Some really good ideas there, Dyany, thanks. Continuing along those lines, the availability of abortions of convenience (distinct from those for health reasons or for rape, incest, and other victimizing crimes) has nothing to do with women achieving more freedom, equality, or respect. I see four things crucial to freeing women from "sexual bondage" (none of which are related to Roe vs. Wade):
1. Teach young women and men not only the biological mechanics of sex, but also the natural results (pregnancy, STDs) and the odds that said results are going to occur. Teach them that choosing to have sex means choosing to risk the consequences. This will prevent women from getting pregnant through ignorance.
2. As a corollary to number 1, make sure that guys also have to deal with the consequences of choosing to have sex. Get tough on enforcing child support. If guys know that having sex means there's a good chance they'll have to drop out of school and devote all of their money to supporting a child, rather than buying video games, music CDs, cars, etc., there'll be fewer guys viewing sex as a harmless form of entertainment.
3. Help provide girls with a strong self-esteem and sense of self-worth that has nothing to do with how they look or whether they allow hormone-ridden young males to use their bodies for sexual satisfaction. Teach them that their ideas, thoughts, interests, hopes, and dreams are important. Teach them that they don't need the approval of anyone who treats them as anything less than an equal. Especially teach them that they don't have to have sex with someone to be a valuable person. This will prevent women from getting trapped in destructive and abusive relationships with jerks, and also help them resist the pressure to have sex with a boyfriend that might otherwise "dump" them--if a guy's not interested in hanging out with you unless you sleep with him, why the heck do you care what the jerk thinks about you!
4. As a corollary to number 3, teach men to listen to the ideas and opinions of women and judge them as equals. Teach them that women have minds that are just as interesting as, if not more interesting than, their bodies. And if a guy acts like a misogynistic jerk who treats women as nothing more than potential sexual conquests, let him know that such behavior is inappropriate, as opposed to idolizing him as being "cool."
I think all of these ideas will, if implemented, result in much better conditions for women than the irresponsible attitude of "sleep around and abort the consequent pregnancy" ever will. All the latter does is change the mindset of disrespectful guys from "oh, I can have sex with her, if she ends up having a baby it doesn't affect me" to "oh, I can have sex with her, if she ends up getting an abortion it doesn't affect me."
Edit: Three plus one equals four, oops. =)
[This message has been edited by Etan Moonstar (edited December 16, 2002).]
while I'm not neccessarily in agreement with Dens position, I'll argue a bit here...
quote: Women who stick with bad men have other emotional problems. Kids are a completely different matter, though some women will 'claim' them to be the excuse. And honestly, I can't imagine something much more insulting to me, as a female, than to say that not allowing me the option of abortion (among the many options available) is somehow dooming me to bad men or a bad life.
The unavailability of elective abortion, would not 'doom' one persay. It would however, greatly increase the chances of being with a worse male than one would otherwise choose. I see two reasons for this - males prefer to raise their own, instead of anothers offspring, all else being equal. Secondly a marriage to the wrong man is quite possibly better than better than single motherhood. This should result in a single mother/pregnant woman being less choosy in her choice of marriage partner, all else being equal.
As to a 'bad life', carrying a pregnancy to term does represent an opportunity cost. Raising the child carrys an even greater an opportunity cost. These opportunity costs will generally be realised in terms of less education, slower career track (or lesser prestige career), and lower disposable income and free time. Now whether this will result in a 'bad life' is dependent upon a number of factors such as support structure and the personal qualities of the individual. It is almost a certainty that the individual will have a 'worse life' in terms of socio-economics and life time opportunities, whether this is compensated by the pleasures of motherhood or child bearing depends on the individual.
quote: [I]n some ways, I feel like saying I 'need' the option of abortion to control the consequences of living irresponsibly
Of course many who have abortions do not consider themselves, nor does society generally consider them, to be 'living irresponsibly'.
For instance many married couples have abortions because of contraceptive failure.
quote: [...] is like saying that someone has the right to kill someone who is blackmailing them -- no likey consequences, so must be able to take extreme action to deal with them.
Of course, whether abortion can be considered an 'extreme action', or even an immoral action, is one of the big questions (as is 'what constitutes an abortion' - ie is 'emergency contraception' an abortion?).
quote: Other choices are tough, and we wish we weren't in the situation to begin with, but there ARE other options.
Certainly. Although the question is, is abortion a legitimate (or moral) option?
quote: And as a female who must adopt to have children, I get bothered by the idea that we are dooming 'reluctant mothers' and their children to bad lives if we don't let the mothers abort.
No but you are certainly imposing opportunity costs on the mother. Also, there are a number of elective abortions of malformed fetuses or fetuses which have a chronic disease, or other tragic state. It quite possibly could be the case that you are 'dooming' such children to 'bad lives' if they are carried to term.
quote: I personally think that unwed mothers who can't properly take care of their (for the most part unwanted, aside from the hormone burst after birth) children should be strongly encouraged (if not forced) to put the children up for adoption.
