Sliding down the slippery slope on abortion

“Killing a fetus in utero is not the same thing as killing a sentient human being.  When the right gets around to facing scientific facts and abiding by what they say, then we can have an intelligent discussion on the issue.  The US killed tens of thousands of people who were innocent but were at the wrong place at the wrong time in their country of Iraq, and those deaths are a bigger tragedy than millions of fetuses aborted in the US since Roe v. Wade–occuring as they do before the brains in those fetuses know they are alive, feel human pain and loss.  To compare these two sets of deaths is just silly.  I will never understand how conservatives have no problem with collateral damage in the wars that they eagerly support, but worry about fetuses that have less ability to feel pain or suffering than the cattle or chickens that are slaughtered to create Big Macs and McChicken sandwiches.  The morality of the right ignores the realities of pain and suffering, and thus it is morally bankrupt to anyone with basic common sense.”  — abc

I found fascinating the comment abc left on my “leftist morality” post because it is precisely the kind of thinking I had in my teens and twenties.  I was abc.  I know how I got there:  I was raised in San Francisco in liberal Jewish circles and schooled at Berkeley.  What’s more interesting to me is how I left that kind of thinking behind.  My purpose in analyzing my changing attitudes is to say that there is hope for everybody.  Even abc, whom I suspect is rather young, might come to revisit his cherished Leftist dogma.

American Jews are probably amongst the most devout abortion supporters in America.  Those Jews who vote on the abortion-ticket like to point to a very old rabbinic tradition holding that, if a woman is dying during labor, it is acceptable to kill the child, provided that the child has not yet seen the light of day.  Later rabbinic thought expanded this holding to place the child’s life over the mother’s at all times.

These were always narrow exceptions, though.  Pragmatic considerations had to be balanced against God’s injunction to “choose life” and to “be fruitful and multiply.”  Also, in pre-modern times, abortion was both unpopular and risky, and medicine limited a physician’s ability even to assess the risks a pregnant woman was facing.  The early Jewish philosophers were dealing with anomalies that justified abortion, not with Planned Parenthood clinics in every neighborhood.

Although the rabbis wouldn’t recognize abortion today, modern Jews rely on ancient and narrow rabbinical strictures to embrace an ideology that allows abortion, not only in life and death situations, but at all points in time during the pregnancy, and for all reasons.  I grew up, therefore, in a very abortion-friendly milieu.

I also grew up in a Holocaust milieu.  Without exception, all of the older Jewish people whom I knew when I was growing up had a connection to the Holocaust, whether they’d escaped it or lost people to it.  The Holocaust was a defining backdrop to my childhood.

With the Holocaust come questions:  How can a nation deliberately target one entire group of people for extermination?  Please understand in thinking about this question that the dead were not simply unlucky enough to be citizens of a country that was at war, which would make them the ordinary, tragic, collateral damage of traditional warfare.  Nor were these people being killed for acts in which they had engaged, as would be the case with someone tried, convicted and executed for murder, or someone who willing takes up arms against another nation.  Instead, they were targeted simply for being. It was an existential — or, rather, de-existential — slaughter.  You are, therefore you’re dead.  I always knew that acquiescing to the death of innocents simply as a housecleaning matter is evil.

What I tried to tell myself, though, was that abortion, unlike the Holocaust, wasn’t the death of innocents just for housecleaning purposes.  It was the salvation of women, keeping them from abusive relationships, dark alleys and coat hangers.  Except that’s not true.  Or at least, not so true to justify unlimited abortion.  Yes, there are women for whom abortion is the difference between life and death, a situation the rabbis would have recognized and one with which I still feel comfortable.

Living in the Bay Area, however, I knew women who followed the Hippie lifestyle, got too drugged-0ut even to contemplate birth control, and then had an abortion as ex post sexto birth control.  One woman I know did this 11 (yes, eleven) times.  When she finally married and wanted children, she couldn’t get pregnant for love or money.  Nature (or God) has a sense of humor.

