Ban Alcohol on the Grounds That It Is a Possible Abortifacient?

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Nothing more fun than interfering with other folks reproductive decisions.

In today's New York Times, there is an article headlined, "Groups Equate Abortion with Some Contraceptives." Yesterday, a panel of religious folks testified before a congressional committee against the Obama administration's requirement (however finessed) that religiously-affiliated groups offer health insurance that pays for contraceptives. Part of their opposition results from their belief that some contraceptives sometimes act as "abortifacients." As the Times reports:

They contend that methods of contraception including morning-after pills and IUDs can be considered "abortifacients" because, these advocates say, they can act to prevent pregnancy after a man's sperm has fertilized a woman's egg.

"We object to the use of drugs and procedures used to take the lives of unborn children," the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, said Thursday at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Their reasoning is that life begins the moment an egg is fertilized, and that if a contraceptive has the potential to prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus, it is aborting a life. …

… Catholic bishops and evangelical leaders say that if there is any chance that a method may result in the destruction of a fertilized egg they will oppose it.

Without arguing about the contestable science, assume that this does occasionally occur. How far are the believers willing to go to prevent people from engaging in activities that increase the likelihood that a fertilized egg will fail to implant? For example, a 2004 study published in The American Journal of Epidemiology reported that alcohol consumption by both females and males increases the risk of "spontaneous abortion." From the abstract: 

Depending on the intake in the cycle of conception and the adjustment factors, female alcohol intake was associated with 2–3 times the adjusted risk of spontaneous abortion compared with no intake, and male alcohol intake was associated with 2–5 times the adjusted risk. Only the adjusted relative risks for 10 or more drinks/week compared with no intake were statistically significant. Both male and female alcohol intakes during the week of conception increased the risk of early pregnancy loss.

By the way, some 60 to 80 percent of naturally conceived embryos fail to implant. 

NEXT: A. Barton Hinkle on Culture War Propaganda

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  1. Ronald's writing has show to be considerably lacking compared to other writers of this site. He writes a lot about science and scientific policy but I find his topic and ocassionally his opinions to not coincide with the basic theme of this blog.

    Thoughts? Opinions? Rude personal attacks?

    1. Thoughts?

      BelowTheRim's commenting has show to be considerably lacking compared to other commenters of this site.

    2. BTR: I take it that you find yourself disagreeing with me often?

      1. I, too, don't understand this article. There's not a scintilla of evidence that Catholic bishops want to ban alcohol, or even to prevent employees from using alcohol.

        What they want is to not have to provide some products as part of their health coverage for their employees.

        Instead, Ron, you make the same lazy, overreaching arguments that the NYT is notorious for, while providing absolutely zero evidence for the same.

        Oh but let me guess, you were "just asking" right? It's satire, like Swift?

        1. I, too, don't understand this article. There's not a scintilla of evidence that Catholic bishops want to ban alcohol, or even to prevent employees from using alcohol.

          He's pointing out that the principles of one of the arguments they're making can lead to the argument to ban alcohol.

          1. If that's really his argument, it's ridiculous on its face. The current issue is whether Catholic institutions will be forced to pay for a service that provides procedures they find morally repugnant. Contraceptives will still be available in any case.

            1. Just like a Methodist organization can choose not to provide alcohol to its employees.

              Unless the government forces private institutions to go back to the good old days when hard liquor was uses as a medicine, in which case Methodist institutions would be required to buy provide insurance to their employees which includes "free medicinal brandy and port."

          2. Can lead? This is an argument? I know the general rule of thumb here is "Organized religion is evil", but please, at least we should be intellectually honest when criticizing a position.

            Surely we should be in favor of letting private entities be able to make their own decisions as to what they should offer for their employees' health care? Or do we now carry water for statists because we hate religious types so much?

            1. The current issue is whether Catholic institutions will be forced to pay for a service that provides procedures they find morally repugnant

              It may be an issue but it's not the current issue to this blog post. For all I know Bailey agrees with your point. However, the point of this blog post is to point out the troubling logic being used by the bishops. There are better reasons to be opposed to the government meddling in voluntary contracts between adults than to point out the bad, to some, consequences.

              1. BT: Thank you.
                PC: Take a look at my post below. Summary: My position - employers should not have to buy insurance for their employees and they certainly should not be fined $2,000 per year for not doing so.

              2. the point of this blog post is to point out the troubling logic being used by the bishops.

                Your trying to impose a libertarian philosophy on these bishops. Yes, everyone here agrees with the constitutional arguement against the Health Care Act. Why would anyone be suprised that the bishops would argue from an anti-abortion stance. Hell, I'd assume that most of them otherwise support the Health Care Act.

                1. You're
                  I am embarrass.

                2. I think the point is that arguing against contraceptives from an anti-abortion stance leads to some implications that the people making the argument woudl not embrace.

    3. Ron ocassionally speaks to policy options that, while not libertarian, would be more effective in achieving a stated political goal than the option being pursued in government.

      IOW, Ron may say "Look, I think it is stupid to do X at all but, if you must do X, then go this way not that way."

    4. I like Baily's science articles and why shouldn't a political website address scientific issues? I do think when it come to the social stuff, particularly when it involves religion, it seems like he goes for the low hanging fruit. Religious people think crazy things and are often inconsistent in their beliefs. Hey really, how about an article about how backward those Salem witch trials were. Money for nothing and your chicks for free.

    5. but I find his topic and ocassionally his opinions to not coincide with the basic theme of this blog.

      Right, because you know, all libertarians are xeroxed copies of Ayn Rand and stuff.

      Dumbshit.

      1. but I find his topic and ocassionally his opinions to not coincide with the basic theme of this blog.

        You're welcome to voice that opinion -- and, consistent with that, you might consider assenting to grant that courtesy to others, unless you feel you know what the One True Libertarian Way TM is.

        groupthink is a bitch.

  2. How far are the believers willing to go to prevent people from engaging in activities that increase the likelihood that a fertilized egg will fail to implant?

    Banning alcohol would be a feature not a bug, I imagine.

    1. How far are the believers willing to go to prevent people from engaging in activities that increase the likelihood that a fertilized egg will fail to implant?

      Wait a minute, I thought the objection was in being forced to pay for it?

      1. Objection layer one, to be peeled off and discarded when necessary.

        1. SugarFree: Always layers beneath layers.

          1. It's objections all the way down.

            1. I thought it was layers all the way down.

              1. Layers of objections. Eventually you forget what the first layer was, that's when they loop around and repeat.

          2. I'm fine with others preventing or killing their potential kids; I just don't want to pay for it.

            If you point a gun at me and say you are taking the money under any circumstances, I'll choose the cheapest.

            If religious folk are drawing the line at paying and are hoping to prevent the gun being pointed in the first place, this thought experiment doesn't seem to take the discussion further.

        2. That's fine, but it seems a little dishonest to conflate "we don't want to be forced to pay for it" with "we will prevent others from doing it by force".

          1. Their reasoning is that life begins the moment an egg is fertilized, and that if a contraceptive has the potential to prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus, it is aborting a life. ...

            If they want abortion to be illegal, and they think whole classes of contraception are causing abortion, they are making an argument to outlaw those forms of contraception.

            1. When they make the argument they want to ban contraceptives, then fine, oppose it. But when they are making the argument they shouldn't be forced to pay for it, then I'm not going to oppose it on the grounds they have an additional agenda. And right now the argument is whether they should be forced to pay for it.

              1. But your basing this opposition on a strawman. One particular church being against contraceptives is nowhere near the realm of having another church not wanting to pay for it.

              2. I think the analogy to alcohol is an over-reach, but they are stating why they don't want to to pay for it--which is the same argument as to why they would want it to be illegal as well.

          2. The Lutheran church is a separate entity from the Catholic church. I don't know what their beliefs are.

    2. Banning alcohol would be a feature not a bug, I imagine.

      You don't know many Catholic clergy, do you?

  3. HOLY WARRIORS.

    Looking out for your best interests.

  4. And- get back to me when

    a panel of religious folks testified before a congressional committee against the Obama administration's requirement (however finessed) that religiously-affiliated groups offer health insurance

  5. Didn't I mention something about banning staircases the other day? Save the fetuses.

    1. Resist your able-bodied privelege.

  6. I'm no scientist, nor devotee of religion, but isn't there a distinction to be made between a substance shown to "correlate" statistically with spontaneous abortion (e.g., alcohol) and a substance whose very formulation is designed to "cause" abortion (i.e., morning after)?

    1. It's not a question of whether or not there is a distinction, it's a question of whether or not they'll see it as one.

    2. gaijin: The same correlation/cause argument can be made about IUDs and Plan B, both of which are designed to prevent fertilization, but may rarely prevent implantation.

      1. Dynamite is designed to clear rocky obstacles, but may rarely blow people up in their cars.

  7. female alcohol intake was associated with 2?3 times the adjusted risk of spontaneous abortion compared with no intake

    How does this compare to the change in implantation rate when morning-after pills and IUDs are used?

