Thursday, March 6, 2014

Did Matt Walsh "demolish" the bodily autonomy argument? Not even close.

So "Young Conservatives" blog is trumpeting that Matt Walsh just "demolished" the bodily autonomy pro-choice argument. A big claim. And one that falls laughably short of the reality.

First, background. "Rachel" (not me; some other Rachel) sent a letter to Walsh outlining a bodily autonomy scenario where a person wakes up in a hospital next to a famous singer, and discovers that he's being compelled, for the next nine months, to remain as a virtual life support system to that person. Walsh responds with ten points, which I will address one at a time.

1. Your analogy is flawed because it presupposes that the relationship between mother and child is no more significant, and carries with it no more responsibility, than the relationship between a person and some random stranger in a hospital bed.
Interestingly, Walsh sees that this scenario is akin to forcing someone to be "a slave, a prostitute, and a forced organ donor". He does not see that is similar to forcing a woman to gestate a fetus, however. "The relationship matters. Your hypothetical fails because it pretends that relationships are irrelevant," he argues. Matt's own presuppositions are flawed, however. He seems to think a fertilized egg should and does carry some weight to a woman, but this is not always the case -- and certainly not in the direction that he imagines it would. The potential offspring resulting from rape or fathered by an abusive partner, for instance, can potentially carry a very negative significance (rather than the idyllic one he ascribes).

Furthermore, while some women might and do feel strong attachment to their fetuses, this is certainly not always the case (and it is hard to argue that it can be the case in the earliest stages of pregnancy, when a woman doesn't even realize that she is carrying a zygote or embryo). It's not always the case after birth. But feeling about a relationship isn't really relevant. What it comes down to is this: does a woman owe a fertilized egg something? Matt merely takes for granted that she does. He does not illustrate this, but simply presupposes it. News flash, Matt. Not everyone accepts your fetus-centric worldview, and you're using it to tell women what we can and can't do. Therefore it falls on you to justify that worldview.

Here's the thing. When you're deciding what to do with your own body, you can make any presuppositions you want. You can fantasize about anthropomorphic sperm; you can set limits on what you're allowed to do in relation to those sperm; you can name 'em for all I care. But when you think your views extend to what other people can do with their bodies, however, the burden of proof falls to you to illustrate why your ideas should be taken seriously. And you fail to do this.

2. Your analogy is flawed because it leaves out an important detail: how did the singer become ill in the first place?
This is the classic punishment line. "Aside from cases of rape, a child is only conceived because two people intentionally committed a particular act which has, literally billions of times, resulted in the conception of a human life." Unless you were raped, you had sex, therefore you deserve to be pregnant, whether you want to be or not.

It's interesting to note that Matt ignores rape hereafter for this point. Something bad “happened to” the singer (the original writer didn't actually indicate that the singer had no hand in his sickness; the scenario might have just as easily included an event where the singer chose to do something knowing he ran a tiny risk of contracting an the singer could be as much to “blame” for his illness a pregnant woman for pregnancy). Whereas the woman, unless she was raped, brought it on herself. So what about the woman who didn't? What about the 30+ to 50 thousand women a year whose pregnancies are the results of rape?

You hear that? That's the sound of Walsh ignoring the point. If the consensual nature of the intercourse was a genuine objection, it still leaves a significant body of women to whom the argument applies. Walsh simply ignores them.
Also, not to quibble, but...intercourse is not the only method of conception.

Furthermore, sex and pregnancy are not a one-to-one. If they were, Walsh might have a point on this one; but they're not, and they're not even close. Sex can and does happen when reproduction is not possible, and it is not guaranteed to lead to reproduction even when it is possible. An undesired development does not mean that you're stuck following through, letting nature take its course. If I get behind the wheel on an icy day and my car starts sliding for the ditch, I'm not honor bound to crash if I can prevent it; consenting to drive doesn't mean that I'm consenting to crash. If I go skiing and break my leg, I'm not duty bound to let it heal however it's inclined to heal, if at all; consenting to skiing doesn't mean consenting to broken bones. Why does it follow that conception through consensual intercourse necessitates gestation and motherhood? It doesn't. Consenting to sex is not consenting to pregnancy. Again, Matt is simply supposing something (something very significant – that a woman is bound to use her body to develop a zygote, embryo or fetus into a child [and then be responsible for it thereafter] if she has consensual sex that results in a fertilized egg) and offering no justification for his supposition.

Our species has no problem correcting non-optimal outcomes when possible. We set broken legs. We perform surgeries. We treat cancers and diseases. We terminate unwanted pregnancies. It doesn't matter if they're “self-inflicted.” We don't just give up in defeatist fashion. “Well, you chose to have sex. Now that egg is fertilized. Which means you're going to have a baby. And then that baby is going to grow old and die, maybe terribly. Congratulations, you murdering whore: you've condemned someone to old age and death, all because you had to have sex.”

3. Your analogy is flawed because, when framed properly, it doesn’t strengthen your moral position — it defeats it. 
Walsh returns again to the argument that pregnancy is no more than you deserve, harlot, for having had sex: “your own child becomes very sick because of something you did.” He then delves into even more dishonest territory by likening nine months of pregnancy, labor, and forced parenthood thereafter with – are you ready for it? – a blood transfusion. “He needs a blood transfusion and you are the only match. Would you refuse to give him your blood because it infringes on your bodily autonomy? Could this be morally justified? You put your kid in the hospital and now you will choose to watch him die because he ‘doesn’t have a right to your blood.’”

We've already covered the fact that having consensual sex does not mean (and often cannot mean) consenting to parenthood. Now let's look at the patent dishonesty of his comparison. The original scenario in the letter clearly laid out that this was a nine month long ordeal that the hypothetical protagonist had to endure. Matt pretends to show the inhumanity of refusing that offer, while reducing it to a piddly shadow of its former self: a blood transfusion. If Matt's you-deserve-it argument carried the weight he pretends it does, he wouldn't have to utterly misrepresent the scenario as he does. If Matt was honest in how he laid out his scenario, it would look something like this:

Your child is in the hospital, as an unintended consequence of some action of yours. For that child to live, you will have to remain hooked up, for nine months, to him. He will need use of your organs and your blood, or he will die. You will be tied to him, and if you unplug yourself he dies.

Even this scenario is flawed, of course, because it relies on Walsh's first (fallacious) point: it conflates a living, breathing child with a fertilized egg. It's at least more honest than his representation, however. And in this scenario, most people would do it without a second thought (because a child and a fertilized egg are not interchangeable); but who would compel a parent to do it? A parent isn't even compelled in death to give up his organs for a child who needs them. In other words, a dead body has more rights than women in Matt Walsh's world view: its wishes about who uses it and when are respected, but not the pregnant woman's.

4. But, no matter how you frame the hypothetical, it is still flawed because it ignores one crucial thing: natural order.
This is a type of naturalistic fallacy. It's what nature “ordains”, therefore it's optimal and right. This fails for all the reasons this fallacy generally fails. “An unborn child is exactly where he is supposed to be.” Walsh is supposing that the bodily autonomy argument is wrong, not proving it to be wrong; again, this is on him to prove: that a woman should remain pregnant just because she is. “Natural” doesn't cut it (anymore than telling a cancer patient to enjoy their slow demise, because that's “natural” cuts it). He continues, “He [the fetus] couldn’t possibly be anywhere else. This is the fundamental difference between two people hooked up to machines on a hospital bed, and a ‘fetus’ connected to his mother insider her womb. The former represents unnatural and extraordinary measures, while the latter represents something natural and ordinary. The unborn child is where Nature (or God, as I call Him) intends it to be.”
Matt just shifted the goal posts on us a bit, toward a deliberate, guided process. If this is just nature that we're talking about, well, we change that all the time. We treat heart patients. We help people who naturally couldn't conceive. We cure cancer. “Naturalness” is not an argument for not changing something that it behooves us to change. But interfering with naturalness is not thwarting the will of a supreme being. If we're going to get into the god realm, well, you've got a heck of a lot more proving to do, Matt. This is something you're not very good at, but you've moved from ordinary (though absurd) claims to extraordinary ones...and you know what they say about those...

5. Beyond all of these points, the analogy is flawed because abortion is not the same as ‘unplugging’ a person from medical equipment.
Walsh argues that in an abortion the “baby is actively killed. It is crushed, dismembered, poisoned, or torn apart. It is killed. It is actively, actually, purposefully, intentionally killed.” An abortion's goal is to terminate a pregnancy. Walsh sees this as a “baby” being killed, but the goal isn't fetus-killing – in the same way that pulling that needle out of your arm, in the scenario, wouldn't be done with the goal of killing the dependent person. And, it's worth reiterating, a sack of partially formed human tissue is not really comparable to an actual, formed human being. Walsh assumes that a fetus is a “baby” and should be regarded as having the same worth as a person, but does not illustrate that.

6. But the bodily autonomy argument is flawed in ways that go beyond that utterly fallacious and misleading hypothetical. It’s flawed because nobody is crazy enough to consistently apply it to pregnant women.
Walsh says “according to bodily autonomy, a mother could not be judged harshly for smoking, drinking, doing coke, and going skydiving (hopefully not all in the same day) while 6 months pregnant.” There is a fundamental difference between something being frowned upon and illegal. So-called “fetal protection” laws are widely criticized in pro-choice circles because of the (unintentional?) effects they have on pregnant women. Like any right, the right to bodily autonomy can be used wisely or unwisely. It remains a right, however.

7. The bodily autonomy argument is flawed because it requires you to support abortion at every stage of development.
This simply isn't true. If a woman carries a fetus to a viable stage and then decides that she no longer wishes to remain pregnant (a truly odd hypothetical, seeing as how waiting until this later stage will only make any termination more painful and difficult), the fetus can be delivered. The woman is no longer pregnant, and the fetus is not dead. Again, this is a bizarre hypothetical, and one that would lead to problems for the prematurely birthed fetus – and the mother, who would have a host of medical bills and prematurity-related issues to deal with. It defies logic that someone would ever do something like this.

8. The bodily autonomy argument is flawed because you can’t limit it to pregnant women.
“Children, at any age, create profound demands on their parents’ bodies.” Walsh lists out parenting duties (feeding, clothing, transportation, etc.), concluding “An argument for absolute bodily autonomy means that it can’t be illegal, or considered immoral, for a parent to decline to do any of these things, so long as their decision was made in the name of bodily autonomy.” This is a painfully bad argument (don't worry: a worse one's coming up...), but I did promise to address them all...even the really stupid ones.