The next stage in my development was to be troubled, not by abortion itself, but by the wholesale abortion industry.  I just couldn’t explain away industrialized abortion as something that sat squarely with decency or morality.  I tried another rationalization:  to the extent a human fetus, in its early stages, is indistinguishable from a chicken or dog, it should have at that time in its development the same rights as chickens or dogs — and we shoot chickens, don’t we?  (That’s a rhetorical flourish.  I know that we behead them.)

The argument that the fetus isn’t a person went out the window when I had my own babies.  As I’ve mentioned here before, seeing my daughter’s 16 week-old spine on a scan, something that looked like the most delicate string of pearls, made it impossible for me to deny the fetus’ humanity.  It’s a person.  Likewise, watching my children grow-up and my mom grow old — seeing the connection between baby, toddler, child, teen, young adult, middle aged person, and old person — forced me to recognized that there is a continuum here.  An honest, intelligent person cannot say that the fetus is entirely separate from the baby or the grandmother.  They are one and the same, just at different developmental stages.  To kill a fetus is to kill an old person.

But what about Iraq war?  abc says it’s much better to kill 163 million non-human girl fetuses than it is to kill 100,000 Iraqi civilians.  I disagree.  If we killed civilians simply to houseclean, abc might have an argument.  But as with the rabbis’ distinction between gratuitous abortion and necessary abortion, sometimes we take lives to save lives.  If the Allies had acted against Hitler when he went into the Rhineland, even had that meant killing thousands of Germans, clipping Hitler’s wings would have saved the 20,000,000 lives that WWII destroyed, including the 6,000,000 Jews, the gays, and the gypsies casually exterminated for Aryan housekeeping purposes.  As the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto came to understand, it’s better to fight for your life than to be annihilated because of mindless, evil prejudice.

I have no problem with striking down evil people, whether they lead a nation, operate in a terrorist cell, or kill children in a ghetto.  Since I believe in free will, those who have embraced evil — the Nazis or the Islamists or the gangsters — have forfeited their right to walk freely amongst mankind.  That others are killed alongside them (the woman and children with whom they surround themselves, or those who cannot leave, whether because the system imprisons them or because they know no better) is a tragedy, but it doesn’t lessen the fundamental morality of destroying the evil that creates those prisons.  To quote my favorite Bookworm post:

But what about the innocent lives lost as a result of Pharaoh’s, the Nazi’s, and the Japanese high command’s intransigence? As the Japanese tale shows only too well, the innocents were always going to die, with the only question being whether they would die quickly or slowly. The same holds true for the Germans, whom the Nazis had long ago designated as cannon fodder to support their intensely evil regime. That’s the problem with an evil regime. If you’re unlucky enough to live under that regime, whether or not you support it, you’re going to be cannon fodder. Pharaoh will let you die of plagues, and the Nazi and Japanese leadership will let you be bombed and burned — as long as they can retain their power.

Iran is no different. Although the people bleed and cry under the brutish regime, no plague, including rioting in the streets, has come along that is bad enough to break the back of that tyranny. The people continue to die by inches, and the regime threatens everyone within bombing distance.

Liberals believe that it is immoral to impose serious consequences against the Iranian regime because there are innocents who will suffer from those consequences. What these liberals fail to understand is that, when power doesn’t reside in the people, but resides, instead, in a single group that is insulated from all but the most terrible strikes, imposing small plagues against the country (freezing a few bank accounts, public reprimands, vague threats) is utterly useless. These small plagues, no matter how much they affect the ordinary citizen, do not affect the decision-making process in which a tyrant engages. The only thing that will move the tyrant is to destroy his power base. Everything else is theater.

The Bookworm Turns : A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land, available in e-format for $4.99 at Amazon, Smashwords or through your iBook app.

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Comments

  1. says

    abc, true, you did not say no scientist can believe in God  What you said was, “No scientist would equate a fetus with a baby.”  Since your whole point has been that those who equate a fetus with a baby do so for religious reasons and you reject religion as a value reason for making that equation, it is not a large leap from the one statement to the other.  Anyway, scientists can believe in God and scientists (whether or not they believe in God) can believe that a fetus, at some point in its development, is a baby.  Your absolutist statement to the contrary is simply, factually, incorrect, which is what Danny was pointing out.

