May 14, 2010

Why do polls show more Americans calling themselves "pro-life" without a corresponding increase in the belief that abortion is morally wrong?

Gallup's hypothesis is that "increased political polarization... particularly since Barack Obama took office" has made more people want to adopt the label "pro-life."

Now, I think that "pro-life" means an opposition to the legal right to access to abortion, and that one's position on the legal question can and should be distinguished from one's conclusion about morality. We can support individual liberty to do a lot of things that we think are morally wrong — lying to friends, cheating on your spouse, destroying useful possessions instead of giving them to charity, etc. etc. But that insight isn't helpful in explaining the discrepancy Gallup identifies. Although I can see why more people could come to believe that abortion is morally wrong without wanting to deprive women of control of their own bodies, the trend in the polls goes in the opposite direction. The moral opinion is stable, even as more people are saying they are pro-life.

It would be good if the poll had a question asking people to pick one of these 4 categories:
1. abortion is morally wrong and should be banned or severely restricted
2. abortion is not morally wrong and should not be banned or severely restricted
3. abortion is morally wrong but it should be not be banned or severely restricted
4. abortion is not morally wrong but it should be banned or severely restricted
I'm saying I understand — and I personally agree with — #3. And I don't think the poll shows an increase in #3. I think #4 is the strangest idea, and the Gallup results look as though it is the increasing category. Since that is unlikely, I'm inclined to accept Gallup's hypothesis that the label "pro-life" has become more popular — at least when answering questions asked by pollsters. Are there also more out-and-proud pro-lifers these days?

230 comments:

1 – 200 of 230   Newer›   Newest»
Alex said...

Because they read Freakonomics and don't have a problem with most abortions happening to poor blacks.

John said...

The problem is that it is not a subject that should be dealt with by the federal government, in particular the courts. This is the jurisdiction of the people of the individual states, they can vote for propositions or politicians that support their position. Then, it becomes settled, until the next election and that's how it should be.

Fred4Pres said...

It is because the definition of what is pro life vs. pro choice is fluid.

A minority (a significant one but definitely a minority) think abortion is wrong unless the life of the mother is endangered (something that is now with modern medical are quite rare in and of itself).

A smaller minority think abortion should be unrestricted right up to birth.

The vast majority think some times abortion is justified but vary on what that line is and where it should be drawn.

What this poll shows is the line is moving to some extent towards more restrictions. But we are not seeing a fundamental change, but some movement.

Original Mike said...

I'm #3. And, indeed, #4 makes no sense. I think this is common when you do these 2x2 grids. Example:

1) Known knowns. Check.
2) Known unknowns. Check.
3) Unknown Unknowns. Check.
4) Unknown Knowns. Huh?

Superdad said...

because we long ago divorced the relationship between our laws and morality - thus the two are no longer intertwined in the minds of the populace. In fact, we have gone so far as to suggest if not outright teach that there is no morality outside oneself. Post-modernism is a bitch.

David said...

The question isn't clearly stated, but I think also many people are conflicted on the subject. It depends on what day you ask them and how you ask.

Ralph L said...

I think there's been an increase in people with no morals but who like babies. We've been told not to be judgemental for decades now.

El Pollo Real said...

The problem with #3 is that it still ignores the legal rights of the unborn.

Sisyphus said...

I think it most likely means that people in the vast middle ground on the abortion issue are willing to label themselves "pro-life" when given only a binary choice, without changing their underlying views.

The TIME/CNN poll (which I used to work on) has for decades shown that the majority (usually a substantial majority) of Americans' views on abortion is that it should be restricted and rare, but not illegal.

That is probably consistent with the European approach, which was politically achieved and varies in the amount of restrictions from country to country. Here, we could have had the same outcome with somewhat different state rules, consistent with the majority's view, but the Supreme Court took the abortion issue outside of regular politics (which oddly made it more intensely political).

Original Mike said...

"The question isn't clearly stated, but I think also many people are conflicted on the subject. It depends on what day you ask them and how you ask."

And even Althouse's list doesn't cover all the bases. I flip on both the question of morality and legality depending on the age of the fetus. I'm a #2 early term, #1 late term. When forced to pick one, I pick #3.

Bob_R said...

This is a bad poll. The pollster offered two choices to questions where there probably at least a half dozen answers that describe a lot of people. If you believe in some mild restrictions on abortion what are you? Pro-life or pro-choice? If you believe that abortion is morally acceptable in some cases but not in others what do you answer?

Synova said...

I don't agree with your definition that "pro-life" is what people think should be legal and that the moral question has no label.

I'm absolutely pro-life and identify as pro-life and argue against abortion and some of the truly stupid pro-abortion arguments (that women are forced to be pregnant) but my views on what should be legal or not aren't so adamant in one direction.

Hagar said...

But you should definitely make your own arrangements and pay for it yourself.

c3 said...

There will always be this deep ambivalence. Abortion after rape or incest is the great example of that. We end up comparing our moral outrage at the act that lead to the pregnancy and the act that will end the pregnancy.

From a strict pro-life position, the act that lead to the pregnancy should not affect the value of the new life.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I don't care one way or another about abortion. But one thing I don't get is why aborting a human fetus is ok but I can get arrested for disturbing a nest of Canadian geese eggs.

Just sayin.

rhhardin said...

Shouldn't be determined by the Supreme Court, it might mean.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I'd say it is increasing comfort with the label "pro-life." I'd say that that is a factor of the increasing visability of conservative, pro-life, attractive women (i.e., Palin, Michelle Malkin, Megyn Kelly, etc.)

Many of us no longer associate conservativism with a sort of anti-sex, anti-attractiveness way of being.* As we get more used to attractive female conservatives, it starts to not be something that we avoid. In other words, if Sarah Palin can keep her sexuality but still be pro-life, maybe I can too.

* n/a to most true-blue liberals, who appear to be obnoxious prudes of late.

- Lyssa

David said...

The problem with #3 is that it still ignores the legal rights of the unborn.

No, it doesn't. Someone might believe it's morally wrong for a fast-talking-used-car salesman to "trick" people into buying clunkers. That doesn't mean a person holding that belief also believes there should a law making such behavior illegal; nor does the belief a law is not required indicate the person holding that position has ignored the rights of car buyers. You could carefully weigh the plight of a defrauded car buyer and still conclude a law is unwise.

The same is true with the unborn and abortion. It's possible for someone to acknowledge the unborn have rights and still, considering everything in context, believe those rights do require abortion be outlawed.

Cabbage said...

I'm saying I understand — and I personally agree with — #3.

That's very interesting, but I wonder if it isn't more internally inconsistent than what you've called option # 4.

If abortion is morally wrong, then that is because it is either murder or close enough to murder that you've elevated it to a moral error. And if it's murder/almost-murder, then criminalization seems necessary. That sort of a moral wrong always requires a societal punishment because there is a harmed party.

By comparison, #4 doesn't seem as out of whack. Since #4 is rejecting a moral basis, the act itself isn't that relevant. Abortion just become an act without a moral issue that might be banned or supported for purely policy reasons. Those that answered #4 might simply think that abortion doesn't matter but it should be banned because it limits the future tax base or something like that.

The difference really comes from how, once an act is deemed actively wrong (and a one-way act like abortion must be actively wrong or morally neutral), then the nature of the act fixes the realm of consistent outcomes. Either its a heinous act, or it isn't.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

BTW, I can accept the euphemism "pro-life," because, while it is overly broad, it opposes an alternative that is, IMO, death, so it fits. But I'm really, really uncomfortable with the euphemism "pro-choice," on the grounds that it presupposes that the alternative is no choice, infantalizing the woman who makes a "choice" to do things that she knows can lead to pregnancy.

I'm all for the choice about whether or not to have sex.

- Lyssa

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

There has been a long-time attempt by out-and-out pro-aborts to co-opt the name "pro-life." And there was a large increase in such efforts both during the Obama election and the ObamaCare fight.

That is, they will argue with a straight face that being truly pro-life means adopting a whole bunch of anti-life positions, including abortion.

A similar tact is that of those who push the "seamless garment" and "consistent ethic of life" argument, which states that one should be "pro-life" on everything, not just abortion or euthanasia/assisted suicide or embryo-killing stem cell research. Such persons will insist that they are the ones who are truly pro-life because they support immigration reform, for example, even while they are secretly (and not so secretly) "pro-choice" on abortion.

Thus, we get folks like Bart Stupak and other self-described "pro-life Democrats" pushing for a pro-abortion, pro-death panel ObamaCare bill.

And we get people like Nancy Pelosi claiming that they are more pro-life than the Pope.

Synova said...

There may also be a growing understanding that the constant insistence that no woman makes the decision lightly is a gawd awful lie.

Like Whoopie, worried that children will be killed by their mothers if allowed to live and insisting that avoiding this terrible thing (living and then dying, because we know women who get abortions are child abusers so better to kill the babies first) and how every woman is a good decision maker and responsible and the talk is that Whoopie has had up to six abortions. Six. Because she's such a responsible and serious decision maker?

The pro-abortion arguments are irrational.

Most people have some sympathy for someone who's birth control fails (once or maybe twice, not six times) or who's life suddenly goes pear-shaped and can stretch themselves to understand that some women might find themselves in a desperate situation and can agree that legal is better than illegal.

But it's pretty obvious that as much as the argument might have been about control over your own body at the time of Roe vs. Wade, normal women have reproductive control and if they end up pregnant it was a choice. It was their own willful action.

And all of those pro-choice people explaining how abortion should be legal, safe and rare?

Well, it's not *rare* is it.

Joe said...

A big problem with the pro-choice movement is that they all to often come off as rabidly pro-abortion, treating it as though it's the only option. The defense of late term abortions also made them look like sadistic ghouls.

(I believe in unrestricted abortion before the first trimester--there is a strong biological rational to this--and to criminalize it afterward except when the mother's life is in imminent danger.)

RR Ryan said...

