Todd Akin

Is Rape a Moral Justification for Abortion?

Rape is among the more horrific violations of human dignity. But it is a crime committed by the male, not the female, or the unborn baby.

|

The criticisms of the recent absurd comments by Missouri Republican Congressman Todd Akin, who at this writing is his party's nominee to take on incumbent Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in November in a contest he had been expected to win, have focused on his clearly erroneous understanding of the human female anatomy. In a now infamous statement, in which he used the bizarre and unheard-of phrase "legitimate rape," the congressman gave the impression that some rapes of women are not mentally or seriously resisted. This is an antediluvian and misogynistic myth for which there is no basis in fact and which has been soundly and justly condemned.

Akin also stated that the female anatomy can resist unwanted impregnation. This, too, is absurd, offensive and incorrect. Medical science has established conclusively that women cannot internally block an unwanted union of egg and sperm, no matter the relationship between male and female. I think even schoolchildren understand that.

What has gone unmentioned, however, in the cacophony of condemnation by Republicans and Democrats, is the implication in Akin's comments that rape is not a moral justification for abortion. In that, he is correct: It is not.

Abortion takes the life of innocent human beings who are the most vulnerable in our society. Abortion is today the most frequently performed medical procedure in the United States. American physicians perform about two abortions every minute of every hour of every day: about 1 million a year since 1973. In my home state of New Jersey, abortion is permitted up to the moment of birth, and the state will even pay for it if the mother meets certain financial criteria.

How low have we sunk? What are the consequences of this mass slaughter? How did we get here?

We got here because of the most reprehensible and unconstitutional Supreme Court opinion in the modern era. In a throwback to its infamous Dred Scott decision—in which a pre-Civil War Supreme Court declared that blacks are not persons and hence cannot claim the protections of the Constitution—the court essentially said in Roe vs. Wade the same of fetuses in the womb.

Roe vs. Wade has spawned more slaughter than all 20th-century tyrants combined. The consequences of this slaughter are vast lost generations of human beings who were denied by the law the right to live. The economic consequences from which we all suffer today—entitlements too costly to afford and too few wage earners to pay for them—are directly attributable to the absence of population growth.

I am not arguing in favor of entitlements. The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to provide them. But when FDR and LBJ concocted their entitlement schemes in order to build permanent dependence on the Democratic Party, they understood population growth. Their understanding, too, was slaughtered by abortion. A society that prefers death to life not only cannot prosper; it cannot survive. Soon 40 percent of federal tax revenues will be dedicated to interest on the federal debt, and most of that borrowing has been to pay for entitlements. We are headed for a cliff.

So are the babies in the womb. But isn't the baby in a womb a person? Of course the baby in a womb is a person. The baby is produced by the physical interaction of two human parents, and every unborn baby possesses a fully actualizable human genome: all the material necessary to grow to adulthood and to exist independently outside the womb.

What about rape? Rape is among the more horrific violations of human dignity imaginable. But it is a crime committed by the male, not the female—and certainly not by the child it might produce. When rape results in pregnancy, the baby has the same right to life as any child born by mutually loving parents. Only the Nazis would punish a child for the crimes of his or her father.

Every abortion ends the life of an innocent unborn human being. When politicians in both parties claim to be pro-life but favor abortions because of the criminal behavior of the father, as in rape or incest, they are politically rejecting that hard truth. What other violations of the natural law will they condone for political expedience?

NEXT: Tampa Mayor Ready to Call Off Convention

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Only the Nazis would punish a child for the crimes of his or her father.

    “That’s right. I went there. ONLY THE NAZIS I say.” /Napolitano

    1. You know who else talked about the Nazis punishing children for the crimes of their fathers…

    2. then let the judge, and presumably you, be the folks who stand over the rape victim and say “I demand that you keep this child and that you be treated like a criminal.” The judge is welcome to his opinion, but he is wrong.

      1. Alright, you be the one to tell the old people that you’re cutting their Medicare. You be the one to explain why you pulled your firefighters from a collapsing building even though there were still little kids on the top floor. Sometimes doing the right thing hurts innocent people, and those people and their families will hate you. Doesn’t change anything.

        If one accepts a rape exception from abortion, one is a pro-choice caricature — one believes that the mother’s right to happiness and self-ownership trump the fetus’ right to life, but feels that women who fornicate ought to be punished by having a baby. The only exemption that is consistent with the moral principles of a libertarian-compatible pro-life stance is when a pregnancy risks life, since someone is going to die either way.

        1. right, because Medicare and fire protection are exactly the same as rape. Good luck with that. You explain to your wife/daughter/sister that keeping the visible daily reminder of the assault she was subjected to is the right thing.

          When libertarians force others to do “the right thing,” is that better than when Dems and Repubs do it?

          1. It’s clear that you don’t think that fetuses are human beings, but to see why the consistent pro-life view is to not allow rape exceptions, just accept that premise for a moment.

            Would you say it’s OK for the mother to kill a 1 year old baby because it was conceived of rape? I’m quite sure you would say that was murder, even if the baby is the “visible daily remember of the assault she was subjected to”. Given the premise that we’ve previously accepted (a fetus is a human being in the same way as a baby), doing an abortion for this reason is still murder. Yes, it sucks for the mother, but it also sucks for the mother if a madman made her choose which twin baby to kill. We wouldn’t let her kill the other one because it was a “visible daily reminder” of the attack. Instead of punishing the kid, we’d punish the madman.

          2. You could always keep it until it is born and then give it up for adoption.

            Just remember not to fall prey to the false dichotimy.

          3. A baby isn’t a symbol, it’s a person. And not killing someone isn’t the same as keeping it. There is always adoption.

          4. “When libertarians force others to do ‘the right thing,’ is that better than when Dems and Repubs do it?”

            When somebody is committing an act of aggression, is that initiating the use of force? Certainly, the circumstances the woman faces is regrettable, but that doesn’t give them the right to commit a crime. Protecting another human being from aggression is not initiating the use of force.

          5. Killing of any kind, by death penality, war or abortion can not be tolerated. Especially when the cost is an innocent baby.

        2. There is also a Natural Selection argument for aborting the children of rape.

          If you want less rape, destroy all children conceived by rape (or by rapists). If you want more rape, allow no exception for rape.

          I lean towards the former, though considering the many complex issues involved (for example, the genes conducive to rape are not necessarily always passed on, the mother’s genes are also passed on, genes are not necessarily destiny, and some children of the rapist may have already been born) I can imagine a conscientious pro-lifer allowing abortion for rape, and only for rape.

          (Personally, I figure that if a mother is willing to abort her children, that is natural selection that will reduce the number of mothers willing to abort their children – but that’s just me.)

          1. You need a serious recap on the term natural selection. How is there any remote connection between natural selection and your absurd conclusion on the matter of abortion?

            Abortion is more undeniably unnatural selection or may even qualify as artificial selection. Birth is clearly more pro-evolution than premature death. Your mind is afflicted with some rather dangerous notions regarding our biological and genealogical stamp on this earth.

      2. How is reminding a rape victim that, while the crime done against her was horrific, the child growing inside her has just as much right to live as any other, treating her like a criminal? I’d say it’s more like treating her like an adult. If caring for the baby is too much for her to bare, there are a lot of people who can’t have children who would be happy to adopt. You don’t have just jump right to killing a baby just because something bad happened to the mother. that’s just sick.

        1. “It’s more like treating her like an adult.”

          What about a girl under 18 who gets pregnant from a rape? Are you going to tell her that her childhood is over, through no fault of her own, but because she was raped? Are you going to tell her she has to carry her pregnancy to term because somewhere out there is an upper-middle-class woman who will gladly take it from her once it’s born, in case she doesn’t want it?

          1. What magic happens to a girl at 18 that makes her childhood over then?

            1. I never said anything “magic” happens at 18, but quite a bit of non-magical stuff happens, such as the legal power to do stuff adults do (I would hope you are smart enough that I don’t have to list them).

              My point is that it is irrational to confer the responsibilities of adulthood upon a young girl without also giving her the same rights adults have. If the government is going to tell anyone she has to carry a pregnancy to term, she must also have the right to vote, sign contracts, and even run for office.

              Parity between the responsibilities demanded of people and their freedom to make decisions sounds libertarian to me.

              Therefore Napolitano is no libertarian, unless he supports the right of girls to vote once they get their period.

    3. The Nazis used birth control to achive their racial goals. Certain populations were killed outright, others sterilized, while ‘aryan’ populations were relocated and encouraged to reproduce. The same is true for Communist regimes that range from China’s one child policy to Romania’s five child policy. The Socialist position on family planning and birth control is that the state decides who can have children, and the liberal position is that it is an individual choice.

  2. While I agree that a fetus is both alive and human in scientific terms, I have a hard time with the thought of forcing a woman who is pregnant as a result of rape to carry the baby to term. Do we investigate miscarriages as possible homicides? Should we?

    1. Logically, miscarriages would have to be investigated. If a zygote and a two-year-old are morally equivalent, then you better believe the police are going to investigate if your two-year-old dies in your house while under your care and–rather than call 911–you dismember him and flush him down the toilet.

      They are advocating to add the jurisdiction of every uterus in America to the list of police duties.

      1. Don’t give them any (more) ideas!

      2. We better remove all murder laws from the books then, since the police are going to have to investigate the spouse of every heart attack victim.

      3. that’s hardly true. miscarriages can happen for reasons that are outside of anyone’s control. Completely different thing than the Casey Anthony-style death of a toddler that you described.

        1. Talk about missing the point….

          Most two year olds who die are also not murdered. There are a number of other causes of death.

    2. Abortion may be murder, but can not be proven within a reasonable doubt and moral certainty.

      1. Actually, since one needs to make an appointment and go to an abortionist’s office (showing forethought) for the express purpose of killing the child it would be a slam-dunk 1st degree murder case.

        1. Unless they just go with the old time wire hanger trick at home.

    3. I don’t see why it’s different from SIDS. Plenty of babies die every year, basically without a clear medical reason. That’s not really different from the idea that plenty of miscarriages occur spontaneously or unintentionally. But we wouldn’t use the specter of ‘SIDS police’ to legalize infanticide and we shouldn’t use the ‘miscarriage police’ argument as an excuse to legalize abortion.

      Either abortion kills a person or it doesn’t. The moral principle should be self-evident. Once you go arguing about enforcement, you’ve separated from the basic libertarian question of rights.

      Of course, all this will be largely irrelevant once technology gets to the point where a fetus can be safely removed well before the due date. Assuming the procedure has safety for the mother comparable to abortion, there’d be no more justification to destroy the fetus. A mother could remove it, place the baby through an adoption agency or whatever, and go on her way.

  3. The economic consequences from which we all suffer today — entitlements too costly to afford and too few wage earners to pay for them — are directly attributable to the absence of population growth.

    I’m not buying it. And even if I did, is the Judge trying to say that the population isn’t growing?

    Only the Nazis would punish a child for the crimes of his or her father.

    Bad form throwing out the Godwin before anybody else has the chance to.

    1. I don’t buy his premise there either. But that doesn’t discount the rest of the argument.

    2. Reading between the lines, I think this is a counterpoint to the “abortion lowered the crime rate” argument. People often appreciate practical arguments to complement their moral stands. Like a lot of the antebellum opponents of slavery argued that slavery drove down the value of free (i.e. white) labor, which is not a very humanitarian or libertarian argument.

  4. I’m going to show my ignorance by asking this question, but I would like to know. Will a person who punches a pregnant woman in the stomach, causing a miscarriage, be charged with manslaughter or simply battery? I ask because in the former case, the law would be acknowledging the fetus’ personhood.

    1. depends where you are and also whether the defendant knew she was pregnant. If D knew, at common law this could amount to child destruction, but not manslaughter or murder as the foetus is not a person (it must be born and take one breath). Some places (such as my home state NSW) have recreated this in statute.

      Other places have made causing the death of a foetus past a certain point in the pregnancy. 38 US states have such laws: http://www.ncsl.org/issues-res…..-laws.aspx

      1. er, “made causing the death of a foetus past a certain point in the pregnancy homicide of one sort or another

    2. many states have, in fact, enacted laws that provide legal protection to the unborn. I learned that this week. Used to be, 15 years ago or so in many places, that the action you described would only result in a charge of assault against the mother. Even if you killed her, one charge of murder only. But that’s changed.

    3. In most states, it would be manslaughter and foreknowledge of pregnancy is not an issue.
      I suppose practicing medicine without a license might be a valid defense though…

    4. If we accept that the fetus is a person, then the question is no different from punching a mother holding a bundled baby, causing the baby to fall and die. It turns on the other issues of criminal law, but basically yeah – it’d be a crime.

      And in principle it wouldn’t matter if you knew the woman was pregnant (instead of being big) or the woman was holding a baby (instead of empty blankets). A respondent (in tort) takes the victim as he finds it. Since you were committing an unauthorized act of aggression in the first place, you as the aggressor are generally responsible for the consequences even if they were unintended. Certainly we’d rather put the responsibility on an aggressor than on the victim. That principle isn’t ironclad in practice, but it generally holds.

  5. …the congressman gave the impression that some rapes of women are not mentally or seriously resisted. This is an antediluvian and misogynistic myth for which there is no basis in fact and which has been soundly and justly condemned.

    Oh, bullshit.

    There are plenty of instances of unresisted intercourse that are later called rapes.

    1. I see you chopped off the part of the sentence that gave it context.

      1. n a now infamous statement, in which he used the bizarre and unheard-of phrase “legitimate rape,” the congressman gave the impression that some rapes of women are not mentally or seriously resisted. This is an antediluvian and misogynistic myth for which there is no basis in fact and which has been soundly and justly condemned.

        Oh, bullshit.

