Stewart v. Huckabee on Abortion: What do you think? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Stewart v. Huckabee on Abortion: What do you think?

After growing up Southern Baptist— and spending a good bit of time on the opposite side of the spectrum when I was in college— I've had a number of different views on abortion, much like many Americans. In this series of clips, Mike Huckabee (former governor of Arkansas, another state I call home) and Daily Show host John Stewart hold a respectful discussion on the issue. A solid interview. Makes you think.

My question for you is this: Is there really room for compromise? Barack Obama has said that he believes there is. After reading Kate Royals' first person account of Mississippi's state-funded abstinence only education programs, it sure doesn't look like we'll have compromise in Mississippi any time soon. What do you think?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Mike Huckabee Extended Interview Pt. 1
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Mike Huckabee Extended Interview Pt. 2
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Mike Huckabee Extended Interview Pt. 3
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

Bryan Doyle is a freelance writer currently living in Washington, D.C. Contact him at doyleberg[at]gmail.com

Previous Comments

ID
148840
Comment

I haven't seen the complete interview yet, but I've heard it's excellent. As a matter of practice, I don't think there's much room for compromise on the issue of whether elective abortion should be legal in the first two trimesters. The third-trimester issue--of an excessively broad health exception vs. an excessively narrow save-the-woman's-life exception--is one about which I think there can be substantial dialogue between and among Americans who are not politicians. For my part, I've marched as a pro-choicer, I've lobbied as a pro-choicer, I hold office in several pro-choice organizations, etc. It was not easy for me. I still lose a certain amount of sleep over second-trimester abortions, and I will admit that my ability to function as a pro-choice activist in Mississippi is contingent partly on the fact that the clinic only performs abortions through week 16. If it performed lots of elective week-20 abortions, I don't know that I'd be carrying any picket signs. That may make me a bad pro-choicer by national standards, but in Mississippi there's an "in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king" dynamic that makes me Mr. Abortion despite reservations that would disqualify me from the movement on a national level. The truth of the matter is that abortion will happen whether it's legal or not, and I see no advantage to depriving women who need abortions--and are going to have them, legally or illegally--of qualified doctors and sanitary surgical conditions. I do not see this as an abstract debate over fetal personhood. I see this as a medical care issue. I see this as a question of whether we believe that women who choose to have abortions should be left to the wolves, and on that issue I see no room for compromise at all. But one area where we should have agreement, and this isn't exactly compromise, is that we need to improve comprehensive sex ed and birth control access so that fewer women face a situation where they have to choose between abortion and an unwanted pregnancy. That's the best way to reduce abortions--it can do so more completely and effectively than a ban ever could--but I don't see it as a compromise, exactly, because the issue of whether abortion should be legal will still exist in any case.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-06-19T14:52:32-06:00
ID
148851
Comment

Tom, Thank you for being so candid in explaining your nuanced abortion stance. Your "one-eyed man" analogy it's home with me personally - My views would never garner me much support nationally. But I think you end with an interesting point, one that Stewart brings up at the end of the third video above: That the key to limiting abortions is a more expansive system of sexual health education. Huckabee skirted the statement, which brings me back to the purpose of this blog post: Is there room for compromise on sex ed, I mean, really? The same people that read the Bible literally, and thus label abortion doctors as "murderers" (though Huckabee dislikes the term) are more often than not the exact same people who support the abstinence-only programs for that very same reason - The Bible. Sure, I suppose there's more room with sex. ed, in that the issue is not so black and white, but I'm doubtful. So doubtful that it's hard not to think that Mr. Obama is either being too safe on the issue, or that he's just plain disingenuous. I always despise the man in the room who throws up his hands and says "Agree to Disagree" far too early, but I think with this issue, it may the closest we get to civility.

