Balkinization  

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Big News About Gonzales v. Carhart-- It's the Informed Consent, Stupid

JB

You might think that the Gonzales case will affect only one infrequently used medical procedure, intact dilation and evacuation (D&E).

Think again.

Justice Kennedy argues that the government may ban intact D&E because it has the right, under the Casey decision, to ensure that a woman's choice is informed. Kennedy then argues that given a mother's natural love for her child, some women will regret having abortions after the fact. And some women may especially regret having an abortion if they knew the details of the procedure-- intact D&E-- used to perform the abortion. Hence, Kennedy argues, the state may ban that procedure, because it will cause some women not to have abortions, and because it will force doctors to "find different and less shocking methods to abort the fetus in the second trimester."

There is a problem with this argument-- it would seem that the proper remedy is to inform the woman and then let her decide if she wants to undergo the intact D&E procedure. But at the very least, Kennedy's argument suggests that the state could take the lesser step of requiring doctors to inform the woman about all the details of the D&E procedure she will have to undergo and about what will happen to the fetus.

If that is correct, then Gonzalez v. Carhart is quite important. It might lead states to pass a wide range of new laws under the rubric of "informed consent" that would require doctors to show women the results of ultrasound imaging of the fetus before it is aborted, to describe in gruesome detail how the fetus will be terminated, dismembered and removed, to offer the state's views on the existence of any pain the fetus might feel when it is destroyed; and, in general, ratchet up the emotional anxiety of women who are about to undergo abortions.

The state will justify all of these demands to doctors under the rubric of informing women about their choices and the consequences of those choices. Pro-choice advocates will point out that these attempts at "informed consent" go far beyond that. They are attempts to frighten and upset women in the hopes that they will not have abortions. The problem, however, is that Kennedy's language encourages the passage of these new laws (South Dakota has already adopted one); it suggests that many of them may be constitutional. Thus Kennedy'shis opinion opens the door for states to pass increasingly unreasonable versions of abortion restrictions designed to frighten, manipulate, and discomfit women under the guise of providing informed consent.

This consequence of Gonzales v. Carhart is hardly accidental. It is the result of a long and sustained strategy by pro-life advocates that has now borne fruit in Supreme Court doctrine. In his discussion of informed choice and in his purple prose about the natural bonds of love between mothers and children-- call it Kennedy's "mother and child reunion" speech-- Justice Kennedy adopts some of the rhetoric of Operation Outcry-- an anti-abortion group which has honed the new style of pro-life rhetoric. The basic goal of this new rhetoric is to undermine the notion that women exercise any kind of choice when they decide to have abortions. It seeks to turn the rhetoric of the pro-choice movement on its head. Women, the new rhetoric argues, don't really understand what they are doing when they decide to have abortions; as a result, they often regret having them later on.

The amicus brief that Justice Kennedy cites for these propositions was written on behalf of Sandra Cano, who was the original Mary Doe in Doe v. Bolton, the companion case to Roe. Cano regrets her association with Doe v. Bolton (she did not in fact have an abortion), and she sees in her experience the experience of all women. Anti-abortion activist Harold Cassidy has been instrumental in refining this style of argument over the past decade, even coming up with an invented medical syndrome, post-abortion syndrome (or PAS) that women suffer as a result of making the immoral and unnatural decision to have an abortion. As Justice Ginsburg's dissent explains, the medical evidence for PAS is flimsy; there is no evidence that women suffer more stress from having abortions than from having to bear and raise children that they aren't prepared to mother. PAS is junk science that has been championed by a new generation of anti-abortion advocates to explain why almost any woman would be out of her mind to undergo an abortion.

But don't take my word for it. Listen to Harold Cassidy himself:
Let's talk about the woman who has given her baby up to adoption. The woman who gives up the baby, turns the baby over, signs the relinquishment document, and then goes home to sleep, and can't sleep. The woman makes the decision, and what she doesn't know is what it feels like after she's given up the baby, and then she goes home and she finds out she can't sleep, and it was a mistake and she loves the baby, and her heart is breaking, and she thinks the baby will hate her, and it's not good for the baby, and the baby should be with her mother, etc. etc. etc. But she at least has the protection of the law that says she can go back and say, ‘You know what, I changed my mind.'

What if that same phenomenon is present in abortion. There are women who think they are informed, and later find out that they are not informed. And that phenomenon comes in many degrees. There can be women, and there are some, surely, who make a decision that is informed, and it is voluntary, and even they will find out later that it's not. They're not liberated by it; they're enslaved by the experience. In fact, in many ways they were enslaved by the experience before they made this so-called free and informed decision, because there is a culture and society and sexual partners who have come to expect her to be able to perform or to act in a certain way, and those expectations have enslaved her. Not only have they enslaved her in terms of her ability to get an abortion, but also to behave in ways that lead to the pregnancy in the first place.


Cassidy's argument is that because of the kind of culture we live in, women who think they know what they are doing when they have abortions actually don't know. They only think they know at the time. Later on, they will come to regret it, and we can say that they weren't informed. And because we can't tell which women will come to regret the decision later on, the state needs to pass laws that discourage all women from having abortions.

This is the New Paternalism that is now central to the rhetoric of the pro-life movement. Either a woman is crazy when she undergoes an abortion, or she will become crazy later on.

Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.

The new rhetoric of pro-life forces is no longer just rhetoric. It's now part of Supreme Court doctrine. That is the big news about Gonzales v. Carhart.

Comments:

that would require doctors to show women the results of ultrasound imaging of the fetus before it is aborted, to describe in gruesome detail how the fetus will be terminated, dismembered and removed, to offer the state's views on the existence of any pain the fetus might feel when it is destroyed; and, in general, ratchet up the emotional anxiety of women who are about to undergo abortions

That could be more or less obnoxious, but would it really be *unconstitutional*?

I do pity the judges who may now be studying god knows what presentations for whether they effectively deter, or seek to deter, abortions. It'll make "obscenity" look easy to define.

