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How Much Jail Time For Women Who Have Abortions?
Surprise, surprise, religious nutters who substitute faith for rationality don't really think their nonthink through. Here goes: If abortion is murder, then shouldn't women who have abortions -- think hits ordered on babies -- go to jail? Whoopsy! (I believe Crid brought this up a while ago.) But, here it is from an Anna Quindlen column on MSNBC:

Buried among prairie dogs and amateur animation shorts on YouTube is a curious little mini-documentary shot in front of an abortion clinic in Libertyville, Ill. The man behind the camera is asking demonstrators who want abortion criminalized what the penalty should be for a woman who has one nonetheless. You have rarely seen people look more gobsmacked. It's as though the guy has asked them to solve quadratic equations. Here are a range of responses: "I've never really thought about it." "I don't have an answer for that." "I don't know." "Just pray for them." Story continues below ↓advertisement

You have to hand it to the questioner; he struggles manfully. "Usually when things are illegal there's a penalty attached," he explains patiently. But he can't get a single person to be decisive about the crux of a matter they have been approaching with absolute certainty.

A new public-policy group called the National Institute for Reproductive Health wants to take this contradiction and make it the centerpiece of a national conversation, along with a slogan that stops people in their tracks: how much time should she do? If the Supreme Court decides abortion is not protected by a constitutional guarantee of privacy, the issue will revert to the states. If it goes to the states, some, perhaps many, will ban abortion. If abortion is made a crime, then surely the woman who has one is a criminal. But, boy, do the doctrinaire suddenly turn squirrelly at the prospect of throwing women in jail.

...Lawmakers in a number of states have already passed or are considering statutes designed to outlaw abortion if Roe is overturned. But almost none hold the woman, the person who set the so-called crime in motion, accountable. Is the message that women are not to be held responsible for their actions? Or is it merely that those writing the laws understand that if women were going to jail, the vast majority of Americans would violently object? Watch the demonstrators in Libertyville try to worm their way out of the hypocrisy: It's murder, but she'll get her punishment from God. It's murder, but it depends on her state of mind. It's murder, but the penalty should be ... counseling?

The great thing about video is that you can see the mental wheels turning as these people realize that they somehow have overlooked something central while they were slinging certainties. Nearly 20 years ago, in a presidential debate, George Bush the elder was asked this very question, whether in making abortion illegal he would punish the woman who had one. "I haven't sorted out the penalties," he said lamely. Neither, it turns out, has anyone else. But there are only two logical choices: hold women accountable for a criminal act by sending them to prison, or refuse to criminalize the act in the first place. If you can't countenance the first, you have to accept the second. You can't have it both ways.

And here, a little help for the anti-science crowd, a scraping of cells is not a person, it's a potential person. Neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga writes in The Ethical Brain,:

For Gazzaniga, neuroscience tells us that “life begins with a sentient being,” around week twenty-three, or around the same time that the fetus can survive outside the womb with medical support. In Gazzaniga’s view, it is at this point, and not until then, that the fetus becomes “one of us,” with all “the moral and legal rights of a human being.” And thus Gazzaniga holds that we should allow unrestricted experimentation on human embryos up to week twenty-three.

To explain his argument, Gazzaniga uses an analogy: the embryo is like housing materials found at a Home Depot. Says Gazzaniga: “When a Home Depot burns down, the headline in the paper is not ‘30 Houses Burn Down.’ It is ‘Home Depot Burned Down.’” Similarly, to destroy a fetus is not to destroy a human life, but merely the “materials” of life.

MSNBC link: Thanks, Deirdre

Posted by aalkon at August 2, 2007 10:57 AM

Comments

It's murder, but the penalty should be ... counseling?

Ha ha, great line. I have to remember that next time I get into an abortion "debate" (not really, because no one wins) with a fundanutter.

Posted by: Rebecca at August 2, 2007 9:33 AM

I think this explains the cognitive dissonance:

Someone I knew who used to volunteer at an abortion clinic to help escort women through the demonstrators said that she'd seen on more than one occasion people who had been on the protest lines on Monday come in themselves or bring their daughter in for an abortion on Wednesday and then they'd be back out on the protest lines again on Friday. Somehow they feel they're different than "those other sluts".

Posted by: deja pseu at August 2, 2007 9:54 AM

When someone kills a pregant woman they are charged with two murders.

How can it be considered a separate murder when one person kills(?) a fetus, yet perfectly legal when someone else does it?

Posted by: winston at August 2, 2007 9:59 AM

"How can it be considered a separate murder when one person kills(?) a fetus, yet perfectly legal when someone else does it?"

Posted by: winston

The usual non-legal answer, winston (which I expect you've seen before). The murdered women had not sought the termination of her pregnancy.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at August 2, 2007 10:08 AM

Rebecca -

It is also a very consistent answer that one gets from anti-choicers. I have not once, heard one of them say that prison or even jail is the answer. The strongest any of them seem to go for, is probation, to ensure that they get the counseling they apparently, obviously need.

