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Reality check - Peter Hentges

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November 13th, 2004


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07:48 pm - Reality check
So, over on conservatism, I got involved in another abortion debate. I wanted to run the final position I came up with by people, but I figure most of you don't feel a need to go through your positions on this topic.

If you feel so inclined, you can follow the whole trail of the topic, which gets a tad flamey, by following this link

It comes down to the person I'm arguing with feeling that, if you have sex, you should be accepting the responsibility for the consequences of this action, up to and including bringing to term any pregnancy that results. If you do not want the resulting child, he argues, you can give the child up for adoption.

My position is that many women who have abortions (and their partners) do take responsibility for their actions by using various birth control methods. None of these, however, is 100% effective and having an abortion to terminate an unwanted pregnancy does not equate to not accepting responsibility.

In the course of this little "discussion" I asked how many children the proponent of adoption had, himself, adopted. His answer was that he and his wife were waiting for kids and that, given his current financial situation he would not choose to adopt. (But if his wife should be come pregnant, would raise the child.)

My latest response to this person was: If it is not irresponsible for you to not adopt a child into that situation, it is likewise not irresponsible for them to do what they can to avoid bringing a child into that situation. We both agree, I think, that it is tragic that some find it necessary to choose abortion to prevent that. You cannot call it it irresponsible, however, without being hypocritical.

Just checking to see if I'm way off base (what with the somewhat heated nature of the discussion).
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed

(36 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:90_percent_sure
Date:November 13th, 2004 07:05 pm (UTC)
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I added some commentary. I came, I saw, I trolled.

Meanwhile, this is a far better use of your time.

[User Picture]
From:deadrelatives
Date:November 13th, 2004 09:16 pm (UTC)
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ha...you were awesome.

i was wondering why someone with your icon would be spouting such total crap.
[User Picture]
From:90_percent_sure
Date:November 13th, 2004 09:24 pm (UTC)

Heh.

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I was bored, mostly. ;-)

(Deleted comment)
From:joel_rosenberg
Date:November 14th, 2004 09:14 am (UTC)
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Yeah, but it's ignorant. (I disagree with some of the opinions, but that's a different matter -- he's simply wrong on a lot of it, like the silly notion that a grip safety makes a gun "child proof".) See http://www.joel-rosenberg.com; I gave it a light fisking yesterday.

The short form: repackaging "gun control" as "gun safety" isn't honest, hasn't worked, and won't solve the problem that the Democrats have. Actually giving up on the whole "gun control" myth would be the sensible thing to do.
[User Picture]
From:jbru
Date:November 14th, 2004 09:25 am (UTC)
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Hey! No fair bringing gun control into an abotion debate!
[User Picture]
From:deadrelatives
Date:November 13th, 2004 09:29 pm (UTC)
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I have made it a point to never, ever argue with anyone who cannot spell. Ever. I just can't get past the errors to the issue, and I can't have respect for someone who doesn't know how to use their spellcheck, at least. I guess its because I'm an elitist liberal snob, so kudos to you for keeping your cool.

I couldn't read the whole thing, but my take on abortion is that a child is not a punishment. No one should be forced to keep an unwanted child because they were too "irresponsible" to use birth control. That is no kind of life for anyone involved. Adoption should be the first option, and after that, abortions should be rare but available and SAFE. End of story.

I do not think you are at all off base.

[User Picture]
From:90_percent_sure
Date:November 13th, 2004 09:40 pm (UTC)
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And arguing with a pro-life, young (with no children) male, Bush supporter?

I'd rather pull out my fingernails with a hot pliers. At least I'd get results.
From:joel_rosenberg
Date:November 14th, 2004 06:25 am (UTC)
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As you would if you argued, sensibly and rationally, with the Bush supporter. At the very least, you'd stand a good chance of him thinking that there are people on the other side of the issue who are sensible, rational, and open to considering other views.
[User Picture]
From:jbru
Date:November 14th, 2004 09:28 am (UTC)
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Some of it is for my own good in a masochistic way. By beating my head against some of the walls, I do learn the best ways to break down those walls. (And it feels so good when I stop.)
[User Picture]
From:roseblessing
Date:November 14th, 2004 08:39 am (UTC)

Painful

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Hi, I thought your commentary was thoughtful.