Ah, and what constitutes 'properly take care of'? Also, would it be for general adoption, or should relatives get preferential treatment? Also, how do you decide which are 'unwanted', the initial conception probably was not, but the choice of carrying a fetus to term, generally shows a desire and willingness to care for the child.
quote: The demand for adoptive children is incredible, and with the hoops they make adoptive parents jump through, you end up with an ideal situation: fit, stable parents (generally) able to care for the child, the child in a good home, and a birth mother not held in poverty and put in an incredibly difficult lifetime situation by having to raise a child she doesn't want.
Of course the problem is, is that there are numerous babies and children waiting to be adopted. Alas prospective adoptive parents only want to adopt healthy newborns, so there is an oversupply of the unwanted babies and children, and an undersupply of the healthy newborns that are desired.
quote: I used some generalizations, please don't jump down my throat. But I'm a voraciously independent female, and I honestly resent the idea that I have to have responsibility-avoiding rights to consider myself 'free'.
Of course, some view having an abortion as 'acting responsibly' by not bringing an unwanted child into the world, or by not bringing a child into the world when its circumstances would not allow it to thrive, as opposed to believing they are avoiding responsibility.
but he actually did summ up what i was trying (badly) to say. if i ever decide i want children, i also will have to adopt - and i still think abortion is necessary in soooo many cases. drug use (including alcohal) medical problems, rape, etc. teenage girls i think also, as a pregnancy will certainly screw their world up ALOT. i do NOT think that abortion is a form of birth control! what i do think is that it is a last ditch program, for all of the above reasons and more.
and i think that birth control is, to some extent, dependent on it. with parents becoming more loud in protesting sex ed and availability of birth control to thier children, one of the things that keeps them from stealing pills/condoms/whatever is the idea that "the pill is better than an abortion".
This probably belongs in a whole new thread, but I just figured out why I wasn't getting it at all. We have a fundamental disparity in our views of what actually constitutes a marriage.
My mind lives in this barbarian middle-eastern world where agreements between two parties are still signed in blood. You know, blood brothers, cutting a covenant, and all that. My basic understanding of marriage, is that it is essentially a covenant between two people that they shall henceforth act as one person, that each would look after the descendants of the other, etc., validated by the comingling of blood. Under that view, every time you have intercourse with a new person, you just validated a marriage with them.
So, when LetterRip says "would you marry a woman before you knew she was a Christian?" My first thought was, no, but then, once I knew she was a Christian I wouldn't already be married to her.
On the other hand, once I learn that a person is a Christian, I find that I have certain covenant-like obligations to that person, so I guess there is a parallel there somewhere. I just can't quite seem to define it...
we like to think that all marriages are "forever" - and they are not. yes, there is an agreement, but people take it different ways and to different degrees. thats why i advocate "term" marriages - and all of this DOES belong on another thread <G>
LR - yes, pregnancy IS a (the) reason for the pill - but there are many parents who object to their teenagers taking the pill. i've counceled some, trying to get them to back off their daughters - and abortion seems to be more effective than pregnancy. most parents seem to think that pregnancy won't happen to THEIR kids, and if it does they think that they will adopt them, presuming the kid doesn't want a child. but mention ABORTION and the parents are often throwing money to gynocologists for birth control. strange and kinda scary.
you misattributed the quote to me, that was Tom Davidson,
Persoanlly, what I would like to see is the DP shot is free in all areas which have above average teen pregnancies, and earlier sex education.
If whatever method is being used is working for the school/city, I could care less, but if the area has high teen pregnancies, then making the most effective birth control method free and easily available seems like a reasonable solution.
Since this would be on a per school (or city) basis, it will be much easier to avoid upsetting those parents for schools that have low teen pregnancies.
Thanks for your responses, Etan & LR. I find myself more in Etan's camp, but I valued many of LR's points as well. Sorry so long to respond. LR -- as to what constitutes a fit mother, well that's another thread altogether, wouldn't you say? I definitely have my own opinions, but they tend to be a bit over-stringent for the masses, so i don't impose them and leave that sort of discussion to open debate. And I don't think that abortion is wrong in all cases. along with Etan I think that when the woman's choice was taken away in the first place (rape), there are exceptions, and in cases where there are health reasons (again, leaving that definition open), there are definitely exceptions. It's the abortions of convenience -- which easily constitute over 90% (though I'm too busy to try and find actual real numbers on it right now) of abortions that I object to. and I'll bet almost anything that if you did stats there, you would find that the vast majority of 'inconvenient pregnancies' occurred with incorrectly/stupidly applied contraception or no contraception at all.
quote:The unavailability of elective abortion, would not 'doom' one persay. It would however, greatly increase the chances of being with a worse male than one would otherwise choose. I see two reasons for this - males prefer to raise their own, instead of anothers offspring, all else being equal. Secondly a marriage to the wrong man is quite possibly better than better than single motherhood. This should result in a single mother/pregnant woman being less choosy in her choice of marriage partner, all else being equal.
