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Author Topic: Equal Rights For Men
Rakeesh
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Kmbboots,

I realize I'm badgering you on this subject...it's just that, earlier in our discussion, one of the keystones (it seemed to me) of your argument was that body-sovereignty both is inviolate from a legal standpoint, and should be inviolate from a moral standpoint.

Now that that does not appear to be the case, I'm trying to understand why and reconcile it.

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kmbboots
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Ah...and I was trying to make some compromise.

You are right. Even the small concession of giving late-term viable fetuses a legal right to be removed in a way that is best for them without causing serious risk to the woman would, indeed, erode that concept of body sovereignty.

No compromise.

My thinking was mushy.

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Rakeesh
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*sigh* Well, it was interesting talking about this with you for this long. Thank you for sharing.
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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:
quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
Out of curiosity, for those here who believe abortion is murder, what should the legal penalty for women who seek abortions be?

Your question makes no sense. Abortion is legal. It's like asking what should the legal penalty be for an executioner who puts to death a criminal convicted of the death penalty. The law is in dispute and the petty and selfish justifications are on display.
My point is, abortion is currently legal. Anti-abortion activists think it should be illegal. If it were to become illegal, what should be the penalty for getting one?
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kmbboots
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Rakeesh,

I am not annoyed with you. You really did convince me that any compromise would be the thin edge of a wedge. I did get mushy because of my desire to do something for late-term, viable fetuses and because I do think that they should have some rights. And I shouldn't have.

I do think that you have highlighted the reason why there is no compromise between pro-choice and pro-life groups.

My irritation is with that not with you.

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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
kmbboots,

quote:
The woman has chosen to have a procedure to take the fetus out. Either way, the fetus is not going to be using her body anymore.
But she does not decide the means. She is no longer in control of her own body. She doesn't get to say what is done when and how or even by whom.
I'm not being mushy and I still don't see why the baby has to come out in a way that guarantees its death. There are two basic ways to prematurely remove a baby from a mother -- induction and c-section. Even if she chooses one of those two manners, if the fetus is viable, it should come out in one piece. I am not aware of a late-term abortion procedure that does not actively kill the baby by ripping it apart or injecting a lethal dose of drug into it. At that point, she is not deciding what happens to her body she is deciding what happens to the fetus' body. All she gets to decide is whether it comes out and how.
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kmbboots
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Christine, because if that choice is taken away from the woman it opens the door to taking other choices away.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
kmbboots,

quote:
The woman has chosen to have a procedure to take the fetus out. Either way, the fetus is not going to be using her body anymore.
But she does not decide the means. She is no longer in control of her own body. She doesn't get to say what is done when and how or even by whom.
I'm not being mushy and I still don't see why the baby has to come out in a way that guarantees its death. There are two basic ways to prematurely remove a baby from a mother -- induction and c-section. Even if she chooses one of those two manners, if the fetus is viable, it should come out in one piece. I am not aware of a late-term abortion procedure that does not actively kill the baby by ripping it apart or injecting a lethal dose of drug into it. At that point, she is not deciding what happens to her body she is deciding what happens to the fetus' body. All she gets to decide is whether it comes out and how.
I think there's a marginal increase in the risk of complications or injury to the mother if vaginal delivery of an intact fetus is attempted, compared to one that isn't intact. So I think there's an argument that the mother *might* be affected/hurt by being required to deliver the fetus alive instead of dead. C-section of course involves cutting into the body so has the same problem.

However, I am against late term abortion even though it does compromise the body sovereignty of the mother. (I think the rights of a mostly-developed fetus outweigh that particular problem.)

I think post-partum viability of the infant is probably the proper place to draw that line. We will push that further and further back through improved technology, until it amounts to transplanting a fetus from the original womb to another one, natural or artificial. (The risk of harm to the original mother should continue to decrease with earlier removal and improved technology as well.)

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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Christine, because if that choice is taken away from the woman it opens the door to taking other choices away.

I've never been compelled by this argument. It's either the right thing to do or it isn't. Open doors, the next step...that's all based on an assumption that the people who follow us are unable to differentiate right from wrong the same way we do.
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Christine
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scifibum -- I'm not a medical doctor, but I'm pretty sure it's more harmful to a woman to tear up a baby before removing it vaginally. Of course, c-sections are hard on a woman and ill-advised except where necessity dictates otherwise.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Christine, because if that choice is taken away from the woman it opens the door to taking other choices away.

