South Dakota: Where women are treated as cows

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85 comments posted
Conception science

Hi media girl,

Your post asks, "Does life really begin at conception? Where is this scientific evidence?"

Numerous textbooks in embryology clearly state that at conception a life has begun. I have some more at my blog if your interested but I've provided a few below. Do you have any evidence from science that says life begins at implantation or birth?

Why are children not children until they're born? How does a journey of nine or inches make a non-child into a child?

-"Although human life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed. ... The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity." (O'Rahilly, Ronan and Müller, Fabiola. Human Embryology and Teratology, 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996, pp. 8, 29).

-"Almost all higher animals start their lives from a single cell, the fertilized ovum (zygote). ... The time of fertilization represents the starting point in the life history, or ontogeny, of the individual." (Carlson, Bruce M., Patten's Foundations of Embryology, 6th edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996, p.3.)

-"Fertilization is a sequence of events that begins with the contact of a sperm (spermatozoon) with a secondary oocyte (ovum) and ends with the fusion of their pronuclei (the haploid nuclei of the sperm and ovum) and the mingling of their chromosomes to form a new cell. This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning, or primordium, of a human being."

[Moore, Keith L. Essentials of Human Embryology. Toronto: B.C. Decker Inc, 1988, p.2]

-"The development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote."

[Langman, Jan. Medical Embryology. 3rd edition. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1975, p. 3]

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 27 December 2005 - 10:52am
Instant baby!
  1. Spill seed into a woman of chilbearing years
  2. Optional: Repeat step 1

And you're done! You have a baby. Oh, never mind the nine months' gestation needed to actually make the baby. That's just irrelevant!

Never mind the nutrition from the woman. Never mind the billions upon billions of processes that must happen for an actual baby to result.

New math: potential baby = baby.

Babies are more than a jumble of genetics, Jivin.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 27 December 2005 - 11:09am
What happened to science?

Hi Media Girl,

You asked where the scientific evidence was and I provided some. Your response?

I never said that a newborn child is completely the result of spilling semen into a woman of child bearing years. That's a complete strawman.

You've also provided no reasoning for some of your assertions like how birth (a journey of nine inches) makes non-child into a child?

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 28 December 2005 - 7:45am
Where to start?

In fact, it's not very helpful to argue when "life" begins ... b/c we end up with arguments like yours, which would result in every spontaneous abortion requiring a police investigation. If you define that bundle of cells as "life", and that "life" = child, then one would have to determine if the termination of that child was a result of natural causes or perhaps manslaughter or murder. Was it b/c the mother smoked when she was younger? Maybe she got drunk before she knew she was pregnant and it damaged the fetus? Nature aborts far more fetuses than women choose to abort ... should we investigate every one? I know women are really an after-thought to this political movement, but are you really ready to make the "Handmaid's Tale" a reality? Because if the woman is just the "vessel" for this life YOU declare a "child", then the owner of that womb is subject to the control of the state, and thus a slave to the state. To "save" these lives (well, the male ones, since the female ones will only be of worth due to their eventually fertile wombs) are you willing to enslave half the populace?

However, lets be honest here. The real question is: when do these cells become a legal entity requiring the protection of the state? In other words, not just "alive" (slime molds and viruses are "alive") but when does a collection of human chromosomes become a PERSON? This isn't a question for science; it's a question for metaphysics (or theology, which is just metaphysics dressed up in fancy clothes and a funny hat). How do we define "person" ... and does a legal "person" differ from a living and breathing "person"?

Roe sought to find a compromise, giving the woman's rights priority in the first trimester and slowly asserting the state's responsibilty to maintain some limits until the third trimester, by which time many states require that elective abortions only be performed to preserve the life or health of the mother. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 98% of all non-spontaneous abortions happen in the first trimester.

The intellectual dishonesty of the Women's Enslavement Movement never seizes to amaze me. Flowery religious language is flung about, then emotional talk about "saving the babies" followed by self-rightous assertions of the biological sciences, sciences that are otherwise scorned by a sizable portion of the WEM. Meanwhile, actual living and breathing children, not yet old enough to assert their rights as legal persons, are left to the vagaries of the life into which they are born. If HALF of the effort was actually directed at saving the actual living and breathing ON THEIR OWN children we've brought into the world I'd be much more impressed that the WEM gave a rat's ass about children, and NOT just about asserting their religious beliefs into the lives of women.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 27 December 2005 - 1:46pm
Re: Where to start?

Arguments like mine? Do you mean scientific reality that at conception a human life has begun?

Every miscarriage would require a police investigation? Since when? Did that happen when abortion was illegal?

Since when is not having the right to kill another human being the equivalent of slavery?

So it seems that at least someone here recognizes that the unborn are alive. What's the difference between a human being and a person? And why should anyone accept your definition of personhood over the definition of someone who says women aren't persons? The problem with the category of personhood is that it is almost always used by one group of human beings to arbitrarily discriminate against another group of human beings.

Actually Roe didn't do anything to limit abortions in the second trimester. It merely allowed that the state could limit who and where second trimester abortions are performed. In the third trimester, it limit abortions based on the woman's life and health but in Doe v. Bolton went on to accept a very broad definition of health to include : "all-factors- physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age.." so in other words - anything a woman can think up and an abortionist will agree to.

Your first trimester statistic is incorrect. According to the CDC's 2002 abortion surveliance report - 6% of abortion were performed at 13-15 weeks, 4.1% were performed at 16-20 weeks and 1.4% were performed after 20 weeks.

Have I been intellectually dishonest? I provided quotes from embryology textbooks when Media Girl asked about the scientific evidence for life beginning at conception and then asked her for some reasoning to back up her assertions. What religious beliefs have I asserted? Your last paragraph is an ad hominem attack. It personally attacks prolife people for their supposed lack of interest in helping born children instead of attacking their arguments.

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 28 December 2005 - 8:03am
Your argument

does nothing of the sort. It begs the question, that's all. Some cells are alive w/ human chromosomes. Bundles of living human chromosomes get flushed down the toilet alive all the time. So what? The question is when does that bundle of cells become a person, something which you avoid. In your black and white world, blunt assertions of tautalogical truths (fetuses are alive, well duh) serves to reinforce you faith-based belief that that fact REQUIRES that the LAW treat those cells to all the same protections as an actual living-and-breathing person. The law is all about shades-of-gray definitions of "personhood".

Science doesn't provide those kinds of answers. Science gives blunt descriptions of natural processes based on reproducable observations. Just stating some fact of biological processes doesn't help you, at all.

So we're left with the law, which doesn't really even pretend to offer the kinds of certainties that science and religion do (science by limiting what it describes, religion by spouting whatever crap is convenient to reinforce its belief system). Law is messy and always moving. It consists of an amorphous collection of statutes and case laws, blunt declarations and slippery traditions. There are long legal traditions describing what a "person" was. For a long time, only males who owned property qualified. Everyone else was some gradiation of property. In this country, it's come to mean a human being who is "living and breathing". Roe's compromise was built around this idea, with more and more protection as the fetus is able to "live and breathe" on its own, thus the trimester scheme, but the first priority being the ACTUALLY "living and breathing" human being, the mother. How casually you dismiss her needs with "anything a woman can think up." Such contempt.

Oh, and "Roe didn't do anything to limit abortions in the second trimester" is contradicted by the next sentence, "It merely allowed that the state could limit who and where second trimester abortions are performed". See, there is that word "LIMIT" in there, which is exactly what I said.

As for your point about my statistics, I pulled it out of my ass. So lets find the real ones:

A total of 854,122 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC for 2002 from 49 reporting areas, representing a 0.1% increase from the 853,485 legal induced abortions reported by the same 49 reporting areas for 2001. The abortion ratio, defined as the number of abortions per 1,000 live births, was 246 in 2002, the same as reported for 2001. The abortion rate was 16 per 1,000 women aged 15--44 years for 2002, the same as for 2001. For the same 48 reporting areas, the abortion rate remained relatively constant during 1997--2002.

The highest percentages of reported abortions were for women who were unmarried (82%), white (55%), and aged <25 years (51%). Of all abortions for which gestational age was reported, 60% were performed at <8 weeks' gestation and 88% at <13 weeks. From 1992 (when detailed data regarding early abortions were first collected) through 2002, steady increases have occurred in the percentage of abortions performed at <6 weeks' gestation. A limited number of abortions was obtained at >15 weeks' gestation, including 4.1% at 16--20 weeks and 1.4% at >21 weeks. A total of 35 reporting areas submitted data stating that they performed and enumerated medical (nonsurgical) procedures, accounting for 5.2% of all known reported procedures from the 45 areas with adequate reporting on type of procedure.

So, 88% vs 98%. I apologize for that, but we can see that the vast majority happened earlier in the pregnancy. Your assumption that that roughly 6% were performed as the result of some kind of flighty lark on the part of the women and those greedy abortionists betrays a deep abiding contempt for women and the very serious decisions they have to make about their health. Having witnessed that contempt my entire life, I feel perfectly comfortable launching ad hominem attacks at a political movement that is seeking to turn back the hands of time and rob women over the right to control their own destinies. If HALF the energy devoted to carrying around pictures of fetuses had been directed at ending childhood hunger, we wouldn't have one of the highest childhood poverty rates in the western world. The plain fact of the matter is that the vast majority of Women's Enslavement zealots are concerned with asserting their faith-based worldview on others, and demanding that sex remain something risky and shameful. I feel no compunction against launching piles of contempt your way. I find the "pro-life" movement to be a reprehensible and shameful segment of the body politic in this country. They make me ashamed of my fellow Americans and the large number of them who revel in ignorance, superstition and bigotry. Your crack about how women choose this medical procedure as some kind of meaningless thing has earned you every measure of contempt I can toss your way.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 28 December 2005 - 10:18am
Bundle of Cells?

Madman,

I have to agree with Jivin. You say:

"Some cells are alive w/ human chromosomes. Bundles of living human chromosomes get flushed down the toilet alive all the time. So what? The question is when does that bundle of cells become a person, something which you avoid."

An embryo is NEVER just a bundle of cells. Scientifically, an embryo is a complete ORGANISM. I do not understand why this is so hard to grasp. Actually, Media Girl asked for scientific evidence and science will NEVER address the issue of when an embryo becomes a PERSON. Science is clear that a human being is created at conception and at no other time. (Last time I checked an Embryology book starts at fertilization not at implantation or when the fetus is viable)

I say in the abortion debate we take use facts that we can verify, not some debatable metaphysical and non-verifiable idea of when a PERSON begins.

Rebecca Taylor's picture
Posted by Rebecca Taylor (not verified) on 28 December 2005 - 11:14am
Embryo?

You know, an embryo doesn't start for some time after fertilization.

You want to talk about "facts that we can verify," but then it seems to want to impart all sorts of meaning to those facts.

Fact: A zygote as 46 chromosomes. Wow. What does that mean?

Fact: Many if not most zygotes will never ever become babies. Uh oh. Better call out the SWAT teams.

Fact: The baby is not a baby until after gestation. That's why we have gestation. Maybe that's just too obvious for you to see. But without gestation, there is no baby.

Now some people say that's cause enough to break out the ankle chains and start locking up pregnant women and put them in the service of the government. After all, that's what criminalizing abortion means.

But the fact of the matter is that gestation is part of the creation process. There is no baby without it. And to try to push that all down as just a footnote to the monumental occasion of a man's spilling his seed is just ludicrous, imho.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 28 December 2005 - 11:56am
Creation process?
Now some people say that's cause enough to break out the ankle chains and start locking up pregnant women and put them in the service of the government. After all, that's what criminalizing abortion means.

Really? Were women locked up in ankle chains for getting abortions in 1972?

But the fact of the matter is that gestation is part of the creation process. There is no baby without it. And to try to push that all down as just a footnote to the monumental occasion of a man's spilling his seed is just ludicrous, imho.

Gestation isn't part of the creation process (nothing new is created during gestation) - it's part of the growing process. The unborn is already created. That happened earlier - at conception. During gestation the unborn grow and mature. The same thing happens during infancy and adolescence.

