Home / General / Would American Anti-Choicers Actually Want European Abortion Law?

Would American Anti-Choicers Actually Want European Abortion Law?

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As I have noted before, the answer to this question is obviously “no.” The strategy is to cherry-pick some provisions that (at least on paper) seem more restrictive while ignoring the more egalitarian context in which they’re embedded.

Katha Pollitt has much more on this question, and needless to say it’s brilliant. Some highlights, but really read the whole etc.:

Wouldn’t it be great if these mansplainers with their world-class bully pulpits knew what they were talking about? For example, given that even in the United States, where later abortions are legal (if expensive and tricky to find), 88 percent take place during the first trimester, how could Germany’s time limit be the reason its abortion rate is one-third that of ours? Could it be that the reason German women are less likely to have abortions is that they are less likely to have unwanted pregnancies? Germany has one of the world’s lowest birth rates, after all, despite a generous basket of benefits for families. Thirty percent of women have no children. That suggests some serious contracepting is going on.

Here’s what’s really different about Western Europe: in France, you can get an abortion at any public hospital and it’s paid for by the government. In Germany, you can get one at a hospital or a doctor’s office, and health plans will pay for it for low-income women. In Sweden, abortion is free through eighteen weeks. Moreover, unlike the time limits passed in Texas and some other states, or floating around in Congress, the European limits have exceptions, variously for physical or mental health, fetal anomaly or rape. Contrast that with what anti-choicers want for the United States, where Paul Ryan memorably described a health exception to a proposed late-term abortion ban as “a loophole wide enough to drive a Mack truck through it.” If a French or German or Swedish 12-year-old, or a traumatized rape victim, or a woman carrying a fetus with Tay-Sachs disease shows up after the deadline, I bet a way can often be found to quietly take care of them. If not, Britain or the Netherlands, where second trimester abortion is legal, are possibilities. (In 2011, more than 4,000 Irish women traveled to Britain for abortions.)

Here are some other differences: in Western Europe, teens get realistic sex education, not abstinence-only propaganda. Girls and women have much better access to birth control and emergency contraception, which are usually paid for by the government. In countries that require mandatory counseling, it is empathetic and nondirective: nothing like our burgeoning network of Christian “crisis pregnancy centers” and state laws requiring women to endure transvaginal ultrasounds, hear fetal heartbeats and look at sonograms. European doctors are not forced to read scripts that falsely warn women that abortion will give them breast cancer and drive them to suicide, and tell them that an embryo the size of a pea is “a unique living human being.” In countries that have waiting periods, distances are smaller, and just to repeat, abortion is widely available and integrated with the normal health system, not shunted off to clinics in a few
cities and college towns. You do not have to travel eight hours four times to get the counseling and fulfill the waiting period—or sleep in your car or the bus station till the time is up.

But once American pro-choicers find out that rational sex. ed. and increased access to contraception can reduce abortion rates, we’ll be able to make a deal to do that because criminalizing abortion is not at all about regulating female sexuality! [/centristconcerntroll]

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  • Warren Terra

    Adding to all those differences in availability of contraception and abortion, a much stronger social safety net means an unplanned, unpartnered pregnancy is much more manageable.

  • wengler

    If the US had an economy that worked better for everyone, I would expect the people to become a little less insane. Abortion politics in this country are directly related to economic anxiety stoking fears of cultural destruction.

    • Bruce Baugh

      There’s some synergy, though, in that the most ardent anti-choice crusaders are so thoroughly tied to the people most directly responsible for making the economy worse.

  • DocAmazing

    They’d want European abortion law if the European nations in question were Ireland or Malta. Otherwise, nein, non, and nyet.

    • sharculese the ignoranus

      Although, on the topic of Ireland, what thers said:

      Again, that’s not relevant — actually, because Ireland has so effectively and easily offshored its abortion debate, maybe that’s made it easier for Irish women to make progress, because that fight is effectively off the table? It’s possible.

      The short answer to Ross fucking Douthat is that Ireland’s abortion laws have quite little to do with how Irish women view, and practice, abortion.

      http://whiskeyfire.typepad.com/whiskey_fire/2013/07/come-dance-with-rossy-stobling-nonsensical-out-of-sense.html

      • Ronan

        “Again, that’s not relevant — actually, because Ireland has so effectively and easily offshored its abortion debate, maybe that’s made it easier for Irish women to make progress, because that fight is effectively off the table? It’s possible.”

