Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Legislation of Morality

An open letter to religious fundamentalists.

Dear Bible Toting Fanatic,

While I appreciate the zeal with which you seek to protect my immortal soul, I would be much happier if you would do me the courtesy of letting me worry about it. I may, at some point, opt to sell it to Satan, assuming he has the money to option it. What with the money he's already laid out for televangelists, no few corporate executives, and the President, he may not be able to meet my asking price. No matter, that would still, in spite of your protestations to the contrary, be my fucking business, not yours.

You see, I am an adult human, and more than capable of reading whatever I like (knowing that Of Mice and Men isn't a manual for cursing and murder), watching whatever I like (having the intestinal fortitude to view a breast, regardless of age, without any long term trauma or impulse to commit rape), and listening to whatever I like (all the while knowing that I have only to flick my wrist a fraction of an inch to change the station). I do not request, nor require, that you absolve me of those weighty responsibilities by insuring that I am never faced with anything remotely resembling a choice.

Because choice, in my opinion, is central to the gifts bestowed on us by whatever version of the Creator most appeals to you. It is a key component to the concept of free will. And any excercise of that free will is directly in line with the Divine Will you claim to believe. Rest assured, if the choices I make are so contrary to that Divine Will, then I am absolutely confident that the Creator of the Universe will be sure to discuss that with me, at some length I'm sure.

Perhaps you could take a break from thinking up ways to make me bow to your will, and incorporating that into the laws of the land and the Constitution, and put that time to better use being the example your book demands of you. If that doesn't seem to be getting the job done, perhaps you could take a moment to think about what it is about your example that makes it so ineffective that it needs to be bolstered by legislation. In the end, your morality effectively stops at your door. The only person you can reasonably expect to control is yourself, with the remote possibility that you can extend that to your family and make it stick.

As it stands, I do not abdicate to you the authority to make moral decisions for me, my family, my community or my nation. I do not grant you the right to dictate anything to me, or for me. The only right I grant you (and everyone else) is the right to decide for yourself what is acceptable, for you, and to act accordingly. Don't like gay marriage? Don't marry someone of the same sex. Don't like abortion? Don't have one. Don't like drugs or alcohol? Don't imbibe. Appalled by pornography, or what passes for art, or the slop on TV? Don't fucking expose yourself to it. This is not a difficult concept, really. If it seems so, maybe you could by the companion volume for your Bible, commonly referred to as the US Constitution. You should pay particular attention to the First Amendment.

Thanks,

Devoted Pagan

43 comments:

Cantankerous Bitch said...

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use -- Galileo Galilei

You'd think some 363 years later, we'd have moved on from this argument.

Thanks, OP.

JivinJ said...

Don't like slavery, don't own a slave.

Don't like child rape, don't rape a child.

Don't like spousal abuse, don't abuse your spouse.

What makes these saying not make sense?

Could the same thing be true of your sayings - especially the "Don't like abortion, don't have one?"

Officious Pedant said...

As an effort to reroute the debate into the sphere of moral equivalence, your post misses the mark a bit.

Here's the thing:

Laws against slavery prevent anyone from being a slave, not just a black person. Laws against abusing your spouse protects all spouses, and laws against rape protect everyone from that crime.

Unlike laws against art that shows a statue of Jesus suspended in urine, or laws against assisted suicide, or laws setting a decency standard, or laws defining what books can be read, or laws requiring the teaching of Intelligent Design, or any of the other laws true believers want enacted to shore up observation of their morality, which protect only those whose sensibilities are offended. And that is my central point. You do not have the right to not be offended, or to avoid offensive material by depriving everyone of that material.

You may have a point about abortion, but not as far as I'm concerned. If you want to live in a culture of life, then all life, every single example, is sacred. That includes convicted serial killers, serial rapists, child murderers, and enemies of the state. You don't get to approach the issue from the standpoint that killing an enemy combatant at the behest of the state is fine, or that killing a criminal at the behest of the state is fine, but that killing the unborn is wrong. This picking and choosing bunk makes my teeth itch. All of life is precious or it isn't. Quibbling over the grey areas is disingenuous.

Case in point: there are several passages in the Bible that have to do with dashing children against the rocks, stoning disobedient children, God asking a father to sacrifice his son to prove his love for Him, and wholesale murder of entire tribes down to the "babes in arms". With that sterling example in mind, I question the difference between a woman terminating the life of her unborn, and a man murdering her baby under orders from God.

Lily said...

Perhaps you could say more on the notion of protecting and providing for the voiceless though, children especially, and make your distinctions as fodder for our mind mills.
You assume that people who oppose abortion do not also oppose capital punishment, and other killing. Some do, some do not. Some pro-lifers take it all the way. Some are hypocritical but have their own explanations to be sure. Generalizations do not support your stance.
Please say more to support the argument that to be pro-life you should believe that ALL life is sacred. There are people out there that simply think the abortion PROCEDURE is barbaric, but do not necessarily have problems with killing at all. Some people advocate humane killing, whether that applies to the fetus or death row. Do not assume a culture of life is the only basis for opposing abortion (she keeps saying, hoping somebody sees that assumptions are time wasters) And do not think life is sacred either. Some people would like others to be more educated on the practice and develop ways to minimize possible unknown suffering. Thats all. Some people think killing a person about to kill THEM is a different matter even still... but still favor a culture of life...
Blanket statements about what we MUST accept as presuppositions is also disingenuous. I am under no obligation by your reasoning to believe that for abortion to be wrong, we must live in a culture of life wherein all life is sacred. I also do not beleive that if I have five abortions, that I also condone capital punishment. You are trying logical syllogistics that do not hold up after a few steps from base...

Officious Pedant said...

"Please say more to support the argument that to be pro-life you should believe that ALL life is sacred."

See, that's the problem. I don't believe any life is sacred, I do not believe there is any fundamental right to life, and I do not believe that you can possibly pick and choose which type of killing is acceptable and which is not.

Even to the point of altering the language to assuage our guilt. Murder versus self-defense. Collateral damage. Acceptable losses. Execution. Attrition. Abortion. All of them semantic dances around the taking of a life. If you don't believe abortion is humane or moral, then you feel free to choose what happens to your body. And let me and mine make the same choice for ourselves. This requires not one whit of intervention from you. The fundamental issue, by the way, there. Who gets to choose?

And let me just say this about blanket statements. I didn't make up this culture of life/culture of death bullshit. But I got tagged with the culture of death label sure enough. I do not oppose abortion for one very simple reason: the person who makes the decision to abort chooses what happens to her body (the only person who can), and then lives with the consequences. That's it. They make the decision, and they suffer whatever the physical or emotional backlash is.

JivinJ said...

But those laws still legislate morality, do they not? Do they not punish individuals for doing things which are immoral? I'm sure there are individuals who aren't offended by lynching black people - does that mean that we're forcing our morality on them? If so, is that wrong?

Your biblical examples completely lack context - plus I'm not arguing that abortion should be illegal because the Bible says so.

You say, "I don't believe any life is sacred, I do not believe there is any fundamental right to life, and I do not believe that you can possibly pick and choose which type of killing is acceptable and which is not."

So then, how would you persuade someone who was intent on killing someone you care for or killing you, for that matter? What makes your life worthy of legal protection?

You say, "If you don't believe abortion is humane or moral, then you feel free to choose what happens to your body. And let me and mine make the same choice for ourselves"

Your argument assumes that the unborn are part of your body when in other parts you seem to recognize that the unborn are alive. I could make the same argument for slavery, assuming that slaves are my property. So are the unborn part of your body or are they living human beings?

Your whole argument seems to rest on the assumption that the unborn are part of a woman's body without ever trying to prove this.

Are you against laws that regulate drunk driving? If so, why? What about laws regarding public nudity? Shouldn't I be able to control what I do/my body?

See how that logic assumes that drunk driving doesn't effect others (others who drive) just as your abortion position assumes that abortion doesn't effect others (the unborn).

Regarding the Jesus in urine example - what law would make that illegal - I thought people were opposed to their tax dollars being spent to sport that "art."

Officious Pedant said...

No. Laws define behavior, not morality. It is an issue of "No one may do X", as opposed to a philosophical issue of what is considered wrong. Right and wrong are malleable concepts, and tend to change with the times. The best example of this is Prohibition. Within a ten year span the whole country decided that drinking should be illegal and legal. If the argument was a morality issue, how was it immoral, and then moral, in so short a space of time?

Which takes me to the drinking and driving issue. To say that it is moral to drink, but not to excess, and moral to drive, but immoral to combine the two is to create a morality issue from whole cloth. The issue with drunk driving is the threat to other drivers, but that threat is only heightened, not created, by introducing alcohol to the equation. A moment of inattention is all that is required to destroy a family on the road. The inclusion of alcohol is a method for defining culpability beyond the "Shit Happens" standard.

As to public nudity, I think laws against it are stupid, puritan layovers from bygone era. You are born nude, just the way you were made, but there is something so terribly wrong with it that it must be kept from the sight of others? Or is this another of those "If she hadn't been nude/dressed provocatively/tall she wouldn't have been attacked" kind of arguments?

I do not have to prove that a fetus is a part of the mother's body. That's a biological fact. The fetus is so intimately a part of the mother's physiology, that to remove it prior to the (I think) 30th week is to kill it. Which makes it, by definition, a living thing. But it is no more independent than your spleen.

As to the reference to art, the CDA was passed regulating art on the Internet. Ostensibly to protect minors from "harmful material". Along with the usual nudity and sex caveats, it added this little gem:

`(iii) lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

I wonder how you define those things?

Not to mention that Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas, in upholding the 1990 legislation forcing the NEA to administer grants "taking into consideration general standards of decency,", both asserted that the law did ban the funding of certain artistic approaches. More, that the government was well within its rights to mold public views through its control of funding.

JivinJ said...

Laws don't define behavior, they regulate it. If society bans murder, rape, etc. isn't there some underpinning moral belief that murder, rape, etc. is wrong?

My argument isn't that society is always right in what it deems moral and immoral - I'm merely pointing out that by declaring something illegal - society thru its legislators is taking positions on moral issues.

It is a fact that fetus is part of the woman's body? Really? Do you have any evidence to support this claim? Any quotes from embryology textbooks to back you up? It is often the case that when someone can't prove a claim, they label it a fact without providing any evidence. But if something is a biological fact, couldn't they easily prove that fact, couldn't they?

So pregnant women have two completely unique sets of DNA, 4 arms, 4 legs, 4 eyes, two heads, and many of them have penises, etc.?

