March 1, 2014

"The gay rights movement has been having some remarkable success lately. Why do abortion rights keep losing ground?"

Wonders Gail Collins, and one obvious answer springs to mind: Many people genuinely believe that the unborn is a human being. There's no live-and-let-live accommodation to the rights other people have won in the legal and political process for those who feel morally challenged to save millions of babies from impending murder. The very demand that they ought to accept defeat gracefully reignites them.

A second answer follows on (in my mind, and I've still not read past Collins's question): Rights in the form of equality appeal to virtually all Americans. Gay rights have mostly taken the form of equality rights: equal access to marriage, to employment, to restaurants and shops. Gay rights have also taken the form of privacy rights, that is, the freedom to make your own decisions about what to do with your body, but nobody recently has bothered with trying to stop gay people from having sex with each other. The idea of criminalizing sodomy seems ridiculous, especially when heterosexuals are deeply involved in the practice, and the notion of banning it only for gay couples brings us back to the equality principle that resonates with virtually all Americans. 

Now, I'll read the rest of Collins, who begins by asserting that there are some "easy" answers to her question. She begins with:

Obviously, abortion is an issue that only relates to one gender, at one particular stage in their lives. 
Abortion doesn't even relate to men?! That's perfectly obtuse. Obviously — I'll use her adverb — a man contributed sperm and has the prospect of becoming a father. He might participate in the decisionmaking process — even if the law gives the final call to the woman. Is Collins unable to conceive of a man who cares about his own offspring, who would do what an honorable man should do and promise to love and protect that woman and the unborn person they have caused to come into existence? The Obvious World of Gail Collins is bereft of moral reasoning. Ironically, the abortion right as defined by the Supreme Court is premised on our capacity as human beings to engage in serious moral reasoning. 

Collins goes on to talk about the way legislators "cloak" their anti-abortion bills in the language of "public safety." Of course, if you know the law in this area, you know that portraying the bill as a genuine health matter is necessary to defending it in court. If it's really about making it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion when she wants it — at least before the unborn is, as they say, "viable" — it's a nullity under current constitutional doctrine.

Collins sardonically wishes for "less subtle state legislators." She'd like to see the anti-abortion legislators act more like the Arizona legislators in the recent to-do over a right to discriminate when your reason is religious. Those legislators tripped the public's passion for equality. But what's the parallel for abortion? It would take the form of expressing great love and care for unborn babies. That would doom the law in the upcoming legal proceedings (unless Supreme Court precedent is ultimately overruled), but would it work on the public? I think you'd get the same old complexity about whether to see the unborn as a human being entitled to at least a little equality or whether to see women's equality as containing a crucial element of a need to control her body's reproductive function.

Collins doesn't examine these complexities, nor does she even go back to the idea that "abortion... only relates to one gender," which works to some extent to make abortion rights into an equality question about we engage in our political debate. (Legally, it's the right of privacy, the individual's authority over her body.)

Instead, Collins switches to the old income-equality theme:
The biggest difference between the fortunes of gay rights and abortion rights, however, is that politicians who vote to limit women’s rights to control their own bodies know that, for the most part, they’re only hurting poor people.
The biggest difference?! Aw, come on. The biggest difference is that abortion — to those who oppose it — involves killing a baby. But Collins trips happily toward the end of her column, talking class politics.

136 comments:

Mike Roark said...

I don't know why but I continue to be amazed at the left represented by Collins. They live in some kind of un-real, antiseptic world of ideas. Kinda like insulated academia. They gush on about all kinds of twaddle. They simply cannot deal with the reality of life and death and the murder of children.

David said...

Well done, Professor Althouse.

Marshal said...

They simply cannot deal with the reality of life and death and the murder of children

Her only goal is providing a talking point to superficially engaged leftists. Interpret the entire article (and millions of others like it) as "trust us, we've thought about this so you don't have to".

Mike Roark said...

Marshall - I like your description "superficially engaged leftists".

MayBee said...

This is what happens, over time, when the goal of one side is to shame the other for even having the ideas they have, rather than engaging in debate.

When your only argument is "that's ugly, that's shameful", you get flabby. You forget how to think yourself. You think by pretending the other side has no argument that they actually will believe they have no argument.

As I've said before, there is a lot to learn from the world of sports. In sports, you *have* to recognize the other team's strength in order to try to beat them.

Ian Nemo said...

Time is a difference. Abortion was a cause with momentum when it fell under the emanations of penumbras. Later, the reality of the child, since it never left, intruded again. Just because one pulls a thought out of the ether doesn't give it substance.

My guess is that the reality of children, men, women and marriage will intrude into the sparkling ethereal notional creation of gay marriage by our Laputan courts and media, sooner or later. Suffering first.

PB Reader said...

Why does abortion keep losing ground? Um, Darwin?

If you fail to increase the population in households that are taught to believe in abortion as fast as the households that are taught to oppose abortion, it will have less support over time.

Laslo Spatula said...

It is common that many upper-class white women choose to get pregnant solely to have an abortion. This is club membership. Some do it many times to show their devotion to the cause. Often they synchronize their pregnancies with their friends so as to spend the special day as a group, getting abortions together before going off to drink champagne. The code is apparent in necklaces where a one-carat diamond is added for each abortion. The goal is to be in the ten-carat club, a highly motivated and select group that plans columns like the one linked. A two-carat diamond is awarded to the lucky ones that abort twins. They feel a sadness when someone else is having an abortion, thinking 'That could have been me.' Male journalists often volunteer to be sperm donors for the abortions to show that they are supportive of the cause, but cannot afford the diamonds: those come from wealthy patrons. More champagne.

m stone said...

I agree with MayBee as usual.

I would add that with questions of established morality (e.g. Bible), there really can be no debate, a fact which simply feeds the superficially engaged of both sides and enflames proponents of gay rights and abortion.

Standing your ground is hard work. Judgment (and I don't just mean God's) is a ways down the line and history will record whether the US "decision" falls in line with the fate of other civilizations and nations.

Marshal said...

Laslo Spatula said...
It is common that many upper-class white women choose to get pregnant solely to have an abortion.


Satire is supposed to be funny.

Amichel said...

It reminds me of the difficulty that advocates of affirmative action are having in the current climate. The civil rights movement had great success when they were fighting for equal rights for all races, when they were fighting against discrimination. Now they must make the much more difficult claim that treating everyone equally isn't enough; because of previous discrimination against black Americans, there is now a necessity for positive discrimination for black Americans. That's a much higher hurdle to clear.

Simon said...

"Liberal hobby-horse X is popular; why isn't liberal hobby-horse Y popular?"

Lyle said...

The idea that abortion also only appeals to a certain gender at a certain time in their lives is also ridiculous. I remember you (Althouse) writing about the woman past her child bearing years chastising her husband to vote pro-choice and against Scott Walker.

I also don't think denial of shopping rights has been a real issue until this inchoate religious liberty legislation. I actually think a baker should be able to say I won't bake you a cake if you're telling me it is for your gay marriage. I support gay marriage personally, but people need not support it if they don't want to.

