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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:22 PM
Original message
Pro Choice / Pro Life and the loss of the Democratic majority.
In Jimmy Carter's first term, the 95th Congress ('77-'78) - we had a 292-143 majority in the "people's House" (better than 2-1) and today we are down 228-205-1.

The interesting fact brought up by U.S. Reps. James Oberstar (D-Minnesota) and Bart Stupak (D-Michigan) in this (http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/hentoff1.asp ) article is this:

Of the 292 Democrats in the House in 1977, 125 were "pro life" (leaving 167 pro choice). Today there are 28 "pro-life" Democrats in the House (leaving 177 pro choice).

So there has been almost no change in the number of people we would now consider "Democrats", but we've lost almost every single seat that used to be held by a "Democrat" who was "pro life".

Is this issue costing us the ability to govern? Do we care?


Self-disclosure: I fall into what I call the "Jimmy Carter school" on this issue. Personally strongly opposed, politically not the government's business.
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:25 PM
Response to Original message
1. I am pro-choice
but I know a LOT of people (I can think of six off the top of my head) who say that they agree with the Democratic party on every issue but this one, and they just can't vote for a party that supports "killing babies."

I think it HAS cost us votes. It costs us six that I know of for sure every election.

I don't think we should change our position or our party platform -- but we have to stop pretending that every pro-lifer is a radical Tim McVeigh type. A lot of them are reasonable people who believe that it's murder and are inclined to agree with us on many other things.

And yes, I call them "pro-life" because it's what they wish to be called. I get pissed off if they call me "pro-abortion," so I extend them the courtesy of using their term. It generally keeps debates with them on a more even keel and less heated.

:shrug:
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Your post contradicts itself
A lot of them are reasonable people who believe that it's murder and are inclined to agree with us on many other things.

That's not a reasonable position - I don't think that a person holding that position can be accurately described as being "governed by or being in accordance with reason or sound thinking."
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:33 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. I'm assuming that
it's not the "inclined to agree with us on many other things" that you have a problem with.

What do you find unreasonable about the idea that an abortion is murder?
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. There's no logical way to demonstrate that
It's unreasonable because there's no way to prove that abortion is murder, without changing the definition of the words.

Murder - The unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice.

Now, we could throw out the statement Abortion <-> Murder right off the bat, here, because abortion is not currently unlawful. But I won't do that, because they're arguing that it should be illegal, so such a proof would be spurious.

So, instead, I'll go from here:

(A) Murder is defined as above.
(B) "Killing of one human by another" is defined as removing life from a living human by another human.
(C) For life to have been removed from a living human, it obviously must have existed in the first place.

Lemma I:
(a) Death is defined as the transition from the state of life to death.
(b) Death, medically, is defined as the ending of certain brain functions.
(c) By (a), these brain functions signify the transition from the state of life to the state of death.
(d) By (c), these brain functions are a necessary, if not sufficient, property for the existence of life.
(e) By (d), a fetus is not alive before the brain is developed enough to support these brain functions.

(D) By Lemma I, a fetus is not alive before the brain is developed enough to support these brain functions (medically, at roughly the end of the second trimester).
(E) By all of the above, abortion <-> murder is an absurdity.
QED.

Show me where a proponent of the view "Abortion is Murder" has ever come close to creating a similar argument.
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:53 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Sigh.
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 08:57 PM by southerngirlwriter
My query was not about why you believe abortion is acceptable -- it was about why you believe pro-lifers who agree with us on all other issues to be unreasonable.

I'll put on my pro-life friend hat for the moment.

The being inside the mother, which has a (often different from the mother's) blood type, fingerprints, etc., before the end of the second trimester - if it's not a live human being, as evidenced by the fact that it is growing, changing, developing, etc. -- then what is it?

Rather than proving that you took Symbolic Logic 201 in college, if you could give a reasonable answer to that question, you could win a lot of pro-lifers over to our side.


On edit: your approach would be excellent if people voted on the basis of cold, logical arguments devoid from their intuitions, feelings, sense memories, etc. If logical arguments won elections, every election would be won by about a 99% majority. Simply have the candidate buy some TV time and layout a logical argument for their major positions, and voila! People are not machines. You must reach a whole person -- their mind, heart, emotions, etc., as well as their left brain -- in order to win a voter from their side to ours.

Edited to add another thought.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:03 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. I answered that question
My query was not about why you believe abortion is acceptable -- it was about why you believe pro-lifers who agree with us on all other issues to be unreasonable.

I feel they are "unreasonable" - which, remember, is defined as not being rational / logical, because they hold an irrational / illogical belief.

The being inside the mother, which has a (often different from the mother's) blood type, fingerprints, etc., before the end of the second trimester - if it's not a live human being, as evidenced by the fact that it is growing, changing, developing, etc. -- then what is it?

It's a fetus - a proto-person. It's not quite a live human being yet, but it will be eventually. If you want, I can work up the logical argument for that position as well.

On edit: your approach would be excellent if people voted on the basis of cold, logical arguments devoid from their intuitions, feelings, sense memories, etc. If logical arguments won elections, every election would be won by about a 99% majority. Simply have the candidate buy some TV time and layout a logical argument for their major positions, and voila! People are not machines. You must reach a whole person -- their mind, heart, emotions, etc., as well as their left brain -- in order to win a voter from their side to ours.

Of course they don't vote rationally. They should, but they don't.

Perhaps I put too much emphasis on your word "reasonable."
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:43 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. OK.
So if holding one illogical belief makes an entire person "unreasonable," then my next question is:

Is there any such thing as a reasonable person? I would be willing to bet that if I talked to you long enough, I could find that you hold at least one illogical belief.

My use of "reasonable" was more along the lines of a spectrum.

Among pro-lifers:

Tim McVeigh = radical wingnut pro-lifers
Clinic protesters who don't get violent = misguided wingnut pro-lifers
My Methodist minister who doesn't preach on it from the pulpit but will thoughtfully explain why she believes what she does (that abortion is morally wrong) if asked = thoughtful, intelligent pro-lifer
Random people who will passionately argue over a drink that abortion is murder but never hurt anyone else because of their belief, even if they can't back it up as carefully as my pastor can = reasonable pro-lifer

Does that make more sense?
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. Right
I didn't think that I had implied these were entirely unreasonable people, just that they were unreasonable on this issue.

I think there's a better word for the idea you're trying to express, but I'm not going to argue semantics.
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Muddleoftheroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:45 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. You don't spend a lot of time looking at the opposing view
Try looking at it from their side. A fetus can survive OUTSIDE the womb with good medical care at 5 monthes or less. So, it wouldn't be unreasonable to consider that being alive at that point. This is why late-term abortions were so villified.

Now take it back a step. If a woman is pregnant and does nothing to end that pregnancy, then barring a complication, she has a child. Without external interference, that "proto-person" will be a real person.

That's why they consider it murder.

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REP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:14 PM
Response to Reply #15
24. Document, Please
Viability outside a uetrus has been 24 weeks, or six months, for quite some time now. Where do you get your information that a 20 week or younger fetus can survive outside a uterus? Fetuses at that gestational age simply do not have lungs developed enough to survive outside a uterus under 24 weeks (and the mortality and morbidity rate for 24 week fetuses outside a uterus is around 75%).

So-called pro-lifers can believe any crock of shit they choose to, such as 20 week old fetuses are viable, but it won't make it true - or give them the right to decide what anyone else believes.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:16 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. My nephew and nieces were born at age 23 weeks
is that good enough? BTW they are in 7th grade now (which sort of means alive).
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REP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:23 PM
Response to Reply #25
28. No
That's not a citation - that's an anecdote, which is unproveable. If it did happen, it would be easy to cite the medical journal where this remarkale, one-of-a-kind event was undoubtedly documented. So, please cite the journal.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. hardly
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 10:27 PM by dsc
they weren't even the youngest one in that month. They were born Feb 2 1991 at Rainbow Babies and Children Hospital in Cleveland. Their birth announcement would be in the Feb 3 1991 edition of the Ashtabula Star Beacon (Ohio). If you can't find it with all that info that is too damn bad.
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REP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:28 PM
Response to Reply #30
32. In Other Words, You Can't Back Your Assertion
Understood and expected.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #32
34. what more wouild you like
I have given you the date, the hospital, a local paper in which the announcement was made, and they are the only set of triplets in the entire county ( I think in both my county and the one next door). It hardly would take Columbo to find out the details. In short get up off your butt and find the details.
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:33 PM
Response to Reply #34
37. See my #35 for a citation (Guiness book)
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Mick Knox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:04 PM
Response to Reply #30
47. hey, my daughters bday is 2/2/91... small world... nt
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:08 PM
Response to Reply #47
48. cool. but I do feel sorry for you
given you are at the very beginning of the terrible teens. I hope you have hair left in a few years.
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Mick Knox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:16 PM
Response to Reply #48
51. ha ha! it is rough :) .. my hair is mostly gone...
son is 16.. much easier than my girl.... prissy lil blond moody miss thang... know what I mean?
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #51
52. Oh yes
I teach for a living so I know all about it.
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:33 PM
Response to Reply #28
35. Ok... will this do?
You CAN google right? :-)

http://www.pregnantpause.org/numbers/mvhlive.htm

Looking at the survival rate for ONE hospital in Ohio says 16% of 23 wk births survive. Of course that means that they have had at least SOME such births (and it was a 1996 posting). Though I don't know that I agree with the 19 week claim. So I google further.

"The youngest surviving premature baby according to the Guinness Book of Records is James Gill of Canada, who was born after 22 weeks gestation weighing 624 grams. Other sources (such as HLIs Pro-Life Activists Encyclopedia) record the births of babies after only 20 weeks gestation. In 2001, a baby was delivered alive by Caesarean section in Dubai after only 21 weeks and three days gestation, weighing 524 grams (The Indian Express, 4 February 2001)."
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #24
40. Several cases of well before 24 weeks have been linked to
in this thread. As medical technology improves, those cases may well become more frequent.

My only point, as a pro-choice Democrat, is that if we want to win the hearts and minds of our neighbors, we have to stop treating the pro-lifers like they're all completely irrational and stupid. Many of them are ignorant. Many others have reasons for what they believe.

As someone who was once raped and ended up pregnant from it (thank God, I miscarried) you will never hear me argue that choice should be taken away. I believe that the mother's life and health take priority.

But pretending that the end of the second trimester is some magic point is just disingenous. Treating pro-lifers like they're all extremist wackos is just wrong and, more importantly, counterproductive to the goal of getting Democrats elected.
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:50 PM
Response to Reply #40
43. Ding! Ding! Give the ladie a Kewpie doll!
"is that if we want to win the hearts and minds of our neighbors, we have to stop treating the pro-lifers like they're all completely irrational and stupid."

"more importantly, counterproductive to the goal of getting Democrats elected."


MUCH more efficient wording. I can just pack my thread up and go home now.
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Muddleoftheroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:24 PM
Response to Reply #24
54. Here is one small example
In a retrospective study conducted in two teaching hospitals in Teheran, records of 573 preterm infants were reviewed. The birth weights ranged between 500 and 2500 grams, and the gestational ages between 24 and 36 weeks. This study indicated that the expected survival rate of neonates was greatly influenced by a gestational age of more than 32 weeks and a birth weight exceeding 1250 grams. The youngest surviving neonate was a female whose gestational age was 26-27 weeks and birth weight 1500 grams. The smallest surviving (in weight) was a female infant of 750 grams and a gestational age of 28-29 weeks. This study revealed that an increase in the age and weight of preterm neonates leads to a rapid decline in mortality rate.

http://www.emro.who.int/Publications/EMHJ/0102/05.htm

For the record, I've seen lots of mention of 21-month fetus survival.

In any case, your own post shoots your theory in the foot. If one fourth of fetuses in the 24-36 month range survive, that certainly argues for the other side.
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Heyo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 03:58 PM
Response to Reply #24
108. I actually know....
... a 90 day premature baby.. a friend of mine from work has him. (well she doesn't work here anymore)..

I guess that puts him at about 6 months.

He was extremely tiny when born, I saw pictures... 13 inches long to be exact... but anyone who says that it is not a "baby" or a "human being" .. even at that stage...is deluding themselves...he cried, he graps with his hands... it's just a person, albeit very small...

BTW, just to clarify, I am pro-choice when it's done early enough.

Heyo
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:19 PM
Response to Reply #15
26. Right.
It's hard to argue for the "life is defined as brain activity that is only possible at the end of the second trimester" position when some preemies have survived as early as 19 1/2 weeks (barely into the second half of the second trimester).

My personal position is still pro-choice, though I think pro-lifers have a good point about this.

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REP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:24 PM
Response to Reply #26
29. No They Haven't
Not at 19 weeks.
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:29 PM
Response to Reply #29
33. Link
I can't find the story I read (it was ages ago, sorry) but I did find this story of a baby who was born at 21 weeks and survived:

http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=87...

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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:33 PM
Response to Reply #33
36. Oh wonder what the person will say now
Somehow I'm sorry I called you a liar isn't what I think she will say.
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #33
38. Another one
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 10:37 PM by southerngirlwriter
Book of world records:

"James Elgin Gill was born to Brenda and James Gill on May 20, 1987, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He was 128 days premature, and weighed just 624 g (1 lb 6oz). James' parents were told he had no chance of survival. Much of his body was still developing, including his skin, hands, ears, and feet. James' eyes were still fused shut."


He's still alive -- he's about to turn 17.

9 months (38 weeks) is the usual gestation, correct?

38 x 7 = 266 days

266 - 128 days premature = 138 days gestating

138 / 7 = 19 weeks, 5 days

On edit: another poster quoted 22 weeks for this birth -- I copied mine but did the math myself -- either way it's MUCH earlier than 24 weeks.

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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:47 PM
Response to Reply #38
41. A correction on your math
38-42 weeks is considered "full term", but 40 is the magic number. 38 weeks is considered two weeks early (but not "premature" in a medical sense - they aren't concerned).

So your math would actually put that baby at just under 22 weeks gestation.


It still proves the point however.

