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The GOP Has the Wrong Approach to Abortion

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Given multiple national polls showing that people do not support abortion, it remains an issue, and it remains an issue that the GOP does not handle well.

I remember watching the VP debate between Biden and Ryan, and being hugely disappointed in how Ryan handled the abortion question. If I may paraphrase Ryan’s answer in general terms, he stressed how important his faith was in coming to his pro-life position. Biden then rambled on about how much he supports a woman’s right to choose. The net result is that Biden generally came across as a rational, compassionate, caring sort; which is not what he is at all, while the impression of Ryan that the underinformed voters ultimately got was that he would be the sort of person who might just be capable of supporting any position informed by his religious views.

Of course, senate candidates Akin and Mourdock also had cringe-worthy comments on the abortion issue as well. Arguably, poor handling of women’s issues cost the GOP two senate seats and possibly the presidency. So what’s the problem? Why does the GOP insist upon conveying the most important message of civilized society, the message that every life is valuable, in such consistently inarticulate fashion? What kind of an approach would serve to neutralize the issue at the voting booth, and bring election results in line with national polls on the matter?

Well, as to why the GOP is so incompetent at communicating the value of life, I’m not really sure. They certainly know it’s an issue that will be raised by Democratic candidates and the progressive, state-run media. They certainly have the time and resources to prepare for it. Honestly, I have no idea why the GOP can’t positively deliver the pro-life message, but I do know what their message should be.

The GOP message should be, “The abortion issue has nothing to do with religion. Mine or anyone else’s. The senseless and societally counterproductive promotion of abortion as an acceptable solution to the problem of unwanted pregnancy has led to a culture where the value of a life can be quantified, and that’s wrong. Abortion is a human rights issue, and a civilized society has several undeniable obligations. Primary among them is the right to life. This is not an opinion informed by my religious beliefs. This is an opinion informed by common sense. Every life has value, and a civilized society protects life. It’s that simple.”

The GOP needs to stop hinging their abortion discussions on religion, and their public policy positions on faith. Frankly, it makes the pro-life position look fanatical, when it is anything but. The GOP needs to have confidence that their position is informed by reality, and by the conviction that a society is judged, ultimately, by how they treat the least among them. And most Americans support candidates who promote the future of our nation and stand up for using our government programs in the manner they were intended: to protect and provide for those who cannot protect or provide for themselves.

If they were smart, the GOP would position themselves to call out the pro-abortion Democrats for the hypocritical simultaneous support of their contradicting positions on human rights. Real concern for human rights and promotion of abortion can’t exist together. That’s not fanatical. That’s Realville, USA.

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About Ombud

  • Igor

    Temperamentally I’m a Republican, but I find the current incarnation of the party offensive and rather stupid.

  • boris

    I agree

  • PS Around here, EVERY discussion is potentially emotionally charged, witness the exchange on the jumbo soda pop ban.

    Too which, I must add my cents of twain. Clavos, I counted NINE dang Super Size Fill’er Up cups in the cabinet. My son and husband won’t keep bringing them home, and putting them in the dishwasher instead of recycling them (“because I get a discount if I ever want to bring it back to refill”). They take up…like…the room three normal cups would take in the dishwasher…they collect water in the depression on the top that spills all over the rest of the already-dry things when you take them out of the refrigerator, they are taking over my cabinet. Plus, they’re butt ugly.

    I am for the ban. They put relatively healthful unsweetened ice tea in them, not soda, but I am for the ban, because I want the cups to stop. Just make the cups stop. Over and out.

  • Always a pleasure, Cindy and also, Baronius, Christopher Rose, Roger Nowosielski, and Ombuds. (and others who were peripherally involveed in the conversation though not directly with me.)

    I don’t like to get “all mushy” too often, but I really can’t tell you how much it means to me to have a place where one can hash things out, saying exactly what is on one’s mind, having time to think about what others have said before responding (one of the beauties of Internet communication)–and having a bit of comic relief midway,especially during, as Cindy calls them “potentially emotionally charged discussions.”

  • Cindy

    I commend efforts to change the world in order to create a more human and caring society. I applaud those who do so.

    My own opinion is that that is a far as one can go. One can change one’s own behavior. My limit to helping prevent abortion is not to insist someone else change her actions, but only for me to change my own and create a world where abortion is not a necessary option.

    That is do my part and in doing so start on the long road which will encourage others to choose for themselves the right thing.

    Thanks Baronius and Irene for bearing through this potentially emotionally charged discussion.

  • Baronius

    Cindy – It’s the nature of the internet. If half a dozen people raise a couple of different points, it becomes difficult to respond to them all, and if you do the thread becomes impossible to read. If two sides form, then usually people will pair up and continue debating the aspects that interest them, as the sugary drink theme demonstrates. Still, it gets messy.

    It gets even messier on the point you raised, because the left/right split afffects one’s preference for public or private charity. Over the years, I’ve helped out in different ways at a half-dozen crisis pregnancy centers or homes for single moms. My brother-in-law teaches financial basics at one. My sister and several of my friends have adopted. One friend got heavily involved in the foster care program. (Lately, I’ve been caught up in donations to the local Little Sisters of the Poor, who work with needy elderly, so I haven’t been giving as much in the direction of kids, but that’s because a special opportunity presented itself.)

    As for the role of government, nearly all conservatives support some care for the poor. The ones that don’t have more in common with your politics than with mine. But as long as there’s an America, there’s going to be financial aid for its neediest citizens.

  • Clavos

    Vote democrat

    I don’t think so, I don’t like anything at all — nothing — about what I’ve seen of the party so far. You and Glenn handle it; I’m just gonna get me a deck chair and my iPod and watch.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Clav –

    So, tell me what I should do about homophobia, islamophobia and the patriot act? How can I help rid the world of these scourges?

    As zing said, vote Democratic. No, we’re certainly not perfect, but you find a lot fewer phobias against those who think/act/believe differently among liberals than among conservatives. After all, it’s quite normal (generally speaking) that those of a conservative psychological bent to distrust change, whereas those of a liberal psychological bent tend to be more likely to embrace change.

    Note that I’m not saying that one is better than the other – I’ve long argued (indeed, my most recent article stated almost specifically), that we Dems need the Republicans…and the obvious extrapolation is that liberals need conservatives…although the likelihood that we could get Republicans and conservatives to seriously admit the converse seems remote at best.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Either way, Glenn, you, as a “good” liberal, have no compunction in setting yourself (or other liberals) up as the guardian(s) of those of us stupid enough to drink too much sugary pop. I’m not here to argue the lethalness of sugar or tobacco (nor am I arguing its cost in medical terms); my point is that you liberals, in keeping with your misplaced faith in the US government and your inner conviction that you are smarter than conservatives and all other non-liberals, are and will continue to impose your wills on us “for our own good.” (Or at least that’s how you rationalize your anti-democratic attitudes and maneuverings).

    Read what I said, Clav – I’m not saying outlaw the sugary drinks – I’m saying tax them enough to pay for the damage they cause. For the same reason, I’d strongly advocate taxing guns and bullets enough to pay for the damage they cause…oh, excuse me, to pay for the damage that human beings cause by using them.