I've never been compelled by this argument. It's either the right thing to do or it isn't. Open doors, the next step...that's all based on an assumption that the people who follow us are unable to differentiate right from wrong the same way we do.
See, I wasn't either but look at what just happened.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
scifibum -- I'm not a medical doctor, but I'm pretty sure it's more harmful to a woman to tear up a baby before removing it vaginally. Of course, c-sections are hard on a woman and ill-advised except where necessity dictates otherwise.

Well, if it's all the same to the mother to push it out alive, then yeah, that should be the rule for viable infants.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Christine, because if that choice is taken away from the woman it opens the door to taking other choices away.

I've never been compelled by this argument. It's either the right thing to do or it isn't. Open doors, the next step...that's all based on an assumption that the people who follow us are unable to differentiate right from wrong the same way we do.
See, I wasn't either but look at what just happened.
I can see the sense in not requiring a woman to continue to host a fetus against her will, even though there might be an entity with competing rights.

I have a harder time seeing the sense in holding 100% inviolate her right to determine the way in which the fetus is removed, if by a *slight* infringement on that right a more vital right is preserved.

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kmbboots
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Right. I thought that, too. Mushily. But once that right is not %100 inviolate, there is the thin edge of the wedge.

[ April 01, 2009, 03:36 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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Rakeesh
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kmbboots,

Wow, I have to admit this discussion took an unexpected turn.

I'm a nerd who likes arguing and discussing current events and politics, so it's not the first time I've discussed abortion with someone (I mean, obviously, heh). However, I can't recall ever doing (or even seeing) anything more than making my own position better understood, and gaining a better understanding of the positions of others. I don't recall that I've ever convinced anyone of anything, or seen anyone convince anyone of anything aside from that.

So this discussion is an odd twist. I convinced you of something, and it was directly opposite of the opinion I was expressing. I'm not sure I should be pleased or embarrassed.

quote:
Christine, because if that choice is taken away from the woman it opens the door to taking other choices away.
Why not, as Christine says, take each question on its own merits rather than on the impact it might have seventeen steps down the road?

Well, I mean, I know why not-slippery slope. A valid fear for both sides. But why is the slippery slope such a compelling defense? Should we as a society allow for partial-birth abortions, or +8 month abortions in all cases at the woman's discretion, solely to protect the might-be-threatened rights of women in the future a few weeks earlier in the pregnancy?

We come back to the weighing of fetal rights vs. body-sovereignty rights, then. Is the right of the fetus so infinitesimal that it does not weigh favorably against the future rights of other women potentially being threatened? Is the right of body-sovereignty so absolute that even future potential threats against it outweigh the actual, factual termination of the fetus in the present?

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kmbboots
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That is the problem with using the law as enforcer. It uses precedent to decide what next steps are available or possible.

And not everyone is as reasonable as I think we have been here. People will shove open a door that is open even a crack when it comes to legal precedent.

Having said that, many states do hav laws in place to give some protection to viable fetuses. But remember the fireworks last year about then-Sen. Obama voting against the Born Alive law in Illinois?

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Rakeesh
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kmbboots,

quote:
That is the problem with using the law as enforcer. It uses precedent to decide what next steps are available or possible.
Definitely. However, there are ways to circumvent it. Though I share doubt that they would ever be reached by the different sides in this discussion. Too many assholes on the far side of either side, and they're just too damn loud and committed to circumvent.

Actually, I think I may change my pie-in-the-sky idea: let's get everyone on both sides of the issue to, instead of funneling money and time towards politicians who share their views to instead send those resources into research that will hopefully speed up the attainment of artificial wombs, at which time we can just get over this whole messy business.

quote:
And not everyone is as reasonable as I think we have been here. People will shove open a door that is open even a crack when it comes to legal precedent.
Back to not-so-pie-in-the-sky. This is true...but I think you're underestimating pro-choicers if you think one relatively small victory will spell doom for the cause.
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kmbboots
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Or overestimating pro-lifers? [Wink]

ETA: And pouring those resources into sex-education and social safety nets and reducing the stigma of unplanned pregnancy so that women have better and more appealing choices than abortion.

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Rakeesh
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Doesn't that amount to the same thing? [Smile]
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
scifibum -- I'm not a medical doctor, but I'm pretty sure it's more harmful to a woman to tear up a baby before removing it vaginally.

Nope.
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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
scifibum -- I'm not a medical doctor, but I'm pretty sure it's more harmful to a woman to tear up a baby before removing it vaginally.