  2. abc says

    Funky, that’s a fair criticism.  I assumed that I was being lumped in the general liberal idiot bucket, since so many others here place me in it.  Recall that Bookworm sought to debate me on the issue by comparing me to her foolish former liberal self, and don’t forget that this is after slandering intelligent liberal positions on the issue by comparing them to a desire to put the country on a slippery slope to massacres.  Not very forgiving stuff, so you can judge me, but do it in that context.  In any case, I apologize for jumping the gun.

    You also wrote:

    “The larger issue here (explored in Book’s and Danny’s posts about Krugman) is the automatic illegitimacy many liberals ascribe to conservative views, as if there’s no possible way that any conservative position could be logical, fact-based, consistent, and free from mercenary self-interest.”

    That is not true.  I posted an interesting experiment in which 10 questions that highlight liberal myths were asked and the conservatives did better on the test than liberals, while a second test of 10 questions was adminstered, this time exploding conservative myths, and the liberals did better.  My comment on it was that we need to stay grounded in facts and emprical data and sound logical reasoning, rather than take things on faith.  I am commenting on a conservative site, and I seek to explode the conservative myths.  When I post on HuffPo, I focus on the liberal myths, and you’d like my writing there much more.  Like I apologized for earlier, you assume way too much about me with that last comment.  My vigorous attack of conservatives’ fallacious beliefs doesn’t preclude the possibility of their having sound ones (e.g., minimum wage laws increase unemployment rates, which Z might disagree with, but I do not).

    “Like many others who visit this site, I once thought as you do about conservatism, but changed my way of thinking when I examined the philosophical presuppositions and logical implications of both the liberal and conservative world views.  What other conservatives believe is immaterial to conservative thought, which has, in fact, more precision, rationality, consistency, and logical rigor than the supposedly “scientific” and “empirically based” theses to which you adhere.”

    That is not possible.  Scientific and empirically derived knowledge is the most important knowledge that we have, aside from pure mathematics.  Conservatives often use bad logic, masquerading as something higher, to try to disprove emprical science and in this they fail miserably, even if other conservatives do not see it.  Those that point this out are not biased against conservatives, but against bad ideas and faulty logic and lack of empirical rigor.

    ” You hold a caricatural view of conservatism, based on your disgust with the behavior and views of some conservatives.  You must be careful, though, not to fall into the trap of confusing conservatives–whom you may find personally distasteful–with conservatism, which is a system of thought that exists outside and beyond the people who espouse it.”

    Perhaps, but some of the arguments made by conservatives here are so bad that they are not worthy even of caricature.  I have long argued that the conservative movement needs another Wm F Buckley to keep the swamp fever at bay, but conservatives today ARE the swamp fever that he bemoaned in his lifetime.  Do not miss this important transformation within the conservative movement over the last 40 years.

  3. Charles Martel says

    Zach, I’ll happily answer when you tell me what “an inkling of human life” means. I don’t accept sophomoric prose descriptions as an explanation for much of anything.

  4. abc says

    Don, I see the point but would caution you against reading too much into it.  A scientist who rejects a sound theory because of religious belief is practicing bad science.  That scientist is free to believe in God, but when his belief in God causes him to ignore facts about human development, then he is no longer acting as a scientist.  Even the great Einstein failed to develop quantum mechanics, which is a sound theory in physics, since he could not accept from a religious standpoint its implications (“God doesn’t play dice,” he was known to have said), so this is a profound challenge for scientists.  But  at the end of the day, if you are going to define the fetus as a person and human, then you ought to have some basis for it in reality, not in souls or other unprovable stuff.  Otherwise, the rules can literally be anything under the sun, and then you run the risk of jihad or other irrational massacres that we all  want to avoid.  So a scientist can believe in God and say God ultimately gave me my mind, and that mind is the defining characteristic of humanity, so a fetus becomes a baby when that mind becomes human, and I’d have little problem with it.  But if he says, God commanded me to think unquestioningly that life begins at conception and no one shall kill the two-day old baby (although that two-day-old zygote is a far cry empirically from a baby), then I’d have lots of problems.  Both scientists believe in God, but only one is stil speaking rationally to me.  Hopefully, that makes sense.