    Do you not see that this is a very conservative idea, in which you have to pay up front for the consequences of using (drinking/shooting/eating/etc.) whatever it is that you’re buying? If you want to buy guns and bullets, go ahead! Just be aware that by doing so, you’re going to pay a proportionate amount of taxes that would pay for the medical/funeral/law enforcement bills that result directly from the use of guns. As things stand now, all of us – and not simply those who are consumers of these items – are paying through our taxes for the end results of their choices. Wouldn’t you agree that it shouldn’t be that way, that people should have to pay for the end results of their choices?

    That’s what has been done to Big Tobacco, and America’s smoking rate is now about 20%, among the lowest on the planet…and we’re saving LOTS of taxpayer dollars as a result (not to mention having tens of thousands fewer tragic and unnecessary deaths like that of my mother earlier this year).

    So it goes with sugary drinks. And Big Macs. And alcohol. And anything else that if ingested or used as directed, directly and adversely affects the health and welfare of our nation and our economy. BUT – and here’s the devil in the details – we’d have to make sure that this is never applied to things that (when used sensibly) are not detrimental to the people…which would be the NRA’s somewhat sensible claim to an exception for guns and ammo.

    What this would result in – I believe, non-economist that I am – is higher prices for soda, for guns and bullets, for tobacco and alcohol (and now, marijuana), for about two-thirds of fast-food menus. But would we be able to use this approach in moderation? Nobody knows.

  • Zingzing

    Clavos: “So, tell me what I should do about homophobia, islamophobia and the patriot act? How can I help rid the world of these scourges?”

    Vote democrat. They’re obviously in the right about the first two, and I think their voters are more likely to wean them off the third than the paranoid republican islamaphobes who created the thing.

    (and why leave off citizens united? Do you believe that corporate interests should be able to overwhelm the individual’s? Would you really bitch about a meaningless soda ban than that?)

  • Abortion leaves a lot of raw spots, Cindy.

    Over the years, when I’ve tried to publicly look at the issue from a number of different perspectives, men have cut into me with vulgarity and crude sexual remarks.

    But I’ve thought about it more, and realize that abortion has left its mark on the psyches of men and women. It’s almost impossible to discuss the issue without dredging up some pretty heavy emotional stuff, and getting a pretty emotionally raw reaction.

    So my nuancer is finished for the night.

  • It could be that Baronius feels that asking for people to consider their humanity is one aspect of that love and care. I can understand your hostility towards the Republican Party (because I feel it, too) for its cynical “championing” of the unborn in order to get the votes of people like Baronius, who genuinely believe that these are people who are at the margins, who need someone to speak for them. I don’t understand why Baronius needs to be a lightening rod for rage that is more properly directed at the cynics in the Party.

  • Cindy

    I am not sure how that changes whether women should make their own decisions about their own bodies.

    Is anyone suggesting that because a relative or sexual partner could pressure a woman ti have an abortion, that that says anything about males determining what women do with their bodies if they do want an abortion?

    I am waiting for Baronius to tell me how he will love and care for unwanted infants, not that he proposed an exception to his pronouncement about women and what they may do or not do with regard ti their bodies.

    As far as I am concerned, if you do nothing to care for unwanted infants, your words and your claims about their lives being valuable to you are meaningless. They have no credibility.

    Irene, I may have regretted my own decision, but it was the best one in the society we have. Perhaps if those who value fetal life would propose some other viable arrangement (such as make care and support for the mothers and children available) no one would be able to be talked into abortions.

  • Clavos

    OK, zing. You’re right; I’m wrong.

    So, tell me what I should do about homophobia, islamophobia and the patriot act? How can I help rid the world of these scourges?

  • Baronius

    Irene – Thanks for saying that.

  • And then there’s the consideration of women who have had, through the easy availablity of abortions, terminations forced on them by overbearing relatives and “lovers” who probably never would have bedded them down if the gentlemen didn’t know that abortion was available as “back-up contraception.”

    The number of abortions increased after they were legalized, and that was not wholly — not even NEAR wholly –because there was an increase in the number of women in desparate situations who could now get them.

  • Baronius, so noted. Perhaps childishness is not the culprit, but rather a sluggish nuancer. It’s the weekend.
    Rape is especially difficult to have ethical arguments about (value of life of child vs. victim’s rights) because it’s such an absolutely horrific thing for a woman to experience. So I can understand your proposal that a woman experiencing this should have readily available to her the means to keep the fertilized ovum (arguably as human as the rest of us, but not any different from those who are aborted by most commonly accepted hormonal birth control pills), from implanting and continuing to develop….into the same kind of loving, creative person his mom may be….or into a person like his dad. It’s just that I wince when I think about a person who know he is the product of rape who may be reading this. I think it is important that anyone who is here believe that he has a right to be here.

  • Zingzing

    You probably worded that the wrong way, baronius.

  • Baronius

    Cindy, you’ll notice that I proposed an exemption for those who had a pregnancy forced upon them.

  • Cindy



    You can understand me to have meant that forcing a pregnancy on a woman would be having a “side” about her body.

    I am more interested though in what responsibility YOU are going to take for the fetus once it arrives. Please enlighten me as to how you will care for it.

  • Zingzing

    Clavos, the big gulp ban is a useless law that does nothing. A fat ass can get all the soda a fat ass wants. Frankly, I’m against the ban, mostly because it does nothing but create something for you to bitch about, even though it makes absolutely no difference. If you really miss being able to carry around 40 oz of watered-down soda, buy a big cup, buy some soda and put some soda in that cup. All you’re missing is your awesome 7-11 cup that I’m sure you treasure so.

    The level of lost freedom is so negligible, I’m shocked it’s even worth mentioning, when there are real threats to our freedoms worth combatting. citizen’s united, homophobia, islamaphobia, Patriot act… Real threats. A ban that bans nothing? Some stupid piece of legislation by an obviously bored mayor, nothing more.

  • Baronius

    Irene – “mind of a child” – heh

  • Deano

    No Baronius, thats your take on it,using your egregious metaphor of slave ownership which is a farcical comparison as well as being deliberately insulting. The crux of the matter is that women own their own bodies and have the right to make thir own choices, not you, not the GOP and not the state or church.

  • I said you didn’t even read MOST of it, Christopher Rose, not that you didn’t read any of it. Obviously you cut and pasted (and misunderstood) the bit about how hard it is to say to EITHER the woman in a difficult pregnancy OR a child that resulted from same that their rights are less important than another’s rights.

  • Irene, firstly, we have different ideas about what long posts are; so far, you’ve not even got to medium length, never mind long, so please knock off the attitude.

    I’ve already pointed out to you that half your #66 had no relevance and the rest was merely your own opinion.

    As to #67, I read it when you posted it, I responded to it and yet you have the conceit to say you think I didn’t even read it. Puh-lease! Get over yourself will ya?

    Finally, you’ve been far more insulting than I have, so perhaps you could drop your arrogance and dogmatic certainty and actually go for some of that “high level of communication” you talk of but so far on this thread have completely failed to do?

  • I saw that action, too. The funny picture of the softball practice batting machine was there — looking exactly what I imagine you to look like when you are in “insult mode” and then it was GONE. Fie.

  • Christopher Rose, no. You apparently missed the point of #66, and I don’t think you even read most of #67. They were long posts. Read them again, and maybe what I was trying to express will become more clear. I’ve got stuff to do today, and retyping something you can without much trouble go back and read for yourself isn’t high on my list of priorities.

  • Irene, you may be choosing your words carefully but you are actually doing exactly that yourself, whereas I am not, so once again you confound yourself…

  • No, no, that isn’t right, I edited out “mindlessly serving up” and replaced it with “drawing from a limited battery of.” Much better. Much nicer.

