The Raving Theist

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Planned Parenthood Calls for Investigation of Little Girl’s Life

January 19, 2006 | 48 Comments

New York, New York, January 19, 2006
Special to The Raving Atheist

As state officials probed the bureaucratic failures that led to the death of seven year old Nixzmary Brown, Planned Parenthood demanded an investigation of the circumstances surrounding her non-abortion and birth.

“Why was this unwanted child ever permitted to live?” asked the organization’s national spokewoman, Gloria Michels. “Nixzmary endured a short, brutal and completely worthless existence, one which could have been avoided had there not been a breakdown in the system of reproductive healthcare access and education.”

Despite signs of earlier abuse that were obvious to caseworkers, neighbors and teachers, Nixzmary was beaten to death by her stepfather last week in a Brooklyn apartment. Observers said that she could have enjoyed a happy, productive life had social service authorities intervened in a timely manner. Michels insisted, however, that the child’s suffering could been prevented altogether had Nixzmary been properly aborted in 1999. Michels also noted that there are thousands of children currently suffering from Downs syndrome and other defects that might have easily been treated with a simple vacuum aspiration.

Comments

48 Responses to “Planned Parenthood Calls for Investigation of Little Girl’s Life”

  1. Thorndog
    January 19th, 2006 @ 4:02 pm

    I was aborted once–I think. Don’t remember any pain, any loss of ambition. I don’t think I cared. And no one seems to have missed me, as far as I have been able to discover.

  2. Jahrta
    January 19th, 2006 @ 4:51 pm

    Nixzmary? Really? Nixzmary? I think the real question here should be why was her mother allowed to name her something that fucking stupid.

    The bright side to this story is that at least she won’t have to go through life hearing this at every turn: “Nixzmary? Really? How do you fucking spell that?”

  3. twyg
    January 19th, 2006 @ 5:28 pm

    i missed you horndog.

  4. Mister Swill
    January 19th, 2006 @ 5:49 pm

    I have questioned your taste plenty of times in the past, but I’ve never taken personal offense at anything you’ve written on this site. I take pride in the fact that I don’t get offended easily. But reading this straw-man hijacking of an ugly news item in order to score a cheap political point made my stomach churn. Congratulations, Raving Atheist, you’ve finally managed to offend me.

    There are so many things wrong with this post it’s hard to know where to start. First of all, emotional content aside, the tragic story of Nixzmary Brown’s death is a weird context for a discussion about abortion. The CNN article you linked to doesn’t even call Nixzmary an unwanted child. There are plenty of issues this story brings up: Child abuse and agency protection are the obvious ones. Abortion is tangential at best.

    Second of all, do you really think that manufacturing a completely uncharacteristic position for an agency is an effective way to critique that agency? I know, you’ve argued before that Planned Parenthood is “pro-abortion at least in the same way that pizza parlors are pro-pizza.” That might be a plausible argument if abortions were the only things Planned Parenthood did. But Planned Parenthood provides contraception, sex education, fertility assistance for people who have decided they want to have children. These are things that wacko religious anti-abortion crusaders might have problems with, but certainly not someone whose anti-abortion position is grounded in sound logic and untainted by emotion.

    And by the way — since you brought it up — no, Nixzmary Brown would not have been abused if she had been aborted. Or not conceived in the first place. Or adopted shortly after birth by a family that didn’t abuse her. And, as the New York Post so tactlessly points out, she’s not being abused anymore now that she’s dead. How does any of this affect the fact that somebody tied a 7 year old girl to a chair and beat her to death?

  5. mmm...lemonheads
    January 19th, 2006 @ 5:53 pm

    I am aware of your pro-life stance but this is an apples-oranges attempt at satire, and it fails on many levels. No, I’m not offended by the use of a tragic death of a little girl to make a totally tangential point about a completely different subject, ’cause I don’t easily offend. But it weakens the already weak pro-life position to prop up the strawman, knock it over and walk away with the idea it was clever.

  6. Hexghost
    January 19th, 2006 @ 6:05 pm

    I too am getting tired of these lame departures from RA’s normally great site. RA, why do you use such great logic when talking about religion and then devolve into these little pithy attacks on abortion? It feels like writing against abortion is your holiday from the normal site or something.

  7. Choobus
    January 19th, 2006 @ 6:17 pm

    everybody is conviently neglecting to bring up the fact that Abortions are FUN! Isn’t that reason enough to support them???

