Weekend question I: Do you agree with “common ground” suggestions for pro-lifers?

This week abortion proponent William Saletan at Slate reviewed a conference held at Princeton in October that sought to find areas of common ground on abortion. From it Saletan gleaned 5 suggestions for pro-lifers, in synopsis:

1. Reduce the abortion rate through voluntary means. “Rather than focus on passing laws… study data on why women seek abortions and… systematically address those factors…. Help women avoid pregnancies they don’t want, and you’ll wipe out the vast majority of abortions without having to enact a single restriction.”

2. Subsidize maternity. “Money can’t buy everything. But it can make it easier to carry a pregnancy to term and raise the child. To that extent, it can discourage some abortions.” Saletan suggested both taxpayer support and church support. “Every parish that can afford to should have a women’s shelter designed to support mothers and their newly born children.”

3. Embrace contraception. “[I]f pro-lifers were to embrace contraception and give it moral sanction – it would prevent more abortions than any anti-abortion law would.”

4. Early abortions are better than late ones. “‘And do you think that reducing gestational age of abortion is a common-ground goal?’ [quoting Christina Page]. From a pro-life standpoint, trading late abortions for early ones is hardly ideal. But it’s better than nothing, and if you pursue it, nobody will stand in your way.”

5. Choose your friends by your mission, not your mission by your friends. “[T]he pro-lifers who co-organized the conference… have been derided and accused of treachery [for]… cooperat[ing] with pro-choicers…. The reason why young, poorly funded people represented the pro-life movement… is that the old, well-funded people who think they own the movement failed to show up. That’s the role young people ought to play in history: thinking in new ways and taking on new challenges when the older generation has lost its compass or its courage. If the pro-life movement is going to be a movement and not just a self-congratulatory fundraising machine, it will need people like Gushee and Camosy to lead the way. These forward thinkers may have to choose between preventing abortions and pleasing the pro-life establishment.”

Thoughts?

57 thoughts on “Weekend question I: Do you agree with “common ground” suggestions for pro-lifers?”

  1. I’m on board with all except number 4.

    1) Legislative action and non-legislative action are equally important.  I’m tired of this being treated as an either/or proposition.  Pro-lifers are committed to working in every arena.

    2) Helping mothers in need is another thing that we’re already doing– no thanks to the abortion advocates who are working overtime to shut down pro-life pregnancy centers and clinics.  We may disagree about the degree to which government money should be involved, but we don’t need convincing as far as the basic premise is concerned.  (I like the idea of building more women’s shelters and pregnancy centers, but in this economy, the current ones are struggling to keep afloat.)

    3) As Jen Roth points out in the Saletan article, polls show that most pro-lifers support at least some forms of contraception.  Obviously it’s an area where ethical people can disagree, but especially among the youngest generation of pro-lifers, support for contraception is not a new idea.

    4) I agree wholeheartedly with the quote of the day from a couple of days ago about this: we are not interested in protecting only the cutest human life.  The right to life is fundamental, and we are committed to protecting all vulnerable children equally.

    5) Young people are definitely leading the way!

  2. No. 3 is misguided. Contraception played a large role in the huge increase in abortion as contraception became more widely used and accepted in the 60’s and later. It helped generate greater demand for abortion. Contraception helped make having sexual relationships outside of marriage more socially acceptable and more common. If there is any one thing that fueled the huge increase in abortion in the 70’s, it was making sex outside marriage more common. Babies (“unwanted” or not) conceived in marriage are far, far less likely to be killed by abortion. Thanks to contraception, more babies are conceived outside of marriage (because there is always a failure rate). And these babies are in much greater danger of being aborted. Abortion, very often, is indeed a backup plan to failed contraception.
     
    Not to recognize this shows that Saletan has a gigantic blind spot when it comes to contraception. If he were able to step back and merely ask the questions, “Are babies more or less likely to be aborted if they are conceived inside as compared to outside marriage?” and, “What role does contraception play in this?” he would inevitably be lead to remove number three from the list.

  3. 4. Early abortions are better than late ones. “‘And do you think that reducing gestational age of abortion is a common-ground goal?’ [quoting Christina Page]. From a pro-life standpoint, trading late abortions for early ones is hardly ideal. But it’s better than nothing, and if you pursue it, nobody will stand in your way.”

    Of course not.  The entire goal of the pro-life movement is to make abortion as dangerous as possible for everyone involved, including the woman.  This is how we deter it.  Why on earth would making abortion safer for women, of all things, be anything other than the total opposite of common ground?

    As I said, the point of making abortion illegal is to make it as physically dangerous for everyone involved. Just as laws criminalizing the killing of you or myself are designed to make it as difficult and dangerous as possible to kill us, laws against abortion are designed to increase the risks and costs of performing or having abortions. And once you realize this, you’ll also realize how ridiculous it is to suggest that banning abortion is in the best interests of women. It is not. Obviously I still think it should be illegal, but this belief results from my belief in equality, not a desire to help women. If we want to be taken seriously, we’re going to have to be open about this.

  4. How about making abortion ‘safe’ for the unborn woman?  Impossible – since it’s aim to to rid the woman of the unborn, resulting in the unborn’s death.
     
    no abortion = life for mother and baby
    abortion = death for baby, for sure
     
    We stand for LIFE, for BOTH the woman and the baby

  5. And my comment in regard to number three is related to Saletan’s number one. Why do women have abortions in much larger numbers than before the 1970’s? Well, because our culture has separated the intrinsic connection between sex and marriage that used to be taken for granted.
     
    Doing things to help our culture rediscover the beauty of choosing to keep sex in its most proper (and most fulfilling) context–within marriage between a man and a woman–would automatically vastly reduce the number of pregnancies “that women don’t want.” In other words, the single greatest way to reduce the number of pregnancies that women don’t want would be to greatly reduce the rate of sex outside of marriage.
     
    The split between the God-ordained natural and inherent link between sex and marriage was greatly precipitated by contraception. Indeed, removing the socially perceived and accepted connection between sex and marriage is what motivated those who pushed for the development of easily available contraceptives (Sanger et al). Remove the contraceptive mentality from our culture and help women to see that only in marriage is there the greatest possibility for a sexual relationship that does not treat them like impersonal things, and the issue of finding out “why women seek abortions” will become mostly a moot point.

  6. While I think number one is a good goal to pursue, the implication it carries (that we should stop trying to reduce abortion through legislative means) is something I utterly reject.  Cultural change will prompt legal change.  Legal change impacts cultural behavior.  They are linked.  Alteration of one will affect the other.  Of course we should still work on making abortion unthinkable, but that does not mean that we should stop working on making it unallowable.
     
    As for number four…way to completely misunderstand the pro-life position entirely, Saletan.
     
    The other three, with exceptions for abortifacient contraceptive methods, obvs, are things that I already agree with and support.

  7. 1. Reduce the abortion rate through voluntary means.
    Yes, we should do this.  Educating women on how their fertility works is a great step.  Addressing issues that lead people to abort is always great–making sure that women can find the support they need, social, financial, medical.  

    2. Subsidize maternity.
    I don’t believe in taking the taxpayers’ money for social programs, but I am all for charity.  I support a local crisis pregnancy center, and I think all pro-lifers who can afford to should endeavor to do the same.