It would also be silly (were we to change the laws) to assume that science had advanced as far as it ever will in this area. 19 might not be impossible some day (espectially if he survived at 21-1/2 seventeen years ago.

Some of this is "what can a baby survive?" and some of it is "what can we do to help?"
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:53 PM
Response to Reply #41
45. Thanks for clarifying.
Either way, it's WAY ahead of 24 weeks, so the point is the same.

Yes -- we're talking about a kid who is either a junior or senior in high school today. To think that technology has hit its limit in what it can do for preemies is just stupid.

This is an issue we Democrats must be prepared to address with something other than "Keep your laws off my body, you fascist!"

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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:21 AM
Response to Reply #26
79. No, it's really not
The "preemie" is not alive until the brain develops to that point. It doesn't matter where the development happens - what's important is that it happens.
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:24 AM
Response to Reply #79
81. You think that a preemie in an incubator in the NICU
who is being fed and having his/her diapers changed is not alive?

Some of those preemies have social security numbers before they leave the NICU (so their parents can claim them as a tax deduction for the year -- a friend went through this last December).

How can a baby who is being fed, having diapers changed, and has a social security number not be alive??

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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 10:44 AM
Response to Reply #81
83. LOL!
I think the key here is the SS#.

Once you've got a number you're alive.
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #83
85. I am still astounded by that post.
Here we have babies who are being treated by medical professionals, being fed, having their diapers changed, in many cases being covered by insurance policies, with social security numbers, and some of them are probably named on savings accounts (my grandma started one for me on my actual birthday) and on waiting lists for schools (a private school in my area will accept calls to go on its waiting list from the delivery room), with birth certificates issued by the state, and they're not alive?????

The more I think about that, the more I understand why some pro-lifers think we're all wanton baby killers for being pro-choice. They're still wrong, of course, but if that poster really believes that these babies aren't alive, then the next logical conclusion is..... what? :scared:

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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #85
87. It's part of the "slippery slope" we open ourselves up for
that heads down the other direction.

There are countries where doctors make "quality of life" decisions on whether to keep an enfeebled old man on life support ("well, at best he'd only have six months of pain left if we bring him back - he's better off this way").

We ARE all screwed up in this country on issues of life and death. But I'm not sure there is a solution.

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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #87
156. Do I need to edit my post, since reading comprehension is an issue?
I've said, three times now, that reading it as "quality of life" meaning how good one's life will be is INCORRECT. How many more times will I have to say this before the arguments based off of false premises cease?

"Quality" is used synonymously as "trait".
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 07:22 PM
Response to Reply #156
166. No. You just need to pay more attention to what you are responding to.
"Quality of life" in this example is not a "what quality of life WILL it have" it's an (inappropriate) assesment of the current value of his/her life. The elderly person in question is deemed unworthy of the cost/effort involved in bringing him back for a few months of pain.

I wasn't saying that it was quite what you were saying with the infant issue - I was extrapolating for southergirl where the error you are making has led some other countries.

You're not saying the 21wk child won't have a very good life so we can get rid of it - you're saying (not that it isn't equally disturbing) that it ISN'T "life" at all. You are incorrect on many levels and (has been said) have obviously never seen these poor kids.

Your idea weigh HEAVILY on current science and the assumption that it has reached the peak of it's path in this area. Virtually every time that assumption has been made in the past the scientist has been wrong (and I'm not speaking as some Poli-Sci major who fancies himself a scientist). History is full of examples of people who assumed everything that could be discovered already had been.

If you really do have a background in logic (and not just a "Intro to Logic" course at the community college) then you know that such courses fall into the "Philosophy" department and philosophy would make pretty clear that "this is/is not life" is not really a decision for a doctor.

Not too many years ago doctors defined the death/life barrier as "breathing". Then they started saving people who had stopped breathing. Then for quite a long time it was "heartbeat"... until they started saving people whose heart had stopped. Today we use brain activity (and not just any brain activity - or the firings at 6wks would defeat your theory)... will that stand in 100 years? Plenty of things are "life" without having brain activity.

Just as importantly. You equations assume that the barrier from life to death MUST necessarily be the same as the barrier from non-life to life. There is no reason (other than convenience) to assume so. There is a difference between "here lies George - he was alive a minute ago and now he's 'gone'" and something that did not exist at all that now does.

And, of course, it leaves out the "essence" that (apart from any religious belief) people think of as a "soul". There is no measure one way or the other of that.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 08:08 AM
Response to Reply #166
178. Nice, but wrong.
Your idea weigh HEAVILY on current science and the assumption that it has reached the peak of it's path in this area. Virtually every time that assumption has been made in the past the scientist has been wrong (and I'm not speaking as some Poli-Sci major who fancies himself a scientist). History is full of examples of people who assumed everything that could be discovered already had been.

While my argument does in fact rest on current scientific knowledge, I never claimed it was the end all be all, and that it would never change. I belief I specifically said that should the axiom I worked off ever change, the rest of the logical argument may have to change, or it may even become unworkable. However, that doesn't discredit it.

If you really do have a background in logic (and not just a "Intro to Logic" course at the community college) then you know that such courses fall into the "Philosophy" department and philosophy would make pretty clear that "this is/is not life" is not really a decision for a doctor.

Seeing as I'm not merely some Poli-Sci major who "fancies himself a scientist", but a Poli-Sci / Comp-Sci major with a firm backing in logic (far more than one "Intro to Logic" class at a community college), I am aware that the question of what is / is not life falls into philosophy. I'm also pretty sure I made that point before.

However, your statement that doctors do not determine what is / is not life is flat out false. Doctors are legally responsible for determining if a patient has died.

Just as importantly. You equations assume that the barrier from life to death MUST necessarily be the same as the barrier from non-life to life. There is no reason (other than convenience) to assume so.

This assumption is logical - if someone transitions from life to non-life due to the lack of a presence of a quality (or trait, to avoid confusion), that trait is therefore a necessary condition for life.
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 09:06 AM
Response to Reply #178
179. Whoops. I was joking.
I had no idea you were a Poli-Sci major. Talk about serrendipity! LOL!

I doubled in Physics/Philosphy, so I'm comfortable with both ends of the debate. Sorry about that. I just jumped in with what I thought was one of the least qualified fields of study to hold the debate.

However, your statement that doctors do not determine what is / is not life is flat out false. Doctors are legally responsible for determining if a patient has died.

This assumption is logical - if someone transitions from life to non-life due to the lack of a presence of a quality (or trait, to avoid confusion), that trait is therefore a necessary condition for life.


No, see... you kept talking about "death". Death is the transition from life to "non-life" (if you like that term). It's a different transition than from non-existence to life. There is no logical reason to assume the standards are the same. The argument breaks down because we DON'T HAVE and CAN'T HAVE such standards in any rational way.... BUT... "we have to pick SOMETHING" so ...we pick. In the case of death we (as a matter of public policy) have given that decision to the doctors (BUT with a legal definition overriding their judgement). Notice we have NOT done that in the case of abortion. It is certainly not the case that ethically we have to place the decision here with them. It's a public policy issue.

I belief I specifically said that should the axiom I worked off ever change,

And there's the crux of the matter. The axiom's never BEGAN, let alone "changed". There HAS been no decision that "life begins with brain waves" (if it HAD, the "partial birth" laws would just have said "nothing after 22 weeks") - it's just the assumption you start with. And the equation can work out perfectly logically and still have ZERO value if the underpinning assumptions are incorrect.

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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #179
181. Here we go
Glad to see someone else debating the logic of my position again.

No, see... you kept talking about "death". Death is the transition from life to "non-life" (if you like that term). It's a different transition than from non-existence to life. There is no logical reason to assume the standards are the same. The argument breaks down because we DON'T HAVE and CAN'T HAVE such standards in any rational way.... BUT... "we have to pick SOMETHING" so ...we pick. In the case of death we (as a matter of public policy) have given that decision to the doctors (BUT with a legal definition overriding their judgement). Notice we have NOT done that in the case of abortion. It is certainly not the case that ethically we have to place the decision here with them. It's a public policy issue.

You are correct that the transition is different. However, there is a logical reason for my assertion that the higher brain functions mentioned are necessary for life.

As I said in another post (God only knows where it is in this thread... it's a mess), I can construct a Boolean expression for whether or not the trait of "life" is present in a given person:

Life = X

Where we aren't sure what X is. However, we do know that when the predicate HigherBrainFunctions evaluates to TRUE, Life evaluates to TRUE. We also know that when the predicate HigherBrainFunctions evaluates to FALSE when it previously had been true, Death evaluates to FALSE. Since death is defined as the transition from life to non-life, we know that Life now evaluates to FALSE.

Given this information, we know that the Boolean expression must be:

Life = HigherBrainFunctions AND Y

where Y can be any logically justified satisfiable Boolean expression (Y would simply be TRUE if there are no other conditions).

This is what I meant when I said that HigherBrainFunctions is a necessary, if not implicitly sufficient, requirement for life.

And there's the crux of the matter. The axiom's never BEGAN, let alone "changed". There HAS been no decision that "life begins with brain waves" (if it HAD, the "partial birth" laws would just have said "nothing after 22 weeks") - it's just the assumption you start with. And the equation can work out perfectly logically and still have ZERO value if the underpinning assumptions are incorrect.

But the underpinning assumptions have nothing to do with when life starts - that would have been begging the question. The underpinning assumption is that death occurs when the higher brain functions cease.
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #181
187. Alright, let's try this again.

First, I think you meant Death=TRUE in that first paragraph.

Here's a few errors:
1) "A implies B" does NOT force "NotA implies NotB"
2) LIFE does not equal "absence of death"
3) As already stated - we do NOT "know" that "when the predicate HigherBrainFunctions evaluates to TRUE, Life evaluates to TRUE", or, more specifically we do not know that absence of brain activity forces "death" - that is merely the current legal definition. I've already demonstrated that it has not always been so - why assume it will be? And since the items we're debating involve changes to existing laws... the existing laws are not "rock solid foundation" for logical arguments - it becomes circular.
3a) I'm not even sure that we know that higher brain function = life. If there exist higher brain functions in a coma and it is shown that a particular individual will never come out of the coma, is he REALLY "alive"? I happen to think so, but does that force it to be true? The persistent vegetative state of that woman down in Florida is argued by some (not me) as meaning she isn't alive.

But the underpinning assumptions have nothing to do with when life starts - that would have been begging the question. The underpinning assumption is that death occurs when the higher brain functions cease.
Yes, but you USE that assumption to define when life starts in your original argument. my very point is that you have a broken leap from "this is when life ends" (whether we agree you've demonstrated that or not) to "it is a condition for life beginning". There is no reason to make that leap - it certainly is not the legal definition. Part of the problem is that we don't HAVE a legal definition.
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outinforce Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #187
188. Good Points
Your post, Frodo, states much better the logical problem I was having yesterday evening with the logical construct that kiahzero had advanced.

You also state that we have no legal defintion of life. We h ave only a legal definition of death -- which, in some states at least, is the absence of brain waves. That is why a person whose heart and lungs are still functioning (albeit with the assistance of a ventilator), but whose brain waves have stopped, is a good candidate for organ donation. Her/His organs are still "alive", but s/he is legally dead.

Medically as well, I do not think there is wdie-spread real agreement as to when life "begins". I read just the other day where a physician had testified that a fetus who (which?) is the subject of a "partial-brith abortion" feels pain. I would venture to guess that it would be absolutely absurd to suggest that some "thing" which "feels pain" does not posess the quality which we call "life".

So what we are really left with, I think, is "life" as a philosophical issue. Many who call themselves "pro-choice" suggest that the folks who call themsevels "pro-life" get their view of life as a result of some religion, and it is no doubt true that a great many pro life folks are from a religious background which informes their views on abortion.

But there is also this point. Since neither medicine nor science can truly tell us when the quality we refer to as "life" begins, we are left, at best, with a legal definition. And undergirding any legal definition is a particular philosophical view of when "life" begins. The pro-life persosn who insists that her/his philosophical or religious point of view is that "life" begins at conception has as much validity to her/his philosophical viewpoint as a pro-choice person who insists that her/his philosophical point of view is that "life" only begins when the fetus is delivered, takes its first breath, and has its umbilical cord cut. Or the point of view of someone like kiahzero who says, I think, that even a fetus that has been born, taken its first breatrh, and has had its umbilical cord cut does not possess "life" -- even it it is in a NICU incubator -- until and unless it has developed not j ust the capadcity to emit brain waves, but has actually brain waves.

The difficulty, for most people, is that if kiahzero's point of view is just as valid as the point of view of a pro-life person, then there is nothing, really, to prevent someone from saying, as some -- including a professor whose name I forget but who recently taught at Princeton and who is from, I think, Australia, who has said that "life" really does not begin until some point long after birth and long after brain waves can be detected. He suggests that it would be perfectly OK, morally and ethically, for parents to kill their 'post-birth' fetuses, if doing so would bring "happiness" to the parents -- at any time before the "post-born fetus" is able to demonstrate the capacity to do certain things.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #187
191. Good catch
Death was in fact supposed to be set to TRUE in the paragraph you mention.

If you don't mind, I'll respond to both you and outinforce (trying to keep the train of thought manageable).
-------------
Frodo:
-------------
1) "A implies B" does NOT force "NotA implies NotB"
Yes, I know that the converse of an implication is not necessarily true. Where did I advance such a claim?

2) LIFE does not equal "absence of death"

No, it doesn't - especially not under my definition - "death" is simply the transition from life to non-life. This definition is important, because rocks aren't dead - they just aren't living.

3) As already stated - we do NOT "know" that "when the predicate HigherBrainFunctions evaluates to TRUE, Life evaluates to TRUE", or, more specifically we do not know that absence of brain activity forces "death" - that is merely the current legal definition. I've already demonstrated that it has not always been so - why assume it will be? And since the items we're debating involve changes to existing laws... the existing laws are not "rock solid foundation" for logical arguments - it becomes circular.

I'm not starting from the law, but from the medical research that the law is based on. I understand that basing my argument on the law would be circular (note that I dismissed an argument based on the law in my original post).