  • Clavos, any chance we can break away from the stereotyping?

    First you criticise progressivism when what you complain about is control, which isn’t progressive.

    Your other bug bear appears to be liberals and I, for one, don’t see Glenn as a liberal, no matter how much he may tag himself as one.

    I’M a liberal and as sceptical about government as you are, possibly more so.

    There are some serious issues at stake here and such antagonistic and inaccurate stuff really isn’t helping.

    Irene, as far as I am concerned, there is no problem with “you have something from your experience” et cetera, but that hasn’t been the spirit in which either Baronius or yourself have expressed yourselves. You have both been arguing in favour of limiting other people’s ability to live their lives the way they want to.

  • Fine, Christopher Rose, I’ll place it without the URL. “Christopher Rose, you are like unto a softball practice pitching machine mindlessly serving up ineffective insults that are easily swatted away.”

    How’s THAT for choosing my words carefully? hoho.

  • Roger, that’s right, I certainly wouldn’t take it on, because given the current crop of legislators, the law would probably be laced with riders, the Trojan horses as it were, that would be come from the antithesis of a life-affirming viewpoint.

    On words, yes, it would be good for all of us to give a little more thought when we choose them. In my two comments, (numbered somewhere in the 70’s) I struggled with the using the word “should.” It’s difficult to express a strongly held opinion without it, but it has an angry-parent vibe to it.

    I wish that the prevailing attitude on these boards was “OK, you have something from your experience that makes you feel differently from the way I do. Let me have a listen and see if you are bringing in a perspective I haven’t considered before, or alternatively, showing me you have a blind spot that needs to be pointed out. And feel free to do the same when it’s your turn to listen to me.”

    That high level of communication is pretty rare in general, though, even among good friends.

  • Clavos

    Either way, Glenn, you, as a “good” liberal, have no compunction in setting yourself (or other liberals) up as the guardian(s) of those of us stupid enough to drink too much sugary pop. I’m not here to argue the lethalness of sugar or tobacco (nor am I arguing its cost in medical terms); my point is that you liberals, in keeping with your misplaced faith in the US government and your inner conviction that you are smarter than conservatives and all other non-liberals, are and will continue to impose your wills on us “for our own good.” (Or at least that’s how you rationalize your anti-democratic attitudes and maneuverings).

    I wouldn’t have any problem if liberals expanded their brainwashing of schol children to include sugary soda, cigarettes, religion, republicanism — whatever you want to keep them away from, but coercion is not, in my opinion, the American ideal — in fact, i consider unAmerican.

    And slavery is a bad comparison — tantamount to comparing arsenic to penicillin; sugary soda doesn’t result in humans owning other humans, it doesn’t lead to loss of freedom nor does it lead to humans inflicting cruelty deliberately on other humans.

  • Irene, once again you confound me; you toss out irrelevancies and opinions, I point that and yet I’m insulting you while you ignore the issues? Truly the signs of the dogmatic mind. Shame…

    PS: The URL you linked to isn’t working. Please paste the correct URL in here and I’ll fix it for you; otherwise I’ll have to remove it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    This action was taken on the basis that such drinks are not good for humans (which is true) and the progressive belief that they must ensure that the rest of us, because we are stupid and irresponsible, must be prevented (by force of law, if necessary) from harming ourselves (for our own good, of course).

    Try replacing “such drinks are” with “slavery is” and add “or others” after “harming ourselves”. At the time, many, many people thought slavery was a good thing, and it was only those big-government types up in Washington D.C. and those progressives (they called them “Republicans” back then) who wanted to IMPOSE their laws on the South. Their arguments against Lincoln went much along the same “state’s rights” line we’ve heard so often from the modern-day Republican party.

    Of course sugary soft drinks are not nearly so evil as slavery…but 200,000 Americans die every year from diabetes and its complications – and the rest of us (including you) pay for it out of our own pocketbooks. If you wanted to save taxpayer dollars from being taken out of people’s pockets, you’d be all in favor of the ban!

    Your arguments against the ban are no different from the conservative arguments that were against laws that restricted cigarette use. BUT you know what? I think the sugary soft-drink ban is a bad law – not because its intentions are wrong in shape or form, but because it is ineffective. What we SHOULD do is the same thing that has been so effective in decreasing the percentage of Americans who smoke – taxes. We should tax the hell out of sugary soft drinks…and dedicate the revenue to pay for those who have diabetes.

  • Christopher Rose, like unto a softball practice pitching machine drawing from a limited battery of all-purpose insults that are easily swatted away.

  • @72

    I take words very seriously, Chris, because it’s the only thing we have. But to the point …

    I have no basis upon which to infer that either Baronius or Irene would take on the responsibility for passing the law in question, even if they believe it to be a good law. I certainly wouldn’t. Consequently, I take them to be speaking as individual persons, not as legislators. It’s for that reason that I’ve abstained from jumping to any conclusion.

  • Baronius

    Chris – “mind of a child” – heh

  • Zingzing

    Clavos, you do know you can still buy all the soda you want, right? I guess we should also make cigarettes legal for kids, given your reasoning.

    Baronius, your mind is twisting itself into an ugly thing.

  • Doug Hunter: Newsflash – if you have the unnuanced literal mind of a child that might be true but as grown-ups we can occasionally be a little smarter than that.

    Furthermore, there aren’t actually laws that tell people they can’t murder others, only that they will be tried and punished if they do, so your remark is doubly fatuous.

    Baronius, more baffling irrelevance from you, which I literally have no response to other than huh?

    Clavos, I’d agree that particular law is absurd but fail to see what it has do with progressivism, so let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater…

  • Clavos

    I’d add that controlling others by passing laws and the use of government action in enforcing them is one of the central tenets of progressivism, as illustrated most recently by the banning in New York City of the sale of extra large sugary sodas.

    This action was taken on the basis that such drinks are not good for humans (which is true) and the progressive belief that they must ensure that the rest of us, because we are stupid and irresponsible, must be prevented (by force of law, if necessary) from harming ourselves (for our own good, of course).

  • Baronius

    Doug – Exactly. Deano’s thinking would support slavery, by focusing on the rights of the slaveowner to make business transactions rather than the humanity of the slave. Now, to be fair, he’d realize how ridiculous that position is, because the humanity of the slave is more obvious and more culturally-recognized these days. But there’s nothing in his reasoning that would necessitate that recognition.

  • Doug Hunter


    News Flash: Just in case you missed it. Every law, and really the whole point of government, is to tell/force/make you do things you otherwise wouldn’t.

    Telling people they can’t murder is ‘controlling’ them. Telling them they can’t have slaves is ‘controlling’ them. Telling fathers they can’t rape their wives and daughter is ‘controlling’ them. Subsidizing or taxing different things is a soft means of controlling behavior…. many others are backed up with force.

  • Roger, nobody said there was “anything illogical or incoherent about Baronius or Irene trying to balance two kinds of values”.

    If you don’t think that by attempting to prevent other adults doing what they believe is right for themselves, they are “trying to control other people’s lives”, then I can only conclude that for you words only mean what you want them to rather than their actual meaning.

