In Which I Aid Anti-Abortionists

Courtesy of Tiny Pasture, we learn that Lynn Sebourn was out informing folks that pregnant women are carrying babies in their tummies. How the folks of Tennessee have managed to go this long without that bit of knowledge remains a mystery, but I’m glad someone is out there clearing it up. Lord knows with Bush’s love of abstinence-only education, it can be hard to know if kids are getting the basic facts of life.

Sebourn explains:

These show the baby at various stages from 12 weeks to 30 weeks. The models are soft, life size and life weight. Young girls are always fascinated by the models. Over and over, young teens express surprise that at 12 weeks the baby is fully formed. It’s actually a little baby. I think this is one of the most powerful things we can do for the pro-life movement. Just show people that a fetus is a baby.

Well, wow, there’s a lot going on in this paragraph and you may have some questions. Shall we take it a little bit at a time?

1. By showing babies at various stages from 12 to 30 weeks, doesn’t it seem as if Sebourn and his group are implying that women who have abortions are killing helpless cute babies? And yet, both sides in the abortion debate rely on the numbers compiled by the Guttmacher Institute and they report that only 12% of abortions happen after twelve weeks.

2. When, then, do most abortions happen? Again, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 60% of abortions happen before the pregnancy is 9 weeks along; 19.3% happen in the 9-10 week time-frame; and 10% happen in the 11-12 week time period.

3. But can’t Sebourn just save up and get him some cute little even tinier babies to represent these stages in fetal development? Well, it turns out that there aren’t a series of even tinier fully formed babies to make models off of. At four weeks, the embryo is two layers of cells sandwiched between the yolk sac and the amniotic sac. Six weeks? Still not very cute. At least at eight weeks, we see the beginnings of the brain, but it’s kind of in a giant lump outside what we might call the head, not exactly cuddly. By ten weeks, it’s kind of cute, if not exactly baby looking. But, yuck, the 12 week old fetus doesn’t even have its intestines inside it. You can surely not cuddle with a baby whose intestines are all hanging out. Not only is it not cute, it’s not sanitary.

4. “At twelve weeks, the baby is fully formed.” You mean, aside from not having its intestines inside its body? Or not having a working circulatory system until 16 weeks? Or how about not having fully developed lungs until after 22 weeks? Or does “fully formed” have some other definition I’m not aware of?

5. I’m really disturbed by this language of “fully formed,” because, regardless of where you fall on the abortion debate, you should have realistic expectations about fetal development so that you can make informed decisions when it comes to your own pregnancies. According to the March of Dimes, in 2004 (the latest I could find data for) 10,000 infants died from preterm related deaths. We often talk about viability in the abortion debate–at what point a fetus can survive outside of its mother–and people often throw 24 weeks around as a realistic benchmark, with some anti-abortion folks claiming that viability is at 22 weeks. Franklin Foer talks about this in some detail:

But no baby has ever been successfully delivered before the middle of the 22nd week. Babies delivered during the 22nd and 23rd weeks weigh just over a pound. Their lungs have barely formed and their airways are not developed enough to inhale. Circulation depends on the use of ventilators and injections of hormones. A baby born during the 22nd week has a 14.8 percent chance of survival. And about half of these survivors are brain-damaged, either by lack of oxygen (from poor initial respiration) or too much oxygen (from the ventilator). Neonatologists predict that no baby will ever be viable before the 22nd week, because before then the lungs are not fully formed.

Probability of survival increases for babies born later in pregnancy: 25 percent in the 23rd week, 42 percent in the 24th week, 57 percent in 25th week. By the 30th week, when a newborn doesn’t require a ventilator to breathe, it has a 90 percent chance of survival. And only after the 30th week do the risks of long-term brain damage begin to substantially subside. Because premature babies depend on technology, survival rates vary based on access to that technology. For instance, in rural communities, which commonly lack expensive infant intensive-care units, survival rates in these early weeks are much lower.

Not to be glib, but so much for “fully formed.”

Hopefully the people of Tennessee are getting access to all this information in order to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.

65 thoughts on “In Which I Aid Anti-Abortionists

  1. Pingback: Volunteer Voters » The Fetus Fight In Cowan, Tennessee

  2. I have to say, looking at all those little drawings kind of made me want to have a baby. Maybe I should have a contest: Father Aunt B.’s Devil Child!

  3. Aunt B.
    Well, it turns out that there aren’t a series of even tinier fully formed babies to make models off of.

    You’re mistaken. Heritage House provides fetal models sets which include models of children before 12 weeks. For example, here and here.

    Why do you think the unborn child doesn’t have it’s intestines inside his or her body at 12 weeks. Your link doesn’t show or say that. Are you confusing the umbilical cord with intestines? And why do you think the brain is outside the head at 8 weeks?

    Or not having a working circulatory system until 16 weeks?

    Do you have any evidence for this claim?

    By “fully formed” prolife people don’t mean viable so I’m not quite sure why you’re attempting to equate them. What prolifers typically mean is that the unborn child has all of his or her organs. Those organs certainly need time to develop and grow but that doesn’t mean they’re not formed.

  4. JivinJ, the Visible Embryo Project provides a nice illustration. I’m linking here to a website that has used the project images to explain the details of fetal development.

    It’s at about 10 weeks post-fertilization (or about 12 weeks “pregnant,” since we normally count from last menstrual period), when the “Intestines have migrated into abdomen from the umbilical cord.” It’s at 16 weeks post-fertilization (or ~18 weeks “pregnant”) when “Circulation is completely functional.” B is also not saying there’s a brain just floating around out there, but that it doesn’t look much like a head at the stage she mentions.

  5. By “fully formed” prolife people don’t mean viable […] What prolifers typically mean is that the unborn child has all of his or her organs

    but why should that matter?

  6. Let us call this comment, “In which I teach the anti-abortionists how to read.”

    Starting with Jivin’ J–I said, “a series of even tinier fully formed babies to make models off of” and what you have shown is not a series of even tinier fully formed babies. A fetus without arms and legs is not “fully formed.”

    You ask, “Why do you think the unborn child doesn’t have it’s intestines inside his or her body at 12 weeks?” The site clearly says that the baby’s intestines, which have grown so rapidly that they’ve protruded into the umbilical cord are beginning to make their way back into the fetus.

    As for the brain being “outside it’s head,” if you look at the picture, you will see that the brain is a big bulging mass that appears to be a lump on top of and slightly in front of where most brains end up. It is not outside the skin of the fetus, if that’s what you mean, no.

