Do abortion advocates believe their own bodily autonomy argument?

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about one of the major problems I have with the bodily autonomy argument: that it’s totally at odds with people’s real-life experiences with abortion. In keeping with that theme, here’s another issue I have with the bodily autonomy argument. If the bodily autonomy argument were genuine, abortion supporters would have no discomfort whatsoever with Melissa Ohden.

Who’s Melissa Ohden? I’m so glad you asked. Melissa is a public speaker who lives in Missouri with her husband and two daughters. And when she was 31 weeks old, she was born prematurely after an abortionist injected poisonous saline solution into her mother’s womb. Melissa survived and was adopted by another family, but has since reconnected with her biological relatives and learned more about the unusual circumstances of her birth.1

Her medical records state: “Saline infusion for an abortion was done but was unsuccessful.”

Unsuccessful? But the abortionist managed to “disconnect” Melissa’s mother from the baby that was using her body. Melissa’s mother’s bodily autonomy was completely vindicated! Isn’t that what abortion is all about? Why is this called “unsuccessful”?

The answer, of course, is that mere “disconnecting” or “unplugging” is not the goal of an abortion, no matter how vehemently its defenders insist that it is. The words “botched abortion,” in reference to abortion survivors like Melissa, give the game away. The goal of an abortion is a dead fetus.

This came to the forefront in the debate about the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA). I realize that many pro-choicers (namely, the ones who aren’t completely heartless) supported BAIPA. But if the pro-choice movement as a whole were truly committed to the idea of bodily autonomy as the rationale for abortion, there wouldn’t have been a debate on BAIPA.

The main point of BAIPA, as expressed in the legislative findings, was to “repudiate the flawed notion that the right to an abortion means the right to a dead baby.” But that “flawed notion” is very much alive within the abortion movement. An abortion advocate may argue passionately for the abstract ideal of “bodily autonomy,” but the moment they refer to a live birth as a “failed abortion,” their real position is exposed.

1. Although survival of abortion is uncommon, Melissa is far from being the only one. I’m only using her story as an example because I happen to know her personally.

183 thoughts on “Do abortion advocates believe their own bodily autonomy argument?”

  1. Then why do I know two PC women who have nearly died from pregnancy?

    One nearly bled to death, and the other was sick with hyperemesis gravidarum for 9 months (

    Are they still heartless baby killers, considering the sacrifice they *willingly* made to bring life into the world?

  2. The ones I know post pictures of the family and say her vagina is not a clown car and complain about diminishing natural resources.

  3. So? That does not mean that they wish to restrict her right to have babies

    I also happen to think that the Duggars are fruitbats, but they have the right to live as they please

  4. In this world, if someone else is killing you, you have a right to kill them. No matter what.. Just because someone maybe a inconvenience, does not give you the right to kill them

  5. An unwanted pregnancy is way more than an inconvenience for some women.

    Why do all anti-choicers act like pregnancy is nine months of sunshine and puppy dogs and the second the kid pops out the woman's life can go back to how it was before…

  6. You say anti-choicers, like these women, except for rape, didn't ever have a choice at all. You have a choice LONG before.

  7. A woman has three choices if pregnant.

    I personally support a woman's right to make the choice for herself about which one she wants.

  8. Once you have sex, you have to accept the possibility you may become pregnant. Their is your choice. Rape, life of mother and certain cases are a exception. Against you will applies you did nothing at all to cause it. That you did not know the risk. I am not saying a few cells are a person, I am saying at a point long before 20-24 weeks, there is a life that needs protecting. Have you ever seen a fetus in person before? I have seen over 20, from 7 weeks to 9 months (still born) People who choose abortion should at lease see what they are aborting. The 16 and 20 week old look a lot like a very small full term baby. (very very small)

  9. Once you get in a car, you have to accept the possibility that you will have a car accident. This does not mean that you 1) consented to the accident 2) should be deprived medical care because you took a risk

    And why a rape exception? Explain how a rape embryo is different from a consenseual sex embryo.

    The 16 and 20 week old look a lot like a very small full term baby.

    If that's what you are basing personhood on, then I guess zygotes and embryos don't count as persons, because they don't 'look' like full term babies?

  10. Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy. If the woman does not wish to be pregnant (especially if she was using BC) forcing her to stay pregnant against her will is equal to gestational slavery.

    Most abortions occur early in the first trimester and the embryo looks nothing at all like a human.

  11. Except in some cases, no one forced her to have sex, or not use multiple layers of BC (of which I think BC should be FREE) Even Plan B. I am not some religious wacko who says life starts the SECOND of conception. (I'm agnostic progressive) I have seen fertilized embryos (in person) Seeing several unborn featuses is what make me think. I think everyone should 1st study them, and look at them, first, and see if that changes your mind..

  12. Offspring have sprung – they are autonomous individuals capable of surviving on their own.

    A woman has not "reproduced" simply because conception happened.

    Pregnancy takes 40 weeks because it takes that long to make a human.

    Forced reproduction = forced birth.

  13. Then why it is mostly illegal past 24 weeks. What makes viability the factor then. Make your case, at what instant, or day, or week, does it be become murder? I want a day, and a reason for it.

  14. You have seen them, IN PERSON, right? So then, make your case, what day does it become murder. Not legal, but at what point do you think it is murder? or a unjustifiable killing.

  15. 37-38 weeks, by the way. So, at 40 weeks, you should still be able to have a abortion? Nothing like abortion a 2 week old.. Ok, so then, when should abortion not be allowed? 24 weeks, current medical viability? PS. Newborns are INCAPABLE of surviving on their own. they only difference is that they can be passed on to another caregiver.

  16. Because the supreme court compromised – not out of fetal rights, but out of the right of the state to control reproduction.

  17. Strawman. An 'abortion' at 40 weeks is induced labour, as that is often safest. Then it's not an abortion, it's a delivery.

    Also, you're an idiot if you think that women go through the huge trouble of gestating for 40 weeks just to get an abortion. /facepalm

    No, newborns can eat, breathe and expel wastes on their own. They don't need the body of another to do that for them.

  18. My point was, how you said 40 weeks, when on avg its 37-38. I would kinda know that 😉 MY WHOLE point was this.. At what point do you think it should be allowed at? Should it stop at 24 week, stop at 30, stop at 36. etc.. This is not a legal debate, I know all about that side of it.. There are some people who think after 8-10 weeks it should be made illegal. Some people I have spoken with say even at 36 weeks, it is perfectly fine to do a dissection on the fetus, since it is only a parasite and is not alive. WIDE range.

  19. "no restrictions at all." So then, you are OK, with a perfectly viably fetus being aborted? Yea,I know the horror stories and think the life of the mother augment is valid, and if there is any doubt, better to do what is safer for the mother.. But, this applies in less then 2% of the cases.

  20. Also, their are A LOT of myths, about failed BC, women who are on BC and still get pregnant. Yes, it does happen. 2% of women on the pill, still get pregnant. Depending on the study most women who have abortions have had more then 1, and 64-71% (depending on the study) did not use any form of BC.. Yea, I know there is one study that says that number is only 54%, but most are in the high 60s.

  21. actually you are quite scientifically wrong. an embryo at every stage is 100% human with it's own distinct and individual human dna. there is no part of the embryo that is not fully human. and yes it does look human, it looks just like every other human does and should at whatever stage of development that he/she is. that is a scientific human life fact, not religious anything.
    gestational slavery is nonsense and quite frankly a slap in the face to actual slaves both past and present. call it what it is and stop making up nonsense…that you support the right of a woman to kill her unborn child at every stage and every circmstance. do not hide behind words like choice and gestational slavery.
    with the exception of rape, everyone who consents or engages in sexual activity does so with the very real possibility of creating a human life. that is the core basis of what sex is for, that is why they are called reproductive organs. they are not called general fun times in which I do not consent to creating life organs.

  22. no that's not accurate either. newborns can not do any of that. physically they can swallow their own food, they still need another "body" to deliver it. be it humanbreasts or human hands that make a bottle. yes they can physically expel their waste but they still need a human body to change either diaper or they will get sick. and yes they can breathe automatically but breathing alone does not keep one alive. you can stick a new born in a room with food diapers and everything it needs to survive & it will still die. It still needs another human body to physically take care of it, just like in the womb. so does that mean mothers should have a right to kill their newborns? how about toddlers? the same would apply for most toddlers. can you turn them out in the street because phycially they can swallow food, breath and use a toilet?