Nope.
Do you have some resources on this? Because all the information I found suggested that past about 20 weeks, fetuses are delivered whole and killed on the way out.
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Xaposert
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quote:
Are you saying that by having sex a woman gives up her right to control her body? I disagree.
By freely choosing to have sex, a woman potentially gives up certain rights in regard to her body - but definitely not ALL rights regarding control of her body. Similarly, a man potentially gives up certain rights too, but more in regard to his future responsibilities than his physical body.

Perhaps it would be clearer if people just had to sign a contract beforehand. Unfortunately, that's impractical. But the lack of a physical signed contract doesn't mean the sacrifice of certain rights and the acceptance of certain responsibilities isn't implied by the choice.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Xaposert:
quote:
Are you saying that by having sex a woman gives up her right to control her body? I disagree.
By freely choosing to have sex, a woman potentially gives up certain rights in regard to her body - but definitely not ALL rights regarding control of her body. Similarly, a man potentially gives up certain rights too, but more in regard to his future responsibilities than his physical body.

Perhaps it would be clearer if people just had to sign a contract beforehand. Unfortunately, that's impractical. But the lack of a physical signed contract doesn't mean the sacrifice of certain rights and the acceptance of certain responsibilities isn't implied by the choice.

It would seem pretty clear from the preceeding discussion that not everyone agrees with the statement that women relinquish body sovereignty when they have sex. I think I have already addressed why I disagree.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
It would seem pretty clear from the preceeding discussion that not everyone agrees with the statement that women relinquish body sovereignty when they have sex. I think I have already addressed why I disagree.
To put a different spin on it, do you think this is a 'natural right', a right that has always existed, or did it only begin to exist once abortion became a real medical option?

That is, 200 years ago, would a woman (and a man) having had sex mean they potentially give up their right to control their bodies and their lives?

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scifibum
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Rakeesh, abortion is at least as old as civilization.
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kmbboots
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Two hundred years ago a woman was pretty much property (and still is today in some cultures). That is why the concept of body sovereignty is such a big deal. For most of history, we didn't have it.

For men to give up body sovereignty, they had to be criminals, slaves or, in some cases, really poor almost slaves - indentured servants, serfs and so forth.

We recognized this as badness and have rid ourselves of that evil for the most part.

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Xaposert
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quote:
It would seem pretty clear from the preceeding discussion that not everyone agrees with the statement that women relinquish body sovereignty when they have sex. I think I have already addressed why I disagree.
Okay, how about this scenario... A boyfriend and girlfriend want to have sex, but the boyfriend feels very strongly about not having abortions, so he draws up a formal written agreement beforehand. The agreement states that if they have sex and if the girlfriend ends up getting pregnant, then the girlfriend will have the baby and will not get an abortion. If the girlfriend fully understands and signs that agreement, would you consider her to have given up her body sovereignty in regards to pregnancy? Would you consider the agreement to be ethically binding?
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Rakeesh
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Yes, scifibum, I know. I'm talking about modern, reliable abortion.

kmbboots, I know all of that too...but none of it is really an answer to my question.

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kmbboots
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Xasopert,

Ethically binding? Yes. Of course, I think that she has some moral obligation without such a paper.

I think that it would be unethical of society to legal force her to abide by such a contract.

Rakeesh, 200 years ago, a woman would not have been "giving up" body sovereignty 200 years ago because she didn't have it to begin with. A man would not have been giving up anyting.

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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
It would seem pretty clear from the preceeding discussion that not everyone agrees with the statement that women relinquish body sovereignty when they have sex. I think I have already addressed why I disagree.
To put a different spin on it, do you think this is a 'natural right', a right that has always existed, or did it only begin to exist once abortion became a real medical option?

That is, 200 years ago, would a woman (and a man) having had sex mean they potentially give up their right to control their bodies and their lives?

Back to the original quote, then.

You seem to think that medical (reliable, safe) abortion has something to do with the concept of body sovereignty. I can't see how this could be true at all. In fact, submitting to a medical procedure, especially one that involves anesthesia, is a voluntary (temporary) relinquishment of the basic right to move and act as one pleases. It implies submission to authority (medical authority). Since it is voluntary it is not an abridgment of sovereignty (to torture the metaphor it's a kind of treaty) - but it's hardly more free than simply doing do one's own body what one wishes.

200 years ago, women certainly could try to stop being pregnant. Some did so. In fact, some of what I've read indicates that in some cultures it was accepted as the woman's right. (Sadly I can't source that at the moment.)

Legal abortion brings to light what was in the past a private thing. In addition to being private it was dangerous depending on how it was accomplished.

