Is Wendy Davis a Hero or the New Kermit Gosnell? Nick Gillespie on Our Stupid Abortion Debate

I've got a piece at The Daily Beast about the way politicians and the press talk about abortion. Here's a snippet:

The media response to Davis’ filibuster, which dominated Twitter and other social media last Tuesday, ran to the extremes that we’ve come to expect in any discussion of supposedly divisive social issues. Depending on your point of view, Davis is either a brave hero fighting for women everywhere or the second coming ofKermit Gosnell, the notorious Philadelphia doctor recently found guilty of murdering babies.

So, despite decades of polling data showing that large majorities of Americans believe abortion should be legal under some circumstances, you could be excused for thinking there are only two possible positions when it comes to terminating pregnancies: Either all abortions should be allowed or none should be.

That sort of Manicheanism is at odds with a country in which about 88 percent of people believe that abortion should be legal through the first two trimesters but only 14 percent believe it should be legal in the third. My point isn't that the majority is inherently right (or wrong). It's about the way the press and politicians talk about things:

As a diehard libertarian, I’m not arguing that issues of basic rights should be put to a majority vote (for the record, I’m pro-choice). God, no.

But if you’re actually interested in persuading people to your point of view or effecting social change, it certainly behooves you to understand where they are on a given topic. You wouldn’t know that from the way politicians and the press talk about abortion. Sadly, as abortion reclaims its leading role in America’s culture wars, get set for a lot of heat and very little light. And virtually no interest whatsoever in what the majority of Americans actually think about the topic.

Read the whole thing.

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  • ||

    And furthermore, Hail Satan.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    That's the clear way to win a debate.

  • entropy||

    It's so idiotically immature. The pro-lifers on the other side are thumping bibles and singing Amazing Grace, so they, in reactionary fashion, start chanting Hail Satan.

    Gives the impression that the whole thing is really just about them proving their independence by pissing their moms off.

  • Rhino||

    They don't do themselves any favors saying that they hope women who oppose abortion get raped.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Query: Is Gosnell an albino? I mean, I see he has brown eyes, but those could be colored contact lenses.

  • Hash Brown||

    More like a lizard-man, I think.

  • mr lizard||

    Easy player, think green.

  • ||

    RACIST!

  • SugarFree||

    I believe the impolite term is "high yellow."

  • Tim||

    To even know about such matters is proof of your racism.

  • HellsBells||

    It just means he read "The Help."

  • ||

    Well, he freaked out when I said, "Quadroon."

  • SugarFree||

    Historical fun fact: The classification is the basis of "The Yellow Rose of Texas"

    Original lyrics:

    There's a yellow rose in Texas, that I am going to see,
    No other darky [sic] knows her, no darky only me
    She cryed [sic] so when I left her it like to broke my heart,
    And if I ever find her, we nevermore will part.

    [Chorus]

    She's the sweetest rose of color this darky ever knew,
    Her eyes are bright as diamonds,they sparkle like the dew;
    You may talk about your Dearest May, and sing of Rosa Lee,
    But the Yellow Rose of Texas beats the belles of Tennessee.
  • Floridian||

    Paul Newman sang that song in the life and times of judge Roy bean. I don't remember him saying darky though. I'll have to watch it again.

  • SugarFree||

    Modern lyrics:

    There's a yellow rose in Texas that I am gonna see
    Nobody else could miss her not half as much as me
    She cried so when I left her it was like it broke her heart
    And if I ever find her we never more will part

    She's the sweetest little rose bud that Texas ever knew
    Her eyes are bright as diamonds they sparkle like the dew
    You may talk about your Clementine and sing of Rosa Lee
    But the yellow rose of Texas is the only girl for me
  • Floridian||

    That's the one Newman sang.

  • Rich||

    Better than "redbone".

  • SugarFree||

    "Redbones" are multiracial and the term usually refers to the admixture of European, African and Amerindian racial characteristics.

  • Floridian||

    I always thought it was a hound like in the outlaw josey wells.

  • hotsy totsy||

    Like those Puerto Ricans and Venezuelans with their Miss Universes!

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Or "red" in the south.

  • ||

    "high yellow" always makes me think of Fear of a Black Hat

  • gaijin||

    looks like a white-hispanic to me

  • Hash Brown||

    Politicians talk that way because you can't count on the middle to donate, vote, put up signs, etc.

    The MSM talk that way because they're filled with useless hacks.

  • ||

    The majority of Americans think Social Security and Medicare are peachy keen and that cutting off foreign aid will solve all of our fiscal problems. Most people don't think very deeply. Appeal to majority is pretty stupid. Especially on a moral issue. Which, regardless of how you feel about it, abortion certainly is. If you legitimately believe that a fetus should have human rights, you can't rightly consider destroying it much of anything besides murder. If you don't believe a fetus should have human rights, it's difficult, if not impossible, to justify any restriction on abortion without devolving into total relativism. So you pretty much are stuck at either end of a dichotomy. Otherwise you're basically a hypocrite.

  • Tim||

    You know who else was stuck at the end of a dichotomy?

  • ||

    I'd rather have a frontal dichotomy, than have a coupla dikes in front of me.

  • Hash Brown||

  • ||

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    . . . and now I've got me finger stuck in me bum!

  • Hash Brown||

    I don't think it's necessarily a dichotomy. I could see a principled position that human rights spring into being when a fetus reaches a certain point of development.