    Whilst it is true that rights are not absolute, I fail to see how that applies to this conversation, as we are discussing matters of fact and law, not philosophy…

  • I don’t think there’s anything illogical or incoherent about Baronius or Irene trying to balance two kinds of values, that of free choice and the unborn child’s life. I think it’s admirable, in fact. Nor does it necessarily follow that such a motivation must proceed from the fact they happen to be Christian (although as a matter of fact, they are): some such concern could just as well follow from taking morality/ethics seriously enough.

    As to when exactly a fetus “becomes” a human as a matter of “scientific fact,” I’m afraid I am not qualified to comment. Perhaps a more fruitful approach would be to relegate such a question not for the science to decide — science doesn’t really decide anything, humans do — but for us: perhaps it’d be more fruitful to think of that decision as “judgment call.” Obviously, many people disagree here.

    I don’t think neither Baronius nor Irene are trying to control other people’s lives: they’re merely commenting on what they think a good law concerning abortion ought to be like, which is not the same thing. (Of course, in the process they can’t help but express their own opinions on the subject and their own values.)

    As regards “rights,” again, no rights are absolute, and humans have been known to forfeit them — freedom, for instance, when incarcerated for a crime. So again, the idea that some rights may be viewed as having been curtailed or limited by some other rights is not outrageous: it’s in fact much more commonplace than we think.

  • Not everything you have to say is a “load of crap”, Irene, but a lot of it is simply because you believe in this superstitious nonsense.

    However, to be specific, what you said is wrong because apart from the first brief paragraph, the first half of your #66 has no relevance or bearing on the topic whatsoever.

    You follow that with the sweeping statement that “there is only thing that should trump a free woman’s right to be in charge of what happens to her body, and that is the presence of another human being within her”, which is your opinion but not actually a fact.

    You then switch tack to “A good law is one that is ethical and preserves the dignity of human life, and that fosters the continuation of a humane culture”. Again, this is a rather pathetic and obvious attempt to frame the discussion to suit your own prior belief.

    What about consumer protection laws? They stop companies ripping people off, so therefore a good thing, but would we refer to such laws in terms of “preserves the dignity of human life” or “fosters the continuation of a humane culture”. I suspect not.

    There are many ways in which US politics of the last thirty years can be shown to be at fault, but again, this has nothing to do with the topic under discussion, so let’s leave that to one side.

    Apart from its irrelevance, your entire #67 seems very manipulative and yet another attempt to frame the conversation.

    That said, who but the most callous and mean would ever say something like “Your rights have to be, or should have been, trumped by another’s right”? Frankly that is just bizarre.

    So, in summary, we have several irrelevancies, some fairly weak emotional manipulation and an opinion. Doesn’t that describe your two contributions accurately?

  • Well, it was a lot to read, Chris. I guess I can understand that you’d assume that because I am a Christian, it all had to be a load of crap.

  • Baronius, you really are trapped in a vicious Moebius loop of illogic aren’t you?

    Let#s try this again: an 8 week old foetus isn’t a “little person”, so your argument fails right there.

    You may consider other people’s rejection of your argument as lacking a scientific basis – they do, an 8 week old foetus isn’t viable – or coherent – they are, you just refuse to accept it – but that doesn’t mean you’re right, just dogmatic, which we all know already.

    It’s time to grow up and accept that what you want is never, ever going to happen and, more importantly, you don’t have the right to tell other people what to do!

    Irene, needless to say, you are wrong too, in so many different ways, but presumably stemming from the same place as Baronius’ dogma.

  • On a personal note, I have known more than a few women who were carrying extremely, life-alteringly burdensome pregnancies. Because of my line of work, I have known many more people who WERE extremely, life-alteringly burdensome pregnancies.

    It is hard to look in the eyes of representatives of either category and say, “Your rights have to be, or should have been, trumped by another’s right.”For me, though, it’s much harder to look into the eyes of a child who is (despite all medical predictions of a dire future), courageously overcoming the hurdles to educating a fine and potentially Stephen Hawkingesque mind, and say that.

    I read Glenn Contrarian’s frequent contributions to these discussions on abortion, vis a vis medically fragile children, and agree, that yes, there are some children that I meet for the first time, and I go home very depressed. But then there is the magic moment when the kid finally learns something. And that child has the same joy about learning how to walk or read or do the most menial thing, that the rest of us have when we succeed in some task that challenges us. There are children who will never progress beyond a mental age of an infant. First, we don’t know who they are at birth, for we’ve been pleasantly surprised time after time. Second, an adult as dependent as an infant should be treated with the same compassion you’d treat a dependent infant. A humane society takes care of its weakest members.

    Usually, when a child is conceived with abnormalities that are inconsistent with life, he or she is not strong enough to survive even a few months in the womb, or at most a few weeks outside of it. It is only a tiny minority of pregnancies that make it to term that tax the resources of a parent beyond what he or she can bear emotionally, physically or financially. Then the State or community should step in to help, or even assume the role of warden. If the State has money enough to develop sophisticated military weaponry, and decent living conditions for the unemployed, then it can afford to take care of these child-people as well.

  • Free people have the legal right to control what happens to their bodies. Even incarcerated people are granted a certain amount of dignity under the law.

    There is only one thing that trumps a free man’s right to control what happens to his body, and that is the threat of invasion by a hostile force. Men are expected to put their lives on the line to defend those who are physically weaker, the women and children. It is the women who meanwhile secure the community’s culture and future, nurturing, protecting and educating the absolutely dependent members of society, the children and the wounded. There are gender exceptions to this rule, but biology has created this general order of things.

    This general order of things is codified in United States Selective Service law, whereby: “Almost all male U.S. citizens, and male aliens living in the U.S., who are 18 through 25, are required to register with Selective Service…In a crisis requiring a draft, men would be called in sequence determined by random lottery number and year of birth. Then, they would be examined for mental, physical and moral fitness by the military before being deferred or exempted from military service or inducted into the Armed Forces.”

    Similarly, there is only thing that should trump a free woman’s right to be in charge of what happens to her body, and that is the presence of another human being within her. All women should have the right to buy birth control, to be informed of the risks of any diagnostic, preventative, or therapeutic procedure, and to have protection from rape and any other kind of gender-related harassment. I am not talking about women who are carrying life-threatening pregnancies. In those cases, where both lives are at stake, there is no ethical reason to choose one life above the other.

    A good law is one that is ethical and preserves the dignity of human life, and that fosters the continuation of a humane culture. In recent years, neither the Republican nor the Democratic Party has had a good track record of preserving the dignity of human life, though from the support (mainly from Republicans) for torturing prisoners, and support (mainly from Democrats) for drone attacks that wreak havoc on the lives of civilians in the targeted communities, to anemic protestations of human rights abuses in governments with whom the US trades, and the free reign given to financial institutions (ie, the International Monetary Fund) which keep third world countries in perpetual debt and poverty.

  • Deano

    Re: Comment 57

    Baronius, you comment “You frame the issue in a way that ignores the bigger question, the humanity of the victim”.

    No, I frame the issue around the element of choice. I am focusing on the fact that women do not lose their personal rights over their own lives by virtue of a pregnancy. The state does not have the right to dictate or determine what women do with their bodies. The fetus does not have an independent existance apart from the mother at that stage, it has no viability. The right to determine what happens belongs to the mother, not to the state. The choice is hers.

    Abortion is a not a great option and it should be the last choice, ideally a preventable choice if you have educated people on birth control and prevention. The GOP are not particularly supportive of sex education or availability of contraceptive programs so again, as I’ve stated, the GOP doesn’t carry a hold lot of credability on the matter.

