Is there a consistency problem...

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Re: NO consistency problem in being pro-choice and pro-AR

Postby Daniel » Wed Mar 24, 2004 9:31 pm

Myrddin wrote:Gary doesn't call himself "Pro-choice" nor does he call himself "Pro-Life" - so its a bit misleading to put a link to a Gary Francione article with your "Pro-choice" opinion. Like all good philosophers Gary doesn't make broad sweeping, blanket judgements - he looks at each case seperately. If anything Gary has said that the issue of abortion is problematic. The fact is you can't determine the rightness or wrongness of any act until you look at the particulars. For this reason I am neither "Pro-choice" or Pro-Life" - I avoid such labels. Reason is my label.


Well, I don't like the label "pro-choice" either, and I wrote that in my earlier post. I don't think I was being misleading. Nor did I say Francione was pro-choice or pro-life, only that he has written on the subject. However, I have to disagree with you about Francione. He writes in his essay "Abortion and Animal Rights: Are They Comparable Issues?":

"[E]ven if we grant that the fetus is sentient (at least at some phase of existence), or that a fetus is a rightholder ... we are still confronted by the question as to who is the appropriate moral agent to resolve any conflict between the primary rightholder (the woman) and the subservient rightholder (the fetus). The only choices are to let the primary rightholder decide, or to relegate the responsibility to a legal system dominated by actors and ideologies that are inherently sexist. In the abortion context, there are no other choices, as there are when the state attempts to regulate animal abuse or the abuse of minor children" (150).

Prof. Francione is strongly pro-feminist in his writings and he points out, as I have, that the pregnant woman is the only person qualified to decide if an abortion is right or wrong. It would be sexist for Francione, the state, or me to say whether a woman should go to term or not. And it is a patriarchal society that interferes with a woman's reproductive rights.

You are right. Abortion is a problematic issue. No one pointed that out better than Mary did in her earlier post. Abortion is not a cut-and-dry issue. Women who decide whether to get an abortion or not have to make a hard life and death decision. But they are the only ones who can make that decision. I may wonder about the sentience of the fetus, but it would be wrong and sexist for me to say a woman had to go to term or have an abortion. Yes, it is a case-by-case issue, but again only the woman can judge her own case. I actually have resisted writing much on this thread because I think it is a little sexist to be entertaining the idea that the state or I can tell a woman what is right or wrong when it is her reproductive rights.

Adam, you almost make it sound like Francione is an act utilitarian. Maybe I'm reading you wrong, but Francione has been very critical of this kind of consequentialism.


Francione, G. L. "Abortion and Animal Rights: Are They Comparable Issues?" Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations. Ed. Adams and Donovan. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1995. 149-159.
Last edited by Daniel on Thu Mar 25, 2004 3:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Mary » Wed Mar 24, 2004 10:11 pm

An interesting point to bear in mind (and rather a sad one) is that many women who write on the issue are also being sexist. As I am sure Rochelle can appreciate from her experience in South Africa a state in which women's reproductive rights are so completely controlled by outside parties has a tendency to make women think that it is a sign of their woman hood to allow themselves to be controlled. As you may have noticed I am Irish, and I know of women who were forced to go to term and didn't want to. This is a horrendous thing to do, both to child and mother. The child may grow up and come to terms with the issues surrounding their conception, and some might argue that it should be given that chance - but the woman has been completely forgotten in this story.

At Seamus's first school in Liverpool there was a young woman (whom I thought of as a girl) who took a child to the class a year younger than Seamus. I thought that this girl was the big sister. It turned out that this seventeen year old was the mother of the four year old. She had been raped by a family "friend", and by the time the family had realised that she was pregnant (she had been unable to talk about it, which seems perfectly understandable) she was five months gone. The little girl was a lovely child, and the mother loved her (in fact she was one of the most involved mothers in the school.) But how is that little girl going to feel about the fact that her mother is coralled by the priests to talk about pro-life issues, using the fact of her daughters conception to brow beat other women into not having an abortion. "I was raped, and I didn't have an abortion, so you don't have the right to abort either."

It is not the young woman's fault - I see the fact that she is used in this way as part of the continual colonisation of her mind. She is made to utter sexist statements, and to pass judgements on other women. But am I being sexist to assume this? Perhaps the fact that she loves her daughter is so important to her that she wants to proclaim that a mother's love is stronger than rape. She is certainly a good woman, and loves her child. But she has made other women feel like less than women when she states, categorically, that abortion is always wrong.

