Labor Day Weekend – Open Thread

Hoping you all have a great weekend.  This is always the last big splash here for summer.  In about two weeks we’ll shut down the pool for the winter, put all the beach stuff away, and I’ll start my Christmas projects for the year.  I always make a few things that take a little bit of time and effort.  I’m not really sure I’m ready for summer to end as we had a bit of an abbreviated one this year and I missed having our grandkids around since they moved to CO in June.  Luckily we have a trip planned to CO in two weeks so I’m dragging out our summer by a little bit.  Hopefully I won’t need to take my winter clothes along this year.

We generally take off for the beach every Labor Day weekend but this year we’re just having a few friends over on Monday for a BBQ, swimming, and probably some cards and drinking………………that’s where we usually end up anyway with this particular party crowd.

I love this Labor Day Quote:

The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.  ~Isak Dinesen

Anyway, whatever you’re doing I hope it’s either fun, or relaxing, or both!

59 Responses

  1. Have a Happy Labor Day lmsinca. The recent bruhaha over the ending of the Sopranos in Vox inspired me to go rewatch the last couple of episodes.

    After doing that and reading this take on it

    http://masterofsopranos.wordpress.com/the-sopranos-definitive-explanation-of-the-end/

    I’ve revised my opinion of the ending. I hated it at the time, but now I think it’s genius. And the author’s argument is the best analysis I’ve seen. He’s right, Tony was killed in the end.

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  2. Here’s another case of a Federal District Court overturning a state’s unreasonable (IMO) surgical center requirements and admitting privileges for doctors. This time it’s Texas.

    According to the decision from Judge Lee Yeakel, each provision presented an unconstitutional burden to Texans’ access to reproductive healthcare.

    The combined provisions would have shuttered all but eight clinics in the state. There were 41 abortion providers in the state in 2013, but that number has dropped to 19 in the wake of the omnibus law. Researchers at the Texas Policy Evaluation Project found that because of the new law, the number of women of reproductive age living more than 200 miles from a provider has increased by nearly 3,000 percent — from 10,000 to 290,000. The ambulatory surgical center requirement would have ballooned that number to nearly 800,000.

    http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/federal-court-strikes-down-two-major-provisions-texas-sweeping-anti-abortion-law

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    • lms:

      Here’s another case of a Federal District Court overturning a state’s unreasonable (IMO) surgical center requirements and admitting privileges for doctors.

      Did the court overturn the requirements for all surgical centers, or only abortion centers? If only abortion centers, then to me the court is plainly making a political, not a legal, determination.

      I have asked this before, but why in the world should abortion centers be exempt from the same requirements that all other surgical centers have to operate under?

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  3. Scott, we already discussed all of this most recently on August 7th. I was just pointing out that another judge ruled against these new regulations. I find it interesting that the courts are overturning some of them at least. It seems to be based on an undue burden to access as far as I can tell.

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    • lms:

      It seems to be based on an undue burden to access as far as I can tell.

      That is the claimed legal justification, but the obvious question remains unanswered: If it isn’t an undo burden for all of the other medical procedures that are subject to it, why is it an undo burden for abortion? I don’t think a sensible answer exists. The decision is not a principled legal position, but is instead just a political call. This is what courts do nowadays, especially with regard to abortion.

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  4. The thing is Scott, the regulations and licensing of abortion clinics was apparently sufficient until the Legislatures of some of these conservative states decided that adding another layer or two of burden was a great back door way to make it nearly impossible for the clinics to survive in their states. If that’s not political, I don’t know what is. The courts aren’t trying to change anything, just maintain a status quo that existed prior to the new requirements.

    Edited to add that it has become an undue burden to access the right to a legal abortion in any case where these new laws have been passed.

    I can’t answer the question of why the regulations were more relaxed for abortion clinics originally as I don’t know why. I’ve always assumed there was some medical justification for it. It’s not something I’m that interested in researching right now.

    Have a good day all! Oh, and btw, the Angles swept second place Oakland in a four game series…………….woooohoooo! I’m waiting here for the sun to come up so I can sweep the pool one more time this morning and then get cookin’ for the party.

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    • lms:

      The thing is Scott, the regulations and licensing of abortion clinics was apparently sufficient until the Legislatures of some of these conservative states decided that adding another layer or two of burden was a great back door way to make it nearly impossible for the clinics to survive in their states.

      I am sure you are right about the motivations, but that is neither here nor there. There is a very clear double standard being employed here. These kinds of regulations/requirements are no more (or less) necessary to many other types of surgical outpatient procedures as they are to abortion, but abortion gets special treatment. Why? I have no doubt that many of the people who applaud these kinds of expensive regulations that make other procedures less affordable are the very same people agitating for loose regulations for abortion in order to make them more accessible. It is a clear double standard.

      And of course what is going on is political. That is what politicians engage in. But that is not what courts are supposed to do, although the left has been hugely successful in co opting the courts to do just that.

      The courts aren’t trying to change anything, just maintain a status quo that existed prior to the new requirements.

      That is not the court’s job. Their job is to apply he law in an objective, principled manner. If the people of Texas, through their reps, decide they want to “change things” so that abortion is no longer exempted from safety regulations that other out-patient centers have to follow, it is not the courts business to stop them.

      I can’t answer the question of why the regulations were more relaxed for abortion clinics originally as I don’t know why.

