But if this were really a cocktail party I bet we wouldn’t be talking about abortion

Sunday, July 12th, 2009 · 231 Comments »
The new decor for the Smoking Lounge is almost done!

The new decor for the Smoking Lounge is almost done!

Folks, I apologize for falling behind in my grueling post schedule. It’s just that I’m utterly engrossed in sewing the new curtains for the lounge. I’m almost done, I promise. This place is way overdue for an upgrade, and I’m putting in new curtains, wallpaper, slipcovers, attractive floor pillows, inexplicable objects from World Market — everything a disembodied fictional spirit could possibly want.

Yesterday, Jamie W. said that she wished the comments section was “actually a big cocktail party.” I don’t know about the actual part, but we can certainly make it a virtual cocktail party. If we can have a virtual Spirit Smoking Lounge for which I can sew virtual curtains, then I’m sure we can have a virtual cocktail party.

So! This thread is now an Official Virtual Cocktail Party.

Gosh, what on earth will we talk about?

As it happens, not long after Jamie W. expressed her wish for a cocktail party cum comment thread, Sharon noted that she was “stunned at how every thread Violet posts on feminism turns into a debate on abortion.” Hey, Sharon, I bet you’re not as stunned as I am. Actually, no: I’m not really stunned. Somewhat bemused, perhaps. And wondering whether these debates are really worthwhile. Is anyone changing their mind?

Personally, I think feminists should collaborate on those issues they have in common, and agree to disagree on the intractable controversies — whether it’s abortion or sex work or pornography. I wrote a post about that last year: The Big Tent.

However, if people do want to keep debating the abortion issue itself here at the cocktail party, then allow me to put up a couple of signposts:

First of all, Gender2010 is chomping at the bit to talk about what anti-choice really looks like — as in El Salvador, where “a young girl [is] handcuffed to her hospital bed with a police officer standing outside the door.” Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, ain’t life grand.

Secondly, RKMK has done just about the best job I’ve seen of putting together an analogy for the abortion issue. That’s always tough, because — dig it! — there’s nothing else quite like pregnancy and only women can have babies. But still, RKMK has come pretty close:

Let’s say you are driving a car. A common activity that adults participate in which carries associated risks to both themselves and others, but you wear your seatbelt and you took drivers lessons, and you’re a good driver, all that, so you drive to work every day and go pick up groceries and continue to freely live your life as you please.

Now, one day when driving home from work, you get into an accident. A nasty one. Could be that you skipped on black ice, or maybe even that you weren’t paying close enough attention: either way, doesn’t matter. You hit another car, and both you and the other driver are rushed to the hospital.

You turn out to be generally alright. The other driver needs a kidney to survive. Through the magic of allegorical circumstance, both you and this driver are a perfect match for you to be a living donor.

If you go through with the procedure, you will suffer constant bodily discomfort and pains for the better part of a year; your body will also be susceptible to a wide variety of medical conditions that range from mere inconvenience to severe and life-threatening. [Also, to make the allegory even more accurate, let's say you also may be fired from your job, or face professional and social judgment from those around you; your family may reject you, and you are more likely to be a victim of violence.] On top of all those assorted risks, when all is said and done, you yourself are 11 times more likely to die if you donate this organ than if you do not.

You may choose to donate the organ anyway; you may think it’s the right thing to do. But would you honestly feel comfortable with the state taking that decision away from you? To criminalize your refusal to become a living donor, no matter what your personal circumstances are, no matter what risks you will then have to take on in your life? Would you legislate a choice that ultimately leads to someone being 11 times more likely to die?

I don’t know: maybe you would.

Finally, I would like to say that there are hundreds of thousands of people on organ-donor waiting lists. They will die if organs do not come to them on time. But we don’t force people to become organ donors, not in life, and not in death. Many people of faith, for example, believe that doing so would be an act of desecration on the body; so even though someone may die, we respect the person’s decision to control what happens to their body, even when they are dead. If we can afford this respect to the dead, I think we ought to afford it to living, breathing women with lives, friends, and family.

Or we could just talk about Michael Jackson.

UPDATE: In response to overwhelming demand, sister of ye has sent in pictures of her hockey puck art. Pictures after the flip.

Hockey Puck Art, by Sister of Ye. Mixed media assemblage.

“Bathroom”:

bathroom_ye

“Monkeys in Court”:

monkeys-in-court_ye

About “Monkeys in Court,” the artist says:

“The monkey sticking out his tongue is plaintiff’s counsel. The see-no-evil, hear-no-evil and speak-no-evil monkeys are defense counsel. The monkey standing on his head on the bananas is the judge. I have this one on one of my work tables here at the firm. I haven’t shared this interpretation with any of the attorneys I work for, but many of the staff found it highly amusing.

Of course, the monkeys could be female. Those would probably be defense counsel, because my firm does a lot of defense work, and I do much (sometimes most) of my work for several of our female partners and associates.”

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231 Responses to “But if this were really a cocktail party I bet we wouldn’t be talking about abortion”

  1. leis says:

    oohh, I really like that RKMK. I stayed out of the last post because it was a total derail of the topic that was posted. Plus I totes believe ain’t nobody gonna change anybody elses’s mind on it. I think when you (Violet) get linked to from more conservative blogs it changes the arc of the conversation here. I don’t have a right to say “go away”, because there are lot of issues that matter to us. I just hope we get to them at some point. I love the virtual cocktail party. I’ll bring the pigs-in-a-blanket.

  2. Gender2010 says:

    I have taken up golfing and for starters I just practice my swing. I was taught how to hold the club so that I actually hit the ball. Amazing.

  3. wisetrog says:

    I think you maybe interested in this news article.

  4. sister of ye says:

    I’m continuing my hockey puck art hobby (little tableaus built on hockey pucks).

    One of my latest was a bathroom scene built around a pink & purple toilet. I added a toilet paper holder (roll actually spins!), a magazine holder with a book inside, and two paperbacks on the back of the toilet. The “books” have real romance novel covers I copied online, shrunk very small and printed on labels. The last touch was pink pipe sticking up behind the toilet that holds a propeller.

    The other puck I did that weekend was simpler – a motorcyclist riding down a highway thru the country. Basically the biker, a tree and tree trunk-type pole holding a propeller.

    Most of my pieces have propellers. That’s what makes them such fun office toys. The puck makes a great paperweight and the propeller a nice vent when having a stressful day or stuck on boring calls.

    If anyone is curious, I’ll send Dr. Socks a pic or two and she can post them.

  5. bob coley jr says:

    WHAT A BEAUTIFUL ROOM! Although I like the idea of a smoking lounge, this reminds me more of a “Treatment Room”. Definitely a room conducive to good mental health and relaxation! Is that strawberry or raspberry on the plates? Very nice rail outside the window too!

  6. Alison says:

    Yeah! A post about abortion and where it makes sense to discuss abortion!

    The only thing I have to add to the wonderful analogy of the forced kidney donation is…

    I became even more strongly pro-choice while in labor 2 years ago. I ended up giving birth to a healthy little girl who is the light of my life but labor is fucking dangerous. Had I given birth in a 3rd world country I most certainly would have died.

    So I just don’t understand the pro-life movement beyond their own personal choice. Wait – I can even understand advocating life and becoming involved with charities that assist women who would like to give birth but feel overwhelmed bu their circumstances.

    But forcing a woman to give birth? It’s like forcing a woman to walk across a tight rope. And forcing that unborn child to do so, too.

    While I was in my second day of labor I started crying and I thought of my daughter going through the same thing some day. I thought of her being 16. Or 22. Or 31 or 44 and how horrifying it would be for her if a state forced her to go through with this instead of giving birth due to her own choice. I thought of all this while in labor because I knew that I was giving birth to a girl and I knew at that moment how exactly dangerous it is to take away a woman’s right to choose.

  7. Violet says:

    Please send me the hockey puck pictures. Did you mention this before? Or did you post about it on Twisty’s old message forum? I’ve heard about this hobby once before, and I’m wondering if it was from you. (How many people in the world make hockey puck tableaus?)

  8. Violet says:

    WHAT A BEAUTIFUL ROOM!

    Isn’t it? That’s in France, where they kiss on Main Street. Paris apartment very near the Seine.

    The new decor for the Smoking Lounge actually doesn’t look like that at all. I started out with a very girly design, but then thought I might get tired of it too soon and besides, new visitors might mistake the blog for HGTV.

    The new theme features alpacas and planets in outer space. It’s weird, and I’ll probably get tired of it very quickly. But since I’m getting the blog software updated and rewriting the theme files, etc., I’ll be in good shape to update the decor whenever I feel like it. The blog basically hasn’t been touched since January 2006, and everything is completely out of date.

  9. Gender2010 says:

    The abortion argument is simple:
    If abortion becomes illegal it can only be based on one thing:life begins at conception.
    If life begins at conception and a woman has an abortion she is a murderer. If a pregnancy is miscarried it must be investigated by police.
    That’s why El Salvador, under pressure and support from the catholic church (an institution that reserves all of it’s top positions for men) is a great example of what anti-choice legislation can di to a country.

  10. RKMK says:

    Well, gosh! *blush* All due recognition to Judith Thomson, of course, who helped me shape that little analogy a few years ago, whilst arguing with some raging libertarian who insisted being forced to carry a pregnancy to term was simply paying the price for your mistakes, like having to pay a higher insurance premium when you get into a car accident.

    To which I responded along the lines of, “That only an appropriate metaphor if your ‘increased premium’ involves your insurance company extracting one of your kidneys because you got into a fender-bender.”

  11. RKMK says:

    While I was in my second day of labor I started crying and I thought of my daughter going through the same thing some day. I thought of her being 16. Or 22. Or 31 or 44 and how horrifying it would be for her if a state forced her to go through with this instead of giving birth due to her own choice. I thought of all this while in labor because I knew that I was giving birth to a girl and I knew at that moment how exactly dangerous it is to take away a woman’s right to choose.

    And, yes, Alison, the analogy doesn’t even hit on the “joys” of hours-long labour and childbirth; even if you don’t actually die, it’s never sunshine and roses, even with a crack medical team and a strong epidural.

  12. pm317 says:

    WTG, RKMK, excellent comments, in this post and others on previous threads.

  13. Sis says:

    A female astronaut lifts off tonight from Cape Canaveral. Julie Payette is also a pilot, scientist, engineer. Probably some math involved there.

    http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/women/002026-413-e.html

    I shall celebrate by munching on smoked Wild Alaska salmon (recipe follows) while watching on the NASA site.

    ##

    Sarah Palin’s Sweet and Saucy Grilled Salmon

    Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute

    SWEET AND SAUCY GRILLED SALMON

    Recipe by Alaska Fisherman Sarah Palin
    Wasilla, Alaska

    1 can (12 oz.) tomato sauce
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/4 cup molasses
    3 tbsp. ketchup
    2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
    2 tbsp. dried minced onion
    1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
    1 tbsp. mustard
    1 tbsp. dried bell pepper dices
    1/4 tsp. each cinnamon and nutmeg
    4 to 6 Alaska salmon fillets or steaks (4 to 6 oz. each)

    Blend all ingredients, except seafood, in bowl; let set 10 to 15 minutes.

    Dip seafood into sauce, then place on hot oiled grill, not directly over heat source (coals or gas).

    Cover and vent. Cook about 6 to 12 minutes per inch of thickness, brushing with extra sauce, if desired. Do not overcook or burn edges.

    Makes 4 to 6 servings.

    Also great with Alaska halibut or cod!

    ##

    Eat from your hand while standing by a northern lake, looking into the southeast sky.

    Note: Do not overcook or will taste like hockey puck.

  14. yttik says:

    I’m off to slay fish and drink beer, but since this is a cocktail party, someone posted a link to this article and I enjoyed reading it:

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/03/02/090302fa_fact_levy

  15. Andi says:

    I’ve been lurking off-and-on since the last election. Just thought now was a good time to drop a note of thanks for the great blog and enlightening comments.

    (I’m a conservative that was pleasantly surprised to learn that I too can be accepted as a feminist)

  16. Malcolm Kirkpatrick says:

    Pro-abortion (NOT pro-choice), anti-Roe, Pro-Palin materialist here. I read all the comments in the last three threads (from “Feminists and the mystery of Sarah Palin” onward), and was charmed by the reflection, insight, frequent eloquence, and decency all round.

    Here’s a joke I tell to defuse the tension when the abortion discussion gets heated:…

    A Catholic woman, a Protestant woman, and a Jewish woman met for coffee and coffeecake one morning, and the topic got around to abortion. The Catholic woman argued thus: “Human life begins at conception. I don’t see how you can see it any other way. Once conception occurs and the cell has 46 chromosomes, development is smooth. Birth is an arbitrary dividing line. A two week overdue fetus is more developmentally mature than is a one-month premature infant. Human life begins at birth.”

    The Protestant woman objected: “That’s silly. If having 46 chromosomes made a cell human, you’d be guilty of mass murder when you brush your teeth. Since many conceptions abort spontaneously, getting pregnant would constitute reckless endangerment. Human life begins when the baby can lead an independent existence. Human life begins at birth.”

    To which the Jewish woman replied: “You’re both mistaken. Human life begins when the kids leave home and the dog dies.”

    There are really very few material facts at issue in the abortion discussion. “What qualifies as human and deserving the protection of the law” is a policy issue, not a matter of fact.

    In ancient Rome, as I understand it, male children had the legal status of property until they became adults, and female children remained their fathers’ property until they married, at which point they became their husbands’ property. In ancient Greece, deformed babies were left outside the city walls, to be devoured by dogs and wolves. In __Things Fall Apart__(iirc) Chinua Achebe describes a custom in Ibo society where twins are (were) considered unlucky and one of a set of twins would be taken into the forest immediately after birth. In __No Mercy__, Redmond O’Hanlon writes that in some societies, twins were considered so unlucky that both twins and the mother were killed.

    Morality evolves. The Earth’s population cannot grow without limit. I’d like to see abortion legal to the end of the fifth trimester and compulsory after three kids, but I’ll settle for improving the level of education to the point that we don’t scream and pronounce fatwas upon people who disagree. We can argue about abortion then.

    PS. The traffic accident analogy: If you think it’s wrong to force someone to surrender a kidney (I agree, but I might make an exception if s/he caused the accident), how can you defend taxing me to pay for someone else’s medical care?

  17. octogalore says:

    RKMK, I enjoyed the analogy as well.

    As an aside, while the libertarian you were arguing with wasn’t, most libertarians are pro choice.

  18. cloaking device says:

    yttik : loved that article! my ex got a tattoo from the main dyke mentioned in it, way back when we lived in Seattle & she still had the parlor. We frequented the Wild Rose alot too until the owner sold it & they niced it up too much. man, I wish I’d been old enough to experience some of that movement in the 70s -sounds like fun.

  19. Three Wickets says:

    I cannot get the image of ye’s puck tableaus out of my head. Are the propellers battery operated or manual wind-up.

    I also quite like the car accident analogy, as long as it applies to the case of an unintended pregnancy – an important caveat for when the analogy will no doubt be taught in medical and law schools. For an intended pregnancy, the visual of a woman driving around looking for another vehicle to hit doesn’t quite work. That is unless we’re advocating for totally contact free roads and highways, and I’m guessing we’re not.

  20. Branjor says:

    Fantastic post, RKMK! I really appreciated how you developed the analogy on the other thread.

  21. Jamie W. says:

    RKMK- A rabidly pro-life libertarian? That’s weird.

    Tx, Dr. Socks — and I’m embarrassed that my dorky comment was taken seriously. I’ll bring in some Dancing Bears — a tasty purple fruity drink that some friends of mine invented that will have you seeing dancing bears if you drink too much of it! Then I’ll just walk around quietly and — keep learning.

  22. Lorenzo says:

    Abortion is intractable because it is one of those “what does it mean to be human?” debates.

    The war against human sexual diversity is all about “what does it mean to be human?” Catholic (and Orthodox) natural law theory defines people as heterosexual-by-nature so same-sex orientation is a “false form” of the human (“objectively disordered” is the current jargon term). So nothing they want in terms of their orientation counts or has any standing. The evangelicals buy into that through cherry-picking Leviticus and St Paul’s use of natural law theory (almost certainly from Philo of Alexandria).

    Of course, once you get into the game of “false forms” of the human, extermination is the natural endpoint.

    The same groups notoriously define a fetus as human. So a fetus counts as a full human for moral purposes, but a same-sex oriented person does not.

    The other link is all about sex. Since the One God is solitary, the One God is not sexual, so sex separates us from the divine EXCEPT in its creative aspect, so the only thing that justifies sex is its ability to create life and bind life-creators.

    It is all very coherent, if you do not let things like the issue of forcing women to give birth and systematic cruelty towards your fellow humans bother you.

    There is also a lot of effortless virtue involved. Heterosexuals deciding that same-sex activity is evil are not giving anything up. It gives a sense of virtue requiring no effort (apart from completely refusing to give the other person any credence).

    Men deciding abortion is wrong are also not giving anything up. The situation with women is obviously, indeed notoriously, more complicated. Such as how motherhood fits into the sense of being a woman. But the thinkers who worked the details of the system out were all men. Typically, celibate, unmarried men.

  23. sharon says:

    Ah, the smoking lounge. I love it that a bunch of women are in here. Didn’t smoking lounges once used to be only the province of men, presumably those in power, where they could discuss manly subjects like dividing up Europe, or enslaving indigenous peoples? Advanced, enlightened topics like that.

