Unethical Mindsets: “You Can’t Be A Feminist If You’re Anti-Abortion”

Oxymoron?

I don’t know how I ended up on the Bea Magazine site, but I did, and I made the mistake of reading an article and a comment thread on the topic of whether feminists can be “pro-life,” or anti-abortion, if you aren’t a fan of euphemisms. As I expected, but not as I hoped, the consensus was that indeed, opposing abortion requires one’s ejection from the feminist tent, at least in the view of this particular cadre of feminists.

“Brillliant Nora Ephron,” the post by Diane notes, wrote that “You can’t call yourself a feminist if you don’t believe in the right to abortion.”  Well, Nora wasn’t so brilliant that day, because this is classic backward reasoning. It is framing reality by using ideology, the crystallization of confirmation bias into its most dangerous, poisonous and historically destructive form. It embraces the statement, “my mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with facts.” Indeed, it requires that facts be seen, filtered and interpreted through a pre-existing template that requires and then dictates a given result.

Let us imagine that through remarkable telepathy-enhancing technology (assuming there is such a thing as telepathy), we found that we could read the minds of unborn babies in the womb from the moment they had a rudimentary brain. And, let us imagine, that to our amazement, they are thinking lucid and individual thoughts, expressing pain, curiosity, fear, love, and anticipation. A rational and ethical approach to that discovery would be to re-evaluate assumptions about the lives of unborn children, and their right to have full protection of the law. The Bea approach, however, would preclude such analysis. It would preclude any objective analysis at all. While a rational analyst, observing the new data, could conclude and should at least consider that abortion, which in the hypothetical would require taking the life of a self-aware, individual human organism capable of complex thought, now must be considered murder or at least the state-sanctioned taking of a human life, the true feminist, according to Bea, Diane and Nora, must reject the possibility by reflex. Feminists literally can’t consider the unborn as rights-bearing humans. So they won’t. And don’t.

The need for a woman to have complete control over the childbirth process, a core tenet of feminism, dictates that the unborn can’t be seen as individuals, no matter what the facts are. So the analysis goes backwards. We are feminists, and believe that we must have complete control. Facts that indicate that the unborn are not merely cells or parasites, but human individuals warranting the state’s protection, are incompatible with that objective, so they must be ignored, denied, or distorted: they can’t be true.

Please note: I am not, here and now at least, taking a position on abortion. I am saying that the mindset that requires feminists to support abortion no  matter what the facts may be is a profoundly unethical mindset shared by people most feminists would find despicable.

The reason Todd Akin and his ilk have come to the ridiculous conclusion, contrary to biology and logic, that women don’t get pregnant when they are raped is that believing this nonsense is necessary for them to hold on to their pre-formed attitudes regarding abortion and rape. They feel that opposing abortion for rape victims who become pregnant seems unjust, cruel, and wrong, so rather than contend with the difficult balancing tough ethical questions like that one require, they decide that the dilemma doesn’t exist. Rape victims don’t get pregnant. If Todd were a Nora Ephron feminist instead of an evangelical idiot, he would similarly  be unshakable in his belief unborn babies aren’t human beings, even if they were recorded singing “I am the very model of a Model Major-General” in the womb. Problems solved.

Of course, such problems aren’t solved, but merely defined out of existence. Slaveholders who fancied themselves good people, and who also couldn’t make their plantations profitable without cheap labor, convinced themselves that blacks were an inferior sub-species, because that was the only analysis that would support their pre-determined positions. You can’t be sympathetic to Jews and accept the fact of the Holocaust, so you deny the Holocaust. You can’t oppose world regulation of carbon emissions while believing in catastrophic climate change, so you refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of climate change research. You’re an Obama supporter? Then the Affordable Care Act is wonderful; never mind that you haven’t read it, checked its assumptions, or considered what it might do the budget deficit. Are you a Christian who believes that the Bible is the word of God? Why, then, you can’t believe that  geological and paleontological evidence is correct, because the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. And never mind what science, psychology and genetics say: homosexuality is a choice, because the Bible says it’s a sin, and something that isn’t a choice can’t be a sin.

To say one can’t be a feminist and oppose abortion is no different than arguing that one can’t be a conservative and support raising taxes, or be a liberal and believe that Social Security benefits have to be cut back. It is saying that a dictated end result dictates the way dawning reality will be perceived and responded to, rather than the way real knowledge is gleaned—objectively, honestly, without predetermined limitations. There are words for a feminist who concludes, based on her evaluation of the facts, that abortion is the taking of a human life and therefore cannot be an unlimited right: courageous, fair, honest. Being a feminist should mean standing for feminist principles consistently with the world as we learn and mutually decide how it is, not denying reality to make the dilemmas of feminism disappear. Ideologies aren’t merely lazy crutches for avoiding the real life hurdles of inconvenient truths; they are unethical mindsets that make open-mindedness and objectivity impossible, while impeding society’s job of trying solve its complex problems, rather than pretending they don’t exist.

_____________________________________________

*UPDATE: Some commenters, and Diane herself, protest below that her article did not, in fact, say that being pro-life/anti-abortion meant one could not be a feminist. This requires a warped and disingenuous interpretation of the terms pro-life and anti-abortion. Diane seems to be arguing that one can be feminist-worthy anti-abortion as long as one does not oppose abortions by those who are pro-abortion. That is nonsense. Diane’s key passage:

“Feminists for Life seem to be missing the point (or maybe they think we are stupid) that many women who continue with unplanned pregnancy end up socially discriminated against as ‘single parents’ and financially oppressed as there is no adequate system to ask the absent parent to care/support the child equally. On the other hand, women can be pressured into abortion then oppressed for similar reasons. The real point is that people should be educated enough and free enough to look at their own lives and make a personal decision. So I feel Feminists for Life are just paying lip service and perhaps trying to sabotage the word feminism and bend it to make their cause popular. I think of them as ‘bandwagon feminists’, shouting ‘feminism’ but backing it up with their own oppressive opinions.”

If a feminist (or anyone) concludes, after fair analysis, that abortion is wrong because it involves the taking of a human life, opposing that act by others is not “oppressive.” It is, rather, morally and ethically mandatory.

_________________________________

Source and Graphic: Bea

78 thoughts on “Unethical Mindsets: “You Can’t Be A Feminist If You’re Anti-Abortion”

  1. Despite the disclaimer that you’re not taking a position, you may have another 300+ comment storm bearing down on you, Jack.

  2. […] on the topic of whether feminists can be “pro-life,” or anti-abortion, if you aren’t a fan of euphemisms.

    You realize that “pro-life” is the actual euphemism, right? Anti-abortion or criminalize abortion is the accurate non-euphemistic term.

