Morning Links

Monday, March 8th, 2010
  • The 137-year archive of Popular Science is now searchable online. Pretty cool, though it’ll be better when it’s browsable, too.
  • A handy reminder that ad blockers, ahem, harm your favorite websites.
  • As a general rule, legislators should always assume that if a law can be interpreted in an overly broad way that will result in injustice, some eager prosecutor will eventually interpret it that way. Even if you’re pro-life, this Utah bill ought to trouble you.
  • The U.K. Nanny State takes aim at the thickness of french fries.
  • Dahlia Lithwick vs. Liz Cheney.
  • The global chronic pain problem.
  • Off-duty deputy crashes while driving under the influence, is let go by a fellow cop. Same cop then crashes against 30 minutes later.
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  • 78 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  Steve | 

      “The department is conducting an internal investigation to determine why Waters was allowed to keep driving, James said.”

      Here, I’ll help the department save time and money with their “investigation”:

      BECAUSE HE WAS A FARKING COP.

      My work is done here.

    2. #2 |  Mike T | 

      Even if you’re pro-life, this Utah bill ought to trouble you.

      It is logically consistent, if not consistent in its particular language, with the pro-life position that the unborn child is a rights-endowed being. What is completely inconsistent are the pro-choicers who get upset when a woman drinks, uses drugs, smokes, etc. If you’re going to say “it’s her body, it’s her choice” and thus in doing so reduce the unborn child’s life to the status of an “it” or personal property of the mother, then you have no right to tell a mother that she cannot drink herself stupid of do enough cocaine to keep her high for 9 months while she’s pregnant.

      This is why abortion is an issue which is a logical Vietnam for libertarianism. You can’t “fully respect the mother’s rights” without giving her the authority to use so many substances that are highly toxic to a baby that she causes serious, lasting, irreparable harm to the child.

      As a pro-life libertarian, I have no problem with this law **on principle**.

    3. #3 |  Mitch | 

      Out of curiosity, for those of us who mainly get Agitator content via a Reader client, you are still getting hits for the ads on each post right?

    4. #4 |  Carl Drega | 

      “Troopers raid popular bars for unlicensed beers: Dozens of gallons seized after ‘citizen complaint’

      More than a dozen armed State Police officers conducted simultaneous raids last week on three popular Philadelphia bars known for their wide beer selections. The cops confiscated hundreds of bottles of expensive ales and lagers, now in State Police custody at an undisclosed location.”

      http://tiny.cc/CRitx

    5. #5 |  Lee | 

      I think it is a great law to demonstrate how much of a bad idea it is to endow an embryo with rights.

      I really hope that it is signed into law so we can start getting lots of stories of how cops show up at a woman’s door an hour after her miscarriage to start an investigation.

      After they figure out that post miscarriage is too late then they’ll decide to pass a law that all women of reproductive age should submit to a pregnancy test every 3-4 weeks. If she tests positive she can then be corralled someplace until she gives birth 9 months later.

      …then you have no right to tell a mother that she cannot drink herself stupid of do enough cocaine to keep her high for 9 months while she’s pregnant.

      Actually they have every right to tell her that doing things like that is a very bad idea of she wants a healthy baby (e.g. The March of Dimes). They just don’t have the right to pass any laws to make it illegal to do those things.

    6. #6 |  Dave Krueger | 

      Pro-choice does is not the same as condoning reckless behavior.

      And yes, it is her body and it is her choice. It is most certainly not the state’s body or the state’s choice.

    7. #7 |  Chuchundra | 

      Mike T, I’m not sure what your point is. I don’t know any pro-choicers who advocate laws to restrict what a woman can smoke/drink/ingest while she’s pregnant.

      I think that it’s wrong for a woman to smoke while she’s pregnant. I have no problem with someone using social pressure to try to get her to stop. I don’t see any conflict with that and my pro-choice beliefs.

    8. #8 |  bbartlog | 

      ‘Here, I’ll help the department save time and money with their “investigation”:
      BECAUSE HE WAS A FARKING COP.’

      Whoever wrote the article should be excoriated for going along with their pretense of mystery. Obviously the goal of the ‘investigation’ is damage control and credibility maintenance; what actually happened is obvious.

    9. #9 |  David in Balt | 

      @Mike T

      If you are a libertarian as you claim I am not entirely sure how it is that you can be accepting of this law. Seriously, do you think that the state will not abuse this as it does everything else? I think you are allowing your irrational views on abortion to cloud your judgment. I can understand the desire to preserve human life but, seriously, how can you possibly think this is a good idea? Outside of violating a woman’s rights, and it’s obviously ridiculous potential for harming already grieving families as others have pointed out, the bill is simply barbaric. It is the first step (possibly already there? I did not find a complete copy of the bill but it is obviously a first step in banning abortion if it does not already do so. No doubt if it does not already contain bans on necessary abortions they are sure to follow) to implementing a ban on all abortions, even necessary ones, for some disgusting religious ideology.

