Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Healing the GOP Part 2 - Abortion

As I indicated in my last post, the social conservatives tend to be more inflexible due to their positions being driven by belief rather than hard logic. So to explain and highlight the challenges of the social conservative integration into conservatism as a whole, I'll take the most divisive subject of all: Abortion.

I've fearlessly launched into many a discussion on many a topic. I've even dropped comments on the abortion issue from time to time. But I've stayed away from a full post on this political hand grenade for a simple reason: Everybody is fixed and will not yield ground. So debate and discussion simply turn into counter points and counter-counter points, and so on.

But three posts on other blogs have made it necessary for me to really explain myself, and to set down why I think and believe the way I do on the whole abortion issue. First was a post by Beth that took a long meandering in the comments before I discovered it was about me (and I would have had more to say had I known up front). An exchange with Lista prompted her to leave me this post, which, being Catholic, I already knew from the Right to Lifers that were around since my youth. Ad of course Tao couldn't resist weighing in, with many observations that mirror my own (although he missed something in the numerical scheme and had to change it to cover his ass (inside joke)).

Okay, first of all, I can unreservedly say that I am philosophically pro-life. Having been raised Catholic, believing to this day in the inherent value of human life and having evolved a political philosophy that values the individual, this is an important point, and something I want you to remember no matter what I say next.

I'm not in favor of throwing an amendment up to ban abortion, or wipe it immediately out of existence. I know that's all contradictory, but look who you're reading. The conflict comes because I have several things to consider: The life and rights of the child, the life and rights of the mother, the relative value of lives, and the point at which life begins. And that's going to be what I have to share here.

First the philosophy: Abortion is a terrible blight on the soul, because it involves actively snuffing out a life. There is no reason anyone, except under the most dire of circumstances, should ever be encouraged or supported to make this decision. Those dire circumstances include rape, incest, and triage reasons. The triage reason, however, is the one that most interests me.

Essentially, triage is the necessary process of weighing two lives and determining which one to keep. In this, both entrenched sides of the abortion debate forget a life in their arguments. And while I do point out that, in many cases, it's the baby's life or the mother's convenience (hard to justify), the woman does possess control over her body, and I have some issues justifying what you can force her to do, including carry a baby to term and give birth.

Now, while I do ascribe value to all life, that value is not always equal. For example, if I had to choose between two people who were dangling from a cliff, same age, but I knew one who was self destructive and the other virtuous, I would choose to save the virtuous one first. Now let's look at a potential abortion. If I had a wife who was with child, but also had cancer that would kill her if she kept the baby, then it would be a matter of which life I valued more. I would vote for the baby to die in this case, although the final decision would rest with the mother (and there was a mother who died thus to give her baby life). But as it's not usually a choice between lives, then we have to determine: When does life begin?

My Catholic faith, and a good portion of science, says life begins at conception. More facts: After a week, the embryo is attached to the mother. After three weeks, a heartbeat; six weeks, brainwaves. After two months, the embryo is classified as a fetus, and in following weeks, there is more response to stimuli, more movement, more everything. After about 26-28 weeks, a baby can survive on life support outside of the womb. And at 36 weeks, a baby can live without life support and be born (early).

I wanted to get those numbers out because it's a matter of choosing one of those and deciding on the "snuff/don't snuff" point. I personally can justify something that may stop the embryo from attaching, like a morning after pill, but not beyond that except under extraordinary circumstances. As each point is reached it becomes harder to not call it a baby. And after 24 weeks, if you haven't killed the baby yet, you'd have to be either soulless or insane to do so.

So now that I've laid out my thoughts as to how much death is too much death, we get to the political part. Here, that libertarian streak takes over. Before the baby is viable (26-28 weeks), it is harder to say that the right of the unborn child to live can trump the mother's right to control her body. So we compromise, and accept abortion as legalized murder. The alternative is coat hangers and bleach douches and the resultant horror stories.

But in choosing this violent path, we make sure the woman who makes this awful, horrible choice understands the full implications of what she is about to do. That includes ultrasounds, pictures, diagrams, and all those things that stir the maternal instinct. That may not work, as I've seen women who seem to lack it. And the members of the pro-life movement should be given the opportunity to put their money where their mouth is by offering to help the woman carry the baby to term for adoption. I'm sure they'll come through.

In addition, we need to come up with real solutions so that women don't get pregnant in the first place, whether it be education, contraception, or where necessary, sterilization.

And it's it choosing to save some that we can guide people back to the path of saving them all.
My point is simple. I want abortion to cease. But the courts and the legislatures and the leaders will never pass anything that can stop it. Only by creating a society where we truly value every life will we ever have a chance of ending the slaughter of millions of innocent lives. No amount of protesting, polarizing, preaching or pushing will solve this.

Now I know this will condemn me in the eyes of the pro-life true believers. But I've thought long and hard on this. I've witnessed the abortion discussion once 16 years ago, and had to have that same discussion myself almost 5 years ago (pic to the right). And that it is such an easy option from a legal standpoint is the tragedy. Had the women involved not chosen life, it would have been a call, an appointment, and a member of my family sicked into the sink each time. And it's time to make it stop.


TAO said...

It is the hardest discussion to have with yourself. Anyone who truly loves this country and respects the principles this country was established upon, no matter what their religion (if any) as to acknowledge the issue of abortion as one that truly racks your core.

Realistically laws will not stop abortions and never have. Laws will actually make stopping abortions harder because it will force the decision to be made "underground" and if we want to intervene and offers life respecting solutions to someone contemplating an abortion then we cannot have abortion decisions made underground, in dark alleys and such.

