Abortion and hypocrisy...

iMi

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I had a very interesting conversation with a good friend and a neighbor. I’ve talked about him before. Conservative, born-again Christian type. We get along great.

The topic of abortion came up. At some point, I dispelled the myth that we are all unconditionally pro-choice. Late-stage abortion is overwhelmingly opposed by liberals If you look at polls. Plus, I said, we want to help women avoid any and all unwanted pregnancies! One, it’s an emotionally difficult issue. Two, it raises the risk of breast cancer, etc. We simply support women’s freedom to choose.

He countered that life begins at conception. Fair enough.

I asked if he agrees that abortions are the direct result of unwanted pregnancies. Yes. Ok, we’re on the same page. Liberals want to prevent unwanted pregnancies, which as you conceded, lead to abortions. That’s right. We have that in common. Studies have shown that early sexual wellness education can dramatically reduce unwanted pregnancies. Combined with access to contraceptive and health services, this strategy could dramatically reduce unintended pregnancies and therefore abortions. Agree?

No, because we should teach abstinence. Sex before marriage is a sin and I don’t want some liberal nut-job talking to my daughter about sex when she’s in school.

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck, pass me another beer and we’ll try again.

That’s literally how it went. So, what do you think? Are conservatives trying to have a cake and eat it, too? If sex before marriage is a sin, is it a bigger or lesser of a sin than ”murdering” an unborn baby (according to them)?
 

Alli

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I had a very interesting conversation with a good friend and a neighbor. I’ve talked about him before. Conservative, born-again Christian type. We get along great.

The topic of abortion came up. At some point, I dispelled the myth that we are all unconditionally pro-choice. Late-stage abortion is overwhelmingly opposed by liberals If you look at polls. Plus, I said, we want to help women avoid any and all unwanted pregnancies! One, it’s an emotionally difficult issue. Two, it raises the risk of breast cancer, etc. We simply support women’s freedom to choose.

He countered that life begins at conception. Fair enough.

I asked if he agrees that abortions are the direct result of unwanted pregnancies. Yes. Ok, we’re on the same page. Liberals want to prevent unwanted pregnancies, which as you conceded, lead to abortions. That’s right. We have that in common. Studies have shown that early sexual wellness education can dramatically reduce unwanted pregnancies. Combined with access to contraceptive and health services, this strategy could dramatically reduce unintended pregnancies and therefore abortions. Agree?

No, because we should teach abstinence. Sex before marriage is a sin and I don’t want some liberal nut-job talking to my daughter about sex when she’s in school.

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck, pass me another beer and we’ll try again.

That’s literally how it went. So, what do you think? Are conservatives trying to have a cake and eat it, too? If sex before marriage is a sin, is it a bigger or lesser of a sin than ”murdering” an unborn baby (according to them)?
Don't worry my friend, they'll fix it with thoughts and prayers. But seriously, what I dislike about conservatives is their fixation of individual responsibility on systemic issues. The irony is that I believe in personal responsibility just as much as they do, but that's my responsibility as a parent to teach it to my kids and my responsibility to hold myself to these same standards. I expect the system to examine and fix the sources of issues. I can dig it up, there's a study showing that teaching abstinence increases abortion rate and teen pregnancies even if you correct for socioeconomic status or ethnicity. Understanding this, it is clear that they aren't willing to fix the issue, they want to others to deal with it.

Also, spontaneous pregnancy loss rate in the first trimester is somewhere between 10 and 20%, and much much higher above age 35. So a pregnancy is not a guaranteed life. If you've seen the brainwaves of newborns, there's hardly anything there yet that makes them what we consider human other than their pretty faces (I love newborns, babies are pure fun until they start crawling). As long as a fetus is not viable, its part of a woman's body. These days viability is pushed earlier and earlier (~22, though hardly). The first most reasonable compromise would be to enable people to make their decisions within the first trimester.
 