My general response to them, is keep your hands off my body. That usually gets me a very blank look, as I have an outy, not an inny. I am happy ot then explain that if I have a cancer, I am going to have it removed. Usually pisses them off to hear a zygote described that way, but on rare occasions people actually get it.

Posted by: DuWayne at August 2, 2007 10:19 AM

"How can it be considered a separate murder when one person kills(?) a fetus, yet perfectly legal when someone else does it?"

I think weather or not you are charged with two murders depends on the state or how far along the mother is.

Posted by: meshaliu at August 2, 2007 10:28 AM

"The usual non-legal answer, winston (which I expect you've seen before). The murdered women had not sought the termination of her pregnancy."

Non-legal and also nonsensical.

"To explain his argument, Gazzaniga uses an analogy: the embryo is like housing materials found at a Home Depot. Says Gazzaniga: “When a Home Depot burns down, the headline in the paper is not ‘30 Houses Burn Down.’ It is ‘Home Depot Burned Down.’” Similarly, to destroy a fetus is not to destroy a human life, but merely the “materials” of life."

What a bad analogy! If left alone the building materials would not form a house. If left alone a fetus will become a baby.

Building materials can be a house or a doghouse or any building. A human fetus can only become a human baby.

A fetus may not be a person but it is an individual. It has a unique genetic makeup different from any other individual. It is not the same as removing a kidney or gall bladder (which are genetically part of you).

Is it "alive"? Of course it is. If something is biological and it's not dead, then it's alive.

I'm pro-choice btw.

Posted by: winston at August 2, 2007 10:32 AM

"Thirty-five (35) states currently recognize the "unborn child" (the term usually used) or fetus as a homicide victim, and 25 of those states apply this principle throughout the period of pre-natal development. These laws do not apply to legal induced abortions. Federal and state courts have consistently held that these laws do not contradict the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings on abortion."


From wikipedia.

Posted by: meshaliu at August 2, 2007 10:34 AM

Posted by: meshaliu at August 2, 2007 10:39 AM

NRO has a bunch of smart pro-lifers responding to Quindlen's article here.. None of them seem to think punishing the woman criminally is necessary, but there are some who favor criminal penalties for doctors who perform abortions. I was kinda surprised by the pragmatism of this bunch, really. Several were quite direct in what they wrote: They don't care how the number of abortions gets reduced, only that it does. I'd recommend reading the NRO article, especially for the pro-choice majority here. It's really helpful in seeing how the other side thinks .

Posted by: justin case at August 2, 2007 10:56 AM

"They don't care how the number of abortions gets reduced, only that it does."

Until the discussion turns to birth control, that is.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at August 2, 2007 10:59 AM

I WOMEN AND HER DOCTOR SHOULD FACE MURDER CHANGES FOR KILLING THERE BABY!!!!!!!!

Posted by: KALA at August 2, 2007 11:03 AM

A WOMEN*

Posted by: KALA at August 2, 2007 11:05 AM

If it's murder, then yeah, jail time. Why not?

Posted by: kishke at August 2, 2007 11:05 AM

I've heard it myself, DuWayne. With the exception of those intellectually consistent Catholics that actually follow their own religion and are anti-abortion and anti-death penalty, most pro-life activists (largely fundamentalist Christians in this country) support the death penalty based on their interpretation of the Bible. If abortion is murder, shouldn't they by their own reasoning and religious belief support putting to death women who abort?

Posted by: Rebecca at August 2, 2007 11:10 AM

I'm not pro-life. I'm anti-abortion. I'm Pro-Death penalty. Murderers, child molesters, etc deserve to die. They've destroyed a life. The unborn have nothing wrong except be conceived by a woman and man to damn stupid to figure out how to put on a condom.

Posted by: Lizabeth at August 2, 2007 11:13 AM

If only humans were marsupials instead of primates. A woman could slip that little cluster of cells out her pouch and flush it or maybe give it to a friend before anyone was the wiser.

Alas, a woman needs some help from technology to end a pregnancy without hurting herself and here we are, at odds over what, if any limitations there should be on helping a woman not be pregnant when she doesn't want to be.

As a medical procedure, it will always be regulated to some extent and there will be consequences for violating those regulations. Doctors and pharmacists will continue to be the focus of such regulations.

The Gerardo Flores/Erica Basoria case presents an interesting legal question. Basoria was pregnant and didn't want to be. She asked her boyfriend, Flores to stomp on her abdomen in order to end the pregnancy which he did with the intended effect. Flores was convicted of two counts of murder (twins) while Basoria was not charged.

Posted by: martin at August 2, 2007 11:18 AM

Thanks for that link, Justin. It's interesting how many of the NRO respondents separate the actions of the "abortionist" and the woman, turning the woman into a thoughtless and helpless creature, a "victim" who somehow managed to bumble into a doctor's office one day. A victime upon which the abortionist practices his craft in, let's see...

perfect coolness and detachment, and at a nice price, he makes the killing of the innocent his office-work

It's the perfect marriage of victim feminism and patriarchal religious nonsense.