    I think it will be a markedly improved outcome with women withdrawing to the smoking lounge for serious debates on topics of importance. *sharon kicks back, grabs her vodka soda tall, and lights up a cigarette*

    I am optimistic that conservatives, libertarians, and others are turning up here. This happened to me once before – oh yeah – on the John McCain site, where many dazed Hillary supporters wandered when it was clear she was out of it (damn it). To our surprise, the Republicans on that site turned out to be the complete antithesis of the obots we’d all just done months of battle with. Several Republican men commented on how fatigued we all sounded…and then of course…the obots followed us there to hound us and call us all racists, and the Republicans realized what had been happening to us. I thought, naively, that the Republicans would be far better equipped to round up the obots and dispense of them, considering this was Rove’s party. But apparently all those Republicans have gone into hiding. The ones on McCain’s site were…reasonable, polite, and stunned at the vitriol coming from the obots. Many Hillary supporters felt really welcomed there, and we started having some of these open dialogues, like on Violet’s blog, where we learned we had a lot more in common than we thought. After all, they were supposed to be the ENEMY. Unfortunately, it was liberal Dems that turned out to be the enemy of women. What a shock that the Republicans turned out to be the ones to provide many of us with refuge. Yeah you could argue that was because they wanted us to convert to Republicanism, to vote McCain, etc. Sure. But the sense of openness there, and willingness to talk with us about what happened to Hillary, and listen to our thoughts about women’s issues…well, I had never seen or experienced that kind of collaboration before, between Repubs, Dems and Independents, and it was refreshing.

    Those dialogues gave me some hope that maybe we might be able to transcend some party hard lines. We weren’t shot down at all, even when many Republicans there realized a whole lot of pro-choicers were coming over. Just like on Violet’s blog, you can see where people who thought they were standing behind hard lines found out they thought the same things about an uncomfortable subject, and it made for an unusual, if tentative, conversation.

    I’d love to see more of it, especially in the notion of advancing women’s issues. Donna Darko keeps pointing out, correctly, that conservative women are very focused on gender equality and ending sexism. Liberals have lost that high ground, in my mind. I am independent, so I’m not advocating mass defection or anything. But I’d like to see a voice that isn’t ideological or party-centric, but that works for a culture where women of all stripes can thrive.

    My own personal smoking lounge dream: I’d love to see Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, Green, and Independent women of power battling it out on stage, arguing their positions…as their party’s presidential nominees. Wouldn’t that be a treat to finally take that stage as women, and hold it?

    *exhale*

  24. m Andrea says:

    Oh my fucking god, a dead man is accorded more autonomyy and respect that a mere sentient woman.

    I am so thorry to sound devisive, but if there is a god, then the pro-choicers are going to rot in hell for that one.

    And Lorenzo, I know you were being facetious, but making the debate all about the baybee plays right into their sactimonious non-logical hands. In reality, where I live, it’s all about human rights. Which means a reasonable person has to consider the effect of forced pregnancy on females, as a class. They never want to chat about that, I notice. Therefore, they are not reasonable…

  25. Unree says:

    octogalore, sure, most libertarians oppose government prohibitions of abortion. But come on … do any of these dudes make it a priority? Think of all their yammering about guns and taxes and motorcycle helmets. None of the restrictions that chafe them are anywhere nearly so invasive and life-changing as an unwanted pregnancy. If they were sincere about liberty, they’d declare up front that abortion is the most important libertarian issue.

  26. octogalore says:

    Unree — I can’t speak for the dudes, but libertarian Democrat (mostly), I do. I’d argue that liberal dudes don’t make it a priority, either, unless it’s being used purely to corral women.

    here, by Joan Kennedy Taylor, talks about how libertarian and feminist beliefs connect.

  27. octogalore says:

    Meant “as a” libertarian Democrat. Sorry, typo.

  28. Honora says:

    Not sure why the ‘you’ in the
    story needed to be driving the car and ‘causing’ the accident. In real life the ‘accident’ is sometimes caused by a rapist, sorry a criminal that illegally gains control of the car and is the one totally responsible for the injured person’s need for a kidney.

    I give up, much as I understand the view that we should ignore the elephant in the room, forced pregnancy, and let people agree on the easy stuff, in my heart I know that a true feminist patriot would tackle the tough issue. Self-determination is vital to personhood.

  29. Sis says:

    My experience with libertarian men is no different than with any other man. They support (understatement)abortion because they aren’t going to 1.) get a vasectomy, 2.)wear a condom 3.) choose to raise *your* child (this is where *choice* comes in with libertarian men).

  30. Lana says:

    The main issue for pro-lifers is the “life” aspect… so the analogy does not stand up – their issue is with the living foetus having an equal right to life as the mother. The kidney is a single organ, not an undeveloped organism. The analogy misses the crux of the controversy.

  31. Jamie W. says:

    I can’t look at abortion in a reasonable manner, I think. Right now I’m about 5 months along with my fifth, and I can’t imagine this individual in me is kicking me with anything but malice! I know that’s a fallacy, but there it is.

    I’ve always had a choice legally, and I keep saying — and I mean it — that I am grateful I had the choice because it made me love the resultant children more. But personally, I DON’T have a choice; it is not in me to abort a baby. This was used against me once, when my SO at the time decided his son needed a playmate, and did not give me a choice at the time of conception; since, as my husband says, I’m fertile as the Nile valley, that was that. I love the resultant child very much, but I’d just as soon kill his father. It needs to be recognized that this happens, and probably more often than people realize.

    I got smart after that and found a REAL man.

  32. Nell says:

    Exactly, Sis. Men pontificating on abortion makes me crazy.

    I can sum up my position in four words: No uterus, no opinion. Abortion law has been enacted by overwhelmingly male legislatures and adjudicated in courts dominated by male judges. It is fundamentally undemocratic.

    If you have a penis, keep it in your pants and STFU!

  33. sister of ye says:

    Note: Do not overcook or will taste like hockey puck.

    In that case I’ll make a piece of art out of it.

    Men pontificating on abortion makes me crazy.

    Men pontificating on anything makes me crazy. But I grew up with six brothers, so I think that accounts for it.

    Dr. Socks, I mentioned my puck art here some months back. Will send a few pix tomorrow from work. One will be the bathroom pic, I think – it may provide ideas the next time you redecorate the smoking lounge.

    Didn’t have a choice on the colors. It seems that all the toys intended for girls now are pink and/or purple. Which I like but, sheez! Back in the days when I was a kid, when Barbies were still made out of rocks, at least she got to wear green or blue or some bitchin’ gold lame.

  34. sis says:

    I draw a blank trying to picture this. A hockey puck–about the size of a hamburger patty right? (And other similarities).

    I have a feeling you should set up a PayPal account. Or look into Etsy.

    This could be our, thing, whachamacallit. We’ll know each other this way.

  35. Violet says:

    The main issue for pro-lifers is the “life” aspect… so the analogy does not stand up – their issue is with the living foetus having an equal right to life as the mother. The kidney is a single organ, not an undeveloped organism. The analogy misses the crux of the controversy.

    The other driver needs the kidney to live.

  36. M says:

    If you’re going to consider the fetus a human being then forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term isn’t giving the fetus the same right as the woman. It’s giving the fetus the right to cause pain and physical harm to the woman while taking away the woman’s right to not be hurt by another human being as well as the right to protect herself.

    Calling the fetus a human being can lead to two things:

    1. We accept the woman’s rights as valid. If the woman doesn’t want the pregnancy then the fetus is a criminal and needs to be removed even if it gets killed in the process.

    2. We ignore or invalidate the woman’s rights. Abortion is murder, therefore the woman and the doctor are murderers. A pregnant woman must be forced to carry the pregnancy to term regardless of her own wishes or circumstances (if necessary, she needs to be restrained and kept under constant surveillance). This MUST apply even if the pregnancy is a result of rape, even if the woman (or fetus) is in serious danger and even if the fetus is most likely to be born with severe health conditions and die in a few days. A miscarriage should be treated as a possible homicide and thoroughly investigated. A woman doing anything that might threaten the pregnancy (even, say, having a drink once) should be considered a criminal act.

  37. Aspen says:

    how can you defend taxing me to pay for someone else’s medical care?

    That’s how health insurance works, whether it is public or private. “you” (healthy people), at any given time, are paying for “someone else” (sick people). Insurance pools the risk. While you are healthy, you pay more into the system than you use. This concept is attractive because you don’t know when you may get in a car accident and then have to rack up a couple hundred thousand dollars or millions of dollars of debt having yourself stitched back together. At which time, it would then be others paying for your health care. It works this way regardless if the insurance is public or private.

  38. Aspen says:

    A rabidly pro-life libertarian? That’s weird.

    It’s not uncommon. Ron Paul is anti-choice.

  39. tinfoil hattie says:

    Everybody who’s anybody knows of the internet genius of the famous RKMK. :-)

    Lana, Violet is right. It’s not the kidney that is at stake, it’s the other driver’s life. So according to a pro-life point of view, Driver #1 should be forced to put Driver #2′s life above her own, and give her the kidney.

    One comment on childbirth: It’s not all scary and horrifying and life-threatening. Some births are actually a joyful experience, even without an epidural, and with the doctor showing up at the last minute in welding mask and hip waders, ready to “deliver” (i.e., “catch”) the baby.

    And having said that, the problem is we never know which kind of birth experience we’re going to have, so to dismiss pregnancy and childbirth as no big deal is to once again diminish women’s value.

  40. Branjor says:

    The analogy is of the fetus with the other driver, not of the fetus with the kidney.

  41. Lexia says:

    RKMK nailed it, absolutely. I knew U.S. law does not force a man to give so much as a teaspoon of his own blood to anyone else, not even to his own child, not even to save the child’s life. But I hadn’t made the connection that a man’s right to his body survives even his own life. (Women have access to these rights, and the other famous U.S. rights the guys say we should fight so fiercely for, only when we can “pass” as men, i.e. when the rights in question cannot possibly differ one iota between women’s and men’s physical or societal circumstances.)

    The giant thread that became the fabric for the new curtains got me to thinking about that aspect of abortion. Why -doesn’t- the fierce determination among those who would restrict abortion or deny it altogether extend to denying men bodily autonomy on the same basis? Not why would someone want abortion to not be necessary, but why does opposition to abortion extend so far as to justify denying women and only women a person’s most basic physical integrity?

    I think the heart of the matter is that every law that imposes different penalties for the same act depending solely on physical characteristics makes those subject to those penalties unequal. That’s why abortion is such a huge, as Violet would say, shitstorm. It’s on a continuum with saying that job discrimination against women for becoming parents is okay, or allowing men who beat up their wives and girlfriends to get out of jail with the lightest of sentences is okay, or with the mystifying hiatus in courts’ ability to determine fact in rape cases.

    To say that criminalizing a result of sex that is unique to women isn’t about sexism is like saying racism is a just a debate over melanin. The physical characteristic that marks the caste is reified to become the reason for the caste.

  42. RKMK says:

    PS. The traffic accident analogy: If you think it’s wrong to force someone to surrender a kidney (I agree, but I might make an exception if s/he caused the accident), how can you defend taxing me to pay for someone else’s medical care?

    Easy-peasy. Taxation doesn’t violate your right to bodily autonomy. And the point of the allegory is that you DID cause the accident, whether by outside forces (black ice) or distraction/lack of care. The point is, are you really comfortable giving the state the power to order the extraction of your organs? Sentencing you to a greater likelihood of death? Definitely subjecting you to hours of an amount of pain that, in any other circumstance, could be likened to that of torture?

    Maybe you’re that retributive, but I’m certainly not.

    For an intended pregnancy, the visual of a woman driving around looking for another vehicle to hit doesn’t quite work. That is unless we’re advocating for totally contact free roads and highways, and I’m guessing we’re not.

    I’m sorry, I’m confused – I’m not familiar with any woman who purposefully gets pregnant in order to seek an abortion. There are of course, women who want to have children and then discover late in the process that the child has no brain stem, etc. Am I missing what you’re trying to say?

    RKMK- A rabidly pro-life libertarian? That’s weird.

    Indeed. He wasn’t actually rabidly pro-life, so much as a raving misogynist.

    From what I pieced together over our 4-day debate, an ex-girlfriend of his had had an abortion, and while he supported it at the time, he was working through his guilt a couple of years later, and he was fence-sitting about “Ok, maybe one time” but he had a problem with these mythical legions of slutty women who have 2 or 3 abortions, and those irresponsible slutty bitches were being criminally reckless and HAD TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.

    Not sure why the ‘you’ in the
    story needed to be driving the car and ‘causing’ the accident. In real life the ‘accident’ is sometimes caused by a rapist, sorry a criminal that illegally gains control of the car and is the one totally responsible for the injured person’s need for a kidney.

    Oh, totally. But even people who oppose abortion will often agree that in the case of rape or incest, it’s not fair to force the woman to carry a child to term. But they do feel, quite strongly, that if the woman had a voluntary hand in creating the situation (had sex freely/chose to drive the car) then she should take responsibility dammit! And this analogy is supposed to address that particular circumstance.

    The main issue for pro-lifers is the “life” aspect… so the analogy does not stand up – their issue is with the living foetus having an equal right to life as the mother. The kidney is a single organ, not an undeveloped organism. The analogy misses the crux of the controversy.

    Please re-read more carefully. The other driver, who you’ve hit, represents the fetus. I don’t actually agree that life begins at conception, but the point of the analogy is that even if I concede to that, there is no other situation where people are forced to sacrifice their bodies to save the life of another – even if they had a hand in it, or even if they’re dead and no longer using their organs themselves.

    Men pontificating on abortion makes me crazy.

    Word. Presidential debates are particularly grating to me. McCain vs. Obama, calmly debating what they’re going to decide the little ladeez can do with their bodies. Ugh.

  43. SYD says:

    What I have learned from Dr. Violet’s blog these past several discussions is this:

    If I disagree with pro-choicers ON ANY POINT WHATSOEVER they believe I am stupid… and not understanding what they are saying. So they keep repeating the same argument in different ways. Hoping that I will wake up and see the light.

    It is bemusing. Mainly because I have been one of those pro-choicers for many years. And I probably behaved the same way toward anyone who disagreed with me.

    It’s weird, really, how one Feminist smackdown wake me up out of that delusion….

    I still can’t believe how much 2008 changed me.

  44. SYD says:

    *woke* me up, I mean.

    Sorry.

    Oh, and the new decor is totally breath-taking. (Appropos for a “smoking lounge” I suppose. Teehee.)

  45. RKMK says:

    Where did someone call you stupid, SYD?

  46. Andi says:

    Could one of you regular readers point me towards a post and thoughtful discussion that addresses the sexualization of our daughters?

    A was one of those indoctrinated into the ‘who needs men and babies’ style of womanhood, and I therefore missed a large portion of valuable time dismissing ‘family’ as a drag upon some undefined larger cause. So, I know what culture and media can do.

    When the issue of abortion comes up, I tend to put it into a larger context. Somebody in a recent thread brought up CSI Miami. I stopped watching that show. It seems that practically every show begins with a man and woman, strangers to each other, getting off in a bathroom stall. And, of course, the woman is equally orgasmic as the man – the only ingredient necessary to her ultimate fulfillment being a penis stuck in her vagina for thirty seconds.

    Anyway, I DO associate this type of sexualization with abortions. And, in my insulated world, I blame men. They do seem to be the major beneficiaries… don’t they? Women now feel the need to pretend at a raging sexual drive that matches every rutting male in a bar, while having the choice of aborting the resulting inconvenient (to men) result.

    Yes, I am generalizing. When I say I blame ‘men’, I don’t mean to blame all men. Just the ones that PUSH an image of women that meets their own male fantasy and wishful lifestyle.

  47. Gender2010 says:

    Do the pro-lifers here agree with the current political reality of the pro-life nation of El Salvador where abortion is illegal? See body of Violet’s main post for link.
    I think the abortion argument hinges on what the penalties should be for the woman. El Salvador seems to have handled that in a practical way. Do you agree?

  48. Malcolm Kirkpatrick says:

    (RKMK): “Taxation doesn’t violate your right to bodily autonomy. And the point of the allegory is that you DID cause the accident, whether by outside forces (black ice) or distraction/lack of care. The point is, are you really comfortable giving the state the power to order the extraction of your organs? Sentencing you to a greater likelihood of death? Definitely subjecting you to hours of an amount of pain that, in any other circumstance, could be likened to that of torture?”

    The State extracts taxes through the threat of prison. Imprisonment, with the real threat of forcible HIV innoculation, doesn’t violate my right to bodily autonomy? We disagree, here.

    Furthermore, income is positively correlated with longevity. Maybe taxation doesn’t have the effect of forcible kidney donation, but it approximates forcible donation of a slice of something (blood or bone marrow, maybe). (btw, I’m on the bone marrow and organ donation registries and was up to 42 pints at the blood bank before I unaccountably tested positive for HB(c). Dunno why; I’m not into needles and, as Rodney Dangerfield once said, if it wasn’t for pickpockets I wouldn’t have a sex life.)

    I’m not a lawyer, but it looks to me that, in law, when you cause an injury, you are required to make the other party whole. Take the word “responsible” apart: it means “response-able”. In civil law, you pay for the damage for which you are responsible. In criminal law, you suffer enough that others are discouraged from inflicting the damage for which you are responsible.

