I Put My Radical Feminist Hat On Just for a Second

We’re still arguing about abortion over at Blue Collar Muse’s place.  It’s a tense discussion, but not very heated, so it’s still interesting, if you’re into that sort of thing.

It’s one of those discussions that has broken down along gender lines, where the men are arguing against abortion and the women are arguing for it.  I’m back over here because a commenter, Sam Pierce, said something that I’ve seen a million times, but today hit me like a ton of bricks.

I wonder how many supporters of this butchery have seen a sonagram, in which they could see and hear the beating heart. I wonder how many have seen the baby move his hands or his feet during a sonogram. I would ask those that have, how they can assert that this baby is less than human. If they do not assert that this baby is less than human, I would ask them how they justify killing this innocent human.

Y’all, I have to say something that I’m hesitant to say, because, in general, I’m not a gender essentialist.  I don’t believe that there’s some great divide between men and women that makes us so different that we can just continue to tumble through history basically strangers to each other.

But it’s exactly that kind of comment that makes it so damn difficult for me to discuss abortion with men.

Pardon me while I rant.

See?  You want me to see a sonogram?  Do you not fucking get it?  It’s my body.  I don’t have to see a sonogram to know that, where there once was just room in my body, there is now another life.  I am the one who stopped bleeding.  I’m the one whose skin and hair are changing texture.  I’m the one whose shape is changing, whose joints are aching, whose vision is clearer, whose smell is sharper, whose taste is changed.

And yet, you act like we don’t know.  That we don’t understand.  And so you work to ensure that we’re told–by doctors, by anti-abortion advocates, by legislators–that what we’re experiencing is just the logical result of a choice we made to have sex. 

Not that we’re undergoing a necessary metamorphosis in order to knit life together out of unlife.

But that this is just some easily understood, easily medicalized, easily preventable, and easily brought abut temporary state that can be legislated with justice and fairness.

You, who have never reached between your legs and prayed to find blood; you who have never reached between your legs and gasped in horror and grief to find it; you who have never had to feel life stirring inside of you and still had to ask yourself if you can bring it to term; and you who have never prayed to feel that stir inside you; just how dare you reduce our great and terrifying mystery to “it’s a baby; it’s sacred”?

No, the process is sacred–in both the holy and cursed sense of the word–and you don’t respect that.

You don’t respect that this is a terrifying, dangerous thing we’re doing here and that folks die–babies, women, fetuses.  You don’t respect that we’re making hard decisions based on factors you can’t know.  And you certainly don’t respect that we have the right to make difficult decisions we might come to regret later.

I’m sorry.  I have these discussions over and over again and I just cannot help but see them as men trying to exert control over a process they can’t realistically have any control over.  So many of them seem shocked and confused that there should be this thing–the ability to make life–that women can do that is so awesome and important and that they, after the sex, have little part in.  This just seems to me like a way for them to horn in on and exert control over something that’s really not under their control and make it seem as if it is.  “Oh, you’re not doing anything special.  It was a baby the second I fertilized your egg.  You’re just carrying something that I did.  And because I did it, I get to make laws telling you what you can do with yourself while you’re carrying the baby I made.”

I don’t know how to talk to folks who think that way.

72 thoughts on “I Put My Radical Feminist Hat On Just for a Second

  1. I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to the Sacred Feminine, the Feminine Divine and how the modern church’s loss of that concept has affected our worship styles.

    I bring that up here because this post hits home on a lot of those topics.

    I think THIS is one of the most tangible effects on our failure to worship the feminine divine in our current culture.

    That sense of reverence for the miracle and travail of birth, that worship of the belly and vulva has turned into what amounts to a mental block against the involvement of the WOMAN.

    It is now a worship of the baby, with the (formerly) sacred woman now turned into the modern equivalent of the stork. Thousands of years of demystification of the Goddess gives you men who have no consideration of the most sacred role of womankind beyond the end product–the tangible result of THEIR contribution to Life.

    In the last 8 years or so I’ve become convinced that so many men are adamantly opposed to abortion because they just can’t cotton to the idea that women are ultimately responsible for new life.

  2. I agree with you completely. I just don’t understand how male lawmakers can even think they have the right to decide what happens with a woman’s body. I hate hearing about guys who dumped their girlfriend when they found out she was pregnant…but then end up fighting to make sure she doesn’t abort. I believe men and women CAN live in equality (maybe one day) and if that day ever comes there will hopefully be an understanding that women should make all the decisions with regards to their own bodies. As for being shown a picture of the live little fetus, I highly doubt that will change the mind of any woman who knows there is no other option than abortion. It might make her sad or mad or confused, but there’s a good chance she was already feeling that way as soon as she missed a period.

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  4. I’ve looked at three sonograms of my own baby in the last year. Now that I’ve been pregnant and had the delivery from hell of a much wanted baby – I’m more pro-choice than ever. No one should ever have to go through that if they don’t want to.

  5. Sorry, it is a human life. Sure it is your body, and you had a choice was whether or not to have sex. After that point, it’s no longer your choice.

  6. Good rant, Aunt B. Best rant I’ve read in a long time.
    “.. what we’re experiencing is just the logical result of a choice we made to have sex. …”

    I’d also like to point out that we don’t always “choose” to have sex, a lot of times that decision is forced upon us. And I don’t understand the argument of those pro-lifers who agree that an exception can be made in the case of rape. If a woman is raped then the resulting pregnancy isn’t “life”? Or, it’s a more expendable form of life? That doesn’t make sense.

    I suspect if pressed they would have to admit that the whole rape exclusion is just their way of trying not to look anti-woman, a way of trying to make their position more palatable to the masses. And I think that’s just chickenshit on their part.