        That’s a good question, (and obviously Douthats answer is ridiculous), why have Irish women such high levels of success in such a (historically) patriarchal society where political dysfunction and inertia prevents any substantial progressive legislation from being passed? I’d like to think it’s ‘cultural’ but more than likely its tied up in the last decades economic boom
        Thers has the abortion angle completely right though, D-hats argument was/is idiotic

        • Hogan

          why have Irish women such high levels of success in such a (historically) patriarchal society where political dysfunction and inertia prevents any substantial progressive legislation from being passed?

          Because there’s regular and not prohibitively expensive ferry service from Dublin to Liverpool. Which reduces women’s need for legal changes in Ireland. That’s what Thers means by “offshoring.”

          • Ronan

            Yeah Im not talking about the abortion issue specifically, but Douthats argument was ‘this is what a western country without abortion looks like’ and then starts quoting stats showing Ireland near the top of tables measuring gender equality..Douthats argument being that Irelands abortion laws are in some way connected to this, which is ridiculous..that reality shouldn’t be tied to the abortion debate..
            so I was more wondering why it might be. I assume b/c of the economic boom in the last decade, but there is a history of Ireland as a small rural economy with high levels of male emigration where women practically ran the country despite the catholic church which might also be some sort of partial answer..
            so I don’t know really, and am just wondering out loud
            I don’t object to the idea that the Irish abortion issue has been offshored, which it has and which is generally accepted and which doesn’t have popular support (anymore)

  • bspencer

    Right on, as usual.

  • Derelict

    Quoth Barney Frank:

    “For Republicans, life begins at conception and ends at birth.”

    This country will never have a rational debate about how best to deal with abortion because the conversation is restricted to those who want a complete ban on abortion and birth control, and those who feel abortion is “icky.”

  • Philip Arlington

    When you mean pro-abortion, have the guts to say pro-abortion.

    I’m English, I’m a life-long atheist, and I’m against abortion. So is my mum, and she’s a woman. Try to fit that into your stereotypes.

    People support abortion because it is convenient (especially for men who sexually exploit women). People oppose abortion because it is wrong.

    • Edmund

      People support abortion because it is convenient (especially for men who sexually exploit women). People oppose abortion because it is wrong.

      Wow! That has the ring of truth.

      That being said, Phillip, abortion is legal and although I may not like it, it’s the law.

      What really pisses me off is everyone expecting taxpayers to pay for it. Just because you have a right doesn’t mean I have to fork over my funds for your abortion.
      If that were the case, then you could also argue that poor people have a constitutional right to a firearm and that taxpayers should pay for firearms for the poor that couldn’t afford them.

      It just doesn’t make a lick of sense.

      • Malaclypse

        And yet Quakers like me are forced to pay for the military, and nobody sheds fake tears for my plight.

        • Barry

          Perhaps Edmund will link to a large number of comments he’s made elsewhere, complaining about paying for other things which he doesnt’ like.

      • Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq

        Sigh, an unplanned child might easily cost the taxpayer and society more. As in welfare benefits, SNAP, medical costs associated with the pregnancy or the associated loss of taxes if someone can’t finish her education and get a better job. That at least covers the argument of paying abortions for people with low income with taxpayer money.

      • sharculese the ignoranus

        What really pisses me off is everyone expecting taxpayers to pay for it. Just because you have a right doesn’t mean I have to fork over my funds for your abortion.
        If that were the case, then you could also argue that poor people have a constitutional right to a firearm and that taxpayers should pay for firearms for the poor that couldn’t afford them.

        It’s like there’s a difference between medical care and shiny toys or something! This analogy has been tried before, it’s lazy, and you’re not clever for deploying.

        Moral twerpitude: not as courageous as you think it is.

        • Edmund

          It’s like there’s a difference between medical care and shiny toys or something!

          There is no argument strong enough to make pregnancy a disease.

          • Malaclypse

            You should explain that to Savita Halappanavar.

          • sharculese the ignoranus

            Not all medical conditions are diseases, dummy. Pregnancy is a medical condition. They have this whole subset of doctors that specialize in it, they’re called OB/GYNs.

            Has it occurred to you that maybe the reason the world seems so confusing is that you actually don’t know very many things?

            • Edmund

              I’m sorry.

              I understand the law. I abide by the law because it is the rules we have all agreed to in advance.

              Doesn’t mean that I think abortions are right.

              It only means that I honor the law.

              I suggest you do the same.

              • sharculese the ignoranus

                This is complete non-response to what I said (which is that you don’t know very much about medicine)

                I honestly don’t know why you keep going on about this honor the law stuff. Are you trying to say you’re not out there murdering providers. Congrats on the most basic level of human decency, I guess?

                I also don’t know why you’re suggest I should ‘do the same,’ unless you’re enough of a coward to think that being mean to dumb trolls is a crime. Which you might actually be stupid enough to think, to be fair.

