Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warning)

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Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warning)

Postby Aightynine » Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:12 pm UTC

I put a trigger warning in the title because this news sounds pretty grave for those who want abortion to be a viable option for women. Basically, Virginia's legislature is trying to pass two bills which would make it extremely difficult to get an abortion. One defines personhood at conception and gives an unborn person the same rights as a born person (while not technically outlawing abortion). The other one is trying to get women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before getting an abortion (one article says it would be required, the other says that while it's not required, women would end up being forced to under many circumstances).

CBS News

Spoiler:
The Tuesday passage in Virginia of two of the strictest anti-abortion bills in the country has sparked fierce debate over abortion rights the battleground state, with Democrats decrying the acts as an unprecedented encroachment on women's rights as Republicans push to move the legislation forward.

One bill, Republican Del. Bob Marshall's House bill 1, would define personhood at conception and "provides that unborn children at every stage of development enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the Commonwealth." The second bill requires that women be required to undergo an ultrasound procedure prior to having an abortion.

The personhood bill, which passed by 66-32 in the Virginia state House, does not ban abortions, the legality of which are protected under the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. It would, however, make illegal certain types of contraceptive measures, including emergency contraception. Women's health advocates say it could also open the door to banning birth control pills and intrauterine devices (IUD).

Opponents of the personhood bill decry the legislation for curbing women's rights to contraception, and argue that the bill is meant to serve as a "trigger ban," which would make abortion illegal immediately in the event that Roe V. Wade is overturned.

"The General Assembly is dangerously close to making Virginia the first state in the country to grant personhood rights to fertilized eggs," said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, in a statement.

Democratic Virginia Delegate Charnielle Herring, an outspoken opponent of the two bills, called the bill "an attack on women's health."

In an interview with Hotsheet, Keene argued that, beyond the potential ideological questions associated with granting a fertilized egg the same rights as people, passing the bill would yield immediate practical consequences that "we can't even fathom at this point."

Keene noted that there are more than 25,000 references to the word "person" in the Virginia legislative code, and that applying all of the laws pertaining to "persons" to all existing fertilized eggs would inevitably become complicated.

She pointed to an example in which a couple undergoing in vitro fertilization successfully becomes pregnant without using as many eggs as were fertilized in the procedure. Those additional eggs would thus be considered "persons," and the couple could use exploit those "persons" to get additional tax breaks, she argued.

Herring also argues that the personhood bill is being used as a tool by Republicans to "lay the groundwork" for overturning Roe v. Wade.

"The government has no place mandating procedures," she told Hotsheet. "We're legislators, we're not physicians."

One issue that has come under the microscope with relation to the ultrasound bill is its requirement that some women undergo a transvaginal ultrasound probe, which is considered more physically invasive than other procedures.

While the bill does not explicitly mandate the use of transvaginal ultrasounds, many women would inevitably be required to undergo them; in the early stages of pregnancy, that procedure is often the only form of ultrasound that can detect a fetus' heartbeat.

Republicans argue that the ultrasound bill will protect women from complications during abortion procedures, and that providing a woman with the gestational age of the fetus is crucial to her "informed consent" to have an abortion.

"This may be the most important decision that she ever makes in her life. A tough decision. And we determined over a decade ago that we were going to ensure that a woman has a right to have all the information avail to her before making that decision," said Republican Delegate Kathy Byron, the sponsor of the ultrasound bill, in debate on the House floor.

The conservative Family Foundation also heralded the requirement as a necessary update to the Commonwealth's informed consent law, providing "modern technology, ensuring that a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy and considering abortion has as much information as possible available to her."

Keene, conversely, argues the requirement is a way to "shame women and try to convince them to change their minds and not have a procedure they've probably already thought long and hard about."

The two bills have already become a hot-button issue for some political candidates in the state, and could gain prominence on the national stage if they are signed into law.

Former Democratic Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, who is running against Republicans George Allen and Marshall for the state's open Senate seat in 2012, decried the personhood bill as "reckless," and challenged Allen to publicly embrace it.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Allen on Wednesday affirmed his support for the bill.

"This measure is about protecting innocent unborn life. If a criminal hits a pregnant mother injuring or killing the unborn child, then there would be a cause of action for that child as well," said Allen spokeswoman Katie Wright.

"Democrats are desperately trying to make this a battle over contraceptives. As George Allen has often said he is opposed to the government prohibiting or banning contraceptives - and this bill doesn't do that," she added.

The Virginia state Senate has already passed an ultrasound bill, and Republican Governor Bob McDonnell is expected to sign the legislation when it lands on his desk. He does not have a formal position on the personhood bill.

The Virginia state Senate is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats; Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, a Republican, would be the tie-breaking vote on the personhood bill if members voted along party lines.

When asked Tuesday whether or not he knew how he would vote on the issue, Bolling said he did not, according to the Times-Dispatch.

Delegate Herring said that if the governor were to sign the personhood bill, it would show "just how far [Virginia Republicans] are willing to go to infringe on a woman's right to choose."


This article has a little more detail about the ultrasound bill:

ABC News

Spoiler:
A Republican supermajority has muscled two of the most restrictive anti-abortion bills in years through the Virginia House, including one that would all but outlaw the procedure in the state by declaring that the rights of persons apply from the moment sperm and egg unite.

The bills passed over bitter yet futile objections from Democrats. And one GOP delegate caused the House to ripple when he said most abortions come as "matters of lifestyle convenience."

Del. Bob Marshall's House Bill 1 on personhood at conception passed on a 66-32 vote. And on a 63-36 vote, the House passed a bill that requires women to have a "transvaginal ultrasound" before undergoing abortions.

Opponents said the bills were unprecedented intrusions into the prerogatives and decisions not just of pregnant women but of women trying to avoid conceiving.

"The General Assembly is dangerously close to making Virginia the first state in the country to grant personhood rights to fertilized eggs," said Tarina Keene of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.

Marshall's bill for years had passed the conservative House only to bog down and die in a moderate Senate. This time, it stands to survive a Senate under new conservative control after last fall's election stripped the Democrats of power. Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, a socially conservative Roman Catholic, has said he will sign the ultrasound bill, but has taken no position on Marshall's personhood bill, said his spokesman J. Tucker Martin.
Todd Gilbert
AP
Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, speaks on... View Full Caption

The ultrasound legislation would constitute an unprecedented government mandate to insert vaginal ultrasonic probes into women as part of a state-ordered effort to dissuade them from terminating pregnancies, legislative opponents noted.

"We're talking about inside a woman's body," Del. Charnielle Herring, a Democrat, said in an emotional floor speech. "This is the first time, if we pass this bill, that we will be dictating a medical procedure to a physician."

The conservative Family Foundation hailed the ultrasound measure as an "update" to the state's existing informed consent laws "with the most advanced medical technology available."

