Contributor Post Created with Sketch. In Defense of Abortion’s Messy Status Quo

 

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the state’s Human Life Protection Act on May 15, enacting one of the toughest anti-abortion laws in the nation. The key provision of this statute renders it criminal for “for any person to intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion,” subject only to an exception where the abortion “is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.” The drafters of the legislation refused to add any amendment that would legalize abortions in the cases of rape and incest. The legislation specifically exempts women who have abortions from any form of civil or criminal liability, but it imposes sentences up to life imprisonment for any physician within the state who performs an illegal abortion.

The law is on a direct collision course with Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 established a constitutional right to abortion, even though at the time of its passage abortions were commonly, but not universally, subject to criminal sanctions either by statute or at common law. Governor Ivey makes no bones about seeking a show-down. The Alabama laws punishing abortion are still on the books. She wants the Supreme Court to “revisit”—i.e. overrule—Roe and thinks that the latest Alabama law is the best way to force its hand. Predictably, the statute’s passage has generated intense dispute over abortions that center on the merits of the legislation and the likelihood that the Supreme Court will modify or strike down Roe.

The Alabama law classifies abortion as a felony form of homicide. Homicide in its simplest form is the deliberate and unlawful killing of one person by another. No one doubts that an abortion is a deliberate procedure, so the questions are: What is a person? And what are the justifications that make it lawful to kill another person? Abortion advocates defend against the charge of homicide on both grounds. On the first, their argument is that no one becomes a person until he or she is outside the womb. As CNN Contributor Christine Quinn put the point: “When a woman is pregnant, that is not a human being inside of her. It is a part of the mother.” That claim brought forth a fierce response by Alexandra DeSanctis, a staff writer at National Review. In an article addressing the abortion controversy, DeSanctis raised the simple point that the DNA of the child is distinct from that of the mother and father, and that it is thus absurd to claim that an unborn child with a heartbeat does not have the status of an independent person.

Should we accept the premise of so-called heartbeat bills that the decisive point for personhood is when the heartbeat can be detected (after six weeks), long before any fetus becomes viable outside the womb? DeSanctis does not address the place of conception in the argument about the beginning of life, but I think that any claim that the detection of a heartbeat is the critical point is ultimately untenable. There are no clear mileposts during the process of pregnancy that generate the needed hardline between non-person and person. The DNA of each human being, as DeSanctis notes, is distinctive—and it becomes distinctive, I would add, at the time of conception, which is the only coherent point at which it is possible to say that human life begins. The point is evident to women who want children and treat pregnancy as a welcome event. The status of the fertilized egg as a person does not shift because pregnancy is unwelcome, even in cases of rape or incest. The Supreme Court made a hopeless intellectual muddle out of Roe when it waited until viability to extend full protection for the fetus. The problem about the criminality of abortion cannot be wished away by dubious metaphysics.

The next stage in the debate turns to the question of whether there is some justification for performing an abortion that removes its unlawful taint. The Alabama legislature recognized that the class of justifications for abortions is not empty by recognizing the legality of an abortion to save the life of the mother or to prevent a serious health risk, which, it rightly added, would not include the ordinary emotional distress of pregnancy. This justification has been recognized long before Roe. For example, in Rex v. Bourne (1938) an English trial court held that the Crown could not convict Mr. Bourne, a professional physician who had admitted to performing an abortion in a hospital, under the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861, unless the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Bourne had not performed the abortion “in good faith for the purpose only of preserving the life of the girl.”

Nonetheless, it is far from clear that the only acceptable justification for an abortion is the protection of the life or health of the mother. Certainly, even those who are against abortions at will might recognize that rape and incest place intolerable burdens upon a woman that go far beyond those of ordinary pregnancy, and would allow abortions in these cases, at least for women who had received some medical counseling. It is just that position, for example, that President Trump, invoking the authority of Ronald Reagan, endorsed in his recent pro-life tweet.

The list of permissible justifications could, in my view, easily expand to include the woman who knows that she carries a seriously defective child, including one with a fatal condition like Tay-Sachs disease that results in an early death after a painful life. Indeed, women desperate for children, who have endured expensive medical procedures, nonetheless overwhelmingly choose to terminate pregnancies that carry this grim prognosis. In my view, choices like these carry enormous weight, which the Alabama statute fails to address with its broad claim “that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.” Some women may still go to term when facing these prospects, but it seems inhumane to require every woman to do so.