    But even so, I don't understand the view that abortion should be illegal except in cases of rape or incest.

  • ||

    "I could see a principled position that human rights spring into being when a fetus reaches a certain point of development."

    That is my position. However, I personally would never consent to my own child being aborted at any stage. I dont pretend to have the right to tell anyone else that, meaning prior to a certain amount of brain development.

    Dont ask me what stage that is. I know many people with no brain development 40+ years post-birth.

  • John Thacker||

    Many people feel that way. Reason contributors Julian Sanchez would draw the line a few months after birth (thus allowing parents to dispose of their child without finding someone to care for it until then), and finds birth to be an overly conservative line to draw.

  • ||

    I can understand the reasoning behind that, as late term abortion and early infanticide are virtually indistinguishable from an ethical standpoint.

  • Robert||

    So I'm not alone here.

  • John Thacker||

    It's an argument (not that I necessarily subscribe to) based on a concept of foreseeable consequences and negligence. We accept that, in general, you don't have an obligation to save every stranger in the world, even if you're the only person who could save them. Yet people feel differently when they feel that consent to an implied contract has been freely offered.

    Certainly can be criticized, but I don't think it's crazy. (Especially considering how abortions can be required / punished / etc. in surrogacy contracts.)

  • ||

    I could see a principled position that human rights spring into being when a fetus reaches a certain point of development.

    That's a reasonable position, but then you have to decide where that point is. There's no scientific consensus on the issue, and it's less a scientific question than an ethical one anyway. If you make some universal proclamation it's bound to be arbitrary (much like the age at which adulthood is reached for legal purposes).

  • np||

    There is also the position of property rights in ones body. This is applicable regardless of when personhood is achieved. You have the right to remove an unwanted entity from within you in much the same manner as you would a trespasser or stubborn guest. Force proportional to that stubbornness would be justified. If it is viable then the process would involve eviction but not necessarily actively killing the fetus

  • ||

    Except besides rape you put them there.

  • ||

    Foreseeable consequences are not unintended, as they say. Note that np is careful to make reference to a "stubborn guest" and suggest eviction without termination to sidestep that argument. Which then brings up the rather interesting question of whose responsibility the expelled fetus/child becomes since the person whose volitional act invited the "intruder", er, "stubborn guest" is excused from it.

  • ||

    Which is to say that fetuses and the children they grow into are not very much like property.

  • np||

    They are their own property.

  • ||

    In that case, couldn't they sign a surrogate contract to protect their rights after they've been expelled from their mother? I mean, since they are fully autonomous and all...

  • np||

    Just like there is no positive right to care for the poor or some disabled person who would otherwise die, there is no positive right for the evicted fetus. Just in the same way, one would rely on charity if the fetus is viable. But this is not so different from the perspective of the unwanted fetus, than a women forced carry it to term, then immediately puts it up for adoption, except this would also respect the property rights of the host's body.

    Furthermore, since the point of personhood is not some discreet event and would be arbitrarily determined, why not take back to where it is a discreet event, name the fertilization of the egg? But what happens if we take fertilize it outside the womb, in the lab? Who's obligation does it become then?

  • ||

    The person who created it in the lab? Personally I think artificial womb technology and not politics is going to solve this issue.

  • ||

    Just like there is no positive right to care for the poor or some disabled person who would otherwise die...

    That's not really a universal legal principle. It's still not a truly analogous example either. Reproduction is a fairly unique ethical case.

    I'd also be interested in hearing why the guy who contributed 50% of the DNA shouldn't get a say in what happens to the fetus once the unwelcoming mother decides she doesn't want it. If he wants it surrogated to another woman, should the biological mother be obliged?

  • np||

    That kind of legal jurisprudence is not inherently universal at all. In fact many European countries implement those good samaritan laws.

    If you want to get into universal laws, much like natural or mathematical laws, then you need to step outside of
    positive law, and logically derive everything from first principles.

    I'd also be interested in hearing why the guy who contributed 50% of the DNA shouldn't get a say in what happens to the fetus once the unwelcoming mother decides she doesn't want it. If he wants it surrogated to another woman, should the biological mother be obliged?

    Yes, but there would be no obligation required from the biological mother as she already does not want it. So if the father could find someone else, and assuming we are not in some far future where the fetus could consciously object, then sure.

  • ||

    Well the mother would be obligated to go through substantial medical procedures to facilitate the surrogacy. Say she didn't want to do that and wanted to destroy the fetus instead. Is dad still involved at this point? Is he entitled to any share? If the fetus isn't human, is it property? If so, how is it divided?

    Let's take a different example where mom wants to keep the child but dad doesn't want it. Can he terminate it at some point after it's separated from the mother? Or is he just not obligated to take care of it? The mother is in a bit of a unique situation in that her deciding she doesn't want to take care of the fetus and/or eject it necessarily entails destroying it, at least up until fairly late in the pregnancy.

  • hotsy totsy||

    We were all, each and every one of us, "stubborn guests" at one time.

    Plus evicting this stubborn guest, who for sure is going to be gone within a few months anyway, is sure to result in his death.

    Really, I think it's a lot more ethical to sell your kid on Ebay, like someone today I read about.