Abortion will never go away by passing a law and making abortion illegal...that just sweeps it under the rug.

TAO said...

Ah, Patrick... in regards to this comment:

"In addition, we need to come up with real solutions so that women don't get pregnant in the first place, whether it be education, contraception, or where necessary, sterilization."

How about separating the sexes ala a muslim country....

We need men who also respect their responsibility in ensuring that women do not get pregnant....

Patrick M said...

We need men who also respect their responsibility in ensuring that women do not get pregnant....

That's more like it. The whole segregation means I cant leeer. As for not getting women pregnant, been there, failed at that. But I'm a single father now, so it worked out in the end.

I don't have all the answers. We used to (sort of), but we as a society have abdicated that responsibility.

TAO said...

Patrick, you are an honorable man.

We do not have the answers but that does not abdicate us of our responsibillty to THINK!

Back when I was 17 condoms were kept behind the counter of drugstores. I lived in a small town with only one drugstore and my aunt worked the buying condoms was not an option for me.

After a night of wild abandon (reckless wild abandon) and while driving home I felt a sudden urge to pull my car over and pray....

I prayed to God in guilt and fear that I would become a father and have to give up my basketball scholarship and college plans. I promised God everything that night. Then as I got closer to home he answered my prayer. I realized that if I was to be a father then I would have to take responsibility for my actions and do the right thing. I never felt such joy and relief in my life.

I realized that if I was not willing to accept responsiblity for my actions then all the plans I had for the future would be worthless.

I did not have my beliefs tested but since that prayer I haver realized that a life without responsibility is no life at all....its just an existence.

Arthurstone said...

For a start we could at least be honest about the labels we use.

Anit-abortion is so much more accurate than 'pro-life'. My experience around the conservative blogosphere suggests there is little opposition to capital punishment and little opposition to the use of US military force on civilian populations in the Middle East or Southeast Asia.

Or Central or South America for that matter.

Arthurstone said...

Don't believe in abortion?

Don't have one.

Patrick M said...

Arthur: Arthur, if you notice, I am pro-life and not simply anti-abortion. If I were talking about the other side, I'd call them pro-choice as a courtesy.

As for your other points, we are reaching a point where capital punishment may no longer be a necessity, and if you think we relish spending live in foreign countries, then you really don't know any of us.

As for your asinine "Don't have one" comment, I think I made the point about the problem with abortion being easy when I talked about my son. No control there if his mother had chosen to snuff him.

Shaw Kenawe said...

I wish there were no such thing as abortion, too. But there is.

I'd like to see more emphasis on preventing unwanted pregnancies. Education and birth control would be a start. The morning after pill, too.

So long as males and females have sex, we're going to have to deal with unwanted pregnancies.

How we deal with the reality of unwanted pregnancies will reflect what sort of a country we are.

Kids are having sex at younger and younger ages. I just don't see how forcing, say, a 12 or 13 year old to have a child solves anything.

As tragic as abortion is, we cannot outlaw it, but we can reduce the number.

It's up to us to be sensible about this.

We cannot allow certain interest groups to promote the idea that birth control equals abortion. That's just nuts, and wrong.

Also, my friends, we do live in a culture that glorifies sex--this sends a message to the kids.

In a utopian world, we'd be emphasizing educational achievement.

But we don't live in that world. Sigh.

I say free birth control, education, and instilling self-respect to our young people so that they don't think they have to have sex in order to be popular and beautiful.

PS. Patrick already knows that I consider him a real hero. And a wonderful father.

Arthurstone said...

Patrick opined:

'As for your asinine "Don't have one" comment, I think I made the point about the problem with abortion being easy when I talked about my son. No control there if his mother had chosen to snuff him.'

Hardly asinine Patrick. It speaks to the very core of the issue and that is the woman's right to choose.

Not yours.

Not mine.


Arthurstone said...

Not this guys choice either:

TRUTH-PAIN said...

I have similar qualms about discussing abortion on any level. At the end of the day, -and regardless or how it jives with my LC beliefs-, I am pro-life. I am an environmentalist as well. I think that reasonable people can agree that saving the mother lode of life (Earth)is something noble and of conservative thought. So why should this love of saving the planet, its trees, its wildlife,...-in essence the manifestation of life-, why should this philosophy stop at the cervix? If we cannot agree that life is primordial and that our ability to survive the planet's changes depends on our respect and dedication to preserving the ethos of life itself, then we don't deserve the right to have enjoy life or to leave a better world behind for future generations. How the hell can we go around like idiots hugging trees, crying in despair at the sight of cruelty to animals, and making sure little spiders don't get squashed in the playgrounds if an unwanted pregnancy is seen as a nuisance to be hoover-maneuvered and not the life-cradle that it is?
This is one topic that transcends logic and political correctness. Some things should not be bound to moral relativism. This is one of them.
But what the hell do I know... I don't have a womb...

shaw kenawe said...

But what the hell do I know... I don't have a womb...

This is the key.

Bullfrog said...

The only argument for abortion that is compelling to me is your triage example. As a parent, I have learned that it is essentially a life of sacrifice and great joy. In that sense, I have an easier time justifying choosing to let what is natural run it's course, even if mother is at risk.

This makes sense to me because the mother and (hopefully) father involved would be putting the life of the child, who cannot make a choice, above their own.