Posted by: Rebecca at August 2, 2007 11:20 AM

(I can't pretend of have thought of that line of argument originally, but the source is forgotten. B-/C+ students do that a lot. A charming melody snuck into my heart one day when playing guitar in 1979, and for twenty years I thought I'd composed "Bess You Is My Woman Now." One day a fully-orchestrated version came on the muzak during an elaborate dental procedure. The jig was up instantly: Gershwin's pen is as recognizable as the American flag. I wept with shame, and the dentist presumed he'd struck a nerve.)

> Building materials can be a
> house or a doghouse or any
> building. A human fetus can
> only become a human baby.

That baby can become a serial killer or a medlab tech.

> It's really helpful in
> seeing how the other
> side thinks .

This is a blog. Even-handedness has no role.

A slamdunk argument against a fanatic isn't really good for that much because after all, they're fanatics. Prager got a lot of mileage with me for his argument that "These women aren't clipping toenails!" But in the years since he said it, very few women have given the impression that they think that's what's happening when they have an abortion.

Posted by: Crid at August 2, 2007 11:23 AM

"Building materials can be a
> house or a doghouse or any
> building. A human fetus can
> only become a human baby.

That baby can become a serial killer or a medlab tech."

So you think Gazzaniga's "Home Depot" analogy makes sense?

Posted by: winston at August 2, 2007 11:29 AM

I'm pro-choice. It has always been clear to me that the anti-choice people are not concerned about the baby after it's born so much as how it got there in the first place. If you talk to many but the most hard line anti-choicers they'll make exceptions to their stance based on whether the mom-to-be was raped or has health problems. Otherwise she should accept "the consequences of her actions" and follow through with her pregnancy against her will. It's about social control - it's about regulating morality. It's not about saving babies.

That probably explains why the logical disconnect: why they want women "counseled" rather than jailed.

The other curious "logic" are those so-called "pro-lifers" who are pro-capital punishment, despite overwhelming evidence that it is costly, does not reduce crime, and quite frequently puts innocent people to death; but that's a debate for another post.

Posted by: Canuck chick at August 2, 2007 11:48 AM

The question of penalties is good for making many people upset on either side. If one doesn't give a penalty for murder, then we clearly don't believe abortion takes the life of a human being. If one does penalize the mother (and father and anyone else involved in choosing this), then it just adds to the reason that "abortion cannot be illegal" because it will hurt the mother even more.

This is a classical example of a red herring. That is, a question that distracts attention from the real issue.

If reason, science, or moral reasoning indicate that a human life is being taken, we have an obligation to follow through by making the act illegal. If not, we do not. Penalties are a secondary issue.

Arguing about penalties and getting wound up about them is like saying any of the following:

"75% of Americans are not honest on income taxes, therefore, we cannot make cheating illegal."

"65% of workers desire to retire before age 75, therefore, this must be the law of the land."

"Too many people are dependent upon growing and selling narcotics, therefore they should not be illegal."

None of these are necessarily logical conclusions. In the same way, the fact that discussing penalties about abortion causes alarm does not solve the central question: Is this act harmful to human life and society or not?

Posted by: Nemo at August 2, 2007 11:55 AM

It's about social control - it's about regulating morality. It's not about saving babies.

Absolutely correct. Ask any one of the anti-abortionists if, instead of the mother getting an abortion, they would be willing to even help the mother-to-be with something so menial as baby-sitting so the mother could work to support her unwanted child, and it's "oh no, not me, it's not my problem!" Well I say it is your problem, it's all our problem, and there has to be a better solution. But I'm damned if I know what it is, beyond educating young people about the consequences of engaging in unprotected sex before they're ready. You can't legislate morality.

Posted by: Flynne at August 2, 2007 11:59 AM

> Gazzaniga's "Home Depot"
> analogy makes sense?

I think arguments for "potential" spin out of control really quickly.

There's an advertising trick that's been going on my whole life, and it works like this: You get a solo piano player to tap out a witless melody, something that barely takes two hands and never uses more than three notes in a chord. Tempo is always moderate, the meter is always a duple, and dynamics must be shallow (sometimes it helps if the pianist is wearing plaser casts on both wrists). Strings are an optional accompaniment only if the product involves death. Then you give a husky-voiced announcer some copy made from short words, and ask him to read it slow and somber. (If it's a lady announcer, you make sure she's in her childbearing-years, but not in too good a mood, and ask her to sound needy and "sincere"... It goes best when she's on her period.) If it's radio, your work is done. If it's video, film, or photography, you use a Tiffen ProMist filter treatment on the visuals, and consider going monochrome.

If you do that, the American consumer will get all weepy and buy whatever bucket of shit you happen to be hauling that day.

That's how I feel when the Christian right gets all preachy about human potential. Their presumptions are trite and overworn, and I no longer feel the tug.

> It's really helpful in
> seeing how the other
> side thinks.

