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The problem with the revealed preferences approach is that it very much depends on the circumstances. If you give new mothers a baby bond and housing and income supports more pregnant women are likely to keep their babies. If you don't then what do you reveal? Can you conclude their revealed preference is that they didn't want a baby or is it that some do want their baby but don't think they can cope with the stigma and experience of being a poor mother?

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The difference between committed political partisans and "normie" voters?

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I agree that conservatives would have a much better argument for the government's interest in protecting fetuses if they were willing to commit to ensuring that everyone born or raised in the United States is entitled to vast resources to ensure healthy development of citizens, but that's pretty much the definition of socialism. Conservative pro-lifers both want the government to force women to have children, and then they demand the right to abandon those women and children to whatever future they can carve out by their bootstraps and whims of random charity. Its a very untenable conflict of interest in their argument.

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Nov 8, 2023Liked by Freddie deBoer

People enraged over being required to wear a mask or get a vaccine shot are surprised over the number of people opposed to forced pregnancies.

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Wouldn't forced pregnancy mean rape?

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founding

No, forced pregnancy is when you're denied the choice of whether to keep your fetus or not. Thanks for asking.

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Is there a limit to that? Or is it up to and including the moment of birth?

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Well, let's say both are forced, to different degrees.

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I'm pro-abortion but this is a very facile comparison. If "forced pregnancy" means anything it must mean a pregnancy resulting from actions the mother did not consent to (e.g. rape and statutory rape). A pregnancy resulting from consensual sex does not meet that bar.

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Forced pregnancy is being pregnant against your will by the state. I don’t give a fuck if you don’t like the term.

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Forced pregnancy is getting pregnant without your consent. I don't give a fuck if YOU don't like the term.

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No, that would be forced impregnation.

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founding

Correct.

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Nov 8, 2023·edited Nov 8, 2023

Being forced to become pregnant and being forced to remain pregnant are clearly not the same thing and the second is the issue in contention here. I have no idea why anyone who would describe themselves as 'pro-abortion' would insist upon this absolutely clownshoes take.

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Because I value clarity in language and the phrase "forced pregnancy" is misleading.

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Take no notice of angry Internet people, Fionn. Your distinction is clear enough not to need defending.

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I value clarity too, and it's abundantly clear in this discussion what 'forced pregnancy' means.

After your other comments ("If you're an adult of sound mind..."), I suspect your pedantry here is in bad faith, done in order to avoid putting forth your real position of 'pregnancy is a just punishment for sex' as much as possible.

Otherwise though, do clarify what the correct phrase is to encapsulate 'being forced by the state to remain pregnant', so we can resolve this terribly important vocabulary issue you're plagued by.

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I find your reading more intuitive but as a pedant I think the other side has the better argument: the state preventing someone from leaving an employment contract is forced labor even if that contract was entered into voluntarily. It would be similar for exile, institutionalization, etc - if the state won't let you out it's forced.

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This implies that an unwanted pregnancy was freely chosen. It is often not.

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If by "not freely chosen" you mean "rape", fair enough. Otherwise I don't know what you mean.

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Was the woman (or man) thinking, "I want to get pregnant."

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If you're an adult of sound mind and you voluntarily undertake an action being fully aware of the likely consequences of said action, I hold you responsible for those consequences even if you weren't intentionally seeking them out. I'm still pro-abortion, but the idea that a woman who wasn't TRYING to get pregnant therefore bears no responsibility for having unprotected sex (a likely consequence and indeed the entire purpose of which is becoming pregnant) is infantilising.

From a legal and moral perspective, a person who deliberately hits someone with their car (murder) is quite different from someone who accidentally hits someone with their car because they were distracted while texting (involuntary manslaughter). But to suggest that the latter person isn't responsible for their reckless behaviour because they weren't thinking "I want to hit someone with my car right now" at the time is nonsensical.

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abortion IS a consequence.

If you believe abortion is murder, then you should clarify that.

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founding

And the woman who uses birth control that fails? More common than you think. Is her pregnancy a choice?

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This seems like a bad argument, most people who drive drunk and crash their car don't turn the key thinking "I want to get in a terrible car crash," but that is a somewhat predictable consequence of drunk driving.

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There's not much of a debate around whether or not drunk drivers can still receive needed medical care despite them knowingly taking the risk, though.

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Abortion is, in fact, facing the consequences.

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Why is the parents behavior relevant to the moral status of the fetus?

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I'm not debating the moral status of the fetus in this instance.

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People who insist infanticide should be legal because of bodily autonomy are excited to force untested gene therapy on others. But that's different I'm not sure. Probably because Fauci and Science.

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Good luck finding anyone but a couple of online or academic weirdos arguing for infanticide.

