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DO Mess with Texas!

by NordicStorm Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 06:06:03 AM EST

With the US state of Texas set to carry out its 400th execution since the reintroduction of the death penalty in 1976, the European Union appealed to Texas to halt the execution, issuing the following statement:

We believe that elimination of the death penalty is fundamental to the protection of human dignity, and to the progressive development of human rights. We further consider this punishment to be cruel and inhumane.

Texas Governor Rick Perry was having none of it:
Two hundred and thirty years ago, our forefathers fought a war to throw off the yoke of a European monarch and gain the freedom of self-determination.
... While we respect our friends in Europe, Texans are doing just fine governing Texas.
Yes, that's Texas Governor Rick Perry, arguing for self-determination and essentially telling the EU to mind their own business. Perry's predecessor as governor? Why, none other than noted humanitarian and isolationist George W. Bush!


One would think, given Perry's objections to foreign entities sticking their noses in the affairs of other countries, that maybe, just maybe, he and Bush wouldn't see eye to eye on many things. Guess again:

But Governor Bush has demonstrated that he can accomplish great things. (NYT)
How true! For one thing, Bush managed no less than 152 executions during his six-year tenure as governor! Now, is that an impressive feat or what!
If there's anyone we can count on to protect human rights, it would be Governor Perry. In 2001, he vetoed a bill outlawing the death penalty for the mentally retarded. Apparently some people are, quite literally, too stupid to live.

Thankfully, many US states have abolished the death penalty (with the state of Michigan leading the way, having abolished it already in 1846), but a majority of the states still have death penalty laws in the books (though some states have the good taste of never sentencing anyone to death). Not to mention the death penalty statutes on the federal level.
When it comes to executions, no US state can compete with Texas. Since 1976, about 1,100 executions have been carried out in the United States, more than 35% of those having been carried out in the lone-star state.

I think I'm just gonna have to side with the EU on this one. I know, I know, how "old Europe" of me. Silly me, thinking that maybe, just maybe, you can't really be considered a leader on human rights by any stretch of the imagination while you're executing your own citizens.

(The execution has since been carried out, as scheduled. Happy 400th, Texas!)

Display:
And that concludes the angry and barely coherent rant of the day. I'm not wont for "America-bashing", but c'mon! The death penalty?

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 06:07:55 AM EST

Monument of the ten commandments at the Texas state capitol. It says "thou shalt not kill" right there on the friggin' rock!

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 07:03:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The death penalty is only the start of it: there's a whole cultural thing about crime and punishment that I just can't help being repulsed by. Probably comes from having too many biblical literalists crawling around, but I can't make sense of it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 06:25:55 AM EST
This is an interesting question. Why do the very same people who passionately oppose the death penalty have no problem supporting the right of a woman to abort an unborn child for any reason and at any stage? Do find any hypocrisy here? I personally oppose both.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 07:06:07 AM EST
Because the the people supporting the right of a woman to an abortion generally don't accept that the aborted foetus is alive in the way that a prisoner to be executed is.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 07:25:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well firstly I would argue that there is a continuum from initial conception tilla point about 28 weeks into pregnancy where various developmental stages occur, there are ggod arguments  at several points along this chain for life to be considered to have started.

If you wish to take a biblical argument, it specifically (exodus 21:22) separates out the punishment of causing an unborn child to be miscarried, to that of the woman bearing the child to die. because  the woman is alive and the unborn child is not (Incidentally this is an echo of the legal system of the Hittites, and the code of Hammurabi which have simmilar sections)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 07:25:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No hypocrisy, no. Neither a contradiction.

The unborn child has made no investment in its own life. Its awareness of itself is not sufficiently acute to count, and I don't support protection of bare, biological life. Esp. not when in conflict with the self-aware suffering imposed on its host. Because, yes, it is dependent on parasitic feeding on an others body. I will reserve myself the right to eradicate any parasitic infestation of my body!

The death penalty is ugly. Retributive, vindictive, 'justice' in general is an abomination. More ugly still is that we don't recognise what I would consider the most important human right: The right to die, at any time, for any reason. The only way to protect individuals from having protracted suffering imposed on them.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 07:29:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right. The death penalty is vengeance, not justice. And on the occasion when the wrong person is convicted, it's pretty damn hard to undo.

As for abortion...couching it in terms of "the unborn child" makes it sound pretty bad, sure. But, while having been an embryo is a necessary pre-condition for becoming human, it's not in itself a sufficient condition for being human.

The right to die...I highly recommend the Spanish move The Sea Inside (Mar Adentro).

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 07:41:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not just the death penalty, but most prison terms as well. If the conditions of imprisonment are inhumane: if the inmates are at danger of suffering physical or mental injury by the facilities in which they are housed, the guards, or their fellow inmates; if the prison term does not come with concrete opportunities for development of skills required for a non-criminal career upon release - then I think we can conclude that the point was vengeance, and nothing but. Or maybe some greed as well? Don't forget, privatised prisons are a growth industry!
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 07:58:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Very good point. If you come out of prison a worse person than when you came in, it's not a net gain for society.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 08:00:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The reason I brought this up was that a month ago I was sitting in the office of an orthopaedic surgeon and was browsing through a coffee table book that was actual photographs of conception through birth and every small step in between. It described in detail each organ and appendage development.

What I realized just how miraculous birth of another human being is and how incredibly fast its' development is from the time of conception. By the 5th or 6th month organ and appendage development is almost complete.

While the decision of Roe v. Wade in the U.S. was necessary to stop the illegal abortions and threats to women's health, it led to the view of many that abortion was victimless and it became as vogue as doing a facelift.

A woman has all the control when it comes to reproduction. That control is education, birth control pills or devices, but most importantly is personal responsibility. The decisions this past year by the US Supreme Court in upholding a relatively new law still allows for this partial birth abortion if it is to save the mother's life. She can still have an abortion in the first few months after conception, which morally I still have a problem with.

So what right does a woman lose? She loses the right to treat life as an inanimate toy.

Years ago when my son was in 5th grade, they were learning sex education and the teacher spoke about abortion. My son objected to abortions and when the teacher asked him why, he said, "I am lucky to be sitting here because the mother of the 15 year old girl who was my birth mother did not believe in abortions - otherwise I would never have had the chance to have a life."

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 10:22:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My son objected to abortions and when the teacher asked him why, he said, "I am lucky to be sitting here because the mother of the 15 year old girl who was my birth mother did not believe in abortions - otherwise I would never have had the chance to have a life."

How very touching. Now, tell me, does he also say: "I am lucky to be sitting here because my insemination father did not believe in condoms - otherwise I would never have the chance to have a life."

Now, sing along, please:

Every sperm is sacred,
Every sperm is great.
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite irate.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 10:33:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That pretty much sums up your character (or lack of). Have a good life.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 11:08:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You may be right. After all: "Just because you are a character doesn't mean that you have character." That still begs the question, however: which is more important?

I'm pretty sure that I am a character. I find this far more valuable than having character. More fun too!

Cheers to you too!

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 11:15:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your comment is unduly harsh and insulting.

someone's comment above was very much on topic - or do you deny that sexual intercourse requires two people, and that both are responsible for it to happen or not?

The difference with pregnancy and abortion is that it will affect one person a lot more than the other, so the decision has to be assymetric there.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 01:26:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To be fair, I understand the reaction. Here he's telling   a heartfelt story about his child, and he gets a seemingly sarcastic "oh, how touching!" in response?

Not that I disagree with someone's sentiment (and any comment quoting Monty Python is a-ok in my book), but I see why one would react in that way...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 01:49:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As a woman, that heartfelt story gives me chills or horror -- I HOPE it's bullshit that he's making up.  Otherwise, his son has somehow learned so little respect for his own mother that he thinks she would have gladly aborted him if given the chance.  How sick is that?

And, as someone points out, apparently no thought whatsoever to his father's role.  Pointing out that we're all here because our parents didn't use contraception is entirely on point.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 02:01:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aah, I see what you're saying. I didn't quite think my previous comment through.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 02:10:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NordicStorm - Thank you.

The story is very true and was repeated to us by his teacher who was taken aback by his very thought through comment at such a young age. I had never thought much about the topic until I heard this and then questioned my own values concerning the sanctity of life: death penalties and abortion.

The birth mother was only about 16 and not able to make her own decision, so she relied on her mother who believed that the child should be allowed to live and the right couple selected for adoption.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 02:29:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So if your son had said he hoped contraception would be made illegal otherwise he and others wouldn't be there, would you and his teacher still have thought this was a reasonable line of thought?  How about if he came out strongly against abstinence programs?  

Do you think it's ok for your son to believe his birth mother would have gladly aborted him if not for the intervention of others?  What would your reaction have been if he'd said he was relieved his mother didn't leave him in a dumpster?  Would you have said, yeah, you're mighty lucky that's illegal or she might have?

Perhaps you should try to be more wise than a fifth grader and reassure him that his birth mother probably loves him and has his best interests at heart, instead of reinforcing his fears that she'd have wiped him out of existence if given the chance.  You and his teacher should be ashamed of yourselves.


Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 03:04:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps when he gets older he'll realize that if he had never been, he wouldn't have cared (and be able to consider my statement philosophically). Or, put another way, someday he might be able to view the world outside of his current egocentric lens.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 04:34:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When one starts walking up the causality chain of low probability events such as ever having been born, one very much end up in silly territory. "Oh, I'm glad that my parents got really drunk one night in High School and got knocked up, or I wouldn't be here." The 'touching story' I find rather manipulative. Remember the Snowflake babies?

Snowflake children is a term used by organizations that promote the adoption of embryos left over from in vitro fertilization to describe children that result, where the children's parents were not the original cell donors.
...
President George W. Bush has made public appearances together with snowflake children while speaking about his support for adult stem cell research and his opposition to embryonic stem cell research.


It's the same manipulative, emotional nonsense. I mean, clearly I don't wish for any of these people to not have been born. This, however, does not lead my to conclude that whatever circumstances in their pre-birth life they emphasize as crucial to their very existence ought to be specifically protected. Just as I don't think we should start telling teens to drink and screw more without contraception 'cause some people have been born as a consequence of this.

Thus, I felt an appropriately sarcastic, dismissive and insensitive response was in order.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 02:20:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Oh, I'm glad that my parents got really drunk one night in High School and got knocked up, or I wouldn't be here."

OK, I'll volunteer to go too far:
"Thank God " ... no on second thought even I cannot bring myself to type the "logical extreme" version of that. No asbestos suit is thick enough.

-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 05:35:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I dare you!
No, really, I'm SOO staying out of this thread! Mine fields wherever you look...

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 05:42:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Double-dare ya! :)

Yes, positions are firmly entrenched so that's probably the wisest.


-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 08:03:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
His own comment back to me:

"You may be right. After all: "Just because you are a character doesn't mean that you have character." That still begs the question, however: which is more important?"

Your criticism should be directed to back to him unless feel it is acceptable to poke fun at my son.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 02:36:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Um, no, I am questioning the relevance of your story. As far as I am concerned this all rather unrelated to your son, see this comment.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 02:47:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a big debate here that cannot be handled by the swordplay of comments.

I do not feel up to putting bones on it - maybe Bob could bring in the voice of reason. This is somehow the base subject from which all else springs.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 02:58:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem here is that there's a large grey area between definitely alive - let's take being able to survive and develop outside the womb as this point - and pretty definitely not alive - let's take pre-implantation. Somewhere in there is the point where pretty much everyone except fanatics will accept as the point where the foetus is "alive"  - whatever that means.

In that grey area goes personal morality and belief: thus abortion should be left to the choice of the pregnant woman. Whether you or I like the decision is irrelevant.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 10:33:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If one takes 'viability' as the limit, then one should always be able to have an 'abortion'. If the child is considered to be viable, simply remove it, put it in one of those incubator thingies, and offer it for adoption. If it is not viable, abort and discard.

Besides, alive is clearly not the criterion to use here. Animals and even plants are alive, yet they can for the most part be killed at will. I think 'alive and sufficiently human-like' is closer.

I can probably be considered a fanatic on this topic. In principal I have nothing against early-life infantcide either, as little babies don't seem sufficiently human-like to me.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 10:43:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some nights out I'm happy for it to occurr up to the age of about 20.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 10:45:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And when I lived in my apartment near the fading nightclubs of Leeson Street I'd have supported it up to about seventy, especially coming up to Christmas.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 10:49:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, I think you'd be considered a fanatic.

In principle I don't have a problem with the idea of extracting a viable child late on, though it's probably not a great idea medically for mother or child at that stage.

The problem with killing anything that isn't sufficiently human-like is that the line can be too easily redrawn - which is my main problem with euthanasia as well: opens up too many practical problems in real life.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 10:48:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem of not having euthanasia opens up even more horrors, as far as I am concerned. I can think of many things worse than dying. Being trapped in some half-conscious comatose state is one of them. Mind, there ought to be some pretty serious conditions on this one. In the line of a living-will. Each person should have the opportunity to predetermine the set of conditions under which they would like their life ended, for conditions that would prohibit the person to make such a request directly, assistance for those that are able to make the request, but physically incapable of carrying it out, and an efficient poison pill to swallow, for those capable of that.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 11:03:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What if you're not all that sick, but don't want to be a bother and the assorted variations on that. Does one have to be ill, in-pain, what?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 11:05:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you are physically capable of swallowing the poison pill, you have to do it yourself.

No other conditions. Maybe a 4 week waiting period to not have people killing themselves due to temporary unhappiness. Otherwise, no conditions, no age requirement, or 'sanity' requirement.

