Creative Destruction

December 23, 2006

Kansas Court Throws Out Charges Against Late-Term Abortion Provider

Filed under: Reproductive Rights — Ampersand @ 11:05 am

From the LA Times:

Hours after the outgoing attorney general of Kansas charged one of the nation’s few late-term abortion providers with illegally aborting viable fetuses, a judge dismissed the charges, ruling Friday that the attorney general had overstepped his authority. [….] Kline’s last-minute push to charge Tiller before he leaves office was dismissed on the grounds it violated a 19th century statute outlining the attorney general’s duties.

Kline, who is Operation Rescue’s “Man Of The Year” for 2006, was rejected by the voters at least in part because of his fanatical anti-abortion views. He’s not through making trouble; the article reports that he’s already planning to use his next gig, as a county-level district attorney, to harass a Planned Parenthood office.

Here’s the part of the article I found most interesting:

Last year, Dr. George Tiller reported aborting 240 viable fetuses at his Wichita clinic because the pregnant woman was at risk of irreversible harm.

Anti-abortion activists have long contended that Tiller’s diagnoses are flimsy. Seeking to verify those suspicions, the attorney general pressed a two-year legal battle to get access to Tiller’s medical records. Charts for about 60 patients were turned over to him in late October.

The 30 charges Kline filed against Tiller — all misdemeanors — center on 15 of those patients. According to court records, all were approved for abortions because they suffered anxiety or had experienced an episode of “major depressive disorder.” Among them were several young teens and one 10-year-old, all of them in their late second or early third trimesters.

Kline maintains that depression is not a valid reason for a late-term abortion under Kansas law because the woman’s major bodily functions are not irreversibly threatened. Allies in the anti-abortion community agree: “This is a loophole that Tiller’s trying to exploit,” said Troy Newman, director of Operation Rescue.

But the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that any restrictions on abortion must include an exception for the pregnant woman’s health, including her mental well-being. The Kansas Supreme Court reminded Kline of that precedent last year.

“I believe I have complied with the spirit of the law and with the letter of the law,” Tiller said in an interview in June 2005, one of very few he has given in recent years.

On Friday, Tiller’s lawyers said he is “wholly innocent” and “has operated his practice under a microscope of scrutiny from the public and regulatory authorities.”

Tiller’s clinic — one of just three in the nation that perform late-term abortions — draws patients from as far as California, Vermont, Florida and Puerto Rico. Many have discovered late in their pregnancies that they’re carrying fetuses with genetic abnormalities or fatal deformities. Some are suicidal. A few, Tiller said, fear their relatives will disown, beat or even kill them for conceiving out of wedlock.

“They are absolutely desperate, for whatever reason, to terminate the pregnancy,” Tiller said in the 2005 interview. “I will never know in my heart and soul what that [feels like]. But I think it must mean as much to a woman to be told she can’t have an abortion as it does for a patient with cancer to be told that nothing can be done for him.”

The pro-life movement has committed itself to opposing health exceptions to abortion bans. But Dr. Tiller’s statements reflect a reality that pro-life fanatics ignore: There are real reasons that late-term abortions are needed; the suffering that some individual women will deal with, if pro-life fanatics get their way, will be horrible. Proposing to do away with health exceptions, including mental health exceptions, is proposing that the well-being of women (and girls) is not a relevant concern under the law. A more misogynistic view is hard to imagine.

(Also, that Operation Rescue’s “man of the year” opposes a mental health exception for a pregnant 10 year old vividly illustrates how little concern or compassion the pro-life movement has for post-birth children, doesn’t it?)