Would some schools not admit a young David Duke today if they knew about his white supremacist ideology? Would the university not think it has the right to not admit such an applicant?

Simon said...

"We sell two products, Mounds, and Milky Way; Mounds is popular, so why isn't Milky Way selling?"

Simon said...

"We sell hosepipe and concrete block; concrete blocks sell well so why doesn't hosepipe?"

rhhardin said...

In the case of the Denver bakery, think through which direction the hate goes, from the Christian baker to the gays, or vice versa.

As either Derbyshire or Mark Steyn said recently.

rhhardin said...

The anti-abortion argument depends on cuteness.

Technology has to make the fetus cute, which it's been doing for a while.

Just as society took an interest when the baby was born, it can now take an interest when a sonogram shows up.

Soon there may be a state interest owing to a demographic decline as well.

chrisnavin.com said...

Gail Collins, you had me at:

'Low income women are five times more likely to have an unintended pregnancy as their most affluent sisters'

Laslo Spatula said...

Marshal said...
"Satire is supposed to be funny."

Who said anything about satire?

kentuckyliz said...

I also wish to take issue with one phase of her life.

Before fertile capacity, a child has an interest in gaining a sibling. The greatest gift you can give a child is a sibling. I keep reminding my older brother and sister of this. LOL

Of course, the writer acknowledges an interest during her fertile years.

Beyond fertility, a woman is still interested in making sure that her grandchildren get born (or perhaps if she has warped values, she wants to coerce certain grandchildren to the extermination chambers). Remember, in evolution, you are only considered successful if your *grandchildren* survive to adulthood.

I am a doting auntie who wanted as many nieces and nephews as my sibs were willing and able to pop out.

Laslo Spatula said...

Some women show up at abortion clinics with a pillow stuffed under their shirt, desperately hoping to have the abortion procedure even though they are not pregnant. Commitment.

Pogo is Dead said...

Feminism is solipsism, the unrestricted female Id, the insatiable female "I want" shorn of consequences, whether lie, revenge or death.

Abortion then has no more moral consequence than defecation.

I'd go with that, but I'm no salesman.

Marshal said...

Laslo Spatula said...
Who said anything about satire?


The assertion that "Often they synchronize their pregnancies with their friends so as to spend the special day as a group, getting abortions together before going off to drink champagne..." is either satire or insanity. I was giving you the benefit of the doubt.

Laslo Spatula said...

Some have said that those who compulsively need to have serial abortions have an addiction. That is why there will be Abortions Anonymous: "my name is Gail and it has been four weeks since my last abortion". (Applause) White-knuckled while holding the awarded chip.

Original Mike said...

Wow. Collins can't be that stupid. She and her ilk are so invested in the notion that the unborn are not human beings that they don't dare acknowledge it.

Laslo Spatula said...

The women of the club shake their heads softly when seeing a mother push a baby stroller: what an abortion that could have been.

chrisnavin.com said...

Apropos of nothing, I just asked my cleaning-lady Fernanda if she suffered more oppression back home in Nicaragua or under my oppressive male gaze.

'Oh Mr. Chris, jor so funny'

Long live the global sisterhood, Fernanda.

Laslo Spatula said...

Some women volunteer at abortion clinics to be closer to the action. The antiseptic smell, the soft whirring of equipment behind closed doors: ambiance.

Laslo Spatula said...

Some women view the act of getting an abortion as performance art, and they are the star artist. Jazz hands.

EDH said...

Is Collins unable to conceive of a man who cares about his own offspring, who would do what an honorable man should do and promise to love and protect that woman and the unborn person they have caused to come into existence?

Might I observe that any talk of what an "honorable woman should do" that in any way restricted her reproductive freedom would be literally unspeakable in most contexts.

Laslo Spatula said...

Some of the upper-class abortion clinics will now give botox injections at the same time as the abortion procedure. You're only as young as you feel.

Ann Althouse said...

"I also don't think denial of shopping rights has been a real issue until this inchoate religious liberty legislation. I actually think a baker should be able to say I won't bake you a cake if you're telling me it is for your gay marriage."

If the law had been specifically about lines of business that were arguably expression -- decorated cakes and wedding photography -- I would have defended it. But the legislation was written to cover all businesses, and that made it mean-spirited and threatening to equality.

There were cases about cake decorators not wanting to do a cake with 2 brides or 2 grooms on top and photographers not wanting to apply what was their art to a ceremony they didn't like.

But that's not how the legislation was framed. The high road was not taken. It felt bigoted to equality-minded Americans, and it lost.

Now, I think Americans also care about religious freedom, but since we wouldn't accept a racist religion justifying a racially exclusionary restaurant, the feeling for religious rights didn't make it.

DKWalser said...

Arizona's bill was poorly worded (requiring the individual to prove that the religious objection was sincere would have invited more law suits, not reduced them), but the issue it was trying to address is real. There is a growing conflict between the rights of gays and other minorities to not be discriminated against and the rights of individuals to freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and the freedom of association.

The courts in New Mexico, Colorado, and elsewhere ruled that the right to freedom from discrimination trumped the business owner's rights. The Arizona bill was designed to prevent that result (but only when the right to freedom of religion was implicated). The courts got it wrong. (That may have been because the cases were poorly argued and the defendants, like the Arizona legislature, focused on the wrong issue.)

The cases involving cake decorating, flower arranging, and wedding photography, all burden the business owner's 1st Amendment rights to freedom of expression. Cake decorating, flower arranging, and photography are all forms of artistic expression. I know they're not considered high art, but neither is what goes on between the pages of Playboy. Nor is Mein Kampf protected because it is well written. The 1st Amendment protects freedom of expression; its protections are not limited to only high levels of talent or to higher forms of expression.

The problem applying anti-discrimination laws to these types of businesses is that they compel speech. They would force these artists to say something ("I approve of same sex marriage") that they do not want to say. It should not matter why the artists do not want to say what they'd be forced to say by these laws. A cake decorator might approve of same sex marriage and it would still be wrong to make him say so.

Of course, it's also wrong for the artists to discriminate. So, which set of rights trumps the other? I'm old fashioned enough to believe that the rights that are actually written into the Constitution should prevail. With the very narrow exception of "public accommodations", 1st Amendment rights shouldn't need to be surrendered in order to engage in commerce. If they were, the people who were (and are) offended by Playboy and it's kin should have been able to legislate it out of existence long ago.

The 1st Amendment should not be understood to grant more protection to pornographers than to flower arrangers. Nor should one photographer be granted more privileges just because her subjects have their clothes off and the other photographer's subjects are clothed and standing at an alter.

Levi Starks said...

Sodomy will never produce a baby.
Abortion always stops a beating heart.

Sodomy appears to be a victimless crime.
Abortion is only successful if there is a victim.

Bob Ellison said...

The Professor won the thread at the outset.

Tank said...

The anti-abortion argument depends on cuteness.

Technology has to make the fetus cute, which it's been doing for a while.


It's not that it's "cute," it's that it looks like a little human being. Which it is or will be if not aborted. This is why the abortion lovers freak out about mandatory sonograms.

Titus said...

