Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Scary "Gender Agenda"

Dale O'Leary has very helpfully set out the "Gender Agenda" for us to follow.

Let's dive right in!

"Twenty years ago I attended the United Nations’ Beijing Conference on Women. The focus of the gathering was the definition of “gender”. The word appeared at least once in almost all of platforms over 300 sections. While many people believe that the words “sex” and “gender” are interchangeable, the goal of the Beijing conference was to change radically the definition of both.
Until then, sex had described to the totality of what it means to be male or female, and gender was a grammatical term. But gender theory downgraded sex to the biological level only. In normal usage sex was to be replaced by gender, and gender would describe socially constructed roles that could be changed. A male could have a female gender identity."

Yes, there are very good reasons to not conflate sex and gender, namely the existence of trans people. "Biological sex" is also a construct, as intersex people are much more numerous than perceived and sex is much more complicated than we think:

From Dori Mooneyham's blog

"Biological Sex – There is no such thing. While many believe sex is an immutable biologically-determined characteristic set at birth, it is actually just another socially constructed binary based entirely on infants’ genitalia. There are frequent and naturally occurring variability of all aspects of what we socially lump together as someone’s “biological sex”.
Primary and Secondary Sex Characteristics all play a factor in how someone experiences their body in comparison with their Gender Identity."

Back to Dale O'Leary:

"According to gender ideology, all the psychological and cultural differences between men and women are artificial constructs that not only can, but should be eliminated so that men and women participate in every activity of society in statistically equal numbers."

We have NO WAY to even start determining what differences are genetic vs cultural until multiple generations grow up with less sexism.

"The obvious enemy of this agenda is motherhood. If two people have sexual relations, only one gets pregnant and it’s always the woman."
The fact that half the human race gets pregnant and the other half doesn't is basically the source of sexist oppression. We need to use technology and culture to overcome what evolution has done to us, just like we do with everything else.

"The UN is inhabited by people who believe that what the world needs is:
1)    Fewer people"


"2)    More sexual pleasure"

"3)    The elimination of the differences between men and women"
Yes. As long as you mean how we treat men and women based on physical differences/identification.

"4)    No full-time mothers"

No. How does that even follow?

"These people recognize that increasing sexual pleasure could increase the number of babies and mothers. Therefore, their prescription for world salvation is:
1)    Free contraception and legal abortions"


"2)    Promotion of homosexuality (sex without babies)"
I would say "acceptance", not promotion, but ok.

"3)    Sex education courses, which encourage sexual experimentation among children; which teach them how to get contraception and abortions, that homosexuality is normal, and that men and women are the same."

"Encouraging" sexual experimentation is a strawman, but otherwise yes.

4)    The elimination of parental rights so that parents cannot prevent children from having sex, sex education, contraception or abortion"

"5)    Fifty/fifty, male/female quotas"
I wouldn't go that far, but extreme gender imbalances can't be attributed to sex alone in our culture. Awareness of this and steps to rectify it are good.

"6)    All women in the workforce"
No. And not all men in the "workforce." Why is homemaking not work?

"7)    Discrediting all religions that oppose this agenda."
Yes. I'm fine with that.

The Gender Agenda cannot be defeated until people are willing to stand up and say, “No more inclusive language, no more politically correct speech.” We must refuse to say “gender” when we mean “sex”. Those who are offended by reality and human nature will just have to live with it."
Yes, stand up to inclusive language! Make your stand on excluding the minority! Die on the hill of treating sexual minorities like crap!

During the Beijing conference, at a meeting sponsored by pro-family, prolife NGO’s, two lesbians spoke up. They were crying and said that all they wanted was to get married. The pro-family, pro-life spokespersons had no compassionate answer and I knew that this would be next major challenge."
There's no compassionate answer to telling people they have to be oppressed? Imagine that!

"In the intervening years things have gotten worse. People who should know better use gender when they mean sex. Others go along with the fantasy that a man can become a woman, or that the relationship between two people of the same sex is a marriage. Selling unborn baby parts is defended on the floor of the US Senate."

In the intervening years more people have accepted trans people, gay marriage, and fetal tissue research? SCORE!

"Let us hope that people of good sense will follow their lead, wake up, realize they have been conned, and stand against gender theory in all its forms."
Yep, stand up against the "theory" that people have gender identity, that trans people exist, that biology is complicated, etc... Methinks you're the one against reality.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Nonreligious "reasons" to be anti-choice

As the Nones rise, anti-choicers are changing strategies to try to include them. Besides Secular Anti-choice, even places like Lie Action News are getting on the bandwagon:

1. Science
To debate “personhood” is a spiritual, moral, or philosophical argument. There’s no data to define personhood. If the preborn can be denied personhood, what’s to stop personhood from being removed from other groups of people?"

This is why I NEVER use personhood arguments. Personhood is vaguely defined, highly philosophical, highly technical on brain development, and most everyone is not qualified to discuss it.

 "While “personhood” is an abstract argument, “life” is not. Undisputed science, from a host of sources, states that life begins at conception."

This point goes on to tell a bunch of facts about fetal development.  The thing is that just because something is alive doesn't mean much in the way of whether it's ok to kill it or not save it.

2. Pro-life Laws Improve Women’s Health

"If the fear is that abortion’s illegality would make the procedure more dangerous, then why object to laws that hold abortion clinics to higher standards and consequently protect women’s health?"
Because TRAP laws don't have anything to do with health.