3a) I'm not even sure that we know that higher brain function = life. If there exist higher brain functions in a coma and it is shown that a particular individual will never come out of the coma, is he REALLY "alive"? I happen to think so, but does that force it to be true? The persistent vegetative state of that woman down in Florida is argued by some (not me) as meaning she isn't alive.

If I read medical information correctly, the brain is still active at that level in a coma. Hence, comas aren't a counterexample.

my very point is that you have a broken leap from "this is when life ends" (whether we agree you've demonstrated that or not) to "it is a condition for life beginning".

I see your point, but I don't think it's valid; If I am trying to determine if an elderly patient is alive or not, I can check for the existence of the higher brain functions - if they are present, the patient is alive, and if not, the patient is no longer alive. Why should the test be any different at any state of development?

As I was trying to articulate, I realized what you are trying to say in the sense that the requirements for creating life may be different than the requirements for ending life. However, wouldn't these requirements be more strigent, rather than less? If it were possible to be alive without the presence of the aforementioned higher brain functions, testing for them would not be a valid test for life.

------------
Outinforce:
------------
Your post, Frodo, states much better the logical problem I was having yesterday evening with the logical construct that kiahzero had advanced.

You also state that we have no legal defintion of life. We h ave only a legal definition of death -- which, in some states at least, is the absence of brain waves. That is why a person whose heart and lungs are still functioning (albeit with the assistance of a ventilator), but whose brain waves have stopped, is a good candidate for organ donation. Her/His organs are still "alive", but s/he is legally dead.

Medically as well, I do not think there is wdie-spread real agreement as to when life "begins". I read just the other day where a physician had testified that a fetus who (which?) is the subject of a "partial-brith abortion" feels pain. I would venture to guess that it would be absolutely absurd to suggest that some "thing" which "feels pain" does not posess the quality which we call "life".


D&X abortions are irrelevant to the topic at hand: I do not support at-will abortions in the third trimester. Nor does the AMA, as an aside.

So what we are really left with, I think, is "life" as a philosophical issue. Many who call themselves "pro-choice" suggest that the folks who call themsevels "pro-life" get their view of life as a result of some religion, and it is no doubt true that a great many pro life folks are from a religious background which informes their views on abortion.

But there is also this point. Since neither medicine nor science can truly tell us when the quality we refer to as "life" begins, we are left, at best, with a legal definition. And undergirding any legal definition is a particular philosophical view of when "life" begins. The pro-life persosn who insists that her/his philosophical or religious point of view is that "life" begins at conception has as much validity to her/his philosophical viewpoint as a pro-choice person who insists that her/his philosophical point of view is that "life" only begins when the fetus is delivered, takes its first breath, and has its umbilical cord cut. Or the point of view of someone like kiahzero who says, I think, that even a fetus that has been born, taken its first breatrh, and has had its umbilical cord cut does not possess "life" -- even it it is in a NICU incubator -- until and unless it has developed not j ust the capadcity to emit brain waves, but has actually brain waves.


You are correct - however, I fail to see why we cannot use scientific fact and logic to attempt to settle the issue, rather than appeals to emotion and intuition.

I will have to further review the medical literature (I have a friend who is a med student and may be willing to help me out), but I think that it's the capacity that's the question - tests are done to see if that portion of the brain is capable of functioning. I could be wrong on this however.

The difficulty, for most people, is that if kiahzero's point of view is just as valid as the point of view of a pro-life person, then there is nothing, really, to prevent someone from saying, as some -- including a professor whose name I forget but who recently taught at Princeton and who is from, I think, Australia, who has said that "life" really does not begin until some point long after birth and long after brain waves can be detected. He suggests that it would be perfectly OK, morally and ethically, for parents to kill their 'post-birth' fetuses, if doing so would bring "happiness" to the parents -- at any time before the "post-born fetus" is able to demonstrate the capacity to do certain things.

Such a point was raised previously - as I said, it could be valid, but it is unlikely. For instance, say one wanted to argue that a human is not 'alive' until such a point as they develop QualityX. For that person to successfully argue that point under my logical construct, they would have to demonstrate:

So long as QualityX is present, a human is considered alive.
Should QualityX no longer be present, a human is no longer considered alive.

Hence, arguing that the ability to say a simple sentence in any language (as was advanced earlier... I don't remember by who) would not be successful.

While such an 'opening' may be worrisome, it is necessary to stay consistant, just as it is necessary to recognize that a change in scientific knowledge will (and should) change this definition. Without such an opening for further knowledge, the construct is no longer logical but simply dogmatic.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #81
109. Depends:
Is the cerebral cortex developed yet?

First, let me address your claims. Your argument consists of the following:

1) If I feed it, it must be alive.
This is an interesting claim. I think you are getting hung up on the word "life" in an unfortunate sense. You can feed a medically non-living person, so long as they are hooked up to enough machines to keep their heart pumping, lungs functioning, etc. That does not change the fact that they are medically dead. Since there exists a counterexample, this claim is proven false by counterexample.

2) If I change it's diapers, it must be alive.
See above.

3) If it has a social security number, it must be alive.
If being linked to a number in a government database creates life, that implies that I can create life by hacking into the database and adding a new entry. Since this is not the case, this claim is proven false by contradiction.

The proof above does have one apparent flaw - by choosing the word "life" rather than "personhood", or a similar synonym, readers have confused the mere existence of biological 'life' as the "life" the proof mentioned. This is not the case - someone may be biologically 'alive' and yet have died medically.
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #109
110. LOL
If you walked into a NICU and saw a baby who was born at 22 weeks (before the end of the second trimester that you are arguing constitutes being "alive") who:

1.) Had a government-issued birth certificate
2.) Had a social-security number
3.) Had a bank account with money in it set up by the grandparents
4.) Was on the waiting list for a private pre-school
5.) Was covered by an insurance policy
6.) Was breathing and had a beating heart
7.) Was consuming nutrients
8.) And excreting them
9.) Having regular sleep-and-wake cycles
10.) Being treated with medication and responding to it

You would still, to be consistent, have to argue that they're not "alive."

That is patently ludicrous.

In your original proof, you said that murder was "Unlawful" but abortion isn't. If you were to take a preemie fitting the above criteria and stab their beating heart, you would find yourself in jail. Would you argue that that was unjust?

"Your honor, I can't be charged with murder. The ba- uh, post-birth fetus, wasn't alive."

:eyes:
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:17 PM
Response to Reply #110
115. Your conditions for life are what are laughable
1.) Had a government-issued birth certificate
2.) Had a social-security number
3.) Had a bank account with money in it set up by the grandparents
4.) Was on the waiting list for a private pre-school
5.) Was covered by an insurance policy

Would you care to explain what being listed in a database has to do with biology? Are any of those necessary or sufficient conditions for life?

6.) Was breathing and had a beating heart

At least this assertion is relevant. However, as I stated previously, breathing and having a heart beating are not sufficient qualities to consider a human being "alive" - if they were, 'brain death' would not exist.

7.) Was consuming nutrients
8.) And excreting them
9.) Having regular sleep-and-wake cycles
10.) Being treated with medication and responding to it

See above.

In your original proof, you said that murder was "Unlawful" but abortion isn't. If you were to take a preemie fitting the above criteria and stab their beating heart, you would find yourself in jail. Would you argue that that was unjust?

Depends. There are two cases - either the cerebral cortex is developed or it is not:

1) It is developed: Clearly, I would have committed murder, under my own definition above.

2) It is not developed: I would have not committed murder, just as I would not have committed murder if I forcibly ended a womans pregnancy without her consent immediately after conception. I would expect to be prosecuted for a crime similar to ending a pregnancy without the consent of the mother, however.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #115
118. If they were truly dead, it wouldn't be qualified as *brain* death
:eyes:
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #118
130. Death is not death?
Brain death is simply a variety of death. Your argument is simply an attempt to use linguistics as an argument, and a poor one at that.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #130
133. Yes, a variety of death
Which obviously is not the same as dead as in not breathing, eating, moving, grasping at things, making poopie, etc.

Just a matter of linguistics, you say? Really?
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #133
134. To me, medically dead is medically dead.
For the purpose of this argument, death is in fact death.

Perhaps you would care to actually debate the logic of my statement, rather than engage in one-liners.

Here's the statement in question, from my original post:

(b) Death, medically, is defined as the ending of certain brain functions.

In what way is this definition insufficient for the logical argument above?
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #134
139. other than the fact that you are defining brain death and not death
nothing at all. If you are going to lecture others about technical terms then you need to use them correctly yourself. Death and brain death are not the same thing in point of fact. One can be brain dead and not be legally dead yet.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 05:44 PM
Response to Reply #139
151. I've had difficulty finding information on such cases
Would you mind substantiating your assertion?
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:49 PM
Response to Reply #151
171. Here are several broad categories
One, people who have fallen through the ice and remained submreged for several minutes. Their brain activity has indeed stopped. There have been several reported cases of such people coming back. I am not a research service so you can go look at your leisure.

Two, people who have the plug pulled or who have feeding tubes removed often aren't brain dead and often die before brain death occurs.

Three, and the main problem with your post, is that you leave out the fact that such a state has to be permanent. Brain activity often stops in comas, yet people do come back. In the example of premies this lack of brain activity would only last a few weeks.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #134
140. *sigh*
Edited on Thu Apr-08-04 04:57 PM by redqueen
Some of us see preemies in the NICU, and think, 'hey, wait a minute!'

Many of you don't, and that's fine. This isn't the forum where the pro-lifers ridicule and mock the pro-choicers. This is the forum where many of the pro-choicers ridicule and mock the pro-lifers (or, in my case, the more pro-life than pro-choicers).

Did you know doctors use anaesthetics on some abortions? I can't find the details now online, but why would they use anaesthetics on something that's not alive?
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #134
168. The key here is "to ME"
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #115
120. Those are not conditions for life.
It was a counter-example.

If you walked into a NICU and saw a baby born at 22 weeks (before the "end of the second trimester" that you identified as the beginning of life), no matter how many ways our society and our laws identified him as being alive -- with a birth certificate, with assets, with announcements of his birth in the newspaper, with insurance coverage, with legal protections, with medical care, food, and other resources being used to promote his survival, with a tax deduction for the parents, and on and on and on -- you would be able to point at that breathing baby with a beating heart and say, "That is not a live human being."

To me, that calls into question sanity, intelligence, compassion, and humanity.





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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #120
121. It's mind-boggling
If the baby is *outside* the womb, it's alive. If it's still *inside* it's in some kind of limbo state, apparently.

I really can't stand reading these debates. :(
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #120
127. Medically, yes
I don't believe that you can argue that something is true, simply because society says something is true.
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outinforce Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #115
123. I Do Have A Problem Here
But it may have more to do with how you define "life" than any thing else.

You describe "life" as the absence of "death".

And you say, correctly as far as I know, that "death" means the absence of brain waves.

So you assert that "life" must mean the existence of brain waves.

But I do think that most people, upon seeing a -- what should we call it -- an post-birth fetus? -- in a NICU incubator, a post-birth fetus that is breathing, and has its heart beating, would recoil at the notion that it would be perfectly OK for the mother of that post-birth fetus to suggest that she is still abkle to exercise a right to choose because the "life" of that post-birth fetus has not yet begun.

So it occurs to me that "life" may be lie "time" -- moving in one and only one direction.

By this I mean that we cannot say for certain when time began, but we know that it did begin at some point. So, with the quality we call "life", to define it by what it is not may cause us to mis-define it.

I hope that is clear.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #123
125. I do not define "life" as such.
I do not ever define life in my proof, except to say that a fetus before the higher functions of the brain are developed is not alive.

As I said in another post, I carefully chose to define death as the transition from the presence of life to the lack of life.

But I do think that most people, upon seeing a -- what should we call it -- an post-birth fetus? -- in a NICU incubator, a post-birth fetus that is breathing, and has its heart beating, would recoil at the notion that it would be perfectly OK for the mother of that post-birth fetus to suggest that she is still abkle to exercise a right to choose because the "life" of that post-birth fetus has not yet begun.

They may recoil at that notion, but "recoil" is not a valid logical argument. I recoil at the notion that a mother would do such a thing, but that does not create a counterexample to my argument.
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outinforce Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #109
117. How So?
"someone may be biologically 'alive' and yet have died medically."

I do not understand what this means.

How, within the context of your proof earlier in this thread, is it possible to be "biologically alive" and dead medically?

What is the difference?

Are you auggesting that we sometimes reomve organs for transplantation from -- I'm not quite sure what the right word here would be, so let me suggest the only word I can think of -- zombies -- people who are not dead but who are not alive either??
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #117
131. Good question
Biologically alive means that the cells are still functioning.

Medically alive means alive in the sense that you or I are alive - we have conciousness, etc.

A medically dead person may still be biologically alive. And, if I understand the process correctly, organs that are donated for transplantation are always biologically alive, donated from medically dead people.

Did that clear up your confusion?
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outinforce Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #131
141. I Think It Clears Up THAT Question
but I would want to be clear about what you are talking about in your proof and elsewhere here when you speak about "life" -- are you speaking about "medical life" "biological life" or some other kind of "life".

And if you are speaking about medical "life", wouldn't it be simpler to ask a physician (or group of physicians) how they define "medical life"?

If you are talking about "legal" life, then perhaps a look at law books would be instructive.

I really am not sure what kind of "life" you are referring to in your other posts to this thread. It would appear to me, however, that you are speaking of "medical" life or "legal" life.

I do think, though, that you opened the door to what I might call "philosophical" life when you said that I could define life by reference to some philosophy, or did I misunderstand you?

"Legal" life, as well, I think, as "medical" life are subject to change, if I understand correctly.

The law could, by a vote of a legislature, or by a vote of just nine people, change the "legal" definition of life.

The same is true, I think, of "medical life" -- physicians could change, given new technologies or new ways of looking at bioethics, the definition of "medical" life.

Are you suggesting that there is something special -- and more permanent in your own definition of life?
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #141
144. Speaking of a definition of life drawn from medicine
And if you are speaking about medical "life", wouldn't it be simpler to ask a physician (or group of physicians) how they define "medical life"?

