Supporting a Woman’s Right to Choose

comments form first comment

Reported in the NY Times, 9/13/12:

Seeking to reduce runaway obesity rates, the New York City Board of Health on Thursday approved a ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, street carts and movie theaters, the first restriction of its kind in the country.

Not reported in the NY Times:

A spokesperson for the Board of Health went on to explain the exception provided for females over the age of thirteen: “The members of the board are of course personally opposed to businesses purveying services that can cause harm, but we support a woman's right to choose what she does with her body.”

top of page comments form

16 Responses to “ Supporting a Woman’s Right to Choose ”

  1. Hi Tom,

    Are you able to cause links to be opened in new tabs by default? Otherwise I always have to backtrack to thinkingchristian.net to finish (and potentially comment on) your post, unless I manually open links in a new tab. Not a big deal…just convenience. 🙂

  2. I could, David, but I’ve seen a lot of research that says most people prefer it not be done that way, so I’m going with what I take to be the majority opinion.

    The idea is that forcing links to open in new windows is discourteous in that it disrupts expectations and takes control away from users, so it’s better to leave them in control.

    I don’t think there’s a way for the website to force links to open in new tabs, as opposed to new windows, by the way. It’s possible to force a link to open in new ____, but whether that blink is filled with “tab” or “window” depends on how the user sets his or her browser options.

    I know that leaves out some people with the opposite preference, and I apologize to you (and everyone else who’s likely to chime in here!) for that.

  3. Many pro-choice arguments are inconsistent. People tend to believe things about abortion that they don’t believe about other things, such as the inconsistency you pointed out here.

  4. @Tom

    Ah right, I have my browser set to enforce new tabs rather than windows. For those who are unaware of or don’t have such an option, I can certainly see how new windows would get annoying. No problem then.

  5. With reference to the automatic opening of links in a new tab/window. This requires the “target” attribute to be set on your anchors, but the target attribute is not allowed in html 4.01 strict and xhtml 1.0. It is only allowed in transitional. It is generally a bad idea because many people browse with full screen windows, especially on smaller devices, and they may not be aware that you’ve just “replaced” their window, in other words, you just broke the back button. What is more, if I as a user WANTED it to open in a new window/tab, I would right click it and tell it so, configure my browser to always let it be so, or middle-click it (which is the default shortcut for my browser). I know how to use my browser and I shall drive it, I do not need the designer of the website to do that for me 🙂

  6. Is it supposed to be hypocritical to support abortion and soft drink restrictions (or any other public health regulation)?

    If so, I don’t quite see it.

  7. I think the point is the “double standard”. We already accept certain governmental interference in what we do with our bodies (because, allegedly it is good for us), but we cry bloody murder when some other people want to tell us what to do with our bodies (because allegedly it is good for us).

    I see much the same thing in South Africa. You are not allowed to smoke in your car if there are kids in the car (in Mauritius, it extends to ANY passenger). Some groups now want to extend that to the home: It would be illegal to smoke in your own house if it would affect the health of your kids. How they intend to actually enforce it is besides the point, it is the same kind of double standard imho. You will allow the government to reach INTO your personal space and tell you what you can do in your own home and with your own body, but you cry bloody murder when the same thing happens when the child is still in the womb (which I would argue, is its temporary home for the time being).

    The funniest thing is hearing people argue: SURELY the health of your children is important enough that such an infringement on freedom can be justified? Well, yeah, apparently only if those kids survived pregnancy.

  8. While it probably isn’t a popular position, I tend to think of a fetus in the same way that I think of a kidney or appendix…yes they are living, no, they are not self-aware and yes, they are both dependent on the mother for their survival.

    So, as harsh as it sounds, I see no reason why having an abortion should be treated any differently then removing an appendix or donating a kidney.

    The fact that a fetus will, potentially, mature in a self-aware human being is beside the point.

    I am not advocating that abortion be used as birth control, for two reasons. Firstly because, just like removing an appendix, their are medical risks, we don’t yank out everyone’s appendix unless it is causing a problem and secondly, whether is it :logical” or not, there is certainly an emotional trauma associated with losing a fetus and that should not be treated lightly either.

    Do I know when a human becomes self-aware or sentient? No I do not…but it seems that since we need to draw a line someplace, then after the fetus is no longer directly dependent on its mother, i.e. birth, is as good a time as any.

  9. Fendrel,
    The fetus has it’s own unique human DNA. So what you have here is one unique human being (the fetus) being cared for by another (the mother). It’s nothing like your kidney/appendix analogy.

