Talking about abortion

Remember that time you had an intelligent, thoughtful conversation about abortion with someone who held a different opinion? Neither do I. That’s a problem.

When the Texas Legislature was fighting to pass new restrictions on abortion rights in the 2013 session, I wrote a series of pieces trying to explore the roots of the issue and describing a potential resolution. The results are below.

Trapped in an Abortion Stalemate

“A growing respect for life and expanding rights for women have fed the intensity of passions over reproductive rights. The two vital interests in conflict in the abortion debate are each more cherished by the culture than they have perhaps ever been. Something’s gotta give.”

When Does Life Begin?

“From the precious possibilities of the sperm and egg to the visceral reality of a crying infant, at what point do the rights of that potential life outweigh the rights of a father or mother to control over their bodies? Science can tell us, based on the current state of our medical technology, the point at which a fetus is probably capable of survival outside the womb, but is that the same as person-hood?”

Protecting All Unborn Life

“Government must act immediately to see that every discharge is conducted in a sincere effort to allow living sperm to pursue the possibility of birth. Anyone destroying these precious lives or encouraging others to do so should be brought to justice.”

How Texas Disciplines Unchaste Women

Disciplining Texas women is tough, thankless work. How can Legislators be confident they are doing it right? Rick Perry summed it up nicely in a recent speech, “The louder they scream, the more we know we are getting something done.”

Texas is not Pro-Life target=”_blank”

“Life is cheap in Texas, yet the state remains a passionate bulwark of the “pro-life” movement. This apparent contradiction goes a long way toward revealing the values that matter most in pro-life politics.”

When Evangelicals were Pro-Choice

“In 1971 the Southern Baptist Convention endorsed abortion rights for women in a remarkably bold statement for the time. The Baptists responded to Roe v Wade in 1974 by re-affirming their previous statement in favor of abortion rights. So, what changed?”

Breaking the Abortion Stalemate

“If the public were given a chance to consider practical approaches that respect the competing interests at stake it might be possible to build a consensus that would force an end to the hollow grandstanding that has defined the abortion debate for decades.”

How I Became Pro-Choice

“I had no interest in abortion rights until the matter invaded my own living room. Even then, what we experienced is relatively trivial. The misery endured by so many others who struggle under the worst of conditions to secure their right to control their own bodies is an unnecessary travesty.”

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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70 comments on “Talking about abortion
  1. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Tracy got a little grief on his abortion position of no tax dollars going towards any organization that provides an abortion (and that position there is not a good one, but who’s to quibble?), but the other parts of his position are ones that a solid majority of the US would pretty easily get behind if we had politicians willing or able to muster the courage to make it happen.

    Having moderately recently closely watched a slew of babies being cooked, certainly viability would likely be closer to 24 than 22 weeks (and even with that, it is very idiosyncratic to the particular fetus – one of our twins would have been classified as viable sooner than the other), but that is really just arguing around the edges.

    Only 1% of abortions happen after 21 weeks, and almost all of those are due to medical issues with the fetus or the mother.

    Another 3.6% of abortions occur between the 16th and 20th week, and again, most of those are due to medical issues with the fetus or the mother. We found out one of our guys had a congenital heart defect during this time period, and it would be the normal time to find out about major problems with the fetus.

    About 6% of abortions happen between the 13th and 15th week. That is the group of abortions that would be difficult under more restrictive guidelines, but keep in mind, this is a pretty small number of abortions.

    I believe this was Lifer’s position at one point, but let’s have cheap, easy access to all types of abortion before 12 weeks – that would cover 90% of all abortions.

    After 12 weeks, abortions are restricted except for reasons regarding the health of the mother or fetus, and extra-ordinary issues such as abusive relationships that kept the woman from pursuing an abortion earlier.

    In the first 12 weeks, there are no goofy waiting periods, no requirements of doctors to jump through hoops and provide inaccurate information, no blocking of Plan B drugs, no waiting periods and all the other crap put in place to make women fight through to get an abortion.

    This would likely reduce the number of 13-15 week abortions because women would have more ready access to the care they need without taking additional time to find opportunities away from work and time to pull together the money for the abortion.

    I’m a wacky liberal (and I like to think of myself as a feminist), but I ultimately could get behind this. I rightly would take some lumps from some women on this position since it removes a level of bodily autonomy from women, and I guess it is easy for me to blithely give that up since I don’t have a uterus, but I think you could get a majority of the population on board with this.

    You would doubly get people from the left on board with it if poor women had access to early pregnancy abortion though government provided healthcare. My tax dollars go to funding of other mortal sins, so I don’t think we need to carve out abortion.

