life explained, insert 25

1/17/05

An interesting discussion came up over dinner last night, as we were sitting with Tessa’s sister and her family (and, of course, the delightful Kelly W.) – namely, our niece wondered if we would mind switching the table conversation to abortion. Always ready to tear into a ripe sociological subject with the wide eyeballs of a lion ripping into a gazelle, we told her to go for it.

Our niece, whom I’ll call “K” and is 20, said that she’s been talking to a right-wing friend of hers about abortion, and basically got out-flanked argument-wise. She wanted to be reminded why we are all pro-choice, and to give her some encouragement, because arguing with this guy has been giving her fits.

An hour later, we were all discussing the finer points of our own personal feelings – there are always the pro-choice folks who say “I abhor abortion, but I stop short of telling others what to do” and those who say “thank god for abortion! YAAAY!” Speaking as someone who participated in one roughly sixteen years ago, you can probably guess on which side of the spectrum I landed.

I don’t really give a shit about the “when does life begin” and “potential for a human equals a human” discussions and the other Dred Scott Decision bullshit that conservatives like to bandy about, nor am I particularly interested in what religion OR science has to offer. All I know is that when you outlaw abortions, women die. Period. They will kill themselves trying to have one, whether they apply some homemade trick, or go somewhere for a messy infection. And when they go, the fetus goes with them.

Right-wingers have a hard time with this one. That’s where I usually stop arguing, because my other argument is a little more ethereal – basically, I feel like pro-lifers are far more interested in keeping women domesticated and telling them to fucking SHUT UP ALREADY than they are in the health of the fetus – but let’s discuss that some other time, shall we?

The upshot, stepping back, was this: the Internet

0 thoughts on “life explained, insert 25

  1. oliver

    Well, here’s the one you asked for re: Global warming.
    http://www.realclimate.org/
    An enourmous mainstream scientific is totally convinced in global warming, and it’s pathetic that the conservatives have gotten any of us to question this. The question that is scientifically up in the air is how much of this warming is caused by human activity and where the climate goes from here.

    Reply
  2. CL

    >>All I know is that when you outlaw abortions, women die. Period. They will kill themselves trying to have one…
    But doesn’t the same apply to outlawing cocaine and heroin? I don’t know if that’s the tightest argument to make, that people are going to want to do something anyway so it’s dangerous to ban it.
    There could never be an “independent” place on the web for such arguments, because people would accuse it of being biased. It’d be nice if there were a Debate Central, but the moderators would have to edit arguments down, classify them, and cut out repetition. It’d be a dirty job, but maybe somebody will do it…in the meantime, you have a thousand points of blog.

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  3. oliver

    It’s like the outlaw-guns-and-only-outlaws-will-own-them argument: The actual circumstances of gunfire/abortion that will take place if guns/abortion are illegal will be worse for society.

    Reply
  4. Killian

    Of COURSE the right-wing SOB’s do not care about the “health” of the fetus; they only care about “punishing” women for being “promiscuous”; if they want these babies to LIVE so much, they should put their money where their mouths are (oh, I want to say something REALLY ugly right now…) and support programs that would enable these children to have BETTER lives, not just lives. Otherwise, these “fetuses” just become fodder for the fucked up penal system we have here in the good old USA. Did I mention that I’ve moved to coastopia?

    Reply
  5. Steve Williams

    The impartial internet community you’re looking for may be Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming
    Right there in the second paragraph is coverage of the various words each side uses to try to own the question. That’s Wikipedia’s ethic: To report on controversy, not to advocate for one side or the other.
    The Wikipedia entry on abortion also strives for an objective point of view:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion
    Wikipedia isn’t yet perfect. The demographics of the contributors may be slanted toward geekdom. But it is the best model we have right now for presenting information from the whole society, rather than filtered through the political machines or big journalism. And the best part: Anyone can help make it better.

    Reply
  6. cullen

    Thanx Ian’s bro, or as Elmer Fudd the politically Moravian websurfer might say, ‘you’re wight about the not yet totally but not awtogether wight-o-weft-wacked ‘Wicked’pedia. The family’s first set of Brittanicas it’s not though. Remember how those smelled?

