Do We Need a Law to Make People Think?

Virginia's hypocrisy on gun rights versus abortion rights

“I think people should make informed choices, and I think this bill would accomplish that.” So said Del. Mark Cole the other day about his bill to force anyone seeking a firearm or concealed-carry permit in Virginia to look at autopsy pictures of shooting victims.

Autopsy pictures of gunshot wounds aren’t pretty, especially those of head shots. But maybe looking at a few would make some of the more thoughtless, irresponsible gun buyers think about the potential consequences of their actions.

You disagree? Well, so does Cole, actually. In fact, he has not introduced any such legislation. To the contrary, he has introduced a bill (HB140) that would allow people to carry concealed firearms without a permit. This would clear away “a little bit of bureaucratic red tape,” he says. Cole is a gun-rights kind of guy, and good for him.

On the other hand, Cole really has introduced legislation that would add another layer of bureaucratic red tape. This year he is sponsoring HB261, which would require an ultrasound 48 hours before every abortion. Such legislation sits at the top of the wish list for the Family Foundation – whose president, Victoria Cobb, contends it is meant to protect the “safety of the mother” because the doctor needs to know “exactly how old and large the unborn child is.”

That might be one reason, but it is not the only reason. The larger, unspoken and obvious purpose is to dissuade women from going through with abortions. While Virginia’s law does not force a woman to look at the ultrasound, that could be the next step. A law passed in Oklahoma did just that. Last year North Carolina passed a law requiring that an ultrasound image be placed next to a pregnant woman and that she be offered the chance to listen to the child’s hearbeat. The ultrasound “puts a face on that baby,” says Carrie Gordon Earll of Focus on the Family.

With regard to his ultrasound bill, Cole really did say that “women should make informed choices.” This seems to assume they aren’t doing so now—as though women flit into abortion clinics on impulse, as they might buy a pair of shoes they see on sale, the silly little things.

But the same reasoning could justify making gun buyers look at autopsy photos. Shouldn’t gun buyers also make “informed choices”—especially where “safety” is at issue? Two-thirds of homicides are committed with guns. For the Richmond metro area in 2011, the ratio was closer to fourth-fifths. More than a thousand young Virginians committed suicide between 1996 and 2005, according to the state Health Department, and more than three-fifths used a gun to end their lives. Why not make some of the more thoughtless, irresponsible gun buyers take a long, hard look at such sad consequences?

The answers are obvious. Who says gun buyers are thoughtless and irresponsible? About 60 million Americans own roughly 270 million firearms, and 99.99 percent of them never hurt anyone. Firearms sales have jumped in the past couple of years, yet violent crime has plunged. Gun crimes in bars and restaurants fell after Virginia allowed permit holders to carry concealed guns into them. Firearm violence, while immensely regrettable, does not obviate the right to bear arms any more than media scandals obviate freedom of the press.

Members of the General Assembly seem to have some kind of disassociative disorder. When a woman walks into a gun store, socially conservative legislators like Cole treat her as rational, well informed, and fully capable of making her own decisions without a lot of “bureaucratic red tape.” But if the same woman walks into an abortion clinic, suddenly she’s an addled dimwit who hasn’t given her decision two seconds’ thought, and somebody needs to make her.

It’s probably fair to say many of the more liberal members of the Assembly share the same biases in reverse: Women who get abortions have thought long and hard, they believe, but gun buyers are just walking blends of testosterone and nitroglycerine, ready to explode at the slightest nudge.

This doesn’t paint a very flattering picture of the citizens the lawmakers represent. But the picture it paints of the legislators themselves should be downright embarrassing.

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  • sarcasmic||

    Autopsy pictures of gunshot wounds aren’t pretty, especially those of head shots.

    Then why do such pictures give policemen erections?

  • anon||

    Duh, that medical examiner is hot.

  • stoopyinfla||

    Because they're all homos?

  • o3||

    it aint homo to admire manly men doing manly men stuff

  • ||

    Wow, that didn't work.

  • ||

    That sure looks like a picture of a blank pistol. If all that guys shot were blanks, then women would have no problems.

  • A. Freeman||

    Actually, it is a photo of a CO2 pellet gun made for S&W by Umarex of Germany.

    However, based on the premise the legislation in question proposes, the analogy by A. Barton Hinkle presents, the conclusion is valid. The issue at hand is whether or not people can be responsible and accountable for the choices they make. The act of using deadly force for self defense or abortion both end in the death of the subject.

    The premise that users of deadly force to defend their life against violent attack or those seeking an abortion both will end in death needs to be carefully weighed against the person's moral and ethical values.

    Defense of life is not an absoloute. The aborted fetus did not make a concious decision to come in to being. The social predator who made a concious choice to commit a violent attack to commensurate their goal of obtaining property or defeating someone they deem to be obstructing their goal did.

    The issue at hand is: can you live with the decision to end someone's life, either for the "convenience" of not raising a child you did not want or who attempts to take your life (or seriously disable) you to achieve their goal?

  • Tonio||

    The aborted fetus is incapable of decisions, concious or otherwise. They lack cognitive and language skills. Sorry, but that's the big hole in the whole anti-abortion thing. If you want to be taken seriously, start acknowledging this and stop pretending that a fetus is somehow equivalent to a one-year old.

  • ||

    Does your argument mean we can go ahead and end you now?

    You've obviously never seen the ultrasound of the unborn child trying to escape the abortion probe because science itself is the "big hole" in the whole pro-abortion argument. (http://www.silentscream.org/)

    This article is idiotic, because gun ownership is a constitutional right, and murdering innocent people is not.

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    Your definition of "people" is different from the definition used by many others. You need to realize that if you want to have an honest debate on the subject.

  • Southern Slave||

    We weren't people, either. Thanks, fuckhead.

  • Tonio||

    Why yes, yes I have. I've got medical training. I didn't say they didn't feel, or have hearbeats, or brainwaves. They do.

    But a brainwave is not cognition, many organisms which are far simpler also have detectable neural activity and avoid pain, ie earthworms.

    Murder? Only in the fevered, overly-emotional imaginations of religiots.

  • ||

    You know not all of us base our position on this because of religion or emotion. It gets really tiresome to have people constantly throwing that accusation around. At the very least we should all be able to agree that it is a unique, individual, living organism. Terminating it's life may not be murder, but it is still killing.

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    Would you be willing to designate it a parasite until such time as it is no longer dependent upon the mother?

  • ||

    I see what you did there. LOL

    And yes I could meet at that point (for arguments sake at least). Although that means that birth would not be the bright line that many try to make it as the infant is still dependent on the mother for at least the next 6-12 months.

  • IceTrey||

    Anybody can take care a baby after it has been born.

  • cynical||

    Symbiote, so long as preservation of genes beyond individual death is an essential goal/trait of organic life.

  • Another Phil||

    Symbiote, so long as preservation of genes beyond individual death is an essential goal/trait of organic life.

    Except that's not what symbiont means.

  • Matt Tanous||

    symbiosis - A relationship of mutual benefit or dependence.

    The kid gains the benefit of survival, and the parent gains the benefit of the preservation of genes, which is supposedly a biological goal of organic life. Win-win. Thus, symbiosis. A parasite, on the other hand, gives no benefit to the "host" (i.e. parent).

  • ||

    Then all born babies are also parasites because they're also completely dependent. And children basically are too. So going by this lack of logic it should be legal for parents to murder any children and babies that they want.

  • Tonio||

    I do agree that it's a unique (not that uniqueness matters), living organism.

    Not individual, since inherently dependent on the mother.

    Killing? For sure? Unpleasant? Yes.

  • ||

    It is individual in the biological sense of having it's own DNA. It is also parasitic since it relies on the mother for nutrients and whatnot.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    You just described a mosquito. It has its own DNA and relies on its host for nutrients.

  • ||

    Hmmm. I probably should have stopped while I was behind.

  • ||

    Not just a living organism but a living human organism.

  • ||

    At a certain point in the development process fetuses DO have cognitive skills, make decisions and are conscious. Of course a fetus isn't equivalent to a one year old. Just as a one year old isn't equivalent to an 18 year old. That's cause they are each at different stages of the developmental process. Does this mean a fetus is a person with rights and protections? I don't know, but that's why it is important to have these discussions.

  • Tonio||

    At a certain point in the development process fetuses DO have cognitive skills, make decisions and are conscious.

    Exactly what point in gestation is that, Nate? Linky?

    Also, still no language skills.

  • ||

    I will go in search of a link.

    Language skills is weak sauce to determine personhood though.

  • Tonio||

    Language skills is weak sauce to determine personhood though.

    Really? Why?

    Generally, language and tool use have been considered the defining characteristics for humans versus animals. And do please note that I wrote language, not speech.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Really? Why?

    Because newborn infants don't have any grasp of language, so far as I can ascertain.