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 28 December 2005 - 2:33pm
Fanciful but not true
Gestation isn't part of the creation process (nothing new is created during gestation) - it's part of the growing process.

That is perhaps the most absurd thing I've seen in any comments posted here this here. I may have to highlight it in my end-of-year round-up.

As for making women slaves of the government, that's exactly what you're arguing for. Are the ankle chains to vivid for you? Get used to it. In Texas, they're gearing up to make it a capital offense. Won't you just love it when your sister is executed because the rubber broke and she had just gotten into med school?

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 28 December 2005 - 2:39pm
Absurd?

Why is it absurd? What new organism is created during gestation? The organs and limbs of the unborn grow and develop during gestation but no new organism is created. That's a nice assertion but there's no reasoning behind it. I could just as easily assert that what you've said is absurd with providing any reasoning.

They're gearing up to put women who abort on death row? Since when?

I don't have a sister but if I did I certainly wouldn't want her or any other woman to be executed for having an abortion.

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 29 December 2005 - 8:20am
Creation is a process
Gestation isn't part of the creation process (nothing new is created during gestation) - it's part of the growing process.

Until the baby is there, the creating is still happening. Organs are created. Limbs are created. The brain is created. They are all created from the elements provided by the woman's womb, guided by what amounts to software code.

Now you say the software code is everything. I say the code needs to be run, and run well, and supported well, so that the code can create the being. Having just the code does nothing. It is not sufficient to be a baby itself.

Of course, that's irrelevant to you because you've decided it's so.

If you actually were interested in learning, I'd respond to you. Too bad you never learned critical thinking. What with the way you go on so illogically, you probably don't even realize how you're just spinning your wheels. You're arguing with strawman after strawman. Really, you can do that on your own time and stop wasting mine. Maybe you should go back to arguing with Carl Sagan. He'll give you the argument you deserve.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 29 December 2005 - 9:22am
creating vs. developing

Until the baby is there? When does the baby "arrive?" What's the thing that's growing and developing in the womb? A non-organism that becomes an organism at birth? Is it not really "there?" Is it some kind of abstract entity that appears in ultrasound photos and moves around yet isn't really in the world?

Creating a new organism isn't happening. Development is happening. Growth is happening. These things (development and growth) also occur long after birth. Your equating development and growth with creating when they are obviously not the same.

Why does creating seem to stop at birth? The child continues to develop after birth in the same way that it was developing before birth. Why does a change in location make a non-child-baby which is being created into a baby-child that is created and is now just growing? Happens on that nine-ince journey down the birth canal? Is there some hormone unknown to me that is suddenly transfered to the non-baby entity to make that non-living, non-organism entity into a baby?

Software code is everything? Another strawman perhaps? Are you trying to say that I believe that human DNA is everything? You're right - something having human DNA doesn't mean that it is a human organism - for example, my hair has human DNA but it's not a human organism - it's merely part of me. The unborn on the other hand are orgnaism unto themselves who are growing and directing their own development.

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 29 December 2005 - 10:02am
The difference, my dear zealot

...is the requirement of the woman's body to provide all the means of living.

So when you have a zygote, where does the brain come from? Does it get shipped in UPS? Does the heart get pulled from Door #3? No, they are created. Yes, it's wonderful and mysterious. But it's still part of the process of creating a baby.

By your logic, you can take any arbitrary point and say, "Ah, but it all started here!"

Maybe it was the gleam in James's eye.

Or the hard-on he had that morning.

Or the resolution he made that January to knock some woman up.

Or when the hair began to grow on his privates. Without that, you know, no baby!

You say creation is instantaneous. Bingo! Instant baby! The rest is just footnotes. All the same. Fetus or 70-year-old West Palm Beach bowling champion. Same difference!

When is that instant moment? Is it when the sperm's "head" touches the ovum? Is it once it penetrates? Is it after the tail comes through? Is there some moment in the chemical processes where you say, "Eureka"?

You obviously never do any cooking, or you would understand the concept that just having the ingredients does not make the meal. You have to create the meal. It takes preparation and energy and care. Maybe to you, dinner just appears on the table like magic, and it all seems instantaneous: You bought the groceries, therefore you made the meal. It's all just so logical!

But a lot more goes into creating than just assembling the ingredients. Gestation in a woman's body is not a trivial matter.

I know, you boys hanging out at Focus on the Family don't like to think of women as anything more than breeders. So here's a radical idea.

You're obviously passionately opposed to abortion. So don't have one.

It's as simple as that. As for imposing your religious views on everyone else, well, we live in a civil society governed by a Constitution where people have rights.

And women are people, too.

You want to think of an ovum with a sperm wriggling into it as a person, well, that's up to you, according to your dogma.

Now, to me it's clear that you're a serial troller of websites and you're not seeking to discuss anything, really. Keep coming here. I love all the traffic. But I have better things to do with my time than waste it on a christianist dogmatist trying to enforce his religious views by governmental force.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 29 December 2005 - 12:38pm
where does the baby come from?

Hi mediagirl,

I'm wondering if you can answer some of my questions that you haven't answered or I've missed your answer to.

Where does "the baby" come from? How does the non-child become a child? Why does creating stop at birth?

You ask, where does the brain come from? While it certainly isn't given to the child from the mother. The unborn begins to develop it's brain around 20 days after conception. The heart and brain develop from cells that are in the embryo.

Did I say conception was instanteous? Nope. That seems to be another strawman argument - one of the many you have created to avoid answering questions and providing some reasoning to why you can't accept basic scientific facts. The embryo and 70-year-old from Palm Beach aren't completely the same, both they're both human beings.

I'd say conception is complete when the embryo begins acting like a unified whole organism.

Your cooking example is like comparing apples and oranges. Cooking is not a living organism, a human being is. If your creation criteria for cooking was used for human beings, then newborn children wouldn't be human beings because they are hardly finished developing, it also would eliminate adolescences because they too have not completed their development. So is a newborn not a human being because they haven't completed their development?

You're obviously passionately opposed to abortion. So don't have one.

I'm sorry but this is the lamest pro-choice argument in the world. You're opposed to slavery, don't own a slave. You're opposed to killing newborns, then don't kill a newborn.

What religious views have I imposed on you? Have I quoted scripture? Or have I quoted embryology textbooks? Why is it that pro-choicers at this site feel forced to accuse others of imposing religion when scientific textbooks are quoted?

When did I use the philosophical term "person" when describing a zygote? I provided quotes from embryology textbooks which show that at conception the life of a human being begins.

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 30 December 2005 - 7:49am
Definition of Embryo

Media Girl,

Actually, the definition on an embryo is from conception to about 8 weeks when the terminology changes to fetus.

here is a link: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/embryo

2b says this: In humans, the prefetal product of conception from implantation through the eighth week of development.

Just like with all terminology in biology, these terms are simply words. Zygote, embryo, fetus, newborn, toddler, teenager, middle-aged, elderly, these are all terms used to describe the SAME organism at different stages of development.

There is no need to call out the SWAT team when an embryo or fetus spontaneously aborts, just like with any natural death. Abortion is the artificial ending of a human life.

The gestation is really beside the point. When artificial wombs are perfected, the fact that a human being is present from the moment of conception will not change.

Rebecca Taylor's picture
Posted by Rebecca Taylor (not verified) on 28 December 2005 - 4:33pm
You got yourself mixed up

You say "conception" but the definition says "implantation" -- and that's a big distinction in your talking points. Many fertilized eggs never successfully implant in the uterine wall.

Abortion is the artificial ending of a human life.

No, actually abortion is the termination of a process in a woman's uterus. And the reasons for abortion rights is because of those last three words in the previous sentence.

A woman's uterus.

Not the man's uterus. Not the Government's uterus. Not the Preacher's uterus. The woman's uterus.

The gestation is really beside the point. When artificial wombs are perfected, the fact that a human being is present from the moment of conception will not change.

There we go again. Gestation is beside the point? That's an awfully convenient assertion on your part, but it doesn't really amount to anything meaningful or factual, does it? In fact, without gestation, there is no baby.

When the Government or Proctor & Gamble or the 700 Club create an artificial womb, then they can claim rights over it.

Until and unless that happens, a government that is given all of its power by the people cannot turn around and claim control of the bodies of half of them.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 28 December 2005 - 4:48pm
about your last two statements

Abortion is sometimes the best decision that can be made under difficult circumstances. no one other than the woman involved, in addition to her health care providers (or anyone she cares to include), are fit to judge her situation or her needs.

the difference between (what i assume) your position (is) and mine is that i hold the woman's rights in high regard. you seem to hold the rights of the unborn sacrosanct, trumping all others. IMHO, It's not a baby unless the mother says it is. babies should be wanted, not force-birthed through legislative fiat and rule of law, which is where your (assumed) position leads.

roe vs wade is really a grand compromise between our two positions. the supreme court found for elements of your (the state's) argument but it also found for much of mine.

you say The gestation is really beside the point.

oh really? isn't that discounting an equally important part of the equation of fetal-life?

it seems to me that the life you seemingly hold so dear isn't even possible without gestation, is it? so how does it follow that the gestation is therefore beside the point? (answer, it's not). if gestation isn't beside the point then how can the gestator be?

you say There is no need to call out the SWAT team when an embryo or fetus spontaneously aborts, just like with any natural death. you don't really show any good understanding in that statement about the legal problems assocated with assigning full human rights to the unborn. you also don't seem to realize that "swat teams" are already on the move.

Let me illustrate by giving an example from the testimony before the South Dakota Task Force To Study Abortion. The illogical position of a "fetus's rights trump all" has serious moral and legal issues that is already causing many problems for women. And as the misguided movement grows, and unqualifed legislators across the U.S. pass additional flawed law, these instances of injustice will continue to grow.

TESTIMONY TO THE SOUTH DAKOTA TASK FORCE TO STUDY ABORTION

Lynn M. Paltrow, J.D.

Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women

It is not possible to treat pregnant women and fetuses as competing legal entities in the context of abortion without undermining the health, wellbeing and safety of all pregnant women and new mothers.

If pregnancy is a "legal" "relationship," with opposing rights and the possibility of state oversight, the implications for the civil rights, health and well-being of pregnant women and their children is in serious question. Does a pregnant woman who cannot overcome her addiction to cigarettes violate this "legal" "relationship," making her an appropriate subject for court ordered treatment, arrest for child endangerment, or child welfare interventions? Does a woman lose her right to informed medical decision when she becomes pregnant? Could the state mandate that all women deliver by c-section because of perceived benefits to the unborn child? Could the state outlaw vaginal births after c-sections?

Similarly, if pregnancy is viewed as a legal relationship between completely separate parties having separate, competing rights, shouldn't every woman who has experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth be questioned about the extent to which she may have contributed to that pregnancy loss and whether those actions or omissions constituted an appropriate legal waiver?

These questions do not represent far-fetched hypothetical possibilities.

For the last 30 years anti-abortion rhetoric has portrayed abortion as murder and the women who have those abortions as "baby killers" and "murderers." Increasingly, all pregnant women are being viewed as proper subjects of the criminal law and court supervision. Pregnant women in more than 30 states including South Dakota have been arrested based on the claim that a health problem, action or circumstance a woman experienced during pregnancy can be treated as child abuse of she continues to term, or murder if she suffers a miscarriage or stillbirth. Women in California, Florida, Utah, South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and North Carolina have been charged with manslaughter and even first-degree murder for having suffered unintentional stillbirths. Prosecutors in these cases have argued that something they did or did not do during pregnancy caused these pregnancy losses. In some cases the pregnancy loss is blamed on an untreated drug problem, in another a severely depressed woman was arrested after an attempted suicide might have contributed to a pregnancy loss, and in another it was the pregnant woman's decision to delay having a c-section that transformed her into a murderer. Such prosecutions continue despite the lack of authorizing legislation, court rulings rejecting such misuse of state law, and in spite of the overwhelming oppositions from medical, child welfare and public health organizations.

bayprairie's picture
Posted by bayprairie on 28 December 2005 - 6:15pm
What's it like in that black/white

high contrast, either/or, is/isn't cozy little world you people live in?