    3. Embrace contraception.
    Completely disagree!
    First, much of what is called “contraception” can actually kill a newly conceived child.  Hormonal birth control and IUDs are not something prolifers should be promoting or endorsing.  The fact that the mother may be unaware she is taking the baby’s life does not make it less tragic.  The fact that the baby is very young does not make it less tragic.
    I do not believe that birth control reduces abortion–the widespread use of birth control means more people have more sex and ultimately might mean more abortion.  I don’t know if it’s possible to study this directly, so we might never know for sure, but that possibility stops me from being completely in favor of barrier and chemical (such as spermicide) methods of birth control.
    I don’t believe sterilization is something I want to support because I believe it is an affront to human dignity.  That said, I have no problem with voluntary sterilization and barrier and chemical birth control being legal.  However, I will not use it and would not recommend it.  I do not believe it is good for the body or the soul, or for marriage.  If there were a movement to make it illegal, I wouldn’t join the other side of the fight.  (On birth control I am personally against it but pro-choice.)
    Just for the record, I have no problem with sex in general.  I think sex outside of marriage is a poor idea, and I do not endorse or recommend it.  Sex within marriage is great fun, and awesome, and I highly recommend it. I am not anti-sex.

    4. Early abortions are better than late ones.
    No, no, a thousand times no.  If anything late abortions are better.  I would rather the child got more chance at life.  I would rather he or she get a couple more months.  And of course, doctors are less willing to perform late abortions, and women are less likely to get them.  If late abortions were the only abortions performed, there would be less public opinion in favor of them… No, earlier abortions is not the answer.  About the only benefit is that early abortion is less likely to have permanent physical consequences for the mother who chooses to kill her child that way.  

    5. Choose your friends by your mission, not your mission by your friends.
    My guess is that the establishment in the pro-life movement has seen enough “common-ground” stuff that they are skeptical.  I am too.  I am shocked that there are actually real common ground ideas that are pro-life suggested to the pro-dismemberment folks, namely making abortion illegal after the first trimester.  That would be major and good progress.  But I’m not gonna hold my breath for the forces that want dismembering children to remain legal to support this.

  8. Compromise a little and you will be expected to compromise ALOT.
    I’m with Joy:
    “How about making abortion ‘safe’ for the unborn woman?  Impossible – since it’s aim to to rid the woman of the unborn, resulting in the unborn’s death.
    no abortion = life for mother and baby
    abortion = death for baby, for sure.
    We stand for LIFE, for BOTH the woman and the baby.”

  9. The concept of ‘common ground’ has merit if by that we are attempting to pursue common goals and attempt not-to-yield to the belief: THATS-ALL-THERE-IS – a compromise with laziness.  To such an end – instead of pursuing things like fertility control, attempt to give each human sustained nutrition and optimum hydration.
     
    Once this ‘goal’ is reached, then re-ask ‘fertility-related questions.  This ‘silly’ goal is because I have posted numerous times about the abortion:zinc-deficit link.  No PL’er nor PC’er felt the science compelling enough to try for 15 cents/day in an attempt to get healthy and avoid unplanned/undesired pregnancy.  The silence was deafening.
     
    Other ‘silly’ suggestions like http://www.drjilltaylor.com was a feeble attempt to help people expand their intellectual processing.  We’ve become accustomed to viewing our universe (and making this our ‘science’), from the perspective of a 2cm patch in the left-hemisphere of our brain.  The right hemisphere (which among other-traits) perceives us as ‘one’ with common life, is shut-out as LESS-IMPORTANT-INPUT.  [Is a mother perceiving herself and her child as ‘one’ at all strange?]
     
    These are doable goals.  It’d be very interesting if we made compliance with this as one-of-this-blogs-RULES.  Are we willing to mouth-off indefinitely?
     

  10. I’m behind YCW on this one. Although I’m okay with *some* taypayer-funded programs for pregnant women, but I do think that charitable organizations are preferable.

  11. i accidentally posted my comment to this on the other thread, but I see lots of people are reading both.
     
     

  12. “Of course not. The entire goal of the pro-life movement is to make abortion as dangerous as possible for everyone involved, including the woman. This is how we deter it. Why on earth would making abortion safer for women, of all things, be anything other than the total opposite of common ground?”
     
    Nice to finally see an honest “pro-lifer” who admits that he’d gladly see women get hurt in order to protect fetuses. Really shows where this movement’s priorities are.

  13. The abortion debate
    Isreal – Palestine
    We’ll be better off in both when we realize there is no common ground between the two groups.
     

  14. You all who said, “I’m in favor of charity or church programs, but not government money….”
    Your church programs aren’t going to cut it.  No one wants to be proselytized to or dependent on your “charity.”  In many European countries (not just Sweden — also France, etc.), early childcare is a right, just like elementary school is.  I live in a big city, and nearly every twentysomething woman I know has had an abortion. About half of us agreed that, if there had been free public childcare as well as paid maternity and paternity leave, we’d have given birth instead.
    Women want the ability to lead normal, adult lives after having children, including having jobs and not being dependent on men unless we choose to be.  Create a French or Scandinavian system, and many more young women will find it financially feasible, and even desirable and fun, to have babies.
    I’m sure you don’t like that, but it’s the truth.  Create a reasonable social welfare system, and people will actually use it, such as by having children.

  15. Amita,
     
    Have you checked the abortion rates in the countries to which you refer (in Scandanavia, etc.)?  It might be somewhat eye-opening for you.

  16. Contraception played a large role in the huge increase in abortion as contraception became more widely used and accepted in the 60′s and later. It helped generate greater demand for abortion. Contraception helped make having sexual relationships outside of marriage more socially acceptable and more common. If there is any one thing that fueled the huge increase in abortion in the 70′s, it was making sex outside marriage more common…

     Abortion, very often, is indeed a backup plan to failed contraception…
     
    Not to recognize this shows that Saletan has a gigantic blind spot when it comes to contraception.

    THANK YOU, Scott, for this clear, germane answer.  IMHO, this is not only a rational response to #3, but also to #1 where Saletan asks us to “help prevent unwanted pregnancy”.  DUH, the biggest factor in unwanted pregnancy is immorality — sex outside of marriage! 

    Back in the late ’60s when the mantra was “free love”, no one could foresee the very expensive (in every way, not only financially) consequence of the surge in immorality which followed, and this has only continued to increase. 

    The Pill, which was touted as “the answer” to unwanted pregnancy, which was supposed to allow for immorality without unwanted consequences, failed miserably. So have other contraceptives.

    The slippery slope continues. 

    I don’t doubt Saletan means well, but it seems to me he is only trying to pluck flowers off the plant instead of uprooting it, which is the only way to eliminate it.

  17. 2) Helping mothers in need is another thing that we’re already doing– no thanks to the abortion advocates who are working overtime to shut down pro-life pregnancy centers and clinics.  We may disagree about the degree to which government money should be involved, but we don’t need convincing as far as the basic premise is concerned.  (I like the idea of building more women’s shelters and pregnancy centers, but in this economy, the current ones are struggling to keep afloat.)

    Well said, Kelsey!  You saved me the trouble of pointing this out. 

  18. Claire, what about the married women who abort? Many women abort simply because they have all the children they want. Should a married woman who doesn’t want more kids live in celibacy for the rest of their lives? I’m pretty sure that would lead to the husband cheating….

  19. Megan,

    You’ll need to supply a more specific link to the Swedish stats; your link only goes to the Official Swedish Got’v website, and no amount of searching gave me any abortion stats at all.  The closest I came was the “Abortion Act of 1974”, which isn’t exactly germane.

    Abortion rates in Nordic Countries/1,000 women ages 15-49: approx. 13.7

    That high, eh?  Even with free child-care/daycare/schooling?  Why do you suppose that would be?

    Amita,

    You asserted several things, many of which flew in the faces of each other:

    Your church programs aren’t going to cut it.  No one wants to be proselytized to or dependent on your ‘charity.’