The debate over the ideologically divisive issue evoked some of the sharpest exchanges of the 2012 legislative session.

Del. Joseph Morrissey, the House Democrats' sharp-tongued point man, was twice rebuked by House Speaker Bill Howell for calling the GOP majority hypocritical in advancing the abortion bills then contending the state has no business urging young girls to be vaccinated against a virus that can later cause cervical cancer.

Del. Eileen Filler-Corn said the bill would make reproductive rights in Virginia more restrictive than states of the Deep South. In fact, she contended, it would restrict access to contraception.

"I cannot sit quietly today and do nothing while this body decides what rights will be stripped away from my daughter and others in regard to their own health," said Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax. "I do not want to see a day when the only option for women and men to obtain the contraception of their choice is to leave our state and go to (Washington,) D.C. or to Maryland."

She also noted that similar measures, when put to recent referendums, had been rejected by voters in Colorado in 2008 and again in 2010, and by Mississippians last fall. "Did I say that that was Mississippi?"

Republicans said opponents of both bills were alarmists who had exaggerated the consequences.

No comment provoked more surprise than that of Del. Todd Gilbert in diminishing the gravity of the decision to have an abortion.

"We hear the same song over there. The very tragic human notes that are often touched upon involve extreme examples," said Gilbert, R-Shenandoah. "But in the vast majority of these cases, these are matters of lifestyle convenience."

A murmur rippled across the House chamber as members reacted to Gilbert's words.

In a statement Tuesday night by Gilbert's office, the delegate sought to mitigate the furor his words caused. He called abortion a "sad and deeply serious occurrence."
Kathy Byron
AP
Del. Kathy Byron, R-Campbell, speaks on her... View Full Caption

"I recognize that few women undergo the procedure lightly. It leaves scars, both mental and physical, that can last forever. I regret that my comments earlier today ... were insensitive to that reality," he said.

The bills now go to the Senate, which has passed Sen. Jill Vogel's companion to Del. Kathy Byron's ultrasound measure. There is no Senate mirror legislation to Marshall's personhood bill, which prescribes criminal penalties for those who would violate its provisions, but Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, won passage Tuesday of a measure that would permit wrongful death civil lawsuits against those who kill a fetus.


The bills have passed in the House, so now they have to go through the Senate, and quite honestly it sounds like they'll make it. Personally, I was quite disturbed after finding out about this. I don't live there, but my heart goes out to the Virginians who oppose this.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Choboman » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:21 am UTC

Q: How many peope can fit in the back of this car?
A: About 1,500,000,000,000 if you live in Virginia and consider fertilized eggs people.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Webzter » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:21 am UTC

Aightynine wrote:One defines personhood at conception and gives an unborn person the same rights as a born person (while not technically outlawing abortion).


I wonder, would this give the state leeway in prosecuting anyone who miscarries with manslaughter?
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Qaanol » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:30 am UTC

Earlier today I posted the following in response to an article about a similar bill in Oklahoma:

Qaanol wrote:Even if we grant full personhood to gametes, zygotes, embryos, and fetuses, abortion must *still* be legal and acceptable. Here’s why:

You, as a person, do not have the right to enter into my body, nor to take my blood, without my permission. If I ever give you permission to do those things, I can freely withdraw that permission at a later time. If I ever find you trespassing in my body, or stealing by blood, I have a right to stop you.

I have a right to keep any and every other person out of my body if I want, and to keep my blood to myself. No person has the right to be inside my body nor to take my blood without my permission. Even if a fetus is considered a person, if that “person” is inside my body against my will, or is stealing my blood, I have every right to kick that person out and stop sharing my blood.

If that “person” cannot survive outside my body, too bad. I am under zero obligation to act as a host for any parasite. No one has the right to invade my body, nor remain inside it without my permission, nor take parts of my body for their own use. I have the right of bodily autonomy, and that is paramount.


I was presently informed that blood does not actually pass through the placenta. My point still stands.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Triangle_Man » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:34 am UTC

You know, one of the ideas that I picked up from Libertarian thought is that you should always consider the possible consequences of passing a proposed bill (both intended and unintended (if possible)) as well as the ways in which that bill can be abused by the government when deciding whether or not you should pass it.

Claiming that a bill is 'just going to do x' and calling your opponents 'alarmists' for objecting to it probably means that you're either hiding something (the paranoid yet troubling route) or you seriously haven't thought it through 100% (still troubling, regardless of whether or not you are skipping that part of the thought process on purpose).

Also, wasn't there another bill like this a while ago?

One that got shot down because even those who felt that abortion was morally wrong saw it as being a stupid bill?
Last edited by Triangle_Man on Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:02 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Ashlah » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:52 am UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:Also, wasn't there another bill like this a while ago?

One that got shot down because even those who felt that abortion is morally wrong saw it as being a stupid bill?

Yeah, I'm pretty sure there's a group trying to go around the country and pass personhood laws in a number of them. Then of course there are the countless other anti-abortion bills that have been introduced all over the place. It's been a bad year or two for reproductive rights.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:24 am UTC

Sigh...

In all seriousness, can any Americans explain to me what the hell is wrong with your country?
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby yurell » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:29 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:In all seriousness, can any Americans explain to me what the hell is wrong with your country?


You don't need an American to explain it — they're one of the most religiously fundamentalist developed nations on the planet.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Ghostbear » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:50 am UTC

I hate that they keep trying to force this fucking bills through. Fucking jackasses.

More calmly: I always wonder at the political stupidity of these bills. It has to be a huge electoral hit for them amongst women; the long term electoral results of this can not look good for them. I think I remember reading that women vote at greater rates than men now too, so it seems doubly stupid to me. I can't see this kind of shit winning over more male voters than female voters it loses.

Triangle_Man wrote:Also, wasn't there another bill like this a while ago?

One that got shot down because even those who felt that abortion is morally wrong saw it as being a stupid bill?

There was the attempted Mississippi amendment recently, that's the most recent example I know of.

LaserGuy wrote:In all seriousness, can any Americans explain to me what the hell is wrong with your country?

In a long view but stated briefly sense, I'd say it's due to the long-term consequences of the Civil War; a large portion of the country has never really moved on, even if it is subconsciously, from that defeat. Both parties have used that fact to their benefit over the years. In a short view sense, I'd say it's because of one of the things that people always said was great about the US: we're a cultural melting pot. It's great for getting diversity of culture, thinking and everything else (food, art, language...) but having so many cultures present is going to cause some of those cultures to lose out. People dislike it when they feel their way of life is being forcibly changed by others, and will grow resentful over that (in the case pertaining to this article- religious values). Not to mention, while having diversity of culture is nice for many things, it isn't for reaching consensus. It's a lot easier to get everyone in nations that are fairly culturally homogeneous, such as France or Japan, to find things they agree on.

