A Startling Thought on Abortion

“If we take the principles of liberal individualism as axiomatic, we find it possible to think of the fetus and the woman as the parties of the first and second part arguing over their respective rights. We are then able to blind ourselves to the natural fact that they are related as mother and child and that the child is in the only natural place for him to be, his mother’s womb.”

–Francis Canavan, The Pluralist Game

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40 thoughts on “A Startling Thought on Abortion

  1. They are in conflict if the fetus is unwanted. I.e. the fetus is having a deleterious effect on the host. If the fetus is wanted then they can easily be seen as complimentary.

    All depend on what the person who is being asked to be a human incubator wants.

  2. You know, In Missouri it takes a minimum of three months to evict a tenant who is not paying from your rental property. It can take 6 months to execute an unlawful detainer when the tenant continues to pay. You cannot simply kick a tenant out-but you can abort a baby at any time.

    An abortion could well be considered an act of unlawful eviction with violence perpetrated against the evictee, if you want to approach this as a legal matter.

    Interesting thought, Hunter!

    Oh tlaloc;

    All depend on what the person who is being asked to be a human incubator wants.

    The child NEVER asked to be in that womb; he/she is there because of the actions of the mother. That can be considered illegal imprisonment, in addition to murder when the mommy decides to abort. The mother is the guilty party here, not the child. Why is it a baby if wanted, but a nuisance to be eliminated if the mother regrets her own irresponsibility?

  3. Well, no tlaloc, the article I linked to was using a conflict metaphor for all pregnancies, not just unwanted ones.

  4. “An abortion could well be considered an act of unlawful eviction with violence perpetrated against the evictee, if you want to approach this as a legal matter.”

    There is a huge difference between a person’s body and an apartment.

    “The child NEVER asked to be in that womb;”

    True but irrelevent.

    “That can be considered illegal imprisonment, in addition to murder when the mommy decides to abort.”

    No it can’t. A fetus is not a human being and has exactly zero human rights. It has no right to life, liberty, or property. In fact even an actual child (i.e. after birth) has preciousl few human rights. They are still the legal equivilent of livestock really. A sort of modified class of property.

    “The mother is the guilty party here, not the child.”

    Guilty of what? Removing some of her tissue she doesn’t want? We are all guilty of that. And it is not a crime because to that extent at least we still own our own bodies.

    “Why is it a baby if wanted, but a nuisance to be eliminated if the mother regrets her own irresponsibility?”

    It isn’t a baby in either case. Not until actually born. Before that it is a zygote, then a morula, then a blastocyst, then a fetus.
    It is a nuisance to be eliminated for whatever reason for exactly the same reason that a mole you dislike is removed and mole you like is a “beauty mark.”

  5. “Well, no tlaloc, the article I linked to was using a conflict metaphor for all pregnancies, not just unwanted ones.”

    Sorry I was unclear. I wasn’t trying to address the argument of the article. I didn’t read the article. I was merely explaining why in some cases an embryo is definitely in competition with the mother.

    I would agree that it is not always the case except in the most basic biological sense (they are competing for a single set of nutrients).

  6. “I would agree that it is not always the case except in the most basic biological sense (they are competing for a single set of nutrients).”

    As I explained, you could just as easily view it as the mother selflessly providing nutrients, rather than viewing the mother and fetus as being in competition.

  7. Dear Mr. Macht—Welcome.

    Your excellent blog post points out the central dynamic—we’d like to think that human beings (specifically women) drop progeny as effortlessly as acorns, but that’s not the human equation.

    Homo sapiens is (uniquely in the animal kingdom) born about two years short of any level of self-sufficiency. Drop him like an acorn and he dies. There’s really not much difference between a fetus and a one-year-old. Without Mom, they’re both toast.

    (Brilliant modern ethicists [?] like Princeton’s Peter Singer utilize that biological fact to justify, um, retroactive abortion.)

