Monday, May 18, 2009

Moral and spiritual dimensions

That's when we begin to say, "Maybe we won't agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this is a heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make, with both moral and spiritual dimensions.

So let's work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term. Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women."

— Barack Obama, Notre Dame Commencement Speech
Well, no. For some women, perhaps, but for many women, the decision to have an abortion is not heart-wrenching; there's no reason is must be so for any and every woman.

We should certainly reduce unintended pregnancies, but we should do so not to reduce the number of abortions, but to stop blocking women from absolute ownership over their own bodies and their own reproductive rights. We should make adoption more available not to reduce abortions, but to take care of children whom women have freely chosen to bear but cannot or do not want to raise. And we should provide care and support for women who carry their children to term not to reduce abortion but for the sake of the women themselves, because it's the sine qua non of civilization to take care of its citizens.

In what way are we to "honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion?" No one is forcing anyone to have abortions, but those who "disagree" with abortion believe (at best) that abortion is murder. I do not believe such people will be satisfied with irrelevant lip service. I can't see any middle ground here, any more than I can see any middle ground between those who would prohibit and those who would tolerate the murder of born people. Either abortion is murder or it's not. Either a woman has absolute control over her own body, or she does not.

[h/t to Daniel Florien]

15 comments:

  1. I guess I agree with you in principle, but I am not sure of the practically.

    The Pope says that condoms don't work, that abstinence is the way to go. He is fundamentally right. The best form of birth control is abstinence, but is it practical?

    Obama needs to sell the message, and if he goes about it all profound, philosophical, and fundamental, he will never convince the many simpletons that are listening.

    The masses need a message they can relate to, unfortunately. Until the I.Q. of the masses can be improved, they'll have to be feed milk like babies.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Pope says that condoms don't work, that abstinence is the way to go. He is fundamentally right. -

    No, he's not right in any sense of the word "right" other than "wrong". Condoms do work, and an insistence on abstinence denies the full range of consensual human expression of sexuality.

    The best form of birth control is abstinence... -

    Only in the same sense that anorexia is the "best" form of weight loss.

    Obama needs to sell the message... -

    What message? That we should compromise and enslave the bodies of only some women (hint: poor, non-white and "slutty") but not others?

    Until the I.Q. of the masses can be improved... -

    There's nothing wrong with the IQ of the masses, only the delusional bullshit incessantly fed to them by people such as Obama.

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  3. Abstinence is only effective inasmuch as people practice it, and the data seems to indicate that the rate at which most people are able to successfully practice it isn't any more impressive than the success rate of properly used condoms.

    I suppose to be strictly fair in the comparison one would have to include (some) cases where people fail to (properly) use condoms, but even then, the data indicates, as far as I'm aware, that educating people about condoms (and making them easily available) works out to better overall numbers (in terms of pregnancy or abortions or what have you) than teaching them about abstinence.

    So abstinence seems pretty clearly not the way to go as a sex education policy even if your goal is preventing abortions, which is supposedly the case for "pro-life" people. The only way abstinence seems better is if you take as a premise, "people didn't actually act the way they do in practice," but that's obviously flawed, though I don't doubt that many people wouldn't see any problem in hanging their argument on it.

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  4. Abstinence is only effective inasmuch as people practice it -

    The issue is not whether abstinence is effective, in theory or in practice. Sexuality is good and it's important: regardless of the supposed benefits, people should no more refrain from sex than they should from eating.

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  5. Edward Green, a Harvard researcher, seems to think that Benedict XVI was basically right about the effectiveness of condoms at halting the spread of AIDS.
    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MTNlNDc1MmMwNDM0OTEzMjQ4NDc0ZGUyOWYxNmEzN2E=
    http://markshea.blogspot.com/2009/04/pope-makes-common-sense-observation.html

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  6. "Sexuality is good and it's important: regardless of the supposed benefits, people should no more refrain from sex than they should from eating."

    Why is it, then, that an individual who lives a celibate life can be happy and fulfilled, while a person who eats nothing will soon be dead?

