Monday, August 19, 2019

Want to outlaw abortion? Are you ready for some socialism?

If abortion is outlawed, then women who would have aborted will carry their pregnancies to term. Many of these are getting abortions because they can't afford children. Or they will give them up for adoption, making it likely they will end up in the foster system. If you do that, there will be more mouths to feed for people who can afford it least. Won't the government have to expand the welfare state to take care of these children?

If so, it seems to me that you can't both believe that abortion should be outlawed, and also believe that socialism or anything like it is a terrible thing. The idea that private charity will take up the slack seems to me to be a pipe dream. The pro-life movement may have the consequence of moving us more quickly in a socialist direction than Bernie Sanders could ever dream.

114 comments:

bmiller said...

The pro-life movement may have the consequence of moving us more quickly in a socialist direction than Bernie Sanders could ever dream.

All the more reason for Commies to be pro-life! Hallelujah! Stop being evil and come on over!

Legion of Logic said...

Pretty much true. Only problem is all the Democrats are in the socialist direction, and there are absolutely no circumstances that would ever lead me to vote for the vile filth that is the modern Democratic Party, in part because they couldn't care less about the unborn. So because of the sickness of the Democratic Party, and the stupidity of the Republican Party, I'm pretty well left with no options for a worthwhile vote.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

Does it matter if Democrats don't care about the lives of the unborn if their policies end up saving more unborn lives?

Legion of Logic said...

Does it matter if Democrats don't care about the lives of the unborn if their policies end up saving more unborn lives?

Yes. Because not only do they not even flinch at their deaths, but they actively promote and celebrate it while pretending abortion does not end a life. I will not vote for such a sack of crap.

Even if Republican policies did happen to have a higher incidental death rate, unlike Democratic policies at least the unborn aren't actively targeted by Republicans as an acceptable sacrifice.

Starhopper said...

Has the right's decision to turn "life" into a political issue (which it ought not to be) actually hurt the cause? After all, it is not the so-called left (meaningless term) which has embraced abortion, but rather the right which has driven progressive Americans into the pro-choice camp, whether they want to be there or not.

Hmm.. Interesting thought experiment here. Imagine a person whose views on the environment, workers' rights, immigration, social welfare, race, guns, education, defense, and whatever else you care to list all align with the Democratic Party... with the exception of abortion. This person is repelled by the Republican party's stand on all of these issues, but the pro-life movement rejects him because of his economic and social liberalism. The right allows him only two options: withdraw from politics altogether, or side with the Democrats.

I would bet you Yankee dollars that there are millions of Democrats who would fit that description. Do you truly and honestly wish to expand the number of Americans who defend life? Then decouple the issue from politics. Embrace pro-lifers who align with Democrats on all of the issues I listed above, rather than demonizing and rejecting them.

I would love to see a world in which "life" does not appear on either party platform, and where no political candidate mentions the subject other than as a personal belief.

bmiller's first comment above is actually a move in the right direction. Sadly however, I suspect he wasn't being serious. But the sentiment expressed is nevertheless the correct one. It should not matter in the slightest what a person's political views are when it comes to the subject of abortion, because it is not a political issue!

Screwtape Jenkins said...

Yes. Because not only do they not even flinch at their deaths, but they actively promote and celebrate it while pretending abortion does not end a life.

I think that's an exaggeration of the actual policy of most elected Democrats. The overwhelming majority of Democrats who actually hold office would say that in a perfect world there would be no unwanted pregnancies and no need for abortion. They would not say abortion is a positive good but a necessary evil. There are some wackadoodle public figures on the far left that might think abortion is a positive good, but those people don't generally run for public office.

I think this idea that pro-life people must always vote for Republicans is like the idea that black people always have to vote for Democrats. Why would Republicans do anything to help you if they know they always automatically have your vote, as long as the issue persists?

As I always say whenever I discuss this issue here, the lowest abortion rate in the entire world is in Western Europe, where the safety net is the most generous. Even in countries where abortion is fully illegal under all circumstances, abortion rates are higher than they are in Western Europe. Merely making something illegal won't stop it; just ask any drug dealer.

So even if Republicans someday succeed in making abortion illegal, if you ever want to actually reduce the number of abortions, you're going to have to vote for more socialistic policies at some point. Which means at some point, if the interests of the unborn is really of upmost importance to you, you're going to have to vote for Democrats.

bmiller said...

Has the right's decision to turn "life" into a political issue (which it ought not to be) actually hurt the cause? After all, it is not the so-called left (meaningless term) which has embraced abortion, but rather the right which has driven progressive Americans into the pro-choice camp, whether they want to be there or not.

Those wily Republicans have forced the poor Democrats to embrace abortion by embracing life. Is there actually a world where this makes any sense?

I would love to see a world in which "life" does not appear on either party platform, and where no political candidate mentions the subject other than as a personal belief.

Oh yes so here's that world. The world where we let our neighbors kill each other and don't bat an eye. What an Evil World.

bmiller's first comment above is actually a move in the right direction. Sadly however, I suspect he wasn't being serious.

Don't know why you think I'm not serious. I really do what Commies to stop being evil. They can start to demonstrate they aren't by giving up their child sacrifices. Should I hold my breath?

bmiller said...

So even if Republicans someday succeed in making abortion illegal, if you ever want to actually reduce the number of abortions, you're going to have to vote for more socialistic policies at some point. Which means at some point, if the interests of the unborn is really of upmost importance to you, you're going to have to vote for Democrats.

As a matter of historical fact, abortions were astronomically lower before the emergence of the great welfare state and the legalization of abortion. Religious and private charities used to provide help to the poor with some local and state assistance and abortions were universally condemned by all Christian Churchs (from the beginning until the 1960s).

There are other solutions than communism.

SteveK said...

>> "There are other solutions than communism."

He's a single issue voter. It's communism or bust.

SteveK said...

I amuses me that Victor and Starhopper think abortion can only be eliminated if socialism comes with it. They have no use for historical facts that prove them wrong.

Starhopper said...

"and Starhopper think abortion can only be eliminated if socialism comes with it"

When have I ever said that? (and by the way, I'm not even a socialist.)

I have steadfastly maintained that abortion can only be eliminated via education. I have yet to see any "historical facts" that prove me wrong.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

As a matter of historical fact, abortions were astronomically lower before the emergence of the great welfare state and the legalization of abortion. Religious and private charities used to provide help to the poor with some local and state assistance and abortions were universally condemned by all Christian Churchs (from the beginning until the 1960s)

As a matter of historical fact, absolutely all of the available evidence says that's not the case. I encourage anyone who doubts this to look at research into infanticide in the ancient world, particularly in the Roman Empire.

Here are some links, and I could unfortunately go on providing them for days:

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/42911813/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/infanticide-common-roman-empire/

https://aeon.co/essays/the-roots-of-infanticide-run-deep-and-begin-with-poverty

https://abort73.com/abortion_facts/ancient_abortion_history/

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/Chinas-long-history-of-female-infanticide/articleshow/52744420.cms


Poor women have, sadly, always found themselves in situations where they had to contemplate killing children they didn't think they could afford to take care of. (Historically, the only exception was not any country in Christian Europe - it was Egypt, the only major country to have never had a history of the practice.) Current studies show the rate of infanticide, the ancient world's version of abortion, rival modern abortion rates.

"No temptation has befallen us except that which is common to mankind." Abortion is not a unique or new phenomenon, it doesn't happen because of the sexual revolution, because of the presence of absence of Christian belief (Catholic countries in Latin America have some of the highest abortion rates - despite being illegal in most of those places), or because there's no prayer in schools, or because people vote for Democrats. Humans have always killed their own children for one reason and one reason only: they couldn't afford to have them.

It's just an utter fantasy that individual churches were ever capable of providing for that many children. Again, if churches and private charities can provide for that many children, then why is the abortion rate so high in officially Catholic countries? If the Catholic church, the wealthiest and most highly organized church in the world, can't stem the tide of abortion countries where they are the only official recognized religion, then do you seriously think some amalgamation of fly-by-night, storefront Protestant churches will ever be able to do it here? The question answers itself.