  23. except abortion is not medical care, it is the ending of another human life & your child because you choose to. it's not the same as having an operation or getting on a neck brace or any other medical care after a car accident. and by using your arguement you are right you did not consent to a car accident just because you got in the car and drove. but you also don't get to take someone else's life just because you are injured or inconvienced. even if the other guy who hurt you was a drunk driver, you don't get to legally go gun him down, run him over or pull his life support. even if you are horribly disfigured or suffer painfully for the rest of your life which does happen to people. they are saddled with years of medical care or bills, or difigured or disabled because of car accidents. they still can not end a life of another over it. and that is suffering for the rest of your life. even the worstmost complicated pregnancy will eventually end.
    an unborn child is not like that at all. it did not just crawl up your ueterus on it's own. it did not choose to be there like a drunk or reckless driver or any driver for that matter chose to drive.

  24. no forced reproduction is forced reproduction. the unborn child has already been repoduced. forced birth is protecting that unborns childs right to life.

  25. If the 'unborn child' has already been 'reproduced' then it can move out at the zygotic stage and get it's own apartment

  26. Newborns can't breathe on their own? They can't process waste, they need someone else's kidneys to do it for them?

    Tell me more.

  27. Unique DNA doesn't count for anything. Tumours have unique DNA. And by that logic, a clone can be killed because the DNA is not unique.

    and yes it does look human, it looks just like every other human does and should at whatever stage of development that he/she is. that is a scientific human life fact, not religious anything.

    Oh really???

    Then tell me which embryo is human, no cheating:

    gestational slavery is nonsense and quite frankly a slap in the face to actual slaves

    Forcing someone to labour on behalf of another at great risk to life and health without remuneration is in fact a form of slavery.

    Furthermore, female antebellum slaves were raped and forced to gestate unwanted pregnancies. Forced pregnancy was an integral part of slavery.

    with the exception of rape, everyone who consents or engages in sexual
    activity does so with the very real possibility of creating a human life

    So you support abortion in the case of rape? if so, why?

    they are not called general fun times in which I do not consent to creating life

    Your ignorance is astouding. Actually, humans have sex for fun too, it evolved as a form of social bonding. We are similar to the bonobos in that regard:

    Do some reading:

    If human sexuality evolved PURELY for reproduction, human females would go into estrus for a couple of weeks every year and that would be that. Human female ovulation is hidden – women can enjoy sex at any time. This is because sexual enjoyment = social/pair bonding. Also, human reproduction is notoriously inefficient versus other species – women can get pregnant only 3 days out of every month, and zygote attrition rates are very very high. These are all clues that sex in humans is not purely for reproduction.

  28. lol…I never said pregnancy was a "state of wellness." but even the worst pregnancies end with little or no lasting consequences. but they do eventually end. no pregnancy is forever. and also those are also common side affects of many other things as well. like vaccines, and the flu, you can die from the flu and you have no choice when you get the flu. as I said with the rare exception of rape, pregnancy is always completely avoidable without resorting to abortion. and no abortion is not medical care it intentional killing of the unborn child inside your womb. ps……abortion also comes with the risk of the same permanent side effects.
    I believe former surgeon genral C Everett Coop when he says that abortions are never medically necessary to save the life of the mother and even in cases where the life of the mother is endangered abortion is always the more risky option. she would dies of complications of the abortion. the protocol is the deliver the baby. except in cases of ectopic then they do suregery on the tubes/uterus which sometimes involves removing it. and the unborn child then dies in process. not the same procedure as an abortion at all. and the point is to save the life of the mother, not intentionally kill the child.

  29. but even the worst pregnancies end with little or no lasting
    consequences. but they do eventually end. no pregnancy is forever.

    Pregnancy leaves permanent striations on the woman's pelvic bones. It can also lead to permanent injury such as incontinence, hemorrhoids, and obstetric fistulas. Fistulas are actually more common than people like to admit:

    . and also those are also common side affects of many other things as
    well. like vaccines, and the flu, you can die from the flu and you have no choice when you get the flu.

    Except we don't force people to contract the flu, do we?

    You want to force women to risk permanent injury, disability and even death because YOU happen to think that the risk is acceptable. Well guess what buddy, only the person facing the risk can make that decision, NOT YOU. Hang gliding is safer than pregnancy, and no one can throw you over a mountain ledge to save a life, even if the risk is small!

    as I said with the rare exception of rape, pregnancy is always completely avoidable without resorting to abortion

    So, do you allow for a rape exception? yes or no?

    and no abortion is not medical care

    If pregnancy is not medical care, then why the risk of side effects I just presented to you? Why do women need to see a doctor when pregnant? Why do women DIE from pregnancy, if it is a condition that does NOT require medical care, answer that.

    Women's bodies wear out from too many pregnancies:

    when he says that abortions are never medically necessary to save the life of the mother

    Tell that to Savita Halappanavar or to a woman with eclampsia.

    f the mother is endangered abortion is always the more risky option.

    Abortion is 14x safer than pregnancy.

    and the point is to save the life of the mother, not intentionally kill the child.

    the point of abortion is to end the pregnancy – the fact that a non-viable embryo dies is regrettable, but abortion is the ONLY way a woman can be free of something that can kill and maim her.

  30. I see the Life and Health of the Mother.. No mention about the child, or exactly when viability occurs . You do know viability is not a fine line, but a range. And via medtech, it changes every few years. Has already been pushed forwards 2-3 weeks since RvW. PS.. Post 24 weeks, induced labor may as well be called intended abortion, since their is less chance of survival then just being a true preemie. Have you ever studied a human fetus before?

  31. so yeah you can copy and paste some side effects from a webiste. but you can actually do common sense research? can you actually admit that an abortion is the ending of another human life?
    many women have pregnancies with little or no side effects at all what do you say to that? 50% have nausea and vomitting in the first trimester? and i was one of them big deal! even into my second trimester and I didn't consider myself unwell, I considered myself pregnant. infact I had that yesterday from heat sickness…. good grief, common sense is so rare…….

    Here's a serious question for you (all of youso called choicers) …..why do you devalue unborn human life so much? I'm going to assume that You don't publicly value some lives more than others….white over black? rich over poor? christian over atheist? able bodies over disabled? 5 year old over a 5 month old? So seriously why the mother over the child? they are human distinct beings just like we all were, we were all there and that's a fact so thow out that "not human beings" bs. so besides that? unborn children are not the only human dependant on others that is a fact. so throw that out, what else do you got?? how after making it out into the world can you believe that human life is expendable? it could have very easily been you one of the 50 million people aborted

  32. so yeah you can copy and paste some side effects from a webist

    Factual information. sweetie.

    but you can actually do common sense research?

    Yes, I have done a lot of research, and pregnancy is not safe, full stop.

    many women have pregnancies with little or no side effects at all what do you say to that?

    So? You might not die from a hang gliding accident, but that doesn't give me the right to throw you over the ledge now does it?

    why do you devalue unborn human life so much?

    We value the right of sentient, sapient women to control their own bodies over the right of a single cell organism to use that body. Women are not mere mindless incubators. Women do not exist as easy bake ovens for the production of a baby. Gestation is something that women can DO, it is not what they were MADE for, and they should have a say in how their bodies are used.

  33. Your attempts at 'argument from authority' are not at all impressive.

    Post 24 weeks, induced labor may as well be called intended abortion

    Indeed. Then why set the viability line at 24 weeks at all? Of those that do survive, many will suffer from severe cognitive defects.

    But hey, why should quality of life matter as long as it's alive, right?

  34. lol yes so inefficient that we have over 7 billion people on the planet and liberals screaming every day for more abortions because the world is so over populated. yes I can see just how inefficient human reproduction is. *eyeroll* yes those are actually clues that do support reproduction but think what you want. if sex was not enjoyable, we would not want to reproduce…duh, it all works together for the purpose of reproduction because we are supposed to want to reproduce for many reasons including social bonding. the human process including sexual reprodction is not "perfect" so there for if females were only fertile a couple weeks out of every year and that didn't take, the said female might never reproduce just like many already don't despite a chance each month.
    and no I do not support aboriton in the case of rape. i never said that. I just didn't not say it and you jumped to conclusions. I only stated that the ovious in that except for rape everyone who chooses to have sex knows that is exactly how babies are made & yes they are consenting to the possibility of creating life. just like every time I go skydiving I am consenting to my own death. I can take all the precautions in the world to practice safe sky diving but in the end I know that sky diving without precautions or if they fail, results in death.

  35. inefficient that we have over 7 billion people on the planet and liberals

    Are resources infinite?

    yes I can see just how inefficient human reproduction is

    Conceptional life is generally unsustainable, living on borrowed time. Three out of four early embryos are doomed to abort spontaneously. Of those that survive beyond implantation, another 20 percent likely will miscarry before term. Spontaneous abortion is the most common complication of pregnancy.

