Abortion Ethics Train Wreck Update: Trump’s Comments Prove He Hasn’t Thought About Abortion (Irresponsible), Criticism Of Hillary’s Comments Prove Abortion Advocates Don’t Want ANYBODY Thinking About Abortion (Dishonest), and Pundit Criticism Of Maureen Dowd’s Question To Trump About Abortion Makes No Sense (Incompetent)

stages

Good job, everybody!

It is a cliché to say that Americans never talk frankly about race. Yet our aversion to honest talk about race pales compared to the lazy, intellectually dishonest and cowardly way we discuss one of the major ethics conflicts of our age, abortion.

1. For some reason, it took seven months of the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination for anyone to ask Donald Trump about his views on abortion, which is a core issue to conservatives, progressives and feminists, as wellas a major factor in the controversy over the composition of the Supreme Court. Never mind that Trump’s answers were incoherent and contradictory, and that he took  five different positions on abortion in three days last week: what was outrageous about Trump’s answer(s) was that he was obviously winging it. He had never given the issue any quality thought at all (if he is capable of quality thought, which I doubt), and faking it, indeed as he has faked his entire campaign. Do Trump supporters need further smoking gun evidence that he is not only unprepared for the Presidency, but too lazy, irresponsible and intellectually limited to be trusted with the job?

Okay, we know they do, because they are impervious to logic or reason.  Still, this was a stunning display of Trump’s hollowness and incompetence as a candidate.

2. Then Hillary Clinton wandered into the same mine field, a map of which she should be know by heart. “The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights,” Mrs. Clinton said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t do everything we possibly can in the vast majority of instances to, you know, help a mother who is carrying a child and wants to make sure that child will be healthy, to have appropriate medical support.”

To begin with, the statement is false: the Supreme Court has ruled that embryos do have rights at some point, much disputed, before they are born. She was correct, however, that a living, growing organism that left alone and allowed to mature will be born, and will upon birth be a person in the eyes of the law and in the definitions of common sense, is by definition a person prior to that except for the absence of its birth, and thus is, by common construction, an unborn person, or, if you prefer, unborn human being, unborn baby, or unborn child. A bill is an unpassed law. A manuscript is an unpublished book. A law school grad is an unlicensed lawyer….which is to say, not a lawyer until something happens that has not happened yet. Hillary did not misspeak, except that speaking the truth is misspeaking to the pro-abortion lobby.

The problem is that Hillary’s terminology conjures up images of tiny hands and tiny heads, perhaps with tiny mouths sucking tiny thumbs. Hence she was immediately taken to the woodshed and told to be more careful about what she admits to.

Diana Arellano, manager of community engagement for Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, quickly responded that Clinton’s comments undermined  abortion rights. It  “further stigmatizes #abortion,”  Arellano said on Twitter “She calls a fetus an ‘unborn child’ & calls for later term restrictions.”

The abortion movement has even issued guidelines to ensure that abortion advocates don’t humanize the growing human beings that they want to make sure can be erased upon their mothers’ whims. It advises against using terms like  “abort a child,” recommending “more accurate/appropriate” alternatives such as “end a pregnancy” (Pregnant with what?) or “have an abortion” (accomplishing what?).

“‘Abort a child’ is medically inaccurate, as the fetus is not yet a child,” the guide reads. “‘Terminate’ a pregnancy is commonly used, however some people prefer to avoid this as terminate may have negative connotations (e.g., ‘terminator or assassinate’) for some people.”

Heaven forbid that ending a nascent life have any negative connotations.

The guidebook also vetoes “baby,” “dead fetus,” “unborn baby” or “unborn child” when discussing what it is that’s being aborted. It recommends the terms “embryo,” “fetus” and “the pregnancy.”  “The alternatives are medically accurate terms, as the embryo or fetus is not a baby,” it explains.

This is more than a little deceitful. “Embryo” is not strictly applied to human beings (it applies to all developing life forms, including plants), but according to dictionaries, when it is applied to human pregnancy, it is frequently  and accurately used as a synonym for developing human beings. Here’s Webster, for example: “Embryo...especially :  the developing human individual from the time of implantation to the end of the eighth week after conception.”

Is it fair, honest, descriptive and accurate to call a “developing human individual” an “unborn person”? Sure it is.

The pro-abortion movement will raise reasonable  suspicion that it is trying to obfuscate, confuse and avoid the real issues at hand as long as it insists on playing this game of rhetorical hide-and-seek. It wants to justify ending nascent human lives: all right, make the case. Don’t pretend that it’s a different case. If Hillary Clinton, after all these decades as a pro-choice feminist, calls the life at issue an unborn person, this indicates that the pro-abortion forces know very well that unborn persons are what they advocate killing at will. They just don’t want anyone to think about it. They want everyone to be like Donald Trump.

3. Maureen Dowd of The New York Times interviewed Trump and asked him if, when he was a swinging bachelor in Manhattan,  he ever was involved with a woman who had an abortion?

“Such an interesting question,” he replied, ducking. “So what’s your next question?”

Conservative pundits, incredibly, are calling foul. Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, tweeted,

“Did anybody ever ask Obama that? Or Bill Clinton?”

No, and that demonstrates no double standard at all. Both toe the official party line that abortion is fine, ethical, and just a dandy thing altogether. Having a relationship with a woman result in an abortion would be completely consistent with their stated beliefs—heck, it would enhance their standing with feminists. The question is a legitimate one, however, to an alleged abortion opponent.

