Monday, January 22, 2007

Why Jere Is Pro-Choice

That this is even up for debate is an insult to all human beings. As a person, I have the right to decorate and alter my body, to ingest and insert things into it, to remove and reject things from it. If it lacks something that keeps it healthy (or unhealthy, if I choose), I can add to it. If it contains something I don't want, I can subtract from it.

I'll never know what it feels like to have another being living inside me. And maybe that is the most precious thing that one can have inside itself. But whatever's inside me is still part of me. I can do what I want with it.

At some point, somewhere in history, a man, seeing he didn't have this power that only females do, decided he wanted to take control of it. I can't imagine being told I can't do what I want with my own self, nor would I ever try to tell someone what they can do with theirs. But somehow, a lot of people latched onto this idea that the decision-making of a certain segment of the population can be controlled. This absolutely has to stop. Nothing is more important than a person's right to choose. You've got a tumor inside you, and you don't want it there, by all means, have it removed. You've got a fetus inside you, and you don't want it there, same story. If you give birth, it becomes a person and has all the rights you do. Until then, it is you. And you are in charge of you.

Two of my favorite pro-choice stories come from comedians. One is from the late Bill Hicks, who said, "You're not a person 'til you're in my phone book." He also asked why if pro-lifers care so much about babies, why don't they adopt one who's already here, unwanted and unloved? (He follws that with, "Why don't I do that? Because I hate fuckin' kids and couldn't give a fuck..." I mean, he was doing a comedy routine after all.)

The other story came from Dennis Miller. (Before we lost Dennis to the dark side, he had some good ideas, and I thought he was pretty funny.) He basically said that everyone has the right to choose, and I'm paraphrasing: "One person's Ace Frehley is another person's Peter Criss, that's why there were four separate KISS solo albums."

Words to live by. What kind of world would it be if we all liked Gene the most? Okay, bad example. It'd be a fire-breathing, blood-spitting, paradisical rockfest. But what kind of world would it be if we all liked Ringo the most?

Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007

Well said, my friend.
I just hate to see what happens to the poor 3rd party in the middle of this Choice.
Lauren, thanks. Michael, I know you have strong feelings on this topic from before. And you have the right to your opinion just like everyone else. Just know that in some cases, a mother could die in childbirth, and that's a much worse fate than what a bunch of cells goes through when being aborted. In fact, the pain of simply giving birth (something you and I could never, ever, ever, ever, relate to) is more painful than what a fetus might go through. But this is all the beside the point that it's her body, not anyone elses. So why should anyone else determine what she does?
If the 3rd party eventually becomes a person and is born into a dire situation, then said 3rd party could wind up on the streets, on drugs, deprived of love, support and all the other advantages that planned children take for granted.
Indeed, Oh-too'.

I enjoyed your post about this as well. This exercise is like... the Red Sox. You can around to different blogs and get everyone's unique take on the same topic.
"That this is even up for debate is an insult to all human beings"

No, it's not. In fact, it's shit like this that makes everyone think it's acceptable to turn the other side of the debate into a "villain."

Listen, I'm pro-choice. But the debate isn't an insult to anyone- it's pretty simple: do you believe life starts at conception or not? Science hasn't determined this with any certainty yet, and so it's a matter of POV- if you do, you'd find abortion to murderous. If you don't, you find it a matter of personal choice.

Nothing insulting about that to anyone.
I wonder if the man is also considered to be a murderer, even if he wants the abortion, too. Or is he just an accomplice? Like the dude who drives the getaway car. No one ever really talks about that. It's so shitty that everything gets dumped on the girl.
The debate is whether a woman has the choice to do what she wants with her own body. If anyone told you you couldn't do what you want with your own body, how would you react. Imagine if you had to worry that you might not have a choice. That's what we're talking about here.

What there is no debate about is that you are very rude to come to someone's space where you've been graciously allowed by that person to post comments, and instead of simply voicing your own opinion, you label the other person's "shit."

Why try to hurt my feelings? I never did anything to you.
My above comment is directed at the Trot guy.
Firstly, try not to be so sensitive. I'm only offering another point of view.

It's pretty simple though- the debate on abortion isn't an insult to anyone. It just isn't- one side (our side) views it as an issue of personal choice- we view it like that because we think life does not start at conception.

The other side views it as an issue of child's rights because they think life starts at conception.

I'm sorry if it rubs you the wrong way, but labeling the other side of a legitimate and honest debate as an "insult to people" is just incorrect. It's attitudes like that that foster the animosity inherent in this particular issue.
BULLSHIT. I will be as sensitive as I want and there's nothing you can do about it! First you come on here and say what I have to say is shit. You seem to think you have this all figured out. You're telling me what I think. You know what? We don't all think like you. I don't care if a million fucking scientists prove it on a big green chalkboard. No matter what's going on inside a person's body is THEIR OWN BUSINESS.

