Mississippi voters ignore science to Progressive acclaim

One of the Progressive tropes is that conservatives are anti-science.  As with everything emanating from the Left, not only is this untrue about conservatives, but it falsely implies that Progressives respect science.  One only needs to see the celebration about a defeated initiative in Mississippi to appreciate how deeply anti-science the Left can be:

Mississippi voters Tuesday defeated a ballot initiative that would have declared life begins at fertilization, a proposal that supporters sought in the Bible Belt state as a way to prompt a legal challenge to abortion rights nationwide.

The so-called “personhood” initiative was rejected by more than 55 percent of voters, falling far short of the threshold needed for it to be enacted. If it had passed, it was virtually assured of drawing legal challenges because it conflicts with the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a legal right to abortion. Supporters of the initiative wanted to provoke a lawsuit to challenge the landmark ruling.

The measure divided the medical and religious communities and caused some of the most ardent abortion opponents, including Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, to waver with their support.

Opponents said the measure would have made birth control, such as the morning-after pill or the intrauterine device, illegal. More specifically, the ballot measure called for abortion to be prohibited “from the moment of fertilization” — wording that opponents suggested would have deterred physicians from performing in vitro fertilization because they would fear criminal charges if an embryo doesn’t survive.

Supporters were trying to impose their religious beliefs on others by forcing women to carry unwanted pregnancies, including those caused by rape or incest, opponents said.

My liberal facebook friends are delighted. Those I bothered to tweak a little were taken aback when I pointed out  that, no matter how one feels about abortion, the biological fact is that life does begin at conception. The actual question is when we, as a society, want to give that life legal rights — and Mississippi voters agreed that, in their state, rights don’t extend to the moment of conception.  The response I got when I made this point was that some of those fertilized eggs aren’t viable (which, to me, means that nature exercised her unique prerogative to snuff out nascent life), and therefore politics shouldn’t make the decision.  Huh?

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  • http://furtheradventuresofindigored.blogspot.com/ Indigo Red

    My older brother is pro-embryo and fetus killing because they’re not alive, yet insists on ingesting natural, organic vitamins because they’re alive.

    P.S. He’s a retired 6th grade science teacher. 

  • MacG

    Rush took heat a few years ago by saying if you do not think abortion is a political issue, just wait until science can show that homosexuality is dna coded and can be as easily determined in the womb as Down’s syndrome is and when couple wants to abort it because of the homosexuality gene you will then see a huge shift in policy.   Perhaps it will be you can abort everyone but the gay ones…hate crime don’t you know…

  • MacG

    On the other hand there is Eastern University professor Tony Campolo that suggests that for consistence with in the law we should look at how we legally define death.  When the things that define death are not present then it is alive.  EG brain waves.  No brain waves, no life.  The little one does not have brainwaves until about 8 weeks.  Given that they have their own circulatory system and blood type independent of the mother at 3 weeks it is a safe bet that it is “legally alive” by the appearance of brainwaves supported by its independent circulatory system.   Personally I would like to er on the side of life and protect it as we do those out side the womb.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    Thanks for this, BW….you will find that defending the sacredness of human life will get you into a LOT of hot water with many “humanists”.  Ironic, that.
    @MacG: I’ve read about this “brain wave standard” before, and it’s most definitely a step in the right direction, as are the proposals requiring pain medication for the baby being killed.
    However, comparing a living human being who has lost her brain waves to a growing human being who has not yet developed to the point that brain waves are present is a logical inconsistency.  There is no scientific question about when a new and separate human being comes into existence – it’s at conception when the unique DNA code is formed in the zygote.  Treat that life in the normal manner and it will soon achieve a state that EVERYONE admits is a human being worthy of protection.  The same is not true for a human being who has LOST her brain waves, so the analogy is deeply flawed.
    As BW points out, there is no scientific dispute here worthy of the name — we are engaged in a political dispute about whether we are going to offer equal rights to ALL human beings, or have different sets of rights (including the right to life) for different groups of humans. 
    I thought we’d decided that some time ago, and it’s really distressing to see us rehashing the conflicts of the 1930s.  Most of us remember how that turned out, and it wasn’t pretty.

