Crucial distinction

There’s a difference between voting for a vicious law and being a vicious person.

The Republican majority in the Texas Legislature, which passed the law imposing pointless suffering on a woman whose pregnancy went wrong, isn’t actually a bunch of ignorant, sadistic morons.

They just play them on the campaign trail, and in Austin.

Seriously. Very few of them would really have been willing, in real life, to subject this utterly innocent victim to what she went through. Had they been forced to sit with her and her husband through the grotesquely unnecessary 24-hour waiting period, almost all of they would have begged to be let out. But under the influence of factional passion and Teahadi/theocon political pressure, they voted for something utterly meaningless and vicious.

Invitation to Red commenters here, and Red bloggers: come up with a justification of this law as applied this case. I defy you.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

66 thoughts on “Crucial distinction”

  1. But Mark, the law is not forcing them to sit through that waiting period. And the law is not forcing THEIR mothers, wives and daughters (or rarely, selves) to do so either; doubtless they have the resources to hop on an airplane. So why should they care? I’ll still stay with ignorant sadistic morons, perhaps with a dollop of psychopathy.

  2. “…come up with a justification of this law….”

    There’s insufficient justification for most laws regardless of who passes them.

  3. Yeah, the degree to which liberals are willing to see civil liberties, whether explicitly written into the Bill of Rights, or found in spooky penumbras, is remarkably flexible. 24 hours to make sure a woman getting an abortion knows what she’s really doing? Outrageous! One gun a month? Perfectly sensible.

    A bit more consistency would be necessary for me to take the outrage seriously.

    1. Brett, whether abortion is murder is a question that brings into play our fundamental ideas of when a human life begins. It isn’t, therefore, a constitutional question, and we don’t all agree.

      OTOH, the “doctor-patient confidentiality” principle is closely guarded in law. Where is that covered in the Constitution?

    2. We’re comparing a waiting period assumed to prevent a situation in which psychos/criminals get guns – a moral situation no one in their right mind would oppose, with a waiting period assumed to prevent women from having abortions – a moral situation ultimately defined by the woman, and her right to determine. In other words, you don’t have the right to murder people because everyone agrees it is wrong, while you have the right to get an abortion because no one agrees it is wrong.

      So the analogy fails completely.

      1. I think the idea of a one gun per month limit is an attempt to keep people from buying guns for illicit re-sale to those who are not qualified to own a gun.
        It only takes one gun to commit murder even multiple times.

      2. In reality the waiting period was just one more imposition piled on the exercise of a right thought odious by the people drafting the law. Any BS excuse would do, because that’s all it was, an excuse, the imposition on the right was the point of the matter.

        Am I unclear in the above paragraph whether I’m referring to a right to an abortion, or a right to buy a gun? Sure, deliberately so. The cases do not differ. In both instances there’s an excuse for burdening a right. In both cases the excuse is BS. The only difference is who finds the right odious.

        Yes, no civil libertarians here, because civil libertarians are not so selective in their outrage over burdening liberties.

        1. Not surprisingly, I disagree.

          In theory, I don’t have a problem with people buying all the guns (or nitrates, or pseudo-endephrine, or infrared sensors, or pornography) they want. Hell, my hobby of making self-flying planes is under scrutiny that I think is undeserved, and after the 9/11, model rocketry basically was killed, as was a lot of home chemistry. That had a direct effect on my hobbies (and, just to note, one of my income streams – security theater is killing small business!).

          In practice, there are good and bad responses to problems, and obviously I have my opinions on them. Take your pick, but the reason is the same: we live around other people, and what we do has an effect.

          The interesting distinction here is that if I can’t make little rockets, and thus run the risk of harming someone else, that constrains me by virtue of not harming someone else. On the other hand, putting up endless restrictions on women’s sexuality doesn’t stop a direct harm. It does defend some vague sense of what society should be, by enforcing class distinctions and (by the way) making sure women are subordinate and know they do not own their own bodies. We are now defending class structure, not direct harm, like if I injure someone with my explosives or (ahem) 17 guns I bought last week. (NB: I have neither, this is hypothetical.)

