I Guess I’m Not Quite Done with Tennessee Right to Life

As we all know, I don’t really get math that well.  I have trouble figuring out how to put things together in a proper story problem.  And so I don’t know if I have another legitimate gripe with the Tennessee Right to Life folks or not.


Now, on their website, they say “For every two babies born, another baby dies in an abortion.”


The CDC says “The abortion ratio, defined as the number of abortions per 1,000 live births, was 246 in 2002, the same as reported for 2001.”


And since you can’t abort a partial pregnancy, I was willing to concede to the Tennessee Right to Life website their point.


But it’s been nagging at me.  Is the CDC saying that for every two babies born, another “baby” died in an abortion?


Follow me here while I try to work this out.  There are 1,000 lives births.  Those babies are born.  There are 246 abortions.  Those “babies” were not born. 


I think the Tennessee Right to Life is making an honest mistake here in interpreting the CDC’s data based on their “a fetus is a baby” rhetoric.  They think that the CDC is counting the 1,000 babies and the 246 “babies” as the same thing.


Like, if I said, “One in twelve eggs will break before it leaves the store” you would know that there are probably eleven whole eggs in your dozen.  Tennessee Right to Life is reading the CDC data as saying 246 in 1,000 babies will not be born because the pregnancies were terminated.


But I think what the CDC is saying is the equivalent of saying “For every twelve whole eggs that leave the store, one will be broken”–which means that all the eggs that leave the store are whole.  So, it’s not one in eleven eggs that are broken, it’s one in thirteen.


Do you see what I’m getting at?  If all fertilized eggs implanted and no pregnancies ever miscarried, Tennessee Right to Life’s one in three number would still be wrong, because it’s not 246/1,ooo, it’s 246/1,246, which is closer to one in five than one in three.


But Tennessee Right to Life is making a larger mistake, which is to assume that those 1,246 “babies” are all the pregnancies there were.  See what I’m getting at?  The CDC’s number tells us nothing about how many pregnancies there were, and without that number, we don’t get a true idea of how many pregnancies end by abortion. 


You can’t look at the number of live births and the number of abortions and extrapolate from that how many pregnancies ended because of abortions, because women miscarry.  The March of Dimes reports that about 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, most happening before a woman even knows she’s pregnant.  That’d bring the number of “babies” lost in abortion to 1 in 10 pregnancies, I think, not 1 in 3. 


But, the March of Dimes defines a miscarriage as “A miscarriage is the loss of a baby before the 20th week of pregnancy.”  So our one in ten ratio doesn’t include still births.  I couldn’t find the most recent numbers from the CDC, but in 1998, the fetal mortality rate was 6.7 per thousand live births in the U. S.


Okay, so I still think we’re a lot closer to one in ten pregnancies ended by abortion, not one in three, which the Tennessee Right to Lifers seem to be promoting.


Anti-abortion people probably think that one in ten is far too many.  Fair enough.  But the point is that one can be anti-abortion and still be concerned about the accuracy of a lobbying group that wants to be taken seriously as having great political power.


Senator Henry can be anti-abortion and still want to distance himself from a group that appears to be gravely inaccurate in its reporting and biased in its presentation.


 


 


 


*Even though, technically, pregnancy begins when the fertilized egg is implanted in a woman’s uterus.

48 thoughts on “I Guess I’m Not Quite Done with Tennessee Right to Life

  1. I wish I had a decent comment for this post. But I don’t. Other than to say that this is like one of those story problems for entering MENSA. We should call it a MENSES story problem. (Ha! I DID find a joke in there after all.)"If 1,000 babies leave the body through birth and 246 babies leave the body through other means, what percentage of babies leave the body through other means?"And then it’s got the whole LSAT logic problem twist to it too. 1. Some Babies are Born2. Some Babies are Aborted3. All Babies Are Either Born Or Aborted.True or False?

  2. "Now, on their website, they say ‘For every two babies born, another baby dies in an abortion.’"The CDC says ‘The abortion ratio, defined as the number of abortions per 1,000 live births, was 246 in 2002, the same as reported for 2001.’ "And since you can’t abort a partial pregnancy, I was willing to concede to the Tennessee Right to Life website their point."Even if 246 of 1,000 pregnancies resulted in induced abortions, that would still be a 3-to-1 ratio, not a 2-to-1 ratio. There’s just no way to justify the 1-abortion-for-every-2-births claim they come up with.

  3. Honestly, it sounds like TN Right To Life is using ‘special wording’ to make it sound bigger. When hearing ‘births’ most people assume ‘live birth’. So if they are counting still born as an actual birth, then I think they’re misleading people. And they’re fudging the numbers because CDC specifically says ‘live births’, which would discount still born. If they’re not counting still born, then either they or CDC are wrong.It’s like a math or science problem. The validity of the outcome is based on the assumptions you make. The key one in this case is what TN Right To Life means by ‘born’.

  4. Katherine: False. No babies are aborted. Some fetuses are aborted. Even if your belief system demands that life begins at conception, that doesn’t make a blastocyst a ‘baby’, it just means that blastocysts are alive.Aunt B.: You did a good job on the math. But could it be that "Tennessee Right to Life" is talking only about Tennessee, and not the nation as a whole? Here are some 2003 stats (http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/usac/ab-usac-tn.html) for Tennessee: Abortions=15309, Live Births=78841. That’s 19% (basically the 1-in-5 that you mentioned). So even if they are only looking at Tennessee, their numbers are wrong.

  5. I’d be happy to accuse them of fudging things. But I feel that we can’t honestly rule out the possibility that they are completely unable to understand numbers.It does occur. I had an accounting job right out of college, and one day my boss called my office and asked me to get out my calculator and run the numbers on buying 1,000 of an item priced at 50 cents. I told him $500; he told me not to give him an estimate off the top of my head, but to run it on the calculator and show him the printout. Later his secretary told me that she had been in his office when he place the call, had already told him that the cost was $500, and he had told her, "no, let’s run this by nm because it’s her job to understand the numbers."Now, my old boss, ridiculous though he was, at least wanted to get the right answer. If Tennessee Right To Life had wanted to get the math right, they would have had someone check it. I’m convinced that wanting to win arguments (by persons–I mean people–on all sides of any political question) is what has led to such shoddy understanding of math in this country.

  6. Oops, I made one of the the same mistakes that you pointed out. I shouldn’t have said 1-in-5, but rather 1-in-6 of the pregnancies that ended in either a live birth or an abortion (which does not include all clinical pregnancies), ended in abortion. It would also have been correct to say that the abortion-to-live-birth ratio is 1:5.Technically, their phrasing, "For every two babies born, another baby dies in an abortion." should be read as "abortion-to-live-birth ratio equals 1:2" (so they didn’t make a 1-in-2 vs 1-in-3 mistake, but their numbers are still quite wrong).

  7. Well, you know the CDC are all a bunch of baby-killing commies anyhow. I’d much rather get my information from a bunch of right-thinking co-religionists with no direct access to medical data from abortion clinics than I would from the federally funded organization charged with monitoring trends in public health.If you go to the CDC website (www.cdc.gov) and search for the term "Abortion Surveillance," you can find data back to 1969 presented in relatively stable analytic categories. Each November around election time they release another years’ data; we’re on 2002 for national data, but should have 2003 national numbers shortly. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5407a1.htmIt’s am betting that the source of TRL’s bad ratio can be tracked to their reliance on inaccurate statements by a joint like Operation Rescue. If they read the national data, the abortion rate is on the decline (although the absolute number is slightly up because there’s a bigger population). The numbers they sling around are not plausible for women as a whole, nor do they fly for any particular age group or racial designator.

  8. Looks more like one abortion for every three births if those numbers are correct.But, what does it matter really. Abortion is one of the few black and white issues out there (pretty much). It’s either okay (you’re not killing a person) or it’s murder (you’re killing a person with no justification). Do the numbers REALLY matter? Whether they’re 1 abortion to every 1,000 births or 1,000 abortions to every birth, it’s either 100% okay or 100% murder. It’s difficult to argue it any other way.

  9. Aw now, Ed. You and I both know if it were black and white we wouldn’t be fighting over it. If you believe it’s killing a person with no justification, do we charge women with murder and put them in prison for twenty year stretches? If not, why not? Murder is murder, right?Also, making abortions illegal makes women into second-class citizens. In any other circumstance, I sometimes have the right to take another person’s life if I feel my life is threatened. Creating a legal situation in which the rights of the fetus ALWAYS take precidence over the life of the mother creates a new kind of legal situation in which the mother’s rights are always secondary to the rights of the fetus.So, it’s not so easy, no matter what the numbers are.I would say it’s most difficult for anti-abortioners who must argue for a reduction of the rights of women to be full autonomous people AND who must come up with the prison space to store all these "murderers."

  10. Some good points, Aunt B (except at the end where you started muddying up the distinction between "live births" and "pregnancies.") But of course there is a nefarious reason for any flawed statistical assertions . . . Tennessee Right to Life couldn’t possibly be sincere in thinking that developing human life was worthy of protection.

  11. No, Ed. For Tennessee, the numbers are definitely 1 abortion for every 5 live births. In 2003, the ratio is 202 to 1000. Ned, I don’t think the issue of miscarriage confuses things at all — at least not for the women who’ve been there and done that. We were just as pregnant when we spontaneously aborted as we would ever be. You either are pregnant or you are not. However, not every pregnancy results in live birth. To offer statistics that suggest only live births count as pregnancies is to further privilege "survival of the fetus" over the actual experiences, health, and emotional needs of the women involved.

