Friday, June 03, 2005

Enemies: Our Best Critics

Bet you thought I'd never come up with this title. However, it is true. Our enemies can be our best critics. They may want to destroy you, make you feel totally humiliated for their shear pleasure, but if you look at what they say, they, unlike your friends, hold nothing back. Case in point is the article in New Republic Online where Michelle Cottle makes a valid point about President Bush's policies regarding embryonic stem cell research and invitro-fertilization:

"Oddly enough, however, you don't hear President Bush or House Majority Leader Tom DeLay or Senator Rick Santorum or any of Washington's other spokesmen for American morality railing against the rampant rise of in vitro in the United States. With characteristic flair, DeLay recently denounced supporters of stem-cell research as advocating "the dismemberment of living, distinct human beings for the purposes of medical experimentation." But where is the Hammer's outrage at supporters of in vitro, which, following his logic, entails the destruction of thousands of "living, distinct human beings" in the service of infertile couples' selfish desire to bear biologically related offspring? Surely if it's wrong to appropriate an existing, soon-to-be-discarded embryo for use in medical research that could one day save millions of people suffering from horrible illnesses, then it is an exponentially greater abomination for a couple to actively create and then discard a dozen or so new embryos just to carry on the family blood line."

Touche! If Republicans are to be consistent logically, they have to admit that Ms. Cottle has a valid argument (she precedes her statements that she disagrees with most if not all of Bush's policies). The same thing goes with anti-abortion or pro-life advocates. If life begins at conception, and the very act of bringing conception is sacred, then it follows that contraception is just as evil. Yet you don't hear the outcry against contraception, or invitro from pro-lifers unless... they are Catholic. The Catholic Church has been consistently against all contraception and invitro-fertilization and will continue to do so. She sees the root causes of these evils born from a mentality, no culture of death.

How do you legislate against invitro? It could be done, but does our country have the political will to accomplish it? Any bill in congress probably wouldn't fly farther than a half-ton rock. Legislation alone will not do it. The wisdom of the Catholic faith cannot be legislated per se; it takes changes of hearts and minds to see that there's an ancient and primal wickedness lurking within the confines of laboratories among people with white lab-coats.

Don't write off your enemies! See what you can learn from them. They may be right...if they follow the common master!!


At 10:30 PM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

The sad truth is that most politicians are panderers. The ones who stand on principle were always rare and now damn near extinct. Can you think of anybody on either side of the aisle who really fits the traditional definition of statesman? Firm, fair, respectful of the views of others, willing to seek out compromise for the good of the country, unwilling to work against the good of the country to satisfy the whims of the constituency. I used to think that Dick Lugar fit that bill, but he has turned out to have "old man's disease" (feet of clay). Can't think of a Republican who fits that bill since maybe Everett Dirkson. Not much better on my side of the spectrum. Daniel Patrick Moynahan probably the last true Democratic statesman.

At 10:48 PM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

Incidentally, you might be surprised how much common ground there is between the arch conservative you and the progressive me (I don't really qualify as a liberal in that I am fiscally conservative, just socially liberal).

common ground. Lord of the Rings, Nero Wolfe, Inspector Poirot, To Kill A Mockingbird, We Were Soldiers, Much Ado About Nothing.

Andrea Bocelli, Mannheim Steamroller, Pet Clark, whom I also had a crush on, along with Dusty Springfield and Marianne Faithful (liked em English)

Mortimer Adler, G.K. Chesterton

I am a firm believer in finding things that bind us, not just things that divide us.

At 11:53 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Great to see you around here!

Hey, before you label me arch conservative, (HA) let me define myself to you. In terms of philosophy of life, I am a Realist, both metaphysically and epistemically. I am a progressive traditionalist, not a contradiction in terms by any means. I think the worst thing to do is to close our eyes and dream of the past.

I believe in "backing into the future," by looking to the wisdom of our forefathers yet dealing with the present and future. Modernists and post-modernists turn their back on the past and face the future with no guidance other than what is modus or new. The greatest asset we have in making crucial decisions now is the wisdom of the ancients. We allow them in to help us shape our thinking, it is as if we have a democracy of the dead.

This is why I have made up mind to allow the "common master" Logic help arrange my thinking accordingly. As to identifying Truth, I am a philosopical realist.