    That the mother’s well-being and indeed very survival is threatened by bearing (and raising) a child isn’t an accident, I think, and this latest observation by modern science, that it extends to the physiology of the womb as well, only reinforces that.

    Neither is her capacity to know every and all of the implications accidental, I think, too. It’s a human thing; some folks won’t understand.

  8. No it can’t. A fetus is not a human being and has exactly zero human rights. It has no right to life, liberty, or property. In fact even an actual child (i.e. after birth) has preciousl few human rights. They are still the legal equivilent of livestock really. A sort of modified class of property.

    tlaloc, if anything proves that liberals have a God complex, and the liberalism is a truly monstrous philosophy, it is the reasoning employed here. If you deny humanity to some who are inconvenient, how long before you deny humanity to others? Jews, I suppose, aren`t human and can be gotten rid of, or Albanians, or Irish, or the elderly, or the handicapped, or left-handed people. Certainly the mentally impaired; autistic, down`s syndrom, fragile x, etc. How long before someone declares YOU not human?

    Oh, and if that`s the case, why did Hillary Clinton spend so much of her life working for “children`s rights“ (which is, of course, liberalspeak for the right of the State over parents). Why does society have laws against child abuse or neglect?

    There are liberals who seek “animal rights“, but there are people who deny the unborn (or born) fundamental human rights.

    There is a huge difference between a person’s body and an apartment.

    Is there? YOU are the materialist. You are the one who believes in a solely mechanistic universe; in what way is there a difference?

    Why is it a baby if wanted, but a nuisance to be eliminated if the mother regrets her own irresponsibility?”

    It isn’t a baby in either case. Not until actually born. Before that it is a zygote, then a morula, then a blastocyst, then a fetus.
    It is a nuisance to be eliminated for whatever reason for exactly the same reason that a mole you dislike is removed and mole you like is a “beauty mark.”

    That is extraordinarily scary reasoning; again, your definition of human depends upon your pleasure. By moving the goalposts, you open the door to redefining humanity in numerous other ways. What if someone were to decide that liberal Darwinist pro-aborts weren`t human? I suppose your opinion would change.

    Unless interrupted a fertilized egg will-in the proper setting (the womb, which was the whole point of Mr. Baker`s post) develope into a child. A birthmark, or an appendix, will not do so. A fertilized egg has all of the genetic material of a whole person, and the organs form rather quickly. Check out an ultrasound sometime.

    I most ernestly hope you never have liver failure, and end up on dialysis; by your reasoning you fail the test of humanity, and can be killed.

    Guilty of what? Removing some of her tissue she doesn’t want? We are all guilty of that. And it is not a crime because to that extent at least we still own our own bodies.

    We do, I suppose, unless we are an unborn child. Some are more equal than others. You are amazingly willing to grant rights to some, but deny them to others.

  9. The beginning of that last comment came across harsher than I intended; I am not accusing you, Tlaloc, of being a monster. If it came across as that, I apologize.

  10. “As I explained, you could just as easily view it as the mother selflessly providing nutrients, rather than viewing the mother and fetus as being in competition.”

    You certainly can view it that way but that requires you to go to a level of abstraction above the most basic biological examination. It is a useful level of abstraction for us to use I think, but my statement is still true.

  11. ” If you deny humanity to some who are inconvenient, how long before you deny humanity to others?”

    It has nothing to do with inconvenience. Here is the logic:

    1) a human being is a subset of organism
    2) organism has a specific definition
    3) anything which fails to meet this definition cannot be a human being
    4) A fetus in early development (probably before 33 weeks from what I’ve been told) fails to meet the definition
    5) a fetus during that time period is not a human being

    Now something that should stand out here is that once the fetus has developed enough to be a true organism on its own it is a human being. After 33 weeks the fetus is not suddenly convenient, indeed at that stage it is at its least conveninet really, so obviously the definition has nothing to do with convenience. It has to do with biology.

    “Why does society have laws against child abuse or neglect?”

