November 1, 2005

jokers to the right

11/1/05

Ever since that day almost exactly a year ago when the hearts of progressives were broken by the election of 2004 we've been waiting for the other shoe to drop. And it has: a giant galosh covered in shit.

Oh sure, we kept our powder dry during the John Roberts confirmation (he seemed like a nice enough guy with a ton of experience), and we watched in delight as the Harriet Miers fiasco flummoxed the Republican Party.

We mourned as the 2000th soldier died in Iraq based on lies, and we cheered as the first Bush administration officials began to be indicted. We quaked with rage as the President botched the rescue during three hurricanes and then finally felt VINDICATED as his approval rating slipped into the 30s.

But that's all over now. An embittered, pissed-off, entitled shrub of a Commander in Chief has now taken his toys and told us to fuck off: the nomination of Samuel Alito is one of the scariest things to happen to the judiciary of this country since the 1920s. Fitting, too, because Alito wouldn't mind taking us back there - this man makes Sandra Day O'Connor look like Abbie Hoffman.

There are plenty of places you can go to find his past rulings - I'm not going to clog up the blog with them. It only takes a second to get a whiff of his cruelty, his pomposity, his desire to legislate law from any bench of his choosing. He is to the right of Scalia, an act of physics I thought impossible.

The worst thing is this: Bush is nominating someone who is virulently anti-choice on abortion, when well over 60% of the country wants to keep abortions safe and legal. With Bush's popularity so low, and a vast majority of the country believing we're going in the wrong direction, you'd think he'd nominate someone who at least shared our interests.

Nope. He's a little bully that's been backed into a corner and decided to lash out in one last desperate act: a small stone in a slingshot that takes out your eye.

Now is the time to truly contemplate American Coastopia, or perhaps another country. I know that sounds like wacky Baldwin Brother bullshit, but I am simply not going to allow my daughter to grow up in a country where she can be strip-searched at the age of 10 even without a warrant. I don't want her to see people fired because they have AIDS. And if she wants an abortion one day, it'll be heartbreaking, but by god, it'll be safe and legal.

If we have to move to Norway for this to happen, then, well, fuck it. I'll buy one of those sunlamps.

Cue comments from conservatives saying I'm wrong, cue others fighting them, cue nobody changing, zzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by Ian Williams at November 1, 2005 11:19 PM
Comments
Posted by: ken at November 2, 2005 12:20 AM

Well, it's darkest before the dawn. Maybe the placement of Alito on the Supreme Court (if it happens) is the wake up call that finally unifies the left and middle and gets this country behind someone who isn't named Bush. While many have said that gay marriage was the wedge issue of 2004, abortion wasn't far behind. The Dems need to find someone (Obama, my hometown Senator maybe?) who can unite people, because I doubt Hillary would. Find that person ASAP and start woodshedding for '08.

Posted by: Ken at November 2, 2005 3:14 AM

Ken: applause. Thanks for offering us a ray of hope.

Posted by: killian at November 2, 2005 4:00 AM

Ditto Applause. It could be Obama--I'd be thrilled. John Edwards seems to be "stockpiling" in these parts. . . Sad to say, you're probably right about Hilary being too divisive.

And yes, Lucy deserves better than Alito. As do we all.

Posted by: Alan at November 2, 2005 4:15 AM

You do know that Montreal is the home of a vibrant TV industry as long as you can tell jokes in Quebec French...you can do that can't you?

Posted by: Just Andrew at November 2, 2005 5:14 AM

Heard an interesting bit on the radio last night.

When Clinton nominated Ginsburg, he actually went to the Pubs in Congress and consulted with them on who they might approve of. Orin Hatch was the one who actually suggested Ginsburg to Clinton. The basic view from the right was that while her personal positions were far left of what they liked, her court record showed that not only was she fair, but her personal feelings didn't interfere with her decision making.

Bush can't even pretend to care what anyone else would want. Too busy trying to force his own agenda down our throats.

