Opinion

Sister Simone Campbell’s inconsistent ethic of life

Sister Simone Campbell talks to the press right after the nuns' meeting with a representative of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in Janesville, Wis., in 2012. RNS photo by Phil Haslanger

(RNS) Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Catholic social justice group NETWORK and the leading voice of the “Nuns on the Bus” campaign, is a regular guest on progressive TV, radio, and internet shows.

Perhaps her most consistent critique of those she disagrees with politically is an echo of what is regularly said countless times on those very same shows by secular guests. Pro-lifers who want abortion legally restricted are dismissed as “pro-birth rather than pro-life.” Campbell believes that, unlike her political opponents who don’t care about protecting and supporting people after birth, she has “a consistent ethic of life.”

These are deeply problematic positions.

First, calling someone a name like “pro-birth” is not a serious attempt to understand their position. Except for a tiny number of ultra-radical libertarians, almost everyone who wants abortion restrictions also supports Medicaid, Medicare, some form of food stamps and other welfare, public education, student loans and grants based on need, and more.

Many pro-lifers (especially the 1 in 3 Democrats who so identify) support even more substantial protections and assistance. My book on abortion, for instance, argues for both equal protection of the law for prenatal children along with paid family leave, subsidized child care, workplace protections for mothers, and other similar measures.

Even pro-life conservatives are now beginning to support some version of paid family leave.

So, no, pro-life conservatives are not “pro-birth.” Campbell simply has an honest disagreement with conservatives who are skeptical of an expanded role for an energetic government trumping the claims of autonomy and privacy of the individual in favor of protecting the most vulnerable.

Campbell ought to understand this skeptical view of government quite well, for it is structurally very similar to the view of government that underlies her pro-choice position on abortion.

Though she has said that she is against abortion and wishes that women would bring their babies to term, in an interview with Democracy Now she said that she “doesn’t think it’s a good policy” to protect prenatal children with the law. When it comes to abortion, she believes that the autonomy and privacy of the individual trumps the government’s interest in protecting the vulnerable.

If we take her at her word that she is against abortion as the killing of a vulnerable member of the human family, then she has a position which is structurally very similar to that of conservatives who want to resist poverty and other evils which threaten the vulnerable, but are skeptical of the ability of government to help with such a struggle.

If we accept the assumptions of Campbell’s “pro-birth” critique, but apply them to her position on abortion, then she cannot claim to have a consistent ethic of life either. Such assumptions mean that her desire to protect the vulnerable also applies only to certain members of the human family. Millions and millions of voiceless, vulnerable, prenatal children are — when we use the standard she uses when criticizing conservatives — less worthy of protection than those who are already born.

In place of this approach all of us should work harder to — using a moral framework Campbell often invokes — check our birth privilege. Following Catholic social doctrine, our preferential option for the most vulnerable must trump a focus on autonomy and privacy.

Checking such privilege and becoming an ally for prenatal children means becoming more open to supporting the policies of countries like Ireland which, though it gives almost all prenatal children equal protection of the law, has better maternal health outcomes than its abortion-permissive neighbor, England. It will mean becoming more likely to support the decision of Chile to give almost all prenatal children equal protection of the law — and actually saw its maternal health outcomes get better.

It will, at the very least, mean becoming more likely to support the policies of several European countries that ban abortion after the prenatal child turns 12 weeks old.

Sadly, Campbell seems to be moving in the direction of less protection for prenatal children. When asked in the Democracy Now interview about her reaction to Ilyse Hogue of NARAL Pro-Choice America celebrating her abortion in front of a cheering crowd at the Democratic National Convention, Campbell responded by saying that it was “touching and compelling.”

These are not the words of someone who thinks the dismemberment of a prenatal child is a great evil, but is skeptical of an intrusive government in dealing with the problem. No one could say what Sister Campbell said if they agree with Pope Francis’ view that our prenatal sisters and brothers “have the face of Lord” as the least among us.