What ARE we talking about? Gametes, blastocysts, embryos, fetuses ... all organisms made up of human chromosomes. What NONE of them can do is fulfill the legal description of a "natural person" ... "living and breathing independently". The superstitious can cherry pick a few scientific words all they want, but it's still just cherry picking, and it won't solve the problem any more than the cherry picked verses in the Bible will.

Just throw crap at a rhetorical wall and pretend that you're creating anything more than a mess, but it's still just a bunch of random crap thrown onto a wall. There is a long and evolving legal system within which Roe fits, however imperfectly. At least it is of-a-piece with the system its part of.

You have a superstitious belief: that people are "special" and "precious", that they are so because God whipped them up after he finished everything else, and that they come to be these special things from the minute that Adam finishes thrusting into Eve. It's still just an arbitrary superstition.

I repeat, slime molds are complete organisms too. Nature, or God or the Cosmic Muffin or whatever randomly wipe out numerous organisms every nanosecond. Doesn't make them special. What makes people special is the worth we place upon them. It's plain that women matter not a whit to this political movement, and actual living and breathing children matter little more. What matters is a superstitious ideological ax being ground to a keen sharp edge, the better to punish people for their sins.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 28 December 2005 - 12:46pm
question begging?

Hi Madman,

What argument did I make that was question begging? How does the fact that some human beings aren't unable to implant on a uterine wall and get flushed down the toilet prove that the unborn aren't alive?

You're right about science not giving us a definition for personhood. That's a wholly philosophical realm. My response was catered to Media Girl - who originally asked for scientific evidence. Do you agree with the quotes from embryology textbooks which say that at conception a human life begins.

If personhood is what matters - please provide a non-arbitrary definition of personhood. I'd be careful with your "living and breathing" criteria because we seem to already have settled that the unborn are alive and the unborn do "breathe" in a way. They don't breathe thru their lungs but they do take in oxygen through their placenta.

The Roe framework wasn't built on that idea. It was built on Harry Blackmun's skewed view of the legal history of abortion and his reverence for doctors.

When did I say they could choose abortion as some kind of meaningless thing? I merely pointed out that "health" was defined in such a way to allow for anything and everything to be "health" as long as an abortionist will agree to perform one. Making restrictions on when abortion can be performed impossible to enact or prosecute. I know that women don't take a decision to have an abortion lightly - far from it - I was just trying to point out that abortions done after the first trimester don't have to be because of what "health" traditionally means.

I thought your previous comment indicated that you thought states could limit abortion (i.e. prevent them from happening) and not just regulate who and where they are performed. My apologies if I misunderstood.

Have I reveled in ignorance or bigotry?

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 28 December 2005 - 2:25pm
OT,

what's up with the banner ad at the top of the page linking to an anti-abortion site?

For a moment I was worried I'd mistakenly hit up Concerned Women of America or some equally odious site.

;-)

matttbastard's picture
Posted by matttbastard (not verified) on 27 December 2005 - 4:44pm
Ouch

It's an experiment not paying all that well anyway.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 27 December 2005 - 5:37pm
conception science? never heard of it.

look dude. heres the deal. if you're really into your faith and what-not thats fine. so just say so and spare us the quotes from your boring textbooks which are quite meaningless in this debate.

which begs the question, do you really have so little faith in your (religious) faith that you feel compelled to justify your faith to us certified unbelievers using science?

why don't you just relax and quit trying to couch whatever beliefs you have in semi-scientific terms. belief if fine. quit trying to sell it to us as if it were provable. ITS NOT PROVABLE. its belief. and thats fine. believe in whatever you wish, I'll do the same.

if you want to be pro-fetal-life because you believe in god and the resurrection and an afterlife and the sanctity of some clump of cells why don't you just let it out.

life began 4.5 billion years ago and hasn't stopped since. there is no beginning, there is no end, not really. egg and sperm were both alive before the union. so how exactly does life begin?

define life! lets hear that one!

what i "concept" what you're really talking about is when "personhood' begins.

its all opinion, you see. you have yours. i have mine. we disagree. live your life the way you wish, i don't really care.

i'll decide whats best for me and my body. you do the same.

.

bayprairie's picture
Posted by bayprairie on 28 December 2005 - 2:57am
science is meaningless?

Hi Bayprairie,

Really into my faith? Did I make a religious argument? Why is that when I provide scientific quotes from embryology textbooks that I'm a religious fanatic who's pushing his faith on others? Are pro-choice really that afraid of scientific facts?

How are quotes from embryology textbooks meaningless to whether life begins at conception? How is it not provable? If it was not provable then why are these quotes in mainstream embryology textbooks which are used in universities across America?

It's true that life began a long time ago but it's also true that the life of each individual organism begins at one time or another, correct? I've provided evidence that at conception, the life of a human being has begun. Do you have any evidence to back up your view?

I'm not talking about when personhood begins. Media Girl asked for evidence to life beginning at conception. I've provided that.

When you say that you have your opinion and I have mine you're confusing objective claims with subjective claims. I'm not claiming that vanilla ice cream is the best or that Brad Pitt is more attractive than Justin Timberlake (those are subjective claims) - I'm claiming that the unborn are living human beings (that's an objective claim which is either right or wrong). If I claimed that a piece of paper was a living human being, would you argue that "I have my opinion and you have yours?" I certainly hope not. You'd say I'm wrong and provide me with evidence to show that I'm wrong.

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 28 December 2005 - 8:15am
You did not provide evidence

You provided some second-hand accounts, out of context, by authors unknown, whose backgrounds are not provided, presenting no argument, just a little paragraph here and there.

I can do that, too. Whoopdeedo. Search this site and you'll find "facts" that state that a pregnancy does not begin until implantation.

What you call 9 inches makes it all seem so trivial -- why is it "inches" to you, anyway? But there's quite a bit that goes into a baby than DNA.

But if you want to buy into a twisted sort of nature over nurture argument, and say we're nothing but a jumble of nucleic acids sloshing around in so much water, then sure, I could see why you believe that DNA = baby.

But the reality is that there's a lot more that goes into making a baby than the man's spilling his seed. Those 9 months are not trivial. It's often fatal for the woman -- often enough that it's never a trivial decision. All the man has done is dump his jism to provide some genetic material, but it's the woman who makes the baby from that, and that is a long process.

Making a baby takes nine months.

And you know what? That's a scientific fact. It's repeatable. And it doesn't take any dogmatically exclusionary view of the world that discounts how life develops in a process. Your notion that people are just DNA is like saying computers are just software, so who needs all that hardware?

Oh if life really were so easy.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 28 December 2005 - 8:48am
No evidence?

I provided quotes from embryology textbooks that clearly indicate when life begins - how is that not evidence?

You haven't provided a shred of evidence that at conception - life hasn't begun.

What does pregnancy not being until implantation have to do with whether at conception the life of a human being begins?

I never said DNA=baby. Could you please try not to create obvious strawmen. I could pluck off a piece of my skin and it has my DNA in it - does that make it me? Of course not.

I never said those 9 months are trivial. They are certainly an important part of the development of the unborn.

Making a baby takes nine months.

This assertion is preposterous. What about children who are born prematurely? Are children who are born at 7 months not really babies until they are out of the womb for two months?

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 28 December 2005 - 2:08pm
Correct. No evidence.

You're going off on these sentences from "textbooks" you've dug up. But quoting declarations is not presenting an argument. You've provided no argument at all. One wonders if you have one.

As for what's preposterous, look at the things you are claiming, and then look at the language you use. Such as:

unborn -- as in not born, as in has not yet come into this world

And gestation is not just an "important part" -- it's an essential part. Do such distinctions matter to you?

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 28 December 2005 - 2:36pm
There's a difference between an argument and evidence...

yet you seem to be equating them.

You asked for scientific evidence that at conception the life of a human being begins. I provided that from scientific embryology textbooks written by some of the world's leading embryologists. You didn't ask for an argument - you asked for evidence - which is what I provided.

If you want an argument for why abortion should be illegal - I can provide that as well -

1. Intentionally ending the life of an innocent human being should be illegal.

2. Abortion intentional ends the life of an innocent human being.

3. Conclusion - therefore abortion should be illegal.

So is "Making a baby takes nine months" still a scientific fact?

Just because something isn't born doesn't mean it isn't in the world. It certainly is in the world or else why would women have abortions? If the unborn don't exist in the world then why do women pay $400 to have an abortionist kill them and remove them from their wombs?

Can something that isn't in the world kick her mother's stomach? How can ultrasound technology take pictures of something that isn't in the world?

Important vs. essential? Both true. Gestation is an important and essential part in the life of the unborn. You'll get no arguments from me there.

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 29 December 2005 - 8:34am
You're babbling now

Your ideology binds your tongue, or keyboard.

I asked you to define your terms, and you have refused. You provided no evidence, because you did not define your terms.

Your argument to make abortion illegal makes no sense, because your premises are false.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 29 December 2005 - 8:52am
Define my terms?

Which terms would you like me to define? I couldn't find where you've asked me to "define terms" in our past discussion. Maybe I missed it. When did you ask me to define my terms?

Again, is "Making a baby takes nine months" a scientific fact? You've avoided backing up or denying this statement twice now. Maybe third time will be lucky.

Please show how my premises are false. Do you think it should be legal to intentionally kill innocent human beings? I've provided evidence from embryology textbooks to back the fact that the unborn are human beings - do you have any evidence from science which shows that they are not human beings?

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 29 December 2005 - 9:10am
Your undefined terms make an unsupported argument

Of course, if you cannot define your terms, then nobody can pin you down on what you mean.

Yes, it typically takes nine months to make a baby. Sure, sometimes it can be less, sometimes more. It's a wonder you've never noticed pregnant women walking around.

Your undefined terms:

1. Intentionally ending the life of an innocent human being should be illegal.

What is "intentionally ending"? Does that mean murder? What about self defense? What about out of negligence? What if conflicting interests lead to the requirement that someone must die?

"life" -- what is life? Was Terri Schiavo alive? Is the auto accident victim whose brain was smashed but whose heart still beats? I'm sure you say a fertilized ovum is "life", but why do you make that claim? Because of DNA? This "life" could not live without being completely and totally supported by someone who actually is alive, a woman.

"innocent human being" -- What on Earth does that mean? Who's "innocent"? Innocent of what? A crime? Are you innocent? I suppose self-sacrifice to save another also would be wrong, in your eyes. Your phrase is filled with implications, too -- that murder is justified for non-innocent "human beings". My my, what importance you put on your own view of the world.

"illegal" -- Illegal how? A ticket? Prison? Execution? Work camps? Or do you advocate pre-emptive measures, such as locking up women in leg irons and hauling them off to breeder camps where diet and environment can be fully regulated and controlled by the State?

2. Abortion intentional ends the life of an innocent human being.

This is an assertion of faith. "innocent human being"? I'd say abortion ceases the process of creating a human being. Just because the process has started doesn't mean the process is complete. One thing at a time, you know.

3. Conclusion - therefore abortion should be illegal.

Given the faith-based assumptions and vague, undefined terms you use, your argument makes absolutely no sense and carries no weight.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 29 December 2005 - 9:37am
Fourth try is a charm?

Hi Mediagirl,

For the fourth time - is

Making a baby takes nine months.

a scientific fact? You said this. I responded and you've yet to either admit that your assertion was wrong (which it obviously is) or provide any defense for it. Saying that pregnancy typically takes nine months is not what you stated earlier. Would you like to withdraw your supposed scientific fact?

Intentionally ending isn't specific enough for you? I'm trying to think what could be more specific. How about "intentionally ending the life of a living human being who is not guilty of a capital offense or a threat to the life of another human being with the purpose of ending the life of that organism which is a member of the species homo sapiens and without proper justification should be a crime in the United States of America?" Self-defense? No, self-defense wouldn't fit because someone who is defending themselves obviously isn't ending the life of an innocent human being. Neglience? Is the neglience intentional or unintentional?

Why do I make the claim that a zygote is alive? Are you kidding me? Could you please scroll back up to my first comment and again examine the quotes from scientific textbooks. It's true that an embryo wouldn't be alive if she wasn't supported by her mother. But how does that make it right for her mother to have someone kill her? A newborn infant completely relies on others to provide him with food, water, clothing, shelter, etc. without which he would quickly die.