I find abortion disceussions to be so painful. Culturally and technically I am pro-life. My problem is that I cannot identify with the issues. I cannot tell what it feels like to have an abortion. I cannot tell what it feels like for the baby to be aborted. I cannot tell what it feels like to need an abortion. I cannot make any judgements about what it might be like to grow up unwanted, a thrown away child.

But I find the discussions to be so harsh, and each side seems to be so definite about knowing the answers.
[User Picture]
From:jbru
Date:November 14th, 2004 09:15 am (UTC)

Re: Painful

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You are correct in that people tend to get easily emotional on both sides. I find myself doing it too often.

I, likewise, cannot truly identify with the issues. I have the handicap of being male, for starters, so issues of pregnancy are removed from me by biology. For that reason, alone, I don't feel as if I have any right to be telling a woman what she should and shouldn't do if she becomes pregnant; I cannot know everything involved.

I do think that abortion is a tragedy; it would be a wonderful, ideal world if no one ever faced that decision. Since that's never going to be the case, I find myself on the side of things that says, "let's leave it up to the women and their doctors."
[User Picture]
From:laurel
Date:November 14th, 2004 09:34 am (UTC)
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You write: "My position is that many women who have abortions (and their partners) do take responsibility for their actions by using various birth control methods. None of these, however, is 100% effective and having an abortion to terminate an unwanted pregnancy does not equate to not accepting responsibility."

For people who believe abortion is wrong and/or people who would never have an abortion personally (or want their partner to have one), the "responsible thing" ends up being a little trickier somehow. Not sure how to explain this.

But if you're considering having sex and know that abortion does not factor into the equation for you (and your partner) at all, that means figuring out the "responsible thing" and what you're comfortable with is a little different than for those who consider abortion an option (even an unlikely, last resort, sortof option).

If someone knows abortion is absolutely not an option for them (for whatever reason) and they know they really could not bring a pregnancy to term (for whatever reason), the "responsible thing" may be to simply not have sex. Or they may weigh these risk factors and decide they're willing to deal with a 1% (or less) chance of pregnancy and then they use birth control (maybe even multiple methods). Or they may decide to engage in other types of sexual activity (other than intercourse, where there's less likelihood of pregnancy or no likelihood). If they plan to never have kids, one or both partners may decide to get a vasectomy or their tubes tied (whichever applies).

To someone who is hardcore pro-life, an abortion is never the "responsible thing" and would pretty much always be seen as a result of an "irresponsible" action. Yes, even if the couple in question had used every sort of birth control under the sun. Heck, even if there was a vasectomy involved. "Irresponsible" probably means to them "not willing to have a baby if you get pregnant." They're usually fine with children given up for adoption if someone really can't raise the kid or wouldn't want to. Some pro-lifers are okay with abortion in rare circumstances (usually involving medical issues or incest/rape or something), others are not and where people stand on that likely affects their decision on whether to have sex or how to go about it (or at least it should).

Does this help? I can't speak for anyone but myself, really, or my understanding of it. And opinions vary greatly from person to person within the pro-life community.

[Kevin was just here and mentioned that sometimes there's trouble in abortion discussions when people confuse "pro-life" with "anti-abortion" because those things aren't necessarily the same thing. Some pro-lifers are okay with abortion in some circumstance, just prefer that abortions would be rare.]
[User Picture]
From:jbru
Date:November 14th, 2004 10:09 am (UTC)
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I think part of the problem I'm having with all this is, in fact, the word "responsible." It means, as you point out, different things to different people and carries the unfortunate connotation that if one does not do as another expects, one is being irresponsible.

I will also attempt to keep "pro-life" and "anti-abortion" separate in my head; once again we see that labels are rarely accurate.

Thanks for your thoughts here, I need to digest some more in order to properly respond.
From:joel_rosenberg
Date:November 15th, 2004 03:36 am (UTC)
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With all respect, I don't think your last sentence gets us anywhere. Almost everybody prefers that abortions be -- at their most frequent -- rare, whether the mechanism is by abstinence or birth control, or some combination thereof.

But the rest of your post is on point. Logic would dictate that anti-abortion folks would strongly prefer that people engaging in sex do so in a way that would guarantee no pregnancy, but you'll not find any anti-abortion/prolife group arguing, in effect, "hey, kids, if you're going to have sex, have oral sex."

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