I feel like I am giving birth when I pinch a humongous loaf.

JRoberts said...

"Sodomy appears to be a victimless crime.
Abortion is only successful if there is a victim."

I've come to the conclusion that if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned, it will be due to the determination that it violates the civil rights of the unborn child.

Therefore, the "Abortion-Industrial Complex" will take every step necessary to keep the unborn from their civil rights, by declaring them "less than human".

"Less than human" sounds like the same strategy used by anti-semites against Jews and racists against Blacks.

buck smith said...

Abortion rights activists like Collins want women to control their reproductive systems, but gladly allow the state to control men's bodies and the rest of women's via FDA and Obamacare.

rhhardin said...

It's not that it's "cute," it's that it looks like a little human being. Which it is or will be if not aborted.

I think it's got to be cute.

The human being thing is taking the argument into dogma and theology when the first argument doesn't seem strong enough.

What if somebody said that you learn to be a human being?

Taking the ordinary usage of human being. As in, "He's hardly human," of e.g. a serial killer.

Imagine it being said of a baby.

It would sort of fit.

Go with cuteness, is my advice.

Cuteness means society takes an interest, it has a relationship therefore, and a relationship gives something a soul, again in ordinary usage.

"He has no soul."

traditionalguy said...

Last night we saw a wall size movie poster with one word," NOAH". Why is that ancient Genesis scripture relevant to us today?

A Hebrew prophet from Nazareth explained that the last days before His return would be "as the days of Noah" referring to God's statement that the inclination of the thoughts of the minds of the humans he had made on earth had become evil all of the time.

Since the mass slaughter in WWI We have seen Hitler's evil systematic slaughters, Stalin's KGB systematic deaths and torture in the Gulag, Tojo's systematic slaughters in China.

To stop them we unleashed Curtis LaMay and took retribution in kind.

But now we are coming under a planned systematic slaughter of babies unleashed by SCOTUS, a Obama planned push to ration modern medical care, and a Obama planned push to eliminate carbon based energy that feeds, clothes and shelters the some 5 billion people who are declared surplus people that pollute Mother Earth.

They all have in common the evil thoughts of the heart of Thomas Malthus to depopulate the earth and steal what is left for ourselves...just like in the Days of Noah.

Laslo Spatula said...

Some women past the age of fertility will help arrange the first abortions of younger women: find the appropriate sperm donor, help select the appropriate abortion day outfit. The sperm donor is important: you don't want to abort a lower-class baby on the special day -- it should be one that would've aspired to greatness if it had lived.One generation helping the next.

Jason said...

and that made it mean-spirited.

....aaaaaand those 30 IQ points go crashing to the floor again!

Shoot! You were doing so well!

Laslo Spatula said...

Women of the club are reaching out to the lesbian community. Just because one does not align with heterosexual norms does not mean they should be denied of their special day. Lesbian abortions are always a festive day at the clinic.

Paco Wové said...

"Arizona's bill was poorly worded ... but the issue it was trying to address is real."

I agree, but as Althouse (more or less) said, bad law is bad law. There's a big difference (to my non-legal mind, at least) between "I will not bake a cake for your big gay wedding" and "I will not bake a cake with a big gay message on it for your wedding."

jr565 said...

At the end of the day, gay marriage is providing a positive right, and abortion a negative right. Marriage affords people certain rights, and people wanting to be fair like the idea of people getting rights that they think ey are being denied. I think they're wrong about gay marriage but that's at least where they're coming from.
In the case of abortion, were talking about the killing of babies. Even Clinton said they want abortions to be safe, legal, and RARE. He recognized that they should be rare because what is being talked about is an ugly thing that most reasonable people have qualms about.
And abortion rights advocates go out of their way to do nothing about keeping abortion rare. Any such attempt at restricting abortion becomes a war on women.

Sam L. said...

"The Obvious World of Gail Collins is bereft of moral reasoning." She lives in the Obvious World of the NYT; she is not alone there.

"Complexities"? The NYT admits of no complexities in this, so why should Gail?

chickenlittle said...

We were all once just a clump of cells has broad, humanistic appeal. That's why.

jr565 said...

Ann Althouse wrote:
If the law had been specifically about lines of business that were arguably expression -- decorated cakes and wedding photography -- I would have defended it. But the legislation was written to cover all businesses, and that made it mean-spirited and threatening to equality.

Telling a baker he has to bake a cake he doesn't want to is also mean spirited. Fred phelps and his group should head into a bakery run by a gay and make them make a came that says God hates Fags in the icing , and see how readily those demonizing the baker in this case would demonize the baker in that case if he said NO

dreams said...

"Remember, in evolution, you are only considered successful if your *grandchildren* survive to adulthood."

Our greatest or maybe second greatest president Abraham Lincoln had adult grandchildren who for some reason never had any children.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

I think materialism is largely to blame. It used to be that those wanting to force females to be whores would argue that sex without marriage be wrong because sex without marriage be disgusting and essentially the same as sodomy. Now materialism is so rampant they tend to argue that the importance of children being materially cared for is so important that females should always be whores, and that it be disgusting for females to inflict on a child a one-parent life by choosing to have sex with someone who doesn't wish to care for her and their offspring (like only some non-whore would do), regardless of whether she loves him much better than males ostensibly wishing to provide just for her and their mutual offspring. And it is a self-reinforcing thing, because the more people think sodomy is a non-issue, the less the materialists are going to go after sex without male responsibility by equating it with nastiness and deriding both.

I don't think materialism is a left/right thing per se. Right-wing churches may increasingly be materialistic, but then materialism, and more particularly the notion that making people well-off can make them moral, has always been a key component of socialism since Robert Owen at least. There's nothing strong nowadays like the pietist movements of Owen's day to argue against that sort of thing. But only great people should be pious--tending to be holy toward females generally is something great people tend to do but if you aren't great than it is better not to be pious, and to be holy toward particular females more in proportion to how good or beautiful they are, and so there was something self-righteous in pietism.

Indeed, marriage also tends to be mixed up with holiness, which also might explain some things, though I haven't thought about it as much. Sodomy of males but not sodomy of females is mixed up with holiness as well, since holiness is something males (but not females) tend to feel when in love, which presumably is why churches, still occasionally with some holiness aura, seem to have more of a problem with their officials sodomizing boys than girls. To make boys feel in love with those who sodomize them the most effective sodomy chemicals are those that make the boys feel holy seeming feelings akin to the holy feelings they would actually feel toward a female were they really in love. Holiness, piety, sadness--all are similar and have to do in my opinion with the effect I presume they have, namely to reduce crossover in spermatogenesis, which benefits female mates directly and males indirectly (by making females sexually want them more). That male sodomy seems to be gaining in respectability while people still largely agree that females can become skanky (e.g., Miley Cyrus after performing nasty has become widely derided) may well have something to do with gays using the marriage issue to make sodomized males seem "holy shit", something that would not work with respect to sodomized females (e.g., because females don't feel holiness when in love).

dreams said...

"Is Collins unable to conceive of a man who cares about his own offspring"

If she could, I'm sure she would choose abortion.

