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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Simple Way to Seek Common Ground

[Today's guest post is by K. M. Misener.]

Far too many abortion debates are framed in the most simple, black and white terms: "Are you for abortion or against it?" However, there are many shades of gray between the two extremes of an absolute ban on abortion from the moment of fertilization vs. abortion on demand up until birth for any reason. For that reason, I have started to make a very simple request to abortion advocates in discussions: Please spell out for me exactly when you believe abortion should be legal, and when it should not be legal.

While that may seem like a very basic starting point, I think simply making sure we clearly understand where exactly our opponent stands can make discussion far more productive than if we just try to debate the issue in a general way.

We have plenty of real-world examples of situations where abortion has been restricted while not being outright banned. In many European countries, abortion is restricted after the first trimester, while in the United States, abortion advocacy groups fight hard against late-term abortion bans. Some readers may be too young to remember the long and difficult fight in America to ban intact dilation and extraction abortion (a.k.a. Partial Birth Abortion or PBA), but I remember that fight well. Once the partial birth abortion ban finally was upheld by the Supreme Court, abortion advocates quietly let their defense of PBA drop after a while. Despite dire predictions at the time that banning partial birth abortion would "undoubtedly harm the future reproductive health of some American women," nowadays you generally do not see people arguing that partial birth abortions need to make a comeback. The partial birth abortion ban shows the value of looking at abortion in terms of a spectrum, rather than pure black and white. Even many people who might have considered themselves pro-choice recognized partial birth abortion as too extreme to justify or defend.

We know from Gallup polling that even though a bit less than half of Americans identify as pro-choice, only about 26% of responders believe that abortion should be "Legal in all circumstances." There are many scenarios that frequently make even pro-choice people uncomfortable:
  • Abortion for so-called "convenience" or "birth control" reasons. 
  • Sex selection abortion (aborting a female fetus for being female, as is commonly practiced in some cultures). 
  • Late term abortions that are clearly for elective reasons.
  • The same woman having multiple abortions. It has been my experience that most abortion advocates are not aware that about half of women who have abortions have already had a previous abortion 
Since many pro-choice people tend to bring up rape and incest when debating pro-lifers (even though rape and incest only account for about 1% of abortions), I think it is completely valid for us to try to understand their stances on situations such as the above cases.

I am reminded of a quote that is very popular among atheists with respect to monotheistic religious adherents: “I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

Similarly, I say to those who oppose abortion in at least some cases: "I contend we are both against abortion. I just oppose abortion in more situations than you do. When you consider why you oppose these abortions, then perhaps you will understand that I am not your enemy simply because I draw the line in more cases or a bit earlier in pregnancy than you do."

We are used to thinking of abortion as a polarized, black and white issue. But I believe in many, many cases our disagreement is actually just about where to draw the line and matters of degree.

Now, what about abortion advocates who truly do believe abortion is a valid choice right up until the moment of birth? Finding out that someone takes that stance offers a great opportunity to discuss with that person what rational basis there is to abort a third trimester fetus yet protect the life of a newborn infant. Starting at the point where you can both agree that there is a life worth protecting and working backwards from there may be more productive than trying to convince someone who does not see even a third trimester fetus as a "person" that a newly formed zygote deserves to live.

In the effort to change minds and reach people, I think it is very helpful to try to find some form of common ground and use that as a foundation to build on. We need to look for opportunities to meet people at whatever point they are at along the spectrum of abortion beliefs.

103 comments:

Jameson Graber said...

“I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”



I always found that line a bit annoying, because in my case and in the case of many, many other believers, it's simply not true that I "dismiss" other gods. In particular, as a Christian, I obviously find a lot in common with Muslim and Jewish belief, and Hindu belief is not so alien that I recoil in bewilderment at it. Many atheists I've encountered have seemed to jettison this sort of plurastic openness in favor of a cold skepticism at anything not firmly proven by controlled experiments. That doesn't really provide common ground, it rather means there are some other deep philosophical issues to be addressed before we can successfully talk about why I believe in God.


The same may very well be true with abortion. Sure, there's a spectrum of times and circumstances when abortion might be considered acceptable, but that doesn't mean people's thresholds are formed through more or less the same moral reasoning. Anyone who has thought about the issue will have a particular set of priors informing their opinion. Common ground is a bit flimsy here.


Not to say that this post was bad. On the contrary, I think the approach you're getting at here is right: make proponents of abortion defend their line, wherever it is. It's much easier to nudge the line a bit in one direction than it is to suddenly move it all the way to your end.

Matt Dillahunty said...

It's going to be difficult to find common ground when you have group leaders calling the opposition liars, while lying tthemselves and members who engage in name-calling in blind support of that leader as well as members, like you, who accusing them of fallacies they never committed.

If you can't find the common ground of honesty, decency and integrity...you're pretty much done.

Vita said...

