Zell Miller Wants You To Have More Sex

Hey, former Georgia Sen. Zell Miller! Why is Social Security facing shortfalls in the next few decades?

How could this great land of plenty produce too few people in the last 30 years? Here is the brutal truth that no one dares to mention: We’re too few because too many of our babies have been killed. Over 45 million since Roe v. Wade in 1973. If those 45 million children had lived, today they would be defending our country, they would be filling our jobs, they would be paying into Social Security. Still, we watch as 3,700 babies are killed every single day in America. It is unbelievable that a nation under God would allow this.

Miller does this fairly often; he reads some new book or column or has a conversation with a smart conservative and he decides he supports a brand new solution for America. A year or so ago it was the national sales tax. Now it's Stanley Kurtzism.

So isn't Miller basically mourning the loss of an enormous underclass? I like the honesty in not claiming that millions of babies born to mostly 15-21 year old poor women without college educations weren't going to grow up to be lawyers, astronauts, and former senators. Still, sort of creepy to wish that there were millions of Americans working low-income jobs or joining the army. He needs to finesse this pretty quickly or Mitt Romney will never pick him as a running mate.

Video here.

UPDATE: Hm, I phrased that poorly. I'm taking a whack at Miller's apparent belief that the millions of babies snuffed out by abortion would have 1) grown up to be mediocre members of society, and that 2) this would have been great for America. I disagree with this on both counts, but I'd be interested to know why Miller thinks the problems of unfilled jobs and low Social Security payments couldn't be filled by legalized immigrants.

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  • ||

    If only we had some poor neighboring country with a population that would be grateful to work our low income jobs.

  • tros||

    http://www.churchofeuthanasia.org/

    These people are Key Mooninite Allies in the War on Retards.

  • ||

    What a coincidence! I want me to have more sex, too.

  • ||

    I like the honesty in not claiming that millions of babies born to mostly 15-21 year old poor women without college educations weren't going to grow up to be lawyers, astronauts, and former senators.

    Weigel, you don't have to shill for anyone; you are enough of an elitist pig in your own right. Yes, I'm being totally serious.

  • ||

    Not to mention, of course, the fact that your premise is meaningless at best; I'm guessing the percentage of 15-21 year old women who have college degrees is pretty low.

  • MikeT||

    You make it sound like intelligent, healthy women who could give birth to future doctors and engineers never abort their children. While many "underclass" women might have abortions, so do many college girls and college-educated women. If those 45 million babies hadn't been aborted, perhaps there would be a lower need for immigration ranging from illegal cheap labor at McDonald's to H1B-level work at engineering firms.

  • ||

    Still, sort of creepy to wish that there were millions of Americans working low-income jobs or joining the army.

    I don't know the secret liberal handshake, Dave, but I'd rather be working a low-income job than be dead. But then, I'm just a stupid conservative, what do I know.

  • ||

    "I like the honesty in not claiming that millions of babies born to mostly 15-21 year old poor women without college educations weren't going to grow up to be lawyers, astronauts, and former senators."

    Not quite.

    The average woman who seeks an
    abortion is 24 years old, unwed, earns a
    yearly income of about $25,000, and
    already is a mother. Women who get abortions tend to be poorer than average but they also tend to be younger than average. It is unclear how much the youth skews the income average. A upper-middle class college student may not make much money but she is hardly poor. Also, how many of those children would have been adopted to more stable parents? I don't think it is in any way clear that abortion has saved us from an underclass. Further, even if it did, I guess Dave would support just murdering the poor. That would be a very effective way of elininating the underclass.

  • ||

    I'd also give Zell points for not using his changes of heart for political gain. He's a private citizen and can say whatever he wants, which means I fear his speech much less that I fear that of people like Brownback or Giuliani.

    If people want to pay him to raise money for a cause they see appropriate (like to purchase an ultrasound machine to allow clients to view their babies) I don't think it's a violation of anyone's liberty to allow it.

  • ||

    I'm probably overreacting here; it's just that your statements here are very much in the same vein as that disgusting study that claimed that crime rates went down in the 90s due to abortion being legalized in the 70s.

  • ||

    David,

    If you don't report that kids born to poor single mothers grow up to have exactly the same socioeconomic status as those born to wealthy, two-parent families, you are an elitist. And probably a communist.

  • ||

    Crimethink,

    Weigel says some really nasty elitist things sometimes. I try to be optimistic and think that perhaps he is just shill and doesn't really think before he writes on here. But then I wonder if maybe things like this are what many journelists, both left and right, think.

  • JN||

    Actually, killing everyone is a good way to get rid of all kinds of problems. No more disease, no more man made pollution, etc...

  • ||

    You make it sound like intelligent, healthy women who could give birth to future doctors and engineers never abort their children.

    No, he didn't. He alluded to the fact that the majority of people who have abortions do so because they are not ready, for whatever reasons, to have a kid.

    See Freakonomics on this subject.

  • ||

    Zell might have a point if the population hadn't doubled during his lifetime.

  • dhex||

    i think it's a compelling case. or at least an interesting one. or at the very least, it's fun at parties.

    what makes it disgusting?

  • ||

    JOe,

    I think claiming that if poor people are deprived of abortions and allowed to breed too much we will get a larger underclass is pretty disgusting. If you and Dave think that way, I am really sorry for you.

  • ||

    ink claiming that if poor people are deprived of abortions and allowed to breed too much we will get a larger underclass is pretty disgusting.

    Maybe, but there's good reason to think something similar to that.

  • ||

    I think you've made it pretty clear, John, that your feelings about abortion's morality are crowding out objective evidence about the situations unwanted pregnancies would result in.

    What's pretty damn elitist and disgusting is your certainty that you know better what's best for poor families than the women deciding for themselves when to have their children.

  • MikeT||

    If you believe that we are better off with 45 million people never getting a chance to live and at least try to make something of themselves, you're an elitist. You're also the sort of elitist that thinks it's his natural right to judge the worth of his fellow man's life.

    How very statist... It's a pity that there are no genocidal regimes left to give you the proper employment to match your unique(ly sociopathic) attitude and skills.

  • ||

    Number 6,

    At least you are honest. I have no doubt a lot of well healed middle class people support abortion, even though they would never have one themselves, out of the concern that if we didn't have legalized abortion, people in the ghetto would be having 12 kids. That and the fear that their daughter will end up knocked up before she graduates college.

  • MikeT||

    What's worse, joe, is that people like you play Pater/Mater Familias with the lives of the unborn. Instead of it being the male head of household giving the thumbs down, we allow the woman. How very progressive...

  • ||

    Maybe we should de-fund Medicaid for poor families as well? Maybe a few of the little poor fuckers will croak before they're old enough to become serious criminals?

  • ||

    Good strawman there Joe. I have never said one thing about my opinion about abortion. My point is that if you think that making abortion illegal will result in a huge underclass rests on both flawed, eltists assumptions. You are basically saying that poor people need not breed too much. It may be that abortion should be legal, but not because making it illegal will produce too many poor people. I mean my God, if we didn't have abortion some of them might grow up and move into you and Weigel's neighborhood!!

  • dhex||

    well, they probably shoulda hurried up and gotten born instead of gittin SMIZZOKED by the COAT HIZZANGA!

    pow.

  • Grotius||

    Well, if abortions help people from being saddled with a burden they cannot as yet handle I don't see what the problem pointing that out.

  • ||

    MikeT-Well, thank you for avoiding hysterical rhetoric and name-calling. I must say, this is the first time I've been Godwined, and I'm honored.

    John-I'm not middle class. I'm a reporter. In other words, I'm quite poor. Perhaps you'd like to toss out another baseless assumption in lieu of argument?

  • MikeT||

    You want to control the underclass' reproduction? Take away the guaranteed protection of welfare entirely. You'll start to see a whole lot more enlightened self-interest on the part of poor, less intelligent men and women when it dawns on them that they have to rationally choose between pleasure and possibly bearing a very expensive financial burden with absolutely no help from the state.

  • ||

    "I have no doubt a lot of well healed middle class people support abortion, even though they would never have one themselves, out of the concern that if we didn't have legalized abortion, people in the ghetto would be having 12 kids."

    In other words, John has never heard a single person express this thought, but JUST KNOWS that lots of people believe that.

    Matt T,

    That's me, always allowing people to do stuff. Even women!!

  • ||

    Number 6,

    Read the post. I wasn't talking about you. I was talking about people in general. I have no idea what you are or what you think. The fact that you don't fit the profile I was talking about doesn't mean anything. You are not middle class, so what?

  • dhex||

    ok, that was crass.

    but on a serious note, does anyone actually fucking believe that a child born to single mother a and a child born to middle class family a have the exact same chances? or rights, even?

    really, guys. c'mon.

    what percentage of medical doctors in the u.s. come from familes of each income strata? (someone must have done a breakdown of this at some point)

  • ||

    You seem to beleive it Joe. You and Weigel are certainly two examples to start with.

  • Xmas||

    I think Zell has something wrong here. You can't assume that all 45 million abortions meant that 45 million children were erased from the population.

    It'd be safe to assume that a good portion of the women that had abortions when they were younger eventually had children when they were older. If those women had the aborted child, then they'd also be likely to not have the later child. Births are not fungible Zell.

  • ||

    Well, if abortions help people from being saddled with a burden they cannot as yet handle I don't see what the problem pointing that out.

    I'm sure the destined-to-be-criminals killed by abortions are glad they weren't saddled with the burden of living.

  • ||

    You are basically saying that poor people need not breed too much.
    No.
    Not even close. I think he's making the same point that I am: children born to very young and/or poor mothers are more likely to grow up to be poor themselves. That's unpleasant, but it's how the world is, and all the indignation in the world won't change that.

  • ||

    Me and my elitist, power-hungry...er...belief that neither I nor anyone else should decide for a woman what to do with her body.

  • ||

    Warren nailed it.

    If your idea of utopia is 45 million additional soldiers, fruit pickers, and taxpayers, open the damn border.

  • MikeT||

    Number 6,

    You have not been Godwined, unless you are so ignorant that you actually think that it was Nazi Germany that practiced Pater Familias. So, can I assume that you will no longer participate?

  • ||

    "but on a serious note, does anyone actually fucking believe that a child born to single mother a and a child born to middle class family a have the exact same chances? or rights, even?"

    That is not the issue DHex. The issue is would outlawing abortion create a large or larger underclass. Weigel and Joe seem to take the position that the world is better off
    because those children were not born because most of them wouldn't have grown up to be the middle class folks that Weigel and Joe are. Even if they wouldn't meet Joe and Weigel's standards, does that mean that they as a group would end up being criminals and net negatives on society? I don't think so.

  • ||

    We haven't had an abortion thread for a long time. We're off to a good start, let's see if we can't get it to 1000 posts this time.

  • ||

    'm sure the destined-to-be-criminals killed by abortions are glad they weren't saddled with the burden of living

    Hmmm...they're not alive, so I don't think they're glad, resentful, or anything else. Unless, of course, they got to go directly to heaven. In that case, I imagine they're happy to be there.

    Maybe we should ask all the miscarried fetuses what they think? Or is attributing imaginary thoughts and feelings to them not rhetorically useful?

  • ||

    Why does Zell Miller think that we'd have the same number of pregnancies under alternative abortion laws?

  • ||

    "Maybe we should ask all the miscarried fetuses what they think?"

    Or perhaps you should ask a woman who had a miscarriage how much better off she is for not having the burden of that child. Better yet, find a poor uneducated woman and tell her not only did the miscarriage spare her the burden it spared society from having another member of the underclass.

  • ||

    If one objects to abortion on the grounds of murder that's fine and its own separate argument, but upon entering the realm of externalities caused by abortion it is entirely dishonest to ignore why people have them in the first place: they aren't ready to have kids yet.

    If you are going to argue that the welfare state isn't adequately funded, or we don't have enough army menz to go kill foreigners because of abortion then you have to also recognize the flip side. The reality is that unplanned, unprepared, not the right time, whatever you want to call them, pregnancies create a host of problems on their own.

