. You're welcome, garage!

m00se said...

I can only hope that there is a place in Hell for those women who abort their children, where they are forced to confront and explain to those children why their mommy killed them.

Women who voluntarily abort out of convenience (economics, youth, "we already had 3 kids", "it'll interfere with your career") should live in a state of morbid guilt for their rest of their lives. Period.

No, this does not include rape, incest, raperape, I-had-to-have-her rape/incest, gross phyical deformity, life of the mother, etc.

m00se said...

...and just to be complete - men who want to abort, guilt their spouse/girlfriend into abortion, pay for abortions, ignore abortions out of convenience are just as liable as the women in those cases.

chuck b. said...

"I'm not God?"

And if you're an athiest or agnostic, what answer then for Smilin' Jack?


And, on another subject, does God cause miscarriage? Is he that involved--for everyone?

Darcy said...

Pardon me, I should have added a thank you.

Synova said...

If you're atheist or agnostic it might not be God accepting miscarriage (presumably He'd stop it otherwise?) but it's nature, right? Nature doesn't have a problem with dying at all... yet, we don't use that as an excuse to kill people just because nature missed them.

chuck b. said...

"If you're atheist or agnostic it might not be God accepting miscarriage (presumably He'd stop it otherwise?) but it's nature, right?"

No, it's humans. Humans making decisions. Humans act.

"yet, we don't use that as an excuse to kill people just because nature missed them."

That's fine, but it leaves us where we started (maybe not where we started in this blog post, but where the fundamental debate about abortion begins): debating whether the fetus does or should share the moral standing of a born baby.

chuck b. said...

(I'm sorry, but I have to tweet out. I'm having cocktails! Not good for abortion debates. Go nuts, you guys.)

JohnAnnArbor said...

In many cases they were the same folks who were opposed to sCHIPS. Given that we have a much higher infant mortality rate in the United States than in most other industricalized countries, is it only until birth that they care whether the baby lives or dies?

We care about and try to save every child born. All deaths are honestly recorded. Many other nations shrug when certain premature babies or other hard-to-care-for types cause trouble by being born and then dying. They register those dishonestly as stillbirths or otherwise, not infant mortality. Magic! Better infant mortality rate!

Then simpletons like Eli Blake believe the statistics because it fits their worldview of America-always-sucks-because-they-don't-run-it.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

A large fraction of human fetuses spontaneously abort (miscarry) before birth. If God has no problem with performing abortions, why should you?

People die naturally at every point on the continuum from conception to old age. That does not excuse murder at any of those points.

Synova said...

No, Chuck, I was originally responding to this.

"If God has no problem with performing abortions, why should you?"


"That's fine, but it leaves us where we started (...) debating whether the fetus does or should share the moral standing of a born baby."

Or any point between that and having no more status than a cancerous or parasitical growth until entirely removed from its mother's body.

J.J. Schmidt said...

A "vale" is a river, Meade. So she meant what she said.

Your "correction" is inapt. And yes, I mean inapt.

You might want to look that up before attempting a snarky but lame retort.

Big Mike said...

Maybe it's just as well. If she's been accurately quoted then Penelope doesn't come across as very good mother material.

Meade said...

If you say so, JJ.

Well then cry me a valley.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Since "vale of tears" refers to earthly life, it would be more nearly correct to say that every pregnancy carried to term is met with a vale of tears. Marcotte probably started out meaning to say "spate of tears", but the old religious phrase clibed aboard for the ride.

Diamondhead said...

"In a few days I'll have lived one score and three days in this vale of tears." - F Scott Fitzgerald

Fred4Pres said...

I am sorry she had to go through that. I do not know enough about the circumstances. I disagree with the sentiments about abortion and I doubt I would twitter it under any circumstances, but I am not her.

And I do not care what Amanda Maracott thinks.

Joan said...

Someone stopped reading too soon. A vale is a river valley, not a river.

Excellent work on this thread, people.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"But how can anyone be afraid of this moment of death, with which he can free himself from his misery, if his duty doesn't chain him to this vale of tears? Na!" -- Adolf Hitler, 2/1/43

phosphorious said...

So it's absolutely settled beyond all shadow of doubt that a fetus is a human being.

Period.

Seriously?

Peter V. Bella said...

I think this story is pure BS. I believe she is taking a page out of the Palin playbook. SHe is setting up a trun for public office and can tell the story- these people love stories- about the miscarriage in the boardroom! What a pathetic joke and ya all fell fer it.

BTW- when I see the med records I might believe it.

Matteo said...

"No no no no no. Neither the state's or the congress have a right to determine my reproductive rights. Ms Trunk is no a good example of, well, anything. No restrictions."