    (Nell): “Men pontificating on abortion makes me crazy. I can sum up my position in four words: No uterus, no opinion. Abortion law has been enacted by overwhelmingly male legislatures and adjudicated in courts dominated by male judges. It is fundamentally undemocratic. If you have a penis, keep it in your pants and STFU!”

    When I was born, the human populatiopn of this planet was under 4 billion, and of the US, under 150 million. When people deliver their children on another planet, I will STFU about that planet. In the mean time, I live here too.

    Please read Garrett Hardin: “The Tragedy of the Commons”.

  49. Andi says:

    Gender, what part of the El Salvador laws seem ‘practical’ to you? The thirty year imprisonment or the threat of imprisonment in order to gain information on the doctor?

  50. Three Wickets says:

    RKMK,

    I’m only saying the analogy may not extend to cases where a woman may want to become pregnant and carry to term. Having to sacrifice the kidney still obviously applies, but is it still the result of a car wreck, albeit a voluntary one. I’m not disputing the strength of the analogy or arguing a point of view. Just understanding its parameters.

  51. Gender2010 says:

    As I have ways said, if life begins at conception then abortion is murder and should be dealt with accordingly.
    El Salvador has accomplished this. However, the abortion debate seems to go around and around the main issue: the penalty.
    I would love to hear the pro-lifers discuss the El Salvador example. I mean, they must believe in this solution, yet I don’t hear talk about this. Why is that?

  52. Sis says:

    I don’t mean to blame all men. Just the ones that PUSH an image of women that meets their own male fantasy and wishful lifestyle.

    ##

    Sigh. There isn’t any other kind. It just depends where, when, and upon whom they choose to exercise this patriarchal entitlement. (ie): Spitzer.

    Sexualization of young women: this blog has a pretty good search engine and, here: http://www.alternet.org/story/85977/, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmUw9Dx6vbU, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6376421.stm.

  53. DancingOpossum says:

    RKMK, I just used that Judith Thomson analogy in another thread discussing abortion — but I couldn’t remember her name!! Thanks for the reminder…and btw I think your analogy is even easier to get people to appreciate.

  54. Andi says:

    Gender, as I have seen mentioned at this site numerous times, the “pro-life” label is a generalization that hides a vast array of opinions held by those who consider themselves “pro-life”.

    Not all “pro-lifers” think that conception rejection is murder. In fact, most that I am aware of, reject that notion.

  55. DancingOpossum says:

    And the smoking lounge is gorgeous. I feel very productive lighting up my El Producto.

    “In real life the ‘accident’ is sometimes caused by a rapist”

    Honora, that’s true but I don’t want the pro-choice position to revolve around that. The numbers are too small and it’s too unusual a situation to be universally applicable. If the abortion issue is about a woman’s bodily autonomy, period, and I maintain that it is, then I don’t give a good g.d. why a woman wants one, how many she’s had, or what she did or didn’t do to prevent pregnancy. There are a lot of things I pass moral judgment on. This ain’t one.

  56. Bella Donna says:

    @Gender2010

    Because I’ve never heard of any pro-lifer supporting the criminalization of women who have abortions.

    And I was raised in the Church of Christ.

    I could maybe see some rabid men supporting it, but I think most pro-life women simply want abortion to not happen.

    I’ve recently come to realize that the only way that “optional” abortion (not for the life or health of the mother, not because of rape or incest) will be reduced is if we live in a society where women are seen as equal to men.

    I’ve seen too many women “choose” to have abortion due to the coercion of men.

    A pro-life Christian, who was convinced by her husband to abort a baby diagnosed with Downs, because her “duty” as a wife was to him, and she would probably be too tired and run-down if she had to take care of a disabled child all day.

    A “loose” girl who’s boyfriend first begged her to let him screw her without a condom, because it “felt better” then told her he would leave her if she kept her child.

    I’m not saying that all women only have abortions because they are forced to. Or that women should only have abortions in situations when I am “okay” with it.

    But I do think there would be a lot less unwanted pregnancies in a world were girls weren’t treated as sexual objects from the time they hit puberty on, in a world where a Christian woman would feel that she could divorce her husband if necessary, to keep her child, and not worry about being treated like a pariah by her whole community, and felt reassured that she would be supported by her Christian sisters, a world where girls weren’t living on the streets and prostituting their bodies for food, where contraception was easy to obtain.

    I don’t know if all of these goals are obtainable, but I have recently become convicted, that even if I have to vote for pro-choice politicians to get women into office and represented in government, it will do more, in the end to lessen the abortion rates then voting only for men who want to legislate abortion away.

  57. Nell says:

    I would describe El Salvador’s penalty approach to abortion “offenders” not so much as practical, but honest, something the leadership of the pro-life movement in this country is not. If one believes that abortion is the first degree murder (and what could be more pre-meditated than deciding to have and then going through with an abortion?) of a person whose life is of equal value to that of the woman in whose body the fetus/person temporarily resides, then the penalties for that murder ought to be the same under the law.

    But of course, Gender 2010, you are absolutely right. The most ardent Right-to-Lifers (while cranking up the rhetoric by claiming that abortion is “murder”) never advocate life imprisonment or the death penalty for women who seek and doctors who perform abortions (excluding the occasional deranged nutcase who decides to take the law into his own hands). It’s intellectual dishonesty, pure and simple.

    The abortion debate in this country is so much political theatre–and both parties want to keep it that way. It’s red meat for the base (on both the right and the left) and keeps the money flowing in.

    Gender, I know you asked for a pro-life perspective on your question of penalties and, not being in the pro-life camp, I’m not providing that, but rather agreeing with and elaborating a bit on your point. Allow me to add, however, that I am not suggesting that all those who espouse a pro-life point of view are dishonest–not at all–but most of the leadership (almost invariably male) is.

  58. sister of ye says:

    What puzzles me is why pro-lifers are so concerned about other people’s offspring.

    They’re not using their massive political machine to push for anti-poverty programs, comprehensive pre-natal care or universal healthcare to care for those resultant people. Sure, there are individual exceptions, and the pro-lifers here may be among them. But you’re not seeing, say, the Catholic Church threatening to excommunicate politicians who don’t support Medicare for all.

    If you’re not going to be around to care for someone emotionally and physically, why does it bother you so much that a potential life isn’t born? The “I got you born, kid, now you’re on your own” idea of “caring” seems callous and even cruel to me.

    P.S. Tried to send my puck pix, Dr. Socks, but the email program at work won’t recognize your address. I’ll try tonight from home.

  59. JeanLouise says:

    I would talk about Judge Sotomayor if I went to a cocktail party, tonight.

  60. Gender2010 says:

    If one wants to overturn Roe because They believe the abortion issue should be returned to the states then the only reason one would want that (in an honest way) is to believe that the voters in Each state have the right to decide that abortion is murder.
    There’s that El Salvador example again.

  61. seattlegal says:

    Bella Donna said,
    “I’ve recently come to realize that the only way that “optional” abortion (not for the life or health of the mother, not because of rape or incest) will be reduced is if we live in a society where women are seen as equal to men.”

    Like gender-selective abortions in India and China. :(

    I know it’s been outlawed in India, but how many wells have they found filled with aborted female fetuses since then?

  62. Violet says:

    Sister of ye, try this:

    violetsocks@gmail.com

  63. Malcolm Kirkpatrick says:

    (Gender 2010, #60): “If one wants to overturn Roe because they believe the abortion issue should be returned to the states then the only reason one would want that (in an honest way) is to believe that the voters in Each state have the right to decide that abortion is murder. There’s that El Salvador example again.”

    Not at all. Abortion was legal in Hawaii before Roe, and I was a member of ZPG at the time. One can support Federalism generally and prefer some specific outcome of State-level political processes. The reasoning in Roe was bogus: given the “viability” criteria, abortion would become more restricted as medical technology allowed ever more premature neonates to survive (obviously, the Court itself did not believe its own reasoning, here), and, if “privacy” is a constitutional right, there is no more reason to overturn State-level abortion law than to overturn a slew of other laws regarding what an individual can do with his/her body (e.g., minimum wage legislation, anti-prostitution legislation).

    By nationalizing the issue with bogus reasoning, the court created a winner-take-all situation AND ending rational conversation on the issue, practically guaranteeing clinic bombings and the murder of abortionists.

  64. gxm17 says:

    RKMK’s argument is very similar to one Judith Jarvis used in A Defense of Abortion. It’s always been an excellent point. And I don’t understand how anti-choicers fail to connect the ethical wrongness of forced organ donation with forced pregnancy. They are one and the same. One half of the human population should not be forced to provide “life” support just because they have wombs.

  65. Phlinn says:

    RKMK, I think your analogy is flawed, but still useful. I was going to respond on the initial thread, but here seems like a better choice.

    With the car accident example, without some sort of action to change the situation, the other driver will die. With pregnancy, doing nothing to change the situation will probably leave both of you alive, assuming a normal pregnancy without complications. I actually had a similar mandatory organ donation discussion on Alas, a blog a few days before it came up here.

    The analogy still sort of works, if the decision whether or not to donate initially corresponds to the decision whether or not to use emergency contraception or a very early abortion. A generalized coumpulsory organ donation is closer to mandatory fertilization to birth, but compulsory donation after you caused an accident can be compared to banning even early abortion. If you would agree that someone who doesn’t object to abortion until the second trimester could be called pro-life, then there is no reason that pro-life logic demands mandatory organ donation.

    On a different note, you indicate that taxation is not a violation of bodily integrity. Would you then agree that you don’t have a right to imprison someone for not paying taxes? It’s not as simple to differentiate universal health coverage and mandatory blood donation as you might think. Malcolm Kirkpatrick in #48 covered the points pretty well I think.

    Nell, “No uterus, no opinion”. That’s like saying if I personally don’t own a farm, I have no say in whether it’s legitimate for a farmer to shoot a trespasser.

  66. soopermouse says:

    People still think “pro life” is about babies? Bullshit
    “pro-life” is about punishing women for havign sex. If it was about babies, all of the prolifers would have a minimum of 15 adopted children. Why don’t they?
    I have no problem with a pro life woman whose beliefs end with her own uterus- she doesnt like abortiosn so she doesn’t have them. But don’t you fucking date to impose those beliefs on others.

    I’m from Romania. I lived through the 80′s there and only an idiot can think that less abortions= more babies. Illegal abortions means a lot of dead women, left to die because they would not divulge who helped them, a lot of poor women left the babies in the hospital because they couldnt care for them remember those documentaries from Romania in the 90′s? about 50k street children living in sewers? They were the result of that policy.
    Incidentally- even in those conditions, a pregnancy as a result of rape/incest, or damaging to the mother’s health could be terminated legally. Yes, Ceausescu had more of a heart than modern day American prolifers.
    Incidentally, women were reeiving more state support as well- state paid child alimony, paid maternity leave of up to 18 months, affordable childcare, free healthcare.

  67. Jamie W. says:

    See, this is the kind of discussion everyone needs to have openly. I’m so sick of “discussions” where the epitome of argument is denigrating someone else’s intelligence because they think differently from you! Those never make me think, but they do make me stop caring about the other side.

    I think everyone’s kinda getting to the real core of the issue: few if any want abortion criminalized; no one wants to be forced to give up a kidney (though I’m sure there are those who would volunteer one – I would, assuming I had one to spare); and the real problem is minimizing the necessity for abortion to begin with through educating women to respect themselves and men to respect women’s choices.

    Is that about right? Are these three points that everyone can agree on, regardless of whether they view a fetus as a baby or not?

    Because if we can get a core for this one issue that causes the most contention between conservatives and liberals, then just maybe we can really, honestly, truly grow a healthy coalition and move forward again. For the sake of my daughter’s future — and everyone’s daughters’ futures — I sure would like to see that happen.

  68. Unree says:

    Violet, it just occurs to me that (I think) “really” is misplaced in your headline.

  69. Gender2010 says:

    So, if most don’t want abortion crminalized then how can they apply the “life” reason to the anti-abortion debate? An embryo is either a “human life” or it is not.

  70. bob coley jr says:

    RKMK’s analogy is well thought out and intriguing. Those that voice other opinions/solutions have much insight as well. But the treatment of abortion as an issue of law or morality puts it in the same context as equal pay, etc.. The math of the planet is paramount in this issue of population, not just a legal or moral debate on rights or morality. It is the fate of sentient beings on this planet that separates reproduction from all other issues. “The Edict” and “Solient Green” anyone? IMHO population concern is our mandate if we as a species are to survive. Feminism deals with the now or not to distant future. We need to multi-task it seems!

  71. Violet says:

    You’re right, Unree, thank you. Fixed it.

  72. sister of ye says:

    Dr. Socks, tried the other address and it seemed to work. If you post the pix, I’ll know for sure.

    Someday I’ll remember to get the film developed with the pucks I gave as Xmas gifts. (Didn’t have a digital camera yet.)

  73. Violet says:

    Nell, “No uterus, no opinion”. That’s like saying if I personally don’t own a farm, I have no say in whether it’s legitimate for a farmer to shoot a trespasser.

    Only if non-farm owners had a long, long history of dictating to farmers every detail of how they could run their farms, even to the point of grievous bodily harm, while themselves being fundamentally protected from ever having to deal with the trespassing issue or anything else that the farmers have suffered.

    I do tend to agree that men have no business legislating abortion.

  74. Violet says:

    People still think “pro life” is about babies? Bullshit
    “pro-life” is about punishing women for having sex.

    Not always. Maybe for most pro-lifers, but not all. Some pro-lifers (usually women themselves) have no problem with sex or contraception, but genuinely believe that a fetus is a lifeform that deserves protection.

    If you ignore that, and assume that all pro-lifers are sex-hating misogynists, then you’re making the same mistake as people like Amanda Marcotte, who are so locked into their own narrow ideology that they cannot even perceive other opinions.

    From the perspective of advocating for choice, I think it’s good to understand where people are really coming from. Well, that’s true for anything. Know thy enemy, if you will.

    What I would argue is that underlying all anti-choice arguments is a profound diminution of respect for women as people. The most sincere pro-lifers are generally unaware of this, which is why things like the kidney transplant analogy help. People are conditioned to think of women as creatures whose purpose is to serve/nurture other creatures, whereas men (and children) exist to exist.

  75. Violet says:

    The hockey puck art has arrived! I’ve curated the objects and put them up in the post. Thank you, sister of ye. Your work is important and challenging.

  76. Three Wickets says:

    Well, puck a duck. Wish I had such talent. I particularly like the detailing on the three monkeys who see, hear, and say nothing, while the other two are having a party. Very thoughtful. And the tile work on the bathroom floor is exquisite.

  77. gxm17 says:

    If you would agree that someone who doesn’t object to abortion until the second trimester could be called pro-life, then there is no reason that pro-life logic demands mandatory organ donation.

    How about after birth? Should a mother be required to provide organs if her child’s survival depends on it? If conception carries the provision of life sustenance, then what about fathers? Should they be legally required to provide organs, blood or bone marrow?

    I recall a case many years ago where a mother was trying to force her child’s step siblings to undergo testing to see if they could provide (IIRC) bone marrow. The mother of the step siblings refused. Her refusal was upheld by a court decision. As cold as someone else might judge her refusal, it would clearly have been wrong for the government to intervene and force the children to comply. (It was the stepmother’s contention that the children were too young to undergo the procedure.)

    A woman’s bodily integrity is hers, and hers alone. She should not be required to share her organs. Ever. All of the extraneous situational constructs (was she using birth control, was she raped, was she promiscuous, has she had “too many” abortions) are BS. If one wants to think less of a woman who has an abortion for a certain reason, that’s their business. But it is wrong to deny us the right to control own bodies by creating laws that criminalize abortion or make an abortion impossible to come by. I’ve always said: You take away a woman’s right to have an abortion and you take away a woman’s right to bear a child. They go hand in hand.

  78. Gender2010 says:

    Loving the Puck Art. Great work!

  79. Jamie W. says:

    On a different note, this is a really interesting article:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-07-13/obamas-other-wife-1/

    First line: “It’s time for Barack Obama to let Hillary Clinton take off her burqa.”

    I’ll admit it: I never liked Hillary Clinton, not even when the Clintons first stepped into the White House and I was pretty liberal. In the last year, however, watching the incredible disrespect shown to a woman who, after all, really DOES know a few things — my view is rapidly changing.

    I was just telling the husband today it’s kind of a shame she took the SecState job instead of staying with the Senate to build a centrist coalition to oppose Obama. She could have had a heck of a power base that way. But how was she to know she’d be treated like crap — again?

  80. Sis says:

    She scores.

    How did you ever come up with this idea? Too many hockey pucks; no hockey puck recycler in your neighbourhood; revenge?

  81. soopermouse says:

    Violet
    “Not always. Maybe for most pro-lifers, but not all. Some pro-lifers (usually women themselves) have no problem with sex or contraception, but genuinely believe that a fetus is a lifeform that deserves protection. ”

    The question is: do they believe the woman deserves protection as well? Does their wsh to protect the fetus extend after birth? Are they willign to adopst said fetii, help the mother whilst pregnant, etc? Because if not, it’s still world class hypocrisy.

    I can understand and appreciate Sarah Palin because she seems to:
    1. walk the walk.
    2. regardless of what the obots lied, there is no evidence of her trying to impose her choice on others. I have no problem with her choices as long as she doesn’t try to impose them on me.