  • ||

    MikeT- Well, you can assume I won't engage you, anyway. But I will point out that you mentioned genocidal regimes. For most folks, that brings one particular regime to mind.

  • ||

    Lots of things "seem" to be true in your mind, John, that bear no relationship to reality. Particularly the beliefs of people who disagree with you.

    For example:

    "You are basically saying that poor people need not breed too much." No, I am saying that people who don't think they can provide a good family life at a particular point in time are probably right. Of course, you know better. They just have to try.

    And you have written quite a bit about your opinion of abortion's morality on previous threads.

  • ||

    A bunch of guys debating abortion.

    [YAWN]

    Wake me when you have vaginas.

    (Apologies to any of you with ambiguous handles that do have vaginas. At least you have something at stake in the debate...)

  • MikeT||

    And yet, there is no discussion of why America is better off with the crimes committed by the middle and upper class criminals. Perhaps they are often less violent, but how many white collar criminals that ruin people's lives do you find among the poor and less intelligent? How many nations have been turned into police states by high school graduates as opposed to the yuppy scum of elite universities?

  • ||

    Are you intentionally missing the point, John? The miscarried fetuses comment was meant to illustrate how silly it is to attribute thoughts and feelings to something that no longer exists. Clear now?
    But feel free to find where I suggested that miscarriages were a good thing. I'll wait.

  • ||

    Me and my elitist, power-hungry...er...belief that neither I nor anyone else should decide for a woman what to do with her body.

    That's a separate issue, that we've been back and forth over many times. The problem I have with the tack you take in this thread is that you imply that society is better off with children of poor women being aborted. That is disgusting, and if you disagree, your supposed compassion for the poor is a charade.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    I'm sure the destined-to-be-criminals killed by abortions are glad they weren't saddled with the burden of living.

    A fetus would never know the difference, would they?

  • ||

    "No, I am saying that people who don't think they can provide a good family life at a particular point in time are probably right. Of course, you know better. They just have to try."

    You are not answering the issue. The issue is whether society is better off for all of those children not being born. No one can say whether the individuals who had the abortions are better off except the individuals. If Weigel had said, "so Miller is mourning the loss of raising children they couldn't afford by millions of women?" That wouldn't not have been offensive. But what he said was "So isn't Miller basically mourning the loss of an enormous underclass?" implying that as a society we are better off without those children being born, i.e. we are better off if the poor don't breed too much. That is gross and elitist. In your defense, I really don't think you understand what Weigel said, so you are not elitist, you just don't get it.

  • ||

    that disgusting study that claimed that crime rates went down in the 90s due to abortion being legalized in the 70s.

    This arguably raises some potentially disturbing cost-benefits thinking -- "it's better if some people are never allowed to be born if it results in the survivors not having as much crime" -- from the viewpoint of those of us who put a high value on "a clump of cells," but that doesn't mean it can't be true.
    --------------------------

    On another matter being discussed here, I'd be curious to know who really is more likely to have an abortion in the event of an unplanned pregnancy: an underclass high-school drop-out with very limited prospects ... or an affluent and educated student or career woman who potentially has more to lose if she were to drop out of her current career/life track to take care of a kid?

    Is a profile of "the typical abortion-recipient" actually available? I would think not, because of privacy concerns, especially with medical privacy laws like HIPAA in place. Do we have any data here to guide us, or just our preconceptions?

  • tros||

    I like to eat aborted fetuses. They give my evil soul sustenance. They also give me super powers. You'd better illegalize it before I grow taller than your skyscrapers and start blowing giant bong hits over your cities.

  • ||

    "Or perhaps you should ask a woman who had a miscarriage how much better off she is for not having the burden of that child."

    Because a woman losing a pregnancy she wanted has precisely the same effects on the individual, family, and society as a woman choosing not to have a baby.

    "Better yet, find a poor uneducated woman and tell her not only did the miscarriage spare her the burden it spared society from having another member of the underclass."

    So now we're pretending that there is no difference to society between women who have children when they don't want them - the subject of Weigel's post - and women who have children because they've chosen to do so.

    Hint, John: the subject isn't "children not born to women," but "children not born to women who don't want them."

  • MikeT||

    Number 6,

    Well, for the sake of argument, so as to not confuse terms, let's change it to "mass-murdering regimes." Better? We've now unambiguously increased the pool of potential targets tremendously.

    See, I'm reluctant to define "being human" as anything other than "genetically homo sapien or similar race." Why? There are too many logical justifications for why someone is "less human" than "the rest of us" when you use a standard other than membership in the species or a closely-related species. You want to use the "development standard?" Well, once you reach your reproductive peak, your body declines, putting you in the exact opposite position of the new human who is "becoming more human" by virtue of developing toward being able to reproduce. Now, once you're over the hill, your body falls apart, you're less human.

  • ||

    Hmmm...they're not alive, so I don't think they're glad, resentful, or anything else.

    That's kind of the point. The reason that abortion appears to relieve burdens and solve problems, is that you've destroyed the person who had the problem. Like Stalin said, "If there is a man with a problem, we get rid of the man. No man, no problem."

    A bunch of guys debating abortion.[YAWN]Wake me when you have vaginas.

    In that case, you'd better stay out of any discussions on whether rape should be legal, since only those with penises can make that choice.

  • ||

    Oops. Looks like I took about 15 minutes too long to compose my post.

    I'll probably be getting off this thread now.

  • ||

    Joe,

    For the fifth time, it is not about choice. The discussion is not really even about abortion. It is about Weigel's blithe assumption that the children who were aborted would have necessarily been a underclass had they been born. That is the problem.

  • Grotius||

    I'm curious, what can we say about contraception or, perhaps more humorously, staying single and jerking off? Surely if we've been deprived of these many millions via abortion how many more millions had never been concieved because of desire to control our reproduction! ;)

  • MikeT||

    SugarFree,

    So I guess by virtue of having a vagina, you are now exempt from having an opinion on why men should have to support their unwanted offspring. Your body, your decision, your complete legal responsibility, right? Does the shoe feel as good when it's on the other foot?

  • ||

    crimethink,

    "you imply that society is better off with children of poor women being aborted"

    No, I say - loudly, proudly, no implication necessary - that society is better off with fetuses of women who don't want to be pregnant aborted. As someone upthread pointed out, "poor women 15-21 without college educations" include girls who would go to college and go on to start their own families on their own terms at the time of their choosing.

  • ||

    Grotius,

    I murdered millions of proto-de stijls this very morning.

  • ||

    "Surely if we've been deprived of these many millions via abortion how many more millions had never been concieved because of desire to control our reproduction! ;)"

    We have been deprived of lots. The question is not should we have deprived our society of them but if we had not would those from what Joe and Weigel consider the undesirable classes resulted in more undesirables.

  • Grotius||

    de stijl,

    Look man, how are we going to get more recruits for the military with that attitude? ;)

  • ||

    "That's a separate issue"

    It's not a separate issue, crimethink. Personal freedom and individual choice certainly are important moral issues for me, but they are also entirely relevant to the question of the quality of the choice being made.

    I believe women who look at their own lives and decide whether to carry a child are going to make better decisions, leading to better outcomes for themselves and for society, than decisions made by outsiders who know nothing of their lives and circumstances.

    I'm not arguing that I know best who should have children; you and John are.

  • ||

    fetuses of women who don't want to be pregnant...include girls who would go to college and go on to start their own families on their own terms at the time of their choosing.

    selective quotation is fun, especially when true.

  • ||

    "No, I say - loudly, proudly, no implication necessary - that society is better off with fetuses of women who don't want to be pregnant aborted."

    Why? It is one thing to say that the women are better off and that abortion should be legal for their sake. Do you really beleive that society is better off strictly because a child is born to a mother who wants an abortion? That a child born under such circumstances is pre-destined to be a net negative on society and worthy of never having been born? What about children who are born in spite of a botched abortion? Are they net negatives?

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    I'm sure the destined-to-be-criminals killed by abortions are glad they weren't saddled with the burden of living.

    A fetus would never know the difference, would they?

  • Jennifer||

    The reason that abortion appears to relieve burdens and solve problems, is that you've destroyed the person who had the problem.

    Uh, no. If I were to catch pregnant I would be the one who had a problem, and getting an abortion would solve it quite effectively without, I might add, destroying me.

    Unless it were illegal and I had to go to some back-alley butcher.

  • ||

    Joe,

    You are basically argueing for abortion for the fetus's sake. That is insane.

  • ||

    Abortion, blah blah blah.

    Out of curiosity, who gets to define "too few people"? Zell? Whatever president is in power at the time? Is the "perfect number" written in the Constitution somewhere?

    And is there some plan to start forcing women to have children so we can fund all the government Ponzi programs that exist now and will exist in the future?

  • ||

    Joe is making the case much more clearly than I. So, I'll be bowing out of this thread.

  • ||

    For the fifth time, it is not about choice. The discussion is not really even about abortion. It is about Weigel's blithe assumption that the children who were aborted would have necessarily been a underclass had they been born. That is the problem.

    I don't think either David Weigel or Joe are making deterministic arguments about specific individuals. They're simply arguing that, as a group, infants born to poor adults who aren't prepared to support a child are more likely to be poor, underclass adults than children born to parents who actually want to have children and are financially prepared for this commitment. There is nothing controversial about that statement, nor is it worthy of the populist PC backlash we're witnessing on this thread.

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    I think any embryo/fetus trapped in the womb of someone who wants to kill them would have a pretty big problem.

  • ||

    That a child born under such circumstances is pre-destined to be a net negative on society and worthy of never having been born?

    Not pre-destined, just far more likely

  • ||

    John,

    I've answered, several times now, both your objection that choice is irrelevant to outcomes, and your objection that this is about the socio-economic status of the mother.

    And you just keep ducking and flailing at straw men.

    As usual.

  • ||

    Can we jump off the abortion subject for a moment and consider that Z. Miller apparently thinks that we (particularly those of us with wombs) have a duty to reproduce more taxpayers for the good of the motherland?

    Talk about compelling arguments against social security.

  • Jennifer||

    I like Shannon's point as well. So just how much cannon fodder is my childless self expected to produce before it can be said I've done my duty to God and country?

  • ||

    John,

    "Why?"

    Because chidren born into bad familial situations do worse than children born into good familial situations.

    And of course there are outliers. There are some children born into appalling situations who overcome the odds, and there are some kids born into wonderful families with lots of opportunities who end up as junkie losers.

    But Miller's statement, and Weigel's response, are about the effects in the aggregate.

  • ||

    "They're simply arguing that, as a group, infants born to poor adults who aren't prepared to support a child are more likely to be poor, underclass adults than children born to parents who actually want to have children and are financially prepared for this commitment."

    You miss the second link of the argument, that therefore we are better off for having legal abortion becuase it saved us from having so many poor people. That is the objectionalbe part. It is perfectly reasonable to argue that life begins at birth and women should be able to choose what to do with their bodies and when to have children. That is not he argument that Weigel is making. The agrument he is making is that society is better off if poor people have fewer children and I think that is elitist crap.

  • Dan T.||

    Doesn't Zell's argument apply not just to abortion but to all forms of birth control?

  • ||

    Jennifer: You don't have to go out of your way to produce children, just don't kill them before we can send them off to war.

  • ||

    crimethink: In that case, you'd better stay out of any discussions on whether rape should be legal, since only those with penises can make that choice.

    It's the sloppy analogies and false equivalences that make the pro-life crowd have so little traction outside of religious circles.

    The choice of a woman to have an abortion = the choice of a man to rape a woman? My brain hurts just to begin to consider all the logical faults in that concoction. I know your desperate obsession with saving the wittle lil' babies runs deep, but you can do better than that.

    Also, crimethink, I'm a guy. (At least, that's what I make my wife tell me.) Trying to throw rape in my face when you thought I was a woman was an incredibly cheap shot. Sorry I didn't go whimper in the corner. Your concern for women runs very deep. I can't imagine why many women might not think you have their best interests at heart in the abortion debate.

  • ||

    Jennifer: 4. Replacement value, doubled to compensate for this past generation of abortion-lovin', slacker women.

  • tros||

    Every sperm is sacred. It is sinful to kill half a person. You should dispose of your excess energy from the other end of your body.