  5. Charles Martel says

    “That is not possible.  Scientific and empirically derived knowledge is the most important knowledge that we have, aside from pure mathematics.  Conservatives often use bad logic, masquerading as something higher, to try to disprove emprical science and in this they fail miserably, even if other conservatives do not see it.  Those that point this out are not biased against conservatives, but against bad ideas and faulty logic and lack of empirical rigor.”

    This is a perfect example of the intellectual dead end scientism leads you to. Some of its problems include:

    —No proof that the forms of knowledge mentioned are the “most important that we have.” We are expected to accept the assertion on faith (which itself is unscientific).

    —No examples given of conservatives’ so-called bad logic, failures or other conservatives’ blindness. (Probably the only proof that would be offered here is the persistent refusal by this room’s denizens to accept abc’s often wild leaps and bizarre conclusions.)

    —The total exclusion of other forms of knowledge as essential or useful to human affairs. Yet abc cites the Tao, which is as unscientific a tome as has ever been written. Why quote from it when it does not belong in the category of the most important knowledge we have?

  6. abc says

    Funkey:

    “abc writes:  “So the countervailing consideration, a woman’s freedom and control over her body–which is an important issue that conservatives often minimize in the debate–no longer is a constraint.”    Ah, but at a certain point, it’s not her body–it’s someone else’s body!  This is what makes abortion such a terribly complex issue, and offers yet another example of the dishonesty of the pro-choice position.  Yes, it’s her body for a while; but it’s always in the process of becoming an increasingly autonomous body, with (presumably) the full range of rights–including the right to live–that the mother has!  So by acting on her freedom, the woman deprives the fetus of the life into which, with each passing second, it is transitioning.”

    Wrong.  The distinction between the mother and child’s bodies remains fixed, and you can do genetic analysis to prove it.  The issue is that the fetus becomes able to live outside the mother at a certain point.  And Roe explicitly addressed this issue, so liberals, who support Roe, are in touch with this idea, while it is the conservatives who, even on this site, appear to ignore the dependence on the mother’s body issue, seem to frequently ignore it.  Now, it is true that many liberals push for abortions beyond that point, which should be justified only to protect a mother’s life, far beyond that point.  And on this issue conservatives are right, in my opinion, that stricter limitations ought to be placed, as they have been in many states.  But most conservatives seek to go well beyond these limits and ban abortions far earlier than the point at which the fetus is able to live outside the mother’s womb, and this is a direct attack on Roe and the idea that we are discussing here.

  7. FunkyPhD says

    abc writes:

    The distinction between the mother and child’s bodies remains fixed, and you can do genetic analysis to prove it. 

    I don’t follow.  If the child is always distinct from the mother’s body, how is she exerting her control over her own body by aborting it?  It’s either her body or it isn’t; she doesn’t have control over the tissues of someone else’s body.  That was my point.  I said that the child is always becoming less and less a part of the mother’s body; therefore her freedom to “control” it dissipates with its increasing biological autonomy.

  8. says

    FunkyPhD:  You’re almost correct when you say “the child is always becoming less and less a part of the mother’s body; therefore her freedom to ‘control’ it dissipates with its increasing biological autonomy.”  This is true in all mother/child relationships except for the Jewish mother/child relationship.  As I can attest through my own experience, those mommies never let go. ;)

  9. Danny Lemieux says

    Zach, your choice is a false one.

    It demands that we prioritize in the event of a fire. Sure, I would prioritize saving a baby over a blastocyst. But then I would also prioritize saving a baby over an old person that has lived most of their life or as a parent (me, in this case) saving my child over myself. 

    Suek, re. #48. Excellent link! Should be required reading for everyone. It has actually been the topic of discussion between Book, Charles M and me.