    I guess we might have to figure out how we are defining mortal sins. The death penalty is an obvious issue, but having spent a fair amount of time in a Catholic church, there is a whole slew of things we might need to address.

    I believe even the US military provides assistance and counsel regarding service personnel going through a divorce, which would be aiding or abetting a mortal sin.

    Heck, even some charity work through a Masonic Lodge can be tax deductible, and Freemasonry is not looked all that kindly upon.

    We probably should not try to build our determination regarding how government funds are utilized based on a particular religion. Otherwise, the Scientologists might want to have a word with all of us.

    • 1mime says:

      I was just about to crash when I saw your email come through. A couple of points in opposition to the 12 week abortion limit (except for danger to life of mother)…It is not always possible for women to know they are pregnant at 12 weeks. Many women have irregular menstrual cycles due to a variety of reasons….they exercise strenuously, they have hormonal imbalances, or, or…Viability at 24 weeks seems a more logical and fair cut off point, although I personally would need to talk with some gynecologists to confirm that. They may feel 20 weeks is reasonable…12 weeks is not. Another problem is in the case of rape or especially incest. In these cases there are so many other emotional and trauma ramifications that have to be worked through that this can also bear on timing. It’s complicated, Homer, and that’s why the decision should be personal and between a woman and (her husband) and doctor.

      The second point is directed at your general reference to counseling women in the military. I am certain you are aware of the tremendous number of rapes that occur in the military – male and female, for which the process of reporting is reprehensible (frequently the officer who performed the rape is the officer in the chain of command that the rape must be reported to!). There is no assistance from the military for abortions and no coverage under federal health plans since it is the military. So, women are double screwed (pardon the pun).

      I am in complete accord that abortion should be safe and rare, but I do not agree with 12 weeks as a ceiling for a “no questions asked” process. Women need to be given a more reasonable amount of time to confirm pregnancy, to save the money for the procedure (which cost runs about $500 (if no complications) given the mandatory 24 hour waiting period required by many states between the TWO required consultations, and the travel time and scheduling issues due to the closure of so many clinics.

      We are making this harder than it needs to be. Keep it simple, fair, and safe. Or, better yet, encourage women to use family planning tools by making contraception inexpensive, accessible, and guilt-free. None of this contraception is an abortion malarky.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Mime, I’m not in disagreement with your points, but with recognition that it is going to get folks on either side of the argument to agree, the middle ground that upsets both sides somewhat might be the best option (for now) for women.

        I did note that the 12-week restriction would allow for extraordinary circumstances such as those you listed, and with the removal of the goofy waiting periods and other hurdles that drive up the difficulty and cost of abortions, there will be fewer women waiting until after the 12th week to have an abortion.

        With all that said, I feel dirty negotiating the bodily autonomy of women to any degree, but after viability, it is not just the woman in play here.

        I agree that restrictions after viability would be a much better and more meaningful cutoff (there is nothing significant about 12 weeks or 20 weeks gestation – but viability is meaningful), but given the relative rarity of abortions past 12 weeks, and with the removal of early pregnancy abortion restrictions and with provisions for abortions after 12 weeks for health reasons and for extraordinary circumstances, this would seem to work without placing a significant burden on a large number of women.

      • 1mime says:

        I really don’t think there should be a middle ground on this issue. Why should this right to one of the most personal decisions a woman (and her partner) will ever have to make be negotiated? Either this is a woman’s “unencumbered” choice, or, it’s not. Nipping around the edges will never – never – satisfy conservatives, whose track record points to continuing, not lessening effort to eliminate abortion all together. I understand the desire by reasonable people to try to reduce rancor that surrounds the issue of abortion, but I have no confidence in those who will sit across the negotiating table.

        What I would definitely support is greater, more affordable access to family planning tools for women. Let’s avert the need for abortion by empowering women (and men) to avoid pregnancy in the first place. In my view, that’s where you start. If all parties can at least agree that contraception isn’t evil or abortion, then conversation is possible on the more difficult issue of termination of pregnancy. Ask yourself, should anyone other than a man make his decision about having a vasectomy? And, of course, we’re not even talking about a fetus here, just a man’s right to control over his own body. That’s what’s at stake. I appreciate your follow up comments and the sincerity with which they are offered. If you and I were at the bargaining table, I have no doubt we would find agreement because we are both honorable and genuine in our commitment to better outcomes. That is far from the situation in which our nation operates today, sadly.

      • flypusher says:

        Gotta agree with Homer’s middle ground. You cannot 100% satisfy everyone here.

