Same job, different uniform.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Seeking Female in South Dakota, S or M, Must be Judicious, Thoughtful, Open Minded. Sense of Humor Optional.

I have been looking around for bloggers who call my new home theirs: South Dakota.

I've linked to about five, so far. One of them, Lone Prairie, I've been reading for years, and so should you. Another I've been reading off and on is Dakota Women.

These aren't women I generally agree with, but they're women interested in politics in South Dakota, and I was hoping for some lively discussion and the occasional meeting of the minds.

I did not anticipate meeting a writer as unbalanced as Anna. To call her writing biased is an understatement. To Anna, there are two kinds of people: Good people and the deceitful, indifferent, cold-hearted despots who call themselves pro-life.

Two weeks ago, she was complaining (generous word) that the vast right-wing conspiracy known as the pro-life movement makes women act like "helpless, idiotic victims."

Today, she claims that "Olga Reyes is merely one out of about 70,000 women who will die this year as a result of restrictions on abortion." (Ms. Reyes died because of her country's uber-restrictive abortion laws that don't permit doctors to perform an abortion when the life of the mother is in jeopardy.) Never mind that the need for an abortion as the result of an ectopic pregnancy is an exception, not the rule, and you would be hard-pressed to find a reasonable pro-lifer in the U.S. who supports a ban on abortion on these cases.

But that would be the balanced approach; it would show signs of thoughtfulness and consistency. Instead, Anna maintains that women die as a result of restrictive laws--and not as a result of their own choice to terminate an inconvenient pregnancy, nay. Helpless victims, anyone?

Later she blithely accuses "lots of people" (this means pro-life people in Dakota Women parlance) of "not be[ing] troubled in the least if stuff like this happened here."

That's "not being troubled in the least" if women die painful, preventable deaths in case you had trouble connecting the dots.

I wasn't very nice in the comments.

Labels: , ,

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your site...thanks for the fun, thoughtful posts.

I'm up here in North Dakota, by the way, and I really enjoy Lone Prairie's posts, too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Blogger girlfriday said...

Well hello there! And welcome.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Blogger Anna said...

Well, except for the fact that I provided quotes where you and others indicated your concern was with the fetus before the woman (which is what causes situations like the one Olga Reyes found herself in), you would probably be correct. I am willing to believe that you may not like to see situations like Reyes', but you seem to refuse to understand why these things happen - because of unreasonably restrictive abortion laws, which you have indicated that you wholeheartedly support. Again, refer to the reaction of the medical community in SD to 1215 last year. Virtually all of them indicated that they would be hesitant to perform an operation like the one necessary to save Reyes' life, because they weren't sure whether they would be prosecuted for the death of an embryo or not.

Yes, women in these countries make conscious decisions to risk their lives, health, and fertility to have illegal abortions - could this, possibly, lead you to think that maybe women feel they have incredibly compelling reasons to have abortions? I don't often risk my life for a mere "inconvenience," and I think you're trivializing the situation that women with unwanted pregnancies find themselves in, whether they live in South Dakota or Nicaragua.

Are you unbiased, by the way?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Blogger girlfriday said...

Thanks for stopping by.

I assert, again, that I have not trivialized the decision--not there, not here, not anywhere. On the contrary, I have given it the weight it deserves.

The problem is, with your most recent post, you are comparing apples with oranges: the pro-life position as it concerns abortion on demand in the U.S. with the pro-life position on abortion to save a monther's life in a developing country.

Since the shoe is on the other foot, would you mind telling our readers what a fetus is and why it doesn't deserve our protection? If you can demonstrate that it is anything other than a human, a kitten, for example, we might re-think our position that it deserves equal protection under the law.

And if that is too ridiculous for you, perhaps you can tell us at which stage in gestation your "zygote" becomes a female person, deserving our full consideration?

Because if not, then I think you will appreciate my bias: I prefer living women, not dead ones. If this means we have to limit women's choices in reasonable ways, so be it.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Blogger Anna said...

I maintain that you do trivialize the decisions women make - you referred to women having illegal abortions as dealing with an "inconvenience." I would say, again, that there are no sane people in the world who would risk their life to take care of an inconvenience, and that an unwanted/unplanned pregnancy is almost always a real crisis in a woman's/family's life, regardless of how they end up choosing to deal with it. Using language like "an inconvenient pregnancy" absolutely trivializes the situations they're in.