The differences here get amplified over the years. First groups disagree on X, then X and Y, then X, Y, and Z, then... Instead of coming together, people move further and further towards their respective extremes. House elections have been getting less competitive over the decades, partially due to gerrymandering and partially due to people wanting to live around people that they agree with. Eventually, issues become part of a culture war, and then whatever the status quo is at the moment becomes all but impossible to change, and both sides just get angry about it.

Also, we have a really shitty education system, and stupid people make stupid political decisions (not who they vote for, but how they decide who to vote for).
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby johnny_7713 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:50 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:I hate that they keep trying to force this fucking bills through. Fucking jackasses.

More calmly: I always wonder at the political stupidity of these bills. It has to be a huge electoral hit for them amongst women; the long term electoral results of this can not look good for them. I think I remember reading that women vote at greater rates than men now too, so it seems doubly stupid to me. I can't see this kind of shit winning over more male voters than female voters it loses.



You're assuming all those who are against abortion are male, and all those who are pro-abortion are female. I don't think it's that simple. Furthermore given the set of general policies an anti-abortion stance is usually connected too I think pro-choice voters probably weren't going to vote for the proponents of these bills anyway, thus the bill doesn't cost any votes. On the other hand it might help a candidate who is perceived as (too) moderate pull in voters from the extremist edge.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Ghostbear » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:08 am UTC

johnny_7713 wrote:You're assuming all those who are against abortion are male, and all those who are pro-abortion are female.

No I am not. I am assuming that a larger number of women are pro choice, and that by extension, a larger portion of the people who are against abortion are male than female. That is not similar, at all, to saying all for each respective gender. An issue that affects women negatively to a far greater (nearly exclusive, though there are indirect costs for the father) extent is going to cause a greater electoral response from them. Of course not all women are pro-choice- no group is completely uniform in its beliefs. You won't find all hispanics being in favor of things such as the DREAM act, you won't find all blacks voting democrat, nor everyone living in a city in favor of gun restrictions, and you won't see all bankers voting republican. That doesn't mean you can't make an analysis of how the group votes in aggregate, and I am positing that this legislation will have a negative impact on their standing with female voters in the future.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:39 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:In all seriousness, can any Americans explain to me what the hell is wrong with your country?

In a long view but stated briefly sense, I'd say it's due to the long-term consequences of the Civil War; a large portion of the country has never really moved on, even if it is subconsciously, from that defeat. Both parties have used that fact to their benefit over the years. In a short view sense, I'd say it's because of one of the things that people always said was great about the US: we're a cultural melting pot. It's great for getting diversity of culture, thinking and everything else (food, art, language...) but having so many cultures present is going to cause some of those cultures to lose out. People dislike it when they feel their way of life is being forcibly changed by others, and will grow resentful over that (in the case pertaining to this article- religious values). Not to mention, while having diversity of culture is nice for many things, it isn't for reaching consensus. It's a lot easier to get everyone in nations that are fairly culturally homogeneous, such as France or Japan, to find things they agree on.

The differences here get amplified over the years. First groups disagree on X, then X and Y, then X, Y, and Z, then... Instead of coming together, people move further and further towards their respective extremes. House elections have been getting less competitive over the decades, partially due to gerrymandering and partially due to people wanting to live around people that they agree with. Eventually, issues become part of a culture war, and then whatever the status quo is at the moment becomes all but impossible to change, and both sides just get angry about it.

Also, we have a really shitty education system, and stupid people make stupid political decisions (not who they vote for, but how they decide who to vote for).


Hey Ghostbear. A long time ago, in a previous thread, I've mentioned my stance as pro-life (or "anti-abortion" since people prefer different labels). For full disclosure, I'm also a Catholic, although I doubt that my religious viewpoints actually affect my stance on abortion.

At the end of the day, Abortion and the definition of life are complicated subjects. It is rather insulting to assume that I disagree with you because of events during the Civil War. Especially since I personally hold these views, despite my family's history of immigrating to this country in the late 1970s. Shaping the argument into a "us vs them" kind of statement always simplifies the matter and makes it easier to talk about. But lets be honest here... life is not that simple, and I hate to be lumped into the same category as the anti-intellectual biblical literalists who share very few political, religious, or cultural affiliation with me.

That said, I'm not entirely sure if I want to step into the hornet's nest of defending myself from the inevitable onslaught of dissenting opinions on this forum. Guess you can call me more cowardly than sourmilk. But just know this: continue on with the conversation. But don't insult people like me by oversimplifying the past and pushing us into your preconceived stereotypes.

--------------

As for those who are wondering the political aspects of this move... it is clear to me that the Personhood bill is not trying to change the laws, but to start the national conversation on Abortion again. Without really changing the law, they have effectively brought the issue back onto the national stage for discussion. I'm not entirely sure if I agree with it in principle. In particular: encoding this into law forces a traditionally Christian viewpoint. IIRC, one minority Jewish viewpoint on where and when life begins is several days after birth... just as a religious example to throw out there. So it is clear to me that the country is divided on when life begins... such a controversial subject shouldn't be encoded into law.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Ghostbear » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:14 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:That said, I'm not entirely sure if I want to step into the hornet's nest of defending myself from the inevitable onslaught of dissenting opinions on this forum. Guess you can call me more cowardly than sourmilk. But just know this: continue on with the conversation. But don't insult people like me by oversimplifying the past and pushing us into your preconceived stereotypes.

I'm sorry you think I was doing that; it was not meant to explain everyone's opinion on this (or any other) subject, but why the issues take the strong political and cultural position they do in our society. I was not trying to say "People believe x, because of the Civil War", but "Society is so highly contentious over these issues, as partially, though not wholly, explained through events that can be traced back to the Civil War". I suppose I veered more off topic than I should have in my answer to that question but I wasn't trying to say "huge groups of people hate abortion because of this, and that makes them stupid". You will note that I avoided labeling either side as right or wrong and noted how the differences in opinion get amplified over time.

That said, if you think the Civil War has no or limited influence on the current prominence of some of these wedge issues, I seriously disagree. Much of the recent political history of the US can be traced back to events defined by it (Civil Rights movement, Nixon's southern strategy...)- in aggregate, the south votes about as uniformly as the northeast, but it has a far higher population and more electoral votes and senators and representatives at stake because of that. You can see the not completely moving on from it in many ways- the strong fondness for Robert E. Lee, confederate flags, and so on. I'm not saying that they wake up every morning and say "Damn Lincoln and his Yankees!", just that it has become, for better or worse, part of the subconscious culture there. This is changing more in the modern era, as people are more able and willing to relocate and live away from where they grew up, but it still exists. And politicians, from both parties, have been willing to use that to their advantage, and the best way to do that is through wedge issues such as gay rights or abortion.

