Spotlighting important information gleaned from other pro-life blogs...
... [R]eally broad swathes of the pro-choice movement seem to genuinely not understand that this is a debate about personhood, which is why you get moronic statements like "If you think abortions are wrong, don't have one!" If you think a fetus is a person, it is not useful to be told that you, personally, are not required to commit murder, as long as you leave the neighbors alone while they do it.
Conversely, if Africans are not people, then slavery is not wrong. Or at least it's arguably not wrong - if Africans occupy some intermediate status between persons and animals, then there is at least a legitimate argument for treating them like animals, rather than people.
The difference between our reaction to the two is that now we know Africans are people. It seems ridiculous to think that anyone ever thought they might not be people. They meet all the relevant criteria for personhood in 21st century America.
But of course, those criteria are socially constructed. The definition of personhood (and, related, of citizenship) changes over time. It generally expands - as we get richer, we can, or at least do, grant full personhood to wider categories. Except in the case of fetuses. We expanded "persons" to include fetuses in the 19th century, as we learned more about gestation. Then in the late 1960s, for the first time I can think of, western civilization started to contract the group "persons" in order to exclude fetuses.
... I am also aware that a lot of very fine thinkers were seduced into reasoning that Africans weren't people. Whatever evidence they thought they had, we're pretty sure how they arrived at their conclusions: African personhood would have caused enormous personal and social upheaval. Thousands of their friends and family would have personally suffered enormously without their slave wealth. Ergo, slaves weren't people!
... I've never sat down and thought, "how do I know that Africans are human beings?" I know.... But presumably if I'd been raised in 1840 Alabama, I'd know just as certainly that they weren't.
But the ethics committee shirked a glaring problem: egg harvesting endangers women's health. Egg donation requires preliminary hormone treatment, and this hormone therapy is accompanied by serious health risks including an increased risk of ovarian cancer and complications with future pregnancies. Other risks include ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS), which can cause loss of fertility, organ failure, and death....
At a "reimbursement" rate around $10k, women hard-hit by the economy will be more likely to take risks they would not have otherwise taken. The result is the commoditization of eggs and the exploitation of women....
In 2008, AUL, in conjunction with [the Family Research Council's] Dr. [David] Prentice, provided an extensive report to NY's stem cell board demonstrating that therapies utilizing adult stem cells are already treating patients and that any taxpayer money should be used for treatments that are already proven to be working. The ethics committee ignored these hard facts.
A teenager "allegedly" hired a man to beat her up so she could miscarry. The baby survived. The girl was charged with criminal solicitation to commit murder, and the beat-upper was charged with attempted murder....
Let me see if I'm smart enough to follow this. If I hire someone to beat my baby to death, in utero, I could be charged with murder if the baby dies. But if I hire an infanticide "doctor" to crush my baby to death (or tear him limb from limb, if you prefer), in utero, I'm off the hook.
... Why is she being criminally charged? And how can he be charged with attempting to murder something she didn't want? Abortionists do it all the time. Oh... give me a second... I get it now. An abortionist is licensed to practice the "medicine" of murdering babies, and any Joe Blow off the street is not. I see the distinction.
[Photo attribution: LifeSiteNews.com]
I am not understanding pro-choicer Megan McArdle... is she trying to define what a fetus is or is she confused about what side of the fence she is on? She almost states the prolife arfument, except she tapers off and excludes that is a baby, thus a person. I can see why her readers will be outraged!Posted by: muriel at June 3, 2009 11:25 AM
"An abortionist is licensed to practice the "medicine" of murdering babies, and any Joe Blow off the street is not. I see the distinction"
The big question is WHY?Posted by: RSD at June 3, 2009 11:32 AM
McArdle is grappling with what she thinks is the central issue, and to her merit, she's trying to place her ideas in a useful philosophical context.
The problem is - the issue is not about personhood - it's about humanity, it's about the full human being. Why? Because flesh and blood is destroyed and without that integrated, living flesh and blood there is no human being basis for a "person". Personhood is an abstract idea she erroneously believes is bestowed by society.