Happily, not least because of the radical failure of the Democratic Party to have anything like a reasonable position on abortion, there is a growing call for a new politics consistently on the side of the most vulnerable. Consistently on the side of nonviolence. Consistently on the side of those without privilege.

I invite Sister Campbell to join that movement.

(Charles C. Camosy is associate professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University and co-editor of “Polarization in the US Catholic Church: Naming the Wounds, Beginning to Heal“)

 

 

About the author

Charles C. Camosy

Charlie Camosy, though a native of very rural Wisconsin, has spent more than the last decade as a professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University. He is the author of five books, including, most recently, "Resisting Throwaway Culture." He is the father of four children, three of whom were adopted from the Philippines.

53 Comments

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  • Another load of camosy nonsense.

    “First, calling someone a name like “pro-birth” is not a serious attempt to understand their position.”
    neither is calling someone a baby killer, an agent of satan, pro abortion, pro-holocaust, a dimmiecrat baby killer, and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.

    Pre-natal child? Hahahahahaha.

  • Charles Camosy has always demonstrated an inconsistent ethic of life. Somehow gestating life is worthy of consideration but the born are not. Pro-Birth is really not as accurate either. Fetus worship is far more descriptive.

    The people most against abortion rights are also against people receiving fair wages for their work, paid family leave, access to healthcare for all, access to education for all, and fair access to one’s right to vote. Their concern for life and the rights begins at conception and ends at birth.

    Dishonest euphemisms like “rights for prenatal children” disguise a position where the rights of women have to make decisions concerning their own bodies are attacked. Typical nonsense. Ignore the existence of the mother, devalue her life and concerns and pretend one’s opinion must be followed on such matters.

    Btw the citation to Dr. Calhoun is garbage (the fictional ” better maternal health outcomes than its abortion-permissive neighbor, England”). The man is an anti-abortion extremist. His work is circulated solely around the anti-abortion crowd but lacks any kind of professional validity.
    https://rewire.news/article/2015/07/06/west-virginia-women-speak-extremist-anti-choice-ob-gyn/

    http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/how-courts-nationwide-are-using-junk-science-restrict-abortion-access

    Byron C. Calhoun is the one of the main false witnesses who perpetuates the myth that abortion is dangerous. Calhoun is a professor and vice chair at West Virginia University’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and practices at a hospital in Charleston. He is a fundamentalist Christian who has written about seeing himself as “God’s ambassador.” His testimonies have played a key role in the increase of TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws that require clinics to be outfitted like ambulatory surgery centers and abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges. Calhoun was caught lying to West Virginia’s attorney general when he said there are weekly abortion-related complications at his hospital. When administrators at the hospital went back and looked at the data, they only found five cases that year.

    Anti-abortion laws and onerous abortion restrictions do not improve women’s health in those areas. When Texas abortion restrictions were still legal, the state had a maternal mortality rate higher than most
    developed countries.
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2016/09/10/texas-maternal-mortality-rate/90115960/

  • exodus 23:7 – Stay far away from a false charge, and don’t kill the innocent or the righteous, because I won’t acquit the guilty

  • Very true for the first man. Very good Spud! Now, the rest He formed in the womb, gave them traits they would carry for life while in there, so He considered them persons to be kept alive. Samson was give his mandate in the womb. John the Baptist was given his mandate while in the womb. How many people given a mandate by the Lord have been murdered in the womb, in the name of “woman’s rights”? It isn’t a right for a woman to murder.

  • None of that is in the Bible. God has no problem with letting his special favorites get killed. If they are, then it was his will that they died. Why are you questioning his divine plan?

    It is a woman’s right to make any decision she wants concerning what goes on in her body. Nobody required your opinion on the subject nor would it ever be your business. No matter how self righteous you are.

  • John the Baptist: Luke 1:12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

    Samson: Judges 13:4 Therefore be thou ware, lest thou drink wine, and cider (or cider), neither eat thou any unclean thing;

    5 for thou shalt conceive, and bear a son, whose head a razor shall not touch; for he shall be a Nazarite, that is, holy of God, from his young age, and from the mother’s womb (for he shall be a Nazarite, that is, holy to God, from his mother’s womb); and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hand of [the] Philistines.

