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View Diary: I remember the day when....and I'm afraid (315 comments)

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  •  I wish it were that simple. (2.14)
    I hate that the discussion takes place around whether abortion should be against the law.  This is a distraction from the central question and it turns any discussion about whether abortion is right or wrong into a shouting match.

    Abortion kills a human life.  

    That's what I want to discuss with women.

    •  You're the one being simplistic (4.00)
      Let me start off by saying that YOU said you wanted this conversation......so you're getting what you asked for.

      First of all, your arguement assumes that there is consensus on when human life begins. Obviously not everyone agrees on this matter...not science, not religion, and certainly not the layperson. So that assumption alone is subjective. The crux of the issue here is that some people want to decide when life begins by using their aribtrary emotional/religious beliefs that they hold and enforce this across the board. That is and always had been impossible. If this weren't so, there'd have never been illegal abortions....

      To be honest, I see an early term abortion as less of a killing than more of there not being a birth. I plain and simply don't see a fetus as an independent "human life", but as potential human life. Potential can or cannot become what is was potential to be, but never fully was for many reasons, including natural ones (ie miscarriages).

      In the purest sense of the word (harsh tho it sounds, it's accurate...look it up) a fetus is a parasite dependent on it's host (ie mother) to survive. Until that fetus comes into the world and is unattached from the umbelical cord, it's entirely dependent on it's mother (ie host) to survive. This being the case, at the best, the fetus is apart of the body....at the worse, it's a drain on the resources of it's host.

      Even if you view this as a killing of a human being, exactly why is this something so remarkable? Human beings (already born) die everyday of preventable causes, do you feel so strongly about that? Why is the life of someone who's not been born yet have more value than someone who has been born? A death penalty is a prime example of that. If abortion is taking a life (tho not yet one who can survive w/o it's mother-host) and members of society can't countence that because they believe it's murder....they should also feel the same about the death penalty. At least in the case of abortion it's on the conscience of the woman whereas the death penalty is society sentencing someone to death.

      Since you didn't want to talk about the legal issues, but the moral one....if someone's conscience allows them to abort their fetus, why is this your concern? If you feel this way about fetal life, then you know what decision to make for yourself, but don't for a second start to think that your views or universal or even right (be that by religion or science).

      BTW, how many children have you adopted? If you really feel abortion is the killing of human life, than you should be on the front lines to protect it......and not by standing in front of clinics traumatisizing women, but by adopting children of any race or age.

      •  Did You Even Read What DoDi Wrote Above ? (4.00)
        It doesn't appear that you did.  There are millions of people who believe that a fetus is a life but support pro-choice abortion laws because they are aware that there are differences in judgments and values concerning the issue.  On a personal basis, they are willing to counsel and even support a woman who chooses to have a child but recognize the choice is up to the women herself.

        But apparently that isn't good enough for you.  Pro-choice for you means dehumanizing a fetus, an unborn baby, in the crudest way possible as a rationalization for your position.  If you have a problem with others believing that a fetus is a life, then that's your problem and no cold hearted description of human development before birth is going to change opinion.  It's really analogous to anti-abortion advocates showing pictures of cut up fetuses to support their position.

        Pro-choice means a woman has the choice to make the decision between herself, her doctor and her conscience.  Pro-choice does not mean that those who support legalized abortion are supposed to mute their opinions and set aside their values.

      •  Yes, it does sound cruel (none)
        You write so callously:

        "In the purest sense of the word (harsh tho it sounds, it's accurate...look it up) a fetus is a parasite dependent on it's host (ie mother) to survive. Until that fetus comes into the world and is unattached from the umbelical cord, it's entirely dependent on it's mother (ie host) to survive. This being the case, at the best, the fetus is apart of the body....at the worse, it's a drain on the resources of it's host. "

        Well, I'm sorry, but by that logic it should be legal to kill a 3 year old child, or a 14 year old, for that matter, because even at those ages the children are still dependenct on its "host", as you put it.  Many adults who are disabled, unemployed, or just plain down on their luck are also ripe for the death chamber based on your cruel logic.  The elderly in nursing homes, hey, their dependent on their "hosts" to survive, so, "harsh as it sounds", according to you, I guess all of these lives are a "drain on the resources of it's host."