                • Edmund

                  More pancakes, Darlin’?

                • sharculese the ignoranus

                  Okay, so we’re totally into gross groveling mode. Cool.

          • Hogan

            It’s not like any woman ever died in childbirth.

            • sharculese the ignoranus

              I actually think it’s counterproductive to focus on medically necessary abortions (that’s why I ‘fixed’ your earlier statement). Abortion is a medical procedure like any other, no matter how much that enrages wingnuts, and their attempts to romanticize elective abortions should be rebuffed at every opportunity.

              • Edmund
                • sharculese the ignoranus

                  You’re right, it’s not a baby, it’s a fetus. You don’t get to redefine terms just because you don’t like them. Sorry.

                • DrDick

                  Exactly! That is the first thing you ever got right.

              • Hogan

                I think you mean “demonize” rather than “romanticize.” What they’re romanticizing is childbirth, and they do it by pretending it’s no more risky than blowing your nose. That’s something else we need to push back against.

            • DrDick

              After all, maternal mortality in the US in 1900 was only 1 per 100 live births and complications like fistulas never happen. No reason at all to be concerned about the mother’s health.

          • Origami Isopod
            • Edmund

              I wish your Mom had seen this…

              • Col Bat Guano

                Is there a douchebag-of-the-year award you’re in the running for? Because you’ve got to be in the top ten.

          • daveNYC

            A stroke isn’t a disease. You have a point?

    • MAJeff

      I thought you were black, Jennie.

      • Malaclypse

        She’s a floor wax, AND a dessert topping!

      • sharculese the ignoranus

        I’m not sure this is Jenny. The writing style is slightly different, and if there’s one thing that’s consistent it’s that Jenny can’t switch that up.

        But I do think he’s lying about how he is and I’m also pretty sure Phil and Eddie are both teenagers.

        • sparks

          When I saw the adolescent insult above, I immediately thought that, too.

    • rea

      No, “pro-choice” is the right word, because the whole point is that the decision whether or not to bear a child needs to be made by the woman, not the government. Some countries have mandatory abortions, we pro-choicers reject that too.

      • I think this is defensible, but is there really any danger of anyone against antiabortion activities who is pro coercive abortion? I think ceding the pro abortion space yields too much. Or perhaps is better as an umbrella term. But there I prefer “reproductive freedom” (or rights).

        • sharculese the ignoranus

          Actually, yeah, I think there are a decent number of MRA-curious types who are pro-choice because they think it obviates them from ever having to take responsibility for conception, and that a lot of those dudes would, if they had to, subtly bully a partner into getting an abortion she didn’t want.

          It’s why, as much as I admire the sentiment, I’m a little wary of Choice USA’s new ‘Bro-Choice’ campaign.

          • “Bro-choice” is awful.

            Ok I forgot about MRAs (though are they a significant force in this debate?) but even then, isn’t “pro choice” easier for then to coerce than “pro abortion” or even pro abortion rights?

            I mean, it segues neatly into “But what about the MAN’s choice”!!!

            So Is pro-abortion worse off?

            • JL

              The name is stupid, but I think it’s a good idea to try to engage cis men as allies, which is the point of the campaign.

              • I’m definitely not in any organisation or activist loop here…but again I have to wonder exactly who “bro-choice” is targeting exactly. After all, I believe both Scott and I are cis men who are pretty strongly pro-choice/pro-abortion. It’s a foundational principle of the democratic party which is filled with cis men. “Bro-choice” seems prone to exactly catching the swath of cis-men who are PUA and MRA prone. I don’t see that they are a hugely useful group at best and prone to be a problem in the likely case.

                • To be clear, I think it’s an empirical matter, even given my misgivings.

                • JL

                  Many cis men are pro-choice, but few are activists around it – I do this sort of activism, I see the gender breakdown. The point of the campaign as I understand it is to build activists through exploration of gender and masculinity and how they intersect with reproductive justice.

                  It’s not only directed at cis men, there were trans men on the panel of theirs that I saw, but IME, trans men and other transmasculine people are much more likely to already be engaged on the issue.

                  How effective it is, I don’t know. The panel I saw in January was meh – it went too far (for my tastes) down the gender theory rabbit hole and got too far away from pregnancy, abortion, and child-bearing – but 1) I was at a queer activist conference so that might have been the audience, and 2) the men in the audience seemed to appreciate it.

                • Many cis men are pro-choice, but few are activists around it – I do this sort of activism, I see the gender breakdown.

                  This does not surprise me.

                  The point of the campaign as I understand it is to build activists through exploration of gender and masculinity and how they intersect with reproductive justice.