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Nov 8, 2023·edited Nov 8, 2023

Well, NYS law specifically talks about time after birth. The fact that you don't know that is shocking. Just kidding, it's not shocking at all. Edit: I lived in NYS when it was passed so I should know.

So what is your limit? T-2 minutes until the moment of birth?

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Me? I’m totally in the mainstream in being fine with prohibiting elective late term abortions. There’s damn few of those anyway. But I don’t trust Trump fellating legislators and their anti abortion religious zealot supporters to be the appointed gatekeepers.

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So essentially the abortion argument is just another vehicle for you express your hatred of people you don't like? I believe that. As they say, the math works out. I strongly suspect that for a majority of liberals your position matches theirs exactly. And the foreverwar marches on.

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Sorry that I didn’t fit in with your pro infantacide caricature but at least I gave you something else to deflect with. You’re welcome.

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where's your evidence that there are damn few elective late term abortions? Yes relative to all abortions they are rare. But there are at least 6,000 a year in the US according to the CDC. And according to Guttmacher's reports the women do it because they found out late or had a change in relationship status--i.e., it's elective (not that killing a disabled fetus is not elective IMO too). HOwever, there's not much research in this area because women who had the abortions don't respond in the few studies that exist. Why don't we study this? Hmm, no one wants to think about it?

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Nov 8, 2023·edited Nov 8, 2023

Ahem: https://www.christian.org.uk/news/canada-medical-body-wants-euthanasia-for-newborns/

"Dr Louis Roy, from the Quebec College of Physicians, told the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying that parents should be able to arrange the deaths of babies up to one-year-old who are deemed to have “severe deformations, very grave and severe syndromes” and a short life expectancy."

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“Dr. Louis Roy, of Quebec's College of Physicians, said his group believes assisted death could be offered to babies up to one year old "with severe deformities and very serious syndromes for which the chances of survival are virtually nil, and which will cause so much pain that a decision must be made to not allow the child to suffer."”

Calling this “infanticide” is like calling taking Terry Schiavo off her feeding tube “murder.” There are genuine moral ethical dilemmas presented but I thought you were more of a stickler for precision in language than to rely on this item to respond to the infanticide charge.

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I KNEW you were going to move the goalposts.

Infanticide is the killing of an infant. Euthanizing infants is a subset of killing infants. I'm not even arguing that it's always wrong to euthanize an infant, but you were flat wrong when you said the only people calling for infanticide to be legal (in certain cases) were academics and online weirdos.

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I have never been a Catholic but I think they're onto something with their focus on the culture of life. Also just anecdotally, it seems like pro abortion types are the most angst ridden depressive sorts out there. Nothing is sacred nothing is special not is worth protecting

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Whereas Catholics are famously jolly people.

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That sounds like sarcasm, which means you have not partied with the Catholic side of my family

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The person you’re talking to said elsewhere in this thread that she’s pro-abortion. Maybe you should ask her if she’s a joyless husk. :-)

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Please don't misgender me.

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Canada is not the US and isn't restrict to the laws of the United States.

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So? Spence asserted that no one was calling for infanticide aside from academics and online weirdos, he didn't mention anything about which country.

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The original assertion was about “People who insist infanticide should be legal because of bodily autonomy”. You found an example of someone arguing that the law should allow for terminal suffering newborns to be euthanized, which has nothing to do with support for infanticide as an extension of abortion rights. Yay for you. You showed me.

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Its true, bioethics is a one of the most difficult fields, with a lot of conflicting axioms that have to be balanced out, and this can be a angst-ridden process for any thoughtful person. If by "untested gene therapy" you mean vaccines, I wouldn't judge someone for being both pro-mandatory vaccination and pro-infant-euthanasia in some circumstances, probably under a theory of utilitarianism. But I would want a coherent explanation that showed they'd put some thought into the various moral duties at play.

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Yeah I’ve checked up on you. You hate the movie “Excalibur” so all of your opinions are suspect.

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😂😂😂 You definitely misconstrued me. I love Excalibur, I just think its campy as balls.

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Nov 8, 2023·edited Nov 8, 2023

I would imagine the difference for those folks is that they would say abortion is murdering an innocent baby, while refusing a vaccination 'might' kill either an older adult who's already lived a long-ish life or someone who simply chose to be unhealthy (in other words, their own fault right?).

The key phrase being 'innocent baby' there. On this issue, conservatives can routinely rely on immensely strong parenting instincts to sway potential fence-sitters here. One needs to only bring up the gruesome imagery of what an aborted fetus may look like to really tug on those primal heart strings. It's an almost purely emotional influence.

I agree with Spence's basic premise here, I'm pretty pro-choice myself. But I often find with pro-lifers that they tend think there are very few things in this world more precious and sacred than an innocent baby...fetus notwithstanding. It's apples and oranges to them.