We have to come back to consent. If someone willingly continues a pregnancy and births a child; if someone retains parental custody; they consent to becoming a parent. There are duties contingent on that, and they include feeding your child. So, no, Matt, if you choose to become a parent, you can't starve your child to death in the name of bodily autonomy. You can surrender that child to social services; you can give that child up for adoption; you can take advantage of your state's safe-haven laws. But you can't withhold food or clothing, because you demonstrably consented to parenting by becoming a parent. This is, demonstrably, a person with legal rights (the same cannot be said for fertilized eggs...), and as a deliberate guardian of one such, you have a responsibility under the law.

9. The bodily autonomy argument is flawed because it necessarily justifies things like public masturbation.
Remember what I said about stupid arguments?

You ever hear the phrase “my right to swing my fist ends where the other fellow's nose begins,” Matt? You might want to look it up. Your hypothetical masturbating man can masturbate all day long in his own home. And he can scream “fire!” all day long as he does it (or sans masturbating; either works). But you know what he can't do? He can't scream “fire!” in a crowded theater. And he can't exploit his bodily autonomy in public, at least not in the fashion you suggest. (And I'm not really sure this is an issue of bodily autonomy as much as freedom of expression, but...)

Out of curiosity, Matt, you mention in your next point that you're “often accused of oversimplifying” think it could be because you willfully misrepresent complex issues with ample gray area as either-or, stark black and white points? Like what you did in this point?

10. Finally, the bodily autonomy argument is flawed because our bodies are not autonomous.

And speaking of oversimplifying...Matt says, “If my body is autonomous, my person must be autonomous, and if my person is autonomous, then my very existence is autonomous, and if my very existence is autonomous, then it is simply unacceptable and (by your logic) immoral for anyone to expect me to do anything for anyone at any point for any reason.” He's not asserting that that is the case, but rather “If you are admitting that limits can be placed on our bodily autonomy, then you must consider whether abortion falls within or outside of those limits. And here’s the rub: if you contend that abortion falls within the limits on bodily autonomy, you must justify that belief beyond simply reasserting our right to bodily autonomy.”

And again, Matt's got his burden of proof all wrong. It's not up to pro-choicers to prove that a woman should be able to decide when and if she will be pregnant. It's up to pro-lifers to prove that she shouldn't – because that's their position. When people say that a person's right to free speech should be curbed in relation to inciting mass panics, we can (and have) present(ed) good reasons as to why this is the case. When we say that a person's right to bear arms can be curbed if that person is a violent felon, good reasons have been provided. When we tell Matt's masturbating man to stay away from playgrounds, we have good reasons for limiting that use of bodily autonomy or expression. But Matt is alleging that a woman's right to bodily autonomy should be limited inside of pregnancy; and every bit of evidence he provided for that is nonsense that crumbles under the slightest honest scrutiny.

I don't have to prove that it's wrong to limit my free speech; the person trying to do the limiting has to prove why it's right. I don't have to prove that it's wrong to take away my ability to make my own medical decisions; the person trying to take that power from me has to prove that it's right. I don't have to prove that it's wrong to incarcerate me; the person attempting to do so has to prove that it's the right choice. And I don't have to prove that it's wrong to limit my choice to be pregnant or not; that falls to the person trying to do the limiting.

Though the burden of proof is on him, Matt didn't prove his case. He didn't even come close. His best attempts at poking holes in the bodily autonomy argument were tired, disingenuous and shoddy. The choir seems pleased, judging by how loudly they're singing his praises, but the irrational bent of his arguments is hardly compelling to a rational mind. As far as a “dismantling” goes, this was a downright disappointing read.


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  2. If the burden of proof is on the person denying rights, then you have the burden of proof for denying the baby the right to life.

    Regarding his first point, that the relationship is significant, he did not rest that on subjective feelings of the mother. He rested it on the objective fact that it is a relationship between a mother and her son or daughter.
    -Rebecca Ramsay

    1. Theresa/Rebecca, aside from the questionable assertion that fertilized eggs and non-sentient globs of partially developed fetal matter are 'babies', fact is, parents, guardians, spouses, etc. do have the say over life and death decisions for non-sentient individuals. If a child is comatose, the parent can choose to pull the plug or keep on hoping; if a spouse is non responsive and on life support, the choice to continue or not is their spouse's. Zygotes, embryos and fetuses rely on the pregnant woman as life support. If she chooses to pull the plug, that is her right: it's her body, she can choose to gestate a fetus or not. Rights are the province of sentient creatures, and women's right to bodily autonomy has already been recognized. Again, if you think differently, I repeat: the burden of proof falls on those who believe that a sentient human being's established and standing rights should be curtailed in favor of the fertilized egg. Crying, "But the babiez!!!!!" doesn't make it any less your problem. You're the ones trying to take away women's legal rights, not the other way around.

      As far as relationship significance..."objective relationship between a mother and her son or daughter" is, frankly, hogwash. Short of a DNA link, "objective relationship" between even a sentient, born human child and a mother/father can mean little more than a signature on adoption papers. It can mean little more than surrendering the child at a "safe haven". There's even less objective gravity to a "relationship" link between an embryo and a potential parent. Meaningful relationships are subjective: they are the meaning that we attribute to the objective fact.
      Beyond a DNA link, there's nothing really objective about them. And as far as DNA, again, without subjective value judgments, this counts for almost nothing. Sperm banks, adoption, etc., illustrate this very well: a DNA link, while it exists, doesn't count for much. It's the subjective interpretation that we layer on which makes relationship meaningful.

      Also, the article addresses relationship -- the scenario includes a "your child" version. And the bodily autonomy argument is none the worse for it. No one could compel a father or mother to stay tied to his or her child for 9 months against his or her will, even if it was the only thing keeping that child alive. Even if it was the action of the parent that put the child in this state. Objectively ("they share DNA") or subjectively ("that's his little angel"), it doesn't matter: the parent is not and would not be legally compelled to sacrifice their bodily autonomy.

    2. First of all, this objection that Matt Walsh was responding to assumes the fetus (which is just a Latin word for "baby") is a person. Or are you saying the famous singer is not a person? So let's start with the premise we were given- that both the famous singer and a fetus are people. To do otherwise is to be starting a new argument.

      Yes, if a child is extremely sick or injured and has little or no hope of survival and in a coma the parent can choose to allow the child to die a natural death. The parent doesn't have a choice to kill a perfectly healthy child. If a parent decided to kill her healthy child she would be arrested for murder. (Which, incidentally, happens more than you would expect. Most child homicides are committed by the mother of the child.)

      If a newborn baby is found in a dumpster, who gets prosecuted? The mother. Because of her DNA link. If a single mom wants 18 years of child support for her child, whom can she legally demand it from? The father. Because of his DNA link. Yes, a mother (and/or father) can legally transfer her responsibility for her child to another, which is evidence that she has that responsibility in the first place. If it weren't hers, she couldn't transfer it. If she doesn't transfer it in a legally approved manner, the responsibility remains hers.

      If a parent took a child on a boat for a nine-month trip, and then decided she no longer wanted to care for her child, she could not kill her child to maintain her autonomy.

      -Rebecca Ramsay

    3. Actually, that assumption is not a given. It's a comparison to something that we recognize has rights and value. (The singer is also sentient. For a good deal of its development, a fetus is not; it's not a one-to-one, but a comparison of a zygote/embryo/fetus [contested value at best] with something that we recognize has rights and value). In other words, "even with a sentient, live person, we wouldn't require what you're demanding for a non-sentient embryo." I do not make the assumption that a fertilized human egg, embryo or fetus has the same rights or value as a person. That is pretty clear throughout my piece.
      I never said DNA counted for absolutely nothing. A pregnant woman has the responsibility to either remain pregnant and figure out what she's going to do with the resultant child, or terminate the pregnancy. That *is* taking responsibility. But a DNA link is no more relevant to abortion than it is to abandoning a child in a safe-haven zone, or giving them up for adoption, or donating your sperm: you get to make that call, but it doesn't compel you in one direction or the other. It's the subjective relationship which guides our decisions. You can abandon your child in a safe-haven, or not. You can abort your fetus, or not. The only thing that compels people not to give their children up all the time is the subjective relationship -- NOT the objective. Objective relationship is irrelevant as a guiding factor; it merely puts the power to make that decision (abortion, gestation, adoption, etc.) in the person's hands. Subjective relationships guide the decision making process.
      The objective link conveys a minimal sense of responsibility, even should you choose to birth a baby. If you choose to accept the role of guardian of that child, and not give it up, you have more responsibility (the welfare of the child). Not because of DNA -- an adoptive parent must feed their child as much as a birth parent who retains custody. Likewise, an adoptive parent who murders his child faces the same penalties as a birth parent, who faces the same penalties as a murderous stranger. Objective relationship is irrelevant in this case. The rights of the child, as a sentient, born human being, are recognized (unlike the "rights" of a fertilized egg...), and the state will protect them -- and prosecute violators. Not merely if the violator has a DNA link.
      As far as your final comment, this is addressed above: "We have to come back to consent. If someone willingly continues a pregnancy and births a child; if someone retains parental custody; they consent to becoming a parent. There are duties contingent on that, and they include feeding your child. So, no, Matt, if you choose to become a parent, you can't starve your child to death in the name of bodily autonomy. You can surrender that child to social services; you can give that child up for adoption; you can take advantage of your state's safe-haven laws. But you can't withhold food or clothing, because you demonstrably consented to parenting by becoming a parent. This is, demonstrably, a person with legal rights (the same cannot be said for fertilized eggs...), and as a deliberate guardian of one such, you have a responsibility under the law. "

  3. This argument was developed to demonstrate that the humanity of the fetus is irrelevant, that even if the fetus were a famous singer or violinist then bodily autonomy would still give the mother the right to an abortion. So while I have never heard a convincing argument that our human rights are dependent on our stage of development- whether it be when we are sentient or when we can do algebra or when we have pubic hair or gray hair- we are not arguing the human rights of a fetus. We are arguing bodily autonomy.

    Killing someone is not taking responsibility for them. A mother has a responsibility to either care for her child or to find someone else to care for her child. If she can’t find anyone else to care for her child, then the responsibility remains with her. If she neglects her child she will be arrested. She has that responsibility by virtue of being the child’s mother. The point being that the analogy with a stranger who is a famous singer doesn't work because it is not a mother-child relationship.

    You wrote: "We have to come back to consent. If someone willingly continues a pregnancy and births a child; if someone retains parental custody; they consent to becoming a parent. There are duties contingent on that, and they include feeding your child.”

