Tag Archives: Abortion

Average Joe SCOTUS – Roe v. Wade [Classic]

We all know that Roe v. Wade made abortion legal across the United States, but the this shit is WAY more nuanced and complicated than most know. So let’s really dig into this bitch, because it’s interesting AF.

First, Jane Roe was a fictional name used to represent an anonymous woman. She chose to remain anonymous at the time, but was later identified as Norma McCorvey. She had gotten pregnant with her third child, and wanted an abortion. The first two she had given up for adoption, but this time, she didn’t want to go through all of that.

But there was a Texas law that said outside of rape and incest, unless your doctor orders an abortion to save your life, your doctor can’t perform a fucking abortion on you.

So Jane lied and said she had been raped. But when there was no police report to corroborate the rape, they suspected she was full of shit, and denied her an abortion, leaving her with no way in Texas to get a legal abortion.

Jane Roe wasn’t the only appellant, though. There was also an anonymous couple that had gotten pregnant, and a doctor Hallford who was under indictment for performing an abortion (Presumably not the lead singer for Judas Priest, Rob Halford, although that’d be pretty fucking awesome).

They sought justice in a Texas district court citing first amendment violations (presumably arguing it was a law based on religion). But she also argued Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

The Texas district court gave her a victory on 9th amendment grounds, that just because the right to an abortion isn’t enumerated in the Constitution, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a right to  do it. But also, it effectively argues a person has a right to privacy. They cited the 14th amendment as well, which guarantees rights to “all citizens born.” So if you aren’t born yet, you’ve got no rights, little fella.

But Texas only gave a declaratory relief (they clarified the law), not injuctive relief, which would have effectively intervened on Roe’s behalf so she could get her abortion.

Texas decided that despite this decision, it was going to continue prosecuting doctors for performing illegal abortions.

By the time it made it to SCOTUS, the appellant focused on the 9th amendment and 14th amendment arguments, since that’s how they won in Texas, when pleading their case to SCOTUS.

Also, the appellants argued that based on some of the situations that were unique to that time, made Roe a victim. She noted that some jobs make the woman quit, some schools make the woman drop out, and the woman can’t get unemployment or welfar if she were pregnant. She stated,

It disrupts her body. It disrupts her education. It disrupts her employment. And it often disrupts her entire family life.

And we feel that, because of the impact on the woman, this certainly and as far as there are any rights which are fundamental is a matter which is of such fundamental and basic concern to the woman involved that she should be allowed to make the choice as to whether to continue or to terminate her pregnancy.

Here’s where this shit starts to get interesting. The Texas law only forbade a doctor from doing the abortion. And it held a significantly lower penalty than murder, which appellant’s argued that showed they weren’t considering it murder. A woman could perform her own abortion, which is dangerous as hell, and there was no law against that shit at all. As a matter of fact, in the law, the pregnant female was considered the victim, and the doctor was the criminal.

Part of the blow dealt to Texas was that from the doctor’s perspective, the law was too vague or subjective. Meaning that a doctor could run afoul of the law, and not even know.

Imagine if the doctor performed the abortion because they said the mother’s life was in danger. But then another doctor comes in after the fact and argues that the mother wasn’t in danger, the doctor performing the abortion was a shit doctor, and thus it’s an illegal abortion. Who the hell wants to sort that shit out? And what doctor will ever perform an abortion, when they know they could be thrown in jail for it later?

So this shady motherfucker on the side of Wade, tried to argue the case moot, because it had been 21 months, and Roe had long since given birth and put the baby up for adoption. Basically, this dipshit was setting up a system where a woman could never get injuctive relief, because it would take too long to get it, and actually be able to perform the abortion. This case tool 21 months, but obviously, the abortion needs to happen within a few months. So the court called him on this, and the exchange was awkward at best.

Justice Byron R. White

How do you suggest, if you’re right, what procedure would you suggest for any pregnant female in the State of Texas ever to get any judicial consideration of this constitutional claim?

Jay Floyd – Wade advocate

Your Honor, let me answer your question with a statement, if I may. I do not believe it can be done. There are situations in which, of course as the Court knows, no remedy is provided.

Now I think she makes her choice prior to the time she becomes pregnant. That is the time of the choice. It’s like, more or less, the first three or four years of our life we don’t remember anything.