I have to say, you've stumped me a little with this one. After all, if physicians were to disagree with my definition of "medical life," my argument would appear to be flawed.

But, in fact, my definition of "medical life" stems from a physicians' definition of "medical death." Were physicians to change their definition of "medical life" to contradict my definition, there would be a logical absurdity that would need to be resolved (most likely by changing the definition of death).

The same is true, I think, of "medical life" -- physicians could change, given new technologies or new ways of looking at bioethics, the definition of "medical" life.

That is correct, I would be forced to change my argument accordingly. I do not feel this is inappropriate in any way. My definition of life is based on science, and hence should change if scientific thought on the matter changes.
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #109
126. Direct Question.
Unfortunately, I'm leaving the house in a few minutes to go babysit, so I won't be able to reply until very late tonight.

Let us take the position that abortion at 22 weeks gestation (not the end of the second trimester yet) should be absolutely legal without restriction. It is not ending a life; therefore, it is not subject to state regulation or sanctions about the ending of life.

Direct Question: If it is okay to abort a 22 week old fetus while it is inside the womb, is it or is it not okay to use a pair of scissors to remove the heart from a 22 week old fetus who, rather than being in the womb, has been born -- who left the womb three minutes ago and is in transit to an incubator in the NICU??

By "okay," I mean, "Should that action, if it were committed, be subject to state sanctions, regulations, jail, imprisonment, etc.?"




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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #126
132. I fail to see a distinction between a womb and an incubator
They both serve the same purpose - the help the fetus develop.

What logical distinction is there between the womb and the incubator that is relevant to the discussion at hand? Yes, one is a person and one is a machine. What does that have to do with whether or not the fetus has the quality of life or not?
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #132
135. You didn't answer my question.
I didn't mention quality of life. That's not relevant. I'm asking for your belief about whether a certain act is morally acceptable and whether or not the act, if it occurred, should be subject to punishment by the state.

Would it be acceptable for the mother, while carrying the just-born 22-week-old fetus to the NICU, to decide to remove its heart with a pair of scissors?

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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:55 PM
Response to Reply #135
138. You misread my post
"Quality of life" is not referring to how good a life is. It is referring to the quality, for which the word life is used, of the presence of life.

Would it be acceptable for the mother, while carrying the just-born 22-week-old fetus to the NICU, to decide to remove its heart with a pair of scissors?

Well, that's an interesting question. Morally, it would be no different than aborting the same fetus if it were in her womb. It had been developing towards gaining the quality referred to as "life", and that process was cut short. However, you may be able to make the argument that she was practicing medicine without a license and should be punished. You may also be able to make the argument that the act was unethical, because the fetus may have felt pain (I am unsure as to at what point it is possible for a fetus to be in pain... I believe it is after the development of the cerebral cortex and hence after that point, but I'm not sure).

However, your extreme examples are not counter-examples - they are just calculated to produce revulsion. You might as well ask if it would be acceptable to perform an abortion by decapitating the fetus, eating it and bathing in its blood.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #138
143. I didn't think you answered earlier either
Edited on Thu Apr-08-04 05:00 PM by redqueen
And FWIW, I don't think southerngirlwriter's examples are intended to produce revulsion - I think they're intended to get people thinking about what they're advocating. Just my .02
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #143
147. What do you mean?
"I didn't think you answered earlier either"

To what is this referring to?

And FWIW, I don't think southerngirlwriter's examples are intended to produce revulsion - I think they're intended to get people thinking about what they're advocating. Just my .02

She claimed they are counterexamples. A counterexample is a logical assignment that demonstrates that the logical statement is unsatisfiable. Her statements did no such thing - she simply chose outlandish examples of terminating a fetus.

This is the exact irrationality I spoke of previously. Rather than argue the merits of their position, many choose instead to demagouge the issue.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #147
149. Referring to your response
to her direct question.

Did she claim they were counterexamples? I missed that somehow. I thought she was trying to make a point, and was succeeding.

Your claim about only being medically alive doesn't seem to hold up considering that fetuses have been shown to develop memories, feel pain, respond to stimuli, etc. People who are only 'medically alive', as you put it, do not do those things.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #149
150. Yes.
See post 120.

Your claim about only being medically alive doesn't seem to hold up considering that fetuses have been shown to develop memories, feel pain, respond to stimuli, etc. People who are only 'medically alive', as you put it, do not do those things.

My reading on the topic indicates that this is after the point I have defined. Would you mind sourcing this - I'd be interested to read whatever information you can provide.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 05:54 PM
Response to Reply #150
154. I'd be happy to
BUT! I'm about to leave - so it'll have to wait till Monday. K? (Sorry, no net access @ home.)
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #154
155. Go ahead and PM me when you get a chance
I too am going away for the weekend, and going out pretty soon this evening.
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 09:48 PM
Response to Reply #138
172. A few more questions
1. Why does that example cause "revulsion" ??

You are an advocate of mothers having the right to abort 22 week old fetuses. I questioned whether there was a moral difference between aborting a 22 week old fetus and cutting the heart of one out a few minutes after its birth. YOU said that the two acts were morally equivalent.

If one causes "revulsion" in you, why are you okay with the other one -- which YOU believe to be morally equivalent??

It seems that the only difference between a pro-lifer and you is that you find one act to be okay and the other one causes revulsion; pro-lifers simply find both acts to cause revulsion.

2. Your definition of "alive" or having the quality of "life" is based on brain function.

OK. How would you define the quality of "life in countries where women have no access to equipment that measures brain activity? Your definition is dependent on access to rather sophisticated equipment. In one of my earlier questions, you said "It depends. Is the cerebral cortex developed yet?" To really answer that, you need medical equipment that the VAST MAJORITY of this planet does not have access to. How would you define life for cases where a definition is required to base ethical decisions on in the absence of access to such equipment?

3. You have consistently said that the cerebral cortex functioning is the definition of "alive." So, are you prepared to accept regulation of abortion in cases where the cerebral cortex is functioning -- i.e., a late-term fetus? If not, why not?
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:53 PM
Response to Reply #132
137. you complain that I call you a eugenecist, which I didn't,
and now you talk about quality of life. BTW the difference between the incubator and the womb is one is a machine and one is a human. The whole point that people on your side make is that people have rights. I am pretty astonished that someone on your side of the issue doesn't realize how different that is.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #137
142. Once again
You have misread my post. I was not referring to the "quality of life" in the sense that you are claiming I was. Look at outinforce's posts for an example of the sense I was using it in. Quality refers to a property: the object in question (the fetus) either has life or does not.

BTW the difference between the incubator and the womb is one is a machine and one is a human.

If I recall correctly, I articulated this in my post. My point was that this does not change anything I have said.

The whole point that people on your side make is that people have rights. I am pretty astonished that someone on your side of the issue doesn't realize how different that is.

To be honest, I am unsure of what you are trying to say here.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #142
145. The whole premise of permitting abortion
is that a woman's rights to her body trump the fetus' right to existence. Once you are dealing with a machine it seems that there are no competing rights involved.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #145
148. That is not my premise
It is a valid premise, but it is not the premise of my argument.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 09:40 AM
Response to Reply #148
183. I will give you kudos for intellectual honesty
I certainly don't agree with your position but I must give you credit for it being consistent.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #79
84. I guess you get points for consistency
but I do have to ask this. What IQ does one have to have to be alive from your perspective? What brain development are you referring to? Talk about slippery slopes.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #84
111. IQ is completely irrelavant to the discussion at hand
I hope that you are simply confused, and not trying to label me as a eugenist - that would be an ad hominem attack rather than a logical argument.

The "brain development" I am referring to is the development of the cerebral cortex as a functioning portion of the brain. It has nothing to do with IQ at all.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #111
119. You do realize that
Edited on Thu Apr-08-04 04:26 PM by dsc
there are people who live with little to no cerebral cortex. Admittedly their lives aren't great but they exist. The people have a form of spinal bifoda (sp). My dad, who ran our local school for the mentally challenged, actually met such people in institutions. So yes you are a eugenicist. The only thing up for discussion now is the place you draw the line.
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Muddleoftheroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #79
89. That's an attitude I thought I only saw
In the 1930s and '40s.

Of course the baby is alive. If you didn't want it would you just kill or perhaps leave it out for the wolves?
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #89
106. Ad hominem attacks and assertions, oh my!
Tell me, are you planning on actually addressing the logic of my position, or are you simple going to make unsubstantiated assertions ("Of course the baby is alive") and say that I'm 60-70 years behind the times ("That's an attitude I thought I only saw in the 1930's and '40s").

I made a logical argument, with logical and reasonable inferences from it. Perhaps you'd like to do the same?
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Malva Zebrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 06:23 PM
Response to Reply #15
161. If it is alive , how come it is not born naturally at five months instead
of nine, the normal gestational period?

There is nothing that will determine a fetus or an embryo or a four celled blastocyte is a human being. The very thought is actually an absurdity.

It defies all logic that this four celled blob is a human being. Virtually NO ONE can call it so.

There are millions of themn currently frozen in cyrogenic tubes.

NO, a four celled blob is not a human being. It is, from one point of view, actually a -parasite.

It is the woman who is the primary concern and not this four celled blob or any other "potential" human being in any stage of pregnancy.

The woman and the host of this parasite that has invaded her body, with her permission or not, is NOT a human being with more rights than the living human mother. It is not a born human being.

To think otherwise is cruel, bigoted, prejucicial and misogynistic.

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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:23 PM
Response to Reply #11
27. The "logic" of your argument is not compelling.
"I feel they are "unreasonable" - which, remember, is defined as not being rational / logical, because they hold an irrational / illogical belief."

You are correct that (at least as things stand now) we can't know (at least early on) if this is a "human" or not. You then argue that to assume it IS a life is irrational. To some extent this is true - you can't know one way or the other. But you fall into the same trap by insisting that we must then behave as if it is NOT a human. You make the same irrational assumption.

But you don't have to assume one way or the other. You can simply state that it IS one way or the other and balance the competing evils. An ethicist will (for argument sake) assume BOTH positions are true and balance the results. If it is not a human and you make it illegal then millions of women are being devestatingly abused by their government. If it IS a human and you allow it to be legal than the state is allowing millions to be killed to protect the convenience/mental health/life-career choices of some citizens. If it is a life the state has not a "right" but an "obligation" to so something.

Neither position is "unreasonable/irrational"


You're "Lemma" logic breaks down when brain functions are clearly "alive". You could argue with a pro-choicer all say long about the early synapse functions, but certainly at six or seven months they are fully developed brain functions (as you hint) and abortion is still entirely legal at that point. So the pro-lifers don't HAVE to come up with "a similar argument" - YOURS serves the purpose quite well.

And not every definition of murder deals with lawfullness. It can simply be "to destroy" or "to kill inhumanely". They are not forced to use your prefered definition.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:18 AM
Response to Reply #27
78. I think you misread me.
You are correct that (at least as things stand now) we can't know (at least early on) if this is a "human" or not. You then argue that to assume it IS a life is irrational. To some extent this is true - you can't know one way or the other. But you fall into the same trap by insisting that we must then behave as if it is NOT a human. You make the same irrational assumption.

Actually, my proof demonstrates that it is NOT alive until the third trimester, at which point abortions are heavily restricted.

If it IS a human and you allow it to be legal than the state is allowing millions to be killed to protect the convenience/mental health/life-career choices of some citizens.

No - only if it is alive can it be killed.

You're "Lemma" logic breaks down when brain functions are clearly "alive". You could argue with a pro-choicer all say long about the early synapse functions, but certainly at six or seven months they are fully developed brain functions (as you hint) and abortion is still entirely legal at that point. So the pro-lifers don't HAVE to come up with "a similar argument" - YOURS serves the purpose quite well.

To wit, abortions are not "entirely legal" during the third trimester - there are numerous restrictions, varying state to state. I am unaware of any states that allow unrestricted abortion up until the fetus is delivered. Were there to be such a state, I would argue that that state's abortion law is immoral.

And not every definition of murder deals with lawfullness. It can simply be "to destroy" or "to kill inhumanely". They are not forced to use your prefered definition.

When discussing the law, legality does in fact matter. However, you failed to note that I did not rest with "Abortion isn't illegal, therefore it isn't murder."

Both of your definitions are insufficient - "to destroy" or "to kill inhumanely" both can be necessary conditions for an act to be called a murder, but not sufficient. Self-defense is not murder, and yet it could be called such under your definitions.
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outinforce Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #78
101. Your Proof Demonstrates No Such Thing.
"Actually, my proof demonstrates that it is NOT alive until the third trimester, at which point abortions are heavily restricted."

I think I am correct when I assert that your proof demonstates no such thing.

All that your proof demonstates is that one condition -- by the words contained within your own proof, a necessary, but no sufficient condition -- for life exists at the third trimester.
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Malva Zebrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #9
160. there is no "being" inside the mother.
You will have to define "being" in order for your argument to stand.

We do not all of us "must" do things others decide isnecesseary for us to be defined as human beings.

Some of us like ourselves exactly as we are and what the opinion of others are as to how we should be in order to be considered by others, real human beings, is totally irrelevant and is actually arrogant on the part of those who would presume that because they perceive we "lack" something they think is necessary, that indeed, we are something lower than that which the person thinks is the higher order-and usually that person believes themself a member of that higher order.

There is no such thing. Some of us are capable of logical thinking. WE like it that way. Others like the intuitive approach--no facts necessary--imagination and a fascination with myth and story are enjoyable pursuits, preferable to 'cold hard logic

IT takes all kinds to make up a village. No way, no one way is the right way.
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #160
173. Please clarify.
1. Why did you call her a mother?

2. If there is no being within her, how is she different from all other non-pregnant women?

3. In another post, you said that a fetus was akin to a parasite, from one point of view.

Is a parasite not a being?

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outinforce Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #8
100. I Think I Detect a Flaw In Your Logic
I think, kiahzero, that I detect a small flaw in your logic.

