November 12, 2004
Ordering a burger in a vegetarian restaurant
One of the things I enjoy in writing this blog is the comments and emails I receive from people who don't agree with me. It makes me really think about what I'm writing, to choose my words carefully, to reassess my positions and to try and communicate clearly my ideas. It is kind of like exercising ... the more you push against resistance, the firmer and more defined the muscles.
Reader Mieke posts in the comment section here some thoughts about Roe v Wade, speaking specifically about how in many states the banning of abortion could cause real trauma to some. She also has some comments about parental notification laws. Jeff Harrell writes an excellent post on Roe v Wade here, covering the judicial opinion and how it came about and just what amendments the court used to address the issue of abortion which is not mentioned at all in the Constitution.
In many ways, I find it disconcerting that we are still arguing this matter after some thirty years and with considerable passion. IMHO, much of that is due to Roe v Wade itself, where the SCOTUS stepped in and found an "emanation from a penumbra" to create a Constitutional "civil right" where none existed before. Under the 10th amendment, the issue should have (IMO) been left to the states.
Is such a sentiment one borne of only looking at life with a "black/white" POV? Does it bespeak an attitude that doesn't take life in its reality?
I do not believe so. I believe that I'm coming at this thorny issue as one of trying to balance the obligations of the forest with the rights of the trees.
A person does not have a "right" that encompasses a "thing" that must be provided by another -- ie there is no "right" to health care, education, food, a car, a ticket to the movies on a Friday night. So a person does not have a "right" TO an abortion. Funny how many on the extreme pro-abortion side have moved the argument of freedom to seek an abortion to abortions must be provided, even at taxpayer cost, as a "right." And an abortion is not about just the woman. It is about another human being, even if it is only nascent human life.
As I've explained before, there are many moral things which should not be legislated. I find adultery immoral, but I do not think it should be the perview of the Law. I find the vast majority of abortions (those done for convenience) immoral, but I do not think most of those should be the perview of the Law.
So to get to that point, I must convince my fellow citizens of the wisdom of leaving the choice of abortion exclusively to adult women during the time human life is nascent and not capable of living outside of her body. Some states will be more liberal in their views, some more conservative. One will find states that allow abortion, no questions asked, up to 24 weeks gestation or beyond; and some states that will outlaw the practice unless a woman's physical health is in danger. The obligation of the government is to allow the people these decisions, and it is the right of the people to come to a consensus on these issues.
If I don't want to be bothered by noise from airplanes, I should not buy a home near an airport.
If I don't like flies, I shouldn't buy a home across from a dairy.
If I want a beef hamburger for lunch, I should not try ordering it in a vegetarian restaurant.
We have a lot of freedoms in the country, including the freedom of association. Rather than trying to legislate my neighbors' values, I can live with them or move to a place where my neighbors' values more closely match mine.
In closing, let me briefly talk about parental notification. If a girl is being beaten or molested by her dad/stepdad and that is why she is fearful ... what kind of thinking is it to sidestep the courts and allow her to get an abortion and return to such a situation??
And do consider, that many young girls... 13-15 y/o, that find themselves pregnant got that way because of a male in his mid-20's to 30's. That male should have more influence on the girl than her own parents? Her parents should not be alerted to the molestation of their own daughter and to take appropriate legal steps?
Posted by Darleen at November 12, 2004 12:22 PM
So a person does not have a "right" TO an abortion.
Hm. That's a tricky point. See, you have a right to liberty. This is guaranteed to you by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. The doctrine of compelling interest says that because you have a right to liberty, the state can only limit that right when it has a compelling interest to do so. Because the state has a compelling interest in protecting the lives of its citizens — born and unborn — the state can limit the exercise of its citizens' liberty with respect to getting abortions.
But it's not a black-and-white thing. It's not absolute. There are two rights to be balanced: the right to life of the unborn child and the right to liberty of the mother.
It's not that you have a right to an abortion, specifically. It's that you have a right to liberty in general. In that light, I think that saying you have a right to an abortion isn't entirely incorrect.
The thing to remember, though, is that rights aren't absolute. You have a right to get an abortion — through your blanket right to liberty — but that right is not inviolable.
Posted by: Jeff Harrell at November 12, 2004 01:05 PM
I don't understand your logic here.
"A person does not have a "right" that encompasses a "thing" that must be provided by another -- i.e. there is no "right" to health care, education, food, a car, a ticket to the movies on a Friday night."