    With all due respect: I’m morbidly impressed at the sheer density of errors and false assumptions in this sentence.  Here are only a few:

    a) By “proselytize”, I think you have in mind “any attempt to share or demonstrate the Gospel of Christ, whatsoever, whether by word or by action”; but your word choice seems to be designed to conjure up images of screaming, yelling, Bible-thumping, fire-and-brimstone condemnations, and all sorts of illegitimate “arm-twisting” (whether emotional or physical).  I’m hoping that you used the word out of sheer ignorance of true evangelism, and not out of a dishonest attempt to blacken the reputations (by using a word loaded with negative baggage) of Christians who work in Pregnancy Care Centers, and/or who try to share the Gospel …

    b) At the risk of going out on a limb: I’m guessing that you don’t think very highly of devoted Christians who believe in (and live out) a clear, objective moral code (as opposed to squishy, faux-Christian groups who redefine Christianity to suit themselves: “We’ve made You [God] in our image, so our faith;s idolatry!” -Michael Card), and you resent anyone (especially Christians) telling you that abortion is an evil, murderous act.

    c) On a slightly shorter, more secure limb: I’m guessing that you haven’t been in a PCC in your life, nor have you known anyone who works devotedly at one.  PCC’s don’t “proselytize”; they try to prevent the murder of children, and they work tirelessly to save the mothers from violations of all kinds.  Only the most utter ignorance could think otherwise; and such ignorance is easily cured by talking to the people whom you currently disparage.

    d) I’m puzzled why you think that “no one wants to be on charity”, but “everyone wants to be on welfare (or the equivalent)”.  How, exactly, do the two differ, in your mind?

    In many European countries (not just Sweden — also France, etc.), early childcare is a right, just like elementary school is.

    I think you means “state-sponsored, taxpayer-driven childcare”, here, right.  To that, I’ll pass over the many social, emotional and moral problems with such systems and limit myself to this: “social entitlement programs” and the “self-centered, self-comfort-driven, contraceptive mentality” are incompatible.  So long as the “I don’t want any children that could conceivably be a significant bother to me or entail any significant sacrifice” mentality rules a culture’s approach, and birth rates plummet, then the means by which the social entitlement programs are supported will collapse utterly.  You might look at Japan, almost all European countries (including Russia), and the United States as examples of such, already in progress.

    I live in a big city, and nearly every twentysomething woman I know has had an abortion.

    Let me interject: you deny that such abortions are moral crimes, right?

    About half of us agreed that, if there had been free public childcare as well as paid maternity and paternity leave, we’d have given birth instead.

    Pardon me, but: was the possibility of refraining from sex so unthinkable for you, and for them?  Killing your children after the fact was a bit late, wasn’t it?  (If not, then why didn’t you wait until the children were older, and actually SEE if their existence was a financial burden, and THEN kill them, if you thought so; why rely on mere future-reading guesswork?)  “It is a poverty to decide that A CHILD MUST DIE so that you may live as you wish.”  -Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
     
    You might also consider the example of African men and women–some of whom are in conditions of poverty that would make you and your “twenty-something” friends look like the Rockefellers, who react to the idea of abortion with incredulity (sometimes with laughter, since they’re sure you’re joking), and then with horror (until slowly desensitized to it by USA, etc., arm-twisting).  Tell me: how will you dismiss their refusal to abort, even in cases of crushing poverty, if your theory of “poverty, lack of free child-care, and lack of secular, feminist self-actualization = abortions” is correct?
     
    Women want the ability to lead normal, adult lives after having children, including having jobs and not being dependent on men unless we choose to be.

    By this, you mean (of course) that you don’t consider mothers (especially those who are not financially or socially independent) who refuse to murder their unborn children to be living “normal, adult” lives?  You may have to explain that one.

    Create a French or Scandinavian system, and many more young women will find it financially feasible, and even desirable and fun, to have babies.

    I think you’re indulging in a bit of fantasizing, here.  The same woman who doesn’t want to be bothered with the “burden of a child” would suddenly turn around and accept the travails (c’est horrible!) of pregnancy, simply in order to have a child with whom she has the freedom to hand over to state authorities to handle?  Even the most self-absorbed, sacrifice-phobic women would look at such a situation, in which their children would be raised by the state to whatever extent that they chose not to raise them, and say, “You know: why bother?  I can always visit a baby of a neighbour, or watch a video of a baby on YouTube, if I get the urge!”

    I’m sure you don’t like that, but it’s the truth.

    You do realize, of course, that this is yoru raw opinion, and nothing more?

    Create a reasonable social welfare system, and people will actually use it, such as by having children.

    …and by using state-funded abortion services, and by not having children.  Right?  Your solution seems to be one that changes nothing… which doesn’t speak well for it.

  20. Kristina wrote:

    Claire, what about the married women who abort? Many women abort simply because they have all the children they want.

    I’ll address your main point in a moment, but perhaps you might appreciate the dark side of your question if I re-word it a bit:

    “What about the married women who kill their toddlers secretly?  Many women drown their infants and toddlers because they have all the children they want.”

    Think of a world in which that could be said seriously, and where it would describe something allowed under the law.  Would you like that world?

    I’ve said this repeatedly, but it always seems to bear repeating: if abortion is an acceptable way to “reduce surplus child population”, then so is infanticide.  In fact, cold logic would say that it’s far more reasonable to wait until the child is born before “making the difficult choice to terminate their parenthood”, since most fears about being “unready for the care of a child”, worries about being unable to afford another child, etc., are mere guesswork.  Why not wait until you’re certain?

    Should a married woman who doesn’t want more kids live in celibacy for the rest of their lives?

    Er… you’re aware of something called “menopause”, aren’t you?

    I’m pretty sure that would lead to the husband cheating….

    If that’s your fear, then I wonder why you don’t despair of every marriage on earth.  Speaking as a man who’s faithful to his wedding vows (despite extended periods of abstinence), I also don’t think much of your attitude toward the men of the world.  Many men marry their wives for reasons other than “one-stop jollies”.

  21. “I’ve said this repeatedly, but it always seems to bear repeating: if abortion is an acceptable way to “reduce surplus child population”, then so is infanticide.”
    Abortion doesn’t reduce surplus child population since it doesn’t implicate any existing children, but it can help to keep it from spiraling out of control. And while you may believe that abortion and infanticide are morally comparable, most people do not. Until you and others here recognize the subjectivity that is inherent in your declarations about what is and is not morally acceptable, it’s going to be impossible to have any kind of fruitful discussion.