And what of the reproductive rights of the little ladies being slaughtered in the womb? Absent the fact that sex is biologically ordered toward the production of a baby, there would be no "reproductive" in "reproductive rights". It seems to me that the right not to be butchered during gestation would be absolutely fundamental to any true concept of "reproductive rights".

David said...

Crass and ugly, no matter how you stand on the issue.

blake said...

lol @ meade

I live in a vale. Strangely, I'm not wet.

wv: gatorme

That's right. Gator me.

Gatorade: It's got what plants crave.

blake said...

Also, isn't "JJ" Marcotte?

Kirk Parker said...

phosphorius,

Of course it's a human being--what else could it be? Or does the DNA and all that stuff somehow mysteriously changes the moment the self-breathed oxygen (instead of the placental-transfer-delivered oxygen) hits the bloodstream or something?

montana urban legend said...

Oh, so DNA is what makes a fetus a human being! Right.

My cuticles have human DNA. I guess that makes my cuticles human.

montana urban legend said...

Should Trunk (and Marcotte) pretend to care? It would be a good strategy for preserving abortion rights, I think. But shouldn't we want to hear the truth?

Should Republicans (and their company here) pretend to care about making health care more affordable and more accessible? It would be a good strategy for limiting health care, I think. But shouldn't we want to hear the truth?

I guess strategists of a feather...

former law student said...

I can only hope that there is a place in Hell for those women who abort their children, where they are forced to confront and explain to those children why their mommy killed them.

Will God be forced to explain to me why He killed my mommy? Will I be able to kick Him in the balls?

Synova said...

Sure, phos and MUL... if it's not that a fetus is clearly a living, separate, human organism because it is clearly 1) alive, 2) separate, and 3) biologically human...

Perhaps YOU two could let the rest of us less enlightened sorts in on how a "human" is defined?

Synova said...

Oh, I see... we can only defend what is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be fully human.

I honestly don't get this... when it doubt, cut it out?

I know on which side I prefer to err, and it's on the side of accidentally defending non-humans.

Someone else may prefer that their Oopsies take out a few *real* people with the not-yet-human ones... just to be safe.

Donna B. said...

I suffer from conflicting ideals about this.

1. I don't want to put myself in the position of judging others. That I don't want this doesn't mean it's avoidable -- I'm human. It means I don't judge others' actions lightly.

2. Some things are wrong. This doesn't always line up with the same things being illegal. While I may think it's wrong to have an abortion, that judgment really applies only to myself, whereas murder of a born individual is rarely questioned as being a "choice" even though I could possibly rationalize it as such.

3. #2 requires some hard thinking. Euthanasia of a person facing only a painful and "useless" existence differs how from allowing a severely deformed premature infant to experience a "natural" death? That some things are wrong actually does depend on one's point of view.

4. #3 means that I sometimes overthink things that should be obvious. Chalk it up to being a southerner who can reconcile "murder is always wrong" with "he needed killing".

5. When I was of childbearing age, I came to the conclusion that I could never have an abortion, even if the pregnancy resulted from rape. I couldn't quite say the same if it had resulted from incest... but that is perhaps because incest was a much more unimaginable thing to me than rape.

6. I don't claim to be completely rational.

7. I became pregnant while taking birth control pills. I had two children already and didn't have a desire for more, thus I took the pills. However, I could not consider abortion and was both distressed and relieved when I had a miscarriage. Reconciling those two emotions was not easy.

8. A few years later, I got pregnant again (while still on birth control pills) and this child I carried to term. I cannot now imagine my life without this child... she's 27 now.

9. I know several women who have given babies up for adoption and know from their stories that they have never forgotten those children. There's not regret so much as mere remembrance.

10. I know only one woman who has had an abortion and I know that she agonized over the decision -- to the point of calling me and others in an act, perhaps of seeking permission. Or perhaps, since I think she'd already made the decision, seeking forgiveness.

I gave her both, but I also offered to adopt and raise her child as my own. I do understand how that would not have "worked" for either of us... and I would like to know how she now feels 20 years later, though I would never ask her.

11. Nature has no sense of morality. Nothing in nature is either right or wrong, it is merely what is. That is why the argument that nature spontaneously aborts so many pregnancies isn't an argument for either side in the moral debate.

12. Human arguments about morality always come down to the value of something. Value is word much misused. Yes, there is a value to every human life. What's overlooked so often is that value may have a negative sign in front of it. Worthiness is another word misused.

While it is nicely utopian to consider all life valuable and worthy, it's quite obvious it is not. Life and death are neutral until a human assigns them an emotional value.

13. I'm not happy with #12. I wish it weren't so. That I assign a negative to my miscarriage, does not mean I can relate to someone who does not place the same values I have on their miscarriage. This really sucks.

Final opinion: Laws seek to arbitrarily place value on life and property, hopefully with some kind of societal consensus.