  8. benjamin
    January 19th, 2006 @ 6:29 pm

    It’s not a straw man argument if it is commonly used by pro-choicers. I have argued abortion a few times throughout the years, and I have often heard people exclaim how it is more humane to abort a zygote/fetus than to bring it into a bad situation. Here is an example of a girl who was brought into a terrible situation, and TRA brings up a valid challenge to pro-choicers: Are they still going to talk the same talk when the hypothetical gets a name, a face, and a story? Thanks TRA, keep it up!

  9. Anthony J Fuchs
    January 19th, 2006 @ 7:26 pm

    Can we please end the sentimental theatrics and stopping calling this girl’s death a tragedy? The word “tragedy” refers to a very specific genre of Greek drama, or, at its most general, to the downfall of a person of great stature (ie Achilles, Julius Caesar, John F. Kennedy) caused by what appears to be a conspiracy of circumstances beyond their control (what those with a faulty sense of probability like to call “Fate”).

    Since virtually nobody knew who the fuck Nixzmary Brown was before her death, her death is, by definition, not tragic. Terri Shiavo’s death wasn’t a tragedy; Natalee Holloway’s disappearance wasn’t a tragedy; Nixzmary Brown’s death isn’t a fuckin tragedy either. Unfortunate, perhaps, but not tragic. Cause célèbres make me want to break things.

  10. Mister Swill
    January 19th, 2006 @ 8:36 pm

    From Merriam-Webster Online:

    Main Entry: trag·e·dy
    Pronunciation: ‘tra-j&-dE
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural -dies
    Etymology: Middle English tragedie, from Middle French, from Latin tragoedia, from Greek tragOidia, from tragos goat (akin to Greek trOgein to gnaw) + aeidein to sing — more at TROGLODYTE, ODE
    1 a : a medieval narrative poem or tale typically describing the downfall of a great man b : a serious drama typically describing a conflict between the protagonist and a superior force (as destiny) and having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that excites pity or terror c : the literary genre of tragic dramas
    2 a : a disastrous event : CALAMITY b : MISFORTUNE
    3 : tragic quality or element

    Fair enough, Anthony. Although definition 2b would certainly apply to the beating death of any small child, most of this fits your definition. I hope you get at least this upset about newscasters using the word “miracle” to describe the safe landing of malfunctioning aircraft by skilled pilots.

    And benjamin, I’ll tell you exactly why it’s a straw man argument: Because Planned Parenthood, the target of the joke, exists to provide people with the choice of whether or not to have children. In RA’s post, Planned Parenthood is deciding who it thinks should have had an abortion. In other words, RA is representing Planned Parenthood as anti-choice. That’s not humorous exaggeration. That’s not following a stated position to its logical conclusion. That is misrepresentation, pure and simple.

  11. Nokot
    January 19th, 2006 @ 8:57 pm

    Anthony, words commonly have more than one definition. The word tragedy has several. One of which is, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, “a disastrous event, especially one involving distressing loss or injury to life.”

  12. Irony
    January 19th, 2006 @ 11:11 pm

    Isn’t it ironic that this story comes out during the “Sanctity of Human Life Week.” Some of the replies to this story were repugnant. I for one, applaud RA for the stance taken on abortion. Yes, this “wacko religious anti-abortion crusader” does have a problem with the abortions that PP promote. The nugget of good deeds they do, do not justify or override the execution of the unborn. Just as the employment Saddam Hussein provided to his palace cleaners doesn’t justify the mass graves he filled up. No, I am not being extreme. Who cares if she had Downs syndrome, or wasn’t loved by her caregivers, that’s not her fault. And if she had be “properly aborted” in 1999, where was her freedom to life, liberty and … When do those freedoms begin, at completion of delivery through the birth canal, well if so, why a double homicide if a pregnant woman is murdered? Granted, I will be the first to say that all of life in America has been devalued. Fist fights have turned to knife fights, and knife fights have turned to gun fights. Our society doesn’t value human life as much anymore. And Choobus, I sincerely hope your comment was tongue in cheek, because if not, it, and that line of thinking belongs within the realms of the anal sphincter of the common farmyard goat. All life is precious, even those born less than “normal.” By the grace of God, or for this blog’s sake, by the grace of natural selection, that person could have been you. And yes even though I adamately disagree with Choobus, so is the priceless value of the life of Choobus, before and after his/her birth.