I also believe that women who seek abortion should know all there is to know about pregnancy and childbirth; as you said, stoke the maternal instinct. If that doesn't work, giving your child up for adoption sounds less terrible than ending his or her life.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

I wrote a comment this morning, but Blogger ate it. This is the best recollection of what I said.

1. As a woman, there are situations that I could possibly find myself in that for me would justify abortion.

2. Criminalizing abortion will not make it go away; it will simply send mortality rates skyrocketing from back-alley abortions.

3. Education on birth control (including but not limited to abstinence), making contraception widely available and affordable, making adoption simpler, and establishing programs that could match families seeking to adopt with pregnant women (to offer the women another alternative) would reduce the numbers of unwanted pregnancies and give women with unwanted pregnancies more options.

4. In this country the abortion debate is largely fueled by religious groups and religious beliefs. To legislate on the basis of religious beliefs is fundamentally wrong. For example, we could criminalize meat eating on the basis of my religious beliefs, (which equate the slaughter of innocent animals on more or less a par with abortion) and make vegetarianism mandatory. What kind of a backlash would we see from that? Conversely, if we made meat-eating mandatory, that law would violate my religious beliefs. From this we can extrapolate that if laws are passed based on religious beliefs, they carry inherently the potential for suppression of other religious beliefs. This puts us on the road to theocracy, and we have seen in other countries the result of that.

Our country is an amalgam of many different religious beliefs, as well as those who have no religious belief. Laws cannot be passed on the basis of religious belief.

5. On a professional level, I feel that I am obligated to support whatever decision a patient of mine would make. On the other hand, I don't work in an area where this would come up.

6. In terms of federal (MC/MA) reimbursement for hospitals, I feel that hospitals should be required to perform "therapeutic" (to save the mother's life)abortions; elective abortions are another matter. If a religiously based hospital wishes to receive federal funding and/or certification they should be required to perform those interventions necessary to save lives.

Enough on this.

Patrick M said...

Arthur: Thanks for missing the point.

As for the "pro-life" pharmacy, it's their choice to stock the products they choose. Not my bag, but I'm not going to raise holy hell if they want to go with morality business model.

T-P: Yeah, that's one of those little inconsistencies that makes me think that Abortion (in Arthur's particular view for example) is more of a talking point issue than something people actually struggled with.

Shaw: Would you deny half of the procreation package (the man) any rights in the decision just because he lacks the appropriate plumbing?

Bullfrog: I agree with you completely, except that I can easily find examples of women who don't have the maternal instinct, have mental issues, are self-destructive, or so selfish that they could snuff a baby if it meant they wouldn't get fat. That's why I find myself in conflict (except on the selfish bitches).

Saty: Damn that Blogger!! (just kidding my loyal blogger masters)

All good points, but I do have one question. Would you willingly work in a place where abortions were performed (other than the medically necessary), and you would likely be required to assist in the procedure?

Not looking for contradictions, but just the personal view. As you see with me, there can be conflict.

Satyavati devi dasi said...


No, I wouldn't work in a place that did abortions, but for a reason unrelated to the abortion issue: I don't want to work with either pregnant women or newborns.

It's the same reason I'd rather work at Walmart than in L&D.

These kinds of questions are difficult because there are absolutely no shortage of alternatives in the field. We could try the "well, what if" thing, but I wouldn't be able to give a sincere answer because I don't know what it is to have no choice about where I'm going to work.

Probably not the kind of answer you wanted, but the only one I've got.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

So why should this love of saving the planet, its trees, its wildlife,...-in essence the manifestation of life-, why should this philosophy stop at the cervix?

Because it's my cervix, my circumstances, my issues and my decision.

Will you have to live with it day and night for the rest of your life? Will you be the one walking around pregnant, looking every day in the mirror at what happened to you? These questions relate to situations like rape, molestation, and incest, which would not be considered in a complete ban on abortion.

Should the ten year old raped by her mother's boyfriend be forced to carry a child to term when she is barely over the line into pubescence? Should we continue to add to her emotional and physical trauma by forcing her to spend nine months dealing with the biological result of the abuse she suffered? What happens to him? Six months in jail or a suspended sentence?

What happens then?

How can you make this decision for me? You don't have to live with it, and when the time comes, you won't have to pay for it.

A girl or woman pregnant through rape, molestation or incest has already had her life fucked up by an unwanted person between her legs. She doesn't need someone else in there telling her what she can and can't do to heal herself from the first catastrophe.

You want to have your mama's boyfriend's baby? You have at it. Nobody's stopping you. If I or anyone else couldn't deal with it, get out of my way.

Anonymous said...

Arthurstone said...
Don't believe in abortion?

Don't have one.

And that makes a lot of sense. Personally I have no problem with a womans right to choose an abortion if thats her wish. It's her body and therefor her right to decide.
As long as it is legal, they are entitled to do whatever they please to.
Make your own choice, if you are against it, then don't abort but don't try to take away other womens rights to do so.

Toad734 said...

Maybe that’s what the Church teaches but I always thought the heartbeat and brainwaves came at about 8 weeks.

Up until 7 weeks the embryo doesn't even have the beginning of all of its organs.

Until a little after 4 months the fetus does not have a developed nervous system and cannot feel pain, hear, feel, see light, etc. At 4 months the fetus weighs about 5 ounces.

Between 30-50% of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage. A miscarriage is what happens within the first 20 weeks, after that it is called a still birth.

So can someone explain to me how the birth of the baby could ever outweigh the health of the mother?? The leading cause of death for women in the third world is child birth. Up until the early 20th century, childbirth was the leading cause of death for women between the ages of 15-30. So don't pretend that this isn't an issue.