Nevertheless, as someone who thinks abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare," I ask -- if a given woman's decision to abort is going to be changed by seeing an ultrasound, or by understanding that her fetus has arms & legs which will be dismembered ...

... then should she really be having an abortion?
 

"In his discussion of informed choice and in his purple prose about the natural bonds of love between mothers and children-- call it Kennedy's "mother and child reunion" speech-- Justice Kennedy adopts some of the rhetoric of Operation Outcry-- an anti-abortion group which has honed the new style of pro-life rhetoric. "

I didn't hear any objection to the "sweet mystery of life" speech. Really, people are overemphasizing Kennedy's comments because he just threw them out there. But let's not pretend that's the sole rational basis for the decision (there's the interest in bright lines and preventing infanticide), or one that he would use to uphold abortion bans that don't deal with "partial-birth." That's far from clear.
 

Professor Balkin:

If that is correct, then Gonzalez v. Carhart is quite important. It might lead states to pass a wide range of new laws under the rubric of "informed consent" that would require doctors to show women the results of ultrasound imaging of the fetus before it is aborted, to describe in gruesome detail how the fetus will be terminated, dismembered and removed, to offer the state's views on the existence of any pain the fetus might feel when it is destroyed; and, in general, ratchet up the emotional anxiety of women who are about to undergo abortions.

The state will justify all of these demands to doctors under the rubric of informing women about their choices and the consequences of those choices. Pro-choice advocates will point out that these attempts at "informed consent" go far beyond that. They are attempts to frighten and upset women in the hopes that they will not have abortions. The problem, however, is that Kennedy's language encourages the passage of these new laws (South Dakota has already adopted one); it suggests that many of them may be constitutional. Thus Kennedy'shis opinion opens the door for states to pass increasingly unreasonable versions of abortion restrictions designed to frighten, manipulate, and discomfit women under the guise of providing informed consent.


If I understand this argument correctly, pro-abortion advocates, many of them feminists, are arguing that women must be protected from seeing their unborn child and learning what will be done to that child in the abortion she is contemplating because women would be "frightened, manipulated, discomfited and upset" by learning the facts.

In short, women are too delicate to handle the truth and should be kept, ignorant, barefoot and aborted.

It is interesting to contrast this argument with page 18 of Ginsberg's dissent where she ridicules the "ancient notions" of the Court majority, among which she includes the idea that: "Man is, or should be, woman's protector and defender. The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life. . ."

Actually, the current informed consent movement reminds me of the recent movie Amazing Grace, which told the story of the British anti-slavery movement. The movement spent years fruitlessly arguing the abstract concept that slavery was wrong and its trade should be banned. The tide turned when they started an education campaign using drawings, implements of the slave trade and visits to actual slave ships to make real the horror that was slavery. It was this education campaign which doomed the slave trade and resulted in the legislation which eventually banned that abomination.

Evil thrives in ignorance. This is as true with abortion as it was with slavery.

The pro-life movement would be wise to dump the added argument that a mother's ignorance of the facts of her child and abortion may lead to psychological problems later. This theory may or may not be proven by science in the future. However, in the meantime, it gives the pro-abortion folks a way to distract from the central point and the tool which they fear the most - educating the public in general, and mothers considering abortion in particular, all the facts about this "peculiar institution."
 

I objected to the mystery of life and his similarly second-rate stylings in Lawrence. I just dont' have my own blog where you can read what I think.

Seriously, though, Kennedy is quickly becoming one of worst judicial opinion writers in my lifetime (only 29 yrs) by dogged insistence on writing such lame prose. I agreed, more or less, with Casey and Lawrence and Kennedy's choice of words only gives the right a chance to mock the opinions, and therefore, the outcomes, implying that if this is the best he could come up with he's clearly freelancing with the constitution. Conservatives won't be making fun of *this* particular example though . ..
 

Evil thrives in ignorance.

--Bart De Palma

Arne? Where are ya, man?
 

"Bart" DePalma:

[Prof. Balkin]: The state will justify all of these demands to doctors under the rubric of informing women about their choices and the consequences of those choices. Pro-choice advocates will point out that these attempts at "informed consent" go far beyond that. They are attempts to frighten and upset women in the hopes that they will not have abortions. The problem, however, is that Kennedy's language encourages the passage of these new laws (South Dakota has already adopted one); it suggests that many of them may be constitutional. Thus Kennedy's [] opinion opens the door for states to pass increasingly unreasonable versions of abortion restrictions designed to frighten, manipulate, and discomfit women under the guise of providing informed consent.

If I understand this argument correctly, pro-abortion advocates, many of them feminists, are arguing that women must be protected from seeing their unborn child and learning what will be done to that child in the abortion she is contemplating because women would be "frightened, manipulated, discomfited and upset" by learning the facts.


While I am, thanks to my former life as a research neurophysiologist, relatively immune to blood and gore, I do have to admit that certain images produce a visceral reaction even in me, making me want to retch and hurl things. One might maintain that presenting me with such pictures does "inform" me as well, and may even influence my behaviour, but I'd be hard pressed to put much intellectual stock in that as "education" per se. The use of imagery does have its advantages in carrying a message succinctly", but not all will agree that the right message was conveyed. Then you have stuff like this, where the imagery is intentionally pointed.

Yes, with a little judicious "information", we can indeed shade the discussion, and I think that is what Prof. Balkin was referring to (for example, the "Silent Scream" video that the RW loves to flog).

Is this really giving "informed consent"? When the gummint sets the message, we need to take a little care in mandating it....

In short, women are too delicate to handle the truth and should be kept, ignorant, barefoot and aborted.

No. I believe in informed consent (or informed decision-making). I do draw a distinction between "informed" and "proselytised".

It is interesting to contrast this argument with page 18 of Ginsberg's dissent where she ridicules the "ancient notions" of the Court majority, among which she includes the idea that: "Man is, or should be, woman's protector and defender. The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life. . ."

Yes, interesting point. We used to think that women couldn't make their own decisions ("timidity", "protector", "unfit"). Yet this is precisely what this law in Gonzales v. Carhart states: The gummint can decide what's appropriate and what's not, not the women themselves. We gotta do it for them, 'cause they can't take care of themselves.