    As for the circulatory system, I invite you to either read the links I provided or the links Rachel provided.

    “What prolifers typically mean is that the unborn child has all of his or her organs.”–Then that doesn’t really mean “fully formed,” does it? “Fully formed” that things are, you know, fully formed–working, functional. If y’all just mean “formed,” why don’t you say, “formed”?

    Sam, follow along at home–knowing what stage of development your fetus is in is indeed part of reproductive health. If you read the post carefully instead of just huffing about in judgemental outrage, you’ll see that the topic of my post is correct information about what a woman’s body is going through during pregnancy. If that’s sick and sad to you, you have problems, buddy.

  7. Sam can’t help it, Aunt B. The facts have a well-known liberal bias, so he has to use something else.

    And who moved to San Francisco…?! Oh. Congratulations, Brittney. I am both envious of and happy for you. Though I only get to visit there every other year or so, I have some rather fond connections to that city. My wife and I got married in front of a waterfall in Golden Gate Park, for one. Oh, and there’s Muir Woods just to the north, and some good Indonesian restaurants, and the Castro, and… oh, well. Just have a good time. Good luck.

  8. Sorry, I should have been more clear. The use of the phrase “reproductive health” in an attempt to sanitize the topic of abortion is sick and sad in my opinion.

  9. I am curious how you caring “pro-choice” advocates felt about Andrea Yates’ five very late term abortions? Or were her children beyond the arbitrary point at which it was no longer acceptable to terminate?

  10. right now, this pro-choice advocate feels disgusted at your pulling such a cheap, silly, obvious rhetorical trick as attempting to equate murder with abortion without one shred of evidence that the analogy would ever hold. it’s indicative of someone who doesn’t care to have a genuine discussion, doesn’t care to listen, and doesn’t really care what they say so long as they get to rile up strong emotions — whether in their audience or themselves.

  11. Sorry, I thought killing children was acceptable to pro-choice advocates. I also apologize for stirring up emotions, I didn’t realize that emotions were taboo. A lack of emotion might explain how a person could have her own child put to death.

    I think I am beginning to learn the rules:

    -emotion bad
    -killing babies good

    Are the any other rules in the pro-choice movement?

  12. how about “have some intellectual honesty” for one good rule to follow? that’s not exclusively a pro-choice thing, though; it tends to be more of a mature adult thing.

    see, what you’re doing is called being offensively nonsensical. you’d be insulting, except you’re so far removed from reality you can’t be taken seriously, meaning you end up insulting mostly yourself and your own positions.

    i’d forgive you for it if i could truly believe you have the mental maturity of a child of five. however, i do not think that is the case; i think you know perfectly well just how dishonestly you’re acting and that the only reason for your dishonesty is to cause offense. except that you go so far over the top with it, you even fail at that. so i’m left wondering whether to condemn you (for being an offensive, dishonest boor) or encourage you (to keep on discrediting your position, as being one mainly championed by people like yourself). let’s see if you can take a hint; that’ll go a long way toward making up my mind…

  13. It amazes me to read the words “intellectual honesty” typed by a pro-choice advocate. Is there any way that you would see a fetus as a child? At what point do you believe a fetus attains personhood? At what point, in your opinion, is it too late to perform an abortion?

    To me it id intellectually dishonest to refuse to admit that an unborn child is indeed a child.

  14. Perhaps you can use the typing error in the above comment to further your case, “id” was supposed to be “is.”

    It is amazing that words can be offensive while killing a child is not.

  15. oh my. i don’t even have to encourage you, do i? mentioning your blatant disregard for, oh, a century or so of debate and philosophizing on personhood and development would at this point be quite superfluous, since it would only restate the obvious. in other words, not only are you dishonest, you seem to be willfully ignorant as well. quite a character…

    (for the record, and to avoid a charge of trolling: personhood is not a binary switch, in my view, it’s a seamless gray scale. personally, i like to argue abortions shouldn’t be carried out past viability. that takes some arguing, because of course viability is itself a seamless gray scale, with its limits constantly moving no less. hey, life isn’t black and white, nobody said these issues were simple… at least, nobody honest and well-informed did.)

  16. Aunt B.,
    My mistake I thought you were simply ignorant about fetal models. But now it’s clear you were just trying to create another strawman. Let’s look at what you wrote –

    “But can’t Sebourn just save up and get him some cute little even tinier babies to represent these stages in fetal development? Well, it turns out that there aren’t a series of even tinier fully formed babies to make models off of.”

    I took it to mean you were using the term “tinier babies” in first sentence sarcastically. Am I correct? Sebourn could save up and buy a more expensive fetal model set which includes unborn children before 12 weeks, no? The point of your paragraph seemed to be saying something along the lines of “Prolifers don’t want to tell the whole truth about fetal development so they only show fetal models after a certain stage because showing fetal models before this stage wouldn’t work as well.”

    Regardless, you’re still wrong about 12 weeks because the fetal stage begins 8 weeks after fertilization which is around 10 weeks LMP. The fetal stage occurs when all of the unborn child’s majors organ systems and structures (such as arms and legs) have formed.

    As for the brain being “outside it’s head,” if you look at the picture, you will see that the brain is a big bulging mass that appears to be a lump on top of and slightly in front of where most brains end up. It is not outside the skin of the fetus, if that’s what you mean, no.

    So then the brain really isn’t really outside the head? The head of a developing embryo just looks different than the head of a born human being. By that poor criteria, you would also have to argue that John Merrick’s (known as the Elephant Man) brain was outside his head because his head was shaped differently.

    You said, “Or not having a working circulatory system until 16 weeks?”

    Now what does the link Rachel provides say? It says,

    Circulation is completely functional.

    In other words, your original claim is wrong. The fetus has a working circulatory system long before 16 weeks, it just isn’t completely functional.

    Fully formed” that things are, you know, fully formed–working, functional.

    No – fully formed doesn’t necessarily mean working or functional. It means formed, present, etc. . For example, numerous individuals who are paralyzed have fully formed legs which don’t work or aren’t functional. Are paralyzed people not fully formed?

  17. a more expensive fetal model set which includes unborn children before 12 weeks

    what is a “child”, to an anti-choicer? or perhaps i should ask it this way: how young does an embryo / blastula / zygote have to be, before it can no longer be called a “child”?

    because, clearly, nobody in their right mind would ever call a fourth-week embryo a “child”, as Aunt B’s handy reference amply demonstrated. thing is only just starting to gastrulate in this stage.