I would bet my home, my life’s saving and a passel of bank loans that Trump has paid for at least one abortion, and probably several, and never thought about what he was paying for, other than eliminating a problem. That’s ethically deplorable, but it’s just the way abortion advocates want it.

 

84 thoughts on “Abortion Ethics Train Wreck Update: Trump’s Comments Prove He Hasn’t Thought About Abortion (Irresponsible), Criticism Of Hillary’s Comments Prove Abortion Advocates Don’t Want ANYBODY Thinking About Abortion (Dishonest), and Pundit Criticism Of Maureen Dowd’s Question To Trump About Abortion Makes No Sense (Incompetent)

    • You read my mind.

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      If these flop, it will be ’14 and ’15 redux:

      Hanley Ramirez, David Ortiz, Eduardo Rodriguez, Xander Bogaerts.

    • *sings*

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      Well, you’d better get ready for a brand new day
      Hey, Chicago, what do you say?
      The Cubs are gonna win today

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      The Cubs are gonna win today

  1. If I’m going to pick a fight against the pro-abortion side, it’s the furtherance of this idea that women get to choose who lives or dies. Right or wrong, I can see the distinction between ending a pregnancy and ending a life. I’m fine with ending a pregnancy in many situations but that does not mean I’m fine with ending a life in any situation. Every time there’s an abortion post, I feel obligated to write about the future where every embryo or fetus can be saved and any pregnancy can be ended at any time because medicine will be able to complete the incubation and maturation. It’s in that world where I believe pro-abortion advocates will hit a wall with a realization that abortion is not the power to decide who comes into the world, but simply a power to decide the state of your physical health for the next ~9 months.

    • “…the future where every embryo or fetus can be saved and any pregnancy can be ended at any time because medicine will be able to complete the incubation and maturation.”

      And in that beautiful future – who raises the child?

      • That’s the multi-trillion dollar question. The anti-choice crowd usually runs with the “no government welfare spending” crowd so I’m guessing a fetus that ultimately will die from abortion will have to pass some sort of waivers system first, whereas adoptive families get to pick and choose which fetus to adopt, sponsor, and foot the bill to bring to term.

        The beauty of such technology is that fathers will finally have an opportunity to bring their wanted children into the world while still accepting the abortion decision of the person they knocked up. It’ll be interesting the first time the father in that situation goes after the mother for child support payments.

        • “Every time there’s an abortion post, I feel obligated to write about the future where every embryo or fetus can be saved and any pregnancy can be ended at any time because medicine will be able to complete the incubation and maturation. It’s in that world where I believe pro-abortion advocates will hit a wall with a realization that abortion is not the power to decide who comes into the world, but simply a power to decide the state of your physical health for the next ~9 months.”

          I agree with most of this, but I’m not sure this will pose as big a problem to abortion advocates as you claim; most of the speculation about the benefits of artificial wombs I have heard has come from abortion advocates.

          • “most of the speculation about the benefits of artificial wombs I have heard has come from abortion advocates.”

            In my experience, the people who are most excited about abortion are opposed to artificial wombs (although to be fair, the religious component of the pro-life side has a very uncomfortable relationship with technology in general.). I searched ‘Artificial Womb’ on Google, these were the top three non-definition results (I’m taking out wikipedia and dictionary.com):

            http://motherboard.vice.com/read/artificial-wombs-are-coming-and-the-controversys-already-here

            ‘Still, some feminists view ectogenesis with skepticism, saying it will hand over women’s sacred birthing ability to science. In an essay in the book Feminist Perspectives in Medical Ethics, Julien S. Murphy, chair of the philosophy department and professor of philosophy at University of Southern Maine, wrote that ectogenesis has sparked “disagreement among feminists.”‘

            http://www.businessinsider.com/the-major-problems-with-artificial-wombs-2015-5

            ‘A mother is more than a uterus.’

            ‘In other words, even if we did get the placenta down, there’s more to being a pregnant mother than the physical exchange of nutrients and waste that happens in the womb. What a woman does with the rest of her body matters too, and humans are complex enough machines that just simulating the uterus might not cut it. (That’s one reason uterus transplants — rather than external wombs — have already had some success.) ‘

            http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/12/feminists-get-ready-pregnancy-and-abortion-are-about-to-be-disrupted

            I wanted to paste that entire article, and I recommend reading, but my point is best made with this line:

            ‘Depending on who uses artificial wombs and under what circumstances, the impacts could be profound, as Samantha Allen argues:

            [The] separation of gestation from a woman’s body will have earth-shattering consequences for the contemporary feminist movement … Ectogenesis will pry open every gendered fault-line in contemporary cultural politics, from workplace politics to the men’s rights movement to an increasingly virulent abortion debate.

            The possibility of these profound effects depends less on the technology itself, and more on the ways it would interact with existing social conditions. Put another way, the important thing to analyse is the ends to which ectogenesis might be put – many of them perverse.

            Because pregnancy occurs inside the body, it has a level of existing privacy that resists control in societies that value individual rights. This is not to say reproductive justice is an already-existing state of affairs; many jurisdictions exercise shocking power over women’s bodies – especially in the US, where Republicans consistently attempt to make trans-vaginal ultrasounds and other invasive procedures mandatory for women seeking a termination.’

            What does this mean? Well… Take for example the religious right: It isn’t inconsistent for them to say that an artificial womb is against some kind of scripture, in fact it’s very much in line with their general theme of ‘technology bad; harder way of doing things good.’ It would mean that they’d have ranked artificially grown people as a greater affront to God than killing children in the womb, or that they’re both offensive enough to resist. Proving that this was never about the child to them, but about their God.