      As far as libertarians being against women smoking, drinking, etcetera during pregnancy the beautiful thing about libertarianism is that legal measures are not the only weapon in its arsenal. Where statists seem to think that the government and legal measures are the cure for every ill actual libertarians understand that things like social pressure are -very- powerful motivators. You see abortion is one thing. Removing a few cells that have no mental or sensory function is one thing, but setting up a situation were a baby will be born with severe defects as a result of completely avoidable actions is another. I think we, libertarians, can all agree that a women who smokes, drinks, or shoots dope while pregnant is a bad person and deserves scorn and derision for her actions. I can also assure you that any women who would have been persuaded not to do these things by this law will just as effectively be persuaded by social pressure against doing such things without the law. The beautiful thing about the social pressure position is that it is not based in a backwards religious position, that only incidentally cares about the potential humans life, and simply wants to re-relegate women to slave status and use them only as incubators for their husbands seed.

    10. #10 |  Lee | 

      There is an interesting discussion on the Ars site about adblockers.

      The popular consensus is that people will unblock ads as long as you do not serve up moving ads or flash ads.

      I agree on both these points.

    11. #11 |  SJE | 

      LA cop doing 2xDUI

      “The department is conducting an internal investigation to determine why Waters was allowed to keep driving”

      Umm, becuz he is a cop, numbnuts

    12. #12 |  Joette | 

      I was unaware that ad blockers had that affect. I’ve whitelisted you, Radley.

      I blocked ads as a matter of course about a year ago after I became aware that ads can be a virus vector. Of course, my computer is still running Win98 so chances are any virus I get these days will be too advanced to infect me.

    13. #13 |  Daniel V. | 

      Here is the Pop Sci archive arranged so you can browse it:

      http://books.google.com/books/serial/wzsEAAAAMBAJ?rview=1

    14. #14 |  Marty | 

      Cheneys are shitstains on the underwear of all Americans.

      Thanks for the popular science link- I can feel whole chunks of my life disappearing…

    15. #15 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      …then you have no right to tell a mother that she cannot drink herself stupid of do enough cocaine to keep her high for 9 months while she’s pregnant.

      You are correct. I would change it to “I have no right to force a mother to do anything.” I have a personal right to “tell” her pretty much anything I want, but we aren’t talking about the state just “telling” someone something.

    16. #16 |  Stormy Dragon | 

      Removing a few cells that have no mental or sensory function is one thing, but setting up a situation were a baby will be born with severe defects as a result of completely avoidable actions is another.

      What about abortions that occur wel beyond the ‘a few cells’ stage. The question of when exactly a fetus becomes a person is highly complicated, but I think “not until after birth is completed” is just as lazy an answer as “at the momment of conception”.

    17. #17 |  Ben | 

      Radley, as for the ads, here is how I operate:

      Every site I visit regularly gets whitelisted from Adblock until I get an ad that expands, moves, or emits sound. Then it gets blocked again.

    18. #18 |  Nathan A | 

      I allow ads on all the sites I visit regularly, specifically to help with the advertisement revenue.

      General surfing of the tubes, however, requires a bit of a protective suit.

    19. #19 |  David in Balt | 

      @ Stormy Dragon

      The question of when a fetus becomes a person is actually not that complicated. You see it is basically a tautology, if it is a fetus then it is not a person, and if it is a person then it is not a fetus. The answer is in the definition. Now one can make a very reasonable argument that, prior to conception, there is a line at which abortion outside of those -necessary- for medical reasons should not be done. This however is never a position that you hear the simpletons in the ‘pro-life’ group advocating is it? The people who pass laws like the one this is all about want women to be subjugated to their husbands and their rights stripped away from them, even if it means the women and the fetus must die, because that is obviously god’s will. Even that “evil” doctor out in Kansas who was murdered by that religious fascist only performed late-term abortions when they were deemed medically necessary.

    20. #20 |  gene quail | 

      Do the ads you run collect personal data? If not, I will whitelist you.

    21. #21 |  David in Balt | 

      @ 19, my previous post.

      Conception should have been birth. Need to remember to proof read when rage-posting.

    22. #22 |  Ben | 

      Sorry, Radley, but I use and will continue to use Ad Block Plus. You might be interested in why.

      It’s not because of your site or any other free site I visit on a regular basis. I started using it for two websites in particular: TotalFark and the Warcraft forums, both of which I pay to be able to use.

      Unfortunately those two websites have not figured out how to charge enough to make them ad free, which means that I will use a blocker, and I don’t go through setting specific sites to let ads through on.

