Thursday, September 04, 2008

Pro-Life, Soft Pro-choice, and saving real babies

I think Clayton makes a legitimate point. Let's think about what it will take to outlaw abortion. First, we have to add a justice to the court with just the right legal philosophy to seriously consider overturning a 35-year-old precent like that one. Now you can't ask potential justices how they will rule on cases, so you have to go by overall legal philosophy. This has all sorts of implications about how the Constitution will be applied to many cases which have nothing to do with abortion. OK, so Roe finally gets overturned. Then I take it whatever laws were in place back in 1973 would go back in force, but then I seriously doubt that many states will go for a blanket ban on abortion. So how many real babies will it save. As many babies as would be saved by, let's say, health care reform? We have two parties, the majority of one says they don't like abortion and want it outlawed, and the other side says they want it to be safe legal and rare. But it is not rare. Most pro-choice people seem to me to be what I would call "soft pro-choice," they think abortion a moral tragedy, one they would like to see as little of as possible. It looks as if the soft pro-choicers and the pro-lifers could team up to work on making abortion as rare as possible. I can't help thinking that interest in appearing ideologically pure to their "base," on both sides of the aisle, is keeping the abortion rate higher than it would otherwise be.

22 comments:

Jim Jordan said...

The number of babies saved by Health Care reform plus the number saved by severely limiting abortion to cases of incest and rape.

Why not do both?

Don't forget the Republicans pushed the Faith-Based Initiative through which a great deal has been done to help needy children and families. Plus the Democrats don't need to have the President in their party to do a great deal on Health care for needy families. They control both Houses of Congress and will widen their lead in November.

Barack Obama is not even softly Pro-Choice to begin with. Also, overturning Roe v. Wade only turns the issue back to the states anyway. Why are Democrats so afraid of having the people determine abortion laws? Because they have to have abortion. We're back to square one.

Anonymous said...

Most pro-choice people I know are NOT "soft" pro-choice. I wonder what circles you run in. Some politicians might give off that impression because they need to appear a certain way, and have to pretend to be at least SOMEWHAT consistent with their claims to believe in God (as almost all politicians on all sides do). Frankly, it's offensive for you to act as if it's a battle between no abortions whatsoever and "soft" pro-choicers. You seem quite out of touch with the real world.

havoc said...

That's so twisted it's sick.

Anonymous said...

"Why are Democrats so afraid of having the people determine abortion laws? "

Why are Republicans so afraid of allowing women a choice?

Jim Jordan said...

Aside from an Anonymouse comment being worthless, I'll indulge you once, Anon:

Why are Republicans so afraid of allowing women a choice?

Answer my question first, why are Democrats so afraid of giving the people a choice?

And, everyone, there will be a quiz on this later. When you're assigned to hang out with the goats, you lose your anonymity. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

"Answer my question first, why are Democrats so afraid of giving the people a choice?"

Huh? You must know that their position is pro-Choice.

The Republicans want to tell women what to do on this difficult issue.

Anonymous said...

"Why are Republicans so afraid of allowing women a choice?"

Why are democrates so afraid of allowing women a choice to murder their 20 yr. old children?

In case you didn't get it, you just BEGGED the question, BIG TIME.

No one is against "choice," we're against "murder."

I guess libs can only appeal to euphemisms since their arguments are so thin.

La Coka Nostra said...

"The Republicans want to tell women what to do on this difficult issue."

It's not a difficult issue.
If the actual moment of humanity or personhood doesn't occur when the sperm and the ovum unite (when all genetic information is now present in the zygote... when all potential is primed), than that actual moment we do decide to allow it in the category of human or personhood becomes a social convention.
Something we can define and re-define as time goes on. If rights are given to persons than the same with those rights as well; given or withheld by mandate of a governing body (thank God we live in a democracy) contingent on when we (or they) determine that a being becomes a human or person.

If there isn't an inherent right to life when potential is now actualized (union of sperm and ovum), then these other rights we hold so dear no longer appear as obvious.

Mike Darus said...

It is a major shift for Democrats to support a platform that seeks to reduce the number of abortions.

Quick quiz -- Whose platform is this?

"We all have a moral obligation to assist, not to penalize, women
struggling with the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy."

Anonymous said...

"No one is against "choice," we're against "murder.""



No, abortion is not murder.

Leastways people don't agree that it is murder.

We aren't dealing with empirical claims here. This is a moral decision. A decision that is best left to the pregnant woman to decide.

Anonymous said...

"It's not a difficult issue.
If the actual moment of humanity or personhood doesn't occur when the sperm and the ovum unite (when all genetic information is now present in the zygote... when all potential is primed), than that actual moment we do decide to allow it in the category of human or personhood becomes a social convention. "

To decide to grant personhood at the moment of conception is also a social convention (as you put it).

