Redefining rape

Should a twelve-year-old girl impregnated by her mother’s boyfriend be forced to carry the child to term? Yes she should, according to 173 House Republicans, including the Speaker. Because she wasn’t the victim of forcible rape, you see. And since “mother’s boyfriend” isn’t a legally recognized status, she’s not technically the victim of “incest,” either.

James Joyner is right to point out that the “rape exception” to anti-abortion laws makes either no sense or the wrong kind of sense. If bans on abortion reflect the inalienable human rights of the fertilized egg, then surely those rights can’t be diminished by the conditions of conception. The “except for rape” rule would be justified only if the point of the law is to punish women for having sex. (That is the point, of course, which is why the “pro-life” lobby is strongly anti-contraception and anti-sex education. But it wouldn’t do to say so.)

Still, the gross (in both senses of the term) injustice of forcing a woman to bear her rapist’s child means that absolute bans on abortion have very little support among the voters. And the right-to-lifers have generally been satisfied with something that, according to the logic of their own position, shouldn’t satisfy them at all.

But the vicious lunacy of the new Republican majority in the house seemingly knows no bounds. H.R. 3, “The No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act,”identified as a high priority by Speaker John Boehner – reiterates current law banning the use of federal funds for abortion, but changes the rape exemption to provide that funding shall be available “if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest.”

The key word is “forcible.” Date-rape, rape by drugs, and statutory rape are all excluded. So my hypothetical twelve-year-old – and some uncounted number of not-so-hypothetical victims of other “non-forcible” rapes each year – are S.O.L.

If the Republicans were trying to eliminate the rape exception entirely, they could at least lay claim to a sort of foolish consistency. But given that they’re willing to deprive some fetuses of their inalienable right to life in justice to their innocent mothers, the decision to proclaim that a large class of rape victims is not innocent can only be called stupid and heartless.

It’s time for Democrats – and sensible people of other political persuasions – to start calling the Republicans on their mindless extremism. The downside of Barack Obama’s bipartisan rhetoric is that he hasn’t clearly explained to the country that the days when there were two responsible political parties contending for power are over, at least for now. But that just puts the burden on the rest of us to make that case.

Footnote And Michelle Bachmann has decided that tax cuts for the rich are not only more important than education for they young, they’re more important than decent treatment for wounded warriors. Where do they find these people? If Democrats can’t make Republicans pay a political price for this sort of nonsense …

Comments

  1. Bux says

    Yes, your hypothetical 12-year-old as well as the rape victim should both be forced to carry their child to term. Two wrongs don't make a right. Rape/incest/statutory rape, etc. are horrible acts of violence, but so is murder. But I'm more interested in a single word you used. You used the word "child" to refer to the 12-year-old's fetus in the womb. Do you really believe, as I do, that the fetus in the womb is a child? If so, how could you support the destruction of a child?

  2. says

    A newly fertilized egg becomes in many ways a kind of parasite. It begins sending chemical signals into the mother's bloodstream that alter her physical and mental state. It then latches on to the wall of her uterus, driving out tiny tendrils deep into her flesh and eventually establishing a permanent mainline into her veins.

    Life is a devilishly ingenious device. But all this hocus pocus about it being some sort of cosmic entity with a "soul" is really quite silly. We've evolved to give meaning to our children and love them. There are plenty of practical and prima fascie reasons for doing so. But there is little reason to ascribe such meaning to unborn children. If you want to love your zygote, by all means. But that's your trip.

  3. Henry says

    Bux, Mark used the word "child" twice: "carry the child to term" and "bear her rapist's child." Both uses can be construed to refer to the time of birth. But the question is not what label to apply to a zygote, embryo, or fetus. They are what they are. The question is whether the pregnant woman or the government should decide the fate of a zygote, embryo, or fetus.

  4. says

    The first sentence of the post is a little misleading in that it assumes that the victim does not have available resources to obtain an abortion, and that no private organization exists that would be willing to help.

    Unlike Bux, I do not believe that abortion is murder, but I do understand the significance of the issue of government funding of abortion for those who do.

    I, for example, am morally opposed to the death penalty and consider that to be murder (as is some offensive military action). Since we are a government of/by/for the people, when the government kills people, it is me that is doing it, not some dictator over whom I have no control, and I am extremely unhappy with being a party to murder.