        As for the tax thing, the slippery slope gets invoked way too often, but I think if you do start giving people the option to “opt-out” over expenditures for certain things they personally object to, the whole thing unravels. (Some might be fine with that. I am not. )

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Mime:
        “Why should this right to one of the most personal decisions a woman (and her partner) will ever have to make be negotiated?”

        I agree with you, but right now, women and getting seriously hammered with the current system, so while I agree with you, our side is not exactly negotiating from the side of strength (even if we are right).

        You’ll never convert extreme anti-choice people, but for those folks who are squeamish about supporting abortion but who are not extreme, if you could tell them, “Look, we are restricting abortions after 12 weeks except for exceptionally rare cases of extraordinary circumstances and for the health of the mother or fetus, but we are removing the restrictions on early pregnancy abortions”, I think you could shift opinion pretty solidly in the pro-choice camp.

      • 1mime says:

        So, what happens in the legitimate situation in which a woman finds out she is pregnant after 12 weeks, is not in a life-threatening situation but does not want to go forward with the pregnancy for all sorts of reasons? There are women using birth control pills, IUDs and other methods to keep from getting pregnant who still got pregnant. Because they thought they were “protected”, were healthy, not showing and had erratic cycles, they genuinely didn’t know they were pregnant. Would there be an exception be built in for them, or would they be forced to carry to term? Once you start drawing lines, there will be problems. Exceptions for the “life of the mother” should always be protected, but for every clear cut situation, you will have these unusual ones where the choice should still be the woman’s. After the first trimester, the danger for self-induced abortion is more risky.

        Fundamentally, though, why should women have to give up personal choice while the pro-life group gains? I will maintain to my last breath that abortion should be rare and safe and the very best way to assure that is to make contraception widely available and reduce the number of women needing to make this awful choice while allowing her to do so if she thinks it is best.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        I’m with Mime. It’s the woman’s decision. I think that much of the objection to abortion is really about women’s power, not embryos.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Mime, I think most of your situations would fall under my “extraordinary circumstances” provision in the abortion platform.

        Again, let me be clear, I think restrictions after 12-weeks is a phenomenally stupid idea, but it is a better idea than all of the draconian regulations and laws recently passed that get in the way of a woman’s right to choose. As you highlighted there are more of those restrictions now than any other time.

        When you say, “why should the anti-choice people gain” at the expense of women, I’m arguing that the anti-choice folks have already gained a huge amount, and my position would require them to give up 95% of those gains.

        Undoubtedly, for every reasonable restriction I could come up with, there would be some individual women adversely affected, but I would argue that that number of women would be very tiny compared to the number of women who are adversely affected by the insane restrictions and regulations in place now.

      • 1mime says:

        You may certainly be right, and I, wrong. I just do not think these people will or can be reasonable. It’s been very nice to have a calm discussion on the subject, eh? Of course we share a fairly similar position on the issue, so there is that. Even reasonable people can disagree (-:

    • 1mime says:

      Oh, one more little tidbit….In the Catholic faith, it used to be a sin to eat meat on Fridays…..and the church that has so many rules about mortal sins sure has not practiced what it preached regarding mortal sins and sexual predators within the institution. Go see Spotlight and check out the recent reports of sexual abuse within Christian churches….There are a lot of “lizards” roaming around including the ones who are supposed to be celibate.

      • 1mime says:

        Homer, Here’s an article in yesterday’s New Yorker that spells out why those who are pro-choice have so little faith in coming to the bargaining table. Note this chilling finding:

        “State legislatures have enacted more restrictions on abortion in the past five years than in any other five-year period in the forty-three years since the ruling in Roe v. Wade, according to the Guttmacher Institute.”

        Let me repeat: more abortion restrictions in the past five years than the preceding 43 years. Does this seem like a group who intends to compromise? And, if they won’t, why should pro-choice advocates yield ground for what promises to be a very short-lived cease fire, given ample evidence of recalcitrance by the pro-life movement. If there is this large group of reasonable conservatives who want an end to the hateful rhetoric and narrow laws, don’t they have a responsibility to work within their own party to change the narrative? Isn’t that exactly the problem Republicans are facing right now with the religious extremists? Co-opt, ignore, then panic.

        http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-pill-that-still-hasnt-changed-the-politics-of-abortion?mbid=nl_160405_Daily&CNDID=24419463&spMailingID=8750590&spUserID=MTE3NDg4MjU3NDg2S0&spJobID=900542084&spReportId=OTAwNTQyMDg0S0

        If there is ever going to be a chance for consensus on this issue, there has to be a surcease of continuing efforts to make abortion more difficult. I do not know anyone who is pro-choice who doesn’t respect the right of those who are pro-life. The problem is, the respect is not reciprocal.

