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Turning the Tables on the Abortion Fight


#24

I posted material of the same sort that elective late term abortion opponents are already giving to the public. Nobody is going to find your nitpick about this having pertained to one kind of late term abortion compelling, and if you don’t have a credible response of your own backed by sources that are at least as authoritative, all you’ve come up with here is another great way to lose while dragging the Left down again.

“and you are very insensitive to subject.”

Is that another part of your strategy? When you encounter people who are distraught over the idea of cute little fetuses getting ripped up for frivolous reasons, do you think calling them insensitive is going to win them over to your side or convince them that this is actually okay?

“This is about real people.”

And real fetuses. You cannot excise half of the picture from public view. At some point, there will have to be some sort of reconciliation between the two competing interests. The general public is already out in front on this and are dealing with the world as it really is. It is only the remaining rear-guard reactionary extremists on both sides who are the obstacle now. And both of you are putting abstract ideology ahead of your humanity.


#25

do you often have arguments with yourself?


#26

Though you refuse to get back on topic, I will again invite you to read Justice Ginzburg’s dissenting opinion in the SCOTUS ruling on “partial birth.” That ruling did nothing to affect the rate (very, very rare and never “elective” in the politicized sense, only the medical usage) of 3rd-trimester abortions, but forced doctors to perform and women to endure an even more brutal technique with greater risk of injury to the woman. I will not go into it here for fear even one woman who has needed to undergo 3rd-trimester abortion, or is facing it, or in fear of it, might be reading and be triggered. Justice Ginzburg is quite explicit.

Or here’s another idea for you: Set your sights on some wonderful thing you can get 40 weeks from today. Then stop smoking, drinking, and using coffee, as well as maybe some of your prescriptions and most OTC meds. Delay for a few weeks or months of this simple denial (and push back your reward), if you wish, to experience the frustrations of infertility. When you start your calendar, take a dose of ipecac every morning from day 7 to, oh, 45, before you get out of bed. You might try a couple of times taking extra doses so you puke for days on end. (I was hospitalized twice to get my puking stopped medically and to be rehydrated by IV. Then I was saved by meds that are now off the market because someone was afraid of deformities to their fetuses.) Somewhere around day 30, start taking massive doses of diuretics, so you pee so much you regularly wet yourself. You can also usefully take laxatives or something like the diet aid Alli, so your butt begins dribbling all the time. Eat a steady diet of whatever gives you heartburn. Fill a fanny pack with sand and strap it around your chest (under your shirt so you can enjoy how it rubs on your nipples, though I don’t know how to fully irritate your residuals). About day 100, start wearing a 2nd fanny pack on your belly, and load it week by week with more sand. By day 140, switch to a backpack (but wear it in front), and several times a day poke it with a stick until you can feel it inside your belly. If you make it to day 200, you can make your abortion “elective” by choosing the day you will learn that your reward has died or has a condition that is incompatible with life, such as anencephaly. But after the abortion, you need to return to wearing the fanny pack on your belly and keep the one on your chest for several weeks. Keep the chest pack wet for a couple of weeks. Hold a funeral for your reward so you never forget it. Tell everyone you know the whole story of how much you wanted that reward and how it felt to work so hard for it and not get it.

Nah, I still don’t think you can imagine what it feels like.


#27

The topic of the article was about the politics of the abortion issue, specifically intended as a rebuttal to Brooks article about the political costs of the late term abortion battle. You mistakenly countered that her article was not about late term abortion (the only kind Brooks was referring to) and I addressed that. So far, still on topic. You then made the claim that third trimester [should have been ‘late term’] abortions are always medically necessary, and I addressed that. It was starting to stray from the topic of the politics of abortion at that point, but you are the one who derailed it there. And then you had some completely off-topic stuff about your grandmother, and I didn’t go there. I’ve addressed your points and I’ve done so in the context of the politics of the abortion issue, so I have no idea what topic it is that you imagine I am refusing to get back to.

“I will again invite you to read Justice Ginzburg’s dissenting opinion in the SCOTUS ruling on “partial birth.””

Ginzburg prefaces her dissent with an affirmation of “the State’s power to restrict abortions after fetal viability, if the law contains exceptions for pregnancies which endanger the woman’s life or health.” (and the late term abortion bans have included exceptions for medical necessity in order to satisfy that requirement). And she also affirmed that “the State has legitimate interests from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman and the life of the fetus that may become a child.” (Which establishes the state’s compelling interest in protecting the fetus while still in the womb.) She also said " In Stenberg, we expressly held that a statute banning intact D&E was unconstitutional in part because it lacked a health exception." Which means that if it had included a health exception (such that the ban would only apply to elective abortions) they would not have found such a ban unconstitutional. The bulk of the remainder of Ginzburg’s dissent had to do with the flaws in banning a particular procedure without including a health exception, which seems a sound objection, but it has no application to bans on late term abortions which do include a health exception.