But, once a child is born, a woman no longer has a choice, and I think pregnancy may terminate that choice. That’s when

Justice Byron R. White

Maybe she makes her choice when she decides to live in Texas.

As arguments proceeded, the question was asked of the state by SCOTUS, what’s your interest here? To preserve the life of the fetus? So Wade’s attorney was all like, I don’t fucking know, sounds about right.

You’ll think I’m joking there, but he genuinely fucking said when asked what the state’s interest was,

“They recognized the humanness of the embryo, or the fetus, and they said, we have an interest in protecting fetal life.

Whether or not that was the original intent of the statute, I have no idea.”

Clearly, this motherfucker was prepared.

So then the justice was like, well then how the fuck is the woman the victim? Shouldn’t the woman and the doctor be the criminals, and the fetus be the victim?

It became clear that no compelling argument had been made, nor precedent set, to constitute a fetus being a life with equal protection under the law. As a matter of fact, this motherfucker when asked about not making the fetus the victim said,

That is correct, Your Honor. And the matter has been brought to my attention. Why not punish for murder, since you are destroying what you – or what has been said to be a human being?

I do not know, except that I will say this. As medical science progresses, maybe the law will progress along with it. Maybe at one time it could be possible, I suppose, statutes could be passed. Whether or not that would be constitutional or not, I don’t know.

I’ve eaten a bowl of alphabet soup and shit better arguments than that. No wonder that mother fucker lost. Seriously!

He was so bad, that when the case was re-argued at the suggestion of justice Harry Blackmun nearly a year later (due to the fact the court was two justices short from retirements prior to the case, and those seats having not yet been filled), Texas replaced his dumb ass as their advocate.

Anyway, back to Captain Anonymous, Jane Roe. Effectively, if the court accepted that the state’s interest was protecting a life other than the mother’s life, then the court was put into a quagmire, where they’re forced to choose the rights of one life over another.

So eventually SCOTUS decided 7-2 in favor of Roe. Based on the idea that they’re choosing one life over the other, they divide the pregnancy up into three trimesters, which is where the whole “trimester” term came to be.

They gave the mother sole discretion, with her doctor, to terminate in the first trimester (this is where the trimester concept started). They gave deference to the mother in the second trimester to terminate if her life was at risk, but the state could regulate outside of that. Then they gave deference to the state’s ability to protect the fetus in the third trimester, basically arguing, the state could legislate it to say, you’ve come this fucking far, just have the baby and put it up for adoption if you don’t want it. But if the state didn’t pass such a law, go ahead and have the abortion.

Justices Rehnquist and White dissented.

Read about the case, and hear both oral arguments here

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Pro-Life and Pro-Choice – They Are Not Mutually Exclusive

I found myself in a debate on Twitter with writer Sarah Benincasa. After the GOP debate, she had referred to all Republicans as “Shitheads.”

Your humble correspondent is a libertarian-republican. (Small L and small R). The small letters indicate I’m not beholden to either party, but just the principles of liberty and a constitution, the defining factors of being a libertarian and a republican.

Feeling somewhat insulted by someone I typically felt was fair and tolerant of other people’s opinions, I decided to respond by pointing out that some of the people on that stage had indeed shown that they were not your stereotypical Republican, and that ultimately the type of bigotry one uses to paint all people of a group with one brush, isn’t really fair. Below was my response followed by Sarah’s passionate counter-response.

Sarah Benincasa

This got me thinking about the issue a little deeper. I won’t point out more of the discussions that followed. They were mostly followers of Sarah attacking me or the candidates with contempt, instead of showing any interest in respectful debate. So I explained my position as respectfully as I could, and exited stage left.

But this exchange brings a couple of issues to light.

The first of which is the concept of being a one-issue person. I believe many of the pro-choice people are often pro-legalization of marijuana as well. Senator Rand Paul has worked with Democrat Corey Booker to accomplish exactly that. If that had been the one issue Sarah (if she is pro-legalization) opted to key on instead of abortion as an important issue to her, she might have painted him in a different light.

Senator Rand Paul (R)
Senator Rand Paul (R)

The point being that no candidate will ever agree with you 100%; It’s that simple. As a voter, the best you can do is find common ground with candidates where you’re able, support them when you do, and dissent when you don’t.

You should certainly side with the person who most commonly aligns with your beliefs, but it’s silly to assume someone is all bad and treat them as if they’re evil “shitheads.”

