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“pro” liars -talking about abortion

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We live in an era where there is no one single truth – there are only partisan truths. For every democratic truth, their is a republican counter truth. For every sentence in praise of ice-cream, there is a line devoted to its negative health effects. I am reconciled to all that but still there are some partisan “truths” that gall me enough that I need to share them.

I was listening to some conservative radio show yesterday -partly out of boredom and partly out of feeling adventurous and there it was – my moment of high blood pressure (eh?). Anyways, a discussion – more like a reading of crimes at an inquisition – about abortion was going on. Listening to the “pro-lifers”, it was hard not to mistake pro choice as being pro abortion. Abortion is one of the most morally divisive issues seperating this country and one of the few that is worthwhile but most discussion on the topic, as with every other important topic, has always been riled with empty demagoguery. It still comes as a shock to me when people go out of their way to be in my face with libelous diatribe.

I honestly doubt if there exists someone who is pro-abortion. Liberals are about leaving the choice of abortion open for women who need it but at the same time enacting measures which will help women choose otherwise. The fact of the matter is that dichotomous views of society don’t translate into good public policy. If conservatives are seriously interested in curbing abortion rates in this country, they would think about investing more into child healthcare, providing child care at work, legislating paid holidays for new mothers and fathers and devising ways of making the decision of bringing a child into this world financially viable. Outlawing abortion won’t stop abortion – it would just take it into the back alleys or to Mexico where there would be a much graver risk for women’s health. Lets take meaningful steps to curb abortion rates, which have already fallen dramatically due to easy access of contraception, rather than spend time ranting and raving about the Satanic liberal conspiracy.

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  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >> honestly doubt if there exists someone who is pro-abortion. <<

    (raises hand)

    Dave

  • http://xraystyle.blogspot.com Bryan McKay

    Explain, Dave.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    I identify as liberal and for me it is about choice, the woman’s right of self-determination for her individual self. And it’s about keeping it legal, safe AND rare.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    What’s to explain? I’m pro abortion. I think abortion is a positive good for society and that there ought to be more of it. I’m in favor of encouraging abortion as a form of birth control. I’d prefer that people saved money and moral trauma by using other methods of birth control first, but if abortion will reduce the growth of population and especially of unwanted and excess children then I’m all for it.

    I’m not for ALL abortions. I think partial birth abortion is an abomination. And I oppose any abortion after the second trimester when the baby could be viable outside the womb with minimal medical support. But before then abortion seems like a desirable option in a lot of situations.

    I ought to also point out that I don’t think there should ever be blanket government funding of abortions, but on the other hand I’m also inclined to the belief that if you sign up for WIC then free abortions should be available as part of the service. In fact you should lose your WIC benefits and possibly custody of your children if you have another child while on the program, and shouldn’t be allowed to take WIC support without contractually agreeing to this.

    Dave

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    I love your WIC solution.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Was that sarcasm, Steve? On a moral level I absolutely hate my WIC solution. But from a pragmatic standpoint it seems justified.

    Dave

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper and less controversial if the government simply required all WIC recipients to take contraceptives?

    Don’t just hand out pills. Actually make sure WIC benefit payments are on the same schedule as contraceptive injections, or have social workers verify the presence of contraceptive implants before disbursing any benefit coupons, issuing any checks, or reactivating any WIC debit cards.

    That might really reduce the number of abortions.

  • http://xraystyle.blogspot.com Bryan McKay

    So let me get this straight, you’re a libertarian, so I would assume you place personal liberties first and foremost, yet you would support encouraged and/or mandatory abortions? Whatever happened to choice (i.e. freedom)?

  • JR

    Bryan McKay: Whatever happened to choice (i.e. freedom)?

    Who’s forcing people to sign up for WIC?

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Dave says people who take government money (WIC) ought to freely enter into a contractual obligation stating they will get abortions if they become pregnant again while still drawing benefits from that government program.

    They are always free to not take the money if they prefer not to enter that contract.

    I’m not a libertarian myself, and I don’t agree with Dave’s idea, but it seems quite compatible with what I know about libertarian ethics.

  • http://xraystyle.blogspot.com Bryan McKay

    Some people need it. It’s government aid that’s available for those who may have no other viable options. Sure, there is a choice, but if the only alternative is a dead baby, that’s pretty damn close to being forced to sign up.

    But that really just brings me back to my whole issue with Dave’s WIC argument. Government aid is very different from government regulation. Recieving government aid shouldn’t be dependent on agreeing to compulsory abortions.