    So even though I don't agree with them, I understand and can relate to that similar position from those who think that abortion is murder. I would never support making abortion illegal and criminalizing the mother or her doctor, but in an issue this contentious, I could support removing it from government activity, thereby easing the sense for those people that they were contributory in what they perceive to be murder. In such a situation, I would be happy to then increase my support of Planned Parenthood or any other appropriate organization who would insure that those who cannot afford it are not denied proper and safe health care.

    I totally agree with you, though, that the GOP is showing political opportunism, not consistent moral position, in this ridiculous rape-defining legislation.

  5. Henry says

    Pete, you are extremely unhappy with government funds being used for the death penalty and some offensive military actions. So why should you worry that abortion opponents will be extremely unhappy with government funds being used for abortions, if our representatives should choose to allow them to be so used?

  6. Bux says

    Ok, let's follow your logic Eli:

    1. life is not some cosmic entity with a "soul"

    2. We give meaning to living human beings out of practical necessity (and prima fascie, whatever that refers to)

    3. But it is not practical for me and I see little reason (and don't judge me because it's my individual "trip") to ascribe meaning to red-haired people

    4. So I should be allowed to terminate the life of a red-haired person

    5. If you want to love red-haired people, by all means. But that's your trip.

    Really??

  7. says

    Bux, you are right to point to the squishiness of what I called prima fascie reasons. There is a universal human understanding that we ought to treat each other with fairness and kindness. The founding fathers called this "self-evidence", whatever that means, right? The idea that if we don't accept some magic book's concept of what should and should not be sacred, that we have the audacity of actually objectively determining that for ourselves through reason and self-examination, can only lead to a moral relativism where suddenly anything is acceptable is not only ridiculous, but in incredibly bad-faith. Do I really need to spell out why you shouldn't be allowed to kill red-haired people?

    Heaven forbid the bible wasn't even more explicit in laying out God's specific demands, as fundamentalists would have even fewer thoughts in their heads.

  8. Henry says

    Bux, Eli's comment already explained why your analogy fails: "We’ve evolved to give meaning to our children and love them. … But there is little reason to ascribe such meaning to unborn children." There is no relevant difference between people with red hair and people with other color hair. There are relevant differences between unborn children and people who have been born. One of them is that unborn children are within a woman's body, and she, not the government, ought to have control of her body.

  9. Bux says

    Yes, please point out why I shouldn't be allowed to kill red-haired people. I want to hear this. You say that we can determine oughtness objectively through reason and self-examination. What is objective about reason or self-examination? Have you met reason or self-examination? Where do they live? They seem to me to be concepts not objects. Oughtness has to have a reference point. You point to reason and self-examination as your reference point, I point to God. Your reference point is found in you, my reference point is found in an external being who is all-loving, all-powerful, all-perfect, all-present, and completely holy and other (all things which I am not). In the end, how are you not your own god, determining what is right and wrong for you? And plenty of people throughout history have found it not to be self-evident we ought to treat each other with fairness and kindness, thus all of the violence in the world. And since you call upon the founding fathers, remember what they found to be self-evident: that all men were endowed by their creator…The founding fathers found it self-evident that a god created us with meaning, not that we came to it through reason or self-examination.

  10. Bux says

    Let's clarify Henry, there is no relevant difference to you between people with red hair and people with other color hair. Who are you to judge me if I find relevant differences though? On what basis are you determining relevance? Science can't answer the question of relevance. So what is it?

  11. Mark Kleiman says

    Note that Bux has skilfully changed the subject from the fact that the politicians he votes for are willing to use public funds to pay for an activity that he believes, and they purport to believe, is murder. He wants the government to force women to take every pregnancy to term (other than the one-third to one-half that abort spontaneously: in Bux's universe, have their precious lives taken from them by the all-wise, all-loving God). That's at least a consistent viewpoint. But the House Republicans understand that most voters feel sorry for rape victims,and aren't willing to fully apply the heartless logic of "right-to-life" in rape cases. If that twelve-year-old had been molested by her mother's husband rather than her mother's boyfriend, they would be willing to use public funds to pay to "kill her innocent child," an activity Bux has likened to the Holocaust. And yet he keeps voting for them, in preference to politicians who don't support a total ban on abortion because they don't think abortion is murder.

    Bux also doesn't address the outrage here: that the proposed legislation, by moving the line between "innocent" and "guilty" pregnant women, has put victims of child molestation and rape-by-drugs on the "guilty" side of the line.

