Reclaiming the abortion debate.

Last night in the CNN/YouTube Republican debate, the candidates were asked what the punishment should be for women if abortion is banned.

The question of “How Much Time Should She Do?” is one that we heard from Anna Quindlen this summer and is now resurfacing once again. Now that the political heat is high, this message – while it’s certainly not new – might just reframe the abortion debate and put conservatives on the defensive for a change.
Pro-choice candidates have consistently been forced by anti-choice rhetoric into positions where they end up compromising on reproductive rights issues; this is no big news. But asking anti-choice individuals about criminalization isn’t an easy question to answer, as you can see in this video. And as mentioned in the Quindlen article, Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa asked anti-choice Republican Jim Nussle publicly during the 2006 governor’s race the very same question, in which he lost the race to pro-choice Governor Chet Culver.
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The National Institute for Reproductive Health’s Messaging Project gave PPGI resources for their campaign, which focuses specifically on “How Much Time?” after doing research which showed that this question resonated with the public more than a number of other pro-choice messages. While the majority of Americans are pro-choice, the majority of them aren’t activists and many don’t even consider a candidate’s position on choice to be a priority. But putting criminalization at the forefront of the argument could not only change the debate, but prioritize the public’s expectations in candidates.
Jill also wrote a great piece about this when the Quindlen article came out that asks more than the one question. Last night, the candidates naturally turn the question to the doctors (because you know, the women seeking abortions are too distraught and not mentally well enough to be held responsible). The criminalization of doctors is also being researched by the National Institute in creating effective messaging; because if doctors are put in jail, women won’t have anywhere to go and this country will regress back to dangerous, illegal abortions.
In short, Journey’s question last night is an opportunity to not only reframe the abortion debate, but to reclaim it altogether.
RH Reality Check has more details on the debate.

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99 Comments

  1. oenophile
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 2:38 am | Permalink

    Omigod, UltraMagnus, that’s just funny.
    I needed the laugh.
    Jessica is the one who was saying that she doesn’t think that women are being treated like adults. I reiterated her stance. Suddenly, I’m all woman-hating because, for the sake of analysing Jessica’s little theory, I repeated her thought process?
    Thank you for the laugh! :)

  2. oenophile
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    hey oenophile, a majority of abortions happen in the first trimester, when there is no brain, don’t let your own head explode contemplating that logic
    Um, no need for the personal insults… I’m a rational, educated woman. Your position is never going to look good (except to fawning cohorts) when you gratititously insult an intelligent person.
    Incidentally, your logic fails and your facts fail (i.e. you are both internally inconsistent and ungrounded).
    My argument is not predicated upon the idea that every or most abortions are performed in a certain manner or upon a fetus of a certain gestational period. It works if there are a reasonable number of abortions that occur in that manner.
    Second, it depends on how you define “brain.” A little fetal development information for you:
    http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-6-weeks_1095.bc
    (I use babycenter because it’s non-partisan.)
    At six weeks after LMP, i.e. about two weeks after the woman should start her period and about a week after she’s sure she’s late and had that confirmed by a pregnancy test, her embryo has a brain:
    His heart is beating about 100 to 160 times a minute — almost twice as fast as yours — and blood is beginning to course through his body. His intestines are developing, and the bud of tissue that will give rise to his lungs has appeared. His pituitary gland is forming, as are the rest of his brain, muscles, and bones.
    Here is 3 weeks after the woman’s period is scheduled:
    Both hemispheres of your baby’s brain are growing, and her liver is churning out red blood cells until her bone marrow forms and takes over this role. She also has an appendix and a pancreas, which will eventually produce the hormone insulin to aid in digestion. A loop in your baby’s growing intestines is bulging into her umbilical cord, which now has distinct blood vessels to carry oxygen and nutrients to and from her tiny body.
    I’m sorry, UltraMagnus, that you feel the need to warp science to fit your agenda. I’m also terribly sorry that you cannot understand the moral aspect to abortion – that you will undoubtedly look at that information and tear it apart to fit your agenda, instead of thinking, “Wow, I can see where pro-lifers are coming from.”
    If you are truly representative of the pro-choice part of America, then I’m quite sad. I would like to believe that most people look rationally at the facts and think that the possible necessity of abortion will only make it a necessary evil, not a good thing, a neutral thing, or a “choice.”
    You are going to find yourself flailing against an ever-growing majority of those who are adamantly against abortion. They will see 4-D ultrasounds, learn about fetal development, see the huge variety of birth control options available, and wonder what barbarianism is this practice. If all you can offer is your childish rantings, we will live in a world that respects fetal life, legally and morally, but lacks the means to articulate or even contemplate a pro-woman, pro-life viewpoint. Our laws and our society will reflect a regime that is not hating of women, but merely ignorant of their plight. And why should it care, when the only supporters of another regime are those who fail to understand that, by the time a woman has figured out she’s pregnant, her embryo has a heartbeat? who denigrate those around them who even dare to consider that human rights are not contigent upon development, any more than they are contingent upon race, sex, or ethnicity?
    I will spend the rest of my life caring deeply about both the unborn and women. That doesn’t make me childish or a bad person; it makes me compassionate. Get a grip, get a life, and get a heart. You’ve had one since your mother started to suspect she was pregnant.

  3. oenophile
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    Sgzax,
    Two things:
    1. I’ll assume that apology may have been directed, possibly, at me. Even if not, thank you.
    2. Your logic fails, for the same reason that Jessica’s logic fails and the same reason this argument is a loser. It’s a massive game of chicken. You demand, on one hand, that we NOT send women to prison. Yet you simultaneously demand that we support the right to imprison women. Which is it? As Sherry Colb, a liberal pro-choice advocate, pointed out: the only ones who want to send women to prison are the pro-choicers. If you guys want to go to jail, fine. Run your life that way.
    I’ve written extensively about the reasons for giving legal punishment to the doctors and not the women. I will not repeat it all here, but it’s pretty simple and it has nothing to do with paternalism.
    Jessica’s argument is predicated on the huge, unwarranted assumption that the ONLY reason to not punish women is paternalism. A single, reasonable (i.e. not airtight, not perfect, not accepted by everyone – merely one that a reasonable person could accept) makes this little “How much time” insanity fall down like the house of cards it is.
    Wait for it.
    Wait for it.
    Women and physicians are not similarly-situated; thus, there is no legal requirement to treat them the same way. We understand that the threat of physical harm that does not rise to the level of death is a mitigating factor. Now stretch that non-lethal harm over nine months. Every single pregnant woman on the planet is a walking mitigating factor in abortion. Per se. By definition. No need to even bring the defence in trial – you can take judicial notice of this.
    The doctor, however, is not facing this. He may be her agent for the transaction, but he isn’t the one with swollen ankles, morning sickness, raised blood pressure, and a crappy health insurance policy.
    Therefore, no need to treat them the same way. None.
    Furthermore, imprisonment or fines would undercut important, non-punitive measures for women in crisis pregnancy. Consider counseling or possibly community service, if we feel the need to say, legally, that this action was wrong. It’s wrong, BUT we understand why. Not that she’s operating under diminished capacity, but that she’s facing circumstances that give us pause.
    Finally, the evidentiary issues are massively different for the doctor and the woman. If we were to prosecute women who abort, we would open the door into a massive intrusion into their lives. Would we be able to harass a woman who has a drink when her period is two days late? Who buys a pregnancy test? Sure, the Fourth Amendment protects a lot of this, but that just sends women to court. I’m also not a fan of criminalising miscarriages.
    Non-prosecution of women fulfills several deeply important social goals and reflects the differing physical (not mental) situations of the parties involved in an abortion.
    Watch the house of cards come down. See who is really compassionate, and see who is playing a high-stakes game of chicken with other people’s lives. It’s not in alphabetical order.