  • http://xraystyle.blogspot.com Bryan McKay

    I’m not a libertarian myself, and I don’t agree with Dave’s idea, but it seems quite compatible with what I know about libertarian ethics.

    If that’s true, then I wouldn’t rate libertarian “ethics” very high on the moral scale.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Libertarians believe it’s not the government’s job to make sure nobody dies of starvation. In fact they believe the government’s main job is hiring enough police to make sure starving people don’t take away anyone else’s money, unless of course the money is voluntarily donated.

    In their ideal world, most libertarians would probably prefer to do away with WIC entirely, along with all other forms of government assistance to the poor.

    Ideas like mandatory abortions for WIC recipients are the sort of things libertarians think up when they are trying to make the best of a bad situation.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>So let me get this straight, you’re a libertarian, so I would assume you place personal liberties first and foremost, yet you would support encouraged and/or mandatory abortions? Whatever happened to choice (i.e. freedom)?<<

    That’s why I’m troubled by my own idea, Bryan. It’s not compatible with libertarian ethics.

    But as a Libertarian I really ought to oppose all forms of public welfare from the get-go. Having compromised my libertarianism to accept WIC, how much of a further step down the road to moral ambiguity is it to accept birth control connected to it? If it’s all done contractually with consent then it’s at least acceptable.

    And yes, I agree with whoever said that mandatory birth control would be better than abortions, though if the BC didn’t work then abortions would have to be stipulated as a backup.

    Dave

  • http://xraystyle.blogspot.com Bryan McKay

    Birth control seems more reasonable to me than compulsory abortions, and it does more to solve the problems. Abortion shouldn’t just be used as a form of contraceptive when other methods are available. Education needs to come first.

    As far as libertarian ethics, I seem to be hearing two different sides: Victor it’s compatible with libertarian ethics, yet you say it’s not. I suppose I’ll go with you on this one, as you’re probably more knowledgable in that territory.

    I still don’t entirely agree with you, but I understand your point a bit more thoroughly now, thank you.

  • http://wisdomandmurder.blogspot.com Lisa McKay

    Somehow I find government non-interference in the reproductive lives of women to be preferable to either compulsory contraception or compulsory abortion. Or compulsory childbirth, for that matter. But I’m glad you guys all seem to have a handle on the problem.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Just for clarification, Victor, do you also prefer to do away with government assistance to the rich?

  • Nancy

    To my surprise, I’m agreeing w/Dave.

    I find that when I listen to “pro-lifers”, the message I also get, however, is that, most of them seem to be men, & they are additionally preponderantly opposed to women’s rights, equality for women, etc. An awful lot of them seem to subscribe to the idea, subliminally if not openly, that we should return to the old ‘woman as chattel’ status. Am I wrong?

  • http://wisdomandmurder.blogspot.com Lisa McKay

    I’m sure that the same pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for oral contraceptives are also rabidly anti-abortion, so it would certainly seem that there is a certain segment of the population that thinks that women’s reproductive lives ought to be determined and controlled by someone other than the women themselves.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Just for clarification, El Bicho, I haven’t been talking about my own preferences at all in this thread. I’ve discussed libertarian preferences, and tried to help steer our libertarian fellow citizens toward more moderate expressions of their own ideas (contraception being more moderate than abortion).

    In comment 10, I clearly stated I’m not a libertarian myself. I’ve never called for ending all government assistance to the poor. I merely observed that was a central goal for libertarians.

    I don’t support forcing anyone to get an abortion. Nor do I support forcing anyone to take contraceptives. I suggested that only as an attempt at harm reduction. Forced contraception, although odious in the extreme, would be less harmful than forced abortion.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    no Dave, not sarcasm. I support helping people get on their feet, which is why I’m always supporting liberal issues which further helping the down and out. However, the system isn’t perfect and there are a lot of people who have children solely because of the monetary value they get out of WIC/welfare and the like. The more children you have, the more welfare you get, so it encourages the chronic poor to have more children than they can afford.

  • Nancy

    Wasn’t – or isn’t – there a program somewhere that did just this? As I recall reading, recipients of welfare or whatever it was were thrown off the roles if they had any more kids while on it? Wisconsin…? I can’t remember.

  • gaurav

    Yup, you are right nancy – some pro lifer jihadists (ok I am being inflammatory) are often against contraception too besides being against women empowerment as such. You know, people having problems with contraception is something I simply refuse to understand.

