January 27, 2013

"[T]he best pro-choice rebuttal to the young idealists at the March for Life or the professional women who lead today’s anti-abortion groups isn’t that they’re too reactionary..."

"... it’s that they’re too utopian, too radical, too na├»ve," says the NYT's conservative columnist Ross Douthat.
This means that the abortion rights movement, once utopian in its own fashion, is now at its most effective when it speaks the language of necessary evils, warning Americans that while it might be pretty to think so, the equality they take for granted simply can’t be separated from a practice they find troubling.

For its part, if the pro-life movement wants not only to endure but to triumph, then it needs an answer to this argument. That means something more than just a defense of a universal right to life. It means a realist’s explanation of how, in policy and culture, the feminist revolution could be reformed without being repealed.

107 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

I have not yet seen an intelligent and important commentary from Douthat.

Gahrie said...

It means a realist’s explanation of how, in policy and culture, the feminist revolution could be reformed without being repealed.

How about we begin with: "Along with rights comes responsibility"?

Nomadic100 said...

Ann, you are attempting to constrain the terms of the argument by stipulating that the pro-life movement must conform to what you assert if it wants to survive and prosper. Actually, though, the pro-life movement is doing quite well by emphasizing the fundamental biology and embryology. Photography and medical imaging go to the heart of the problem and trump policy based arguments.

The Godfather said...

Let's see now. Those of us who support women's rights but oppose abortion have to answer the assertion that "the equality they take for granted simply can’t be separated from a practice they find troubling." Why? What's the basis for that assertion?

The vast majority of women don't have abortions. They have jobs and want to be treated fairly. They have families and want those families to flourish. They want to live their lives in the freedom that Americans are supposed to enjoy.

Can an unwanted pregnancy interfere with the prospects for a successful life? Of course! So can an illness, an injury, bad luck, a lousy economy. None of us are guaranteed a solution to such challenges. We have to deal with them. Why should having a legal guarantee to deal with one particular kind of challenge -- pregnancy -- but not the others be the essence of feminism?

This argument is simplistic even for Douthat.

Synova said...

The implicit "fact" involved in the argument is that equality depends on abortion and that removing the option of "elective" abortion, would remove equality.

It ASSUMES that the only method of controlling reproduction is abortion.

Yet there are celibacy and contraceptives. Demanding celibacy may well be unrealistic, but the responsible use of contraception is not. Not even.

rhhardin said...

Then there's the language problem, that human ("human embryo") is different from "a human."

Calling it a human in embryo is normal usage, always qualified.

Human usage develops to support human interests.

Dogmatism develops against human interests.

n.n said...

A woman has reproductive rights. Those rights are limited to choosing when, where, and how she will have vaginal intercourse. Her rights do not extend to resolving an inconvenient pregnancy through the commission of premeditated murder, whether as a principal or accessory. Premeditated murder is the principal human rights violation.

Our national charter recognizes an unalienable right to life from "creation" (either biological or conscious) endowed by our Creator.

Is this why the American Left seeks to corrupt America and Americans, in order to replace it with something amenable to their selective tastes?

Inga said...

I don't like the concept that strides in equality for women was and is connected strongly to abortion. Succesful, intelligent and educated women are more likely to use birth control effectively to reduce the prospect of unwanted pregnancy, avoiding the necessity for abortion.



Bender said...

I fail to see the merit in this argument of "if a woman cannot kill with impunity, then she cannot be equal."

Of course, even if "anti-abortion" groups were to provide answers to all of the goalpost-moving arguments to justify this abhorrent evil, there would still be those who would remain obstinate in support of it, such as those who have freely admitted that abortion is the killing of innocent human life, but that the woman ought to have that right.

Attempting to reason with those who care nothing of reason is throwing reason away.

In any event, despite what faux NYT "conservatives" might think, the prolife movement will endure. They will not go away. Ever. Not so long as the spiggot of blood continues to flow.

sinz52 said...

Achieving equality for women depended on effective family planning. A woman has to balance her career planning against her desire to start a family.

So I consider it absolutely true that equality for women depended on the availability of effective contraceptive methods under the woman's own control. It's not a coincidence that the modern feminist movement really took off only a few years after the contraceptive Pill first became available in 1960.

So to answer Mr. Douthat's challenge, the pro-life movement could say that as birth control methods become more reliable and more effective, why will women still need the dubious practice of abortion as a kind of after-the-fact birth control?

The problem with this, however, is that many of the same social conservatives who are against abortion rights are also against birth control--and especially against sex outside of wedlock. Over on National Review, Kathryn Jean Lopez continues to rail against birth control, continues to claim that the sex act is meaningless unless a baby results from it, and continues to call for a return to "chastity." Good luck with that.

And of course, we had Rick Santorum's infamous pledge to a Catholic journal that if he became President, he would use the Presidential bully pulpit to lecture Americans that birth control is bad because it gives people license to engage in various sexual practices he disapproves of. I inferred he disapproves of recreational sex.

It certainly came as a surprise to me that 50 years after it was first marketed, the contraceptive Pill is still not accepted by so many on the Religious Right.

chickelit said...