    1. I'd like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the person who invented the IUD.

  8. If you would like to increase the fertility rate, simply mix one part male with one part female and add a dash of alcohol. Let sit for 9 months....

  9. Ron doesn't want to discuss the fundamental issue surrounding this entire kerfuffle, which is that the Government wants to mandate what services employers must provide to their employees, regardless of their religious beliefs.

    He did this last time when suggesting that "after all, it's the employees money, they should be able to get paid in whatever form they so desire" which is about as anti-libertarian an argument as I could imagine when it comes to employer/employee relationships.

    What he's missing though is that in his haste to criticize the religious right he is missing the bigger authoritarian issue.

    For instance, let's listen to Debbie Downer (The head of the DSC ) talk about how "The flip side of this is that religious institutions shouldn't be imposing their values, necessarily, on their employees who don't necessarily subscribe to those values."

    http://youtu.be/fKvbPzsl5aQ

    You are fighting the wrong battle Ron.

    1. Another side to the issue is that insurance is supposed to be a hedge against risk. This mandate is causing insurance to hedge against choice, which is just plain stupid. Basically, the cost of contraception gets spread over everyone, even though only a small group of people choose to use it.

      1. the cost of contraception gets spread over everyone, even though only a small group of people choose to use it.

        No it's not anonymous, it's free! Just ask Obama or Nancy or Debbie. Once they make insurance companies "cover" contraception then ladies will be able to get it FREEEE!!!!

        Everything is freee!! No one ever will have to see their premiums explode just like they did in Massachusetts after they installed their mandates. It'll be free!

        It's all just a stupid game to eliminate private health insurance and get us all on the government teat.

        Instead Ron wants to make some stupid bullshit point about alcohol being banned.

        What a waste.

        1. So, in other words, you have it for Ron because he's not talking about what you want to talk about.

          Thanks a lot, White Indian. Maybe you can wedge your other pet issues into the thread.

          1. Wait, are the squirrels eating White Idiot posts?

            1. No, I was just pointing out that Tman is mad because Ron Bailey didn't make an argument, which is a really weird thing to be mad about.

              1. man is mad because Ron Bailey didn't make an argument, which is a really weird thing to be mad about.

                I laughed at this.

          2. No, I just feel like Ron is on the wrong side of the argument if he's attempting to defend the libertarian position.

            He's right in stating that alcohol could also be listed as an "abortifacient" but that just obscures the larger issue at hand, which is the inexcusable over reach on the part of the Government to force employers to pay for something that they shouldn't have to pay for.

            I'm not complaining about what he writes about, I'm disappointed in the angle he's taking whilst avoiding the larger more troubling issue.

    2. Folks: I expressed my view on the whole mandate question earlier:

      Get employers out of the business of buying health insurance and the whole stupid issue goes away. But as far as I know none of the members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy nor any of the grandstanding politicians on either side is making that sensible suggestion.

      BTW, please note that except for the problematic issues regarding health insurance coverage for reproductive services, the U.S. Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops appear to have been perfectly happy with the individual mandate. From a letter Cardinal DiNardo:

      With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), our country took an important step toward ensuring access to health coverage for all Americans.

      1. But as far as I know none of the members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy nor any of the grandstanding politicians on either side is making that sensible suggestion.

        Who cares Ron? I wish they would make that suggestion. But the Constitution says "free exercise", that means they don't have to. They have a flat out right to refuse, period.

        1. Garbage, John. Guess who wrote this?

          The rule respondents favor would open the prospect of constitutionally required religious exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind: ranging from compulsory military service, to the payment of taxes, to health and safety regulation such as manslaughter and child neglect laws, compulsory vaccination laws, drug laws, traffic laws, social welfare legislation such as minimum wage laws, child labor laws, animal cruelty laws, environmental protection laws, and laws providing for equality of opportunity for the races, The First Amendment's protection of religious liberty does not require this

          1. Bullshit RBM. There is a line. Does it cover everything? No. it is called the strict scrutiny test. There must be a compelling government interest, it must be narrowly tailored, and there must be no other less restrictive means available.

            The things you list meet that criteria. Insurance funded birth control doesn't. What is the compelling interest here? I don't see it. And further, if they are so concerned about people who work for religious institutions not getting birth control, then why can't the government pay for it and eliminate the need to require people to act against their religion?

            No way does this past the strict scrutiny test. Just because there can be some restrictions on a right, doesn't mean they can do whatever they want.

            Your post is complete and unadulterated bullshit RBM.

            1. Employment Division v. Smith - laws of general applicability and substantive neutrality do not infringe on the Free Exercise of religion. That's Scalia.

              1. Please familiarize yourself with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

                1. Please familiarize yourself with the inherent tension between that Act and the Establishment Clause.

                  1. Given that this is an area that I practice in, I'm quite familiar. Please familiarize yourself with Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal.

        2. John: I am all about the First Amendment and freedom of conscience. And yet, the RC hierarchy has no problem using the state to violate my conscience with regard to issues like, say, gay marriage. For example, this press release:

          The Administrative Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for a constitutional amendment to protect the unique social and legal status of marriage.

          I would like a bit more consistency about defending the liberty of everybody's conscience rather than just the issues of special interest to the RC hierarchy.

          And the RC hierarchy doesn't mind getting and spending taxpayer money. See this fascinating article, How Catholic Charities Lost Its Soul, from The City Journal. From the article:

          Catholic Charities received nearly a quarter of its funding from government by the end of the sixties, over half by the late seventies, and more than 60 percent by the mid-eighties, where it has remained ever since. As they became government contractors, the agencies began to serve more non-Catholics and to hire non-Catholics too, usually professional social workers with ardent faith in the welfare state.

          The problem for RCs is that federal money comes with strings attached, strings that might violate their consciences.

          1. How do they violate your conscience?  They believe X and teach their followers that it is either a venial or mortal sin to not follow  instruction.

            I don't care what the X is; neither should anyone who chooses not to be a member of the CC club.

            In fairness to Catholic Charities, they are the biggest bang for a buck

          2. I am all about the First Amendment and freedom of conscience. And yet, the RC hierarchy has no problem using the state to violate my conscience with regard to issues like, say, gay marriage

            So what Ron? The Constitution doesn't say only the morally pure and correct have rights. So the behavior of the Church on other issues is irrelevent. You either have the right or you don't. And they get it.

            And see my comment below. The government makes it impossible for them to do their mission without taking government money. So the "you took government money" argument doesn't fly.

            1. And Ron Bailey took government money too.

              He is paid though major donors who received tax breaks for their industry.

              1. rather: Please review this excellent Reason columnexplaining the difference between a tax break and a subsidy.

                BTW, I am in favor of a flat tax with no breaks and no subsidies for nobody.

                1. Hmm, you inspired one for me:

                  "How I use semantics to justify my beliefs and denigrate those I don't have faith in"

                  Is that too long a title?

                  1. rather: Nope, but not relevant either.

          3. John is correct that the "they want unconstitutional things too" argument doesn't hold water. However:

            And yet, the RC hierarchy has no problem using the state to violate my conscience with regard to issues like, say, gay marriage.

            How are they violating your conscience? You have nothing to do with granting marriage licenses. It's not remotely comparable to forcing you to do something you have religious objections to.

            I mean, that's as specious as the sociocons who claim gay marriage would violate their right not to live somewhere where gay marriages are being formed.

            1. Tulpa: Nor should the RC priests or other believers dispense state sanctioned marriage licenses:

              Usually the state laws provide any recognized member of the clergy (such as a Priest, Minister, Rabbi, Imam, Cantor, Ethical Culture Leader, etc.), or a judge, a court clerk, and justices of the peace have authority to perform a marriage. However in some states even the clergy must be first certified or licensed.

              Of course, the First Amendment protects our rights to have whatever kind of religious marriage ceremony we'd like and for religious groups to restrict their ceremonies to whomever they wish (with the notable exception of polygamous marriages).

              1. Churches are required by state law to issue a license but it is not valid for the purpose of the church/religion. You are in effect not married in Catholicism did you have a religious wedding , and not divorced till you go though a complicated process despite any civil action.

                The reason why the couple leaves the altar for a private room is to sign the state license not in front of God.
                In Monaco, they have the bride and groom marry in a civil ceremony the day before their Catholic wedding, and they do not live together till after the Catholic rite

                1. Bailey: Please review this excellent source explaining the difference writing a story and writing the truth.

                  BTW, I am in favor of fiction but it should be presented as such.

                  1. rather: It is not "fiction" to point out the logical consequences of an argument.

                    1. Your argument is based on observations and not fact; your consequences are irrelevant.

                      Catholics drink alcohol in their church, and at their social functions. They do not support prohibition but do not condone abuse.

                      RC philosophy is that life begins at conception and that it is sacred but they recognize that their is intent. For example a Catholic hospital/physician will perform a salpingectomy to save a mother's life.