    If you don't know how to do this:

    http://aypsite.org

    or you could just take some acid, that works too.

  • ||

    Doesn't Zell's argument apply not just to abortion but to all forms of birth control?

    It would seem to, wouldn't it?

  • Jennifer||

    Your concern for women runs very deep. I can't imagine why many women might not think you have their best interests at heart in the abortion debate.

    You must be new here, SugarFree. Let me give you a little back story: you're talking about a man who seriously suggested that those of us who never want to have children should simply refrain from having sex at all until after menopause, and when I and a few of the other vagino-Americans who post here suggested that was unrealistic, he accused us of being unhealthily obsessed with sex.

  • Grotius||

    Shannon Chamberlain,

    I don't know if he is claiming that we have a duty to do so, but there is language in that paragraph that one can read as such.

    Anyway, this is a pretty common way of looking at the relationship between citizen and the state.

  • ||

    Joe,

    What about survivors of abortion? Since they were unwanted and probably from poor families are they a net negative? The bottomline is Weigel thinks that the country is better off for abortion becaue as a general rule the children who were aborted were poor and unwanted and they wouldn't have amounted to much and would have been a burden on society. That is the most perverse and elitist reason for supporting abortion there is. It is one step above supporting it because more brown people have them.

  • ||

    My brain hurts just to begin to consider all the logical faults in that concoction.

    Obviously, since you can't mention any of them.

    Sorry about assuming your gender, but it's usually a woman who uses the "men can't have opinions on abortion" power play. My response is hardly a cheap shot, it's a serious argument.

  • Grotius||

    Dan T.,

    Yes, I was trying to get at that - subtlely - in one of my posts above. That these sort of remarks can be made about any sort of efforts to control reproductive.

  • ||

    The problem with abortion debates is the signal to noise ratio. Or, maybe more accurately, the new signal to old signal plus noise ratio.

  • ||

    "You miss the second link of the argument, that therefore we are better off for having legal abortion becuase it saved us from having so many poor people."

    I see what you're saying, John. I can see how Weigel's comment could be read that way, but I think it's a bit of a stretch to read it that way.

    "...not grow up to be doctors, lawyers, and astronauts..." leaves a bit more room than I suspect Weigel intended. I feel pretty confident assuming that the problem Weigel is trying to avoid is not a larger population of vending machine repair men who live in older apartments and need financial aid to send their kids to state colleges.

  • ||

    The agrument he is making is that society is better off if poor people have fewer children and I think that is elitist crap.

    Not 'poor people', poor people that choose to have abortions. And as one that thinks joe is an elitist bastard, I have to say that, if women (poor or not) who don't want to have children are allowed to have abortions, I'd be damned surprised if society wasn't better off.

  • ||

    "I don't think either David Weigel or Joe are making deterministic arguments about specific individuals."

    Translation, not everyone born to a poor family ends up being a criminal, just most of them or a large enough percentage of them that society would really be beter off if none of them had been born in the first place.

  • Timothy||

    In my mind, this thread is on fire. Holy, cleansing fire.

  • Grotius||

    thoreau,

    I always thought that the problem with abortion debates is that they generally aren't debates.

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    No, I'm a long-term lurker so I knew the fragile ego I was engaging, but I still try to get my shots in when I can. I sometimes wonder if he's a parody. He's sometimes quite normal, but you mention sex or abortion and the flecks of foam form quickly at the corners of the mouth.

    he accused us of being unhealthily obsessed with sex.

    Yes, that was a thread particularly rich in irony.

  • ||

    Shannon and Jennifer referred to what struck me about Miller's comment before the shrieking began. How out of whack have things gotten when people are calling for children to be born so we can have more taxpayers?

  • ||

    you're talking about a man who seriously suggested that those of us who never want to have children should simply refrain from having sex at all until after menopause

    ...and, to continue with the back story, a few days later on a thread about men having to pay child support, Jennifer et al. essentially said the same thing about men, ie, that if they don't want to be stuck paying child support they should abstain from sex for their entire lives.

    Not that I don't agree with her on the latter point, but I had to ask, why can't the same logic be applied to women who get pregnant? I don't remember what her response was -- do you, Jennifer?

  • ||

    "I feel pretty confident assuming that the problem Weigel is trying to avoid is not a larger population of vending machine repair men who live in older apartments and need financial aid to send their kids to state colleges."

    In fairness, maybe that is what Weigel meant. But what he said was crass beyond belief. That is what I am busting his balls about. Not about abortion. Like I said above, if he had said that abortion is justified because of the burden imposed on the woman, it would not have offended me.

  • ||

    John,

    re: You miss the second link of the argument, that therefore we are better off for having legal abortion becuase it saved us from having so many poor people. That is the objectionalbe part.

    Ok, I agree with you on that point. But to return to Zell Miller's argument, it's hardly a foregone conclusion that all of these unexpected children would be a net positive for the finances of our various welfare programs. I don't think that we should look at abortion in this light - and it appears that we agree here - but it was Zell Miller who put this issue into such crass utilitarian terms in the first place, so I don't really blame David Weigel for attacking Miller on his own terms.

  • Jennifer||

    it's usually a woman who uses the "men can't have opinions on abortion" power play

    Men can certainly have opinions on abortion; I just don't think they should be the ones deciding whether or not a woman can have one. Just as women can have opinions on prostate surgery, but don't deserve input on whether or not men can have it.

  • ||

    "So isn't Miller basically mourning the loss of an enormous underclass? I like the honesty in not claiming that millions of babies born to mostly 15-21 year old poor women without college educations weren't going to grow up to be lawyers, astronauts, and former senators."

    That's one guess.

    Mine is that he wishes women hadn't entered the job force as they did. ...that he thinks they should have just stayed home makin' babies.

    My guess is that he thinks the contributions of women to our economy are negligible compared to what they could have done had they stayed home and made babies.

    ...but your guess is as good as mine.

  • Thrall||

    Interesting comments. I thought libertarians were about freedom and freedom to do what you want to your body without government getting involved. Or did I end up in a democrat vs republican abortion debate?

    Fact is, government shouldn't tell us whether or not we can have an abortion. And I'm afraid if people like Zell get in office we will live in a world where abortion is illegal and there's a mandatory child bearing law where the people have to make MORE babies to counter the 45 million "doctors" and "fruit pickers" that were killed.

    My god people, where's the old libertarian views. You know, freedom? Open border? Free Trade?

  • Grotius||

    Number 6,

    How out of whack have things gotten when people are calling for children to be born so we can have more taxpayers?

    Given that this has been argument made for thousands of years, well, quite a long time.

  • ||

    Warren wrote, "Not 'poor people', poor people that choose to have abortions."

    Let's just keep in mind that "poor" in that sentence, and it Weigel's, also includes 17-year-old girls from upper middle class families. They tend to come in pretty low on the per captia income scale as well.

    Yes, a chlld born to a 17-year-old single mother who came from an upper middle class home is a lot more likely to end up doing harm to society than a child born to that same person ten years later, after she's gotten a degree, started a career, and gotten married.

    Not to mention what the outcome for the woman herself.

  • Timothy||

    I'm not pro-abortion, I'm just anti-fetus.

  • ||

    I would just like to state that I only support abortions in the 40th trimester.

  • ||

    Actually, thrall, IF you believe that an embryo has the moral standing of a person, it's perfectly libertarian to oppose abortion. Swinging my fist, your nose, and all of that.

    The question is, when does en-nose-ment occur?

  • Jennifer||

    Mine is that he wishes women hadn't entered the job force as they did. ...that he thinks they should have just stayed home makin' babies. My guess is that he thinks the contributions of women to our economy are negligible compared to what they could have done had they stayed home and made babies.

    That's a damned good point. If I become a stay-at-home mommy, is the net gain of a new taxpayer 20 years from now sufficient to offset the loss of the taxes I pay right now? Not to mention that my smaller disposable income would hurt the various businesses which I patronize.

  • ||

    crimethink,

    it's usually a woman who uses the "men can't have opinions on abortion" power play. My response is hardly a cheap shot, it's a serious argument.

    Nope, still a cheap shot. Rape is a man choosing to violate the rights of a woman. Abortion is a woman choosing to end her pregnancy. By making a equivalence between the two, you seek to shut down debate by suggesting support for one is support for the other. I understand that you'll counter to this is to suggest that fetuses/embryos/the unborn have the same rights against harm as the born, but they do not until viability.

    When women lobby to make treating prostate cancer illegal, I'll say the same thing to them too. Get a penis and call me in the morning. (Wait, maybe that didn't come out right...)

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    I'm sure the destined-to-be-criminals killed by abortions are glad they weren't saddled with the burden of living.

    A fetus would never know the difference, would they?

  • ||

    "Actually, thrall, IF you believe that an embryo has the moral standing of a person, it's perfectly libertarian to oppose abortion."

    Thank you, joe.

    There used to be an LP plank that allowed for that--sadly, it's gone. ...or at least it was last I checked.

  • ||

    Ron Paul is pro-life.

  • ||

    But what he said was crass beyond belief.

    I don't see anything crass about stating the self evident: Aborted children have lousy parents.

  • ||

    People should stop trying to come up with utilitarian arguments for or against abortion. It's a moral issue, and thus messy and not likely to be resolved with statistics.

  • Grotius||

    Comparing an abortion to some other medical procedure isn't much of a winner as an argument.

  • ||

    That's pretty damn elitist and disgusting is your certainty that you know better what's best for poor families than the women deciding for themselves when to have their children.

    It's not that THEY (e.g. John and crimethink) know better than woman who have to choice abortion, it's the GOD they worship who gets that privilege. Elitism is OK, as long it's coming from an imaginary friend.

    Of course, until this Yaweh character(aka Jehova, aka Allah, aka "Mister Snugglepuss") gets off his allegedly omnipotent/omniscient/omnibenevolent ass and appear to humanity in all his so-called "glory" to tell us what he feels about the subject--or anything else for that matter*--I say we leave moral decisions up to each individual human without the threats either (mystical or legal)... thank you.

    *BTW, even if God existed, I still wouldn't listen to the big capricious, tyrannical, bully. If that is way God plays, we might as well be worshiping the late Saddam Hussein.

  • Rhywun||

    When I saw Stanley Kurtz's name, I threw up a little in my mouth. Not only does he equate gays with dogfuckers (a not uncommon opinion around here), he says that gay marriage will lead to the downfall of western civilization.

  • dhex||

    "I understand that you'll counter to this is to suggest that fetuses/embryos/the unborn have the same rights against harm as the born, but they do not until viability."

    but if a pregnant woman gets shot by a robber, say, isn't the robber often charged with two homicides?

  • lkfa||

    Sugarfree, you're so right!

    So is Stevo: "Is a profile of "the typical abortion-recipient" actually available? I would think not, because of privacy concerns, especially with medical privacy laws like HIPAA in place. Do we have any data here to guide us, or just our preconceptions?"

    There are an awful lot of preconceptions being thrown around by people who couldn't possibly understand the complicated reasons why women decided to/not to have an abortion.

    The whole discussion reeks of paternalism. And for the record, it sure as hell sounds to me like Mr. Weigel needs to 1) check his facts and 2) reevaluate the implications of what he's written.

  • Todd F.||

    Zeller's point is of questionable validity and shows his lack of understanding on the matter of why Social Security and other entitlement programs are falling through.

    First of all, he fails to consider the strain put on the system if 41 million babies had been born to a demographic of women generally characterized by lower than average income, single marriage status, and relatively young age. How many billions of dollars were not spent on WHIP programs, public schools, food stamps, housing assistance, juvenile detention and other law enforcement, medicare, kids being wards of the state, etc? I'm guessing somewhere in the hundreds of billions if not trillions.

    Moreover, would the majority of these children coming from poverty have become adults which gave more to society than they took from it? Would those who did inevitably succeed make up for the many who had lower than average incomes and relied on social services more than they contributed to them? He doesn't even address these questions.