  • Baronius

    Chris and Cindy, let’s try this again. If there’s a little person with a separate genetic code who has a heartbeat and a brain, then that person isn’t your body. Your body has a genetic code that’s consistent. The fetus has a completely (well, 50%) different code. If allowed to grow, it’ll be able to vote in 18.75 years. Your body might reject it, which would be a tragedy, or the fetus’s growth might be incompatible with your own health, in which case I wouldn’t oppose a law that allowed doctors to kill it. But the fetus is not your body. Over 99% of the time – but let’s say 97%, because a lot of things go unreported – you’ve consented to the act which made this separate person’s life possible. I wouldn’t oppose a law that allowed doctors to kill those fetuses who were created without your consent.

    I’m not being extreme. It’s extreme to declare that you can stop another’s heart, destroy another’s brain, with impunity. And you haven’t presented any scientific (or even coherent) reason why a fetus shouldn’t be considered a distinct, living human being.

  • Clavos, there are many unnecessary laws in existence, so I guess it depends on exactly which “gummint workers” you mean.

  • Cindy

    Baronius are you talking about the slaves that lived inside other peoples’ wombs?

    Egads, the audacity of a man to actually suggest he has a “side” when it comes to my body.

  • Clavos

    I’m wondering; if we passed a law making it illegal to attempt to control the lives of other people by limiting their choices, could we then start arresting all those gummint workers whose primary job responsibility is just that?

    ‘Cause if we could, I say pass it — now.

  • Baronius, I’m a little shocked to learn that, in addition to not knowing what personal choice and freedom are, you also don’t know what an ad hominem is.

    Your #59 is way more of a personal attack than my observation that I think you are being extreme and manipulative, which is clear to see.

    Any argument in support of reducing the abortion limit to eight weeks from the recognized limit of 24 weeks is obviously extreme, to say nothing of a vicious attack on people’s right to live their own lives and their privacy.

    The US Supreme Court recognises this even if you can’t: “Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), is a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. Decided simultaneously with a companion case, Doe v. Bolton, the Court ruled that a right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion, but that right must be balanced against the state’s two legitimate interests in regulating abortions: protecting prenatal life and protecting women’s health.

    Arguing that these state interests became stronger over the course of a pregnancy, the Court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the trimester of pregnancy.

    The Court later rejected Roe’s trimester framework, while affirming Roe’s central holding that a person has a right to abortion until viability. The Roe decision defined “viable” as being “potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid”, adding that viability “is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks.”

    All I am getting from your ludicrous argument is that you can’t resist trying to interfere in other people’s lives and boss around other people; that’s also not an ad hominem, just an observation of your remarks.

    I really do think such wilful intrusion should be illegal.

  • Baronius

    Ad hominen, unsupported assertion, ad hominem, self-contradiction (although that last one may have been a deliberate rhetorical device).

  • Baronius, to me you are talking with a forked tongue. Talking about an 8 week limit is a very extreme position, not the “least extreme”.

    WTF ever happened to the land of the free that people can actually make this sort of proposal and expect to be taken seriously?

    I wouldn’t support your proposed law but I would support the introduction of a law that made attempts to control the lives of other people by limiting their choices a criminal offence.

  • Baronius

    Deano – I’ve been thinking about this, and it seems to me that according to slaveowners, the crux of the matter was the Fugitive Slave Act. The slaves had been bought and paid for, and government had no right to step in. You frame the issue in a way that ignores the bigger question, the humanity of the victim. So I guess my question to you is, how would you frame the issue in a way that takes the fetus’s humanity into account?

    BTW, the reason that I’m talking about 8 weeks is that I’m trying to take the least extreme position. If anyone’s serious about finding a compromise, they should propose terms that both sides could possibly agree upon. In any other circumstance, the stopping of a human heart and brain is considered death. How would anyone here feel about a law making abortion illegal over 8 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother?

  • Deano

    So now we are waxing philosophical on fetal rights…I’m still not hearing any response to the question of the key issue at hand – who should control that decision regarding abortion – the Grand old Party and the state or the woman who is being forced to bear the child to term?

    As I previously stated the crux of the argument is that the GOP wants to dictate and regulate woman’s bodies and their right to choose. They want to enforce their strictures on how and when women can make their own choices about their lives – regardless of economic or personal situations, regardless if it is in a case of rape or not, regardless of the wishes of the woman that they want to force to carry that child to term.

    So step up. Who wants to be the person to call for women to be chattel? Or is it just more comfortable to keep forgetting about the person carrying the fetus?

  • @51

    Chris is right, of course, in that we do speak of “legal facts,” but the very fact we need to qualify here is already a telltale.

    The confusion stems from conflating the consequences of legal decisions with the decisions themselves. Rights are ascribed, as a kind of status, by law, custom or other devices; and legal decisions themselves become “facts” once they are reached. Thus, Brown vs. Board of Education is a legal fact (until, say, it’s overturned.

    So Chris’s argument is in essence rhetorical. He’s saying that by virtue of the law of the land re: abortion (in certain states), the right to abortion is “a fact,” which is an emphatic way of arguing against any kind of ban.

    Another interesting usage from the Declaration of Independence:

    “We hold these truths [not facts] to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Goes to show how even simple four-letter words can trip even native and fluent speakers.

  • Cindy

    Anytime you cook and eat an egg, you may notice a white lump within the albumen. This white lump is the chicken fetus. Years ago, eggs had no such noticeable lumps. Hormones introduced to chickens may be responsible for the fast development of the chicken fetus. Note that it is NOT necessary for a chicken fetus to be fertilized for it to be present within you eggs.

    Read more: How to Remove a Chicken Fetus From an Egg @ eHow.com

  • Cindy

    Only if it was a chicken’s! 😉

  • Baronius

    Just for fun – if a fetus is just a glob of protein no bigger than a kidney bean, would you eat one?

  • Baronius

    This is where philosophy stops being a curiousity and starts becoming practical. Chris’s incomprehension of rights makes his entire position meaningless. You need to understand what it means to say that humans have rights before you can approach the questions at the margins.

  • Be that as it may, Chris, Baronius does have a point. Which isn’t to say you’re entirely in the wrong.

  • Not surprised to see you responding to Baronius’ flirtations with your specialist subject of philosophy, Roger…

  • … surprised …

  • @43

    Very nice, Baronius. Again, am pleasantly surprise.

    Your comment should be an occasion for pause.

    Too much to hope for?

    Shall see …

    At least Clavos is catching on.

  • Clavos

    It is a fact that people have rights, including the right to decide their own lives without being controlled by interfering busybodies.

    Try buying a large sugary soda in New York these days.

  • Baronius, you are playing word games to support your bogus position.

    It is a fact that people have rights, including the right to decide their own lives without being controlled by interfering busybodies.

    As someone who thinks a partly formed foetus is an independent human, I don’t think I need lectures on facts from you.

    Please accept that on this matter you only have the right to live your life the way you want to, not to make others do it your way. That’s a fact!

    The only nonsense here is coming from you…

  • Baronius

    Note that that comment was off-subject a bit. I’m not arguing that people don’t have rights. I’m pointing out that Chris’s last comment was nonsense.

  • Baronius

    Christopher, think about what you’re saying. How is a right a fact? How is it falsifiable, or quantifiable? Let’s say that someone standing next to you disputes it: how would you prove him wrong?