  12. <i>Aw now, Ed. You and I both know if it were black and white we wouldn’t be fighting over it.</i>Normally, I’d agree with you 100%. Strike that. I KINDA’ do. Sometimes, and I maybe don’t mean here, but sometimes I think the abortion debate is like this:Most of us either KNOW or are almost certain that abortion is "wrong", but it’s become more about individual rights than "right and wrong". So, in one sense, it IS black and white i.e. I think most of us feel it’s not a good thing, but the argument is grey on whether it’s okay to infringe on a person’s rights.However, I’m perfectly willing to recognize that there are some people who see nothing wrong with it whatsoever. I’m just speaking about MOST people.<i>If you believe it’s killing a person with no justification, do we charge women with murder and put them in prison for twenty year stretches? If not, why not? Murder is murder, right?</i>Exactly. So, LEGALLY, abortion should be okay anytime and there should be no restrictions at all, correct? I mean, if it’s okay, it’s OKAY.<i>Also, making abortions illegal makes women into second-class citizens.</i>Hmmmm . . . my feeling is more that making abortions illegal recognizes that rights overlap, and the child inside has a right to live, as well.HOWEVER, your point is well taken, and I understand where you’re coming from possibly more than you think. You see, as a man, abortion makes <b>me</b> a second class citizen. Abortion allows a woman to kill <b>my</b> child without legal recourse.Ponder this, okay? Let’s say you’ve dreamed your whole life for a child. You find a nice man, marry, and you get pregnant. YOu’re the happiest you’ve ever been. Month 5, the father decides to abort and legally forces you into an abortion. This man killed your child. Would you do ANYTHING to prevent that? Would you feel like a second class citizen that some other person was able to kill your child? See what I mean.Now, I’m not naive enough to think that every abortion is like that. Let’s face it. Abortion is as casual as getting a haircut for some people. Look at the stats. It’s white women 20-30 getting the abortions. It’s not like abortions are cutting the population of the poor and starving. Abortions are birth control.However, what if, say, 10% of the abortions are against the father’s will? Does that make it okay?I dunno’. If you talk legalities, the men are really at a disadvantage. Legally, I can’t stop a woman from killing my child. And if I’m so inclined, legally, I can’t make the woman kill the kid nor can I keep her from taking a hunk out of my paycheck the next 18 years. It seems that the deck is clearly stacked in the woman’s favor, wouldn’t you say?<i>In any other circumstance, I sometimes have the right to take another person’s life if I feel my life is threatened. Creating a legal situation in which the rights of the fetus ALWAYS take precidence over the life of the mother creates a new kind of legal situation in which the mother’s rights are always secondary to the rights of the fetus.</i>I suppose you have to look at circumstance. I can only take another life if mine’s in danger FROM that person. I can’t shoot someone at WalMart because I want the last Garth Brooks album. I CAN shoot the guy shooting at me because I have the last Garth Brooks album! LOL!Maybe you look at the reason for the abortion. Let’s look at reasons a 20-something caucasian woman would get an abortion for: career, school, just doesn’t want a kid . . . whatever. IF abortion is killing a human life (and it’s hard to argue it’s not), could you get away with killing an adult for any of those reasons as your justification? Not at all. So why is it okay to kill a child for any of those reasons? Easy. It’s about geography. The kid is on the bad side of the birth canal. :DOf course, if abortion ISN’T killing someone, then there’s no point in discussing it. It’s no different than a haircut or clipping your nails.<i>So, it’s not so easy, no matter what the numbers are.</i>I agree with you. The numbers don’t matter. EASY, though? Of course it’s easy. It’s either perfectly fine to do no matter what the reason, or it’s not. Legally, it can only be 2 things: a minor clinical procedure or murder. The law doesn’t provide much of a grey area of "well, it MIGHT have been murder, but you know, I really don’t need a person around me right now."<i>I would say it’s most difficult for anti-abortioners who must argue for a reduction of the rights of women to be full autonomous people AND who must come up with the prison space to store all these "murderers."</i>Hmmmmm . . . so is it about "rights" or about "well, they’re going to do it, anyway"? I know, you see it as about rights, and I agree with you completely. For a huge amount of people, the argument is about rights.Possibly the most frightening thing about the abortion debate is the "what if". What IF, in 10 years, the law says that that "fetus" was a human life all along, and we now view abortion as illegal and "murder". With the stroke of a pen, we’ve made millions of women (and a bunch of male doctors) into murderers. Imagine the wave of guilt, right or wrong, that would wash over us. So, as long as it’s legal, and there are plenty of people telling America that it’s okay to do, it prevents the guilt.This is my litmus test for abortion, and I offer it to people just to think about while driving down the road. Can you think of a time when abortion should NOT be available? Can you think of a time when abortion should be prohibited? If you answer "yes", then ask yourself "why?" To me, if there is a "bad" time to remove a child, regardless of development, from a womb, then you’re simply recognizing that abortion is killing a child. And if it’s wrong at "x" month or week, it’s wrong at "x" day or hour. If abortion makes you feel a little creepy at ANYTIME, it’s possibly because you think it’s wrong, BUT the argument over feminist rights keeps us from addressing it.Make no mistake. I was raised by some REALLY strong women . . . and some really strong men. I think men and women, by all letter of the law, should be equal. However, I think abortion has taken more of a symbolic place in politics than anything. I think most of us feel a little queezy with it, but many feel that addressing abortion is taking a step backwards in women’s rights. Maybe, maybe not. Just remember, half the abortions probably kill a woman. Is she just "taking one for the team" or does she just not have the right to say no . . . yet?

  13. > With the stroke of a pen, we’ve made millions of women (and a bunch of male doctors) into murderers.Your argument is a red herring. The "stroke of the pen" that you are talking about would be an "ex post facto" law, and blatantly unconstitutional. If legislators pass an abortion ammendment to the Constitution, they could override the Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade, but that would not allow them to retroactively criminalize behavior that was explicitly deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court.

  14. Your argument is a red herring. The "stroke of the pen" that you are talking about would be an "ex post facto" law, and blatantly unconstitutional. Nonononono . . . I should have been more clear. I completely agree with you! Legally, no one is a murderer. That’s not AT ALL what I meant.What I meant is that IF you pass a law making abortion illegal, the only justification for such a law would be that abortion is not justifiable homicide. Otherwise, why make it illegal (logically)?With that being said, IF it’s homicide now, even legally, then logically the act was homicide before the law recognized it. It would be like killing a slave before it was made illegal. It wasn’t murder THEN, but it was murder nonetheless.So, if you make abortion illegal now because it’s viewed as murder, you wouldn’t take action against past abortion. However, from a logical sense, those abortions were murder regardless of what the law recognized.It’s a circular argument, I know, but in today’s society, we often times view "legal" as "moral". Sometimes we view "legal" as permission. I think the same would apply here.

  15. Ed, I am looking at the stats. What they say, at least for the 2003 data, is that 55% of the abortions are by white women. A majority, but hardly the overwhelming number that you suggest. (More on what "majority" means in a minute — when nearly everyone reports themselves as white, this can be a deceptive statement.) Further, the majority of induced abortions are performed on women under the age of 25. Abortion rates are much higher in certain age cohorts (like the 15-19s) than they are in others (29 year olds, for example). No matter how you spin it, economic dependence (either high school or college-age young women) is a significant factor in the decision to induce an abortion.One of the most significant factors in the decision appears to be how many children the woman already has. The highest rate of abortion is among women who already have three or more living children. This hardly seems like the hardened woman who blithely stops by the abortionist on the way to touching up her manicure.Poverty is also a factor in ending a pregnancy, in a couple of ways. Younger women are a financially marginal group as a whole; women who are currently unmarried (but have been married before) who have children already are even worse off. These are the people most likely to have abortions. With changes in federal guidelines, federal funding, and federal protocols requiring three office visits and a lot of red tape to procure an abortion, however, you are beginning to see a country in which poor women do not have ready access to the health care they need.Thanks to the crazy way Americans think about race, it turns out that "white" means European-Americans, Latinas, and a whole bunch of other folks that may or may not qualify for inclusion in the DAR. Likewise, hidden in the guts of the 2003 report is this sentence: "The abortion rate for black women has been approximately three times as high as that for white women since 1991." Don’t allow yourself to be mislead; the reason that it looks like more white women are getting abortions is because there are more women counted as white as a portion of the general population. Black women are more likely to get abortions. Three times as likely. There are just less of them.So what emerges as the profile from actually looking at the stats in a holistic way goes something like this:A currently unmarried (but perhaps married at some previous point) black woman under the age of 24 who is living at or below the poverty line and already has two or three kids. Boy, now that looks somewhat different.Not that I attribute casual racism to any group of people without evidence, but I do wonder how het up TRL would be trying to save those "babies" if they realized that the Angels they were saving would be black children condemned to poverty at birth. Call me cynical, but I don’t see these folks lining up to adopt African-American children and cross-racial adoption is still met with considerable resistance socially. Finally, if you want to argue that abortion is being used as a form of birth control (to which I’d say, well duh…), you should consider that most women who have one abortion do not have another at a later time. It rather seems like a reluctant last resort undertaken by desperate women who are out of good options early in their pregnancies.