Author
bryan doyle
Date
2009-06-20T12:33:32-06:00
ID
148853
Comment

Bryan, I don't believe that the two edges of the ideological fight will ever find common ground. As you said, the far right is as adamantly against sex ed and contraception as they are against abortion. The far left, on the other hand, have no space for any religiosity regarding the issue, regardless of their "tolerance" rhetoric, and stand firm on science and individual rights planks. Who's more justified in their rigidity depends on where you stand personally on the issue. Neither stance makes any sense to their opponents. What we need is a way to reframe the issue. Tom is absolutely right that abortions will happen whether they're legal or not; they have been since the first woman got pregnant with the first unwanted child. Making abortion illegal will not stop women from having abortions, though it will make them expensive, dangerous and even lethal again, as they were before Roe v Wade. Women will risk dying rather than bear a child they do not want, and cannot afford or love. That's reality. Huckabee is typical of the religious right. It is not an "economic inconvenience" or a life "interference" to bear a child, as he insinuates, as if the decision to become a mother is the equivalent of whether to add a pedicure to your manicure, or as trivial as choosing between two prom dates. Regardless of how far we've come as a society, being a mother, especially a single mother, is a hard, hard row to hoe, one full of self-sacrifice and limited opportunity. It's not a good choice, or the right choice, for many women. In Mississippi, 26 percent of adult women 19 to 64 years old lived in poverty in 2007, along with 31 percent—more than 231,000—of the state’s children, compared to 22 percent of adult men. It's a typical picture of the disproportionate burden of poverty that women bear. (Nationally, the poverty rate for women is 17 percent, and 14 percent for men.) And one root cause of poverty's inequity is that women bear a disproportionate amount of responsibility for raising children. I think that may be one place to start—at the reality of women's choices, and the reality of how we care for children in America. Let's not even talk about bringing more children into the world until we can talk about properly feeding and educating the children already here. Let's face facts: Whether a woman chooses to bring children into the world or not, she gets little to no support once the decision's been made. If she chooses motherhood, fathers are rarely held accountable (especially ex-husbands and ex-boyfriends), day care is obscenely expensive (more than $4K annually in Mississippi), health care is a joke and job discrimination is rampant. If she chooses abortion, many will ostracize and demonize her, making an already difficult decision a psychic scar and her "dirty" secret forever. Women, it seems, are damned if they do and damned if they don't. We have got to raise our eyes and minds higher than the womb if we're ever going to get anywhere on this issue. I hope we can, but it's a slim hope.

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2009-06-20T16:04:43-06:00
ID
148859
Comment

What I think really hurts the pro-choice movement more than anything else is lack of any tangible empathy for people who legitimately worry that fetuses might be real people. If we can ever learn how to connect effectively with the emotional core of the anti-abortion movement, to appeal to the humanity of good people on the other side, then we will not need to worry about a compromise because we will have won. But I don't feel like that kind of emotional connection or resonance is the objective of most of the pro-choice movement--that it's all policy and (as you point out) science and individual rights--and while that's fine in states like New York and Connecticut, I don't know that it will fly in states like Mississippi, not for a long time. What national pro-choice organizations really need to do, IMHO, is listen more often to folks who are on the trenches down here in the red states--and less often to folks who already live in a pro-choice culture and subsequently don't understand what we're up against as a national movement. I love your closing paragraph, btw... We do need to raise our eyes and minds higher than the womb.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-06-20T23:50:41-06:00
ID
148864
Comment

"Let's face facts: Whether a woman chooses to bring children into the world or not, she gets little to no support once the decision's been made. If she chooses motherhood, fathers are rarely held accountable (especially ex-husbands and ex-boyfriends), day care is obscenely expensive (more than $4K annually in Mississippi), health care is a joke and job discrimination is rampant. If she chooses abortion, many will ostracize and demonize her, making an already difficult decision a psychic scar and her "dirty" secret forever." If we're going to reframe the issue, I think this is a great place to start. I wonder why you hear so little about this story nowadays except from more like-minded organizations on the millennium. Women's rights is the root of the issue, what made Roe v. Wade what it was. But still, you rarely hear about the issue, mainly becuase, as Ronni so eloquently put it, our eyes are on the womb.

Author
bryan doyle
Date
2009-06-21T17:46:06-06:00
ID
148865
Comment

What really hurts the pro-life movement is their non-acceptance of anyone who does not conform to the party line. And that works both ways, whether you choose to keep a child or have an abortion. It's like you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. For example, a woman's child is conceived out of wedlock. When she makes that decision to carry the child to term and raise it, she faces shunning by her church for having the child. But then, she could go against everything she believes in and have an abortion, and the church will never find out, they still love her, all of that. That has been my experience with the Southern Baptist church. I have seen people asked to leave their positions because they chose to have a child. I have seen a friend of mine have to get up and apologize to her congregation because she became pregnant. The whole thing is a sad situation.

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2009-06-21T19:58:14-06:00
ID
148866
Comment

And I just realized I used a sentence from Ronni's most excellent post. Not intentional, and I apologize.

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2009-06-21T20:01:27-06:00
ID
148873
Comment