      Surely you can make an educated guess. If a politically active and powerful industry, say finance, was inexplicably exempted from regulations that were applied to other less politically powerful industries, I doubt you would have a hard time imagining why it is so. The abortion industry is extremely active and powerful politically, a lot more so than, say, the LASIK eye surgery lobby. In light of that, it isn’t all that baffling how it could be that a LASIK clinic has to adhere to stricter safety regulations than an abortion clinic.

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    • lms:

      Oh, and btw, the Angles swept second place Oakland in a four game series…………….woooohoooo!

      As a Yankee fan, all I can say is, thank goodness football season is here.

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  5. Appropriately enough, I’m spending Labor Day doing some unpaid labor (editing a conference proceedings).

    BB

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  6. If it isn’t an undue burden for all of the other medical procedures that are subject to it, why is it an undue burden for abortion? I don’t think a sensible answer exists.

    The sensible answer is to have regulations appropriate to the safety of a given procedure. There is an urgent care center opening in the shopping center next to us. There will likely be some procedures that might be considered surgery (say, removing stitches). There is also a dental clinic where oral surgery may be performed. Should either be required to match the facilities available at Innova Alexandria hospital?

    Turns out that Republicans do like job killing regulations. Just so long as the right jobs are killed.

    BB

    [Edit: I spend too much time on computers. Undue, not undo.]

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    • FB:

      The sensible answer is to have regulations appropriate to the safety of a given procedure.

      I don’t think that is a sensible answer at all to the question posed. It is pretty much non-responsive. But generally speaking what you propose is not what Texas has, nor most of the other states. What they have is a generic set of safety regs for all out-patient facilities that engage in surgery, except for abortion facilities, which have looser regs. So in the context of that, why should abortion be treated differently?

      Should either be required to match the facilities available at Innova Alexandria hospital?

      I don’t know, but if they are, then so should abortion clinics.

      Turns out that Republicans do like job killing regulations. Just so long as the right jobs are killed.

      Indeed, and by “the right jobs” they have in mind specifically jobs that themselves entail literally killing other human beings. Interesting that Dems prefer to maintain those kinds of jobs, while killing of others.

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  7. Nice piece by KDW. I’d love for Progressives, Liberals and Moderates to weigh in on this part:

    The Left sees inequality as a cause of economic facts, not an effect of them. As EPI sees things, inequality is an independent actor, a motive force in world affairs: It is not only a “determinant” of economic conditions but “by far the most important determinant”; it has, under its own steam, “blocked living standards growth for the vast majority”; and it is “the key driver behind stagnant wages for workers at the bottom.”

    The Left thinks that inequality is not a mere measure of relative incomes or wealth but something that does things in the world, something that acts — and not only acts but acts decisively, determining Americans’ economic prospects.

    I’ve never understood the interest in inequality as anything but covetousness. That however is pretty two- dimensional and doesn’t adequately characterize the argument.

    This is my favorite part due to it’s Hayekness.

    The fact is, we do not really know what to do. Politicians and think-tankers are forever in the position of loudly declaiming the need to do something, but what?

    http://www.nationalreview.com/node/386782/print

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  8. KDW makes several errors. The first of which being the fiction that there is some unified Left that has a homogenous view on matters of income distribution. He should read Rogers. Having created the straw man, it must then be imbued with attributes (to be defined by the conservative writer, of course).

    BB

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    • FB:

      The first of which being the fiction that there is some unified Left that has a homogenous view on matters of income distribution.

      So is it really your position that, since not everyone on the left has a single unified view on a subject, it is impossible to sensibly generalize and identify a particular view on that subject as being of the political left?

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  9. The years that the EPI used to calculate mean and median income distributions (1979 to 2007) includes the mother of all bull markets in stocks, real estate, and bonds. Hence the odd choice of dates – why not 1980 to 2000? or 1980 – 2010? The more interesting question is what the distribution looks like if you strip out asset price inflation.

    My guess is that the big driver of income inequality has been asset price inflation, not disproportionate wage increases between one quintile and the other.

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  10. What about wealth transfer from young to old via medicare and SS taxation? I’d say asset inflation is #1 but wealth transfer is second, no?

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  11. Scott

    That is not the court’s job. Their job is to apply he law in an objective, principled manner.

    I don’t have time this morning to address all your comments, but while I hate to be in a position of defending legal decisions (not something I’m well versed in obviously), there is some precedent I think for their decision.

    1. The U.S. Supreme Court has said no to harsh barriers. “A law is unconstitutional if it imposes an undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion,” Yeakel wrote, quoting the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1992 Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania v. Casey ruling. That precedent said, “A finding of an undue burden is a shorthand for the conclusion that a state regulation has the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.”

    And also, don’t worry, I’ll keep you apprised of the Angels’ progress through the end of the season and into the playoffs……………….hahahahaha

    Have a nice day everyone and I hope you don’t have to work too hard FB.

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    • lms:

      there is some precedent I think for their decision.

      Undoubtedly. But pretty much the whole of jurisprudence on the issue of abortion is about politics, not the constitution. Roe v Wade was an indefensible a/un-constitutional ruling, and everything has flowed from there.

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  12. I thought the left pretty much had a uniform view on income inequality – that it is bad.

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  13. I don’t think that is a sensible answer at all to the question posed. It is pretty much non-responsive.