          4. Odd for a libertarian to blame Catholic Charities for taking public money. The Jacket should realize that public spending doesn't just crowd out private investment; it crowds out private charity. There would be more money for private donations if the government didn't tax so much.

          5. The problem for your argument is that the Obamacare mandate is not tied to taking federal money. It applies to all employers and all providers regardless of subsidies. Furthermore, where does that logic lead in areas where things that can be defined as subsidies are an inescapable aspect of operating or even existing? Does the fedral government have unlimited dicretion in what it can require of people receiveing social security?

        3. If the Catholics get to have an exemption because of their religious beliefs, then everyone should get an exception. As I keep saying, defining which beliefs do or do not constitute a religion is itself a violation of the guarantee of the right to freely exercise your religion. The church of Zeb (that's my religion for today) says that employer provided healthcare is wrong. So do I get an exemption? I say that picking and choosing what the real legitimate religions are (and which beliefs are essential) violates religious freedom more than mandates like this (which are bad).

      2. Folks: I expressed my view on the whole mandate question earlier:

        And I believe pretty much all of us agree with you Ron. But criticizing Church employers for standing up for their First amendment rights by resisting the push by the government to make them pay for something that goes against their religious fundamental beliefs seems pretty fucking stupid.

        ESPECIALLY from a libertarian perspective.

        1. Their First Amendment rights don't entail being permitted to skip out on following the rules everyone else does. you can be just as much a libertarian and believe that "equality before the law" means just that.

          1. Their First Amendment rights don't entail being permitted to skip out on following the rules everyone else does.

            THAT'S THE WHOLE FUCKING POINT REV.

            "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" -means that Congress shall not pass a law that says that religious institutions have to pay for fucking birth control.

            PERIOD.

            Why is this so hard to understand?

            Look at the SCOTUS decision with Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. E.E.O.C.. SCOTUS clearly showed that their is a "ministerial exception" to employment discrimination laws.

            1. Fine. My religion says I don't have to pay taxes.

              1. Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York (1970), wherein the Court allowed the government to give special privileges to religion without it being construed as "establishing, sponsoring, or supporting religion."

                If you can show that your church for your religion is part of an "eleemosynary institution" then you can avoid property taxes under this SCOTUS decision.

                If you prefer to make hypothetical bullshit points, be my guest.

                1. What relevance do Supreme Court opinions have to the philosophical point?

            2. Because it's one thing to claim "ministerial exception" for actual clergy and their immediate staffs when engaged in purely religious pursuits (praying). It's another thing to claim a ministerial exemption for a university or hospital that admits people who aren't members of the faith, and which requires no religious participation.

              1. It's another thing to claim a ministerial exemption for a university or hospital that admits people who aren't members of the faith, and which requires no religious participation.

                Their is a difference between "admits" and "employs" though, right?

                Because where do you draw the line at the governments authority over employers employment compensation? What if the government decides my company needs to pay a special baby tax because diapers became ridiculously expensive? Would the government have the right to make sure my company provides free diapers?

                Do you see where this is going?

                1. Because where do you draw the line at the governments authority over employers employment compensation?

                  That's a completely different argument you are making.

                  Argument #1 is that the Church shouldn't have to comply because it is a church.

                  Argument #2 is that the government should not have any mandates.

                  Which one are you making here?

                  1. Argument #1 is that the Church shouldn't have to comply because it is a church.
                    Argument #2 is that the government should not have any mandates.

                    You have twisted my argument in two. I'm saying that the government should not force a mandate on a religious institution that would violate the first amendments ideal of stopping the government from "establishing, sponsoring, or supporting religion."

                    Ron is making a better point by stating that the RC Church probably gets too much tax money for their services to begin with. That's a point that I agree makes the RC Church less sympathetic from this standpoint, but I'd still defend them under First Amendment grounds and the supporting precedents.

                    It beats the shit out of this alcohol argument.

                    1. I'm saying that the government should not force a mandate on a religious institution that would violate the first amendments ideal of stopping the government from "establishing, sponsoring, or supporting religion."

                      By giving the Church a special exemption to laws, the Government is establishing a "special place" for religion. If the government says "everyone but churches have to comply", then they are supporting religion.

                    2. SCOTUS covered that already, and I posted your answer above.

                      Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York (1970)Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York (1970), wherein the Court allowed the government to give special privileges to religion without it being construed as "establishing, sponsoring, or supporting religion."

                    3. And SCOTUS is always right and never reverses itself.

                2. There is indeed a difference between "admits" and "employees". The point is that these are businesses which happened to be owned by churches and are seeking a special exemption to laws which apply to other similarly situated businesses which are not church-owned.

                  The fact that they serve (admit) students and patients who are not members of the faith owning those businesses, and the fact that there is no mandatory preaching at those customers simply undermines the cause that these are religious institutions.

                  My beef is that the religionists want to have it both ways.

                  I'm opposed to Obamacare, and to mandating that employers provide health insurance, but until those laws are overturned for everyone they should apply to all except purely religious organizations. More praying equals less trouble.

                  1. I'm opposed to Obamacare, and to mandating that employers provide health insurance, but until those laws are overturned for everyone they should apply to all except purely religious organizations. More praying equals less trouble.

                    That is great for you. But the 1st Amendment says otherwise. Religions get special treatment. If you don't want to admit that, then just admit that you don't give a shit about what the document actually says.

                    1. No right is absolute, John.

                    2. I never says religions get special treatment. It says that the free exercise of religion must not be infringed.

                      Current law says that my religion that requires me to smoke pot every day and not buy health insurance form my employees doesn't give me the right to smoke pot every day. When that changes, the CC will have a legitimate claim here. But as long as the government gets to decide what counts as a real religious exercise, they can get fucked. Equal treatment under the law.

              2. No it is not. Their religion requires them to go out and minister to the community. They cannot by their religion only administer to their just their members. So what you are doing is telling them, give up your mission and break your religion or take up your mission and break it another way.

                That is a horseshit argument.

                1. John: See my comment above - their mission may be to minister to the community, but they certainly use a lot of taxpayer dollars to do it. As I point out, federal dollars always have strings attached.

                  1. That is fine Ron. But we have created a system where you can't do that mission without taking taxpayer dollars. If we didn't have medicare and medicaide or everyone single person over the age of 65 wasn't required to be on medicare, you would be a valid point.

                    Sorry but saying you have to take government money, means the government forfeits the right to put strings upon it.

                    That is a bullshit argument Ron. You should know better.

                    1. ""Sorry but saying you have to take government money, means the government forfeits the right to put strings upon it.""

                      Sez who?

                    2. Says the 1st Amendment Vic. If you force someone to take the money and then force them to do something as a string attached the money, that you forced them to take, you are restricting their exercise of religion.

                    3. Interesting argument John; I want to think how the feds forcing applies to the banks that were forced to take the bailout funds so consumers wouldn't know who was in real trouble

                    4. Sorry but saying you have to take government money, means the government forfeits the right to put strings upon it.

                      That is a bullshit argument Ron. You should know better.

                      Bailey voted for Obama in 2008 and has repeatedly stated he is not a libertarian. This position shouldn't be surprising.

                      As far as he's concerned, if the government taxes 100% of earnings and gives you a tax credit of 70% on the condition you do as the government says, that would be constitutional. I wouldn't be surprised if he jumps on the BO bandwagon once again this year.

                    5. Tulpa:

                      Bailey ... has repeatedly stated he is not a libertarian.

                      You are either grievously misinformed or a liar. I hope the former is the case.

                      With regard to my vote for Obama:
                      1. Who are you voting for in November? Obama. The Republicans must be punished and punished hard.

                      Frankly, given the fact that they are launching another stupid culture war and doing essentially nothing about the economic disarray in which we find ourselves, any attempt to rein in the size and scope of government, or protect our civil liberties, or even slightly cut the federal budget deficit, I think that they have NOT been punished enough. I am willing to punish the Democrats, too - any suggestions welcome.

                      In any case, I currently plan to vote Gary Johnson this time around.

                    6. "If we didn't have medicare and medicaide or everyone single person over the age of 65 wasn't required to be on medicare, you would be a valid point."

                      Would he? If what Bailey means by taking federal money is medicare paying patients expenses, can that really be said to be a subsidy to the hospital ratther than to the patient?

                  2. Lazy argument from a petulant hypocrite.

                2. If they preached at them and required them to pray they'd have a point. Otherwise, no.

                  1. "If they preached at them and required them to pray they'd have a point. Otherwise, no."

                    So religion means prayer and that is it? It doesn't mean how someone lives their life? So they could require Muslim kids to eat pork at school as long as they didn't preach at them or require them to pray? You are okay with that?

                    1. No, John. Not sure whether you're pretending to not understand, or just under-medicated today, but this is the only fitting response to that.

                    2. No, John. Not sure whether you're pretending to not understand, or just under-medicated today, but this is the only fitting response to that.