Posted by: dhh at November 2, 2005 5:14 AM

To be honest and in the interests of full disclosure, let me first say that I do lean to the right. But, I am not a loony-toon. I am not a huge supporter of Alito, but we all saw this coming. Bush, for better or worse, made it 100% clear in his 2 election campaigns that he favors "strict constructionists" in the mold of Scalia and Thomas. Sure, there may be tons of other reasons why he was elected, but one can not say that he pulled the wool over anyone's eyes here. Of course, I doubt many people understood "strict constructionist" when the words fumbled out of his mouth, but the point remains: he did tell us what he was going to do.

Now, as to Alito himself, I do not think he is a total nut-job. When he was nominated by Bush 41, he was overwhelmingly appproved and received the votes of almost every Democratic Senator that remains in office today. Is he very conservative? Yes. Guess what? So is this President. The only beef that people have with him is his ideaology, not whether he is qualified. If nominees were denied only because of ideaology, Bader Ginsberg would have never had a chance, but the Republicans voted overwhelmingly for her (something like 96/100 votes).

I hope no one will now levy personal attacks on me b/c I am not advocatng Alito. I dont have a strong opinion regarding him other that to say that he seems qualified if you remove ideaology from the equation. I know some folks on the Right and the Left can not remove ideaology from the equation, but I am trying to do so.

DHH
UNC '92

Posted by: CL at November 2, 2005 5:35 AM

Hey, I'd change my bleeding-heart political views if someone convinced me that they were wrong. Honest, I would. So far it hasn't happened, but I'm listening.

Posted by: Beth at November 2, 2005 6:19 AM

I am a mental midget today. I kept reading "Osama" for "Obama" and was trying to figure out the sense in that--okay, I thought, Osama certainly has a unified following...though I can't quite see how that would work in our favor...Now, Barack, on the other hand! Oh, and I was the one who wrote "applause" to Ken up there. Just so he doesn't think he has an echo.

Posted by: caveman at November 2, 2005 6:29 AM

two words for you to remember....John McCain

Posted by: Andy at November 2, 2005 6:32 AM

Meet me in PEI. We're getting in the car now...

Posted by: dhh at November 2, 2005 6:37 AM

Obama would never have a chance against the likes of McCain (as a Repub) or Rudy. Democrats better find someone else instead of pinning their hopes on Obama

Posted by: Kevin from Philadelphia at November 2, 2005 7:14 AM

OK, first of all, no pro-choice Republican will EVER get the nomination in '08, so forget about Rudy et al.

Second, any conservative who believes that Scalia and Thomas are "strict constructionists" and won't "legislate from the bench" would do well to look at their voting records in the time thay have served on the bench. "Legislating form the Bench" means over-riding Congress, some thing that both Scalia and Thomas have done more then any other current justice. Also, the constitution is not meant to be strictly interpreted, otherwise we wouldn't need an independant, co-equal judiciary, since every possiblity would have been spelled out in that document. The founders left some wiggle room for a reason, they realized that law, mores, norms, and socities change over time, and what is good in the 1700s (slavery and nonexistent women's rights come to mind) is not always good for those living in 2005.

Apologies for length and pontification. Respectfully from the Cradle of Liberty,

Kevin

Posted by: Scott M. at November 2, 2005 7:23 AM

Ken:
I hate to say it, but unfortuntely, I don't think this country is ready for a black man (e.g., Obama) to be President.

I am definitely ready for it, and all of the people I call my friends certainly are (though sadly, not everyone in my family), but unfortunately, there is still a % of Americans (and not necessarily a small one) who would not support or vote for a black man, regardless of how qualified and great he is.

That's why I don't think Obama would be a good choice for the Dem. nominee, because he would probably lose based solely on his race.

Similarly, I hope Hillary is not the Dem. candidate either. I don't have a problem with her personally, but I think there are too many good ole boy sexists who couldn't stand the idea of a woman President.

It's sad to say, but in the near future, I just don't see the presidency in the hands of a non-white or female.

Posted by: dhh at November 2, 2005 7:27 AM

I agree, sadly, that Rudy & McCain will have trouble getting the nomination. But, as many recent nominees have shown from both parties, they may try to change some of their stripes in order to have a better shot. Or, I would not be shocked to see either one of them be VP.