B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickenlittle said...

The underlying tension has not relaxed.

One side says that the bakers and photographers should fined and shamed out of business if necessary. The other side says that the litigants should be laughed out of court or somehow neutered.

That's the battle line being drawn and nobody has rights if everybody's wronged.

dreams said...

Is abortion racist? Maybe.

James Pawlak said...

Could it be that more are realizing that unborn babies: Have independent genetic identities; And, can feel the pain at about 20-weeks of existence?

Marty Keller said...

Missing the deep, Collins-esque insights of Garage, Inka, and Crack on this thread.

DKWalser said...

"...There's a big difference (to my non-legal mind, at least) between "I will not bake a cake for your big gay wedding" and "I will not bake a cake with a big gay message on it for your wedding."

Is there a big difference? You're assuming that the act of making a wedding cake for a wedding is not an endorsement of that wedding -- that the act is devoid of message. I suspect most cake decorators would disagree. The 1st Amendment shouldn't be understood to just protect forms of expression that can be reduced into words. If so, most modern art would not be protected.

Full disclosure: I'm married to a cake decorator. She only does it for friends and family, so she would not be subject to these kinds of law suits. Even though there's seldom any words or letters on the cakes she makes, each and everyone has been a celebration of the bride and groom's wedding. The colors, shape, and decorations used were all selected for a particular couple. With every cake, she was endorsing a particular wedding.

One more comment that's tangentially related. Recently, a federal appellate court held that a school could not require students to wear t-shirts emblazoned with a slogan, such as "Don't do drugs!" Even though students have far less 1st amendment protections than do most adults, the school could not require the students to wear the shirts because that would be requiring the students to endorse the school's message. Are we saying that business owners and artists have less 1st amendment protections than do students in a middle school?

Michael K said...

"But that's not how the legislation was framed. The high road was not taken. It felt bigoted to equality-minded Americans, and it lost."

Says the big gay marriage supporter. Other law professors did not agree. There is a pretty good discussion here.

Mike Roark said...

Ann says " It felt bigoted to equality-minded Americans, and it lost."

I am reading that more carefully after the prior comment. That seems rather like jab now that I consider it more fully. Does that mean then those of us that don't agree with you are not "equality minded". Hmmm.

chickenlittle said...

dreams said...

Our greatest or maybe second greatest president Abraham Lincoln had adult grandchildren who for some reason never had any children.

Well then, Lincoln was an evolutionary loser of sorts. He failed at other things too. But he transcended all that by building a legacy in another realm so to speak -- begetting untold intellectual offspring. But Steven Spielberg aside, we can't all be Lincolns, can we?

Richard Dolan said...

rhh: "Go with cuteness, is my advice."

Cuteness makes it a matter of aesthetics, which misses (devalues, in this case) the moral seriousness of the matter. People find the issue difficult because it pits important moral values against each other -- the mother's autonomy, the father's concerns, the child's life, and the society's sense of right-and-wrong. None of that turns on aesthetic judgments, although parts of it (especially the emotional aspects of forming and ranking value judgments) are certainly influenced by the extent to which we see and identify the developing fetus as ever-more fully human over the course of gestation. Of course, those who view the issues through a religiously formed set of values will see the "cuteness" factor differently, not so much as a matter of aesthetics even if they describe it as the beauty of a God-given soul.

So cuteness plays a part, but it's far from a leading role in the abortion drama.

Paco Wové said...

"You're assuming that the act of making a wedding cake for a wedding is not an endorsement of that wedding -- that the act is devoid of message. I suspect most cake decorators would disagree"

Well, maybe, but I don't think that most people would agree that businesses in general are assumed to endorse everything their clients do, which is where your line of thought seems to be going.

In my mind's eye, I see two analogy-endpoints here – "I won't make you a cake 'cause you're gay" doesn't sound that different to me than "I won't make you a cake 'cause you're black"; but "I want you to put a put a pro-gay marriage message on the cake" sounds a lot like "I want you to put 'Love Satan and fuck the skull of Jesus' on the cake".

I can readily see why the baker wouldn't have a leg to stand on in situation A, while I would argue they ought to be protected in situation B.

jimbino said...

Even if Roe v. Wade were overturned, abortion would still be justifiable under the theory of self-defense.

Roman Catholics and other "pro-lifers" care so much about a life from conception to birth, but when it comes to bodily integrity abuse represented by circumcision and forced pregnancy & delivery, they are notoriously missing in action.

Original Mike said...

"I can readily see why the baker wouldn't have a leg to stand on in situation A, while I would argue they ought to be protected in situation B."

This is where I'm at on the question.

chickenlittle said...

In other words, jimbino notes that many of those unforced births are absent from national parks.

Unknown said...

"deeply involved" ... Too good to have been an accident.

Philly Trash said...

gays are funny about abortion. we get that if the gay gene is discovered, some gay babies might never be born. we are one genetic test away from being detected like downs syndrome. and where is the political power in a dwindling pool of queers who cannot procreate without a costly host womb?

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

"Why do abortion rights keep losing ground?"

Maybe it's the slippery slope thing. Y'know, how long before folks are pressing for twelfth month 'post-natal' abortion rights?

jimbino said...

Yo PhillyTrash,

If the gay gene is discovered, most all gays, naturally born atheist, will end up being practicing or lapsed Roman Catholics or Fundamentalists.

Paul Fraker said...

All of Gail Collins' columns are variations on the theme of "Republicans are stupid, hypocritical and reactionary". Shame that the Times' two female op-eders are so unserious and flippant, mocking the very notion, dearly held by Times types, that women should be taken just a seriously as men.

sunsong said...

My guess is that abortion rights are in force. Abortion is legal. Gays are still in the process of gaining their equality. It is a more pressing issue.

Just like abortion, business is regulated. If you are in business you expect to be regulated by the state.

hombre said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DKWalser said...

In my mind's eye, I see two analogy-endpoints here – "I won't make you a cake 'cause you're gay" doesn't sound that different to me than "I won't make you a cake 'cause you're black"; but "I want you to put a put a pro-gay marriage message on the cake" sounds a lot like "I want you to put 'Love Satan and fuck the skull of Jesus' on the cake".

I can readily see why the baker wouldn't have a leg to stand on in situation A, while I would argue they ought to be protected in situation B."


Isn't the 1st amendment supposed to protect unsavory speech -- even bigoted, racist, or some other disfavored speech? Yes. That's its purpose. So, you're going to have to explain why it doesn't protect a cake decorator's freedom of expression just because you don't like what motivates the cake decorator. Besides, you'd be asking the courts to decide whether the cake was "expressive enough" to warrant protection. That's unworkable and would chill expression that is protected (or risk having to defend the decision in court).

We make lots of exceptions to the 1st amendment's protections. One of those concerns "public accommodations". A traveler from a distant city shouldn't be denied access to food and shelter because he or she is the "wrong type" of person. That should be a very narrow category of business establishments. It shouldn't include virtually all businesses -- or we'd have the problem that we're having here; a business owner is being forced to endorse something.