    (here’s where i become coldly, unemotionally logical: if somebody doesn’t understand what terms like “gastrulation” and “triploblastic” mean, and why the things they describe are so important to this subject, then they have no business describing a fetus at these stages by words so emotionally loaded as “baby”. they’d be speaking out of ignorance, and that really ticks me off. if someone wants to stir up great emotion, fine, but they should at least have a good, clear understanding of what it is they’re getting emotional about.)

  18. My point was that Sebourn shows little girls the models he does because they are cute and do look like tiny babies. Showing models of fetuses and embryos prior to that would not be as effective to that end, because they are not so cute and do not look like tiny babies. That was my point. And it was funny. And true. So, I’m happy to make it again.

    “The head of a developing embryo just looks different than the head of a born human being.”

    See? You even get my point. They don’t look like tiny babies. They look different.

    Listen, you can use the whole “they’re little human beings!” argument and you can wow little girls with your models showing how cute human life is at various stages, but don’t think you get to do those things and that I have to pretend like I don’t see what you’re doing.

    “The fetus has a working circulatory system long before 16 weeks, it just isn’t completely functional.”

    Then it’s not “working” is it?

    Your side equates paralyzed adults to an embryo and our side is the cruel side? That’s rich.

  19. And about half of these survivors are brain-damaged … And only after the 30th week do the risks of long-term brain damage begin to substantially subside.

    Of course one might suggest that increasing the number of brain damaged people in the world is win-win for prohibitionists.

  20. Aunt B.
    Your side equates paralyzed adults to an embryo and our side is the cruel side.

    That’s your response to my argument that functional doesn’t equal formed? Nice strawman. I merely use the case of someone who was paralyzed (their legs are fully formed but not functional) to disprove your equivocation. Instead of admitting your equivocation is wrong, you instead try to create some other argument for me.

    “Completely functional” is different from “working.” The unborn circulatory system is working long before 16 weeks it’s just isn’t completely functional. Are you under the mistaken belief an unborn child’s heart doesn’t do anything until 16 weeks?

    Sure, the heads of unborn children look different as they develop but again that proves your original “but it’s kind of in a giant lump outside what we might call the head” to be incorrect. You’re now arguing they look different. Well, yeah, that’s obvious. I’m surprised you think the reality that human beings look different throughout their development and look different than born children is some kind of great point.

    If showing fetal models before a certain stage is ineffective then why do numerous prolife organizations have and use fetal models sets which show the unborn throughout gestation?

    Nomen,
    I be interested in knowing what your definition of a child is?

    because, clearly, nobody in their right mind would ever call a fourth-week embryo a “child”,

    My wife is pregnant with our child. She’s about 26 weeks. When did the entity inside her become a child? Or is it still some non-child? What was it before that and why wouldn’t we be in our right minds to label our daughter a child? I believe our child was our biological child when she was conceived. I don’t to some faulty idea that being viable or having certain neurological criteria makes my daughter a child.

    Unfortunately, your arguments aren’t logical. They’re not really even arguments. They’re assertions.

  21. I’ve been trying to stay out of this one, but, um:

    Unfortunately, your arguments aren’t logical. They’re not really even arguments. They’re assertions.

    is really asking for a Pot. Kettle. Black. comment. So I’m making it.

    Everyone involved in this discussion is making judgements, based on the information available. Some are clear that their judgements are judgements; some are asserting that their judgements are facts. All are arguing more or less logically, using those judgements as major premises.

  22. there is no clear, black-and-white definition of “child” that i know of, precisely because development is such a seamless gray zone from start to finish.

    historically, the moment of birth has been used as the threshold of “childhood” and personhood, but that’s never been universal. in lots of places, infants weren’t given names until they’d achieved some arbitrary age, because child mortality was too high to get very emotionally invested before it was clear the kid would live. in some other cultures, “quickening” — first fetal movements the mother could feel — was used instead as the time of “ensoulment”. point is, there actually are good arguments for each of these positions and countless others as well; we can pick any one, but we must at some point admit that our choice is largely arbitrary.

    myself, as i’ve stated, i like to arbitrarily pick the point of fetal viability. i do this because i see the potential for living and surviving apart from the mother’s body as a significant thing; it makes the difference between a necessarily parasitical existence and a potentially independent human, and i think that should matter. i’ve not yet seen any very good (in my opinion) arguments for bestowing personhood before that point.

    one of the consequences of my arbitrary choice is that the status of “child” has to be determined separately for each individual case. one fetus may be viable several weeks before another; some fetuses are never viable. another, rather more serious, backdraw is that it leaves a large window of undeterminability, where the only way to find out would be to extract the fetus and see if it can survive or not. (this is why i don’t really expect my personal definition of “child” to ever become widespread.)

    a potential advantage of my definition is that it might help minimize emotional investment in marginal cases. people giving birth to extremely premature fetuses have a tough enough time as it is; they often have to face losing that fetus, since extreme preemies do often turn out not to be viable, after all. allowing them to think of such cases as not having been their “child”, even if only by definition, might save them from a bit of emotional stress they could do without.

    (no, i’ve never had to face anything like that myself. it probably shows. i still don’t want to add to such unfortunate parents’ burdens, even if the only methods i have may seem callous from the outside.)

    and the point of the above several paragraphs is to show that i can, in fact, argue my points. they may be arbitrary points, but i don’t think they’re just blatant assertions; i have in fact given this some thought. i don’t expect to convince anybody, but i’d much rather see (and criticize) other people’s lines of argument than just play battling assertions all day long.

  23. Okay seriously, the next person to use the word ‘strawman’ is just going to get a smack in the head.

    We need a different point of view in here. We need to find someone who’s mother died during their birth and see what they think.

    We have a lot of childbirth books around the house right now. Frankly, in my opinion they don’t look like people until they’re born. Up till that point they’re humanoid, but not really human looking. Even when they’re born they’re all blue and pointy headed and scrunched up. Hell, if I remember right they don’t even get eye lids until week 20ish.

  24. You know, the ‘when is it a child’ argument has an interesting parallel in the ‘when is she pregnant’ situation. It’s really hard to tell when exactly conception occurred, so like Rachel said, doctors start counting from a woman’s last menstration because that’s the last objective event.

  25. Oh, Jivin’J, bless your heart, I’m trying to have a real argument with you, person to person, not just pulling out my side’s talking points to do battle with your side’s talking points, like some kind of ritualized fencing match.