        BTW, I’m still waiting on some of the guys here to tell me how you’d feel about someone other than yourself determining if you could have a vasectomy.

    • Crogged says:

      Mime, I hear what you’re saying, but I agree with this compromise. This isn’t abortion, but birth control and abortion is really really bad birth control. In Europe some very agnostic states have relatively restricted abortion rights. Yes, they do a much better job of education and providing for these first 12 week procedures. Let the farmers write more and more ‘laws’ restricting a product that soon will be on the shelf next to aspirin. I never drive more than the speed limit etc etc

  2. 1mime says:

    The Southern Poverty Law Center in conjunction with PBS, tonight airs a special 3-part documentary that chronicles the attempted takeover of a small North Dakota town by notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb. As Cobb and his cohorts become more threatening, tensions soar and residents desperately look for ways to expel the unwanted neighbors.

    http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/films/welcome-to-leith/

    • 1mime says:

      I’m sorry to report that the SPLC documentary about the takeover of a ND town by white supremacists is not being shown tonight in my zip code but tomorrow, April 5th at 10pm on pbs. If you are interested, you should check your local public television schedule for time and date. What is unusual are the personal interviews of the lead supremacist who explains his views.

  3. duncancairncross says:

    On the abortion question
    The main point is one of “Standing”

    You should only be able to vote on things that effect you
    I can’t vote in your local elections as I don’t live there

    IMHO the only people who should have a vote in any abortion debate are women,

    As I don’t have a uterus my vote should NOT COUNT

  4. 1mime says:

    Viability- a fetus has reached such a stage of development as to be capable of living, under normal conditions, outside the uterus. 24 weeks is recognized as viable, as stipulated by the National Institute of Health. ” Today, (in the U.S.) the prospect of survival is only about 1 in 10 at 23 weeks, and if the child lives it is more likely to be handicapped that not. At 24 weeks the chance of a normal survivor is about 50%, and after this the odds are in favor of a normal survivor. Considering this data, intensive care should be an optional choice for fetuses at 23 and 24 weeks of gestation and should be offered to every fetus at 25 weeks or more.
    The chance for survival at 23-24 weeks is low.” The other point that the research affirms is that survival doesn’t guarantee outcomes.

    “But the other elephant in the room when it comes to micropreemies is the sheer cost of caring for such a medically fragile baby. The average NICU bill is $4,000-$5,000 a day. A baby that spends four months in the neonatal intensive care unit can easily run up a bill of half a million dollars.” Some people may take that chance who have good insurance and the ability to adequately care for this fragile infant (at 22 weeks is the size of an I-phone) once discharged from the hospital.

    Those who have good health insurance coverage have more options than a poor or middle class person with no or minimal health coverage and limited income. Remember: the single largest cause of personal bankruptcy in the U.S. is due to medical expenses.

    This is a profoundly personal decision which involves many concerns other than life of the fetus. That’s where the choice should remain – between the patient, couple and their physician.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11753511

    • MassDem says:

      Entirely reasonable, and I would be willing to bet this is the majority opinion in America today. With exceptions of course for horrible situations involving the life of the mother, as Lifer described in his deeply personal story.

      • 1mime says:

        Note that the NIH stipulates 24 weeks, not 22 weeks. Can’t make the facts fit the argument just because you don’t like what it says.

  5. MassDem says:

    BTW, if you haven’t filed your federal taxes yet, don’t miss that new line (#61 on the 1040) where you have to check a little box to indicate you had health insurance all year. I wasn’t paying attention and now I have to file an amended return just for that 😦

    Also, great news Lifer on your job getting so exciting & the big trip to SE Asia. Busy is good!

    • 1mime says:

      Thank goodness I finished that process this weekend…..only thing I forgot to deduct was the cost of the filing software. That won’t happen again.

      • MassDem says:

        1040X (amended return) to the rescue! Or not….

        Now I have to file my state income tax which is even more of a pain than the federal one. Weird stuff like interest from MA banks is taxed at a lower rate than out-of-state banks. Is that even a meaningful distinction anymore??? :/

      • 1mime says:

        OMG! Your Mass bank is paying interest!!!! I’m miffed.

  6. MassDem says:

    Amanda Marcotte has an interesting article on the abortion issue over at Salon today. Here’s a recap:

    This whole issue has changed irrevocably with the advent of chemically-induced abortions. Typically this process involves the use of two different drugs, but it turns out that one of the drugs (misoprostol) alone is sufficient in most cases to induce abortion, especially if used during the first trimester. Misoprostol is readily available as it is used to treat other conditions such as stomach ulcers, and is even available over-the-counter in Mexico. It is the drug of choice for abortions in Latin America, where the practice is illegal. Use of misoprostol has now spread to Texas as it is harder to get a legal abortion there.