The reasons for the public accommodation exception just don't exist in the context of a wedding photographer, florist, or cake decorator. There are plenty of businesses willing to offer those services and there is plenty of time to make other arrangements if one business declines your patronage. So, there's no reason why the 1st amendment's protections shouldn't apply.

Note: In all these cases we're not talking about an off-the-shelf product or service. Cakes like these are made for the occasion. We're NOT discussing someone refusing to sell a cake that's already been made and is, in theory, available to the first customer to walk through the door. It's not the same thing as refusing to sell a pair of jeans or a set of tires. It's a form of expression and we need a very good reason to regulate that expression and any regulation needs to be very narrowly targeted.

hombre said...

Althouse: "But the legislation was written to cover all businesses, and that made it mean-spirited and threatening to equality."

OMG! "Mean-spirited?" A direct violation of some Amendment that: "Congress shall make no laws that are mean-spirited...." (Applicable to the states through the Fourteenth, naturally.)

That same Amendment that goes on to inveigh against, but not prohibit, "any conduct by a private citizen or private business that threatens equality."

But we really need no Amendment to intrude on free choice in a free society in such a matter as long as we have the gay rights mob and its enablers to dictate our behavior.

Anglelyne said...

Read the article; forgotten what a vapid waste of space Gail Collins was.

But lord almighty, nowhere is the sheer obtuseness of the liberal "righteous mind" manifested more clearly than on the abortion issue. How is it possible to live to old age, apparently expending a great deal of thought on this particular issue throughout one's adult life, and still be blind, deaf, and dumb to the premises of the oppositional arguments? How utterly morally vapid does one have to be to keep seeing nothing but "wanting to control women's bodies" in the abortion issue?

Revenant said...

Even the most "activist" pro-gay rulings have the advantage of only having been a couple years ahead of what the public at large thinks.

With abortion, the courts made the mistake of eliminating democratic control of the subject before the public had settled on any kind of consensus. As a result both sides have radicalized.

Renee said...

When people think about gay marriage, they not thinking gay sex. They're thinking about people they may know, taxes, and health insurance.

Well that is what I think about, and it sound strange because I disagree with calling these relationships marriage.

Because when I think of marriage, I'm not thinking about taxes and health insurance. I'm thinking about I'm thinking about paternity and and father absence.

They are totally two different concepts in my mind, and that's what I can't call each concept by the same name. It causes confusion in public policy.

Gay marriage isn't about agreeing with gay sex, just simply the person and the person they care about.

Abortion? No matter the situations that leads a woman to abortion, there is no good spin on abortion. There is nothing good or wonderful about abortion.

Sure, I may disagree with homosexual behavior but there are dozens of other positive things I can say about a same-sex relationships.

Mike Roark said...

Anglelyne said...How utterly morally vapid does one have to be to keep seeing nothing but "wanting to control women's bodies" in the abortion issue?

It works because sadly, it's effective. It resonates with the Liberal base. The Liberal indoctrination through control of the media and the education system has worked. True believers will not be swayed by any differing ideas..

Paco Wové said...

"you're going to have to explain why it doesn't protect a cake decorator's freedom of expression just because you don't like what motivates the cake decorator."

I think you're misunderstanding my point. I *do*think a cake decorator should be able to make any cake they want. I *don't* think a customer should be able to force the cake decorator to make any cake they, the customer, wants... however, that doesn't mean the decorator can deny that customer any cake at all.

I think the 1st Amendment should protect the cake decorator in both circumstances. However, the 1st Amendment doesn't, as far as I know, give a business any grounds to refuse service.

From my understanding of the whole gay wedding cake fiasco, the customers were, indeed, being jerks. What legal grounds exist to refuse service to jerky customers?

Paco Wové said...

"It's a form of expression and we need a very good reason to regulate that expression"

I think you're conflating two different things here. If you're a business, then it seems to me that you are potentially sacrificing at least some 1st Amendment rights, because you've hired yourself out as a mouthpiece for other people.
If, on the other hand, you're a private individual, I don't think anybody is arguing that you can't make any cake you want.

Original Mike said...

"It works because sadly, it's effective. It resonates with the Liberal base. The Liberal indoctrination through control of the media and the education system has worked"

Which is why I don't believe that Collins actually does not know that the other side is motivated by the belief that fetuses are human beings. But she dare not acknowledge that. Thus, you get the tripe that is her column.

Mike Roark said...

Original Mike - Agreed.

Fen said...

Pavo: There's a big difference (to my non-legal mind, at least) between "I will not bake a cake for your big gay wedding" and "I will not bake a cake with a big gay message on it for your wedding."

I'm not getting why thats a big difference to you.

Fen said...

When people think about gay marriage, they not thinking gay sex. They're thinking about people they may know, taxes, and health insurance.

Exactly. My original opposition to gay marriage was a subjective theory that it was bad for society in genernal. But bad in a way that wasn't immediately apparent - the "rot" that it caused wouldn't show up for decades.

What turned me around was your pov - friends and loved ones who were suffering because they couldn't "legitimize" their love socially through marriage. That pov easily trumped the other.

But it still didn't affect me diretly. At least not in any way that was recognizable.

Abortion OTOH, as a woman (if I was one) hits much closer to home. "One bad condom and the entire tratectory of my life is changed? I wanted to get out of this small town. I wanted to go to school. I wanted to travel Europe. etc".

So I think the appeal of abortion has much to do with selfishness (and I mean that in a nuetral, not accusatory way).

The victims of abortion are "disappeared". There's no baby on Late Night With Class Clown crying about what was done to it.

If gay activitists were "disappeared" , gay rights would never have gained any traction. Because no one would have heard from them.

jr565 said...

The law never actually mentioned gayness by name. It simply talked about religious freedom. And was a response to things like this:

http://www.nmcompcomm.us/nmcases/nmsc/slips/SC33,687.pdf

Gay is told by a wedding photographer that she doesn't do gay weddings. They then call her back and inquire about doing a wedding without telling her that they're gay. She agrees to meet them and discuss it, but obviously is under the impression that they are a traditional couple, in all sense of the words.

"Vanessa Willock contacted Elane Photography, LLC, by e-mail to inquire about Elane Photography’s services and to determine whether it would be available to photograph
her commitment ceremony to another woman. Elane Photography’s co-owner and leadphotographer, Elaine Huguenin, is personally opposed to same-sex marriage and will not photograph any image or event that violates her religious beliefs. Huguenin responded to
Willock that Elane Photography photographed only “traditional weddings.” Willock e-
mailed back and asked, “Are you saying that your company does not offer your photography services to same-sex couples?” Huguenin
responded, “Yes, you are correct in saying we do not photograph same-sex weddings,” and thanked Willock for her interest.

In order to verify Elane Photography’s policy, Willock’s partner, Misti Collinsworth,
e-mailed Elane Photography and inquired about its willingness to photograph a wedding,
without mentioning the sexes of the participants. Huguenin sent Collinsworth a list of
pricing information and an invitation to meet with her and discuss her services. A few weeks
later, Huguenin again e-mailed Collinsworth to follow up"



Now my question is, suppose instead of this being about gay marriage it was about polygamy? What if a person inquired about photographing a polygamous wedding and was told that the photographer will not film such a wedding. Could govt compel her to photoraph that wedding?
considering that govt doesn't allow polygamy it would mean that govt will force someone to agree to something that not even the govt will agree to. Are those saying that these photographers Must comply saying that they must comply whenever asks to have their wedding filmed? Even if their wedding is as non traditional as polygamy?