"A Stanford University study shows lower rates of abortion complications for American states with those same types of laws."
I went and perused the study, and the association is small and doesn't take into account TRAVEL for abortions, especially 2nd-trimester ones, so it's worthless.

 3. The Constitution
Scott v. Sanford, Plessy v. Ferguson, Pace v. Alabama. The Supreme Court has gotten it wrong before.
“Abortion” is not mentioned in the Constitution. The procedure was legalized by determining that it fell under an implied right to privacy found within the Fourteenth Amendment. “Privacy” is not mentioned in the Constitution either.
The constitution can be wrong and women's equality should be in our laws, so I don't really care what you want to say about Roe.

 4. Slippery Slope
"If personhood can be removed from preborn lives, what’s to stop us from removing it from others?  We live in a world where “post-birth abortion”, the murder of newborns, is gaining popularity."
The slippery slope is a named fallacy...It's not always fallacious, but I would reconsider my titles here. This is one of the reasons why bodily autonomy is a better argument. It's very clear-cut about how we don't have to allow others to use our bodies. That doesn't lead to willy-nilly killing people.

So the reasons here are flimsy and have little to do with making abortion illegal.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Atheist "Church"

 In the past several years, alternative meeting formats for atheists have become more popular and captured the media's attention. Many atheists have objections to meetings like the Sunday Assembly, Community Mission Chapel, and Oasis.

Objection: I don't like it.
I don't care. You don't have to go.

Objection: Why don't they just meet at the bar or have a lecture?
If you're not plugged in to the atheist community to know that's the STANDARD format, you need to STFU about anything in the atheist community.
Objection: The word "church"
You'll be glad to know that they don't even use the word church. It's Sunday Assembly, Community Mission Chapel, and Oasis. "Church" is a media term.

But what if they did use the word?

If your objection is anything out of the dictionary, that's prescriptivism. I don't care that the dictionary defines it as a Christian congregation. The word can be used as a format label. These meetings are churchy, they have singing and testimonies and fellowship behavior.

What word does illustrate the difference between groups that use a churchy format and groups that just do lectures and pub meetups? Because I dare you to find another label.

Objection: Confusing Christians about atheism being a religion
I DON'T CARE. I don't care about your internet debates with Christians. How dare you tell atheists not to do things that help them because of your debates?

Meeting together is not the definition of a religion, that's trivially easy to point out to a Christian.
Atheists are people with social needs,and many ex-Christian atheists enjoy the churchy format. Any Christian who pretends to be confused with this explanation is not confused, they're LYING and HATEFUL.

Objection:Something about brainwashing and groupthink
STFU, please. Getting atheists together is like herding cats. Nobody's going to be brainwashed by having a fun little meeting.

Objection: Atheists shouldn't have to get together as atheists, we have nothing in common
Thank you, you little privileged asshole who probably doesn't live in the bible belt. Or you might be asocial, in which case, STFU about something that's for socializing.

Why can't I just go to a local knitting/hiking/blah group to get friends? Because if you live in the bible belt or many other places, you will get asked where you go to church, not if you go to church. You don't want to make a scene, you don't want to keep your mouth shut, and you don't want to hang out with people who think you're going to hell.

Objection: We need to get beyond churches/evolve/give up these formats
Religion does not own community, potlucks, singing. talks, fellowship or any of that. Don't let them have it.

The ONLY thing anyone can say about these meetings is if they would go or not. Any other assertions are baseless.

Perhaps you ask why my answers are so mean. Well, I am hostile to what are essentially subjective preferences being wrapped in a cloak of objectivity. I'm hostile to the outsider nature of such questions as why should atheists get together or talking about their preferences for bar meetups without realizing that they're already catered to. I'm hostile to the denigrating of ex-Christians when it seems like lifelongs are voicing these. I'm hostile when it seems like antisocial basement - dwelling trolls are asking this of "normal" people.

 If your first impulse is to put down something fun that other people are doing, without a damn good demonstration of harm, I basically don't trust you. So perhaps you should rethink your objections if you've said these things before.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Lie News Lies about Ultrasound and Informed Consent

Lienews lives up to its appellation by attempting to rip apart a well-done piece by Catherine Rampell on Politics in the Exam Room, which concerns abortion and other issues.

"As always, pro-life measures or what women-helping groups provide for pregnant women are dismissed because the appropriate “experts” disagree."

Yes, those would be ACTUAL MEDICAL EXPERTS.

For example, for all the reasons that we’ve written about for years, which begin with basic biology, an induced abortion will increase the risk that a woman will subsequently be stricken with breast cancer. That is not, as Rampell insists it is, “junk science.” It is rather science that offers an inconvenient truth and therefore must be mocked and dismissed and shoved into the corner."

The American College of OB-GYNs thinks it's junk science to link abortion and breast cancer.

"If “junk science” is the second way “states are trying to politicize medicine,” what is the third, according to Rampell?...“Ultrasounds,” for one, “mandatory waiting periods for abortions,” for another. Hmmm.
Is having an abortion without seeing whom it is that a woman is obliterating a “data-driven” decision? Hardly."

Anti-choicers think women who view an ultrasound are less likely to abort, studies show that isn't true.  And 60% of women having abortions are mothers, so they've seen some ultrasounds!

Fetal development has no bearing on whether a woman can undergo a pregnancy, so why force them to look at an ultrasound?