So, when I answered that to "what the hell is wrong with [the US]". I was addressing why issues like the abortion debate have become so significant for some members of society that they will go ahead and craft legislation like this, which has many points that not fully thought through to their conclusion. And those points are issues regardless of what you think about abortion. You can be opposed to something and still craft sensible legislation with that opposition, instead of insisting that you can define "personhood" as beginning at conception, and thus being entitled to the full rights as an actual human. If you want to reduce or eliminate abortions in the US, legislation like this won't do it, and will only serve to make an ugly legal situation. This is especially true since it could very well open the door to making many forms of contraception illegal in Virginia, which would at the very least increase the demand for abortions, which the state can't make outright illegal.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Arrian » Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:49 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:No I am not. I am assuming that a larger number of women are pro choice, and that by extension, a larger portion of the people who are against abortion are male than female.


Are you basing that on personal experience or have you seen some national/local statistics. My personal experience is that a large proportion of women are anti-abortion, not just religious women, but women who look at their children and grandchildren, feel that they're the most important things in their lives, and come to the conclusion that abortion is wrong. They may not be the people out protesting Planned Parenthood, but they're certainly voting for pro life candidates and ballot initiatives. (And I also know a lot of pro abortion men because it means they don't have to be daddy.) My intuition is that political affiliation is a stronger indicator of a person's opinion than gender.

Qaanol wrote:You, as a person, do not have the right to enter into my body, nor to take my blood, without my permission. If I ever give you permission to do those things, I can freely withdraw that permission at a later time. If I ever find you trespassing in my body, or stealing by blood, I have a right to stop you.


Off the top of my head, I see three holes in your argument that invalidate it.

1.) It's not trespass because your actions forseeably resulted in the other person being in your body. You effectively invited them, and you invited them for the entire 9 month term. Under normal circumstances, where it wouldn't harm someone to uninvite them, you would be able to freely evict them. But in these circumstances, since it will kill the other person to evict them, you cannot do so (for the same reason the gas company can't shut off your gas in January in Minnesota.) The castle doctrine does not apply if you've invited someone onto your property unless they subsequently threaten you, (and in that case, I don't think it's the castle doctrine but straightforward self defense.) This reasoning would probably still allow for abortions in cases of rape, danger to the mother's health, and possibly incest and the presence of genetic or other serious disorders.

2.) We do not execute people who don't intentionally commit crimes, they have to exhibit mens rea. Unborn children certainly didn't willfully trespass in your body because it was only through your actions that they got there. Therefore punishing them for being where you put them goes against our philosophy of justice. (It actually goes against every philosophy of justice that I know of.) This would probably allow for the same exceptions as #1.

3.) The trespass and parasite analogies are incorrect and misleading. Conceiving and carrying a child are natural parts of being human, it's a function of your own biology and it's impossible for the species to survive without that process. Arguing in favor of abortion rights based on trespass is disingenuous and meaningless. It's as absurd as trying to have your uterus arrested for assault when you have menstrual cramps.

I'm personally pro choice, I view it primarily as a civil liberties issue: The individual woman is the only person who is in the position to decide whether she is capable of raising a child, and whether she wants to at this time. I also see a strong societal argument (but that probably wouldn't convince me on its own): People and societies are healthier, happier, and less dysfunctional when women control their fertility. Children are better off when their parents want them and can effectively support them, and children who are better off tend to grow into adults who are better off, etc. etc.

Torturing ideas like trespass to suit your argument don't really help either your argument or he original concept you're misusing. I also really hate seeing people use weak arguments to support the same ideas I support, they get associated with me and my arguments in the minds of our mutual audience.

And I REALLY hate the "a fetus is a parasite" meme. It wouldn't pass muster at a junior high school level of scientific understanding; I might have found it clever when I was 13, but it comes across as juvenile when you're bringing it into a serious discussion of abortion.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:57 pm UTC

I'll think about your first point when I'm not running late for my (ethics) class, but as for 2 and 3:

Arrian wrote:2.) We do not execute people who don't intentionally commit crimes, they have to exhibit mens rea. Unborn children certainly didn't willfully trespass in your body because it was only through your actions that they got there. Therefore punishing them for being where you put them goes against our philosophy of justice. (It actually goes against every philosophy of justice that I know of.) This would probably allow for the same exceptions as #1.

The point is not to punish the fetus, any more than the point of self-defense is to punish murderers.

Arrian wrote:3.) The trespass and parasite analogies are incorrect and misleading. Conceiving and carrying a child are natural parts of being human, it's a function of your own biology and it's impossible for the species to survive without that process. Arguing in favor of abortion rights based on trespass is disingenuous and meaningless. It's as absurd as trying to have your uterus arrested for assault when you have menstrual cramps.

This is just invective. Saying that an argument is "incorrect" is a conclusion, not a counterargument. You need to show why the argument is wrong for this to have any persuasive weight.

Ditto for 'And I REALLY hate the "a fetus is a parasite" meme.' Do you, now? Well, then explain why it's wrong. "Junior high science" hardly strikes me as a justification; it's not an empirical question.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Dauric » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:06 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
Triangle_Man wrote:Also, wasn't there another bill like this a while ago?

One that got shot down because even those who felt that abortion is morally wrong saw it as being a stupid bill?

There was the attempted Mississippi amendment recently, that's the most recent example I know of.


Colorado has actually had two so-called "Personhood Amendments" proposed, and failed at the voting booth, and apparently there's a third being lined up for this year's ballot as well.

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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby BlackSails » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:14 pm UTC

Qaanol wrote:I was presently informed that blood does not actually pass through the placenta. My point still stands.


Blood doesnt pass, but certain things do. For example, the fetus secretes hormones that increase breakdown of the mother's bones, in order to increase the calcium available for its own bones.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Belial » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:22 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:It is rather insulting to assume that I disagree with you because of events during the Civil War.


Yes yes, we each arrived at our opinions through sheer force of the awesomeness that lies in the special snowflake deep in our souls.

That being said, you can absolutely look at the psychology of nations or ethnic populations and so on. Events and conditions shape culture, and culture shapes opinions. To just go ahead and godwin this thread up a little, germany got all pissy in the 40s because they felt they were being shafted by the rest of europe and also they were suffering economically and people start getting bite-y when times are tough. That said, if you'd asked any given german, I'm sure they would've told you that they arrived at their irrational hatred of jews and desire to conquer europe out of pure individual rightness.