Fen said...

jr, I don't think you are hitting the moral conscience aspect of this hard enough.

Imagine a Jewish costume shop owner who is asked to make a Gestapo uniform for a KKK celebration. She says "uh hell no, my grandmother died in Auschwitz". Should she be forced out of business?

Or a gay couple that owns a print shop is asked to make "God Hates Fags" signs for the Westboro Baptist Church. Can you imagine the public outcry if they were facing 12 months in jail for refusing (as is the Colorado baker)?

I have found that many of those saying "its just a cake!" also have some animus towards religious people in general. They don't "get it" unless the victim is someone other than the people they hate.

Fen said...

Angelyne: How is it possible to live to old age, apparently expending a great deal of thought on this particular issue throughout one's adult life, and still be blind, deaf, and dumb to the premises of the oppositional arguments? How utterly morally vapid does one have to be to keep seeing nothing but "wanting to control women's bodies" in the abortion issue?

Makes you wonder what the long term psyche damage is to someone who maintains that commitment & consitency throughout their lives.

Maybe that explains why so many liberal women I know are bat shit crazy - they've created their own hell on earth and its driven them insane.

Jason said...

Althouse: If the law had been specifically about lines of business that were arguably expression -- decorated cakes and wedding photography -- I would have defended it. But the legislation was written to cover all businesses, and that made it mean-spirited and threatening to equality.

Silly Christians. Freedom of association rights are for me, not for thee!

Alex said...

Ian - you conveniently forget that infanticide is as old as homo sapiens.

Alex said...

Fen - you're missing the point. It's perfectly ok to refuse business on ideological grounds that do not discriminate on a class attribute(gender, sexual orientation, religion).

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

Paco Wové, on the subject of wedding cakes, I think you, like most people, underestimate the time involved in making one. Even a relatively simple 3-tiered cake is still going to take at least 2-3 hours. The more complicated and ornate cakes take entire days, sometimes more. Sometimes putting one together is more of an architectural effort than "baking."

A gay person or couple should be able to walk into any bakery and say, "That cake looks great, I'll take it." Likewise the cookies, muffins, etc that are made available to everyone. But special orders like wedding cakes represent a significant investment of time and talent, and forcing a business owner to spend his time on something he disagrees with sounds a lot like compelling speech to me.

Fen said...

Fen - you're missing the point. It's perfectly ok to refuse business on ideological grounds that do not discriminate on a class attribute(gender, sexual orientation, religion).

I disagree, because of SCOTUS rulings on conscientious objector status:

"A registrant's conscientious objection to all war is "religious" within the meaning of § 6(j) if this [p334] opposition stems from the registrant's moral, ethical, or religious beliefs about what is right and wrong and these beliefs are held with the strength of traditional religious convictions"

So I beleive it violates Equal Protection to say that a Jew refusing to make Gestapo uniforms has more weight than a Christian refusing to make gay wedding cakes. Both of them are being forced to participate in the celebration of something they find morally repugnant.

Would like to hear some legal analysis on this point - I think its been missed. But people smarter than me may be able to show me where the holes in my argument are?

Bueller?

Fen said...

One side says that the bakers and photographers should fined and shamed out of business if necessary.

Don't forget the baker that is facing 12 months in prison for refusing to bake a cake.

It sounds like he is willing to serve the time to make a point. I'm sure the media will disappear him.

I must admit, I'm beginning to hate (true hate) gay activists for imprisoning this guy. Last straw and all that.

DKWalser said...

Fen - you're missing the point. It's perfectly ok to refuse business on ideological grounds that do not discriminate on a class attribute(gender, sexual orientation, religion).

Alex - I must have missed the part in the Constitution where the freedoms of expression, religion, and association are contingent on their not being used to discriminate against someone based on class, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Can you point me to that part? If not, please help me understand how it is a statute trumps explicit freedoms enumerated in the Constitution.

Fen said...

Gail Collins: Obviously, abortion is an issue that only relates to one gender, at one particular stage in their lives.

Because *obviously*, men don't have reproductive systems...

[yes, I actually heard a feminist say this]

Good example of the assertion fallacy though. If you really feel a need to preface your point with "obviously", you're telegraphing that its not.

Michael said...

It is absurd to use the word "gender" in this context. Gender is a grammatical term; the biological word is sex. I understand the argument regarding socially constructed roles, but if we are talking about pregnancy and abortion the person with child is pretty much by definition of the female sex.

The Gail Collinses of the world attempt to control the language in order to distance their theories from reality and to prevent their opponents from having the means to make a case: cf. "Newspeak." Don't let them get away with it.

n.n said...

That's simple, only a minority have adopted the spontaneous conception myth, which was propagated to rationalize and calm dissonant minds. Normalizing elective abortion represents an unprecedented violation of human rights. Not even promises of money, sex, and ego gratification are, apparently, sufficient to purchase women and men's silence.

As for homosexual behavior, it is also dysfunctional, but not in the same class as abortion/murder. It can be reasonably tolerated when exhibited by a minority of the population. However, since it is antithetical to evolutionary fitness, and has no redeeming value to society or humanity, it does not merit normalization.

Make life, not abortion!

Fen said...

A gay person or couple should be able to walk into any bakery and say, "That cake looks great, I'll take it." Likewise the cookies, muffins, etc that are made available to everyone. But special orders like wedding cakes represent a significant investment of time and talent, and forcing a business owner to spend his time on something he disagrees with sounds a lot like compelling speech to me.

Yup. The media has been horribly dishonest here. None of my liberal friends on social media know that one of these bakers had the gays in question as long-time customers. He wasn't refusing to sell cakes to them, he was refusing to make them one.

jr565 said...

Would it depend on whether gay marriage was legal or not in a state? i.e. is govt demanding that businesses not turn away customers when in many states those same people can't even marry? (in effect they are being turned away when trying to marry).

Fen said...

is govt demanding that businesses not turn away customers when in many states those same people can't even marry

Minor quible: businesses are not refusing to serve gays. They are not turning gays away. They are refusing to participate in ceremonies they find morally objectionable.

jr565 said...

It's perfectly ok to refuse business on ideological grounds that do not discriminate on a class attribute(gender, sexual orientation, religion).
Govt picking winners and losers again.
But its not even true. Polygamy and harems are religious based. Govt doesn't allow them, meaning they are disrminating against them. And I'd imagine if you went to a baker and wanted a cake for your polygamous wedding, that govt WOULDN"T compel someone to back a cake for an illegal marriage.
And similarly if the example used of someone demanding that the baker write "God Hates Fags" on a cake were used, isn't that a religious issue? I thought you couldn't discriminate against religions?

jr565 said...