  10. abc says

    Funky, I believe the argument is that a mother has a right to end the fetus when it uniquely relies upon the mother’s body to survive.  When the fetus no longer needs the mother to survive, then it cannot be terminated (but should then presumably be removed and then put up for adoption).  It is not that the fetus is the same as the placenta and thus the mother controls it as she does the placenta, which is part of the mother’s body.  Rather, it is that the mother has a right to deny the fetus the sustenance required for survival, including formation and continuance of a placenta, which is part of the mother.  To argue that the fetus is part of the mother would fly in the face of science.

  11. Charles Martel says

    Danny and suek, yes, we have discussed the infiltration of conservative sites by people posing as thoughtful contributors. I’m not sure that Bookworm Room is under any such assault, though our two resident pests certainly have been frantically busy launchng all the memes in the leftist quiver at us.

    Interestingly, abc has now taken to claiming that he posts on HuffPo, and is as deliberately contrarian there as he is here. I tend to doubt it, as I doubt most of the claims he makes for himself, but it is possible. The biggest hole in his claim is that HuffPo would put up with him. That site just doesn’t like contrarians. Here, even though abc is a tedious and easily dismissed gadfly, he knows that Book isn’t going to banish him. Most conservative sites like having whetstones to sharpen themselves on, and for playing that role I’m glad abc is here.

  12. says

    Danny Lemieux: your choice is a false one. 
     
    A false choice? Yet you answered it without difficulty.
     
    Danny Lemieux: It demands that we prioritize in the event of a fire. Sure, I would prioritize saving a baby over a blastocyst.

    Of course you would. 
     
    Danny Lemieux: But then I would also prioritize saving a baby over an old person that has lived most of their life or as a parent (me, in this case) saving my child over myself. 
     

     

  13. Charles Martel says

    Danny, the other problem with Zach’s second-hand dilemma is that the answer he is angling for, namely, save the small child, violates his own utilitarian philosophy. If a forest fire threatens a small, not-yet-productive oak in a field, as well as a bin full of viable acorns, which “save” do you think Zach would advocate?

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to save the many acorns over the lone oak, knowing that the Prime Directive is “the greatest good for the greatest number?”

    Just askin’.

  14. says

    Charles Martel: Wouldn’t it make more sense to save the many acorns over the lone oak, knowing that the Prime Directive is “the greatest good for the greatest number?”

    Indeed, we would save the oak tree over a bin of acorns. Amazing that you are still confused on that point. Did you ever attempt an answer to the question above? 

  15. Charles Martel says

    Zach, I told you, in plain English, which you seem to be allergic to, that I would answer when you explained to me what the hell “an inkling of human life” means. I have no idea what your sophomoric prose means, and I was rather hoping you could give me an adult or scientific explanation of the description. 

  16. says

    Charles Martel: I told you, in plain English, which you seem to be allergic to, that I would answer when you explained to me what the hell “an inkling of human life” means.

    Not sure why you insist upon negotiating your response, but inkling means ‘a slight indication.’ If you prefer, you may replace it with “potentiality.”
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inkling

    Nevermind, though. Not sure if your opinion would be of much value anyway. Others have already answered. To most people a toddler is more important than a blastocyst. 

    Danny Lemieux: Conservatives don’t troll.

    Not True Conservatives™ anyway.

  17. Charles Martel says

    Zach, as always, nice try. When you don’t know what you’re talking about, you pretend that we’re talking about something else.
    A blastocyst does not have “a slight indication” of human life. The phrase is meaningless. Nature may be blind, but she is not stupid. She did not evolve blastocysts to have “slight indications of life” before implanting them in the uterine wall.

    As for “potentiality,” that is another one of your weasal words. How can something that is already alive have “potential life?” Are you contending, as 97 percent of 19th-century biologists did, that piles of garbage and offal harbored “potential life” from which maggots could arise? You are now pushing the concept of spontaneous generation?

    Please, please, please learn how to use English. Some here assume that your problems with it are because you are not a native speaker. But, surely, the exact and proper use of language is as big a requirement in your native tongue as it is in mine?