    Most of the pro life women I ever talked to (I know, anecdote’s plural is not evidence), always managed to get to “damn slut should keep her legs closed”. Even fucking feminists have foamed at the mouth about women who use abortion as birth control.

    And that is bullshit.
    I use abortion as birth control. I had 7 so far. Do you know why? Because I come from a family where the 2 recessive genes that cause breast cancer are present. Most of my female relatives on my mother’s side have had cancer and the vast majority died from it. My doctor banned me from taking any sort of pill because of that, and believe it or not, condoms do fail. When I did go on BC- one year later I had a lump in my breast. Go figure.
    I chose to not have a hysterectomy, and lo and behold, I gt pregnant again. 2 years later I am still payign for the consequences of 2 months of pregnancy in 2007.

    Is the fetus a life form? Yeah, it is.That’s not the discussion. The discussion is about whether the fetus is more valuable than the mother.

  82. Bella Donna says:

    @ Gender2010

    “So, if most don’t want abortion criminalized then how can they apply the “life” reason to the anti-abortion debate? An embryo is either a “human life” or it is not.”

    I can’t speak for the entirety of the pro-life movement, but I can say that I don’t want it criminalized because I recognize that there are two lives at stake, the child and the mother.

    And I’m not just talking about cases where the pregnancy could result in the death of the mother.

    I believe that in an ideal world unwanted pregnancies wouldn’t happen, but I don’t think restricting abortion is the way to achieve the ideal.

    But I still call myself pro-life, because I do truly believe that abortion is taking the life of a child.

  83. Jamie W. says:

    Sis says:

    “How did you ever come up with this idea? Too many hockey pucks; no hockey puck recycler in your neighbourhood; revenge?”

    I think she just woke up one day and said, “Puck it.”

  84. RKMK says:

    The State extracts taxes through the threat of prison. Imprisonment, with the real threat of forcible HIV innoculation, doesn’t violate my right to bodily autonomy? We disagree, here.

    Clearly. When the US government starts waterboarding tax evaders, we’ll chat.

    Three Wickets – Ah, I see. Yes, the analogy really only works for the kind of unwanted pregnancy represented by the majority of first trimester abortions. I don’t think any particular analogy is needed for late trimester abortions, which are – nearly without exception – due to medical necessity.

    Dancing Opossum – Thanks! I always go back to Judith as the mental exercise… but I like mine better too. ;)

    Phlinn – With pregnancy, doing nothing to change the situation will probably leave both of you alive, assuming a normal pregnancy without complications.

    But that’s it right there. You’re assuming a normal pregnancy, which no one can guarantee. Even uncomplicated pregnancies can lead to complicated labour: see, for example, Allison @ #6. And even “uncomplicated” labour is viciously painful and goes on for hours. I repeat: pregnancy is never sunshine and roses. And no woman should be forced to undergo it in anything but a completely voluntary state.

    Would you then agree that you don’t have a right to imprison someone for not paying taxes?

    I would agree that tax evaders shouldn’t be forced to donate kidneys. Please brush up on the concept of bodily autonomy, OK? Thanks.

    And, seriously, why the fuck are we talking about fucking taxes? I see no correlation to tax policy and the issue of abortion and bodily autonomy, and I’m not going to get into this with a bunch of conservatives/libertarians, because the only thing more fruitless is getting involved in a land war in Asia. If you can understand the concept of paying a membership to a country club, paying taxes shouldn’t be that hard a concept to grasp: if you want to enjoy the privilege and benefits of being a citizen, you have to chip in your bit to help maintain the peace, stability and prosperity of the state at large. It’s not rocket science, for crying out loud. (Though, gosh gee whillikers, I wish I was born a white dude, so I could consider the height of my oppression to be chipping in to the public coffers to make sure roads are paved and everyone literate. Must be super nice up there on Mt. Privilege. Eesh.)

  85. ea says:

    Two points about abortion facts and history:

    1. When I discuss elective abortions, I present a medical perspective. It is almost always safer for a female to not be pregnant than to be pregnant. Ending a pregnancy prior to 20 weeks (yes, twenty) reduces the risk of death or significant morbidity anywhere from a factor of 10 to 100 (depending on gestational age and method). Given any other diagnosis in which an intervention can so tremendously affect the risk for an adverse event, refusal to provide the intervention would be malpractice. Those people who oppose pregnancy termination and say they are trying to protect the mother are FOS.

    2. The Roe v. Wade decision did actually impose restrictions on access, even though elective abortions became legal at the federal level. Many abortion rights proponents did NOT want that. Some advocates believed that there was some co-opting going on. I’m fuzzy on the details–been too long since I read it– but for anyone interested, look up The History of Jane.

  86. Lana says:

    “The other driver needs the kidney to live.”

    Analogy still doesn’t stand up – it’s the difference between allowing someone to die rather than killing someone. I know this is arguable, but that is a moral (and legal, at least where I come from) distinction.

    And defining the foetus as a “human” does not lead to those two conclusions, you simply must accept that in some situations, one life is valued over another. Since when is the suffering one person causes to another a valid factor in deciding whether that person can live? It is scientifically untenable to define life as starting from birth.

    I am pro-choice (as the Americans would say), by the way.

  87. Violet says:

    Even fucking feminists have foamed at the mouth about women who use abortion as birth control.

    I wonder if the mouth-foamers realize that abortion has been used as birth control for millenia?

    It’s striking how much of the current abortion debate is a product of the post-Pill sexual revolution. In most human societies up the 20th century, women used abortifacients as part of their various methods for spacing children. You miss a period, but you can’t afford another kid yet, so you drink an herbal brew.

  88. Gender2010 says:

    Bella Donna, fair enough that you don’t want it criminalized, but I do see many holes in the pro life argument. One hole is the belief that abortion is taking the life of a child. Because that sounds like murder to me.

  89. RKMK says:

    it’s the difference between allowing someone to die rather than killing someone

    You’re sniffing around it. It’s standing right in front of you, jumping up and down.

  90. Unree says:

    Analogy still doesn’t stand up – it’s the difference between allowing someone to die rather than killing someone.

    No, I don’t think so. RKMK had it right. Abortion is unique and so any comparison of it to anything else cannot be 100% exact. But the choice of a pregnant woman is uniquely narrow: (a) allow her body, at great danger and pain to herself, to be exploited by something (or call it “someone,” I don’t care) growing inside, or (b) do the only thing she can do to stop this dangerous exploitation.

    You call stopping the exploitation “killing,” but everywhere else we use “killing” to describe an act that is external to the body of the person who does the act. So you too have an analogy.

  91. leis says:

    Jamie W-

    I think it’s interesting that you said Hillary should have stayed in the Senate and built a centrist coalition to oppose Obama. I use the word interesting because HOLY CRAP! Wasn’t that his campaign slogan? “Vote for me and you aren’t really voting for a D, but you won’t hate yourself in the morning like you would if you actually voted for an R”…or something like that.

    I loved Hillary from the get-go. She is brilliant and ten kinds of awesome. I, too, was ambivalent about her taking SOS, but it is tremendous to watch her shine. Anyway I am not being an asshole, I just wanted to comment on an interesting take.

  92. Nell says:

    Another dishonest meme of the Right-to-Lifers: “Human life begins at conception.”

    The question in law is not when human life begins, but when “personhood” is recognized. If personhood is recognized at any point prior to birth, an irreconcilable conflict of interest exists between the pregnant “person” and the unborn “person.” Every unborn person would require a court appointed legal guardian to protect its interest against any potentially harmful actions by the pregnant person. Any pregnant woman diagnosed with cancer would no longer be free to make medical decisions for herself without the intervention of the unborn person’s guardian.

    As we all know, the pro-life movement has essentially abandoned the idea of reversing Roe, but has been extremely successful in restricting access to abortion by testing the limits of the “undue burden” test set forth in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. One of their more successful stealth campaigns has been in the passage of “violence against the unborn” statutes now enshrined in federal law and in more than 35 states. These laws are nothing more than a backdoor attempt to grant personhood to the unborn. The next step is a constitutional amendment. We must be ever vigilant, sisters.

    Abortion is a woman’s issue, period, full stop. To repeat, it is fundamentally undemocratic that abortion law has been enacted/adjudicated overwhelmingly by a ruling class to whom it does not apply.

    One more thing–the abortion issue is about far more than bodily autonomy. It speaks to every person’s right to self-determination and full moral agency.

  93. Violet says:

    If personhood is recognized at any point prior to birth, an irreconcilable conflict of interest exists between the pregnant “person” and the unborn “person.” Every unborn person would require a court appointed legal guardian to protect its interest against any potentially harmful actions by the pregnant person. Any pregnant woman diagnosed with cancer would no longer be free to make medical decisions for herself without the intervention of the unborn person’s guardian.

    Yep.

    I’ve said this before, but it seems to me there’s a super-easy and incredibly obvious way to determine when the fetus becomes a “person”: birth. It’s unmistakable. After all, that’s the system we’ve been using for humans and animals since time immemorial. When it’s born, when it emerges from the woman’s body that’s been growing it and becomes a separate entity breathing its own air, it’s a person. We give it a name and mark that day as its birthday. New human in the world. Not hard.

  94. RKMK says:

    One more thing–the abortion issue is about far more than bodily autonomy. It speaks to every person’s right to self-determination and full moral agency.

    Hear, hear. Thanks, Nell.

  95. TeresaINPa says:

    I have no problem with forgetting about abortion and working on the stuff we agree on. However when someone posts false information, I feel obligated as someone who has a bit of expertise, to set them straight. One of the reasons why more and more americans are becoming anti-choice is that the right wing social conservatives have been so good at bullshit propaganda.

  96. octogalore says:

    Jamie, that article is pretty staggering. Even before the hurt elbow, which some commenters are claiming is the sole explanation for what Brown is discussing, there was an apparent desire on the part of O to back room HRC.

    I’m kind of wondering, at this point, what it will take for those who viewed him as literally an F word coverdude to back down on that pretty little theory. Anyone?

  97. Alex Curylo says:

    So, all you up there who express your current opinion that abortion should be an inalienable right and all, what do you make of people who thought as you do but changed their mind later? As, I note in today’s news feed, does the former Ms. Roe, no less:

    “McCorvey, who used Roe as an alias in her court filings for fear of retribution, remained an abortion-rights supporter until the mid-1990s. Working at a women’s clinic in Dallas, she befriended some Operation Rescue protesters. In 1995, she was baptized and has been an anti-abortion activist ever since.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/13/AR2009071302345.html

    You see yourself ever changing sides like she has? Or joining the similarly minded folks that a quick google here turns up at places like

    http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/

    If not, what do you think makes the difference between these people’s previous convictions and your current convictions?

    Don’t have any dog in this fight myself, really — Canada is I believe the only largish nation in the world with absolutely no abortion law whatsoever, and I’m just fine with that — but it’s fascinating that there’s so many people (and really, can you GET more high profile than The Original Ms. Roe Herself?) who flip their opinions on whether the fetus or the mother’s wellbeing is a matter of more moral import, since it seems intuitively that opinions held that deeply oughtn’t to flip as often as they apparently do…

  98. Jamie W. says:

    Octogalore: what struck me at first was the picture — a bunch of guys in charcoal power suits. Hm. And yes, I think he planned all along to sideline her: put her in a position that looked good, but that was in fact completely under his control. There’s a reason the writer of the article called her his “second wife” – she’s back in the First Lady position except without even being First Lady. The power in the WH is being more and more diffused anyway what with the fleet of czars he’s tossing in there (won’t they eventually run out of office space?), and he’s really using Biden as his SecState.

    I’m one of the people that thought O was a total stuffed shirt, no more imposing in the long run than John Edwards. I was wrong.

    Leis: Yeah, I think O did run as a centrist.

  99. Melissa says:

    OMG those hockey pucks are so cute. Personally, I like the bathroom, requires little to no explanation.

  100. sister of ye says:

    You miss a period, but you can’t afford another kid yet, so you drink an herbal brew.

    Yep, that was one way. My mom tried a turpentine douche. The mother of one of my sister-in-laws tried jumping off a roof. My sister-in-law and I both survived, though fortunately for her she didn’t spend her pre-school years in and out of the hospital.

    Being an unwanted kids sucks. My mom and I eventually became good friends as adults, but patterns were laid down that still affect how I relate to my family (overall, not too well) and life in general.

    On the other hand, if I hadn’t survived, who would do hockey puck art? So at least I have a purpose in life.

    I’ve used a puck as a paperweight at work for years. At Eschaton One I offered to make “hit ‘em with the chair” awards (I got to shake Paul Krugman’s hand!). The only thing I could think of to use as a base was hockey pucks. (I live in Detroit.) I had some left over and last summer was inspired to put other things on them. And voila! A new important and challenging vocation was born!

    (Thanks, Dr. Socks, that cracked me up!)

  101. Violet says:

    I’m kind of wondering, at this point, what it will take for those who viewed him as literally an F word coverdude to back down on that pretty little theory. Anyone?

    O’s mistreatment of Hillary won’t do it. Remember the primaries? The fangirls who voted Obama king of the bedroom wall poster generally despise Hillary. She’s not even a feminist! She’s so mainstream! Not like dreamy Barack.

  102. Violet says:

    Alex, the filters typically send comments with multiple links to moderation. That’s because of spam. Anyhoo, I approved your linky comment and deleted the second redundant one.

  103. Sis says:

    Canadian law on fetus vs woman:
    http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=M1ARTM0010977

  104. Violet says:

    You see yourself ever changing sides like she has?…

    If not, what do you think makes the difference between these people’s previous convictions and your current convictions?

    Who knows? Who cares?

    This reminds me of a type of Christian apologetics that goes: “I used to be an atheist, but then I decided I was wrong!” To which I say: so what?

    It seems to me the underlying assumption there is an argument from authority, the notion that people believe what they do because they’re following the lead of someone or something else. But I don’t reason that way and never have.

  105. Sameol says:

    “Since when is the suffering one person causes to another a valid factor in deciding whether that person should live?”

    Pretty much always, when we’re talking about one individual’s life depending on leeching off the body of someone else. It’s not even the risk of surgery or of having one kidney. If you need so much as one skin cell from my arm to save your life, I can’t be forcibly compelled to give it to you. So yes, if you need me to keep you alive, my degree of suffering is pretty much the key factor in whether you’re allowed to live, because you’re not entitled to usurp or mine my body without my consent.

  106. seattlegal says:

    Nell said post 92:
    “As we all know, the pro-life movement has essentially abandoned the idea of reversing Roe, but has been extremely successful in restricting access to abortion by testing the limits of the “undue burden” test set forth in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. One of their more successful stealth campaigns has been in the passage of “violence against the unborn” statutes now enshrined in federal law and in more than 35 states. These laws are nothing more than a backdoor attempt to grant personhood to the unborn. The next step is a constitutional amendment. We must be ever vigilant, sisters.”
    —–
    Actually, one could also say that it is an attempt to remove personhood from a pregnant woman.
    —–
    Nell continues:
    “Abortion is a woman’s issue, period, full stop. To repeat, it is fundamentally undemocratic that abortion law has been enacted/adjudicated overwhelmingly by a ruling class to whom it does not apply.

    One more thing–the abortion issue is about far more than bodily autonomy. It speaks to every person’s right to self-determination and full moral agency.”
    —–

    Yep. Only criminals and the mentally incompetent have their right to self-determination curbed. Does that make pregnant women mentally incompetent and/or criminals, with the sentence being “death by torture” (labor, childbirth, and motherhood) as Rudyard Kipling puts it in “The Female of the Species?”

  107. Jamie W. says:

    It’s the “violence against the unborn” thing that really gets me. I’ve had one miscarriage, of a baby I wanted very much, and that — well, I’ve been through a lot of tough times, but that was the worst by far. If someone were to harm my unborn child/fetus/choose your word, even if it did little or no harm to me, I’d be ready to kill.

    I can reluctantly accept the necessity of choice; I don’t like it, but I recognize that every other alternative has worse consequences. But if someone were to force the loss of a baby on me or either purposely or negligently cause it permanent harm — it’s a crime that does at least deserve its own category.

    I’d really like to see some other thoughts on this, opposing especially, because my opinion is so emotional versus logical.

  108. seattlegal says:

    Jamie W. says:

    “Jamie W. says:

    It’s the “violence against the unborn” thing that really gets me. I’ve had one miscarriage, of a baby I wanted very much, and that — well, I’ve been through a lot of tough times, but that was the worst by far. If someone were to harm my unborn child/fetus/choose your word, even if it did little or no harm to me, I’d be ready to kill.

    I can reluctantly accept the necessity of choice; I don’t like it, but I recognize that every other alternative has worse consequences. But if someone were to force the loss of a baby on me or either purposely or negligently cause it permanent harm — it’s a crime that does at least deserve its own category.”
    —-
    It’s still an assault on a pregnant woman, where she suffers a loss. Why does it need a special category?

  109. seattlegal says:

    Jamie W said:

    “If someone were to harm my unborn child/fetus/choose your word, even if it did little or no harm to me, I’d be ready to kill.”
    —-
    Would it help if you looked at it in the same manner as a rape where the woman suffers no permanent physical damage? It’s still an assault–domination by force.