As we have said, a difficult issue. One I don't see ever imagine myself having the final word on.
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Re: NO consistency problem in being pro-choice and pro-AR

Postby Myrddin » Thu Mar 25, 2004 11:06 pm

Myrddin wrote:Gary doesn't call himself "Pro-choice" nor does he call himself "Pro-Life" - so its a bit misleading to put a link to a Gary Francione article with your "Pro-choice" opinion. Like all good philosophers Gary doesn't make broad sweeping, blanket judgements - he looks at each case seperately. If anything Gary has said that the issue of abortion is problematic. The fact is you can't determine the rightness or wrongness of any act until you look at the particulars. For this reason I am neither "Pro-choice" or Pro-Life" - I avoid such labels. Reason is my label.


Daniel wrote:Well, I don't like the label "pro-choice" either, and I wrote that in my earlier post. I don't think I was being misleading. Nor did I say Francione was pro-choice or pro-life, only that he has written on the subject. However, I have to disagree with you about Francione. He writes in his essay "Abortion and Animal Rights: Are They Comparable Issues?":

"[E]ven if we grant that the fetus is sentient (at least at some phase of existence), or that a fetus is a rightholder ... we are still confronted by the question as to who is the appropriate moral agent to resolve any conflict between the primary rightholder (the woman) and the subservient rightholder (the fetus). The only choices are to let the primary rightholder decide, or to relegate the responsibility to a legal system dominated by actors and ideologies that are inherently sexist. In the abortion context, there are no other choices, as there are when the state attempts to regulate animal abuse or the abuse of minor children" (150)..

Prof. Francione is strongly pro-feminist in his writings and he points out, as I have, that the pregnant woman is the only person qualified to decide if an abortion is right or wrong. It would be sexist for Francione, the state, or me to say whether a woman should go to term or not. And it is a patriarchal society that interferes with a woman's reproductive rights.


I think you are misinterpreting Francione, if you read it carefully he doesn't say that a pregnant woman is the only person qualified to decide if an abortion is right or wrong per se, he says that given that the legal system, as it is, is dominated by actors and ideologies that are inherently sexist, at this present time she is the only one who is qualified to make the decision. This entails that if the legal system was dominated by just actors and just ideologies then the woman wouldn't be the only agent qualified to make a choice. While Francione may concede that at this present time a woman is the only agent qualified to make such a decision he does not say that the decision made is always necessarily the right decision.

Daniel wrote:Adam, you almost make it sound like Francione is an act utilitarian. Maybe I'm reading you wrong, but Francione has been very critical of this kind of consequentialism.


Yes you are definitely reading me wrong. I assume you are reading this from the statement: "The fact is you can't determine the rightness or wrongness of any act until you look at the particulars".
Both an act utititarian or a deontological theorist such as Francione would agree with this statement. In fact an act utilitarian, more than anyone, is more likely to ignore the particulars when determining whether an act is right or wrong. This is because they like to simplify the equation so that they only need to input two variables: suffering and happiness.
Few deontological theorists would disagree with the rule that we should minimise suffering and promote happiness. Francione I assure you would agree with this. Where his theory differs from act utilitarianism is that it places constraints on utility. Don't think that just because Francione doesn't base the rightness or wrongness of an act purely on utility that he doesn't do any "weighing" of interests. I don't know how you construe what I said to mean that I think Gary is an act utilitarian. I'm very well aware that he is a deontological theorist, I myself am one, but you must recognise that deontological theory does not entail a total rejection of the "scales" it just tries to counter the negative effects of pure utility by placing contraints on it.

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Postby Myrddin » Thu Mar 25, 2004 11:34 pm

Myrddin wrote:Eradicate third world debt
Provide Education
Access to contraceptives
Free Health Care
Rob the rich and give it to the poor :twisted:

What it comes down to is that: Population growth is a symptom of poverty

Europe has steady decreased it pop growth to the point that growth is negative: due to increased standard of living, education, access to contraceptives, access to free health care and lower infant mortality rates.


Mary wrote:[Good points, but what about the fact that as standards of living improve so does the amount of land and resources we consume? Europe has a negative growth in terms of population, but as a group of people we spread all over the place. We consume more land and resources than the many more people in the developing world.

I like your byline though - "morality dictates I live vegan!" 8) If we could only veganise the human population, we might be in with a chance!