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iMi

iMi

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Don't worry my friend, they'll fix it with thoughts and prayers. But seriously, what I dislike about conservatives is their fixation of individual responsibility on systemic issues. The irony is that I believe in personal responsibility just as much as they do, but that's my responsibility as a parent to teach it to my kids and my responsibility to hold myself to these same standards. I expect the system to examine and fix the sources of issues. I can dig it up, there's a study showing that teaching abstinence increases abortion rate and teen pregnancies even if you correct for socioeconomic status or ethnicity. Understanding this, it is clear that they aren't willing to fix the issue, they want to others to deal with it.

Also, spontaneous pregnancy loss rate in the first trimester is somewhere between 10 and 20%, and much much higher above age 35. So a pregnancy is not a guaranteed life. If you've seen the brainwaves of newborns, there's hardly anything there yet that makes them what we consider human other than their pretty faces (I lowe newborns, babies are just fun until they start crawling). As long as a fetus is not viable, its part of a woman's body. These days viability is pushed earlier and earlier (~22, though hardly). The first most reasonable compromise would be to enable people to make their decisions within the first trimester.

Well said. Since 10-20% of pregnancies are lost before the first trimester and, as we know, it’s all “god’s will,” then should we assume that god is indeed the leading abortionist? Ouch.

The problem with having a discussion with conservatives about abortion is that one, you can’t argue with “faith.” It’s simply impossible. Second, if you take the scientific approach of determining when a person becomes a person, then you run into issues. Take Warren’s criteria for personhood. If taken literally it would justify infanticide. New born babies are underlying persons and no one in the right mind would end their life, but a newborn doesn’t fit the model. You mentioned the concept that a fetus that cannot survive outside of woman’s body is therefore part of her body — that’s a prevailing argument these days. I agree with it, but it, too has issues.

I agree with you on the compromise. I’ve argued that for a while now. The issue of abortion doesn’t have to be zero-sum end game. The problem is that the opposing voices can only see this issue that way. How do you argue with that?
 
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Well said. Since 10-20% of pregnancies are lost before the first trimester and, as we know, it’s all “god’s will,” then should we assume that god is indeed the leading abortionist? Ouch.

The problem with having a discussion with conservatives about abortion is that one, you can’t argue with “faith.” It’s simply impossible. Second, if you take the scientific approach of determining when a person becomes a person, then you run into issues. Take Warren’s criteria for personhood. If taken literally it would justify infanticide. New born babies are underlying persons and no one in the right mind would end their life, but a newborn doesn’t fit the model. You mentioned the concept that a fetus that cannot survive outside of woman’s body is therefore part of her body — that’s a prevailing argument these days. I agree with it, but it, too has issues.

I agree with you on the compromise. I’ve argued that for a while now. The issue of abortion doesn’t have to be zero-sum end game. The problem is that the opposing voices can only see this issue that way. How do you argue with that?
Agree, arguing with faith is as helpful as thoughts and prayers are. (I have no issue with either, as long as they aren't used as a primary problem solving method... thoughts if truly applied are an actual good way to come up with solutions).

I agree with your reasoning on personhood and that it isn't a valid way to determine whom we should consider a human being. The heartbeat argument is also poor, if someone takes into consideration the state the developmental state of nervous system (very very limited) when the heartbeat arises.

Considering this a zero-sum game BTW is a very American thing. Europeans, even the conservatives I know have a very different opinion.

I'm also really really irritated by men trying to literally mensplain pregnancy and birth to women.
A woman will always know better than a man, until men start giving birth. Nonsense.
 
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Alli

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I agree with your reasoning on personhood and that it isn't a valid way to determine whom we should consider a human being. The heartbeat argument is also poor, if someone takes into consideration the state the developmental state of nervous system (very very limited) when the heartbeat arises.
Not to mention the other problem with using heartbeat as the standard means that you could never EVER remove anyone from life support, even when there is 0 brain activity.
 

lizkat

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I'm also really really irritated by men trying to literally mensplain pregnancy and birth to women.