    The good news is that back-alley abortions with the accompanying dangers are largely a thing of the past. Chemically-induced abortions are safe and cheap, even if performed illegally. This situation poses a quandary for the pro-life movement–there are no longer clinics or doctors to restrict or punish for illegal abortions.
    This is a game-changer.

    http://www.salon.com/2016/04/04/they_can_only_punish_the_woman_this_is_the_truth_about_enforcing_illegal_abortion_charging_the_doctor_is_just_a_right_wing_myth/

    • 1mime says:

      Last week when you were studying for your math exam, we discussed the latest FDA action which administratively reduced the dosage levels of abortion drugs. The idea is to reduce negative effects of taking a higher dosage than necessary and thus making the process less difficult.

      That simply will not do! Some of our reddest states (including TX) have passed laws anticipating this change that REQUIRE those pharmacies filling these prescriptions to follow the “old” more stringent, now changed dosage requirements. The reason, of course, is to make it more unpleasant, more expensive, and more difficult.

      That’s how Republicans govern.

  7. Griffin says:

    The hardcore pro-lifers are really inconsistant. For instance why did they get upset with Trump? Trump doesn’t know the usual talking points (because he’s an idiot) so he just ended up taking their line of thought to its logical conclusion:

    “Abortion is murder of a fetus”
    “Women can abort their pregnancy”
    “Therefor women who abort their pregnancy had some part in murdering a fetus”

    It’s intellectually dishonest for them to pretend that in their world (where abortion is illegal) women wouldn’t be punished for having an abortion. They just either don’t want to say that outloud becuase it’s politically untenable or becuase they haven’t thought their position through.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/arthurcaplan/2016/04/03/trump-was-right-on-target-about-abortion-and-the-utter-moral-incoherence-of-pro-lifers/2/#46b85b5740c3

    It’s also worth noting that if you’re pro-life it doesn’t make much sense to have exceptions for rape and incest. If it’s a life at that point it’s a life, regardless of how it got there. I find a handy thought experiment for most people to know when they really consider a fetus a life is asking yourself “when is the latest a victim of rape should be allowed access to an abortion”? That’s when people tend to get serious and draw the actual line of when they consider a fetus an actual “life”, instead of “Illegalize it cause it makes me uncomfortable”.

    Taking the pro-life position to it’s logical conclusions is part of why I’m pro-choice. I think the contradictions in the current pro-life movement may be due to trying to make what was once a fringe position (except among conservative Catholics) into an “electable” position nationwide, creating these weird intellectual inconsistancies.

  8. pbasch says:

    I’ve read the article and a random sample of comments.
    Here is the correct answer to this apparently vexing problem!

    Complete freedom of the mother to have any medical procedure she likes, including ending her pregnancy, paid for the way any medical procedure is paid for – privately, federally, Medicare, Medicaid, whatever, at any time in her pregnancy.

    Anyone who wants to can try to (and pay to) rescue the issue and nurse it to viability.

    So, the doctor will make every attempt to end the pregnancy while keeping the issue alive. When that’s impossible (too early, medical science, whatever), there can be weeping and gnashing and praying, But it’s not the woman’s problem. She walks away.

    Because symbols are meaningful, “abortion clinics” will be rebranded “Life Centers”, and abortionists can be renamed “Baby Savers”. Instead of crowds of protesters yelling at and intimidating women, they will throw rose petals, just like the Iraqis were supposed to. Because babies!

    Anti-choicers can bear the financial burden of keeping the issue alive and finding a home for it in the rare occasion when they are successful. Those who insist that a blastocyst is a baby can care for it as a baby. Nobody else has to.

    Pro-lifers don’t get to dictate how it’s paid for any more than Christian Scientists should be able to dictate how your medicine is paid for, or Scientologists your Prozac, or Jehovah’s Witnesses your blood transfusion.

    I’m glad this is solved! Thanks for your attention.

    • Then again, you could just keep your lizard zipped until you are ready to get married and raise a family. Problem solved. 😉

      • flypusher says:

        How many thousands of years have people been saying “just don’t do it”, and how well has that worked?

        While that is indeed a failsafe method, society is better off with a plan B (all puns intended).

      • johngalt says:

        Ah, a typical conservative answer – well, everything would just be fine if you ignore every shred of human nature and pretend that modern technology doesn’t have answers to the problems that may arise.