“That ruling did nothing to affect the rate (very, very rare and never “elective” in the politicized sense, only the medical usage) of 3rd-trimester abortions,”

Persisting in an unsupported claim (never elective) in the face of strong evidence to the contrary (the actual testimony of late term abortion providers) is a sign of rigid ideological dogmatism. Nobody is going to find that persuasive. And you may be right that banning one kind of procedure did nothing to affect the overall rate of late term abortions, but that is probably why conservatives are now pursuing bans which would prohibit all kinds of elective late term abortions.

“but forced doctors to perform and women to endure an even more brutal technique with greater risk of injury to the woman.”

A defect which is avoided in the current measures by the exclusions for reasons of medical necessity.

“I will not go into it here for fear even one woman who has needed to undergo 3rd-trimester abortion, or is facing it, or in fear of it, might be reading and be triggered. Justice Ginzburg is quite explicit.”

And even though hers was only the dissenting opinion (and won’t have any force or effect unless and until her reasoning is incorporated into a future controlling opinion) it appears the current late term bans have been drafted to satisfy her requirements.

“Or here’s another idea for you: Set your sights on some wonderful thing you can get 40 weeks from today. Then stop smoking, drinking, and using coffee, as well as maybe some of your prescriptions and most OTC meds.”

And again you are straying from the topic of the politics of the abortion issue. Your analogy also has nothing to do with elective late term abortions.


#28

The first part was a question, not an argument. The second part was an exposition, like yours. The third part was disagreement with your assessment. I didn’t see any place that I countered or contradicted myself.


#29

I don’t think many people understand the finer points of even having an uncomplicated pregnancy up the final days when things start to go wrong. It can be a very helpless feeling. I have to believe that the person that has to make decisions must do so on the best medical information available and others in her trust. This is where the healing is, that we do the best we can. :slight_smile: Excellent post, thank you.


#30

This might be of interest to you.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/pdf/05-380P.ZD


#31

I’m familiar with it. If you look above, I even quoted from it in my response to BKS. What was it in particular that you wanted to direct my attention to?


#32

I guess there is more than one interpretation then, it might have been a better starting point.


#33

I used Ginsburg’s exact words. I’m pretty sure I did not misinterpret what she was saying. But I guess to expand on my previous question, was there some interpretation of some part of that (minority) opinion that you wanted to direct my attention to?


#34

no, I think it speaks for its self.


#35

I think so too. Ginsburg’s opinions tend to be pretty clear. But since I already showed I was familiar with it, and quoted from it, and agree with it, I still don’t understand why you pointed it out to me.


#36

Maybe it wasn’t clear, what exactly is your point?


#37

My point is that I’m asking, what exactly was your point? I’d already shown I was familiar with that opinion, so what salient point did it make that you thought I was missing?


#38

I’m simply asking for more information, a summary of your premise. Getting on the same page and context.


#39

Okay, well, that’s fine, but you were the one who posted the link to Ginsburg’s dissent to me. There’s no premise involved in being the recipient of a referral, so I don’t know which premise you are talking about.


#40

“I used Ginsburg’s exact words. I’m pretty sure I did not misinterpret what she was saying. But I guess to expand on my previous question, was there some interpretation of some part of that (minority) opinion that you wanted to direct my attention to?”

That was your comment. I ask for a clarification on your interpretation. Otherwise I don’t really have anything to add.


#41

Well, first, a premise is an assumption proposed as a starting point and an interpretation is the meaning derived from a communication after the fact, so they are two very different things. And since I used her exact words, I wasn’t providing an interpretation. That’s why I felt confident I did not misinterpret (to BKS) what she was saying.

But if you are interested to know how I interpreted her words for myself, then sure, I can translate her language into my own if you like. For example, where she cites the Court in Casey as having acknowledged “the State’s power to restrict abortions after fetal viability, if the law contains exceptions for pregnancies which endanger the woman’s life or health” I took that to mean she felt the court had already established that the state legitimately has the power to restrict abortions after fetal viability so long as there are exceptions for medically necessitated abortions to address danger to the life or health of the carrier. (I don’t say ‘woman’, as Ginsburg did, in consideration of young pregnant teens and those who are not fully female either physically or in gender identity.) Or where she says “the State has legitimate interests from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman and the life of the fetus that may become a child.” I took that to mean the state has two independent interests–one in protecting the [carrier] and the other in protecting the life of the fetus (if it has the potential to become a child). I did not take that to mean the state has a conjoined interest in protecting the two as one. My reasoning there does not come from Ginsburg herself, but from common sense. I think she referred to “the fetus that may become a child” for two reasons. One is to emphasize that a fetus is not a child, and as such does not have the full status (and protections) of legal personhood. The other is that some fetuses will sometimes have something seriously wrong with them. They are alive, but they do not have the potential to become a child. I think Ginsburg was suggesting that in such cases, the state does not have a legitimate interest in protecting the life of a fetus where it does not have the potential to become a child. And if that’s the case, it would make sense for the state interests in protecting the life of the carrier and fetus to be segregated. If they were conjoined, then that would mean the state ceases to have a legitimate interest in protecting the lives of both the carrier and the fetus in cases where the fetus does not have the potential to become a child. And I’m pretty sure Ginsburg would strenuously reject such a notion.