    We also have laws against the abuse of livestock. Just like livestock children are given little or no rights of self determination, no ability to live on their own but must be “owned.” They have very few of the rights and adult human being has.
    Don’t get me wrong I understand the reason for it, children often cannot handle the responsibilities or physical tasks for things like driving.
    Still the fact remains that *legally* children are closer to dairy cows than they are adult human beings.

    ” YOU are the materialist. You are the one who believes in a solely mechanistic universe;”

    Actually I’m not. I do believe that there is a spiritual side to life. An unquantifiable side. Don’t mistake a rejection of religion with a rejection of all spirituality.

    “in what way is there a difference?”

    You made a legal argument, surely you understand that there is an enormous legal difference between a person’s body and their apartment. If you set fire to the apartment (with no one home) you will be charged with arson. If you set fire to the person you will be charged with attempted murder, assault, murder, or reckless negligence (depending on the circumstances).

    “Unless interrupted a fertilized egg will-in the proper setting (the womb, which was the whole point of Mr. Baker`s post) develope into a child.”

    No. Only if an enormous number of support reactions go on will the egg develop. Simply left alone the egg will be washed out of the uterus as a miscarriage.

    “A fertilized egg has all of the genetic material of a whole person, and the organs form rather quickly.”

    Certainly. But simply having a full set of chromosomes doesn’t make something human. And yes the fetus develops at an astonishing rate so that after a mere 30 some weeks it goes from single cell to actual organism. However in the interim period it is nothing more than the mother’s tissue.

    “I most ernestly hope you never have liver failure, and end up on dialysis; by your reasoning you fail the test of humanity, and can be killed.”

    Not true, a fully functioning organism can suffer damage without having it’s nature change. It remains an organism. Think of it as a threshold that once reached remains until death.

  12. “The beginning of that last comment came across harsher than I intended; I am not accusing you, Tlaloc, of being a monster. If it came across as that, I apologize.”

    Don’t worry, I take no offense. I don’t tend to get emotionally involved in debates.

  13. Tlaloc, may I suggest a physics analogy to counter your claim that a fetus is not a human being. In classical physics, energy is characterized as potential energy and kinetic energy, different forms of energy but energy nonetheless. Similarly, a fetus is a human being in POTENTIAL form. It is not a fully formed human being (kinetic form) but it is a human being nonetheless, despite all your (the Left’s) rationalizations about cells, tissue, nuisances, zygotes, birth marks, etc. What else could it be besides human, since in every single case a fetus produced by the union of a male and female human develops into a fully grown human being, given enough time.

  14. “Similarly, a fetus is a human being in POTENTIAL form. It is not a fully formed human being (kinetic form) but it is a human being nonetheless,”

    No by that argument is not a human being anymor than a potential energy is a kionetic energy. It is a potential human being but the word potential automatically precludes it from already being whatever it is you are saying it has the potential to be.

    An outline is a potential essay but it is not yet an essay. A fetus is a potential human being but it is not yet a human being.

    Besides by the argument all sperm and ovum are potential human beings. Indeed we can trace it back as far as we like so as to say that any given ovum is not only a potential human being but through that human beings potential offspring it is an infinite number of potential human beings. A fun mental exercise but useless to the matter at hand, killing an egg is clearly not genocide.

    ” What else could it be besides human, since in every single case a fetus produced by the union of a male and female human develops into a fully grown human being, given enough time.”

    No actually much of the time they grwo up to be nothing at all and are flushed out of the mother’s system as a miscarriage. If I recall correctly at least half of all pregnancies end that way.

    But to answer your question, what else can it be: a fetus. No more, no less. A collection of tissues which if given ample time in the right environment may become a human being. Same is true of sperm (if you replace tissues with cell).

  15. As I explained, you could just as easily view it as the mother selflessly providing nutrients, rather than viewing the mother and fetus as being in competition.

    Nice to hear from you Mr. Macht – I enjoyed your blog post link.