  13. leyla
    January 19th, 2006 @ 11:41 pm

    RA
    Thanks, I owe you a grate deal.
    I am a sixteen year old girl and my great lust has produced me a pregnancy of twins. Jim, my boy friend, forgot to use a condon and in our hot sexual situation I miscalculated my ovulation period and I ended up pregnant. At first, I tried for abortion and the Demon tempted me, like he did to Christ, but without success; God guided me to the Femeniste page and from there I was led to your Blog. I have read all that you have written about abortion and the wonderful Steve’s arguments against abortion. These readings have illuminated me. I was born a Muslim from a poor Iraqi family in New York City. I had been a good student and was directed towards a good future as my boy friend Jim, but I ended up with a pregnancy. I had to leave my parent’s house before my father realized my new state for otherwise I would certainly die, for an unmarried pregnant woman is a shameful thing for a Muslim family. At first, it was logical, I thought about abortion as not to ruin my life or Jim’s. But God illuminated me and I came across your Blog, and it is not important for Him that you call yourself atheist, remember that His ways are mysterious. He wanted to convince me by means of an unbiased media; nothing else was needed. I decided that you and Steve were right. It does not matter that my fetus was two weeks old, it is a potential human being and, even if you do not believe it, has a soul!. It wonders me, how supposedly intelligent people, don’t understand that even an amoeba, given enough time, are potentially a human being. I do believe that you have found the truth about abortion, but you have not reached a truthful understanding of God. As for myself, I have renounced the Muslim religion and now am an Evangelical Christian. My new Church priests have helped me, for the mullahs would have not done it for lack of compassion and they, if possible, would have stonewalled me. I will also become a republican, for I believe that President Bush is developing a Christian mission helping my parents’ homeland get rid of Islamism. I do realize that my life will not be an easy one. As a good Christian I have decided not to ruin Jim’s life; I alone will carry on with the results of my lust sins, and I know that when he becomes a Princeton engineering graduate, he will certainly help me. My decision to leave for New York and not to make him responsible for my pregnancy tranquilizes him. I hope that one day he would understand this gesture of my love for him that finally really comes from God loving and given. I realize that I will have many years of life in the slums, of hamburger selling at Mac Donald’s, of food stamps, of unemployment long lines, of eviction from unpaid rented houses, of deprivation of light and phone services, of sending my twins to the worst schools and of having them in an environment that would possibly make them crack or cocaine dealers. It was not my plan, but God had it different, and He knows better…But I do know for certain that God will help me and that my twins will be really good human beings and that Him will not overdo his punishment for my lustful sins. I know that He will not punish those children saved by his divine intervention through this wonderful Blog. As penance I will never allow nothing inside my body different than God, in other words, celibacy. Once my kids are grown-ups I plan to be a missionary to Iraq to bring there the true God. RA you have to continue your struggle as I will continue mine. It does not matter that those forgotten by God call you The Raven Antiabortionist, and say that your sarcasm is tasteless, coarse and ignoble; it’s the way of God and it works because in so doing you are confronting them with the awesome truth of live. It’s amazing to me how, when the blog is a little boring, you throw your line and hook baited with abortion. Once you do this, the atheist-abortionists never fail to appear and jump at you, yelling, screaming, insulting and blaspheming. They have never caught your trick, they are like kids, but that is because God is supporting you. For God’s ways are mysterious. God bless Lily, Mort, Steve and even Hermesten for his heart and intentions are pure.

  14. qedpro
    January 20th, 2006 @ 12:54 am

    Mister swill,

    the odds are against us. eventually the RA offends us all. In a good way though. :-)

  15. Randy M.
    January 20th, 2006 @ 8:08 am

    It’s amazing how pro-abortion folks have to close their eyes. Of course, the Nixmary tragedy is an example of something PP deplores, and that they would like the “right to choose” the kind of parents they think should birth a child: that is, nice income, nice home, politically compatible with PP; doesn’t matter how many parents per child (one feisty misogamist is fine). Hating to hear RA’s argument about their hypocrisy, the same people would throw up if faced with a fetus, exhibited by a pro-lifer. So they say the same thing as RA’s detractors on this site: “That’s disgusting. You’re so insensitive. Blah, blah.” I guess the rhetoric that destroys lives is admirable, so long as we don’t have to face the graphic reality of our oh-so-erudite and oh-so-justified words.

    l.

  16. JUST_ANTOHER_PRIMATE
    January 20th, 2006 @ 8:46 am

    Once again – I just found myself “rolling my eyes” on this one.