  16. No problem, Ed. These are long and hard discussions.I have two reactions to your comments, right off the top of my head. Okay, three.One is that I do think it’s unfair that a woman can choose to not be a parent in a way that men can’t. I don’t think a man should be able to force a woman to have an abortion, but I do think there should be some brief period of time once a man finds out a woman is pregnant where he can sign away all his parental rights and have nothing further to do with the child.Two, the problem with your argument that the fetus is as much the man’s as it is the woman’s is that a.) you can’t both claim the fetus is a person (and thus has legally protected rights) and that it belongs to anyone. You can’t own another person. It’s your "baby" in a parental sense, but it’s not "yours" in the sense of you owning it. Claiming personhood for the fetus and a man’s property rights over the fetus at the same time doesn’t work under our laws. And b.) My argument that a woman has a right to terminate a pregnancy doesn’t rest on the belief that the fetus is a part of her body (like a toenail she might cut off). It rests on the belief that the fetus depends on her body in a way that is detrimental to the woman and if a woman is going to endure the very real physical toll of pregnancy, she should not be coerced into it.Which brings me to your "it’s just a matter of real estate" argument. I’m not land, though your metaphor reduces me to it. I’m a living, breathing person and pregnancy and childbirth are still very dangerous undertakings. Even in the United States, with our great prenatal healthcare, seven out of every thousand pregnancies end in stillbirth. Babies still die all the time right after birth. And mothers still die in childbirth.Reducing the argument to "what’s the big deal? You just have to carry the baby for nine months and then you can give it up for adoption or whatever" seems to me almost willfully ignorant of how dangerous and painful childbirth is.To use a somewhat problematic metaphor, let’s say I brought you home, we fucked around, and I stuck a tiny slowly inflating ball up your ass. Now, let’s say that there’s a 30% that ball’s going to come out of your ass while it’s still so tiny you don’t even realize it was there. And a 20% chance that that ball’s going to come out of you when it’s big enough for you to notice, but small enough that the pain you feel is equivalent to a bad case of the shits.But you have a 50% chance that that ball is going to inflate into a six to nine pound softball size and the way it’s coming out is not regularly passing softball size things through it. The doctor tells you that, if you let it get to its fully inflatable size and you push it out your ass, there’s going to be pain like you’ve never felt before for a day or two, then your asshole is probably going to tear open and you’ll bleed all over the place and there’s a slim chance you might die.Honestly. Wouldn’t you be scared?Seeing a pregnancy to term is a brave and hard thing. And it’s physically demanding. And we might die. If some women aren’t brave enough to go through that, who am I to blame them?And what kind of cruel, heartless fuckers would push for legislation forcing that on any woman?It’s dangerous work, bringing life into the world, and that’s why it’s imperative that it be a woman’s choice, every step of the way, whether she feels up to it.All this talk of who the fetus belongs to, all these metaphors about real estate, they’re all designed to overlook the fact that pregnancy is hard and dangerous. It reduces the experience to a custody battle or a land dispute, which is unfair to the women who experience it in a way that men just don’t.

  17. Bridgett:The numbers from the CDC list the top two demographics for abortions as white from about 19-24 and white 25-30. I’m going off memory on those, but that’s the general direction. If I get a chance, I’ll pin those down and get a link. But, for what it’s worth, the stats on abortion really don’t play into declaring it "good" or "bad". I don’t think it matters, but I do respect your thorough research and analysis.And I agree with you that there is racism associate with abortion. Planned Parenthood was nurtured as a way to control the black population if you research its founders and driving forces. I think it’s ironic that more white children will be aborted than black, now.With regards to it being a "last resort", I guess my question would be "why?" Why is it a desperation move or a last resort? Is there something "wrong" with it?I think your statement speaks to the heart of the matter . . . possibly much more clearly than anything I’ve said. You point out that many women who get abortions never do it again and consider it a last resort, desperate move. If nothing’s wrong with it either legally or morally, why is it so "bad"? Why isn’t it just one of those things that you do when you need to?

  18. But Bridgett is saying that women do it when we need to do it. We don’t all use it as our only form of birth control because it’s an invasive medical procedure with the inherent risks of any invasive medical procedure and, whether or not most women believe a fetus is a person, I think we all agree that it’s alive in some manner that needs to be considered.It’s not an easy decision that women relish making, but it’s still a decision they ought to be able to make.

  19. Ed, statistics matter when you’re attempting to profile the average woman who chooses to terminate a pregnancy — and from that, attribute your ideas about what motivates them to do so. If you’re trying to understand why some women feel they must end their pregnancies, and presumably change the conditions that lead to that decision, you owe it to yourself to interpret the statistics correctly.More "white" women get abortions because there are more women claiming to be white. In fact, as the CDC notes, black women are three times as likely to get abortions as white women. Let me explain it this way. Say, for example, in a particular town, we had 50 women who declare themselves white and 10 of those women get an abortion. 20% would be receiving abortions. If, in the same town, we have 10 black women and 4 get abortions, that would 40% of the black women in the town getting abortions. In terms of absolute numbers, 10 white women got abortions while only 4 black women got abortions. Interpreted like that, then white women would appear to get a lot more abortions. However, which population is actually more likely to pursue abortion? Do you see how you’re confusing absolute numbers with the abortion rate and why that’s not the same thing?Women don’t want abortions because they are expensive, painful, invasive surgeries that have been needlessly stigmatized. Because they are emotionally conflicted (as they are humans). Because in many cases they have competing demands on limited resources, they’ve already had a number of children (which does indeed knock one’s body for a loop), and few people are lining up to help support them during their pregnancies or offering to raise their babies once those babies are born.

  20. No problem, Ed. These are long and hard discussions.–Thanks, but many bloggers would have erased my post instead of discussing it. My compliments.–but I do think there should be some brief period of time once a man finds out a woman is pregnant where he can sign away all his parental rights and have nothing further to do with the child.–VERY NICE! I’ve mentioned a legal mechanism such as that for some time now. I agree that IF a woman can’t be forced into abortion, the father should be able to legally and financially "abort" the child.We’re in 100% agreement there.–Two, the problem with your argument that the fetus is as much the man’s as it is the woman’s is that a.) you can’t both claim the fetus is a person (and thus has legally protected rights) and that it belongs to anyone.–Excellent legal observation. How about this: since a fetus has only one possible outcome, either a person or a dead fetus/person, then the mother and father has legal custody of the child/fetus/whatever. It would have to be 50/50 since no parent can be shown to either be a bad or good caregiver effectively without legal proceedings. Therefore, LEGALLY, any decisions for the child would have to come from both parents. This would be especially true for medical procedures.–And b.) My argument that a woman has a right to terminate a pregnancy doesn’t rest on the belief that the fetus is a part of her body (like a toenail she might cut off). It rests on the belief that the fetus depends on her body in a way that is detrimental to the woman and if a woman is going to endure the very real physical toll of pregnancy, she should not be coerced into it.–Okay, how about this: a mother is hooked on a drug. If she DOESN’T get her drug, she endures physical pain and possible death. There ARE drugs who’s detox is like that. She’s got $10. She can either feed her infant child OR she can get her drug. If the child starves, doesn’t your justification hold true, as well . . . at least from a logical standpoint of "I shouldn’t be forced to endure risk for the life of another." FEEL FREE to substitute father for mother there. I’m NOT picking on women. Make it "person" or "parent". That’s fine.Of course, in this case the child could be given up or whatnot, but LOGICALLY, isn’t it the same? The child is sacrificed because another person, man or woman, doesn’t want to take a risk.Look at it in another way . . . a little less diabolic. You’re in a building on fire. You’re headed out the door to safety but 10 feet away, there is an infant in a stroller. There’s no one else around the child, and the child is in the path of the fire. In a minute or two, there’s NO DOUBT the child will be engulfed. Instead of taking the risk of grabbing the child and rushing to safety, you exit out of the door. LEGALLY, have you done anything wrong? Probably not. But as a human, have you?Now, what if that were YOUR child you left behind? Are you any worse? Perhaps you had MORE right to let the child die? I dunno’, but I don’t see much difference in that and abortion at least from a logical standpoint.–Which brings me to your "it’s just a matter of real estate" argument. I’m not land, though your metaphor reduces me to it. I’m a living, breathing person and pregnancy and childbirth are still very dangerous undertakings. Even in the United States, with our great prenatal healthcare, seven out of every thousand pregnancies end in stillbirth. Babies still die all the time right after birth. And mothers still die in childbirth.–How about this . . . it’s a matter of GPS coordinates? I think you know what I mean.And of COURSE you’re a living, breathing person. Then again, so’s the baby, isn’t he . . . or she? For what it’s worth, keep this in mind. I view women as equal people to men having no more or less value. Seriously. I think all people should have certain rights that aren’t based on their biological makeup.But, by your logic, wouldn’t it be much safer if we killed the black babies at birth? Afterall, statistically, they’re the ones doing the vast majority of the crimes. Ironically, isn’t that what Planned Parenthood was about from the beginning? Of course that’s a stupid idea, but the logic matches.From a statistics standpoint, wouldn’t it be funny to see how many women who get abortions . . . smoke? Statistically, isn’t that much more dangerous than having a baby? Having a baby kills what percentage of mothers vs. smoking. I think smoking gets about 25%+, doesn’t it?I really doubt that most abortions are justified by "it’s too much risk for me". Sure, some can. No questions about it, but I don’t think most can. Then again, justification has never really been the argument.–Reducing the argument to "what’s the big deal? You just have to carry the baby for nine months and then you can give it up for adoption or whatever" seems to me almost willfully ignorant of how dangerous and painful childbirth is.–It’s trite, but while there is DEFINITELY some measure of risk to carrying and delivering a baby, the survival rate of that procedure is DRASTICALLY higher that that of babies undergoing abortion procedures.Of course, as I’ve said, none of this REALLY matters. Justification is pretty much irrelevant. Either you’re killing a child or you’re not. That’s the real crux of the argument.–To use a somewhat problematic metaphor, let’s say I brought you home, we fucked around, and I stuck a tiny slowly inflating ball up your ass. …Honestly. Wouldn’t you be scared?–Depends. Let’s expand on your analogy.The doctor CONTINUES to say this: "If you go through all of this, you’re going to have another child to love and take care of . . . sort of like the one you have now. However, we can always kill him . . . or her. Whatever you want, buddy?"Hurting, bleeding, or even dying for your kids is hardly a stretch for animals much less people. Being scared is one thing, I guess, but killing your kid because you’re scared is quite another.Then again, like I said, the argument for or against abortion isn’t justification. It’s simply "is it murder or not".–Seeing a pregnancy to term is a brave and hard thing. And it’s physically demanding. And we might die. If some women aren’t brave enough to go through that, who am I to blame them?–Dunno. We villify women who kill their kids on the other side of the birth canal, right? What’s the real difference? Easy . . . it’s the difference on whether abortion is "right" or "wrong". THERE is where the real discussion should be.How about this, though: would you go through all the pain of being pregnant and having a baby to avoid all the pain of raising a child? What I mean to say is that if you could "re-endure" all that pain, then somehow, your child would never emotionally or physically hurt you EVER, would you do it? Having kids, if that were an option, I’d be lubing up your inflatable softball right now! LOL!But, looking at your logic, what about mothers and/or fathers who have sick or mentally ill children? Aren’t they difficult and draining to raise? Would you support parents who "post birth aborted" those kids? Logically, what’s the difference?–And what kind of cruel, heartless fuckers would push for legislation forcing that on any woman?–I dunno’. To many of us, abortion is pretty cruel and heartless, so what’s the difference? NOT TO ALL, but to many of us, perhaps.I guess what I’m saying is this. If abortion is basically "nothing", then what’s it hurt? I mean, the police can make people give up blood for evidence. I may have to give it for a court ordered paternity test. Would a mandated abortion be worse? Afterall, by your own definition, you’re not removing a part of the WOMAN’S body. You’re removing a foreign entity that doesn’t "belong" to anyone. Isn’t that arguably better than forcing someone to give up THEIR OWN blood sample or the like?Now, needless to say, OF COURSE I SEE A DIFFERENCE, but logically, there really isn’t. AND it goes to the heart of the real discussion i.e. "is abortion killing a person or not?" If it’s cruel and heartless to force a woman to an abortion, is it cruel and heartless by nature of the procedure or by nature of forcing someone to submit to an intrusive procedure? What if you could just take a pill? Courts CAN force people to take medication. That’s not generally looked down on.And NO WAY would I advocate forcing abortions.–It’s dangerous work, bringing life into the world, and that’s why it’s imperative that it be a woman’s choice, every step of the way, whether she feels up to it.–So, you’re saying that the child she’s carrying has no right to live except at the mother’s decision?–All this talk of who the fetus belongs to, all these metaphors about real estate, they’re all designed to overlook the fact that pregnancy is hard and dangerous. It reduces the experience to a custody battle or a land dispute, which is unfair to the women who experience it in a way that men just don’t.–No. Not at all. I think it’s the very opposite. I think that perhaps I think of life, female, male, or "undeclared" as being far more valuable than I’ve been given credit for.Pointing at the metaphors is fine, but let’s face it, they’re metaphors. That’s about it. They pale HEAVILY in the light of the real argument i.e. is abortion killing a person or not. Metaphors have to be evaluated and thought about. Maybe it means something. Maybe not. Maybe it means something you don’t see . . . or vice versa. However, abortion itself is pretty simple. It’s either murder or pretty much nothing of consequence.And no, I can’t "know" what it’s like to be a mother any more than you can tell me what it’s like being a father. However, I WILL say this. There’s no "easy part". Neither a real mother or a real father has a particularly easy job. In a real parenting team, over 18+ years, I dare say the risk and reward is pretty even. Neither one of us can say for truth, though, can we, as neither one of us is capable of standing completely in the others’ shoes.But, it doesn’t matter. The question remains: is abortion killing a person? If we can answer that black and white question, the rest gets a lot easier . . . REGARDLESS of which conclusion we come to.Once again, THANK YOU for hosting what appears to be a civil discussion on a really painful and sticky subject.