I really don't agree with your logic in this statement. In the first statement, what does men preferring to raise their own offspring have to do with whether or not the woman is stuck with someone? If a sleaze gets some woman pregnant, I can already tell you that generally he'd much rather not raise ANY child than an unexpected one. If you are referring to a woman who is already married getting pregnant by someone /else/, then you have a whole different kettle of worms to deal with. And all of your arguments in that paragraph disregard the adoption choice. If a woman feels that she MUST raise this child herself and she MUST be married and no one but the father will marry her, then she has problems -- but it's not with the child. It's with the silly ideas that she has to raise the child and (to a much lesser extent) be married. Adoption shouldn't be considered an option just because you know you don't want the child. Mothers should consider what's best for that child, and often the best emotional and financial options are not with the birth mother. That's often not an easy choice, because inability to raise the child doesn't mean you don't love her. But birth mothers don't have enough of an inherent advantage at raising a child to justify the disadvantages. Yes, the 9 months of pregancy can be darned inconvenient. But if we take away all negative consequences (not punishments, using the previous argument of consequences being direct results of our actions) of our actions, we don't learn, and we don't have any reason to be better and we CERTAINLY don't have any reason to act responsibly. Responsbility is not inherent, it's learned.
Also, with the argument that 'if a woman carries the child to term, that shows she wants to raise it,' is NOT true. It shows she is unwilling to kill the unborn child, whether or not she wants to raise it is another matter.
And last for now (because I'm at work and I shouldn't be here at all!), on adoption,
quote:Of course the problem is, is that there are numerous babies and children waiting to be adopted. Alas prospective adoptive parents only want to adopt healthy newborns, so there is an oversupply of the unwanted babies and children, and an undersupply of the healthy newborns that are desired.
I know a number of people who are more than happy to adopt less-than-healthy newborns, because they love children so much. And that depends so much on the line that has to be drawn on when a fetus is so malformed that its life is not worth living -- an issue I don't like thinking about and I couldn't decide for myself until I HAD to. I have to say though -- most unwanted CHILDREN (as opposed to newborns), are unwanted not for physical reasons, but for psychological reasons. 1) it's hard to raise a child as your own if you're not starting 'from the start', and 2) most children in the adoption system are there because they were finally taken from terrible parents (who probably should have given the child up for adoption in the first place), and that child is so emotionally screwed up that it's more than a normal challenge to raise him/her. And anyone who says 'oh, kids are resilient, they can take almost anything,' has never had to deal with teenagers/adults that were abused as a child on a counseling level. It's a very rare person that is able to overcome a horrible childhood, which is why bad parenting is probably my biggest pet peeve and why I have to apologize now for ranting on my soapbox again. Sorry.
take as long between posting as you desire, don't feel that there is a need to post within a couple of days. These threads are fairly permanent, so even weeks and months between posting are not a major deal...
quote: LR -- as to what constitutes a fit mother, well that's another thread altogether, wouldn't you say? I definitely have my own opinions, but they tend to be a bit over-stringent for the masses, so i don't impose them and leave that sort of discussion to open debate.
What I meant, was that the government already has grounds for determining who is and who is not a fit mother. It sounded like you desire to greatly expand this definition to apply to anyone who gets pregnant unintentionally.
quote: which easily constitute over 90% (though I'm too busy to try and find actual real numbers on it right now) of abortions that I object to.
Of those that did not spontaneously abort, another percentage (10%?) would be required to be electively aborted for medical reasons.
quote: I'll bet almost anything that if you did stats there, you would find that the vast majority of 'inconvenient pregnancies' occurred with incorrectly/stupidly applied contraception or no contraception at all.
It would appear so, thus making the DP shot free and widely available should greatly decrease the number of unintended pregnancies.
A mandatory DP shot for those individuals who have a first time abortion might be a worthwhile law. As well as my suggestion of making DP freely available in areas with high unintended pregnancy rates.
quote: In the first statement, what does men preferring to raise their own offspring have to do with whether or not the woman is stuck with someone?
You misunderstood. They won't be stuck with the particular individual. It will reduce the number of potential male prospects (since males who prefer to raise their own children is a large percentage of total males). It will also decrease the time available for searching for Mr. Right, and increase the immediate needs (thus increasing the opportunity cost of seeking Mr. Right).
quote: If a sleaze gets some woman pregnant, I can already tell you that generally he'd much rather not raise ANY child than an unexpected one. If you are referring to a woman who is already married getting pregnant by someone /else/, then you have a whole different kettle of worms to deal with.
Neither of those situations...
quote: And all of your arguments in that paragraph disregard the adoption choice.
Not so. There is nearly a 9 month period (and actually quite a bit longer given recovery time) where there is substantial opportunity cost. There is also the 1/600 (I think?) chance of her dying from delivery - an infinite opportunity cost.
quote: Mothers should consider what's best for that child, and often the best emotional and financial options are not with the birth mother.
Agreed. Of course, that decision may be to not bring the fetus to term.
quote: But if we take away all negative consequences (not punishments, using the previous argument of consequences being direct results of our actions) of our actions, we don't learn, and we don't have any reason to be better and we CERTAINLY don't have any reason to act responsibly.