Agreed Jameson.

I normally really like Secular pro-life because the arguments normally posted here can reach all people regardless of religious belief.

My understanding about this site is that it is for all pro-lifers who use secular reasoning and arguments to oppose abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide. Not just those without a religious faith.

Jameson Graber said...

Well, again, I'm not saying I didn't like the post. And I think SPL is for everyone, not just those without a religious faith. Writers for SPL are of course free to use whatever analogies they want to get their point across. I was just giving my reaction to it.

Vita said...

Of coarse writers are free to use whatever analogies they want. However it is a bit ironic that in a post about finding common ground there is a barb that attacks other beliefs.

Salma said...

Matt, SPL is a platform for many different voices. The blog has readers and guest contributors who disagree with each other, and are free to openly talk about disagreements. All your posts on the facebook page are there for public viewing and SPL contributors can make up their own mind. Considering that SPL is one of the largest secular organizations that deviate away from mainstream secular views on abortion, people like K.M Misener (the author of this article) are going to bring their articles here to reach larger audiences.

Douglas Noble said...

I am madly enamored with your intellect Matt, and place much stock in your trustworthiness.

I remain firm in SPL's cause but I feel awkward and divided that that the org has given you such a bad dealing.

Salma said...

Seconded.

CB said...

People who favour a ban on abortion are not pro-life, they are pro-slavery!

No one has the right to enslave a woman to bear a child against her will, and no one has the right to strip from a parent the right to make life and death decisions on behalf of her child when that child cannot speak for herself.

There can be no common ground on this!

KB said...

I have a similar, though perhaps weaker feeling on the matter. I like watching the Atheist Experience, mostly as entertainment, but also acknowledging that there are actual people who, when listening to those explanations, are empowered to break away from the faith that has been placed on them by their families, communities and peers. I respect that work.

But I don't think SPL has given MD a bad dealing. There is clearly bad blood between KH and MD, but, if giving both parties the benefit of the doubt, nothing I have seen suggests anything more than severe mis-communication compounded by an emotional impulsive reaction due to the nature of the original argument (rather than the meta-argument). Now, the situation is ambiguous enough that we could give neither side the benefit of the doubt and determine that misinterpretations were in-fact intentional lies (for example MD saying Kristine was thrown under the bus due to a poor debate performance, when her own emails he published showed the falling out was due to the extent of what she was fighting for (she believes in no exceptions, SPL does not), or KH saying that Kristine didn't leave SPL, when it is clear that even if she didn't completely, the nature of her participation changed dramatically, and due to bad feelings.)

I'm not here to speculate on the intentions of MD or KH, unless I get something a little more solid on either of them than vague miscommunications. In the meantime, it seems to me that SPL, the blog, is still doing what it needs to do: exploring the issues, supporting women in pregnancies, and slowly, but surely, dispelling the idea that being pro-life has to have anything to do with being religious. That is what is more important in the end.

KB said...

Think a little further. There are an infinite amount of potential and actually worshiped gods and goddesses out there that can be rejected. Sure, you can say that you share other beliefs with other faiths (although let me know when you figure out what your faith has in common with Japanese Shinto spirits, or ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses) but even if you subscribe to the "all faiths are just different ways of perceiving god" there still is a reason why you have elected follow a particular religious path. That begs the question, why do you feel that way? Why are you, Jameson, not a Bahai? why have you decided to not use the Vedas to guide your life? It's not the supposition that you recoil in Islam that is the reason for that quote, but because you do not follow Islam. There are reasons for that, and many of those reasons likely fit in with why some people are atheists.

myintx said...

So a parent can kill their newborn child? is that what you're saying? wth!

Coyote said...

Are you also against the draft in *all* cases?

wat said...

Yeah, I see it like that too.


I'm surprised how many people call Kristine's emails "evidence" and "proof." At most they show she was upset about leaving SPL, but even she herself didn't claim she was leaving was due to a debate performance, so much as the performance was the final straw of other problems.


And before all this stuff came out last week, I saw SPL was posting pics of KH & Kristine together at that conference, and then the video of them together at the conference too. They don't exactly seem like enemies.



Anyone who's ever been friends with two people who break up or divorce would know that hearing one side is just that--one side of the story. I wouldn't call that more than a perspective, much less "proof," and that's if it was any of my business to begin with. Not sure how it was MD's business really. Seems kinda desperate.

LN said...

I think it's pretty difficult to find common ground with people that take bodily autonomy as tantamount up until birth. If they are of the position that anything -- human being or not -- using a woman's body against her will should be dealt with as the woman sees fit (since it is the hardship on her body that matters) then....where do you go from there? "I disagree?"

Coyote said...

Well, you can find common ground with them by trying to work together to reduce the number of abortions.

As for bodily autonomy, you can ask them *why* specifically they consider it to be such a "holy cow" and then try debating from there.