  • Charles Martel

    The depth of sophistry involved in pro-abortion rationalizations never fails to amaze me.
    A couple of years ago I had an old friend over to dinner and the conversation, unfortunately, veered over to a discussion about abortion. He is a smart guy, but a Kool-Aid-drinking liberal nonetheless. At some point in the discussion, after I had told him to his great surprise that Obama had gone on record as a supporter of infanticide, he reverted to a claim so hoary and illogical that I forgot my manners and laughed at him: He said a fetus is not human and not living, thereby overcoming the two objections to destroying one.
    He wasn’t clear on what it was if not human—I offered him the choice of dog, head of lettuce or brick as alternate descriptions of its nature—and he couldn’t quite figure out how if it’s not alive it would, left alone, turn into a citizen of the United States.
    He became so frustrated at one point that he told me to shut up. This in front of my wife and son. 
    But, he was an old friend and I know from long experience how logic drives liberals nuts, so I let it slide. I play a long game, and since that event I’ve noticed him slowly shedding his liberal delusions. However, at the rate that’s going, I suspect that his arrival at full-scale sanity will have to await his death bed.

  • MacG

    @Earl, I get your point about the direction of the life development.  This is how I answer the question is the glass half empty or full – was it it being emptied or filled to get where it is is the answer.  However it now occurs to me that it is always full – just with which substances but I digress…  Life begins at conception and ends at death regardless of how that death comes about.  They call it what they want, fetus, clump of cells or what-have-you, at every abortion there is a being that has its own blood type, functioning kidney and liver, beating heart etc, that is alive but ends up dead. 

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    @MacG:  I suspect we do not disagree about the core of the issue.  To those who argue that early on, there is no blood to type, I can only say that the CODE for the blood, as well as for its type, is in place in the first cell (zygote) of the new person.  EVERYTHING necessary to get my physical self at 64 is there in that first cell.  All it takes is an environment within the constraints necessary for life, and my physical body will appear, as modified by whatever environmental vicissitudes have imposed themselves upon it.
    The entire question has exactly zero to do with “science”, and everything to do with stronger individuals wanting to deny the right to life to weaker individuals. 
    Humans have been there, done that – and I will not willingly see the experiment repeated in my country, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

  • suek

    I’m really torn about this issue.  Not about the life part – there’s no question in my mind about it being a living being from the instant of conception.  I also have no question about the immorality of abortion.  It’s immoral.  Period.
    However, I have a problem with making it illegal.  If you make a law against something, it has to be enforced, or you might as well not make the law.  So how do you enforce this law?  against the mother or the doctor?  Throw one or both in jail?  If you don’t throw them both in jail, what then?  Fines?  that just makes it more expensive and part of the cost.
    I guess I’d prefer to start with making various fertility clinics illegal.  That would – theoretically, anyway – cause a demand for adoptions.  That would have to be followed up by assisting pregnant women who didn’t want their babies to place them in adoptive homes.  Maybe even arranging for payment.  That could lead to “selling” babies, but to be honest, that’s kind of in the “so what” department.  If a woman wants to have a baby every year, and there are people who want those babies maybe “selling” babies ( with safeguards of some sort to prevent some of the really bad stuff some people do) is not such a bad thing.  Seems better than killing them.

  • Mike Devx

    > No brain waves, no life.  The little one does not have brainwaves until about 8 weeks. 

    I was discussing this exact point on a facebook conversation with one of those “facebook” friends somewhere out there.  She is apparently a hardcore lib.

    Quite a few passionately pro-life people voted no on this amendment.  The amendment was poorly written, came from outside the state (via Colorado).   There are a LOT of questions about what it means for a fertilized egg to have all the rights of a human being.  And no exception for rape?  I know it’s a consistent position, because the unborn child is NOT the rapist, but still, when I think of my mom, my sisters, my neices (sp?) I prefer and would vote for the rape exception.

