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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How abortion is like anti-rape nail polish

[Today's guest post is by pro-life feminist Caitlin Fikes.]

Recently there’s been a lot of media attention on a group of male college students who invented a nail polish that changes colors when it comes into contact with the most common date rape drug. Various media outlets have hailed the invention as an incredible breakthrough that will protect women from being raped.

However, many feminists and anti-rape activists have raised some very valid criticisms of the nail polish, its implications, and the kind of attention it’s getting. While the nail polish may indeed prevent some women from getting raped (and obviously, every rape avoided is a Good Thing), examining this invention in the context of rape culture still raises important concerns. For example, every precaution that places the onus on women to employ an ever-growing anti-rape checklist raises the possibility of victim-blaming: should this product become widespread, whenever a woman is drugged and raped there will invariably be voices saying, “This could have been avoided if only she was wearing her anti-roofie nail polish. How irresponsible.”

What does this have to do with abortion, you ask? You may be surprised to find that there are many parallels between the criticisms feminists levy against this nail polish and the criticisms pro-life feminists raise about the prevalence of abortion.

1. It fails to address the root causes of the problem. 
The anti-rape nail polish is a reactive, not a proactive, attempt to solve the problem of rape. The ultimate cause of rape is—shocker—rapists; more specifically, men (and yes, while both women and men can be victims of rape, the great majority of rapists are male) who are raised to believe that they are entitled to sex with whomever they choose and that it’s not really “rape” if the other person isn’t kicking and screaming. We live in a culture in which rapists are almost never punished for their actions in any way, and therefore they learn that they can coerce, rape, and sexually assault without consequences. The new nail polish won’t change our society. It just tries to make sure rape happens to someone other than you. The fact that this nail polish exists and is felt necessary is a sign that rape culture is rampant—not a way to fix it.

Abortion is also a reactive, not a proactive, attempt to solve the problems women face. Women feel driven to abort for many reasons: financial concerns, lack of emotional support, lack of adequate parental leave and childcare, an inflexible work schedule or class schedule, bosses that are unsympathetic to parents, lack of welfare programs, lack of societal support for teenage parents or unmarried parents... the list goes on.

Abortion doesn’t solve any of those problems. Abortion doesn’t change the fact that the United States is one of the only countries in the world without guaranteed paid maternity leave, or that women are much more likely than men to be in poverty, or that single mothers face disproportionately large financial difficulties. Pushing abortion as a solution for one woman’s crisis pregnancy won’t stop other women from facing the same situation, just as using nail polish to prevent one rape won’t stop other women from being raped. As Feminists for Life of America like to say, abortion is a symptom of the problems women face, not the solution.

2. It has existed throughout history and hasn’t solved anything yet. 
Anti-rape devices are not new. Anti-rape tampons and anti-rape condoms made the rounds of the Internet a while ago, but really anti-rape devices have always existed and go all the way back to metal underwear and chastity belts. Thousands of years later, rape still exists and is going strong in our “modern and civilized” society.

Abortion, too, has always existed. Women who become pregnant in a situation that is hostile to that fact have always found ways to terminate the pregnancy—and obviously, some ways are more unsafe than others. Abortion activists use this fact to say “Abortion has always existed and always will, so all we can do is make it safe and legal.” But when I hear that, it sounds suspiciously similar to when rape apologists say, “Rape has always existed and always will, so all we can do is give women ways to stay safe and protect themselves.” And to both statements, my answer is the same: “Yes, it has always existed, but it doesn’t have to. We don’t have to give up and accept defeat. We can make a change. We can do better.”

3. It detracts from real efforts to enact widespread change. 
There are many anti-rape activists working their asses off to make a change. They strive to educate about consent, that “Yes means Yes” and silence means “No.” That “We’ve had sex before!” doesn’t mean “Yes.” That “But she was flirting with me!” doesn’t mean “Yes.” That “But she wanted to make out!” doesn’t mean “Yes.” That bullying, harassing, or coercing someone into sex doesn’t mean “Yes.” There are so, so many great programs across the nation working to educate, to empower survivors, to push for rape survivors to be believed and for rapists to be punished, to dispel myths about “legitimate rape” and the “stranger in a dark alley” stereotype. Did you hear about the new law in California defining rape as the “absence of a Yes” instead of the “presence of a No”? Good stuff!

But somehow, none of these great efforts seem to get the same media attention and praise as that damn nail polish. And then when feminists speak out and say “Hey, this isn’t going to solve the real problem, let’s focus most of our effort on ultimate solutions,” they face vicious backlash and accusations of wanting women to be raped! The truth is, our society is much more comfortable centering conversations about preventing rape on which measures the potential victims ought to take instead of how to make a society in which such crimes almost never occur at all, and that’s frustrating.

Similarly, when feminists spend so much time and money fighting laws that protect women against coerced abortions or require higher safety standards for abortion clinics or prohibit abortions after a certain point of fetal development, they are drawing attention and energy away from the real solutions. There are groups such as Feminists for Life of America, for example, encouraging college campuses to provide better resources to pregnant and parenting students so that young women won’t have to choose between abandoning their education or getting an abortion.

But not all of the organizations working to solve the problems women face in our society are pro-life. Many feminist organizations fight for things pro-lifers and pro-choicers can agree on, such as better financial support for mothers and less discrimination in the workplace (i.e. putting women on the “mommy track” and passing them by for promotions).

One of the most important ongoing efforts, I think, is the one to sever the parental rights of rapists/abusers. When a woman becomes pregnant by rape and her rapist can threaten to sue for custody if she doesn’t drop the rape charges, or be part of her life via their shared child for 18 years, or legally block her attempts to give the child up for adoption, then abortion really does seem like her only choice. There are dedicated feminists working right now to change this.

But none of those other causes seem to be as well-known or praised as the effort to keep abortion legal in all circumstances. In fact, I would never have known about all of the important work feminists are doing on a variety of fronts if I had not been introduced to the idea of pro-life feminism. I initially saw feminism as a staunchly pro-choice movement, frighteningly so, and that turned me off from finding out any more about them or what they do. Once I became aware that there is a place in feminism for the pro-life prospective, I began to investigate and was astonished to find that I am fully on board with mainstream feminism on literally every other topic. I now am proud to call myself a feminist and am proud of what our movement has accomplished and seeks to accomplish, but the truth remains that the boldly pro-choice face that feminism wears publicly covers up the good they are doing.

I am a passionate pro-life feminist, but I long for the day when the descriptor “pro-life” does not have to be included to clarify the term “feminist.” It seems clear to me that feminism, with its main principles of nonviolence, justice, and nondiscrimination, naturally lends itself to a pro-life position.

I hope that some of my fellow feminists will read this post and perhaps reconsider their position on abortion, especially if they are already critical of the anti-rape nail polish. The comparison is not perfect, of course, but at its core I believe they are comparable. Women need real, permanent solutions, not temporary band-aids that do not address the heart of the matter.

495 comments:

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Kelsey said...

I actually kind of like the nail polish idea. My hope is that rather than being a case of "just making sure rape happens to someone other than you," it becomes a general deterrent. After all, from the rapist's perspective, there's no way to tell which women are wearing this nail polish versus regular nail polish. The rapist could get caught red handed at any time. Especially considering the amount of press it's gotten, I'm optimistic that it will be a deterrent.


But your broader point remains: this is merely outsmarting criminals. It isn't changing the cultural attitudes that need changing. So the analogy to abortion stands.

nicole said...

I am fully convinced that the whole idea of "rape culture" was invented by rapists. What better way to have easy access to prey than by demonizing proactive safety choices? It's like a group of wolves convincing sheep that they should not do whatever they do to avoid being picked off. If you've been roofied and raped you've been victimized, no one is arguing that. You also are extremely unlikely to even be able to locate/name your predator, much less pick them up out of a line up. Same goes for if you are blackout drunk. I don't think it is one bit unreasonable to try to protect oneself in these sorts of situations--and I will continue to advocate others to do so as well-no apologies needed. Do you know that in prison, men have a huge list of actions that they take to "avoid" being raped? So it's not just women who it is advocated for.
The only criticism I have of this nail polish product is: it seems like it could be toxic and a bit unsanitary. Why not have a pack of strips which you would use to drop a speck of the drink on, instead of dipping the chemical laden nail and dirty finger into the drink?

eroteme said...

Birth control will always have failure rates and no matter the financial incentives many women simply do not want to be pregnant.

Purple Slurpy said...