Chris R said...

One possible point of common ground is breastfeeding. Ask the person whether, if a mother's breast milk is the only food available for her baby, she should be allowed to starve her baby to death rather than be compelled to use her body to keep her baby alive.

Chris R said...

>the right to make life and death decisions on behalf of her child when that child cannot speak for herself.

Since when is this a right of parenthood? Outside of abortion, a parent *doesn't* have the right to decide that their child should die!

Chris R said...

Sorry, I'm a bit out of the loop. What's going on?

Jameson Graber said...

"There are reasons for that, and many of those reasons likely fit in with why some people are atheists."


I doubt it. The reason I am not a Muslim, for instance, is that I think Islam doesn't best describe the full essence of God, not because I haven't seen any evidence for Islam. (I don't completely ignore the role of empirical/historical evidence, it's just not the *only* basis on which I evaluate religious beliefs.)

Jameson Graber said...

Let me put it a little differently from my last comment. My reason for rejecting other faiths is that I accept Christianity, and my reasons for accepting Christianity are positive. An atheist's reasons for rejecting all faith are negative. So while a Christian and an atheist might both "reject" a lot of the same religions, this doesn't actually indicate a whole lot of similarity. The atheist rejects all religions; the Christian positively embraces one religion, which then necessitates not wholly embracing all of the others. Yet it is possible for people of all faiths to find common ground in what we positively accept.


Don't get me wrong, I do understand there are similarities. Early Christians argued against paganism by pointing out the immorality of pagan gods. Modern atheists make a similar move, criticizing the morality of God in sacred texts like the Bible and the Koran. So even between Christians and atheists or people of any other faith, there is surely common ground.

CB said...

Of course!


If a newborn child is suffering from a terrible genetic defect and is in constant pain, I see no other moral option...


Would you like to add torture to the list of the things you support?

CB said...

Of course not! The draft might well be required for the survival of
the entire society, though I understand your meaning
that it is compulsory.


Society certainly does have an interest in preserving itself, though I fail to see why society should have an interest in enslaving women to bear children against their will.

CB said...

Since forever. The people who make life and death decisions on behalf of a person who cannot speak for herself are that person's next of kin.


That's how the system works.


On the contrary, a parent is precisely the one who makes the decision to pull the plug when her child is hooked up to a ventilator.


In exactly the same way, the parent is the one who decides whether it is better for a child to be born or whether it is better for that child not to be born.


You don't get to speak on behalf of someone else's child in order to enslave that person...

myintx said...

You didn't attach any conditions to your original statement. You just said a parent has a 'right' to make a life or death decision. They could decide they cannot afford a child (a common excuse used to kill a child before it's born). You OK with that? What if a pro-abort told the mother she would suffer severe mental anguish if she put her child up for adoption? Could she kill it then if she felt she had no other 'choice'?

Sounder said...

Hi CB. One important difference there is that we only allow people to pull the plug when it is thought that the individual in question will never recover, has no future consciousness, etc. So by ceasing to provide care to them you're not robbing them of any future experiences. That's not the case with an unborn human. If you had a person in a coma, but you knew that they would wake up in a few months time, then would it be okay to pull the plug?


(As an aside, people thought to be permanently brain dead have been known to wake up, or to display some awareness, so it's dangerous to just write someone off.)


Do you believe that a parent should be allowed to kill their newborn if they feel the newborn might otherwise be raised in poverty, or if they are born with a disability that was not detected before birth?

Sounder said...

This analogy was mentioned elsewhere, but say that a woman has a newborn baby, and for whatever reason the only food available for that baby to eat is breast milk. Is compelling that woman to feed her baby an act of enslavement? Should she be allowed to let the baby starve to death?

Douglas Noble said...

Maybe you're right.

SkyHunter said...

Speaking as a father... I think abortion should be legal anytime before the 3rd birthday. /s

CB said...

Of course! If a parent cannot feed a child it is far better for that child to be aborted than for that child to starve to death!

Are you saying it isn't?


...and who are you to second-guess a parent's decision?


How could you possibly know better than the parent what is best for her child?


Who makes life and death decisions on behalf of your children?

CB said...

Obviously not.


If a parent is so ill-equipped to raise a child that she can't even be bothered to feed it, why in the world would you want to entrust her with a child!?


If you actually cared about the well-being of children, how could you possibly be in favour of enslaving women to bear them when they are so ill-equipped to raise them?

AmyE said...

Childbirth could be required for the survival of the entire society. Pretend there's a war and the draft is needed or America will collapse. Now pretend a biological disease has caused most women to go sterile such as a Children of Men situation. A few women manage to get pregnant and some don't want to stay pregnant. Does society now have the right to force those women to reproduce?

CB said...

... and who are you to decide on behalf of an unborn child that she does have a future?


How could you possibly know that better than the mother?

CB said...