  18. Spiff says

    ABC: I will try and answer you and provide some insight into where I at lease am coming from. “Right.  The human DNA argument again.” Yes; I understand that it does not fit your narrative/world view very well and thus it appears you would like to ignore it. “No.  Because you can put it up for adoption in the case of the baby or even independently viable fetus.  But the vast majority of abortions occur before this point, when you are balancing the potentiality of a human, which is valuable, against the unique demands and infringement on the freedom of the mother and her control over her own body.  You also forget this tremendous distinction.  Curious.  It is an important consideration.” At least we can agree on that. I didn’t forget any distinctions; I just took the example to its logical extreme which did not require that distinction.  I support the mother’s right for control over her body, but do not accept that that distinction makes the choice easy or conclusively answers the moral dilemma. “Really?  You are okay with the 90%+ of abortions occurring in the first trimester when the mother’s freedom is deemed to outweigh the value of a fetus that is not conscious in a human sense and cannot live independently outside her womb?  Or are you okay merely with the tiny minority of cases in which the mother’s life is mortally in danger.  Your comment is highly equivocal and might bear little room for all but the most extreme cases of abortion.  You should flesh that out more.” Since you want specifics (and assuming your stats are accurate) I personally would prefer that it only be used in extreme cases of rape/incest and where the life of the mother is in danger, but am willing to accept it the other 90%, I, however would like to see the cost of the procedure passed on to the mother (or father/family) in those cases at the minimum and perhaps a cooling off with counseling period prior to the procedure. Perhaps an adoption process should be offered. That all said I would like to see serious education regarding what the consequences of unprotected sex are so we don’t have to ever get to this point anyways. That would be a pragmatic answer to a complex issue, and it still does not answer the morality. Yes I am sure some programs like this exist… why they are not or do not appear to be working is another issue.
     
    “What does it mean?  And do you have empirical evidence to show that impact?  This is not exclusively a philosophical question but one that actually can be answered with facts and data.”
     
    I personally think abortion as it is applied currently devalues life and denigrates the miracle that is the creation of said life.  Science cannot answer the philosophical value of life other than give us a monetary value of what the body is worth when it is broken down to its base elements. 
     
    I don’t think the taking of that life, regardless of its viability at the time it is taken, is a decision that should be taken lightly.  The ease and availably of abortions has, in some ways, taken away the seriousness of this choice away.  Or it has given people the perception that it is not serious choice with consequences. 
     
    I personally don’t think abortion as it is used today makes our society better… it makes it coarser.  I don’t blame all that ills our society on this one issue, but it sure as hell doesn’t make it better.  And I don’t need an empirical study to tell me what I can plainly see with my own eyes.  Nor can science directly answer this for our society either.
     
    I will readily admit that what you perceive as good or positive in our society may be different than what I perceive as good or positive.  I would like to think it isn’t, but based on my experience with people from the left and what I am seeing from you here, we do not.
     
    “It could mean that you are seeking to impose an incorrect or dangerous belief upon people without any empirical justification, like the argument that gay marriage is a slippery slope to bestiality or that it corrupts children since you might catch the gay germ.  That kind of stuff.  Your asserting that you dont’ like it, and you don’t like its impact on society, without more data, is no different than these types of bogus arguments against gay marriage.”
     
    I have no answer for you other than you continue to accuse me and others of using faulty logic to come to our conclusions and infer motivations that just aren’t there. You are either unwilling or unable to recognize the fact that just because we disagree that our reasoning is no less well thought out and/or justified as you believe yours is.  I however recognize that you have valid position, I just happen to disagree with it.
     
    “Good laws are rational bad ones are not.  That is the difference between Sharia Law and the dynamic US Constitution.  If you don’t see that difference, as your comment clearly implies, I worry about you.”
     