    One of the things that stood out to me in the citation from Zimmer was how much of his argument – emphasized by various descriptors/metaphors – is based on a hyper-dynamic understanding of natural selection. (The logic behind the first paragraph was particularly ridiculous.)

    Like you, I fail to see what evidence leads one to view pregnancy as a competition – other than to be predisposed as such. When you look at the changes in a mother’s body during pregnancy, it’s obvious to anyone that they are the result of a cooperative host – as opposed to a weak one that can’t fend off attack – that is designed to reproduce.

    That mom’s head is not in sync with her body is just another example of the ridiculousness of such an extreme interpretation of evolutionary competition.

  16. tlaloc, you said,

    “You certainly can view it that way but that requires you to go to a level of abstraction above the most basic biological examination. It is a useful level of abstraction for us to use I think, but my statement is still true.”

    I fail to see how your description of “competition” also doesn’t “go to a level of abstraction above the most basic biological examination.” The most “basic biological examination” would say that there is a limited amount of nutrients, chemicals, etc. that both the mother and the fetus need. For you to say that they are competing for these things is just as much of a metaphor as me saying that the mother is providing selflessly for her child.

  17. Like you, I fail to see what evidence leads one to view pregnancy as a competition – other than to be predisposed as such.

    On a purely logical standpoint, it’s fairly obvious. I think it is probably ridiculous to do so in so morally-charged a discussion, but from a pure scientific standpoint, it’s rather reasonable. It goes like this: Mother and fetus (zygote, blastocyst, etc.) share the same influx of resources and source of nutrients. One could look upon this as symbiosis, except that the mother gets nothing out of this except bloating, vomiting, tender body parts, wildly fluctuating horomonal levels and emotions, and a general craving for pickles, peanut butter, and ice cream (because she requires higher intake of sodium, protein, and lipids thanks to the little critter inside her). Studies show that as nutrient intake decreases, the zygote/blastocyst/fetus/whatnot becomes more aggressive in harvesting nutrients from the mother, sprouting more connections to the mother’s tissue and generally becoming an active competitor for nutrition. By definition, that’s parasitic.

    Now, this is not to say that the child IS a parasite, because once you start speaking that way about something with a potential to become a human being, such language ceases to be scientific and becomes emotionally charged. People’s IQs seem to plummet procipitously when talking about abortion, and so too does their ability to distinguish between contextual uses of language. This renders scientific terms the equivalent of throwing the f-bomb around in conversation by people temporarily too stupid to think about what is actually being said.

    Unless interrupted a fertilized egg will-in the proper setting (the womb, which was the whole point of Mr. Baker`s post) develope into a child.

    The majority of pregnancies are self-aborting, washing away in miscarriages within the early weeks. Many more experience death within the womb. To carry this statement to the logical conclusion is to conclude that Planned Parenthood has nothing on either God or Mother Nature as suppliers of abortifacients.

    The quote Hunter posted is an attempt to justify the abrogation of one party’s rights (self-determination) in the service of another’s (right to life); something the state has no problem doing in many circumstances. One commenter asked, “Why do we have child abuse and neglect laws?” Quite simply: Children (like livestock, as Tlaloc accurately but unpalatably put it) don’t have the right of self-determination; rather, they have the right to protective custody. Parens patriae demands that the state step in to provide protection when the parents do not. At heart, this would seem to be directly analogous: The unborn child must be protected.

    Thusly do we come to the crux of the matter: Is a zygote/blastocyst/fetus the same as an infant child? Does it deserve that same protective custody? The current state of science can give us no clear answers, only a general range: Probably after the first trimester, almost certainly after the second. The point of highlighting the parasitic (in a scientific sense of the word) nature of pregnancy is to draw attention to the very real risks a pregnant woman runs in regards to her health, something many of the commenters here seem to completely miss, focusing on the language rather than the context.