  • Tonio||

    No, they don't. And I'll be the first to admit that live birth is an arbitrary boundary for personhood, but it's the best bright line we have.

  • ||

    I guess I think it's a little too arbitrary since it is conceivable that someone could grow up or even be born without language skills.

    I couldn't find any links to support my assertion so for now I will admit I was wrong to make it.

  • Tonio||

    Language skills is weak sauce to determine personhood though.

    Really? Why?

    Generally, language and tool use have been considered the defining characteristics for humans versus animals. And do please note that I wrote language, not speech.

  • strat||

    I think some have misgivings that placing too great an emphasis on external evidence of cognition opens an opportunity to revisit some unpleasant eugenics history and a lot of stupid assertions historically used to support the subjugation of "the other."

  • ryan||

    I believe a fetus should be considered a part of a woman, i.e. part of her person, which is her property and with which she should do whatever she will without infringing upon the rights of others. I believe, for that reason alone, women should have a legal right to choose abortion. I can't imagine an argument which can both negate and reverse the above, while acknowledging and protecting the rights of women.

    I see no moral or logical excuse to consider a woman's fetus as more or less than her personal property.

    After birth, it's an individual with rights.

    The only morally and logically consistent alternative would be to make irresponsibility illegal - otherwise, women will just have abortions on a black market, and justifiably so. Either of those would have horrific repercussions compared to essentially giving women legal property rights to the dependent organism (technically a parasite, but a special parasite) growing inside them.

    I hope that position will be well understood here.

    I'm willing to respond to any argument about this, though probably won't look through this thread again.

  • ryan||

    by the way, this is coming from someone who complains frequently about the kinds of people I see reproducing and their lack of preparedness for being parent(s)

  • Matt Tanous||

    The argument that can both negate and reverse yours starts from a fundamentally different place - that the fetus is a human being (although a still-developing one) and as such cannot be defined as "property" any more than a newborn. If you start with that assumption, as 99.9% of pro-life individuals do, then your argument completely falls apart.

    http://www.humblelibertarian.c.....-life.html

    And frankly, even as a libertarian, I think it only makes sense to err (if we are erring) on the side of LIFE, as making a error in the other direction is far less damaging.

  • ||

    Babies also lack cognitive and language skill. All they can do is cry and babble.

  • djkumquat||

    great, thoughtful comment. hinkle, usually pretty solid, missed the bigger point that you make.

  • ||

    The premise that users of deadly force to defend their life against violent attack or those seeking an abortion both will end in death needs to be carefully weighed against the person's moral and ethical values.

    Yes. The person's. Meaning the individual's. Meaning that if the individual does not want the inconvenience of a clump of cells growing in and feeding off her body, a clump of cells that has the potential to be a human person but isn't one and cannot live independently of its host's body, that is her decision.

  • robc||

    Autopsy picture is a poor analogy to ultrasound.

    Picture of paper target with little holes in it would be more accurate.

  • robc||

    Actually, picture of paper target BEFORE the holes are in it would be most equivalent to ultrasound.

    Picture of paper target with holes in it would be analogous to pictures of post-aborted fetus in the trash.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Maybe they should be required to look at an x-ray image of the bullets in the gun before they are fired.

  • robc||

    X-ray wouldnt be necessary. If women where transparent, they would just be able to look.

    So, the gun store owner should be required to open a box of ammo and show it to the purchaser before the purchase.

  • Bart Starless||

    Man, the times I would have been spared from buying gag ammo if I had done that. Though the "hollow-points" that were really Swiss cheese still makes me smile.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, but it's still bullshit. Whatever you think about abortion, if it is legal, then adults should be allowed to do it for whatever reason they see fit. The only purpose of these laws is to discourage people from doing something they are legally allowed to do.

  • Swamp Think||

    This^

  • Joe||

    Except that abortions, unlike any other medical procedure is fast tracked and the details glossed over. Would there be a problem if they showed you an x-ray of your spleen before they took it out? Or to tell you how they were going to cut it to pieces in order to get it out? So why not with the fetus? If the affect is that it will discourage abortion, well then that is an interesting bit of commentary regarding the moral issue, but it is immaterial. It is a medical procedure, it should be treated like any other, women shouldn't be molly-coddled so they can feel better about their decision.

    Furthermore, it is an unnecessary medical procedure, which in most cases are discouraged for safety concerns. If giving more information about the procedure discourages it, then doctors should consider it a win. The truth is that the pendulum is too far the other way toward abortion advocacy. Legislation like this only brings it within the realm of normalcy.

    It is not a good analogy. If you buy a gun there is a .001% (going with Hinkle's figure) chance that you will kill hurt someone with it. If you have an abortion, there is a 100% that you will kill someone. Furthermore, they are not wanting to show pictures of mutilated fetuses (feti?).

  • Tonio||

    Not really someone. See my 1:14 above.

  • ||

    something then? It's still killing.

  • ||

    If you have an abortion, there is a 100% that you will kill someone a nebulous clump of cells that might have grown into a person.

    Abortion stops a beating heart. And just in the nick of time, too.

  • Joe||

    Ok, let's concede the point about when it becomes someone for now, since that is essentially a religious question.

    That doesn't discredit the question of standard medical practice and abortion advocacy.

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    Would there be a problem if they showed you an x-ray of your spleen before they took it out?

    If government mandated that hostpitals show me an x-ray of my spleen, then yes, there would be a problem. The mandate is the problem, not the act itself.

  • ||

    Don't most hospitals show you an x-ray or use some kind of plastic model to demonstrate where the problem is, and how they intend to fix it? If that is SOP for all other medical procedures, then one could imagine that the profession should apply it to abortion as well (without a state mandate).

  • NeonCat||

    I'd like to think most people who have had sex have seen a baby at least once in their life.

  • ||

    You'd like to think so.

  • Joe||

    Except that in those other cases the explanations don't bring people to want to keep their defective organs. The question of abortion advocacy aside, doctors have a vested interest to have patients go their with this procedure for their payday. When the process encourages withholding information shouldn't there be a counter measure to ensure that honesty in the profession, for the sake of public health, in the same way that someone installing a gas system into you house might be forced to explain the possible though unlikely dangers of such a system? Even if it discourages some people from buying that product?

  • Another Phil||

    doctors have a vested interest to have patients go their with this procedure for their payday

    Because there's no money to be made in prenatal checkups. It's abortions for the payday or nothing, I guess.

  • Matt Tanous||

    Huckabee had an ex-abortion doctor on that claimed to have received a bonus for every abortion performed in her clinic. If that is true, then yes, providing an abortion would be a significant amount of money more than multiple, smaller payout prenatal checkups and birth.

  • The Dan||

    for my shoulder surgery, yes, they did show me on a model. For the colonoscopy, no model was needed, I understood what they were going to do to me.

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    A doctor can show a potential abortion patient a picture of her left big toe, for all I care. As long as there is no government mandate involved.

  • Matt Tanous||

    The government DOES mandate informed consent. This could easily be considered informed consent. If you really want to argue that this is a problem, then also argue that doctors should legally be able to push people into risky surgeries on a whim without telling them what they are getting into.

    Hell, let's remove all false advertising laws as well. No need for protection from fraud or poor/mis-information either.

  • Zeb||

    All medical procedures should be fast tracked if that's what the patient wants and the doctor is willing to do it. If abortionists all decided that they ought to make potential clients have ultrasounds, I would have no problem with that. The problem is that it is required by law. I would equally have a problem with a law banning abortionists from requiring a ultrasound before the abortion.

  • Zeb||

    And why the hell shouldn't they be molly coddled (I actually knew a girl named Molly Cottle once, which was funny)? People getting their spleens removed should be made to feel as good as possible about their spleenectomies, why not treat abortions the same. Medical treatment is a service and the terms should be determined by the parties to the service and no one else.

  • strat||

    I'm not a doctor, but I think they'd tell you it's not immaterial because they are increasingly factoring psychological harm into things like risk/benefit analyses.

    I do think that certain classes of procedures seem to have a fast and loose interpretation of what informed consent means. Read up on LASIK and Botox outcomes, for example. Abortion is no different. One set of folks want to scare people away, but I'm not at all convinced that another set wouldn't want to make it as comfortable as they can, and if informed consent suffers in the process, it's all for the greater good.

  • ||

    Yessireebob.

  • o3||

    wait'll the socons realize that loss of privacy effects gun registration & their medical records about teh fatz.

  • o3||

    blp frgl szmen dklj 1@#$5 glur famakl !! hur LOL!

  • Gojira||

    Caption:

    Pictured: A Gun, Possibly Used in an Abortion

  • anon||

    I'm betting very late term, probably 100th trimester.

  • Some dude||

    When a woman walks into a gun store, socially conservative legislators like Cole treat her as rational, well informed, and fully capable of making her own decisions without a lot of “bureaucratic red tape.” But if the same woman walks into an abortion clinic, suddenly she’s an addled dimwit who hasn’t given her decision two seconds’ thought, and somebody needs to make her.