    You’re confusing first principles here (the realm of ethics) with facts (the realm of epistemology). Even a basic familiarity with philosophy would make you realize your error.

  • Baronius, you couldn’t be more mistaken; it is a fact that you don’t have the right to force your views on others.

    Whatever you think about abortion is how you should live your life, so if you ever get anyone pregnant, you can concern yourself with that.

    If we do have the right to force our views on others, then I’ll be forcing mine on you.

    Furthermore, I don’t accept your judgement call, and that’s all it is, that an 8 week old baby is an independent human being, so your argument is utterly specious and self serving anyway.

    Whilst we’re swapping stories, two weeks ago an Irish woman went to hospital with severe abdominal pains. It turns out that she was on the verge of miscarrying her 17 week old baby.

    The specifics of the case meant that her life was in danger and she and her husband asked the Irish hospital staff to perform an abortion to save her life. The staff refused, saying this is still a Catholic country, and both the woman and her baby died as a consequence.

  • Deano

    So if you want to play the “parse the fetus” game, then you would be okay if it was aborted at 5 weeks, prior to the development of a beating heart and with the brain only in a precusor state? Aborting it then doesn’t stop the heart.

    As I mentioned, you can play that game endlessly back to the fist cell division and it is still irrelevant to the fact that the fetus is inside of a woman who has the right to determine her own fate, not the Republican Party.

    I assume the reason you don’t want to address that SCIENTIFIC FACT is because you don’t want to come out and state that woman have no right or say over their fetuses once they become pregnanat, but they sure as hell end up responsible for them once they pop out.

    You want to address the GOP elephant in the room or go back to discussing cell division?

  • Igor

    The republicans simply alienated their audience on the abortion issue.

  • Baronius

    I’m just playing by Zing’s rules. I’m not talking about political convenience or budget constraints, or even theology. I’m saying that, scientifically, an abortion of an eight-week-old fetus stops a human heart and destroys a human brain. If you guys want to skip the science and talk about the politics, I’ll remember that next time someone says that social conservatives are anti-science.

  • Dr Dreadful

    You are correct, Baronius, I’m not. My point is that most of us would lose little sleep over squashing a beetle in spite of its unique genetic code, heartbeat and brainwaves. Any such distinction we draw is essentially arbitrary.

    For instance, in medieval times the fetus was considered human (by some accounts) at the time of quickening: the point at which the mother started feeling it move around inside her womb. At other points in history, humanity was not conferred until birth. (Some on the Right now seem to think that this is the point at which it stops.) With our modern scientific knowledge, we now know that biologically speaking there’s nothing particularly special about either of these milestones. I would just ask what’s so special about eight weeks? Or eight days, the point at which the blastocyst starts to attach itself to the wall of the uterus? Or even conception, since a significant number of pregnancies fail before the woman even knows she is pregnant?

  • Deano

    Am eight-week old fetus is not mature enough to survive outside the womb, it does not have a fully developed brain, lungs or limbic system, it is just starting to have developed limbs. In short, it is not an independent life form. If anything, it is a transitional form – cells potentially growing into a person.

    That the reason that abortions are performed in the first trimester – the fetus is not developed or viable at that point.

    As I said, I’m not going to parse that point with you as you’ve made your position plain. As I noted, neither doctors nor the law nor a number of religious authorities necessarily agree with you.

    Why don’t you try addressing the key issue at hand – who should control that decision regarding abortion – the Grand old Party and the state or the woman who is being forced to bear the child to term?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    Try taking care of medically-fragile Foster children for a while, then get back to me about abortion. The taxpayers of the state of Washington pays over a quarter of a million dollars every single year to take care of my Foster child – at least that’s what it was in 2005 when I added it all up. I’m sure it’s significantly more now.

    Most of that goes to pay for the 16 hours of nursing care every day of the year, plus the doctor’s appointments almost every month, plus the scads of medications we give him every day (and his meals cost about $50/day, too). In case you’re wondering, very little of that goes to us – we’re “just” Foster parents.

    Our Foster child will never have a girlfriend or enjoy a roller coaster or play with the other kids. He pretty much just lays there watching television – he can’t do much of anything else. What’s more, he will always need this level of care – and he just might outlive me. There’s thousands of kids like him just in Washington state – most don’t need quite the same level of care (but many need more), but most will also have the same lack of any social life, the same total impossibility of finding real fulfillment in this life…other than to just lay there, watching television.

    Would it have been better if he had never been born? I truly hate to say it, but yes. It would have been better for his birth family and for society as a whole.

    No woman decides to have an abortion just for the heck of it…and I suspect you’ll find that while most of them carry the guilt the rest of their lives, they still would have made the same decision. In my opinion, I say we should have women – and ONLY women – vote on legalization of abortion, and then all of us abide by their decision. It’s their bodies – you and I will never, ever know what really goes through their minds and their hearts concerning this matter.

    Anyone who calls themselves ‘pro-life’ but still supports the death penalty is not ‘pro-life’. They’re pro-birth and nothing else. That’s why I hold most self-proclaimed hard-line conservative “pro-lifers” to be rank hypocrites, not only for supporting the death penalty, but also for opposing free prenatal care, mandated maternity leave, and Head Start. Anyone who is TRULY pro-life would be all for those because they protect the life, health, and development of the child.

    When I see the “pro-life” movement stopping pregnant women from drinking (my Foster child has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome), when I see them protesting FOR free prenatal care and mandated maternity leave and Head Start, then I might pay attention to them…but not before.

  • Baronius

    Deano, by what medical definition is the fetus not a distinct human being? It isn’t a growth; it’s not a dung beetle; if you took a cell from it into the lab, you’d conclude that it was the cell of a human being. Someone earlier said that we should start with scientific facts – whatever the law may say, or the GOP, or whomever, I don’t see how you can call the fetus non-human or non-distinct.

  • Baronius

    Distinct human genetic code. I know you’re not stupid, Dread.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Scientific fact – by 8 weeks, the fetus has a unique genetic code, a heartbeat, and brain waves.

    So does a dung beetle.

  • Deano

    First Baronius, if you want to go all sciencey on us, then you should probably include all the scientific facts not just the ones you pick and choose to highlight. The school is way out on the definition of a 8 week old fetus as a distinct human being, given that the brain is still barely beginning its development. Under the law, and accepted medical definitions, it is not a distinct living being at 8 weeks.

    I’m not going to parse hairs on this because it is a waste of time.

    The key point and crux of the argument is that the GOP wants to dictate and regulate woman’s bodies and their right to choose. They want to enforce their strictures on how and when women can make their own choices about their lives – regardless of economic or personal convictions, regardless if it is in a case of rape or not, regardless of the wishes of the woman that they want to force to carry that child to term, and once that child is born, they don’t give a shit about it. At that point, it is regarded as just another slutty teenagers kid trying to milk the system, another useless 47 percenter.

    As I said previously, when the GOP decides to make birth control and sex education a key part of their education platform, rather then preaching absintence and stupidity, and when the GOP helps promote alternatives to abortion and provides support for people who make the decision to then go forward with carrying an unwanted child into the world (whether that is more robust adoptin programs, educational or fnancial support for single mothers – whatever), then they can climb onto their moral high horse and parade around. Otherwise their just another set of men trying to tell women to shut up and do what their told.

  • Baronius

    Christopher –

    A “I think we should start the conversation about abortion with the fact that it is nobody else’s business what someone does in their life”

    B “so stop trying to tell other people what to do.”