Ha but you were only talking about overpopulation so I only responded to that part of the big issue. Of course, we need to lessen our toll on resources and Veganism is a big part of the solution to this problem. When I mentioned education as a solution I was including moral education too - the problem with the west is that we have been fed the wrong information, our mindset has been built using the Roman/Judeo-Christian model - we have been taught that animals are our property and that we should strive for individual success at the expense of others. The "fact" that as standards of living improve so does the amount of land and resources we consume is not a reason to deny the poor a decent standard of living. That would be like "we've got it but you can't have it". We wouldn't want to give up an ivory back scratcher to prevent a couple of people from dying from malnutrition and disease would we? :wink: We can support more people than we currently have - with a decent standard of livng - if the west brought their level of consumption down to a reasonable level. The "fact" you speak of is not a fact, in the sense you mean, it is a trend. We may have destroyed the planet at a greater rate as our living standards increased but it doesn't necessarily have to be that way. If we teach love, compassion and justice instead of pure individualism and "the chain of being" there is no reason to think the third world would go the same way.

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Postby Mary » Thu Mar 25, 2004 11:44 pm

The "fact" that as standards of living improve so does the amount of land and resources we consume is not a reason to deny the poor a decent standard of living. That would be like "we've got it but you can't have it".


That isn't what I meant. Personally I think that you are right, and we should educate ourselves to be less greedy. I think we must give up a lot of what we have to lessen our toll on the world. If we lighten our load at the same time as the Developing World gets better standards of living then perhaps we can meet in the middle and not spread out like a plague over everything.

That is just a perhaps though.

I don't know if it is a fact or a trend. I haven't heard of a society in the modern world that doesn't behave like this as it expands. Perhaps as we cease to expand we will learn to live within the planets means. And as you say education is the most important factor in this equation.
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Francione and Abortion Rights

Postby Daniel » Fri Mar 26, 2004 4:26 pm

Myrddin wrote:I think you are misinterpreting Francione, if you read it carefully he doesn't say that a pregnant woman is the only person qualified to decide if an abortion is right or wrong per se, he says that given that the legal system, as it is, is dominated by actors and ideologies that are inherently sexist, at this present time she is the only one who is qualified to make the decision. This entails that if the legal system was dominated by just actors and just ideologies then the woman wouldn't be the only agent qualified to make a choice. While Francione may concede that at this present time a woman is the only agent qualified to make such a decision he does not say that the decision made is always necessarily the right decision.


Adam, this is an interesting interpretation of Francione. Even if you are right, and I don't think you are, this does not invalidate my argument. As you say, "given that the legal system, as it is, is dominated by actors and ideologies that are inherently sexist, at this present time she is the only one who is qualified to make the decision." I was writing about the present world, and I have no interest in theorizing about a world that doesn't currently exist.

However, you could not have a legal system "dominated by just actors and just ideologies" and restrict a woman's reproductive rights, since any system that regulates abortion will be unjust. "The state cannot, however, regulate abortion in the absence of a patriarchal intrusion of the law into a woman's body, and we generally do not tolerate that sort of bodily intrusion anywhere else in the law" (Francione, 150). "We have absolutely no reason to believe that women will ever enjoy privacy over their reproductive systems if the legitimacy of abortion is left to the political and legal system" (157).

Francione concludes in "Abortion and Animal Rights":

"I argue that the state can protect the animal's interest without invading the privacy of the human in a manner that we would see as repulsive or as inimical to our basic liberties.

I also argue that abortion presents a unique moral dilemma, in that even if we accept that fetuses have rights, the conflict is between the primary rightholder--the woman--and the subservient rightholder, who resides in her body. In these circumstances, someone must resolve the conflict, and if that task is relegated to the state, the task of fetal protection can be accomplished only through the state's literal entry into the body of the primary rightholder"
(158).

Myrddin wrote:Yes you are definitely reading me wrong. I assume you are reading this from the statement: "The fact is you can't determine the rightness or wrongness of any act until you look at the particulars".


Yep, that's what got me.

Myrddin wrote:Where his theory differs from act utilitarianism is that it places constraints on utility.


Yes, you are exactly right, he places a constraint on "literally entering the parent's body or otherwise mandating the odious manipulation of the woman's body in order to protect the well-being of the child" (Francione, 156). I have not read anything that suggests Francione is willing to allow the intrusion of the primary rightholders body in order to protect the subservient rightholder.

Myrddin wrote:I'm very well aware that he is a deontological theorist, I myself am one, but you must recognise that deontological theory does not entail a total rejection of the "scales" it just tries to counter the negative effects of pure utility by placing contraints on it.