The gravity of these cases of serious disease should, however, lead us to reject as a matter of principle broader claims that a woman should be able to terminate a pregnancy because, as CNN’s Chris Cuomo claimed, “Her body is always her property.“ That point is true, but quite irrelevant. Philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson analogized pregnancy to forcibly hooking up a woman to a famous, unconscious violinist for a period of nine months, because only she has the right blood type to deal with his disease. The comparison is grotesque. Pregnancy is a natural process and to treat an unborn child as some kind of invader of the womb misses the entire point. There is a powerful common law that says no one is under a duty to act as a good Samaritan to rescue a stranger. But that principle has never applied to the parent-child relationship. The absolutist position is thus desperately wrong, which is why some anguish occurs in dealing with the credible justifications that the Alabama statute overlooks.

These points have some imperfect resonance with popular sentiment. As Patrick Egan, a professor of politics at NYU, has pointed out, most Americans—like Trump—tend to avoid the extremes that hold abortion is either always allowable or always forbidden, and struggle to find an appropriate middle ground. Most Americans tend to think of abortions as immoral, but they do not tend to think of them as illegal. At the same time, many Americans think that the legal and moral questions are related. Given these mixed sentiments, the Alabama legislature’s initiative may backfire politically. Many Republican voters who are conservative on fiscal issues are more liberal on social issues, which means that Alabama may have handed pro-choice advocates a powerful tool to galvanize Democrats and woo independents for the upcoming 2020 election. It is virtually certain that any lower court that looks at the Alabama decision will be duty-bound to strike it down under Roe. The same is likely to prove true of other strongly anti-abortion statutes, such as the recent Georgia law and another bill making its way in Missouri.

It could well be, therefore, that the Supreme Court will refuse to entertain any challenge against Roe v. Wade in the absence of any conflict between the circuits. I have no doubt that Roe is wrong as a matter of constitutional principle. And yet, with evident uneasiness, I think that it would be a mistake for the Court to rise to the bait in the Alabama case. Socially, the messy status quo may prove more durable than either of the two extreme legal positions.

© 2019 by the Board of Trustees of Leland Stanford Junior University

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  1. Skyler Coolidge

    Thank you, professor. I whole heartedly agree.

    • #1
    • May 20, 2019, at 5:10 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Profile Photo Member

     

    I believe abortion is morally wrong, and that life begins at conception from a moral point of view. Many others at Ricochet agree with that position.

    But what the legislatures and Courts are dealing with is the law regarding abortion not morals. The freedom of religion was a key feature of the original Bill of Rights that kept religious passions at bay in these United States that had frequently boiled over and led to vicious wars and murder in Europe and England.

    The debate over abortion doesn’t always follow a strictly Religious versus Atheist divide but it comes pretty darn close for many people. I think many legal scholars in the classical liberal tradition in the past thought the best way to interpret the first amendment’s call for a freedom of religion was to adhere as best as possible to a ‘neutral stance” between religious arguments, among religions and between the religious versus Atheist/Agnostic positions. Unfortunately, the current position of the Court is not neutral; the court clearly has taken the Atheist position in it granting of abortions almost without limit, with allowing government to fund those abortions and to even promote the abortion upon demand culture as a cherished right and a moral “good” in our schools and Universities. 

    So while I agree that the Alabama law perhaps seriously inflames religious passions of the Atheist point of view in a way that could lead to violence and great trouble, there is clear work to be done to redress the damage done by the Court to the rights of the religious in regards to abortion. The ‘messy status quo” now tilts far to much to the Atheist point of view. 

    First, let’s start with Left’s cherished Roe vs Wade. Roe, unlike current law, recognized that abortion should not be allowed when the child was conceivably viable beyond the womb – at that time at the six month mark of pregnancy. In the years since 1973 the time of viability is now about 5 months rather than 6. So restricting abortion beyond 20 weeks, and banning the ghastly partial birth abortions is consistent with Roe and with a more neutral freedom of religious stance.

    Secondly, Government funding of abortions should not be allowed, for that is a gross scar on religious freedom. It is one thing to allow an abortion, it is something quite else to pay for it.

    Thirdly, the idea of a “women’s right to choose” where only the mother decides whether there is to be an abortion totally disregards the role of the father and diminished his role in his family for ever more. How can we as a society expect proper parenting and appropriate parental responsibility from both the father and mother when the most important decision of his child’s life is taken away from the father?

    Lastly, our publicly funded schools and Universities need to be required to take a neutral stance on abortion; it should no longer be promoted. 

    • #2
    • May 20, 2019, at 6:47 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Richard Epstein: And yet, with evident uneasiness, I think that it would be a mistake for the Court to rise to the bait in the Alabama case. Socially, the messy status quo may prove more durable than either of the two extreme legal positions.