          All of which, of course, Brett is going to ignore, and likely mention that defending against wolves in Montana means people need to buy lots of shotguns right now, but poor sluts who need to travel to a sane state to get an abortion is not a meaningful hardship, and Fluke because shut up.

        2. The analogy still fails. Even if it is true that gun waiting-periods have no effect on crime, we still all agree that crime is bad. We don’t agree that women control their own bodies.

          But if you insist on being a civil libertarian fundamentalist, your logic will drive you off a cliff anyway (as fundamentalism inevitably does), as the society you ultimately must argue for would be enormously un-free. Alas, such is radical libertarianism. So, really…

        3. Once again, Brett, I believe you have this wrong. But once again it comes down to world view and base values. If you believe, as I do, that a gun is fundamentally an instrument for depriving another person of the right to live (i.e. their liberty) then tougher gun restrictions make sense. We want more people expressing their liberty, and fewer people able to deprive others of their liberty.

          If you believe, as I do, that life both begins at birth and that people (both women and men) should have large discretion about their bodies and their own choices relative to their health, then the current GOP mania toward depriving women specifically of the right of control over their bodies makes sense.

          If you believe, as I do, that people in all communities have a right or liberty to not have their water and natural environment polluted, nor to have corporations pollute those elements and therefore deprive others of natural liberties, then an environmental approach makes sense.

          You’ll reply, of course, with a one size fits all version of civil liberty that doesn’t really see these nuances–except, of course, when they help out a hypocritical argument on the Right. Many people on the left also believe strongly in liberty, it’s just not the broad-brush, blunt hammer idea of liberty often promoted on the Right.

    3. What other medical procedures have a legally mandated script the doctor has to recite?
      Why is the required script filled with lies?
      What other medical procedures have a legally mandated waiting period?

      Answer those questions, rather than “Tu quoque”ing up the joint.
      Please.

    4. Brett, you haven’t even read the article, have you?

      It’s not about the 24 hours.

      It’s about a woman who did NOT want an abortion. Her son had a genetic defect where carrying him to term would condemn him to a lifetime of physical suffering (for as long as he actually manages to survive). She had an abortion because she had no other choice. She was going to lose the baby she wanted.

      And now, the state of Texas decides that she is not suffering enough. Instead, sadistically, the law requires that her pain be maximized by rubbing it in what she is about to lose:

      “I’m so sorry that I have to do this,” the doctor told us, “but if I don’t, I can lose my license.” Before he could even start to describe our baby, I began to sob until I could barely breathe. Somewhere, a nurse cranked up the volume on a radio, allowing the inane pronouncements of a DJ to dull the doctor’s voice. Still, despite the noise, I heard him. His unwelcome words echoed off sterile walls while I, trapped on a bed, my feet in stirrups, twisted away from his voice.

      “Here I see a well-developed diaphragm and here I see four healthy chambers of the heart…”

      I closed my eyes and waited for it to end, as one waits for the car to stop rolling at the end of a terrible accident.

      This is not a vague hypothetical. Not being able to have the baby that you badly want is the nightmare scenario that pretty much any expecting mother knows about and hopes it doesn’t happen to her (unsurprisingly, having had two babies myself, this was the very first thing that came to my mind when I heard about these laws). It stil happens to thousands of American women every single year. So, while I usually think Mark loves serving up Democratic red meat a bit too much (and too frequently with too little substance), I think he’s got it exactly right here (if only because it’s not a Democratic, but a basic humanitarian thing). Either the lawmakers were sadistic or ignorant. I cannot really see a third choice.

      And since you brought up the issue of libertarians and civil liberties, this is exactly why I don’t consider myself a libertarian, but a social liberal, even though (or, arguably, exactly because) civil liberties are a key concern to me. Civil liberties do not just exist on paper; they have to be reified, actualized, translated into the context of actual human everyday life.