    And I am in favor of the morning after pill; I believe its use falls under responsible sexual practice.  Hang me if you wish; but that’s my opinion.  I just don’t believe that there is a human soul in a fertilized egg.  I don’t know WHEN the soul first enters the human body; perhaps that is what triggers brain activity at approximately four weeks?  No one knows the answer to when a fetus has a human soul.

    that lib facebook friend never responded to my question about brain activity, and did it seem reasonable to abort a “thing” that was inside her body with brain activity; could it still be considered just a part of her body?  I also asked a question about the fact that a fetus will respond to pain usually at the latest by five months; what did she think about the fact that the fetus feels pain when the mother doesn’t?  No answer to that one either.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    Hopefully we can all stay friends, even if we disagree.
    The scientific fact is that the fertilized egg is a separate human being, and if the mother’s body did not create an “immunologically privileged space”, her immune system would attack it and destroy it just as surely as a donated kidney.  The child is NEVER “part of the mother’s body”, merely dependent on her for its sustenance, just as she is after she leaves the womb in birth – for a period, at least.
    The point at which a human being is “ensouled” is a religious question, and not one that I’m prepared to take on.  For purposes of public policy, it doesn’t matter.  Just as for purposes of public policy, a woman pregnant by rape (with rapist named and prosecuted, if possible) should not be forced to take the risks of pregnancy conceived against her will.  Yes, the child is innocent, and its death a tragedy….I would counsel my daughters (and my wife, were it still an issue) to bear the child and give it up.  But I refuse to empower the government to force a woman to carry a child imposed upon her against her will.  The “famous violinist” analogy works here, pretty well if you frame it correctly.
    Who is the criminal?  In my mind, primarily the doctor.  I would have no problem de-licensing and jailing physicians who killed a child in the womb, if that child were conceived through consensual sexual activity.  I don’t think Moms who do this should get off scot-free….what to do about them can be discussed.  But killing your child for reasons of convenience, or for “health” reasons that include “I’m so upset about being pregnant that I feel like killing myself” is wrong….and the obligation of government to protect the weak against the strong is simply not met if abortion on demand is the law of the land.
    Our country has carved out an entire class of human beings that may be killed at will, with no reasons asked or given.  History is absolutely crystal clear that these categories, once established, EXPAND.  We already see it here – “ethicists” are recommending that parents have a period of weeks or months to decide if the child will increase or detract from family happiness and if the latter, empower them to kill said child.  Protection of those near the end of life is increasingly under assault.  There needs to be a bright line, drawn on principle and not as the result of a bunch of heart-rending stories…..human beings who are citizens of this country SHALL have all the same rights, including the right to life.
    That’s how I see it – you are free to have your own opinions. 

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    I’m willing to concede that the proposed law was poorly written.  Most are.  I’m just amused by the ongoing claim on the Left that biological life begins at birth, or at some earlier time, provided it’s convenient.  Biologically, religion, ethics and public policy are different things, and the Progressives are decidedly anti-science on this one.

  • suek

    >>No one knows the answer to when a fetus has a human soul.>>
    Especially those lefties who consider that “a rat is a pig is a boy”…I don’t think they even believe in a soul.

  • Mike Devx

    Remember that this amendment would grant all human rights upon conception.

    One ramification of this law would concern manslaughter.  Every miscarriage *must* now be investigated for potential homicide or manslaughter (manslaughter being more or less: accidental death, but prosecutable due to negligence or carelessness).

    Reckless endangerment?  There are a number of activities that a woman could engage in in the days after having sex that could cause her body to flush the fertilized egg away.  Do we restrict women’s behaviors; are they chargable if they are found to engage in those activities within N days of having sex?  (Not knowing whether you’ve conceived or not would be no excuse.  Not by law.)

    Consider improper nutrition?  In our nanny-ism political environment, anything they can go after parents for for children, they can go after them for a fertilized egg.