Are you arguing here just against government paid abortions? Or are you saying that if I invented a way for a woman to give herself a safe abortion, therefore negating your “provided by another” rational, that it would then be ok?
In your way of thinking, people don't have a right to these things, but neither are they deprived of them or prohibited from them if they chose to get an education, go to a doctor, etc. So why not just let them go and get an abortion if that’s what they want and are willing to pay for?
Your argument about whether tax dollars should pay for abortion or education I cannot get into with you because on that we fundamentally disagree. Just as I think our government has a responsibility to keep us safe by funding our military, I think they have a responsibility to educate our children in order to keep our economy strong by helping to provide an educated work force.
The only reason there is any restriction on this medical procedure is because of the religious idea that some have that life begins at conception – when sperm hits egg and a zygote is created. I don’t share that opinion. Just as I don’t believe that stopping a sperm from hitting the egg via contraception is a sin or should IN ANY WAY be restricted. Do you really consider 4 cells a human being? Or 8? Or the baby that my friend Claudia aborted that had arms and legs and looked like a person, except for the skull malformation and lack of brain, do you judge that to be a human being? It’s all so subjective.
I think I told you when Claudia testified in front of Congress two congressmen called the panel of women murderers – this was after hearing each of their heart-breaking stories.
Come on Darleen.
If I don't want to be bothered by noise from airplanes, I should not buy a home near an airport.
If I don't like flies, I shouldn't buy a home across from a dairy.
If I want a beef hamburger for lunch, I should not try ordering it in a vegetarian restaurant. Rather than trying to legislate my neighbors' values, I can live with them or move to a place where my neighbors' values more closely match mine.
This is such specious argument, as if it is really that simple. That’s a ridiculously one-dimensional argument. Once again, I remind you that not everyone is in our socio-economic situation; not everyone has the option or the money to move.
You also said:
If a girl is being beaten or molested by her dad/step-dad and that is why she is fearful ... what kind of thinking is it to sidestep the courts and allow her to get an abortion and return to such a situation??
Nicole’s step-niece’s abortion was paid for by a group my friend Claudia works for, they provided and coordinated her counseling, worked with the state social services agency so they could move her to foster care until Nicole and her husband could gain custody of her. Claudia’s group got her an advocate in court so that the judge would wave the parental notification so this girl could have an abortion as soon as possible (thus clearing the way for a first trimester abortion and not a later one). This was her father’s fetus remember.
Every woman’s story is different. Every situation is different. I don’t think the burden should ever be put on the woman/girl to prove why she should be allowed to have an abortion. It’s no one’s business and to me it is her right to do with her body what she wants.
That said, as I previously wrote to you, I think a huge focus should be put on sex ed and access to birth control so that those millions of unwanted pregnancies that end in abortion every year are less and less. The irony of that of course is that, the very people who put so much energy into the pro-life movement also fight just as hard against sex-ed and easy access to the birth control. Not to mention the hypocrisy of it all. Bob Barr pops to mind of course.
Posted by: Mieke at November 12, 2004 03:48 PM
On the topic of hypocricy.
Did you read Frank Rich today in the NY Times? Some of my favorites from his editorial.
...Those whose "moral values" are invested in cultural heroes like the accused loofah fetishist Bill O'Reilly and the self-gratifying drug consumer Rush Limbaugh are surely joking when they turn apoplectic over MTV. William Bennett's name is now as synonymous with Las Vegas as silicone.
…If anyone is laughing all the way to the bank this election year, it must be the undisputed king of the red cultural elite, Rupert Murdoch. Fox News is a rising profit center within his News Corporation, and each red-state dollar that it makes can be plowed back into the rest of Fox's very blue entertainment portfolio. The Murdoch cultural stable includes recent books like Jenna Jameson's "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star" and the Vivid Girls' "How to Have a XXX Sex Life," which have both been synergistically, even joyously, promoted on Fox News by willing hosts like Rita Cosby and, needless to say, Mr. O'Reilly. There are "real fun parts and exciting parts," said Ms. Cosby to Ms. Jameson on Fox News's "Big Story Weekend," an encounter broadcast on Saturday at 9 p.m., assuring its maximum exposure to unsupervised kids.