    In addition, Zell Miller never addresses the main reason that child birth rates are so low these days. Not one mention is given to the increasing cost of raising a child in America. With the cost of a higher education increasing by double digits on an annual basis, the required purchases to keep your child relatively on par in development (prevention of them becoming a social outcast) with his/her peers, and the ever looming specter of increasing juvenile incarceration rates (usually billed to the parents, raising a child in America these days is expensive.

    Not to mention that the Social Security, Medicaid, entitlement system which Miller proposes to save favors low birth rates through high taxation rates to younger working individuals for the express purpose of transfer payments to elderly non fertile individuals or individuals who don't make enough income to raise a child. Parents in America are getting squeezed at both ends by a higher price tag per child and the entitlement system reducing the percentage of their income that can be spent on a child.

    At the same time our senators and congressmen are talking about closing off the border to people who would come to work here without a claim to social security. A demographic with a higher birth rate than average, and if my anecdotal evidence holds any merit one of the strongest work ethics I've ever seen and a high cross generational upward mobility. Yet if a generation of poor children could solve the solvency crisis, why can't they?

    It's just another example of a politician talking to someone more educated than they are, asking them their opinion on an issue, and then hijacking that opinion as their own without understanding the ramifications of it.

  • ||

    but if a pregnant woman gets shot by a robber, say, isn't the robber often charged with two homicides?

    In some states, by statute, but it's certainly not the common law default. Anyway, framing the legality of abortion in terms of legal "rights" begs the question.

  • ||

    I understand that you'll counter to this is to suggest that fetuses/embryos/the unborn have the same rights against harm as the born,

    Damn right I will.

    but they do not until viability.

    Saying so does not make it true.


    Grotius,

    You will find I already responded to that comment when it was made by Number 6 at 3:51. But thanks for upping the post count!

  • Grotius||

    dhex,

    I think that depends on the state. One could logically argue that such an act violates the right of the mother in the potential life of the fetus. Criminalizing such is a way for the state to uphold that right. At least that is one argument one could make.

  • ||

    Actually, thrall, IF you believe that an embryo has the moral standing of a person, it's perfectly libertarian to oppose abortion. Swinging my fist, your nose, and all of that.

    The question is, when does en-nose-ment occur?


    Exactly correct, which is why all the abortion pissing contests here end so badly. There are those who believe that live begins at x-number of weeks, and there are those who believe that abortion should be legal until the kid enters kindergarten. At least, that the range I've seen on this board, and these threads never accomplish anything but creating the most inane strawmen and/or ad hominems.

  • JIMMYDAGEEK||

    But what DW fails to mention is how many future reason readers we lost due to these abortions. What a shame!!

  • ||

    Right, Akira, because John and I have mentioned God and religion so many times in this thread.

  • ||

    dhex,

    but if a pregnant woman gets shot by a robber, say, isn't the robber often charged with two homicides?

    I don't agree with that either. Those laws are just a Trojan horse for anti-abortion rulings down the line. Consider that situation an aggravating factor for a sentencing enhancement, like homicide in the commission of a robbery.

    I off to play tennis. The weather's too nice for the intertubes today.

  • ||

    Math is hard.

    When you're doing that math - would those people have been a net burden or a net gain to society - keep in mind that you need to take another factor into account: the women who chose to have abortions, who would have been denied that choice if Zell had his way.

    First of all, there is the direct cost of their having to endure pregnancy, birth, and childrearing when they didn't want to.

    Second, there is the effect of the unwanted pregnancy on the woman's future family. John can argue that a baby born to a mother in a bad circumstance who didn't want a baby is still a net gain for society. Maybe. But surely, a baby born to a woman in a much better circumstance is going to be even more of a gain for society - he actually would grow up to be one of Weigel's "layers, astronauts, and former Senators," or at least, is more likely to. By saddling a 19 year old unwilling mother with no money with a baby at that point in her life, you are pretty much guaranteeing that none of the children she bears over the course of her life are going to be born into good circumstances.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    Then it would have been easy for you to cut and paste a retort, right?

  • ||

    Nice to see Akria check in with his(?) usually amount of anti-religious bullshit. I'm as hardcore atheist as they come and I find him to be a missed opportunity for some poor abortionist.

  • ||

    shit, *Akira*

  • ||

    That's a damned good point. If I become a stay-at-home mommy, is the net gain of a new taxpayer 20 years from now sufficient to offset the loss of the taxes I pay right now? Not to mention that my smaller disposable income would hurt the various businesses which I patronize.

    We have an enormous advantage in this country, compared to those in which women have fewer opportunities, because of the productivity of our women.

    Old School conservatives in the '60s and '70s thought that women would rather stay home and have children. Women's Libers thought they would pursue a career if given the opportunity.

    ...but in line with Shultz's Third Law of Social Dynamics, which states explicitly that "When females are confronted with mutually exclusive alternatives, they often choose both.", women, when given opportunities, went from choosing to have four or five kids each and foregoing a career to choosing to have one or two kids each and pursing a career.

    When women add to GDP, it's just as good as when men add to GDP. I'm not saying that what women do at home for their children isn't worth anything, but it is hard to quantify its contribution economically.

    At any rate, as child production goes, abortions are statistically unimportant compared to alternative opportunities afforded women. ...and to my mind, it's hard to both damn the birth rate and be glad about the opportunities afforded to women over the last 30 years.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    Right, Akira, because ... I have mentioned God and religion so many times in this thread.

    You've talked about your religious beliefs enough and how they weigh in on your views of abortion before, right? Assuming that is true, are people supposed to ignore that context?

  • ||

    I off to play tennis. The weather's too nice for the intertubes today.



    2 more hours......

  • biologist||

    the reasoning that the aborted fetuses would have low-paying jobs is Miller's, not Weigal's, who refers to it as "creepy".

    it seems John and crimethink are just looking for something, anything to bash Weigal over the head with.

  • ||

    Abortions for some. Miniature American flags for all.

  • ||

    You've talked about your religious beliefs enough and how they weigh in on your views of abortion before, right? Assuming that is true, are people supposed to ignore that context?

    An true argument is true no matter who offers it, and likewise for a false argument. To say otherwise is to give credence to the ad hominem fallacy.

    And, tbh, I don't believe I've ever backed up my stance on abortion with my religious beliefs.

  • Dan T.||

    One more interesting comment:

    "Still, sort of creepy to wish that there were millions of Americans working low-income jobs..."

    Why? Aren't low income jobs still necessary? They're not low-paying because they're not important, they're low-paying because a lot of people can do them.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    An true argument is true no matter who offers it, and likewise for a false argument. To say otherwise is to give credence to the ad hominem fallacy.

    I'm not quite sure why you are telling me this.


    And, tbh, I don't believe I've ever backed up my stance on abortion with my religious beliefs.

    Do you think that conception is the point at which someone becomes human, right? If so, can you tell me which religious belief holds to the same doctrine? Can you then tell which religion you hold to?

  • ||

    Actually, biologist, I've stuck up for "Weigal"* in the past. As is the case with joe, I think it's good to have someone around to offer a different political viewpoint. Now that I've had a chance to settle down, I don't think he meant what I thought he meant, though what he said is still disgusting.

    * Why is everyone spelling his name wrong? Are they trying to avoid the Weigel Filters?

  • ||

    Right, Akira, because John and I have mentioned God and religion so many times in this thread.

    As Grotius has pointed out, you don't have to crimethink.

    Nice to see Akria [sic] check in with his(?) usually amount of anti-religious bullshit. I'm as hardcore atheist as they come and I find him to be a missed opportunity for some poor abortionist.

    Well, if you want a job done right, jf, you're certainly welcome to try it yourself.

    Please, do try, I'd need the target practice.

  • dhex||

    "I don't agree with that either. Those laws are just a Trojan horse for anti-abortion rulings down the line. Consider that situation an aggravating factor for a sentencing enhancement, like homicide in the commission of a robbery."

    i think the issue is more complicated than that (politically) but ultimately the problem does seem to be when "being" becomes, uh, to be. since both sides are relying on some kind of moral magic trick to make the case, it's a sticky wicket.

  • Jennifer||

    "I don't agree with that either. Those laws are just a Trojan horse for anti-abortion rulings down the line. Consider that situation an aggravating factor for a sentencing enhancement, like homicide in the commission of a robbery." i think the issue is more complicated than that (politically) but ultimately the problem does seem to be when "being" becomes, uh, to be.

    I think the issue is more a matter of consent. A pregnant woman who wishes to remain so should not be forced to lose her pregnancy, either via forced abortion or a case of assault. It's just like the difference between sex and rape; the consent of the woman is what determines the legality of the action.

  • ||

    Grotius,

    Let me ask you a question: say I had posted all my arguments on abortion under a different name, one that is not associated with any religion or lack thereof. Does their validity change? If not, my religion is irrelevant to this discussion.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    Anyway, if your religious beliefs have nothing to do with your thoughts on the legality of abortion feel free to set the record straight here.

  • ||

    I want a filter to take out all the posts that lead to "I am right and you are wrong" comment threads with no real debate.
    I'll start the list:

    Abortion
    Atheism/religion
    Iraq

    What else am I missing?

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    Well, I'll answer your question, but why aren't you answering mine?

    Anyway, some of them probably wouldn't make much sense outside of a religious context.

  • ||

    Grotius,

    Are you asserting that my religious beliefs affect whether the argument posted by me is valid? You do realize that's a bald ad hominem, right?

  • Dan T.||

    I don't agree with crimethink on this issue but I do agree with him that his opinions are no less valid because they may or not be "religous".

    Any statement that assigns value or discusses the way things "should" be is basically religious in nature.

    In other words, you can't prove right and wrong.

  • jimmydageek||

    Whether or not abortion is moral is one thing, but for these religious fanatics to decide what is right and what is wrong for others, IMO is right on the brink of heresy. I consider myself to be religious, but for us to say that GOD thinks abortion is wrong is just plain stupid. How the fuck do you all claim to know exactly how GOD feels about this? Give women the choice, if they are in the wrong then GOD will do with them as GOD pleases.

  • ||

    Anyway, some of them probably wouldn't make much sense outside of a religious context.

    If that's the case, you shouldn't have any trouble skewering them in this non-religious context. Notice, it was not I who brought up religion.

  • Grotius||

    For example, how exactly does one make heads or tails out of this comment outside of a religious context:

    I'm sure the destined-to-be-criminals killed by abortions are glad they weren't saddled with the burden of living.

    Does a fetus have plans for the future? Does it know that it can exist outside of the womb? And these questions assume a purely biological explanation.

    Now a religous person who believes in things like souls and heaven and etc. (sorry for the monotheistic-centric POV) might be better able to make arguments concerning these issues post-abortion.

  • ||

    Sugarfree,

    "A bunch of guys debating abortion.

    [YAWN]

    Wake me when you have vaginas."

    How asinine. You may argue that the pro-life position is illogical, but don't pretend that the sex of the person making the argument matters. And you go on to complain about logical fallacies.

    Jackass.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    No, I am quite clearly arguing that your religious beliefs provide much of the context behind and sub-text of your arguments. And that is all that I am (quite clearly) arguing.

    I'm curious, when are you going to get around to answering my questions. I answered yours.

  • jimmydageek||

    Maybe "heresy" was the wrong word, since that's the same view point of the Christian / Catholic religion. But, to claim that you know what GOD wants is just fucking idiotic.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    BTW, I suggest that you return to the first statement I made about your religious beliefs if you doubt my purposes.

  • ||

    Grotius, the question you bring up has been dealt with quite a bit outside a religious context. There's a whole branch of metaphysics dealing with the question of whether a person is harmed by death (the state, not the process of dying), since it's hard to see how a nonexistent entity can be harmed. (Assuming that a person no longer exists after death.)

    Just because rational philosophy and religious belief overlap in the subjects they treat, does not make the former any less rational.

  • ||

    Whoops, left off the last part of the last sentence, it should read:

    Just because rational philosophy and religious belief overlap in the subjects they treat, does not make the former any less rational when it comes to the same conclusion as the latter.

  • ||

    We've discussed non-religious anti-abortion arguments at length in the past. ...I've made mine to the point of exhaustion, I thought.