I agree with Ann in choosing number three, and selected it before I read her opinion. And being gay, I have no dog in this hunt. I would go a bit further and say that I don't necessarily believe abortion is morally wrong; I just believe it's a bad thing. But it's also none of my business.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

cabbage said If abortion is morally wrong, then that is because it is either murder or close enough to murder that you've elevated it to a moral error. And if it's murder/almost-murder, then criminalization seems necessary. That sort of a moral wrong always requires a societal punishment because there is a harmed party.

The #3 position always bothered me a lot, too, although it is held by a lot of people, including my husband to a degree. I don't get it- if it is wrong, why is it wrong? The only logical answer is that there is a harmed party, and, if you accept that there is a harmed party (and that that party will lose his/her life, the logical result of there being a harmed party), then how can you justify not prohibiting it?

- Lyssa

Thorley Winston said...

The vast majority think some times abortion is justified but vary on what that line is and where it should be drawn.


Agreed for a lot of people it seems to depend on (a) at what stage of development the fetus is in (which was basically where Roe came down) and/or (b) the reason for the abortion. A lot of people think that it’s okay or at least should be legal for a woman to have an abortion because she didn’t have a choice in getting pregnant (e.g. rape and incest) or there is a substantial risk that the pregnancy would unduly harm her (protect the life and health of the mother). Once you eliminate those two reasons for seeking an abortion, you’re pretty much left with over 80% of them essentially being done for convenience which doesn’t sit well with a lot of people.

Synova said...

There are more ways for abortion to be morally wrong other than being murder. It's not murder or nothing.

For example, abortion can be morally wrong because of the affect infanticide has on our culture. More people may have been pushed over to the pro-life identification because of the way Obama's "punished with a baby" remark illustrated an underlying shift in how we value or devalue children.

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lyssalovelyredhead said...

Thornton W said: Once you eliminate those two reasons for seeking an abortion, you’re pretty much left with over 80% of them essentially being done for convenience which doesn’t sit well with a lot of people.

Libs love to scream "what about rape!" when the subject comes up, but, while personally I am still against abortion in the case of rape (I liked ND's proposal that would have given the morning after pill to all rape vics), I'm very sure that if pro-abortion folks could agree to compromise to allow abortion only for rape, incest, and mother's life, this whole debate would be over in a heartbeat.

- Lyssa

Original Mike said...

Maybe the pollees had the same problem with the labels pro-life and pro-choice that I do. Neither come naturally to me. I always have to pause and think it out; "ok, pro-life must mean ..."

I wish we could just say pro- or anti-abortion without getting our panties in a wad. (can I say that?)

From Inwood said...

Flexo & Synova

Great analytical posts on your part.

People give me the ten thousand yard stare when I say that "Choose" is a transitive verb & get mad if I say, further, "You know, as in 'Choose what?' "

Some people who are otherwise anti what they see as Judicial Activism
refuse to listen to a pure academic criticism of Roe & its progeny along those lines, because, you know, “those legislators (in the Northeast?) will just have to bend to the madness of the crowd” (a/k/a, the voice of the people).

JackOfClubs said...

I don't see any evidence that there are people in category 4. As far as I can tell, the percent of people who believe abortion is morally wrong are always smaller than the "pro-life" percent. This would be due to the presence category 3 people. What is being reported is a growth of the number of pro-life people which would be perfectly consistent with category 3 people being converted to category 1. These people already believed abortion was wrong, so there would be no increase.

It is hard to be sure about all this, since the graphs are of different scales and most of the individual data points on the pro-life graph are not labeled. Also, there seems to be a jump in the middle of 2001 on the pro-life graph, indicating that there is more than one survey per year, but this does not seem to be the case in the morality graph. Still, the pro-life point for 2008 is 44 and the corresponding year on the morality graph is 48. In 2001, 2006 and 2009 pro-life seems visually to lag behind morality. In every other year, morality is > 50% and pro-life is < 50%.

Paddy O. said...

I think it expresses a sociological avoidance of vocal judging while showing a lot of people think it is not something to be done.

In fact, I'll bet it's more of a sign of the status of usage of the word "moral." Leading to the apparently confused "I'm not going to judge you for disagreeing, but abortion is wrong."

Which basically, I think, sums up position #3. People are increasingly saying it is wrong, but still don't want to make it illegal.

If it is wrong--and wrong in the particular way that it can be judged as morally wrong, which is as the killing of a baby--then it's morally confused to say it also should be legal. Killing a baby is not like smoking--okay for you but not for me. It just should not be done by anyone.

But it's not really wrong wrong, according to choice 3. Let's not bring morals into it because that would make it serious--it would be murder. If we think its wrong but shouldn't be illegal, then it's a lot more like smoking. Not a good idea--bad for the body and all that--but not really a moral evil. The Bible says nothing about smoking after all.

Choice 4 indicates people do see it as a potentially serious evil but don't want to be judgmental about it to pollsters. Most people probably have friends who have had abortions, after all, and they are generally good people. So, "it's wrong, but I don't want to judge people who disagree, but I do want to legally stop them."

info said...

obama has shined a bright light on the lunacy of liberalism...people are reconsidering a lot of their "beliefs" that the media and dems have force fed for years. This is a trend that will not soon be reversed...everything will move to the right...sanity.

Geoff Matthews said...

How about a large slice of those who think that abortion is morally wrong but should not be restricted switched to abortion is wrong but should be restricted?

Titus said...

Althouse are you and Meadsy Poo summering in Door County (The Cape Cod of the Midwest) this summer?

If so which quaint village do you like most? Fish Creek?

Titus said...

Where is everyone else summering?

I love the word "summering".

Titus said...

I also enjoy a couple Lorazepams right before bed time.

I sleep like a baby.

Titus said...

And my daily Paxils are of great help to me as well.

slarrow said...

Echoing Lyssa, I think this is a labeling issue. It's like people who normally vote Republican identifying themselves as "independents" in the 2006 and 2008 elections. Ask them now, and they identify as Republicans.

It may also be a who's-in-power issue. When President Bush was in office, the pro-life side was viewed nominally to be in power. Thus, it was attacked, and had to play defense. People wouldn't identify with that stigma then might do so now that pro-life is on offense, as it were.

Nora said...

I think that many people do not say that abortion is morally wrong (when presented with 'yes or no' kind of question) because there are very strong cases when abortion is morally right, even for most dedicated pro-lifers, i.e. when life of the women is in danger, etc, and many gray area situations.

edutcher said...

Maybe most Americans don't associate the term with abortion (don't laugh; remember Mark Twain's line about losing faith in trial by jury after he heard one juror who thought incest and arson were the same thing). They may be thinking more in terms of euthanasia or death panels.

For those that do make the connection, the moral conviction comes first and then the political/legal stance follows from it.

Frankly, I come down in favor of a modified number 1; as we've seen in the last year, once you think murdering unborn children is a right, knocking off the rest isn't much harder to visualize. There probably should be some wiggle room for extreme cases (we can save the mother, but we can't save both...), but it's a state responsibility (those damned 9th and 10th amendments again) to regulate and only the extreme cases should be allowed.

William said...

I can think of a combination of circumstances where I would approve of abortion, execution, suicide, even torture. I can think of no circumstance where I would want to live in a country where abortions, executions, suicides, and torture are encouraged or, for that matter, condoned by the government.

k*thy said...

I would agree with you, “that the label "pro-life" has become more popular.” Individuals could easily define it differently along a continuum. As for myself, I hold a position most closely to #3 (depending).

In a nutshell, for me it comes down to – she could do this, on her own , if she really wanted to. I’d rather her have safer options than that. To me, that’s a flipside of this morality coin. Which *morality* is better/more important/more moral? Dang, if I know. It’s not always as black and white as we’d like to think. As you say, Nora, there are a lot of gray areas.

Synova said...

Being uncomfortable with making abortion illegal could also have to do with how a person understands the likely twisted outcome of anything government does. Lots of times the choice made isn't between something good and something bad, but two bad things. Saying that maybe it would be "bad" to ban all abortions but an extreme few isn't the same thing as saying "well, that's okay then" to aborting babies.

Take the issue of divorce. Divorce is bad. It's bad for our communities, bad for families, bad for women, very bad for children... but it's also bad if people do not have the option of divorce. We don't get a choice between a good thing and a bad thing.

That would be too easy.

danielle said...

i just think people are less inclined to pronounce moral judgment. i think most people would want to qualify the rightness or wrongness of abortion based on the circumstances of the mother.

...but this is true generally as even many anti-abortion people are ok with it if the mother was raped.

rhhardin said...

I'd argue that abortion is not morally wrong, if the need for arguing came up.

You don't get to be the good guy by imposing a ban.

Probably the opposite.

It would be nice though to argue it out politically - argue and then vote; which the Supreme Court has prohibited.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

danielle, I addressed this above somewhat, but I'd like to ask you directly: Do you agree that, if leftists were willing to compromise that it would only be allowed in rape, incest, and life of the mother, we could end this debate? (I'm curious, not argumentitive)

- Lyssa

GMay said...

Nora said: "...abortion is morally right, even for most dedicated pro-lifers, i.e. when life of the women is in danger, etc, and many gray area situations."

I think you're gonna have a hard time finding "many" gray areas on this subject with a "most dedicated pro-lifer". Would you care to elaborate?

GMay said...

Synova said: "There are more ways for abortion to be morally wrong other than being murder. It's not murder or nothing.

For example, abortion can be morally wrong because of the affect infanticide has on our culture."


Like lyssa and a couple of others, I've been waiting for someone (someone who chooses #3 for example) to explain what's wrong or immoral about abortion. If it's not murder or something very closely related, then what is it?

Synova seems to be the only one to attempt the answer, but I'm not able to grasp the point. I'll freely admit it may be my poor reading of it, so perhaps you could rephrase your answer?

danielle said...

Lyssa --

No, i dont agree that it would end the debate.