Mr. McCain "Health of the Mother" quotes apparently didn't know this.

With all these facts there are many things to consider:

The health of the mother is something which should always be considered.

You can't say for sure that everyone who is pregnant will have a baby. Since 50%-30% of all pregnancies never come to term, who are you to play God and just assume that they would all end up as blue eyed babies in 9 months. Fact is, you don't know.

I am not saying this is directly related but approximately 19 years after Roe V Wade, crime started dropping dramatically. One argument of course could be that the economy under Clinton was better or the assault rifle ban but it just so happens that people were no longer forced to have children they didn't want and the result was that about 18 years after Roe v Wade, when most people start committing crimes, the crime rate suddenly fell as there were a larger percentage of early adults who grew up in a family who wanted a child, not one where a baby was forced upon a 16 year old. This still rings true in parts of the country where Abortion is frowned upon such as the Bible Belt. They still have a higher crime rate than places like Oregon, Minnesota and Massachusetts, etc.

Bottom line, 16 year old single, unmarried, high school girls have no business raising a baby. And when they do, they are far less likely to be prosperous, get educated, etc.

I refuse to argue with someone who says abortion is wrong because Jesus magically creates a soul at the moment the sperm reaches the egg. That's just stupid and not based in logic.

I agree that third trimester abortions, when health of the mother is not as issue, is terrible. But as the gun nuts worry, if we let you take a little bit of our rights pretty soon you will be going house to house taking shotguns from hunters. I think 3-6 months is plenty of time for a woman to decide what to do but it isn't the government’s job to tell her what she can and can't do.

The crazies are even against morning after pills; even my mom is for the morning after pill and she's a born again. Why you have to go to Planned Parenthood to get it is beyond me. If the nuts would stop trying to interfere with the morning after pill maybe the left would ease up a little on abortion.

And bottom line, until all the Jesus freaks adopt every last black baby in all the orphanages, they have no right to tell someone life is precious and they have to have a baby no matter what. If life is so precious, why don't you go to your local adoption agency and pick up a few.

Ok. I think I am done talking about it now.

Gayle said...

I've read through this entire comment section, Patrick. WOW! Well, you knew you would open up a bag of worms when you decided to write this post.

Interestingly enough, you are the only one here who has come up with the solution:

"Only by creating a society where we truly value every life will we ever have a chance of ending the slaughter of millions of innocent lives. No amount of protesting, polarizing, preaching or pushing will solve this."

That is the answer. Difficult to achieve for sure, but it's the only answer possible. Great post!

Beth said...

I have yet to understand the "legal but rare" nonsense. Having abortion be legal gives it social acceptance. While no, I don't think back alley abortions are what I want to see, I certainly don't like how we seem to condone the practice of aborting human life in the name of convenience. Only 1% Saty of unwanted pregnancies come from rape/incest, why have it legal for the other 99%? And I am all for sex education, but please not for kindergarteners!

Anonymous said...

First I would just like to say that I am pro-choice.
Everyone has to understand the other side of this issue.
For a person who believes life begins at conception Abortion is killing a human being.
But not all of us do!
This is not an issue of legal nature for pro-lifers. Since there is no way to tell when "life" begins, since it is a moral issue, there is no right or wrong. I beloeve that the fetus is not a human, just a mass of tissue.
Legally though the courts cannot dictate belief which is why R vs W is correct and should be upheld.
Abortion must be kept legal, especially for all the rape and incest pregnancies
Nobody has the right to impose their morals on me. A woman should be able to control her own body If abortion is outlawed women will be forced to go to back-alley abortion clinics.
The difference between the anti-abortion movement and most atheists, most of what PETA does, etc., is that the anti-abortion movement is trying to make abortion illegal. These concepts are very different, and I have to object to their conflation.
There are many people of faith who believe that abortion is immoral. That's your religious opinion, not mine.
Why do conservatives always want to push their beliefs on others?
The most common form of prostitution are young unwed mothers who have to do whatever it takes to find food and shelter for their children. If a woman without skills and family support is stuck trying to earn a living and support the children, she has few options. She is forced to find a man to move in with to take care of her and her kids. In order to get a man to do this, she has to have sex with him and be his personal slave so that she can survive. In many cases, she has no choice. Our society seems to find this acceptable. I don't. An abortion can prevent a teenager from having their lives ruined by an untimely pregnancy and allow them to finish school, learn a trade, and select the mate they want rather than being stuck with the first guy who comes along. Abortion liberates women like these from the life of a whore/slave and allows her to control her own life and decide for herself when and with whom she will have children.
If you believe that way then don't have an abortion. I am a free person in a free society and I have the right to not have to have your religion imposed on my life. America was founded by people who were escaping religious oppression and I am opposed to any form of state imposed religious beliefs. This is America and we live in a free society where the people, not the government, makes personal choices. When people make their own choices, sometimes they make the wrong choice. That's life! That's what choosing is all about. But my point is that someone has to choose and it's up to the woman who is pregnant to make that choice. She is the one who has the right to be wrong, not the government. And certainly not a government controlled by a religion. If God gave us choice, who's Uncle Sam to take that choice away?
So if you don’t like abortions, don’t have one! If you don’t like slavery, don’t own slaves.!

Anonymous said...

Beth said Only 1% Saty of unwanted pregnancies come from rape/incest, why have it legal for the other 99%?

Duh! Lets say your figures are correct and i doubt that they are, BUT. I wouldn't want to be amoung that ONE percent.

Anonymous said...