    There is reason to suspect a woman walking into the abortion clinic doesn't give proper forethought to her decisions. Can you guess what that might be?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Because despite the innate pressure of millions of years of evolution, humans should simply not engage in sexual activity except to procreate.

    And contraceptives always work 100% of the time.

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    Bingo.

    Some Guy, you need to stop giving me a bad name.

  • Some dude||

    Me? I'm pretty sure I was first. Even if I am an infrequent commenter.

  • Some dude||

    Because despite the innate pressure of millions of years of evolution, humans should simply not engage in sexual activity except to procreate.


    Through your sarcasm, I can see you are admitting the woman makes irrational decisions on account of evolution. My point stands!

    And contraceptives always work 100% of the time.


    Was the woman under some kind of false idea that contraceptives are 100% effective?

  • Paleoprogressive||

    There is reason to suspect a woman walking into the abortion clinic doesn't give proper forethought to her decisions. Can you guess what that might be?

    Because she's a genetically inferior minority?

  • margaret sanger||

    and that is reason enough.

  • There is no "we"||

    No, I can't.

    Abortion can be a perfectly rational pre-meditated back-up plan to contraception, or it could even be a substitute for contraception.

    So unless you are making a cognitive error, there isn't a reason for such suspicion.

    Maybe you disagree with the pre-meditated use of abortion as a primary or backup method of birth control. That is a different issue.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: There is no brain,

    Abortion can be a perfectly rational pre-meditated back-up plan to contraception,


    So would be infanticide. So would be spousicide for divorce.

    or it could even be a substitute for contraception.


    So could spousicide be a substitute for divorce.

    Maybe you disagree with the pre-meditated use of abortion as a primary or backup method of birth control.


    No disagreement there. The question is not if perpetrating an abortion is a rational method of contraception, the question is if it's a moral or evil act.

  • There is no "we"||

    No. The question is whether forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term is a use of the government's coercive police power that I, as a taxpayer, should be forced to fund against my will. And my vote is "NOT."

    As a member of society, I never signed on to a government carte blanche for suppressing all "evil", or permitting only that which is "moral."

  • Matt Tanous||

    You are right. Murder is now legal, as we are not suppressing "evil" acts - even those that violate the human right to life. And I think I might murder you - something about your face (even though I can't see it through the internet) bugs me. You better be careful about putting any personal information out there....

    The question is not only whether abortion is "moral" or not, but if it is a violation of the unborn's right to life. This is a fundamental question, and saying "it's a police power I shouldn't have to fund" makes about as much sense as a serial killer claiming he shouldn't have to fund the government because he disagrees with laws against murder. If the vast majority (or even a slim majority) feel it violates the fundamental natural rights of a human being, then your will is irrelevant - even in an anarcho-capitalist, voluntary society with private police. (You wouldn't have to FUND it then, but you'd have to move outside of the jurisdiction of the people that decided against you - or the society falls apart).

  • Some dude||

    If that's what abortion is all about, I don't expect it to be legal for very long. I don't see many Americans going to the mat to protect a woman's right to use abortion as a premeditated backup plan to contraception methods with established success/failure rates.

  • There is no "we"||

    Legal abortion already has a strong constituency, and back-up birth control is the least controversial elective use of legal abortion (as compared to using abortion as primary birth control).

  • Uninformed Woman||

    "—as though women flit into abortion clinics on impulse, as they might buy a pair of shoes they see on sale, the silly little things."

    It's Tuesday. I think I'll have an abortion.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Wait, look at this picture first.

  • o3||

    ur fat not preggers

  • Jumbie||

    You mock, but there are girls in this country who are addicted to abortions.

    /South Park

  • Raston Bot||

    no Richmond Times Dispatch link?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Bart's articles get re-published here later in the day after they appear in the RTD.

  • anon||

    I thought a lot before I bought my first gun.

    Mostly about how much more free I'd be to go where I please without fear of being the victim of a violent crime.

  • Bun in the oven||

    I hope I'm not the victim of a violent crime.

  • anon||

    I see what you did there.

  • Jumbie||

    Fetuses need guns.

  • Hokie||

    Damn. If you think you need a gun to be safe in a particular location, you shouldn't want to go there in the first place.

  • ||

    True, but are you really safe any place?

  • ||

    So you're cool with restricting abortions to people over 21, checking ID, excluding people with criminal records or a history of mental illness, people with restraining orders against them, etc...

  • anon||

    Does this article suggest that abortions should be performed with 357 magnums?

  • ||

    David: That's true. You know, if we were serious and we said "yes she should be forced to sniff...smell the glove" then you'd have a point you know but it's all a joke, isn't it, we're making fun of that sort of thing.

    Nigel: It is and it isn't, she should be made to smell it, but...

    David: But not you know over and over again.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Ian: Bobbi, do you know what they wanted her to be smelling? It wasn't a glove, I can tell you that!

  • Old Mexican||

    Who says gun buyers are thoughtless and irresponsible? About 60 million Americans own roughly 270 million firearms, and 99.99 percent of them never hurt anyone.


    And an abortion hurts a person 100% of the time.

  • anon||

    When does a fetus actually start feeling pain?

    Although I guess the mother does experience some pain after the procedure.

    Does that pain outweigh the 18 years of misery the child would suffer from being unwanted?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: anon,

    When does a fetus actually start feeling pain?


    Is that important, anon? If a person is born incapable of feeling pain, does that negate his personhood?

    Does that pain outweigh the 18 years of misery the child would suffer from being unwanted?


    Let's get a few things straight first, anon:

    a) Government is to blame for everything
    b) Go back to a)

    It is government that makes it more difficult to adopt a child; it is government that sabotages that voluntary contract between mother and adopting parents; it is government that has undermined the family by providing free stuff - as long as the father plays hookie.

    So it may be true that a kid may not be wanted, but don't for a second think this is the inevitable result of not allowing women to abort (murder) their children. Government has played too big a role in this process, their "solutions" making things progressively worse.

    My stance on abortion is that a person is born a person regardless of how many cells that person possesses - that is just a question of degree, not of essence. If a government can have a say on who is a person, that makes ALL OF US liable to be called a non-person by a state bureaucrat. Either we ARE ALL persons, with rights, or we're not.

  • anon||

    My stance on abortion is that a person is born a person regardless of how many cells that person possesses - that is just a question of degree, not of essence. If a government can have a say on who is a person, that makes ALL OF US liable to be called a non-person by a state bureaucrat. Either we ARE ALL persons, with rights, or we're not.

    Until it can sustain life on its own, a fetus is nothing more than a parasite.

    Just like when Grandma can do nothing but sit on a ventilator, she is nothing more than a parasite.

  • Joe||

    An infant cannot sustain life by itself, should we be able to throw them in the trash?

  • Metazoan||

    An infant can maintain its metabolic processes outside a host body, a fetus (and especially embryo) usually cannot.

  • Tonio||

    ^This

  • k2000k||

    Just like when Grandma can do nothing but sit on a ventilator, she is nothing more than a parasite.

  • k2000k||

    This follows that same logic. Frankly its distrubing.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Metazoan,

    An infant can maintain its metabolic processes outside a host body,


    Not if nobody feeds him. So is the case of a person in a coma - he or she cannot maintain its metabolic processes without help (I'm not talking about a brain-dead person.) Is a person in a coma fair game as well?

  • Another Phil||

    Not if nobody feeds him. So is the case of a person in a coma - he or she cannot maintain its metabolic processes without help (I'm not talking about a brain-dead person.) Is a person in a coma fair game as well?

    There are plenty of people willing to step up and feed orphaned infants. No such arrangement is possible for the embryo/fetus. And yes, the person in a coma has no right to the coerced services of others.

  • ||

    An infant can maintain its metabolic processes outside a host body, a fetus (and especially embryo) usually cannot.

    So, no prob with the pulling the plug on anybody who's on life support?

  • anon||

    None at all.

  • Another Phil||

    So, no prob with the pulling the plug on anybody who's on life support?

    If the only way for them to remain on life support is to force others to care for them, then no prob.

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    Current record for premature birth is in the 21-22 week range (+/- 2 weeks uncertainty). You don't get high survival rates until many weeks later.

    Before this, the fetus is completely dependent upon a particular individual for survival.

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    In other words, before 21 weeks there is a big difference between comatose grandma and a fetus. Anyone can keep grandma alive. Only the mother can keep the fetus alive.

  • Joe||

    So if they came out with equipment able to keep an embryo alive, then it would be considered a person? Is personhood dependent on technology then?

    The environments and equipment might change, but the fundamental question is the morality of facilitating a human's ability to thrive unto maturation if it is our power to do so (actually abortion is about changing the environment so it will not thrive where it otherwise would have, it is only after birth that we would have to put effort into it).