What society faces today is not so much a breakdown of "civilization" as one might wish it to be, but a more detailed, due to technology, control over life and property.

I suspect none of this will be more comforting to anyone on either "side" or the "middle" of the abortion question than it so me. Perhaps we are all doomed to be dissatisfied?

montana urban legend said...

Perhaps YOU two could let the rest of us less enlightened sorts in on how a "human" is defined?

We've all been over this before, Syn. Haven't we? But at least your mind is open enough to tolerate repeated attempts at remediation.

How to define a distinct human life, you say? From a biological standpoint? Oh, I dunno. A nerve cell or two. Perhaps a rudimentary brainstem. The ability to feel pleasure, pain and sense of self. Consciousness.

Minor matters to some, apparently. Unsuprisingly, those of the tea bagger stripe come to mind.

if it's not that a fetus is clearly a living, separate, human organism because it is clearly 1) alive, 2) separate, and 3) biologically human...

So are my sperm cells. So is each ovum that is expelled from your body. Neither one of us are crying over each and every one of the millions of those that are lost over the course of a lifetime, do you?

For the last time, the only thing biologically "special" about fertilization is the initiation of a distinct biological identity. If any given woman with no more than a fertilized egg in her womb wants to sense a maternal instinct, that's fine. But to force that sentiment on others, just because a group of uninformed partisans cannot grasp the complexity of human life and the science behind it, is wrong.

A corpse is also human. It has a distinct biological identity. And so do the brain dead. But I don't know why you guys give such short shrift to a function nervous system in defining one's life. If you think about it, whoever holds to such a perspective isn't making a very flattering comment about the esteem in which they hold their own cognitive functions.

Kirk Parker said...

MUL,

If you want to make the claim that your cuticles aren't human cuticles, I guess no one's going to stop you.

Donna B. said...

Please note that my previous post does not require I abstain from referring to certain individuals and certain ideas as stupidly ignorant mush-mindedly immoral.

I am a human, therefore I have moral ideas.

montana urban legend said...

If you want to make the claim that your cuticles aren't human cuticles, I guess no one's going to stop you.

They're as human as a fertilized egg is human. But neither one of those things are people.

Notice that I didn't take issue with any of Donna B's comments. At the same time, since my comments speak to Synova's interest in the biology of human existence - (not a trivial concern in this matter to most people), a rudimentary understanding of human biology is necessary to take issue with what I said - even if one wants to ignore or forsake biology completely in how they construct their own moral understanding of human life.

Synova said...

A few brain cells that fire?

You know, MUL, that practically makes you a pro-lifer.

Revenant said...

I can only hope that there is a place in Hell for those women who abort their children, where they are forced to confront and explain to those children why their mommy killed them.

She should answer "where wast thou when I laid with thy father? declare, if thou hast understanding."

Synova said...

Actually, anyone willing to address rudimentary human biology as if it actually matters is practically a pro-lifer.

(Though I'm fairly certain that there is a significant biological difference between a sperm or ova as an organism made of human DNA and the sort of organism that is either a fertilized, twinned, or cloned and dividing human egg.)

montana urban legend said...

A few brain cells that fire?

You know, MUL, that practically makes you a pro-lifer.


I somehow doubt it. I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression is that the "pro-life" camp is usually animated around the flawed (in my view) idea that a zygote is a person. That conception = the initiation of a living person. Again, correct me if I'm wrong in that impression. But it's one I find easy to contest.

(And I respect the idea of erring on the side of caution. I actually do. Zygotes can't communicate meaningfully with people, so we assume they can't feel pleasure or pain. But biology bolsters that assumption pretty well).

Therefore, I think (as I've said before) that it would be a very reasonable compromise position for the pro-life crowd to at least consider the time of neurulation, 6 weeks in, as a good cut-off for "moral" decision points.

As someone who is used to siding with "pro-choice", I would be willing to live with this concession. At least on a moral level. Maybe that makes me seem more "pro-life" than....? Well, I guess I should feel flattered that I could be in a position to make so much headway between two such strongly opposed groups.

6 weeks gives quite a bit of time to make a decision. I don't know the statistics of when most abortions are preformed, but this time point seems to address both moral considerations and practical considerations.

It also takes into consideration the fact that some traditional perspectives see the time of quickening as an important time point in these matters. Conception is not the only milestone to all traditions. I suppose it seems like a "easy" one. But that criterion shouldn't guide the biological portion of the discussion.

Gina said...

Women are monsters. That's all. I don't understand it one iota, but we really are. You would think that the capability to give and nourish life would make us more appreciative of life, but the opposite is equally true. When we're depraved, we're really depraved.

Gina said...

A corpse is also human. It has a distinct biological identity. And so do the brain dead. But I don't know why you guys give such short shrift to a function nervous system in defining one's life.