You posit the following:

"(A) Murder is defined as above.
(B) "Killing of one human by another" is defined as removing life from a living human by another human.
(C) For life to have been removed from a living human, it obviously must have existed in the first place.
"

In postulate "C", above, I assume that "it" refers to "life" and not to a "living human". If my assumption is incorrect, please do let me know, because then I think a whole other problem may present itself.

Next, you assert:

" (a) Death is defined as the transition from the state of life to death.
(b) Death, medically, is defined as the ending of certain brain functions.
(c) By (a), these brain functions signify the transition from the state of life to the state of death.
(d) By (c), these brain functions are a necessary, if not sufficient, property for the existence of life.
(e) By (d), a fetus is not alive before the brain is developed enough to support these brain functions.
"

I understand "d", above, to say that in order for the "life" that is posited in postulate "C", above, brain waves are necessary, but not sufficient.

In other words, I understand you to say that murder can only occur is something called "life" is taken by one human from another. And I also understand you to conclude by your logic that "life" means at least the existence of brain waves within a human. And you leave open the possibility, logically, that something other than brain waves m ight be necssary in order for the condition you call "life" to exist within a human.

You then conclude, (QED) that:

"By Lemma I, a fetus is not alive before the brain is developed enough to support these brain functions (medically, at roughly the end of the second trimester).
(E) By all of the above, abortion <-> murder is an absurdity.
"

Fine. You proved what you set out to demonstate -- that abortion is not murder because the basic condition (but not the only possible condition) for life does not exist if there is no brain developed enought to support brain waves.

However, here is obe of the problems I am having with this logical construct. It allows the possibility of conditions other than the existence of brain waves to be necessary for the condition called "life" to exist within a human.

DOesn't your logical construct allow for me to say that in order for "life" to exist within a human, that human must possess not just the ability to have its brain waves detected, but that it must also possess some other ability as well?

For example, what, within your logical construct, is to prevent me from saying, with equal logical force, that in order for "life" to "truly and completely" exist, a human must possess, in addition to the ability to transmit brain waves, the ability to say, in any given language, this sentence: "Mother, I am thirsty, and I would like very much to have a drink of cold water"?
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #100
103. You may assert that, if and only if,
You can medically determine that death is defined as the inability to state that sentence. Find me any medical research or even philosophical argument (Philosophy of the Mind, etc) that the inability to state that sentence defines death, and you have yourself yet another necessary condition for life.

In postulate "C", above, I assume that "it" refers to "life" and not to a "living human". If my assumption is incorrect, please do let me know, because then I think a whole other problem may present itself.

Yes, that assumption is correct. I thought that "it" was clearly referring to "life"... sorry for the confusion.

I understand "d", above, to say that in order for the "life" that is posited in postulate "C", above, brain waves are necessary, but not sufficient.

In other words, I understand you to say that murder can only occur is something called "life" is taken by one human from another. And I also understand you to conclude by your logic that "life" means at least the existence of brain waves within a human. And you leave open the possibility, logically, that something other than brain waves m ight be necssary in order for the condition you call "life" to exist within a human.


By saying that the condition stated above is necessary, but may not be sufficient, I have created the following Boolean expression (all of these are true-false predicates):

Life = HigherBrainFunctions * <unknown>
which means:
Life = HigherBrainFunctions AND <unknown>

Where unknown may be either TRUE, or another predicate.

Your interpretation appears that I created the following expression:
Life = HigherBrainFunctions OR <unknown>

Which is not the case. Had I created that expression, the higher brain functions would be sufficient, but not implicitly necessary.

My point in stating "necessary, if not sufficient" was that there may exist an additional condition for life to exist, and such a condition does not falsify the above proof.

So, to put it simply, your objection is valid, but your interpretation is not. I did not arbitrarily choose this condition for the presence of life - I proved it from an axiom (the medical definition of death).

I would like to thank you, however, for actually arguing the logic of my statements without attacking me from an emotional standpoint. Such things help to strengthen the argument for protections of abortion - before I posted this proof here, I had run it by a few other people. One, my girlfriend who happens to be studying philosophy, pointed out a logical fallacy in my Lemma regarding the relationship between life and death. Because of that, the proof is stronger than it was previously.
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outinforce Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #103
113. Life and Death
Edited on Thu Apr-08-04 04:19 PM by outinforce
I do see your point about the abilty to say the sentence I suggest.

And I think you misunderstood me. I did not mean to suggest that you were saying that Life = HigherBrainFunctions OR <unknown>.

Quite the contrary, I was taking as given that you were saying that
Life = HigherBrainFunctions AND <unknown>.

My question had more to do with the "<unknown>" part of "Life = HigherBrainFunctions AND <unknown>"

Because it seems to me that once you state, as part of a proof, that the quality we call "life" is somehow contingent upon something other than brain waves, you leave open the possibiliity that someonme could come along and say "I'll define "life", both for myself and for society, by defining what the "unknown" is in your statement -- and that it is possible for someone to say that life is defined as I suggested it might be (that is, by the existence of brain waves and the abuility to say a fairly simple sentence.

It seems to me, then, that if you wish to say that life is defined as the absence of death (which is how I interpret your statement that death is the taking of life), and if you also wish to say that life is brain waves plus the possiblity of something else, you have to allow for the possibility that death could be the absence of not just the "something else" but rather the absence of both brain waves and something else.

I would submit to you that most people will readily accept that a person who is dead has not brain waves and is also unable to say the sentence.

on edit: to clarify "quality of life" as meaning "the quality we call "life".
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #113
124. It is a possibility, but it is an essential one
Because it seems to me that once you state, as part of a proof, that the quality of life is somehow contingent upon something other than brain waves, you leave open the possibiliity that someonme could come along and say "I'll define "life", both for myself and for society, by defining what the "unknown" is in your statement -- and that it is possible for someone to say that life is defined as I suggested it might be (that is, by the existence of brain waves and the abuility to say a fairly simple sentence.

That is a possibility; however, I do not understand what you are attempting to imply. For anything else to be plugged into that <unknown>, it must be logically demonstrated as a condition for life. If it can be logically demonstrated as a condition for life, why should it not be put into that expression?

It seems to me, then, that if you wish to say that life is defined as the absence of death (which is how I interpret your statement that death is the taking of life), and if you also wish to say that life is brain waves plus the possiblity of something else, you have to allow for the possibility that death could be the absence of not just the "something else" but rather the absence of both brain waves and something else.

Life is not defined as the absence of death, nor is death defined as the absence of life. There is a reason for this - nonliving things don't die. This was actually the flaw that I spoke of previously. I carefully defined death as the transition from life to nonlife.

I admit I am confused by your last sentence: I read it as claiming that death could possibly require the absence of the higher brain functions, and an unknown factor. Permit me to argue against this point, and if it was not what you were saying, then forgive me.

(A) Death is defined as the transition from life to nonlife (life switching from a value of TRUE to a value of FALSE).
(B) Life is defined as the presence of specific higher brain functions AND an unknown satisfiable Boolean expression, such that this satisfiable Boolean expression can be logically derived.
(C) Should the Boolean predicate "Are the specific higher brain functions mentioned above present?" ever be evaluated as false, the Boolean expression Life will be evaluated as false.
(D) By (A) and (C), death occurs any time the predicate "Are the specific higher brain functions mentioned above present?" is false, regardless of other predicates.
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outinforce Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #124
136. Exactly, I Think
"That is a possibility; however, I do not understand what you are attempting to imply. For anything else to be plugged into that <unknown>, it must be logically demonstrated as a condition for life. If it can be logically demonstrated as a condition for life, why should it not be put into that expression?"

I think it all goes to how one defines "life"

You say: "Life is defined as the presence of specific higher brain functions AND an unknown satisfiable Boolean expression, such that this satisfiable Boolean expression can be logically derived.
(C) Should the Boolean predicate "Are the specific higher brain functions mentioned above present?" ever be evaluated as false, the Boolean expression Life will be evaluated as false.
"

But then haven't you just shown that in order for something to be the <unknown> in the statement "'Life' = brainwaves + <unknown>" it must satisfy a condition for life, while at the same time saying that "life" ceases only when brain waves cease to exist?

I'm still not clear why, if death is defined at the point at which brain waves cease to exist, it necessarily follows that the inability to say the sentence I positied earlier means that that could not be one of the conditions necessary for "life" to exist.

I am really not trying to be difficult here, but it does seem to me that as long as you say that "life" = brain waves + something else, it follows that there could be two things which have to occur (perhaps even at the same time) in order to "death" to occur -- the cessation of brain waves and the inability to arituclate my sentence.
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Malva Zebrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #8
159. that was a wonderful presentation-
it probably will go over the head of a lot of pro-lifers were they exposed to it.

Reason does not prevail in those who would force pregnancy upon women.
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goddess40 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #3
102. If the right was truely 'pro-life' roe would be overturned
The have both houses, the White House and own 5 of the supreme court judges souls. If they wanted to get rid of abortion they would have. Anyone that votes only based on the pro-life issue is fooling themselves.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #102
105. You are mistaken about the Supreme Court
Despite the accusations of some here, the Court is not "ownz0red" by the Republican Party. And because the Court cannot be trumped by anything but a Constitutional Amendment, the fact that they have both houses and the White House is meaningless.
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goddess40 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #105
152. 5 gave bush the white house isn't that proof enough?
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #152
153. Not really.
They had the opportunity with Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The current Supreme Court is no threat to the right to choose. A later one with more Bush appointees may be, however.
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Heyo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #3
107. Why is it..
that you think someone who holds an opinion different from your own must not be reasonable?

Heyo
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:33 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. The right wing has defined a medical procedure as baby-killing.
We need to take the debate back and educate those who think babies are being killed and explain the biological difference.
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:34 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. I agree.
We do need to take the debate back.

Calling people who agree with every point of our party platform except that one unreasonable isn't going to help matters, however. Sigh.

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outinforce Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #4
185. Would It Not Be Just As Accurate
If you wish to label those who have serious concerns about a medical procedure as being "right wing", and then go on to suggest that people with serious concerns about that medical procedure wish to label those who disagree with them in a particular way, could it not, with equal force, be suggested that some who call themselves pro-choice have defined baby-killing as a mere medical procedure.

See how that works?
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fearnobush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:26 PM
Response to Original message
2. I think there are a lot more Pro-Choice Repugs then Pro-life Dems.
We are down because Rove, the Media, and Bush with a 2 trillion dollar fed budget, convinced the people that Enron, 911, and Saddam were all Clinton and the Dem's fault.
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:53 PM
Response to Reply #2
20. Sorry. Not even close to true.
If you're talking about the population in general I doubt it can be proven either way.

But there aren't more than that in the Congress. A quick google brought this up from "womens enews":
"With the results of three House contests still outstanding, 141 solidly pro-choice incumbents remain in office--about the same amount as in the 107th Congress, according to the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. Incumbents with mixed records on abortion fell from 74 members to 69 last Tuesday while the solidly anti-choice group grew from 217 members to 222."



Either way, you can't say that there used to be lots of pro-choice republicans in Congress and somehow the issue is hurting them (since they've gone from 2-1 down to a slight majority) There are obviously a LOT more pro-lifers in the Republican conference today than in 1977 since there are dozens more of them than the total number of republicans at the time.

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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:44 PM
Response to Original message
7. Pro life Democrats just can't get elected
That is the point of your post. Why vote for a Democrat who sounds like a dreary Repuglican on social issues when you can vote for the real deal?
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:02 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Yeah those conservative bastards Dennis Kucinich
and David Bonior were such dinosaurs.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:30 PM
Response to Original message
12. The utter disrespect towards pro lifers on this board
as evidenced in this thread, is one huge reason we can't win in so many places in this country. It shouldn't be surprising that people who hold this issue dear would at least like to be treated with some respect. BTW, not that anyone here would care, but here are some exit polls from 2000.

Abortion Should Be...
All
Gore
Bush
Buchanan
Nader

Always Legal
23 %
70 %
25 %
0 %
4 %

Mostly Legal
33 %
58 %
38 %
0 %
3 %

Mostly Illegal
27 %
29 %
69 %
0 %
1 %

Always Illegal
13 %
23 %
74 %
2 %
1 %

In all cases the perects are for all, Gore, Bush, Buchanan, and Nader. It bears noting that functional pro lifers voted over 25% for Gore. The weighted average comes to 27.05%. By comparison, pro choicers voted 32.66% for Bush. That isn't all that far apart.
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:39 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. That's very interesting information. Thank you.
I also thank you for your defense of non-sexist language in the "bitch" threads. I've often disagreed with you, but I appreciated your respect for the power of language as demonstrated in those threads.

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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:46 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. You are welcome
on both counts. I also appreciate your posts in this thread. Sadly you are all to rare on this board with regards to pro lifers.
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lostnfound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:15 PM
Response to Reply #12
50. That's for sure. It's really depressing to feel ostracized..
by the mainstream for being a fringe leftie (due to antiwar protests primarily) and also hated on the left for even bringing the choice issue up as A) not black and white or B) detrimental to the party in its current form.

I've come a LONG way on this from my Catholic roots, but I do believe that the Dems need to find a platform that is more welcoming to those whose honest, consistent, life-centered values fit so well with the left on all other issues.



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rumguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:48 PM
Response to Original message
17. poll after poll show most Americans lean pro-choice
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Muddleoftheroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. But are not 100% for abortion in all cases
The stats I have seen oppose late-term abortions for instance.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:55 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. see post 12
The split is 56 to 40 in the 2000 exit polls. The 56 are the sum of the always legal (23) and the mostly legal (33) vs the sum of the mostly illegal (27) and the always illegal (13). I am presuming that a good approximation of partial birth would be 73 to 23.
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:03 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. Ok, so we'll use those numbers.
73% say abortion should be illegal at least "in some cases".

The Democratic party would brook no such laws.

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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #17
22. But the party doesn't "lean" pro-choice.
It falls over on it's side.

The party is pro-choice down the line. No late-term abortion limitations, no "partial-birth" restriction, no parental-consent, no parental-notification, no underage limitations, no mandatory health notices (whatever that is), no etc.etc.etc.

