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« Are Faith and Reason Compatible? | Main | Gratitude and Giving »

November 17, 2011


Why does the FDA care what I do legally around my kids? Can I still feed them fried chicken every night? How about cotton candy before bed?

I could help the FDA do a pro-life ad. It might go something like this, “This is your child, this is a suction device, and this is what your child looks like now………….any questions?”

If they don’t like the suction device part, they could replace it with acid.


It's not a fair comparison. For one, smoking is an addiction. Abortion isn't.

Josh is right. It's not a fair comparison. Smoking is generally not intended to result in harming or killing the unborn. Abortion is soley intended to result in killing the unborn.

What risks of abortion is the FDA not disclosing?

Re: the warning sign proposed, you're being disengeuous here. People know what an abortion is. They go to a clinic because that is their intention.

People smoke because they like the effects of nicotine. They don't smoke to get lung cancer, or because tracheotomies look cool.


>>"People know what an abortion is."

Do they? I think many women know they're pregnant when they go into an abortion clinic and they're not when they leave.

What about the documented adverse psychological effects on the women that have abortions?...just for starters.

And to play off your comparison; people don’t have abortions because they like killing human beings, they have abortions because they don’t want to be pregnant.

KWM: Foetal death is the purpose of abortion. Nobody *likes* it but they intend it.

Regarding psychological effects, even planned parenthood discusses the psychological effects. Of course, carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term also has some long term psychological risks. I haven't seen any objective research that demonstrates that an abortion causes greater psychological harm.

(I'm also not sure it would be relevant to most objections: few opponents of abortion would change their minds if it was shown that women were virtually universally happy after an abortion. Equally, few people would argue that police officers shouldn't shoot somebody attempting to kill an innocent person if we determined that the police were very unhappy and felt guilty. )

Alan, I think you may be taking some liberties with Ms. Sebelius' reasoning for her stance on both this anti-smoking campaign and her pro-choice stance. There are probably some important considerations to make before saying someone's stance is "strange". Someone mentioned that smoking is an addiction... which isn't entirely accurate. For instance, I will smoke a cigar maybe once a year or every other year. Am I addicted? Will I get lung cancer or require a tracheotomy? Will I be putting my unborn child at risk? Probably not. I'm not the target of the anti-smoking campaign. The campaign isn't really about taking away a person's choice to smoke. The campaign is aimed at people who have already repeatedly made the choice to smoke and trying to get them to change that choice. An anti-abortion/pro-life campaign has a different goal of preventing most decisions to abort a fetus or making it illegal to choose to abort. Just a quick trip to Wikipedia suggested that even Sebelius "may" have contributed to the reduction of abortions in her state by educating people and encouraging them to make other choices without removing the choice to abort. In that light, her stance is consistent and not strange.

The more I think about it, the more it seems like the author of this article simply doesn't get it.

"pro-choice" and "pro-life" are just terms more closely resembling brand names. Pro-choice refers to one specific choice, not choice in general. Same with pro-life. Don't most pro-life people support the death penalty? I'm not arguing either side here, just pointing out that those terms refer to one issue and are not statements about all of a person's beliefs.

Sure, Bhilai. It’s not a precise comparison. For example, comparing smoking to slavery would be a little off too. I mean, slave owners knew what they were doing. An FDA poster showing a slave being flogged for example wouldn’t be the same.

In this article the acts are not being equivocated, but the effect is being analogized. The suggestion is not that smoking around children is equal to aborting foetuses, but that if the state does not consider a foetus a person, then why does smoking during pregnancy matter... So stop drinking the hatorade and start drinking the bubble tea!

Lord Emperor: But that's also a bad analogy:

1. Even if you agree that a foetus isn't a person until the umbilical cord is cut, smoking during pregnancy will cause harm to that person.

2. The anti-smoking message pre-supposes that you don't want this outcome. It can be seen as a simple and straightforward reminder that this action, smoking, will have consequences you don't want.

Hi Bhilai, the death penalty is a pro-life sanction.