Of course, there are also teenage pregnancies. Every year millions of girls under the age of 18 give birth. These girls are more likely to die in childbirth than a woman between the ages of 18 and 25. Not only is a pregnant teen’s life at risk, but also her future. Many schools with pregnant students offer them little choice. Without an abortion, they will be forced to drop out of school.And what about women who have become pregnant after being raped? Can they be expected to carry a child for nine months, a reminder of the sexual assault they were forced to endure?
As far as what Beth said about Only 1% of unwanted pregnancies come from rape or incest
I'm not sure how accurate that figure is and though I am sure that it is only a very small percentage, but no matter what the percentage maybe, I feel sorry for those that are in that situation.

Patrick M said...

Satyavati: You're right, that wasn't necessarily the answer I was looking for. But it begs another question that I won't ask in a public forum.

The other subjects you bring up are exactly the reason I'm not anti-abortion: There are times where the woman (or girl) may not be able to mentally deal with it.

Matt (and Arthur and Toad): Simple question and you don't need to elaborate (and I answered this partially in my post):

Have you ever been personally involved in an abortion decision, and what was your answer (yes or no)? I was personally against, but I told her I'd go with her decision on the matter.

Toad: First of all, why are you quoting McCain? He's out.

Beyond that, other than the miscarriage rate, do you have anything more personal to add?

Gayle: Thanks. I notice you sidestep the issue, but I assume that's because you find yourself a little conflicted, as I do.

Beth: "Legal but rare" is the best we're going to do in the law until we can change the minds and hearts of people like Arthur, Matt, and Toad on the issue, and strengthen the resolve of people like Satyavati and Shaw to promote life (note I didn't say to stop abortion).

Satyavati devi dasi said...

...strengthen the resolve of people like Satyavati and Shaw to promote life (note I didn't say to stop abortion).

Back that truck up, Skinner.

My resolve to promote life? I make my living promoting life.

How about turning it around and let's talk about that ten year old girl again. Who's promoting her life? Who's thinking about the next seventy or eighty years of her life? Who gives a shit about what she went through?

I really resent that 'promoting life' bullshit, Patrick, and you know I love you and I can say this without pissing you personally off. I've spent the last thirteen years of my life promoting physical, emotional, spiritual and otherwise wellness and health to people of all ages. This is what I do. To insinuate that in any shape or form I'm against "promoting life" is an outright and direct contradiction of everything I am and everything I do.

For the love of Pete, I don't even condone the slaughter of animals.

The homecoming queen who got drunk and knocked up after the dance, the crack whore who gets pregnant because she's too high to remember that sex is how you make a baby, and the anorexic who has a meltdown at the thought of a baby making her fat: these are not the people I am talking about when I am supporting keeping abortion legal and I have made that abundantly clear from the beginning.

I don't care if it's 1%, which I highly doubt, or 0.001%. Those girls don't even come into the equation for people when they discuss this stuff. Who's gonna promote them and their lives? Or do they just not count?


Patrick M said...

MLV (and Matt): As far as I know, the 1% is accurate, and that's what makes me pro-life and not anti-abortion. I wouldn't EVER force someone who did not choose to be pregnant to have to carry it to term.

Saty: I take my lumps as given. And I suspect, were you involved in any situation that involved deciding on abortion (other than the 1%) you would unreservedly counsel for life.

Plus, I like agitating you a little. :)

Arthurstone said...

patrickm wondered:

'Have you ever been personally involved in an abortion decision...?

Nope. Never.

That said the issue is not, for me, 'a talking point' it rather is the necessity for women to make their own choices. And it gets complicated when such as this pious geezer from Virginia (or as you put it: As for the "pro-life" pharmacy, it's their choice to stock the products they choose) opines that 'birth control isn't health care.'

Now if that doesn't send a chill down one's spine I can't imagine what would.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

In the area of pro life pharmacy:

1. Birth control is used for more than just contraception. Birth control is hormone therapy. It has multiple indications and multiple uses, only one of which is birth control.

2. Does the pharmacy stock Viagra and Cialis?

3. Does the pharmacy sell condoms, spermicides, and so forth?

If the answer to #2 is yes, they're hypocritical jerks.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

My job isn't to counsel one way or the other.

My job is to give my patient every bit of available information possible in order for her to make the most informed decision. Every option will be laid out impartially and whatever decision she makes is supported to the utmost.

That's my job. This goes for all big decisions, including do-not-resuscitate orders, terminal care, taking people off life support, and so on. My part is to make sure that people make informed, knowledgable decisions, and then to support them fully without personal bias. My personal feelings on the subject are, in the context of my professionalism, irrelevant.

TAO said...

Okay, folks let me ask a simple question....

I know that in the USA we have a horrible child mortality fact it is worse than Cuba's now, is our child mortality rate higher or lower than our abortion rate? Wouldn't it be better to focus on the child mortality rate first, since that is something we all agree is a problem that should be solved, since life is important. Then maybe by working on that one we could maybe come up with something better than this for abortion?

Its kind of like adoption...everyone can agree that adoption is an ideal solution...but half of people do not want gay couples to adopt...but realistically gay couples usually get the kids no one else wants and the ones that have health problems....

It seems that the ones that are against abortion and all for adoption are also against gay people adopting....

Something has got to give some where.....

Or maybe we all love to talk about abortion because we liked to be pissed off all day?

Patrick M said...

Arthur: Followup question (and this goes to personal belief rather than the TP): If you had a family member considering abortion, what would you say to her?