  7. George, yes, thank you for illustrating my point. Here we have five comments by five women (six if you count my post) who have very different life experiences and probably very different opinions on the morality of abortion and we’re all able to respect the complexity of the issue.

    You come along all dick-waving like it’s so easy and you’ve got it all figured out.

    Vol Abroad, it’s funny you should say that because it was the pregnancy that resulted in the birth of my first nephew that solidified my pro-choice views. I adore my nephew and I’m so glad that he’s here, but his mom had to fight every step of the way to get him here and there was a time when we thought that one or both of them wasn’t going to make it.

    And going through that, just as an outsider, convinced me that no one should have to do that if they don’t want.

    I mean, bless George’s heart, but what kind of choice does he think we’re making when we have sex? I could be consenting to being willing to have a baby. That doesn’t mean I’m willing to consent to die trying to have one.

    I mean, I love penises as much as the next person, but if someone sat down with me and said, “If you agree that putting my penis in you means that you’re also agreeing that you’d be willing to die a painful painful death in the next nine months, you can have sex with me,” I would not be having sex with that dude.

  8. Pardon me for throwing a curve in your gender line….. I’ve seen my child’s heart beat and I’ve seen him/her moving around in there. I’ll fight anyone who wants to abort that baby at this point, even if it was my wife who is carrying those babies. But I still think it’s the right of every couple to decide that for themselves.

    Where do you stand on father’s rights? I suspect we’re going to be at odds on that one because you really sound like you don’t believe in any until after the fetus becomes an infant.

    Frankly, that’s probably a whole lot of what drives men in any abortion debate. It’s very scarey to think you have no say in what happens to your kid because he’s a fetus.

    I think the other key thing is that you just can’t really understand the impact and issues of pregnancy until you live with a pregnant woman you love. (I suspect you can’t REALLY understand it without being pregnant yourself, but living with and loving a pregnant woman takes you a long way down the path to enlightenment.)

  9. “you had a choice was whether or not to have sex”

    Unless I didn’t. In which case, I’m just shit out of luck, right? Because carrying some criminal fuckwad’s fetus to term and unwillingly making the emotional, physical, and financial commitment to be a mother is certainly more important than whatever I had planned for the rest of my life, right?

  10. “… if someone sat down with me and said, “If you agree that putting my penis in you means that you’re also agreeing that you’d be willing to die a painful painful death in the next nine months, you can have sex with me,” I would not be having sex with that dude.”

    I wonder how many dudes would be willing to have sex if they were told that in 9 months they’d be financially responsible for raising a child for the next 20 years .. I wonder if they’d go through with it?

  11. b, there are men who think exactly as you state. there are men who honestly take issue with the fact that they truly have no control over childbirth.

    but please don’t lump us all in with that. it’s hard to be a guy and talk about abortion because, on one hand (the dominant one) it’s not our bodies. it’s not our pain. it’s not our discomfort. it’s not our health that’s in debate. you have a God-given right to make decisions about your body. but on the other hand, even guys like me who don’t really even like kids, often have a logical block to saying that abortion is ok… i mean, at some point that thing in you is a human. and killin’ folks ain’t right, you know? no matter who does it. parent, gaurdian, stranger, male, female, whatever… killing folks ain’t right. where is the line? when is someone a “someone?”

    it’s hard, b. i still don’t know what i think. i can’t bring the two sides of my mind to reconcilliation. but i’m working on it… i just ask that you please don’t lump all men toghether. we don’t understand what it’s like to be a woman. we can’t. we will never understand what it’s like to be pregnant or to give birth. we can only work with what experiences, perspective, and knowledge we have… that’s all anyone can do.

  12. OK, fine Aunt B. I hear you roar. But, is there any common ground? Should a man have to support a child he would have wanted aborted?

    I agree with So. Beale too. Being against abortion, except for the exceptions, doesn’t make sense to me. I understand as a practical concession, one I’d be unwilling to make.

  13. W., it’s that I have this novel idea, which is that, if you want to have a say in what the mother of your child does, you should man up and have the kind of relationship with her that makes her feel sure that the two of you really have a partnership and are in it for the long-haul. If you have that, which I have no reason to believe otherwise, then you make decisions together.

    But, at the end, it’s her body and her life and she’s got to be the one to have the final say. I’m sure it is very scary to think that you have no say in what happens to your kid because he’s a fetus. So, I’m sure you can appreciate that, for us women, the idea that folks want to codify into law us having no control over our own bodies just because we’re women, is equally terrifying.

    Shoot, I was looking, but I can’t find it, awhile ago a man wrote about having to decide for his wife to abort their baby. But I think that brings up another interesting side to the issue.

    If something goes wrong and the woman can’t make the decision, it falls to her husband. Are these pro-life guys really saying that, if they had to make the decision, they’d always choose the fetus?

    To get back to your point, W., I guess I feel like, if a man wants to have a say in what a woman does with her body, he needs to have the kind of relationship with her in which he’s a partner.

    If men don’t have that, they shouldn’t be able to use the law to force women to do what they want.

    Martin, it’s an unpopular opinion in feminist circles, but I think a man should have six months from the time he finds out about his pending fatherhood (or that he’s a father, should it happen later in the game) to decide if he wants to be a father.

    If he does, then he should make arrangements for the child’s welfare–support, custody, etc. And if he tries to bail after that, we should bring the full force of the law down on him.

    If he doesn’t, then he should have to sign all parental rights away and agree to have no part in the child’s life, ever. If he ever does reenter the child’s life at any point, even if he’s 60 and the kid is 35, he should have to give that kid 18 years worth of support.