I think many people want a bit of leeway in deciding about this very important aspect of what happens in their own bodies and dont want the gov't legislating that for themselves or other women ... even if they consider abortion 'immoral.'

GMay said...

Danielle said: "I think many people want a bit of leeway in deciding about this very important aspect of what happens in their own bodies and dont want the gov't legislating that for themselves..."

Sadly though, abortion is a decision that effects more bodies than the mother's.

Given your feelings on this, am I to assume you're definitely against the government's most recent intrusion into healthcare?

Original Mike said...

lyssa said: "The #3 position always bothered me a lot, too, although it is held by a lot of people, including my husband to a degree. I don't get it- if it is wrong, why is it wrong? The only logical answer is that there is a harmed party, and, if you accept that there is a harmed party (and that that party will lose his/her life, the logical result of there being a harmed party), then how can you justify not prohibiting it?"

I'd answer that in the following way: I think abortion is murder but I recognize that a lot of people don't, so I'm leary of forcing my view on others. This is clearly different (in my mind) from killing someone who is already born, where I am comfortable dismissing someone who claims that's not murder as a crackpot.

But as I've said, this isn't my personal opinion. My position is #2 changing to #1 as the pregnancy progresses.

Titus said...

Tits.

danielle said...

seriously, GMay ?

i really dont have the patience for your nonsense today. i think we've discussed this before -- and you proved yourself to be incredibly antagonistic and inclined to personal attacks -- so how about you just leave it there.

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

Lyssa and Synova, you are wise women. Personally, I think the terms "abortion" and "fetus" are essentially euphemisms for what is done to whom. Nobody outside of medicine or biology called unborn babies "fetuses" until they wanted it to be OK to kill them. We use "baby" when we want women to think of the well being of that creature; "fetus" when we want to make it easier for her to kill it, or to pay for it's killing. Does it make anyone uncomfortable to say "kill" in association with abortion? It shouldn't. That's what is going on. Own it. Not killing in the sense that amputation is killing of diseased tissue in order to preserve the living organism. Killing in the sense of from anything from poverty and distress to just because. Unnecessary killing. Situations that have alternatives, that often the woman would have chosen if she hadn't felt overwhelmed at the time, or had her partner or mother pressuring her to "get rid of it." It's just a baby, for goodness sake! Babies are good. If you don't want one, don't get pregnant to begin with, or give it to somebody else.

This is one area that pro-abortion people don't want us to be more like Europe. Most of Europe has much more restrictive abortion laws than the US. That total unrestrictiveness is what makes so many of us outraged at the pro-abortion crowd. How can you even think that it is OK to chop up a baby and drag it out of the womb piece by piece? How can you even think it is OK to suck it's brains out and crush it's little head?

Two friends of mine were coerced into abortions by then-husbands. One has never had another chance to have a child.

My extended family has dealt with Down's syndrome, anencephaly, illegitimacy, infertility, and a host of other issues. The babies that came along are loved and taken care of. That's not to be bragging, but you find the strength and make rearrangements, or you find other ways of managing, such as adoption. I only mention this because so many of those who favor abortion accuse us of hypocrisy.

I think a lot of the issue comes down to control, and it often isn't the pregnant woman who is doing all of the controlling.

I could go on, into other areas of the argument, but that's enough.

Toy

Titus said...

Do you guys like snow and lump crab meat?

How about perfumed french fries?

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Original Mike said: I'd answer that in the following way: I think abortion is murder but I recognize that a lot of people don't, so I'm leary of forcing my view on others.

Could you explain how that would be different from "I think slavery is a violation of human rights, but I'm not going to force my view on others." or "I think women have a right to say no to their husbands, but I'm not willing to force my view on others who would want to rape their wives."?

The crackpot/not a crackpot line doesn't seem to work there, because there have been (and continue to be, to some degree) a large number of cultures where those beliefs are the norm. (BTW, thanks for answering!)

- Lyssa

Revenant said...

The wording of your questions would lead to skewed results. "Severely restricted" sounds extreme. If you think abortion should be illegal except in cases of rape, incest, or medical necessity there is no good answer available to you *unless* you think of those restrictions as "severe". A lot of people don't, especially since most Americans are under the misapprehension that most abortions fall into those categories.

holdfast said...

Joe said:

"(I believe in unrestricted abortion before the first trimester--there is a strong biological rational to this--and to criminalize it afterward except when the mother's life is in imminent danger.)"

This is pretty much where I am, and is actually pretty consistent with the law in various European countries (though it would be first trimester plus a few weeks).

I think that the increase in clarity in our prenatal imaging technology is having an influence - it is hard to accept the old "it's just a bunch of parasitic" cells argument when it looks and moves like a little human.

danielle said...

Lyssa -- if people dont agree/cant verify that something is human, then I think a lot of people would say that they can't legislate as if that something is human.

I think many people would say that the humanity of a zygote is either based on belief or is something like potential for life.

Lem said...

"Why do polls show more Americans calling themselves "pro-life" without a corresponding increase in the belief that abortion is morally wrong?"

The Oprah factor also factors into this.. One mustn't judge what others do says the gospel of Oprah.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Danielle said: "I think many people want a bit of leeway in deciding about this very important aspect of what happens in their own bodies and dont want the gov't legislating that for themselves..."

(I second Gmay's response to this (that there's another life involved, which changes everything from a liberatarian, hands off my body standpoint))

Thanks for answering (I always appreciate that about you, BTW; I'm all about discussing and learning, rather than just arguing). However, you didn't address my hypo, which was that *if* the left could agree (compromise) that rape, incest, and life of the mother could be the only circumstances for abortion, we could end the debate.

That strengthens my opinion that the "what about rape!" argument just a red herring, designed to change the subject to something where the person at issue is more sympathetic, in order to avoid considering the majority of the issue.
- Lyssa

GMay said...

danielle: "i really dont have the patience for your nonsense today. i think we've discussed this before -- and you proved yourself to be incredibly antagonistic and inclined to personal attacks -- so how about you just leave it there."

My nonsense? Asking you a legitimate question is nonsense? Failing to remember your own antagonistic and sniping remarks?

How....unexpected.

Classy way to squirm out of a discussion you offered yourself up for.

Paul Zrimsek said...

As a libertarian conservative i can certainly get behind the idea of making unanimous moral agreement a precondition for legislation. I do wonder whether liberals have thought the idea all the way through, however.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

danielle said: if people dont agree/cant verify that something is human, then I think a lot of people would say that they can't legislate as if that something is human.

Early 1800's America: If people don't agree/can't verify that certain races are entitled to freedom, then I think a lot of people would say that they can't legislate as if that they are entitled to freedom.

- Lyssa

Revenant said...

If it's not murder or something very closely related, then what is it?

Suppose you buy a puppy and take it home with you. Later, you come to regret your decision to raise a puppy. So you crush its head with a rock and toss the body in the garbage.

Murder? Outside of the nuthouse at PETA most people would say "no". But morally wrong? I think most people in our culture would say yes. Our culture generally objects to treating life like it doesn't matter.

Synova said...

Gmay, I suppose it has to do with how a person understands the basis of morality. I tend to figure that God isn't capricious but that rules have reasons and that those reasons (that something is immoral) are generally the negative consequences that proceed naturally from the action. So we get Karma and natural law and sin and they describe a whole lot of similar "wrong" things.

Sexual morality is about avoiding those negative consequences, for example. That's why a sexual sin is a sin against your own body.

Why is theft bad, why are property rights important, why does marriage exist in all human cultures, why is lying wrong, why is a con man still a thief, why do we disapprove of people taking the law in to their own hands?

Murder is wrong... so why do we have so many different definitions of it? We do that because sometimes it's not wrong and we want to define the difference.

That's why "life of the mother" is always an acceptable reason and it's also why people who would really rather the mother find the strength to go through with it are willing to bend on rape and incest.

I think that a human organism, separate and alive, has the right to a good-faith chance to make it, to develop, grow and live. I think that taking an action to kill it is wrong because I believe it has the same right not to be purposely killed as anyone else does.

Not everyone agrees on when a person starts to "count" as a person, and there are good arguments that it's probably not during the first trimester. There are far worse and even idiotic arguments that it happens at birth and that no one is a person who is dependent for life on another person. Gawd awful stupid argument.

In any case, accepting that it's reasonable to define life at some point after conception, on a biological basis, even if I still think I'm right... I have to concede that "you're killing a person who counts" isn't an argument that's going to work, even if it seems like the most important moral question.

And there are other ones. I think that abortion is *also* immoral because of what it does, because of the natural consequences, to our society and to our communities.

I don't have to argue the moment of significance when a blob of cells becomes a person in order to address the affect that portraying an untimely child as a disaster, as a "punishment", has on our culture. It's wrong because it's harmful to people not immediately involved. It's not true that a man, or a gay man or anyone else who isn't carrying the child or who might not be going to have children... it's not true that they "don't have a dog in this fight."

Call it second hand smoke if you want.

Normalizing abortion is harmful in the same way that devaluing any human being is harmful. And it's wrong in the same way that devaluing any human being is wrong. And it's immoral in the same way that devaluing any human being is immoral.

It's the "punished with a baby" thing.

If nothing else, do we really think that children do not internalize that they are a punishment? They're totally dependent on others, and maybe only 12 or 13 years from being a baby.

danielle said...

So Lyssa, maybe I've misunderstood your question.

I dont think people on the left would agree to only allow abortions for rape, incest, health of mom. I think groups like NOW, and other feminists groups, and probably move on wouldnt allow that to happen ... because of party dynamics, it wouldnt fly.

If you're asking if, in my judgment, if there was a vote on it (a la prop 8) if the question was abortion allowable only in the case of rape, incest, health/life of mother -- then my guess would be that it would pass in more than 1/2 the states ... but i'm not quite sure. You never really know about people. I would have thought Laura Bush and Cindy McCain were anti-abortion-rights... I know she mentioned life of mother in her remarks on this, but its really not en vogue for southern women to be full stop supportive on abortion rights, so who knows how she'd (and women like her) would vote.