"The whole point of the assembly-line abortion machinery is to keep the woman (or girl) from considering her options; from taking a deep breath; and from allowing her to heed the better angels of her nature."
LIES! Women in Texas are waiting 20 days for an appointment on average. Most women have considered their options in the event of unplanned pregnancy before it happens. Most women are driving miles and miles where they have plenty of time to ponder.

 “Look, there obviously is a role for policymakers to play in setting laws that promote public health,” Rampell concludes, in her best pretend middle-of-the-road manner. “But those laws should be grounded in scientific evidence, not attempts to reward campaign donors, appease the political base and shame women.”
So, to be clear, there are no reasons to pass any of these laws except to “appease the political base and shame women”?"


Are legislators “appeasing the political base” when they pass a law that says you can’t abort an unborn baby who is capable of experiencing excruciating pain, a capability which an abundance of scientific evidence says begins no later than at 20 weeks?"

Fetuses don't feel pain at 20 weeks.

"Are they “shaming women” when they pass legislation to prevent dismemberment abortions–abortions that twist off little arms and legs by the use of brute manual force, using a long stainless steel clamping tool? You know, the kind of “technique” that if used on an animal would rightly cause an uproar."

Those fetuses can't feel pain, and that's how 2nd-trimester abortions are done, only 10% of abortions.

LIE news lives up to its name...

Are fetuses the enemy?

Ben Carson, potential Republican party nominee, is extremely anti-choice and loves to pontificate on it.  He recently opined on how pregnant people should feel about their fetuses:

"“In the ideal situation,” Carson said, the Blaze reported, “the mother should not believe that the baby is her enemy and should not be looking to terminate the baby.”
He then spoke of mothers’ protective instincts and the line pregnant women are being fed to believe – “that the baby is their enemy and that they have the right to kill it,” he said."

Why shouldn't a woman think of a fetus as an enemy? It can kill her, it can maim her, it can make her sick, it can stop her from pursuing her dreams even in more supportive societies. 

What Carson and others miss here is CONSENT. 

Think about a penis penetrating a vagina. What is the moral significance of this act? Is it a heinous and violating act or is it an act of intimate and beautiful love? The presence or absence of CONSENT define the act. 

A fetus in a uterus can be an enemy, it can be a treasured baby and that hinges on the CONSENT of the person who owns the uterus. A lot of people are deeply uncomfortable with the fact that women's consent has the power to transform the moral significance of something.

One may argue that fetuses don't have intent. So? Cancer doesn't either, but yet we can call it an enemy.

If you recoil at any comparison between an unwanted fetus and a disease, you might be a little infected with the naturalistic fallacy, you might not appreciate the gravity of the health risks of pregnancy, and you might not be valuing consent as much as you should. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

Atheists are Coming for Your Grandchildren!

Mr. Don Boys is having a breakdown over our very existence.

"New Atheists hate God and religion and are going to shocking extremes to change American and Canadian family life and our total culture as they promote their “God doesn’t exist” heresy. Since they teach that the Bible is full of dangerous information, they consider it child abuse to expose children to biblical teaching. New Atheists are dangerous people not simply angry old men with stinking breath, sweaty hands, and showers of dandruff."

Um, what? I don't even know what to say to his caricature...

The American Atheists’ website clearly proves my contention when the founder, Al Stefanelli, Georgia State Director, wrote of fundamentalist Christians, “They don’t respond to lawsuits, letters, amicus briefs or other grass-roots campaigns and they must, must, must be eradicated.” Eradicated means “to wipe out, destroy, tear out by the roots.” He continues to libel us when he lumps us with fanatics who fly planes into buildings and “people being burned for witchcraft.” Al is so uninformed that he doesn’t know that no “witch” was ever burned in America! (Check out my book, Pilgrims, Puritans, and Patriots: Our Christian Heritage!)"

Pretty sure Al Stefanelli is not the founder of American Atheists. Also, I'm pretty sure there's more context to that quote. Also, "witches" were HANGED in Salem, and I'm pretty sure that's still bad...

He then goes on to quote all 4 horsemen and others about the harms of religion.

"Folk, the barbarians are not at the gates, they are within the gates and have launched a crusade to destroy our faith and remove our children from Christian influence. Not from this family! New Atheists can get all the state or Federal laws passed they want but they will never take my visiting grandchildren no matter how many warrants they have. Not without a literal fight!"

PARANOIA!!!! We're coming to take your grandkids!!! Statistically, we probably already have them...

 "America is in deep trouble especially when you realize there is still a fool on every corner, a clown in every public office, and every village has not one, but several idiots plus numerous tyrants, terrorists, thugs, and totalitarians lounging down at the American Angry Atheist Association. They are dangerous, duped, dopey, and deluded people who might be helped if brains could be transplanted. Absent that, if they had a New Birth experience with Christ, they might become tolerable–with time."

The American Angry Atheist Association...I'll petition Dave for a name change shortly

No, I do not hate any of the New Atheists. I simply accept their declaration of war. Those who criticize my “strong” language are a bunch of pantywaists who don’t understand the seriousness of this war or have already capitulated to the enemy or are part of the enemy."
He's declared war on us! Run!!!!

"We used to laugh at atheists; now we are in a life and death struggle with them. Our children are in their sights so that puts atheists in my sights. Remember, this is a war of their making. After all, there are some things worth fighting for and the First Amendment and my grandchildren are two of those."

I actually love it that the atheist movement has made such an impression on him that he stopped laughing at us.