Obama seems like a nice guy, but I dont think he is ready for a national campaign. For example, how many moderate, undecided voters in Virginia have ever heard of him (as opposed to Rudy, McCain, et al). I think the Democrats have a problem with their most famous people (Hillary and Kennedy) being likely un-electable.

The argument re strict construction vs loose construction can go on forever and there is no clear-cut answer. There is historical data and anecdotal evidence to support the pros and cons of both positions. Similarly, both sides can point at the other side as always "legislating from the bench." For example, Roe and Miranda are 2 huge examples of the Court creating legal remedies that are not anywhere in the Constitution. This does not mean I disagree with either decision, but the Court clearly went out on a long limb in both situations.

Posted by: LFMD at November 2, 2005 8:20 AM

This is off-topic, but I thought it was interesting.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/11/02/universities.slavery.ap/index.html

Posted by: Matt at November 2, 2005 8:48 AM

From the reports I have seen, Samuel Alito seems a man of moderate disposition and immoderate talent and intelligence. All credible indications that I have read, including Ian's hysterics above, are that he would be a valuable addition to the Supreme Court.

Posted by: Matt at November 2, 2005 8:52 AM

"OK, first of all, no pro-choice Republican will EVER get the nomination in '08..."

Just as no pro-life Democrat would ever get the Democratic nomination.

"...'Legislating form the Bench' means over-riding Congress..."

That's not accurate. Sometime Congress does pass legislation that is unconstitutional. It is the duty of the Supreme Court to strike down such laws.

Posted by: Matt at November 2, 2005 9:01 AM

Hey, another halo pic!

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/duncanblack/reid.jpg

Posted by: J.Boogie at November 2, 2005 9:04 AM

Oh, how cute, Ian is once again talking about his little Coastopia project, just more DNC talking points of leaving the country like he has said a thousand times before and never gotten around to.

If you don't like the Supreme Court nominee, then win a national election and choose your own nominees. The President got the most votes in American history last year and he gets to pick who will sit on that Supreme Court. If you don't like that, then you don't like democracy, and you obviously don't seem to. Someone needs to tell the little uneducated fascist Ian how a democracy works.

The only issue Ian seems to have is how he wants people to be able to kill their babies, no wonder Ian's party cannot win national elections, you need more of a party platform than killing unborn children with beating hearts. The ignorance of Ian is nevery surprising, but what can you expect from a fool that listens to NPR and reads DailyKos daily, Ian is just a sheep who can't think for himself, no one believes him when he pulls the little Alec Baldwin stunt of leaving the country, Ian has yelled Fire in the theatre too many times, and now nobody believes Ian.

Posted by: Beth at November 2, 2005 9:20 AM

I'm just curious, J. Boogie--why do you read Ian's blog?

Posted by: scruggs at November 2, 2005 9:25 AM

To put Hillary on the ticket would mean the Democrats learned nothing from the last election. They need someone to help pull those swing voters back over, and she ain't it.

LFMD, I had seen that as well. It should probably not be too much of a newsflash to create much controversy. Of course, the article also mentions a certain southern financial institution's ties. This did draw protests, though the predecessor banks (owning around 200 slaves) were bought and sold 10 times through mergers over the years beforehand.

Posted by: kent at November 2, 2005 10:15 AM

j.boogie reads ian's blog because he lives in bizarro world, where right is wrong, up is down, and abortion is bad, and bombing the shit out of brown people is good. Oh and he's a troll who doesn't get out much, so his only joy in life is baiting liberals.

Posted by: Frequent Reader at November 2, 2005 10:17 AM

Matt:
"From the reports I have seen, Samuel Alito seems a man of moderate disposition and immoderate talent and intelligence. All credible indications that I have read, including Ian's hysterics above, are that he would be a valuable addition to the Supreme Court."

I have to agree.

While I disagree with many of Alito's ideological positions, it's hard to find fault with him otherwise.

J.Boogie:
"... If you don't like the Supreme Court nominee, then win a national election and choose your own nominees. ..."