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As many other people have pointed out, the unborn have yet to take any positions for which the maximally "personal-responsibility" conservative mindset can blame them for. Plus they aren't asking for anything that requires redistribution of resources, you don't have to raise taxes to force someone to have a baby. Therefore they are the ideal victim class.

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There's no way I'd put masks in the same category (although I wasn't exactly for them, either https://www.mustardclementine.com/p/seeing-the-future-as-a-glossy-prospect).

However, I must say I do find the inconsistency troubling when individuals on either side of the debate condone any form of forced or coerced medical intervention. For me, as a woman who supports abortion rights, and who may yet make an abortion choice in the future, abortion and vaccination do share the same principle of bodily autonomy. I'm not anti-vax; I took the first two doses willingly, partly in the hope they would hasten the end of other measures like lockdowns that I found unacceptable. When the vaccines didn't live up to expectations, my initial eagerness faded; when people were punished and stigmatized for not getting the vaccines, my concerns mounted. It was the push toward vaccine mandates and passports, and their coercive implications, that I found particularly alarming.

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Somewhere in a Fox News comment section (and apparently here too) there's someone posting about how it turns out that pro-vax pro-choicers never believed in "my body, my choice" after all.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/07/04/1109367458/my-body-my-choice-vaccines

I believe that someone that favors both abortion access and and vaccine requirements has a coherent worldview that understands the tradeoffs between public safety and bodily autonomy, but only because I assume they have beliefs more complex than expressed in a pithy slogan.

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I think most conservative religious types are mentally the exception to their own rules, especially women, because you need to believe in your own humanity in spite of yourself. (Hence so many modern evangelical women framing their devotion to their husbands' comfort as a "choice" or "empowering.") But there are people for whom abortion is still theoretical - people well past child-bearing age who feel strongly about it, for example, and those people vote where the pro-life wind blows pretty reliably. It'll be a rocky election to be sure, but I do like the way the material reality is shifting to show that the "silent majority" does not in fact hate abortion rights.

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I think people often cite the extremists on the left who want abortion up to the date of birth. I moved in reproductive rights spaces and I have never met a woman who thinks that just deciding you don't want a baby at 38 weeks gestation is a real world scenario. There are extreme cases where a fetus that a woman might lovingly be expecting is just not suitable for life, at that point she might seek to terminate. Even in those exceptionally rare cases, there is a total of one abortion provider in the US who will perform third trimester abortions.

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Then why won't say so? Why don't abortion advocates say, "yes, of course, voluntary abortion of a healthy, viable fetus after xx weeks is unacceptable." Most people are fine with abortion up to a certain gestational point, like me. The extremes of both sides turn me off. I'm in Ohio. Even though I'm a strong believer that constitutional rights should be set by more than just a 50% +1 vote majority, I didn't vote at all in that special election here to change that. Specifically because Ohio republicans lied about their goals. I voted no on the abortion ammendment because it was astonishingly vague. If the ammendment language had defined a gestational limit and specified it didn't affect the parental rights law, I'd have enthusiastically voted yes. Again, both sides were completely disingenuous about their goals.

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I think the issue is Ohio's measure, which was on the ballot yesterday.

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founding

Because it's still a fetus? I don't think most abortion advocates are looking at exactly when a baby's eyelashes come in or whatever because the life of an already-existing human already takes precedent. But also, no one really chooses late-term abortion unless the fetus is likely to die shortly after or birth, or the mother's life is at risk. It simply isn't necessary to legislate for that.

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Kermit Gosnell.

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founding

Ah yes, let's cite a serial killer. That makes sense.

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You mean a guy that ran an inner city abortion clinic for decades and was sentenced to 30 years for performing late term abortions?

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Also raping his patients and not properly disposing of remains.

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That is not true. If the women's life is endanger they can do a c-section or induce it. So many people who say this obviously know nothing about human gestation and medical practice. Babies born around 20 weeks often live though obviously it's not at all ideal. And why is it necessary to kill a human who is going to die?

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founding

Right, force a woman to birth a live baby when that isn't necessary. That makes sense. And if the baby lives, who is responsible for it? Why induce labor for a woman whose life should come first?

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A lot of the "pro life" arguments seem to forget that pregnancy is a dangerous state of existence that last for almost a year, and that birth is literally a baby tearing itself out of your body, with a virtually 100% injury rate and *some* fatalities as well. If I were pregnant, I would want the right to remove that fetus in whatever way was safest *for me* - and abortion is safer than birth for most of the pregnancy. People really like to think of pregnancy and birth as NBD because lots of people willingly endure it, because they want to.