    As opposed to the New York “case?” The status quo is untenable. It will not stand. It will either be shoved further in the secular supremacist left’s direction, along with the rest of the sexual politics field, or it will at long last be moved back towards the center. The Supreme Court inserted itself into the center of politics, so it will either remain there or get back out.

    • #3
    • May 20, 2019, at 7:09 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. Skyler Coolidge

    unsk2 (View Comment):
    the court clearly has taken the Atheist position in it granting of abortions almost without limit

    Good grief. Most people who support abortion are religious, mostly either protestant or Jewish.

    There is a sizeable proportion of atheists that oppose abortion.

    It is a false dichotomoy to frame the abortion as strictly or even mostly as a religious argument.

    • #4
    • May 20, 2019, at 7:18 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    Richard Epstein: Certainly, even those who are against abortions at will might recognize that rape and incest place intolerable burdens upon a woman that go far beyond those of ordinary pregnancy, and would allow abortions in these cases,

    Isn’t that burden a social construct? What if society considered it brave to carry to term in such cases? What then?

    • #5
    • May 20, 2019, at 7:19 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    Richard Epstein: Socially, the messy status quo may prove more durable than either of the two extreme legal positions.

    We are government that functions by the will the people and the people are divided. They don’t like either extreme and the consensus is they prefer not to decide. It is hard to imagine a Robert’s court choosing either extreme with a consensus of the people. But the issue will not go away, because the folks on either end view abortion or the lack of choice as abhorrent as slavery. Perhaps technology will allow us an escape from this Kobayashi Maru…. a perfect contraceptive or a surrogate procedure.

    • #6
    • May 20, 2019, at 7:41 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Skyler Coolidge

    DonG (View Comment):

    Richard Epstein: Certainly, even those who are against abortions at will might recognize that rape and incest place intolerable burdens upon a woman that go far beyond those of ordinary pregnancy, and would allow abortions in these cases,

    Isn’t that burden a social construct? What if society considered it brave to carry to term in such cases? What then?

    No. No raped woman should ever be required to do anything to participate in the creation or continuation of an abomination. The child from rape is not innocent and is the product of a crime. That is a bright line. Procreation is a choice AT THE TIME OF CONCEPTION. If you get pregnant from voluntarily having sex, then you have consented to being pregnant. If you were raped, then you were not consenting to the pregnancy. A woman has the right to determine with whom she should have a child.

    On the other hand, the “unintended consequence” will be that women wanting an abortion will just claim they were raped and that would be that. They’ll get their abortion, and likely some otherwise innocent man will be imprisoned.

    • #7
    • May 20, 2019, at 7:59 PM PDT
    • Like
  8. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Richard Epstein: Certainly, even those who are against abortions at will might recognize that rape and incest place intolerable burdens upon a woman that go far beyond those of ordinary pregnancy, and would allow abortions in these cases, at least for women who had received some medical counseling.

    Such a position sacrifices moral reasoning for cheap sympathies. It is plainly illogical. 

    If an unborn child is a human person inherently deserving of life, then it necessarily follows that a mother may not kill the child to be spared emotional trauma. Outside the womb, we do not permit killing of an innocent person, even one’s own child, to spare oneself pain or hardship. 

    Furthermore, there are examples of women who bore the children of rape and loved them joyfully.

    What you propose is little different than eugenics: kill the child to avoid hardship and suffering.

    • #8
    • May 20, 2019, at 8:08 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Richard Epstein: The Alabama law classifies abortion as a felony form of homicide. Homicide in its simplest form is the deliberate and unlawful killing of one person by another. No one doubts that an abortion is a deliberate procedure, so the questions are: What is a person? And what are the justifications that make it lawful to kill another person?

    Feticide is recognized as the crime of homicide in 38 states. Of course, these laws specifically exempt abortion. The reasoning for making such an exemption is unclear, other than as a pragmatic approach to making abortion legal. Furthermore, the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act (18 USC 1841)

    …recognizes an embryo or fetus in utero as a legal victim, if they are injured or killed during the commission of any of over 60 listed federal crimes of violence. The law defines “child in utero” as “a member of the species Homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.”

    Given that a fetus is recognized in law as a member of our species, it seems to me that the question “what is a person?” is settled law. Thus, abortion must fall under the rubric of justified homicide. Yet, somehow, no one ever seems to call it that.

    • #9
    • May 20, 2019, at 8:11 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. Profile Photo Member

    “The child from rape is not innocent and is the product of a crime.”

    While I would not argue against an exception for rape in any abortion law, the unborn child is clearly innocent and was not a party to the rape. 