                  This confuses me a little. Both as a strategy and as the object of a campaign using “bro”. What class of activists are they looking for? I find the following a bit worrisome:

                  Advocating for Policy Change: Pro-choice men can be a powerful force in helping move our policy agenda forward, which is exactly why Choice USA will lead the way in recruiting and elevating their voices within this movement. By building a network of outspoken, actively-engaged men, we are building the power necessary to move policy and win on our issues.

                  This seems…odd and worrisome to me.

                  But as I wrote, it’s an empirical matter. I would be very glad to be wrong in my misgivings.

              • sharculese the ignoranus

                Yeah, to be sure, the campaign seems pretty great. The connotations of the name make me a little queasy, but that may just be me.

                • No, I feel the same. I read the pledge and it looked great but I’m a bit loath to go “bro”.

                • JL

                  I think y’all are making a bit too much out of a silly pun. :)

                  Whatever the flaws of the panel that I saw (mostly that it was sort of boring and abstract), neither the panelists nor the audience were dudebro types. The panelists spent a long time talking about having masculinity without being misogynistic.

        • Pseudonym

          Just look at all the Palinistas who applauded the Snowbilly for choosing to stick it to liberals by not having an abortion when she had a fetus diagnosed with Down syndrome. I have yet to meet a liberal who would actually be upset with a woman making that choice not to abort, although some commenters here suggest they might exist. The point is that it was her choice. Now when you get to someone like Rick Santorum and choosing to conceive (at appreciable risk) and give birth to a baby with trisomy 18, I start to think that those decisions might have ethical dimensions I should be allowed to judge as a third party. Forgive me. But yes, there is a sizable movement trying to portray pro-choice opinions as pro-abortion.

          • sharculese the ignoranus

            I’m a reproductive rights advocate. I’ve been in situations where pro-life women are testifying about giving birth to children they knew where going to live short, painful lives. It’s difficult to deal with, and afterwards I feel conflicted about the ethics of the situation, but I remember that it’s this one woman’s very personal story, and try my best to leave it at that.

          • I agree that some antiabortion folks want to tag their opponents with “proabortion” and to associate that with coerced abortion or “frivolous” abortions. But that doesn’t show that people who are proabortion in general are pro coerced abortion (MRAs are an interesting exception). I’m not clear that the rhetorical move of “pro choice” to be a counter to this portrayal is all that effective and I think it has its downsides.

            I by no means object to using “pro choice”. I’m happy to do so. I just object to the idea that its exactly the right term or that its super effective these debates.

            It’s like the formulation “safe, legal, and rare”. Well sure, I also want open heart surgery to be safe, legal, and rare. But people pick up on the “rare” for abortion as validation of its ickiness. I don’t think abortion is icky or morally a last resort that walks the edge of immorality. Early term abortions are a useful, often essential, tool in the management of women’s health during pregnancy.

            Like any medical procedure they should only be performed with the informed consent of the patient for the benefit of the patient.

    • I’ve said it before, I’m more than happy to say that I’m pro abortion. And I am, in fact pro abortion. I pro lots of safe medical procedures that do a lot of good.

      I’m also pro informed consent and patient autonomy and safe practices.

      • Hogan

        Safe, legal and as often as needed.

        • sharculese the ignoranus

          Safe, legal and as often as needed wanted.

          Fixed.

          • Hogan

            Friendly amendment.

      • DrDick

        Me, too. I am, however, anti pompous moralizing wankers, so fuck off, Phil, Ed, and whatever other sock puppets you may have.

    • Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq

      Hey Scott or another of the proprietors. Is Philip genuine or just somenone of the known brigade of trolls

      • Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq

        ?

    • brad

      When you want to force loaded terms on people so as to make your own positions easier to justify (to yourself), have the guts to admit it.
      However, I like the suggestion that abortion’s primary function is to allow pimps to keep their whores baby bump free, do you have a newsletter?

      • sharculese the ignoranus

        Forced-birthers seethe with rage that they don’t get to define their opponents in the public consciousness, and they constantly lash out as a result. It’s adorable.

        • brad

          By their logic, no one should be allowed to have babies, either, also.
          There can be no denying that there have to have been instances of men using abortion as a tool to continue to abuse women. There’s also no denying that such practices predate legal, safe, abortion, and often include murdering the woman.
          But the amusing logic is that getting a woman pregnant is almost certainly a more common means by which men find ways to abuse women. So if he’s really concerned about the plight of women, by his logic, we should probably all just have our junk cut off. He can go first.

          • brad

            Well, it’s not amusing that men will try to force pregnancy to continue abusive or unwanted relationships. Even though I didn’t say that, worth making clear.

    • sharculese the ignoranus

      When you mean pro-abortion, have the guts to say pro-abortion.