What does independence have to do with whether the unborn are living human beings? How does whether something is dependent or not determine if that thing is a living being or not. Newborn infants are hardly independent as they require large amounts of attention, food, clothing, etc. Same with individuals on pacemakers, oxygen tanks, etc., etc. They are all not independent. Are they therefore not human beings?

Actually children routinely survive being born at 23 weeks of gestation - though many of them require life support system to help them survive - does this mean that the child is part of the life support system?

Regarding public nudity - so you have no problem with a guy walking down the street in the buff for children of all ages to see?

Officious Pedant said...

No. Moral underpinning for law is a societal myth. Murder is wrong because we don't want to BE murdered. All of these laws make it easier to coexist with our neighbors. Elevating them to moral imperatives is a philosophical argument.

And moralists take positions, usually on some philosophical or religious point, and then declare that position moral. Coming back to slavery, here, the argument from slave owners was that slaves couldn't take care of themselves, so taking care of them was a moral undertaking. It's circular reasoning at its worst.

I'm not sure, precisely, how to address your seeming need to distinguish between mother and child. Fetal alcohol syndrome, fetal drug dependency, fetal response to maternal stress, all seem to indicate a deep and ongoing physical connection between mother and child. Do you want medical evidence to show that the fetus, its supporting physical structure, the connections that provide nutrients, are all connected to the mother during gestation? Are you serious? OK.

http://www.microscopyu.com/galleries/confocal/umbilicalcord.html

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/encyclopedia/p/pl/placenta.htm

Without the placenta, and its connection to the mother, and the umbilical, with its connection to the fetus, there is no baby. Period. Full stop.

Oddly, though, while pointing out my failure to support the obvious, you failed to support your assertion of "routine" survival of 23 week old premature births. This is not the case.

Barrington says that in recent years survival rates for premature babies have increased due to the medical technology now available. At 28 weeks more than 96 percent of babies survive; at 24 weeks the rate is 50 percent; and at 22 weeks, two percent.

http://www.muhc.ca/media/ensemble/2002june/premature/

Advances in medical care have made it possible for many premature infants to survive and develop normally. However, whether or not a premature infant will survive is still intimately tied to his or her gestational age:

21 weeks or less: 0% survival rate
22 weeks: 0-10% survival rate
23 weeks: 10-35% survival rate
24 weeks: 40-70% survival rate
25 weeks: 50-80% survival rate
26 weeks: 80-90% survival rate
27 weeks: greater than 90% survival rate


http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/ency/prematurity.jsp

And that was my point. I may have been off on the mark of 30 weeks, but you can't go much lower than that and have any kind of "routine" survival. The first 6 months of the life of the fetus, minimum, it is wholly dependent on the mother. Which, by defintion, makes the relationship parasitic by hinging the life of one biological system on another. That is unique from a resperator, or an oxygen, unless you are willing to declare a woman a breeding machine. I friggin' DARE ya!

And I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't put words in my mouth. I never said the fetus wasn't human. Not once. I said that it is flesh of her flesh, and blood of her blood, and, as a result, part of her. And she has control over it. But, while we're on the subject, yes the mother contains two separate sets of DNA (the combination of mother and father produces the child, as opposed to being an exact replica), she has all her limbs, and the baby has its limbs, and, for a brief period while sexual physiology is being developed, she has both a vagina AND a penis inside her.

No, I don't have a problem with ANYONE walking down the street in the buff for children to see. You want to sexualize the state of nudity, an overtone it lacks entirely until you provide it. Children are naturally curious about their bodies, at least until the prudes among us teach them shame, and have not the least clue about sexual politics until their elders give it to them. A man with a penis is different from a boy with a penis only in terms (the man would hope) of dimension. How is seeing a man's penis traumatic to a boy that sees his own every day? And a girl won't recognize it as a sexual organ unless that same prude makes a point of explaining it to her. And blaming nudity for impure sexual thoughts is like blaming food for hunger.

JivinJ said...

You call it a myth but that doesn't make it one. Laws don't simply exist to make it easier to co-exist with neighbors. Individuals who make laws consistently base how they make laws based on their morals. Are you arguing that the sole reason laws which regulate human behavior are passed is to make it easier to live with our neighbors? So there is no moral underpinning to the laws against murder or rape? No moral underpinning to the laws against public nudity?

So there is a mother and a child? Two separate entities? I would never deny a deep physical connection between the mother and the child but I don't see how a deep physical connection proves that the child is part of the mother when biology and embryology clearly teach that they are two different organisms that are connected for a period of time.

Your links do nothing to prove that the unborn is part of the mother - they merely show what we both know -that they are physically connected. The cord isn't cut until after birth - does this mean that a born child whose umbilical cord has yet to be cut is still part of the mother?

Plus your second site - discusses how part of the placenta is biologically part of the fetus. So how can something be biologically part of the fetus when you claim that the fetus is biologically part of the mother? That makes absolutely no sense.

The child does need to be connected to the mother, but again, that does nothing to prove that the child is part of the mother. If the umbilical cord is cut or severed - the baby doesn't disappear.

10-35% is routine- depending on how you define it - maybe I should have used the word commonly - the majority of infants born at this time don't survive - but large numbers of them do -you claimed they couldn't survive until 30 weeks.

Now the fetus is a parasite - but I thought you told me the fetus was a part of the mother. Are other parts of the woman's body (heart, lungs, spleen) parasitic?

One biological system on another? But if the child was part of the mother wouldn't they be the same biological system? I think we both recognize the plain reality that the unborn are not part of their mothers but different human organisms that currently reside inside their mother and depend on them for survival for a period of time.

If the fetus is parasitic doesn't that makes it a different organism biologically? Therefore not part of the mother?

I never claimed you said the unborn weren't human - you claimed they were part of the mother - which would lead one to believe you also believed they weren't living human beings if they are only part of another living human being.

So the penis is inside her? Is it part of her? You seem to be equating "being inside/connected to something" as "being part of something" without explaining or proving this equation. If the baby's limbs are "its" limbs then they part of the baby? But that's impossible with your earlier position of saying the baby is part of the mother because the baby's limbs like the entire baby would be part of the mother.

Is the fetus an organism?

If so, what kind of organism is the fetus? What is its genus and species?

So if you had children (and maybe you do) you wouldn't have a problem with a random naked guy standing in front of them in public?

Cantankerous Bitch said...

JivinJ,
While I expect you and I will disagree on the final disposition of the abortion question, I do thank you for your audience and participation in these comments.

If I might take a moment to drag everyone out of the rabbit hole of dependent organisms and their contested "selfhood", I'd like to ask: What is your end goal regarding abortion law? Would you seek to have it outlawed entirely?

Officious Pedant said...

Jiv,

While I understand the need for you to wrap this argument into a pretzel chasing after red herrings, I would caution you on your methods.

1) I will be happy to parse your...understanding of the term part and the phrase biological system, but it will be meaningless because you won't concede the central fact that the connection between mother and child MAKES it a part of her.

2) Look up parasite in the dictionary. Or symbiosis. The fact that the organism in question is human has nill impact on either definition.

3) The primary fact remains that the issue is who chooses. The government, at any level, has no place - none - in the discussion and decision that takes place between a doctor and patient. They are not good at it.

4) Morality is a construct. It is a philosophical layer added to society AFTER it became apparent that in order for a society to form, certain rules have to be layed down to allow people to co-exist. Murder isn't wrong because it is immoral. Murder is wrong because it hampers the efficiency of the group, and if you spend long enough with a rule it BECOMES moral. Example: Years ago, when this country and many others were being settled, and before some major advances in medicine, mortality came early. Very young women, little more than girls, would marry almost as soon as they could bear children, because that's what was required. Infant mortality was extremely high among the settlers. It wasn't a morality issue, it was a survival issue. When survival ceased to be the prime focus, as settlements became established and infant mortality began to go down, THEN it became an issue for morality. If survival can trump morality, then morality CANNOT be the bedrock for law.

5) And, for the second time, yes, I would not mind if my son were to another man nude. Nudity is the default state of man, not something to be demonized by people taught to be ashamed of it. Again, there is no sexual overtone to simple nudity, no sexual component at all, until older and sillier heads impose it.

JivinJ said...

Red Herring?

On one hand you're arguing the unborn is a part of the mother (without providing any evidence which backs that up - except for pointing out that they are physically connected) and then on the other hand you seem to recognize that there are two different biological entities - where the unborn has his own parts and the mother has her own parts.

Even the site you provided bore this out.

A physical connection doesn't make it part of her. That's your completely unproven assertion/equation. If a tapeworm is physically connected to my intestine does that make it part of me?

You again argue something is a fact when you've provided no evidence for this.

So then is the unborn an organism? If so, how can one organism be a part of another?

I never argued a human being couldn't be a parasite. I merely pointed out that if the unborn is a whole organism unto themselves, then they can't be part of another organism. Does the definition of parasite say that the parasite becomes part of the organism it lives off of?

Your statement under 3. again assumes that the unborn is part of the woman - something you have yet to come anywhere near proving. Your whole argument forgets that the unborn exist. It ignores/assumes that no one else is involved in the abortion decision. Just as my "Don't like slavery, don't own a slave" example assumes no one else is involved in the slavery decision. A doctor shouldn't be allowed to kill a child simply because the child's mother no longer wishes it to live. The main question is "what is unborn" not can doctors do whatever they want.

4. Murder doesn't always hamper the efficiency of a group. Let's say one member of a group slows down everyone else - killing them would improve efficiency. Using your reasoning it would makes sense if laws allowed the murder of individuals with severe learning disabilities, those with physical disabilities, or anyone else who hampered efficiency.

I don't grasp how the fact that there were higher rates of infant mortality in earlier centuries somehow proves that there is no moral underpinning to laws. Infant mortality and the unintentional death of infants seems to be more of a medical issue not a legal issue.

JivinJ said...

CB,
I guess part of that depends on how you define abortion. I don't consider a medical procedure (for example, the removal of an ectopic pregnancy) where the goal is to save the life of the mother and the unborn child is treated as a second patient and everything possible is done to save their life to be an abortion.

If abortion is defined as a procedure whose sole and intentional goal is to end the life of the unborn, then yes, I'd like to see abortion become illegal.

Officious Pedant said...

Jiv,

I had hoped I wouldn't have to lead you by the hand on this, but that hope has been dashed.

Let me try to make this clearer.

Your tapeworm is an interesting example, but you apparently didn't look up symbiosis. Take out that tapeworm, and implant it in another host, and it will continue to function. Make the same exchange with a fetus, and you will likely kill both the mother and child, and likely the woman on whom the implantation is attempted. Even making the attempt could kill them both. Neither are interchangeable, unlike a person on a respirator or a tapeworm. That is what makes the baby a unique organism, yet part of the greater organism.