Douthat reasons that both sides have been utopian and thus unreasonable. We cannot strive for anyone's version of Utopia seems to be the take away message (unless there's something specific to abortion). I wonder where this will lead in general if striving for less than perfect were philosophically discounted. For example, what happens when you set the bar for any test or trial too low?

Example: Suppose a 70% correct (a passing grade) is worthy of striving for and is "good enough"? What happens to the overachievers who always strive for better if not for perfection? Can we do without them?

When Sarah Palin chose to keep Trig, was she or was she not punished for that by some?

Bender said...

And, I'll confess, I've never understood this argument of "if a woman cannot suppress and eliminate the one thing that is unique to womanhood - the ability to bear children - then she cannot be equal." The idea that woman must deny herself in order to become herself is frankly irrational.

In fact, what ushered in equality for women was for men to stop being sexist, for them to stop thinking of women as objects - either baby machines or sex objects - and to begin treating them as persons. What the Pill did was to allow men to objectify women to an even greater degree.

Synova said...

The fact that Dougthat can entirely miss the obvious alternative to abortion means something.

I'm not sure what it means. Perhaps it means a lack of awareness on his part. Or an agenda. Or something. Or maybe he's leaving out that obvious alternative as a clever strategy for others to point it out instead.

It's one thing if pro-choice advocates combine contraception and abortion as if one is the other and both are the same, because they've got an agenda. It's useful emotional theater to cry out that someone, somewhere, wants to force you to be a brood animal.

The Catholic church may not want to pay directly for the pill, and they shouldn't have to, but the sin of unreproductive sex is not the concern of "pro-life" and not a focus of legislative efforts. It's not hardly on the radar of evangelical and protestant pro-lifers other than as a matter of personal conviction, between an individual and God.

Contraception may well be inseparable from a state of cultural equality. But what has that to do with abortion?

bpm4532 said...

If we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, then doesn't it follow that these rights are bestowed upon creation?

Synova said...

I should say, I'm as concerned as any that there are social consequences to separating sex from relationships and consequences, but that this is a separate issue from getting to kill a fetus or not.

garage mahal said...

I think the forced birth movement means well. Just naive, and they don't realize the consequences of their actions. it just *feels* good.

Synova said...

Yes, of course... "forced birth movement".

Precisely.

chickelit said...

garage mahal said...
I think the forced birth movement means well. Just naive, and they don't realize the consequences of their actions. it just *feels* good.

Was that a "forced vowel movement" garage? It read like one, but only you "felt" it.

rhhardin said...

My argument, and Stanley Cavell's, is that the pro-life position doesn't believe even its own argument.

The choose a battle that cannot be won and must not be lost.

I should find the section...

here

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, you are attempting to constrain the terms of the argument by stipulating that the pro-life movement must conform to what you assert if it wants to survive and prosper."

Every word of this post is quotation of Ross Douthat. I have not obtruded any opinion of my own. Please proceed with clarity about that.

Ann Althouse said...

"Then there's the language problem, that human ("human embryo") is different from "a human.""

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but "human" as a noun is not good usage, except to be jocose.

It's an adjective.

Lydia said...

Those two selected paragraphs, as I read them, seem at odds with what Douthat said earlier in the column:

The pro-life cause has proved unexpectedly resilient, in other words, not because millions of Americans are nostalgists for a world of stricter gender norms, but because they have convinced themselves that the opportunities the feminist revolution won for women can be sustained without unrestricted access to abortion.

chickelit said...

Ann, you are attempting to constrain the terms of the argument by stipulating that the pro-life movement must conform to what you assert if it wants to survive and prosper.

We seem to now be in this weird political time when political minorities are being told on all fronts and from top to bottom to conform, reform or perish. There seems to be little concern for what kind of political world we'd live in when a 53 to 47 majority was a decent reason to work for a 60 to 40 difference or better, 80 to 20. What is the ending result desired here? What are they striving for?

Inga said...

Synova, I think that the anti choice movement has been harmed by the concept of sex outside of marriage and even within marriage, without the possibility of conceiving a baby somehow against nature or against Biblical teaching.

I do believe that many pro choice women would be more open to placing legal restrictions on abortion if some extremist ideas wouldn't have had such an influence in the anti choice movement. Santorum and Akin and the like have set back the strides that the anti choice movement could've made, by their beliefs. Not everyone is a Catholic, Protestant women don't put a moral judgment on the use of contraception.

chickelit said...

Althouse wrote: Maybe I'm old fashioned, but "human" as a noun is not good usage, except to be jocose.

Then why not just clarify and state that you don't believe that human embryos are human beings?

Bender said...

The pro-life cause has proved to be very expectedly resilient because it is not grounded in crass political concerns, such as those routinely indulged in by NYT types, even if, by necessity, it has been forced to align itself with a party of hacks who really could not care less about the issue and have only used the issue, and prolifers, for their own electoral purposes.

Lydia said...

I think Douthat meant to say that the pro-life folks simply need to broaden their message, not that they need in any way to change their position on abortion.