I'm truly amazed to agree with J.Boogie about something, even if it is one lone point in a long string of trolling.

If we don't want the country to keep becoming more conservative, we have to become more involved, and more united. We have to win. Like it or not, that *is* Democracy.

But -- *how* to win?

I think we lost the White House in 2008, not because because of John Kerry's positions on issues, but because he is such an uninspiring leader. I mean, c'mon -- it's like someone used up a whole can of Charisma-B-Gone on him.

As for America's being ready for a female or Black President, I think we are. Maybe I'm naive, but then again, maybe I'm not.

I *am* cynical enough to realize that We the People don't choose our leaders based on issues and qualifications, but on looks, personality and public relations. So we'd better start picking candidates with "that extra special sumthin'." And sell the lving hell out of them.

Joe Jackson said it really well. He was talking about pop music, but it's equally true for politics: "The public doesn't know what it wants, only that it wants something good."

Posted by: kjf at November 2, 2005 11:04 AM

how appropriate that alito was nominated on halloween - trick or treat america!!

a few weeks ago as i was freaking out over harriet miers my friends (all eligible for residency in coastopia) warned me that things could be worse and that her lightweight credentials could be a blessing in disguise as she would be so overwhelmed by things she would not hit the ground running... and now we have alito. although all the focus is on the choice issue if you dig a little deeper this guy gets even scarier - take a look at the article in todays nytimes which details how his traditional view of marriage influences many of his decisions. so much for any chance of equality for gays and lesbians.

i am hopeful that the democrats will get their act together but am not really sure they have the backbone to do it. they are in such fear of the christian right - who will never vote for them anyway.

i was in norway this summer and it really does seem like a lovely place to live. perhaps we can get a bulk rate on our moving costs.

Posted by: dhh at November 2, 2005 11:49 AM

Dear KJF, your post bemoans that Alito would prevent equality for gays. Actually, the Court has very little to do with creating equality. That is the role of the legislative branch and all such measures were overwhelmingly rejected by (if I recall correctly) 11 different states in 2004.

For all of you fearful of Roe being overturned, I dont think it is likely to happen. But, even in a worst case scenario, if it is overturned, the issue returns to the states and each state will have the ability to do as they choose. So, if Ian's statement that 60% of the public supports abotion is accurate, a return to the states would not kill abortion. Yes, some states would curtail it or ban it, but many states would keep it alive and well. There would not be a need for Ian to move to Norway because I am sure CA and NY would keep the abortions humming.
dhh UNC '92

Posted by: Kevin from Philadelphia at November 2, 2005 11:59 AM

I really don't think Roe will be overturned, because Republican politicians don't want it overturned. How many single issue voters throw their support behind incapable candidates like W every 2 or 4 years based almost solely on that candidates view of a woman's reproductive rights? The republican party would have nothing to put in their direst mailing or stump speeches if abortion was outlawed. Too bad the grass roots republicans don't get a little smarter about the whole issue and realize how closely education and poverty are linked to abortion. Remember, less abortions during Clinton's than Bush.

Posted by: Matt at November 2, 2005 1:00 PM

"Remember, less abortions during Clinton's than Bush."

Another lie. Ho-hum.

The Biography of a Bad Statistic: http://www.factcheck.org/article330m.html

Posted by: Tanya at November 2, 2005 1:31 PM

Matt - read a little deeper, the Fact Check author corrected himself and said the study was more accurate than the argument he presented against it.

ho hum, indeed.

Posted by: Tanya at November 2, 2005 1:34 PM

dowt. Matt, my apologies. I mis-read the very poorly written correction.

Either way, the last thing the government needs to be doing is getting into a very personal decision between a woman and her doctor. If men could have children, I guarantee you the debate would be a moot point.

Posted by: Matt at November 2, 2005 1:36 PM

I think it's you, Tanya, who needs to read a little more carefully. Stassen was the author of the erroneous data.

"Even Stassen now concedes that he can't substantiate his original claim. In a memo dated May 25, which he sent to FactCheck.org just as we were posting our article, he praises the Guttmacher study and says it is 'significantly better' than his own earlier effort."