Actually, the current informed consent movement reminds me of the recent movie Amazing Grace, which told the story of the British anti-slavery movement. The movement spent years fruitlessly arguing the abstract concept that slavery was wrong and its trade should be banned. The tide turned when they started an education campaign using drawings, implements of the slave trade and visits to actual slave ships to make real the horror that was slavery. It was this education campaign which doomed the slave trade and resulted in the legislation which eventually banned that abomination.

Ahhh, Hollywood. Musta been the pictures (and not Wilberforce's sermons or a changing public sentiment). But if it was the pictures that did it, wouldn't the slavers and the slaveowners in the antebellum South have been the first to have risen up in arms and demanded slavery end, seeing as they'd see this stuff every day?

I'm not saying that PR had nothing to do with it, but the issue is a bit more nuanced than "Bart"'s take on a Hollywood movie.

Evil thrives in ignorance. This is as true with abortion as it was with slavery.

Evil thrives on propaganda too, "Bart".

The pro-life movement would be wise to dump the added argument that a mother's ignorance of the facts of her child and abortion may lead to psychological problems later. This theory may or may not be proven by science in the future. However, in the meantime, it gives the pro-abortion folks a way to distract from the central point and the tool which they fear the most - educating the public in general, and mothers considering abortion in particular, all the facts about this "peculiar institution."

Depends, I guess, on who's doing the edjookatin', I 'spose.

Cheers,
 

DePalma... Evil thrives in ignorance!

That makes Bart blissfully and ignorantly evil.
 

Arne, sadly I find myself just skimming your posts. Is there such a thing as "Bart Derangement Syndrome"?
 

I'm just curious, Bart. What does slavery have to do with abortion, in your opinion, aside from your puerile notions of "Good vs. Evil" and boogeymen under your bed. And speaking of boogeymen, if an ultra-ultrasound test were developed tomorrow that could identify to within a 99% certainty a fetal Cho, what would you say about that "informed consent"?
 

It would certainly be naughty if abortion opponents, under the 'rubric' of informed consent, started showing pregant women computer generated images of utterly unrealistic gore. However, so long as the materials presented to the woman are accurate, we're talking real informed consent. Whose fault is it if the reality is genuinely gory?

Sorry, I think you've seriously misidentified who's being "paternalistic" here.
 

ChiLois said...
Arne, sadly I find myself just skimming your posts. Is there such a thing as "Bart Derangement Syndrome"?


Yes there is, Chilois. Bart suffers from it. In fact, it was named for him, much like Bush Derangement Syndrome was named for Bush and his derangement, ironically by the one psychaitrist in the world who is more neurotic and psychotic than any of his former patients. Arne has Contra Bart Derangement Syndrome (he hopes to heal him or at least prevent the illness from spreading). You have an Arne Fixation.

Heh.
 

arne:

I do draw a distinction between "informed" and "proselytised".

So do I.

I think it would be a bad mistake and a lost opportunity if the government went overboard with purple prose when describing abortion methods. This would allow the pro abortion folks to claim that the government was lying.

An antiseptic clinical description that do not in any way recognize the humanity of the child would be much more effective and downright chilling. Nazi medical experiments on Jews read this way. Abortion "procedures" speak for themselves and that is what the pro-abortion groups fear.
 

Anonymous Bosch said...

I'm just curious, Bart. What does slavery have to do with abortion, in your opinion, aside from your puerile notions of "Good vs. Evil" and boogeymen under your bed.

They share the "puerile" notions of "Good vs. Evil."

In its day, slavery was also a private "choice" and African Americans were not considered fully human and eligible for rights. Today, slavery is considered beyond the pale. People watching movies like Roots and Amazing Grace just shake their heads and wonder what our ancestors could have been thinking.

In my "puerile" opinion, the mass killings of our children through abortion falls into the same category.


And speaking of boogeymen, if an ultra-ultrasound test were developed tomorrow that could identify to within a 99% certainty a fetal Cho, what would you say about that "informed consent"?

It is no accident that abortion pioneer, Margaret Sanger, was also a proponent of eugenics. The former was a means to the latter end.
 

Can you imagine if they showed you films of bone saws removing limbs before amputating a gangrinous hand or foot? I think it should be required before someone gives their consent to such a barbaric procedure.
 

You just don't like to answer the questions put to you. Do you prep with Abu G. and Hollyweird films?

Please just answer the questions.

In what way, aside from puerile notions of Good and Evil does slavery have anything to do with abortion and would you abort the next VT shooter if you knew?

I am trying to find out what you really think. I've spent the last year being bored to tears by your strained rhetoric. The first part was close, but try again.
 

I will respond to some of the rhetoric I prefer you cease and make some observations you may not be aware of.

"the mass killings of our children through abortion falls into the same category."

Please let us know where these "mass abortions" are taking place. Does the Right Reverend Sun Myung Moon rent out the big tabernacle to Planned Parenthood after he perfoms those mass weddings?

In its day, slavery was also a private "choice"

This confounds me because "in its day," no slavery involved consent so I fail to see how it was a "private choice". Today, it is. I will not provide links (You can use the google or not) but there are small sub-culture of "free people" today who choose to become "slaves" and for all intents and purposes, live as "slaves". Weird, yes, I would agree. Bizarre even, but there are many paradoxes and contradictions, many choices presented to those who choose to live in a free society. It's not a case of the exception proving the rule but it does present us with as odd dilemma.

You say slavery is evil. Are the people who freely choose to enter into this small exceptional sub-culture evil? Are they evil because you disapprove of what they do with their freedom or because slavery is evil? Does consent, or lack thereof, have anything to do with what makes slavery evil? Should we arrest them and imprison them? Shock treatment? Slavery is not beyond the pale for some, and in a free society, it looks good to some people and they make a free choice to engage in it. You also are distorting Sanger's position wrt eugenics. Most of the country was in favor of her position "in her day" and she was opposed to and spoke out against "positive eugenics".

So, would you agree that pro-slavery people were anti-abortion?
 