How do you believe that getting an abortion is not a consequence? It is not as severe a consequence as possibly carrying the fetus to term. It is also a more severe consequence than a spontaneous abortion (which would occur the other half the time...).
quote: Also, with the argument that 'if a woman carries the child to term, that shows she wants to raise it,' is NOT true. It shows she is unwilling to kill the unborn child, whether or not she wants to raise it is another matter.
It would be a fetus, not an 'unborn child'. Trying to use emotionally loaded terminology is not particularly helpful. Or do you also refer to infants as the unaged elderly? At the time that the vast majority of abortions occur the fetus is a ball of cells without consciousness that has a 50% chance of spontaneously aborting prior to 20 weeks of gestation.
You are correct that my statement was overly broad, I should have said 'in the vast majority of cases where a woman carries a fetus to term, it is generally the case that she has made a decision to become a parent'.
quote: I have to say though -- most unwanted CHILDREN (as opposed to newborns), are unwanted not for physical reasons, but for psychological reasons.
The newborns are generally put up for adoption because of physical problems. They then stay in state care because of these problems and turn into the unwanted children.
quote: 1) it's hard to raise a child as your own if you're not starting 'from the start', and 2) most children in the adoption system are there because they were finally taken from terrible parents (who probably should have given the child up for adoption in the first place), and that child is so emotionally screwed up that it's more than a normal challenge to raise him/her.
Agreed. My parents have been foster parents since I was 10 or so. Raising a child that has been physically (even tortured), emotionally, neglect, or sexually abused is far more challenging than raising a child without such a traumatic background.
However, in my experience children up for adoption are not generally kids taken from homes (instead those kids end up in the foster care program...). Adopted children are usually abandonment or the parents realization that they don't have the capability to raise children.
quote: It's a very rare person that is able to overcome a horrible childhood, which is why bad parenting is probably my biggest pet peeve and why I have to apologize now for ranting on my soapbox again.
It is possible, but it is a large hurdle that takes a lot of love to overcome (and not always even then...). It is also my biggest pet peeve.
Thanks for the response, LR, I think we're coming along nicely.
quote:What I meant, was that the government already has grounds for determining who is and who is not a fit mother. It sounded like you desire to greatly expand this definition to apply to anyone who gets pregnant unintentionally.
Not at all, though I understand how it would look that way. I suppose in many ways I think that the current rules are fine -- if they were actually enforced. And I've seen a huge number of emotionally unfit parents who provide a child's physical needs and don't beat or molest them, but don't care for them either, and it shows. I think it's a form of emotional abuse when a child is treated like a burden and told how much misery her existence brings to her parent(s). And no, telling the child that you love her after treating her like that can't fix it.
quote: which easily constitute over 90% (though I'm too busy to try and find actual real numbers on it right now) of abortions that I object to. Roughly 75% from the AG. It is important to realize that roughly half of these would have spontaneously aborted by 20 weeks http://www.emcom.ca/health/abortion.shtml[/QUOTE]
whether or not the fetus would have died anyway is irrelevant...it's how the fetus DID cease viability that we're concerned about here -- the choices made.
quote:Of those that did not spontaneously abort, another percentage (10%?) would be required to be electively aborted for medical reasons.
see above, though I must reiterate that medical reasons i take a different stance on.
quote:How do you believe that getting an abortion is not a consequence? It is not as severe a consequence as possibly carrying the fetus to term. It is also a more severe consequence than a spontaneous abortion (which would occur the other half the time...).
I don't think I made myself clear, and this point definitely relies on whether or not you consider a fetus a human or a blob of cells. Assuming a normal, healthy pregnancy, and from the position that at the very least a fetus is human after a few months, I reiterate the 'right to kill your blackmailer' analogy (with the addition that a blackmailer still chose to be stupid and try to blackmail you, so it could be argued that they 'got what they deserved'). One could also use an analogy of whether your senile parent should be unplugged from life support. It's inconvenient and expensive to take care of him, and he is no longer capable of coherent thought and only a semblance of 'consciousness.' He is incapable of surviving on his own and can contribute nothing to society, now or in the future. Do you have the right to pull the plug? Unfortunately, though, the humanity of a blob of human cells is a whole different debate that as far as I can tell depends on which expert's opinion you choose to follow and can't be nailed down with any kind of confidence.
I agree on many of your observations re: foster care v. adoption, though I have personally seen many physically healthy children that have escaped the cycle where the government still stupidly says their parents have rights and they can't be put up for adoption yet. But as my emotional language implies, I feel that's the fault of the government's unwillingness to declare a parent incompetent and sever all rights to raise his/her child. Either way, my stance at where to draw the line on what level of malformation of a fetus is 'justifiable' is very flexible, so malformed, unwanted children may not be a problem. And I'm glad we agree on the pet peeve thing. We'd probably agree on more, except for the fact that my idealism keeps making me say, 'well if people would just BE GOOD we wouldn't have this problem in the first place!' and then I stubbornly sit in the corner for the rest of the evening. like that silly voice in my head that says that lifetime monogamy and honesty of current victims would completely eradicate AIDS in one generation. =) True? yes. Realistic? Hardly.