Abortions have decreased under Bush.

Posted by: Matt at November 2, 2005 1:38 PM

Apology accepted.

Protecting the lives of its citizens, even the unborn ones, seems very much like a government matter. Sorry, but it's just not ONLY between a woman and her doctor. There's one more person involved.

Posted by: Tanya at November 2, 2005 1:44 PM

Well, I would counter that, speaking as a mother, the woman and her doctor are the only ones in a position to know what is best for ALL involved and, therefore, should be the ones making the decision.

Posted by: Matt at November 2, 2005 1:51 PM

I would counter that, speaking as a father, death is never "best" for the child, whether 3 months old or -3 months old. Look, we're not going to agree here. I think we know each other's position, having had this argument countless times before, so I'll just bow out here.

Posted by: kaz at November 2, 2005 2:05 PM

j boogie, i'm a bit late to the game today, but i wonder when the job description of the presidency changed to include doing what the majority wanted rather than what's best for the people. the president is a public servant meant to serve THE PEOPLE not his own self-interest. and just because a majority calls for something (like, let's say slavery) doesn't mean it's right and moral as a foundation for a country based on freedoms and protections for all citizens...

and, FYI, we DID win a national election and the supreme court fucked up the proceedings. so, as far as i'm concerned, this has been a sham from the beginning (and more of a lesson in why it's ridiculous to have a completely biased court as the "check and balance" to the other branches of government).

so there.

Posted by: kjf at November 2, 2005 2:46 PM

DHH - courts indeed have a role in dealing with equality for gays and lesbians. have you ever heard of a little item called the equal protection clause??? i don't want to get into con law 101 but to say that courts have no role to play in issues of equality for gays/lesbians is really disingenuous. check out massachusetts for example.

and for all of you who continue to call folks who are pro choice "baby killers" or think we celebrate the procedure - you refuse to see the real issue which is the right to privacy because it is so much more inflammatory to say baby killer and murder....you know as well as i do that many people who would never have an abortion are pro choice because they want to be able to control their bodies -including their own reproductive rights.


Posted by: Anon. at November 2, 2005 3:11 PM

I'm a semi-occasional commenter, but the tempers that surround the abortion issue are keeping me from signing my name here.

I had an abortion at 18 and was lucky in some circumstances (had the support of my boyfriend and guidance counselor, didn't doubt my decision, transportation to and from the clinic, and a place to stay afterwards) and unlucky in others (would have been kicked out if parents found out, lying and sneaking around to work out the logistics, barely enough money to cover the procedure). I don't regret what I did for one second and never have - I was not equipped to raise a child or even carry it to term to be adopted. If I could not have had the abortion, there's a good chance I would be living on the streets right now, or at best, with someone I did not want to spend the rest of my life with.

My point is this: if my boyfriend (or husband, as in Alito's case) had been an awful person or abusive, I should not need his approval. I don't think there was a clause that stated only "good" husbands needed to be consulted.

At 18, I was capable of making an informed decision that had physical and emotional consequences, but I was/am also capable of dealing with those. I am not a baby killer. I did not have a late-term (or even second trimester) abortion. I was stuck in a bad situation with no other way out. I could go on and on but don't think the rest of my story is applicable here. If any commenters have questions, feel free to ask, but I don't want to be criticized for making the right decision, which was between me and my doctor.

Posted by: Matt at November 2, 2005 4:22 PM

"FYI, we DID win a national election and the supreme court fucked up the proceedings..."

In fact, a recount of Florida ballots by two separate media consortiums (using the Gore standard) showed that even if the Supreme Court hadn't required Florida to follow Florida law and certify the election results, Bush still would have won the 2000 Florida state election and, as a result, the electoral college (Krugman even admits this). Gore and Kerry both lost. Let it go, man. Elections have consequences and one of them is that the president gets to pick Supreme Court nominees. It's ridiculous that anyone would expect Bush to betray the people who voted for him (a majority, this time) by nominating someone preferred by the people who didn't vote for him.