    So, it’s not a strawman I’m trying to pull out here. I’m not trying to score political points; I don’t believe I could change your mind. I’m saying that talking about people–real live people who exist in the world as independent beings–as being morally equivalent only to an embryo or a fetus just because they are paralyzed or lacking a limb or whatever is gross and cruel, in my opinion.

    Clearly, you disagree. I find talking about people, especially people with disabilities, as if they aren’t here and aren’t capable of offering their own opinions, weird and patronizing; I’d rather not do it.

    On the other hand, if a person whose legs are paralyzed wedged himself into my uterus and hooked himself up to my body, with the assurance that it would only be for nine months, then the analogy might hold.

    Since, as far as I know, I have no grown-ass person capable of expressing his thoughts on the matter wedged in my uterus, I’d rather leave it to folks to speak for themselves.

    You say, “If showing fetal models before a certain stage is ineffective then why do numerous prolife organizations have and use fetal models sets which show the unborn throughout gestation?” which I’d like to address in two ways.

    One is that it’s impossible to tell whether your fetal models have actually been effective. One in three women have abortions and we both know that many of those women are “pro-life” who just think that their reasons for having an abortion are more valid than others. I can pull out the research if you want or you can just concede that even anti-abortion activists have abortions. Also, though the rate of abortions is lower than it has been in the past, this has as much or more to do with ease of access to birth control and your movement’s success in terrorizing doctors out of providing abortions.

    Two, we both know that you use those models precisely because they appeal to young girls; they look, deliberately, like dolls and are meant to send to young girls the message that it’s wrong to kill something so cute. Fine. But we also both know that the secondary message you’re sending to girls is that it’s her feminine duty to put everyone else’s wishes and needs above her own–if God and the nice anti-abortion people with the cute dollies and all the nice folks at church don’t want me to have an abortion and if it’s really a cute little baby right now inside me, well, I guess I can put my own needs second.

    It’s true that my position can look heartless and cruel–even evil, from Sam’s perspective–but I think that’s, in part, due to the fact that y’all are still unnerved by a woman putting her own needs above the needs of someone else.

    I get that you would legislate us into second class citizens if you could. And I understand you may yet get your way. You may be able to convince the majority of the American public that any woman who’s sexually active needs to be stripped of her ability to control what happens to her body.

    It doesn’t make you right.

    The other thing is, you can’t stop us all. We’ve been ending pregnancies and showing each other how to end pregnancies since the dawn of time. The internet will make the process easier.

    It won’t be incredibly safe, but what’s a few dead women, right? That only reinforces to your side the dangers of going against what Daddy, God, and the Government want.

  26. Nomen,
    You’ve put your reasons out there for your definition of child but I don’t know if I would call that an argument. You’ve even admitted it’s arbitrary. Your reasons for your positions are statements like “i think that should matter” and “i see the potential…… as a significant thing ” – those aren’t logical arguments. Those are feelings. And you’ve also seemed to equate calling something a “child” with “personhood” when I would guess a fair number of pro-choicers would admit the unborn are children of their parents but not persons.

    If you think for a second that not calling a stillborn child a “child” is going to help the grief of parents (but then I guess they really wouldn’t be parents by your definition) who lose a child, then you’ve got a lot to learn. I can’t fathom how you can think that. It’s like you think if parents just deny they lost a child then their grief will be less.

    Anyways, I still have trouble seeing why you think “clearly, nobody in their right mind would ever call a fourth-week embryo a “child”

    W,
    So that journey of 8 inches down the birth canal changes something which doesn’t look human into something that does? That’s makes no sense at all considering the just born child looked the same the minute before it was born. Eye lids start developing between 40-50 days after conception – so that’s about 8-10 weeks LMP.

  27. i’ve put my thinking and my arguments out there, yes. how about, instead of just calling my reasoning arbitrary, you present yours so that we may see what a non-arbitrary line of argumentation — one presumably not based on emotions — might look like? since mine is so unimpressive, let’s have a different kind, eh what?

  28. Aunt B.,
    Clearly, you disagree. I find talking about people, especially people with disabilities, as if they aren’t here and aren’t capable of offering their own opinions, weird and patronizing; I’d rather not do it.

    And I was doing that? How exactly? I’m not even trying to make an analogy saying that embryos=people with disabilities. I’m just pointing out that “formed” doesn’t necessarily equate with “functioning.” Am I correct or not on this point? Is it possible for something to be formed but not be functional? Simple question. Another example would be reproductive organs. Female reproductive organs are formed before birth but that doesn’t mean a 5-year-old has a functioning reproductive system, does it? Again formed doesn’t equal functioning.

    If you were looking to have a real conversation – you would admit that you are clearly wrong about “formed” being the equivalent of “functional” since I’ve provided two obvious cases where it isn’t. Instead you’re acting like I’m being patronizing to people with disabilities. Next I’ll be equating women with embryos!! Maybe you should reread what I wrote and try to understand my point.

    One in three women have abortions and we both know that many of those women are “pro-life” who just think that their reasons for having an abortion are more valid than others. I can pull out the research if you want or you can just concede that even anti-abortion activists have abortions.

    Again with the equivalence? There certainly are people who would generally be considered prolife who have abortions (but then again if they have an abortion they’re not really following their prolife beliefs) but that doesn’t mean “anti-abortion activists” have abortions unless your definition of “anti-abortion activist” is very general.

    the message that it’s wrong to kill something so cute.

    That’s not the exact message. The message is it’s wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings (regardless of whether they are cute or not). But at least we agree abortion kills something.

    But we also both know that the secondary message you’re sending to girls is that it’s her feminine duty to put everyone else’s wishes and needs above her own

    I don’t know about feminine duty – it’s everyone’s duty not to intentionally kill innocent human beings.

    I don’t see how prohibiting women from killing their unborn children makes them second-class citizens.

  29. I’m not even going to get into the shouting match over how human the pre-born are at any given stage. To me, the question is irrelevant. The state must not be allowed to take control of any woman’s body, end of story.

    As I’ve repeated so many times in these threads, all of you who claim to value human life– especially that of children– are proving yourselves full of shit with every moment you don’t rush out to an adoption agency to share your love of life with an unaborted (and very much legally human) child*. (According to USA Today, at one point last year there were nearly 120,000 U.S. children awaiting adoption in the foster care system alone; half of them were minorities. I’m guessing the numbers this year are probably similar.)

    You’re proving yourselves full of shit every moment you aren’t lobbying your elected representatives for universal, single-payer health care and for government-sponsored day care.