  • ||

    Grotius,

    My questions were about the argument. Your questions are about me. That's the difference.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    Grotius, the question you bring up has been dealt with quite a bit outside a religious context.

    Yes it is, but I asked you a question based on a specific statement made by you. I want to know what your thoughts are, or alternatively the thoughts of others that you've adopted.

    Anyway, this is going to nowhere apparently.

  • Dan T.||

    FWIW, the reason abortion is legal and will remain so is because it's pragmatic. Morality follows utility.

  • Jennifer||

    Just because rational philosophy and religious belief overlap in the subjects they treat, does not make the former any less rational when it comes to the same conclusion as the latter.

    Sincere question: what is rational about the idea that a microscopic fertilized cell is equivalent to a full-fledged human being, to the point where a woman can be required against her will to use her body to carry said microscopic cell around long enough for it to turn ito a full-fledged baby? That sounds like a matter of faith, not anything which can be rationally proven.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    I think the difference is that my questions go to the heart of your ultimate argument.

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.

  • ||

    If we're looking for something novel, I'd love to meet a pro-choicer argue that although abortion is unethical, it shouldn't be illegal. ...like adultery or something.

    Has anyone here met a pro-choicer who was willing to concede that the practice is unethical?

  • ||

    ...

  • Grotius||

    I thought that it was "unborn angel?" ;)

  • ||

    "Sincere question: what is rational about the idea that a microscopic fertilized cell is equivalent to a full-fledged human being, to the point where a woman can be required against her will to use her body to carry said microscopic cell around long enough for it to turn ito a full-fledged baby?"

    Quite sincerely, I think you're making a couple of bad assumptions, about my argument anyway.

    I'm not talking about forcing a woman against her will to carry... I'm saying she willingly chose to accept that risk at the time of conception. I am questioning whether she should be permitted to void that contract after the fact, unilaterally.

    Also, I'm not saying that a fetus is the same as a full-fledged human being.

  • ||

    I think the difference is that my questions go to the heart of your ultimate argument.

    Apparently the argument I've offered is so unassailable that you're searching for a different one to attack. Why don't you start with the argument I actually argued; if you prove that wrong, I will be forced to resort to my ultimate argument or go away ashamed. But first, you have to deal with the argument I offered.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    If your religious beliefs have nothing to do with your thoughts on the legality of abortion feel free to set the record straight here. That way lots of folks can stop reading your comments in the context of your religious beliefs (because clearly some people do, and that likely isn't a particularly egregious thing).

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    Apparently the argument I've offered is so unassailable that you're searching for a different one to attack.

    Again, please read the original statement I made re: you and your religious beliefs.

  • ||

    If we're looking for something novel, I'd love to meet a pro-choicer argue that although abortion is unethical, it shouldn't be illegal. ...

    Isn't the standard line of Catholic pro-choice politicians that they "personally oppose abortion but support a woman's right to choose"? That's more of a weaselry than an argument, but it's all too common.

  • ||

    I'm saying she willingly chose to accept that risk at the time of conception. I am questioning whether she should be permitted to void that contract after the fact, unilaterally.

    Also, I'm not saying that a fetus is the same as a full-fledged human being.


    Contract? A risk of conception is a contract? Ken, infants aren't capable of creating enforceable "contracts," legally speaking, but I won't hold you to legal principles, as is this a moral issue. Ethically, to say that sex creates a contract with a fetus is pretty far fetched under any contractual system, particularly as the fetus isn't even conceived prior to or during the act of sex. Even the broadest notion of a contract requires consent -- a non-conscious being is incapable of any sort of meaningful consent, particularly for activities prior to its conception.

  • ||

    Akira,

    I fixed my spelling in the very next post.

    And I know I was harsh, but it's people like you that give atheists a bad name. From earlier threads I know that we had the same upbringing (both catholic, both former conservatives) but where you find hate, I find tolerance. So fools who want to legislate morality exist; the fact remains you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    Just to refresh your memory, this is what I wrote:

    crimethink,

    Right, Akira, because ... I have mentioned God and religion so many times in this thread.

    You've talked about your religious beliefs enough and how they weigh in on your views of abortion before, right? Assuming that is true, are people supposed to ignore that context?

  • ||

    "Isn't the standard line of Catholic pro-choice politicians that they "personally oppose abortion but support a woman's right to choose"? That's more of a weaselry than an argument, but it's all too common."

    I suppose. Still, I'd like to ask them some questions about that argument.

    ...and I see excellent arguments about keeping abortion legal--the poverty unwanted pregnancies can instill not being the least of them. ...What to do with all the unwanted children being another.

    But I'd love to see a truce on the issue, maybe just in this forum. ...Stop projecting religious bias on our arguments and we'll stop pretending that y'all think a first trimester abortion is ethically just like having a mole removed.

    ...unless that's what you really think.

  • ||

    If people can't consider my non-religious arguments without bringing my religion into it, that's their problem. Rationality requires the ability to divorce an argument from the one who's making it. That's my "ultimate argument" on that topic.

  • Grotius||

    jf,

    Doesn't this assume that a large section of those who want to "legislate their morality" are amendable to changing their minds? Are they?

  • ||

    Isn't the standard line of Catholic pro-choice politicians that they "personally oppose abortion but support a woman's right to choose"? That's more of a weaselry than an argument, but it's all too common.

    Is it though? There are plenty of things that I wouldn't do because I thing they're wrong(or a bad idea, or immoral) that I don't think should be illegal.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    If people can't consider my non-religious arguments without bringing my religion into it...

    The point is that your religious views are part of your arguments. One cannot simply seal one off from the other. I'm an atheist and thus a materialist. I assume people are going to judge my arguments in part based on those facts. Indeed, why wouldn't they? They are my ideological viewpoints and they inform what I think.

  • lkfa||

    David's right. Ken - I know plenty of women who think that abortion is wrong for them and would never have one. At the same time, they wouldn't want other women to not have that option.

  • ||

    185 posts in 2.5 hours! Keep on goin, we're almost 20% of the way there!

  • ||

    "Ethically, to say that sex creates a contract with a fetus is pretty far fetched under any contractual system, particularly as the fetus isn't even conceived prior to or during the act of sex. Even the broadest notion of a contract requires consent -- a non-conscious being is incapable of any sort of meaningful consent, particularly for activities prior to its conception."

    Actually, unilateral contracts don't need to be made between two people for purposes of illustration.

    I argue that for every freedom, there's a responsibility attached. ...if only the responsibility to respect the same freedom for others. I argue that we should be free to do that for which we're responsible and responsible for what we're free to do.

    When I engage the liberty of driving my car down the street, I accept the responsibility for any damage I may cause. When I willingly engage in an activity that can bring about the creation of a person...

  • ||

    The point is that your religious views are part of your arguments.

    I must strongly disagree with that. If I do not use my religious views as evidence, my argument can be considered separately. Again, if I posted under a name that had no religion associated with it, does that change whether someone should accept my argument?

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    You can disagree all you want to, but you've discussed these issues enough from a religious basis for folks to realize that your objections are at least in part religious in nature.

    Again, if I posted under a name that had no religion associated with it, does that change whether someone should accept my argument?

    If you made arguments which were religious in basis it would.

  • ||

    Even the broadest notion of a contract requires consent -- a non-conscious being is incapable of any sort of meaningful consent

    An unconscious person found laying alone on the street with no heartbeat cannot consent to being given CPR or other medical treatment. However, such procedures can be done because it is assumed that the person would rather consent than die. Likewise for an unborn.

  • mediageek||

    "It's just like the difference between sex and rape; the consent of the woman is what determines the legality of the action."

    Odd how this point seems to be lost on many.

  • ||

    "Weigel, you don't have to shill for anyone; you are enough of an elitist pig in your own right. Yes, I'm being totally serious."

    Ditto

  • ||

    you've discussed these issues enough from a religious basis

    That is false. I have always kept my discussions of religion separate from my arguments on abortion for the very reason that people would attempt to attack my religion instead of my arguments otherwise.

  • Grotius||

    Ken Shultz,

    Say you are correct about the freedom and responsibility attachment (I'd note that most freedoms don't have much of any responsibility attachment to them) that really doesn't say much about the responsibilities associated with having sex (from a procreative viewpoint). Indeed, again the sticking point comes back to who is and who is not a person. In other words your argument doesn't get around that argument it just places it in a different context.

  • ||

    Wow! Less than three hours, and nearly 200 comments. Is that a speed record at H&R?

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    Are you calling me a liar?

  • ||

    Well, your statement was false. Whether you knew it to be so, I cannot say.

  • ||

    Weigal + "Sex" in the title + Abortion = Long thread

  • ||

    Actually, unilateral contracts don't need to be made between two people for purposes of illustration.

    Ken, that's not correct. The phrase "unilateral contract" is an arcane legal term for a contract formed by an offer and accepted via performance rather than via promise. This requires two consenting parties just as surely as a "bilateral contract" requires two consenting parties. I'm sure one of the other lawyers on the other side of this issue (John, perhaps) could verify this for you.

    I argue that for every freedom, there's a responsibility attached. ...if only the responsibility to respect the same freedom for others. I argue that we should be free to do that for which we're responsible and responsible for what we're free to do.

    If you don't believe that a fetus is a morally autonomous human being, then risking pregnancy really isn't an activity that gives rise to moral responsibility. In other words, this line of logic leads to exactly the same place as other interminable abortion arguments.

  • ||

    Wow, hitting the 200 comment mark and crimethink is still going strong!

    I am impressed with his tenacity I tell you what. Crimethink is the right man for the job of tellin' those good fer nuthin' baby killers what's what.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    You'll note that I used the term "issues," and not the term "abortion."

  • ||

    An unconscious person found laying alone on the street with no heartbeat cannot consent to being given CPR or other medical treatment. However, such procedures can be done because it is assumed that the person would rather consent than die. Likewise for an unborn. (my emphasis added)

    That's not a contract, nor does this give rise to a legal obligation. You've simply described implied consent (for battery). As you probably know, bystanders have absolutely no obligation to help such a person.

  • ||

    Jen,
    I like Shannon's point as well. So just how much cannon fodder is my childless self expected to produce before it can be said I've done my duty to God and country?

    you just keep popping them out Jen, we'll tell you when to stop.

    Joe,
    If it is a womans choice what to do with her body then can she decide to not wear a seatbelt or a helmet when on a motorcycle?

    Can she be a prostitute?

    I think the answers are all yes. But do YOU really believe that a woman owns her body?

  • ||

    To which issues were you referring? The arguments you were claiming that my religion was influencing were on the abortion issue.

  • ||

    Hey, crimethink --

    Quick question for you: What's your stand on theft? Do you think it should be illegal? Yes/no?

  • ornerycat||

    jimmydageek,

    How the fuck do you all claim to know exactly how GOD feels about this? Give women the choice, if they are in the wrong then GOD will do with them as GOD pleases.

    It was this thought exactly that ultimately turned me "pro-choice." If abortion is a sin, then it's God's domain. But being agnostic, my thoughts probably fall on deaf religious ears.

    kwais,

    you just keep popping them out Jen, we'll tell you when to stop.

    If you're being facetious, then LOL, if not, then I hate you.

  • ||

    Chris S,

    You were arguing that one reason that sex doesn't give rise to a contract is because the conceived entity cannot give consent. I was pointing out that if the alternative to consent is death, the law assumes that an unconscious person will give consent. Of course, we're assuming here that the conceptus is a person, but so did your original argument.

  • ||

    Doesn't this assume that a large section of those who want to "legislate their morality" are amendable to changing their minds? Are they?

    Not necessarily, Grotius, but I might not have made my point clear. It's not the politicians whose minds I wish to touch, nor the die-hard moralists, but the "squishy center" who can be convinced that moralizing politicians are a problem. Militant atheists crusading against religion are more likely to push the "twice a year" churchgoers to vote for politicians who parrot the religious line, as opposed to the few openly free-thinking politicians available.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    The whole swath of issues related to human reproduction, embryos, etc.

    I have always kept my discussions of religion separate...

    Anyway you do understand what the term context means, right? Say that this claim is true, it doesn't undermine what it is a fairly reasonable assumption - that your religious views are a significant part of your rationale for finding abortion unethical.