"...have you ever heard of a little item called the equal protection clause??? i don't want to get into con law 101..."

Maybe you should review it yourself, because same-sex marriage is not an equal protection issue. Everybody is treated equally the way the law is now: you can marry whomever you like so long as it's to one person and that person is of the opposite sex. By your standard, persons who want to marry their first cousins have a 14th Amendment complaint. When gay marriage becomes legal in this country it should be through the legislature, not judicial fiat.

"...the real issue is the right to privacy..."

It's no longer private when another life is at stake and the "choice" was made when the parents decided to have sex.

"...if my boyfriend (or husband, as in Alito's case) had been an awful person or abusive, I should not need his approval. I don't think there was a clause that stated only "good" husbands needed to be consulted."

Actually, there were such exceptions in the law that was reviewed in the Casey decision. And no approval was required, only notification to a spouse (not boyfriends). The exceptions were where: (1) [The husband] is not the father of the child; (2) [The husband] cannot be found after diligent effort; (3) The pregnancy is the result of a spousal sexual assault that has been reported to the authorities, or (4) [The woman] has reason to believe that notification is likely to result in the infliction of bodily injury upon her.

This may be bad policy, but the question in the Casey decision was whether or not it was unconstitutional. Frankly, Alito made a fair argument in his dissent.

(OK, now I'm done with the abortion debate.)

Posted by: killian at November 2, 2005 6:32 PM

Barbara Boxer, anyone?

Posted by: Ian at November 2, 2005 9:15 PM

Matt, I think anyone who was awake during the 2000 election knows that if the butterfly ballot hadn't confused thousands of elderly Jewish couples to vote for Pat Buchanan, Gore would be sitting in the Oval Office right now.

By the way, I, too, have been involved in aborting a blastocyst of my own making, and while it was a rotten summer, thank god my girlfriend and I had the option.

Posted by: Frequent Reader at November 2, 2005 9:31 PM

"Maybe you should review it yourself, because same-sex marriage is not an equal protection issue. Everybody is treated equally the way the law is now: you can marry whomever you like so long as it's to one person and that person is of the opposite sex. By your standard, persons who want to marry their first cousins have a 14th Amendment complaint. When gay marriage becomes legal in this country it should be through the legislature, not judicial fiat."

Sorry, no. Everybody is *not* treated equally. Would a law saying Jews could worship freely, as long as they worshipped as Christians in a Christian church, grant Jews the same religious freedom it grants Christians?

Just because 90% of people are heterosexual and want to marry someone of the opposite sex doesn't negate the rights of the other 10%.

It's a constitutional issue -- not a legislative one -- because one of the principal functions of our constitution is to protect people's rights, *especially* to protect the rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority.

Would you suggest that the Jews in my example above should lobby their legislators to win their equal rights?

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment14/

Read section 1. Also note that Congress has the power to enforce -- but not to restrict -- protections ensured by the amendment.

Finally, as a matter of fact, I think first cousins wishing to marry who live in one of the 31 states that forbid it well *might* have a 14th amendment case; the original basis for such laws turned out to be junk science:
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/041001.html

Posted by: KTS at November 2, 2005 10:19 PM

“I am simply not going to allow my daughter to grow up in a country where she can be strip-searched at the age of 10 even without a warrant.”

It’s been like that in this country for years for people in the lower class when busted - the people who don’t have money to hire quality lawyers, or bribe judges, or have powerful friends who influence everything from the cops initial conduct to the charges filed to the eventual outcome of the case. C’mon. Everyone reading this blog - especially the many lawyers whose personal interest, by definition (unless they are really radical) is to maintain the system – knows, or should know, that we live in a plutocracy. Or how about a fascist police state? Oligarchy? Military-industrial complex? Government run by a bunch of greedy pig fuckers? Take your pick.

The reason the smart well-off left is now getting so upset is that it’s becoming obvious that not only are things getting worse in general, it’s getting worse for them. The current regime is going to seriously effect progressives and their children and their grandchildren in a very negative way. The swine who are now in power are changing the laws in a way that can no longer be ignored. The fantasy that we live in Jeffersonian democracy is no longer easy to accept. Maybe there is no longer an Easter Bunny. Perhaps there never was.