        By “legitimate rape” Akin almost certainly meant “actual rape” as opposed to post hoc recharacterization of apparently consensual intercourse as rape or intercourse called rape so as to fall within an exception to the law.

        There are plenty of instances of unresisted intercourse that are later called rapes.

        1. So that’s twice now you’ve missed the point. Want to have a go at a third try?

          1. Why don’t you try articulating the point you believe I’ve missed.

            1. Akin’s argument is thus:

              The female anatomy can resist unwanted impregnation.
              Women sometimes get pregnant after being forcibly raped.
              Therefore, women who got pregnant after being forcibly raped weren’t really raped.

              If he is to be believed, Akin meant “legitimate rape” to mean forcible rape. And if your point is just that some women have second thoughts later and decide to say they were raped, so what? What does that have to do with the article? You seem to be arguing against a point the Judge didn’t make.

              1. The female anatomy can resist unwanted impregnation.
                Women sometimes get pregnant after being forcibly raped.
                Therefore, women who got pregnant after being forcibly raped weren’t really raped.

                I believe he said it was ‘rare’ not ‘impossible’, which renders this criticism moot.

              2. You: You seem to be arguing against a point the Judge didn’t make.

                The Judge: That some rapes of women are not mentally or seriously resisted is an antediluvian and misogynistic myth for which there is no basis in fact and which has been soundly and justly condemned.

                Me: There are, in fact, plenty of rapes of women that are not mentally or seriously resisted. This is not a myth and it does have basis in fact.

                (I’m guessing “seriously” should really be “physically,” but it doesn’t really change the point.)

              3. No, you’re assuming the second premise, it is not something Akin even intimated, which led to your made up conclusion. His only meaning for legitimate rape was actual, forcible rape. You know, rape-rape. So that’s not Akin’s argumrnt, it’s yours and NEM is correct.

                1. No, you’re assuming the second premise

                  I’m assuming “Women sometimes get pregnant after being forcibly raped”? You mean it’s never happened that a woman got pregnant after being raped? Then what is the whole point of this argument?

                  His only meaning for legitimate rape was actual, forcible rape.

                  Um, that’s exactly what I said. See, I clearly typed “If he is to be believed, Akin meant “legitimate rape” to mean forcible rape.”

                  1. And again, as I said, Akin said that it was “pretty rare”, not impossible.

                    1. *head smack* there is no scientific basis for what he said. a woman who suffered violent trauma after having consensual sex would have the same body reaction more than likely. When you’re trying to repair damage to the body, the health of the fetus is not an evolutionary necessity.

                    2. Not to speak out of school here but there is evidence in pregnancy itself to suggest that the organism of ‘woman’ is biologically predisposed to favor the sub-organism of the ‘fetus’. This has absolutely zero bearing on this conversation, topic, or my opinion. I am merely pointing out that a women who is pregnant and in physical distress exhibits biological behavior that can favor the fetus over her own existence. I am so glad I can pee standing up…after seeing what a pregnancy can do to a healthy woman I would never want to be pregnant.

    2. Which is why this whole argument is bullshit. If the guy is declared innocent at trial, does that mean the woman cannot abort? Does she have to wait for the trial to conclude (which would be months) to get an abortion. Its a fucking stupid line of argument.

  6. Being charitable, this is one of Napolitano’s less impressive pieces. My advice is to stick to opposing total government.

    1. Yeah, stay out of the uterus, its a dark and sticky place.

      1. It is also a very slippery slope it seems.

        1. and every month or so, its a bloody mess.

    2. Agreed. I generally like Napolitano, but I think he got this one wrong.

      As for Akin – he shouldn’t have used the phrase “legitimate rape” because no rape is legitimate (lawful), but he obviously meant “real” or “actual” rape, “rape rape” so to speak – which does not necessarily imply force but definitely implies coercion, or at least fraud.

      As “rape” has grown to include drunk women who ended up having sex after a night of cruising for men, consensual sex between 18 year old males and 17 year old females, and similar instances – and as we have been instructed to acknowledge no difference between the husband who thinks it would be cool to start while his wife is still asleep, and the stranger who attacks women walking in a park, it is unfortunately necessary for us to distinguish between “rape” and “real rape”.

      I don’t blame Akin for that, but agree that it was a very poor choice of words.

      (Of course, he was wrong about the science too.)

      1. Idiot. There is a difference between a husband who “starts while his wife is still asleep” and a husband who forces his wife to have sex she does not want. Since you can’t grasp that simple concept, nothing else you have to say on the matter… matters.

        1. That’s a rather ironic moniker you have there given that you are calling him an idiot for making the same argument you are. You totally missed his point and argued against an argument he didn’t make. His point was that the legal definition of rape has evolved so far beyond the point of unwanted sexual intercourse that the husband who starts while his wife is still asleep could be prosecuted for rape under current law. Thus there has to be a distinction between legal “rape” and real “rape”.

          I didn’t think he point was that hard to grasp, especially as he used multiple examples to make it clear, but you, “smart gal” somehow managed to do it. That would seem to ensure that anything you have to say doesn’t matter since you are arguing against arguments people aren’t making.

  7. The only way to prevent abortions is to impose a bit of governmental authority.
    For me, that is sufficient to rule out any and all political arguments against abortion. At the political level, it’s no one’s choice but the individual involved.
    The fetus is not yet individuated, there is only one person involved. The mother.
    Her body, her choice.

    Others may take a principled stance advocating that abortions not be performed, including medical personnel refusing to perform such procedures.
    But they have no say in what others may choose to do vis a vis abortion.
    IOW, why is the initiation of force to prevent an abortion morally acceptable?

    1. How do you define “individuated?”

      1. individuate (verb) – To make, or cause to appear, individual.

        1. Are Siamese twins individuals?

          1. Or conjoined twins, if that makes you feel better.

            1. Shit dude, you’re on a roll. What does conjoined twins being individuals have to do with “The fetus is not yet individuated, there is only one person involved.”???

              1. What are some of the arguments you would make to support the conclusion that conjoined twins — regardless of whether they can be separated and have both live — are individuals but a mother and a fetus with a functioning brain are not individuals?

                1. If one of the conjoined twins smokes crack, they both get high. They aren’t individuals in many important respects–which is why they are surgically divided if at all possible, even if the death of one twin is a likely outcome.

          2. Yes. There’s a bit of a difference between conjoined twins and a pregnant woman+fetus, though.

            1. What are some of the relevant differences, as far as individuation is concerned?

    2. For those who thing a abortion is equivalent to infanticide, the initiation of force to prevent it must logically be acceptable as it would be in the case of infanticide.

      While this is not one of Napolitano’s best pieces, I do think it touches on something I’ve been stewing about. The pro-life and pro-choice camps are both slowly slowly moving towards the center, but their stances taken properly, consistently, and morally should really have them entrenched on either side. If you believe abortion is infanticide there cannot be a rape exception as detailed above. And if you believe in complete control over your body then you logically must favor abortion at the 8.999th month.

      1. Thing a = think an. Me no type good.

      2. If you believe abortion is infanticide there cannot be a rape exception as detailed above. And if you believe in complete control over your body then you logically must favor abortion at the 8.999th month.

        Well said

      3. What if you believe that abortion is infanticide after some developmental milestone of the fetus but not before?

      4. The pro-life and pro-choice camps are both slowly slowly moving towards the center, but their stances taken properly, consistently, and morally should really have them entrenched on either side.

        Not necessarily. For those who think life begins at conception, absolutely there can’t be “exceptions” to abortion in order to remain consistent (with the possible exception of being a danger to the mother; in that situation you’re basically choosing which of 2 lives to save).

        For people who DON’T believe it starts at conception though, there’s more wiggle room, depending on when they think human life begins. If someone thinks human life begins 1/3 of the way through pregnancy, abortions after that would be impermissible. If someone thinks that the life counts as human 2/3 of the way through, or even 8 months through, then abortions after THAT would be wrong.

        To say you have to be completely for OR completely against abortion, with no positions in between, is a false choice. Even people who aren’t against abortion because they don’t think human life begins at conception can disagree about when the cutoff actually happens. Even among supporters of abortion, few people actually “believe in complete control over [their] body”. That’s part of a lot of the rhetoric, yeah, but few of them would actually consider that as justification for aborting, say, an 8-month-old pregnancy.

        1. Oops. Only the first paragraph should be a quote.

      5. “And if you believe in complete control over your body then you logically must favor abortion at the 8.999th month.”

        This is incorrect as there are other medical options available to terminate the pregnancy at any point past ~35 weeks which do not result in the death of the fetus/baby (whichever term you prefer)

        Further there is a false dichotomy here in that one can believe that personhood is conferred at some point post conception but pre birth ergo allowing abortions prior to that point but not after, and there are other possible internally consistant belief systems which would allow some abortions but not others.

        1. OK, I accept that false dichtomoy argument, although I maintain that all this does is move the goalposts for decision from “kid is emerging from vagina” to “kid is at some magical or scientific ensoulment or personhood stage”. And this by definition is likely to be problematic for the ultra-pro-choice camp in that it is highly likely that science will continue to progress and establish that whatever we arrogate to “personhood” is actually happening far earlier than we thought.

          1. Yet we make these sorts of arbitrary moral decisions based on age all the time. Individuals gain moral agency over different things at different times in their lives. When is one morally responsible for criminal actions? Somewhere between 7 and 15 years old, depending on jurisdiction. When do they have the right to engage in contracts? Again, it’s age based. And there’s no real guiding principle to the matter.

            But the point still stands. We recognize that individuals attain different rights at different stages in life. No one would seriously argue that a 1 year old and a 25 year old are functionally the same and should be afforded the same rights (e.g. ability to engage in contracts). We have to draw some line designating when that right exists and when it doesn’t.

            The debate over 1 day versus 8 months and 29 days is similar. Once you’ve accepted the idea (as pro-choicers have) that a fetus does not necessarily have a right to life, you need to draw a line somewhere. For the same reasons that it’s obvious a 1 year old shouldn’t have the ability to contract, it’s obvious that an abortion shouldn’t be performed at 8 months and 29 days.

            1. And can we please, please, please stop arguing about “when (human) life starts”? This is fucking retarded. A fetus is living from the day it is conceived (all cells are…). And it sure as hell is human life (that first cell comes with a full set of human chromosomes and performs all human cellular functions).

              I ask that we do this because the debate is not over when life begins, which is easily answered by biology. It’s a question of ethics which science has no answer for. The real question that matters is “when is the fetus accorded the right to continued existence?”.

              1. Yes DJK, I’m not particularly stressy about the fact that we set arbitrary goalposts across broad realms of law. I’m just noting that, therefore, it’s hard to morally (ethically) consistent from anything except the most extreme positions on either side. That’s all.

                That’s consistent with your pose that this is an ethics question, with which I agree. However, I’ll reiterate that this is likely to therefore end up somewhere that makes a lot of pro-choicers queasy in a couple of decades – because it is almost certain that their estimate of “when does a fetus gain some scientific accoutrement of personhood” is likely skewed too far towards birth, and the consequence of being wrong is acknowledging that you killed a person. If, that is, you wanted to subscribe to a scientific defense in the first place and not a more nuanced ethical one.

              2. It seems like the “right to continued existence” should be the point when you can exist on your own. At that point, you can become your own individal person and no longer require the benevolence of a host.

        2. Abortion is 14 times safer for a pregnant woman than giving birth.

          http://healthland.time.com/201…..hildbirth/

          1. Well, I’m sold. Abortions for all! Even women who want their babies should be forced to have abortions. It’s for their own good!

            Is that what you’re trying to imply, or are you just shitting up the thread as usual with random non-sequitors that nobody gives a shit about?

            1. I’m trying to imply that forcing women to carry their pregnancies to term always carries a risk to their health and life.

              They can choose a riskier path, of course, and clearly many women do. But the fetus isn’t the only organism whose life is in jeopardy in this discussion.

              1. That’s a silly argument.

                Coming to full term is a million times safer for the baby than abortion.

                So if we are talking about reducing risks, and not forcing people to take unnecessary risks, then forcing the baby to participate in an abortion so that a mother can buy a tiny bit of safety is sick.

          2. This would be a fine counterpoint to the argument that abortions are unsafe. Which you know wasn’t made. Irrelevant point is irrelevant, joe.

            1. It’s also an argument that anti-abortion laws do not just restrict a woman’s right to self determination over her body, but infringe on her right to life itself.

          3. But at least 14 times less safe for the baby.

      6. Yes – but the majority of the public has a more nuanced view of the situation, and has rejected both extremes as untenable. Naturally, both camps are changing their opinions in an attempt to remain relevant and in front of their “followers”.

      7. “And if you believe in complete control over your body then you logically must favor abortion at the 8.999th month.”

        No, women have a choice during the first trimester. If they don’t take that choice then, they have implicitly consented to carrying a child.

        We set that line at the first trimester because it is quite clear that during the first trimester, a fetus is not a human being. In traditional Christianity, that is the time when a fetus receives a human soul. In biology, it’s the time when the nervous system has developed to the point where you might first consider it capable of any kind of action.

        That dividing line is conservatively early but well justified; before that time, we’re sure a fetus is not a human being, but afterwards, there is the possibility. There is a second line, much later, that represents the mirror image: before that line we aren’t sure whether we are talking about a human being, but afterwards, we are pretty certain.

        Neither of those two dividing lines are related to conception or birth. Conception and birth are biologically irrelevant and arbitrary from the point of view of personhood.

    3. The only way to prevent abortions any criminal act is to impose a bit of governmental authority.

      1. Really? So if someone attacks me, I should just take it until your precious government gets around to helping me?

        1. Once someone attacks you, a crime has been committed, regardless of your choice to resist or not. Your choice to take it or not take did nothing to prevent the attack from taking place. It only effected the result.

