Jackie Mason | December 1, 2005
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Kris Weberg | December 1, 2005
I don't know that I'd call most of the talking that goes on around abortion a "discussion." As far as I can tell, it seems to involve people who will never change their minds shouting at each other while cynics and ideologues jockey for political power on the sidelines.

Me? I think it should be legal with restrictions after the second trimester, but then, I don't think a fetus is a living person prior to a certain point in gestation. Other feel very differently, I y'know, if you deeply believe that human life begins at conception, I can thoroughly understand why you'd want abortion outlawed.

Of course, plenty of people who don't think other things -- *cough*torturingdetaineesandthiswholeIraqfuckup*cough*
-- are deeply morally wrong don't give my views the slightest credence either, so my sympathy is limited.

And so American politics continues to devolve into a Hobbesian state of nature.

Jackie Mason | December 1, 2005
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Michael Paul Cote | December 1, 2005
You hit the nail on the head with that one Jacquelyn! Kids know how their parents are going to react and the ones whose parents would go off the deep end, don't want them to know. I think 18 is pushing the age limit a bit. Hell, 16 year olds know more about what's going on than they did 35 years ago. And thirteen year olds know more about sex than I did when I was 18. Evolution in progress!

An interesting Law and Order SVU was on the other night. It involved a teenage girl who apparently was raped and beaten. It then came to light that she was pregnant and it was her boyfriend that beat her and caused her to miscarry. It was further found that they had gone to NYC to get an abortion and was lied to by the clinic and basically put off until it was too late to do a legal abortion and it was the girls idea to cause the miscarriage.

I know it's fiction, but could it happen?

Jackie Mason | December 1, 2005
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Michael Paul Cote | December 1, 2005
Being able to reproduce doesn't necessarily coincide with the ability to make sound, rationale decisions. An 8 year old has the capacity to get drunk, but that doesn't mean they should be allowed to make the decision to drink! I think that you would find that most 14 year olds that get pregnant either didn't think of the consequences or (God forbid) weren't informed about the consequences of sex. It has been said that a man (or boy) thinks with his penis, so would it be politically incorrect to assume that a woman (or girl) thinks with her vagina?

Aaron Shurtleff | December 1, 2005
I know lots of people with reproductive capabilities that should not be reproducing. I know lots of people who should stop reproducing, but don't, for various reasons, and have 16 or so kids. I've also heard a lot of noise from people who have gone "past the expiration date", but THANK GOD FOR SCIENCE, can be implanted with a fetus and have a kid anyways. The ability to reproduce exists in millions of organisms with little to no "intelligence" as we know it. I don't think reproductive "ability" should be the issue in cases like this.

And you can't put an age on rationality either. I know some wise young-uns, and I know some dumbass adults (myself included)!

Also, I knew a girl (well, I still know her, but...) and she had great parents, who would have been supportive, and who went out of their way to be there for her. She still got pregnant, and she terminated it without asking for her parents permission, or even telling them about it. I don't think how great your parents are, or how much they support you and tell you to make the right decisions is going to matter one little bit. Now, if your parents are total assholes, that's another affair, and I think there exists a loophole in the law for just such an occasion (I could be wrong, though).

I actually agree (with the possible exception of the idea that Iraq is a total fuckup) with what has been said before. I think science has pretty much charted the development of fetuses, and I think we can place a finger on the point where brain formation begins, and some rudimentary function exists. It seems to be a no-brainer (sorry) to set the "point-of-no-abortion" at that time. But I'm a cold logical scientist. :)

I saw one article where it stated that in many states, a student under 18 can't be given aspirin for a headache without parental permission. Shouldn't a...I hate to say minor operation, but I think it is, in the grand scheme of all medical procedures...shouldn't abortion be at least as important as aspirin? :)

And in conclusion to all the rambling, I think parental consent for folks under 18 is not a terrible thing, by any means. If you think your mom's gonna freak out, don't get pregnant! Abstinence isn't that hard! It is possible to NOT HAVE THE SEX!!! Still, I can also see the fear that allowing this weakening of Roe vs Wade could start us on the path to overturning it entirely, which could be a very bad thing (I said could. I'm not totally convinced that the horrible backlash that many people are convinced would happen will happen...but I can accept that it might (especially under the current administration)).

And, yes, it is not PC to say a woman thinks with her vagina. ;)

And really really finally, what difference does my opinion make? I'm not a woman! I can't understand! (Can't tell you how many times I've heard that!)