The guy needs a better editor.

wyo sis said...

So, as I see garage and Inga struggle for a term that means pro abortion without actually using that term I'm wondering if anyone has managed to find a term for pro choice or pro abortion that says what they want it to say?

Inga said...

Wyo Sis, pro choice is pro abortion RIGHTS, there is no hidden agenda. To be pro abortion would be to be in favor of the act of abortion itself.

Bender said...

The guy needs a better editor

The guy needs to be better informed . . . on a lot of things.

Could the pro-life movement have had a better strategy in various ways over the years? Yes -- some things could have been done better.

But the fact remains that even with the best messaging imaginable, you cannot force people to pay attention and become informed. You cannot even force the likes of Ross Douthout to be informed on the issue, rather than prove himself quite ignorant in so many ways. If he is not going to take the time to inform himself, pro-lifers cannot ram it into him.

At some point, those oh-so-smart elites like Douthout, and all those legions of pro-abortionists and also those who have been taken in by the "choice" lie, have a responsibility to inform themselves -- to inform themselves intellectually about the fact of exactly what is involved in an abortion, as well as to inform their consciences as to the evil of it.

wyo sis said...

I read all over the place recently that the pro abortion RIGHTS movement is searching for a new term. I just wonder what it is?

chickelit said...

Inga reasoned: To be pro abortion would be to be in favor of the act of abortion itself.

That's like saying to be pro gay marriage would be to be in favor of the act of gay marriage itself.

Synova said...

"Not everyone is a Catholic, Protestant women don't put a moral judgment on the use of contraception."

Exactly, Inga.

But I think that it's politically expedient to imagine both that all pro-life advocates are Catholic and that, even for Catholics, the question of non-reproductive sex is inseparable from the question of aborting a baby.

I may not understand why contraception within marriage is wrong, but avoiding contraception by marking days on a calendar is different... but I don't imagine, somehow, that Catholics want to pass a law banning condoms or the pill or want to force me to have babies.

If you're a Christian or member of some other religion that requires chastity... that's between you and your church and we can all have a public conversation about how morality affects society.

But abortion rests solely on the question of personhood. We can't insist that Tasmanians don't have a soul so it's okay to slaughter them... and if an unborn baby is a person, we can't slaughter *them* either.

Bender said...

"On Friday, 40 years after Roe and six months after Gray’s death at the age of 88, the marchers numbered in the tens or even hundreds of thousands."

Well which is it? Tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands? (In fact, the march routinely brings in 200,000-plus each year.)

If he is too lazy to find that easily discoverable fact out, if he is not aware of the numbers for at least the last 20 years, then his ignorance really disqualifies him from any intelligent discussion on the matter of the movement.

Synova said...

"To be pro abortion would be to be in favor of the act of abortion itself."

Drove past a Unitarian church the other day that had on their marquee... "The blessing of abortion."

I kid you not.

I don't know how one can be in favor of the right and not in favor of the act.

Can I favor gun rights, but not favor people actually having guns?

Inga said...

The poll that Althouse had a blog post abou a few days ago was interesting. It indicated that 18% of the people polled said that they considered abortion morally wrong, but felt Roe v.Wade should not be overturned.

I guess it's hard for some people to wrap their heads around that concept.

edutcher said...

What part of "slippery slope" is so hard to grasp?

Ultrasound made the whole "fetus" thing pretty untenable for all but the most doctrinaire.

garage mahal said...

I think the forced birth movement means well.

"forced birth"?

Which little apparatchik (who's all in favor of IPAB, I'm sure) gave you that one?

rhhardin said...

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but "human" as a noun is not good usage, except to be jocose.

It's an adjective.


As a noun, from 1530s, says etmy.

You want it as a parallel to wolf.

A human embryo is human (ie not wolf) but not a human.

Bender said...

Drove past a Unitarian church the other day that had on their marquee... "The blessing of abortion."

Let's put to rest once and for all the lie (yet another lie) that is routinely trotted out -- that "no one is pro-abortion."

Although there are some who are sincerely and in good faith "pro-choice," quite a lot of those who insist that they are merely in favor of "choice," are, in fact, very much pro-abortion. To be sure, to the extent that choice enters into it at all, they are very insistent that there really is only one "choice," and that is to abort. For them, to say "choose life," is to be "anti-choice," as irrational and oxymoronic as that sounds.

chickelit said...

I guess it's hard for some people to wrap their heads around that concept.

Why is that a difficult concept? Reasonable people disagree is a cliche is it not? Are you just saying that you cannot bear gridlock under the rules of law? Is that it?

chickelit said...

"I'm in favor of your having a choice but I'm not in favor of your choice?"

Is that getting closer, Inga?

Inga said...

I don't know Chickelit, Curious George has lambasted both Althouse and myself several times calling such a view, as the stupidest thing he has ever heard of, he may be along shortly to repeat the refrain.

garage mahal said...

Was that a "forced vowel movement" garage? It read like one, but only you "felt" it.

How bout "pro birth"?

Synova said...