In nearly every instance of an incapacitated individual, i.e. someone who literally CANNOT choose for themselves, another is appointed to choose FOR them. Whether it be a parent, a guardian, the State, or a medical professional. Living wills, and the law of the State of Florida are only two examples of this.

And, lastly, CHILDREN could be married because a young girl was likely to survive multiple births and keep a settlement or family going. When infant mortality was decreased through advances in medical science, laws began to appear that prevented what had suddenly become predation on the young. It became immoral, and illegal (statutory rape), for an older man to engage in sexual activity with a minor, even if the sex was consensual.

How do you explain that? It wasn't immoral, thus legal, when it was a survival mecahnism, but immoral and illegal when it was no longer a survival mechanism.

JivinJ said...

OP,
Your position that the unborn are organisms unto themselves yet also part of a larger organism makes no sense. If something is itself an organism - it cannot also be part of another organism.

On one hand you say that being physically connected to an organism (the pregnant woman) makes something (the unborn) part of that organism (the woman) yet when faced with the example of a tape worm, your position changes. It is no longer physical connectedness that matters, but where that physical connectedness also includes the inability to be transferred to another host. But this is merely an issue of technology. What happens if in 20 years down the road, scientists are able to safely remove the unborn and then implant them in an artificial womb or the womb of another woman?

Also, what about children that can survive outside the womb - at say 30 weeks. Are they still a part of their mother, even though they can be transferred yet are still physically connected to her?

Another query. What are the unborn in the 5-7 days before they implant and become physically connected to their mother? Are they part of her then?

I have no clue what you're trying to get at with your living wills example.

Regarding your settlement/early marriage example. I don't know that early marriage was a survival mechanism or that medical science is what changed marriage laws - I'm guessing it was more tradition. I'm not necessarily an expert on that so I don't even no how much they've changed. I'm guessing rather that the morals of society changed so that marrying 14 year old girls was something that was no longer proper.

Officious Pedant said...

Jiv,

You make the same circular argument your kindred fundies make, largely because you can't answer the question. Who gets to choose? (Come up with an answer to that, and you might have something to contribute to the debate.)

I just want to make a couple of points, and then I'm going to let this thread go, mostly because I can't stomach folks being deliberately obtuse.

Transfer to an artificial womb would be one thing, but the fetus WOULD STILL BE PART OF THE MOTHER UNTIL THE TRANSFER. Try, dude, really try, to grasp some basic biology. It'll help you, I swear. But, while we're talking about artificial wombs, you might want to start formulating your argument on how they go against God's plan NOW. Else, you'll be stuck retreading the same mealy mouthed bullshit you think works for you now. As to implantation in another woman? Keep dreaming, dude. Rejection is a fundamental mechanism at the genetic level.

And the collection of cells that falls during the first 5-7 days is not a child. It's a fertilized egg. It's a dividing cell, and not particualrly unique at that. By that, in simple language, I mean that every mammal can produce a dividing cell. So what?

And I do, finally, grasp that you don't have a clue what I'm talking about. It's that whole "can't deal with an extrapolation" concept that is so endemic to folks who get their educations from the pulpit. A living will, State laws, and powers of attorney, can empower a medical practitioner to take a life. Usually when that life is unable to choose for itself. People all over the country are empowered to make life and death decisions for others. To distinguish that from "the unborn" is hypocritical bullshit.

And you finally, FINALLY, managed to back into my point without actually understanding it. You said "I'm guessing rather that the morals of society changed..." DING!!! You have salvaged yourself from being a moron! MORALS CHANGE!! They are not fixed, they are not divine. Morals are tools, made malleable by the race that wields them, used to define a behavior and to determine reward or punishment for that behavior. That they can guide someone is irrelevant, because ethics do the same thing. Agnostics and atheists do not rampage down the street on a whim, even though they do not believe in your God. In simple language, again, they have a set of ethics that do not originate or contain divine morality, but are just as binding. More so, because there is no forgiveness escape clause when you violate your own ehtics, unlike the relief you get for violating God's innumerable laws.

Now, the odds are that CB will pull this post with alacrity. It is insulting to you, and to your God, and casts aspersions on your wit and intellect. CB has made it clear that flame wars will not be tolerated, and I respect that, not that it matters because this is her playground. But I don't regret a word of this post, because, in spite of all your reserved approach and cautious language, I think you are a raving zealot without any interest in reality. Or a moron. Frankly, I think the two states go hand in hand.

CB, you may now edit or delete this little flame at your discretion.

Cantankerous Bitch said...

Actually, OP, I don't find any reason to pull rank and delete your comments. In fact, :::puts on editor hat::: I'm delighted at how this rabbit hole finally winded its way back up to the original point of your initial diary.

As to my "flaming" policy (such as it is, made up pretty much according to my mood), I have no fundamental problem with profanity or aspersions, provided they're backed up with debate points pertinent to the thread. As far as I'm concerned, you've satisfied that criteria. I expect J will have a reply, and my only hope is that it either keeps the discussion moving forward or lets it die the death it so richly deserves. :)~

Lily said...

I vote to let it die the death it deserves!! Nothing is accomplished when it gets to this level, and once assumptions get flying, it all degrades rather rapidly.
Why can this not be discussed-as you are so keen on pointing out- from that biological basis and perhaps try to leave religion out of the mix, try something new? Do we always have to co-mingle religion with health care decisions? I think we can do better if we leave our spite and generalizations out of this. There is no need to approach it always and redundantly on that basis. There are atheists that oppose abortion and there are certainly many people, as I've said before, that reject the arguments concerning hypocrisy and "life".., that form their opinions on this matter ON biology. And the practice, conditions, and known circumstances. The bible does not tell me that 16 week old fetuses have fingers and eyelids. BIOLOGY textbooks show this clearly and even if it did not, ultrasound imaging is readily available. This is not a god issue or right wing crazytalk. Is this not a scientific basis? Consider for two minutes another option- choice with limits, choice with improved technology, more humane methods... earlier options in favor of later. Is that so hard to swallow? The idea that it is not just a discussion of extremes and "who decides what I do with my body"?? Can we EVER move on from the same debates, played out hundreds of times a day?
Why is it that you went on and on when a religious aspect was brought in, and yet had no comment on the points I raised in response to many of your posts? My question to you number one- sought to challenge your assumptions of "culture of life" and the notion that there is inherent hypocrisy to opposing abortion. I asked you about those that would say that there is another perspective other than choice and pro-life, which is to perform abortions earlier than the typical 12-16 weeks window favored by many clinics. It would be helpful if we did not have to always frame this discussion in the same terms, repeating the same back and forth exchanges. yes- its easy to talk about the zealot or the fanatic. But can you not at least try to imagine that perhaps YOU are closed minded here, throwing condescending comments- why not go past the usual "easy to refute" right wing material and address some people on the fence, address the atheist from a biological perspective- as you seem inclined to do, and present your position in light of that.
Granted, not as much fun as the same old tired anti-bible stuff, which is so predictable that it must become downright effortless after awhile.
You assumed your post would be deleted- why? because you strayed from reason and resorted to insults and disrespect, which is hardly necessary when one can speak frankly on facts and the merit of their remarks.
Why not open up your view a tad.

JivinJ said...

OP,
My argument is far from circular. I've merely pointed out that being physically connected to an organism doesn't make it part of that organism. Almost your entire argument is based on this obviously incorrect equation which you even backed away from and changed when I used the tapeworm example.

Did you ever ask, "Who gets to choose?" before? Could you please finish that sentence. Choose what? If you mean choose abortion, I'd say that I'm against anyone deciding to take the life of an innocent human being. So again the correct question isn't "Who chooses?" but "What are the unborn?" If the unborn are innocent living human beings then no one should have the choice to intentionally take their lives without justification just as no one should be allowed to take your life or the life of your child without proper justification.

Acting like I don't understand basic biology because I won't accept your unscientific equations doesn't help your case. Providing actual evidence which shows the unborn are actually part of the mother (and not just connected) would. You've failed to do this over and over again. If it was such basic biology - why can't you provide a quote from a biology textbook which says that the unborn are part of the mother?

Fertilized egg? I'm sorry but this is scientifically incorrect. A zygote/fertilized egg exists for a day or less. At the 5-7 day stage before implantation, a human embryo is composed of hundreds of cells.

I'm not sure you completely understand what a living will is. A living will allows an individual to state in what circumstances they would like to forego medical treatment. This doesn't allow a physician to take a life, it merely indicates when a person would choose to forego medical treatment. Plus, a living will and durable power of attorney allow people to make their own choices which others follow - totally different from abortion - where a woman is deciding by herself and/or with consultation from others if her child would live or die without any say from the child.

Morals may change but that doesn't mean that they are all equal/correct. For example, some ancient people used to sacrifice human beings. Were their morals equal to ours? How does the fact that societies and people have different morals prove that there aren't certain moral truths? So you have morals then? You just call them ethics, correct? What are your ethics based on?

Insulting me does not help your case. I don't even see why you feel the need to do so - since I believe you're intelligent enough to know it won't help. Most people who read this thread can clearly see I'm not a zealot (I don't even recall mentioning God) or a moron.

JivinJ said...

So is an embryo, that has yet to attach to its mother, an organism? Is it part of the mother as well, even though it is not physically attached to her?

If the unattached embryo isn't an organism, when does it become one? What does biology tell us?

Cantankerous Bitch said...

Alright. I wasn't going to get into this, at least not in this thread. Oh well.

J -- I have a few concepts for you to chew on.

Yes, a blastocyst, a zygote, a fetus -- all qualify as "human life". Part of the mother, not part of the mother, it makes no difference. I don't find the stipulation that the unborn are "human life" to be any kind of significant deal breaker here, and frankly, offering it up as some kind of ultimate objection is, for me, to miss the point.

Fact is, of all the things we should be able to dictate for ourselves, without outside interference, reproductive choices are chief among them. Whether to bear children or not, whether to prevent conception or not, whether to carry a pregnancy or not -- all must remain in the realm of personal responsibility. In partnership with our physicians, we choose the best option for our circumstances, and we bear responsibility for those choices forever forward. This grave duty is not to be taken lightly, and reproductive accountability is not something we should be willing to hand over to the state, what with its ever-changing standards and susceptibility to legislative maneuvering. I've never trusted politicians that much, have you? The policies they create tend to be self-serving more often than not, and will never please everyone -- least of all, people with intransigent positions unwilling to make any practical concessions for the benefit of the greater populus.