You are railing against the nail polish because its it does not "address the roots of the problem"? Do seatbelts address the root cause of auto accidents? I don't believe they do. They are a reactive safety component, but one that saves many lives. Google's self-driving car is probably filled with many "proactive" solutions to safety, but real life will always be one step ahead. Bridges can collapse while your proactive car drives on it, your car may get hit by lightning, etc. In principle, proactive solutions are great, and they should be fully developed, but reactive solutions are the last-ditch safety net that might turn a fatal situation into a merely bad situation. Both approaches need to be explored concurrently.

I agree society needs to be rethought to accommodate women and studying and working mothers. That is a proactive solution to a more enlightened society. However, sometimes accidents happen. No form of birth control is 100% effective, and unplanned pregnancies can occur. No matter how much you plan for a utopia in which everyone is celebrating every pregnancy, real life just isn't like that. Again, you need both a proactive solution AND a reactive solution working concurrently. Hopefully proactive solutions will cut down on the need for abortion, but it will never completely eliminate them. Recognizing progress of reactive solution in no way diminishes the work done for proactive solutions.

And further, many would argue early abortion is not inherently wrong. Yes, a fetus is human, but I don't understand how you can harm a being that is incapable of experiencing its demise. Destroying something that exists in a sensory void to me is amoral and not immoral. Only when you appeal to a metaphysical "unborn baby" can you justify the lack of practical consequence of early abortion. (I am opposed to late term abortion for this reason).

Drew Hymer said...

Crimes like rape are prevalent because our criminal justice system is ineffective. Start executing rapists and the number of rapes will go down drastically.

Purple Slurpy said...

And here in lies the rub. Pro-choice folks like myself care about what is practical. Killing an embryo really does not have a practical consequence. To me, its like scraping the inside of your cheek and killing cheek cells. To argue they have potential to be human and the potential to not want to be aborted seems to me to be a metaphysical or religious argument.

Purple Slurpy said...

Great journal, I don't know if you're agreeing or disagreeing with me about late term abortions. Truth be told, I am opposed to those partly out of reasons of likelihood of sentience, but also because I can't stomach the idea of killing something so close to a viable infant. Where and when I draw the line, I don't know, but for early term abortions, I think I have solid grounds for justification.

eroteme said...

Chalkdust took it a step further. If a fertilized ovum would want to be born, and a sperm and an egg are both half of that ovum, wouldn't they want to be born too?

We are all 50% sperm and 50% ovum. Think of the gametes!

eroteme said...

Where possible, a third trimester abortion should end in a live birth. And its just common sense that women dont decide "I must kill my baby /evil laugh" at 30 weeks.

Purple Slurpy said...

How did they do a noninvasive EEG of a fetus at w28-45? I have to read this, the data must be noisy as hell assuming the electrodes are swimming in a very electrolytic solution, which I'd guess amniotic fluid is?

eroteme said...

Studies on extreme neonates.

Purple Slurpy said...

Yeah, when one tries to attribute desires and harm to "potential" beings, I think valuing the sperm and eggs are then suddenly not so far fetched.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Please, go find a newborn infant and ask them if they want to be killed. Let me know what they say. I'll wait.

eroteme said...

Newborns have emotions.

Embryos do not. Neither do your precious blastocysts.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

I know many adults who don't have emotions. Can I kill them too?

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Cool, can I just go ahead and kill anyone if I don't think there is a practical consequence to their death?

eroteme said...

Deliberately disingenuous.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

I don't get this "potential human" thing. Either a being is a human organism or it isn't. It's very clearly defined. Prior to conception there is no human organism present in the fallopian tubes; after conception, one exists. There's no "potential" about it.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

I think it's better to err on the side of not killing any human beings, regardless of their age, size, location, or stage of development.

eroteme said...

I think its better to err on the side of the sentient, sapient pregnant person, who is actually capable of suffering, over the imaginary suffering of a microscopic genetic blueprint that may or may not ever become a baby.

eroteme said...

Hydatidiform moles are human beings based on your definition.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

No, it's called "logic."

JoAnna Wahlund said...

A Hydatidiform mole is not an organism of the species homo sapiens.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Why does it have to be either/or? Why not both/and? Why can't we respect both lives?

eroteme said...

If you ban abortion you subjugate women to their biology and you even kill them

Purple Slurpy said...

Hi JoAnna.
An abridged version of my main response to your concerns:
1. born people in a coma or
sleeping at one point would not have wished to be killed. They would consider being killed
while temporarily out "being harmed", no? A fetus has never had this
wish, and in its current state can't experience pain or suffering.

2. So
how could it be possible to harm such a being? Who would be upset, the
born version of that fetus that exists in a parallel universe in which
it was not aborted?


3. I'm not saying YOU are the one that gets to decide whether there is a practical consequence of killing. THE FETUS that has no capacity to experience its own suffering is not PRACTICALLY harmed. Do you understand the distinction?

eroteme said...

It is 100% human life and you are wrong.

BTW, no brain = no rights, which is why brainless babies, parasitic twins and beating heart cadavers are not kept on life support or feeding tubes for 80 years.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Uh... no, you don't. Respecting your biology doesn't not mean being subjugated to it.

eroteme said...

No, its called deliberately obtuse.

But I'll play along. Tell us about all the people you know who are incapable of experiencing emotion.

eroteme said...

So women should let a pregnancy kill and maim them out of respect for their biology?

Purple Slurpy said...

And that is why I state if empirical evidence should arise that early
fetuses are able to experience suffering, I will change my position.
Until then, I will err on the side that has empirical support, not on
the side that employs magical thinking in its justifications. There is ample evidence on the potential hardship pregnancy can bring to people in crisis, rape victims. Your side, I'm afraid has only metaphysical justification.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

So your stance is that 100% of women who are pregnant suffer from either death or maiming? Do you have some evidence to back that up?

eroteme said...

The risk is always there, and it is impossible to tell in advance which women will die or become maimed/injured from pregnancy.


Do you think it's fair to roll the dice where women's lives are concerned?


Are dead women merely a statistic to you?

JoAnna Wahlund said...

I care about both mothers and children. Neither mothers nore their babies are just a statistic to me. I think that we should work to save women and children BOTH. And it's possible to do that without direct abortion. C. Everett Koop said years ago, when he was still Surgeon General, that direct abortion is never necessary to save a woman's life. See the Dublin Declaration for another example.

eroteme said...

We can't tell in advance which women will die. But, women will die, and abortion can't save every woman. It certainly can't help a woman who is bleeding to death from post-partum hemorrhage, now can it?


By banning abortion, you are effectively denying ALL fertile women the inalienable right to life.

Pro-Life Moderate said...

Sure, abortion as a result of rape is perpetuating the so-called rape culture... but a pro-life position like this throws other legitimate reasons for abortions under the rug as if they don't exist. What about malformed fetuses who will likely not survive out of the womb? A prominent example of this would be Wendy Davis (D-TX) who's running for governor and had an abortion because doctors informed her that her baby had an extremely malformed brain. Abortion is NOT always a 'lifestyle' choice like you might want to believe, but it can be a major medical decision. I think it's important to not forget this fact. The issues with abortion are definitely wide-ranging but it's not accurate to generalize abortion in such a way.

eroteme said...

because doctors informed her that her baby had an extremely malformed brain


A brain is neither necessary nor sufficient to be a person. Just h.sapiens DNA and a beating heart.

Pro-Life Moderate said...

That has nothing to do with the fact that the baby had extreme medical issues. What would you do in the case of a person in a vegetative state? Prolong the inevitable?

Chalkdust said...

So...because there exists out there, where we could possibly implement it as a society, a better solution to the problem of rape...we should make anti-rape nail polish illegal?

This is honestly what pro-life feminism sounds like to me. Yes, given a pregnant person who wants to try to carry to term but can't afford another baby, the best solution is for her employer to give her paid maternity leave and private charity or the government to give her subsidized day care. But (for her and her already-born children) the second-best solution of abortion is much better than the worst choice of losing her job and not being able to afford food and rent. Criminalizing abortion (removing option 2) because there is the theoretical possibility that society could set up option 1, in a society that has not yet set up paid maternity leave and subsidized childcare, in practice relegates pregnant people to the worst option, option 3.

People who want to justify the pro-life position by claiming it is better for women...seem to be claiming that if we criminalize abortions then support for pregnancy and parenthood will magically appear. The world does not work that way. And pretending it does does incredible harm to actual women.

eroteme said...