Anti-abortionists make this mistake all the time. They think they can take a complex moral question and reduce it to an empirical question.

Tragic Clown Dog said...

I have a problem with Obama's vote against making it mandatory to try to save a child's life if it survived being aborted (while he was in the Illinois State Legislature). That is morally abhorrent. At this point, the baby has been delivered, and is outside of the mother and no longer connected to her via the umbilical cord. Nearly everyone recognizes that at this point it is a baby, a child, a person. Abortion doctors were putting them in utility closets and left them alone until they died. People sought to outlaw this by requiring doctors to give the child medical treatment. Obama voted no. I cannot vote for such a person, even if I agree with him on nearly every other issue.

Mike Darus said...

Anonymous said...
"No, abortion is not murder.

Leastways people don't agree that it is murder."

1) There are many shades of taking a human life from self-defense to justifiable homicide to manslaughter to war to judicial execution. The term "murder" is prejudicial and imprecise.
2) Even though I am pro-life, I don't see an acceptable scenario where women who seek an abortion will be tried for murder.
3) We don't need to agree on the abortion issue. Those that succeed politically will force their will on the others who disagree. That's how a republic works.
4) The Democratic proposal to define the issue in the terms of reducing the number of abortions is right on. It takes the ideologues on both extremes out of the discussion.

Anonymous said...

"The term "murder" is prejudicial and imprecise."

When used in this sort of debate, I agree.

But it has a well-established legal use.


"Those that succeed politically will force their will on the others who disagree. That's how a republic works."

Fortunately we do have a Supreme Court which helps to control that sort of 'mob rule'. Though not a perfect institution (what human instituion is?) it does strive to enforce the rights granted us under the Constitution.


"The Democratic proposal to define the issue in the terms of reducing the number of abortions is right on. It takes the ideologues on both extremes out of the discussion."

I am certainly in agreement with that. And I am coming from a pro-Choice pov. Being pro-Choice does not entail being pro-abortion.

Victor Reppert said...

At the present time, I think the prospects for the long arm of the criminal law being a major player in preventing abortions is slim, even with Sarah Palin in the White House.

What I am concerned about is that both sides seem to be missing opportunities to not use the long arm of the law to prevent abortions.

Does anyone know the reasons Obama voted on on the Born Alive Infant Act? What his rationale was? Did he think there were problems in the way it was written? Without more detail it's hard to judge. Though I think I would have voted for it to be sure.

philip m said...

Dr. Reppert,

Obama had this to say, from this interview: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life_article.php?id=7591

"...The other email rumor that’s been floating around is that somehow I’m unwilling to see doctors offer life-saving care to children who were born as a result of an induced abortion. That’s just false. There was a bill that came up in Illinois that was called the “Born Alive” bill that purported to require life-saving treatment to such infants. And I did vote against that bill. The reason was that there was already a law in place in Illinois that said that you always have to supply life-saving treatment to any infant under any circumstances, and this bill actually was designed to overturn Roe v. Wade, so I didn’t think it was going to pass constitutional muster.

Ever since that time, emails have been sent out suggesting that, somehow, I would be in favor of letting an infant die in a hospital because of this particular vote. That’s not a fair characterization, and that’s not an honest characterization. It defies common sense to think that a hospital wouldn't provide life-saving treatment to an infant that was alive and had a chance of survival."

La Coka Nostra said...

"No, abortion is not murder."

Sure it is. You're deliberately ending an innocent life. The action is deliberate, the life is innocent. Murder.

"To decide to grant personhood at the moment of conception is also a social convention (as you put it)."

Not at all. An individual human is a human when all of the genetic information is together. Haploid + Haploid = Diploid.
You appear to be in the camp that is stating that a person is different than a human. I am not in that camp, therefore I employ no convention to state when so and so is a person or not.

You muddy up the water by making the distinction, which leads to having the most innocent, defenseless human not being protected from being killed. Nice job.

Anonymous said...

“"No, abortion is not murder."

Sure it is. You're deliberately ending an innocent life. The action is deliberate, the life is innocent. Murder.”


No, murder is the unlawful killing of a person.
Has nothing to do with “innocent life” whatever the heck that is.

“"To decide to grant personhood at the moment of conception is also a social convention (as you put it)."

Not at all. An individual human is a human when all of the genetic information is together. Haploid + Haploid = Diploid.
You appear to be in the camp that is stating that a person is different than a human. I am not in that camp, therefore I employ no convention to state when so and so is a person or not.”


Yes you are in the camp who thinks personhood is equivalent to having the genetic information of a biological human. That is the social convention you are adopting.
Sorry, I know you’d love to make this an empirical issue, but it’s not. It’s a moral issue.


You muddy up the water by making the distinction, which leads to having the most innocent, defenseless human not being protected from being killed. Nice job.”