  • np||

    And you have the right to kick them out

    besides, what happens when condoms fail? Regardless, an open door does not turn into a positive obligation to an unwanted guest

  • ||

    Pregnancy is slightly different conceptually than inviting someone over for dinner though. You understand undertaking the act of sex that pregnancy is a possible consequence. And by definition, fetuses and children for the first several years of their lives are incapable of autonomy. So the nature of the invitation is different. It would be more analogous to telling your quadriplegic buddy that he can stay with you for a few months, then deciding you're tired of cleaning up after him, and having the police come to your house and throw him outside, whereupon he is incapable of caring for himself, but is no longer your responsibility, even though you agreed to take him in.

  • ||

    I thinks the quadriplegic friend is still a bad analogy, as I think you can ask them to leave and remove them if they don't. Pregnancy is a unique enough situation to be dealt with on its own terms. Any close enough analogy will become convoluted. No one is invited in, they are created and put in place without their participation.

  • ||

    True enough. The ethical premise is similar though. You're kind of an asshole if you let something die because it inconveniences you when you're the one who invited/put it there in the first place. That's the rationale behind animal cruelty/negligence laws. Maybe fetuses would get a better shake if they were treated as property instead of potential humans.

  • np||

    Well animal cruelty laws are also unworkable by principle, even though I am against such cruelty

  • ||

    animal cruelty laws are also unworkable by principle, even though I am against such cruelty

    Depends. I think there is room for limited "rights", more properly understood as obligations of the owner, of animals as a special class of property. It doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition because animals lack many of the faculties of humans by which we assert our human rights.

  • np||

    The problem is that they haven't been forced from outside in. There was no conscious being to agree to, to ask for permission of, to check against to begin with.

  • ||

    There was no conscious being to agree to, to ask for permission of, to check against to begin with.

    Right. You created it. You couldn't negotiate with it before it existed. But you engaged in a volitional act to bring it forth. The question is whether than entails any obligation on your part. Whether the fetus you created has rights. We know that at some point it will have rights as a human being (or I'm assuming we're all working off that premise). It's just a matter of when. If it's a matter of that all-important umbilical cord, then the distinction becomes arbitrary to the point of capriciousness given the utter lack of any distinguishable difference between a 9 month old fetus and a 2 week old baby, sans attachment to the mother.

  • free2booze||

    It would be more analogous to telling your quadriplegic buddy that he can stay with you for a few months,

    Actually, it would be more analogous to inviting your buddy to take plane ride with you, and deciding half way through the trip that you no longer want him on board, then tossing him out the door.

  • np||

    The reason why, from a property rights/non-positive law perspective, that throwing anyone out of the plane during flight is illegitimate is because there was an explicit, conscious agreement, not for the flight itself, but to arrive at a particular destination. It would be just as illegitimate to take them to the wrong destination.

    However, you can have such a scenario where you open the doors but do not offer an agreement, where for example you can throw people out, blow yourself up, etc, since it is your plane, and you allow anyone in with the aforementioned risks, then yes it would be legitimate.

  • ||

    Here again, the problem is that you can't have a contract, or any agreement in the strictest legal sense, express or implied, with a fetus. There can't be the required "meeting of the minds". However, I would contend it is arguable that becoming impregnated through a volitional act would imply an obligation at least as strongly as purchasing an airplane ticket implies an obligation to reach the agreed upon destination. I'd also contend it's arguable that letting people onto your airplane and then taking off with them on board implies an obligation to return them to the ground safely, if possible. Then again, I can't imagine any conceivable situation in which an airplane owner would leave his airplane open, random strangers would walk into it without making any kind of arrangement to fly somewhere, then the airplane owner would take flight, ditch, and allow the plane to crash into the side of a mountain, or alternatively, put it on autopilot and start throwing people out. The plane owner would have to be a pretty sick fuck, and the passengers would have to be pretty deranged to wander onto a plane then sit there calmly while it took off without knowing its destination. It's a pretty convoluted construction. And still not a good analogy.

  • free2booze||

    there was an explicit, conscious agreement, not for the flight itself, but to arrive at a particular destination.

    Not in all circumstances. "Hey Jimmy, want to take a spin in my plane", does not state any particular destination.

    However, you can have such a scenario where you open the doors but do not offer an agreement

    You forgot the part about you loading the person on the plane. A sperm doesn't just walk through the door on it's own. Someone had to give it a nudge.

  • trshmnstr||

    Actually, it would be more analogous to inviting your buddy to take plane ride with you, and deciding half way through the trip that you no longer want him on board, then tossing him out the door.

    I would modify that a bit. It would be like taking your buddy from his bed while he's still sleeping (unable to give consent), in order to go on a skydiving trip. Then at some point during the trip, as you're in the middle of strapping his parachute to his sleeping body, you decide that you don't want him along on the trip anymore, push him out the door and cut off the parachute as he falls out of the plane.

  • ||

    It's not an open door, you literally create them and put them in a position they cannot leave without dying.

    besides, what happens when condoms fail?

    Pregnancy is always a possibility when engaging in an act designed for reproduction. Take all necessary precautions and accept the consequences for your actions. It's not like your limited to condoms. Have a partner you trust to take their birth control as well, take plan B if there is an accident. Most of the time "failures" of birth control are the fault of the users not the birth control itself. In any case even with all precautions sex always has a possibility of producing a child.

  • np||

    But that logic leads to anyone being forced to endure whatever is the biological by product of some action, as opposed to being able to consciously take control over the fate and use of one's own body. I just can't derive any an obligated biological disposition.