    6 And when she had come to her husband, she said to him, A man of God came to me, and he had an angel’s cheer, and he was full fearedful (and he had the face of an angel, and he was most frightening); and when I had asked him, who he was, and from whence he came, and by what name he was called, he would not say to me;

    7 but he answered thus, Lo! thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; (but) be thou ware, that thou drink no wine nor cider, neither eat any unclean thing; for the child shall be a Nazarite, that is, holy of the Lord, from his young age, and from the mother’s womb, till to the day of his death (for the child shall be a Nazarite, that is, holy to the Lord, from his mother’s womb, until the day of his death).

    I’ll even give you another one:
    Jacob and Essau: Genesis 25:21 And Isaac besought the Lord for his wife, for she was barren; and the Lord heard him, and gave conceiving to Rebecca.
    22 But the little children were hurtled together in her womb; and she said, If it was so to coming to me, what need was it to conceive? (and she said, If such was to come to me, what meaneth it?) And she went to ask (the) counsel of the Lord,
    23 which answered, and said, Two folks be in thy womb, and two peoples shall be separated from thy womb, and one people shall overturn a people, and the more shall serve the less. (who answered, and said, Two nations be in thy womb, and two peoples shall be taken from thy womb, and one nation shall be stronger than the other nation, and the older shall serve the younger.)”
    24 Then the time of child-bearing came, and lo! two children were found in her womb.

    You’re pretty desperate when you need to call someone a liar and don’t know the truth yourself Spud. Smarten up, little boy.

    As far as the baby in her womb being her body – not true. A baby is viable at a very early age with it’s own heartbeat, blood type and future – that is no longer her body – just the place Jesus intended to be safe for the baby.
    Really Spud, you can do better than that. God did not give women the right to murder.

  • I didn’t call you a liar here. I called the author dishonest for using a study from a discredited and disreputable source.

    But your Bible quotes don’t contradict that a person doesn’t come into the world until they are born. People recognize pregnancy leads to babies but nobody other than fetus worshipers puts them on the same level as the born. That bit of conflation is just you guys being delusional in your power fantasies.

    It’s all about controlling women and reproduction. At least be more upfront about it.

  • Actually they do contradict your assertions. They show, each and every one of them, that God has a purpose for that baby and we are defying Him by killing it.
    “Fetus worshippers” lol……ask any expectant mother if she is carrying a fetus. lol
    And, I’m a woman, silly.

  • Of course you are now saying that God is specifically talking to all pregnant women. Something he wasn’t doing in any of your quotes.

    Ask any pregnant woman whether she gives a damn what you have to say about her pregnancy. Better yet, tell her that she needs your permission before she makes any decisions about it. See how well that goes.

    You are a silly woman. One who thinks she has a right to make decisions for all women.

  • “None of that is in the Bible.” You were looking for the studies in the Bible……my, my, what a confused little boy!
    Spud – a woman knows she is carrying a baby. There is becoming a common ailment with women about a year after their abortion. They become depressed (Google it). They know they have committed murder.
    Secondly, why do you think they call them “baby bumps”? Because it is babies who are being burned, sliced, diced, and sucked out.
    God has whispered into women’s ears that they are babies, Spud.
    Now, you may enjoy endorsing murder, but my God said that I shouldn’t do such.
    Really, little boy, grow up! 🙂
    Exodus 23:7 – Stay far away from a false charge, and don’t kill the innocent or the righteous, because I won’t acquit the guilty

  • The evidence is clear.

    If you want to reduce abortions you need to do two things.

    1 – Provide comprehensive age-appropriate sex education from an early age, not abstinence, not wait for marriage and not screwed up by the God con – just factual information about what happens, why it happens. how to protect yourself when it happens, how to control the consequences of it happening and the various forms of sexual attraction that occur naturally within a diverse population. Plus the right to say no and to have that no accepted.