To which one would again say: Yes yes, you are a very special snowflake. You, alone, are immune to cultural trends and crowd psychology. Now hush, adults are talking.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Arrian » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:32 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Arrian wrote:3.) The trespass and parasite analogies are incorrect and misleading. Conceiving and carrying a child are natural parts of being human, it's a function of your own biology and it's impossible for the species to survive without that process. Arguing in favor of abortion rights based on trespass is disingenuous and meaningless. It's as absurd as trying to have your uterus arrested for assault when you have menstrual cramps.

This is just invective. Saying that an argument is "incorrect" is a conclusion, not a counterargument. You need to show why the argument is wrong for this to have any persuasive weight.

Ditto for 'And I REALLY hate the "a fetus is a parasite" meme.' Do you, now? Well, then explain why it's wrong. "Junior high science" hardly strikes me as a justification; it's not an empirical question.


Calling pregnancy "trespass" is an incorrect use of the concept of trespass. See points one and two: Your actions created the fetus, the fetus did not do anything actively, much less willfully. Add the next point: It's a function of biology. Result: Use of the concept of trespass is wrong and misleading. Read what I wrote. Also, eviction IS punishment, and in this case a punishment which will result in death.

If you don't have a junior high school level understanding of biology: A parasite is a separate organism that uses the resources of a host to survive and reproduce, to the detriment of the host. Reproduction is creating a new organism in order to carry on the parent's genes. The fact that a fetus is dependent upon its mother to survive does not make it a parasite. Gestation within the mother's body is a reproductive strategy that increases the offspring's chances of survival. Anyone with a junior high level of education that thought about the question seriously would understand that, which tells me that people who call fetuses parasites are either uneducated or haven't actually thought about the question. I am less than thrilled to have either arguing my side in a debate. Or they're trying to be cute, which is fine and dandy over beers at 3am with your friends, but useless or less than useless when you're trying to convince someone to your viewpoint.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Belial » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:37 pm UTC

Arrian wrote:Also, eviction IS punishment


I take issue with this statement. If someone, through no fault of their own, ends up on your property (or in your body, as the case may be), removing them is not a punishment, it's a remedy. It fixes the situation of them being there. To be a punishment, it would need to be intended as a deterrent or some form of retribution, of which it is neither.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:39 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Arrian wrote:Also, eviction IS punishment


I take issue with this statement. If someone, through no fault of their own, ends up on your property (or in your body, as the case may be), removing them is not a punishment, it's a remedy. It fixes the situation of them being there. To be a punishment, it would need to be intended as a deterrent or some form of retribution, of which it is neither.


Whatever you want to call it, eviction means death for the fetus.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:40 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:It is rather insulting to assume that I disagree with you because of events during the Civil War.


Yes yes, we each arrived at our opinions through sheer force of the awesomeness that lies in the special snowflake deep in our souls.

That being said, you can absolutely look at the psychology of nations or ethnic populations and so on. Events and conditions shape culture, and culture shapes opinions. To just go ahead and godwin this thread up a little, germany got all pissy in the 40s 1920s because they felt they were being shafted by the rest of europe and also they were suffering economically and people start getting bite-y when times are tough. That said, if you'd asked any given german, I'm sure they would've told you that they arrived at their irrational hatred of jews and desire to conquer europe out of pure individual rightness.

To which one would again say: Yes yes, you are a very special snowflake. You, alone, are immune to cultural trends and crowd psychology. Now hush, adults are talking.


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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Belial » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:44 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
Belial wrote:
Arrian wrote:Also, eviction IS punishment


I take issue with this statement. If someone, through no fault of their own, ends up on your property (or in your body, as the case may be), removing them is not a punishment, it's a remedy. It fixes the situation of them being there. To be a punishment, it would need to be intended as a deterrent or some form of retribution, of which it is neither.


Whatever you want to call it, eviction means death for the fetus.


And eviction from your apartment means homelessness for you. That doesn't mean that your landlord is inflicting homelessness on you. Your landlord is evicting you because you're no longer welcome there. Your status post-eviction is irrelevant to whether the landlord has the right to throw you out.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:49 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:
Belial wrote:
Arrian wrote:Also, eviction IS punishment


I take issue with this statement. If someone, through no fault of their own, ends up on your property (or in your body, as the case may be), removing them is not a punishment, it's a remedy. It fixes the situation of them being there. To be a punishment, it would need to be intended as a deterrent or some form of retribution, of which it is neither.


Whatever you want to call it, eviction means death for the fetus.


And eviction from your apartment means homelessness for you. That doesn't mean that your landlord is inflicting homelessness on you. Your landlord is evicting you because you're no longer welcome there. Your status post-eviction is irrelevant to whether the landlord has the right to throw you out.


A parent "evicting" his/her child from his house, especially if they're a newborn baby with no ability to survive is a crime.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Qaanol » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:51 pm UTC

Arrian wrote:1.) It's not trespass because your actions forseeably resulted in the other person being in your body. You effectively invited them, and you invited them for the entire 9 month term. Under normal circumstances, where it wouldn't harm someone to uninvite them, you would be able to freely evict them. But in these circumstances, since it will kill the other person to evict them, you cannot do so (for the same reason the gas company can't shut off your gas in January in Minnesota.) The castle doctrine does not apply if you've invited someone onto your property unless they subsequently threaten you, (and in that case, I don't think it's the castle doctrine but straightforward self defense.) This reasoning would probably still allow for abortions in cases of rape, danger to the mother's health, and possibly incest and the presence of genetic or other serious disorders.

Your argument has many flaws. Here are three:
Spoiler:
1. If you invite me into your home, I am allowed to come in. If you later change your mind and tell me to leave, I am not allowed to stay. If I continue to stay, I am trespassing in your home. And unless you signed a contract granting me permission to stay there for 9 months, you are perfectly justified in kicking me out at any time before then.

Now, simple trespass will get me arrested, and it does not give you permission to kill me. But we are not talking about simply trespassing into a home. We are talking about trespassing into your body. The right to bodily autonomy is just as important as the right to life. If someone tries to force something inside your body against your will, then you are justified in shooting to kill.

2 “Foreseeable results” do not constitute a legally binding contract. Unless the mother signed a contract saying she intended to get pregnant, then she did not “invite” the pregnancy in any meaningful way. And unless she signed a contract promising to carry to term any pregnancy resulting from the sexual encounter in question, then she certainly did not invite it for 9 months.

Also, if any sort of birth control was used—or even something the mother believed to be a contraceptive—then your entire argument falls apart completely before it even begins. Suddenly the foreseeable consequence is “have sex and not get pregnant”.

3. The gas company in Minnesota can’t cut off your heat in January because your right to life is far more important than their right to immediate payment. However, in the case at hand, the rights in question are “bodily autonomy of the mother”, meaning her right to control what happens to her body, and “life of the unborn”. Now (if we continue to suppose the unborn is a person) the rights match up, and mother is the victim. Her bodily autonomy has been assaulted—not by the father, but by the unborn child. If she did not sign a contract vowing to carry the pregnancy to term, then the very fact of the pregnancy is a violation of her right to bodily autonomy.