  • ||

    There's no other product of biology than a fetus that has, or will eventually have, human rights though. There's no debate about the rights of a tumor or your punctured left lung because it's not conscious, not biologically distinct from you, and is never going to be. The question is at what point a fetus inherits human rights - one of the most important of which is the right not to be killed. If a fetus has such rights, the only justification for destroying it would be self defense according to the NAP. And that's an argument that can be (and has been) made.

  • free2booze||

    besides, what happens when condoms fail?

    What happens when I drive home drunk, and some random person steps out in front of my car?

  • Concerned Citizen||

    Hey np, are you pro your life? If so, why?
    Abortion is the ultimate initiation of force against the individual. If it isn't, nothing is.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Ummm...you could believe that a fetus becomes a human being at some point in between fertilization and birth. Of course, being of that belief, I tend to roll my eyes at just about every abortion debate I run across.

  • MoMark||

    PM|7.3.13 @ 8:49AM|#

    “If you legitimately believe that a fetus should have human rights, you can't rightly consider destroying it much of anything besides murder.”

    Really, so if a mother refuses to support a growing fetus inside her, and let’s say the fetus is removed intact, is it murder? Or does it die from a lack of support? If I feel you should support a starving person, and you refuse to do so is that murder?

  • RightNut||

    The fact that a mob stopped the bill from passing makes me reflexively not like Davis. It reminds me of Roman Tribunes raising mobs to beat Roman Senators to death so they couldn't pass laws the Tribune's didn't like.

    Question is, who will be America's Sulla?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    What albums did Sulla produce?

    /Voter who didn't take Latin

  • SugarFree||

    Closing clinics that have been open for 40 years is now defined as an "emergency" by Perry.

    Hilary should send him a box of the finest cigars for the help he's been to her campaign.

  • John Thacker||

    Technically, it's regulations that upgrade the standards, and one doubts that all the clinics will actually close.

    The "emergency" justifying it isn't really an emergency, given that it happened in PA. But the suggestions are taken directly from the grand jury report in the Gosnell case, where lack of hospital admitting privileges, ambulatory care standards, and, yes, too narrow hallways (again compared to other medical clinics), were all specifically called out as contributing to the death of a woman who sought an abortion where something went wrong.

  • SugarFree||

    It's hard to argue that hospital standards should apply to abortion clinics when it was regulations aimed at making abortions hard to obtain that forced them out of hospitals in the first place.

    Gosnell is just an excuse, and a weak one at that. If Perry and the Texas legislature want to outlaw abortion, outlaw it and take the hit. So-called libertarians cheering regulatory burden as a politically palatable backdoor to an outright ban is hypocritical.

  • John||

    How is Gosnell a weak excuse? It would seem that the existence of a guy never being subject to regulation who then killed children after birth is a decent justification to regulate.

    Moreover, just what are these regulations? How are they unfair? If they have no relation to health and safety and are just a subterfuge, they will not survive constitutional challenge. Yet, I have yet to hear any optimism about them being struck down. The argument instead seems to be that the clinics can't afford it. Well, if the clinics can't afford to operate safely, then maybe they should go out of business.

  • SugarFree||

    Gosnell is a weak excuse to call an emergency session of the Texas legislature in order to jam through a law that would never survive in the next regular session.

    They are trying to do through regulatory burden what they can't do by a specific law. Any other subject than abortion, and you'd be against it.

  • John Thacker||

    Gosnell is a weak excuse to call an emergency session of the Texas legislature in order to jam through a law that would never survive in the next regular session.

    A law that would easily pass in the next regular session, I think, considering both the polls in favor of it and its contents, and its similarity to existing laws in many states and countries, including Pennsylvania and New York.

    Not that that's an argument in favor of it.

  • SugarFree||

    Then why has Perry called two emergency sessions to pass it now? Any law that has to be passed right now, like right now! is always uniformly shitty or aimed at fucking someone over.

  • John Thacker||

    Because the Texas Legislature is very part time, meeting for a proscribed maximum number of days (140 or so) every other year, but the Governor has wide powers to call emergency sessions and has done so with regularity throughout Texas history, including frequently to pass things that could have and would have passed under regular session?

    Dumb way to do things, sure.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    It's better than having a full time law factory like CAs legislature.

  • ||

    I wish all legislatures at all levels received substantial bonuses the longer they went without convening.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    In a republic, the defeat of a bill by mob action (as with the mobs in Austin) *is* an emergency situation.

  • Floridian||

    I agree but liberals all of a sudden seeing regulation is an unworkable burden to this business but not to others is also hypocritical.

  • SugarFree||

    Both liberals and conservatives love regulatory burden. I expect libertarians to be better on the subject.

  • Floridian||

    So your issue is not with conservatives using regulation it is with libertarians supporting regulation when useful. I see.

  • John Thacker||

    I expect libertarians to disagree when the subject is whether it's better to have certain things exempt from regulations that others must follow, just as I expect them to disagree about targeted tax breaks, or about government regulation of government-supplied or funded programs (such as education or art, for example what to teach in government schools)-- or else dodge the issue by simply saying that the government shouldn't be in the business of X without wanting to argue about the second best. Consistency, fairness, and simplicity is a virtue, but I can see why others might prefer (in harder cases than this) exemptions and exceptions that increase the marginal freedom of some even if a bit unfair or uneven.

