Abortion talk (1 July 2009)

re: "The more mainstream anti-choice groups provide encouragement for the extreme right wing, then they absolve themselves when something like this happens" (Tom Sandborn, "Tension high at Abortion Clinics," The Tyee, June 20 2009)

Comments like this do little to calm the waters. The more mainstream anti-abortion groups would probably prefer not to be summized as essentially concerned with constraining female choice. The real truth may be otherwise, but let's not do what we can to push the moderates into extremists, thank you. This kind of "cuteness," rhetorical play, can wait 'til less heightened times.

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To be fair, lines like this -- "We treasure all life, even the abortionists" -- are scary as shit. Someone might also want to let the moderates know about Freud's theory about how the unconscious doesn't know/understand negatives . . .

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Re: Anyone supporting abortion or anyone considering abortion needs to look very closely at the child which is dismembered and sucked out of the mother's womb.

To deny that, that is a person is the height of selfishness.
Simply look at the pictures of the child at different stages of growth and then consider what you are saying, when you say killing that child is OK.
Shame on us as a society, we are not progressing we indeed are digressing.
May God have mercy on us all, as we ALL are guilty of innocent blood.
The truth is indeed sometimes offensive. (jimorsheryl, reply to post, “Tension High at Abortion Clinics”)

jimorsheryl: Okay, but anyone against the pro-choice option has to look at who generally supports pro-life -- and they do tend to be those who ultimately care least for women, children, a good society (I know none of them think so, but it is true).

Some of us support pro-choice primarily because of who tends to support and who tends to oppose it. If it was all just women's choice, I, for one, am not entirely sure what the significant difference between a woman's body and a woman's home is -- they're both surrounds.

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Re: You said:

"Okay, but anyone against the pro-choice option has to look at who generally supports pro-life--and they do tend to be those who ultimately care least for women, children, a good society (I know none of them think so, but it is true)."

How in the world does this justify ripping the arms off a living child inside it's mother's womb? And then suctioning out the torn pieces.
Are you saying that people who condone this barbaric behaviour somehow care for children?

Twisted logic at it's best. (jimorsheryl, reply to post)

jimorsheryl: Most pro-lifers tend to pretty "conservative," that is, they vote for parties which actually take pride and pleasure in creating a world that is viscously mean and abusive. As pro-choicers have long and rightly noted, pro-lifers don't actually evidence much interest in human life -- their anger is loud, but its source isn't from where they believe it is. In my judgment, they're not actually thinking of the child but are using the situation to recall early abuse they themselves suffered and want revenge for. It's an unwilling act of projection, that can't be helped, but still ultimately amounts to a lack of interest in, sympathy with, the unbirthed child.

A fair retort to your account must be in documenting the cruelty, human suffering, conservative governance brings with it. Blow by blow.

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Re:"Abolition of a woman's right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: a form of rape by the State." ~Edward Abbey

Otherwise, as the Planned Parenthood ad reads, 77% percent of anti-abortion leaders are men. 100% of them will never be pregnant.

My personal view is a bit more radical. The essence of 'human being' is not defined on the basis of potentiality, but on actuality - that is, its independence from the womb; its structure and function in that independent world of fellow humans. An unborn (potential) human has no ability to function independently in the world. As such, an independent woman's rights to control her body unequivocally take precedence over any potential human growing inside of her.

quod erat demonstrandum (wayfarer, reply to post)

wayfarer: That argument doesn't strike all of us as all that strong. A two-year-old is very unlikely to be able to support herself for long, either. Her protection is the parents'/mothers' home (surround), desire in others to take care of her. To me, it's just too easy and appropriate to extend the logic of your argument so that you could argue that a mother's home is her own, and only until a child is able to function by itself on the streets, is it truly a human being. Until then, it's just all potential, of significant less worth than the woman/mother whose space it occupies.

Not a good argument -- there's got to be more empathy: you make mothers seem egotistical monsters, quite unwilling to agree that you have rights until their own needs have been accorded primacy of place.

Pro-choicers do best when they draw attention to how much they do to assist pregnant women, to really validate their choice if they decide to give birth. When they demonstrate -- as they so often do -- not their anger but their love, for everyone involved -- including the unbirthed child.

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Re: PatrickMcEvoyHalston,

You misrepresent the premises in my argument and draw a false conclusion.

A 2-yr-old child, a disabled person requiring assistance are all distinct entities from a fetus or unborn potential human, which is necessarily connected to its mother for feeding, breathing, indeed life. Under my definition, this potentiality does not equal the actuality of a 2-yr-old or any other being that has been given the privilege by its mother to enjoy an independent, autonomous life.

The general debate over this right is over, except for a minority of religious zealots who draw their moral outlook and conclusions from mysticism and religious texts.

It's not even worth my time to debate this fundamental right of all women, except that I have a few minutes to kill and it's never a bad idea to review one's philosophical positions on rights and freedoms.