                      Then explain what you are saying. If religious freedom only extends to how you pray, why couldn't the Department of Ag require Jewish schools to serve pork? They are not telling them how to pray? They are not preaching at them? So why not?

                      If Catholics can be forced to buy birth control in the name of health, why can't Hebrew schools be forced to buy pork in the name of healthy eating?

  10. By the way, some 60 to 80 percent of naturally conceived embryos fail to implant.

    That has got to be the most damning fact of all. Conception is only one tiny piece of what it takes to grow a human.

    1. but they only fail to plant because CONDOMZ!!!11one

    2. By the way, some 60 to 80 percent of naturally conceived embryos fail to implant.

      Exactly. And 100% of people die. Clearly a moral justification to kill them if they fail to do so at the appropriate time.

      Ron Bailey leading us forward to a Brave New World!

      1. Wow, Marshall Gill. Talk about your massive false equivalence.

        Tell me, MG, do you support prosecution for someone's whose fertilized zygote fails to implant? Why or why not?

        1. I would also ask: What is it about an undivided, fertilized egg cell that makes it a human with the same rights as the rest of us?

        2. Every miscarriage needs to spark a murder investigation, apparently.

  11. TWO abortion threads back to back. Ungh.

    How many weeks have we gone without what used to be an H&R staple: The Hooker with a heart of gold advocating legalized prostitution. Good times.

    1. I'm actually quite ill that Abortion is even a fucking subject this election cycle.

      Goddamnit, give it a fucking rest for just ONE presidential election. Just once. Please.

      1. Take a break from killing me, and then we can all take a break from talking about killing me.

        1. Human infants don't actually talk until about one year post birth. Intellectual dishonesty and cheap emotional appeals have no place in a forum dedicated to rational discussion.

          1. So I guess it's okay to kill me, too?

            1. That's not what he was saying and you know it.

      2. The Dems trolled the GOP hard, and the GOP fell for it again.

        But it was inevitable that it would come up, too many GOP states are trying to restrict or outlaw it altogether.

        1. But it was inevitable that it would come up, too many GOP states are trying to restrict or outlaw it altogether.

          I get this. But it's a state issue, not a federal one.

          I believe the proper answer to anything related to Abortion/contraceptives should be something along the lines of "It's a state's rights issue and I'm not getting involved one way or the other. And no, I will not tell you my personal views on the subject.

      3. But, but, but to be a true conservative you must should from the rooftops of the evils of abortion, and how you will work tirelessly to see the sanctity of life protected.

        I know this because Hannity said so.

        1. I always wanted to bust him on criticizing John Kerry for supporting abortion as a Catholic, and then his continuing to support the death penalty after the last pope said it was immoral.

          When talking about Kerry, he said you either believe the tenets of the faith or you don't; you can't pick and choose. He then said that since he chooses to be a Catholic, that means he has to follow all the rules of that faith.

          Fair enough. But one of the rules is also that whatever the Pope says, goes, and the Pope Sez: death penalty is wrong and bad. Yet Hannity continues to support it. I desperately want someone to call him out on this.

          1. Not defending Hannity, but:

            (1) Not everything that the Pope says is of equal weight.
            (2) Implementing what the Church teaches is often left up to the prudential judgment of the faithful. We're commanded to care for the poor, but we're not told much about how to do it. I happen to think that free markets do more to help the poor than a big welfare state.
            (3) The Church does not forbid capital punishment in all circumstances.
            (4) I have no doubt that John Paul II really, really wanted to say that capital punishment was always wrong, but Scripture and Tradition didn't permit him (or any Pope) to go that far.

    2. Shit Bailey, you owe us a thread about future sex or something equally wild and titilating.

  12. Yes, the narrow issue is whether religious institutions should be forced to subsidize contraception, contraception that may cause zygotes to fail to implant.

    Ron is addressing the larger logic here: if the churches oppose abortifacients in all forms, then how far does that logic extend?

    Just address the argument presented and stop nitpicking.

    1. Ron is addressing the larger logic here: if the churches oppose abortifacients in all forms, then how far does that logic extend?

      This.

      You usually only see this much willful ignorance of a post's point when it mentions something negative about Paul. I'm referring to other commenters, not the Rev, of course.

    2. stop nitpicking

      Really, you expect that to happen?

    3. Religious institutions are free to have whatever idiotic and illogical beliefs they choose. I thought we all knew that already.

    4. Last I looked most chruchs, Catholic jokes aside, were not too fond of alcohol. Further, since many of them consider abortion murder, I would say they would totally be okay with banning alcohol consumption by pregnant women and certainly are not for such a thing.

      So even taken narrowly, Ron's point doesn't stand.

      1. Catholics aren't fond of alcohol?

        I mean, yeah, I guess except for their Highest Sacrament you have a point.

        1. Because they use wine once a week, hardly makes them endorses of the recreational use of alcohol let alone the use of it by pregnant women.

          1. Yeah, my family doesn't drink at all. Not a freaking drop, except for Sunday mass. But they believe the wine is the blood of Christ, so I guess that's consistent.

            I think this joke comes from a vast majority of Irish being Catholic.

            1. Catholics, unlike Baptists, will say hello to each other in the liquor store.

          2. And you can never buy beer at a catholic picnic. No, never, ever.

            I think you are out to lunch on this one John. Where do you live again? Do you not have a significant number of catholics there?

            1. You miss the point Rob. Just because they think it is okay to have a beer at a picnic, doesn't mean they endorse pregnant women drinking. That is the point.

    5. It's a stupid and irrelevant argument, since nowhere do I find churches opposing abortifacients in all forms, if you mean to include things like alcohol.

      Ron presented an argument no church has made, or will make, in order to highlight what he perceives as faulty logic in their resistance to the State.

    6. The bigger argument is also that we have a whole patchworks of religious exemptions to all sorts of laws. Yes, I think there's too much regulation, but the last thing we need on top of that is to create special privileges for some groups (the religious) that aren't available to other groups.

      1. but the last thing we need on top of that is to create special privileges for some groups (the religious) that aren't available to other groups.

        The Constitution says we have to. Why do you want to read the free exercise clause out of the Constitution? Are there other things you plan to read out?

        1. It would seem that some atheists would prefer to read out freedom of religion than to read out government mandates. I suppose because it would seem the easier task.

  13. Ban fruit.
    Unripened papaya is a third world abortifacient, and some herbs too

    1. Unripened papaya is a third world abortifacient

      But how do they get it in there?

  14. Ron, I may not always agree with what you write but I have to say I do feel bad for you. You seem to be the only writer to regularly get attacked for not making an argument that you weren't trying to make in the first place.

  15. Does the Catholic Church ex-communicate anyone who uses contraception?

    1. They aren't even excommunicating the Catholic politicians who want to force them to provide contraception.

      At least they're not excommunicating them *yet.*

      1. So it's a "matter of conscience" until the bottom line takes a hit?

        1. One word : Kennedy.

    2. If they would ex communicate people like Pelosi, I would have some respect for them. How the hell can they claim abortion is the most pressing moral issue of the day and then not kick Pelosi and others like her out of the church? It tells me they really don't consider abortion that important.

      1. "" and then not kick Pelosi and others like her out of the church?""

        Donations?

      2. Many Catholic leaders - including bishops - are Democrats. They are still nostalgic for the days they were a valued member of the Democratic coalition. They still back democrats on many non-abortion-related issues.

        But at least the pro-choice side believes the bishops and their allies are serious - if they weren't seriously threatening the right to abortion, why would they be such hate figures among the pro-choice crowd?

        Pelosi's status is already a subject of debate - that is, I don't think anyone is claiming she's eligible for communion, the debate is over whether her bishop should make a public declaration to that effect (not the same as excommunication, which also involves other penalties).

        1. "eligible for communion"

          I'd like to hear your thoughts on that....hysterical

      3. And thanks for making a great argument as to why the "religious exemption" is bullshit. If they don't take this issue seriously among themselves, how do they expect the rest of us to take them seriously?

        1. Because how seriously you take your own beliefs is not the test of whether you have a constitutional right to hold them. Your rights are not up to a vote. And even hypocrites get them.

          Thanks for making another superfluous point.

          1. ""Your rights are not up to a vote.""

            I wish that was true. It's up to a vote among 9 people. A point I think you've made before.

            While we can talk about rights you have, if government is not restrained from usurping them, they don't really exist in the real world. Unless you think screaming abour your rights from prison is exercising them and I'm pretty sure you don't.

          2. "how seriously you take your own beliefs is not the test of whether you have a constitutional right to hold them"

            That seems to be what the courts say when drug use by religious groups comes up. They demand a genuine and sincere belief.

            1. That doesn't seem...

        2. Because how seriously you take your own beliefs is not the test of whether you have a constitutional right to hold them.

          True, but that's not the point. How seriously you take your beliefs defines how seriously others have to take them. Nobody takes FSM religion seriously, particularly the "adherents." No right is absolute, John.