Why is "Bart" in quotes?
 

"his confounds me because "in its day," no slavery involved consent so I fail to see how it was a "private choice"."

In both slavery and abortion, a choice is made "private" in the same way, by defining away one of the parties. This is trivially obvious to people who aren't invested in the illusion.
 

@nal: Why is "Bart" in quotes?

At first, I thought it was because his real name was something different like Ebeneezer or Aloysius (both fine names, imo). Now, I'm fairly certain it's a mark of dishonor that anyone could potentially earn by crossing He Who Posts a Lot.

That said, if you can get to the meat of it, He Who Posts a Lot generally has a decent point and provides plenty more textual support for his assertions than most people.
 

In both slavery and abortion, a choice is made "private" in the same way, by defining away one of the parties.

Yes, that's true. In the case of slavery, the enslaved man or woman is defined away. The animating idea behind slavery is that the enslaved individual's body is not theirs to give to whatever labor or life choice they please, but rather is the property of the slaveholder -- is owned by the slaveholder, i.e.

In the case of abortion, the pregnant woman is defined away. The animating idea behind forced childbirth is that a pregnant woman's body has no individual integrity beyond its function as a container for the fetus. In other words, a pregnant woman, in the slavery model, does not own her body. Her body does not belong to her, but to the fetal entity growing inside her, and to the state, which will assert its ownership rights over her body should she attempt to make the "wrong" decision.

And by the way, abortion was an extremely serious criminal offense under U.S. slavery. An enslaved woman who aborted a pregnancy was stealing her master's property and was subject to all the most savage punishments that enslaved men and women suffered under slavery.
 

ChiLois:

Arne, sadly I find myself just skimming your posts.

To each their own. Scroll wheels work fine.

Is there such a thing as "Bart Derangement Syndrome"?

Yes. "Bart" is a sterling example ... one might say, the archetypical one.

Cheers,
 

"Bart DePalma:

An antiseptic clinical description that do not in any way recognize the humanity of the child would be much more effective and downright chilling....

Well, I guess they'll just have to make sure to use a UHF ultrasound with sufficient resolution to show clearly the details of the homunculus. Now who could argue with that?

... Nazi medical experiments on Jews read this way....

Godwin's Law, eh? Guess this lovely "conversation" is over.

... Abortion "procedures" speak for themselves and that is what the pro-abortion groups fear.

Dunno. Why don't you go ask them (and argue your fool head off with them)? For my part, I'd prefer if you try to address my expressed views.

Would you say that they should go watch a third trimester D&X if they're contemplating a first trimester D&C?

Cheers,
 

Bosch:This confounds me because "in its day," no slavery involved consent so I fail to see how it was a "private choice".

Brett nails this one, I think. The private choice refers to the slaveowner's decision to own slaves, which historical records show us was indeed optional.

Obviously the slave is the unconsulted party; if a person chooses to become a sub-cultural slaves, they're missing the very element that makes the practice morally repugnant. It may still be socially or aesthetically repugnant, oft depending on the particular players involved, but I wouldn't try to compare that practice to the illicit slave trade.

Bart: An antiseptic clinical description that do not in any way recognize the humanity of the child would be much more effective and downright chilling.

I'd be more excited about the "informed consent" idea if there were a corresponding requirement to provide the patient with an equally detailed description of just what will happen to their lives and the lives of their family when, for instance, they have a child at the age of 13 or how they'll be likely to die when they face a fatal threat from the pregnancy itself.
 

"Bart" DePalma doesn't like "proselytising", but he's already drunk the KoolAid:

It is no accident that abortion pioneer, Margaret Sanger, was also a proponent of eugenics. The former was a means to the latter end.

This is bullcrap:

"Sanger remains a controversial figure. While she is widely credited as a leader of the modern birth control movement, and remains an iconic figure for the American reproductive rights movements, she also is reviled by some who condemn her as "an abortion advocate" (perhaps unfairly so: abortion was illegal during Sanger's lifetime and Planned Parenthood did not then support the procedure or lobby for its legalisation). Pro-life groups have frequently targeted Sanger for her views, attributing her efforts to promote birth control to a desire to "purify" the human race through eugenics, and even to eliminate minority races by placing birth control clinics in minority neighborhoods.[11] For this reason, Sanger is often quoted selectively or out of context by detractors, and her history and involvement with socialism and eugenics have often been rationalized or even ignored by her defenders and biographers. Despite the allegations of racism, Sanger's work with minorities earned the respect of civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr.[12] In their biographical article about Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood notes:

"In 1930, Sanger opened a family planning clinic in Harlem that sought to enlist support for contraceptive use and to bring the benefits of family planning to women who were denied access to their city's health and social services. Staffed by a black physician and black social worker, the clinic was endorsed by The Amsterdam News (the powerful local newspaper), the Abyssinian Baptist Church, the Urban League, and the black community's elder statesman, W.E.B. DuBois.[13]

"Although Sanger's views on abortion (like many of her opinions) changed throughout the course of her life[citation needed], in her early years she was acutely aware of the problem of abortion, typically self-induced or with the aid of a midwife. Her opposition to abortion stemmed primarily from a concern for the dangers to the mother, and less so from legal concerns or the welfare of the unborn child.[14] She wrote in a 1916 edition of Family Limitation, "no one can doubt that there are times when an abortion is justifiable," though she framed this in the context of her birth control advocacy, adding that "abortions will become unnecessary when care is taken to prevent conception. (Care is) the only cure for abortions." Sanger consistently regarded birth control and abortion as the responsibility and burden first and foremost of women, and as matters of law, medicine and public policy second.[15]

"Sanger's 1938 autobiography notes her 1916 opposition to abortion as the taking of life: "To each group we explained what contraception was; that abortion was the wrong way—no matter how early it was performed it was taking life; that contraception was the better way, the safer way—it took a little time, a little trouble, but was well worth while in the long run, because life had not yet begun."[16]"

See? This is why we don't need people like "Bart" screaming for "education" or "informed consent".