And maybe if we gave more respect to the dead, we'd also have more respect for life. It all goes together. In fact people show more reverence for the dead than they do for babies in the womb. Grave robbing is still a crime, no?

As for the biological element, the minute a unique DNA configuration is present, combining genetic material of a mother and a father, a new individual is present. As long as you're making comparisons, make the comparison between a sick person who relies on other people for sustenance and care and a fetus who is utterly dependent on his mother not flushing him out, burning him to death, or ripping his limbs off. Like I said, it all goes together.

MC said...

@ MUL

"For the last time, the only thing biologically "special" about fertilization is the initiation of a distinct biological identity."

Hmmmm. The initation of a distinct human biological entity sounds special to me. Is it a person at that stage? Maybe not. Is there an ethical significance to the fact that it is the first concrete realization of a potential person? Maybe.

Whatever you think it seems to me that determining the ethical status of the embryo is very much a non-trivial problem.

Methadras said...

God, what a cunt.

Methadras said...

phosphorious said...

I realize that this is all just another opportunity to bash liberals as souless, evil baby-killers, so i should probably not get involved, but. . .


You're an idiot, and a leftist idiot at that We are bashing one particular liberal in this case. Not the entire 5th column of them.

Should there be a legal requirement for a woman to mourn a miscarriage?

Stupid question that was asked by a stupid person.

Or even a moral one?

Even stupider.

What can be said here except that you don't like the kind of person that Ms. Trunk is?

That's because she is a heartless, soulless cunt that has not only a complete lack of dignity and respect for herself, but even more so for the one that had grown in her womb. Hence, she's a cunt and your just an idiot for saying anything about because you know it's true. This feeble attempt at diffusion has ended in failure, like your ideology.

Methadras said...

Ann Althouse said...

Maybe we can solve the abortion debate by agreeing that the fetus is a person but now a person-person.


The fetus is a human being, it isn't a person. A person requires an identity, a maturated personality, a level of development that will distinguish this new human being as a person. That is a difficult thing to realize in the womb.

amba said...

If you have no plans, and indeed reject them, then no soul, no grief.

RH, are you saying that humans have the sole, godlike power to grant other humans a "soul" or withhold one? Probably tone-deaf, but I can't tell if you're stating that as a matter of fact (it's certainly what plenty of people do, de facto) or critically paraphrasing Trunk and Marcotte.

In any case, that really is the heart of the matter. We tend to act as if our own lives have absolute value, and were destined to be, even if we deny that we believe that and say we regard ourselves as the products of random chance, given any meaning at all only by our parents' "choice" and then our own efforts.

When I wrote about abortion, I found myself saying that we had to choose whether to act "like God" or "like nature" and that we might choose to act "like God" even if we didn't believe in God as anything more than the best of all human creations.

I do not believe first-trimester abortions should be made illegal, but the coldness of pro-choice hard-liners chills me to the bone.

amba said...

feeling she's a "bad Jew" because she twittered on Yom Kippur.

Yom Twittur.

amba said...

Cavell: "a master or a slave, a parent or a child, a writer, a weaver, a stranger?" That's lovely.

Donna B. said...

"Yom Twittur"

aye!!!

Is this a condemnation of twitter as unfeeling or a condemnation of other forms of communication as TOO feeling.

Though... either way, I can't help but laugh.

amba said...

Any many, many men play a significant part in the decision to abort.

A ... men.

amba said...

Synova, you're blowing my mind in a good way. MnMark, too.

amba said...

chuck b: you've got it bad if you're now tweeting out of Althouse comments.

amba said...

A "vale" is a river, Meade.

Huh? No it isn't, it's a valley. "The valley of the shadow of death" and "the vale of tears."

amba said...

Chalk it up to being a southerner who can reconcile "murder is always wrong" with "he needed killing".

Donna, you know I love you.

rhhardin said...

RH, are you saying that humans have the sole, godlike power to grant other humans a "soul" or withhold one?

"He has a soul" is what we say when he has relationships.

The nicest passage from Cavell, on the inclination to say soul,

It may be that the sense of falsification comes from the way I understand the phrase ``have a body.'' It is really a mythological way of saying that I am flesh. But I am not satisfied with this myth, for it implies that I also have something other than a body, call it a soul. Now I have three things to put together: a body, a soul, and me. (So there are four things to be placed: I plus those three.) But I no more have a soul than I have a body. That is what I say here and now. People who say they have a soul sometimes militantly take its possession as a point of pride, for instance William Ernest Henley and G.B.Shaw. Take the phrase ``have a soul'' as a mythological way of saying that I am spirit. If the body individuates flesh and spirit, singles me out, what does the soul do? It binds me to others.