Another poster, Elizabeth Doecke, made the argument that abortion hurts women because people won't grant pregnant working women more rights as long as the option to abort is in the background. However, as soon as abortion is illegal, maternal rights will suddenly materialize and everyone will live happily ever after

someone45 said...

But the newborn infant is not the same as an embryo. It can feel pain. There is a difference.

Pro-Life Moderate said...

That is a question of morality and also your definition of "alive". A person can physically be "alive" when they're hooked up to a bunch of devices - but otherwise, they might not have any brain activity and without those devices maintaining their basic functions (heart rate, breathing, etc.) they would be dead.

eroteme said...

It depends on the type of brain damage. Someone can lose all of their upper brain function (thalamus, cortex) and still have lower brain function (brain stem) and the body and heart will still beat - all they will need is a feeding tube, and they could live for the next 30+ years.

someone45 said...

No its called you have no real answer.

someone45 said...

Great if you feel this way don't have an abortion. However how about you let other women decide on their own?

someone45 said...

So a woman has an ectopic pregnancy... you are telling me she doesn't need an abortion?

Pro-Life Moderate said...

That's not what I said. I said someone could be brain dead and still "technically" alive. Sure, someone who's still got things going on "up there" would want to live as long as possible, assuming it would be a better path of action.


A baby could be born and immediately put on life support if it didn't have a functioning brain. The baby could "live" for an extended period of time, but by our definitions of consciousness and self-awareness there would be no inhabiting force.

eroteme said...

Why does the presence of a brain matter? Zygotes are inherently rational.

Chris R said...

Do you have locks on your doors? Do you have passwords on your accounts? Do you keep your PIN number a secret? If so, you're a goddamn hypocrite. Are you saying people who don't do those things DESERVE to be stolen from? Theft has existed for millennia, but it doesn't HAVE to.

Bad people will always do bad things, and taking steps to protect yourself is always prudent. If you think you can 100% eradicate any social ill, you're living in a fantasy world. Do you seriously believe rapists have never been told not to rape? Do you really think they care? Is a rapist going to say, "Oh shit, I had no idea! Thank you; you're the first person to ever say that!"? This kind of Swiper-no-swiping mentality gets you know where in the real world.

eroteme said...

Well as pro-lifers frequently tell me, if a woman willingly has sex, she should gestate, as part of the consequences for being so irresponsible.

That's why they offer a rape exception. Because the value of fetal life is predicated upon how that life was created.

Chris R said...

>Did you hear about the new law in California defining rape as the “absence of a Yes” instead of the “presence of a No”? Good stuff!

Does it have to be a verbal "Yes" to every single thing done in the bedroom? Because if so, that's not "[g]ood stuff"; it's a total lack of understanding of how human sexuality works, and an attempt to micromanage people's sexuality by telling them how they're allowed to consent, and only further dilutes the meaning of the word "rape", telling women who were NOT raped that they were, even if they were okay with the sex, and making people less likely to take actual rape victims seriously.

Pro-Life Moderate said...

Oh, okay. We'd better stone to death the people who have miscarriages too, then, since their rational (therefore capable of thought) zygotes are dying in their bodies. Back to the dark ages we go!

eroteme said...

Here at SPL, you will find that the regulars argue that zygotes are inherently rational persons who have not yet expressed their rationality.

Clinton said...

I was going to comment but you pretty much said everything I was going to said, right down to the same analogy (seatbelts). This article illustrates why it's so difficult for me to feminists seriously. They feel it's immoral to tell women to take precautions for safety because all we need to do is just "tell men not to rape."

Clinton said...

The difference between a brain-dead person and a human zygote is the brain-dead person has irreversibly lost their brain function, and the zygote will have a functioning brain in the future. The zygote is more like a person in a reversible coma than a brain-dead person.

Clinton said...

I think you're confusing what "inherent" means (although I don't think eroteme properly expressed it since he doesn't apparently hold this view). Human zygotes have the inherent capacity for rationality and it is this inherent capacity, not the presently-exercisable capacity, which grounds their value as human persons.

Ann Morgan said...

By that logic, nobody should have fire extinguishers, and people shouldn't have fire departments, because it's (boo hoo) 'reactive' and doesn't 'solve the problems' (boo hoo) of buildings being made of flammable materials, electrical cords getting shorts, etc.


Guess what? We don't all live in a perfect world, something obvious to everyone who isn't completely spoiled. Sometimes wires wear out, people smoke in bed, people inadvertantly run into a creep who tries to put a date rape drug in their drink, people have sex when they can't afford children. Grow up, your New Christian Paradise isn't going to happen and nobody is interested in giving up their bodily autonomy and 20 years of their life in order to comply with your delusion that one celled eggs are surrounded by cherubs and harps.

Ann Morgan said...

Oh, gee? Really? Guess what, an embryo is physically 'alive' when it's 'hooked up' to someone else's bunch of organs, but otherwise it might not have any brain activity, and without the other person's organs maintaining it's basic functions, it would be dead.

Ann Morgan said...

Your claim here is that the zygote has a 'right' to gestation, based on the fact that if it is allowed to be gestated, then it will have a brain 'in the future'.


Much the same thing could be said about an unfertilized egg. Why shouldn't the unfertilized egg have a 'right' to be fertilized, based on the fact that if it is allowed to be fertilized, then it will have a brain in the future.


Sex only takes a few minutes. and the penis only goes a 'few short inches' into the vagina. There is therefore only a 'few short minutes' and a 'few short inches' difference between an unfertilized egg and a zygote. Surely, as you pro-lifers always whimper, a 'few short minutes' and a 'few short inches' shouldn't make any difference.


So why shouldn't the egg have a 'right' to be fertilized? It is a 'potential person'. We were ALL once unfertilized eggs. I don't see why a 'few tiny chromosomes' should make any difference, any more than a 'few short inches' and 'a few short minutes'.


Other than the real agenda being forced gestation as punishment for sex.

Ann Morgan said...

No such thing. Your statement is as absurd as claiming that you know an adult who doesn't have any blood or bones.

Ann Morgan said...

unconscious... so you've never been afraid during a nightmare.


God, you're dumb.

Ann Morgan said...

It's 'farfetched' if your real agenda is punishment for sex.

Ann Morgan said...

So, you're claiming that prior to the egg being fertilized, there IS no unfertilized egg, and it simply pops into existence out of nowhere, an instant before it is to be fertilized.

Ann Morgan said...

Because one of them may be occupying the other without the consent of the other. And it's obvious that you don't respect the life of the mother.

Ann Morgan said...

So I take it that you don't see the dentist and would refuse surgery to cure appendicitis...

eroteme said...

If a zygote will have a brain in the future, then anencephalic babies should not be possible

Ann Morgan said...

No, it's called 'LYING'.

Ann Morgan said...

Crap argument. I survived having a pipe full of liquid ammonia blow up in my face. By your standard, if death is not 100% certain, then it's moral to force someone to risk something, would it then be moral for me to force people to inhale toxic ammonia gas? Or are you the only one who gets to decide what forms of Russian Roullete people should be forced to play, based on your sad feelies.


But breathing ammonia won't save someone's 'very life'? Fine. How about I force you to donate a kidney, against your will, to save the 'very life' of a dialysis patient. There's a risk you might die from the surgery, or your other kidney could fail in the future, but it's for someone's 'very life', so why shouldn't you be forced to take that risk, against your will? Or are you the only one who gets to decide who should be forced to take what risks to save whose lives, based on your sad feelies.

Kelsey said...

I'm not suggesting women shouldn't use the anti-rape nail polish-- it's just a little weird how the media has hailed it as some amazing solution to a very deep-seated social problem, when really it's just another precaution. Much like the buddy system is a good idea, but hasn't ended rape. They're overselling it.

Chalkdust said...

If we're derailing this thread into a discussion of anti-rape nail polish...

I have a lock on my door. I don't have bars on my doors or windows. If my partner and I want to go out, we go out; I don't insist that one of us stay behind to deter theft. And I'm pretty sure that if my apartment was broken into, the police would act, not explain that (a) it was my fault for not having bars on the windows, and (b) refuse to prosecute the robber because it was supposedly my fault.


I did a few women's self-defense workshops in college, and when I'm alone and out of earshot of other people I'm extra alert and pay attention to my surroundings. But I don't insist on having an escort every time I go somewhere, I don't choose my clothing and hairstyle based on what will make me least likely to be raped, and I don't want to dip my finger into everything I ever drink. But people who are raped are routinely told that it was their fault for not doing preventative action X, and rapists are routinely not prosecuted because it's supposedly the victim's fault.