It might be true that modern medical abortion is a more attractive option than older methods, but I don't think that affects the right of a woman to control her own body. Just the methods by which she can exercise that right.

To draw an analogy, freedom of speech can be exercised with printing presses, broadcast media, and the Internet. But it can still exist without any of those things.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Rakeesh, 200 years ago, a woman would not have been "giving up" body sovereignty 200 years ago because she didn't have it to begin with. A man would not have been giving up anyting.
I'm not sure if you're evading my question or I'm just not expressing myself clearly.

Is the right to terminate a pregnancy something women have always had (whether or not that right is withheld by society) as a facet of body-sovereignty? Did that right exist before the medical means existed to make it possible?

Also, I understand it's natural you see this from the female perspective, just as I see it from the male. But it's really tiresome to hear things like, "A man would not have been giving up anything." Because it's just not true, unless you're actually asserting the main reason most women get an abortion is just because they don't want their bodies to be used 'against their will' for nine months, and not the decades of parenting that comes later.

--------

quote:

You seem to think that medical (reliable, safe) abortion has something to do with the concept of body sovereignty.

As a matter of fact, I don't. But I wasn't asking you about it.
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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
scifibum -- I'm not a medical doctor, but I'm pretty sure it's more harmful to a woman to tear up a baby before removing it vaginally.

Nope.
Do you have some resources on this? Because all the information I found suggested that past about 20 weeks, fetuses are delivered whole and killed on the way out.
The answer to your question may depend on what you mean. What is called a "partial-birth abortion" in the US is (AFAIK) medically termed an "intact dilation and extraction." One of the reasons it is done is if there is a dead fetus of a certain size to be removed, and in that case, typically (again, AFAIK) the cervix is dilated (if it is still closed), the body of the fetus is maneuvered so that it is in breech position (and can be held in place by the lower limbs, which are brought down through the birth canal), and the head is manipulated using tools to reduce its size before being brought down through the cervix and birth canal.

The head is the largest part of most babies. Because the head is the largest part, it causes the most trauma in being removed, both directly and by making any associated instrumentation difficult to place.

The point of an intact dilation and extraction isn't just the death of the fetus, because--as noted above--even when the fetus is already dead, this is the procedure used, since it is generally more safe for the woman. [Note: there are additional reasons for keeping rest of the body (other than the head) intact in many cases, including for autopsy purposes (but also other reasons). That is why in some cases there is an effort made to preserve the other parts of the body even when the head is not.]

There are other circumstances in which the size of the head poses an even greater problem (some conditions of the woman or of the fetus), making this procedure even more safe than typical delivery in comparison.

But whether you consider that process described to be "delivered whole and killed on the way out" may be complicated by the fact that the limbs are partially out while the head has not been delivered and is still in the uterus proper--that being the point of the procedure, namely, not to deliver the head intact. Again, same for delivery of a dead fetus at that gestational age.

---

As for further links on medical issues surrounding the topic, I imagine a search on "intact dilation and extraction" would be most useful. If I have the time, I will try to look for something specific, but I would first need to know exactly what you want to find out.

Are you looking for the medical reasons why using surgical tools to make the head of a fetus smaller before it is delivered from the uterus is safer for the woman [in certain contexts? all contexts?] than having her deliver a fetus with an intact head of whatever size? Or something else? Or is the above sufficient?

Also, if you could tell me what it is you have already read that didn't cover this, that would help me narrow down a search. If you still wanted it and I found the time, of course, as otherwise moot.

[ April 02, 2009, 11:28 AM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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scifibum
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"As a matter of fact, I don't. But I wasn't asking you about it."

Okaaay....

Just seems like a pointless line of inquiry, really. Your premise for the question is false.

But evidently you have some rhetorical purpose for it that has to do with kmbboots and not me, so I'll let you go for it.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Just seems like a pointless line of inquiry, really. Your premise for the question is false.
I don't believe the premise is true, but I'm not sure if it's a matter of opinion or not. Can someone be said to have a right when that right is physically impossible to exercise, when that right hasn't been invented yet? I think so, but I'm not sure.

ETA: Also, thanks for letting me go for it. I really appreciate that.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Rakeesh, 200 years ago, a woman would not have been "giving up" body sovereignty 200 years ago because she didn't have it to begin with. A man would not have been giving up anything.
I'm not sure if you're evading my question or I'm just not expressing myself clearly.

Is the right to terminate a pregnancy something women have always had (whether or not that right is withheld by society) as a facet of body-sovereignty? Did that right exist before the medical means existed to make it possible?