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    Be careful Joe. That goes both ways. Does a mother's obligation stop at not aborting her fetus? Or is she also obligated to take extra steps to protect the fetus? What about extraordinary steps? In other words, if the mother miscarries, is it murder/manslaughter? What if a long series of expensive tests could have found the problem and prevented the miscarriage? Are all women obligated to take those tests?

  • Joe||

    Valid point, and essentially the question. At what point do we say what is reasonable? At some point between someone walking into a hospital with a gun shot wound to a vegetable on life support we acknowledge that the caregiver is not liable. I am just saying that it should at least be in the neutral position and not in the realm of doing things to actually kill life that would otherwise thrive.

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    But you still think the mother is obligated to provide sustenance to the fetus until the time of birth? What if there were an abortion method that did no direct damage to the fetus, but simply cut off its supply of nutrients. Would that be sufficiently neutral?

    My view of "what is reasonable" includes the mother's right to refuse the huge sacrifices inherent in carrying a child to term.

  • anon||

    Maybe grandma was a bad analogy, I was thinking terry shiavo.

  • ||

    It's still completely dependent and would die in a short period of time without assistance.

  • Tonio||

    No. Although infanticide (deliberate killing of infants) was widely practiced in pre-modern times, I see live birth as the necessary bright line in this.

  • djkumquat||

    zing!

  • Joe||

    A) some late term abortions end up failing and the baby is neglected until it dies (didn't obama support legislation in Ill saying doctors didn't have to try and help failed abortions survive or something?)

    B)Who cares? It still relies on the mother to live. The metabolism argument is splitting hairs, which is my point.

    Another point is that when it is a fetus (or embryo) the mother passively nurtures it and would have to actively kill it, but when it come out she has to actively nurture it (but can passively kill it). Which is the bigger parasite, the thing that requires no (well some) effort to sustain or the one that requires a lot of effort to sustain?

  • nicole||

    Which is the bigger parasite, the thing that requires no (well some) effort to sustain or the one that requires a lot of effort to sustain?

    The one that's inside your body, where it has the power to kill or severely maim you.

  • Joe||

    So the capacity (not even will or intent) to harm is justification for retributive violence?

    Infants cause severe clinical depression for some women. So trash 'em, right? They can't sustain themselves anyway.

  • Andrea Yates||

    Yup.

  • k2000k||

    Careful with that logic anon. Using:
    Until it can sustain life on its own, a fetus is nothing more than a parasite

    You are simply strengthening Old Mexicans point. A goverment could arbitrarily decide any number of things based off that logic:

    An infant is nothing more than a parasite because it would be unable to feed itself.

    Or to make it more absurd,

    The college kid living in his parents basement is a parasite because it not sustaining itself.

    It sounds ridiculous but you have to remember, this is goverment we are talking about.

  • djkumquat||

    exactly.

  • anon||

    Parasite
    1:an organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.

    The biological sense is the one meant.

  • Joe||

    By that definition a fetus is not a parasite because it is not an organism of another species. Or was that your point? I can be dense sometimes.

  • ||

    By that definition a fetus is NOT a parasite since the host is from the same species.

  • anon||

    I typed species in accidently, sorry. At work. Here's the cut and paste:

    2
    : an organism living in, with, or on another organism in parasitism
    3
    : something that resembles a biological parasite in dependence on something else for existence or support without making a useful or adequate return
    — par·a·sit·ic also par·a·sit·i·cal adjective
    — par·a·sit·i·cal·ly adverb

  • ||

    I stand corrected.

  • Metazoan||

    All human cells are humans??

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Metazoan,

    All human cells are humans??


    You're equivocating. Why?

  • Tonio||

    Uh, no he's not, OM, that was the logical conclusion of your "even one cell" rant.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tonio,

    Uh, no he's not, OM, that was the logical conclusion of your "even one cell" rant.


    You have a problem understanding the concept of equivocation, Tonio. All my cells are human cells, but one of my cells is not an entire human. Metazoan is equivocating.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tonio,

    Besides, you did not read my post. I said a person is a person regardless of how many cells he or she possesses. I never said anything about a single cell. My argument says that a fetus, a child, a full grown man or woman and an elderly person are all persons regardless of their total cell count.

  • Tonio||

    Sorry, no time for your bullshit, OM.

  • ||

    The stages of human development aren't bullshit. Just saying.

  • Tonio||

    No, the bullshit part is OM first claiming that "a person is born a person regardless of how many cells that person possesses" then trying to weasel out of the implication that a newly-fertilized egg (single "human" cell) is a person.

  • Metazoan||

    "Regardless of total cell count" would seem to include a cell count of 1.

    Now, you can say that it is indeed unreasonable to suggest that one cell is a human by virtue of its current functional genomic programming, since a somatic cell can plausibly be reprogrammed into a pluripotent or, perhaps in the future, totipotent stem cell, which in turn would suggest that the introduction of a couple transcription factors to a skin cell turns it into a human (seemingly nonsensical).

    But if 1 cell is not human, yet humans are humans "regardless of cell count," how many cells is the minimum for being human?

    If you take neither of these positions, I'd appreciate hearing why. Thanks.

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    I was thinking the same thing, Metazoan. Several people have commented that technology should have no say in the definition of personhood. Right now I almost agree with them, but this certainly will not be the case in the future. We may even live to see a time when the definition of personhood depends heavily on technology. (AI, a brain in a mech-suit, artificial life, human-animal hybrids, cryogenically freezing people at the moment of death, aliens, etc.)

  • juris imprudent||

    a person is born a person

    Born a person, yes. But aren't we talking about what hasn't been born yet?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Juris Imprudent,

    But aren't we talking about what hasn't been born yet?


    They're called angels, which are waiting to be born in Heaven. Didn't you watch Disney cartoons?

  • djkumquat||

    well put, old mex!

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    Old Mexican
    My stance on abortion is that a person is born a person regardless of how many cells that person possesses - that is just a question of degree, not of essence.

    So the morning after pill and IVF both result in first degree murder?

  • Chatroom Crank||

    I am pretty sure certain death does outweigh the possible suffering of the child.

  • djkumquat||

    yes!

  • nicole||

    I was thinking annihilation prior to consciousness was much easier than the certain suffering any conscious human will endure throughout life. Funny how easy it is to disagree on this stuff.

  • Tonio||

    No, because the fetus fanciers actually believe that fetuses are exactly the same things as babies despite evidence to the contrary. It's ultimately emotionalism and superstition versus reality and modernity.

  • MJ||

    I find it difficult to believe that anyone would be a big enough idiot to suggest that the child is better off dead, bit there you are.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Hey, I know! Let's re-start that whole abortion thread from yesterday!

  • anon||

    I'm not really arguing one way or the other. I'm not a woman and I have no right to tell any woman what she can or can not do with her own body.

  • wareagle||

    not being a woman is a weak argument. No one gets pregnant on their own, save for Octomom and look how well that turned out.

    Men have an interest, too: if the woman wants the child and the man does not, he's still on the hook financially for some time; if he does but she does not, tough shit for him.

    I'm with you about govt staying out of it, but not because of gender.

  • anon||

    I consented to sex knowing that the act could result in a pregnancy. That was my choice to be involved, so yes, it is "tough shit for me." If I were that much against abortion (which I'm not, as stated above) or if I were that scared of having a baby, I could easily refuse to have any involvement in the matter.

  • ||

    That is weak sauce anon. The woman consented to sex knowing full well it could lead to pregnancy too. Both parties knowing full well the consequences of their actions should share the burden of responsibility. If we, as a society, want to say that ultimately the woman has the choice of keeping or killing the fetus, then ultimately she is the one making the financial decision as well and the man should be left out of it entirely.

    Also, I'm not all conspiracy theory or anything, but it's not unheard of that women will poke holes in condoms, dig them out of the trash, etc. in order to get themselves pregnant.

  • k2000k||

    Good point DesigNate. Either we are a nation of equals or we aren't. And if we aren't then its time to end this feminist bullcrap.

  • anon||

    A good case can be made for marriage as a contract here, and sex out of wedlock, but I don't have time to make it well. But yeah, deciding to have the child should make it entirely the mother's financial responsibility. But we were talking about abortion.

  • ||

    But how about the second body that happens to reside within hers? Is it OK to tell her not to kill that person?

  • anon||

    You seem to be under the impression that just because it's living it is valuable. It is not.

  • k2000k||

    You are under the impression that just because you can post what you say is valuable. It is not.

  • anon||

    So you would contend that tapeworms are valuable?

  • ||

    So if someone feels like killing you, you're OK with that? I mean after all, just because you're alive doesn't mean you're valuable...

  • anon||

    If I had no concept of what life was let alone death, no I would not have a problem with it.