    In the current case, my impression is that abortion is in general and less regulated than other medical procedures, not more, and that it's implausible that it tends to be performed in specialized clinics rather than hospitals due to burdensome regulation.

  • SugarFree||

    Liposuction, colposcopy and Hernia repair all have higher complication rates than abortion, but Perry has not made any move to have them reclassified from "clinics" to "ambulatory surgery centers."

    And it was the issue of denying admitting privileges is one of that got abortion out of hospitals in the first place.

  • John Thacker||

    Was the denying of admitting privileges, was that due to regulations, or was that due to private actions and pressure, both internally and externally (including a lot of hospitals being religiously supported)? I believe mostly the latter, but you could show me differently.

    I suppose that it's possible that the same regulators and regulations that up until now have allowed abortion clinics would have not permitted the founding of new, abortion-friendly hospitals, but I think that it's more likely that people found it easier to simply start clinics and avoid regulation.

    1) Government adopts facially neutral regulations.

    2) Due to difference in private preferences, the effect of these regulations most likely fall disproportionately on certain things, distorting the choices available. Some of these choices that disappear are relatively favored by political pressure groups.

    I believe the well-practiced libertarian dodge in this situation is to argue that the "correct response" is to "get government out of" hospital regulation in general, rather than supporting specialized loosening of regulations aimed as specifically easing the burden on the more disproportionately impacted choices. Although at the same time many might support the latter while claiming to be working for the latter as the long term goal. This inevitably ends in recriminations.

    Seems to happen in the case of mass transit, zoning, government schooling, funding for the arts, etc., when libertarians get together.

  • ||

    I like my ham tears extra salty.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I agree but liberals all of a sudden seeing regulation is an unworkable burden to this business but not to others is also hypocritical.

    Which is a useful tidbit to bring up the next time a liberal tries to tell you that new regulations are harmless because businesses will just adjust to them.

  • ||

    CATALYTIC CONVERTERZZZZZ!!!one!11!eleventy!

  • John Thacker||

    It's hard to argue that hospital standards should apply to abortion clinics when it was regulations aimed at making abortions hard to obtain that forced them out of hospitals in the first place.

    Doesn't seem to particularly be the case in Pennsylvania; the grand jury claimed that the regulations hadn't been enforced in years, by multiple governors' administration.

    Especially hard to say that regulations "forced them out of hospitals" when the regulations for standalone clinics are much lower than that for hospitals. I don't see evidence that abortions are more regulated than other procedures; rather, the opposite.

    Bigger things that forced them out of hospitals are many doctors not wanting to perform them (even many who believe that they should be available don't like doing them) as well as protests against them (and hospitals and doctors not wanting the protests against them), resulting in specialized clinics run by people who could stand the heat.

  • SugarFree||

    Events in Pennsylvania are not an emergency in Texas.

  • John Thacker||

    Oh, I certainly agree, it's not an emergency in Texas. I believe I stated that above, but I'll do so again.

    I just don't see evidence for the proposition that abortions are more heavily regulated than hospitals, and thus that forced them out of hospitals. They seem in general to be less regulated.

    Therefore, I tend to conclude that public and private opinion forced them out of hospitals and into specialized clinics, along with the advantages of running a separate business with less regulatory and other overhead.

  • GregMax||

    You're hanging up on the term "emergency" because it will probably lead to an outcome you don't like.
    Perry has the right as Gov to call whatever sessions he deems necessary . . . so they call them "emergency". The emergent urgency is not the core issue here.

  • ||

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Mob obstruction of the legislative process in Texas is an emergency in Texas.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    outlaw it and take the hit

    Not much sense in doing that due to Roe v. Wade, which allows regulation but not an outright ban. Any outright ban would be immediately overturned. So they do what the gun grabbers do, try to push the envelope on regulation as far as possible.

  • ||

    I agree, I support the 20 week limit but I oppose the new regulations because I oppose all regulations. Lower the hospital regulations if they are so out of whack.

  • Floridian||

    They are. I've read that 20% of the cost of healthcare is unnecessary test and procedure to guard against lawsuits. An example: a 20 year old with no other health history comes in to have his gallbladder removed. A simple surgery that can be done on an out patient basis, but most physicians will order blood work just in case this particular 20 year old might have some rare condition. Extra expense for the patient and for the tax payer if a Medicare/Medicaid case.

  • John Thacker||

    I'd prefer lowering all the hospital regulations. I don't get *particularly* up in arms about a bill that ends a particular exemption to regulations for a particular politically favored procedure (but, horrors, not for all politically favored procedures.)

  • ||

    I'm not really up in arms either, but then I didn't vote for anybody in the legislature. The LP candidates I voted for were a mixture of pro-life and pro-choice.

    Wendy Davis is a grandstanding annoying cunt and Rick Perry is a grandstanding dumb cunt. There was no need to filibuster a bill that was going to pass anyways and there was no need to call an emergency session over this bill.

  • free2booze||

    The "emergency" justifying it isn't really an emergency, given that it happened in PA.

    Actually, it may be a problem in Texas too

    Houston doctor Douglas Karpen is accused by four former employees of delivering live fetuses during third-trimester abortions and killing them by either snipping their spinal cord, stabbing a surgical instrument into their heads or 'twisting their heads off their necks with his own bare hands'.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....z2Xzdm6Wpq
  • ||

    How on earth that procedure can constitute a crime when the same procedure performed 10 minutes earlier would not be is one of the more befuddling moral turds in the abortion debate.