I am not evading on purpose. The right to terminate a pregnancy is not a right women have always had. It is a right they had on and off in this country depending on the laws at the time. That legal right when it existed was tempered by the decisions of husbands and fathers. Sometime the decision to terminate a pregnancy was the decision of the man.

Women also did not, for example, have the right to withhold sex from their husbands. That right is still somewhat limited in most of the US.
quote:


Also, I understand it's natural you see this from the female perspective, just as I see it from the male. But it's really tiresome to hear things like, "A man would not have been giving up anything." Because it's just not true, unless you're actually asserting the main reason most women get an abortion is just because they don't want their bodies to be used 'against their will' for nine months, and not the decades of parenting that comes later.


Ah, I thought you were talking about in terms of body sovereignty. I don't know what legal obligations were in place 200 years ago for men to their children. Children were kind of property, too, though. (I may have been watching too much Dickens on TV recently.)

My pro-choice position is based on those nine months, not on parental responsibilities afterwards.

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Rakeesh
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kmbboots,

Sorry, I should have been more clear. I didn't actually think you were evading on purpose. What I meant was something more like this, "It seems like you're evading, but that doesn't fit, so I'll try and re-explain." My bad.

Anyway, on we go.
quote:
The right to terminate a pregnancy is not a right women have always had. It is a right they had on and off in this country depending on the laws at the time.
I'm not just talking about the rights they had in practice. I'm talking about rights as human beings, whether or not those rights were being violated. Sort of like someone over in the PRC today has the right to free speech, but is subjugated by their government into not exercising that right. Does that make sense?

quote:

Ah, I thought you were talking about in terms of body sovereignty. I don't know what legal obligations were in place 200 years ago for men to their children. Children were kind of property, too, though. (I may have been watching too much Dickens on TV recently.)

Well, I did say, "...their bodies and their lives." But perhaps that wasn't clear. Anyway, though, I very much doubt the reason behind most abortions is an ideological dispute over body-sovereignty rights between the mother and the fetus she helped create. I rather think most abortions have a lot more to do with 18+ years of parenting and all the many, many sacrifices that entails.

Which calls the idea that 'men aren't losing anything' into question.

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kmbboots
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AH! You weren't talking about legal rights. You were talking about moral rights. Yes?

Yes, I think that women had that moral right, but it is only recently that it has occurred to human beings - even to women - that we are full human beings with any rights at all. So having it was pretty meaningless. Just as it is everyone's right to freedom, but we are just figuring that out in the grand scheme of things.

Human civilization is a work in progress.

As for people who have abortions because of the years of parenting rather than the nine-months of pregnancy, I think that there are various societal remedies for that. Making adoption easier, making it easier for people to afford more children and so forth. There are things that we can do as a society to insure the well-being of children.

My opposition to making abortion illegal is about the pregnancy not the parenting. Men do lose something, but it is not the right to make decisions about their own bodies.

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scifibum
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"when that right is physically impossible to exercise,"

This is the part that is false, and I think you're still failing to get that.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
"when that right is physically impossible to exercise,"

This is the part that is false, and I think you're still failing to get that.

That right was physically possible but fairly dangerous both physically and otherwise. And few women would have even recognized the concept of "rights" where this was concerned. It was a question of what was practical and necessary from their point of view, not a question of what they had the right to do.
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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by ClaudiaTherese:
quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
scifibum -- I'm not a medical doctor, but I'm pretty sure it's more harmful to a woman to tear up a baby before removing it vaginally.

Nope.
Do you have some resources on this? Because all the information I found suggested that past about 20 weeks, fetuses are delivered whole and killed on the way out.
The answer to your question may depend on what you mean. What is called a "partial-birth abortion" in the US is (AFAIK) medically termed an "intact dilation and extraction." One of the reasons it is done is if there is a dead fetus of a certain size to be removed, and in that case, typically (again, AFAIK) the cervix is dilated (if it is still closed), the body of the fetus is maneuvered so that it is in breech position (and can be held in place by the lower limbs, which are brought down through the birth canal), and the head is manipulated using tools to reduce its size before being brought down through the cervix and birth canal.

The head is the largest part of most babies. Because the head is the largest part, it causes the most trauma in being removed, both directly and by making any associated instrumentation difficult to place.

The point of an intact dilation and extraction isn't just the death of the fetus, because--as noted above--even when the fetus is already dead, this is the procedure used, since it is generally more safe for the woman. [Note: there are additional reasons for keeping rest of the body (other than the head) intact in many cases, including for autopsy purposes (but also other reasons). That is why in some cases there is an effort made to preserve the other parts of the body even when the head is not.]