"The pro-life cause has proved unexpectedly resilient, in other words, not because millions of Americans are nostalgists for a world of stricter gender norms, but because they have convinced themselves that the opportunities the feminist revolution won for women can be sustained without unrestricted access to abortion."

That's pretty much what he restates in the two quoted paragraphs.

The anti-pro-life side wants to insist that what pro-life wants is really anti-woman. That they want some return to society as it exists when the choice was to be a nun or spinster, or else brood mare as "sex" = "reproduction" for most people. A time when large families were the norm and a family with 1 or 2 children was an aberration.

Only the silly pro-lifers don't actually think that. They think that we can outlaw elective abortions and still be career women.

And he's saying, at the end... that pro-life has to explain how that would work.

I have to admit that I'm sort of flabbergasted by the obtuseness of this supposed problematic dichotomy. It seems like an obvious false dichotomy, doesn't it?

Bender said...

I'm sort of flabbergasted by the obtuseness

Douthout is one of the elite. Of course he is obtuse.

Jane said...

News flash: the so-called "prochoice" crowd believes that abortion as a form of back-up birth control is a necessity for women's equality. (Sorry, most of us knew this already.)

And how is this not "pro-abortion"? Given that contraception cannot be 100% reliable, even among educated women, since hormonal methods are only 99% reliable and some women can't handle the hormones and are obliged to use barrier methods, it's silly to say, "of course I'm not pro-abortion but just pro-abortion-rights" when your personal expectation is that, should you/your partner become pregnant, you'll choose abortion, or that you think it's perfectly appropriate for someone to get an abortion because pregnancy wasn't part of the plan.

The reality is that no one has the "right" to have their life meet their expectations in all respects. Every "Ask Amy" letter saying "my husband is dead-set against kids" makes me cringe -- to be absolutely determined no-way no-how to accept a child.

(The issue of disabled children is similar: "look, I didn't sign up for this. I wanted a kid, but a normal kid -- I simply don't want a disabled kid.")

What an abdication of responsibility!

And does this really get in the way of "women's rights"? You might as well say that it impinges on men's freedom, too, when their standard of living drops due to child support payments.

Synova said...

And I'd also point out that the life destroying act of having an inconvenient child simply isn't the same as it was. It's no longer at all the case that having a baby outside of marriage means polite society will have nothing to do with you or you'll lose your job and have to give it all up.

If you're unlucky enough to experience contraceptive failure, your boss isn't going to toss you out on your tush. Yes, there will be difficulties involved, but your family isn't going to pretend they don't know you, kick you out, or send you away to visit relatives while everyone pretends when you got back that it wasn't really a home for unwed mothers.

gail said...

I don't care what words you use, or how you attempt to justify women's "rights", the bottom line is:

Since abortion became legal:

54,559,615 estimated abortions, which is equal to about 3300/day, or about 137/hour in the US.

For you were made in my image (Gen 1:27), For you are my offspring (Acts 17:28), I knew you before you were conceived (Jeremiah 1:4-5), I choose you when I planned creation (Ephesians 1:11-12), You were NOT a MISTAKE (Psalm 139:15-16), For all your days are written in my book (Ps 139, 15-16), I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live (Acts 17:26), You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14), I knit you together in your mother's womb (Ps 139:13),

I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me (John 8:41-11), I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love (1 John 3:1), I am your greatest encourager (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17), I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles (2 Cointhians 1:3-4), When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you (Psalm 34:18), As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart (Isaiah 40:11), One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes (Revelation 21:4), And I'll take away every pain you have suffered on this earth (Revelation 21:4), I am your Father and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus (John 17:23), I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love (Romans 8: 32), If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me (1John 2:23) And nothing will ever separate you from my love again (Romans 8:38-39)

How God must love the women who thought about abortion, but accepted the challenges, difficulties and responsibilities and had her child. And how God must love the father who accepted his responsibility in taking care of his child.

I used to be pro-choice, until I realized abortion is murder.

chickelit said...

Hey, pro birth works for me too. I wasn't hatched you know. :)

OTOH, "forced birth" doesn't work for me.

Julia: Hi, I'm Julia, I got pregnant and I was forced to give birth. From start to finish, no act of my own volition ever occurred.

Pro-lifer: But what about--you know--"the act"?

Garage: But she didn't even choose to get pregnant--it was a mistake, an error--can't we just leave it at that?

The Embryo:



_________________

The Germans call abortion Abtreibung: "driving out or off" -- like an evil spirit

Saint Croix said...

I like Douthat, but it's ridiculous to say that it's the pro-life movement that needs to be more "realist."

It feminism that is entirely ideological, that is unable to come to grips with the unborn baby's life. Up until Carhart the Supreme Court never bothered to describe an abortion. Indeed, I don't think the Supreme Court even knew what a D&E abortion was.

Instead of dealing with the reality of abortion as a surgery, we had absurd over-the-top rhetoric about women, the mystery of life, and the universe.

Abortion is a surgery. Indeed, an abortion is a forced miscarriage. A miscarriage is unnatural, often dangerous. It can damage a woman's reproductive system, her cervix and her uterus.