At 12:03 AM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

I do agree that most politicians have to compromise to get anything done. I think politics is a dirty business and can corrupt even the best. I do fondly remember Sen. Dirkson, also Scoop Jackson and Sargent Shriver.

Woohoo, Dusty Springfield! Yeah. She was hot. Believe it or not, I also digged Leslie Ann Warren, HA! My dad thought I was nuts. Hey, so I wanted to be Prince Charming. I thought she would make a good wife; just not sing soooo much!

I recall my son watching Cinderella and said she would probably get more work done without all the singing!

Yeah, I want to build on what's in common. I do believe that people can disagree without being disrespectful. As I say in the heading of my blog, we follow the common master, Logic. The point of discussion is often about identifying the truth. Dialogue is the means for greater understanding

At 2:58 AM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

You're right, I jumped to conclusions too quickly. And I love the term progressive traditionalist.

And though it's been a long while since I aced my basic philosophy course at IU, I guess you could call me sort of a modern utilitarian in the Peter Singer mode. Sort of a traditional progressive!

Looking forward to some great discusions....gwb

ps Leslie Ann Warren? Wow, the ultimate establishment candidate! Which is okay, considering my favorite 60's group was Paul Revere and the Raiders.

At 7:33 AM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Peter Singer...Bear, my man, we must talk. It's too early yet, and I'm sportin' a major migraine this am, but...we need to talk. I'll go look up some pertinent Singer stuff and we can talk about whether you are singin' his tune. I'm assuming you probably don't. But, we'll see.

I gotta go and dump some caffeine down my throat and watch Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. It's a real need...


At 9:37 AM, Blogger United We Lay said...

I agree, you can learn a lot from your enemies. Why must we see Republicans and Democrats as enemies? We are all countrymen, ultimately working toward a common good. Why can't we find ways to compromise? We can't leave it to the politicians. We need to discuss soluions among ourselves and then start grass-roots movements to impliment them.

For the migrane - no caffine! Lots of water and OJ. Or maybe that just works for us girls.

At 12:55 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Hey Polanco,

It would be good for Democrats and Republicans to disagree agreeably, which I think happens quite a bit. However, there is enemy behavior going on, I think on both sides of the aisle. I think when someone who intends harm to us, be it emotional, physical, social, etc., they are truly acting out as enemies. It isn't farfetched to call them what they are.

I know I can disagree with someone and still hold them as an invaluable human being. I know also that there are people who are invaluable as human beings, but are of such low moral character, that they become a detriment to others around them. It is not out of step with reality to be on guard with them, and even find them reprehensible, if their behavior is reprehensible.

So, I am not going to re-label someone with enemy behavior as a non-enemy, or even friend. On the other hand, your point is well taken. Thanks for your input!

At 9:23 AM, Blogger United We Lay said...

Score one point for the common ground, and the common master! I agree, also, that there are those who hold little value as humans, but all people have some value, even if it is an example fo how not to behave. We learn as much or more from injustice as we do from what is "right" or "good".

At 4:30 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Yes. In addition, what would be the criteria for self-defense if one of these paragons of vice wants to do harm to us personally or to our loved ones? What would justify me to make alterations of a villains face?

I know the criteria; I'm curious to see if you and I agree. I bet we do.

At 5:32 PM, Blogger United We Lay said...

Do anything you want to me, you come near my family I'll do whatever it takes to make sure you neve breath again.

At 5:37 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

We almost agree! I would add, you come near ME and my family...

The creep has to come through me. He would have to do me in to get to my loves. If he lays a hand to harm me, I can and WILL defend myself. And since I'm a biggin at 6'6" and 290, he will not come out of it too well.

At 5:48 PM, Blogger United We Lay said...

I'm tiny, but ferocious!

At 6:03 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...


At 8:42 AM, Blogger ts said...

"If life begins at conception, and the very act of bringing conception is sacred, then it follows that contraception is just as evil."

doesn't this line of thinking pre-suppose that sex for pleasure is sin? i mean, i believe sex is sacred in that it was created by God, but i don't think that necessarily means having babies. anywhere in song of songs where the lovers say, "oh, and i want to have your baby?" nah, they're just lusting after each other the way God made 'em to.

At 8:44 AM, Blogger United We Lay said...

For people who don't believe that life begins at conception, this point is mute.

At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Innocent Bystander said...

Whether one believes that point or not does not determine whether or not it is true.

At 10:49 AM, Blogger United We Lay said...