But try moving somewhere less insane, like Canada or Holland or Norway. As usual, if you’re really rich, or have special skills and are young, or you know the right people, or are extremely desperate, or perhaps just plain crazy, you might be able to pull it off. But most people – the people who can’t even comprehend what I just wrote - are stuck under an increasingly fascistic government, which is turning them into slaves, with the threat of legal prosecution and poverty being the whip.

So much for the American Dream.

This type of shit can only go on for so long before things really, really go to hell.

Which brings us back to Ian’s original statement.

If you don’t want your kids growing up in this madness, where are you going to go, how are you going get there, and will they let you stay?

Posted by: Frequent Poster on the Down Low at November 3, 2005 1:00 AM

Everytime the abortion debate rears its' head, I posit two examples of why I believe Roe v. Wade should remain the law of the land. So J. Boogie and Matt, if you think either of these examples are not good reasons for upholding R. v. W., I'd love to hear you defend them

1)A college friend was on a business trip in a Southwestern city in 2001. She and a colleague were celebrating the acquisition of a new client over a drink in their hotel bar. He slipped her a 'roofie' then when she became incapacitated, took her back to her room, raped her, which resulted in a pregnancy. She aborted the fetus a week after discovering she was pregnant from this incident.

2) Your (hypothetical) daughter is home alone and your brother rapes her and in doing so impregnates her.

Does anyone actually feel that in those situations, an abortion isn't justified to a certain degree?

No one throws a party when they get back from the 'clinic', in fact most pro-choice people maintain that they would never get an abortion, but still feel that should be an option available to women.

Posted by: Bangkok Expat Mama at November 3, 2005 4:15 AM

I'm totally on your side, Frequent Poster, and as such, will gently correct your usage of "fetus" in example #1, because if your friend realized she was pregnant during the first 12 weeks (which most women in touch with their cycles do), she aborted an "embryo" a week after the discovery. "Embryo" refers to the cluster of cells that the zygote becomes during the first trimester. "Fetus" refers to the baby during second and third trimester. Many anti-choice activists use "fetus" erroneously for the first trimester in order to summon the image of a viable infant being killed. Obviously that wasn't the case for you, but I just wanted to clarify so you don't unwittingly aid the anti-choice cause...I will now take off my pedantic hat and shut up!

Posted by: Another frequent reader at November 3, 2005 5:20 AM

If people spent half as much energy and time promoting adoption as a real and positive option instead of arguing over whether abortion should be outlawed what a different world it would be. By the way, I totally agree with the examples of the reader above in favor of abortion in certain situations. I'm talking about the situations where a pregnancy is just inconvenient. As a parent I find it sad that so many say they would be "thrown out of the house" if they came home pregnant. How about trying to show the young man or woman how to make something positive out of their mistake (giving the child to a couple) rather than something to be ashamed of and never dare bring up again.

Posted by: Matt at November 3, 2005 6:48 AM

FR, the problem with your hypothetical is that it violates the 1st Am. Unlike the freedom of religion, which is specifically guaranteed in the Constitution, there have always been restrictions placed on marriage and there will be after gay marriage is legalized (I do think it will eventually happen -- hopefully through the legislature and not the courts). The fact remains that everyone *is* treated equally under current marriage law. That some people don't like the options doesn't make it an equal protection issue.

You say people should be able to marry their first cousins, also on equal protection grounds. Then what about siblings? Plural marriage? Let's hear your argument as to how the EPC guarantees gay marriage and perhaps marriage between first cousins but not between, say, two brothers or six Mormons. Aren't they entitled to protection from the "tyranny of the majority" under your reasoning?

If you answered "yes," well, then you're consistent, but you've carved out a very lonely piece of real estate for yourself.

Ian, I don't disagree with you on the confusion caused by the Palm Beach County butterfly ballot. Blame the designer, who happens to be a Democrat.