  • John Thacker||

    That sort of Manicheanism is at odds with a country in which about 88 percent of people believe that abortion should be legal through the first two trimesters but only 14 percent believe it should be legal in the third.

    Though you get very pretty different numbers if you ask about 20 or 22 weeks than if you just ask "second trimester," so I'm not sure if the "through the first two trimesters" of 88 percent is accurate. It's at least 88 percent that think that some second trimester abortions should be legal, but if you start asking about specifically into the sixth month support drops dramatically. A number of polls show a majority against abortions in week 20 (women are more against than men).

    Also these polls sort of demonstrate that, from a pure public opinion version of "extreme," Wendy Davis et al. are as extreme as anti-rape exception guys like Mourdock.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The people who don't like what Wendy Davis is doing are engaged in political grandstanding.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Which is only fair, since what she is doing is also political grandstanding.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    On one side, you have people who feel abortion is infanticide. On the other, you have people who feel abortion bans remove basic liberties from women. Neither side can see the other's point of view. What other kind of debate can we expect?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    The kind where abortion supporters agree to just as enthusiastically protest the requirement that men get consent from their wife before getting a vasectomy.

  • John||

    Reproductive rights are exclusive to women in their view.

  • Floridian||

    Is that a law or physicians covering themselves from law suit? I got a vasectomy a 27 and didn't have to prove anything other than I had the cash.

  • ||

    From what I can gather there is no law requiring it, but rather, as you said, many physicians require it for CYA

    http://goodmenproject.com/news.....vasectomy/

  • Fatty Bolger||

    It's a little more complicated that that. You have people who think it's murder, people who think it's bad but should be legal within limits, people who think it's no big deal, and people who think it's a basic liberty. Neither of the more extreme camps have a national majority, so as usual the debate happens in the middle.

  • SIV||

    Baby killers!

  • John||

    Understand that the bill would only ban abortions after 20 weeks. So, whatever the debate is, it is not a debate about the fate of a few cells. Twenty weeks is pretty far along the process. And the article admits that 90% of abortions take place in the first 12 weeks. So really we were only talking about at most ten percent of abortions and abortions that take place after there is a pretty compelling scientific argument that we are talking about infanticide here.

    Nick is right that the American public takes a more nuanced view of abortion. And it seems to me that a bill that banned it after 20 weeks is such a view and a pretty good compromise on the issue. But it wasn't the pro life side that killed the bill.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Why do you hate women?

  • John||

    I know. I hate women. I expect them to know they are pregnant and make a decision about what to do about it in five months. How in the world could they be expected to wrap their little heads around such a decision five months?

  • SugarFree||

    They just want to ban assault weapons, John. They'll stop after that. They aren't coming for your guns. Stop being so paranoid.

  • John||

    They just want to murder the old and the sick SF. They are never going to murder anyone else. It is an unwanted child. It would probably grow up into a criminal anyway. The fact that it has brain function, feels pain and is viable outside the womb doesn't matter. What matters is that its mother doesn't want it. But don't worry about murdering it. Allowing the state sponsored murder of the unwanted or unfit would never lead to the state sponsored murder of anyone else. I mean it is not like it has happened before or anything.

  • anarch||

    Know what what who else is viable outside the womb?

  • anarch||

    Preview function : commenter :: contraception : x.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I always knew it

  • SugarFree||

    Abortion is already legal for 40 years and this hasn't come about. The slippery slope applies.

    No one is going to be fooled by it. They want abortion outlawed, in all circumstances. If you want to argue that this ban is reasonable because that's where they will stop, you are fooling yourself... but not anyone else.

    So the assault weapons bans is a reasonable step, a good compromise, right? The same forces pushing for it will just stop pushing for gun control because they got their reasonable compromise, right?

  • robc||

    So the assault weapons bans is a reasonable step, a good compromise, right?

    False analogy.

    The assault weapons ban is a bad idea EVEN if they wanted to stop there.

    In other words, its a bad idea on the merits alone.

  • ||

    There's also no ethical debate about when a gun becomes a gun for 2nd Amendment purposes. The entire analogy is pretty retarded.

  • SugarFree||

    John is arguing that the pro-choice opponents of the bill are rejecting a good compromise. I'm arguing that they are rejecting a stalking horse for a complete ban. That is the same argument dichotomy as assault weapon ban.

    And just because you support a 20-week ban doesn't mean it's a good idea ontologically.

  • ||

    The reasoning for a ban is entirely different though. Rejecting a partial ban on an inanimate object to which you have an allegedly guaranteed individual constitutional right is slightly different than rejecting a ban on a practice that is hotly ethically contested, and only permitted due to a non-enumerated right to "privacy", that oddly enough doesn't apply to, say, having the NSA read emails that you leave on a server for 90 days, for instance.

    If you're of the opinion that abortion is an absolute right, that's cool as far as it goes, but there's no legal underpinning for it. The 2nd Amendment is a lot more clear cut.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    OT

    Why does the constitutional penumbra of privacy that guarantees a right to abortion also not prohibit government controls of healthcare as are found in Obamacare?

  • ||

    Because fuck you, that's why.

  • Jayburd||

    What has come about? Scissors through the skull outside the womb?