            On the other hand, it’s also not inconsistent for feminists to take a position against artificial wombs if you consider that their view isn’t actually women’s reproductive rights, instead viewing those reproductive rights as the vehicle they use to push for women’s power. They might dress this up in various smocks, but the argument will eventually be something that can be paraphrased to ‘Mothering is women’s work, and how dare you try to take it away from us.’. Proving that this was never about the choice to them, they’re more than willing to impede women’s choices in other areas, but about their gender-binaried class war.

            But for all the reasonable people in between, which to be fair I’d include most the people in here (with some glaring and obvious exceptions), this becomes an acceptable compromise: Women would have their choice, and we wouldn’t be killing children out of convenience. Happy days, right?

            Right?

    • I recently came across a family with a baby born at five months, four months old and exactly what you’d expect of a nine-month newborn, born with a month still to go in the second trimester – an impossible child when Roe was written.

    • Interesting. It would be nice, if there were people willing to be responsible for those children, even those that are imperfect. I am assuming the parent(s) would give up parental rights and not be responsible financially or physically. The world population is growing, resources are limited, we will surpass our planet’s ability to sustain us a great many live in poverty or by crime…is it socially responsible to allow every product of conception to be born?

      Currently there are about 7 billion people and the estimated capacity is 9-10 billion and that is with giving up many things we take for granted, like eating meat. Luckily, thanks in large part to China’s (now relaxed) horrible one child laws, world reproduction rates are falling.

      If you dutifully nurture every chance unwanted meeting of sperm and egg into a living, breathing human….you become obligated in some way to provide it with a tenable life and opportunity, certainly the last thing we want is more children in the foster care system, or with scant opportunity for a self-sufficient life. You may say there are lots of people wanting to adopt adorable, newborn, infants, but that demand would be sated quickly and at some point you may end up with children who do not have homes to go into. Or what of the genetically imperfect? Would you continue to nurture a fetus with anencephaly, or with genetic conditions that would cause them to need intensive and/or expensive life-long care?

      It disturbs me that I often feel like the anti-abortion crowd is VERY concerned with the unborn. But once a child is born, or grown into an adult, they seem to lose all of that empathy. I would hesitate to enact legislation that raises the birth rate when so many already born (children and adults) lack basic needs to enjoy a fulfilling life. We need to get our human welfare shortfalls fixed before we add even more children to the mix.

        • And all points used very effectively to defend both slavery and genocide at critical points in history. The old classics never die.

            • I can’t help what it feels like to you, seeing as it’s factual. The “who’s going to take care of all of those slaves?” argument was what kept slavery viable among otherwise reasonable people for decades.

              • Right…but in this discussion, how is that relevant? Now you haven’t made me feel like engaging on your sidebar, so, if you want to continue down that path, I hope it makes someone else feel like engaging, for your sake, since you can’t help how you make people feel.

              • I suppose the former slaves could take care of themselves. I don’t think we can say the same for embryos, fetuses, or even children. In other words, I don’t see the connection.

          • The same argument could be used to repeal murder and wrongful death statutes.

            Who is going to feed people if we do not kill them?

            (I wonder why AL Qaeda never made this argument to justify 9/11.)

          • Not any more than contract enforcement. The woman voluntarily granted the fetus that when she chose to risk pregnancy.

            To be honest, I have zero trouble with abortion up to 10 weeks or so, but I consider the right of the unborn child to not be killed more important, once it acquires rights at all.

            • Phlinn: “Not any more than contract enforcement. The woman voluntarily granted the fetus that when she chose to risk pregnancy.”

              I’d love to see this totally real and not at all imaginary legal contract you speak of.

    • Medical advances makes the saving of a fetus viable from about 26 weeks on if removed from the mother’s womb. The COST associated with saving that fetus is over $1 million. Are taxpayers willing to assume that cost? Even if, right now, 600,000 fetuses are aborted each year? Can we guarantee that there are enough adoptive families for these fetuses? Even those with fetal alcohol syndrome, Down’s, or other ailments?

      • My opinion? Absolutely not. Medical options are nice, but I think when rubber meets road and the hypothetical shifts from forcing a woman to bring a fetus to term, a tenable position in their mind, to taxpayer financing an expensive medical incubation, they’ll start looking the other way. Of course, let’s look at the future continuum here.

        We have a healthy host who’d like an abortion. We can let her have the abortion and incubate her fetus to maturity for $1M or we can offer her $500k to bring the fetus to maturity naturally. I bet she takes the money and saves the taxpayer (or whoever) half a million dollars. Our hero. How many women would take $100K for a baby? $50k? Now we’ve gone down some slippery slopes and introduced a slew of new ethical conundrums. Now women are getting pregnant just to sell a baby.

        So, it’s easy to see why taxpayers won’t want to finance such options. I think we just end up where we are right now, which is focusing on sex-ed and responsible actions.

      • ‘Even if, right now, 600,000 fetuses are aborted each year?’

        What kind of fetuses are they Beth? Are they chocolate flavored? Doesn’t that number just give you chills?