    I will grant you, though, that I understand it is a perfectly consistent position, and defensible.


  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    I don’t think the proper answer is to begin prosecuting a woman for too much soda pop, but to restore parental rights for parents whose children are OUT of the womb.
    If you can prosecute a man for manslaughter when he beats a woman up and causes a miscarriage, what would be the problem with prosecuting a woman on the same charge if she does harm to herself in order to abort the baby…..?
    Will there be problems?  Yes.  There are problems with the law as it stands, and whatever the law, there will be problems.
    But carving out an entire class of human beings and giving them NO right to life is not the correct answer. 
    In my opinion, of course..

  • Mike Devx

    Everyone here in Book’s domain is thoughtful and has well reasoned arguments.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to read them, especially on the difficult topics such as abortion.  I’d love to see the rest of your opinions!  I tend to make my mind up and stick to a position until someone’s argument is compelling enough to move me.  Without discussing difficult issues here and in person with friends, I’d never change my opinion on anything!

  • suek

    >>If you can prosecute a man for manslaughter when he beats a woman up and causes a miscarriage, what would be the problem with prosecuting a woman on the same charge if she does harm to herself in order to abort the baby…..?>>
    And yet again…how can you prosecute a man for manslaughter if he causes a miscarriage, or kills a fetus in some attack on a pregnant woman, when that same woman can go to her local abortion clinic and abort that same fetus without penalty?  It’s completely and totally illogical…the humanity of the fetus is entirely dependent on whether someone “wants” it or not.
    Or suppose such an incident happens (attack on woman causing death of fetus), and woman says to police…”oh never mind…I had an appointment to abort it tomorrow anyway”…  Would police drop charges of manslaughter?
    It’s completely nuts.

  • heather

    “I guess I’d prefer to start with making various fertility clinics illegal.  That would – theoretically, anyway – cause a demand for adoptions.”

    There is already quite a demand for adoptions.  The wait is usually very long. 

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    Correct, Suek:  “…completely and totally illogical…”
    But that’s the state of the law, currently – at least in some states, including California.  Can’t remember the names, but twenty-some years ago a guy in the C. Valley killed his wife, took her body when he went “fishing” in S.F. Bay, weighed it down with concrete blocks, and then played innocent.  Evidence was found in his boat, they checked his regular fishing spots, and after weeks, the body started breaking free and they found the murdered wife.  Because she had been pregnant, he was deemed to have killed twice and was therefore eligible for “special circumstances”, including the death penalty – sadly, he didn’t get it.
    Consider that, also in California if I’m remembering correctly, a woman can be prosecuted for doing drugs during pregnancy, not solely on her consumption of illegal substances, but because she has “harmed her child”…..the same child (ooooops!  mass of cells) that she could legally go down the the abortion clinic and have killed and removed at any point.
    We are insane.

  • Charles Martel

    What the Supremes did when they came down off the mountain with Roe v. Wade was enshrine magical thinking into our fundamental law. As suek points out, the humanity of an unborn child rides solely on whether the mother wants it or not. As soon as she utters the magic word, “Begone!,” she has every right to have the bothersome lump pf cells professionally dispatched. On the other hand, if she utters the equally magical, “I want you!,” the now child enjoys the full protection of the law.
    Earl, you’re thinking of Scott Peterson. Also, you are correct: We are insane.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    @Charles:  You are correct – Scott Peterson.  Stuck in my mind that his wife was Laci, and Wikipedia confirms it, and also that the murderer got the death penalty, which is being appealed.  I hope they fry that b*****d!  But, it’s highly unlikely.
    I would argue with you a bit, however — nothing the mother does or says changes the fact that her baby is a human being, separate from herself and every other human being. 
    All that changes when she says “I want you!” or “Begone!” (as many times as she wants, apparently) is the baby’s status under what we are pleased to call our “law”.  A human being with human rights if the mother “wants it”, and a blob of tissue without rights if she does not.