I can think of nothing more inhumane than forcing someone to live against their wishes.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 11:09:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm. Don't like it. Too easy to manipulate people into popping the last pill if it's acceptable.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 11:16:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure. Still, less worse than making someone continue their misery against their wishes. Death is not the worst thing that can happen to you!
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 11:18:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not quite certain that I'd consider suicide under pressure less awful than preventing someone offing themselves. It's not obvious to me where the point of balance is in this.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 11:20:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I may be so bold to reveal the ending of Mar Adentro (spoiler alert!):

In the end, Rámon Sampredo (the protagonist), who's been paralysed from the neck down for close to thirty years, commits suicide by drinking a poisonous liquid through a straw from a glass standing on a table right next to his bed. Friends of his prepared the liquid and placed the glass right next to him, but ultimately the decision to drinking the liquid is his. I'd have a hard time convicting his friends for anything, other than being good friends.


"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 11:21:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My former biology teacher once shared an anecdote about the school of thought on reproduction before we understood it as fully as we do now. According to that school of thought, semen actually contained microscopic human beings. Might be apocryphal, I don't know...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 03:09:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure that some of the early microscope work resulted in drawings of sperm like you are describing, whether they were attempts to portray structure or function might have become lost knowledge.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 03:21:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...and it became as vogue as doing a facelift.

This is as far as I know an anti abortion myth. I have not seen any studies to confirm it. When it comes to number of abortions the studies I have seen on swedish abortion statistics show a decrease after legalisation.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 10:44:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you were around int eh U.S. in the '70s and '80s all the gynocologists were setting up "birth control clinics" (abortion clinics). It was a time when abortions were happening very frequently and without remorse. So I would say the analogy did fit. Times have changed here since and younger people have been raised differently and with more sense of responsibility regarding sexual acitivities and control. so tht analogy I made should only apply to an earlier period.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 11:13:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Times have changed here since and younger people have been raised differently and with more sense of responsibility regarding sexual acitivities and control.

I don't think the statistics of teenage sex, in the USA bear your argument out.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 12:35:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The key word here is "responsibility" and support for that are the continuing declines in abortions.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 12:46:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But all the figures i've seen tend to show that the decline in abortions is mainly occurring in the areas of the states which are supposedly the least moral, and the teenage pregnancy and abortion rate is highest in the most religious areas.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 01:06:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's hear it for Abstinence Only programs!

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 01:07:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently teenage girls who signed so called "abstinence pledges" are far more likely to have oral or anal sex than their "slutty" non-pledgee sisters (source).  Oh well, back to the drawing board!

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 01:30:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I seem to remember seeing figures that there was no statistically significant difference in the incedence of STDs between people who had taken the abstinence pledge and those who hadn't as well.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 01:33:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No-sex programs 'not working' says the BBC.

I'm not sure why the scare quotes are there. It's obvious that the programs that are 'not working' are really just not working.

There was a superb diary on dKos earlier in the year from a gynecologist explaining why he was happy to perform abortions. It was one of the clearest and most moving pro-abortion pieces I've ever read, and made the point that sometimes it's for very real health reasons - pregnancy can be fatal, after all - and sometimes for quality of life reasons.

I don't think abortion should be casual, but I think it should be available on demand.

And I'm always baffled by the clear association that seems to exist between those who want to 'defend life' before birth and then treat life with contempt after it.

I'm not suggesting BJG is in that group, but it's hard to ignore the correlation in much of the rest of the US.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 05:21:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by william f harrison

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 01:22:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, this being the BBC they have to be clear even in headlines that they are quoting someone, and it's shorter than adding a "says ..." or "studies show". (Or even "area man".)

Looking at other posts in this thread, perhaps we could be calling them


  • "No"-sex programs

  • No-"sex" programs


etc.

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 05:20:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which just goes to show that the best way to reduce the number of abortions is sex ed in school and easy access to contraceptives (including the morning-after pill).

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 01:38:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WHAT!!! then people might start having sex for fun, and outside marriage, and then, sin of sins women might actually enjoy it and that would never do. </snark>

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 01:47:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd hate to make comparisons to female genital mutilation or forcing women to wear burkas (particularly as someone (no, not the ET member of the same name!) is bound to misunderstand what I'm saying), but ultimately it all boils down to the same kind of thinking, doesn't it?

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 01:53:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes it does.

When Gudrun Schyman, party leader for the left party tried to express this in a speach 2002, it was instantly converted to "all men are taliban" in the media. So you are probably right in your parenthesis too.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 02:01:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well in any sane society if you had what was in effect a parasite growing inside you that had a chance of killing you during its attempts to exit your body, then it would be considered self defence.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 02:03:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BJ Lange: "abortions were happening very frequently and without remorse." How could you or anyone else know they were "without remorse"? If you had any eveidence at all for this claim you should have cited it. Stated like this it's just arrogant dogma.

And yes, people can poke fun at your son, or at anything else. It won't kill him, and you and he will be more mature if you learn to accept fun, even jeers, without throwing a hissy fit.


Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 04:50:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and without remorse

What? You've got statistics on their emotional state as well and they all decided to check

Remorse? NO

Is that right? Please provide a little evidence.

I know. You can't. You can't because this is certainly unsupported by anything approaching scientific research, not to mention common sense.  Having helped a few ladies walk to clinics in my time (and I'll happily do it again) the misery the US pro-life crowd --people with attitudes exactly like yours--have inflicted on these girls is reprehensible.  When  the pro life couldn't beat laws into submissions in the US, they just start breaking the laws, threatening the girls and threatening the abortions performers. "Pro Life" indeed. Bombing clinics, murdering doctors and in general creating their own little reign of terror for those who didn't buy into your pathetically paternalistic attitude about WHO gets to decide whether or not to have a baby is exactly why these things have happened.

You might feel you have some claim to decide about this yourself--and you do--legally, when you are the person carrying the baby. Otherwise, you have no legal right to intimidate or force the issue for someone else, and your emotional tone now vis a vis the 'remorseless' quip--as if you'd know-- reeks of something from the time of the inquisitions. Or, more precisly, reeks of a generally misogynistic attitude. Especially when coupled with your previous comment upthread that suggested the girls were doing it merely as "a matter of convenience". I wear a rubber for convenience. Am I also 'remorseless' and 'a baby killer'? Or does that only fall to the individual who must support another life for nine months, and significantly alter their own lives because some male decided not to be inconvenienced with birth control because 'it wasn't up to him'? So we punish her, right? And call her 'remorseless'. Prostitutes are treated with the same level of respect-- the Johns are never busted, but the hooker goes to jail. (As far as I know Sweden is the only country that flips this general 'rule' on its head, busting the John and letting the prostitute go...oh, yeah, and it works). But I guess you want to apply the same old set of inequities we use here for prostitution to baby making? Wow, that's fair.

Why don't you wrap your head around another much more serious societal problem rather then your fantasy about what the girls might be feeling? You know, like population control. Like the fact that we've reached 6.6 billion and counting and getting a handle on taking care of everyone we've got here now, not making sure we keep reproducing more and more, might be the more intelligent--not to mention  more humane--thing to be concerned about.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population

by delicatemonster (delicatemons@delicatemonster.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 07:58:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With all due respect, I think you're arguing a bit of a strawman here. No woman is going to make such a decision lightly (and then pop in for a quickie botox injection immediately after having the procedure done).
The bottom-line, though, is that it's the woman's decision (as is whether to have a botox injection).

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 10:49:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I should have put that in a better time context. Not now of course, but there was a time soon after the Roe v. Wade decisions that women I knew wore it almost as a badge of honor - that they were liberated women and did not want to be inconvenienced with a child. The doctors were enablers as was Planned Parenthood. There was not enough known about the stages of a fetus then. It was also reflective of other irresponsible behavior of the time in terms of sex and drugs. The facelift reference was a metaphor for how careless the issue was treated back then.

Today younger people are much better educated and more responsible when it comes to issues of sexual conduct. Birth control is much more available and sexual activity is not as reckless as it was.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 12:09:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sexual activity is not as reckless as it was

That's primarily due to AIDS and AIDS awareness. According to people I know that were sexually active in the early 80's, sexual behavior changed almost overnight.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 02:16:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sixth month, granted. However a quarter or so of pregnancies end in miscarriage before the sixth week. Comparing this collection of cells to something that could almost survive is ... apples and oranges etc.

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 12:09:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought that was 25% of detected ones  before the twelfth week, with either 60% or 40% of all pregnancies miscarrying?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 12:16:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are probably correct; I didn't go much further than wikipedia.

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 04:40:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Incidentally, another term for miscarriage is spontaneous abortion...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 11:07:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it led to the view of many that abortion was victimless and it became as vogue as doing a facelift.

I expect you back up that rhetoric with facts.  Actually, I expect you to keep such discussion within the realm of fact and not resort to this kind of rhetoric at all.

A woman has all the control when it comes to reproduction.

That will only be true when rape, incest, abuse, access to reliable and safe education and health services, and the last vestiges of social pressure for women to be dependent on and submissive to men all disappear.  We do not live in such a world yet.

So what right does a woman lose? She loses the right to treat life as an inanimate toy.

A woman who has carried a child for months cannot be under the assumption that that child is 1)inanimate or 2)a toy.  Unless they are genuinely mentally ill.  No, what the woman loses is the right to make serious medical decisions, which will greatly effect her physical, mental, financial health herself with the advice of her family and healthcare providers.  And she loses dignity when a stranger in Washington decides he is more capable of making that personal decision than she is.  Esp. when the decision of the stranger is based on personal religious belief, which should not be legislated, and not a careful weighing of the common good against individual rights, which is the ultimate task of our legislators.  

We are all entitled to our personal beliefs.  But don't mistake your preferences and sentiments and experiences for being representative of that of all or the majority of the population.  


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 12:35:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Should be "lack of access" of course...

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 12:39:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
as soon as I learn how to put links on this I can provide substantive facts.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 02:31:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 01:38:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your comments are full of right-wing lies with a big dollop of your own misogyny thrown in.  Abortion is not about "killing babies."  Full stop.  Abortion access is about not denying women the right to make their own life and death healthcare choices.  It was never "in vogue."  That's simply a malicious lie propagated by religious fanatics.  Restricting abortion access kills women.  It's that simple and entirely in keeping with anti-death penalty beliefs.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 01:56:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
my troll radar is bleeping...

I have a modest proposal :-)  anyone who feels really, really deeply and viscerally that no woman should be allowed to terminate an unwanted pregnancy... should be willing to put their abdominal cavity where their mouth is, and serve as surrogate birth-mother.  medical technology is almost there... if our technociv does not collapse entirely, then surely both men and women of such strong convictions will soon be able and willing to be surgically implanted (with artificial wombs and constructed birth canal in the case of men) with the unwanted fetuses of unwilling mothers.  after all, if bearing an infant to term, giving birth and taking responsibility for its life is no big deal -- nay, is a moral imperative -- and anyone should be willing to do so regardless of the circs of conception, then why not the kibitzers?  let them step forward.

as the old saying goes, "If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a Sacrament."

alternatively, when the anti-abortion crowd put their weight behind laws that would mandate vasectomy for all males over the age of puberty -- to be surgically reversed only on marriage, with a binding signed and witnessed prenuptial agreement covering parenting responsibilities and child suppport -- then I might start taking their moral fervour a bit more seriously...  if they allowed that moral fervour to extend for one moment into interference, kibitzing, and reduction of bodily sovereignty affecting males, instead of using women's bodies only as the chalkboard on which to write their sermons.  until any such evenhandedness is manifested, I have to regard their tender concern for fetal life as merely a decorative wrapper in which to package the age-old patriarchal agenda of controlling/owning/punishing women.

while I'm on a roll:  all this rightwing lala about "without remorse" and frivolous abortions bears no resemblance to the experiences of any woman I have personally known who decided to abort.  in every case, and I am going back to the supposedly licentious 70's here, the decision was made with a lot of thought and often some agonising.  "remorse" is what you feel when you have committed a sin or a crime, so even the use of the word is spin and framing;  the women I knew who decided not to continue a pregnancy felt mixed feelings, made a choice that was often very difficult.  some were raped or impregnated by guile (there really are some men who will claim to be using contraceptives, but sabotage them in an effort to gain control over a girlfriend by getting her pregnant) and others became pregnant accidentally during consensual sex, but felt they could not offer a child a safe, secure, and happy life at that moment in their own lives.  some went on to have a child later, others remained nullipara.  none took the invasive and painful procedure lightly or casually.  the idea of Happy Hippie Chicks frolicking into the abortion clinic and reading a mag during D&C, then rushing out to have some more promiscuous sex, is a wingnut cartoon.

I would have had a sibling, had my mother not stumbled and fallen heavily in the garden early in her second pregnancy; she miscarried as a result.  should all pregnant women be confined to the home -- perhaps strapped down and spoon-fed -- so that they are prevented from taking any action that might possibly harm the developing cell bundle within?  there are wingnuts who are heading in exactly that direction.  

our inheritance of mediaeval misconceptions (ahem) about the nature of semen (i.e. that it contained entire microhomunculi and that the woman's body is merely a passive growth medium) conditions beliefs that the fetus "belongs to" the impregnating male, or to the State, and that the woman is a mere vessel or container for someone else's property.  biological fact is quite different:  semen is not seed, contrary to its ancient and ignorant etymology, but pollen.  males are butterflies and bees, not farmers, in the mammalian reproductive game.  their investment is very slight;  but they keep trying to leverage it into a takeover bid on the entire enterprise.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 04:12:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing to add or subtract. This is my view, which I was not sure I had until I read this.

OOps no. One thing to add. All killing of sentient self-supporting humans is wrong. But dying is a choice. IMO. I find it the greatest hypocrisy that one can be an anti-abortionist AND support, in particular, a war that has created so much innocent death. Iraq, to name just one.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 04:27:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"the decision was made with a lot of thought and often some agonizing"

In 1973, the first year of Roe v. Wade there were about 740,000 abortions or 4.5/female ages 15-44. That dramatically kept rising until 1990 when there were over 1,600,000 abortions or 27.39/female aged 15-44.