    And so you come to what is widely referred to as the “liberal” view, but is really just pro-choice. Given the inherent, known risks to the mother (biologically, socially, culturally, physically, and economically), with respect to what we know and don’t know about the states of fetal development, we must rely upon the inherent ability of a prospective mother to be to make her own moral decision regarding her pregnancy and the uncertainty it engenders. To do otherwise until more information is available to aid in rational decision making is autocratic and authoritarian at the least.

  18. “I fail to see how your description of “competition” also doesn’t “go to a level of abstraction above the most basic biological examination.” “

    Okay. This is the simplest way to break it down: there is one source of nutrients; food taken in and digested by the mother. There are (assuming you wish to see the fetus as a separate thing) two possible places for those nutrients to go. They cannot go to both. Any nutrients used by one are lost to the other. That is by definition a competitive arrangement.

    By the same logic you can say that our various organs are in competition for the limited resouces avaialable for the body. Again at the simplest biological level ithis is absolutely true. However competition has higher levels of abstract meaning such as being in opposition. Those meaning are not automaticaly true.

    Ah I see JE wrote basically the same thing.

  19. “(like livestock, as Tlaloc accurately but unpalatably put it)”

    LOL. I think you just summed up my purpose in life, JE.

  20. I’m sorry tlaloc, but that is not the definition of competition. Just becaue we have a finite amount of resources and more than one party needs some of those resources, it doesn’t mean they are competing for those resources. Think of a one-income family where money is scarce. In most families you wouldn’t say that they are competing for food or clothes or shelter. You’d say the parents are providing for the children or you’d say that resources are shared amongst the family members or something like that.

    Or if there was one piece of apple pie left and two people who wanted it, it could be competetive where both people start fighting over the pie or they could agree to share the pie with each other so that they both get some. The outcome very well could be the same (e.g., maybe they both just start eating it with no regard for the other and they both end up with half OR maybe they discuss it and decide they will each get half the pie).

    “Competition” implies that the two parties are fighting against each other or where both parties are trying to gain an advantage over the other other.

    And seeing as how we are talking about stuff at a biological level, there can’t be any intent on either the mother or the fetuses part, so we can only view “competition” as a metaphor.

    What James said about “the mother gets nothing out of this” is flat out false, since the mother gets a child out of it. What does the mother get out of spending extra money on groceries and diapers and doctors appointments and all kinds of stuff after the child is born (other than headaches and financial difficulty and being waken up every 2 hours in the middle of the night and all kinds of other stuff). Of course, we might say that the mother is providing for her child’s needs after the child is born just like she was doing before her child was born.

    So it is flat out false that the relationship between a mother and a fetus at the biological level is one of competition by definition. You guys are certainly free to view it the relationship in that way, but nobody else has to.

  21. Now, this is not to say that the child IS a parasite…

    For the record, I don’t take offense to any of your language on this topic. In fact, you both prove yourself quite reasonable by acknowledging that the fetus acquires its humanity prior to birth – something that normally consumes all discussion.

    The point of highlighting the parasitic (in a scientific sense of the word) nature of pregnancy is to draw attention to the very real risks a pregnant woman runs in regards to her health, something many of the commenters here seem to completely miss, focusing on the language rather than the context.

    I don’t know of too many people advocating that pregnancies be continued when the mother is going to die. Sure they’re out there, but not in any meaningful numbers.

    So if we can eliminate that scenario for purposes of discussion, health of the mother is really insignificant relative to the life of another human. Your original comment that the crux of the matter is when does that child deserve protection is still the issue. That mom would risk being wrong on the precise ‘when’ of humanity doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in her ability to make that moral judgment. Let’s face it, 99% of abortions are matters of (often understandable) convenience.

    As far as the word parasite goes, if you ascribe any sense of purpose to mankind it is hard to see how you can say that the reproductive process is parasitic rather than cooperative. Women’s bodies are designed to reproduce, and adjust in a variety of ways to promote the development of the ‘parasite’. Just because the mother and/or the fetus have the built-in ability to overcome some disconnect in the natural distribution process – to thrive – does not mean that it is not a cooperative process.

