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April 25, 2007

Comments

After reading your carefully thought-out blog, I"m "forced" by your logic to believe you are correct. Way to impose your world-view on me. :)

Christians are always accused of 'forcing our morality' on others. Whenever I hear this I bring up the point that this is what the entire legal system does, every single day.

I have yet to hear a response to this, and yet the baseless and nonsensical accusations continue.

Hey Mo! (nyuk nyuk)

Would it be morally wrong for me to "force" my morality on someone? What if I disagree?

"the issue of forcing beliefs is bound to arise."

Actually, I have never seen that argument and it is a red herring regardless of which side uses it.

It is interesting though to see a man draw an apparent equivalence between forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term and compelling demonstrators to maintain a certain distance from a building.

"the issue of forcing beliefs is bound to arise."

Actually, I have never seen that argument .

You need to get out more often Alan.

Alan wrote: "It is interesting though to see a man draw an apparent equivalence between forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term and compelling demonstrators to maintain a certain distance from a building."

It is "interesting" in the context of Steve's post, because it is an example that highlights the general point he was making - laws don't force belief, rather - behavior.

However, given your view on this issue, you don't really mean "interesting" do you?... perhaps you mean "troubling"?

What is only slightly more troubling is to see a man draw an apparent equivalence between forcing a human being to stand a certain distance away from a building with forcing a pair of scissors and then a vacuum tube into his/her skull.

John Willis -

Your final sentence is spot on. As I always say whenever the topic of abortion comes up, the focus is always taken off of the actual act itself and put on ideas of 'freedom', 'rights', etc.

Steve said..."The Law Can't Force People to Believe Anything"

I've been saying that about the "laws of reason" forcing "belief" in Christianity.

Well thought out and defended positions do force morality. It is not the person forcing it, it's logic that bears the force, the deliverer is only the dispenser--he/she is only the messenger.

And this goes for your post too Tom. The logic of God is in all creation and men are logical/reasonalbe beings so, if you feel it's force, obey it, repent and believe.

Brad

Daniel, nice 3 stooges reference. It gave me a good laugh.

Brad

Tom
"I've been saying that about the "laws of reason" forcing "belief" in Christianity."
Finally we agree! You are correct! What 'laws of reason' do is simply show that believing in Christianity is reasonable, and perhaps more reasonable than unbelief, given the evidence.

Let's say pro-choice wins. We're not forcing you to make abortions. If you don't believe it's okay to do it, you don't do it. It's that simple. It's funny that pro-lifers are the same people against the use of contraceptives, and also against raising the budgets in school systems. Sure, make sure the thing breathes, but then shouldn't you also take care of it?

Anonymous - (I am not even going to address the school budget comment, because it has nothing to do with what we're talking about.)

Partial birth abortion, which we have been talking about here the past few days, involves taking a sharp instrument and stabbing a baby in the back of the head, as it is inches from being fully outside of its mother.

Please defend that and explain how we are supposed to take the attitude of, 'if you don't like it, don't do it'.

Would it be morally wrong for me to "force" my morality on someone? What if I disagree?

Posted by: Daniel Wynne | April 25, 2007

***
We force morality on people all the time. A thief may not agree that stealing is wrong, but if caught they will pay the consequences. They can disagree all they want, as they're marched off to jail.

Hi Mo, are you ok with sectioning the fetus prior to removal? Or a lethal injection prior to extraction? "Partial birth abortion" as a strategy was brilliant and will be a text-book example for quite a while but there is no substance behind it. Emotion will almost always trump reason until self interest takes over.

Alan -

With a few exceptions, in almost every abortion related thread you post some form of the following statement when you're faced with the reality of what abortion is:

"Emotion will almost always trump reason until self interest takes over."

You're better then this aren't you? I mean this is an absolutely sloppy and unhelpful way to advance your position - is it not? Those of us that argue and support the end of this abominable practice in this country - may be wrong. Of course, I don't think I'm wrong and neither do you.

But think about this for a second Alan; before you declare WHY we are wrong....that our "emotion" is trumping our "reason" - don't you think the "reasonable" thing to do - the thing that is in "your best interest" is to show THAT we are wrong?

It couldn't be simpler really. Show us that it is more reasonable to take your position. You can start by showing that the unborn is not a human being...or as I understand your position...you concede this fact. So, show us why the unborn does not have the same value as you and I. Show us why location and stage of development changes the intrinsic value of a human being. Then you will be justified in speculating why we were in error. Until you do that...until you get your hands dirty and actually make a convincing case without logical fallacies....the perception is you're just emoting.