I would agree that comprehensive sexual education would go a long way to lowering the number of unwanted pregnancies and rates of infection of STD's. Education is the solution to most of our problems. Abstinence only education should be called the abject failure that it is. Mississippi is the poster child for making that point. All that being said, however, I think at some point a fetus becomes a person before it's born. And, I believe our best science is not sophisticated enough to know when that is. We, as a people, believe we are extremely advanced but the facts are that we are only a hundred to a hundred and fifty years removed from a society that didn't understand atomic structure, how to harness the power of electricity or a whole myriad of other miracles of modern science. We are still primitive in our understanding of how the world, the universe and biology actually work. Most people still believe an invisible man lives in the sky and cares what we do. We have an accumulation of knowledge but we lack sorely the wisdom to make the kind of decisions about the processes of life that we would need to say an abortion does not kill another human being. I thought the then candidate Obama answered the question about when life begins at the Saddleback debate the most honestly when he agreed he didn't know either. It was above his pay grade. His answer was an allusion to God I think, but still it was an honest answer. I just don't think we know, and if we don't know - shouldn't we, for public policy considerations, err on the side of life? You can't take back a mistake that is so severe in it's consequence. The notion that abortions will happen anyway so we should just make access to abortion at anytime legal is ridiculous. Distraught mothers and father will still throw babies out with trash after birth, and almost no one thinks it would be a good idea to allow abortion up until six months of age. The plan to stop that by making safe havens for parents to drop off their unwanted children at hospitals ended up backfiring when people started dropping off teenagers. The idea that actions should have no consequences is getting far too pervasive. Yes, it sucks when teens get knocked up. But they made the choices to get themselves there. Those people should be made examples of for others, so that they don't make the same mistakes. That is what education is all about, the imparting of knowledge to the ignorant.

Author
WMartin
Date
2009-06-22T12:22:01-06:00
ID
148897
Comment

WMartin writes: "The idea that actions should have no consequences is getting far too pervasive." For men, they generally do have no consequences. Men can--and often do--move on like nothing has happened. Women do not have that option. "Those people should be made examples of for others, so that they don't make the same mistakes." Women are already punished for pregnancies, and men are already not. Under your schema, this does not change; women are simply punished more. So the example that would be made for others is that men's lives would be perceived as freer and of higher value than women's. That's called institutional sexism, and it's been tried (and is still being tried). "We have an accumulation of knowledge but we lack sorely the wisdom to make the kind of decisions about the processes of life that we would need to say an abortion does not kill another human being." In a homicide case, it is not necessary for the defense to prove that nobody died. The prosecution has to prove that somebody did. A ban on abortion would be a criminal matter, and the burden of proof would properly rest with the prosecution. Besides, there is no evidence of any kind to support the claim that a first-trimester or early second-trimester abortion kills a sentient human person. If you're proposing pulling the argument that it does out of your ass, with no evidence to support it, might I suggest that this is probably not a sound basis for public policy dealing with women's reproductive choices. "A first-trimester embryo is a sentient human person" makes about as much scientific sense as "Every time you masturbate, God kills a kitten." I don't mean to be snappy, WMartin, but as one male to another, I think you're speaking from a position of comfort and privilege that women do not share. I also think you're looking for a middle road, you've found one, and unfortunately it heads off a cliff. The anti-abortion argument can be justified only--only--by the claim that an embryo or fetus is a human person, and the only rational basis for that claim, the only one I've found, rests in the religious doctrines you dismiss in paragraph two. The "responsibility" / "we need to teach these people consequences" argument isn't just oppressive towards women; it's unconvincing, too.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-06-22T18:50:01-06:00
ID
148901
Comment

Well, Tom, the gloves are off, huh? I understand your criticisms of some of the weaknesses in WMartin's arguement, but let's not get hyperbolic here. Yes, women bear so much more of a burden than men when it comes to pregnancy, but I would hardly say men are completely free of the consequences, especially in the South. Just playing devil's advocate here. And I strongly disagree with your suggestion that the only rational anti-abortion argument is a religious one. Any rational person, be them liberal or conservative, religious or atheist, can come to the conclusion that at some point that fetus is human-like enough that we should protect it legally. Hell, our legal system already allows this concession; those charged with the killing of a pregnant woman can, under law, be charged with double murder. And that's a perfectly logical conclusion for any person to make. This brings another question of course, that of whether or not a woman's intent to have a baby makes it human enough to deserve legal protection, but that's a whole another issue I suppose. And down the rabbit hole we go...

Author
bryan doyle
Date
2009-06-22T22:04:24-06:00
ID
148902
Comment

Bryan, I got a little harsh there, I'll admit--but I get really, really tired of seeing groups of men debate whether or not "people need to learn responsibility" when by "people" we don't mean us. Toughening up penalties for men who don't pay child support... Making it easier for low-income mothers to prove paternity... Those are things that would make people learn responsibility. Piling more restrictions on women so the few options they have are further reduced? Let's call that what it is. We should be making things easier for women, not harder. Ronni nailed it: Unintended pregnancy is a major contributor to women's poverty, men keep walking away, and all we want to talk about is how we can further restrict women's options so they'll learn that "actions have consequences." That's not a friendly position, so it would be disingenuous to give it a friendly response. We've "niced" ourselves into some pretty nasty systems of exploitation, and it is becoming increasingly clear to me that we're not going to be able to "nice" ourselves out of them. Maybe this is what Audre Lorde meant when she said the master's tools can't dismantle the master's house.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-06-22T22:10:06-06:00
ID
148903
Comment

"That's not a friendly position, so it would be disingenuous to give it a friendly response" I think that's an easy position to take to justify one's own lack of restraint. Do you think that was his intent, to frame it in such a way as to further discriminate against women (WMartin, if this is in fact your intent, feel free to speak up)? From reading it, I don't. Many people want abortion to be available to the women that need it, but they don't think it should be as easy as going to Wal-mart, because they care enough about the haziness of the issue of human life that they feel that people should always take the process seriously. That most women DO take it VERY seriously might make that worldview misinformed, but it certainly does not unfriendly, or even sexist.