    The mother’s intentions make no difference in determining whether the physical relationship is parasitic or symbiotic. The process is physically intentional from both ends.

  22. “I’m sorry tlaloc, but that is not the definition of competition. Just becaue we have a finite amount of resources and more than one party needs some of those resources, it doesn’t mean they are competing for those resources.”

    Um, yeah at the most basic level that is precisely the definition of being in competition.

    from dictionary.com:
    com·pe·ti·tion ( P ) Pronunciation Key (kmp-tshn)
    n.
    1)The act of competing, as for profit or a prize; rivalry.
    2)A test of skill or ability; a contest: a skating competition.
    3)Rivalry between two or more businesses striving for the same customer or market.
    4)A competitor: The competition has cornered the market.
    5)Ecology. The simultaneous demand by two or more organisms for limited environmental resources, such as nutrients, living space, or light.

    Notice 5. That is what I was referring to.

    “”Competition” implies that the two parties are fighting against each other or where both parties are trying to gain an advantage over the other other.”

    Not at the most basic level. That is one of those higher levels of abstraction which I was talking about previously. Really, take the dictionaries word for it.

    “You guys are certainly free to view it the relationship in that way, but nobody else has to.”

    Unless they want to be, you know, correct. Look I tried to make it clear that I don’t think of the relationship in terms of being competitive BUT that at the =most basic biological level is IS competitive. Now that does not mean that our associations (abstractions) with the word competitive apply. But again it IS absolutley, no question, affirmitively, 100% a competitive biological relationship.

    Really. Now can we move on from the trivial side issue?

  23. I wasn’t going to continue. I really wasn’t. Said my two cents, thought it was pretty eloquently and reasonably put. But, damn, this conversation took a turn for the stupid, and I cannot help myself.

    I’m sorry tlaloc, but that is not the definition of competition. Just becaue we have a finite amount of resources and more than one party needs some of those resources, it doesn’t mean they are competing for those resources.

    I’m pretty much certain you can’t get closer to the definition of competition. Let’s find out. Hmm. According to the American Heritage Dictionary (none of that Oxford wanker crap here, no sir!): “Competition, n… 5. Ecology The simultaneous demand by two or more organisms for limited environmental resources, such as nutrients, living space, or light.” Yeah, Macht, you’re kind of totally wrong.

    Think of a one-income family where money is scarce.

    You’re refuting biology/ecology with sociology? Not even real sociology, but semantics? Now, I’m always up for some antics, but this is plain silly.

    And seeing as how we are talking about stuff at a biological level, there can’t be any intent on either the mother or the fetuses part, so we can only view “competition” as a metaphor.

    Yeah, I’d say “semantics” quite covers it.

    What James said about “the mother gets nothing out of this” is flat out false, since the mother gets a child out of it.

    You are so seriously not paying attention, Macht. Will you please start separating the biological from the sociological if you want to talk about pregnancy? Actually, it’d be a welcome change if you refuted debate about the nature of pregnancy with information about pregnancy as opposed to child-rearing analogies. You’re welcome to have an opinion, but is it too much to ask that it be informed by something resembling fact or knowledge of the subject matter and actually be about the subject matter? The debate is charged enough as it is. You’re moving the goal posts: We’re talking embryo here, not post-birth infant!

    So it is flat out false that the relationship between a mother and a fetus at the biological level is one of competition by definition.

    Seriously, Macht, dude, compadre, he who types faster than his brain thinks, try your hand at actually comprehending what was written before you spout off. You’re making me angry, and I’m fully capable of taking you out to the rhetorical wood shed for the whupping you deserve. I’m trying to give one last shot at being nice. Matt, at least, is always nice and reasonable. I find little to disagree with his response, except about the decision-making bit. But then, that’s the crux, isn’t it: Unconvinced of when the child becomes a child, liberals who are pro-choice are unwilling to embrace the evil that is inserting yourself into another’s decision-making process. When there’s more information, I’ll be more than happy to revisit the question.