Jackie Mason | December 2, 2005
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Kris Weberg | December 2, 2005
Michael -- it's not only nonfictional, it was a headline-grabbing case a few years ago. Couple of kids in New Mexico, I believe it was. In the real version, the boyfriend stomped on the girl's stomach to cause the miscarriage.

Amy Austin | December 2, 2005
A *much* better alternative to protecting women's reproductive rights, don't you think?

Kris Weberg | December 3, 2005
The problem, for me, isn't opposition to abortion as such, so much as that opposition to abortion seems to come paired up with opposition to contraception as well; in short, opposition to sex for purposes other than procreation, or at least to all sex outside marriage.

That's the part I don't understand -- unless you simply want people to suffer if they have nonprocreative sex, or sex outside a marriage (if you support selling condoms and pills to the married folks), there's no particularly good reason to oppose both.

And opposing sex on the grounds that it should have 'moral consequences" seems dodgy to me as well. Gluttony's a mortal sin, just as is lust, but no one runs around opposing Olestra on the grounds that people who like the taste of potato chips should 'suffer the consequences." If it's morally OK to use technology to make Pringles less fattening, why is it morally wrong to use technology to reduce the unwanted consequences of sex?

Jackie Mason | December 4, 2005
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Amy Austin | December 4, 2005
From what I understand, this is actually far more common than you seem to realize! And again, it only proves that human nature will seek out a loophole (no pun intended!) to overcome that with which it is at odds.

Kris Weberg | December 7, 2005
Studies have shown that the kids who sign abstinence pledges practice lots of oral and anal sex, but they have a higher risk of getting STDs.

Amy Austin | December 7, 2005
Of course... and if they were listening in sex ed, instead of mentally convincing themselves that they are still "virgins", they'd know that, too.

Scott Hardie | December 8, 2005
Am I alone in being bothered by one implication inherent in pressing ahead with abstinence programs in the face of the evidence Kris mentioned, which is that the programs really exist to draw that thin moral boundary line so we can say "Well, we told you not to do it, so now you get what you deserve"? It's the thinnest of pretenses, like, well, making up our minds to invade a Middle Eastern nation and then inventing a thin line for them to cross so we have a shred of rationale for going after them. Never mind that with horny teenagers, as with the war, the line exists in the minds of the people who draw it, not in the minds of the people who cross it, and in both cases a lot of harm is done in the process of doing a little bit of good. I don't mean to oversimplify this here, but is the cause of preventing sex worth more kids getting diseases? Both things considered, I'd rather write off sex prevention as a lost cause than write off sexually active teens as a lost cause.

Amy Austin | December 9, 2005
No, I don't think you're alone, Scott.

Aaron Shurtleff | December 9, 2005
I don't mean to oversimplify, but what is the problem with teens and abstinence? Why do teenagers pretty much get a blank check to screw like rabbits? I hate to spoil the fun for teenagers, but you won't die from not having the sex!

And another thing, there's no magic spell where you sign an abstinence pledge and your freakin' brain forgets what a rubber is! I'm sure I will now be deluged with claims that there are people in this country who have no idea about any form of contraceptives, but I find that pretty hard to believe (unless it's an isolated community, like the Amish, but even then...)

I guess I just can't wrap my head around how people cannot see that abstinence is the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Condoms fail, people forget to take pills, medications can have wonky effects on injections, but not having sex always works! (Except in cases which would be covered under the subjects of miracles and/or mythology, and let's keep that out of here). I don't oppose sex, I oppose people who claim that abstinence is impossible.

And, incidentally, I have a friend with Crohn's disease, and I've seen what Olestra can do to someone with a serious intestinal problem, and I am against Olestra for that reason. :)

Let's see how many more times abortion and the current presidency can be compared to one another!

Michael Paul Cote | December 9, 2005
How's this for a comparison - I think that abortion could have cured the problems with the current presidency!

Aaron Shurtleff | December 9, 2005
Why did I not see that coming! *grin*

Kris Weberg | December 9, 2005
Abstinence for teens is a good idea. So is world peace.

Aaron -- abstinence programs DON'T teach kids accurate info about condoms.

And the kinds of kids who sign those pledges aren't the kids who get that frank talk from their parents; they're the kind who get the "Don't have sex, end of discussion" talk. Likewise, if a teen thinks condoms break all the time, is he going to spend a few bucks on them, or just figure that they're not gonna make a difference anyway? If a teen's aprents tell him or her they're gonna seriously punish him/her for having sex, is said teen going to buy birth control that a parent might find in their roo,?