Also, even if PP offers psychological services, the profit motive and the obvious conflict of interest shown in some previously exposed deceptions would disqualify this service as biased. I think if we are interested in a fair counseling/psychological service, it should be independently done else only a disengenuous result is likely especially where the prifit motive is present [and I dont offer this warning to non-Christian organizations only btw].

Sebelius, when governor of Kansas, showed her complete lack of interest in the welfare of children when see protected late term abortions of underage girls.

The abortion providers broke the law by not reporting these abortions, shielding the possible child abusers responsible.

The normal pro abortion double standard.

I couldn't agree more with you more, Cog. The other similar thing is that PP has a virtual monopoly in providing sex education materials to the government school [indoctrination centers] and they promote promiscuity under the guise of education. The end goal is that more unwanted pregnancies occur which creates demand to offer their remedy for which they caused the need. This is a tidy arrangement for the pro-abortion gang.

That's quite a claim brad. Do you have any evidence for that?

Hi Josh,

I don’t know about Brad’s claim, but PP profits off of providing abortions. Perhaps they wish there were zero abortions and zero abortion revenue. I guess it’s possible, but I doubt it.


Also, if abortion is just like plucking a tooth, why should they? If there should be no reason to regret having an abortion why should they?

KWM, if no one had an abortion next year PP would still have revenue. I know at least 1/4 of thier funding comes from hundreds of thousands of private donors.

Also, saying they want abortions because they profit from them is like saying that because Dave Ramsey makes money off people trying to get out of debt. He wants people to stay in debt. It's bad logic.

Finally, where did I say anything about no one needing to regret an abortion or that's it like pulling a tooth?!


You didn't. I was just making the point that if abortion is not a moral issue, PP shouldn't be concerned with the number abortions they perform.

Why doesn't PP charge cost + dr. salary/expenses to perform them? Why do funds have to hit the bottom line?

Your Dave Ramsey comparison assumes Ramsey thinks 'debt' is a bad thing. Is that how PP views abortion? If so, you might want to remind them.


Just to note, it wasn't "bad logic" at all. I'm looking at it accurately.

Hi Josh, legitimate question, I'll see what I can do to reaquaint myself with some sources. When I was involved with OR West, some years back there was an effort to get abstinence education into the school curriculum in California and PP mounted quite a campaign to defeat the movement. At that time it was well documented that PP was the sole provider of sex ed. materials--at least in California. They were the only approved provider by law at that time and had access to nearly every level/age. I doubt that this has changed at all.

Anyway, I'll try to back up the statement as soon as I can. I'm not sure you will be able to prove that PP gets 25% of it's revenue from private donations, but if you have a source for that, I'd be interested in seeing it. The report I just read from a California 2010 report listed the private donation at less than 7% and the bulk of it's revenue directly from various government programs at 64%+-.

Disingenuous ideologies tend to cloak ideology in disingenuous rhetoric. You can tell by the obvious discrepancies. This post offers one such example in the activities of the FDA.

Honest ideologies address apparent discrepancies or difficulties directly and openly. Think orthodox Christianity.

Think US law.

Let me state it more clearly.

To Sebelius and PP, abortion is the greatest good. NOTHING can be allowed to interfere with an abortion on a female of any age.

They, as was shown in Kansas, will gladly turn a blind eye to child rape, incest and forced prostitution if it enables more abortions to get performed.

If abortion is a woman's right, and

the unborn is merely a mass of tissue, that brings up the question of deadbeat dads.

Why should a guy be held responsible for creating a tissue mass. If the fetus is brought to term and becomes a child, isn't that soley the choice of the mother? If having the coice to have the child is the mothers, and her's alone, why do we expect men to support the result?

FYI I am not advocating deadbeat dads, but there is a certain logic to this,

Alex: The guy isn't responsible for the tissue mass until it leaves the mother. At least, I don't think so - never heard of pre-natal child support.

I don't see why the time that a foetus is considered a person is relevant to this. The guy was, shall we say, a critical part of the process.

As an analogy, if somebody rolls a rock off a cliff and it hits someone, they're responsible even though they didn't *directly* lay a hand. They caused it.