    “It is a false dichotomoy to frame the abortion as strictly or even mostly as a religious argument.”

     While making generalities in always dangerous in any argument, I would think it would be suffice to say that those who oppose abortion generally do so from religious or moral point of view, and those who are the most fearful of restrictions on abortions often believe that the abortion restrictions are being promoted from what they call the “religious right”, whether that is true or not. 

    • #10
    • May 20, 2019, at 8:16 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Richard Epstein: The list of permissible justifications could, in my view, easily expand to include the woman who knows that she carries a seriously defective child, including one with a fatal condition like Tay-Sachs disease that results in an early death after a painful life. Indeed, women desperate for children, who have endured expensive medical procedures, nonetheless overwhelmingly choose to terminate pregnancies that carry this grim prognosis. In my view, choices like these carry enormous weight, which the Alabama statute fails to address with its broad claim “that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.” Some women may still go to term when facing these prospects, but it seems inhumane to require every woman to do so.

    And there it is: eugenics. 

    Ask mothers who lost their children at a very young age if they regret having the child. They don’t. Even babies, too young to speak or learn or interact in so many ways, are precious and irreplaceable to loving mothers.

    Babies are loved for who they are, not just who they might become.

    Born babies are not different in kind from unborn babies. Both are totally dependent for survival. Both are yet in physical development. Both may be loved.

    • #11
    • May 20, 2019, at 8:17 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. Skyler Coolidge

    unsk2 (View Comment):

    “The child from rape is not innocent and is the product of a crime.”

    While I would not argue against an exception for rape in any abortion law, the unborn child is clearly innocent and was not a party to the rape.

    “It is a false dichotomoy to frame the abortion as strictly or even mostly as a religious argument.”

    While making generalities in always dangerous in any argument, I would think it would be suffice to say that those who oppose abortion generally do so from religious or moral point of view, and those who are the most fearful of restrictions on abortions often believe that the abortion restrictions are being promoted from what they call the “religious right”, whether that is true or not.

    How is it moral to force a woman to carry the child of a loathsome criminal? It is not. Procreation is something every person has to be free to choose to do. That child is half her and half someone that likely carries genes that are repugnant to her. The child of a rape is not innocent. If the woman diligently reports a rape and cooperates in finding and prosecuting the rapist, she should have every right to end her participation in propagating the genes of the rapist. Of course she can choose to carry the child to term, and there should be a limited time to terminate the pregnancy (the heartbeat rule works for me in this case, because the woman should know she was raped).

    • #12
    • May 20, 2019, at 8:28 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Stina Member

    Skyler (View Comment):

    unsk2 (View Comment):

    “The child from rape is not innocent and is the product of a crime.”

    While I would not argue against an exception for rape in any abortion law, the unborn child is clearly innocent and was not a party to the rape.

    “It is a false dichotomoy to frame the abortion as strictly or even mostly as a religious argument.”

    While making generalities in always dangerous in any argument, I would think it would be suffice to say that those who oppose abortion generally do so from religious or moral point of view, and those who are the most fearful of restrictions on abortions often believe that the abortion restrictions are being promoted from what they call the “religious right”, whether that is true or not.

    How is it moral to force a woman to carry the child of a loathsome criminal? It is not. Procreation is something every person has to be free to choose to do. That child is half her and half someone that likely carries genes that are repugnant to her. The child of a rape is not innocent. If the woman diligently reports a rape and cooperates in finding and prosecuting the rapist, she should have every right to end her participation in propagating the genes of the rapist. Of course she can choose to carry the child to term, and there should be a limited time to terminate the pregnancy (the heartbeat rule works for me in this case, because the woman should know she was raped).

    I am sympathetic to this view.

    And I hold to the rape exception because it wasn’t a choice to engage in sex. I’m more in favor of social intervention than legal in this case.

    It isn’t about being inconsistent. It’s about injecting some kind of mercy or compassion into a highly sensitive law.

    I do believe it is best, from a healing perspective, for people who have been through trauma to witness evil being used to good purpose – swords beaten into plow shares. I think it’s true for PTSD soldiers and rape victims. Compounding death with death only adds to the trauma rather than alleviating it.

    But that is a counseling perspective, not a position the law should be taking.

    • #13
    • May 20, 2019, at 8:40 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Roosevelt Guck Inactive

    It seems to me that the country has outgrown the status quo. Roe is too strict for the pro-choice faction and too lax for the pro-life faction.