    My statement does not imply anything remotely near what you infer about me. Regardless of the rationality behind laws, they are essentially made up. As with perception of reality, what is rational has changed over time and even differs from culture to culture. It was nothing more than a philosophical statement is all. In fact it is outside of the scope of this debate and should probably have been ignored. “Right.  And progress is a good thing, so you better have a flexible enough world view to accommodate that.  All we can do is the best we can with the data and understanding we have now.” Thanks for the advice… but I am certain my world view is flexible enough to keep up.  However, from my perspective, I am unsure of what you see as progress as necessarily always being a good thing. 
    I’m done on this one. If you cannot accept my view… then I am sorry.  Perhaps it is my writing ability.  Have a good one. Oh… one more thing:
    ≠ I’ll tell you how I did it you like. 
     

  19. Danny Lemieux says

    Zach: Liberals troll. Conservatives inform, educate and impart wisdom. All serious people (97% – a consensus) agree. It’s a scientific fact.

  20. Spiff says

    Sorry formatting got all jacked again.  Anyways, I think I am done anyways.  It really has come down to a difference in philosophies; one that science really cannot answer for me.  Have a good one all.

  21. abc says

    spiff, good stuff:

    “I would like to see serious education regarding what the consequences of unprotected sex are so we don’t have to ever get to this point anyways. That would be a pragmatic answer to a complex issue, and it still does not answer the morality. Yes I am sure some programs like this exist… why they are not or do not appear to be working is another issue.”

    I would too, although I think one has to be realistic.  It isn’t the rational brain that is dominating when people have unwanted pregnancies.  It is the reptilian brain that is dominating, and that one doesn’t respond as well to past lessons, especially in the heat of the moment.  One has to recognize the immense evolutionary pressures that make mating a very strong urge.  We live in a civilized world and must learn to control urges, but we are not that far from our jungle past and have to be realistic about the strength of those urges.  Thinking that education will overcome seems a bit naive to me.
     
    “I personally think abortion as it is applied currently devalues life and denigrates the miracle that is the creation of said life.  Science cannot answer the philosophical value of life other than give us a monetary value of what the body is worth when it is broken down to its base elements.”

    I disagree.  We can scientifically study the impact of abortions (or ongoing war or violent video games available to kids) to see what the impacts are on attitudes or behavior.  I think such studies are more valuable than anecdotal evidence or personal opinions since personal opinions are notoriously unreliable and innaccurate.
     
    “I don’t think the taking of that life, regardless of its viability at the time it is taken, is a decision that should be taken lightly.”

    Nor do I.  And I extend that to declarations of war, executions of convicted criminals, funding cuts for public health, and the like.  Hopefully, you do as well, since those latter areas involve sentient humans rather than fetuses. 

    “The ease and availably of abortions has, in some ways, taken away the seriousness of this choice away.  Or it has given people the perception that it is not serious choice with consequences.”

    Actually, the availability of abortions varies widely across states, so one could do a study to compare perceptions in various states to see whether increased ease and availability does what you claim it does.

    “I personally don’t think abortion as it is used today makes our society better… it makes it coarser.”

    Those who needed or wanted an abortion would disagree with your assessment of societal benefit, but again, personal opinion probably matters less than some kind of systematic analysis of the impact on society.  If it doesn’t make society coarser, then what?  Or if it does, but it saves a given number of women’s lives, then what?  At least with some scientific or statistical analysis, you can frame the discussion and relative cost-benefit.

    ” I don’t blame all that ills our society on this one issue, but it sure as hell doesn’t make it better.  And I don’t need an empirical study to tell me what I can plainly see with my own eyes.  Nor can science directly answer this for our society either.”

    Again, that assertion is false.
     
    “I will readily admit that what you perceive as good or positive in our society may be different than what I perceive as good or positive.  I would like to think it isn’t, but based on my experience with people from the left and what I am seeing from you here, we do not.”

    It’s what Mark Twain noted makes stock markets and horse races interesting.  Embrace the differences rather than fretting them, but be sure that you can defend your point of view thoughtfully rather than through nonsense.
     
    “I have no answer for you other than you continue to accuse me and others of using faulty logic to come to our conclusions and infer motivations that just aren’t there.”