  22. Paladin,
    By “proselytize,” yes, I mean that I’m not interested in receiving any help that requires me to deal with people sharing the Gospel.  What you perceive as a gentle conversation starter is not perceived that way by someone who is a captive audience, such as a person needing help.  Also, I have read the Bible.  All of it.  I have also read a number of other religions’ holy books.  All of them struck me as works of myth and superstition that nevertheless allowed me to better understand the societies where these books are believed by many.  So, I really don’t need the condescension of someone who thinks they’re sharing the “good news.”  I also don’t have time to talk to Lyndon LaRouche supporters at the post office, you know?
    It is certainly true that the abortion rate in many European countries is high.  It is also true that many American women would have chosen to give birth if they had had the benefit of a European style society.  I am not a social scientist and am not able to run the numbers on those two groups, but certainly both groups exist.
    As for those who are calling “socialism” or calling state-funded early childhood education “welfare” — that’s exactly what people said about free public elementary school when it began.  What makes public education a right for five year olds and “welfare” for three year olds?  That’s irrational.
    I don’t even know how to respond to the point that many impoverished Africans would react in horror to my pro-choice views.  Um, yes, and I’m sure they would react in horror to many of my other views, and even some of yours.  Shocker: people in different cultures think differently!  This is hardly an argument towards changing my (or anyone’s) views.
    You also wrote:
    “By this, you mean (of course) that you don’t consider mothers (especially those who are not financially or socially independent) who refuse to murder their unborn children to be living “normal, adult” lives?  You may have to explain that one.”
    I will happily explain that one.  A normal, adult life CAN involve being a mother who is not financially independent (I’m really not sure what you mean by “socially independent” — that could mean a lot of things).  But a normal, adult life involves the ability to have children while still participating in the working world, and gaining the wealth, expertise, and respect that come with that.  If some choose not to participate, that’s fine.  But a normal, adult life requires not having work and parenthood be an either/or proposition.  Men have that already.  And that’s the main thing I, and many other women, want — what you already have.
    This post was originally about compromise.  If you have any interest in compromising (I see that many of you do not, and I am not surprised; many pro-choicers are not interested in compromising either), you have to accept that you will mostly be compromising with people who do not share your religion.  Before you hit “add comment,” imagine that all your references to Christianity  (including those to souls, Mother Teresa, etc.) were replaced by references to Islam, and then imagine how you, the reader, would perceive that message.  That’s what your  messages look like to non-Christians. Your arguments are largely based on premises not shared by those outside your religion.

  23. Thank you, Amita, for your comments. You make good points. I am pro-life, and I agree that couching pro-life arguments/rhetoric in religious, usually specifically Christian, terms is a mistake. To reach others, we cannot rely on premises that others will not share. In the same way, I understand that mixing efforts to help pregnant women and mothers with efforts to evangelize will repel people who those involved in such efforts sincerely wish to help.

    I do not want to tell pro-lifers, or any activist group, that their religious beliefs have no place at all in their work–religion has often been a motivating force for all kinds of positive social activism–but I think that turning any social movement into something that only people of a certain religious background can join or endorse is not a good idea.

    I also would agree that efforts to reduce abortions should not be limited to religious groups or other non-profits, but that state-run, taxpayer-funded social services also have a role to play. I am not a social scientist, either, so I cannot say precisely what the extent or nature of such services ought to be; I am certainly open to proposals for free daycare services or mandated, generous maternity leave policies, however. Other possible reforms would be a) regulations encouraging telecommuting or other workplace arrangements that allow women to work and care for their children and b) a crackdown on employer discrimination against pregnant women or mothers.

    I think these kinds of public policies to support pregnant women and mothers, as well as improving non-profit forms of support, are good ideas and perhaps can form genuine common ground among pro-choicers and pro-lifers. I fear that an aversion by some pro-lifers to government social welfare programs, as well as an exclusively religious orientation, is weakening the movement.

    In any case, sorry for the long post. Thanks again, Amita, for making important points.

  24. Thank you, John.  I appreciate your remarks.
    Just one more thing — I noticed that Paladin wrote that the abortion rate in Nordic countries, at 13.7 per 1000, is “high.”  Then I thought about it and realized that 1.37% really isn’t high at all, so I looked up the one in America and found much the same thing that Megan did (which was why she was posting them):
    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html
    So, I do dispute the assertion that the rate is “high” — it’s about five and a half points lower than the most recent US stat! So, if these numbers are correct, then the nation with the most comprehensive social welfare system does in fact have a substantially lower abortion rate. It seems like five and a half percentage points would be pretty significant to anyone interested in “compromise.”

    By the way, I’ve been to Sweden.  It’s nice to see young people out in the parks with their kids, and dads at the parks, taking their paternity leave.  It’s sweet.  Plenty of men don’t want to leave their newborns every day either, and just as we all pay taxes to provide public school to children, they pay taxes to provide every newborn with some uninterrupted time with both parents.
    As a student in the US, I didn’t feel like I was on “welfare” when I attended public high school (nor do I feel like I’m on “welfare” when I drive on the roads or check a book out from the library), so I would hardly feel like I was on “welfare” by accessing good maternity leave and free public preschool.  That just sounds like an ideal society to me and a lot of the women you may have an interest in persuading.
     

  25. “But a normal, adult life involves the ability to have children while still participating in the working world, and gaining the wealth, expertise, and respect that come with that. If some choose not to participate, that’s fine. But a normal, adult life requires not having work and parenthood be an either/or proposition. Men have that already.”
    I am mildly amused to find that I am not living a normal adult life.  Yet I still am managing to accumulate expertise and respect.  Do you truly believe that moms who don’t work outside the home do nothing to improve or educate themselves, and that caring properly for children requires no skill or expertise?  I may not have your respect, but I have the respect of many others, including my husband.
    Most mothers do work outside the home, so clearly it’s not an either/or proposition.
    I do think–and I said this on the other thread–that social programs may be an area where I am willing to compromise.  For the record–not all charity is religious.  And as some people are so against taking religious charity that they refuse to under any circumstances, others feel the same way about the government.  And some feel that way about any charity at all.
    What I find odd about your position–wanting government redistribution of resources, but not wanting to use religious charity–is this.  
    You do not want to accept charity from religious people because their religion motivates them to it; or at least, you do not want them to mention their religion (and to many religious people, not to speak about their faith is sinful).  So because their motive is not just to help out, but also (in their view) to help the soul of those receiving the help, or to help in honor of their God, or even if their motive is purely to help they wish to mention their faith–you will not accept this charity.  So because the motive is worship of their God, their help is not acceptable to you.
    But if the money comes from people who have had it confiscated by the government, it is okay?  Those who first possessed the money may have given it under duress.  So they may not want you to give.  Who knows if they care about the poor or women?  And those who voted to redistribute funds in this way–what is their motive?  Concern for the poor?  What if that concern is religious?  What if that concern is because they don’t think a woman can take care of herself?  What if their only motive is that the recipients of the aid vote for them?  And those who distribute the money–what if they are religious?  What if they are in it purely for their own paycheck?  What if they think everyone is scamming the government?  What if they are lazy or have a bad attitude?  Are there any unacceptable behaviors other than proselytizing?  What if they cuss or try to tell you how you should be doing things differently?  What if, though they were barred from discussing religion with you, they prayed for you before and after they spoke with you?  Would it bother you?  What if the person who ran the government-funded daycare got a kick out of changing diapers, or used his paycheck to hire prostitutes, or just didn’t care and didn’t do more than the bare minimum for the children in his care?  Is any and all of that okay, so long as there is no religion discussed?
    I am also always slightly amused by those who think caring for children is not a worthwhile job, yet think that there should be government day care.  What do you think of people who care for children professionally?  Is their profession one that provides expertise and respect?  If not, how can anyone be condemned to this unfortunate career path?  If so, how is it that being a full-time unpaid mom provides no expertise or respect?
    I am honestly curious to know your responses.

  26. I am also always slightly amused by those who think caring for children is not a worthwhile job, yet think that there should be government day care.  

    Good point, YCM — I have a degree in early childhood education and working conditions, at least in the U.S., are generally poor.  I was a lead teacher and made $7.00 an hour, with no benefits or paid sick days — and anyone who has worked with young children knows that they are always getting sick!  I caught ringworm, was infected with lice, and in the winter always was fighting colds.  At the time I worked in the field I was married and my husband made a decent income, but many of the women I worked with were single and were nearly destitute, even though they worked full time.

    Generally speaking, day care workers are not thought of as being “real” teachers, just glorified baby sitters, and are not given much respect at all.