    Well, first off, B isn’t a fact. It’s a good idea in general, but it isn’t a fact. But then again, neither is A. They’re both judgement calls. You need a philosophical, not scientific, foundation for them.

    I happen to concur with both (although blanket statements like that can have exceptions). But how to they relate to my scientific statement about the 8-week-old? If it’s a distinct living human being, then abortion isn’t what someone does in their life, it’s what someone does to someone else. Since abortion is the deliberate ending of a human life, if government has any role in protecting people, this is a legitimate case for it.

  • Cindy

    #6 Ombud,

    Why would the poor vote for Republicans. Republicans marginalize the pov of those in ghettos and attribute the problem to laziness rather than a problem with the system that has created ghettos in the first place.

    Your right wing belief in “laziness”, “weakness”, etc being the problem is misguided. Your view goes along with the creation of a prison-industrial system for those whose circumstances you judge from your privileged position, yet whom you do not understand. And you refuse to understand them.

  • Baronius

    Deano – Yup. Tiny and dependent. Is that a disqualifier? I started with a scientific fact, that the 8-week fetus is a distinct living human being. Does its size take away its humanity?

    (Not that its humanity necessarily guarantees protection. I’m all for science, but after assembling the facts, there is a need to make a moral decision. If you want to say that weak and small humans don’t deserve our protection, then that’s a moral choice you can make. But according to the science, if you approve of abortion, that *is* the moral code you’re embracing.)

  • I think we should start the conversation about abortion with the fact that it is nobody else’s business what someone does in their life so stop trying to tell other people what to do.

  • zingzing

    statistical fact: women will continue to have abortions whether or not you criminalize them for it, whether or not you damn them from your pulpit, and whether or not you make it dangerous for them to have them just because you disagree, just as they always have done, just as they always will, just as they do in nations that have banned abortion, and just as they will in america. abortion rates do not change because of banning. abortion rates do not hinge upon bans, they hinge upon economics and liberal policies towards female sexuality.

    but let’s go with with your scientific fact for now. it’s true that after a couple of months of gestation, a fetus has many signs of individual life. did you know that about 15-20% of all known pregnancies are auto-aborted (miscarried) within the first 13 weeks? and that’s not even considering how often our devilish sexy bodies abort pregnancies too early to tell. amazing how our bodies abort far more precious babies than legalized abortion does. unwanted pregnancy, the reason why abortion exists, is cut to nearly nil (yes, including a zygote implanting on the vaginal wall), when birth control is taken regularly. in places where birth control is accessible, abortion is lower.

    in places where birth control is inaccessible (and those are pretty much the places where abortion is illegal), abortion is higher. compare western europe to eastern europe, america to latin america.

    one would think that if you were wanting to save precious babies, or souls, or whatever, you’d look into birth control instead of vast gov’t control and criminalization of our sex lives. small gov’t, my ass. stay the fuck off my bed.

  • Deano

    And it is the size of a kidney bean.

  • Baronius

    Scientific fact – by 8 weeks, the fetus has a unique genetic code, a heartbeat, and brain waves. That’s the most damning scientific information about abortion. Yeah, personally, I’d argue against all abortions, but there’s no doubt that any abortion after 8 weeks kills a distinct human life. We can start the discussion there.

  • Zingzing

    “In general, there is no “right” way to present an issue.”

    Science (real science, not some stuff you made up), statistics (non-fucked-with type), use of actual reasoning instead of appeals to emotion: that’s how you present an issue to reasonable people.

    You know what leads to far less abortions? Social programs for mothers, sex education and access to birth control. Banning does nothing but criminalize the act, and the pro-choice moment bundles banning abortion with hating on the very things that would actually decrease it. It’s sex-shaming through and through.

    The right is beginning to see the light when it comes to drugs and prohibition, but they still walk smack into that big wall of dumb when it comes to abortion and prohibition.

  • Baronius

    Ombud – Let me spell this out for you. You’re calling for a discussion based on reason. No problem. You’re using reason to articulate why pro-choicers are no different than child-killers. No problem. You’re surprised that people don’t like to be called barbarians and murderers. Problem!

    In general, there is no “right” way to present an issue. Different people will respond to different approaches. Some people won’t respond to any approach, depending on the issue. But you’re not going to make friends by insulting people, no matter how rational your insults are. Is there a place for a more confrontational approach? Arguably yes. A very small percentage of people will hear an argument against something they believe and be persuaded by it on the spot. More people will reject the argument defensively at first but maybe mull it over sometime in the future. The vast majority of people will respond by shouting “four legs good” over and over again until they can’t hear you anymore. It’s called cognitive dissonance; there’s been a lot of research on the subject.

    Anyway, my point is, you can’t really complain about how other people don’t present the issue well if you’re making rookie mistakes yourself.

  • John lake

    I feel that every human life has value, nearly beyond comprehension. This is self evident.
    Before abortion became legal, young women were dieing by the hundreds daily or weekly on improvised tables. In many cases the surgery was performed on an unsterile kitchen table. The deaths caused by these illegal “back alley”abortions were a factor in making abortion in America legal.

  • Deano

    Whomever is the comments editor should be informed that earlier today comments were disappearing into the moderation/spam filter….for no apparent reason. maybe some keywords are off but it would be good if they can be restored.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Ombud, no-one is conflating anything, just trying to provide an answer for your question as to why the GOP has been so unsuccessful at promoting the idea of the value of human life.

  • It is far too easy to criticise your statement that “every life has value, and civilized societies protect life”, which is also fundamentally dishonest.

    The reason it is dishonest is that you are using it as a lead in to defend your opinion about abortion, but the subject of abortion, your opinion about it and the statement in question are entirely unrelated.

    The giveaway is in your closing argument where you assert, without anything to support it, that “Real concern for human rights and promotion of abortion can’t exist together”.

    Why not?

    I support a wide range of human rights and the right to an abortion, (which you also refer to as infanticide in a cheap and obviously, if ineffective, attempt at manipulation), when necessary is one of them.

    I am also offended by your assertion that “abortion is therefore something that a civilized society can not tolerate”, which is as oppressive and controlling as it is stupid.

    The term pro life is itself offensive and nothing more than yet another failed attempt to manipulate people. Cheap and nasty tactics.

    You are actually pro control and regulation of other people’s lives on the erroneous basis that you think you know better.

    Realville? Surrealville would be a better tag line for these lazy arguments that are nothing but dressing up your opinion whilst offering nothing of substance, whilst you simultaneously appear to believe that that you are trying to “establish a coherent argument”. You’re not, you’re trying to find an argument to support your position.

  • Feels like a lifetime, Irene

  • Early in his presidency, when Bush was still talking about “compassionate conservatism,” both parties might have been working cooperatively on legislation that was comprehensively pro-life.

    But that was all so very long ago, Ombud.

  • Dr Dreadful-

    I’m not the one conflating arguments. Pretending like I am does nothing at all to advance the discussion. Tossing every beef you have with the GOP into a discussion about abortion is silly and absurd, which I am starting to guess is the reason it keeps being done.

  • It’s the same as arguing that you ran that stop sign because your neighbor beats his wife.

    No, it’s more like complaining that someone ran the stop sign while you were speeding through the intersection. You may be correct that they ran the sign, but your moral position and credibility are weakened by your own actions.