      • 1mime says:

        Well, that’s a new term for me. “Lizard” But, I agree with sequester of the varmint …. it takes two to make a baby and only one hand to zip one’s britches.

      • libtard says:

        The largest percentage of abortions are done by married women who already have at least one child.

        Let that fact seep into your brain for a moment.

  9. At its core all aspects of this topic are liberty issues. On both sides of the abortion issue we have people who are bound and determined to define the scope of our behavior and to tell how our property is to be distributed. As one might expect, we are all best served by keeping such people the heck out of our lives. To maximize the liberty of *everybody* involved:

    1) Abortion should be legal (for any reason, by any method), until:
    2) The unborn child has some minimal chance of survival outside the womb (currently ~22 weeks).
    3) *No* tax dollars should be spent on *any* organization that provides abortion services.

    In other words, women retain control over their bodies until such time as the person developing inside them has some shot at becoming a person in their own right. At that point the right to life of the unborn person trumps Mom’s right to control her reproductive processes. And all those of us who are morally offended by the entire mess don’t have to participate financially. Q.E.D.

    • texan5142 says:

      3) *No* tax dollars should be spent on *any* organization that provides abortion services.

      Why? Tax dollars are spent on many things that many people find repulsive and/or reprehensible. Should we all get to pick and choose what are individual tax dollars are spent on? If so here is the beginning of my list.

      1) No tax money for sports, at all levels, including the local city golf coarse or baseball fields. Why is the NFL tax exempt.
      2) No tax money to any religious organization. Why are they tax exempt.
      3) Private for profit prison.
      4) The MIC for equipment that is not wanted or needed. The military has turned into a jobs program.
      5) Etc. you get the picture I do not need to go on.

    • It’s called the “free exercise” clause of the 1st Amendment, Tex. Although *you* may think it’s silly, a sizable number of your Christian neighbors think it’s a *mortal sin* to participate in, aid or abet abortion in any way, shape or form. With respect to your item 2), see the “establishment” clause of 1A. With respect to your other items, the Constitution is silent, so politics will have its way. Thank you for playing.

      • texan5142 says:

        Thanks for the reply Tracy. Like I said there are many things that I find repulsive to have my tax dollars spent on. If the church and its people are going to dictate where tax dollars are spent or lobby in any way how they are spent they should be paying taxes on church property just the same as I pay taxes on my property. Same for non-profits, if they want to influence public policy and law, the by Dog they should be paying taxes.

      • 1mime says:

        Now, Tex, you know we have to let our churches and nonprofits off the hook even when they’re blatantly politickin’. You’re just being thin-skinned!

      • moslerfan says:

        Constitution seems to be silent on abortion, too.

      • 1mime says:

        Mosler, haven’t you noticed all those folks who advocate strict constructionism like to have it both ways? I mean, what’s a Constitution for if you can’t make it *fit* your needs?

      • MassDem says:

        Abortion wasn’t an issue in Colonial times–completely legal if it occurred before “quickening” (around 4 mo.)

        Is the abortion controversy about the sacredness of life or it is about controlling the sexuality of women? Based on what I’ve seen, I’m not convinced it’s the former.

        http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1997/05/abortion-in-american-history/376851/

      • 1mime says:

        And, those neighbors who think abortion is a *mortal sin*? Tell them to not have one. But they have no right to tell me or other women that they can’t. Free exercise clause – only good when it works for “my” interests. BS.

      • flypusher says:

        Would they consider it to be a mortal sin to preemptively invade a country that wasn’t a threat?

      • 1mime says:

        Mortal sin – common sense – Just live your life and let other people live theirs. Believe abortion is a mortal sin? Don’t have one. Duh.

      • pbasch says:

        And I think you’re absolutely right. Anybody who thinks that their tax money is going to fund mortal sins should stop paying it. And, of course, take the consequences. After all, what do fines and jail time matter when it’s your immortal soul we’re talking about?

      • pbasch says:

        @MassDem, re the “quickening” issue, that’s interesting. Me, I go with what they did in early Christianity, namely “ensoulment” determined when the mother could no longer kill the progeny, and this occurred one month after birth.

  10. 1mime says:

    OT breaking SCOTUS opinion in TX appeal, Evenwel v Abbott, affirms lower court ruling:

    “In a unanimous ruling, the court said a state can draw legislative districts based on total population. At issue in the case was the “one person, one vote” principle dating to the 1960s, when the court held that state legislative districts must be drawn so they are equal in population.”

    Here’s a syllabus of the unanimous opinion (which should clearly send a message for future attempts to change the process).