    2 – Make contraception easily, affordably (preferably freely) and non-judgmentally available to all – no questions asked.

    Won’t do that – you’re not really that concerned about abortions and/or the fetus are you?

  • A woman doesn’t need the approval of anyone when it comes to how to handle her pregnancy. If she wants an abortion, it’s her decision. Never yours. Unless it’s your pregnancy.

    “women about a year after their abortion. They become depressed (Google it). They know they have committed murder”

    Aside from guilt trips from fetus worshipers, that is complete BS. The kind of fictions spread by the anti abortion crowd and refuted by every professional medical organization.
    https://www.guttmacher.org/about/gpr/2006/08/abortion-and-mental-health-myths-and-realities
    “methodological flaws pervading most of the research on this subject”

    “it was clear to him that the psychological effects of abortion are “minuscule” from a public health perspective.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/13/abortion-myths_n_6465904.html

    Sorry Sandi, no matter how self righteous you are,,nobody has to care what your opinion is on other women’s pregnancies.

  • The evidence indicates just the opposite: we now have more people per capita using contraception, for longer periods of time/beginning at younger ages and sex-ed in just about every public school and most private ones as well, K-12, yet we have not seen any real decrease in the abortion rate and arguably even an increase, especially given “at home” non-surgical abortions on the rise. And where do you live if you say contraception is somehow not available and is too expensive!? But the reason abortion does not go down is because these things actually increase it: it is a theoretical and practical fact that contraception promotes promiscuity and that abortion is the ultimate form of contraception & the backup to contraceptive failure. If you’ve ever done any work with women who have become “accidentally” pregnant you will most often hear that it is used because the contraception failed. So, w/ more promiscuity even by probability you will have more pregnancies, particularly out of wedlock, and abortion will be sought as the final remedy. The only ultimate solution is to have people do the morally right thing and have sex only with one’s spouse. Don’t try to rationalize your own misbehavior by claiming that should be avoided. And you should be aware that waiting for marriage used to be the norm. I would guess you are relatively young, but don’t assume things were always the same as they were now. The same also holds for every other indicator: the more contraception and sex-ed we have had, we have more venereal disease, per capita, than ever, more illegitimacy, teen pregnancy, etc. How is it that at a time when contraception was actually illegal- up until 1965- and there was no “sex-ed” we had much lower rates of all these things? At please don’t tell me that this was all kept hidden somehow. The reason is because people did and can, wait for marriage.

  • But there is a third party now involved so the woman does not have the final say. And let’s please avoid the nonsense that it isn’t a living human being in the womb and therefore there is no third party involved. If you deny the scientific fact that a new human life begins at conception, whatever later point you claim someone becomes human or a person, it will only be arbitrary and one could argue for a moment before or after. If a baby is not a person until they are born, how about when a few inches of their body is still in the birth canal? They are not a person because of a few inches, or how about one inch? And least be honest like some pro-aborts who admit it is the killing of a human person but claim it is something we still need to allow. Additionally, abortion is not just a “religious” issue. Recognizing that an unborn child is a living human being and that we ought not to kill innocent human life is a rational tenet. Folks try to turn it into a religious issue as a way of silencing opposition, e.g., those are your religious views but I don’t follow them, so there…

  • Sandi, Talking to folks like “spuddie” is like beating the dead horse. They are not interested in rational argument. One of the many contradictions is that when a woman wants the child it is a baby, a person, but if she wants to have an abortion all of a sudden it is a blob of tissue, a non-human, non-person, etc. And notice her posts steadily progress into name calling and personal attacks, for the “it’s not a baby” nonsense only goes so far before they get frustrated and have nothing left but to call you names and the usual “anti-choice” nonsense.

  • That is complete nonsense. The abortion rate has been on a steady decline for the last generation, except in areas where there is significant resistance to sex education and access to contraception. Dangerous non surgical self abortions on the rise where TRAP laws were a significant barrier to obtaining an abortion. Texas maternal death rate became higher than much of the developed world.