And their reasons in 1987? Unready for the responsibility (21%), cannot afford baby now (21%), concerned having baby would change life (16%), wanting to avoid single parenthood (12%), too immature to have a child (11%). The legitimate reasons for an abortion that most agree on are: possible fetal health problems (8%), mother has health problems (3%), or rape or incest (3%). It appears to an objective observer that the overwhelming majority of abortions were a result of, shall we call it, lifestyle inconvenience.

During the 1970s I was a young guy in the ad business in Manhattan and abortions were not a badge of honor but they were treated like any other medical condition and I certainly did not experience anyone having second thoughts about it.

Abortions have been steadily declining since 1990, which has been attributed to sex education among younger people, better access to different forms of contraception, to the HIV/AIDS crisis, and, yes, also to increase in religious belief.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 06:36:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Being unready for the responsibility, wanting to avoid single parenthood (which often means social exclusion and community banishment), Being too young (ditto), cannot afford baby now (which in the US health care systems, endangers health of both of the parents, and of the child), or being a afraid of baby changing life, are decisions that can be, and usually are, made with a lot of thought and agonising.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 07:01:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 . . .  and then let's dispose of the inconvenient little thing that's in the way. Sorry, I don't buy that - particularly when it conflicts with all the heart felt feelings for convicted killers and the death penalty.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 08:12:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you read my comment? You were complaining that the decision to interrupt pregnancy was supposedly done without proper consideration, and trying to support it by printing the reasons given for abortions. Reasons which are compatible with well thought out decisions, despite what you say.

You answer with a non sequitur general comment about how abortions should not exist. Are you interested in talking, or just repeating the same point over and over ?

All parts of the human life cycle can't be sacred. After all, sperms and ovules are as much "human life" as embryos. And indeed, in the 19th century masturbation, homosexuality and contraception were considered as waste of human life, and forbidden.

All this has nothing to do with the destruction of an adult, sentient member of society.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 08:49:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Abortions have been steadily declining since 1990, which has been attributed to sex education among younger people, better access to different forms of contraception, to the HIV/AIDS crisis, and, yes, also to increase in religious belief.

NB: Figures/stats when quoted should be footnoted.  If the HTML for a URL is outside one's comfort zone, then pasting in the raw URL is next-best. But as to these putative explanations for the alleged decline...

Religious belief, certainly -- particularly when that religious belief involves bombing abortion clinics, murdering doctors who provide abortions, defunding state/fed programs that would pay for medical services including abortion, disseminating disinformation that exaggerates the risk of abortion, including wild claims that it causes sterility and suicidal tendencies [this plays oddly with claims of frivolity and lack of remorse among abortion-seekers], and so on.  But what am I thinking -- this atmosphere of threat, disinformation and prurient/punitive oversight of (particularly young unmarried) women couldn't have anything to do with the higher  incidence of teen pregnancy in the red states, of course.

"While organizations such as the National Abortion Federation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also collect information on crimes against clinics, the FMF annual survey provides the most extensive information on victimization and intimidation of abortion clinics and staff of any source in the nation and is the most comprehensive publicly available data set on this topic," Pridemore said.

The reported victimizations involved many forms of violence, harassment and intimidation, including physical violence, bombing, arson, death threats, bomb threats, facility invasion, burglary, break-ins, broken windows, glue in locks, nails in driveways, graffiti, clinic blockades, stalking of staff or physicians, home picketing, posting of "wanted" posters and harassment via the Internet.

Abortion-related crime and violence have a broad array of consequences, Pridemore said. In addition to direct harm to victims and physical damage to clinics, these politically motivated crimes intentionally create a climate of fear that affects abortion providers across the nation.

Because of the resulting physical threat and emotional toll, some providers have stopped performing abortions, reducing the availability of the option of abortion for many women. Eighty-seven percent of U.S. counties, representing more than one-third of the female population aged 15-44, have no abortion providers, and 31 percent of the nation's metropolitan areas do not have a provider, Pridemore said.

footnote

But no, the only reason why fewer abortions are performed is that young people these days are smarter and/or more religious (and/or more into sodomy);  the harassment, intimidation, and terrorism practised against the clinics leading to their gradual disappearance from 87 percent of our counties and 30 percent of our metro areas has nothing to do with it!

they were treated like any other medical condition and I certainly did not experience anyone having second thoughts about it ... it strikes me that if the writer's attitude to women then was as controlling, unsympathetic and judgmental as it appears to be today -- based, I admit, only on the discouraging content of this thread and therefore far from a complete picture -- the possibility does occur that his women friends might not have been exactly leaping at the chance to confide in him and share their most personal and intimate 3am feelings on the subject :-)  in any case, in my limited anecdotal database, women most always turn to female friends and family members for emotional support before, during, and after.

Ironically I, too, would prefer a world where it was rare for women to seek abortions (a painful and invasive procedure as noted above) --  not because they were threatened with prosecution, but because affordable, safe, and reliable contraception was readily available worldwide, because rape was no longer commonplace, because girl children were no longer considered a "failure" requiring a retry, because more men were taking responsibility for their semen, because RU-468-like "morning after" pharma remedies were cheap and easily available, etc.  Perhaps membership in anti-abortion groups should be restricted to those who can provide proof of a tubal ligation (either gender's version) to demonstrate the sincerity of their desire to make abortion really, truly obsolete -- a relic of the bad old days of women's second-class citizenship -- rather than merely illegal?

Alas, that happy obsolescence date grows farther off, not nearer, thanks to the rampup of the religious Right's stealth campaign against contraception itself:

Take the current debate about pharmacists "religious choice". Now, on the surface, this sounds fine. No one should be forced to violate their religious beliefs. John Kerry got sucked right into this code word argument. But what it really is an attack on Griswold, which was the case which created the right to have contraception. Condoms had been sold as a disease prevention device, but the pill, which was designed to prevent pregnancy, was a very different matter.

While the right has been quite vocal about abortion, their campaign against birth control has been a stealth one. They rarely talk about their plans to eliminate birth control, but it's as much a part of the "right to life" movement as their war against abortion. Now, pharmacists are deciding on their own to not fill birth control prescriptions. Married women, wanting to control the size of their families, are finding pharmacists who will not fill their scripts for the pill.

This is no more about religion than bombing clinics. It's a concerted attack on reproductive freedom.

Texas has 254 counties. You can get an abortion in six of them.

This stealth attack on contraception is seeking to do the same thing, to limit the availability of birth control for women.

The judge who decided the Schiavo case was forced to leave his church because the pastor didn't like the way he ruled. How many small town pharmacists can withstand the social pressure to continue to fill prescriptions for birth control? The social pressure will explode once this is permitted.

This is the power of code words. No one will say that they don't like contraception, they will hide behind the words "religious choice". Now, wellmeaning people don't see the intent of these ideas and think this is a reasonable discussion when it is anything but.

footnote

The object of the great game appears to be to give males the ultimate control over pregnancy:  superior size and strength (plus financial/material dominion) make rape and coercion ever-available strategies for impregnating women against their will and/or best interest, and the erosion of all options for women to prevent or terminate pregnancy leaves control exclusively in male hands -- just another form of Enclosure really.

When my grandmother was a girl, women who procured abortions -- or doctors who provided them  -- ran the risk of life imprisonment or hanging.  The result was not exactly a kinder, gentler society;  it was a society in which women "knew their place" or faced barbaric punishments.  And there were a lot of unwanted children even so.Here is a time travel ticket back to those 'good' old days...

All politics is about control:  someone trying to throw off the yoke of control by another, or someone trying to fasten the yoke of control on another.  Abortion politics is about the struggle over who controls women's reproductive capacity and hence women's bodies and intimate bodily processes -- women, or men?  or so I read it.  The rest is window dressing, smoke, and mirrors.  Anti-abortion and anti-contraception initiatives are not just anti-something, they are pro-something:  they are pro-forced-pregnancy, which imnsho does indeed earn them a place in the Dewey Decimal System a couple of shelf units away from our rock-throwing burqa-enforcers in the neo-dar-al-islam.

The punitive aspect of USian culture, already referenced above, seems to me to play an enormous role here... I sometimes think the next target of the neotalibs might as well be oncology:  after all, heavy smokers who develop lung or bladder cancer deliberately did something immoral and risky -- indulging in an addictive vice, a frivolous abuse of the body G-d gave them -- so how dare they seek medical intervention in order to evade the wages of their folly and sin?  They should carry their cancers to term, and accept their punishment as just.  The vindictiveness and mean-ness of such a position don't strike me as all that dissimilar... but of course, many white rightwing xtian men smoke cigs -- so we won't be hearing any calls to bar smokers from receiving oncological services any time soon :-)

Well I'm done with this.  It seems incredible that in this day and age it should even be a debate.  I didn't think the Nineteenth Century was all that great the first time around :-)  and as a warmed-over re-run it's definitely  unappetising.  which is one of many reasons why I am leaving (read 'fleeing') the US, or trying to.    much as the USSR was in its early decline, it feels like living in a time warp.  It's always Groundhog Day.  We're still worshipping C19 economists, mining coal, fighting the Viet Nam war and rescheduling the Scopes trial... and arguing about whether women should or should not be forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 08:14:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The stats came from The Guttmacher Institute (named after the former President of Planned Parenthood) has studies on sexual and reproductive health (http://www.guttmacher.org).

"the only reason why fewer abortions are performed is that young people these days are smarter and/or more religious" - - - - Agree.

"the writer's attitude to women then was as controlling, unsympathetic and judgmental as it appears to be today" - - -  not true and not even sure how you arrived at that.

"women most always turn to female friends" - - -  true and it is called water-cooler conversation and general gossip that occurs in companies.

You can't make abortion obsolete or illegal or even legislate it only for specific purposes. All that can be done is educate and, as you said, make widely available all kinds of birth control for women and for men. I agree that the combination of those two (as well as the scare of HIV+/AIDS) has been responsible for the general decline in abortions over the last 15+ years.

Regarding the tactics of the radical right religious groups in bombing and protesting abortion clinics I don't think it was generally effective and have not read of any recently. I know that my wife's gynecologist had to close his abortion clinic but it was because of major increases in already high malpractice insurance he was experiencing as a result of just keeping it opened.

" . . . and arguing about whether women should or should not be forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term." - - - -  and this is where we have a very fundamental disagreement. You categorize it as "unwanted pregnancies" as if it were a material thing that had no use. In this day and age do you regard women as being helpless and unable to make their own decisions regarding their sexual activity? The statistics I provided as to reasons why women aborted children in 1987, while the actual numbers have declined the percents associated with the reasons have been about the same. In the past NARAL and Planned Parenthood have treated the right to an abortion as "the rule" and I believe it should be "the exception to the rule." I am a very strong believer in personal responsibility and the arguments of NARAL and Planned Parenthood in the past do not encourage that.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 09:47:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am a very strong believer in personal responsibility and the arguments of NARAL and Planned Parenthood in the past do not encourage that.

I've always found this argument to be a bit simplistic. that the person who just sits and says I'm in this situation so I have to let this happen is the one that is being responsible, whereas the one who has sat down and considered all of the possible options and made a rational decision, often at the cost of social exclusion from a section of society if they come to know about it. is the one who is being frivolous.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 05:08:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe there are instances when terminating a pregnancy is taking personal responsibility.

I'm sure we can all agree that abortions should be safe, legal, and rare.
But damn! Don't you think women who are faced with making that decision aren't under enough pressure as it already without being branded as evil and perpetrators of infanticide.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 05:16:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Republicans are after contraception

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 12:56:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow. How insightful. Your answer to someone who questions your view automatically means that he is a "Republican" or some Right Wing religious fanatic. And you actually use DKos as an authority. That's deep. I've been showing my son the comments coming from this post and he is astounded by how little people know or, more importantly, want to know. SO now, not only to you agree that it is okay to make satirical remarks about my son, you are also calling him a right wing fanatic. Keep it up Jerome. What I initally posted was the question if anyone saw the hypocrisy between such passionate humanity toward a convicted murdered and none toward an unborn fetus. What I got was posts that called me or my son a liar, calling us right wing fanatics, calling him "unwanted." All I can say is that the people who chose to use this to defame either of us should now question their own morality - seriously. Especially you.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 02:04:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Your answer to someone who questions your view automatically means that he is a "Republican" or some Right Wing religious fanatic.

I'm not sure exactly who you're writing to. We're all discrete individuals here on this site, so I would appreciate if you can actually respond to individual commenters rather than allocating all comments posted here to an anonymous you or to me, Jerome.


And you actually use DKos as an authority. That's deep.

I pointed to a story about how some Republicans are lobbying to limit all forms of contraception, and how they are discreetly supported by Republican candidates. The story uses as material a story form the Baltimore Sun and a study from the very same Guttmacher Institute which you quote yourself elsewhere in this thread. I write on DailyKos all the time. I read it all the time. I quote articles that provide relevant information and/or commentary. I wonder exactly how the story I posted fails to past any reasonable smell test in terms of credibnility of its content (as opposed to the gag reflex the site it is posted on seems to generate for you).


SO now, not only to you agree that it is okay to make satirical remarks about my son, you are also calling him a right wing fanatic. Keep it up Jerome.

So I'be curious to see where exactly I accused you of being a Republican (is that an insult for you, now?) or a "Right Wing religious fanatic", and, even more specifically, where I made any such comments about your son.


What I initally posted was the question if anyone saw the hypocrisy between such passionate humanity toward a convicted murdered and none toward an unborn fetus.