    Megaphonic, hang in there. I’m not normally a radical feminist (though I do love to squeeze the radical feminists and pinch their cheeks!). It’s just this one issue where I’m like “Stop treating me like an idiot or I will have to eat your balls for dinner!” It’s not even talking about abortion; it’s that “well, if you saw it on the screen, you’d have my same opinion” attitude that just burns my britches.

    Rob, why would you want to?

  14. Interesting B. The old policy, pre-legalized abortion, was that if you were not married to the woman you had absolutely no say and no responsibility. I think that is a good policy.

  15. I’m not advocating a legal solution B. But damn.

    You’ve really hit the nail on the head with that response to me. The way the world works, if you get a woman pregnant you’re a slave to her goodwill for at least 18 years unless you want to give up on seeing your kid. We’re only talking about during pregnancy right now, but it’s the same way after the kid is born. It’s not right.

    I’m not saying the man should have the ultimate say, and I really can’t think of any good solution that’s equitable to everyone. Ultimately you’re right, if a woman’s life is in danger she should make the final decision. But I was hoping to get you to see some of where a man’s argument might be coming from before you get swept away with your ‘second class citizen’ argument.

    I’m at a loss to really convey this……. What you just said to me up there? You told me if I want to have a say in my kid’s life I just better stay on the good side of their mother. That’s brass knuckles in a velvet glove. And it’s all the more frustrating for its accuracy.

  16. Implicitly it seems all agree that sexual relations, that lead to conception, outside of a committed relationship / marriage, is a sub-optimal… Not good for the mom, the dad, or the child.

  17. for bonus points, add up how many different meanings and subtexts of the word “human” mr. Pierce recklessly conflated in that one paragraph.

    not every human life is a human person. not everything alive with human genetics is “human life”, either, for that matter. and since when does the mere fact of a heartbeat settle any ethical issues, anymore? those days went out with brain death and CPR, ages ago.

    (and am i the only person alive who can’t make heads or tails out of sonogram pictures? they all look like pie-slice shaped clouds, to me; certainly not the least bit awe-inspiring. is there some better, newer technology i haven’t encountered in this area?)

    but all of that, still, doesn’t even begin to matter unless and until you can somehow deal with B.’s main point — namely, that women have rights too, and that even pregnant women are still perfectly competent adults capable of making their own damn decisions.

  18. W, I sometimes think the whole “father’s rights” thing is really just ego driven. I say that because the father must take for granted that said baby is his. Maybe it is, maybe not. Ideally, the woman would know. If she came to you and said, this is actually my ex boyfriend’s baby, you probably would not be all that interested in whether or not that baby ever arrived . I don’t know, I wonder if we have over mystified and romanticized the whole process of pregnancy. I’m not saying it isn’t wonderful, but virtually every female animal on the planet can do it, so it isn’t necessarily this awe inspiring “miracle” that most people make it to be. (apologies to Mary)

    I just don’t see us men consulting with women if the reverse were true. I believe we’d consult our doctor, and go from there. That just seems perfectly reasonable.

  19. I wonder how many dudes would be willing to have sex if they were told that in 9 months they’d be financially responsible for raising a child for the next 20 years .. I wonder if they’d go through with it?

    Death during childbirth is considerably more rare, especially compared to the almost universal financhial commitment that follows childbirth.

    I call shanannigans on that analogy.

  20. No one has mentioned this, but as a person who has used her womb not too long ago, I recall that the sonograms that provided photographic evidence of my kid’s wee ickle fingies and feet didn’t come until well after the first trimester, which is the time where the decision to abort is usually made. If you took a sono snap of a fetus in the first month or two (which used to be counter-indicated, but that might have just been the protocol at the practice I went to), you’d see a shrimpy looking floaty. (Nothing that would give you a big “hey, human!” thrill of recognition at any rate.) The heartbeat — no sonogram required — is more rabbitty than human and trips away in the range of 180-190 bpm. The fetal heart itself goes through many distinct stages, at one point looking like a frog heart (with two chambers) and at another like a snake or reptile heart (with three chambers) The desire to present the first trimester fetus as just a reallllly tiny micro-baby is not true to what we now know about neo-natal development.

    The nonsense that women somehow are deprived sensate knowledge of the realities of their condition and need external visual or audio confirmation comes from thinking like a guy — you might need those things to tell that I’ve got a baby in me but I don’t. A woman who really knows her body can figure out that she’s pregnant even before she misses a period — your boobs get sore, your vaginal secretions change, you retain some water and the shape of your body starts to change in subtle ways, you begin to get sleepy at strange times, and so forth. But all this is just reiterating what B started out with so eloquently.

  21. OK I’ve heard plenty – more than most guys want to know – about what it is like being a woman, having a period, missing a period, having a baby, getting sore boobs etc.

    Who is going to speak to what it was like having an abortion? This is also an experience that a guy can’t have and quite relevant in this discussion. Are you glad you had it? Would you recommend it? Have you ever seen the procedure?

  22. Although, I must say that all this talk of bodies and fetuses… I don’t know, maybe it’s just that time of the month, but it makes me want a baby.

  23. Martin, I hope someone will choose to answer you, but I also hope that you can respect that women on the internet who answer that question–who talk frankly about their abortions–tend to get death threats.

    So, if no one answers you, please don’t take it as a sign of anything other than folks not wanting to be harassed.

    But also, I’m not quite sure what you mean. What does it matter if a woman is glad she had it? Would it some how be a point on your side if women weren’t? Some aren’t. So what? And would we recommend it as opposed to what? Dying? Losing both fetuses? Carrying the product of your rape around inside you? Using birth control? Taking the morning after pill? What?