  • Grotius||

    jf,

    Aren't militant atheists also likely to put a spring in the step of closet atheists?

  • ||

    Grotius,

    That may be, but that assumption is irrelevant to the validity and/or truth of my argument.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    As to the consent issue, it is like almost all of your arguments on this issue: it assumes that embryo or a fetus is a person. Indeed, no argument by anyone seems to ultimately avoids this particular issue.

  • ||

    Let's not lose sight of "for purposes of illustration"--I'm not interested in parsing legal terminology here.

    Ken, that's not correct. The phrase "unilateral contract" is an arcane legal term for a contract formed by an offer and accepted via performance rather than via promise.

    Am I to understand that when, say, I drive down the street, I'm not responsible for the damage I cause to someone else's car unless that person has an agreement with me beforehand?

  • ||

    Grotius,

    To put it another way, one can come to believe in the truth of the Pythagorean Theorem by measuring the sides of 100 right triangles and finding it to be true for each, by reading a proof in Euclid which directly deals with hypothetical triangles, by considering the properties of similar triangles, or by evaluating the law of cosines for sides with a 90-degree angle between them.

    Some of these ways are valid forms of proof, and some are not. Just because one first comes to believe in the Theorem in fifth grade because one's teacher says it's true, does not impugn the argument he makes when he uses a valid proof in 10th grade which does not rely on authority.

  • ||

    it is like almost all of your arguments on this issue: it assumes that embryo or a fetus is a person.

    Uh, Grotius, in the consent issue, it's not like I'm unaware of that, considering that I said that the argument assumed the fetus was a person.

    Again, your assertion that my abortion arguments beg the question is, again, not true. The one that I usually use is to backtrack from where we agree a person exists (ie, after birth) and to try to find a dividing line where we can say the entity under consideration is not a person yet. Yes, it does assume that an already-born human is a person, but I don't see that as being a controversial assumption.

  • ||

    I repeat:

    Quick question for you: What's your stand on theft? Do you think it should be illegal? Yes/no?

    Obviously crimethink refused to answer me because he is afraid of my superior intelligence and knows I am about to lure him into a trap of logic from which he cannot escape.

    But I daresay that if we searched the archives and review past statements by him, we could build a case that crimethink is opposed to theft and thinks it should be illegal.

    Now for my devastating follow-up question!

    Crimethink: Do you deny, sir, that you are an adherent of a RELIGION that claims that GOD HIMSELF -- the invisible flying bearded magic sky-fairy -- said to human beings, THOU SHALT NOT STEAL????

    And can you deny, sir, that your religious beliefs on this matter have not in some way informed your views on the topic of theft and its legality?

    YOU CANNOT, SIR!

    HAH! YOU HAVE BEEN FOUND OUT, YOU SNEAKY LITTLE STEALTH THEOCRAT!

    From this, we can only conclude:

    1) If your religion even partly influences your beliefs re theft, that's obviously the same as saying it is the only source of your areguments re theft. Right?

    2) Therefore: Any arguments you might make about theft, or property rights, or any such related topic, are actually, secretly, religious-based arguments, and may be summarily dismissed as such.

    Even if you don't actually mention your religion or overtly appear to make arguments on religious grounds.

    Even if you make identical arguments to what a non-theist anti-thefter would make.

    BECAUSE WE CAN READ WHAT IS SECRETLY IN YOUR SNEAKY LITTLE NON-EXISTENT SOUL!!!

    There, sir! I have run rings around you, logically!

  • ||

    If you're being facetious, then LOL, if not, then I hate you.

    So, ornerycat, since you don't know, how do you feel right now? Are you alternately giggling and seething?

  • ||

    Quick question for you: What's your stand on theft? Do you think it should be illegal? Yes/no?

    I'M NOT GOING TO ANSWER ANY OF YOUR STINKING QUESTIONS! I WANT A LAWYER!

  • ||

    Stevo, I posted that before I saw your second post...

    but now I must submit to your impenetrable logic.

  • ||

    What I find interesting is that Dave Weigel never posted in his defense in this thread, as he commonly does when someone offers a reasonable critique. Maybe you guys scared him away?

  • ||

    Let's see, the first three comments were:

    - A sarcastic remark about another issue by Warren
    - Spam by tros, and
    - A sex joke by Roo.

    A typical thread, until...

  • ||

    What I find interesting is that Dave Weigel never posted in his defense in this thread, as he commonly does when someone offers a reasonable critique. Maybe you guys scared him away?

    Personally, I did think that the reaction to Weigel's comment was a little bit of an overreaction.

    Maybe he had better things to do today. Maybe Reason makes its associate editors, do, like, work. (Somebody has to keep things going while the senior staff members rock gently in their hammocks and watch the gentle swirling of their martinis.)

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    Your religious views "may be" a significant portion of the reason you find abortion unethical? Ha ha ha.

    Again, your assertion that my abortion arguments beg the question is, again, not true.

    Whether you are begging the question is beside the point.

    Stevo Darkly,

    Thanks for that very tasty strawman. :)

  • ||

    crimethink,

    I think you are being disingenuous. Upthread you talked of rights that a fetus has pre-viability. Those "rights" that you believe exist (which don't in fact exist per our laws despite what you would prefer) where do they come from? Why would it have them? What makes it a "person" at that point?

    Until the fetus is viable, what makes it any different than a tape-worm or any other parasite?

    I know it sounds crass to say it in that way, but if you don't believe in a soul or a spirit, than that mass of cells is no different than a parasite until the point when it becomes viable to survive outside of the womb.

    So to say that you're arguments have nothing to do with religious beliefs tend to ring a little hollow.

  • ||

    And thus, any doubt that Bart/Bourne/Gunnels/PhilLip/Hakluyt has risen again to torment us, is cast aside.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    How exactly am I tormenting you or anyone else again?

    Why are you falling back on what appears to be basically an insult?

  • ||

    Those "rights" that you believe exist (which don't in fact exist per our laws despite what you would prefer) where do they come from?

    They come from the same place the right to life of already-born individuals comes from.

  • ornerycat||

    highnumber,

    So, ornerycat, since you don't know, how do you feel right now? Are you alternately giggling and seething?

    That would make for a funny sight... umm.. I mean... Fuck Off!

  • Grotius||

    ChicagoTom,

    It may be that crimethink wants to have his cake and eat it too.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    They come from the same place the right to life of already-born individuals comes from.

    And that place is? Nature? God? Human understandings?

  • ||

    Ken:

    I'm no more interested in parsing legal terminology than you, but I did so to point out that your argument leads us to the all to familiar impasse regarding the rights of a fetus (does it have "rights" as an autonomous human, and to what extent?). The contract analogy doesn't really shed any additional light on this issue, as the term "contract" implies some sort of an agreement, which is surely lacking in this case.

    As for the car analogy, it also doesn't really shed any additional light on this issue. You're responsible for the damage done to someone's car because an autonomous, rights-bearing person has a property right in that car. The question here is whether a fetus is such a rights-bearing person, and if so, how should we balance their rights with the rights of the mother?

  • ||

    Aren't militant atheists also likely to put a spring in the step of closet atheists?

    Irrelevant, Grotius, for reasons you already know. What you (rather cutely) term as "closet atheists" are probably at best agnostics who believe that they are better off taking the "smart" end of Pascal's Wager. I disagree that militant atheism does anything to forward the goals of those who are atheists (or what Dawkins et al. have termed "brights").

  • ||

    Why are you insulted? The folks I mentioned were paragons of politeness and non-demanding-that-you-answer-their-question-ness.

    Seriously though, I'm not saying that who you are undermines your argument, just commenting that I know who you are the same as...

  • ||

    Thanks for that very tasty strawman. :)

    I only stole your recipe.

  • ||

    to familiar => too familiar

  • ||

    Crimethink,

    I believe you are correct on this. A religious person can posit an argument without the inclusion of religion. To then address that person's religion is a fallacy.

    Grotius,

    "(I'd note that most freedoms don't have much of any responsibility attachment to them)"

    I first read 'freedom' as 'femdom'. Much more interesting, please revise.

    Finally, by what logic would someone be pro-choice legally but find it ethically wrong? If the fetus is not human, what's ethically wrong about it?

  • ||

    And that place is? Nature? God? Human understandings?

    Once one accepts that the right to life exists for human persons, its point of origin is irrelevant to the discussion of what exactly is a person.

  • ||

    That would make for a funny sight... umm.. I mean... Fuck Off!

    Wow! You are ornery!

  • ||

    It's been swell, but I must go now. I would tell you where I was going, but it might negatively affect the perception of my argument...

  • ||

    You were arguing that one reason that sex doesn't give rise to a contract is because the conceived entity cannot give consent. I was pointing out that if the alternative to consent is death, the law assumes that an unconscious person will give consent. Of course, we're assuming here that the conceptus is a person, but so did your original argument.

    I make no such assumptions about the fetus being a "person," and I apologize if I have you that impresssion. I may have used the term "being" or "infant" or "fetus" for convenience, but I don't believe that a fetus is a morally autonomous human being. Obviously, this is why you and I and Ken will never come to an agreement about this topic -- we don't share assumptions.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    Have I once claimed in this argument that your religious views undermine your argument? Nope. I think you may be arguing with someone else.

  • ||

    kohlrabi,

    Being called a jackass by the likes of you is a high honor, akin to getting a handjob from an angel.

    My problem with men discussing abortion is that it is awfully easy to advocate the illegality of abortion when you will never have personally face that situation. As Jennifer pointed out, men can opinions, but they shouldn't be able to make the laws. It's a bit like someone who refuses to get a job advocating high income taxes... it's really easy to cheer for taking money when they won't be able to take it from you. (see college students and socialism)

    Men and abortion: it's real easy to give away rights you'll never be in the position to exercise.

    Sincerely,
    The Jackass

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    Once one accepts that the right to life exists for human persons, its point of origin is irrelevant to the discussion of what exactly is a person.

    If it is irrelevant why mention it in the first place? Anyway, it quite clearly isn't irrelevant.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    Anyway, it is nice to see that ultimately argument turns out to be an apparently circular one.

  • ||

    I think the solution is to promote equality by finding all those married, thirty-something, well-educated, well-paid women who are pregnant and forcing them to abort now.

  • ||

    Chris S.,

    I think I see your point. Please note that my line of reasoning was in response to the suggestion that I was trying to force women to do something without their consent.

    ...my point was that this wasn't accurate.

  • Grotius||

    wellfellow,

    That depends on the person in question though and the context on their past comments, etc. So your rule isn't a universal one.

  • Grotius||

    Chris S.,

    So the question becomes why should the assumptions of those who dislike abortion trump those who find nothing ethically improper with abortion?

  • Grotius||

    Stevo Darkly,

    I don't believe you ever needed my help.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    ...its point of origin is irrelevant to the discussion of what exactly is a person.

    Actually, at base this simply doesn't make any sense. If the origin is in some God then clearly the specific commands of that God of what makes up personhood are really important determinants in what exactly a person is. If if it is in nature then empirical analysis will reveal what is person by studying, well, nature. If it is by human agreement then the details of that agreement are very important. So yeah, the origin of this idea is extremely important re: a discussion of what exactly is a person. I don't really see how it couldn't be vital.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    And even if we're talking about a windup the clock God here clearly the settings of the clock and how those settings led to human beings says something about this issue.

    Anyway, I'm completely baffled as to why you would discount the origin of such an idea, because the details of its origin says a lot about its applicability.

  • ||

    Finally, by what logic would someone be pro-choice legally but find it ethically wrong? If the fetus is not human, what's ethically wrong about it?

    I think shooting deer for fun is ethically wrong. I think shooting deer for its meat is SLIGHTLY LESS ethically wrong. I think shooting deer for its meat in order to survive is ethically right. I don't think hunting should be illegal.

    It's a gray world out there. Check it out sometime.

  • ||

    Sugarfree and/or Jennifer:

    Do you literally believe that men should not have any part in legislating abortion? And if so, how can legislating abortion be accomplished (assuming that it will be legislated, which is about 100% likely)?