    You’re proving yourselves full of shit every moment you don’t march angrily against the democratic republic’s most gruesome child-killer (warfare).

    But I’m guessing you’re going to go on bullshitting about what is or isn’t a real baby inside the womb, because I don’t think you give two shits about all the little ones that don’t share your genes (especially the brown ones). Those little yard apes are someone else’s problem.

    No, what this is really about is keeping those sluts in their place. How dare they enjoy sex without suffering the consequences!

    You people are free to wax on all you want, but keep your grubby, hypocritical little ideologies and theocracies out of my wife’s body.

    *(To those among you anti-choicers who have adopted instead of turning your wives’ uteri into ego-boosting clown cars, please keep up the good work. And you can still keep your fucking paws out of my wife’s parts.)

  30. That is a good redirect, CS. After all, even if you grant that a(n) embryo/fetus/baby/critter is fully, legally a person before it is born you would still have the question of what to do when the needs of one fully legally human being and another fully legally human being are at cross-purposes. Particularly (though not solely) in cases of life or death.

    (Which, incidentaly, is why the benchmark of viability is so often used. After all, at least then you can invoke the “your rights end where my nose begins” logic.)

    And, of course, the broader context and framing are really important. Equating anti-abortion work with a “pro-life” stance only works if it is in a system of positions and actions that actually support life. Pro-life anti-abortion work tries to reduce the number of abortions by making them unnecessary, not illegal. Nobody likes having abortions. But sometimes they need them.

    And they would need them less if they had access to birth control and education on how to use it (because there would be fewer unplanned pregnancies to begin with), ways to feed, clothe, and care for children (or see them cared for) that are born (because then more people could afford to keep their children and treat them well), assurances of healthcare, particularly pre-and post- natal care (so they could take care of their bodies, have fewer complications ending in fetal death or distress, have more viable children when they did get pregnant, and so on and so forth), and better legal protection from coercion, violence, and inequality (because it’s damn hard not to get pregnant when your abuser won’t let you buy condoms, it’s damn hard to support a baby when you’re discriminated against in getting a job, and it’s damn hard to ‘just say no’ when you get roofied and raped). All of those things would be pro-life ways to lower the abortion rate and help women and children. None of those things rests on the personhood of the one to be born.

    Honestly, the personhood issue is pretty irrelevant for most of the discussion. It’s useful for determining some specific bits of policy (when can you perform this proceedure? what do we call it when someone fucks up?), but it’s not really the point. The point is that there are problems, problems that affect born, fully legally human people, and we need to solve them at their roots or we’re not going to get anything done. Outlawing abortion has no effect on its incidence. None. It does, however, make fetal and maternal mortality rates skyrocket. Working to make the world better, to make women’s lives better, has dramatic effects on abortion incidence, maternal and fetal mortality, and all sorts of other good stuff. Clearly, that’s where the real effort should be concentrated, no matter what side of the ideological divide you’re on.

  31. That reminds me of the little silver feet pins that we used to hand out after Mass. The idea was the same, that if a baby is this developed at so and so weeks, how can you say it’s not a person? It’s at least as disingenuous as the little dolls you’re describing, namely because it makes people forget that although this or that bit may look like a wee babe, it’s not quite there yet in terms of viability. It’s an appeal to sentiment over biology. I realise it’s virtually impossible to talk about something as intimate as bodies and personhood without appealing to sentimentality (and wouldn’t recommend it anyway, because emotion is what makes us human), I don’t think that feelings should be so ill-informed as to be totally divorced from fact.

    Shame on bringing up Andrea Yates. Seriously.

    And Magz: Working to make the world better, to make women’s lives better, has dramatic effects on abortion incidence, maternal and fetal mortality, and all sorts of other good stuff. Clearly, that’s where the real effort should be concentrated, no matter what side of the ideological divide you’re on.

    Word.

  32. So that journey of 8 inches down the birth canal changes something which doesn’t look human into something that does?
    No Jivin, that first 5-10 minutes of independent life changes it.

    I had a few comments on the whole eyelid question, but Church Secretary is right. While it was the gist of the original post, that discussion got derailed and now we’re on to the larger issue of morality of abortion in general. It’s not really relevent to the overall legality of abortion. The point is a fetus affects the mother’s life and health in myriad ways. Where does it get everything it needs to live? It takes it from the mother.

    I’m not going to argue about whether it’s right or wrong to kill a fetus, but it’s damned wrong of you to try and tell someone else how they should handle a situation so integral to their own health and well being. Simply put, you have nothing at stake so it’s none of your business.

  33. W,
    No Jivin, that first 5-10 minutes of independent life changes it.

    How does that first 5-10 minutes change how the child looks?

    Remember, your first statement was that (my emphasis) –“Frankly, in my opinion they don’t look like people until they’re born. Up till that point they’re humanoid, but not really human looking.

    Now you seem to be arguing about what the newborn is not what it looks like but that wasn’t your original statement.

    Where does it get everything it needs to live?

    I guess I could ask that same question regarding the newborn child of a single mother or single father. But I don’t see how that would justify a single mother or single father from killing their newborn child. Do you?

    Just because a human being affects another human being’s life in a myriad of ways doesn’t give one human being the right to kill another.

    I’m not going to argue about whether it’s right or wrong to kill a fetus

    Why not? It seems so odd to me that your defending a procedure and you say you aren’t even willing to argue about whether it’s right or wrong but are willing to accuse me of being in the wrong for presenting the prolife view. That’s not very tolerant of you, is it?

    NM,
    I have about 0% trust in Joyce Arthur and the supposed testimony of abortion providers.

  34. Nomen,
    how about, instead of just calling my reasoning arbitrary, you present yours so that we may see what a non-arbitrary line of argumentation — one presumably not based on emotions — might look like? since mine is so unimpressive, let’s have a different kind, eh what?

    Unlike yourself, I don’t believe in discriminating against human beings based on “personhood.” As you’ve accurately noted, every definition of “personhood” is arbitrary and they’re also often ad hoc (meaning they’re created for the sole purpose of discriminating against human beings the human being creating the definition wants to discriminate against). I’m just not willing to treat fellow human beings as if they weren’t human being simply because I can claim they aren’t persons because they don’t meet some criteria which I arbitrarily like the best.

    I just can’t understand how you’re willing to discriminate against human beings based on something you admit to be arbitrary. I mean, what would you think if you were discriminated against for something that is wholly arbitrary and the people discriminating against you knew their criteria was arbitrary? I’d be mad and I guess you’d be mad as well.