Right, scince determines it's truth, and science is on my side on this one, as is the law.

At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Innocent bystander said...

Science can only look at facts, it cannot explain them. How is it on your side?

At 12:11 PM, Blogger United We Lay said...

Define life.

At 2:04 PM, Anonymous innocent bystander said...

That doesn't answer my question.

At 9:51 AM, Blogger United We Lay said...

I can't answer your question unil I know how you define life. If we don't have the saem idea of what life is, I can't explain my position in a way that you will understand.

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

PC, the burden of proof is on you. You are asserting a belief that life doesn't begin at conception. Why? Show how science is on your side. Science certainly identifies SOMETHING living inside the womb. And something certainly comes out of the womb alive, kicking, screaming, etc.

You make an assertion that science is behind you on this one and then you don't back it up. After that, you place the burden of proof on others about when life begins.

You have made a grand assertion, madame, explain, for we have the desire for the truth of the matter!

At 8:03 AM, Blogger United We Lay said...

Fair enough. I'll do a little more research so that I can discuss this without puting my foot in my mouth and catch up with you later. Still, I would like to know how you define life.

I think I've gotten away from my original point, are there sircumstances when a woman should be able to abort? An embryo is not a fetus until 8 weeks (backed up on another post, not sure which one, and I'll find it for you. Until then, I feel thee are circumstances in which a woman should be able to choose what happens inside her body.

Nine Reasons Why Abortions Are Legal

Abortion is never an easy decision, but women have been making that choice for thousands of years, for many good reasons. Whenever a society has sought to outlaw abortions, it has only driven them into back alleys where they became dangerous, expensive, and humiliating. Amazingly, this was the case in the United States until 1973, when abortion was legalized nationwide. Thousands of American women died.

Thousands more were maimed. For this reason and others, women and men fought for and achieved women's legal right to make their own decisions about abortion.

However, there are people in our society who still won't accept this. Some argue that even survivors of rape or incest should be forced to continue their pregnancies. And now, having failed to convince the public or the lawmakers, certain of these people have become violent extremists, engaging in a campaign of intimidation and terror aimed at women seeking abortions and health professionals who work at reproductive health clinics.

Some say these acts will stop abortions, but that is ridiculous. When the smoke clears, the same urgent reasons will exist for safe, legal abortions as have always existed. No nation committed to individual liberty could seriously consider returning to the days of back-alley abortions — to the revolting specter of a government forcing women to bear children against their will. Still, amid such attacks, it is worthwhile to repeat a few of the reasons why our society trusts each woman to make the abortion decision herself.

1. Laws against abortion kill women.

To prohibit abortions does not stop them. When women feel it is absolutely necessary, they will choose to have abortions, even in secret, without medical care, in dangerous circumstances. In the two decades before abortion was legal in the U.S., it's been estimated that nearly a million women per year sought out illegal abortions. Thousands died. Tens of thousands were mutilated. All were forced to behave as if they were criminals.

2. Legal abortions protect women's health.

Legal abortion not only protects women's lives, it also protects their health. For tens of thousands of women with heart disease, kidney disease, severe hypertension, sickle-cell anemia and severe diabetes, and other illnesses that can be life-threatening, the availability of legal abortion has helped avert serious medical complications that could have resulted from childbirth. Before legal abortion, such women's choices were limited to dangerous illegal abortion or dangerous childbirth.

3. A woman is more than a fetus.

Some people argue these days that a fetus is a "person" that is "indistinguishable from the rest of us" and that it deserves rights equal to women's. On this question there is a tremendous spectrum of religious, philosophical, scientific, and medical opinion. It's been argued for centuries. Fortunately, our society has recognized that each woman must be able to make this decision, based on her own conscience. To impose a law defining a fetus as a "person," granting it rights equal to or superior to a woman's — a thinking, feeling, conscious human being — is arrogant and absurd. It only serves to diminish women.

4. Being a mother is just one option for women.

Many hard battles have been fought to win political and economic equality for women. These gains will not be worth much if reproductive choice is denied. To be able to choose a safe, legal abortion makes many other options possible. Otherwise an accident or a rape can end a woman's economic and personal freedom.

5. Outlawing abortion is discriminatory.

Anti-abortion laws discriminate against low-income women, who are driven to dangerous self-induced or back-alley abortions. That is all they can afford. But the rich can travel wherever necessary to obtain a safe abortion.