…The Los Angeles Times reported this summer that Paul Crouch, the evangelist who founded the largest Christian network, Trinity Broadcasting Network, vehemently denied a former employee's accusation that the two had had a homosexual encounter - though not before paying the employee a $425,000 settlement
Posted by: Mieke at November 12, 2004 03:49 PM
I guess last things first... as I've said before moral values is not synonomous with religion, no matter how much Leftists might like to pretend it is. I don't care WHERE you get your values, I care WHAT those values are. The question in American is not one of moralism v secularism (which is a specious argument, because secularism IS a type of moralism) but WHOSE morality and HOW MUCH of it gets into the law.
This is why I get such a giggle out of Leftists trying to waive around the failings of others the Leftists have designated "rightwing leaders" as relevant to ANY discussion outside of those people themselves. When did the memo come out that the only people allowed to speak about morals are either those that have NEVER had any failings or those that have NO morals? Frank Rich has a lot of chutzpah to claim that people who wish to seriously discuss values and morals have ANY "investment" in the people he cites. Paul Crouch? Puh-leeze. Why didn't Rich just drag out David Duke and be done with the slander?
BTW... I don't get the slam against Bill Bennett. Did he ever write that gambling for entertainment was a sin? Or is this just more of the same weird spinning that says if you step a toe to the right of the center line, you are then a bluenose?
The opportunity to obtain an abortion is what the Law addresses. Roe v Wade in and of itself says the government has no compeling interest in the first trimester of nascent human life,.thus the decision is the woman's. That does NOT obligate anyone else to provide one for her, INCLUDING taxpayers. Hence, no right TO an abortion. I do not want to see such abortions criminalized, just as I do not want to see adultery criminalized. In the same vein, abortion for convenience is immoral. I will not pretend otherwise, just as I will not pretend that a 8-12 week fetus is a rotten tooth. Do you know any woman who has suffered from a miscarriage? Do you think they do not mourn or grieve over their lost BABY? Would you say to them... "oh well, it's not like it was a REAL baby or anything." I think most abortions are tragic and worthy of much sympathy. I also think women are not given the support they deserve to make a decision to carry the child THEY don't want or cannot care for and give it up for adoption to people who DO want a child to raise. Indeed, from some at NOW or NARAL one gets the idea that "adoption" is a dirty word.
As I've said before, a severly malformed fetus is not viable, therefore abortion of such is not only legal but also while tragic is NOT immoral.
And let's get this straight... we are not talking about JUST a woman's body, but also about ANOTHER human body. And that life has increasing rights as it reaches viability...even Roe v Wade recognizes it. If the fetus is healthy and has reached viability then the woman DAMN WELL BETTER have a good reason for an abortion..and the LAW should protect that life.
So, what do you want to do about 20-30 y/o men who impregnate 13-15 y/os? You want to keep parents out of the loop, or what?
Posted by: Darleen at November 12, 2004 05:57 PM
Did you try the veggie tofu mix? It's delicious!
Posted by: drunkmen at November 12, 2004 06:20 PM
"Frank Rich has a lot of chutzpah to claim that people who wish to seriously discuss values and morals have ANY "investment" in the people he cites"
I know a few people who do literally proclaim Christ as their personal savior, they are evangelical Christians, who also listen Rush and treat what he says as truth, not to mention some of the others who have "fallen from grace".
Bill may not have said anything about gambling, but he did go on and on about values and most people do view gambling as a sin or at least a vice. Especially at the level at which he was doing it.
I absolutely agree with you about making the option of putting your baby up for adoption easier. In Florida, they shame the birth mothers. They require a public notification in the paper. It sends a mixed msg to those women who have an unwanted pregnancy.
However, I'd love for you to point me to the info that caused you to write "Indeed, from some at NOW or NARAL one gets the idea that "adoption" is a dirty word. I don't ever get that. In fact, Claudia of whom I have written so much, is very involved in both NARAL and the adoption movement. They are not mutually exclusive.
I never suggested that an abortion was like a rotten tooth. You are misguided if you don't think there is a very real effort to ban all abortions, including those in the first trimester and like the one that Claudia had. Take a look at the actual text of the "partial birth abortion ban". Or look at the testimony of the day Claudia spent testifying to see that the law makers can be pretty extreme in their beliefs.
Again, the 20-30 year old that's screwing a 13-15 year old, it would depend on the circumstances. What the ramifications would be if her parents were told. The boy/man should be punished absolutely, but if the girl’s life will be destroyed by equally horrific parents, who either forced her to have the baby, or beat her, or kicked her out, I don’t know. I know how I would respond if my young daughter got pregnant, but most people aren’t me. Each situation is different and I cannot abide a law that doesn’t get that.