          Seriously, if (for example) Georgetown U and Notre Dame started requiring students (of all faiths) to go to mass, and instituted a code of conduct like BYU has, they might actually qualify as religious institutions. As things are now, they are not.

          1. That is a fair point. But do we really want the government playing judge and jury about who is really serious about their religion and who is not? I don't think so. Because once you let that happen, then the government is free to abuse that power to make sure all religions tow whatever the government lion is and religious freedom goes out the window.

            You think it is a great idea right now because you think it would be fun to pick on the other side. Wait until we get a President Santorum who uses that power and says that any Christian church that doesn't condemn homosexuality and abortion isn't serious about its mission and isn't a religion entitled to protection anymore. It won't be such a great game then will it?

            You cannot give the government that kind of power. You have to take churches at their word and let them deal with their own hypocrisies.

          2. The government already does that, John, by granting tax-exempt religious status. Like RC, I'm not comfortable with that as it's (at least dangerously close to) violating the establishment clause.

            And the churches, at least the Catholics, are going to wreck it for everyone by running businesses for which they claim religious exemptions, but are actually just secular non-profits.

            1. Sure they do. But they have extremely lose rules. They really don't look to hard to see if everyone is living by the faith. And that is how I would like to keep it. Sure, Georgetown has sold out its mission. And I think it is appalling. But I don't want the government deciding that it has.

              And universities and hospitals are not secular nonprofits even if they don't teach religion. The religion rightfully can argue that giving a good education and health care to people is its mission not just preaching.

              1. The religion rightfully can argue that giving a good education and health care to people is its mission not just preaching.

                So, they could also operate car dealerships and microchip foundries (to use your example from a previous day) as purely religious enterprises? Where does it end, John, where does it end?

                1. John doesn't care about logic when religion is at stake.

                  If you think Government should read the 1A as a neutrality statement, he just lashes out and says we want ponies, for some reason.

              2. And no, praying isn't the only test of religiosity, but praying is a purely religious activity that's not engaged in by non-religious organizations, hence the presence of praying or similar devotional activites is a good litmus test for religious versus secular activity.

                And I'm still unhappy with the establishment clause implications of this, but then again I'm not the one operating effectively secular universities and hospitals and claiming them to be religious.

  16. When the Fed's propose to subsidize alcohol purchases on the premise that it reduces fecundancy, Ron will have a point.

    1. No, he has a point now. It's just lost on you because you aren't seeing the larger discussion and instead want to talk about the Issue of the Week.

      1. I Ron's point is that perhaps the church's teachings are perhaps contradictory or illogical, I agree.

        1. HR: Are the embryos killed using the morning after pill more valuable than those killed after a night of binge drinking?

          1. Are adults killed by intentional shooting with a gun more valuable than those killed in car accidents?

          2. Depends on where they're shot, Tulpy. Headshots are the best because the only recoverable parts you might lose are the corneas. Heart and lungs (together), liver and kidneys are the most valuable parts...

          3. Ron- I'm surprised that you would that you would bother to respond to such a poorly typed comment - thank you. I have some time now to put down my thoughts so perhaps they'll be a bit more coherent.

            I've read through the comments on this post and conclude that your primary beef is that the constitutional (10th Amendment) argument against the Health Care Act is superior to the church's anti-abortion argument against the contraceptive mandate and that if the church would use a 10th A argument, the church would get what they want and you would be in agreement with them. In the post you put forth a reductio ad absurdum argument against the bishop's statements as proof of the weakness of their argument.

            It actuality, you and I are in agreement. The 10th A argument is logically sound. It's just that I don't understand your (and Rev. BM's)need to point out the logical inadequacies of the bishop. It's understood that the bishop supports the Health Care Act and is using the church's anti-abortion stance to argue against the contraception mandate. That you want to point out the logical fallacies of their stance is pointless because they put forth their argument on religious faith, not logical rigor, and there's no reason to expect that from them.

            From reading your comments, I believe that your stance derives from a deeply held objection to the RC Church and the hypocrisy that you see in it. While I don't disagree that the RC Church is a hypocritical institution, until their arguments take skin off my back I couldn't care less about pointing out the logical inadequacies of their statements.

    2. Catholics do buy one for their Holy communion and as a charitable organization they do not pay taxes on their purchases; ergo, they have federally and state subsidized alcohol and for minors too!

      1. 'one' and 'wine' don't sound the same, weird

  17. This whole "contraceptive" issue is ignoring the real problem.

    Explain to me how the President can order a private company to do ANYTHING?

    Yay fascism.

    1. Exactly. And yes, if the President ordered people to provide alcohol to their employees, I would, despite being a lush and having little tolerance for teetotalers, be appalled.

      Ron's reasoning doesn't follow here at all. No one is asking anyone ban anything. They are only asking that the federal government not force them to buy things.

      When Bailey gets away from science, his writing and thinking go to shit.

      1. Also, when religion gets involved John becomes a screaming maniac.

        1. No I don't. How am I a maniac here. I am not a Catholic, have little use for the Catholic church, and think they are daft about contraceptives. But that doesn't matter. The Constitution says what it says. It says Congress shall make no law. Religion gets special treatment. The country was founded on the principle of religious freedom.

          The sorry fact is that a lot of atheists around here, not all admittedly, SF and Fluffy being notable exceptions, are willing to throw the Constitution out the window when it protects someone they don't like or doesn't give them their pony.

          The Constitution gives everyone the right of free exercise. That means the federal government cannot force people to do things that are against their religion, period.

          Get that through your thick skull or admit you really don't give a shit about freedom unless involves someone you like.

          1. here John, let me wipe that spittle from your chin

          2. It is against my religion to pay taxes.

            Oops, John loses.

            1. It is called the strict scrutiny test RBM. You can look it up. You are totally full of shit on this.

            2. You have to be able to prove in court that you really belong to a religion that has that belief (via church membership, personal conduct, etc). You can't just make it up to get out of a criminal charge.

              1. True, Joseph Smith made up had a revelation which caused him to found the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Mormonism), and that didn't get them out of polygamy prosecutions.

                And since anyone can have a revelation at any time, it shouldn't matter in practice how old the religion is, or how many adherents it has. In practice a religion's ability to flount the law depends on how long that faith has been practiced here and how many adherents they have.

                1. Depends on the religion Tonio. It is a hard question. But that is why we have courts to look at each case and figure it out.

                  The fact that the jurisprudence is hard and makes for interesting cases doesn't render it null. The 1st Amendment says what it says.

                2. In practice a religion's ability to flount the law depends on how long that faith has been practiced here and how many adherents they have.

                  Yep. But that's how the law works; it's a balancing act between idealism and pragmatism.

                  If you kill someone in self-defense and there are no witnesses and no clear evidence that you were attacked, you're probably going to jail for murder.

                3. Dum dum dum dum dum!

              2. "You can't just make it up to get out of a criminal charge."

                Why not? If the free exercise grants religious exceptions to certain laws, how is deciding that what I say is my religion is not really my religion not a violation of free exercise?

                It shouldn't give exceptions to a particular religion, but rather if a law violates free exercise of any religion, it should not apply to anyone. That is the proper application of the free exercise clause, given the requirement for equal protection under the law.

                1. Because, remember that the 1st amendment is not a list of rights, but a prohibition on congress passing certain kinds of laws. A law is either unconstitutional or it is not. And it must be the same for everyone. If the health care law violates Catholics' religious freedom, then the solution is to get rid of the whole law, not to give special privileges to some groups.

          3. ""The Constitution gives everyone the right of free exercise. That means the federal government cannot force people to do things that are against their religion, period.""

            That assumes the Constitution should mean what it says. While I'm a believer in that, all three branches of government are not. If there can be exceptions to free speech, then there can be excepts to religious freedom.

            Once government gets its exceptions foot in the constitutional door it can continue to open it more.

            1. There are exceptions to religious freedom. Jehovah's Witnesses can't deny their kids blood transfusions, for instance. You can't use religious freedom as an excuse to harm someone or endanger your children's basic health...the same issues that apply to most free speech exceptions (fraud, perjury, death threats).

              Once government gets its exceptions foot in the constitutional door it can continue to open it more.

              So you support the govt doing this?

              1. ""So you support the govt doing this?""

                I don't support execeptions to the Constutition. Jehovah's should be able to deny anything not within their belief.

                But do you support it?

              2. Jehovah's Witnesses can't deny their kids blood transfusions, for instance.

                Which is absolute bullshit. And I'm sure John will agree, right John? It's alright for there to be freedom of religion as long as it's a religion you agree with.

                Or are you OK with the government kidnapping Jehovah's kids just long enough to have a transfusion done then returning them to the parents?

                1. No. It is not bullshit. In that case there is a compelling government interest, protecting the child who never consented to join the religion. The remedy is narrowly tailored. We are just requiring them to get it when it is life threatening and we are only requiring they do it with children. Adults can do what they want. And lastly there is no other less restrictive means to accomplish the government interest.