  35. Unlike yourself, I don’t believe in discriminating against human beings based on “personhood.”

    that’s pretty damning of yourself, there. i suspect you don’t well understand what ethicists and philosophers mean by the word “personhood”, or else you likely wouldn’t say that.

    you’ve basically just stated that you either (1) are fairly ignorant about a huge, long ongoing, debate about ethics and human life that people have been having since before either of us were born; or (2) hold a just about unworkably extreme position in that debate, so extreme that you’d be in serious risk of making yourself a hypocrite if you ever made any major medical decisions for yourself or anybody else.

    moreover, as others here have correctly pointed out, we have to discriminate against some “human beings” or others. in any case of pregnancy and abortion, there is after all a grown woman involved. she is almost without fail a person, is certainly a human being, and her pregnancy will most definitely infringe on her rights. if she does not wish to have her rights infringed, then the only option is abortion. you can’t ignore her existence; discriminate against her or against her fetus, you’ve got to pick one or the other.

    I just can’t understand how you’re willing to discriminate against human beings based on something you admit to be arbitrary.

    we’re discussing bioethics here. in any form of ethics, effectively all positions are arbitrary in some sense or other. they pretty much have to be, because we do not have access to any unquestionably objective standard of ethics.

    i suspect the only major difference between the two of us is that i understand and am willing to admit my own arbitrariness. trying to avoid all subjective, arbitrary decisions in any ethical debate would leave you effectively unable to make ethical value judgments, and nobody lives day to day like that. perhaps you could benefit from a community college ethics class, or a beginner’s philosophy class, or both?

  36. I have about 0% trust in Joyce Arthur and the supposed testimony of abortion providers.

    Why on earth are you talking here, then? If you don’t trust anything said by people who disagree with you and do things you consider wrong, you’re clearly not going to believe anything said here by people who disagree with you and do things you think are wrong. And if the standard of trust that you advocate using is to believe only those who agree with one’s position and who do things one approves of, then you can’t reasonably expect anyone you’re disagreeing with here to believe anything you say.

    Understand that I’m not asking you to go away (and even if I were it isn’t my blog, so it would hardly be my request to make). I’m just trying to understand how you think you can have a worthwhile conversation according to the standards you propose, and wondering what you think you’ll accomplish.

  37. I have a question that’s not likely to help the conversation any, but which, well… I’m curious about.

    Jivin’J, what do you think about abortion proceedures that don’t end in the death of the fetus but begin with it? Many (most?) late term abortions are a direct result of fetal death, distress, or defects incompatible with life. Do you think it’s wrong to abort under those conditions? What kind of policy prescriptions would you have to deal with those problems?

  38. And, just so this can sound even more like an essay prompt, tack an: “And why?” onto the end of that paragraph.

    If you’re really feeling excitable, feel free to compare and contrast your reasoning for allowing (or disallowing) such proceedures in cases of fetal death/distress/defect to your reasons for (dis)allowing them under other circumstances. Are there any cases for which you would make exceptions?

    Extra credit: Consider instead the case of a pregnancy which endangered the life of the mother. For the sake of simplicity, assume that maternal death is a certainty; if she attempts to carry the child to term, she will die. What course of action should be taken? Explore cases in which both mother and child are sure to die as well as cases in which the mother is sure to die while the child has a reasonable case of living.

    Be sure to give your reasoning for each argument and to provide evidence and examples where appropriate.

    (Can you tell I’ve written a lot of syllabi and tests?)

  39. It seems so odd to me that your defending a procedure and you say you aren’t even willing to argue about whether it’s right or wrong but are willing to accuse me of being in the wrong for presenting the prolife view.
    Actually Jivin, I never once defended abortion or accused you of being wrong for a pro-life view. My point was that it isn’t so much about right and wrong. It’s just none of your damned business unless the baby is yours.

    BTW, a newborn infant can’t kill it’s mother. A fetus can. That’s a very important difference. Have you been pregnant? Or lived with a pregnant woman and seen how that effects their day to day life? If you have kids you’d get a lot more credibility than I currently am willing to grant you. Especially if you gave birth to them.

  40. Nomen,
    I’m not ignorant about the “personhood” debate. I just believe it’s wrong to discriminate against human beings based on what you admit are arbitrary criteria. So why would I be a hypocrite for not wanting to discriminate against human beings for arbitrary reasons? Why is my position “unworkably extreme?” Do you have any kind of argument to back up that assertion?

    Should human beings have the right to kill other human beings if they infringe on their rights? For example, should I be allowed to kill someone who infringes on my rights (my right to speak or my right to vote).

    in any form of ethics, effectively all positions are arbitrary in some sense or other. they pretty much have to be, because we do not have access to any unquestionably objective standard of ethics.

    All position are arbitrary? Then how is your position on anything any better than anyone else’s? You’ve basically destroyed your own position. What would your argument be against someone who thought it should be legal to kill toddlers because he felt “they were stinky.” He admits his criteria is arbitrary and he backs up his argument with reasons like “I think that should matter.” How is your position -that it shouldn’t be legal to kill toddler – more valid than his? Is your position (no to legal toddler killing) less arbitrary than his or are they equally arbitrary?

    I actually took a couple of philosophy classes back when I was in college. Most of my professors wouldn’t have taken to kindly to arguments based on reasons like”i think that should matter.”

    NM,
    Why on earth are you talking here, then? If you don’t trust anything said by people who disagree with you and do things you consider wrong, you’re clearly not going to believe anything said here by people who disagree with you and do things you think are wrong.

    Ummm…. Read what I said again. I never said I “don’t trust anything said by people who disagree with me and do things I consider wrong.” I said I don’t trust Joyce Arthur because she is someone I see as having no ethical qualms with making crap up as long as it somehow helps her position. I’m guessing there are probably a couple of people who are prolife and you don’t trust them at all, right? Does that mean you completely distrust everyone who disagrees with you? Of course not.

    W.,
    Actually Jivin, I never once defended abortion or accused you of being wrong for a pro-life view. My point was that it isn’t so much about right and wrong. It’s just none of your damned business unless the baby is yours.

    So I’m wrong for presenting the prolife view because it’s none of my business. Again, that’s not very tolerant.

    Have you been pregnant? Or lived with a pregnant woman and seen how that effects their day to day life?

    My wife is currently around 27 weeks pregnant. She’s due right around Christmas. You can view an ultrasound of my daughter’s feet at 19 weeks here.