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  7. 'The best form of birth control is abstinence... -

    Only in the same sense that anorexia is the "best" form of weight loss.'

    the best thing i've read all day.

    ReplyDelete
  8. 'In what way are we to "honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion?" No one is forcing anyone to have abortions, but those who "disagree" with abortion believe (at best) that abortion is murder.'

    He was probably referring to conscience clauses which protect doctors, nurses, and private hospitals from having to perform abortions that they find morally reprehensible.

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  9. I agree with you 100% on the substance here.

    I wonder if you overestimate the intelligence of BO's audience, though. The mealymouthed happyspeak that he emitted, although not technically satisfying the "abortion is murder" crowd, might mollify them. When at Harvard heading up the law review, BO was know to be able to speak in such a way that both sides could hear, and believe, what they wanted, and I fear that's the case here as well.

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  10. Socrates, Jr.5/20/09, 7:57 AM

    Barefoot Bum,

    Nothing to say about Edward Green & AIDS?

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've concluded that anything written on NRO is, if not a blatant lie, then too unreliable to be worth bothering to investigate.

    I've already noted that your other source, Mark Shea, is himself a boring fucktard.

    I also automatically presume that anyone who cites NRO or other fucktards approvingly is himself a clueless fucktard.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Socrates, Jr.5/20/09, 10:08 AM

    "I also automatically presume that anyone who cites NRO or other fucktards approvingly is himself a clueless fucktard."

    So, in other words, if something disagrees with your pre-conceived opinions or comes from a ritually impure website, even if its a study by a Harvard professor, you won't even bother looking into it or refuting it with reason? On the basis of prejudice you will discount the findings of someone like Green, not by debunking his research or presenting evidence to the contrary, but by closing your eyes and assuming on faith (you don't have any actual evidence that Green made up his findings, do you?) that he's a lying rightwing sycophant? Sounds a little bit like the tactics used by creationists to avoid looking at evidence which disagrees with their pre-conceived ideas...

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  13. So, in other words -

    I use the words I choose to use. It's not necessary to restate what I have to say.

    if something disagrees with your pre-conceived opinions or comes from a ritually impure website...No, that's not what I said, which is why you use look at the words I actually use, not the words you'd like to put in my mouth to make your own fucktarded, ignorant case less obviously stupid. I said the NRO is too unreliable to make it worth investigating their claims. Not because they disagree with me, but because I've found by direct investigation that they often lie outright, and even more often distort meanings or ignore contrary information.

    ... even if its [sic] a study by a Harvard professor -

    Listen carefully, fucktard: The National Review Online is not Harvard University. You did not link to a study by a Harvard professor, you linked to a well-known source of tendentious, lying propaganda and a fucktarded blogger. If you want to be taken seriously by those of us that need exponential notation to count our functioning brain cells, you can learn about the magic of primary sources.

    I just don't have time for dumbfuck fascist retards. Go play with your fellow troglodytes and leave the sensible people alone, kay?

    ReplyDelete
  14. I took a deep breath, though. and plunged into at least the NRO article.

    First of all, my post is about abortion, not HIV prevention. Second, the NRO is by Kathryn Lopez, who has time and again proven herself at the very bottom end of NRO's reputation for intellectual dishonesty and outright fraud, no mean feat. I frankly have no idea whether or not Lopez is even accurately representing Green's views.

    Second, the NRO article does not cite any actual studies establishing the truth of Green's remarks (even supposing they are accurately presented). Opinions — even the opinions of Harvard researchers — are like assholes: everybody has them and they usually stink. If you want me to consider evidence and scientific conclusions, you can damn well provide them.

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  15. According to the APRP website:

    This Project also seeks to promote a deeper understanding of the influence that spirituality, beliefs and values, such as respect and responsibility, can have on human behavior and health, especially with regard to the AIDS pandemic.

    The APRP is supported by the John Templeton Foundation.
    -

    Anyone is free to be an advocate, but advocacy of a specific conclusion is the opposite of doing everything one can to avoid a priori bias.

    ReplyDelete

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