10 August 2008

Give me dogs over religionists anytime

The anti-abortion campaigners are now saying that women who undergo abortion may suffer mental health effects, using this argument to support their call for a "relook" at the laws. A call made out of "love", you understand. Full essay.


yuen said...

the story about the dogs is quite unnecessary; it is not even a rigorous piece of reseach; maybe the dogs yawned because they were worn out by being experimented on...

in any case, abortion does have psychological and physical consequences; whether these are serious enough to be deterrence has to be decided by the women concerned

the article title is offensive, even if it might accurately reflect your attitude - it reminds me of Cultural Revolution

Anonymous said...

I agree with your political position for purely practical purposes, but I find it slightly distasteful that you're fighting so hard to preserve the right to kill babies (the science can say what they want, the overwhelming fact is that a foetus WILL become sentient soon enough).


Anonymous said...

The late George Carlin had many humourous rants about pro-life advocates.

one wry comment was that - pro-life is anti-woman..viewing women as vehicles for procreation, and not associating pro-life with problems that many women have with bringing a child into the world.




Anonymous said...

To religious nuts, everything is offensive!

Stop make life sound so bloody important! Many people die everyday! Most not even identify! So what so important with that piece of cell which not even well form?

Just make sure you take good care of yourself, believe in whatever gods you like, and stop buzzing into other people business - in the name of whatever God you believe!

Jolene said...

Denny, what about the right not to have your organs mandatorily donated?

If a driver hits a pedestrian after drinking, we don't harvest the driver's organs to save the victim of the accident, even though we think the driver should "take responsibility" for her acts. Why can it considered more acceptable to force women to give our very bodies in the labour of pregnancy and childbirth, against our will? I cannot think of any other labour which is comparable to it.

- Jolene (www.glass-castle.org)

Anonymous said...

Its interesting how certain sections of people make a big hue and cry about the killing of human babies and then go out and have a nice piece of veal for dinner. The hyprocrasy is astounding, but it shouldnt be since a majority of these people pick and choose the parts of their religion that they want to uphold and forget about the rest.

One would think besides abortion, birth itself also has psychological and physical consequences. It's interesting to see however these religious zealots putting forth their ideas into mainstream media. Don't they have better things to do like worry about the environment or world hunger ??

Anonymous said...

To denny: "the right to kill babies" is a loaded statement. I would hardly call a few embryonic cells in the first bit of pregnancy a "baby". In fact, many adult mammals, like pigs, are far more sentient than a few human cells that will become sentient "soon enough", given that pigs have brains that can think, feel pain, and suffer. But we kill pigs. I do have some qualms about abortion during later terms, and a debate over the proper time during a pregnancy to give rights to a foetus seems entirely sensible. But I hope the debate can be centered on the best-known scientific facts. Calling someone a baby killer is a sure way to win sympathy for a cause, but seems to appeal too much to emotion instead of reason.

Anonymous said...

Each time i read about what the fundamentalists write in ST, I wonder why people would want to impose their values and morality upon others who may not share their views. In fact, I a suprised that they papers would published such bias badly argued pieces which are only asking, no shouting, to be critically and intelligently put down.

Don't these people realise there are other religious, and non-religious people, including atheists, that do not share their narrow religious views of the wold? Do they feel christian love for their fellow beings when they advocate their one-sided agendas and sought to implement their values on society irregardless of who they may offend, affect or destroy? Obviously not. For them, their ideological stance justifies everything.

But yawningbread has given me hope! I admire your courage to speak up on these issues. And you do i so well with style and wit that i brings a smile to m face. You just made my day a little brighter! Keep on writing!

Anonymous said...

A follow-up to Steve article:

Yes, and last Sunday Straits Times just run a few pages of advertisement telling people how Christianity is getting more popular with the younger generation!

Now you know who got more say in The Straits Time!

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, I'm not religious. In fact I'm one of the most secular and left-wing person I know, and I do not support the banning of abortions due to the potential for illegal/backalley abortions.

However, I believe the act itself is wrong, and Roe vs Wade framed it totally counter-intuitively when they made abortion a privacy issue when it is in fact a life issue.

I used the emotive term "right to kill babies" precisely because that is the frame we need to discuss this issue on. That is the contention. We who find abortion morally repulsive believe so b/c we believe it involves the direct termination of a human life or potential human life.