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I think they feel like its a bad argument, I don't agree. I think there is a lot of wiggle room in early to mid second trimester where abortions that occur happen because women need to save up money and often times off from work to travel to get an abortion (even in-state travel) children who try to hide pregnancies, especially in the case of incest and medical reasons.

This isn't a cut and dry issue, there is a lot of nuance which is why it needs to be legal so women can navigate those nuances themselves.

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The danger is that you alienate the majority of the country. The idea of aborting at eight months and three weeks is horrific to most of the public.

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I think it is horrific. I think being put in that position is a pretty horrifying place to be in. That's why I choose empathy.

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The counterargument is that at 8.75 months the public views the fetus as essentially a baby.

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founding

The majority of the public also believes in magical sky gods.

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founding

Honestly, who cares? Why should they have a say?

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It's called a democracy...

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founding

because the American form of "democracy" is doing so well.

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Almost like it’s a medical issue that’s nobody else’s business.

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Think harder about why “abortion advocates” (okay. fine) might not be inclined to say, yeah, okay, not after XX weeks. If we did, the next phase of the conversation would be an argument about what number we mean when we say XX, in the understanding that the next step is to agree on a ban beyond that threshold. That’s not territory where an actually meaningful win is achievable, because the maximum win state of pushing it all the way to 40 weeks has sharply diminishing returns -- abortion on a whim the day before birth is not in fact a thing; late enough abortions that a reasonable consensus against the elective decision to have one might be possible on paper only ever happen in real life because there is a catastrophic and critical reason. And if we start to look at timeframes below 40 weeks, we immediately notice that this IS territory where a meaningful LOSS is possible: the battleground is going to include murkier timeframes, like the second trimester, which we don’t want to even put on the table, because we don’t fundamentally concede at a values level that it’s negotiable. In short: there is nothing to win and a lot at risk for our side in a concessionary timeframe negotiation approach.

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All sorts of very rare occurrences are actually covered by statute.

Plus I would argue that if you actually look at the political landscape pre-Dobbs it's pretty obvious that most of the country is not okay with third term abortions (something like 43 out of 50 states banned the practice?) What's more you don't get a choice as to what people talk about or what your political opponent wants to raise as an issue.

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You can talk about whatever you like however you want to talk about it. The commenter I was responding to was asking why my side doesn’t offer to compromise at XX weeks. I sought to illuminate one possibly manageably comprehensible reason why we might not want to do that

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author

Why don't we all bring this particular argument to a close? Not getting anywhere.

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My point is that, politically speaking, not talking about it is a loser. You can't choose what your opponents talk about and history pre-Dobbs would seem to indicate that they know that their position is the popular one.

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This is exactly why 2nd amendment supporters won't give an inch so that's fair enough.

Similarly I've never heard a pro gun control advocate who cries for compromise to actually offer anything of value as a compromise.

With that said allowing abortion at somewhere between 12-20 weeks would almost certainly be wildly popular as a compromise. I'd support it even though I'm not for abortions as a general rule simply because it tables the discussion for serious people and resolves most of the thorniest issues.

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Possibly because we aren’t stupid. We’ve seen how whenever politicians set what sounds like a “reasonable” limit, it ends up with horror stories about a woman slowly dying of sepsis or a raped 10-year-old giving birth. I have no faith in the ability of our legislators to set rules that would only block the most “immoral” abortions, so I’d prefer to leave it between the woman and her doctor.

Also, let’s say somebody really is so irresponsible and callous as to wait until 35 weeks to end a healthy pregnancy. Why on earth would anybody want to give a newborn to that person? (Yes, I know adoption exists, but this imaginary person probably isn’t going to be mature enough to seek it out.)

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Believe me, I've no faith that politicians will make any rational decisions. And I know we are talking about 'what if' scenarios. As a libertarian, I'm just tired of both extremes treating me like I'm stupid, as you alluded to. I take people's words, or lack of words, in the case of this Ohio ammendment, seriously. This ammendment was so vaguely worded that I distrust their intentions. It was written this way on purpose. And I forsee years of litigation about exactly what rights this ammendment protects.

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As a libertarian, how is your bottom line not that the government has no role in regulating personal medical decisions?

I looked up the wording of the amendment and it seems fine to me. What specifically do you find worrisome?

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What's the libertarian position on third trimester abortions?

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Well, there are many pro-life libertarians who base their position on their belief that at some point in the gestation, that which is growing in the womb, evolves into a person with the right to liberty, chief among those the right to be free of violence from other persons. That's my position. Other absolute pro-life libertarians believe that personhood begins at conception. Therefore they deserve the rights any other person has. Its rights based NOT religion based

If we can agree that a baby immediately after birth has those rights, explain to me how the act of passing through the birth canal suddenly bestows those rights if that same entity is no different in development that it was a day prior? Those two entities are exactly the same. Its nothing like being a "clump of cells" or even a fetus. We're discussing rhis philosophically.