How is whether something is a human being an assertion of faith? If said my cat was a human being - would you say that is an assertion of faith or would you laugh because it is obvious that a cat isn't a human being. It's an objective assertion which is either right or wrong. I've provided my evidence to why it is right while you've yet to provide of scrap of scientific evidence to back up your view.

"process of creating a human being" - by your definition wouldn't infantificide do the same thing? From our previous conversations, it seems that you equate development and growth with creation but you've yet to come up with any reason why creation (in reality growth and development) stops at birth. The process isn't complete with a newborn infant, the process isn't complete with a toddler, the process isn't complete with a teenager. Do you have any scientific evidence to back up your view that "abortion ceases the process of creating a human being?" If not, then what are you basing your view on?

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 30 December 2005 - 8:11am
Somehow I always knew

...that you weren't reading.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 30 December 2005 - 9:38am
You're like a five year

who gets mad when someone refuses to walk into an obvious booby trap you've laid. Let it go. Peddle your wares somewhere else. You've memorized a simple line of talking points, an "argument" that depends upon the other person accepting your initial premise. I don't. It seems apparent that no one else here does either. Your utter disregard of the nine often dangerous months that a mother spends creating this life within her is deeply troubling and indicative of a sick chauvinism.

Give ... it ... up.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 30 December 2005 - 10:08am
utter disregard?

I'm mad? How could you tell? I've actually got a big smile on my face right now. But aren't you the "Madman?"

Since when do I have an utter disregard for pregnancy? I've previously said that I think pregnancy is both important and essential.

I'm not just a fundie wacko but now I'm a chauvinist. Man, the cheap insults pro-choice arguments get better everyday.

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 30 December 2005 - 12:44pm
Why keep arguing?

You start from one premise. You refuse to accept that there can be any other premise. Therefore, no argument.

For years we've been told that as liberals we need to be tolerant even of the intolerant. I will not. I cannot. You push one line, and only one line, to the exception of any and all other perspectives.

These are not meant as cheap insults, but a reflection back at you of what you are. You are an authoritarian pushing an ideology that places a woman as a lesser being, a life-support system for the pre-baby. A slave. A piece of livestock. I know you're used to people giving deference to this idea as though it is something reasonable, but it isn't. You are at a complete loss to argue from any other line of reasoning, but only from this one perspective. Do you see how shallow that is?

Many here tried to be reasonable with you and your tag-team buddy, but it's a waste of time. Comfort yourself that the "madman" was unreasonable to you, but you're the one putting on intellectual "drag", pretending to make a "scientific" argument where all you're pushing is a religious belief. You are little different from those fools who claim the fossil record was placed here by God to test people's faith, as though the purported Creator had nothing better to do than torment and tease his creations.

Have a nice day.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 30 December 2005 - 2:32pm
Evidence

I provided quotes from embryology textbooks that clearly indicate when life begins - how is that not evidence?

Hi Jivin J,

Since you're citing texts here, let's cut to the chase. Your quotes from embryology textbooks are evidence only that a zygote is *necessary* for human life, not that it is *sufficient*. And this is what media girl has been (all too patiently) trying to explain to you.

dblhelix's picture
Posted by dblhelix (not verified) on 28 December 2005 - 5:06pm
Necessary/sufficient

My textbook quote say that at conception, a human life begins. I don't know where your sufficient and necessary criteria come from. Do you have any evidence from science that the unborn child isn't a human being? When do the unborn usually become alive, if not at conception?

Media Girl hasn't been trying to explain anything. She's been creating obvious strawman, making obviously flawed assertions with nothing to back them up and denying evidence from scientific textbooks.

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 29 December 2005 - 9:15am
What type of evidence would be sufficient?

Hi Media Girl,

I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon with extensive training in embryology, especially head and neck embryology. The textbooks that JivinJ quotes from are the same one's I have used in my medical school embryology training. If they are not adequate for the purpose of showing that the life of an individual human being begins at the moment of conception, I'm not sure what would be. You asked for evidence - he used medical school level texts to give it to you. Either you are having a difficult time understanding and accepting a scientific fact because of your ideological presuppositions, or the entire field of human embryology is involved in a conspiracy to hide the truth in order to subjugate women.

All living organisms change throughout their natural lives. The human organism goes through several stages of development, from zygote, to blastocyst, to embryo, to fetus, to newborn, to toddler, to adolescent, to adult, to elderly person. As the organism goes through these changes, it always remains alive, and it always remains an organism of the species homo sapiens. In other words, it is always a human being. This is scienitific fact. If you have any evidence to support your view, that the organism is somehow not alive prior to birth, but becomes alive after the magical journey down the birth canal, I'd like to hear it.

One more thing, I have been involved in some of the fetal surgical procedures that have taken place at Children's Hospital in Detroit. It is becoming more common to operate on human fetuses for pathological problems like spina bifida. Question: when we are doing surgery on a human fetus' spine to correct SB, what exactly are we operating on? Are they alive or dead? Are they human or non-human?

Serge

Serge's picture
Posted by Serge (not verified) on 28 December 2005 - 3:07pm
Congrats on attaining that training.

I admire anybody disciplined enough to become a surgeon.

However, we're arguing apples and ... well, rocks here. The question is when some grouping of cells becomes a legal person. You can insist that because it's "human", and because it's "alive", then therefore it's the same as a walking around person, but they are not the same thing. Why is that so hard to understand? You can insist it begins from conception, or from implantation, or from "quickening" or whatever, there is ALWAYS an arbitrary line. If you move the bar back to far before actual birth, before "independent and breathing", then you have reduced a woman to a vessel, to LESS than a person. In order for your scheme to work, for it to have the force of law, then by definition ONLY male embryos would be "persons", since the "personhood" of the woman is limited by the requirement that she be forced to become a vessel for some future fetus.

You can claim some "scientific" basis for your belief, but your belief MUST lead to women being less than the potential (male) life. It seems that many on the anti-woman side of things are just fine with that idea, but don't try to claim that some mechanistic fact of biology renders a metaphysical dispute moot. It doesn't.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 28 December 2005 - 4:21pm
Madman,

Madman,

I'd love to engage you in a discussion regarding the metaphysics of human life and especially if human life is intrinsically or instrumentally valuable. However, mediagirl started this post about scientific evidence. Before we bring metaphysics into the discussion, would you agree that an individual human organism is present after conception on a purely scientific basis? If so, we can move on to consider how should treat individual human organisms. Until that time, lets stick with the science.

Serge's picture
Posted by Serge (not verified) on 28 December 2005 - 4:50pm
You've failed to define it so far

What is "an individual human organism"? A lump of DNA? What are the elements, please?

Please, define "life."

Going by the rhetoric of the "pro-life" crowd, my guess is that life begins at conception and ends at birth. Is that wrong? Is that your scientific determination?

You talk about metaphysics but then fall back on these vague terms with shifting meanings.

When do you believe an "individual human organism" becomes a baby? Just curious.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 28 December 2005 - 5:03pm
as dblhelix stated above

conception in merely necessary, not sufficient, to create a "person". Merely combining human dna isn't creating a full human being. As has been stated above, there is an entire process that has to happen. A already existing human being, a woman, herself plays a necessary, not sufficient, part in creating a human being. I assert that an already existing human being has primacy over one small piece that may someday, through HER SACRIFICE AND POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS EFFORTS, may one day become a human being.

An acorn is not an oak. It is a necessary starting point, but so much else combines to become that oak. An acorn without the proper medium for it to take root, prosper, grow and eventually combine that acorn, soil, essential nutrients, sunlight, carbon dioxide that all combine to "become" that oak. That's science. Human life is the result of a process, of numerous essential elements that have to combine in the right way. JJ is trying to argue that the acorn IS an oak. It just ain't so, scientifically or metaphysically.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 28 December 2005 - 6:43pm
what a great frame!

if an acorn isn't an oak? (and it's not)

then an Egg McMuffin isn't a McChicken sandwich!

:::snickering:::

bayprairie's picture
Posted by bayprairie on 29 December 2005 - 4:28am
Could you answer the question please?

I never said anything about a "person". J has offered evidence that the individual life of a human being begins at conception. Do you agree or not? If not, could you provide some scientific evidence to support your point of view? Or would you just like me to take it on faith?

Serge

Serge's picture
Posted by Serge (not verified) on 29 December 2005 - 8:30am
I have answered the question

and you know it. However, like all conservatives, you and JJ start out an "argument" by demanding that we accept your definitions, your terms, of what "human life" is. I, and others here, have made it very clear that we reject your starting premise. JJ started out by making a fallacious appeal to authority: his textbooks. Now, those textbooks merely tell you that there are living cells at conception. You and he obviously accept some Platonic/Catholic idea that the whole of a thing is present in the potential for that thing. I reject that definition. Since initial definitions must be agreed on in order for us to even have an argument about this, we are plainly shouting past each other.

This entire thread has been a rhetorical battle over the shape of the conference table. The problem w/ arguing w/ anti-woman crusaders is your insistance that you have the backing of the Prime Authority, and refuse to recognize that anyone else might base their lives, moral decisions or ways of looking at the world without appeals to your Big Invisible Friend. Since you refuse to recognize ANY possible definition other than the ones you start with from your Book, this is a pointless exercise. You can insist that you're making a scientific argument, but it's "science" like ID is "science".

This reminds me of the arguments I used to have w/ theology students back in college. Always, zealotry demands that the contest be fought within boundaries determined by the believer. I reject your narrow definitions. I reject these ideas that led to centuries of lost human potential, potential squeltched by narrow, frightened superstitions and patriarchical bigotry. A human being isn't a narrow thing determined by the mere mixing of genetic material. Human beings are processes, growing and changing and creating. Your narrow, frightened little world view would squelch all of that potential in order to preserve your sad, limited definitions, spelled out in old, moldy mistranslated books by old men long dead.

This has been fun. Thanks.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 29 December 2005 - 9:49am
The facts of science are stubborn

Madman,

Color me disappointed. I have simply asked you whether or not basic scientific facts that are presented in the medical literature are true or not. This is not difficult. They are not "my" definitions. They are devoid of any political affiliation. They do not require the backing of any higher power, and I have not asserted any. I have not argued regarding potential. I have made one claim:

The life of an individual human being begins at conception.

I (actually, J )has provided evidence for that fact. Scientific facts do not change based on what we would like them to be. They are not affected by our individual ideology. Scientific facts are out there for all to note. If you wish to reject them without reason, you place yourself amongst those who believe in a flat earth.

Serge

Serge's picture
Posted by Serge (not verified) on 29 December 2005 - 10:33am
Begging the question

JJ quotes textbooks that say that a fertilized ovum is living tissue. I have no argument with that. This scientific fact is then conflated with the assertion that that fertilzed ovum is a "human being", a legal person, and thus due legal protection from the state. In order for that argument to work, you have to accept the premise "living tissue w/ human dna = human being/person". Again, I reject your premise. The "persuasive techniques" that you two carry into website after website isn't flying here. We reject your premise. Intellectual Luddism is unattractive, and frankly it's become boring. Thanks for the jousting, but that's all this has been.

Go harrass some college freshmen that haven't taken logic classes or learned anything about science yet.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 29 December 2005 - 11:05am
Did you read the quotes?

Hi Madman,

The embryology textbook quotes do a little more than say a "fertilized ovum is living tissue." They actually don't say that at all.

The quote from Bruce Carlson's textbook says, "The time of fertilization represents the starting point in the life history, or ontogeny, of the individual."

Keith Moore's textbook says, "This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning, or primordium, of a human being."

Langman's embryology says, "The development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote."

I don't see the word "tissue" in any of those quotes.

Both Serge and I are trying to see if you recognize that the unborn are scientifically human beings, i.e. members of species homo sapiens. We're not trying to trick you into admitting that the unborn are legal persons.

Neither of us believe that living tissue with human DNA equals a human being. We both recognize if we scratched our skin - we'd have in our fingernails living tissue with human DNA but that we wouldn't have a human being.