    If you have kids you’d get a lot more credibility than I currently am willing to grant you

    I don’t see how having kids or not having kids has anything to do with whether my arguments are valid or not. Or whether children look human before birth or not. Or whether it should be legal to intentionally kill innocent human beings because they’re less developed.

  41. All position are arbitrary? Then how is your position on anything any better than anyone else’s? You’ve basically destroyed your own position.

    you really don’t have the first clue about how philosophy is done, do you?

    that’s okay, really. most people don’t, it’s a pretty eggheaded field after all. but you shouldn’t call yourself other than ignorant on the topic when ignorant is what you are.

    things you might want to read up on: ethical relativism and absolutism, and — oh — a mite over twenty centuries’ worth of looking for an objective source of ethics, without success.

    yet society and its members manage to live day to day perfectly well. everyday ethics works, despite the fact that it is arbitrary. telling you how and why can’t be done in a blog post, though; there’s literally centuries of scholarship on this subject, by some very verbose academics.

    (for what it’s worth, i’d love to see you respond to Magniloquence’s questions, too. working on those might take you a bit closer to actual ethical philosophizing, and would probably be more productive than just reiterating how much you dislike my positions and arguments without clearly stating and defending your own.)

  42. Again, that’s not very tolerant.
    Good grief man. In the part of my comment you quoted I basically said “I never once accused you off being wrong”. How much clearer do I have to be?

    You keep saying I’m not very tolerant. I haven’t called you names or made personal attacks, I haven’t told you to leave… The only way I could be more tolerant is to agree with you or just not engage you.

    I don’t see how having kids or not having kids has anything to do with whether my arguments are valid or not.
    First hand experience with a subject gives you more credibility. Because it means you might have actually had to think about the subject beyond just abstract reasoning.

    A little more perspective on the earlier discussion of viability….. my wife just came back from her OB appointment. She’s about to start week 24 and he told her that the babies were to the point where they’d probably make it now.

  43. Nomen,
    Sadly you’ve again failed to provide any reasoning for your position and act like you’re some expert at philosophy (and I’m so kind of dolt) when you’ve admitted to discriminating against other human beings because “i think that should matter.” That’s just simply not a convincing argument and I can’t imagine you believe it is. Just because you don’t accept an objective source of ethics doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist and that ethical decisions should be based on your admittedly arbitrary reasons.

    You also failed to answer any of my questions again.

    Magniloquence,
    Jivin’J, what do you think about abortion proceedures that don’t end in the death of the fetus but begin with it? Many (most?) late term abortions are a direct result of fetal death, distress, or defects incompatible with life. Do you think it’s wrong to abort under those conditions? What kind of policy prescriptions would you have to deal with those problems?

    I’m not opposed to procedures which remove stillborn children and I don’t know any prolife people who are. I’m opposed to procedures which intentionally end their lives regardless of whether the child would naturally live a couple of hours or 100 years. As far as I know, when doctors remove stillborn children, they don’t report that as an induced abortion.

    When you say “late-term” are you referring to abortions after 20 weeks? 16 weeks? There are certainly some abortions performed on children with conditions like anencephaly but they aren’t near the majority of abortion performed after 16 or 20 weeks.

    W.,
    You haven’t said I’m wrong? Did you forget saying this – “but it’s damned wrong of you to try and tell someone else how they should handle a situation so integral to their own health and well being.” Aren’t you’re telling me it’s “damned wrong” of me to present prolife arguments and say women shouldn’t have abortions. Maybe I’m missing something. Please explain what I’m “damned wrong” for doing.

    Congratulations on your child.

  44. And congratulations on yours.

    And may you always be able to provide for her and care for her as she deserves.

    May you and your wife never be faced with the sad choices that so many women confront every day.

    Nance

  45. you may be jivin’, but you sure ain’t arguin’.

    i’ve lost count of how many people here have asked you to state a position of your own and defend it. i’ve lost count of how many people here have defended their own positions, and you’ve consistently failed to address the substance of any of them in any depth. i think it’s about time you put up, or did that other famous thing.

    you keep feigning bafflement at my holding a moral position even though i know it is, in at least some sense, arbitrary. here’s the bullet you’re not biting: your ethics are every bit as arbitrary as mine. they must be, because there’s no non-arbitrary foundation for ethics known.

    if you think i’m wrong about any of the points in that last paragraph, here’s your chance to rub my nose in my conceit: prove me wrong. show us all how your particular ethics is not arbitrary. i’m not the only one here who’s been trying to get you to do that for days already.

    (us philosophy buffs call that a “socratic question”. if i had really been so wrong about your level of understanding, you should have recognized the technique and just bit that bullet a long while ago. you just now stated you know of an objective source of ethics; what is it, and what makes it any more objective than any other source?)

  46. Nomen,
    First, which questions have I not answered from commenters here? As like the only prolifer here I’ve been trying to answer most of the questions posed to me. I may have missed some and I didn’t answer Church Secretary’s comment because it wasn’t at all thoughtful.

    You’ve failed to answer probably more than half the questions I’ve asked you, you’ve have done nothing but admit your position is arbitrary and state really unconvincing reasons for your position, and then act like you’re a philosophy buff.

    I’m sorry but no “philosophy buff” would ever use ““i think that should matter” as a reason to defend their position. Not one. Any philosophy professor worth a dime wouldn’t accept that kind of reasoning. My guess is that you’re an undergraduate college student or younger who has taken a philosophy class or two and had either a horrible professor or you didn’t pay much attention.

    your ethics are every bit as arbitrary as mine. they must be, because there’s no non-arbitrary foundation for ethics known.

    If that were true and all ethics are arbitrary then Mother Teresa is just as ethical as child-rapist, Martin Luther King Jr. is just as ethical as someone who bombs abortion clinics, George Bush is just as ethical as Nelson Mandela. Right??? If there is no non-arbitrary foundation of ethics then everyone is ethically equal.

    If you think you’re right then you have to admit to this. You have no grounds for saying anyone is unethical because if all ethics are arbitrary then who are you to say someone is acting unethically. The funny thing is you probably comment all the time about how wrong someone is for doing something. Like if someone cuts you off in traffic, etc.

    Spare me your relativism. It’s nothing more than an obvious crutch for people who can’t come up with a valid reason for why it should be legal to intentionally kill innocent human beings. You arbitrarily discriminate against the unborn but probably throw a fit if you ever feel arbitrarily discriminated against – which is why it’s impossible to live like a moral relativist.