    “And where do you live if you say contraception is somehow not available and is too expensive!”

    Your ignorance as to the cost of long term contraception is duly noted here.

    “If you’ve ever done any work with women who have become “accidentally” pregnant”

    The plural of anecdote is not data. Promiscuity is about the same whether you teach people about sex or not. Your arguments are the chief reason unplanned pregnancies and stds are highest in the Bible belt. Ignorance isn’t bliss. abstinence only education has a zero percent success rate as policy.

    “How is it that at a time when
    contraception was actually illegal- up until 1965- and there was no
    “sex-ed” we had much lower rates of all these things”

    Because we didn’t. We didn’t report these things accurately and hiding unplanned pregnancies was common. Plus abortions were largely illegal and not fully reported out of fear of prosecution.

    You are full of it.

    It’s all about acting self righteous and wagging fingers at others than dealing with the issue like a responsible adult.

  • No there isn’t. Only one born person with personal autonomy has any say here.it’s not you. You don’t like her decision, tough luck. It’s not your womb. Until birth, the fetus only lives at its mother’s will. If you want to protect it, you have to wait until birth. If she feels like keeping it.

    It is not a person until it no longer requires it’s mother to survive. But for the sake of brevity, I say until it’s born. I never have to care how developed a fetus is in the womb. As long as it requires the woman’s system to survive it us her choice to keep it. Nobody needs your permission or input here. You don’t like being so powerless here, tough luck. Not your body, not your business.

  • Please, you are contradicting a mountain of evidence, mostly government statistics, and you can’t explain that away simply by unfounded assertions that these things went under-reported or what have you, a conveniently un-provable claim. For example, a society cannot hide or under-report 1/3 of its children being born out of wedlock- the current rate- while it was about 3.6% in 1962. Please explain that one!? You are probably young and have no clue how things used to be, even just as of 35-40 years ago.

  • Actually your argument is the primary reason why fetus worshipers never make a useful point. I never care whether it is considered a human being or a blob of cells. The issue is where it resides and how it survives. Until it can come out of a womb and live independent of its mother, it is always the mothers discretion what to do with it. Your problem is this narcissistic idea that all women must follow your command and that having an opinion is the same thing as having a say.

  • No you are pretending decades of useless policy worked. Your assertions are completely contradicted by all reliable sources on the subject. You are simply rehashing fictions which have been bandied about for a while. You cannot find a single community where abstinence education led to a decline in teen pregnancy.

    Your rebuttal is ridiculous it assumed gathering stats on unwanted pregnancies was even widely done or uniform. More importantly it was far easier to hide a pregnancy or abortion back in the day. There is also the improvement in the way stats are gathered now.

    Either way, the more relevant stats are from 1980-2016. Abortion rates have declined steadily and right now teen pregnancy is at its lowest since WWII. Contraception and and sex education works. The outliers being where Bible thumpers hold political sway.
    https://www.statnews.com/2016/06/02/teen-birth-rate-pregnancies-drop/
    “When researchers tried to understand the reasons, they determined that it wasn’t that teens were having less sex; rather, increased or improved contraceptive was driving the decline in teen pregnancies.”

  • It’s a scientific fact that life begins at conception? I don’t think scientific fact means what you think it means, except that it is your arbitrary selection.

  • I only have sex with my wife too. But we use birth control because we don’t want her to get pregnant at this time. The problem with arguments like yours is that you assume all women who use contraception are promiscuous.

  • Ultimately your citations from the OT prove nothing more than that the fetus is considered a potential human life but not the equivalent of a born human being. Exodus 21:22-23 provides for the Torah’s view on this.
    By the way, “Smarten up, little boy”? Please tell us more about how you’re no longer the hateful person you were before you became a Christian.

  • Maybe postpartum is because of the overload of joy, plus the chemicals re-righting themselves. They aren’t from guilt of murdering and wondering how the world talked them into it.