Fen wrote:
Minor quible: businesses are not refusing to serve gays. They are not turning gays away. They are refusing to participate in ceremonies they find morally objectionable.


Oh I agree with that> I'm just asking if in the states where they are doing this, does it matter if the marriage they are not wanting to be part of is legal or illegal?
I don't know that it ultimately matters, but if gay marriage is not even legal in a state, for example, how could govt compel you to do photography for a union that they wouldn't sanction under law to begin with?

jr565 said...

Could a muslim go to a jewish baker and demand that he make a cake that says "The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him."

Should govt compel him to make such a cake? There is no muslim baker anywhere that could make a cake instead? Instead the jew has to make a cake that he finds morally objectionable or face govt sanction?
Really?

Fen said...

I'm just asking if in the states where they are doing this, does it matter if the marriage they are not wanting to be part of is legal or illegal?
I don't know that it ultimately matters, but if gay marriage is not even legal in a state, for example, how could govt compel you to do photography for a union that they wouldn't sanction under law to begin with?


I think(?) the Colorado case addressed your question. Gay marriage not legal, baker facing 12 months in jail for refusing to make them a cake.

Fen said...

I am sorely tempted to search out gay owned businesses and force them to contract with the Westboro Baptists. Or go to prison.

Good. Goose. Gander.

Mike Roark said...

As for homosexual behavior, it is also dysfunctional, but not in the same class as abortion/murder. It can be reasonably tolerated when exhibited by a minority of the population. However, since it is antithetical to evolutionary fitness, and has no redeeming value to society or humanity, it does not merit normalization.

Agreed. I've been saying this for years. The compelling force for all living things is procreation. That which does not support procreation is not normal. Paraphrased from Camille Paglia - a noted lesbian.

ALP said...

Ms. Collins fails to mention advances in science to explain changing attitudes. She mentions a time span of "several decades"...how much advancement has been made in the viability of a fetus outside the womb...at earlier and earlier stages? When and if we reach the point we can remove a 30-day old fetus and continue its gestation period in the lab...what then?

Fen said...

Oh geez, avoid the comments section over at NYTs. These people are likely the reason Gail Collins thinks she's "enlightened and sophisticated"

Hell, my dog would feel the same in comparison.

Lyle said...

Althouse,

You're totally right about the framing of the religious liberty legislation. It goes too far and is really not needed. No way whatsoever do I support it.

Although I do understand and sympathize with the spirit behind it, I guess.

Grimstarr said...

Does anyone remember the skinny white Jew kid walking around black neighborhoods in a KKK outfit? He went to a black owned dry cleaner to have them clean his Klan robe and they threw him out on his ass. Does HE have the right to sue? Yes I understand it was all a publicity stunt, but the point stands. Here is the YouTube video of the dude.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFOHt754JIY

jr565 said...

In regards to why abortion rights keep losing ground there's this:

When asked when life begins the President of Planned Parenthood said “It is not something that I feel is really part of this conversation...I don’t know if it’s really relevant to the conversation.”

When pressed, Richards said that life began when she delivered them.
I'd recommend this website for her just to see pictures of what developing babies actually look like:

http://www.webmd.com/baby/ss/slideshow-fetal-development

But to suggest that the aren't living until they are delivered is not scientific and ludicrous on its face. She may not want to actually think about the implications of her decision and so can make an asinine argument that life only begins when a thing is no longer in her womb, but it doesn't mean that reality changes simply because she is a fool.
And the left complains about the rights war on science.

jr565 said...

Fen wrote:
think(?) the Colorado case addressed your question. Gay marriage not legal, baker facing 12 months in jail for refusing to make them a cake.

That's what I thought. I didn't think that CO had legalized gay marriage yet.
So here we have a woman not wanting to take pictures at a wedding that the state wouldn't even say was legal. I'm scratching my head at the absurdity of it.

Bruce Hayden said...

It's not that it's "cute," it's that it looks like a little human being. Which it is or will be if not aborted.

I think it's got to be cute.


I think that some here are making this and either or sort of situation. But, it isn't. Rather, little human beings are cute, and are likely cute for a very good evolutionary reason - it helps protect them from assault by larger human beings. This is hard wired into us.

I ran into this at one level many decades ago. I was the oldest of 5 boys, with the youngest being 13 1/2 years younger, and the next oldest to me being 1 1/2 years younger. Not surprisingly, my next brother and I had frequent physical altercations, as I attempted to show him his place in the world, and he, somehow, mistakenly believed that not to be my purpose in life. And, the next too also felt some of my ire, over time, though not as much, since life in a family of boys is somewhat hierarchical. But, then, when I was a high schooler, nearly to my ultimate adult height, I picked up my youngest brother, one handed, and went to put him up against the wall, as a prelude to explaining to him his role in the family. And, I froze. Literally froze. It wasn't about anything that my parents might do to me, but rather, the basic human instinct to protect children. And, ever notice how some animals are cuter than others? Like bears with oversized heads? Because they remind us of our own young.

For males, I think that the cuteness, etc. is to protect the young from our masculine aggression - indeed, in some species (e.g. brown bears), adult males routinely kill (and eat) young of their own species. We mostly don't. But, with females, I think that there is also a nurturing side, where they want to hold it, cuddle it, and nurture it. As a guy, a lot of us don't get it why all the females around us want to hold young babies whenever possible.

So, what is happening with being able to see older fetuses in utero is that we see their cuteness, which triggers all of our protective and nurturing reflexes. They look like babies, but even more helpless, and that just makes it worse. And, it isn't unfair, since by that time, they are mostly viable, which means that they are potentially a couple minutes via emergency c-section away from full human rights as a live baby. Why should anyone expect that seeing a tiny baby in utero would be that different, have any different affect on us, than seeing it at that same age outside the womb?

jr565 said...

"not wanting to take pictures" should say "not wanting to bake a cake". was confusing the example I linked to with this one.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

The premise of her question is screwy. "Abortion rights" aren't "losing ground." It's that many people are uncomfortable with the Roe/Casey regime and keep trying to find ways to push back against it that the courts will allow, which (as Ann says) means finding things that really ought to matter when we're talking surgery (outpatient, but still).

Kermit Gosnell's lovely clinic wasn't inspected for the better part of two decades, PA law notwithstanding. Had it been, someone might have noticed stuff like the fetal remains stored all over the place, including the cute souvenir fetal feet.

Ann, I don't think that the "it's a child from conception" contingent is all that large, percentage-wise, but I do think that the "we have gone too far" contingent is very large.

If you asked US voters to approve something like most European abortion laws, pretty free in the first trimester and then heavily restricted afterwards, I think a majority would approve it. Only, we can't vote on it.

Fen said...

"You're totally right about the framing of the religious liberty legislation. It goes too far and is really not needed."

Because putting people in prison for 12 months b/c they wouldn't bake a cake is...what.. no biggie?

How about if we put 2 gays in prison because their print shop refused to contract with Westboro Baptist to make "God Hates Fags" signs?

Jason said...

Sunsong: business is regulated. If you are in business you expect to be regulated by the state.

Stalin couldn't have put it any better.