There are other circumstances in which the size of the head poses an even greater problem (some conditions of the woman or of the fetus), making this procedure even more safe than typical delivery in comparison.

But whether you consider that process described to be "delivered whole and killed on the way out" may be complicated by the fact that the limbs are partially out while the head has not been delivered and is still in the uterus proper--that being the point of the procedure, namely, not to deliver the head intact. Again, same for delivery of a dead fetus at that gestational age.

---

As for further links on medical issues surrounding the topic, I imagine a search on "intact dilation and extraction" would be most useful. If I have the time, I will try to look for something specific, but I would first need to know exactly what you want to find out.

Are you looking for the medical reasons why using surgical tools to make the head of a fetus smaller before it is delivered from the uterus is safer for the woman [in certain contexts? all contexts?] than having her deliver a fetus with an intact head of whatever size? Or something else? Or is the above sufficient?

Also, if you could tell me what it is you have already read that didn't cover this, that would help me narrow down a search. If you still wanted it and I found the time, of course, as otherwise moot.

Thanks for the info!

Hmmm...this does suggest that there is potentially a marginal benefit to harming the fetus on the way out. What I'm really wondering, though, is whether "intact dilation and extraction" is ever truly necessary to save the life or even greatly improve the health outcomes for a woman.

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Rakeesh
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scifibum,

quote:
This is the part that is false, and I think you're still failing to get that.
The right to safe, reliable abortion was possible 200 years ago?

Please, enlighten me.

-------

kmbboots,

quote:

Yes, I think that women had that moral right, but it is only recently that it has occurred to human beings - even to women - that we are full human beings with any rights at all. So having it was pretty meaningless. Just as it is everyone's right to freedom, but we are just figuring that out in the grand scheme of things.

So, setting aside historic deep-rooted misogyny legally and socially, you would say that the moral right existed in the abstract, but it couldn't have been anything more until the medical practice existed, right?

So my question is, why don't fetal rights expand as well when medicine advances? I know (or think I know) what you'll say, that body-sovereignty still trumps that, it's just to me - depending on your response, of course - it seems another case of any fetal rights being in effect irrelevant.

quote:


As for people who have abortions because of the years of parenting rather than the nine-months of pregnancy, I think that there are various societal remedies for that. Making adoption easier, making it easier for people to afford more children and so forth. There are things that we can do as a society to insure the well-being of children.

I'm curious. Do you think that most women have abortions (whether it's on their own or at the behest of the man or it's a mutual decision or whatever) because of the big physical stress the pregnancy itself entails, or that they have abortions because of those other factors? Parenthood, social stigma, etc.?

I understand your position on abortion is rooted in body sovereignty, but do you think that's why it's practiced, in most cases? I don't know if there are any reliable statistics on the question, either. It just seems to me much more likely that the ensuing parenthood and all the other obligations would be much more daunting - even for the woman - than the nine months of pregnancy, even though those nine months are surely daunting in their own right.

quote:
My opposition to making abortion illegal is about the pregnancy not the parenting. Men do lose something, but it is not the right to make decisions about their own bodies.
This is true, in cases of abortion men don't lose that right. Though of course the inviolate right in our society to make decisions about our own bodies, male and female alike, has long ago been given up to the government.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
scifibum,

quote:
This is the part that is false, and I think you're still failing to get that.
The right to safe, reliable abortion was possible 200 years ago?

Please, enlighten me.

You may THINK you've restricted the question to modern, safe abortion, but you really haven't.

I'm not claiming that there was always an abortion clinic available. But you keep implying that abortion was historically not an option at all, because it's a premise to your questions. Like this:

quote:
Is the right to terminate a pregnancy something women have always had (whether or not that right is withheld by society) as a facet of body-sovereignty? Did that right exist before the medical means existed to make it possible?
There simply was no "before the medical means existed to make it possible." That's just like me asking "did the right to publish my bad poetry exist before the Internet existed to make it possible?" The question contains a false premise.

It's obvious that access to medical modern abortion is only an issue when the facility exists. It's equally obvious to me that it's irrelevant to the question of body sovereignty. (The false premise can/must be ignored entirely, which makes the line of questioning pointless.)

Did George Washington have the right to inject himself with a flu vaccine? A simple "yes" is technically nonsensical. But the real question isn't about flu vaccines. The question really is "Did George Washington have the right to prevent or treat disease in his own body."