Sure, but you must recognize that your "criticism fails to understand the politics of abortion, the morality of privacy, and the mechanisms that are required to vindicate fetal life" (Francione, 155).


Francione, G. L. "Abortion and Animal Rights: Are They Comparable Issues?" Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations. Ed. Adams and Donovan. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1995. 149-159.
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Postby JO » Fri Mar 26, 2004 4:36 pm

... is this cryptomacho posturing in philosophical fancy dress?

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Re: Francione and Abortion Rights

Postby Myrddin » Tue Mar 30, 2004 2:47 pm

Daniel wrote:However, you could not have a legal system "dominated by just actors and just ideologies" and restrict a woman's reproductive rights, since any system that regulates abortion will be unjust.

You speak of reproductive rights, as if it were an absolute right. The Pro-choicers have their "sanctity of life" right and you have your own version of an absolute right. Taking the pro-choice road, and allowing no exceptions, is just as extreme as the pro-life road. Its like the athiests and the theists - both let their strong emotions get in the way of reason. Your above statement is not rationally compelling because you beg the question. Where did you derive this right that you think can never be overriden in any circumstances? I suppose you think freedom of speech is an absolute right too? Gary Francione, says that for sentient beings there is only one absolute right that should never be overriden: sentients beings should never be treated merely as means to others ends. This is a basic right that grounds all rights and, according to Francione, it is the only right that should never be overriden. This right is derived from the principle of equal consideration of interests, a principle common to all moral systems. Gary hasn't addressed every possibility in the abortion debate simply because his energies are focussed on animal rights. He has just made general statements on the issue to try to quell any fears as to changes that may occur if his theories were adopted on a large scale.
Basically, the jist of what I have been saying all along is that you can't align Francione with your way of thinking without him first being party to this very debate.

Daniel wrote:Sure, but you must recognize that your "criticism fails to understand the politics of abortion, the morality of privacy, and the mechanisms that are required to vindicate fetal life" (Francione, 155)."

You can do better than that Daniel - taking Gary's words out of context is a cheap and lazy move. Bad referencing etiquette :wink:
Don't expect any more replies from me on this topic - got better things to do. Gotta spend more time getting stronger and building my muscles as opposed to ruining my eye sight staring at this screen.

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Re: Francione and Abortion Rights

Postby JP » Fri Apr 02, 2004 9:31 am

Myrddin wrote:Don't expect any more replies from me on this topic - got better things to do. Gotta spend more time getting stronger and building my muscles as opposed to ruining my eye sight staring at this screen.


A finger waving from a mod to another :lol: I think Daniel didn't do anything to provoke that mate.
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Postby Hazrat » Fri Apr 02, 2004 11:14 pm

I think the idea that Hardline stated that sex could only be for procreation is a HUGE misunderstanding... as Hardliners are students of Taoist sexual alchemy... they most certainly do not use sex only for procreation...

Rather, the Hardline arguement against abortion is one stating that "if you are having sex, then it is necessary that you be prepared and accepting of the fact that the natural outcome of intercourse can be pregnancy". The evolutionary intent behind sexuality is clearly reproduction... however, stating that fact does not mean one has to only have sex to procreate. Therefore, the idea that Hardliners are "mysoginist" is rediculous.

I don't know any Hardliners that would argue that people should have sex only for procreation. Sexual alchemy is SUPER important for longevity practices...

As for abortion, I don't believe it is right. When it comes down to it, by the time most people know they are pregnant the fetus' heart has started beating and brain waves are emitting. The number of pregnancies arising out of rape are ultra-rare, and even then... why should the child be punished for the crime of the father? I've known alot of people who have had abortions because they didn't think the pregnancy was convienient... they've ended up feeling horrid because of it.

And by the reasoning that the fetus is subject to the rights of the mother... then you could argue the same for infants as they are entirely dependent upon the mother and father for sustenance and well being... so is infanticide morally correct? At which point does life begin? When are rights granted?

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Postby Malcolms Billy » Sat Apr 03, 2004 7:11 am

Hazrat wrote:As for abortion, I don't believe it is right. When it comes down to it, by the time most people know they are pregnant the fetus' heart has started beating and brain waves are emitting.


Most women will know way before a fetus' heart and brains have developed that they are pregnant.

Hazrat wrote:The number of pregnancies arising out of rape are ultra-rare, and even then... why should the child be punished for the crime of the father? I've known alot of people who have had abortions because they didn't think the pregnancy was convienient... they've ended up feeling horrid because of it.