                  So it passes in a way requiring the church to buy contraceptives doesn't. You guys act like there are only two choices, requiring nothing and reading the clause out of the Constitution. And that is a false choice.

                  1. ""In that case there is a compelling government interest, protecting the child who never consented to join the religion."'

                    Who gets to decide what a compelling government interest is? And, do you accept that arguement when that authority says it does?

                    1. The courts do Vic. At some point, you do have to settle the argument. And I don't see how saving a child, who cannot lawfully consent to such a thing, is not a compelling government interest.

                    2. ""The courts do Vic.""

                      Right. Which means your rights ARE subject to a vote.

                      ""And I don't see how saving a child, who cannot lawfully consent to such a thing, is not a compelling government interest.""

                      Every liberal would agree. However, when children can't consent, their parents are allowed to make a decision on consent. If not, then it's not consent. What you are agreeing to is a government mandated health care decision. Why should government stop at only the things you agree?

                    3. I don't know John, but I think if you allow compelling government interests then you are leaving rights up to the voters, at least indirectly.

                  2. I dunno John. I actually agree with you about the contraceptive issue (i.e. the Church should never be forced to pay for it even indirectly through insurance), but you're constantly stating that the constitution "says what it says" and that you can't throw out the plain meaning of the text.

                    Well, there's nothing in the text whatsoever about strict scrutiny or compelling gov't interest. If you admit those as qualifying factors, then you're throwing out the text of the document and inserting new ideas to alter it in a way you find practicable.

                    1. No Jim. It is just the parole evidence rule in a way. The text could mean a lot of different things. We have a right to free speech. But the founders also knew that that right didn't extend to things like fraud. You never under the common law to utter fraudulent things.

                      So we are left with interpreting this document. What does a right mean? And what the courts done is say a right means you can do it unless there is one hell of a reason not to. It is just giving the words meaning.

                    2. So we are left with interpreting this document. What does a right mean? And what the courts done is say a right means you can do it unless there is one hell of a reason not to. It is just giving the words meaning.

                      If someone follows an icky religion that I don't like, then government to the rescue. Otherwise, keep your government out of my religion.

                    3. Saying that SCOTUS is all over the map on this issue is the understatement of the year, so John's hardline "NO THIS IS WHAT IS SAYS" is way off:

                      "The Free Exercise Clause 'embraces two concepts-- freedom to believe and freedom to act. The first is absolute, but in the nature of things, the second cannot be." Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 304 (1940)

                      The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: "Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another." Everson v. Bd. of Ed. of Ewing Twp., 330 U.S. 1

                      Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet, 512 U.S. 687 (1994), Justice David Souter, writing for the majority, concluded, "Government should not prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion."

                2. Your right to swing your religion ends at my nose.

                  (and I'm not referring to the awful incense smoke from the censer when I was an altar boy)

          4. Get that through your thick skull or admit you really don't give a shit about freedom unless involves someone you like.

            Why don't you come over here and lick my asshole John? What I do understand, as it pertains to this article, is that you and others are pissed off that Ron didn't make the point you wanted him to make. You throw a fucking hissy-fit because he didn't explicitly state your position on the matter. Some of us were capable of grasping the point that he was making. Some people get so hung up on the religion that they go apeshit about it. If you're looking for an article that expressly mentions every facet of this issue that you agree with then go look for it somewhere else.

            1. That is because this issue is about religion you half wit. This is about the free exercise clause. And a lot of you nitwits want to make it about anything but that because it just pains you to no end that the Constitution doesn't give you your pony and gave Religion a special status.

              1. You really are stupid aren't you. It's weird because once in a while intelligent things fall out of you but I suppose that's the exception and not the rule. You have taken exception to an article Ron wrote because he didn't cover the points you wanted him to make. Because he didn't make your argument, he and everyone trying to stand up for him here is just a giant, lying (on of your favorite ad hominems), stupid (another of your favorites), child who's mad about religious people wanting special status.

                Just admit that you didn't like the article because Ron didn't say the words that you wanted him to say. You hate Ron because he made a point but that point isn't the one you wanted him to make. And because he didn't make exactly the point you wanted him to make, he's obviously covering up the fact that he loves the mandate and wants it to apply to everyone everywhere like it or not.

        2. Meh, the only thing I've really taken issue with John on has been Iran. I believe we have a fundamental disagreement on the use of force vs the use of trade. Of course, I still think he's wrong, but he seems to understand liberty better than most republicans.

          Given time, he'll even be against war with Iran. Just wait.

          1. For the record Anon. I don't want a war with Iran. If I were made God king, there would be a revolution in Iran and the whole subject would go away. I am just really pessimistic about the future.

        3. John is a bit frothy even on his best days when he takes his meds. The imagined spectres of religious persecution always push him over the edge.

          1. And you are consistently a smug asshole who never makes a relevant or interesting point and reverts to snark as a defense.

            1. Hello pot, I'd like you to meet kettle.

    2. Agreed. Making the argument that the Catholic Church shouldn't be compelled to provide health insurance that provides contraception because the Catholic Church finds this immoral can indirectly concede the more important point that the government can be involved in telling 2 people what they can and can't voluntarily agree to in a contract.

      1. that the government can be involved in telling 2 people what they can and can't voluntarily agree to in a contract.

        And that seems to be the point the GOP has already conceded.

    3. He doesn't exactly "order" anyone to do anything. He just puts together a goon squad to "suggest" that there might be a better way to do something.

      1. I wonder how that argument would go if I went to court for "suggesting" the bank give me all it's money. With a gun.

        1. Put on an FBI jacket and you probably wouldn't even need the gun.

  18. SugarFree|2.17.12 @ 12:43PM|

    I think the analogy to alcohol is an over-reach, but they are stating why they don't want to to pay for it--which is the same argument as to why they would want it to be illegal as well.

    THANK YOU.

  19. Does this have something to do with kids and booze soaked tampons?

  20. I thought we were talking about the Obama mandate that insurers must pass out contraceptives for free? So is Bailey arguing that they have to pass out alcohol for free too? I don't understand.

    1. So is Bailey arguing that they have to pass out alcohol for free too? I don't understand.

      Now that's a tempting offer. Unfortunately, I must decline, for fear that it might be Keystone.

  21. Their reasoning is that life begins the moment an egg is fertilized, and that if a contraceptive has the potential to prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus, it is aborting a life. ...

    This makes sense. I would take it a step farther and posit that life begins the moment I get an erection.

    Every time a woman fails to copulate with me, she is Aborting a potential GILMORE JR

    These crimes must end. The rights of the unborn must be respected. Many, many unborn.

    1. It is called the sin of Onan; now go fuck your dead brother's wife

  22. You need to read this
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_fat.....ae_en.html
    if you choose to write informingly on Catholicism; otherwise your article is just another AP story

  23. http://www.wcsh6.com/news/arti.....lding-baby

    O.T. Cop shoots man in the head while holding his nine month old grandson. He was unarmed.

    It is the seventh person this officer has killed in the last ten years.

    All have been ruled justified.

    1. In his defense, the 911 caller said he was walking around with a baby and a gun threatening neighbors.

      I'm still skeptical of officer though.

      1. I would think the officers should have to both identify the weapon, and have the guy actually threaten them with it before shooting him.

        Looks to me like a cop saw an opportunity to show off his marksmanship, as well as demonstrate what happens to civilians who do not obey his commands.

        1. That would require them having balls and actually doing their jobs. They don't do that. They are just fucking apes who shoot people to solve problems.

          1. Why can't I solve problems by shooting people?

            I can think of many who the world would be a better place without.

            Staring with that cop.

            1. *Starting*

    2. "There were at least three officers in position to engage the suspect. At least one of the officers thought he saw something in the suspect's hands"

      OMG! He's got a BABY and HE'S COMING RIGHT AT US!!

    3. It is the seventh person this officer has killed in the last ten years.

      All have been ruled justified.

      Kind of hard to believe since the vast majority of cops usually never have occasion to discharge their firearms even once in the course of their entire careers.

      1. If he shot a man in the head for being belligerent while armed with an infant, I'm sure it doesn't take much provocation for him to kill you.

        Note to self: Stay the fuck away from Scottsdale, AZ.

    4. Officers also escaped unharmed.

      Only because they shot him before he could unleash the BABY.

      1. Detectives did not find a weapon on Loxas following the shooting, but did locate several firearms inside the home.

        So. Fucking. What. They'll find several firearms inside my home when I die, whether it be of natural causes or at the hands of an armed stormtrooper.

        1. No doubt the firearms were confiscated, to be added to the officers' personal collections.

          1. First the firearms must be displayed at a press conference to show how scary and dangerous the victim perpetrator was.

        2. It's ok, they'll find one on my dead body.

  24. For example, a 2004 study published in The American Journal of Epidemiology reported that alcohol consumption by both females and males increases the risk of "spontaneous abortion."

    I would say that when the administration makes employers pay for their employees buzz, then we can discuss the ethical and moral implications of alcohol intake and embryo expulsion.