_The Claim of Reason_ p.411

Which discovery he did not put in the abortion essay but should have.

It's not God-like but just the discovery of what the criteria for using the word are.

Soul can be made theoretical, stripped of its criteria; and then it has to be shouted in an attempt to get it to mean something.

Language in that case has gone on holiday.

Wittgenstein always keyed on the felt need to insist as a clue.

Once a baby is born, it has relationships with the world, owing if nothing else to baby cuteness. Before that, you look for the baby's soul not in the fetus but in the parents, through their plans for its raising, even if only through adoption.

Soul at that stage is in fact talking about plans, not something in the fetus.

Try it and see: when are you inclined to say "He has no soul."

Some relationship is missing in him.

Soul is about the granting of relationships.

amba said...

So are my sperm cells. So is each ovum that is expelled from your body. Neither one of us are crying over each and every one of the millions of those that are lost over the course of a lifetime, do you?

Oh, stop it. That argument is so old and so false. An individual is "struck from the float" (in Walt Whitman's odd Transcendentalist image) when the two come together. Before that there is only potential; after, something momentous has happened that will never happen again.

If you don't think it's momentous but you think you are pretty cool, then you're a much bigger hypocrite than a "sanctity of marriage" type haing affairs.

amba said...

She should answer "where wast thou when I laid with thy father? declare, if thou hast understanding."

That's a Zen koan, Rev.

vw: lalance

That's what passes for equilibrium in Hollywood.

amba said...

"He has a soul" is what we say when he has relationships.

That is so right. There is no human life without relationship. You wouldn't have a name, a language, you wouldn't survive. The human is the only tree that falls in the forest and doesn't make a sound if there's no one to hear it.

People say the embryo has a direct relationship with God, but that in itself is mediated and interpreted and sustained (if not created) through and by human beings. With no humans around to believe in God, would there still be God? We're unable to get outside that question.

amba said...

It's not God-like but just the discovery of what the criteria for using the word are.

That's very Witt(genstein)y.

amba said...

Ha, wrote that in ignorance that Witty was waiting two lines down.

amba said...

Once a baby is born, it has relationships with the world, owing if nothing else to baby cuteness. Before that, you look for the baby's soul not in the fetus but in the parents, through their plans for its raising, even if only through adoption.

The embryo initiates a relationship --rather aggressively, or call it trustingly -- when it burrows into the uterine wall and starts signaling the woman's body to turn into a mother's body. An act some feminists liken to rape or hijacking.

When a pregnancy takes, on some level (since body and soul are not distinct) a relationship has begun. The violence is done to a relationship, which is why abortion hurts women too, even if only in that they deaden themselves so as not to care.

MichaelTom said...

Why do you say Justice O'Connor wrote that. It was a joint opinion with Kennedy and Souter. How do you know who wrote which part?

amba said...

Some women seem to find revenge or reparation for the fact that for millennia, women were forced to be selfless (which isn't to say it always worked) in becoming monstrously, mercilessly selfish. Somehow that's not the answer.

vw: rewiv

Alt-0ut!

jimspice said...

Has anyone considered how her Aspergers fits in here?

mrs whatsit said...

rhhardin, the idea that the soul consists of the ability to form relationships is interesting, but it strikes me as suspiciously convenient and selective when applied to the fetus. How do you address the research indicating that the fetus in fact, begin to form what might be called "relationships" before birth, in that it can recognize the mother's voice before birth and distinguish it from other female voices? (Demonstrated by changes in the fetal heart rate before birth and in the newborn's sucking rate immediately after birth when hearing the mother's voice for the "first" time.) This isn't by any means the only evidence of pre-birth cognition, memory, and learning, of course. But since you are focused on relationships, and these studies relate specifically to the ability of the fetus to single out one familiar person from all others before it emerges from the womb, I wonder what you think of them? If you're thinking that merely recognizing someone isn't a relationship, I might agree -- but remember that it takes a pretty long time AFTER birth before a baby's ability to relate to other people consists of anything more than recognizing them as shown by wiggles, gurgles, smiles, and eventually, vocalization. It's a month or so before they smile and many months before they can say "Hi, how are ya!"

As for Ms. Trunk, anyone who could discuss abortion and miscarriage in such crass and trivial terms is so irredeemably crass and trivial herself, without regard to philosophy, that I don't see why she's worth discussion. It's a shame that she has other children. Then there's Marcotte. A year or two ago she devoted a long comment thread to the argument that nobody who claims to be opposed to abortion actually cares about fetuses or believes they are human. In her view, such an idea is so plainly impossible that in fact, every single abortion opponent is actually motivated by the desire to control and oppress women. This includes women who oppose abortion -- they wish, Marcotte is certain, to control and oppress themselves. She genuinely believes that this is true and spits misspelled venom at anyone who begs to differ. If her IQ even approaches room temperature levels, I'd be surprised.