  110. Jamie W. says:

    Seattlegal –

    No. I’ve suffered through rape. To me, it is not at ALL the same thing. Rape is not permanent; though the mental scars may be there, they fade, and at least they are mine, a suffering I know I can bear myself. The loss or permanent damaging of a baby IS permanent, and I cannot suffer that FOR my child.

    Like I said, I’ve suffered a lot of things. I would go through every bit of it again, even the rape (which was when I was a child, and repeated over a prolonged period) if it meant I could have back that baby I miscarried.

  111. seattlegal says:

    Alright, Jamie, let’s conduct a thought experiment:

    Suppose that, through some miracle (scientific or otherwise,) you would have the opportunity to get your fetus back–you just have to identify your fetus from a line-up of the original fetus and a bunch of identically cloned fetuses.

    How would you identify the fetus you lost?

    Here is where the question of personhood is really highlighted…

  112. Jamie W. says:

    Seattlegal:

    Two points on that: first, your hypothetical situation is so far removed from reality it is meaningless to me. Unlike the vehicle-accident-and-kidney analogy referenced earlier, it would take magic, not science, to cause this to happen. I can’t even remove myself enough from the real situation to imagine it – and I write science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

    Second, the point to creating some special class for a person who deliberately or incidentally harms a fetus is not to get the fetus back; the point is to address the terrible pain its death can cause those who cared for it. We punish murderers not because it does anything at all for the dead victim — because nothing can help that. We punish murderers to prevent them from killing again, and to give the survivors of the victim some sense of justice. It is the survivors who suffer ongoing pain from a death. Besides, without this justice, you are guaranteeing your civilization will have a problem with vigilantism.

    In my case, I mourned my baby — still do — just as I would have a full-term child. I remember everything about the month or so it took me to miscarry and then physically recover, even though I try not to. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has had this experience. It seems wrong to discount this suffering in others as just being like any other attack. To mothers who were ready to have that baby, it’s not an assault-domination attack — it’s some bastard who murdered your child.

  113. Jamie W. says:

    Seattlegal – Sorry, didn’t see your 108 up there! but I think my last post answered that. A pregnant woman loses more than other victims when she miscarries a wanted child. Legal precedent back to the Egyptians values fetuses of livestock separately from the cows and mares themselves; why should fetuses of women be treated as less important?

  114. seattlegal says:

    Jamie W said:

    Seattlegal:

    Two points on that: first, your hypothetical situation is so far removed from reality it is meaningless to me. Unlike the vehicle-accident-and-kidney analogy referenced earlier, it would take magic, not science, to cause this to happen. I can’t even remove myself enough from the real situation to imagine it – and I write science fiction, fantasy, and horror.”
    —-
    Now I’m confused. Here was the hypothetical you proposed:
    Post #110
    Jamie W said:
    “Like I said, I’ve suffered a lot of things. I would go through every bit of it again, even the rape (which was when I was a child, and repeated over a prolonged period) if it meant I could have back that baby I miscarried.”
    —-
    I understood your far-removed-from-reality scenario, yet you are unwilling to understand mine? :?

    Let’s take my scenerio (that you can’t understand) out of it then. If your removed-from-reality wish came true, how would you be able to identify the fetus that was back in your womb as being the one that you miscarried?

  115. Nell says:

    It is possible to increase penalties in law for crimes against pregnant women without granting personhood to the fetus by making it a separate victim. In some jurisdictions, harsher penalties are imposed on those convicted of crimes against the elderly or disabled. This approach could also be taken with regard to crimes against pregnant women without the necessity of creating a second victim.

  116. Nina M. says:

    @ Jamie W.,

    I am so very sorry for your loss.

    I think your position makes perfect sense. It does not necessitate assigning “personhood” to a fetus; though, unfortunately, that was the intent behind most (if not all) such legislation. Rather, your position makes the woman’s subjective experience the determinant of the crime. The subjective experience of the victim distinguishes any number of criminal from legal activities, if I’m not mistaken.

  117. Honora says:

    Nell (115)- I do not believe that the laws you reference are intended to ‘help’ the pregnant woman. They are intended to advance the agenda of the pro-life movement. The consequence of these laws is that they are used to criminalize the behavior of pregnant women. Women who drink, do drugs, jump from airplanes (or fly in airplanes), ski, smoke, have wild sex, get cancer treatment, or eat too much tunafish are accused of ‘child’ abuse.

    I have three beautiful children, I wanted to do everything that I could to ensure that they were healthy when born, but we can not force that loving vigilance on pregnant women. Those three beautiful children, leached calcium from my bones, contributed to my weight issues, made it impossible for me to travel for depositions that my law firm employer wanted me to go to, etc.

    All over the developed world, women are having fewer children, maybe it is because societies all over the world underestimate women as people and see them primarily as incubators.

  118. gxm17 says:

    The question in law is not when human life begins, but when “personhood” is recognized. If personhood is recognized at any point prior to birth, an irreconcilable conflict of interest exists between the pregnant “person” and the unborn “person.” Every unborn person would require a court appointed legal guardian to protect its interest against any potentially harmful actions by the pregnant person.

    Another absurdity to add to the list in this thought game is that the unborn would be claimed as tax deductions from the time they are conceived; even miscarriages would be treated as deductions.

  119. gxm17 says:

    It’s the “violence against the unborn” thing that really gets me. I’ve had one miscarriage, of a baby I wanted very much, and that — well, I’ve been through a lot of tough times, but that was the worst by far.

    “… a baby I wanted very much…”

    Jamie W, you do realize that everything revolves around this. Nature, or circumstance, conspired to take away your choice. It’s a cruel fate and my heart goes out to you.

    But take the case of a woman who very much wanted her child only to find out that he was so sick he would not survive outside of her womb. She made the decision to have a late term abortion. She described it as making the choice to take a loved one off of child support. That’s a tough choice to make and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but it’s not the government’s place to step in and make that decision for the mother.

  120. RKMK says:

    I can reluctantly accept the necessity of choice; I don’t like it, but I recognize that every other alternative has worse consequences. But if someone were to force the loss of a baby on me or either purposely or negligently cause it permanent harm — it’s a crime that does at least deserve its own category.

    The fact that you, a living breathing woman, was assaulted, makes it a crime. If assault against women was taken seriously, that would be sufficient to properly punish this theoretical person.

    Aside from that, you may have a civil suit against the aggressor beyond any criminal charges laid.

  121. tinfoil hattie says:

    Another absurdity to add to the list in this thought game is that the unborn would be claimed as tax deductions from the time they are conceived; even miscarriages would be treated as deductions.

    Well, at least the libertarians would be happy.

  122. RKMK says:

    “Was assaulted.”

    Way to grammar, RKMK. *headthunk*

  123. RKMK says:

    It is possible to increase penalties in law for crimes against pregnant women without granting personhood to the fetus by making it a separate victim. In some jurisdictions, harsher penalties are imposed on those convicted of crimes against the elderly or disabled. This approach could also be taken with regard to crimes against pregnant women without the necessity of creating a second victim.

    Also, what Nell said – I think she was in comment purgatory when I first scanned the thread.

  124. soopermouse says:

    jamie

    “Second, the point to creating some special class for a person who deliberately or incidentally harms a fetus is not to get the fetus back; the point is to address the terrible pain its death can cause those who cared for it. We punish murderers not because it does anything at all for the dead victim — because nothing can help that. We punish murderers to prevent them from killing again, and to give the survivors of the victim some sense of justice.”

    I have to admit that I utterly dislike this reasoning, also I have this weird feeling you are derailing the thread, but that might be just me, because i thought this discussion was about choice nt miscarriage. Different things.

    On the above quoted line of thought heres my hypothetical situation:
    Woman has an abortion. Her partner and his family accuse her of murdering their child/grandchild to be and seek legal punishment issues against her.

  125. Kali says:

    RKMK, I think your analogy is flawed, but still useful. I was going to respond on the initial thread, but here seems like a better choice. With the car accident example, without some sort of action to change the situation, the other driver will die. With pregnancy, doing nothing to change the situation will probably leave both of you alive, assuming a normal pregnancy without complications.

    Gestating and birthing a child is not “doing nothing”. Once you acknowledge that a pregnant woman is a human being exercising free will in bringing a pregnancy to term (or not), not an object into which a child has been inserted for developing, then you will realize that RKMK’s analogy is correct and your argument against it is flawed.

  126. octogalore says:

    Although this is straying far afield, As someone who is pro choice and has had both an abortion and 2 miscarriages, I have difficulty with not trying in some way to reduce excessive drinking and any non-prescription drug use on the part of pregnant women who intend to continue their pregnancies. That means that a child will indeed be born, and at that point will have an equal right not to have been weakened at a point when s/he had no choice in the matter.

    tinfoil hattie re #121: libertarians aren’t fans of tax deductions, but instead a lower overall tax rate, instead of easily abused “deductions.” Aside from the charitable deduction, I think most deductions are simply loopholes for the rich, and would prefer a tax rate that rewards productivity, not creative accounting.

  127. seattlegal says:

    post #113 Jamie W. says:

    “Seattlegal – Sorry, didn’t see your 108 up there! but I think my last post answered that. A pregnant woman loses more than other victims when she miscarries a wanted child. Legal precedent back to the Egyptians values fetuses of livestock separately from the cows and mares themselves; why should fetuses of women be treated as less important?”
    —-
    Because those laws are based on ownership. Women are not property that is owned.

  128. gxm17 says:

    Oh gawd. I’ve just finally read back through this thread (great comments from everyone, as usual!) and realize how many typos I’ve made. If anyone found my comments confusing, my apologies. Hopefully you can read past the mistakes and get the gist of the points I tried to make.

  129. TeresaINPa says:

    this was too hard to resist answering….

    I’d like to see abortion legal to the end of the fifth trimester and compulsory after three kids, but I’ll settle for improving the level of education to the point that we don’t scream and pronounce fatwas upon people who disagree. We can argue about abortion then.

    PS. The traffic accident analogy: If you think it’s wrong to force someone to surrender a kidney (I agree, but I might make an exception if s/he caused the accident), how can you defend taxing me to pay for someone else’s medical care?

    How about abortion in the last trimester when the woman’s life is in danger giving birth to a hydro-cephalic baby with no chance at living after birth…because, despite conservative propaganda, this is the type of reason a woman has a last term abortion. There are no others.

    As far as your second paragraph …. you are taxed to pay for other people’s health care all the time, is it only abortion you object to?
    If not, then I can tell you that I am taxed for all kinds of things I don’t like either, but that’s part of living in a civilized society.

  130. TeresaINPa says:

    amie W. says:

    Seattlegal – Sorry, didn’t see your 108 up there! but I think my last post answered that. A pregnant woman loses more than other victims when she miscarries a wanted child. Legal precedent back to the Egyptians values fetuses of livestock separately from the cows and mares themselves; why should fetuses of women be treated as less important?

    Because women are not livestock and their uteri not property to be financially exploited. Jeesh

    Jamie, I give you a lot of credit for joining in and arguing your opinions, but can you not see that you are judging what rights other women should have based on your emotions rather than on logic and reason?

  131. Violet says:

    À propos of nothing: I hate IE6. Hate, hate hate.

  132. Sis says:

    I resent being taxed for reproductive health care. Just say no. I resent being taxed for police services (I follow the laws) and I resent being taxed for PhDs used to give authority to pomo blogs.

  133. seattlegal says:

    I know it’s painful, Jamie. Following the logic of the opposing viewpoints probably doesn’t do much to ease your pain. That’s what you asked for, though.

    Jamie W in post #107 says:

    “I’d really like to see some other thoughts on this, opposing especially, because my opinion is so emotional versus logical.”
    —-
    Because this is such an emotionally charged issue, logic and sound reasoning often get left by the wayside in favor of rationalizations that we hope will ease the pain. Bad rationalizations will likely lead to more emotional suffering, oftentimes not just for yourself, but also for others.

    I know that still probably won’t do much to ease your pain. :(

  134. anna says:

    Here is a petition encouraging Democratic cabinet member Janet Napolitano to run for President.
    http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/draftnapolitano/

    Maybe some of you would be interested in signing it?

    -Anna

  135. cellocat says:

    In response to the OP, perhaps these debates don’t change any minds, but perhaps they do lead to a greater recognition of the validity of other points of view. Or perhaps people just get more entrenched. I don’t know. I do know that for me it’s helpful to see different POV’s expressed. It reminds me how much my own is based in my own personal experience, for one thing.

    I was thinking about the difference between law and policy. Even the stated goal to keep abortions “safe, legal, and rare” feels a bit paternalistic to me. By law, abortions should be safe and legal. We’ll never sucessfully legislate the morality of them, and therefore the law should have nothing to say about the frequency or commonness of them, but simply treat them as one of many medical procedures. I agree with other posters that our government should only be concerned with keeping abortions safe and legal, and then putting its energy into creating both laws and policied designed to improve the status, safety, and representation of women and girls, as well as to increase legal and other penalties for lack of male responsibility that leads to the assault, abuse, or impoverishment of the female population.

    Emotion does not make a good foundation for law, nor even policy, imo. The former should be based in an identification and balancing of rights; the latter in an identification and expression of societal values. Emotions and personal experience are powerful and they impact our understanding of ourselves and the world around us, but the law shouldn’t be impacted by such changing winds, or we’ll be in a constant state of societal schizophrenia. Either everyone is equal under the law, or not; you can’t have it both ways. And if you decide to grant personhood and legal status to fetuses, then women are no longer equal under the law, and we are not living in a free country or a democracy.

  136. Nell says:

    Honora @#117-

    I agree that “unborn victims” laws are not motivated by a desire to help or comfort women who have lost pregnancies to violence. They are designed to open the door to a constitutional amendment granting personhood to the unborn from the moment of conception.

    The Right-to-Lifers appeal to emotion, not logic, in garnering support for such laws. It is no accident that the federal statute, the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act,” was passed in direct response to the Laci Peterson murder and is informally known as “Laci and Conner’s Law.” It recognizes a “child in utero” as a legal victim of a multitude of federal crimes.

    I rather dislike the overused expression “slippery slope,” but it is apt in this case.

  137. Jamie W. says:

    Wow, go to sleep and lose thread traction. Let me address some of this:

    Soopermouse, how can I derail a thread with no stated core purpose? It’s a cocktail party. Besides which, I was addressing a subissue of abortion — one that has been used politically (IMO wrongly) by both sides of the debate as a wedge to try to amend or protect abortion law.

    Several people: yes, this is an emotional issue. However, much of criminal law is used to bring rationality to crimes that offend sensibility – emotion. Without applying logic, emotion would take over, and we’d have Hatfield and McCoy justice. (Being from an old Kentucky family, I know whereof I speak.)

    #114 Seattlegal: my wish was not a hypothetical — there was nothing in it that I wanted addressed. It was an expression of how deeply I felt about that lost baby. I did not reject your hypothetical, I could simply not wrap my head around it — probably because I feel so emotional about it. But if you insist on an answer — what if I gave you the same hypothetical with, say, your beloved dead grandmother: pick her among a dozen identical grandmothers, all cloned from the original. You simply can’t do it. But my feelings about that baby weren’t based on seeing it; they were based on the anticipation of sharing her with my husband, of nursing her and nurturing her and watching her grow up. It was a loss of dreams, a whole path in my life that was wiped out — and the loss of someone in my life who I would have protected with everything in me, just as I do with my other children.

    #116 Nina: Exactly my point.

    To several: a properly-written law would not criminalize the woman who did something herself to cause the loss of the baby. For that matter, except in a few cases, how can you possibly know what causes the baby’s loss? In my case, it was probably a nonviable fetus — but before I knew I was pregnant we went to Disneyworld and I rode rides. The miscarriage happened significantly later, but how can I ever be sure that it was not caused by something I did?

    #117 Honora: “All over the developed world, women are having fewer children, maybe it is because societies all over the world underestimate women as people and see them primarily as incubators.” That is a really, really good point, and one that is worthy of much more thought.

    #119 GXM117: Not only do I realize it revolves around that, I added that clause BECAUSE it was that important. Volumes could be written on the ethics, morality, justice, etc. of that one point. AFA your late-term bit: that’s not a hypothetical to me. It happened to my cousin; she was carrying a baby whose head was, not anencephalic but two months behind development — and whose internal organs were developing outside the ribcage. Tragically, totally, and painfully non-viable. And because she’d just gotten out of a horribly abusive relationship, her physical and mental health were not up to continuing the pregnancy. She chose to do a late-term/inducement at 7 months because of this. The baby was buried at the foot of our grandfather’s grave, and she still visits it, twenty years later. That’s why abortion rights need to be protected, despite all the other issues.

    #120 RKMK: a civil suit would not be enough to satisfy me in such a case. I’d want to see the bastard in prison. I would not want the money, and besides, it’s nearly as hard to collect money awarded in civil damages as it is to collect money owed in child support.

    #127 Seattlegal (and also #130 TeresainPA): Okay, how about this:

    “… recent research into Celtic law has revealed this interesting pattern: if a murderer killed a man, the murderer was required to pay the dead man’s family a set price for killing a man. [wergild] If a woman was killed an autopsy was performed to see if she was pregnant. If she was and no sex could be determined for the child, then wergild was paid for the woman alone. If the child was a male, the murderer paid three times the wergild for a single male. But if the child (albeit unborn) could be determined to be a girl, then four times the usual wergild was demanded.”