The only poll that shows what you are looking for is the number of people who say abortion should not become "illegal in all cases". But a HEAVY majority support "illegal in SOME cases". That is not the party line.

A Democrat can't win the primary in most districts by "leaning" where america "leans". (S)he certainly can't win the nomination for President. A Republican can get by with pushing for most/all of the above and NOT call for an end to all abortions and the religious right will still support him.
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rumguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #22
31. it's a reaction to the extremism of the right
both sides are dug in on the extremes

this issue cuts both ways IMO
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:39 PM
Response to Reply #31
39. Yep -it's the gun argument in reverse... and they're winning this one.
The two sides are worlds apart on guns. But they can't give a inch for fear of falling down that slippery slope of gun control (and losing the NRA backing they crave).

WE on the other hand, don't HAVE to come out for banning all guns. We can propose minor incremental changes that the majority of Americans support (trigger locks, assault weapon bans, etc.) that they are forced to defend. We look reasonable - they look "foam-at-the-mouth"

Abortion is the opposite. The law/courts currently favors us about 100%. THEY can offer lots of minor incremental rational ideas like "let's at least not kill it the day it's due" or "if it's born alive you can't kill it outside the womb". We are chained to NOW etc while the VAST majority of Americans think we're foaming at the.... well, you get it.
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:51 PM
Response to Reply #39
44. You make excellent points here.
The position that most of "them" believe that most of "us" hold -- no restrictions at all, not even for sex selection, hell, kill it at any point before the nurse cleans it up ---- makes it easy to paint us as "baby killers."

The position that most of "us" think that most of "them" hold on guns --- I'm getting my 6 year old an Uzi for his birthday -- makes it easy to paint them all as "militia nutcases."

In both cases, there is wide disagreement within the respective parties and a full spectrum between the most extreme positions.

But your drawing the parallel is illuminating. Thanks.

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Just Me Here Donating Member (52 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:48 PM
Response to Original message
42. This thread hits close to home for me.
Im a long time lurker who this thread hits extremely close to home for. Im about as liberal as it gets on most issues but abortion is something that is so against everything else that I believe in that I just cant bring myself to vote Democratic. I realize that fact is enough to get me thrown off this board, if so, no biggie. This thread is about losing the votes of people like me any way.

First, I can respect the Pro-Choice crowd for their opinions. Ive been in dozens of discussions with Pro-Choice people and realize why people would believe in that stance. However, anybody who is truly Pro-Life and thinks that the issue can be put aside as a side issue in favor of the environment, taxes, or civil rights are pure hypocrites in my book. If you are TRULY Pro-Life, its a life and death issue that impacts a million children a year.

Take a moment and look at it from the Pro-Life side of the argument (if you cant do that dont ever call yourself open minded or progressive again, being able to see the other side of the argument is essential). If you truly thought that an abortion ended the life of a child would you be able to overlook the issue? If you could overlook the ending of life of a million children a year just in the United States, would you be able to live with yourself as a human being? Would you be able accept that a government that restricts every other aspect of our lives is not supposed to restrict the ending of life of a million children a year?

Again, Im not debating if its the end of a life or not, Im just trying to give some perspective as to why it is so hard to be a Pro-Choice Democrat. An abortion debate isnt worth getting into and I never once used the word murder. Just please realize that you can have a debate about abortion without brining religion into the subject. Again, Im not debating the Pro-Choice vs Pro-Life issue, thats for another thread and a lot more wasted bandwidth. Im just trying to shed some light on why a Pro-Life person would have such a hard time voting for a party where something that is a life and death issue to them is looked with the opinions in this thread.


(back to lurking)
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:59 PM
Response to Reply #42
46. Damnit, Sam, why the hell didn't you return my call yesterday?
Seriously, you sound JUST LIKE my friend Sam (who is a pro-gay-marriage, anti-war-protesting, long-haired hippie environmentalist registered Democrat who votes Republican *strictly* because of this issue.)

I respect your views, though I disagree, and I want you to know that I would welcome a discussion, although I think DU is not the place for it. It would degenerate into name-calling very, very quickly.

I would also ask you to consider all the already-born children who suffer because of conservative politics when you decide who to vote for this fall.

:hug: Welcome to DU. Hope you stick around, though I won't blame you if you don't.

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Just Me Here Donating Member (52 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:24 PM
Response to Reply #46
53. Hmmm...
Is he single?


(just kidding)
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #42
49. I vote for Democrats despite being pro life
due to the following. First, and foremost, abortion has been largely removed from public discourse by the courts. Thus, as a practical matter, voting on abortion doesn't do anything. Secondly, abortions actually went down during the two terms of Clinton. Thus I feel I can and should vote on the basis of other issues.
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DaveSZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #49
55. Bush Republicans claim to be pro-life
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 11:37 PM by DaveSZ
But they are clearly not when they do things like this:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30917F8...

NATIONAL DESK | March 31, 2004, Wednesday
Defying Bush, Senate Increases Child Care Funds for the Poor

By ROBERT PEAR (NYT) 1057 words
Late Edition - Final , Section A , Page 1 , Column 2
ABSTRACT - Senate votes, 78-20, to add $6 billion over five years to funding for child care for welfare recipients and other low-income families; 31 Republicans, including Senate leader Bill Frist and Finance Committee chairman Charles Grassley, defy Bush administration's strenuous objections; amendment sponsored by Republican Olympia Snowe and Democrat Christopher Dodd is part of updating of welfare reform law, which administration favors; backers say welfare recipients cannot be required to work longer hours without child care (M)
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DaveSZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:42 PM
Response to Reply #55
56. .
Defying Bush, Senate Increases Child Care Funds for the Poor
By ROBERT PEAR

Published: March 31, 2004


WASHINGTON, March 30 Over strenuous objections from the White House, the Senate voted on Tuesday for a significant increase in money to provide child care to welfare recipients and other low-income families.

The vote, 78 to 20, expressed broad bipartisan support for a proposal to add $6 billion to child care programs over the next five years, on top of a $1 billion increase that was already included in a sweeping welfare bill. The federal government now earmarks $4.8 billion a year for such child care assistance.

The Bush administration objected to the increase in child care money, saying it was not needed.
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DaveSZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:45 PM
Response to Reply #56
58. I agree with the basic concept of this thread though
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 11:49 PM by DaveSZ
The GOP, as Dean says, has been able to win over voters who vote against their own self-interest using wedge issues such as guns, god, abortion, and gays.

Personally I think the guns issue is a silly thing to lose votes on, and the personal right to own guns is protected in most state constitutions. We need to respect that, or we will forever remain a minority party.

Personally if I were a woman, I don't think I could get an abortion, but I believe that it's not the government's place to get in between a woman, her faith, and her doctor.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:46 PM
Response to Reply #55
59. those would be some of the other issues I meant
The GOP is very hypocritical on this issue, clearly. But some on the left can be close to as bad.
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BigThama Donating Member (68 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:44 PM
Response to Reply #49
57. I'm with dsc here
I vote Dem, but I'm pro-life. Here's my argument against abortions, pick it apart as you will.

- Those capable of having viable intercourse know that sex makes babies, unless there is a mental "difficulty" involved. Since they choose to act this way given this knowledge, they are responsible for the outcome of their decision.

- Medical definitions of life and death are useful for ER doctors, but are arbitrary in nature and thus cannot be relied on as a moral foundation.

- Viability outside the womb is not a valid argument for abortions. A 1 year old baby, not in its mother's care, will die just as surely as a 4 month old fetus taken outside the womb. The mother would be responsible for killing the 1 year old if she did not care for it. Her natural system for caring for her unborn children therefore cannot be separated from her instinctual system for caring for her infants.

- Fetuses have human genetic makeup and human potential in every way that is important. Our post-delivery babies, while farther along in development, are still not viable outside the direct care of others but are considered to be people.

Now, you may have noticed a few holes in this argument. First, what about rape? A mother whose child is concieved through an act that she did not choose cannot be held responsible for the result of that action. Therefore, I would support abortions as being legal in cases of rape. I would hope, personally, that she would spare the child, but legally she could not be forced into responsibility for an action she did not choose.

Secondly, what about situations where the mother's life is in danger? If it is possible to save either the mother or the child, the mother must be chosen. From a purely sociological perspective, she is the one who the most resources have been invested and she is the most productive. Morally, I have no real reason for this exception, besides that it seems practical and self-evident to me.

And before I get any responses about how biologically ignorant I am, I'd like to say that I am studying biology (emphasis in genetics) at the University of North Carolina. Fetal morphology may not be my specialization, but I am hardly ignorant as to this sort of thing.
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:53 PM
Response to Reply #57
60. Couple of things.
Regarding viability outside the womb -- a 4 month (16 week, right?) fetus is not viable outside the at today's level of medical technology.

However, a 1 year old outside the womb is perfectly viable with care from just one of the planet's approx. 4 1/2 billion adults. I draw a distinction there because there are so many adults who are either willing (i.e., foster parents, parents who wish to adopt, other relatives than the parents), or are paid, as part of their community roles/jobs,(ER nurses, social workers, etc.) to care for children who are viable outside the womb. NONE of those people can do a thing for a 4-month old fetus -- it is dependent strictly on one woman, at least for a few more weeks (at the very least).

I agree with you about personal responsibility. A friend got the proverbial "knock at the door" about 4 years ago. A young man who claimed to be his son. They had DNA tests done. It was his child, 99.97% certainty. He had been a real asshole at the time of the conception, and the mother opted not to tell him.

He anted up. Apologized for not being there, told the kid that he would have been there if he'd known. Put the kid through college. They're friends now. Didn't gripe about it a single time to me or any of his other friends. I really respect him for that.

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BigThama Donating Member (68 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:09 AM
Response to Reply #60
74. On that first point...
Certainly that distinction can be drawn. The thing that has to be determined is whether that distinction gives the mother the right to end the child's life. I would argue that, since she chose to perform an act that she knew could begin the child's life, she has to take whatever responsibility there is to continue it as long as she is capable. (i.e., she isn't in danger of losing her life because of the child)

I know that I'm not going to get many to agree with me on this one, especially not here. It's good to have a rational debate on a subject as touchy as this, however.
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:21 AM
Response to Reply #74
80. Yes, we got over 60 posts before any did any name-calling!
That is probably a DU record, especially for a touchy subject.

Let me propose a hypothetical to you. As stated elsewhere, I was once impregnated by rape. I miscarried, so I didn't have to decide what to do.

Let us assume that I had NOT miscarried. You would say that I should have the right to abort, because I was not responsible for the act that made me pregnant, correct?

So far we agree.

The question then becomes, how would you have me prove that I was raped? What if I filled out no police report because I was just too traumatized to spend a day and a half in the ER with my feet in stirrups while cops combed for his pubic hair??

Rapes go unreported MOST of the time. I have never seen statistics on how often rapes result in pregnancy, but since most rapes go unreported, it's a fair assumption that most pregnancies relating from rapes go undeclared.

Having to "prove" I was raped in order to have access to abortion would have been another trauma.


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BigThama Donating Member (68 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #80
82. Ugh.
Now we are getting into vagaries. Your point is well-taken, believe me. Rapes are not easily proven. I honestly don't know how this sort of exception would work, in practical terms. Our genetic identification technology would likely have to get better. I am simply basing my objection on moralistic grounds.

My other proposed exception would be even easier to abuse, however. Any girl who wanted an abortion could likely find a doctor who would certify that an abortion would be necessary to save her life. There are ways that the government could safeguard against this sort of thing, but none foolproof that I can imagine.

These are both valid rebuttals to any proposed adoption of the sort of abortion law I proposed earlier. The thing that allows me to keep from being torn up over this is the fact that the most conservative Supreme Court since Dred Scott upheld Roe vs. Wade, essentially making abortion a dead issue legally. I can therefore focus on all my other political stances, the vast preponderance of which allow me to vote Democratic. By the same token, I am glad that the issue of gay marriage isn't politically viable yet either. My feelings on this are less clear-cut, and I feel that the issue is less important, but it would still make my voting decisions difficult.

Oops, that's a can of worms I'd rather not open right now.
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kitkatrose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #82
98. But isn't the product of a rape still an innocent baby?
If one is pro-life, then why is it okay to rape victim to get an abortion, but not okay for someone else? For the record I am pro-choice and think that rather than focusing on abortion, we should focus our attention on the reasons why they are neccessary and fix them. Then, abortion wouldn't really be needed, IMHO.
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Nobody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #57
174. On the subject of avoiding unwanted pregnancies...
One thing that seems to be missing from the most rabid of the right wingers arguments is ways to prevent the need for abortions.

I'm talking about the most rabid, not those who can be reasoned with, and the responses on this thread are so far not the ones I'm referring to as rabid.

Better information about birth control, its failure rates, methods, how it works, how to properly use it, how to combine methods to increase effectiveness, will reduce the need for abortions by reducing unwanted pregnancies.

Better support for existing, already born children and prenatal care for poor and uninsured pregnant women will help women who are uncertain if they can afford the medical bills of pregnancy and labor or the expense of raising a child. It may encourage a woman to choose to give birth.

There will always be failure rates on birth control. Nothing is a guarantee. As long as rapists exist, there is always the chance that somewhere a woman will be raped. And the chances of a woman dying in childbirth is not a guaranteed zero. I'm all in favor of backup plans.

Only the woman involved knows how much she is willing to risk her life and only the victim of a rape know how much trauma is too much trauma.

Much of this argument boils down to how much do we as a society trust a woman to make reasoned choices? Humanity has a long and ugly history of considering women to be of very little value and not competant to make decisions about their own lives and bodies.
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lostnfound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 08:05 AM
Response to Reply #174
177. Very sensible comments. This entire thread has been great.
People have been respectful of each others' views.

Your comment of "Only the woman involved knows how much she is willing to risk her life and only the victim of a rape know how much trauma is too much trauma." is a thought that I have been slowly coming to, as I try to reconcile my prolife foundation with truly understanding the other side.
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outinforce Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #174
190. Even Though You Don't Say This.
I appreciate your comments of the ways that we, as a society, ought to do all we can to minimize the perceived need for abortions.