She needs someone to explain BioSLED to her:Posted by: Chris Arsenault at June 3, 2009 11:51 AM
In view of the MSM's attempt at demonizing all of us in order to promote and insure the continued success of the culture of death, please take a moment to view this video:
Yes, in view of this video and Jasper's quote of the day I say: CURRAHEE!!!!!!
I very much appreciate McArdle's honesty, candidness, and well-thought out analysis of the situation. Rather than repeat mindless drivel like "keep your laws off my body," she seems to be bringing a level thoughtfulness that I would say is on the rare side of the pro-choice movement.Posted by: Bobby Bambino at June 3, 2009 11:57 AM
Bobby -- McArdle pulls some interesting data points together but does a fairly poor job of analysis. Just read the responses to her second (third?) post on the issue; the weak parts of her arguments are dismantled quite effectively, and with rhetorical restraint.
(Note, BTW, that the discussion was over the appropriate response to the Tiller murder.)
I grant that her heart appears to be in the right place, and that her approach is degrees more useful than "keep your hands off my body!" rabble-rousing.
I am against future prohibition of abortions in the same way I see the Drug War as an abject failure. To my mind abortion is an act of violence, which increases in severity as the fetus develops. At embryo stage it has all the sentience of a liver; at the end of gestation a (normally developed) baby can respond to music and touch and is fractionally away from being a live person.
A woman who decides to abort a viable baby for no other reason other than as a late-term birth control is sufficiently outrageous enough to justify the intercession of the state. The problem is, of course, that in most (I can't say all) cases of late-term abortions the reason for the action is quite compelling. It could be that the mother is likely to die without one. It could be that the baby would be born a vegetable with no hope of ever interacting with the world, or is otherwise so developmentally defective that it would be crueler to allow it to suffer to death over the course of months than to end its life swiftly. It could be that the woman in question is a young girl, impregnated by incestuous rape, too afraid and ignorant to reveal her pregnancy until it became obvious to non-parental adults (this is a dicey issue, although one should be aided by understanding the risks to her future development and fertility as a woman).
As is generally the case (Israel-Palestine being the classic example), the extremists on both sides use white-hot rhetoric that turns a problem of great moral weight into a flashpoint of invective and mutual loathing.Posted by: Mason at June 3, 2009 12:52 PM
Posted by: Bobby Bambino at June 3, 2009 11:57 AM
I agree - I think she's sincerely grappling with the issues, but tends to loft them up off the very flesh and blood that makes us human.
First Harsanyi (sp), and now McCardle - interesting. Maybe we're seeing a move towards solid deliberation?Posted by: Chris Arsenault at June 3, 2009 12:58 PM
At embryo stage it has all the sentience of a liver; at the end of gestation a (normally developed) baby can respond to music and touch and is fractionally away from being a live person.
Posted by: Mason at June 3, 2009 12:52 PM
Mason - can we conduct a scientific test? We would like to see if you can communicate your sentience without using your body in any way.Posted by: Chris Arsenault at June 3, 2009 1:08 PM
Mason, though there are many points in your post that I would like to address, I think the most important one is your mistatement about the nature of late term abortions.
Most do not occur because of any issues regarding the health of either the mother or child.
Dr. Tiller himself claimed that 3/4 of his late term patients were simply teenagers who had hidden their pregnancies during the early stages and aborted when things became obvious.
Before debating the issue further, I urdge you to look into the facts surrounding abortion. The talking points that are rehashed by the media are grossly innacurate.Posted by: Lauren at June 3, 2009 1:17 PM
Um, Mason... you need to go back and study embryology again. Babies respond far earlier during their gestation than you are giving them credit for.Posted by: Elisabeth at June 3, 2009 2:58 PM
Mason - I am currently working with a woman who is considering a later-term abortion. We are trying to get her services - and to lift her spirits.
Has she been raped? no. Baby disabled? nope. Victim of incest? no. any life-threatening ailment or situation? nope.
So what's the problem?? - She just got pregnant by the before-this-boyfriend boyfirend and doesn't want to lose this current boyfriend.
That's the reality.
Please pray for her and her family. Bad choices lead to troubles - but no troubles get solved by killing.