FWIW, Sanger was no saint, and she did have a very embarrassing affair with eugenics. But "Bart" will have to answer for his Islamophobia before he has a moral right to criticise her for her "political incrrectness.

Cheers,
 

PMS_Chicago:

At first, I thought it was because his real name was something different like Ebeneezer or Aloysius (both fine names, imo). Now, I'm fairly certain it's a mark of dishonor that anyone could potentially earn by crossing He Who Posts a Lot.

That said, if you can get to the meat of it, He Who Posts a Lot generally has a decent point and provides plenty more textual support for his assertions than most people.


LOL. Do I disrespect you when I miscapitalise your name? FWIW, it seems to vary, so I never know how to do it.

Cheers,


Is it disrespec
 

pms:

My birth name is Harold. My nickname since about age 5 has been Bart. arne looked me up on the net awhile back and I presume he is making some comment about my use of a nickname with the quotation marks.
 

Thank you, Kathy. I find it a bit peculiar that anti-abortion people are adopting the rhetoric of abolitionists when, as you point out, free women could, under some conditions, terminate a pregnancy during that period but slaves never could. It's the rhetoric of the anti-choice people. Anti-liberty and anti-freedom people.


Brett nails this one, I think. The private choice refers to the slaveowner's decision to own slaves, which historical records show us was indeed optional.

Obviously the slave is the unconsulted party; if a person chooses to become a sub-cultural slaves, they're missing the very element that makes the practice morally repugnant. It may still be socially or aesthetically repugnant, oft depending on the particular players involved, but I wouldn't try to compare that practice to the illicit slave trade.


Yes. The white folks in states where slavery was not outlawed had the freedom to choose to own slaves or not to own slaves. The black folks here did not have the freedom to choose be slaves or not to be slaves, not even in states where it was outlawed, apparently.


I suppose if a fetus is bought to term, raised to adulthood and legal personhood, and then decides it would rather not be alive, for whatever reason, they would be opposed to that choice as well. Poor Ms. Schiavo.

I don't think anyone likes the idea of abortion, but I'm quite certain that it should be legal, safe, available and as rare as possible.
 

I was trying to get the supposed "Libertarians" here to talk about "initiation of force" and "contracts". None took the bait and it's pretty clear why. The truth is they are as divided on the subject of legal abortion as the mainstream public. Obviously they balk at government funding to pay for it. If you read the American Libertarian Party Platform carefully, you'll notice that the door is wide open on baby-selling and child prostitution. Nice people.
 

arne:

Although a number of quotes attributed to her have been fabricated or taken out of context, there is no real doubt that Sanger was a racial supremacist who believed in birth control of all types including forced sterilization to stop the growth of what she called "the inferior classes."

Sanger's book "The Pivot of Civilization" could have easily been written by the Nazis. Here is a small sample of Sanger's theories from that book:

The lack of balance between the birth-rate of the ``unfit'' and the ``fit,'' admittedly the greatest present menace to the civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. The example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty- stricken, should not be held up for emulation to the mentally and physically fit, and therefore less fertile, parents of the educated and well-to-do classes. On the contrary, the most urgent problem to- day is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective. Possibly drastic and Spartan methods may be forced upon American society if it continues complacently to encourage the chance and chaotic breeding that has resulted from our stupid, cruel sentimentalism.

Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying ... demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism ... [Philanthropists] encourage the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste. Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant ... We are paying for, and even submitting to, the dictates of an ever-increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all."

 

Kathy said...

In the case of abortion, the pregnant woman is defined away. The animating idea behind forced childbirth is that a pregnant woman's body has no individual integrity beyond its function as a container for the fetus. In other words, a pregnant woman, in the slavery model, does not own her body. Her body does not belong to her, but to the fetal entity growing inside her, and to the state, which will assert its ownership rights over her body should she attempt to make the "wrong" decision.

Unless the mother was raped, no one compelled her to conceive a child and to become a "container" for that child.

The unborn child is not a part of the mother's body. Every one of us has our own unique genetic structure upon conception. The mother's body actually has to produce hormones to keep her immune system from killing her unborn child.

Abortion is about killing the unborn child, not about providing "medical care" to any part of the woman's body.
 

"Bart" DePalma:

Although a number of quotes attributed to her [Sanger] have been fabricated or taken out of context, there is no real doubt that Sanger was a racial supremacist who believed in birth control of all types including forced sterilization to stop the growth of what she called "the inferior classes."

Sanger's book "The Pivot of Civilization" could have easily been written by the Nazis. Here is a small sample of Sanger's theories from that book:... [blah blah blah]


Note that nowhere in that quote does she advocate forced sterilisation.

The closest she comes is this:

Possibly drastic and Spartan methods may be forced upon American society if it continues complacently to encourage the chance and chaotic breeding that has resulted from our stupid, cruel sentimentalism.

But that's hardly a prescription, it's more an observation and an opinion.

You should be aware that I disagree with her (if you'd bothered to read what I wrote, this would be no surprise).

Nonetheless, this is not a thread about eugenics. Tossing that in is "poisoning the well".

Your comments about her being an "abortion pioneer" have been amply shown to be a load'o'crap, but strangely enough, I hear no word of apology for that misrepresentation.

On another note, "Bart" is probably less disrespectful than "HWSNBN", which is the appellation you had, and which you truly deserve (don't feel insulted; PMS_Chicago gave me the name HWPAL, which I'll accept with good grace as the estimation of my fellow discussants). To be honest, given your propensity for error and dishonesty, I have seen no convincing evidence your common name is "Bart", other than your word. But the latter is subject to some scepticism and suspicion.

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

The unborn child is not a part of the mother's body.

Then no problems if we put them in separate rooms, eh?

Cheers,
 

If I understand this argument correctly, pro-abortion advocates, many of them feminists, are arguing that women must be protected from seeing their unborn child and learning what will be done to that child in the abortion she is contemplating because women would be "frightened, manipulated, discomfited and upset" by learning the facts.