Regards,
John

What's the relevant difference between using a sharp instrument to pierce the fetus in the back of the head and taking that SAME instrument and piercing the head of a 2 year old?

If we can't do it to the 2 year old, on the grounds of immorality, then what justification is grounds for that of the fetus? You see if you defend the 2 year old, you're logically inconsistent with allowing the fetus. Both are products from human parents.

I can't even directly force MYSELF to believe anything (although at times I would like to), so how could I force someone else to believe something?

To me it seems as unnatural for a woman to refuse to bring a child to term as it is to refuse to think. Both are perfectly normal functions of the human being. Why would one wish to embrace abnormality? It's crazy. It's like someone refusing to be healthy and insisting on being sick. It seems a product of a sick mind.

>>"Let's say pro-choice wins. We're not forcing you to make abortions. If you don't believe it's okay to do it, you don't do it. It's that simple...Sure, make sure the thing breathes, but then shouldn't you also take care of it?"

Anonymous - I wouldn't want my name attached to this post either.

Alan -

No, I do not think that doing any of those things to an unborn baby is right. Why? Because an unborn baby at any stage of development is still exactly that - a baby.

Now, if you'd only do me the same courtesty and answer directly the question that I posed, which was basically, do you think that taking a sharp instrument and stabbing a baby in the back of the head, as it is inches from being fully outside of its mother is a moral and right thing to do?

Mo,

Alan doesn't like it when you describe the procedure--it's not fair.

As I've said before, I welcome discussion. But I'm starting to think some people don't want to discuss things seriously.

Mo,

I don’t doubt Alan’s sincerity-that's the scary thing. That being said, an honest discussion about partial birth abortion shouldn’t take longer than 3 minutes or about 2 posts each. Any longer; someone isn’t being honest.

You make all the right points.

Hi Mo and Kevin, rather than question my honesty, you might try to step outside your own frames. I understand that, IYO, we have a baby/person from conception with a soul and things of that nature. I can kind of put myself in your place, trouble is I don't believe it for a minute.

You have but to ask Mo. What you have really asked is do I ever see a morally justifiable reason for an intact D & E. Sure, if the alternative is a dead or disabled or seriously injured mother or a fetus that has grave defects.

You are however asking the wrong question. Not all immoral acts are remediable with legislation in a free society. My spidy sense tells me that
there is no simple solution with abortion. The defects in 18USC 74 and the Gonzales decision so far confirm that intuition.

A serious discussion of an issue that involves using the police power of the state involves far more then the endless repetition of the approved talking points of a cleverly conceived PR campaign.

The simply reality is that an abortion done in the second trimester to save the life of the mother is as grisly and unpleasant as one done in the same time frame on a woman who simply doesn't want to be pregnant. There was no justification in banning the procedure without even a workable physical health exception except as a foot in the door.

It's a bad way of doing public policy. It should backfire, but, given the quality of our media, who knows.

you are sure a rambler Alan. I guess you will just have to agree to disagree. However repsect the site you are on man...

Hi Alesia, your word for the day is WINSOME!!! Hi Cliff, and you thought i frowned?

Alan wrote: "The simply reality is that an abortion done in the second trimester to save the life of the mother is as grisly and unpleasant as one done in the same time frame on a woman who simply doesn't want to be pregnant."

Absolutely. The procedure IS just as grisly. However, it is fallacious and deeply flawed to draw moral equivalence between a woman who simply doesn't want to be pregnant and a mother who will die if the abortion is not performed.

And there is only one condition that I know of where the mother's life is in danger where she will surely die if the abortion is not performed....in an ectopic pregnancy. Given this scenario both the life of the mother and the life of the unborn will be lost unless the abortion is performed. So the moral decision we are faced with is this; with the abortion, one life is destroyed, without the abortion - two lives are lost.

Given the value of human life, it logically follows that we decide to save the life of the mother where possible, when the child will surely die.

Let's contrast this logical, congruent view with your moral system and see how it fairs. The greatest value in your moral system Alan is of course "choice". However, the Achilles heal of your position - the thing that makes your position self destruct - the thing that makes your position irrational - will always be the complete lack of respect for the child's choice. You are destroying a human life, a life that has the potential to choose. Every human life has this potential.

You can't isolate an ability of a human being as the thing that justifies murder, when that murder destroys a human being that has the potential to develop that very thing - the ability to choose.

If you are thinking right about now that the mother's choice is more valuable because it is actualized - in other words it is something she is capable of at that moment - then you are on the slipperiest of all slopes.