  4. oenophile
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:36 am | Permalink

    Final thought:
    In Sweden, it is illegal to solicit a prostitute but legal to be a prostitute.
    Why? Patronising to women?
    Or because that furthers the important social policy of saying that prostitution is bad, but punishing people doesn’t always achieve the desired ends. When idealological purity conflicts with reality, which trumps?
    Again, house of cards coming down like rain in Seattle.

  5. oenophile
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:53 am | Permalink

    YOU may not believe that a right to privacy is written in the constituion, but plenty of “intellectually-honest” lawyers do, and they will continue to fight tooth and nail to keep Roe v. Wade in place.

    Well, yes, there’s about a million lawyers in this country, so a tiny percentage of a million is still a lot, but it’s not a majority.
    Heck, even the author of Roe didn’t intend the result!
    http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/law_librarian_blog/2005/09/shedding_light_.html
    That’s for starters.
    Read the entire history. The court played around with the rationale until it could get what it wanted. It was deeply uncertain of what it was doing and ultimately played the role of legislature. The Amendments used to support it, by the way, actually undermine it – most notably, the Ninth Amendment, which is a companion to the Tenth Amendment. Read together, they ensure that the rights of people will not be limited by those enumerated (as, for example, the rights of Congress are limited to those enumerated in Art. I, Sec. 8); the 10th Amend. then tells us that that which is not enumerated therein is the province of the states.
    Short overview: 9 tells us that we don’t give the federal government everything that isn’t carved out in 1-8; 10 tells us how to distribute everything not written in 1-8 and the rest of the Constitution.
    The next analytical step is to examine the “States, respectively, or to the people.” The meaning of that language is that the state constitution becomes your new guide. If the people gave their rights to the state, tough luck.
    So you go:
    fed. Constitution (silent) -> state constitution (depends on the state) -> state law -> the people.
    If the Founders wanted to ensure that abortion were legal, they would have written that. If they wanted to ensure an all-encompassing right of privacy, they would have done that. They didn’t, so abortion just is not a Constitutional issue. It’s a state issue.

  6. Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:56 am | Permalink

    Ahhh, oenophile. During my hiatus from the site I’ve missed your schizophrenic rants and bizarre obsession with where I went to law school. Oh wait. No, I haven’t.
    I really don’t care if you think I’m a liar. If you ever manage to have a civil conversation with someone who attended at the same time I did, that person can verify my reputation and credentials, if he or she is familiar with my online persona, as most of my friends from school are (and if he or she is not, I invite him or her to contact me and reconnect).
    Your position is never going to look good (except to fawning cohorts) when you gratititously insult an intelligent person
    Pot, meet kettle.
    danica, as a general rule, I’m definitely a federalist in that there is very little I despise more than big government. But, 1) outlawing abortion actually makes the government *bigger* than keeping it legal, no matter which government is doing the legislating (it takes a lot more resources to keep people from doing something than to let people make up their own minds); and 2) even federalism has to be curtailed by basic civil rights principles (which was the whole point of the Civil War). Perhaps reasonable people can disagree on whether or not a woman’s right to control her body rises to the level of a constitutional right — but to state that a woman’s right to choose is a civil right guaranteed by the US Constitution is by no means incompatible with federalism. I’m not saying this is necessarily what you were suggesting, I just wanted to make sure the non-contradiction was made clear :)

  7. Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    If the people gave their rights to the state, tough luck.
    Ahhhhhh, which explains all those state constitutions that explicitly deny women their right to choose.

  8. ShelbyWoo
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    It’s wrong, BUT we understand why. Not that she’s operating under diminished capacity, but that she’s facing circumstances that give us pause.
    Aww, that’s sweet, but that’s the opposite of this, now isn’t it:
    there was no constitutional right to have a doctor suck the brains out of your child because you didn’t quite feel like having babies with the men you fuck.
    You deeply care for women and understand why they get abortions, yet call them sluts who deserve pregnancy as punishment for daring to have sex. Nothing contradictory there, nope.

  9. WinnieMcGovens
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:23 am | Permalink

    Ugh my grandmother needed an abortion in the 60s, because her and her husband could not afford another child. They were already living in a small house with other families and had a son.
    To get her illegal abortion she had to be blindfolded, led into a car, was driven over an hour away, blind folded the whole time so she couldn’t tell anyone where she went. And had her illegal abortion like that for the sake of her and her family.
    No one should ever have to go through that. And it’s insane to punish women for making a responsible decision about their families.

  10. klynn44
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    When it comes to interpreting the constitution, it’s best to read in more places than one for answers to your questions.
    Regarding life, and what constitutes a human life in the United States (thus determining who, exactly, is protected under our laws), the 14th amendment offers some oft overlooked insight:
    1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
    Regardless of the life beginning at conception/implantation debate (which isn’t a debate at all in the medical community), it appears that we have no legal rights as U.S. citizens until we are born or naturalized here. That includes the right to be called a victim in a murder case.

  11. Posted November 30, 2007 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    I’m glad the question was asked. Sadly, every one of the GOP candidates, all of whom are anti-choice, sidestepped the question. She should have made them say 10 months, 5 years, etc.
    I wish someone would ask both the Democrats and Republicans four-part question: if a woman is forced to have a child against her will, would you severly punish the doctor who denied her birth control pills? Would you punish the crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) who coerced her into having that child? Would you arrest any of her family members if they forced her to carry the pregnancy to term? And would you punish organizations like the National Right to Life for forcing her to carry the pregnancy to term?

  12. sotonohito
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    For myself, I find the “state’s rights” part of the argument to be the most innane.
    “State’s Rights” have never, not once, been successfully invoked for any cause. The Republicans like to shriek about “State’s Rights” when it comes to forcing pregnancy on women, when it comes to treating blacks like second class citizens, etc, but when something they don’t like comes up “State’s Rights” go out the window. See medical marajuana and doctor assisted suicide.
    So I say throw the entire, fake, idiot, notion of “State’s Rights” out the window. States are legal fictions, I’m concerned about the rights of real people. Anytime the rights of a real person come into conflict with the theoretical and entirely insane notion of giving rights to a legal fiction, I argue that the rights of the real person win every single time.
    Guess that doesn’t make me much of a Federalist, huh?
    Which brings us to my favorite part of the US Constitution, the Ninth Amendment, the part that says “no, you moron, there *is* a Constitutional right to abortion”, or to form a union, or to get doctor assisted suicide, etc. I’ve got a friend who’s fond of the “well, there isn’t a right to X in the Constitution so you don’t have that right” line of nonsense and it infuriates me. He, naturally, is a follower of the Bork “inkblot” school, while I go with the “presumption of liberty” school.
    The tenth amendment talks, not about rights, but about powers, such as establishing school boards, corporations, etc. And, even there it isn’t specified that the states *must* get the powers not given to the federal government, it says “or to the poeple”.
    To be honest, I think we ought to amend the Constitution again and strip away all that from the states, they’ve proven to be incapiable of exercising that power responsibly. Remember, it wasn’t the federal government that gave us Jim Crow, segregation, etc, it was the states. Screw the states, what have they *EVER* done that was actually good? I’m asking seriously here.

  13. sotonohito
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    “State’s Rights” have never, not once, been successfully invoked for any cause.

    er, for any *GOOD* cause. Dunno how that word got left out.

  14. Emily
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Oenophile-
    A massive game of chicken? Really? So… swollen ankles are an understandable justification for murder?
    I don’t see the inconsistency in the “How much time should she do?” line of thought. If you think abortion is murder and a woman who gets an abortion has murdered her child, then she should go to jail, period. That’s it. There’s no inconsistency. The problem is that *you* don’t want her to go to jail. Your argument falls apart when you say that women who obtain abortions aren’t as culpable as the doctors because they are more sympathetic. What? I guess I didn’t know that crappy health insurance excused murder. Would you say the same thing about the mother of a 5-year old who killed her child because health insurance was expensive and the kid was annoying? If not, congratulations! You are being inconsistent.
    Anyway, in the US it’s illegal to be a prostitute and to solicit one. Plenty of prostitutes are put in jail, so that argument kind of falls apart, too.

