Scott Horowitz | June 27, 2022
I have always enjoyed some of the thought provoking conversations on this site. Safer than social media, and people tend to be fairly respectful.

The actions over the last week have left me heart broken for htis country. States are not allowed to regulate firearms, but are allowed to regulate a woman's body?

I'm tired of everyone saying "what the founders meant, and such".. I mean, in 1790 only white male property owners could vote, and a slave only counted as 3/5 of a man for the census. Hell, the 2nd Amendment specifically says "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.".. people seem to always forget about the first sentence.

The 14th Amendment to the constitution literally says "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."... so wouldn't restricting medical practices violate this? The justices are following a religious agenda. I get "if you're a religious person, and you don't believe in abortion, you shouldn't be forced to have one".. but I hate when people put their own agendas on others.

I pray for the future, I hope that the next generation can fix the mistakes of our current one.

I know this is a very controversial issue, and plenty of us have strong views each way, but let's please try to remain respectful, and maybe we can understand where others are coming from. I know the other Scott H appreciates when we're all nice on here :)

Scott Hardie | June 29, 2022
Thanks for bringing this up, Scott. Great points. I've never understood the appeal of Originalism, when the Founding Fathers themselves amended the Constitution; how was it not obvious that they intended it to change?

I appreciate the respectful conversations here too. As a liberal, I can certainly respect the position on the other side of this debate, that human life deserves dignity and protection as a fundamental principle. Politics has a way of warping society, and that's true about the matter of abortion: When the Republican Party wanted to court Evangelical voters and the Democratic Party wanted to court Feminist voters, they each took a side on abortion that ran counter to many of their other beliefs, seeming to make them all hypocrites in the process. Would things be easier if the parties switched positions? I don't think so, not any more. Among the bigger problems are that we have settled into an endless, binary, winner-takes-all battle for power, with no room for compromise on this or so many other issues, dooming us to democratic collapse.

Among the many excellent findings of Jonathan Haidt's research is that conservatives have a moral dimension to their decision-making that liberals do not. For example (as discussed previously), when it comes to preventing crime, conservatives typically favor a punitive approach with harsh prisons and long sentences, while liberals typically favor something more like cushy Norwegian prisons that focus on rehabilitation. Recidivism is far lower in Norway, so their approach clearly has merit if the goal is to reduce crime, but it's mocked here because of moral ideas about "going easy" on criminals who "gave up their rights" when they broke the law. We as a society can't solve problems together if half of us don't factor in morality in problem-solving when the other half does.

I've been thinking about that this week in the wake of Dobbs. The idea of banning abortions in ALL cases, inclusive of saving the life of the mother and so on, was once unspeakable in American politics, but things have gotten so extreme in the last ten years that it's now quite common among the anti-abortion laws being passed. And that position only makes sense from a moral standpoint: Only if abortion is a moral wrong should we ban it and punish those who engage in it absolutely. If instead the goal is to save lives, then ectopic pregnancies and septic pregnancies and other life-threatening pregnancies with no possibility of a surviving fetus would be carved out as exceptions, because banning abortion in those cases means causing death, like some kind of deranged Trolley Problem in which the law compels you to let one person die needlessly so that others somewhere else might theoretically live.

And that's the other side of it, the part that keeps me pro-choice when I'm hypocritically pro-life on all other matters: That unborn lives are theoretical lives, whereas the mothers who experience considerable suffering and injury to carry them to term are real actual lives. Roe didn't legalize all abortion; there was still a cutoff at the third trimester, when the fetus became viable outside of the womb, and that seems to me like a reasonable definition of life to me. I have tried and I simply cannot bring myself to agree that a fertilized egg is alive or that it's a human being, and I cannot extend legal protections to it that would impose considerable and needless suffering upon another person. I don't want absolutism on either side of this issue, abortions being 100% legal or 100% illegal, and I wish everyone else was open to compromise.

But as I said, there are bigger concerns these days. The (truly shitty) reasoning behind the Dobbs decision undermines substantive due process, the legal principle that the majority cannot pass laws stripping rights from the minority simply because they're in power, and that there are certain essential freedoms that are beyond government concern even when they aren't enumerated in existing law. Thomas's frightening concurrence hints at future invasions of privacy to come. In our current extremist times, what protections do we have without substantive due process? What's to stop Florida from banning all medical care related to sex, including gender transition and STD cures? What's to stop Texas from mandating organ harvesting on prison inmates? Truly scary things are now conceivable that weren't until just recently.