  24. Apparently JE and I should only post on alternate days since we are just repeating what the other said.

  25. Maybe it’ll add to Hunter’s old paranoid delusion about Tlaloc and I being the same person?

  26. I don’t James and tlaloc are the same person. tlaloc was able to respond without being a jerk. But at least I’ve learned that there is absolutely no reason to respond to James.

    tlaloc, I don’t mind the term competition as long as it is completely understood that there isn’t necessarily any intent or conflict involved (as the story I was referring to was saying). Biologically, of course, any time two organisms live in the same niche they are in competition. So there really is no reason to single out a mother and a fetus since the mother is in competition with her husband and other children and neighbors and tons of other people.

  27. I think there’s a real problem with the competition idea, particularly if you want to be all scientific and evolutionist about it. The purpose of the organism is to reproduce and sustain its contribution to the gene pool. That’s what baby does. That’s not competition. That’s mission accomplished.

  28. Indeed, HB. The very essence of life gets reduced to abstractions. How silly and diseased we have become. No wonder Europe can’t even reproduce itself. Any biologist would tell you that’s a sign something’s really, really, wrong, man.

  29. Unconvinced of when the child becomes a child, liberals who are pro-choice are unwilling to embrace the evil that is inserting yourself into another’s decision-making process. When there’s more information, I’ll be more than happy to revisit the question.

    Sounds like a hunt for ‘the real killers’ – maybe we should see if OJ is available to help on this search for more information.

    Now that comment is not directed at you personally James – I believe that you approach this topic with sincerity. The trouble is that the big voices on the Left have zero interest in examining the ‘when’ question. Zero. In fact, they actively obstruct the pursuit of that question. What does that tell you?

    It tells you that no one cares if it is a life. The real question that mothers considering abortion are working out is why they should not have the same right to terminate a pregnancy as nature (I’d go with God – but that’s me) does. If inserting* oneself into her decision-making process** is evil, what do you call this complete disregard for life?

    * While I definitely favor intervention, I suspect that the form I’d settle for would be quite modest relative to most on my side.

    ** I might also suggest that the ‘abortion counseling’ provided in most cases is hardly one based on restraint. There’s more than one side ‘inserting’ itself into the process here.

  30. “I don’t James and tlaloc are the same person. tlaloc was able to respond without being a jerk. But at least I’ve learned that there is absolutely no reason to respond to James.”

    Ironically most people around here consider me by far the bigger jerk but sometimes things set James off.

    “So there really is no reason to single out a mother and a fetus since the mother is in competition with her husband and other children and neighbors and tons of other people.”

    I tend to agree. As before I don’t think the level at which the mother and fetus are in competition is really that useful a level for us to examine, I was just taking pains to point out that the term can be technically correct.

  31. “The purpose of the organism is to reproduce and sustain its contribution to the gene pool.”

    What an odd darwinian remark from someone who support intelligent design.

  32. “No wonder Europe can’t even reproduce itself. Any biologist would tell you that’s a sign something’s really, really, wrong, man.”

    Uh, no the opposite really. A species that naturally modulates its population to the environmental carrying capacity is much better adapted than one that suffers boom and bust cycles. It’s only economists who want us to have unending population growth because they don’t have to deal with real world factors like starvation.

  33. “The trouble is that the big voices on the Left have zero interest in examining the ‘when’ question. Zero. In fact, they actively obstruct the pursuit of that question. What does that tell you?”

    It tells me that their opposition is so fanatical that they are afraid idf they give an inch they’ll lose a mile. When the pro-life side wants to quit waving pictures of fetuses around and act like adults maybe we can have a discussion on the topic.

  34. “It tells me that their opposition is so fanatical that they are afraid idf they give an inch they’ll lose a mile. When the pro-life side wants to quit waving pictures of fetuses around and act like adults maybe we can have a discussion on the topic.”

    This is very true. So long as both camps remain reactionary and militant, no real discussion can occur.