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50 Comments »

  1. The basis for the dismissal was failure to obtain consent from the local D.A., a technicality to be sure, but one that the local D.A. wouldn’t have asserted this technicality unless the local D.A. (for Witchita) was concerned. The local D.A. is a Democrat who ran uncontested in 2004. http://www.kssos.org/elections/04elec/2004GeneralOfficialResults.pdf

    The full text of the brief of the DA is here (via the D.A.’s website): http://www.sedgwickcounty.org/da/criminal_media/2006/Brief-%20State%20of%20Kansas%20v%20%20Tiller%2006CR2961.pdf and order here: http://www.sedgwickcounty.org/da/criminal_media/2006/JEJofdismissal.pdf

    Her biography is here: http://www.ndaa.org/ndaa/profile/nola_foulston_july_aug_2002.html

    She has M.S. http://www.mult-sclerosis.org/news/Oct1999/DAwithMS.html

    Comment by ohwilleke — December 27, 2006 @ 3:04 pm | Reply

  2. And the prize for the most spammy looking post ever to be recovered from the filter goes to ohwilleke. 🙂

    Comment by Daran — December 27, 2006 @ 8:24 pm | Reply

  3. Meh. Give him a break. He’s a lawyer in real life.

    And one long-winded blogger, too.

    Comment by Off Colfax — December 28, 2006 @ 2:13 am | Reply

  4. I would have done href’s, which would have been prettier, but wasn’t sure if the system accepted them.

    I believe that access to the source documents and relevant facts almost always enhances the discussion.

    Comment by ohwilleke — December 28, 2006 @ 4:48 pm | Reply

  5. It does accept hrefs and they look just as spammy.

    The point was that you were lucky I spotted it. I scan the spamblocked posts before deleting them, but I don’t spend much time looking at each one. I’m certainly not complaining about the content of your post

    Comment by Daran — December 28, 2006 @ 5:09 pm | Reply

  6. “Proposing to do away with health exceptions, including mental health exceptions, is proposing that the well-being of women (and girls) is not a relevant concern under the law. A more misogynistic view is hard to imagine.”

    No, it simply means that the cocnern for the life of the fetus is more important than the particular health exceptions being looked at.

    Let’s be honest, here. The inclusion of mental health exceptions create a lopohole than in effect renders any restrictions, up to the moment before birth, meaningless.

    Comment by Glaivester — December 30, 2006 @ 1:35 am | Reply

  7. The inclusion of mental health exceptions create a lopohole than in effect renders any restrictions, up to the moment before birth, meaningless.

    Major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder both have mortality rates around 20% when untreated. While there are a few antidepressants (along with electroconvulsive therapy) that are class B (no evidence of detrement but no proof of safety in pregnancy), most are class C through X (increasing levels of danger from evidence in animals only to demonstrated danger to human fetuses and/or pregnant women). No class A (proven safe in pregnancy) drugs for depression exist as far as I know. So the treatment options are extremely limited and often ineffective, meaning that pregnant women with depression are at a high risk for death. Even “minor” problems like some personality disorders and anxiety disorders have mortality rates in the 5-10% range. Many anxiolytics are contraindicated in pregnancy. So I don’t see mental illness as a minor or easily treated problem or mental health as an “excuse”. People die of mental illnesses.

    One could also say that any health exception is a “loophole”. For example, a sufficiently loose interpretation of “increased risk of death” could provide an “excuse” for any woman over 35 or girl under 18 to have an abortion: both groups are at increased risk of dying from the pregnancy compared to women in the “ideal” age range of 20-30. And so on.

    So really the only way one can avoid the risk of leaving a loophole open that would allow a woman to free herself of an unwanted pregnancy you want to force her to carry to term is to allow no abortions under any circumstances. This would, undoubtedly, cause more women to die from pregnancy related complications. Even assuming that no illegal abortions take place, which is a silly, easily falsifiable assumption. But if you believe that the fetus’ life is more important than the mother’s then I suppose that’s an acceptable outcome. But it is also, unquestionable misogynistic.

    Comment by Dianne — January 2, 2007 @ 12:42 pm | Reply

  8. But if you believe that the fetus’ life is more important than the mother’s then I suppose that’s an acceptable outcome. But it is also, unquestionable misogynistic.