6. Compulsory pregnancy laws are incompatible with a free society.

If there is any matter that is personal and private, then pregnancy is it. There can be no more extreme invasion of privacy than requiring a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. If government is permitted to compel a woman to bear a child, where will government stop? The concept is morally repugnant. It violates traditional American ideas of individual rights and freedoms.

7. Outlaw abortion, and more children will bear children.

Forty percent of 14-year-old girls will become pregnant before they turn 20. This could happen to your daughter or someone else close to you. Here are the critical questions: Should the penalty for lack of knowledge or even for a moment's carelessness be enforced pregnancy and childrearing? Or dangerous illegal abortion? Should we consign a teenager to a life sentence of joblessness, hopelessness, and dependency?

8. "Every child a wanted child."

If women are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, the result is unwanted children. Everyone knows they are among society's most tragic cases, often uncared-for, unloved, brutalized, and abandoned. When they grow up, these children are often seriously disadvantaged, and sometimes inclined toward brutal behavior to others. This is not good for children, for families, or for the country. Children need love and families who want and will care for them.

9. Choice is good for families.

Even when precautions are taken, accidents can and do happen. For some families, this is not a problem. But for others, such an event can be catastrophic. An unintended pregnancy can increase tensions, disrupt stability, and push people below the line of economic survival. Family planning is the answer. All options must be open.

At the most basic level, the abortion issue is not really about abortion. It is about the value of women in society. Should women make their own decisions about family, career, and how to live their lives? Or should government do that for them? Do women have the option of deciding when or whether to have children? Or is that a government decision?

The anti-abortion leaders really have a larger purpose. They oppose most ideas and programs that can help women achieve equality and freedom. They also oppose programs that protect the health and well-being of women and their children.

Anti-abortion leaders claim to act "in defense of life." If so, why have they worked to destroy programs that serve life, including prenatal care and nutrition programs for dependent pregnant women? Is this respect for life?

Anti-abortion leaders also say they are trying to save children, but they have fought against health and nutrition programs for children once they are born. The anti-abortion groups seem to believe life begins at conception, but it ends at birth. Is this respect for life?

Then there are programs that diminish the number of unwanted pregnancies before they occur: family planning counseling, sex education, and contraception for those who wish it. Anti-abortion leaders oppose those, too. And clinics providing such services have been bombed. Is this respect for life?

Such stances reveal the ultimate cynicism of the compulsory pregnancy movement. "Life" is not what they're fighting for. What they want is a return to the days when a woman had few choices in controlling her future. They think that the abortion option gives too much freedom. That even contraception is too liberating. That women cannot be trusted to make their own decisions.

Americans today don't accept that. Women can now select their own paths in society, including when and whether to have children. Family planning, contraception, and, if need be, legal abortion are critical to sustaining women's freedom. There is no going back.

At 8:05 AM, Blogger United We Lay said...

Can an embryo or fetus feel pain?

We know for sure that the embryo or fetus cannot perceive pain in the nearly 99 percent of all abortions that occur before the 20th week of pregnancy. It is even possible that a fetus is unable to perceive pain at any time during pregnancy. If, however, the ability to feel pain does develop before birth and consciousness, it is likely to happen only after the 28th week of pregnancy, when abortion is performed only for urgent medical reasons.

At 8:06 AM, Blogger United We Lay said...

Abortion Bans Are Unconstitutional - An Analysis Of Stenberg V. Carhart

On June 28, 2000, in Stenberg v. Carhart, the U.S. Supreme Court — by a narrow 5-4 vote — struck down a Nebraska abortion ban. The fragile five-member majority found the law unconstitutional on two independent grounds: (1) it lacked a health exception and (2) its broad language imposed an "undue burden" on a woman's right to choose abortion.

Health Exception

The majority opinion reaffirmed that when a state restricts access to abortion, a woman's health must be the paramount consideration. As a result, every abortion restriction must contain a health exception that allows an abortion when "necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother" (Stenberg v. Carhart, 2000, at 914, 931). The court specifically rejected the state's argument that a health exception is unnecessary because the dilation and extraction ("D&X") abortion procedure is never necessary for a woman's health. It held that "a statute that altogether forbids D&X creates a significant health risk" (Stenberg v. Carhart, 2000, at 938).