    Look, Macht, I’m sorry you felt I was a jerk, but I really took your comment as being ridiculously obstinate and semantic.

  35. Yeah, and I usually ignore people who are looking for a fight. Thank you for letting me know in your first response to me that this was your intention. I also thought I’d give you the courtesy of letting you know that I’m not going to respond to any of your posts (so you don’t waste your time). Starting now.

  36. It tells me that their opposition is so fanatical that they are afraid idf they give an inch they’ll lose a mile. When the pro-life side wants to quit waving pictures of fetuses around and act like adults maybe we can have a discussion on the topic.

    That is a cop-out. If it truly was a matter of the pro-life crowd being less fanatical, then I should expect there to be more of these ‘discussions’ happening around the world. But they don’t, and they never will in your scenario. Both sides have their militants, but only one has ‘ground’ to lose.

    But let’s leave the rest of the world aside, we’re having a discussion right now. No waving fetuses or anything! You both agree that humanity begins before birth – 3rd trimester-certainly, 2nd trimester-maybe/probably, 1st trimester-not sure/maybe. So somewhere in that mix our society – that’s you and me – lets real people be intentionally killed. And why is that – because we’re not sure? Because we might lose a bit too much ground? Because Pontius Pilate is a hero?

    I not trying to condemn here, but rather to provoke thought on what our responsibility is here. No one benefits with abortion – that’s an illusion. And none of us can wash our hands of this mess.

  37. “So somewhere in that mix our society – that’s you and me – lets real people be intentionally killed.”

    It’s a difficult question, one that is rife with uncertainty. Indeed, it is that uncertainty which must color society’s proposed solutions. The only certainty we can point to is the right of a woman to make her own choices over her body.

    We don’t know enough about fetal development, even though we know a lot. And what we do know can change. Opinions about abortion and the nature of pregnancy are quite malleable. Only recently, in perhaps the last 100 years, has conception become a hallmark for when life begins for the religious. “Quickening,” which occurs sometime in the second trimester, was long the indication of “life” (i.e. the posession of a soul). During the 19th century in America, abortion was a distasteful but accepted choice for families with scarce resources.

    But we were discussing uncertainty. Given that uncertainty, the only truly honest and moral choice is to allow women to choose for themselves which options they will embrace within an acceptable span of time. In all countries that have legislated abortion rights, they have followed the best available information and concluded that within the first trimester we must side with the mother. They have arrived, via deliberation and informed, reasoned decision-making, at the very same solution proposed in Roe.

    Neither side of America’s argument wants there to be abortions. In an ideal world, women would have access to contraception, quality prenatal and postnatal care, well-funded adoption services, and grief and loss counseling. And most significantly, society would not shun women as whores or hold them up for self-righteous pity. (This does not single out conservatives; many a lip-service liberal will tisk and titter as well.) There would be no need for abortion as an option then.

    In the absence of certainty, we must embrace what is, for now, the lesser of two incredibly difficult and painful choices. Conservatives are wholly right in pointing out that there is a moral side to this debate that many on the left stridently ignore. Neither side acknowledges the woman’s loss and grief, or prepares her for it. It is the hallmark of American liberalism, classical or otherwise, that in the face of a lack of certainty, one must err conservatively. By which, one must err on the side of individual liberty. As well, in that same spirit, one must allow for being wrong, and be willing to revisit the decision and adapt.

    I don’t see how a reasonable person can ask for more.

  38. “Yeah, and I usually ignore people who are looking for a fight.”

    See, and here I thought s/he was picking the fight. Just goes to show you that the internet is a crappy medium of exchange. Especially in the hands of the belligerent and reactionary, like myself.

    So, Macht, please feel free to ignore me, but I’m sorry I offended you.

  39. I think I pricked you T, baby. Never said I supported ID, just that I thought it made a lot of sense and that I thought the reaction to it is revealing. You didn’t answer my point. From the evolutionary point of view, the fetus/baby is not competition, it is, in fact, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

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