    While I don’t have the slightest idea how the court will rule, I agree with others who write that the status quo will not hold. The pro-choice faction will continue to expand access to abortion, and the pro-life faction will not be able to have the laws reflect their policy preferences. Many in the pro-choice faction take the extreme position that there is no such thing as an unborn child who deserves any protection at any time. And this makes zero sense. The question is whether the courts have the fortitude to repeal Roe v. Wade. We could use some federalism to break the logjam.

    (Incidentally, I don’t think that repealing Roe will necessarily decrease the number of abortions in the U.S. If a handful of states restrict access to abortion, the decrease could be offset by expanded access to late-term abortions in pro-choice states. But not necessarily.)

    I used to be pretty pro-choice. However, the more I listened to the pro-choice arguments, the more I came to distrust their reasoning, to flinch in response to their strident denial of personhood, dignity to the unborn at any time, and to have empathy for the unborn. The Progressives’s hard-heartedness toward the unborn contributes heavily to my discomfort with Progressive plans to impose a national health care system on the U.S.

    Regardless of the fate of Roe, we cannot allow hard-hearted people to decide beginning-of-life and end-of-life questions or write healthcare laws that set prices or compel us to purchase only those insurance products that conform to their marketplace regulations. We need a free market.

    • #14
    • May 20, 2019, at 8:49 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    The Obama administration made a big deal about involving the federal government in issues with disparate impact based on race. He got involved in policing and housing and such. Is there anything that has a greater racially disparate impact than abortion? Where is the outrage by the Identity Politics folks?

    • #15
    • May 20, 2019, at 9:53 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. Profile Photo Member

    Skylar you apparently can’t read. I do not favor forcing a mother to carry a child that came about by rape. That said – that a child is still innocent, as it has or could not have committed any crimes, whether you like it or not. The unyielding and unfeeling stridency of the pro-choice at times as it is with your attitude is just insufferable.

    Your opposition to the idea that most people are Pro Life because of a moral objection is just absurd. I have never met such a person who is Pro-Life for any other reason. The Pro-choice crowd has clearly violated the first amendment rights of those against abortion, and someday there will be a reckoning. You care obviously little for the Constitution, and have a tenuous grasp of history and what the concept of religious freedom has meant for America. 

    • #16
    • May 20, 2019, at 11:00 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Skyler (View Comment):
    The child of a rape is not innocent.

    You know that isn’t true.

    Besides, enough victims of rape have birthed those children to prove the genetic destiny argument wrong. They don’t see the faces of the rapists in their children. The children aren’t doomed to be rapists themselves.

    If a mother cannot love her child and therapy is no help, then she may offer the child for adoption. But killing someone for the crime of his or her father is not morally acceptable.

    Rape victims who give birth to the children are not thankful that people offered to kill their kids.

    • #17
    • May 20, 2019, at 11:53 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  18. Skyler Coolidge

    unsk2 (View Comment):

    Skylar you apparently can’t read. I do not favor forcing a mother to carry a child that came about by rape. That said – that a child is still innocent, as it has or could not have committed any crimes, whether you like it or not. The unyielding and unfeeling stridency of the pro-choice at times as it is with your attitude is just insufferable.

    Your opposition to the idea that most people are Pro Life because of a moral objection is just absurd. I have never met such a person who is Pro-Life for any other reason. The Pro-choice crowd has clearly violated the first amendment rights of those against abortion, and someday there will be a reckoning. You care obviously little for the Constitution, and have a tenuous grasp of history and what the concept of religious freedom has meant for America.

    I never said it wasn’t a moral objection. I said it wasn’t exclusively religious. The vast majority of abortion supporters are Protestant and Jewish. (Besides which, morality and religion are anti-thetical, but that’s an argument for another day).

     

     

    • #18
    • May 21, 2019, at 4:19 AM PDT
    • Like
  19. Skyler Coolidge

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    The child of a rape is not innocent.

    You know that isn’t true.

    Besides, enough victims of rape have birthed those children to prove the genetic destiny argument wrong. They don’t see the faces of the rapists in their children. The children aren’t dooned to be rapists themselves.

    If a mother cannot love her child and therapy is no help, then she may offer the child for adoption. But killing someone for the crime of his or her father is not morally acceptable.

    Rape victims who give birth to the children are not thankful that people offered to kill their kids.

    You’re using a different nuance for the meaning of innocent. I’m saying the child is an abomination. That some women are willing to continue the life of the abomination is their own decision. I would never agree to force that decision on them. That an abomination is born and values his own life is not unexpected, and there is a point where the abomination’s life does outweigh the mother’s rights, and I say the heart beat rule is appropriate here. The woman should know instantly that she was raped and she should within just a few short weeks learn if she is pregnant and abort the abomination. If she waits after the heart beat, then she forfeits her right. What I’m saying is not at all inconsistent with the Alabama law, actually.