I also cant really gauge how young people would vote. Young people, in particular, seem to not want to push their views on others.

Original Mike said...

"Could you explain how that would be different from "I think slavery is a violation of human rights, but I'm not going to force my view on others." or "I think women have a right to say no to their husbands, but I'm not willing to force my view on others who would want to rape their wives."?"

Wish I had more time to craft a careful answer, but here goes.

I want to transition over my own personal belief (pro-choice early term, pro-life late term) rather than defend something (option #3) which isn't exactly what I believe.

I see the slave and the woman in your question as the same as the late term fetus. Separate life which has rights that trump everything else. I acquiesce to the pro-choice crowd for an early term pregnancy because my own personal view is we do not have a separate human being yet.

roesch-voltaire said...

I have always considered myself more pro-responsible than pro-life and believe each person is responsible for the difficult of choices in life, and therefore could not answer to any of these questions.

Flexo said...

The "personally opposed, but . . ." position is hardly original, Mike. Mario Cuomo is most famous for pushing that fallacious argument about 25-30 years ago.

El Pollo Real said...

Hey Lem! Thanks for that link. It bolsters an idea I've conceived. I might share it with the world or maybe I'll strangle the idea at birth.

danielle said...

Lyssa .... what are the details of your point in comparing abortions (non) rights to civil rights ?

Are you saying that the humanity of a fetus is equally verifiable to the humanity of a non-white person ?

Original Mike said...

@Flexo - That's not my position, though I did pick #3 up top when I relegated myself to just one choice.

My position is #2 early term. #1 late term.

GMay said...

Revenant: "Suppose you buy a puppy and take it home with you. Later, you come to regret your decision to raise a puppy. So you crush its head with a rock and toss the body in the garbage.

Murder? Outside of the nuthouse at PETA most people would say "no". But morally wrong? I think most people in our culture would say yes. Our culture generally objects to treating life like it doesn't matter."


Equating puppies to babies...

Looks as if your PETA dues are paid in full.

Lem said...

Abortion on demand is borne of an inconsequential worldview.

El Pollo Real said...

RR Ryan wrote: And being gay, I have no dog in this hunt.

Nice cop out.

Being straight, I could care less about gaining the right to marry a man.

Flexo said...

we do not have a separate human being yet

Thankfully, we do not have to depend on personal views or opinions or positions regarding this matter.

It can be answered conclusively as a matter of scientific fact. To wit, from the moment of conception, when a living human ovum combines with a living human sperm, the entity is (a) alive, (b) human, and (c) a being that is genetically separate and distinct from either the mother or the father. It is scientifically and medically impossible for life to simply spontaneously generate, inside the womb or outside.

The fetus is alive at 8 months gestation only because she was living at the moment of ovum-sperm joinder. Non-living ova and non-living sperm cannot create life, and non-human ova and sperm cannot create another human. And that life does not just spontaneously happen. It is scientific FACT, not opinion or personal views, that such life is a continuum, continuing from the moment of conception.

That the nascent human life in the womb is dependent upon the mother for sustenance, food, water, oxygen, and shelter does not make him or her any less alive or human or any less a different being.

The idea that somehow human life just magically bursts into existence sometime around the second trimester is laughable fantasy, totally divorced from reason and long-known scientific knowledge and fact. It might make for good politics, and it might assuage a guilty conscience, but it is lousy medical science.

GMay said...

Synova,

Thanks for the in-depth response. I guess the only thing I'm still having trouble with is similar to your previous statement:

"I have to concede that "you're killing a person who counts" isn't an argument that's going to work, even if it seems like the most important moral question."

Why doesn't the argument work and if it's possibly the most important moral question, what is seemingly forcing you to concede?

Again, thanks for the thoughtful response.

Synova said...

"Are you saying that the humanity of a fetus is equally verifiable to the humanity of a non-white person ?"

I sort of hate to point this out but who counts as "human" is either a philosophical construct... or it's a biological constant.

Either way the humanity of a fetus is equally verifiable to the humanity of a non-white person or any other person.

Because how do you prove who counts? Very few people ever did make the argument that non-whites weren't human. We've not had any trouble abusing fellow humans through history, after all. The cases where, say, Tasmanians or others were hunted with the excuse that they weren't human on account of not having souls... well, honestly, can you prove a soul? You can't. So it's not verifiable in any way at all.

A fetus, on the other hand, is absolutely, verifiably, a unique living and human organism. It's alive. It's human. It's itself and not an appendage. Verifiable. Just like any other human on the planet, no matter what they look like, no matter their physical or mental ability or disability or even someone with weird mutations like primordial dwarfism, is verifiably human.

If you're going to go by something other than discrete biology then we're into souls, and no, you can't prove a soul.

Lem said...

I might share it with the world or maybe I'll strangle the idea at birth.

Have a few drinks and call me in the morning ;)

Original Mike said...

Flexo - I understand the biology quite well, thank you. And I said I wish I had time to craft a carefully worded answer. But not being a religious person, I see a difference between an early term embryo and a late term fetus. Where's the dividing line? Like so many things in life, there ain't a clear cut one.

Synova said...

"Equating puppies to babies..."

I actually thought that was pretty good. Not that puppies are babies or babies are puppies, but that it was a pretty good example of living things that are NOT equivalent at all. (And also a bit of the "change your mind" thing I haven't gotten into today.)

And even if killing puppies was meant as an example of something more equivalent to killing a fetus, it illustrated something true... we don't approve of disposing of living things just because they aren't human.

danielle said...

ahhh.... no, Synova.

I very happily eat either beef or chicken or fish every day without a single bit of remorse.

Synova said...

Totally missed my point.

A fetus isn't genetically a fish or a chicken.

It's human.

And even if you don't think so, I doubt you'd offer to eat one.

danielle said...

oh, and synova -- i wouldnt classify divorce as bad. if two people are married and that marriage makes them both miserable and they are abusive, then divorce is the better option than staying married. if there are children involved then the consequences for the child if the parents split could be better than if the parents stay together and abuse each other. it all depends. its definitely not as black and white of an issue as you'd like to make it.

GMay said...

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I thought the puppy analogy was fairly shabby.

So if we abort a fetus at a stage of pregnancy the majority finds morally acceptable and decide to use it as a hackysack, that's roughly equivalent to the immorality of crushing a puppy's skull?

Terrible anaolgies breed terrible analogies.

Synova said...

Oh, wait you were talking about the puppy thing, right?

I think that even carnivores would disapprove of killing a cow and throwing it away just because someone decided they didn't want it anymore.

Joe said...

Where's the dividing line?

Around three months. Contrary to many assertions, including the above, biologically the embryo is part of the mother's body. Between eight and twelve weeks, the embryo becomes a fetus and a foreign body to the woman. This is why so many miscarriages happen around this time scale.

(And if we want to pedantic, life is a continuum. The egg and sperm are living cells. Moreover, even if we go with idea that human life begins at conception, that isn't always true either. Like many woman, my wife once had a miscarriage of an embryo that never would have developed into a human being. Between 30% and 50% of fertilized eggs result in a failure to implant in the uterus or a miscarriage.)

Big Mike said...

Now, I think that "pro-life" means an opposition to the legal right to access to abortion, and that one's position on the legal question can and should be distinguished from one's conclusion about morality.

That's interesting because I describe myself as "pro-life" and always have done so, but as in your category #3, I don't think that abortion should be totally banned, nor should it be restricted to people who can afford it pay out of pocket. I can't imagine anyone who has ever heard of Tay-Sachs disease favoring a a total ban on abortion; such a person would have to be utterly inhuman.

But what do you mean by "severely"? You're the con law professor, but my recollection is that the ruling in Roe v. Wade (and I don't have time to look it up) permitted abortions to be banned after the point where the fetus is viable outside the womb, which these days means 23-24 weeks. It seems to me that (1) "pro-choice" has, over time, come to mean abortion any time before the cervix has started to dilate (and I suspect that some of the most ardent feminists would permit abortion after everything's out but the baby's toes), which most people regard as an extreme positon, while (2) a backlash has set in against women who use abortion in lieu of birth control.

I suspect that if you offered a poll asking whether a woman should be allowed to abort a fetus that was (1) healthy and (2) past the point where modern neonatology could allow the baby to live, the results would come back less than 30% in favor of permitting it and over 70% against.

And Obama (who is on record supporting the withholding of care for viable babies born during a botched abortion) and his good friends from NOW and other extremist organizations would go crazy.

jimbino said...

Referring to abortion as "murder" only confuses the issue. Murder requires a mens rea, and abortion isn't even manslaughter, homicide or infanticide!

I'm male, and for me a pregnancy akin to being touched continuously or imprisoned for 9 months unjustly and against my will. I don't want to do the jailer any harm, but I will kill him if he stands between me and freedom.

The fact that I willingly walked into the prison cell that first day does not change the fact that I am justified in killing him. Simple self-defense principles apply. Killing in defense of life, liberty and property is justified. There is no way that killing to keep from being touched for nine months could not be justified.

Feticide in self-defense lies totally outside the "morality" question, more so than in a case of self-defense against homicide, where the argument is never that the homicide itself was "moral."

The Crack Emcee said...

"We can support individual liberty to do a lot of things that we think are morally wrong,..."

Speak for yourself.

Synova said...

Seriously Danielle... I don't know how you get "black and white" from a post where I was arguing that there were no good/bad choices but only bad/bad choices.

Divorce being "less bad" than something else doesn't mean it's not bad, it just means it's better than the alternative. And the fact that forcing people to stay in abusive situations would be very bad doesn't change the fact that the acceptance of divorce in our culture is also very bad.

I have no idea how you got black/white out of that.