  21. But Bridgett is saying that women do it when we need to do it. We don’t all use it as our only form of birth control because it’s an invasive medical procedure with the inherent risks of any invasive medical procedure and, whether or not most women believe a fetus is a person, I think we all agree that it’s alive in some manner that needs to be considered.Okay. I see what you’re saying. And it IS an invasive medical procedure. I can see the reluctance in that.And I appreciate you seeing that, regardless of what kind of life you see "it" as, abortion is killing a living thing. You’re REALLY beating on the door of the real question i.e. "what kind of life is ‘it’?"It’s not an easy decision that women relish making, but it’s still a decision they ought to be able to make.It’s a decision that women should be able to make ONLY if "it" isn’t a human life wouldn’t you think? IF "it" is a human life, then isn’t the person killing a human life for no legal justification? If "it" is NOT human life, then no harm no foul.

  22. Ed, statistics matter when you’re attempting to profile the average woman who chooses to terminate a pregnancy — and from that, attribute your ideas about what motivates them to do so. If you’re trying to understand why some women feel they must end their pregnancies, and presumably change the conditions that lead to that decision, you owe it to yourself to interpret the statistics correctly.Fair enough, but I’m perfectly willing to recognize your statistics or mine or whomevers at this state of the discussion. If you determine if abortion is "right" or "wrong", then statistics and justifications are irrelevant. The discussion gets REALLY simple that way, and I think simple is a good approach to start with.You have a binary situation, really.Condition 0: Abortion isn’t murder and the fetus isn’t a human life therefore no one needs justification. It can be done for any reason at all.Condition 1: Abortion is killing a human life for no legally justifiable reason therefore it’s murder.One could argue health of the mother, perhaps, but I think that most of us can research enough to see that the VAST number of abortions are "on demand" and not really health related.Interpreted like that, then white women would appear to get a lot more abortions. However, which population is actually more likely to pursue abortion? Do you see how you’re confusing absolute numbers with the abortion rate and why that’s not the same thing?You bet. You explain your position and analysis VERY well.Women don’t want abortions because they are expensive, painful, invasive surgeries that have been needlessly stigmatized. Because they are emotionally conflicted (as they are humans). Because in many cases they have competing demands on limited resources, they’ve already had a number of children (which does indeed knock one’s body for a loop), and few people are lining up to help support them during their pregnancies or offering to raise their babies once those babies are born. Fair enough. I can go along with that. However, if you have 3 or 4 kids that you can barely support, why would you be having unprotected or even "at risk" sex? I think that says something about personal responsibility FOR BOTH PARTNERS! I’m not singling out women here. Not in the least. It takes two.On the other hand, is abortion "okay" for a woman who makes a comfortable living but doesn’t want to take money out of her lifestyle much less the time to raise a child? Let’s put aside the stereotypical ghetto mom with 4 kids by 6 fathers. What about the 27 year old single real estate agent making $70k-$80k in a medium-sized community in Tennessee? A child isn’t going to destroy her financial future. Is abortion still okay then?As I said, though, abortion is either okay 100% of the time . . . or not. Justification isn’t really an issue.

  23. Ed, I think that abortion is ok. Period. Why I’m belaboring the justifications that women give is because it’s my opinion, arrived at after lots of thoughtful reflection, that the best way to prevent abortion would be to remedy the conditions that lead women to believe its their best (and often only) option. Change the conditions, change the choice. In this case, it matters a heck of a lot which women have abortions and why they choose them reluctantly.Why do I want to lessen the number of women who choose to terminate pregnancies through abortion? Because it’s an expensive, painful, invasive, risky, and needlessly stigmatizing surgery that is undertaken in emotionally distressing conditions at a time of great economic and social vulnerability. My dominant concern is for the women and the children they already have. Yours is for the prospective life. In this, we are and will remain in disagreement.On the other hand, you are arguing, I think, that the most effective way to eliminate abortions is to recognize the act as the ending of a life and to conform our laws to what you see as the moral sense of the situation. In that case, it would not matter why and an exploration of causation wouldn’t matter. You are clear that making abortion illegal doesn’t stop women from pursuing abortion, right? Never did. Never will. What it did do is to make it more expensive, more dangerous, more secretive (and harder to police, protest, or accurately assess as a social practice), and more class-stratified. The rich went to European "clinic"; the poor laid down on a dirty kitchen table in some old woman’s house. You are also clear on the idea that the matter of where we think life begins changes over time and according to culture, right? Colonial Americans did not believe that fetus could be classified as alive until the mother herself reported movement ("quickening".) Other cultures don’t consider a child fully human and present in the material world until the fontanelle closes. There isn’t any universal moral position on this from which to predicate your argument. What you’re arguing for is a particular interpretation of life’s beginnings that rests on scientifically insupportable statements (a fetus might be developing, but it’s not breathing, for instance).

  24. Ed: "To me, if there is a ‘bad’ time to remove a child, regardless of development, from a womb, then you’re simply recognizing that abortion is killing a child. And if it’s wrong at ‘x’ month or week, it’s wrong at ‘x’ day or hour"By this reasoning, I ought to pick the little flowers on my tomato plants and cook them, because I recognize that they’re just tomatoes at a different state of development, and then I should pick some juicy red ones and slice them and driedge them in corn meal and make fried green … oh, wait. I mention this issue to introduce the fact that before induced abortions became such a sociopolitical hot potato, not only physicians but people in general distinguished pretty clearly between spontaneous abortions and miscarriages (that’s before and after the "quickening" that Bridgett mentions, if you’re unfamiliar with the terms). That is, everybody took into consideration that the trasition from a zygote to a human being is a complex one with many stages, and that we don’t understand the developing being to be the same at all stages.And I mention this problem because almost all your posts keep insisting on binary, all-or-nothing thinking. How about bringing in the nuances that actually describe the real world, that real people deal with all the time?* Birth control, even when used completely conscientiously, sometimes fails. Relationships sometimes fail. Pregnancies sometimes lead to utterly unexpected complications. And different religions and ethical systems disagree about the relative values of actual and potential human lives. Life is almost never binary. Insisting that it is doesn’t make it so.*After all, our moral and legal systems make distinctions among all different sorts of ways/intentions in killing actual human beings. There’s manslaughter, in varying degrees (of depravity). There’s homicide of all sorts, including "justifiable homicide" or self-defence. There’s depraved indifference, criminal negligence, a whole variety of classifications. And we judge them and treat them differently. Some will get a killer executed, some get "we’re sorry you had to go through such a terrible experience, and there are no charges" and most get something in between.