Author
bryan doyle
Date
2009-06-22T22:26:41-06:00
ID
148904
Comment

You actually just said that abortion is or can be "as easy as going to Wal-Mart," and I'm the one who needs to exercise restraint? You, as a man, are saying that at least some women need to take abortion (a painful, expensive, and stigmatizing medical procedure) "more seriously," and I'm the one who needs to exercise restraint? This is why I tend to raise an eyebrow when I see two men debate abortion civilly on television, as Stewart and Huckabee did. It reminds me of the quote about how democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner. Men can discuss abortion--they have a responsibility to, as voters. But they should be thinking about women's lives when they do, not going "down the rabbit hole." Some discussions shouldn't be too civil. Not if civility comes with the precondition that we will refuse to call each other on male privilege, or white privilege, or heterosexual privilege, or economic privilege, or whatever privileges or conditions are relevant to the discussion. This is not an abstract topic. Women are dying all over the world, right now, over all these civil disagreements among men.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-06-22T22:30:24-06:00
ID
148905
Comment

Author
bryan doyle
Date
2009-06-22T22:47:50-06:00
ID
148906
Comment

I was trying to humanize the other side of the issue there Tom, and looking back, using the Walmart reference wasn't the best way to do that. Still, I don't agree with the implication that men who desire further inquiry on the topic are compassionless, distant figures in their irovy towers, or better yet, wolves among sheep. I believe in a woman's right to choose. Yet what interests me the most about this topic is that it sits where two deep compassions collide - one for women, one of the unborn - and how that friction can cause people to do and say rather hateful things. Some of us can get so confused by the conflicting compassion within us that it makes us too unsettled to even bring up the topic, which is why I wanted to post this in the first place. I take it very seriously, because as you've mentioned, lives are at stake. It's all still a haze to me the details, so I might play the issue too safe or too civilly. But that doesn't mean I'm without compassion.

Author
bryan doyle
Date
2009-06-22T23:27:34-06:00
ID
148907
Comment

Didn't say you were, chief. WMartin either.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-06-22T23:38:00-06:00
ID
148908
Comment

You guys tell us when you get it worked out for us, OK? Bryan, if you equate the "ease" of getting a abortion with going to Wal-Mart, even in a flippant way, it seems clear that you're not taking the issue very seriously, nor are you very informed about it. With due respect, that doesn't even get my interest in more discussion with you on it. Personally, I work very hard not to divide this issue into those two extreme gulfs. But when one side does, the current usually pulls the other one in because even if you want to discuss what should be very complex decisions -- like late-term abortion and rape/incest -- one side pulls you into the middle of the river and tries to drown you in their dogma and overblown hype. Put simply, much as Lady Havoc expresses well above, I just can't participate in a black-and-white conversation where the life of the mother, not to even get to the *rights*, is immediately considered by one side as less worthy of saving than is a fetus. And if you can't even discuss that one in a civil way, without references to "baby killing," where else can you go? I'm largely referring to a conversation I had the other morning outside the Mississippi Farmer's Market with a young woman with a clipboard. I did notice that her eyes seemed empty of compassion, and she was repeating her schtick like a robot. I felt sorry for her.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-06-22T23:40:15-06:00
ID
148909
Comment

DL writes: "You guys tell us when you get it worked out for us, OK?" This is what bugs me about all the "civil" discussions. The marriage debate was Stewart and Huckabee, two heterosexuals, talking about what to do about same-sex couples who are trying to get married. The more recent debate was Stewart and Huckabee, two men, talking about what to do about women who are trying to get an abortion. And we're supposed to be impressed that they looked comfortable?

Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-06-22T23:48:45-06:00
ID
148910
Comment

It really is usually two or more (white) men talking about what the rest of us should do. I have no problem having white men as part of the conversation, but I am damn tired of them dominating it. I was having this conversation with someone Sunday. Inevitably, if you have a group that is dominated by white men number-wise, it is a different conversation than one in which a truly diverse mix of people are at the table. It can be really hard for the rest of us to cut through the wall of privileged communication, and even "progressive" men don't often know when they are shutting other people out of the conversation. In fact, they can be the worst because they, presumably, aren't doing it on purpose. So, to be heard, the rest of us have to get sassy and raise our voices more, often. We get tired of it, but the alternative is being silenced. So, right on, Tom. Even if you are a white guy. *giggles*

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-06-22T23:52:17-06:00
ID
148911
Comment

I do not have a solid opinion on this issue, but I would like to ask 'Pro-Lifers' if they are also against the death penalty, war and the slaughtering of around seven billion animals a year? I feel these questions are justified since the group claims such a direct name. Also, for the ones, if any, against homosexual marriage, would you still fight for the baby's rights if you could know whether he or she is gay?

Author
JonOKeefe
Date
2009-06-22T23:53:21-06:00
ID
148912
Comment

Nope, I don't think the Wal-mart reference puts me in the ignorant, nonserious camp. The stupid camp...maybe. Right on JonOKeefe. Or better yet, the pro-lifers who basically openly celebrated the murder of Dr. Tiller in Kansas (Thank you, Bill O'Reilly). Know, not very pro-life at all.

Author
bryan doyle
Date
2009-06-22T23:54:34-06:00
ID
148914
Comment

I'm personally against abortion except in cases of saving the mother's life or rape/incest. That's just me. But,If my wife got pregnant now she would have to have an abortion because of the meds I take for cancer, the fetus would never surive. Would not like it, but there would be no other choice. I love babies, it would take me forever to get over that happening. I also believe it's none of my damn business if a single or married women living in proverty wants to have an abortion to keep from having to bring into this world a child she can neither feed or clothe and is probably going to die as an infant. Nobody is going to help her. Tough choice for her to have to make, but it's her choice not mine. Then you have the men and women who mess up and she winds up pregnant, they can afford the baby,there's no risk to her, there's nothing wrong with the baby. They just don't want a baby, I would lean toward no abortion for her/them because they made a mistake, but then again it none of my business what they do. Kinda a wishy washy opinion but it the only one I got. LOL Keefe- I don't guess you could call me a Pro-lifer but I will weigh in on your question, Death Penalty- some people need killing, War- they have been happening since cavemen figured out how to pick up rocks beat each other over the head, ain't gonna stop them now. Slaughtering 7 billion animals for food- we gotta eat, that's what God put them here for. I support PETA -People Eating Tasty Animals.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2009-06-23T02:23:49-06:00
ID
148919
Comment

JonOKeefe: Sure. I'll bite. 1: Death Penalty: completely against. Two wrongs in no way make a right. And once a mistake is made, and an innocent person is killed, you don't get a do-over. 2: War: once again, against. I have not found one time in history, IMHO, where war was necessary. 3: Animals for food: you got me there. I do like a good hamburger once in a while. I have no fond feelings for PETA. Sea Kittens? Good grief. :) 4: Heck, yes. I don't care if they're gay, straight or plaid. Makes no difference to me. I would love my children just as much no matter what they turn out to be.

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2009-06-23T08:54:37-06:00
ID
148920
Comment

Oh, and for the record: I avoid demonstrations like the plague. Reason: I despise those large signs the pro-lifers always have that show an aborted fetus. We usually have our children with us when we go out, and I will explain it all when I think they're old enough. They do not need to see that at their age. The hard sell, zombie tactics are not going to work in the end. I like Donna's description of the person she spoke with: even though I consider myself pro-life, it seems the people they put out to talk about it have been programmed to think that way. It's like they are incapable of thinking for themselves. Very sad. After years of attempted church indoctrination, I came to my life values and decisions on my own. And it feels darn good.

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2009-06-23T09:01:37-06:00
ID
148921
Comment

Bubba-I really have no comment on your last paragraph. I don't support Peta, you know, the real one, but that claim is one that I've heard used when they cannot debate the issue.

Author
JonOKeefe
Date
2009-06-23T09:08:14-06:00
ID
148922
Comment

I am also not saying any of what I said will stop. I just get fed up with the mostly hypocritical label.

Author
JonOKeefe
Date
2009-06-23T09:10:25-06:00
ID
148923
Comment

Tom Head, Sure, as a male, I am speaking from a position of comfort and privilege. So what? I have an opinion and I don't think it is coming from out of my ass or my penis. If you feel comfortable drawing an arbitrary line and saying sentience begins at that point with the levels of scientific understanding that exists today, we might as well just pull a number from your ass. It would have as much meaning. We all know that people develop physiologically at different rates so a one number fits all policy can't be the correct one. Yet, that doesn't seem to matter. I don't necessarily believe that a zygote, embryo or fetus at a particular stage of development is a sentient human person. But we all know it becomes one at some point. The only point I made in regards to that was that we simply don't know when that change takes place or even if there is a change. I wouldn't convict someone and send them to the death chamber if I didn't know 100% for sure they were guilty. Since there is no way to know 100% accurately you won't be seeing me on any capital murder juries I am sure. I wonder how you can make such decisions from a position of ignorance with such certainty. I think it's callous and flippant to just assume it's not a person because it would be inconvenient for some people who will go on with their lives after the procedure. I would support policy to make the consequences for the men involved in creating the problem more severe. I am for more accountability all around. I would also support a morning after solution to stop the process before it got started, but even with those options there would still be unwanted pregnancy. and the debate goes on and on ....