    Humans are Inefficient Reproducers
    Only a Tiny Percentage of Eggs or Embryos Will Become Babies
    October 25th, 2010

    Denver, CO – The IVF process requires many eggs and sperm to produce a single baby. Researchers from Shady Grove Fertility Center in Maryland set out to quantify the fate of the eggs retrieved in the IVF process. They reviewed all the IVF cycles conducted at their center between 2004 and 2008. In those 14,324 cycles, they retrieved 192,991 eggs. Initially, 110,939 of the eggs fertilized. However, only 44,282 continued to develop into viable embryos. Using the most optimistic set of assumptions, that all the frozen embryos will eventually be used, this will result in 8,366 babies. Thus, only 7.5% of all the fertilized eggs will go on to become live-born children.

    “It should surprise no one that the vast majority of sperm and eggs never get together to even begin the fertilization process. But, it is very important to understand that even once joined together for fertilization, an overwhelming majority of fertilized eggs do not become viable embryos, and only a small percentage of embryos thought to be viable produce a child,” said Robert W. Rebar, MD, Executive Director of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).

    if sex was not enjoyable, we would not want to reproduce..

    I provided you with two citations. I suggest you educate yourself. Sex is enjoyable because it forms social bonds, which are necessary for a social animal like humans. Also, because it takes so long for us to raise our young, a strong pair bond is incredibly important. We are not like animals who meet up once a year, have sex, and then leave the pregnant parent alone to raise the offspring.

    and no I do not support aboriton in the case of rape

    So you DO support gestational slavery. Good to know.

    just like every time I go skydiving I am consenting to my own death

    Which means, if you are injured while skydiving, you should just be left to die, because you consented to it, right?

  36. Look up why induced labor at 24 week may as well be called abortion. (it is NOT the same as a preemie natural birth, caused by the mother's body. The stress places on even a full term babies is higher when induced. If you knew any better, even inducing at full term is not as safe as if the induction did not have to happened. It should ONLY be done as a last resort. I am tired mothers saying they want their babies on this day, since it works better for them.. take that up with nature. If people were a little more educated about he biology, and less fixed on the "idea" of choice and life, I would be more understanding. And I will ask again, how many fetuses have you see in person? Could you even ID one at different stages? I have talked to people who think at 12 weeks, it does not have arms, or legs, heart or brain.. That it is still just a clump of cells ( that ends around 3 weeks, and by 8, you can see very tiny features. Kinda amazing actually, and I am freaking agnostic.

  37. Good article and I agree, although I consider myself pro-choice. Yes, I do think a woman should have the right to remove the zef from her body at any time during the pregnancy but I don't think she has the right to see it dead. If it's born alive it has the right to full medical attention, but not to another person's organs.

  38. At the least, some babies /successfully/ survive abortion. That should be grateful for!

    It's so impossible to deny their very existence…

  39. Its a opinion from derived from what I have seen with my own eyes, not what I think, feel or have read from other people.. My whole point was, people need to see things, in person, to try understand what they are taking about.. Its like reading about the Nazi concentration camps, and thinking you have any clue what it was like to be there. You cannot, you have to see these things in stereo, and smell them in person to understand.. Touch the furnaces,and see the bodies.. Looking at a dead fetus and knowing something, a being who was on their way to life, is very different then saying something never existed due to BC.. They are not the same..

  40. It is part of the equation if the woman wants it. She is the one whose health and life is at risk carrying it so it should be here choice 100%.

  41. An embryo is a developing POTENTIAL human but unless the host is willing to allow it to use her body to sustain its existence it has no right to life.

    Since abortion is legal gestational slavery does not exist right now but if it was to be made illegal forced pregnancy would be gestational slavery.

    Consent to sex is not consent to the misery of pregnancy. It never has been and it never will be.

  42. This would be a good argument against pro-choice advocates who cared about bodily autonomy and nothing else. Melissa's mother's body was no longer being used against her will, true, but presumably she had other reasons for not wanting to have a baby. She's allowed to want not to have a baby! Fetal viability means that the bodily autonomy argument no longer gives her the right to an induced abortion rather than induced labor, but there's nothing inconsistent in a pro-choice position that she should still be allowed a late abortion for other reasons.

    Also, you have that Melissa's mother's physician wrote "failed abortion" on her medical paperwork. You don't have that any other pro-choicer thinks of the event that way. Jane Doe below thinks that Melissa's mother had the right to induce labor but not to induce abortion, and I'm coming around to the same view. So, yes, some of us do believe in bodily autonomy. If you don't want me to pretend to think that you agree with the pro-"life" doctors who let Savita Halappanavar die in agony rather than induce abortion of a dying fetus, don't presume that I agree with every pro-choice position you can find to object to.

  43. "Jane Doe below thinks that Melissa's mother had the right to induce labor but not to induce abortion, and I'm coming around to the same view"

    Just an addition to clarify what I meant. I think that the fetus has a right to full medical attention after birth, but I don't think it has a right to be delivered in a certain way to raise its chances of survival (e.g. an early forced c-section instead of a vaginal delivery, if that's what the woman wants). On the other hand, I don't think it's right to choose a method of removal which guarantees the fetus' death (like a partial birth abortion). In short: it's wrong if the fetus' death is the goal, it's not wrong if the fetus' death is a side-effect of the pregnancy-termination.

  44. And without looking it up, can you tell me the age of those embryos? I can. Look up one at 8 weeks, or 12 weeks. Here is a link if you need help,

  45. Now trying looking at these in person, not just as some image on a screen. I have seen several aborted fetuses, they are used for research. You can tell which one were aborted and which ones were still-born by the head. Most of the aborted ones have a slice in the front (depending how far along they are) and the brains are usually not there. By 18-20 weeks, the nerve connectors sure look formed enough to transmit pain to the brain. By 22-24 weeks, we know the pain they feel pain. The test you would use on a brain dead adult, to tell if they can feel pain, has been tried, and the fetus reacts just like small animal would.

  46. Pain is processed in the cerebral cortex. Until the thalamacortical connections are in place there can be no conscious experience of pain. This does not happen until past 24 weeks.
    And an anencephalic fetus will react to noxious stimuli. This reaction arises from thr brainstem and spinal cord. It is meaningless.

    Furthrmore, unborn humans are sedated and anaeesthetized in utero.

  47. If you are using the consciousness side, then you may have well say children even 2-3 months old can be killed. We have no solid proof of consciousness until children are well into their 1st year. And yes, I have read the studies that about their being no pain (felt) until after 24 weeks. But,when you look at the connections, they are in place long before 24 weeks, (some, even at 16-17 weeks) we just cannot show that there is stimuli moving before 22 weeks. (its pretty hard to detect,) the MRI will not show yay or nay for certain, and methods we use on adults will not work in utero. We do not know enough to say 20-24 weeks is some magic, ok to abort time-frame. As for viability, which version? Natural or artificial?

  48. You are confusing sentience with sapience. Infants are definitely sentient – they have desired and conscious experience.

    And no, the proper connections are not in place til 24 weeks and up. The very beginnings of those connections does not yet mean that they are functional.

  49. I had this exact same conversation with a friend of mine, who is in favour of abortion through all 9 months of pregnancy because Of bodily autonomy. My response? If bodily autonomy was truly your reasoning, you would demand that abortion be made illegal at viability, and that induced labour would become the norm. However, that is not most of my pro choice friends views. They aren't interested in bodily autonomy, they are interested in not being a mother, and they want to have the option to back out at every stage "just in case" (actual quote).

  50. There are a spectrum of views on what a pregnant person may ethically be forced to do for her fetus's benefit. (This is true whether she's hoping it dies or plans for it to live; forced cesarean sections and run-of-the-mill telling pregnant women what to do is bad either way. This is a pregnant women's issue, not an abortion rights issue.) In fact, I think you are supporting my second point: the pro-choice movement is probably about as diverse as the pro-life movement and it's wrong to accuse us all of hypocrisy because one physician doesn't believe 31-week fetuses are people.