    This is just silly. (If I were Daran, I would say this is “typical feminist illogic” and start a flame war.) I can rank one value above another value without being anti- the first value. I can decide in some hypothetical situation where I can save only one person to save a Mexican person over a Canadian person, without being a Canada hater.

    Comment by Robert — January 2, 2007 @ 4:18 pm | Reply

  9. I can decide in some hypothetical situation where I can save only one person to save a Mexican person over a Canadian person, without being a Canada hater.

    That’s not the scenario here, even leaving aside the issue of whether a fetus is a person. The analogy would be whether you can say that one must always save the Mexican person instead of the Canadian person under any circumstances, no matter how bad the relative risk to each and no matter how gory the Canadian’s death is likely to be, without being a Canada hater.

    Comment by Dianne — January 2, 2007 @ 4:27 pm | Reply

  10. OK. And clearly you CAN say that. So my point stands.

    Comment by Robert — January 2, 2007 @ 4:46 pm | Reply

  11. And clearly you CAN say that.

    How?

    Comment by Off Colfax — January 2, 2007 @ 5:42 pm | Reply

  12. Like this:

    Canadians are OK by me. I’ve nothing against them. But I love me the Mexicans. My mother was a Mexican. A Mexican saved my baby’s life once. Every time I go to Mexico, I get free backrubs from senoritas. Plus, Selma Hayek, mmm hmmm. (I don’t actually know if she’s Mexican, but the hypothetical me thinks she is.)

    So, whenever I have to choose between a Mexican and a Canadian, I go Mexico. Not because I hate Canadians, but because I love Mexicans.

    I don’t have to hate you, to think more of someone else.

    Comment by Robert — January 2, 2007 @ 5:55 pm | Reply

  13. I have grown to really dislike both sides in the abortion debate. In brief the so-called (pretty much the opposite of) “pro-choice” side is right but for all the wrong reasons, and the so-called (not at all really) “pro-life” side is wrong but for the right reasons.

    Pro-choice illogically ignores the other sides actual arguments so as to score points for the feminist mythology. The debate isn’t about “choice” because neither side wants less choice for women and neither side wants men to have any choice at all.

    Pro-life have a logical argument up to a point (although it is fundamentally flawed), but their real problem is nobody really buys it. I don’t care who you are. NOBODY really believes a single cell is worth the same as an adult human.
    —————-

    I actually believe in reproductive rights and bodily integrity rights but then I believe in them for both sexes so that makes me despised by both sides. Pro-choice just pretends to beleive in those rights so as to shore up an ideology.

    As for pro-life if they have a religious conviction about abortion then they should try and persuade people not try to force their religion on everyone else by law. And they should quit pretending that the meaning of life is found in a biology text book and go back to a bible based definition of when life starts (eg “the quickening”). One they can actually themselves beleive in instead of this “zygote = human adult” nonsense.

    Comment by DavidByron — January 2, 2007 @ 6:28 pm | Reply

  14. Robert: I don’t hate women, I’d just rather let sick women die than get the medical treatment they need, because…I love fetuses more?

    Comment by Snowe — January 2, 2007 @ 6:28 pm | Reply

  15. And Snowe gets the Gold Star for the evening, for that’s exactly where it boils down for me.

    For me, all these discussions are mostly hypothetical. I have no children yet, and have no serious plans to have any in the near-to-medium future. (For one thing, I need to work on the lack-of-significant-other scenario.) When it comes to close friends that go through this, I give them all the same option: Whatever you choose, I’ll support you down the line. Choose to abort, and I’ll sit there and hold your hand when it happens. Choose not to abort, and I’ll sit there and hold your hand during childbirth. For it is not my choice, but theirs, and my only duty is to be their shoulder to cry on and/or steady hand to hold and/or conveniently located Y-chromosome-bearer to swear at when the time comes for it.

    Should I be fortunate enough to have a daughter, I would want her to be as healthy and happy as possible, in that order. Should she be unfortunate enough to have severe complications with her pregnancy, the choice for me would be clear. My daughter could, except in rare and unfortunate situations, try and have another baby. Her happiness might be impacted for quite some time, but by God, she’d still be alive. Healthy.