        I don't know who raised you or others of your ilk, but they did a horrible job of instilling compassion, sensitivity, and just basic human decency in you.  I'm sorry to be so "harsh", but when I hear this cruel talk my "emotions" just spontaneously react.  Its evil in the worst sense of the word, this nihilistic philosophy that you advance,  your utilitarian contract with the Devil that you propose we all follow.

        I'm sure the author of this diary did not intend for it to descend into a shouting match over abortion, but such a cruel philosophy enunciated by yourself and others on this blog carries over into other areas of society.  What a choice modern politics in America has descended into-choosing between "pro-life Republicans" who at the same time sponsor pre-emptive wars of aggression which kill hundreds of thousands, and at the same time cutting back on social programs for those already living-and "pro-choice Democrats", who will go to the barricades to stop the death penalty of a convicted mass-murderer but who think its ok to kill a human baby at anytime during a woman's pregnancy, and based upon your utilitarian logic, it would be ok to kill any life dependent on others for its survival.

        •  A fetus is not a "human baby." (none)

          Roe protects the right to reproductive choice absolutely only during the first three months.  We're talking about a mindless glob of cells here.

          How dare you pretend to be a liberal and preach this sort of cruel idiocy - that any abortion is the "murder" of a "human baby"?  How dare you try to make women feel guilty for valuing themselves above a blob?  How dare you try to destroy the peace of mind of women who had abortions - who did what they had to do, and what you will NEVER have to do?

          How dare you ask for broad-minded acceptance of your own differences from the mainstream - as indicated by your post below - and yet harangue others for their beliefs that are different from yours?  I know a couple of fundies who would love to come on this website and harangue you for a while.

          If your purpose is to force your religious beliefs on other people, you're in the wrong party, I don't care what your other beliefs are.  This is the fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives:  liberals are not into control of other people's behaviors and beliefs. As a corollary, we do not give heartless sermons signed to destroy other people's peace of mind.

      •  Joan... that's just the discussion I want to have (4.00)
        thanks for posting it.

        My basis for saying that abortion is killing a human life is not religious and here's why:
        A fetus is alive and has the complete DNA makeup of the new and unique individual.  It's living, it's a life... What type of life is it then?  The DNA is human DNA so we would have to say scientifically that the life is human.

        If the life is not human than what is it?

        So aborting it is taking a human life, which is morally wrong unless done in self-defense.

        As a woman in her 50's I know that laws won't convince other women of anything... I know the panic of unwanted pregnancy in the age when abortion was illegal and I remember when women who I knew went to back alley abortions and even aborted themselves in desparation.  I'm against making abortion illegal, it doesnt stop abortion and it doesn't help women like me who want to talk calmly and in friendship with women like you and vice versa.

        About your last question "BTW, how many children have you adopted? If you really feel abortion is the killing of human life, than you should be on the front lines to protect it......and not by standing in front of clinics traumatisizing women, but by adopting children of any race or age".

        That's fair.  Here's the answer: I've raised two adopted boys, I've been the foster parent to five children of immigrant workers who had no housing.  They went back to Mexico and thier father (my 'compadre' since I'm godmother to one of the girls) tried to come back to the USA in search of work but was killed (we assume since we've never heard from him) trying to cross the border so I send them money every month and visit.  My comadre has nine children.  Also although I'm not rich (I work as a computer programmer) I have been able to save a bit for retirement so I took $20,000 and built a primary school in Kerala in a fishing village where I know the village priest.  The school was old and falling down and so the government condemned it.  It was an emergency and I could chip in so I did... so there's some examples of things, and over the years I've tried to help when opportunities present themselves.

        •  Not Human Till the Brain is Formed (4.00)
          The DNA argument doesn't hold up for a few reasons.  First, just because something contains complete human DNA, it is not necessarily human.  A heart being readied for transplant has complete human DNA, but it is not itself a human being.  Second, identical twins (and soon, clones of people) have the same DNA, so the "uniqueness" is not relevant.  Third, once a person is fully brain dead, even if the remaining organs are kept alive on life support,I think you will agree that the person is gone, even though there has been no change in the DNA.