I will not fault you for wishing abortion would just go away, but to presume that criminalizing the procedure will achieve this result is terrifically naive. Women have been exercising control over their reproductive lives for millennia, independent of state sanction. The priority of the pro-life movement should be on reducing the NEED for abortions, not narrowing the restrictions of them to some 30-second, highly specific window of tenuous acceptability. The middle ground that advocates and opponents can successfully stand upon is prevention. There will always be circumstances in which abortion is the most appropriate choice for an individual, and we commit the most heinous kind of arrogant assumption if we declare these circumstances to be insignificant, unimportant, or frivolous. Our ability to create change lies in our power to join efforts and increase education, develop comprehensive family planning programs (private *and* federal), thus relegating abortion to the "virtually unheard of" category.

I invite you to look at what has happened in the Netherlands over the past 30 years. They've put a concerted effort into education and prevention, and as a result, have the lowest abortion rate in all of Europe. Not via legislative bans, but by raising awareness and improving family planning efforts across the board. They have not jailed physicians and pregnant women, they have not turned their police forces into Uterus Cops, they have not screamed dogma over the airwaves, trying to convince their citizens that abortion = damnation. They have raised the level of discourse about sex and reproduction by orders of magnitude and are now enjoying the result.

Should you or your positional companions reject such an alternative, it seems to beg the inflammatory question: What is more important to you -- preventing unwanted pregnancies to begin with, or punishing women for being sexually active? Refusal to recognize the value of comprehensive education on this subject screams loudly to the latter, not the former.

Cantankerous Bitch said...

J -
On an unrelated note, and just out of curiosity --
What led you here to begin with? Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. Agreement with me is not a prerequisite for visitation. I'm just curious, given that I've been assuming that the bulk of my readers are friends, and I don't know anyone in Michigan.

Officious Pedant said...

Jiv,

Actually, you point out the basic circular nature of your argument every time you post. The tapeworm example was very clear, at leats on my part, byt I'll try this again. A tapeworm is not part of the host, because the tapeworm can be removed from that host, at any stage in its development, and placed in another with little impact on the tapeworm. Attempting the same thing with a human fetus will kill it. Removing it from the mother before, at minimum, the 25th week will likely kill it, and implanting it in another woman will certainly kill it, and possibly the woman. There is a unique symbiosis between mother and fetus, and that dependency on her makes the fetus part of her.

And you won't see me quote anyone that the fetus is part of the mother. Well...fuck it:

http://spider.georgetowncollege.edu/htallant/border/bs9/white.htm

Before this final autonomy is available, however, Ginny must confront the most elusive and internalized, yet the most important and revealing of all human relationships: the mother/daughter interaction. In My Mother/ My Self: The Daughter's Search for Identity, Nancy Friday summarizes the symbiotic partnership that exists between mother and daughter from the womb and through various states of development:


The fetus is in physical symbiosis with the mother; literally, it cannot live without her. The mother . . . is in psychological symbiosis with the unborn baby. . . . The next stage of development is separation [and] the long march toward individuality and self-reliance has begun. . . . Incomplete, unsatisfying, or interrupted symbiosis stamps a woman for life [and] . . . becomes a problem of juggling security vs. satisfaction. (57-62)

And this one:

www.charite.de/immunologie/ research/reproimmu/pdf/AJRI462001.pdf

This could be one of
the various mechanisms that facilitate an immunological
symbiosis between mother and fetus. High levels of
IL-6 cannot enhance the blocking antibody synthesis,
and therefore, there is a predominance of precipitating
aggressive antibodies

And this one:

http://www.violence.de/prescott/truthseeker/acorn.html
(You'll have to actually read this one, no more free quotes for you.)

The second one is your quibbling over the fertilization. This is standard technique #202 of the religious arguer to deflect the argument. Lead it down one maze after another and quibble over the language.

I said: "It's a dividing cell, and not particualrly unique at that."

To which you quibbled: "At the 5-7 day stage before implantation, a human embryo is composed of hundreds of cells."

Circular argument.

Every culture has had a unique set of morals, shaped as often by environment as anything. And those morals worked for them at the time. Looking back on them we say "Oh! That was immoral." But the Aztecs cut the hearts out of folks in their rituals to appease their Gods, and some of the people went willingly. It was an EXTERIOR force that changed that, as opposed to an interior revulsion, by KILLING them as savages. Ain't philosophy grand? "What you're doing is immoral, so I'm going to commit the moral act of KILLING YOU FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!!"

Which is the upshot of your justification philosophy. "Killing of the innocent is bad, unless you have proper justification."!?!?! What the fuck? As if you are somehow better able to define what is moral or acceptable, and thereby explain it to the rest of us. What crap!

Oh, and the living wills were examples, though you missed that part, of the concept. But let me narrow this down for you:

http://www.euthanasia.com/kentucky.html

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/HS/content/htm/hs.002.00.000166.00.htm

You'll note who signed that Texas law into effect.

As to my ethics, though it's none of your business, a got them from the same variety of sources everyone else did. The example of my parents and peers, my involvement in various groups, observation, and events in my life and my reaction to them. The core source of EVERY set of "morals" or ethics.

Officious Pedant said...

Lily,

I'm so tired of this touchy feely crap I could puke. All the distaste carefully hidden beind artfully crafted sentences, all the PC expressions that have de-balled the language, and hidden our opinions of others behind a thicket of pseudo meaning and innuendo. I say what I mean. I don't equivocate, and being insulted is not the end of the world. But, on to your points.

"My question to you number one- sought to challenge your assumptions of "culture of life" and the notion that there is inherent hypocrisy to opposing abortion. I asked you about those that would say that there is another perspective other than choice and pro-life, which is to perform abortions earlier than the typical 12-16 weeks window favored by many clinics. It would be helpful if we did not have to always frame this discussion in the same terms, repeating the same back and forth exchanges. yes- its easy to talk about the zealot or the fanatic. But can you not at least try to imagine that perhaps YOU are closed minded here, throwing condescending comments- why not go past the usual "easy to refute" right wing material and address some people on the fence, address the atheist from a biological perspective- as you seem inclined to do, and present your position in light of that."

Because this stance doesn not walk the line between the two ideas, it is, rather, a non-position. It is not opposition to abortion so much as it is opposition to the available methods of abortion. I do understand the yearning on the part of some to have a "kinder gentler method", preferrably taking place before the fetus bears any resemblance to a person.

There is no question, at least in my mind, that life does begin at conception. The fertilized egg is human, it grows, it divides, it becomes. That is life. The biology of that isn't in question.

There are several plant extracts, drugs, and physical approaches to terminating a pregnancy. But no matter what point in the pregnancy you choose to bring about its end, you are BRINGING ABOUT ITS END!! There is no wiggling away from that. I applaud your goal of seeking a means to end it as early in the pregnancy as possible, but do not assert that that goal represents an opposition to abortion.

And let me be clear about this. I oppose abortion beyond the third trimester unless the life of the mother is in danger. I oppose its use as a contraceptive. I oppose any restriction that prevents a parent from being informed of their child getting and abortion. But that opposition is personal. In the same way that I feel women who kill their children should be sterilized, by force if necessary.

But I do not expect anyone/everyone to agree with me. I do not expect them to be restricted by my opinion. All I expect from them is to make the decision for themselves, and then to live with the consequences of that choice. Period. Full stop.

If any of this makes me seem closed minded, I accept that, but I don't really care.

Officious Pedant said...

On being an organism:

The fertilized egg is an organism. It's alive. It divides and replicates. It excretes waste, even if only at a cellular level. And it remains a part of the mother, even prior to the formation of the placenta. Why? Because it can't exist anywhere else, that's why. At least, not without extensive medical intervention, and that only until it attaches to the uterine wall.

JivinJ said...

OP,
I really don't think you know what a circular argument is. I'm hardly using my premises to prove my conclusions and then using my conclusions to prove my premises.

Your webpages and their quotes do nothing to prove that the unborn are part of the mother. The first one seems to be a book review by a student at MTSU and mentions that the unborn are connected to the mother and need her to survive. I'm not arguing these points - I'm looking for evidence that these points prove that the unborn is part of the mother. Do you really believe that a book review is equivalent to scientific evidence?

The second page I get a "not found" when I copy and paste the web address. Your quote again does nothing to prove that the unborn is part of the mother - it only quickly discusses how they have a symbiotic relationship.

Your third page seems to be a review of a philosophy conference on "fetal personhood." Part of it has someone from Catholic for a Free Choice discussing how a mother and child have a symbiotic relationship. The rest of the paper seems focused on creating arbitrary definitions of when "personhood" begins. This again in no way proves that the unborn are part of the mother because they are attached ot her and need her to survive.

You're claiming that this is basic biology yet you can come up with nothing substantive that supports your view. Nothing you've provided in any way proves that connectedness and needing that connection to survive makes the unborn part of the mother.

The idea that the unborn is an organism unto itself yet also part of another organism is completely at odds with science.

I wasn't quibbling over fertilization - you were not correct in how you described a human embryo at the 5-7 day stage.

I'm still wondering how you think that advanced directives and legal decisions prove that it should therefore be legal to kill the unborn. I must be missing some step your logic takes.

So what about all the embryos in petri dishes? They aren't in their mother - they are growing outside of her - are they part of her?

JivinJ said...

CB,
I found your site (OP's post) via a technorati search. But my visits to this site might be decreasing as my conversation with OP doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

I don't think criminalizing abortion will make it go away. Just as criminalizing rape hasn't made rape go away. I think it would lower the number of abortions (abortion ads would no longer be in the yellow pages, etc.) and hopefully force politicians to actually work on how to deal with unplanned pregnancies.

I think you're right in that prolife and pro-choice people should work together to prevent unplanned pregnancies (I think they should also work together to provide more options to women in unplanned pregnancies.) The problem is that they often disagree on the best method to go about doing this.

I thought Belgium had the lowest rate of abortion in Europe. Have you looked into what has happened in Poland in recent years?

I don't advocate jailing pregnant women nor do I wish to punish women who are sexually active (my wife would be in serious trouble). Hasn't the US spent comparable amounts of money on sex ed in the US? Haven't large percentages of women getting abortions used contraceptives in the month they got pregnant?

Cantankerous Bitch said...

J,
Stay or go as you wish. I welcome your input as I would anyone's.

The article I posted was under an archive for the year 2000, so I'll follow up on the Belgium question. As for Poland, no I can't say I'm familiar. If you've got any resources you'd like to share, please do.

See, if we attempt to criminalize abortion, punishment follows, does it not? Otherwise, bans will have no teeth. If punishment threats extend only as far as performing physicians, sure, we'll drive them out of that business, but then we leave women precisely where they were pre-Roe, needlessly risking permanent injury or death from self-inflicted abortion, because they *will* continue to abort, whether they have physician assistance or not. I appreciate your disinterest in jailing women, but don't you see how we can't just cut that element of the proposal from the string of consequences? This is of course, to say nothing of law enforcement costs. To what degree are you willing to pay additional taxes to support the newly-required policing/investigative costs?