          My comment referred to the comment up thread, stating that the only way to prevent abortions from taking place, is by implementing government control, then using this as a reason against any political arguments against abortion. By that logic, she should be against any laws that are intended to prevent any form of crime.

          1. How do you suppose the government should go about preventing a woman getting an abortion?

            1. You will never prevent all women from getting an abortion, just like you will never prevent all murder or all rape. Just because something can’t be prevented, doesn’t mean that we don’t make it illegal. IF you believe an unborn baby is a life, and if you are against the destruction of life, then abortion should be made illegal.

              Laws against rape and murder implement government control over society, but I don’t see anyone arguing that we should repeal laws for rape and murder.

              1. So should we jail them until they give birth, or just assign them some social workers to follow them around?

                1. So should we jail them until they give birth

                  No, just require them to live in Mothercare Education Facilities until they demonstrate they can be trusted to follow Government guidelines on a plethora of parenting skills. Minimum five years. It’s for teh childrenz

                2. Exactly, just like we jail every other potential criminal.

                  Or, we could just treat abortion like every other crime in America, and prosecute the individuals after they have broken the law.

                  1. The only way to prevent abortions any criminal act is to impose a bit of governmental authority.

                    Your words.

                    1. Shirley’s logic was flawed, SugarFree. S/he said that if it requires government involvement, then she is against its prohibition. But that is true of real-live murder, too. It requires government involvement, but presumably s/he is not against a prohibition on that, though.

                    2. And free2booze wants to saber-rattle about preventing abortions with governmental force. I just want to know how we go about preventing abortions with governmental force.

                    3. And free2booze wants to saber-rattle about preventing abortions with governmental force. I just want to know how we go about preventing abortions with governmental force

                      Relax, take a deep breath, and reread the ENTIRE thread beginning with Shirley’s post. If you take the comments in context, you’ll see that your over reacting.

                    4. free2booze only used the word prevention because that was the word the person he was responding to used. He did not mean to imply that the government needs to hover around everybody to prevent abortion. Hence his statement, “Or, we could just treat abortion like every other crime in America, and prosecute the individuals after they have broken the law.”

                    5. My words… which I quoted as a response to a post up thread.

                      Your focusing on minutia, and avoiding the bigger point. Any time government enacts laws, they are imposing government authority. It doesn’t matter if the law is against murder, rape, theft, or in this case, abortion. If someone is against a law because of a concern over imposing government authority, then they have to be against all laws.

          2. ummm, government hasn’t determined pre-crime. The government doesn’t prevent crime, it punishes it.

            1. This is what my comment was in reference to:

              The only way to prevent abortions is to impose a bit of governmental authority.
              For me, that is sufficient to rule out any and all political arguments against abortion. At the political level, it’s no one’s choice but the individual involved.

              Punishing rape, murder, theft, etc, requires a level of government authority imposed on society, so does that mean we shouldn’t have laws to prevent/punish (take your pick) those crimes as well?

              1. fine, whatever. IMO you shouldn’t prevent abortion at all, so government authority shouldn’t be imposed.

              2. One could make the argument that making an act illegal will make that act less common, as people fear punishment for the act. This may or may not be the case. The (estimated) abortion rate was 13 per 1000 women ages 15-49 in 1972 (pre Roe v. Wade). It peaked in the early 1990s at about 25 per 1000 and is done to 16 per 1000 at the end of 2010. I’m not sure of how to interpret those numbers. Roe v. Wade certainly had an impact, but it seems as though things are getting back to where they were.

                Note that – even when abortions were illegal, they were rarely prosecuted. It’s damned hard to figure out if a woman has had an abortion if she does it early. I suppose one could always breach doctor-patient confidentiality though…

                I hope no one takes that last suggestion seriously…

    4. IOW, why is the initiation of force to prevent an abortion morally acceptable?

      Because some might see abortion as the initiation of lethal force against another living human.

      1. to them i say “fuck you up the ass”

        1. Actually that would be a solution to the abortion problem right there.

    5. Her body, her choice.

      In the context of rape, it should be a woman choice.

      But in the context of consensual sex, fair enough her choice, but then no man should ever be on the hook for a child he doesn’t want born. Fucking is a 50-50 proposition. If a woman chooses to bring the child to term according to her unilateral decision, then she have all the responsibilities. If a man is going to get stuck with 18+ years of responsibilities, he should be given some rights.

      Yeah, that’s right, I think men, again in the context of consensual sex, should have right to your uterus. You did let him use your vagina after all. I also think that if I, as a father (and I’m the father once that sperm enters the ovum), want the child, you should be required to bring that child to term. Of course, if you don’t want the child, I would release you from any child support obligation. Fair is fair.

      1. Oh and spare me about the bullshit women have to go through during a pregnancy. Whaaaa! Whaaa! It doesn’t fucking impress me. That is what women are made to do, to fucking give birth. Millions of years of engineering to bring an ovum to fruition. There are 7 billion people on the planet, it is hardly miraculous or, apparently difficult.

        1. Yeah, pregnancy and childbirth are a breeze, which is why so many women during the course of history DIED during pregnancy and childbirth. Even the primitive fucks who wrote Genesis knew that pregnancy and childbirth are terrible experiences.

          “I will greatly multiply
          Your pain in childbirth,
          In pain you will bring forth children;
          Yet your desire will be for your husband,
          And he will rule over you.”

          Until you join the ranks of the Uterati, shut the fuck up.

          1. “Uterati”…lol

          2. I generally agree with Troy, but “Uterati” was fucking brilliant.

    6. How do you define “initiation of force?”

    7. i have two daughters and have seen my fair share of ultrasounds. i’m pretty sure a baby still has a body even if it’s inside the mother. The mother doesn’t have the right to chose whether or not her baby lives. The baby has an inherent right to live, unless the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother. That’s the only moral case to authorize an abortion.

      1. It doesn’t have a body when it’s a zygote.

        1. Why not? Does a body require arms and legs? Seems arbitrary. A human body is made up of human cells, and a zygote is just a much smaller number of human cells.

    8. “The only way to prevent abortions is to impose a bit of governmental authority. For me, that is sufficient to rule out any and all political arguments against abortion.”

      Ok. So no laws against murder, rape, robbery, etc.

    9. “The only way to prevent abortions is to impose a bit of governmental authority. For me, that is sufficient to rule out any and all political arguments against abortion.”

      Okay, but that’s just an argument for anarchocapitalism. For the libertarians accepting minarchism, this is really just a question of what’s murder and what isn’t murder. Simply saying it involves government is an argument you could use against criminalizing anything, including the murder of adults.

  8. In California, being convicted of animal cruelty can get you up to a year in jail, and a $20K fine.

    1. animals are cuter than fetuses.

  9. Nine times out of ten I agree with Judge Napolitano 100% but this is one thing I DISAGREE with him on 100%. What he, Akin and the rest of the so-called “pro-lifers” don’t get is that outlawing abortion is not going to stop a SINGLE ABORTION any more than Prohibition stopped a single person from drinking. I have browsed the Internet on the subject of do-it-yourself home abortions and there are scores if not hundreds out there. And good luck trying to prosecute people for violating anti-abortion laws in this day and age. You’ll see cases of jurer nullification like you’ve never seen in recent history!

    1. Akin and the rest of the so-called “pro-lifers” don’t get is that outlawing abortion is not going to stop a SINGLE ABORTION any more than Prohibition stopped a single person from drinking.

      So, because a law doesn’t prevent the crime it is intended to stop, then the law shouldn’t exist? So much for laws against rape and murder.

      1. No law in history has ever prevented a crime from happening. In fact laws are far more likely to create crime by criminalizing activities people had already been engaging in (for good or for ill).

        That said, yes a law which cannot realistically be enforced on a consistant basis should never be allowed to exist.

      2. So, because a law doesn’t prevent the crime it is intended to stop, then the law shouldn’t exist? So much for laws against rape and murder.

        No I think what it has to do with is what goes on inside a woman’s body is none of your fucking business, except as noted above, in the context of consensual sex. Then the only people that have any business is the woman and the man she chose to have sex with. (and…ahem at the risk of sounding redundant but the man she voluntarily chose to have sex with).

        1. It is not a person’s business to commits acts of agression against another. We are not obligated to allow harm to others to occur.

    2. I get your point, but it’s incorrect to say prohibition doesn’t stop the targeted activity. If the government banned political speech by overturning Citizens United, would there not be a reduction in speech? If the government prosecutes doctors for prescribing “too much” of a painkiller, wouldn’t doctors prescribe fewer painkillers? There’s a difference between saying prohibition is less than 100% effective and saying it’s totally ineffective.

    3. True – and in fact, the abortion rate was probably higher before Roe v. Wade. What is clearly true is that the abortion rate declined every year from 1973 to 2000, before picking up again as the political atmosphere leaned towards restricting sexual knowledge.

      1. Uh, your made up facts are virtually the complete opposite of the actual facts.

        As one fellow poster mentioned earlier on in the comments:

        “The (estimated) abortion rate was 13 per 1000 women ages 15-49 in 1972 (pre Roe v. Wade). It peaked in the early 1990s at about 25 per 1000 and is down to 16 per 1000 at the end of 2010.”

  10. Unfortunately for Napolitano, this is not as clear cut an issue as say, enumerated powers, and he’s out of his depth here. To discount/ignore the good faith argument of women that a pregnancy is a part of their own bodies, and that the pregnancy is not wholly or immediately indicative that a separate human being has come into existence, is somewhat misogynistic in itself. Although I can only imagine what a pregnancy caused by rape would be like for a woman, it’s not a stretch for me to imagine that the pregnancy is not at all viewed as such, but rather as a manifestation of the violent act that caused it. Being a man, with my never being able to know this feeling, I have to side with pro-choice women on abortion.

    1. And as a man, I’m inclined to side with prolife women.

      1. A compelling argument.

        1. As compelling as suggesting that prolife women are “misogynistic.”

          1. “prolife women are ‘misogynistic.'”

            Did I suggest that? I suggested that a person of any gender who discounts or ignores that a rape victim might not view a resulting fetus as “her baby” but rather as something abhorrent, is misogynistic. This is especially the case if a man takes this stance, since he can have no possible empathy in this situation.

            1. If you say that a a prolife person “of any gender” is misogynistic, then yes you are including women in your misogyny charge.

              “To discount/ignore the good faith argument of women that a pregnancy is a part of their own bodies”

              Correct me if I am mistaken, but you seem to use “discount or ignore” as a synonym for “disagree.”

              1. “If you say that a a prolife person ‘of any gender’ is misogynistic, then yes you are including women in your misogyny charge.”

                No shit.

                “Correct me if I am mistaken…”

                It is possible that I could “disagree” with such an opinion, but still have sympathy enough to respect women’s right to choose. As for myself, I think abortion is murder, from conception on. But I cannot bring myself to support forcing women to abide by my extremely uninformed opinion.

              2. It just dawned on me… Do you not think women are capable of misogyny?

                1. It’s not categorically impossible, but being prolife won’t be enough to make you a misogynist.

                  The choicer side tries to claim a monopoly on Deep Concern for Women, attributing misogyny to their opponents. That makes it all the more interesting that abortion kills more females than males, including girl children killed *because* they’re girls. Sounds misogynistic to me.

                  1. I agree that the motive behind some abortions is misogyny. Good point.

  11. The egg of a bald eagle has more rights than a baby in utero. Hmmmm.

    1. Succinct and perfect.

      I will use this the next change I get against the pro-choice enviros in my family. “So, at what point in its development does the egg of a bald eagle become a bald eagle?”

      I suppose there are number of good comebacks but the pause while the idea is processing will be delicious.

      1. so you are going to equate the conception of an eagle with the rape of a human being? And what will you do when people laugh at you for such a ridiculous comparison?

        1. Of course not. That would be ridiculous.

          FWIW, I’m pro-choice with regards to politics and the law. Bully for me. I just find it more enjoyable to poke at the pro-choice activists because their arguments are often circular and/or dishonest.

          1. okay…I suppose illustrating absurdity by being absurd is a good approach.

            1. It is usually the quickest way, in personal conversations, to return the topic to something benign. Like the weather. Well, at least until the weather became the fault of AGW deniers.

    2. do eagles rape each other often? Slight difference between normal conception and one created by rape. Perhaps you can explain the difference to your daughter.

      1. Are human rights impaired by the means of conception? People who were conceived in rape have diminished rights? Of course not.

        The question re abortion is whether it kills a person or merely removes reproductive tissue. The way the person or tissue got there, however happy or sad it might be, is not relevant.

    3. There are no “babies in utero”. Prior to birth, the term is “fetus”. And prior to week 12, it’s called an “embryo”.

      These distinctions are scientifically, legally, and morally justified. An embryo, while important and worthy of some limited protection, is not equivalent to a human being.

      Trying to shift the debate through a misuse of terminology, like you do, is unacceptable.

  12. Frankly,

    I don’t give a flying fuck about abortion, from rape or otherwise. While in a completely happy world, all children would be welcomed, if a woman wants an abortion, I say give it to her. Determining personhood of a pre-born baby is an exercise in futility and the “all life is precious” meme is bullshit. Only your life is precious to you 99% of the time. See how quickly you flee from danger when its you or some strangers life on the line. Determining someone elses morals is laughable, you piece of shit. No, I don’t care about the finer points of discussion (is it double homocide if you kill a pregnant woman). Frankly, a jury of your peers can answer that.

    Akin’s comment was stupid for getting elected, but its really not much stupider than those that say they know when an egg and sperm become a human. They’re all fucking nuts.

    1. Wow, SOMEONE woke up on the wrong side of the padded cell this morning.

      1. these arguments bring out the stupid in people. Its never a good day when you wake up to find this on Reason.