  • Yes, hormonal changes have been hypothesized as a possible cause of PPD. However, if anything, the idea that a mother is supposed to feel an overload of joy after giving birth may worsen her guilt about feeling ambivalent about the birth and lead to worse PPD. You’re supposed to be overjoyed, yet you get little sleep; you’re supposed to breast feed but nothing comes out and the baby is screaming with hunger; you change 10 to 20 diapers a day; you miss being able to do whatever you want and feel guilty about that; and your husband probably went back to work already.
    I digress, clearly… but ultimately if women are feeling guilt about an abortion, how do you know it’s not from the pro-life side telling them they’re murderers?

  • Completely agree with your hypothesis.
    As for the murderers, perhaps it is satan playing with them now that they have entered his ballpark. He’ll take them right down to where they’ll hurt themselves.

  • No, but I also knew what it meant when they couldn’t say that Lucy was pregnant with Ricky’s child.

  • “The people most against abortion rights are also against people
    receiving fair wages for their work, paid family leave, access to
    healthcare for all, access to education for all, and fair access to
    one’s right to vote.”

    Charlie advocates for all of those things. He is on the Board of Directors of Democrats for Life of America, an organization dedicated to exactly what you claim he doesn’t support.

  • That may be the case, but attacking abortion rights is primarily a Republican political platform.

    “The people most against abortion rights” are not Democrats. Least of all a marginal anti-choice group of them.

    It comes off as Camosy is engaging in some patronizing patriarchal nonsense. He doesn’t like women to make personal decisions. In an attempt to minimize the effect of such a policy he supports things which make far more sense to women who have all intentions to keep their children. The message, “I know better that these women and will take care of them, so they shouldn’t have to worry about all that nasty decision making autonomy stuff.”

  • “It is not a person until it no longer requires it’s mother to survive.”

    Why? What’s your criteria for that statement? It sounds arbitrary.

    An infant also needs a caretaker to survive. Someone suffering from serious injury or disease needs a caretaker to survive. People who are very old and near the ends of their lives need assistance to survive.

    By your criteria, these are not people. So what is the defining variable? Is your criteria that there must be a direct uterine physiological connection from a person to its mother for it to not be a real person? Yet that person is biologically, neurologically, functionally identical just before and just after they leave the womb. What about being one foot away from its pre-birth location magically grants it personhood?

    You’ve obviously settled on not caring, but your reasoning is opaque at best.

  • “Why? What’s your criteria for that statement? It sounds arbitrary.”

    It sounds arbitrary, but entirely reasonable when you consider women as anything but incubators. Since the woman bears the entirety of the physical burden of pregnancy until it is born (or viable outside the womb), it is her choice whether to keep it in her body. She is in total possession of the fetus and you or anyone else cannot get to it.

    “An infant also needs a caretaker to survive.”

    No infant is physically attached to the bodily systems of an adult to survive. Its a very poor and rather dishonest conflation between care of an infant and pregnancy. Any human being of reasonable capacity can care for a born infant. Only the mother’s biological systems and will keeps a fetus alive. There is no equivalence there on the facts.

    I am not going to go into a dispute that a newborn is exactly like a fetus in this regard. All it will mean is you want to misrepresent basic facts to the discussion and waste our time.

    “Is your criteria that there must be a direct uterine physiological
    connection from a person to its mother for it to not be a real person?”

    Now you get it!

    We don’t give conception or pregnancy certificates to start a human being’s legal existence. We have birth certificates. Because until it is born (or viable outside the womb), it has no existence as an independent autonomous being.

    “You’ve obviously settled on not caring, but your reasoning is opaque at best.”

    I care first and foremost for the born person in the equation in the most reasonable fashion. You cannot protect a fetus without attacking its mother. The mother’s will keeps a fetus alive, therefore her rights and existence is the primary one for concern here.

  • “Following Catholic social doctrine, our preferential option for the most vulnerable must trump a focus on autonomy and privacy.”