Anti-rape nail polish is a huge amount of effort for a relatively small decrease in the risk of rape. For most of us it's not worth it. Rape culture means that, when I forgo nail polish and accept a tiny increase in the probability of being raped, I also must accept that any rapist is less likely to be prosecuted because it is "my fault" for forgoing nail polish. We don't have a "theft culture" that means that, if I forgo putting expensive bars on my windows, I must accept that any thief will be allowed to go free as a result.


Getting back to abortion, this is another reason why the analogy doesn't work. Abortion is not analogous to nail polish, or having an escort, or any other enormous-lifestyle-change-to-slightly-decrease-the-risk. It's more analogous to screaming, or punching the assailant--something you can do when the situation comes up, not a huge lifestyle change you have to make at all times to marginally decrease the odds of unwanted pregnancy.

Purple Slurpy said...

>> They feel it's immoral to tell women to take precautions for safety because all we need to do is just "tell men not to rape."

Never heard of that characterization of feminists before. None of my feminist friends and acquaintances say its immoral for women to take precautions. A lot of them take self-defense courses and some of them can kick my ass. I was under the impression that Caitlin's cognitive dissonance stems from her forcing a comparison between rape and abortion. She needed a way to justify her hypothesis that abortion somehow makes women's lot in life worse or something, and that abortion is the reactive fix, just like nail polish.

I found her line of thinking similar to religious lines of thinking, where they start out with something that needs to be true because the bible or whatever says its true, so they then fabricate a line of argument which leads to their desired conclusion. The correct way to make sense of the world is to start with neutral observations, and build simple models which explain your observations. She needed a way to justify abortion being bad and harmful to women, so she just made up an unrealistic scenario about reactive safety measures.

Plum Dumpling said...

Rape apologists are the scum of the earth.

Plum Dumpling said...

A fetus is not a human being. Not legally. Not morally. You cannot give rights to a fetus without removing rights from its host.

Ann Morgan said...

** when really it's just another precaution.**


Will it prevent any rapes, or won't it? If it will, then what's with the disparaging tone? That you don't think that preventing at least some rapes is worth it, and the only thing that will satisfy you is the institution of your perfect fantasy world?


**Much like the buddy system is a good idea, but hasn't ended rape. They're overselling it.** Do you have a way to end rape? Besides your fantasy of the New Christian Paradise which isn't going to happen?

Ann Morgan said...

And an unfertilized egg doesn't have this 'inherent capacity' because why? Exactly?


Does the egg suddenly pop into existence out of nowhere an instant before it is to be fertilized? Are they actually dog or pig eggs up there inside a human woman, and a magic angel suddenly turns them into human eggs, an instant before it is to be fertilized?


Why should a 'few tiny chromosomes' make any difference as to this 'inherent capacity'. If the absence of a 3 lb brain makes no difference, it's ludicrous to claim that the absence of a few microscopic chromosomes makes a difference. That's like claiming that a flea weighs more than an elephant. Besides which it contradicts the principle that pro-lifers like to whine about, that a 'few short minutes' and a 'few short inches' should make no difference prior to BIRTH, so why should a 'few short inches' or a 'few short minutes' or a 'few tiny chromosomes' make any difference prior to SEX, either?


Tell me? What's the reason? Other than the real one that we all know, which is forced pregnancy as a punishment for sex.

Ann Morgan said...

Tell you what, Joanna, since you are apparently (based on your pic) about college age, and failed basic gradeschool geometry, which you somehow seem to feel makes you smarter than everyone else, show me how to get a 4 inch wide ball through a 3 inch wide hole, without deflating or chopping up the ball, or mangling the ball so badly during the process that if it were a head, it would kill the person whose head it was.


When you can show me that, then your statement will make sense. Until that time, you're just engaged in the usual pro-lifer nonsense of handwaving away the birth process and pretending the baby simply disappears from inside the mother after 9 months and painlessly reappears in her arms in a magical puff of smoke.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Why thank you, Ann! I appreciate the compliment. I'm actually 33 years old, mother of seven (five living, two lost to miscarriage). My last baby was 9 lbs and both he and I are alive and healthy, so I think that answers your question about how a large baby can fit through a relatively small opening. :)

JoAnna Wahlund said...

You may want to take a biology class if you don't know the difference between a system that is healthy and functioning properly (e.g., a woman's reproductive system) and an organ or other body part that is unhealthy and not functioning properly (e.g., a ruptured appendix or abscessed tooth).

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Yes, that's correct. Prior to fertilization, there is no organism in the fallopian tubes. Human gametes (sperm and ova) are not organisms. Once they combine, they form a zygote, which is a human organism. I recommend www.ehd.org if you want to learn more.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Since unborn children have discernible brain activity as soon as 4 weeks after conception, does that mean you oppose abortion after that point?

JoAnna Wahlund said...

What if an adult has emotions but I simply can't recognize them, since I can't read his heart and mind? Can I still kill him since I'm unable to detect his emotional responses?

Purple Slurpy said...

I think you mean 4 months. At week 6, a fetus is ~ 4mm in length. At week 4, it looks more like an amoeba.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prenatal_development


I also remember being told when we went to the OBGyn @ around wk 5 that our son was around 2mm.

Ann Morgan said...

Gee, that's brilliant. So.. you have a hole at least 4 inches in diameter, and your baby's head was no larger than that - therefore - according to brilliant you - every other woman must be exactly the same size as you, and no woman will ever have a baby with a larger head than you.


In other words, you failed geometry, deliberately handwaved away my actual question in the usual pro-lifer evasive manner, and also failed biology, since you fail to comprehend that not all women and not all babies are the same size, and that some women have health or physical problems.


Can I fill your house up with ammonia? I survived breathing it. Someone (with more brains than you) told me that nobody else he ever heard of has, but by your logic, since *I* have, I should validly be able to handwave away the real facts, and instead expect everyone else to be able to survive it as well.


God, you're dumb.

Ann Morgan said...

**Human gametes (sperm and ova) are not organisms**


Excuse me? Four years of college biology here (and a BA in that subject), a living cell, including the ova and sperm, most certainly IS an organism.


I suggest about 20 years of remedial education, starting in the first grade, because you reason like a 6 year old.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

You said it wasn't possible for any baby or woman. I'm proof that it is. :) But thanks again for your compliment. That really made my day!

Ann Morgan said...

**Since unborn children have discernible brain activity as soon as 4 weeks after conception**


What sort of 'brain activity'? random electrical impulses or actual organized thought? Because from what we know about the human brain, any actual thought or sensation is impossible prior to the myelinzation of the nerve sheaths in the brain, which occurs at the beginning of the 6th month. But I'm sure you will tell me from all the experience of your utterly BRILLIANT knowledge how you know more than doctors and scientists about how the human brain works.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

No, I'm talking about a human being.


This is a description of the brain and nervous system development of a human being about 44 days after conception:


"The most developed area of the brain is the rhombencephalon. The motor nuclei are better organized than the sensory. In the more advanced embryos the choroid plexus of the fourth ventricle begins to be identifiable by the presence of some villi. In the cerebellum, in addition to the inner cerebellar bulge present already in stage 17, an outer swelling appears and represents the future flocculus. Vestibulocerebellar fibers are present in great number at its surface. A clear destination between auditory and optic colliculi in the midbrain as represented by Streeter has not been confirmed. In the diencephalon the neurohypophysis has folded walls. The adenohypophysis, open to the pharynx in stage 17, is now closed off from the pharyngeal cavity. An epithelial stalk, containing a faint lumen, is connected tothe pharyngeal epithelium. The epiphysis,Page 236representing the “anterior lobe,” is illustrated in figure 18-11. Sections of two specimens (A and B) belonging to the middle third of the embryos of stage 18 are shown. A pineal recess is forming for the first time, and a follicular arrangement of the cells may be encountered in some embryos. This “anterior lobe” of the epiphysis corresponds to Stadium III of Turkewitsch (O'Rahilly, 1968). The rostral part of the diencephalic roof is richly vascularized, and some ingrowth of the epithelial lamina at the level of the telencephalon indicates the first signs of a choroid plexus of the lateral ventricles. Approximately half of the length of the cerebral hemispheres now extends more rostrally than the lamina terminalis. A slight groove is developing in the corpus striatum, which has grown considerably and now reaches as far caudally as the preoptic sulcus. The olfactory bulb is better delimited and, in some embryos, contains an olfactory ventricle."