    If you want to argue that there aren’t objective ethics then tell me you think rape isn’t objectively wrong. Tell me torturing toddlers for fun isn’t objectively wrong.

    Tell me where I stated here I know an objective source of ethics? My comment didn’t say that. I recognize that there are certain ethics which are objectively true such as that rape is objectively wrong but I haven’t claimed in the comments above that I know all objective ethics or anything like that.

  47. Mother Teresa is just as ethical as child-rapist, Martin Luther King Jr. is just as ethical as someone who bombs abortion clinics, George Bush is just as ethical as Nelson Mandela.

    if you want me to believe they’re not, then why don’t you show me how they’re not. moreover, how about you tell me why that particular “how” is any better than some random other “how” — for instance, a “how” that would reverse the relationships.

    (i could go on for umpteen kilobytes explaining why those people you listed either were or weren’t “good people”, and why they either were or weren’t “better” than some random other person. what i cannot give you is any reason to believe that my umpteen kilobytes of blather would be anything more than my opinion, at heart. nor can i give you any objective, provable reason why you ought to take my blather about ethics any more seriously than — say — charles manson’s blather. i understand he likes to talk ethics, too, after all.

    you don’t, though. your schtick seems to be more like endless whining about how nobody else has given you anything you like that you could loudly agree with. that’s not ethics.)

    oh, and one last thing.

    Just because you don’t accept an objective source of ethics doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist

    that was where you stated you knew an objective source of ethics exists. that is the only sensible, reasonable way to parse those words of yours. if that’s not what you meant to say by those words, then you shouldn’t take philosophy classes; you should go back to freshman english composition instead, because that’s what those words of yours mean, plain as day.

  48. Nomen,
    Since you seem to be unable to admit to the horrible conclusions your position leads to -such as that rape and torturing toddlers for fun are objectively unethical and have again dodged my questions again and still seem to be unable to grasp the point I was making with quoted comment above – Here’s a simple thought experiment for you:

    You’re taking a philosophy class and your professor asks you to write a paper on ethics. You spend a lot of time on your paper and think you’ve done a fairly good job. In your paper, you set forth your position that there are no such things as objective ethics.

    A few weeks later you get your paper back. As you scan through your professor’s written remarks, you notice a few corrected spelling and punctuation errors, but nothing too big. On the last page at the end of paper there are two words and then your grade – “Interesting paper – F.”

    You’re obviously somewhat flummoxed since you felt you did a decent job on the paper and the professor said the paper was “interesting” so you decide to approach the professor after class and discuss your failing grade.

    You ask, “Professor, I’m wondering why you failed this paper, was there something wrong with it – I mean, the only comments were that you thought it was interesting.”

    Your professor responds, “Oh, Nomen, yes. I actually enjoyed your paper and thought it was well written. I arbitrarily gave you an “F” because your paper was the last paper I read. Do you think there is anything objectively unethical about that?”

    What would your response be?

  49. Faulty analogy, J. Assessment of student papers isn’t a moral exercise and we don’t award students high marks for a lot of effort.

    When a professor assigns a paper, he or she describes the standards by which that paper will be evaluated. Each discipline looks for different things and so what will get a student a high score in Chemistry will not be precisely the thing that one looks for in English or History. The ability to meet the disciplinary critieria set forth in the grading rubric — which we usually hand to students a couple of times, like in the syllabus and in the assignment itself — and demonstration of mastery of course content by addressing the assigned prompt is the measure of the paper. Can that be somewhat subjective? Oh yeah. However, if the assignment was to produced a five-page typed polished essay on the American Revolution’s effect on slavery and the student turned in a handwritten page setting forth and analyzing the formula for the chemical reactions involved in Swiss chocolate making, I might enjoy it and think it was well-written, but it would not have accomplished the task set nor would it have adhered to the disciplinary standards outlined in the grading rubric.

  50. What sort of thought experiment is that? Where in the Bible does it speak of thought experiments? Isn’t that your source of information, J?

    That’s my guess based on your website as you haven’t had time to answer my earlier post. Have I guessed wrong?

    Nance

  51. Bridgett,
    However, if the assignment was to produced a five-page typed polished essay on the American Revolution’s effect on slavery and the student turned in a handwritten page setting forth and analyzing the formula for the chemical reactions involved in Swiss chocolate making, I might enjoy it and think it was well-written, but it would not have accomplished the task set nor would it have adhered to the disciplinary standards outlined in the grading rubric.

    You seemed to have missed the point of the hypothetical. In this hypothetical Nomen didn’t write a paper on a different subject than the professor assigned – it was on the subject assigned. The professor then arbitrarily (based on when he read the paper) gave the paper an “F.”

    Is this objectively unethical? I believe it is. Nomen claims to not believe in objective ethics, so I’m wondering how she would respond to someone doing something to her which, in my view, is objectively unethical. If the professor didn’t do anything unethical then how can she respond. She can’t argue that what the professor did is wrong because he can’t be objectively according to her worldview. The only way to protest the grade of the paper is to admit the thesis of the paper is wrong.

    That’s one of the huge problems with moral relativism – you simply can’t live consistently as a moral relativist.

    Nance,
    It’s thought experiment to show Nomen how it’s impossible to live consistently as a moral relativist.

    Actually, my belief in existence of objectively true ethics is one of the reasons I believe in an objective moral law giver (God). I’m not sure what your last comment about the Bible and thought experiments is supposed to be trying to get at. Are you trying to argue Christians shouldn’t use thought experiments? I just have no clue what kind of point you’re trying to make.

  52. everybody lives as a moral relativist. if you disagree, kindly provide the objective moral standard by which a non-relativist might live, and demonstrate just how and why it is not also a relative standard of ethics just like all the other ones.

  53. Nomen,
    Why didn’t you answer my hypothetical?

    No one lives as a moral relativist. Do you know how silly that statement is? For someone to live consistently as moral relativist they would need believe that every action taken towards them isn’t morally wrong. They’d need to believe their husband did nothing by cheating on them, they’d need to believe the Janjaweed is doing nothing morally wrong by killing and raping countless people in Darfur, they need to believe pedophiles are doing nothing wrong by raping little children.

    You seem to be confusing people having different morals with living as moral relativists. Someone having different morals than someone else doesn’t mean they’re living as moral relativists. For example, Bill might believe drunk driving is objectively morally wrong while believing abortion isn’t. While Susan might think drunk driving isn’t morally wrong while abortion is.

    Neither of this people is living as a moral relativist – they just believe different things are morally wrong.

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