It's the pro-choice movement that censors ultrasounds. And feminism that makes false accusations of rape, so that women will not see photographs of their unborn child.

It's our Pravda media that cannot publish photographs of abortion. It's a constitutional right, but we can't actually see what we're talking about?

The ideology of feminism is like Communism or Nazism, an entire worldview that requires both homicides and suppression of information. This is a shameful chapter in our history.

30yearProf said...

Reformed but not repealed?

Use birth control (hormonal or old fashioned) before conception, not abortion afterwards.

Millions of people have successfully accomplished this task.

n.n said...

gail:

Exactly! Both the mother and father should be responsible for a human life which they conceived. This is the point which needs to driven into people's heads. They do have a choice, many, before conception.

We do not accept premeditated murder of a human life developing outside the womb, and we should certainly not accept the violation of the principal right to life when carried within the mother. It is precisely at this time when a human life is vulnerable to exploitation for the most capricious of reasons, and has neither the voice to protest nor the Arms to resist its premature termination. It is the responsibility of society to reduce the risk of a life taken without cause and without due process.

Liberty is only suitable for men and women capable of self-moderating (and responsible) behavior.

Renee said...

As a pro-lifer, we need to address the factors in which a woman ends up having abortion. Why is it as a young teenager, we never imagine being in a situation of having one. What is it, a third of all women will have one? I don't know the current stats.

We need to accept that babies happen. Colleges need to be flexible. A young women has more supports socially at 16 compared to 20.

Parents (grandparents) just need to unconditionally love their daughter/son.

Women choose your sexual partners wisely. If a man doesn't have his sh!t together, he's just dead weight on you and a baby. Don't have sex with bums, even if you have an IUD. They just bring you down.

Having a baby with a decent man, even if he may still be in school himself is better then a jerk with a job.

n.n said...

sinz52:

There is a difference between what can be reasonably tolerated and what should be normalized.

We cannot normalize nor can we tolerate elective abortion. We should make a full effort to educate women and exploit technology to limit all abortions.

We cannot rationalize premeditate murder in order to reduce liability (e.g. wealth, welfare) to a woman. Not if we value human life and not legally, despite the claims of some judges contrary to our national charter and Constitution.

We can tolerate promiscuity (and other unproductive behaviors), but we cannot reasonably normalize them. The interest here is to control the progress of evolutionary dysfunction. The inviolable principle is evolutionary fitness. However, the normalization of dysfunctional behavior can only be considered a threat when it reaches some critical mass in a population. Unfortunately, we have already passed that point.

Saint Croix said...

We need to accept that babies happen.

In a way, birth control is an ideology. In our minds we have separated sex from baby-making. People are surprised--sometimes shocked--when they have a pregnancy. You were having sex, how surprised can you be? And yet we are surprised.

Our media completely divorces sex from reproduction. Birth control is assumed. We just have this arrogant belief that "accidents" will not happen. It's similar to driving a car. We have faith in our technology, like it's God. It cannot fail and we're shocked whenever it does.

And then of course we think it's our right to have an abortion. We want to reassert our control over nature, over biology. We want to fix the mistake, to make the mistake disappear. So we can "fix" reality and get it in line with our ideology.

Sex cannot lead to reproduction, that's impossible, it can't happen, and we have a right to stop it.

In Casey, the Supreme Court actually writes, "in some critical respects the abortion decision is of the same character as the decision to use contraception."

The Supreme Court has utterly ignored the reality of pregnancy, the reality of the baby's existence, the reality of abortion as a surgery. They've ignored all these realities and focused on their ideology. Reality is nothing, the baby is nothing, the surgery is nothing. Ideology is everything.

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil 3:14 said...

Professor,
Your post misses the gist of the piece. The opening vignette on Nellie Grey is most telling and illustrates the early split between feminism and the pro-life movement.

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

St. Croix, I have to disagree with you here, as much as I respect you, but sex does not have to be tied to baby making always, does it? Every act of love making or copulation, does not result in a pregnancy so what is wrong with the temporary use of birth control in a certain stage of a woman's life?

It seems to me that this anti birth control sentiment is an ideology, as much as you feel the opposite. What would you have a woman do to not become pregnant? Or must she be open to a pregnancy throughout her child bearing years?

Saint Croix said...

St. Croix, I have to disagree with you here, as much as I respect you, but sex does not have to be tied to baby making always, does it?

No, of course not. I use birth control. Catholics use birth control. You miss the point. The ideology is on the other side. The refusal to accept that a pregnancy has happened, the denial, the repression, that is an ideology at work.

Every act of love making or copulation, does not result in a pregnancy so why is wrong with he temporary use of birth control in a certain stage of a woman's life?

Nothing is wrong with birth control. It's a very convenient tool. But that's all it is. Reproductive sex can lead to reproduction. People need to recognize that and be ready for the possibility they might be making a baby.

Saint Croix said...

Or must she be open to a pregnancy throughout her child bearing years?

If you're having reproductive sex, you better appreciate that you might be making a baby. That's all. Have some respect for the possibility of reproduction. Birth control fails all the time.

Inga said...