The issue here is complex. You ain’t going to solve it simply by pointing to the genetic code in a fetus and throwing in a few inflammatory words like "innocent" and "defenseless". Talk about muddying the waters.:-)

La Coka Nostra said...

"No, murder is the unlawful killing of a person.
Has nothing to do with “innocent life” whatever the heck that is."

Do play stupid. Innocent in the sense of not deserving to be killed. When you deliberately end and innocent life (a life that does not warrant being ended) you committed murder.

"Yes you are in the camp who thinks personhood is equivalent to having the genetic information of a biological human. That is the social convention you are adopting."

That is not a social convention. You move the definition solely to allow you the ability to end a life. When does a human life obtain personhood? For me there is no distinction, you create the distinction. Because I would be fine with simply saying, 'you shouldn't end the life of an innocent human'. You conjure up abstract notions of personhood so you can allow the killing at various stages. So no, there is no convention on my part because I don't need the word personhood, you do. I really can't believe I have to argue this point.
How could you miss (gloss over) it?

"Sorry, I know you’d love to make this an empirical issue, but it’s not. It’s a moral issue."

Wrong. It's an empirical issue because it's an empirical issue. If I'm saying "it's wrong to kill an innocent human", I don't need to even worry about addressing 'personhood'. If I'm saying a human is when two haploid cells come together and form a zygote then I don't have to 'make' it an empirical issue.
Also, of course it's also a moral issue. This isn't zero-sum, son.

"The issue here is complex."

Thanks to your conjuring of abstract notions of personhood.
It doesn't need to be complex, you make it that.

"You ain’t going to solve it simply by pointing to the genetic code in a fetus and throwing in a few inflammatory words like "innocent" and "defenseless"."

Huh? Isn't that inflammatory? So these lives are not innocent and defenseless? With folks like you on the scene they certainly are defenseless. They are innocent, they are defenseless. Call them inflammatory if you think it helps your case (it doesn't).

"Talk about muddying the waters.:-)"

Why talk about it? You're showing by example.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Why do you want abortion outlawed? What great success have countries had that HAVE outlawed it? Nicaragua? Panama?

Even conservative Rev. talk show host, Pat Robertson, has said he's glad abortion is NOT outlawed in China. Even he could see the possibility for even greater famines and economic collapse in China if they HAD outlawed abortion.

Anonymous said...

"Do play stupid."

And please stop being insulting.

" Innocent in the sense of not deserving to be killed. When you deliberately end and innocent life (a life that does not warrant being ended) you committed murder."

I"ve been unable to find any definition of "murder" that agrees with your personal understanding of it. Here is the most complete dictionary definition I've found:

Law. the killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law. In the U.S., special statutory definitions include murder committed with malice aforethought, characterized by deliberation or premeditation or occurring during the commission of another serious crime, as robbery or arson (first-degree murder), and murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation (second-degree murder).

I see no mention of 'innocent life' there. And abortion under certain conditions is legal in this country, so you are not correct in calling those who perform them murderers. If you were able to make all abortions illegal then you could call those performing them murderers. Fortunately, you are not in position to make that decision.

"That is not a social convention. You move the definition solely to allow you the ability to end a life. When does a human life obtain personhood? For me there is no distinction, you create the distinction. Because I would be fine with simply saying, 'you shouldn't end the life of an innocent human'. You conjure up abstract notions of personhood so you can allow the killing at various stages. So no, there is no convention on my part because I don't need the word personhood, you do. I really can't believe I have to argue this point.
How could you miss (gloss over) it?"

You have to argue the point becuase I and others disagree with you over this. There is more to being a human than its genetic code. For some reason you choose to adopt the convention that a human is when two haploid cells come together and form a zygote. The cells coming together is an empirical fact. How you conceptualize what that means is a convention.


" I don't need to even worry about addressing 'personhood'. If I'm saying a human is when two haploid cells come together and form a zygote then I don't have to 'make' it an empirical issue. "

You have to address it if you wish me and others who disagree with you to accept your moral position here. Simply pointing to empirical facts and claiming without argument that they support your position doesn't cut it.

So if you are really desirous of changing the minds of those who disagree with you, you need to put in the time effort it would take to make a persuasive case.

Haven't seen you doing that here.

"Also, of course it's also a moral issue. This isn't zero-sum, son."

And it doesn't further your case by continuing to make theses snide comments. I'm glad to say I'm not your "son". :-)

IlĂ­on said...

VR: "I think Clayton makes a legitimate point. Let's think about what it will take to outlaw abortion. First, we have to add a justice to the court with just the right legal philosophy to seriously consider overturning a 35-year-old precent like that one. ..."

This belief, widespread though it is, is what is technically known as "false."

In actualy fact, the US Abortion Regime can be overturned anytime Congress is willing to do so.

Read the Constitution: the federal courts ... all of them ... are creatures of Congress.