    You think the issue of potential is beside the point. You’re wrong. Legally speaking, potential realities are part of many legal decisions. For example, lost future income is often considered when deciding how much a person should be compensated when they become injured.

    As the father of a murdered child, the loss of a life spent together with your child is hardly beside the point, is it?

  10. @Fendrel:

    While it probably isn’t a popular position, I tend to think of a fetus in the same way that I think of a kidney or appendix…yes they are living, no, they are not self-aware and yes, they are both dependent on the mother for their survival.

    1. As pointed by SteveK, a fetus is *NOT* like a kidney or any other part of the woman’s body because its DNA is different. This is a biological fact, period.

    2. You are not self-aware when you are sleeping or under heavy anesthesia. Is it morally permissible to put you to death in those circumstances? If you say that no because the lack of awareness is only temporary, so is the lack of self-awareness in the human fetus: it is just instead of days it will probably take a few months. Is months a problem? Then everyone under a comma can be killed with no problem.

    3. After birth, the child is still dependent in every possible way on its mother. The only thing that has changed is his location: he has gone from being inside the womb to outside. Are you seriously going to contend that a change of geography is what dictates the morality of killing?

    So, as harsh as it sounds, I see no reason why having an abortion should be treated any differently then removing an appendix or donating a kidney.

    It is as harsh as saying that killing you is no more than removing a minor nuisance like squeezing a pimple or extracting a splinter from the toenail.

    Do I know when a human becomes self-aware or sentient? No I do not.

    And yet despite your ignorance, instead of erring on the side of cautiousness, you draw the line anyway.

    But the nub is not whether the human being inside the mother’s womb is self-aware or not, the nub is that it *IS* a human being, different from the mother and with the potencial to become an adult, mature and productive member of society (or a genocidal maniac, yeah I know). *That* is the point.

  11. I can see your point, but I still have to disagree. I don’t view the fetus as an entity that has the same rights as an adult until it is self-aware, sentient.

    Two things come to mind to help support that view…most people I have talked to who are pro-life advocates, balk at the idea of introducing legislation that would penalize a woman who gets an abortion as heavily as a woman who kills a child of 2 or 3 years (won’t treat it as a capital murder), indicating to me that they do not, in spite of their protests, consider the fetus to have obtained full personhood.

    Secondly, and this point is arguable to be sure, but wouldn’t it follow that if unique DNA was the hallmark of a unique human being (person), then the reverse would also be true then that monozygotic twins would then NOT be two individuals or persons?

    The last point, that of compensation for loss of potential realities. I don’t think you can make that connection, after all, in the case of an abortion, who should get compensated? The mother chose to abort the baby of her own free will, she can hardly expect to be compensated for the loss afterwards.

    After all is said and done though, I do NOT think that a decision to have an abortion should be taken on lightly. I acknowledge that there is great potential risk to the mother both physically and emotionally, but I do not think the fetus has any rights or should have the protection of the state.

    It should go without saying, but you have my deepest sympathy for the loss of your child. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain caused. I have 3 children myself and do not think I could survive if I lost one in that way.

    Karl

  12. G. Rodrigues –

    #2. Are you arguing that when you sleep you do not think you are a self-aware, sentient being? At some point a human grows sufficiently to become self-aware, I know of no research that says self-awareness goes away while you sleep…if you have some please provide.

  13. @Fendrel:

    Are you by any chance aware of your surroundings or of yourself when asleep or under anesthesia? Really?

    When you wake up, either from deep slumber or anesthesia, you *regain* awareness, both of yourself and your surroundings, so if you say that it is morally permissible to kill human babies because they are not self-aware then it is morally permissible for me to kill you when you are asleep.

    Unless by self-awareness you mean something completely different than what the word means. I suspect an ad hoc definition is incoming.

  14. Fendrel,
    I’m not a father of a murdered child, but thanks for the appropriate rational response to those that are.

    most people I have talked to who are pro-life advocates, balk at the idea of introducing legislation that would penalize a woman who gets an abortion as heavily as a woman who kills a child of 2 or 3 years (won’t treat it as a capital murder), indicating to me that they do not, in spite of their protests, consider the fetus to have obtained full personhood.

    The conclusion you offer doesn’t follow. There is nothing wrong with making it a moral crime with a different sentence. Stealing lunch money from a child won’t get you prison time, but stealing millions from investors will. We can discuss the appropriate sentence after we overturn Roe. How about that?

    I don’t think you can make that connection, after all, in the case of an abortion, who should get compensated?

    Father, grandparents, siblings, friends of the mother, neighbors….

  15.