D. B. Light said...

I think it is because of a massive media campaign that disparages people who make moral judgments about others' sex lives. As a result people who do feel that the right to abortion should be restricted and would previously have based their argument on morality are now denying that they are making a moral judgment [even if they are].

Synova said...

Right Jimbino... so if you do something to put yourself in jail... say you cheat on your taxes... you feel you're justified in killing the people who work there?

Are you serious?

That is a worse argument than Whoopie Goldberg explaining that we've got to kill the fetuses so that their mothers don't kill their children.

Lem said...

Its not OK to video animals mating but its OK to abort a baby.

We have strange priorities.. no doubt.

danielle said...

'the acceptance of divorce in our culture is also very bad.'

accepting that adults choose to divorce is bad ?

the fact that people have the right to make this decision is bad ?

so, is this some judgment that you make based on your religion ?

GMay said...

Joe said: "...biologically the embryo is part of the mother's body."

Biologically impossible due to unique genetic structure. A tapeworm may be dependent upon its host for survival, but that doesn't mean it's a part of the body.

"The egg and sperm are living cells. Moreover, even if we go with idea that human life begins at conception, that isn't always true either. Like many woman, my wife once had a miscarriage of an embryo that never would have developed into a human being."

Sperm - part of a man's body.

Egg - part of a woman's body.

Once the genetic material commingles to form a unique genetic identity - separate body.

Miscarriages aren't really relevant.

The Crack Emcee said...

And I see that, even in a conversation about abortion, blacks will still get dragged into the debate.

You people are incorrigible.

GMay said...

jimbino, that's got to be the most illogical, nonsensical argument in the abortion debate I've ever seen.

That's one hell of an accomplishment.

traditionalguy said...

The issue is one of the the oldest political tug of war issues: which side controls the power to kill. The ease with which Women's movements aided by Supreme Court Eunuchs stole that power as a key to "release of women from an evil Patriarchy" is the real insanity . The "children" were and are the pawns/hostages in the game. Perhaps the older folks are now seeing less need to sacrifice kids lives for anybody's political power trip.(also see, Medea by Euripides. The Greeks understood this political poer trip 2500 years ago).

Bill said...

@ Flexo: Well said.

Original Mike: "Where's the dividing line? Like so many things in life, there ain't a clear cut one."

So at some point it's okay to kill this thing because it's not a person, or not enough of a person to warrant protection, or... I don't know what else.

But at some later point it becomes less okay and finally unacceptable to kill this thing, but that point is "not clear".

I've never been able to understand that argument.

Joe said...

The female body does not see an embryo as a foreign body to be rejected. Between eight and twelve weeks the embryo turns into a fetus and an entirely separate entity.

Furthermore, since the egg IS part of the woman, it isn't clear biologically that the embryo IS a separate entity--the woman's body sure as hell doesn't think so.

The biggest problem with the pro-life movement is that they reduce biology to such infantile terms that it becomes meaningless.

The point about miscarriages is to refute the notion that human life begins at conception and is equally precious. In religious terms, if life is when a human obtains a soul, does that happen at conception?

Synova said...

The *acceptance* of divorce in our culture is bad.

Because acceptance takes the issue out of the realm of an unfortunate necessity and response to an abusive situation and into "I don't like you anymore" and "my happiness is more important than the kids having Dad around."

Are you going to argue that people only get divorced when the person they are married to is abusive, or that children in broken families don't suffer? Are you?

It's actually very like abortion, isn't it? There are situations where it seems necessary to do this bad thing to solve an even worse thing, and it's a decision made seriously and reluctantly, and we wouldn't want to make it so that women who truly needed an abortion (or divorce) couldn't get one. But what do we have? We end up with acceptance, which isn't taking the best of bad choices but insisting that an abortion is a good choice without consequences, a neutral choice, and "I had an abortion" T-shirts and people insisting that the only possible reason to care about a parasitic lump of tissue or even a full term but unwanted baby is that a person hates women, because there is other possible reason not to view abortion as an outright good thing.

In either case... we want divorce available because we understand that sometimes really bad stuff happens, and we want abortion available because sometimes really bad stuff happens, but then we're supposed to pretend that neither of those things actually require the really bad stuff. Heck, people can just change their minds, decide now is not a good time, have ample resources and support... no "bad stuff" anywhere on the horizon just... not wanting to be tied down.

Poor babies.

Bill said...

@ Flexo: Well said.

Original Mike: "Where's the dividing line? Like so many things in life, there ain't a clear cut one."

So at some point it's okay to kill this thing because it's not a person, or not enough of a person to warrant protection, or... I don't know what else.

But at some later point it becomes less okay and finally unacceptable to kill this thing, but that point is "not clear".

I've never been able to understand that argument.

Lem said...

On March 29, 1997, at Aware Woman Center for Choice in Melbourne (FLA.), Dr. William Egherman perforated a woman's uterus during an abortion.
Aware Woman called 911 at 10:56 am. The audio tape of the 911 call was obtained under Florida's Public Records Law.

transcript..

Dispatcher: "Fire/Rescue"

Aware Woman: "We need a transport, we have a possible perforation and we'd like a transport with no lights, no sirens."

Dispatcher: "Okay, m'am, we are 911. We have to come emergency."

Aware Woman: "Okay, so you have to have lights and sirens."

Dispatcher: "Yes m'am."

Aware Woman: "Okay"

Dispatcher: "And what's wrong with them?"

Aware Woman: "A possible perforation."

Dispatcher: "What's that?"

Aware Woman: "Where the uterus has been perforated. She was having an abortion."

Kirk Parker said...

GMay,

I think you misunderstood the puppy comment--in many jurisdictions in the US, you can get in more trouble for dismembering a dog or a cat than you can for dismembering a viable fetus.

Or at least that's what I understood Rev's point to be.

Original Mike said...

"So at some point it's okay to kill this thing because it's not a person, or not enough of a person to warrant protection, or... I don't know what else.

But at some later point it becomes less okay and finally unacceptable to kill this thing, but that point is "not clear"."


Yeah.

"I've never been able to understand that argument."

That's OK.

Synova said...

"The point about miscarriages is to refute the notion that human life begins at conception and is equally precious. In religious terms, if life is when a human obtains a soul, does that happen at conception?"

When else would a person get a soul?

The point about a miscarriage isn't that a life that has started dies. Death happens all of the time. It's the difference between all of the various ways to accidentally fall off a cliff and die... and being pushed.

theobromophile said...

It probably has to do a lot with access to birth control and social support for pregnant women. Even if people are unwilling to say that abortion is morally wrong, which can be loaded, they are often squeamish about it and willing to restrict it when there are a plethora of other options.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

This has definitely been one of the best abortion discussions I've seen.

Synova, thanks for your response for me to danielle re: civil rights. You said what I would have said if I were there and better at saying things.

Crack: I hate that race comes up like this, but it is a perfect paralell: at one point in the past, the majority view was that blacks were less than human. I think that view is reprehensible (as I'm sure we all do), but that doesn't change that it happened. During that time (early America, for example), many people fought for and tried to convince their brethren that they were incorrect, and, eventually, they won, first freedom, and then full rights, for blacks.

Today, many people believe that the unborn child is less than human, and now, may others of us hope to convince those people that they are wrong. Sorry if it offends you, but I don't see why it should.

- Lyssa

danielle said...

Synova, likening divorce to abortion greatly weakens your arguments against abortion.

you cant possibly believe that in your words 'killing a baby' is morally equivalent to two adults deciding against staying married.

that's ridiculous.

adults should be free to marry/divorce when they decide its best, and not be subject to your particular view on marriage. (on a side note, you're probably anti-gay marriage too, huh ?)

Trooper York said...

It's because most people like babies.

They even make movies about them.

Trooper York said...

And if you don't, you can embrace an alternative lifestyle.

You know focus on your career and play softball.

Not that theres anything wrong with that.

Just be true to yourself.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Jimbino said: "I'm male, and for me a pregnancy akin to being touched continuously or imprisoned for 9 months unjustly and against my will. I don't want to do the jailer any harm, but I will kill him if he stands between me and freedom.

This argument really does a disservice to preganant women. I see pregnant attorneys, fully capable in court, on a daily basis. Their freedom is far from lost.

The fact that I willingly walked into the prison cell that first day does not change the fact that I am justified in killing him. Simple self-defense principles apply. Killing in defense of life, liberty and property is justified. There is no way that killing to keep from being touched for nine months could not be justified.

Absolutely absurd. If you explicitely gave the jailer permission to lock you up, you have no right to kill him for doing so. A woman knows that the risk of getting pregnant exists, so she has given permission. Self-defense principles do not apply. Your argument is more akin to if you gave someone a room in your home, then decided to off them in their sleep if you didn't want them around anymore and they wouldn't leave.

- Lyssa

Joe said...

When else would a person get a soul?

At birth, when they take the breath of life.

Perhaps at 20 weeks, when viability is sure.

If there is a soul and it enters the body at conception, then half of all souls never experience life outside the womb. And what about embryos that are deformed immediately and never become more than clump of cells?

What if God takes care of it on His terms knowing that many embryos never develop into a fetus that is delivered live?

Some cultures argue that the soul doesn't enter the body until the child is several years old sometimes not until puberty and the person has passed a ritual of adulthood.

El Pollo Real said...

What if God takes care of it on His terms knowing that many embryos never develop into a fetus that is delivered live?

That's all fine and dandy but we're talking about people playing God here instead.

Nora said...

GMay said...
I think you're gonna have a hard time finding "many" gray areas on this subject with a "most dedicated pro-lifer". Would you care to elaborate? 5/14/10 2:10 PM

"Gray areas" is related to "many people". Why would you abort my post out of context, methink?

david7134 said...

It seems to me that the driving issue on this subject is one of morality and the dividing line on when life is formed.

As to when life comes about, the medical definition is when it can reasonably be supported. A fetus that is less than 6 months can not live (I know there are a few exceptions). That seems to be the best dividing line. To say that a few cells is life would mean that we should do away with contraceptives as they frequently establish an environment that makes it difficult for the ovum to attach and sustain.