I have encountered folks on DU who tell me that as long as there is inadequate care for children and women, abortions will, regretably, be necessary.

When I ask what our party is doing to discourgage abortion by actively lobbying for better pre-natal care for both the woman and the unborn child and for better post-birth care for both the woman and the child, the response I usually get is that the issue of abortion is an issue of the right of women to choose -- in other words, a non-response to my question. If one of our leaders were to stand up and say something like, "I think abortion is terrible, and I would like to see a world in which no woman feels the need to choose to have an abortion unless her own life is threatend, and to that end, I am proposing a system of childcare -- both before and after birth -- as well as a system of meeting the financial and social needs of women who find themselves in unplanned pregnancies", what do you think the reaction of the pro-life right wing might be?

But, more to the point, what do you think the reaction of groups like NARAL and NOW and PPA might be? Do you think that any such speaker might be welcomed at the "March for Women's Lives" to be held later this month here in DC? Or do you think it far more likely that such a speaker would be hooted off the stage -- or not even invited to speak?

But I digress.

The "this" that I refer to in my headline to this post is this: "It is OK for a woman hwo has been through the trauma of rape to elect to have an abortion."

Many pro-choice and even many pro-life folks feel this way. And, even though they do not state the thoguth explicitly, they send, it seems to me, a terrible message to those people who are alive and who are the child born out of rape.

I always cringe somewhat whenever I see the argument that abortion in the case of rape is OK, because I think the issue is not handled with sensitivity to both the woman who has been raped AND to the people who are the children of rape.

I know a few people who are the children of rape. I would never -- never -- want to suggest to them that it would have been better had they never been born, or that their lives are somehow less "worthy" because their "fathers" raped their mothers. And yet, that is exactly the message many of them hear whenmever they hear the argument that abortion is somehow different when a rape is involved.

I don't know what the answer really is here. I cannot imagine the trauma a woman endures when she is raped. I must be one of the worst possible things to happen to any human being. And I am not saying that women should be forced to bear the child of a man who rapes them.

What I am saying is that whenever we discuss this particular issue within the larger issue of abortion, I think it important to remember that there may be somoeone reading our posts who him/her self is a child of rape -- and to try to be as sensitive to their feelings as to the feelings of the woman who has been raped.
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Sunny_Sunshine Donating Member (88 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #42
86. My problem with Pro Life is the narrow focus
Do you (any and all pro lifers) donate blood as often as possible? Is your organ donor card up to date? Are you first aid and CPR certified? These are specific things that save lives. Are you doing them? Or are "you" only "pro life" when someone else has to make the sacrifice. Then there is health care, environment, food safety and a whole wealth of other issues that also "save lives."

I am not God, I don't know when live begins (although I do know a good joke - life begins when the last kid leaves home and the dog dies). I can't decide for you what you should do to preserve someone else's life, I can only decide for me.

Peace be with you.
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #86
90. And don't forget the Death Penalty!
Though, yes - a few of them do all of the things you mentioned.

My parents are quite pro-life personaly (again it's that Jimmy Carter thing) but just can't see picketting an abortion clinic or marching in a protest.

But over the course of years as I was growing up we took in about three dozen infants of unwed mothers who didn't want to have an abortion. Usually about three months each while they waited for adoption paperwork to go through (sometimes longer).


And I'm O-neg. I don't have a choice NOT to donate blood. The vampires are worse than the telemarketers.
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #90
94. I'm O-Neg, as well.
The local hospitals have my name and number posted in the ER. They call me when they get low. I've even donated in the middle of the night before. They also have a buddy of mine's name (he's AB negative or something -- whatever the rarest of the rare is) and he donates when they ask him to.
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dawn Donating Member (876 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #86
95. I think pro-lifers have hijacked the term.
Why does pro-life only apply to the unborn?
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strategery blunder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #86
146. I am pro-life.
Edited on Thu Apr-08-04 05:16 PM by chair094
I have donated blood twice in the last eight months. I would do it more often, but the RN in my family advises me not to do it more than about three times a year.

I am CPR certified, though a refresher course wouldn't hurt.

I support universal health care, stringent food regulations, etc., in short, "other issues that also 'save lives.'"

There are some pro-lifers out there who are NOT hypocrites. I would appreciate not being maligned as such.

Edit: I'm O-positive (not quite universal donor, but close).
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Just Me Here Donating Member (52 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 12:16 AM
Response to Reply #86
175. Barking up the wrong tree...
Or are "you" only "pro life" when someone else has to make the sacrifice

You've got the wrong person if you are trying to tell me that just voting Pro-Life isn't enough. I begged my brother in-law (at the time just my GFs brother) to allow me to adopt the child that him and his high school girl friend decided to abort.

It wasn't about rape, incest, or anything. She had an abortion because she didn't want to go through the 'trauma' of being a pregnatn teenager. I felt like I wanted to puke when she told me that. She wasn't ready to be a teenage mother but they were ready for teenage sex?
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dawn Donating Member (876 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #42
88. Well, what about the kids we kill in foreign wars?
Oh yeah, that's right, they don't matter, because they are a) foreign and b) already out of the womb.


So many "pro-lifers" could give a rat's ass about people once they are born.
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #88
99. True, but does that make their argument wrong?
If I argue, as some philosophers and religions do, that it's wrong to kill animals for food, but then you see me wearing leather shoes, does that mean it's automatically RIGHT to kill animals for food?

Disparaging the messenger instead of systematically arguing and debating the message gets us nowhere but angry, red-faced, and alienating a lot of people who might otherwise vote with us.

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Just Me Here Donating Member (52 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 12:19 AM
Response to Reply #88
176. I'm sorry.
I'm sorry but you are really jumping to conclusions. Where did I say anything about war being right?
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outinforce Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #42
104. Please Allow Me....
Please allow me, Just Me Here, to welcome you to the "posting folks" here on DU.

Let me also assure you, at least if my own epxerience here is any measure, that you will not get booted from DU because you present questions and issues that run counter to the "pro-choice" orthodoxy, as arituclated by NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and other such organizations. (If that were the case, I think I would have been booted off a long, long time ago).

Let me also thank you for a most articulate post. From what you have said, it must have taken a lot of courage for you to write this here on DU. You and I, it seems, share a common frustration -- being in a party we love very, very deeply, but a party which takes, on a policy issue that troubles us very deeply, the most hard-line position possible.

Thanks again.
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MrSlayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:55 PM
Response to Original message
61. I'm in that Jimmy Carter school of thought myself.
I find it to be disgusting but it's your body and your conscience.
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Zomby Woof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:36 AM
Response to Original message
62. No simple reason the "majority" is allegedly lost
Edited on Thu Apr-08-04 12:41 AM by ZombyWoof
A woman's complete reproductive freedom is not negotiable. Even Dennis Kucinich, whose voting record was anti-choice for years (and I don't give a goddamn if body nazis prefer to be called "pro-life", that is a serious misnomer and they get no satisfaction from me), realized that human rights were at stake here, and his voting record changed to reflect the reality of that no matter his personal feelings. He dismissed the false dichotomy that being for choice does not make one against life, and furthermore, refused to politicize his personal dogmas over liberty. That's a real Democrat.

Funny how some suggest that gun registration is too restrictive of our "freedom", but the same people on that side of the argument sound like woman-hating anti-choice zealots and think nothing to spewing nonsense about needing to 'soften' our rhetoric on choice, or hiding behind some euphemism that curtails a woman's freedom.

The Democrats need not compromise their platform to appease some slim but vocal contingent of paleolithic cretins who think their personal disgust over abortion gives them the right to run roughshod over human rights.

I am proudly a pro-choice extremist, and the defense of that liberty is no vice.
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Susang Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:57 AM
Response to Reply #62
63. Bravo!
I second that post!

When did the conservativism of my youth become the supposed liberalism of today? I'm disgusted and appalled by this slow and steady shift towards the right. When Nixon's policies are liberal by today's standards, you know things are fucked. :wtf:

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Zomby Woof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 01:02 AM
Response to Reply #63
64. and another thing
For all these people who allegedly agree with the Democratic platform but abandon the party and vote Republican over abortion can kiss my big fat hairy Zomby ass. That's a shitty trade. How come we have to kowtow to them over one issue and they get a free pass for abandoning our multiple-issue core principles in the platform? :wtf:
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mulethree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 01:53 AM
Response to Original message
65. Single defining issue?
Edited on Thu Apr-08-04 01:57 AM by mulethree
"Of the 292 Democrats in the House in 1977, 125 were "pro life" (leaving 167 pro choice). Today there are 28 "pro-life" Democrats in the House (leaving 177 pro choice).

So there has been almost no change in the number of people we would now consider "Democrats" "

So we no longer consider them dem's if they're pro-life? Even if they are with us on many of the other dozens of issues we care about?

I am all for Pro-Choice
- Ballot access and election reform
- Campaign finance reform
- An economy robust enough to have a choice of jobs
- The choice to work for a small business instead of a faceless
conglomerate.
- Military enlistment as a choice instead of a draft
- The choice to do whatever I want in the privacy of my own home
- The choice to not recieve spam, junk mail and telemarketing calls
- The choice to break the law without a penalty out of proportion
to the crime.
- The choice to stand up for your rights without the threat of
having to pay an opponents inflated legal costs if you lose.
- The choice of a local or state government to make their own
laws instead of having more and more forced down from a
federal level.
- The choice of a woman to continue a pregnancy or not.
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 05:47 AM
Response to Reply #65
66. A couple responses
"So we no longer consider them dem's if they're pro-life? Even if they are with us on many of the other dozens of issues we care about?"

Yes. That was the point of my post. Read a couple of the posts by Zombywoof and others above. If they agree with us on everything BUT this issue they can basically go to he11 as far as much of the base is concerned.




"I am all for Pro-Choice
- The choice of a local or state government to make their own
laws instead of having more and more forced down from a
federal level.
- The choice of a woman to continue a pregnancy or not."

History would indicate that those two beliefs are contradictory. Since Roe V. Wade didn't make abortion legal. It already WAS legal in bunches of states. It just took away the "choice of the local or state government to make their own laws..."

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Lexingtonian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 06:28 AM
Response to Original message
67. The short answer

is that it's one of those issues where one side is mostly convinced by ideas that are of pre-Enlightenment times and the other side mostly by arguments that are of the Modern Age, and all compromises between the two are even more tenuous. So it is only one of a slew of differentially perceived things that define these fault lines, and there is no hope of defusing the polarity until one side is defeated.

In a sense it's also an issue that will someday (yes, centuries) almost vanish entirely, as technology makes reproduction ever more controllable and controlled.

Truth is, societies and their women have for millenia exercised control over the number of children that were raised and by whom. Infant mortality rates were not just accidents of nature- illegitimate children and congenitally deformed ones and those perceived to be excessive relative to the food supply were let die in most, if not nearly all, societies until quite recently. For one or two generations, or maybe three or four, this control was not exercised and Western countries had population booms coincident with increased food production and labor demand. Now the economic forces run in the opposite direction- with less need for human physical labor and sufficient mental labor, the pressure is to reduce population again. And population control measures have returned to public sanction.

You may want to look at what cultural groups find abortion most difficult to bear as a publicly sanctioned behavior (what they do in private is always different). They tend to be agricultural people or their first generations of descendents who left for the towns or cities, in my experience. Those with a plant fertility cult aspect to their (religious) outlook, particularly. The rest tend to be individual people who simply find the matter esthetically unbearable from some experience, or politically unbearable because it amounts to a woman in the clan or family assuming previously unexercised control over her part of the reproduction scheme she supposedly assented to.

You may want to tally up the Republicans too, just for comparison. Not that you have to believe that's what they really believe in personally, though. I imagine 50% toe the party line but don't personally see much reason to be anti-abortion in public other than pressure from constituents.

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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 07:39 AM
Response to Reply #67
70. The problem with that theory is that...
the "Modern Age" did not begin after 1977.


And I'm sure the bible belt is happy to hear they have a "plant fertility cult aspect to their religious outlook". They're just BOUND to vote for us now. lol.

Feel free to "tally up the republicans" if you like. A similar exercise has been done a couple times on this thread and making the same 1977-present comparison does not give the results you imply.
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JNelson6563 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 07:11 AM
Response to Original message
68. So there are that many people are so stupid
as to vote R on this one issue? Ugh. America is dumber than I thought!

Julie
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 07:42 AM
Response to Reply #68
71. Just compare it to the number of people who...
refuse to vote "D" on this one issue. I mean Democrats who won't vote for a Democrat because of this one issue.

Perhaps we're dumber than you thought?
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gpandas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #68
114. dumb
welcome to reality
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LeahMira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 07:32 AM
Response to Original message
69. Give an inch...
... and they take a mile. I remember when there was no pill. Doctors refused to provide contraceptives to unmarried women, widows and divorced women. In some quarters, use of contraceptives was considered sinful and "against nature."

If abortion should be outlawed, not only would back alley abortions and self-induced abortions come back, but the religious right and their fellow travelers would then begin again their assault against any method of birth control... except abstinence and "rhythm."

The only ways to reduce the numbers of abortions are to provide birth control and education to all young women (including education about how to say "no") and to make sure that every woman who does have a child is given the means to raise that child... whatever it takes for the individual woman.

Now I will say something bold. There are always going to be a certain number of people who are going to find a way to abuse the system. There are welfare cheats, tax cheats, insurance cheats, and so on. So, there are going to be some rare few women who abuse the system when it comes to abortion. The thing is that we do not deprive law abiding people of privileges or assistance because of the few who misuse those privileges or assistance. There are probably a very few women who have late term abortions for reasons that you or I would not think much of, and in spite of any regulations or safeguards that are in place to prevent abuses. That is not a reason to prevent late term abortions for women whose lives depend on having them.
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Muddleoftheroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:02 AM
Response to Reply #69
73. The slippery slope argument
Why is this acceptable in the first person and never in the second or third. MY concerns are OK, but theirs are not.