    “Brillliant Nora Ephron,” the post by “Diane” notes, wrote that “You can’t call yourself a feminist if you don’t believe in the right to abortion.” Well, Nora wasn’t so brilliant that day, because this is classic backward reasoning. It is framing reality by using ideology, the crystallization of confirmation bias into its most dangerous, poisonous and historically destructive form. It embraces the statement, “my mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with facts.” Indeed, it requires that facts be seen, filtered and interpreted through a pre-existing template that requires and then dictates a given result.

    No, not at all. With the current facts we have, you can not harmonize being anti-abortion with feminism. You are imputing bad motives where they don’t exist. We have a conclusion from the evidence, not a presupposition to match ideology.

    Please note: I am not, here and now at least, taking a position on abortion. I am saying that the mindset that requires feminists to support abortion no matter what the facts may be is a profoundly unethical mindset shared by people most feminists would find despicable.

    And you’ve knocked that strawman out of the park.

    There are words for a feminist who concludes, based on her evaluation of the facts, that abortion is the taking of a human life and therefore cannot be an unlimited right: courageous, fair, honest.

    No, you call those people sane. Do you know who else fits your definition? Nora Ephron feminists and pretty much the entire pro-choice lobby. People who argue that any abortion is okay are like people that argue that murdering your gay kid is okay. They’re beyond the pale for any movement. You seem to have forgotten this.

    Being a feminist should mean standing for feminist principles consistently with the world as we learn and mutually decide how it is, not denying reality to make the dilemmas of feminism disappear.

    Which, it does. That you don’t agree with the obvious conclusions is a failure on your part, not that of the feminists.

    How did you come to such incorrect beliefs about the original post? Well, Maybe by ripping the quote completely out of context. I’m not comfortable blockquoting that much text, but the gist of Diane’s post is that Heaton has come to a different conclusion than have feminists and she acts badly in support of that conclusion. Diane’s trying to determine if Heaton’s behavior and anti-feminism in one area enough to keep her out of big tent feminism. The quote by Nora Ephron is used to show that while you often make allies with people you disagree with (for instance, the gnu atheists and the NCSE join together to push science while being opposed on the subject of whether religion and science can mutually exist), there are lines that cannot be crossed. Nowhere is it suggested that the line is defined by the ideology.

    With context, the quote is harmless.

    More context can be seen from the comments. Here’s Diane again: “[Feminism] really is about understanding your place in a system of oppression, and how your choices fit into the larger frame. If you then choose to do something that furthers oppression, it’s a bummer, but at least you’re informed about it.”

    There’s also: “[I don’t like labels generally,] but feminism feels different — more of a common cause, united in the quest for social justice and a fair society. [… W]hen people who aren’t so committed to those ideals call themselves feminists, I think it is worth at least highlighting if not outright interrogating it.”

    I actually agree wholeheartedly with your conclusion. You just didn’t pick a valid example. How about replace feminism with literal old testament Christianity (Really, this should be judaism, right?) and anti-abortion with supporting gay rights. Then it works. Homeopath/pro-science is another good one.

    • I read Jack’s euphemism comment to mean exactly what you said, pro-life is the euphemism, anti-abortion is the term if you are not a fan of euphemisms.

    • Of course you agree with the conclusion.

      1. Bad start for you.. I wrote that Pro-life was the euphemism, and if you don’t like euphemisms, use anti-abortion. It’s clear.
      2. Nora Ephron supports late-term abortion. There are abundant facts that suggest to any open-minded individual not invested in abortion on demand as ideology that late term abortion is the taking of a human life, since the child would be viable outside the womb, and in fact often proves it. Your statement, “With the current facts we have, you can not harmonize being anti-abortion with feminism.” is simply not true. In fact, it’s exactly what I’m writing about.
      3.I’ll accept sane, but those other words also apply. (Note that I didn’t say “Correct.”) Courageous, because feminists like Diane will call them traitors. Honest, because they were willing to accept where their analysis takes them, and not lie after the fact. Fair, because they didn’t cook the books.
      4. No, its not, and you can read Diane’s comment here to show that I read her properly, though with difficulty. And I can’t believe you, of all people, would agree that saying “I’m anti-abortion because I have determined that a fetus is a human life deserving state protection, but if you want to abort your child go ahead. My 8 month fetus is a person, but yours isn’t” is anything but self-serving nonsense. Either an unborn child is or isn’t a human being with rights. Because the facts are arguably ambiguous, I respect both pro- and anti-abortion positions….I also know that confirmation bias fuels both. But the John Kerry/Joe Biden/ Mario Cuomo “Personally, I believe that life begins at conception, but I’ll fight for your right to pretend that it doesn’t so you can fit in your prom dress” is, if they mean it, utterly despicable and ethically indefensible, though typical of politicians.
      5. One cannot be “pro-choice” and “pro-life” at the same time, since that “choice” ends a life, as those who are “pro-life” define it. Diane’s attempt to have t both ways is either a rhetorical trap (which I don’t believe) or wimpy thinking. She argues that “pro-choice” is feminism, as applied to all women. She’s wrong, if one fairly concludes that a woman can’t choose to abort without breaching a greater principle.
      6. Not only is the abortion debate, on both sides, by the way, a good example of the phenomenon I’m discussing in the post, it’s the best example.

      • 1. I misread. Twice. Sure you didn’t edit? 🙂 Retracted.

        2. Viable outside the womb is not the same as a child. You’re picking at crumbs. The biology does not support that a fetus is a human life with full human rights. We’ve had this discussion before, and you come up with arbirary lines that have no biological support. My point stands.

        3. Actually, nobody attacks them. You missed the part where that’s the position that everybody holds. You’re going after a strawman.

        4. You misread, as I showed. I like the lack of counter points. Diane’s post, as well, does not support your position. Please reread them. Maybe you misread them like I misread your euphemism statement. I see no counter of points, so they appear to all stand.

        A human fetus is a human fetus with it’s own rights that are not the same as that of a complete human. This isn’t a hard concept. Even within full humans, a 3 year old and a 40 year old have different rights. Your argument fails the sniff test.

        The I believe X, but I’ll fight for Y is a necessary trait. Even if a lawyer believes their client is guilty, they still have to fight for them. With lawmakers it’s a little bit more interesting, and you have a bit of a case, but it really depends on the reasoning behind the comments. We’ve been down this road before, too.

        5. Diane’s position was that you can decide to not have an abortion, but pushing try to rid me of that choice is wrong. You know, the pro-choice position.

        6. The abortion debate only works when you misinterpret both the evidence and the actual position of the feminists. It might fit your bra burning caricature, but it doesn’t fit reality, and reality is the important part.

        As noted in 4, you didn’t actually counter any of my points. Can you point out how I’m wrong? Where I misrepresented context? The flat “you’re wrong, and the post shows it” statement is like Peter’s “Obama’s actions show he’s a communist” statement. The refusal to provide evidence or explain counter evidence is not good.

        • ‘The abortion debate only works when you misinterpret… the actual position of the feminists. ‘

          Can we get clarity on this? There were commentators on that post arguing that woman have complete and absolute control over their bodies, including fetuses inside. There were other commentators who seemed to believe feminism was the equal treatment of men and woman.