Posted by: Mieke at November 12, 2004 11:14 PM
First of all you proved my point about how Leftists view conservatives. You cannot cite any where comments by Bill Bennett that he viewed gambling as entertainment as "immoral"..but only because he talks about values suddenly he is to be a saint according to others definition. Bill wasn't being a hypocrite; his attackers are vicious for holding HIM responsible for things he NEVER said. And so WHAT if he gambled with more $$$ than others think is prudent. At his level of income, did he lose his home? Put his family on the streets? Come on! Some perspective here. Leftists want to shut down any talk of values they don't hold, that is why they attack so vehemently attack the person who differs with them. They won't argue the actual value, they just engage in character assassination, even if there is no truth in it.. like Bill Bennett..or forging documents about GW ... or Bob Mulholland's infamous attack on Bruce Hersheson when he ran against Barbara Boxer ...
You don't think pro-abortion groups have lost any respect for the fact that WHAT they are doing is the equivalent of declaring a fetus a rotted tooth? Check out how Planned "Parenthood" viewed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
Posted by: Darleen at November 13, 2004 11:06 AM
Gambling as entertainment? 8 million dollars over a period of years is casual entertainment? He was an addict. He gave it up. Even he acknowledged this behavior was contrary to the morals that he preached.
"I have done too much gambling, and this is not an example I wish to set. Therefore, my gambling days are over."
I made it clear that he never said anything about gambling, he’s not an idiot after all. But he has spent years writing and touting the moral high-ground, sitting in judgment of others. It doesn’t matter if they are on the right or left, those who espouse on thing and act as if they are above the such behavior and then are revealed to be just as flawed as everyone else have always enraged me. That is the point. I cannot stand righteous indignation in any form.
You say: “Leftists want to shut down any talk of values they don't hold… They won't argue the actual value, they just engage in character assassination, even if there is no truth in it.”
Have I been shutting you down? I don’t agree with most positions that you hold and yet I think I have been very open and engaged with you. Your values are clearly not my values and yet our conversation goes on. I seek you out on your site for conversation. I do not dismiss you.
This statement seems to be a gross generalization. I think most lefties do argue why they agree or disagree with someone else’s “value”. I have seen many many conversations with Lefts and Rights discussing their point of view. Both sides are either trying to sway the other or find a middle ground (e.g. civil union vs gay marriage).
I think you are talking through your hat on this issue.
By the way, to which values are you referring? Perhaps it is that our definition of values is different.
You wrote: “You don't think pro-abortion groups have lost any respect for the fact that WHAT they are doing is the equivalent of declaring a fetus a rotted tooth? Check out how Planned "Parenthood" viewed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.”
I mean this sincerely, I went to the P.P. site you linked to, and I don’t get it?
I agree with the Planned Parenthood argument that if law makers want to do something in the wake of the Laci Peterson murder, they should make the penalties harsher if someone deliberately attacks a pregnant woman in the way that hate-crime laws make it a much more serious crime to draw a swastika on a house belonging to Jews, than mere graffiti.
No matter how hard I look, I just don’t see ANYWHERE (N.O.W, NARAL, or this site) that anyone treating a fetus like a rotted tooth.
But then, I am Jewish and was raised with this Talmudic argument:
In Exodus (Ex. 21:22) two men fight and one of them accidentally hits a pregnant woman in the belly, causing her to miscarry. If she is not harmed in any other way, the Bible says, then the man who struck her has to pay her husband damages. From this one can deduce that feticide isn't murder, because the penalty for murder is death.
So early on, my opinion was formed about this. Just as in Judaism the mother’s life ALWAYS supersedes the fetus’s –which is not the same for Catholics, who because the mother is already baptized and destined for heaven think given the choice between the two lives the choice goes to the fetus. I have to question their God on that by the way, is God really such a stickler for the rules he’d send a young soul to purgatory or hell because it died before being baptized? Hmmmm
Posted by: Mieke at November 13, 2004 03:07 PM
First off, Mieke, I consider you a liberal..which is not synonomous with Left. Indeed, some of the greatest liberals of America... FDR and the real JFK were decidedly anti-Left liberals.
Secondly, I was raised in a very open and mixed religious environment. My family's closest friends are Jewish and I as comfortable in temple as I am in church. And raised Jewish you should be familiar with the Talmud teaching "He who is merciful to the cruel is destined to be cruel to the merciful." Do you not understand from the teaching YOU cite that the fetus DOES have a legal/moral standing? If it did not, then why the restitution? How much different is that teaching from modern law that allows for restitution in cases of vehicular manslaughter?