Author
WMartin
Date
2009-06-23T09:20:50-06:00
ID
148987
Comment

Toughening penalties on men, helping single mothers, etc. sounds great. Doesn't get to the root of the problem. You speak of responsibility of the consequence, not responsibility of preventing the consequence. Too much after-the-fact speak. Why must we determine if something is considered a "life"? When a woman takes the test, and a doctor comes in and says "You're pregnant"; that instance of realization is the starting point. I don't believe it necessary to say "anything on or before the 36th day is okay to kill". That's complicating a rather simple subject. I apologize for using the term "kill"... I suppose if it doesn't look quite like us, or isn't 100% developed, it is inferior.

Author
jacksonian
Date
2009-06-25T10:35:37-06:00
ID
148997
Comment

Jacksonian, you're defining the abortion "problem" in terms that only a pro-lifer would love. To say that a bunch of dividing cells "doesn't look quite like us" so therefore it's "inferior," would be pretty silly, and no one on this thread is saying anything of the kind. (Disregarding the fact that a fetus doesn't begin to look anything close to human until well into the third month; until then it could be an alligator or a chicken if you just go by looks alone.) You're making the issue into a zero-sum game, which it clearly is not. If the point in time a fetus becomes human remains the basis of the conversation there can be no middle ground: Pro-lifers believe that an embryo is human (and imbued with a soul) from the moment of conception. Pro-choicers say that a bunch of cells shouldn't be defined as human and be given the rights of humans. We cannot discuss the issue on those terms, because there's nowhere left to go. There is NO, repeat NO evidence other than "faith" for either argument (you either have faith in your religious doctrine or you have faith the doctrine isn't true, but they're just the other side of the same incontestable argument). While I'm not saying either position is wrong, there's no absolute, incontrovertible evidence either way. And there are certainly a huge number of people on the planet who do not share each other's faith. As I said before, we must reframe the issue to be able to speak and actually hear one another. Unless and until we address the fundamental inequality of women, mothers and children (especially poor and minority women, mothers and children) in our society, addressing abortion is just a side show "generating more heat than light" in the words of Gov. Huckabee. Abortion is a wedge issue that takes our eyes off the real problems of women and children, poverty, lack of health care, discrimination and piss-poor public education in this country. No child should be unwanted or unloved, and no child should go hungry or live life in ignorance. No woman should have to bear a child she does not want, cannot love or cannot afford. We have too many unwanted, unloved, starving and ignorant children already. How about we take care of them, first?

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2009-06-25T14:48:18-06:00
ID
148999
Comment

Correction: a fetus doesn't begin to look anything close to human until well into the *second* month.

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2009-06-25T14:51:20-06:00
ID
149008
Comment

Jacksonian, There is no one talking about completely preventing unwanted pregnancy for the same reason no one talks about swimming across the Atlantic or do it yourself brain surgery, it's an impossibility. We could reduce the frequency, I am convinced, with comprehensive sex ed so people know the consequences beforehand, but we can never completely eradicate the tragedy of an unwanted child. Main Entry: 1kill Pronunciation: \ˈkil\ Function: verb Etymology: Middle English, perhaps from Old English *cyllan; akin to Old English cwellan to kill — more at quell Date: 14th century transitive verb 1 a: to deprive of life : cause the death of b (1): to slaughter (as a hog) for food (2): to convert a food animal into (a kind of meat) by slaughtering 2 a: to put an end to b: defeat, veto c: to mark for omission ; also : delete d: annihilate, destroy 3 a: to destroy the vital or essential quality of b: to cause to stop c: to check the flow of current through Kill is appropriate, it seems, according to Merriam Webster.

Author
WMartin
Date
2009-06-25T16:59:59-06:00
ID
149009
Comment

Ronni, You are certainly right. We can't know when that bunch of cells becomes a person. We know that it is before birth. Doesn't that mean we should err on the side of protecting that possible person? How can we even debate when we don't know?