      Because that’s not what they mean, duh.

      People support abortion because it is convenient (especially for men who sexually exploit women). People oppose abortion because it is wrong.

      This is just too cute. I get that you’re ever so pleased with yourself for thinking you’ve figured out everything about the world and the motivations of everyone who isn’t you are magical illegitimate, but public masturbation is crude, kiddo. Grow up.

    • Fake British troll is fake, not British, and a troll.

      Plus he’s going to end his existence as the center of attention in a hard, humming chair.

    • delurking

      Philip knows this woman, see, and SHE doesn’t think abortion should be legal. So there!

      Also: Philip is sad because these legal abortions don’t allow him to force women to bear children they don’t want. Which these forced pregnancies are totally not sexually exploiting women. Because shut up that’s why.

      • sharculese the ignoranus

        I like that he thinks we’re going to be shocked at the existence of anti-choice atheists or anti-choice women. Do a modicum of research before you show up, trollbabies.

        • brad

          I think the bigger tell is feeling that mention of atheism is a significant factor. As an actual life long atheist, not even baptized, who tends to similar company, tho by no means exclusively, I have to say I wouldn’t even think to mention it as being relevant to my position on the topic, especially not in such presumably secular surroundings as these.
          Never mind the obviously false concern and terminological tell that “pro-abortion” is to begin with.

          • sharculese the ignoranus

            In my experience there’s a contingent of atheists, mostly converts, who buy into a lot of wingnut fantasies about how the world works and get really defensive if questioned about it, so they feel the need to repeatedly announce their atheist cred.

            But that’s also a very American thing, so he’s either lying about being an atheist, lying about being British, or, probably, both.

            • brad

              Or could be he’s a libertarian and MRA douche who thinks abortion rights are insufficiently slut shaming on society’s part, it’s a wide, wacky world, but yeah, Occam sez troll.
              And if he’s not, I’m not worried about fitting him into my “stereotypes” anyhow. Assholes are gonna fart.

              • Edmund

                I’m OK with slut shaming.

                It’s called ‘stigma’ and it’s an effective social control.

                I only wish there was more stigma about having children out of wedlock.

                It’s not rocket science to know that less children outside of marriage means less poverty.

                I’m all about less poverty.

                • sharculese the ignoranus

                  It’s not rocket science to know that less children outside of marriage means less poverty.

                  Well, yeah, for one, you couldn’t pull rocket science out of your ass.

                • Hogan

                  It’s not rocket science to know that less children outside of marriage means less poverty.

                  If you’re shooting rockets into the ground, yeah.

                • Origami Isopod

                  If you were all about less poverty, you’d be happy to see your tax money go toward relieving it.

                  What you’re actually happy about is the ability to feel superior to other people because their genitalia differ from yours and because they’ve had less luck in life than you do.

                • sharculese the ignoranus

                  Jenny doesn’t feel superior to anyone. We’ve established that his inferiority complex drives fucking everything he does.

                • brad

                  Along with sock puppetry, it seems, since this one’s an unambiguous response to what I was clearly saying about “Philip Arlington”.
                  In which case I feel free responding to the not so subtle implications of the positions you’re pretending to take, and say your problem is that it’s legal for women to say no to you, and you want minorities to reproduce less.

                • DrDick

                  Does that men you want to raise the minimum wage to the $15-20 range and restore Eisenhower’s tax rates? Because those are the primary factors increasing poverty, not out single motherhood. You actually have your causality backwards (poverty leads to more single parenting), with the exception of divorced women, who do become more impoverished after their divorces.

                • Edmund

                  If you were all about less poverty, you’d be happy to see your tax money go toward relieving it.

                  I’m interested in results.

                  Hundreds of billions have been poured into trying to relieve poverty and it’s only gotten worse. Blindly throwing more money doesn’t seem to be the answer. The root cause of any problem is where the attention should be paid. I’m looking for something that actually WORKS.

                  Feeling good about yourself because you spent the taxpayers’ money on programs proven to not really work doesn’t cut it for me.

                • Malaclypse

                  it’s only gotten worse.

                  Is the troll lying, or stupid?

                • DrDick

                  Is the troll lying, or stupid?

                  Yes.

                • Edmund

                  Great source (not).

                  Try this….

                  And this

                  And this

                  Why do you hate the poor?

            • Edmund

              But that’s also a very American thing, so he’s either lying about being an atheist, lying about being British, or, probably, both.

              You have ‘second sight’. Your psychic powers are truly stunning!

              Single-handedly, and without any outside evidence, you have ferreted out the truth!

              Amazing!!

              • Malaclypse

                Um, you were pretending to be Phillip when you were pretending to be British. Sock-puppetry fail.