You are right that there is some unfairness involved, but the unfairness is borne out of basic biology. The woman has to take the risks and discomfort of pregnancy.

Child support is supposed to pay for the needs of the child, not the needs of the mother. As a society we have agreed that we don't want children to suffer, and we have decided that both parents have responsibility.

If we could put the baby in daddy's tummy, there might be a chance for parity. But we can't, so what we have is the best balance of three different people's interests.

Sorry, but the choice to go through the discomfort and raise the child is entirely the woman's. If she doesn't want to, she doesn't have to. She chooses to carry and raise the child of her own free will. The man may have has a minor involvement in the initial stage, but it is the woman's choice for the situation to extend beyond that point. She is not being forced.

The analogy of the rock doesn't apply unless she sees the rock coming down and intentionally decides to place herself I the path when she could easily have avoided it.

"I was just making the point that if abortion is not a moral issue, PP shouldn't be concerned with the number abortions they perform."

Dental fillings aren't a moral issue - so why do (at least some) dentists try to discourage lots of sugar consumption?

Many, many people are in jobs that depend to a significant amount on the mistakes of others - emergency room doctors, dentists, car mechanics, mountain rescue teams, life guards, etc. Many of them try to reduce the need for their services.

Your logic - that moral reasons would be the only reason to wish for fewer abortions - is just silly.

Alex, if a guy doesn't want to risk getting a woman pregnant than he should either abstain, go with a woman where this wouldn’t be a risk (she would adopt out, is sterile, etc), or get a vasectomy. Unless this was a one night stand, the guy will probably know what his girlfriend's opinions on having a child are and if he's worried about supporting a child than he can take steps to prevent the pregnancy from happening at all. The man has a choice too. What about his responsibility? Your saying the woman could get an abortion (and I am assuming that you would also be okay with her adopting out afterwards), what about the man’s responsibility in getting her pregnant? The man wasn't forced to have sex with her either and if he's having sex he should be ready to face any potential responsibilities that might arise. If he doesn't like it, he has other options.

I am not supporting it, but am trying to work through the logic.

If you are pro-choice, I am assuming that you would not consider the fetus human. Not being human, the father is not responsible for it as it is not his child due to the definition of it not being a child. Once born, being a child, we consider the father to have responsibility.

But it can be argued that the father did not help create a child. He helped create a fetus. It was the mother who chose, on her own, to take the fetus and gestate it to a child.

Therefore the child is the result of the choice of the mother. The father only created the opportunity to have a child. It was the mother who chose to take the opportunity to actualize the choice. Therefore, the father does not have a responsibility for the child.


"Many, many people are in jobs that depend to a significant amount on the mistakes of others - emergency room doctors, dentists, car mechanics, mountain rescue teams, life guards, etc. Many of them try to reduce the need for their services.

Your logic - that moral reasons would be the only reason to wish for fewer abortions - is just silly. "

What makes you think that promoting something for the greater good, is not a moral reason? The things you listed as some "alternative" reasons for doing things all entail doing something for the greater good. The attempt at reducing the need for the services you list is promoting the greater good and thus is the moral reason for doing so. Anytime you have the concept of "good" in the mix, it is a moral reason as that word denotes a moral category.

Hi Louis, although I think you are on the right track, I think what would denote a moral category is a sense of "oughtness". In other words, obligated duty not from a sense of good--greater or self. That said, I dont think Bhilai has answered KWM's real challenge that PP presents itself as trying to reduce unwanted pregnancies, as though it is morally neutral or compared to a dentist offering advice to reduce cavities. In other words, no one disputes whether a dental procedure is killing an innocent human so a dentist doesn't have that moral question at all--PP does.

Getting back to Josh, I have spent as much time as I have, and have not been able to locate a source for my previous statement. Most of the sources I've found shows that curriculum is either from a governmental agency, [like the FDA, CDC, or various Department of Education] in addition to PP materials. I dont fell compelled to back down too far from my statement since the curriculum is biased still. Government agencies are overwhelmingly morally liberal and sensitive to political correctness rather than simple logic, so I dont see much change even if PP is not the direct source of curriculum

The good news I have found is that abstinence education[in California,again] is to be taught as the primary method to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, which is so self evidently true that I'm shocked and disappointed we had to debate this 20 years ago. Then is was a given that abstinence was untenable--you know those young people are just going to do it anyway so we have to give them the tools to do it safely.