  • Grotius||

    craig,

    Well, I think the problem is the label.

  • ||

    "In that case, you'd better stay out of any discussions on whether rape should be legal, since only those with penises can make that choice."

    One doesn't need a penis to rape someone. A bottle, broomhandle, or any other object will suffice. So I guess that doesn't leave women out of the conversation.

  • ||

    "A bottle, broomhandle, or any other object will suffice. So I guess that doesn't leave women out of the conversation."

    Right. Haven't y'all ever seen "Born Innocent?"

  • ||

    Another solution would be to lower the age at which children begin working.

    Instead of taking benefits away from old people, force kids to work earlier to make up the difference.

    It would be a great character builder for all those whipper snappers.

  • ||

    I first checked this thread at 3, and now at 8. Some of you have been posting for over 4 hours.

    God bless you and your important work.

  • ||

    If the right to carry a fertilized egg to term or abort said waste is the legal choice solely of females, why do men have to pay any support if she has a kid?


    and if abortion doctors used handguns as the instrument of death to the fertilized egg, would that change the argument?

  • Don||

    I think we can all agree on two things:
    1. Poor people need to have more abortions.
    2. Zell Miller's mother should have had one.

  • ||

    You know, you guys are going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.

  • ||

    van,

    Men arguing about abortion is really just an aesthetic objection for me. (See above about giving away rights you can/will never exercise.)

    Ultimately, I just don't think a medical procedure like abortion should be subject to a patchwork of laws at the state and federal levels. And, if there must be laws, then those laws should instituted by the people (i.e. women) the laws address/restrict. But, to be completely honest, I don't believe a majority of women should be able to make it illegal either. So, yes my argument is a bit facetious.

    In light of the fact that the arguments of fetus rights fall on my deaf ears, I then revert to the basic libertarian notion that people should make their own decisions. You own yourself. Women should not be forced to incubate a child against their will. Pregnancy and a subsequent child is not an appropriate "punishment" for sex.

    The assholish bumperstickerism of "If you disagree with abortion, then don't have one" sums up my feelings fairly well.

    Oh, and the child support dodge doesn't work well on me either... I don't believe in that either. Any single woman who has a child where she has no binding support contract (marriage) before intercourse, is on her own. But only if abortion is legal. Having the child is as free a choice as an abortion. (I know, I must be some sort of monster... think of the children, blah, blah)

  • noonespecial||

    I am pro-choice but wouldn't have an abortion myself. My reasoning is that while I feel it is definitely the wrong thing for me (I have too many emotional issues to deal with that I think), I have no idea what it's like to be pregnant with an unwanted child and no support system. I think it's pretty repugnant to abort so that, say, you can still go on that cruise you planned (true story I've heard) and wear your bikini, but there is a HUGE difference between that and being 15 years old with no money and no future and having an abortion because you are in no way ready to parent.

    I'm fortunate that if that had happened to me at 15, I'd have all kinds of support. A lot of people don't have anything like that.

    In conclusion, I simply don't know what it's like to be in that situation and therefore feel unqualified to decide that sort of thing for someone else.

    That, and I think a law against abortion would cause all kinds of problems with safety, i.e. self-abortions, etc. Dangerous stuff, that.

  • ||

    I think the mistake in Zell Miller's reasoning is that the 45 million would in fact not be productive citizens. I'm sorry, that's just the way it is. They would cost too much, wouldn't work for the pay society could afford, and would ultimately be abandoned. The only place that many could live would be underground in our major cities. We know what goes on underground. We know about the toxic materials down there. We know what will happen.

    Do Zell Miller and you other anti-abortion types really think America can handle 45 million CHUDs? Do you? It would be 9/11 times 2356 squared.

  • ||

    Zell Miller wants me to have more sex? Is this reverse psychology or something? I've been hiding a combo chub/piss boner for the last few hours, and now it's gone. Thank you Zell Miller!

  • SIV||

    We may not be able to protect the right to life
    for pre-term children but by God and Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) We can protect the lives of CHICKENS.

  • ||

    Seriously, I leave for a couple of hours and you guys have only managed 10 posts?

  • ||

    Ooh, an abortion thread! What fun!

    "My problem with men discussing abortion is that it is awfully easy to advocate the illegality of abortion when you will never have personally face that situation."

    In the same sense that it's easy for women to advocate the illegality of rape when most women will never be fortunate enough to be able to physically overpower a man and force him to have sex.

    But (I hear you say) rape violates another person's rights! Unlike abortion, where the fetus isn't etc. and then I reply that the fetus *is* a person, and we're off to the races.

  • ||

    You can't assume that all 45 million abortions meant that 45 million children were erased from the population.

    Exactly. You need to make allowances for the disproportionately large number of fetuses aborted due to Downs and other genetic defects. Can't use them for funding Social Security. Can't use them as cannon fodder. Is Zell planning on using them for organ harvesting after they're born? Because we all know the full title of the pro-lifers: Pro Life till Birth. They're all fair game after birth.

  • ||

    Mad Max,

    The rape angle's already been brought up, with predictable results. But I'm with you.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    I'm still waiting for a good secular argument against abortion.

  • ||

    Aaaaahhh! He's back.

    If you are who I suspect you are, you and I have been down that rabbit hole many a time before. Google "crimethink ignorant theist question begging site:reason.com" and you should find all of them.

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    Why again is the origin of the notion of the right to life for those who are persons irrelevant?

  • Single Issue Voter||

    secular argument against abortion?
    Try the Constitution
    I think it mentions the "Right to Life" in their somewhere

    When does life begin? Science is pretty clear on that -conception

    The secular Constitutional case is that an unborn child rights.

    I believe Nat Hentoff is a prominent proponent of this view.

  • Single Issue Voter||

    "an unborn child has Constitutional Rights"

    like that

  • Grotius||

    crimethink,

    I was curious if you had come up with something, well, new.

  • ||

    If we're looking for something novel, I'd love to meet a pro-choicer argue that although abortion is unethical, it shouldn't be illegal. ...like adultery or something.

    Has anyone here met a pro-choicer who was willing to concede that the practice is unethical?


    Ken, I don't agree with the practice, and I think it's wrong. But I've met too many people and seen too many situations where it was the least-wrong option availible to ever say that it should be criminalized. All I can do is trust people to do the right thing and let God or whoever watches such things sort it out later.

  • Single Issue Voter||

    "in there somewhere"

    too many work hours on the first DST day
    and that SOB Richardson signing New Mexico's cockfighting ban law

  • Grotius||

    Single Issue Voter,

    When does life begin? Science is pretty clear on that -conception

    Care to list some peer reviewed articles which posit this claim?

    Given that abortion prior to the quickening was common practice both in the 1780s and the 1860s and as I recall no one objected to such at any of the debates surrounding either the passage of the Constitution itself or 14th amendment that would mean there is at least a good argument for a window during the stage before quickening.

    So, that - based on this bit of evidence alone could of course be trumped by counter-evidence - doesn't seem like a particularly good secular argument.

  • Single Issue Voter||

    A bit of a non -sequitor there you go from challenging me to prove indisputable fact with
    peer reviewed something or other
    to a common law argument for abortion in the 18th century.

    I don't necessarily hold the Constitutional argument against abortion.I have answered you question

  • Grotius||

    Single Issue Voter,

    I was addressing the two prongs of your statement.

    Anyway, like I wrote, I am looking for a "good" secular argument against abortion.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    So isn't Miller basically mourning the loss of an enormous underclass

    David, what, exactly, are you saying here?

  • It really is||

    Abortion is the dispute about opening (very) domestic borders.

  • ||

    Don't you people see? It's about CHUDs! WHY DON'T YOU EVER THINK! This is why libertarians will never be taken seriously.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Jesus Chrysler, David, I just read the entire paragraph, several times. What is that? Eugenics?

    So if someone doesn't grow up to go to college or be a lawyer they'd be better off not growing up?

    You know why they have backhoes? So people with dyslexia can earn a decent living.

  • ||

    Single Issue Voter,

    Science doesn't settle anything here. Unless you're a Jain or something, there's lots of shit that's alive without having a serious moral right to life -- bacteria, plants, insects, etc. So, yes, fetuses are alive, but so what? It doesn't follow that fetuses have a serious moral right to life. (This is utterly fucking obvious.)

    Also, FYI, the Constitution never mentions the right to life.

  • Grotius||

    Dave2,

    I assumed he was referring to the "life" language in the fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Even using that language one apparently has no absolute right to life.

  • ||

    SugarFree, Jennifer:

    You are not, I gather, saying that the quality of a person's reasoning concerning abortion depends on that person's sex. That would be an unbelievably retarded position.

    But you are, I gather, saying that only women should play a role in drafting laws concerning abortion. If so, what principle are you basing this on? Are there other domains where you think lawmaking should be restricted to a certain sex or race or religion?

    Whatever principle you're basing this on, do you think it would apply even if the pro-lifers were correct? That is, suppose that abortion is so seriously wrong as to be a kind of murder. Would you still hold that men should have no part in abortion lawmaking? If so, on what grounds? The fact that this particular kind of murder is always decided by women (though perhaps assisted by a male abortion doctor)? I have a hard time seeing how it would go.

    Of course, if you think your principle wouldn't apply if the pro-lifers were right, then you are simply assuming that they are wrong. But then you're assuming something that you should be supporting.

  • ||

    SugarFree,

    >Men and abortion: it's real easy to give away rights you'll never be in the position to exercise.

    Yeah. There is a kernel of truth to your statement and it's something that men should think about with regard to abortion. Especially if they are in a position to influence legislation and policy around it.

    I have a lot of conflicts with the issue of abortion. I am an atheist so I have no religious objection to the procedure. But I also have a certain amount of respect for the concept that human life, whether biologically independent or not, has inherent value. This concept is not amenable to science, which is why arguments about when precisely a fetus should be regarded as human fall are pointless where they are directed at people who believe that human life begins at conception. The distinction between "murder" and "killing" is something that arises through social consensus, whether it regards the born or unborn.

    I actually have some sympathy for those who sincerely believe that abortion is murder, because these people live in a society in which murder is legal according to their beliefs. However, when it comes to the point that these people are trying to take away abortion rights, my sympathy goes by the wayside.

    The positions of men versus women with regard to the reproductive function, and therefore abortion, involve inherent inequities. I see pregnancy and childbirth as probably the most animalistic experience routinely had by humans. But only humans of one sex! The entire reproductive process is a hugely disproportionate burden on women. Which is why I agree that a pregnant women should not be forced to carry a child to term.

    Nevertheless, I have a hard time with the argument that a man who fathers a child he expressly does not want should be allowed to opt out of responsibility for the child's well-being. I realize that women have claimed an affirmative right to have an abortion or to carry a pregnancy to term, even in disregard of the wishes of the father. It's logical on these grounds to argue that women who give birth to children not wanted by the father should assume full financial responsibility for them (though we know in many cases the government steps in to fulfill at least part of that responsibility).

    But I think the argument leaves out something important. Anytime a man has sex with a woman believing that a pregnancy can occur (i.e., both partners are or believe they are physically capable of contributing to a pregnancy, and he has this information), he should do so knowing not only that a pregnancy could occur, but also believing that the woman might decide to carry it to term. Now, why shouldn't the risk that the woman will want to have the child should she become pregnant be a factor in his decision-making process and ultimate responsibility? I think it should.

    Te fact is that there is no such thing as risk-free sex. It is very easy to take a utilitarian attitude towards sex as a source of pleasure and ignore its reproductive function in this age when most people openly (and rightfully) regard sex as having intrinsic value that is unrelated to reproduction. But the risk of pregnancy as a consequence of recreational sex is ever present. And you know, the default response to pregnancy is carrying term. So why should men be able to assume that they can have sex without any regard for the possibility of pregnancy because the woman would be in a position of deciding between an abortion (whether or not she wanted one), or the financial and psychological stress of single parenthood. To have this expectation really strikes me as inhumane. Yes, I believe in the right to abortion, and that a zygote is not a human being in a sense that should be associated with a right to life. But actually aborting a fetus could be psychologically devastating even to a woman who supports abortion rights. Would you really be ok with putting a woman in that position?