              • sharculese the ignoranus

                I can see how basic reading comprehension would seem like magic to you.

                • Hogan

                  Any sufficiently advanced oh never mind.

                • Edmund

                  I can see how basic reading comprehension would seem like magic to you.

                  Would you like more pancakes? Whole Wheat!!

                • sharculese the ignoranus

                  Okay, so we’re switching to weird gross passive-aggression. Edmund, if you’re not actually Jenny, just wanna make it clear that I’m not going to fuck you, either.

                • sharculese the ignoranus

                  Actually, yeah, I looked back over the thread and this is totally Jenny. The one time I don’t reflexively assume it’s him…

                • Edmund

                  I’m not going to fuck you, either.

                  I can do without the infection…

                • sharculese the ignoranus

                  So having found no traction with ‘hah, your transgender’ and ‘hah, you’re a fatty’ Jenny has moved on to ‘hah, you have an STI.’

                  Because if he thinks condoms are a tool of the devil, everyone else must, too.

                • brad

                  I’m starting to suspect Jenny doesn’t actually know how to make pancakes.

            • It looked to me like he was trying, and failing, to make himself sound like Christopher Hitchens, who really was an anti-choice atheist, and, er, British.

              • sharculese the ignoranus

                Was he really anti-choice? It’s like the more I learn about that dude, the more I realize what total trash he was.

                • Scott Lemieux
                • He really really did suck.

                • Murc

                  Hitchens wasn’t just anti-choice, he was a colossal misogynist.

                  He really just… hated women.

                • brad

                  Hitch didn’t hate women, he hated when they spoke. /tongueincheek> When he was a visiting prof at the New School GF the same time I was there I always saw him in the company of many women. Sure, they were young female grad students less than half his age who submissively basked in his not at all drunken sweat stained “brilliance” who he invited to worship him in the unofficial school bar after classes, and… whispers from the kinds of voices one tends to trust that he had made at least one of those women leery of being alone with him a second time, let’s say.
                  I apologize for being obtuse, but I don’t want to make direct accusations, it would not be right. His behaviors that I directly observed, however, were questionable and do not incline me to rule worse out.

                • Ronan

                  Maybe some of those women found Hitch attractive, maybe some found him interesting, maybe some funny, maybe some were bored, maybe some enjoy drinking..I wouldn’t assume submissivness or speculate to wildly

                • brad

                  One of us is speculating wildly, it’s true.
                  I’m not saying I saw him in a bar with younger people once, therefore he’s a harasser with pedophilic tendencies.
                  I’m saying over the course of the academic year he was there I saw him, and interacted in small ways with him, in multiple settings, on multiple occasions, for extended periods. It was a topic of occasional discussion among my social circle there, and not my circle alone. I’m not even mentioning rumors, when I say whispers I mean more than something I heard going around from chatty people.
                  But it’s a small enough world I’d rather not say more, if you want to pretend Hitch was better than that, go ahead.

                • brad

                  Actually, he might have been there more than one year, I can’t recall precisely how long it was. I may have finished before he left.

                • Ronan

                  Im saying I wouldn’t speculate on the reasons those women might choose to hang out with Hitch,,Id imagine it being incredibly tedious, but so what. Each to their own

                • brad

                  Oh, I was speculating on his motives, not theirs. By submissive I mean how they had to act in his presence. Enabling, in the mildest sense, blowhard professors of note is something women in an academic setting are unfortunately forced to learn to do. I take it to have said something about him that they either sensed it to be the tact to take or that it was that type he allowed the privilege of his company.

      • witless chum

        Does this mom invocation mean that the abortion debate should be settled entirely by people raised by lesbians? Double the moms to invoke, so they’re better.

    • Philip

      You’re an asshole, a bad troll, and a disgrace to a perfectly good first name.

      • firefall

        +1

    • Shakezula

      At least it has learned not to end its posts with London, England.

      • ajay

        My thoughts exactly, Shake. He’s failed the Britishness Turing Test. This bloke is not a bloke. He’s a guy.

        Not that we don’t have our fair share of pillocks over here, of course, but I’m happy to say that this particular pillock is one of yours.

    • Colin Day

      People oppose abortion because it is wrong.

      And why is it wrong?

      People support abortion because it is convenient (especially for men who sexually exploit women).

      Merely convenient? Tell that to Savita Halappanavar.

      Death of Savita Halappanavar

      • Anonymous

        And why is it wrong?

        Mmmmm….. because it kills babies?

        • sharculese the ignoranus

          Fetus still not a baby.

        • brad

          So do guns?