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Here's a portion of the language: "make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to" decisions about abortion..." Reproductive decisions can absolutely mean hormone blockers, cross sex hormone treatment, and surgery that affects any part of a body that concerns reproduction. Also, there is absolutely no mention of age. The two of these combined can, and will, lead to an argument that children have the Ohio constitutional right to make decisions ON THEIR OWN, to these hormone and surgical procedures and I as a parent have no right to input on these decisions. Also, this ammendment will be argued to give an underage person the right to have an abortion without the input or even knowledge of the parents, and invalidate Ohio laws affirming parental rights. Because the ammendment PURPOSEFULLY left all of these details out, I instinctively dont trust the intent. The authors of the ammendment knew many had these concerns and chose not to address any of these considerations.

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Okay, so it’s a parents’ rights argument. I’m going to respectfully disagree. Not that I don’t have concerns about kids going on hormones, but I think it’s something for families and doctors to sort out. It would feel hypocritical of me to say that the same elected officials I don’t trust on abortion policy are suddenly fonts of wisdom on trans rights.

The parental consent thing is harder. There are absolutely cases of teens being pressured into abortions by their statutory-rapist “boyfriends” ... but there are also kids who would get beaten black and blue if they told their parents they were pregnant, not to mention foster kids who may be at the mercy of virtual strangers. I’m sure somebody has studied the overall costs and benefits but it isn’t me.

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A healthy viable late term fetus is a person. Late term being somewhere beyond 16 to 22 weeks. Roe got it right.

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Not to “well, actually...” you, but the earliest premature births that survive are around 22 weeks, and the chance of survival isn’t better than a coin flip until 24 weeks.

The personhood question is philosophical. Personally, I lean toward the traditional Jewish belief that the fetus becomes a person when it takes its first breath outside the womb. But I recognize that many people put the line earlier, and I respect their reasoning as well.

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Because they don't want the government interfering in these decisions in the least. Because they want the decision to be between a woman or family and their provider. So, they are modeling their lack of involvement in other people's decisions.

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I think pro-choice advocates should say loudly, "voluntary abortion of a healthy viable fetus after XX weeks is wrong. The strict adherence to "only a woman's right to choose" allows pro-choice advocates to be painted as baby killers.

If we're honest, the fight isn't about late term abortions its about 6 week abortion bans. But you can't get people riled up over an eight week embryo.

If a birth control method is 98% effective that's 2 pregnancies per hundred. Even if the birth control is 99.9% effective that's still 1 out of 1000, not none. I believe I've heard that unintended pregnancies are very reduced where the highly effective, long term birth control methods are widely used.

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If there is only one provider of third term abortions why are there medical codes for them and why are they recorded in medical databases?

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On the whole, I think that "let people do what they want" is a pretty powerful high ground in American politics. Freedom is still a powerful idea for many people. I think progressives suffer the most when conservatives are able to frame progressive positions as being restrictive of various freedoms. And conservatives lose when progressives are able to frame conservative positions as restrictive.

This doesn't really materialize as support for libertarianism, because people care more about the vibes of freedom than a more intellectually rigorous construction (not to say libertarianism is the only way to rigorously construct freedom). For instance "keep the government's hands off my medicare" is a weirdly resonant position for many people. But "you can get an abortion if you want it" vs "you can't get an abortion" is pretty cut and dry freedom vs unfreedom to most people, and freedom has a big natural advantage, at least here in the US.

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The limitation to "let people do what they want" is usually "as long as it doesn't hurt others". Pro-lifers believe that abortion prevents a person (the fetus) from doing what they want.

Libertarians argue about abortion frequently and the split is over whether a fetus has rights, not whether those rights can be restricted. "You can get an abortion" vs "You can be born" is not so cut and dry and how pro-lifers frame the argument.

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Nov 8, 2023·edited Nov 8, 2023

This is why I'm saying it's purely a matter of perception. People want to *feel* like they're being left alone to do what they want, they don't generally put intellectual effort into trying to systematize that feeling.

Edit to elaborate: I also especially think people dislike it when something they thought they had is taken away. If abortion had always been illegal, people wouldn't see that as a lack of freedom, they'd just see it as a thing you're not supposed to do. But if you can remember a time it was legal, and now you can't do it, it feels like a loss of freedom.

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Abortion is probably a game changer for low turnout elections that feature a disproportionately high percentage of political partisans.

In 2024 turnout will be higher and the number of normal voters worried about the economy will be higher as a result.