I am not comparing apples to oranges. Again, please compare HB 1215, which we voted on in South Dakota in 2006, with anti-abortion laws in developing nations. Compare what South Dakota physicians said then with what physicians in Nicaragua said about Olga Reyes. It's almost exactly the same.

It is silly to say that a fetus isn't human - obviously a fetus is human and has the potential to be born. The fetus, however, is entirely dependent upon the woman carrying it, and I believe we should assume in the law that the needs/rights of the woman carrying the fetus are more important.

And a female fetus is not a 'woman.'

Friday, November 16, 2007

Blogger Snarky said...

Wow. As a man, I ought to avoid this tar baby, but I can't.

As is true in so many cases here in Humanville, there is no middle ground in these positions. If a woman's body is exclusively her own, no one else has a say in what happens to or with her. In that event, the fetus, as a parasitic being, is entirely subject to the desires or whims of the host. She may kill it, keep it, or hold it in a jar. It is not independent life.

On the other hand, there is the opposing view that while a woman's body is, indeed, her own, the State has some interest in aspects of her life. We make certain drugs illegal because we do not want people to hurt themselves. We make suicide a crime. We make alcohol legal to consume only after a certain age has passed, and we have laws about when, or if, someone may engage in sexual intercourse.

Obviously, no one holds absolutely to either view. There are always exceptions that make sense or evoke such hilarity that one has to allow for inconsistency. But the ideas continue to hold. If the State has a right to intervene in the lives of citizens, what is the extent of the intervention? How far may it go? Where must it stop?

While I do not believe that any reasonable reading of the Constitution finds a "right" to abortion, I can understand Justice Blackmun's attempt to find some sort of common ground. He tried to find a way to straddle the issue, noting that the State has a certain amount of jurisdiction and the individual woman has a certain amount of latitude.

I cannot and do not condone the use of abortion as a means of contraception. It is dangerous to the woman for one thing, and is intensely dehumanizing for another. It also evidences an astonishing lack of willingness to make proper reproductive choices. Between the pill (in all its forms), condoms, sponges, and diaphragms, as well as voluntary sterilization for those who definitely do not want children, there are choices (that word again) aplenty. On the other hand, I can envision many circumstances where a family (or a single woman) would be devastated and their futures would be very much in doubt. I believe that we ought to err on the side of the actual as opposed to the potential, but that we must take the potential into account—we must value life if we are to truly value ourselves.

And it would help if we stop demonizing or making fun of those with whom we disagree. I was struck with the tenor of the "conversation" on the Dakota Woman was meanspirited, and the assumption that anyone who did not share the prevailing view was wrong and evil and anti-woman. Which is pretty hilarious, since one of those who was fairly brutally slammed (our own girlfriday) asked questions that could have been answered logically and simply. That they weren't was sad. This does not mean that she (or anyone else on the pro-life side) would necessarily accept the conclusions presented as conclusive...but the discussion could have continued.

There really IS middle ground here. The presumption ought to be that people should take care of their reproductive choices, be responsible, and make abortion rare...but retain it as an option.

Now. Have at me. As it turns out, people who walk the center line tend to get shot at from both sides...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blogger Anna said...

And it would help if we stop demonizing or making fun of those with whom we disagree. I was struck with the tenor of the "conversation" on the Dakota Woman was meanspirited, and the assumption that anyone who did not share the prevailing view was wrong and evil and anti-woman. Which is pretty hilarious, since one of those who was fairly brutally slammed (our own girlfriday) asked questions that could have been answered logically and simply. That they weren't was sad. This does not mean that she (or anyone else on the pro-life side) would necessarily accept the conclusions presented as conclusive...but the discussion could have continued.

We at DW might be more sarcastic than you'd care to see, but we aren't mean. I gave up on a serious discussion with a number of the women who write/comment here long ago because they refuse to discuss questions directly or address any of the consequences of making abortion illegal. You see here that when I was asked a direct question, I answered it directly. My questions to girlfriday and others on DW were not treated in the same manner.