  15. wickedzoot
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Are you supposed to announce you’re delurking? Because I delurked about a week ago and I never told anyone.
    They will see 4-D ultrasounds, learn about fetal development, see the huge variety of birth control options available
    Pro-life policy makers are also anti-birth control. Remember that. If you really are “spending your life caring deeply about both the unborn and women” you should be fighting for all forms of birth control to be ubiquitously available and cheap instead of telling women not to get abortions. Without that, your words hold no water.

  16. sotonohito
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    wickedzoot Exactly. Planned Parenthood does more to prevent abortions than every so-called “Pro-Life” group put together.
    Which is, of course, why they really hate the “how much time should the woman do” line of questioning because it exposes their true agenda.
    “Pro-Life” is a code word that means “hates sex, and wants to punish sluts”, that’s all. And as they acquire more power they’re getting more willing to admit that. Look at how many “Pro-Life” groups are now openly attacking contraception, and how as the veil of “saving babies” grows ever thinner the sick excitement they get out of punishing sluts becomes clearer and clearer.
    I used to be charitable and think that it was just the leadership of the movement that had the slut punishiment agenda, that the rank and file really did care about babies. I’m a lot less charitable these days. Somewhere, maybe, there is a “Pro-Life” person who really is just opposed to abortion, but I haven’t met any yet.

  17. SarahMC
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    *yawn* Oenophile is back to rehash the tired arguments she presents again and again – arguments that are inherently contradictory.
    You NEVER argue in good faith. Pro-choicers don’t want women to go to jail. They don’t want abortion to be ILLEGAL! We know that YOU people do, so we present you with a question that usually causes you to expose your failure to take your position to its logical conclusion. YOU are constantly calling abortion “murder” and insulting the women who seek them, but when asked what sort of punishment you’d like to see handed down you change your tune: the poor dears are in a sticky situation and it’s the doctors who should be punished. Which is it? Either stop insinuating that women who abort are murderous sluts, or be fucking consistent and admit that you want to see them thrown in jail for their “crimes.”

  18. Posted November 30, 2007 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Somewhere, maybe, there is a “Pro-Life” person who really is just opposed to abortion, but I haven’t met any yet
    sotonohito, I’ve met a handful, but usually those people eventually wind up having difficulty reconciling their sincere compassion for women with their pro-life stance. They end up at least relaxing it somewhat. In fact, that’s EXACTLY why I became a pro-choicer after years upon years of being staunchly and actively anti-choice.

  19. Posted November 30, 2007 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    It’s called a compromise, people. And there’s nothing at all wrong about it.
    I disagree. A compromise is when both parties give up something that they can accept losing in order to attain an agreement that both of them can live with. Compromise is bad if a person is forced to give up something good in order to appease a person who only wants something bad. If a man tries to mug me, and wants to take $100 from me, but because I tell him that the money is for my dying father, he only takes $60, that’s not a good compromise. He had no right to any of my money, and the fact that I was forced to give him some doesn’t make it a good compromise. Likewise, any “compromise” on the abortion issue that does anything less than let women make their own choices for their own reasons is a bad compromise.
    This is the exact same principle that leads cops to go after pimps or johns rather than prostitutes, dealers more than possessors, and masterminds over henchmen. It’s not necessarily that it makes perfect retributive sense–the henchman may be very, very evil, or maybe not. Rather, it’s a practical compromise aimed at stopping the illicit activity.
    Yeah, that’s an intellectually honest comparison. Doctors who perform abortions are like drug pushers, and the women who get them are like users?
    It’s just a way of further infantalizing us. And I’m fucking sick of it.
    Great. We’ll throw you in jail, if that’s how you would want it.
    Oh, wait? That’s not what you want? You admit that, if abortion were to be illegal, you wouldn’t want women in jail, too?

    See, the fundamental problem here is that we don’t want abortion to be illegal. Once it’s illegal, what you’re asking is “well, how shitty do you want the world to be? It’s going to be pretty shitty- do you want it to be X shitty, or Y shitty?”
    For nearly 200 years, there was no constitutional right to have a doctor suck the brains out of your child because you didn’t quite feel like having babies with the men you fuck. Then, lo and behold, there’s a mysterious right hidden there!
    Oenophile,
    Are you dense? No, and I mean NO, intellectually-honest lawyer thinks that all constitutional rights were understood from the onset. For nearly 200 years, there was no constitutional right for a black person to own property, vote, or even keep custody of their children just because they didn’t feel like being treated like slaves. Then, lo and behold, there’s a mysterious right hidden there!
    There’s this wacky thing called interpretation. It happens constantly. That something wasn’t recognized or understood from the onset doesn’t mean that it’s not there- it means that our understanding of rights and obligations changes over time, and we’re getting better at working these things out.
    Um, no need for the personal insults… I’m a rational, educated woman.
    When you directly suggest that someone else in this thread is both dense and a liar, your claim that there’s “no need for personal insults” is, at best, highly questionable. You don’t get to act indignant and hurt when someone slings mud your way when your entry into the thread was a personal attack.
    I’m not touching the rest of that.
    Your position is never going to look good (except to fawning cohorts) when you gratititously insult an intelligent person.
    Well, if any of the rest of us insult an intelligent person, we’ll take that to heart. Which reminds me, maybe you should refrain from insulting LF, then?
    I’m also terribly sorry that you cannot understand the moral aspect to abortion – that you will undoubtedly look at that information and tear it apart to fit your agenda, instead of thinking, “Wow, I can see where pro-lifers are coming from.”
    Coming from someone who has shown absolutely no reasonable, rational understanding of the pro-choice position… ever, that’s laughable.
    Look, I understand some of the pro-life position. I understand that some pro-lifers really do believe that abortion is murder, and they really do believe that they’re acting in the best interests of the fetus. Those people, the ones that really, really believe that the fetus is an innocent life that needs to be protected, are few and far between. The majority of pro-lifers are at least as interested in moralizing about sex and promiscuity as they are about saving fetus’ life. They’re more interested in condemning women for having sex and getting pregnant than they are in being logically consistent.
    You demand, on one hand, that we NOT send women to prison. Yet you simultaneously demand that we support the right to imprison women. Which is it?
    Where has anyone in this thread demanded that we support the right to imprison women? What we’re talking about is demanding that the people who seek to criminalize abortion tell us what the punishment is going to be. Since they’re so adament that women are commiting murder when they get an abortion- something that you yourself have said- we want to know what the punishment is. We’re looking for some consistency here. If you’re going to call it murder and advocate for criminalizing it, we want to know exactly what the punishment is, and we want it to be consistent with the claims you’re making.
    See who is really compassionate, and see who is playing a high-stakes game of chicken with other people’s lives. It’s not in alphabetical order.
    It takes a real disconnect from reality to try to claim, with any kind of straight face, that the pro-life movement are the compassionate ones. Look around the world at areas where abortion has become illegal. Look at the women who die from back-ally abortions because of legislation of the sort you support, and tell me again how compassionate you are. Tell me how much a woman’s situation “give us pause” when you’re supporting legislation that increases the death toll to women.
    I’m still waiting for that “house of cards” to come tumbling down. We’re not talking about prostitution (which is, you know, still illegal in most parts of the United States, and where the prostitutes are still the people most likely to be arrested), or smoking pot (again, the biggest chunk of people busted are the users, not the dealers), but murder.
    And what you’re really trying to suggest is that it’s a contract killing. In no situation do we fail to punish the person who contracted a contract killing. None. If you try to hire someone to commit murder for you, you get arrested. You get arrested a whole series of charges. Are there compelling reasons why we shouldn’t be charging women with murder?
    Of course there are! That’s why, you know, pro-choicers don’t support criminalizing abortion.