    Ugh, maybe that sounds snarkier than I intend it, but I still think you’re trying to figure out a way to discount what women experience in order to legislate away your discomfort.

  24. B, I am just interested in a frank discussion of this topic. You spoke personally, and explicitly, of what it is like being a woman… that men can’t fully understand. I agree with that. But, shouldn’t an honest discussion include what it is like to have an abortion.
    Sure, under what circumstances would you recommend it? Is it always morally neutral whether a woman has an abortion because the child is the result of rape? Has a small deformity? Has a big deformity? Is not a boy?
    I would prefer to hear from someone who has had an abortion but anyone can chime in. Is it a black and white issue for the folks who favor the right to abortion?

  25. I’m seperating this comment so that Akismet doesn’t eat it for the multiple links….

    Our friend Rachel of Women’s Health News is guest-blogging at OurBodiesOurselves dot com.

    They link to a different set of personal abortion stories.

    The thing about personal stories is that they are personal. You will probably read the “My abortion was the worst thing I ever did” stories and cheer.

    You will probably read the “My abortion was the best thing I ever did” stories and get angry.

    But you can never ever deny that these are the stories of PEOPLE IN PAIN. For some the pain stopped with the abortion, for others it began.

    And when men ignore the fact that this issue is one about people in pain, it makes their arguments harder to listen to.

  26. But you can never ever deny that these are the stories of PEOPLE IN PAIN. For some the pain stopped with the abortion, for others it began.

    And when men ignore the fact that this issue is one about people in pain, it makes their arguments harder to listen to.

    Well said.

  27. Coble, yes, exactly. Martin, I’m not sure that I can be any clearly. For me, it is legally black and white. A woman must have the right to an abortion whenever she wants for whatever reason. I don’t belong to the State and my medical decisions are not up for a group vote.

    Do I think some abortions are more morally shaky than others? Yes I do. But it makes me a bully to try to impose my moral standards on others and especially to use the law to do so.

    Also, though we haven’t explicitly talked about it, I feel like we’re butting right up against some church/state issues.

    I think one of the things that freaks y’all out about abortion is that I think you believe those thirty million souls are lost, that those are thirty million unique individuals who never got their shot here on earth.

    I, on the other hand, don’t believe that. I’m not even sure the soul is firmly set in a body until a child has been alive a while (and certain worldviews also believe this. My friend, for instance, was forbidden from speaking his newborns’ names for 40 days after their birth, for fear that their souls could be easily stolen if someone knew the right name to call them by). That doesn’t mean that I think it’s okay to kill born babies.

    I just think that everyone gets their shot and, if a shot gets cut short, they get dumped back into the pool of baby souls and pulled back out again at another time.

    I refrain from trying to legislate this belief into common practice.

  28. W., I lost my train of thought when it came to you just for a second. But I wanted to say that one of the things I’d like to see, as well, is a rearrangement of child custody laws done in such a way that one parent (of either gender) cannot hold the other parent hostage.

    I don’t know for sure how it would work, but I would love to see the welfare of the kids put first and legally dictated so that there was no question about how the kids would be taken care of and done in such a way that they were guaranteed (unless there was abuse or something) two equally involved parents.

  29. B, Suppose someone didn’t believe a person had a soul until six months. They have a baby with a disability. They want to kill the child. Would you, via the state, favor imposing your morality?

    Would you impose your morality on someone who believes in whipping the devil out of their three year old?

    Why are some abortions shakier morally than others? Your position implies that that thing inside a woman’s tummy has some worth, some dignity, some right to live. Or, am I wrong?

  30. This is where it all gets futile. It is mind-blowingly simple. Most of us Choice-ers believe that all abortions are a terrible thing, for all involved, and it is always a woman’s right to have one. (Notice I didn’t say “on demand”, thats a neat trick the Right employs to elicit a gut reaction)

  31. Martin, we have a bright and clear line that is easy to define for when legal personhood begins–when a baby is born. It doesn’t matter if, as a religious matter, I believe that a person isn’t ensouled until they are 12. They have legal personhood when they are born. So, no, I wouldn’t support their right to kill their kid. And again, if someone believes that the devil is in their child, that’s their business. When they cross a legal line to deal with that, then it’s the state’s.

    I guess I don’t see what you’re getting at. We have laws. They don’t correspond one on one with what I believe to be morally right or okay.

    Martin, bless your heart, I don’t think you get that I just don’t believe that a fetus’s right to life ever trumps a woman’s right to dictate what happens to her own body. I believe that fetuses are a form of human life. Even so, that doesn’t give them equal claim on their mothers’ body. A fetus’s right to life never trumps a woman’s right to dictate what happens to her own body.

    Ever, ever, ever.

    Now, in trying to decide what happens to my body, I would fall back on what I believe is moral. If I got pregnant tomorrow, under most circumstances, I would take the pregnancy to term and keep the baby. It’d be hard, but that’s what I’d do. But I can see other circumstances. If the baby was unable to live outside the womb, I’d have an abortion. If being pregnant risked my life; I’d have an abortion. If I were pregnant with complications that my insurance wouldn’t fully cover, I’d have to have an abortion. If I lost my job, I’d have to seriously consider it. If it turned out that the father didn’t want to help raise the kid, I’d have to seriously consider it.

    I still think that, unless it was a matter of my health or a matter of providing a merciful death instead of a painful one, I would have the kid.

    But I don’t know. And the thing is that if I were sitting here actually pregnant and had to listen to a bunch of folks who weren’t me, for whom this is all an intellectual exercise, I’d be furious.

    No matter how wrong you think what I’m doing is, you don’t have the right to ask the State to take over my body in order to keep me from doing it.