New Atheists are designing, deceptive, and dishonest people who are determined to control what all children are taught. Is the Bible dangerous for children? Has the First Amendment been repealed? Where is all the outrage at such a dangerous, disastrous, and deadly threat?"

I like how he notices that he's alone in his paranoid outrage. I also like how he pleads for the first amendment without realizing that it applies to us too.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Pure Naturalistic Fallacy

In case you can't see the screen shot, one Keith Wiggenton says this:

" Look, I did not make the rules. Nature and evolution made the rules. Like it or not, females have the organs for producing children, it's just a fact of life. Your stupid arguments that try to evade or avoid that fact are just silly. If you don't want to be burdened with that responsibility, go have your reproduction organs surgically removed. Until then, quit trying to play different cards than the ones you were delt by nature."

That is about the purest distillation of the naturalistic fallacy I've ever seen.

We DO NOT have to follow nature's "rules" that's kind of what technology is all about.

As for the solution that women have their organs "removed", most young women have a very hard time getting sterilized.  And the expectation that we ought to be willing to use our organs anytime if we ever want to use them at all, is a facet of rape culture.

The fact that women get pregnant is natural, the fact that you want to prevent them from stopping or interrupting it is a CHOICE you make to enforce nature upon them.

Anti-choicers Don't Understand Bodily Rights

A pro-choice woman posted a video of her toddler daughter promoting Planned Parenthood and Lienews shits all over it.

Now, obviously the girl is coached and I don't really care, but the article had some interesting takes on the Bodily Rights Argument (See this article for a good start on it).

"Three short years ago, this beautiful little girl was an unborn fetus (as abortion rights advocates demand they be referred to) in her mother’s womb. Planned Parenthood did not recognize her “bodily autonomy” that Chin says is the foundational premise of their movement."

Most Anti-choicers DO NOT UNDERSTAND the bodily rights argument. You can tell because they do things like bring up the baby's bodily autonomy. They don't get that it's about not having to use your body to sustain someone else.

  • "Women don’t have obligations to strangers but we do have obligations to our children. Society accepts this de facto for born children but currently the law does not apply this obligation to those same children before birth."

NOPE. Parents NEVER have the legal obligation to even donate a drop of blood to born children, much less the intrusive process of pregnancy. How can we say the obligation is binding before birth, but not after? Do they lose rights? Are fetuses the most rights-having entities in the world?

  • "The child is not an intruder or stranger inflicting himself/herself on the woman. Every human must start life inside their mother. Also, for 99.5% of abortions, the mother conceived through her own choice. The mother consented to have the child inside her when she took the risk of having sex. (It isn’t a popular statement to make on Twitter but the truth is we all learned in grade school that sex can equal babies.)"

All this is is a naturalistic fallacy and sex-shaming. Sex is not consent to pregnancy. 

  • "A mother cannot simply remove support from an unborn child. She has to have the baby crushed or poisoned or dismembered in order to end her support. Instead of a passive act, like choosing not to give a kidney to a stranger, it is a violent, aggressive act that takes away the life of that “stranger.”

Actually, RU-486 and induction of labor are completely passive methods of fetal removal, but what does it matter how it's removed if it can't survive the removal? (And they don't feel pain before 24 weeks)

"Staceyann is doing a tremendous disservice to her daughter by leading her to believe that people are out there like boogeymen trying to control her body. We aren’t trying to control Staceyann’s body or Zuri’s body or anyone else’s. We are trying to stop them from controlling, from destroying someone else’s body.
Zuri’s body when it was inside your body was not your body, Staceyann."

If you strawman this badly, I'll just call you a liar. If pregnant people have to keep fetuses in their bodies, you're controlling their bodies! Just own it, already.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Catholic Hospitals should be Banned

I believe that Catholic hospitals should be banned. If the Catholic Church wants to set up a hospital, that's fine. But Catholic means it follows Catholic Health Directives. These are based on doctrine and not patient health. No hospital should be allowed to put ANYTHING above patient health.

Well, can't you just not go to a Catholic hospital? It's not that simple.

"Between 2001 and 2011, the number of American hospitals affiliated with the Catholic Church grew 16 percent, even as the number of public hospitals and secular nonprofit hospitals dropped 31 percent and 12 percent, respectively, according to an upcoming report by the American Civil Liberties Union and MergerWatch, a nonprofit that tracks religious health care mergers. In 2012, Catholic hospitals and health care systems were involved in 24 mergers or acquisitions, according to Irving Levin Associates, a market research firm. Ten of the 25 largest nonprofit hospital systemsin the country are Catholic, and Catholic hospitals care for 1 in 6 American patients. In at least eight states, 30 percent or more of patient admissions are at Catholic facilities."
Plenty of people do not live in an area where they could get non-Catholic care within a reasonable drive time.

There are 3 major areas where Catholic Health Directives affect gynecological care.

1. Post-Cesarian Tubal Ligation

Many women have scheduled C-sections for a variety of reasons, including breech position or having had a previous c-section (vaginal birth after c-section is a thing, but the risks should be weighed individually). If a woman knows this is to be her last pregnancy, tying her tubes while her belly is already open is efficient, safe, and effective. The American College Of OB-GYNs says that this procedure is standard of care. If a woman is denied this procedure in a Catholic hospital, she must undergo anesthesia again and faces more risk in the separate procedure. Women denied the procedure at the time of birth have a high rate of unintended pregnancy afterward.

Recently a woman with brain tumors for whom future pregnancy is dangerous was denied a post-cesarian tubal in a Catholic hospital.

2. Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy is when an embryo implants somewhere other than the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. It is one of the most dangerous pregnancy complications, as rupture of the tube can lead to catastrophic bleeding. Ectopic embryos are unviable and there is no saving them. There are 3 main treatments for it.

-Methotrexate. This is a drug that has been used in chemotherapy and in regular abortions. It inhibits the metabolism of folic acid, which will kill the embryo. This treatment is not always appropriate, depending on the size of the embryo and other considerations. This treatment can preserve fertility.

-Salpingostomy. This is the removal of the embryo from the fallopian tube, while leaving the tube intact. It has the potential to preserve fertility in that tube.

-Salpingectomy. This is the total removal of the fallopian tube with the embryo inside. It reduces fertility by at least 50%.

According to Catholic Directives 47-48, ONLY salpingectomy is allowed.

"47. Operations, treatments, and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child.

 48. In case of extrauterine pregnancy, no intervention is morally licit which constitutes a direct abortion."

This means that women walking into Catholic hospitals with ectopic pregnancies may have to accept a riskier and fertility-decimating procedure rather than more appropriate treatments.

According to one study:

"Participants from three Catholic facilities reported that medical therapy with methotrexate was not offered because of their hospitals' religious affiliation. The lack of methotrexate resulted in changes in counseling and practice patterns, including managing ectopic pregnancies expectantly, providing the medication surreptitiously, and transferring patients to other facilities. Further, several physicians reported that, before initiating treatment, they were required to document nonviability through what they perceived as unnecessary paperwork, tests, and imaging studies"

3. Miscarriage Management

This is the scariest area where Catholic hospitals are failing. You may remember the case of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland. Dr. Jen Gunter explains:

"Without access to the chart, “miscarrying” at 17 weeks can only mean one of three things”
A) Ruptured membranes
B) Advanced cervical dilation
C) Labor (this is unlikely, although it is possible that she had preterm labor that arrested and left her with scenario B, advanced cervical dilation).
All three of these scenarios have a dismal prognosis, none of which should involve the death of the mother.
 The standard of care with ruptured membranes (scenario A) is to offer termination or, if there is no evidence of infection and the pregnancy is desired, the option of observing for a few days to see if the leak seals over and more fluid accumulates...I, however, I have never heard of a baby surviving in this scenario. Regardless, if infection is suspected at any time the treatment is antibiotics and delivery not antibiotics alone.
 The standard of care with scenario B involves offering delivery or possibly a rescue cerclage (a stitch around the cervix to try to prevent further dilation and thus delivery) depending on the situation. Inducing delivery (or a D and E) is offered because a cervix that has dilated significantly often leads to labor or an infection as the membranes are now exposed to the vaginal flora....the mark of good medical care is that all scenarios are discussed, all interventions that are technically possible offered, and then the patient makes an informed decision. All with the understanding that if infection develops, delivery is indicated."

In case, you didn't follow all that, Dr. Gunter explains that ruptured membranes (water breaking) and cervical dilation are dangerous risk factors for infection and the only true cure is removal of the fetus.

There are numerous other cases where the presence of a heartbeat has led to a delay in fetal removal in Catholic hospitals.

A landmark study explains:

"Catholic-owned hospital ethics committees denied approval of uterine evacuation while fetal heart tones were still present, forcing physicians to delay care or transport miscarrying patients to non–Catholic-owned facilities. Some physicians intentionally violated protocol because they felt patient safety was compromised.
Although Catholic doctrine officially deems abortion permissible to preserve the life of the woman, Catholic-owned hospital ethics committees differ in their interpretation of how much health risk constitutes a threat to a woman's life and therefore how much risk must be present before they approve the intervention."

Confusion about Catholic Health Directives is often evident, so you may not know how strictly your local hospital adheres to these directives. Some allow uterine evacuation for prevention. others will make you get sick before offering it.

"the manual of Catholic hospital ethics committees, used to help them interpret and apply the directives, warns, “The mere rupture of membranes, without infection, is not serious enough to sanction interventions that will lead to the death of the child.” By contrast, writing in a leading Catholic health journal, other Catholic health ethicists offer a more liberal interpretation of Directive 47: uterine evacuation is indicated if abortion is inevitable and delay will harm the pregnant woman.Therefore, the former—and arguably more authoritative—source approves of uterine evacuation only after a woman becomes sick, and the latter approves of it as a measure to prevent sickness. Our data indicate that despite Catholic leaders’ desire for strict standardization of Catholic-owned health services, varying interpretations and executions of Directive 47 exist both at the individual (practitioner) and institutional (hospital ethics committee) levels.

Cast studies from "When There's a Heartbeat"
"Dr B, an obstetrician–gynecologist working in an academic medical center, described how a Catholic-owned hospital in her western urban area asked her to accept a patient who was already septic. When she received the request, she recommended that the physician from the Catholic-owned hospital perform a uterine aspiration there and not further risk the health of the woman by delaying her care with the transport.
Because the fetus was still alive, they wouldn't intervene. And she was hemorrhaging, and they called me and wanted to transport her, and I said, “It sounds like she's unstable, and it sounds like you need to take care of her there.” And I was on a recorded line, I reported them as an EMTALA [Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act] violation. And the physician [said], “This isn't something that we can take care of.” And I [said], “Well, if I don't accept her, what are you going to do with her?” [He answered], “We'll put her on a floor [i.e., admit her to a bed in the hospital instead of keeping her in the emergency room]; we'll transfuse her as much as we can, and we'll just wait till the fetus dies.”