    But how many times could I try and have another daughter? One who I gently ignored her constant requests for a pony. One who I stayed up worrying about until 6am on her prom night. One who I walked down the aisle at her wedding. One who I smiled at when she asked to repaint her room from glaring pink to midnight black after she found my stash of The Smiths albums. (Actually, she probably wouldn’t go goth. Teenagers are about rebellion against the parental norm, and once she found out that I did exactly that in high school [Okay. Maybe not exactly that. My bedroom was a light sky blue, not so pink it would even make Barbie call for an interior decorator. But the concept is the same.], she’d probably put up posters of the 2030’s equivalent of Hanson or Aaron Carter or some other equally obnoxious equivalent out of sheer angst-filled impulse.)

    So when something comes along that could take my daughter’s health away, if not her very life, that something must be taken care of. For it is better to still have a daughter and wait on a grandchild than it is to have a grandchild without having a daughter anymore.

    Comment by Off Colfax — January 2, 2007 @ 9:40 pm | Reply

  16. Excuse me while I puke.

    For it is not my choice, but theirs, and my only duty is to be their shoulder to cry on and/or steady hand to hold and/or conveniently located Y-chromosome-bearer to swear at when the time comes for it

    So let me get this straight. You plan to get so involved with a woman that having children is a distinct possibility but at the same time you plan to have no opinion at all about the topic which will define the rest of your entire life?

    You won’t for example mention to her that you’d love to have a daughter because, “it is not my choice, but theirs”. Don’t want to guilt trip her into that decision, eh? You won’t be an equal partner so much as a sort of female adjunct.

    So if your prospective female other half asks you what you think what exactly do you plan to say? Pretend you don’t have an opinion? Try and guess what she wants, and say that? Play down anything you say as if you don’t mind either way? Whatever you do your relationship becomes a fake doesn’t it?

    Do you really think that playing the male Uncle Tom role is the key to a healthy relationship? Did it ever occur to you that your wife might want a man that believes he has the right to an equal say in the decisions of the partnership?

    Oh well… children or no children is such a small question. You can make up for it by having a big part in what colour car to buy.

    Comment by DavidByron — January 2, 2007 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

  17. Dude, hold your testosterone in check for just a brief moment and read up another two sentences from what you quoted.

    Those are the options I give to my friends. 3 times by my count.

    I never mentioned it was an option I gave to a girlfriend.

    I’d call attention to your reading comprehension, but that’d be an insult to Glenn Greenwald.

    Comment by Off Colfax — January 2, 2007 @ 10:29 pm | Reply

  18. One who I stayed up worrying about until 6am on her prom night.

    Would you stay up worrying about until 6am if it was a son?

    Comment by Daran — January 3, 2007 @ 1:21 pm | Reply

  19. Would you stay up worrying about until 6am if it was a son?

    I would. Or maybe not. My son would probably be home from the prom at promptly at 10 pm.

    Comment by Dianne — January 3, 2007 @ 1:48 pm | Reply

  20. So, whenever I have to choose between a Mexican and a Canadian, I go Mexico. Not because I hate Canadians, but because I love Mexicans.

    To be analogous to what Kline wants, this sentence would have to read, “So, whenever there is a choice between a Mexican and a Canadian, everyone must be legally obligated to save the Mexican. Even if allowing the Canadian to die would likely cause the death of the Mexican as well. Even if the Mexican is in a persistent vegetative state and unlikely to recover conciousness. No matter what, in any situation, the life of a Mexican is worth more than the life of a Canadian.” Does it still sound not anti-Canadian?

    Comment by Dianne — January 3, 2007 @ 1:54 pm | Reply

  21. We don’t have to analogize it to Kline, Dianne. The point is a conceptual one. You are asserting that to value one person over the other person is automatically – “unquestionably”, to use your word – motivated by malice against the second person’s group identity. This is, as a matter of logic, untrue. It’s entirely questionable. The choice could be motivated by misogyny; it could be motivated by a fierce love of children; it could be motivated by a complex philosophical position about the nature and origin of life; it could be motivated by any number of things.