If I thought today's Republican pols gave a damn about a baby once it clears the mother's womb... I might try to engage a conservative in discussions about negative impact of GOP policy. For instance, their ongoing putting up of whole binders full of obstacles to the continued existence of clinics that have not only provided referrals for abortion if desired --or may provide such services on site-- but also look after prenatal care of women who hope to give birth to a healthy child. And for another instance, the GOP's grotesque failure to cross the aisle and work much harder with Democrats to deliver direct grants to proper daycare centers as a matter of our national interest.

But no. Essentially, a "pro-life" litmus test for Republican politicians is just a GOP talking point. Conservative prospective justices with a presumed willingness to help overturn rights to an abortion are also expected to be conservative when it comes to gutting regulations that industry despises, and conservative about interpreting laws on taxation that might end up putting the well being of our wage-earning workforce above jacking up quarterly profit margins. The abortion issue to Republican policy makers has always been primarily a perceived corral around potential votes in their presumed electoral base.

If one of these pols or their kin or pals turned up with a unwanted teen pregnancy in the family, well... back in the days before Roe v Wade, they just flew to Sweden for a little vacation, or drove into NYC's Park or Fifth Avenue in a limo for a refined solution to a pressing but temporary problem. And they still do that, and still discuss it sotto voce as if it's still against the law, even though it's only against their public policy. The talk in those private moments is merely about how do we keep this stupid girl from ruining our lives?

Where in that is any care for either the mother to be, or the alleged icon of their Republican solicitude, a precious baby's life?
 

thekev

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The topic of abortion came up. At some point, I dispelled the myth that we are all unconditionally pro-choice. Late-stage abortion is overwhelmingly opposed by liberals If you look at polls. Plus, I said, we want to help women avoid any and all unwanted pregnancies! One, it’s an emotionally difficult issue. Two, it raises the risk of breast cancer, etc. We simply support women’s freedom to choose.

Late term abortion is generally misrepresented. I'm highly skeptical that you could find many doctors willing to actually perform it for non-medical reasons. They are extremely expensive and invasive, and most physicians are not qualified to safely perform a third trimester one. It's more likely that the woman would be referred to counseling at that point and informed about options for adoption.

Two, it raises the risk of breast cancer, etc.

Be careful with that specific line of reasoning. I can't find any conclusive evidence of a causal link. When things just happen to be associated. The cdc uses slightly strong language here. I haven't (yet) found a study that shows a significantly higher risk when controlling for a sufficient number of other factors. It's possible that the pregnancy itself isn't the driving factor here, and if it is, that alone would not prove that abortion is an effective deterrent.

edit: being more specific

 
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Late term abortion is generally misrepresented. I'm highly skeptical that you could find many doctors willing to actually perform it for non-medical reasons. They are extremely expensive and invasive, and most physicians are not qualified to safely perform a third trimester one. It's more likely that the woman would be referred to counseling at that point and informed about options for adoption.
I still don't know what a "late-term" abortion is. Most states have a 20th week gestation limit (i.e. second trimester limit) and all have a viability limit, which again is at the end of the second trimester. Hence I recommend everyone to avoid the term because its a political and not a medical term. That said I've expressed I consider second trimester abortions outside of special justifications (rape/incest/significant threat to maternal life/in utero fetal demise etc.) ethically very dicy and we should strive to avoid them (we should strive to avoid all).

Be careful with that specific line of reasoning. I can't find any conclusive evidence of a causal link. When things just happen to be associated. The cdc uses slightly strong language here. I haven't (yet) found any study that shows a significantly higher risk compared to a control group.

The breast cancer link is propaganda bullshit BTW. Nulliparity is a risk for breast cancer not abortions.
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thekev

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I still don't know what a "late-term" abortion is. Most states have a 20th week gestation limit (i.e. second trimester limit) and all have a viability limit, which again is at the end of the second trimester. Hence I recommend everyone to avoid the term because its a political and not a medical term. That said I've expressed I consider second trimester abortions outside of special justifications (rape/incest/significant threat to maternal life/in utero fetal demise etc.) ethically very dicy and we should strive to avoid them (we should strive to avoid all).


The breast cancer link is propaganda bullshit BTW. Nulliparity is a risk for breast cancer not abortions.
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Oh sorry didn't realize that. I went with CDC link out of caution. It's usually a reasonable source.