        But if we’re so concerned about the cost of stupid people doing stupid things stupidly, how about we create disadvantages to being stupid, as opposed to enabling it? I mean… Everyone screws up once, right? So how about every time a woman presents for a second abortion (and the numbers say that if a woman ever has an abortion, the average number of abortions she will have over her lifetime is slightly less than four.) we tie her tubes? Something reversible, but perhaps that reversal comes with a hefty price tag, something akin to compensating the system for the burden she’s put on it. And as an added benefit, because women cannot (yet) immaculately conceive, if she wants to have a child, there’s probably a man beside her that also wants to have a child, and because men make 23% more than women, he’ll carry more of the financial burden. We would effectively be halving the number of abortions performed (stopping them at 2 as opposed to four) and doing something about that pesky overpopulation problem that invariably gets brought up in these situations. If your problem is REALLY about the cost to taxpayers, overpopulation, and the burden it places on the system, this should be a great first step, right?

          • I’d find that a more acceptable alternative to the status quo. I’d love for people to use their ability to create life more responsibly, and hope for a day where this conversation is irrelevant.

              • For the record, I’m furiously scrubbing my hands with Borax for agreeing with a Hillary position, even situationally.

                And you’re aware that while I would find that an acceptable alternative, the status quo is currently that more black babies are aborted than born in New York annually, and that some women are using abortion as if it were birth control, this alongside a very vocal lobby that says that abortion should be available, free, and shameless. (looking at you Beth.)

        • 1. What did I write that makes you think that I DON’T find that number chilling or disturbing?
          2. What you are talking about is eugenics, pure and simple. Even when these programs are applied with good intentions, they always spiral into abuse.
          3. What I care about, ultimately, is QUALITY of human life; i.e., a life worth living that is full of promise. Debt, reduction in overpopulation, etc. are just side benefits that come with people making responsible procreation decisions. I’ve given this a lot of thought, and the only system that I have come up with so far that doesn’t go down the eugenics rabbit hole is paying people not to have children until they are thirty. After thirty, they get a tax benefit if they do have children.

          I’m welcome to other suggestions.

          • 1. Your nonchalance in using it, and your casual dismissal of it? For a start.

            2. Of course it’s eugenics, and of course I don’t actually advocate for it. It was an example to show that the position you took to defend abortion was one dishonestly held for the purposes of protecting abortion.

            3. Quality of human life? Are we still pretending that the embryo is a chocolate fondue? I’d make the argument that the most destitute of life is still preferential to death. And lets be real: anyone born in America, even taking disability into account, has a better quality of life than healthy people born elsewhere or almost anywhere else in history.

            But as to your question… That’s the rub, isn’t it? How do we get a population too stupid not to become pregnant when they don’t want to be to cease becoming pregnant when they don’t want to be? A tax incentive? How liberal of you. Poor people don’t make good financial decisions, it’s for the most part why they’re poor. Oh, it might not be their fault, they might not know better, but they still do stupid things… See: Lotteries. Similarly, fees won’t work, we’ll just end up throwing people in debtors prison for irresponsible sex. Eugenics would work, but it’s distasteful, authoritarian, and I don’t trust the government not to fuck it up. Shame. Shame I think works wonders in influencing behavior. This idea that there shouldn’t be shame attached to abortions is ridiculous to me, of course it’s shameful. You did something stupid, and now you’re fixing it with a medical procedure that wastes doctors time and resources so you can have it removed. ‘Destigmatising’ my ass. Stigmatize!

            • The perceived nonchalance is just that Humble — it is all in your mind.

              And nope. Shame doesn’t work. The states that still primarily teach abstinence have the highest rates of teen pregnancy and abortions.

              And financial incentives DO work. Are you aware of how our social welfare systems work in the US? More money, more food stamps, better housing with more rooms based on the number of children you have? We have young women (all are ignorant and poor) having additional children because they think it will improve the lot of the children that they already have! I’ve worked with these women and they don’t employ logic the way you and I do. Let’s replace that with a system where they get benefits for not increasing the number of children born into poverty, who will not get a good education, who will have a higher probability of landing in jail and, most importantly, who will also carelessly procreate at too young of an age.

              • “The perceived nonchalance is just that Humble — it is all in your mind.”

                Fair enough.

                “And nope. Shame doesn’t work. The states that still primarily teach abstinence have the highest rates of teen pregnancy and abortions.”

                Two completely separate issues: That’s only true because the adults in those kids lives are lying to them, and not adequately preparing them for life. You teach kids right, and then you hold them responsible if they screw up; Providing free abortion without consequence is like buying your teen a brand nee muscle car after they sped their last one into a ditch.

                “And financial incentives DO work. Are you aware of how our social welfare systems work in the US? More money, more food stamps, better housing with more rooms based on the number of children you have?”

                You say these things like they’re success stories. Are you aware of how those programs work? By almost every metric usage in those programs are up. Food Stamp usage under Obama has more than doubled. Figuring out ways for people to more efficiently suck off the system led to the system being more sucked off. Hold the presses.

                “We have young women (all are ignorant and poor) having additional children because they think it will improve the lot of the children that they already have! I’ve worked with these women and they don’t employ logic the way you and I do.”

                Go to your nearest Tim Hortons. Scratch that. American peasants don’t have good coffee. Go to a nearby cheap coffee shop, preferably one near a maternity ward. Order a large coffee, sit down and wait. What you’ll eventually hear is a group of women working out welfare math. “Right now the government gives me $500 a month, but after Jimmy turns 5 that goes down to $400, so I’m planning to have another kid so I can get into that new housing development and an extra $600 a month, and if I stub my toe in the hospital, I bet I can collect some disability money.” The problem is that they’re bad at it. If they actually worked the math out, they’d stop doing stupid things.

                You want a great example of people doing stupid things despite reinforcement? Drugs. Don’t do drugs, and we won’t throw you in jail. Oh wait… You’re still doing drugs. Huh. Whyfor you do these things? Meanwhile, what chance to these idiots have against sex, which is actually a natural impulse?