    I understand and accept that you have a world view which differs from mine, most specifically in the status we ascribe to the unborn. But you must similarly accept that your values are not universal, just as mine are not, and that moral conclusions generated from the internal logic of your own value system are not necessarily applicable to the moral systems of other people. People can, and do, oppose abortion or view it as a moral evil for reasons unrelated to their regard for women as a group or as individuals.

    Comment by Robert — January 3, 2007 @ 2:57 pm | Reply

  22. The key point is that the part of the debate at issue in Kansas is that this is a tiny part of the abortion debate, and that most of the controversy has a lot to do with the perceived lack of good faith upon the part of the prosecutor and provider, by the respective parties.

    The legal standard is one that has a broad consensus of support and there are only a fairly small number of cases, largely involving how severe mental health issues must be and how mental health is diagnosed, where the application of that legal standard is disputed.

    A tiny percentage of abortions are late term. The agreed upon standard is a “risk of irreversible harm” to the mother, is one that is clearly constitutional in the case of late term abortions. The narrow issue here is what qualifies as a “risk of irreversible harm.” The judicial decision here doesn’t even address these merits itself.

    Choosing between a viable fetus and a mother may be hard for philosophers, but for ordinary people in sitautions that they believe legitimately involve a “risk of irreversible harm” to the mother, the choice is an easily one, and the U.S. Supreme Court has held that it is a situation when states must give mothers a choice.

    Indeed, the moral issues here are almost entirely divorced from the larger issues of the abortion debate. Even many individuals who are very strongly anti-abortion are willing to say that in principal in the rare cases where there is a real risk of irreversible harm to the mother, that abortion should be permitted, just as almost all death penalty opponents still recognize that self-defense (or defense of others) should be a complete defense to a murder charge.

    The heart of the abortion debate is really about how much freedom there should be to abort in the first or early second trimester, by adults, where rape, incest or the life of the mother is not at stake, for reasons like a desire to defer having children, a desire to keep one’s family the same size, the social stigma associated with having a child, or the economic hardships associated with having another child. This core of the debate has been removed from the political sphere, first in Roe, and since then in Casey. As a result, abortion foes who are serious about reducing the number of abortions of this type need to address the root causes of the socio-economic environment that influence a woman’s choice, rather than going to legislatures for relief on abortion rights per se.

    The differences between anti-abortion views and pro-choice views in these cases largely come down to how carefully the irreversible harm decision should be scrutinized. The fact that the decision is made post-hoc in a criminal trial where proof beyond a reasonable doubt is required, rather than authorized by a judicially immune tribunal separate from the provider in advance, also encourages some deferrence to the provider in these cases when they fall in gray areas.

    Comment by ohwilleke — January 3, 2007 @ 3:23 pm | Reply

  23. Would you stay up worrying about until 6am if it was a son?

    Yup. I would.

    Comment by Off Colfax — January 3, 2007 @ 3:28 pm | Reply

  24. Yup. I would.

    Would you have mentioned this if you had been talking about a son?

    Comment by Daran — January 3, 2007 @ 4:23 pm | Reply

  25. Would you have mentioned this if you had been talking about a son?

    Watch it, Daran. If you persist in pointing out a possible double standard someone is going to accuse you of feminist tendencies*.

    *Yes, this comment should be routed to the humor sub-program, but if you feel the urge to discuss whether you feel the word “feminist” or “pro-feminist” does or does not describe you, that’s ok too.

    Comment by Dianne — January 3, 2007 @ 4:35 pm | Reply

  26. It’s happened before.

    Here’s where I think feminists have a point: Women are constantly being told “watch out, you’re at risk”. Men don’t get that message, despite the fact that we’re the ones at most risk. Consequently, women fear violence more than men, and it curtails their behaviour in a way that men’s aren’t.