Theo Boehm said...

It is not so easy for me to have a simple answer to the body and soul question. That's not because of religion or philosophy, but because of two very distinct and memorable out-of-body experiences, one of which was verifiable.

In that instance, "I" (my soul?) drifted up to the ceiling of a room and looked down on the rest of me (my body) on the bed, otherwise quite awake and having loads of fun with my girlfriend. Drifting around, I saw details of the top of a wardrobe that I had never seen before. You know, the glueblocks, the glue squeeze, the type of cheap luan mahogany plywood, the dust. Later, I got on a stepladder, and, sure enough, it was all exactly as I had seen it. With what eyeballs, I wonder.

I asked my girlfriend if she noticed anything odd about me during that time. She said, yes, "something happened," but she couldn't quite say what. She said something "odd and powerful" had been going on, but she just thought it was great sex.

I later had a dear friend who herself tended to have out-of-body experiences, including during sex. I can tell you that being close of someone having that experience is indeed odd and powerful.

We all have had our different experiences of life. Now you know some of mine. Please do me the favor of not telling me I was imagining or making things up.

Sorry to go off on a tangent, but this thread, having taken the usual "body/soul" detour in the abortion debate, I thought my own, admittedly funky spiritual (?) experiences might be relevant.

rhhardin said...

How do you address the research indicating that the fetus in fact, begin to form what might be called "relationships" before birth, in that it can recognize the mother's voice before birth and distinguish it from other female voices?

Soul is not a question of what's going on inside the baby at all. It's what's going on in the parents directed at the baby, because it's to them that the baby has a soul. It's their relation to it.

You're wondering instead what it's like to be a baby, not that that doesn't have the same difficulty as all the other phil-101 questions that they torment young males with.

You don't experience your soul. But why does it seem you must have one?

It's from where langauge puts subjects and predicates.

Look at when in common langauge you're inclined to say it.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I find it hard to reconcile a mother with two kids being relieved that she had a miscarriage.

I also find it hard to reconcile a 40+ year old women who hasn't figured out birth control.

rhhardin said...

The mother loves her two kids, not kids in general.

And birth control doesn't always work.

mrs whatsit said...

So, if I'm correctly following you, rh, you believe that parents confer souls on their babies by wanting and loving them. Where, then, do people who are born to parents who didn't want them get their souls? I spent years as a lawyer representing children in Family Court, a sadly large percentage of whom were unfortunate enough to be born to parents who never showed a shred of interest in them, before or after birth. Oddly enough these children did not appear to me to be soulless -- though their parents often did. Had their souls been damaged by their parents' soullessness? You bet. Destroyed? Maybe sometimes. But those kids got souls from somewhere.

Theo Boehm said...

You don't experience your soul. But why does it seem you must have one?

I experience my consciousness. What is the relationship of that consciousness to the hardware in which it seems to operate? Here we are again in Phil. 101-land. M. Descartes, say hello to Herr Wittgenstein.

I will only say that not all philosophical, psychological, moral, and, yes, spiritual questions are a matter of language. You may think that if it makes you feel better. It's a pretty hard-to-fathom existence otherwise.

rhhardin said...

The soul isn't conferred except in language. It refers to the relationship but grammatically attributes itself to the baby.

If the parents don't care, the word comes up in others instead, once the baby is there. Babies form relationships.

A legal bright line at birth probably works best. The baby is cute and most people melt at that point.

rhhardin said...

I experience my consciousness. What is the relationship of that consciousness to the hardware in which it seems to operate? Here we are again in Phil. 101-land. M. Descartes, say hello to Herr Wittgenstein.

Consciousness is being "theorized" there. Actual use might be, when you have collapsed and somebody is checking you out, ``I am conscious now.'' It does not refer to any experience of consciousness.

So why does it refer to an experience of consciousness in phil 101?

Because phil 101 works by denying words their criteria.

How do you it's a ball of wax? You don't see all of it. Strictly speaking you see at most a front surface.....

The normal response would take into account the reason for the question. Phil 101 has no reason for the question, and claims it's then a problem.

This is used to madden deep, always male, thinkers in advanced adolescence.

rhhardin said...

Nobody knows how the hardware works, by the way.

I'd suggest it's probably a mistake to characterize the hardware as hardware.

mrs whatsit said...

It's not going to work for me. Defining a soul as something people get by being cute enough at birth to make people melt (and what happens to uncute babies under this theory?) seems to me to define the soul right out of existence. Way too convenient for present purposes. You and I mean different things when we use the word "soul" and that makes the whole discussion pointless.

wv: tastacul -- really!

rhhardin said...

It's not going to work for me.