My memory say no, we've not spent comparable amounts on sex ed in the U.S., but I'll research the numbers anew, in the interest of furthering the discussion, if you're interested. If not, feel free to check back to this blog in the future, for it will be part of my Part 2 entry in the "Birth Control, Abortion & Fundamentalists, Oh My!" series.

Lastly, in the event of birth control failure, what do you propose? That we tell these women, "Tough luck, sweetie. Your pill/diaphragm/condom failed? Go buy diapers". This is an unrealistic response, particularly given how many women use contraception precisely because they cannot afford to have any (more) kids.

Contraceptive failure has any number of horrible repercussions. Here's just a few of the top of my head:

What do we say to the woman with, say, 5 kids already, living in a single-income household, for whom the birth of a 6th child would have devastating financial repercussions on her existing family? "Give the child up for adoption" is the reply I hear most often. Which, in the abstract, is a viable solution. However, given how many children are already waiting to be adopted and given the grossly disproportionate relationship between available children and suitable adoptive parents (to say nothing of the horribly crowded foster care system) this solution is not as pat or perfect as it sounds. If this scenario strikes you as troubling, perhaps its worth consideration next time you're in a position to vote on welfare cuts. A staggering amount of recipients of state assistance are children, paid via their parents and foster care providers.

What do we say to women (whose contraception has failed) with toxemia or pre-eclampsia or profound gestational diabetes? Your "ectopic exception" does not allow for these conditions. And what if the women suffering from these conditions already have other children? Do we insist that they risk their lives, having banned abortion all together, and potentially force their husbands and children to lose wives and mothers simply to satisfy our "morals"?

What about women (with failed contraception) working for low-wage jobs, without health insurance, for whom pregnancy represents physical limitations that will literally prevent them from working? If pregnancy is a disability for which one can collect worker's comp, I'll retract, but as far as I understand, it isn't. Do we flippantly suggest that she "move in with her family" (an enormous assumption alone) until she's given birth and surrendered her child for adoption? By doing so, again, we unfairly burden an already disadvantaged group of women for their circumstances, all in an attempt to satisfy a moral position.

What of fetuses that are diagnosed in-utero with conditions like CF , tay sachs or hydroencephaly, whose shockingly brief lives will be filled with nothing but writhing agony, no comfort, no sentience, no future beyond a few months at best? Where is the moral superiority in that? We euthanize our pets out of greater empathy. The sheer hell that birthing these babies would present for their parents and families aside, would you be willing to pay taxes into a system that would support the staggering costs of care while we wait for them to die their unpreventable deaths? How about increasing your health insurance premiums?

These are but some of the few practical realities behind proposals such as yours, J. Again, I don't doubt that your sincerity is legitimate, but I worry that you're not thinking through the real-world consequences of what you propose. I'm willing to concede to increased restrictions, for I too, am appalled by women that casually use abortion as birth control with nary a second thought. But THAT is where our outrage belongs. To condemn all women by draconian prohibitions in an attempt to end abuse of the option is absurd, and takes on a decidedly medieval punitive tone. We don't ban all guns because some people use them criminally. We don't ban all sex because some people rape. Likewise, we shouldn't ban all abortion because some people are reckless and morally bankrupt.

Officious Pedant said...

Jiv,

Look up symbiosis, dude. Then look up part. You said I had no quotes, and then I posted quotes, one from a mother who wrote a book about her pregnancy, one a scientific study of the pathology of pregnancy, and one a religious examination of the "personhood" of the fetus. Your response? They don't prove anything. Ummmm.....OK.

I stated that a 5-7 day old fertilized egg was a dividing cell, and you clarified it how?

It is legal for a doctor to choose to end the life of a patient. One of those lives that was ended in Texas was an infant whose parents OPPOSED that ending. The doctor was LEGALLY permitted to proceed, following a review, in direct opposition to the will of the family. Possible against the will of the child, though we'll never know. The point being that legal mechanisms exist to allow lives to be ended in a variety of ways all around the country. To assert that a fetus is somehow an exception is to arbitrarily assign a higher value to one life than another. So what's the scale? How is the value determined?

You want to circle the drain on this point? Fine. The embryo in the petri dish in not a part of her, anymore. What is the life expectancy of that embryo? I want specific information on that, not vague crap about how that is unknowable. You set out the instance that embryos can exist in a petri dish. Fine. How long can it survive in the dish? If it is designed as a separate entity from the mother, why can't it exist solely in a petri dish? Why not be born as an egg or pupae, rather than an extended gestational period and live birth? Why does it need to attach to the mother at all? Why doesn't the placenta have its own blood supply and waste disposal mechanism?

JivinJ said...

OP,
If having a symbiotic relationship is equal to being part of something -you've still provided not a hint of evidence to prove this equation- then a tapeworm is part of me because we have a symbiotic relationship. So is a leech for that matter. Then the egyptian plover bird is part of the crocodile and sea anemones are a part of a clownfish. It is absurd and you know it. But now you will probably go back to your second definition of why the unborn is part of the mother (it can't survive outside her womb) without any evidence for that assertion either.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbiosis

By reading your comments to greenlilly, I can tell that you're a fairly intelligent individual - who knows that the abortion issue is more than just "Don't like abortion, don't have one."

I'm now wondering why you acted like the issue was that simple. Is it because it's easier to bash Christians/prolifers that way? Treat their arguments like they don't exist? Like they are all just book-burning troglodytes?

"Dividing cell?" A 5-7 day old embryo is more than 1 cell. It is a self-integrating organism that is directing its own development and is composed of hundreds of cells.

A difference you've obviously passed over is the difference between the removal of life support, where a previous condition takes away a life and artificial means are no longer used to sustain/prolong life vs. abortion where artificial means are taken to end a life that is naturally progressing. Second, I more than likely won't agree with doctors removing life support of a living human being without some sort of permission.

So the human embryo (which is an organism unto itself) before implantation isn't a part of her - he becomes part when he connects to her and then he is no longer a part of her when he reaches 25 weeks or so (even though they are still connected until after birth)? Doesn't make much sense, does it? You're creating arbitrary lines and definition of what a part of something is to fit your position on abortion.

Not being able to survive outside of something doesn't make it part of that something. How long could that tape worm survive outside of me? Not very long. Does that mean the tapeworm is part of me?

Are you asking me to explain why the human reproductive system works the way it does and not some other way? Maybe it's evolution, maybe it's God's design, maybe it's just how it randomly worked out.

Officious Pedant said...

Jiv,

You just keep spinning around that theme, don't you.

One last attempt to make this clear to you, because you don't seem able to muddle through on your own. Having assumed the position that the fetus must be autonomous, therefore an individual, you have to defend it by parsing the word "part". Fine,

Part:

A portion, division, piece, or segment of a whole.

An organ, member, or other division of an organism

I don't care how finely you want to parse it, a fetus is a biological organism (for all your failed effort to find distinctions in what I said), that is part, a portion of a symbiotic relationship, of the mother. The same is true of a tapeworm. It is part of that organism because it cannot survive without it, until it becomes autonomous. Truly autonomous. Not just dependent, before you wander down another rabbit hole.

And your quibble over that whole cell thing remains pathetic and laughable.

The point of the article, which you missed after getting wound over the abortion concept, is that of personal responsibility. You are free to choose for you, and under the right circumstances your family, what you will do and how you will act. You do not have the freedom to choose for me and my family. We will make that choice, as best we can, to do what is best for us. THAT is personal repsonsibility. Hence the idea that opposition to abortion means not getting one. It also means that we are not prepared to abdicate the responsibility for the choices we make to you or the government.

I asked you to explain why the autonomous entity that is the fetus cannot survive for the first 25 weeks outside of the womb, and why it has to share waste disposal and blood oxygenation with the mother. In other words, I asked you to explain/reference/support that the fetus is NOT part of the mother.

And here is another quote you'll find inadequite:

http://capmag.com/article.asp?ID=2160

Another flaw with the anti-abortionist view is the failure to acknowledge the proper metaphysical relationship between mother and the unborn fetus. The fetus is physically within the mother and connected to her via the placenta and umbilical chord. It is directly physically dependent on the mother for all of its life sustaining needs-oxygen, energy and safety from the external environment. The relationship between mother and fetus is not that of two distinct human entities, but rather that of an independent human being (the mother) with rights and a dependent physical appendage, something that is physically within and part of the mother and therefore cannot have individual rights.

But prove me wrong, dude. Right here, right now. Post scientific proof that the fetus is NOT part of the mother. Since you are confident I'm wrong, that should be no problem, right?

And here's the title to that medical article you couldn't open.

During Pregnancy, in the Context of a
Th2-Type Cytokine Profile, Serum IL-6 Levels
Might Condition the Quality of the Synthesized
Antibodies

From which came this quote:

This could be one of
the various mechanisms that facilitate an immunological
symbiosis between mother and fetus.

Medical substantiation of a symbiotic relationship.

JivinJ said...

OP,
An unborn child is neither a portion, division, piece, segment, organ, member, or division of the mother. The unborn are self-integrating organisms which are directing their own development.

So the unborn is part of a symbiotic relationship? That doesn't mean she is part of the mother. You then go on to state (without any reasoning or back up) that the unborn becomes part of the mother because it isn't autonomous. Please. Your provided definition of part never says anything about "surviving without it." You just created a new definition of "part" to mold with your already constructed views on the issue. This is plain as day.

In all your talk about personal responsibility you've failed to come up with a good reason why the woman have the right to choose what happens to the life of her child. Your argument again assumes what you need to prove - that the unborn aren't human beings. It assumes that the unborn don't exist even though you are well aware they do exist and are living human organisms.

I could argue the same way for child abuse. "You do not have the freedom to choose for me and my family. We will make that choice, as best we can, to do what is best for us. THAT is personal repsonsibility. Hence the idea that opposition to child abuse means not abusing your child. It also means that we are not prepared to abdicate the responsibility for the choices we make to you or the government."

Your question again assumes your newly created definition of "part" is true instead of proving it's truth. Your question assumes the unborn is part of mother if it requires her bodily systems. Which is something you've been failing to prove for the last week. In other words - circular argument.

This is how you are arguing:

"The unborn is part of the mother because it cannot survive without her"

Why should I accept that definition of part?

"Because if the unborn cannot survive without her, then the unborn is part of her."

I find the article you link to somewhat funny in that the author seems to state that prolifers view the unborn as part of the mother. He provides no reasoning as to why the unborn is part of the mother. He simply asserts it. He also confuses parts and wholes.