  20. EG
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    They will see 4-D ultrasounds
    Hang on, 4-D ultrasounds? Is this some wild new technology? Will we have to wear those silly cardboard glasses to get the 3D effect? (I suppose the 4D effect is just…that it takes place in time.)
    I’m also terribly sorry that you cannot understand the moral aspect to abortion
    I’ve articulated at great length in the past the moral aspect to abortion: it is immoral to seize control of a woman’s body against her will. You seem to be under the impression that if you disagree with the morality in question, it is not, in fact, morality. You are mistaken.

  21. sgzax
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    [i] denigrate those around them who even dare to consider that human rights are not contigent upon development, any more than they are contingent upon race, sex, or ethnicity?[/i]
    Human rights do not extend to give one person the right to attach themselves to my body and live off of my body for any amount of time. If a *person* did it, it would be considered illegal and I could take legal steps to make it stop. Women have the right to control their own bodies. If you are concerned about the poor fetuses you should place all of your efforts on getting women access to safe birth control the world over. It’s the best contribution you could make. Of course, that slut-shaming initial comment you made pretty much played your hand about the misogyny that really guides your reasoning. So sad when a woman hates her own sex, and by extension herself, so very much.

  22. Posted November 30, 2007 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    If the reason pro-lifers don’t want to punish women for abortion is that they feel bad for her because, well, come on, being pregnant is tough (but not tough enough that we should actually bother doing anything about it), then should pregnant women who murder walking, talking human beings be given a pass as well? Their ankles are just as swollen and their hormones are just as erratic as the aborting woman’s are.

  23. SarahMC
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Interesting point, TLF. And let’s face it – pregnancy is not the worst situation a woman could be in.
    Women who stab their rapists to death – should they get a pass, too? What about women who kill cheating husbands? Or people who cut them off on the highway after they’ve been fired from their jobs? It’s pretty stressful to be a woman with cancer; I’d imagine that might make a person stabby now and again…

  24. MiddleageLiberal
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    LawFairy,
    My wife’s “morning sickness” lasted all 9 months of her pregnancy with our first. She often thought she could get away with killing me for being the cause of that. All she would have needed was one woman who had experienced “morning sickness” on the jury. “Sick like that for 9 months? Oh yeah, he deserved to die.” [For the humorless readers, that was a joke. Not only are we still married, we had another child together.]
    The absurdity of different treatment of the aborting doctor vs. aborting woman becomes pretty clear on analysis. If oenophile is saying the woman could be considered acting in self-defense, only where it appears the attack upon oneself is potentially lethal are we allowed to respond with lethal force. And if the threat is lethal, bystanders are permitted to use lethal force to protect the threatened one, too.

  25. UltraMagnus
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m coming back into the fray late but I’m happy to see that I managed to make oenophile basically lose her shit and further show how little she actually thinks of women. It’s usually best to just let her make a fool of herself.
    And Law Fairy (good to hear from you again!), SarahMC, romancIII,and EG have basically torn oenophile’s logic to shreds but I’ll echo the sentiment:
    NO ONE ON THIS WEB SITE THINKS WOMEN SHOULD BE JAILED FOR ABORTION.
    What the feminists on this blog want, is for the ANTI-CHOICE to explain what exactly should be the punishment for making abortion illegal, which, again, isn’t something pro-choice people want. It’s people like you oenophile and now that the question is being posed to YOU, all you can do is hem and haw about how pregnant women are stupid and don’t know what they’re going so they shouldn’t be punished for something YOU think there should be a punishment for. Not us, YOU.
    And once that’s shoved back in your face, you have to fall back on your imagined moral superiority and continue the talk of “sucking the babies brains out” and the subsequent slut shaming for women who “don’t want to have the babies of the men they fuck.”
    And I hate to point it out to you, oenophile, don’t let the last seven years fool you but you’re on the losing side, especially once it becomes clear that the anti-choice groups hate women and want to take away not just abortion rights but contraceptive rights as well.

  26. oenophile
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    If pro-lifers hate women so much, why do they never want to jail women for having abortions?
    That is the core element of the so-called “feminist” hypocrisy. You simply cannot fathom that the reason why pro-lifers do not want to jail women is because they do not hate them. The very same reasons which make all of you think that abortion should be legal make us think that it should not be punishable by imprisonment.
    Pro-lifers have repeatedly said that they do not want to imprison women.
    We’re done. You’ve gotten your answer. It doesn’t fit your warped agenda. Get a life.
    If the reason pro-lifers don’t want to punish women for abortion is that they feel bad for her because, well, come on, being pregnant is tough (but not tough enough that we should actually bother doing anything about it), then should pregnant women who murder walking, talking human beings be given a pass as well? Their ankles are just as swollen and their hormones are just as erratic as the aborting woman’s are.
    A little part of me died, seeing that “argument.”
    Murdering a bystander will not relieve the woman of her swollen ankles, morning sickness, fear about the future, or any of that. It is much akin to a person who steals money, justifies it based on his medical bills for AIDS treatment, and then never spends a dime of it on his hospital bills. (Yes, that’s an actual case.) Hence, it’s not any sort of justification, because there is no rational relationship between the problem and the action.
    You still can’t wrap your (defective) mind around the fact that it’s not about her mental state. She’s not excused from any murder; just this particular one, as this particular person is causing a huge strain on her life – as if you need that spelled out for you.
    For those who wonder why I insult Law Fairy: I once said that Mexican immigrants lacked the educational opportunities in their home country that we have in the United States, and she, being the wonderful sweetie pie she is, called me a RACIST. Caps hers! Because, you know, pointing out that Americans have more opportunities than people in other countries is a statement about the validity of race, only to be made by a RACIST, not about the fact that opportunities are not distributed equally amongst all countries.
    (Shrug) She’s the queen of schizophrenia.

    Oh, here’s more!
    Ahhhhhh, which explains all those state constitutions that explicitly deny women their right to choose.
    No, you do not need to mention “abortion” in the state Constitution in order to ban it; you need only give your local legislature the authority to so act, via the state constitution. Medical care has historically been the province of the states, as has criminal enforcement. The federal constitution does not either protect the “right” to an abortion, nor give Congress the right to legislate in that area. So we look to the state constitutions, to see what powers each state government has. That will tell us whether or not an abortion regulation is a valid exercise of state power.
    That, however, should be clear to anyone who made it through a week of con law.
    It’s not a bizarre obsession, hon, it’s a statement of fact: you don’t understand anything legal. It’s really, really freaky, actually. I mean, there’s some people I know who aren’t very logical, so they have a tough time going through the steps, but they still know those steps are there.
    Regardless of the life beginning at conception/implantation debate (which isn’t a debate at all in the medical community), it appears that we have no legal rights as U.S. citizens until we are born or naturalized here. That includes the right to be called a victim in a murder case.
    Oh, man, oh, man. Got a question for you: a visitor from Sweden comes into the United States and is stabbed 53 times until he dies. Does he have the right to be called a victim in a murder case, which, under your theory, is only given to those born or naturalised in the United States? Is it legal to rape someone who is awaiting a green card?
    That would be insane. In fact, the Supreme Court has ruled that we cannot deny some services to those who are neither born nor naturalised here (such as K-12 education).
    The Constitution is a floor of rights; it is not a ceiling. The legislatures are welcome to give rights to Swedes, Mexicans, Chinese, and the unborn.
    Consider, just to nail the coffin in your senseless argument shut: Laci’s Law. Yeah, that one that allowed Scott Peterson to face two counts of murder. Obviously, Connor had yet to be born, yet the law exists to protect him. Fourteenth Amendment violation? Obviously not.