      Libertarians seem to be the communists of our time, too willing to let individual human beings suffer in the name of a grand ideology, in the name of ideological righteousness and purity. Too willing to break a few human eggs to make their ideological omelette.

    5. Assuming that the abortion/gun analogy otherwise held (and I know the two are intimately associated in my mind), there is the point that the fucking gun isn’t growing inside of you while you wait.

      1. Not only that, the waiting period and other restrictions won’t push you into a time period in which you are no longer permitted to purchase the gun at all.

        1. Imagine if abortion clinics were as widely distributed as gun shops. And you could get an abortion no-questions-asked at any medical conference, or from any private person who had previously had one.

    6. Another post proving to me your heart is badly connected to your brain whereas clear thinking requires such a connection. The unwarranted assumptions you unilaterally impose om your readers is equaled by your inability to integrate arbitrary theories about others with life as they live it. You must have studied Ayn Rand or some other equivalent thinker.

  4. “see civil liberties burdened”, of course.

    One gets kind of tired of abortion being the most jealously guarded right in the entire Constitution, which can’t even be slightly inconvenienced, while liberals feel free to trample liberties found right there in the text in black and white.

    1. Who would have guessed we’d get wingnuts spouting tired, baseless claims, without any support, about liberals and and constitutional liberties while ignoring the challenge – justifying the law as applied in this case. I’m shocked.

    2. Brett, I don’t have a problem with non-insane, non-criminal, and non-violent people owning guns, actually.

      But just for the record, Justice Scalia’s opinion finding a right to own guns for individual self-defense is, how shall I put this, a total joke legally.

      What’s funny is, I agree with him completely that one’s right to self-defense is sacred. But, it’s not in the Constitution in explicit or plain terms. He completely and totally made that up/pulled it out of … thin air. He pretended the word “militia” wasn’t there. Now, I’m not going to spend all day fighting with you about it, it’s not worth my time or yours. But, just for the record, you should know that your “right” to self-defense – which I believe in – doesn’t come from the Constitution and isn’t in it.

      Same with my right to privacy in my person. (Actually, I think I have at least a chance at a better Constitutional argument, based on the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, since why would you need a right against government searches if you already had one against takings, absent a concern for privacy, but, again, it’s the weekend, I have stuff to do. Truth is, back then there was no police force to come around and look up your wife’s skirt or ask about her last period — so no one bothered to write it down!!! It was unthinkable that anyone would ever think of doing such a thing. Except maybe your minister, but that’s different. Most people then were farmers, so my guess is, no one bothered to write down that people had a right to self-defense. It probably just seemed obvious. Same with privacy.)

    3. You know what I think part of the problem here is? Brett you seem to feel a need to defend “the right.”
      Why? I don’t know you that well but I doubt if you would have passed such a stupid law, so why try to defend the people who did? You don’t even agree with them on this.

      When I don’t like something a leftie person does, I b**** plenty. (Not that anyone listens! But, I feel better.)

  5. Mark: “Seriously. Very few of them would really have been willing, in real life, to subject this utterly innocent victim to what she went through. Had they been forced to sit with her and her husband through the grotesquely unnecessary 24-hour waiting period, almost all of they would have begged to be let out. But under the influence of factional passion and Teahadi/theocon political pressure, they voted for something utterly meaningless and vicious.”

    What you’re saying is that they’re cowards, which I’d agree with – not that they’re not sadistic scum.

  6. Congratulations to Brett Bellmore for rising to the challenge. With a perfectly specious tu quoque and a non sequitur, but rising nevertheless.

  7. Shorter Bellmore, with much hand-waving: “But wait, y’all, look over there!”

    At least he can’t be accused of inconsistency.

    1. Oh, come on! He CAN be inconsistent! About once a year he says something that can actually be argued with, as opposed to the usual nonsense that is only fit to be mocked or ignored. Not today, I’m afraid.

  8. No Bellmore’s right. Surely some of the most dangerous places in America are the yards of our prisons. By what right does the state deprive prisoners of the right to defend themselves? What part of ‘shall not be infringed’ do you people fail to understand? It’s right there in black and white!