For example, I am not actually capable of speaking Spanish right now - but it is something I have the potential to learn. Or to stick with your value system, where choice and whim are "king" - the mother is not capable of making a choice when she is asleep, rather, she has the potential to choose. But we don't murder her in her sleep and justify it as "choice"...because I was awake....my choice was actualized and her life inconvenienced mine and her choice was only "potential"...therefore I killed her.

Healthy people recognize this as the moral reasoning of a psychopath....yet this is exactly your defense.

Am I wrong?

Yes John, you are. First of all I explicitly stated that there wasn't a moral equivalence between the the two abortions in my example.

Secondly, there are many things that can go wrong during a pregnancy. That is why all pregnant women should have access to pre-natal care regardless of ability to pay. Please research this a little (also, if someone told you that, you now know not to trust that source of information).

Thirdly, "choice" isn't my highest value. A civil society, Constitutional government and common sense all rabk higher. You all are dealing with abortion as a abstract issue with little or no thought as to the realities on the ground. Hence you have produced a piece of legislation based on emotionally charged PR hype.

If you want to limit abortions at some point based on a rational standard and providing for appropriate health exceptions, state your case.

So far what I have seen is a PR stunt that has resulted in bad legislation, an irrational Supreme Court decision and talk of banning all abortions.

Seriously John, what has your side shown the rest of us that would give us any confidence in your ability to handle this issue? In the last century, ideologues of many stripes had beautiful ideas abd noble sentiments that they failed to translate into practice. Those attempts didn't turn out so well.

Interesting post:

"The Stenberg Court held that some medical disagreement with the “substantial medical authority” that supported the medical necessity of a procedure counseled in favor of a health “exception” because it “signals the presence of risk, not its absence.” I used to call this the “tie goes to the woman” rule. The accusation Kennedy makes in Gonzales in response to this supposed erroneous “interpretation” of Stenberg -- that this rule allows one rogue physician to create uncertainty and thus a health exception -- he made in his dissent attacking the majority’s opinion in 2000. The majority even specifically responded in 2000 by pointing out that he was ignoring the requirement that there must be “substantial medical authority” in support of the procedure. I expected him to uphold the statute with a narrow and confusing interpretation but I didn’t expect such disingenuousness. Perhaps I’m just naïve."

Read it all at:

http://balkin.blogspot.com/2007/04/restrained-view.html

(Copy line to link)

Thanks for the reply, Alan.

"Now, if you'd only do me the same courtesty and answer directly the question that I posed, which was basically, do you think that taking a sharp instrument and stabbing a baby in the back of the head, as it is inches from being fully outside of its mother is a moral and right thing to do?"

I'll try again. Yes an intact D & E is a moral act when it preserves the life and health of the mother or spares a baby a short, miserable life. Otherwise, not so much.

Mo, what is your opinion of the morality of those who deny Mecicaid funds for abortion thereby forcing abortions for some poor women into the second trimester?

Hi Mo and Kevin, you all got me thinking here. Answer me this:

Everyone reading this is a woman or likely has a woman in their life who they care about. You (or she) is pregnant. By, say the 23rd week the pregnancy has gone seriously south and must be terminated to save your (her) life.

Would you think it preferable that the amount of time and the number of times that the surgeon has to muck around inside you (her) with sharp instruments be reduced?

>>”…spares a baby a short, miserable life.”

How refreshing. Alan, is now in charge of determining 1.) Proper length of life and 2.) Which lives are worth living.

Perhaps these could be some of his criteria: To have a life worth living one…

-Must be able to live at least 15 years

-Must be born to parents that make at least $30,000 a year

-Must be able to play catch

-Must not have an oversized head…etc. etc.

>>“Would you think it preferable that the amount of time and the number of times that the surgeon has to muck around inside you (her) with sharp instruments be reduced?”

This is a perfect example of how dishonest poll questions are posed Alan. My question is at what cost? What is the consequence of responding in the affirmative?

>>”Mo, what is your opinion of the morality of those who deny Mecicaid funds for abortion thereby forcing abortions for some poor women into the second trimester?”

I think this is an absurd question to ask someone against abortion. Absolutely absurd.

Hey Alan, what’s your opinion of gun laws that end up making an insane person kill someone with a knife—which is, of course, a much slower and more painful death?

Thanks


OK Kevin, one at a time:

Rather than reflexively going for a reducio, why not consider real situations that real people sometimes face. A little research will reveal to you a number of horrific situations that are possible.

"This is a perfect example of how dishonest poll questions are posed Alan. My question is at what cost? What is the consequence of responding in the affirmative?"

No it's not, I know how to write those too and this isn't one of them. The situation is simple, actually happens in the real world and so is the question.