    It’s not an uncommon pattern, to punish or increase punishment when an unborn human child is killed.

    from http://faculty.smu.edu/arthuriana/teaching/lecture_women_malcor.html

    TeresainPA — what is law for if not to regulate the emotional part of society? If we were all logical all the time, we would not need much law at all (and we’d all be really boring). Besides which, many if not most rights are based on emotion: eg, life, liberty, and the pursuit of HAPPINESS. Emotion runs through all our rights and cannot be discounted when we discuss them.

    #133 Seattlegal: thank you — but I am not looking to address my pain. It’s mine, I’ll deal. I am looking for a solution to something that is so explosive it’s ignored — yet so incredibly painful to some women it should be addressed. I won’t find it easily, if at all, but I’m still going to look.

    And finally, thanks to all those who have expressed sympathy. I know it’s heartfelt, and am touched at the kindness here.

    Sorry this was so darn long!

  138. Swannie says:

    Maybe we could call “pro lifers” “Forced Birthers” or some less euphemistic identifier ;)

    My ‘religion” absolutely does not believe “life” begins at conception , there fore, this issue is religious at its foundation for me .

  139. Nell says:

    In doing a little research tonight on the historical rights of the unborn (the only right that dates back centuries is the right of inheritance–how patriarchal is that?), I found the following article from an October 1967 issue of Time Magazine:

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,837369-1,00.html

    Echoing my point that abortion law is fundamentally undemocratic, the first paragraph quotes a female author of the day as saying that abortion law is “the work of the inseminators, not the bearers.”

    The article ends on this positive note: “The way to deal with the problem forthrightly is on terms that permit the individual, guided by conscience and intelligence, to make a choice unhampered by archaic and hypocritical concepts and statutes.”

    Forty-two years later, we’ve made little progress. In fact, in terms of recognizing the “conscience and intelligence” of the individual woman, we’ve regressed.

  140. gxm17 says:

    “The way to deal with the problem forthrightly is on terms that permit the individual, guided by conscience and intelligence, to make a choice unhampered by archaic and hypocritical concepts and statutes.”

    Nell, thank you for sharing that wonderful quote. It beautifully sums up the bottom line as far as I’m concerned.

    And you are right. We have regressed. As Violet has mentioned, I believe that this is in large part due to the emotionally charged propaganda implemented by anti-abortion groups. Their success in diverting the discussion has had a poisonous effect that extends well beyond the abortion debate.

  141. Toonces says:

    They did a story here on the news recently about how pro-lifers are trying to get enough signatures to put the “declare fetuses people” thing on the ballot. We’ve rejected it something like five times already, but they’re determined to waste taxpayer dollars on it yet again. The funny thing to me was that 90% of the people rallying or meeting about it or whatever were men.

  142. RKMK says:

    The funny thing to me was that 90% of the people rallying or meeting about it or whatever were men.

    Man, it really bothers them that we immoral harlots have the gall to, like, make medical decisions for ourselves. AND WITH OUR TINY LADY-BRAINZ! *clutches pearls*

  143. seattlegal says:

    Jamie W. says:

    “#114 Seattlegal:But if you insist on an answer — what if I gave you the same hypothetical with, say, your beloved dead grandmother: pick her among a dozen identical grandmothers, all cloned from the original. You simply can’t do it.”
    —-
    Actually, yes you can, since grandma was a known and beloved person with unique memories and mannerisms that the clones simply would not have. You could easily pick grandma out based on these. However, with a fetus, you are really quite limited in individual mannerisms that you might observe in well developed fetuses, and I can’t think of any that a fetus in early development might acquire that a mother might be aware of.

    Example: during the last couple of months when I was pregnant with my son, he would start kicking whenever a Mick Jagger song would play. After he was born, he would start to cry whenever he heard Mick Jagger sing. I might be able to use this individual mannerism to pick him out from the clones if he was a well developed fetus, but not if he was a fetus in a stage of early development.
    —-
    Jamie W continues”
    “But my feelings about that baby weren’t based on seeing it; they were based on the anticipation of sharing her with my husband, of nursing her and nurturing her and watching her grow up. It was a loss of dreams, a whole path in my life that was wiped out — and the loss of someone in my life who I would have protected with everything in me, just as I do with my other children.”
    —-
    Now you are admitting that it is your emotional loss that was of concern, not just the baby’s suffering. Target acquired. Let the healing begin. :)

  144. tinfoil hattie says:

    “death by torture” (labor, childbirth, and motherhood)

    Pregnancy and childbirth are not the norm for a woman’s body and can be dangerous, and certainly pregnancy and childbirth should be monitored. But do we need to justify abortion by talking about how dangerous, uncomfortable, and horribly painful pregnancy and labor and childbirth are?

    Most pregnancies carried to term pass without danger, and lots and lots of childbirth experiences are joyful and mind-blowingly awesome. It boils down to: does the woman want to be pregnant and give birth, or does she not want to? If women are to be given full bodily autonomy, it matters not the reason. Pregnancy and childbirth could be all chocolates and roses, and abortion should still be legal and on demand. And men need to get the hell out.

    To sidetrack a bit more: let’s have a cocktail party some time where we discuss the male-dominated industrial complex that is pregnancy, labor, and childbirth. Hoo boy.

    Jamie: FWIW I too have miscarried, and also several weeks after riding the rides at Disneyworld. Fret not. It wasn’t your fault.

    Meanwhile, my mojito is gone, and I need a refill. Where’s that waiter?

  145. Malcolm Kirkpatrick says:

    (malcolm): “I’d like to see abortion legal to the end of the fifth trimester and compulsory after three kids…
    PS. The traffic accident analogy: If you think it’s wrong to force someone to surrender a kidney (I agree, but I might make an exception if s/he caused the accident), how can you defend taxing me to pay for someone else’s medical care?”
    (Teresa): “How about abortion in the last trimester when the woman’s life is in danger giving birth to a hydro-cephalic baby with no chance at living after birth…because, despite conservative propaganda, this is the type of reason a woman has a last term abortion. There are no others.”

    No one objected to “fifth trimester” or “compulsory after three kids” yet. Odd.
    “There are no others”? Sorry. I have read otherwise. Dunno where. I don’t trust anyone’s statistis on this issue anymore.

    (Jamie): “…my feelings about that baby weren’t based on seeing it; they were based on the anticipation of sharing her with my husband, of nursing her and nurturing her and watching her grow up. It was a loss of dreams, a whole path in my life that was wiped out — and the loss of someone in my life who I would have protected with everything in me, just as I do with my other children.”
    (Seattlegal): “Now you are admitting that it is your emotional loss that was of concern, not just the baby’s suffering.Target acquired. Let the healing begin.”

    Please don’t do this. Why does the loss of any human life matter? It doesn’t, to the dead. Only the living suffer.
    Cost/bnefit analysis begins with assessment of costs and benefits, yes?

    (Nell): “…’unborn victims’ laws are not motivated by a desire to help or comfort women who have lost pregnancies to violence. They are designed to open the door to a constitutional amendment granting personhood to the unborn from the moment of conception. The Right-to-Lifers appeal to emotion, not logic, in garnering support for such laws. It is no accident that the federal statute, the ‘Unborn Victims of Violence Act,’ was passed in direct response to the Laci Peterson murder and is informally known as Laci and Conner’s Law.’ It recognizes a ‘child in utero’ as a legal victim of a multitude of federal crimes. I rather dislike the overused expression ‘slippery slope’, but it is apt in this case.”

    Welcome to life on he slippery slope. Some of us get used rising from our muddy knees and the occasional full-prone face-plant. The facts of genetics and fetal development are not at issue. Mostly, for the “pro-life” side (I expect) it’s nervous contemplation of where that slippery slope leads. Trepidation makes sense. The connection between religion and the anti-abortion position, I conjecture, ivolves something called the “soul”, possession of (“by”?) which distinguishes some matter as human. I was raised in no church, and don’t get this idea of “soul”. Is a soul created at conception? Were all souls that ever were or will be created at the moment that God said “Let there be light” and S/he keeps them in a little jewel box on the night-stand, ready for implantation when a conception occurs or is it like any other organ, which developed from undifferentiated tissue?

    Full many a gem of purest ray serene
    the datk, unfathomed depths of ocean bear.
    Full many a flower is born to blush unseen
    and waste its sweetness on the desert air.

    (Teresa): “As far as your second paragraph …. you are taxed to pay for other people’s health care all the time, is it only abortion you object to?”

    Huh? I said “compulsory after three kids”. Does this sound like “objection to abortion”? I object to the crowding-out of non-human species by humans.
    (Nell): “No uterus, no opinion.”
    (Violet): “I do tend to agree that men have no business legislating abortion.”

    How ’bout “only gun owners should have a say in cun-control legislation”, or “only dog-owners should have a say in leash laws? Doesn’t work, does it? From my point of view, abortion policy is a variety of immigration policy, motivated by environmental concerns.

    (Teresa): “I am taxed for all kinds of things I don’t like either, but that’s part of living in a civilized society.”

    The government of a locality is the largest dealer in interpersonal violence in that locality (definition). One large part of my definition of “civilization” would be the degree to which people avoid unnecessary violence. In general the State (government, generally) has nothing useful to contribute to the medical care industry, beyond traditional public health measures (compulsory vaccination, pollution control, locus identification, vector tracing).

  146. seattlegal says:

    Malcolm Kirkpatrick says post #144:

    (malcolm): “I’d like to see abortion legal to the end of the fifth trimester and compulsory after three kids…
    PS. The traffic accident analogy: If you think it’s wrong to force someone to surrender a kidney (I agree, but I might make an exception if s/he caused the accident), how can you defend taxing me to pay for someone else’s medical care?”
    (Teresa): “How about abortion in the last trimester when the woman’s life is in danger giving birth to a hydro-cephalic baby with no chance at living after birth…because, despite conservative propaganda, this is the type of reason a woman has a last term abortion. There are no others.”

    No one objected to “fifth trimester” or “compulsory after three kids” yet. Odd.
    “There are no others”? Sorry. I have read otherwise. Dunno where. I don’t trust anyone’s statistis on this issue anymore.
    —-
    Alright, I object to any pregnancy lasting into the “fifth trimester!” O_o (They are called *tri*mesters because there are *three* of these periods in a pregnancy.)
    As for compulsory abortion–worse than compulsory pregnancy and childbirth, imo. Stay out of my uterus!

  147. RKMK says:

    No one objected to “fifth trimester” or “compulsory after three kids” yet. Odd.

    Oh, whoops, I totally missed that the first time, because my eyes sensed “libertarian” and glazed over the vast majority of your post as tax-centric and largely irrelevant to the conversation at hand.

    For the record, making abortion compulsory after three children is as equally fascist and in direct violation of bodily integrity as forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy and give birth against her will.

    The fact that you espouse this position so freely, and didn’t quite grasp the tenets of my analogy, makes me think that you haven’t applied any mental energy at all to grasp the concept of bodily integrity at all. Try again. If it helps, imagine an invisible force field laying upon your skin. Everything encased within that force field is off-limits to interference from the state (or other citizens.) Anything that breaches that force field without your permission is criminal assault. As the rights of the individual are paramount in liberal democratic theory (that’s classical liberalism, i.e. the philosophical underpinning of Western democracies which emphasizes the rights of the individual over the state or collective), it is imperative that bodily rights are respected. As Punkass Marc puts it in the above link:

    The person/self and right to not have it coerced is the basis of all other rights, not more basic than them. You only extend rights to the person because you care about the person. That means the person/body comes first. You can’t violate the core value and keep the other rights based on it. The person is described as the body, so the body is the value, so violating the body is violating the value. Hell, by undercutting their core value, violating the body is violating every right, technically speaking.

    As for “after five months…

    “There are no others”? Sorry. I have read otherwise. Dunno where. I don’t trust anyone’s statistis on this issue anymore.

    Oh, well if you’ve “read otherwise,” that settles it! I hate to break it to you, but contrary to popular misogynist opinion, women are not flighty, half-witted flibbertigibbets who miss a period and then take 4 or 5 months to decide to have an abortion for the damn hell of it. Either they decide to carry the pregnancy, or they don’t, in a short period of time. If a woman has made it to month 5 (through morning sickness and other associated pregancy ills), the child was wanted. Third-trimester abortions are 99% medically necessary procedures, as something has gone horribly awry with the fetus, such as encephalitis.

    Anyway, the Guttmacher Institute is non-partisan and their data is used by both sides of the debate, if you would like to start there; it may be slightly more reliable than reading in a comment (that could easily have been written by a troll under a bridge) that those slutty, immoral bitches kill almost-babies for the fun of it.

  148. yttik says:

    “I am taxed for all kinds of things I don’t like either, but that’s part of living in a civilized society.”

    LOL, I dispute that we live in a civilized society.
    That’s an unsubstantiated statement, I tell ya! I have read no research, no links, showing us to be civilized: “Showing evidence of moral and intellectual advancement; humane, ethical, and reasonable.” Nope, never met a group of humans that fit this definition.

  149. bob coley jr says:

    “anything that breaches that force field without your permission is criminal assault” is not democracy. It’s totalitarianism of the individual over society. Balance is far more democratic, when applied to all citizens fairly. That’s what true democracy demands. Putting self above all others is not. So any discussion of democracy must include a balance. Freedom exists between barriers not without them entirely or in favor of one view or another.

  150. seattlegal says:

    bob coley jr post #148 says:

    “anything that breaches that force field without your permission is criminal assault” is not democracy. It’s totalitarianism of the individual over society. Balance is far more democratic, when applied to all citizens fairly. That’s what true democracy demands. Putting self above all others is not. So any discussion of democracy must include a balance. Freedom exists between barriers not without them entirely or in favor of one view or another.
    —-
    Sorry dude, but that populist attitude is what got Jesus crucified. The crowd cried out, “Crucify him,” whereas Pontius Pilate said, “Why? What has he done wrong?” Pilate wanted to recognize the individual rights of Jesus, but gave into the populist crowd instead.

    Is this really what you want?

  151. gxm17 says:

    “No one objected to “fifth trimester” or “compulsory after three kids” yet. Odd.”

    I can’t speak for anyone else but I thought you were just being sarcastic.

  152. gxm17 says:

    If you think it’s wrong to force someone to surrender a kidney (I agree, but I might make an exception if s/he caused the accident), how can you defend taxing me to pay for someone else’s medical care?”

    Is your money a part of your body? The image of surgically removing someone’s wallet comes to mind. Not sure if it’s funny or sad. Perhaps both.

    Regardless, we’re talking about body autonomy, not possessions. Women’s bodies are not possessions. That’s a big part of the problem, the chattel construct and the idea that women’s bodies are property.

  153. RKMK says:

    “anything that breaches that force field without your permission is criminal assault” is not democracy. It’s totalitarianism of the individual over society. Balance is far more democratic, when applied to all citizens fairly. That’s what true democracy demands. Putting self above all others is not. So any discussion of democracy must include a balance. Freedom exists between barriers not without them entirely or in favor of one view or another.

    I was speaking in strictly philosophical and theoretical terms; there are of course practical limits (i.e. we give up our purest rights to agents of the state in order to protect society from criminals and otherwise maintain order, i.e. police are allowed to detain us; of course, they are then expected not to use excessive force.)

    However, that is the philosophical underpinning to legal concepts like “self-defense” – if you touch my arm or grab my elbow – even if it’s not hard enough to leave a mark – I am entitled to exercise retaliatory force (knee you in the groin, punch you in the nose) to free myself. (If I use more extreme force in doing so, i.e. shooting you, I am expected to provide evidence that I had reason beyond that touch to fear for my safety.) But the philisophical underpinning – that one’s body is one’s own, and no one has the right to violate the bodily integrity of another person – remains.

  154. seattlegal says:

    gxm17 says post #150:

    “No one objected to “fifth trimester” or “compulsory after three kids” yet. Odd.”

    I can’t speak for anyone else but I thought you were just being sarcastic.
    —-

    [satire] Well yeah, end of the “fifth trimester would be what, 15 months of being pregnant? Could you imagine how swelled up your ankles would be after 15 months of being pregnant? How about those hemorrhoids? Heartburn? How about that loosening up of your joints and connective tissue? How would you sleep? How would you even breathe?

    I don’t know about you, but I’d probably be a screaming banshee trapped in a quivering lump of flesh if I was *15 months* pregnant! O_o [/satire]

  155. bob coley jr says:

    Sorry Dude, but total dominion of an individual is a dictatorship, (of one or many) “Ceaser, Mussolini, Pilot, etc.. Balance my friend, balance. One must look from many, if not all, vantage points to see an objects true form…physical law.

  156. bob coley jr says:

    RKMK…exactly…Balance!

  157. RKMK says:

    I repeat: it is a philosophical concept that one then applies to proposed policy. For example:

    Problem: “Gosh, our reserves of blood in the blood banks are low.”

    Proposed solution: “OMG EVERYONE SHOULD BE FORCED TO DONATE BLOOD. WE SHOULD MAKE A LAW!!!11!!”

    Philosophical gut-check: “Wait, that infringes on the basic principle of bodily integrity. The state cannot make laws that violate our citizens’ basic human right to freedom from physical external interference with their bodily person.”

    Proposed solution: Ix-nayed.

  158. Malcolm Kirkpatrick says:

    (Malcolm): “No one objected to “fifth trimester” or “compulsory after three kids” yet. Odd.
    (RKMK): “Oh, whoops, I totally missed that the first time, because my eyes sensed “libertarian” and glazed over the vast majority of your post as tax-centric and largely irrelevant to the conversation at hand.