This doctor BROKE THE UMBILICAL CORD in order to begin treatment:

"I'll never forget this; it was awful—I had one of my partners accept this patient at 19 weeks. The pregnancy was in the vagina. It was over… . And so he takes this patient and transferred her to [our] tertiary medical center, which I was just livid about, and, you know, “we're going to save the pregnancy.” So of course, I'm on call when she gets septic, and she's septic to the point that I'm pushing pressors on labor and delivery trying to keep her blood pressure up, and I have her on a cooling blanket because she's 106 degrees. And I needed to get everything out. And so I put the ultrasound machine on and there was still a heartbeat, and [the ethics committee] wouldn't let me because there was still a heartbeat. This woman is dying before our eyes. I went in to examine her, and I was able to find the umbilical cord through the membranes and just snapped the umbilical cord and so that I could put the ultrasound—“Oh look. No heartbeat. Let's go.” She was so sick she was in the [intensive care unit] for about 10 days and very nearly died… . She was in DIC [disseminated intravascular coagulopathy]… . Her bleeding was so bad that the sclera, the white of her eyes, were red, filled with blood… . And I said, “I just can't do this. I can't put myself behind this. This is not worth it to me.” That's why I left."

This doctor refused to check a heartbeat in order to do proper treatment:

Dr G also circumvented the ethics committee in her southern Catholic-owned hospital. She opted not to check fetal heart tones or seek ethics committee approval when caring for a miscarrying woman for fear that documentation of fetal heart tones would have caused unnecessary delays. This led to conflict with the nurse assisting her.
She was 14 weeks and the membranes were literally out of the cervix and hanging in the vagina. And so with her I could just take care of it in the [emergency room] but her cervix wasn't open enough … so we went to the operating room and the nurse kept asking me, “Was there heart tones, was there heart tones?” I said “I don't know. I don't know.” Which I kind of knew there would be. But she said, “Well, did you check?” … I said, “I don't need an ultrasound to tell me that it's inevitable … you can just put, ‘The heart tones weren't documented,’ and then they can interpret that however they want to interpret that.” … I said, “Throw it back at me … I'm not going to order an ultrasound. It's silly.” Because then that's the thing; it would have muddied the water in this case."
In another article, this chilling quote:

"Doctors told her about being forced to wait to intervene until a woman was at life-threatening risk. "We often tell patients that we can't do anything in the hospital but watch you get infected," one said."

Fortunately, people are fighting back. The ACLU has taken on the case of Tamesha Means, who was denied proper treatment while miscarrying.

"Tamesha rushed to Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon, Michigan, when her water broke after only 18 weeks of pregnancy. Based on the bishops' religious directives, the hospital sent her home twice even though Tamesha was in excruciating pain; there was virtually no chance that her pregnancy could survive, and continuing the pregnancy posed significant risks to her health.
Because of its Catholic affiliation and bindingdirectives, the hospital told Tamesha that there was nothing it could do and did not tell Tamesha that terminating her pregnancy was an option and thesafest course for her condition. When Tameshareturned to the hospital a third time in extremedistress and with an infection, the hospital once againprepared to send her home. While staff prepared herdischarge paperwork, she began to deliver. Only then did the hospital begin tending to Tamesha's miscarriage."

Her lawsuit was eventually dismissed over a technicality, but further litigation is expected.

This post doesn't even touch on Catholic Directives impacting other areas of care, but just this is enough to think about banning Catholic Directives!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Hitchens was not anti-choice

A common claim is that the late Christopher Hitchens was "pro-life."

To be clear, Hitchens being against abortion would not matter. I do not follow Hitchens. I can disagree with him, and did, on a lot of things. But people are misrepresenting his position.

Let's define some terms:

Pro-life: I don't accept this term at all, I don't think it means anything

Pro-choice: A person who accepts that abortion should be generally legal (we can get into specifics here later)

Anti-choice: A person who believes that at-least elective (non medical, non-rape) abortion should be illegal

Here's one of the "evidences" of him being anti-choice from 1989:

"I have always been convinced that the term 'unborn child' is a genuine description of material reality. Obviously, the fetus is alive, so that disputation about whether or not it counts as 'a life' is casuistry. The same applies, from a materialist point of view, to the question of whether or not this 'life' is 'human.' What other kind could it be? As for 'dependent,' this has never struck me as a very radical criticism of any agglomeration of human cells in whatever state. Children are 'dependent' too. […] Anyone who has ever seen a sonogram or has spent even an hour with a textbook on embryology knows that the emotions are not a deciding factor. In order to terminate a pregnancy, you have to still a heartbeat, switch off a developing brain, and, whatever the method, break some bones and rupture some organs."

Oddly enough, I agree. Fetuses are alive, fetuses are human, abortion is killing. It may not be the killing of a "person" (whatever that is), but it's killing. He's wrong that most abortions break bones or organs, but they do still heartbeats and brain development.

He is also supposed to have offered some sort of compromise to anti-choicers in a The Nation article in April 1989, but I could not find that article at all.

In 1990, this quote:

 "I can't think of a single circumstance in which I'd favor emptying a woman's uterus."
Ok...that would be the "personally pro-life" position.