Hell, I knew guys in high school who wouldn't use condoms because they were sure it made sex less pleasurable. They didn't stop having sex, they just stopped using condoms.

I look at teen sex a lot like I look at teen drinking. I never drank when I was a teenager, but most teens I knew did. And that was fucking ILLEGAL, not just something they were told not to do by mom and dad. You really think most teenagers are going to honor abstinence pledges? Teach them not to have sex; but teach them with the certainty that some of them WILL because, well, most teenagers are irresponsible horndogs.

Here's a great example -- way, way back in 1942, when most teenagers didn't have cars and when absitenence before marriage was the ONLY cultural attitude around, 25% of the girls in the graduating class of a Jacksonville, Florida high school were pregnant.

Now, imagine the world of today, when it's that much harder to keep an eye on teens and where sexuality is a bigger part of popular culture. Now imagine telling those kids, "Don't have sex. Condoms can break, so don't put faith in them, either."

A few of those teens, mature for their age, will work out the risks involved and, if they do have sex, they'll do it with a condom knowing it qat least reduces all sorts of risks.

Most of them? They'll listen to half of it -- because teenagers in classrooms are SO attentive -- and decide that condoms don't work and that they still really, really wanna get their rocks off.

Aaron Shurtleff | December 9, 2005
Don't kids have masturbation to fall back on like we did when I was younger? :)

Amy Austin | December 10, 2005

Hey, Kris, why you gotta' go bringing my hometown neighbors into it?!?!?! ;-)

Jackie Mason | December 10, 2005
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Michael Paul Cote | December 10, 2005
You really want to hit home with teens - run an ad campaign showing a pregnant girl in a prom dress! I don't know many that would want to go to the prom in that condition. And don't tell them drinking and driving can kill them, show someone who lived through a devastating car crash with multiple facial injuries. Vanity before sanity.

Kris Weberg | December 10, 2005
THere's nto a sex ed program int he country that doesn't explain to kids that abstience is the only %100 guarantee against pregnancy and STDs; the problem here is with the "abstinence-only" movement, whose name suggests what they do and don't teach. It's the abstinence-only educated kids who are asked to sign virginity pledges like those we've been discussing.

Abstinence-only sex education isn't about adding a pro-abstinence voice to sex ed -- that voice has always been there, for obvious reasons -- it's about refusing to teach kids other means of birth control on the grounds that learning about and having access to condoms and the pill will encourage them to have sex. Becaue as we all know, teenagers would never even dream of having sex if they didn't know where to get condoms.

Jackie Mason | December 11, 2005
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Scott Horowitz | December 12, 2005
I saw Jackie, sorry Jacquelyn, say "it is hard to scare kids straight" and the first thing that came to my head is to scare kids away from homosexuals. I need a vacation.

Amy Austin | December 13, 2005
HAHAHAHAHA... maybe you just need some Homocil, Scott? ;-DDD

Scott Hardie | December 20, 2005
I read today that the man who famously shot 50 Cent was named Darryl "Hommo" Baum, as in homicide. Something tells me he should have put more thought into his street name.

I don't want to be literally scared shitless. By anything.

If I were a sex ed teacher, I would teach abstinence first, but go over contraceptives as well, just as Kris and Jackie described. It's about covering all the bases, no pun intended. But in my heart, I wonder: When teenagers have sex responsibly, is there anything wrong with it? Because to bring it back to what I was saying, I think that the ongoing campaign for abstinence-only programs is not really to prevent teenage pregnancy nor the spread of STDs, but to keep children (!) from engaging in this immoral act. Sure, let's deny teenagers the right to be sexually active and unshamed about themselves, just as we do with gays and lesbians, and those who like harmless but "perverted" turn-ons like BDSM. But deny ourselves the same sexual freedoms? Pfft, never. Kids and gays and kinks shouldn't enjoy oral sex because the church says oral sex is immoral, but of course there's nothing wrong with us enjoying oral sex.

Amy Austin | December 20, 2005
I don't want to be literally scared shitless. By anything.

Heheheh... nice segue, Scott -- nice segue.

Scott Hardie | December 20, 2005
What can I say? Catch up on three weeks of TC at once and it gets a little scattershot. :-)

Amy Austin | December 20, 2005

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