    Otherwise, the effect is irrelevant for the discussion. The problem remains one of violation of the anctity of contracts and private property, Ron.

    1. That is "sanctity" of contracts.

    2. I would say that when the administration makes employers pay for their employees buzz, then we can discuss the ethical and moral implications of alcohol intake and embryo expulsion.

      What is with you people? We can only have a conversation about something when the "administration" does something relevant to the conversation?

      I didn't know that we were all marionettes, dancing on the ends of Jay Carney's strings!

      1. Re: Rev. Blue Moon,

        We can only have a conversation about something when the "administration" does something relevant to the conversation?

        We can have a conversation on whatever you want, be it pink unicorns or if Lady Gaga has anything that can be construed as being real talent. When the conversation centers around the presidential mandate, anything else beyond the scope of such mandate will be irrelevant.

        We can make thousands of comparisons between different birth control methods and any ethical or moral pitfalls that they may possess, but this particular case is not really about birth control, it is about a direct and gross violation of both contract rights and property rights.

      2. OK Rev. We all agree that the church uses arguments that we find illogical. I don't know what the big surprise is here, or why you think it's such a big deal.

        1. Because everyone is jumping on Bailey for making that argument and getting mad that he didn't make a different argument.

          1. I don't know what the big surprise is here, or why you and RB think it's such a big deal.

  25. And to clarify... I do not think that religious employers should have to provide things they find abhorrent.

    But... the issue in this case is a fart in a hurricane compared to Obamacare, which, as Ron pointed out above, The Church has no problem with. So their objection is not the use of force, but rather the use of force on them.

    Which means this is an issue generating a lot of light, but very little heat.

    1. And to clarify... I do not think that religious

      1. Wow, I fucked that up.

        "And to clarify... I do not think that religious employers should have to provide things they find abhorrent."

        ftfy.

        1. I was trying to keep it narrow for the topic at hand.

    2. Religious freedom is a big deal too. But even if you don't think so, you have to make a stand somewhere. If this issue gets people to finally say enough is enough and that the federal government cannot do anything it wants, that would be a very good thing. And the possibility of that alone makes the issue worth fighting for.

      1. This is a valid point. I personally don't believe in any religion, but I can see how this argument is relevant to my interests.

        disagree, blah blah, fight til death etc.

      2. Yes, but rarely does the small issue inform the larger issue. For example, The TEA Party and the OWS movement. They might have been outraged at the actions of the government, but very few blame the state, just the make-up of the state in its current form (The RIGHT PEOPLE argument.)

        That The Church doesn't disavow all of Obamacare, just this little slice, makes it very likely that I'm right.

        1. Add, I note once again, all the furor over this small violation of individual rights that is buried within a huge pile of violations of individual rights, lets the Dems paint the GOP as a bunch of religion-obsessed weirdos.

          I'm fine with dying on a hill, but not on the one my opponent carefully picked out for me to die on for his maximum advantage.

          1. Yeah, I'd much rather die on that hill with the sun at my back and opponent below.

            I hate it when you put this single situation in it's proper context; it crushes any hope I have left.

            1. it crushes any hope I have left

              Then my work here is done.

          2. Agreed. This whole furor is just a socon rallying point in the culture war. It has nothing to do with the larger discussion of whether the government should involve itself in healthcare at all.

        2. Most people are hypocrites who think the rules only apply to other people. All you can do is be better than that. Anyone, no matter how mistaken, is entitled to have their rights defended. And the Catholic church, even though they are wrong on contraception, and even though in many ways they had this rule coming to them by their long embrace of big government, are still entitled to have their rights defended. It is a moral obligation even if it is a distasteful one.

          1. This is only true if you think religion deserves some "special" consideration by the government. AFAIAC, the First Amendment is a statement of neutrality. Anything that unfairly impinges on Free Exercise is unconstitutional; anything that favors them violates the Establishment Clause and is unconstitutional.

            Churches should be treated like everyone else. I don't give a shit that they believe in Magic Jesus or Buddha or Rama.

            1. FAIAC, the First Amendment is a statement of neutrality.

              No it is not. Read the God damned thing. It doesn't just say

              Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,

              It says also

              or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

              It is not enough that Congress not establish a religion. That is a statement of neutrality. It is also that they can't prohibit people from practicing their religion. That is not a statement of neutrality. That is an affirmative protection. Religion does get special treatment. If you don't like that, amend the Constitution. And if you want to pretend it doesn't without amending the Constitution, then now and forever shut up about how you care so much about what it says because clearly you don't when it happens to mean something you don't like.

            2. It's not neutral at all, either way.

              The free exercise clause gives religion a special standing that no other ideology/system of reasoning gets.

              The establishment clause hampers religion in a way it doesn't hamper other interests. The federal govt can subsidize anti-drug ideology to its heart's content, but can't give a dime to the Catholic Church.

              1. That is a good point Tulpa. I never thought of it that way but the 1st Amendment is a trade off. Churches can't take over government, but government can't inhibit what churches do.

              2. ...but can't give a dime to the Catholic Church.

                Apparently that doesn't extend to massively funding their charities.

                1. I have a libertarian "light" gay catholic priest friend who just doesn't give a damn about contraception.

                  He is more interested in watching the Griswolds go on vacation than reading about or discussing Griswold.

                  1. Sounds like he's a priest "light" too. Part of the dead wood the Church needs to burn ASAP before the rot spreads.

                  2. So he's a false priest?

  26. "60 to 80 percent of naturally conceived embryos fail to implant." We must ban nature.

  27. "By the way, some 60 to 80 percent of naturally conceived embryos fail to implant."

    So, intercourse should be banned.

    1. fuck that

  28. they can act to prevent pregnancy after a man's sperm has fertilized a woman's egg.

    This isn't preventing pregnancy, folks. Once conception occurs, you're pregnant.

    How far are the believers willing to go to prevent people from engaging in activities that increase the likelihood that a fertilized egg will fail to implant?

    Morning after pills and IUDs aren't just "activities that increase the likelihood" of embryo loss. They're specifically intended to cause embryo loss.

    The fact that one supports a ban on murder does not mean one must therefore support bans on taking your buddy skydiving or letting him ride in the passenger seat without a seat belt on.

    By the way, some 60 to 80 percent of naturally conceived embryos fail to implant.

    So back when infant mortality was like 40%, did that mean that babies were not persons?

    1. So back when infant mortality was like 40%, did that mean that babies were not persons?

      Human mortality is holding steady at 100%. So if I kill you, no big deal.

      1. Historically, infants have not always been considered persons. Infanticide was widely practiced in the ancient world, and often in very unpleasant ways: drowning and exposure (to the elements, ie abandoning them on a rock to freeze, starve/dehydrate or be eaten by scavengers).

        1. Well of course infants weren't persons with legal rights. They don't have the ability to think, communicate, or express emotions. They can't live on their own. They don't even look like full humans, with their disproportionally large heads. Why some religious nutbag would consider an infant to be human is beyond me.

        2. The ancients also practiced slavery, threw prisoners of war to wild predatory animals, and tortured dissenters to death.

    2. Tulpa, conception is not the definition of pregnancy, implantation is.

  29. Tulpa:

    Morning after pills and IUDs aren't just "activities that increase the likelihood" of embryo loss. They're specifically intended to cause embryo loss.

    Actually, that's wrong. Plan B and IUDs are specifically intended to prevent fertilization. Like alcohol they may on rare occasions have the unintended result of preventing a fertilized egg from implanting.

    1. They're specifically intended to prevent becoming visibly pregnant. The stage of development at which this prevention occurs is considered unimportant by both buyer and seller.

    2. I mean, comparing alcohol to Plan B is so disingenuous as to be comical. Alcohol's uses are completely unrelated to pregnancy and conception. If Plan B and IUDs were used for purposes unrelated to retarding reproduction you'd have a point.

      If a woman drinks herself silly with the intention of causing embryo loss, I'd consider that an abortion. But it's not at all the common use for alcohol so there's no justification for a ban.

      1. Tulpa: As I asked above: Are embryos intentionally killed by means of RU-486 more valuable than those killed unintentionally by a night of binge drinking? Or for that matter more valuable than those (60 to 80 percent) killed by Mother Nature?

        1. Nope.

          Just like adults killed by being intentionally shot aren't more valuable than adults killed in car accidents.

          We still have murder laws that don't include car accidents though. Maybe you should work to even things out?

          1. Just like adults killed by being intentionally shot aren't more valuable than adults killed in car accidents.

            The Kennedy family would disagree. Especially when it comes to comparing shootings and car accidents.

            1. That's right, they're 2-2 on those. Was it Pat who crashed into the vehicle barrier in front of the Capitol drunk out of his mind?

              1. You mean "Patches" as coined by WRKO's Howie Carr author of The Brothers Bulger.

                WHile Patches' uncle, Joe K. II, was in Congress, Howie had a recurring contest he dubbed, "the wizard of uhs" in which callers had to guess the number of uhs uttered by Joe in a given audio clip.