FP, I support abortion in both of those situations. (There was no "choice" made.)

Posted by: Matt at November 3, 2005 6:55 AM

P.S. to FP: I also don't oppose abortion where the health of the mother is (genuinely) at risk.

Posted by: Anon. at November 3, 2005 7:57 AM

Another frequent reader,

I understand that as a parent you hate to see me say that I'd be thrown out, but it's the truth. Thrown out or hidden with an aunt 3000 miles away. My family always made it clear that sex WAS NOT an option, and that it WAS NOT allowed, without saying that I should talk to them if I felt ready to do it. It's not that they're bad parents - on the contrary, they raised a smart person who is capable of handling her own adult decisions - but their beliefs didn't let them present the option of an open relationship. Honestly, if I *had* talked to my mom about it, maybe I wouldn't have had sex in high school. Or at least I would have been on birth control. Either one probably would have prevented the episode.

So yes, talking to your kids about all this stuff truthfully is the best tactic, but I doubt that all the parents who support it actually do it.

Posted by: Claudia at November 3, 2005 9:16 AM

Why is it that everyone talks about the "morning-after pill" from the perspective of all the religious zealot conservatives trying to prevent access to it, but no one talks about it from the perspective of actually using it to prevent abortions in several of the real and hypothetical scenarios listed?

Posted by: Tanya at November 4, 2005 8:53 AM

Matt,
Since you decided not to "bow out" as originally promised, I will also offer two true scenarios:
1. My neighbors across the street (who are married) have FIVE children. The third one was a surprise, conceived at a time when they thought surely the wife could not get pregnant. The fourth child was conceived while the wife was on the pill (she was one of those "lucky" one percent folks who got preggo on the pill despite vigilant use). The fifth child was conceived after her husband had a vasectomy. She also has very, very difficult pregnancies with gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. Clearly, another pregnancy is not an option. So, Matt, do they "choose" to never have sex again? Should she have a complete hysterectomy? Again, I submit to you - why the hell do you think answering that question is any of your business? It's a decision that should be between her and her doctor.

2. One of my best friends from college and her husband both have a history of genetic disease, and her doctor has cautioned them that if they chose to have a child, the child will most likely inherit a horrific genetic disorder that would make the babies' life a miserable, painful living hell. So, aside from radical surgery, Matt, what would you recommend? Again - none of your business.

I'm agreeing with previous posts that pro-choice folks aren't advocates of "baby killing" and there are more circumstances than you can count that go beyond "punishing" two people for getting drunk and having sex.

Posted by: Matt at November 4, 2005 10:08 AM

I see the rage is coming to a boil. Since you brought me back into it, Tanya...

1. Pregnancy is a known risk of having sex, and why "the hell" do you think snuffing out a life is a private matter?

2. I'll grant that there are grey areas beyond rape, incest and the health of the mother. But the scenario presented here is much different than abortion on demand.

"...that go beyond "punishing" two people for getting drunk and having sex."

Why punish the third person for it?

Posted by: Matt at November 4, 2005 10:12 AM

P.S. My only reemergence into the abortion debate befor now was to respond to questions, so give me a break.

Posted by: Tanya at November 4, 2005 10:49 AM

Matt,
#1 - because it is a private matter
#2 - the distinction and the grey areas are everything
#3 - there's no third person.

I was content to agree to disagree with you (although, for the record, I'm doing everything I can to protect my reproductive rights), but you're the one who jumped back into the fray.

Posted by: Matt at November 4, 2005 11:01 AM

I can take it, Tanya. I was only going to bow out because neither one of us accepts the other's premise in re fetuses being human life (which pro-lifers are trying to protect). You'll understand that don't find your privacy argument "because it is" too persuasive. Are we done now?

Posted by: Tanya at November 4, 2005 11:10 AM

Of course we're done - we were from the start, I suspect. And you'll understand then, too, that I don't find your "politicians know better than you" argument very persuasive either.

Posted by: Matt at November 4, 2005 11:13 AM

Except I never said that.

Posted by: david at November 8, 2005 2:20 PM

McCain and Lieberman

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