    I agree. But I would say the time that one gives consent to becoming a parent is when one consents to engaging in baby-making. That is why a man after a one-night stand can be sued to pay child support for 18 years. Because the law has determined that in agreeing to have sex, he gave consent to have responsibility for his child.

    If the mother was not raped, then she also gave consent, and in doing so has a responsibility to care for her child or to make certain her child is in a safe situation where someone else will care for her daughter (or son).

    Do you think a woman still has a right to abortion when she is 8 or 9 months pregnant? If she doesn't want to give up her baby for adoption but she has also changed her mind about wanting to be a mother? Should late-term abortions be legal? If the mother breaks up with the father and doesn't want the baby to live?

    1. "This argument was developed to demonstrate that the humanity of the fetus is irrelevant, that even if the fetus were a famous singer or violinist then bodily autonomy would still give the mother the right to an abortion. "
      And, again, this is not the same thing as an assertion that a fertilized egg/embryo/fetus IS a person. Which was my point. You made a claim, as if it was taken for granted, when it is absolutely not. It is not the focal point of the argument, so I mentioned it in passing; but I do not/will not sign off on that, either. And might I remind you that you were the one who first made the questionable assertion. Not me. You say "we are not arguing the human rights of a fetus. We are arguing bodily autonomy."
      And then promptly, in the very next sentence, say "Killing someone is not taking responsibility for them." You are completely disregarding the bodily autonomy argument, that the woman gets to decide who has use of it and when because it's her body, and jumping to, "but it's a baby, you can't just kill it!" Right after saying you don't want to have that argument...

      Here's the thing: we get to decide who uses our body and who does not. If a woman wants to allow a fetus use of her organs, she has every right to do so. If she retracts her consent, she has every right to remove the fetus. In other words, if a woman decides she does not wish to be pregnant, she has the right not to be pregnant. The goal is not (although the outcome can include) fetus-killing, but respecting the woman's bodily autonomy. A woman has a right not to be forced to gestate a fetus. If the fetus is viable, great. If not, it's her right to use her organs how she wants. Just like the parent who is hooked up to his kid: if he wants to get up and walk away at any time, even though the child might die as a result, he gets to. Period. Because it's his body, and no one can compel him to remain hooked up as "life support" for 9 months if he chooses not to do so.

      You then mention consent, which was also covered in the original. And, like Matt, you mention that if a woman was not raped, she gave "consent" be pregnant (a flawed assertion, but I'll get to that in a moment), and to deal with the ensuing responsibility. And then, like Matt, you ignore women who did not give consent. If you feel that rape victims should be forced to carry their rapists' fetus to term, consent and responsibility are beside the point anyway: because, regardless of "consent" and "responsibility, you still believe a woman should be forced to gestate a baby against her will.

      If your argument is "merely" that women who willingly have sex have consented to pregnancy, you are wrong. Intercourse sometimes carries the risk of unintended pregnancy (as driving sometimes carries the risk of crashing, and swimming the risk of drowning, and digging in the sand sometimes unearths buried treasure), but unless you are actually intending to drown, crash, uncover pirate gold or end up a parent, you have the right to attempt to avoid those outcomes. You can wear a life vest, get out of the water, steer aside, use a condom, or get an abortion.
      Furthermore, consent is not once-given-always-given. If a person consents to donate an organ, and backs out at the last possible moment -- even if it's for their kid; even if it's the only thing that will keep them alive; even if it's their fault the kid needs the organ: none of that matters -- they have every right to do so. Because consent can be revoked. Just like if someone decides to sleep with someone, but changes their mind, they have that right; if the other person forces them because their consent was given before it was retracted, we call that what it is: rape. **Because people have the right to revoke consent.** So even if a woman actually consents to pregnancy (not just by having sex, but by genuinely trying to get pregnant), and then changes her mind, it is her right to do so.

    2. As far as aborting healthy late term fetuses, if a woman withdraws consent to be pregnant at that late stage, the fetus is viable outside of the womb. I addressed this in the article above (seriously, read it: all of this ground has already been covered), in answer to point 7.

      "If a woman carries a fetus to a viable stage and then decides that she no longer wishes to remain pregnant (a truly odd hypothetical, seeing as how waiting until this later stage will only make any termination more painful and difficult), the fetus can be delivered. The woman is no longer pregnant, and the fetus is not dead. Again, this is a bizarre hypothetical, and one that would lead to problems for the prematurely birthed fetus – and the mother, who would have a host of medical bills and prematurity-related issues to deal with. It defies logic that someone would ever do something like this."

    3. A man legally gives consent to have to pay 18 years of child support when he gives consent to having sex. He can't get a woman pregnant and then revoke consent.

      Getting pregnant is not an accident. If you have sex, you are doing the one and only activity two people can do to create a baby- combining a sperm and an egg. Having a car crash is an accident- it is when something goes wrong with trying to get from one place to another. To say someone accidentally got pregnant is like saying someone accidentally made a cake- after buying the ingredients, mixing them together, and baking them in an oven. Well... THAT'S how it works. If you chose to put a sperm and an egg together, it isn't an accident that the egg became fertilized. If a man consents to sex, he is legally responsible for 18 years of child support. He can't take change his mind and revoke his consent.

  4. Women get late-term abortions. They don't get induced and pay high medical bills to have their babies survive. They have their viable fetuses killed in the womb. Do you think that should be legal?

    1. You might want to look into the stats for late term abortions, and the reasons women actually get them. They're very rare, and they're often done because the mother's life or health is imperiled or the fetus is non-viable or severely deformed. And, yes, I absolutely support a woman's right to make those choices.

    2. A late term abortion is more dangerous to the mother's body than giving birth. So no, it is actually never done because the mother's life or health is imperiled. A more common reason for late-term abortions is that the mother didn't want an abortion and hid her pregnancy as long as she could. When the pregnancy was finally showing, her parents or the father of her child pressured her to get an abortion. Another common reason is that somehow the baby wasn't perfect.

    3. Theresa, that's simply not true. I encourage you to look beyond "pro-life" propaganda, to listen to what women who have had to have these procedures say...

    4. Please direct me to some examples of women who have had late-term abortions where the woman would have died if she didn't have the abortion and giving birth would have been more dangerous than the abortion.

    5. "Finally, some situations may involve serious risk to a mother's life, such as the rare condition of a twin pregnancy involving one normal fetus and one hydatidiform mole (in which the mother faces a 60% risk of developing malignant gestational trophoblastic disease by the end of the pregnancy if she opts to continue). In these cases, the mother's life and health may be protected by the termination -- even if the baby was very much wanted."

      Only 1.5% or fewer of abortions happen after 20 weeks. I'm trying to find a further break down (I've seen it somewhere, can't remember where), but we are not talking many: the difficulty and potential maternal fatality increases as time goes on.

    6. First of all, there is more than one way to terminate a pregnancy. One way to terminate a pregnancy is to give birth. So if the twins are old enough for it to be a late-term pregnancy, it is likely that that the normal fetus can survive. Having an abortion is not safer than delivering the healthy fetus alive. An abortion takes a lot longer than a cesarean and is more invasive.

      Second of all, in 2005, according to CDC and the Guttmacher Institute (affiliated with Planned Parenthood) there were 15,600 late-term abortions. That number is likely smaller than the actual number. On 9/11 nearly three thousand people were killed. In one year, over five times that many babies were killed in late-term abortions. I don't consider that rare.

    7. And, again, "late term" just means after 20 weeks. It does not mean viability. Medical reasons, including severe fetal defects, etc., are often the cause of post viability abortions.
      Again, we're talking about someone waiting until the abortion is more difficult and carries a greater risk of harm or death. These are not fly by night decisions, but the result of consultation with physicians and consideration. The later you get, the more difficult a decision like this is to make -- and the harder to find a state where it's even legal.

    8. I really don't get how the argument that it is a "difficult decision" is supposed to be convincing. It is just an appeal to emotion, isn't it? I mean, I'm sure the mom who drowned her five children found it a really difficult decision. Maybe rapists think it is a really difficult decision to decide to rape and cause pain and lifetime trauma to a woman. So? It is a difficult and painful decision, therefore... what? Furthermore, WHY is it difficult? Maybe because you are killing an innocent baby who has a right to her body and her life? If there were no innocent victim, I don't think it would be a difficult decision, would it?

    9. I was talking about medical concerns....great rape reference though...

    10. Also, I wasn't suggesting that it should be legal because it was difficult...rather, that it's illogical to suppose women are purposely putting off an easy and safe procedure in order to wait for a difficult and considerably less safe one. That doesn't make sense.

      Also, I am not sure what medical procedures you have had to undergo, but there are all sorts of reasons they can be difficult...when no fetus is involved...

  5. You say a man "can't get a woman pregnant and then revoke consent." Right, because then the zygote/embryo/fetus is attached to her body, not his. If it was the other way around, it would be his call. Human biology is such that it is her body, and her choice.

    As for your claim "If you have sex, you are doing the one and only activity two people can do to create a baby- combining a sperm and an egg." I'm sorry, but that's sheer nonsense. Again, you MAY be combining a sperm and egg. And you may not. People have sex wayyyy more than women get pregnant. And, yes, people do get pregnant by accident, all the time. People can have sex to get pregnant, but often just have sex because they enjoy having sex. Whether you approve or not, that is simple fact. And, sometimes, things do not go according to plan and someone ends up pregnant; just like sometimes driving, which is done for other purposes than crashing but always carries the risk, doesn't go according to plan. But, if an accident occurs, human beings do what we can to salvage the situation. Whether it be maneuvering so the crash is averted or not so bad, aborting, etc.

    As for your cake analogy, it is more like someone accidentally, while trying to do something else entirely, drops an egg in a bowl of flour. And then the "moral" police come in, insist that not only is that flour and egg not to be tossed out, but that the rest of the ingredients, at the baker's time, effort and expense, of course, are to be added, and the cake is to be baked and decorated afterwards. Because to do otherwise is downright irresponsible! Except, of course, we're talking about creating and being responsible for another human being, and not simply watching a cake.

    1. I'm not saying the woman intended to get pregnant. I am saying that in doing the one activity which causes pregnancy, what has caused pregnancy billions of times, she is consenting to getting pregnant. Just as the man is consenting to pay 18 years of child support.

      If she was raped, she didn't consent to getting pregnant. And the law that Roe v. Wade overturned allowed for abortions in case of rape for just that reason.