  27. UltraMagnus
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    If pro-lifers hate women so much, why do they never want to jail women for having abortions?
    Because, as has been stated before, they think women are too stupid to know what they’re doing, so they need to punish those super smarter doctors for the deed.
    Murdering a bystander will not relieve the woman of her swollen ankles, morning sickness, fear about the future, or any of that. It is much akin to a person who steals money, justifies it based on his medical bills for AIDS treatment, and then never spends a dime of it on his hospital bills. (Yes, that’s an actual case.) Hence, it’s not any sort of justification, because there is no rational relationship between the problem and the action.
    So, what if she stabs a Hoover tube into the head of the guy she fucked, and sucks his brains out, cause it’s half his fault she’s in that “condition”, that way, she’s preventing him from doing it again. Does she need to do time at that point?
    You still can’t wrap your (defective) mind around the fact that it’s not about her mental state. She’s not excused from any murder; just this particular one, as this particular person is causing a huge strain on her life – as if you need that spelled out for you.
    Note that oenophile still thinks it’s murder, and that it’s perfectly okay for the woman to not be held responsible even though she DECIDED TO HAVE AN ABORTION. She got on the phone, she made an appointment, drove (or had someone drive) her to the doctor and PAID HIM TO PERFORM AN ABORTION.
    But the doctor should be punished for…. what exactly now oenophile? Again, if you believe that abortion is murder and that doctors should be jailed, then you’re letting the women off the hook for what basically amounts to what romacIII said was a CONTRACT KILLING, which we DO punish by law here.
    And once more with feeling: It’s the right wing/anti-choice movement that wants to make abortion illegal and throw down punishments, IT’S NOT THE PRO-CHOICE SIDE. So when it comes to laying down punishment, then why can’t they bring themselves to say that the woman who HAS the abortion be thrown in jail, since she INSTIGATED and PARTICIPATED in what YOU call “murder”? You can’t just back off and say, “Well, she was hormonal and didn’t know any better, but that doctor sure did!” THAT is NOT an answer.

  28. EG
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    If pro-lifers hate women so much, why do they never want to jail women for having abortions?
    Because they know that following their “logic” to its end would lose them almost all their votes and credibility. Pro-life women get abortions when they feel they need to–you can look this up by googling “the only moral abortion is mine.” And that is the point of the question, exposing the actual consequences of the pro-forced-birth movement’s policies and its complete lack of internal consistency.
    But I tell you, if I’m not responsible for having an abortion because I’m hormonal or emotional or whatever, I certainly can’t possibly be trusted to make such a life-changing choice as the decision to have a baby, can I? Can I legally sign contracts when pregnant?

  29. hopeisawakingdream
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    The argument and the point is pretty simple, I guess I don’t understand why oenophile is having so many problems with it.
    1. Anti-choicers want abortion to be illegal.
    2. Illegal acts require punishment
    3. The abortion is committed by the woman and therefore she would require the punishment. The doctor could be implicated as well, but both are responsible parties. There is no way to get around the fact that the woman consented to her “crime.”
    Logically, you would have to punish the woman, and that is not something pro-choicers are willing to say.
    To add a frame of reference, abortion is illegal in Nicaragua under all circumstances and the agreed upon punishment is 6 years in jail for the woman. That is the reality of illegal abortion. The other legal reality is that deaths due to abortion in Latin America (where Cuba is the only country to have legal abortions) accounts for 12% of all maternal deaths. It also accounts for 20% of hospitalizations from poorly done at home abortions. You cannot possibly promote a “compassionate” view towards women if you disregard these facts. Desperation will lead to women getting abortion regardless of your moral stance. That is reality. Whether or not you agree or disagree with the procedure, women will get it and they will die if it is not legal.

  30. hopeisawakingdream
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t mean to write “legal reality,” I just meant “reality”…not sure where the “legal” came in.

  31. Posted November 30, 2007 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    UltraMagnus, good to see you too!! :)
    hopeisawakingdream, thanks for injected some much-needed facts into a “dicussion” that’s pretty much degraded into irrational vendetta-driven personal attacks.

  32. EG
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad you’re back as well, TLF! It seems like we both went on feministing-vacation at around the same time…

  33. Posted November 30, 2007 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Hi EG!! Too funny… I am glad to be back and hope work won’t make me too absent ;)

  34. SarahMC
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Oenophile, you still have not given an explanation for the fact that you simultaneously call aborting women sluts & murderers and claim they should *not* face punishment for aborting. These are mutually exclusive viewpoints.
    Half of your inconsistent stance is that pregnant women are not moral agents. Think about that.

  35. Faerylore
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    (I realize this adds nothing to this riviting conversation… but I get distracted easily so please play with me.)
    I was thinking, if done correctly, an abortion doesn’t have to kill anything. You could implant it in somebody else, and it would be okay. It’s called an embryo transfer, and I know we already do it with animals in this fashion (but I’m not sure how exactly it’s done with people). And I suppose that if there wasn’t anybody around willing to subject themselves to pregnancy you could probably cyrofreeze it like we’re already doing with lots of embryos.
    Of course I vaguely remember the anti-choicers being against freezing ‘people’ too… but maybe you know, since there’s an innocent life at stake, they’d be willing to take it in for the next 18 or so years. Since they have such a devoted history of caring for and about children.
    And I also just wanted to point out that most things getting aborted don’t actually have brains yet. For anyone who might have been a bit confused on that part.

  36. Faerylore
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    (I realize this adds nothing to this riveting conversation… but I get distracted easily so please play a little with me.)
    I was thinking of the following as a possible (ie entirely implausible) alternative to abortion.
    If done correctly, an abortion doesn’t have to kill anything. We could indeed save them all (what we’re going to do with everyone afterwards I’ll leave up to somebody else to figure out, or perhaps just ignore). After removing it from the unwilling participant, you could implant the embryo in somebody else, and it would still be a viable pregnancy (abit somebody else’s).
    It’d be an embryo transfer, and I know we already do it with animals in this fashion (but I’m not sure how exactly it’s done with people). The anti-choicers could be in charge of organizing the volunteer moms.
    And I suppose that if there wasn’t anybody around willing to subject themselves to a pregnancy you could probably cyrofreeze it like we’re already doing with lots of embryos.
    Of course I vaguely remember the anti-choicers being against freezing ‘people’ too… but maybe you know, since there’s an innocent life at stake, they’d be willing to take it in for the next 18 or so years. Since they have such a devoted history of caring for and about children you know.
    Any logical fallacies in my proposal I don’t think are any worse than the ones that are currently on the table should abortion get banned. (Though oddly enough I sort of feel like a troll, so feel free to ignore this post.)
    And I also just wanted to point out that most things getting aborted don’t actually have brains yet. For anyone who might have been a bit confused on that part.