So... no. There are not solutions to the abortion problem other than an expansive welfare state. I openly challenge you to find any evidence to the contrary anywhere in the historical record or the current research. The things that we know lower the abortion rate are things conservatives don't like: government distribution of contraception and generous welfare states. You stop abortion by preventing unwanted pregnancies and providing generously for the unwanted pregnancies that occur. Period, end of story.

So, at some point, some of you are going to have to make the decision of which you dislike more: socialism or 50 million dead babies a year. Because it's one or the other.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

They have no use for historical facts that prove them wrong.

I would looooove to see these historical facts.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

I have steadfastly maintained that abortion can only be eliminated via education.

Precisely what facts about sex, contraception, and abortion do you think women who have had abortions are unaware of?

People know all the dangers of smoking and they still smoke, they know all the dangers of illicit drug use and they still use illicit drugs, they know all the dangers of a crappy diet and they steal eat crap. And people know all the dangers of sex without contraception and they still do it. It's a will problem, not a knowledge problem.

Starhopper said...

Amongst the term "education", I include the oft (although quite unfairly) maligned term "indoctrination". There is no (well, maybe little) need to educate youth about the physical specifics of human reproduction, but there is great need to educate them concerning the moral and ethical implications of the same.

I propose that we raise a generation of humanity that appreciates the value of human life. A generation that has no desire to abort its offspring. The fanatics on the right to the contrary, nothing else will do any good. Laws are not only utterly ineffective, but actually counterproductive.

bmiller said...

Screwtape Jenkins,

It is a matter of historical fact, abortions were astronomically lower before the emergence of the great welfare state and the legalization of abortion in America which is the context of the discussion. It's also a matter of historical fact that religious and private charities used to provide help to the poor with some local and state assistance and abortions were universally condemned by all Christian Churchs (from the beginning until the 1960s). Nothing you wrote rebutts any point I made.

It's true that before Christianity was introduced in antiquity abortion was common. So was infanticide. I guess the Dems want to bring back the good old days.

It's just an utter fantasy that individual churches were ever capable of providing for that many children.

Aside from the fact you apparently have never heard of monasteries, what you think happened to children of the Middle Ages when their parents died at the age of 30?

Again, if churches and private charities can provide for that many children, then why is the abortion rate so high in officially Catholic countries?

Well first, what countries are you referring to and what makes them "officially Catholic countries"? What were their laws historically vs now and why do you think their abortion rates are "so high"?

then do you seriously think some amalgamation of fly-by-night, storefront Protestant churches will ever be able to do it here? The question answers itself.

Well, since abortion rates were historically low before the 60s in the US and the US has historically been mostly Protestant I agree with you that the question answers itself. Nice to agree with my interlocutor once in a while.

So, at some point, some of you are going to have to make the decision of which you dislike more: socialism or 50 million dead babies a year. Because it's one or the other.

But with socialism you get even more dead babies and more starving miserable poor people. Period, end of story.

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

The fanatics on the right to the contrary, nothing else will do any good. Laws are not only utterly ineffective, but actually counterproductive.

Aside from the fact that I've shown you hard evidence that laws against abortion reduce the abortion rates, why are you in favor of any laws if you really believe what you just wrote?

Starhopper said...

"why are you in favor of any laws if you really believe what you just wrote?"

Do you honestly think that simplistically? "Law" is not a one-size-fits-all term. Speed limits, for example, are highly elastic. No one (except maybe me, at times) actually drives 35 when the sign says 35. And just get on the interstate and try going 55 mph! The law is a highly elastic concept at best.

Legion of Logic said...

It can be done, though socialistic programs are not the only answer. Republicans and conservatives in general do seem to be rather clueless about the plight of the poorer.

bmiller said...

Let me see. Aren't Cuba and PR of China run by Communists? Let's see how full socialism reduces abortions.


Percent of known pregnancies ending in legal abortions (excluding those ending in miscarriage), most recent data (in order of decreasing percentage)

country year % notes
Greenland 2014 51.65
Guadeloupe 2013 43.01
Cuba 2013 40.13
Transnistria 2014 39.85
Martinique 2013 35.90
Georgia 2014 35.57
Russia 2014 32.32
Bermuda 2014 30.17
Bulgaria 2014 29.40
PR China 2012 29.04
Cocos Islands 1978 29.00
Romania 2014 28.87

bmiller said...

Hah!

Found out that tabs don't work in the combox. But I think folks can figure it out.

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

Do you honestly think that simplistically? "Law" is not a one-size-fits-all term.

Should killing people be against the "Law" then?

Starhopper said...

bmiller,

You are such a One Note Samba. Predictable and boring. There is more to life than worrying about abortion.

I agree with C.S. Lewis where he says we should only be concerned about those sins which we ourselves are in danger of committing. For instance, it would be all too easy for me to get all self righteous about gambling, because I have zero interest in engaging in it. It would take no effort on my part to condemn those who do. In like manner, as an almost 70 year old male who has a less than zero chance of being involved with an abortion, I personally have no dog in the fight. Worse, for me to make it a major issue would be the quickest way I know of to fall to the far more serious sin of pride (which was, after all, the first sin ever committed). I could be the Pharisee in Christ's parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector praying in the Temple. ("I thank God that I am not like other people...")

Starhopper said...

I should have written "we should primarily be concerned" and not "only be concerned". Kindly read the paragraph with that correction.

SteveK said...

How does that work, Starhopper? Criminals typically aren't interested in outlawing their crimes. You're asking the wolves to take an interest in protecting the sheep.

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

You are such a One Note Samba. Predictable and boring. There is more to life than worrying about abortion.

The OP is about abortion and politics, you expressed your opinion about abortion and politics (for the umpteenth, fact-free time) but somehow I'm not allowed to? Sorry, but I disagree with the political cult that you give higher loyalty to than to the Catholic faith you claim to hold. As far as what you should be primarily concerned about wrt abortion is what your faith teaches you and by implication your eternal soul.

In like manner, as an almost 70 year old male who has a less than zero chance of being involved with an abortion, I personally have no dog in the fight.

Remember this:
Imagine a person whose views on the environment, workers' rights, immigration, social welfare, race, guns, education, defense, and whatever else you care to list all align with the Democratic Party.

You are not a worker, an immigrant, on social welfare, a racist(oh, I guess you are since you're white), involved in education or defense. You don't have a dog in any of those fights either. But your cult has warped your brain to allow you to advocate for progressive solutions to those issues, but to ignore millions of innocent children being killed. That's some serious mind control.

Starhopper said...

It is oh so easy to be self righteous when there is no chance of yourself engaging in the behavior you're condemning.

The Pharisee in Christ's parable knew there was no way that the Romans would ever employ him as a tax collector, so he could smugly bask in his "virtue" of not being one. And it cost him nothing! Now I think about this story all the time, because it is a trap I can see myself all too easily falling into. Whereas I hardly ever think about the evils of, say, cigarette smoking, because I am not tempted to smoke. (Tried it one time, about 30 years ago. Got a blinding headache. Never repeated the experiment.)

SteveK said...

I'd complain about your constant virtue signaling but there's no chance that I would engage in that behavior, so I will refrain from asking that you stop.

Starhopper said...

"I'd complain about your constant virtue signaling"

What?!? I'm signalling the exact opposite. I consider myself in grave danger of the sin of pride, the worst sin that anyone can commit.

Which is why I refuse to obsess over sins that I am not in the least tempted to commit (such as abortion). I have enough of my own to worry about, thank you.

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

Which is why I refuse to obsess over sins that I am not in the least tempted to commit (such as abortion). I have enough of my own to worry about, thank you.

You seem rather obsessed about it to me. Otherwise you'd simply be silent about your disagreement with official Catholic teaching regarding it.

But regarding your scriptural proof texting, I suspect your cult supplied you with it.

Just remember:

“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!”

SteveK said...

@bmiller,
The Catholic church has much to say about abortion and I don't think the leaders are tempted to commit the sin any more than Starhopper is. I guess they didn't get Starhopper's proof-text memo.

bmiller said...

SteveK,

Very good point. And I'm sure he will humbly submit to their teachings.

Starhopper said...

What are you talking about? What is this "proof text" you are referring to? Are you confusing me with somebody else?

SteveK said...

Did you forget to take your meds? The text you referenced is only a few comments above. Take the meds and come back later.

Starhopper said...

Are you referring to the parable? That is in no way a "proof text". At least, not in my understanding of what that expression means. It is, at most, an illustration - but certainly not "proof" of anything.