    2. You're conflating two acts, to make them one. Sex is not combining a sperm and an egg. It can lead to combining a sperm and an egg (although far more often, it does not), but it is not combining them. And sex is not the only way to combine a sperm and egg (IVF, for instance).
      If sex was an activity our species only engaged in when both partners were fertile/ready for pregnancy; if sex always resulted in fertilization (it doesn't) which always resulted in pregnancy (it doesn't); then you would have something of an argument. As it is, your premises, inferences and conclusions are all out of line.

      Also, regarding you agree that abortion should be a legal option for rape victims?

    3. I think the argument regarding consent doesn't hold for rape victims. It holds for everyone else.

      By your reasoning, and egg fertilized by IVF is an accident since it doesn't always result in fertilization and since it isn't the only way to fertilize an egg.

      I don't see how you can say by having sex the man consents to the pregnancy that results but the woman does not.

    4. Whether consent has been given or not is irrelevant if abortion is prohibited when consent is not given. In other words, if you would force a woman who had no say in getting pregnant to remain so against her will, your idea that a woman who had consensual sex should be punished with a baby she doesn't want because she shouldn't have had sex if she didn't want a baby is beside the point. You'd stick the baby on a rape victim just as soon as a woman who had consensual sex: therefore consent is irrelevant, as you disregard the rights of the woman regardless of how intercourse occurred.

      And I'm not sure how you get that IVF is an accident. People go to clinics specifically with the intention of fertilizing an egg in the hope of making a baby. People engage in intercourse for enjoyment, bonding, etc. Intercourse serves multiple uses. IVF serves one. I'm not really sure how you fail to see the distinction there.

      Finally, a man does not get pregnant, and at no time did I say he consents to pregnancy. Only a woman can get pregnant, only a woman can consent, or not, to pregnancy.

    5. A man consents to paying 18 years of child support when he has sex. That is what I mean when I say he consents to the pregnancy. He consents to his responsibility if his baby-making action results in a baby. Kind of weird that you don't think a woman should have any responsibility at all for her decision to participate in baby-making activities.

      And extremely strange that you think a baby is a punishment. Only pro-abortion people are so filled with hate for human life that they think of a baby as a punishment. The rest of us love babies.


    6. And see, here you go with the "but we love babiezzzzz, you are life haterzzzz!" nonsense again. Forced pregnancy and unwanted motherhood is a punishment. As I've seen many pro-lifers only too happy to state or imply, a punishment sexually active women deserve. Being forced against your will to put your health at risk, to put up with something that will alter your body and possibly even kill you (wayyyy more women die of pregnancy than abortion, btw), to say nothing of then being responsible for the person afterwards, is an extraordinary usurpation of your rights; and very much a punishment, that pro-lifers want to levy against women who have sex.

      As far as saying that a woman bears no responsibility in a pregnancy...that is the opposite of what I said. She has the responsibility to choose, whether she will continue the pregnancy and see to the resultant child or terminate the pregnancy, and the responsibility to follow through on that choice. As far as a woman and man having different levels of say in pregnancy, again, this is just the cards we humans are dealt: men cannot get pregnant, therefore they can terminate or bring to term a pregnancy. To give a man control to dictate whether it happens or not is to give a man the right to use a woman's organs according to his dictates. Men and women are not identical in every biological particular, and so we face different realities. Women, in general, lack the upper body strength of men, which limits our choices for work and careers. That sucks. But it is what it is. Women get pregnant, and can use their organs and their bodies to support a fetus. Men don't get to control those organs. On the other hand, they don't have to deal with a monthly menstrual cycle, childbirth and all the other painful and irksome downsides to having a uterus. We all put up with different problems. If you think it's "weird", well, that's our biology. It is what it is.

    7. If I get paid for working 40 hours, I would never say that the money was my punishment. It is only abortion supporters who think that a baby is a punishment.

      You take someone like me, who is pro-life, and I say that if you decide to make a baby that you have a responsibility to that baby, and you say that I am saying that it is a punishment for having sex. What?? I’ve always been THRILLED when I found out I was pregnant, so please don’t put a pro-abortion attitude towards pregnancy on me.

      If a woman gets pregnant through IVF, I think the baby has a right to her life, and you think the mother should be able to kill the baby before she is born. Do I also think that having a baby is a punishment for IVF? No. I just think that as a man has a responsibility when he gets a woman pregnant, and is financially liable for 18 years, a woman also has a responsibility to her child. And calling the killing of that child a fulfillment of that responsibility is sophistry. Would you say that killing older children is fulfilling a parent’s responsibility towards those children?

      Yes, I agree with you that women are different than men. Men are never obligated to carry their children in their bodies. Women are.

    8. You are missing the concept of wanted. You wanted your pregnancies. Obviously, they were not a punishment if you want them. People who seek fertility treatment want to be pregnant, so those pregnancies are a joy not a punishment. If you don't want children (or more children), being forced to utilize your organs and resources, being compelled to endanger your life, is, I repeat, "an extraordinary usurpation of your rights; and very much a punishment, that pro-lifers want to levy against women who have sex." It's fabulous that you wanted to be pregnant every time. It's terribly unfortunate that you see the world through the narrow, self-centric view that you do, where your experiences in your life trump other people's in their own: you wanted to be pregnant, therefore everyone should want to be pregnant and be "THRILLED" about it (or else they have a "pro-abortion attitude"). Many people, even those who have not chosen abortion, have not been "THRILLED" to be pregnant. Unwanted pregnancy has been a terrible misfortune in many lives. That you fail to see the reality of that makes it no less real.

      As far as "would killing older children be fulfillment of responsibility" nonsense...the article, and our prior conversions, have addressed this at length. You keep repeating yourself, but don't seem to ever reason through the answers I give. 40+ comments later, it's obvious that we are no closer to common ground than before.

      You believe that women should be THRILLED to be forced into risking their health and life for an unwanted pregnancy, and all the commitment that ensues if they have sex willingly, and are markedly non-committal on whether they should be forced to have their rapist's child or not (you note that it's *legal* to abort, but don't ever actually condone that legality). You fail to see that there's a cut-off point -- when the thing has left your body -- where you can no longer control your egg/sperm, so the fact that a man can't direct a woman to get an abortion or not (since the sperm is no longer in his body and thus beyond his control) means that a woman can't decide what to do with the egg while it's in hers. I believe none of that. And, until you can proffer a convincing argument, or respond to mine without simply repeating pro-life talking points (that I've already debunked), this is a fruitless endeavor.

    9. You haven't answered questions and I have repeatedly answered yours.

      You give no reason as to why having a baby inside of you gives you a right to kill your child and then have the child removed. You just say, "because it is the woman's body" and leave it at that as though it answers the question.

      You give no reason why a man has to accept the responsibility of having sex by paying child support but the woman has no responsibility to her child, and claim that killing the child is accepting responsibility. *THAT* is nonsense. Killing someone is not accepting your responsibility to make certain she is cared for.

      *I* don't consider pregnancy a punishment. That was my point. You keep saying that pro-life people want mothers punished for having making a baby. YOU consider it a punishment, *I* don't. Someone does something that results in something *MARVELOUS*, and just because they don't want it doesn't mean they can infringe on someone else's right to life.

      Your position is that since a woman has the baby dependent on her body she gets to kill the baby. You don't give us any reason to accept that position, you just use circular reasoning to declare it is so.

      You have said nothing to discredit the claim that the woman has a responsibility to her own child, besides saying the ridiculous claim that killing the child fulfills that responsibility.

      You have said nothing to address that the analogy of the famous singer doesn't work because a mother doesn't just walk away from her unborn child. She *FIRST* has her killed, and THEN unhooks herself.

      You have not addressed the fact that, with the exception of rape, the mother is the cause of the child being in her body. You just get all upset saying, "Oh, you're trying to punish her then!" Do you see how that is *NOT* a response to the objection? It is just an emotional outburst which in NO way addresses the fact that the mother put her child in the situation in the first place.

      The two pieces of common ground I have found are that we agree that in the case of rape the child was not the result of the mother's choice, and that you think there is something wrong with aborting a baby that is viable.

    10. And here we go again...

      Yes, I did give reasons. Regarding men/women's responsibilities...Once the sperm is no longer in the man's body or possession, it's beyond his control. Just like the egg, when it has developed sufficiently. At risk of being somewhat graphic, once a man releases his sperm during intercourse, they're no longer under his control. Once a woman chooses to allow an egg to follow the developmental path toward birth, it's no longer under her control. This is not a difficult concept: you can't control another person's body, but you can control your own.

      As far as the woman being the "cause" of the conception, we have addressed that at length (as with the scenario where the parent put his child in the hospital and still doesn't want to act as life support). It is not a relevant factor. You insist that, although we alter nature all the time for optimal outcomes in our lives, she cannot alter the outcome of pregnancy because she had sex. In other words, forced motherhood is a consequence of being sexually active. And, whether you like to hear it or not, unwanted pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood as you would like to see it is a punishment: an unwanted consequence that you would foist on the person because of an action they took previously. A punishment for having sex. Claiming it is "MARVELOUS" doesn't alter the fact. If all pregnancies were wanted and regarded as "MARVELOUS", we wouldn't be having this discussion. Your opinion that someone else being compelled to risk their life, damage their bodies, and provide unwilling incubation services to a fetus is "MARVELOUS" does not make it any better for the people on whom you'd like to force YOUR choice.

      Regarding the unplug versus kill, there are multiple types of abortions... If the fetus was removed completely intact and died because its system of support was suddenly absent (as can happen, depending on the stage/means), would you be okay with it? I think we both know you would not, even though the scenario is fully analogous then. If that wouldn't change your mind about abortion, it's not really relevant to the discussion: because you don't care if the methodology merely removes an intact fetus and leaves it to die (since we don't have the technology to support/develop it further), or kills it. You oppose it regardless. If a person -- a real, living person -- is attempting to use your body to sustain their life against your will, you have the right to defend yourself and your bodily autonomy. Regardless of what relationship that person bears to you, or whose fault it is that they need care. It's just that simple. So, again, the distinction is just a strawman.

      Regarding responsibility to a fetus, I have not said that she has a responsibility *to* the fetus, but to deal with pregnancy. YOU make the claim that she has some duty toward it, because you operate under the assumption that it has personhood, etc. But, again, the entire scenario bypasses that -- because you would not assign the same legal responsibility to a parent of an actual child in a hospital bed. If you would not assign the same responsibility when dealing with someone whose rights are absolutely recognized, it is logically inconsistent to assign them in the case of something that's rights are not established/recognized. You are not only asking for the same rights as an actual person for fetuses, but *special* rights that you would not afford a real person (you would likely refer to them as "born people").