  32. This is what I don’t understand, this weird statement that you don’t want to impose your morality. I support a woman’s right to choose without qualification through … I don’t know, some point. Halfway point? I don’t know the exact place. It’s fuzzy. It’s especially nasty because I was raised Catholic, and God knows that they have trouble with us anyway. And I’m going to get ripped apart for that, but I don’t care, because it’s less logically indefensible than the position you take in saying that it makes you a bully to try and impose your moral standards on others.

    What exactly do you think the government does when it legislates rights, and by extension, when you argue for legislation? Granting any right to one person over another – whether it’s a strong right, such as the right not to be enslaved, or a weaker one, like the right not to be defamed – that’s going to put a moral imprimatur on the law. You’ve said that you think fetuses have some sort of legal standing, so it stands that you’re granting a right of a woman over a fetus, and whether it’s right or wrong is beside the point, you’re attempting to legislate your morality. Don’t you see? It’s either a huge blind spot for you to say that you don’t want to be a bully and impose your moral views or you’re being horribly, horribly intellectually dishonest. I hope that it is the former.

  33. Well, I should have said “my religious beliefs,” which are, for me, and I imagine for many of us, the foundation of our moral code. The reason we pick “out of woman’s body” as the point at which a potential child becomes a legal person is because it is a clear point at which most everyone can agree, regardless of their personal beliefs.

    There’s no way to move the start of legal personhood into the womb without invoking religious belief. You can believe that it’s wrong for someone to have a late term abortion, but that belief is based on the notion that that human life has completed the transformation into personhood sufficiently enough for you to declare it a person. Other folks believe that a fertilized egg, even before it implants in the uterus, has completed the transformation into personhood sufficiently enough to be declared a person.

    Whether or not you’ve been born is an indesputable fact. If you come to personhood before that is a question best left to philosophers and clergy, not legislators.

    I don’t believe I ever said that fetuses have some kind of legal standing. I think they’re a form of human life. That’s not the same thing.

  34. Whooooaaa Nellie (Aunt B),

    We have laws yes but they can be (have been) changed. Pre-1973 you could not legally have an abortion in most states. What if the law changed to allow a parent to kill a baby up til six months? Would you favor that? Would you try to impose your moral code on the rest of us?

    B, That is a simple question.

  35. see, to me the “bright line” is at fetal viability. i would actually prefer if abortions of viable fetuses was flat out illegal, but only for the sake of principle; i pretty strongly suspect that viable fetuses simply aren’t aborted in actual practice.

    but my reasons for this would take forever to sort out. that’s the way it is with us atheists, our ethics can’t usually be boiled down to “because the Invisible Pink Unicorn tells me so”, so we have to philosophize semi-endlessly about them.

  36. Martin, I’m sorry. I don’t understand what’s confusing. A human life can be in many forms, some of them viable outside of the womb, some of them not. I believe that a fertilized egg is a form of human life. If nothing goes wrong and things are allowed to take their course, at the end of nine months, that would result in a birth, which would result in a legal person.

    Not all forms of human life are legal persons. But we’ve all agreed and have hundreds of years of legal precedent that says that legal personhood at least begins at birth.

    You’re asking me then, to answer a hypothetical I can’t even imagine. How would that even happen? When have we ever taken away legal personhood from someone recognized to have it?

    On the other hand, even now, even when we recognize babies as having legal personhood, we tend to be lenient towards parents who kill their young children. Do you, right now, raise a stink about that? I think you’d find it very interesting research to see what the sentences given to parents who kill their infants are.

  37. NN,

    An atheist can prefer all sorts of things, but not hold that anything – the killing of throngs of people for pleasure for example – is wrong in any absolute sense.

  38. B,

    You can’t imagine the hypothetical? Do you think people in 1950 America imagined that abortion would be legal? You’re not trying very hard.

    You said yourself that you know people who don’t believe in ensoulment until a year or so. Come on B. Play fair here. What if that became the law of the land? What if post-birth killing became the law of the land? Would you support it?

    It doesn’t matter, for our discussion, what currently happens to parents who kill their children. Would you support legalized post-birth killing of infants?

    Just answer it.

  39. I’m sure it is very scary to think that you have no say in what happens to your kid because he’s a fetus. So, I’m sure you can appreciate that, for us women, the idea that folks want to codify into law us having no control over our own bodies just because we’re women, is equally terrifying.

    Hear, hear. I always feel that the “father’s rights” argument are particularly insulting. If a woman gets pregnant, the anti-choice arguments so often go, she knew what she was getting into by having sex. If a man gets a woman pregnant, he becomes some kind of helpless bystander. Why is that? Didn’t he know what he was getting into when he had sex? Shouldn’t he have used protection?

    The double standard is staggering.

  40. MK, euthyphro. perhaps i can’t have absolute ethics without a pantheon, but what makes you think you can have that with one, anyway? and besides, what’s so hot about absolute ethics in any event? the relative kind works just fine, thank you very much.

  41. Yes, you’ve noted it’s a form of human life, but you also specifically gave it a growing claim on legal personhood. On June 27, you wrote right here:

    But no one here is saying that it’s “just” tissue. I think it’s a form of human life and, obviously, throughout pregnancy it becomes more and more a legal person up until it is born at which point, it becomes a full legal person. Birth is not an arbitrary line. It is the only non-arbitrary line. There is no question about when or if a person has been born. Ascribing full legal personhood to a fetus at any point before that is making an arbitrary decision. If we want a non-arbitrary point at which legal personhood begins in full, birth is it.