  37. Posted November 30, 2007 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    If pro-lifers hate women so much, why do they never want to jail women for having abortions?
    Oh, I don’t know… maybe because it would lose them voters? Maybe because they’re not so stupid as to believe that the general public would accept or tolerate such a blatant miscarriage of justice? And you know, I’ll even accept that “hate” isn’t quite right. I don’t think that all of them hate women in that they’re thinking to themselves “I hate women.” I think that they have such a low opinion of women as to think that women are ignorant, stupid sluts who are too stupid to know that abortion ends a life. Which, you know, if you said that about any other group would be understood as hate, but, fine, you don’t want to call it hate, that’s okay too. We can just call it blatant sexism.
    You simply cannot fathom that the reason why pro-lifers do not want to jail women is because they do not hate them.
    Sure I can. They don’t want to jail them because:
    1. They’d lose a ton of political capital. They’re smart enough to realize that imprisoning women for getting an abortion is political suicide.
    2. They think that women are too stupid to actually know what they’re doing, because women have the brains of children.
    Those are the two biggest reasons that I see why pro-lifers don’t want to imprison women. If imprisoning women was a politically viable alternative, I bet more of them would take it.
    The very same reasons which make all of you think that abortion should be legal make us think that it should not be punishable by imprisonment.
    And yet, you want it illegal. So, you recognize the reasons why women seek them. You recognize the huge health concerns of women who can’t get them. You recognize that not having abortion as an option has fatal consquences to women around the world.
    And yet, you still think it should be illegal.
    No, I can’t imagine where people get the idea that pro-lifers don’t actually care about women.
    We’re done. You’ve gotten your answer. It doesn’t fit your warped agenda. Get a life.
    You advocate for policies that result in the deaths of women around the world. Tell me again who has the warped agenda, please.
    You still can’t wrap your (defective) mind around the fact that it’s not about her mental state.
    What was it you said? Oh, that’s right: Your position is never going to look good (except to fawning cohorts) when you gratititously insult an intelligent person.
    (Shrug) She’s the queen of schizophrenia.
    The irony! It burns!
    It’s not a bizarre obsession, hon,
    Is there a reason that you are so completely incapable of having a discussion, or, hell, an argument without calling people “hon” or “dear” or “baby” or whatever other dimminutives and gendered insults you keep dropping? You do that, and then you wonder why people get angry and question your view of women?
    I mean, there’s some people I know who aren’t very logical
    Nosce te ipsum, right? Or maybe “scio me nihil scire; scio nescio”?
    Heh.
    Got a question for you: a visitor from Sweden comes into the United States and is stabbed 53 times until he dies. Does he have the right to be called a victim in a murder case, which, under your theory, is only given to those born or naturalised in the United States? Is it legal to rape someone who is awaiting a green card?
    Got a question for you: How many states grant the full rights of personhood to fetuses? I’d love to know, really. Take your time, you should be able to count them on, well, less than two hands.
    Now, how many states grant the full rights of personhood to tourists and greencard holders?
    Let me save you the trouble- all fifty.
    That would be insane. In fact, the Supreme Court has ruled that we cannot deny some services to those who are neither born nor naturalised here (such as K-12 education).
    And yet, the Supreme Court has issued no such decree about those who are, you know, not born yet.
    Weird, right?

  38. Posted December 1, 2007 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Oenophile, I notice you do seem to enjoy deconstructing the comments of others when making your argument. Please feel free to deconstruct this and/or reply to the questions posed, in order. Just FYI, I am contructing here a hypothetical situation where the courts decide that abortion is murder and outlaw it.
    1- Do you believe that abortion is murder? That foetuses and blastocysts are people?
    2- Do you believe that a woman who is old enough to drink, drive, vote, have sex, marry, raise children and get a job in law, medicine or anywhere else is a fully functioning human being?
    3- Do you believe that a woman as described in 2 is capable of objectively deciding what choices to make in her life, educating herself about the decisions she makes before acting?
    4- Do you believe that, if abortion is murder, that abortion should be illegal?
    5- If you believe that abortion is murder, and that it should be illegal, then what punishment should the woman who contracts for the murder receive?
    6- What punishment should be given to a woman who performs an abortion on herself, rather than contracting a doctor to do it?
    7- Should these theoretically illegal abortions be treated as equally immoral acts if the woman is a victim of rape?
    8- If a woman has an illegal abortion to end an ectopic pregnancy, should she be given any leeway for this in the eyes of the court?
    9- If a child is raped and becomes pregnant, should the law look differently upon the child’s right to have an illegal abortion?
    10- Finally, if you would allow rape victims, children and those with ectopic pregnancies leeway with regards to abortion, what justification would you use?
    11- BONUS QUESTION! In one of your comments above, you likened abortion law to the police punishing a john for obtaining sex from a prostitute, but not the prostitute herself. Do you, therefore, equate a woman’s decision to have an abortion to a trafficked woman having sex with a man because her pimp forces her to?
    I look forward to your responses.

  39. A male
    Posted December 2, 2007 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    I am a male. I am also a licensed nurse, if these things mean anything to readers here. I have recently delurked, and apologize for the length of this post.
    I like babies and children (and women of course), and I believe clients/patients in an OB/GYN department should be treated with respect, and be treated non-judgmentally, as our policy as health professionals is supposed to be, no matter what her choices. Even if a woman chooses to terminate a pregnancy in non-medical, non-rape instances. Even if a woman who missed the window of opportunity for emergency contraception or a so called abortion pill wants to use a termination as a form of birth control. Even if a homeless single woman living in a tent on the beach chooses to carry to term and deliver her eighth child, by cesarean (all of these scenarios are actual cases), courtesy of the taxpayers. It is not the health professional’s place to judge, at least not while responsible for that client/patient’s care. I also believe girls/women (and males) should have free access to birth control, and sex education should be taught in public schools as early as possible. Abstinence IS one choice, but teaching abstinence only is ludicrous, even if studies did not show it to be ineffective.
    That said, I do not like “abortion” (non-technical and politicized term) even if my religious upbringing had nothing to do with it. I have particular trouble stomaching termination of pregnancy after viability (with treatment, babies can survive out of the womb as low as 24 weeks gestation), or the so called partial birth abortion, another non-technical and odious term (it is called intact dilation and extraction). So I choose not to be in the OB/GYN or L+D departments, and am thankful I am not a “float” nurse who would need to be sent around to different departments against my will to cover personnel shortages. Nurses like these “float” nurses simply do not have the same level of choice to avoid departments they are uncomfortable with, that doctors do, and should not be judged for not participating in procedures they are uncomfortable with. It is not policy to force nurses who are Jehovah’s Witnesses to perform transfusions, or Catholic nurses to assist in termination of a pregnancy. Another nurse should be made available for the procedure (there are considerably more nurses than OB/GYN doctors, so there are other people to assist). Despite my own misgivings, I personally would perform my duties as professionally as possible, in the interest of patient care.
    A poster above mused on removing embryos/fetuses for implantation in other (willing) women to bear. I would consider such technology wonderful. It would allow a wanted child to come into the world with another family (or maybe the original woman can even change her mind to have it later), and performed early enough, it would also allow the original mother to avoid the stigma of being visibly pregnant, then being just as visibly not pregnant or not bearing a child later.
    Despite my misgivings, I would not make abortion illegal, nor would I penalize health professionals or women who support or undergo termination of a pregnancy. I do wish women could take advantage of choices other than abortion, such as adoption or legal baby drop off points, so the many people who want to adopt young, can have them. These other choices must also go hand in hand with educating the public, that these women (or couples) should not be stigmatized, but accepted as making what they believe to be the most responsible choice for a child they do not feel they can raise, for whatever reason. Pro-lifers (called anti-choicers here I see) should use their resources to care for these children they “rescue,” long term, or place these children for adoption themselves, instead of demonizing women/couples making hard choices.
    Incidentally, my neighbor is a responsible single woman who for many years has cared for foster children. Currently, she has a school aged girl whose family needs to devote their time and resources to a much younger child with a serious medical condition. In other words, this couple made a loving choice to give up a BORN child old enough to grasp her own situation, in an effort to better provide for her, and better cope with their family situation. Perhaps even posters here may find that choice extreme. I respect that couple for making that choice, and my neighbor, for taking in children like these, and doing her best to provide a safe, caring home. It is sad that not all women have these choices available, and are punished for it.

  40. SassyGirl
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    “A poster above mused on removing embryos/fetuses for implantation in other (willing) women to bear. I would consider such technology wonderful. It would allow a wanted child to come into the world with another family (or maybe the original woman can even change her mind to have it later), and performed early enough, it would also allow the original mother to avoid the stigma of being visibly pregnant, then being just as visibly not pregnant or not bearing a child later.”
    I can’t believe that I am going to engage in this coversation, I get so annoyed when anti choicers bring this up. They think that we won’t have a thought out reply. I mean how can you argue the logic surrounding removing an embryo from one woman and implanting it into another woman (please note the sarcasm).
    First of all, who is going to pay for the procedure? I am sure that it would cost more than a first trimester abortion, so who will pay for it?
    Second, it would probably involve a more invasive surgical procedure than abortion. I am assuming that one wouldn’t be able to carelessly suck out the embryo and wouldn’t you need to also extract the bag of waters? And the placenta? This would lead to an increase in health risks to the woman.
    What about the embryos that are not wanted due to bad genes? I am assuming that the couples who so desperately want to carry a baby would want to have a say over whose baby they carry, would they want to have a baby with a “genetic defect”?
    Who is going to profit from this? Is it the doctors? Will the women be paid for giving up their genetic material? If so, you are setting up a system were poor women may start selling their embryos in order to support their families.
    This idea is so far fetched and is ridicdulous, with good reason.