The pregnancy has to be terminated or the mother dies. Is it preferable that the procedure to terminate the pregnancy be as brief and uncomplicated as possible? Is internal resectioning, a lethal injection, or abdominal surgery preferable to an intact D & E? Simple question here.

"I think this is an absurd question to ask someone against abortion. Absolutely absurd"

Agreed, but at the same time you need to understand that limiting the availability of early abortions has has the effect of increasing the number of intact D & Es.

"Hey Alan, what’s your opinion of gun laws that end up making an insane person kill someone with a knife—which is, of course, a much slower and more painful death?"

Wrong on many counts. First off all, the fun, gory stuff. Not all puncture wounds are instantly painful - depends on where and how fast. BTW, both gunshot and knife wounds are puncture wounds. A hot piece of metal tumbling around inside of you (especially the abdomen) can be very painful. A knife will usually glance off a large bone; a bullet will likely shatter it and, if too close to a joint, can mean amputation (lots of pain). A knife quickly across my aorta or a fatal gut shot? - not even close.

I'm not sure of your point here. I support all of the Amendments to our Constitution including the Second. A person as mentally ill as our Virginia shooter should not be able to buy a guy. Crafting a law that protects the public safety as well as our individual Constitutional rights means that we shouldn't rush into emotionally based legislation.

BTW, everyone please note that I am not the off-topic instigator here.


>>"BTW, everyone please note that I am not the off-topic instigator here.”

Nor am I. The question I posed regarding the gun was to make a point about your question to Mo and his pro-life position. You agreed this was an absurd question, so I will not expand.

As for your other question “Would you think it preferable that the amount of time and the number of times that the surgeon has to muck around inside you (her) with sharp instruments be reduced?”
This is indeed a dishonest question. It’s like the pollster asking, “Do you think people should suffer from poverty?” then using the results to reaffirm higher taxes. In other words, your question doesn’t honestly inform of the circumstances involved, hence the dishonesty. Again, the greatest ‘good’ here is the amount of time spent ‘mucking’ around according to your worldview, not to mention the erroneous nature of the question itself. Doctors have already answered your question about partial birth and its necessity.

I certainly agree that laws cannot force belief. They do set examples for the younger generation though. So laws can influence belief.

I do not agree with the utopian idea that we will be able to perfect human kind through "progress" in law or social organization though. I do admit that it seems to be our nature to try.

Only a spiritual transformation in each person's mind provides any real solution to the human condition. Of course, as a Christian, I believe that the transformation must come through Christ. If God is the standard for justice and goodness, those who deny Him are left to their own imperfect human standards.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

Ephesians 4: 17-23 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Read also Colossians 3 & 4 on Christian living.


I agree William, however, I also believe laws can guide our young generation when making moral decisions. This I believe strongly.

In other words, our kids are not morally immune to the moral stance of a nation.

William, I totally agree. My post doesn't read that way-sorry.

"Again, the greatest ‘good’ here is the amount of time spent ‘mucking’ around according to your worldview, not to mention the erroneous nature of the question itself."

OK, I'm missing something, help me. The fetus is doomed in my example regardless of what happens; the only issue is saving the mother. In terms of surgery, I have always understood that the less time under anesthetic the better and the less tissue cut and blood lost the better. Where am I wrong?

"Doctors have already answered your question about partial birth and its necessity."

Correct and here is their answer:

ACOG Statement on the US Supreme Court Decision Upholding the
Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003

Washington, DC -- Despite the fact that the safety advantages of intact dilatation and evacuation (intact D&E) procedures are widely recognized—in medical texts, peer-reviewed studies, clinical practice, and in mainstream, medical care in the United States—the US Supreme Court today upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' (ACOG) amicus brief opposing the Ban, the Act will chill doctors from providing a wide range of procedures used to perform induced abortions or to treat cases of miscarriage and will gravely endanger the health of women in this country.

"Today's decision to uphold the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 is shameful and incomprehensible to those of us who have dedicated our lives to caring for women," said Douglas W. Laube, MD, MEd, ACOG president. "It leaves no doubt that women's health in America is perceived as being of little consequence.

"We have seen a steady erosion of women's reproductive rights in this country. The Supreme Court's action today, though stunning, in many ways isn't surprising given the current culture in which scientific knowledge frequently takes a back seat to subjective opinion," he added.

This decision discounts and disregards the medical consensus that intact D&E is safest and offers significant benefits for women suffering from certain conditions that make the potential complications of non-intact D&E especially dangerous. Moreover, it diminishes the doctor-patient relationship by preventing physicians from using their clinical experience and judgment.