  • MJ||

    "Still, sort of creepy to wish that there were millions of Americans working low-income jobs or joining the army."

    "I'd be interested to know why Miller thinks the problems of unfilled jobs and low Social Security payments couldn't be filled by legalized immigrants."

    I am interested to know why Weigel thinks an enormous underclass of people born in the US is creepy but an enormous underclass born in places like Mexico is desirable.

  • ||

    van,

    Your responses are very thoughtful and I actually don't disagree with most of your chain of logic. We differ mostly because I think men who impregnate women should be ethically responsible for the children they create. I just don't believe they are always legally responsible.

    I think women who decide to have sex without a prior legal restraint on their partner (marriage) is responsible for the child. This is a cruel position for women to be in, choosing between abortion and raising a child alone, but I try to reject all arguments from exceptionalism. This is why, despite all the rhetoric on my part about the sole rights of women to control their bodies on this thread, I would never be considered a feminist.

    There are so many points in the modern world in the chain of events that lead to pregnancy through consensual sex where conception could have been interrupted or prevented, that a woman facing the ultimate choice of raising a child alone or aborting has to have been grossly negligent (and, in certain cases, it is intentional.) Male and female condoms, sponges, diaphragms, oral/subcutaneous/transdermal/injectable contraceptives, and Plan B are all highly refined technologies at this point. Even employing one of them consistently and correctly (or a serial combo like failed condoms and Plan B) make the chances of "accidental" pregnancy astronomical.

    Now, maybe if it could be legally proven that a reasonable combination of these correctly used devices and drugs failed in a serial fashion, then maybe the father would be legally responsible, but in a sort of accessory before the fact conspiracy way. Of course, prove all that in court, and you could probably tap the much deeper pockets of the pharma companies involved, instead of some hapless schmuck you picked up in a bar who too much of a spineless twat to live up to his responsibilities voluntarily.

  • ||

    Mad Max,

    Re: Fetus' Rights

    Want to get into a "No Way" / "Yes Way" thread war? I bet we could push it way over 300 comments before my 10:30 meeting...

    Here's a snarky argument to start us off...

    If the fetus has all the rights of a citizen, does it have all the responsibilities? Can it be held accountable for its actions or future action toward which it shows intent?

    A fetus presents an immediate threat to the mother. It represents an willingness to engage in assault with the intent toward grievous bodily injury (child birth) and enslavement (both personal and economic servitude.) If any other citizen threatened you with gross injury to the genitals followed by years of enslavement and economic deprivation, would any reasonable person find you responsible for resisting?

    Is an abortion self-defense?

  • ||

    Extra credit

    Can anyone who believes in the full incorporation of fetus rights explain to me the practical difference in the above scenario if the "child" is a fully grown adult? What if the "child" was an adult with no capacity for moral reasoning (like a fetus)?

    Anyone like to argue that parents never have a right to defend themselves from an assault by their children?

  • ||

    SugarFree,

    It's quite silly to discuss pregnancy in terms of an assault, but I'll humor you:

    If an embryo is responsible for its body's actions, then the mother must also bear responsibility for her body's actions. Her body is responsible for releasing the ovum that was fertilized, and her body prepared a hospitable environment for the embryo to implant. If you invite someone into your house and serve them coffee and donuts, you can't then accuse them of trespassing.

    Likewise, it's not like the child crawls out through the vagina during birth; it is the woman's own body that forces it out through the birth canal. Thus, any assault perpetrated during the birthing process is self-inflicted.

    Does that sound like complete blithering idiocy? Absolutely, and much the same is true for treating pregnancy as a case of assault.

  • ||

    crimethink,

    The mother is being responsible for her actions by aborting the fetus. And if you invite someone into you house, that doesn't license them to harm or enslave you.

    "I didn't hit her, she walked right into my fist!" If you are evicting a tenant, are they legally responsible if they assault you during the process?

    Of course abortion = self-defense a silly argument, but it highlights just one of the problems of granting rights before viability. The woman and fetus are bound together, and what one does affects the other. If the arguments that the fetus has the right to control the woman through no conscious will, then it follows that the woman must forgo her rights in order to serve another. This is reducing a woman into a womb support system and, eventually, a wet nurse. Slavery is the logical consequence of a situation where one person has all the rights in a relationship. You want a situation where a woman is a slave to a fetus, an insensate wad of potential, but not actually human, flesh.

    I have no problem with an ethical stance against abortion. I'd be happy as a clam if there was not one abortion ever from this point forward. I just reject legal restrictions on abortion before viability.

    If you really want to stop abortion, promote contraception.


    OK, I give up. I've become what I initially objected to at the beginning of the thread, a man arguing about abortion.

  • Nyuk||

    Did you hear about the pregnant peanut?

    She was a salted.

  • ||

    And if you invite someone into you house, that doesn't license them to harm or enslave you.

    A fetus, and much less an embryo, is in no position to harm or enslave the woman it is inside of. The woman's body provides nutrition and hydration of its own volition, so to speak. This is hardly a case of assault.

  • ||

    "And if you invite someone into you house, that doesn't license them to harm or enslave you."

    This is an old argument that doesn't apply to special responsibility.

    ...inviting someone into your house isn't the same as creating someone.

    "OK, I give up. I've become what I initially objected to at the beginning of the thread, a man arguing about abortion."

    I think this is a good observation, and I think that's the way I see it. ...and the reason I engage in the argument in the first place is that there are some among us who don't recognize that there are well reasoned, good libertarian arguments on both sides of the issue. (...not that the issue only has two sides.)

    Again, the LP platform once recognized that. ...I don't think it does anymore, and that's a shame. Short of that, I'd hope more of my libertarian friends would recognize pro-life arguments as reasonable. ...and I don't think many of them do. ...quite frankly. ...and that's why I sometimes argue the point.

    I do the same with religious issues by the way--if we libertarians relegate ourselves to pro-choice atheists, we're doomed. ...and there's no reason to do that. There's nothing inherently anti-libertarian about theism or being pro-life.

  • ||

    We would have a much larger economy and many more people in the military. Exactly what we need to fight the Islamist threat.

  • ||

    Mad Max:

    Why stop at the fetus? We should protect all potential life. That's pure discrimination against unfertilized eggs!!
    Both are "potential" lives, and both have the same ability to survive on their own outside the womb or test tube.

    The way I see it, everytime a woman has her period, it's murdering a potential life.

  • ||

    Geez! I can't believe this thread is still receiving comments. You can all have the abortion arguments -- I'm anti-pro-life and anti-pro-choice.

    DW: Your clarification leaves me ... unclear. Either way I enterpret it, there's an unstated implication that "mediocre members of society" are undesireable. To whom? Their family & friends? You speak of these people as if they shouldn't even exist.

    These "mediocre members of society" are human beings whose intrinsic value is no different than the "lawyers, astronauts, and former senators" you speak of. If Bubba wants (or has no better options than) to live in a trailer with his girlfriend and her kids and work odd jobs when he can get them and go huntin' & fishin' in his beat up pick-em-up truck and watch Wrestlemania and Springer and NASCAR and he saves up to take the kids to the Monster Truck Show, so what? He's living better than prob'ly half of the earth's population and is pursuing his version of the American Dream. Is he a drain on our economy? Maybe. So which private-sector organization will help him to see the error of his ways and live his life the way they (you) want him to. Or perhaps Big Gummint should do that? For the love of Science, what kind of authoritarian social-engineer are you?

  • ||

    SugarFree,

    >Your responses are very thoughtful.

    Thank you.

    Regarding your comments, your use of the qualifier "always," as in "I just don't believe they are always legally responsible," suggests that we might even differ less that you are thinking, though likely we are not in complete agreement. I'm not sure if the failure of an adequate method or combination of methods of birth control necessarily indicates gross negligence on someone's part. I don't have an expert level of knowledge about hormone regulating methods, but my understanding is that there is some probability, however miniscule, that a given method of this type will fail even if used correctly, and that pharm companies disclose this probability. In any event, a case could be made for negligence but it would (and should, in my opinion) need to be made on a case-by-case basis. And I would argue that there are many possible contingencies that could be relevant depending on the individuals involved and their history with one another.

    While it is true that some women will knowingly use birth control incorrectly, and sometimes even deliberately deceive a man about it, it is also true that some men will pressure women to use it incorrectly if they feel a particular method detracts from their sexual enjoyment. For example, women who prefer to rely exclusively on barrier methods, say a condom combined with a sponge, are highly likely to be pressured by someone at some point to forego the condom. Also, intoxication on the part of one or both partners can lead to barrier methods being used incorrectly. Consider the case of a woman who only uses condoms. That isn't very bright and a case could be made for negligence. But what if this woman picks up a guy at a bar when both are intoxicated, informs him straight up that condoms are her sole method of birth control, and he nevertheless consents to have sex with her? Would you say that they were both negligent? And yes, there is the option of Plan B, but access to it isn't always easy to get. I wouldn't be surprised if there are exaggerated stories out there about difficulties getting it (I recall that something suspicious was blogged here once) but I'm also sure there are places where it is virtually impossible for a woman to get Plan B within the optimal timeframe to prevent/end (however you see it) a pregnancy.

    So my main point is that, while I agree that men should not always be held legally responsible for children that they father, they also don't get to use the possibility of abortion as an out anytime they want.

    I'm musing on your statement about exceptionalism, especially in light of your comments about men being unwelcome in the abortion debate. Are you speaking in a legal or ethical sense? Maybe I'm just confused, but…assuming that we actually could place the entire burden of deciding the legality of abortion on women only, isn't that exceptionalism?

    And on a different topic - is David Weigel an elitist? I'm thinking yes, he is. It didn't occur to me until others said it, because I basically skipped past his comments on Miller and went right to Miller's comments. But looking at Weigel's update, I think he dug himself in deeper with those comments. He said: "I'm taking a whack at Miller's apparent belief that the millions of babies snuffed out by abortion would have 1) grown up to be mediocre members of society"

    Well, I watched the video, and I didn't hear Miller characterize anybody as "mediocre." It was Weigel who did that, and I think reveals more about what he thinks of working class people than it does about anything else.

  • ||

    Wow. I think Egalitarian said it better than I did.

  • ||

    Oops. "interpret"

    TWC: I was catching up on the comments and see that you had already pointed out what I said in my last post ... and much more succinctly as well.

  • MJ||

    "You want a situation where a woman is a slave to a fetus, an insensate wad of potential, but not actually human, flesh."

    The extent to which abortion apologists have to twist reality to justify their position defies parody. A fetus is not "insensate", at that stage of development a human is quite capable of sensing and reacting to changes in their enviroment. Perhaps you are actually thinking of the blastocyst stage where a human can be, uncharitably, described as a wad of cells, but a fetus has its tissues differentiated into flesh, bones and organs. If "wad" is a reasonable description of a fetus then it is also a fair description of any human at any stage of development including extreme old age. "Potential" and "actual", these words do not mean what you seem to think them to mean. A fetus is not a potential human, it is truly a human made of actual human flesh. Saying otherwise is crude sophistry. As for your description of "slavery", I'm not sure how that does not apply to any aspect of the parent-child relationship. Until a child is an adult, some adult or adults are going to be legally responsible for the child's care and feeding. Admittedly, once the child is born, there's more practical ability to transfer one's responsibility to another, but someone will be required to shoulder it.

    "...if you invite someone into you house, that doesn't license them to harm or enslave you."

    The fact that they are in your house does not license you to harm or kill them either. The invitation angle is important because abortion apologists tend to speak of pregnancy as if it is something that sort of spontaneously happens to women without their choosing. When a woman (or a man for that matter) chooses to have intercourse with someone of the opposite sex, they need to keep in mind that a child could result and they will be responsible for it. Abortion is neither a responsible nor ethical way to discharge that responsibility.

  • David Mc||

    The author of this story is so warped that he says Zell wants something that Zell did not even in the least imply he wants! Zell never said 'have more sex'. He said in effect 'stop murdering your offspring.' Then the author reads into this imaginary stuff to arouse class warfare. No one can refute the basic premise Zell puts forth because it's true.

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