  12. says

    Henry: Pete, you are extremely unhappy with government funds being used for the death penalty and some offensive military actions. So why should you worry that abortion opponents will be extremely unhappy with government funds being used for abortions, if our representatives should choose to allow them to be so used?

    There's really no such thing as government funds if the government is a government of the people. It is our funds. So we are killing people when we enforce the death penalty. We cannot simply claim "well, it wasn't us, it was the government." Who is the government if not us? That is why I object to us killing unarmed prisoners, and why I can understand (even though I don't agree with) objecting to us killing fetuses.

    I realize that this is a philosophical distinction, but it's an important one. And certainly, I'm not advocating that any spending or action done by us (U.S.) should be subject to derailment due to moral objections (buying pork for school lunches, for example). But when you get down to major moral issues held by a significant portion of the population (killing confined defenseless prisoners in cold blood or killing unborn children), due consideration should be made toward not forcing those with the moral objections to participate through their role as government of the people.

  13. Henry says

    Bux writes, "Let’s clarify Henry, there is no relevant difference to you between people with red hair and people with other color hair. Who are you to judge me if I find relevant differences though? On what basis are you determining relevance? Science can’t answer the question of relevance. So what is it?"

    It is reason. One concludes that a difference is relevant by the use of reason. If you wish to offer a rational argument why there is a relevant difference between people with red hair and people with other color hair, then I will consider it. If I disagree agree with it, I will offer a reason why I disagree with it.

  14. Bux says

    Mark, you make a fair point. I acknowledge that I don't like the logical inconsistency found in this bill. I'm not afraid to say so. But you're making an assumption that these are the politicians I vote for. Granted, without looking at the list of names, they probably more or less are typical of the politicians I vote for. But I don't vote party line. I'm a registered Republican, but a conservative first (I think you call us "wingnuts"). Also, while I don't like the logical inconsistency of this specific bill, neither do I like the alternative. I think they call that a lesser of two evils.

  15. Henry says

    Pete, "major moral issues held by a significant portion of the population" seems vague to me. But certainly a significant portion of the population believes that the war in Afghanistan is increasing rather than reducing terrorism, as well as killing many civilians, and it is therefore a major moral issue. In the United States, however, decisions are not made on the basis of a significant portion of the population. They are made on the basis of a majority of the elected representatives (with exceptions such as the filibuster rule and the fact that Congress has unconstitutionally delegated the power to make war to the President).

    Also, Pete, you may be a better man than I am, but I do not feel the slightest responsibility for Bush's or Obama's wars or for their torturing, even though I voted for the Obama. But, as you say, it is a "philosophical distinction" whether the fact that we have a representative democracy makes each of us responsible for everything that the government does.

  16. says

    Henry, you're right — it's absolutely vague. And there's no way to codify such a distinction.

    But I do feel that, as long as there is no provable deterrent value to the death penalty (not to mention all its other defects), and as long as we have a way to confine dangerous people to keep society safe, then it's not such a hard thing to not kill prisoners, thereby easing the conscience of those like me.

    And similarly, as long as we make it easy for private groups to raise and spend funds on abortions and make them safe and available for people regardless of their financial situation, then it's not such a hard thing to take the the government out of the business of performing abortions, thereby easing the conscience of people who believe that that is murder.

  17. Henry says

    Pete, I agree with your most recent comment, except for one thing:

    "as long as we make it easy for private groups to raise and spend funds on abortions and make them safe and available for people regardless of their financial situation"

    should be

    "as long as private groups in fact raise and spend funds on abortions and make them safe and available for people regardless of their financial situation"

    If they don't, then the government ought to help poor people with this, as well as all other, medical services.

  18. navarro says

    @bux–this is a digression and perhaps a bit off-topic but i don't consider conservatives as a group to be wingnuts. i tend to reserve that epithet for people who take radical positions in the name of conservatism. glenn beck, michelle malkin and ann coulter come to mind when i hear the word wingnut. i think you try to take a consistent and conservative position that flows from the logic of your politics, a position i tend to disagree with more often than not, but one that renders further conversation possible.

  19. Sean says

    It's sad that Republicans don't understand that "forcible rape" is actually a redundancy. All rape is "forcible" by its nature, whether the victim is unconscious, withdraws consent, or too young to give consent.