          If you believe the former then you have to be pro-choice. If it’s the latter, I can’t reason from men and woman are equal to must be pro-choice.

          • Feminism is thinking Men and women should be treated as equals and working towards that goal. Prohibiting abortion was men controlling the bodies of women. Despite Jack’s lies, there’s no biological reason to prohibit abortion. Therefore, being pro-choice is a must.

            • This is political reasoning rather than fair reasoning.

              It’s unfortunate, tragic, unfair, inconvenient—pick the politically correct adjective— that women have to bear children and that this gets in the way of their professional and personal development, but dishonestly decreeing that nascent human beings are warts is not an ethical or honest solution to the problem. The fact that men have been traditionally unsympathetic to the plight of women in this regard and have used it to their advantage doesn’t validate the pro-abortion solution, or make it any less brutal and dishonest.

              • That you do not understand the biology (or that you deny the biology) does not make it not true.

                The fact that men have been traditionally unsympathetic to the plight of women in this regard and have used it to their advantage doesn’t validate the pro-abortion solution, or make it any less brutal and dishonest.

                It is absolutely true that, in the past, the failure to allow abortion was one way men could control women. It was based on the bible beneath it… just like when women couldn’t hold property. I the 1900s, the argument came up that it was killing life…a soul, but this was still based on Christian principles. Even nowadays, the nonreqligious anti-abortionist is rare. Jack, you’re an exception.

                That’s all stuff that’s important background. Once we’ve used science to remove the whole soul/full human argument, it’s important to note that only thing that would be left would be an attempt to control women…. which should be thrown out on principle.

                I stand by my argument. That you disagree with the biology question does not make the explanation of the argument with the biology question answered the other way invalid.

  3. The post wasn’t by “Diane”, it was just by Diane, a real person. (Also known as me). And it appears you didn’t read it, as if you had, you would have seen that I was opening the discussion as to whether my feminist friends thought you could call yourself a feminist if you’re opposed to abortion. As I say in the piece and in comments, I think you can, as long as you don’t campaign to restrict other women’s rights. I also point out that we don’t all have to think the same to be part of the same movement. I think you projected your existing beliefs onto a post you skimmed and assumed a lot that isn’t actually there.

    • As I’m sure you will concede, it is reasonable, in the absence of a last name, to believe “Diane” might be a screen name. Regarding the article, I couldn’t be sure which position you were taking, because saying “it’s OK to be anti-abortion if you don’t object to other women having an abortion” is double-talk. That’s not being anti-abortion. If one is anti-child abuse, one objects to people abusing children. One doesn’t say, “but hey, if you want to abuse a child, its your choice.” Those who oppose abortion oppose it for everyone, not just themselves.

      • I’m still not sure why a screenname (and a far from outlandish one) would need quotation marks, but OK. It just felt strange and patronising to be talked about as if I was “real”.

        And again, you’re misrepresenting my position. I’m not saying, as you claim, that anti-abortionists don’t want ALL women to not have abortions. Of course that’s what they want. Duh! But there are many women who don’t like or approve of abortion for all kinds of reasons, but who don’t seek to restrict other women’s access to it, and my question was: can they accurately call themselves feminists — and what do other feminists think about that?

        If you think that’s not a worthwhile question, well, no-one asked you to read, and as you said, you knew you wouldn’t enjoy doing so! My post was aimed at feminist friends and allies, as that’s my usual audience.

        I’m not required to take an emphatic stance on this or any issue. But as it happens, I do make clear in the post that I am for abortion in all cases, and I will remain so, because women are people with rights, and foetuses aren’t.

        • Hey, feetuses have rights, just not the same rights as humans. I’d say aborting a fetus because you determined it would be black (that is, if it was white, and everything else was the same, you would carry it to term, but, since it’s black, it’s terminated) is not something that’s approved of. Please tell I’m not wrong and that Jack’s strawman position isn’t real. Please, please, please.

        • Diane:

          1. I don’t know you, and don’t know your last name. If I write Diane without quotes, it demands the response, “Diane who?.” With quotes, it indicates that this is the whole name. I then drop the quotes thereafter. No offense intended.

          2. If your topic was whether women had to “like” abortion or “approve of it in all cases” to be feminists, that’s a completely different question, and one that should be so obviously answered yes that it isn’t worth asking. I gave you the compliment of assuming you were asking the more critical and, apparently, difficult question.

          3. I did not mean to suggest that I assumed that I wouldn’t enjoy reading the piece. I have read Bea before—you see, I am also a feminist. I described it as a mistake because the article annoyed me, and I wasn’t seeking annoyance. That was still an unfair description, and flip. I am glad I read the article, and it was not a mistake. I do disagree with the article.

          4. Articles that preach to the choir should still be logically and ethically valid.

          5. And your comment proves the thesis of my post.

        • ‘But there are many women who don’t like or approve of abortion for all kinds of reasons’

          Just curious but what other reasons do people generally have about not approving of abortions?

          ‘ my question was: can they accurately call themselves feminists — and what do other feminists think about that? ‘

          Not attacking here, are you asking about any abortion before birth and can they call themselves a feminist? Is the question if a person holds that a woman should have an abortion at 37 weeks can we call that person a feminist?

          • Reasons to not have an abortion:
            * Lack of money
            * You view fetal human life above termination of an unwanted child
            * You are (wrongly) worried about complications
            * You are worred you will be judged
            * You have been misinformed about biology
            * Attention (*sigh*)
            * God
            * You decide you want a child for any number of good and bad reasons.

            Diane’s article doesn’t discuss people who are mostly pro-choice anywhere. It was just anti-abortionists like Feminists for Life.

  4. And never mind what science, psychology and genetics say: homosexuality is a choice, because the Bible says it’s a sin, and something that isn’t a choice can’t be a sin.

    One can believe that same sex attractions are not a choice, while same-sex buggery is a choice.

  5. Can’t one believe that fetuses are human, and still believe that women should be able to abort a fetus if they so choose? One need only believe that bodily autonomy trumps another person’s right to life, something which society readily accepts in other contexts. We don’t force people with a rare blood type to donate blood to people with the same blood type, even if the need is dire, and the process simple. We don’t force parents to donate organs to their children, even if the child would die without it. Notions of personal autonomy trump life in those intances, why not with abortion?

    • That’s fine; let’s have that debate. Abortion foes have ducked it, because their argument is so much easier if they eliminate another life from the equation. Surely someone could reason this way—I think it’s a wrongful argument (not forcing someone to give up a kidney may lead to someone’s death, but it doesn’t kill them…there is no context that is comparable, as you suggest), but that’s beside the point. And beside the point of the article. You wouldn’t have to adopt your approach to remain a feminist.