Agreed. There seems to be a problem where in some cases, the state refuse to intervene for even extremely blatant abusive behavior, conversely, there are far too many instances of the state wrongfully intervening.
I had an idea for video observation equipment installed in homes that abuse is reported in, for some types of abuse, the negative family dynamics should be fairly obvious in short number of days observation. I'd also be interested in the ability of the parents to submit to a lie detector (not the old fashioned GSR, but the new fancy smancy ones that are based on high quality brain scans... can be spot even people trained to lie, and doesn't have the false positives from nervousness etc...).
There are some people who are just too evil to get their children back. (What is even more messed up is when some of the children are taken from the home, but others are left.)
quote: I've seen a huge number of emotionally unfit parents who provide a child's physical needs and don't beat or molest them, but don't care for them either, and it shows. I think it's a form of emotional abuse when a child is treated like a burden and told how much misery her existence brings to her parent(s).
quote: Assuming a normal, healthy pregnancy, and from the position that at the very least a fetus is human after a few months.
Well, the position I take is that an abortion is far more immoral after brain activity has initiated than before brain activity (at 28 weeks)
So to me, objecting to abortion prior to 24 weeks as a Christian, even on religious grounds, is questionable. Although I fully understand that other choose to interpret differently.
quote: I have personally seen many physically healthy children that have escaped the cycle where the government still stupidly says their parents have rights and they can't be put up for adoption yet.
Yea. I think that some abuse so heinous that parents should never get a second chance. My mom has had foster kids that we would get for a year or so and they would be mostly healed, then the state would put them back in the same bad homes again. Biology is given way too much weight in such circumstances.
quote: Either way, my stance at where to draw the line on what level of malformation of a fetus is 'justifiable' is very flexible, so malformed, unwanted children may not be a problem.
I'm somewhat flexible on what standard should be used for elective abortion and for medical reasons. My goal is to stop the unwanted pregnancies from happening so that it is no longer an issue.
quote: True? yes. Realistic? Hardly.
Heheh. Idealism is truely great, but my practical streak is a mile wide <grin> so even if I completely agree with someones ideals I always end up looking at the nitty gritty of accomplishing them in reality.
Tom - i'm not ever sure what is "acceptable" - but if i were sixteen and pregnant >I< wouldn't want to carry it... and if i were a parent, i would want my kid carrying either. and abstinence is a good thing, YES, before you are old enough to choose - but even with lots of preaching, kids are gonna, so parents should be prepared.
Dyany - everyone as their own line about parenthood and what is acceptable. CPS is strained so far that its enevitable that children will fall through the mile-wide cracks - because the government doesn't give them enough money. then again, >I< personally think that birth control should be MANDATORY from puberty on, and a "fitness" test should be given to those who wish to have vhildren. gets rid of all of the problems, no?
Den -- aside from the side-effects of birth control, I agree. I have problems taking birth control, and I have a friend whose cervical cancer was blamed on the many years she was on the pill. Of course, some people are more sensitive to it than others, but I know with my inherent hormone wackiness I can't stand that stuff. Though we would need a far better educational system -- mostly starting in the home, IMHO, because it's more than just a 15 minute 'here's the process and how to prevent problems' lecture -- it's about giving kids the personal discipline & 'defenses' (for want of a better term) and emotional stability to recognize the issues and have the power & strength to make good decisions on their own. Which would take a dramatic change in how we deal with children in this country today, especially if we found a way to enforce how a child is raised. And that combined with tests for having kids (which I agree with) gets us into all these stinky civil rights issues. :P can't win fer losin', as me dear old mum used to say. This discussion is great! Thanks LR, Den and Etan!
Posts: 47 | Registered: Aug 2002
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You know, just a quick comment.
I always find it interesting that we assume that a "good decision" on a teenager's part is to avoid having sex.
While, personally, I feel that teenagers having sex is a bad idea, there are those few out there for whom sex, even at the age of 15 or 16 or whenever they start, turns out to be a good experience, because they are emotionally mature enough to handle having sex, and take the necessary precautions. There may not be a whole heck of a lot of those kids, but I'd rather see more of them then have even more kids with screwed up views of sexuality. There is a discussion going on right now on Hatrack about a lesbian who was kicked out of her high school lockerroom. I think thats the sort of result we get with a culture that is so tied in knots about sex and the human body, and I think its an unhealthy attitude. If one of the results of defeating the attitudes we currently have towards sexuality is that more teenagers have sex (though I think this is unlikely), but more of them are making good decisions about having sex, I'm all for it.
My general point is this. Our culture views sexuality in a generally unhealthy manner. Those people who are comfortable with their own sexuality, and able to converse freely about their own and their partner's sexuality, are more often able to make good decisions... whether it is to have sex or to wait. A "good decision" about sex is one that promotes health... and that isn't necessarily abstaining. It might very well be having sex at a young age, or even with multiple partners. Each person is wired differently, and the point for each person is to figure out he is wired in regards to sex. Our current society makes that goal almost impossible.