Like Scott, I very much want to know what other people think about this. Here's also hoping for a respectful and thoughtful conversation.

Scott Hardie | July 3, 2022
I want to rage against Democrats who haven't done anything on this matter and still ask for votes and donations. But this guy made a great point that Congressional Democrats HAVE done things and keep getting blocked because they don't have the votes. There were other opportunities further back that he didn't consider (didn't Democrats have a super-majority during Obama's first term and during the Clinton administration?), but the point stands that things aren't going to get better unless we vote.

And yet, I'm so tired of the people who argue online that "not voting is the same as voting for the opposition" and "every time a Democrat doesn't bother to vote, it makes Mitch McConnell smile" and so on. Withholding my vote is the only way that I have to pressure Democrats to do better. I'm tired of career politicians like Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, Feinstein, and Leahy using a decades-old playbook and failing to recognize how much things have changed. The rules of the game are radically different now, and Democrats need to WAKE UP because our institutions are in serious danger while they're asleep at the wheel. People mock AOC and "the Squad," but they and Bernie are the only ones who seem to recognize the scale of the problem and are demanding a proportionate response.

Evie Totty | July 4, 2022
As far as my stance on abortion: it is (probably) the exact same as Scott Hardie's. I've been fortunate enough that I have never had to wade into those waters. My daughter became pregnant at 15 and abortion was never a consideration for her, though adoption was (for those of you who don't know me that well, she kept the baby).

As someone raised believing there was only one god (whether or not we were churchgoing Christians) I am horrified at the behaviour of those who insist on imposing their "religious beliefs" on others. I don't know The Bible inside-out, but I've read it and "know enough to be dangerous".

From what I understand, it's not our job to judge people according to His commandments. We are supposed to obey laws and such so that we live in a civilized society, but as far as I am concerned - terminating a pregnancy is not included in that.

Fifteen to twenty percent of recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first twenty weeks (halfway through). According to the March of Dimes the rate is higher than this (as high as 50%) because they happen in the first few weeks.

The rate of miscarriages goes up with age. I am 53. If I were to get pregnant (because I'm still painfully fertile), there is an 80% chance I would have one.

All that data doesn't really seem all that relevant, given that prior to Dobbs, the time limit was 20 weeks - but given that women generally find out they are pregnant between 6-10 weeks (this is a guess - I did not look for supporting data), if they elect to have an abortion within the week they find out, they still could have miscarried with no intervention.

So let's look at child poverty in the US. About 1 in 6 children (17% in 2019) are born in 100% poverty in the US each year. I will ignore the itch to get into "what is the real poverty level in the US" for now (but let me just say that the recognized poverty level is far too low given that I made between $42,000 and $54,000 a year two-thirds of my kids' childhood and they went without Christmas for about four years during their teens and I lived week-to-week the entire time, meaning that they could not participate in extracurricular activities nor get to go on vacation - but we did have a home and food in the fridge so a family making $1000 less than my $42k each month is above the poverty level). Well looks like I dove in anyway.

In 2014 49% of women obtaining an abortion lived below the poverty level. According to the CDC there were 652,639 abortions in 2014. A 2004 article says that 500,000 pregnancies end in miscarriage. 3,613,647 children were born un the US in 2020 (yes, it's not exactly apples to apples, but it'll do).

For poops and chuckles, let's just say that 131,000 of those abortions in 2014 would have ended in miscarriage anyway. That leaves 521,000 more children born. Doing the math (49%), 255,290 of them would be born into poverty.

Of the 3.6 million others born, 614,320 were born into poverty in 2020. Adding those up: 869,610 would have been born into poverty in 2020 with a total of 4,134,647 children born that year. That raises the number of children born into poverty to 21%. That means one in five children will not be getting enough food/clothing with many not even having a place to live.

God only knows what those numbers really are now in the age of COVID with the number of families forced out of their homes, families losing one or even both parents (not to mention other family members), or simply being pushed to the poverty level and below due to job loss and next to nothing is being done about it. The oligarchy in this country has "regular folk" convinced that if they are taxed at an income level so high, they won't even miss it the world would end or something, so it's not going to happen anytime soon.

Warren's tax plan estimated a revenue of 3.75 trillion over ten years. That's trillion with a "T". And if you haven't clicked that link yet, the tax rate is teeny-tiny: 2% on households making between 50 million and 1 billion, and 4% above that - and I believe that is not on the total income, just what is above that line. In other words, the first 50 million would not be taxed at all.