    I do have some differences of opinion on your criteria, though. You said:
    [I]t's wrong if the fetus' death is the goal, it's not wrong if the fetus' death is a side-effect of the pregnancy-termination.
    The Catholic Church's policy on ectopic pregnancy is that ending it is wrong if the embryo's death is the goal, it's not wrong if the embryo's death is a side-effect of the pregnancy-termination—and they insist that both methotrexate (a drug that dissolves the placenta) and salpingotomy (cutting the embryo out of the tube) necessarily have the embryo's death as a goal, and that the only moral treatments are salpingectomy (cutting out a piece of the fallopian tube) and expectant therapy (waiting and watching to see if the pregnant person's body will deal with it on its own). In other words, if a pregnant person has an ectopic pregnancy that threatens her life, Catholic doctrine requires her to have the treatment option that sacrifices half her fertility, even though there are two other treatment methods that preserve her fertility and even though the "approved" method also leads to the embryo's death.

    This is an extreme example, and you're pro-choice and I'm guessing you also disagree with the Catholic position, but it's why I get nervous when people start talking about how the pregnant person's intent and desires are the deciding characteristic in whether a given act is immoral.

  51. And see, this is how you're missing the point. Let's grant your assumption, that lack of organ donation really is comparable to abortion.

    Imagine thousands of people died every day waiting for organ donations. Imagine this was because of both social conditions such as poverty and stigma against both potential organ donors and people who need organs. Imagine there was an organized movement that degraded and dehumanized people in need of organ donations, calling them "just clumps of organs" and "parasites on society" and "not really living people" and "it" and a host of other nasty things, and that this enormous stigma on people in need of organ donations was a huge factor in their deaths, by the thousands, each day.

    Would you really decide to ally yourself with that movement? Or would you see that as inhumane?

  52. The number of people in the USA who die each day waiting for a kidney may be "only" 18. Still, that's thousands of people each year. Why are their lives not worth fighting for?

    Given a choice between the movement you describe, and a competing movement that sought to punish women (not men; only women) for choosing not to donate, many of whose members also wanted the donors to assume the full financial burden of paying for the donation and the recipient's recovery, and that fought strenuously against any effort by the government to help women forced to donate out…yes, I think in that case, I would support the anti-forced-donation movement.

    Also, as I said above, pro-choicers are allowed not to be one-dimensional stereotypes. I believe that criminalizing abortion is immoral because doing so violates bodily autonomy. I believe that inducing an abortion is not immoral because I don't believe that a first-trimester embryo/fetus is a person. I am allowed to believe in and express my support of more than one argument; it doesn't mean that I don't really believe in some of them.

  53. Pro-lifers are allowed not to be one-dimensional stereotypes, too, though. Let's be honest: the way the abortion debate will be decided won't have to do with who can come up with the most precisely analogous hypotheticals about violinists, cabins in the woods, or forced organ donation. It will have to do with whether the stigma against women or against children is stronger at any given moment. The real question is: if a person were completely unbiased by gender or developmental stage, what position would they take?

    So let me put it this way: I have seen many pro-lifers who honestly work for the well-being of humans of all genders and all developmental stages, and confront bias wherever it lurks. I have seen one pro-choicer willing to do this. That was shortly before she converted to being publicly pro-life.

  54. In our last presidential election the candidates were pro-choice Barack Obama, who passed the Affordable Care Act that made it illegal to charge women more than men for health insurance and made it much easier for people, including pregnant women, to afford medical care, and Mitt Romney, who is much more pro-life and ran on a platform of, among other things, repealing the ACA. You can try to argue that pro-lifers are the only ones who act for the benefit of unborn children, but I don't think that the facts support you. (Do you know more pro-lifers than pro-choicers? Could there be some sort of selection bias explaining why you see more pro-lifers doing such things than pro-choicers?)

    I really don't see how bringing up organ donation is missing the point. The OP and your original comment seemed to both be claiming that nobody really believes in the bodily autonomy argument, they just use it as a cover for their real belief that the unborn are not people. There's no question that leukemia patients are people. And yet we don't have mandatory bone marrow donation. The only argument I can think of that can justify that is bodily autonomy. How is it "missing the point" to point out that we as a society clearly do believe in bodily autonomy in other situations?

    (The point of the violinist or cabin analogies is that our justice system, for better or for worse, mostly tries to be founded on consistent ethical principles rather than case-by-case prejudices, and many people also try to claim that their own beliefs are founded on consistent principles—in which case you have to either come up with analogous conclusions in analogous situations, or come up with a reason why the situations are not really analogous.)

  55. All I read here was that ensuring access to safe, early abortion is paramount. Which of course is the precise opposite of what the anti-choice movement is trying to do.

    BTW, no one is advocating for abortion. They're advocating for the rights of individuals to make their own decisions about their beliefs, their bodies and their lives. Even you: feel free to bear and birth as many children as you want. (Though due to there being no by-line on this piece, I'm going to assume the author is a man.)

    What we really need is the AAWPA: Already Alive Women Protection Act.

  56. Problem: we don't know, and can't know, in advance, which women will die of complications of pregnancy or childbirth. We do know that some will, ranging from several hundred to several thousand depending on social circumstances; for example, complications of pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls and women in developing countries (mostly of adolescent girls).

    I suppose one could call dying an "inconvenience," if one were a dyed-in-the-wool misoygnist.

  57. Seeing thousands of grown girls and women is what makes me think. Everyone should study them, and look at them, first (since they exist first) and see if that changes your mind. (They possess every single human attribute you profess to value, and then some, doncha know.)

  58. " they only difference is that they can be passed on to another caregiver."

    That's a major difference, and the crux of the matter, dude. No one is FORCED to care for a newborn; however, any competent adult CAN.

    Only ONE human being can gestate an embryo until it can spontaneously live by itself. That person, to the great chagrin of many, is a human being with inalienable rights.

  59. Yes: no restrictions at all. Just because there exists a group of people so utterly convinced of women's depravity that they feel the need to control their lives, up to and including the horrific circumstances such restrictions have put Karen's daughter in, doesn't mean it makes sense or is moral.

    The vast majority of women – over 99% – who are in their third trimester are not going to choose an elective abortion because they don't want a child. Pretending that they would if they could is egregious misogyny, plain and simple. Passing laws that make fewer than 1% of women who need a medical abortion in the third abortion jump through hoops and needlessly suffer is sadistic, and strips women of agency over their own lives.

    Trust women.

  60. Hmm I feel like we're talking past each other a bit, so let me try to clarify.

    I don't think that no action pro-choicers take ever benefits unborn children. What I am saying is that it seems to me that no pro-choicer is interested in attaining social equality for all developmental stages, even if they believe equality would still mean abortion was justified through a "bodily autonomy" argument. If their actions benefit unborn people, it's a fortunate byproduct of actions that benefit born people. Sure, they'll say "I"m not arguing that all human beings aren't equal, but equal rights doesn't include the right to use someone's body without consent", but they won't put in the effort to stop calling young people "it". And they'd definitely never vote or a law that established universal human personhood. Whereas you'll certainly find pro-lifers who say "I'm not arguing that all human beings aren't equal, but equal rights don't include the right to kill another human being", who quite obviously actually do believe in and work for the social equality of all genders. That's the crux of what I'm saying by calling the "bodily autonomy" argument a "thin veneer".

  61. Is there any actual evidence either (a) that Melissa Ohden's story is true or (b) that anyone in the world has a problem with the fact that she was born alive and is living still?

    I suspect the answer to (a) is simply: Melissa Ohden SAYS it's true, and she's basing this on what she herself was told.

    You claim to cite her medical records. Where are you basing this on? Have you seen a scanned image? What independent fact-checking has been done to confirm that the scanned image is of a medical record from 1977 and is actually Melissa Ohden's pre-adoption medical record?

    "Saline infusion for an abortion was done but was unsuccessful" sounds like (assuming the story is true) her birth mother's medical record, not Melissa Ohden's.

    It seems unlikely that the story is true, and here is why:

    First of all, by 1977 the use of saline instillation to induce abortion in the US was already uncommon and was declining. Secondly, Ohden claims the attempted abortion took place at 31 weeks – but saline instillation isn't used to induce abortion after 24 weeks. Never has been.

    But the answer to (b)? Can you find anywhere the slightest evidence whatsoever that anyone is saying that Melissa Ohden shouldn't have been born?

  62. Okay, so if I understand you correctly, you have:
    (1) Noticed that very few pro-choicers talk about aborted z/e/fs in the way they talk about McHall, as people whose death is a tragedy that unfortunately could not have been prevented without violating the important principle of bodily autonomy.
    (2) Concluded that most pro-choicers believe in both nonpersonhood of the unborn and bodily autonomy.
    (3) Decided that because personhood is the central issue, the bodily autonomy argument must therefore be just a disguise or excuse.

    I've also noticed (1). (Although compare this poster, who is pro-life in general and so presumably believes in personhood of the unborn but is pro-choice in the case of rape specifically because of the bodily autonomy argument.) And I think (2) is a valid conclusion. However, I still don't agree with (3) at all.