    Why abortion issue evokes so much reaction is also because it touches on some existential issues – had I been aborted, I wouldn’t have been here kind of thing. I think this is definitely true for a significant segment of these pro-life evangelists who “escaped murder”…

    Let me also briefly address liberatarianism – I think when we talk about using “good for society” as a rationale for shoving choices down people’s throats – we have already moved away from the key tenet of liberatarianim – that is the best of society is when everybody is given free choice. It believes in sort of a karmic equilibrium that is reached via decision making by empowered individuals.

  • gaurav -2

    Just wanted to clarify one more thing – it is a liberal argument to say government knows best not a liberatarian one..

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Hello? The monetary value of WIC?

    WIC is a nutritional program provided to women and their under-age-5 children who are at nutritional risk.

    The following benefits are provided to WIC participants:

    * Supplemental nutritious foods
    * Nutrition education and counseling at WIC clinics
    * Screening and referrals to other health, welfare and social services

    Also:

    Who is eligible?

    Pregnant or postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5 are eligible. They must meet income guidelines, a State residency requirement, and be individually determined to be at “nutritional risk” by a health professional.

    And, from the same FAQ page:

    WIC cannot serve all eligible people, so a system of priorities has been established for filling program openings. Once a local WIC agency has reached its maximum caseload, vacancies are generally filled in the order of the following priority levels:

    * Pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and infants determined to be at nutritional risk because of serious medical problems.
    * Infants up to 6 months of age whose mothers participated in WIC or could have participated and had serious medical problems.
    * Children (up to age 5) at nutritional risk because of serious medical problems.
    * Pregnant or breastfeeding women and infants at nutritional risk because of dietary problems (like poor diet).
    * Children (up to age 5) at nutritional risk because of dietary problems.
    * Non-breastfeeding, postpartum women with any nutritional risk.
    * Individuals at nutritional risk only because they are homeless or migrants, and current participants who without WIC foods could continue to have medical and/or dietary problems.

    WIC isn’t an “entitlement” program, but a program based on minimum income requirements AND demonstrated health needs.

  • http://xraystyle.blogspot.com Bryan McKay

    Hello? The monetary value of WIC?

    Well, food is a commodity which holds it’s own monetary value. But I know what you mean, and yes, I agree.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Some people might be confusing WIC with AFDC, a similar program which offers (or has offered) more opportunities for fraud.

    P.S. I’ve known people on WIC/AFDC who were able to buy junkfood and such using program funds — even though it was supposed to be against the rules. This was many years ago, though, and I think most states have cracked down on this sort of thing.

    Also, the “people” of whom I’m thinking most specifically didn’t stay on WIC or AFDC forever, and are productive members of society today. A success story in my book, even if there was a bit of Doritos-munching going on at some point.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Dorites are wholesome and healthy, and most importantly, over the years have funded many a campaign contribution to help re-elect the congressional representatives from the great state of Iowa.

    So let’s not be dissin the Ritos, dude.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Victor, are you from Iowa?

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Argh, typo. Romanes Dorité Domus!

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    bhw, you know me, I’ve always been put just to the Left of the Green Party, so I am as liberal as they come. Yes, I know WIC isn’t an entitlement program, but it is used in conjunction with welfare assistance more often than not and so you have to look at how they are used together, which is why in my comment I had said WIC/welfare, rather than just WIC.

    On my blog (man, I have been whoring my site alot in the last two days, but they are all relevant topics), I talk about helping the down and out, it’s what we do. I’ve helped someone start his business in the last few days (I was his first client and three weeks later I was the first to fire him) and we have fed some chronically poor people out of our own refrigerator for quite awhile now. (Don’t worry, just cuz this last one turned out completely disasterous, I haven’t gone conservative), but I do call it like I see it.

    There are people down and out and just need help, and there are many people who live for the moment and cannot plan for the future, even beyond the next few days. They work for their next meal and then worry about other things after that.

    I agree with all that you say about WIC/welfare and what it is intended for, but we must concede ground that it is ripe for overhaul, it is not always used as intended. If we do not, then ultimately people will decide it is ripe for being done away with. MHO.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Nah, I’m not from Iowa, but plenty of corn growers are. Also I can’t seem to figure out how Blogcritics processes HTML characters, and so made an already doubly obscure joke even more obscure.

    Romanes Dorite Domus!