Thanks Everard, I couldn't agree more with what you've said here. Often, I find the wildly divergent opinions expressed in this forum interesting and/or alarming, and sometimes outright absurd and ridiculous (the recent homosexuality thread), and in keeping with that theme this thread has been rather interesting. I found that your most recent post really encapsulated my general view on sexuality and teenagers. Unfortunately I think many American's can't come to terms with the reality that that might actually be true. C'est la vie.
[This message has been edited by graywolfe (edited December 20, 2002).]
Just a side comment: LetterRip-- I don't think it's possible to use emotionally unloaded words in reference to humans. For instance, "organism" is a pretty standard scientific term, but when you apply it to people...
I'm pretty sure that the organism who made comments that some 15 and 16 year olds are mature enough to have sex would feel pretty offended that I called him an organism if I wasn't using it as an example. When we go out of are way to use references that don't have human connotation when we are talking about human beings, the automatic implication is that the object being referred to is not, in fact, human, is not special, and has no rights. That in itself is an emotionally loaded implication. So, the terms "fetus" and "unborn child" are both emotionally laden by nature.
quote: I don't think it's possible to use emotionally unloaded words in reference to humans. For instance, "organism" is a pretty standard scientific term, but when you apply it to people...
I disagree, a word like organism is used for generic circumstances, so would be inappropriate for this discussion.
The word fetus, refers to a specific developmental stage. A human fetus, might be more specific. The phrase 'unborn child' is a nonsensical phrase, or at least equally sensible as calling a newborn an 'unaged elderly', a sperm or egg 'unfertilized unborn unaged elderly' or the human fetus would be the 'unborn unaged elderly', or the 'unborn newborn'.
quote: When we go out of are way to use references that don't have human connotation when we are talking about human beings, the automatic implication is that the object being referred to is not, in fact, human, is not special, and has no rights.
We are not 'going out of our way', we are using standard terminology. Fetus is biological stage of development. If we are talking about humans, how does it not have human connotations? In the context of discussing humans, does the word newborn, adult, or elderly not have human connotations? All of these words are generic and refer to stages of development of organisms. When discussing humans, we rarely append the word human to the word, because the word human is implied (ie human fetus, human newborn, human adult, human elderly).
The choice of the word fetus (or embryo), is because it is a standard term for a stage of human development, just as newborn and adult are.
According to dictionary.com at least, a fetus refers to the "unborn young" of any viviparous vertibrate. That makes it a pretty general description. You could specialize the term and say "human fetus" but that would have the same emotional effect as saying "human organism," which may excuse Spock or Data, but not any person who is expected to have the normal human emotional responce to children.
Posts: 921 | Registered: Nov 2002
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I don't think that you realize that even the vast majority of those who oppose abortion strongly differentiate between fetuses and children.
If the rate of spontaneous deaths for infants and children raised to 10%, there would be extraordinary outrage, fear and horror. However, the rate of spontaneous deaths for fetuses is 50%! Yet I've seen little or no concern about this.
So even though you prefer to think of fetuses and children as the same thing, they are very different on moral, emotional, and logical grounds.
quote: You could specialize the term and say "human fetus" but that would have the same emotional effect as saying "human organism," which may excuse Spock or Data, but not any person who is expected to have the normal human emotional responce to children.
I rather resent what appears to be a veiled insult. Are you claiming that those who use proper terminology don't have 'normal human emotional responses to children'. You know, doctors, nurses, pediatricians, other professionals in healthcare and the biological sciences, and others who have a need for discussing human development?
edit - removed some unneccessary sarcasm...
[This message has been edited by LetterRip (edited December 21, 2002).]
Blast. I had a really good responce and my computer ate it.
LetterRip, I apoligize if I offended. That was not my intention.
I have never heard anyone refer to an unborn child as a fetus, outside of a discussion on abortion. But then, I am not a medical professional. I'm just a guy who knows a lot of women who have lost children. The phrase has always been "she lost her baby," never "her fetus was terminated," or some other phrase. A natural abortion, at least in my community, has always had very close to the same emotional impact as a child that died soon after birth. In both cases, I have heard women claiming that they would "see their baby in heaven." I might assert that, if medical professionals do regularly use the less emotional term "fetus" instead of "unborn child" it is because they find it necessary to shield themselves a little from the emotional impact. I know for a fact that if I had ever told a woman whose pregnancy was unexpectedly terminated that it was not so bad because it was a fetus and not a child I would have been very violently attacked by the woman and anyone else who heard me.
It was not my intent to offend. I merely wished to assert that the phrase "unborn child" has equal validity with the word "fetus." If one may be denigrated because it adds too much emotional weight and thereby distorts the issue, the other may also be denigrated because it takes away the emotional weight that is appropriate to an emotional issue, and thereby distorts the issue.
on reflection I probably was overly touchy in my response, my apologies as well.
quote: The phrase has always been "she lost her baby," never "her fetus was terminated," or some other phrase. A natural abortion, at least in my community, has always had very close to the same emotional impact as a child that died soon after birth.