      • I’m not sure what the beef is here. That a group has a defined litmus test? While that may be unfortunate for the people who are defined out of the group, an idealogy has to actually stand for something, otherwise it is meaningless. Otherwise you end up with “Jews for Jesus”, or “Vegans for Meat” or other such nonsense. This group may (or may not have I’m gathering) defined themselves on what you consider the “wrong” side of the issue, but I don’t see how the act of defining is unethical in and of itself. But you’ve mixed in your own personal distaste for abortion into the critique, so it’s difficult to tell what your main thrust is.

        • I think it’s pretty obvious, and the post is self-explanatory. And my personal views on abortion are completely unrelated to my opinion of ideologies that preclude objectivity and re-evaluation of previous beliefs and positions—which is pretty much all of them. Ideologies are not the same as core beliefs. Core beliefs can evolve and change with experience and knowledge. But experience and knowledge are subordinated to ideologies, as in all litmus tests, which are often unethical, because they require dishonesty.

        • While that may be unfortunate for the people who are defined out of the group, an idealogy has to actually stand for something, otherwise it is meaningless.

          So, what is feminism?

          I was always under the impression that feminism is simply equal rights on account of sex. Laws against abortion apply equally to men and women, so they can not be anti-feminist.

          • Just like any ism, Ask 1000 people, get 1000 answers. In general, though, feminism is about making sure women have the rights and opportunities they have been denied. They should be considered equal to men.

            While laws against abortion apply equally to men and women, they affect them differently. Pretend there was a law that said all males must have their penises chopped off. While this law applies equally to men and women, it’s clearly only a violation of men’s rights.

  6. Oh…come on! Where did everyone go? There are some very interesting questions which have been left just hanging in the air. I need answers or I am going to call “deepity” on the whole article.

  7. This reminds me of a statement by the great American physicist, Robert Millions who defined fundamentalism as “certainty without knowledge”. Interestingly, he has recently been savaged by feminists, depite being dead for decades. I think he would appreciate his definition being applied to those who has attacked him because of their certainly that he was sexist despite their lack of knowledge about the truth of his statements.

  8. 1. Jack, you’ve obviously and self-evidently misread Diane’s article — to such an extent that a quote that you call “Diane’s key passage” wasn’t even written by Diane.

    You slap aside the idea that Diane “did not, in fact, say that being pro-life/anti-abortion meant one could not be a feminist,” and even refuse to believe Diane herself when she says that’s not what she meant. But in Diane’s original post, she says she’s undecided, not one way or another. Here’s her conclusion, for instance:

    I’m tempted to say that it’s OK for a feminist campaigner to oppose abortion, as long as she doesn’t try to restrict other women’s access to it. Then again, I can’t help wondering if part of Feminists for Life’s agenda is to undermine feminism by associating it with their anti-choice campaign.

    I’ve gone around in circles on these issues for hours….should anyone who identifies as feminist be allowed into the fold, or should there be some kind of qualification for entry?

    In one moment Diane’s suggesting a litmus test (“as long as she doesn’t try to restrict other women’s access”), at another moment she’s suggesting no litmus test “anyone who identifies as feminist.” She’s explicitly saying that she’s not yet decided (“I’ve gone around in circles….”). I don’t think it’s unethical to admit to being of two minds on a difficult question, and I don’t think it’s fair or reasonable to treat the post as if her explicit description of herself as undecided hadn’t been there.

    2. Let us imagine that through remarkable metaphysical technology (assuming there is such a thing as metaphysics), we found that we can detect the exact moment that a human soul enters the human body — an it turns out that it happens at the moment of birth. So now we can say, as an absolute fact, that no zygote or fetus ever has a soul.

    Does it follow that current pro-life philosophy, which sees the zygote and fetus as morally the same as a born person (and often says so in absolutist terms), is unethical because it’s not taking account of that hypothetical future scenario? Should we condemn pro-lifers for not taking account of the possibility of future soul-detecting technology?

    No, of course not — condemning pro-lifers for not taking full account of purely hypothetical technology is unfair. Just as your argument was unfair.

    3. You write, “The need for a woman to have complete control over the childbirth process, a core tenet of feminism, dictates that the unborn can’t be seen as individuals, no matter what the facts are.”

    That’s actually unclear, in two ways. First of all, it assumes that if the unborn are full people, then women can’t have the right to abortion. But that’s not something all rational people agree with — see Judith Thomson’s famous essay, for example.

    And secondly, it assumes that if we accept that we have a duty to prevent as many abortions as we possibly can, then women can’t have the right to an abortion. But that’s not true, either. The countries in the world with the lowest abortion rates aren’t countries that ban abortion — they’re countries like Belgium, which have legal abortion but have also gone to enormous lengths to reduce demand for abortion.

    This, in my opinion, is the best “pro-life feminist” option – a policy choice that avoids coercing women with the law, and has successfully produced the lowest abortion rates in the world. It is, in fact, possible to both value women’s autonomy and reproductive rights, and to at the same time value fetal life and drive abortion down to the world’s lowest levels.

    And this is off-topic, but I can’t resist commenting:

    You’re an Obama supporter? Then the Affordable Care Act is wonderful; never mind that you haven’t read it, checked its assumptions, or considered what it might do the budget deficit.

    The non-partisan experts have projected that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the deficit, while repealing it will increase the deficit. The view that the ACA will increase the deficit is held almost exclusively by partisan Republicans, and contradicts the findings of the non-partisan experts.

    • Barry: A quick response, then a longer one.

      I deny that one can honestly oppose abortion and not try to restrict other women’s access to it. Not choosing abortion and saying its a legitimate choice for others is something else. This is back to the “live and let live” double talk of the Hax post. If abortion is wrong, and that’s why you OPPOSE it, then you have an ethical obligation to make that opposition concrete. I understood the article perfectly. She advocates abortion on demand, and as long as a woman doesn’t stand in her way, that woman is a feminist.Well, feminism is political, so this is a litmus test indeed. You can stray from the cant, no matter how much you advocate gender equality. It’s a Catch 22, and I reject it. If a woman decides abortion is taking of an innocent life, then she has an ethical and moral obligation to oppose it, meaning stop it. What does “oppose” mean?

      op·pose/əˈpōz/
      Verb:

      1. Disapprove of and attempt to prevent, esp. by argument: “those who oppose capital punishment”.
      2. Actively resist or refuse to comply with (a person or a system).

      Come on. Words matter here.

    • Barry: A quick response, then a longer one.

      I deny that one can honestly oppose abortion and not try to restrict other women’s access to it. Not choosing abortion and saying its a legitimate choice for others is something else. This is back to the “live and let live” double talk of the Hax post. If abortion is wrong, and that’s why you OPPOSE it, then you have an ethical obligation to make that opposition concrete. I understood the article perfectly. She advocates abortion on demand, and as long as a woman doesn’t stand in her way, that woman is a feminist.Well, feminism is political, so this is a litmus test indeed. You can stray from the cant, no matter how much you advocate gender equality. It’s a Catch 22, and I reject it. If a woman decides abortion is taking of an innocent life, then she has an ethical and moral obligation to oppose it, meaning stop it. What does “oppose” mean?

      op·pose/əˈpōz/
      Verb:

      1. Disapprove of and attempt to prevent, esp. by argument: “those who oppose capital punishment”.
      2. Actively resist or refuse to comply with (a person or a system).