    With due respect Scott, you are confusing a discussion with cross-examination. You did not pose me a question. Ergo, I cannot answer it.

    In any event, it’s easy to draw a distinction. Texas and other states have enacted regulations requiring physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. I’m pretty sure that this is not a requirement of my dentist. Then again, she lives in Jacó, Costa Rica.

    Here’s some fun details for the reporting requirements for abortion centers in Texas.

    (7) the date, if known, of the patient’s last menstrual cycle;

    I doubt that my dentist is required to state the date, if known, of the last time I brushed my teeth.

    (8) the number of previous live births of the patient;

    Congratulations, ladies. The great state of Texas wants to know all about your family. This is medically relevant how?

    (9) the number of previous induced abortions of the patient;

    But of course. How promiscuous are you, floozy?

    Indeed, and by “the right jobs” they have in mind specifically jobs that themselves entail literally killing other human beings

    A truly naive response. Take a look sometime at the odds that a fertilized egg will lead to a live birth.

    BB

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    • FB:

      With due respect Scott, you are confusing a discussion with cross-examination

      I don’t think so. As you noted yourself, I didn’t even pose the question to you, so why you would call it a cross-examination of you is beyond me. Perhaps you are referring to my use of the term non-responsive, thinking that it only has meaning in a legal context. That, of course, would be wrong.

      You did not pose me a question. Ergo, I cannot answer it.

      If you were not ostensibly trying to answer the question I posed, it is strange that you would preface your comments by quoting it and beginning with “The sensible answer is…”

      Texas and other states have enacted regulations requiring physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. I’m pretty sure that this is not a requirement of my dentist.

      Depends on what he does, I imagine. It is a requirement in many states for any outpatient surgery center (apart from abortion clinics), particularly those that use anesthesia. For example, in CA the minimum standards for an outpatient surgery center includes the requirement that the facility “Have a written transfer agreement with a local accredited or licensed acute care hospital”. I think this is also a requirement of what Texas calls Ambulatory Surgical Centers, but I couldn’t confirm that with my brief web search.

      A truly naive response.

      Not at all. People who oppose any and all abortions generally do so because they consider human life to begin at conception. Therefore they consider abortion to be, literally, killing a human life. And, of course, the odds on how long the life will last otherwise is neither here nor there when considering whether or not it is, in fact, a human life. Various people die at pretty much all stages of life.

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  14. Has abortion on demand increased or decreased the odds that a fertilized egg results in a live birth?

    Do you believe there should be any restrictions on abortion? I believe there should be very few.

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  15. I thought the left pretty much had a uniform view on income inequality – that it is bad.

    I can’t answer for The Left, but I don’t hold such views. Upon finishing my post-doctoral research at the University of Utah, I took a lectureship at the University of Sheffield. The salary offered me was slightly higher than what I made as a post-doc, but the cost of living is much higher in the UK than Salt Lake City. Even Northern England. I did not resent the higher income of my American counterparts, even though it was a bit of a struggle at times. I think I topped out at the equivalent of $40K, which was about 10% under the starting salary of an assistant professor at a good university in the U.S. I went for the opportunity to work with a great professor as well as for the adventure. I left for personal reasons as I had a relatively comfortable living and was quite successful professionally. [For a physics professor, defined in terms of presentations and published work, especially the impact factor.]

    Upon returning to the U.S., I eventually landed at the Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, Mass. When it came to salary questions, I did not perform some Leftie calculation as to what is fair and request the median earning for a full time worker. Average starting salary for a newly minted PhD in the physical sciences was in the mid-70s, so I stated that I thought I should get a bit more than that given my experience. They offered about $5K more than my mental minimum, so I accepted the offer.

    BB

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    • FB:

      I can’t answer for The Left…

      So, then, it is possible that the left does have a fairly uniform view on income inequality. (BTW, your personal story is very interesting, but not particularly relevant, I don’t think, to whether there exists what could fairly be called a leftist view on income inequality as a macro-economic issue.)

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  16. Troll – I am fairly comfortable with a standard of viability as a limit with provisos regarding threats to the life of the woman or severely deformed fetuses. If the fetus is stillborn (and you know that), I see little point in forcing a woman to carry the pregnancy to term. I speak from personal experience.

    BB

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  17. So is it really your position that, since not everyone on the left has a single unified view on a subject, it is impossible to sensibly generalize and identify a particular view on that subject as being of the political left?

    It has been my experience that an individual performing such a generalization is mainly interested in caricaturing an opposing view. All generalizations are invalid, including this one.

    BB

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    • FB:

      It has been my experience that an individual performing such a generalization is mainly interested in caricaturing an opposing view.

      I’d be interested in how you think what KW said was a caricature of the views he was ostensibly presenting.

      All generalizations are invalid, including this one.

      Speaking of which, I watched a very interesting interview/documentary with Donald Rumsfeld on Netflix this weekend, called Unknown Knowns. He made the same claim in one of his many famous memos.

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  18. People who oppose any and all abortions generally do so because they consider human life to begin at conception.

    Then they should talk to a biologist. Conception is a squishy term. Accurate terms are fertilization and implantation. If a human life begins at fertilization, then one should get a tax deduction for a positive pregnancy test.

    BB

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    • FB:

      Accurate terms are fertilization and implantation.

      I am sure by conception they generally mean fertilization.