  25. Ed, I think that abortion is ok. Period. Why I’m belaboring the justifications that women give is because it’s my opinion, arrived at after lots of thoughtful reflection, that the best way to prevent abortion would be to remedy the conditions that lead women to believe its their best (and often only) option. Change the conditions, change the choice. In this case, it matters a heck of a lot which women have abortions and why they choose them reluctantly.Fair enough, but if it’s "okay", who cares about the justification. Abortion becomes something like a tattoo or peircing i.e. something people do to their body for whatever reason they choose. It’s really none of my business what people do to their body if it doesn’t affect another living person, really.If abortions are "okay", then the only reason that matters in the justification is financial and discomfort. That’s really about it. If it’s okay, that’s really about it.Why do I want to lessen the number of women who choose to terminate pregnancies through abortion? Because it’s an expensive, painful, invasive, risky, and needlessly stigmatizing surgery that is undertaken in emotionally distressing conditions at a time of great economic and social vulnerability. My dominant concern is for the women and the children they already have. Yours is for the prospective life. In this, we are and will remain in disagreement.That’s compassionate and yet ironic all at the same time. You think it’s okay to kill whatever is alive in there, but it’s a real shame that it’s expensive and it "hurts" the mother. Although I know you don’t mean it this way, if you casually read what you just said, you’re saying it’s okay to kill something as long as it doesn’t hurt or cost too much. Acutally, that really IS what you’re saying. Something DOES die. The argument is just what IS that thing that dies.On the other hand, you are arguing, I think, that the most effective way to eliminate abortions is to recognize the act as the ending of a life and to conform our laws to what you see as the moral sense of the situation.Somewhat. I think we need to determine if we’re ending human life with an abortion, and apply the laws we already have as to whether this is a child we’re killing or some meaningless glob of cells. If we find an answer to that, then the rest of the argument falls away as fluff.My "moral sense" of the situation doesn’t really apply. I think we can apply enough biology and logic to the matter to determine what we’re killing. Morals don’t really have to be a part of it.In that case, it would not matter why and an exploration of causation wouldn’t matter.In ANY case, the why and causation wouldn’t matter. It’s either "right" or "wrong". Isn’t that the most prudent determination to make first? Is it "right" or "wrong"? Once you determine that, the rest is simply either an academic discussion on sociology or . . . something else.You are clear that making abortion illegal doesn’t stop women from pursuing abortion, right?OF COURSE! I agree with that completely. Prohibition never solved anything.What it did do is to make it more expensive, more dangerous, more secretive (and harder to police, protest, or accurately assess as a social practice), and more class-stratified. The rich went to European "clinic"; the poor laid down on a dirty kitchen table in some old woman’s house.True, but either both were "right" or both were "wrong". The how’s and why’s of abortion are irrelevant to the question of "right" and "wrong".If it’s "right", then what we’ve done is legalize a fairly simple and safe medical procedure. In some cases, we’ve even subsidized the procedure for poor people.If it’s "wrong", however, all we’ve done is make it a state sponsored and "pardoned" form of murder.You are also clear on the idea that the matter of where we think life begins changes over time and according to culture, right?Yes, somewhat. Where we THINK life begins, however, doesn’t change where it actually does. What we CAN’T deny is that EVERYTHING is alive before and after conception. There’s no "dead" time, per se. A dead sperm can’t fertilize a living egg and vice versa. Everything is alive, and everything is human. That’s human life.We’re probably to a technological point in time where we can pretty well show that whatever we call "it", "it" is human life from conception. Of course we recognize the changes in development, but never in "it’s" life is "it" not human.Colonial Americans did not believe that fetus could be classified as alive until the mother herself reported movement ("quickening".) Other cultures don’t consider a child fully human and present in the material world until the fontanelle closes. There isn’t any universal moral position on this from which to predicate your argument.I’m really not relying on morals. I’m relying more on chemistry, biology, and logic. Morality is too subjective. Science is a little more easily handled in a logical discussion.There’s really no way around the "it’s a human life being destroyed" point with abortion. We all agree that SOMETHING is dying in the process, I think. I’ve yet to hear a definition of what is dying without being able to attach "human life" to "it".What you’re arguing for is a particular interpretation of life’s beginnings that rests on scientifically insupportable statements (a fetus might be developing, but it’s not breathing, for instance).Okay, science . . . I like that.What IS a fetus? Is "it" breathing? Not really. Is "it" thinking? Maybe. We’re not entirely sure when that starts. Can "it" feel? Not sure when that starts.Not much there. Let’s move along.Is "it" human? Hmmmmm . . . yes. All the DNA says human. Will "it" ever be anything but human? No. That’s set in stone. If left alone and barring medical problems, "it" will be born a human baby. Since the human species does not go through a metamorphic phase such as a larvae turning into a butterfly or the like, one can only deduct that this human baby was a human baby its entire life, and since that life can be traced back to the first cell, "it" was human all along.MAYBE one could argue that 2 or 3 cells isn’t "human life" right at conception. Maybe. However, most abortions are FAR past that point of development. Where I think we get lost is trying to determine when life starts vs. when we feel comfy with killing "it". Life starts at conception. That’s just logic. Two living things come together and produce another living thing. Abortion doesn’t hinge on whether or not we’re ending a human life. It hinges on what point of development do we feel comfortable killing a human life.To think otherwise, you’d have to somehow scientifically prove that the fetus isn’t human life, and that’s going to be pretty difficult from a biological and logical point.

  26. That is, everybody took into consideration that the trasition from a zygote to a human being is a complex one with many stages, and that we don’t understand the developing being to be the same at all stages.-The stages aren’t in any question. The question is "are we ending human life", isn’t it? From a biological standpoint, what species is a human zygote? Heck, what about a human blastocyst? What species is that biologically?-And I mention this problem because almost all your posts keep insisting on binary, all-or-nothing thinking. How about bringing in the nuances that actually describe the real world, that real people deal with all the time?-What nuances are associated with a living thing being human life or not? To me, it would be difficult "nuancing" something into being human or not. I’m not sure scientifically that such a possibility exists.-* Birth control, even when used completely conscientiously, sometimes fails. Relationships sometimes fail. Pregnancies sometimes lead to utterly unexpected complications. And different religions and ethical systems disagree about the relative values of actual and potential human lives. Life is almost never binary. Insisting that it is doesn’t make it so.-Life is always binary. Either something is alive or it’s dead. There is no "somewhat alive", I don’t think. And notice I’ve left out morals and religion as well as culture. I figure we can stick to science if you guys prefer.-*After all, our moral and legal systems make distinctions among all different sorts of ways/intentions in killing actual human beings. There’s manslaughter, in varying degrees (of depravity). There’s homicide of all sorts, including "justifiable homicide" or self-defence. There’s depraved indifference, criminal negligence, a whole variety of classifications. And we judge them and treat them differently. Some will get a killer executed, some get "we’re sorry you had to go through such a terrible experience, and there are no charges" and most get something in between.-Excellent observation, but there’s only one legal way for a person to kill a person. It’s for self-protection from another person intent on killing them. Abortion, IF it is ending a human life, can’t be justified in such a way. The child (regardless of development) can’t form intent to do harm. Also, POTENTIAL to do harm isn’t justification, either, so even if the child COULD do harm to the mother, the child isn’t.While I DO like the thought of killing a bad guy BEFORE he breaks into my house, it’s not supported in our legal system. Ending a pregnancy because the child MIGHT hurt the mother wouldn’t be, either.However, as I’ve said, that’s all fluff. Either we’re ending a human life or not. That’s the REAL question that needs to be answered. Religion and morals and culture really have nothing to do with that determination.

  27. But Ed, every one here agrees that it’s ending a form of human life. Bridgett, nm, you, me–we all agree that it’s ending a human life.I think that Bridgett, nm, and I are in agreement, though, that it’s not murder. If someone needs your body to live and you don’t want to give your body to that person, you have that right. If I have kidney failure and need a transplant and you are the only person who has a matching kidney and I will die without it, you can still say "no."And fetuses need a mother’s body in order to live. If you cannot be compelled to give me your organs so that I can survive, why should I be compelled to give my body to anyone so that he or she can survive?I think Bridgett’s right. Your focus privileges the fetus over women. That’s fine and that’s your perogative, but you’re arguing with people who don’t. Whether or not the fetus is "alive" in some way that makes it a human seems TO YOU to be the question that will determine whether or not abortion is okay.But we believe that the fetus is alive and is a form of human life and even so, that it doesn’t give the fetus a right to life that trumps the right of a woman to bodily autonomy and self-determination.

  28. Ed: "The stages aren’t in any question. The question is ‘are we ending human life’, isn’t it?"No, it isn’t. The question is: "are we ending the life of an actual human being?". Those two questions do not ask the same thing. Stages of zygotic/embryonic/fetal development make it clear that there is no single form of "human life" that is the same before and after birth. I still think that your inability to see the difference results from wanting every question to be all-or-nothing.