Scratch a libtard, you will find a tyrant. Every. Single. Time.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...

Abortion doesn't even relate to men?! That's perfectly obtuse. Obviously — I'll use her adverb — a man contributed sperm and has the prospect of becoming a father. He might participate in the decisionmaking process — even if the law gives the final call to the woman.


It's almost like the NYTimes writer considers some men unworthy or respect when it comes to reproductive decisions and consequences. She could almost have called them "splooge stooges;" what a jerk, huh?

Saint Croix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saint Croix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marshal said...

Alex said...
Ian - you conveniently forget that infanticide is as old as homo sapiens.


So is slavery. This is the worst point in the history of argument.

Saint Croix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

Saint Croix:

They almost convinced women, and men, to become Dodos by choice, and servants of the state by inducements. It is no small feat to overcome our genetic and moral destiny. Their arrogance and intelligence should be acknowledged, even if they only succeeded to corrupt a minority fully and a majority partially.

AlanKH said...

This is what happens, over time, when the goal of one side is to shame the other for even having the ideas they have, rather than engaging in debate.

You hit the nail on the head. The greatest myth about the homosexuality debate is that there is a homosexuality debate.

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association voted to remove homosexuality from its list of psychological disorders, after having been heavily lobbied by gay activists. Nobody ever explained to the general public the rationale behind the decision - or the rationale(s) that it overthrew.

Thus one side of the conflict gets the mike and gets to make up strawmen about the other side(s).

Dang, the evolution and climatology debates look downright competent in comparison. At least it's possible to find folks willing to debate first principles.

Saint Croix said...

The premise of her question is screwy. "Abortion rights" aren't "losing ground."

I think Collins' point is that she can see victory in the gay rights fight. And she can't see this victory in regard to abortion.

Consider this fight like it's a war. What ground do the liberals hold? They hold the Supreme Court, barely. It's 5-4. And the basic truth of unenumerated rights cases is that the other side can always say "you're making it up." (See Dred Scott, see Lochner).

It might take decades, but if one party makes a fierce opposition to your attempt to dictate substantive policy to the nation, that unenumerated rights case is in trouble.

And liberals hold the media. Liberals dominate the media on the issue. It's a Pravda of non-coverage. Liberals cover the politics of abortion. They cover the fight. But they utterly ignore the reality of abortion.

Imagine a Washington Post with a dead baby on its front page.

I believe this is where we are heading. Already we see dead babies on the internet. Sooner or later, we will see dead babies on television, dead babies in magazines, dead babies in newspapers. Probably not in the Washington Post! But sooner or later the right-wing media will actually cover the reality of abortion. Fox will show dead babies. As more and more people wake up to that reality, liberals will lose this fight.

Kind of like the Vietnam war. It's hard for your rhetoric and your ideology to match up with the graphic reality of killing. You need war to be really, truly necessary. We need that with abortion, too. And we don't have it. Liberals have not given us a reason to accept this violence. All they can do is hide it.

But how long can denial, censorship, and repression last?

Saint Croix said...

A few years ago a New York Times blog ran photographs of abortion. Hard to believe, but it's true.

Skeptical Voter said...

Abortiion relates to only one gender? Tell that to an aborted male fetus.

Neo said...

"Abortion doesn't even relate to men?! "

So it's not true that Spartan women give birth to Spartan men ?

AmericanWoman said...

I read the original column, which was bad, as Ann pointed out. Then I read the comments. OMG. There was not one comment that mentioned that abortion was ending a life. The left does not value life, they have no souls.

Inkling said...

The biggest conflict will come if the gay rights movement has its greatest success and a genetic marker for homosexuality is discovered. Then it will join a host of other reasons couples get abortions.

Consider the numbers. Some 80% of babies with Downs get aborted. Does anyone think it'll be any less for homosexuality? Being gay could become really rare, at least among those who support legalized abortion.

My own hunch is that, like many sexual characteristics, homosexuality results from hormones out of line: perhaps one being too high or another being too low. And if that's true, developing hormonal supplements to tilt that boy or girl to tilt heavily heterosexual should be easy.

And how can that be banned? If you can abort an unborn baby for being a girl, they you can certainly treat her with a few hormones to make sure she's a girly girl.


Firehand said...

JR565 and Fen beat me to it: this "You must serve whoever comes through the door, no matter what" will last until it bites the pushers in the ass.

Like skinheads demanding a Jewish deli cater their New Fatherland banquet. Or a nazi demands a Jewish bakery make their Happy Birthday Adolf cake. Or someone goes to a lesbian-owned shop and demands they make something offensive to them, and THEY get taken to court to force them to make it. "Hey, you said that baker has to be forced to make your wedding cake, so you can't refuse to make this! Or off to jail you go." THAT'LL be an interesting case.

On abortion, you've got three things, I think.
One is men getting sick of being treated as inconsequential: a wife or girlfriend can decide "I don't want to be pregnant" and abort, and he has no say whatever. He may have been looking forward to the baby, now it's trashed, and his thoughts mean nothing. Think that doesn't piss people off?

Second, abortion is now treated by far too many as just another method of birth control; a lot of people think about that, and it's chilling.

Third is something people like Collins really don't understand: actual moral objection to it. Someone once put it that "Religious people who think abortion is wrong believe that someday they'll face God and be asked "What did you do to stop it?" And saying "Nothing, people didn't like hearing that I disapproved" isn't an acceptable answer to them." Telling someone like Collins that gets you either a blank look of no understanding, or insult and condescension: "You actually BELIEVE things like that? What's wrong with you?"

Tom Perkins said...

@Alex
"Ian - you conveniently forget that infanticide is as old as homo sapiens."

3/1/14, 1:53 PM

Alex, so is cannibalism. What point did you think you had?

Nate Whilk said...

Althouse wrote, Abortion doesn't even relate to men?! That's perfectly obtuse. Obviously — I'll use her adverb — a man contributed sperm and has the prospect of becoming a father.

It's not obtuse. It's dogma. It's an unchallengeable, unshakeable, obvious and self-evident (to her) postulate.

From "Reason" by Isaac Asimov ("Cutie" is an intelligent robot who has logically rejected the reasoning of humans):

“You can prove anything you want by coldly logical reason—if you pick the proper postulates. We have ours and Cutie has his.”

“Then let’s get at those postulates in a hurry. The storm’s due tomorrow.”

Powell sighed wearily. “That’s where everything falls down. Postulates are based on assumptions and adhered to by faith. Nothing in the Universe can shake them. I’m going to bed.”


Althouse wrote, Is Collins unable to conceive of a man who cares about his own offspring, who would do what an honorable man should do and promise to love and protect that woman and the unborn person they have caused to come into existence?

If she even had the idea, she'd reject it a priori. Her dogma says that's irrelevant and meaningless.

Micha Elyi said...

After reading Prof. Althouse's remarks and all the comments, I conclude that the whole legal theory of "public accommodation" is a violation of the First Amendment protected rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association (of which the right to not associate is an intrinsic part) as well as a violation of basic property rights.

The time has come for an honest court to admit the mistake and throw the whole thing out.