    Of course, it’s the feminists doing most of the fearmongering…

    Comment by Daran — January 3, 2007 @ 9:35 pm | Reply

  27. Of course, it’s the feminists doing most of the fearmongering…

    That has not been my experience at all. All the wacky “advice” about how to prevent stranger rape and abduction has come from my very conservative family.

    Comment by Snowe — January 3, 2007 @ 11:56 pm | Reply

  28. Well, it comes in variable formats. Mom and Dad tell you not to go out to bars or date or do anything besides sit quietly in the security room. Your campus feminists tell you that men are a tribe of evildoers who oppress you (Mom and Dad were apparently right to worry).

    Most everyone contributes to the women-in-peril meme, just in different ways.

    Comment by Robert — January 4, 2007 @ 12:05 am | Reply

  29. Your campus feminists tell you that men are a tribe of evildoers who oppress you

    We don’t really have campus feminists in Alabama.

    Comment by Snowe — January 4, 2007 @ 12:11 am | Reply

  30. This doesn’t appear to be a Men’s Studies program.

    Neither does this.

    Comment by Robert — January 4, 2007 @ 5:34 am | Reply

  31. I thought you were referring to active groups that have an impact on the campus as a whole. We do have a Women’s Studies at UA, but it isn’t very big or powerful. The one class I took was very…tame.

    Comment by Snowe — January 4, 2007 @ 8:41 am | Reply

  32. […] of the Patriarchy Filed under: Feminist Issues — Daran @ 10:19 am I said: Here’s where I think feminists have a point: Women are constantly being told “watch out, […]

    Pingback by Tools of the Patriarchy « Creative Destruction — January 4, 2007 @ 10:24 am | Reply

  33. Men don’t get that message, despite the fact that we’re the ones at most risk.

    Depends on which risk you mean. If you’re talking about homicide or assault, men are certainly at higher risk. Women are at higher risk of rape, sexual assault, and domestic abuse (though men are by no means immune to any of the above). So really the advice ought to be for women to go out more to avoid the dangers of domestic abusers and men to stay home to avoid the dangers on the streets.

    Comment by Dianne — January 4, 2007 @ 11:58 am | Reply

  34. But you must similarly accept that your values are not universal, just as mine are not, and that moral conclusions generated from the internal logic of your own value system are not necessarily applicable to the moral systems of other people.

    I agree. I fully accept your right to carry any pregnancies you have to term. Yes, I know, that statement inevitably comes off as snarky because this is one area in which biology is destiny. It is very, very unlikely that you’ll ever be pregnant and, if you did, by some act of god or biotechnology* become pregnant, it would almost certainly not be accidently. (Assuming, of course, that you’re not really Roberta and posting in drag.)

    I further support your right to argue against abortion, suggest alternatives to abortion, and argue the same about birth control if you so desire. What I don’t think that you should have the right to do is force others to act on your beliefs by legally preventing them from ending pregnancies they don’t wish to or can not safely carry to term. Which is what the “pro-life” movement wants: to force everyone to follow their morality and their views on this issue.

    A case could be made for doing just that: If there is such a thing as a soul, separate from the brain and body, and it is somehow inserted into the embryo at conception then there is a compelling (though still not inarguable) case for illegalizing abortion except in cases of threat to the mother’s life: another human life truly is at stake. There is no evidence of this and much evidence to suggest that human life doesn’t start in any meaningful manner until much later.

    *There have been cases of ectopic pregnancies with implantation on the intestinal lining that have resulted in the birth of healthy babies. Men have intestinal lining. And we can give progestrone exogenously. So it MIGHT be possible to implant a “snowflake baby” in a man, give him a 3 month course of progestrone (after which the placenta can take over the maintanence), maybe an LHRH antagonist to reduce the testosterone level…It might work. Of course, the risks would be high. Men’s immune systems aren’t as resiliant as women’s, on average, the DVT and arterial thrombotic risks would be highish, it’s not at all clear that a man’s lungs would be able to compensate for the late pregnancy compression…all in all, I’m not sure an IRB would approve.