Were you under the impression that there is a shortage of people in the world?


o_O


You do know "Children of Men" is fictional, right?

AmyE said...

Yes, and you gave a fictional story of America being extinct unless the draft was imposed. I'm giving you a scenario. I'm trying to figure out if you would be for the enslavement of these women for the betterment of society.
And P.S. not to be a nerd but the sterialization in Children of Men took place in the 1990s so if Children of Men were real there would be no kids today, so yes, I can say for a fact Children of Men is fictional.

Coyote said...

Yes, it's quite interesting that some pro-choicers complain about slavery/involuntary servitude when it comes to abortion only to support it in some other cases in which even I oppose it.

As a side note, if pro-choicers argue that no one should be forced to let anyone else use their body and/or to give up their life for anyone else, then I don't see why exactly one should be drafted, be forced to endure involuntary servitude, and be forced to risk his/her health and life even in a scenario where his/her country is fighting a Nazi-like tyrant who, while intending to make life miserable for some other people in this individual's country (if this individual's country will lose this war), is not going to kill this specific individual.

Coyote said...

As a side note, I wonder if you will also support the establishment of dictatorships if the majority of the population will refuse to support implementing measures which you think might be required for the survival of the entire society.

Coyote said...

"why in the world would you want to entrust her with a child in the first place!?"

I *wouldn't* entrust her with raising this child. However, since we don't have artificial wombs during this time, I don't see any other options but to force her to remain pregnant if one considers abortion to be morally unjustifiable.

Coyote said...

"Of course! If a parent cannot feed a child it is far better for that child to be aborted than for that child to starve to death!

Are you saying it isn't?"

You might be guilty of a false dichotomy here, considering that someone else can feed this child in such a scenario.

"How could you possibly know better than the parent what is best for her child?"

You do know that parents don't always make the best decisions for their children, correct? For instance, some parents might not get their kids vaccinated and thus cause unnecessary harm to occur to these kids of theirs later on.

CB said...

Sure, so why would you enslave a woman to bear a child she doesn't want just to take that child away from her and foist it onto an already overburdened system of foster care?


How could that possibly be in the interest of the society or anyone involved?


That's true! People don't always make the best decisions!


...you don't get to second-guess the decisions a person makes about her own body.


That's none of your business.


Why in the world would you want to entrust a child to the care of someone who is making bad decisions?

Sounder said...

It's not a matter of deciding whether she has a future. She's already set on a path of development through life. If given proper care, she will naturally grow and develop and experience life, just life anyone else. The right to life is not to be granted or taken away by anyone, including our mothers. Killing her is not refusing to give her a future, it's taking her future away.


And again, should a woman be able to kill her newborn because the newborn has Down Syndrome? Blindness? Cystic fibrosis? What if the newborn may grow up poor, can the mother kill him or her to prevent that?


What if the mother simply decides she doesn't want to raise a baby, and adoption would cause her emotional pain? Then can she kill it?

CB said...

Right, you would just force her to bear it.


Were you the impression that a parent isn't the one entrusted with the care of a child?


There is another option!


The euthanisation of that child.


You may consider abortion morally unjustifiable all you want.


You may not enslave a woman to bear a child she does not want, nor may you force a child into a life of pure torture.


In what universe is slavery and torture moral?

CB said...

#1 Military service is not enslavement.


#2 Society may have a compelling interest in military survival in order to preserve itself.


What compelling interest might society have in enslaving a woman to bear a child she doesn't want?


If a work of fiction is the best thing you can come up with, I would suggest your argument is on shaky ground.

Coyote said...

"Sure, so why would you enslave a woman to bear a child she doesn't want just to take that child away from her and foist it onto an already overburdened system of foster care?

How could that possibly be in the interest of the society or anyone involved?"

Because as I said before, I consider abortion to be a violation of rights and morally unjustifiable. Isn't an interest of society to prevent morally unjustifiable things and to prevent violations of rights?

"...you don't get to second-guess the decisions a person makes about her own body."

Actually, I *do*, if there is another party involved in this.

"That's none of your business."

What exactly is none of my business?

"Why in the world would you want to entrust a child to the care of someone who is making bad decisions?"

As I said before, I wouldn't. Please read my comment above.

CB said...

What's preventing politicians from doing terrible things?


Our votes, obviously...


That's true! Society does have an obligation to protect the rights of people who cannot speak for themselves.


One might argue that euthanising a foetus should be done humanely if a woman does not want it attached to her.



If abortion ban advocates were really concerned about the welfare of children, why haven't they made a peep about how a foetus is euthanised?

Coyote said...

"In what universe is slavery and torture moral?"

In *your* universe, considering that you, unlike myself, support the draft.

"Right, you would just force her to bear it."

Yep, at least based on my current political views.

"Were you the impression that a parent isn't the one entrusted with the care of a child?"