    2. Once the sperm fertilizes the egg and the two sets of chromosomes begin to intertwine to form the strands of DNA there can be no question that a unique individual human has been created. There is absolutely no way that the impregnated woman will give birth to a starfish or a tyrannosaurus rex or a chimpanzee.

      Of course that doesn’t answer the question of when it should be conferred rights or personhood.

      1. I agree with this. Though it necessarily asks the scary question of whether there should ever be such a thing as humans who aren’t persons.

      2. Genetic uniqueness does not make you a human being, otherwise identical twins wouldn’t be distinct individuals. What makes you human is your higher brain functions. That’s why we define life and death that way and that’s why people without higher brain functions are considered legally dead.

        Higher brain functions certainly do not begin in the first trimester. Even Catholicism recognizes this by declaring that ensoulment takes place at the end of the first trimester. And that is why abortion during the first trimester is (and should be) fairly easy. Not unrestricted, because embryos are still valuable and worthy of some protection as potential human beings.

        But to treat embryos as equivalent to human beings is immoral and diminishes the value of human life, just like the perverse attempts by some to keep braindead patients alive.

  13. I too have always felt that the “except in case of rape or incest” pro-life position is unjustifiable. Why punish the child based on the ‘relationship’ of the parents at the time of conception?

    OTOH, if we are going to go that route I’m looking forward to being able to use the term “bastard child” again for children born out of wedlock. As in: “My brother, his girlfriend, and their bastard child are all coming for Thanksgiving”.

    1. the exceptions have long existed because the person clearly being punished by eliminating them is the rape victim. While some women who have been raped elect to see the pregnancy through, most do not because doing so would cause them to feel violated every day of the pregnancy.

      I am going to side with the person who was victimized. Those who disagree are welcome to preach to rape victims why they should carry to term. Good luck with that.

      1. “most do not because doing so would cause them to feel violated every day of the pregnancy”

        Really. If this is the case then it’s the opposite of my observation that women tend to assume ownership of their children before and after they are born and I will refer to the large number of custody cases where females fight for this and are most often assumed ownership.

    2. that child will be punished one way or another. best he doesn’t serve as a living reminder to violence. his childhood is unlikely to be happy.

      1. I met a women conceived in rape, and she was doing fine, thank you. She’s also a prolife speaker, fancy that!

        1. Naturally she’s a prolife speaker. She carries the rapist gene and speaks out in favor of the rapist gene. 😉

      2. I hear that a lot (and I tend torwards pro-choice from a legal standpoint if not a moral one). I think, however, that it is not particularly libertarian (uh-oh, a No True Scotsman argument!) to decide for yourself the worthiness of someone else’s existence, and to legislate that existence for them, no matter how likely you are to be correct.

    3. My question “why punish the child…” was rhetorical. Those advocatin exception are, in my opinion, opening themselves up for just that charge .

      Me? I’d advocate destroying the fetus and castrating the male. YMMV.

  14. I figure that personhood resides in the software, not the hardware. So, no, an early term fetus isn’t a person. The issue for me is when has the fetus acquired enough “software” to be considered a person. Second trimester? Fourth trimester? I’m willing to say “second” just to be on the safe side.

    1. Or, to put it in terms you nerds can understand, was Lt. Data a person after he was constructed but before he was programmed? No. After? Certainly.

      1. he was NEVER a person. He was a machine programmed with certain human feelings.

          1. that’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into, Ollie.

        1. he was NEVER a person. He was a machine programmed with certain human feelings.

          So what? If your definition of personhood means that you have to be a human being, I would suggest that’s extremely limiting.

            1. The real question is whether Noonien Soong was a murderer for dismantling Lore.

              1. Not murder, more like putting a person in a coma.

          1. randian,
            it’s only limiting if the dictionary and biology bother you. Humans are human, machines are machines. Data was given human-like abilities, but those were implanted by outside entities; they were not a natural part of him.

            1. In philosophy, personhood does not necessarily require one be a human being.

              1. you go ahead and argue for the sake of being contrarian.

                1. I love that whenever someone can’t keep up with the argument, they flail their arms and whimper “Contrarian Meanie Face!”

                  Grow up.

                  1. stop with the condescension all the time. It is as fucking tedious as your attempt to make circular arguments about shit like a robot being a person. Data is machine, not a human being. I get that you like to argue for its own sake, but keeping up with you is not that big a task.

                    1. Here’s a vote for condescension when appropriate, Randian. But that’s just me.

            2. The question was not whether Lt Data was a Human, there is no question of that, other than the brief period when Q turned him into one he was never a human.

              The question was whether Lt Data was a PERSON.

              More specifically, would a self aware machine warrant human rights, alternatively would a self aware genetically engineered species warrant them, or would an intelligent alien species warrant them or are “rights” conferred only by your DNA and if that is the case what exactly is it about ours that makes us so special and just how “human” does the DNA need to be to qualify?

              1. Johnny 5 says yes, a self aware machine warrants rights.

      2. He’s still a machine and a logical world would have relegated him as such his entire programmed existance. However, humans are emtotional and as soon as they became attached to him, they made him an honorary human.

        1. So, “soul” is your answer, then?

          1. up until the point where we can piece humans together from flesh and tissue without the need of growing cells, sure.

            BTW, we can’t even build a “Data” robot, so really we’re still well within the realm of science fiction and not in a real debate.

            1. I think “thought experiments” are an important part of the logical process.

    2. That’s about my stance too. At some point the brain is developed enough that it counts as a human person. And I do say human person, because I can’t deny that a fetus is human, at least as human as any part of my body. That’s not the issue for me, it’s if something is a person that matters to me. Some people believe personhood starts at conception, which is something I disagree with.

      1. Which basically means somebody can get enough brain damage that they are demoted out of personhood, right? Or is personhood irrevocable? What if you go through an experimental procedure that stops all higher brain function for an indeterminate period? Or you get frozen in carbonite and your brain goes into total stasis?

        Are you a person the whole time because you have the capacity to get your brain booted back up? If so, wouldn’t that suggest that a fetus should be a person since it will eventually develop into a fully functioning brain?

    3. the argument is irrelevant. its a sliding scale of personhood with no dividing line. If you want a bright line, birth is it.

      1. I’m not so sure why “birth” is such a bright line.

        1. because the thing is no longer requiring intravenous sustenance.

          1. That’s true but irrelevant. Are patients on life support not persons?

        2. birth speaks to viability outside the cocoon of the womb. Advances in technology have pushed viability far earlier than it used to be but a fair amount of the abortion debate has centerd on the question of “can the fetus survive outside the womb?”

      2. If you want a bright line, birth is it.

        So ten seconds prior to birth, the baby is not a person and can be terminated.

        Does that sound logical to you?

          1. No it doesn’t. If you do not like discussing abortion, that’s your thing, but try to be patently absurd.

            1. what the fuck. you ask whether it is logical that I consider something about to be born not a person (when I clearly said that I think birth is the bright line) and then you say im not logical. You may not like my line of logic, but that doesn’t negate it.

              1. You aren’t explaining it, though. What is the biologically significant event that a baby has undergone ten seconds after exiting the birth canal that it did not undergo ten seconds prior?

                What if the baby is half-in, half-out? Does he have to cross 50% of the vaginal threshold before he acquires rights? So at 49%, he can be eviscerated and discarded with impunity, but at 51%, you go to FPMITA prison for the rest of your life?

                1. *rolls eyes*

                  are we really going to get into birthing room debate here. If you want it to be entirely logical, fine. Abortion before the feeding tube is cut, Murder after. The number of cases where there was a live birth but then the run was killed on the operating table by request of the mother (and the doctor goes ahead) is going to be so small that it will make international news. But assigning an arbitrary line between trimesters is a hell of alot harder to determine and logically prosecute.

                  1. Abortion before the feeding tube is cut, Murder after.

                    What is the significance of the tube?

                    Could I leave it attached for a week and then kill my baby?

                    1. sure randian, go ahead. At this point, you’re the one arguing absurdity because we’re talking about giving a women the right to choose a baby or not and defining the point is just something that has to be done and picking random points in a childs development (which can be argued in a billion different ways in court) is futile and bound to cause strife (as we know). If there is to be a line in the sand, let it be upon a successful birth and removal of attachment to the mother. the ambiguity is gone and government intervention is minimized.

                2. You argue it’s legitimate to use government to save the lives of children by making abortion illegal, despite infringing on women’s inalienable rights.

                  Do you also believe it’s legitimate to use government to save the lives of children by funding children’s heath care coverage with taxes, despite infringing on people’s inalienable property rights?

                  Because I see no difference.

                  1. It’s a very interesting quandary of the resolution of conflict of rights. Legally, I think think the government should keep it’s nose out of it. But that doesn’t mean I have to morally support it.

                  2. Of course there is a difference, you twit.

                    A child without health care coverage has no one INFLICTING DEATH on her. She may be in a terrible world of hurt. She may be sick. But no doctor is about to ram a fucking spike into her head and suck out her brains.

                    There is a difference between defending someone from conscious initiation of force (a murder, or an abortion if you believe it to be terminating a human life) and making sure they have doctor appointments.

    4. “I figure that personhood resides in the software, not the hardware.”

      That’s why we refer to the mentally retarded as non persons.

      1. If the “software” is less than that of a 20-week fetus, then, maybe, yeah.
        Or was that supposed to be a “gotcha!”?

    5. There’s fairly good evidence that personhood resides in the hardware … but whereas a zygote and early stage fetuses do not have a brain, the point is moot as regards those cases.

  15. Why punish the child based on the ‘relationship’ of the parents at the time of conception?

    Indeed. Simply require the rapist to pay for the child’s entire upbringing.

    1. There are few states that give convicted rapists visitation rights.

  16. The whole post is based on the assumption that the fetus is a human. I do not subscribe to that statement.

    Else my morning omelet could have me arrested for cruelty to animals.

    If republicans really cared about human life, they would oppose executing convicts and drone strikes on Americans. But really the “Pro-Life” movement is based around religious people who want to prevent people from having sex for any reason other than procreation. Even if abortion was prohibited, the next thing on the ban list would be the pill and condoms.

    1. You live in a place that doesn’t let you eat chickens?

    2. It is patently retarded to declare that a fetus is not human. It ain’t no dolphin dipshit.

      Now is it a person with rights? Not sure.

  17. ” But isn’t the baby in a womb a person? Of course the baby in a womb is a person. The baby is produced by the physical interaction of two human parents, and every unborn baby possesses a fully actualizable human genome: all the material necessary to grow to adulthood and to exist independently outside the womb.”

    I disagree. The fully actualizable human genome is not the factor that makes one a person. ‘Fully actualizable’ applies to the vast majority of gametes, and nearly every cell in our bodies contain human genomes. There is nothing magic about a string of DNA. It is an unthinking, unfeeling collection of various combinations of AGCT. Fully actualizable could also apply to any male/female sex act. Do we want to enshrine our DNA as some kind of magical ‘mini-me’? Of course not. We would find ourselves in the moral environment of the dark ages.

    What makes a person is the actualized human brain. This does not pop into existence at the instant of conception. There is a fairly large window of time in the development from zygote to fetus wherein the fully actualizable is merely a lump of tissue, unthinking and unfeeling. I have no ethical problem with abortion occurring during this window of time.

    1. Once the brain does develop to a point of minimal functionality there is a person present. At this point you certainly are correct Judge. That person deserves and should have all of the protections that the law allows you and I.

      I am puzzled by anyone claiming to have been raped and wanting an abortion at some late stage of pregnancy. Perhaps they should have taken steps sooner.

      1. yeah, go ahead and open the floodgates of questioning motive. That’s why this fucking debate keeps going. Lets lock all women up and interrogate them to make sure their motives for abortion are pure. that’s the kind of world I want to live in.

        Also, personhood is completely subjective. There’s no instantaneous leap from zygote to full fledged fire fighter.

        1. “Also, personhood is completely subjective. There’s no instantaneous leap from zygote to full fledged fire fighter.”

          That was my point. Determining when personhood is the subject of debate here, and certainly one on which neither side will budge. I was trying to point out that taking the extreme position that the mere presence of ‘fully actualizable’ DNA constitutes personhood is absurd and morally hazardous.

          As for motive, I did not advocte questioning it, merely mentioned that I am personally puzzled by it sometimes.

          1. The argument over personhood can never be won. there will always be more information that one side will take as evidence of personhood and another that the child is still a zygote. Plus, its not like the mother knows exactly the date of conception so assigning dates and such is an exercise in futility.

          2. There is nothing about a 2 day old baby’s brain that is “Fully Actualizable”. A 2 day old baby lacks the ability to much more than suckle, breath and cry. And none of that is being driven by what we would consider consciousness.

            A baby develops to the point of consciousness through the power of her self actualized DNA. It, not her brain, triggers all the changes in her body that will allow a full brain to develop.

            Note that no egg, no sperm, nor your own skin cell, has the ability to self actualize. It is only when combined (in the case of the former two), or somehow altered to mimic a fertilized egg that they can do so.

    2. “What makes a person is the actualized human brain.”

      I understand that position, but the Supreme Court doesn’t share it – it allows abortion of fetuses with developed brains.

      Is this a problem worth addressing?

    3. It is always funny watching SoCons play scientist. Like watching little kids play army men. The idea that a ball of undifferentiated cells is ‘human’ because of its genetic complement is beyond horrifying and offensive.

      1. How is it not human? I mean I get the arguments of it not being a person with rights, but it’s not like the fertilized egg can turn into a unicorn inside the human mother.

  18. Personally – I don’t think these clearly religious views belong on this site. The judge’s abortion dogma is a very odd exception to the rules here, as I understand them.
    Judge – When a fetus requires no further incubation and ending the pregnancy would require specifically killing the (now) baby, that is wrong. Before this, when further incubation is required either in the mother’s womb or an atrificial one, continuing the pregnancy is the pregnant woman’s choice.
    Additionally, the practice of making abortion illegal, what it would be like where the rubber meets the road is almost unthinkably repugnant….Women being incarserated until they give birth, doctors being arrested, etc., etc. Are you sure your god wants that? Does your god tell you the morning after pill is murder too? It is more than embarassing to contemplate your cognitive functioning on this one Judge.