Just like how, when someone points a gun at you then your right to life is being assaulted, similarly when someone else is inside your body against your will then your right to bodily autonomy is being assaulted. In both cases, you the victim are justified in killing the perpetrator to protect your rights. Your right to life trumps the attacker’s right to life, and your right to bodily autonomy trumps the invader’s right to life.

Arrian wrote:2.) We do not execute people who don't intentionally commit crimes, they have to exhibit mens rea. Unborn children certainly didn't willfully trespass in your body because it was only through your actions that they got there. Therefore punishing them for being where you put them goes against our philosophy of justice. (It actually goes against every philosophy of justice that I know of.) This would probably allow for the same exceptions as #1.

It’s not about punishment whatsoever. It’s about protecting your right to bodily autonomy.

Arrian wrote:3.) The trespass and parasite analogies are incorrect and misleading. Conceiving and carrying a child are natural parts of being human, it's a function of your own biology and it's impossible for the species to survive without that process. Arguing in favor of abortion rights based on trespass is disingenuous and meaningless. It's as absurd as trying to have your uterus arrested for assault when you have menstrual cramps.

Bodily. Autonomy.

The argument is this:

The government must not be given the power to force me to let other people use my body for their purposes against my will.

And this is all assuming we even grant so-called “personhood” to the unborn. It’s not a person, and won’t be until it’s born, but even if it were a person, my right to bodily autonomy would still empower me to remove it.

Arrian wrote:I'm personally pro choice, I view it primarily as a civil liberties issue: The individual woman is the only person who is in the position to decide whether she is capable of raising a child, and whether she wants to at this time. I also see a strong societal argument (but that probably wouldn't convince me on its own): People and societies are healthier, happier, and less dysfunctional when women control their fertility. Children are better off when their parents want them and can effectively support them, and children who are better off tend to grow into adults who are better off, etc. etc.

And you somehow see those arguments as more compelling than protecting the right of individuals to their own bodily autonomy?

Arrian wrote:Torturing ideas like trespass to suit your argument don't really help either your argument or he original concept you're misusing. I also really hate seeing people use weak arguments to support the same ideas I support, they get associated with me and my arguments in the minds of our mutual audience.

And I REALLY hate the "a fetus is a parasite" meme. It wouldn't pass muster at a junior high school level of scientific understanding; I might have found it clever when I was 13, but it comes across as juvenile when you're bringing it into a serious discussion of abortion.

There is a (supposedly) living being situated inside your body, living off your nutrients, dissolving your bones to grow its own, making you vomit every morning, that will grow larger and larger until it forces its way out, at which time it will cause irreparable tearing and scarring of your body, possibly killing you, and you don’t think it should be called a “parasite”?

You don’t want it there, you didn’t invite it there, but it is there anyway, and you don’t see that as a form of trespass—into your own body?

Also, this.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Belial » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:53 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:A parent "evicting" his/her child from his house, especially if they're a newborn baby with no ability to survive is a crime.


And that is probably the closest you could get to a rationale. Parental neglect laws. The bit where you have an obligation to see to your child's needs regardless of where they're living.

Which kicks the question back to whether it should apply to things that need to eat your body to live.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby setzer777 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:58 pm UTC

Ignoring abortion debate round 9,086....

Ugh, sometimes it seems like these attacks and restrictions will never let up. I wish someone could come up with a safe reliable method of inducing abortion at home (that doesn't require any controlled substances). I'm not suggesting this is possible at all, but in a sense the need for doctors is really the weak point. If abortion could be made truly private, then all attempts to ban it would be impractical to ever enforce.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby johnny_7713 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:59 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
johnny_7713 wrote:You're assuming all those who are against abortion are male, and all those who are pro-abortion are female.

No I am not. I am assuming that a larger number of women are pro choice, and that by extension, a larger portion of the people who are against abortion are male than female. That is not similar, at all, to saying all for each respective gender. An issue that affects women negatively to a far greater (nearly exclusive, though there are indirect costs for the father) extent is going to cause a greater electoral response from them. Of course not all women are pro-choice- no group is completely uniform in its beliefs. You won't find all hispanics being in favor of things such as the DREAM act, you won't find all blacks voting democrat, nor everyone living in a city in favor of gun restrictions, and you won't see all bankers voting republican. That doesn't mean you can't make an analysis of how the group votes in aggregate, and I am positing that this legislation will have a negative impact on their standing with female voters in the future.


I parsed your original post to mean that only women's votes would be lost and only male's votes would be gained. Thanks for the clarification.

Belial wrote:And eviction from your apartment means homelessness for you. That doesn't mean that your landlord is inflicting homelessness on you. Your landlord is evicting you because you're no longer welcome there. Your status post-eviction is irrelevant to whether the landlord has the right to throw you out.


Not per se. In Holland AFAIK the utility companies are not allowed to close your electricity and gas connections (due to non-payment of bills) if it's below freezing. The Dutch legislature has decided that people's status post utility disconnection is in fact relevant to the utility company's right to stop supplying them with energy. Likewise one could argue that someone's status post eviction should be relevant to a landlord's right to throw that person out. I'm not saying I necessarily agree, but I see it as a valid point of view.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:02 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:A parent "evicting" his/her child from his house, especially if they're a newborn baby with no ability to survive is a crime.


And that is probably the closest you could get to a rationale. Parental neglect laws. The bit where you have an obligation to see to your child's needs regardless of where they're living.

Which kicks the question back to whether it should apply to things that need to eat your body to live.


... Yes?

I mean, if thats all you're gonna say. Then sure, Yes it should apply? We expect parents to take care of their children whether they want to or not. If we take the proposed bill and define a fetus to be a person, then it would also be the child of the parent. Therefore, we should expect the parents to take care of their children. I mean, if you didn't see this argument coming...

But anyway, I'm gonna have to agree to disagree at this point. This debate always goes around in circles.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Belial » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:10 pm UTC

Actually, this is just the point where analogy and precedent break down. We've never really had a time when we both:

A) had no such thing as adoption
B) really gave a shit if people killed their own infants

Infant mortality used to be such a thing that we, collectively, as a society, could not be arsed to care about anything that died before it could talk. Since then, we always have had ways for parents who are not willing to parent to escape their obligations toute de suite. At the point where we extend our sudden-and-convenient giving-of-a-shit all the way back to things that can't even breathe, we are stepping on new moral territory. The trespass question is still relevant because a parent *can* throw their kids out, they just have to throw them a very specific place. The neglect argument is relevant too, and they conflict, because we're trying to apply them both to something that isn't really a thing.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Triangle_Man » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:17 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:Ignoring abortion debate round 9,086....