    11. Oh, and I'm sorry, but this: "You have not addressed the fact that, with the exception of rape, the mother is the cause of the child being in her body. You just get all upset saying, "Oh, you're trying to punish her then!" Do you see how that is *NOT* a response to the objection? It is just an emotional outburst which in NO way addresses the fact that the mother put her child in the situation in the first place."
      Is a falsehood of staggering proportions, considering how often we've gone over it. I have addressed this multiple times in multiple ways. We adjusted the scenario to include the parent being "responsible" for the child's predicament, and illustrated that that would have no weight in compelling him to give up his bodily autonomy. I mentioned in the original article that a parent doesn't even have the responsibility AFTER DEATH to provide bodily resources (like organs) for the child's well-being. I also pointed out that anyone who would compel a rape victim to parenthood already disregards "responsibility" -- responsibility isn't a sticking point, because you're forced to stay pregnant regardless of how you got pregnant. That's just an added layer of "you deserved it". If I think anyone driving a Prius should be charged a bad-taste tax, and then mention, "Well, Mrs. Clevland really deserves it, I don't care for her" that the crux of my argument? No. It's just additional spitefulness in Mrs. Clevland's direction. But since I would still compel every other Prius driver to pay the tax, regardless of whether I like them or not, my argument isn't about liking them.

      As I have pointed out many times, from many angles, the parent being the "cause" of the situation is demonstrably irrelevant, and does not change how we would proceed in the case of an actual person -- which is the entire point of the scenario that we're discussing -- and thus has no real bearing on the discussion.

      You have also gone from the responsibility-from-consent angle. Going back and picking at random two responses I came across to that (there are quite a few more...), I said:
      "A woman has a right not to be forced to gestate a fetus. If the fetus is viable, great. If not, it's her right to use her organs how she wants. Just like the parent who is hooked up to his kid: if he wants to get up and walk away at any time, even though the child might die as a result, he gets to. Period. Because it's his body, and no one can compel him to remain hooked up as "life support" for 9 months if he chooses not to do so."

      "You then mention consent, which was also covered in the original. And, like Matt, you mention that if a woman was not raped, she gave "consent" be pregnant (a flawed assertion, but I'll get to that in a moment), and to deal with the ensuing responsibility. And then, like Matt, you ignore women who did not give consent. If you feel that rape victims should be forced to carry their rapists' fetus to term, consent and responsibility are beside the point anyway: because, regardless of "consent" and "responsibility, you still believe a woman should be forced to gestate a baby against her will."

      These are just a few of the times I addressed it. You might not like my answers or agree with my reasoning for any of these answers, but to claim that I did not provide an answer or reasoning, just an "emotional outburst", is, flatly, a lie.

  6. You wrote: “Just like the parent who is hooked up to his kid: if he wants to get up and walk away at any time, even though the child might die as a result, he gets to. Period. Because it's his body, and no one can compel him to remain hooked up as "life support" for 9 months if he chooses not to do so.”

    If the child needs to be hooked to his dad because his dad intentionally did something to him to require the child to be hooked up, then if the father gets up and leaves he will be charged with murder for doing whatever he did in the first place to require the child to need to be hooked to him.

    But abortion isn’t just walking away. It is using chemicals or knives to kill. So a more appropriate analogy would be if the father intentionally did something to cause the child to need to be hooked up to him, and then paid someone to pour burning chemicals all over his child until his child died. The father would charged with murder, as would the person who poured the burning chemicals on the child.

    1. Parents accidentally harm their children without being charged for it if there isn't negligence or malice involved; and that's not really the point or even terribly relevant (if someone's going to be charged, they'll be charged, hooked up or not).

      As far as the knives, chemical burns, etc. ... as with any scenario, the comparison isn't going to be a one-to-one. The violinist (or child) isn't wedged up inside the other's body, so there's no need for invasive procedures or chemical intervention. By the same token, an embryo or early, early term fetus (which is where chemically induced abortion comes in) does not have a developed nervous system sufficient to process pain, where as a child does. And pouring burning chemicals all over a fetus would be somewhat less than comfortable for the woman in whose uterus and through whose vagina the burning-chemical-covered fetus will pass. The pro-life crowd tries to preoccupy people with emotional appeals, that make no sense if actually examined. "The poor babies being tortured" is a prime example. A single celled zygote, an embryo and a fetus, for a long time, cannot feel pain. It literally has not developed the capacity to feel it. I encourage you to worry less about the emotional appeals the pro-life movement hits people with, and to consider the merits of the arguments.

  7. There is a difference between being charged for harming your child and for killing your child. If someone goes to the hospital after you attack him you will be charged for murder if he dies there. If he doesn't, of course you won't be. It makes a difference whether or not the child dies from the parent's intentional action.

    You support late-term abortions, and then you say that zygotes can't feel pain. Okay, a zygote cannot, but the viable fetuses that are aborted can. You know there are people that have survived abortion attempts? Like Gianna Jensen, who was accidentally born alive when her mom had a chemical abortion when she was seven and a half months pregnant. Like Melissa Ohden who was born weighing 3 pounds when her mother tried to abort her. Sarah Elizabeth Brown survived an abortion attempt at 8 and a half months, but then died six months later from having her brain punctured during the abortion attempt. Brandi Lozier survived an abortion attempt when her mom thought she was just over 4 months pregnant.

    1. I support late term abortions in select scenarios, as we were discussing. There are other and better options that should be utilized for healthy, viable fetuses. Your examples are essentially cases of medical malpractice. That exists in every field. Obviously, I don't support medical malpractice. Be it from a gynecologist or a cardiologist.

    2. My understanding was that you supported a woman's right to choose an abortion even after the baby is viable, regardless of her reason for wanting an abortion. Is that not your position?

      A late-term abortion takes at least 36 hours. If a woman is in a real life and death situation, she gets a cesarean which is fast and saves both her life and the baby's life.

    3. I support a woman's right to bodily autonomy. Except in select cases, if she cannot or chooses not to be pregnant and the fetus is healthy & viable, the fetus can be removed without damaging it. And, as I said before, it's going to be an odd woman who is going to wait until 8 and 1/2 months and then decide, "You know, I'm done with this pregnancy thing."

    4. So if the baby is viable, and can safely be removed, you think the woman should not be allowed to have her baby killed in her womb?

    5. I've mentioned multiple times that the goal isn't fetus killing... "The goal is not (although the outcome can include) fetus-killing.."
      "An abortion's goal is to terminate a pregnancy. Walsh sees this as a “baby” being killed, but the goal isn't fetus-killing – in the same way that pulling that needle out of your arm, in the scenario, wouldn't be done with the goal of killing the dependent person."

    6. Except you aren't pulling a needle out of *your* arm. You are sticking a needle into the arm of the OTHER person and killing her. Which *is* illegal. Even if you are hooked together. And it is even worse if it is your child you are killing with a needle. And even worse if you are the person who created the situation where she needed to be hooked up in the first place.

    7. Again, you're simply falling back on everything that has already been addressed, at length, throughout the article and in the comments. The only new bit is that this is "illegal". Which abortion is not...

    8. Everyone agrees a situation where you actively kill someone should be illegal, even if, and maybe especially if, the person is dependent on you. Not just unhooking yourself, but actively killing the person before you unhook yourself.

    9. Actually, that is just not true. If someone actively tries to force me to provide some sort of life support for them (even if it's my kid; even if I'm the reason they need it), I have the right to refuse and the right to defend myself if they go ahead anyway. It's like organ donation: even if I agree to give an organ to someone, I have the right to back out if I change my mind. If they try to take it anyway, I can prevent them. If it comes to lethal force, I have that right. So do you. So does everyone. No one, even if you previously agree to do it, can compel you to give up your bodily autonomy. It's. just. that. simple.

    10. Again, you start with the premise that the right to bodily autonomy is the greatest of all rights, greater even than the right to life, and then use circular reasoning to defend it.

      And to be fair, I agree we have the right to bodily autonomy. We ALSO have the right to life. The question is which of those rights is greater? I would say the right to life. And by the right to life, I don't mean that everyone else has the obligation to save me if my life is in danger. (As in the famous singer analogy.) By right to life I mean it isn't legal for other people to kill me. (Which is what happens in an abortion.)

      If a dad brought in his daughter whom he had cut and who was consequently bleeding to death, and he refused to give his blood when his blood was the only blood that would save her, he would be charged with murder for having cut her, causing her to bleed to death.

      No, we don't require people to give blood or body organs. But if a million children were dying each year because their parents refused to give them blood, you can bet we would pass a law which would require them to. There wouldn't be any reason not to.

      As for the original analogy with the singer in a coma, if you change it to where you woke up and there were a person in a coma who was NOT hooked up to you, but needed to feed and care for him for nine months, you would NOT be legally obligated to stay if you were the only one who could care for him. Yet with your child, you ARE legally obligated to feed and care for him if you are the only one who could care for him.

      The story about the famous singer isn't so much about bodily autonomy as much as it is that we are not legally obligated to save strangers. But again, abortion isn't where you decide not to save someone. It is where you pay someone to actively kill her.

      We have property rights. If I own a boat, no one has a right to use my boat without my permission. Abortion is like if I take my kid out in my boat far from shore, then I decide I don't want her in my boat anymore. But she refuses to get out and I can't force her out. So I take a gun, shoot her dead, and then throw her body off of MY boat.

      Or, if you want an analogy with body organs, it is like if you agree to donate a kidney, sign all of the papers and get prepped, and then after they open up the other person and do something so that the person will die if she doesn't get your kidney, you change your mind. At that point you can't change your mind because now you have CREATED a situation where the person is dependent on you to live because of a decision you made.