Source: https://www.ehd.org/developmental-stages/stage18.php

Ann Morgan said...

Irrelevent. The fact that some aspect of what my body is doing is 'normal' doesn't mean I don't have the right to alter it, if I want.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

If you asked your doctor to amputate your healthy arm or healthy leg, would they do so?

JoAnna Wahlund said...

See, when you say that, I hear something similar to this: "Great if you don't like child abuse, then don't abuse a child. However how about you let other women decide on their own?"


or


"Great if you don't like slavery, then don't own a slave. However how about you let other people decide on their own?"


or


"Great if you don't like guns, then don't own a gun. However how about you let other people decide on their own?"


Etc.

Purple Slurpy said...

Nothing in the above description says anything about "brain activity" at 4 weeks. What your link says are 1) "believed to be 44 postovulatory days" is probably more like 6~8 weeks? Your link describes the average specimen to be about 14mm, so compared to
what is described in Wikipedia for a wk6 fetus (around 6mm), this seems much larger, and I highly doubt this is a week 4, as you originally claim
2) that it is talking about dead specimens, and there is no "brain activity" to begin with, and 3) appears to be describing structural formation. Because I work on statistical modeling of neural data and am not especially familiar with detailed anatomic terminology of fetal brain development, I can't fully decipher what you just pasted, but from the sounds of it, it appears to be describing that rough blueprint of the brain is being put into place, ie broad areas like olfactory cortex and motor nuclei, and parts like cerebellum are now becoming discernible. Neurons do not develop in place; they migrate from locations where there is a concentration of stem cells, so my guess is at this stage of development, the empty shellfor where the neurons, once created can migrate to, is being created.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neural_development_in_humans

Given that the fetus is still only 14mm, and given the size of the typical neuron, these brain structures have most likely don't have actual neurons in them yet. Hence, I would still highly doubt that there is any "brain activity" in the electrical, synaptic sense at anything near 8 weeks.

Thanks though, learned some embryonic neural development today.

Purple Slurpy said...

BTW, in your posting history, I noticed that you are against LGBT kids in the Boy Scouts. Can I venture to guess you are also against gay marriage and adoption?

Given that many gay couples adopt children that are less desirable, ie too old, is sick, etc., how do you reconcile your "just put it up for adoption" stance and your disapproval of gay marriage or adoption. If in fact you are actually OK with gay marriage and adoption, my apologies for making assumptions.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

I'm not, actually. But I'm flattered you care enough about me to stalk my profile! I'm more than happy to discuss the topic with you privately, as I really don't have the time to return to this thread - I've stayed up entirely too late tonight the way it is. I'm sure you can figure out my email address if you're interested in having a civil, rational discussion. :)

Purple Slurpy said...

Don't care about you personally, just got to be curious about why this site is called Secular Pro Life, yet everyone who is pro-life here seems to have a very religiously-derived world view, so I wanted to know if they actually were religious.

Good to hear you are for LGBT adoption, and my hats off to you for your consistency!

Ann Morgan said...

If you can show me that the adult has no organized brain activity, and isn't going to recover, you can kill him. Otherwise your 'failure' to be able to recognize emotional responses is simply proof of your own stupidity.


No, the fact that an embryo will 'get a brain in 9 short months' is not an analogous situation. An adult who is in a coma had a brain previously. The brain is the seat of rights (along with other circumstances such as not occupying someone else's body or otherwise violating their rights), and those rights are not retroactive to points in the past, any more than the 'rights' you might have as the owner of an object can be magically retroactive to a point in the past prior to your purchasing them. That's why you can set your own furniture on fire after having bought it, but you can't go into a furniture store and set the display furniture on fire and claim you had some sort of retroactive rights to do so because you were 'going to purchase that sofa in a few short months'.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Oh you misunderstand. I'm actually not in favor of LGBT adoption.

I'm not atheist or agnostic, but I firmly believe that abortion is a human rights issue, not a religious issue. That's why I enjoy writing articles for and participating in discussions at this blog.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

I hope you recognize the irony of your statement. It certainly made me chuckle. :) well, no further time to debate I'm afraid, I've stayed up entirely too late the way it is and I have work tomorrow. Thanks for the discussion, and thanks again for the compliment about my age! I hope you have a pleasant weekend.

Purple Slurpy said...

OK, that's fine too. To each her own.



I met some gay couple parents at the playground where my kid plays, and while I don't know if their kids are in vitro kids, from lesbian moms or adopted, but they seem like perfectly normal parents with well adjusted kids to me. I hope you one day get to see their humanity and dedication to family...



Time to get some sleep!

Ann Morgan said...

Whether or not they'd do so is also irrelevent to whether I have the right to do so.


People can and do get any number of things done to their bodies which are not natural, and arguably unhealthy. Breast implants, tattoos, and getting their ears pierced, for instance.


Not to mention the neurotic practice of parents having normal healthy body tissue amputated off their nonconsenting newborn baby boys. What happens to all the rights that that 9 month old fetus had only a few short minutes ago, before it was born? Why do all those rights suddenly vanish the instant a baby boy was born, so that a parent can have a doctor lop off normal body part? Oh yeah, once the fetus has been born, and thus fulfilled the real purpose pro-lifers have for it, by punishing the mother for sex, then all those sad-feelie pretend rights instantly vanish.


The pro-lifers are so very sad feelie about a few brainless cells in a petri dish that they claim are 'tiny innocent vulnerable defenseless human beings Where's all the huge organized protests about things like the picture below? Oh yeah, ppro-lifers don't care about the real suffering of REAL tiny innocent vulnerable defenseless babies. Because that can't be used to punish the mother for sex. The pretend suffering of fertilized eggs is more important to them because that can be used to punish women for sex. Once the babies are born, they can be subjected to pointless mutilation to satisfy the neurotic desires of their parents, and the pro-lifers are nowhere to be seen regarding it.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

I believe all human beings, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, etc., have intrinsic worth and dignity. I'm opposed to all unjust discrimination. I'm also able to see the beauty in every human being, regardless of their age or level of development, while still believing that some social constructs are not appropriate for various sociological reasons. Ok, I'm really going to bed now :)

Purple Slurpy said...

Good night, nice talking to you:)

I've stated that I would be willing to change my views on early-term abortions if it could be empirically demonstrated that early fetuses are capable of suffering. Who knows, scientific advance may uncover it years down the line.

If you are against LGBT marriage and adoption for sociological reasons, I hope that you would be willing to change your view should sociological data in the future prove that LGBT families are not so different than traditional families. If it can be shown empirically that LGBT parents actually screw up children, I would be willing to change my views.

Ann Morgan said...

Your quote describes structures in the brain. Not brain activity. Did you even bother to read it? Or are you as incapable of understanding what you read as you are of understanding geometry?

Ann Morgan said...

Gun ownership is inherently immoral why, exactly? Let me guess. Sad feelies. Or it's a 'reactive' solution and not producing your New Christian Paradise of a society with no criminals against whom you need to defend yourself.


God, you're dumb.

Ann Morgan said...

**I'm also able to see the beauty in every human being, regardless of their age or level of development,**


Translation: You have sad feelies and are are able to imagine non-existent emotions in human embryoes, where no emotions exist, because it is cute; but lack sufficient intelligence to realize that simply because a full grown person who isn't cute may not display emotions in a way someone as stupid as you is able to understand, that doesn't mean they don't have any emotions.

Ann Morgan said...

**You said it wasn't possible for any baby or woman**


I said no such thing. You are putting words in my mouth. Stop it.

Gaiuse Strome said...

Primitive brain activity, not the kind associated with sentience.

Gaiuse Strome said...

I was looking at that just the other day. Jewish boys keep dying from herpes contracted during ritual circumcision.

Gaiuse Strome said...

Does it bother you that 100 baby boys die yearly from circumcision? Shouldn't the practise be illegal?

Gaiuse Strome said...

Minds can be measured. It is possible to detect the bilaterally synchronous brain waves that are associated with sentience in PVS and coma patients. Prior to 25 weeks at the *earliest*, no fetus is capable of producing such brainwaves.

Then again, we are talking to people who believe that blastocysts are inherently rational because of h.sapiens DNA.

Gaiuse Strome said...