Have I ever once argued that the unborn don't have a symbiotic relationship with their mother? NO. I've argued over and over and over and over again that a symbiotic relationship doesn't equate with being part of something. You know this. You know that a bird isn't part of a crocodile or that a leech isn't part of me. You can't prove your equation so you continue to hammer at a point that there is no disagreement on.

Proof? I love how you ask me to prove that an organism isn't part of another organism. It's like asking someone to prove that a lion isn't giraffe. The fact that the lion is a lion proves that it isn't a giraffe in the same way that the unborn is an organism unto itself proves that it isn't part of another organism. I actually think that you are well aware that the unborn isn't part of the mother. The fact that the unborn is a whole organism unto itself proves that it cannot be part of another organism. The fact that the unborn has a symbiotic relationship with its mother actually proves that it isn't part of her. A symbiotic relationship requires two distinct organisms - not one whole organism and another organism that actually isn't an organism unto itself but just a part of another organism. I don't have a symbiotic relationship with my heart, do I? Be careful with your answer here.

There is no such thing as an organism that is part of another organism. Organisms don't shed their parts to create new organisms - they reproduce new organisms which aren't part of them.

Please explain how you think an organism (the unborn) can be part of another organism? If something is an organism unto itself - how does the reliance on another make it part of that organism like an organ? Are there other examples of this outside of the reproductive process?

JivinJ said...

CB,
What I find interesting about your views is that you seem to basing your argument on what will happen if abortion becomes illegal, and not on whether abortion should be illegal or not. Does that make sense? : )

Abortion was illegal for decades throughout most of the United States. Society didn't collapse. Jails weren't filled with women who had abortions. Police costs were skyrocketed.

A single woman living on a single income with 5 children would be quite impressive. Instead of telling her its legal to have an abortionist end the life of her child, I would suggest we work on getting some child support out of the father(s) of her children. What would you tell a woman who has a single income and can only afford to take care of 4 kids, yet she has 5 children. Should she be allowed to take the life of that extra child so she can make ends meet?

Regarding adoption - there is a difference in availability of children in foster care and newborns - so it's not like her child wouldn't be adopted.

I base how I feel about abortion based on what abortion is not on how making abortion illegal could possible affect society. Just as I wouldn't base my stance on the killing of other innocent human beings on possible side effects but on the view that intentionally killing innocent human beings is wrong.

Cantankerous Bitch said...

J,
What I find interesting about your views is that you seem to basing your argument on what will happen if abortion becomes illegal, and not on whether abortion should be illegal or not. Does that make sense? : )

It does make sense. Trouble is, various restrictive attempts by states in recent years provides ample cause to be concerned that they will criminalize abortion should Roe be overturned. No, not *all* states would prohibit the procedure in toto, but plenty look as if they would. Virginia and Nebraska leap to mind. It is out of my concern for the women in these states that I argue how I do.

Abortion was illegal for decades throughout most of the United States. Society didn't collapse. Jails weren't filled with women who had abortions. Police costs were skyrocketed.

No, society didn't collapse.
While abortion was illegal, however, women died. Other women were left mutilated, unable to ever bear children again. That's not a matter of opinion. And that some pro-life advocates don't see any problem with THAT loss of life is what I find truly disturbing, and where their arguments really diverge from "pro-LIFE" pretenses. Do you find death and permanent injury to be an acceptable outcome? Do you find this result somehow just revenge for the years in which abortion has been legal? This is what it will mean for some women without the federal protections offered by Roe. Now, before you suggest that they can just trot on over to a neighboring state, let me propose this possibility: States without prohibitions may very well implement proof of residency requirements in order to render procedures. Otherwise, the pro-lifers will be enraged, accurately objecting that their local prohibitions do nothing to actually curb the tide of abortion. So what then? Do we flippantly suggest that they travel to Europe?

A single woman living on a single income with 5 children would be quite impressive. Instead of telling her its legal to have an abortionist end the life of her child, I would suggest we work on getting some child support out of the father(s) of her children. What would you tell a woman who has a single income and can only afford to take care of 4 kids, yet she has 5 children. Should she be allowed to take the life of that extra child so she can make ends meet?

Well, for starters, I didn't say "single" woman, the inference was that her husband was their sole supporter. Would you suggest that he, what? Work so many hours that he's gone ALL the time, never available to his children? I hope you don't mean to infer that she can just drop some kids in day care and go get her own job. While this may be a viable solution for some women that can command a lucrative salary, fact is, for a great many women, jobs that will even cover the cost of decent day care are simply not available. Believe me, I'm one of them, thanks to living in a part of the country with a depressed job market. Affordable, quality day care facilities are a part of this equation, J, and not something we can dismiss out of hand as an easy fix.
No, of course she shouldn't be able to "take the life of her extra child". It's an inflammatory distraction. What she CAN do, is control her reproductive choices. Trouble is, contraception fails. No method is perfect. No matter how much we might mourn the choice, in that event, abortion IS one of her options. Considering the repercussions that an unwanted pregnancy would have on her, her husband, and her existing children, how can we ignore the impact and still claim to value "life"? Does our concern for life end at birth? Does our interest in the quality of existence end in the delivery room?

Regarding adoption - there is a difference in availability of children in foster care and newborns - so it's not like her child wouldn't be adopted.

If she is a white woman, sure. Or a woman that births a perfectly healthy baby. You may want to look into some of the data on the substrata of children awaiting adoption. You'll be surprised.

I base how I feel about abortion based on what abortion is not on how making abortion illegal could possible affect society. Just as I wouldn't base my stance on the killing of other innocent human beings on possible side effects but on the view that intentionally killing innocent human beings is wrong.

But this is an unrealistic, short-sighted perspective, J. You cannot, with any credibility, propose legislative changes without any thought to the repercussions. It's pure folly, and a very poor method for creating laws.

I also note that you've conspicuously avoided to answer any of my questions about health concerns, whether they be for the mother or the fetus. Just in case you missed them, here they are:
"What do we say to women (whose contraception has failed) with toxemia or pre-eclampsia or profound gestational diabetes? Your "ectopic exception" does not allow for these conditions. And what if the women suffering from these conditions already have other children? Do we insist that they risk their lives, having banned abortion all together, and potentially force their husbands and children to lose wives and mothers simply to satisfy our "morals'?"

The right is developing quite a flair for "unintended consequences", and this issue is not immune. Let me give you an example of one of them. In Ohio, their gay marriage ban means that domestic charges for unmarried heterosexual couples are reduced as a matter of law. Simple assault charges carry average maximum penalties of about 6 months. Penalties for domestic abuse average around 18 months, and victims are granted access to a number of critical support services not offered to victims of standard assault, including protective orders. No, this isn't something you'll hear a whole lot of in the press, because it's simply not "sexy" enough. But the results are real, and they impact heterosexual, co-habitating people that I'm CERTAIN Ohio's legislators never considered when dreaming up those bans. Enacting reactionary legislature, intending to punish a particular group (gays), they've unfairly burdened a group of our most fragile women when they most need the support of law. Because Ohio's legislators hadn't thought about how their gay marriage bans could "possibly affect society", they've now stripped away certain legal responses & protections that the rest of us married folk take for granted.

This, in addition to all the other points I've raised in this comment and my last, are examples of "unintended consequences". The fall-out from removing federal protections of reproductive liberty have potential to be everything from troublesome to life-threatening. And this is where the pro-LIFE position falls apart. If you mean to honestly support a "Culture of Life", you have two choices: Either offer comprehensive policy changes that consider the effect of your proposals, or you have to call a spade a spade and change your slogan to "Culture of Birth", for anything less would be dishonest.

JivinJ said...

CB,
The main problem with your position is that your argument assumes that abortion should be legal when that's what you're trying to prove.

For example, let's assume that if abortion becomes illegal more women will die from abortions. Is this a good reason unto itself to make abortion legal? No. It would be if abortion didn't intentionally take the life of an innocent human being.

That's like arguing that pickpocketing should be made legal because if it is illegal then thieves will be forced into dangerous armed robberies. It assumes that stealing should be legal in the effort to prove that a certain form of steadling should be legal.

Why would a state without a prohibition institute a residency requirement? That's makes no sense. If the state legislature is in favor of legal abortion, why would they try to prevent out-of-state women from coming to their state?

Why can't she take the life of her extra child? That extra child is a burden to their family. Would you suggest that the husband get another job and not see the rest of his children? It's not an inflammatory distraction - it's trying to get you to realize that the issue isn't "what about poor women?" but "what is the unborn?" If the unborn are living human beings like a toddler then killing them to avoid financial difficulties works as well as killing a toddler to avoid financial difficulties.

Once a woman has a child growing inside her - she has already reproduced. Your argument assumes she hasn't when that's exactly what you need to prove. You're asking me to sign off on more than just reproductive freedom - you're
asking me to sign off on whether a woman can decide to end the of life a human being that already exists.

Please provide information that numerous newborn infants are waiting for adoption.

Your comment was long - I didn't answer all of your question due to time constraints. My apologies. Regarding women with toxemia or pre-eclampsia and other condidtions that may threaten her life. Ectopic pregnancy was one situation that I mentioned - it's necessaryil. From what I've read by experts in high risk pregnancies, very rarely does a pregnancy necessitate intentionally killing the child. Most of the time, both the mother and child can be both successfully treated.

Why are you appalled by women who use abortion as birth control? What's wrong with that from your perspective? Shouldn't they be allowed to practice their reproductive freedom in whatever fashion they choose? Why should there be increased restrictions on abortion? What kind of restrictions?

Cantankerous Bitch said...

The main problem with your position is that your argument assumes that abortion should be legal when that's what you're trying to prove.
Well, yes, I'm defending the current legality because its status is tenuous at the federal level. Aside from your fundamental disagreement, what kind of problem does that represent?

For example, let's assume that if abortion becomes illegal more women will die from abortions. Is this a good reason unto itself to make abortion legal? No. It would be if abortion didn't intentionally take the life of an innocent human being.
I disagree. Criminalizing a medical procedure because a minority portion of the citizenry objects on moral grounds is unacceptable when we know what happened to women before 1972. Even evangelical-sponsored polling shows only ~20% favoring total criminalization, with Harris/Gallup polling consistently showing ~60% of the population in favor of one kind of legal abortion or another. Why is it that the conservative right trumpets the need to follow majority opinion except on this issue?