    My question is what comes with the growing legal personhood? The right to interstate travel? (Art IV, Clause 2). The right not to be a slave? (13th Amendment). The right to use contraception? Perhaps it’s the right to marry someone of the opposite sex? The right to do what they want in their little fetal bedrooms with another consenting fetus as long as they keep their fetal windowshades closed? (all Due Process). Please help me understand, because like Martin, I find your logic wanting.

  42. the argument of father’s rights to fetal life is particularly galling to me, because i like to argue the woman should have complete rights to the choice specifically so as to help balance out the unfair and unbalanced burdens that pregnancy and childbirth puts on women alone.

    arguing that fathers ought to be able to override that choice because of some perceived unfairness to them seems to be discrediting the unfairness that biology already imposes, rather flippantly even. it seems most ungentlemanly, to be frank.

  43. I believe that a fertilized egg is a form of human life. If nothing goes wrong and things are allowed to take their course, at the end of nine months, that would result in a birth,

    well, provided a functioning uterus it would. leave that fertilized egg in its test tube for nine months, and you get a slightly dusty test tube.

  44. abortion is the sacred sacrament of the feminist cult. it is their empowering initiation into the mad-dog male hating ideology which is feminism

    throughout history the defining point and purpose in a woman’s life is when they give birth, it becomes far and away their crowning time, their empowering into the august title of ‘motherhood’. mothering has been since time immemorial a special cherished merciful prized display of the most jealous and zealous and possessive love humanity had ever come to know

    when we enter into this life throughout our life there are only 2 people who by design are expected by the entitlement as being born human give unto us total and unconditional love and those 2 are our biological parents, one of which, our birth mother, is the one who gives us our very first experience of what love is

    a mother’s love is unparelled in the human world there is no similtude to be found anywhere else, it is completely unique and is the first spiritual nurturing nourishment we receive

    we return our mother’s love with a life long tender care and concern to our birth mother we have an obedience and a loyalty that is so special as to not be found in any other human relationship

    the dynamics of the parent to child relationship is so mysterious and so awesome ad to have a lifelong effect from both parent and child

    now having said all of the above the marxist hierarchy must do all that it can to ridicule, blaspheme, reject, dismiss, and destroy these father-mother-child relationships because the marxist cult is to establish a physical state highly centralized and an ideology which will direct the marxist state slave population, the key to this enslavement is to remove the metaphorical umbilical cord that is established between parent and child the moment the child is brought forth, this umbilical cord while unseen is felt within the heart and is sealed by loyality and obedience

    because the state must be all powerful and must create in the mind of the populous total dependancy (surrogate parentage) upon the state, the state creates one social program after another and at the same time gradually removes personal responsibility fromn the individual, so in the end we have the all powerful state which provies all things to the people in return for total loyalty and obedience from the people

    now we have seen in history this very ideal worked out in the flesh all across the communist world with the soviet union and communist china being the 2 greatest examples of this, the american left has been without doubt the greatest friend world communism has ever known as they have ignored the mass levels of atrocities committed in the name of communism (consider how very little attention is ever given to the 20,000,000 chinese who died under starvation during the ‘great leap forward’, consider how the leftist lawyer william kunstler dismissed what was happening duringthe khymer rouge genocide by answering “i don’t believe in criticizing socialist countries”)

    i say all of what i have said to mention how abortion is a grounding fundamental part of feminism and has at its roots communism, feminism came out of marxist thinking

    abortion is absolutly critical to the feministic ideology

    feminism has 3 pillars upon which it stands:
    (1) the vote
    (2) work
    (3) abortion

    if any one of these 3 pillars were to fall we would witness the end of feminism, it would crash down to total destruction and fade away into a bad memory as it flutters as dust in the wind

    abortion is so very important to the feminist ideology and the feminist cult and the feminist females that i have not the slightest doubt the feminists and their associated allies would not hesitate in the slightest to bring mass bloodshed upon the nation to preserve their abortions

    if somehow abortion ever became illegal you would instantly see such a level of civil unrest from the bolshevik left as to frighten the general population into thinking we are about to enter a 2nd civil war, and believe me the bolshevik left and the marxist and all of their associated elements who have conned 2 generations into thinking that they are the peace loving non-violent doves would unleash the sword and cut through the population like nothing you can imagine.

    abortion is murder plain and simple, there is no way getting around the argument, to commit abortion is to interrupt a developing life, it is to snuff out life as it bears witness of its presence inside the womb with each passing day

    abortion is history’s greatest example of human hypocrisy the world has ever known, how is it possible that a woman can impregnate herself and the instant conception has been confirmed witness within her own mind and soul she is magically and mysteriously and miraculously bearing a human life which has begun to germinate, she will from day one understand she has a growing human life forming inside of her, there is no thing as a ‘fetus’ it is a human life that has begun its one and only journey, now all of this happens when the woman in view decides she wants to give birth

    what happens when this very same woman decides for abortion? well say for example 3 -4 months down the line she receives an important job promotion which calls for her re-location and some heavy duty long hours for the first year of employment in this new job, and she realizes it would not fit her lifestyle to give birth in the near future, it would be more advantageous for her to delay birth for another 2 years down the road.

    so how does this woman justify terminating her pregnancy, well aside from abortion being legal all she has to do is wipe her crass mouth and excuse her conscious and just get that abortion done. in other words in todays generation a woman’s desires and concerns and selfish ambitions are the singularly most important issues that modern society today grapples with.

    the same grotesque example of hypocrisy can be found with the abortionist, very often it is the obstetrician who has been trained to help welcoem the new born child into this world who has also been trained to snuff that baby in the mother’s womb

    if abortion is not humanity’s greatest collective sin i do not know what is

    there is no greater more passionite hater of abortion in the world today than me.

    i hate with a firey consumming passion the sin of abortion, god forbid what i would do if i were given absolute rulership over this nation in regards to the matter of abortion.

    i truly think i am unique and stand alone from almost the entire earth population regarding this question, i have never ever come across anyone, at anytime, anywhere who is my equal in anyway in my passion for this issue

    millions upon millions have been snuffed out in their mother’s womb to placade the sick and selfish wanton lust of modern day woman

  45. Aunt B, you do ROCK!

    The simple reason that fetal life may not be extended equal protection under the law is that it cannot be done. Rationally anyway.