Because the Nebraska law lacked any health exception, the court ruled that it is unconstitutional. In addition, the court identified two essential components of a valid health exception to an abortion restriction:

The health exception must allow the physician to exercise reasonable medical judgment, even where medical opinions differ. The court made clear that the exception cannot be limited to situations where the health risk is an "absolute necessity," nor can the law require unanimity of medical opinion as to the need for a particular abortion method (Stenberg v. Carhart, 2000, at 937).

A physician must be able to invoke the health exception not only when pregnancy itself creates a health risk for the woman, but also when the abortion restriction would, without such an exception, "force women to use riskier methods of abortion" (Stenberg v. Carhart, 2000, at 931).

Undue Burden

In ruling that the Nebraska statute imposed an "undue burden" on women's abortion rights, the court rejected Nebraska's claim that the law banned only the D&X abortion procedure. The court held that "[e]ven if the statute's basic aim is to ban D&X, its language makes clear that it also covers a much broader category of procedures," including the most common previability second-trimester method — the dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedure (Stenberg v. Carhart, 2000, at 939).

Thus, the court found that the law could be used to "pursue physicians who use D&E procedures, the most commonly used method for performing previability second-trimester abortions. All those who perform abortion procedures using that method must fear prosecution, conviction, and imprisonment. The result is an undue burden upon a woman's right to make an abortion decision" (Stenberg v. Carhart, 2000, at 945-46).

The majority opinion was written by Justice Breyer and joined by Justices Stevens, O'Connor, Souter, and Ginsburg. Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas each wrote dissenting opinions.

Justice O'Connor's Concurrence

Although Justice O'Connor joined the majority opinion in Carhart and voted to strike down the Nebraska law, she wrote a troubling separate concurrence in which she explained that she might be willing to uphold a more narrowly drawn abortion ban that contained a health exception. In particular, she wrote that: "a ban on partial-birth abortion that only proscribed the D&X method of abortion and that included an exception to preserve the life and health of the mother would be constitutional in my view" (Stenberg v. Carhart, 2000, at 95, O'Connor, J., concurring).

The Ruling's Effect

In addition to striking down the Nebraska law, the Carhart ruling had the effect of invalidating abortion ban legislation in at least 28 other states that had enacted nearly identical bans. Since the court's ruling in Carhart, only one state — Ohio — has enacted such legislation. After a federal district court in Ohio prevented that law from taking effect because it did not meet the standards for a valid health exception established in Carhart, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, reversed that ruling in December, 2003. (Women's Medical Professional Corp. et al. v. Taft, 2001;Women's Medical Professional Corporation v Taft, 2003)

At 8:08 AM, Blogger United We Lay said...

Women's Stories of Abortion and Reflections on Roe V. Wade

The following is the terrifying pre-Roe story of a woman named Sherry Matulis:

"I was 23, pleasantly married, the mother of two planned-for and well-loved children (the number later grew to five) and working nights... One night, I got off the 1:20 a.m. bus and started my usual trudge home... He must have been waiting close to the building, in the shadows. I didn't see him until he was on top of me, and I still remember very little about the act itself... because when he threw me down on the blacktop, my skull cracked and I blacked out...
Most of my clothing had been torn off and scattered... The knife was no longer there, but it had been, and my guts were oozing out of a neat X... I managed to survive. Only to find myself wishing, about a month later, that I hadn't.

I was pregnant. And I was not pregnant by my husband. I was pregnant by that fiend. And I could not stay that way.

My doctor would not help me, so I feigned migraine to get a prescription for ergotrane... I went on a two-day castor-oil diet and lost five pounds and a quart of hemorrhoidal blood, and nothing else... I detested the taste of alcohol, but I held by nose and downed two pints of Everclear...

My husband was ready to stick me in a straightjacket. He wanted me to go through with the pregnancy - or rather, he wanted me not to kill myself, or to be killed by the only sort of abortionist that was available at the time...

But...I knew that had I given birth to a child conceived under those circumstances, I would not be able to look at it without remembering. And remembering would mean hating all over again. And I wasn't willing to put myself or a child through that...

My husband reluctantly agreed to take me to the local back-alley abortionist - an alcoholic who had buried more than one of his mistakes... This was in 1954, when a dollar was worth perhaps three times what it is today. I had to hand this drunken butcher one thousand of them before I even got through the door. After I had swallowed my two-aspirin 'anesthetic,' I was told to climb up on what resembled a dirty kitchen table and hoist up my skirt... Then the pain. Eyeball popping pain. Lots and lots of it. Far more, I'm sure than was necessary...

