Abortion continued

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Abortion continued

Postby Ian » Tue Feb 06, 2001 9:58 pm

In a thread now closed, a comment was made about pro-choicers being "pro-death." I sympathize with the sentiment, but thought I would offer some things it is pro, besides choice:

1) Pro-Woman. Women sometimes face the loss of a career, their education, or perhaps their safety (women are punished, sometimes physically, by some partners or parents for getting pregnant).

2) Pro-Health. Let's say a woman has a medical condition that will worsen if she continues a pregnancy, or even kill her. Why should she not be able to make a decision about her own health? Conversely if abortion is illegal abortions will continue to be done. Those with means will get theirs safely as they did before abortion was legal. Others WILL risk fertility, serious illness or death with unsafe abortions.

3) Pro-Contraceptive. If abortion is illegal, the state has concluded no one may take a human life. Embryos can’t have wishes or feelings, however… neither does a fertilized egg…. So why not prohibit the morning after pill, or, oral contraceptives, IUD’s etc? These work not just to reduce fertilizations but also prevent implantation of fertilized eggs. And why not extend the restriction to condoms? After all, a sperm and an egg together are as much “human life” as a fertilized egg, and have as much potential.

4) Pro-Autonomy. Most people believe competent adults have the right to make their own decisions regarding medical care, and all the hospital regulations I know of respect this. But many times to date, even in the era of Roe v Wade, women have been denied the right to make their own decisions because they are pregnant. Some have been forced to have blood transfusions against their religious beliefs, some have been forced to have surgeries which hastened their own deaths, some have been confined against their will.

All for the benefit of a fetus with a "right to life."

Others have been punished for having a glass of wine, or for smoking, or have faced additional charges for using drugs because their babies were exposed. While I am appalled at women who intentionally risk harm to unborn children, if the state can deny women the right to do things other citizens may whenever they like, it certainly can reason that it ought to monitor women's diet, exercise, level of activity, etc. Big Brother becomes Big Obstetrician.

If the state knows the fetus has a right to life, it will act against women who are not acting in what the STATE thinks the best interests of the fetus are. This means it will ignore the woman's religion, beliefs, and decisions and FORCE surgery on the woman. The STATE deciding when women need surgery etc and treating women not as people is an Orwellian nightmare (at least to me) but its a rational consequence of a fetal right to life.

These are some of the reasons a person may be pro-choice even if they are ALSO pro-life.
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Abortion continued

Postby Brian Barry » Wed Feb 07, 2001 3:12 am

Arguing each other over this, I believe, will be fruitless. The real issue is whether or not aborting a fetus is murder. I very strongly believe that it is, and that it is basically genocide. For reasons that I don't understand, many people feel that there is nothing wrong with it. And it seems that neither side can be swayed.
The best thing I can do for my cause is not to sit here and argue with my friends, but to go out (as soon as I'm old enough) and vote pro-life.
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Abortion continued

Postby Ian » Wed Feb 07, 2001 4:38 am

I understand Mr. Barry's feelings; my post wasn't an attempt to come to a final decision about whether abortion is right or wrong. To start, that's impossible, no one is going to change their minds. Also, it'd jut make people angry. And abortion is neither right or wrong. Or both. At times. And that was my point, just to gray up the issue some, and show that it isn't an as simple as pro-choice = pro-death. In fact I've never met ANYONE who was prodeath or who thought there was nothing wrong about abortion. I have only met (usually deeply) conflicted people who felt that their pro-choice inclinations out-weighed their pro-life inclinations, and pro-life people *some of whom* were unaware of some important issues surrounding abortion.

I might add that I doubt I could ever do an "elective" abortion for any woman and would encourage anyone thinking of abortion to consider all their options and make every attempt to find a way to give birth and give that child up for adoption if needed, believing that life is the best choice.
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Abortion continued

Postby Hugh » Wed Feb 14, 2001 6:20 am

Pro-choice also means pro-pregnancy, if that is what the woman wants. I know of no pro-choice person who support the compulsory abortion policies of the Peoples Republic of China. nor do I know of any who would have supported the practice that once prevailed in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the '40s, '50s, and into the '60s whereby pregnant women on welfare, especially pregnant black women on welfare, were forced to have abortions to keep welfare for the rest of their families, e en though abortions were illegal in Virginia up until Roe v Wade. These were not conditions of "choice".

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Abortion continued

Postby Ian » Wed Feb 14, 2001 4:16 pm

Virginia has a particularly nasty record when it comes to reproductive rights / eugenics. It was, i think, the 20's 30s and possible 40's when hundreds of "feeble minded" women in VA were forced to have state mandated tubal ligations, which are difficult or impossible to reverse and have side effects ranging from pain to infection to possible death. In fact the US supreme court ok'd this practice after hearing a case that originated in VA. It involved one rather unfortunate woman of little means who, if I remember correctly was given up for adoption, or had to live with other relatives away from home; I'm not sure but believe the reason involved her rape at the hands of a family member and a need to cover the situation up. It may have been that she was raped at the new location, but basically because of the rape her morals were challenged and despite being an average to above average pupil in school she was labeled feeble minded and as an undesirable, was subjected to forced sterilization. The case went to the US SC; some ethicists, aware that the lawyers for the two sides were close acquaintances, and shared ideological stances, suspect they may have conspired to "threw" the case in order to obtain the desired result.