Earlier, you seemed to recognize that the unborn could be living human organisms but not persons. Did I read you wrong because now you seem to be equating living human organisms and persons?

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 29 December 2005 - 11:53am
By the way

thanks for giving this website some extra traffic w/ your tired old intellectual grift. I'm sure Media Girl and her advertisers appreciate the extra hits.

Happy New Year.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 29 December 2005 - 12:25pm
A living organism - not living tissue

Madman,

The quotes from JJ indicate that a zygote is a living human organismm not simply human tissue The wisdom tooth I extracted 10 minutes ago has living human tissue in it. It has human dna. It is not an organism. An embryo is.

Once again, do you believe that an embryo is a living organism of the species homo sapiens (I'm being as clear as I can here)? If not, why not? Do have any scientific evidence to support your claim, or do you choose to reject science for ideological reasons?

I have made no claims that an embryo is a legal person. That is not science.

Serge

Serge's picture
Posted by Serge (not verified) on 29 December 2005 - 11:55am
no, I do not

and I see clearly what you are demanding me to recognize. A bundle of living cells that resulted from the fertilization of an ovum IS NOT YET a human being. It living human tissue that has the potential to be a human being. That's all it is. You are attempting to build a political argument on a premise that you claim is science.

A zygote is living human tissue. It can, with the proper conditions and a great deal of effort on the part of a woman's body, become a full living and breathing human being. It is not yet a human being just because it may one day BECOME a human being. Many times they don't. Many times they get flushed out because her body rejects it, or some chromosome is scrambled or the stars aren't aligned properly.

I think that's perfectly clear and consistent w/ science. Go peddle your rhetorical games and superstitions somewhere else. This is just the sort of cafeteria science that gets misused by people like you all the time to push your political and philosphical crusades. Science describes natural processes. That's all it does. I've had this argument before. It's boring. You prove nothing.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 29 December 2005 - 12:17pm
Is the zygote a living human

Is the zygote a living human organism? If not, why not? If so, please explain the scientific diference between a living human organism and a human being.

Serge's picture
Posted by Serge (not verified) on 29 December 2005 - 12:38pm
I can't be any clearer

I know that you fundie wackjobs at Focus on the Family hope that the scales will fall off our eyes, we'll see the "error" of our ways now that you've explained "science" to us (and who else to turn to to learn about science than a religious nut?). We'll fall to our knees, beg to be saved and then go immediately out and start yelling "baby killer" at scared and stressed out women.

I've answered your and JJ's questions. "Human being" when it comes to legal rights has nothing to do with science. You using the words interchangably in two different contexts doesn't convince me, though I'm sure it works really good when you go and rant at naive college kids.

You don't like my answers, ask your imaginary friend to toss a thunderbolt my way.

Thanks, though, for providing MG with some extra traffic, and maybe click thru on some of her fine advertisers while you're here.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 29 December 2005 - 1:13pm
Law vs. science

Hi Madman,

Does or could the law define when other organisms become organisms? For example, could a law say that all cats are really dogs and be correct? Or is what kind of organism we are biologically a question for biology and not law?

If the law defines when someone is a human being or not, then couldn't the law also define individuals you recognize as human beings into the realm of not being human beings? For example, women or African-Americans, or toddlers. Let's say the New York legislature decided that newborn infants weren't human beings until they were out of the womb for 21 days. Would newborn infants then be non-human beings for the first 21 days? If mom and pop took the kid to New Jersey (which hypothetically wouldn't have 21 day law) in the first week, would the newborn then turn into a human being at the New Jersey border and then turn back into a non-human being upon reentering the state of New York?

and who else to turn to to learn about science than a religious nut?

Huh? I'm still trying to fathom the thinking behind this quote. So are all embryologists religious nuts?

I'm happy to provide traffic but I don't think I'll click thru the advertisers though the "Club sandwhichs not seals" t-shirt did catch my eye.

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 30 December 2005 - 8:50am
no need to click through

the advertising dollars work on page loads not click-throughs. it goes without saying that there is a tasty bonus if you click through, but hardly anyone does that.

loading the page, refreshing the page, hundreds of times, thats where the action is. a few cents here a few cents there, after a while it adds up. coming to this thread and commenting reloads the page. you load the home page to get here. when you hit post you reload the page. everything is counted and every load generates tiny revenue. the software even knows how long you spend here j, and if you sit here parked for a few hours that makes the average time spent on site rise bigtime, which is valuable.

so feel free to not click through. you're still helping to fund a pro-choicer!

bayprairie's picture
Posted by bayprairie on 30 December 2005 - 12:50pm
Just to clarify

The ads are pre-sold. Rates are set roughly by market and site traffic. I'm sure the advertisers would only be interested in people clicking through and buying or signing up or do whatever they're promoting. Whether Jivin clicks through or not is irrelevant -- which perhaps gets to the heart of the matter.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 30 December 2005 - 1:42pm
Acorn and oaks

Actually scientificually an acorn is an oak. It's not yet an oak tree but it is an oak. In the same way, an oak seedling is an oak but it's not an oak tree. In the same way, an oak sapling isn't yet a 30 foot oak tree yet it's still an oak. That's it's genus and species - just like the genus and species of a unborn human being is homo sapiens.

In the same way, an infant isn't yet a full grown human being nor is a toddler, nor is an adolescent yet they are all human beings. The fact they aren't fully grown doesn't mean that they can't be part of that genus and species.

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 29 December 2005 - 8:40am
You make assumptions

You cast projections through time and space and see an oak, but an acorn is only an acorn until it is no longer an acorn. Again, you fail to define any terms. Jivin Jivin Jivin, if you can't say what you mean, you can never mean what you say.

You obviously cast meaning into little "facts" that you focus in on, and ignore how you're projecting a whole belief system onto what is observable. That is called faith, and that's great. Fine. Have at it.

But that's not science.

Why, for example, do you say the acord is an oak, which requires projection into a hypothetical future that the acorn may never have, rather than say the oak is an acorn, which requires only that you go back and look at the processes that led up to the oak's existence?

Why would you make the absurd claim that an acorn and an oak are "scientifically" the same? Does "scientifically" mean that little corner of knowledge that you think you cling to, at the exclusion of all other evidence and knowledge?

I suppose I should be flattered that you and Serge brought your tired old dog and pony show here, but really, this is getting repetitive. Do you do impressions?

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 29 December 2005 - 9:06am
No impressions but we can juggle and ride on unicycles

Hi Media Girl,

You never asked me to define my terms. You asked Serge to define terms. I just recently read that comment to Serge. I can't speak for Serge but I'll try to define the terms you've asked for.

An individual human organism - a living organism that is a member of species and genus homo sapiens - a simple lump of DNA isn't an organism - or else when I cut my hair I would have killed thousands of organisms.

For something to be a living organism it must grow (and not necessarily grow in height or waist measurements but by converting external materials into mass for itself), have a metabolism (convert energy), should direct its own development, be able to reproduce sometime in its life (there are obvious exceptions to this one) but generally to be alive a species must be able to produce more of its own in one way or another, and interact with its environment. These aren't quite textbook definitions - Serge may have some of those.

Life doesn't begin at conception and end at birth. Life continues after birth or else I'd be dead. :(

How am I projecting my belief system? How am I casting meaning into facts? I've provided evidence from science after you asked for it and which you've ignored after I've provided it. Your belief system has prevented you from accepting scientific reality based on what? You haven't provided a single shred of evidence from science which says that the unborn aren't living organisms. You've yet to admit that the unborn are living organisms even though Planned Parenthood admits this (go to teenwire.com type in fetus into the search engine on the top of the page and click on "quick definition") - they say that a fetus is an "Organism that develops from the embryo at the end of about seven weeks of pregnancy and receives nourishment through the placenta."

I never said that an acorn and an oak tree were scientifically "the same." I said they were the same genus and species - which is true. They differ in numerous ways such as size and level of development but that doesn't mean they can't be the same species. An acorn is an oak at the beginning of its development and an oak tree is an oak at pinnacle of its development. How do these facts prove that the unborn aren't living human beings?

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 29 December 2005 - 9:48am
lets talk about the real issue. abuse.

actually serge this post is about women being abused due to misguided pro-fetal-life law. by way of example the title of this post is:

South Dakota: Where women are treated as cows

here's the problem

The report states that science defines life as beginning at conception and recommends a law that gives fetuses the same protection that children get after birth...

here's an example of where that legal concept takes you:

The meaning of "involuntary"

Angela Carder at 27 years old and 25 weeks pregnant became critically ill. She, her husband, and her parents as well as her attending physicians all agreed on treatment designed to keep her alive for as long as possible. The hospital, however, called an emergency hearing to determine the rights of the fetus. A lawyer appointed for the fetus used the anti-abortion argument that fetuses are separate legal persons with independent rights. This lawyer argued that the fetus had a right to life and that what Angela Carder, her husband, and her family wanted did not matter. Despite testimony that a cesarean section could kill Ms. Carder, the court ordered the surgery, finding that the fetus's rights were controlling. The surgery was performed over her explicit objections and resulted in the death of both Angela and her fetus. The fetus, or as in Angela's parents words - their "unborn grandchild" - died within two hours and Ms. Carder died two days later with the c-section listed as a contributing factor.

bayprairie's picture
Posted by bayprairie on 28 December 2005 - 7:14pm
I'm just wondering

Was a woman there in the operating room? I thought I'd ask since you didn't mention it.

That's the point.

All living organisms change throughout their natural lives. The human organism goes through several stages of development, from zygote, to blastocyst, to embryo, to fetus, to newborn, to toddler, to adolescent, to adult, to elderly person. As the organism goes through these changes, it always remains alive, and it always remains an organism of the species homo sapiens.

Ah, but it doesn't always remain alive. How many zygotes never make it to birth? What are the conditions that lead from zygote to healthy baby? Does the woman just happen to be there? Or is she, in fact, providing an essential component of bringing a baby into being?

What we see all the time now are these arguments that once the man ejaculates, well, there's the magic. And everything else is just footnotes. The woman? Immaterial. She's just a woman, after all.

And so, by extension, it makes total sense to make women into slaves of the state to deliver men's babies, and that women should have no say in what happens in their own bodies.

The problem is that every argument that is offered by the pro-fetal-life crowd about when life begins also applies to the woman -- the invisible woman that nobody wants to notice. The woman is alive. The woman IS indeed a legal person. A woman already is entitled to rights.

And NOBODY -- NOBODY -- EVER -- has been REQUIRED to give BLOOD, HEALTH, SPIRIT, TIME, LIFE to PHYSICIALLY SUSTAIN ANOTHER LIFE that otherwise WOULD NOT LIVE.

"Excuse me, sir. Your blood type matches. We're going to have to take one of your kidneys. No, you don't have any say in the matter."

So quoting textbooks that talk about undefined terms out of context is not an argument here. It does not connect A to B. It does not justify an entirely new legal regimen that criminalizes aborting a pregnancy and treats women as breeding property of the state.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 28 December 2005 - 4:31pm
Scientific evidence, hold the metaphysics please...

1. Yes, there were actually a few women in the operating room, including a physician and the mother. However, the human being who had the pathology which required the operation was the fetus. I will repeat my question : what is the entity that they were performing the operation on?

2. The fact that some zygotes don't make it to birth has no bearing on whether they are live human organisms or not. In some countries, the infant mortality approaches 80%. 100 years ago, 75% of infants did not make it past their 5th birthday. Does this mean that infants are not fully alive? Do you have any scientific evidence to support that assertion?

3. I'd be interested in engaging in a metaphysical discussion regarding rights with you, and why I believe the best grounding of universal human rights is that every living being should have them. However, that is not a scientific discussion. Lets get the science straight first.

Serge

Serge's picture
Posted by Serge (not verified) on 28 December 2005 - 4:44pm
Scientific evidence ... of what?

Serge, you claim to be a scientist and offer such illogical retorts! How can you compare the essential constructive processes of gestation with the absence of hostile post-natal environment?

That's like claiming that if you don't burn somebody's house down, you've built them a new one.