  27. John, I frequently avoid using religious justifications for choosing life because I think that biology speaks for itself.  However, the truth of the matter might turn out to be that religious people are motivated in larger numbers to become actively pro-life, and the secular, non-religious people are not motivated in the same numbers thus giving the impression that being pro-life is a religious activity.   All us churchgoers aren’t going to give up evangelizing, however, I have spoken with women who work at CPC’s and they always say the same kind of thing: the first order of business is to help the woman and her baby.  Selling her religion can come later.  The most important thing is that she and her baby receive the care, information, and material support that they need.

    If atheist pro-lifers still don’t like that, I have a simple solution: recruit more of your like-minded friends!  I’d be delighted to see any number of active pro-lifers grow.  How about red-heads for life?  Accountants for life?   Marathon runners for life?   It’s all good! 

  28. I thought this was worth an entire blog post:

    http://realchoice.blogspot.com/2010/11/jills-question-on-common-ground-efforts.html

    But in short, I think it’s just another way for abortion advocates to push forward their false claims about abortion and contraception. It’s a win/win for them. If we join them, we’re buying into the mentality that causes abortions in the first place. If we shun them, they can paint us as “not really wanting to reduce abortions” (because we’re not joining them on counter-productive “prevention” efforts).

  29. (Sorry for the length of this; I didn’t want to neglect any key points.)

    Amita wrote, in reply to my comment:

    By “proselytize,” yes, I mean that I’m not interested in receiving any help that requires me to deal with people sharing the Gospel.

    All right.  Are you aware of the fact that Pregnancy Care Centers (PCC’s), as a general rule, do not discriminate on the basis of religion?  If a woman says, “I don’t want to hear about Jesus; I just want help in keeping my baby!”, the workers will take that in stride, and help accordingly.  But you can hardly expect them to scour every last bit of their own devotion (which will naturally come out in conversation and action) for the sake of someone who doesn’t approve, can you?

    What you perceive as a gentle conversation starter is not perceived that way by someone who is a captive audience, such as a person needing help.

    Well… as gently as I can: I think you, with your apparent hefty “axe to grind” against Christianity, may be letting your own bias colour the situation, a bit.  And no one is going to “force-feed” Christianity to anyone, in that situation, no matter what you might assume to the contrary.  Honestly: are you imagining hand-cuffs, bare rooms with a single light-bulb, and repeated urgings to “come to Christ, and then we’ll help your baby live”?  If you think that PCC workers won’t try to move (forgive the phrase) Heaven and earth to save that baby from death, even if it means biting their tongues and praying silently, you’re quite mistaken.

    Also, I have read the Bible.  All of it.  I have also read a number of other religions’ holy books.

    All right; so have I.  (I’ve no idea of a comprehensive list, but I’ve certainly read the Qur’an, the Bhagavad Gita, the Buddhist Scriptures, The Tao Te Ching, and a slew of other religious material.  Many Christians have done likewise, you know.)

    All of them struck me as works of myth and superstition that nevertheless allowed me to better understand the societies where these books are believed by many.

    All right; but do you not see that this was an emotional/sentimental reaction, on your part?  Plenty of Biblical books (such as sections of Leviticus, Numbers, etc.) strike me as boring, dry, tedious, and not directly applicable to my daily life; but that doesn’t translate into a belief that those books are “mere superstition”.  We need reason and logic, not personal tastes, to make that sort of determination… for the Bible or for any other religious work.  (It would be just as irrational to reject the Buddhist Scriptures out-of-hand, for example, because they “felt like imaginary nonsense” to me.)

    So, I really don’t need the condescension of someone who thinks they’re sharing the “good news.”

    “Condescension” is largely in the eye of the beholder, I think.  There are some who would refuse a needed glass of water from a kind passer-by, on the basis of “refusing that bleeding charity”, or refuse help in changing a tire from Jehovah’s Witnesses; but that’s more an indication of the refuser’s pride than of anything else.

    I also don’t have time to talk to Lyndon LaRouche supporters at the post office, you know?

    :)  I’ll tell them you said so, if I see any.

    It is certainly true that the abortion rate in many European countries is high.  It is also true that many American women would have chosen to give birth if they had had the benefit of a European style society.

    Perhaps, in some cases, that would indeed be true.  Others, in that same system, would choose to take advantage of the taxpayer-funded, free abortions (and the lack of laws against it) to kill their unborn children.  Still others would use the free, taxpayer-funded contraceptives and sterilization options to avoid pregnancy altogether, and lead the country into the demographic winter that currently has Europe (and much else of the non-Muslim, non-African world) by the throat.  That doesn’t seem to support your idea of “more already-living babies of pregnant mothers will be spared from death by abortion if free government-run child-care were available”, in any clear way.

    As for those who are calling “socialism” or calling state-funded early childhood education “welfare” — that’s exactly what people said about free public elementary school when it began.

    Er… yes, that’s true…  but that example doesn’t exactly help your case, I’m afraid.  More on that, below.

    What makes public education a right for five year olds and “welfare” for three year olds?  That’s irrational.

    First: public education is an *obligation*, not just a so-called “right”; those who try to keep their children out of public schools have to fight the government, tooth-and-nail, to reclaim the right to educate their own children as they see fit.  Second: your case seems to be based on the idea that “public schools are accepted now, so no one should call it socialism”.  I don’t see how that follows.  Third: even if we accept the premise (and I don’t) that “free” public schools are not socialistic in their structure and implementation, there’s the small matter of the EXTENT to which the federal government takes over more and more facets of our lives.  If the USA government, for example, mandated a choice of your food menu for each day of the week, would you find that intrusive (even if it were free)?  There are those who (rightly) call “socialism” if they find that the EXTENT of government control has increased dangerously.  Surely you see that the addition of “nanny state entitlements” could be construed as a move toward socialism?

    I don’t even know how to respond to the point that many impoverished Africans would react in horror to my pro-choice views.

    You might respond by granting the raw fact, perhaps.

    Um, yes, and I’m sure they would react in horror to many of my other views, and even some of yours.

    You’ve missed my point.  Your premise was that “poverty [esp. re: inability to afford external child care] = more abortions”, and I gave a clear example where that wasn’t the case at all (i.e. women who were far more poor, and had far less access to “external child care”, and yet still did not flock to abort their children in droves).

    But a normal, adult life requires not having work and parenthood be an either/or proposition.  Men have that already.  And that’s the main thing I, and many other women, want — what you already have.

    Interesting worldview.  I don’t suppose you’ve considered the possibility that men can view their position (of earning a living for their family) as one of sacrifice, and not as “power-mongering”?

    If you have any interest in compromising (I see that many of you do not, and I am not surprised; many pro-choicers are not interested in compromising either), you have to accept that you will mostly be compromising with people who do not share your religion.

    It is not at all necessary to share a religion in order to agree on this-or-that, or to compromise on nonessentials.  You don’t need Christianity to tell you that rape (for example) is immoral, do you?  That fact is written in the human heart; it’s included in what we call the “natural moral law”.  Opposition to abortion need not reference explicit religion in order to be recognized as the only sane way to approach things.

    Before you hit “add comment,”

    :)  Too late.

    imagine that all your references to Christianity  (including those to souls, Mother Teresa, etc.) were replaced by references to Islam, and then imagine how you, the reader, would perceive that message.