And in seeing how a flying karate chop like Quindlan's can interfere with their "thinking." (I personally think they're being too emotive and not precisely logical enough, though I recognize how abortion can encourage that.) Those people are dumbfounded. They're dancing like mice in a frying pan, and bumping into each other a terrific speed. This...

>> Quindlen wants a strictly
>> legal battle, no morals
>> please.

...pulls on some flannel-footy PJ's and snuggles up to this:

>> The proper approach (after
>> Roe) is to ask, what
>> policy would reduce the
>> number of abortions as
>> much as possible now?

These people are stuck in a utiliatarian Hell. There's no way they're going to give up giving their focus on abortionists. Turning away from this approach would be political suicide. But concentrating on those guys is as futile as arresting dealers in the drug war.

A Martian reading that web page would think abortionists are driving around the city in unmarked cars and civilian clothes, snatching pregnant women from the tables at McDonald's and the line at the bank in order to abort their babies.

Posted by: Crid at August 2, 2007 12:02 PM

snatching pregnant women from the tables at McDonald's and the line at the bank in order to abort their babies.

Wicked visual, Crid. o_O

Posted by: Flynne at August 2, 2007 12:07 PM

"The unborn have nothing wrong except be conceived by a woman and man to damn stupid to figure out how to put on a condom."

Whoa, there, Lizabeth. Your comment is so naive that it's barely even worth pointing out the number of reasons that someone might be terminating a pregnancy besides being "to [sic] damn stupid to figure out how to put on a condom." For starters, the much alluded to cases of rape and incest. But, there are many more complicated reasons, which is why abortion (in my opinion) should not be the business of a legislature. Surely you are not so dense as to realize that there are cases of wanted pregnancies that women choose to terminate rather than bringing a nonviable fetus to term (e.g., a fetus with anecephaly, or another obvious defect that will mean that the baby will die within hours of birth). There are many, many reasons that women choose to terminate pregnancies, and the fact that you presume that all of them involve a form of belated birth control is just plain ignorant, if not hateful.

Another point: why does no one seem to realize that making abortion illegal will not stop abortions? It will simply make them illegal. Remember Prohibition? It didn't exactly halt the consumption of alcohol. Making certain drugs illegal didn't halt the use of marijuana, cocaine, etc. There were back-alley abortions before Roe. Do we really think that the world will be a better place when pregnant teenagers end up getting themselves killed or seriously maimed by quacks, because they can't get abortions legally? Or by driving them to suicide? Well-off women will find a way to get abortions in civilized countries where the procedure isn't under attack from right-wing nuts. It's those without means who will suffer the consequences.

Posted by: MD at August 2, 2007 12:08 PM

I suggest the anti-abortion crowd and the anti-animal eating crowd take a market approach to their beliefs. Don't like people eating cows? Buy the cows buy land and let the cows live out their lives until they croak. Don't want women to abort? Pay them to have the babies, then pay for or get somebody to pay for the care, feeding, and raising of that child.

As far as who the anti-choice types are...why is it that they always write/sound like they're about eight years away from earning their GEDs?

I WOMEN AND HER DOCTOR SHOULD FACE MURDER CHANGES FOR KILLING THERE BABY!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 2, 2007 12:13 PM

Great points, MD.

And Crid, the Martian thing was hilarious.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 2, 2007 12:15 PM

"For starters, the much alluded to cases of rape and incest."

As someone mentioned above, most of the rabid fundienutters will make exceptions in these cases, which, as the posted pointed out, shows that it's not really about saving babies - it's about punishing women for having sex. Because even a conception that takes place due to rape or incest is still a BAYBEEE, right? It didn't ask to be there! So why do they make exceptions in these cases, if it's really not about punishing the mothers but saving the babies?

I don't think you can compare the prohibition of abortion to the prohibition of alcohol or drugs. With alcohol or drugs, the user is only affecting himself. As the anti-choicers see it, an abortion is the same thing as killing another person, so by that logic you might as well make murder legal because making it illegal hasn't stopped people from killing.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at August 2, 2007 12:16 PM

"Gazzaniga's "Home Depot" analogy is idiotic.

I'm pro-choice myself, but that doesn't mean I accept every pro-choice argument made, however weak. Accepting a weak argument simply because you agree with the position taken is a sign of simple mindedness.

Posted by: winston at August 2, 2007 12:17 PM

by that logic you might as well make murder legal because making it illegal hasn't stopped people from killing.

What she said.

Posted by: kishke at August 2, 2007 12:41 PM

Obviously, analogies here are being taken to ridiculous extremes, at which point, yes, analogies do lose their usefulness. But I think people may, in both cases (the Home Depot analogy and my analogy to Prohibition/illegal drugs), be missing the important points.