The body sovereignty argument is not confined to whether women have a right to use the facility of modern, safe abortion. Removing that facility from the picture does not change the moral viewpoint of whether women have the right to control the future use of their own bodies, regardless of past choices. I can't figure out why you think it might (from any point of view, especially kmbboots's).

As a practical matter, sure, 200 years ago women might not try to abort because they didn't know how, or if they used a method they knew they might die of infection. What does that have to do with their right to make the choice?

You want to argue that women cede their right to make choices based on past choices, fine, but that should stand regardless of the medical technology that exists. Someone ceding that it formerly wasn't often practical to exercise body sovereignty in certain ways, how does that advance the discussion?

(Keep in mind you did ask me a question this time. [Wink] )

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
Hmmm...this does suggest that there is potentially a marginal benefit to harming the fetus on the way out. What I'm really wondering, though, is whether "intact dilation and extraction" is ever truly necessary to save the life or even greatly improve the health outcomes for a woman.

It's more than marginal, at least in some cases, for (among other things) there is a significant decrease in the rate of uterine rupture for women of certain histories.

I can't speak to all cases--and notably, this is not my field [Smile] --but it isn't a nominal difference even in the simplest cases. Again, this is a procedure judged safer than purely medical termination (i.e., chemical induction of labor and cervical ripening) [at that stage of gestation] even when the fetus is already dead. It's more expensive to book a surgical intervention and all those associated costs, not to mention the need for anesthesia and so forth, and yet it is covered by insurance companies to whom these expenses must be justified.

There is testimony to Congress (IIRC) from women with health conditions for whom this was a much safer means, coupled with testimony online. I'll look for that and other technical information based on your last sentence.

I'll either find it quick or not, though. We'll see if my bookmarks are as well-organized as I think.

[ April 02, 2009, 04:28 PM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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Rakeesh
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scifibum,

Boy, I sure needed you to tell me what I was really asking.

quote:
To put a different spin on it, do you think this is a 'natural right', a right that has always existed, or did it only begin to exist once abortion became a real medical option?
Now I will grant that I didn't ask that question as well as I should have. I should've been clearer. But allow me to restate the question, which will hopefully stop you from telling me what I really meant, because it's very irritating.

"...or did it only exist once abortion became safe and reliable as in modern times?"

quote:
There simply was no "before the medical means existed to make it possible." That's just like me asking "did the right to publish my bad poetry exist before the Internet existed to make it possible?" The question contains a false premise.
Only if you persist in reading my poorly worded initial question despite repeated clarifications.

quote:

It's obvious that access to medical modern abortion is only an issue when the facility exists. It's equally obvious to me that it's irrelevant to the question of body sovereignty. (The false premise can/must be ignored entirely, which makes the line of questioning pointless.)

Whether or not the issue is at hand in practical terms isn't what I was asking. And, you know, I think she and I are on the same wavelength, at least as far as understanding what I was asking and what she was answering, so I'm gonna step off the merry-go-round with you now.

If you've got a question that's based on what I actually intended to say and have clarified repeatedly, I'd be interested in discussing it.

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scifibum
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Very sorry to have irritated you, Rakeesh, but I'm equally irritated because you fail to recognize that your question contains a false premise.

Edit: Despite your clarifications, which I *get*, I simply can't see any relevance to the existence of modern safe abortion to the issue of the right to body sovereignty.

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Rakeesh
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Scifibum,

At least you're finally off the notion that I was saying abortion was impossible back in the day.

If all you had been doing was telling me that my question contained a false premise, I wouldn't have been irritated. I would have discussed it with you.

So no, we're not really equally irritated. Or have I spent the recent parts of this discussion telling you what you mean, for example?

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scifibum
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Rakeesh:
quote:
So no, we're not really equally irritated. Or have I spent the recent parts of this discussion telling you what you mean, for example?
Hmm. Well, you sort of told me I meant modern abortion was available 200 years ago. [Wink] But I'll concede that I used a more arrogant tone and that my recent posts might easily be construed as telling you what you meant as if I knew better than you, and that was obviously a mistake on my part. I'm sorry.

FWIW, I didn't intend to tell you what you meant. I intended to demonstrate what I thought was a contradiction in the apparent meaning of your posts.

From your most recent posts to kmbboots, it doesn't seem terribly important (it doesn't look like you're going anywhere in particular with that point). I'm still, however, actually curious what the point of the question was.