  29. Yes, we’re all talking about pre-empting a form of human life. But is it a form of murder and should the law be changed to consider it as such? No. (And not just because I don’t want to figure out how to house and feed just shy of 1 million women a year for the mandatory penalty that homocide with intent incurs — if you don’t like your tax bill now, just get a load of it when we’re arresting, convicting, and supporting a million young women a year. I know you’re not actually thinking through the practical ramifications of what you’re asking for, but you might give some thought about what American society would start to look like after five years of a regime of the sort you suggest would be good.)Like B and nm, I agree that in most cases (though not all…the preponderance of induced abortions are secured during that danger zone time in which most spontaneous abortions also occur) that little clump of dependent but rapidly evolving cells, given enough time and the right natal nutrition and so forth, would eventually become a human being. Ethicists have to place relative values on human worth all the time. So do doctors, lawyers, politicians, and even articulate and thoughtful defenders of the anti-abortion position. You are valuing the fetus and its potential humanity over the rights and interests of the pregnant woman. That’s ok to do, but it’s not the same as saying that you value all life equally. You would, if you could, oblige women to sacrifice in all instances their own rights at points where they conflict with the rights of what you refer to as a child. To follow your strain of argumentation, then — where does that mandatory sacrifice stop? Are women to be allowed to decide that we need shoes or must we spend that money on our child’s braces? Can we invest in our own college education or must we save that money because Junior might want to go to college someday — after all, never know what he could turn into given the right conditions and nurturing? If our position strikes you as cold-blooded, you also have to see how your position strikes us as oblivious to its social consequences for women. Personally, that’s not a trajectory I want to see my society take, though there might be other offsetting benefits for some other class…like the little boys (but not the little girls).It’s been an interesting discussion, but I have to go teach now. Carry on.

  30. But Ed, every one here agrees that it’s ending a form of human life. Bridgett, nm, you, me–we all agree that it’s ending a human life.-Okay, so we agree. Good deal. :)-I think that Bridgett, nm, and I are in agreement, though, that it’s not murder.-That’s what I gather, and it’s the most logical "next step" in the discussion.If we all agree that abortion does end a human’s life and the life is ended by deliberate human intervention, then it is homicide by definition. So, to be "justified" in homicide, there has to be an immediate and credible threat to either the person committing the homicide or someone else.In an abortion, the doctor is committing the actual homicide. Naturally, the baby is no threat to him. Also, in every "on demand" abortion, there is little or no unusual danger to the mother caused by the child. Basically, there’s no legal justification in killing the human life."Abortion" in any other stage of human development could not stand legally in the US.-If someone needs your body to live and you don’t want to give your body to that person, you have that right.-Okay, good point. HOWEVER, if you’re RESONSIBLE for that person’s life, I believe there is an obligation. Legally, that’s the case since fathers and mothers can be petitioned by the courts for money and property to support their children. ACTUALLY, the courts can take restitution from non-biological parents if the courts feel it’s in the best interest of the child. This happens every day.That being the case, if you have sex and end up pregnant, REGARDLESS of if your birth control method failed, you created a human life and bear at least 50% of the responsibility. One can argue rape or incest, but even the CDC’s numbers say that’s less than 5% of abortions.So, yes, the little person inside does need the mother’s body to live. I agree with you there. BUT, it’s generally the parents’ (mother and father) actions that put the baby there in the first place. What your argument implies is that this poor, unfortunate kid appeared through no fault of the mother or father, and it’s just "tough cookies" that the kid has to die.What the parents are doing is saying "well, we did something to cause this life, we knew that the creation of this life was ALWAYS a possibility, but we’re acting responsibly and simply killing the child".Two people acted irresponsibly, and the solution is to kill the consequence i.e. the third person.-If I have kidney failure and need a transplant and you are the only person who has a matching kidney and I will die without it, you can still say "no."-True, but the difference is that I didn’t give you the disease. I didn’t bring you into the world. I’m not responsible for you or your condition. A baby, on the other hand, facing abortion PROBABLY has a mother and father the knew what they were doing and knew the possible consequences.And, of course, you at least have a sayso as to whether you want to live or die. The child really doesn’t.-And fetuses need a mother’s body in order to live. If you cannot be compelled to give me your organs so that I can survive, why should I be compelled to give my body to anyone so that he or she can survive?-The baby needs people outside the womb, too. So do the old and the sick. Are you saying we have no responsibility for their needs, either? Are we okay to "abort" them if we don’t feel like dealing with them? Of course not. But what’s the difference? All are humans in need of other humans to survive.-I think Bridgett’s right. Your focus privileges the fetus over women. That’s fine and that’s your perogative, but you’re arguing with people who don’t. Whether or not the fetus is "alive" in some way that makes it a human seems TO YOU to be the question that will determine whether or not abortion is okay.-So you agree that mothers should have the right to decide who lives and who dies? Think about it. You’re saying that women should be able to kill ANYONE they like, even on a whim, AS LONG AS their timing is good?Really, that’s the definition of abortion, isn’t it? Picking and choosing who lives and dies based on medical facts, fear of pain, divination, a coin toss, or maybe an upcoming promotion?Why is the woman on the outside more important that the woman on the inside, though? If it’s all a feminist argument, who represents them at a NOW meeting? I say this jokingly, but if it’s all about the feminist position, could you simply abort the female kids and give the boys to the fathers who’ll take them? LOL!-But we believe that the fetus is alive and is a form of human life and even so, that it doesn’t give the fetus a right to life that trumps the right of a woman to bodily autonomy and self-determination.-Okay, so you DO agree that certain humans are more important and entitled to live than others . . . ESPECIALLY if they interfere with bodily autonomy and self-determination. In other words, things one person might WANT outweigh another person’s ability to survive.Would you limit this just to children, or would this carry over to adults?

  31. No, it isn’t. The question is: "are we ending the life of an actual human being?". —-Okay, that’s a decent reword. I must ask though, could you define "actual human being" and "theoretical human being", please?—-Those two questions do not ask the same thing. Stages of zygotic/embryonic/fetal development make it clear that there is no single form of "human life" that is the same before and after birth.—-Okay, biologically, there are stages. Also, biologically, at every stage of development, the organisim is homo sapien i.e. human life. We’re all the same species regardless of cell count. If my mother would have had an abortion, she would have killed me. I was always me. I couldn’t have been someone else. Had you mother had an abortion, it would have killed you. It would not have killed anyone else, would it?—-I still think that your inability to see the difference results from wanting every question to be all-or-nothing.—-I can’t see the difference because, biologically, there is no difference. I suppose I could see the difference if, every once in a while, a human mother gave birth to a rat or a sturgeon. Okay, that’s ridiculous, but it’s a serious point. Human mothers give birth to humans. Regardless of the stage of development, that’s a young human. A human 2.38 seconds old is . . . a HUMAN 2.38 seconds old. And therein lies the big sticking point. Abortion is the destruction of a human life.Aunt B is probably taking the most honest and sincere path. Yeah, we’re killing somebody, but it’s justified because it’s interfering with my life. I DO applaud her for her honesty and ability to discuss this subject SO RATIONALLY. I really do. It’s tough sometimes.

  32. Yes, we’re all talking about pre-empting a form of human life. But is it a form of murder and should the law be changed to consider it as such? No.–Okay, so we’re on the same page that abortion DOES end a human life. FORM of life really doesn’t matter. The life we end is human. So we can agree it’s homicide BY DEFINITION.Maybe our next direction is simply "okay, is it murder?"–I know you’re not actually thinking through the practical ramifications of what you’re asking for, but you might give some thought about what American society would start to look like after five years of a regime of the sort you suggest would be good.)–Well, if it’s the good of humanity you’re looking for, dropping a big nuclear weapon on the Middle East would be a good start. We could then kill off the sick and mentally ill. They cost lots of money. Orphans, too . . . and prisons.If you logically can say that legally killing off children is much better than the expense of raising them, then wouldn’t it be even more logical to kill off adults we don’t like and have to pay for, and turn that money over to raising the kids? I mean, isn’t it more fair to raise some kids that haven’t hurt society than to save the money by killing them to pay for criminals, the insane, and the poor?I know you wouldn’t advocate that type of action. It’s silly. But the next step to your logic is just that, isn’t it?–Like B and nm, I agree that in most cases (though not all…the preponderance of induced abortions are secured during that danger zone time in which most spontaneous abortions also occur) that little clump of dependent but rapidly evolving cells, given enough time and the right natal nutrition and so forth, would eventually become a human being. –What species of creature are those cells before they are human? Just curious as to what you’ve found.–You are valuing the fetus and its potential humanity over the rights and interests of the pregnant woman.–Well, potentially, what ELSE could a human fetus become? It will either be a dead human fetus or a live human baby. Either way, the being is human, right?What I value is life over conveinence. I’ll make a deal with you. I won’t pretend that all abortions are performed on heartless cruel women who are evil if everyone here doesn’t pretend that all abortions are performed on poor victimized women who have no hope in raising a child. I know no one here has really done that, but I promise that I WON’T, okay? That being said, how many thousands of abortions happen simply because the mother just doesn’t want to deal with a (or another) child. Is that right so prevailing that it justifies homicide?Since women can get an abortion for ANY reason, we’re saying that legally women can commit homicide with no justification . . . as long as their timing is good.–That’s ok to do, but it’s not the same as saying that you value all life equally. You would, if you could, oblige women to sacrifice in all instances their own rights at points where they conflict with the rights of what you refer to as a child.–I think you define "rights" on both extremes. Basically, you want one person to have the right to kill another person with no proven justification. That’s a pretty hefty right, wouldn’t you agree? Basically, it means the little person has ZERO rights while the big person has ALL the rights. That’s really the long and short of it.–To follow your strain of argumentation, then — where does that mandatory sacrifice stop? Are women to be allowed to decide that we need shoes or must we spend that money on our child’s braces?–If you have a child, absolutely. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to care for your child REGARDLESS of the stage of development.How about this, though? Doesn’t the mother have the right to force the biological (or supposed biological) father to pay a percentage of his income towards the child’s expenses (at the mother’s discretion) regardless of whether the father wants the child or not? Isn’t that an example of a woman being able to interfere with the rights of a man? Would you abolish all child support laws since, with abortion in place, it’s ALWAYS the mother’s decision to have the child or not? Isn’t forced child support a modern version of taxation without representation? LOL!–Can we invest in our own college education or must we save that money because Junior might want to go to college someday — after all, never know what he could turn into given the right conditions and nurturing?–That’s strictly up to the parent(s), isn’t it? You have to make a determination whether the college degree the parent pursues will be worth the time and effort in order to be in a better position to help the child later.Actually, if the parent(s) were savvy at all, they’d easily be able to determine what to do. It’s economics 101. If I spend the money to go to college now, will I be better off financially in 18 years in order to put my child through school, OR will I be better off financially to just save and invest the money?TRUTHFULLY, who cares about the child? That’s just prudent financial advice i.e. is your investment going to be worth it.I’m glad my mother has a PhD in business . . . LOL! I’d hate to think she might have screwed up her profit margin and aborted me in error. LOL! No, I was making more fun of me with that remark than anyone here. SERIOUSLY! My mother would probably laugh her butt off if she read that.–If our position strikes you as cold-blooded, you also have to see how your position strikes us as oblivious to its social consequences for women.–It strikes me as strange growing up with strong women who would scare a grizzly bear back into the woods if you messed with their kids. I was raised hearing over and over about how protective a mother is and how a mother’s love is greater than any force on earth. My wife would sacrifice ANYTHING for the protection of her kids. She already HAS sacrificed a lot. My mother says she beat cancer because she wanted to spend more time with her son and grandson. And she HAS beaten it by all accounts. Basically, I grew up around all these tough, sacrificing women who exuded love for their children (along with a bunch of men doing the same thing), and the thought of any of them killing one of their kids because the timing was poor or because giving birth "might hurt" isn’t even remotely tangible. And financial reasons wouldn’t even be on the scope. With those experiences in mind, I can’t imagine a woman killing her child for any reason.You guys might think I look down on women and think their rights don’t count. It’s quite the opposite. I’ve been around women who would never even consider killing their own children (for longer than 15 minutes at a time!) for whatever reason. I grew up with women who shouldn’t have even HAD kids because of medical problems, but the desire was so strong, they risked their lives. Today, we have women having abortions because a baby might mess up their figure or give them stretch marks. Where have we gone wrong?Ladies, it’s not that I don’t hold women up to a high level. It’s that I DO hold them up to a high level. I guess I just expect more from women considering the women I’ve been surrounded by.I’d kill to feed my kids. My wife would kill to feed our kids. I don’t think I’d kill my kids to eat. I KNOW I wouldn’t to save a few thousand a year.–Personally, that’s not a trajectory I want to see my society take, though there might be other offsetting benefits for some other class…like the little boys (but not the little girls).–So, in reality, this is more about feminist rights and agenda than perhaps human life? Haven’t women always criticized men for sending sons and daughters into meat grinders and wars for politics? What’s the difference here? As awful as this might sound, George Bush hasn’t killed NEARLY as many people as abortions have . . . in the last few days.