    The key insight is: there are two possible answers to the question, "Are the unborn people?" (or worth protecting, or entities whose death is a tragedy, or however you want to phrase that question). But the two answers are not equally important.

    If you conclude that the unborn are people, then it should be very important to you to prevent abortion. Maybe it can't be criminalized for bodily rights reasons…but it's still important to have affordable, effective birth control, good adoption services for people who can't afford to raise their own children (including some sort of therapy for separation trauma), prenatal health care, affordable testing for reproductive disorders, etc. etc.

    On the other hand, if you conclude that the unborn aren't people…so what? Wolves aren't people but we protect them anyway because they are endangered. A lot of states have laws against cruelty to animals. Some states (I think) have additional laws to protect their state symbols (the state bird, reptile, or animal). If babies were actually delivered by storks, and the pro-life movement succeeded in making it illegal to shoot storks out of the sky, and if the "babies" delivered by the storks were actually not yet able to think…well, I'd think it was a silly law, but it wouldn't bother me any more than endangered species or state symbol protection laws.

    Short version: "I think the unborn are people" = "I care a lot about whether pregnancies end in live birth or abortion." However, at best, "I think the unborn are not people" = "I don't care whether pregnancies end in live birth or abortion." This is why many pro-choicers don't care so much about the personhood question: because a "no" answer really is less important than a "yes" answer.

    On the other hand, answering "yes" to the question "Do people have the right not to be pregnant?" means that it is very important to me that inducing abortion be legal. It means that anti-abortion legislation is not just pointless, it is actually taking away rights that I think people should have. That is more important to me!

    So, no, even for people who believe both in nonpersonhood of the unborn and in bodily autonomy, in many cases the bodily autonomy argument is the important core of their position, the issue we care about, not a "thin veneer" over the issue that you care about.

  63. ** If bodily autonomy was truly your reasoning, you would demand that abortion be made illegal at viability, and that induced labour would become the norm.**

    If you can find a way to make a large object passing through the vagina to do absolutely no more damage than a smaller object, then I say, go for it. Otherwise you're trying to handwave away the realities of anatomy and the birth process. Sort of like myintx, who wants to convey the entire pregnancy and birth process as nothing more inconvenient, painful, or dangerous than sitting around on a couch for 5 months eating doritos, getting to continue with all your normal activities, being in the best of health, and simply having to allow a toddler to 'co-exist' in some tiny corner of your house where he is quiet and causes no trouble and will simply slip easily and painlessly out the more than adequately large front door after 9 months.

  64. How about a competing movement that demands that people be forced to donate kidneys against their will? Would you ally yourself with a movement like that? Or regard it as inhumane?

    How about a movement that tries to equate real people, with real brains, as having no more inherent value or feelings than a brainless speck the size of this period: .

  65. **If you conclude that the unborn are people, then it should be very important to you to prevent abortion.**

    By that standard, if you conclude that dialysis patients are people, then is should be VERY IMPORTANT to you to force people to donate a kidney against their will.

  66. You are trying to argue about what the fetus 'looks' like. I am not highly impressed by the fact that it has a cute head, and what sad feelies you might have about how cute it is. An argument like that is immature. Does it have a functioning brain in that cute head or not? Based on what we know of brain function, the answer is 'no' until about week 20.

  67. Yeah, that and their little sad-feelie arguments like the baby is 'just a few inches' or 'just a few minutes' away from being born and 'just a few inches' or 'just a few minutes' shouldn't make any difference. Basically trying to handwave away the fact that those minutes and inches involve forcing a very large object through a very small hole. I wonder if they'd be willing to apply this principle to other things, such as my shooting them directly in the head, rather than off to one side, since 'just a few inches' in the position of the bullet 'shouldn't make any difference. Or waiting 5 minutes to perform the Heimlich maneuver on one of their precious feral toddlers if he is choking, rather than doing so immediately, since 'just a few minutes shouldn't make any difference.

    As for the proposal that people be shown pictures of the embryo at various ages with it's cute little head: Here's the deal. They can be shown it. But at the same time, they must ALSO be shown graphs of the brainwave activity (if any) of the embryo at that age, alongside comparison graphs of the brainwave activity of an adult, a newborn baby, an adult housecat, and an adult snapping turtle.

  68. **If that's what you are basing personhood on, then I guess zygotes and embryos don't count as persons, because they don't 'look' like full term babies?**

    Not to mention, that if a woman gave birth to something that LOOKED like a molar pregnancy, but was shown to have a fully functioning brain (and the organs such as lungs, stomach, etc necessary to keep it alive) it would probably be acceptable to people like Myintx to kill it, because it doesn't have a cute head.

  69. That's why I tried to give a bunch of examples of ways to prevent abortion without criminalizing it. I think that dialysis patients are people, so I think that it's very important to prevent kidney disease and develop treatments that don't involve forced organ donation, and I would like to see post-mortem donations become opt-out rather than opt-in. Bodily autonomy means that I oppose criminalizing abortion/forced organ donation; it doesn't mean I don't want to see other things done to reduce the abortion rate/prevent or treat kidney failure.

  70. As for the proposal that people be shown pictures of the embryo at
    various ages with it's cute little head: Here's the deal. They can be
    shown it. But…

    Unless the ultrasound law is really a disguised "we will make abortions more expensive for no good reason" law, I hope.

  71. Do you have any links to statistics or studies indicating that elective late-term induction of abortion is safer for the pregnant person than elective induction of labor? Abortion may mean passing a smaller object through the vagina, but it also means more sharp objects being waved around in that area.

  72. Yet they consider anencephalic babies to be people, even though the cortex is missing. I guess, because, these babies have a "cute head".

    BTW, apparently anencephalic babies ARE rational, they are just prevented from expressing it:p (whereas zygotes are rational without having yet expressed this rationality)

  73. To clarify, I don't think "personhood" per se is the central issue. I think people's overall views of and biases against women and children are the central issue, regardless of whether they'd answer yes or no to the questions "are humans people regardless of gender?" and "are humans people regardless of developmental stage?".

    To a certain extent I am speaking specifically of those pro-choicers who say, "I think the unborn are people, but…." But I am also talking about those pro-choicers who just avoid talking about the personhood issue, because they don't want to say outright, "A human being has to meet xyz qualifications before I'll consider them a person". And I'm happy that there's a stigma against having qualifications for human personhood, and that that stigma seems to be increasing.

    I think you would say in response that the reason pro-choicers don't talk about personhood is not because of that stigma, but because bodily autonomy is more important to them. When I say "bodily autonomy" here, I'm talking about the right to refuse, which, as we've seen, applies in some circumstances (such as refusing a violinist the continued use of your kidneys when you've been involuntarily attached) but not in others (such as refusing a relative the continued use of a kidney which you have donated to them), and can be argued back and forth until kingdom come.

    Now, you can argue that pro-choicers are just really passionately against people using others' body parts, but I suspect that they're really more passionate about an entirely different argument which (somewhat problematically) is also referred to as "bodily autonomy", that being, "Women should have the right to make decisions about their own bodies, which has been historically denied them."

    Of course, when we talk about "decisions about our own bodies", we mean decisions which don't harm others, such as the right to dress as we want or modify our bodies or have consensual sex. No one argues that it includes decisions which involve bringing harm to others, such as raping our spouses or starving our born children. So the argument is over whether abortion brings harm to someone … which is actually a debate on whether the unborn child is a 'someone'.

  74. Most people don't believe that the right to life overrides bodily autonomy. If they did, mandatory blood donation would probably be codified in law by now.

    Only pro lifers believe that life overrides bodily autonomy, and they *only* believe this to be true in the case of pregnancy.

  75. I would hope that if, say, the US started drafting people again, which is a violation of men's bodily autonomy, most pro-choice people would be as vehemently anti-draft as they are pro-reproductive options.

    That said, yes, I think that there is something to your argument in the fourth paragraph, although I would rephrase it as, "Women should have as much freedom as men to make decisions about their own bodies, which has been historically denied them."

    And of course I don't agree with any part of your fifth paragraph. The whole reason why pro-choicers bring up the violinist example, or the case of Shimp vs. McHall, or the fact that post-mortem organ donation is optional, is to point out that we do routinely allow people to make decisions about their own bodies even when one of the choices will result in another person's death. We even grant this right to cadavers, in the post-mortem organ donation example. The women's rights bodily autonomy argument is that pro-lifers seem to want induced abortion to be the ONLY situation in which someone else (the z/e/f) can use my body without my consent, and given that this is also the ONLY bodily use situation that can't happen to men, the pro-life position is unjust.