      If a human life begins at fertilization, then one should get a tax deduction for a positive pregnancy test.

      Up to the politicians. There is no telling what they will and won’t give out tax breaks for. Some people don’t even get the deduction for their already born children.

      You tend to dismiss any evidence contrary to your preconceived notions.

      Please be specific, if you can.

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  19. Scott – You tend to dismiss any evidence contrary to your preconceived notions. You’re cute that way.

    BB

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  20. I believe life begins at fertilization. I would not restrict abortion in any way I can think of.

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    • McWing:

      I believe life begins at fertilization.

      It is the most sensible and logical point.

      I would not restrict abortion in any way I can think of.

      So any abortion up until the moment of birth is fine by you?

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  21. Not fine, no, but should be legal.

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    • McWing:

      Not fine, no, but should be legal…At least Federally each state can do what they want.

      I agree with the latter, but not the former. It should be up to each state, but as far as I would vote for my state, I would object to anything post-viability (which is a moving target).

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      • Moving target, indeed. Once we can remove a healthy fetus and nourish it outside the womb until 270 odd days we will have changed the entire calculus. I know that will not be soon, but it probably will happen someday. I just hope there are enough adoptive parents to raise them all when that happens. Of course, by then SSM will be a norm, so there will be lots of prospective adopters. Silver lining: Roe becomes obsolete and SSM saves the children.

        Hope y’all had a great weekend. I lost a friend I saw two weeks ago when he remarked that he was still three days younger than I. My friend with ALS learned he had lost 21% of his lung capacity in two months. I am going to the gym right now.

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        • mark:

          Of course, by then SSM will be a norm, so there will be lots of prospective adopters. Silver lining: Roe becomes obsolete and SSM saves the children.

          I doubt there are enough gay couples to really matter. I also wonder what the propensity of gay couples to adopt actually is or will be. I have a suspicion it isn’t nearly enough to make the difference you hope for even if the pool of gay couples was relatively substantial. My intuitive guess is that female same-sex couples will tend to have their own children, and male same-sex couples will tend to not want children.

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        • Sorry to hear about your friend, Mark.

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  22. At least Federally each state can do what they want.

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  23. Scott, I don’t think bureaucrats will be able to resist legally controlling pregnant women who’s gestation is in the viable stage. In other words, if we ban abortion after viability, why can’t we ban a pregnant woman from (insert anything and everything that may harms a fetus)?

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    • McWing:

      In other words, if we ban abortion after viability, why can’t we ban a pregnant woman from (insert anything and everything that may harms a fetus)?

      If we ban abortion after birth, why can’t we ban a mother from (insert anything and everything that may harm a baby)? We’ve managed as a society to draw distinctions between a mother starving her child to death and a mother maintaining an unhealthy diet for her child, such that the former is against the law and the latter is not (at least not yet), so I imagine we’ll manage to be able to draw legal distinctions between, say, a pregnant woman who deliberately attempts to kill her unborn baby and a pregnant woman who drinks wine or smokes while she is pregnant.

      And don’t forget, at the state level, the bureaucrats you speak of are both fewer and more accountable to the electorate.

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  24. Scott, I’ve no faith in elected politicians, local of Fed, to keep their nose out of how women handle their own gestation. That being said, it’s a state issue. If CT wants to ban abortion at any stage or no stage, that’s CT’s business.

    My preference is my preference and I’m not particularly inclined to let my subjective desire become the law of the land. Wanting power over others is Unfathomable to me though I know a large proportion of the population desires that power over others.

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    • McWing:

      My preference is my preference and I’m not particularly inclined to let my subjective desire become the law of the land.

      Are you also disinclined to have your preference for, say, not killing a new born baby become the law of the land, on the grounds that such laws might lead to more government intrusion into the way women raise their children?

      I think that if you support laws against killing a baby 1 month after it is born despite a distrust of government, then distrust of government is not a reasonable rationale for opposing laws against killing a baby 1 month before it is born. If one is to support the former but oppose the latter, then I think one must identify a relevant characteristic that distinguishes one act from the other.

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  25. I think that if you support laws against killing a baby 1 month after it is born despite a distrust of government, then distrust of government is not a reasonable rationale for opposing laws against killing a baby 1 month before it is born.

    I disagree as it would require the government to control a born individual, as in the mother. It’s obviously a slippery slope here as it literally would require the state to “take control” of a live, born person vs an unborn fetus. It’s a lot of coercion I’m not prepared to give the state. I’m favoring the born here versus the not born. Yes, the fetus is a life but a life with limited, if any rights. Just as a two year old can’t vote for example. If I’m outvoted though, I’m outvoted. Like I said, Federalism. I’m the first to admit its a pretty arbitrary position, separating born versus the not yet born.

    If one is to support the former but oppose the latter, then I think one must identify a relevant characteristic that distinguishes one act from the other.

    The characteristic is the fetus being inside a woman’s body and while it’s still there it is subordinate to her rights.

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    • McWing:

      I disagree as it would require the government to control a born individual, as in the mother. It’s obviously a slippery slope here as it literally would require the state to “take control” of a live, born person vs an unborn fetus.

      I don’t understand how the “control” of a born individual in this case is any different than the “control” required to outlaw the killing 1 month after the baby is born, a control which you presumably support.

      Yes, the fetus is a life but a life with limited, if any rights.