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

Prooftext

You are trying to use a Biblical parable to justify your remote material cooperation with the evil of killing innocent children while at the same time implying that those who do propose action against said evil are Pharisees.

I hear you saying:
'God, I thank you that I am not like other people--conservatives, MAGA supporters, plastic straw users--or even like this pro-lifer (who is just like a Pharisee)'

bmiller said...

Unrelated but interesting survey:

Snopes is hopelessly over-matched!

Jim S. said...

Wouldn't this argument apply to infanticide too? If you're opposed to killing small children, many of them will be given up for adoption, making it likely they will end up in the foster system. If you do that, there will be more mouths to feed for people who can afford it least. Won't the government have to expand the welfare state to take care of these children? If so, it seems to me that you can't both believe that killing children should be outlawed, and also believe that socialism or anything like it is a terrible thing.

Legion of Logic said...

Snopes should have never picked that fight. The Bee is ripping them a new one.

Starhopper said...

Wow, that is some wild interpretation there!

"I hear you saying"

You really need your ears checked. Just sayin'...

bmiller said...

Jim S,

Private and religious charities are and have always been better suited to lend assistance to the poor than "the government".

bmiller said...

Wow, that is some wild interpretation there!

That's what I was thinking about your using that parable to justify your cooperation with evil, except it for the word 'wild'.

SteveK said...

I asked Snopes to fact-check this statement by bmiller:

I hear you saying:
'God, I thank you that I am not like other people--conservatives, MAGA supporters, plastic straw users--or even like this pro-lifer (who is just like a Pharisee)'


I fed them the following information so they could properly evaluate the above statement:

Starhopper: "Law" is not a one-size-fits-all term.
bmiller: Should killing people be against the "Law" then?
Starhopper: There is more to life than worrying about abortion
Starhopper: I agree with C.S. Lewis where he says we should primarily be concerned about those sins which we ourselves are in danger of committing....I could be the Pharisee in Christ's parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector praying in the Temple. ("I thank God that I am not like other people...")
bmiller: As far as what you should be primarily concerned about wrt abortion is what your faith teaches you and by implication your eternal soul.
Starhopper: It is oh so easy to be self righteous when there is no chance of yourself engaging in the behavior you're condemning. The Pharisee in Christ's parable knew there was no way that the Romans would ever employ him as a tax collector, so he could smugly bask in his "virtue" of not being one. And it cost him nothing!

Snopes rating: MOSTLY TRUE

bmiller said...

Snopes giving me a MOSTLY TRUE makes me sad :-(

SteveK said...

They couldn't confirm the part about plastic straw users ;)

Starhopper said...

"They couldn't confirm the part about plastic straw users"

I've never understood the need for straws, whether they be paper or plastic. When the server at my local diner brings me one along with my (unsweetened) iced tea, I always just set it down unopened on the table and sip from the glass.

"Simplify, simplify, simplify!" (Henry David Thoreau)
"The best things in life.. aren't things" (anonymous)
"A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Jesus)

Victor Reppert said...

I should make a key distinction here. I was using the term "socialism" in the way Republicans like to use it, where they treat any expansion of role of government in social welfare as socialism. This is the ostensible grounds, for example, that Mitch McConnell is killing all the legislation coming from the Democratic House of Representatives--it's socialistic. This argument was used when I was a child and conservatives such as Ronald Reagan were arguing against Medicare. I think there is a governing philosophy on the conservative side that suggests that what government is primarily there to do is protect people from violence. So, for example, terrorists, who can kill you, have to be stopped by government, but if we use government to make sure people are protected from disease, which can also kill you,that's socialism and we ought to do that as little as possible. Hence, it's a good thing to make sure women don't get abortions, since that is a violent treat to fetuses, but once the mothers carry their children to terms we will cut funding for any effort to make them better able to take care of those children. It is simply a fact that for many families to survive, both parents have to work, yet the legislation that required employers not to fire women for getting pregnant was sponsored by Democrats like Hillary Clinton, not the pro-life Republicans. But such legislation was considered an interference with the free market, and most Republican senators opposed it.

Victor Reppert said...

I think serious opposition to abortion to include a willingness to step up to the plate a support those struggling families who abort babies for economic reasons. Something is wrong with our society if a woman finds herself in a situation where she has choose, as a student of mine once told me, between adequately caring for a child she already had, or carrying her pregnancy to term. And I think that means a willingness to step up to the plate via government, and a willingness to pay more in taxes to make sure that my former student's dilemma arises as infrequently as possible. Otherwise, I have to regard the "pro-life" commitments of Republicans as a mere political football to keep their voters in the fold, not as a genuine commitment to human life.

Starhopper said...

" I have to regard the "pro-life" commitments of Republicans as a mere political football to keep their voters in the fold, not as a genuine commitment to human life."

Astute observation, Victor, and one of the reasons I have been so vocal about the so-called social issues not legitimately being within the sphere of what we call politics.

For instance, I am 100% opposed to considering same sex marriage to actually be "marriage" - by definition. And that's not going to change. But whether two guys want to marry each other is ultimately none of my business, and the government ought to have the same attitude. I would certainly never factor a candidate's views on the subject into my decision to vote for or against them.

I have long considered Roe v. Wade to be a disaster for our nation. Not because it legalized abortion, but because it politicized the subject. Our civil discourse has been poisoned by the "true believers" on both sides of the issue ever since. Now there's nothing wrong with a healthy debate on the subject, but to hold our entire government hostage to a single issue has been ONLY a negative over the past decades. It has caused otherwise sane individuals to sacrifice everything they hold dear on the altar of "life". It has forced otherwise good people to side in the voting booth with the pro-abortion crowd because the alternative is loaded down with far too many poisoned pills to make them worthy of consideration.

The answer? Divorce the issue from politics! Take no notice of a candidate's position on abortion. Vote intelligently on those issues which properly belong in the sphere of government (which excludes all of the "social" issues). Continue to be as anti or pro abortion as you must - just don't make the entire world revolve about the issue.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

Aside from the fact you apparently have never heard of monasteries, what you think happened to children of the Middle Ages when their parents died at the age of 30?

I would imagine the overwhelming majority of them died too, or went begging in the streets. There has never been a private system, religious or otherwise, capable of taking care of all unwanted or orphaned children.

Well first, what countries are you referring to and what makes them "officially Catholic countries"? What were their laws historically vs now and why do you think their abortion rates are "so high"?

I am referring to basically all the countries in Central and South America except for Mexico. The abortion rate in that area, which is heavily Catholic, is roughly 4 times that of the US. Why aren't all those super generous Catholic Churches down there rushing in to take unwanted babies off the hands of the poor, thus totally eliminating the practice of abortion?

Well, since abortion rates were historically low before the 60s in the US and the US has historically been mostly Protestant I agree with you that the question answers itself. Nice to agree with my interlocutor once in a while.

The overwhelming majority of orphaned children in the US since the turn of the previous century have always been taken care of by the state. AKA, what you call "socialism."

If the state backed out of caring for orphaned children now, there's no way the US churches could step in effectively. No remotely sane person could believe otherwise.

But with socialism you get even more dead babies and more starving miserable poor people. Period, end of story.

I am obviously not referring to Eastern Bloc, Soviet-style socialism.

I am talking about the system in Western Europe, the region in the world where the abortion rate is lowest.

I don't remember reading about dead babies or starving miserable poor there.


Screwtape Jenkins said...

Let me see. Aren't Cuba and PR of China run by Communists? Let's see how full socialism reduces abortions.

Again, I explicitly gave Western Europe as the example of generous social programs reducing the number of abortions.

So, let's just forget the boogie-man of the word "socialism" that is short-circuiting rational discussion of the issue.

Would you be in favor of a social safety net system that mimicked that of Western Europe if it dramatically reduced the abortion rate?

bmiller said...

Otherwise, I have to regard the "pro-life" commitments of Republicans as a mere political football to keep their voters in the fold, not as a genuine commitment to human life.

It's unhelpful to a reasonable debate to claim that one's opponent is against human life if they don't agree with one's idea of the role the federal government.

But Victor, Democrats could claim to be the "pro-life" party if they would just stop it with the killing. So it won't do to complain that the other side (who is not actually killing anyone) is not really sincere while your side is merrily dismembering away.