NOT ALL KILLING IS MURDER. Indeed, the Commandment that saws "Thou Shalt Not Kill" really is (in the original Hebrew) "Thou Shalt Not MURDER." It is putting KILLING in CONTEXT (just the kind of things I've been writing about when dealing in morality...it is CONTEXT that defines whether or not an ACTION is moral/immoral).
When did "judging" become a dirty word? We ALL make judgements each day. We all discriminate each day. Hopefully we even teach our children the values by which they, too, can make GOOD JUDGEMENTS and engage in discriminating behavior.
You are right that in Judaism the mother’s life ALWAYS supersedes the fetus’s but only when the mother's LIFE is directly threatened by the fetus. Now halachic guidelines do vary on whether or not abortion is permissible when deformaties of the fetus are involved or in cases of rape or incest, but even the most "liberal" of Jewish scholars does not support abortion on demand as alternative birth control. Neither do they want such abortions made illegal. Neither do I.
But if you read the PP rant you cannot help come to the conclusion that the organization DOES hold fetuses in contempt.
Posted by: Darleen at November 13, 2004 04:17 PM
You said : Do you not understand from the teaching YOU cite that the fetus DOES have a legal/moral standing?
-There is clearly a value assigned, but what is that value? If you read the Talmudic responses, to the Torah portion I cited (Exodus 21:22 23), the rabbis place value on the dead fetus the way they would a severed arm or an eye.
None of the rabbis raise the possibility of involuntary manslaughter being involved because the unborn fetus is not legally a person and, therefore, there is no question of murder involved when a fetus is aborted.
You said: And raised Jewish you should be familiar with the Talmud teaching "He who is merciful to the cruel is destined to be cruel to the merciful."
Like life, the Talmud and the Torah are filled with contradictions. We are commanded by the Torah to follow in God's ways and to have compassion for God's creatures, as it is written: 'God's mercy is upon all God's works' (Psalms 145:9)"
I said "sitting in judgment of others". You are splitting hairs for the sake of argument. You know exactly the difference between sitting in judgment of someone and learning to judge or differentiate between smart choices and bad ones.
Rabbi Hillel said:
Do not separate yourself from the community; do not be certain of yourself until the day of your death; do not judge another until you are in the same position.
You said: You are right that in Judaism the mother’s life ALWAYS supersedes the fetus’s but only when the mother's LIFE is directly threatened by the fetus
The rabbis argue this point all the time. How does one define health or life of the mother? Who makes that judgment? What if the pregnancy is making a mother suicidal (as was a case in upstate NY a few years back. She got off her meds when she became pregnant, then the hormones from pregnancy exacerbated her depression making her despondent). She ultimately aborted, with her Orthodox Rabbi’s blessings.
“Another expert who has written and lectured extensively in the field is Rabbi David Feldman of the Jewish Center of Teaneck, N.J. "The point is that all abortion is brutalizing and partial birth [abortion] is more so..." said Feldman. But, he added, "it is clear in Jewish law that if the mother's life or health are threatened, then the point at which an abortion takes place does not matter.... The principle is that the mother comes first and we do everything to save her life." He went on to describe a recent case at Hackensack Hospital and Medical Center [N.J.], where the decision regarding an Orthodox woman was particularly complicated. In this particular case a Caesarean section was not desirable. "A woman who has eight children had a problem with a hydroencephalic fetus," Feldman related. "The head was too large for conventional birth, so they recommended a C-section. But she reasoned that a C-section would be adverse to the strength of the uterus for the next child. So here we have not a case of mother vs. child, but child vs. potential future children. And she said, 'You must puncture the head of that hydroencephalic fetus, because his life is doomed anyway...and preclude a C-section for me, which is not dangerous to my life, but is adverse to the health and the strength of the uterus for future birth'" The woman's "rabbinic authorities agreed, and so the hospital complied," said Feldman.”
The Union for Traditional Judaism, based in Teaneck, NJ recently issued a statement declaring that it: "opposes abortion as a means of birth control, but cannot in good conscience, allow abortion to be made the legal equivalent of murder."
I also do not know a single person that supports abortion on demand as a method of birth control.
I have really been enjoying these discussions.
Posted by: Mieke at November 13, 2004 08:11 PM