      Well, that is the ultimate question: when do rights inhere in humans. The most fundamental of all rights, the one upon which all others rest, is the right to life. If you are to argue that a baby that is born has a right to life which a baby not quite yet born does not have, I think you need to explain why it is that mere passage through the birth canal suddenly causes this right to spring forth. I think that, as you say yourself, the distinction is simply arbitrary, and so is not convincing to me.

      The wombats hence fetus is inside a woman’s body and while it’s still there it is subordinate to her rights.

      I assume that what you mean here is that whatever rights inhere in the fetus/baby are subordinate to the mother’s rights. But a conflict in rights, such that one must be subordinated to another, arises only if one begs the question and assumes up front the right of the mother to kill the fetus.

      I do not question the right of the mother to remove the fetus/baby from her body, but this right is perfectly compatible with the right to life of the fetus/baby. One need not be subordinated to the other. What I question is her right to destroy the life of the baby/fetus before removing it. This right can exist if, and only if, the fetus/baby has no right to life at all. (What could it possibly mean to say that a thing has a right to life while at the same time saying that it can be rightfully killed at someone else’s arbitrary whim?) Since, as I think we agree, a born baby has a right to life, and since I cannot conceive of any reason to conclude that this right sprung forth simply via passage thru the birth canal, I am compelled to conclude that the right to life already existed prior to passage thru the birth canal. Hence my conclusion that, while a woman certainly has a right to remove this human life that is growing in her body, she does not have the right to kill it before doing so. That is, she has no right to kill it precisely because it possesses a right to life.

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  26. Mark, I’m sorry about your friend and also the one who has ALS. We lost a very close family friend and teacher of our daughters a few years ago to that awful disease. Several of us here took the ice bucket challenge yesterday, recorded it and challenged others, but I also made sure that they do more than just get a good soaking.

    Funny about this group of friends, there are 10 of us left (five couples) and every year we get a little more subdued. I even noticed last night my bbq’d salmon went over much better than the ribs Walter cooked……………..LOL. We’re slowing down and finally some of them have decided it’s time to take care of themselves…….. YAY!

    It was interesting reading the abortion discussion after the fact and not participating. I don’t think I’ll add anything to it at this point. You guys are on your own…… 😉

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    • lms;

      It was interesting reading the abortion discussion after the fact and not participating.

      Watching intra-ideology disputes is always a good spectator sport.

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  27. I don’t understand how the “control” of a born individual in this case is any different than the “control” required to outlaw the killing 1 month after the baby is born, a control which you presumably support.

    As odious as a woman who is, say, at 34 weeks gestation, drinking 2 quarts of vodka a day might be, It’s not odious enough for the State to intervene and deprive her of her liberty while a baby gestates in her womb. I think “in her womb” is different then “out of her womb.” I just don’t understand where the State interest stops if we allow it to control women who are pregnant.

    Well, that is the ultimate question: when do rights inhere in humans. The most fundamental of all rights, the one upon which all others rest, is the right to life. If you are to argue that a baby that is born has a right to life which a baby not quite yet born does not have, I think you need to explain why it is that mere passage through the birth canal suddenly causes this right to spring forth. I think that, as you say yourself, the distinction is simply arbitrary, and so is not convincing to me.

    I think you hang your hat on viability outside the womb which is around 20-22 weeks. The thing is, that’s pretty arbitrary to as viability is a really loose term and frankly exceedingly expensive whether the baby lives or dies. Perhaps especially if the baby does survive. That makes viability a pretty arbitrary distinction as well, no?

    But a conflict in rights, such that one must be subordinated to another, arises only if one begs the question and assumes up front the right of the mother to kill the fetus.

    I do assume that.

    I am compelled to conclude that the right to life already existed prior to passage thru the birth canal. Hence my conclusion that, while a woman certainly has a right to remove this human life that is growing in her body, she does not have the right to kill it before doing so. That is, she has no right to kill it precisely because it possesses a right to life.

    And here’s the crux of it. I’m not convinced that a fetus has a right to life, at least while still in the womb. The “passage through the birth canal” is about a bright line as we’re gonna get.

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    • McWing:

      As odious as a woman who is, say, at 34 weeks gestation, drinking 2 quarts of vodka a day might be, It’s not odious enough for the State to intervene and deprive her of her liberty while a baby gestates in her womb.

      I understand that. What I don’t understand is how the above then leads to the conclusion that nothing the woman does, up to and including intentionally destroying the life of the fetus/baby, can be odious enough for the state to intervene. Again, if you agree that we can and do outlaw infanticide without depriving mothers of their liberty to, for example, smoke around their kids, then I don’t see why outlawing abortion would necessarily or even likely lead to depriving women of other liberties they currently enjoy.

      I just don’t understand where the State interest stops if we allow it to control women who are pregnant.

      We already allow the state to “control” women to the extent that they are not allowed to, for example, slit the throat of their newborn babies. Do you understand how there can still be limits on the state’s interest despite the existence of this law? If so, then I don’t see the problem with abortion laws, which are literally the exact same thing simply applied at an earlier stage.

      Again, I am not proposing that women be forced by the law to continue to carry a baby they do not want to carry. They should be perfectly free to have that baby removed from their bodies. I am simply arguing that they shouldn’t be allowed to intentionally destroy it before doing so. And I don’t see how such a restriction any more represents state “control” over women than does a the exact same restriction that already applies to mothers who want to remove newborn babies from their lives. The right to be free of the fetus/baby does not imply the right to actively kill the fetus/baby.