The passionate humanity is not to "convicted murderers" - nice try. It is among other arguments directed at the fact that not all people convicted are actually guilty (as the long string of cases in the recent past has shown). It is also about us - we think that democracies should not kill people, whatver they have done, because it means we are little better than them - killing for revenge. It says nothing about what we think of murderers, convicted or otherwise, guilty or otherwise. But no, you have to reframe the argument in a much more convenient way.

Same thing about an 'unborn fetus' - unborn immediately suggests alive, something which is quite disputed for at least a big chunk of any pregnancy. And, of course, it fails to take into account the woman that carries the fetus. Where's the care for her?


All I can say is that the people who chose to use this to defame either of us should now question their own morality - seriously. Especially you.

Who is "you"? You seem to have surprising difficulty to understand that we are individuals, not some kind of amorphous collective entity. I am the spokesperson of noone, and neither are they spokespersons for anyone else.

And do you see me questioning your morality? I see you questioning mine. Please don't.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 11:40:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it led to the view of many that abortion was victimless and it became as vogue as doing a facelift.

This really sounds like a Republican taking-point.  As an argument, it just does not fly.

There is a deep flaw in the logic that would remove the subject of abortion from the process of human life both biologically and socially, and the context in which the continuity of generations occurs.  

To remove the subject of abortion from the question of who does childrearing and how is it done, and how are decisions made about having children--bearing children--and rearing them, is INHERENTLY dishonest.  

Any society that is not wedded to both deceit and imbalance has to face the question of how population is to be managed, so that human numbers stay roughly constant over time, and in happy relation to the world that sustains all life including human life.  In truth, history and anthropology indicate that the easiest way to resolve these issues satisfactorily is to let women make the childbearing decisions.  

For reasons that may be obscure, when men make these decisions, society moves towards imbalance, oppression, war, exhaustion of resources, and collapse.  These latter states are, of course, most familiar to us.  

By taking abortion out of its context, you can then apply a moral standard about the value of life, but that value, out of context, is itself based on nothing--it is merely made up.  

A real morality is compatible with human survival and well-being over time--generations and generations of time.  

To particulars:  Modern experience is that women always prefer other methods of birth control to abortion, when they are available.  The basic faithlessness of the "right to life" movement is revealed in their opposition to the birth control that would reduce abortion of all kinds (legal or illegal) and in their reluctance to concern themselves with the well-being of the fetus once it is born.  

That this dishonesty itself implies a deep and abiding hatred of women as a gender is a point I bring to your attention, as, if you are interested, there has been much thoughtful investigation of this matter and why it is, which I allude to but don't try to summarize here.  

In societies where birth control is available in fact (and not just in theory) we find that abortions happen in pregnancies where the child was WANTED but something  has gone wrong medically that makes the pregnancy non-viable.  This happens more often than you might think:  Pregnancy is a risky process, as spontaneous miscarriages alone should give proof.  Bans on abortions thus target women who wanted their babies, and pregnancies that are not viable.  It is hard to come up with a human explanation of why lawmakers anywhere would want to do this, but they have done and do.  You will forgive me if I do not think much of their morals or character.  

By the way, the phrase of yours I recopied is highly offensive on several levels, and if that was your intent, well and good--you succeeded, but if not, you might want to do some rethinking.  

I am sorry for you son.  The direct implication of his statement is that he is an unwanted child--and knows it.  That is hard.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 06:59:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"This really sounds like a Republican taking-point.  As an argument, it just does not fly."  - - -  - wow!  You arrived at that all by yourself with any assistance. I am impressed! Doesn't fly? Rather than take the story at face value and then try to better understand it, you sit there as some sort of Solomon and have to compartmentalize it because it does not fit into that little delusional world of yours.
Rather than come up with inaccurate prose about abortion, pick up a book that shows every stage of development from conception - they sell these books - and then tell me when exactly an embryo is alive or not. The only flaw is that you choose to be blatantly ignorant of facts.

"I am sorry for you son.  The direct implication of his statement is that he is an unwanted child - - and knows it.  That is hard."    -  -  -  -  You must be very lonely and desperate for attention. Where in what I wrote does this pathetic notion of an "unwanted child" come from? Be specific if you are making defamatory charges. He said he was lucky his birth mother did not choose abortion and I never said anything about how he felt about us. You make a charge. Defend it!

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 01:54:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rather than take the story at face value and then try to better understand it,  

I do understand it.  It is emotional manipulation.  YOU are doing the manipulating--or trying to.  If it were true, it would be horrible, as your telling of it reveals contempt for women AND children.  

You must be very lonely and desperate for attention.

:D  Not SO desperate!  Thank you for a good laugh.  

Be specific if you are making defamatory charges. He said he was lucky his birth mother did not choose abortion

No charges at all:  Merely drawing implications from your own account of the matter.  Don't accuse yourself unnecessarily.  

and I never said anything about how he felt about us  

You badly misunderstand.  The question is how YOU feel about HIM.  And at this point, I would rather not know.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 08:48:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, I may be late to the party, but I thought this story about a kid telling someone they were lucky to be alive because their mother might have gotten an abortion was familiar so I googled the key words and found the same story on multiple fundie Christian web sites. This is an urban myth. I've received broadcast emails from my fundie inlaws that have these same kinds of anecdotes, and invariably they turn out to be manufactured outrage-inducing tools.

I'm suspicious that this really happened to you, considering how many different people have claimed to have had the same experience.

by iamcoyote (iamcoyote at gmail dot com) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 10:54:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What you are saying is that I am a liar. First this happened over ten years ago. I showed my son some of the comments and he found them to be superficial and downright ignorant. Ignorant because of comments like this from people who do not have an idea about facts but have this insatiable need to neagtively label anything that is counter to their limited scope of life. Instead of trying to learn more from someone's experience you sit behind this computer and play tough guy.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 01:45:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You have to admit that almost all your comments so far have stirred up some sort of controversy. So you could be seen as intent on making trouble or even as actively trolling, which naturally leads up to questioning your credibility.
iamcoyote didn't call you a liar, he just expressed reasonable doubts that some may share.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 03:18:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The question that was originally asked was if any one found an hypocrisy between the impassioned support of a convicted killer and the complete lack of passion for an unborn infant. It was NOT about whether or not my son's story was real or not. One more thing. Among those nuts making admonishing comments how many of them have been adopted or did adopt children?
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 06:28:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you, Turambar!

As I said, the story sounded very familiar and I was suspicious. Long ago, I was a born-again-christian and was entirely immersed in the culture. I have first-hand knowledge of the tactics of anti-choice/forced childbirth advocates. For instance, transforming a discussion on the death penalty into an argument about abortion is a classic diversion.

BJ, as I said, I was suspicious of your story, not just because of the similarity to the "I'm lucky to be alive" urban myth.

For instance, while I suppose it's possible, a coffee table book showing the development of a fetus in an orthopedic surgeons office? I've seen that type of book in Ob/Gyn offices, yes, but it would seem out of place in an orthopedic surgeon's office. Another inconsistency I found is your original statement claims the birth mother was 15, and later you say she was 16 years old.

Also, you say this book made you realize that every fetus is sacred, yet you later say that after your son's teacher brought up his unusual declaration many years ago, "I had never thought much about the topic until I heard this and then questioned my own values concerning the sanctity of life" which would indicate that you'd come to the realization back then, rather than just a month ago. In subsequent comments you talk about women in your office walking around wearing their abortions like a "badge of honor," implying you were thinking about these things even further back.

You also imply that your son came up with the "lucky to be alive" scenario on his own, yet I find it hard to believe a child that young spontaneously made those connections. Someone had to tell the child of his "luck," otherwise how could he have made the connections in the first place? Not only that, I find it hard to believe a 5th grade teacher is conducting a sex education class much less a discussion on abortion.

Finally, as the mother of an adopted child borne of a schizophrenic mother, I can say I do have experience with agonizing over what I would tell my daughter when she asked where she came from. Like many adoptees, her questions arose from the fear of being unwanted or abandoned, and I was ever conscious that my answers could have a profound effect on her self-esteem and feelings of worth, which is why she was always told that her birth mother loved her very much, but was too ill to care for her. She now has contact with her birth mother and understands that she is loved and wanted by all involved. I find the idea of telling an adopted child that his birth mother wanted to abort him psychologically abusive; especially at such a young age, when children are already struggling with their identity and self-esteem. Obviously, you had the right to tell your child whatever you wanted about his origins, though you deny having told him yourself, which would indicate that someone else did - even worse, in my book. Of course you have a right to your opinions about abortion, just as others here have the right to theirs, but if you're going to use personal anecdotes to push your point, make sure they're internally consistent, because your credibility will be called into question.

As for this statement...

The question that was originally asked was if any one found an hypocrisy between the impassioned support of a convicted killer and the complete lack of passion for an unborn infant.

...no one was supporting a convicted killer, they were discussing the morality of the death penalty, which is a very different thing. And as far as I could tell, there is no "lack of passion" here; on the contrary, many argued your attempt to assign a "lack of passion" with your comments about "inanimate toys" and abortion "being in vogue." When you trivialize the very emotional decision many women have had to make concerning an unexpected pregnancy, you should expect pushback - I would say, with your calculated code words, you've invited it.

by iamcoyote (iamcoyote at gmail dot com) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 11:49:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For instance, while I suppose it's possible, a coffee table book showing the development of a fetus in an orthopedic surgeons office?  .  .  .  .  I was waiting for the orthopaedic surgeon in an examining room and the book was sitting there. Why? You would have to ask him. As far as having certain books or magazines in different doctor's office, why would a doctor have a copy of Fortune magazine in his waiting room if he is not going to assist a patient in finance?

Another inconsistency I found is your original statement claims the birth mother was 15, and later you say she was 16 years old.  - - -  she got pregnant when she was 15 and had the child after she turned 16. would you like to know her birth date? How about her place of residence and her social security number?

Also, you say this book made you realize that every fetus is sacred, yet you later say that after your son's teacher brought up his unusual declaration many years ago, "I had never thought much about the topic until I heard this and then questioned my own values concerning the sanctity of life" which would indicate that you'd come to the realization back then, rather than just a month ago. In subsequent comments you talk about women in your office walking around wearing their abortions like a "badge of honor," implying you were thinking about these things even further back.  -  -  -  -  the story about my son was over 10 years ago the book in the doctor's office was last year.

You also imply that your son came up with the "lucky to be alive" scenario on his own, yet I find it hard to believe a child that young spontaneously made those connections. Someone had to tell the child of his "luck," otherwise how could he have made the connections in the first place? Not only that, I find it hard to believe a 5th grade teacher is conducting a sex education class much less a discussion on abortion.  - - -  sex education does start at a young age. The fact that this teacher was discussing abortion was disturbing to all the parents in the end and was not part of the curricular, which became another matter. Regarding my son, have you worked in a soup kitchen, have you been the director of a city's retarded adult program for 3 years, have you organized fund-raising walk-a-thons for a children's disease, have you volunteered to coach 10 year olds in a youth basketball league in an underprivileged area, have you volunteered to mentor disadvantaged youth in seeking employment, have you tutored illiterate adults, and do you stop when ever you see someone homeless and put your hand in your pocket to give them money? The answer for you as it is for me is, "No." He did this while going to school and while he began his career. While you sit there pontificating and mastering some sort of conspiratorial web, he helps people. In fact he left his new career in investment to go back to school and pursue a new career in medicine. I don't know where all this came from (certainly not me). It came from his realization of his adoption from a very young age and his need to understand that (the way he pursues every other topic). Where he came up with his view of abortion I don't know. But he has always been a very insightful individual who has always had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and understanding.

"I find the idea of telling an adopted child that his birth mother wanted to abort him psychologically abusive; especially at such a young age, when children are already struggling with their identity and self-esteem." - -  where did you get that from???? Of course she did not want an abortion, otherwise she would have had one.
Finally, as the mother of an adopted child borne of a schizophrenic mother, I can say I do have experience with agonizing over what I would tell my daughter when she asked where she came from. Like many adoptees, her questions arose from the fear of being unwanted or abandoned, and I was ever conscious that my answers could have a profound effect on her self-esteem and feelings of worth, which is why she was always told that her birth mother loved her very much, but was too ill to care for her. She now has contact with her birth mother and understands that she is loved and wanted by all involved. - - -  we were advised to tell our son at a very young age about the adoption and that his birth mother chose us (which is partially true because it also involved her mother). He did finally meet and speak with his birth mother who has her own family now. He has my wife's personality (thank goodness) and my drive to learn and achieve. His drive to be charitable and give back I believe came from viewing what I was doing in the course of business as well as his inherent feeling of how lucky he is to be alive and the opportunities he has been afforded.

...no one was supporting a convicted killer, they were discussing the morality of the death penalty, which is a very different thing. And as far as I could tell, there is no "lack of passion" here; on the contrary, many argued your attempt to assign a "lack of passion" with your comments about "inanimate toys" and abortion "being in vogue." When you trivialize the very emotional decision many women have had to make concerning an unexpected pregnancy, you should expect pushback - I would say, with your calculated code words, you've invited it.  - - - - my son convinced me that there is a double standard to not believing in the death penalty as I have and not caring about eliminating unborn children. If you look at the statistics that I provided previously as to the reasons why women choose abortion, the overwhelming majority have to do with some sort of inconvenience. To me that is treating life as an inanimate object. But that was back in the 1970's and 1980's. The amount of abortions are continuing to decline as younger people are smarter and more careful. What would be ideal is if medical science could find a way of taking a fetus a mother does not want and incubating it till it is ready to be on its own. That would resolve all concerns.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 12:50:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, you see my adoptive parent assertion and raise me a "worked in a soup kitchen, etc, etc, etc," eh? predictably played, sir! How all of that is relevant to the question of the veracity of your original anecdote and subsequent claims that your son thought it up all on his own, I'm not sure.