Author
WMartin
Date
2009-06-25T17:06:54-06:00
ID
149016
Comment

We can't debate it, WMartin. Not on those terms. And I'm not attempting to. If you want my personal opinion, women who decide to end an unwanted pregnancy *do* err on the side of protecting life. Their life. Not some "possible" life. A real, flesh and blood, walking and talking, tax-paying, breathing human being. A fertilized egg in my womb with the "potential" to be a person does not have the same rights I do, IMHO, and if it's a choice between the egg's life and mine, the egg might lose. Of course, I could be wrong, but that's where I stand, and quite frankly, it's not up for debate. We're not going to agree. That is the problem with this debate. Everybody might be right and everybody might be wrong. If you want something to debate where we CAN actually make a difference, let's talk about how to end poverty and ignorance. Let's talk about how to make child-care affordable so that single mothers can make a decent living. Let's talk about putting reasonable family-friendly employment laws in place so that women can take FMLA leave to care for sick children and parents. Let's talk about how to end discrimination in the workplace so that women earn the same as men for doing equal work. Let's talk about getting medically accurate birth control information into the hands of teens, and how to distribute condoms to prevent both pregnancy and disease. Let's talk about how to remove the "sinful" stigma from a process as pure and natural as breathing. Let's stop talking about an issue where we'll never agree—abortion—and talk about things that can actually make a difference.

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2009-06-25T18:34:40-06:00
ID
149033
Comment

"There is no one talking about completely preventing unwanted pregnancy for the same reason no one talks about swimming across the Atlantic or do it yourself brain surgery, it's an impossibility." I agree with you there. No matter the effort, there are several things we cannot prevent completely; I just feel there is a line being crossed between action and consequence in this country. Furthermore, I believe the consequence of abortion has a profound effect on a mother. There are other means, aren't there? Whether pro-life or pro-choice, we all agree there needs to be preventative measures and there are far too many abortions. In regards to choice, can one not choose to give a child up for adoption? This, of course, may not be the best answer (and I'm sure will have its rejections on this board)... but my point is to think outside of the box, outside of killing... alternate measures where a woman must face the consequence of her action and have the child, and give it to a family who will provide for that child. One main problem, in my opinion: Pro-choicers I know tend to side with abortion. What of other choices? Why aren't women who "choose" (to face consequence, have the child, and raise it or give it for adoption)... why aren't these women ever praised for making a choice? I'm not going to generalize all pro-choicers this way, for I know not everyone thinks the same. I just feel sometimes we can be blinded by the abortion aspect of the issue and lose focus regarding all sides of the "choice" spectrum. Instead of being an advocate of decisions, I choose to be an advocate of making the right decision, which in my opinion is life and not death.

Author
jacksonian
Date
2009-06-26T07:04:54-06:00
ID
149035
Comment

" Let's talk about getting medically accurate birth control information into the hands of teens, and how to distribute condoms to prevent both pregnancy and disease." If you wish for fourteen year olds to have sex frequently with no concern for consequence, I suppose this would be the best approach. I understand the importance of preventing pregnancy and disease. I really do. Perhaps having training sessions with parents on how to raise their children and not rely on a government condom programs. Why do we try to eliminate consequence from the decision-making process in this country? It's the bailout of the reproductive process. We want the pleasure of sex but not the consequence of it.

Author
jacksonian
Date
2009-06-26T07:22:15-06:00
ID
149051
Comment

Ronni, in the case of a pregnant woman who's life is truly at risk, I could support a medical procedure that did save her life and ended the pregnancy. But if all that is at risk is her lifestyle there is no way. It's easy to be flip and say the "potential" person doesn't have any rights, but this ain't schrodinger's cat we are talking about. It can't exist in both states of human and non human at the same time. Both sides can't be right and both be wrong. Objectively it either is or isn't a human person... the only reason we say possible is that we don't know. I guess I just can't understand how people can be so callous about the lives of so many children if they are wrong, especially in the absence of any evidence they are right.

Author
WMartin
Date
2009-06-26T11:06:14-06:00
ID
149052
Comment

Jacksonian, I would agree with almost everything you just said except ... "If you wish for fourteen year olds to have sex frequently with no concern for consequence, I suppose this would be the best approach." It really doesn't matter what we wish for, in our society fourteen year olds and other teens are going to have sex. Whether they receive government condoms and sex education or not and teenagers are notorious for disregarding consequences. We can either arm them with knowledge and protection or we can leave them ignorant and pray for the best. The latter plan has created the stats that shame us all as Mississippians. I feel pretty much the same way you do. That there is a real attitude in this country that nothing should have any ramifications. We should be able to act as irresponsibly as we like and should have to bear no consequences for it. Ronni's post earlier sums it up pretty well, if someone has a growing life in them and it's inconvenient to their lifestyle, well it doesn't stand much chance if that person isn't into the parent thing at the time and it doesn't really matter whether it may be a person or not. It's simply at odds with their lifestyle. I would agree it would be better to think of that before the sex that created it but hey, it's not about taking care of what you create it's about what works for me right now. That is why the other options are not hardly even paid attention to. To place a baby for adoption you have to carry it for nine months and take care of yourself. It's very inconvenient. In the land of the croisandwich and disposable everything convenience is king.