  • ||

    So it's OK to kill the profoundly retarded?
    Homosexuals?
    Catholics?
    Gypsies and Jews?

  • anon||

    Why the genocide reference?

    Abortion is not genocide.

  • ||

    Because Hitler started with mental defectives, which you seem to be OK with killing. Then he moved on to other targets...

    And I'm sorry, but over 50,000,000 abortions since Roe v. Wade isn't genocide?

  • Tonio||

    Not an actual person. No cognition. No language. Sorry.

  • ||

    So downs syndrome kids aren't actually persons?

  • SFC B||

    If we require cognition and language then I think O3 is abortable.

  • Tonio||

    Nice try at linking abortion rights to genocide, but ultimately tired and fail. See also, emotionalism.

    Down's syndrome persons have cognition and language skills.

    And I'm willing to allow for a special class of legal personhood for even the profoundly retarded, but that would also mean extending personhood to some non-human organisms.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Again...newborn infants don't have any grasp of language, so far as I can ascertain.

  • Tonio||

    OK, Rev, I never said they did. Generally they don't start producing speech until about one year.

    Because no fetus has ever demonstrated language skills it's OK to terminate them.

    As I stated several times above, I believe that birth is the only reasonable dividing line between legal personhood and non-personhood.

    You can advance the case that infanticide ought to be allowed until the kid demonstrates language production, but I'm not going there.

  • MJ||

    "You can advance the case that infanticide ought to be allowed until the kid demonstrates language production, but I'm not going there."

    In other words, what you have been repeating over and over as if it were killer point is actually irrelevent and something that you don't really believe. Your rationale for birth is merely that it gives convenient visible time limit on when you are able to complete the hit on the kid.

  • ||

    "You can advance the case that infanticide ought to be allowed until the kid demonstrates language production, but I'm not going there."

    As in you're unwilling to argue for, or against that notion. Which shows how extreme and irrational your views on life are in general.

  • ||

    I wasn't trying to link it to genocide. I was asking a legitimate question about the personhood of humans that lack cognition and/or language skills. If you are uncomfortable with the possible ramifications of pinning personhood on language/cognition that's not my problem.

    (FWIW, I'm not sure where we should pin it and I'm not comfortable with using the state to force the issue)

  • Tonio||

    DesigNate, perhaps you should avoid the talking points of the fetus fanciers if you don't want to be lumped with them.

  • d||

    ...No language. Sorry.

    Dammit! We missed our window to off you at four years old! Dammit!

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    Barely Suppressed Rage|1.24.12 @ 12:30PM|#
    Hey, I know! Let's re-start that whole abortion thread from yesterday!

    Sounds good to me! I missed that one.

  • Sam B||

    Feel free to raise, or at least pay for, the child that the mother couldn't.

    I'm sure it was an easy decision for her and it won't haunt her for life.

  • BradK||

    Sorry, but concern for the rights of the preborn ends at birth. After that mother and child are on their own to fend for themselves, live or die. My conscience is clear.

    /sarcasm

  • ||

    Um, what century are you living in. Nanny Welfare State already does that...

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    Open proposal to those like Old Mexican, Joe and Tonio who seem to be highly opinionated (and on opposite ends of the spectrum.)

    Compromise by drawing the abortion line at 21 weeks of gestation. (This is the earliest any baby has been born and survived.

    On the one hand, women have over 5 months to decide if they want an abortion.

    On the other hand, the fetus has no chance at survival outside the womb. Up until 5 month the fetus is completely dependent upon the mother. It is, for lack of a better word, a parasite.

    I propose this as a compromise between the rights of the fetus and the rights of the mother.

    Also, it handles OM's concerns about government having arbitrary power to decide personhood. If it has a shot of surviving outside the womb with any amount of help from arbitrary other people, then it is a person. If it depends upon one specific person for survival, then it is not.

    Of course, as technology and medicine improve, the cutoff time will move downward.

  • Tonio||

    No, because it's based on the arbitrary ability of medical science to keep the organism alive, not the actual functional personhood of the organism.

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    I never said it wasn't "arbitrary". All solutions to this issue are going to be somewhat arbitrary. If you insist on allowing abortions up until birth, then you neglect the fact that doctors can induce birth a week or two early without any impact on survivability. How is it morally justifiable to abort a child that could easily be born right this minute?

    On the other end, you have to ask is it a person at fertilization? At first cell division? At implantation? Even excluding unfertilized eggs from "potential personhood" is somewhat arbitrary. Why does a little bit of genetic material matter so much more than all the energy, hormones, nutrients and time that are also required to create a child?

  • Tonio||

    I've consistently stated here and elsewhere that birth is the only reasonable boundary. And it's arbitrary for many reasons.

    Not neglecting anything, just don't see that as relevant.

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    I've consistently stated here and elsewhere that birth is the only reasonable boundary.

    I just gave you a reason why birth is not a reasonable boundary. There is no functional difference between a 9 month old fetus and a 1 day old infant. If they are the same thing and one of them is a person, then both of them are persons.

    What is it about the 9 month old fetus that makes it "not a person" in your mind?

  • Joe||

    That is a reasonable solution as a matter of policy, not that I really agree with it, but the most I should be satisfied with doing is try to encourage people to make the choice that I think is right. Just because something is legal doesn't make it right, and at least that delineation has some aspect of logic to it regarding individual rights (to life).

    Though I do also admit that a lot of this is a side show. I would say that the article is about social engineering through legislation. My point on that is that informing a patient of the procedure is a reasonable measure considering SOP for surgeries. Abortion advocates are against it because the natural consequence goes against their agenda.

    I can see the argument of not wanting the gov't to force doctors to do anything, but I think it is a hard sell to say that doctors shouldn't have to relay facts about what is going on and what the procedure entails.

    The analogy about guns is ridiculous because it equates it to extreme cases of what could happen, not what will happen if you get a gun. How can more information be bad? How can facts be biased? They are not even unrelated like the gunshot victim photos.

  • Another Phil||

    My point on that is that informing a patient of the procedure is a reasonable measure considering SOP for surgeries. Abortion advocates are against it because the natural consequence goes against their agenda.

    And anti-abortion advocates are for it because it furthers their agenda. So what?

  • MJ||

    Most people in the pro-"choice" camp would regard that suggestion as radically anti-abortion.

  • ||

    The comparison abortion photos and gunshot wounds is not entirely fair.

    No one takes an abortion home to leave it on a shelf just in case it is needed.

    All honest citizens don't buy a gun to go out, and use it in a murder or robbery.

    We screen purchasers of guns. What would be the equality on the abortion side?

  • djkumquat||

    bingo!

  • Tonio||

    No one takes an abortion home to leave it on a shelf just in case it is needed.

    Are you for 86?

  • Doctor Whom||

    "Politicians Engage in Doublethink," part 1,982,738

  • Dekedin||

    "—as though women flit into abortion clinics on impulse, as they might buy a pair of shoes they see on sale, the silly little things."
    But aren't abrotion centers like malls now?

    http://www.theonion.com/articl.....lex,20476/

  • ||

    Well the difference being that you don't buy a gun with the necessary intent to kill. If you believe that abortion is murder than you are killing. The ultrasound seems somewhat rational as you would want to insure that under current definitions the fetus isn't a human yet. Though these definitions seem to change an unnerving amount.

  • Esteban||

    Agree with all of this.

  • djkumquat||

    ditto

  • Missed Point||

    Your analogy misses the point. There are many uses and purposes for buying a firearm. Sure, one could buy a gun to kill someone. But there are alternative uses such as hunting, competitive shooting, or collecting. In contrast, someone gets an abortion to kill or prevent, depending on your view, a human life. The alternative use of an abortion is . . . there isn’t one. So yes, when a woman walks into a gun store, of course that person is fully capable of making their own decision. The same is true when a woman walks into a clinic seeking an abortion. The difference is that one of those things has a single end result carrying with it potentially significant life consequences. So it makes far more sense for someone to view an ultrasound when getting an abortion than for someone to view pictures of gunshot wounds when buying a firearm. Furthermore, it seems a bit simplistic to assume that legislators simply view women as impulsive or dimwitted when seeking an abortion. I believe the purpose of the legislation is to force woman to think deeper about the potential consequences of an abortion. That isn’t to say that they already haven’t thought about consequences, but feelings of fear, uncertainty, and pressure can be far more motivating factors in the decision. Now all of this is not to say that I agree with the legislation or to defend it in anyway. I’m merely stating that your thesis regarding hypocrisy on the part of the state is false and that it further weakens your argument against the legislation.

  • ||

    You give the legislators too much credit. They really do think we are all that stupid.

  • k2000k||

    Well the alternative would be to take the pregnancy to term and then donate for adoption. Or perhapes in the future to remove the fertilized egg/or fetus and cyrogenicly store it until a wanting surrogate would appear.

    My own hope is that one day technology will render the abortion debate moot.