But, since you've called the hand and shown us your cards, I have to say I'm impressed. Your son must be quite the prodigy to have become the director of a city program at the age of 16 or 17, according to your time line; especially considering city jobs require high school diplomas or the equivalent, not to mention the matter of previous management experience being a prerequisite for directorships. Good for him. What with all his accomplishments in such a short amount of time, though, I wonder when he found time to sleep! I'm curious, as well, how he managed to start a career in investment fresh out of high school. Doesn't that require some sort of higher education? Oh, right, prodigy...

by iamcoyote (iamcoyote at gmail dot com) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 02:42:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"So, you see my adoptive parent assertion and raise me a "worked in a soup kitchen, etc, etc, etc," eh? predictably played, sir! How all of that is relevant to the question of the veracity of your original anecdote and subsequent claims that your son thought it up all on his own, I'm not sure."   -  -  -  -  you seem to question how someone at such a young age could conceive of an opinion. All I did was show that he never thought conventionally or did thing conventionally. That he was always very exploratory in studies and in life from the time he was even younger.

"But, since you've called the hand and shown us your cards, I have to say I'm impressed. Your son must be quite the prodigy to have become the director of a city program at the age of 16 or 17,"  - - -  I am afraid you are a bit off and kind of mixed things around. Walkathon at ages 13 and 14. He worked at a soup kitchen between his junior and senior high school years. He was director of this retarded adult program while he was in college for 3 years. I didn't say it was a city job. It was the city chapter of a national organization. And he did the other volunteer work after graduating college. He is 26 years old now. He has done things I never did or thought to and with every experience he learned things directly about people that you and others only assume. I have learned more from him than he has learned from me. He has a moral compass that is based on his own life experiences and his own understanding that as he called a "twist of fate" he could have never had the opportunities he did have or never have been born at all.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 10:36:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seeing as you say his Birth mother was 15, was she 14 or 15 when she concieved your son? Should we feel morally more outraged at your under age sex?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 07:39:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Other than the fact it is irrelevant, what's your worthless point here or is this more of the tough-guy-behind-the-computer-gotcha comments?
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 06:50:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the story about my son was over 10 years ago the book in the doctor's office was last year.

Waitaminit. Earlier you said it was a month ago! You, sir, are busted! I'm beginning to believe you've made this whole thing up.

by iamcoyote (iamcoyote at gmail dot com) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 07:55:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just for the record


The reason I brought this up was that a month ago I was sitting in the office of an orthopaedic surgeon and was browsing through a coffee table book that was actual photographs of conception through birth and every small step in between. It described in detail each organ and appendage development.


the book in the doctor's office was last year.

And as to that:


Regarding my son, have you worked in a soup kitchen, have you been the director of a city's retarded adult program for 3 years, have you organized fund-raising walk-a-thons for a children's disease, have you volunteered to coach 10 year olds in a youth basketball league in an underprivileged area, have you volunteered to mentor disadvantaged youth in seeking employment, have you tutored illiterate adults, and do you stop when ever you see someone homeless and put your hand in your pocket to give them money? The answer for you as it is for me is, "No." He did this while going to school and while he began his career. While you sit there pontificating and mastering some sort of conspiratorial web, he helps people. In fact he left his new career in investment to go back to school and pursue a new career in medicine.

My answer to that is "no, I pay taxes so that government can do properly its job, instead of starving it and forcing people to rely on mendicity and charity"

And as to what your kid (who was apparently in 5th grade 10 years ago) did while studying, what can I say? 3 years the director of a programme, an investment banking career already done with, studying medicine, all these extra-curricuar activities... Very impressive. Would you mind asking him to post a diary about it, it would be most fascinating to hear about.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 03:07:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So your answer to volunteer work is to pawn it off on the government and distance yourself by saying "I pay taxes." Very noble. What a hypocrite.

He already read the comments of you and your crowd and has an extremely low opinion of you. He did not like investment banking (or the people). I can't say I blame him.

A man named John Evander Couey was sentenced to be executed for the crime of kidnapping, raping, torturing, and slowly killing a 9-year-old girl named Jessica Lunsford, by burying her alive in his yard. You people's attitude is to reach out save this man for humanitarian reasons. Yet you have no humanity to a helpless and innocent fetus trying to have a life after being conceived.

Your response to that is this must be some sort of Republican trolling right wing conspiracy. Which is a convenient cover for the fact that you people are blatant hypocrites who have no consience, no soul, and simply follow along with the rest of crowd.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 07:04:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm confused. I thought you said you were against the death penalty?

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 07:08:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am. But do not believe we have the right to take any life whether it is something as heinous as what this man did or a defenseless fetus struggling to survive. It is you people who treat the fetus as some sort of inanimate thing that is an inconvenience.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 07:11:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, your argument is that allowing a woman to make her own medical decisions regarding her own body is morally indistinguishable from raping, killing and torturing a nine-year old girl?

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 07:15:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No that is a trumped up distinction you make. My beliefs are very simple and consistent without an caveats. I do not believe that you or I have the right to take a life unless that life is directly threatening your life. A convicted killer does not threaten your life as long as the person is incarcerated. A fetus does not threaten a life (except in rare occasions). In both cases we do not have a right to take that life. Your remark that a woman can do what she wants with her body says exactly what I previously said - that we treat a fetus as an inanimate thing.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 10:14:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]

I do not believe that you or I have the right to take a life unless that life is directly threatening your life.

That makes sense, and is indeed consistent. Where we disagree, and I guess this is not something that can easily be argued one way or another, is that a fetus is a life. If you don't mind me asking some further questions to react further to your position, could you tell me:

  • at what point do you think a fetus becomes a life? From intercourse?From the date pregnancy is detected? From a specific date that can by physiologically identified?

  • as you see a moral responsibility in bringing all fetuses to the world, do you also see an associated moral responsibility to ensure that, once born, the kids are properly cared for, housed, fed, educated and loved by both parents, or do you see this as a completely separate issue?


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 10:32:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You previously mentioned that a fetus is not alive until a certain point. If it is not alive then how is it developing. Of course it is alive. Then the next question generally raised is that the fetus is entirely dependent on the mother's womb to sustain that life. Very true. But it is alive, very much the same way Christopher Reeve and most parapalegics are kept alive through life support systems. Should we consider them to be dead as well. Or how about the person who is in coma or some vegetative state. Do we also consider them not alive and turn off their systems.

I can understand if a woman somehow finds herself carrying a fetus and finds it inconvenient to her life for whatever reason and does not want it. I have a fundamental and moral issue with treating that like an inanimate object without finding alternatives. A solution that would satisfy all would be to have the ability to remove an unwanted fetus, place it in some special incubation chamber until full term. Unfortunately that does not yet exist.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 10:44:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay. If it's that simple, consistent and without caveats, shouldn't women who have abortions then be charged with manslaughter or murder?
What should the punishment be for having an abortion? A fine? A prison sentence? The death penalty perhaps?

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 10:41:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course not. That's also an argument used by the right wing. There are laws that allow for executions and for abortions. That does not make either morally right. What I am saying is that the dialogue should not be able the right to have an abortion but how to (1) avoid unwanted pregnancies and (2) better morally deal with those who get an unwanted pregnancy and not make them outcasts (or have medical science find a way to deal directly with unwanted fetuses).
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 10:49:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you're the one claiming that it was simple and without caveats.
But taking life without the express purpose of self-defense is murder or manslaughter. And you characterized abortion where the woman's life is not in danger as the taking of life without the express purpose of self-defense. And, given that a non-spontaneous  abortion could be considered premeditated, it follows from your own reasoning that one has to consider abortion to be murder. Either that or it isn't as simple and without caveats as you make it out be.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 11:53:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I said there are laws that allow for both executions and abortions. I don't agree with them but there need to be ways to better deal with them.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 06:44:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The concept of "innocence" applied to something that has no conscience nor free will is very strange. I wonder how a foetus is a more or less innocent alive being that the grass and insects you step on and murder every day.

Oh, and some very popular views state that recently born children are inherently guilty... Funny paradox.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 07:28:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You argue that we have no Humanity, as we do not support the right to life of the fetus after conception, yet we point out that till several critical stages have been completed, there is nothing that can really be considered life, rather than a random collection of cells.

How do you justify that there is life before the point where there is a nervos system? how do you justify that this is life when the fetus consists of stem cells? how do you justify that there is life before the circulatory system starts working? how do you justify the existence of life before the development of the brain?

and how do you claim that we are Hypocrites and yet you are not when you support the death penalty?

I have a concience, a soul and don't simply follow the crowd as you so patronisingly put it. Yet you would probably see me as more evil than the rest of the people who you are discussing things with here, as I have on more than one occasion taken a friend to an abortion clinic, and helped them through the mental and emotional problems that came with this. The idea that these people didn't consider what they were doing and just treated this like a casual bit of cosmetic surgery is the soryt of sick idiotic argument I normally expect from the religiously brainwashed and stupid.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 07:30:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]

A man named John Evander Couey was sentenced to be executed for the crime of kidnapping, raping, torturing, and slowly killing a 9-year-old girl named Jessica Lunsford, by burying her alive in his yard. You people's attitude is to reach out save this man for humanitarian reasons.

My position is that it is better for the guilty to be insufficiently punished than for an innocent to be wrongly punished. My position is that it is not because some depraved people kill in horrible ways that we should do the same. My position is that our standards should be higher.


Yet you have no humanity to a helpless and innocent fetus trying to have a life after being conceived.

A fetus is not alive, at least not for a number of months. And if anyone can be described as helpless and innocent, it's the pregnant woman. Or are you saying that unprotected sex is a crime - but only for the woman, not the man?

When you will spend as much effort demonising deadbeat fathers as you do abortions, then you will have the beginning of some moral consistency. Otherwise, as DeAnander eloquently stated above, you're just out to control women, nothing else.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 08:12:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"A fetus is not alive, at least not for a number of months."

Not alive??? So a fetus by your definition is "dead" until some magical time when it leaves the womb? Do I have that right? Some how these appendages and organs magically appear at different stages. Is that right?

What you probably are trying to say is that something is not alive until it can breathe and live on its own without the support of the mother's womb. My answer to that is when a human must survive with an artificial lung or any life support machine, we should turn off that machine and consider the person dead?

And what does deadbeat parents have anything to do with the discussion of the taking of a life?

Am I out to control women? No. Anyone who knows me would find that laughable. But woman should control themselves and responsible. Today young woman are far more aware and responsible which has led to the decline of abortions.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 10:29:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He said a fetus is not alive for anumber of months, Not that a fetus isn't alive till the point of birth,

I'll ask the question I've asked before and you appear to have ignored, why are you convinced that a fetus is a person at the point when it is just a bundle of stem cells? why are you convinced it's a living person before it has a nervous system? why are you convinced that it is alive before it has any developed organs?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 06:56:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll ask the question I've asked before and you appear to have ignored

This commenter seems to ignore most comments except the ones he can pretend to take offense to and be derisive about.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 07:04:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It wasn't till after I'd written this that I saw the "Stop feeding the idiot" request

I'd already come to the conclusion that a subtle aplication of the clue stick was probably the only thing that would help.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 07:46:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another comment from the school of mindless fish or just contented ignorance.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 08:09:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"why are you convinced that a fetus is a person at the point when it is just a bundle of stem cells? why are you convinced it's a living person before it has a nervous system? why are you convinced that it is alive before it has any developed organs?"

I don't know what the scientific definition of a "person" is, so I would regard it as a living fetus. I believe that a human starts at conception because it is a rapidly developing process. No one has been able to factually state that a fetus/baby/person starts at any other point than conception.

An abortion is the termination of a living fetus and morally needs to be regarded in that way.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 08:07:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
so I would regard it as a living fetus. I believe that a human starts at conception because it is a rapidly developing process. No one has been able to factually state that a fetus/baby/person starts at any other point than conception.

Well that depends on your definition of rapidly. To start with it takes about three weeks before cell types even start to differentiate beyond basic cells. up till roughly four weeks you kill more cells scratching yourself than you do if an embryo is terminated. It isn't till roughly five weeks that organs start to develop so if you want to look at an absolutely earliest point where any nervous signals can occur you're lookin at ten weeks after conception. there are roughly 200 seperate biological stages in the development from conception to birth, Developmental biologists will tell you that at least 40 of these have just as good a claim to being the beginning of life as conception.

An abortion is the termination of a living fetus and morally needs to be regarded in that way.

And I would argue that that is a completely artificial assumption forming a circular argument.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 08:35:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While describing your definition of the different stages of development from conception you didn't define at what stage it is not a developing "person." I certainly wouldn't equate a dead skin cell with even a zygote.

By your argument you would have to regard the fetus as not alive until when exactly?

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 08:57:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well in Canada, legally a fetus does not become a person till seperated from the Umbilicus.

Neurobiologically a fetus does not become a persson till Nine months after birth (18 months after conception) Humans are unique in that their young are born without their brains being fully formed, due to the size of the head and the pelvic canal

It is arguable (and has been argued by eminent biologists) that personhood is a continuum from non personhood that exists as a pile of cells to personhood where the individual exists. the argument that Morally we must consider personhood to exist fully formed at the point of conception is incredibly simplistic.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 09:37:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is and should be an ethical issue more than a legal one. There are those who argue that there is an inevitability of an embryo that continues through all stages of development. I am not a believer in legislating people's lives and choices and prefer that they make their own and informed decisions based on all information and access to all choices.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 11:08:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and what exactly does there is an inevitability of an embryo that continues through all stages of development mean?

if your embryo has continued through all stages of development then its an adult. So how can there be an inevitability about an adult?
as for

I am not a believer in legislating people's lives and choices and prefer that they make their own and informed decisions based on all information and access to all choices.