Rape has been used for centuries as a form of warfare. Look at Rwanda for example. Pregnancies as a result of rape aren't as ultra-rare as you think. They are just as common as a consequence of unprotected sex if it was consensual. I find your question of "why the child should be punished for the crime of the father" very insensitive. Aside from possible physical consequences, rape is an extremely traumatizing experience. Would you really want any woman, in addition to this, have to live through 9 months of pregnancy, to give birth to a child that will remind her every day of what has happened? Who says that she will be able to give the child the love and care it deserves, because of that? And then, if she can't, don't you think the child will be punished more severely by not being loved, knowing that they are the result not of a loving relationship, but of a heinous crime? It must be great to know that your father just wanted to hurt your mother and doesn't give a sh** about you, and that your mother is hurt every day by the sight of you, because you remind her of what happened.
And if a woman has had an abortion because it wasn't convenient to have a child, and feels horrid about that, well that has been her choice and she will have to live with the consequences. Better than that the child has to live with parents who didn't want them in the first place. I've posted about this before. I think a child should only be born if - at least - the mother is totally behind it, and wanting to love and care for them.

Hazrat wrote:And by the reasoning that the fetus is subject to the rights of the mother... then you could argue the same for infants as they are entirely dependent upon the mother and father for sustenance and well being... so is infanticide morally correct? At which point does life begin? When are rights granted?


A fetus has got no life outside the womb, that is the difference. As far as I can see it, life begins when a being, be it human or non-human, is capable of living outside their mother's body.

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Postby Hazrat » Sat Apr 03, 2004 7:05 pm

Billy, "as far as you can see" is flawed. Life clearly begins before birth. Science shows this to be true. Many premature births have occured with survival of the child, despite it having not been fully gestated.

I think the question to ask is: Did I go vegan because I thought about it and animals have feelings of pain and pleasure... and I don't want to cause them pain?

or

Did I go vegan because I thought about it, and animals have a life that they value no matter what value I place on it, and they have the right to keep the life that they value?

OR

Did you go vegan just because you felt that animals are alive and you didn't see why you should kill them without having an absolute necessity?

life begins when a being, be it human or non-human, is capable of living outside their mother's body.


Do you find it acceptable to cause an unborn animal to die? Are there examples of wild creatures terminating their pregnancies?

Most women will know way before a fetus' heart and brains have developed that they are pregnant.


Really? I'll give you a little quote from some experts:

The First Trimester

The First Two Weeks

Your baby's life and growth begin at the moment a sperm joins the ripe ovum(egg) in one of your fallopian tubes. These two cells fuse and become one. The cell formed by the unted sperm and egg - although it is no larger than the dot at the end of this sentence - contains the potential for everything your baby will become.

Within about half an hour, the cell formed by the joined sperm and ovum divides into two cells. The cells continue to divide as they travel toward the uterus. By the end of the first week to ten days, the cluster of cells completes its journey down the fallopian tube and attaches to the uterine wall.

The cells continue to divide at a very rapid rate. Those that will become the placenta grow against the uterine wall. The placenta connects to the little developing form by the umbilical cord. The cord brings nourishment from your body to your baby while carrying off wastes from the baby so that yoru body can dispose of them.

Third and Fourth Weeks

Even before you may know for sure that you are pregnant, you baby's central nervous system, heart, and lungs start to develop. The tiny heart begins to beat.

By the end of the fourth week, the baby is about 3/16 of an inch long. Although distinct facial features are not yet apparent, the face is beginning to form and dark circles mark where the eyes will be.


from While Waiting by George E. Verrilli MD FACOG and Anne Marie Mueser Ed. D.

A large number of women became pregnant as a result of rape during the genocide. Pregnancies and childbirth among extremely young girls who were raped have also posed health problems for these mothers. The "pregnancies of the war," "children of hate," "enfants non-desirés" (unwanted children) or "enfants mauvais souvenir" (children of bad memories) as they are known, are estimated by the National Population Office to be between 2,000 and 5,000. Health personnel report that some women have abandoned their children or even committed infanticide, while others have decided to keep their children. In some cases, the mother's decision to keep the child has caused deep divisions in the family, pitting those who reject the child against those who prefer to raise the child. In others, the child is being raised without problems within the community.


What I'm reading here... is that the women who abandoned or murdered their children, who were concieved due to rape, did so because of a social stigma against these children. It seems, that by pushing the idea that the child is somehow responsible for the action of the rapist creates a social stigma that lessens the humanity of these children. Thereby, actually creating the pressure to not have these children. Such would also be the case regarding children resulting from pregnancies out of wedlock... there is such a social stigma agaisnt these children and their mothers; that the women feel the need to cover it up... and abortion has become that fall back point. So, I ask you, how do you propose we treat this?