St Croix, I can't think of many women who don't know that when they have sex without some sort of birth control they may get pregnant.

Unless they are under the influence of some drug or alcohol.

Saint Croix said...

St Croix, I can't think of many women who don't know that when they have sex without some sort of birth control they may get pregnant.

I think there are lots of people who have sex without thinking about pregnancy at all. They use birth control, and that is as far as their thoughts go. They think about controlling reproduction. They don't think about making a baby. That's a thought they don't want to have.

Saint Croix said...

And it's a conversation they don't want to have.

Cedarford said...

It is one of the great screwups of US history, perhaps 2nd only to the Civil War (when slavery ended peacefully in every country in the Western Hemisphere by 1880 - BUT for the US and Haiti where it ended with violence).

The Supreme Court, usurping the democratic and legislative process for resolving important issues not addressed in the Constitution, made shit up instead, claimed it was in emenations and penumbras - and all but invited 40 years of dominance by the zealots of both sides in perpetuating this deeply vexing issue into permanent politics.

But as things stand - most in the public have come to a stance that while they and their families would never abort on convenience, that if others do, it is on their conscience and you cannot be your brother or sisters keeper on all things. Most in the pubic would think hard about bringing a genetically doomed or seriously deformed/defective baby into being - but would understand it if othrs abort. A plurality also believe while they might decide not to pull the plug if it meant another two years of grandpa dying hooked up to tubes as long as taxpayers or insurance covered the 2 extra years of vegetation - they would not demand other families be forced to go with maintaining the rutabaga.

They do want 3rd trimester abortions only for mothers health, rape&incest, and terminating the genetic monsters that hopefully can be detected earlier than 3rd Trimester.
They oppose government deciding when it is time to say the vegetables should die, but do not oppose the family working with the doctors and nurses to reach the best decision..

By and large, the majority of Americans do not see the "abortions for all, pull the plug if the family wants, birth control and morning after pills!" prochoice camp as a personal threat to their liberty and options.
The do see the Right To Life zealots and hardcore Fundies as a threat.

So much so that two Republicans from conservative states, intoxicated with RTL talk of Blessed Baby Blastocysts and outlawing all abortions and how raped women forced to bear rapist babies is better than permitting them to abort rapist babies and becoming murderers - both of those stupid Republicans went down in flames. Not in a blue state, but two Red States Romney carried.

And the whole Personhood movement arising from a religious belief of ensoulment at conception - that want blastocysts to have full legal protections like delivered children?? A law to recognize Fetus Personhood was so opposed by the majority it went down in flames in the poorest, least educated, and most religious state in America - Mississippi.



Lydia said...

Modern feminism preaches that women should be able to have sex without consequences, just like men, and not have to worry about having a baby. It's not fair, dammit.

Or it's a punishment, as Obama pointed out when he said he didn't want his daughters to be "punished with a baby."

kimsch said...

It occurred to me the other day that "pro-choicers" don't want to inform a pregnant teen's parents that she pregnant not because of any "retaliation", or that the teen's father may have committed incest - but they don't want the teen's parents to prevent her from getting an abortion. They are so pro-abortion, that they can't countenance anyone counseling the girl to go through with the pregnancy and either give the baby up for adoption or give familial support to both of them.

Inga said...

Do men consider and respect the possibility of a baby every time they have sex?

How many more millions of abortions would've been performed if women bought into the concept birth control being somehow evil or wrong?

Basta! said...

What sinz52 said.

During the last presidential campaign I spoke with a number of women I know about how certain of Romney's positions were better than Obama's, and to a woman they practically spit. Their vehemence surprised me. They will never ever vote Republican or even listen to their positions on other issues, because they can't and won't see past Republicans' support of anti-abortion legislation. It's not that these women are abortion enthusiasts, rather that they assess such legislation in the exact same manner as many here view gun "control" legislation --- as an opening move in a campaign with grander ends (here, restrictions including elimination of various if not all forms of birth control).

Some of you say that this is solely about abortion, and for you that may be true, but these women are aware of people like Lopez, and the Personhood bill that would outlaw common forms of birth control such as IUDs, and they don't believe you. Just as no one believes the professed goal of those advocating the latest piece of legislation proposing certain limits on guns.

I want to emphasize that these are not Flukes, party-girls, perpetual adolescents, "sluts", or careerists. These are responsible adults, all married, most with children. One has a seriously disabled child who will never be able to live alone, another has had several miscarriages late in her pregnancies. They're not cavalier about sex and its possible consequences, they like children, they wanted to be mothers. But they are convinced that anti-abortion is code for anti-birth control of every sort, and that the prime movers behind this legislation would like to eventually see a world in which a woman would risk pregnancy every single time she had sex. You might argue that this is an unreasonable or paranoid belief, but they really do believe this is the ultimate goal.

I'm throwing this out there because most of you are focusing on "sluts", careerists, women who can treat an abortion like a trip to the tanning salon, etc. --- as if that just about sums up the types of women who refuse to vote for an anti-abortion Republican. You're overlooking what I think are the fears of a significant group of not just women, but probably their husbands too.
Please, don't shoot the messenger.

kimsch said...