What I am pissed off about (aside from you trying to tell me what to do and calling my opinion shit and then expecting me to just believe that yours is the correct one) is that society has turned this issue into a debate. Imagine if suddenly big, important government agencies started saying, Gee, should men really be allowed to pee between 4 and 6? Why don't we just debate that? And if the law passes, sorry, you're all screwed, even though it's YOUR bodily function.
Wow. Oooookay.
The comeback of the year, ladies and gentlemen! By Mr. "I'm pro-choice (unless science proves life starts at conception, in which case it's Sorry, Ladies!)"

(I can't believe L-Girl's missing this by being at the fortress of solitude...)

At the page that started this Blog for Choice Day, my site is listed and it includes the movie line at the top of this blog. "Does everyone have brown gloves?" It's from American Movie, and it's hilarious on its own, but even more funny among the serious blog titles over there.
That's not what I said.

You seem to prefer approaching this with emotion instead of logic, which I'm arguing is a detriment to the entire debate. That's where the "wow, OK" comment came from. You kind of freaked out there on me, where I'm not exactly breaking new ground here. I just take huge exception with the "insult to humanity" line. It's totally insulting to honest people who think otherwise.

Either way, what I said was that the abortion debate was a simple matter of perspective on each side- either you think life starts at conception, or you don't. Since science hasn't proven anything yet, no one can claim to be "right" here. But each perspective is essentially just a set of opinions derived from how you view that question. You and I (I'm guessing) don't think it starts at conception, so we naturally feel that telling a woman what do with her body and dealing with a clump of cells is not COnstitutional.

But if you think it DOES start then, you think that its a baby, and you think that baby is being murdered. Then, it's an issue of protecting what's ostensibly an unprotected child. Just a matter of perspective.

Once you look at it that way, you can share some empathy for people on the other side of the equation. Also, when you look at it that way, you realize that even having the debate is not, in fact, an "insult to humanity."
Just to clarify though- if science proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that life, did, in fact, start at conception- you'd still find abortion acceptable?
That's my whole point. I don't care what she's got in there. I think--call me crazy--that people should have the right to do what they want with their bodies. Even if I was completely opposed to the idea, and no matter what science or religion says about it, I still would want the person to have the choice. I think it's ridiculous that any man would try to take that choice away from a woman. Or to even say, Yeah, okay, we know you want the right to choose, and that's cool, but you just wait over there and we'll talk about it, make our decision and get back to you.

That's why I say it's an insult to people to say, We, the more important people will decide what you can or cannot do WITHIN your body. It sounds like slavery to me.
Well, first of all, I don't know why you're making it out to be a monolithic conspiracy of "men" taking away women's rights. There are men and women on both side of the issue.

If there is scientific evidence without any doubt that the cluster of cells in a woman is, in fact, a life, abortion would be, in effect, killing a life, right? I mean, if you still don't care about even that, that's your opinion, and it's fine- I just want to clarify that. A fact like that does muddy the "woman's body" issue, because then you are ending another life- basically taking the choice of protecting the rights of a woman and her body over the rights of a defenseless life. Again- in theory.

That's fine, of course- I am fine with that, and that's my point. The issue is way too complex to be ridiculed as being an insult to humanity. NOw you've got me playing Devil's Advocate here, when my only point was that your initial sentence there was, in my opinion, incorrect and insulting.

I take issue with a lot of your analogies too, but the core idea- women should have the right to choose and govern their bodies- I whole heartedly support and agree with, and that's more important on BLog for Choice Day (or any day, really). Didn't mean to cause a stir. Sorry.
I think the problem is, we're talking about two different things. I started my post by saying "The fact that THIS is up for debate...."

THIS meaning "does a woman have a right to choose or does she not have a right to choose." While I didn't clarify that in that opening statement, I did with the rest of the post.

Yes, you can debate whether or not life starts at conception. But that's not the debate I'm talking about. I am saying that I can't believe someone other than the woman herself--men or women, but especially men in a case where only a female can ever have this particular thing happen to them--would have the audacity to think they can make that person's decision for them.
That "if science proved it was a 'life'" thing is a weird line of argument. It isn't really like that. There isn't a test you can apply to things that determines whether or not they are 'life' that is objective. You are killing some cells, and they don't have any special, magical, property that differentiates them from extracted liver cells or heart cells or whatever--besides that they are potential life. But there are a lot of things that meet that standard.