Joanna is a catholic, she has popped out six kids. Clinton is also religious and he believes that every zygote has a soul. Many of thr secular arguments advanced here - such as zygotic rationality etc- were invented by religious people.

Not to say that religionists can't come up with non religious arguments...its just curious that most of the secular arguments against abortion sound suspiciously like "every zygote has a soul" and some version of natural law "women were made to have babies, therefore..."

Gaiuse Strome said...

Yep. Can't have consciousness without

Stationary neurons
Functional thalamus and cortex (which must be connected first)
The trillions of cells that are needed in the first place to form a brain

At the stage she is describing, the brain is smaller than a pinhead.

Gaiuse Strome said...

Some women die from obstructed labour because the baby's head and shoulders are too wide for the woman's pelvic bones.

Kelsey said...

First of all, I'm an atheist. I do not want a "New Christian Paradise" and in fact I am quite confident that such a scenario would not eliminate rape. There's plenty of rape in the Bible.


I'm not being disparaging. Like I said, the buddy system is a good thing, and if this new nail polish works out it may end up being a good thing too. It may even have a deterrent effect. Like I said.


My point is just that I do think there's some validity to the feminist criticism here. If you don't accept the feminist criticism of the nail polish, then you aren't the audience for this post; the thesis here is "If you apply the criticism to nail polish, you should also apply it to abortion."


The only way to end rape is to change societal attitudes about violence toward women. And that's NOT easy. But there is precedent for such radical change. I'm sure people once disparaged civil rights advocates as living in a fantasy land, because how could they possibly eliminate the hatred of the KKK? (True, racist attitudes are still out there, but it's no longer acceptable to burn a cross on anybody's lawn.)

someone45 said...

You are comparing an embryo/fetus that has no feelings and no self awareness to a child and they are NOT the same thing.

You bring up slavery but you want to make women modern day slaves by forcing them into gestational slavery...


Got nothing on the gun thing... own 5000 guns if you want. Just don't go all crazy and go shoot up a place.

Ella Warnock said...

I had a doctor snip and cauterize perfectly healthy fallopian tubes. Is there any reason, moral or otherwise, that that should not have been my decision to make? Preferable to abortion,no?

Plum Dumpling said...

This scientist thinks a fetus becomes a human being when it has brain activity.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4078859
Scientists are still working on defining what human person-ness is for a fetus.
So science cannot help you define human being or human person.


The Talmud says a fetus is a potential person and the Mother comes first until the fetus is halfway out of the birth canal. Then it becomes a life on its own and cannot be killed. So much for an ancient religion that existed in ancient times when childbirth was 'natural.' The Talmud approves of late term abortion if the fetus threatens the Mother's life at any point until birth.
So science and religion are no help to you.


The law says a fetus is a legal person when it survives to and through birth.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

I suppose it's preferable to killing unborn children. But it's still mutilation of a healthy, functioning organ, so no, I don't think it's a good thing. Plus it does have a (very small) failure rate. I know a few women who became pregnant after tubals.
- JoAnna

JoAnna Wahlund said...

If the intent and direct purpose of the surgery is to kill a human being, then yes.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Sure it bothers me. But 4,000 dead children per day dying from abortion bothers me more, especially since the intent and direct purpose of abortion is to kill children (unlike circumcision). See, it isn't either/or, it's both/and. I don't like deaths of children in any circumstance.

Gaiuse Strome said...

So, to you, the inalienable right to life only exists if sufficient numbers die? 100 dead embryos a year from abortion would not have you working to oppose abortion or ban it?

Gaiuse Strome said...

The intent of abortion is to end the pregnancy. Non viable prenates die because they cannot function without access to the woman's organs

argent said...

"[Group of biologically human beings] aren't legally recognized as people! This makes it totally okay to harm them, you guys!"


I think if I could be granted one magic wish, it would be that no one, from now until the end of the world, would ever, ever, make that argument again.

Plum Dumpling said...

A fetus is not a human being legally or morally. These are the rules about abortion that Jesus followed. I will stick with Jesus. You are flaming anus. My body, my choice.

Jewish law not only permits, but in some circumstances requires abortion. Where the mother's life is in jeopardy because of the unborn child, abortion is mandatory.

An unborn child has the status of "potential human life" until the majority of the body has emerged from the mother. Potential human life is valuable, and may not be terminated casually, but it does not have as much value as a life in existence. The Talmud makes no bones about this: it says quite bluntly that if the fetus threatens the life of the mother, you cut it up within her body and remove it limb by limb if necessary, because its life is not as valuable as hers. But once the greater part of the body has emerged, you cannot take its life to save the mother's, because you cannot choose between one human life and another.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

You really believe that infants and teens aren't of the same species? That's a new one. So it is the infant the human being or is the teenager? If one of them isn't human, what are they?

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Well, look at this way. If there was something killing 4000 teenage boys per day, and something else killing 100 teenage boys per year, you would work against them both, but your priority would probably be working against the thing that kills 4000 boys per day as opposed to 100 per year. Doesn't mean you would ignore the thing killing the 100 boys completely, but you would expend more energy fighting against the thing that had the highest body count.

Gaiuse Strome said...

So are you currently campaigning to ban male circumcision to save those lives?

Are you active on anti-circumcision forums?

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Purpose of abortion is to kill an unborn child. The child dies, the procedure worked as intended. If the child lives, it's called a failure or a botched procedure.

Gaiuse Strome said...

It dies because it is non-viable. Non-viable embryos and fetuses cannot survive without use of the woman's organs. Period.


Many are expelled whole, and they die for the above reason.


In a post viability termination, if it is possible to deliver a live baby, either through c-section or induced labour, it will be done. And once the live baby is out, doctors will work to save it, not kill it.


The purpose of abortion IS to end the pregnancy, and if embryos could be beamed, Star Trek style, into artificial wombs, they would be.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Occasionally.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

So? Just because a human is dependent on another person for survival is no reason to kill them. Newborns depend on their mothers' breasts for nourishment.

Gaiuse Strome said...

And I've got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

Gaiuse Strome said...

Dependence =/= living inside someone, leeching their bodily resources, with the ever present threat of harm and loss of life

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Uh, okay? Here's one instance, FWIW: http://airingthechapel.blogspot.com/2012/09/still-waiting-for-catholics-to-comment.html?showComment=1347558575520&m=1#c6295367195068350753

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Check the dictionary, that's not what dependence is. But a child's dependence on his mother is temporary while death is permanent. Why such a drastic "solution" to a temporary problem, especially one that kills a human being?

Gaiuse Strome said...

JoAnna WahlundSeptember 13, 2012 at 10:49 AM
Well...
I'm a Catholic and I think that circumcision shouldn't be banned. I'm
not in favor of the practice, myself, but I support the rights of others
to do it for religious reasons.

Then there's this: http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2012/07/03/jewish-faith-circumcision-and-religious-freedom/

And this: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/final-solution-infant-circumcision-outlawed-in-germany

So...
your belief that Catholics aren't speaking out against this is false.
The thing is that it's more of a local issue, whereas the HHS Mandate is
a national issue (not to mention a time-sensitive one, given that the
presidential election could very well decide if it stands or not).

Perhaps you should do a simple Google search before proclaiming that Catholics don't care about this issue?


-----------------


Yeah, so you put religion ahead of the health and lives of baby boys.


Choice for religious people to kill/maim their baby boys (I guess if only 100 baby boys die per year it isn't noteworthy, just like the 800 women who die per year from pregnancy)


But choice for women to maintain their bodily integrity and avoid being one of the 800 dead women/ hell no!

Gaiuse Strome said...

Because, no one has the right to occupy and use the body of another without explicit and ongoing consent.


And if the woman dies from the pregnancy, or is permanently injured/disabled, you have essentially sentenced her to corporal punishment and/or death for having non-procreative sex.

argent said...

What an interesting digression about your (Christian? Jewish?) religious beliefs. (Are your religious beliefs also what compel you to call others "flaming anus"? Sounds kind of kinky and awesome.)


However, sorry to disappoint you but I am not religious. I don't actually give two shits about which human beings are "really" human according to the Talmud. The Bible can be interpreted to mean that women are the property of men, but you don't see me letting men cut me up and tear me limb from limb because my life is "not as valuable", and because I'm "his body, his choice".


But hey, that's just my perspective.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Why don't you go and harass the AAP for a while? They actually recommend routine infant circumcision. I do support religious freedom, I just don't think that infant circumcision should be done routinely. And if infant circumcision was so risky so that every single male baby died from it, why would the AAP support it?