    Reply
  7. oliver

    The problem with Wikipedia is you can’t go to any article just once and trust what you read. At best, the informational accuracy of an article is like the Dow Jones–gradually upwards over the decades but prone to crash. And that’s not true only for an article on the whole but paragraph by paragraph. People go in and make changes simply because they can and think they know something (anybody ever been edited before?). I imagine each article probably gets 10,000 visits from sophmores for every one visit by a professor or somebody who has first hand experience with the subject matter. And nobody can tell which aspects of an article were contributed by the expert–it’s all in the same black font. Plus there’s the possibility of sneaky vandalism–people inserting a “not” hear and there to reverse reasonable assertions. That said, I must admit I’ve consulted it.

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  8. M

    Killian:
    A lot of women are in the pro-life camp as well. Do you think they hate themselves?
    Ian says his number 1 argument in favor of abortion is that some women who are determined to abort their pregnancy will risk their own health trying to have one no matter what the law says. I think that’s both true and sad. (That’s actually true for a lot of things.) On the other hand, 100% of legal abortions result in death of the unborn child. If only Ian’s sympathy could extend to them.

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  9. Jackie

    A librarian question if I ever heard one.
    There are many sites that will list both sides of an issue. Here’s one with links that’s really for debating or paper writing. http://www.csulb.edu/library/subj/opposing/
    There is an excellent series of books called “Opposing Viewpoints’ that presents various sides of hot button issues. They’ve been around for a long time and you can find volumes on almost any topic. If it must be on the web, then check with your local library. Opposing Viewpoints has a web product that your library may very well subscribe to. You usually have to have a library card to gain access to the databases.
    Jackie

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  10. DB

    What’s really interesting is how anti-death penalty/pro choice and pro-death-penalty/anti-choice go together. I fall into the former camp, and I guess I see it a bit more consistently–let’s take care of the people who are here and not kill them when they, you know, have names. But I know that my positions aren’t entirely consistent.

    Reply
  11. Annie

    I am compelled by this topic, because it is one that on the surface is counter-intuitive. I find value in exploring what actually makes the positions what they are, since as DB pointed out: the seemingly strange bedfellows of anti-death-penalty/pro-choice, pro-death-penalty/pro-life coexist so often.
    It’s not easy. However, if we can view ideals as existing separately–really in a parallel universe–from what actually happens in the real world, I think things can become somewhat clearer.
    The question of “valuing life” seems at the center of things. I can (believe it or not, M) see how someone would believe that an unborn fetus, on its way to becoming a human being, could be considered “a person.” However, we can see that actually, in life, when a woman miscarries at 10 weeks, we don’t have a funeral for the human being that might have been. In this way we can see that actually, in the real world, people do not behave as though an unborn fetus is actually a person.
    Expanding on this theory of basing our decisions on how things actually are, we can assume that a woman who is considering abortion is either not emotionally or financially prepared to raise a child. We know that children who are raised without proper attention and resources are at the very least several times more likely to be troubled in one or more multiple ways and are therefore several times more likely to be a drain on society rather than an asset.
    We must allow as well that children born to disadvantaged mothers are also several times more likely to be crack- or fetal-alcohol babies, and not exactly going to be tracked towards adoption by affluent infertile couples who are waiting to welcome parenthood (there would be a lot more to this if I had the energy to address the topic of race). We know that with the advent of fertility specialization, more couples than ever before are able to have biological children and therefore are now unavailable as adoptive parents.
    When we put these pieces together (and that’s only a few of them), we see that having safe, legal abortion as an option is actually better for everyone in the real world. We do not have enough qualified prospective adoptive parents to take in all the children that would be born if abortion were illegal. And that’s not even taking into consideration what many, many teenage girls (many more than you would care to think about, M) would do if they were forced with the decision to either have a baby or get an unregulated, unsafe, illegal abortion (or worse, to attempt it on their own). Its very, very scary to contemplate.
    Again, while I think I can understand the process of thought and feeling that might lead one to want to consider an unborn fetus a person, I look at the world and see that in actual practice, basing policy on this line of thinking will result in many more problems than it will solve.

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  12. Laura

    What is really illogical about all of this is that the same conservatives that oppose abortion also oppose factual, comprehensive sex education. If they really wanted to stop abortions, they would work (hard) to provide every young American not only with the information they need to know about sex, but also with preventative contraception.
    It makes no sense, but then “making sense” doesn’t seem to be a high priority on the conservative agenda.

    Reply

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