The smoking gun, however, is this quote from 1991:

"There is, in my opinion, no choice but choice. There is no way of avoiding the choice position. What I said was that conditions could be created by politics, by actual state intervention, if you will, where people might wish to exercise that choice less, and that would be a good thing. That there should be, therefore, a presumption in favor of the unborn. But if that fails, obviously you can't push it to the point of saying, 'We will force you to carry a child to term.' Everything in one revolts against that."

That is not anti-choice. He did not support the overturning or Roe v. Wade or the criminalization of abortion unless quotes can be found to show that he changed his mind.

And in fact, a 2003 essay does not show anything contrary to the 1991 position. He talks about taking a partner for an abortion:

"at least once I found myself in a clinic while “products of conception” were efficiently vacuumed away. I can distinctly remember thinking, on the last such occasion, that under no persuasion of any kind would I ever allow myself to be present at such a moment again....The decision I took was mine and taken for myself alone. If it doesn’t have a moral basis, it does at least have a very strong instinctual one. But can I or should I be able to make it for anyone else?"

Besides the annoying implications that he is making the choice, he at least questions the idea of making it for another.

He also gets annoyed with anti-choicer antics and appropriation of him:

Having once written a mildly “pro-life” essay, I now find that “” links you instantly to a Web site called, emblazoned with a ghastly photograph of a dead 21-week-old baby. I resent this crude, uninvited annexation.)"

In the essay, he reiterates that embryos are human and alive, but dismisses any huge importance to them by saying that you can clone any cell and that nature wastes them all the time:

For the theologically minded, this provides what they never much desired before: a scientific confirmation of “life from conception” morality. But then, in theory, any of our cells could be used for cloning. The merest drop of blood or piece of skin is also pregnant with the great secret of life. And, as I hinted when discussing Wodehouse’s codfish factor, this life is incredibly profuse. Men produce much more generative fluid than anyone can possibly require,...either god or nature aborts an enormous quantity of unborn children at an early stage, either because of some early warning of unviability or—given the high number of birth defects that make it to full term—not. Miscarriage and stillbirth have made mourners of as many women as abortion has. If there truly is a divine or natural design, it is a ruthless and selective one."

He also seems to praise or at least be neutral on RU-486

And, just as refinements in medicine have made it apparent that a fetus acquires human characteristics earlier than we used to think, so competing refinements have blurred the distinction between abortion and birth control. The RU-486 abortion pill, initially developed in France, and more advanced emergency contraception induce an experience more akin to a heavy period than an abortion, and do not involve a surgical “procedure.” It’s a sure thing that such pharmaceutical solutions will become more advanced, and more available, which in turn will leach much of the pity and terror from the debate. It won’t even be possible to find out how many abortions, as opposed to how many live births, there have been in a given year. Nor will there be so many clinics to blockade, or shoot up. It really will become a “privacy” question."

He says we are better off for having to confront these life-and-death decisions and does not condemn his mother's abortions:

It doesn’t seem to me that we have become any less human by confronting these decisions and finally accepting our responsibility for them. In the same way, I might have been better off as a younger brother than an older one, and I always did wish for a big sister, as opposed to the baby brother I did get, but if my mother had the heart and soul of a double-murderess, you couldn’t prove it by me."

And finally,

By rightly expanding our definition of what is alive and what is human, we have also accepted that there may be a conflict of rights between a potential human and an actual one. The only moral losers in this argument are those who say that there is no conflict, and nothing to argue about. The irresoluble conflict of right with right was Hegel’s definition of tragedy, and tragedy is inseparable from human life, and no advance in science or medicine is ever going to enable us to evade that."

So, what was Hitchens? He was a man with a squeamishness about abortion. He was a man who did not have a good grasp on women's rights and bodily autonomy. He was a man who gave too much credit to the anti-choice side on it being about babies and not sex. He was someone who didn't like abortion. He was "personally pro-life." His position is the so-called moderate position of most Americans.

In other words, Hitchens had PERFECTLY AVERAGE views on abortion, which is pro-choice. He can't reasonably be claimed by anti-choicers.

Carol Everett thinks Polyamory is Rapey!

From the wonderful Right-Wing Watch:

"Planned Parenthood now allegedly also promotes thing like polyamory and open relationships, which is destroying not only people's hearts and minds but entire communities.
"It's sick," Everett agreed. "It breaks down all those natural barriers that we're supposed to have. Think about this: one woman sleeping with a man and she knows this woman living here sleeps with him too, how does she feel about that woman? That is not a relationship that fosters anything kind. And how does she feel about him? That, in my mind, is almost like rape when you're just having sex with two or three different women. It's just, what are you doing? It is a sick thing and the only thing that can help us recover is Jesus."

I....don't even know what to say to that....

Common Ground

Secular Anti-Choice is calling for "common ground" on abortion.

I don't accept that there's any such thing. Bodily autonomy is pretty clear. But if you're against abortion and want to hand out out birth control like candy, that's cool, but I still don't want you to control my body if those fail. (And Secular Anti-choice has no firm position on hormonal contraception).

Here are some of the common ground quotes from their facebook discussion question:

"Carmen J. - It's not really choice if there are no other choices. I would hope that all pro-choicers agree that coerced abortion should never, ever happen. Along those lines, many but not all pro-lifers would agree with many (most? but still probably not all) pro-choicers that changes need to be made to the fabric of our culture such that no woman feels pressured by circumstances to abort. Every mother who wants to keep her baby should be able to; no mother should feel she has no other option but to terminate the pregnancy for reasons having to do with money, maternity leave, flexibility of work schedules/circumstances, and/or quality childcare."