          What does distinguish a living object with human DNA and a human being is the presence of a human brain.  Until the brain (specifically, the cerebral cortex) is formed, there is not a human being there.  Thus, before this point in the pregnancy (around the fifth month usually, I believe), abortion for any reason is not murder.  After this point, abortion is the taking of a life and whether or not it is murder or self defense or a mercy killing depends on the particular circumstances.  As far as policy goes however, since it is near impossible to monitor and control the activities of pregnant women and still have a just society, the decision should remain within the private confines of the doctor's office and not be subject to government interference.

          •  chicagoan... you make a good argument, but... (none)
            1. I don't think the body part argument is very strong because if you kill just a living body part the individual still goes on living (or remains dead if they already were dead).  The individual's state is not affected by what is done with a separate body part.

            2. If you kill a fetus you directly affect the status of the individual in that they cease living.  This is attributable directly to what was done to the fetus and it makes no difference if the abortion occurs before or after the cerebral cortex has developed.
            •  Reply (none)
              As to your first point:  Why is a bady part not "the individual"?  If my kidney is removed, but kept alive, why is the kidney not "the individual"?  It has the DNA.  What makes the leftover parts more important than the kidney? (answer:  the brain)

              And also in response to your first point:  Every body part but the brain, right?  You must admit that the brain plays a very different role than any other organ.

              As to the second:  Yes, you cease the life of an individual form (or two in the case of siamese twins), but not a person.  If I killed an unfertilized egg, I would also be ceasing the life of an individual form, but not a person.  It's the same thing.  

              •  chicagoan... (none)
                One could also keep a brain alive in a box on a table.  Is it an individual?
                •  If it was capible of maintaining consciousness (none)
                  I would say yes, it is an individual...

                  Keeping a brain alive in a box would be a fate worse than death for that individual though, unless there was some way for it to interact with the world...

                  I don't view my body very differently than a brain box (with some added features for observing and manipulating my suroundings).  It is the only brain box I will ever get, so I try to take very good care of it...

                  "That blood was already on the flag; we just made it visible." - Clare Grady

                  by tamman2000 on Tue Nov 01, 2005 at 12:25:32 PM PST

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                  •  haha.. (none)
                    chicagoan,  you are reminding me of a movie called "Kaliman and the Sinister World of Humanon".  This is a movie you should not see!

                    The possibility of love defines the human individual.  The possibility to give and/or to recieve it.

                    Over the years I've been an atheist, an agnostic, and a believer... but is unimportant.  Everyone has the ability for recognizing the humanity in others and themselves.

                    •  that wasn't chigagoan... (none)
                      It was me...

                      I am not sure what your point in this most recent post is?

                      Are you saying that a brain in a box can't love?

                      Or was the rather scifi notion of a brain in a box independant of the latter part of the post?

                      "That blood was already on the flag; we just made it visible." - Clare Grady

                      by tamman2000 on Tue Nov 01, 2005 at 01:06:04 PM PST

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                      •  sorry tamman... (none)
                        I didn't see that it was you and not chicagoan who posted the comment.  Sorry for my smart aleck remark about horror movies ;-)

                        "Are you saying that a brain in a box can't love?"  

                        OK! you got me! I'm speechless now.

                        "Remember, we are here but by the grace of plate tectonics... Just some perspective, apply it to your idealogies as you will." -- read in a comment by roboton

                        by DoDi on Tue Nov 01, 2005 at 01:20:55 PM PST

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                    •  I hope you're not serious (none)
                      Certainly you don't think my daughter had the capacity to love me when she was still in my womb, do you?

                      And if we are going by the "everyone has the capacity to recognize" standard (which, we definitely should not), I can tell you that the point of conception is definitely not where most people have drawn the line throughout history.  If you show someone a blastocyst and then an 8-month fetus, there is no doubt in my mind that they would be more likely to confer personhood on the second than the first.

                      •  love is what makes us human (none)
                        Certainly you don't think my daughter had the capacity to love me when she was still in my womb, do you?

                        Maybe not, but you had the capacity to love her.

                        "Remember, we are here but by the grace of plate tectonics... Just some perspective, apply it to your idealogies as you will." -- read in a comment by roboton

                        by DoDi on Tue Nov 01, 2005 at 04:22:36 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I love my cat, too (none)
                          I love all sorts of things.  I certainly wouldn't want to confer personhood on my cat.  Or my house.