    YAH – RA’s post on abortion are getting old. Shop around – there are plenty other skeptic and atheist websites.

  17. dof
    January 20th, 2006 @ 10:04 am

    Under normal circumstances, if somebody says “You must do X or Y will happen”, and he is ignored, and X is not done, and Y happens, this fact is usually used to reinforce the claim made: “see, I was right.”

    TRA correctly points out that this is not the case here, and I assume TRA wants us to speculate as to what the reasons for this could be.

  18. Anthony J Fuchs
    January 20th, 2006 @ 10:35 am

    Mr. Swill and Nokot:

    I do get upset when people misuse “miracle.” And when they misuse “literally;” and “ironically.” That Alanis Morissette song makes me cringe, because almost nothing in it is strictly ironic.

    Either words mean something or they don’t. I have a problem with the erosion of meaning that occurs when the specific meaning of a word — ie, that a “tragedy” involves a conspiracy of circumstances that leads to the downfall of an individual of great stature — is broadened and diluted to mean something less specific — ie, that a “tragedy” now also means simply “a disastrous event.”

    If an event does not fit the original defition of a tragedy, don’t expand that definition; invent a new word to describe the new situation. Besides, there’s already a word for “a disastrous event:” it’s a “DISASTER.” As George Carlin would point out, refering to “a disaster” as “a disastrous event” is redundant; a “disaster” is already, by definition, an “event.” If you don’t like “disaster,” then the thesaurus provides alternatives like “calamity” or “misfortune.”

    Most tragedy involves death; but not all death involves tragedy. The death of a seven-year-old child known only to a couple dozen people, while a damn shame and a lucid portrayal of the profound failure of our social service program, simply does not constitute a tragedy. All of that having been said, I will concede that this is entirely a semantic issue, and only peripherally related to the original topic; for that I apologize.

  19. Thorngod
    January 20th, 2006 @ 10:38 am

    Jahrta- You apparently haven’t noticed the prophetic meaning of the name: Nix-z-mary.
    Leyla- That was lovely–and I really enjoyed your syntactical misconstructions.

  20. Dada Saves
    January 20th, 2006 @ 11:27 am

    Leyla that was fantastic! Tell us another one.

  21. Viole
    January 20th, 2006 @ 11:28 am

    You know, RA, with all this help you’re rendering to god, isn’t it rather ironic that he’s still going to throw you into hell? If you’re really desperate, you could write a post about it, then off yourself.

  22. The Atheologist
    January 20th, 2006 @ 11:54 am

    I agree, with Mister Swill. Pure stupidity. RA, are you trying to give Atheism a worse of a name than it already has? I won’t be visiting this site much in the future and the RA link is coming off of my blog. I think that the RA should have a separate anti-abortion website if he wants to show how much of a jerk he is.

  23. Dada Saves
    January 20th, 2006 @ 1:39 pm

    I for one don’t mind RA posting the occasional (well, frequent) polemic against choice, and I don’t agree with one word of it.

    I’m not concerned with ‘giving atheists a bad name’ because atheism has no name: no philosophy, no agenda, no political agreement, no beliefs for that matter — in fact that’s pretty much what the word means. TRA’s views on abortion are more evidence that we are a big tent indeed, encompassing all sorts of whacky views that have little to do our lack of beliefs in god-concepts. Rave on, my friend. Eventually people will get it.

  24. baric
    January 20th, 2006 @ 2:08 pm

    I can’t believe I ever recommended this site to anyone.

    Congratulations, you are so offensive that no one gives a crap about the point you were trying to make.

  25. tarkovsky
    January 20th, 2006 @ 2:38 pm

    To me it is absolutely a tragedy that any human being born into this world has to live through what this little girl had to live through. Don’t nitpick on the wording, people, no one should suffer. It is a tragedy, f*ck your dictionary.

    Compassion must be at the core of the atheist core values, otherwise society will crumble into the brutal, uncivilized, middle ages of basic survival of the fittest. We _will_ defend human rights. Therefore the real question is: how to prevent this abominable situation? how to protect children, once born, from their biological parents who are unfit to their task as parents?

    (I am assuming that the parents have not elected for abortion otherwise obviously this discussion is not relevant.)

  26. IA
    January 20th, 2006 @ 3:19 pm

    Hilarious. I thought it was pretty funny.