The right worries about the slippery slope on guns, but that is supposed to be silly. But the slippery slope on abortion is legit?
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:12 AM
Response to Reply #69
76. I don't see anyone here arguing to take away an inch.
Just to treat people who disagree with us like human beings who have a right to their (often quite understandable) beliefs, just as we have a right to ours.

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markus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 07:58 AM
Response to Original message
72. The Pro-Life movement is an arm of the GOP
They will not support a pro-life Democrat if there is a Pro-Life Republcan in the race. Period. This goes back as far as the 1980s, when I was working for a pro-life Democrat.

The pro-lifers actively supported his opponent, and he turned aside suggesions he let them sit out in the hallway with no access for a few months as a lesson, which he turned down.

Nominating a pro-life Democrat in all but the most extreme circumstances isn't going to make a difference. The entirely of the pro-life movement vote will go GOP anway.

That is what has changed. Nominating a pro-life Democrat buys you very little with the people for whom that is the end-all and be-all issue. They will vote 90%+ GOP anyway.

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BigThama Donating Member (68 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:12 AM
Response to Reply #72
75. No it's not.
The pro-life movement is far deeper than a simple arm of the GOP. They try to ride it for all it's worth, but they sure as hell don't control it.
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:17 AM
Response to Reply #72
77. Well... Yes and No.
You acurately describe the pro-life core of the Republican party. But they are republicans - they wouldn't be voting for us anyway.

The people you miss are those in the middle who agree with us on most issues but take this one seriously enough to swign their vote. I'd be willing to bet that all 28 of those pro-life House Democrats ran agains pro-life Republicans two years ago.

That may only be a few percent of the population... but it's enough to swing the House from 2-1 Democrat to majority Republican (and no end in sight there) in 25 years.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:22 PM
Response to Original message
91. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
dawn Donating Member (876 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:32 PM
Response to Original message
92. I'm probably going to be flamed, but...(long)
Edited on Thu Apr-08-04 12:39 PM by dawn
First of all, is this really costing us votes? If it does, and we abandon the pro-choice crowd, where do you think the pro-choice voters will go? To a third party, for sure.

Even when I was apolitical, I always voted for the Dems because they would guarantee women the right to choose and the right to contraception. That was the only reason I voted for Clinton in '92. I was 19, and knew nothing about his other policies, but I always saw the Republicans as anti-woman. That's why I didn't vote for them.

Aren't votes like this important, too? Many apolitical young single women voted this way back then. I don't know how it is now, being old and married :), but...


Anyway, for my rant of the day.

I always see the pro-life movement being more about controlling women, and punishing women for having sex. I don't see many pro-lifers (well, the ones I run into in RL) railing about men who have sex with a girl and abandon her. Many of those girls have no funds and no recourse, and yeah, they have abortions. Where are the outcries against the men?

Many of the people who are pro-life are ALSO opposed to welfare and aid to poor mothers. So, once the baby is born, they aren't really pro-life anymore because, well, it's the mom's damn fault that she had sex in the first place, so, well, the family should just suffer. Yeah, whatever.

And lastly, many pro-lifers I know are also 100% for the death penalty and are very pro-war. They also could care less about the destruction of the enviornment, and the way slaughterhouses treat animals. But yet, they are called pro-life just because they are against women having abortions.

Many pro-lifers are also against contraception. It just all comes down to abstinence, they say. Of course, this just applies to women.

It makes no sense to me. Wouldn't a pro-lifer be opposed to ALL killing? And wouldn't they want to help poor children, possibly asking for more welfare to be handed out because, well, these are innocent little children that are being affected by the situation in which they are born.

Granted, Kucinich was one of those (pro-ALL-life and pro-aid to the poor) as are many Buddhists and Catholics.


As for me, I'm pro-choice. Not because I like abortion, but because I don't want the government to have control of people's bodies and regulating births.

It makes me think of China. If the government can force you to have children, couldn't they force you to abort them, too (like they do in China)?
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apnu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #92
93. great post! (eom)
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #92
96. I am not advocating that Democrats abandon pro-choice
as a position -- just that we cut the hyperbolic, heated, insane rhetoric ("cretins," "body nazis," "fascists," etc.).

We will never win the hearts and minds of our neighbors by beating them up and calling them names.

You do point out a lot of hypocrisy, but do not touch their actual arguments.

DU purports to be liberal, but we have posters using sexist and racist language. That's hypocrisy, but does that hypocrisy make all liberal arguments worthless? No.

Rather than pointing out what you believe to be contradictions (i.e., some pro-lifers are both pro-life and pro-war), why not take on their arguments? Just because my vegetarian friends wears leather shoes doesn't make his arguments for vegetarianism worthless. See my point?

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skippysmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #92
97. Thank you
Dawn, what a great post. I also question whether being pro-choice is costing us votes. I think that any voter gains we would make by turning away from pro-choice policies would be offset by many pro-choice Dems leaving and looking for a third party. Many of them would be women, a constituency that the Dems do well with. Including myself, to be quite honest.

Many prolifers are not like those who have been posting on this thread. They are often against anything that would work to reduce surgical abortions, such as contraception, sex ed, the morning after pill, and RU 486.
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bigbillhaywood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:13 PM
Response to Original message
112. Democrats cannot allow themselves to be sucked in by wedge issues
The only way Democrats can regain majority is by focusing on the economy and on labor issues. The Party must drop its Clintonesque support for free trade agreements without sufficient labor and environmental standards. However, the Party is so awash in corporate influence and cash, the only way this will happen is if the AFL-CIO gets some balls and threatens to bolt and go third-party if the Dems don't get back in line (and considering the voter turnout machinery of the unions-- they will get back in line with a quickness).

The Party should not change its positions on pro-choice or pro-gay rights, but they should not spend much time discussing it. When Republicans bring the shit up, Dems should say: "What does this have to do with the quality of life of ordinary working Americans? Nothing! Let's talk about those issues. Jobs. Good paying jobs. Rights on the job. Eliminating crime through full employment." This was, more or less, the Democratic line from 1932-the late 70s, early 80s. Then they got too focused on abortion, gun control and gay rights, and forgot about their basic strength-- economic issues. Is it a coincidence that Democratic power waned after that? I don't think so, although other issues were at play-- namely the right-wing's long-term strategic approach which allowed them to out-organize the left in the last 30 years.
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noiretextatique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #112
157. a sensible approach...play to your strengths
and ignore the divisive, authoritartian controlling stuff.
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bigbillhaywood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #157
158. Thanks, it's been a while since anyone on DU accused my ideas of being
"sensible". I guess I'm (unintentionallY) a bit of a provacateur.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:22 PM
Response to Original message
116. Yes
I think it is costing us the ability to govern. I don't think most Democrats care, no. I think we should.

For the record I'm more pro-life than pro-choice. And thanks to the rational pro-choicers on this thread for making an effort to be inclusive. *!*
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Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:30 PM
Response to Original message
122. The Democratic party...
Edited on Thu Apr-08-04 04:31 PM by Q
...used to win because they stuck to their beliefs. Today they lose because they run from them...as is so nicely demonstrated by many on this thread.

- "We" believe in a woman's right to choose an abortion because it's the right thing to do...not because it's politically expedient. If you keep throwing away issues like this...the Dem voter base will continue to abandon the party and you'll have even less to distinguish you from Republicans.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #122
128. Except she didn't say to throw the issue away
She said to be inclusive of people with differing views.

I thought she said it more than once, actually. A few times, even.
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Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #128
162. There's a difference between 'differing views'...
...and opposite views. The ONLY reason abortion is an issue is because the RWingers made it one...using it as a wedge to divide the Democratic party.

- The true conservatives in the Republican party were encouraged to 'include' the religious right and the neocons and they ended up taking over their party. The same thing seems to be happening to the Democratic party...'inclusive' to the point where a completely different ideology takes over...driving traditional Democrats to third parties.
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #162
163. Ummmmmm No. Not even close.
I'm not sure how old you are, but it's been "an issue" all along, but for most of our history it was legal in some states an illegal in others. If you felt strongly about it you just moved to a different state.

It was Roe V Wade that "made it" an issue at the national level by forcing the decision. But remember that that was "initiated" by someone wanting an abortion in a state that didn't allow it. So it really was OUR side that "made it an issue" if you have to call that one way or the other.

Just like WE are in the process of handing them a new issue with "Gay Marriage". You didn't see a bunch of republicans running around saying "let's outlaw gay marriage". By forcing the issue in the courts (not that those involved don't have a right to fight for themselves), we've "created" a new wedge issue... and it doesn't split THEM.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 04:40 PM
Response to Original message
129. my only concern
is the extent to which it seems like we are/have been becoming the party of reproductive rights...and not a whole lot else. Don't get me wrong - I consider choice inviolable - but we've retreated into that one tower, to the detriment of ourselves, any number of other issues, and, eventually, reproductive rights themselves.

ZombyWoof is correct - there are a great many reasons for the Dem slide, and in my view they begin and end with piss-poor electoral and governing strategy, not the party's stand on abortion.
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 06:48 PM
Response to Reply #129
164. Hmmm. Then how do you explain...?
... the statistic that shows basically no change in the number of pro-choice democrats in the House and the COMPLETE OBLITERATION of the pro-life representation?

If it was the governing that was the problem (not that we don't have some issues there too) wouldn't we be losing both types?
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wellst0nev0ter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 06:48 PM
Response to Original message
165. The One Thing Common Among Pro-Lifers
Is the utter lack of a sense of compromise on the issue. The number of abortions has declined by 33 percent since 1984, but they still wish to impose their non-mainstream beliefs upon all Americans. There are many pro-choicers who are against abortion, but they recognize that the issue contains too much moral dissonance to be held concrete one way or another. Do you respect the free will of the woman, or protect the life of the unborn child inside the woman? You can expect many answers to that question, but the overall effect will be inconclusive.

Meanwhile few has noticed that there are fewer unborn children being killed every year than in the past. To some that is hardly a victory, but it is a testament to the effect of powerful emotional advocacy.
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #165
167. Riiiight.
THEY are the ones absolutely unwilling to compromise on the issue?

They are... but WE've got that in spades.

Just look at all the "mid-point" compromises that have OVERWHELMING support. The base won't let us consider them. But the other side is ANXIOUS to put them on the table.
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wellst0nev0ter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:32 PM
Response to Reply #167
169. What? Like Prenatal And Post-Natal Care
for those women who would otherwise be unable to provide? Or trojan-horse legislation leading the way to a total ban on abortions?
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:41 PM
Response to Reply #169
170. No. And I think you know it.
"Give us exactly what we want and then some" does not constitute a "compromise". Is "prenatal care" a compromise on our part? Or have we been asking for it all along? If THEY are the ones unwilling to compromise what is it that we want but are willing to give up?

Obviously we're talking about things in between "abortion at any time for any reason" and "no abortion ever". Things like "parental notification" (which our side continues to fight) is incredibly popular. There can be no question that the right has a winning issue when they say "my 13yr old daughter needs my permission to take her midol at school but she can legally walk to the school nurse and have herself taken to a clinic for an abortion". This is obviously real surgery we're talking about and we're fighting to keep the parents from even knowing about it?

Or this "partial birth" stuff. When the procedure is described you get something like 75-80% saying it should be banned. But our leaders are right up there in front fighting for it.
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okieinpain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 09:13 AM
Response to Original message
180. I wish the dems could drop the abortion issue. I really don't
understand why the dem party has to carry this issue for repug women, as while as democrats. I say let the repugs restrict it until the women of this country wake up and realize that their rights are being removed.

but for right now the only ones carrying this load are NOW, and the dem party. the repugs are getting a free ride on this, think about how easy it is to say you're for the unborn, which leaves the other side saying they don't care about the unborn.
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outinforce Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 09:28 AM
Response to Reply #180
182. "think about how easy it is to say you're for the unborn"
Edited on Fri Apr-09-04 09:29 AM by outinforce
With all due respect, okieinpain, might I suggest to you that it is my no means "easy" to say that you are for the unborn.

If you happen to be a male, and say that you are for the unborn, there is an awfully good chance that you will be labled -- by some folks, anyway -- as being a misogynist, anti-choice zealot with a severe case of "uterus envy". Or you will be labed a "fetus-lover", in much the same way as those who supported rights for Black folks back in the 50's and 60's were sometimes called "n****r-lovers". There is no end to the names that you can be called, and the villification you will have heaped upon you, if you express that you are "for" the unborn.

And you don't even have to say that you are "for" the unborn in order to have this happen. All you really need to do is to suggest that there is something called an "unborn child", and the invectives will begin to flow your way. Ask a question that causes some who label themselves "pro-choice" to question the dogma that they have heard from NOW and NARAL, and you, too, can be labeled an anti-woman anti-choice, knuckle-dragging pig.

Not all the time, of course. Some folks are able to have an invective-free discussion of this issue. But, especially within certain circles of our party, even hinting that you are "for" the unborn is by no means "easy".
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 09:44 AM
Response to Original message
184. If somebody votes Republican on this one issue....
And disregards the people killed in Republican wars.....

And ignores the people killed in terrorist attacks permitted by the Republicans....

And forgets the slower deaths caused by Republican treatment of social programs.....

I wonder why they call themselves "pro life". But, generally, I don't give a flip about them.

Killing Iraqi women & children is OK. Hey, some of the women could have been pregnant. Guess Iraqi fetuses (feti?) don't matter, either.

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outinforce Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 09:56 AM
Response to Reply #184
186. Fair Enough
But, just for the sake of the argument you advance, let's say that you lived in a COngressional District where the Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives was strongly pro-war and just as strongly pro-choice, but the Repuiblican candidate for the same seat in the Congress was strongly anti-war and just as strongly pro-life.

Let's also say, for the sake of this argument, that both candidates share pretty much the same position on other social and economic issues.

Which candidate would you vote for?

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lostnfound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #184
189. If Dems were as consistent about war as they are about choice..
this would be a much more persuasive argument.

I had this exact discussion with a young, strongly prolife friend of mine. She said 'but the Dems get us into wars too, don't they?'

What could I say? Not as many? Only better wars?

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