In the case of my analogy, the point I was trying to make is that abortion is still going to happen. I don't think anyone jumps up and down and throws a party any time someone gets one, but it is going to happen and needs to be legal. What I was trying to say was that if abortion is made illegal in this country, women who can afford to do so will be able to get abortions in western European countries (where it is legal), and poorer women will not. Europeans have managed to resist making the illogical leap to equating legalized abortion with legalized murder. I don't think all of Europe is teeming with immoral, depraved murderers, so I think that it's clear that there is a distinction between the two.

Posted by: MD at August 2, 2007 12:58 PM

You know, the more you read the NRO page, the more it seems that these people are fascinated with abortionists anyway... But they're not actually distracted... I don't know how to say this, but it's like they've been giving their attention to that one guy who does this murder the whole time anyway. He almost gets more attention than the baby does... He certainly is a figure of greater interest to them that the woman is. They don't care about the economics or the sexual incompetence or anything else. But you could see how this could spin off into a doctor-shooting obsession a la Eric Rudolf.

This failure to perceive context is telling. Their obsession with the interpersonal encounter of an abortion is pornographic; the woman is a faceless player, like the man in a sex video.

More than wit

Posted by: Crid at August 2, 2007 1:02 PM

The metaphor continues: The woman in the clinic, like the man in the video, is the one who's getting irgent needs met.

Somebody should be writing this down.

Posted by: Crid at August 2, 2007 1:11 PM

and checking the spelling

Posted by: Crid at August 2, 2007 1:11 PM

Ever hear the phrase misery loves company?

Anti-abortion fnatics are miserable, they want company and are willng to let children be born in poor health, bad living situations, and to the sorts of people who would leave them locked in a car to die in the heat.

Posted by: lujlp at August 2, 2007 1:13 PM

It is rather pornographic, isn't it Crid? Some of those...let's be honest here...fantasies of how abortion happens reminds me of the South Dakota state senator who sponsored the draconian abortion law in that state last year, the one that was eventually shot down by the voters in the Novemeber election. Anyway, when asked under which conditions he would find abortion acceptable, he lovingly described a near-pornographic scenario in which a beautiful young blond virgin was raped and impregnated the night before her wedding by (I assume) two black men, yadda yadda yadda...all he left out was the silky negligee and stockings she might have worn and what music was playing on the stereo.

The debate over abortion isn't about the destruction of a human life. It's about sex and control.

Posted by: Rebecca at August 2, 2007 1:18 PM

It's the perfect marriage of victim feminism

Except that the vast majority of women who consider themselves feminists are pro-choice...

Other than that, catchy!

Posted by: deja pseu at August 2, 2007 1:27 PM

"The debate over abortion isn't about the destruction of a human life. It's about sex and control."

That's because it's all based on religious fundienuttery, which is why they think a fertilized egg is a person in the first place.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at August 2, 2007 1:28 PM

In the case of my analogy, the point I was trying to make is that abortion is still going to happen.

Substitute "murder" for "abortion" and see what happens to your point.

Europeans have managed to resist making the illogical leap to equating legalized abortion with legalized murder.

Irrelevant. That's b/c they don't equate aborion with murder. But the question at issue here is not whether abortion is murder. It is, if it is murder, should there be a penalty and what should it be?

Posted by: kishke at August 2, 2007 1:29 PM

"'by that logic you might as well make murder legal because making it illegal hasn't stopped people from killing.'

What she said."

No! Making abortions illegal will not stop them - and this is where the standard of hygiene issue becomes a vital part of the argument. Legalizing abortion has allowed set standards to be created for the procedure. A woman can get an abortion in an environment that minimizes risk of infection or damaging the body. A coat hanger in an alley way is a surefire way to hemorrhage to death or contract a sick disease. And even a disgusting little whore of a woman who has, GASP!!, premarital sex, doesn't deserve to die in an alley way.

Although, that would solve the punishment problem for women getting abortions...a little guaranteed tetanus, anyone?

I agree that the line of argument is less than perfect - outlawing will not stop it, so just keep it legal. However, like prohibition, abortion laws attempt to regulate morality and make a decision for a person when the line is different for everyone. Everyone agrees that going up to your neighbor and blowing his/her head off w/ an AR14 is, uh, murder (not to say that a barking dog all night isn't grounds for such punishment, ugh!). But please don't attempt to apply such clarity to early term, pre-viability abortion. It simply is not black and white.

Pirate Jo - I was thinking that while I was reading! When you allow exceptions for the woman's health, rape/incest or reducing the burden of carrying a non-viable pregnancy then it's not really "about the baby."

If a person feels that abortion is murder then they need to stick w/ that argument - even if the baby was conceived against the mother's will it's still a baby (according to should-be anti abortion logic) and deserves a shot at life equal to one conceived out of love. It really should be all or nothing - b/c it's either cold blooded murder or it isn't.

Posted by: Gretchen at August 2, 2007 1:37 PM

If everyone happily agreed that abortion is indeed murder then the punishment for abortion should be the same as shooting my neighbor with the asshole dog.

Abortion would be an intentional/planned murder soo, murder in the first degree. That's logical.