    Comment by Dianne — January 4, 2007 @ 12:26 pm | Reply

  35. Depends on which risk you mean. If you’re talking about homicide or assault, men are certainly at higher risk. Women are at higher risk of rape, sexual assault, and domestic abuse (though men are by no means immune to any of the above). So really the advice ought to be for women to go out more to avoid the dangers of domestic abusers and men to stay home to avoid the dangers on the streets.

    Well that’s pretty silly advice. If you’re at risk of serious violence from the person you’re living with, then going for a walk is not going to solve your problem. Stop living with them, or better still, never start living with them in the first place.

    Dangerous men are not hard to recognise. Seriously, how hard is it to realise that this guy is bad news? What is the difference, do you think, between him and any other asrehole, except that he’s making a career out of being an arsehole?

    If he ever ends up in the dock, then the courts should presume him inncent, and in my opinion, the media including bloggers should too. But that doesn’t mean that you should presume him innocent if you’re thinking of dating him, or anyone like him.

    As for street violence – I’ve faced it, four times in the past 15 years, twice with actual violence. And yes, I’ve considered the risk, and altered my behaviour accordingly, but I’m not going to baracade my door because the cost to me would be higher than the risk is worth, and I’m not worrying about it, because the cost of that is more than the risk is worth too.

    Edited to fix typo.

    Comment by Daran — January 4, 2007 @ 1:59 pm | Reply

  36. I agree. I fully accept your right to carry any pregnancies you have to term. Yes, I know, that statement inevitably comes off as snarky because this is one area in which biology is destiny. It is very, very unlikely that you’ll ever be pregnant and, if you did, by some act of god or biotechnology* become pregnant, it would almost certainly not be accidently. (Assuming, of course, that you’re not really Roberta and posting in drag.)

    Well that’s fine, but given that post coital birth control including abortion is practically available to you, if you unilaterally choose to carry to term the unintended result of us having sex, how about you taking responsibility for that decision, and not expecting me to pay for it.

    Comment by Daran — January 4, 2007 @ 2:03 pm | Reply

  37. What I don’t think that you should have the right to do is force others to act on your beliefs by legally preventing them from ending pregnancies they don’t wish to or can not safely carry to term. Which is what the “pro-life” movement wants: to force everyone to follow their morality and their views on this issue.

    Except that I don’t believe in legally preventing abortions. And yet I’m pro-life.

    Comment by Robert — January 4, 2007 @ 2:26 pm | Reply

  38. Well that’s pretty silly advice.

    Sorry, should have put a warning on it. It’s supposed to be silly advice, making fun of the advice that women get to avoid bars, don’t go out at night, avoid certain neighborhoods, etc. Not that all the advice that women get is silly: it’s a good idea, for example, to stick to crowded streets when walking alone, especially at night through chancy neighborhoods, but the advice is as good for men as for women.

    Domestic violence is a strange entity. I’ve seen people, mostly women but men too, stay with partners who abuse them when they seem to have every ability to leave: a job, friends who will help and protect them, no depression or other mental illness blocking their ability to think clearly about the issue, etc. I don’t understand it, but it occurs often enough for me to think that there’s another factor involved preventing these relationships from ending that we don’t know about or haven’t worked out how to deal with.

    Comment by Dianne — January 4, 2007 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

  39. Except that I don’t believe in legally preventing abortions. And yet I’m pro-life.

    But you’re also pro-choice, then. Lots of pro-choice people don’t like abortion for one reason or another. I favor pregnancy prevention over abortion myself.

    Comment by Dianne — January 4, 2007 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

  40. But you’re also pro-choice, then.

    No. Abortion is morally wrong. In general, I condemn it unequivocally (while recognizing, as Off Colfax mentioned above, that there are tragic medical situations where killing the fetus may be a moral choice – in much the same way that killing people is wrong, but you can kill in self-defense.) I have no problem with, if asked, telling a woman “you should not get an abortion, it would be selfish/wrong/evil etc.” I do not believe in “bodily autonomy” (at least, not as feminist pro-choicers define it).