                • “You say these things like they’re success stories. Are you aware of how those programs work? By almost every metric usage in those programs are up. Food Stamp usage under Obama has more than doubled. Figuring out ways for people to more efficiently suck off the system led to the system being more sucked off. Hold the presses.”

                  I was saying the opposite — I thought that was clear. I want to REDUCE the amount of money we send to social services. The only way to do that is to reduce the need for them in the first place; i.e., fewer children in poverty. And fewer children who, in your words, grow up to engage in “welfare math” and to think that they are actually getting ahead.

                  I don’t like coffee but I’ll take your word for it that American coffee is awful. Certainly I have always thought so.

                  • As an aside… Having already identified Eugenics as bad policy… How do you feel about the element of Eugenics naturally at work in abortion? You’ve already made the point that abortion trends along poverty and ignorance.

                    • In my experience, the women seeking abortions now fall into a few categories: 1) stupid kids who see it as an “oops,” and get an abortion while they are young, but they will go on to have children later as adults; 2) women who use it as a form of birth control, but these women also have children (and usually more than 2.4 children); 3) adult women who terminate a pregnancy or two because of career reasons, bad marriages, something wrong with the pregnancy, etc.

                      As such, I don’t see the parallels to eugenics as much — given that the poor are still out-reproducing the middle class and upper class, even with abortions readily available.

                    • “Something wrong with the pregnancy” sometimes means “something wrong with the developing kid,” and THAT could be eugenics if it’s “she’s not a he,” he’s gay, he’s got blue eyes, he’s got six toes, he’s black, he’s a Down Syndrome kid, he’s got no legs, its twins…right?

                    • Gender selection through use of abortions is common in third world countries, but not here. Parents who elect gender selection here are usually doing it via IVF — and it’s rare. Your other categories also are not common or even plausible, with the exception of Down’s. And, even there, I think societal views are changing in favor of raising the child vs. abortion.

  2. Jack said, “…he has faked his entire campaign.”

    I’m not sure what you’re saying; can you explain?

    Personally I don’t believe a word out of Trump’s mouth, absolutely nothing, it’s ALL A LIE, every word of it! Trump is making it up on the fly and saying whatever pops into his head that he “thinks” some voters want to hear. If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything; Trump is a pathological liar.

    • His entire approach is that of a practiced bull-artist and bluffer, a kid who doesn’t study but talks in class anyway. He has no plans, has given no thought to practicalities or policy implementation. That’s not a serious campaign. “It’s going to be great” and “we’ll make deals” is just empty rhetoric, and empty rhetoric is fakery, pretending seriousness and expertise that doesn’t exist.

      If a “doctor” in a consultation said, “Yeah, well, I recommend taking some stuff and maybe operating to fix whatever it is, and you’ll be better than ever!” Would you think you were getting real medical advice?

      • Jack said, “His entire approach is that of a practiced bull-artist and bluffer, a kid who doesn’t study but talks in class anyway.”

        We’re in complete agreement.

        I’m completely convinced that either Trump can’t think deeply about anything or he is intentionally hiding his true opinions with a facade of BS rhetoric. If the first is true, then my best description of Trump to date is he’s a narcissist who’s a hollow shelled airhead desperately trying to hide the fact that he’s a blithering idiot; if the latter is true then he’s a narcissist who has devastatingly devious motives.

        Hollow Shelled Airhead: The metaphor describing the empty vessel of a stupid person.

  3. Actually, Trump managed to do some serious truth-telling, and unintentionally exposed one of the flaws in the pro-life case. The fact that he then had to backtrack doesn’t mean he was wrong, it just means he got caught being politically incorrect according to the established conservative pro-life dogma he thought he was imitating.

    Consider two pregnant women.

    –One drives 100 miles to an abortion clinic, waits the obligatory 24-48 hours, and then receives an abortion. A considered, intentional act of murder, according to abortion foes.

    –The other gets drunk and kills someone at a bar with her .38. An act of passion, perhaps, but equally murder in the eyes of pretty much everyone.

    Donald Trump made the “mistake” of saying that if both are murder, then obviously both must be subject to criminal punishment.

    But of course that’s not the party line. The party line is that the aborting woman was not at fault, that she’s temporarily confused, and deserving of mercy, because, you know, women can’t be held accountable for such terrible decisions. They deserve mercy, just like the unborn child, because, like, they’re not really responsible for their actions.

    But the other woman? No way – send her to the chair.

    I can very easily see why Donald Trump – and any fan of linear logic, for that matter – might consider a carefully planned, sober, intentional murder to be if anything MORE egregious than a momentary act of passion while under the influence.

    What this simple thought experiment demonstrates is that the conservative stance is at least as much political as it is moral; it amounts to what is politically acceptable in this country at this time. Nobody’s going to stand for imprisoning women who have abortions – not in the US in 2016. Half the world’s women live in countries that permit abortion legally; and abortion has been around as long as human life. By contrast, most moral laws come far closer to universal acceptance.

    I don’t question the sincerity of people who have moral objections to abortion; hardly any woman eagerly seeks it out. But it’s also absurd to claim that there is any absolutist position, given the range of political accommodations over mankind’s history.

    Trump just got caught telling an inconvenient truth – and got punished for not having been appropriately inconsistent.

    • Donald Trump made the “mistake” of saying that if both are murder, then obviously both must be subject to criminal punishment.