We'd have a lot of suicides, maybe even infanticides. We'd also have a lot more kids in foster care and a lot more female prisons...although, if we all thought abortion was murder then it would be well worth it to reduce the homicide rate...

Posted by: Gretchen at August 2, 2007 1:43 PM

Except that the vast majority of women who consider themselves feminists are pro-choice...

I was referring to the way folks on the right have adopted the language of victim feminism (womyn are victims of The Patriarchy) to promote the anti-abortion cause. It's an interesting tactic. Instead of making pregnant women the bad guys in the abortion debate, they've invented a shadowy male abortionist, bending stray women to his will and forcing their feet into the stirrups on the exam table, vacuum cleaner attachment in hand. Notice that they're describing laws against abortion as "protecting" women's welfare on that NRO link.

On a related note, Chief Justice John Roberts' wife was the head (and maybe still is) of something called "Feminists for Life", which is really just the same old group of anti-abortion nutballs camoflauged in the language of the sexual revolution.

Posted by: Rebecca at August 2, 2007 1:47 PM

>>Ask any one of the anti-abortionists if, instead of the mother getting an abortion, they would be willing to even help the mother-to-be with something so menial as baby-sitting so the mother could work to support her unwanted child, and it's "oh no, not me, it's not my problem!"

I just have trouble with this type of argument, or any version that talks about how much trouble it will be for the new mother to take care of this child, because it sounds so much like saying abortion should be legal because children are inconvenient.

I am pro-choice, but my opinion comes from a much more basic place: it's my freaking body. As long as the fetus is in me, the fetus IS me, and I have a right to do as I damn well please with it. Morality be damned. Morality is relative anyway.

Posted by: Laurie at August 2, 2007 2:46 PM

"I am pro-choice, but my opinion comes from a much more basic place: it's my freaking body. As long as the fetus is in me, the fetus IS me, and I have a right to do as I damn well please with it."

Does that include refusing financial support from the male participant in the exchange?

Posted by: Joe at August 2, 2007 3:17 PM

>>Does that include refusing financial support from the male participant in the exchange?

So the question is - should the male participant get a choice in the matter because paying for an unwanted child will be inconvenient for him? No, I don't think he should have a say in the decision to abort or not, because it isn't his freaking body.

But personally, I wouldn't hold him to an 18 year contract is I chose to keep a child he didn't want. That's another topic isn't it? There are plenty of women who hold their sperm donors hostage for whatever whacked out reason they've come up with. It's also about having a child you can't afford. That's why I encourage my daughters to be self sufficient before they decide to procreate.

Posted by: Laurie at August 2, 2007 3:27 PM

GREAT question, Joe. I have always felt, as a woman, that I'm totally responsible for my body. Since it's my body that gets pregnant, I'm responsible for preventing pregnancy. If I get pregnant after, say, having sex with some guy in a bar (as opposed to having a husband who decides with the wife to have a kid), it's my responsibility to either abort, have the child and finance it entirely, or have it and give it up for adoption. Personally, I'd take the abortion option in a hot second. Enough with the checkbook daddyhood. If women couldn't make men pay from delivery room through dorm room for casual sex, maybe more women would be more careful with their birth control.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 2, 2007 3:31 PM

"Feminists for Life", which is really just the same old group of anti-abortion nutballs camoflauged in the language of the sexual revolution.

From what I've gleaned from some of their literature, they're also anti-contraception.

Posted by: deja pseu at August 2, 2007 4:59 PM

I guess, because it's so great for a woman's health to have 26 children.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 2, 2007 5:26 PM

Rebecca, To your comment about South Dakota. I'm from South Dakota and the senator the made the "pornographic" commention about when an abortion would be acceptable wasn't the senator that initiated the bill. He might have voted on it, but he didn't initiate it.

Posted by: nobbinsd at August 2, 2007 6:21 PM

You're right, nobbinssd. Mea culpa. It was State Senator Bill Napoli, not the sponsor in the House (that was Roger Hunt) but a strong supporter in the Senate (hey, I live next door to you and I can Google my way through an argument), who said the only exemption to an abortion ban should be for:

A rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.

Okay, if abortion is murder, MURDER, does all this really mean it's alright? Women who are virgins get to abort? This kind of detail in a fantasy implies a certain level of thought on Mr. Napoli's part that is, well, at the point of fetishism. He's even got anal going on there.

Posted by: Rebecca at August 2, 2007 7:32 PM

Being from South Dakota and thinking that I might have a little insight into how the average south dakotan thinks. The reason the abortion ban was defeated in the General Electron had nothing to do with a personal views on abortion, and everything to do with the belief that the average citizen didn't want the government telling them what they can and can't do with their bodies.

Posted by: nobbinsd at August 2, 2007 8:09 PM

Another blob bleg.

Think about what some of these women go through.

Rejected by family, their church, and their BF.

Do they then reject themselves?

Posted by: austin at August 2, 2007 8:24 PM

> does all this really mean it's alright?

Exactly.