    It is, however, a morally wrong act that it is not appropriate for the state to regulate. The primary reason for this is practicality – the state, in the interest of preserving the credibility of its own legal structure, must not make things illegal that (a) lots of people are going to do anyway and that (b) there is no practical method of preventing. Same reason I’m opposed to most drug laws – not because doing lines of coke is a social good, but because it’s impossible to stop and lots of people want to do it.

    I’m pretty sure that all that is enough to remove me firmly from the “pro-choice” camp, as its members define it.

    Comment by Robert — January 4, 2007 @ 3:00 pm | Reply

  41. Also, I see nothing wrong with laws and regulations that hem in the abortion seeker with restrictions and hoops to jump through, in the interests of providing disincentives to marginal cases. And I certainly see no reason whatsoever that the state, or taxpayers in general, should be expected to pay for a woman’s choice. Socialism bad, trees just another cash crop. 😉

    Comment by Robert — January 4, 2007 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

  42. I’m pretty sure that all that is enough to remove me firmly from the “pro-choice” camp, as its members define it.

    Dammit, I miss ONE MEETING of the Liberal Conspiracy steering committe and they change the definition!

    I’m not sure who the members of the pro-choice camp consist of, exactly, but to me if you’re opposed to illegalizing abortion you’re pro-choice, regardless of your personal opinion on the morality of abortion or lack thereof. Others of the pro-choice persuasion may differ if they like.

    Comment by Dianne — January 4, 2007 @ 4:20 pm | Reply

  43. (while recognizing, as Off Colfax mentioned above, that there are tragic medical situations where killing the fetus may be a moral choice – in much the same way that killing people is wrong, but you can kill in self-defense.)

    Actually, ohwilleke mentioned that, but no sweat, Off Colfax did raise a similar theme anyway and he is such a great guy that he always deserves credit anyway, if it was a good comment, even if he didn’t say it, because he clearly thought it.

    Comment by ohwilleke — January 4, 2007 @ 5:13 pm | Reply

  44. You all look alike to me.

    Comment by Robert — January 4, 2007 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

  45. My pajamas are prettier.

    Comment by ohwilleke — January 4, 2007 @ 8:27 pm | Reply

  46. […] I said: Here’s where I think feminists have a point: Women are constantly being told “watch out, you’re at risk”. Men don’t get that message, despite the fact that we’re the ones at most risk. Consequently, women fear violence more than men, and it curtails their behaviour in a way that men’s aren’t. […]

    Pingback by Feminist Critics — January 13, 2007 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

  47. […] Snowe: That has not been my experience at all. All the wacky “advice” about how to prevent stranger rape and abduction has come from my very conservative family. […]

    Pingback by Feminist Critics — January 14, 2007 @ 2:36 pm | Reply

  48. Like Dianne, if I had to classify you (Robert), I’d classify you as pro-choice. The bright-line division between pro-life and pro-choice is if you’re for or against government bans on abortion.

    Of course, it’s also possible to get more nuanced than a bright-line division – “I’m pro-choice in that I don’t think it’s the government’s business to ban abortion, I’m pro-life in that I do favor waiting periods,” etc etc.. But if we’re using the “either one or the other” analysis, then I’d say you’re pro-choice, Robert.

    Comment by Ampersand — February 7, 2007 @ 3:20 pm | Reply

  49. Fine, I’ll start posting on the pro-choice only threads at your blog(s). 😉

    Comment by Robert — February 7, 2007 @ 4:59 pm | Reply

  50. […] baseless, and hence Odious Comparison, and I withdraw it. I should have said “some”. As Robert said, it comes in variable formats. Here are some feminist birds in your […]

    Pingback by Feminist Critics — December 17, 2007 @ 12:53 am | Reply


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