So your now a supporter of the womans right to choose? or is that only if they make the right choice?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 02:21:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I never said I was not in favor of a woman's right to choose. It just seems that the phrase has come to mean only one choice and that is abortion. I would just like to see more balance and better choices made. Yes, I hope they make the right choice and not have any one choice forced upon them.

I think one of the underlying problems with this choice is how women are viewed who do get pregnant out of wedlock. When I ws growing up they were treated as virtual pariahs of society. Today there is much more tolerance but not entirely and particularly if they are involved in a career.

The inevitability is that when an embryo is created the process of human development immediately begins and does not end until we are much older. Unless something terrible happens along this path, the embryo will inevitably become a child and an adult and have a full life. Of course there is never any guarantee of any of that.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 11:10:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The issue is whether women should be forced to provide life support to a developing embryo for months against their will. That's the "choice" in this case. I seriously doubt women would choose abortion over contraception, but in many cases contraception is not available, and even when it is (say, condoms) men will often refuse to use it.

So far I think the best option has been given by Colman: perform a Caesarean section and if the fetus survives, give it up for abortion. Before the time that premature children are known to survive with any probability (currently 22 weeks) jus perform a simple abortion. It is already considered risky to perform an abortion in the second trimester (13 to 26 weeks?) anyway. Some other arbitrary threshold (say, 1/2 or 1/3 probability of survival to 1 year - these must be tabulated) could be used.

The thing is, we know from experience that if contraceptive/abortive methods are made illegal, women will find ways to procure them anyway, often at great risk to their own lives. To think the women approach these problems frivolously or that if they take a different decision from the one you think they should they haven't thought it through properly is borderline offensive.

But, ultimately, for you an I to discuss all this is academic since we're men, we don't get pregnant and we don't get abortions, and if our partners were to get pregnant or abort they would bear the brunt of the physical and emotional stress whatever they (we?) decide to do. Which reminds me of the battle cry of the abortion-right activists in Spain in the 1980's: nosotras parimos, nosotras decidimos (we give birth, we decide), and is why I think that those who argue that ultimately reproductive health issues are about patriarchal control of women's bodies have a lot going for them.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 12:31:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 "in many cases contraception is not available"  - - -  in developed western countries that is an outdated idea. Contraception is readily available nowadays and easily accessible to men and women - young and old.

"give it up for abortion" - - - - you of course meant "adoption."

No one I know or myself is advocating the making of contraceptive/abortive methods illegal. So that is not the issue I have.

"we don't get pregnant and we don't get abortions"  - - -  but it takes two to tango and it is equally the men's responsibility for contraception as it is the women's. I think younger generations are far more responsible and knowledgeable in this area than prior generations have been. Someone mentioned that the epidemic of HIV/AIDS is one reason for that.

The battle cry of the abortion-right activists in Spain in the 1980's: nosotras parimos, nosotras decidimos (we give birth, we decide) - - - -  and my response to that is why did you get pregnant in the first place? If you feel empowered and capable of making this decision where was that same empowerment and sense of responsibility when you decided to get pregnant in the first place? I believe that we have a fundamental responsibility to all levels of life and not just some arbitrary level for political expediency or for some lifestyle convenience.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 01:57:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"in many cases contraception is not available"  - - -  in developed western countries that is an outdated idea. Contraception is readily available nowadays and easily accessible to men and women - young and old.

Well, this is not necessarily true, not in the US and not in Western Europe.

In many US states "readily available" means you have to go to (the much vilified by yourself) Planned Parenthood to get condoms or the day-after pill. Doctors may refuse to prescribe birth control pills. In Spain there are several regions where abortion is not available through the public health system, and one in which it is not available at all, despite being legal. Lots of pharmacists claim conscientious objection to refuse to sell contraceptives.

it takes two to tango and it is equally the men's responsibility for contraception as it is the women's. I think younger generations are far more responsible and knowledgeable in this area than prior generations have been.

"Much more responsible" does not mean "universally responsible". More often than I would have thought possible or liked I hear stories of men telling women they knocked up that it's their problem exclusively because they're the ones getting pregnant.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 02:07:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Spain there are several regions where abortion is not available through the public health system (source)
The fact that in Navarra it is impossible to get an abortion was on the front page of El Pais just last week.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 02:09:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Well, this is not necessarily true, not in the US and not in Western Europe."  - - - -  I can tell in the U.S. contraception is so readily available they even give it away in certain schools. If you cannot get contraception in the U.S. then you are just not aware. You certainly don't have to go to Planned Parenthood and if there are doctors not willing to prescribe birth control pills they are very few and far between.

"Lots of pharmacists claim conscientious objection to refuse to sell contraceptives." - - -  while I am sure there are some religious nut pharmacists in the U.S. I have never heard of one.

"Much more responsible" does not mean "universally responsible". More often than I would have thought possible or liked I hear stories of men telling women they knocked up that it's their problem exclusively because they're the ones getting pregnant." - - - I used to hear that 20 or more years ago. Young people today in the U.S. have been brought up with serious sex education, more open dialogue with parents and doctors, and are making better choices. The only situation I have heard of recently was a young man of 24 and a girl he dated who was a year older. She got pregnant through him. They decided they wanted to child but were not in love to get married. She had the baby and I am sure they have figured out how to manage the situation. I think one major difference was 30 years ago women were not of equal status with men and today they are (and then some).

What you find when you make something illegal (alcohol, abortions, etc.) is as you said people will find a way to do it but it will be in a dangerous way.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 02:58:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you cannot get contraception in the U.S. then you are just not aware... I am sure there are some religious nut pharmacists in the U.S. I have never heard of one...

You are grossly uninformed.  You should do some actual research on the topic (besides reading right-wing propaganda) before having further discussion on the topic.

btw, if you're not pushing for legislation or change in the law, then what is your point, exactly, in discussing this on a political forum?

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 03:05:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding the availability of contraception I am very informed and you apparently are living in some old era. There are other issues concerning its availability other than access and cost.

"if you're not pushing for legislation or change in the law, then what is your point, exactly, in discussing this on a political forum?" - - - - You speak of human right issues and I believe if progressives are humanitarians then it should not begin at birth.

And do yourself a favor and try coming up with an original idea of your own if you don't agree with something other than "besides reading right wing propaganda."

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 03:13:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am very informed and you apparently are living in some old era.

Honestly, try doing some reading.  And I don't know what else to call it when you repeat right-wing propaganda that has no basis in fact.  I'd say the same if you were pushing creationism -- it's simply made up.  If you choose to believe it on faith, fine, but don't expect a good reception among people who value informed opinions and reasoned debate.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 03:30:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I work with young people all the time and they would naturally regard your comments as completely out of touch and out of date.

The school of fish political commentary simply shows you are uninformed and like I said have no original ideas of your own.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 03:50:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lol -- I'm not the one arguing that no research is necessary because of the opinions of a group of young people you work with.  Pure comedy gold!  Thanks for the laugh.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 04:51:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This has digressed enough and did not want to further digress into research on young people's attitudes and culture. That should require a whole new diary. It should be enough to say for now that understanding the culture of young people is an essential part of my profession.  - - - I know you are going to come back with some wisecrack:).

I just get upset when people resort to political labels of any kind. It is worth replacing "republican propaganda" with what you actually mean. Particularly since I have never been a member of the Republican Party now or in any prior lifetimes (to my knowledge).

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 05:48:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So because we have actually thought about it and hadn't come to the same conclusion as you we're all uninformed?

frankly that's fairly insulting, I've attended abortions, I've spent several months studying the morals and ethics of abortion during my degree, and you're more informed on the grounds of one half baked anecdote?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 05:15:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was only referring to the categorizing of different thought as "right wing propaganda" as school of fish thinking. What I am glad about is that it got people to think more about their own beliefs, which is the only way to validate those beliefs.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 05:39:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What I am glad about is that it got people to think more about their own beliefs

Heh. Don't flatter yourself by thinking you've done any more than repeat stale talking points poorly. At most, you've mildly annoyed some, and greatly amused me, for which I'll give you credit.

What I'm glad about is you've revealed yourself and I'll know in the future to take your assertions with a grain of salt.

by iamcoyote (iamcoyote at gmail dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 09:02:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately there are some who have little to offer but school of fish comments. However, in your case I do take offense for your invention of some schizophrenic birth mother. Adoption of a child is a serious matter and I deplore people who relegate it to second class people. The fact is I found YOU out.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 09:20:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just stop right there.  I personally vouch for the fact that iamcoyote is not making stuff up.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 09:35:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure iamcoyote is not defenseless.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 10:17:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think one major difference was 30 years ago women were not of equal status with men and today they are (and then some).

Now theres a telling Misogynistic phrase and a half.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 03:19:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Saying that women today are equal to men (or more than that) is misogynistic??? And if you are claiming that women had equal rights with men 30 years ago there's a rather large movement you should inform of that because that would be a surprise to them.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 03:46:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
in developed western countries that is an outdated idea. Contraception is readily available nowadays and easily accessible to men and women - young and old.
in theory yes, but in practice it isn't necessarily as easy as you  make out, and on top of that you also have to take into account the failure rate of the various methods. I know some people who have practiced multiple methods of  contraception, and still ended up pregnant

I think you need to recognise that your ascribing life to the point of conception is as arbitary as any of ours.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 02:19:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think accessibility to contraception and its cost are not an issue in the U.S. What could be an issue are people who do not believe in it or parents of children who do not believe in it. Orthodox religious reasons are usually why.

As to the failure rate, like any product it does happen. We all know someone who had a defective contraceptive and suddenly he's a daddy.

"I think you need to recognise that your ascribing life to the point of conception is as arbitary as any of ours." -  -  -  - Actually I do recognize that but would like other to recognize that as well, think more about it, as not just dismiss abortion as something just to be disposed of. Progressives are supposed to be humanitarians and that should not begin at birth.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 03:05:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One could argue the fetus is not "alive" until it's viable. What is the earliest-born premature baby that has survived beyond 1 year of age even with modern medicine? According to wikipedia the record is under 22 weeks' gestation.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 06:19:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It depends on what you mean by "alive." One can argue that an embryo and then a fetus are alive otherwise they would not be developing. They are alive because they must physically depend on the birth mother to sustain them. How is that different than an individual who encounters a terrible accident and must stay alive with the help of an artificial respirator or other life support device?

The one incredible thing about medical science is how rapidly it has progressed particularly in the issue you raised about premature babies. I would imagine that there would be a time soon where they will have the ability to extract an embryo or fetus and have the means to incubate them to full term.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 11:17:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First you are so sensitive you complain some people here "poking fun" at your son - oh dear, how cruel of them. Now "you people are blatant hypocrites who have no consience, no soul, and simply follow along with the rest of crowd." You are an arrogant, dogmatic twit - stop wasting everybody's time. Everybody else - stop feeding him stuff to continue this right-wing junk.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 05:28:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Killing babies is your idea of a political viewpoint? Oris your view onyl as far as you can cut-and-paste from a political blog you agree with? I wouldn't classify you as a terribly deep thinker let alone terribly insightful.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 06:43:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Killing babies" is propaganda.  Abortion is not about "killing babies"  and no one here supports that, as you well know.  Do you believe there is any point at which a fetus or zygote can be expelled without it being "murder?"  Do you believe that women who take the pill are killing babies?

Do you believe in abortion for any reason?  Rape, incest, or to save to save a woman's life?

Also, quit being so rude and personally insulting.  It makes you look like an asshole and detracts from any point you may have.  Are you trying to discuss opposing points of view?  or merely pick fights?

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 06:52:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
""Killing babies" is propaganda."  - - -  I will grant that it was a little over the top but so was the prior comment.

Expelling a fetus as you described it cannot be murder since it is lawful and for any reason. I do believe in extacting the fetus in those extreme cases such as rape, incest, and definately when it threatens the life of the mother.

The fundamental problem I have is how one regards that early life form. Proponents of a abortion do not regard that life form until it is at an advanced stage and close to full term and able to function if born premature. I would argue that the life form may not be fully formed but it is alive and rapidly developing. It does depend on the birth mother for life and could not survive if extracted too early.

Then how do you seperate an early fetus that is dependent on the birth mother for survivial and an adult who through some unfortunate accident requires life support systems to survive?

The rudeness is only there to answer rude and defamatory remarks.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 07:18:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, so apparently you do believe in abortion -- that it is sometimes necessary and not murder.  That only leaves the question of who gets to make these very personal, life and death decisions -- the government or the woman and her doctor?  

Personally, I trust women to make their own medical decisions.  Circumstantial legislation such as you seem to be advocating does nothing but ensure that women suffer and die needlessly.  It doesn't work.  

Everything you've been saying about abortion being in "vogue" and women going around having them "without remorse" is simply malicious propaganda that is completely beside the point and highly offensive, which is one of the reasons you've gotten the sort of response you have.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 08:59:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"make their own medical decisions"  - - - only a small percentage of abortions are for reasons affecting the women's health, rape, or incest. Most are for reasons of inconvenience.

"Circumstantial legislation such as you seem to be advocating"  - - - actually I am not advocating any legal changes - only personal responsibility, better education, and better options.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 09:59:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure you're convinced YOU are a "deep thinker" - though there's no eveidence of it here.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 04:16:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had a spinal operation a year ago and saw the book. I had been back to his office often after that and more recently looked through the book again. Any other loser questions you have. The only thing made up here is the fact that you said you adopted a kid. Prove it because what you posted doesn't match with what adoptive parents feel.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 06:43:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're the person who has told the most personal stories here. Asking other people for proof also puts the onus on you.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 08:33:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. This is not about a personal story. This is about you trying to avoid answering your own hypocrisy.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 10:09:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not about a personal story

You have been telling a personal story all the way through this subthread.