Now I understand you tell yourself that it's not really a "person", but that is really what the debate is about. It's a red herring to bring up poverty in a discussion about the dignity of a human being when, if it's not a human being that is to be aborted, no one would argue against it. If it really is a human being then it shouldn't matter if that person is rich or poor. All deserve to live.

Planned Parenthood (formerly the American Birth Control League) started as a eugenicist organization to better society by eliminating poverty and it seems they still are. But of course by that they meant to eliminate the poor from the status of living humans. They seem to have succeeded smashingly since the well-off don't need their "services" and so their clients are mostly their targeted demograhic. We live in Orwell's world when politicians are able to convince people that in order to "help" the poor, we must kill their offspring.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

Private and religious charities are and have always been better suited to lend assistance to the poor than "the government".

And your belief in this fairy tale is based on what, exactly?

Screwtape Jenkins said...

But Victor, Democrats could claim to be the "pro-life" party if they would just stop it with the killing. So it won't do to complain that the other side (who is not actually killing anyone) is not really sincere while your side is merrily dismembering away.

Are you under the impression that Democratic leaders are actually performing the procedure personally?

Are you under the even more ridiculous impression that Republicans don't both perform and seek out abortions?

Now I understand you tell yourself that it's not really a "person", but that is really what the debate is about. It's a red herring to bring up poverty in a discussion about the dignity of a human being when, if it's not a human being that is to be aborted, no one would argue against it. If it really is a human being then it shouldn't matter if that person is rich or poor. All deserve to live.

I'm pretty sure everyone in the discussion agrees that all of the unborn deserve to live. The question is, how do we give them the best chance to live? Merely making abortion illegal won't stop it - many countries where abortion is illegal have much higher abortion rates than countries where it is legal.

Looking out at the wider world, only one thing seems to work to dramatically lower abortion rates - a more generous welfare state.

Starhopper said...

"Private and religious charities are and have always been better suited to lend assistance to the poor than "the government"."

That statement is true only on a micro scale. Yes, a neighbor helping a neighbor is the most effective possible "charity" possible for a single person or family. But ending the Great Depression, helping Flint, Michigan, or rebuilding a hurricane ravaged city, or dealing with the opioid crisis? That requires a government.

bmiller said...

Screwtape Jenkins,

You have a lot of opinions and guesses.

I would imagine the overwhelming majority of them died too, or went begging in the streets. There has never been a private system, religious or otherwise, capable of taking care of all unwanted or orphaned children.

Responses like this make me doubt we'll be able to have a reasonable discussion. You admit your ignorance of a topic but nevertheless you know all about it. Likewise your comments regarding Central and South America are so sweeping, imprecise and snide it appears that you aren't interested facts.

Here are the countries with the lowest abortion rates.

Mexico 2015 0.82
Venezuela 1968 0.80
Comoros 2010 0.55
Qatar 2012 0.55 #
Northern Mariana Islands 2013 0.44 #
Poland 2014 0.31 #
Micronesia 2008 0.24 #
United Arab Emirates 2013 0.10 #
Trinidad and Tobago 2004 0.03
Chile 1991 0.02
Panama 2000 0.02

I don't see any Western European countries but I do see Central and South American countries.

The overwhelming majority of orphaned children in the US since the turn of the previous century have always been taken care of by the state. AKA, what you call "socialism."

Since government run orphanages were phased out starting in the 50's, and those were state-run, not Federal-run you have your facts wrong.

If the state backed out of caring for orphaned children now, there's no way the US churches could step in effectively. No remotely sane person could believe otherwise.

Yeah. I think you've just come here to rant. I take this as license to treat you unseriously.

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

But ending the Great Depression, helping Flint, Michigan, or rebuilding a hurricane ravaged city, or dealing with the opioid crisis? That requires a government.

Did someone argue that there was no role for government period? It would be nice to have a discussion about what it's role should be vs the private sector. But it seems like that's out of the question when people would rather whip up emotion when they hear an idea they don't like rather than consider the other person's reasoning process.

bmiller said...

I'm pretty sure everyone in the discussion agrees that all of the unborn deserve to live.

You would be wrong.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

Here are the countries with the lowest abortion rates.

Where on Earth are you getting these unsourced statistics? Because when I google "lowest abortion rate" I can't replicate it. Link please?

Here's one of many possible sources for my data, and anybody can replicate it with a google search:

https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/abortion-around-the-world-where-are-rates-highest/

The abortion rate in Western Europe is about 12 per 1000 women.

The abortion rate in Central America is 29 per 1000 women.

The abortion rate in South America is 32 per 1000 women.

I suppose one could cherry pick countries (without citing or linking to their sources) and cherry pick some outlier countries in every region. But looking at the regions as a whole? It's pretty clear the welfare state works in reducing abortions and Catholicism does not.

Since government run orphanages were phased out starting in the 50's, and those were state-run, not Federal-run you have your facts wrong.

Um, what?

First of all, the majority of children are still looked after and placed by the state, and foster care is paid for by the state. The orphanage system wasn't phased out because private and religious charities made them unnecessary.

Secondly, what difference does it make if it's a state program or a federal program? It's administrated and paid for by the government, via our taxes.

Yeah. I think you've just come here to rant. I take this as license to treat you unseriously.

I did not come here to rant; you're just looking for a face-saving excuse to head for an exit, because you know you have no facts on your side.

Point me to a state anywhere in the world where orphaned children are adequately cared for exclusively by private and/or religious institutions.

bmiller said...

Screwtape Jenkins,

If you expect me to take you seriously, you're not doing a very good job.

I suppose one could cherry pick countries (without citing or linking to their sources) and cherry pick some outlier countries in every region. But looking at the regions as a whole? It's pretty clear the welfare state works in reducing abortions and Catholicism does not.

I asked you specifically what countries you were talking about and what their laws were wrt abortion. I provided you a list of countries with the top abortion rates and a list with the lowest abortion rates from the fist site I found with rate by country. If you know how to google and look for an actual list of countries, it's not hard to find. That data doesn't support your assertions.

This was the first list I found and this is from the UN.

It's pretty clear the welfare state works in reducing abortions and Catholicism does not.

What a muddle. Western Europe is not a state and neither is South America. They all have different laws wrt abortion and different systems of dealing with the poor as well as different states of economic development. Just because a nation may have a majority Catholic population doesn't mean it is or is not more socialistic than another and also doesn't tell us what the laws are.

Just because a nation is majority Catholic doesn't even mean that it's the Catholics of that nation getting the abortions (you'd have to provide evidence). And even if it's only Catholics getting the abortions it just means that some Catholics sin, as hard to believe as that is.

First of all, the majority of children are still looked after and placed by the state, and foster care is paid for by the state.

The "state" does not look after any children. It regulates foster homes and provides money to some, but the day to day care is administered by private citizens. Catholic Charities is privately funded, but due to state interference, some Catholic adoption services have had to close down because they refused to place children with single people.

Secondly, what difference does it make if it's a state program or a federal program?
It makes a big difference. Local governments are more accountable than centralized governments.

But do you really think that when money is spent by the government there is actually more of it to go around to the poor? Because that is what you're implying by telling us that only socialism can save the poor.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

This was the first list I found and this is from the UN.

That UN data is very old, most of it nearly 20 years old or more. And I can't find anything on how that data was collected or compiled. Some of those numbers seem quite obviously wrong - any data collection technique that yields an abortion rate of 0 for multiple countries is not to be relied upon.

That data doesn't support your assertions.

The very old data with no link to the original study or methodology that you link doesn't seem to support it.

The new data I provided with links to the original studies and do support it.

My data's better than your data, and it supports my thesis.

What a muddle. Western Europe is not a state and neither is South America.

So what? They are relatively homogeneous regions politically and religiously. Western Europe is dominated by secular welfare states. Central and South America are dominated by Catholic states with far less generous welfare programs.

There's nothing dubious in the slightest about averaging the outcomes of these regions to judge these two approaches to the problem. A granular analysis would certainly be more tedious but not necessarily more informative, unless you can point to some outlier states that differ dramatically in either abortion rate or the size of the welfare state.

I'm not suggesting the analysis is exhaustive or definitive, but if you're suggesting it's meaningless, you are obviously the one who's not serious.