  • Missed Point||

    DesigNate: Not "an alternative to," but "an alternative use of."

  • djkumquat||

    agreed.

  • sarcasmic||

    If that firearm is used to cap a pregnant woman walking into an abortion clinic, the shooter could be charged with double murder.

  • anon||

    But wait, she was going to get an abortion anyways. As the defense, I'm arguing it's only 1 count of homicide.

  • sarcasmic||

    How do you know? She could have had a change of heart and been going in to cancel, and the father shot her because he'd rather go to prison than have to deal with that bitch for the next eighteen years.

  • anon||

    Well then she was indecisive and was asking for it anyways; obviously a bitch. I move to dismiss.

  • ||

    And one count of practicing medicine without a license

  • thirtyandseven||

    ROFL

  • ||

    Hahahahahahahaha

  • Kyle G||

    The "reasoning" in this article is totally spurious. The act of purchasing and possessing a firearm is not inherently harmful in the way an abortion is. Obviously, people disagree as to whether or not "harm" is truly being done, but that is a separate line of argumentation that unnecessarily muddies the initial contention.

  • anon||

    I think the word you're looking for is "specious," as the argument at first glance appears plausible but has a flawed premise.

  • ||

    Hinkle, why would it matter if the woman were a dimwit who had regular abortions? You're arguing that she's not, but why does it matter? It's no big deal, right? If it's just an elective medical procedure, why should anyone give a shit how much thought was put into it?

  • Swamp Think||

    Sounds just like FL's Team Red lawmakers. Turds in the punch bowl of liberty.

  • Zeb||

    Everyone should be aborted just in case they are the next Hitler.

    (I think I will just make this my only comment for abortion threads from now on. We all know what everybody thinks already.)

  • anon||

    I think the obvious answer is actually if you don't like abortion, don't have one.

  • ||

    If you don't like murder, don't... Wait, that doesn't really work now does it?

  • anon||

    Because terminating a parasite is now murder. Right.

  • The Cops||

    Yeah, we terminate parasites all the time.

  • o3||

    u mean a parasite in the image of god?

  • thirtyandseven||

    That's what I said after I strangled Packer fans on Christmas.

    The jury didn't buy it.

  • Objectivist||

    That's what the cops told me when they caught me stabbing the pandhandler. I don't buy it.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Thread Winner.

  • MJ||

    A human fetus is not a parasite. "Parasite" has a very specific definition in Biology, being a harmful symbiote. All you have done is shown that you are a flippant ignoramous.

  • ||

    To be fair, that was pretty obvious earlier than this post...

  • Another Phil||

    If you don't like murder, don't... Wait, that doesn't really work now does it?

    I'd see your point if you weren't trying to redefine the word murder.

  • Zeb||

    In case you didn't notice, I wasn't trying to have an obvious or sensible answer at all.

  • Yet Another Dave||

    With regard to his ultrasound bill, Cole really did say that “women should make informed choices.” This seems to assume they aren’t doing so now—as though women flit into abortion clinics on impulse, as they might buy a pair of shoes they see on sale, the silly little things.

    Studies have shown that women may very well be making more uninformed choices that what Mr. Hinkle may realize. In the case where ultrasounds were administered prior to a planned abortion, the rate of women going through with the abortion afterward significantly dropped. If they were making as informed of choices as Hinkle would like to think, then really, there shouldn't have been a change because they were all already fully aware of what they were doing.

    For those of us who feel that in this case, the rights of the unborn child trumps the rights of the mother, a requirement for an ultrasound doesn't deny anyone their opportunity to get an abortion if they're still hell bent on it. And it keeps them out of the back alleys that repealing Roe v Wade would send many of them to.

    So what's so wrong with trying to find at least a little compromise on such a contentious topic?

    As for the gun permit thing, while on the surface it seems like a good idea to require permits for concealed carry, let's be realistic - in the vast majority of shootings that involved concealed carry handguns, the shooter didn't have a permit in the first place. It goes back to why liberals frequently come across so stupid when they want to restrict gun ownership further after events like the Virginia Tech shooting - an event where the shooter didn't legally possess his handguns in the first place, so why on earth would even more laws have prevented that situation? If anything, allowing people with legal concealed carry permits to carry on VT's campus might have stopped or at least lessened the death toll, because the shooter might have had his brains splattered a whole lot sooner than he did.

    As for the suggestion at the beginning of the article about the autopsy photos, that might be an interesting idea ... provided that anyone still hell bent on having a gun after having seen the photos then be barred from getting one. I mean, really, the thought of those people packing heat scares me.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Yet Another Dave,

    In the case where ultrasounds were administered prior to a planned abortion, the rate of women going through with the abortion afterward significantly dropped.


    Not to burst your bubble, but you should provide evidence of this to back you up. The idea may make sense, that a woman changes her mind when seeing the living being inside her (as the aphorism says: "Out of sight, out of mind,") but if you mention a statistic, you have to provide it.

  • Yet Another Dave||

    I don't have access to the stat at hand, but it is quoted in the book "Common Ground" by Bob Beckel and Cal Thomas.

  • Blacksmithking||

    Isn't there a slippery slope here, though? Must have an ultrasound. Ok. Then, must watch three hours of videos of happy, gamboling children. Then must write an essay explaining why the child is not wanted...

  • Yet Another Dave||

    The old "slippery slope" argument. I think that's the same one opponents of gay marriage like to use - once we allow gay marriage, it will be mere minutes before people will be wanting to marry six people, their children, their cocker spaniels ...... And it's just as ludicrous for them as it is for you, my friend.

  • Zeb||

    I have no doubt that anti-abortion people will put whatever restrictions and requirements on getting an abortion that they can get away with. That is their whole strategy (short of overturning RvW): to make getting an abortion as difficult and unpleasant as possible.

    If someone wants to shield herself from the harsh reality, why shouldn't she be able to?

  • Yet Another Dave||

    If someone wants to shield herself from the harsh reality, why shouldn't she be able to?

    Seems to me you answered your own question.

  • Zeb||

    So what's the answer? I don't see it.

  • Another Phil||

    So what's the answer? I don't see it.

    I think I see it, but I don't buy it. Several people here seem to be arguing that because having sex comes with the risk of pregnancy, that a woman who has sex is obligated to carry a pregnancy to term. However, in order to make that line of reasoning work, you have to already accept that abortion = murder. Otherwise, the obligation doesn't follow logically from having sex.

  • BradK||

    Yet how many of the anti-abortion crowd (a.k.a. Men) who would impose such a condition on women seeking an abortion have a coronary if their taxes were used to pay for the additional procedure?

    (this isn't directed at you specifically, NAD, just a general question)

  • ||

    You do know it's not just men that are anti-abortion right?

    That aside, the state shouldn't be paying for any of that crap.

  • Yet Another Dave||

    If somehow cost were a consideration, I'm sure there's plenty of anti-abortion organizations and charities that would be willing to pony up the money in hopes she chooses not to have the abortion. However, considering she can find the money for the abortion itself, I doubt money is really an issue. An ultrasound is cheap compared to an abortion.

  • Zeb||

    An abortion costs like $500. The ultrasound can't be that much less.

  • Yet Another Dave||

    Oh, and who you callin' a 'nad?

  • Tonio||

    "rights of the unborn child"

    No such thing. Sorry.

    See my 1:14 above.

  • Yet Another Dave||

    I get it - "It's my way or the highway".

    I read your post above. Based on your reasoning, we should be able to abort a fetus at any point during a pregnancy, then. Heck, until they finally say "Mama," they can be killed. That's convenient.

    Between your way and the highway, I choose the highway. But if at any point you want to recognize that there are people who feel strongly about the opposite viewpoint and maybe try to consider alternatives and compromises ....

  • Tonio||

    Yes, abortion should be allowed until birth. I'll be the first to admit that has some unpleasant connotations, but I suspect that very late term abortions of healthy, viable fetuses would be extremely rare, perhaps even more so because of physician refusal to perform them.

    As I said above, but you chose not to notice, birth is the only reasonable (drink!) bright line.

    Got that linky for me yet?

    Done with you until you accept rational premises.

  • MJ||

    Conception is a bright line and quite reasonable. Given that individuals of the human species are rights bearing creatures erring on the side of caution and treating such as having rights throughout the entire life cycle.

    Your contention that birth is the only reasonable bright line is belied by the fact that you do not actually believe in the premises you state supporting it. You are just pulling argument out of your ass to arrive at the place you want.

  • Tonio||

    "unborn child"

    No such thing. See my 1:14 above.

  • MJ||

    It was a stupid contention at 1:14, now its just starting to stink up the joint.

  • Tonio||

    Also, linkies to the studies you keep referencing???

  • sams||

    The right of killing little babies is sacred !

    Defend abortion at all costs #ReasonRetards

  • o3||

    no, libtoidz defend choice. >dont want one, dont get it, & dont impose ur views on me.