    CharlesWT — These laws don’t even have a well meaning intention that just happens to go wrong in the fringe case. What other laws can you name that fit that description?

    1. In fact, I do consider it a travesty that we lock people up in prison, with other criminals for company, and then fail to do an adequate job of protecting them. Prison rape is treated as a joke, when it ought to be considered cruel and unusual punishment. Other forms of assault are endemic, too.

      Even those acquitted leave the ‘justice’ system impoverished, because the state does not compensate people for the costs of failed prosecutions. Rendering the power to prosecute the power to ruin even the innocent. And who here complains of THAT? Even though it’s as much an injustice as anything we do to the convicted, worse even, because it happens to people entitled to be treated as innocent.

      No, I think our ‘justice’ system is an abomination, scarcely worthy of the name.

      Of course, had I my say, far fewer would be run through the mill, because far fewer things would be criminal…

      But I think it glaring how little imposition the left will permit on the ‘right’ to an abortion, while feeling free to impose upon other rights to the point of virtual destruction. Gladly you’d silence political speech, if somebody who sees corruption everywhere detects the mere ‘appearance’ of corruption.

      You’ve only let off openly trying to destroy the 2nd amendment’s right to keep and bear arms as a result of one election defeat after another, and still have unbridled contempt for it.

      Property rights you barely acknowledge.

      But should somebody want to kill the unborn, their path must be strewn with rose petals, no slightest impediment can be permitted.

      No civil libertarians you, that’s for sure.

      1. Read the article, and then please retract the bit about rose petals. That insults the woman in the article, and our intelligence. Opposing arbitrary lies and burdens is quite different than greasing the skids to an abortion.

      2. Am I the only person who finds the equation of the desire to make a purchase equated with the desire to exert control over my health and bodily integrity? The second amendment analogy is specious. One may have feelings and thoughts about guns and their use and distribution, but those are not equivalent or relevant to this particular question.

        The problem with procedural and chronological impediments is that they are not instituted to ensure any kind of informed consent about the abortion but to try to prevent women from making use of their rights. They either seek to make the abortion prohibitively expensive (how much does that ultrasound cost and who is required to pay it?)and procedurally difficult (how easy is it to schedule that appointment in a timely manner and how long will it take for the resultant paperwork to go through before the woman can act on her health care needs?) and in some cases merely to terrorize and bully a woman into changing her mind.

        The problem with these impediments is that they are not simple consumer or health protections, they are part of a persistent strategy of slicing away at a woman’s right to control her own body. Once the opponents of choice can get an upper threshold declared on a date beyond which an abortion is illegal, you turn to procedural measures that will force a woman to wait, and wait, and wait again until she could be argued to be too close to that limit and is therefore forced to continue with a pregnancy. Once the opponents can get the idea of a waiting period accepted, because it’s only 24 hours, then they push for 48 and 72 (http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53680751-78/abortion-bill-period-waiting.html.csp). And once the woman waits for the allotted time, allow, no, compel a medical professional to inflict an emotional assault on her with full state approval, but no accountability for the legislators sanctioning such savage treatment.

  9. Don’t see why this woman is so stupidly bent out of shape over having to wait a day to kill her defective baby. Everyone was kind, polite and professional. The real tragedy in this story is that her baby was defective, not that she was mildly inconvenienced by a state law.

  10. Don’t over think this political travesty! Texas now interjects itself between a woman and her doctor regarding her health care. A transvaginal probe is state sponsored rape, and the shame and humiliation factor is also an insidious intent of the Texas legislation forcing a 24 hour waiting period.

    A string of profane utterances couldn’t begin to describe the perverse idiocy of Texas legislators and their governor!

  11. I have more questions than answers. One of the questions that I have is whether this is a data point that sits in the tail of the distribution that is to say, is this poor woman’s suffering the typical case or the exception? The next question is whether as a principle should a law be disqualified because of outliers or more specifically should a law be disqualified because it is found to increase both physical and mental suffering whether the common case or the exception? I could be wrong but I think these are the underlying questions and would be curious to hear what people think is the best way to address it. In my lifetime I have seen various laws ruin people’s lives or as in this family’s case, cause suffering.