      Come on. Words matter here.

      • Jack, did you even read the definition you just posted? It says oppose means “to disapprove of and attempt to prevent, especially by argument.” Even the definition you quote doesn’t say that the only way to oppose something is to ban it in law.

        Are you seriously claiming that there’s never any legitimate way to oppose something other than to ban it in law? Don’t you see what a ridiculous claim that is?

        • So you are arguing that Diane would say that a feminist can oppose abortion on moral grounds, argue against it, inveigh against it, support politicians who want to stop it, and still be feminists? Or is she saying that you can oppose it as long as you don’t oppose it? The latter is exactly what she’s saying, and it is disingenuous. “Attempt to prevent”–what does that mean, if not take measures to stop someone from doing what they would do otherwise? Taking away the absolute right is a predicate to prevention. This isn’t like opposing using anise in pizza sauce. This is opposition that must be based on a conclusion that the act is wrong, and in fact the taking of a life. If that is the conclusion, and I see no other conclusion that would justify opposition to abortion, than opposition is by definition unequivocal and precludes saying—“but its Ok for you.”

          You are adopting the same intellectually deflective attitude that has always characterized the abortion movement—pretend there’s nothing wrong unless you you see it that way. Clinton’s “make abortion safe, accessible and rare”—why RARE if its nothing but the equivalent of a wart removal? Diane’s argument is the same—yes, to you its a life, and that’s OK, but you have to accept that to me its a clump of parasitic non-human cells. No: it’s one or the other. We may not know which or agree on which, but its not both, and once a woman decides on a life, opposing means stopping.

        • Fail. Attempting to argue for the incorrect position would be a violation as well. If it’s not by arguing what should be done, how do you think people get things to be laws anyway?

    • Oh–re the ACA: the CBO now officially disagrees with this, though that’s still the partisan spin. It will increase the deficit, because the assumptions necessary to prove otherwise were and are false.

      • Jack, you made a claim about what the CBO “officially” says; you claim that the CBO now “officially disagrees” with the idea that the ACA will reduce the deficit, and repealing the ACA will increase the deficit.

        I think you’re wrong; I don’t think you can back your claim up with a link to an official CBO publication. But I invite you to prove me wrong.

        I’ll make it easy: here’s where you’ll find every CBO publication related to the ACA, in reverse chronological order. As you can see for yourself, the most recent updates were on July 24th, when they released two, only one of which looked at the impact of the entire ACA on the budget deficit.

        That one, a letter to John Boehner, estimated the impact on the budget deficit of repealing Obamacare. Here’s what the CBO wrote:

        CBO and JCT estimate that, on balance, the direct spending and revenue effects of [repealing the ACA] would cause a net increase in federal budget deficits of $109 billion over the 2013–2022 period.

        They also noted that the reduction to the deficit because of the ACA is approximately the same amount (but not precisely the same amount for technical reasons).

        So there’s my evidence. As of July 24, the CBO was officially projecting that repealing the ACA adds over 100 billion to the deficit, and they have not reversed that position in any subsequent publication.

        The CBO did point out that their projections are uncertain (as all economic projections are), but “are in the middle of the distribution of possible outcomes.” So, unless you think the CBO is simply lying, they haven’t chosen the outcome that reflects best on the ACA they’ve chosen a middle estimate.

        Please either prove that I’m wrong, or accept evidence even when it isn’t convenient for your ideology. (Ironically, just what you criticize others for refusing to do.)

        • “Officially” was careless and wrong. I’ll retract it.
          Here’s what’s happening: the CBO’s cheery estimates were based on bad info, fed to them by Congress to help sneak the ACA by. Critics said it was nonsense, that all big federal programs cost more than estimated and end up growing the deficit, and there was no reason to believe Obamacare is any different. And is no reason. “The CBO projected that Obamacare would reduce the deficit by $140 billion from 2013 to 2019. That has dropped to a measly $4 billion in its most recent report.” The trend is exactly what skeptics (non-ideological realists) predicted. Wait til next year. The trend is pretty clear. http://www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2012/07/27/cbo-obamacare-will-spend-more-tax-more-and-reduce-the-deficit-less-than-we-previously-thought/

          Meanwhile, such authorities as the Medicare trustees say that its clear that Obamacare will increase the deficit based on what we know now. I believe an objective observer without a stake in seeing the law’s supporters not be proven wrong would have to conclude that it is more likely than not that the ACA will, in fact, increase the deficit.

          But that is far from the statement that the CBO officially agrees that it will. You’re right. You’re just wrong to rely on that estimate.

          • Jack, before I respond, I’m wondering: Do you see yourself as open to changing your mind on this question based on factual evidence? Or is your mind set?

            Because the facts are very clear. You’re wrong to say that all big federal programs cost more than estimated; there are many examples of big federal programs costing as much or less than initially projected, such as Medicare Part D. And Medicare Part D, unlike the ACA, didn’t have any revenues.

            You’re wrong to imply that changes in the CBO estimates reflect a gradual, ongoing trend; they were mostly caused by one-time bipartisan legislation eliminating the CLASS Act. It’s dishonest to use numbers resulting from a one-time event as evidence of a perpetual pattern, but that’s exactly what your link did. It’s even more dishonest when you consider that eliminating the CLASS Act increased the deficit in the years your source considered, but reduce the deficit in the long term.

            Meanwhile, such authorities as the Medicare trustees say that its clear that Obamacare will increase the deficit based on what we know now.

            I’ll be shocked if you’re right about the Medicare trustees, who would be in violation of their mandate (and outside their expertise) to issue an opinion about the ACA’s impact on the deficit. That’s because to talk about the deficit, they have to calculate the ACA’s impact on the entire budget, not just on Medicare.

            You can show me I’m wrong with a link to an official document by the Medicare trustees regarding the ACA’s effect on the deficit. But I doubt any such document exists.

            To the best of my knowledge, the most recent statement by the Medicare trustees about the ACA was in their 2012 annual report; they reported that the ACA will extend Medicare’s solvency; but future congresses will probably pass new laws reducing the ACA’s effectiveness, so the extension, while real, is less than the math makes it appear. In an alternative scenario report issues in May, a Medicare actuary wrote “While the substantial improvements in Medicare’s financial outlook under the Affordable Care Act are welcome and encouraging, expectations must be tempered by awareness of the difficult challenges that lie ahead in improving the quality of care and making health care far more cost effici4ent.”

            That’s a far cry from what you’re claiming.

            I can easily document every claim I make here, with links to nonpartisan sources, but it’s not worth the time if you’re not willing to let your opinion be changed by evidence.