I wasn't suggesting that as being a risk of abortion though, just responding to the issue of pregnancy as a risk. CDC in this case suggests having a first pregnancy after 30 is a risk, but establishing a causal link there seems extraordinarily difficult.
 
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Oh sorry didn't realize that. I went with CDC link out of caution. It's usually a reasonable source.

I wasn't suggesting that as being a risk of abortion though, just responding to the issue of pregnancy as a risk. CDC in this case suggests having a first pregnancy after 30 is a risk, but establishing a causal link there seems extraordinarily difficult.
You didn't say anything wrong. But it really is the other way around. Having children and breast feeding them are protective because it induces breast tissue to fully mature (to the grief of some women...and men).

BTW, I have this theory, that women getting 3mo maternity leave in the USA (if lucky...) has a lot to do with using formula as formula kids start sleeping through the night earlier because formula is harder to digest.

(just saying because the anti-abortion crusaders could also attack formula makers if breast cancer risk is the argument).
 
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thekev

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BTW, I have this theory, that women getting 3mo maternity leave in the USA (if lucky...) has a lot to do with using formula as formula kids start sleeping through the night earlier because formula is harder to digest.

That is entirely possible. The pandemic has seen a lot of people working from home. I imagine some companies may try offering women some work from home options following pregnancy, even after a vaccine is widely available. Really though, I would prefer to see baseline healthcare policies handled with greater uniformity at a national level.
 
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iMi

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Wow... I could swear I’ve read in the past that abortions increase the risk of cancer. Thanks for clarifying that point.

Late term abortion by the way is not a medical term but rather a political one. The definition of what late-term means depends widely. I’ll clarify that in the case of our discussion here, I meant that late-term abortion being anytime after the first trimester.
 
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iMi

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I still don't know what a "late-term" abortion is. Most states have a 20th week gestation limit (i.e. second trimester limit) and all have a viability limit, which again is at the end of the second trimester. Hence I recommend everyone to avoid the term because its a political and not a medical term. That said I've expressed I consider second trimester abortions outside of special justifications (rape/incest/significant threat to maternal life/in utero fetal demise etc.) ethically very dicy and we should strive to avoid them (we should strive to avoid all).


The breast cancer link is propaganda bullshit BTW. Nulliparity is a risk for breast cancer not abortions.
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Late second and third term abortions are extremely rare from what I understand. They result typically from dire medical emergencies. You are absolutely right that few doctors, if any, would openly perform such procedure at patient’s request.

This raises another point, however. Republicans often cite “late-term abortion” as a rallying cry. It’s their way of trying to portray the other side as cruel, godless monsters. It works.
 
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Late second and third term abortions are extremely rare from what I understand. They result typically from dire medical emergencies. You are absolutely right that few doctors, if any, would openly perform such procedure at patient’s request.
Exactly.

This raises another point, however. Republicans often cite “late-term abortion” as a rallying cry. It’s their way of trying to portray the other side as cruel, godless monsters. It works.

The issue in America is that people with binary views get much more of a platform that people with common sense. This notion applies to this topic too.
 

Gutwrench

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@iMi - I read the entire op but not any posts thereafter. Why can’t you and your friend have different opinions? Do you think your friend is wrong in holding a sincere opinion opposite of yours? If so, why?
 
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@iMi - I read the entire op but not any posts thereafter. Why can’t you and your friend have different opinions? Do you think your friend is wrong in holding a sincere opinion opposite of yours? If so, why?
I'll respond to that of you don't mind: because his friend is hypocritical. He pretends to care about the issue, but unwilling to do what's necessary to actually address it. That's the problem.
 

Gutwrench

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I'll respond to that of you don't mind: because his friend is hypocritical. He pretends to care about the issue, but unwilling to do what's necessary to actually address it. That's the problem.

I don’t mind at all, thank you! Where was his friend’s hypocrisy? As I recall the friend preferred abstinence being taught over contraception to reduce unwanted pregnancy. While we can disagree with its effectiveness and practicality but it does not seem hypocritical. It’s merely a different point of view.
 
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