    1. I suspect her case is exceptional, but the law is rotten for all cases. It’s a burden added for the sole purpose of making abortions more difficult, more traumatic. It just so happens that it’s impact is even higher for some women.

    2. The law is intended to cause suffering. The advocates of this are reqiring the patient be subjected to a punishment they have concocted under cover of calling it a medical procedure because they are legally prohibited from administering a punishment they would like to, such as imprisonment.

      Not only is this law an outrage in this case but it is an outrage in every case. If these clowns want to amend the constitution to preclude legalized abortion they should do so. Obviously they are unable to accomplish that so they are making childish cheap shots as a catharsis.

    3. Holden, are you suggesting that there is a minimum acceptable level of suffering the state can cause, for the sole purpose of inflicting suffering, before a law can be called into question?

      I suppose I’d be curious about the other laws you wish to evaluate. A person could have their life ruined by laws against committing fraud, and a family could suffer because of laws against theft or murder, but these laws were not put in place specifically to bring about such suffering. The purpose of this law is precisely, specifically to inflict suffering. The goal is to bully and terrorize women, to cause them emotional pain, or to threaten them with it, to discourage them from exercising their rights.

  12. Unless they meant this situation to happen this way it seems “ignorant” is proven. They passed a law the consequences of which they were ignorat.

    Now “sadistic morons” is probably true but we could give them the benefit of the doubt. Not much doubt but…

  13. From a quick look at the website of the Texas National Guard, it take sa lot more than 24 hours to join the “well-regulated militia” the Foinders stated as th purpose of the right to individual ownership of a musket.

  14. Extremism in the defense of extremism is no vice.

    The ends are sufficiently desirable to render fine distinctions in the choice of means an otiose exercise.

  15. With rights come resposibilities- own a gun, then militia training (and call-up) is mandatory.

    As to the case at hand, how can a “libertarian” argue that this decision (made by a woman) to engage in legal activity requires state intervention to make sure it is taken thoughtfully.

    Why not address who a woman chooses to marry? Surely an evaluation of risk of spousal abuse and a medical recommendation are needed to ensure her safety and preve nt remorse about the wrong decision?

  16. Anomalous: “The law is intended to cause suffering. The advocates […] are requiring the patient be subjected to a punishment they have concocted under cover of calling it a medical procedure because they are legally prohibited from administering a punishment they would like to, such as imprisonment. Not only is this law an outrage in this case but it is an outrage in every case.”

    jamie_2002: “how can a ‘libertarian’ argue that this decision (made by a woman) to engage in legal activity requires state intervention to make sure it is taken thoughtfully[?]”

    Exactly.

    I can only conclude that those making the laws do not see women as full citizens, indeed do not see women to be autonomous adults. No, no, no, women need to be taken in hand, put in a chair, and have everything clearly and simply explained to them, over an extended period of time, because females are clearly incapable of making any intelligent decisions, about anything, without such ample assistance. Furthermore, women need to be kept in check, punished for any divergence from the lawmakers’ definition of the straight and narrow, and punished whenever they stray.

    Allowing women the power to control their own bodies and make their own decisions regarding same would be extremely dangerous, as it might give them the notion that they are, indeed, adults, citizens, and capable of free will and independent decisions. Next they’ll expect to be given full suffrage, and to be allowed to drive, or even, to go out in public without being accompanied by protective male adults. What blasphemy!

  17. Invitation to Red commenters here, and Red bloggers: come up with a justification of this law as applied this case. I defy you.

    It’s a shame (as worn points out above) that Brett succeeded in diverting the thread, but holden pulls us back on topic:

    should a law be disqualified because it is found to increase both physical and mental suffering whether the common case or the exception?