    • #19
    • May 21, 2019, at 4:25 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Profile Photo Member

    The vast majority of abortion supporters are Protestant and Jewish.”

    Those that you say are abortion supporters of the Jewish and Protestant faith are often lapsed just religious in name only worshipers . It would be very hard to argue that among the sincerely religious that there is not a high degree of moral objection to abortion. The objection to abortion comes from the more religious members of society, period. Arguing otherwise is just nonsense. 

    • #20
    • May 21, 2019, at 6:40 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    Skyler (View Comment):
    I’m saying the child is an abomination.

    Are you absolutely certain you wished to say this? Please put away your shovel before you dig yourself any deeper.

    • #21
    • May 21, 2019, at 6:45 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Skyler (View Comment):

    unsk2 (View Comment):

    Skylar you apparently can’t read. I do not favor forcing a mother to carry a child that came about by rape. That said – that a child is still innocent, as it has or could not have committed any crimes, whether you like it or not. The unyielding and unfeeling stridency of the pro-choice at times as it is with your attitude is just insufferable.

    Your opposition to the idea that most people are Pro Life because of a moral objection is just absurd. I have never met such a person who is Pro-Life for any other reason. The Pro-choice crowd has clearly violated the first amendment rights of those against abortion, and someday there will be a reckoning. You care obviously little for the Constitution, and have a tenuous grasp of history and what the concept of religious freedom has meant for America.

    I never said it wasn’t a moral objection. I said it wasn’t exclusively religious. The vast majority of abortion supporters are Protestant and Jewish. (Besides which, morality and religion are anti-thetical, but that’s an argument for another day).

     

     

     

    Skyler, I think that your factual claim here is nonsense. Where are your facts to support your claim that the “vast majority of abortion supporters are Protestant and Jewish”?

    Another problem with your formulation is the inclusion of the category “Jewish” as a religion, because being “Jewish” is also an ethnicity. The category “Jewish” includes both religious Jews and secular Jews. My impression is that the secular Jews predominate, but I don’t know the actual proportions.

    Finally, the idea that morality and religion are antithetical is nonsense.

    • #22
    • May 21, 2019, at 6:52 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. Skyler Coolidge

    unsk2 (View Comment):

    The vast majority of abortion supporters are Protestant and Jewish.”

    Those that you say are abortion supporters of the Jewish and Protestant faith are often lapsed just religious in name only worshipers . It would be very hard to argue that among the sincerely religious that there is not a high degree of moral objection to abortion. The objection to abortion comes from the more religious members of society, period. Arguing otherwise is just nonsense.

    So now we’re doing religious tests? We have to measure how religious or observant different religions or practicioners are? Very convenient for people who want everyone to think like they do.

    • #23
    • May 21, 2019, at 9:28 AM PDT
    • Like
  24. Skyler Coolidge

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    I’m saying the child is an abomination.

    Are you absolutely certain you wished to say this? Please put away your shovel before you dig yourself any deeper.

    Yes, please send over the bull dozer. Conception from the product of rape is an abomination and when you balance the rights of the mother with the rights of the child, this abomination tips the scales in favor of the mother. For a child to be protected from the instant of conception, the conception has to have been voluntary.

    Here’s a thought experiment: Imagine that a man has some genetic defect that causes him to be evil. His father was evil, his grandfather is evil, his great grandfather was evil, etc., all on his paternal side. Take that as granted. We needn’t define it, only to imagine that such a person is violent, pathological, and unrestrained by laws or conscience.

    Now, let’s suppose he is also smart enough, or violent enough to not get caught or punished. You can imagine Ghengis Khan (of whom this actually seems to have happened) or some other monster.

    Do you really think that society and morality is better because this monster is able to rape more women and impregnate them against their will? Should we really benefit because more sociopaths are born? No, decidedly not. A woman has no obligation to bear a child that is the product of rape, and if she is able to reasonably claim rape then she should be able to terminate a pregnancy prior to the heart beat of the child. I agree that once the heart starts beating, she no longer has that legal option. But if she is free and able to report the rape then she has no obligation to be forced to contribute to creating that life.

    And that’s an argument that will fill the Grand Canyon.

    • #24
    • May 21, 2019, at 9:39 AM PDT
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  25. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Skyler (View Comment):

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    I’m saying the child is an abomination.

    Are you absolutely certain you wished to say this? Please put away your shovel before you dig yourself any deeper.