Isn't this really the same argument I hear from people like Bart regarding war coverage? Showing people what war is really like -- charred bodies, children blown to bits, soldier's caskets, etc. -- is a form of emotional manipulation (if not propaganda). If you actually show people the reality of war, I guess people will be "frightened, manipulated, discomfited and upset" by learning the facts.

In short, Americans are too delicate to handle the truth and should be kept ignorant, jingoistic, and misled.

Maybe the Supremes should mandate that the President air a few gruesome documentaries showing the little straining fingers of a few napalmed infants before any invasion. Many Americans actually end up regretting and feeling remorse for supporting wars after the fact. Or are you afraid of "informed consent?"

I can live without the government paternalism in either case.
 

May I offer an implausible hypothetical to both sides of the debate. Suppose a safe and affordable procedure were developed that could remove an unwanted embryo from its mother's body undamaged and gestate it to term somewhere else.

To opponents of abortion: Would you have any moral objections to allowing this procedure on demand?

To proponents: Would you agree to outlawing abortion and mandating this procedure instead?
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

De Palma...Sanger's book "The Pivot of Civilization" could have easily been written by the Nazis.

With a foreword by H.G. Wells? I doubt it. First of all, Sanger condemned the anti-Semitic Nazi program as "sad & horrible" and she herself was opposed abortion. Her book just could not have been written by the Nazis but her criteria of a "moron" or the "feeble-minded" might have evolved over time. They might include someone like Bart, or Bush, today.

Here are your evil eugenicists. Apologies for the length, I want De Palma and the rest of you to read it. I didn't post it all. It gets better further on when Dr. Mengele becomes part of the piece:

Eugenics and the Nazis -- the California connection

Hitler and his henchmen victimized an entire continent and exterminated millions in his quest for a so-called Master Race.

But the concept of a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed master Nordic race didn't originate with Hitler. The idea was created in the United States, and cultivated in California, decades before Hitler came to power. California eugenicists played an important, although little-known, role in the American eugenics movement's campaign for ethnic cleansing... In its extreme, racist form, this meant wiping away all human beings deemed "unfit," preserving only those who conformed to a Nordic stereotype. Elements of the philosophy were enshrined as national policy by forced sterilization and segregation laws, as well as marriage restrictions, enacted in 27 states. In 1909, California became the third state to adopt such laws. Ultimately, eugenics practitioners coercively sterilized some 60,000 Americans, barred the marriage of thousands, forcibly segregated thousands in "colonies," and persecuted untold numbers in ways we are just learning. Before World War II, nearly half of coercive sterilizations were done in California, and even after the war, the state accounted for a third of all such surgeries.

California was considered an epicenter of the American eugenics movement. During the 20th century's first decades, California's eugenicists included potent but little-known race scientists, such as Army venereal disease specialist Dr. Paul Popenoe, citrus magnate Paul Gosney, Sacramento banker Charles Goethe, as well as members of the California state Board of Charities and Corrections and the University of California Board of Regents.

Eugenics would have been so much bizarre parlor talk had it not been for extensive financing by corporate philanthropies, specifically the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune. They were all in league with some of America's most respected scientists from such prestigious universities as Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Princeton. These academicians espoused race theory and race science, and then faked and twisted data to serve eugenics' racist aims.

Stanford President David Starr Jordan originated the notion of "race and blood" in his 1902 racial epistle "Blood of a Nation," in which the university scholar declared that human qualities and conditions such as talent and poverty were passed through the blood.

In 1904, the Carnegie Institution established a laboratory complex at Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island that stockpiled millions of index cards on ordinary Americans, as researchers carefully plotted the removal of families, bloodlines and whole peoples. From Cold Spring Harbor, eugenics advocates agitated in the legislatures of America, as well as the nation's social service agencies and associations.

The Harriman railroad fortune paid local charities, such as the New York Bureau of Industries and Immigration, to seek out Jewish, Italian and other immigrants in New York and other crowded cities and subject them to deportation, confinement or forced sterilization.

The Rockefeller Foundation helped found the German eugenics program and even funded the program that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.

Much of the spiritual guidance and political agitation for the American eugenics movement came from California's quasi-autonomous eugenic societies, such as Pasadena's Human Betterment Foundation and the California branch of the American Eugenics Society, which coordinated much of their activity with the Eugenics Research Society in Long Island. These organizations -- which functioned as part of a closely-knit network -- published racist eugenic newsletters and pseudoscientific journals, such as Eugenical News and Eugenics, and propagandized for the Nazis...

In a United States demographically reeling from immigration upheaval and torn by post-Reconstruction chaos, race conflict was everywhere in the early 20th century. Elitists, utopians and so-called progressives fused their smoldering race fears and class bias with their desire to make a better world. They reinvented Galton's eugenics into a repressive and racist ideology. The intent: Populate the Earth with vastly more of their own socioeconomic and biological kind -- and less or none of everyone else.

The superior species the eugenics movement sought was populated not merely by tall, strong, talented people. Eugenicists craved blond, blue-eyed Nordic types. This group alone, they believed, was fit to inherit the Earth. In the process, the movement intended to subtract emancipated Negroes, immigrant Asian laborers, Indians, Hispanics, East Europeans, Jews, dark- haired hill folk, poor people, the infirm and anyone classified outside the gentrified genetic lines drawn up by American raceologists.

How? By identifying so-called defective family trees and subjecting them to lifelong segregation and sterilization programs to kill their bloodlines. The grand plan was to literally wipe away the reproductive capability of those deemed weak and inferior -- the so-called unfit. The eugenicists hoped to neutralize the viability of 10 percent of the population at a sweep, until none were left except themselves.

Eighteen solutions were explored in a Carnegie-supported 1911 "Preliminary Report of the Committee of the Eugenic Section of the American Breeder's Association to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means for Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasm in the Human Population." Point No. 8 was euthanasia.

The most commonly suggested method of eugenicide in the United States was a "lethal chamber" or public, locally operated gas chambers. In 1918, Popenoe, the Army venereal disease specialist during World War I, co-wrote the widely used textbook, "Applied Eugenics," which argued, "From an historical point of view, the first method which presents itself is execution . . . Its value in keeping up the standard of the race should not be underestimated." "Applied Eugenics" also devoted a chapter to "Lethal Selection," which operated "through the destruction of the individual by some adverse feature of the environment, such as excessive cold, or bacteria, or by bodily deficiency."