Just lay in wait for your actually using "soul" in some conversation sometime about this or that, and see when you seem to use it.

As distinguished from the theoretical use, where the soul has no properties and no criteria except that it must, MUST, be there.

Beaverdam said...

Babies are not cute. Pink, bald, wrinkly.

rhhardin said...

``I am conscious now.''

At what age is a child able to say that?

He has to know a lot about being unconscious, reasons for asking, helpful information. All of which make the phrase of interest to us in the first place, so we come up with a way to say it.

That way only has to follow a convention, not reflect some metaphysical truth in its grammatical construction.

rhhardin said...

Babies are not cute. Pink, bald, wrinkly.

You haven't been at a K-Mart checkout after a carried infant.

Women smile, crowd around, hope for a kidnapping opportunity.

Men distance themselves as far as possible.

TosaGuy said...

This twit must work in a field surrounded by equally souless, emotionally stunted pricks because I can't imagine having someone like this in a typical workplace.

It's not the fact that she is in the abortion is a sacrement camp of feminism, it's that she is crude, selfish and entirely without empathy and puts it forward for all to see. If I was an employer (regardless of political view) seeking to hire someone, I would toss this resume after I googled her name and found out that she is unable to control the part of her mind that should only be speaking to itself, rather than out loud.

rhhardin said...

I would toss this resume after I googled her name and found out that she is unable to control the part of her mind that should only be speaking to itself, rather than out loud

Another advantage of the internet is not being hired by people you won't get along with.

Kylos said...

Theo, interestingly, my mother had an out-of-body experience while in the hospital recovering from a miscarriage that required some blood transfusions. Floating to the top of the room and looking down on medical equipment and people in the room. We don't just perceive this world through our physical senses.

Kylos said...

MUL, many pro-lifers would accept your defining line as a compromise to preventing many abortions. 6 weeks? Some may not even realize they're pregnant for that long.

If you grant that a fetus is developed enough to be protected at six weeks, you've destroyed the fundamental argument for the pro-choice position: my body, my choice. So let's ignore these labels and positions, if it will help the discussion, and focus on the real issue: what is the ethical point at which a fetus deserves protection?

You've made a good argument that neurological function is a good line based on discussions of twinning, etc. However, I think you should not discount conception as a good line, since, it is after all, the definitive point of origin for that particular individual (or genetically identical individuals). Before that point, there is no past or present for that individual or individuals. After conception, the clock starts ticking and the timeline begins. It seems somewhat arbitrary to choose a point other than the origin on the timeline.

Theo Boehm said...

Having opened the natural language/logical positivist vs. traditional philosophy can of worms a bit, I will only say that I largely disagree with rh. I don't have the time to debate him just now, actual work looming very large, but I will say that I agree completely when he says that it may be a mistake to characterize hardware as hardware.

Language can be such a bother, sometimes.

Joe said...

And birth control doesn't always work.

True, but I doubt that's the situation here. If you feel that you want no more children, get yourself sterilized. For women, at least get an IUD.

If you are poor from the third world or a devout member of a religion that doesn't allow birth control, then I'll have sympathy for you, otherwise no.

(Do note that the reliability rates of most birth control is based on the premise that people will make mistakes. Yes, the occasional condom really does fail, but usually the failure is because of improper use or being just plain stupid.)

Joe said...

Biologically, the embryo is part of the woman's body until the end of the first trimester. At that point, through a series of hormonal changes we don't quite understand (especially why they are triggered at that point) the embryo becomes biologically a foreign body. This is why a high number of miscarriages or spontaneous abortions happen at that point.

But, let's not let facts get in the way of emotion and beliefs. (If you want to still defend that an embryo is a human being worth defending, fine, but don't pretend that the biology isn't what it is. And this cuts both ways--the pro-choice crowd must also reconcile this knowledge, which the adamantly refuse to do.)

David Casper said...

Maybe this was already stated in the comments (sorry, didn't have time to go through them all), but wouldn't this have been her third abortion?

http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2009/06/17/whats-the-connection-between-abortions-and-careers/

Someone get this woman on the pill. And a well stocked condom drawer next to the bed. Sheesh.

jr565 said...

Chuck B wrote:
That's fine, but it leaves us where we started (maybe not where we started in this blog post, but where the fundamental debate about abortion begins): debating whether the fetus does or should share the moral standing of a born baby.


how does that compute? Do some babies die naturally after being born? Like say with crib death? What does that have to do with whether or not we should be able to commit infanticide.

Robohobo said...

Althouse - You want to sink into the swamp with these swamp creatures, that is okay with me. Per Lestat, he became what he was forced to feed upon - rat-like and lizard-like, a creature of the bogs - after being burned by his proteges, so too you chance becoming what these diminished creatures such as Marcotte, Trunk or your commenter above, Joe, have become.