  • Esteban||

    Don't want to be murdered? Don't get murdered. Don't impose your views on me.

  • anon||

    I defend the voluntary choice of removing a parasite, not killing a living, breathing, eating baby.

  • thirtyandseven||

    And I defend the voluntary choice of strangling parasite packer fans, not killing living, blue-and-orange wearing, humans.

  • Yet Another Dave||

    What do you have against the Packers? I'm not a big NFL fan, but I do like the fact that they're municipally owned rather than corporate owned. Especially considering the amount of tax dollars that go to support even the corporate-owned teams in many markets. If I'm paying for it, I want a piece of it.

  • thirtyandseven||

    They're the Green Bay Packers - all that is evil and wrong with the world rolled into one dirty, lowdown, crapnugget of a team who get the luckiest friggin calls made for them in every game they play and whose fans infiltrate other states, and consist mostly of spineless pansies who used to be fans of other teams but jumped the cheesehead bandwagon when the Pack started winning. They are abominations of nature; to hell with them all!!

    ...that and I grew up near Chicago.

  • thirtyandseven||

    My point tho is that, just because some people disagree that killing humans with X trait is murder, does not mean that those who happen to believe that it is should cease attempting to stop it from occurring. In other words, I don't think it's an issue of me trying to "force" others to accept my convictions, but rather an issue of me trying to stop (deadly) force being initiated against someone that is human (though I understand some disagree).

  • sams||

    Because the woman didn't get a dickhead to put a penis inside her to cause the Baby.

    Parasite is what Libertarian with this kind of rethoric have, in their brains.

  • ||

    I guess you missed the abortion thread yesterday where we all circle-jerked between for and against like we do every time the topic is brought up (myself included). Idiot.

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    Abortion is pretty much the only issue that isn't cut and dry for a libertarian. We (libertarians) will probably be debating it for as long as we exist.

  • ||

    I can't see any reason to show firearms buyers pictures of gunshot wounds, that wouldn't also apply to showing car buyers pictures of auto accidents.

  • State Legislator||

    Great idea! I'll get my bill drafters working on that right away!

  • ||

    Even if you aren't among those who believe a person is a person no matter how created or where he or she lives, every medical procedure requires informed consent.

  • ||

    During one of these abortion kerfuffles a few months back, one of the regulars here said that abortions, guns, drugs, and alcohol are all things that should be freely available at a kiosk at any shopping mall. I forget who it was that said it, but I really think he was on to something.

    If we really want a free society, we're going to sometimes have to take the bad (abortion) with the good (a hands-off government). As ugly as I feel abortion is, once we allow government dominion over our bodies - no matter how narrowly tailored the circumstances are under which we allow it - the camel's nose is right back under the tent.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Karl Hungus,

    If we really want a free society, we're going to sometimes have to take the bad (abortion) with the good (a hands-off government).


    I agree, provided you factor in communitarian banishment as an act of a free society as well. Nobody should be made by force to like you, especially if you aborted your child.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Nobody should be made by force to like you

    What a bunch of BS. You're standing in line at the supermarket behind a woman who had an abortion three years ago.

    1. How would you know?

    2. Who is making you like her?

    This is a pretty lame-o argument.

  • Another Phil||

    Who is forcing you to like other people?

  • squishua||

    Showing pictures to abortion-seekers or gun buyers is bullshit.

    What they need to do is show thousands of gory pictures of mutilated American soldiers to presidents and congresscritters before they can vote to send the military anywhere.

  • ||

    That could get ugly, unless they provided plenty of kleenex and lotion, too.

  • ||

    That could get ugly, unless they provided plenty of kleenex and lotion, too.

    If the Kleenex is what I think it's for, don't you think copies of the Constitution would be more appropriate?

  • Yet Another Dave||

    Not in this case. Congress is already using the Constitution for cleaning up other bathroom messes.

  • nicole||

    Actually, I was thinking they should make newly pregnant women who plan on keeping or are undecided about keeping their child pictures of women who died in childbirth or experienced severe and permanent mutilations as a result of pregnancy.

    I mean, surely we want women to know both sides of the story if they are to make an informed decision, no?

  • ||

    That seems fair.

  • cynical||

    They should really just invent a device that lets them jump into themselves 20 years in the future and see how they feel about things at the time after choosing one way or the other.

  • ||

    Actually, I was thinking they should make newly pregnant women who plan on keeping or are undecided about keeping their child pictures of women who died in childbirth or experienced severe and permanent mutilations as a result of pregnancy.

    Under your plan, what consequences would a woman face if she opted not to view such pictures?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Under your plan, what consequences would a woman face if she opted not to view such pictures?

    Forced abortion, obviously.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Except one abortion produces the gore at the level of the other photos. Whereas millions of women give birth every year and live.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    I can attest that even successful childbirth is pretty fucking gory.

  • ||

    That could get ugly, unless they provided plenty of kleenex and lotion, too.

    If the Kleenex is what I think it's for, don't you think copies of the Constitution would be more appropriate?

  • Mom||

    I used to be pro-choice and then realized I was an idiot. I had a 24 week old preemie that is now 4 years old. With modern technology being able to see more vividly inside the womb, the abortion debate deserves a second look. When 23 week old preemies can live outside the womb, why are some allowed to die? Because one mother wants the baby and another does not. If a baby can survive outside the womb when fed, it is a baby, not a blob of cells.

  • Tonio||

    So, no RU486, then?

    Also, how do you feel about oral contraceptives since they prevent implantation of the already-fertilized blob.

    Also, also, emotional arguments don't do well here, "Mom", you've been warned.

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    She was talking about a 23 week old fetus. Not a newly fertilized egg cell looking for a snuggly place to settle in.

    It's the same argument I made above. If inducing labor is an option, abortion should not be. Both have the effect of removing the little parasite from the body. One does not (always) result in a dead body.

  • LP||

    "Women who get abortions have thought long and hard, they believe"

    I think that's giving them too much credit. The strongest pro-choice advocates don't care about the reason for having an abortion. They care about the fact that a woman is making the decision. If they cared about reasoning then the father would get a say in the abortion.

  • Yet Another Dave||

    It does bother me that when a man gets a woman pregnant, at a minimum, he's required to provide financial support, either for the pregnancy and childhood or for the abortion. But then I read stories about men who step up and want to be fathers, but their say is trumped by the mothers' desire to abort.

    If this was really about the right to choose, where is the man's right?

  • ||

    You and I have penises and therefore have no say in the matter. And how dare you stand up for the patriarchy and oppression of women everywhere.

    If we didn't want to deal with the consequences of our actions we should have kept our dicks in our pants. Women have no obligation or responsibility in this because all sex is rape.

  • Yet Another Dave||

    My bad then. Hard to read sarcasm sometimes, and there are some real jackasses out there who do take that stance, ludicrous as it is.

  • Yet Another Dave||

    all sex is rape

    And there you have it. The reason why no one is taking you even remotely serious.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    He was joking, yo.

  • ||

    Sorry, I forgot my sarcasm tag. My bad.

  • SFC B||

    Your sarcasm detector needs calibrating.

  • Zeb||

    Why should the reason matter at all? People should be allowed to do what they want to do.

  • Yet Another Dave||

    People should be allowed to do what they want to do.

    I want to rob a bank so I don't have to work anymore. My boss pissed me off; I want to kill him. I want to burn down a crowded skyscraper.

    Abortion is extremely contentious. Even the Libertarian Party has yet to take a side on the topic as a result. The libertarian stance is that my right to swing my fist ends at your nose - and with abortion, it comes down to whether or not you view a fetus as a person or not, and therefore where that person's rights weigh against the rights of the mother. I for one recognize it's not a simple thing, and people on both sides feel very strongly about it. But to take the stance that "people should be allowed to do what they want to" ... I can't do any of the things I just listed above, no matter how much I may want to, so it's conceivable that if indeed a fetus is a person, to end it's existence is tantamount to murder.

    So given that it is contentious, shouldn't we be trying to find some middle ground? That's all the ultrasound thing is about, trying to find some middle ground. Heck, that's the problem with our government - the two parties would rather do nothing and blame the other side than try to find some common ground solutions.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Hey, like, fetuses have noses...:P

  • trythisout||

    So if someone has a miscarriage a few weeks after conception, we should be happy for them that they've gotten rid of the parasite?

    Either it is a parasite or it's not. If you believe it's a parasite, then an injured woman only a few weeks into her pregnancy who loses the baby should not be awarded damages, correct? I've heard the argument that it can be considered property damage. Can I sue someone for scraping cells off of my arm?

    The problem here is pro-choice advocates place the fetus into the category they want it to be in AT THAT TIME. If they want to have a baby, then they take the precautions to protect the fetus after conception. If they don't want the baby, then it's just a parasite and it doesn't matter what happens to it.