    1. what, should reason BAN protestations made on religious basis. A site that promotes free speech and freedom. I think you have no idea what reason is about if you believe that.

      1. Aaaa…Really, that’s what you think? It is the fallicies of his “argument” to which I am referring – baseless assertions, appeals to emotion…What he is putting forth here is worse than a cognitive zero. I believe his religeous views are to blame for that. What he gives us is neither journalism nor a reasoned polemic. What the hell is it supposed to be? My natural response to this kind of thing is “or so you keep saying.” Could you stop saying it here Judge? I don’t want to lose all respect for you.

    2. Whether you agree with the Judge’s views or not, they are consistent with his Natural Rights philosophy. The first and core right of Natural Rights is the Right to Life. Without the ownership and control of your own Life all other rights are forfeit.

      Since he believes that Life starts at conception he is being rational in his arguing that abortion at any time is immoral.

      That is why most of the arguments about abortion around here devolve into talks about when “Personhood” begins. It is not really a religious argument, but it like all of Libertarianism, is a moral argument.

    3. I totally agree. I’m no libertarian, but I nonetheless had great respect for Napolitano, at least until I read this piece.

      I must wonder why a so-called libertarian publication would run a piece agreeing 100% with the big government stance on abortion held by the GOP. It reminds me of how Ron Paul and his defenders try to say that prohibiting gay marriage is actually practicing small government.

  19. Only the Nazis would punish a child for the crimes of his or her father.

    Nazis and God via original sin.

    1. Original sin is Catholic doctrine developed hundreds of years after the birth of Christ. Highly questionable, in my opinion.

      1. I live here in the bible belt. All these fucking christians seem to love using original sin to justify why they should be able to tell you what to do.

  20. “most of that borrowing has been to pay for entitlements”

    what about unfunded wars killing many thousands of people for our oil security?

    “Only the Nazis would punish a child for the crimes of his or her father.”

    wow, this is a gem. what else do we do that resembles the nazis?

    “A society that prefers death to life not only cannot prosper; it cannot survive.”

    our society with legal abortion clearly prefers life, sustainable life.

    a society running an unsustainable economic system and resource consumption is going to result in an order of magnitude more deaths than abortion or the nazis ever have. common estimates of the population the earth can sustain after petroleum runs out are 1.5-2 billion people. we are aborting the whole planet’s life, so do you mr author prefer death to life? what would you change about our resource consumption?

    1. Oh look, another puerile knave who thinks we are all Republicans.

    2. our society with legal abortion clearly prefers life, sustainable life.

      there’s some full-blown head-on stupid in that it presumes that all abortions involves damaged collections of cells. That’s bullshit. Most abortions are elective and have absolutely nothing to do with the health of the fetus. If anything, a far stronger case could be made that most aborted fetuses, carried to term, would have produced sustainable lives.

      1. i agree the argument is ridiculous. I think the cost on the woman (and society for those that care) to prevent abortion is way higher than the cost of having the child (there, i can say it, no need to call it a fetus) aborted.

    3. “what about unfunded wars killing many thousands of people for our oil security?”

      Drill baby, drill. Except we have laws against it.

  21. At least The Judge follows the “life begins at conception” argument to its logical conclusions and doesn’t shy away, unlike most of the namby-pamby “pro-lifers.”
    I’ll give him that.

    1. and therein lies the heart of the problem with abortion as an issue – each side is entrenched in its absolutes of life beginning at conception vs beginning at birth. There is no room debate from that point.

      1. each side is entrenched in its absolutes of life beginning at conception vs beginning at birth. There is no room debate from that point.

        Except for those of us who think it happens somewhere in between.

        1. and you folks are marginally represented in the debate. Judge for yourself. I believe the original Roe v Wade ruling legalized abortion up to a certain point in the pregnancy. That distinction has gotten lost in the ensuing 40 years.

          1. It allows abortions for broadly-defined “health” reasons at any point. It is not a middle-of-the-road decision by any means.

            The moderates will not be able to get their position reflected in law until Roe gets overruled.

      2. No, there is a large contingent of people willing to admit a fetus is human life, but also support the idea that the woman’s right to control her own body trumps the rights of the unwelcome fetus.

        This is not a moral quandary for most people. Most people do not examine morals of a situation whatsoever.

        1. Really? (re the moral quandary). While I agree with your first statement, I’d submit that abortion is a really big moral quandary for most of those who pursue it (disclosure: I am male and therefore just supposing this) precisely because one cannot be certain if one is committing infanticide for selfish reasons. Give the average pregnant woman some credit. It’s a tough decision I’d think.

      3. Say what? I don’t know many “pro-choicers” who would argue that life begins at birth. (Of course, I don’t get out much.) I think “the heart of the problem” might be that both sides misunderstand or mischaracterize the arguments of the other, and that neither side fully recognizes and accepts the philosophical implications of what they, themselves, claim to believe.

        1. Ultimately, “pro-life” means we must at least consider locking up, perhaps executing the women and doctors who choose abortions; “pro-choice” means at least considering and explaining why those “fourth trimester abortions” are different from those in the second trimester.

          1. There’s is a fine place to draw a line: non-assisted viability. The moral difference between a 4-week-old fetus and a two-year-old is transferability of care.

            1. I don’t buy it, SF. But I do agree that “non-assisted viability” is a line that stands up much more vigorously to logical scrutiny than does “birth.”

              1. If you don’t want to care for a two-year-old you can’t transfer its care? Or do you think you can transfer a 4-week-old fetus to a different uterus?

                1. Sorry – I mean, although there is a good argument to be made for it, I don’t buy “non-assisted viability” as THE line where we should prohibit abortion.

                  1. You and your ambiguity will be the death of us all.

                    1. There is a story, probably apocryphal, that Mencken would rubber-stamp all his hate mail “You may be right” and return it.
                      I love that.

                  2. birth is an event. Everyone can define a beginning (within a few hours) of when it starts and when it ends. These other lines being promoted will have to be argued for years in courts to determine whether the zygote had a functioning heart, enough brain stimulation, etc.

                    1. birth is an event. Everyone can define a beginning (within a few hours) of when it starts and when it ends.

                      So is conception.

                    2. So is conception.

                      Which is 5 seconds after Epi-three-pump-chump-siarch has his orgasm.

                    3. Yes but it is almost impossible to know when that happens in a natural setting (as opposed to a petri dish)

                      Sperm can live inside a womans Uterus for up to a week and remain viable iirc.

                      Further given the HUGE quantity of fertilized eggs that fail to implant into the Uterine wall and are subsequently flushed in the next menstrual cycle (somewhere between 60 and 80% of them

                    4. Argh, damn end quotes.

                      The link was here…

                      http://discovermagazine.com/20…..t:int=2-C

                      The rest of the text read…

              2. This standard would allow for greater restrictions on abortion as technology advances, making viability earlier and earlier. Eventually we’ll develop artificial wombs where the embryo can be transferred right after conception. Then what rationale will there be for abortion?

        2. pro-choicers tend to argue life begins at birth because it makes them feel better about supporting choice. Admitting that life begins at birth would, in essence, be saying that abortion is murder and they are not going to do that.

      4. The Jewish view is that the “child” is not a person until its head exits from the mother.

      5. “each side is entrenched in its absolutes of life beginning at conception vs beginning at birth. There is no room debate from that point.”

        Neither the abortion debate nor any other hard-core issues like this (budget, etc) will be resolved by formal debates.

        In the case of abortion, many people are changing their minds, in a prolife direction, due to the increased sophistication of ultrasound technology.

        So it’s not static, there is room foe movement.

  22. OMFG the stupid burns.

    Ok I usually like the Judge but here he commits the type of economic and logical fallacies you usually see from progressives.

    1) ” The consequences of this slaughter are vast lost generations of human beings who were denied by the law the right to live.’

    Incorrect, while it is true that without abortion population growth would likely have been ever so slightly higher than it has been this statement presupposes that every pregnancy which terminated in abortion would have occurred in a world were abortion was illegal, and that pregnancy would have been carried to term and born live. Further it assumes that every other pregnancy which was not aborted would similarly have occurred.

    This is categorically not true however, a woman who gets pregnant and aborts the child only to later have N children would almost certainly had stopped having children at N ergo one of her subsequent children would never have been concieved in the first place and the impact to population would have been 0. It is also a certaintly that in a world where abortion was illegal some abortions would still have been illegally performed, other pregnancies would have miscarried and most importantly more women would have been much more careful and selective about when they had sex and with whom leading to fewer total conceptions.

    1. 2) “. The economic consequences from which we all suffer today — entitlements too costly to afford and too few wage earners to pay for them — are directly attributable to the absence of population growth”

      This makes the fantastical assumption that those million unwanted babies would have all grown to be healthy productive humans even in the face of the fact that they would have overwhelmingly been born to poor inner city minority women, grew up in government housing projects, and recieved substandard educations. In fact there are some economists who credit abortion for the plummeting crime rates that began miraculously enough 18 years after Roe v Wade.

      This also makes the morally abhorrent assumption that those women owe those babies to society, the kind of thinking that one typically only finds in overtly fascist states.

  23. Some Democrats, notably Sen. Bob Casey (PA), are also pro-life. I wonder where they come down on “except in cases of rape and incest?”
    Casey is up for re-election, so he may really be ducking the blowback from the Atkins “scandal.”

    1. since they are pro-life Dems, their view on this is largely ignored. You may recall Casey’s father was denied a speaking spot at the Dem convention during the Clinton years because of his pro-life stance.

    2. http://www.ontheissues.org/senate/Bob_Casey.htm
      Exceptions to save life of mother, rape incest. (Nov 2004)

      I didn’t see it anywhere on his campaign website.

      It’s also worth remembering that the Democratic party tolerates more diversity of opinion than the Republican party, particularly since the 2008 election.

      1. That’s downright funny joe.

  24. Abortion is the price we all must pay, until people evolve and treat sex and reproduction with greater respect. A fetus is Biological property, and is treated as if was acne. Making it an issue of law will not lead to the desired outcome. Black Market for Drugs, Alcohol, Prostitution, Gambling, and now looks like even guns soon will be under such scrutiny. But Prohibition on Abortion, the violence would be almost unimaginable.
    Mature Adults with real solutions or ideas must control the debate. Not with force or extremism, but with true Rational Thought.

    1. welcome to the madhouse. Now get a commenter name.

    2. So utilitarianism, then. Gotcha.

      1. utilitarianism that atleast doesn’t promote government intervention. I’m kind of OK with that.

    3. true Rational Thought.

      As opposed to false rational thought?

      1. Or Forcible rational thought.

  25. Uh. In Jewish Law significant mental distress on the part of the “mother” is reason enough for abortion. Whose moral code must be followed?

    1. Actually such distress requires abortion in Jewish Law.

  26. Yeah, you have to adopt some pretty horrifying positions once you declare that an embryo is a person, if you’re interested in being consistent.

    So stop.

    1. Not much different, though, than declaring the embryo a non-person. In other words, why should abortion be rare? If the unwanted fetus is analagous to a tumor then its removal should be celebrated, no? With pride maybe. Have a party.

      If you’re interested in being consistent, that is.

      1. My belief is that it should be a woman’s choice, and that her emotions are also her own business. I think I’m consistent: government shouldn’t be making a value judgment or otherwise poking its nose in where it doesn’t belong. The only scenario in which it might matter to me whether abortions are rare or commonplace is if the human species is near extinction, a la President Roslin’s declaration after the destruction of the 12 Colonies.

        1. T o n y went all “Battleship Galactica” on us? I, for one, did not see that coming.

          1. It was odd to me that they would be concerned about maximizing baby output while they were still in space with precariously limited resources, but if you want to rebuild the species you gotta start pumping them out sooner rather than later, I suppose.

            1. Tony, pretending to give half a shit about the rights of filthy, breeding straight people.

              How cute.

              1. He’s not giving a shit about their rights, that’s the point. He’s saying that were we on the brink of extinction, he’d take away the rights of heteros to abort their children and force them to bear them.

  27. I know how to solve this issue: Artificial uterusesessss. Get the fucking uterus out of the woman. Even then I don’t think that would resolve the philosophical issues of personhood. However, it would resolve legal issues. It would be either a contractual or property issue. If I bought the uterus, then the prouduct of that uterus would be mine as would the responsibility.

    Yes, that means Steve Smith would be responsible for whatever abomination he chose to spawn from his uterus.

  28. Why is this on Reason.com? Napolitano is a faux-Libertarian. He espouses Libertarian beliefs when it suits him, then switches to right-wing, Tea Party, I-get-to-tell-you-how-to-live-your-life nonsense like this. The social engineers of the far right are 180? from the libertarian principle of self ownership and self determination. This article, and frankly Napolitano himself, has no place here.

    1. I’ve found that I disgree with the judge, so far, on 2 issues. 1) abortion, and 2) the existence of natural law.

      Yes, I agree with the judge that we are imbued with rights. How? I have no fucking idea. But I won’t invent any hocus pocus. IMHO, natural rights dogman is tautalogical. Humans have rights because they are human.

      1. If rights are not something inherent, and depend on the government’s grant, then you quickly reach conclusions that most people would consider ridiculous, such as concluding that the Holocaust did not violate the rights of any of its victims.

        1. What rights did Jews have under Hitler? What can be meaningfully said about their supposed rights in that situation?

          Civilized people can roughly agree on a spectrum of rights, and they can add to and refine it over time.