Eugenic breeders believed American society was not ready to implement an organized lethal solution. But many mental institutions and doctors practiced improvised medical lethality and passive euthanasia on their own. One institution in Lincoln, Ill., fed its incoming patients milk from tubercular cows believing a eugenically strong individual would be immune. Thirty to 40 percent annual death rates resulted at Lincoln. Some doctors practiced passive eugenicide one newborn infant at a time. Others doctors at mental institutions engaged in lethal neglect.

Nonetheless, with eugenicide marginalized, the main solution for eugenicists was the rapid expansion of forced segregation and sterilization, as well as more marriage restrictions. California led the nation, performing nearly all sterilization procedures with little or no due process. In its first 25 years of eugenics legislation, California sterilized 9,782 individuals, mostly women. Many were classified as "bad girls," diagnosed as "passionate," "oversexed" or "sexually wayward." At the Sonoma State Home, some women were sterilized because of what was deemed an abnormally large clitoris or labia.

In 1933 alone, at least 1,278 coercive sterilizations were performed, 700 on women. The state's two leading sterilization mills in 1933 were Sonoma State Home with 388 operations and Patton State Hospital with 363 operations. Other sterilization centers included Agnews, Mendocino, Napa, Norwalk, Stockton and Pacific Colony state hospitals.

Even the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed aspects of eugenics. In its infamous 1927 decision, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, "It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind . . . Three generations of imbeciles are enough." This decision opened the floodgates for thousands to be coercively sterilized or otherwise persecuted as subhuman. Years later, the Nazis at the Nuremberg trials quoted Holmes' words in their own defense.

Only after eugenics became entrenched in the United States was the campaign transplanted into Germany, in no small measure through the efforts of California eugenicists, who published booklets idealizing sterilization and circulated them to German officials and scientists.

Hitler studied American eugenics laws. He tried to legitimize his anti-Semitism by medicalizing it, and wrapping it in the more palatable pseudoscientific facade of eugenics. Hitler was able to recruit more followers among reasonable Germans by claiming that science was on his side. Hitler's race hatred sprung from his own mind, but the intellectual outlines of the eugenics Hitler adopted in 1924 were made in America.

During the '20s, Carnegie Institution eugenic scientists cultivated deep personal and professional relationships with Germany's fascist eugenicists. In "Mein Kampf," published in 1924, Hitler quoted American eugenic ideology and openly displayed a thorough knowledge of American eugenics. "There is today one state," wrote Hitler, "in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception (of immigration) are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States."

Hitler proudly told his comrades just how closely he followed the progress of the American eugenics movement. "I have studied with great interest," he told a fellow Nazi, "the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock."

Hitler even wrote a fan letter to American eugenics leader Madison Grant, calling his race-based eugenics book, "The Passing of the Great Race," his "bible."

Now, the American term "Nordic" was freely exchanged with "Germanic" or "Aryan." Race science, racial purity and racial dominance became the driving force behind Hitler's Nazism. Nazi eugenics would ultimately dictate who would be persecuted in a Reich-dominated Europe, how people would live, and how they would die. Nazi doctors would become the unseen generals in Hitler's war against the Jews and other Europeans deemed inferior. Doctors would create the science, devise the eugenic formulas, and hand-select the victims for sterilization, euthanasia and mass extermination.

During the Reich's early years, eugenicists across America welcomed Hitler's plans as the logical fulfillment of their own decades of research and effort. California eugenicists republished Nazi propaganda for American consumption. They also arranged for Nazi scientific exhibits, such as an August 1934 display at the L.A. County Museum, for the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association.

In 1934, as Germany's sterilizations were accelerating beyond 5,000 per month, the California eugenics leader C. M. Goethe, upon returning from Germany, ebulliently bragged to a colleague, "You will be interested to know that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought . . . I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people."

That same year, 10 years after Virginia passed its sterilization act, Joseph DeJarnette, superintendent of Virginia's Western State Hospital, observed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "The Germans are beating us at our own game."

More than just providing the scientific roadmap, America funded Germany's eugenic institutions.

By 1926, Rockefeller had donated some $410,000 -- almost $4 million in today's money -- to hundreds of German researchers. In May 1926, Rockefeller awarded $250,000 toward creation of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Psychiatry. Among the leading psychiatrists at the German Psychiatric Institute was Ernst Rüdin, who became director and eventually an architect of Hitler's systematic medical repression.

Another in the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute's complex of eugenics institutions was the Institute for Brain Research. Since 1915, it had operated out of a single room. Everything changed when Rockefeller money arrived in 1929. A grant of $317,000 allowed the institute to construct a major building and take center stage in German race biology. The institute received additional grants from the Rockefeller Foundation during the next several years. Leading the institute, once again, was Hitler's medical henchman Ernst Rüdin. Rüdin's organization became a prime director and recipient of the murderous experimentation and research conducted on Jews, Gypsies and others.

Beginning in 1940, thousands of Germans taken from old age homes, mental institutions and other custodial facilities were systematically gassed. Between 50,000 and 100,000 were eventually killed.

Leon Whitney, executive secretary of the American Eugenics Society, declared of Nazism, "While we were pussy-footing around ... the Germans were calling a spade a spade."

A special recipient of Rockefeller funding was the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics in Berlin...

 

I can speak as someone who is close to the doctors affected by the is ruling.

While intact D&E with head reduction is rare, D&E's still account for 8% of all abortions or so. Most D&Es are done in clinics. But the doctors I know do them in hospitals, as clinics refer high-risk patients (such as hear attack survivors and women who have had multiple surgeries) to the OR. And the doctors I know are scurrying to protect themselves from prosecution in various ways.