    It feels like you have been carefully trying not to argue whether the bodily autonomy argument is valid, but to stick to this meta-argument over whether pro-choice people actually believe it. Which is good in its way. Your fifth paragraph violates this, though: it seems to be arguing that pro-choicers can't have bodily autonomy as their central argument because the bodily autonomy argument is only valid if you assume the unborn is not a 'someone'. I'm pretty well convinced that the bodily autonomy argument is valid even if the unborn is a 'someone'. We can have this debate if you want, but your fifth paragraph is definitely part of the "bodily autonomy is valid/invalid debate" and not part of the separate "pro-choicers do/don't really believe in bodily autonomy" debate.

    (In fact, I think the bodily autonomy argument is stronger than the personhood argument. The bodily autonomy argument is based on actual legal precedent—David Shimp won his court case and was allowed to stand back and watch McHall die; that is a thing that everyone can agree actually happened. Whether the unborn child is a 'someone' is more a matter of moral philosophy, or religion, or emotion—all things that legitimately vary from person to person. I would suspect that another reason pro-choicers talk about bodily autonomy and legal precedents more than about personhood of the unborn…is the purely pragmatic one that it seems to us that the bodily autonomy argument is one where we are right as a matter of law, and not merely according to our moral philosophy which you may not share.)

  76. Yes, bodily autonomy is paramount in free society. Instillation abortions were once commonplace, but have largely been replaced by other methods that don't have the risks inherent in this method. 31 weeks is awfully late to attempt abortion, and I have my doubts about this story as presented here. I don't think anyone has a problem with infants born alive receiving appropriate care. I don't agree with requiring heroic measures where they are unlikely to succeed, at either end of the life process. This is a decision best left to the parent(s) in consultation with their doctor. It's an individual choice, but having seen the results of "doing everything possible" I can state that sometimes doing nothing other than providing palliative care is the kindest decision.

  77. Most abortions are performed in the first trimester, and never with the use of sharp objects. I can attest that a suction cannula is not a sharp object. And medication abortion is a thing now. Either one is 14 times safer than term pregnancy and birth.

  78. Well of COURSE it's a blatant gambit to make abortion more expensive. Here's why. The free ultrasound provided by "crisis pregnancy centers" don't qualify. The provider has to do the ultrasound personally, often with a state-mandated script. Of course, you can't make a woman look or listen. She can look away and put in earplugs if she wants to. So it's for no other reason than to increase costs.

  79. I'll come right out and say it. An embryo or fetus is NOT socially equal to the grown woman carrying it, or even to a newborn baby. However, you are correct that even full equals don't have the right to the use of the body of another, under any circumstances.

  80. What would you expect a human fetus to look like? A dolphin? An elephant? I'm SO not impressed. Look, bottom line… women do not have to take risks and make bodily donations unwillingly to "protect" an embryo or fetus, full stop. Even if you DO consider the prenate as a person, you don't have the right to force another person to make a bodily donation in furtherance of that person's life.

    Which embryo is human? Chances are you won't guess correctly. Most people pick the skink. I picked the dog. They are all embryos, and thus, similar in appearance. To correct your way of thinking, YES, it IS gestational slavery, and not a slap in the face to actual slaves who were routinely impregnated against their will.

  82. Yes, abortion IS medical care and comparable to pulling the plug. The difference being that life support is done with machines. Women are not machines whose purpose is to sustain the life of embryos and fetuses and pop out infants at the prescribed time. Women are human beings capable of determining the course of her own life. YOU get to mind your own business, and NO, your neighbor's pregnancy outcome is NOT your business.

  83. No woman EVER has a pregnancy free from unwanted side effects. Labor, for example. YOU do not get to dictate what another person must endure for the sake of your beliefs.

  84. It becomes murder upon birth. You cannot discount the law, because murder is a legal construct that abortion never fell within… even when it was illegal.

  85. I believe everyone knows what a fetus looks like. That isn't the point. The point is that bodily donation cannot be legally compelled. Learn to live with the disappointment.

  86. A newborn is generally dependent upon adults. There is no bodily donation involved in caring for a baby. My daughter can bring my granddaughter over to grandma's for the day if she wants a break. I can never be pregnant for her, and that's the point. You don't get to dictate what another adult must endure in terms of bodily donation. You can only decide that for yourself.

  87. Yeah… NO. We aren't going to "take it up with nature". Nature is not an authority. We've been thwarting nature since we left hunter-gatherer status in favor of agriculture. Cry me a river.

  88. I am sorry. We cannot treat your cancer. You had better take it up with nature!!

    Antis need to come up with better arguments

  89. A lot of people, when polled, think that a fetus at 8-16 weeks is STILL just a clump of cells that does not resemble a human at all. Force a person? Except in the cases of rape, not one forced anyone to do anything. We are a wonderfully selfish me, me, me, mine, mine, mine society. You said in another post that birth grants someone person hood. Even current laws in 30 states, grants certain protection past 24 weeks.

  90. You'd force a rape victim to give birth, right? And what if she's suicidal? Would you tie her up and force feed her? Because she is *selfish*?

  91. Most of my argument with what it looks like, was against what most people "THINK" it looks like. If you want to argue brain function, then that is a viable argument, and one I am open to. If you want to argue that side, note this.. Evidence shows even babies a few month old have zero self-awareness. Meaning, to themselves, they are not-alive, and are truly working on auto. Some evidence shows that a human is not truly "brain alive" until 12-18 months. A fetus does show a relation to pain, but in the same way a primate animal would. The same pain test that a "brain dead" person would fail, a 12-16 week fetus would pass, but the connections to higher brain function are not there yet (we think, and this maybe true) Most higher brain function is not in place until long after birth. Via evolution, that part of the brain is not needed to survive, since it is assume the newborn will be cared for, for a certain period of time. I did not only study human fetus, but animals also.

  92. I spoke to a neuroscientist about this very subject, and this is what she told me:

    ""“A person who is asleep or in a coma can and will feel pain or pleasure and respond accordingly, a fetus under 26-30 weeks does not! Consciousness is private, subjective and experienced from a particular point of view: yours. This is what accounts for your point of view, for the unique ‘interiority’ that gives the feeling that you exist inside your head somewhere. For instance, ‘Is your version of the color red unique to you or the same for everyone?’”

    A baby has the ability to feel this, but cannot yet verbalize it. MRIs clearly show a lighting-up of the still-growing area of the brain that is involved in self-awareness, much like in full-grown adults and older (verbal) kids.

    Because its brain is still growing, a young baby does not yet have self-awareness (and so cannot pass the “mirror test“). It only has mere-animal-level awareness. We note that that level can be pretty significant; a praying mantis, the insect, has non-faceted focusing eyes, stereoscopic vision, and enough consciousness/awareness to notice a potential meal, and it has enough volition to hunt and catch that meal –yet no abortion opponent would claim that suffices to make a praying mantis a person! So, why should a less capable unborn human qualify as a person?

    In very young humans the part of the brain that eventually houses self-awareness is functional and does register the baby’s experiences that pertain to self. The baby is registering that experience as a self experience even if the baby can not yet recognize who self is. Meanwhile, a fetus under 26-30 weeks does not even have these brain structures, and the unborn close to that time frame do not show any activity in these structures until they are sufficiently formed. An older fetus, able to be aware of things it experiences, is no more capable than a new-born baby in this regard. Months of brain-development after birth is required for true self-awareness to begin to exist.

    More regarding the color red:
    “For instance even if a baby is not self aware yet it already has his/her interpretation of that color red. That interpretation is unique and specific to that baby. The baby will not have a different view of the color red by becoming self aware.”

    If the baby has an additional experience tying its awareness to the color red (think of how “Pavlovian conditioning” works), then at that point there is an additional emotional component that the baby now connects to that color.

    “In short, certain experience are registered in the area of the brain that houses sentience and self awareness even when the brain in question has not made those connections yet. Similarly a coma patient shows activity in the area of the brain that houses self-awareness even while in that coma. This does not mean that the patient is always self-aware, merely that the brain cycles in and out. It is actually very similar to how alpha beta and gamma waves work and how they connect to the different sleep cycles.”"

  93. 1st, no, since that person
    had it forced on them.. 2nd, I wish people would stop using the life of the
    mother and the rape as a key point. IF the majority were, it would be the main
    issue, but just read the states. Life of mother and rape are less then 5% (some
    studies say 7%, another 15%, and a few say as little as 1.5% (1.5% is BS I say,
    the 5-7% if the average) Over 90% is listed as two simple reason: convenience related
    to money. 1st, all BC needs to be free, and easy for everyone to
    get. Most women who have abortions have more then 1, and already have at least
    1 child.