    I don’t think you have a very clear idea of how I would perceive it, since you seem to have a caricature of Christianity in your mind.  First (as I said earlier), your notions of “PCC workers forcing their religion on women” is nonsense, as a visit to a PCC (and even a brief, sincere chat with its workers) would quickly show.  Second, I (as would any faithful Christian) use logic and reason in the course of my faith activities; we’re not mindless drones who simply do as we’re told by just anyone.  Third: you assume (wrongly) that I (and other Christians) would reject those other religions simply out of prejudice: “because they’re not Christian”; but you don’t realize that we may have ANALYZED the claims of those religions, and found them wanting.  Your supposition simply doesn’t hold.

    Your arguments are largely based on premises not shared by those outside your religion.

    That’s simply not true at all.  See above; if we deal with people who have any shred of conscience at all, the prevention of child-murder requires no explicit reference to Divine Revelation (e.g. Bible, Sacred Tradition, etc.).  We certainly mention what Christianity SAYS about it, in ADDITION (can you expect us not to do so, in a free forum?), but that’s a separate matter.

  30. (Amita):
    But a normal, adult life requires not having work and parenthood be an either/or proposition.  Men have that already.  And that’s the main thing I, and many other women, want — what you already have.


    (Paladin):
    Interesting worldview.  I don’t suppose you’ve considered the possibility that men can view their position (of earning a living for their family) as one of sacrifice, and not as “power-mongering”?
     
    Paladin,
    Great post; this point is so worth repeating!!

  31. Furthermore, you don’t even really need to have a MORAL/ETHICAL objection to abortion. Anyone who desires consistency within law could see that “It’s not ok to kill another human organism by law OUTSIDE the womb.” doesn’t jibe with “It is ok to kill another human organism INSIDE the womb.”

  32. Ninek,

    Thanks very much for your comments. I do not think there is any major disagreement between us. As I said, I would not want people of faith (and I count myself among them) to prevent their religious faith from influencing their social and political activism–it is a very important driving force, as you said. Moreover, many people of faith who are pro-life will rely, as you do, on essentially secular, biological or philosophical, arguments for their position. Also, as you and Paladin point out, many people of faith who work in crisis pregnancy centers put first priority on helping women have their babies and will help clients regardless of the clients’ own beliefs. All this is great.

    I suppose my main concern is that the pro-life movement should not be identified exclusively with a particular religion or religion in general. It should be open to people of all faiths and none (and, for that reason, both the religious and atheists/agnostics have created a variety of pro-life groups or networks). Many parts of the pro-life movement already believe in this diversity, but perhaps not all–these less-than-open factions might be what Amita is thinking of (although I cannot speak for her, of course).

    Thanks again for your comments.

  33. One thing “pro-lifers” could do is dump their support for 14th amendment rights for fertilized eggs.  Claiming that cells are people distracts from what should be a concern for a fetus and makes you look anti-science.  Being unsupportive of medical research makes you look cruel and uncaring of life after birth.  It also compliciates an already complicated issue.

    I have never advised anyone to have or not have an abortion, so don’t tell me I’m “pro-abortion”.  I have never had an abortion.  If I accept your self label of “pro-life” you can accept mine of “pro-choice”.

    These are 2 things that if eliminated would make a better discussion.

  34. One thing “pro-lifers” could do is dump their support for 14th amendment rights for fertilized eggs. Claiming that cells are people distracts from what should be a concern for a fetus and makes you look anti-science.

    See, here’s the issue, Rayilyn: dishonesty. You are, once again, being scientifically dishonest by using the term “fertlized egg.” You have also called the zygote (correct term, btw) a “cell.” Wrong again. Look up these things, Rayilyn, and admit WHAT THEY ACTUALLY ARE, and THEN we can have an honest discussion. You support killing human zygotes/embryos for the purpose of research. This makes YOU anti-science and completely intellectually dishonest.

    Being unsupportive of medical research makes you look cruel and uncaring of life after birth. It also compliciates an already complicated issue.

    It isn’t cruel and uncaring to state that human zygotes are human beings with complete human DNA who are harvested and killed so they can be used to try and benefit the rest of humanity. Through killing them, you hope to gain something. What makes this issue so complicated, Rayilyn, if no human lives are taken through stem cell research?
    BTW, pro-lifers DO support adult stem cell research – you know, the research that has actually shown promising results without taking the lives of human beings to do so? The research that *actually* uses human CELLS and not ZYGOTES to bring benefit to humanity.

  35. On some level you do understand that a zygote is not a human being or a person.  You are the one who needs to do a little research on these frozen, destined for the dust bin IVF blastocysts.   The difference between zygotes and skin cells is that the former are germ cells, the later somatic cells, but still cells.  Skin cells can become iPS (induced pluripotent stem cells) which reverts them to a blastocyst with the same  “moral”  issues as ESCs.  How is an adult stem cell a cell and a zygote a person when they both have a complete set of DNA?

    I don’t think you really want to find “common ground”.  As long as you put cells before actual living people, you will lose as soon as one cure is found from ESCs.

    What will Glenn Beck do if a cure for macular dystrophy is found by the latest ESCR research at Geron?

  36. Rayilyn, you do know that ESCR actually IS occurring, right? I mean, it’s not like we’re holding you back or anything. Private funds have always been given to kill embryos. I’m sure that will help you rest peacefully.

    Just because a human being is viewed as “disposable” doesn’t mean it isn’t human.
    Zygotes are NOT GERM CELLS, Rayilyn. For God’s sake, at least be honest!! Sperm and eggs *alone* are germ cells. Once they have fused at amphimixis (once you have a blastocyst), you have created a new human being.

    http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics3.asp :

    “Embryonic stem cells, as their name suggests, are derived from embryos. Most embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos that develop from eggs that have been fertilized in vitro—in an in vitro fertilization clinic—and then donated for research purposes with informed consent of the donors. They are not derived from eggs fertilized in a woman’s body.”

    Here’s the difference, Rayilyn: “Adult stem cells, and tissues derived from them, are currently believed less likely to initiate rejection after transplantation. This is because a patient’s own cells could be expanded in culture, coaxed into assuming a specific cell type (differentiation), and then reintroduced into the patient. The use of adult stem cells and tissues derived from the patient’s own adult stem cells would mean that the cells are less likely to be rejected by the immune system.” ( http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics5.asp )

    See the difference?
    We don’t have to kill a patient in adult stem cell therapy. We do in embryonic stem cell therapy.
    An embryo is an actual, living human being, Rayilyn. Unless you can scientifically prove otherwise, you are once again being dishonest here. If it helps you sleep at night, you can continue to vilify those who agree with actual scientific fact so you can definitively kill and harvest actual living human embryos (those “frozen, destined for the dust bin” humans) in order to HOPE to save the “actual living [fully developed] people.” That’s your right.

  37. Nowhere in any biology book is a zygote or a blastocyst called a human being or a person.  Why is that?

    We don’t kill a patient doing embryonic stem cell research.  The question of when “it” becomes a person has always been the source of disagreement and argument, usually on theological grounds not scientific.   Hindus believe its when a baby born alive takes its first breath, Catholic church -used to be “quickening”, according to St. Thomas Aquinas (right?), recently at  conception not implantation, etc.   There have never been this-world penalties or punishments for abortion that I know of, do you?  Why is that if abortion is murder?

    Adult stem cells are already differentiated; its the embryonic ones that are undifferentiated and can become any kind of cell, except for iPCs which are skin cells that have been changed back into the pluripotent embryonic-like cells.  The paragraph you used from the source below referred to adult stem cell differentiation into cell types of the tissue of origin, e.g. brain cells only can be coaxed into different kinds of brain cells, not pancreatic cells.