                          If our personhood is only granted by other people having the capacity to love us, then that's a pretty poor standard.  There are people without friends or family to care for them.  Still people in my book, even thought they are not loved.

                          •  You took my point backwards... (none)
                            If our personhood is only granted by other people having the capacity to love us, then that's a pretty poor standard.

                            I meant it differently.  Personhood isn't granted by the capacity of others to love us, but rather by our capacity to love them.

                            Love is what makes us human individuals... our possibility to love others and receive love in return.  

                            This also applies at the societal level... our capacity to love mothers and help them rather than criticize them when they are in desparate situations.  That's why you'll never find me marching in front of an abortion clinic, but you might find me listening quietly over coffee with a woman in trouble about how we can both come up with a solution that might expand rather than diminish us both as human beings.

                            "Remember, we are here but by the grace of plate tectonics... Just some perspective, apply it to your idealogies as you will." -- read in a comment by roboton

                            by DoDi on Tue Nov 01, 2005 at 05:19:22 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  We need a clear definition (none)
                            You're going back and forth of this.  My daughter could not love me when she was in the womb, so that does not confer personhood on her at that point by your definition.  I could love her, but I also loved my cat, so that does not confer personhood on her by your definition.  She simply did not meet your definition of personhood while she was in my womb.  (Actually, she doesn't even meet it now, at 2 months of age.)

                            You started with an argument about DNA.  You seem to have abandoned that and are now defining personhood differently.  Why the change?  If you are willing to change your position, please give some consideration to my point about the brain.  I think that logically it's the only definition that stands up to scrutiny (and believe me, I've given it years of careful consideration).

                          •  OK (none)
                            Actually, she doesn't even meet it now, at 2 months of age.

                            haha, that I agree with.  let's both agree to exclude kids from 2 months until 21 years old from being included in the personhood classification.

                            My assertion is a package deal that includes:

                            1. DNA of the fetus is not the DNA of the mother nor of the father.  It is the DNA that is complete and new and unique (except for identical twins, in which case you got two brand new individuals).
                            2. I have no idea what a fetus feels... perhaps someday science will be able to answer that question.  But a fetus is the beginning of a new life that carries the possibility and promise of loving others, unlike for instance, a kidney or a pet rock.  i.e. it's alive and it's human.
                            3. We respond instinctively to the unborn human life with love.  We value it and even those who claim to support abortion rights often make the remark that they hope that rates of abortion are reduced.  Why would they feel that way if abortion only kills a blob of cells?  I think like many moral questions... it's an instinctive knowledge.

                            I wish there never were laws against abortion and I hope there never will be.  The debate about legality makes it difficult to really talk about abortion itself.  As a woman I'm quite insistant that men keep thier laws off my body... we women drew a line around ourselves when we rose up in the 50's and 60's to claim our own personhood.  We have always made the decision about whether or not to carry a child to term, and abortion laws didn't stop us... even to the point of aborting ourselves.  So I'm pro-choice... but also very pro-life.

                            "Remember, we are here but by the grace of plate tectonics... Just some perspective, apply it to your idealogies as you will." -- read in a comment by roboton

                            by DoDi on Tue Nov 01, 2005 at 07:56:17 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But Conception is not the Correct Place (none)
                            Here is my response to your 3 assertions:

                            1.  Identical twins can form from up to 12 days after conception.  At what point did the second "individual" show up?  And, you can't appeal first to "unique DNA" as being the definition of an individual and then claim that identical twins are two individuals.  Either unique DNA counts for something or it doesn't.

                            2.  Here you're just arguing circularly.  That is, it's human because it's human.  Some fetuses will never develop a brain.  That fetus does not carry the possibility nor the promise of loving others.  It is not until the brain develops that that possibility becomes a reality.  If an egg and a sperm are sliding toward each other in a petri dish, and I stop them 2 seconds before meeting, you don't think that is the taking of the life that would have been formed, but 2 seconds after they meet, you do.  Doesn't make sense.  If it's potential we're talking about, both situations are the same.  Conception just doesn't cut it.