    Also, how will "forcible rape" be determined? Do you have to show blood? Bruises? A rape kit? (I'm reminded that LA County has thousands of backlogged rape kits.) Do you need a conviction? What if the "speedy trial" lasts longer than nine months? And will juries need to make a new distinction between "non-violent rape" (an absurdity) and "forced rape" now, instead of just a straightforward conviction? And if they don't make that distinction explicit, who will decide, from the court transcripts, whether the rape was "forcible" or not? Will it be "some government bureaucrat," the same sort of people that the Republicans hate so much?

  20. Henry says

    Sean, I understand that you do not necessarily mean your questions literally, but the Republican proposal would not affect any criminal procedure, so juries would not make any distinctions that they do not make under existing law. And, unless the Republican proposal were to provide that the decision whether to allow federal funds to be used for an abortion would be based on evidence admitted in a criminal trial, it would not be. In light of the fact that most criminal convictions result from a plea bargain, the Republican proposal could not very well provide that. If your point is that the Republican proposal is stupid as well as cruel, then you've made it well.

  21. Sean says

    Re: Henry

    I understand the moral outrage you feel about your tax dollars going to support the death penalty. (I feel the same way.) And I understand the equivalence with that position, and the position of anti-abortion activists (and I think the equivalence is apt). However, there are certainly plenty of people who support the death penalty, and want to the government to spend money on it (much better than privatizing the death penalty, at least, and it is consistent with most liberal – in the classical sense – political theory, in which the government monopolizes the use of violence). Likewise, there are plenty of people, like myself, who believe that government should help fund abortions, since abortions, in my view, are no different from any other medical procedure, and I think a large number of people believe that the government should help provide healthcare, especially when the market puts its price out-of-range for most people. I consider it a moral outrage when necessary medical procedures, including abortion, are too expensive for large numbers of people, and yet we as a public and a government won't help those people.

    So I guess the point is: People feel morally outraged about lots of things. But the legitimacy of a democracy rests on an agreement among its citizens that often our moral outrages will be in disagreement and diametrically-opposed, but that we have to accept the fact that we will often have to support, with our taxes, things we don't believe in order to be able to get the things we do believe in supported as well. That's what I don't like about the right wing – they refuse, especially in their recent, overwhelming abuses of the filibuster, to allow democracy to work as it should. And a large number of their constituents simply don't believe in the legitimacy of a Democratic president. And while it's certainly good to keep fighting for what you believe even if the Supreme Court rules against you, as in Roe v. Wade, it's not okay to attempt to make a Supreme Court decision on a constitutional right de facto irrelevant by trying to get passed ridiculous restrictions on funding and access at the state and federal levels.

  22. Sean says

    Gah, sorry, I didn't see you (Henry) had responded to me already. My second post is in response to your earlier posts, not the most recent one.

  23. Henry says

    Sean, I agree wholly with your most recent comment, and wonder whether you meant to address it to Pete rather than me. I never said that I feel moral outrage about my tax dollars going to support the death penalty. I would prefer that they didn't, but my moral outrage is directed against the death penalty itself, and would not be diminished if executions were paid for solely by voluntary contributions.

    Actually, that wouldn't be a bad idea, if we could not eliminate the death penalty. I'm sure that the government would be overwhelmed with contributions. They could make a new box to check off on your 1040 and the equivalent state income tax forms.

  24. Brett Bellmore says

    "It’s sad that Republicans don’t understand that “forcible rape” is actually a redundancy."

    All rape is only forcible if you expand the definition of "forcible" beyond the bounds of reason. There is, after all, such a thing as rape by deception. It's wrong. Rape by force is wrong as well. But all wrongs being wrong doesn't make them all the same wrong. Deception does not equal force, we distinguish between these two wrongs.

    Hell, there's such a thing as statutory rape. Does passing a law make a voluntary sex act forcible? That would appear to be your position.

    What I find particularly questionable about Mark's essay is the title. Deciding that you're only going to federally fund abortions in the context of some subset of rapes doesn't "redefine rape", no matter how wrong-headed you think it is. And I do think the distinction drawn in the law is irrational. It's irrational no matter which side of the issue you approach this law from.

    But isn't that common of political compromises?

  25. says

    Bux, if you can't see how my belief that the immorality of killing red-haired people is consistent with the logic I've put for thus far, then you're not trying hard enough. And that is in bad faith.