Ugh, sometimes it seems like these attacks and restrictions will never let up. I wish someone could come up with a safe reliable method of inducing abortion at home (that doesn't require any controlled substances). I'm not suggesting this is possible at all, but in a sense the need for doctors is really the weak point. If abortion could be made truly private, then all attempts to ban it would be impractical to ever enforce.

I don't think that's entirely possible, unfortunately, and even if a method for safe home abortions was created, you can bet that people would still be arguing over the morality of that method.

Or not. I do respect and understand anti-abortion arguments that focus on whether or not the fetus' has a 'right to life' and whether that right is trumped by the potential mother's 'right to autonomy' or similar; hell, that question is part of the reason why I find the actual act of Abortion so troubling in spite of my general 'pro-choice' stance. However, I have some concerns about the number of people on the 'pro-life' side who use fetus arguments and the number of people who operate on a 'women should be discouraged from having sex' line of thought.

Or maybe I'm getting the whole thing wrong. I dunno.

Beliel - Some of the arguments you are making (specifically the tenancy analogy) are made by the author of this philosophy essay. It's an interesting paper in that she assumes that the fetus has a right to life even as she argues a 'pro-choice' stance, and I'd recommend reading it and any related commentary on it.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby setzer777 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:30 pm UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:I don't think that's entirely possible, unfortunately, and even if a method for safe home abortions was created, you can bet that people would still be arguing over the morality of that method.


Sure, but they wouldn't be able to do anything about it. If women could safely abort in the privacy of their own home, using legally obtainable substances (basically stuff with enough other uses that it won't be banned to stop abortion), then in most cases the state would have no way of knowing that she had an abortion.

It's a pipe dream, I know, but it would be awesome if the threat of criminalization could be at least somewhat defanged.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:33 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Actually, this is just the point where analogy and precedent break down. We've never really had a time when we both:

A) had no such thing as adoption
B) really gave a shit if people killed their own infants

Infant mortality used to be such a thing that we, collectively, as a society, could not be arsed to care about anything that died before it could talk. Since then, we always have had ways for parents who are not willing to parent to escape their obligations toute de suite. At the point where we extend our sudden-and-convenient giving-of-a-shit all the way back to things that can't even breathe, we are stepping on new moral territory. The trespass question is still relevant because a parent *can* throw their kids out, they just have to throw them a very specific place. The neglect argument is relevant too, and they conflict, because we're trying to apply them both to something that isn't really a thing.


I graciously accept your olive branch Belial. Thanks for the clean debate.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:43 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:
Triangle_Man wrote:I don't think that's entirely possible, unfortunately, and even if a method for safe home abortions was created, you can bet that people would still be arguing over the morality of that method.


Sure, but they wouldn't be able to do anything about it. If women could safely abort in the privacy of their own home, using legally obtainable substances (basically stuff with enough other uses that it won't be banned to stop abortion), then in most cases the state would have no way of knowing that she had an abortion.

It's a pipe dream, I know, but it would be awesome if the threat of criminalization could be at least somewhat defanged.


Well, strictly speaking there are things that would qualify. They are just not guaranteed to work. You can have tansy flowers in your house or buy papayas at the supermarket for example, but both of these products, when consumed (as a tea, for the former) can induce abortion. Maybe we need to get Monsanto to make a genetically modified papaya with enhanced abortion inducing properties.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Arrian » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:53 pm UTC

Qaanol wrote:[spoiler]1. If you invite me into your home, I am allowed to come in. If you later change your mind and tell me to leave, I am not allowed to stay. If I continue to stay, I am trespassing in your home. And unless you signed a contract granting me permission to stay there for 9 months, you are perfectly justified in kicking me out at any time before then.

...

2 “Foreseeable results” do not constitute a legally binding contract. Unless the mother signed a contract saying she intended to get pregnant, then she did not “invite” the pregnancy in any meaningful way. And unless she signed a contract promising to carry to term any pregnancy resulting from the sexual encounter in question, then she certainly did not invite it for 9 months.


Not entirely true. An airline can cancel their contract with you and refund your money, but they cannot remove you from their airplane 30,000 feet over Des Moines no matter how badly you violated the terms of their contract. Like johnny_7713 wrote about Holland, but also true of the US: The gas company cannot shut off your gas in Minnesota in the winter because it would likely lead to you and your family's death, but it's fine to do so in June, or in Texas.

It's also legal to trespass in order to save your own life. If your car breaks down in a blizzard, you can legally break into a house to use the phone and call for help. You'll have to prove that you absolutely had to, but that's not going to be a difficult hurdle for a fetus.

3. The gas company in Minnesota can’t cut off your heat in January because your right to life is far more important than their right to immediate payment. However, in the case at hand, the rights in question are “bodily autonomy of the mother”, meaning her right to control what happens to her body, and “life of the unborn”. Now (if we continue to suppose the unborn is a person) the rights match up, and mother is the victim. Her bodily autonomy has been assaulted—not by the father, but by the unborn child. If she did not sign a contract vowing to carry the pregnancy to term, then the very fact of the pregnancy is a violation of her right to bodily autonomy.


Bodily autonomy I agree with. There's no need to bring up a trespass argument.

However, I do not see a direct, natural reason why bodily autonomy for a woman would trump life for a child if you define the fetus as a child as soon as the egg is fertilized. My reasoning for disagreeing with a bill defining a fetus as a person at conception is that a fetus cannot survive on its own until late into pregnancy. Indeed, I understand that it is relatively common for an egg to be fertilized but fail to get to full term naturally, there are a lot of things that can and do go wrong. It is a potential person, but not yet an actual person. I am comfortable with defining life at the point where a fetus is viable on its own, which is several weeks before birth, generally, but it is part of a woman's body until then.

Keep the trespass out, it complicates the argument and, if anything, cedes the personhood argument to the pro-lifers. Once you acknowledge a fetus as a person, you've got a huge hill to climb to justify the autonomy of the mother trumping the life of the child. I'm pro choice, but I can't think of an argument that would convince me of that: Could you be convinced that the autonomy of the mother would allow her to euthanize an infant?


The argument is this:

The government must not be given the power to force me to let other people use my body for their purposes against my will.

And this is all assuming we even grant so-called “personhood” to the unborn. It’s not a person, and won’t be until it’s born, but even if it were a person, my right to bodily autonomy would still empower me to remove it.


Then make that argument. Don't bring up something orthogonal to it like trespass. And you have to make a VERY strong argument about why your bodily autonomy trumps another person's life if you concede the personhood of the fetus. Why does your bodily autonomy trump the life of an unborn person but not the life of a born person?