    For the record, making abortion compulsory after three children is as equally fascist and in direct violation of bodily integrity as forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy and give birth against her will…. As for “after five months…”

    a) Please read Mussolini’s essay “What is Fascism” before you toss that word around. I’d say “classical liberal” describes my position best. Seems to me, so would you (descrbe my position), except for the abortion issue. Even there, it’s on materialist grounds that I make the case for State compulsion.

    b) Five trimesters, not five months. Six months after birth. Let each woman determine for herself (for the first three kids) whether she wants the State to extend the protection it reserves to humans to the life she creates. This addresses the issue of whether a fetus killed in a armed robbery or traffic accciident is human. If she says so.

    I don’t think it’s going to happen, of course. The world will arrive at the Chinese solution, or worse, eventually.

    (gxm17): “…we’re talking about body autonomy, not possessions. Women’s bodies are not possessions. That’s a big part of the problem, the chattel construct and the idea that women’s bodies are property.”

    a) Longevity is related to income. Maybe taxation at the rates we experience in the US doesn’t have the impact of forcible removal of a kidney, but it equals some loss of blood. Prison, the threat behind taxation, in fact equals forcible infection with HIV for many.

    b) You own your body (if you don’t, who does?). Ownership (title) is a legal construct. Different legal regimes have different consequences. The world’s population cannot grow without limit. Voluntary programs for population control selectively breed non-compliant individuals (try talk a salmon out of reproducing). Normal immigration comes from other countries. Reproduction is immigration from the future.

  159. seattlegal says:

    bob coley jr in post #154 says:

    Sorry Dude, but total dominion of an individual is a dictatorship, (of one or many) “Ceaser, Mussolini, Pilot, etc.. Balance my friend, balance. One must look from many, if not all, vantage points to see an objects true form…physical law.
    —-
    I am dictator of my body. It is my dominion. As it should be. :D

  160. TeresaINPa says:

    malcome, your comments are self indulgent and self aggrandizing. If you have come her to play debate games, please spare us.

  161. seattlegal says:

    Malcolm Kirkpatrick says post #157:

    “Voluntary programs for population control selectively breed non-compliant individuals”
    —-
    As it should be. Otherwise, you will get stagnation.

  162. RKMK says:

    a) Please read Mussolini’s essay “What is Fascism” before you toss that word around.

    Yeah, I’m quite sure me and my political science degree are quite familiar with the tenets of fascism.

    For example, Hitler simultaneous practiced eugenics (i.e. forced abortions) with “inferior” populations, and forced pregnancies upon women of “superior” Germanic stock, in order to promote the Aryan race.

    That is, he considered women’s bodies as public property with which he could further the state’s practical ends, instead of recognizing them as full human beings with individal rights to bodily autonomy, full moral agency, and the right to self-determination. (Hattip: Nell.)

    See any parallels?

  163. RKMK says:

    (And I’ve officially Godwinned the thread. Sorry, Violet.)

  164. Nell says:

    Fifteen months of pregnancy–yikes! Imagine the pressure on your bladder!

    The gun- and dog-owner comparisons don’t hold up to scrutiny. Other people’s guns and dogs directly affect me and the quality of life in my community. Other people’s medical procedures do not.

    If my neighbor’s unleashed dog digs up my garden, poops on my lawn, and attacks my kids, I am adversely affected. If that same neighbor checks in to the local Planned Parenthood clinic to terminate her pregnancy, it affects me not at all (and it’s none of my damned business).

    I object to restrictive abortion law no matter who is legislating it, but it is particularly galling that all of it has been enacted by men to whom it does not apply. It is not simply the fact that men have historically gotten “any” vote on abortion matters, it’s that they’ve gotten “all” the votes. Women have been unrepresented on an issue which concerns only women.

  165. Malcolm Kirkpatrick says:

    1) The government of a locality is the largest dealer in interpersonal violence in that locality (definition).
    2) Value is determined by supply and demand. A world in which human life is precious is a world in which human life is scarce.
    3) The world’s human population cannot grow without limit.
    4) The world’s human population will stop growing when either…
    a) the birth rate falls to meet the death rate or
    b) the death rate rises to meet the birth rate.
    5) voluntary methods of population control selectively breed non-compliant individuals (try talk a salmon out of reproducing).
    6) The world’s human population will stop growing as a result of either…
    a) human agency or
    b) other.
    7) Human agency is either
    a) democratically determined or
    b) other.
    8) Human misery is like heat; in the absence of barriers to emigration it will flow until equally distributed.
    9) The world’s maximum instantaneous human population is greater than it’s maximum sustainable human population. Expect a (large and sharp) decline in the human population from the instantaneous maximum.
    10) The world’s maximum sustainable human population leaves little room for terrestrial wildlife or wilderness. Expect a large decline in biodiversity before the human population stabilizes.
    11) All human behavioral traits are heritable. People who can reproduce at high density have a selective advantage over people who require lots of open space.

    It’s like that Milton Berle joke:
    “How’s your wife?
    Compared to what?”

    “How would you like to have your foot amputated?”
    “What are my options?”
    If the alternative is to remain healthy and bipedal, no thanks. If the alternative is to die painfully of gangrene, slice away.

    Your choices are limited.

    Where do you disagree?

  166. gxm17 says:

    No, Malcolm. I do not “own” my body. I am my body. You are confusing the societal construct of ownership with the natural state of being. It’s easy to see the individual’s right to control her body as ownership but it’s not really the same thing. I only make this point because, IMO, it’s part of the reason we/society can’t disengage from the chattel concept. We’re using a shorthand narrative that is fundamentally flawed.

    I’m not sure how we jumped to population control. I don’t disagree that the human population cannot grow without limit, but I’m pretty sure mother nature can figure out a way to deal with us. She usually does.

  167. gxm17 says:

    Nell, only a man would come up with the idea of a 15-month pregnancy. Women dream of the accelerated pregnancy plan… full-term in 5 months? Sign me up and give me the no morning sickness option.

  168. Malcolm Kirkpatrick says:

    It’s been mostly civil and I’ve had my say. Thanks. I’m off to the Boundary Waters for a couple of weeks. No sense you continue the argument with me.

  169. Malcolm Kirkpatrick says:

    Okay, one last.

    (gxm17, #167): “…only a man would come up with the idea of a 15-month pregnancy.
    (malcolm, #157): “b) Five trimesters, not five months. Six months after birth.

  170. seattlegal says:

    gxm17 in post #164 says:

    No, Malcolm. I do not “own” my body. I am my body. You are confusing the societal construct of ownership with the natural state of being. It’s easy to see the individual’s right to control her body as ownership but it’s not really the same thing. I only make this point because, IMO, it’s part of the reason we/society can’t disengage from the chattel concept. We’re using a shorthand narrative that is fundamentally flawed.

    —-
    You’re right. However, the state of who we are is by no means limited or localized to our body. Nor do we have total conscious control over everything that occurs within our bodies. (There are those involuntary functions that occur within our bodies that we are not always consciously aware of, that without, we could not function.)

    The ownership model is flawed in this respect.
    (I guess being dictator of my body would therefore also be flawed concept. I’ll have to mull over how the idea of jurisdiction would fit into this.) hmm.
    —-
    gxm17 continues:

    I’m not sure how we jumped to population control. I don’t disagree that the human population cannot grow without limit, but I’m pretty sure mother nature can figure out a way to deal with us. She usually does.
    —-
    I suspect that it might be connected with the concept of *dominion* [over the earth.] ;)

  171. julia says:

    How come it’s all on the woman?

    Why aren’t we demanding the male pill finally be put on the market, and that govts (especially the US govt) offer incentives for vasectomies?

    Two out of three of my brother in laws have one. One got it as a marriage present for my sister. The other had to get one to join a sustaoinable community because they said that men were irresponsible and wanted sex but not the outcome.

  172. cellocat says:

    yeah, if I own my body, then someone else can too. Wrong model upon which to lay the concept of bodily integrity. That which is a posession can be claimed by anyone at one point or another.

  173. Sis says:

    I just posted a highly intellectual and deeply though-provoking response to Julia. It vanished. Briefly, I said:

    YES!

  174. Makewi says:

    If it’s ok to throw a little criticism against the traffic accident analogy, then I’d like to point out that it only really works if you accept that the point of driving a car is to have an accident. From the biological perspective, the one that actually matters more than what our minds can justify, the point of sex is to propagate the species.

  175. Branjor says:

    ***I don’t disagree that the human population cannot grow without limit, but I’m pretty sure mother nature can figure out a way to deal with us. She usually does.***

    Mother Nature may not even have to intervene. How many women the world over bear child after child until they produce a son for the master, because otherwise their status and well being and that of their children will suffer? Eliminate the patriarchy and put women in charge of their own reproduction and most of those women will produce far fewer children, thus taking care of the population problem or mostly so.

  176. sam says:

    Good questions, julia.

    Regarding nature: Pornography seems to have molded a generation of young men who find pulling out to watch themselves ejaculate a more pleasurable finish than nature’s intended curtain call. If it’s possible for men’s pornsickness to accomplish one good thing for women and the planet, that thing would be brainwashing men into wanting to ejaculate externally every time.

  177. Lexia says:

    Thank you, Julia. Yes, indeed.

    Is there room on that commune for one more? Or from the looks of this thread and the two previous, several hundred?

  178. yttik says:

    “Eliminate the patriarchy and put women in charge of their own reproduction and most of those women will produce far fewer children, thus taking care of the population problem or mostly so.”

    I completely agree! Sad and ironic but most zero population advocates rarely consider this. Instead they go for even more governmental control over women’s bodies, in such a misogynistic way it takes my breath away. John Holdren, Obama’s science czar, doesn’t just write in his book about forced abortions, he writes about forcing single mothers to apply for adoption of their own children, believing they should be required to explain to the Gov why they “failed” and had an “illegitimate” pregnancy. Any woman who “gets herself pregnant” should be punished for it. I’m not sure what his reasoning is, but apparently single mothers are the cause of over population and damage to the environment. I guess nature responds differently to your carbon footprint if your parents were married.

  179. RKMK says:

    If it’s ok to throw a little criticism against the traffic accident analogy, then I’d like to point out that it only really works if you accept that the point of driving a car is to have an accident. From the biological perspective, the one that actually matters more than what our minds can justify, the point of sex is to propagate the species.

    No. Most people do not drive cars to get into accidents – they’re driving to get places faster. Similarly, I’d say most times people are having sex, they’re (mostly) doing it because it feels good, not for the purpose of having children. Infertile couples, for example, still have sex.

  180. Janis says:

    1) After 2008, I don’t give twp craps about abortion anymore as a political wedge issue. If the politician’s got a vagina, I’m voting for them. I so don’t care if anyone’s going to shriek about it. Bite my bald dago ass.

    2) I don’t give two craps about some interesting abstract intellectual discussion about the fetus’s personhood and when it starts. MINE STARTED 43 YEARS AGO, AND IT’S STARING YOU IN THE FACE. And if I want some interloping blastocyst the eff out of my gut, then out it comes. PERIOD. Because MY personhood says so.

  181. Gender2010 says:

    I meant to add this: After hearing about the curtains I am looking at sewing classes. I want to make a Shift Dress. I don’t know how to sew, but Dr. Socks has inspired me.
    How’s that for cocktail talk?

  182. Toonces says:

    No. Most people do not drive cars to get into accidents – they’re driving to get places faster. Similarly, I’d say most times people are having sex, they’re (mostly) doing it because it feels good, not for the purpose of having children. Infertile couples, for example, still have sex.

    *SNORT*

    In what world is the only or even main reason most people have sex to make baybees? I LoLz.

  183. Sis says:

    What is a shift dress? Shouldn’t you start with an apron? And smear bloody spots all over it from where you’ve been chewing at your cuticles because the home ec teacher (Miss Vi) terrifies you?

  184. Sis says:

    Gender2010: I found this pattern for a shift dress. You can download it for $4.00. Isn’t it cute? And look at the other things she’s made. Everything so chic. http://www.burdastyle.com/creations/show/905?image_id=6440

  185. Violet says:

    How’s it going, peeps? Food fight yet?

  186. Branjor says:

    ***What is a shift dress? Shouldn’t you start with an apron? And smear bloody spots all over it from where you’ve been chewing at your cuticles because the home ec teacher (Miss Vi) terrifies you?***

    Oh no, that brought back real memories of junior high.

  187. tinfoil hattie says:

    It’s like that Milton Berle joke:
    “How’s your wife?
    Compared to what?”

    The fact that you thought bringing this “joke” to a serious discussion about women’s bodily autonomy, on a feminst blog, is appropriate, tells me I need not read anything else you have to say. So I’m glad you left.

    In what world is the only or even main reason most people have sex to make baybees? I LoLz.

    In my son’s world, when he was nine. He saw an empty box of condoms in the trash, and a full one in the nightstand (GET OUT OF MY ROOM!!), and looked up at me in horror. “Mom. Twenty. Seven. Times?” (2 condom boxes, 2 kids, one miscarriage. The kid can add!)

    It was hysterical.

  188. m Andrea says:

    Modern men are very quick to use the subject of over-population as an excuse to control female sexuality, but as Julia brilliantly noticed we could just as easily control the male’s instead.

    Sperm quality declines with age. So force all the men over twenty five to undergo a mandatory vasectomy, and use only the most eligible young males as sperm donors. As soon as everyone agrees that one’s internal organs are subject to external authority, then of course there’s zero reason why the men get to be exempt. But where do we draw the line once we go down this line of reasoning? Since the government owns their entire bodies, let’s put ‘em in the field and work ‘em like dogs for no pay while we’re at it. Their sacred purpose is to be subserviant and bear their burden with stoicism, blah blah blah.

    Har, with the genders reversed that is probably exactly how sexism began originally. Yet even before that, females would have needed to be objectified and reduced to something “less than human” first, because no one would ever think to inflict an unequal status onto those who were already assumed to be an equal. And research indicates that a tendancy to “objectify” the target of one’s sexual desire is present in the male brain.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/feb/16/sex-object-photograph

    That study would be easy to replicate, using females. And if the tendancy to objectify is not present in the female brain in a similar amount, then sexism may be inherent after all. Or we could at least amuse ourselves with chicken-and-egg arguments…

    Btw, as women’s automony and economic freedom increases in any given society, the number of children they choose to have declines. So there is no reason to mandate women’s sexuality, unless men are wanting an excuse to do so.

  189. Gender2010 says:

    A shift dress is a sleeveless, rather straight (maybe slightly cinched at waist) dress that comes down to knee. I believe it is a 1960s Calvin Klein creation.

    A shift dress and a tote bag are usually the first things one can start with when learning.

    @ m andrea, you hit it on sperm control. When the abortion debate is solely about women’s bodies you know it has more do to with controlling women than with saving fetuses.

    The ultimate control lies with the man. He has the control to keep it zipped. The abortion debate should be giving equal time to men’s equal part in pregnancy. But, interestingly, I have rarely seen any abortion debate giving equal time to this. Let’s put two and two together below:

    Mostly men leaders in the abortion debate and lack of concern for male responsibility shows that the debate is about controlling women and continuing to allow and condone men’s “desires.”

    Give up your sperm? Give up your choice.

  190. m Andrea says:

    “That study would be easy to replicate, using females. And if the tendancy to objectify is not present in the female brain in a similar amount, then sexism may be inherent after all. Or we could at least amuse ourselves with chicken-and-egg arguments…”

    oh golly, repeating that study with gay doods, het and lesbians, would be most fascinating.

    And I forgot to mention that the orginal comment by RKMK is going in my sidebar under the category of “utter frickin genius”.

  191. Sis says:

    A shift dress and a tote bag are usually the first things one can start with when learning.

    ##

    Hahahaha. Not in my world. I still have apron-ish nightmares. How about a hemmed dish cloth.

  192. RKMK says:

    So force all the men over twenty five to undergo a mandatory vasectomy, and use only the most eligible young males as sperm donors. As soon as everyone agrees that one’s internal organs are subject to external authority, then of course there’s zero reason why the men get to be exempt.

    Dingdingdingding! We have a winnah!

  193. Mari says:

    Interesting how when a man and a woman have sex society sees it as the man fucking her, “scoring”, “banging” that “chick” etc (with pregnancy being “he knocked her up”) but when the issue of unwanted pregnancies comes up it’s suddenly “she was irresponsible”, “she got herself pregnant”, “she should accept the consequences” etc.

    Oh, and in regard to the “how sexism began” issue, it seems to me that patriarchy began the moment men realized they were physically stronger and could bully/rape/enslave women. All the gender roles, stereotypes and supposed natural gendered behavior was and is PR in order to make patriarchy self sustaining regardless of any societal changes (this works because women are brought up to hurt themselves and other women in order to enforce the patriarchy’s rules). It’s pretty much 1984 and most women end up like Winston.

  194. seattlegal says:

    m Andrea post #188 says:

    “Har, with the genders reversed that is probably exactly how sexism began originally. Yet even before that, females would have needed to be objectified and reduced to something “less than human” first, because no one would ever think to inflict an unequal status onto those who were already assumed to be an equal. And research indicates that a tendancy to “objectify” the target of one’s sexual desire is present in the male brain.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/scie…..photograph

    That study would be easy to replicate, using females. And if the tendancy to objectify is not present in the female brain in a similar amount, then sexism may be inherent after all. Or we could at least amuse ourselves with chicken-and-egg arguments…”
    —–
    OK, the next step would be to determine whether this is hard-wired and unchangeable, learned behavior, or a “default setting” that one reverts to when one is unmindful. I suspect that it is something that can be overcome.