Just because a nation is majority Catholic doesn't even mean that it's the Catholics of that nation getting the abortions (you'd have to provide evidence). And even if it's only Catholics getting the abortions it just means that some Catholics sin, as hard to believe as that is.

Your argument wasn't that individual Catholics would be less likely to have abortions because of their own personal morals. Your argument was that the Catholic Church has sufficient resources to reduce the economic cost of childbearing to the point it could lower the abortion rate.

That Catholics sin is news to no one. That the Catholic Church can't provide enough resources to poor, expectant mothers to significantly lower the abortion rate is news only to you.

The "state" does not look after any children. It regulates foster homes and provides money to some, but the day to day care is administered by private citizens.

The children would not be looked out for by the individuals but for the provision of the state. The foster system is a state-run, state-funded system. Period.

If the state completely backed out of it and left it entirely up to NGOs, those NGOs would be utterly overrun in less than a week. That is not a point that sane people who understand anything about the system could possibly disagree on. Period.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

It makes a big difference. Local governments are more accountable than centralized governments.

So say we developed welfare programs exactly like those in Western Europe, but on a state-by-state basis. So we had very high state income taxes in pretty much every state, but a generous welfare system that was administered by each of the individual states. Would you be in favor of that?

Because if you wouldn't be, then what on Earth was the point of this shameless attempt to shift the goalposts?

But do you really think that when money is spent by the government there is actually more of it to go around to the poor?

At this point, the goalposts are moving so fast I'm getting dizzy.

I believe what I said was, only a government has the resources to adequately care for every child, particularly in a nation as large and as populous as the US. No individual charity or collection of charities could possibly do an adequate job.

Because that is what you're implying by telling us that only socialism can save the poor.

Except I never told anybody that. I said that the (recent, accurate) data shows that only countries with generous welfare states - countries you would probably call socialist - succeed in retaining a low abortion rate.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

That should have been "only a government has the resources to adequately care for every *orphaned or unwanted* child."

Starhopper said...

This discussion is going off the rails. There are occasions when private charity is more efficient than governmental action, and other occasions where the reverse is true. Primarily it is a matter of scale. As I said above, nothing beats one neighbor helping another. But this only works when the numbers are relatively small.

When speaking of a national issue, or of a global problem.. well, that takes a government (or governments).

Can we all agree on that?

Screwtape Jenkins said...

Can we all agree on that?

Yes.

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

How do you think the poor were cared for in the Holy Roman Empire? You know, the system you want to return to.

Part of our present conceptual problem is that we have been indoctrinated to think of history as being purely secular and that Christianity stymied all progress.

Greece and Rome were wonderful until Christianity took over and then there was the DARK AGES. It wasn't until the Renaissance that civilization threw off the bonds of Superstition!

The role of that superstitious organization should be taken over by the state (Oh, and incidentally all the goods and property it possessed in order to carry out that role). This is simply the Enlightenment myth, but we are living in it's aftermath.

No wonder we can't imagine how religious organizations could carry out their true mission when the state prevents them from doing either implicitly or explicitly.

The Catholic Church started the institutions of Europe including the great universities, hospitals and charities. Non-government organizations are always better at these functions that governments. Governments are better at building roads, making and enforcing fair laws, ensuring the safety of the populace and so on.

So no. I don't agree it's the scale of the problem that demands government solutions. It's the type of problem.

bmiller said...

Screwtape Jenkins,

The new data I provided with links to the original studies and do support it.

The source for the cbs news link you posted was referring to a Lancet article that refers to data no later than 2008. The raw data was not supplied so there is no way to verify or qualify any of their conclusions. I supplied raw data.

My data's better than your data, and it supports my thesis.

No. You read an article that made a claim that you cannot verify.

I'm not suggesting the analysis is exhaustive or definitive, but if you're suggesting it's meaningless, you are obviously the one who's not serious.

Well, we could divide the world into a North and a South Hemisphere too. Or an Eastern and Western Hemisphere. You'd get all sorts of different outcomes for averages of nations depending on how you slice it. So it is meaningless to talk about national data and only look at "regional" data.

Your argument was that the Catholic Church has sufficient resources to reduce the economic cost of childbearing to the point it could lower the abortion rate.

My argument was that socialism is not the only answer. The poor were cared for in the past and can be cared for n the future without socialism. America was always a Protestant nation and although the Catholic Church has had a strong presence in providing for the poor in America it was not the only organization.

It was you who wanted to bring up the Catholic Church in Latin America as some sort of argument for socialism reducing abortions or something? Now you're claiming that I've argued "that the Catholic Church has sufficient resources to reduce the economic cost of childbearing to the point it could lower the abortion rate."? Show me where.

Please. Try to focus on one argument at a time and be more concise. This is the last time I'm going to make such a lengthy reply.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

The source for the cbs news link you posted was referring to a Lancet article that refers to data no later than 2008.

2008 is more recent than any of the data at any of the links you've provided. So, my data is better than yours, any way you slice it.

The raw data was not supplied so there is no way to verify or qualify any of their conclusions.

The raw data is most certainly available in exhaustive detail at the link for the Lancet article.

Here, I'll provide the link for you:

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2811%2961786-8/fulltext

It's all there, including extensive footnotes.

I supplied raw data.

You provided a link to a couple of charts with no link to the studies that produced the charts.

My data remains better than your data, however you try to spin it.

No. You read an article that made a claim that you cannot verify.

The article linked to a study that *meticulously* verifies my claims. That you didn't bother reading it is hardly my fault.

Well, we could divide the world into a North and a South Hemisphere too.

Except that the North and South Hemispheres are not largely politically or religiously homogeneous. Western Europe and Latin America are.

You are not good at this.

The poor were cared for in the past and can be cared for n the future without socialism.

They were not cared for well. You want to go back to the Grapes of Wrath as a model for how we can best take care of the poor?

Let's just take Social Security. It dropped the poverty rate among the elderly from 35% to 10%.

Link: https://www.nber.org/aginghealth/summer04/w10466.html

I could go on and on. I'm not arguing that churches or private charities do nothing. I'm saying that when that was all poor people had, poor people were *much, much* worse off.

Now you're claiming that I've argued "that the Catholic Church has sufficient resources to reduce the economic cost of childbearing to the point it could lower the abortion rate."? Show me where.

You implied that because the abortion rate in the US was lower before the welfare state, when only private and religious charities assisted the poor, that this meant that private and religious charities were adequate for the job.

I then asked you, if that was the case, why was abortion so high in Catholic-majority countries that are swimming in Catholic churches, and you have successfully avoided answering the question in this conversation to date.

This is the last time I'm going to make such a lengthy reply.

I'm finding the dreadful quality of your responses to not vary at all with the length, so be as brief as possible, please.

One Brow said...

bmiller said...

This was the first list I found

I think you can understand the difference between 'legal abortion rate' (as reported in that link) and 'actual abortion rate' (which Screwtape Jenkins is discussing). Reducing the legal abortion rate is trivially easy. Is that really your goal?

One Brow said...

Starhopper said...

Can we all agree on that?

I'm on board.

bmiller said...

Screwtape Jenkins,

I went to your link yet again and could not see any data. I'm not a subscriber to Lancet and don't want subscribe. If you can provide a publicly available link to raw data I'll look at it. I suspect it will line up to the data I provided.

Here is the source for the chart I provided. You can pick a country and track the historical abortion rates for that country. So for instance in the Eastern block countries when the communists took over and legalized abortion you can see the abortion rate climb. Romania is a good example of how laws affect abortion rates. If you drop the abortion rate per year into a spreadsheet you will see the rate rise until the dictator outlawed most abortions and then you'd see a dramatic drop, going up again when abortion was liberalized again.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

I'm not a subscriber to Lancet and don't want subscribe.

"There's this expansive, meticulous study that could prove to me that everything I believe about abortion is wrong, the reading of which could redirect my activism against abortion in drastically more effective directions... but it requires a free subscription, so nah."

You're not serious.

If you drop the abortion rate per year into a spreadsheet you will see the rate rise until the dictator outlawed most abortions and then you'd see a dramatic drop, going up again when abortion was liberalized again.

Oh, gee golly willickers, you mean laws are more effective in dictatorships, where the accused don't have any rights? Do tell.