I have worked with this family before, and her previous baby was saved from the violence of abortion. We will try again - and give her more services and help.
That is the reality of the availability of abortion - if it's available, they will come.
Instead, I wish that true services and compassion was widely available to women and families. It's the one-on-one work that touches the heart, not the paperwork and rush of social services. If we could mentor each family and their individual needs, we'd really have something special.
Posted by: joypace at June 3, 2009 3:06 PM
Hi Joy, I know due to confidentiality, you can't say this woman's name........so can we call her "Carrie" just so we know who to say the prayer for?
Posted by: LizFromNebraska
at June 3, 2009 3:37 PM
And I definitely agree with your last statement!
What heroic work!Posted by: HisMan at June 3, 2009 4:49 PM
"I am against future prohibition of abortions in the same way I see the Drug War as an abject failure. To my mind abortion is an act of violence, which increases in severity as the fetus develops. At embryo stage it has all the sentience of a liver; at the end of gestation a (normally developed) baby can respond to music and touch and is fractionally away from being a live person.......
Posted by: Mason at June 3, 2009 12:52 PM
What qualifies you to make such profound and absolute statements?
At the moment of conception, this is a human being, an eternal spirit waiting for it's physical body to develop.
It will be no more or no less of an eternal spirit at conception and at the end of a long physical life than it was at birth or at any other point during it's gestational period.
My God, in this country we can't convict someone of murder and execute them unless their guilt is proved beyond a reasonable doubt. What you're saying is that, "hell, I know when it's a baby so let's be able to execute them up until that point" when in fact, there is ample reasonable doubt to compel a different verdict.
I seriously doubt you would want the same standard of innocence/guilt applied to you, let's say, if you were falsely accused of murder. And Obama, who is solely the Executive Branch of our government, breaks this fundamental principle of our jurisprudence when he is simultaneously a rabid pro-abort and confesses that knowing when life begins is "above his pay grade". And this guy has a law degree from Harvard? This is gross dishonesty and shows a complete lack of integrity or, he is an idiot.
As science progresses, more and more wonders regarding the development of life are being discovered. Can you see that making unqualified, unsubstantiated, unverifiable and set-in-stone, i.e., close minded statements like, "At embryo stage it has all the sentience of a liver" is supremely ignorant?
I suggest you rethink this honestly. It may change your own perspective on life.Posted by: HisMan at June 3, 2009 5:10 PM
I notice you don't use the same pseudonym although you post the same letter on many different blogs.
Afraid of showing your identity? Why choose a pseudonym at all? Why not go by Anonymous? Be straight-up about your cowardice, eh?Posted by: MaryRose at June 3, 2009 6:48 PM
He's baaack!Posted by: Janet at June 3, 2009 7:10 PM
HisMan @ 11:55,
Thanks for linking to the video. What an inspiring story! The men and women in the military are my heroes.Posted by: Janet at June 3, 2009 9:24 PM
Jill - I totally understand that you don't have all the space in the world to quote every article, but I think you missed the most salient part of the Atlantic article. If you eliminate the structural issues that make abortion a rational choice for women - (rape, incest, poverty) and provide alternatives for poor women in the form of social supports such as day care, educational training and the like you might be able to make a case for their being no reason for abortion, but like it or not, it meets a need that neither society, nor the government is willing to fill to the extent that it is actually needed.
Until those things are done, and programs are implemented, Abortion (just as with the poor) will always be with us and a necessary remedy to offer women who are given no other sustainable choice.
Are you implying that homicide is justifiable as a means of population control?Posted by: MaryRose at June 5, 2009 5:48 PM
MaryRose at June 5, 2009 5:48 PM
Abortion is a personal decision about ones own body. It is not homicide. Simply because you think that a fetus is independent of the mother does not make it so. No one is asking you to have an abortion.Posted by: Yo La Tengo at June 8, 2009 3:30 AM
A zygote has independent and unique DNA, as well as life. So, it *is* independent from the mother.
However, that aside, are you justifying abortion as a means of population control? Perhaps you should move to China. You might like it there, as they agree.Posted by: MaryRose at June 8, 2009 10:47 PM