            You say you believe “an objective observer without a stake” would agree with you that the ACA is going to increase the budget deficit. Yet the one source you link to is the Romney campaign’s official spokesman on health care – hardly an objective observer. (And even he doesn’t claim that the ACA is going to increase the deficit, btw.)

            The fact is, Jack, what you’re doing is rejecting the nonpartisan analysis of serious authorities, in favor of an op-ed written by a dude working for the Romney campaign. I don’t think that’s logically justifiable.

            • Barry–you are right to ask, and in all honesty, no, I’m not open minded on this issue. It’s not because I challenge your sources, which are all good and helpful (thanks), but because it is a Jurassic Park issue for me. Big, complex, man-made systems and projects that will be stewarded by thousands or different participants and managers and subject to thousands of unpredictable factors over time are per se unpredictable and in a real sense, unmanageable. That’s the only fact that impresses me. Projections aren’t facts. They are estimates and predictions about facts. My point regarding the Forbes piece is that already some of the assumptions in the 2010 CBO projections haven’t been borne out. This was a certainty, ironically. The uncertainty is which assumptions won’t be borne out.

              Jurassic Park was engineered carefully with every contingency carefully planned, yet chaos theory guaranteed that it would fail, spin out of control. The ACA is much more haphazard, pieces of old and new studies and ideas cobbled together, with no one architect who coordinated the whole. My sister authored part of it, and swears that part is valid and well-designed. She admits that she has no idea how and whether it fits into the whole, or whether the whole will work. The legislators who voted on it didn’t read it, and I doubt any of them understand it. The CBO is crunching numbers, not logistics and administration. There are, it appears, accounting tricks and other devices in the bill. No, no amount of statistics can deal with this fact: a complex system that is linked to a chaotic system is itself chaotic and inherently unpredictable. As Ellie says to Hammond in the ice cream scene in the movie of Jurassic Park: “You never had control: that was the illusion.” Exactly. The ACA is linked to not one chaotic system, but several: technological changes, demography, political developments, the economy. It is too big and complex to predict, and the overwhelming likelihood is that the chaotic elements will lead to total cost over-runs, one way or the other. The same factors—macro mathematics and the laws of big systems– that make big business uncontrollable make big government uncontrollable too. So yes, I confess, my mind is closed on that score, because it is a universal truth.

              • You have now just shown you are a better example of the problem you were trying to illustrate in the original post than is feminism. Well done!

                Chaos Theory did not say that Jurassic Park would spin out of control. That was an abuse of math, both in terminology and in actuality. It’s pretty clear that the logic fails, as there are giant systems that are profitable. No, not all assumptions will be born out, but that has nothing to do with Chaos Theory and that does not imply that things will end up worse instead of better over any finite period of time.

                • Huh? Who said anything about better, worse or “profitable”? The point is that large, complex systems are inherently unstable and unpredictable, and ultimately not within the ability of humans to control them. That IS “Jurassic Park,” and the core lesson of “Chaos”—and undeniably true.

                  • Huh? Who said anything about better, worse or “profitable”?

                    I assumed you a point to your argument. Instead you’re left with this:

                    The point is that large, complex systems are inherently unstable and unpredictable, and ultimately not within the ability of humans to control them.

                    That’s completely true, but it’s true of, well, EVERYTHING. That’s not a knock on the ACA For this point to actually be a point against the ACA, you have to get from “ultimately uncontrollable” to becomes bad. That’s where I got into profitable systems. It was one of the steps you skipped in your argument, Now, as I said, you have to show the system goes bad, but you also have to show the system goes bad in a finite amount of time that would be a net negative.

                    That’s the abuse of Chaos theory. You ignored that whole infinity thing and collapsed it down to going bad in an undefined short period of time.

                    That IS “Jurassic Park,” and the core lesson of “Chaos”—and undeniably true.

                    And that’s the bad math that I’m directly complaining about. Chaos theory says unpredictable things happen and nothing will last as expected forever. It says this will always occur given enough time, but that’s it.

            • Sorry for the triple-posting, but I’m now wondering if my last comment, thanking you for admitting a mistake, came off as obnoxious or sarcastic. It wasn’t intended that way; I think internet debates would be a lot better if more people were willing to admit to making mistakes now and then.

              Going to sleep now!

    • Oh–re the ACA: the CBO now officially disagrees with this, though that’s still the partisan spin. It will increase the deficit, because the assumptions necessary to prove otherwise were and are false.

      • Citation needed. Last I saw, the CBO still thought the ACA would reduce the deficit compared to the expected deficit where all other things are equal. It won’t lower the overall deficit, but that’s always been irrelevant.

    • I agree that Diane’s essay borders on incoherent, but this statement “I’m tempted to say that it’s OK for a feminist campaigner to oppose abortion, as long as she doesn’t try to restrict other women’s access to it. Then again, I can’t help wondering if part of Feminists for Life’s agenda is to undermine feminism by associating it with their anti-choice campaign” says, in essence, that it’s OK to oppose abortion if you don’t oppose abortion. You can have views that make you unqualified to be a feminist, as long as you don’t advocate them. This is “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” It’s unethical nonsense.

      Rational people think all sorts of irrational and unethical things, and saying that a full human life can be legally sacrificed for the convenience of another life with greater power is one of them. It violates most, if not all ethical systems, and would be toxic for any society that embraced it. The only moral excuse for not opposing abortion is that we cannot say with certainty when human life reaches the stage when it deserves full respect and protection. Do pro-abortion advocates interpret the known data so as to make their position tenable, rather than without a pre-determined conclusion being sought? I have no doubt about it. Thompson’s argument has the virtue of being honest. It would never prevail, so it is of academic interest only.

      Your “ideal solution” ducks the core question. Does autonomy include the right to kill a child, if that’s what it is? That has to be addressed, by feminists and everyone else. The argument that the best course is to ignore the question, I think, is many things, none of them good.

      • “The only moral excuse for not opposing abortion is that we cannot say with certainty when human life reaches the stage when it deserves full respect and protection.”

        Would that sentence be equally true without the “not” in it?

          • Thanks. I ask because I have followed this thread with greater interest in it than in most other threads in your blog. I was a feminist for many years before I committed to any anti-abortion views. I do not consider feminism and anti-abortionism mutually exclusive.

            Among the concepts that drive and guide my thinking on ethics, feminism and abortion are:
            – human potential and its fulfillment;
            – history, as its circumstances and its inhabitants have affected (and reflected) human potential;
            – opportunity for fulfillment of human potential, and opportunity costs; and
            – justice, injustices, and risks of injustices as they inherently relate to, or result in, issues about opportunities and opportunity costs.

            • The second you start talking about human potential and its fullfillment, in re abortion, is code for treating women as baby makers. Was that your intention?

          • Equivocation. Fetuses are lives, they’re just not fully human lives. By your logic, the default position on masturbation (or any non-procreational sex) also has to be no.