  27. Dada Saves
    January 20th, 2006 @ 3:28 pm

    tarkovsky: “Compassion must be at the core of the atheist core values …”

    There are no ‘atheist core values.’ (Or even ‘core of core’ values.) Deal with it!

    I think you mean human values.

  28. tarkovsky
    January 20th, 2006 @ 3:46 pm

    Dada Saves:
    I get your point. The idea I was trying to express is that atheism should *always* embody certain key human values, but as you point out there may be several flavours of atheism out there (i.e. “godless” is at the core but the rest is open game).

    I think we atheists mostly (?) agree that human society can move forward without God, but the key human values essentially derived from judeo-christian thought that we are so familiar with(“human rights” and so on) must be maintained because we see them as beneficial to our survival strategy as a species.

  29. Jody Tresidder
    January 20th, 2006 @ 4:06 pm

    Dada Saves,
    With respect, can we drop “deal with it” as a rhetorical device?
    It’s long ago lost any zing, or real meaning -save for “shut up” with a kind of fake macho strut.
    Of course you are correct. Strictly speaking atheism doesn’t implicity contain other “core values”. I would guess tarkovsky really meant it doesn’t preclude compassion, as you implied.

    But as for Fuchs saying: “Either words mean something or they don’t.” Now that’s pin-headed high school pedantry for dummies. Secondary definitions rise and fall the whole time. Is Fuchs next going to trot out that “useful” old definition of “gay”?

  30. SmartBlkWoman
    January 20th, 2006 @ 4:14 pm

    Can anyone tell my why an atheist can only be pro-abortion?

  31. Jody Tresidder
    January 20th, 2006 @ 4:30 pm

    “Can anyone tell my why an atheist can only be pro-abortion?”

    Nope. Because it’s obviously not true.

  32. Jeff Guinn
    January 20th, 2006 @ 5:07 pm

    RA:

    Is it possible to distinguish between what a choice should be (in general, I’m sure you and I agree), and who should make it?

    Possession is 9/10 of the law; until at least the beginning of the third trimester, a woman completely owns her pregnancy. Is there any rational argument you can make for completely appropriating her ownership?

  33. Mary
    January 20th, 2006 @ 7:54 pm

    until at least the beginning of the third trimester, a woman completely owns her pregnancy.

    What do you mean by this?

    Abortion is, after all, not about ending a pregnancy. Otherwise, we wouldn’t get headlines lamenting that dozens of children are born alive in Great Britain after abortions, and the articles holding quotations calling this malpractice. Dead or alive, the children are no longer in the women’s bodies, and so the pregnancy has been terminated. It’s malpractice only if abortion is about dead babies.

  34. Mary
    January 20th, 2006 @ 8:02 pm

    Because Planned Parenthood, the target of the joke, exists to provide people with the choice of whether or not to have children.

    Let’s hear from its founder

    “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it”

    “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

    “The most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.”

  35. Joel
    January 20th, 2006 @ 8:53 pm

    “Possession is 9/10 of the law; until at least the beginning of the third trimester, a woman completely owns her pregnancy. Is there any rational argument you can make for completely appropriating her ownership?”

    BY that logic, I own my rifle, and if I want to aim it at an abortionist, there’s no excuse for anybody else to completely appropriate my ownership. My trigger finger, my choice!

  36. Joel
    January 20th, 2006 @ 8:56 pm

    “Dead or alive, the children are no longer in the women’s bodies, and so the pregnancy has been terminated. It’s malpractice only if abortion is about dead babies.”

    That’s exactly what it’s about. Whether you’re fur it or agin’ it, it’s about babies and getting them dead. The question is whether or not you think their death is justified by the mother’s desire that they be. I can see making a valid argument that it might be justified; I wouldn’t agree with it but I could understand it. But it’s doubletalk to pretend that it’s about something else.

  37. "Q" the Enchanter
    January 21st, 2006 @ 11:25 am

    A commenter above described as a “straw man” as follows:

    (1) “it is more humane to abort a zygote/fetus than to bring it into a bad situation.”

    I don’t think (1) is straw. In fact, I think it’s a more or less accurate restatement of a pretty plausible moral premise. (I would replace ‘is’ with ‘may be’, and ‘bad situation’ with something like ‘life of torment and suffering’.)

    The problem with TRA’s argument is that it casts (1) as equivalent to

    (2) “It is (or may be) more humane to kill a person living a life of torment and suffering than it is to let that person go on living.”

    Which is also a fair premise, but (obviously) completely distinct from (1).