And the pharmacist is an idiot. But he has (and should have) that right. Otherwise, you force him do do something against his belief, his choice. It works both ways here.

Saty: To answer you:
1. for a pharmacist, he's intentionally ignorant
2. Don't know, I'd guess no, because..
3. definitely no (because they offer "natural family planning" AKA fuck and pray)

And I understand the role of a nurse. It comes back to the personal, thus the same question I gave Arthur.

Tao: As usual good points. As for infant mortality, the difference is active killing versus natural death. I'm not a big fan personally of insanely heroic measures to keep extremely premature infants alive. So I'm not that bothered by infant mortality rates.

As for gay couples adopting, I have preference for a stable straight couple getting the baby, but I have no problem as long as the gay couple is vetted with equal diligence.

Robert said...

TP, I must strongly disagree with your statement,"I don't have a womb" as if that is the defining fact as to whether abortion should be legal and desireable.

The left uses "women's rights" because it is the only way they can distract and modify the discussion. There is a human life involved here, and it has nothing to do with women's rights at all. The morality of the subject, dictates that we either respect the life or we do not. If we do, then abortion is undesireable and not a practice that should be condoned. If we do not, then one should simply say that and be more honest in expressing beliefs.

When women conceive a child alone and when the courts recognize that men have no responsibility for the child and there is no further child support then we can imput a degree of this being a woman;s issue.

Bullfrog said...

The issue of where life beings is not something we decide as individuals. Each mother can certainly use this information as part of their decision to ultimately abort a pregnancy, but they have to be informed first not just assume what is convenient at the time.

While science may be divided over where life really begins, it doesn't mean there isn't a single, objective truth to be found. Until then, wouldn't it be better to err on the side of caution and assume life begins at conception?

Patrick M said...

Robert, Bullfrog: Good points all.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

There is a human life involved here, and it has nothing to do with women's rights at all.

The fuck it doesn't.

This argument says that because my body has the capability to produce children, I therefore am denied rights over it. If I should be assaulted, raped, molested, abused and made pregnant against my will, I have no rights over my body. I'm a breeding machine, a carrier, a factory fucking farm animal. My gender denies me my rights.

The morality of the subject, dictates that we either respect the life or we do not.

This same morality is the morality that turns me into a womb that walks. It certainly doesn't respect my life. Does it?

Patrick M said...

Saty: A little passionate about this aren't we?

Also good points, and the reason this issue will be a battleground into the future.

Toad734 said...


Women are baby dispensers; that’s their purpose, to produce more men. Don’t you know that?


McCain, in a debate, acted as if the "health of the mother" was laughable. Since he is pretty moderate on the subject I assume a lot of other people feel that the health of the mother is never an issue. Of course, those are typically people who have never shoved an 8 lb baby out of their body.

I guess I have somewhat of a personal story. When I was 18 or so I hung out with a couple of girls who were still in H.S. and 16. One of them got pregnant and had an abortion. She was crying all the way to the clinic but has now graduated H.S. moved out of her moms house, moved far away to go to and graduate from college and recently got engaged. Everything worked out great for her. The other girl, about 3 or 4 years later got pregnant by some loser junkie and decided to have the baby. Of course, she was working, out of the house and out of H.S. by that time. She was always a crazy mess before her kid was born (hence dating a junkie) but after Ely was born she went to college, got her act together, learned another language and has a great kid.

The story here is that there is a right time and place for everything. The great thing about living in a free country is that both of these girls were able to make a choice, both of their choices turned out to be the right one. Thankfully when the last one got pregnant she was older and stable enough to raise the kid properly and keep him away from the junkie father. If she had been a little younger and less wise, she would probably be living in a trailer, smoking crack and letting her baby daddy beat her kids every night. Thats the difference between being forced to have a kid and having a choice.

Toad734 said...


Conservatives don't care about life once someone has already been forced to have the baby. They want to force people to have all the babies they can produce yet will allow them to go without medical care, proper nutrition and live in poverty. You know, because babies who don't work hard enough to afford health insurance are just lazy so it's their fault. But the good news is if they do make it to their teenage years we will ship them off to kill or be killed by Arabs. And if they screw something up there then they can come back here and we will torture them and give them the death penalty.

Bullfrog said...

satya: I think the argument is that once you conceive, there is a another person in the picture (your body) who is yet unable to make decisions for themselves, so I think the "which life is of greater value" is more compelling.

However the child is conceived, it is a life and needs to be respected. The rape, incest, or even triage argument doesn't make it less than that.

Bullfrog said...

I think there are a few factors that got us to this point in our society, and I specifically I mean where parenting has become less sacrificial. I use this word all the time as a parent because it is accurate. The kids come first ALWAYS because you make decisions for them and others that effect them in a profound way for their whole life.

When a woman becomes pregnant, I believe she starts making decisions as a mother at that point, including what she does with her body.

I think we have "de-genderized" the genders and made marriage an "expression of love" to the point where children are a liability more than a privilege.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

The rape, incest, or even triage argument doesn't make it less than that.

I hope to hell no woman you love ever gets raped or assaulted and then becomes pregnant.

I really do.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

It's so funny to me.

I live in America. I can vote, I can enlist in the Marines and go into combat, I'm allowed to own property in my own name and I'm able to go to court should I wish to.

Men have blessed us by favouring us with all these priveleges in their world.

But it's all Koolaid, isn't it? They give us these things to make us believe we're free, but they want to make sure they retain control over the one thing they should never have control of: our bodies.

I am not a feminist.

I am a woman.