It depends on the specific case.

"There is another option!

The euthanisation of that child."

Using that rationale, how about we painlessly euthanize infants in the event of a shortage of adoptive parents as well?

"You may consider abortion morally unjustifiable all you want.

You may not enslave a woman to bear a child she does not want, nor may you force a child into a life of pure torture."

Actually, I can use my vote just as much as you can to try pushing for laws which I think are the best ones. Also, as for a life of pure torture, you are aware that this argument of yours falls flat in cases where the father wants this child but the mother does not, correct?

CB said...

Do I support dictatorships?


No, obviously.


You may believe abortion is wrong all you want.


You may not enslave a woman to bear a child against her will, nor may you subject that child to terrible torture.

CB said...

I would say a child actually does have rights once she's born, and that society does have an interest in overruling parental choices in some cases.


If a person does not want a foetus attached to her anymore, society cannot force her to continue to bear it.


This is a violation of the 13th amendment.


It couldn't be more clear.

Sounder said...

Is it better to be dead than in foster care? Why then don't we simply kill the kids in foster care?

Coyote said...

"#1 Military service is not enslavement."

Yes, it is. After all, one's body is used against one's will (and unlike with abortion, there is *no* responsibility for one's willing actions/decisions involved here).

"#2 Society may have a compelling interest in military survival in order to preserve itself."

Again, define "preserve itself". Also, again, how exactly can one impartially determine when there is a need for society to preserve itself? Finally, why exactly is the society more important than protecting and preserving individual rights?

"What compelling interest might society have in enslaving a woman to bear a child she doesn't want?"

Please re-read what I wrote above.

"If a work of fiction is the best thing you can come up with, I would suggest your argument is on shaky ground."

I was not the one who wrote about this work of fiction. However, AmyE appears to have a good point here considering that a scenario being hypothetical and/or fictional does *not* make it any less valid.

CB said...

Right, and why would you be pretending every foetus is "set on a path of development through life"?


What about the children who are born with terrible birth defects for whom every waking second is terrible agony?


Why would you subject these children to this torture, and why would you subject their mothers to enslavement and then the further torture of knowing their children are suffering?


How could you possibly consider such a position a moral one?

Coyote said...

You make assertions here without actually backing them up.

"Do I support dictatorships?

No, obviously."

What if the survival of the entire society might be at stake here?

Coyote said...

"If a person does not want a foetus attached to her anymore, societycannot force her to continue to bear it.

This is a violation of the 13th amendment.

It couldn't be more clear."

Based on *your* interpretation of the 13th Amendment. I don't think that the original intent of this amendment had *anything* to do with abortion.

Coyote said...

Using your rationale, how about we simply force all females who are pregnant with defective children to get abortions?

Coyote said...

"What's preventing politicians from doing terrible things?

Our votes, obviously..."

Yes, and if the majority of the population and of the judges also supports doing these things. Then what?

"That's true! Society does have an obligation to protect the rights of people who cannot speak for themselves."

Bingo, and this is where my politically anti-abortion position is coming from.

"One might argue that euthanising a foetus should be done humanely if a woman does not want it attached to her."

Sure, while abortion remains legal, that is.

"If abortion ban advocates were really concerned about the welfare of children, why haven't they made a peep about how a foetus is euthanised?"

Actually, I think that they *did* do this.

Sounder said...

CB, you are talking about an extremely small percentage of abortions. Any human being is set on a path of development throughout their life, until such a time that they die of a natural death. While there are conceivably times when mercy killing may be appropriate, I would only support abortion if the circumstance would also allow for the killing of a newborn or toddler. And the vast majority of abortions do not fall into that category. Again, can a woman kill a newborn if it is blind or has Downs Syndrome? Or if she fears it will grow up poor? If not, then why can she kill a fetus? What is the moral distinction between them?

CB said...

In some cases, it well might be!


Why would the success or failure of any foster care system justify your efforts to enslave women to bear children they don't want?

CB said...

Sorry, you are confusing 2 different things. I never said I supported the draft, I said compulsory service is not a violation of the 13th amendment.


Enslaving a woman to bear a child against her will is.


You don't get to make life and death decisions on behalf of someone else's child, and you don't get to pretend to be concerned about that child's welfare in order to enslave her.

CB said...

No, it isn't. Requiring someone to serve their country is not in any way equivalent to forcing a person to remain attached to another person.

Why would you pretend every pregnancy is the responsibility of the woman who is pregnant?


In your delusional fantasy world, how is a rape victim guilty of her own rape?

CB said...

Our system is a representative system. We control how it's operated.


We have a bill of rights in order that individuals are not subjected to the tyranny of the majority.


One of the values enshrined in that document is the right to be free from slavery.


At no point in a pregnancy is society allowed to enslave a woman to bear a child she does not want to bear.


Laws which enslave women in such a way are already a violation of the 13th amendment.