    "Your reference point is found in you, my reference point is found in an external being who is all-loving, all-powerful, all-perfect, all-present, and completely holy and other (all things which I am not). In the end, how are you not your own god, determining what is right and wrong for you?"

    But I could ask you the same thing. How are you not your own God, determining what is right and wrong for you, based on your interpretation of a particular book, written by others who purport to be writing the words of God? Your thinking is tautological. You presume to be following what is correct, and thus you are correct in following it. In doing so, you essentially exempt yourself from argument: your are not subject to the reference points of reason or evidence, because your God is an awesome God. This is the philosophical equivalent of "because I said so." That's not an argument. That's not engagement. That is stubborn anti-intellectualism.

    The problem with fundamentalism is that it has no real end. Because it falsely denies reason as somehow subversive, it can only go by the holy book. Yet even if the book isn't contradictory (which most holy books are), it will still never be complete enough to require no interpretation. And once you begin interpreting, you're back where you started, with yourself as a reference point.

  26. Cranky Observer says

    South Dakota legislator

    Brett Bellamore:

    > What I find particularly questionable about Mark’s essay is

    > the title. Deciding that you’re only going to federally fund

    > abortions in the context of some subset of rapes doesn’t “redefine rape”,

    > no matter how wrong-headed you think it is.

    Let's go to the Republicans:

    ===
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law/jan-june06/abo
    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Napoli says most abortions are performed for what he calls "convenience." He insists that exceptions can be made for rape or incest under the provision that protects the mother's life. I asked him for a scenario in which an exception may be invoked.

    BILL NAPOLI: A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.

    ===

    Redefinition? By hard right conservative Republicans? Nah, never happen.

    Cranky

  27. Bux says

    Wow, Eli you're completely missing my point, and therefore really aren't trying hard enough as well. Perhaps I'm not expressing myself right. But you are completely off-base in your claim that I'm throwing out an anti-intellectual ("because I said so") argument. You think it's "stubborn anti-intellectualism" perhaps because you don't agree with it or can't understand it. But I'm engaging you every step of the way. Because you can't keep up with what I'm saying, and I apparently am not keeping up with what you are saying, does not mean I'm not using reason to argue my point. I've not asked you to take any point I've stated unevaluated or on faith because I said so.

    One point I think you're confused on is this. You say I "presume to be following what is correct". I haven't argued with you the point of correctness or accurary here. That's a whole separate conversation that we could have. What I'm arguing with you here is that it's an objective standard, not a moving or changing target.

    Which leads to the other point of confusion. I think you're confusing my assertion of the objective standard and the subjective interpretation of that standard. I got the sense in a previous post when we had this conversation that you were getting confused here. I grant that when it comes down to practical application, there is the subjectivity of how I interpret the standard, and in that sense you're absolutely right that I do the same thing you do. But the standard itself is an object. It's objective. It's not subjective. Yes, we all use our subjective interpretation in making up our mind what's right or wrong (what Christians would call "conscience"), but I have an objective standard by which this subjectivity can be argued upon. You can go to the store and buy a Bible. It's objective. Now when I move into subjectivity in my interpretation of the Bible, I use reason and logic just like you do. There are logical rules of Biblical interpretation (i.e., "hermeneutics"). I still may come to a different conclusion, based on reasonable and logical interpretation, than someone else reading the same Bible does, so yes it's subjective interpretation. But at least there is an absolute objective standard to argue over interpretation upon. What is the end of your reason and logic? Reason and logic are nothing but tools in and of themselves. They are not references or objects, which is why I kind of mockingly asked if you had ever met reason or logic. But it sounds kind of like you are saying that they are an end unto themselves. Would you claim that others didn't equally use reason or logic to come to some horrendous conclusions with terrible consequences throughout history? A completely logical argument can have a morally evil conclusion. So let's don't pretend that we're both not using logic. I'm just using logic to interpret (yes, subjectively) what the Bible prescribes.

    Maybe an illustration like this would help. In a college humanities or literature class, the student spends some time trying to understand what the meaning of some literary work of art was. What did the author have in mind. There may be many subjective interpretations of what the author had in mind. We could even argue based on reason and logic what the author had in mind. But that doesn't change the fact that there was only one meaning that the author had in mind. It's subjective interpretation of an objective (not necessarily true or right or good) piece of work.