Here's what it looks like: Perhaps you are saying that the social and legal implications of natural rights hinge on the ability to exercise those rights. This may be an important point: I think our ability to preserve the life of the fetus (and avoid harming the mother) should inform the method of terminating a pregnancy, but not the timing. However, based on your posts so far, I'm not convinced that's the conclusion you were headed towards. I'd like to know.

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
What I'm really wondering, though, is whether "intact dilation and extraction" is ever truly necessary to save the life or even greatly improve the health outcomes for a woman.

Christine, I am still looking for the women's testimony, but the following excerpt may be helpful. It is from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' press release on its amicus brief for Gonzales v. Carhart and Gonzales v. PPFA:

quote:
Over 95% of induced abortions in the second trimester are performed using the D&E method. The alternatives to D&E in the second trimester are abdominal surgery or induction abortion. Doctors rarely perform an abortion by abdominal surgery because doing so entails far greater risks to the woman. The induction method imposes serious risks to women with certain medical conditions and is entirely contraindicated for others.

The intact variant of D&E offers significant safety advantages over the non-intact method, including a reduced risk of catastrophic hemorrhage and life-threatening infection. These safety advantages are widely recognized by experts in the field of women's health, authoritative medical texts, peer-reviewed studies, and the nation's leading medical schools. ACOG has thus concluded that an intact D&E "may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of the woman, and only the doctor in consultation with the patient, based on the woman's particular circumstances can make that decision." [ACOG Statement of Policy on Abortion (reaffirmed 2004)]

[italics added for emphasis, although the entire section is relevant]

Are you looking for more detail, or is this what you were asking about? I'm not sure the names of various medical conditions that may fit under that umbrella would be additionally useful, but I can try.

---------------------------------------------------

Added:

For example, the excerpt below is from a 2008 Cochrane Database Review of Surgical versus medical methods for second trimester induced abortion.

Cochrane reviews are meta-analyses across the available pool of studies on a particular topic. This particular review was addressing the question of whether there is a significant advantage to either medical abortion (i.e., giving medications to end a pregnancy through contractions and delivery of a dead fetus) versus a surgical abortion (using mechanical tools and manipulation to achieve the same result) in the 2nd trimester.

I don't know if I can point you to a good reference comparing these options in the third trimester, because I'm not sure if medical abortion is even offered at that point. The choices (IIRC) are between a standard "dilation and evacuation" (in which the entire body of the fetus is affected) versus the subset of "dilation and evacuation" which preserves the body intact (i.e., "intact dilation and extraction," which seems to be what is meant by "partial birth abortion").

If I interpret your posts correctly, it is the decision between medical abortion and surgical abortion which you have questions about, not whether or not a surgical abortion leaves the body intact but not the head [as opposed to destroying all the tissue, including the head]. Please let me know if I am interpreting you incorrectly.

quote:
RESULTS: Two studies met criteria for this review. One compared dilation and evacuation (D&E) to intra-amniotic instillation of prostaglandin F(2) (alpha). The second study compared D&E to induction with mifepristone and misoprostol. Compared with prostaglandin instillation, the combined incidence of minor complications was lower with D&E (OR 0.17, 95% CI 0.04-0.65) as was the total number of minor and major complications (OR 0.12, 95% CI 0.03-0.46). The number of women experiencing adverse events was also lower with D&E than with mifepristone and misoprostol (OR 0.06, 95% CI 0.01-0.76). Although women treated with mifepristone and misoprostol reported significantly more pain than those undergoing D&E, efficacy and acceptability were the same in both groups. In both trials, fewer subjects randomised to D&E required overnight hospitalisation.

[italics added for emphasis, although the entire section is relevant]

The complete articles for those studies might give additional information about the characteristics of the major complications and details about the relevant medical histories, but it would take some digging. I'm not likely to do that myself, as my access to those articles is a 45 minute drive away. [Smile]

[ April 02, 2009, 05:45 PM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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kmbboots
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Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:


kmbboots,

So my question is, why don't fetal rights expand as well when medicine advances? I know (or think I know) what you'll say, that body-sovereignty still trumps that, it's just to me - depending on your response, of course - it seems another case of any fetal rights being in effect irrelevant.


Ah...now I see where you are going. Yes. I do think that there are some moral rights that fetus's have - especially viable fetus's. I don't know quite what those would be for very early embryos.

You are correct that those rights would not trump the body sovereignty rights of other human beings, just as the rights to someone who needs a blood transfusion do not trump the rights of people not to give blood.

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rivka
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Thanks, CT. Intact dilation & extraction is exactly what I was alluding to earlier.

Great links.

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