  • dbobway||

    I love women! I hate when people can determine the fate of an unborn child based on their gender. Like India and China. They prefer boys to girls. Like it or not, agree with abortion or against, giving this kind of control to society of who lives or dies will change history. Who knows how. But as our past has shown us, the results usually suck. 5 months is a fully developed little human being who is clearly a boy or a girl. As a father of 3 girls, it disturbs me that an unborn little girl would be aborted because she isn't as important as a boy. I hate that with a passion!

  • Emily||

    I agree that the bill would've been a nice compromise. I'm a NICU RN and around 20 weeks is definitely the point where these kids have a real shot at survival (I've certainly seen it many times).

  • robc||

    88 percent of people believe that abortion should be legal through the first two trimesters

    [citation needed]

    Gallup says a large majority oppose 2nd trimester abortions, at least according to random post in morning links, but that fits my impression better than 88% supporting 2nd trimester abortion.

  • entropy||

    Was just going to say the same thing. The other day they were linking to Gallup claiming 64% or more have been opposed to 2nd trimester abortions for at least 2 decades straight.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, that makes more sense to me. I think most people are not going to think 6 months is reasonable outside of medical complications. I will say that while my wife and I would have never considered an abortion, she was told in both her pregnancies that she was not pregnent fairly well into the pregnancy. She knew that she was. Not sure why the doctors couldn't figure it out.

  • KimInGA||

    A ban at 20 weeks seems like a pretty obvious attempt to stop women from aborting due to amniocentesis results. Yeah the timeframe for getting the test done is technically 16-22 weeks, but depending on your doctor etc. you often can't get in before 18-20 weeks at the earliest. Some of the disorders it can reveal are pretty awful, like "oh hey your kid is developing without a brain." I don't think any woman should be forced to carry that to term.

    Personally I wouldn't carry to term if I got a positive for Down's Syndrome either. And I say this as someone who is currently 8 weeks pregnant. If you want to say that this makes me evil, fine. But I'm the one who would be stuck caring for a giant unruly 2-yr-old for life, not you. I've seen firsthand what that is like and NO.

  • Floridian||

    This is the scenario I was discussing with John the other day. It is situations like this that keep me from being in the total ban or total legal crowd and I hate being in the squishy middle. I think this is why this debate will never be settled. Each of us could come up with our own rules that would make us comfortable but I doubt you would find anything close to a consensus.

  • KimInGA||

    Agreed. People who believe that it's wrong to terminate because the baby shows positive for Down's Syndrome are welcome to carry to term. There are some people with it who manage to live independently. But a whole lot are mentally 2-yr-olds their entire lives -- like they can't even wipe themselves. It sounds cold-hearted but I will terminate if I get a positive back on the test. I'm just being realistic though. I'm only in my 30's now but what about when I'm 70? I wouldn't be able to care for a combative mentally impaired child who outweighs me. The kid would have to go into a state home.

  • Jon Lester||

    You have to wonder if some of these GOP types actually want more poor and disabled people in the world. I know someone who had to carry to term in a scenario very much like what you describe in your first paragraph; I'm not sure how much Georgia law had to do with that, but of course it was a terrible experience.

    In a more general sense, I've long tried to get people thinking about universal coverage for contraception, in the interest of promoting a healthier future tax base. Some, even here, object to the idea of "subsidizing someone's sex life," but as a taxpayer, I'd much rather pay for an IUD than an incarceration.

  • ||

    ...universal coverage for contraception, in the interest of promoting a healthier future tax base.

    Fuck. Off. Slaver.

  • Jon Lester||

    Fine, go buy stock in the privatized prison industry. You can't lose.

  • ||

    Seriously though, that's on the verge of Italian style fascism. Pay for your own birth control, pay for your own mistakes.

  • Jon Lester||

    It's all good. At least you thought about it. These Republicans I speak of just can't be bothered to do that.

  • SeaCaptain(Yokeltarian)||

    Fuck.Off.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Contraception is cheap. If people aren't using it, it's not because they don't have the money. The only thing universal coverage would do is jack up contraceptive prices.

  • Floridian||

    I think pro-life people actually care about the children and don't really care about future elections. The politicians are another story.

  • entropy||

    Some, even here, object to the idea of "subsidizing someone's sex life," but as a taxpayer, I'd much rather pay for an IUD than an incarceration.

    That's atrocious.

    in the interest of promoting a healthier future tax base.

    That's called eugenics.

  • Jon Lester||

    To which I am not entirely adverse, unpleasant as its stipulations can be made to sound. I wouldn't call for forcibly altering other people's bodies, by any stretch, but I think Kim's points are perfectly valid. I would also hope no one in the commentariat would seriously want to force a woman to carry her rapist's child.

  • Rudy||

    I agree, if they have to take our money, they should spend it wisely. I think long term birth control may be a good investment. If you want to give directly to an effort like this, consider Project Prevention.

  • free2booze||

    Some of the disorders it can reveal are pretty awful, like "oh hey your kid is developing without a brain." I don't think any woman should be forced to carry that to term.

    The proposed law makes has exceptions for this.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Get out of here with your facts.

  • KimInGA||

    Maybe, maybe not. The wording is "severe fetal abnormalities" that are "incompatible with life outside the womb". That could easily be twisted into blocking any abortion where the kid could still breathe, no matter how horribly disabled. The one I referred to, anencephaly, would probably fall under the very few allowable exceptions (do yourself a favor and do NOT google image that one). But it would absolutely block anyone from having the choice if their kid showed positive for Down's or most other severe problems.