  41. A male
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    SassyGirl,
    I do not know how clear I need to be to tell you I am pro-choice and against demonizing (or punishing) women who have abortions or the people who perform them, despite any other personal feelings I have about how yuck a procedure may be. There are other invasive or surgical procedures I’d prefer not to watch. And if I were personally asked to cover OB/GYN and assist in an abortion, I would do it if I were qualified, though a nurse who did not want to play a part, such as a Catholic or fundamentalist, should not be forced to do so.
    I do not know why you associate my post with being anti-choice because of one little hypothetical passage about the fictional fetal transplant. Precisely because of my nursing training, I have learned to be careful about judging people or their circumstances. If they come through the door, (or I find them lying on the street) they are entitled to the same level of care and respect as any other client/patient.
    Who should pay for this hypothetical procedure or indeed, any other? Private insurance, if you have it. Out of pocket if you so choose and can afford it. Some form of government assistance if you don’t. Who would cover those who cannot afford care, or whose employers do not offer an insurance plan? Taxpayers. Or facilities eat the loss, all just like in reality today. [Nothing revolutionary here, except I believe everyone should have quality health coverage, as opposed to having 58 million people in the US who don't. Health coverage should not be an option, or have to compete with paying the rent or feeding ones family. I have private insurance because I am not working full time, and it takes HALF my household gross income every month. Under my family's plan, ALL medications are out of pocket, and that's about another $500 a month. A policy that would cover medical and drug for my family would be, get this: over $4,000 a month.]
    This assumes of course, that this hypothetical fetal transplant is the choice that the woman is going to make. Yes, if the pregnancy is that far along, it most certainly would be more invasive, complicated and risky than a D+C or induced labor. If the woman simply prefers a termination, or to give up the baby for adoption after it is born, that is her choice. After the woman makes a choice, the health professional should respect it and follow through. If the OB/GYN is unwilling, they are in the wrong department or the wrong line of work. If the nurse (who may not be in that department by choice) is unwilling, another nurse better be found, quick. If there is no other nurse, then I am sorry for that nurse.
    I don’t know if I can be more clear than that. It’s the client/patient’s choice, the same as any other procedure.
    And I don’t know why you bring up fetuses with “bad genes.” Perform the customary or optional tests on the fetus if one is concerned. I’ve seen women make the informed choice not to be tested, because they do not want to face the choice of possible termination if they discover something irregular. Fine. It’s just my job to inform the woman what the tests are for, and to ask if she wants them done, or to refer her to the doctor with any questions. I’ve done both. What she wants done or not done, is her choice. We do not push the tests on the woman or prey on her fear of possibly not having a “normal” child.
    If the pregnant woman or the recipient of the transplant does not want to carry a fetus with “bad genes” to term, they have the choice not to carry it to term, same as with a “healthy” fetus. No crime or stigma should be attached if the women decides otherwise. This is no different than what we do with pregnant women or fetuses with “bad genes” today. Some women choose to terminate. Her choice.
    If the woman decides to give birth to and raise a child with special challenges, (financial or medical assistance should be available to the family) that is also her choice. It happens all the time. People will even adopt children already born with special challenges such as being HIV positive, or having some sort of condition that will require special care or will drastically shorten the child’s lifespan, knowing full well what may lie ahead. I do not judge a woman or couple who decide not to keep such a baby.
    Who would profit from these hypothetical procedures? Insurance companies and health providers, I guess, the same as today. If the embryo/fetus is frozen or otherwise stored for later implantation, that facility will get paid, same as with frozen sperm, ova, or embryos today. Expect higher medical bills, insurance premiums or taxes, if such advanced treatments ever become reality. Same as advanced medicine today.
    Why do you envision poor women selling their embryos? If they are having an abortion because they choose not to carry that fetus/embryo, they are giving up that embryo/fetus, as sure as if it were disposed of as biohazardous waste products of surgery, or a kidney donor is giving up a kidney to a recipient, the same as today. There is no money to be made for the pregnant woman, unless you prefer to envision a different system than we legally have today. I believe individual sales of aborted embryos/fetuses for the purpose of implantation should be treated the same as individuals trading in kidneys or other organs harvested from the needy.
    Perhaps you are thinking about surrogate motherhood, where the surrogate and adoptive parent(s) have some written contract to carry a baby to term and give it up in exchange for money. If you consider that to be exploitation of poor women, or have some research saying poor women are selling genetic material or babies, I have nothing to say. This thread is about abortion. I favor keeping it legal and safe (I don’t see what “and rare,” as I have read coming from Hillary Clinton I believe, has anything to do with the argument). If zero legal procedures are performed because women choose to keep their babies, or an alleged 30 million legally performed since Roe v. Wade, it should be available.
    If you consider the hypothetical fetal transplant to be far fetched and ridiculous (obviously, implantations are already done with early frozen cell clusters or embryos), perhaps you may be interested in progress being made on developing full blown artificial wombs, where in the future, a baby may be brought to full term externally, without much of the health risks associated with pregnancy or childbirth. As short as six years to reality with humans, woah. Here are just a few links, with a number of news articles:
    http://www.nada.kth.se/~asa/Kloning/womb.html
    http://www.nrlc.org/Killing_embryos/ArtificialWombs.html
    http://externalwomb.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15&Itemid=2
    I swear, I do not know why the second link is to this “National Right to Life” page, it was just a Google search. I didn’t notice if or what they have to say about it.

  42. Mina
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    “You deeply care for women and understand why they get abortions, yet call them sluts who deserve pregnancy as punishment for daring to have sex. Nothing contradictory there, nope.”
    Remember that she doesn’t want to get pregnant herself and she does want to have sex herself someday too (unless she had a celibate marriage in mind when she said she wanted to marry someday).

  43. A male
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    SassyGirl
    For some reason, my lengthy response to your post is not appearing. I hope the problem is technical, not editorial, because I really wanted to respond.
    But to be brief: That quote of mine you take issue with was not meant to be snarky or some argument I picked up from some pro-life activist. I read it and thought it for the first time on this page. Considering medical progress, it is not as ridiculous or far fetched as you may think. Cells and embryos are frozen for successful implantation already. Older embryos and fetuses with intact amniotic sacs and placentae would be a next step. Yes, if a woman made the informed choice to remove an embryo or fetus, and another to accept it, it would be more costly, complicated and risky than a termination of pregnancy. It would be her choice, same as with any other treatment affecting her or her pregnancy today.
    BTW, progress is even being made on full blown artificial wombs that could operate outside a woman’s body to avoid many of the medical risks to herself. It could be a reality for humans in as short as ten years according to one researcher working with mice, or as long as 50. What would future medical advances such as more effective contraception or minimizing risks of pregnancy and childbirth mean for Roe v. Wade? I hope nothing.
    I’ve tried to be as clear as possible that while I do not find abortion desirable, I support its being legal, and women and health practitioners should be free from persecution or stigma. And as a nurse I swear to provide quality care to anyone who comes through my door, because it is not the health care provider’s place to judge. There are procedures I would choose not be a part of, but termination of pregnancy is not one of them. (But have you heard of debridement? Just watching a video of nurses removing a (conscious) burn victim’s 3rd degree burnt skin to allow healing made me and my classmates wince. I would never choose to be in a burn unit.)
    As for your other concerns, they can all be addressed by how any other procedure, pregnancy or legal termination of pregnancy are handled today. Who pays? Insurance, I hope, and insurance coverage should be expanded to include everyone in the US, even non-citizens and illegals. Otherwise it would fall on the taxpayer, the patient, or the facility to eat the cost, same as today.
    What if something is not right with the embryo/fetus? It’s the donor or recipient’s choice whether or not to bring a baby to term, and one should not discount the reality that there are mothers and adoptive parents who choose to bear or adopt children with known serious medical conditions, even fatal ones. Prospective parents would be free to choose the kind of donor parents or child they want, like how prospective adoptive parents can choose children (or surrogate mothers) with qualities they find desirable today.
    Who would profit from these hypothetical procedures? The money would be spent the same way medical expenses go today: to health care providers, insurance companies, and facilities where prospective babies would be stored. There would be no legal trade in embryos or fetuses on the individual level, same as with organs today, to minimize (I know it happens) exploitation of the poor.
    I am well aware that some people who post on sites like these believe men should have no say in these matters. Some posters (elsewhere) go so far as to say, men should not be heard or even have the right to have an *opinion* on abortion. Sorry, but I operate under the same US Constitution many of you do when pointing out your freedoms, and I’ll point to the First Amendment. I also have the same right to vote that many of you do. But don’t worry, while Roe v. Wade is not what makes or breaks a candidate for me (my thing is social services and healthcare in general), I have never voted for anyone who favors putting limits on or overturning Roe v. Wade.