That's like arguing that pickpocketing should be made legal because if it is illegal then thieves will be forced into dangerous armed robberies. It assumes that stealing should be legal in the effort to prove that a certain form of steadling should be legal.
Beyond the objection I have to your woman = thief and fetus = wallet equations, and your presumption that abortion is tantamount to murder and therefore, analogous to criminal theft:

The wallet is MINE, therefore it is up to ME to decide its fate.
The fetus is also MINE, and therefore it is up to ME to decide its fate.
The state/public has no right to dictate what I do with my wallet unless I leave it on the street, at which point it is an independent entity.
Likewise, the state/public cannot dictate what I do with my fetus until it is viable outside the womb, at which point is it an independent entity (as consistent with current Roe law). We insist that women be responsible for that life from birth to adulthood. Our laws are set up to punish them if they fails in this regard. So, women are qualified for this responsibility only after birth, but not before?

Why would a state without a prohibition institute a residency requirement? That's makes no sense. If the state legislature is in favor of legal abortion, why would they try to prevent out-of-state women from coming to their state?
Why? Because people on "your side" of the issue will demand it. Let's use some simple numbers for the sake of illustration:

Now (while Roe is still law)
Annual abortions in Ohio: 1000
Annual abortions in Pennsylvania: 1000

Post-reversal (Ohio bans, Penn allows)
Annual abortions in Ohio: 0
Annual abortions in Penn: 1800

Allowing for a small decrease because of an Ohio ban, most women that would have otherwise had their procedures done in Ohio simply drive across the border and have them done in Pennsylvania. Net reduction = 200. You don't honestly think this will be acceptable to the pro-life movement, do you? Of course not! They'll see that the overturning of Roe has done very little to reduce total procedures and demand that something be done to stem the tide. Since law is now back in state hands, and states like Penn wish to preserve their citizens' right to the procedure, they enact residency requirements in response to right-wing pressure. How else would we curtail the total sum of abortions without parameters like these? In the absence of them, overturning Roe will accomplish virtually nothing for the pro-life movement. I can't help but suggest that you're a bit politically naieve if you can't envision this possibility.

Why can't she take the life of her extra child? That extra child is a burden to their family. Would you suggest that the husband get another job and not see the rest of his children? It's not an inflammatory distraction - it's trying to get you to realize that the issue isn't "what about poor women?" but "what is the unborn?" If the unborn are living human beings like a toddler then killing them to avoid financial difficulties works as well as killing a toddler to avoid financial difficulties.
I don't accept your premise that fetus = toddler. A toddler is an autonomous human being, able to thrive under the care of any willing, capable adult. That autonomy is what earns them the full protection of law and makes their killing murder. A fetus is not autonomous, cannot thrive outside of its mother's womb prior to viability, and therefore does not earn the full protection of law (via "personhood") that makes their killing murder.

And what I'm trying to get you to stop dismissing cavalierly are the "poor women" in this equation. Honestly. What you're demonstrating is that fetuses are more valuable to you than women. You realize this, don't you? Such an underlying value set is part of the problem with the pro-life movement, and, I believe, is the reason you won't ever get unanimous support throughout the American populous.

Once a woman has a child growing inside her - she has already reproduced. Your argument assumes she hasn't when that's exactly what you need to prove. You're asking me to sign off on more than just reproductive freedom - you're asking me to sign off on whether a woman can decide to end the of life a human being that already exists.
Actually, if you'll review the thread, all of my questions to you were couched in the event of contraceptive failure. And I'll remind you that I also said at the beginning of this exchange that whether zygote or 35 week old fetus, it's all human life. I've never disputed the fact, though I may qualify it in a way you do not. (I realize you've been arguing long and hard with OP, but I ask that you not confuse my responses with his).
The fundamental disconnect -- the bridge that "your" side and "my" side fail to manage is this precise definition. You'll insist that an ovum is a human being, and I'll insist that it's a *potential* human being. When you crack an egg into your frying pan, do you see a chicken? No. A crass example, I'll concede, but germane nonetheless. And I maintain that a woman is wholly responsible for the fate of any *potential* person she bears.

Please provide information that numerous newborn infants are waiting for adoption.
Well, again, that wasn't what I suggested. Really, J. It's highly dishonest to misrepresent your opponents comments in your rebuttal. See: Straw Man Fallacy.
I'm not interested in getting into a stats contest with you, for I'll find some to support what I'm saying then you'll find some to support what you're saying and down and down the rabbit hole we go, ending up absolutely nowhere (not that I'm clinging to any illusions of progress anyway). If you're truly concerned -- you know, about those "repercussions" you say don't have a place in your abortion position -- talk to social workers. They'll have hundreds of stories for you about unwanted pregnancies that turned into unwanted children, whose mothers neglect and abuse them until the state takes these kids away. Those kids often remain in foster care for several years before being adopted, if they're adopted at all. For a real rip-your-heart-out experience, ask about crack babies and FAS babies. Now imagine how many more of them will be born, abused and neglected if abortion is no longer legal for anyone. Again, this is another element of consequences that I'm simply not willing to dismiss or overlook. Perhaps you are.

Your comment was long - I didn't answer all of your question due to time constraints. My apologies. Regarding women with toxemia or pre-eclampsia and other condidtions that may threaten her life. Ectopic pregnancy was one situation that I mentioned - it's necessaryil. From what I've read by experts in high risk pregnancies, very rarely does a pregnancy necessitate intentionally killing the child. Most of the time, both the mother and child can be both successfully treated.
Ectopic pregnancies don't go to term by themselves, so your willingness to allow for abortion is no great concession. Pre-eclampsia and severe gestational diabetes can be FATAL to the baby, the mother, or both, when they do not respond to treatment. I'm not going on a statistic hunt for you, but I'll happily posit, for the sake of discussion, that "most" can be treated successfully. "Most", however, is clearly not the same as "all". What do we do, in your world, with those that cannot be treated? Tell mom, "tough luck, say Hi to St. Peter for us, since your fetus is more important than your life. Sorry."

Further, you've still offered no response on the issue of fetal CF, tay sachs, hydroencephaly, or any number of other fatal birth defects that are detectable in utero. Do you mean to suggest that letting this pregnancies go to term is somehow "humane"? If so, it begs the question of whether or not you have children, but I'm willing to let that one go. Forcing a child into this world who is certain to die a slow, excruciating death is simply selfish, assigning a higher priority to your morals and desire to see a baby born, than to the suffering of that child and its family. Again, this is a critical failing of the pro-"LIFE" movement.

Why are you appalled by women who use abortion as birth control? What's wrong with that from your perspective? Shouldn't they be allowed to practice their reproductive freedom in whatever fashion they choose? Why should there be increased restrictions on abortion? What kind of restrictions?
I personally find it appalling for two reasons: First, the practical -- its an abuse of a right that "spoils" it for responsible women in the world, causing folks like you to seek criminalization for all women. Second, the ethical -- I think abortion should well and truly be a last resort, not a first response, and that it be reserved for extraordinary circumstances. However, I also refuse to be presumptively arrogant enough to declare that MY definition of "extraordinary" should be the law of the land. My definition of "extraordinary", in the absence of being omniscient, will almost certainly preclude something I couldn't imagine. My underlying motivation for reasons #1 and #2 is based on a reverence and respect for personal autonomy and responsibility. We trust women to carry pregnancies and then raise children to be productive adults, but we don't trust them enough to decide when it is and is not appropriate for them to bear them to begin with? Well, I do. Even when I disagree with their choices.

As for the restrictions I support, I find little lacking in the ones that exist as stipulated in the Roe decision:

(a) For the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician.
(b) For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.
(c) For the stage subsequent to viability the State, in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life, may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.


Should the line of viability be a moving target thanks to our advancing technology, then that's fine, that's the way it should be. Should that point move further and further toward the beginning of the pregnancy, that's also fine, and the way it should be.

JivinJ said...

CB,
The problem with the way you are arguing is that it is a logical fallacy called begging the question. Your whole argument assumes that the unborn aren't human beings when that is the exact thing you need to prove.

My stealing example wasn't trying to equate stealing with abortion. It was merely an example of the way you are arguing and why it doesn't work logically. You can't argue that something legal based solely on the notion that it should be legal. That's what you're doing.

Because my side would demand it? But wouldn't my side demand abortion be illegal? Why would a pro-choice legislature care what prolifers think? It makes no sense. Why would the pro-choice state legislators in Penn go with the prolife side? They'd feel it would be the right of those women in Ohio to cross the border.

I don't accept your premise that fetus = toddler. A toddler is an autonomous human being, able to thrive under the care of any willing, capable adult. That autonomy is what earns them the full protection of law and makes their killing murder. A fetus is not autonomous, cannot thrive outside of its mother's womb prior to viability, and therefore does not earn the full protection of law (via "personhood") that makes their killing murder.

Then that's the real issue, isn't it? It's not "Is the woman in a horrible circumstance?" or "Will women die?" but "What are the unborn?" Instead of arguing your position and idea of what the unborn are and what rights they should or shouldn't have, your position and previous arguments assume that your position is correct. I'm not dismissing women, I'm dismissing your argument that begs the question.

Since when does autonomy give rights to something? Are newborn infants really autonomous? Are they really capable of existing independently? What's the difference between a human being and a "person" and why should I accept your definition over the definition of someone who claims that black human beings aren't persons because of their skin color?

The prolife side says an egg is human being? Since when? Your chicken example confuses fertilized eggs with unfertilized eggs? You don't see a chicken because more than likely, the egg you bought at your grocery store was never fertilized. Some health food stores sell fertilized chicken eggs but the farmers or whoever do something early on to prevent the fertilized chicken egg from growing into a chicken fetus.

How is it a strawman to ask for information? Your crackbaby argument again assumes your position. Why not kill all those born crack babies? Wouldn't our society be so much better if we didn't have to deal with all those born crack babies? Do you see how those questions assume the position that it should be ok to kill born crack babies?

I think everything should be done to save both the child and mother. If something like pre-eclampsia is that the point where the mother would die, then save the mother by delivering the child and try to save the child.

I don't think we should kill unborn human beings because they are likely to die soon after birth just as I don't think we should kill newborn human beings simply because they will die in a couple of months.

Why should abortion be a last resort? And only reserved for extraordinary circumstances? If abortion doesn't take the life of a "person" (in your view) why view it this way? Why should a woman who has 10 abortions be considered abusing that right? No one says a woman who takes birth control for ten years is abusing that right? What's the difference?

Do you know how health is defined with regards to abortion by other Supreme Court cases?

Cantankerous Bitch said...

The problem with the way you are arguing is that it is a logical fallacy called begging the question. Your whole argument assumes that the unborn aren't human beings when that is the exact thing you need to prove.
Well, as much as I appreciate critiques of my argument, I'll have to pass on this one. First, I've said twice already that I don't deny the assertion that "the unborn" are human beings. You want to distill my statements to mean as much, but it's not the case.
Second, begging the question is a circular argument. Like this one, for example: "Of course the Bible is the word of God. Why? Because God says so in the Bible."