      I think you hang your hat on viability outside the womb which is around 20-22 weeks. The thing is, that’s pretty arbitrary to

      No, I don’t think it is at all arbitrary. My primary assumption is that rights inhere in humans as a result of their nature as humans, which means that they inhere upon creation (conception, egg fertilization, whatever your choice of words). The only reason I focus on the point of viability is that, prior to viability, there is no practical difference between intentionally destroying a life before removal from the mothers body and removing it without intentionally destroying it. The result is, necessarily, the same. Prior to viability, the woman’s right to be free of the life inside of her – which, again, I do not dispute exists – will necessarily result in the same outcome as an abortion. Since I acknowledge the right of the mother to remove the life inside of her, and I know that in itself will extinguish the life, I cannot draw a meaningful distinction on which to hang an objection to abortion.

      So no, I do not think it is arbitrary at all.

      …and frankly exceedingly expensive whether the baby lives or dies.

      That is a different argument altogether, and one that I could conceivably find persuasive. I think one can reasonably argue that the expense required to protect a particular right to life in certain circumstances is prohibitive, and therefore the state’s interest in protecting that life is outweighed by the state’s interest in allocating limited resources.

      And here’s the crux of it. I’m not convinced that a fetus has a right to life, at least while still in the womb. The “passage through the birth canal” is about a bright line as we’re gonna get.

      That is the crux of our difference. But it seems to me, both intuitively and logically, that conception is a far brighter line than the moment of birth.

      Like

  28. Scott

    Watching intra-ideology disputes is always a good spectator sport.

    Yes, I’ve sort of enjoyed it. I do find myself agreeing more with you than McWing on a few points, viability for example. I don’t see much difference between an abortion or spontaneous mis-carriage or birth pre-viability. I think it’s important to remember that a three month old fetus is only about 3 inches in length, nothing survivable about that.

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  29. Again, if you agree that we can and do outlaw infanticide without depriving mothers of their liberty to, for example, smoke around their kids, then I don’t see why outlawing abortion would necessarily or even likely lead to depriving women of other liberties they currently enjoy.

    But I see that as the inevitable result of the direction the Country is going and find it hard to believe you don’t as well. So, the country is moving ever more “nannyist” but you’re gonna tell me that it would forever stop at limiting a woman’s rights whilst pregnant? Really?

    We already allow the state to “control” women to the extent that they are not allowed to, for example, slit the throat of their newborn babies. Do you understand how there can still be limits on the state’s interest despite the existence of this law? If so, then I don’t see the problem with abortion laws, which are literally the exact same thing simply applied at an earlier stage.

    Again, that you have faith that the state would stop and progress no further in limiting a pregnant woman’s liberty after every example of creeping State and Federal intrusion into every aspect of our lives is truly stunning and a faith I don’t share. I would prefer no restriction on abortion because the inevitable result will be (no might be, but will be) further and further limitations on a pregnant woman’s Liberty.

    No, I don’t think it is at all arbitrary. My primary assumption is that rights inhere in humans as a result of their nature as humans, which means that they inhere upon creation (conception, egg fertilization, whatever your choice of words).

    Not every right, they can’t vote for example. Even you are not arguing that the right to life attached at conception. You’re picking “viability,” a demonstrably vague term that is baby and resource specific. It’s so amorphous as to be as arbitrary as any otter time. So, I again say that the correct time to attach a Right to Life is at birth, whether induced, natural or cesarean. Neither of us are willing to declare a fetuses Right to Life begins at conception and my position is then that birth is the second best choice.

    That is a different argument altogether, and one that I could conceivably find persuasive. I think one can reasonably argue that the expense required to protect a particular right to life in certain circumstances is prohibitive, and therefore the state’s interest in protecting that life is outweighed by the state’s interest in allocating limited resources.

    Also, am I willing to pay for such measures? For me the answer is no and Im not willing to force anyone else to either.

    That is the crux of our difference. But it seems to me, both intuitively and logically, that conception is a far brighter line than the moment of birth.

    What protections should exist for the fetus at conception then?

    Like

    • McWing:

      So, the country is moving ever more “nannyist” but you’re gonna tell me that it would forever stop at limiting a woman’s rights whilst pregnant? Really?

      No, I definitely agree that the country is moving ever more “nannyist”, and that it is objectionable. However, that doesn’t lead me to conclude that therefore no law can ever be justified. Again, just because I object to, say, the “nanny state” preventing parents from feeding their kids unhealthy foods doesn’t mean I should therefore oppose laws preventing parents from abusing or killing their kids.

      And this is especially true in the context in which our discussion is taking place, ie a context in which 1) it is assumed that the “nanny state” is already significantly diminished (ie the feds have no control of policy) and 2) I am talking about what I think is the just policy. There is nothing about believing that it is just for the state to prevent a pregnant woman from intentionally destroying the life inside of her that implies one has therefore signed on to whatever list of “nanny state” horribles one might conceivably think up.

      Basically, would I vote to make abortion post-viability illegal? Yes I would. Would I vote to make the consumption of alcohol by a pregnant woman illegal? No I would not. And these two policy positions are perfectly compatible.