    ESCR  has other uses than cell replacement. Based on research already done  I don’t think cell replacement will ever work for my Parkinson’s disease; however, ESCR would be useful to learn etiology of diseases and develop and test drug treatments on cells rather than people.   I think cell replacement  might work for spinal cord injury.

    I just think you do the anti-abortion movement a disservice when you make ridiculous
    claims for cells.  Photos of aborted fetuses are more convincing.  A few microscopic undifferentiated cells are not.
    From the source you provided.  See paragraph on differentiation below:

    V. What are the similarities and differences between embryonic and adult stem cells?
    Human embryonic and adult stem cells each have advantages and disadvantages regarding potential use for cell-based regenerative therapies. One major difference between adult and embryonic stem cells is their different abilities in the number and type of differentiated cell types they can become. Embryonic stem cells can become all cell types of the body because they are pluripotent. Adult stem cells are thought to be limited to differentiating into different cell types of their tissue of origin.
    Embryonic stem cells can be grown relatively easily in culture. Adult stem cells are rare in mature tissues, so isolating these cells from an adult tissue is challenging, and methods to expand their numbers in cell culture have not yet been worked out. This is an important distinction, as large numbers of cells are needed for stem cell replacement therapies.
     

  38. Adult stem cells are already differentiated; its the embryonic ones that are undifferentiated and can become any kind of cell
     
    Actually, the NIH source above states adult stem cells are also undifferentiated.  However, you are correct that they are specialized cells (heart cells, liver cells, etc.) unlike embryonic stem cells.  But then again, we don’t have to destroy anyone’s organs to obtain these cells, unlike the embryos which are discarded.  You’re not just taking organ cells from embryos – you’re robbing them of the cells that give them life and develop into all their organs.  Ask yourself – would you do that to a born person?  Rob them of all their organs so you could treat someone else?  Perhaps you would have no moral qualms about doing so.  But to me, treating a human embryo like it’s just a piece of useful trash is morally and ethically heinous.
    The question of when “it” becomes a person has always been the source of disagreement and argument, usually on theological grounds not scientific.

     
    That’s correct.  Scientifically and biologically, there IS no argument.  Life begins at conception.  Which is why there are plenty of pro-lifers who are atheists.  The question “when does life begin?” is a scientific one, not religious.
     
    I’m assuming since you claim “no biology textbook” claims zygotes are human beings means you’ve read every biology textbook.  How about plain ol’ Wikipedia:
     
    “A zygote (from Greek ζυγωτός zygōtos “joined” or “yoked”, from ζυγοῦν zygoun “to join” or “to yoke”),[1] or zygocyte, is the initial cell formed when a new organism is produced by means of sexual reproduction. A zygote is synthesized from the union of two gametes, and constitutes the first stage in a unique organism’s development. Zygotes are usually produced by a fertilization event between two haploid cells—an ovum from a female and a sperm cell from a male—which combine to form the single diploid cell. Such zygotes contain DNA derived from both the mother and the father, and this provides all the genetic information necessary to form a new individual. The term zygote is also used more loosely to refer to the group of cells formed by the first few cell divisions, although this is properly referred to as a morula.
    In mammalian reproduction, after fertilization has taken place the zygote travels down the fallopian tube, while dividing to form more cells[2] without the zygote actually increasing in size. This cell division is mitotic, and is known as cleavage.[3] All mammals go through the zygote stage of life. Zygotes eventually develop into an embryo, and then a fetus. A human zygote exists for about four days, and becomes a blastocyst on the fifth day.[4]

    Note that it is a “unique organism” that is created in reproduction.  This is basic biology.
    Adult stem cell therapy has shown so much progress (whereas ESCR has not) and I truly hope it can help you and others with debilitating diseases, Rayilyn.  We just do not believe that it is ethical to kill the weaker, developing human in order to try and find cures for the diseases of the stronger, fully developed ones.

  39. What should the penalty be for “murdering” a zygote?  For scientists who do research?  For patients who would benefit from treatments derived from ESCR?  If a fertilized egg is in reality a person deserving of the same rights and protection of an actual person, why is there no call for penalties for its “dismemberment”.

    Suggestion:  stick to the issue of abortion of fetuses, not stem cell research, contraception or IVF.  Oherwise people will think you are nuts or really ignorant.   If the Colorado law had passed it would have outlawed abortion, but taking out medical research, IVF and contraceptives at the same time was ridiculous.

    Or not.  Unless you want a stampede to the 11th century.

  40. Hi Rayilyn.

    “What should the penalty be for “murdering” a zygote?”

    I answered this question of your already on the thread http://www.jillstanek.com/2010/11/postmortem-on-2010-colorado-personhood-amendment/ at November 11th, 2010 at 10:52 am. I see no reason why this answer is inadequate nor has there been any attempt to show why it is inadequate. I realize your question is an attempt at an reductio ad absurdum argument against outlawing of h-ESCR, and I think my response to the argument shows that we do not delve into absurdity if we say that it should be outlawed to kill nascent human beings. If there is a reason to think that that doesn’t work, I am happy to consider it.

  41. Where does it say a zygote is a human being?   I ‘ve never seen it.

    “All mammals go through the zygote stage of life. Zygotes eventually develop into an embryo, and then a fetus. A human zygote exists for about four days, and becomes a blastocyst on the fifth day.[4]
    Note that it is a “unique organism” that is created in reproduction.  This is basic biology.
    Adult stem cell therapy has shown so much progress (whereas ESCR has not) and I truly hope it can help you and others with debilitating diseases, Rayilyn.  We just do not believe that it is ethical to kill the weaker, developing human in order to try and find cures for the diseases of the stronger, fully developed ones.”

    ASCR has been done for 50 years, and although bone marrow transplants work for some people there is no cure for cancer.  My friend’s 40 year old nephew is riddled with cancer and they are only hoping his latest transplant works.

    Parkinson’s disease will not be cured waiting for someone’s water to break (umblical cells).  Cell replacement of ANY kind will not work until we  know what causes it.  The Dennis Turner experiment demonstrated this.  Spinal cord injury could probably be helped by ESCR and all we need is one real “cure”.

    Every cell in your body contains a complete set of DNA. Therapeutic cloning or SCNT which does not require a sperm cell, but a somatic cell and an egg is also promising.   It is also opposed by people like you because they claim people not cells will be cloned.

    The truth is you favor microscopic undifferentiated cells over ANY real person with ALS, Huntington’s, PD, MS, cystic fibrosis, paraplegia, etc.   You have no trouble living with
    that.

    I don’t believe a cell is a person.   I do understand that cellular life is a step in the process of becoming a human being but think it is dishonest to insist that the two are
    the same thing right after a scientific explanation of how they are different.

  42. I don’t believe a cell is a person.
     
    In the case of an embryo, you’d be using the term “person” in a philosophical sense as opposed to a scientific sense.  An embryo is not a cell.  An embryo is a unique organism of the same type as that of its parents.  In the case of humans, an embryo would be, quite obviously, human.  There is nothing else it *could* be.  You are doing what all good pro-choicers do when faced with the moral dilemma of “when life begins.”  You ignore science and wax philosophical.  “Believing” something doesn’t necessarily make it so.
     
    I do understand that cellular life is a step in the process of becoming a human being
    When that egg is fertilized by a sperm, the sperm head explodes and the gametes fuse.  You have a unique organism which is NOT it’s father, nor its mother, but has become a product of BOTH.  That is called sexual reproduction.  There is no “process of becoming a human being,” there is only a process of human development.  The embryo is already human.  It doesn’t magically become human upon some arbitrary philosophical point.
    The truth is you favor microscopic undifferentiated cells over ANY real person with ALS, Huntington’s, PD, MS, cystic fibrosis, paraplegia, etc.   You have no trouble living with
    that.