It seems to me that abortion only makes it easier for such a stigma to exist... it validates the stigma against women who concieve out of wedlock and against the "illegitamate" children. So do we do a "quick" fix and abort the child, or do we treat the illness of humanity and the stigma ignorance has created?

I know my views are not "politically correct," but I am not interested in that. What I'm interested in is that we do not interfere with the Natural Order as much as possible. I wouldn't take a non-human life without absolute necessity... starvation, or I'm about to be mauled to death(for some reason)... as I am sure none of you would do. What doesn't compute is that you would advocate destruction of a developing human life without the absolute need to do so, such as a woman's continuing to exist being jeopardized by the pregnancy. In many of those cases the developing child's life is also threatened by the pregnancy, so to maintain the life of the woman by aborting the developing child would be to choose the lesser of two evils... if the pregnancy was maintained then chances are both beings would die.

It seems that we need to treat the illnesses of society, rather than post these "quick fix" solutions.

Peace.
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Postby JP » Sat Apr 03, 2004 7:47 pm

Hazrat wrote:Are there examples of wild creatures terminating their pregnancies?


Numerous. All mammals can abort their pregnancy in a case of stress, emergency or even lack of food sources.

Are you saying that humans should be the only mammal not being able to abort their pregnancies - this even if it would be against the wishes of the mother?

What I'm interested in is that we do not interfere with the Natural Order as much as possible.


Well, thats why any discussion here won't go anywhere because of your religious Natural Order views. What i already have discussed with you elsewhere is that your Natural Order and the religious "Truths" are nothing more than political views mirrored to nature and then taken back as backbone of ethics - cherrypicking things which are convenient and suit your pre-determined political agenda, and leaving out the ones which are not. Many others have done the same in other similar movements, take Hitler and his book for instance, full of references to Natural Order etc.
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Postby Malcolms Billy » Sat Apr 03, 2004 8:25 pm

Hazrat, you can find the answers to the questions that you've asked me in my previous posts. Please don't question my ethics when it comes to veganism, I find that as offensive as the post to which I replied. You and I have got completely opposite opinions and for every opinion there'll be a host of "scientific research" to back it up, which will not be accepted by the opposition and countered with another piece of "scientific research" that backs up their opinion. As far as I'm concerned I've said my piece and I won't carry on with this discussion as I regard it as pointless.

See ya,
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Postby Mary » Sat Apr 03, 2004 9:20 pm

I knew that I was pregnant with Seamus within three days. I couldn't tell you how, I just knew. I think many women know, and this being my experience and that of many women I know backs up Billy's statement. When it comes to how pregnancy feels I think women who have been pregnant know what they are talking about far more than people who have never been pregnant.

I do agree that rape is seen as the worst thing that can happen to a woman, when technically speaking it should be considered no worse than being mugged in the street. How many women do you know who will admit to ever having been raped? So yes, there is a point that women who were raped are often forced into abortions against their wishes because of societal stigma. The fact remains however that a woman who is raped is having her whole life changed by the man's random act of violence if she allows the pregnancy to continue. Many women - most in fact - would not wish the whole shape of their lives to be dictated to them by a rapist. Many would not be able to look at the child without even subconsciously remembering what brought that child into the world.

I was raped, when I was eighteen. Fortunately I did not become pregnant. On the other hand, years later, when Seamus was born, the physical pain was a stark reminder of that act, and the nurse who stitched me up afterwards could tell I had been raped as a virgin by the pattern of my scars and tears.

I am only saying this because I think that rape should be demystified. It does not ruin your life. You can get on with things without having flash back all the time, or becoming an alcoholic. If you were to watch the television you would believe that a raped woman was forever damaged and destroyed. We aren't. However, I do know that I wouldn't command any woman to go through the trauma of rape and expect her nine months later to relive it in the hospital. If a woman is raped and she wants an abortion she should get it, natural law or not. However, this should be at the earliest possible opportunity - or even better the morning after pill. And to be honest, while a lot of men are sympathetic, I don't think they really understand pregnancy, even an easy pregnancy. And to force political or religious views, pro or anti abortion, on women who must endure a physical experience that - let's remember - can kill them - is in itself a form of sublimated rape. You can state your opinions, but that is all they are. My Granny chose to have eleven children. I chose to have one. In both cases we decided. Nobody else has the right.
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Mary
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