But no. These folks don't care about these extra quarter-million children who "aren't asking to be born" each year - with these bans going into effect there are no accompanying plans to help these mothers out (I realize I'm being sexist here and I apologize). I don't have the numbers, but I can guarantee you some of the abortions are from women who likely make that tough decision simply because they cannot afford to have a baby.

And how many of them will be neglected, abused, abandoned, or trafficked? How many born addicted to drugs or suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome? With a genetic disorder guaranteeing a low quality of life, no matter the circumstances they are born into?

When someone says "one of them could be the one to cure cancer" - what about the mother who had to drop out of med school because she couldn't be a mother and student at the same time? I'm not saying every child "saved" by the ban on abortion will have a horrible life - but until this country stops worshipping money and power, I believe that even if one of them does because of this, it is one too many.

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Scott Hardie mentioned Originalism in his first reply. When I looked it up - it made me think of Scientology and how those folks operate. Do we really want to do that? Operate this country based on what was going on in the late 18th Century? Based on a document penned by men who OWNED OTHER HUMAN BEINGS? It's almost 4 am, I don't really have time to get into that crap, plus you guys probably are tired of reading my rant anyway.

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What can we do? Real. Change. Begins. At. The. Local. Level. Literally Google "real political change begins at the local level". We have to get involved in local government. With the exception of a few (coughtrumpcough) - I can guarantee you those making the decisions for us in Washington started locally in some way, shape, or form.

Find a decent human being in your local government and if there isn't one - find someone and start a movement. Get them up the ranks. Think of it like social media. You aren't going to think of someone with 150 followers as an influencer - but they started out that way and built up to those millions (do NOT say Kardashian).

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I'm not going to proofread - so if I made any errors in there, my apologies. If you got this far, thanks for listening to my TEDTalk.

Scott Hardie | July 8, 2022
Excellent argument, Evie. I agree completely. Without a corresponding investment in the welfare of every American, including the medical costs of pregnancy and childbirth, this change in the law will lead to a tremendous amount of pain and suffering.

From what I understand, it's not our job to judge people according to His commandments. We are supposed to obey laws and such so that we live in a civilized society, but as far as I am concerned - terminating a pregnancy is not included in that.
Yes! I am no Biblical scholar, but my understanding is that God will judge wrongdoers and we are instructed to forgive them. The movement to bring harsh criminal penalties to women who have abortions, based on interpretation of the Bible, seems misguided to me and has the potential to ruin a lot of lives.

If abortion must be outlawed, then in addition to the aforementioned carve-outs for rape and incest and the life of the mother and non-viable pregnancies, I'd like to see a high bar for proof that a miscarriage is not an abortion. We already require intention as a prerequisite for convicting someone of all kinds of felonies; I even once voted to acquit a man of a $1.43 theft because the county hadn't proved intent to steal. So many women are going to be accused of abortions that were genuine miscarriages, and the presence of mifepristone in the house or an offhand comment to a friend about not wanting the baby is going to combine with five decades of pent-up anti-abortion fervor to get them convicted of murder when there's no definitive proof that it wasn't a miscarriage. But I feel sick even writing this out; we shouldn't be bargaining for terms under which prosecution of abortion ought to be allowed. It should simply not happen.

Can we calm down with the rhetoric? Probably not, but it would be a fine first step. The left does not "want to kill babies;" don't be ridiculous. The right is not pursuing this because they "want to boost the future labor pool;" that's absurd. (I'm aware of Coney Barrett's comments about birth rates and economics. i'm still willing to grant her the benefit of the doubt that her goal sincerely is to prevent murder, and that any theoretical economic benefit in future decades is a distant afterthought by comparison.) Another thing that I'm tired of hearing is that "the same people who want to force births upon poor mothers also want to deny them any help," which is both an unfair reduction of different GOP factions, some of whom are pro-life and others of whom are anti-welfare, but also a result of the hypocritical misalignment of pro-life and pro-choice positions that I mentioned above. I have no doubt that there are pro-life and anti-welfare Republicans out there, but I also trust that there are plenty of pro-choice anti-welfare and also pro-life pro-welfare Republicans too. Only about two-thirds of Republicans are pro-life, although that poll had a rather small sample size imho.

Evie Totty | July 8, 2022
Yeah, I go to great pains to not label these folks as "conservative" or "Republican" because I have many people who I care about and even love who aren't in these camps. And I know "liberals" who make exceptions for these topics. These folks are in their own group, separate from political affiliation, IMO.


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