Inga said: Do men consider and respect the possibility of a baby every time they have sex?

No. But they should. If they did, maybe they'd think twice about it as well. Or provide their own birth control (which is generally only prophylactics at this time) but at least they'd be participating in the birth control. Helps them avoid the woman who "says" she's on the pill - who wants to get pregnant even though he doesn't...

Inga said...

I couldn't agree with you more Kimsch And Basta.

Bender said...

most of you are focusing on "sluts", careerists, women who can treat an abortion like a trip to the tanning salon, etc.

Actually, the pro-life community is quite well aware of the "pro-choice" mentality and who has abortions and who has had abortions. A great many of those most active in the pro-life movement have had abortions themselves. So please do not project the irrational animus of those who are insistent in supporting this act upon those who oppose it, do not slander pro-lifers as all being mean-spirited anti-woman hicks.

In fact, being that the majority of pro-lifers are women, they are quite pro-woman -- authentically pro-woman, pro-woman in the entirety of womanhood.

Renee said...

Igna, we would just have the baby. Or men would be less likely to have sex with, unless they loved you.

When I used contraception, I never thought babies. Why? I would never of thought I would be a method failure. So who I was having sex had low standands.

When you consider any possibily of a baby, well you get choosier.

My choosiness didn't come from baby fever or a biological clock. Just didn't want a loser boyfriend/friend with benefit situation. Fewer in the pool, but better quality in character.

Renee said...

I'm active in Natural Family Planning circles online. There has been no talk of making contraception illegal. Just that contraception sucks, and NFP is a valid alternative. Our goals are educational.

Just as I'm responsible for NFP and not any employer. Women and men should be responsible for their contraception.

Inga said...

Renee, that may have been how you felt when you were using contraception. It most certainly was not my experience or that of most women I knew. Most who were unmarried were in committed relationships, and my married friends were not in a place in their married life in which they wanted to start a family, or if they already had children, they didn't want more at that time.

I had four children and that was plenty, thanks!

Johnnygeneric said...

"It means a realist’s explanation of how, in policy and culture, the feminist revolution could be reformed without being repealed."

That's the biggest pile of BS I've ever read. As usual, Leftist think they can set the agenda and the discussion. What baloney.

Basta! said...

I'm neither projecting nor slandering. I was passing along what a number of women told me --- actually, more like yelled at me --- when I brought up Republican positions on economic issues.

These are all women who are in committed monogamous relations, and most are mothers. Education: "some college". A few work outside the home, but they don't have "careers". They're not activists, they don't go to rallies. What I took away from these conversations was that their actual concern was birth control, not abortion, but that they have conflated the two. That is, just as a defender of the 2nd amendment hears phrases such as gun control as "the first step in outlawing private gun ownership", so too there are people who hear anti-abortion as "the first step in limiting or eliminating birth control".

It may not be a fair or accurate or reasonable assessment, but it's not uncommon. Are people who think this way a large enough group to throw an election? Maybe. Does the GOP want to try to do anything to dissuade them of this view? I don't know.

wyo sis said...

Inga, I was in a committed marriage at age 42 and my youngest was 13 when I got pregnant with my fifth child. I thought 4 was plenty.
She's 18 now and a beautiful smart girl with plans to go into bioengineering.

Bender said...

I was passing along what a number of women told me

No, you are passing along what a number of liberal and/or pro-choice women tell you. Any number of other women would say to you the exact opposite of what these women said.

Let's not lump all women together or otherwise think that what one group says is representative of what they all say.

Inga said...

Wyo Sis, she sounds like a blessing! If I were to have become pregnant again, I wouldn't have aborted, or considered it. But I'm glad that birth control pills were tiny and no problem to take one everyday with my vitamin.

wyo sis said...

How did you do that as you got older? My second oldest daughter, 38 has just stopped taking the pill because she's been taking it for about 17 year now and her doctor's say she needs to stop or face serious complications.

Inga said...

Basta, if women conflated birth control and abortion, it was probably due to Santorum like politicians. Many liberal women understood that their reproductive rights were more threatened by personhood bills.

Inga said...

Wyo Sis, one option is having her husband get a vasectomy. In my case my husband passed away when my children were young, so I didn't take BC pills continuously after that.

wyo sis said...

That's probably what they'll do. He's "rockin' one nut" due to testicular cancer already.
So why is that so hard for other women to do? Why does it have to be abortion? That's just completely impossible for me to understand. Especially if you've already had children.

Inga said...

Or tubal ligation, if the husband refuses. My son in law had a vasectomy, it was comical to see how good of a nurse my daughter was to her hubby, while he was recovering, she was Johnny on the spot with the ice bags:)

wyo sis said...

That made me laugh Inga. I can just picture my not-so-nurselike daughter being a great honey-bear nursie poo to her husband when he is convinced to go there. I'll have to call her and suggest it as an incentive.

Inga said...

I think women who get abortions are incredibly horribly irresponsible types, they cant seem to so much as take a tiny pill, much less plan for a tubal ligation. Unless its the result of a rape.

wyo sis said...