  33. "No, it isn’t. The question is: ‘are we ending the life of an actual human being?. —-Okay, that’s a decent reword. I must ask though, could you define ‘actual human being’ and ‘theoretical human being’, please?"Nope, an "actual human being" is being contrasted to a "potential human being" here. Just as the blossom on the tomato plant is a potential tomato, not an actual one–even though the DNA of that blossom and a tomato from the same plant are identical. Even though a tomato seed, let alone the blossom, is incontestably a member of the family Solanum lycopersicum.* But biologically, there’s a huge difference. If you don’t believe me, try making marinara with little yellow flowers.And if my mother had had an abortion back in the day, she would have been preventing me from ever coming into existence, but she would not have been killing me. There wasn’t any nm back then. And may I say that your consistently stating that only those who agree with you are arguing in good faith doesn’t make it so, any more than your consistently repeating that an embryo is a human being makes that true, either.

  34. Ed, honestly. We can’t have a reasonable discussion if you’re making enormous assumptions about how we think and expecting us to defend them.I could start in with how the anti-abortion position seems to be about men trying to take control of women’s bodies and making sure that sluts don’t escape their proper punishment (childbirth) and I could even go through your comments here and use examples from what you’ve said to prove my point.But that would be disingenuous because it would be based on the idea that you have no respect for women. I think you do respect women a great deal.But I see what you’re saying here and it sounds like you’re upset that not every woman is in a position to make the same choices the women you love have made.But that’s the way the world works. Two people, even when presented with the exact same opportunities will not end up in the exact same place.The women you love have what it takes to make some tough choices. Other women don’t.No offense, but you seem to think that none of us have really thought this through, that we’re pro-abortion because we’re selfish. (Although I’d argue that it’s a perfectly fine reason to be pro-abortion. Women shouldn’t be forced by law to be unselfish.)But the truth is that reality of pregnancy–the joy and the terror of it, the hopes and fears surrounding it–are real for us in a way that they’re just not for you. Until you’ve reached between your legs and prayed for blood or found blood when you so desperately wished it weren’t there, you’re always going to sound like something of an asshole to me.Because being pregnant (or not being pregnant) never can mean to you what it means to me.And no amount of you trying to argue that it’s a human being and therefore women who have abortions are murderers trumps the fact that pregnancy is risky for both the mother and the fetus which is inside the mother’s body and dependent on the mother’s body for continued life. And it’s me who takes those risks.No argument you can make that appeals to logic or science or reason can trump the real and true mystery of the blood.I don’t mean to get all philosophical on you, but this is really an incredibly grueling, painful, and upsetting conversation to have and I really want you to at least see things from my point of view, even if you can’t come to agree with me.I have friends, dear friends, who have had abortions. I know how hard it was for them to make that decision. I also know they made the best decision they could under the circumstances.And I also have a nephew who I love dearly, even though I prayed at every stage of my sister-in-law’s pregnancy that she would end it, since she wasn’t willing to stop doing drugs. And every day I pray now that she won’t beat him to death or kill him in some other horrible way and I have to live with the knowledge that it’s a very real possibility that she might.If he lives to see adulthood, we’ll all be very lucky.If she kills him or drives him to kill himself, I’ll always think he would have been better off spared the pain of being put through the things she’s put him through.There are a lot of women who should not have kids. If they have to take drastic steps to prevent that from happening, more power to them, I say.The thing is that you can believe that abortions are wrong and evil. That’s your business. You can devote your whole life to trying to talk women out of having them. Again, that’s your business and though I wouldn’t spend my time that way, I can see how someone with your philosophical viewpoint might. More power to you.But the thing is that it’s not murder. It’s just not. Even you don’t believe that it’s murder, because you’re not advocating putting women in prison for the rest of their lives or sentencing them to death, which is what happens to a person who hires a hitman.You can believe that it’s wrong and evil. That doesn’t mean that it should be against the law.And even if you got everyone here to agree that it was wrong and evil, you’d still never get most of us to believe that it should be against the law.And it’s not just feminists who have abortions. One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. Do you really believe that one in three women are evil?

  35. Nope, an "actual human being" is being contrasted to a "potential human being" here. Just as the blossom on the tomato plant is a potential tomato, not an actual one–even though the DNA of that blossom and a tomato from the same plant are identical.Good analogy. Sperm and eggs are potential human beings. You need them both to make a human being. Is that fair?Even though a tomato seed, let alone the blossom, is incontestably a member of the family Solanum lycopersicum.* But biologically, there’s a huge difference. If you don’t believe me, try making marinara with little yellow flowers.BUT you can’t have a tomato without a seed. And basically a tomato is just a "pregnant" tomato plant, right? Those seeds are already fertilized, per se. They just need a womb or, in this case, the ground. And if my mother had had an abortion back in the day, she would have been preventing me from ever coming into existence, but she would not have been killing me. There wasn’t any nm back then.Exactly WHAT would she have killed to prevent you from being born if you were already conceived. What were you before you were you?And may I say that your consistently stating that only those who agree with you are arguing in good faith doesn’t make it so, any more than your consistently repeating that an embryo is a human being makes that true, either.I don’t believe I ever said that, did I?And I agree, repeating something over and over isn’t going to make it true or factual. On the other hand, no one has pointed out to me what species a human embryo is or what it could become other than a fully developed human, either. Up to now, there’s been no real reason to call early human life anything other than . . . human life.