    TRA’s amusing satire depends (for its amusement) on playing to this common confusion.

    . . .

    BTW, let me just buttress the validity of (1) by appeal to the following, analogous premise:

    (3) It’s better to scramble a fertilized egg than to allow that egg to become a chick that will endure a life of torment and suffering.

    Would anyone suggest that (3) is an objectionable sentiment? Moreoever, would anyone suggest that it is equivalent to

    (4) It’s better to fry up a chick living a life of torment and suffering than to let that chick go on living.

    ? TRA?

  38. Mister Swill
    January 21st, 2006 @ 12:13 pm

    Mary,

    Let’s hear statements from Planned Parenthood’s founder in their actual context.

    Seriously, people. Go to plannedparenthood.org. Click on “about us” and read the mission statement. Decide for yourselves what parts you agree with, what parts you disagree with, what statements you believe, and what statements you don’t.

    There are plenty of sensible, rational arguments for and against abortion. Portraying the opposition as a bunch of crazy zealots (and aligning one’s self with the crazy zealots on one’s own side) does nothing more than damage one’s argument.

  39. Mary
    January 21st, 2006 @ 8:25 pm

    (1) “it is more humane to abort a zygote/fetus than to bring it into a bad situation.”

    I don’t think (1) is straw. In fact, I think it’s a more or less accurate restatement of a pretty plausible moral premise. (I would replace ‘is’ with ‘may be’, and ‘bad situation’ with something like ‘life of torment and suffering’.)

    The problem with TRA’s argument is that it casts (1) as equivalent to

    (2) “It is (or may be) more humane to kill a person living a life of torment and suffering than it is to let that person go on living.”

    Which is also a fair premise, but (obviously) completely distinct from (1).

    It is obviously completely distinct, in that 1 is identical to the statement

    “It is (or may be) more humane to kill a person on the possibility that they may turn out to live a life of torment and suffering than it is to let that person go on living.”

    Abortion is clearly killing someone alive on the possibility, not the current reality of suffering.

    TRA’s amusing satire depends (for its amusement) on playing to this common confusion.

    Common confusion indeed. By your argument, killing people who carry a genetic marker for cancer might be humane, but kiling people who actually develop cancer is immoral.

  40. Mary
    January 21st, 2006 @ 8:28 pm

    BTW, let me just buttress the validity of (1) by appeal to the following, analogous premise:

    (3) It’s better to scramble a fertilized egg than to allow that egg to become a chick that will endure a life of torment and suffering.

    Would anyone suggest that (3) is an objectionable sentiment? Moreoever, would anyone suggest that it is equivalent to

    (4) It’s better to fry up a chick living a life of torment and suffering than to let that chick go on living.

    ? TRA?

    Of course they are not equivalent. Killing an obviously hurting chicken to stop the pain is far less morally objectionally than frying up an egg on the grounds the chicken might suffer.

    (Then, it’s a chicken. It’s fine to kill either for food. The frying case is morally objectionally in the hypocrisy involving in pretending that it’s something other thand food.)

  41. "Q" the Enchanter
    January 23rd, 2006 @ 1:04 pm

    Mary,

    Your first argument assumes that zygotes are “persons.” While it’s fine for you to assume that for the purpose of espousing your own views, it’s not fine for the purpose of attributing an argument to me.

    Your second argument is hard to square with the fact that almost no one thinks it is morally objectionable whatever to scramble (or do anything else to) a chicken egg.

    It’s also hard to square with the fact that the end of an actually-suffering person’s life is attended by far more demonstrable personal human tragedy than is the end of the development of a zygote’s. I doubt there is a couple alive who would grieve anywhere nearly as deeply about an early miscarriage as they would about the death of their ten-year-old. (Focussing just on the expectant parents of course sets aside the impact upon a whole host of other relationships that develop during the life of a person.) I would argue that these robust emotional dispositions tell us something about human nature–and it ain’t that zygotes are “persons” in any normal sense of the word.

  42. Sailorette
    January 23rd, 2006 @ 4:25 pm

    Q-
    You go, boy!

    Next up: Defend the Nazis who we abhore in part because we assume that Jews, Gypsies and the retarded are actually “persons”.

  43. "Q" the Enchanter
    January 23rd, 2006 @ 8:00 pm

    Sailorette,

    Were you playing the fool for comedic effect, or did you actually intend your remarks to amount to an argument? If the former, you need to work on your timing. If the latter, you need to work on your critical skills.