You know, when someone makes a bicycle, they have a design and all the parts before they get started. But is that pile of junk a bicycle? No, the bicycle still has to be built -- it has to go through a process of construction, of a sort of mechanical gestation. Only when it is finished do you have a bicycle. Otherwise you have bicycle parts.

And yet you would discount everything the woman does as being basically an absence of fatal pathogens. Is that a scientific determination? Does all that a woman's body does during gestation not count in making a baby? (Or does OB/GYN fall outside of your "extensive" training?)

By the way, I'm reassured that you noticed the expectant mother. ("Expectant" because, after all, she's not a mother until a baby is born, right?)

what is the entity that they were performing the operation on?

I thought you said it was an embryo.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 28 December 2005 - 4:59pm
who said science was meaningless? i say your logic's faith based

correct me if im wrong here, J.

i have not said you were a religious fanatic, have i?. could you point out to me where i said that? i have also not said you were pushing your faith on others. what i did say was that "if you're into your faith, thats fine". i think your faith is super, although i'm more into hope, myself. hope is far easier to understand and doesnt require belief in the supernatural.

this diary posting, and my comments to you in it, are not about "human being beginnings" but grow more from the standpoint of what concerns me, which is ABUSE OF WOMEN.

you ask if i have any evidence to back up my view? yes i do!

women are being abused by pro-fetal-life laws!

The meaning of "involuntary"

In January 2004, Pennsylvania resident Amber Marlowe went to the hospital to deliver her seventh baby. She and her husband describe themselves as true believers in the Bible and they deeply oppose abortion. For medical reasons far from compelling, the hospital believed that Mrs. Marlow needed to have a c-section. Neither Mrs. nor Mr. Marlowe had any religious objection to surgery. Both felt however that after six other deliveries Ms. Marlowe knew her own body well enough to know that this delivery was possible without surgery. In addition, the Marlowes did not want to subject either Amber or her unborn child to unnecessary surgery that would increase risks to both, and that would unnecessarily prolong the mother's period of recovery (something that this primary caretaker of six and soon to be seven children wanted to avoid). Rather than respect her informed decision, the hospital sought and obtained a court order giving the hospital custody of the fetus "before, during, and after delivery," as well as the right to force Ms. Marlowe to have the C-section. The hospital used anti abortion legal arguments asserting the independent legal rights of the fetus. Mr. and Mrs. Marlowe left the hospital before the order could be executed. Mrs. Marlowe gave birth to a healthy baby through vaginal delivery.

Mrs. Marlowe avoided involuntary surgery. Nevertheless, this case presents another clear example of action that would prevent voluntary medical decision-making. The hospital sought and obtained an order "permitting [the hospital] to perform a C-section delivery of Baby Doe without the consent of the Doe parents."

you state: I'm claiming that the unborn are living human beings. well state away dude. i state in reply: not if the mother who's body GROWS THEM says that they aren't. you're coming at this from a "magical fetal-life has an over-riding divine right to live" angle. im not, i believe in women's autonomy over their own bodies and i believe in an individual's free will. if the pregnant woman decides, based on the hardships and problems in her life, that the zygote or fetus HER BODY OWNS is a clump of living cells that aren't a human being, then i support her decision. and if she wishes to end the pregnancy? i support that too. you see, i trust individuals with the ability to control THEIR OWN LIVES AND BODIES far more than I trust either law, lawmakers, government, OR YOU to control them. i believe in choice. so if you choose not to abort your zygote, go for it. i support your decision. its your choice.

you are also free to believe anything you wish about when a "human being" begins, as am i. personally i feel a human being begins when the mother decides the fetus in her body is a human being and she wants a baby and she accepts reponsibility for its care.

ahhhhhh. now there's something beautiful, yes?

beats the hell out of fucking zygote lawyers forcing C-sections down the throats of christian women who don't want a C-section.

bayprairie's picture
Posted by bayprairie on 29 December 2005 - 4:17am
My logic is faith-based?

Hi Bayprairie,

No, you never called me a religious fanatic - you accused me of being really into my faith because I provided quotes from embryology textbooks. My impression was that you were trying to deny the scientific fact that at conception a life begins by saying that my views (which come from scientific textbooks) were based on faith.

I asked if you had any evidence to back up your view that at conception a life doesn't begin. Now you're providing me with evidence that a hospital used a prolife law (I'm guessing some kind of prenatal protection act- the article is far from specific) to try to make a woman have a c-section. I don't think a hospital should be able to force a woman to have a c-scetion and I don't know how that affects the discussion about the beginnings of life.

Grows them? If the unborn are growing, then how are they not alive? Do things that aren't alive grow for 9 months?

Magical fetal-life? Divine right to life? Now that's a strawman. I've merely provided evidence from scientific textbooks that at conception the life of a human being begins and now you're creating strawman arguments for me instead of providing some evidence that at conception life doesn't begin.

i trust individuals with the ability to control THEIR OWN LIVES AND BODIES far more than I trust either law, lawmakers, government, OR YOU to control them

But now you're assuming that the unborn are part of the woman's body. Your argument assumes the exact thing you seem to be trying to prove.

you are also free to believe anything you wish about when a "human being" begins, as am i. personally i feel a human being begins when the mother decides the fetus in her body is a human being and she wants a baby and she accepts reponsibility for its care

So I guess you can feel free to just ignore scientific evidence - and cling to the faith-based wish that the unborn (seemingly by magic - or maybe there's some kind of unknown hormone triggered by the mother's mental decision that makes the unborn a human being) becomes a human being the moment his mother wants him to be a human being. So some of the unborn become human beings at conception while others become human beings at 3 months, others at 4 weeks, etc. That's not beautiful, that's ignorant.

By the way, zygotes are never aborted.

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 29 December 2005 - 9:00am
fetal rights do not come free

you say

I don't think a hospital should be able to force a woman to have a c-section and I don't know how that affects the discussion about the beginnings of life.

We agree that no woman should be forced against her will to have a medical procedure by means of force, law, or otherwise.

Why this affects our discussion is that fetal rights do not come free. When misguided lawmakers, institutions and courts applying new laws decide to award rights to fetuses, the award translates into costs for women. Most people commonly associate "fetal rights" with efforts to curtial abortion. This is EXACTLY what we are discussing here J, fetal rights. What I'm doing is trying to illustrate the future that you, and your fellow pro-fetal-life advocates, are creating for the women of this country. That is why Ms. Amber Marlowe's story has been blockquoted to you. Poor Angela. She wasn't even in the hospital for an abortion. She was a good christian woman who's run afoul of the illogical laws your movement is spawning.

The fetal rights movement that you are part of is RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT HAPPENED TO HER. I find it interesting that even you think she was wrongly treated under the law. The laws, such as the one that abused her, are a direct result of the anti-choice movement.

Women need to know. They need to be aware that because of the anti-choice movement that they, or their daughters, may also be forced to undergo a C-Section against their will one day. They need to know this so that they may cease their support of, and turn away from, your movement. I have no hopes of convincing you of anything. But I am hoping that some woman whom you know, perhaps, or who is not quite as sure of her anti-choice position comes along.

And says "hey, wait a minute".

Bayprairie is right. What happened to these women IS WRONG!

What you will replace Roe Vs Wade with, J, will be far worse in the long run, than that you seek to overturn.

The woman should decide. Trust the pregnant woman. Only she is fit to judge whether abortion is the right choice for her place in this life, or whether a baby needs to be birthed into this world.

Trust the woman.

bayprairie's picture
Posted by bayprairie on 31 December 2005 - 3:25am
Your reasoning seems to be a little off

Since one hospital supposedly forces a woman to undergo a c-section based on a prolife law (which law isn't given) that means that the reversal of Roe would force more women to undergo unwanted c-sections?

Were women forced to have c-sections against their will in large numbers before abortion was legalized?

I'm sorry but you're plainly wrong. The hospital is responsible - not prolife lawmakers. The hospital wanted to perform a c-section and used a prolife law incorrectly as a way of getting that. The hospital abused her - not the law.

Bayprairie is right? But aren't you Bayprairie? Are you talking in the 3rd person?

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 4 January 2006 - 2:18pm
when life begins

let's assume, arguendo that jiving j. is scientifically correct that life begins at conception and that a blastocyst, zygote, embryo are human beings in the same scientific sense that an acorn is an oak, i.e. that it is a living collection of cells containing the dna of it's species and the potential to grow into the full realization of its dna programming.

ok, now what? or rather, so what? that assertion is not an argument against abortion. as others point out in this thread, prior to birth, this "being in a stage of human development", whatever you want to call it, cannot exist without the biology of the woman whose womb it lives in. let's be very clear about what that means.

let's say that 3 minutes after a baby is born, it needs a kidney transplant in order to survive, and the only kidney that matches, the only one that will work, is the father's kidney. now what if, for whatever reason, the father does not want to donate his kidney. maybe he only has one to begin with. maybe he's got health problems. maybe he's a drug addict. maybe perfectly healthy but can't spare the time from work for the operation and the recovery. maybe he's just selfish. maybe he just doesn't care. the bottom line is that, regardless of his reason, no law in the country is going to force that father to donate his biology to keep that "being in a stage of human development" alive. any human being's right to life ends when it requires the biology of another human being in order to stay alive.

when madman talks about the right to personhood beginning when you can breathe on your own, that is what he means. your analogy to someone on a respirator is a false one. someone on a respirator can be kept alive without forcing another human being to give up their biology.

a zygote, embryo, or fetus cannot. it cannot exist without the biology of the woman it feeds upon. further, the parasitic nature of the zygote, embryo, or fetus carries unpleasant symptoms, and risk for the woman it is feeding from. from the strain on the woman's kidneys, hormones and blood supply, to the risk of complications including gestational diabetes, pregnancy consumes the biology of a woman. ultimately, it may even take the life of that woman.

so who then gets to decide whether the woman gives her biology to this "being in a stage of human development"? legislators? judges? governors? presidents? at the very core of our national principles is the notion of autonomy. for a goverment to force a human being to give up part of their biology to keep another alive is slavery.

so even assuming, arguendo, that biological human life begins at conception. the right to life only begins at the moment you can live without the biology of another human being.

now some may argue that my analogy between the post-birth father and the pre-birth mother is false. they may say that the difference is that if the father does nothing, the baby will die. whereas, if the mother does nothing, a baby will live. but this argument views pregnancy as a passive experience. the notion is that during pregnancy, the mother does nothing. in fact, the mother does everything. the woman supplies blood, food, waste removal, etc, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. forcing a woman by law to give up her biology to support the life of a parasitic being that cannot exist without her is enslavement.

frankly, i'm not interested in arguing the science of when life begins or what constitutes a human being. to me, it is irrelevant to the issue of whether a woman has a right to keep her own biology to herself. providing her biology to carry a pregnancy to term is a wonderous gift that a woman gives to an emerging life. but it is a gift that must be made voluntarily. if she does not have the right to choose whether or not to give her biology, then she is reduced to the status of breeding stock. we don't grant cows the right to decide whether they will get pregnant or give milk or die in order to feed a human being. but as human beings, we have the right to decide with whom we share our biology and when.

as for the whole acorn is an oak thing? yes, scientifically an acorn is of the species oak. but there is a reason science and language give names to different stages of development. there is a reason we have the terms acorn, sapling, oak tree. each describes a different mode of existence. an acorn doesn't perform photosynthesis. so while acorn and oak tree may both be of the species "oak", it does not follow that acorn = oak tree.

likewise, a blastocyst and a 5 day old baby may both be of the species "human". but that does not mean that blastocyst = baby. there is no such thing as an "unborn baby." a blastocyst, zygote, embryo, or fetus cannot survive without the biology of a host. a baby can.

artemisia's picture
Posted by artemisia on 29 December 2005 - 11:43am
Not bad...

Hi Artemisia,

Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I've posted a response here (http://www.imago-dei.net/imago_dei/2005/12/is_preg...) if you are interested.

As far as the oak tree thing goes, it is true that an oak does not perform photosynthesis at the acorn stage. However, my 3 year old daughter does not have the capacity to reproduce at her age. Her organs won't be functional for the purposes of reproduction for a number of years. I will assume yours are working. Does that make her less human than you?