As much as I dislike Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, I don’t paint either one to be evil, or call them names. I just think they’re wrong, more often than not, and challenge their positions or their integrity when they are found to be disingenuous, a trait common in politicians of all parties.

But delving into the abortion issue, I first want to point out the flaws with the basic pro-life/pro-choice argument.

The converse of pro-life is not pro-choice, it’s anti-life. And thus the converse of pro-choice is not pro-life, it’s anti-choice. The two are slightly separate issues. So I’ll first explain my position and why.

As it is typically understood, I am pro-choice. I believe there are many understandable instances where a woman would choose to abort, that I compassionately cannot condone throwing her in jail on a 1st degree murder charge for, where I absolutely would if she killed the child the same child after birth. So I’ve always argued that viability is a fair cut-off in my opinion—emphasis on opinion.

But that being said, I’m also pro-life in an untraditional sense. I would encourage anyone who is pregnant and healthy, to bring the child to term and either raise it, or put it up for adoption if so desired. But that’s an issue between her and the father, not her and the government, also in my opinion.

Yet in my debate, despite being pro-choice myself, I ended up arguing the pro-life point. I suspect mostly because I believe in fairness over ideology.

It’s interesting that the pro-choice crowd typically claim to be the more scientifically enlightened, attacking the pro-life group who are largely religious, and often they argue are anti-science as a result, yet they overlook that fact that once an egg is fertilized, and the resultant zygote begins to replicate, approximately 24 to 30 hours after fertilization, it is inarguably a life because of that natural cell replication, and it’s purely human DNA means it is inarguably human. Like it or not, it is a human life, and all the science you can throw at it, backs that.

Human Zygote development directly after fertilization. (Click Image for more information)
Human Zygote development directly after fertilization.
(Click Image for more information)

Being atheist, I don’t lend much credence to religion, so I won’t point out the religious component to all of this, it doesn’t matter. Whether you believe it’s a human life because God says so, or because science says so, you believe it’s a human life.

So then the question becomes when is it a life that deserves protection under the law?

I cannot say this with enough emphasis; that question can never be a matter of fact. It is pure opinion, and no one person’s opinion is any more valid than another’s, because with opinions, there is no scientific truth you can apply to make one argument better than the other, otherwise it would be fact. I believe in such situations, you can either respectfully agree to disagree, or you can behave intolerantly and attack your dissenter for having a differing opinion.

But the issue I take with many of my fellow pro-choice advocates, is that they call this a woman’s right issue, then argue that pro-life advocates are against women’s rights. This is where the pro-life/anti-life and pro-choice/anti-choice argument I made earlier becomes rather important.

If you are concerned about the woman’s rights, you will either be pro-choice or anti-choice. If you are viewing this argument from the embryo’s point of view, you are either pro-life or anti-life. The two are not interchangeable.

So when pro-choice people attack pro-life people for being against women’s rights, that’s a straw man argument.

The pro-life people believe it is a human life, with rights under the law. They believe that it’s not part of the woman’s body, but instead a separate body inside the woman’s body. As such, not believing it a woman’s rights issue whatsoever, or even framing it that way.

Logical Fallacies (Click to enlarge)
Logical Fallacies
(Click to enlarge)

Pro-choice people however, believe that as long as the embryo resides in the mother, it is part of the mother, and therefore not a separate life, and not worthy of protection under the law, but instead, something a woman should have the right to remove, similar to a breast reduction to remove unwanted tissue to increase her quality of life.

I am not saying such people equate a fetus to a breast, so please no outraged response, understand I’m only saying they paint the procedures in a similar light, from an ethics perspective.

In either instance, again these positions as to whether it’s part of the woman’s body, or its own separate body within a body are matters of opinion, not fact, and can be argued either way. Tolerance dictates you must respect the converse opinion.

I have to point out that from a science perspective, the DNA of the embryo is unique from the mother’s, something that wouldn’t be true of any other organic substance inside the mother, she might opt to remove from her body; aside from a disease or another foreign invader of some sort anyway. So it’s hard to argue with science that the embryo is part of the mother’s body when it doesn’t share her exact DNA, but instead, a mix of her’s and the father’s.

Actual Image of Human DNA through an Electron Microscope. (Click image for more information)
Actual Image of Human DNA through an Electron Microscope.
(Click image for more information)

I have a long history on this site of being all about science, so in theory, I probably should be what is traditionally thought of as pro-life and equate abortion to murder.