And I'll be damned if some man can come and fuck me up and make me pregnant when I don't know him and don't want him touching me and then some other man tells me I have to carry this baby to term.

All those other concessions mean jack shit in the box when you reduce me to nothing but a baby machine, with no rights of my own.

Fuck that, and fuck anyone who'd try to foist it on me.

And I bet that these are the same men who slam the Taliban and Muslim governments for 'denying women rights' by making them wear hijab and burqa. I bet they really believe in their small, selfrighteous minds that it's really wrong to beat a woman because she shows some leg, but that it's really okay to force a woman to accept a pregnancy violently forced upon her.

I bet that's so.

Patrick M said...

Toad: McCain, in a debate, blah, blah, blah...

Fuck McCain, I couldn't care less what that blithering idiot has to say. I want him gone from politics so I never have to see him again.

Beyond that, you have good points, up to the point you comment to Tao: Conservatives don't care about life once someone has already been forced to have the baby.

If you honestly believe that, then you have no clue what pro-life really means. As it is, I'm still learning.

Bullfrog, Saty: I think you two have just illustrated, (especially you, Satyavati) why this battle will go on indefinitely. I can think of little to add.

Bullfrog said...

satya: don't presume to know me at all, much less who I know. Unfortunately, I have known and am related to alot of woman who had sex forced upon them and it sickens me to no end that a "man" could take something that precious from someone else.

I also happen to know a few woman who have had abortions, and not a single one of them can say they were glad they did it. I also know a woman who had an unwanted pregnancy while homeless and addicted to drugs and alcohol. She was a mess, she is in our family and I remember being afraid of her as a child. She ended up giving her son up for adoption, I still remember getting a glimpse of his red hair the few moments I had to see him when I was little. To this day she wonders where he is of course, and the impression I get is that it is painful for her at times.

I guess what I am getting at is, if a woman is raped and it results in pregnancy, no matter what she chooses to do there is going to be pain. So why not give that life a chance?

Myself said...

I am pro-choice because it is a woman's right to choose. I would not have an abortion myself but i do not look down on others who would. Nobody knows what one person is going through, there could be a lot of reasons why someone would need an abortion and even if there isn't a good reason it should still be their choice. The only person who is in the position to decide if going through with a pregnancy is right is the mother.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Patrick, you certainly brought out emotions in this post and rightly so.

What I find interesting throughout all these comments is the lack of personal responsibility on the woman's part. Yes, it most definitely is her body and she has the choice to do with it what she wants. She can choose, whether or not to engage in sex, whether to use protection. If you are that ignorant or careless to have chosen unwisely, then you need to take responsibility for your actions. Killing a baby does not fit that description!

Rape, incest and mother's health are three exceptions.

If you are raped, then why isn't the morning after pill being discussed.

Life of the mother and incest are different altogether and although I hate the fact that anyone could have an abortion, I can understand it in these cases. Incest usually happens to young girl and it is not their fault.

Where is the man's right in all this? You certainly can't get pregnant alone, and he should have some say into whether he wants his baby to be born.

You keep going back to the fact that it is the woman' body and you are right it is. So why isn't she respecting it then. If you are responsible enough to be having sex, then you need to grow the hell up and deal with the repercussions.

I find it immensely ironic that there are those who want to save the earth and certainly the animals, but not a child.

I think education will help a great deal in preventing unwanted pregnancies, but like someone else said....NOT in Kindergarten!

Those with the "They will do it anyway" argument so let's keep it safe. You could say that about a lot of doesn't make it right! Drug abuse? Prostitution? Polygamy? The list can go on and on. Somewhere you need to draw the line!

This is definitely a topic with a lot of passionate viewpoints but I think you've handled it well Patrick!

Beth said...

I find it immensely ironic that there are those who want to save the earth and certainly the animals, but not a child.

Sad, isn't it?

You know Patrick you think the issue is so emotionally charged, but I see Saty and Toad trying to make us all feel so sorry for women who find themselves pregnant unintentionally and how it affects their lives dramatically. And believe me, having a child does. But when we place values on lives, like the convenience of the mother trumping the actual life of another, then what does that say about our society? I also place the issue of euthanasia here, because again, for people's own convenience, they want to be able to end the life of another.

I think it devalues all human life when we allow these sorts of practices.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

I am going to repeat one last time, because Patrick and I had a long discussion (one of many long discussions) about this whole topic.

I have not, ever, at any time during this discussion, advocated keeping abortion legal on the grounds of convenience of the mother.

I have reiterated over and over the circumstances in which I believe abortion is justified, none of which involve convenience or the accidental pregnancy that happens when you're married and already have grown kids of your own (currently happening to a coworker).

I have made it abundantly clear that I am discussing women and girls who are molested, raped, victims of incest and otherwise maltreated and abused. This cannot ever in any situation be considered on a level with a "convenience" abortion.

Don't twist my words or shade what I'm saying into a different meaning.

I'm a nurse. I've seen more death right up in my face than anyone really needs to see. And I've seen some things that are truly worse than life.

And if you have no pity for a ten year old kid pregnant with a baby after her mama's boyfriend raped her, then all I can say is that I hope that's not a commonly held position.

And let's not even get into euthanasia, because like I said, there are situations that are worse than life. I've seen them and taken care of people in these situations and listened to them and what they have to say, not someone on the outside who can't possibly have any idea of what they personally are going through.

There's a 13 year old girl in England who following congenital heart disease and over a dozen surgeries has made the decision to refuse a heart transplant without which doctors say she will live no longer than six months.