          2. Ron Bailey: We do punish drunk drivers who kill people accidentally - so I guess, if it were feasible, you'd be comfortable with some kind of manslaughter equivalent punishment with regard to eggs that don't implant as a result of binge drinking? And that might be feasible with enough vigilance. From Epidemiology Journal article:

            Women collected morning urine for 10 days from the first day of vaginal bleeding in each cycle. The authors detected 186 pregnancies: 131 resulted in childbirth, and 55 resulted in spontaneous abortion (34 detected by urinary human chorionic gonadotropin).

            1. Ron Bailey: We do punish drunk drivers who kill people accidentally

              We also punish the drunk drivers who don't kill people about the same, in NC.

              Of course, this is all in how you determine "drunk."

            2. Women Episiarch collected morning urine for 10 days from the first day of vaginal bleeding in each cycle. The authors He detected 186 pregnancies: 131 resulted in childbirth late-night snacks, and 55 resulted in spontaneous abortion his self-formulated Brawndo knockoff (34 detected by urinary human chorionic gonadotropin their high level of electrolytes).

              FIFY

            3. Come on, Ron. I wasn't talking about drunk driving accidents and you know it. I was talking about accidents in general.

              Drunk driving represents reckless disregard for the safety of others on the road, which is why we prosecute it. In the case of a woman binge drinking while unbeknownst to her she's just conceived, there's no reckless endangerment because she had no reasonable expectation that she was endangering anyone.

        2. Jacket:

          Someday you will be killed by Mother Nature. Your mortality rate is 100%. Is it okay if I kill you now?

          1. life is a sexually transmitted disease with a 100% mortality rate.

            unless you are jesus and all magick and shit

  30. Tulpa: So contraception (preventing fertilization) is the same as abortion (at 12 weeks)? No visible pregnancy in either case.

    1. They're not the same; however, they are both intended to be prevented by post-coital "contraception".

      Sort of like ants and bees aren't the same, but Raid is intended to kill both of them.

  31. Slightly OT: Cops abort life of 50 year old man they thought was holding a gun. Turns out he was holding his infant grandchild.

    The rage sets in on so many different levels I don't know where to begin.

    1. This has precident. Ruby Ridge, for example.

    2. Officer Peters, who fired the fatal shot, has been involved in seven shootings over the past decade.

      Six of those have been fatal, and all have been ruled justified.

      That trigger finger seems a bit itchy.

      And Im with sloopy, the rage is about to go thru the roof.

      Fuck you Balko!!!!

  32. Ron, where'd you get the illustration which accompanies this article. Is this some type of Victorian anti-contraceptive propaganda? Enquiring minds want to know.

  33. A perfect example of why the libertarians will never amount to anything.

    Banning alcohol has nothing whatsoever to do with the case in point. But hey, they get to put a scare headline about outlawing booze, bash the church and throw in the old "they take government money" so screw them in the comments for good measure. Oh, & the Catholics deserved it too.

    Again, they prove to be the ultimate hypocrites. Hey, it's not one of their "freedoms".

    1. This type of argument seems to come up more during abortion debates than debates on other topics. Take a tough case that may be the logical extension of a position and use that against the easy case.

      Argue against abortion and be prepared to hear about a twelve-year-old with an ectopic pregnancy resulting from getting raped by her dad. Should that be legal? If so, you therefore must oppose all restrictions on abortion for any reason at any stage of pregnancy.

      1. yay for reductio ad absurdum.

      2. Yes, because there is no absurd reductionism involved in considering a pre-implantation fertilized egg to have the same moral standing to assert rights as a full-grown human being.

        1. Argue against abortion and be prepared to hear about a twelve-year-old with an ectopic pregnancy resulting from getting raped by her dad. Should that be legal? If so, you therefore must oppose all restrictions on abortion for any reason at any stage of pregnancy.

          I was really referring to this specifically. Maybe I should've taken more time to express myself.

          I hold this politicization in contempt.

      3. No, not a reductio ad absurdum. Even though (morally) it's the worst case scenario that shit actually happens, and more frequently than you might believe.

        If it's really about fetuses being human there would be no talk about exemptions for rape, incest or anything else.

        1. If it's really about fetuses being human there would be no talk about exemptions for rape, incest or anything else.

          That is absolutely true. And pro life people betray their moral cowardice when they do that. If it is a life, then it doesn't matter under what circumstances it was created. Otherwise, children who were born out of that would not be people worthy of protection.

          1. I agree with John, but I also think that "you're inconsistent in tough cases, so I win" is a lousy argument on a tough issue in a pluralistic society.

            Push me on this and I'll tell you that your right to life does not depend on the circumstances of your conception. But would I be happier in a world where rape victims could get abortions, but for other pregnancies abortions were banned? Much.

        2. Even though (morally) it's the worst case scenario that shit actually happens, and more frequently than you might believe.

          (1) Annually, how many pregnancies result from rape?

          (2) How many pregnancies do I think annually result from rape?

        3. That isn't true at all. The philosophical hypothetical is "What if you woke up one day and Yo-Yo Ma (or whatever other genius you want to dream up) was permanently attached and medically dependent on you? Should you be permitted to sever your tie with him, even if he dies?"

          And the answer is "yes", because that happened without your consent. So, no, mainstream pro-lifers are not necessarily being inconsistent here.

          1. I've talked about it before, but I've always felt that libertarianism needs to focus much more on the implications and boundaries of consent. If you believe in individual rights (God-given or self-evident), consent is absolutely everything with respect to interacting with other people and states.

          2. Inapposite analogy.

            Yoyoma was forcibly connected to you against your wishes by other people.

            The embryo was connected to you BY YOUR OWN BODY.

        4. The rape/incest exceptions are an attempt at compromise to protect the 99% of fetuses who aren't conceived under those circumstances.

          But I do recognize the dishonest pro-choice bait and switch in your line of argument:

          1. If they refuse to make exceptions, bring up the 12 year old with an ectopic pregnancy with her dad being the "father".

          2. If they do make exceptions, claim that this means they really don't believe abortion is murder and must just want to control women's bodies.

  34. OT: I disdain the conversations here that devolve into a small portion of the law enforcement agency acting irrationally (or accidentally) and taking a life. I feel like they're meant to be representative of law enforcement everywhere and do little to really promote a culture of law and justice that I think we all have in common.

    Shorter anon: Bad cops shouldn't be used as example for good cops.

    1. But at the same time, when police do abuse people, they ought to take criticism for it. And further, when they do something bad and are not punished for it, that reflects poorly on the entire profession.

      1. I agree with accepting responsibility, obviously. I just don't think the vast majority of police are out there murdering defenseless old men with babies, which is how it seems to be portrayed here sometimes.

    2. Officer Peters, who fired the fatal shot, has been involved in seven shootings over the past decade.

      Six of those have been fatal, and all have been ruled justified.

      See, I think the criticism around here is that there are problems with police culture and the laws (or lack of laws) under which the police operate. Articles about botched SWAT drug raids aren't about the individual cops; they're about the drug war and the political decision to militarize the police. In this case, I don't even think the problem is the individual cop; it's the culture that allowed him to keep copping after killing six people.

  35. "By the way, some 60 to 80 percent of naturally conceived embryos fail to implant."

    And this is supposed to convince me of what? 100% of people will die but if I beat a drunken Hobo to death that's still viewed as "bad".

  36. Billy! and the rest of you folks with the 100% dead argument -- Do you really grieve the deaths of every one of those embryos the way you would the death of any drunken hobo?

    1. I don't grieve the death of drunken hobos either.

    2. No, I don't. But they aren't meaningless tissue in my mind either. But I don't really know where that gets us. My feelings on abortion are far too confused, muddled and mixed up (I couldn't even really say which side of the argument I'm on to be frank) to make me a good spokesperson.

      I simply object to the argument that "Something happens, maybe even happens a lot, in nature so it's perfectly ok for humans to do that same thing." I just find it to be poor utterly unconvincing rhetoric. There are a lot of things that happen all the time in nature that I don't think we should engage in.

      What we should do about possible abortifacients, I don't know. Although my default libertarianism makes me say that they should be legal until I am overwhelmingly convinced that they do evil which, due to my above explained feelings on the moral status of abortion and related acts, I am not. But the fact that a dark fate befalls many of these tissues naturally does nothing to convince me of what I a thinking, moral animal should do.

      1. He's not claiming that "it's perfectly ok for humans to do that same thing" is a logical conclusion to make. His reasoning is "If unintentional abortions from contraception are horrible and should be preventede, shouldn't other types of unintended abortions have intervention to prevent them as well? How far does it go?"

    3. Bailey's stupid argument is still stupid.

  37. I reckon al-ke-hol leads to more pregnancies than it prevents.

    Morning after pills? The only purpose they serve is a positive action to possibly end a life. Maybe you're ok with that but don't throw up nonsensical canards.

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