But I frankly know that if I had a daughter, and she had an abortion a month after fertilization versus a year after the birth, I cannot conflate the two as equally heinous. So despite all the evidence to the contrary, I remain pro-choice from a legal standpoint, and pro-life from a personal one.

As for Sarah and her followers, they are passionate about women’s rights, and that’s a good thing—I wish them well even if they think I’m a jerk.

I just wish they would embrace a little more empathy for those with differing opinions, and not conflate opinion with fact, because arguing someone is wrong, must revolve around facts, never opinions.

Memebuster – Sharia Law Is Identical To The Republican Platform

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I ‘ve decided to start a new segment at Logical Libertarian called Memebuster. I will attempt to debunk memes largely based on ideology, and rarely containing any factual information. Let’s start with this one from a friend on Twitter. I’ll answer them one at a time:

Government based on religion

While Republicans are definitely quite commonly supporting laws based on their own religious ideology, none have ever promoted the idea of abolishing the 1st amendment and legislating the Bible, or any other religion.

There’s a difference between promoting a law based on religious beliefs, and adopting a government based solely on religion.

Women have fewer rights than men

Under Sharia law, women can’t even show their face, can be murdered if they get raped—being deemed as adulterers, aren’t allowed to drive a car, etc.

No one in the GOP is promoting such a notion.

This is entirely about positions on abortion. We’re all against murder, but in the eyes of many on the right, abortion is seen as the murder of an innocent child. There is no scientific evidence that can deem them wrong.

While I’m personally pro-choice prior to fetal-viability, it’s merely my opinion, and positions on abortion always will be. But it is NEVER about taking away women’s rights for the GOP, they’re trying to protect the rights of the unborn as they see it.

Disagree if you must, as I do, but don’t lie by saying they’re against women’s rights.

Homosexuality is outlawed

No GOP legislator is promoting making homosexuality a crime. They are against it being called marriage, since many are religious and consider marriage a religious institution. But many GOPs support civil unions, and some have even evolved on gay marriage.

This is a wildly hyperbolic overstatement by this meme.

Rejecting Science In Favor of Religious Doctrine

Many lawmakers on the left and right are religious. Many are not scientists. When you don’t understand a particular field of science, you will largely default to your beliefs. This is not unique to Republicans.

Politicians on both sides promote religion and/or science when it serves their interests.

For instance, Democrats promote the idea of giving, often quoting the Bible, when they promote socialist policies that take from people with money, and give to people who don’t have money. Despite the science of economics that shows that socialism has never lifted an economy out of ruin.Alms for the poor box

Republicans are usually accused of being anti-science on global warming, but there isn’t a religious reason for doing that, they just believe that the predictive models aren’t settled science.

I cannot think of any issue where they ignore science because of religious dogma. Most accept that the Earth isn’t 6,000 years old, most call a doctor before a priest when they’re sick, and most consider scientific evidence when offered it, as related to proposed legislation.

The 1st Amendment
The 1st Amendment

No separation between church and state

Again, no Republican is promoting a repeal of the 1st amendment, or amending it.  I would also like to point out that “separation of church and state” is not even in the Constitution, which instead points out that no law should be passed prohibiting or mandating religion. That’s a pretty big distinction.

There are no proposed laws from Republicans trying to force someone to be religious, but instead to enforce they’re opinion of morality based on their religion.

In other words, no Republican is forcing you to be religious, but they don’t want you smoking marijuana, for instance, because they think it’s just wrong—largely based on their own religious conditioning.

Religion is taught in schools

This is half-true. Many Republicans want religion allowed to be taught in school, but none are promoting the idea that it must be taught in school under penalty of law, such as Sharia law would dictate.

Abortion is illegal

This is probably the only fair similarity in this meme. Many Republicans are anti-choice on the issue of abortion because again, they believe it’s murder.

You can disagree with them if you like, but their decision isn’t an oppressive one, it’s about saving what they believe to be a human life, a principle we all agree on in theory, we just disagree on when a life becomes a life.

Pro-Choice/Pro-Life Poll

Abortion is one of the hottest subjects of debate among Americans. While science can answer a lot of questions, what it cannot do is define when a life becomes a life versus a growth inside the mother. It’s akin to asking when does cookie dough become a cookie. There is no right or wrong answer to this subject, such conjecture will always be a matter of opinion. So what’s yours?