Author
WMartin
Date
2009-06-26T11:19:07-06:00
ID
149054
Comment

WMartin, you're really pissing me off. Stop putting words in my mouth. "Inconvenient to their lifestyle"? I never said any such thing and don't you dare tell me that I did. This is exactly why I didn't want to get into a debate on the pros and cons of the two extremes. It never leads to anything but this kind of b.s. and ugliness.

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2009-06-26T11:57:10-06:00
ID
149059
Comment

Life here is not defined as existence. Life, in this statement, represents the ability to enjoy; the act of making decisions which benefit the decisionmaker only. You know, living the "good life". If this is the platform you use to defend your pro-abortion stance, that's fine. But in all honesty, it is extremely selfish and caters only to convenience. Your anger is more of a realization that you are wrong. He put no words in your mouth... read what you wrote. I copied and pasted for your convenience. ""If you want my personal opinion, women who decide to end an unwanted pregnancy *do* err on the side of protecting life. Their life. Not some "possible" life. A real, flesh and blood, walking and talking, tax-paying, breathing human being."

Author
jacksonian
Date
2009-06-26T12:56:15-06:00
ID
149089
Comment

I think this is one of the reasons why I don't usually bother "dialoguing" on abortion: Men on the other side of the issue are generally kind and civil to me, but as soon as someone with two X chromosomes enters the discussion, they'll get a response that looks like the post above from jacksonian. An argument I had on this very site with a legislator about abortion, several years ago, had a similar dynamic--"Oh, it's so nice dealing with Tom, but these women are crazy." Well, no. These women and I are saying exactly the same thing, but the difference is that it apparently looks strange to see a woman stick up for herself. Double standards like that are the main reason why I'm a damn NOW officer. It's enough to make me want to be a more outspoken jerk, just on general principle. I'd love to know how it is that people hate Donna Ladd for being a radical on this or that but are constantly behaving in a friendly way towards me even when we're saying the same damn thing. If it's offensive coming from a woman, why isn't it offensive coming from a man? I'd stand with Ronni and critique your post, jacksonian, but there's not really an argument in it to critique. You're just insulting her, telling her what you think she really believes and why you think she really believes it. Bill O'Reilly crap. Chauvinism in logic's lingerie. There's nothing I could say in rebuttal that would make it less persuasive than it already is.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-06-27T00:29:00-06:00
ID
149090
Comment

Thank you, Tom, for pointing out what should be the obvious. Todd often points it out as well. He and I can say the exact same thing, and people will treat me very differently. It's not only by conservatives, though; even progressives are often freaked out by women willing to speak our minds. I see it all the time. In a way, we get used to it, but the only alternative is keeping our mouths shut. And then the assholes win because they managed to silence us. And you know how ugly it can get, especially with anonymous commenters, who attack women viciously when they can't figure out how to "win" their points. Anytime you hear a guy, for instance, start talking about a woman he disagrees with being a b!tch, or talking about her appearance and such, read closer. He just lost the argument and is trying to change the subject. You quickly learn people like that aren't worth the time of day.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-06-27T00:51:47-06:00
ID
149101
Comment

I do understand why you wish to label me chauvinistic as an alternative for lack of rebuttal. The truth lies in two concepts: responsibility and inconvenience. Whether a woman or man, I ask you this: When you hear of a single woman having a child and raising it, or giving the child up for adoption, are you there to support her? Where are all the pro-choicers to support the decision that was made? She has a hard decision to make and doesn't base her decision on selfishness. Do keep in mind the easiest road is abortion; The easiest alternative is not always best. We should commend these women, pro-choicers and pro-lifers alike. Define for me what pro-choice is, for today I see it as simply a cop-out... an advocation of abortion and nothing else. That is unfortunate.

Author
jacksonian
Date
2009-06-28T19:48:47-06:00
ID
149106
Comment

jacksonian writes: "When you hear of a single woman having a child and raising it, or giving the child up for adoption, are you there to support her? Where are all the pro-choicers to support the decision that was made?" More often than not, supporting the very programs--WIC assistance, social welfare, Section 8 housing, public education, universal health care, and so forth--that make it more possible for single women to raise a child. What I've long found disturbing is that people on the other side of the agenda tend, more often than not, to oppose these programs--and then condemn women who have abortions, as well as the health care professionals and activists who work to make those abortions as safe as possible. There are exceptions to that rule, of course--the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, for example. But by and large, the people working to make abortions illegal are also working to make it harder for single women to raise children. Let's not kid ourselves by referring to such a position as pro-life.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2009-06-29T03:36:52-06:00

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