The other issue I would raise is that by next year the issue will largely have been settled. All Dobbs did was kicked the decision back to the individual states and what you see now is those states coming to equilibrium on the issue. Once CA decides on its abortion policy what is there to drive Californian abortion activists to the polls? A desire to change the law in Texas?

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I think this is the main reason that Dobbs will stop being "the gift that keeps on giving," as more states have referenda/constitutional amendments to protect abortion there will be literally nothing to worry about.

Although it could get really weird, with nonprofits claiming this is still a crucial issue when like Missouri is the last state without abortion protections, and tens of millions of donor dollars from blue states flow to races and policy initiatives in red states.

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Millions and millions of dollars in donor money has flowed into places like Texas for years for guys like Beto O'Rourke or Wendy Davis without having any appreciable impact whatsoever. At this point I think that what you see is largely what you get, although there may be some tinkering around the edges.

Plus there is a mismatch in terms of GOP messaging at the current moment. The consensus position of the US public in the Midwest (for example) is to allow abortion with some restrictions, such as on third term abortions. That's the political winner in terms of messaging and yet pro-life activists are still pushing for total bans. If they come around you could easily see successful measures to restrict third term abortions in places like Ohio.

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I'm thinking less about the impact on races than the impact on national fundraising for progressive causes - there's a relatively fixed pie of committed donors, so squeezing huge amounts of money into quixotic campaigns in the reddest states leaves less on the table in other places.

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Yeah, although as I pointed out abortion isn't the only area where this happens. The D's have long been fixated on Texas and the insane amounts of national donor money poured into Senate and gubernatorial races there could obviously have been put to better use elsewhere.

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Spot on. It baffles me that people who are nearly hysterical about the overturning of Roe v. Wade cannot see how it is precisely what we all needed. People who think democracy is "getting what I want" without having to work for it - that is, convince their fellow citizens in the messy cauldron of elections - aren't democrats, they're autocrats. Sine they don't understand the difference they view every challenge to their policy preferences as an assault on democracy itself. It's absurd.

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Nov 8, 2023·edited Nov 9, 2023

I don't think the overturning of Roe is what poor women in red states really need. Or women with late-term health problems who live in red states. Or women in states with AGs who really, really want to become governors. No, I think Roe itself is what those women need.

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Then have the honesty to admit that you have weighed democracy and found it wanting, that your political philosophy is: to hell with the plebes - I know what's right and best.

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Whoa...that's a radical reinterpretation of the text.

I'm responding to the assertion that women somehow benefited from the striking down of Roe vs. Wade, not making a pronouncement on democracy itself. I think it's hard to argue that life for women in red states has been made measurably more difficult, even if more democratic. And, yes, I do think the addition of democracy to a situation doesn't necessarily make that situation easier or more just. I mean, we could take votes to decide which religions to permit, or what forms of art will be allowed, but I doubt any of THAT democracy would make people's lives better.

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First of all, I didn't "[assert] that women somehow benefited from the striking down of Roe vs. Wade." What I wrote was that "we all needed" the overturning of Roe vs. Wade so that abortion policy could be enacted on a democratic basis.

You make it very clear in your response that the democratic outcomes which have followed the overturning of Roe vs. Wade are so onerous (example: "...states with Attorney Generals that really, really want to become governors") that Roe - that is, a policy outcome unreachable by undemocratic processes - is preferable to the democratic outcomes you find horrible.

Look - why not just own it: you don't think the people (particularly the people "...in red states...") can be trusted with this issue. Abortion policy, for you, is too important to be left up to democratic processes. I actually happen to think this is an honorable position, but in our system we have a very specific mechanism for establishing rights which cannot be violated even if 99% of the people are eager to violate them: we enshrine them as amendments to the Constitution. This requires a deep, lengthy, difficult and searching national process. When you tell me that you support a Constitutional amendment to enshrine abortion rights I will respect your claim to support constitutional democracy. But as long as you keep insisting that Roe vs. Wade (deeply extra-constitutional and therefore undemocratic) I can only see you as an elitist autocrat who - as I wrote above - has only contempt for our actual democracy.

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Here in Texas they’ve turned abortion seeking into a sadistic bounty hunter pyramid scheme. Women can be legally stalked by strangers and financially ruined by the courts for *trying* to get an abortion in another state. Tell me more about this sane, sensible process of public debate engendered by the SCOTUS decision.

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From the book "Promises I Can Keep," a really interesting book where the authors interview single mothers:

"As sociologist Kristin Luker shows, many middle-class women view abortion as a personal choice arising from a woman’s right to control her body and her life. Yet most mothers who live in the Philadelphia area’s bleak core typically share a radically different view. Though most concede there are circumstances desperate enough to warrant an abortion, most still view the termination of a pregnancy as a tragedy—perhaps unavoidable but still deeply regrettable. Virtually no woman we spoke with believed it was acceptable to have an abortion merely to advance an educational trajectory. Something else, they say, must be present to warrant that decision—the desertion of the child’s father, an utter lack of support from the young woman’s own mother, rape or incest, an uncontrollable drug or alcohol addiction, homelessness, or impossible financial straits."