  94. So I can throw you out of an airplane in order to save a life if your chances of death and disability are low enough?

    Do you believe that abortion should be permitted in the case of rape? Yes or no answer please

  95. All of the tests you mentioned, (mirror, etc) even a newborn cannot pass. 2nd all "current" research into consciousness shows it does not exists until long after birth, so you cannot use that as a measuring stick. We have found that primates and dolphins develop a "primitive consciousness" long before human babies due. SO then, you could ague that even a baby after birth could be killed on the basic that it has no consciousness. And, if you sedate it before death, it would feel no pain. My whole point has been, while there maybe legal lines state to state and outlined in RvW, in medicine, their is no real line. Its all a lot of gray. Even viability is gray and shifts if you are using assisted viability as a measuring stick. "Most" not all, women do not place any thought into the complex nature of this. Its a hard, but not fully understood decision. There is a difference between events set in motion, and ones that were never in motion in the 1st place. Anyone who knows about physics would know this. A action that is halted by another action, is weighted differently then a action that never existed. Maybe applying physics to a human nature issue does not apply, but physics is more my specialty.

  96. You don't know what consciousness/sentience is, do you?

    Why don't you explain to the class the difference between *sentience* and *sapience*.

    I'll wait, cupcake.

  97. I'm torn.. 1st. I believe once you CHOOSE to have sex, you have taken a risk. Same goes with many happening in life (and PS, I have had a personal exp with this) I cannot say for 100% certainty when life begins at a stage that we are either morally or legally obligated to protect. I am not one of those people who think human's have soul, or any of that BS. I am all for embryonic cells research, etc. But, once you have removed the initial choice of sex, therefore risk, you have leveled a field to a new level of protection for the mother, where via ZERO fault of her own, you have now placed her life, either mentally or physically at risk (like I said, via ZERO fault of her own) I will add, If for any reason, even a tiny one, the mother's life is at risk, that tips the existing's life scale higher. But, like I said, these are very low percentages of the reasons.

  98. consciousness is the
    illusion of self-awareness within the transfer of information between neuron via the interneuron.
    If you want to get interesting, I could explain to you how even on the quantum level, the
    same level of interconnectivity you see at the neurological level exists in filaments
    of space.

  99. And I am guessing then, by your non-answer, that you would be totes ok with being thrown out of a plane, in order to save a life, yes? I mean, if the risk of death is low enough, it's totes acceptable to put your life at risk then yeah?

    Skydiving is safer than pregnancy.

  100. You are only listing sapience pertaining to the little we understand of lesser animals. What "we" define as consciousness is subjective, and non-provable on any scale. It has even been shown that a person cannot prove outside of themselves that they are in even conscious. Read about the Turning test. that can be applied to ANYTHING, not only machines

  101. the reason I cited the Turing test, was because I group humans, and all animals in the same group as machines, just biological machines.

  102. So my cat is unconscious because she isn't self-aware?

    Explain to me then, how it is she is able to, like, you know, run around and make kitty decisions? Decision to play..or to eat..or to shit, if she is *unconscious*

  103. What it means is, you're full of bullshit and don't have a clue what you're talking about.

    I am going to go with neuroscientists, who have, you know, actually studied the brain, over some random nitwit who has watched Zeitgeist too many times.

  104. I don't know- is your cat truly self-aware, or does it just possess the illusion of being self-aware, or does it fall into the "sapience" class? No one can PROVE they are self-ware to any outside entity.

  105. 1st, no, since that person
    had it forced on them.

    Does an unborn human have the same moral value as a born human?

    Is an unborn human a full person, equal to all born humans, in your opinion?

  106. believe once you CHOOSE to have sex, you have taken a risk.

    and when you choose to drive a car, you take a risk that you will be in a car accident

    I guess it's ok to deny you medical treatment since you chose to take that risk yea?

  107. these are circular questions, that are based on non- yes and no variables. We are not speaking binary here, so, its not 1 and 0. This is more like quantum state variables, where their are infinite states (a infinite number of answers) based on the exact input question.)

  108. Bafflegab.

    Answer the question.

    You stated that women should be forced to undergo pregnancy and childbirth because 'the risk of death is low'

    Therefore, someone should be able to throw you out of a plane if it would preserve a life, because 'the risk is low'

    I find it very telling that you can't give me a straight answer. Probably because you don't believe you should be forced to risk your life even if that risk is low.

    So why the double standard?

  109. We are a wonderfully selfish me, me, me, mine, mine, mine society.

    Yeah, like all those selfish people who selfishly reproduce and expect society to 1) support the efforts of their indiscriminate breeding 2) deal with the fallout of all those extra humans who are fast destroying the earth's resources and killing off the biomass

  110. "The amoeba acts on impulses alone" Yes, and SO does the human brain, just on a MUCH higher level. the thalamocortical as you cited, is just another level of processing. Each system of the human brain just adds complexity. Just to add something a little more interesting.. Not all the processing is even done in the brain. (its called distributed load) The brain does not even have enough neurons to do all the processing, unless you count the nervous system. the nervous system carries some of the load. Except for complexity, there is no diff between a human and a amoeba, and at no point a hard line between what we call conscience and and non-conscience. Its all gray. get this..conscience is not real.. Why? It cannot be proven. Their is no test for it that cannot be shown to be automated responses to stimuli. Even on MRI choices are shown to be affected by earlier choices, which are affected by earlier choices on and on. Its all gray, and really interested..

  111. So my cat is oblivious like someone who has no brain?

    So basically, if someone were to stab her with a big knife, she wouldn't feel a thing, because she is unconscious, just like someone who doesn't have a brain?

    Yes or no.

  112. Oh, btw, dipshit, if you're going to try to sound all intellectual and lecture me on the science of consciousness, you had better not get it confused with 'conscience', the meaning of which is below:




    noun: conscience; plural noun: consciences

    an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one's behavior.

    You wrote: "and at no point a hard line between what we call conscience and and
    non-conscience. Its all gray. get this..conscience is not real"

  113. Consciousness is *awareness* it's that simple. Prove awareness. You cannot. I can prove a certain particle exists, so therefore it does exist. Same does not apply to your awareness. Its all a illusions from inside your brain. Tricks you into thinking you are you. If you think you have a soul, outside your brain, then I can see why people think otherwise.. I do not believe that. Its all in your, and mine, head. That is why I do not say abortion is evil, the same way I do not say murdering a 20 year old in cold blood is evil. Since its all definitions in the human brain. Nothing in nature says this act is good or evil., Anything that we are not supposed to do, is not allowed by certain laws of nature.

  114. So if you cut the legs off a pig, it won't notice a thing, because it's oblivious, kind of like someone who is in a vegetative state, or is literally missing a brain?

  115. And, if you sedate it before death, it would feel no pain.

    According to you, pain should never be felt at all, because we are all 'unconscious' and therefore completely oblivious to the world around us.

  116. Ok, you are missing my point, My point was this: consciousness is a illusion, just like free-will. So, do cows feel pain? Do crawfish feel pain, do fish? Etc. Are they aware of it, do they remember it? and if they are aware of it, it that awareness just a illusion? If you really want to understand how CRAZY the brain is, read this book. Phantoms of the Brain. It truly will open your eyes to how consciousness and perception are all NOT REAL. Kinda like the RED you were talking about.. NOTE.. this is TOTALLY off the abortion topic at this point and none of this I am talking about now, I am linking directly to that.. This is when does awareness happened, IF it even ever does at all..

  117. I'm going to bed. Please answer the rest of my questions, the one about forcibly throwing you out of a plane to save the life of another, considering that skydiving risks of death = low.

    Oh, and really, you shouldn't fear death and disability from being thrown out of a plane, since it's all an illusion.

  118. Can we make the question: The Red pill or the blue? About a cow.. WHO KNOWS? Are human's aware? Are you aware? If so, then prove it? You can't.

  119. Yeah, if you get stabbed in the arm you'll go 'owwwww'

    That means you're aware.

    if you stab an anecephalic baby in the arm, or a PVS patient, they wont' fucking react BECAUSE THEY ARE OBLIVIOUS TO THE WORLD AROUND THEM

  120. Do I have a imaginary choice about even getting into the plane? I would go skydiving for pure fun. Just like my brain chose to go cave diving where people died a month before. Does motives matter?