This is yet another example of how you're not serious. Yes, we can cherry pick countries which for one reason or another are dramatic outliers from the norm, and are drastically different from our society in terms of how they are governed.

OR

We could pick western democracies with systems are close to ours, but which vary primarily along the lines of our dispute. We could look at, in general, how the abortion rate responds to states that give generous social welfare as opposed to how it responds to states that defer to private charities.

When we do that analysis, the evidence is crystal clear... at least to those of us who care more about the unborn than our tax rate.

bmiller said...

Screwtape Jenkins,

About the Lancet article. Check who the authors work for. Then its easy to see why they arrange the data the way they do.

Now your complaint about the site I sent you to is that the data is too old.
I then showed you that the fact that it's old doesn't matter because we can clearly see that when abortion was made legal in the Eastern block countries the rates rose. The same is true for all countries. When abortion laws are tightened, the abortion rate goes down and that is a fact in the Romania but Poland and in the West as well. When abortion laws are loosened, the rates go up.

We could pick western democracies with systems are close to ours, but which vary primarily along the lines of our dispute.

You could have done that but instead you demanded we look at the Lancet article which compares developing countries to fully developed western democracies and doesn't address what happens when abortion laws are loosened or tightened.

How the Legal Status of Abortion Impacts Abortion Rates

Screwtape Jenkins said...

About the Lancet article. Check who the authors work for. Then its easy to see why they arrange the data the way they do.

Intellectual lazy, intellectually dishonest, well-poisoning bullcrap.

If there's a problem with the data or the methodology used to compile it, demonstrate that. But saying that just because it was compiled by pro-choice advocates, it is therefore and for no other reason invalid, is just sticking your head in the sand.

I then showed you that the fact that it's old doesn't matter because we can clearly see that when abortion was made legal in the Eastern block countries the rates rose.

Which has nothing to do with what we were talking about!

I'd happily grant that laws against abortion would be VERY, VERY effective if we turned the United States into a totalitarian dictatorship where we could just lock the accused in gulags or line them against a wall and put a bullet in them. Is that what you're advocating we do in the US?

No? Then why are we talking about Eastern Bloc countries?

We were talking about whether generous government programs work better than private charity in preventing abortion. You're trying to steer the conversation all over the map to avoid the simple fact that the data is *crystal clear* on this question.

In Western Europe, abortion is widely legal. Welfare programs are generous. The abortion rate is 12 per 1000 women.

In Latin America, abortion is widely illegal. Welfare programs are less generous than those in Western Europe. The abortion rate is between 29 and 32 per 1000 women.

How the Legal Status of Abortion Impacts Abortion Rates

Let's count the ways in which you are intellectually dishonest:

1) You chastise me for linking to a study from a pro-choice advocacy group, but it's perfectly fine for you to post a link from a pro-life advocacy group.

2) Your pro-life advocacy group uses exactly the same methodology you object to when I use it. To wit, they aggregate countries with similar policies together and compare them en masse, not country by country. It's funny how you're fine with this methodology when it seems to support your point, but call foul when it doesn't.

3) I never denied that making abortion illegal would lower the abortion rate. I said that *merely* making it illegal won't lower it by *much.* Your link doesn't refute my point.

Anyway, you're done wasting my time. Any reasonable person can look at our exchange and see the obvious.



SteveK said...

>> “I said that *merely* making it illegal won't lower it by *much.*”

Let’s find out by how much and let’s give the non-socialist methods a chance to figure out how to deal with the various consequences. Progressives ought to welcome the great progress we could make as a society. We should try.

bmiller said...

Screwtape Jenkins,

Me:
I then showed you that the fact that it's old doesn't matter because we can clearly see that when abortion was made legal in the Eastern block countries the rates rose.

You:
I'd happily grant that laws against abortion would be VERY, VERY effective if we turned the United States into a totalitarian dictatorship where we could just lock the accused in gulags or line them against a wall and put a bullet in them. Is that what you're advocating we do in the US?

No? Then why are we talking about Eastern Bloc countries?


So you saying that you think the Eastern Bloc countries forced women to have abortions by making it legal? Seriously?

We were talking about whether generous government programs work better than private charity in preventing abortion. You're trying to steer the conversation all over the map to avoid the simple fact that the data is *crystal clear* on this question.

This is what you said that I contested:
So even if Republicans someday succeed in making abortion illegal, if you ever want to actually reduce the number of abortions, you're going to have to vote for more socialistic policies at some point. Which means at some point, if the interests of the unborn is really of upmost importance to you, you're going to have to vote for Democrats.

I've been pointing out that making abortions illegal reduces abortions and before "socialism" arrived, the abortion rate was much lower in America. You brought in other countries in the world and I've been responding to that. Now you're complaining that I've been responding to what you've been posting?

Anyway, you're done wasting my time. Any reasonable person can look at our exchange and see the obvious.

My thoughts exactly.
Pretty much how I thought it would go after you said " No remotely sane person could believe otherwise.". But I didn't expect quite this level of muddle.

bmiller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Screwtape Jenkins said...

Let’s find out by how much

It's unlikely we'll ever see "how much," because it's extremely unlikely that abortion will ever be illegal in the country as a whole. Even if Roe is overturned, which is a long-shot, abortion will still likely be legal in most states.

and let’s give the non-socialist methods a chance to figure out how to deal with the various consequences.

We *are* giving the non-socialist methods a chance! What exactly is stopping the non-socialist methods of private and religious charities from reducing abortion right now?

We are currently seeing how well religious and private charity work in reducing abortion. The answer is: not well.

Progressives ought to welcome the great progress we could make as a society. We should try.

Conservatives who claim to care about the lives of the unborn ought to be willing to pay slightly higher taxes to fund the kind of social safety net that has been proven to save the lives of the unborn.

Of course, that's only if they actually care more about the unborn than they do about keeping their taxes low.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

Look, SteveK, politics is about compromise, right?

What if Democrats came to you with a deal. They'll agree to make abortion illegal barring rape/incest/life of the mother, etc.

In exchange for that, a very generous, European-style welfare state will be established, where everybody's taxes go up by 15-20%, but basically all of that safety net is aimed at making it easier for poor women to afford to have their children.

Liberals give up something they want, which is abortion on demand. And Conservatives give up something they want, which is low taxes.

Would you take that deal?

Jim S. said...

"I think serious opposition to abortion to include a willingness to step up to the plate a support those struggling families who abort babies for economic reasons."

Again, I think you could make the same argument for infanticide. Actually, you could make it for murder. If you tell a murderer to stop murdering someone, it doesn't strike me as a particularly cogent objection for him to say that unless I'm willing to financially support his victim from here on out, my opposition to murder is hypocritical, a mere political football rather than a genuine commitment to human life.

SteveK said...

>> "We *are* giving the non-socialist methods a chance!"

No, we aren't. Abortion isn't illegal so the consequences that would result by making it illegal are not being managed right now. That is the context of my comment.

SteveK said...

>> "We are currently seeing how well religious and private charity work in reducing abortion. The answer is: not well."

That's a different problem that needs to be addressed, but it will be reduced by making it illegal. You already agreed to that here.

You: “I said that *merely* making it illegal won't lower it by *much.*”

SteveK said...

>> "Would you take that deal?"

I might. I'd be willing to talk about it and listen. My primary objection is that you want the government to handle whatever consequences there are, and I don't think that is necessary. A bigger welfare state with more dependent people sucking on the tit of government is almost never the right answer.

bmiller said...

Jim S is right.

Murdering innocent people is wrong period. If we can't agree on that, then one can make all sorts of consequentialist arguments to kill people. Too many poor people? Just kill them.

It's also incoherent to argue that the method a country uses to care for the poor will either increase or decrease abortion rates. If the poor are adequately taken care of then they are being taken care of whether through governmental or private means.

If poverty is the largest driving factor for women to procure abortions, then it makes sense that economic development is the best solution. Fewer poor people, fewer abortions. We know that socialism does poorly in this area.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

Again, I think you could make the same argument for infanticide. Actually, you could make it for murder. If you tell a murderer to stop murdering someone, it doesn't strike me as a particularly cogent objection for him to say that unless I'm willing to financially support his victim from here on out, my opposition to murder is hypocritical, a mere political football rather than a genuine commitment to human life.