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I'd think that difference between the middle class and "bleak core" women here is that the former have substantial educational trajectories and career goals that could be disrupted by pregnancy. If you've nothing to lose in the department I imagine it's harder to understand why someone else would value it highly.

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That makes sense. I personally share the middle-class values, but thought it was an interesting finding.

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I had never heard the term 'revealed preferences,' but it's handy. Everything is different when it's you in the previously untenable position, and the things you vehemently opposed suddenly become a need.

Disability insurance, being unhoused, medicare, assisted suicide, abolishing police, food stamps (SNAP)...I'm sure there are many more ways for life to go wrong and reveal an unexpected preference (or so often, need.) It's why one of the most important parts of building an argument is to think of the exceptions. I don't understand the unwillingness of many people to do the mental exercise of placing themselves or a loved one in the position of being an exception.

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I have said for years this is the primary difference between liberals and conservatives. Liberals are (generally) more abstract and empathetic thinkers, able to theoretically put themselves in others' shoes and vote accordingly. Conservatives, by and large, have to wait until something affects them PERSONALLY before they can see anyone else's viewpoints on an issue, or change their mind on something. Yes, I am speaking very broadly, but I don't think I'm entirely wrong.

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"A conservative is just a liberal who's been mugged."

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Given the amount of liberal friends who reached out to me for advice about buying a gun

(and followed through) during the BLM riots I'm gonna say it's not that cut and dry.

Same thing with Defund the Police or the stream of people moving out of places like California into Red hellholes like Texas and Florida after getting everything they supposedly wanted.

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Yeah, I don't think liberals are better than conservatives and I don't love narratives that put your own perspectives on a pedestal, but I do think the two groups do represent psychological differences.

At worst:

I find that many conservatives are kind and generous to people that are in front of them and that they know, regardless of any weird, biased or even bigoted ideas they may hold.

I find that many liberals are good at manifesting empathy for strangers and groups of people that they don't know, but are more than happy to wield their ideological principals to hurt those right in front of them.

I don't know which is worse - being friends with people you are privately bigoted against and maybe vote against, or only having empathy for off-stage strangers, who you can always imagine as being in need of saving and of having no flaws or nuance, so you can be an asshole to the people you know.

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I compare American support for abortion to the public's attitude on gun control: large majorities believe in some right to buy a firearm but with reasonable restrictions (no grenade launchers or machine guns). Similarly with abortion the national consensus pre-Dobbs was limits on third trimester abortions with something like 43 out of 50 states banning the procedure.

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founding

Yeah and that sucks too. Nobody chooses a third trimester abortion for fun. Banning it outright with no exceptions is something that people who know very little about its reasoning (or people who vote with their religion, not their mind) choose to do because they're not as educated about abortion as doctors.

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Which state specifically did not have medical exemptions in their third term abortion ban?

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founding

Wrong question. The question is how are medical exemptions defined, by whom, and who can overturn a doctor's decision.

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Can you point to a single case, pre-Dobbs, where a third term abortion was not allowed despite medical complications?

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founding

Pre-Dobbs, it was still very difficult to access a third term abortion and it was often not covered by insurance. Do your own research.

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In other words you can't.

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There is one provider in the entire nation who performs them, yes before Dobbs even.

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Maaaaybe. Hern is the only provider that will do a late term abortion for "non-medical" reasons but the suspicion has always been that "medical necessity" covers just about anything the abortion clinic wants it to.

And how does this not reinforce my argument? Where's the cases of women denied life saving third term abortions because of state level bans?

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Whether or not it "sucks," legislatures are the proper arena in which to mediate laws about third trimester abortions. You are welcome to support politicians who want to legalize "up to the moment of birth" abortions, but I think you are going to have difficulty gathering popular support for such a position. That is how democracy works. Overturning Roe v. Wade was a massive victory for everyone. That it hasn't gone the way abortion opponent activists intended is the proof. You should be celebrating the end of Roe, not bemoaning it.

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Sure no one chooses it for fun. But the evidence from Guttmacher is that it's largely particularly young and poor women who find out late that they're pregnant. If the mother's life in danger, they can induce or perform a c-section in the third trimester. In what scenario is it necessary to kill the fetus? We don't kill other non-viable people.

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I have never for a minute believed Republicans actually wanted to overturn Roe. I know many older people (like my parents' friends) who are basically old school liberals, but consider themselves "pro life," so always vote republican, no matter what. I would look at those folks and say, "Okay, if Roe is overturned, why would they still support Republicans?" Admittedly, I have no idea at this point how they're voting, but it wasn't that hard to see how this would turn out overall.