    I think that’s a pretty decent reflection on Prof. Kleiman’s question, and it illustrates the problem with the question. In fact, in its normal operation, this law is despicable, and locating particularly despicable manifestations of the law is distracting to the real question: Should the state be messing around in this fashion with the doctor-patient relationship?

    Yes, the fact that many Republicans would like 12-year-old incest victims to bear children is appalling, but the fact that they want to substitute their judgment for that of pregnant women is also despicable.

    1. “in its normal operation, this law is despicable, and locating particularly despicable manifestations of the law is distracting to the real question”

      Thank you; a very elegant assessment of the issue!

    2. That strikes me as a false dichotomy. It’s not just a choice between having this particular law and no law at all. There are plenty of countries that have consultation requirements for abortions (and I don’t have, in principle, a problem with that approach [1]). But these countries also generally waive the consultation requirement if there are medical or other reasons. Sane, responsible, and humane legislators could have foreseen this problem and created exceptions to avoid it. They didn’t. Hence, Mark’s point stands.

      There is actually a more general principle for constraints on the power of the legislative; it’s called the “principle of proportionately”, and has gained a fair amount of traction in Canada and Europe; the Texas law, I believe, wouldn’t pass muster under the “no less onerous, but equally effective law exists” criterion alone.

      [1] The specifics of the Texas law and similar laws merit further criticism, of course. Consultation requirements elsewhere usually don’t take the form of “look at what a twisted monster you are, killing your own baby”, but focus on helping the mother.

  18. Brett, if you’re going to pretend to rise to a challenge, why not do so for real? Forget your gun obsession for the moment, and forget “rights.” Just explain why it’s a good idea to subject this particular woman to this particular additional suffering. Or admit that, once again, the people whose political power you enable have abused it horribly.

    1. Honestly? I don’t think it’s all that good an idea. I think a large part of our legal code is at least as indefensible. I just think it’s a crock when liberals, who love to burden civil rights they despise, pull out all these histrionics.

      You guys don’t have any free floating objection to burdening the exercise of civil liberties. You’re quite cavalier about burdening them, much of the time. Makes it hard to care when you start screaming about being on the receiving end of what you dish out so often.

      1. I have no idea what the relevance of “you guys” is here?. As far as I can tell, Mark isn’t the one being asked to listen to a bunch of propaganda before he can have an abortion. Rather, he thinks that what has been done to this woman is problematic. Who, exactly, is on the receiving end of what they are dishing out? Did Caroline Jones come and try to take your guns? I suspect the answer is no.

        Moreover, I understand that you feel like “liberals” are in favor A, B, and C but don’t give a shit about D, E, and F which you care about. However, with that said, if you in fact do care about A, B, and C then when the government goes around doing !B, you have the option of either saying “Yeah that sucks” or taking pleasure that “liberals” are getting screwed over even though it’s in a way you disapprove of. Why, exactly are you choosing the second path? Seems to me rather like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

        1. It might be quicker and less painful to shoot your nose off than cutting it off. Must be careful not to miss.

      2. Kleiman readies his pitch. He lobs a down the middle softball, and Bellmore stills wiffs!

        Please put away your swinging bat Bellmore, and answer the question about the pain and suffering of a woman who wishes to keep the privacy between herself and her doctor regarding legal medical procedures, and this very invasive state law, if you’d be so kind!

  19. I’ll take on the original challenge:

    Like most laws, it’s not fair as-applied to an unusual case.

    If it were possible (and in this case it’s not an issue of the world, just of arbitrary court decisions) to make better law, that would be a good thing. A better law in this context is one that is MORE restrictive of elective abortions, and LESS restrictive of medically-necessary abortions. Very few pro-life advocates would object if this law were replaced by a reasonably-hard-to-exploit “medically necessary” requirement for 2nd-trimester abortions. (For example, a finding of medical necessity by 2 doctors, each of whom must deliver 3X as many babies as they provide findings of medical necessity for abortion.)

    1. SamChevre: Like most laws, it’s not fair as-applied to an unusual case.

      Umm, what?