Out of curiousity, roughly when did the spontanteous abortions take place? Early in the first trimester is when most take place (actually they are technically embryos up till 8 weeks or so I think?), and thus are rarely even noticed. The later in term that it happens, there is definitely increased emotional impact.
quote: I know for a fact that if I had ever told a woman whose pregnancy was unexpectedly terminated that it was not so bad because it was a fetus and not a child I would have been very violently attacked by the woman and anyone else who heard me.
The psychological trauma and mourning are substantially different for spontaneous abortions and infant or child death. There is also a great deal of variety in reactions to spontaneous abortions based on when in the term it happens, and whether the individuals pregnancy was intentional, and how much the individual desired to have a baby.
Also, a 'child soon after birth' is vastly different from a child which has been alive for long enough for serious bonding to form.
I'm not saying there is no emotional attachment to fetuses (although it is not deeply significant in the first trimester) or emotional impact to their death in the event of a spontaneous abortion. I am saying that the emotional impact to the death of a child is far stronger and deeper.
quote: I merely wished to assert that the phrase "unborn child" has equal validity with the word "fetus."
Well, we'll have to agree to disagree. From my observations, a fetus has emotional weight that is largely based on the anticipation of the individual in having a baby. The later in the term, the greater the anticipation. A child has emotional weight by the present joy and love it brings. A child can have emotional attachments based soley upon its own merits and interactions, whereas the emotional attachments to a fetus can only be had indirectly via care for the parents.
I suppose we will have to agree to disagree. I always assumed that a person, no matter what the developmental stage, was intrensically valuable simply because it was human, and that emotional importance was based primarily on that intrensic value and only secondarily on the merits and interactions of a particular individual.
What happens if a person has absolutely no discernable merits? Should no one care about that person?
hehehe - by LRs standards, i know lots of bodies that have no personhood <G>
okay, all joking aside -
terms like "unborn child" are used by anti-abortionists BECAUSE of the loaded weight involved (not saying that puretext is trying to manipulate here, just trying to give my crazy view) and "fetus" is used by those same people as a tool against doctors and others "the call your unborn child a fetus, the evil *&%@^$)*"
until this century, women would often use herbs to cause a miscarriage. pennyrose oil is the only one i can think of at the moment, but i am dying of lack of sleep. it seems to me the only difference going on is that dr. run aborions (the ones we have) are SAFER.
Don't you think it's rather MORE sick to refer to an unborn child as a fetus in order to dehumanize it?
Speaking as someone who had this issue brought home to him in just about the most graphic way possible, I'd like to reiterate that this IS the issue central to abortion, and exactly why abortion should be illegal.
That characterization makes no sense to me. The individuals are trying to do what they believe to be right, so calling them 'sick' seems completely uncalled for.
quote: Don't you think it's rather MORE sick to refer to an unborn child as a fetus in order to dehumanize it?
How is calling a fetus, a fetus, dehumanizing it? Fetus is just a developmental term, that is all. People who use the word 'fetus' are not sick, just as people who use the words 'unborn child' are not.
There seems be a strong tendency to demonize people for using correct words for developmental biology.
If we were talking about sex, and birth control, do you use the words penis and vagina? Or c**k and p***y? They are semantically equivalent, but the second set of words have a great deal of added social and emotional context.
Are you upset over peoples usage of the more clinical terms in discussions of sex, because sex is so much more emotionally charged than such words imply?
Incidentally, a web search for the words 'unborn child' turns up almost (the exception was 'communicating with your unborn child' which is appears neutral) exclusively web sites that can be characterized as 'prolife'. A search for the words 'human fetus', turns up a vast array of websites the first and second are from http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-c024.html
a pro-creationism and prolife website.
The third is a book advertisement 'Abortion and Protection of the Human Fetus'
Then a number of additional medical and fetal health related websites.
This demonstrates rather handily the highly politicized nature of 'unborn child' and neutrality of 'human fetus'. Also, the websites that are high scored for unborn child that are prolife, also use fetus when talking about development, ie
quote: Speaking as someone who had this issue brought home to him in just about the most graphic way possible, I'd like to reiterate that this IS the issue central to abortion, and exactly why abortion should be illegal.
That paragraph doesn't make sense to me at all. Could you please restate it or elaborate?
As I have frequently said when this issue is raised, the core issue -- the ONLY issue of any importance -- relevant to the abortion debate is the question of whether or not the fetus can be considered a living human being independent of its mother.
To this end, both sides go to great lengths to either dehumanize or, alternatively, humanize the fetus -- mainly through propaganda.
that is what i thought was sick - the blatant manipulation (and people falling for it)
but i don't see why that means abortion should be illegal.