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founding

John Oliver showed a Republican politician the other night who supported a total ban until he started hearing from local women and doctors about how the ban was impacting pregnant women who wanted to have their babies but were denied medical care when they needed it most, close to term. He then started learning more about how the health of women with certain medical conditions who couldn't carry to term was being impacted, etc. and his mind began to change.

I've always been extremely pro-choice too and have had a surgical abortion myself (for an ectopic pregnancy, the kind of exception that the extremists know is necessary as they can kill the mother, but would still deny us). We are not the extremists.

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Who is trying to deny abortion for ectopic pregnancies?

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author

Mike Pence, past six weeks

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Given my five minutes of research I don't think that is entirely fair to Mike Pence's position but in so far as that is his position it is wrong. Further I think even reading his position in the best possible light it's worded in a terrible way.

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author

Look if you click that Matt Yglesias link he points out that the Republican national platform calls for a nation-wide ban with almost no exceptions for the health of the mother. It's weird to deny that the Republican position is extreme and that the extremes within the extreme oppose exceptions for the mother's health because they see them as a Trojan horse.

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All side have extremists. I am alarmed that somebody as influential as Mike Pence has such a brain dead take. I had not heard such a brain dead take from somebody before. I will do my best to deradicalize people who talk to me about this position.

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Mike Pence is influential? To whom?

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founding

Thank you. And not just Pence, but early drafts of Ohio and Texas bills. The thing is that many of these legislators simply don't think about these exceptions, while the ban has made it more difficult for women facing ectopic pregnancies to receive timely treatment. This is precisely what many of these commenters—like many legislators—are failing to see in the big picture.

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This is already the reality on the ground in many states with life of the mother exceptions. Even when pregnancies are non viable, providers are waiting until the woman's life is in acute danger to terminate, to not run afoul of the law.

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I would like to see more energy and resources go to the broader question of women’s health issues such as funded birth control. Why in this age do so many women find themselves in need of an abortion? Would not prévention be better?

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Humans have adolescent brains until 25. Not good decision-makers, for the most part.

There are all kinds of explanations, ranging from rape to broken condoms.

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Birth Control isn't 100% effective?

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As a gay man who came of age in the late 80's and early 90's, the apex of the AIDS crisis, it was unfathomable to me to have sex without a condom. When I got into my 20's I couldn't believe how many of my straight friends regularly engaged in condom-less sex, even sometimes with strangers they'd hook up with after going out to bars or parties. I think a LOT of straight people regularly make risky sexual choices.

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Well, that would be lovely. And yet, when Colorado offered a free IUD program to young women, the Republicans freaked out and, when they regained power, repealed the bill.

Abortions went down when the program was passed, and then (IIRC) went up again when it was repealed.

It's hard to feel like conservatives' primary concern is actually fetal life given that behavior.

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Great piece, but I wouldn't say that women only get abortions in extraordinary circumstances - many just don't want to be pregnant. Pregnancy is an enormous physical, financial, and emotional burden, no extraordinary circumstances required.

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We live in a world of declining fertility and coming major population loss. Future generations will look at out industrialized slaughter of the unborn and they wouldn't be able to comprehend how such barbarism was allowed to exist. In general, child sacrifice is usually frowned upon by history.

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I'm seeing echoes of "The Handmaid's Tale" here.

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The MADD ADAM trilogy is way better. Read that instead and thank me later.

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Anti-abortion laws have invariably failed to increase fertility, whatever the Freakonomics jackasses may have told you.

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I don't know enough to opine on the subject. I just know how we in the 21st century view those who sacrificed children on the altar of one idol or another. Predicting the future is a fool's game, but if we make it to year 2523, I'm pretty sure we will be judged harshly. And we will deserve it.

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My own position is fairly uncertain on whether a fetus is a "person" and it doesn't really matter to the abortion debate. However, I will allow that I find very few grounds for justified comparison between a bundle of cells attached to a placenta and, say, a preemie.

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For the purposes of population growth the cutoff line is irrelevant. Obviously an abortion at any point in time reduces population.

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What, if anything, are you responding to in my comment?

That aside, it is far from "obvious" that the population has been reduced if a woman takes an abortion pill, say, a month after becoming pregnant.

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The spectrum of what is acceptable to discuss in our political discourse is so artificially constrained that issues like abortion become a meaningful differentiator. I think if you were to give most American voters a strict either-or choice between legal access to abortions and state-guaranteed healthcare in a level rhetorical playing field, they'd vote for the latter, but that kind of preference doesn't get revealed because neither party is offering it and they're the only game in town.

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