> implies a certain level of
> thought on Mr. Napoli's par
> t that is, well, at the point
> of fetishism

Exactly. Brilliant blog comment.

When people take such obvious pleasure in reviewing the Dark Side of the Force...

(Hi Patrick!)

Posted by: Crid at August 2, 2007 8:33 PM

you might as well make murder legal because making it illegal hasn't stopped people from killing You can't make murder legal because murder is defined as 'illegal killing'. But killing is already legal under a variety of circumstances, including abortion, war, self defence and capital punishment.

Re the home depot - do you eat hens' eggs? Do you think they are little hens? "But they're not fertilised eggs!" True. But if they were, you'd still call them eggs, not hens.

Posted by: Norman at August 2, 2007 11:47 PM

I was raised in a fairly fundamentalist way (southern baptist). One thing that always stuck in my mind is that everyone in our church - and any other I had attended after - believed that if a baby was stillborn, or if a baby died shortly after birth (mind you, it's protestant/baptists, they don't baptize babies) the baby would - by default - go straight to heaven.

So...why would they be against abortion? By their logic, the innocent baby gets to skip all the crap/BS down here on earth, and jump straight to what they consider to be the ultimate paradise. Pass GO, collect everlasting life.

I've brought up this point to a few of the militantly religious anti-choice people out there. They look at me as though I just introduced myself as "Hello, I'm Charles Hitler Manson Satan Sonofsam, and I just ate your puppy, how do you do?" and their brain seizes up. Needless to say, I had previously recovered from the religious zealot upbringing.

Posted by: Jamie at August 3, 2007 7:50 AM

Jamie, I'm offended by your analogy. My name was an unfortunate consequence of being born to Neo-Nazi Goth parents who happenedd to identify with the comic Peanuts. I happen to own a pet store as well.

Posted by: Charles Hitler Manson Satan Sonofsam at August 3, 2007 9:50 AM

Actually I meant Charles...Manson, not Charlie Brown/Marilyn Manson...but point taken.

I'll apologize when I stop laughing.

I'll have to get back to you.

Posted by: Jamie at August 3, 2007 9:55 AM

"Re the home depot - do you eat hens' eggs? Do you think they are little hens? "But they're not fertilised eggs!" True. But if they were, you'd still call them eggs, not hens."

A better analogy than Gazzaniga's.

If you wanted to compare reproduction to a Home Depot, it would be much more similar to a fertility clinic. A place where eggs and sperm are kept "on the shelf". If they are acted upon by a technician they can become a fetus and then a baby. If they are left alone they will not.

A load of lumber and nails will never become a house if left alone. A fetus will become a baby if not aborted either naturally or artificially. This is not some fluffy religious view of "potential", it's simple biology.

For the umteenth time, I am not arguing against legalized abortion simply pointing out a flawed argument.

Posted by: winston at August 3, 2007 11:44 AM

> A fetus will become a baby
> if not aborted either
> naturally or artificially.

I don't remember enough freshman logic or debate stuff to remember exactly which fallacy is at work there. but I think your conclusion is doing some of the work of your premises. A fetus pulls all sorts of resources from the hostess, as the hostesses are always so eager to remind us. It's a largely automatic process, sure, but let's not pretend behavior doesn't count. Winston, I'd bet you get upset when pregnant women drink scotch and snort coke, whether they're eager for motherhood or sullen about it. We're told that most pregnancies end in miscarriage, usually without the mother even knowing that it happened.

I agree with you politically. I'm pro-choice (but prefer to call it pro-abortion [following Paglia] because it's less pussyfooting.) I hate abortion anyway.

The most convincing argument in this stack comes from Laurie (she too echoes Paglia):

> it's my freaking body. As
> long as the fetus is in
> me, the fetus IS me, and
> I have a right to do as
> I damn well please with it.

Historically women were routinely killed and maimed by childbirth... They pay the bill for our bipedal design. They're at war with nature in a very straightforward way, and deserve every weapon science can offer them.

That doesn't mean society has no claim on the child, or that any patience should be made for Laurie's next lines:

> Morality be damned. Morality
> is relative anyway.

I'm surprised nobody had anything to say about that comment.

Posted by: Crid at August 3, 2007 12:58 PM

Yeah but Crid, relative or not, morality can't be legislated anyway!

PS - Today's earworm: "...give peace a chance, get up and dance..."

Posted by: Flynne at August 3, 2007 1:59 PM

> morality can't be legislated

Says you! I've posted this here before, it's from a favorite cranky conservative, Dalyrmple:

"And in China, millions of Chinese addicts gave up with only minimal help: Mao Tse-Tung's credible offer to shoot them if they did not. There is thus no question that Mao was the greatest drug-addiction therapist in history."

Addiction is not entirely about morality (this I know), but let's not pretend environment plays no role in decent behavior.

Don't recognize the second half of the lyric.