That murderer analogy doesn't apply, unless the murderer is killing a person that is absolutely dependent on them and whom they love and care for and would not kill but for the fact that they couldn't afford to take care of them.

(I'll grant the infanticide analogy, because I don't think there's any moral difference between abortion and infanticide.)

Understand - I am not arguing that abortion is in anyway okay or correct or morally acceptable, I think it is one of the worst moral crimes a human being can commit.

HOWEVER, that doesn't alter the fact that the overwhelming majority of abortions are sought out for economic reasons, and we could reduce the number of abortions if we made people more economically secure.

I don't understand the position of people who say that life is sacred, and there's nothing more important than saving innocent, unborn lives - but saving hundreds of thousands of them a year is not worth a slight raise in my taxes.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

I might. I'd be willing to talk about it and listen.

Fair enough.

My primary objection is that you want the government to handle whatever consequences there are, and I don't think that is necessary.

It's not about me *wanting* that. It's about the reality that only governments have the reach and resources to do the job.

If private and religious charities were really better suited to the gargantuan task of adequately taking care of *ALL* of the orphaned and unwanted children in country with the size and population of the United States, I'd be all for it.

But again, if private and religious charities are capable of doing this then why aren't they doing it?

What's stopping them?

A bigger welfare state with more dependent people sucking on the tit of government is almost never the right answer.

*Almost* being the operative word. It's not the right answer except when it is, and the data shows that it seems to be the right answer in terms of reducing abortions.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

It's also incoherent to argue that the method a country uses to care for the poor will either increase or decrease abortion rates. If the poor are adequately taken care of then they are being taken care of whether through governmental or private means.

Where in our world would you say the poor are being adequately taken care of solely by private and religious charities?

I can tell you where they're being adequately taken care of by the welfare state - Canada and Western Europe. Give me a country or region where private and religious charities do as well with the poor.

If poverty is the largest driving factor for women to procure abortions, then it makes sense that economic development is the best solution. Fewer poor people, fewer abortions. We know that socialism does poorly in this area.

America has a consistently lower unemployment rate than Europe, yet our abortion rate remains steadily higher.

Even if all these countries developed to have economies on par with the United States, that would presumably mean their abortion rate would only drop to around the United States' abortion rate.

Are you happy with the abortion rate in the United States?

The more I argue with Conservatives about this issue, even Conservative Christians who claim that they are essentially single issue pro-life voters, the more I am convinced of a sad truth.

That despite the lip-service, they consider limited government a more fundamental moral principle than saving the lives of the unborn.

And I'd really love it if anyone here could square that from any moral perspective whatsoever, much less a Christian moral perspective. Because it is completely unfathomable to me.

bmiller said...

Screwtape Jenkins,

Part of the problem with this discussion is the ambiguity of how the word socialism is being used. Socialism means "any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods" according to Merriam-Webster.

Western European countries and Canada are not socialist states. The old Soviet Union was.

Each of those countries have different health and welfare systems with various degrees of governmental and private components. So does the US. So we are already socialists if that is your definition.

Are you happy with the abortion rate in the United States?

No. That's why we should pass laws against it. You've already acknowledged that. So why do you continue to attack people you agree with?

One Brow said...

Jim S. said...
"I think serious opposition to abortion to include a willingness to step up to the plate a support those struggling families who abort babies for economic reasons."

Again, I think you could make the same argument for infanticide. Actually, you could make it for murder.

I'd like to see that. Please make a parallel argument for murder. It's not like your just full of baloney, right?

One Brow said...

SteveK said...
A bigger welfare state with more dependent people sucking on the tit of government is almost never the right answer.

Those who worship capitalism will never be convinced by reason.

One Brow said...

bmiller said...
If poverty is the largest driving factor for women to procure abortions, then it makes sense that economic development is the best solution. Fewer poor people, fewer abortions. We know that socialism does poorly in this area.

Well, except for Western Europe, where the programs you call "socialism" are actually very effective.

One Brow said...

bmiller said...
Western European countries and Canada are not socialist states. The old Soviet Union was.

Then perhaps when we talk about improving the social safety net, you'll stop replying with "socialism"? Can you manage that level of consistency?

Screwtape Jenkins said...

Part of the problem with this discussion is the ambiguity of how the word socialism is being used.

I have already clarified that the system I am advocating for is a Western European-style system. Higher taxes and a bigger welfare state, with the focus on programs that help poor expectant mothers.

To avoid confusion, I will no longer use the word socialism, I will only use the term "Western-European system."

Each of those countries have different health and welfare systems with various degrees of governmental and private components. So does the US. So we are already socialists if that is your definition.

I am arguing for a Western European system. The US is not a Western European system.

So why do you continue to attack people you agree with?

We don't agree on whether the US should adopt the Western European system.

So, I've consistently answered all of your questions. It's pretty telling that you have consistently avoiding answering perfectly reasonable questions of mine, such as:

1) In what country are poor people adequately cared for solely by private and religious charities? I can name multiple countries where the system I advocate for works. Name *one* country where the system you advocate for works.

2) If private and religious charities are capable of taking care of *ALL* of the unwanted and orphaned children in the US, then why aren't they currently doing so? What's stopping them?

Those questions pose serious challenges to your position, and any honest person of good will who supported your position would have to be willing to address them.

bmiller said...

Screwtape Jenkins,

We don't agree on whether the US should adopt the Western European system.

But my comment was wrt our agreement that laws restricting abortions reduce the incidents of abortions and so we should support those laws. We do agree on that right?

Screwtape Jenkins said...

But my comment was wrt our agreement that laws restricting abortions reduce the incidents of abortions and so we should support those laws. We do agree on that right?

Answer my two questions above, and I'll answer your question.

bmiller said...

I'd be happy to discuss the best way to care for the poor in detail, but that is a separate question from whether you support laws to protect the unborn. You've claimed abortion is akin to infanticide. So do you support laws against both?

Jim S. said...

"Again, I think you could make the same argument for infanticide. Actually, you could make it for murder."

I'd like to see that. Please make a parallel argument for murder. It's not like your just full of baloney, right?

August 24, 2019 1:37 PM


I did make a parallel argument. It follows immediately after the text you quoted. I'll restate it:

I can't be against abortion unless I'm willing to financially care for the people who would have been victims of abortion.
I can't be against murder unless I'm willing to financially care for the people who would have been victims of murder.

One Brow said...

Jim S. said...
I can't be against abortion unless I'm willing to financially care for the people who would have been victims of abortion.
I can't be against murder unless I'm willing to financially care for the people who would have been victims of murder.


Sorry, I didn't think that was serious. Most of the victims of murder are old enough to take care of themselves. However, I think we should be willing to care for those who are not.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

I'd be happy to discuss the best way to care for the poor in detail, but that is a separate question from whether you support laws to protect the unborn. You've claimed abortion is akin to infanticide. So do you support laws against both?

You haven't been happy to discuss a blessed thing related to the weaknesses in your argument to date.

I've answered pretty much every question you've asked me, and you've been ducking mine pretty shamelessly.

Make a serious attempt to answer questions 1 and 2 above, and I will answer your question. Until you've made a serious attempt to answer my questions 1 and 2 above, this is my last response to you.

bmiller said...

Screwtape Jenkins,

Pretty much what I expected.

You're totally uninterested in reducing abortion (or even infanticide).

If you don't want to answer honestly, that's fine with me. My first impression was right again.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

I will be more than happy to answer honestly, as soon as you do.

I've been answering honestly since this conversation started. You point out a problem with my position? I address it.

I point out problems with your position? You duck, dodge, and change the subject.

It doesn't bother you that there's no country in the world where poor people are adequately cared for by private and religious charities. Because you don't actually care whether or not the poor or adequately cared for, as long as your taxes stay low.

It doesn't bother you that private and religious charities don't actually lower the abortion rate as much as the welfare state. Because you don't actually care about the abortion rate, or at least, you don't care as much as you do that your taxes stay low.

Screwtape Jenkins said...

I can't be against abortion unless I'm willing to financially care for the people who would have been victims of abortion.

The more pressing question is, why aren't you willing to financially care for people who would have been victims of abortion, if that's what it would take to save their lives?

So, the unborn are worth marching for, worth legislating for, worth preaching about, worth supporting Trump for... but they're not worth any of your money?

bmiller said...