    11. I already addressed the strawman of "actively kill" versus "passively kill". Since that's such a sticking point for you, I guess you would be okay if abortion dr.'s were merely able to remove an intact embryo/fetus to merely let it die? If not, it's another minor distinction that has no bearing on the situation -- because you would oppose abortion regardless. And, as already pointed out, you have the right to stop someone from using your body against your will, up to and including lethal force if it comes to that.
      We can agree that a parent would not be compelled to give up their bodily autonomy for a child in the scenario we are discussing, even if their child would die as a result of their choice. Even if they were responsible for that scenario (I'll address your objection to that in a moment). The reasoning is not "circular". It is a demonstration via an analogous situation. It is not ME making the claim that bodily autonomy trumps other rights, but our established laws and perspectives. That is how the scenario is useful, because it bypasses all the "is it a person", and says, "even with an undisputed person, you wouldn't do this: their right to life doesn't trump another person's right to bodily autonomy." As I've mentioned before, EVEN A CORPSE's right to bodily autonomy is respected, even though people's lives could be saved by the corpse's organs. That is how greatly our system values bodily autonomy. Pro-lifers argue that in practice women shouldn't have the same right to bodily autonomy as a corpse. I argue that we should have the same right as any other person. I'm operating off of a basic, established foundation. That is not "circular", it's called "operating in reality"...
      Regarding the father who necessitates his child's need for blood. You again state that the father would go to jail. That's nonsense. People inadvertently harm their children (and others) all the time, without going to jail. There was a father in my town growing up who ran his kid over with a crop harvester. Of course they didn't prosecute him, because he wasn't trying to run his kid down. (And we've already covered at length that having recreational sex isn't trying to get pregnant). If a father harms his child, and there is not malice or neglect involved, no decent prosecutor is going to go after him. Likewise, no law would compel him or make his freedom contingent on acting as life support.
      Regarding property absolutely have the right to defend your property. Now, choosing to remain the legal guardian of a child confers duties (like, you can't just throw them off your boat or out of your house if you get mad at that), so that is a flawed comparison. And, unlike bodily autonomy where precedent goes in the other direction, if you put someone in a situation where they rely on your property to not drown, by inviting them out to sea or some such scenario, we recognize that you temporarily cede some of your property rights by making such an invitation (again, this is not the case w/bodily autonomy -- you have the right to change your mind about having sex at any point [it's rape if the person doesn't respect that], you have the right to change your mind about organ donation, blood donation, etc., etc., regardless of how that impacts people dependent on your donation).
      But if you invite someone into your home, and they refuse to leave when you tell them to, you are entitled to defend your property.

    12. If you invite your child into your home, and she refuses to leave when you tell her to, you cannot shoot and kill her. You cannot kill squatters,much less people you invited. You can shoot someone on your property in self defense if for some reason you think they will attack you.

    13. You continue to fail to see the distinction between an accident and getting pregnant. It would be like if a father shot his child with a gun when he thought there were blanks in the gun. Sure, he didn't mean to shoot his child, but that is what the gun was made for, to shoot people, and that is what he did with it. That is completely different from accidentally running over your child with a crop duster. Yes, in both cases the effect was not intended, but in the first scenario it is what should reasonably be expected, since that is what guns are designed to do. No responsible parents would shoot guns at their children hoping there were only blanks in the gun. Crop dusters aren't designed to run over children. There is only one way to create children- combine a sperm and an egg. So if you put a sperm and an egg together, it is not an accident when the egg gets fertilized, even if that was not your intent and you were doing it for other reasons.

    14. If you find someone who needs your help or she will die, and you refuse to help her, that is not the same as shooting her in the head and killing her. You continue to use analogies as though abortion were the first scenario, when in fact it is the second.

    15. "73-year-old Wayne Burgarello was arrested Tuesday, May 27, on charges of murder and attempted murder. The investigation began February 13, 2014, after Burgarello was notified of trespassers on his vacant property on H Street. Burgarello told police he armed himself and found Cody Devine and Janai Wilson sleeping in the house. He shot both, killing Devine and seriously wounding Wilson, who is recovering."

    16. The breakdown comes in where you refuse to recognize that pregnancies can be accidental. You attribute your belief otherwise to "designs" for which I see no evidence. This is, obviously, a sticking point past which no discussion can really progress -- we have a fundamental disagreement over basic concepts.

      Regarding squatters, etc., I've already noted that property rights are not established in law as absolutely as bodily autonomy and other rights -- thus you have a duty to attempt other means of removal before killing people. However, if no other options are open, people have resorted, without punishment, to lethal force.

      Oh, and accidental shootings happen all the time. People don't realize guns are loaded, they handle them incorrectly, etc., and accidents happen.

    17. Also, your definition of accident seems to be at odds with the dictionary's:

      1 a : an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance
      b : lack of intention or necessity : chance met by accident rather than by design
      a : an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or ignorance
      b : an unexpected and medically important bodily event especially when injurious: a cerebrovascular accident
      c : an unexpected happening causing loss or injury which is not due to any fault or misconduct on the part of the person injured but for which legal relief may be sought
      d —used euphemistically to refer to an involuntary act or instance of urination or defecation
      : a nonessential property or quality of an entity or circumstance: the accident of nationality

      Oh, and one of the definitions even references pregnancy:
      Examples of ACCIDENT

      He was injured in an accident at work.
      The accident happened when her car slid on a patch of ice.
      Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the accident.
      Their meeting was an accident.
      It is just an accident that they arrived when they did.
      She says that her pregnancy was an accident.

    18. *examples, not definitions :)

    19. How can combining and egg and a sperm result in the "unforeseen event" of a pregnancy? That's my whole point. It is *NOT* unforeseen. It is EXACTLY what would be expected from combining an egg and a sperm.

      Please show me a law where it is legal to kill squatters.

      All of your bodily autonomy examples are essentially examples of property rights. You body is your property. Even the corpse was "yours" so if you don't want it cut up for organs, that was your decision. Just like it was your decision who would inherit your house and your money.

      You say that no one can take your organs even if it would save her life- well no one can take ANY of your property against your will even if it would save her life. She can not take your $100 to buy life-saving medicine. Your body isn't any different than the rest of your property in that respect. But your *CHILD* has a right to your property to the extent that your child needs it. That is why a man who "accidentally" gets a woman pregnant has to pay child support for 18 years- and may even be obligated to leave an inheritance for the child. (The law recognizes that the man accepted responsibility to provide for a child when the man consented to having sex. The law doesn't consider it an "accident" that there was a child that resulted from the man's decision to have sex.)

    20. And again, you are conflating sex with combing an egg and sperm. Sex, way, way, way more often than leading to combined egg and sperm, does not lead to combined egg and sperm. An egg and sperm can combine as a result of sex, but intercourse is not combining and egg and sperm. It *may* happen as a result of sex, but more often it does not. And and an egg and sperm may be combined even if you take intercourse out of the mix.

      Regarding bodily autonomy being "property" rights, that's just not the case. Property rights are one type of right, we have others, like the right to speech, bodily autonomy, etc.. And we've already covered that a parent can give up a kid, so that their obligation to that child is done; the child has no rights to anything from the parent. You are saying the fertilized egg should have more rights than an actual child.

      Also, your idea of the law and child support is erroneous...we're responsible for all sorts of accidents that we're involved with. Here in WI, you're 10% responsible for a traffic accident just by being on the road -- even if the other driver is completely "at fault". If you pull out in front of someone because you didn't see them or whatever, it is an accident. You didn't "accept responsibility to wreck someone's car", even though it will fall on you to replace it. If the other driver sees you and swerves out of the way at the last minute (if a woman gets an abortion), you are no liable for anything...just like if a guy has unprotected sex and gets a girl pregnant: if she aborts, he's off the hook. If not, he's responsible for the resultant child -- even though getting her pregnant (or causing a traffic collision) was an accident, the resulting child (or wrecked vehicle) needs to be taken care of. And we have covered this in many, many, many posts.

    21. As far as squatters, again, that's not what I said. However, in many states including WI we have what is called the castle doctrine: "a man's home is his castle" and no one has the right to enter without his permission. People have and do shoot people with immunity under this law.

    22. "Under Castle Doctrine legislation, a court must presume that a homeowner using force against an intruder believed such force was necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm. The person against whom the force was used must have unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence, and the homeowner must have known or have reasonably believed an unlawful and forcible entry was occurring."

      "The person may not intentionally use force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm unless he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself."

      AGAIN, please show me a law where you are allowed to kill squatters.

    23. You wrote, “And again, you are conflating sex with combing an egg and sperm.”

      In an article published by the Guttmacher Institute’s Family Planning Perspectives, John A. Ross estimates that a woman using contraception with a 1 percent risk of failure has a 70 percent chance of experiencing an unwanted pregnancy over the course of 10 years. Guttmacher also reports that more than half of women seeking abortions were using a contraceptive method when they got pregnant.

      Most all fertile women who are sexually active end up pregnant at some point. Because sex, almost always, eventually ends up in combining an egg and a sperm. It is not like running over your kid with a crop duster, which is an unforeseen consequence.

    24. 're: squatters...I didn't say that, I was pointing out that there are scenarios where force is an acceptable response to intruders. TX's nighttime theft law is another example.

      As far as unforseen .... there are risks attached to most activities....that doesn't mean adverse or unwanted, unplanned and unintentional results are "foreseen" or not accidental. And, I reiterate, fertilization is distinct.

    25. A baby is not an intruder who forced her way in uninvited. A baby was invited in by her parents. And there is a difference between force and lethal force. You are only allowed to use lethal force if you reasonably believe the person is going to attack you.

      Getting pregnant when you decide to put sperm in the environment where it can fertilize an egg is not an accident. It might not be your intent, but it is not a case of something going wrong, it is a case of a sperm and an egg doing what they are designed to do.

    26. And you're back to design...this is what I am saying about this being a fruitless don't accept the definition of accidental, and attribute things to an unsupported"design". It's been an interesting discussion, but it is clear that we will get no further while you stick to your own definitions. At any rate, have a good one. :)

    27. A word can have more than one definition. Sure, if you just mean "unintended", which is one of the definitions, than it fits that definition. My point, which you seem to fail to understand, is that it does not fit the definition of "unforeseen". Because it is the reproductive system working successfully. The fact that eyes can see and ears can hear is not an accident. That is their purpose.

      There are no trespassing laws where trespassing is a capital offense. Any laws that allow you to kill a trespasser do so because there is the assumption that a trespasser might be intending to kill you, so they are really laws about self-defense.

    28. You're wrong, in some places you can also kill someone for stealing. In TX, due to the nighttime theft law, a man was acquitted for shooting a call girl in the throat after she took $100 but refused to have sex with him -- acquitted based on the "nighttime theft" law. Life absolutely can come second to property and other rights, in the right circumstance.

      Regarding definitions, words can have multiple definitions, but none of the applicable definitions of accidental fit your narrative. It's not that I don't understand your assertion. I understand and reject it. You continue to act as if sex has one "purpose" -- which is a complete denial of fact. Non-fertile people have sex all the time. Sterile people have sex all the time. Women are only capable of bearing children for about 1/3 of their lives, and not generally capable of fertilizing eggs except for a certain period every month during that time, so to pretend that pregnancy is a "predictable" or "foreseeable" event because that's the "purpose" of sex is utter nonsense. It can, a fraction of the time, be an outcome. In no other scenario, where an undesired outcome happens a fraction of the time, do we declare "Well, that was foreseeable!" Even if that is an outcome that, in a different scenario, is the desired outcome. If someone shoots a friend during target practice, we call it an accident; even though guns are designed for effective killing. We don't say, "Well, gee, he should be responsible for deliberately killing someone because that was foreseeable: guns are designed for shooting people, and he shot someone." His intention and his use of the gun was not directed at shooting someone. That was the accidental outcome. Not the foreseeable "purpose" or "design" or anything else.