Posted by: Crid at August 3, 2007 2:05 PM

hello..
i have taken the time to read all you guys ideas and reasons,so please give me the same respect in return.

i am pro-life,but not here to judge anyone else.so i am giving my opinion ,like everyone else here.
yes the baby is a live person from conception,way before 23 weeks..all u have to do is look at an ultrasound and the baby is staring you in the face.if the baby were not alive ,then why would anyone need saline or meds to kill it?you'd just take it out...but they can't do that because they would take out a live baby,then have to kill it...then it would be murder...


the remark made earlier as to beliefs of some,that all babies go to heaven when they die,i believe that as well.. but does that give me the right to play god? NO . That would be no better argument than to say anyone with a toddler who decides they don't want it anymore,can just have someone kill it..because it will go to heaven anyway,skippin all the b.s.
ridiculous....


and ask me the question...If abortion is made illegal and a woman gets one.what is the sentence? if abortion is made illegal,yes she serves time.she commited a crime just like anyone else who breaks the law.courts always decide time served ,not the public...we dont just give counseling to anyone else for a crime..that too is ridiculous..


They are men and women by the hundrds of thousands who pray for babies because for one reason or another can not have one,any of these people would love to adopt .but by the millions they are killed instead,and it's not pretty nor easy..for the baby anyway...it is brutal..so my question is....

Why wouldn't most people,given that we are human's with thoughts and compassion,when brought to this place of choice,rather than abort,give the baby a chance?..i understand you may not have planned to get pregnant,but you are...give it to someone who would love it
AND YES...medical bills are usually covered by the adoptive parents....
thank you for allowing me to voice my opinion....

Posted by: betty at August 4, 2007 6:04 AM

Betty,

Don't ask me to respect your opinion when you reply that mine is ridiculous, and all of your retorts are based ENTIRELY on a fabricated fairy-tale bullshit. There are a number of religious people that I have a great deal of respect for...but you are not one of them.

1. The toddler example doesn't follow the same rules, since most Christian dogma does say that when you're born, you're born into "original sin" and are destined to hell if not saved. They choose to believe in contrary to that dogma if a toddler dies because it makes them feel better. And if you claim a baby goes to heaven, why isn't that bad that they get a free ride? Isn't that the entire point of your religion? I don't believe that an aborted fetus goes to hell because hell doesn't exist. And you can't "play god" if god doesn't exist. If god did exist, he/she/it certainly isn't what people like you think, and would be incredibly annoyed at your arrogant presumption. If you're going to try to disagree with me and give reasons for it, don't base your argument on your religion that I could care less about.

2. Believing that a a fertilized egg is automatically a human proves you need to go back to biology class, as they have the same "humanity" at that point as a blood cell.
3. Any in my opinion (which you don't respect, so I choose to give you the same benefit) if someone is a victim of rape, incest, the pregnancy is a threat to their life, or if they know that the baby has a disorder that will kill them or cause them to suffer horribly when born, that its their choice to end the pregnancy, because it's in their body, and therefore their choice.

Posted by: Jamie at August 4, 2007 6:57 PM

As per the last Census data I was able to find, in the U.S. there were over 1.2 million children in foundling centers and foster care. In this same time period, only about 400,000 people applied for adoption. There were no statistics I could find to document those that applied and were rejected.

I personally know 2 separate couples. One has an obese husband. He was disqualified to adopt because of his weight. Despite their loving home and financial status he was denied giving a child a home because he is fat. He and his wife flew to China to adopt a baby girl. After 2 years they went back for another. They provided these children a wonderful life.

The second couple I know is a husband, 50 and wife 48. Despite their desire for a child and the financial stability they had, they were denied adoption because of their age. They flew to China and brought back 2 sisters and are a happy fulfilled family.


Not to mention the arrogance of childless couples who not just want a child and are willing to adopt, but it must be a healthy WHITE child, when the majority of children without parents are black and hispanic. Ya don't often see good religious wacky old moneyed up white Americans clamoring to get a leftover black crack baby.

There is also the case in Florida of a white GAY MALE COUPLE with 3 black and mixed race children that were out of crack mothers and foster care having been abused. These gay men are allowed to foster them and raise them, BUT NOT ALLOWED TO ADOPT THEM, even tho they are there for them more that the state and love them and TRULY want them to be their own. Yet because of religion, they are somehow second class citizens who aren't WORTHY to adopt them.


Now add to this a few EXTRA million children that otherwise would have been aborted. WHO is going to take them??? WHO is going to raise them?? The religious nuts that insist they need to be here???? I think not, they aren't doing it now!!! Crazy lady Duggar is HAVING 17 children when she could just as easily ADOPTED 17 children because she loves kids and cares about them so much and life is so precious. We are in the deficit NOW as it is with BORN unwanted children, without adding a surplus of unborn unwanted humans.

Posted by: Cathleen at August 4, 2007 8:01 PM

Don't recognize the second half of the lyric.

That's because it's not John Lennon's, it's Alvin Lee's: Rock and Roll Music to the World. V. old (late 60s, I think) Ten Years After. Good stuff! o_O

Posted by: Flynne at August 5, 2007 10:22 AM

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