     
    Once again, you vilify those who don’t agree with you by claiming we don’t care about born persons.  You have no idea who we have in our families or who here is affected by these diseases and YET still does not support embryonic stem cell research.  And as for “real person,” you are again using dehumanizing language to minimize what you support.  You know inherently what you support is wrong, or you wouldn’t feel the need to protest so vehemently using extreme, comparative language such as “microscopic cells” vs. “actual real people.”
    Mengele’s fetal and twin experiments also were once thought to be acceptable scientific research by some.  Your dehumanizing language reminds me a tad of propaganda.

  43. JMJ

    I wrote this for Saletan’s recommendations for the pro aborts, but it applies here as well with little change.

    JMJ

    First, I have not read all of the above posts, but what I did see failed to mention one of the most important aspects of abortion, and that is $$$$.  For those of you in Rio Linda, that is MONEY.  The pro aborts (not pro choices because, let’s be clear, they do not want the girl or woman to have any choice in the matter, which brings up a slightly different subject, coercion, estimated to be involved in 50% or more of all abortions) can pretend like they are looking for common ground, but they will never give up anything that could lead to any kind of a restriction (if they laid low during the partial birth abortion ban process, it was only because they knew that it looked better for them, and after all, they had the health of the mother exception which covers everything including hangnails).

    Yes, the main reason that abortion (now fairly well accepted by the pro aborts as murder of a human being, but not publicized, whose rights have been temporarily removed) is so difficult to stop is money, the money that the millionaire abortionists and abortion industry earns in slaughtering babies.  The money that abortionists and the abortion industry can spare goes to fighting, for example, informed consent, ultrasound requirements, fetal pain information, breast cancer implications.  The politicians who should be protecting their unborn constituents are not, because they have been bought off, they are on the abortionists’ and the abortion industry’s teats and they find it easy to do, because they convince themselves that the abortionists and the abortion industry is right, the baby is not a baby, just a blob of tissue, the product of conception, certainly not a human being, certainly not with any rights–Blackmun and his wife and daughters made that clear!

    Now here is a comment, not directly related to the specific subject of “common ground,” but rather related to the highly touted but nor correct assertion that aobrtionists are being compassionate towards the girls and woman:  HOW COMPASSIONATE ARE THEY WHEN THERE ARE MANY STUDIES WHICH LINK ABORTION TO BREAST CANCER?  Studies by the National Canceer Institute, for example–it doesn’t matter that the bureaucrat-researchers are openly pro aborts and deny the very clear conclusions of their research studies reports.  One in eight women WILL get breast cancer and approximately 20% of those will die from breast cancer.  ABORTIONISTS AND THE ABORTION INDUSTRY HAVE BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS, THEY ARE COMPLICIT IN THE DEATHS OF MANY OF THE VICTIMS OF BREAST CANCER.

    Does anyone want to see how compassionate many abortionists are?  READ Lime 5 by Mark Crutcher.  It will turn your stomach, and a girl or woman walking into an abortion doesn’t know ANYTHING about the abortionist.

    And, as to embracing contraception, putting asisde that many hormonal contraceptives actually cause an abortion by thinking the lining of the uterus so that the zygote cannot implant, why would anyone want the massive doeses of estrogen that are in hormonal contraceptives to go into their bodies when estrogen is a known carcinogen and there are many studies, endorsed by the National Cancer Institute that show a causal relationship between homonal contraceptives and breast cancer?

    The efforts on the part of pro aborts to find common ground are phoney, they are just buying time until they have a solid majority on the Supreme Court, appointed by Obama.

  44. You could display photos of dismembered cells at your next abortion protest to make your point that zygotes are actually people being murdered.  Good idea or not?

    When asked what the penalty ought to be for women who have had abortion(s) not one protester on a youtube video had “thought about it “.  Have you?  If not, why not?

    Would it be correct to call scientists who do embryonic stem cell research abortionists?   You call supporters of ESCR “baby killers”.  Can the contents of a petri dish be “aborted”.  Who is being dishonest here?

    ESCR is a good place to compromise.  Too bad for aborted fetuses you’re passing this up.

  45. JMJ

    The problem with ESCR being “a good place to compromise” is that ESCR has produced zero cures, which is why private capital does not invest in it and why ESCR has to depend on our hard earned taxes.  On the other hand, adult stem cell research and induced pluripotent stem cell research has produced something like 70 cures and so has plenty of private capital.

    All of which makes one wonder why the ESCR researchers continue banging their heads against the wall, if it is not that their egos, which make them think they have replaced God, drive them to that head banging. They admit that there will be no results for many, many years derived from ESCR.

    Your first paragraph, about showing pictures of dismembered cells, is nonsense.  You are trying too hard.

    The second paragraph, about penalties for girls and women who procure an abortion and allow it to be performed on her is a difficult problem, when 50% of the abortions being committed are coerced, you know, the boyfriend, the father/mother, husband–exactly the kind of coercion that got feminism going strong 50 years ago.

    As to what to call scientists who do ESCR, there are much better ways to spend our time.  Call them what you like, but ethical, moral, and God fearing are not terms that can be applied to them.

    And your conclusion about “too bad for aborted fetuses [we’re] passing this up, meaning negotiating on ESCR?  If the pro aborts don’t have principles, we pro lifers do, and we are going to win this battle, because we have Resources you cannot imagine.

  46. You could display photos of dismembered cells at your next abortion protest to make your point that zygotes are actually people being murdered.
     
    Rayilyn, you’ve proven my point that you are the one who is being irrational and completely dishonest here.  Obviously, in your opinion, human beings must “look like” cutesy babies in order to be considered human.  This argument is neither scientific nor sensible in the least, and frankly, highly dangerous and arbitrary.  I’m finished with you because you really don’t have anything else to add other than nonsense like the above.

    ESCR is a good place to compromise. Too bad for aborted fetuses you’re passing this up.

    This statement in particular is absolutely nauseating. Amazingly, you are now blaming the pro-LIFE movement for the fact that abortion takes place. Ha! Astounding.

    Good points, Luis. Thank you.
     
    Have a nice weekend, all.

  47. Its been said that a  pictiure is worth a thousand words and pro-lifers present their most compelling argument against abortion when they display pictures of mangled fetuses who do look like human beings.  You don’t have to say anything, insult anyone, kill an abortionist, delve into the circumstances of the abortion, or lie to make your point.

    A picture of a zygote would give  people an idea of what is being murdered.  And these are zygotes  not created for research, but extra IVF embryos destined for the trash can.

    I’m not ready to concede that looking human is not a criteria for being a human being.  What beings do you know of who are human, but don’t look it?     The only ones that  come to mind are apes or other primates with whom we share over 90% of our DNA.  Perhaps you can provide examples of entities that don’t look human but are human persons.

    I’m sorry you don’t want to compromise at all.  Supporting ESCR, IVF and contraception would help to dispel the notion you don’t care about life after birth.

    Facts:   no cures from iPS cells yet, not 70 for ASCs.

  48. And these are zygotes  not created for research, but extra IVF embryos destined for the trash can.

    These were destined for the trash can too but were adopted!!

    http://www.nightlight.org/adoption-services/snowflakes-embryo/default.aspx


    http://www.nightlight.org/christian-adoption-gallery/default.aspx

    By the way, apes aren’t humans but I think you already know that.

    There is no need to dispel any notion that we don’t care about life after birth. One need only walk into a Pregnancy Care Center to see that we are there during pregnancy and beyond.

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