            Without evidence the default position is to allow behavior.

            • Sperm cells are not lives, full or otherwise. That’s a cheap analogy.

              Who says fetuses aren’t “fully human lives”? It’s a subjective definition, that’s all. One definition is as valid as the other—if you want to kill them, then its convenient to conclude they aren’t “fully human.” That still might be correct, but its a corrupt way to make the call.

              • Sperm cells are not lives, full or otherwise. That’s a cheap analogy.

                Sperm cells are live cells. It’s almost entertaining that argue that biology does not explain certain things when you clearly don’t have a grasp of biology.

                Who says fetuses aren’t “fully human lives”? It’s a subjective definition, that’s all. One definition is as valid as the other—if you want to kill them, then its convenient to conclude they aren’t “fully human.” That still might be correct, but its a corrupt way to make the call.

                No, it’s not a subjective definition. It’s an objective biological definition. Just like Akin’s magical womb fairies, this isn’t something up for debate. You want it to be subjective because this FACT goes against your conclusion.

                • 1. You’re being obnoxious. They are live cells—they are not individuals, and can never be individuals. My kidney is alive too.\
                  2. How can it be a “fact”? Of course it’s a subjective definition–I’m looking at a bioethics text book right now that lists the various and hotly debated definitions of what constitutes a human being, and fetuses of various stages of development are on the list.

                  Winning arguments is so easy when you can just declare that the disagreement doesn’t exist. I’m glad you’ve made up your mind, but a political majority doesn’t define what constitutes a scientific fact.

                  • 1. Is an individual a human being? A sperm sure can become a human being when certain things happen to it. Same thing goes for a fetus. There is no tangible difference between a sperm interacting with various cells in a woman’s body to become a human and a fetus interacting with various cells in a woman’s body to become a human.

                    I am not being obnoxious. I’m being biologically correct and I’m not letting you get away with equivocation. It might be unintentional equivocation, but it’s still equivocation. You were corrected on this biology in a previous abortion thread. That you continue to spout it incorrectly is more evidence that what you are saying is dogma.

                    2. Do you want me to pull out by biology textbook that says evolution is a hotly debated topic? It’s “hotly debated” If evolution is problematic for literalist christianity. That doesn’t mean anything. I don’t care about your appeal to conflict. The biological definition for a human being is set. It is set the exact same way for other species of mammals. It’s only controversial for the same reasons that evolution is controversial. People don’t like the results.

                    I agree with your last part. Fortunately, it doesn’t refer to me.

      • I agree that Diane’s essay borders on incoherent, but this statement “I’m tempted to say that it’s OK for a feminist campaigner to oppose abortion, as long as she doesn’t try to restrict other women’s access to it. Then again, I can’t help wondering if part of Feminists for Life’s agenda is to undermine feminism by associating it with their anti-choice campaign” says, in essence, that it’s OK to oppose abortion if you don’t oppose abortion. You can have views that make you unqualified to be a feminist, as long as you don’t advocate them. This is “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” It’s unethical nonsense.

        Diane had unclear words, but a clear point. Pro-choice generally, pro-abortion personally is fine. It was unnecessary to claim this as the second clause is inherent in the first, by being pro-choice, you can choose not to have an abortion and you also can’t judge anyone that chooses not to have an abortion.

        Rational people think all sorts of irrational and unethical things, and saying that a full human life can be legally sacrificed for the convenience of another life with greater power is one of them. It violates most, if not all ethical systems, and would be toxic for any society that embraced it.

        Yay for counterfactual situations!

        The only moral excuse for not opposing abortion is that we cannot say with certainty when human life reaches the stage when it deserves full respect and protection.

        Actually, we can. You know that point where a fetus ceases being a fetus and becomes an independent organism without reliance on the organism it was parisitic of? You just don’t like that answer.

        Do pro-abortion advocates interpret the known data so as to make their position tenable, rather than without a pre-determined conclusion being sought? I have no doubt about it.

        First, it’s still true that nobody is pro-abortion. Second, the biological evidence is black and white, That you assume the other side is misinterpretting it pretty much gives the game away.

        In your best case scenario, the evidence is unclear, so your anti-choice position cannot be support.

        Your “ideal solution” ducks the core question. Does autonomy include the right to kill a child, if that’s what it is? That has to be addressed, by feminists and everyone else. The argument that the best course is to ignore the question, I think, is many things, none of them good.

        I don’t see a question ducked. We already know that fetus is not a child. Positing otherwise is an interesting hypothetical, but nothing more than that.

        • “Diane had unclear words, but a clear point. Pro-choice [ You mean pro-abortion—I hate that euphemism] generally, pro-abortion [ You mean anti-abortion, I assume?] personally is fine.”

          I don’t think its’ fine. I think it is cowardly, dishonest, without integrity and unethical, if the reason for opposing abortion is the conclusion that a fetus is a human life.

          “Yay for counterfactual situations!”

          You’ll have to explain this.

          “The only moral excuse for not opposing abortion is that we cannot say with certainty when human life reaches the stage when it deserves full respect and protection. Actually, we can. You know that point where a fetus ceases being a fetus and becomes an independent organism without reliance on the organism it was parisitic of? You just don’t like that answer.”

          Babies aren’t “independent organisms” either. Conjoined twins can just be killed at whim, because they aren’t independent of the other? The “parasite” argument was concocted to justify killing unborn babies–nobody thought of fetuses as parasites until it became a politically expedient characterization.

          “First, it’s still true that nobody is pro-abortion.”
          That’s just demonstrably untrue.

          “Second, the biological evidence is black and white.”
          Huh? How do you get to that conclusion? If a child can be extracted from the womb and live, I’d call that conclusive biological evidence that the child is a full human life deserving full legal protection. Late term abortion advocates say otherwise. How is that “black and white”?

          “In your best case scenario, the evidence is unclear, so your anti-choice position cannot be supported.”
          Again, I am not “pro-choice.” I am anti-unethical, contrived, irresponsible and cruel choices. And if the evidence is unclear, the reasonable position is to give the benefit of the doubt to the one who would be killed.

          “I don’t see a question ducked. We already know that fetus is not a child. Positing otherwise is an interesting hypothetical, but nothing more than that.”
          “We” don’t “know” anything of the sort. Assuming the answer to the core question at issue is cheating.

          • “Diane had unclear words, but a clear point. Pro-choice [ You mean pro-abortion—I hate that euphemism] generally, pro-abortion [ You mean anti-abortion, I assume?] personally is fine.”

            I don’t think its’ fine. I think it is cowardly, dishonest, without integrity and unethical, if the reason for opposing abortion is the conclusion that a fetus is a human life.

            Yes, I did mean anti-abortion for pro-abortion.

            You are wrong in calling pro-choice a euphemism and you are wrong to insist on the improper pro-abortion label. Pro-abortion is in favor of more abortions. Pro-choice people are normally in favor of preventative measures to avoid abortion. This isn’t a hard distinction, and your use of the wrong term is an invalid argumentative technique.