CB said...

Sorry, do you think society should be permitted to enslave women to bear children against their will?


...because that's what you seem to be advocating...

Sounder said...

If aborting a baby-ending his or her life-is justifiable because the mother doesn't want the baby to go into foster care, then why is it not okay to kill kids in foster care? If a woman's 5 year old were taken and put into care, could she justifiably track him down and shoot him?


We require parents to provide for their born children's welfare. That's why the breastfeeding analogy was brought up. All parents must care for their children, or find someone else to do so if that is possible. (When it isn't possible, responsibility remains with the biological parents.) Do you believe that that is slavery?


Also, if you believe that abortion restrictions should be opposed because they are enslaving women, does that mean there is not any circumstance where you would oppose abortion? Killing the baby if it's a girl, and they wanted a boy? Killing the baby because it is deaf? Because they conceived twins and only want one of them? Because the parents already bought their plane tickets for vacation, and then found the mother is pregnant and she doesn't want to have stretch marks in her bikini?

Sounder said...

Bearing a child is not the same as bringing a child into existence. Women should not be forced to become pregnant; that would indeed be unjust. Bearing a child in one's womb is providing it with the nutrients and shelter it needs to continue growing and developing, just as it will continue growing and developing after birth.

AmyE said...

"No, it isn't. Requiring someone to serve their country is not in any way equivalent to forcing a person to remain attached to another person."

If you require someone to serve their country to protect you are forcing them into a sort of slavery. People might be forced to kill. People might be killed. If forced birth is dangerous then so is forced military service.

CB said...

You are not understanding how this works. You do not have the right to enslave a woman to bear a child she does not want.


You do not have the right to second-guess that woman's rationale as to whether or not it is better for her child to be alive or dead.


You are not anywhere near close enough to the situation to be able to tell which is better.



In banning abortion, you would not only be violating a woman's right to be free of slavery, you would also be violating the child's right to be free of suffering.


Abortion ban slavers are not merely pro-slavery, but pro-torture. There is no principled moral stance for such a position.

CB said...

Sure, and people are enslaving you at the supermarket to pay $1.49 per pound for organic apples... /s


You can make any excuses you want, but to be in favour of abortion bans is to be in favour of slavery (and usually the torture of women and children as well).

AmyE said...

You don't have to pay $1.49 for organic apples. No one is forcing you to do that. Yes, we have a screwed up Ag department and FDA that subsidizes non nutritious food, overlooks regulations, and does poorly to educate the public, but that's a different issue.
Also, when did I make an excuse for abortion bans?

Sounder said...

I don't have a right to second guess a woman's decision whether her should should be alive or dead?


So if she decides it's better for her child to be dead than live with Down Syndrome, I can't second guess that? If she decides she would rather her newborn die, i can't step in and say no? What if she decides it's better to be dead than deaf? Or blind? Or missing a limb?


And if I can step in in those situations and say it's not an okay reason to kill a newborn, why can't I step in and say it's not an okay reason to kill a pre-born child?


And again, the vast majority of abortions are not done because of the fetus having some severely painful condition.


Also, what is your opinion on a woman being required to breastfeed her baby? Assume for the sake of the analogy that in a few months someone else is going to come along and adopt the baby and care for it. But for now, the only way for it to live is if she lets it use her body. The baby's future happiness or suffering aside, is requiring the mother to feed her child tantamount to enslaving the mother? Does she have a right to say "my body, my choice" and let the newborn starve to death?

myintx said...

Slaves were treated like property and weren't considered people. An unborn child about to be aborted is the one being treated like a slave. Treated like property that can be discarded like trash.

AmyE said...

I am so lost here. According to you anything a person does not agree with means they are enslaved. Therefore, why are you so concerned with abortion when it appears that you think you are enslaved over the price of apples?
You mentioned that you think the draft should be necessary if it helps society survive. If that is your belief, then you must also be for forced birthing if some disaster caused the human species to dwindle to a few people.
How likely is such a scenario?
I don't know. I try not to keep up with horrific events around the world, but I know disasters have occurred. 1/4 of Europe was knocked out from the black plague. Such a disaster could happen again only it could be man made with the intent of killing as many people as possible.
Lastly, I never said I believed the scenario would happen in the near future. I was just suggesting it since you proposed a war scenario.

CB said...

Slaves were made to work against their will.


If being pregnant isn't work, why do they call it labour?


Who are you to make life and death decisions on behalf of someone else's children?


Who makes life and death decisions on behalf of your children?

CB said...

Society may have some influence on a child once it is outside its mother's body.

Whilst it is still inside, no one may enslave that mother to bring it to term.

This is a violation of the 13th amendment and basic common decency, as well as opening up both mother and child to potential torture.

CB said...

No, not everything a person does not agree with is slavery.


Slavery is slavery.