Another trip to the hospital, another ten-day stay, a little bout with peritonitis, a half-dozen transfusions...and the old girl was as good as new..."

(Excerpted from Over Our Live Bodies - Preserving Choice in America, by Shirley L. Radl, Steve Dallas Publishing, TX. 1989)


But even in the pre-Roe years, many women found safe abortions. The following story comes from an unnamed mother of three children, who had an unintended fourth pregnancy:

"I could barely cope with the three I already had. I absolutely could not handle even the thought of having another baby. My doctor was a compassionate man and a family friend. He put me in the hospital and performed a procedure. The record showed that I'd had an appendectomy.

(Excerpted from Over Our Live Bodies - Preserving Choice in America, by Shirley L. Radl, Steve Dallas Publishing, TX. 1989)


In 1967, members of the clergy concerned about women had organized the Clergy Consultation Service, referring women to safe abortion providers in the years before Roe v. Wade. When she needed an abortion, Dalia Kraskoff was referred to El Paso, Texas, where her abortion was performed under antiseptic conditions in a hastily set up treatment room. She was "on edge, listening for the sound of police breaking in." Many years later, Krascoff reflected on the meaning of Roe:

"When in time, the Supreme Court ruled that abortion is a private matter, I thought wistfully, why couldn't it have been in time for me? But change has come in time for my daughters' generation. The old parental dream of wanting things better for your offspring has been fulfilled."

(San Jose Mercury News, January 22, 1989, quoted in Over Our Live Bodies - Preserving Choice in America, by Shirley L. Radl, Steve Dallas Publishing, TX. 1989)


Byllye Avery had a legal abortion in 1973. In 1974 she helped to found the first abortion clinic in Gainesville, Florida. In 1978, she was instrumental in opening one of the first freestanding birthing centers in Florida. In 1981, she established the National Black Women's Health Project. The essay excerpted below was published in 1991:

"I wasn't married at the time I got my abortion. It was after my husband died. He had a massive heart attack at thirty-three, and I was left with two little kids. They were young, and I certainly wasn't about to have another baby. Trying to raise them alone was as much as I could deal with.

When I found out I was pregnant, I already knew what I would decide. Most women know whether or not it is a good time for them to be having children. If you're having a hard time yourself, the answer's pretty obvious...

I was nervous about the abortion. If you've got to go and have surgery, you're scared. The nurse said to me, 'People have all kinds of reactions to abortion. Some cry...they're real upset when it's over.' Well, when mine was over, I was hysterical with laughter. I just couldn't stop laughing. I think it was anxiety. You know how you yawn when you're anxious? That was the form of relief for was relief...

...When you're choosing how you want to be in the world, being able to choose abortion is just as much a part of that as being able to choose if, where, when, and how you will have a baby. It's all intertwined.

For us, as African-American women who came up through slavery and were forced to breed, we can't ever give away the opportunity to make those decisions for ourselves."

(Excerpted from The Choices We Made, edited by Angela Bonavoglia, Random House, NY, 1991)

The following essay by actress Beth Armstrong was also written in 1991:

"In July of 1986 my daughter, Lucy, was born with an underdeveloped brain. She was a beautiful little girl - at least to me and my husband - but her disabilities were severe.

By the time she was two weeks old we knew that she would never walk, talk, feed herself, or even understand the concept of mother and father. It's impossible to describe the effect that her five-and-a-half-month life had on us; suffice it to say that she was the purest experience of love and pain that we will ever have, that she changed us forever, and that we will never cease to mourn her death, even though we know that for her it was a triumphant passing... one can tell us why Lucy was born the way she was. There was nothing genetically or chromosomally wrong with her. Her condition, we have been told over and over again, was a fluke. Consequently, no one can promise us that it won't happen again...

Stories like mine are not about rights; they are about need - need, because I had to stand by helplessly while my six-pound daughter arched rigid in seizure that no medication could control; need, because she died fighting for breath in my arms. Precisely because I loved her so, shouldn't I have the right to think twice before bringing another such child into the world? The irony is that if so terrible a decision comes for me, I honestly can't say what choice I will make. But I do know that no one else should have the right to make it for me."

(Excerpted from The Choices We Made, edited by Angela Bonavoglia, Random House, NY, 1991)

At 8:09 AM, Blogger United We Lay said...