  • Charles Martel

    Earl, absolutely—a baby has inherent worth, and no amount of depraved mumble-jumble from the Supremes can change that. However, we live in a supposedly advanced and enlightened society where a mother’s word literally carries life-or-death power over a human life.

  • Mike Devx

    Charles M and Earl,
    In reading your arguments, I *think* you hold an unstated position that I’d like to confirm, if I may.  

    Based on what I’ve read, you consider abortion to be a human rights issue, and therefore relevant at the national level.   I think the two of you would have abortion declared illegal at the national level.  If it were up to you, you would *not* allow every state to make their own independent abortion laws.

    Am I interpreting your arguments correctly?  (You do not merely want Roe vs Wade overturned, which would return it to the States; you want it declared illegal, still at the national level?)

  • Charles Martel

    Mike Devx, yes, I would like to see the dreck known as Roe v. Wade overturned. But while I find abortion utterly abhorrent, from a constitutional standpoint I can live uneasily with it as a states rights issue. Moral considerations aside, my dismay at Roe v. Wade was its contempt for federalism and the fact that it set back the debate on abortion by two generations.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    Fair question, Mike.  And especially tough to a conservative who leans libertarian.
    I believe it is the fundamental responsibility of a government to protect the weak against the strong.  But we also have a federal system that delegates many powers and functions to the states.  I think that’s the best system going
    We now have precedent in this country for the federal government to pre-empt the individual states on ‘WAY too many issues, including human rights issues.  My heart cheered this development because of the evil being perpetrated by some states…..even as my mind quailed a bit, wondering where this would lead as the Constitution was twisted to allow pretty much whatever those in power thought was the right thing to do.
    I have not studied deeply into the Constitutional questions, Mike…I’m a biologist of sorts.  But, I will say this – it appears to me that there is a MUCH stronger case for the federal government to defend every human being’s right to life in all 57 states than there is to force restaurants to serve anyone who walks in the doors, or to tell the schools what tests they must give, or to require all citizens to buy health insurance, etc. etc. etc. etc. et (freaking) cetera.

  • suek

    >>it appears to me that there is a MUCH stronger case for the federal government to defend every human being’s right to life in all 57 states than there is to force restaurants to serve anyone who walks in the doors, or to tell the schools what tests they must give, or to require all citizens to buy health insurance, etc. etc. etc. etc. et (freaking) cetera.>>

    I’m more inclined to the State’s Rights approach, but you make a _very_ good point.

  • Mike Devx

    Thank you, Earl and Charles!

    And yes, I think it’s a thoroughly consistent and defensible position that you have.  

    If someone truly believes abortion is murder, why would he or she be willing to leave it to each State to decide?  I can also see that you could uncomfortably, with great reservations, be willing to leave it to each State.   In that way you are in the same position as one who believes capital punishment (death penalty) is government murder – especially under the horrifying cases where the defendant is later found to have been innocent – but would be willing to leave it as a decision for each State.

    I appreciate the responses!

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    A bunch of cultists worshiping the notion of eugenics, death, corruption, and bringing back the aristocracy, is telling us they know what is and isn’t science? Come on people, were we all supposed to Be Born Yesterday? Is that it, huh.


  • Marica

    I’m late to the table on this post but here are my two cents– AS A MISSISSIPPIAN!

    This was an astonishing result. There’s a center-left Mississippi blog I read authored by a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi, the bastion of Liberal thought. The blog is objective and mostly apolitical, but Wednesday morning he was giving a shout out to all his Lib pals who helped defeat this initiative.  

    He was quickly corrected in the comments. It was conservative voters who defeated this. You can bet your bottom dollar these conservatives are pro-life/anti-abortion folks. We just didn’t think amending the Constitution was such a good idea. We didn’t like the idea of government– or a majority of Mississippians– defining what/who counts as a “person.” 

    Here’s the blog post at North Mississippi Commentor: http://nmisscommentor.com/politics/what-happend-that-produced-the-vote-down-of-the-personhood-amendment/