    Maternal science is advancing exponentially, the most recent discovery being that the stress hormone, cortisol, is the likely culprit in the spontaneous abortion of roughly 2/3rds of all conceptions. Apparently, under external stress, a woman’s natural defense mechanisms kick in and the embryo/fetus is flushed.

    Indeed, if the goal is to insure that all pregnancies have the best chance of coming to term, we would have to severely circumscribe and regulate the lives of women, restricting them from any activity that carries the potential for fetal harm. There is virtually no realm of human endeavor that women could not be excluded from if the state attempted to apply “equal protection” policy to fetal life. Women would be reduced to the status of walking wombs.

    Pro-lifers are logically inconsistant in claiming that “fetal life” and pregnant women can be equal under the law. Can’t be done.

    Sure it is your body, and you had a choice was whether or not to have sex. After that point, it’s no longer your choice.

    THANK YOU, George. By your own reasoning, unless I am willing to be pregnant, I’m under no obligation to have sex with my husband. Who knew?

  46. Tell you what, Ajax…

    When men the world over surrender their “rights” to kill other people for no particular reason at all, I might be willing to engage.

    Between now and then, STFU, and deal with the reality that women ALSO have a say in issues of life and death, albeit on a far more intimate level.

  47. ajax just gave me a bingo on a card i’d specifically designed to be un-bingo-able. i guess i’m just not cynical and misanthropic enough to keep ahead of that level of crazy.

  48. to ahunt:

    i rename you ‘a cunt’ because that is what you represent yourself to be, just another tiresome dull rerun with nothing new to add to whatever it is you happen to learn from your young feminist club literature they hand out to you

    “When men the world over surrender their “rights” to kill other people for no particular reason at all, I might be willing to engage”
    now what the hell kind of drivel are you trying to say here? are you trying to imply woman do not kill? why don’t you re-read what i posted above and realize the kind of infanticide your female species are guilty of.

    ‘rights to kill other people’, have no idea where you are going here, i really don’t, are you just one hopping mad jealous cunt angry that you as a female are denied the opportunity to wear a uniform and shoulder a rifle and kill an enemy soldier? many many of the world’s terrorists are female you can join them. maybe you are equating the natural male agression drive as it is expressed in war killing with some kind of ‘right’ that must be ‘surrendered’ somehow? for your information deary i am so very thankful dimwit douches like you will never be seen on the battlefield to disrupt the very serious nature that war is.
    maybe you want to blame war and killing as a unique trait as if all the world would be bathed in peace if all the males were castrated and under female domination is that honey? well you know what behind the scenes many many women have been participants of warring by urging war this has happened all throughout time, many women encourage war by flattering men and suggesting sexual favors for the conquering man, and many women cannot resist the image of the all powerful warman regaled in strength and discipline wearing a sharp uniform walking tall and confident

    “Between now and then, STFU, and deal with the reality that women ALSO have a say in issues of life and death, albeit on a far more intimate level”
    another misdirected verbal dribble not sure how to respond, other than i picture you in the corner of the bar grabbing everyone’s attention as you shout “STFU” and challenge any male to slap you silly. ‘issues of life and death’ yeas my dear you represent half of the human population and long ago i came out of one of those wombs, thankfully i was welcomed into this world with a hug and not a brutal forceps to end my time before i had a chance to draw a first breath

    ‘far more intimate level’ you see here is were you come unglued and show your natural woman nature by intimating sexual intimacies as your hidden power of womanhood that you have over the male species. and i concur whole heartedly

    keep the woman financially secure in marital bliss free from the burden of the responsibility of work, a man is rewarded at the end of the workday on the receiving end of a happy contented loyal and submissive wife, a wonderful way to end the day and something men have always looked forward to as they are shouldered with the world of work

    unfortunately it is very rare to actually see this today as women have changed their nature and no longer find their security in men, my most women deride any notion of male security, it is particularly sickening to consider the single mom syndrone, add to that multiple bastard children from multiple fathers, my god a social train wreck coming round the corner

    modern day woman is a weary tired haggered fornicating childless wretch, unhappy, bitchy, unfeeling, unplesant to be around,….oh god get me another drink

  49. to noman nescio:
    “ajax just gave me a bingo on a card i’d specifically designed to be un-bingo-able. i guess i’m just not cynical and misanthropic enough to keep ahead of that level of crazy”

    another one of those cryptic comments filled with code words the uninitiated has no understanding of. ‘level of crazy’ well you must be expressing my extreme level of viewpoint i express here in this blog, yes indeed not too often you come across someone as well thought out and with as superior a level of expression as i have

    i take ’em all on and beat them all down to the group, i stomp them into submission and grind up their lies into churning powder.

  50. Aunt B…if you do not wish me to continue to poke the troll with a femstick…let me know. This is your blog, and I’m afraid I’m behaving badly on it…and purely for my own selfish fun.*

    Again, thank you for the thread. ‘Tis excellent.

    *Otherwise, I’m happy to one line the Mighty Ajax into eternity.

  51. Martin,
    See AJAX’s comments above as illustration of B’s point about why women are reluctant to speak openly about their abortion experiences online. It’s not a death threat, but the name-calling and anti-woman hostility are not something most women want to invite, especially if they’re not anonymous (unlike AJAX).