  122. Just because you can, or
    cannot feel pain, does not mean you are, or are no oblivious. It may just mean
    the connections are not there.. If you stab a paraplegic in the leg, he may not
    feel a thing.

  123. The parapalegic will know that you've stabbed him in the leg, even if he can't feel it. If he's oblivious, he won't know that you've harmed him, because he won't be *aware* of a goddamn thing.

  124. PS. the 'owwwww' you state, is just a auto reaction to the stimuli even in a full grown adult. I can program a computer to say "THAT'S HURTS!" and yell, when I poke it with a virtual needle. Maybe it is alive? Time for Turning

  125. I used that one time when a little girl asked me if I thought she was pretty before her school dance 😉 (sad part, it was my adopted daughter, whose bio-father told her she was supposed to have been aborted.)


  127. Why does your leg move when the DR hits it? Reflect. Oww, or F, or Crap, all reflexes on a higher scale. You could be talking to a very complex computer right now, with pre-set answers, and would never know it.. BUT, in fact you ARE talking to a very complex biological computer and do know it. To me, the human body is a computer, just like the one on my desk.. BUT I keep that, and my other ideas separate.

  128. Whats with all the caps? We are typing because we have input, that prompts us to type output that matches the formation of the brain that has developed over this life and billions of years of evolution 😉

  129. Then someone can flay the skin off your body and you shouldn't care, since it's all an illusion, right?

    Besides, if you are oblivious, it shouldn't matter, should it?

  130. Our perception is like, supposedly just a bunch of neurons firing… but what if thats just, like, what we think it is, man? Cause like, maybe we like, don't even really have brains, man… Maybe we just, like, think we do

  131. One of the reasons it's so important to make sure induced abortion is accessible and affordable is that the earlier the abortion happens, the safer it is. Yes, carrying to term is far more dangerous than a first-trimester abortion, but the longer you wait, the more dangerous abortion gets. I was thinking about the third trimester. The question I was asking is, does induced abortion ever get more dangerous than induced labor/carrying to term?

  132. Your "selfishness" attempt at gaslighting women is noted and rejected. Sex is not a contract to gestate. Furthermore, YOU are a person. If you required some use of my body to keep you alive, say a donation of bone marrow, would you call me "selfish" for denying it to you? How much risk should I be forced to undergo for the benefit of another? I say the only possible answer is NONE. Bodily donation is a beautiful gift. You will not turn it into an obligation. Too BAD if you think I'm "selfish." When it comes to my body and health, that's understandable and completely allowable.

  133. If you CHOOSE to operate a motor vehicle, you are assuming the risk of an accident. Shall we make you live with the results?

  134. Touch my cat's belly and you'll soon find out she is self-aware, conscious and sapient. She doesn't like that and will react accordingly by shredding your arm with her back claws while she grasps it with her front claws.

  135. I don't believe that's right, but it is what it is. It's the piling on of charges, and you have, in fact killed the pregnant woman. It's really irrelevant that she was pregnant.

  136. Its all programming, over billions of year of evolution. I can program a machine to do the same thing. The brain is just a bio-computer.

  137. **Most of my argument with what it looks like, was against what most people "THINK" it looks like.**

    The problem I have with that, is this. You are apparently complaining that people *think* it looks like a 'blob of tissue' or whatever, at a particular stage of development, and want to attempt to get at least some of them to go along with your pre-desired conclusion against abortion, by instead showing them that the embryo REALLY looks like a tiny baby with a cute head. To me, you are replacing one foolish way of thinking (having a mistaken idea of what the embryo looks like) with another foolish way of thinking (sad feelies about something with a cute head). IMHO, a person ought to base their decisions on hard facts, like brain function. If human beings were born looking like giant 5 lb blobs and didn't look 'cute' until they were 2 years old, but still had the same degree of viability and brain function that they do now, I would say that this should not be justification for killing the 'blobs'. By the same token, if people were pregnant for 9 years, and a 9 month pregnancy 'looked cute' but only had the viability and brain function of a 1 month old embryo, then I would say it would not be immoral to have an abortion at 9 months.

    I will support your right to correct erroneous thinking regarding the appearance of the embryo ONLY if you support a parallel right to show graphs of brain function. Right now, I am highly annoyed with the pro-life side for engaging in such deceptions like the movie 'The Silent Scream' which engaged in visually deceptive things such as slowing down a video of an embryo at some points and speeding it up at others, to make it APPEAR that it was reacting to a suction device, when it's motions never really changed to a significant degree, and telling downright lies, such as that the embryo 'sensed aggression' at a point when it had no brain function.

    **Some evidence shows that a human is not truly "brain alive" until 12-18 months.**

    They do, however, have higher brain function. They're able to do a lot more than you might think, such as nursing. And given the videos I have seen of the response of newborns to being circumcised, I'd say they feel pain as well. I can't really say to what degree a newborn is self aware, I suspect we'd have to have some sort of technology that functions like telepathy to say that for certain. Also, after birth, a baby can be given to someone else to care for, therefore is not violating the autonomy of any specific person.

  138. Birth control works most of the time, especially if you use more than one method. But most pro-lifers are opposed to birth control, because their REAL agenda is punishment for sex. Thus their constant exception for rape. 3 page explanations of why the exception for rape isn't REALLY about the fact that the woman didn't have sex voluntarily, therefore shouldn't be punished are a grotesque violation of Occam's razor. Another elephant in the living room is the fact that pro-lifers support 'natural family planning' but not birth control, because 'if the birth control fails, the next step is always abortion', while ignoring the question of what happens if the 'natural family planning' fails. But since the natural family planning involves not having sex (their real goal, regardless of their claim) they sort of ignore that issue.

    On the subject of organ donation, the organ shortage is an easily soluble problem. It's just that the government doesn't LIKE the obvious solution because it offends some people's sad feelies. Google 'Lifesharers', of which I am a member.

  139. A very good, and interesting reply. My point about education people to what the fetus looks like is more to dispel the whole "Its just a clump of cells BS out there" I would be for showing a EEG 😉 Those show some minor data at 12-14, and A LOT at 25 (varies)

  140. Early in their developement (at the point where a lot of pro-lifers like to whine about birth control preventing the implantation of a 'tiny vulnerable innocent human being') the embryo pretty much does look like a 'clump of cells'. But the way it looks is pretty much irrelevent from a moral standpoint. This is assuming *normal* looks, arguably a lot of people probably would prefer to be dead than to look like the elephant man. My example of babies being born looking like blobs, but having the same brain developement and viability assumes that that would be the norm for humanity, in my example.

    As for the EEG, most people would probably only understand what they were seeing if given a context for comparison including human beings at various ages, and different animals. Without a context for comparison, there's too much room for the usual pro-lifer games of visual deception (ei, making points on a graph ten times higher than they normally would be.)

  141. There are valid-seeming counterarguments to the bodily autonomy argument that allow induced abortion when the pregnant person is not "responsible" for her pregnancy. I don't think that they're actually valid, but a lot of people who are anti-abortion-except-in-case-of-rape think they are. My problem with the original post is that the poster is claiming that she knows better than I do what I believe and why I believe it. I find that insulting and inappropriate, and in the interest of fair debate I have to admit that people like M should be given the benefit of the doubt when they say that they support a rape exception for reasons that are not quite that they want to punish sex.

    NFP, on the other hand…yes, I've heard the same silly rhetoric you have. That if you prevent conception by timing sex, then you are "open to life", where if you take a pill you have a "contraceptive mentality"…because you can't take a pill with the resolve, "If this fails and I get pregnant, I will keep it", and you can't have timed sex without thinking, "If I'm wrong and I'm fertile now, then I will induce an abortion." To the point where people who do NFP and worry about calculating the fertile window incorrectly, because they don't want to be pregnant, get told that they are doing NFP wrong and should be open to life. So, yeah, I object to claiming that all pro-lifers are this way…but there are definitely pro-lifers out there who do have their little ideas about how sex should be done and think that it is vitally important that everyone else have sex their way. I don't think it's so much blanket anti-sex as anti-sex-that-isn't-done-my-way, and sex-done-my-way involves "openness to life".

    I don't actually do this because I don't want to be that much of a troll, but whenever a pro-lifer posts a comment or a blog post about how wonderful NFP is and how all sexually active people should do NFP–and nothing else–if they don't want to be pregnant, I'm always tempted to cheerfully inform them that they forgot one of the biggest advantages of NFP, which is that if it fails and you get pregnant, you're more willing to realize right away and so be able to have an abortion induced early.

  142. How right you are…(about controlling sexuality)

    And a catholic just posted (on the contraception article) about how NFP is wonderful and contraception harms women.


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