"On behalf of the 51,000 ACOG members who strive to provide the very best possible medical care to the women we serve, I can only hope that in the future, science will again be at the core of decision-making that affects the life and well-being of all of us," said Dr. Laube.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is the national medical organization representing over 51,000 members who provide health care for women.

The brief the ACOG filed in Gonzales is here:

http://supreme.lp.findlaw.com/supreme_court/briefs/05-380/05-380.mer.ami.acog.pdf
(copy this line also to link)

ACOG? Abusurd--this is your standard?

I say give one more push and let the child's head come out already--could hardly hurt anyone involved. One more push.


“On behalf of the 51,000 ACOG members who strive to provide the very best possible medical care to the women we serve, I can only hope that in the future, science will again be at the core of decision-making that affects the life and well-being of all of us," said Dr. Laube.

I do agree on one thing, keep the science coming. It only helps the pro-life cause. This much is fact.

"ACOG? Abusurd--this is your standard?"

Did you read the brief?

On what basis, or should I ask, what is the grounding by which you consider the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' brief to be absurd?

Because they have an abortion agenda to take care of first and foremost. Sounds like they need to reread the Hippocratic Oath:

“I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.”

“I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.”


"I can only hope that in the future, science will again be at the core of decision-making that affects the life and well-being of all of us,"

Do they mean like it was at the "core" of this decision?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_Syphilis_Study

Like partial-birth abortion is "safest" for women, that study on African-American men was also "safest and offer[ed] significant benefits" for the white people who could benefit with scientific knowledge from their deaths. (Never mind the partially delivered babies and study subjects. Science determined these were good ways to go.)

Just looking back a few decades, it doesn't seem too likely the world be a better place if scientists booted ethics out of the decision-making seat. And if, for them, ethics is just "subjective opinion," we can look forward to a lot more cases like the one I noted above.

This is a great read for anyone that is interested.

http://www.johnpatrick.ca/papers/jp_hippoc.htm

"Like partial-birth abortion is "safest" for women, that study on African-American men was also "safest and offer[ed] significant benefits" for the white people who could benefit with scientific knowledge from their deaths."

Hi Amy, when you have to fall back on bad analogies with a decades old medical study that turned evil, it becomes clear to all but true believers that there is a problem somewhere.

No one has yet to answer my questions and objections. How do you justify a law that fails to provide for the physical health of the mother? How do you justify a civil suit provision? How do you justify Kennedy's infantalization of women? How do you justify a bill whose findings are mostly false? Is the change from a facial to an "as applied" standard a fair way to do jurisprudence?

There may well be a parallel here but it is not the one you think it is. Deception was at the core of the evil that was the Tuskegee Study and deception is at the core of the anti-abortion movement's Partial Birth Abortion project.

It starts with the very name. "Partial Birth Abortion" exists nowhere as a medical or scientific term, it is a partisan public relations invention designed to inflame emotions and prevent rational discourse. If your cause is so righteous why did your side have to come up with such a deceptive scheme?

I was really amazed at the lack of meaningful statistics on this. It appears that about1.2% of all abortions occur at 21 weeks and later but how many of these are a matter of choice and how many are medically indicated seems to be unknown. Viability kicks in at around 24 weeks and abortions after that point appear to be in the low to mid hundreds and medically indicated.

Given the numbers i've seen, abortion after viability is a non issue. Also I get the impression that a large number of second trimester abortions are the result of poor women delaying a preferred earlier abortion due to lack of funds and teens in denial about a first pregnancy. There are also abortions in this time frame that are the result of a pregnancy gone bad. It would perhaps be useful to know the mix.

Anyway it would appear you all have a case to limit abortion somewhere in the second trimester and given the numbers I've seen effective and fair policies seem doable. What isn't acceptable is the manner in which you have sought to achieve your goals. A couple of weeks of enforced leisure have allowed me to dig into the intact D & E issue and once again I despair at way in which we do public policy in this country.

Alan, with my analogy I'm merely pointing out the flaw of putting the pursuit of scientific knowledge or practice at the core of our decisions rather than ethical considerations. I'm also showing how talking about partial birth abortion being safest for the mother ignores the consideration of the other person involved in the operation. In the same way, they ignored ethical considerations for the subjects of their operation to make things easy for the people who would benefit. In both cases, there are other lives involved and there are ethical considerations that have to be considered before scientific ability.

But one question I'm curious about: You consider the term "Partial Birth Abortion" to be deceptive. Which word in this term do you object to as being inaccurate and, therefore, deceptive?

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