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    I’ve helped someone start his business in the last few days

    correction, in the last month. The confrontation was in the last few days, hence that must have been on my mind.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Victor, actually, it wasn’t the Doritos that bothered me at the time, or the cake and ice cream (which started near a birthday, but turned into a weekly expense). It was the cigarettes. That was so totally against the rules I was shocked she even tried, but the clerk rang them up as something else and all was good.

    Like I said, I think most loopholes like that have been closed. I hope so.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Also, Frito-Lay is actually headquarted here, in Dallas (Plano, technically), so I tend to buy chips made by Lance and El Sabrosa and other smaller companies, just to be contrary.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Well, Phillip, my point — admittedly made in a highly circuitous manner — is that these programs and other welfare benefits already carry the heavy political burden of functioning as back door agriculture subsidies.

    Thus, people trying to layer on population control or other additional goals for such welfare programs may have to get in line behind the farm lobby.

    I’ll certainly agree with you that nobody needs taxpayers to subsidize their tobacco habits. That’s naught but sheer madness.

  • http://xraystyle.blogspot.com Bryan McKay

    Okay, Victor, I’ll bite…

    How does giving poor mothers vouchers for milk amount to “back door agricultural subsidies?”

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Not milk — bread!

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    You’re kidding, right Bryan? Well, I’ll play along. It’s actually quite simple.

    1. Government gives vouchers to poor people.

    2. People get food by giving vouchers to grocers.

    3. Grocers get money by giving vouchers to government.

    4. Grocers use money to buy more food from farmers.

    (repeat as needed)

    Now, maybe the details aren’t always exactly this way. Maybe the grocers pay the farmers in vouchers, and the farmers are the ones who redeem the vouchers for money from the government. Nevertheless, government money is going almost directly to farmers, in a program whose main stated goal is to help poor people get enough food.

    Please understand I’m not saying any of this is inherently bad. I’m all in favor of poor people getting the food they need, especially if it helps them lift themselves out of poverty. I’m all in favor of farmers getting money to grow more food.

    All I’m saying is these factors are important to understand the political complexity of altering programs like WIC, AFDC, or food stamps.

  • http://xraystyle.blogspot.com Bryan McKay

    Phillip: Milk too! I used to work in a grocery store. They can use them for orange juice from concentrate and baby formula and stuff too!

    Victor: I see what you’re saying, but I’m not sure if that’s really the intention. But I doubt the farmers are making enough money from the sales of grocery story items through WIC checks for it really to be considered a back-door subsidy program.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Bread more directly contributes to agricultural subsidies, is what I meant. :-)

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    I never said this effect was the only intention, or even the main one. Only that it complicates the situation.

  • Eric Olsen

    I say let them eat (rice)cake

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Quick comments on everything since I’ve been working and not responding.

    Yes Nancy, I believe that Wisconsin did try to tie all sorts of things to their welfare programs, including mandatory job training and contraception. This is why Tommy Thompson got to be head of HHS during Bush’s first administration. Of course, that proved to be pointless because 9/11 and the war in Iraq meant that he never got an opportunity to try to bring any of the innovations he did so well with in Wisconsin to the federal table. And as a result Thompson retired in frustration. A raw deal all around. I wonder what he’s up to now.

    On the libertarian issue, there’s more than one strain of libertarianism in the world.

    The absolutist ‘natural man’ kind of romantic libertarians are likely to ultimately admit that in their perfect society the poor would probably just die off and that would solve the problem and they’re ok with that as a short term cost for a perfect society in the future.

    More standard libertarians would put the responsibility for the poor onto private institutions and some would reluctantly suggest ideas like making tax breaks for churches dependent on charity work, providing some sort of tax incentive to contribute to charities, or even providing tax money directly to private charities to do the work currently done by government welfare. This is all assuming they’re at least realistic enough to accept that we do need some sort of system of taxation. Or they might cop out and say there should be no federal role in welfare and leave it all up to the states to deal with any way they want.

    The most pragmatic libertarians would probably fall in with me. You have to pay for government programs which benefit you in some way. We’d say put the poor to work for the government in at least some capacity. Limit their ability to have more children, provide them with education in the process, and do everything that could be done to make them ready to take a position as autonomous and self-supporting individuals in society. Ultimately I think that although this involves some government bureaucracy it will benefit an overall libertarian style society far more by creating more free and productive citizens.

    I had an article on BC long ago about one proposed solution to the problem, but it’s a bit scary. Read Are There No Workhouses if you dare.

    Dave

  • Projectile Fetus

    We need mandatory abortions!

    “But doesn’t that defeat the purpose of being pro-choice?”

    No, you gotta kill babies.