As to morality, I don't feel that government should be dictating anything to us. I don't know a single politician (or preacher for that matter) that I look upon with moral respect. So how can they dictate to us? Every effort that has been made by government to legislate morality has been a failure. The war on drug, prohibition, prostitution, all are made worse by the government yet are activities that will continue no matter what. The government should only be in place to prevent our activities from hurting others, outside the womb.

We need less law. We need less government intrusion into our lives. We now have a government that is trying to control every aspect of what we do. Why? Get government out of our lives. As for as morality, let the preachers and your religion guide you. Not those that don't believe as you do.

Bill said...

Original Mike, are you being serious? I'm pointing out the basic inconsistency of this sliding scale argument. If it's okay at some point and wrong at some future point, may I respectfully ask exactly where that point is? It's the difference between taking a life and not.

mariner said...

I believe that slavery is morally wrong, but it isn't the Federal government's business to interfere with in individual's decision to buy and keep a slave.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Synova said: Are you going to argue that people only get divorced when the person they are married to is abusive, or that children in broken families don't suffer? Are you? It's actually very like abortion, isn't it?

That's exactly the point I was trying to make above about rape being a red herring. People want to defend divorce on demand, they attempt to charactorize it as if it's all about abuse, when that is the reason for very few divorces out of the whole. Same with rape- it's a red herring to distract from the fact that you can't fully defend the majority of the cases where abortion is an issue.

BTW, danielle, Synova never said they were morally equivalent, and they're not. Two things can be bad, without their having to be equally bad or having similar policy ramifications. (remember when liberals were all about nuance?)
BTW, I'm pro gay marriage, if that makes my opinion more valuable to you.

danielle said...

Lyssa, just because you can make an analogy to a case where humanity was in question and then was no longer in question after people fought -- that doesn't make you correct. It may make you feel more righteous, but it certainly doesn't prove anything.

There have got to be examples of things that people wanted to attribute existence to, then fought for and lost. The connotations are foul, but people did once think witches existed and even burned them at the stake ... they also believed in demons (and many people still do). There were tons of attributes once attributed to a separable soul that we now understand biologically ...

Paddy O. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
danielle said...

i never claimed that divorce was always due to divorce. I was showing that divorce isnt always 'bad,'....it was a counter example, not a proof.

i still think the analogy to marriage weakens the argument. Its not clear to me why you think the personal choices of two grown adults and the contracts they enter into has anything to do with you. In the abortion case, if you believe the fetus is a person, then you can get involved in defense of the unborn. But for grown adults, to me it seems like you are over stepping.

danielle said...

...divorce always due to *abuse*

Lem said...

danielle said..

Synova, likening divorce to abortion greatly weakens your arguments against abortion.

Synova said..

Seriously Danielle... I don't know how you get "black and white" from a post where I was arguing that there were no good/bad choices but only bad/bad choices.

Divorce being "less bad" than something else doesn't mean it's not bad, it just means it's better than the alternative
.

you can do better danielle than mischaracterize Synovas point.

(look i'm not even using caps - just for you ;)

Original Mike said...

I am being serious, Bill. Life is full of blurry lines where the extremes are obvious but the transition from one to the other is continuous. I can think of trivial examples, but at the moment I can’t think of an elegant one which won’t have people jumping all over me for comparing abortion with killing puppies.

c3 said...

Joe;
Contrary to many assertions, including the above, biologically the embryo is part of the mother's body. Between eight and twelve weeks, the embryo becomes a fetus and a foreign body to the woman. This is why so many miscarriages happen around this time scale.

Stop you know not of what you speak. Once fertilized an egg is genetically and biologically distinct from its mother. In fact at implantation it (not the mother) immediately creates a unique biologic barrier that allows it to receive oxygen and nutrients from the mother while remaining protected from the mother's immune system BECAUSE IT WOULD OTHERWISE ATTACK THE FETUS AS A FOREIGN INVADER.

I would never argue case law with the Professor, you should never argue embryology.

rhhardin said...

I believe that slavery is morally wrong, but it isn't the Federal government's business to interfere with in individual's decision to buy and keep a slave.

Slavery ended when it could no longer be justified.

Before that it was economic use of the spoils of war.

Dead Julius said...

You are way off on this one, Althouse.

Kindly allow me to get to the meat of this issue for you:

THE LABEL IS "PRO-LIFE"!

That's the label that anti-abortionists, intentionally or not, chose to identify themselves in the political cesspool.

Who in their right mind would be against life? No rational or reasonable or sensible human being is against life! Everyone is pro-life!

Therefore, when a pollster asks if you are pro-life, you are wise to answer "yes". Because if you answer no, you are against life, and nobody is against life. In fact, saying you are not "pro-life" would be like saying that you are not fully human.

Oh wait...

Sorry, I forgot!

I was taking words in their common sense meaning. I forgot that the Democrat and Republican establishment has worked extra-special-hard over the last few decades to instill their custom-designed doublespeak into American society. Now the words "pro-life" don't actually mean "pro-life"... they mean "morally opposed to abortion"!

Well, if that's the way the Democrats and the Republicans want to use language, then I have some language of my own for them:

FUCK YOU AND YOUR FUCKING TOTALITARIAN STATIST AGENDA!

"Pro-life" means that you are in favor of life. That's it. It doesn't mean morally opposed to abortion. I'm not participating in doublespeak and you ought not to participate in it either.

Just say no to doublespeak!

They can take my tax money and they can insist on using it to fulfill their malevolent statist dreams. But they can never- NEVER!- make me use their language.

Flexo said...

Why is it that the only folks who ever raise this silly religious ensoulment argument are those supporting abortion, who at the same time insist that it is pro-lifers who are wholly grounded in religion, rather than science?

The issue of the soul and the body are wholly irrelevant to the question of abortion.

Just goes to show you what a buffoon Harry Blackmun was.

c3 said...

I believe the death penalty is a moral wrong. I don't believe it should be banned. So #3 is possible not just for abortion but many other things.

I believe racial epithets are morally wrong. I don't believe they should be restricted.

I believe sex outside of marriage is morally wrong but I don't believe it should be banned or restricted.

I believe daily drunkenness is morally wrong but I don't believe it should be banned or severely restricted

should I go on....


(Funny as I write this I realize a phenomenon that is very under-reported, the libertarian cultural conservative. I wonder how common there are?)

danielle said...

Lem, it still not clear to me what is bad about getting out of a marriage that not working for either you or your partner.

if people grow apart, what's wrong with an amicable separation ?

if both parties went into the marriage in a fickle way, then when they grow up, it would seem they both could be a lot healthier and happier if they separate.

if the issue is one person being fickle, then isnt that other person better off finding someone who shares their beliefs and maturity level ?

If the point is that people shouldnt go into marriage in a fickle way, then agreed -- but people do; and preventing divorce doesnt fix that.

i think people can figure these things out for themselves and that painting divorce as bad covers over all these real issues and discourages people from making good choices about their own lives.

Titus said...

I like to look at pregnant women because their tits gets big.

Lem said...

Some get flamed for comparing abortion with killing puppies because presumably a puppy is such a lesser being..
The irony is that it is the higher being (the baby) the abortionists are known to exterminate.. not the puppies.

Flexo said...

You people have heard of this thing called DNA have you not?

At no point -- none, never -- does the entity in the womb have the same DNA as the woman carrying him or her.

The DNA of the newly conceived life or embryo or fetus or newborn or toddler or teenager or middle-aged or elderly is the same throughout and it identifies that entity as a member of the species homo sapiens, i.e. human, and such genetic make-up (DNA) is wholly different from that of the mother and the father.

This really is basic biology people. Sorry, but you cannot create your own version of truth, whether it is scientific truth, biological truth, medical truth, or moral truth. You "pro-choice" people need to stop dragging your arbitrary, quasi-religious absurdities into it.

Titus said...

I enjoy reading menus.

I pick up menu "books" from parts of the country and study all categories.

Example: Appetizers, Salads, Soups, Sandwiches, Wraps, Dinners, Baskets, "From the Lake", "From the Farm", desserts, etc.

Titus said...

I appreciate fish and chips that are actually presented on a newspaper. Call me old fashioned.

Original Mike said...

We know, Flexo.

Lem said...

Lem, it still not clear to me what is bad about getting out of a marriage that not working for either you or your partner.

If you cant see the disintegration of the family unit brought about by higher divorce rates.. there is really not much I can say in a virtual world to convince you otherwise.

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

We can support individual liberty to do a lot of things that we think are morally wrong — lying to friends, cheating on your spouse, destroying useful possessions instead of giving them to charity, etc. etc.

But laws DO regulate morality. There are laws against lying in the form of perjury, fraud, and slander.

Those who claim the pro-life consider abortion to be murder. The right of a woman to control her body is secondary to the right of the fetus to life.

Are the circumstances where the law says that murder is just a matter of personal morality. "I'm personally against murder, but I think that each individual has the right to solve their disputes in the way that he sees fit. Just because murder isn't right for me doesn't mean I can't tell others that it is wrong for them."

Synova said...

"adults should be free to marry/divorce when they decide its best, and not be subject to your particular view on marriage. (on a side note, you're probably anti-gay marriage too, huh ?)"

To be honest, I'm probably the only person on this board that seriously argues in favor of marriage between more than two people. Still, I think it's interesting that you bring up gay marriage in relation to an argument that marriage ought to be weightless. If it has no value it's very easy to say anyone should be able to enter into marriage or dissolve it at will.

The thing is... it's not usually just about two adults making a decision about their life. Though even when it is a matter of grown-ups deciding to dissolve a relationship there are still entanglements, and no reason at all to assume that it's not one adult who is making the decision instead of two of them. But I'll concede that adults can go their own way and dissolve a life partnership without much social or societal fall-out affecting others.

Heck... call it an annulment rather than a divorce.