      No, he made the mistake of making a simple-minded calculation that ignores history, experience, and reality. We have ample experience that society has no stomach for punishing someone for terminating their own pregnancy. Not all murders are equal, and any law calling a mother’s willful abortion murder would have to acknowledge that it’s a very special kind. That’s why the issue is discussed here as an ethical one, not a legal one. Unenforceable laws are bad laws. This wasn’t “truth,” but ignorance. If some abortions are going to be termed crimes, the criminal has to be the provider, not the mother. Yes, that’s unusual, but so is abortion.

      • Jack, you too have uttered an important truth here when you say, “not all murders are equal.”

        The anti-abortion crowd doesn’t want you saying that, because they derive most of their ethical impact from insisting that in fact, abortion IS murder.

        But they’re up against not only your commonsensical statement, but that of standard law as well. Here is the opening section from Wikipedia about the List of Punishments for Murder:

        ————
        Murder, as defined in common law countries, is the unlawful killing of another human being with intent (or malice aforethought), and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide (such as manslaughter). As the loss of a human being inflicts an enormous amount of grief for individuals close to the victim, as well as the fact that the commission of a murder permanently deprives the victim of their existence, most societies have considered it a very serious crime deserving of the most harshest punishment available. Typically a convicted murder suspect is given a life sentence or even the death penalty for such an act. A person who commits murder is called a murderer, and the penalties, as outlined below, vary from state to state.
        ——-

        It is blindingly, astonishingly evident to observe simply that abortion, by the above description, does NOT constitute murder. Not the way we in this country and in fact most countries in the world use the word. No way close.

        Yet this is EXACTLY the kind of double-speak that the Ted Cruz’s and pro-lifers would like to slide past everyone. They want to claim on the one hand that abortion is murder – it’s just that with THIS kind of “murder” you should be able to punish the hit man but not the person who hired him.

        Actually, even to say “not all murders are equal” requires quite a bit of torturous redefinition of common language.

        I might say, “Not all chickens are equal – some are horses,” but that doesn’t make it true. Any reasonable person faced with a runaway horse is going to say, “Watch out for the horse!” regardless of their preference for calling some chickens horses.

        Similarly: if I say “murder,” neither society at large nor our legal system considers you to be talking about abortion.

        Unless you’re an anti-abortionist – a linguistic contortionist.

        • It can’t be murder if its legal. That’s the starting point. The argument is that it is a wrongful taking of life that should be illegal, but even if it was, we probably wouldn’t call that kind of taking “murder.” Assisted suicide isn’t murder either. The discussion should begin with “killing.”

          All of which is more complicated than Trump’s thinking about the matter.

          • I completely agree. And suggest that anyone who blithely calls abortion “murder” should have to read what you wrote.

        • “not all murders are equal.”

          ‘The anti-abortion crowd doesn’t want you saying that, because they derive most of their ethical impact from insisting that in fact, abortion IS murder.’

          I disagree. Like Jack said, it has to be illegal to be murder, and even if it was murder, there are still degrees. What I think the movement focuses on is the dead babies, and the moral bankruptcy of anyone who knows that we kill 600,000 things (we think of them as unborn people, even if you think of them as unfortunate tumors) annually and think that is anything other than a fucking disgusting waste.

          ‘Unless you’re an anti-abortionist – a linguistic contortionist.’

          Was the rhyme on purpose? That’s really the only excuse. No one self identifies as an ‘anti-abortionist’, there’s no such thing. Generally the crowd is against killing what they think of as little people, which is why the label is ‘pro-life’ the fact that they oppose abortion is almost coincidental, if children were purposefully being killed moments after being born, thy’d probably be against that too.. ‘anti-abortionist’ makes about as much sense as ‘pro-baby-killing-er’.

      • Jack: “Unenforceable laws are bad laws. This wasn’t “truth,” but ignorance. If some abortions are going to be termed crimes, the criminal has to be the provider, not the mother. Yes, that’s unusual, but so is abortion.”

        I feel like the “Punish the provider, not the woman” argument–which is pretty much the party line of the pro-life movement–ignores some pretty obvious realities. Like the fact that if abortion is made illegal, most women aren’t going to go to a “provider” in the traditional sense of a doctor; they’ll either do it themselves, or they’ll take an herbal remedy provided by their aunt/sister/mother, or they’ll have their boyfriend punch them in the stomach, or they’ll do it in any of the countless ways women have gotten abortions throughout all of human history.

        And yes, some will meet strangers in back alleys, but this will be the exception, not the rule–most women will do it in their own homes, using their own devices, or those provided by loved ones.

        So in the case where the woman *is* the provider, what then? Arrest no one? That’s hardly satisfactory–it assumes a crime has been committed but that there is no criminal. If she gets help from a female relative, do we say, “Well, she’s just as much of a victim as the mother?” What if it’s a male relative? Are they somehow more responsible?

        That pro-lifers insist we remove agency from the woman who obtains an abortion, that we treat her as a victim, severely weakens their case. If abortion really is wrongful killing, and if pro-lifers want it raised to the status of murder, why don’t they act like it? Maybe the reason we as a society don’t have the “stomach” to punish women who abort as murderers is because we know, deep down, that they’re not.

        • I know, and I agree. That’s why I am increasingly convinced that abortion must be legal, but that the culture must send the unequivocal message that it is also usually unethical. You have a right to do it, but unless it meets utilitarian balancing standards, it is wrong, and horribly so.

            • Yes, and I agree with Jack fundamentally. But the unethical piece comes first, if you do your job right as a parent and teach your child about safe sex and waiting until they are older to engage in sex, you never get to the abortion piece. (And that’s why abortion rates have been steadily decreasing.) But for those who are seeking abortion? It’s already a lost cause.