    Actually, there are LOTS of conservatives that have claimed that the existence of gay marriage will hurt straight marriage or cause children to become gay.  Maggie Gallagher, whose group is the leading opponent to gay marriage, writes syndicated pieces claiming this (falsely) all the time.  You make it sound as though I am claiming something odd or improbable.  I’m citing the headlines.

    “You are either unwilling or unable to recognize the fact that just because we disagree that our reasoning is no less well thought out and/or justified as you believe yours is.  I however recognize that you have valid position, I just happen to disagree with it.”

    Wrong.  I am pointing out that when opinions without evidentiary support are put on the level with opinions with evidentiary support, then any opinion is suddenly valid, and people wil make the most ridiculous claims you can imagine.  And if those become policy or law, then we suffer for it.
     
    “My statement does not imply anything remotely near what you infer about me. Regardless of the rationality behind laws, they are essentially made up.”

    Made up, as in created?  Then yes.  But there ARE good laws and bad laws, and the good ones tend to be rational rather than irrational.  So being rational when you set the laws is a good idea.  But too many people are irrational, so we get the bad laws.

    “I am certain my world view is flexible enough to keep up.  However, from my perspective, I am unsure of what you see as progress as necessarily always being a good thing.”

    I never said always, but on average, I believe it is.

    “I’m done on this one. If you cannot accept my view… then I am sorry.”

    Don’t be sorry.  Remember Twain’s horse races.

    “Perhaps it is my writing ability.”

    Not likely.  You write better than most here.

    “Have a good one.”

    You too.

    “Oh… one more thing:  ≠ I’ll tell you how I did it you like. ”

    Yes, please.

  22. diodorato says

    Sadie: Seeing someone actively attempting suicide is a bit different abortion. 

    Libby: I am definitely not for gender selective abortion so that the family name can be carried forward. But I do wholeheartedly believe that people should be allowed to make their own life decisions. Same goes for the war on drugs. If you want to sit around and get stoned, then more power to you. But the minute you get behind the wheel of a vehicle or rob someone you need to go to jail.

  23. Charles Martel says

    What’s at stake here is the unlimited right to abort. Once you’ve established that right, why discuss what you think is a “good” reason and a “not good” reason for doing it? Both result in the desired outcome: a dead fetus. Since it is not human, who cares why you have it killed?

  24. Spiff says

    I still don’t think you see what I am saying.
     
    “Thinking that education will overcome seems a bit naive to me.” – ABC
     
    No more naïve than your belief that science is the answer to everything.  I don’t believe education will solve the problem; it is but one of the many tools to help.  The idea is to minimize the need for abortion hopefully to the point that it is not a choice made out of convenience.
     
    “Again, that assertion is false.” – ABC
     
    No more true or false than yours.
     
    Your faith in science and empirical studies to answer everything (especially questions of philosophy) is naïve in my opinion.  As science is also a human endeavor, it is prone to error, bias and chaos in general (unintended consequences and unknowns).  There is the truth and then there is the TRUTH, we likely will never really know the TRUTH no matter how many studies, statistical analyses and computer models we do.  Questions like this are not the same as designing a bridge where you use a factor of safety to account for the unknowns.
     
    As I have tried to infer before, what you deem true from your frame of reference may indeed be false to mine.   So simply stating I am false with certainty on something as subjective as this I find rather amusing, arrogant and somewhat close minded.
     
    One does not need an empirical study to see what is plainly in front of their faces.  Our society is coarser and continues to get coarser; human life in practice outside of the isolated enclaves (read well off areas – such as Marin and Harvard where the residents are insulated from the affects of policies they advocate for) is cheaper.   I cannot pinpoint what the root causes are for the ills of our society, and frankly it is outside the scope of this debate, but the killing of unborn humans out of convenience at the best makes our society neutral on the question of the value of life.   I find it hard to believe that you actually believe (or accept) that abortion somehow can make our society better or that some study will tell us that it is a good thing.  It is self evident that choosing life can be anything but positive thing for the soul of our society – how could it be any other way?
     
    BUT, that assertion assumes that we have similar ethical/moral systems of belief, which as I have tried to point out; we do not appear to have.
     
    Were you able to get the “does not equal” sign to work?

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