  28. Henry says

    Bux, the Bible in objective in the sense that it exists independently of any human being; any given translation of it contains the same words for all of us, even if we interpret them differently. But how is it objective to decide that the Bible's words prescribe the moral rules that we should follow? That is an arbitrary choice, unless you argue that we should follow the Bible's moral rules because they are moral. But what makes them moral? They are moral either because they are the Bible's rules, which would be tautological, or they are moral because they conform to what you consider to be moral independently of the Bible, in which case you don't need the Bible.

  29. Russell L. Carter says

    Where are the women commenting on this? Bux is a highest quality misogynist, and with a Bible he can prove anything. But it seems his consigning women (and even immature girls) highest worth to unfeeling iterative fetus nurturing machines, without a shred of agency, is not as offensive as I might have supposed.

  30. Bux says

    Thanks Henry, you got what I meant about there being an objective rather than subjective standard of moral oughtness in the Bible. But you then create a false dilemma by saying that determining that the Bible is the moral rule to follow has to be either an objective or arbitrary decision. No, I decide that the Bible is the moral rule to follow based on reason and logic. This is not objective, but neither is it arbitrary. I find a strong, reasonable, and logical case for the existence of a god. So that is step # 1 (with a lot of logical sub-steps contained within). Then I must decide on which god is the most probable based on logic and evidence. I find the most compelling evidence that the god contained in the Bible is the real God, when compared to other potential gods (again, there are many sub-steps in the logical deduction). Is my reasoning for getting there absolute? No. But neither is is arbitrary. I can argue this based on logical rules and rationale. As long as we're speaking the same language of logic, you are free to challenge me on my logic, and you may come to a different conclusion.

    My question still is, what is the objective standard of morality for someone who does not believe in the existence of a god (regardless of which god)? A command (or oughtness) requires a commander, no? This is not to say that people who do not believe in god cannot be moral people, which is a common misunderstanding of the question I'm asking here. I'm just asking what is referenced in, to use the words of Eli, subjectively using logic and reason to determine morality? What is the reference point for oughtness?

  31. Russell L. Carter says

    Shorter Bux: The bible tells me that the rape of women (and even immature girls) is a good thing, because it raises the number of pregnancies. If men were to be a bit holier, and pass my preferred policies, (proved correct by my personal analysis of the bible) then these raped women (and immature girls) would bring more pregnancies to term, and we would indeed have paradise on Earth.

  32. Russell L. Carter says

    I should add for those not paying attention that to even more accurately "Shorter" Bux, I would have to work in the fact that his "preferred policies" include state-sanctioned murder of those that differ with his personal interpretation of what the bible says the proper function for women is.

    Truly barbaric and obscene, and not remotely consistent with "Pro Life".

  33. Bux says

    Ok Shorter Russell Carter, I'd like to hear from the person who says the Bible teaches that the rape of women and immature girls is a good thing. I've certainly not said such. In fact if anything, I think a more serious argument over Biblical interpretation would revolve around whether we should stone to death the rapist due to the seriousness of his crime. So please, spare me. Because I fail to demean the value of unborn girls in order to maintain the value of "immature girls" and grown women does not mean that I devalue the equal worth of either.

  34. Russell L. Carter says

    Because I fail to demean the value of unborn girls in order to maintain the value of “immature girls” and grown women does not mean that I devalue the equal worth of either.

    "equal worth of either" about sums it up. I don't even remotely deny that you consider each just a device for obtaining "unborn girls", however that might happen.

    Truly depraved.

  35. Bux says

    So let me get this straight Shorter Russell, you don't think unborn girls hold the same value as born girls/women? When does the unborn girl obtain the inherent value of the born girl/woman?

  36. Russell L. Carter says

    "You don’t think unborn girls hold the same value as born girls/women"

    This one is easy, and correct Bux: a zygote does not hold the same value as ah, "born girls/women". (It's weird that you must separate males from the analysis, why is that?)

    "When does the unborn girl obtain the inherent value of the born girl/woman?"

    This one is much harder. I don't know, and anyone with a shred of moral training doesn't know either. In the end, it is the woman's body, and it's up to her to make the decision.

    Let's make the implications of #1 perfectly clear: if you hold a zygote to be equivalent to a born person, and the destruction of the zygote is equivalent to murder, then your own god is a colossal murderer, and you aid and abet him. (Why is it always, "him"?)