Those who would enslave a woman to bear a child she does not want do not have moral principles, and are only interested in making women and children suffer.


That's what it's about with religious abortion ban slavers and that's what it's about with secular abortion ban slavers.


There can be no compromise with such people.

CB said...

If you are so very concerned about original intent, you and Antonin Scalia can have a little sit-down and talk about how important it is for Americans to be able to bear muskets, then can't you?


;p

AmyE said...

Ok, so what was your point then with the apples and that I should move to another country because I don't agree with a policy? Or my point that I think that the draft is equivalent to slavery?

Lieutenant Nun said...

During antebellum slavery female slaves were forced to bear children against their will. They were literally traded like livestock. They often took herbs to abort these pregnancies.

Were they as evil and depraved as the slaveowners? Were they taking part in a black genocide?

Sounder said...

Society at present has a lot of influence, since we've made infanticide illegal and passed numerous laws requiring parents to provide for the welfare of their children.


Is passing laws that prohibit a woman from killing her newborn opening the newborn up to torture? Should we legalize infanticide on those grounds?


Why can society have a say after birth, but not before?

myintx said...

Raising a family is WORK. Doesn't mean I can kill them if I decide I'm too lazy to put in the effort anymore.
The LAW says I cannot kill my born children!

CB said...

Obviously not.


What is wrong with you?

CB said...

Right, and in a system where you make the choice to have a family, the work you accept is your choice!


If the law says a parent cannot euthanise a child who is suffering when that child cannot speak for herself, the law is in violation of the right of both parent and child to be free from torture, and if you're advocating such a system of torture, you are immoral!

Lieutenant Nun said...

There are two pro life objections to abortion:

Abortion = slavery
Abortion = genocide

Antebellum slave women who aborted their pregnancies, along with Jewish women who aborted their rape pregnancies in concentration camps = just as evil as the nazis and slavers if the above analogies are true.

In fact, I have heard that abortion is a far greater crime than genocide. So these women would be even more evil than Nazis.

CB said...

It absolutely can be.


Some children are born with agonising diseases and their every waking moment is pure torture.


To keep a parent from euthanising her child in such a situation is to be an advocate for torture!

CB said...

Who might be enslaved when a foetus is aborted?


If you weren't trying to project your attempts to enslave women onto others, where is your reply?

Lieutenant Nun said...

The fetus is enslaved even if the woman does not abort but instead chose pregnancy for her own ends. To create a child because you want the kid for your own needs = slavery.

Sounder said...

Again, the vast majority of situations are not like this. The vast majority of abortions are not because of an agonizing disease that causes "pure torture." Most don't have anything to do with any fetal disability, period. You keep ignoring that fact.


If a child is born deaf, would you advocate a parent's "right" to have it euthanized?


Or, if a child is simply born into a difficult economic situation, should the parent retain the right to euthanize their child?


Should we simply have almost no laws regulating euthanization of children, because in some situations the child might have a painful disease? (We have very few laws regulating abortion, despite the fact that fetal abnormalities make up only a fraction of abortions, and severely painful ones an even smaller percentage.)


What if the parent simply doesn't want to raise a child, and they would consider adoption too emotionally painful? Say a woman breaks up with the baby's father, and no longer wants to raise the newborn? Can she have it killed?


If, in the example where the only food available to the baby is breast milk, can the mother choose to let the baby die? (Assume that after a few months the baby can be adopted and taken care of by other people.)


And if you say "no, she cannot kill the child or let it die" to any of these scenarios involving a born child, why can she have a pre-born child killed?

myintx said...

No, I think the people who support the slaughtering of about 1 million unborn children a year in the US alone are immoral.
You're flip flopping.. in one post you say a parent can decide for their children, then in the next post you attempt o clarify it by saying if the child is 'suffering'... 'suffering' from what? a cold? A parent can kill their child for that? And how long until the 'child can speak for herself'? 2? 3? 4?
By the time a woman is pregnant, the 'choice' has been made. She has a family. The unborn child is part of that family. She shouldn't be able to kill her born child or her unborn child - they are both human beings.

CB said...

What work is the foetus made to do?

CB said...

... and why would you contend a woman euthanising a blastocyst is "slaughter"?


How could you possibly know better than a mother whether it's better for a foetus to live or die?


If you understand children are sometimes born with terrible birth defects such that their every waking moment is pure torture, how is your position anything but the promotion of torture?

CB said...

It's neither here nor there what the majority of situations are like.


It is the mother's right to control her own body, and the mother's right to decide whether life or death is better for her unborn child.


You do not get to pretend to be concerned about the welfare of that child in order to enslave its mother to bear her.

myintx said...

By the time most women realize they are pregnant, their unborn child is not a 'blastocyst'. Abortion kills, no matter what stage the unborn child is in.
So, now there is further clarification... You only support killing if the child (or unborn child?) is deformed? You're against all other killing?