In my view, the main problem in Ginsburg’s formulation is that it is ambiguous what she means by “may” become a child. In her view, the state’s interest in protecting the fetus begins at the onset of pregnancy. This makes some sense in cases where, for example, pollutants, contaminants, disease vectors, physical trauma, drugs or intoxicants could induce early developmental problems which could cause damage that might carry over into personhood, and cause permanent harm to a future member of society, and thus, potentially harm or burden society. So could the state tell a pregnant woman that she has to curtail her alcohol consumption even if the woman fully intends to abort? Does “may become a child” cease to apply once there is the intent to abort? If it ceases to apply, then there is nothing about that which inherently restricts it to early pregnancy, in which case the mere intent to abort a viable late term fetus would also strip the state of its interest in protecting its life. But if the intent to abort does not strip the state of its interest in protecting the life of the fetus, then there is nothing about that which inherently restricts it to late pregnancy, in which case the state’s interest in protecting the life of the fetus could extend to banning even early abortions (except those which are deemed medically necessary). I’m pretty sure neither of those outcomes would set well with Ginsburg.

But I’m still curious why you would refer me to Ginsburg’s dissent in the first place, suggesting that I might find it interesting. Even if you hadn’t read where I had already quoted from this opinion, the Brooks article that Totten was reacting to was only about late term abortion bans, and these bans have been including exceptions for the life and physical well-being of the carrier–which means they are, effectively, only bans on late term abortions which are not medically necessary. That would appear to be entirely in keeping with the principles set forth in the Ginsburg opinion, in which case presumably she would not find these late term bans Constitutionally objectionable. Is that what you were hinting at?


#42

Ok, I think it helps to have mutually defined terms and thank you for your analysis which is very good. I read it again for good measure. Personally I do not see how you arrive at the conclusion that you do. I offered the link to provide some clarity and it has. It is easy to discount how this is interpreted across settings so it does help to have summary information. There is actually another Court decision that addresses the theory over practice issue. So no that was not the point to this discussion.


#43

If you mean you don’t see how I reached the conclusion that elective late term abortions are indefensible, whether I can explain that will depend on your starting point. If you are dogmatically cleaved to an ideology of ‘choice uber alles’, then that’s inevitably going to lead to the conclusion that the carrier may choose to kill the fetus for any reason, by any means, right up to the instant of birth. But if you let yourself by guided by your humanity and reason, I think you’d have to conclude there is not a huge, physiological, ethical, or categorical distinction between a newborn and a fetus just prior to birth, and if the newborn is deserving of our protection, then the nearly-independent preborn is deserving of nearly as much protection–second only to our interest in protecting the carrier. (We generally deem the killing of innocents wrong, but we make exceptions when it comes to defense of others.) As you work backwards to earlier in the progress of fetal development, the dependency on the carrier grows, and the independent consideration we give the fetus shrinks. Ginsburg held that the state’s interest in protecting the life of the fetus begins at the onset of pregnancy, but my own view is that there is a natural vanishing point for independent consideration of the fetus at the earliest point at which the fetus could plausibly survive on its own. I think prior to that, the state’s interest in protecting the fetus should be entrusted to the carrier, and made a subservient extension of the state’s primary interest in protecting the carrier. But where the carrier has actively chosen not to carry the pregnancy to term, that decision to terminate would nullify any state interest in protecting the fetus, because it would no longer be a prospective new member of society, and she would have full autonomy to abort as an extension of her right to bodily self-determination.

For all practical purposes, it looks like a woman’s right to early abortion is a settled issue (with some wrinkles remaining to be ironed out about whether minors have autonomy equal to that of adults when it comes to rights of bodily self-determination). From what I’ve seen in polls, it’s generally less than 15% of the general public holds that elective abortion is always wrong, but focus polling within that group shows that less than half would like to see Roe overturned (ie. they think early term elective abortions are wrong, but they think it is more wrong for the State to intrude and interfere at that point). There is some grey area in the middle about when viability specifically begins, and when the fetus begins to acquire a right to independent consideration, but even a fight in this area would only be haggling over the location of the transition point (from conjoined to segregated interests, consideration, and protection) within a span of two or three weeks, and any dispute in this area could be used as a negotiation point to knock down barriers and speedbumps to access earlier on. And support for medically necessary abortions is also a settled issue, both in the court of public opinion and in the rulings of the Supreme Court. So the bulk of the fight over abortion now centers on elective late term abortions, and I don’t see how supporters have a winnable case for that. They don’t have rational, humanitarian, or ethical arguments on their side, majority public opinion is against them, and they have no constitutional support. So fighting for elective late term abortions just looks like a fight against reason, humanity, morality, democracy, and law. And when the pictures of viable little fetuses come out, promoting the right to kill them for any reason looks like an assault on decency itself. And I really don’t see how that fight could be anything but futile and doomed, nor how waging that fight could help but come with a high political cost.

But if you still don’t see how I reached my conclusions, or if you were referring to some other kind of conclusion I didn’t address, do feel free to say what needs clarification and I’ll try to explain what my thinking was.