                  • I think the gay rights movement has won, and they should have. Fewer people say they’re opposed to gay marriage year over year, and this trend will continue the way every human rights movement has: Eventually, there will still be groups that oppose the change that was made generations ago, but they’re obscure, ridiculed and toothless. See the KKK, for example.

                    What would a win look like on the subject of abortion? The population at large will become educated enough that abortion will be staggeringly rare, and cases of it will be properly ridiculed as the utterly irresponsible thing it is.

                    In ways Beth is right, abortion rates have been decreasing over the course of this last decade, along with birth rates. It’s generally a good news story. I think there are more battles to be fought. I don’t think we need to close clinics, but I do think we need to change the rhetoric; we need to tell people the truth. Having an abortion isn’t, and shouldn’t be a holy and joyous occasion. It is bloody and wasteful and stupid, and needs to be treated like it. There is blame to be assigned, there should be shame. Someone should feel awful, and commit themselves to making abortion even rarer in the future.

                    • I think you underestimate the efficacy of shame. We do and don`t do a lot of things because we think we`ll feel shame. How many people hideously stunt their lives hiding in closets because they’re ashamed to tell their parents who they are?

                      This relatively recent trend of trying to remove shame from everything, I think, started in a good place: Remove shame from activities where shame should not be felt. But what that morphed into was a condemnation of shame, and that’s just not healthy for society.

                    • There’d still be popes speaking against contraception, and awful husbands who don’t believe in contraception so they take steps to prevent their wives from taking the pill and have no good options. There’d still be rape victims who don’t want the constant reminder, must they be shamed on top of everything else? There’d still be people pushing laws to deny contraception to minors and still minors who feel too much shame to tell their parents they need it. There will still be contraceptive failures.

                      I’m operating on the assumption that you’re not including medically advisable abortions in your win condition. If i’m wrong please correct me.

                    • I very much (like 95%) agree with what you say here, but did want to pick a small bone about “Having an abortion isn’t, and shouldn’t be a holy and joyous occasion.”

                      Do you know anyone who thinks an abortion is a holy and joyous occasion? I don’t. Have you even heard of anyone who does? I haven’t.

                      I don’t think you need that particular strawman to support the strong truth you articulated in the rest of your comment; it doesn’t help make your case, and you don’t need it.

                    • Interesting counter-examples, thank you. You’re factually right, no argument, they even say “joyful.” (Though I didn’t see ‘holy’).

                      Though I’d argue if you actually read the articles, it’s clear what they’re “joyful” about is the legal availability of a means of control over one’s own body. It’s not like anyone’s making a sacrament of it.

                      The thrust of those articles is to differ with the “legal but rare” argument and to argue head-on the inherent social positiveness of having a legal and safe way to rescue the life of a young rape victim.

                      Is it a cause for joy that such legal remedies exist? An in-your-face yes, say those articles. Are those photos a little shocking? Yes, they are to me, though in context I understand them to say the right to abortion is a cause for joy; not to be confused with joyfully aborting a fetus.

                    • Define medically advisable? Life of the mother, absolutely acceptable. Downs syndrome, not. I think the quality of life of a person is still better given the chance to live, even with a disability. Aborting for disability reeks of eugenics.

                      As to your first paragraph:
                      1) The pope is increasingly irrelevant.
                      2) The problem with the ‘awful husband’ is bigger than the pressure he’s exerting and indicative of an ongoing situation that needs to be dealt with*.
                      3) A rape pregnancy is a situation where I’d have more sympathy but I don’t blame the child for her father… it might be LESS shameful, but it’s still pretty awful: Be real, you just suggested ending a life because the mother shouldn’t have to be burdened with bad memories.
                      4) By definition those people wouldn’t be there in my win condition, or at least they would be ineffective, I’m sure the KKK advocates for a lot of dumb things, they don’t get much satisfaction these days.
                      And 5) Perhaps. But I think that this is similar to the drinking and driving problem. Kids still drink, but year over year arrests and accidents continue to decline because they don’t drink and drive. I think that with education we could do the same with unprotected sex.

                      *My god, could you not assume women are mannequins for men’s pleasure? Take some agency!

                    • Thank you, I think I understand your position now.

                      My god, could you not assume women are mannequins for men’s pleasure? Take some agency

                      Funny, not. I live on Earth in the United States, this stuff happens and not everyone is strong enough to walk away.

                      Medically advisable. Life of the pregnant woman, long term health of the pregnant woman. You wouldn’t force someone to delay treatment for something if the treatment caused fetuses to grow extra heads.

                    • “Medically advisable. Life of the pregnant woman, long term health of the pregnant woman. You wouldn’t force someone to delay treatment for something if the treatment caused fetuses to grow extra heads.”

                      First two, I wouldn’t even blink. For some nameless “treatment” it depends, and I wouldn’t even make this quibble, but it’s the kind of thing that people try to use against me at a later date, so I want to be clear: My distinction is the life or long term health of the mother, in those cases it becomes something akin to self defense. Anything else is perhaps inconvenient, but temporary, and I will not put the life of a human being below the convenience of anyone else.

                      “Funny, not. I live on Earth in the United States, this stuff happens and not everyone is strong enough to walk away.”