    [resists urge to explain the difference between sex, gender, and species]

  52. Rachel Honey, you nailed it. The Net is treacherous, and posting too much identifying info can get you serious grief.

    Thing is, and please believe that I get that the name-calling and abuse is wildly offensive and inexcusable…

    But I’m old, relatively happily married to a great gearhead for nearly 30 years, raised three sons and endured two stillbirths…and have a damn good life on 180 acres in the Heartland.

    I think it is up to those of us who thought the fight was over, and got way too comfortable, to step up again and take on some of the heat you describe. Those of us who have made it through and done pretty well cannot possibly be hurt or deterred by the likes of Ajax. (Instead, some of us can take perverse enjoyment in the bizarre rantings. I’m so ashamed.)

    Let the Ajaxes of the world expose themselves… and if I can laugh at the sheer juvenile idiocy of being called “a cunt” at my age and station in life…take heart. The fear passes, and ultimately you just get downright cranky, and honestly cease to care.

    Those of us who live in the real world of family, community, employment, and yes, faith…have an obligation to you, to Aunt B and to all young women today. I’m ready…I got grandaughters!

    Take heart, Kiddo…the older gals have some extra time these days, and we will stand with you.

  53. I’m at a loss for words with AJAX. I’ve never come across such a morbid hatred for women. I’m chilled to the bone and I do believe with an attitude like that he very well may end up in jail one day for acting on something conjured up in his backwards mind. God help him.

  54. Who are some of you and where did you come from? Is there some sort of bulletin board where someone announces an “abortion discussion” and so you come along to add your tl;dr thoughts?

    Allow me to just sort of state for the record:

    1. I am what is generally considered “pro-life” around these parts.

    2. I think some of you who are arguing a “pro-life” position aren’t doing yourselves, or your point of view, any favours by using attacking langauge and posturing.

  55. Ajax, I extended you the hospitality of being able to comment here because I have an obligation to; that’s my role as host. You have a role as guest, one that, if you aren’t familiar with, you might take some time reading up in the Havamal in order to become so. Now you’ve insulted my welcome and well-loved guests, which, if you know anything about the cultures you claim to hold in such high esteem, you’d know is a grave offense to your host, namely me. You’re unwelcome here. You can do the honorable thing and leave yourself or I’ll just delete you when I find you here.

    Martin, it’s funny to me that, every time I try to nuance my position or expand my thoughts, you seem to see this as some opportunity to play “gotcha.” I mean, do you really think that, if you can get me to admit that I’d stand against you trying to legalize killing infants, I will suddenly realize “Oh, my god, we do impose our morals on people all the time! Therefore, it’s perfectly okay for anti-abortionists to force their morals on others and shame on me for trying to make them feel guilty.”

    There are two reasons I think you’re not getting me. Let’s take them in the order they’re easiest to understand. 1.) Of course I would stand against you if you tried to have killing infants legalized. Why? Because I believe that bodily autonomy is a fundimental right, a necessity, really. And even infants have a right to bodily autonomy. 2.) I think you don’t understand where I’m coming from religiously, either. My belief is that my roll as a member of the community is just as important as my roll as an individual. I have every right to say, “This is the way I do things; that’s the way you do things; let’s live in peace.” If I’m going to say “This is the way I do things and it’s imperative that you do them this way also,” it damn well better be.

    There is no urgent reason that I can see that the State needs to be able to compell me to give birth against my wishes. It’s my body and the necessity of me to have legal control of it is paramount.

    Susan, again, between you and Martin, I have a hard time believing that you’re not more interested in playing “gotcha” than you are in actually having a real discussion.

    I don’t see how what I’ve said before contradicts what I’m saying now. A fetus has some fundimental and evolving legal personhood that is fully realized upon birth. What comes with it is a right to life.

    That right to life does not trump the mother’s right to bodily autonomy.

    But it also means that, if a man pushes his wife down the stairs and she miscarries, he ought to be charge with battery on her and some crime against the fetus.

    But listen, here’s the other thing. I’m not the Queen of Feminism. I don’t speak for all feminists. I’m one woman trying to figure some shit out for herself. You’re welcome to pour through my archives and find all kinds of ways that I’m illogical or that I contradict myself.

    I don’t know what to tell you. Those are human traits and, at the end of the day, I’m a human. It’s not a horrible indictment of me for you to discover that.

  56. “Where do you stand on father’s rights? I suspect we’re going to be at odds on that one because you really sound like you don’t believe in any until after the fetus becomes an infant.”

    Well duh. That’s ’cause he doesn’t have any so long as the parasite is sucking the life out of someone else’s body. When he transplants it into his own, then he can talk.

  57. This was an excellent rant Aunt B. Got the link on another blog that I read. Abortion is such a hot topic anytime, anywhere. My husband’s family carries a disease. They were told there was a 50/50 chance the children would have it. His mother chose to have as many children as she was able to. 100% of the children got this disease and the ones who had children also have it. Two people have already died, early on from it. My husband chose not to have children and made sure he never would. There ARE times and situations where abortions are necessary. I could never judge anyone nor would I accept their judgment.

  58. It is a woman’s obligation and duty to bring that baby to term- thats why you are equiped and made the way you are- to nurture and support
    It is the mans obligation and duty to provide and protect– thats why men are equiped and made the way we are.
    we all need to get of our high horses and do the real jobs that nature built us for– I did mine inspite of an exwife. Most feminist lesbians and queers don’t understand this or ignore it completely– they try to change rules that are millions of years old and worked well for something only 40-50 yrs old and doesn’t work at all!!!!

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