    In either case, best of luck to you in your efforts.

    “Q” the Enchanter

  44. Sailorette
    January 23rd, 2006 @ 11:20 pm

    Q-
    Please explain a solid differance between the assumption that a human in the womb is a person and that a human from a set genetic lineage is a person. The second actually has a much better logical setting, if you define them as a different species of the homo tree. Homo Useless?

  45. Ren Ali
    January 24th, 2006 @ 10:23 am

    Wow. I’m a little surprised to see mysogynists among the atheists. I thought that was the domain of theists. The put the life of an clump of cells over that of a living breathing woman is the “punish the sluts” mentality that is unbecoming an atheist. It is the ultimate mysogyny.

    Don’t like abortion, don’t have one. Spare us all the dumbass appeals to emotion. Look at desperate woman in the face and tell her she can’t have abortion because you don’t agree with it. Your silly objections will whither like an old man sans his cialis.

    How about hoping off your irrelevant soapbox and getting to know the real situations and real people that face them, instead of this goofy psuedo-academic garbage.

  46. The Raving Atheist
    January 24th, 2006 @ 10:34 am

    Look at desperate woman in the face and tell her she can’t have abortion because you don’t agree with it. Your silly objections will whither like an old man sans his cialis.

    How about hoping off your irrelevant soapbox and getting to know the real situations and real people that face them, instead of this goofy psuedo-academic garbage.

    Ren Ali,

    I volunteer at a crisis pregnancy clinic. It’s very purpose is to look very real women in the face in very real situations and talk them out of having abortions. There’s nothing academic about it, and babies they have and the joy they experience are as real as anything you will ever experience. And the women, looking at their children in the faces, are very happy that they stumbled into the CPC or were talked into to leaving the line at Planned Parenthood.

    Do you find something very evil in that? Should I stop doing what I’m doing? What would you say at a woman at the moment of “choice”?

  47. Jill
    January 24th, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

    RA-

    How about helping the women who seek it instead of coercing and lying to them? When women call up CPCs and ask if they can schedule an appointment for an abortion, and the CPC receptionist says, “I’m not sure of the schedule right now, why don’t you come in and talk to us?” and proceeds to tell her a slew of BS about how abortion is universally damaging, physically dangerous, etc etc, no one is being helped. Women deserve honest information. If they want to have an abortion, and they’re walking into their doctor’s office, they don’t deserve to be accosted by anti-choicers. If they want to give birth, and they go to a CPC for help, that’s great. But you don’t see pro-choice activists standing outside CPCs yelling at the women going in that they’re ruining their lives — because the pro-choice movement believes that women are perfectly capable of making their own reproductive choices, without being lied to or infantilized.

    I’ve worked with and known women who have made a variety of choices, including childbirth and abortion. I know women who, in the direst of straits, chose to give birth. It’s probably not the same choice that I would make in their situation, but I would never tell them that they’re doing the wrong thing — because they aren’t. I’ve also met women who have had abortions or who are planning to, and, even if they’re in situations where I think I would have chosen differently, I’m not them. Until I’ve walked the proverbial mile in their shoes, I can’t say anything.

    And the fact is, RA, you don’t know what every single woman out there is going through. I’ve met a 14-year-old girl who was pregnant and having an abortion. Her older sister had also gotten pregnant as a teenager, but had decided to give birth. This girl knew the drill. She saw that her sister had done very well for herself, but didn’t want to be in the same situation. She evaluated where she was at, she talked with her mother, and she made the choice to terminate her pregnancy. I do wonder if you could have met her and told her that she would have been better off leaving school to give birth; putting her body through the physical trauma of pregnancy (14-year-olds are rarely physically developed enough to give birth without complications); and raising a child when she herself was still a kid, and when she was coming from an extremely poor family.

    There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to human sexuality. Telling people, “Get married and have as many babies as nature dictates” just doesn’t work for most people. Contraception and abortion are just as much a part of life as pregnancy, childbirth and miscarriage. As long as human have been having sex, we’ve been trying to control our reproduction. Abortion is part of that.

  48. "Q" the Enchanter
    January 26th, 2006 @ 1:27 am

    Sailorette,

    I’m on the road commenting via Treo, so it would take too long to type up an answer for you. But if you Google “personhood theory” or the like, you’ll find a serviceable answer to your question. Alternatively, you can wait till I return to civilization, and I’ll be able to answer you directly.

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