            For the actual argument, you added in an extra clause, and you’re now arguing against a strawman.

            “Yay for counterfactual situations!”

            You’ll have to explain this.

            Your statement that I quoted: “Rational people think all sorts of irrational and unethical things, and saying that a full human life can be legally sacrificed for the convenience of another life with greater power is one of them.”

            Do you see where you claim that rational people are saying that a full human life can be legally sacrificed by someone with greater power? Yea? No one claims that.

            “The only moral excuse for not opposing abortion is that we cannot say with certainty when human life reaches the stage when it deserves full respect and protection. Actually, we can. You know that point where a fetus ceases being a fetus and becomes an independent organism without reliance on the organism it was parisitic of? You just don’t like that answer.”

            Babies aren’t “independent organisms” either. Conjoined twins can just be killed at whim, because they aren’t independent of the other? The “parasite” argument was concocted to justify killing unborn babies–nobody thought of fetuses as parasites until it became a politically expedient characterization.

            Conjoined twins are co-dependent. That’s a different situation as singularly dependent. Comparison fails. My argument stands.

            I actually used the descriptive word parasitic, which is an accurate reflection of a mammal fetus. It also doesn’t matter when a word came into play, only whether or not it is accurate. When we’ve learned more about mammilian gestation, parasite has become a more appropriate characterization. For instance, do you know why women actually menstruate? It’s because, over the course of the month, the fertile female body builds up a layer of protection in case a fertilized egg latches on. Without this layer of protection, the little zygote would take more nutrients than the mother could healthily give. Menstruation is the result of the female body defending itself from a possible pregnancy.

            Whether you like the word parasitic or not, my argument is still valid.

            “First, it’s still true that nobody is pro-abortion.”
            That’s just demonstrably untrue.

            Can you name anyone who wants there to be more abortions?

            “Second, the biological evidence is black and white.”
            Huh? How do you get to that conclusion? If a child can be extracted from the womb and live, I’d call that conclusive biological evidence that the child is a full human life deserving full legal protection. Late term abortion advocates say otherwise. How is that “black and white”?

            That someone can live on it’s own doesn’t mean it is living on its own. The fetus is not living on it’s own. Are you suggesting that this extraction process (cutting open a women to pull out the fetus) does not involve the woman?

            “In your best case scenario, the evidence is unclear, so your anti-choice position cannot be supported.”
            Again, I am not “pro-choice.” I am anti-unethical, contrived, irresponsible and cruel choices. And if the evidence is unclear, the reasonable position is to give the benefit of the doubt to the one who would be killed.

            I called you anti-choice, not pro-choice. I should have used anti-abortion for you.

            If we have an unclear position and we can’t assign a liklihood to any result, the only ethical position is to allow any choice. You can’t give the benefit of the doubt to the one who would be killed, as we don’t know if there’s a “one” who could be killed. You just begged the question.

            “I don’t see a question ducked. We already know that fetus is not a child. Positing otherwise is an interesting hypothetical, but nothing more than that.”
            “We” don’t “know” anything of the sort. Assuming the answer to the core question at issue is cheating.

            As previously noted. Based on the biology, we do actually know. More importantly, for your statement, the people at issue are sure of the biology, so they never reach the question that is supposedly being ducked. They never get to that question.

            You are clearly trying to have things two ways here. Is the core question whether or not a fetus has full human rights, or is the core question whether or not it’s okay to kill an individual with full human rights based on other concerns?

            You claimed that latter was the core question and they were ducking it by saying a fetus does not have a full human rights. That result is reached by logic, so they aren’t ducking the latter question.

            Now, you have said that I am begging the core question, You switched to say whether a fetus has full rights is the core question, but that has already been answered.

            —-

            There’s lots of side points with you using invalid arguments here and there, but the main point is that you are wrong on the biology, and your attempt at a counter example was an obvious failure. Is there anything else you would like to throw at the wall?

            • From what I gather, the real dividing line here seems to be the disagreement as to whether “parasitic” is a valid dividing line, so here’s a rather goofy hypothetical, just so I can get a clearer picture of this debate (and to see whether my characterization of it is correct to begin with): what if one day, another head happened to sprout simultaneously on your shoulder? Now, it can’t control your body in anyway, and can be removed with relatively little harm to yourself. However, said head can think independently, and currently has the mental capacity of at least a 15 year old, which will improve with more time. What do you do? Does your answer change if we drop the age to, say, a newborn? What if it eventually drops off and develops an independent body if you let it sit long enough?

              My apologies for the silliness.

              • Julian,

                In your hypothetical, I have no idea what would be correct, as there is no known biological understanding about sentient (but noncontrolling) heads appearing on someone’s body. We would need considerably more details on the situation and how it occurred.

                Also, your situation isn’t analogous to even late term fetuses. Besides the assumptions about “relatively little harm” (which has no defined meaning) and “thinking independently”, the lack of biological construct means that this siutation isn’t akin to, well, anything.

                And that shows where the actual difference is. Jack doesn’t care about the actual biology, and what it means. He’s looking at the situation, coming up with possibilities about it, and then judging what to do based on assumptions, even though we already know which of his assumed possibilities are true and which are false.

  9. Sorry to nitpick, have to though.

    -The Bible does not say that the Earth is less than 10000 years old. It says nothing about the age of the Earth at all. Someone added up the genealogies in Genesis and came up with the 6000 years theory…not knowing that those are not complete genealogies, just references about who descended from whom. People who believe that the Earth is 10000 years old are not Biblical literalists. They just accept a faulty tradition.

    -Also, you can have innate biological urges and they can still be sinful according to the Bible. I’d go so far as to say that almost ALL sin is innate biological urges, according to the Bible. I don’t see why so many Christians think homosexuality should be any different.
    The Bible itself doesn’t require a rejection of any scientific reality in either of the examples mentioned.
    Sorry, nitpicking over. Just asking that we not confuse “Bible-believers acting stupid” with “believing the Bible = stupid.”

    • Believing the Bible literally=stupid. Believing the Bible wasn’t written by human beings of their own time=stupid. Using the Bible or any book to substitute for reason, analysis, knowledge and experience=stupid. Or, to be fair and kinder, doing any of these things, for whatever reason, leads to behavior and statements that will closely resemble stupidity.

    • People who believe that the Earth is 10000 years old are not Biblical literalists. They just accept a faulty tradition.

      Yes, they accept a faulty tradition, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t actual literalists. If the book is perfect, generations would not be left out. Duh!

      That you are arguing over specific interpretations of the bible just proves my point. Belief comes first. Evidence is then ignored if it doesn’t fit the belief.

  10. I hope the women of feministsforlife.org are all standing in front of abortion clinics and holding up banners asking the following: “Are you desperate and in need of help?” And than back that up with actual help whether financial or emotional…or of the “don’t got a home? move in with me”-kind.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.