Jolene: The difference here is that abortion involves the direct termination of a human life, which is on a different morally plane from the rather far-fetched analogy you raised. Besides, if there is an accident, the driver here will be punished by the court. If you really want to draw parallels here then if we can punish the driver then why not the parents who chose to abort? But of course that's ridiculous and so is that analogy:)

Abt foetus vs pigs etc: I don't think it is hypocritical to view a human life as more important then animal life. It is entirely proper and human. If not why is the killing of a mentally handicapped man considered murder but the killing of a chimpanzee not?

I cannot say for certain when sentience begins and I think ultimately that isn't the main issue. The so-called 'ball of cells' have the overwhelming potential to become a human life, and that is inestimably precious. I think pro-choice people might like to take this POV into consideration before they berate all pro-lifers as senseless religious nuts.


Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Well said, Denny.

It is not apparent in my article but at least one friend of mine noticed it: It does not accord with my private position. Like you, I too think abortion is morally abhorrent, except perhaps at very early stages of embryonic development. Because we cannot know at our present stage of knowledge when sentience commences, I take a very conservative position on this possibility.

Yet, at the same time, I distinguish legal permissibility from morality, and this separation is also a fundamental principle dear to me. That's why I oppose arguments that suggest sweeping bans, even as I privately feel that abortion is morally wrong except maybe within the earliest stages.

Jolene said...


I don't see how the analogy is far-fetched. Pregnancy and childbirth are comparable, in their impact on a woman's body, to organ donation. We can manage that impact with modern obstetrics, but even after management it involves severe pain, risk, time and cost. Indeed, the process of management itself necessitates pain, risk, time and cost. I find it difficult to see how anyone who has learned about pregnancy and childbirth and puts themselves into the shoes of a pregnant woman for a few minutes could disagree.

The reason for my analogy is this. Drinking and driving endangers grown human beings whose personhood is not subject to any doubt: and even then when we require drunk drivers to "take responsibility", we do not impose upon them consequences of such a great magnitude of impact. By contrast, consensual sex is a wholly innocent act, and yet people think we should require women to "take responsibility" for sex by forcing us to undergo processes of that magnitude of impact.

Making the argument all about foetuses is too limited. In practical terms, unless medical technology develops to obviate this problem, whether a foetus deserves legal protection cannot be separated from the question of what you have to force a living woman - whose status as a fully sentient human is beyond doubt - to endure to secure that "protection". This is why viability is an important point: beyond viability, that element of intrusion into a woman's very body and life can (in principle) be done away with.

There is almost no other measure that states apply (other than restricting abortion) which involves the same level of intrusiveness into our human bodies, as forcing a pregnancy to term. Can you name one?

When you couple this with a society steeped in the attitudes of compulsory heterosexuality and the lingering view that women are the property of men (e.g. marital rape immunity), the impact of restricting abortion on women's bodily autonomy becomes even more troubling.

Maybe this person explains it better than I do:


I don't think terminating the life of a foetus is without ethical implications. I can understand why a woman would choose to undergo the costs of pregnancy and childbirth rather than abort, even if she didn't really want a child. But the conversation about whether she should even have the freedom to make that decision must not take place in terms that erase what the restriction of abortion does to women.

- Jolene (www.glass-castle.org)

Anonymous said...

The inside story of evangelical churches in America is quite shocking. They are often money machines and "issues" are chosen on the basis of whether they are useful as rallying points to get headlines, get more adherents, get more donations. Creating controversies is part of the game. Creating the specter of threat from "liberals", "gays" (and in the old days, "commies") is part of the strategy. It is incredibly cynical, and now what is worse is seeing it coming into Singapore. The govt should keep a close eye on them, cuz they can be horribly divisive.

Anonymous said...

when the foetus is a living being is a bit of a grey area, but imo, as long as the brain and heart is not fully formed, it's simply a a mass of cells. to just put it damn bluntly and piss those religious nuts, the first 4-5 weeks of a foetus is equivalent to ball of metastasis cancerous cells. yes it has the potential to become a human being, but if the parents cannot provide for a new human being, why let it suffer in life? so pro-lifers would rather not kill something that has not even been fully formed to be called a life, than to let it suffer for years and years to come? the logic is bewildering.

i had an abortion in during the 4th week, because the whole event was an accident and i did not have the confidence and guts (and the love and patience) to care for a human life. the so called psychological harm and what not is crap because i viewed it as a surgical procedure to remove a lump of benign cancerous cells. call me cold hearted or a sinner, but i think it is a bigger sin to cause another life to suffer endlessly.