An embarrassing track record like this is one reason it is virtually impossible to obtain a sterilization using substituted consent. For example, say a retarded woman has a medical condition that would make a pregnancy dangerous and has been subjected to sexual abuse at her group home. Primarily worried about the abuse but also cognizant of the fact that she could be abused again, parents attempt to get substituted consent to have a tubal ligation, but cannot, in large part because the state is now afraid to order such procedures because it has abused the power in the past. (Note: real case). Now there's a tough issue.

[This message has been edited by Ian (edited February 14, 2001).]
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Abortion continued

Postby Valkenar » Wed Feb 14, 2001 9:20 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Brian Barry:
The real issue is whether or not aborting a fetus is murder. I very strongly believe that it is, and that it is basically genocide.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

If abortion is murder, then wouldn't the police be forced to investigate every miscarriage as a potential homicide? If you report that your spouse is dead, then the police will investigate at least somewhat, rather than taking your word for it that it was natural causes. Is adding the trauma of a police investigation to the trauma of a miscarriage neccesary? If you're really going to take seriously, and sincerely the idea that abortion is murder and a fetus is a human being, then it would seem so.
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Abortion continued

Postby Ian » Thu Feb 15, 2001 4:48 am

Well, yes, that could be said to follow from the proposition that abortion is murder. One might also say:

1) That human life expectancy is enormously over-estimated because several conceptuses die for every that survives to pregnancy, many not distinguished from normal menses.

2) That one cannot do an abortion to save the life of the mother, because one cannot kill one human to save another--say, for organ transplant. Exception: killed person posing a threat to second person.

3) There ought to be funerals or ceremonies or something for those fetuses we never recognize as such because they die before we realize they're there.

4) The number one killer of humans is genetic aberrations present at conceptions, killing at least 6 times as many as heart disease, and research into this condition should be a priority.

5) destruction of abortion clinics is an immediate ethical priority, no excuses, as they are the site of murders/genocide.

Well, all this could be said. But I think when pro-life people call abortion "murder," they do consider the special relationship a mother has with the child she is carrying, and do acknowledge that most conceptions end in miscarriage but this is different from your parents dying because those conceptuses were never meant to survive, and family never formed attachments to them.

For example, the catholic church before the days of c sections permitted the destruction and extraction of a fetus to save a mother in failed labor. It also allowed, before pregnancy tests, D&C's that in some cases would unknowingly (but clearly in circumstances that could) cause the death of a young embryo. The point was both procedures intended one good and the death of the fetus was an unintended second effect. Yet one cannot so easily dismiss the death of an adult as a side effect.

Abortion groups have also embraced ex-pro-choice figures, some of whom have done thousands of abortions. This is the equivalent of a Jewish society at the time of the holocaust welcoming a reformed Josef Mengele to speak at their conventions. Something different is going on if atoning for abortion is easier than atoning for genocide.

And I AM NOT AM NOT criticizing the opinion that abortion is murder or AT ALL saying that those who hold this opinion are hypocrites if they don't endorse the ethical positions I listed above. I *respect* this opinion.

What I am saying is that pro-life people believe that abortion is the wrongful taking of human life (which I agree, in many cases, it is) and the shorthand for this is "murder." Even if "really" or "functionally" pro-life individuals do not carry out this position to each and every one of its consequences. While they call it murder *most* do treat it differently than the murder of adults. It's an imperfect word, not an inconsistent ideology.

Pro-life inputs on my reasoning more than welcome. Do I have this right?
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Abortion continued

Postby Ted Dinwiddie » Thu Feb 15, 2001 4:50 pm


I really appreciate your posts, they are well reasoned and fair. I especially appreciate those on this thread, because they more eloquently express some of the ideas I have had for some time now.

The major problem with this issue is the lack of respect for self determining individuals and the failure to actually use reason in dealing with the problem. People who we disagree with are not bad people or wrong, they are different.

I hate the thought of aborting a pregnancy. I have three children and they are nothing short of a sacred responsibility. After our third, my wife decided she wanted no more children and had a tubal ligation. These are not 100% certain, but nothing is. If she were to become pregnant again and not want to carry another child I would stand by HER wishes. I stood by her through all three pregnancies and births and cut three umbilical cords. I can assure anyone, pregnancy and childbirth are life-changing ordeals irrespective of the joy and fulfillment they (hopefully) bring. NO ONE has the right to decide for her what she must do in the event of an unwanted pregnancy, NO ONE.

Personal beliefs are just that, personal. Live according to your beliefs and allow others to do the same.


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Abortion continued

Postby Allen M. » Thu Feb 15, 2001 7:55 pm

In today's news, and I've gotten a lot of news like this...

China uses abortion as female genocide
"Shocking pictures of an apparent victim of China's
'one-child policy' -- a newborn baby girl lying dead in a
gutter, ignored by passers-by -- have prompted shock and
revulsion." Critics of the mandatory one-child policy point to
the widespread killing of female infants and fetuses by parents
who wish to have a male heir. (02/15/01) http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2001/2/14/202119.shtml

Priest attacks abortion clinic
"A Catholic priest who crashed his car into a building housing
an abortion clinic and attacked it with an axe pleaded guilty
Wednesday to charges of damaging property." (02/14/01) http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010214/us/abortion_clinic_attack_1.html
Allen M.

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