Serge's picture
Posted by Serge (not verified) on 29 December 2005 - 2:48pm
No chickie. No prayer and kneeling here.

We won't be going there to perform for you... nor read your drivel. You have performed for hour upon hour now. I am well into my patented "opera glasses and popcorn" mode.

We won't be driving traffic to your site, nor to Jivin J's pseudo religio slobber dump site. Pro life blogs deserve him.

you had nice people who met you with more than a modicum of respect. I have less energy.

MG.org has, on a single day, more traffic than your sites get in a week. In fact more traffic in a single day then your sites get in a MONTH.

I hope Klusendorf from his training institute in Colorado Springs pays you little operatives. I note you are both pro life Republican/libertarian slither jobs. I am sure plenty of slithery christian pro-life Dems suck up to you in the Michigan hinterlands.

Good luck to pro-life boyos.... Kiss Alito Kiss Ratzy kiss Dobson Kiss Klusendorf. Kiss them somewhere.

Marisacat's picture
Posted by Marisacat on 29 December 2005 - 3:45pm
what does traffic have to do with it?

Hi Marisacat,

Congratulations on the traffic that mediagirl.org receives on a daily basis. I'm well aware that my blog doesn't receive much traffic but what does the amount of traffic my blog receives have to do with the current debate regarding conception and what happens at it? If my blog received more traffic, would my evidence and arguments then be worthy of mediagirl?

"Pseudo-religious slobber dump site" - I'm not sure how I should take that.

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 30 December 2005 - 7:32am
your response

I read your response and find it lacking.

1. In order to be compelling, the analogy between a pregnant woman and organ donor has to be appropriate. In actuality, the parallels just aren't there. In the example where the father does not donate his kidney, the child would die from a pathogical kidney condition. Besides being in a vulnerable environment, what pathology does thefetus suffer from?

Your distinction between a pathological deficiency and a developmental deficiency is meaningless. A fetus or child does not have a greater right to the biology of another simply because their need for it is natural vs. pathological. It doesn't matter why the kidney of the fetus or child is not working. That has no bearing on point of the matter, which is the sovereign rights of the donors. Furthermore, a distinction between what is natural and what is pathological is false. Even pathological conditions are natural. They occur in nature, sua sponte, as a result of the random shuffling of cellular dna.

2. The analogy misses the distinction between allowing a human being to die naturally and intentionally and actively killing one. Abortion does not allow a pathogical condition to take the life of ahuman fetus. It is an act intentionally designed to kill one. In the analogy, the father may not have to donate his kidney, but he can'tlegally dismember the child. Abortion does just that.

In both cases, death is the result of an inability to survive without the biology of another. A fetus, removed from its host, will die naturally. Your focus on pathological versus natural again misses the point. As stated above, pathological conditions are natural. Let me try another analogy. Let's assume, hypothetically, that instead of a kidney transplant the child needs to be connected via tubes to the father so that the child's blood can be filtered through the father's kidney. In this hypothetical situation, for whatever reason, artificial dialysis is not an option. I don't know, for the sake of the hypothesis, let's say that the newborn's kidneys are not fully developed and that this 24/7 connection between father and child must go on for 9 months, until the child's kidneys develop "naturally" on their own. So let's say that the father consents to being hooked up to the child initially. But that after 2 weeks, a month, 5 months, the father for whatever reason wants to have the tubes removed. Maybe he's tired all the time, maybe his back hurts from carrying the child around. Maybe he's got a job offer that the arrangement would interfere with. The reason doesn't matter. The bottom line is that the father has a right to remove his tubes at any time, even though the child will die as a result. Even though the child will eventually be healthy if he continues the connection. He would not be required by law to continue that connection.

I concede that abortions as they are conducted today are more aggressive than what you would call a "natural" death. However, there is no evidence that an abortion is any more painful to a fetus than say delivering the fetus by C-section and allowing it to expire "naturally." In that sense, the distinction between what you would call a "natural" death resulting from inability to live without another's biology and death resulting from abortion is an aesthetic one. The distinction between "natural" death and abortion is meaningless to the life that cannot survive without another's biology.

3. The parents in the second case are in no way responsible fortheir child being in a position to need a kidney transplant. Except inthe rare instance of rape (in which this analogy may have somemerit), the pregnant woman is at least partially responsible forenaging in an act that she fully had knowledge could have bring aboutthe circumstances that she finds herself in. I would argue this placesher in a situation in which more is required of her than a kidneydonor, and it is not unreasonable to expect her to care for a humanbeing that she helped to create.

This argument falls down all over the place. Your argument boils down to this: A woman who has sex has a higher duty of responsibility to a fetus than a parent has to a child intentionally brought into this world. Yes, it is true that adults engaging in consensual sex know that pregnancy is a risk. It is also true that adults who choose to bring a child into this world know that there is a risk of any number of things going wrong, including health problems that may require organ donation to resolve.

Further, our hypothetical is not about a random organ donor. It is about the lack of legal obligation of a father to donate his biology to a child he knew was a potential result of his own sexual behavior.

4. I would argue that no human being has the "right" to an organtransplant to sustain their life. However, the mother essentiallyprovides nutrition, oxygen, and a safe environment for ther fetus. These are the same entities required to keep all of us alive. Is itwrong for us to require that a parent provide that for theiroffspring? This once again is not analogous to organ donation.

The mother provides nutrition, oxygen and a safe environment in the form of her own biology. These are not the same entities required to keep all of us alive. The difference between a fetus and a child is the difference between requiring the biology of a specific individual and requiring resources that can be provided by others. It is the difference between being required by law to give up one's biology and being required by law to provide external resources. Parents can terminate their relationship with children by giving them up for adoption, giving them to the state, or having them raised by relatives. The child can survive without any particular person. A parent has a choice about whether to continue the parenting relationship. But most importantly, there is a fundamental difference between being required to donate one's biology and being required to donate one's external resources.

5. I want to make it clear that the physical demands of pregnancyare sometimes very great, sometimes debilitating, and very rarelyfatal. However, feminists have strived for years for employers not totreat pregnancy as some form of debilitating pathology. I worked allday with someone who is 8 months pregnant. Artemesia makes it soundlike we should return to the days in which we sent women home who wereexpecting birth for their own good. The picture she paints ofpregnancy is not a realistic one.

Again the focus on pathology. Pregnancy is not a pathology. It is, however, a parasitic relationship between fetus and host. A woman who chooses to carry a pregnancy to term has the right to function at the highest level of functionality that she is capable of. An employer's responsibility to respect the functionality of a pregant woman has nothing to do with the relationship between the woman and the fetus. I would never argue that pregnant women should be sent home for their own good. On the contrary, it is those who view the rights of the fetus to be above those of the mother that would send a woman home, for the sake of the fetus. They would argue that a woman has no right to self determination, no right to autonomy or choice of action if that action could potentially harm the sovereign fetus. Thus, if working puts the fetus at risk, the woman should not work.

6. Let's be very honest here. Most women do not have abortionsbecause of the effect the fetus will have on her body. Only 12% ofresponsents in this Alan Guttmacher study even mentioned health issuesin their decision to have an abortion. (Table here) Most women have abortions not because of the effect on their livesduring the pregnancy, most have them based on the effect of their livesonce the child is born.

The bottom line: it is not unreasonable to expect a mother toprovide nutrition, oxygen, and a safe environment for her offspringthat she helped to conceive unless it poses a serious threat to herphysical life. The fact that human beings, at the earliest stages ofdevelopment, are naturally dependent on their mothers for theirvulnerable little lives does not give us license to intentionally killthem. The analogy to an organ donor fails.

The reason a woman chooses an abortion is irrelevant. As I explain in my post at Our Word, what is at issue is whether a woman has a sovereign right to give and withhold her biology at her choosing.

It is indeed unreasonable to require a woman to provide nutrition, oxygen, and a safe environment for an emerging life if those things can only be provided in the form of her own biology. It is a wonderful gift if she chooses to provide them. But a fetus dependent on a woman's biology has no independent right to life. It is not simply a license, but a fundamental right of a woman to choose to expel from her body that which feeds upon her --even when that means the being will die without her. No human being, in any stage of development, has a right to the biology of another.

artemisia's picture
Posted by artemisia on 30 December 2005 - 8:47am
Well said

Thank you.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 30 December 2005 - 9:39am
beautifully said.

I admire your patience.

All I can do when dealing with zealot activists like these two is recognize the obviousness of what they're trying to do and then it becomes impossible not to belittle and scorn. It's a weakness, I'm afraid.

Of course, they won't read a word you said, and will continue to pretend they're "proving" something that depends entirely on faith or whatever definition of "person" someone has.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 30 December 2005 - 10:35am
Response

crossposted at http://www.imago-dei.net/imago_dei/2005/12/artemes...

Thanks again Artemesia for a thoughtful comment.  Although I also find your argument less than compelling, it is well thought out and interesting.  Sort of a Judith Jarvis Thompson's violinist as a new father.  At the very least, I hope our respectful interaction can show others that reasonable dialogue can actually happen regarding this difiicult issue.  Sorry ahead of time for the length of this.

I read your response and find it lacking.

No surprise there!

Your distinction between a pathological deficiency and a

developmental deficiency is meaningless. A fetus or child does not have

a greater right to the biology of another simply because their need for

it is natural vs. pathological. It doesn't matter why the kidney of the

fetus or child is not working. That has no bearing on point of the

matter, which is the sovereign rights of the donors. Furthermore, a

distinction between what is natural and what is pathological is false.

Even pathological conditions are natural. They occur in nature, sua sponte, as a result of the random shuffling of cellular dna.

First, I will admit a certain sloppiness to the term "natural".  A better term would be "healthy" or "non-pathological".  This is a distinction that we make everyday.

You seem to believe that it makes no difference whether the child's condition is a naturally healthy one or a pathological one.  Clearly that is false.  We treat situations differently when a child is suffering from a pathology.  A parent who injects a healthy child with poisons that make her vomit continually commits horrific abuse.  the same parent injecting the same poisons into a child with leukemia is performing a wonderful act of love that may save the child's life.  Clearly the situation is different.

What do you mean by the term "developmental deficiency?"  How is the fetus deficient?  She is developing as all human beings develop.  Each and every one of us passed through this stage of development.  The only thing deficient from the fetus in this circumstance is that she happens to be in a situation in which she is not wanted, and her mother would rather her dead than alive.

With a child that has a horrific kidney disease, it may not be reasonable for them to expect someone else's organ.  However, I believe it is reasonable to expect a parent to provide nutrition, oxygen, and a safe environment unless it threatens their life to do so.  The analogy just is just not parallel. 

In both cases, death is the result of an inability to survive

without the biology of another. A fetus, removed from its host, will

die naturally. Your focus on pathological versus natural again misses

the point. As stated above, pathological conditions are natural. Let me

try another analogy. Let's assume, hypothetically, that instead of a

kidney transplant the child needs to be connected via tubes to the

father so that the child's blood can be filtered through the father's

kidney. In this hypothetical situation, for whatever reason, artificial

dialysis is not an option. I don't know, for the sake of the

hypothesis, let's say that the newborn's kidneys are not fully

developed and that this 24/7 connection between father and child must

go on for 9 months, until the child's kidneys develop "naturally" on

their own. So let's say that the father consents to being hooked up to

the child initially. But that after 2 weeks, a month, 5 months, the

father for whatever reason wants to have the tubes removed. Maybe he's

tired all the time, maybe his back hurts from carrying the child

around. Maybe he's got a job offer that the arrangement would interfere

with. The reason doesn't matter. The bottom line is that the father has

a right to remove his tubes at any time, even though the child will die

as a result. Even though the child will eventually be healthy if he

continues the connection. He would not be required by law to continue

that connection.

Of course there is no perfect analogy for a man to undergo pregnancy, so these increasingly strange hypotheticals are in some way necessary.  However, I would challenge the assumption here that a man would not be held responsible for continuing the care to his child.  The issue of "pulling the plug" would not be as clear as you imply it to be.  I would support having the father in this situatio have a legal obligation to continue to support his child as long as it did not endanger his life.