    If it is not something that can be overcome, then it would lend credence to imposing mandatory veiling upon women. {You know where that leads!} However, there are tribal people who run around with very little clothing, and this sort of thing is not a problem, so the evidence seems to suggest that it is a learned/habitual and/or unmindful “default” phenomenon that can be overcome.

  195. Mari says:

    Re: studies

    None of those studies on gender differences are made on newborns, they’re made on people who have been influenced (i.e. indoctrinated) by society. Odds are, that’s all, or mostly all “software”.

    If men and women were really so inherently different in thought patterns there would be no need for people to teach children to conform to gender roles, or to punish them every time they failed to do so. Even as adults people constantly need to police others so they don’t step too far away from patriarchy-approved behavior.

    Also, a lot of behaviors that are accepted or encouraged in one gender are not only discouraged but oftenly practically impossible for the other gender due to how society is set up (i.e. a woman CAN’T objectify a man as much as a man objectifies a woman because she’s been living in a society where men have power and are owed basic respect just for existing, etc)

  196. Branjor says:

    ***If it is not something that can be overcome, then it would lend credence to imposing mandatory veiling upon women.***

    Really? I think it would lend credence to some form of externally imposed physical control of men.

  197. seattlegal says:

    Mari post #194 says:

    Also, a lot of behaviors that are accepted or encouraged in one gender are not only discouraged but oftenly practically impossible for the other gender due to how society is set up (i.e. a woman CAN’T objectify a man as much as a man objectifies a woman because she’s been living in a society where men have power and are owed basic respect just for existing, etc)

    —–
    Alright, do homosexual males sexually objectify each other? I would guess that this very likely happens, and it might be the psychological crux behind homophobia among some males–the homophobic men don’t want to be dehumanized by being viewed as a sex-object by men, because they themselves dehumanize women by viewing women as sex objects.

    (Does that make sense?)

  198. seattlegal says:

    #196 Branjor says:

    “***If it is not something that can be overcome, then it would lend credence to imposing mandatory veiling upon women.***

    Really? I think it would lend credence to some form of externally imposed physical control of men.”
    —–
    Well, there you go thinking logically. Do you think that those who view others as sex objects have that logical part of their brain activated? :P

  199. Mari says:

    seattlegal #197 says:

    Alright, do homosexual males sexually objectify each other? I would guess that this very likely happens, and it might be the psychological crux behind homophobia among some males–the homophobic men don’t want to be dehumanized by being viewed as a sex-object by men, because they themselves dehumanize women by viewing women as sex objects.

    (Does that make sense?)

    I’m not sure. On one hand, they’re men so they have some of that good old learned entitlement in them. On the other hand, certain kinds of homosexual relationships (not all) are in themselves a transgression against the patriarchy. I’d guess they do but possibly somewhat less?

    And I DEFINITELY agree that it’s the main part of homophobia. Men are supposed to matter, they’re supposed to be respected as individuals. They’re not supposed to be half-naked pictures in beer ads. And how could a guy carry on with as much self-confidence if he had to deal with the constant threat of (possibly stronger) men sexually harassing him, groping him on the street or actually raping him? What if other people saw nothing wrong with that? That’s a nightmare scenario for the average man because it’s only supposed to be reality for the other half of the population.

  200. Sis says:

    I have experienced the same level of sexism from homosexual men as from heterosexual men. Sometimes, more virulent. They hate us soooo bad. They model themselves on what they ‘think’ is female. They hate who they think they have to be, and despise us because it’s our fault. They are complete slaves to the idea of two genders, which is a patriarchal idea. (I did not say two sexes).

  201. Nell says:

    It has always baffled me that the most extreme/flamboyant male homosexual behaviors and mannerisms are described as effeminate. Have any of you ever known a real-life woman who acts like Albert (Nathan Lane’s character) in “The Birdcage”? Yet I’m willing to bet that the first adjective that comes to mind for most people in describing him would be “effeminate.”

    Why is that? Sis’s comment that “they model themselves on what they ‘think’ is female” may begin to explain it.

  202. Sis says:

    All that is the veneer on top of the misogyny as usual just because they’re men.

    I suppose homosexual men who are feminists might behave differently, but why? They’re still men. I don’t know any. Why would they give that up?

  203. Mari says:

    re: Sis #200

    Oh, I agree. While the idea of, say, two men being happily married to each other can be threatening to the patriarchy, gay men are men and therefore benefit from living in a sexist society. While one hopes that some of them realize that homophobia is a result of sexism, it’s a lot easier to simply blame women and treat them as badly as straight men do (and possibly worse because they don’t need to pretend to be less sexist to get a woman to sleep with them, plus the fact that men who are part of a group that’s discriminated against can always take out their frustrations on women). And yeah, the fake masculine/feminine division is at the heart of this mess.

  204. m Andrea says:

    I have yet to find again the relevant studies and can’t articulate the results well enough to save my life, but one of the effects of testosterone is supposed to be… how specific brain structures process information.

    Testosterone makes it easier to focus on… “small picture” tasks with tightly focused parameters. Testosterone makes it harder to look at a “big picture” problem and… realize that there are interelated but nebulous complexities effecting the final outcome.

    I’m sure the scientisty folks would phrase it better, apologies for my crude attempt. Those studies used brain scans, if it matters. It is true that using a particular brain structure frequently would in turn affect it’s own functionality, size, etc, and yet –

    It is also true that every problem must have an original cause. Fix the symptom and the problem only finds another way to express itself. Fix the origianl cause and the problem actually stops. Sexist “cultual conditioning” did not spontaneously emerge from a vacuum, something else had to cause it — so it cannot be original cause. Feminism courageously treats the symptoms but offers no permanent cure, and in the process consigns those whom the movement is supposedly meant to help into a perpetual hell.

    I’d like to crawl out of hell, but there is a bunch of feminists standing on my neck chanting, “we wuv the cock so we can’t blame that, let’s blame cultural conditioning instead”. It sounds like I’m denigrating the great work of feminists, but it’s really just my poor attempt at explaining why females will never experience equality until we address original cause.

  205. Sis says:

    I do know of some gay men who are not effeminate or bearish. And they do live all the good things adn make a great contribution community, environment and race wise. But there’s just that leeeeeetle thing they can’t seem to figure out.

  206. Jamie W. says:

    #187 Tinfoil Hattie –

    That is HILARIOUS! Almost as funny as the time my little brothers, aged 8 and 9, found my mom’s Tampax and decided they’d be perfect for playing war – hold the big tube, hit the little tube HARD, and watch the tampon zing across the room. My mother almost had an aneurism.

    Shoot, I need to tell their wives that one. I never did!

  207. yttik says:

    I know some gay men who are genuine feminists, Sis, and, LOL, they have the lousy paychecks to prove it. Any man who wants to be a feminist is welcome to it. All you need to do is double your workload and cut your wages in half.

    I also know some really misogynistic gay men and I don’t understand it all. How can they not see how misogyny is so entwined with homophobia?? They put down women while they themselves are being put down for being perceived as woman-like. I don’t get it. How can they not see the connection?

  208. Alison says:

    Ugh, I can’t get abortion out of my head. Just read this harrowing story of a 3rd world pregnancy at No Quarter.

    http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/2009/07/16/pornography-zambia-style/#more-28183

    Just wondering… would the American Pro-Life/Pro-Force movement apply their same standards to the 3rd world?

    Would the Lifer’s legislate that women be forced to continue a pregnancy in Zambia? Or would they look the other way as their fearful daughters drank an herbal remedy….

    Pregancy is fucking dangerous and even more so as you go into the second or third world. Why would anyone want to force this upon a woman?

  209. Sis says:

    They called it pornography. Because of course, they know off what they jack.

  210. Gender2010 says:

    Sis, Thanks for the pattern. Wonderful find!

  211. Gender2010 says:

    Alison, I just read that post from noquarter.

    Yes, I have wondered myself why the pro-life community in the USA isn’t more vocal about women in these countries.

  212. seattlegal says:

    Gender2010 post #210 says:

    Alison, I just read that post from noquarter.

    Yes, I have wondered myself why the pro-life community in the USA isn’t more vocal about women in these countries.
    —–
    Taking proper care of pregnant women (especially unmarried ones) doesn’t seem to be a priority with most of them. (Punishment for having sex out of wedlock?) I’ve heard many of them argue FOR shackling pregnant women who are giving birth in jail. (What’s torture without the shackles?)

  213. foxx says:

    I wasn’t able to read all the comments, and perhaps noone will read this. Alas.

    I’m delighted to see RKMK’s argument getting the attention it deserves here. I’ve been making the same argument here and elsewhere for a couple of years. The argument is unanswerable.

    What we need to be doing is publicizing the physical cost to women of pregnancy–death, disability,pain–as well as the economic and social cost. In the “pro-lifer” arguments these costs, and women ourselves, are invisible.

    It doesn’t matter when life begins or when personhood begins. That is the basic point of RKMK’s argument.

    No forced pregnancy.
    Forced pregnancy is slavery.

  214. Mari says:

    re: foxx #213

    Precisely, and it’s refreshing to see several people here pointing it out. It’s sad but expected that for most people women’s suffering in general is (consciously or not) seen as normal, necessary or just not that important when compared to, well, anything.

    Yup, forced pregnancy is slavery, torture and a violation of basic human rights. It’s quite telling that this even needs to be said or argued.

  215. seattlegal says:

    foxx post #213 says:
    What we need to be doing is publicizing the physical cost to women of pregnancy–death, disability,pain–as well as the economic and social cost. In the “pro-lifer” arguments these costs, and women ourselves, are invisible.
    —–
    No, women are not invisible to them. The “pro-lifers” will give much the same response to women that many here give to men: “Keep your legs closed!” (prolifers to women) or “Keep it zipped up!” (feminists to men)

  216. Hammer of the Dyke says:

    mAndrea #204 – Spot on! Men, as a class, are a pestilence.

    The first laws criminalizing abortion came from Sumer and Babylon. At first, abortion was only criminalized for females of the newly emerging upper classes, but then, the law was applied to all women, as lower caste men are wont to ape their betters. I know no one here will be surprised that the law applied only to women. Infanticide was rife, and perfectly legal if dictated by the pater familias. Denying the traditional practice of abortion among Sumerian women was part-and-parcel of other measures taken to ensure male domination and the destruction of matrilocal societal organization. For example, temple priestesses were forbidden their former practice of free sexuality and were required to be “virgins” on pain of death. Later historians labeled this free practice of sexuality by women, “temple prostitution.”

    Forced birthing and sexual control of women are akin to programs of breeding sheep, even though men think they can deify themselves by preserving their holy seed. In Egypt, this freakish mindset led the pharaohs and other members of the ruling classes to marry their sisters and daughters (hmmm, trace the hemophilia spread throughout the so-called royal houses of Europe). Restriction of women’s reproductive and bodily integrity goes hand in hand with incest, eugenics, racism, and classism.

  217. DancingOpossum says:

    I don’t really think the problem is men, though, as much as it is power. Women who have achieved positions of enormous power have proven just as brutal, cruel, and uncaring as the worst man. The politics and antics of Katherine the Great, Margaret Thatcher, and Golda Meir do not make for pleasant reading. Heck, add Queen Elizabeth even though I’ve always had a secret crush on her. But she DID kill her own cousin.

  218. Makewi says:

    No. Most people do not drive cars to get into accidents – they’re driving to get places faster. Similarly, I’d say most times people are having sex, they’re (mostly) doing it because it feels good, not for the purpose of having children. Infertile couples, for example, still have sex.

    Biologically, they body doesn’t care why you are having sex. The expected outcome is pregnancy. The reason, regardless of what the mind thinks, is to propagate the species.

    You may eat that piece of cake because it’s delicious, but as far as the rest of your body is concerned it’s just fuel. Our reasons are separate from the actual reasons. As much as we might try to pretend that doesn’t matter, it does.

  219. m Andrea says:

    “Biologically, they body doesn’t care why you are having sex. The expected outcome is pregnancy. The reason, regardless of what the mind thinks, is to propagate the species.”

    That sounds like it should be true, and yet, inconsistent. Is there any other equal rights argument where the misogynists are willing to dig so deep in order to find the truth? Plus, that reply has been repeated so many times it has acheived the status of truth, but is it really?

    Hmmm, it’s conflating the desire for sex with the potential outcome of sex. But the potential outcome of sex is far more likely to be a contagious disease. So according to that logic, society should outlaw the treatment of STD’s, and encourage people to become infected.

    Also according to that logic: because the physical body wants to eat cake, then the physical body wants to be fat, so society should encourage people to be fat. And make being skinny illegal.

  220. Toonces says:

    Why does your body drive a car, Makewi? What is the evolutionary/biological drive behind that?

  221. Toonces says:

    That analogy’s going to be confusing.

    How about, what is the evolutionary/biological drive reason that people play pool, watch a funny movie, hug someone, play with a kitten? Stress relief from amusement and/or connection (as we are social animals)? Lower (bad) stress levels that lead to better general health and therefore better reproductive opportunity?

    Can you see where I’m going with this?

  222. Toonces says:

    Haha, one more (sorry Violet, I have some cognitive (word-finding, memory) problems and I don’t always find a way to say what I mean very easily).

    Is there an evolutionary/biological/reproductive reason for everything humans (or organisms) do, or is it just when it comes to sex? If it’s the former, obviously there’s go to be some e/b/r advantage to driving a car, right? If it’s the latter… well, as far as I understand it, that’s not the case as argued by the evopsychers who originated the reproductive-drive argument for intent in the first place.

  223. RKMK says:

    Biologically, they body doesn’t care why you are having sex. The expected outcome is pregnancy. The reason, regardless of what the mind thinks, is to propagate the species.

    Sorry, no. For one thing, it could be just as easily argued that sex serves as a biological stress-relief valve, to release tension within the body.

    But more importantly, biology is not destiny.

  224. Toonces says:

    So, following Makewi’s logic, we should force people into being life support for others because the meta-intent of our every action is to propagate the species (and we have a better chance the more of us are alive).

  225. Toonces says:

    Ugh, I seriously FAIL today, but that should read:

    “…we should force people into being life support for others through compulsory organ donation…”

  226. RKMK says:

    In truth, it is no less false to say that biology is woman’s destiny than to say that biology is man’s destiny. This reduces humans to the animal level. For if women are nothing but breeders then men must be nothing but studs. Such a reduction leaves out the decisive distinctions between humans and animals. Humans are above all social beings who have long since separated themselves from their animal origin and conditions of life.

    - Evelyn Reed

  227. seattlegal says:

    Hmm. Even animals have recreational sex. (Sex outside of estrus.) Humans don’t have estrus to separate reproductive sex from recreational sex, so to try to separate one from the other, or to emphasize one over the other really has no physical basis. Therefore, all you are left with is the conscious intent of those engaging in sex to separate one from the other.

  228. tinfoil hattie says:

    What we need to be doing is publicizing the physical cost to women of pregnancy–death, disability,pain–as well as the economic and social cost.

    This is an argument for better care in pregnancy and childbirth, not an argument for abortion. Again, pregnancy is potentially dangerous but most (HA! Western, that is) pregnancies do not end in death and disability.

    Again, we do not need to bolster women’s right to bodily sovreignty with “But women could DIE!” arguments. We need to bolster it with: “Women are fully human people with agency and bodily sovreignty. (Well, a girl can dream!) Don’t want an abortion? Exercise your agency & don’t have one. Otherwise, get out of my uterus.”

  229. m Andrea says:

    Eggzactly, Tinfoil. If the lawyers arguing Roe in a formal courtroom setting had used the privacy argument, that would have been *impossible* to overturn or weaken today. Which is why if someone believes choice is important, the only argument which should be used in more casual settings is the bodily autonomy one.

    Every other basis for an argument just deteriorates into justifications and excuses, and tries to ignore the female’s right to bodily autonomy. So if the anti-choicers stray from that argument one iota, just refocus back to it.

    I found a lovely article, about a lovely new book entitled Does God Hate Women?

    http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2009/07/women-god-stangroom-benson

    That article eventually made me realize once again how non-logical religion is. All religions rely upon the fundamental premise that females are merely talking cattle — and only pure evil could have encouraged humans to believe that.

  230. ea says:

    The desire for sex or the drive for sex is not about procreation. Procreation is one possible outcome. If pregnancy were the absolute intended result of pregnancy, would it be reasonable to expect the pregnancy outcome of any single act of unprotected vaginal-penile intercourse should be close to 100%? (Not even close to 100%). Further explain the 30%-50% likelihood of pregnancy loss prior to knowledge of pregnancy (depending on whom one reads). Same-sex coupling is a cross-species fact. How do same-sex couplings result in pregnancy?

  231. alwaysfiredup says:

    Hilarious: KBH unwittingly furthers our discussion by commenting on how Obama actually does want us to be forced to donate kidneys. (This may be a *slight* exaggeration of the actual contents of the health care bill.)

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/07/20/health_reform_bargain_puts_hospitals_at_risk_97537.html