          But natural rights proponents invariably seem to just want them to exist so they don’t have to face the fact that otherwise a) it takes government to secure rights and b) people can legitimately disagree with you about what rights should exist.

          1. If you believe in natural rights, you still have a right even if you are unable to enforce them. That’s why it makes sense for natural rights people to talk of rights being violated.

            If rights are just whatever the government says they are, then a government is by definition incapable of violating the rights of its citizens.

            That’s the distinction: natural rights distinguishes between posession and enforcement of rights; dependent rights doesn’t.

            1. Yeah that’s what I said: you’ve adopted a belief in magical rights because otherwise you’d have to acknowledge that there is no such things as rights without government protecting them. But your need to see government as a force for evil doesn’t make magic exist.

              Rights were invented by human beings; they do not exist in the fabric of the cosmos. Thus they need to be maintained by human beings, generally through government.

              1. That’s like saying if someone successfully steals my car, it’s magical thinking to say I’m still the owner since I can’t enforce that ownership anymore.

                1. You’re still the owner because the law says you are. Not because you merely assert it. If that were the case, the thief would in fact be the new owner.

        2. IOW it’s an is/ought situation. You say there are certain rights. Rationalists say their should be certain rights.

          People claiming the existence of magical things invariably want to be the sole arbitrator of what those things consist of, which is convenient since those things are invisible. There’s a right to private property, but not healthcare or abortion. Why? Because Judge Napolitano says so?

          1. It’s even more convenient for statist to say that all rights come from the state and can be agreed upon by “the people”.

            So I guess “the people” of California and Texas were okay in denying gays the ability to marry (or divorce too, in the case of Texas)?

  29. As someone who considers myself to be pro-life, I consider abortion to be in all cases, a tragedy. I am not so arrogant however, to believe that my opinion is absolute.

    Not many are willing to accuse a woman of murder, nor are many comfortable punishing a woman with jail time, for choosing abortion. This is because there is a lot of uncertainty in the definitions of person, human, baby, etc..

    Insisting that those who are opposed to abortion stick to the letter, is simply a tactic to discount their opposition. Life is messy. There are rarely perfectly clarified positions.

  30. If the fetus is a person, than isn’t the fetus also guilty of rape? If I forcibly inserted my arm into a woman’s uterus, I’d be guilty of rape and it would be perfectly legal for the woman to use deadly force to defend herself from me. Isn’t she justified in using deadly force to defend herself from the fetus as well?

    1. WTF? If you were trying to be funny, I missed it.

      1. The FBI currently defines rape as “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim”. Explain how what the fetus is doing in an unwanted pregnancy does not meet that definition?

        1. Where is the penetration? BTW, penetration is: The action or process of making a way through or into something.

          Considering a woman grows a baby from an egg that is produced in her own body, in an area of the body there specifically for that purpose, it is not penetration. Even if it fit the definition, it would still be a ridiculous idea.

  31. My current position is that abortion should be allowed up to 26 weeks, the point where babies have been born, and lived. These abortions should not be taxpayer funded. It is entirely to contentious of an issue for that. Also, abortions performed after 26 weeks should not incur criminal penalties. Ideally, I think that the medical community should agree to a standard, and not leave it up to the government.

    Planned parenthood should be aborted. Churches, charitable organizations, and adoption agencies should be allowed to provide aid and advice, without government interference.

    Mostly, I’d like to see this issue out of the forefront of political discussion. It is a distraction from much more important issues.

    As for Akin, as I interpret what he said, it was not nearly as incorrect, or terrible as portrayed. The stupid was mostly in talking about abortion to begin with. When asked, he should simply have re-directed the interview to something that he would likely have influence on, and is vastly more important, spending and taxes.

    1. If nothing else, no taxpayer funds for PP, for anything. Make them fund themselves 100%.

      1. As long as the government is paying for healthcare services, they can’t single out one provider and deny them participation in the program because of their political views (please see: bills of attainder, first ammedment, etc.)

        1. PP wouldn’t be the only non-governmental entity I’d do that to, Dragon. None of them should be getting taxpayer funds.

          1. And it shouldn’t be about “because of their political views”, Dragon.

            1. And yet PP was the one you picked out for specific attention. Why not, say, the Catholic Hospital System, which gets far more public funding than PP?

              1. Planned Parenthood’s purpose for existence has been documented to be primarily to promote and make abortion affordable and accessible. Considering that a fairly large portion of the population has serious moral issues with abortion, it is wrong to involve tax payer money in it. And, yes, that goes for non-defensive wars also…

                What does the large portion of the public have against a hospital system sponsored by the Catholic church?
                But, yes, federal for hospitals should not exist either, or for schools, bike paths, wind farms………..

                1. Planned Parenthood’s purpose for existence has been documented to be primarily to promote and make abortion affordable and accessible.

                  So an organization that was started in 1916 was primarily created to provide a procedure that was not legal until 1973. Yet another interesting fact from the Paranoid SoCon’s bizzaro history of the United States.

                  1. No, in 1916, their primary purpose was to provide birth control, unless you accept the theory that Margret Sanger was more interested in eliminating minorities and the poor. Just because they didn’t provide abortions in the early years, doesn’t eliminate the possibility that that is their purpose now.

                    Regardless, they should receive no federal funding.

                    1. Abortions are less than 10 percent of the services they provide now. They’re still primarily about other things.

                      And yes, they should receive no federal funding, but only because the federal government shouldn’t be funding healthcare in general. But you’re not making that argument. You’re perfectly fine giving billions to Catholic Charities that agree with you politically. So if we’re going to fund them, then we ought to fund PP too.

                    2. Um…quoting myself…”
                      But, yes, federal for hospitals should not exist either, or for schools, bike paths, wind farms………..”

                      I did miss a word in there ‘funds’, but I think it was perfectly clear what I meant.

                    3. Except it was undermined by your “What does the large portion of the public have against a hospital system sponsored by the Catholic church?”, as though there’s some distinction between PP and The Catholic Charities based on how popular they are with certain segments of the public.

    2. I too think that viability of the fetus outside of the mother is the best place to make a compromise between the rights of a pregnant woman and the nacent rights of a developing human being.

      It’s not perfect, but it’s better than all the alternatives.

      1. I don’t think there is a perfect solution when taking into account the imperfection of human kind. Any solution must involve compromise.

  32. A woman’s body a woman’s choice. The only moral decision is her’s to make. End of discussion

    1. If so, then men should have a right unto themselves that only affects men, as abortion only affects women.

      Then again, “my body, my choice” should cover more than just abortion.

      1. Why? You suddenly for arbitrary egalitarian requirements for rights?

        How about men have the right to have an abortion too, should they get pregnant.

        1. Fuck, no. Egalitarianism is another unobtainable pipe-dream. I’ll stick with liberty-flavored pipe dreams, thanks much.

          Seriously? “Men have the right to an abortion”? And you call yourself college-educated.

          1. I notice you glossed over the idea of “my body, my choice” being expanded to ALL humans. That speaks volumes about how you view individualism, Tony.

            1. I fully support a man’s right to choose an abortion, should he get pregnant. I agree that people should have domain over their own bodies for other purposes too. What are you claiming I don’t support?

              1. Men can’t get pregnant, and likely never will be able to get pregnant, for that matter.

                Therefore, your premise is full of stoopid.

                Members of your Team want to control what we put into our bodies – cigarette smoke, HFCS, natural and/or man-designed drugs, et cetera. Therefore, your claims of giving a quarter-shit about “domain over their own bodies” is as bogus as anything you say in favor of leftism.

              2. Your viewpoint on one’s self-autonomy over their bodies strangely seems to end when it comes to loading oneself with trans-fat laden junk food.

                1. Good catch, Proprietist.

                  Even supposed Republicans like Bloomberg want to get in on the body-policing act.

                2. I’ve never endorsed food bans of any kind, especially as I’m a big fan of foie gras.

                  1. From you, circa two days ago: “One fat person is his problem. A nation of fat people is our problem.” But it’s each of those lard-asses’ own bodies, and you really have no right to have any say or control over how they eat and whether they do or don’t exercise. Either government has the right to control our bodies or they don’t. Make up your mind already.

                    1. He doesn’t have to, only libertarians, and others to his right have to have any resemblance to consistency.

                    2. There’s a big difference between government banning abortion and government trying to reduce the number of abortions with education, access to birth control, and other measures.

                      Similarly, there’s a big difference between the government banning fatty foods and the government trying to reduce the number of fat people with education, access to healthy foods, and other measures.

    2. “end of discussion”

      Hahahahahahahaha. Ha. Nice try.

    3. I have real issues with this, but not to the point of requiring force. I think that if two people produce a child, that if one wants the child, and is willing to support the child after birth, that the woman should do the right thing and carry to term.

      Mostly, I wish people would behave better, but I’m not comfortable with making them.

      1. It’s a no-win fight, but at least get the federal-level intrusion out of the argument.

    4. I coudln’t agree more. and that reasoning should apply to every part of your person including bloodstream.

    5. “A woman’s body a woman’s choice” – translation: a man has no say over his own offspring.

      Abortion is simply a feminist power trip.

      1. So you think men should be able to force their partners to have abortions? Or that men should be able to force their partners to bear an unwanted child?

        That seems like a misogynist power trip.

        If both parties agree, then nobody cares. If the parties disagree, we defer to the woman because pregnancy affects her more significantly than it affects her partner.

    6. I’m cool with that. But don’t come crying to me that you want me to support the little shit when YOU decide to keep it.

  33. Abortion is today the most frequently performed medical procedure in the United States. American physicians perform about two abortions every minute of every hour of every day

    I didn’t realize abortion was that prevelant. I’m still not ready to say it should be federally banned, but it does say something about our society. Specifically it says that we’re a bunch of bastard coated bastards. I already knew that, but it’s nice to have confirmation that human beings, in general, are a bunch of sick sadistic assholes.

    1. Abortion is today the most frequently performed medical procedure in the United States.

      I’m calling bullshit on this statistic.

      1. For maximum irony: there are 1.2 million abortions in the US each year. There are 1.4 million c-sections in the US each year. And that’s setting aside things like blood transfusions, biopsies, venipunctures, etc. that probably dwarf the number of abortions by an order of magnitude or more.

      2. I’m inclined to agree that it’s a bullshit statistic. It probably depends on some kind of weird definition of “medical procedure”. Like maybe he really means “elective surgical procedure”. Who the fuck knows.

  34. How about I make decisions for the contents of my own body and you do the same for yours? And although I appreciate the wailers outside the abortion clinic, it must just gall you as I walk in there with a smile on my face and KILL MAH PRESHUSH BABBY. I’ll pay for it myself, btw, and I’ll donate to organizations that help women pay for their own abortions, without government help. Everyone wins! *throws glitter*

    1. Since men can’t get pregnant, men should also be able to make decisions for the contents of their bodies, as well.

    2. See there? Pride. I like it. Lepus, if you ever decide to throw a party after you KILLED YO PRESHUSH BABBY I’ll come. And I’ll bring glitter.

      Fuck rare. There are still way too many unwanted babies and people unable to support their children. I say more abortions. We need ribbons too. Are there any colors left? And I think every WIC check ought to come with the suggestion to abort any future contents of a woman’s body (whatever that may be) that she can’t support without the government’s help.

      1. OR… they could try *not* getting pregnant. For a change.

        1. Stop wearing those slutty miniskirts, for one thing.

  35. I typically enjoy articles from Reason and have long considered them a source of valuable, well thought out content. This article takes that ideas and crushes beyond belief. The author blindly states what is moral without first considering what it means to be moral. Ignorant assumptions are made as to the human state of a fetus. Completely ridiculous associations are made to irrelevant organizations in what appears to be an attempt at drawing negative connections between the two. This article is a perfect example of a stance not based on reason. It is simply ironic that it appears on a site with this name.

    1. “For a magazine called Reason…”

    2. For a site called Reason…

    3. oooo….still before 11:00am here in Colorado. I needed some scotch. Thanks.

    4. Not all Reason writers share the same beliefs. And libertarians hold a wide diversity of views on abortion because it is an inherent conflict of individual rights.

  36. Well, it’s been fun reading all these comments. Can we all just agree that the good Judge should continue writing about actual government abuses and stay the fuck out of a topic about which he has nothing interesting to say?

    1. Corollary to that… can we all just agree that anyone – on either side of this issue – who only votes based on how they feel about this issue – needs to keep that shit to themselves, at the very least?

      “Turbos”, as Boortz describes them, are anti-abortionists on the far-right; whatever one would call their extremist one-issue counterparts, we should all be able to agree both sides are fucking annoying.

      1. But the GOP is waging a WAR ON WOMYNZ and it must be stopped!

        1. If the GOP is doing such, then there can be no doubt that Team Blue is waging a war on individualism and capitalism. Can’t take the former theory without the latter.

          1. Why not?

            There’s a lot of “based on this stupid nonsense premise I hold, it must be the case…” going on here.

  37. If person didn’t “mentally resist” the sex, how can it be rape? I don’t get it.

    1. I can think of several ways all involving the lack of ability to provide consent.

      In otherwords, just because she enjoyed it does not mean it was not rape.

      Just a few…

      Statutory rape
      Taking advantage of impared judgement
      Mentally Incompetant
      False representation of who you are (ie. she agrees to have sex with who she thinks you are but that person is not you and you don’t bother to inform her of the difference)

      1. Passed out.

      2. An 18 y/o having consensual sex with his 16 y/o gf is not rape.

        If you are both impaired who raped who?

        False representation would be fraud, but I’m not sure how it’s rape.

        1. An 18 y/o having consensual sex with his 16 y/o gf is not rape.

          Would you say the same thing about a 35 year old and a 14 year old, even if the 14 year old consents (obviously not legally)

          If you are both impaired who raped who?