  • Zeb||

    "Either it is a parasite or it's not"

    I don't think that's true. A parasite is a parasite only in how it relates to its host. It is a parasite if you don't want it feeding off of your body. It is a symbiote (or something, maybe just a bun in the oven) if you do want it. Easy. The fetus should be placed into the category that the person who has to carry it around considers it to be in.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    We need to disentangle the different uses of the word "parasite". A parasitical organism fits the definition of a fetus pretty well. The pejorative use of the word "parasite" does, generally, not fit or is deliberately used by the pro-choicers to equivocate.

  • MJ||

    No "parasite" does not fit well at all. A parasite is a symbiote that is inherently harmful to the host. From a biological viewpoint a mammalian fetus is a beneficial symbiote as successful reproduction is a mark of a succesful organism.

  • Tonio||

    So if someone has a miscarriage a few weeks after conception, we should be happy for them that they've gotten rid of the parasite?

    An almost-clever, but still emotional, argument.

    If a woman is pregnant and looking forward to becoming a mother, then sharing her grief at her miscarriage is appropriate.

    Just like if you see a friends dog has been road-killed you share your friends grief, but if you and the friend see a randomly road-killed dog you both experience mild, transient sadness but not actual grief.

  • ||

    Holy fucking strawman Batman, WTF? When a woman walks into a CVS and buys a pack of gum, there is no paperwork to fill out. When she buys a gun, there is. Why? Because it is important to know tha she is not some batshit crazy person, or felon, or, etc.

    Or, how about this. A woman walks into a doctors office and say, I just flew in from NYC, and boy are my arms tired. Plus, I would like enough pills to kill myself. I am rational. I just don't want to live any more. No problem, right?

    This is where you dogmatic libertarians have no chance of being taken seriously. Abortion is not the same a a gun purchase. I'm not saying I would impose the same regulations, but it just is not the same, practically, or philosophically.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    This is where you dogmatic libertarians have no chance of being taken seriously.

    DRINK!

  • ||

    I agree RBM. I am a big offender of the "you'll never be taken seriously" faux pas. But I will own it because I believe in so many libertarian ideas. I would like to see them become reality.

  • SFC B||

    True.

    Ownership of firearms is an inalienable right protected by the Constitution.

    Getting an abortion any time, any place came about because of a poor legal opinion.

  • ||

    Technically it's not inalienable; felons, mentally ill, etc. lose their right to do so.

  • Sandy||

    Even if you choose to have an abortion, both pregnancy itself and having an abortion are very serious, tumultuous emotional times for the woman.

    Forcing her to look at the fetus/baby/clump of cells/whatever you call it is just plain emotional manipulation. It's preying on the emotions of someone that is almost certainly dealing with some kind of internal struggle as it is. It's practically abusive. She should be allowed to see an ultrasound if she wants, but not have it given to her or worse, make her see it.

  • ||

    In keeping with my view that abortion is a political issue, and not a Constitutional right, I don't think the rules are necessarily abusive. You may not agree that abortion is tantamount to killing innocent life. But apparently, enough people in Virginia do, or they would oust the legislators that passed the regulations.

  • Sandy||

    Ad populum argument. Just because "enough" people in Virginia see abortion as tantamount to killing innocent life doesn't mean they should take steps to prevent it.

    And if you DO believe it's killing innocent life, that's cool, but even people who do believe that should be capable of admitting that emotional manipulation is wrong.

    If you think it should be banned, than argue that it should be banned. But your - and I don't mean *you*, just saying generally - your next step should not be "Find other ways to manipulate others into doing what we want if we can't ban it outright."

    It's sort of like gun legislation making it so arbitrary, expensive, and time consuming to own some types of firearms, that many are discouraged from owning them even if they're not illegal. Maryland does that with so-called "assault weapons" (which are not illegal in the state, if our SG556 and PTR-91 have anything to say about it) by making it sufficiently tiresome and time-consuming that most people are discouraged.

    Likewise, it's not an abortion ban, but it might unfairly persuade women out of having an abortion that they had otherwise decided on - Not through rational persuasion. Not even through moral or religious debate. But through pure intentional manipulation of their emotional state.

  • ||

    It can't be banned. It is a constitutional right. But, like guns, subject to reasonable regulation. What is reasonable? So, I will amend my ad populum argument slightly.

    ps. I would not make a woman look at anything. It is such a difficult issue. For what it's worth, from a policy point of view, I think Powell's opinion is kind of rational. Early abortions, allow them. The more a fetus develops, the rarer abortion should be. The problem is; 1. Powell was not a legislator; and 2. no one follows his opinion. It has simply become open season. As if the right to an abortion is not only a constitutional right, but almost a religious sacrament.

  • ||

    Blackmun of course.

  • Sandy||

    Fine, but I'll point out my original post was just talking about forcing the woman to look at the fetus. I think that's wrong, and still think it's an abusive tactic.

    As for reasonable regulation, there is nothing reasonable about trying to impose your will indirectly when the direct method doesn't work. REGARDLESS of whether or not controlling "assault weapons" is reasonable, it is unreasonable to do so in that method - by making it an unreasonable hassle to exercise your rights. REGARDLESS of whether or not abortion is moral, trying to discourage abortion by compelling a possibly-emotionally-distressed woman to look at a fetus she's trying to end the life(?) of is immoral.

  • Realist||

    "Do We Need a Law to Make People Think?"
    The majority of people don't think and are incapable of it. That's why we are going down the shitter now.

  • ||

    Prosecutors and judges think we don't need DNA evidence to execute someone, even if it is available, so it seems this idea of having the "full information" and making "informed choices" only applies to women's scary naughty bits that I'm sure frightens Cole to no end.

  • Hooker||

    There is one difference between the gun owner and the woman wanting an abortion:

    The Constitution states that the right to keep and bare arms "shall not be infringed." There is no grey area in that statement.

    With regard to the way legislators view the public, however, you've made a very good point.

  • ||

    The only trouble I have with this article - comparing gun ownership, showing pictures of autopsies and doctors showing pregnant women the ultrasound of the person they are about to have killed.

    There is a decidedly different outcome between purchasing a gun and a woman choosing an abortion. I don't believe either are taken all that lightly by most people who wish to purchase a gun or have an abortion.

    Abortion ALWAYS ends with the death of an unborn human.

    Gun ownership SOMETIMES leads to the end of a human being's life.

    How many more people own guns that have never been involved in homicide, armed robbery, or suicide?

    How many abortions end in some lucky baby making it out alive?

    I don't know - I guess I don't like the analogy but I understand the authors intent.

  • Sku||

    Of course the difference is that someone who buys a gun, typically, does not end up leaving behind gun-riddled corpses in her wake, whereas someone who has and abortion does, typically, end up leaving a dead fetus in her wake. Maybe if they insisted on showing women photos of holes in a target at a range before they bought guns, it would be a more fitting analogy.

  • ||

    And A Barton Hinkle jumps into the running with Ron Bailey for the Stupidest Question-begging Defense of Abortion award. Good luck to all the contestants.

  • ||

    How does one equate the purchase of a gun which, in and of itself, does not result in the killing of a human being while the abortion of the undelivered infant invariably does result in the killing of a human being. Information is essential because the truth of abortion is concealed behind a wall of lies: the infant is part of the mother, the infant can be sacrificed if a consequence of rape or incest, the infant can be sacrificed if the mothers health or life is jeopardized. The infant is no more part of the mother than each of us now is part of our mother. The convicted rapist or committer of incest is not executed yet the completely innocent infant is, and there are absolutely no illnesses in the pregnant woman that require the intentional killing of the undelivered infant. Reason Magazine really undermines its legitimacy when printing such disgusting, nonsensical, drivel.

  • krw||

    If a woman decides that she no longer wants to be pregnant that's OK? But if someone else accidentally or purposely causes a wanted pregnancy to end, at whatever stage, they can be charged with a crime. How can someone be charged with killing a "non-person"? Are they only babies if they're wanted?

  • ||

    Owning a gun hurts no one as long as it isn't used to hurt people, and then it's the fault of the individual not the right to own the gun. Abortion on the otherhand *is* hurting someone, in fact killing them and is a completely different thing.

  • ||

    Well the author really didn't think about this one. It is a comparison of apples and oranges. Maybe make the gun owner look at autopsy pictures only if he intends to kill someone. Then you have a more apples to apples comparison of abortion and the gun owner. Actually we can do one better, make the gun owner look at the picture of someone he intends to kill before he decides to do it, then you have an equal comparison to the ultrasound.

  • paul hughes||

    Abortion still is not in the bill of rights. Reason used to be able to acknowledge reasonable distinctions.

  • ||

    The two examples are not analogous, in spite of the author representing them as so. I expect better of a Reason contributor.

  • jason||

    I think this would be called as the freedom of think some intellcual will oppose on this rule.

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