She stated that she felt she has been through too many surgeries and like all surgeries this one would carry no guarantee of sucess and a large possibility of risk. For that reason she refuses and chooses to spend whatever time she has left in the pursuit of as much normality and quality time as possible.

This is not 'euthanasia' in terms of lethal doses of morphine. It is, however, someone making an informed decision about care that will more than likely result in death.

Her parents have respected her decision and her right to do so has been upheld in court after social services tried to take her from them.

Death also requires dignity. If you have thoughts about the end of your life, write an advance directive and get them on paper, and discuss them with your family. Your wishes about your care, up to and including how you wish to die in the event you have any level of control in the situation, should always be respected and followed insofar as possible.

Ever heard the term "quality of life"?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Give us a break Beth, I thought it was us Liberals that were supposed to be "Bleeding Hearts"?

Pro-life is a term that uses spin so they advocates appear a certain way. Many pro-lifers eat animals killed immorally, support war and the death penatly.

Pro-choice people are refered to by pro-lifers as "baby killers." (Notice the spin the pro-lifers use by refering to the fetus as a baby)

Unless "Pro-lifers" are prepared to become vegetarians (we could feed all the hungry dying people in the world if we used our livestock land for veggies), animal rights advocates, anti-war pacifists, death penatly protestors, and environmentalists (the Earth is alive, and we are destroying the life on it) then I suggest they pick up a new label without the spin. Pro-life means Pro-life. It means you think ALL life is sacred. It's a woman's right to believe what she wants to.

So for people against abortions, are you Pro-life, or just Pro-fetus?
A fetus or embryo at less than 22 weeks can no more think nor feel than a red blood cell. Having an abortion before that time is no less moral than getting liposuction.
I am pro-choice because I believe every woman should be trusted enough to make individual and personal decisions regarding her body without the interference of government. If another woman chooses to have an abortion, it's none of my business and I would never be so arrogant to assume that I (or anyone else) have the right to make that decision for her.
So if you are against abortion, I promise you Beth, I will never make you have one.
I think the decision should be left to the woman carrying the baby,not politicians and not strangers, especially if it's a man. Men, of course, have responsibilities to their children, too. But because men don't get pregnant, have abortions, or bear children, among other reasons, the prerequisite rights are not the same issue as for women. And in most cases of women who want abortions, the man has deserted them.
Once a man is impregnated, then he can decide..

Anonymous said...

Napqueen you got that right... I agree with you 110%

Patrick M said...

Napqueen: Don't go messing with my meat! I'll get to discussions of eating animals later though.

Anonymous said...

Saty, I have no problem with your beliefs. I just came late to the conversation and added my two cents. I agree with you, that molested, raped, incest etc should be considered differently! Like you, I find it wrong for the sake of convenience and unfortunately that makes up quite a few of them!

Lista said...

I do not at all agree that the Conservative Position on Abortion is "Driven by Belief, whether than Hard Logic." There may be people who are driven by Belief, whether than hard Logic, yet the position itself contains Logic and there are many who do know the Logic and base their Conservative stands on it.

Just as Democrats persuade people of Lies all the time just by repeating them over and over again, so also Atheists get people, including Christians, to accept Lies about Christianity and morality by simply repeating them over and over again. The idea that every Christian idea that exists is based on, or "Driven by Belief, whether than Logic", is probably the most commonly believed of such repeated Lies.

To understand the logic behind Christianity in general, it is necessary to read a certain category of Literature known as Christian Apologetics. One Author that I like is Lee Strobel, yet he writes mostly about Christianity in general and not about specific Political Issues, such as Abortion.

As long as we are on the subject of Belief and Logic, though, a couple of my own Posts come to mind, such as the one about Intelligent Design verses Evolution, entitled "Equations we Live By/Evolution v. Intelligent Design" and another one entitled "Christianity Under Attack on All Fronts, even Science" about Science in General, when it has to do with Political Issues.

Thanks for leaving the link to my blog on this post. The one liked by the phrase "this post" is about Fetal Development, which many people, just like yourself, are already familiar with, yet what is even more interesting than the post itself is the discussion that follows it.

We were discussing whether or not the Unborn Baby is "a Person". For all "Persons" have rights under the Constitution. Interestingly, during the slave era, there was debate over whether or not the Negro Slaves were "Persons", or where they just property. The Abortion issue is exactly the same. The unborn Baby is viewed as the "Property" of the Mother, or "Her own Body" so to speak. Once again, an entire segment of the American population is deprived of their Personhood; this time the Unborn Baby. To me this entire argument sounds fully Logical; not just Belief. For more, see the comment section of the page Patrick left a link to. Here it is again.

What is continually denied is the fact that those who hold to the "Pro-Choice", "Pro-Abortion" point of view do not want to see any opposing argument as Logic. They reject such Logic because they Believe in the opposite.

I have more to say on this subject and will probably be back.

Lista said...

Interestingly, there's been no response to my above comment and I still have more to say. Figures.

Somehow the whole nature of blogging reminds me of conversations in which the subject keeps getting changed before I have the chance to finish my thoughts. It is not unusual for certain subjects to take days and even weeks to resolve, yet even slower blogs move way faster than that and posts get buried deeper and deeper in the blog. That's just the nature of the beast. Oh well.

Don't be surprised, though, if I come back to this post and finish my thoughts even after it is several pages down.

Patrick M said...

ADMINISTRATOR'S NOTE: Due to the nature of the post, the age of the post, and the fact I'm referencing it to make a point, I have disabled further comments.