I don't want Sandborn's point in the above article to be lost in a futile series of red herrings initiated Fraser Valley Bible-belt dogmatists and engaged in by the rest of us rational folk.

The real issue here is around public safety for those who choose to exercise their rights, and for doctors and health care providers who heroically put their own lives on the line helping women exercise those rights. That's my main concern, and it should be yours.

The related issue is whether authorities are doing enough to enforce the law in preventing anti-choice lunatics from harassing or killing people who are doing little more than exercising their fundamental human rights.

Debating a women's right to choice is like debating your right to speak freely in a democratic society. It's been settled and therefore moot. The job now is to ensure those rights are not eroded or infringed upon. (wayfarer, reply to post)

wayfarer: You're right that the debate has been settled. In a way. Certainly the left seems to operate now with enough confidence-evidence routine, that it is genuinely startled when old arguments are presented as if they actually should be addressed, and not just quickly picked up and put back in the junk bin (how did you get loose?). This has made the left a bit vulnerable -- lacking of vigilance (as the LOTR narrator would say), off-guard. The argument you present is not that good -- it won the day because the other side is represented by the scowling, patriarchal Right, by a generation the baby-boomers delighted in and quite rightly needed to individuate themselves from.

Being pro-life means being unclean, to a lot of people -- it means being counted amongst "one of them." That's the very enabled stage the left has won for itself in respectable quarters.
But my sense is that there are a lot of people out there who are looking for a politician, for means, to make pro-life/anti-choice clean again. It could come from someone like (old school feminist defeating -- i.e., Hillary and Ferraro) Obama; it could come from someone like Ignatifieff: both politicians whose leanness and greenness, whose claim to a clean, virtuous, (traditionally masculine) higher-purpose could, and in my judgment will, offer/extend respect/validation for their homophobic and anti-choice leanings. My sense, again, is the left needs to prepare itself: look to Salon.com, perhaps, and its accounting of Obama's early betrayal of the gay community, to the gay community's surfacing concern (and even panic) over who the hell they've just help elect in.

I completely agree with you in arguing that abortion clinics need and deserve full respect and protection. Women who have abortions cannot be allowed to exist in an environment where they are stigmatized, deemed unclean, unworthy. But again, a 2-year-old is not meaningfully less dependent/vulnerable than an unborn. The only difference is that someone else can take care of the 2-year-old. (This may well prove possible for the unborn as well, though.)

P.S. Please don't announce that you're advancing an argument simply because you've got time to kill. It's disrespectful to your reading audience, to who you’re talking to (in this case, to me). Next time it's not worth your effort, find something else to do, please. Remember, the Right argues that woman have abortions primarily because they're an inconvenience.

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Fair request, VivianLea. I am hoping someone else might do it. What I'll offer now amounts in my judgment to "one word says it all," so if offers some of the extension I know is needed: Pro-choicers are right to argue that THEY are actually the ones who are most pro-life: they ARE the ones who support societal programs which enable, empower, a more nurturing, caring world; they are the ones who sniff out the sadism and despair in pro-lifers'/conservatives' advancement of ostensible free-market bounties.

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jwstewart: They tend to vote for governments which would weaken healthcare, childcare, and welfare systems as they exist now. They would pay way less taxes, disempower government's ability to reduce misery and enable citizens, if they could. They are, unfortunately, much more comfortable with suffering (suffering and sin is man's lot), than they are with happiness. Personally, I admit to being sorry they can vote at all.

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They are human beings. But. In an environment where conceding this would mean no possibility of abortion, more than this, would mean advancement of pro-life ambitions against progressive thinking/progressive mothers, I would never concede this fact. It would just be tissue, until the way is clear.

Pro-choice is doing what it needs to do, what it ought to do. The way is not clear.

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Re: The problem with that argument is that it still doesn't deal with the physical 'reality' which is very different for women than it is for men.

Personally, I'm prepared to turn the matter over to women for their sole adjudication.

Whatever the majority (of adult females) decides is fine with me (GWest, reply to post).

G West: Women have just emerged from tribal council and decided that children are adjuncts, until they are able to feed and cloth themselves. They appreciate your respect for and defense of their sole adjudication, but would appreciate if you'd now just hold the door, while they indulge in some late afternoon poppy-seed and baby cake.

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Re: My coven paused in the midst of thealogical

debate and mooncakes, and G West kindly, without condescension, held open the door, as I was requested to convey our sincere offer of an honourary membership. (VivianLea, reply to post)

I gather that now that you're done with your bequeathing, you'll be gettingthat coven started up again. But G West, word to the wise--you might might to pause to reconsider, before partaking in their pro-offered, quote unquote, mooncakes.

(My apologies, VivianLea, but I just had to.)

Link: Tension High at Abortion Clinics (The Tyee)


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