  • I agree, Irene. More to the point, the GOP should have, in my opinion, used the time GWB had the Senate and the House to enact pro-life legislation. I think you’re correct that the GOP seems to posture pro-life more than ACT pro-life.

  • The Republican Party seeks the votes and campaign contributions of those who identify as pro-life. If the Party were actively trying to turn Republicans into pro-lifers, instead of simply turning pro-lifers into Republicans, they’d alienate Republicans who are socially liberal but fiscally conservative. I think that’s pretty much it, Ombud.

  • Dr. Dreadful-

    What I’m trying to do is to establish a coherent argument. Social programs and drone attacks are legitimate areas of discussion, but they have no relevance to the issue of abortion. It’s the same as arguing that you ran that stop sign because your neighbor beats his wife. So my suggestion is that we reach agreement that civilized people do not slaughter their young by the millions. Then we can debate the issues we may disagree on.

    If you want to have a coherent and productive discussion, that’s how it’s done. If you just want to hurl invective and beat each other up verbally, then the way to do that would be to keep posting incoherent, conflated, ad hominem arguments.

  • Ombud, what I think Deano is trying to say is that the reason why the GOP is doing such a godawful job of emphasizing the value of life is that they don’t seem to value it nearly as much once it has emerged from the birth canal.

  • Deano-

    Those may be things YOU’RE talking about, but what I’m talking about is that every life has value, and civilized societies do not engage in infanticide. That point has, as I see it, nothing at all to do with the myriad other issues you’re tossing around. That’s called “conflating” an argument.

    If you and I can agree that every life has value, and that abortion is therefore something that a civilized society can not tolerate, then maybe we can move on and discuss the other issues you have with the GOP. You may find I agree with you on some of them.

    I also feel compelled to tell you that, while I work in politics, I am not a member of either major party.

  • Deano

    We aren’t discussing the failings of the Democrats or the many, many factors that enter into the systemic development of inner city poverty, we are discussing the fact that the GOP paints itself as moralistic supporters of the right to life and on restricting abortion while simultaneously turning around and ignoring and marginalizing the “offspring” that result from that policy.

    God forbid the baby gets aborted but it’s okay if they die later of TB or a drive-by…

    It reminds me of the ridiculous insistance on abstinence education instead of teaching basic birth control. Looked at the teenage birth rates in any of the abstinence-education regions lately?

    GOP wants to restrict abortion? Then make NOT getting an abortion a viable choice for people who have very few choices, make birth control taught across all the public school systems and make birth control options available to young women.

    Take a few of those steps and I might start acknowledging that that GOP cares. Until then, its hypocrisy and aimed at forcing restrictive choices on others.

  • If you think only “self-declared aggressors” are being killed by U.S. drone attacks, your info is inaccurate

  • @Deano and Igor-

    In re-reading my replies to you both, I think I came across as a little testy. My bad on that. I appreciate the comments, and I enjoy the back-and-forth.

    Of course I think my comments are spot-on correct, but probably worded a bit less congenially than I would have preferred. After all, we are all sharing space here.

  • Deano-

    You seem to be suggesting that we should have a discussion about whether conservative policies are, as you characterize them, hurtful to the populace of a nation, or whether it is more hurtful to a citizenry to be “provided for” in the manner in which liberals “provide for” their constituents.

    Have you been to Detroit lately, Deano? Have you seen the level of despair and destitution in inner-city housing projects in the Bronx? I have, and don’t you find it at least worthy of some consideration that the people who live in these hopeless machines of desperation and dependency have had nothing but Democrats running their cities and neighborhoods for a generation or more now? What “progress” have they made at Queensbridge Houses, Deano? What good has their relentless and near-unanimous support of liberal Democrats gotten them?

    Can you show me ONE ghetto that’s historically voted Republican? So, if they are run by Democrats… who do you suppose is to blame for this?

    Are you really so naive as to think the Democrat Party is the kinder, more compassionate party? Are you really so gullible that you expect ANY party to provide jack squat to you when you really need it? The best we can hope for is for the government to leave us alone, no matter which party runs it.

  • @Igor- No, I really don’t.

    First of all, I wouldn’t say, “killing the infidels.” I would say, “defending ourselves against a self-declared aggressor.” Or maybe you’ve missed all the calls for jihad in the Muslim world.

    Secondly, I would argue that defending ourselves against openly hostile aggressors is one of the primary and legitimate functions of a government. I would expect you to have the common sense to be able to differentiate between a hostile aggressor and an unborn child, without me having to point it out to you.

  • Deano

    I’m not arguing that every life doesn’t have value, I am arguing that your fatuous, self-aggrandizing pseudo-moralistic claim the GOP gives a two-penny damn about life aside from their obsession around fetal rights is undemonstrated and unproven.

    Nothing in your blanket statements of how wonderful the GOP is backed up by any evidence. Yes, they support and love fetal rights, but God forbid that child pops out because at that point the GOP doesn’t give a shit.

    The GOP consistently argues against educational and financial support for unwed mothers, decrys social programs as a blight on the economy, and routinely trys to treat womens health concerns as nonsense while framing legal restrictions around woman’s right to control their own bodies and rights.

    When the GOP offers a policy of substance towards providing some social alternative to abortion beyond trying to impose their reproductive beliefs on others, you can lay claim to that moral high ground. Until then, its a load of nonsense.

  • Igor

    Nice parry, Ombud, but you still have to reconcile the two extremes of the Rightists: pro-life vs. kill the infidels.

  • I find it interesting that you think attacking the Republican Party with negative characterizations somehow means there is something inherently dishonest in the statement that “every life has value, and civilized societies protect life.”

    Every life does have value, Deano, and you have done nothing to rebut that statement. The only thing you have done is attack the person(s) making the statement. That’s called an ad hominem attack, and it is intellectually invalid argumentation, albeit arguably therapeutic for people to whom intellectual validity is meaningless.

    If you’d like to actually rebut the argument that every life has value, and civilized societies protect life, then have at it. Just don’t expect me to get suckered in by your sophistry.

  • Deano

    The problem with the argument that you put forward lies in your statement: “Every life has value, and a civilized society protects life. It’s that simple.”

    It is difficult to equate the gun-toting, country-bombimg, merciless capitalist ethos of the market-over-all, anti-socialist, welfare-killing, drug-warring, God-fearing, “agin-the-guvermint” hating, attitude with the warm fuzziness of your above statement.

    Simply put, the general conclusion you can develop of the GOP right now is that they care about the fetus but not about the mother, and the fetus is only worthy of care until it pops out into the world, after which it is just another whore’s crack-baby milking the system for welfare and free healthcare. Every life (or collection of cells) is sacred…right up until it can be defined as something else, then it becomes a burden on the hard-working, tax-paying members of society so let’s relegate it to some poverty-sticken hellhole, give it crappy food and little to no education until it finally dies or robs a Seven-Eleven, at which point you get to bury it in prison or a pauper’s grave.

    If you want to put into place a society that works towards providing alternatives to abortion (i.e. education, assistance funding, medical care, robust system for foster placement, easily accessible birth control, better sex education (abstinence just doesn’t cut it outside of the dark ages), child nutrition etc.), then don’t go claiming the GOP gives a rat’s hindquarters for babies or child care…because based on their record and the evidence, they don’t. The GOP is dedicated to lip service pandering to the evangelical and anti-abortion forces, and not being driven by a moral choice.

    You need to look at little closer at that definition of hypocrisy…