    Oh, so this means the RCC has a plan they’ll be initiating any day now to control male fertility? Abusive priests and bishop/archbishop/Vatican enablers in state or federal prisons would be a good place to begin.

    How about a social doctrine vilifying deadbeat dads and “baby daddies” who ignore their children or don’t even know how many they have? Chemical castration or vasectomies would be effective antidotes for such anti-the most vulnerable behavior to living children. And for males who have multiple repeat offenses? Actual physical castration?

    Oh, what was that? The RCC would Never approve of such plans about MEN!? Oh, it’s only women’s bodies they want to control? Hmmmm. No misogyny there.

  • You’re providing more statements of your positions, but you’re not really providing a concrete basis for them. You’re providing existing civil & legal practices as justification, but those are elective processes put in place by human decisions, not fundamental/immutable concepts.

    It’s like citing prior social policies that made slaves less than full humans to try and objectively state that slaves are less than full humans. They were only ever such by subjective policy, not by their objective status as sentient beings.

    “Since the woman bears the entirety of the physical burden of pregnancy
    until it is born (or viable outside the womb), it is her choice whether
    to keep it in her body.” This is an example of what I’m talking about. There is not an objective progression between the two halves of your statement. What that comma in the middle says is, “I’ve decided that”. That’s what I mean by arbitrary.

    “Any human being of reasonable capacity can care for a born infant.” So the criteria for personhood is not dependence on another, but a physiological attachment. What is it *about* a physiological attachment that confers the right to determine if another being lives? The only thing a physical attachment gives, inherently, is the *ability* to continue or end someone’s life. But we all have this same power every day with everyone around us. Having the ability to do something doesn’t provide the right to do it. Nor does having complete responsibility for the life of the other person.

    “You cannot protect a fetus without attacking its mother.” In what sense? If a woman’s life is directly in danger because of her pregnancy, this is true. But not otherwise. What you call an “attack” is a debate over freedom of choices. If a woman gives birth to a child, she can’t electively decide to stop providing for its survival needs. How is having to give birth when pregnant fundamentally different from having to keep a child from starving once born? In both cases, there is complete dependency and complete power, and an expectation that one is required to care for a dependent being until the point at which that being is fully independent in all senses.

    At this point it may surprise you to know that I am pro-choice, but I am troubled by the pervasive lack of a true rational justification available from almost all pro-choice people I have read or encountered. In the end, the argument always seems to come down to “because that’s the way it is, and you can’t tell me what to do!” Which isn’t rational, or objective.

    We need a better basis for all of this. A blob of cells at conception is completely different from a months-old fetus, and a baby on the cusp of being born is identical to one that is just born. There’s a spectrum of development and sentience that can be examined objectively. What you want to reject – the state of development – is the only objective starting point for a final position. Policy, legalities, these are things decided based on more primitive and ideological reasoning.

    Without a better basis, pro-life and pro-choice are, in the end, just half-assed pseudo-positions based on selection of a subjective point of cultural reference as fixed reality. It’s getting society nowhere.

  • You are trolling here. I made my position clear and described it in the simplest detail possible. Bereft of analogy, hysteria, conflation or misrepresentation of material facts of the situation.

    You haven’t done the same.

    ” If a woman gives birth to a child, she can’t electively decide to stop providing for its survival needs. ”

    Adoption is exactly that. The custody of a child can be taken from its mother by force of law. You are being dishonest with basic facts here. A child when born does not depend on the biological functions of its mother. Your attempt to pretend there is no fundamental difference between born and gestating is just a refusal to deal with basic facts. Children can survive without their mothers after birth. The same isn’t true at pregnancy.

    “What you call an “attack” is a debate over freedom of choices. ”

    No it isn’t. It’s the interjection of outside parties into decisions they have no place in. Attacking a woman’s bodily autonomy and basic right to decide about her own bodily systems. Something inherent to all people. Taking away personal freedom and inherent rights is an attack upon them.