                            3.  Why, you wonder might abortion be a tragedy, even if it is not the death of a person?  Well, it can only result from one of two things:  an unwanted pregnancy or a wanted pregnancy where something went wrong.  Both of those are tragedies.  And, again, if we're going by instinct, do you dispute that almost everyone in the world considers a miscarriage at 8 months of fetal development more tragic than one at 3 weeks?  If, as you believe there is no difference in personhood, why the instinctual difference?
                •  Of Course (none)
                  Not sure why you think it's not.  It passes your DNA test.
        •  Thank you (none)
          for putting your money (and your time) where your mouth is.

          If all the pro-life people were like you, we wouldn't have these problems.  

    •  Apparently (none)
      human life only counts for something with the conservatives up until the point one is actually born.

      Halley Seven, United States Nil - You see, it can be done!

      by ian1973uk on Tue Nov 01, 2005 at 04:04:19 AM PST

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    •  Then God does an awful lot (4.00)
      of killing. A LOT of pregnancies don't come to term, by God's hand.

      I, myself, would rather have abortion be unusual. But until we worry more about the people who are here than the people who aren't born yet, women WILL get abortions. Legal or not.

      •  About half of all fertilized eggs (4.00)
        are flushed out every month. And then there are the large percentage of embryos that don't make it past the 14 week marker. ( All doctors tell women not to tell anyone about a pregnancy until they pass 13 weeks, because too many don't make it)

        That is a lot of "souls" that this omniscient God is killing.

        So, if you believe Christian myths, then you have to think either

        A) half the souls in heaven never spent a day outside of a womb in earth
        OR
        B) god does not magically zap a soul at conception, but at birth

        •  false dicotomy (none)
          Human life doesn't have to begin either at birth or conception, you are ignoring 9 very formative months.

          "That blood was already on the flag; we just made it visible." - Clare Grady

          by tamman2000 on Tue Nov 01, 2005 at 08:44:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  then we don't know (none)
            when this mass of cells gets a soul, if you believe that human animals get souls at some point and other animals don't.

            so it is no one else's business
            THAT is the whole arugment.

            •  When the brain forms (none)
              Personhood is in the human brain.  Once the cerebral cortex forms, it's a person.  Before that, it's not.
              •  And if that never forms correctly? (none)
                Because sometimes it doesn't, but the fetus still continues developing.

                Is an abortion OK then? What if other parts don't form correctly? What about Siamese twins, especially if they share vital organs?

                What about life-threatening birth defects? Ones where the child, even if carried full term, will never be able to live a full life, and may not even realize it HAS a life?

                Would you want to force a woman to carry such a pregnancy to term, only to have the child die after a few months because health ins refused to continue paying the hospital?

                •  I Didn't State Anything About Policy (none)
                  I didn't discuss any policy in that post, just stated when life begins.

                  If you want my views on policy, however, I will repost what I posted above:  Whether a termination past that point is murder, self defense, or a mercy killing depends on the circumstances.  However, because policing pregnant womens' activities is impossible in a just society, the individual decision should be made in the privacy of the doctor's office without government interference.

    •  Shouldn't have been zero rated... (4.00)
      DoDi is entitled to her opinion.  We, collectively, need to have a better responce to what she, in a calm maner, stated.  We need better than loud disagreement.  Escalateing the argument to the point of trying to censor/overpower does nothing to convince people either way, it only cements positions.

      zero rating this comment, and some of the replies to it, are counterproductive to the discussion. (some of the replying is good too though...)

      That said, how do we know DoDi isn't right?  We state all the time that nobody knows when life begins.  Personally, I think it is obvious that it is not at conception, and that it is equally obvios that it is before birth.  I can't get more precise than that.  She might be mearly employing these facts in the conservative maner.  I say conservative not meaning the political movement, but the true meaning of the word, the scientific/data analysis/engineering sence of the word, playing it safe...  

      If her ultimate objective is to prevent the taking of human life, and she believes that life begins before birth, at an unknown time, the limit on the potential time that it starts would be conception, or implantation of the zygote in the uterus.  By employing the limit case she is just doing all she can to preven unnessisary human life loss.

      I want to make it clear, that abortion should be legal, and, at least in early pregnancy I have no objection to it (after the formation of the central nervious system, I am less sure about my position).  I just don't think the reaction to DoDi that we are displaying is warrented.  We need productive debate, we have to be better than the other side!

      "That blood was already on the flag; we just made it visible." - Clare Grady

      by tamman2000 on Tue Nov 01, 2005 at 07:06:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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