  37. Henry says

    As an atheist, I try to decide what rules and conduct are moral on the basis of what will best enable sentient beings to live fulfilling lives. That standard is not arbitrary; it is what we mean by "moral." I try to determine what rules and conduct will best enable sentient beings to live fulfilling lives on the basis of facts and reasoning from those facts.

    You, by contrast, try to "find a strong, reasonable, and logical case" that the God contained in the Bible exists. But how do you know that the rules He prescribes are moral? You have no standard of morality other than God, so it must be that your strong, reasonable, and logical case that the God contained in the Bible exists also proves that, by definition, the rules He prescribes must be moral. It would be quite an accomplishment if you've proved all that, in light of the fact that, in the 18th century, Kant demonstrated to the satisfaction of just about everyone that one cannot prove the existence of God. That's why most believers today cite faith as the basis of their belief. Now, that doesn't prove that your strong, reasonable, and logical case is necessarily wrong. But you'll pardon me if I stick with my approach.

  38. Bux says

    ok Russell, so you have no shred or inkling of a clue on when a person gains inherent value, and yet you're quite confident a "zygote" (which is really just a label) has no value. How are you so confident of such? How do you know this? Since you have no clue on when this transfer of worth occurs, then you could very well be wrong that a "zygote" has no worth. Think through the implications if you're wrong.

  39. Henry says

    Bux, for one who does not believe that souls exist, the question isn't whether a zygote has worth. It is whether it has interests. As it is not conscious, it has no present interests. It has a potential interest in being born, but then so do sperm. Have you also come up with a strong logical case for souls?

  40. Bux says

    Henry, one of the most tragic mistakes modern believers have made is abandoning reason for faith and buying into the argument that the two are incompatible. I'm quite familiar with Kant's work. What Kant demonstrated is that we can't prove the existence of God in the mathmatical sense of proof and with using our senses (touch, taste, smell, etc.). Strictly speaking, there's very little we can prove, even things you take by faith. But we find evidence for things, evidence that makes a more plausible case than that for the negation of whatever proposition is being examined. I find stronger evidence that God exists, for example, than that he does not exist. I can't touch God. I can't see God. I can't prove God with a mathmatical formula. But I think I have pretty damn good evidence, using reason and logic, that he exists.

  41. Russell L. Carter says

    "Think through the implications if you’re wrong."

    It's important for you to deny that a zygote is a well understood technical term, that your "god" routinely kills by the millions, isn't it? Otherwise, you might have to "think through the implications if you're wrong".

    I think this is a classic case of cowardice that prevails in defense of not well thought out priors, notably self serving. Doesn't that embarrass you at least a little? After all, strength of intellect includes the ability to entertain the possibility that you yourself might be wrong.

    I think you and I could cite a long list of barbarisms and atrocities produced by those who had "God on our side". That's your entire argument, you do realize?

    I want you to take away this: there are a large number of us that know, as well as we know anything, that to equate a zygote with a human being, and subjugate that human being beneath the rights of the zygote, is barbarous, injust, obscene. Know this.

    We certainly know, that with god on your side, you'll do and support anything. Anything at all.

    Over and out.

  42. Bux says

    Russell, there's been an equal (if not longer, I would argue) list of barbarisms and atrocities produced by those who claim there is no god. And I entertain the possibility that I myself might be wrong by trolling on this site and trying to have conversations with the likes of you. How have you demonstrated that you have the ability to entertain the possibility that you might be wrong?

  43. Russell L. Carter says

    "How have you demonstrated that you have the ability to entertain the possibility that you might be wrong?"

    Bux, you demonstrate the existence of any scientific evidence that a zygote has consciousness and I'll admit that I'm wrong.

    Fair enough?

    Truly over and out.

  44. Bux says

    Why does it have to be scientific evidence Russell. How about a logical argument:

    A: non-conscious beings do not have DNA

    B: a zygote has DNA

    Therefore: A zygote is a conscious being

  45. Bux says

    Further Russell, let's move one short step past the zygote, if you want scientific evidence that an early embryo has consciousness, science demonstrates that the brain forms during the first 1 to 3 weeks of embryonic development. The brain could begin forming as early as 5 to 7 days after fertilization. The brain is usually associated with consciousness.

  46. Henry says

    Bux, I'll assume that you're joking, because, as you know, a corpse, a blood stain, and sperm all have DNA but are not conscious. We know that a zygote is not conscious because consciousness requires a brain, and a zygote does not have a brain.

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