                      With all due; That’s their problem. This is one of the side affects of the “don’t tell me X, teach Y not to Z” mentality. It infantilizes the demographic you’re taking the agency of self determination away from. What you’re really doing, in this case, is disempowering women. They made a dumb decision to marry him, they’re making decisions daily to stay with him, and while that doesn’t make what he’s doing right, staying with him IS wrong, and she needs to own some of it, and get the hell out.

                    • What I had in mind were things like chemo and other treatments that might technically be something that could at times be delayed but really shouldn’t be. Deciding to gamble long term life or health in order to keep a pregnancy or choosing to birth a six headed crime against nature rather than aborting in the face of drugs that create six headed crimes against nature.

                      Do keep in mind that I’m trying to understand the position you’re presenting rather than making an offer of my full views.

  4. “Having a relationship with a woman result in an abortion would be completely consistent with their stated beliefs—heck, it would enhance their standing with feminists. The question is a legitimate one, however, to an alleged abortion opponent.”

    On the other hand, someone who is responsible for an abortion may never again feel free to speak against the practice, even if they eventually come to a private belief that it was a wrong thing for them to do. I think that there are millions of Americans who are in this situation now, afraid to examine the question publicly, or even within their own minds.

  5. Exposure, the leaving of unwanted infants alone somewhere to die, is as old as human history. The practice came under widespread condemnation in the Christian and Islamic era, and didn’t even really go away until after the Middle Ages. Of course, it continued outside of polite society.

    Arguments were made then, as they are now, along utilitarian grounds (who’s going to take care of all of those babies?) and the Church responded by creating orphanages and facilitating adoptions. To this day, the “anti-choice” crowd is also much more likely to adopt children or to facilitate adoption and/or foster care than the average citizen, so the “they don’t care about babies after they’re born” rhetoric is, of course, just that. (It had a slavery-era equivalent too, the “abolitionists don’t really care about the Darkies” argument.) Christian Americans are over 2 times as likely as others to adopt, and although the majority of those adopting are white, whites are a minority of the children adopted. The demand among prospective adoptive parents currently far outstrips the supply.

    The technology that makes abortion neat and safe also makes it irresistible- the urge to get rid of an unwanted baby quickly is a powerful driver. My prediction is that the demand for abortion will DRASTICALLY go down once male birth control becomes widely available and affordable. A few feminists will protest against this for awful reasons, but almost everyone else will welcome it, and like safe abortions (or more recently, legal weed), the demand for male birth control will make it inevitable. At that point, there will hopefully be fewer unexpected pregnancies, and the demand for abortion will dissipate until everyone grows a conscience and considers abortion cruel, violent, and awful, which it is. The lack of a utilitarian “need” for it will mean that excuses and justifications no longer need to be made to allow it to continue.

    • Lots of good, profound comments by people I typically disagree with in this thread.

      This thread should be required reading for anyone in the abortion debate, on either side.

    • Interesting comment. And while I see grown men increasingly using birth control, I don’t see that happening among teens. In many places in the U.S., it is a point of pride among younger males to have children out of wedlock.

  6. There are some very good comments here. Lisa’s last paragraph got me thinking. I, myself, have always been in the middle of the abortion issue. I also find that there is a class difference. If one is of the lower class and living in the projects, then they don’t have the means to eat well and carry the baby to term, and then raise it. If a woman is of the middle/upper class, then she has the “luxury” of being able to eat well, give birth to a healthy child, and then decide to keep it or put it up for adoption. Obviously the latter child will be adopted quickly, versus the former example. Those against abortion seem to think they can control another person’s embryo/baby and I don’t think that’s right. Coming from a religious angle, I always thought it was between God and the woman.

    I had a roommate when I was in my early 20’s and she had an abortion. Ironically, the facility was an old convent and there were nuns working there. I sat there in the waiting room all day and I just observed my surroundings. There were girls/women there who were about to have their procedure and they were extremely upset.

    I don’t know how to fix the issue and it is ALWAYS part of a presidential smoke screen. We have a lot of bigger and more difficult matters going on, yet we continue to bring up a woman’s choice. She “allowed”, which was a choice (even if by accident) to let it happen and she has a choice of what to do. If she throws herself down the stairs to mis-carry, we don’t charge her for murder. I believe the issues are deeper than just morally/ethically wrong.

    Lastly, I worked with someone in the medical field and she wanted another child. She was 40. The test came back positive for Down’s Syndrome yet that test is known to give false positives. She was anti-abortion unit it happened to her. About a year after her abortion, she got pregnant again and decided to not have the Down’s test and keep whatever she has. She gave birth to a health daughter.

    Back in my day when a guy got a girl pregnant, parents would say, “are you going to do the right thing?” meaning, get married. I never thought that was the “right thing.” because forcing someone to get married when they are not in love will just make matters worse. My HS buddy got his GF pregnant and they did the “right thing” and the baby died at 9 mos. of SIDS. They then divorced. I don’t believe abortion should be used as birth control and the Catholic church was all about “The Rhythm Method” yet a teenage girl’s cycle changes as they mature.

    I do think Trump is an idiot. I also imagine if Hilary ever got pregnant back when she was starting her political career (pre-Bill), she would have had an abortion. imo.

  7. The law on abortion has been settled for 43 years and it will never, never change. Given that, I don’t assign any moral blame to Trump for not having worked out the details of an imaginary law that has no hope of being effected.

    Still, it’s nice to see Trump get bitten on this issue. I don’t believe for a minute that he is genuinely pro-life. He cynically pretends to be because he wants evangelical votes. He doesn’t really think that women should be punished for having abortions; he was trying to guess whether real pro-lifers think women should be punished, and he guessed wrong.

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