      Again, we have rehashed this numerous times. You want to stick to your own concepts and definitions, rather than established/accepted ones in law and language, that fit your arguments. That's great. You'll never lose an argument if you invent your own definitions for terms. (Nor will you win one). But until you have something new to offer, we are both wasting our time.

    29. The reason it is a "nighttime" law and not an "all-the-time" law is because at night it is more difficult to determine if the person has come to attack you. If it just had to do with saying that you can kill people for stealing, it would not be just at nighttime. If the punishment for stealing was death, then our courts would be giving the death penalty to thieves. If the punishment for trespassing was death, than the courts would be killing trespassers. The nighttime law, just like the castle doctrine, is about self-defense. Or do you have another reason that he was able to kill the call girl at nighttime but would not have been able to kill her in the daytime?

      And, it is the baby's natural habitat so it isn't trespassing. And, the baby was put there by her mother and her father, she didn't put herself there. And, a parent cannot use the "nighttime theft law" to kill her child if her child is eating the mother's food or sleeping in her bed, despite the fact that the bed and the food are the mother's property. Even more so can the mother not kill her child if the mother was the one who *PUT* her child in her (the mother's) bed.

      Yes, people also have sex to bond and for pleasure. People also eat not just to get more calories but for pleasure. But if a guy eats ice-cream and gains weight, do you say he accidentally gained weight? I wouldn't, but you would. I'm making the distinction between an accident where something goes wrong and an accident where you got something that was not your intent.

      Around 95% of fertile women who are sexually active with fertile men get pregnant. That is a pretty big fraction. In an article published by the Guttmacher Institute’s Family Planning Perspectives, John A. Ross estimates that a woman using contraception with a 1 percent risk of failure has a 70 percent chance of experiencing an unwanted pregnancy over the course of 10 years.

      And how are cases where babies have survived abortion attempts cases of medical malpractice?

    30. If you could eat without consuming calories, they would be comparable. You cannot, thus they are not.

      The TX case did not involve threat of harm, the girl was leaving. But she "robbed" him, thus he was deemed legally justified.

      We already covered consent/invitation/etc. As far as n"atural habitat", a person's body is their own, regardless of what tries to take up residence therein. That is essentially the naturalistic fallacy all over again: well, that's natural, thus right. And it fails for all the same reasons that fallacy does.

    31. As far as malpractice...there are protections in place in most states to prevent death of a viable fetus. If a Dr disregards those, he is not practicing ethical medicine.

    32. You didn't answer the question. Why is it only legal at night?

    33. When Sarah Elizabeth Brown survived Dr. Tiller's abortion attempt at 8 and a half months it was a legal abortion attempt. Was it malpractice?

    34. The original intent might have been in relation to fears, but that is very clearly not what it has come to be or is in practice.

      Regarding late term abortion on a healthy fetus and barring other medical concerns, we've already agreed it is unnecessary. Most cases are already illegal. Bodily autonomy can be achieved with out harming the fetus. You know my stance on that point.

    35. Fear of what?

      Fear of being attacked. At night it is harder to see if someone has a gun or is about to kill you. Yes, it results in loopholes like the one with the call girl, but the reason for the law is clearly to give more latitude for self-defense under conditions where it is more difficult to determine whether or not you are in danger. The reason the case with the call girl got so much press is because it was an example that the law can be misused.

      So you believe in giving the death penalty to thieves and trespassers?

      Glad we agree that when bodily autonomy can be achieved without harming the baby... oh yes, you prefer Latin... harming the fetus, then the mother should not be allowed to kill her fetus.

    36. You had suggested that a life could never be taken in regards to property, according to the law. I said that was incorrect. I was not at any time advocating the extension of that to other scenarios -- and I have spent quite a few posts disagreeing with your assertion that bodily autonomy is merely a question of property rights, so the topic is to my mind at best tangential to the discussion of reproductive rights.

      As for the law being misused, I do not believe any action has been taken to correct that "loophole" -- which I would assume would happen, seeing as how lives are at stake, if indeed it was a mere misuse.

    37. I said that all of the laws where you can kill people are in place to give people the right to self defense. That includes the nighttime Texas law. If that were not the reason for the law, it wouldn't just be for nighttime, it would be for the daytime also. We don't have laws which give the death penalty for stealing or for trespassing. We do have laws where people are allowed to kill in self-defense, and both the WI castle doctrine and the TX nighttime law are examples of that. If you have another reason that the TX law only applies to nighttime, please explain it.

    38. The original intent is irrelevant in practice if the application disregards it.

    39. You found one example where the application disregarded it, a scandalous application which is universally condemned.

      So if your position is that it was just the "original" intent, what is the current intent? If you are going to say the purpose of it only being applicable at nighttime has nothing to do with self-defense, then you have to give me another reason. Why does it only apply for nighttime?

  8. "Peggy Jarman of the Pro-Choice Action League stated that about three-fourths of Tiller’s late-term patients were teenagers who denied to themselves or their families that they were pregnant until that fact could no longer be obscured."

    -Alan Bavley. “Abortions Late in Pregnancy Push Public, Doctors to Moral Dilemma.” Kansas City Star (Aug. 26, 1991): B1

    1. Okay, late term in that context is after 20 weeks. Late term in the context we were discussing above is 8 - 9 months.

  9. So if the right to bodily autonomy is greater than the right to life, you believe that if your child were handcuffed to you, and the only way to get free was to shoot and kill her, that you have the right to do so?

    1. Explain the handcuffs that auto release if one party is dead...

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. And how are cases where babies have survived abortion attempts cases of medical malpractice?

    Like Gianna Jensen, who was accidentally born alive when her mom had a chemical abortion when she was seven and a half months pregnant. Like Melissa Ohden who was born weighing 3 pounds when her mother tried to abort her. And Sarah Elizabeth Brown who survived an abortion attempt at 8 and a half months, but then died six months later from the abortion attempt. Brandi Lozier survived an abortion attempt when her mom thought she was just over 4 months pregnant.

  11. Also, you don’t seem to have understood Matt Walsh’s objection #4 when he wrote, “ The unborn child is where Nature … intends it to be.”

    Another way of saying it is that the baby is in her natural habitat and therefore has a right to be there. Your way of thinking justifies the killing of Native Americans. The Europeans “owned” the land, so they had the right to kill the Native Americans. I would argue that since the Native Americans were here first and it was their natural habitat, they had a right to live on the land.

    All of your examples of trespassing and of being hooked up to machines and taking other people’s organs are examples of taking something they have no right to. But *everyone* has the right of being allowed to have a place to exist. You can’t just go killing all of the homeless people because they have no homes.

    1. Actually, his point starts with this: "4. But, no matter how you frame the hypothetical, it is still flawed because it ignores one crucial thing: natural order."
      The whole point is a great big appeal to the naturalistic fallacy, which he then gracefully converts to "God" (leaving an even greater burden of proof unsatisfied).

      No one has the right to exist on my "property" or in my body without my consent. Regarding Native Americans, Europeans came into someone else's home, not the other way around. Native Americans would have had every right to evict, by force if necessary, the thieves.

      And, again, if a homeless person attempts to make use of your personal property or body, you have the right to defend both. That doesn't give you the right to go hunting the homeless, and I'm not quite sure how you can even arrive at that.

    2. And your comparison is completely flawed. A fetus arrives well after the woman has existed. Native Americans far predated Europeans on these shores. If anything, the fetus in your scenario is akin to the European settlers: the uninvited newcomer.

    3. I first heard this argument from a pro-life atheist. That the womb is actually the baby's natural habitat, and because of that she is not trespassing and has a right to her own home. (She is also not trespassing because because she was invited there by her parents, and because her parents have an obligation to her as parents to provide her a home.)

      A woman is not in her womb, so it doesn't make sense to say she was there first. Her womb is a part of her body, but it is not her habitat, it is not her home.

      The Native Americans didn't consider land something that could be owned, they just considered it their natural habitat the same way it was so for animals and plants. Once Europeans came here, they claimed to own the land. So by your reasoning, once they owned the land, they could kill the Native Americans. Yes, the Native Americans were here first, but they didn't own it, according to their own beliefs.

      What if all property is privately owned, then do homeless people who have no property have no right to live?

    4. I frankly don't care who originated the horrible argument, it's a horrible one. By your, or that individual's, reasoning, it's not right to remove intestinal parasites, because we don't inhabit our intestines, and that's the parasite's natural habitat. Further, by your thinking, we wouldn't be able to control *any* parts of our body because we are not "in"them, they are "merely" a part of us. You wouldn't have say over, say, your heart, or liver, because, hey, you're not "in" your heart: you weren't there first, what are you talking about?

      I'm sorry, but we don't lose control over pieces of our body because we are not "in" them. They are all a part of us: the intestines, the womb (in women), etc. They are ours, individually, to control.

      (Regarding invitation, that's utter nonsense. See the discussion above. Sex is not an "invitation". It is not "consent".)

      As far as Native Americans not thinking land could be owned...that's interesting. My Mom has a copy of an old Mass. document, detailing a transaction where the Native Americans in the area sold a piece of land to early settlers. Curious action, if they didn't believe they owned the land anyway...

      Furthermore, my cousin is a tribal lawyer. I don't know about every tribe's beliefs, but she has worked for multiple tribes...and they absolutely do, and did, believe in property ownership. Many NA regard European conquest of North America as theft, pure and simple. So I'm afraid I don't buy that, certainly not for all Native Americans.

      Furthermore, even if that was absolutely true (it isn't), Europeans did believe in property rights, and recognized the NA's rights to the land -- which is why some parcels of land were bought from the Native American owners. Mostly, it was taken in conquest. But it was not simply a matter of unclaimed land, upon which the Europeans "happened".

      Finally, why do you think, as a society, we establish homeless shelters and safe places for the homeless? Because you don't have the right to help yourself to someone else's private property. Period.

    5. I simplified in the interest of space and time, but this explains the Native American concept of property ownership:

    6. Sex is consent because you chose to engage in the action which directly and foreseeably resulted in the pregnancy. You did what people do if they want to get pregnant. It is like you think someone walking down the street can be struck by lightning and end up pregnant. No, the only way to get pregnant is to combine a sperm and an egg, and if you chose to do that, you gave consent to the pregnancy. That is why men have to pay child support for 18 years if they get a woman pregnant. Most all fertile women who are sexually active with fertile men get pregnant. It is a simple case of cause and effect, and in choosing the cause you are choosing the effect.