Arrian wrote:I'm personally pro choice, I view it primarily as a civil liberties issue: The individual woman is the only person who is in the position to decide whether she is capable of raising a child, and whether she wants to at this time. I also see a strong societal argument (but that probably wouldn't convince me on its own): People and societies are healthier, happier, and less dysfunctional when women control their fertility. Children are better off when their parents want them and can effectively support them, and children who are better off tend to grow into adults who are better off, etc. etc.

And you somehow see those arguments as more compelling than protecting the right of individuals to their own bodily autonomy?


Well, I'm pretty sure what I call civil liberties you call bodily autonomy. But if not, ,then yes. And I don't even find the "good for society" argument very compelling. Such are the joys of subjectivity.

Arrian wrote:...
And I REALLY hate the "a fetus is a parasite" meme. It wouldn't pass muster at a junior high school level of scientific understanding; I might have found it clever when I was 13, but it comes across as juvenile when you're bringing it into a serious discussion of abortion.

There is a (supposedly) living being situated inside your body, living off your nutrients, dissolving your bones to grow its own, making you vomit every morning, that will grow larger and larger until it forces its way out, at which time it will cause irreparable tearing and scarring of your body, possibly killing you, and you don’t think it should be called a “parasite”?


No, it's how our species reproduces. Our species wouldn't exist if that didn't happen, in fact, it's the primary biological reason for your individual existence: It's how you pass your genes along. Just because it damages your body and is difficult doesn't make it parasitism. We're lucky: There are plenty of species where mothers don't survive childbirth by design.

You don’t want it there, you didn’t invite it there, but it is there anyway, and you don’t see that as a form of trespass—into your own body?
...


also, from earlier:

Also, if any sort of birth control was used—or even something the mother believed to be a contraceptive—then your entire argument falls apart completely before it even begins. Suddenly the foreseeable consequence is “have sex and not get pregnant”.


Sorry, but the only way for it to get there was through your actions. Even if you used birth control and didn't want it, there is still the possibility of pregnancy. Low probability does not equal unforeseeable. Every form of birth control I've seen carries the disclaimer that it's not 100% effective, so it's foreseeable that your actions will potentially cause pregnancy. Taking responsibility for your actions is the other side of the bodily autonomy coin. (And yes, rape is the exception to this.)
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Diadem » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:55 pm UTC

Belial wrote:And eviction from your apartment means homelessness for you. That doesn't mean that your landlord is inflicting homelessness on you. Your landlord is evicting you because you're no longer welcome there. Your status post-eviction is irrelevant to whether the landlord has the right to throw you out.

Not in my country. Not in most of Europe in fact. America is in fact a bit of an anomaly in that regard, with their castle doctrine and their rather extremist few of what personal liberty means.

I don't think the "A fetus is a parasite' line of reasoning is a good one though. Or at least not a smart one. Because it contradicts with the most important argument in favour of abortion: "A fetus is my property, I get to do with it as I wish". Something can't be both a parasite and your property, that doesn't make sense.

Using the 'fetus is a parasite' argument you'll invariably end up in arguments like "But what if the mother willingly had sex" or even "But what if she wanted to get pregnant but changed her mind". It's a sticky slippery slope (yes! That makes sense!) that's best avoided. Because there are so much stronger and better arguments.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Belial » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:01 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Something can't be both a parasite and your property, that doesn't make sense.


Yes it does? Parasites are animals. We can own animals. If I have hookworms, I can say they're my hookworms to nuke with anti-parasitics or to keep onboard as a controversial IBS remedy.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Diadem » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:31 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Diadem wrote:Something can't be both a parasite and your property, that doesn't make sense.


Yes it does? Parasites are animals. We can own animals. If I have hookworms, I can say they're my hookworms to nuke with anti-parasitics or to keep onboard as a controversial IBS remedy.

It is always interesting when you say something that you haven't given much thought, because you think it's obvious, and someone disagrees with it.

I will have to give this some thought when I have time.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby Angua » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:41 pm UTC

I'd like to point out that as someone studying medicine at what I'm told is a fairly good school, the more I learn about gestation, the more I'm convinced foetuses are very comparable to parasites. They burrow into the womb. They do lots of stuff to the mother's physiology so it suits them better (which parasites also do).

If I had time I would rant about just everything a foetus does to the woman's body. Even subtle things like changing her breathing patterns! Very creepy if you ask me.

Of course, my mother lovingly labled my ultrasound picture as 'para' (guess what that was short for), so go figure. She also had a degree in biology though, so not that uneducated.
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Re: Virginia's New Restrictive Abortion Bills (Trigger Warni

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:42 pm UTC

Arrian wrote:
2 “Foreseeable results” do not constitute a legally binding contract. Unless the mother signed a contract saying she intended to get pregnant, then she did not “invite” the pregnancy in any meaningful way. And unless she signed a contract promising to carry to term any pregnancy resulting from the sexual encounter in question, then she certainly did not invite it for 9 months.


Not entirely true. An airline can cancel their contract with you and refund your money, but they cannot remove you from their airplane 30,000 feet over Des Moines no matter how badly you violated the terms of their contract. Like johnny_7713 wrote about Holland, but also true of the US: The gas company cannot shut off your gas in Minnesota in the winter because it would likely lead to you and your family's death, but it's fine to do so in June, or in Texas.


I think the key point here is that it's not a contract in the first place. The woman agreed (or didn't, as the case may be) to a sexual encounter with a particular person. That doesn't imply that she agreed to have anything to do with a third person. Particularly in the case of the mother using a contraceptive, there is a strong case to be made that she was in fact actively and expressly denying the use of her body.

Arrian wrote:However, I do not see a direct, natural reason why bodily autonomy for a woman would trump life for a child if you define the fetus as a child as soon as the egg is fertilized.


I'm just going to leave the Thomson Violinist thought experiment as a possible explanation. But there are lots of lines of reasoning that demand this proposition to be true. For example, it would basically rule out killing in self-defense in many circumstances (eg. if I kidnap you, you have no right to kill me and escape, because my right to life trumps your right to be free).

Arrian wrote:Keep the trespass out, it complicates the argument and, if anything, cedes the personhood argument to the pro-lifers. Once you acknowledge a fetus as a person, you've got a huge hill to climb to justify the autonomy of the mother trumping the life of the child. I'm pro choice, but I can't think of an argument that would convince me of that: Could you be convinced that the autonomy of the mother would allow her to euthanize an infant?


Uh... the infant is not impeding directly on the mother's body. This is no conflict of rights in that instance.


Why does your bodily autonomy trump the life of an unborn person but not the life of a born person?


It does in both cases. You have the right to kill someone in self defense if they are intending to harm or rape you, for example. Or see the violinist example above.
Last edited by LaserGuy on Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:43 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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