      Again, that you have faith that the state would stop and progress no further in limiting a pregnant woman’s liberty…

      This is not a faith implied by my position at all. What the state might or might not do has no bearing on what I think the state should do. And what I think the state should do is what I have been talking about.

      Having said that, there are in fact two reasons that lead me to doubt that the state’s limitless encroachment on pregnant women that you fear would ever occur. First, experience: not only was abortion illegal in most states for decades without such encroachments transpiring, but those encroachments could easily take place even while abortion itself is legal, and they have nevertheless not transpired. Second, it seems to me that the political constituency that is most responsible for the creeping nanny state is also pretty much the very same political constituency that is most passionate about keeping abortion legal, ie progressives. So it seems unlikely to me that they would push for restrictions on pregnant women that were even more restrictive than the one they have already been so passionately opposed to.

      Not every right, they can’t vote for example.

      The right to vote is a legal right, not a natural right. When I speak of rights inhering in humans, I mean natural or moral rights, of which the most basic and fundamental is the right to life. If a right to life does not inhere at conception (or whenever), then none do.

      Even you are not arguing that the right to life attached at conception.

      Actually that is precisely what I am arguing. I can justify no other conclusion.

      You’re picking “viability,” a demonstrably vague term that is baby and resource specific.

      As I said, my focus on viability has nothing to do with when rights attach, but rather is strictly a function of the fact that, prior to viability, there is no relevant or practical difference between simple removal of the fetus (which I argue a woman always has a right to do) and intentional destruction of the fetus before/during removal. Post-viability, that calculus no longer holds, and hence my view of intentionally destroying the fetus changes. My focus on the point of viability is most definitely not arbitrary.

      BTW, you are correct that viability is not a specific point. As I said, it is and will be a moving target.

      Neither of us are willing to declare a fetuses Right to Life begins at conception…

      But that is exactly what I am willing to declare.

      Also, am I willing to pay for such measures? For me the answer is no and Im not willing to force anyone else to either.

      Like I said, that is a practical argument that I would find persuasive in some circumstances, although probably not persuasive enough as to make third trimester abortions legally acceptable to me. I suspect that they are rare enough that I would not find the cost to be prohibitive.

      What protections should exist for the fetus at conception then?

      From a purely philosophical standpoint, the same protections that should exist throughout pregnancy, ie the woman can have the embryo/fetus removed, but not intentionally destroyed, ie it must be given an opportunity to survive outside the mother. However, since survival outside the womb is a practical impossibility pre-viability, then practically speaking no protections can effectively exist that can also be reconciled with the mother’s right to remove the embryo/fetus from her body. And because no effective protections can be reconciled with the rights of the mother, none should need be put in place.

      edit: I changed that last sentence slightly, for clarity.

      Like

  30. At the time of Jesus, I believe the bright line for infanticide was 30 days AFTER birth, in Roman law.

    As I recall, it was assumed that parents could know the prospective health of a child within thirty days and thus were free to eliminate runts and misfits. Euthanasia of the very young, I suppose.

    Like

  31. that it is objectionable. However, that doesn’t lead me to conclude that therefore no law can ever be justified.

    Nor do I, I just oppose trying to regulate abortion post “viability” because it will lead inevitably towards limiting the liberty of women who are pregnant.

    And this is especially true in the context in which our discussion is taking place, ie a context in which 1) it is assumed that the “nanny state” is already significantly diminished (ie the feds have no control of policy) and 2) I am talking about what I think is the just policy. There is nothing about believing that it is just for the state to prevent a pregnant woman from intentionally destroying the life inside of her that implies one has therefore signed on to whatever list of “nanny state” horribles one might conceivably think up.

    Look, I think residents of individual States should be able to decide these matters on their own. That being said, I would prefer and vote against limiting abortion post viability because I don’t trust human nature and it’s, or rather some people’s (most people’s?) desire to control others. I know you’re creating a hypothetical that is more “in-line” with our idea of Federalism but the truth is, I see governmental intrusion into Liberty as essentially a ratchet.

    Basically, would I vote to make abortion post-viability illegal? Yes I would. Would I vote to make the consumption of alcohol by a pregnant woman illegal? No I would not. And these two policy positions are perfectly compatible.

    Fair enough.

    But that is exactly what I am willing to declare.

    Perhaps I don’t understand what a Right To Life means if one can end it without due process prior to viability? You’re arguing that the State can have an interest in protecting the life of a fetus starting at conception but can take no action protecting that life until viability. It doesn’t make sense to have a Right To Life starting at conception but no due process until viability. If that’s the case then a Right To Life attaches at viability and that, we both agree, is a moving target based on each individual fetus and local medical resources that can be accessed. And because that moving target, er, moves so much then the only reasonable conclusion to come to is that the Right To Life attaches at birth.

    Like

    • McWing:

      Perhaps I don’t understand what a Right To Life means if one can end it without due process prior to viability?

      Due process is a legal concept. The right to life is a moral concept. Natural/moral rights can and do exist even in the absence of a legal framework designed to protect them.

      You’re arguing that the State can have an interest in protecting the life of a fetus starting at conception but can take no action protecting that life until viability.

      Essentially yes, although I think that isn’t quite precisely correct. I would put it this way: Even though the state may have an interest in protecting the life of a fetus starting at conception, there is no effective protection that it is able to implement that doesn’t itself violate the rights of the mother, which the state also has an interest in protecting, until the point of viability.