    Yes, please send over the bull dozer. Conception from the product of rape is an abomination and when you balance the rights of the mother with the rights of the child, this abomination tips the scales in favor of the mother. For a child to be protected from the instant of conception, the conception has to have been voluntary.

    Here’s a thought experiment: Imagine that a man has some genetic defect that causes him to be evil. His father was evil, his grandfather is evil, his great grandfather was evil, etc., all on his paternal side. Take that as granted. We needn’t define it, only to imagine that such a person is violent, pathological, and unrestrained by laws or conscience.

    Now, let’s suppose he is also smart enough, or violent enough to not get caught or punished. You can imagine Ghengis Khan (of whom this actually seems to have happened) or some other monster.

    Do you really think that society and morality is better because this monster is able to rape more women and impregnate them against their will? Should we really benefit because more sociopaths are born? No, decidedly not. A woman has no obligation to bear a child that is the product of rape, and if she is able to reasonably claim rape then she should be able to terminate a pregnancy prior to the heart beat of the child. I agree that once the heart starts beating, she no longer has that legal option. But if she is free and able to report the rape then she has no obligation to be forced to contribute to creating that life.

    And that’s an argument that will fill the Grand Canyon.

    No, it’s a frankly evil argument based on a false premise. The false premise is genetic predestination, and a eugenics policy to solve the problem of evil. It’s not often that one can legitimately accuse an argument of being indistinguishable from the ideology of Nazi eugenics, but you have given us such an opportunity, if I understand your argument correctly — I think that your argument is: rape is a horrific evil (I agree); rape is genetically predetermined (I disagree); the child of a rapist carries the “rape gene” (I disagree); so it’s morally acceptable, and perhaps obligatory, to kill that child (I disagree).

    That’s an argument that will fill the Grand Canyon with the bodies of dead innocent babies (in your case), Jews and other undesirables (in the Nazi case), and presumably many others.

    • #25
    • May 21, 2019, at 10:02 AM PDT
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  26. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Skyler, I did look up Pew data regarding your claim that the “vast majority of abortion supporters are Protestant and Jewish.” The data is here (support and opposition to abortion by religious affiliation) and here (percentages of the population of various religious affiliations).

    The calculations are a bit complex, and there’s a question of the definition of “Protestant,” as overall results for Protestants are not reported. Rather, Protestants are split into Evangelical Protestant, Mainline Protestant, and Historically Black Protestant. Jehovah’s Witnesses are separately reported, and it’s not clear whether they should be classified as Protestant or not (I think that the vast majority of Protestants exclude them within the category of “Protestant,” and I think that the Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves exclude everybody else from the category of “Christian”). However, to give your statement the benefit of the doubt, I have included the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the “Protestant and Jewish” category. It makes little difference, as they are only 0.8% of the population.

    Here are the results: By these definitions, people self-identifying as “Protestant or Jewish” oppose abortion 50.4%-45.4%, (4.2% “don’t know”). This group comprises 49.3% of the total population. All other people (50.7% of the total population) support abortion 60.4%-35.9% (3.8% “don’t know”).

    Among the 53% of the population that supports abortion, 42.1% are “Protestant or Jewish,” while 58.9% are of other religions, or none. This disproves your claim that the “vast majority of abortion supporters are Protestant or Jewish.”

    The religiously unaffiliated (generally atheists or agnostics), who are 22.8% of the total population, have the third-highest support for abortion of any group, 73%-23%. This is exceeded only by Jews (83%-15%) and Buddhists (82%-17%). These other groups are quite tiny — Jews are 1.9% and Buddhists are 0.7% of the population.

    • #26
    • May 21, 2019, at 10:18 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  27. GFHandle Member

    Skyler (View Comment):
    The child from rape is not innocent and is the product of a crime.

    This seems untenable. What crime did the fetus commit? Whether a woman should be forced to carry the result of rape to term is a good question, but not because the child would be tainted. See Rob Roy for an example of a different and more humane view. But that was not forced on the mother. (As the rapist played by Tim Roth so despicably put it, “Have you no twig?”) So I would accept the rape and incest exemption in law (but not after a certain time of course) with concomitant attempts to convince people that carrying such children to term is morally heroic and praiseworthy and not the result of victimization by the patriarchy.

    • #27
    • May 21, 2019, at 10:44 AM PDT
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  28. GFHandle Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    And there it is: eugenics. 

    And there it is: absolutism. You totally reject any utilitarian moral view. Fair enough. But I doubt most would follow down that path. There are unsolvable moral dilemmas in life, I fear.