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/14-940_ed9g.pdf

    Related to today’s post on abortion, the court has not issued an opinion on another TX appeal involving abortion, Zubik v. Burwell. That is going to be a divided opinion and has the potential to be a serious intrusion into Roe v Wade depending upon how the court divides. If you are interested, here is a link to the brief:

    http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/14-1418bsUnitedStates.pdf

    I think it is worth pondering how the lack of Scalia on the SC has impacted the work of the current court of eight members. It will obviously result in more cases being affirmed from lower court rulings, but, it may also have the unintended affect of making the justices think more critically about their decisions. For one thing, there is much more attention by the general public and media to their decisions, for another, the absence of such a strong personality allows better discussion from all the members of the court. I think this bodes well for the quality of both the deliberation and the ensuing decisions. What is tragic, of course, as all of us who have been in business or on boards realize, is that having an odd number so as to have clarity of opinion is important. This is a serious problem for our nation’s highest court and for justice, generally. The Republican Party owns this egregious situation rising from a pure power play. The GOP most assuredly believes it can and will win in 2016. What all of us need to clearly grasp is that unless Dems take the Presidency and the Senate, the SC could be left in this untenable, irresponsible eight-person court for years.

    • 1mime says:

      Clarification: “irresponsible” as a consequence of the GOP refusal to allow the position to be properly filled, not an “irresponsible” court. It is also worth noting that the work load is now divided among 8 rather than 9 people. This not only makes their jobs harder, it delays justice.

    • vikinghou says:

      I thought today’s ruling was actually kind of wishy washy. The Court merely said that states “may” consider the total population when drawing districts. They did not prohibit the use of the eligible voter population during such a process. Note that this pertains only to in-state districting, not Federal Congressional districts which require consideration of the total population. Ginsberg’s opinion clearly expressed a preference for considering the total population. Alito and Thomas issued separate opinions pointing out that the ruling does not bar states from considering only the voting population. So I guess the ruling was unanimous, but the justices were not unanimous in their approach.

  11. texan5142 says:

    Like others have said in the past, if men got pregnant abortions would be available at the local convenience store 24/7.

  12. Stephen says:

    Abortion is one big bone I have to pick with the Republican Party. I see the practice as an abomination. But I really do not want the government controlling this decision. I have seen in my life time and history shows the the political pendulum swings wide over time. If the government can stop this they can also mandate it for what at the time are considered undesirables. China is a example of this. In our history the government has forced sterilization on people and experimented on people medically to their harm without their knowledge. A lot of Hitler’s ideas came from our own eugenics movement. I do not trust our government.

    Most women choose abortion because of economic stress. Cutting out assistance for the so called takers makes this choice more likely. I voted for Bill Clinton the first time he ran mainly because he ran on a platform of fiscal conservatism. He did good there. The second run I did not because his welfare reformed made abortions more likely.

    I rather leave this choice up to the mother but government should offer conception services and assistance for women who want to have their child be adopted or keep the child. I would rather reduce abortions than fight a fruitless fight for ideological purity. By nature I am very pragmatic. A fit for the old GOP but not the current party.

    My two adult daughters agree with me abortion is very bad. But they want that decision to remain with them not the government. Like most young women they will not vote for anyone who wants to imposed government control over their bodies. And women are the majority of voters.

    • 1mime says:

      Stephen, once again, you show balance and good judgement. You didn’t touch upon a current position of many Republicans, that is, “no exceptions” for the life of the child or mother, rape or incest. Candidate Cruz and now defunct Rubio both adhere to that position. I am firmly pro-choice, have the same repugnance for abortion that you do, but support the woman’s need and right to make that decision for herself. Your view of this issue and the fact that a probable GOP nominee for President adheres to it?

  13. texan5142 says:

    Abortion is a natural function of the human body, so I would say that a chemically induced abortion( the abortion pill) shortly after conception is an extension of that natural process. Thousands of fertilized eggs are discarded daily as a natural process. A miscarriage, more often than not, is the bodies natural process. Why did God or nature create this mechanism? I have yet to get an honest answer from a pro-life person.

    • Stephen says:

      Most zygotes are aborted naturally. According to Catholic belief at conception you have person hood. So in heaven zygotes out number born people by a lot. The world is full of contradictions, some man made ones like the one I just wrote about and some in the natural world. Part of maturity I believe is accepting your’s and mankind’s ignorance. Strange enough just like religion depends on faith science also does. If you make good assumptions you have a working hypothesis that reflects reality that you can use.

      • texan5142 says:

        “Catholic belief ”

        “So in heaven zygotes out number born people by a lot”

        There in lies the rub, it is all a belief, a free society should not pass laws based on ones personal or collective belief.