I think the divide sort of boils down to whether or not people are able to realize that there are limits to what they know. If you can, you are happy to let people think whatever they want and mind your own business. The point is that we aren't awaiting proof or something, this is the limit to our knowledge right now. And some folks don't realize that they aren't actually sure that those cells are 'life' from the start. If they did, even though they lack common sense, they would grant everyone else the right to make up their minds about it and just worry about themselves, since, you know, it isn't their place to be telling a bunch of strangers what to do with their bodies. This is why a lot of people emphasize the "choice" part of "pro-choice." You don't know, so mind your own business.

This is what I wish the opposition would do, the actual point of contension does not seem up for grabs. If it wasn't for that a lot of preconceived notions and outside influence from those old men who want to control women they don't know, I think it simply wouldn't occur to hardly anyone that fetuses = real life people.
It takes the arrogance of religious thought (almost always) to make people feel the need to force these bizarre, anti-common-sensical opinions on others.

I wonder, what is it about this topic that makes many typically non-confrontational people like myself write long polemicals on comment pages? I think it is that everyone knows barely enough about the different aspects of it to form an opinion, but no one knows enough about the opposing side or convincing others to just end the argument. Except for me and Jere.
"That "if science proved it was a 'life'" thing is a weird line of argument. It isn't really like that. There isn't a test you can apply to things that determines whether or not they are 'life' that is objective."

It was simply a hypothetical. You're absolutely right, and it's way each side feels wholly vindicated in the debate.
"I think the divide sort of boils down to whether or not people are able to realize that there are limits to what they know."

So true. I feel that way about religion as a whole. People can do what they want, and if it helps them to believe in certain things, that's great. As much as I'd like to know everything about everything, I am fine with the fact that I don't know what happens to my "soul"--or whatever it is I'm feeling inside of me, my consciousness, I guess--after my body dies. It could just shut off for eternity like a light switch, it could go to some magical cloud-land with chocolate fountains of delight, it could go into the body of a bee, where I'll get to sting kids with my butt and have sex with flowers. But I fully admit that I don't know. So it kind of ticks me off when people act like they know, especially when they try to push it on me.

Anyway, nice call, Ryan.
I completely respect all of your views on this subject, and correct me if I'm wrong, but if you are going to take the 'let's all accept that we just don't know' idea isn't it safe to assume that both sides have valid points? I too am pro-choice but it is a decision that I come to with great difficulty. By the time a woman finds out she is pregnant (missed period, etc) the 'clump of cells' is already in the embryonic stage and implanted into her uterine wall. It really is so much more than those first dividing cells. Also, just because it is dependent off of the woman for survival that is also true for a full-term birthed baby. So, I really am not trying to debate whether or not it is life because I just don't know and that is why coming to any decision is very hard for me.
I guess my point is that while I don't know what's going on inside a fetus' brain, or, I guess, soul, for that matter, or when you can officially say that life starts--all of which can and will be debated, which I have no problem with--, the one thing that I DO know is that it's going on inside another person's body. I understand as much a non-female possibly can what an incredibly difficult position that is to be in: Should I allow this person inside me to have a life on Earth, for possibly 100 years, where they could do so much, maybe even change the world, or should I end it for them right now, forever? And regardless of what I THINK she should do, or what I would do if I were here, the decision is absolutley hers.

That's the part that isn't a debate. I don't even feel comfortable saying, "I FEEL she should be allowed to do what she wants with her body." Why should I be allowed to have an opinion on that? The choice is hers. I can say, again, what I'd do, or what I think she should do IF it were my decision, but it's not my decision so it doesn't matter.

That's what I like about the term pro-choice. It just means I think humans should have a choice. Regardless of what I think of the details of the choice being made.

Thanks for writing in with your opinion, Kara. Oh, and to answer your question: yes, both sides have valid points--in that other argument about life and when it starts and all that fun stuff.
>>Should I allow this person inside me to have a life on Earth, for possibly 100 years, where they could do so much, maybe even change the world, or should I end it for them right now, forever? And regardless of what I THINK she should do, or what I would do if I were here, the decision is absolutley hers.<<

Try to think about what it might be like for a woman - by herself - to make this call. Bear in mind that there are a million complexities within.
Wait, I think you missed something. Or I did, or something. Are you talking to me? I'm confused. You seem to be just making my point. I was saying that I DO understand how hard that is--as much as a person who'll never have to make that decision can.
Or are you saying, on top of the decision, imagine if she also had nowhere to turn for advice? Because, yeah, that would be shitty, too. I didn't say she wasn't allowed to listen to people who may be trying to help. Again, her choice how she goes about making the decision, and hers alone on what that decision will be.
Okay, I got out of bed to come back to the computer. I think you're just trying to tell me what it's like since I can't possibly know. I guess I just saw the "bear in mind" and took it as "you haven't thought of this:" as if I was pretending to know what it's like, when actually I said I couldn't know what it's like--just that I realize, as much as I possibly can, how hard it must be.
I was trying to point out that even though it's good for a woman to have the freedom to make this decision, she has to deal with all of the psychological repercussions by herself. In most cases.