          An obvious question that I never see get addressed in cases of drunk sex (I have never once heard of a guy accused of rape in a situation like this file rape charges against the girl in response), however that is why I said “taking advantage of”. If you are both drunk I would not really call that rape, if only one of them is and the other takes advantage of that I could agree that it is.

          False representation would be fraud, but I’m not sure how it’s rape

          Oh I can VERY easily see it being rape, both legally and in the impact it has on the other persons psyche.

  38. There are imho four logical positions on abortion:
    1.) abortion always illegal (including rape and incest)
    2.) abortion always legal up to the moment of birth
    3.) abortion legal only prior to fetal brain function/pain reception
    4.) abortion legal only prior to technical autonomous viability.

    The first two asserts one of the two parties’ rights as unimpeachable over the other’s. The latter two seek a logical legal cutoff point that both gives a mother a chance to terminate an unwanted pregnancy and that protects the fetus once it has developed to a certain point.

    I find myself torn between the two positions, since by #3, the fetus is now reasonably human and feels human pain. However, if a doctor surgically removed the fetus from the womb without causing it direct harm, it would still die. This would technically not be abortion, but the outcome would be the same, just slowly.

  39. Here’s a problem for the “rape” exception:
    Lets say I bang a chick, and she gets pregnant. She wants to abort, but if they make only rape and life of the mother exceptions to an abortion ban, then she could just say I raped her.
    She gets her abortion, I get penalyzed as a sex offender.
    For her, win-win. For me lose-lose.

    1. I agree that making abortion illegal has all sorts of unintended consequences.

  40. Reason, I really appreciate you publishing this column.

    1. I read your comment as sarcasm because that’s what I was thinking when I read the headline. “jesus, here we go.” The comments section here is worse than youtube’s.

  41. What the judge advocates is the continuation of the reproductive enslavement of women.

    Can there be no end to that?

    A zygote is not a baby.

    1. As I stated earlier, I’m not a proponent of abortion being completely illegal. However, this is a stupid argument. It is not reproductive enslavement to expect a woman to be responsible for the consequences of their own actions. It’s not like there are many cases of women getting pregnant who didn’t know pregnancy was a possible consequence. If she chooses to give birth, the dad is expected to support the child. What’s the difference?

      By that logic, I should be able to take out a loan to fund a trip to Fiji, and when I get back, refuse to pay it back without any repercussions.

      Like it or not, actions have consequences.

      1. “By that logic, I should be able to take out a loan to fund a trip to Fiji, and when I get back, refuse to pay it back without any repercussions.”

        I agree with you, unfortunately a lot of pro-choicers would probably look at your analogy and think it is sensible. After all, they think someone else should pay the tuition for their Marxist feminist dance theory major.

        1. Sadly, I suspect you are correct. If you are poor’ish for whatever reason, society owes you. I expect most progressives take the side of the grasshopper in the parable of the ants and the grasshopper.

      2. Forcing a women to bear a child that was forced upon her by rape is reproductive enslavement.

        The historical legacy of women being held as the property of men is still very much in residence in the awareness of many women and they do view legislation that is as gender based as abortion laws as a continuation of that legacy.

        If an exception can’t be made for rape, that may be consistent, it is not just, for it would mean that women do not have the right of self ownership.

        If an exception may be made for rape, then that would mean that fetuses to not have the right of self ownership.

        Of course actions have consequences.

        What are the consequence of forcing women to bear the product of a rape?

    2. I’m not a baby either. Humans have multiple stages of development. That was a bad line to end on.

  42. I won’t bother addressing the inane comments about impregnation. But I for one applaud the “legitimate rape” line.
    Rape is one of the most horrific crimes imaginable, and I hate tha fact that it has been trivialized and diluted so much that these days the word “rape” does not carry the gravity it should, instead it is nearly meaningless.
    18 year old having sex with a 17 year old girlfriend? RAPE!
    Picking up a girl ina bar without giving her a breathalyzer first? RAPE!
    Woman on a date says yes to sex because she feels mildly uncomfortable about saying no? RAPE!
    All sex in this patriarchal male dominated mysogynistic world? RAPE!

  43. I think what the Judge, and many of those who would stand with him on this issue, is that pregnancy isn’t as simple as fertilization – out pops baby.

    Pregnancy reeks significant change on the female form, most of which isn’t all together pleasant if you haven’t accepted the responsibility. It requires drastic alterations in lifestyle, incurs significant expense (which brings up the question of who is supposed to pick up the tab for this since the mother had no choice in the matter?), and in the end results in drastic pain even in the face of modern medicine.

    The judge talks about the rights of the supposed child but what about the mother? Can you really imagine having to live nine months with CONSTANT reminder of a horrible travesty done upon you. You really think that after she was completely violated she must then undergo another 9 months of agony and change when she did nothing wrong…. (CONT…)

    1. (CONT.)
      He also seems to fail to consider long term psychological effects on the mother and the welfare of the supposed child when it is born and quality of life issues. Hormones and chemicals in the brain (Oxytocin being a main factor) cause the mother to become extremely attached to said infant whether she wants to be or not. If she chooses to give the baby away she will be wracked with that agony and suffering for the rest of her life, again for something in which she was completely innocent. If she chooses to keep the baby you cannot tell me that issues will not arise in the relationship between the mother and the child due to its patronage and that when it discovers its origins it will not be wracked with its own wave of psychological trauma.

      I tend to agree with the judge on a lot of things, but in this he is just so wrong. He, and those agree with them, are placing the welfare of a few cells above the abject suffering of an actually conscious individual, which I find demeaning to humanity.

      1. Also, live birth is 14 times more likely to result in the death of the mother than abortion.

        http://health.usnews.com/healt…..udy-claims

    2. Who should pick up the tab if the mother falls and breaks her leg? Or gets cancer? After all, she had no say in the matter…
      It’s ridiculous. The only issue at hand here are the rights of two individuals in conflict; the mother and the baby. And traditionally we, as a society, have declared that the right to life is paramount and trumps most other rights.
      So, the question is not how the baby was conceived but rather when we decide to grant personhood. Conception? Birth? Eighteen? Pick a number, any number…

      1. I think your conflating things slightly. In this case the state is by the nature of the hypothetical law, and the rapist have forced an expense on the woman in question that she would otherwise not have to bear. You are essentially saying she should be forced to pay for being raped.

        Conveniently you ignore all my other statements which was my entire point. You are over-simplifying the situation to fit your morality. The morality is paramount here but it has to reflect the complexity of the issue.

        1. To expand slightly on my first point, the examples you mention are things that happen by chance. Things that simply happen. However, in the case the expense is the DIRECT result of the immoral actions of a specific individual. Which is why they cannot be conflated.

  44. Is Andrew Napolitano a justification for abortion?

  45. Judge, my child. I supported your Mom’s right to aborting you, but she chose otherwise.

    Please say hi to that Napolitano sucker for me. Thank God he saved me from making child support payments.

  46. Hasn’t there been some research done on the demographic impact of roe vs wade? I believe the book “Freakonomics” looked took a stab at this. The book talks about lower-incomes having the majority of abortions and the “possible” impact of this on lower crime rates. This would also turn Mr. Napolitano unsupported population growth argument further on its head. Lower-income children would likely mean a larger burden to ongoing entitlements.

    1. It did actually, though the authors specifically say that they are looking at it in a statistical manner and that it shouldn’t be used (and that they aren’t advocating one way or the other) as a justification.

      Essentially there is great evidence to show that it wasn’t in fact new laws and such that ended the massive crime waves of the late 70’s and 80’s in the 90’s.

      Numerically speaking the demographic most likely to commit crime is men of the ages to 18-25 years old. Also studies show that there is a link between a higher amount of criminal activity and the enviroment a child grows up in, which happen to be a high percentage of the abortions. Basically a large percentage of fetuses aborted would grow up to be young men more likely to commit crime.

      However, due to the passage of Roe v. Wade many such children were never born, so there was ~20 years a decline in the demographic most likely to commit crime.

      1. that should be ~20 years later*

    2. Except that your economic status at birth is not your caste for life.
      I was born into a poor, single-parent household to a mother without a high-school diploma.
      I worked my way through college and while not one of the evil 1% (yet) I am firmly in the 10%

      1. While we all applaud you for working your way out of that situation, your story simply isn’t the norm. Statistically, someone born in the lowest income bracket is most likely to remain there for life – de Rugy showed data to that fact a month or so ago. And statistics, not personal anecdotes, are all that matter for the crime rate.

  47. Judge, my child. I supported your Mom’s right to aborting you, but she chose otherwise.

    Please say hi to that Napolitano sucker for me. Thank God he saved me from making child support payments.

  48. The above argument–that without legalized abortion we could better afford entitlements–is a jaw-dropper–coming from Reason magazine. It’s also absurd.

    On balance, without abortion, surely more women already on some welfare entitlement would produce more children than those self-sufficient or married mothers who don’t rely upon any entitlements. Thus we would have yet more takers and fewer providers.

    Abortion is immoral. But tilting the human gene pool toward irresponsibility by the forced proliferation of genetics from mothers who would otherwise destroy their own children–children conceived, almost by definition, with an irresponsible man as well–spares the lives of those unborn babies at the increasing expense of children already under our care.

    http://whatdirectdemocracymigh…..-morality/

    1. “The above argument–that without legalized abortion we could better afford entitlements–is a jaw-dropper–coming from Reason magazine”

      I think Napolitano meant that when the current entitlements were planned back in the 1950s and 1960s, they were expecting then-existing birthrates to continue, and abortion is a contributing factor to why these programs are bankrupting us. He wasn’t advocating for better or even the current entitlements, just that the current ones would have been more fiscally sound.

      However, I’m not convinced that the birthrate is significantly lower than it would have been without Roe V. Wade. Later, planned births may not have happened had abortion been banned and mothers been forced to carry a prematurely conceived baby to term. Single young mothers are often inherently disadvantaged to find a stable partner and start a planned family.

  49. Solution found!

    Remove Fetus intact from mother in all abortions. If it can survive with medical assistance offer it up to all those lovely adopting Pro Lifers. If it dies then it was a parasite unable of sustaining and is not covered under the same legal protections as human beings.

    Damn I’m smart 🙂

    1. Yeah, I’ve been saying that for years. It’s a logical challenge that pro-lifers have to address. If the mother and the doctor surgically remove the fetus or embryo unharmed and let it naturally die, it’s not murder any more than a hospital removing artificial sustenance from a dying person. There are a few people who support banning even that, but far, far fewer than how many oppose abortion.

      1. Re: Proprietist,

        If the mother and the doctor surgically remove the fetus or embryo unharmed and let it naturally die, it’s not murder any more than a hospital removing artificial sustenance from a dying person.

        Wrong comparison – you’re dishonestly comparing a fetus that was not dying with a person that is.

        No, taking a fetus out of the womb is like taking a paraplegic out of an iron lung and leaving him to die. Both are acts of aggression against persons that cannot defend themselves.

  50. If you truly believe that abortion is murder, then of course rape does not justify murder. That being said, it is stunning that someone who feels that the rights of a lump of cells should trump those of a full-grown human is allowed to write for a website called “reason.com”. A blastocyst has no neural pathways, it cannot feel or reason or suffer, therefore it must count for less than a woman who is capable of all these things when it comes to whether or not she chooses to raise the next generation of rapist.

    If fertilized eggs are so precious, why shouldn’t we force all girls to become pregnant as soon as they are fertile? What right to they have to deny all their eggs a chance to enter our dangerously underpopulated world. Please take your argument to a Catholic site, where reason doesn’t enter the picture.

    1. Re: SoylsMurder,

      it is stunning that someone who feels that the rights of a lump of cells should trump those of a full-grown human[…]

      Just like the rights of a newborn trumps the right of the mother to an unencumbered life.

      A blastocyst has no neural pathways

      Abortion does not mean getting rid of a blastocyst.

      Getting a blastocyst out of the womb does not require force, only that there’s no endometrium. Most blastocysts never get implanted anyway, naturally. Instead, once implanted, you need force (i.e. aggression) to expel the embryo. That violates the non-aggression principle. That’s murder.

      If fertilized eggs are so precious, why shouldn’t we force all girls to become pregnant as soon as they are fertile?

      For the same reason we don’t force people into gold mines – aggression is wrong.

      And I am an atheist, if you were wondering. I just do not consider that being an atheist means I justify murder.

      1. People that use your line of reasoning seem to forget, or completely ignore the suffering that pregnancy via rape will cause the women in question.

        You’re saying she should have to endure 9 months of constant reminder and agony? Undergo physiological changes she did not have a choice in? Psychological scars from the choice to keep/give up the baby, the chance of postpartum depression?

        1. Pregnancy can be a beutiful thing, but it can also be a horrific thing if its forced upon you.

          In the wake of the suffering that would be FORCED upon a rape victim who is already a conscious free individual the welfare of a few cells that have the potential to become a human mean very little to me.

        2. Pregnancy can be a beutiful thing, but it can also be a horrific thing if its forced upon you.

          In the wake of the suffering that would be FORCED upon a rape victim who is already a conscious free individual the welfare of a few cells that have the potential to become a human mean very little to me.

      2. People that use your line of reasoning seem to forget, or completely ignore the suffering that pregnancy via rape will cause the women in question.

        You’re saying she should have to endure 9 months of constant reminder and agony? Undergo physiological changes she did not have a choice in? Psychological scars from the choice to keep/give up the baby, the chance of postpartum depression?

  51. I’ve never seen anyone on Reason argue for support for women who are unprepared to care for a child. I don’t see the Libertarian crowd opening their wallets to pay for the pre-natal care and delivery of all these unwanted babies. I really don’t see them supporting these babies as they grow into adults.