      First of all, while it’s not the usual case, it’s not all that unusual, either. Tens of thousands of American women have an abortion each year because of health reasons (affecting either the mother of the child), or because of rape or incest. Abortions themselves are tracked, but the number of abortions for medical reasons is generally assumed to be north of 6%, with another 1% for rape, and another .5% for incest.

      Second, you make it sound as though it was a regrettably unavoidable side-effect of the law. It is not. We don’t have the problem of, say, criminal laws here, where it is difficult to tell the bad applications of a law (miscarriage of justice) from the good ones. We have, in fact, pretty clear-cut criteria that the lawmakers seem to have failed to take into consideration (health of the mother, health of the fetus, rape, incest, at the very minimum). An oversight? Probably not. American anti-abortion laws traditionally have had little concern for such things. We’re back again at the start: Either the legislators were sadistic or didn’t do their homework.

  20. I’ll take the challenge too:
    Abortion is murder, but current court rulings preclude creating laws that recognize that. So we choose the next best thing – laws that deter as many abortions as possible. If those laws have to seem brutal and cruel in a minority of cases, it is in service of a far greater good. The saving of innocent life.

    1. Abortion is murder you say. Is masturbation also?

      I’m having a WTF moment with your human belief regarding a natural occurrence within the female gender of all species on this great earth. Many women of the human species have spontaneous abortions even into the early 2nd trimester. Physiological issues of pregnancy are also relevant to medical intervention.

      The real challenge is not to let one’s religious beliefs cast dire circumstances upon others through laws and threaten too criminalize a medical relationship between patient and doctor, that may lead to a medical procedure nobody-else-has-any-business-putting-their-noses-into!

      1. Sorry I wasn’t clear I was being a devil’s advocate.

        A pro-life person would say masturbation is not murder. They have this whole thing about life begins at conception. Thus all the attention about whether the Pill prevents pregnancy or prevents implantation.

    2. So, Mobius, you’re calling this woman a murderer?
      No wonder you chose to name yourself for an incurably twisted figure.

      1. for the record, this is not my position – it is my understanding of the pro-life position.

        I attempted to apply a utilitarian perspective to the question.
        And yes, I think extreme pro-life folks would count her as a murderer.

        Sorry I was so convincing as the pro-lifer.

  21. Saturday Night Live‘s Church Lady wrote:

    Abortion is murder, but current court rulings preclude creating laws that recognize that. So we choose the next best thing – laws that deter as many abortions as possible. If those laws have to seem brutal and cruel in a minority of cases, it is in service of a far greater good. The saving of innocent life.

    Ooh, ooh! Can I play? Let’s apply these exciting principles across the board.

    “Biblical-literalist Christian fundamentalism has an absolute monopoly on Truth, but current court rulings preclude creating laws that recognize that. So we choose the next best thing – we take off our powder-blue polyester suits, put on a stolen lab coat, and instead of teaching school biology from Genesis, we teach it from books about “intelligent design”. If that plan seems stupid and transparently dishonest in every case, it is in service of a far greater good. The saving of your immortal soul.”

    Black people are stupid and lazy, and if you let them vote they’ll just go and vote for some Democrat, but current court rulings preclude creating laws that recognize that. So we choose the next best thing – laws, and unlawful acts for that matter, that deter as many black people from voting as possible. If those laws have to seem brutal and cruel in the tiny minority of cases where a black person would have voted Republican, it is in service of a far greater good. The protection of Republican party rule against the consequences of democracy.

    In some ways it’s a pity that normal people lack the instinctive sadism that is the salient characteristic of sanctimonious reactionary godbotherers. When we are in a position to exercise power over these people, we do not act as they do. We believe it would be wrong and ignoble to visit upon them, in the ostensible name of some “far greater good”, the brutality and cruelty that they deserve. In some ways this is a pity; in most ways, though, it is a very good thing, even if sanctimonious reactionary godbotherers undeservedly benefit from it.

  22. The mandatory unnecessary ultrasound was worse. Not only is it cruel, it’s also a waste of money.

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