    If I ever accidentally hit an animal with my car and it was dying in pain I hope I would have the courage to kill it if possible. A human is not an animal, but allowing someone to die slowly in horrible pain is not as noble as you might think. I have heard of cases where the baby suffers so much and with no prospect of surcease that they are terminated by doctors quietly as a matter of routine. I would not jail those doctors, myself.

     

    • #28
    • May 21, 2019, at 10:51 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Skyler (View Comment):

    unsk2 (View Comment):

    The vast majority of abortion supporters are Protestant and Jewish.”

    Those that you say are abortion supporters of the Jewish and Protestant faith are often lapsed just religious in name only worshipers . It would be very hard to argue that among the sincerely religious that there is not a high degree of moral objection to abortion. The objection to abortion comes from the more religious members of society, period. Arguing otherwise is just nonsense.

    So now we’re doing religious tests? We have to measure how religious or observant different religions or practicioners are? Very convenient for people who want everyone to think like they do.

    Yes, of course, though this is not a “religious test.” It is an assessment of whether someone self-identifying as a member of a group is really a member of the group. For crying out loud, someone could disagree with the entire Republican platform and be a devotee of Bernie Sanders and AOC, yet claim (for some bizarre reason) to be a Republican or a Conservative.

    To answer your question, there are ways to measure whether or not someone is a true believer, though they are imperfect. For example, you could ask someone claiming to be a Christian or a Jew if they believe in God. That would seem to be pretty basic, but some do not. Pew asks this question.

    Another questions that Pew asks are: the importance of religion in one’s life; and the source of guidance on right and wrong (religion, philosophy/reason, common sense, science).

    All of these are instructive in demonstrating that the religious are strongly anti-abortion, and the secular are strongly pro-abortion. For example (here):

    Among those who oppose abortion, 52% are guided by religion on moral questions; 7% are guided by philosophy/reason; 34% are guided by common sense; 5% are guided by science.

    Among those who support abortion, only 18% are guided by religion on moral questions; 14% are guided by philosophy/reason, 54% are guided by common sense; 12% are guided by science.

    Some interesting results can be calculated from these figures:

    (1) Those guided by religion on moral questions oppose abortion 67.5%-28.8%
    (2) Those guided by anything other than religion (philosophy/reason, common sense, or science) support abortion 65.7%-30.7%.
    (3) Those guided by philosophy/reason support abortion 69.3%-28.1%
    (4) Those guided by common sense support abortion 63.6%-32.5%
    (5) Those guided by science support abortion 72.4%-24.5%

    Notice a trend here? Those who look to religion for moral guidance oppose abortion by a ratio in excess of 2:1; those who look to anything else for moral guidance support abortion by a ratio in excess of 2:1.

    • #29
    • May 21, 2019, at 10:55 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Skyler Coolidge

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Skyler, I did look up Pew data regarding your claim that the “vast majority of abortion supporters are Protestant and Jewish.” The data is here (support and opposition to abortion by religious affiliation) and here (percentages of the population of various religious affiliations).

    The calculations are a bit complex, and there’s a question of the definition of “Protestant,” as overall results for Protestants are not reported. Rather, Protestants are split into Evangelical Protestant, Mainline Protestant, and Historically Black Protestant. Jehovah’s Witnesses are separately reported, and it’s not clear whether they should be classified as Protestant or not (I think that the vast majority of Protestants exclude them within the category of “Protestant,” and I think that the Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves exclude everybody else from the category of “Christian”). However, to give your statement the benefit of the doubt, I have included the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the “Protestant and Jewish” category. It makes little difference, as they are only 0.8% of the population.

    Here are the results: By these definitions, people self-identifying as “Protestant or Jewish” oppose abortion 50.4%-45.4%, (4.2% “don’t know”). This group comprises 49.3% of the total population. All other people (50.7% of the total population) support abortion 60.4%-35.9% (3.8% “don’t know”).

    Among the 53% of the population that supports abortion, 42.1% are “Protestant or Jewish,” while 58.9% are of other religions, or none. This disproves your claim that the “vast majority of abortion supporters are Protestant or Jewish.”

    The religiously unaffiliated (generally atheists or agnostics), who are 22.8% of the total population, have the third-highest support for abortion of any group, 73%-23%. This is exceeded only by Jews (83%-15%) and Buddhists (82%-17%). These other groups are quite tiny — Jews are 1.9% and Buddhists are 0.7% of the population.

    Not being a statistician, I beg forgiveness and would like to amend my statement to say that a huge plurality of abortion supporters are Protestant or Jewish, while a significant majority are of some religious group. Oh, look, I see a few nits over there too.

    • #30
    • May 21, 2019, at 12:08 PM PDT
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