      It doesn’t make sense to have a Right To Life starting at conception but no due process until viability.

      I think you are conflating natural/moral rights and legal rights. Due process means respecting all of the legal rights afforded to a person under a given system of laws. Whether or not due process exists in a given circumstance has no bearing on whether or not a natural right exists.

      Besides which, if a state legislature has determined that it cannot protect the right to life of a 1 week old embryo without violating the rights of its mother, and has therefore chosen not to attempt to protect the embryo (and thereby violate the rights of the mother), due process exists.

      If that’s the case then a Right To Life attaches at viability…

      Perhaps one might say that the legal right to state protection attaches at viability, but not the natural right to life which compels the protection. If a government decides not to provide legal protection to a given class of people (say Jews, or black slaves to take two obvious examples) from being killed at whim, does that imply to you that the natural right to life that the founders considered unalienable no longer attaches to anyone in that class of people?

      Like

    • McWing:

      I see governmental intrusion into Liberty as essentially a ratchet.

      To a large degree I agree, but the way you are applying it in this instance suggest to me that you would be opposed to literally any new law that might ever be proposed, at any level, regardless of the individual merits of that particular law. Which doesn’t make sense to me.

      Even though I think the government is already much too intrusive on individual freedom, I still recognize that many laws, and even potential laws, can be both necessary and perfectly justified, and the fact that there are many more unjustified laws – and could be even more – doesn’t alter my support for laws that I think are justified on the merits.

      As an aside, if you are correct that political power is an inevitable and unavoidable quest to control other people, how do you explain the political success, going on 50 years now, of the pro-choice movement?

      Like

  32. Due process is a legal concept. The right to life is a moral concept. Natural/moral rights can and do exist even in the absence of a legal framework designed to protect them.

    Ok, now I understand the difference. I guess I’d end up saying that what is moral, a Natural aught has and will continue to change and don’t think that we should always codify everything just because it’s popular. That’s how these slippery slopes are created.

    It turns out we’re is some agreement in regards to some moralities and have some conflicts in others. A while ago you wrote that banning or restricting abortion after viability and not regulating the behavior or a pregnant woman are perfectly compatible. Well, perhaps legally but morally? Tell me how one can support a ban on post viability abortion but not on excessive alcohol consumption of a pregnant mother? Or excessive Motrin use? Both are known to cause severe fetal problems including death? Why a double standard?

    Like

    • McWing:

      Why a double standard?

      I don’t think it is a double standard at all. At least not any more so than when I draw lines around what does and does not constitute objectionable parental abuse of the rights of their own children, as we inevitably must in any system of justice. Drawing those lines is a matter of judgement and prudence, and certainly open to debate, but it don’t think the mere fact of drawing a line constitutes a double standard.

      One could, I suppose, declare that children have no rights whatsoever, including no right to life, and therefore parents have the right to do anything to, including literally killing, their children any time they want. That would certainly be an extreme position, and would render pretty much all societal protection of children from the actions of parents to be unjust. But if one grants that children do have rights as individual human beings, then the very least – the very least – that one must advocate for is a legal restriction on parents killing their children. One might take it farther and advocate for many, many more restrictions, up to and including preventing parents from making literally any independent decisions at all for their children and leaving it all up to the state. That would be the opposite extreme.

      Most people fall somewhere pretty far from either of these extremes, and I assume you do too. Personally I fall much closer to the first extreme, allowing parents a huge degree of discretion with regard to the rights of their children, and again I assume you do too. However, I do grant that children do indeed have individual rights, and so at the very least I must take one step away from the extreme and support laws designed to protect them from being literally killed by their parents. And every further step away from that extreme (physical abuse?, mental abuse?, religious education?) becomes a matter of personal judgement and prudence, not a double standard.

      With that as a preface, all I am doing with regard to abortion is extending that analysis to the entirety of a human’s life prior to becoming an adult, rather than arbitrarily limiting it just to the stage between birth and adulthood. Since I believe that even an unborn baby has a right to life, I must, at the very least, support restrictions on the parent literally killing it. Any further restrictions (or perhaps the failure to support them) becomes a matter of judgement and prudence, not an exercise in a double standard. And, as with the rest of the child’s non-adult life, My judgement is much closer to the extreme which gives a huge degree of deference to the parents discretion than the other extreme which gives none at all.

      What I find interesting is that, while you surely make exactly these types of prudential judgements with regard to parental action towards their born children, you refuse to do so, and perhaps even disregard the possibility of doing so, with regard to the not-yet-born. The only explanation for this that I can see is that you totally disregard the possibility that the not-yet-born have a right to life. Which is why I think the disagreement between us on abortion really has nothing to do with the propensity of the government to seek to control, and has pretty much everything to do with our differing views on when rights attach. If you were convinced that the unborn had a right to life, then your concern about government control would, I suspect, no more lead you to prefer legally unrestricted access to abortion until birth than it leads you to prefer legally unrestricted parental access to infanticide.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. As an aside, if you are correct that political power is an inevitable and unavoidable quest to control other people, how do you explain the political success, going on 50 years now, of the pro-choice movement?

    Easy, it’s about the Pro-Choice’s desire to control individual states through SCOTUS. Secondly, there is a sizable chunk of the Pro-Choice movement that is rather Malthusian when it comes to environmental issues and thereby wish to again control Population growth.

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