  • free2booze||

    The phrase "severe fetal abnormalities" or "incompatible with life outside the womb" do not exist in either the House or Senate versions of the bill.

    However, both provide an exception through the third trimester if "the viable unborn child has a severe,irreversible brain impairment"

  • ||

  • Floridian||

  • ||

    Awwwwww

  • Jon Lester||

    Plenty has been said here about abortion already, but where is Wendy Davis on the other issues? I submit that single-issue voters do at least as much damage as low-information voters (and they're often about the same). This is exactly how the wretched Dianne Feinstein has been in the Senate long enough to chair the intelligence committee.

  • ||

    Definitionally, nobody in congress should be allowed to chair an intelligence committee.

  • Jon Lester||

    You have a point there.

  • Jayburd||

    Do the dear readers of Reaction Magazine want to live in a country where abortion is prolific? I keep hearing all sides say that in a perfect world abortions would be rare and safe. I read somewhere that the abortion rate in Russia was astronomical. There's a REASON for this. I believe it has something to do with economics? Let's fix THE REASON.

  • ||

    Reaction Magazine? That's a new one to me.

  • Rudy||

    "There's a REASON for this. I believe it has something to do with economics? Let's fix THE REASON."

    I think it has more to do with culture than economics. Look at different American groups and the rate at which they abort their children. Look at Orthodox Jews. What's their abortion rate? Why do you think this is? Liberals act like abortion will be "safe, legal, and rare" if only we have a bigger welfare state that gives everyone a middle class lifestyle. Look at the abortion for middle class people and that will be disproven.

  • Jayburd||

    Abortion demographics have changed since Roe but is that due to culture or economics or a mix. I believe it is socio-economic status and aspirations that have affected it.

  • Incredulous||

    We could start by using accurate words. The terms "pro-choice" and "pro-life" should be banished from the abortion debate. Most who are supposedly pro-choice are statists who oppose individual choice in most matters. On the abortion issue, somebody who calls themselves pro-choice are only in favor of the mother's right to choose. They strongly oppose the father's right to choose. As for "pro-life," it's also a ridiculously inaccurate phrase. Many who are supposedly pro-life are in favor of the death penalty and back many wars. Pro-choice should be replaced with the term, pro legal abortion, and pro-life should be replaced with the term, anti legal abortion.

    As for the debate about when life begins, the larger article slams Republicans for taking the position that "life begins at conception." This isn't a position decided on by Republicans. It's scientific fact. Human life begins at conception. I make that statement from a completely non-religious perspective based purely on the science. Anybody with a modicum of basic reason would recognize this simple fact. So let's stop debating this issue. It would make just as much sense to debate whether the earth is flat or spherical. The debate centers on the relative rights of two lives. Logically, there is a spectrum where maternal rights predominate near conception and fetal rights predominate near term. There's no other reasonable conclusion.

  • Rudy||

    "Many who are supposedly pro-life are in favor of the death penalty and back many wars."

    Fetuses are innocent. Murderers are not.

    Although I oppose neoconservatism, I think war can be justified in many cases.

    Most libertarians think that killing can be justified in some cases, such as that of self-defense.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Why is it that a teabagging, Kock-funded site like Reason produces a more informed, nuanced debate on abortion than an evidence-based, progressive site like Kos or Feministing?

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    You mean, besides that evidence-based and progressive are contradictory?

  • Harvard||

    [That sort of Manicheanism is at odds with a country in which about 88 percent of people believe that abortion should be legal through the first two trimesters...]Gillespie

  • Harvard||

    April 1, 1933: A boycott of Jewish shops and businesses by the Nazis.
    April 7, 1933: The law for the Re-establishment of the Civil Service expelled all non-Aryans (defined on April 11, 1933 as anyone with a Jewish parent or grandparent) from the civil service.
    April 7, 1933: The law regarding admission to the legal profession prohibited the admission of lawyers of non-Aryan descent to the Bar. It also denied non-Aryan members of the Bar the right to practice law. (Exceptions were made in the cases noted above in the law regarding the civil service.)
    April 22, 1933: The decree regarding physicians' services with the national health plan denied reimbursement of expenses to those patients who consulted non-Aryan doctors.
    April 25, 1933: The law against the overcrowding of German schools restricted Jewish enrollment in German high schools to 1.5% of the student body. In communities where they constituted more than 5% of the population, Jews were allowed to constitute up to 5% of the student body.] Wiesenthal

    These laws were widely popular among the German populace. Keep in mind no one working at any of the abortion hospitals or death camps violated any German law.

  • Rohdewarrior||

    Ni Nick,
    You talk a lot about Manicheasim in your article. Have you heard of 'The Undivided Past' by David Cannadine. It's a new book that shares many of the themes of your article on a historical level - how historians have portrayed the past as being much more Manicheastic (did I just make up a word there?) than it actually was in terms of religion, nationalism, etc.

  • odalysrowan16||

    my roomate's step-mother makes $89 an hour on the laptop. She has been laid off for eight months but last month her pay check was $18755 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more here Go to site and open Home for details
    http://WWW.JOBS31.COM

  • BLEEDINELL||

    Is a beating heart proof of life?

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