The underlying assumption in my arguments is that the rights of the mother trump those of her fetus, pre-viability. If you have issue with that, you're entitled, but that doesn't render my points circular in nature.

My stealing example wasn't trying to equate stealing with abortion. It was merely an example of the way you are arguing and why it doesn't work logically. You can't argue that something legal based solely on the notion that it should be legal. That's what you're doing.
And aren't you doing the same for the opposite reason? Arguing that something that should be illegal purely on the notion that it should be?

Because my side would demand it? But wouldn't my side demand abortion be illegal? Why would a pro-choice legislature care what prolifers think? It makes no sense. Why would the pro-choice state legislators in Penn go with the prolife side? They'd feel it would be the right of those women in Ohio to cross the border.
Really, J, if you think legislatures don't care what the pro-life movement is saying (and funding, more importantly), then I suspect your alleging as much simply to be coy. You can't possibly be THAT naïve. If inconsistent state laws re: abortion resulted in a negligible decline in national occurrence, you can bet your kidneys that the pro-life movement would seek federal redress.

Then that's the real issue, isn't it? It's not "Is the woman in a horrible circumstance?" or "Will women die?" but "What are the unborn?" Instead of arguing your position and idea of what the unborn are and what rights they should or shouldn't have, your position and previous arguments assume that your position is correct. I'm not dismissing women, I'm dismissing your argument that begs the question.
Since when does autonomy give rights to something? Are newborn infants really autonomous? Are they really capable of existing independently? What's the difference between a human being and a "person" and why should I accept your definition over the definition of someone who claims that black human beings aren't persons because of their skin color?

Since 1776 or so. Autonomy is part of the inherent definition of "liberty" contained in the Bill of Rights. The Constitutional deficit re: blacks was rectified by Amendment (beside which, no one in this thread has made that assertion, so your red herring is hereby ignored). All people in America are considered "autonomous" human beings. You don't need me to explain this to you.

How is it a strawman to ask for information? Your crackbaby argument again assumes your position. Why not kill all those born crack babies? Wouldn't our society be so much better if we didn't have to deal with all those born crack babies? Do you see how those questions assume the position that it should be ok to kill born crack babies?
Your comment was "Please provide information that numerous newborn infants are waiting for adoption."
If you ask someone to defend or support a statement they did not make, that's a straw man. What I said was "You may want to look into some of the data on the substrata of children awaiting adoption. You'll be surprised." Minority children and those with special needs are overrepresented in the child welfare system, J. That means that supply exceeds demand.
My position assumes nothing of the sort. My position assumes it is preferable to PREVENT unintended pregnancies by crack addicts, and in the event prevention fails, said addicts should be able to abort legally. Your attempts at distortion are counterproductive.

I think everything should be done to save both the child and mother. If something like pre-eclampsia is that the point where the mother would die, then save the mother by delivering the child and try to save the child.
Once again, J, you don't seem to be very well informed about the nature of things like pre-eclampsia. These conditions are often detected well before viability, where there simply is no "saving the child". When anomolies are detected after viability, labor is induced and attempts ARE made to treat the child and the mother. Research, man, research. It'll help your position tremendously.

I don't think we should kill unborn human beings because they are likely to die soon after birth just as I don't think we should kill newborn human beings simply because they will die in a couple of months.
And that's fine. You're entitled to your view. However, that entitlement does not translate to necessary legislation for the rest of us. This is the part you seem unwilling to grasp.

Why should abortion be a last resort? And only reserved for extraordinary circumstances? If abortion doesn't take the life of a "person" (in your view) why view it this way? Why should a woman who has 10 abortions be considered abusing that right? No one says a woman who takes birth control for ten years is abusing that right? What's the difference?
Here's the thing, J, the elusive element of this debate for you: It doesn't matter why I feel the way I do. My personal definitions are just that: PERSONAL. I'm not the one pushing to create legislation based on my personal opinion, on my definition of "extraordinary" or anything else. That's your agenda. What I've done throughout this thread is explain why I support existing law as established by the Roe decision.
That you would equate contraceptive use with "abuse" exposes your position for what I've been suspecting it is: You believe that women are primarily intended as "vessels", and little more, deserving of no rights beyond their child-bearing ability. That they would choose to exercise control over their reproductive capacity is what you find offensive. All the rest of your posturing is just window dressing for that simple fact. As such, I've exhausted my interest in further discussion. Your interest here is not finding any kind of achievable compromise, any workable path down which we, as a society, can walk. Your interest here is in bludgeoning pro-choice advocates with your intransigent view. I've been down this road and find it as pointless and distasteful as ever. Thanks for your time.

Officious Pedant said...

Dear Jiv,

The arbiter of the board has seen fit to engage you in this conversation, and to remain civil in the process, though you unfailingly prove incapable of critical thought, consideration of consequences, or simple rationality.

I am, unfortunately, made of of harsher stuff, and I think you are an idiot. I can actually prove this, though you won't grasp it, with your own words:

"There is no such thing as an organism that is part of another organism. Organisms don't shed their parts to create new organisms - they reproduce new organisms which aren't part of them."

I assume you mean the production of autonomous blood, bone, skin, hair, and muscle cells. All those little living organisms without which YOU ARE NOT ALIVE. Every cell I produce is, by fucking definition, part of me. Else I could remove them with no harm to myself. But I can't do that, can I , hammerhead? If I remove the autonomous blood, I die. If I remove the bone, I die. Hell, if I remove a COMPONENT of the blood and bone (white blood cells) I fucking die.

But you don't get that, do you? Arguing instead some kind of independent collection of parts that are all separate from the whole. Pure, unadulterated, moronic, mealy mouthed bullshit. There was a glimmer of hope when you mentioned the self-directed nature of fetal development. But then it floundered for lack of a clarification. It is genetically directed, in part by the mothers contribution, and NONE of that development proceeds without the mother oxygenating HER BLOOD for the baby, or cleaning the waste of the fetus through HER FUCKING KIDNEYS. The fetus is inextricably linked to her on a cellular, genetic, and organic level. As noted in the medical report that you ineptly sidestepped, that link is symbiotic.

Two biological entities linked together at a fundamental level, whose separation will likely kill one or the other, or both, prior to an advanced stage of gestation. You are welcome, in your idiocy, to insist that those things can be seen as separate entities, but you can't support it.

I have provided medical and anecdotal quotes to the relationship, and, having done that, asked for any refutation from you, which you have failed to provide. Largely because you are unable, in my opinion, to think beyond the simplest of points, which requires you to doggedly pursue the notion that mother and child are separate. Good for you, dude.

And don't worry about me, Captain Dissonance, I'm done talking to you anyway.

Lily said...

Well I do want to thank you for a spirited discussion that was exactly the type of public service god blogging can be. Some of us are dialectic-minded. We exchange, we retreat, we rethink, we add inputs, we refine, our minds are in a state of flux and that is as it should be.
NO "position" should be fixed and no mindset static.

JivinJ said...

CB,
Your comments are almost completely contradictory. On one hand you say that your arguments don't assume that the unborn aren't human beings and then to avoid answering my questions regarding your "autonomy" criteria you say, "All people in America are considered "autonomous" human beings. You don't need me to explain this to you. "

Except the unborn.

Autonomy is part of the inherent defintion of "liberty?" That's one heck of an assertion. Especially when numerous human beings (infants, the severely disabled, etc.) are obviously not autonomous.

Saying you don't deny an argument (the unborn are human beings) doesn't free you from what your argument does (assumes the unborn don't exist).

So then you are assuming your position? Abortion should stay legal because it should be legal. I'm arguing that abortion should be illegal because it intentionally takes the life of an innocent human being.

If your underlying assumption is that the rights of the woman (to not be pregnant) should trump the rights of the fetus (to live) then why don't any of your argument before this point even mention the unborn? Examine your arguments - you'll see that the underlying assumption treats the unborn like they don't exist not that their rights are less than the womans.

The prolife movement might seek federal redress but that in no way proves that pro-choice legislatures who are unwilling to ban abortion would side with them.

Just because pre-eclampasia is detected well before viability, how does that prove that the pregnancy can't be prolonged and both the woman and child treated until viability? Changing the subject, man, changing the subject. You try to use it to help your position.

You've yet to come up with a single good reason why it should be legal to kill unborn human beings and not newly born human beings.

Why can't you defend your "personal" views regarding abortion? Ok, it's a personal view. Defend it because it doesn't make much sense with everything else you are saying. Don't accuse me of positions and personally attack me because your personal views don't fit with your political views.

I'm not equating contraceptive use with abuse. I'm providing an example of how backwards your thinking is. If abortion shouldn't be legal, if it isn't an inherently evil thing, if it is a right, then why is a woman having 10 abortions a bad thing? Why is that abuse?

JivinJ said...

OP,
I find it sad that you have again reverted to name calling and using profanity. It also seems that you have somehow completely misconstrued my argument.

You say, "I assume you mean the production of autonomous blood, bone, skin, hair, and muscle cells. All those little living organisms without which YOU ARE NOT ALIVE. Every cell I produce is, by fucking definition, part of me. Else I could remove them with no harm to myself. But I can't do that, can I , hammerhead? If I remove the autonomous blood, I die. If I remove the bone, I die. Hell, if I remove a COMPONENT of the blood and bone (white blood cells) I fucking die. "

You assumed incorrectly. Why on earth would I think that my blood, skin, etc. is another organism? Have I ever said this? Those are things that are obviously not organisms unto themselves, unlike the unborn who've you said are organisms. The big problem here is that you can't seem to understand that if something is an organism unto itself (the unborn, tapeworms, leeches, etc.) , it cannot also be part of another organism. Just as things such as my heart, skin, blood, etc. are part of me so therefore they cannot be organisms unto themselves. If they are part of me they can't be organisms just as if they are organisms, they can't be part of me.

The unborn's growth is genetically directed by the mother? Please provide your evidence.

You again provide no evidence that a symbiotic relationship means that one organism (the unborn) is a part of another organism (the mother). It is plainly obvious that you don't have this evidence as I have again and again and again asked for it and you have never once come close to providing anything more than something that says the unborn and the mother have a symbiotic relationship. A point I haven't challenged.

I love how you say "two biological entities" and then call me an idiot for insisting that they are "separate entities." If they aren't separate then why on earth are you calling them "two" entities. If they weren't separate wouldn't you just call them "one" entity?

Doggedly pursue? I've been asking you for evidence of your obvious equation and you've yet to provide anything. Provide some evidence that a symbiotic relationship where one organism will die if the relationship is ended equates with being part of another organism.