Yet, even horribly irresponsible types face things that destroy their lives because they have no option. Things like illness, death, great losses etc.
If abortion wasn't an option then women would face unwanted pregnancies and deal with them. Either well or not so well, but at least no innocent child is murdered by it's own mother in the process.

Darleen said...

To be pro abortion would be to be in favor of the act of abortion itself.

As I recall, there has been/still is a who contingent of gender feminists who insist not only is abortion NOT something that is tragic, but those that have had abortions should be proud of it and wear t-shirts to that effect in order to "de-stigmatize" abortion.

How much more "pro-abortion" can a so-called pro-choicer get?

Inga said...

Yes that's partially true Wyo Sis, if those irresponsible women were to be forced to give birth, then what? How many would give up the child for adoption, how many would keep the child, abuse it, kill it or let boyfriend sexually abuse the child or worse?

wyo sis said...

Inga
We can't know that. Nor can we know what wonderful things can happen. But, life is too precious to make cheap because of what might happen.

Inga said...

Wyo Sis, I won't argue that, but I will say this, I took care of some horribly burnt children when I was in nursing school, one of them was an 18 month old, who's mother set him afire in his crib. I won't ever forget that child.

kimsch said...

Before I was married and had children I thought long and hard about what I might do if became pregnant as a result of a rape. My thought was that it would be MY child and it might be the only child I would ever have. I couldn't abort that child. I knew that if I were to become pregnant due to a birth control failure I would have that child. What if it were the only one I would have.

As it happened, I had three children and three miscarriages. One was at 20 weeks. I delivered him in the bathroom. He was so small, top of head to butt, he was as long as my hand, heel of palm to fingertips. A baby. Not a fetus. I was broken hearted with all my miscarriages.

wyo sis said...

I'm not going to pretend that every mother is going to be even adequate as a mother. You can probably tell hundreds of stories of bad things that happened to kids because they have bad mothers.
But, will it help to create a system that kills some babies with no apparent consequences, and at the same time rewards mothers of unwanted babies by giving them a check every month?
What might help, that hasn't been proposed, is expecting people to be responsible and enabling responsible behavior.

Erika said...

While I don't wish to minimize child abuse, I've always marveled at the logic of "kill the baby in case it turns out you're inclined to abuse it later." Hunh??

This is why I am such a big fan of crisis pregnancy centers that actually help women with whatever referrals or help they need to safely care for or give up the baby, rather than rob it of a chance at life.

Erika said...

Kimsch, I'm so sorry for your losses.

Only one of my four was planned, and one of them was born into horrible circumstances in his birth mother's life. Every child is a gift.

Inga said...

Ah, now we head back into political philosophies. if only expectations were dollars, our country would be overflowing with money!

Great discussion! Good night.

wyo sis said...

Thanks for the thoughtful discussion Inga. Good night.

kimsch said...

Thanks Erika. They are all blessings. My third pregnancy was my first birth. She's 22 now. Special needs. Then a miscarriage at 20 weeks, then my now 18-year-old son, and then my 12-year-old son (the day before his big sister's 10th birthday). I miscarried then became pregnant with my daughter right away. She was 3 weeks early (so was the littlest - the big boy was a day late...) but I was pregnant for 11 months....

David said...

Inga said...
I don't like the concept that strides in equality for women was and is connected strongly to abortion. Succesful, intelligent and educated women are more likely to use birth control effectively to reduce the prospect of unwanted pregnancy, avoiding the necessity for abortion.


So true Inga! Abortion is for those lower uneducated folk. That's why all these spiffy white women are so protective of abortion. They will never need it because they are too smart. But it cuts down on the prole population. Especially, statistics tell us, the black ones.

Oh Inga!

mariner said...

Bullshit, Althouse.

It was feminists who defined themselves and their movement by belief in their unfettered right to murder unborn children.

It is feminists, not pro-life activists, who need to reform the "feminist revolution".

sinz52 said...

Basta:

When Akin made his remarks, quite a few in the GOP base leapt to his defense, notably Mike Huckabee.

Over on other conservative forums which shall remain nameless, many said that Akin said nothing wrong. He's right about rape victims not getting pregnant.

Very few (like yours truly) dared to criticize the substance of what Akin said, because we got a furious response.

Because Akin didn't pull his ideas out of thin air. This cockamamie theory that rape victims don't get pregnant came originally from pro-life groups like Focus on the Family.

These folks are not just pro-life where abortion is concerned. Rather, they have very traditional views about the sexual role of women in society.

dreams said...

I'm not a fan of Ross Douthat, he is young and I suspect he will grow into a liberal someday.

Jason said...

Akin's statement was true.

Not that truth matters in the slightest to a libtard in election season.

Nathan Alexander said...

There is a huge disparity in definitions.

To liberals, "choice" means "total control of outcome".

To conservatives, "choice" means "selecting from several options whose ultimate outcome is unknown"

carrie said...

Too naive!

hombre said...

Fifty-five million dead and counting, mostly so people who shouldn't or don't want to be parents can have unprotected sex.

Mostly monstrous!