        “Part of maturity I believe is accepting your’s and mankind’s ignorance.”

        Well I believe that mankind’s ignorance is the belief in things that do not exist. Religion is a direct reflection of mankind’s ignorance in my opinion. To each his or her own. Take Ted Cruz for instance…no seriously please take him…He believes that out of billions of people on the planet that he is the chosen one.

      • 1mime says:

        “Ted Cruz is the chosen one…”

        Yep, just trying to figure out what for……

      • vikinghou says:

        Cruz scares the hell out of me. He’s far more dangerous than Trump because he actually believes what he’s saying. I can only hope that the establishment GOP is supporting Cruz temporarily in an effort to prevent Trump from winning enough delegates to secure the nomination before the convention. If the convention is contested and neither Cruz nor Trump win on the first ballot, I can see both of them being dropped like hot potatoes in favor of someone more palatable.

      • 1mime says:

        Kasich is hoping the same thing, Viking. And he is the only GOP candidate that polling consistently shows beating the probable Dem nominee, HRC. This is also why Repubs are refusing to hold a hearing (much less confirm) Justice Garland. They FULLY believe that they will win the Presidency in ’16. They are putting all their money on the long shot.

      • vikinghou says:

        Kasich only seems moderate compared to Trump and Cruz. He may be polling well against Hillary for now, but when voters start to realize just how far right he really is, the bloom may come off the rose.

      • 1mime says:

        Not to digress back into presidential predictions, but…..two studies that have predicted who would win the presidency with extremely high accuracy – one since 1916, the other since 1992, state that Republicans will win. Deep breath……..this can’t really be possible…….you better your knickers it can. That’s what the whole put off the hearing for SCOTUS thing is about. The GOP thinks the odds favor them in November. Eight months is a long time away in this process but successful track records are important to keep in mind.

        http://thehill.com/policy/finance/275084-models-predict-gop-white-house-even-with-trump

  14. flypusher says:

    The bottom line of this issue- the whole when does personhood begin (not life, as sperm and eggs are living, but no one’s legislating on their behalf) is entirely SUBJECTIVE. One person can say fertilization, another after implantation, another after gastrulation, another when brain waves are detected, and there would be valid scientific arguments to be had for each one, and no scientific consensus. Unless you are taking the extreme positions of no abortions at anytime, for any reason, or zero restrictions on abortions, you are are making tradeoffs and compromises. You cannot solve this problem, you can only detour around it. The only detour that works is the common ground of reducing unwanted pregnancies ITFP, which means things like comprehensive sex ed and improved access to birth control and helping single mothers rather then demonizing them. If you are truly about “saving babies”, you will have no problems with this, but if your real agenda is controlling/subjugating women, you won’t be fooling anyone. Looking right at you, Akin, Mourdock, Grothmore, England, etc.

    • 1mime says:

      Make no doubt about it, banning contraception is where they are headed. Women are going to have to take on this issue as individuals and a class. No one else has as much at risk and no one else has been successful as women can be in pushing back and ending this.

      Seventy-five years since the first FDA approved contraception pill was introduced to the market. That’s all that needs to be known. It’s a woman’s right and her choice. Period.

    • vikinghou says:

      I agree, fly. Opposing not only abortion, but also means to prevent unwanted pregnancies (especially sex ed) unmasks a desire to subjugate women.

      Efforts to prevent women from having abortions are doomed because the practice will just be driven back underground. Unfortunately, tragic outcomes arising from a lack of proper medical supervision will occur more frequently, and the impact will be greater among the poor.

      • GG says:

        They want it driven underground, they want women to suffer and they want them punished if they obtain an illegal abortion. It’s ALL about punishment and humiliation. I’d be surprised if they didn’t make them wear a big scarlet “A” too.

        Rich well-to-do women have always been able to get safe abortions and it’s always the poor who suffer when abortion is illegal and, of course, those same forced birthers throw them in the gutter once those “precious” children are born and complain about tax dollars supporting welfare queens.

      • 1mime says:

        I respect the choice of those who feel differently than I do on the subject of contraception and abortion. The problem is, my different views and opinion are not accorded the same respect I offer others. Have as many babies as you want – but don’t criticize women who seek abortions because they can’t afford children or properly care for them; never use contraception yourself but don’t make access and affordability a problem for those who do need and want it; and stop the cheap charade against a woman’s right to choose how and when to have children. Live your own life and let others live theirs. Finally, if a woman has a child and needs help, do not criticize or shame her if she needs public assistance while also denying her access to contraception or an abortion.

        Rights go both ways.

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