Why? And who cares about these sycophantic bottom feeders think?

blake said...

Theo,

Although the Buddha is famous for transcending through fasting, in the Hindu tradition there are many ways to do so, typically through opposites.

So the Buddha fasted, but he could have also feasted.

Another way is abstinence of sex—but also through sex itself.

Just FYI.

m00se said...

Sorry kiddos.

Our culture is all about options, zero about responsibilities. We are told, "don't judge until you've been in their shoes", and yet, where are you then, but having to justify what you've just done?

Judging someone is right for some things, wrong for others. The older you get the clearer it becomes that which is deserving of judgement and that which is not. And oddly enough, those things are usually the reverse of what you thought in your youth.

Weird.

Theo Boehm said...

Kylos: Interesting about your mother. I once knew a guy who was struck by lightening on the golf course, and he remembers looking down at himself lying near the clubhouse with EMT's working on him, wondering if he was dead or not. He said he felt great, but he shortly found himself back in his body, where he felf horrible. He then lost consciousness and later woke up in the hospital. He eventually recovered, but he says he would have been just as happy to float around in the æther a little longer until that was done.

I also recall hearing a story on "This American Life" on NPR, I believe, from a woman who was shot in the head in a terrorist attack on an international airliner somewhere, and dumped on the tarmac, where she found herself drifting up and looking down at what she thought was her dead body. She also came back to tell the story.

One of my old medical doctors, whom I sometimes see at church, says that one of the many reasons he has remained religious is these kinds of stories he has heard many times from patients and colleagues. His point is that if you're around medicine enough, and are aware enough, you realize that there is something you could call a soul or a spirit, and its relationship to the body is often not obvious and indeed difficult to fathom. Having been raised a good Catholic, for him, Christianity is as adequate an explanation as any, theology being, however, only a small part of all the other good things the Church does.

Blake: Yes, having later studied for a short time with a quite genuine Swami from a Tantric sect, I came to realize that my old girlfriend and I were practicing Tantra in spite of ourselves. Not that my Swami would countenance students having anything to do with so-called "left-handed" practices. In fact, he was quite rigorous in everything, insisting, among much else, that his students learn Sanskrit to read the Scriptures for themselves. It didn't take long for me to give up on Sanskrit and the whole Hindu thing, for the simple reason that it was too culture-specific, and not being Indian, I could never be genuinely a part of it.

My Swami, in fact, steered me to Buddhism, and so I became a student of Tibetan Buddhism for several years in Berkeley. Interestingly enough, there is a Tantric tradition in Tibetan Buddhism, although I have no idea if there are any sexual rites connected with it. Nobody would talk about it. All the genuine teachers I met in both the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, while perfectly glad to have American students and take their money, were very wary of American New-Agers looking for shortcuts to enlightenment and to enhance their sex lives along the way.

Although I have the greatest respect for the whole Hindu/Bhddhist complex of religions as having brought the world some of its most profound spiritual insights, a source of beautiful Scripture, and as the origin of so much spiritually-based orthopraxis, including meditation and yoga, I eventually realized, as a Westerner, that I really didn't belong. So, I drifted back to the Catholic Church, realizing that it, too, has a deeply spiritual tradition, although we often do our best to keep it hidden. The Buddha and the Christ were after very much the same things, but, in the end, I came to realize that Jesus was the one for me.

Theo Boehm said...

Sorry for too many uses of the verb "realize" in the above. That, and wayward commas, make for my usual sparkling expression on sleepless nights. I'll leave it stand for the content if not brilliance of style.

kentuckyliz said...

Thx Theo for explaining your journey. I had a similar full circle type of experience and am glad of it--helps me to see the true beauty of Christ.

Back to this woman--she shows the real accomplishments of modern feminism. Now, for women, sex can be just a jerk and a dribble.

3 abortions--over as many decades. She's not using it as her main form of birth control. It's not like she had 3 abortions by the time she was 20.

Miscarriages don't always trigger intense grief, even among those who would never seek an abortion. My sis reacted to her miscarriages as if it's Mother Nature's quality assurance at work--better a miscarriage than a two-headed baby. Sounds crass but she is a scientist. She's a great mom to her kids, too.

indefinicy said...

"If the public at large had to face up to the fact that not every miscarriage is met with a vale of tears, that could have a dramatic impact on how we regard pregnancy"

I agree, but I am strongly pro-choice. It strengthens the point that some people should not have children. Miscairrages for some are a blessing. A THANK GOD I'm not pregnant anymore, I didn't know what I was going to do, blah blah blah, etc. It shouldn't hurt the pro-choice or pro-abortion movements, it should help them. Some people just don't give a fuck, not every woman is going to cry and sob at the chance of ruining her life with a child she isn't ready for.