          • delurking

            +1

            (Though you do want to notice that guns (mostly) kill already born, and therefore actual, babies, and as we all know forced birthers could give a single shit about any child or human being who is has already left the vagina. Only fetuses are sacred life to these fellas.)

            • Edmund

              Guns protect, that’s why police use them.

              Are you suggesting the police not use them?

              • sharculese the ignoranus

                Remember guys, Jenny’s world is simpler than ours. Brighter colors, softer edges, only binary choices.

                • Blunt scissors…

                • Edmund

                  Are you suggesting the police not use them?

                • Edmund

                  Remember guys, Jenny’s world is simpler than ours.

                  Here is the question again in plain English.

                  Do you think the police should not have guns? Its’ a simple question.

                  Are you going to dodge and weave again?

                • Malaclypse

                  Cool that having guns and using them are the same thing, in your arbitrary binary world.

                • Malaclypse

                  And to answer your silly question, some probably should, and others probably should not. But that requires an awareness of circumstances that you clearly lack.

                • Edmund

                  And to answer your silly question, some probably should, and others probably should not.

                  Thank you for answering even if it’s a curious answer.

                  Police carry handguns because they are portable and effective protection from those who would harm them.

                  And as we all know, crime only happens to the police.

              • Murc

                Are you suggesting the police not use them?

                I would note that in merry olde England, the cops do not in fact carry guns routinely, and are adamantly against being made to do so.

                • Malaclypse

                  Dude, Edmund obviously knows that, because he was pretending to be British, before he forgot that he Phillip was his British sock-puppet.

                • Edmund
                • Ronan

                  And up come tasers! There are armed units, but generally the average cop in the street (iirc) isn’t armed

                • Edmund

                  Dude, Edmund obviously knows that, because he was pretending to be British, before he forgot that he Phillip was his British sock-puppet.

                  Either you think police with guns are a good thing or a bad thing.

                  It’s really not that tough a question. I’m assuming you can read plain English…

                  You seem to also have a lot of opinions and yet, it’s dodge and weave. What’s the problem?

              • DrDick

                The British police are not actually issued guns.

        • cpinva

          “Mmmmm….. because it kills babies?”

          bullshit. if they were already babies, they couldn’t, by definition, be aborted.

        • Ronan

          There are actually serious moral questions against abortion, the fact that you take them this ‘seriously’ would suggest your opposition is based on something else (to me anyway)

    • Scott Lemieux

      especially for men who sexually exploit women

      Right, pull the other one. Also, assuming that only men are agents in sexual relationships is a real good way of giving away the show.

    • Origami Isopod

      People support abortion because it is convenient (especially for men who sexually exploit women).

      Anti-choicers have no concept of women as human beings with agency who might, you know, actually want to fuck men without strings attached.

      • delurking

        Certainly no woman has ever wanted to fuck Philip/Edmund/Jenny of her own free will — that much is clear.

        • Not for all the maple syrup stolen from Canada.

    • Cody

      People oppose abortion because it is wrong.

      Care to elaborate? Why is abortion wrong? The idea of just waving your hand and declaring that all decent humans think abortion is wrong is rather awesome.

      • Edmund

        The idea of just waving your hand and declaring that all decent humans think abortion is wrong is rather awesome.

        I think you’ve got your collective heads in the sand.

        To say that everyone that doesn’t agree with abortion on demand is somehow an outlier opinon is just fuckin’ ignorant.


        Here’s what people think.

        • Edmund

          OK…bad link

          Here it is.

          • Malaclypse

            Yes, we see that you can’t even get all of the 27%ers on board for your policy preference. Try again, Dagney.

            • Edmund

              Really sorry that Gallup poll shows that most people think abortion is wrong.

              Hey, it is what it is. Head in sand doesn’t accomplish anything.

              That being said, it’s the law of the land and I will honor the law until it is changed.

  • cpinva

    let me give the short version of why “anti-choicers” are full of shit, period. if your buddy needed a kidney, and you had the right blood type, how would feel about the gov’t ordering you to give your buddy one of your kidneys? if some stranger needed your blood type, how would you feel about the gov’t ordering you to provide a pint, whether you wanted to or not? we make decisions about who lives and who dies daily, and no one thinks twice about it, because no one wants the gov’t telling them what to do with their own bodies. a pregnant woman is no different, she retains agency over her own body, whether the GOP likes it or not. if she decides she doesn’t want her body used as life support for someone else for 9 months, that’s her decision, and hers alone. no gov’t entity has any right to tell her what to do with her own body, any more than it has to tell you what to do with your kidney or blood.

    show me where in the constitution the state is granted the singular right to tell you who you must provide life saving support for, from your very own body, I challenge you.