However, even if he WERE able to pull the tube, he would not be legally able to slit the child's throat.  If he pulled the tube, the child would unfortunately die from kidney failure.  However, once again, this is not how a fetus dies.  The fetus dies from actively being torn apart.  There is a large difference.

I concede that abortions as they are conducted today are more

aggressive than what you would call a "natural" death. However, there

is no evidence that an abortion is any more painful to a fetus than say

delivering the fetus by C-section and allowing it to expire

"naturally." In that sense, the distinction between what you would call

a "natural" death resulting from inability to live without another's

biology and death resulting from abortion is an aesthetic one. The

distinction between "natural" death and abortion is meaningless to the

life that cannot survive without another's biology.

It is far more than an aesthetic difference.  It is the difference between an act taken which intentionally kills a living human organism and one that allows nature to "take its course".  Also, your distinction regarding pain is immaterial.  If I kill someone painfully, or kill them painlessly (say with sufentanyl gas), the main issue is that I killed them, not whether they felt pain during the process. 

This argument falls down all over the place. Your argument boils

down to this: A woman who has sex has a higher duty of responsibility

to a fetus than a parent has to a child intentionally brought into this

world. Yes, it is true that adults engaging in consensual sex know that

pregnancy is a risk. It is also true that adults who choose to bring a

child into this world know that there is a risk of any number of things

going wrong, including health problems that may require organ donation

to resolve.

Further, our hypothetical is not about a random organ donor. It is

about the lack of legal obligation of a father to donate his biology to

a child he knew was a potential result of his own sexual behavior.

Once again, you compare a situation with a healthy human organism in the most natural safe position who needs the same basic human needs as all of us and a distorted pathological condition in which heroic measures are sometimes taken to save a life.  Just because no one is required to perform a medically heroic action, does not mean that a mother has no obligations to provide basic nutritional needs to her offspring if it does not threaten her life.

The mother provides nutrition, oxygen and a safe environment in the

form of her own biology. These are not the same entities required to

keep all of us alive. The difference between a fetus and a child is the

difference between requiring the biology of a specific individual and

requiring resources that can be provided by others. It is the

difference between being required by law to give up one's biology and

being required by law to provide external resources. Parents can

terminate their relationship with children by giving them up for

adoption, giving them to the state, or having them raised by relatives.

The child can survive without any particular person. A parent has a

choice about whether to continue the parenting relationship. But most

importantly, there is a fundamental difference between being required

to donate one's biology and being required to donate one's external

resources.  (my emphasis)

(Your last sentence):No human being, in any stage of development, has a right to the biology of another.

Lets focus on that last statement.  I'll now offer a hypothetical.  Lets say a mother gives birth alone in the dead of winter to a child.  She has no phone, and has no desire to leave the house (she hates the cold).  She agrees with you that she has no obligation to "share her biology" with her child, so she refuses to breast feed the baby.  There is ample adult food, which she offers to the baby, who of course cannot eat it.

When the baby dies from starvation, do believe she should be held responsible for the child's death?  It not her fault she did not have a phone.  It is not her fault that the child could not eat adult food.  As you have stated, the reasons why she did not leave the house do not matter - its her body autonomy that matters.  Would we applaud her as a woman who correctly asserted her rights?  She tried to donate her "external resources" to the child, but she was unabke to take them.  Bottom line: what responsibility does a mother have to her human offspring? 

Again the focus on pathology.  Pregnancy is not a pathology.

We have agreement!!

It is,

however, a parasitic relationship between fetus and host. A woman who

chooses to carry a pregnancy to term has the right to function at the

highest level of functionality that she is capable of. An employer's

responsibility to respect the functionality of a pregant woman has

nothing to do with the relationship between the woman and the fetus. I

would never argue that pregnant women should be sent home for their own

good. On the contrary, it is those who view the rights of the fetus to

be above those of the mother that would send a woman home, for the sake

of the fetus. They would argue that a woman has no right to self

determination, no right to autonomy or choice of action if that action

could potentially harm the sovereign fetus. Thus, if working puts the

fetus at risk, the woman should not work.

This is bit of a different topic, albeit one that I believe we would have a great amount of agreement on.  The point is that the vast majority of pregnancies are natural healthy ones for both mother and fetus.  It is you who tend to compare them to either pathologic situations (kidney disease) or infections with pathogens (parasitic infections). 

The reason a woman chooses an abortion is irrelevant.  As I explain in my post at Our Word, what is at issue is whether a woman has a sovereign right to give and withhold her biology at her choosing.

It is indeed unreasonable to require a woman to provide nutrition,

oxygen, and a safe environment for an emerging life if those things can

only be provided in the form of her own biology. It is a wonderful gift

if she chooses to provide them. But a fetus dependent on a woman's

biology has no independent right to life. It is not simply a license,

but a fundamental right of a woman to choose to expel from her body

that which feeds upon her --even when that means the being will die

without her. No human being, in any stage of development, has a right

to the biology of another.

There is no question that bodily autonomy is very important.  However, when one engages in an action that they fully know could result in them creating another individual human being, there exists a minimum responsibility for that human being.  It is not unreasonable to expect a mother to provide food, oxygen, and a safe environment for her offspring if it does not seriously threaten her life.  It is not reasonable for her to allow someone to dismember her offspring because they are not desired. Thanks for the interaction.  Have a great New Year.Serge

Serge's picture
Posted by Serge (not verified) on 30 December 2005 - 9:45pm
the right to choose

first let me say that i too hope that "our respectful interaction can show others that reasonable dialogue can actually happen regarding this difiicult issue." i especially hope that you have exemplified to others that there is an alternative to standing in front of women's health clinics yelling "baby killer" at every woman who walks in, without even knowing her reason for being there.

it seems clear that we both come down differently on the issue of what is reasonable to expect of a woman with an unwanted pregnancy. but that is what the right to choose is all about. those who agree with your position are free to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, even if it is an unwanted pregnancy. those who agree with my position are free to choose to terminate an unwanted pregnancy if they so desire.

artemisia's picture
Posted by artemisia on 30 December 2005 - 11:05pm
Choice is not always good
first let me say that i too hope that "our respectful interaction can show others that reasonable dialogue can actually happen regarding this difiicult issue." i especially hope that you have exemplified to others that there is an alternative to standing in front of women's health clinics yelling "baby killer" at every woman who walks in, without even knowing her reason for being there.

I would agree to this. I believe that all living human beings deserve respect and value regardless of the choices they make.

At the same time any casual reading of the comments here would indicate that it is not merely pro-lifers that tend to be rude to those who disagree with their ideology. You don't seem to have any criticism of your colleagues here.

it seems clear that we both come down differently on the issue of what is reasonable to expect of a woman with an unwanted pregnancy. but that is what the right to choose is all about. those who agree with your position are free to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, even if it is an unwanted pregnancy. those who agree with my position are free to choose to terminate an unwanted pregnancy if they so desire.

Your attempt at spinning your view as somehow morally neutral is not effective. We could apply your philosophy to a number of pressing moral issues. For instance, if I state that I support the right of parents to choose to abuse their children, would that be considered a tolerant one? How about rape - I would never rape anyone, but I'm pro-choice on the issue of rape. Is that neutral or tolerant? Slavery? I don't own slaves, but believe everyone should have the choice to enslave someone else. How about gender discrimination? I would never choose to discriminate against women, but I support the right of empoyers to choose to discriminate. Is that a neutral view?

Clearly each of the views expressed, although pro-choice, are repugnant. Some choices are simply wrong.

Serge's picture
Posted by Serge (not verified) on 3 January 2006 - 4:17pm
someone

who has so little thought for the life and needs of the women involved in this issue is not worthy of respect. Artemisia has far more patience with you than you deserve.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 31 December 2005 - 9:22am
Oh boyos are gearing up for Jan 22

BUT!! according this (and no news to many here) they need to look within. A noteworthy number of evangelical women, to say nothing of those merely signifying one or another religious belief, seek abortions. Apparently they can (ah, but may they?) go against god and patriarchy when necessary...

Focus on the Family has announced its new target in the culture wars: the many women inside evangelical churches who get abortions. Now that the war on Christmas is over, Focus on the Family is returning to its tried and true war on women. January is a big month for attacking abortion, and this year all the more so because of Supreme Court nomination hearings. In its post-holiday release, Focus on the Family slung its first arrow: Focus on the Family Challenges Christians on Abortion in the Church

[...]

Every clinic has a story about a woman who picketed outside until one day she needed an abortion, as often as not asking for her identity to be shielded. They may justify their circumstances as different. But there they are, needing a basic healthcare service, despite religious prescriptions.

I am all for autonomy, for choice and accessibility for those who need to seek an abortion, for whatever reason, and for those who must go against their sworn allegiances (let's get real what religious authority is all about) coming to an understanding of how critical a healthcare service abortion is... For thee and me, and no lecturing.

Marisacat's picture
Posted by Marisacat on 31 December 2005 - 10:08am
not unreasonable to you, what if she disagrees?

you say

It is not unreasonable to expect a mother to provide food, oxygen, and a safe environment for her offspring if it does not seriously threaten her life.

what if the woman sees her situation differently than you "reasonably expect" and she has chosen not to provide all of these things. do you believe, doctor, that she should then be coerced into providing for the fetus against her will?

bayprairie's picture
Posted by bayprairie on 31 December 2005 - 3:37pm
of acorns and menstrual cycles

serge says:

As far as the oak tree thing goes, it is true that an oak does not perform photosynthesis at the acorn stage. However, my 3 year old daughter does not have the capacity to reproduce at her age. Her organs won't be functional for the purposes of reproduction for a number of years. I will assume yours are working. Does that make her less human than you?

your daughter's inability to reproduce at this time does not make her less human. it does however make her a child as opposed to an adult. just as child does not equal adult, fetus does not equal child. each stage of human development carries with it additional rights. your daughter, not being adult, does not have the right to enter into contracts. a fetus which cannot survive without the biology of another human being, does not have a fundamental right to life.

artemisia's picture
Posted by artemisia on 30 December 2005 - 8:55am
Thank you

Artemisia,

Thank you for providing a well-thought out and reasonable comment from the pro-choice side that was free of insults and accusations of the pushing of a religious view. I would you encourage you to read Serge's comments. He's responded better than I could so I'll let his post do the talking.

Jivin J's picture
Posted by Jivin J (not verified) on 30 December 2005 - 8:19am
Most fetilizations don't implant

Most fertilized eggs don't live long enough to implant, and hence don't even cause a pregnancy. Many pregnancies self-abort in the few weeks after implantation due to chromosomal abnormalities, insufficient nutrition or are accidently devoured by the woman's immune system.

A fertlized egg is a much a baby as a box or brownie mix is brownies.

Lythic's picture
Posted by Lythic (not verified) on 7 January 2006 - 4:41pm
what about rape and incest victims?

i think the "scientific source" that they quote in the washington post must be ID - which "activist" judge thomas ruled just a few days ago is not a scientific theory. i'd like to see some peer-reviewed publications that say that a child's life begins at conception. at conception, the fertilized egg could form twins, triplets, a single child, or nothing at all. it's rediculous! a child is not a child until it develops unique characteristics.

what about incest and rape victims? they're not entitled to the choice of an abortion? isn't the process of giving birth to the progeny of rape or incest psychologically damaging as well? i cannot BELIVE that south dakotans - particularly the intellectual community, what's left of it - are not standing up to this legislation! and that the doctors are just hiding out from the stigma of the label "baby killer"!!! isn't it more righteous to help a woman through an extremely difficult choice rather than deprive her of the option???

and also that these pro-lifers aren't actually having picket protests. they're sneaky, going the legislative route, as if they're avoiding visibility. the people who built that particular planned parenthood in south dakota weren't dumb, though - with no windows in the front, bulletproof glass, and a parking lot in the back. i think that if this guy's nomination goes through to the supreme court - the one who is advocating overturning roe v. wade - me, my friends, and all pro-choice sensible people all over the country should go out and protest in washington, south dakota, and anywhere else plagued with such blatant ignorance.

martha's picture
Posted by martha (not verified) on 27 December 2005 - 10:55am