Because a D&E is surgical, it requires anesthesia, so an anesthesiologist is in the room. Since it is done in the OR, it also means that a nurse is in the room. That means that if a nurse objects to abortion, she could snitch on a doctor if she suspects that a banned procedure was used. So the doctors are taking no chances. They are implementing feticide in every D&E - to inject the fetus with one of two common drugs to stop its heart before the pregnancy is removed. If the fetus is dead, then an intact D&E (if necessary) is allowed. Some states are already drafting legislation to ban injecting chemicals into the fetus to stop its heart.

So here are the immediate consequences of the decision so far. The D&E procedure has become longer. The patient goes to the hospital the day before the surgery for laminaria (to dilate the cervix). She returns the next morning to be put under anesthetic and taken to the OR. The surgery now takes longer. And the feticide method is something that has not been studied extensively. We don't know if the health of patients is being put at any additional risk. They already have to sign a consent form since anyone can die in any surgery requiring anesthesia. And doctors have to watch their backs for nurses and patients who could potentially report them to the DOJ.

It's madness.

Roe v. Wade will be overturned in the next decade. And abortion will no longer be federally protected. So states such as California, New York, and Massachusetts will need to draft legislation to legalize abortion for their citizens. It will come down to state laws. And sure enough, coastal cities in blue states (Seattle, Portland, SF, LA, NYC, and Boston) will be the destination for women seeking abortion....that is, those who can afford the bus or airfare.

To those who support abortion, I can say this: educate yourself and really support it. You may find abortion to be taboo, or scary, or disgusting, but close to 30% of women have an abortion in their lifetime. You should never say you hate abortion but support a women’s right to it. You should get to know the business and support it. Abortion providers are like a secret society, and they need to be. The NAF conference (http://www.prochoice.org) is held in a secret location each year. Find out what it is like for them to be legitimate doctors, but also hated by millions of strangers across this country. People they have never met want them in prison or dead. Imagine what that is like. And remember, they help patients, not hurt them. They are legitimate doctors just as much as a glamorous ER surgeon….they just aren’t portrayed on American television. They are good people. And I am on their side 100%.
 

Evil thrives in ignorance.

A conservative articulates the most effective argument against the conservative movement.

How ironic.
 

zod said...

Bart: If I understand this argument correctly, pro-abortion advocates, many of them feminists, are arguing that women must be protected from seeing their unborn child and learning what will be done to that child in the abortion she is contemplating because women would be "frightened, manipulated, discomfited and upset" by learning the facts.

Isn't this really the same argument I hear from people like Bart regarding war coverage? Showing people what war is really like -- charred bodies, children blown to bits, soldier's caskets, etc. -- is a form of emotional manipulation (if not propaganda). If you actually show people the reality of war, I guess people will be "frightened, manipulated, discomfited and upset" by learning the facts.


This is actually a very good analogy, if not a particularly good political attack.

For most of us, killing other people is not natural act for us to perform.

Soldiers go through intense training to make them killers. Part of this is dehumanizing the enemy as the pro-abortion folks attempt to dehumanize unborn children. Likewise, when a government attempts to rally a citizenry to go to war, it demonizes the enemy to prove that they deserve killing.

This is the reality of war and is a requirement if we are to defend ourselves in a war. However, there in no necessity to use these methods to kill our own children.

As for what the media shows from a war, I do not have a particular problem with the press showing images of military or civilian casualties (although I would object to shots that would identify our military casualties to their friends and family).

My most strenuous objection is when the media essentially disseminated enemy propaganda by reporting on a small part of the news.

For example, in Iraq we hear about our military casualties and we hear about civilian casualties, but you almost never hear about enemy casualties and worse still enemy casualties are often reported as civilian casualties. We also never hear the context of the casualties and the operations where we win one battle after another.

This makes the enemy look like an invincible ghost which never suffers casualties or loses a battle and also unfairly blames our forces for killing civilians when they are actually unlawful enemy combatants.

The media either needs to get out of their damn hotels and truthfully report all the news or they need to be censored as we did in WWII.
 

Bart,

I thought one of the reaons that American was disheartened, and we failed to "win" in Vietnam, was that we focused on "body counts" and, despite the ever increasing numbers of enemies killed, they never seemed to go away?
 

Anonymous Bosch @ 7:34: "Can you imagine if they showed you films of bone saws removing limbs before amputating a gangrinous hand or foot? I think it should be required before someone gives their consent to such a barbaric procedure."

People with gangrenous limbs know exactly what those limbs look like and are told how they will be removed as a part of informed consent. Thus, I submit your analogy fails to support the point you were trying to make and, in fact, supports the argument that women should be told and shown the consequences of their decision to abort.
 

First off, hearing the details of partial the birth abortion will disturb and disgust everyone. I believe it will be a rather effective tool in deterring mothers, who contemplate abortion in the late stages of their pregnancy. There is also the risk of a mother having a child and not wanting the baby. Situation like this occurs regularly like, when a mother drowns their own child, or throws the baby in the trash.
I personally do not know too much about this abortion issue and I tend to stay away from it. Strangely enough, there were some anti-abortion folks on my campus yesterday who called partial birth abortion genocide. The pictures they had up were very disturbing to say the least. I do not think a panel of men who know nothing about what it is to bear children can truthfully and honestly decide on what a woman should do with her body, unless they are closely related and that decision affects them personally. All this talk of assuming what the woman will feel afterwards is a bit over-the-top. I also think that it is very ironic that the same conservatives who argue against abortion are so eager and willing to go to war. They speak of fetuses as lives, but talk about civilian casualties as "growing pains and collateral damage." I believe the argument for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome of the mother is weak and unfounded.
It seems the main issue is not on abortion but the awful procedure of removing the fetus and then destroying it. This seems very brutal and primitive and I believe that may be the reasons why the ban was upheld. It seems that the procedure is destroying a human child as if it is disposable. This is a very sensitive issue. The issue lies at where do you draw the line on life and who has the right to make that decision. Especially when that decision is so personal.
 

The main purpose of the Runescape players would be getting Runescape gold. Players often dream about getting as much Buy Gold for WOWas he can but it is hard. To achieve your goal you should get a good gold guide.
 

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