I do think that people who want to make abortion illegal are dangerously wrongheaded, and I'm not afraid to say that. I frequently present evidence of the terrible consequences of passing laws against abortion, and that seems to really upset a lot of the women here. If that makes me an awful, nasty extremist, so be it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not naive enough to believe that pregnancy when unwanted is a burden and can cause distress in woman’s life. Sometimes there are circumstances that arise when a pregnancy is detrimental to a full-grown woman’s health.
But zygotes are not a virus. A virus is the only known organism that cannot contain homeostasis by itself. From the literature I’ve read, this is the opinion of most pro-choice activists, that a fetus is a virus because it needs a host to continue to live. The problem with that is the fact that a woman made the choice to become pregnant by not being responsible with her body (with the exception of rape). How can we consider pregnancy in the same way we consider cancer or a viral infection? I don’t understand that way of thinking.
There are additionally two main discrepancies I have with abortion.
1.) What do you say to the woman who is irresponsible, not using any type of birth control, getting pregnant again and again only to abort a child?
Should we as a nation, excuse her irresponsible behavior by saying that abortion is a viable option? If she became pregnant, then obviously she’s not using protection and that’s dangerous.
2.) We are the only species who kills our unborn children while in vitro. There is an element here that we should consider. It isn’t natural to abort ones offspring. No matter the circumstance, and if a pro-choice advocate wishes to view this topic in a scientific spectrum, then that person can not ignore the fact that there are no other known species that kill their unborn children while in womb.
Adoption is just as convenient as abortion. We no longer live in a society where an un-wed pregnant woman is looked at with scorn. With our population issue rising (we won’t be able to maintain our species if we continue to reproduce in the same manner) then I think it be prudent to view abortion in a different light.
The last thing I have to ask: How do you consider a female fetus not a woman? She has a vagina and reproductive organs. To me, that’s a woman. If a female fetus is able to born, she would by all scientific opinion be consider female. Woman=female.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blogger girlfriday said...

Anna, I had begun to wonder if we spoke the same language, we communicate so poorly. You must have felt the same. But now I'm starting to see the light.

You think I'm trivializing women's decisions because I call the pregnancy, for women who opt to abort an inconvenience, right? That's the only conclusion I can come to. I can understand why you think that.

I recognize that abortion is an agonizing choice for some women (an argument against your referring to the developing baby as a “zygote”). I can imagine that the decision is sometimes made in despair, fear and at great personal cost. Unfortunately, in America, a huge number of abortions are done by middle-aged women, many of them married. (This is a matter of statistical reporting, not antecdote.) That is abortion as a form of birth control and it is indefensible. Even those who don’t fit that bill have innumerable resources at their disposal: Safe houses, protective services, adoption resources, financial help, the list goes on. Help for desperate women in desperate situations.

Even if that were not the case, no amount of hand-wringing will change the fact of what is happening when an abortion is performed on a healthy woman. You can evoke empathy, but that will only take you so far. As Flannery O’Connor wisely said, "In the absence of faith, we govern by tenderness, and tenderness leads to the gas chamber."

We’ve blogged about all this before, when we wrote about “abortion clinic days.” I do hope you at least skim it. There are a finite number of conclusions you can draw about a culture that supports this way of thinking.

That is a short answer to the accusation that I am trivializing women’s choices.

The bigger problem with our discussions has been that you won’t defend, as far as I can see, the main principle at work, which appears to be: abortion is a fundamental right. Instead, you troll for evidence to support your beliefs when I am interested in arguing their virtues or vices.

For example, you insisted that your nay-sayers "answer the question" about how abortion is good for women when many die from illegal or unsafe abortions. That some women are injured by attempting the procedure on their own is not an argument. It is a statistic; a fact. I made that point in the comments and rather than refute it (that is, the principle that people break laws and get hurt and that is not necessarily an argument for changing the law), you continued to ask the question. It reminds me of the old stumper, "Have you stopped beating your wife?" There is no way for me to answer that will satisfy you. Perhaps a more intellectually honest question would be, "Since the criminalization of abortion in some countries means certain death for some women who opt to abort, please defend your position that the rights of the developing person should be weighed in concert with the rights of the mother."

In fact, that’s essentially what I’ve asked you, more than once, but you haven’t answered. It doesn't bother me because I suspect I know the answer. And that answer troubles me beyond belief.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Post a Comment

<< Home