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Consent is implicitly given when the act is performed that leads to the baby's creation. All birth control has a failure rate, so engaging in sex acknowledges that a child could be conceived even if precautions are taken.

Gaiuse Strome said...

Nope. Consent is not a one time thing. Consent must be explicit, ongoing and revokable

Gaiuse Strome said...

So, as I suspected, 100 dead baby boys per year does not bother you .

Plum Dumpling said...

The Talmud is not religious per se. It is a system of philosophy and a group of laws for the most part.
Anybody of any persuasion can be an authoritarian. You are an authoritarian. I can tell also that you are not very educated.
Even so, you fancy you should be in charge of the sexual/family/medical lives of women you do not even knew. Sucks to be you.

ockraz said...

1. 'writer is a Christian, as it seems almost all contributing bloggers to SPL are'

a) Almost all? If you're talking about the majority of contributors, I can't say. I'm unfamiliar with the guest writers. However, by number of posts, 'secularprolife.org' writes the most and 'M' the second most. They're both nontheists. From the contributor list, I know Nate, Nulono, and cannibalrosecreations are too. Some people I don't know if they're religious or not. Some people I do, but I don't know what blogger name they use. I do know of at least four additional atheists who've written multiple posts.

b) Some people have a misconception that SPL is a group of secular PLers. It's not it's a group of PLers who have secular reasons for being PL and agree that the legal and policy questions must be supported by secular reasoning. Some members (like me) have ONLY secular reasons for their views, but others (like Clinton) don't.

c) Some PCers think that somehow people who don't have only secular reasons for being PL should be silent or disqualified from trying to affect changes to abortion laws. That's both stupid and hypocritical. It's stupid because a sizeable majority of Americans think morality is inherently religious. Therefore such disqualification would make democracy impossible. It's
hypocritical because there are explicitly religious PC groups that PCers generally don't object to and often point to to argue against PL being the right view for someone with religious faith. There's zero attempt from PCers to silence PC advocates who happen to be religious. Plus, given that most PCers are social liberals it's also relevant that on other issues they support, actual /churches/ are welcomed when the churches argue to their membership that their religion supports a socially liberal view.

2. These are not the same thing...
Clinton: They feel it's immoral to tell women to take precautions for safety Purple: immoral for women to take precautions

That should make Clinton's point clear.

The 'to tell them to' is what is at issue, and whether doing so is good (Which I think Clinton believes) or whether on balance it does more harm because of how it affects the culture (which is a fairly common feminist argument).

The actual 'taking of precautions' isn't the disputed point.

Ella Warnock said...

Well, the dear other half had a vasectomy, as well,, so the odds of both failing were slim to none. It worked out well and was quite liberating, so there's that.

Gaiuse Strome said...

Why do you, and your hubby, refuse to respect your biology?

ockraz said...

You should understand that your argument about the exact nature of consent comes across as irrelevant and hypocritical as long as you're only concerned with consent when it serves your purposes.

If your concern about consent is genuine then I guess that you can either

1. show that there's reason to think the fetus would consent to the abortion
or
2. show that the action of the prenate is the cause of the situation where it's interests are irreconcilably in conflict with the interests of the gravid

ockraz said...

or...
3. you can argue that
a) the loss to the prenate is
substantially less if it's aborted than the loss to the gravida if she's
unable to abort

Gaiuse Strome said...

What the prenate wants or doesn't want is completely irrelevant as it doesn't have the right to occupy/use her body in the first place.

ockraz said...

except for the fact that that's nonsense

Gaiuse Strome said...

O really?

ockraz said...

really - your reasoning applies in a situation where there's an invasion (in a location analogy) or a violation of someone's bodily integrity by putting something in your body or violating your body - it doesn't apply to someone shanghaied (location) or to your putting something in your own body-
so your point about lacking permission is irrelevant

Purple Slurpy said...

Hi Ockraz


My impression is from the people who write the blogs. It just seems in the end, its always "the unborn baby this" and "the unborn baby that". When pressed on why we should consider very early fetuses to be "babies", it always seems to end up to a sugar coating of "because... soul ... God". I haven't actually seen a real secular argument on this site yet.
Sure, we are a free democracy so people can hold any view, and act on it politically as they like. I just rather not be ruled by dogmatic people who refuse to objectively consider the reality that is in front of them. Secularists don't object to religion, I think they rather object to dogma.

And I think Clinton is misrepresenting the feminist position. It seems like Clinton is saying feminists believe so much that behavior could be changed, that telling women to also consider the realities of the current world is immoral. Sorry, I have never been under that impression.

Ella Warnock said...

I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me. ;->

JoAnna Wahlund said...

It doesn't bother the AAP either. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/prenatal/decisions-to-make/Pages/Where-We-Stand-Circumcision.aspx

Why do you think that is?

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Hasn't worked out nearly so well for other people I know, so there's that.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

For the partners in the sex act. Not so for the unborn child created by the sex act. Conception is a foreseeable consequence of sex, and at the time of the act is consented to, the partners also consent to its foreseeable consequences, even if they take measures to prevent those consequences. Sort of how you implicitly consent to digestion when you eat something.

ockraz said...

people on your side keep trying to make a violation of bodily integrity argument based on the same sort of thought experiment JJThomson used, despite the fact that that bodily integrity violation is only an argument for abortion in cases of rape - something our side pointed out in 1972

Ella Warnock said...

I'm sorry to hear that. That has no bearing on whether it was the correct decision for us, though.

Suba gunawardana said...

True that these issues need to be addressed, and they may well decrease the need for abortion. However that absolutely does NOT mean abortion should be banned.



If abortion would actually be unnecessary once these measures are in place, WHY ask people to "change their position on abortion" at all? There's no need to put the cart before the horse (unless you have some hidden agenda).

Suba gunawardana said...

It's not the invader's consent that matters, but the host's consent to the the invader's occupation/use of her body.

Suba gunawardana said...

Bodily integrity matters in ANY situation. When anyone violates your body, you have a right to use lethal force if necessary to get them off your body (as in killing a rapist to protect your body).

Suba gunawardana said...

Do you think it's absolutely wrong to kill a human being for any reason, under any circumstance?

someone45 said...

They are the same species but not the same level of developlment...

Suba gunawardana said...

All those situations involve causing SUFFERING to others, which is wrong and unethical. So people have a right to prohibit such acts.

Killing is not the same as cruelty/suffering. If you object to killing zefs, you have to provide valid reasons first.

Suba gunawardana said...

According to your logic, if you ingest parasite eggs in food and get an infestation of internal parasites born inside your body, you have no right to get rid of them because they were shanghaied to that situation.

My point is: The invader's intent (or lack of it) is irrelevant when it comes to protecting your body. Your right to protect your body is NOT negated by the invader's "innocence" or lack of intent.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

No. It's not wrong to kill in self-defense, nor is it wrong to kill enemy combatants in a just war situation.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

DING DING DING! My point exactly.

Suba gunawardana said...

Is it wrong to kill a rapist in order to protect your body?

JoAnna Wahlund said...

I think that denying the right to life to other human beings is wrong, even if those human beings are not cognizant of their rights or violation of same.

Gaiuse Strome said...

So if a cognitively disabled individual with the mind of a toddler is raping you, it would be wrong to violate his bodily integrity in order to protect your own bodily integrity?

Suba gunawardana said...

-Why is it wrong to kill humans, even non-conginzant ones, but perfectly fine to animals who are fully sentient?

-As I asked before, what's your position on killing a rapist (human being) to protect your body?

Gaiuse Strome said...

Sort of how you implicitly consent to digestion when you eat something.

Bulimics would disagree with you on that one.

Suba gunawardana said...

What was your point?

Plum Dumpling said...

So if religious philosophy and morality is not enough, we can always do a philosopher/social gadfly's morals. No religion here. I hate it when I agree with Ayn Rand.

An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn).