Lieutenant Nun said...

Well, according to some of the posters here, the fetus is considered 'property' and THAT is the essence of slavery, not forcing someone to work.

CB said...

Slavery is not forcing someone to work?


You want to rethink that statement?

CB said...

I am in support of the right of all humans to be free from slavery and the right of parents to make life and death decisions on behalf of their children.


Are you not?


Why would you think you had the right to pretend to be concerned about someone else's child in order to enslave her?

CB said...

My point is that you can cry about people enslaving you all you want.


That doesn't change the fact that it is a violation of the 13th amendment to enslave a woman to bear a child she doesn't want...

Sounder said...

Why is it enslavement to require a woman to remain pregnant with her unborn child until the child can be born and adopted, but not enslavement to require a woman to care for and breastfeed her born child until it can be adopted? Why is it not enslavement to require a man to use his body to work and earn money, to pay child support for 18 years?

Why is it the mother's right to decide whether life or death is better for her unborn child, but not for her born child?



"You do not get to pretend to be concerned about the welfare of that child in order to enslave her mother to bear her."


Accusing me of indifference to the plight of children being killed (and I am not indifferent, or I would not be doing pro-life activities), does not do anything to promote the argument that abortion is justifiable.


While it can seem on one hand compassionate to PREVENT a life if the mother feels unready, or if the situation isn't ideal, it is not compassionate to END a life (with a few possible exceptions that are rarely the justification for abortion). Many pro-choicers believe that they are acting compassionately, and accordingly most pro-choicers believe that an unborn human is morally inferior to a born one. In other words, that it has less right or value, or is only "a potential person."


But if abortion unjustly ends the life of a unique and valuable human being with the same intrinsic rights as any other human being, then abortion is not compassionate or justifiable in any circumstance that would not also justify infanticide.


If that is the case, compassion towards the mother and child means, not abortion, but working to provide for both of them, giving them practical support, resources, parenting classes, baby supplies, adoption information, etc. Which is exactly what many pro-life pregnancy centers do.
Additionally, many pregnancy centers provide or connect women with post-abortion counseling, due to the emotional scars abortion can leave. The goal is to help both mother and child, but if it is too late for that, at least to help the mother find healing.



In any event, as I said, it largely comes down to whether you believe the unborn child has the same rights as the born child. If so it would not be enslavement to require that the mother care for her, and it would not be the mother's right to decide whether the child live or die. (Again, possibly with a VERY few exceptions that are rarely the justification for abortion.)


So if you believe that an unborn human is morally inferior to a born one, or has fewer rights, or is merely a potential person...


Why is that?

AmyE said...

Women being forced to give birth = slavery.
Agreed.
People forced to kill other people and maybe get killed themselves = not slavery.
Here's where I'm confused.
If we make it okay for people to have their blood spilt in the name of the good of society we also make forced birthing okay for the good of society.

CB said...

No, clown shoes.


Why would you force such a person to give birth to a child!?


If you actually cared about the well-being of children, why would you entrust them to people who don't have good judgement?

CB said...

The difference is that requiring people to serve their country militarily in order to preserve its ideals is a plausible situation.


Requiring women to give birth because there's a shortage of people is not. It's the plot of a frikkin' movie.

AmyE said...

Just because it's the plot of a movie does not mean it's not plausible. There has always been terrorism, biological warfare, plagues, etc.
Relax, I'm just trying to warn you that language such as "interest of society" just gives fuel to anti-choice arguments. It forgets the importance of the individual and opens up gateways to slavery in the name of the common good.

Coyote said...

I doubt that Justice Scalia would be willing to talk with an ordinary person such as myself.

Coyote said...

"Sorry, you are confusing 2 different things. I never said I supported the draft, I said compulsory service is not a violation of the 13th amendment."

Based on *your* interpretation of the 13th Amendment.

Also, I *did* previously did ask you if you opposed the draft in *all* cases? You responded by saying:

"Of course not!"

Which means that there *are* certain cases where you support the draft, or in other words, support slavery.

"Enslaving a woman to bear a child against her will is."

Again, based on *your* interpretation of this amendment.

How about you show me just one case where some politician and/or judge which supported this amendment back in the 1860s stated that this amendment could be used to justify legalizing abortion nationwide? Do you think that you are able to do this?

"You don't get to make life and death decisions on behalf of someone else's child,"

Actually, I should be able to get to make these decisions just like I should be able to oppose legalizing infanticide and whatnot.

"and you don't get to pretend to be concerned about that child's welfare in order to enslave her."

I don't *pretend* to be concerned about this child's welfare, and as for enslavement, I don't think that your point here has much merit considering that you yourself appear to support slavery (involuntary servitude) in certain cases.

CB said...

Partner?

Did you think pregnancy was always an act of the mother's free will?

CB said...

lol! I guess not, huh...