"I dont think Bhilai has answered KWM's real challenge that PP presents itself as trying to reduce unwanted pregnancies, as though it is morally neutral or compared to a dentist offering advice to reduce cavities. "

I agree that is the case. Why would something that is a physical good, not also be a moral good? Are we not obligated to take care of the temple entrusted to us and thus we _ought_ to take _good_ care of it? Just a small stone. :)

Alex: That would essentially be forcing the woman to accept the position that the foetus was not a person.

BradB: What I have interpreted abstinence education to mean, colloquially, is the teaching of abstinence to the exclusion of information about the realities of how diseases are transmitted, what the failure rates of birth control are, etc.

I hear abstinence education advocates speak as if it is self-evidently true that abstinence education can reduce teen pregnancies.

Abstinence is self-evidently the most reliable method of disease and pregnancy prevention. In the real world you need to ask the questions:
1. How many teens will choose to be abstinent because of abstinence education?
2. Of the teens that decide to be abstinent, how many will follow through, vs. how many will give in to temptation?

"Simple logic"? Human behavior is rarely governed by simple logic. As a quick example, some researchers tried making group A feel they were more moral people at the start of an experiment. Group B were encouraged to focus on their moral shortcomings. When given an opportunity to cheat, group A were more likely to cheat. That isn't what simple logic would lead you to believe, is it?

Doesn't Texas have a very high teen pregnancy rate and a very high abstinence only education rate?

Hi Bhilai, you said:

" I hear abstinence education advocates speak as if it is self-evidently true that abstinence education can reduce teen pregnancies."

What I'm saying is self evident is that actual abstinence is effective. To not make the best method of preventing all of the problems of permiscuity the first priority is foolish.


"Human behavior is rarely governed by simple logic."

This is a strange thing to say about rational beings. In humans, every behavior is governed by logic at some level, not saying its always good logic mind you. In your stated example, it might well be a perfectly logical outcome that if a group of people could be convinced that they have no need to be wary of their morality and then have it tested to reveal failure while the group on guard for indescretions overcome. The example doesn't seem to help your case.

@BradB: My argument is that there is enough underlying complexity in human behavior that it is difficult to predict a-priori what people will do. Coming up with a post-hoc logical chain is easy; predicting which one will happen is not.

Would going through the details of condom use, carefully explaining what you need to do to get your failure rate down to below 1%, make people think "wow, that sounds tough, I'm really not sure I want to deal with that risk." I don't know - but I'm tired of reading people arguing that any sex education will automatically make people have more sex.

In the field of public health, compliance with advice is always an issue. If you focus on a theoretically effective method with a low real-world compliance rate, you've got a problem. You either need to figure out how to increase compliance, or try to find something slightly less effective but with a higher compliance rate.

Everything I've read indicates that abstinence-only sex ed leaves students into riskier activities if they fail.

Have you seen any good research on what actually works to encourage abstinence?

What's the big deal? Canada has been doing this for years. It isn't a new idea.

omg the images! they're worse on Thailand cigarettes though. even more epic graphic

Tony! Where have you been the last few months. Back in Thailand?

Alex, you're right. Its a double standard that women can choose to abort, but men can't choose to have nothing to do w/the born child. Its discrimination in the laws, mostly b/c of an impetus to protect women and abortion, such inconsistencies are required. You can't logically hold both positions.

Oh, another thing that seems very ironic here is that a significant part of the FDA's mission is to remove choice. I mean that in a good way - eliminating ineffective or dangerous drugs from the market.

The purpose of virtually all regulatory agencies is to reduce choice - hopefully eliminating choices that harm us all like the choice to pollute or to produce kids toys with leaded paint, etc.

Here in Canada, there are no laws restricting abortion. I'm told in some places it is an out-patient procedure, however smoking is strongly discouraged.

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