    If you want to make a moral argument for the “sanctity” of life, I don’t see how you can be a Libertarian. Just sayin’…

    1. So you only care about people if you’re willing to give them things stolen from other people. Got it.

      I guess libertarians also have to be against any laws prohibiting murder of adults, unless they endorse welfare, single-payer health insurance and free cookies for adults.

      1. I think you’re missing the point.

        As I stated above, in the case of a rape pregnancy the financial burden that results is the direct consequence of the immoral actions of another. The state by hypothetically prohibiting her abortion further forces the financial burden on her.

        So you really beleive she should be financially responsible for the actions of another, ie forced to pay for being raped?

  52. This debate is on in the Christian community, priests and leaders are putting their view about this matter but the peoples will listen to the church and their own mind in the final decision.

  53. What the heck. Why not just update Roe v. Wade so that a woman has a right to her body after the baby is born, too? That way, there won’t be any more blame for husbands of the likes of Andrea “bathtub killer” Yates.

  54. You know, Judge? I think you’re right. Because the fertilized egg has a complete human genome it obviously has all the rights of anything else with a complete human genome. That’s why we all recognize the right of children to vote. That’s why we all recognize the right of children to charge their parents with assault and battery when they get spanked. That’s why we all recognize the right of children to have sex with adults. What’s that you say? Oh, you’re telling me that we actually recognize the existence of a human right as being dependent on the age and development of the human in question and maybe a cluster of f*cking cells doesn’t have a right to continued existence especially when the existence of the cluster of cells is the result of the most severe violation of the right of bodily sovereignty of the rape victim. I mean, seriously.
    Is it just me or does the judge’s line of reasoning seem to stem from some kind of retarded religious sentiment? I’m sorry, but for those of us who don’t believe in the ensoulment of the fertilized egg the notion of forcibly compelling a raped woman to carry her rapist’s child to term is morally repugnant. Especially considering the fact that the morning-after pill will terminate the pregnancy before the possibility of the cluster of cells possessing self-awareness or the ability to experience pain.

    1. So, if you take morphine, so as you don’t feel pain, it’s okay for someone to off you? I mean, you wouldn’t be making an exception for yourself here, would you?

      1. You’re conflating thing to devalue the argument. Morphine dulls pain but cannot completely block it out.

        The cluster of cells is incapable of experiencing pain or anything on a perceptional level.

        Of course you gloss over the real meat of his point about what you forced the person that has already been horrendously victimized to go through for 9 months.

        1. Okay, make it general anesthesia, as with surgery.

          Every cell is self-aware, otherwise it would be incapable of functioning according to changes in its environment. Each is fully capable of reacting to stimulus, making it very much capable of perceiving not just what is harmful (pain) but also what is good (pleasure).

          1. No it is not perception, you are anthropomorphizing cells. They react automatically to external stimuli, yes, but perception and its product conception are the faculties of a mind which a cluster of cells do no possesses.

            And you’re still ignoring the bigger part of the argument.

            1. I specifically bring up conception because good/harmful are concepts beyond the scope of a cluster of cells.

          2. “Every cell is self-aware”

            If that is the case, does that mean that I am committing an act of violence when I scratch an itch?

            Skin cells fly everywhere after a scratch, and yes, many of them die.

            And actually, cells themselves do not feel pain; cells make up tissue (which is composed of organs) which forms a central nervous system, which allows us to feel pain, but not individual cells. A cell does not know when it dies.

            1. To be even more technical, cells don’t ‘know’ anything. The idea of knowledge is way beyond them.

      2. You have two choices here. You can either allow the rape victim to terminate the cluster of cells inside her (which is incapable of human consciousness since that is the result of a sufficiently complex brain which hasn’t developed yet) or you can exacerbate the psychological trauma of an already developed human consciousness by forcing her to deliver her rapist’s baby. So the woman’s bodily integrity is violated when the rapist penetrates her and then it is further, continually violated by a government that robs her of her natural right to choose who will be the father of her children.
        If you want to re-open the abortion debate a few months after the rape and much further along in the development of the rapist’s child then I think there’s an interesting and fruitful discussion to be had there but not allowing a brutalized woman to take the morning-after pill immediately following the rape is simply reprehensible and, in my opinion, indefensible.

    2. I agree with the point you are making. If Judge cared as much about children already living as he does about fetuses and embryos, he would indeed support outlawing the spanking of children.

      I think a discussion of balancing the rights of a parent versus those of a child is completely reasonable to have, but Judge has already made up his mind on this and has decided it’s the child’s rights that come first. So he has to support outlawing hitting of children and involuntary circumcision to be consistent.

  55. In response to Gavin Galt, above:

    My reply was to a very specific, wild statement made by shabadu15 about pain. You will not succeed in baiting me with the larger argument, which has nothing to do with my reply, as a way to obfuscate the claim of no pain. There’s no foundation for such a claim.

    Single-cell organisms exhibit many of the characters of multi-cell organisms, including the ability to not just make very complex decisions but also to adapt and mutate, as needed. Cells even communicate and replicate. But more than all that, they can synthesize things that you can’t — and never will. In this way, a single cell may have more complexity than a multi-celled organism, itself, functionally. Whatever is the DNA of a person is also the same DNA of a single cell. Even so, it doesn’t mean you can manufacture essential amino acids needed to prevent your extinction. Instead, it means you must prey on animals and plants for essential protein. …Cont’d

    1. Cont’d…
      Now, the personality of a person may be more complex than a single cell, but only to the extent that an operating system, such as Windows, may be more complex than the CPU hardware, itself. We may never learn all the secrets of the cell because, just as you can’t reverse-engineer compiled software without the source code, you can’t reverse-engineer DNA either, if it’s indeed a compilation rather than simple code. I’m in the camp where I believe DNA is consequence of compilation — exponentially more complex than its chemical cell code and the cell mechanisms within that carry out commands. IOW, just as it’s impossible to figure out how a particular software program works by monitoring binary code that is sequentially loaded into the instruction register of a CPU, it may also be impossible to ever discover the larger secrets of life without nature’s source code first. I mean, if no one has succeeded in rolling Bill Gates for his source code, no one will ever succeed with nature, either. You might succeed in traveling across the Milky Way, first, before you’ll ever have enough time to figure out the real mysteries of a single cell.

      1. Yes, cells are complex, very very complex. However, nothing you said, of which you said quite a bit that I don’t quite see the relevance, does anything to change the fact that every bit of what they do is an automatic response to external stimuli. There is no perception, they are not self aware, and they do not in any way feel pain.

        1. It’s very obvious you do not even know what pain is, much less self-awareness, yet you sling wild claims as though you’re an infallible scientist, demanding acceptance without providing proof. To say that a cell can’t experience pain, is to say a cell can’t experience damage or disorder. What the hell do you think cancer is, for chrisskes? At least try to employ some argumentation to make your case, not just be stupid. My mind easily changes in many conversations all the time — though not by incomplete arguments or popular bias.

          1. You are correct I am in fact a scientist, a biochemist and geneticist to be exact, though infallible I am not.

            No to say that a cell cannot experience pain is to say it cannot experience pain. Damage and disorder do not equal pain. You are erroneously equating terms in an attempt to make your point.

            Pain refers to a very specific phenomena which requires a brain and nervous system because it is by any definition a PERCEPTION of some sort. True it may be the perception of damage and disorder, but it requires a thinking apparatus of some sort which individual or small clusters of cells lack.

            1. Now you’re struggling to get out of the choke hold you let yourself fall into. This is common occurrence among people prone to be contrary for the sake of being contrary.

              With an ice-cream finale after dinner, I’m now ready and rearing to spit nails.

              Pain, by definition, is the experience of damage or disorder. In one breath you agree, but in the next you say it requires a brain and nervous system. If that were true, how is it that a single cell is able to recognize an enemy or friend? If a cell did not have capacity to experience damage or disorder (i.e. pain), never mind that it also has capacity to predict the danger of an enemy virus in the first place, then it would not be possible for an organism to benefit from its immune system, much less even signal the launch of defensive phagocytes. Your brain and nervous system does not have capacity to recognize a virus — but a cell does. Instead, your brain and nervous system make up, among many other things, a distance receptor, without which you would not be able to predict the oncoming pain of, say, an attacking lion, in time to pull up your pants and run. A cell under attack, on the other hand, recognizes either the virus itself or the initial assault, which it perceives as damage or disorder (i.e. pain). Cont’d…

              1. …Cont’d
                This is not even rocket science, yet you stubbornly cling to theory about a subject matter, for which what we actually know is infinitesimally small compared to what potentially can be known.

                In the same way that a huge flock of birds takes on animation and personality of it’s own, who is to say a living organism is not a flock of cells, each cell as individualistic and intelligent as a bird, itself? In this way, can the virtual flock feel pain or only each bird alone?

                Throughout history we have found ourselves having to admit that many, if not most, of our assumptions have turned out backwards. Well, at least those of us who are not entrenched careerists, never sufficiently sure of ourselves, afraid to openly depart from dogma when not supported by the status quo, blinded by an evolutionary world view and solipsistic hubris that assumes man only is superior in all of nature, or only man is self-aware, or that he is alone with capacity for self-reflection. What a bunch of nincompoops we always prove ourselves to be. Just admit it! We really don’t know shit at all.

                And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. –Nietzsche

                1. You’re right. This isn’t rocket science, it’s neuroscience. I’m beginning to get the feeling that your belief that cells are self-aware and can experience pain is a lot like the beliefs of young-earth creationists in that it doesn’t matter how much evidence you’re presented with that flat-out disproves your belief you’re just going to stick your fingers in your ears yelling “Lalalalala! I can’t hear you!” The whole reason you’re hell-bent on establishing that the rapist’s embryo is capable of experiencing pain and possesses some form of consciousness is because our system of morals is founded on efforts to minimize the suffering of conscious beings (especially human consciousness). If the ability to experience pain and the possession of consciousness comes along later in the development of the rapist’s embryo then it is not immoral to abort the pregnancy before that occurs.

  56. “Hey, let’s get the judge to write a provocative post on something controversial like abortion; that will get the comments section really fired up and drive our traffic and ad revenues up this month,” said the Reason editorial staff, regularly.

  57. It is possible, with modern medical technology, to surgically implant a fetus in a male, for him to carry it to term, and then “give birth” surgically.

    I cannot think of a more fitting punishment for rapists than that. Let them bear the fruits of their ill-intentioned labors. Literally.

    We could even expand the program: My mother often comments on the topic of abortion that men and women who don’t approve of abortion shouldn’t have one. But are they willing to put their womb (or surgically-implanted facsimile) where their political mouths are? They could personally save a child from abortion. I wonder how many are that committed to the issue?

    1. Gindjurra – I have given birth to two children. I would put up my womb GLADLY! Without hesitation! I abhor rape and murder both! Abortions REALLY need never happen; science is so advanced that if you want an abortion you don’t have to kill the baby. We could END this stupid argument if we could just treat the baby as a baby and agree it IS A BABY. If a woman is raped or gets pregnant, there should be a system in place (surgical-implanted) or test tube “babies” that could be put up for adoption. This shouldn’t even BE an issue.

  58. Oops, I thought I was on the libertarian website Reason…looking at the views here, I must be logged onto some socially conservative website by mistake!

  59. Where is the enumerated power to enslave the woman?

    One can’t castrate the Constitution by confiscating the women’s uterus in service to the state.

    Don’t invoke the Declaration of Independence to romanticize their sovereignty while indenturing their uterus to the nation ? reducing their reproduction to little more than a confiscatory export tax; Or given the Judge’s concern – social security payments.

    Decide first whether you accept the premise that the powers of government are derived from the consent of the governed; If you do, there cannot be a role for government.

    There is no individual right to compel another person to either an abortion or a pregnancy; Therefore government cannot be granted either authority.

    This doesn’t mean accepting unlimited abortions, but rather that your only righteous power is to influence the individual and community at large to make a different choice for their own self-interest rather than using government force to impose your position.

    If you do not accept the premise, it’s time to re-evaluate what libertarianism means – to you.

  60. Until it starts moving, a fetus is just a clump of cells.

    For those who believe that abortion is murder, I have counterpoint for you. Let’s say for the sake of argument that abortions IS murder. If a woman is willing to murder her unborn child purely for the purpose of birth control, SHE SHOULD NOT BE BREEDING.

    Abortion benefits society more than people think. That’s one of the reasons why I identify as “pro-abortion” instead of “pro-choice”.

  61. I address this to Nick Gillespie.

    I would like to offer my wholehearted support for Sharon Presley to have the right of reply to Andrew Napolitano and this article he has authored. I request this right of reply on behalf of Sharon and that it be via Reason.com.

    Thankyou.

  62. It’s different for girls. I wish we had more conversation about these issues, not for more or less legislation (although the Supreme Court ruling is bogus), but for a better understanding. Try as we may, you cannot legislate sexual equality. My thoughts here: http://wp.me/pZ0y1-wk

  63. Just immagine, someone breaks into your house, attacks you, sticks things in your body that don’t belong there and finaly steals the keys and the title to your car. After a couple of days the police finds somebody registering your car at the DMV. It’s the son of the robber! Now following your argument, the law should allow the son to keep the car. Even more, he can come by your house for three quarters of a year, you have to pay the gas, maintenance and give it a shine every day. His stink might make you sick but you have to endure it, because you can’t punish the poor son of that mean criminal.

    Unfair you think? So do I. In that article the position of the raped mother is completely missing. Second argument what is missing is that the natural target of intercourse is to spread your genes and produce offspring. So if the woman is forced to carry the child of the rapist, the rapist and the rape are finally successful.

    If you state your argument under the Title “reason”, all arguments have to be evaluated properly and fair. I consider this text as pro-rape.

    PS: Is abortion really the most frequently performed medical practice? What about dental treatments, child birth procedures, circumscision?
    PPS: For those who have read the bible: GOD punishes up to the forth generation

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.