    “At this point it may surprise you to know that I am pro-choice”

    I find that about as dishonest as your take on the facts concerning pregnancy and birth. You don’t bother to address what I said, looking to just handwave it away. There is nothing credible in your posts.

  • Trolling? Far from it. Your position is very clear, and very simple. Simplistic, actually. I understand exactly what your position is, but your basis for it is simply, “that’s the way it is”. You’re not going any deeper. At this point I’m not sure if you can even see that there *is* a deeper.

    As for me not “having done the same” – I’m not having an argument over competing positions. I’m just trying to get you to explain a truly objective basis for any part of your position.

    Regarding what you say about adoption: that case is not the needs of the child not being met and its life ended, rather it’s a transference of responsibility to another with no interruption in the child’s survival being provided for. If any born minor dies or is killed through their survival needs not being met, it is a crime. What is the *objective* criteria for it not being a crime if the child isn’t born yet?

    Regarding what you say about a woman’s bodily autonomy: in all cases except for rape, a pregnancy is the direct result of a woman’s decision about her bodily systems. What is the objective basis for responsibility/accountability for that choice only beginning at the end of pregnancy (birth)? If you have a child and don’t give the child up for adoption, your autonomy is also compromised, as you are now required to devote a large portion of your body’s activity to the care of the child. You can’t shirk it because you don’t want your body to have to do the things needed to care for a birthed child.

    “There is nothing credible in your posts.” I’m asking you questions. You’re not providing any answers. Your answer to questions about the basis for your decisions are just restatements of those same positions I’m asking about. You say a woman has the inherent right to do certain things, and I’m asking you where that derives from and why it applies in some cases but not others, and your answer is… that a woman has the inherent right to do certain things.

    Your position is its own justification and rational basis in your mind. They need to be two separate things, or else it’s not a rational basis.

  • My position is simple and unmuddied by misrepresentations of facts, poor analogy and material omission.

    You can’t consider a fetus the equivalent of a born child. Period. Once you accept that fact, everything else flows from there. Failure to recognize such a basic fact is why anti-choice arguments get ridiculous.

    The mother physically possesses the fetus in her body. It lives at her sufferance. You don’t have a say in the matter because you bear none of the physical burdens or even possession of that fetus. Since it lives at her will, by extension, her choice is the only consideration. If she doesn’t choose to give birth, that is her option. What part of any human being besides the mother can care for a newborn do you not understand here? Because that whole concept eluded you in the last post. Since there is that autonomous existence after birth, one has a unique and individual status which did not exist in gestation.

    “Regarding what you say about a woman’s bodily autonomy: in all cases except for rape, a pregnancy is the direct result of a woman’s decision about her bodily systems. What is the objective basis for responsibility/accountability for that choice only beginning at the end of pregnancy (birth)?”

    Its NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. A person’s decisions concerning their life in this respect is theirs and theirs alone. It was none of your business how she got pregnant, it remains so during the pregnancy..Your opinion as to her decisions does not entitle you to a say in them. Its not my job, nor yours to enforce some notion of responsibility and accountability here. If you think she is irresponsible for having an unwanted pregnancy, that’s nice. But an irrelevancy. Its not a matter of women having to meet your approval here. It is not my burden to carry the pregnancy. So neither you or I have a say in the matter. The problem with your argument is the narcissistic framing of it. As if claiming moral high ground means people have to defer to you for their personal decisions. Not everyone makes the best decisions out there. But when it comes to personal matters, especially concerning one’s own body, its not a subject where you have any business or right to get involved in.

    If you can’t find notions of autonomy, personal liberties and the simple premise that the one who possesses something controls it in any way rational, then I can’t help you here I have said all I need to say here.

  • Did he say something about “conservatives resisting poverty” and supporting family leave as pro-life; as soon as conservatives find something to do about wage stagnation, when Walmart, the richest family in the USA can pay employees enough that the government doesn’t need to subsidize the corp by doling out food stamps, how the hell can people afford to have children?

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