"Bear in mind" was used in an effort to elaborate on your earlier point. Sorry if it came across in a different or confusing way.
Right. Got it. I don't want people to think I was making it sound like "letting someone live" = good, and "not letting them live" = bad. As we know, the best decision can be to not give birth, of course. (Again, doesn't really matter what the "best" decision is, because it's her choice.) But I was just trying to show the magnitude of the decision, and how, yes, she's the one who has to make it and live with it, and that, aside from the million other things that go along with it, it probably more difficult than anything I'll ever have to deal with.
Thanks for Blogging for Choice, Jere. I couldn't read the debate because it makes me too angry (irrational, violent, insane, etc.). I just want to add that life does begin at conception - clearly, some form of life has begun at that point - and I am still 100% - 100,000,000% - pro-choice.

There are all different forms of life. Animals are alive - we kill them and eat them. Plants are alive. Fetuses are alive. But they are not yet human beings.

And p.s. the soldiers fighting in Iraq are human beings too, and so is everyone on death row. So it's not really a debate about life, is it?

Thanks again, Jere. Apologies if this repeats something already here in this debate. Hopefully it just reinforces what someone else has already said.
"(I can't believe L-Girl's missing this by being at the fortress of solitude...)"

Thanks, Jere. :-)

In some sense, I'm missing the whole thing now, and Canada is my Fortress of Solitude. I used to live in this movement 24/7. It's nice to live someplace where this question is settled and over with.
"There are all different forms of life. Animals are alive - we kill them and eat them. Plants are alive. Fetuses are alive. But they are not yet human beings."

Essentially my initial point vis a vis life and conception was shorthand (or poorly expressed) for your last sentence. Ultimately these are semantics and mine was simply a hypothetical, but yes, the issue is more accurately portrayed as whether you feel it is a human being at the stage of abortion or not.

Again, I don't believe so, which is why I'm pro-choice. I'm just promoting a more tolerant dialogue, wherein you vehemently disagree with pro-life point of view, but accept that it's simply a matter of perspective. They see the fetus as a human being, and think it's being killed- which they believe should trump the woman's right to choose that. I don't agree, but I can see that if I was fervent in my belief that the fetus being aborted was a human, I may feel the same way.

I think it's just my nature to try and really empathize with both sides of most debates.
I don't understand. Can't someone be vehemently against the act of abortion, think that's it's wrong, immoral, whatever, but still realize and respect the fact that SOMEONE ELSE is allowed to do it if they want to?

I also like what Laura said about the troops. It goes a long with what 02145 always says--how a lot of pro-life people, in the ultimate irony, don't seem to give a shit about life, and prove it in so many ways. Save that fetus, and then, they're on their own! Fuck 'em!
I don't have empathy for anyone who wants to take basic human rights away from someone else. I respect people's views on why they THINK abortion is wrong and why THEY wouldn't do it and when THEY think life starts and can empathize with them in a debate about those things. They may even win those debates. But there's no debate on whether a person has the right to choose what they do with their own body.
"I don't understand. Can't someone be vehemently against the act of abortion, think that's it's wrong, immoral, whatever, but still realize and respect the fact that SOMEONE ELSE is allowed to do it if they want to?"

In theory, sure. In practice, to this group of people, they simply see it as a human life being taken.

So essentially, it's a debate over the perception that the rights of a woman to do whatever she chooses with her body against the perception that an ostensibly defenseless "human" should be protected against forces seeking to "harm" it. They're saying they do not hold the same one over the other as you.

These people think that the woman's right to govern what happens to her body is trumped once that fetus becomes a "human being," because you'd in effect be "killing" the human being. I'm saying that if I was somehow certain that was a human being, I may tend to agree- because then you're talking about violating the rights of the body/ life of that human in the interest of preserving the body/ rights of it's carrier. I don't think that holds up. Again, so I'm clear- these are hypotheticals. I feel fairly certain that a fetus is not a human being, and that a woman's right to choose how to govern her body is absolutely the right thing. I do not doubt this.

I just generally don't subscribe to the notion that the other side is specifically rejecting the idea that a woman have a right to govern her body as much as I think they're attempting to "protect" these "children."

There are definite hypocracies that spiral out from the entire debate, and the pick-and-choose nature of right wingers approach to protecting "life" is definitely one of them.

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