THAT makes no sense to me, going from the context of your paragraph - what was broughy home to you??? what are you meaning by that???
the truth - one in four pregnancies are miscarried. more truth - you CAN force a miscarriage, its just very dangerous. take too many birthcontrol pills, any of a number of herbs, through yourself down a flight of stairs - outlawing abortion isn't going to get RID of abortion, any more than prohibition got rid of alcohal - like prohibition, all it will do is drive abortion underground and make it less safe.
that sounds like a GREAT idea. (please note puddles of sarcasm)
Den, my wife and I had a late-term abortion go horribly, horribly wrong not long before our marriage. One of the things that experience made very clear to me was the lengths to which abortionists go to dehumanize the fetus -- referring, for example, to the dead baby lying in the hotel toilet as "the tissue" -- and how desperately we (and I'm speaking here as a former pro-choice activist) try to dodge what is ultimately an UNANSWERABLE question about the moment at which life begins and should be sanctified.
I forgot that you aren't all Hatrackers; most of the regulars there are familiar with the details of this story, and I assumed the people here would be, too.
I am sorry for your loss and the trauma you and your wife suffered. Was the abortion spontaneous, or was it a late term induced abortion? If it was induced, what were the motivations for it being late term (ie medical, or malformity, or other?).
Personally, I can understand and even agree with opposition to late term abortions for anything but severe fetal development problems, or in the event that it would put the woman at substantially greater risk of death to give birth than to have the abortion.
Incidentally are the potential medical complications and fetal malformation knowable early in the pregnancy?
Tom, I have to admit that your point about the terminology used by pro-choice advocates always has resonated with me as well. I am Pro-Choice, but I'm not particularly happy about it, and I'm exceptionally uncomfortable with the terminology and loaded language that both sides on the issue, use to attempt to cast asspertions on one another.
I've seen inumerable debates, and interviews with individuals on both sides, and the lengths each side may go to justify their stance sometimes makes me feel almost ill, whether it's pro-choice advocates suggesting that an early term abortion only involves the semi-natural expelling of a group of congregated cells, to the Pro-Life sector which features many advocates classifying their opponents as murderers, and often attemting to outlaw forms of birth control (especially some of the latest developments including first-24 hour prevent-conception aides)that prevent conception itself, rather than kill a fetus.
Its an ugly issue, with, in my view, no clear cut element of right or wrong (Im surprised no one ever seems to mention how criminals who murder pregnant women, are often charged with a double homicide, something that further clouds the issue on what a fetus actually is). We don't know technically when life starts, we don't know exactly how to classify when something is sentient and when something isn't, quite clearly there is a fundamental divide on the issue. Debates on it are as pointless as engaging WmLambert on politics, you get nowhere, and no common ground, other than mutual disagreement can be reached (thats why I'd rather just talk soccer with WmLambert). This is a quiet war that has faded into the background, probably for good. I just hope that while Abortion should remain legal, it should be used as infrequently as humanly possible. With the inumerable methods of birth control now available, abortion should be a rarity for the most part. Unfortunately, far too many of us don't take necessary advantage of all the birth control methods available.
That's my take anyway.
[This message has been edited by graywolfe (edited December 23, 2002).]
We actually know fairly closely to when life starts. (At the first cell division). It is the problem of at what development stage that life deserves protection similar or equal to the life of a person. Also to what extent a womans rights and control over her own body can be overridden to protect the life of the fetus.
As to those individuals who argue against the usage of certain contraceptions. They are basing such argumentation upon the view that the (pre-?)embryo deserves protection based on the idea that the fertilized egg deserves protection prior to implantation.
Since hormonal contraceptives (especially emergency contraception) sometimes act by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the cell lining they argue that usage of such contraceptives is immoral, and should be illegal.
I agree that it is a difficult issue with no clear answers. I would personally prefer that no woman ever wanted or needed an abortion. This is why I generally focus on instead eliminating the underlying causes - such as unwanted pregnancies, and malformed fetuses, as opposed to mostly pointless debates.
[This message has been edited by LetterRip (edited December 24, 2002).]
There's something interesting in announcing that you're not going to say anything...
I think there are actually two cruces in the abortion issue (I'm pretty sure I already posted this somewhere, but...)
The first is When life actually begins, and the second is what defines "human."
It certainly isn't wrong to kill something that isn't human. We do it every time we eat. There may be a cruelty issue, but no issue with the killing itself. And there certainly isn't anything wrong with a human that is not alive. There would only be an issue of due ceremony.
So. The only time an artificial abortion is immoral is when the fetus in question is fully human and fully alive. To the degree that you doubt the statement "this is fully alive and fully human," it is moral and perhaps preferable to perform (commit?) an abortion.
Shutting up now, because this really wasn't the point of this thread...
TOm - i am being attacked by guilt monsters. i am very very sorry...
Pure... in a way, that IS the point of the thread, the reasons for/against OUTLAWING abortion. time of humanity (when the "soul" arives or whatever)is an important issue - because it needs to be defined. better than it has, anyway.
right now, "humanity" seems to be legally defined as when brain activity starts. but for some reason, there is much confusuion about WHEN that is.
i was unhappy about getting my abortion. i would rather have not been pregnant (thats what i get for not knowing i was dating a moron who wanted kids so bad he poked holes in the condoms. think lots of dirty words) i wasn't sure that an 80% chance of death was worth the lives of twins.
but without roe vs. wade, i might not even have been able to make that choice - or if i did, i might have died anyway.