Can we take it you're now withdrawing it?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 11:00:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Withdraw the story? Why? Because you can't face up to your own moral hypocrisy and by withdrawing this story would satisfy you that the hypocrisy does not exist? The story is very true and my son is very real including his experiences. Sorry for disappointing you.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 11:08:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BJ, I never asked you to prove a thing, I just felt the need to express my suspicions. I've read your comments and responses to other comments, and it's clear to me that you are lying about your past as a way to shoehorn your pet issue into the conversation, which will make me leery of other claims you might make in the future.

Frankly, I don't know why you felt you needed to do it. Having lurked here for a long time, I believe the people on this blog are more than fair in giving others the freedom to state their positions, and they've been painstakingly civil to you as they argue their own. (And before you start listing the instances of dire rudeness from others, I'm not interested). Basically, you've wasted an opportunity to present your side of the issue by using subterfuge and insulting language when you could have had a pleasant, if heated, exchange. It's too bad.

A parting word of advice: Anecdotal observations are not considered statistically valid. Expect to be challenged every time you use it to "prove" a point.

by iamcoyote (iamcoyote at gmail dot com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 10:00:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The questioning and interrogation of this story is laughable, particularly yours. It is also a way of avoiding your own hypocricy. Rather than dealing with how utterly hypocritical it is to save the lives of convicted killers yet treat fetuses as inanimate objects is inconsistent. So instead you create a diversion by trying to put holes in a very simple but true story including inventing the fact that you are an adoptive parent. I know other adoptive parents and they don't characterize their child as you did.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 10:20:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know other adoptive parents and they don't characterize their child as you did.

Again with presenting anecdotal evidence as fact. Sigh.

Try googling "child psychology adoption."

by iamcoyote (iamcoyote at gmail dot com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 10:50:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's enough calling iamcoyote a liar. You pour scorn on this "little community", yet the participants in this thread have not gone so far with you.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 10:55:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it has been many of you people who have gone too far. Rather than address the issue you do your little gotcha google searches trying to unravel a true story, rather than face your own moral hypocrisy.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 11:04:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If everyone will forgive one final comment...

BJ, you use the term "gotcha" to anyone who has presented evidence countering your claims. Does this mean you admit that you have been "gotten?"

Also, since I haven't stated my opinion on the issue at all (apologies again for being off topic), on what basis do you assume my "moral hypocrisy?"

by iamcoyote (iamcoyote at gmail dot com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 11:59:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
apologies again for being off topic

I dear say!

Otoh, considering the topic is really the death penalty you were by far not the first :-)

Welcome to ET btw.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 05:14:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Go to the beginning and read my comment rather than read into it whatever you want to contrive. I said there is a hypocrisy between people who are against the death penalty but in favor of temination of fetuses. Conversely there is the same hypocrisy of people who salivate over executions and then cry over abortions. Instead of questioning whether a story is true or not (and it is very true) respond to the initial question and explain why you do not think it is morally hypocritical.

Like I said before I believe that one cannot morally take another's life unless that life is endangering yours.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 06:40:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, afew, but actually, I only just stated that it was my conclusion he's lying. BJ has decided to use the "I know you are, but what am I" defense here; the standard evasion when caught. Now that the argument has become circular, I think I should bow out.

My apologies to everyone for the disruption - I've seen this pattern so many times, I just had to say something.

by iamcoyote (iamcoyote at gmail dot com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 11:05:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. The story is very real as is my son. The only corruption here is your moral compass which you are not insightful enough to face. So instead you attack the messenger. I don't find a shred of difference between the inane arguments of the far right and yours. None. And sorry but my son's story and his experiences are extremely real. There is just nothing to be gained by sharing anymore about him with people as morally dishonest as you are including making up a story that you are an adoptive parent.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 11:12:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
<sigh>

Troll-rated for the continued assertion that iamcoyote is  making up a story.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 11:16:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
People like you are a school of fish who have no original thoughts of your own. So instead defame well meaning people who disagree with you rather than confront your hypocrisy. Progressive thinking is about thinking outside the box. I have little use for people who are stuck on old arguments that have no validity and instead try to denigrate people.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 11:22:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Progressive thinking is about thinking outside the box.

You started this discussion with:

Why do the very same people who passionately oppose the death penalty have no problem supporting the right of a woman to abort an unborn child for any reason and at any stage?

The conservative religious movement in America (and elsewhere) has been churning this line out for three decades now. It's interesting to see you consider it "progressive" and "outside the box".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 11:32:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow. That's insightful. You came up with that all by yourself or did you look it up in your little book of "talking points." Try coming up with original thoughts of your own rather than repeating old lines.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 11:44:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You came up with that all by yourself or did you look it up in your little book of "talking points." Try coming up with original thoughts of your own rather than repeating old lines.

Project much?

You have a normal feeling for a moment, then it passes. --More--

by tzt (tzt) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 12:15:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"what you posted doesn't match with what adoptive parents feel."

And of course YOU know what all adoptive people feel - what a time-waster. Yes, I shouldn't have wasted time on you.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 05:32:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BJ Lange, you have brought your son very prominently into this thread. You even claim to be sharing the thread with him by showing him comments and getting his reaction to them.

So - since your son seems to be a mature, capable, articulate person - perhaps it would now be only fair to the other discussants in the thread if he were to open an account here and tell us all about this himself.

Fair or not fair?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 03:38:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After reading the stuff you people posted it would not be civil to post what his impression is of you people.
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 06:48:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
who is "you people"? This is an expression used only to refuse to engage with anyone and transform individuals into a formless anonymous melange that can easily be mocked and scorned.

Who is "you people"?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 06:56:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"You people" is this little commnity of people who report here. When you read a story about someone the proper response is to want to know more about "why" not "if." If I wanted to I could post a series of links regarding him and his accomplishments including the Congressional Record. His general response to what was written was not to answer any of them, but to want to know why this hypocrisy exists and how to correct it. That is not something that can be engaged in with "you people."
by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 07:09:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are part of "us people", whether you like it or not.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 08:03:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand he is old enough to choose for himself what he wants to post?

I didn't ask for quotes from you. I asked for your son, since he's apparently so vital to this debate, to get an account and come here and tell us about his thinking himself.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 08:29:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It goes on and on, and on and on. Why does one group or the other insist that their answer is the only correct, moral one?  The inevitable answer: "becaue it is."

The New York State law.

Death Penalty and Sentencing Information">.

Imposition of the death penalty is extraordinarily rare.

Since 1967, there has been one execution for every 1600 murders, or 0.06%. There have been approximately 560,000 murders and 358 executions from 1967-1996 FBI's Uniform Crime Report (UCR) & Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

Approximately 5900 persons have been sentenced to death and 358 executed (from 1973-96). An average of 0.2% of those were executed every year during that time. 56 murderers were executed in 1995, a record number for the modern death penalty. This represented 1.8% of those on death row. The average time on death row for those 56 executed - 11 years, 2 months ("Capital Punishment 1995", BJS, 1996), an all time record of longevity, breaking the 1994 record of 10 years, 2 months.

Death penalty opponents ("opponents") state that "Those who support the death penalty see it as a solution to violent crime." Opponents, hereby, present one of many fabrications. In reality, executions are seen as the appropriate punishment for certain criminals committing specific crimes. So says the U.S. Supreme Court and so say most death penalty supporters ("advocates").

Opponents equate execution and murder, believing that if two acts have the same ending or result,  then those two acts are morally equivalent. This is a morally untenable position. Is the legal taking of property to satisfy a debt the same as auto theft? Both result in loss of property. Are kidnaping and legal incarceration the same? Both involve imprisonment against one's will. Is killing in self defense the same as capital murder? Both end in taking human life. Are rape and making love the same? Both may result in sexual intercourse.

How absurd. Opponents' flawed logic and moral confusion mirror their "factual" arguments - there is, often, an absence of reality. The moral confusion of some opponents is astounding. Some equate the American death penalty with the Nazi holocaust. Opponents see no moral distinction between the slaughter of 12 million totally innocent men, women and children and the just execution of society's worst human rights violators.

The Michigan law.

Against the Death Penalty

The Criminal Justice Legal Foundation has collected many recent deterrence studies, including ones by Hashem Dezhbakhsh, Paul H. Rubin, Joanna M. Shepherd, H. Naci Mocan & R. Kaj Gittings and others claiming a deterrent effect to the death penalty.  These studies may be found HERE.  The following are academic critques of this new research:

The Death Penalty: No Evidence for Deterrence

In an article entitled The Death Penalty: No Evidence for Deterrence, John Donnohue and Justin Wolfers examined recent statistical studies that claimed to show a deterrent effect from the death penalty. The authors conclude that the estimates claiming that the death penalty saves numerous lives "are simply not credible." In fact, the authors state that using the same data and proper methodology could lead to the exact opposite conclusion: that is, that the death penalty actually increases the number of murders. The authors state: "We show that with the most minor tweaking of the [research] instruments, one can get estimates ranging from 429 lives saved per execution to 86 lives lost. These numbers are outside the bounds of credibility." (The Economists' Voice, April 2006).

The Uses and Abuses of Empirical Evidence in the Death Penalty Debate

A new edition of the Stanford Law Review contains an article entitled Uses and Abuses of Empirical Evidence in the Death Penalty Debate. The article examines and performs comparison tests on recent studies that have claimed a deterrent effect to the death penalty. Authors John J. Donohue of Yale Law School and Justin Wolfers of the University of Pennsylvania state their goal and conclusions: "Aggregating over all of our estimates, it is entirely unclear even whether the preponderance of evidence suggests that the death penalty causes more or less murder." (58 Stanford Law Review 791 (2005)).



I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 02:29:42 PM EST
I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment that the world is not black and white. And I'll be the first to admit that I am wrong about many things.

But maybe death penalty proponents should consider this: innocent people are convicted for crimes they did not commit. This include crimes that in some jurisdictions carry the death penalty. There is no justice system in the world where exactly zero innocent persons are convicted. Mistakes happen.
In other words, there's a rather decent change that people have been put to death for crimes they did not commit.
And the people who put them to death probably isn't in a great deal of hurry to figure out whether they just have made a fuck-up of monumental proportions, so the true number of false convictions is probably not forthcoming anytime soon.

Even if I wasn't morally opposed to the idea of putting people to death, that alone would still give me pause.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 03:00:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Opponents equate execution and murder, believing that if two acts have the same ending or result,  then those two acts are morally equivalent. This is a morally untenable position. Is the legal taking of property to satisfy a debt the same as auto theft? Both result in loss of property. Are kidnaping and legal incarceration the same? Both involve imprisonment against one's will. Is killing in self defense the same as capital murder? Both end in taking human life. Are rape and making love the same? Both may result in sexual intercourse.

Well theres a rather forced argument. I'd argue that of the set of executions, there is a subset where the person has been incorrectly found guilty. In those cases then execution and murder are equivalent. I'd argue that unless you could prove 100% that every death penalty case the correct person had been executed for the crime, then execution was immoral. One murder by the state is one murder too many.

An ineteresting book that discusses the second part iks the autobiography of Albert Pierrepoint, the UK's last official hangman. at the end of the book he states that of all the people he hanged, he can't think of a single case where the death penalty had even the slightest deterrant effect

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 03:04:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that's the salient point.

If the death penalty has no deterrent effect then it is merely a barbaric ritual of revenge.  Only if it has deterrent effect is it useful, in the sense of reducing the sum of violence in the society.

I have never seen any data that seemed to me conclusive, that showed a measurable deterrent effect.

Reducing neurotoxin levels in people's houses, air, and diets (lead abatement) probably has done more to reduce violent crime than any number of hangings.  If the death penalty were highly deterrent then countries which practise it should have far lower violent crime rates per mio pop than the rest of the world.  Last time I checked that did not seem to be the case.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 03:43:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it really seems to come down to the matter of whether the death penalty can be seen as saving lives.  Both sides argue forcefully and with countless studies. In the end I've seen it argued that there are just too few executions to be able to produce statistically accurate results. Another irony.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 03:53:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In line with a new Act developed in the late Eighties, the Finnish 'Penal' system was refocused on rehabilitation. I can't find the official explanation, but look at this article and especially the chart 'By the numbers'

Number of prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants in 2002:
Finland: 52
US: 702
Russia: 664

http://www.boosman.com/blog/2003/01/the_finnish_prison_system.html

These figures happen to be closely tracked by the inequality of income.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 04:02:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Slowly but surely we'll convert all of ET to the cause of Truth, Justice and the Finnish WayTM!

I wonder what the stats are on repeat-offenders, but surely it must be lower in Finland (for one thing, less people per capita who could potentially be a repeat-offender).
I've had arguments with people who seem to think Finnish prisoners have it too good (which usually ends with me invoking Goodwin's law in one form or another). As I said above, what's the point of having prisons to begin with it if you come out in worse shape than when you went in?

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 04:17:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't help but believe there are cultural differences at work.  

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 04:35:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course. Historical cultural differences. I think the worst thing the Finns ever did was to supply the Hakkapeliitta for the 30 year war of then owner of Finland, Sweden. If you want to know why the classic Teuton is blond, then just go back to these Finnish mercenaries who gave even raping and pillaging a badder name.

Other than that the Finns have been quietly suffering their neighbours.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 04:45:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well, there was the civil war and its very ugly aftermath, with lots of executed reds, even women and underage boys and girls..

You have a normal feeling for a moment, then it passes. --More--
by tzt (tzt) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 06:16:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite a few executed whites too. Such is 'civil' war

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 07:44:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite a few executed whites too.

Sure, of course, but the aftermath saw only executed reds, since they were the losers.