Right. Ad hominem attacks, unsupported assertions, begging the question and straw-man arguments really makes me think its worth having a discussion with you.

No thanks.



Screwtape Jenkins said...

I mean, I guess it's technically possible that somebody might read through this discussion and buy that you're leaving on principle, not because you got your clock cleaned.

It's not likely, but it's possible...

Legion of Logic said...

We live in a fallen society. Most abortions are done by unwed women under 30. The destruction of marriage and the family and the glorification of sexual promiscuity is the reason for the vast majority of abortions, along with the left's lies that abortion is nothing but a medical decision, ignoring the life being ended.

Only way to fix this is to promote stable marriages and families, discourage promiscuity in school and media and entertainment, tell the truth about what abortion actually does, provide free birth control like it's magic candy, and have superior safety nets for the poor that assist the burden of raising a child.

So basically, nothing will change.

bmiller said...


"Abortion in Germany is illegal according to §218, and is punished with up to three years in prison or a punitive fine.[1] However, it is de facto permitted in the first trimester upon condition of mandatory counseling, and is also permitted later in pregnancy in cases of medical necessity. In both cases, a waiting period of three days is required. The counseling, called Schwangerschaftskonfliktberatung ("pregnancy-conflict counseling"), must take place at a state-approved centre, which afterwards gives the applicant a Beratungsschein ("certificate of counseling")."

*Abortion ratio = # of abortions per 1000 live births

Up to 1976 penalties were enforced against all abortions, then in 1976, penalties were removed for the first trimester under strict conditions. The abortion ratio more than quadrupled with a few years.

In 1990, the laws were loosened again to accommodate Reunification with East Germany. That year the ration almost doubled from the 1989 number.

Germany still has stricter abortion laws than many other EU countries (until very recently, it was against the law for doctors to even advertise the did abortions) and the ones with looser laws have higher abortion rates. So it's clear that abortion laws have a lot to do with the abortion rate and not "socialism".

bmiller said...


"Until 1932, abortion was banned in Poland without exceptions.
In that year, the new Penal Code legalised abortion only when there were medical reasons and, for the first time in Europe, when the pregnancy resulted from a criminal act.[9] Except during the German occupation during the Second World War, this law was in effect from 1932 to 1956. In Nazi Germany, which included territories of Poland 1939-1945, the penalties for abortion were increased, especially for providing an abortion to an "Aryan" woman. Abortion was permitted if the foetus was deformed or disabled. In 1956 the Sejm legalised abortion in cases where the woman was experiencing "difficult living conditions". The interpretation of the change in the law varied from a restrictive interpretation, in the late 1950s, to one in where abortion was allowed on request, in the 1960s and 1970s. It was not uncommon that women from countries where abortions were restricted, such as Sweden, travelled to Poland to carry out abortions which were accessible and affordable there.[10]

The procedural requirements needed for obtaining a legal abortion were changed several times over the years, in 1956, 1959, 1969, 1981 and 1990. The most important change was that of 1990, after the end of Communist rule, when Ordinance of 30 April 1990 made access to abortion more difficult. A major change came in 1993, when the law was further tightened, removing entirely the "difficult living conditions" as a ground for abortions. As such, abortions could be legally obtained only in cases of serious threat to the life or health of the pregnant woman, as attested by two physicians, cases of rape or incest confirmed by a prosecutor, and cases in which prenatal tests, confirmed by two physicians, demonstrated that the foetus was seriously and irreversibly damaged. This law remains in place today.[11]"

Poland's 1956 abortion law permitted abortion on social grounds and abortions increased from 1,400 to 162,000 by 1959. That year, abortion on demand was allowed and the the number climbed to 233,000. In 1990, when restrictive laws were put in place the number dropped to about 60,000 then year by year 30,000 then 11,000 then 1,000 then 874, then 570 and so on.

All during this time, whether under Communist rule or not, everyone had access to government funded healthcare and welfare. Abortion rates are unrelated to "socialism" but is related to the law.

bmiller said...

Legion,

The destruction of marriage and the family and the glorification of sexual promiscuity is the reason for the vast majority of abortions, along with the left's lies that abortion is nothing but a medical decision, ignoring the life being ended.

Agreed. Pretty much a denial of personal sin and responsibility as well as a false promise of the "good life".

Jim S. said...

Sorry, I didn't think that was serious. Most of the victims of murder are old enough to take care of themselves.

So what? Would you be willing to take on their financial responsibilities, regardless of whether you'd really need to? If you wouldn't then you can't claim to be opposed to murder without being a hypocrite. Regardless, what about people who aren't able to care for themselves? Can you be opposed to the murder of severely handicapped or mentally ill people unless you're willing to financially support them?

However, I think we should be willing to care for those who are not.

Well, the issue for nearly everyone is not whether we care for them but how we care for them. The Ayn Randians may disagree, but who cares. I don't want to get into the debate whether we should care for them ourselves or whether we should pass that off onto the government. It's a matter of weighing the good and the evil of each.

The more pressing question is, why aren't you willing to financially care for people who would have been victims of abortion, if that's what it would take to save their lives?

Why aren't you willing to financially care for people who would have been victims of murder? If you're too poor to do so, then should you get a say in the matter?

So, the unborn are worth marching for, worth legislating for, worth preaching about, worth supporting Trump for... but they're not worth any of your money?

How do you know pro-life folk aren't donating money (and time and resources) to this end? And again, what if you can't do it because you're poor yourself? Do you get to have an opinion and voice it? Or vote on it?

This whole claim is the same kind of thing as saying you can't be in favor of going to war unless you're willing to join the military yourself. It's an attempt to silence one's opponents by saying they're not entitled to their position -- only if they are opposed to war are they entitled to their position. If they are in favor of it, they have to be willing to join the military or else they're hypocrites. It's not true. In the same way, this claim that pro-lifers have to be willing to sacrifice their own well-being in order to be allowed to their opinion is an attempt to silence them. You can be pro-choice in any situation but you can only be pro-life if you're willing to give up your family's financial security. This is on the same level as Peter Unger's Living High and Letting Die. If you're not willing to borrow, beg, and steal to financially support the less fortunate then you're a hypocrite. To which I say: nonsense.

Starhopper said...

"This whole claim is the same kind of thing as saying you can't be in favor of going to war unless you're willing to join the military yourself. It's an attempt to silence one's opponents by saying they're not entitled to their position -- only if they are opposed to war are they entitled to their position. If they are in favor of it, they have to be willing to join the military or else they're hypocrites.

I could not disagree more. No one is "entitled" to a pro-war opinion unless they themselves are either willing to fight in it or are truly physically unable to do so. (Or have served in the past. For instance, at 67 years old, I am no longer in a position to "sign up". But as a veteran, I've already done my bit, and have earned the right to be in favor of a war. For the record, I do not at this time support any ongoing or threatened war.)

One Brow said...

Jim S. said...
So what? Would you be willing to take on their financial responsibilities, regardless of whether you'd really need to?

You mean, regardless of whether they would need me to? To a degree, yes. I actually see a benefit to notions like a universal basic income.

If you wouldn't then you can't claim to be opposed to murder without being a hypocrite.

I disagree. There are solid philosophical reasons for supporting legalizing abortion and not supporting legalizing murder.

It's a matter of weighing the good and the evil of each.

I agree. In particular, with regard to abortion, it's a matter of weighing the competing evils.

How do you know pro-life folk aren't donating money (and time and resources) to this end?

Taking that question out of context, and not responding to it in the context of the discussion, just made you look silly.

One Brow said...

bmiller said...
All during this time, whether under Communist rule or not, everyone had access to government funded healthcare and welfare. Abortion rates are unrelated to "socialism" but is related to the law.

No one has denied that abortion rates are affected by laws. However, by only looking at changes in law, and not at changes at different levels of social support, rather than rebutting Screwtape Jenkins, you are merely dodging his claims, again.

One Brow said...

bmiller said...
Right. Ad hominem attacks, unsupported assertions, begging the question and straw-man arguments really makes me think its worth having a discussion with you.

No thanks.


Your projection skills are improving.

One Brow said...

Starhopper said...
I could not disagree more. No one is "entitled" to a pro-war opinion unless they themselves are either willing to fight in it or are truly physically unable to do so.

As someone who did not serve, I take the position that there are few things worth spending soldiers lives on.