Bring kids into the equation and it's a whole different story. The impact of that does affect us all, even if not nearly as much as it affects the children involved. If nothing else children mean that a connection remains (which is true even without marriage in the first place) because the child has grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and siblings and two parents and will continue to do so no matter the decisions made by the "adults" in his or her life.

The right of one adult to dissolve a contract without cause or limitation is essentially the right of one adult to destroy the life that their spouse has built, to take everything away from them, and a right to reorder the lives of their children on a whim.

Other people are involved.

And insisting that everyone enter into a pretend fantasy that divorce is a decision that two adults arrive at together affects all of us because the fantasy changes societal behavior.

El Pollo Real said...

Nice litany c3, but option #3 still ignores the legal rights of the unborn. The only why out of that one is to assume that the unborn don't have legal rights. The way to do that is to say they're not a person. Then the argue comes down to when they're a person....etc.

Dark Eden said...

Because abortion is not a black and white issue. Some people think all abortion should be legal, some thing all abortion should be illegal, but most people fall in the middle. You can support abortion rights, but consider yourself pro life for wanting third trimester abortions stopped, or any of the other sticky questions in between all or nothing solutions.

danielle said...

but my point is that what is disintegrating sometimes isnt a healthy family unit worth preserving. and by letting it go, then room is provided for something health and beautiful to grow, then what is the problem? its not like there is complete dis-integration when people divorce. the individuals still have families they are a part of.

again -- i'd say these sort of blanket judgments dont allow room for actual situations to be evaluated and for good choices to be made.

Lem said...

Today's liberals want to extend rights to everything under the sun.. mother earth bla bla bla..

But the minute we say a fetus might have a right, they fall off the wagon.

Original Mike said...

"Today's liberals want to extend rights to everything under the sun.. mother earth bla bla bla..

But the minute we say a fetus might have a right, they fall off the wagon."


I've noticed that too.

El Pollo Real said...

Some people think all abortion should be legal, some thing all abortion should be illegal, but most people fall in the middle.

And those numbers obviously vary from state to state. But the SCOTUS has seen to it that that is not a factor.

Synova said...

"If the point is that people shouldnt go into marriage in a fickle way, then agreed -- but people do; and preventing divorce doesnt fix that.

i think people can figure these things out for themselves and that painting divorce as bad covers over all these real issues and discourages people from making good choices about their own lives.
"

You really don't think that the "ease" of getting a divorce doesn't lead to less seriousness about the decision to get married in the first place?

It was one thing, wasn't it, when there was huge social pressure on women to marry. But it's okay not to get married, now. It's okay to stay single for a long time or forever. Women don't need to find someone to keep them housed and fed. But people aren't less likely to get a divorce because they weren't bullied into marriage, are they. All that extra freedom to make good choices and all that really seems to be happening is that people want to be even less responsible.

Paddy O. said...

The question of when the "soul" enters a body and humanizes it may be moot. There's a strong push in theology for a non-reductive physicalism.

"Why is it that the only folks who ever raise this silly religious ensoulment argument are those supporting abortion"

Because they're trying to attack the pro-life position based on supposed assumptions. So, if the assumptions are shown not to be assumed, the rhetoric will move on.

Lem said...

but my point is that what is disintegrating sometimes isnt a healthy family unit worth preserving.

What is worth preserving danielle?

We are re-making the world into a giant drive thru order..

danielle said...

Synova, i'm not arguing that marriage is 'weightless' -- i'm just arguing that your view of marriage is not the view of marriage held by all Americans. Your judgment that divorce is bad may be true for people who conceive of marriage the way you do, but that's not true for everyone. And i'm arguing that pronouncing it as bad is certainly not always true, and in many cases unhelpful. if your view is that people shouldnt enter into marriage lightly, then punishing them by calling divorce wrong does not fix your problem.

I brought up gay marriage since it seemed to me that you are seemingly so absolute in your views that you also refuse to admit the rights of gay Americans to marry.

Synova said...

"again -- i'd say these sort of blanket judgments dont allow room for actual situations to be evaluated and for good choices to be made."

And again... "blanket judgment" is sort of like that "black and white" thing, isn't it?

I'd say that white-washing the negatives doesn't allow for actual situations to be evaluated and good choices to be made.

If you have an abortion you're killing your child, so make darn sure you have a good enough reason.

If you divorce your spouse, make sure you have a good enough reason. If you have children you are going to HURT them, so make DARN sure you have a good enough reason.

Good choices require understanding what those choices are and the costs involved with each choice. Portraying either abortion or divorce as cost-free is lying.

danielle said...

in a society, freedom is worth preserving.

on a personal level, genuine love is worth preserving.

in matters of personal business, people choose for themselves -- only they can .... its hard and its complicated, but that's life, and people have to do the work on their own.

Lem said...

Portraying either abortion or divorce as cost-free is lying.

Synova wins the tread..

traditionalguy said...

The arguements of reason behind pro-life are all over the place today, but they are willfully ignored. The Women who now have sole choice of when, where and how they will kill their baby are as likely to surrender that power without a fight as a Somali Pirate is likely to surrender the Ship he just captured without a Ransom Payment and a full pardon.

Synova said...

"I brought up gay marriage since it seemed to me that you are seemingly so absolute in your views that you also refuse to admit the rights of gay Americans to marry."

You're making assumptions about what my views are, which is why you guessed wrong about my view of gay marriage. (No, I don't think it's a Right, but then I view "Rights" as real things instead of using the term for anything I'm in favor of.)

I'm not uncertain of my views, what they are or why I hold them which no doubt makes them sound abosolute, but really... they're pretty darn wishy-washy in the middle of the gray zone for most people, as a lot of libertarian thinking tends to be. I'm consistent but I most certainly separate what I think should be legal and why, and what I think is moral or immoral, and I separate a moral argument outside of a governmental or coercive frame-work from an argument about what government ought to coerce.

danielle said...

I'm absolutely not portraying abortion or divorce as cost free.

My point is really that you have to evaluate the costs for you and your family and with your family and determine what is best. Blanket judgments of divorce = bad doesnt let you evaluate the costs. I absolutely agree that there can be huge negative costs. But I dont agree that those costs always make divorce bad.

in the case of abortion, some people judge that the cost to unborn and to themselves makes abortion the best option.

danielle said...

...so you think governments ought to coerce individuals to stay married? (by making divorce hard?)

and you think governments out to force women to carry all pregnancies to term ?

Lem said...

I suppose it's eaier for me to say abortion should not be legal or whatever..

But I do believe that the consequences of millions of abortions takes its toll.. one that (for a number of reasons) we choose not to contemplate.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Revenant said...

Equating puppies to babies... Looks as if your PETA dues are paid in full.

I'm sorry; I didn't realize you were just trolling when you asked your question. I apologize for wasting your time. :)

Lem said...

Say an insurance company values a leg or an arm at $25,000 to $50,000 depending on the insurance you buy.

But the cost of an abortion (a whole baby) is maybe a 1/10 of that.

That just seems wrong to me..

The conclusion I draw from that is that life has little value.

How can we be half serious about "saving the earth" when one life holds so little value?

I don't mean to go off making a speech but I just find the abortion business offensive, inhumane, barbaric.

danielle said...

i'm on the fence about abortion rights during the first trimester actually.

i think that its an all or nothing sort of issue in that first trimester -- either all fetus in the first trimester (rape or incest included) get protected, or abortion is legal in the first trimester.

I'd say the fetus is potential for life, but I'm not convinced that its an actual person that the government can reasonably guard before a woman's right to make choices about her own body.

danielle said...

the price you pay to insure a limb has to do with the financial loss incurred to you should u loose that limb.

the cost of an abortion has to do with the costs of maintaining the business entity that does the procedure.

neither of these attest to the value of a life in financial terms.

Lem said...

ah, so Lem -- based on your religious inclanations you think abortion should not be legal.

its not just "religion"..

the reasoning for abortion on demand falls short of its own weak foundation.

GMay said...

Joe continues: "Furthermore, since the egg IS part of the woman, it isn't clear biologically that the embryo IS a separate entity--the woman's body sure as hell doesn't think so."

Bullshit. A totally, completely separate genetic identity is so biologically crystal clear as to render your argument bizarre. Or completely ignorant.

Take your pick.

"The biggest problem with the pro-life movement is that they reduce biology to such infantile terms that it becomes meaningless."

The biggest problem with your argument (and the pro-choice crowd in general) is that you must render language meaningless. In your case, add to it that you're just making shit up and calling other people infantile.

Ironic.

Lem said...

i'm on the fence about abortion rights during the first trimester actually.

would you be in favor of a narrowly tailored 'parental notification law' say for a minor in school.

GMay said...

"GMay,

I think you misunderstood the puppy comment--



Maybe I did. /shrug

Wouldn't be the first time I've done it. Won't be the last.

danielle said...

Lem -- so 'personal responsibility' and religion

Lem said...

Lem -- so 'personal responsibility' and religion?

you want to hang me using religion as a rope?

GMay said...

Nora: ""Gray areas" is related to "many people". Why would you abort my post out of context, methink?"

I've reread your post a couple more times and it's still coming across that way. I certainly never intend to misconstrue someone else's point, and if I've done so, my bad. But I suggest you take a look at your comment again.

danielle said...

Lem - yes, parental notification is in order for minors undergoing any surgical procedure (even out patient procedures).

danielle said...

hang you ? look Lem, you brought up the Corinthians verse, not me. Are you defensive about arguments at least partially based on faith ?

Lem said...

Good..

Many choice activists wont even relent on that.

Lem said...

Are you defensive about arguments at least partially based on faith ?

If you are not a believer then I would be a fool (necio) for trying to argue with you on religious grounds.

It doesn't help.

GMay said...