Some exact numbers from the War Victims Project:

Killed in action: 5324 Reds, 3279 Whites
Executed or murdered: 7207 Reds, 1321 Whites
Died in prison camps: 11785 Reds, 6 Whites
Died after being released: 597 Reds, 0 Whites
Missing: 1818 Reds, 42 Whites
Other causes: 695 Reds, 173 Whites
Total: 27426 Reds, 4821 Whites, 2030 Others

(Sorry for the digression)

You have a normal feeling for a moment, then it passes. --More--

by tzt (tzt) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 03:12:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why does one group or the other insist that their answer is the only correct, moral one?

Because killing innocent people is fucking evil. And we know that the death penalty results in the death of innocents and has  no measurable benefits other than the satisfaction of a savage impulse to revenge: all cost, no benefit.

But hey, God told us to do it.

It doesn't matter if it is moral to kill the guilty - not a position I accept - unless you can guarantee that you never, ever, err in executions.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 04:11:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree with your valid point. What about putting innocent people in prison for life? Afterall, the vast majority of those convicted of homicide do end up with long prison sentences vs. being executed.  Can we ever be sure, regardless of the sentence? Is the US system of justice so flawed that we need to start over? Is trial by jury a bad idea or is it only when the death penalty is an option?

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 04:30:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But at the very least there's the prospect that you might be freed (however small a probability that may be). If you're dead, you're dead.
And the only way to be a 100% certain that innocent people aren't put to death is by not having a death penalty at all.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 04:34:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I said, it goes on and on and the arguments have been well rehearsed and documented.

THE RISK OF EXECUTING THE INNOCENT

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 04:55:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The arguments for white racial superiority, male superiority, burning witches  and treating gays with electroshock therapy were also well rehearsed. Doesn't mean that one side aren't dead wrong.

In this case it would be the one calling for the retention and use of the death penalty.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 05:15:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you've put a person in prison and later find out you can do something about it, pay some form of reparation to the individual involved. Trial by Jury appears a  better option than all of the others that I can think of.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 04:35:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, there is no real "prison for life" in many European countries. The penalty will be called that way, but e.g. in France, it is pretty much a given that nobody gets more than 30 years minimum term, and can be freed after that...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Aug 23rd, 2007 at 06:18:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 
Can we ever be sure, regardless of the sentence?

Of course not.

Is trial by jury a bad idea or is it only when the death penalty is an option?

It seems to be the least bad idea. Sort of like democracy: it's still fallible.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 02:38:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know. We don't have any juries in Finland, and from my limited experience it seems to work rather well. I couldn't say which judicial system works best, though.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 06:16:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reading through this whole thread, I don't feel I have anything else I could add that hasn't already been honestly, candidly and eloquently stated by someone, Izzy, De Anander, poem and others. I fully support their beliefs and feelings.

I am left with the strong feeling that "Pro-Life" is a cynical term created by a marketing firm. "Anti-woman" is more the reality. And the fact that so many so-called "pro-life" self definers are also so anti-life in many ways is appalling. Included in this is the whole death sentence thing. I do agree that if the question were about restricting the choice of men in some significant way (like...hmm..trying to take away the rights to have guns), that the resulting uproar would have killed this discussion long ago. It is hard for me to fathom the desire to take away a woman's basic rights. That's about control and oppression, not life.

As for killing prisoners...I think a life sentence with no parole is quite strong enough. Gives the person plenty of time to think about it.

thats my .02 cents worth

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 08:42:42 AM EST
I hate this thread! It gives me the creeps!

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 05:06:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like how Rick Perry is attempting to channel Lincoln ("Four score and seven years ago..."). What side was Texas on in the civil war again? Oh yeah...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 05:19:01 AM EST
What does that have to do with the death penalty?

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 01:32:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you asking what my comment on Perry's statement (quoted above in the diary) has to do with the death penalty, or what Rick Perry's statement has to do with the death penalty?

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 01:48:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the question pertained to the statement:

What side was Texas on in the civil war again? Oh yeah...

The last statistics I saw re death penalty in America  has 70% supporting it and the number is growing.  I don't know what percentage of the population lives outside the old South, but it's certainly a lot more than 30%.   The poll stats on opinions on moral issues, as  linked above, show the death penalty as supported more than divorce, medical testing on animals, gambling, wearing animal furs, stem cell research using embryonic cells, sex between unmarried men and women, etc, etc.  So, I don't know the basis for your statement above (or whereever it came from) but I would say it requires examination in the light of day.


I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 10:11:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The argument seems to be that abortion robs the world of potential for good. I, for one, would like to think the world would be a grayer place had I not existed. We wouldn't be having this oh-so-exciting discussion right now, for one thing.

But what if Saddam Hussein's mother had had an abortion? We could have saved countless of lives if he had never been...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 07:06:09 AM EST
It's even worse:  I think Texas, these days, handles well over half the death penalty cases.  Even states which allow the death penalty seem to be in the process of silently phasing it out.  Texas, on the other hand, just keeps going.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 11:50:44 AM EST
According to Texas Death Penalty Education and Resource Center, Texas has performed 36.5% of all the executions in the US after 1976. That's quite a percentage.

You have a normal feeling for a moment, then it passes. --More--
by tzt (tzt) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 12:20:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]

John Evander Couey was sentenced to death Friday for kidnapping 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, raping her and burying her alive in his yard."

The jury convicted Couey of taking the girl in February 2005 from her bedroom to his nearby trailer, sparking a massive search. The third-grader's body was found about three weeks after she disappeared in a grave in Couey's yard, about 150 yards from her own home.

Couey, already a convicted sex offender when he committed the crime, was arrested in Georgia and confessed to the killing. That confession was thrown out as evidence because Couey did not have a lawyer present.

Despite the confession being tossed, Couey incriminated himself other times. Jail guards and investigators testified that he repeatedly admitted details of the slaying after his arrest, insisting that he hadn't meant to kill the third-grader but panicked during an intense, nationally publicized police search.

Prosecutors also had overwhelming physical evidence, including DNA from the girl's blood and Couey's semen on a mattress in his room as well as her fingerprints in a closet where investigators said she was hidden.

Howard recounted the evidence in detail, including Couey wrapping her in two garbage bags, putting her alive into a hole then piling a foot of dirt on top of her.

"His actions crushed the very breath and life out of Jessica Marie Lunsford," Howard said.




I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 01:47:25 PM EST
Your point would be that there's more than one uncivilised state in the US?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 10:25:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My point throughout is that there are two points of view that must be considered, namely that of the victim, her family and society (in this case US society not European) and that of the convicted. I recognize that there are valid arguments on both sides of the death penalty issue, and I would characterize neither side's arguments as indicative of a lack of civilisation.

My personal opinion about the death penalty, notwithstanding, I would maintain that until you lose a child or other loved one to an animal like Couey, or until you cast a vote for death as a juror, you really don't know what you what you would do.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 10:42:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I understand it, I wouldn't be permitted to sit on a jury that could hand out a death sentence because I'm opposed to it.

Killing for revenge, which is "the other side of the argument" is indicative of a lack of civilisation: the point is that the legal system is there to protect and rehabilitate (if possible), not to provide warped solace to relatives of victims.

If I lost a loved one to scum like that, I am the last person who should be allowed decide his fate.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 10:55:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I understand it, I wouldn't be permitted to sit on a jury that could hand out a death sentence because I'm opposed to it.

I'm not sure about that.  It could be that you would be eliminated during the jury selection process though by one or the other counsels.  The jury in the Couey case voted 10-2 for death and the judge cast the deciding vote, so there were at least 2 ("civilised")persons who declined to vote for death.

I understand what you say about revenge and rehab.  Both are vaid points.  Nothing will restore a loved one from death, and for me putting the killer to death would provide no solace whatsoever.  (Not to say that, in a fit of rage, I couldn't be tempted to do the job myself, but that would be wrong.)  Rehab. doesn't seem to work in many cases and the person is released back into society to commit more crimes. The consequences of such a person being released following a sentence are profound, as in Couey's case, when that person kills.  

Couey himself was out on probation.

Convicted sex offender John Evander Couey, 46,  said he took cocaine around 1:00 AM then entered the Lunsford home through an unlocked door, went to Jessica's room, put his hand over her mouth and said, "You're going with me." Jessica took a stuffed purple dolphin from her room.

On Snowbird Court, 150 yards away from, and in view of the Lunsford home, Jessica climbed a ladder to enter Couey's bedroom. Couey said it is unlikely the other  four  people in the house knew she was there. Other occupants of the residence during this time include, Couey's half-sister Dorothy Dixon, 47, Dixon's boyfriend, Matthew Dittrich, Couey's niece Madie Secord, 28, and her teenage stepdaughter. Dorothy said Couey didn't leave the house for several days because he was afraid deputies knew he hadn't shown up for a probation meeting. She said her brother usually stayed inside his bedroom with the door closed.

"Then, I sexually assaulted her," he said. "I'm a sick person. It's hard for me to talk about. I mean, I was stupid. I was stupid for doing it."

  You previously argued that the inability to prove that a person was guilty of capital muder was cause not to apply the death penalty.  In the Couey case, the evidence was overwhwelming and he showed considerable, possibly genuine, remorse for the killing.  He is without doubt a very sick man as are most child molesters.  The problem with child molestation is very serious in terms of actual numbers in America and the recidivism rate high enough to cause alarm.

I wouldn't suggest that anyone be allowed to sit on a jury trying a case relating to a relative, and it's probably fair to say that persons who have lost loved ones to criminals probably would be screened out by the defense if it came up during the selection process.

Retribution is a wide spread reason for prison sentences (or the death penalty as you state).  Again, I don't see retribution necessarily as an indicator of a state of civilisation.

Huntley should die in prison, says Falconer

The Lord Chancellor waded into the row over sentencing last night by indicating he believed Soham murderer Ian Huntley should die in prison.
Lord Falconer said Huntley - currently serving a minimum 40-year term - belonged to a class of killers who should never be released because of the "heinousness" of their crimes.

"It is both because of dangerousness, but it also because society does require retribution in those sorts of cases and if it doesn't get it then people will not be confident of the criminal justice system."

Huntley was convicted of murdering 10-year-olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in 2003.

 

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 12:33:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I understand it, I wouldn't be permitted to sit on a jury that could hand out a death sentence because I'm opposed to it.

I'm not sure about that.  It could be that you would be eliminated during the jury selection process though by one or the other counsels.

You're both right: the way that would work is that the prosecution would ask the jurors whether they categorically oppose the death penalty and exclude anyone who does on the grounds that someone who opposes the death penalty could vote to acquit someone they think is guilty because they would want to avoid a death sentence.

That is an easy way to get out of a jury in a Capital case if you want to avoid jury service regardless of your actual opinion on the Death Penalty. There are a number of other ideological ways to exclude yourself from a jury, for instance claiming to support Jury Nullification.

In the US the jury selection process is deeply flawed because people get excluded from the jury on ideological/philosophical grounds. This is entirely different from people being excluded because they know the plaintiff or defendant, or because they have been involved in a similar crime in the past. Just like judges recuse themselves, jurors should be excluded if their participation would result in a verdict being overturned on appeal. The question is whether the jurors' ideological/philosophical opinions on criminal justice would lead to an overturn on appeal. It seems it would, which is disturbing.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 12:46:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FYI, just saw this in Virginia case histories of Fairfax County prosecutor Robt Horan:

July Fireworks

In the middle of an intersection of Columbia Pike on the Fourth of July, 1969, Roger Whitney confronted a Navy commander and his family who were returning from watching the fireworks in Washington, D.C.

"Whitney, who is a big guy, got in a fight with the Navy commander and knocked him down," Robert. F. Horan Jr. said. When the commander's son got out of the van to help his father, Whitney knocked them both down, semi-conscious in a median strip of Columbia Pike.
Whitney went back to his car to get a gun and killed both the commander and his son while their family in the van watched.

Horan asked for the death penalty in the case, but the Fairfax jury gave him a double life term in prison.

"The trial judge left four jury members on that case who didn't believe in the death penalty," Horan said. "There was no chance."




I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 08:02:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not convinced that dealing with sick people through the criminal justice system is the slightest bit useful unless you're willing to lock them up forever: however the whole debate about sexual crimes is so fucked up that there seems to be no prospect of getting a reasonable approach to the issue. It's too contaminated by tabloid politics.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 01:35:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Punishment decided upon in a penal trial by a jury is made in the interest of society, not in those of the victims and their families, whatever Sarkozy may say. Penal punishment (be it jail, death, whatever) is made by society, for society.

The victim's interests are decided upon in civil trials. (And if they insist upon revenge, they ought to try and get it themselves. And be punished accordingly by society if they are successful)

Oh, BTW, You're as much of an animal as Couey is (and I am), as instances of the human species. Couey is an human and a member of society, and that is why he is getting a trial. Dehumanization of "the other", however criminal or mad, is a dangerous path.


Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 11:42:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand the depraved nature of Couey and his crime against this innocent girl. But his execution will not bring her back nor will it be a deterrent to others.

The way the death penalty works in this country is that you go through a very long process of mandated appeals and reviews. The process is so long that you may never be executed before you die of natural causes. Then if you are executed it is by lethal injection.

It would seem to me that the purpose of the sentencing for someone like Couey is to (1) punish him for his crime, (2)make sure he is not a danger to the rest of society again, and (3) learn as much about him that could help prevent future Coueys. I don't think it is society's responsibility to rehabilitate Couey - I think that is Couey's choice if he wants to.

Other than the fact that I am not convinced that capital punishment is a deterrent to people who may kill, do we have the right to take a life that will not be a threat to us if the sentence is mandatory life without the possibility of parole?

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 09:15:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the EU is right to tell Texas what it tells other States around the world when they carry out an execution, and Perry is right about self-determination.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2007 at 06:50:59 AM EST


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