Just some information for us all to read so we're on the same page. Sorry for cluttering up your site. I thought that if we could discuss specific articles, we might be able to have a better debate. If you disagree, by all means, delete them.

At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Innocent Bystander said...

On the nine reasons:

1. Laws against abortion kill women.

It is not the laws that kill women, but the women themselves. Arbortion is a risky process, and it was their choice to follow through.
You said, "All were forced to behave as if they were criminals." If they were going against the law, doesn't that make them criminals, in a sense?

2. Legal abortions protect women's health.

If they are so unhealthy, why do they ingage in sexual activity?

3. A woman is more than a fetus.

You said that a woman is more than a fetus because she is "a thinking, feeling, conscious human being." Well let's look at this definition.

Are there times when we humans are not thinking? Do we have to be thinking at all times to remain human at all times? I know I don't always have thoughts running through my head. Does that mean I'm not a human?

Are there times when humans cannot feel? What about when certain medicines are given to you to make you numb. You're not feeling then right? Does that mean that you're not human?

Maybe I'm mistaking your word "feeling" for a reference to emotion. If so, are there times when humans do not have emotions?
What about people who are emotionally drained? Just by looking at the word, you know that they have no emotion. Are they not human until they regain their emotions?

Are there times when humans are not concious? Of course there are! An example would be sleeping. So when you sleep, are you not a human until you awake?

I'm afraid that you will have to redefine "Human" to make this argument work.

4. Being a mother is just one option for women.
You said, "These gains will not be worth much if reproductive choice is denied. To be able to choose a safe, legal abortion makes many other options possible."

Reproductive choice DOES belong to women, but pro-choicers refuse to see this. The women can CHOOSE to have sex or not. Does this not count? Does it have to be whether to kill an innocent human being? Should life be about pleasure? That's really what this is about here. This is a fight for men and women to be able to pursue pleasure without taking responsibility for it.

5. Outlawing abortion is discriminatory.

It WOULD be discriminatory of the law said that low income women cannot have abortions at all, but high income women can. THAT is discrimination. Here, the situation is that ALL WOMEN cannot go and get abortions.

6. Compulsory pregnancy laws are incompatible with a free society.

What is this "Free Society?" Who's freedom does this refer? Not the babies' freedom, obviously.

7. Outlaw abortion, and more children will bear children.

Whether abortion is allowed or not will not change the fact that teenagers are getting pregnant. That's the real problem there, not abortion. Abortion in a way actually encourages teens to have sex because they can always just have an abortion, right? They can do whatever the want. They just want to have fun. Making abortion illegal will actually lower the number of teen pregnancies because it will make them think before they act.

8. "Every child a wanted child."

I have heard this term so many times, but each time it does not make sense.

However, it is a very noble goal indeed. But how do we attain this? By murdering the children who are unwanted or by learning to want the ones we have?

9. Choice is good for families.

Is adoption a bad thing? If families can't handle having another child, why don't they let him/her be raised by a family who can? There are countless couples who can't have children and want them dearly. Why would a woman's desire not to have a baby trump their desire to have one? Don't they get a chance?

You went on to say, "At the most basic level, the abortion issue is not really about abortion. It is about the value of women in society." It's not about the value of women, but of the value of children. If they were considered valuable to the society, why would we continue to murder them? Women are considered valuable in the society, which is why their rights overrule the rights of the unborn. The value of women is not on the line here.

You then went on to say that anti-abortion leaders have a double standard because of the attrocities they do to other programs. Whether or not this is true, I do not know. Either way, there are problems with it. One, you are making the assumption that because that there are those on the pro-life side that have done this, all pro-lifers agree with it.
And two, you're making the assumption that because that there are people on the pro-life side that have done this, their cause is wrong. That is the fallacy of ad hominem, whereas the individuals and how they act determine whether or not what they stand for is true.

Then you asked if an embryo can feel pain.


This has nothing to do with the argument! Whether or not they can feel pain does not determine whether it is morally right to kill them. Besides, if someone killed someone else by overdosing them with medicine, would that make it right just because the victim fell asleep and died without pain? Foolery!

At 3:21 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Innocent bystander:

Wow, the common master has a great pupil in you! I am impressed.

Keep it up!

At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Innocent Bystander said...

Thank you for the compliment, but it was undeserved. I am just merely seeking the truth.


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