      Parasites are not humans, they don’t have a right to life. Mosquitoes are also not humans, and they also don’t have a right to life. You can kill a mosquito for any reason or no reason. You can kill a parasites, like worms and lice, for any reason or no reason, whether they are on your body or in your body or anywhere else. You can only kill a human in an act of self-defense (which can broadly include capital punishment and wars). Please show me any law besides abortion that says you can kill someone for being dependent upon you. The law is actually the opposite- if you don’t care for your child you get arrested for neglect.

      I didn’t say we had to be in our body to own it as our property. We own our bodies as our property *AND* people have a right to their natural habitats. People have a right to exist which is not dependent on them owning a home. The right to one’s body, the right to life, and the right to one’s natural habitat are three distinct rights. To kill an unborn child is to deprive that person of all three rights.

      We establish homeless shelters and safe places for the homeless because we recognize that they have the right to exist even if they are homeless. We don’t say, as an aborting mother does, “This is my property, so I will kill you.”

    7. The right to natural habitat is nonsense. Anything like it only exists in limited cases for endangered species. That that's the "natural habitat" for a fetus is just an appeal to the naturalistic fallacy, and no more relevant than it would be in regards to an intestinal parasite: not.

      Our body is our own not because of property rights (we can't sell it or otherwise dispose of it as we can property) but because it is us. We and our bodies are inseparable.

    8. You are saying that if an intestinal parasite is not in your body than you can not kill it? That the only reason we can kill intestinal parasites is because they are in our bodies?

    9. Nope. I am saying natural habitat is a bogus argument. It's the naturalistic fallacy by another name.

    10. How is "We and are bodies are inseparable," less of a naturalistic argument than "A fetus and her habitat are inseparable"?

    11. Human beings are not "habitats", nor do we exist external to our bodies. In law and, in practical use, and in any demonstrable sense. There is no established right to"natural habitat", but there is one to autonomy. Women are not fetus habitats, but people with full rights under the law. It's kind of interesting to me that you feel comfortable wielding an argument that reduces women to "habitats". And don't get how that is a massive violation of just about every right human beings possess.

    12. According to you, a human being possesses no rights until she is born.

      "We and our bodies are inseparable" is a naturalistic argument.

      If "we and our bodies are inseparable" is a legitimate argument, then so is "a fetus and her habitat are inseparable".

      If you are going to abandon the naturalistic argument and say that the body is the woman's property, then the baby has a right to her mother's property just as much as the baby has a right to her father's property.

    13. It's not a naturalistic argument, but an observation of fact and a statement of practicality -- one we incorporate, of necessity, into law. A fetus IS separable from the womb (it, in fact, exits eventually, if left to its own devices). A fetus and its own body are inseparable. We are our bodies. A fetus is not the womb. A woman and her body, a man and his, are inseparable. A dog and its body are inseparable. Souls and other such concepts have no practical or legal status/use. The law recognizes meat bags, not ghosts. Meat bags have rights, not ghosts. We are not habitats, but beings. Persons, not things. You suggest reducing a person to a thing.

    14. The idea that we have the "inalienable right" to our life, and by extension to our body, is a naturalistic argument. "We are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights..." That is a naturalistic argument.

      I agree the fetus is not the womb. The womb is a part of the woman's body, and the womb is the fetus' home. I think you can agree with those two facts. The disagreement comes in on whether or not the fetus has a right to that home.

    15. Also, naturalistic fallacy is not an observation of fact, but attributing meaning or gravity to something because'that is how it works in nature'. You believe something that can be altered should not because that's how it happens in nature. It is not possible to separate the ghost (if such a thing exists) from the meatbag, in any useful or legally relevant fashion. That is my point.

    16. The fact that the only way to separate your life from your body is through death sounds really similar to the fact that you can only separate a non-viable baby from the womb through death.

      Where do you get the right to your body? Saying the law recognizes we have the right to our body doesn't answer the question- there have been times when the law did not recognize it and allowed for slavery.

    17. Where do I get that right? Thousands of years of ever-refined and adjusted human thought on ethics and human rights. Our laws are something that we as people, societies and a species decided would be a good thing to enshrine in a code of some sort, as they are beneficial to the species. But I am not attempting to revamp the law code. That's your gig. I am simply establishing why, within that established framework, abortion is a woman's right.

      As far as separating life and bodies, I didn't talk about life. The law respects the wishes of the dead as well as the living: a dead person can leave his goods to whomever he wishes, he can be buried in any lawful fashion, his organs can be harvested -- or not, regardless of who might benefit -- etc., etc., etc. We are our bodies. Thus, when our body is dead, we are dead; when our body is alive, we are alive. But there is no "us" that exists "outside" of us. There certainly is a fetus that exists outside the womb.

    18. *that can exist outside the womb.

    19. Obviously, I am not arguing that the baby is the womb. The uterus is a *part* of the woman (a removable part), and the *home* of the baby. It is a part of the woman through nature, and it is the home of the baby through nature. As such, they both have rights to it.

      I'm not claiming it shouldn't be altered because it happens in nature, I am saying nature gave the baby the right to it. Just as nature gave the woman the right to her body. And nature gave the baby the right to the baby's body.

      Laws change and they are not universal. In China it is legal to force a woman to have an abortion when she comes in to have her baby delivered. In Islamic countries men own women's bodies.

    20. "Removable"? Wow. You get worse and worse. Technically, any part is "removable", and many parts don't kill you if they're removed. You could live as a trunk w/a head. But I don't think that something can be severed is a basis for removing it or giving it to someone else without the person's consent. (And I find it truly repugnant that you consider women to be mere habitats, that you can dissect a woman into "removable" and not pieces, in your eagerness to defend the rights of fetuses).

      Nature isn't an intelligent entity. It doesn't consciously "give" things, so there is no intent there. And, phrase it any way you like it, that is EXACTLY what you're saying. "Nature put it in the womb and thus gave it rights to womb" is the same thing as "the womb is the natural place for the baby, therefore you can't interfere with nature". Which is the same thing as saying, "This is how it happens in nature, therefore it's right."

      And as far as nature "giving" something, so what? Your search for meaning there is the naturalistic fallacy exactly. Something happening in nature is not evidence that is necessarily right, or that it carries any meaning at all. That nature "gave" us bodies is not the basis for our laws. Nature "gives" people cancer all the time, but we don't rule that you need to keep your cancer because it's "natural" or what nature "intended". You need a better argument than "nature gave it" to justify overruling and disregarding established rights.

      As far as laws changing, of course they do. But I'm not advocating an embrace of communist law. I think our system of law is a pretty good one, imperfect but in general pretty good, particularly in the broader sense, in its recognition of rights, etc. You're the one advocating completely devastating human rights as we recognize them in regards to women. That takes a better argument than her womb is "removable" and "nature gave it to the fetus".

      I've been pretty patient with you so far, even though you've ignored my continued requests to cease the futile discussion, because I see the occasional glimmer of intellectual honesty in your posts. But we've been at this 100+ posts, and you are reaching new levels of depravity all the time. Your habitat argument was amusing despite its mortifying implications, but now that you're deciding which portions of a woman's body are "removable", I'm done. I don't find your arguments in any way compelling (and it's obvious you don't mine). So we're not going to change each other's minds, and I've had enough of your creepy devaluing of women. You can consider yourself to be a "fetus habitat" complete with "removable" parts all you like. I think reason dictates otherwise, that women are full human beings with the same rights as anyone else -- and that includes who will or will not use our bodies, uterus included. You don't agree. Great. Now go away. Haunt some other corner of the internet.

  12. References to naturalistic fallacy above should actually be appeals to nature.

  13. Before I read any further, please quote where I wrote that "women are mere habitats". I haven't used straw-man arguments against you, and I would appreciate the same courtesy.

  14. "But I don't think that something can be severed is a basis for removing it or giving it to someone else without the person's consent."

    I didn't say the fact that the uterus is removable is the basis for anything other than the obvious fact that it is just a *part* of the mother, not the mother's entire being.

    Did I say that the uterus should be removed? Did I say it should be "given" to someone else? A baby doesn't take the uterus away. A uterus is an organ for housing a baby- it serves no other purpose. It doesn't do anything for the mother, it only functions for the baby. That is why men don't have uteri. That is why a woman can get a hysterectomy and function fine without her uterus.

    As for not giving consent, the mother (and the father) *PUT* her baby there.

  15. Rachel would you rather to be a woman... or a man?

  16. I'm late to the party but I wanted to actually thank you both for the spirited back and forth. Having read through all the replies, I think it can all be boiled down to a single element (at least the thrust of this thread can). That being, "consent".

    There seems to be a fundamental disagreement here. One side argues that consent to the pregnancy has been given by the consent to the sex act and the other argues it has not and that the sex act consent is distinct.

    The inability to agree on this simple fact seems to be the major hangup, although there are many side arguments on both sides. I can see the argument from both sides and I'm honestly still unsure where I stand on the subject of consent.

    I'm honestly trying to work it out, which is how I found this blog. Thank you.

    The only analogy (and I'm sure it's a bad one) that comes to mind (mostly because of the words "risk of pregnancy") would be that of a gambler. I think a gambler gambles for many reasons, in the same way that people have sex for many reasons, gambling is thrilling, it's entertaining, etc. But also, in gambling there is an inherent risk of monetary loss (I say inherent because that risk of loss, like the risk of pregnancy, can only be mitigated, but never fully eliminated).

    I think the gambler, by consenting to gamble is also consenting to the risks commonly attributed to gambling (loss of $). Perhaps he has a system. Perhaps he is very skillful and rarely loses. But the risk is there and I have a hard time thinking he'd get far with the authorities making the argument that he consented to gamble but did not consent to losing his money while doing so.

    1. I don't think the risks are comparable between losing and getting pregnant, nor are the situations really comparable (the possibility to win in the face of the likelihood of losing is literally what gambling is all about; the thrill of sex, though, has nothing to do with beating the pregnancy odds. You gamble to try to beat the risks, that's what it's all about; sex is more like driving a car, where unwanted results can occur, but they are certainly not the goal, and if we can take action to change them, we do. Whether that is pulling out of a spin or having an abortion.)
      Even in the case of a gambler, though, he can leave the table. He's not compelled to spend his next nine months' wages there, because he's already lost a few bucks. Like a woman who has to deal with an unexpected abortion, he can cut his losses and walk away with as little damage as possible.