Abortion is a moral right—which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved; morally, nothing other than her wish in the matter is to be considered. Who can conceivably have the right to dictate to her what disposition she is to make of the functions of her own body?“Of Living Death”
The Voice of Reason, 58–59

Never mind the vicious nonsense of claiming that an embryo has a “right to life.” A piece of protoplasm has no rights—and no life in the human sense of the term. One may argue about the later stages of a pregnancy, but the essential issue concerns only the first three months. To equate apotential with an actual, is vicious; to advocate the sacrifice of the latter to the former, is unspeakable. . . . Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living: the right of young people to set the course of their own lives. The task of raising a child is a tremendous, lifelong responsibility, which no one should undertake unwittingly or unwillingly. Procreation is not a duty: human beings are not stock-farm animals. For conscientious persons, an unwanted pregnancy is a disaster; to oppose its termination is to advocate sacrifice, not for the sake of anyone’s benefit, but for the sake of misery qua misery, for the sake of forbidding happiness and fulfillment to living human beings.“A Last Survey”
The Ayn Rand Letter, IV, 2, 3

If any among you are confused or taken in by the argument that the cells of an embryo are living human cells, remember that so are all the cells of your body, including the cells of your skin, your tonsils, or your ruptured appendix—and that cutting them is murder, according to the notions of that proposed law. Remember also that a potentiality is not the equivalent of an actuality—and that a human being’s life begins at birth.

The question of abortion involves much more than the termination of a pregnancy: it is a question of the entire life of the parents. As I have said before, parenthood is an enormous responsibility; it is animpossible responsibility for young people who are ambitious and struggling, but poor; particularly if they are intelligent and conscientious enough not to abandon their child on a doorstep nor to surrender it to adoption. For such young people, pregnancy is a death sentence: parenthood would force them to give up their future, and condemn them to a life of hopeless drudgery, of slavery to a child’s physical and financial needs. The situation of an unwed mother, abandoned by her lover, is even worse.

I cannot quite imagine the state of mind of a person who would wish to condemn a fellow human being to such a horror. I cannot project the degree of hatred required to make those women run around in crusades against abortion. Hatred is what they certainly project, not love for the embryos, which is a piece of nonsense no one could experience, but hatred, a virulent hatred for an unnamed object. Judging by the degree of those women’s intensity, I would say that it is an issue of self-esteem and that their fear is metaphysical. Their hatred is directed against human beings as such, against the mind, against reason, against ambition, against success, against love, against any value that brings happiness to human life. In compliance with the dishonesty that dominates today’s intellectual field, they call themselves “pro-life.”

By what right does anyone claim the power to dispose of the lives of others and to dictate their personal choices? - “The Age of Mediocrity”

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Unborn children, infants, teenagers, etc are all human beings, just ones at different levels of development.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

If someone is bulimic, then their digestive system is being thwarted, not used as biologically intended.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Animals are not fully sentient.

Self-defense, including against rapists, is a valid reason for killing, if necessary to repel an attacker.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

if someone is being physically attacked, they can use force to repel their attacker, regardless of the person's level of intelligence of said attacker. Whether or not lethal force is justified depends on the situation. Not sure how this relates to abortion? Last I checked, unborn children were incapable of physically attacking their parents.

Suba gunawardana said...

-Let me rephrase the first question: Why is it wrong to kill humans, even non-conginzant ones, but perfectly fine to kill animals who have the full capacity to suffer, i.e. feel pain fear & distress?

-If it's OK to to kill a rapist to get him off your body, why is it not OK to kill a zef to get them off your body? They are BOTH invading your body without your consent. Why is it ok to kill one but not the other?

Suba gunawardana said...

Living inside another person's body, using their blood & organs for an extended period, and coming out ripping their body apart, are ALL acts of harm to the host's body.

How is this different from rape, except that pregnancy is longer in duration than rape?

Suba gunawardana said...

That didn't answer my question.

As we were discussing elsewhere, if it's ok to kill a rapist to get him off your body, why is it not ok to kill a zef to get them off your body? Same principle. Both are unwelcome visitors in your body.

Gaiuse Strome said...

HAHAHAA.


Animals are definitely sentient, some are even sapient, and many are capable of emotions and empathy.


Animals are not different from us in kind, only in degree.

Gaiuse Strome said...

If you've ever been to a doctor you've thwarted 'nature' and if you happen to need cataract surgery or glasses in your old age, you will thwarting nature once again.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

1. Food chain

2. Are you serious? You might want to take a class on human reproduction, because I'm not sure that you know how it works. For example, an unborn child does not ask to be conceived, or demand conception. His parents perform an action that is, in 99% of cases, wholly consensual, and put him in there. And they have the gall to say they want to kill him, because they failed to anticipate easily foreseeable consequences of their actions (sex = conception).

Gaiuse Strome said...

Whether or not lethal force is justified depends on the situation

Yeah, it does, as in, if there is NO other means of escape. The ONLY way a woman can escape the assaults of a prenate is to remove it from her body.

Last I checked, unborn children were incapable of physically attacking their parents.


Drilling into a major blood vessel
Dampeining the immune system
Infusing the body with addictive hormones
Injecting more hormones into the woman's body to extract extra sugar, nutrients and iron
Withdrawing calcium from the woman's bones and teeth
Expelling toxic biowastes into her blood
And causing hours and hours of pain, perhaps even days, in childibirth, tearing and ripping of the woman's genitals, and always, the potential for death.


It's an assault, regardless of whether or not the prenate *intends* to hurt the woman. And I sincerely doubt that you would put up with any of the above listed assaults upon your body if it was done by anyone other than a prenate - even if it was a 5 year old trying to save it's very life by hijacking your body.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Because it's human reproduction. It's a natural biological process. Rape is not a natural biological process, in fact it's the exact opposite.
If you don't know the difference between pregnancy and rape, I suggest you take a class on human reproduction.
Are you seriously saying that every single pregnant woman is in the process of being raped as we speak?

JoAnna Wahlund said...

You are ignorant of simple biology and human reproduction if that is your belief. Unborn children don't spontaneously appear in the uterus with no action taken on the part of the parents.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Some animals have degrees of sentience. No animal has sentience on par with humans.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

that is an example of a human system not working as designed, and fixing the problem is restoring the body to health. Whereas pregnancy will occur when a human reproductive system is functioning perfectly.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

She can remove it from her body, once the baby is viable outside the womb. Otherwise she's assaulting an innocent child who is in that situation through no fault of their own.

Gaiuse Strome said...

Mammals are sentient, all of them. Amoebas, not so much. A zygote has the awareness and the brain function of an amoeba.


And some mammals are *sapient* - they can suffer, they can make decisions, plan ahead, learn language and even learn tool usage, and pass that knowledge along to their children. These animals include dolphins, corvids and the great apes.

Gaiuse Strome said...

Rape IS completely natural, as pro-lifer Paul Ryan said, rape is just another method of conception.

As vile a statement as that is, he was correct. Rape is a reproductive strategy utilized by males across nature to transmit their genes to the next generation without having to use any of their own resources to raise the offspring. It's a win-win for rapists. The female version is cuckolding - females will cheat on their mate, and he will unknowingly raise another male's offspring.

Gaiuse Strome said...

Unborn 'children' are only place in the uterus in the case of IVF.


Sperm and ova are completely autonomous, as is the resulting blastocyst. The woman cannot through force of will, force the sperm to fertilize the ovum, and she certainly can't force it to implant on her uterine wall. If she could, there would never be another ectopic pregnancies, or a need for IVF.


You are the ignorant one, my dear.

Gaiuse Strome said...

Really? so you're meant to have perfect eyesight and organ function up until the day you die? I mean, why should you die, if, according to you, the 'human system working as designed' means that the organs NEVER break down?

Gaiuse Strome said...

She isn't assaulting it because it has no right to her body.


And as I keep stating, it dies because it is essentially unhooked from her organs.



And she has every right to unhook it from her body, after all,she's only acting on HER body.

someone45 said...

Yes but a ZEF only has the POTENTIAL to become a human being.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

Paul Ryan never said that. Rape may be a manner in which conceptions rarely come about, but that does not mean that rape is a good or acceptable thing. The human rights of the child are not dependent on the manner in which he or she was conceived.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

You're correct. So I'm still wondering why you seem to be so confused about human reproduction. Been pregnant seven times, I have a pretty good idea of how it works. Each time I conceived, my husband and I had performed a specific act that led to the child's conception. She did not spontaneously appear in my uterus, our feelings about whether or not we wanted a child conceived had no bearing on if he or she was conceived.

JoAnna Wahlund said...

I don't think we can continue to have this discussion if you are ignorant about the difference between health and disease.

Gaiuse Strome said...

“I’m very proud of my pro-life record. I’ve always adopted the idea that
the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life,"


Yeah, so I don't even know WHY you are arguing using the responsibility objection, since your argument, in a nutshell is:


If a person is born with a uterus it is their duty to bear children regardless of their wishes on the matter. Full stop.

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