Revenant: "I'm sorry; I didn't realize you were just trolling when you asked your question. I apologize for wasting your time. :)"

Don't get all pissy and start misusing the term "troll". Try reading the thread next time.

danielle said...

well, i wasnt trying to hang you. i was just pointing out what you were doing.

and FYI, I am Christian, but I dont find psalms 139 or any other often quoted verse to be a persuasive defense for anti-abortion-rights arguments.

and I definitely can be persuaded about much of anything by someone quoting a scripture at me or others the way alot of 'pro-life' people behave.

GMay said...

I think c3 takes the best stab at it so far with:

"I believe the death penalty is a moral wrong. I don't believe it should be banned. So #3 is possible not just for abortion but many other things.

I believe racial epithets are morally wrong. I don't believe they should be restricted.

I believe sex outside of marriage is morally wrong but I don't believe it should be banned or restricted.

I believe daily drunkenness is morally wrong but I don't believe it should be banned or severely restricted

should I go on...."


But this still misses the fundamental issue. It's pretty hard to say:

'I believe murder is morally wrong but I don't believe it should be banned or severely restricted.'

Obviously the debate boils down to whether or not abortion is murder.

So if you think abortion is immoral, then why is it immoral?

c3 said...

Pollo;
You missed my point. Ironically i'm pro-life and have always voted with that in mind. But I have to acknowledge that my moral imperatives may vary from other voting citizens. I appreciate that some will feel the imperative is so overpowering that they must do everything in their power to stop it (such as the anti-slavery zealots of the 1800's). Hopefully I'm as courageous when I face a similar issue. I haven't yet.

At the same time I know that changing minds and affecting societies practices goes beyond laws.

So I will continue to be pro-life. I will upset some folks on that. I will try to influence. If they ask me what I say about abortion after incest I will still say "It's wrong". Some of my friends who have stronger pro-life viewpoints may view me as "wishy-washy".

And as for the "killing" part. I believe the death penalty involves "killing".

Finally, in case I was not clear, I believe ultimately all "moral imperatives" come from a higher authority than the last president voted for or nine members of a supreme court. That doesn't mean I won't obey the laws of this land. Interestingly enough that "higher authority" commands me to, by and large, obey those laws. But I do know where the ultimate authority lies.

traditionalguy said...

If religion is discussable on the topic of the empowerment of women to kill their babies, then on that subject scripture points out that assassinating other persons is forbidden by the Law, and that God aways sends a powerful curse out against those who are paid assassins. To a believer, that is scary. When God curses you, it is hard to hide.

The Crack Emcee said...

The person I'm liking the most right now is Titus.

Lyssa,

It's weird, but I don't have to go to blacks and slavery - or anything about whites as a group - when I'm debating abortion. Why not? Because I'm not into lazy thinking - or seeing people as groups to be exploited for my convenience (still a big problem in these supposedly-enlightened times).

Danielle,

"It still not clear to me what is bad about getting out of a marriage that not working for either you or your partner.

if people grow apart, what's wrong with an amicable separation?"


No-Fault Divorce was created to make it easier for governments to process so many applications, nothing more. It also made it possible for people to act out, and totally destroys any sense of right and wrong. That's what's wrong with "getting out of a marriage that not working for either you or your partner" - it doesn't deal with the issue that someone may be totally wrong, fucked up, maybe more in need of counseling than a divorce, and (no matter what) probably emotionally sucker-punching someone who passionately loves you, has sacrificed for you (financially and otherwise) and shouldn't have to give you a goddamn nickel for discovering their spouse - the "love of my life" - can be an evil, callous, selfish and immature jackass.

The only thing the reasoning behind No-Fault Divorce has in common with the arguments for abortion is both are unethical cop-outs.

We're supposed to be better.

El Pollo Real said...

c3 wrote: Pollo;
You missed my point.


I understand how you can be personally against something but don't care to see it outlawed. But as others here would contend, your list must extend to slavery too.

I think you still miss my point (made by others too).

danielle said...

Crack, I agree that what you describes happens -- but there are also a lot of other cases where people just grow apart and choose to split. Or if one person is acting out enough that the other chooses that they must leave (a la Elizabeth Edwards).

But I also think the only people who can make those decisions are the people involved; people in the relationships. And still, I dont think the outcome of divorce is always bad. Short term, yes, it hurts like hell but if people get out and are at peace, or even find other fulfilling relationships, i dont see how that can be called bad.

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

Crack,

I totally agree with your assessment, but you can't make someone come to terms with his/her faulty thinking/ messed up brain wiring/ selfishness,lack of consideration or even concern, emotional abuse, financial shenanigans, etc, if they are not willing to do so,and do not see the value of saving the marriage. One might need to finally get out. Definitely I believe the offending party should not be paid off by the other, which is what I think you are angry about. I'm not sure that is even practiced that way in the states that aren't technically "no fault."

Toy

Toy

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

Crack,

I totally agree with your assessment, but you can't make someone come to terms with his/her faulty thinking/ messed up brain wiring/ selfishness,lack of consideration or even concern, emotional abuse, financial shenanigans, personality disorder, depression, whatever, etc, if they are not willing to do so,and do not see the value of saving the marriage. One might need to finally get out. Definitely I believe the offending party should not be paid off by the other, which is what I think you are angry about. I'm not sure that is even practiced that way in the states that aren't technically "no fault."

Toy

Toy

John Lynch (another) said...

Perhaps people realize that acquiescence, or allowing other people to believe what they want about the issue, is no longer an acceptable haven.

Now, if you acquiesce, you may also have to pay for it - other's people's choices - including paying for their abortion. This is done in the form of mandatory insurance benefits and taxes.

Acquiescence used to be a safe place for those who did not, or do not, have moral certainty, or at least enough to be willing to force others to conform with their opinions on the subject.

Now, however, that haven is destroyed - you will pay for abortions, therefore you are supporting them, not merely allowing someone else their choice in what for you is unacceptable, but conceivably acceptable for someone else.

RR Ryan said...

To El Pollo Real: You're missing my point. I personally believe that abortion is wrong on a number of levels. I've known women who've had them and every one of them has regretted it on some level. My point about, "no dog in this hunt" was simply that it's not something that I will ever have to deal with personally. And please don't bring up the slavery issue. As for gay marriage, I have no interest either way. My response to being allowed to marry (however briefly) was, great now we can go through messy divorces and child custody disputes just like everyone else. My boyfriend of twenty two years agreed.

Revenant said...

Don't get all pissy and start misusing the term "troll". Try reading the thread next time.

You said:

Equating puppies to babies... Looks as if your PETA dues are paid in full.

There are two possibilities here:

1. You're trolling.
2. You're deeply stupid.

I didn't even mention babies, fetuses, fertilized eggs, or abortion in my post -- let alone equate babies to puppies. I used the act of callously killing a puppy as an illustrative example of a morally questionable killing that didn't qualify as murder.

former law student said...

I think that "pro-life" means an opposition to the legal right to access to abortion,

The professor's no. 3 is closest. People are pro-life for themselves without wanting to impose their decision on others.

Compare atheists who don't care if you believe in God, or vegans who don't care if you're eating a cheeseburger in front of them.

Suburbanbanshee said...

Pro-life also means things like "anti-euthanasia", or "dedicated to convincing people to be against abortion without changing the law".

Of course, it could also mean that the polls are worded in a confusing way.

Or it could be timing. People keep calling to poll me when I'm napping on the couch, and I know for a fact I've come out with some odd answers under those conditions. I for one can't articulate stuff well when half-asleep and slaphappy, and the questions are being asked by somebody with pronunciation issues.

So yeah, Obama's probably my fault, because I told the pollster a zillion years ago that I didn't have any negative feelings about him because I didn't know anything about him; but that I expected to feel negative about him as soon as I had solid info on his career and principles. I only hand out free advice to the opponents when I'm slaphappy.

Suburbanbanshee said...

Or possibly people don't understand the word "morally". In my experience, a lot of people think "morally" means "the way mean racist judgmental people think".

Moose said...

As usual, abortion postings will garner huge numbers of comments. I was traveling today and missed out on the front end of the curve :(

I feel that abortion is immoral for the obvious reasons. I also think that it will never go away for one simple reason: women are insane.

Women will try to kill themselves rather than bring an "unwanted" fetus into the world. They'll try to abort them by any means possible, even if it kills them. You can't make them stop, so in the name of humanity you need to give them the means to safely accomplish the task. Shrug.

Now, this doesn't mean you have to approve of them doing this. Rather, you should only tolerate it. I hold that I have the right to morally comdemn them for doing so. I mean - killing your baby is better then adopting them out? Really?

I choose to NOT give women the benefit of the doubt, walk a mile in their shoes, or even try to understand that sort of twisted logic. Its an evil, illogical, morally unreasoned act. But it needs to be kept legal.

I can only hope in time by not approving of it, it will gradually become less and less popular...

Flexo said...

Yep, most "pro-choice" arguments are, when you get down to it, basically anti-woman.

Thanks for being clear about that Moose.

danielle said...

spoken like true neanderthals Moose and Flexo -- well done !

Synova said...

Well, heck. That wasn't any more anti-woman than Whoopie insisting that mothers who are convinced not to abort by a cute 3D rendered sonogram will murder their children.

If that's not saying that women are insane, I don't know how to characterize it.

We've taken away the stigma of unwed motherhood but we're still supposed to believe that women will risk their lives with coat hangers. That's pretty insane, too.

Kev said...

Sadly though, abortion is a decision that effects more bodies than the mother's.

I'm glad someone said this. To me, this is the heart of the matter--when does it stop being not just one body, but two (or more)? Until we reach a consensus on this crucial issue (if that's possible), it will be hard to make any modifications to current law...and even then, a lot of people will be unhappy.

Tbanks to Flexo for your comments on the beginning of life (I'm in your camp on this one) and to Crack for your comments on the problems caused by no-fault divorce. To me, "safe, legal and rare" should really be applied to divorce whenever possible.

And thanks to everyone so far for making this one of the most civil discussions I've ever read on this subject.

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