  36. Ed, honestly. We can’t have a reasonable discussion if you’re making enormous assumptions about how we think and expecting us to defend them.—-I sincerely apologize if I did that. I don’t want to assume anything about you. I’d rather take you at face value by what you say here. It appears that you’re doing the same for me, too, and I appreciate that.—-I could start in with how the anti-abortion position seems to be about men trying to take control of women’s bodies and making sure that sluts don’t escape their proper punishment (childbirth) and I could even go through your comments here and use examples from what you’ve said to prove my point.—-Not really. I really don’t consider childbirth as "punishment". I have children. None of them were perceived as punishment to the mother. I think you WANT to make me into some kind of woman hater and control freak, but really, I’m not. If you wanted to, you could EASILY turn it around and say that pro-abortionists just want the right to kill their own children to prove their feminist power over man and life, too, but I don’t think every pro-abortionist feels that way.—-But that would be disingenuous because it would be based on the idea that you have no respect for women. I think you do respect women a great deal.—-Thank you. I really do, and that’s possibly why I fail to see that value in abortion. To me, it is a shadowy way of saying that some women just aren’t strong enough to be mothers but they’re strong enough to kill their children. I think that’s too much of a paradox to seriously consider.—-But I see what you’re saying here and it sounds like you’re upset that not every woman is in a position to make the same choices the women you love have made.—-I’m not really upset that some women get into bad situations. I guess I’m more upset that we, as a society, work so hard at justifying killing a child as the "proper decision". It’s not what it really says about the woman, to me. It’s more about what we as a country want to accept. And we accept it as a human rights issue. That’s possibly the most ironic thing.I also think it’s sad that, in the feminist movement that has come SO FAR in the last few decades to help women around the world, the cheif political platform of the movement now is . . . abortion. Sure, we can say glass ceiling, sexual practices at work, and all that stuff are good issues, and they are. But really, when you get down to nationwide feminist political action, the most publicized is protecting abortion.I guess it seems odd to me that a group who celebrate womanhood and it’s beauty choose as their symbol the destruction of possibly one of the most beautiful things about motherhood: the carrying of children to birth. I mean, surely even the most hardline pro-abortionist can see some irony there.—-But that’s the way the world works. Two people, even when presented with the exact same opportunities will not end up in the exact same place.—-True. No questions about it. Then again, it doesn’t make both of them right, either.—-The women you love have what it takes to make some tough choices. Other women don’t.No offense, but you seem to think that none of us have really thought this through, that we’re pro-abortion because we’re selfish. (Although I’d argue that it’s a perfectly fine reason to be pro-abortion. Women shouldn’t be forced by law to be unselfish.)—-You just answered your own question. :) OF COURSE it’s about being selfish. I’m going to prevent this life from being born (my natural words would be to "kill my baby", but that’s just inflamatory in our good discussion) because I don’t want a baby. REGARDLESS OF REASON, that’s about it.It’s about picking yourself over your own child. I guess that’s a valuable right, I suppose. I don’t know.—-But the truth is that reality of pregnancy–the joy and the terror of it, the hopes and fears surrounding it–are real for us in a way that they’re just not for you. Until you’ve reached between your legs and prayed for blood or found blood when you so desperately wished it weren’t there, you’re always going to sound like something of an asshole to me.—-Oh, I’ve prayed for both . . . just not between MY legs! LOL!However, saying "I’d rather just kill my child than have to deal with him or her" kinda’ puts a person well beyond the "asshole" classification, too. I guess it’s just a matter of what one finds valuable.—-Because being pregnant (or not being pregnant) never can mean to you what it means to me.—-True. Then again, neither of us have been aborted, either, so I guess we’re both in the dark about that, too. :)—-And no amount of you trying to argue that it’s a human being and therefore women who have abortions are murderers trumps the fact that pregnancy is risky for both the mother and the fetus which is inside the mother’s body and dependent on the mother’s body for continued life. And it’s me who takes those risks.—-I think we were simply up to homicide . . . which we both agree on. I don’t think we got to murder, yet.—-No argument you can make that appeals to logic or science or reason can trump the real and true mystery of the blood.—-There’s no mystery in the blood, really. It’s life, and there’s value there. I think a society that sees value in taking the lives of their children strictly out of desire or, dare I say it, whim, is a society in deep decline.—-I don’t mean to get all philosophical on you, but this is really an incredibly grueling, painful, and upsetting conversation to have and I really want you to at least see things from my point of view, even if you can’t come to agree with me.—-Fair enough. I agree. I just think that, on one hand, you and I both stand together on "people are equal and should have equal rights". However, you make an exception for children, and you believe the most valuable right of all, the right to life, is subject to the fancy of the mother without consequence. I think that’s where we part ways.—-I have friends, dear friends, who have had abortions. I know how hard it was for them to make that decision. I also know they made the best decision they could under the circumstances.—-The best decision for themselves or the children they would have had? I know that’s harsh, but I can think of LOTS OF TIMES when killing someone would have been GREAT for my life. Look, killing my ex-wife would increase my comfort of living IMMENSELY!!! I could raise my son the way I want to. I can have him all the time instead of 50/50. I could spend my money the way I want to. I could . . . you get the point. However, I’m betting that you would be against a compromise that women are free to kill children as long as men are free to kill ex-wives? LOL!—-And I also have a nephew who I love dearly, even though I prayed at every stage of my sister-in-law’s pregnancy that she would end it, since she wasn’t willing to stop doing drugs. And every day I pray now that she won’t beat him to death or kill him in some other horrible way and I have to live with the knowledge that it’s a very real possibility that she might.—-Then, pray tell, why don’t you kill your nephew? I mean, in a sense, wouldn’t he be better off dead? Again, that’s harsh, but what’s the difference between wishing him dead then and wishing him dead now? Dead’s dead.Do you think he’d try to defend himself? Maybe he wants to live? Shouldn’t that be his choice?—-If he lives to see adulthood, we’ll all be very lucky.—-It sounds to me like he’s already pretty lucky. He could already be dead.—-If she kills him or drives him to kill himself, I’ll always think he would have been better off spared the pain of being put through the things she’s put him through.—-That will be his choice, and not anyone elses. Good people have come from worse places, rest assured. However, that’s his right to choose . . . now, at least.—-There are a lot of women who should not have kids. If they have to take drastic steps to prevent that from happening, more power to them, I say.—-If they can afford an abortion, they should afford to get their tubes tied . . . or refrain from sex. Killing my child, to me, would be the most difficult thing I could imagine. I doubt seriously if it would compare with me getting "fixed", you know?However, I do agree with you that some PEOPLE shouldn’t have kids . . . man and woman, alike.—-But the thing is that it’s not murder. It’s just not. Even you don’t believe that it’s murder, because you’re not advocating putting women in prison for the rest of their lives or sentencing them to death, which is what happens to a person who hires a hitman.—-You’ve yet to really present an argument . . . a logical and legal argument . . . why this form of homicide is justifiable under our current set of laws. I’m NOT SAYING ABORTION IS MURDER!! I’m saying you haven’t proven that it’s not, yet.—-You can believe that it’s wrong and evil. That doesn’t mean that it should be against the law.—-Okay, what other laws should be subjective to what the citizen believes or feels?—-And even if you got everyone here to agree that it was wrong and evil, you’d still never get most of us to believe that it should be against the law.—-Of course not. It’s too perilous.—-And it’s not just feminists who have abortions. One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. Do you really believe that one in three women are evil?—-I haven’t said anyone is evil. However, one in three women will have an abortion? I’m not doubting you as a person, but I would like to see your source for that statistic, okay?I don’t think most people are evil. I think good people can do evil things. I draw a difference between evil deeds and evil people, though. HOWEVER, I do consider abortion an evil act. On that deduction, you are completely correct.

  37. Sarcastro, we’re paying those women to make your life hell. In real life, they’re all rather nice.Ed, I suspect you’re being pedantic now. It’s quite clear that nm means that an embryo or a fetus is a form of human life, but that it’s not the same thing as a person.

  38. I can speak from previous experience, one out of three women are evil.And that’s a fairly conservative number.—-Thought it .. . but didn’t say it. :D

  39. Ed, I suspect you’re being pedantic now. It’s quite clear that nm means that an embryo or a fetus is a form of human life, but that it’s not the same thing as a person.–I’ll look pedanic up, ok? :)I think I know what she’s trying to say, but it’s deceptive by means of intent and NOT by means of untruth.What I mean is that I know that she’s trying to say that early human life somehow is different that other human life. I agree. It’s a different stage, but I could easily say that human infant life is different from adult life. However, if I shoot up a daycare, I’m probably a murderer regardless of developmental stage of my victims, wouldn’t you say?

  40. Yes, but how can this argument go anywhere? We’re saying that we believe that a human comes into legal personhood when he or she is born. You believe a human comes into legal personhood at some earlier stage. Those are irreconcileable viewpoints.And now you’ve suggested that I ought to kill my nephew if I believe so strongly in abortion. Frankly, if that’s where the conversation is going, let’s just stop it here, because, really. That’s beyond the pale.

  41. "the blossom on the tomato plant is a potential tomato, not an actual one–even though the DNA of that blossom and a tomato from the same plant are identical.Good analogy. Sperm and eggs are potential human beings. You need them both to make a human being. Is that fair?"No. A tomato flower isn’t analogous to either egg or sperm. It’s an unexpressed tomato, which may or may not turn into an expression of the fruit. Ed, not every member (or every piece of every member) of a species is fully-expressed. You say that no-one has disproven this, but you seem to be ignoring the counter-examples that are being provided. At best, you say that they are examples of something else altogether. "And may I say that your consistently stating that only those who agree with you are arguing in good faith doesn’t make it so, any more than your consistently repeating that an embryo is a human being makes that true, either.I don’t believe I ever said that, did I?"Let’s see: you wrote: "Aunt B is probably taking the most honest and sincere path" because B. agreed with some of your terminology, while Bridgett and I continued to dispute your presuppositions. I’m through with this discussion for this occasion; I’m tired of talking to someone who keeps telling me that I mean something different than what I’m saying.

  42. Fair enough. We can leave things here. I concede there’s plenty of arguments as to potential, not fully realized, or other forms of human life. Honestly, though, I don’t think we’d even consider those terms unless we needed to justify killing a human, somehow. We just need to dehumanize the little guy a little to make it "okay".Maybe I’m wrong. I could be, I suppose. But, it’s like Avagadro’s argument on religion. If you believe in God and there is no God, what have you lost? However, if you DON’T believe in God, and there is a God, what have you lost?Same thing applies here. No one is really SURE about life. We feel, think, suppose, and guess, but that’s really about it. If I’m wrong, and we could kill that being anytime we pleased and been "okay", what have we lost? However, what if I AM right, and we were killing generations of kids in the name of "women’s rights" and "reproductive freedom"? What does that make us?When life is concerned, honestly, I’d rather err on the side of life. It’s just me, maybe.With regards to you killing your nephew, I think you know I wasn’t advocating that. However, I really see no difference in killing the child now or three or four months before birth. Afterall, the child is dead regardless of timing. There is no nephew either way. What’s the effective difference?

  43. By the way, the religious theory you’re referring to as Avogardro’s is actually by Blaise Pascal. Philosophical theologians refer to it as Pascal’s Wager. Amadeo Avogadro is best known for his work on molarity and molecular weight. The law bearing his name asserts that equal volumes of gas at the same temperature and pressure will have the same number of molecules. He never wrote anything about theology as far as I know.

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