    • sharculese the ignoranus

      a pregnant woman is no different, she retains agency over her own body, whether the GOP likes it or not.

      Technically, the part that they don’t like is that she had any agency in the first place.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        which is the heart of the matter, isn’t it

      • cpinva

        “Technically, the part that they don’t like is that she had any agency in the first place.”

        well, yeah. i guess i just assumed that was a given.

    • CarolM

      Years ago, when we were arguing about the legality of abortion, that is the same argument I have one of my conservative friends! He just replied “It’s not the same thing”. How convenient for him! But it is really the perfect analogy and one that conservatives don’t really like. More issues with consent, I guess.

    • Murc

      if some stranger needed your blood type, how would you feel about the gov’t ordering you to provide a pint, whether you wanted to or not?

      I’m gonna be honest here. In the case of someone needing an emergency transfusion in which there was only a handful possible donors, all of whom who refused to give it up, I would be in favor of one of them being held down and having a pint sucked out of them.

      I dunno, maybe that makes me a bad person. But I’m okay with violating bodily autonomy in temporary ways without significant long-term consequences in order to obviate a greater evil like somebody dying.

      My pro-choice stance is based upon the two pillars that pregnancy is fraught with risk and has enormous long-term consequences for the person going through it, which means that if you want to force someone to go through that against their will you’d better have a damned good reason, and the fact than I genuinely think of a half-formed fetus as a “thing” rather than an actual human being with rights.

      • Warren Terra

        Re forced blood donation: where do you draw the line? Bone marrow donation, which is replenishable but is more traumatic (and a bit riskier) than blood donation? A lobe of your liver? A kidney?

        • Edmund

          I think Mr. Terra has seen the real point.

          While Murc thinks only of this one instance of the person in need, he ignores the long-term damage this might to to everyone’s rights, both now and far into the future.

          Murc’s not thinking or valuing liberty.

      • Methinks this is a bit of a ticking time bomb scenario and suffers from some of the same problems.

        If there are a handful of doners and you can’t persuade them to donate a pint to save someone’s life in a particular situation…what are you doing wrong in your persuasion? Supposed one of them says, “Sure, but it’ll cost you $100,000.” do you still force them? What if another says, “Ok, I’ll give you a sliding scale, 10% of your income after taxes and rent & food forever or until I get $100,000 in a 5 year period”.

        Should the forcible donation be punished by law? What if the pint doesn’t save my life but merely increases my quality of life from “can’t catch my breath or walk more than 10 feet” to “normal”?

        Etc. etc.

        In some emergency situations, one can imagine emergency measures being acceptible. But you have to do quite a bit to make this one work out.

    • daveNYC

      That’s a pretty damn long short version. They’re full of it because if they were actually just anti-abortion, they’d be working to make abortion unnecessary, not just illegal. As soon as the ‘pro-lifers’ get on board with universal, non-crazy sex education, easy and cheap access to contraception, and a massive funding of the social programs that would make parenthood possible for all those who get abortions for economic reasons, then I might consider them to be not full of shit. They’ll still be assholes though.

      • cpinva

        “That’s a pretty damn long short version.”

        by far shorter than ms. pollit’s version, wouldn’t you agree?

        ” As soon as the ‘pro-lifers’ get on board with universal, non-crazy sex education, easy and cheap access to contraception,”

        except many of them profess a “sincerely held belief” that contraception is abortion. no, I stand by my (relatively) shorter version. personal autonomy is the bedrock of the bill of rights. absent that, there’s no really good reason for those 10 amendments to exist.

  • Why, it’s almost as if they’re arguing in bad faith!

  • daveNYC

    But once American pro-choicers find out that rational sex. ed. and increased access to contraception can reduce abortion rates, we’ll be able to make a deal to do that because criminalizing abortion is not at all about regulating female sexuality

    I’m actually suspecting that the long term plan is to regulate everyone (else’s) sexuality. The wimmins are just the easier initial target.

  • Ronan

    So Ross Douthat is a mansplainer, rather than an ideological reactionary conservative and an idiot? I would imagine his politics and lack of intelligence are a better explanation for nonsense than his gender, but sure what can you do

    • Lee Rudolph

      Why can’t he be all three?

      • Ronan

        I guess he can, Im just saying Pollitt led with the mansplain whereas I, personally, and not looking to spalin, would think the reactionary and idiot bit are more convincing

  • Joe

    Prof. Glendon repeatedly brings up Europe when criticizing our abortion policies. It’s useful to know the whole context there. Australia is another case. On paper, the rules are strict, but as applied, not so much.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I’ve been meaning to write this, but I’m guessing that in many cases MAG’s book is the source of this specious argument.

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