Ok, I give them some points for economic reform. But, you can make having a kid a lot easier economically, that still doesn't mean everyone will want to do it physically and emotionally. It's still too much to ask.

Nadja W. - Polls suggest a large majority of Americans support banning abortion in the third trimester, so I'd start there."
There is no goddamn evidence of elective third-trimester abortion. Strawman.

Brock H. - Compassion is the common ground. I think that generally speaking, pro-choicers and pro-lifers have compassion for mothers in difficult situations. Also (while they may not admit it often), pro-choice people tend to see that there is something precious and valuable within the womb or else they wouldn't talk about what a hard decision abortion is for an expecting mother (why would it be a hard decision if they weren't letting go of something worth holding on to?). The only real difference is that pro-life people see a child in the womb as a life deserving of protection."

So anti-choicers have compassion for the pregnant person, but just not enough not to FORCE them to be pregnant?

 "Bob M. - I think most people agree that it is wrong to kill a person. They disagree on when the person begins."
Actually, it's not always wrong to kill a person, you can kill in self-defense.

"Autumn A. - I agree with many pro choicers/liberals on a lot of things... Like marijuana policy, gay marriage, etc etc. Just not abortion."
So you like weed and gay people, but you're willing to throw half the human race under the bus. So liberal, much wow.

Crystal K. - We both really like chocolate? In all seriousness, we *should* both be against forced abortions (like in China) or supporting the mother if she changes her mind (like with Abortion Pill Reversal), if the pro-choicer is truly pro-CHOICE."

I'm against forced abortions. Abortion pill reversal is not a thing, there's no evidence for it.

Lauren M. - My pro-choice friend is a fellow disability rights activist and feminist and she was appalled when I told her how many nations legalized sex-selective abortion and abortion based on a child's disability."
If abortion is legal, the reason doesn't matter to the law. You have to fight these things with education.

Kate H. - Caring about post abortive women, and women in general. "
If you take away my rights, you don't care for me.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mere Pleasure

I do love when anti-choicers show their hand. I love it when they prove that this is all about sex.

As reported by Right Wing Watch, Dr. Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society said this

“Planned Parenthood from the top to the bottom is a corrupt organization,” Miller told Ave Maria Radio’s Teresa Tomeo, “corrupt in its view of the sanctity of human life and corrupt in its view of human sexuality. And I say even if Planned Parenthood didn’t perform one single abortion, just the mere fact that its sexual ethic is corrupted means right there, should be the reason right there, that they should not receive any federal money. The kind of sexual ethic that Planned Parenthood promotes is sex for recreation, sex for mere pleasure.” 

"Mere pleasure." Let that sink in.

What else would sex be for? Procreation, I guess. But even the Catholic Church recognizes the "unitive" nature of sex and how infertile humans are compared to other animals.

What is going through her head? Even if she's quiverfull, she has to have had sex far more times than she has children. Does she hate it? Is she asexual?

Sex for pleasure (and it is NOT mere!) is the default condition of humans, even in the absence of contraception. This ideology of sneering at pleasure is not normal. It's a very sick way to look at things, and I don't even think most religious people are as messed up as this about it. She betrays her reason for being in the anti-choice movement.

Batshit Anti-Atheist Book

Oh, man, this book sounds as awesome as God's Not Dead.

"Catoosa County resident Don Boys released his 15th book “The God-Haters: Angry Atheists, Shallow Scholars, Silly Scientists, Pagan Preachers, and Embattled Evolutionists Declare War Against Christians.” The $21.95 book is published by Barbwire Books."

"God-hating" check. 'War on Christians" Check. Also, $22 seems like a lot for a book.

"Boys re-read books by atheists of the past then read the writings of the group of new atheists who have declared war upon Christians..."
 “Every time I finished one of their books, I said I can’t believe a scholar would write hundreds of pages filled with numerous errors and put his name on the cover,” he said. “This is a good example of what happens when an author writes on a subject outside his field of training and experience. They are so sure there is no God, they lose all control and emotion takes control.”

Because YOU'RE definitely writing in your field of expertise and are unemotional...

He charges that his opponents identify the “fruits, flakes and nuts” in some churches as mainline Christians."
No True Scotsman
“It would be like generalizing the average atheist coming home each evening with a bottle of cheap rum, kicking his dog, bullying his wife, beating his kids and getting roaring drunk terrorizing the whole neighborhood,” Boys said, “when that doesn’t characterize the group as a whole. It shows how desperate, disingenuous and dishonest some atheists are. Even honest atheists find that offensive and shameful and have opposed the new atheists.”
That's a pretty elaborate fantasy you got there...And I have no idea who these "honest atheists" vs "new atheists" are.

"He said atheists take a hatchet to the Bible because it limits their ungodly lifestyle of “barnyard morals.” If they can disprove God then anything goes with no present or eternal accountability."

This is the "Y'all just want to sin" gambit. Because they're OBSESSED with sex.

"This is the most serious attack upon America’s homes and churches in 100 years yet the issue is still ‘under the radar’ of all the pro-family groups,” he said. “The new atheists declared war against Christians, the churches and Christ and here is one American who will oppose it if it means persecution, prosecution and prison,”

"Pro-family" groups don't know about us atheists yet! Shh...

What is up with his persecution fantasy?

Boys and his wife Ellen, who edited the book, live near Ringgold. His website is and his blog is"

Those websites are GOLD. Try them out.