  44. ShelbyWoo
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Hang on, 4-D ultrasounds? Is this some wild new technology?
    oenophile is right (I know, weird right?) in that there are 4D ultrasounds now. The only difference between 3D and 4D is time. In other words, 4D gives you real-time images and 3D doesn’t. I’m also not sure why she’s making the assertion that seeing a 3D or 4D ultrasound will make people anti-choice:
    You are going to find yourself flailing against an ever-growing majority of those who are adamantly against abortion. They will see 4-D ultrasounds, learn about fetal development
    Clear pictures and video of developing fetuses have been around for a good long time (we’ve all seen them) and we’ve known about fetal development for awhile, too (hence, her loooong post about fetal development). Plus, unless the parent(s) have sign off, ultrasounds are private medical records, they aren’t released to the public. So, I have know idea how this will help the supposed “ever-growing majority” of anti-choice/pro-forced pregnancy folks.

  45. ShelbyWoo
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Ok, wow, sorry for all of the mistakes in the above post.
    that should read:
    “unless the parent(s) sign off”
    and
    “So, I have no idea how this will help”

  46. A male
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    ShelbyWoo,
    I am confident that all regular posters and readers here are knowledgeable on stages of pregnancy and fetal development, but I do not believe that all people have seen imagery of fetuses, particularly in real time. Is it not the threat that a woman’s decision may be influenced (or regret her decision later) by seeing what is growing inside her, the reason that mandatory sonograms are so controversial? [I do not support mandatory ultrasound or prenatal testing, but encourage prompt, routine prenatal visits for maternal and fetal health, because routine pregnancy or termination do have risks.]
    You are free not to believe it, but no matter what their age or how many children they have had, patients have questions about even the MOST basic things, like yes, how did I get pregnant? (Maybe because you engaged in some sort of sexual activity during a favorable time of your cycle, it doesn’t matter if you are 12 or 43; and a sperm met an egg, even if no penetration was involved, and you used contraception as instructed?) It’s what the health care provider is there for, and why our phone numbers are available for patients and others to call with any and all questions and concerns.
    In the clinical setting (and I mean regular, non-religious, nonpartisan public and private facilities in my area I have observed) women are offered the choice whether or not to have or see their sonogram, as a routine part of prenatal care. I am not in the OB/GYN or L+D departments, but while there, have observed no pressure being put on pregnant girls (I mean girls, like 14 and quite uninformed) or women to have or watch a sonogram, or to influence the outcome of their pregnancy in any way. If the woman wants to be in the room alone, without her partner or parent there to influence her decision, that is her choice. And by law, all information is confidential. If a girl or woman comes in alone, there is no reason for anyone to know she was ever there, and we won’t tell if asked.

  47. A male
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Well, ok. If abuse of a minor is suspected, like she is 13, or she says it was her stepfather or 25 year old boyfriend’s child, it is a requirement to report it to the authorities. In the clinic at my nursing school at least, this is clearly posted at the reception desk. If the girl/woman doesn’t give the health care provider the details, she can’t be forced, though this could work in an abuser’s favor.

  48. ShelbyWoo
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    I do not believe that all people have seen imagery of fetuses, particularly in real time
    Nowhere did I say that all people have see imagery of fetuses. I said that 3D images of fetuses have been around for a long time (i.e. in textbooks, on posters in medical clinics, on TV, on the internet). I am saying that images of fetuses, real time or otherwise, won’t change a damn thing. Women will still get abortions. Women got abortions when they were illegal and life-threatening, a moving picture won’t change a thing.
    Is it not the threat that a woman’s decision may be influenced (or regret her decision later) by seeing what is growing inside her, the reason that mandatory sonograms are so controversial?
    No, the problem (really, two problems) is that it, again, assumes that the woman is too stupid to understand her decision. The other is that it would be requiring a WHOLLY UNNECESSARY medical procedure to get a completely legal and necessary procedure. And who picks up the cost of madatory 4D ultrasounds? Seems like another way to screw women in poor and rural areas.
    You are free not to believe it, but no matter what their age or how many children they have had, patients have questions about even the MOST basic things, like yes, how did I get pregnant?
    And? Does that mean all, or even most, women don’t understand how pregnancy happens? Please. Even if a woman doesn’t know “how [she] got pregnant,� she still has the right to choose between terminating the pregnancy or continuing it.

  49. A male
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    “I am saying that images of fetuses, real time or otherwise, won’t change a damn thing. Women will still get abortions. Women got abortions when they were illegal and life-threatening, a moving picture won’t change a thing.”
    You are correct. The procedure will still be performed, and I am told that international figures suggest the abortion rate would remain the same even if illegal. But I do not know why someone would deny how seeing a sonogram might affect individual women positively or negatively, or the decision whether or not to have an abortion.
    Please note again that I do NOT support mandatory sonography, and that is NOT the law where I am, but sonograms are routinely offered during an examination. A woman does not necessarily make her first visit to the doctor to terminate her pregnancy. It could be months later when her circumstances change, or she discovers that the fetus has an abnormality. It is the woman’s choice not to have examinations or tests done, if they feel them unnecessary.
    And no, I am not implying that women who do not learn or see the effects of pregnancy in herself are “stupid.”
    Who pays for these examinations and procedures? Insurance, the taxpayer, the patient, or the facility where it is performed. Please recall I support universal health care, so those who cannot afford it are not denied quality care, so as not to victimize people in poor or rural areas.
    “Does that mean all, or even most, women don’t understand how pregnancy happens?”
    No, I was simply making a point that this is one of the most basic questions that is asked in a clinical setting, by actual girls or adults. I have been there or studied about it with experienced techs, nurses and doctors, to know that questions just like this are asked. Women still asked me questions about THEIR pregnancies or babies (even breastfeeding) even when they knew I was a first year student, a complete stranger, and obviously never pregnant.
    Such questions are natural. Anyone can learn the same way I did, and I’m no expert: read about it, watch a video, or ask a doctor or nurse. Women have the unique opportunity to experience it for themselves, IF that is their choice. I hope students are able to ask their teachers or counselors about sexual matters, or young people can have an open dialogue with members of their own families.
    And I am not implying that people who wonder or ask questions like these are stupid.
    But most relevant to this thread, please note again that I am not against a woman’s right to choose, or against safe, legal, accessible abortion. I’ll post if I feel like it, because this is an amazing website, but I am no troll, nor am I here to be your enemy.

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