    23. #23 |  Marty | 

      no matter how many laws are passed or how many definitions re-worded, the abortion argument will never be settled until a suitable alternative for both sides is found. The morning after pill isn’t satisfying the pro life crowd and adoption doesn’t satisfy the pro choice crowd. ‘Minding your own business’ doesn’t seem to work well, either…

      I know there wasn’t a reasonable solution found when Ben Franklin started his abortion debate- but maybe today will be the day!

      I’ll check back in tomorrow.

    24. #24 |  Leah | 

      Police are already showing up at women’s doors because of laws like these, and it’s not only in Utah.

      http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/02/15/its-illegal-37-states-for-a-pregnant-woman-fall-down-stairs

      I was joking with my husband that I’m lucky I live in IL because I’ve already accidentally fallen down the stairs 3 times this pregnancy. I’m not evil, just clumsy. And glad I’m not in jail.

    25. #25 |  Leonson | 

      I generally don’t block ads from websites I visit, but I did finally have to block intellitxt completely, as sites I visited that used it were almost unreadable. Anytime you moused over one of the underlined links it popped up unrelated material/advertisements. There’s a point where it becomes obtrusive.

    26. #26 |  J sub D | 

      The department is conducting an internal investigation to determine why Waters was allowed to keep driving, James said.

      Allow me to save you the trouble. Euphemistcally called “professional courtesy” it is a mindset among LEOs that cops are above the law. IOW, “Laws for thee, but not for me”.

    27. #27 |  Andrew S. | 

      Thats a bit of a copout Ben, isn’t it? It takes about a second to whitelist a site using ABP. I have this site and some other small sites I regularly visit whitelisted; general web browsing is what ABP is there for.

      I laughed at the article on the Utah law for the same reason you did, Radley. If a law can be misinterpreted, it will be (and there’s probably a similar law elsewhere where it already has been). Though I have a feeling that’s their goal — to do what was alluded to earlier, keep women under the thumb of their husband, and go after people they don’t like.

    28. #28 |  Stormy Dragon | 

      “Minding your own business” doesn’t work because it completely fails to address the actual issue. If anyone suggested we should legalize lynching on the grounds that anyone not directly involved should “mind their own business”, I doubt many people would find that a good idea.

    29. #29 |  J sub D | 

      A handy reminder that ad blockers, ahem, harm your favorite websites.

      There is no reason for me to use an adblocker. I have the ability to completely ignore advertisements on the internet and in print media. Over at H&R commenters will comment on some particular advertisement that google ads has paired with a story; I always have to go back and specifically look for the ad.

      It’s a blessing.

    30. #30 |  Mo | 

      What about abortions that occur wel beyond the ‘a few cells’ stage. The question of when exactly a fetus becomes a person is highly complicated, but I think “not until after birth is completed” is just as lazy an answer as “at the momment of conception”.

      It’s not that they’re lazy, it’s that they’re the only two bright lines that aren’t open to oodles of interpretation and disagreement. Otherwise you end up with something that’s either arbitrary, like trimesters, or a fuzzy line, like developmental stage.

    31. #31 |  David in Balt | 

      @ 27

      Are you really equating abortions which lynching?

    32. #32 |  Tom G | 

      I’ve never found ads on sites so annoying that I had to install Adblock. Pop-ups or sound ones, though, are another matter.

    33. #33 |  David | 

      As a general rule, legislators should always assume that if a law can be interpreted in an overly broad way that will result in injustice, some eager prosecutor will eventually interpret it that way. Even if you’re pro-life, this Utah bill ought to trouble you.

      They know what exactly they’re doing, and it’s no different than how our legislatures have defined and re-defined most other statutes. In our zeal to prevent guilty parties from using reasonable explanations as a defense, we’ve decided to criminalize all the reasonable explanations.

    34. #34 |  Fay | 

      The reason to keep abortion legal is the same logic behind the reason we want drugs to be legalized: in countries where abortion is illegal, the abortion RATE remains relatively unchanged. The only thing that changes is that more women are killed or maimed by unsafe abortions. Criminalizing abortion kills women, by driving it underground.

      Ironically, the countries where the abortion rate is lowest, are those countries where contraception, sex education, family planning services, and abortion are the most widely available… a set of circumstances to which the “pro-life” crowd is generally also opposed.

    35. #35 |  David | 

      It’s worth mentioning that Liz Cheney is backed by noted monster Mel “Straight, INC” Sembler.

    36. #36 |  MacGregory | 

      “…when he crashed his Mercedes-Benz into another vehicle…”

      I first wondered “shit. How much are they paying theses guys?” Then I figured that the M-B was probably part of an asset seizure. Thank god they took it from it’s rightful owner in order to keep us safe.

    37. #37 |  Cynical in CA | 

      “As a general rule, legislators should always assume that if a law can be interpreted in an overly broad way that will result in injustice, some eager prosecutor will eventually interpret it that way. Even if you’re pro-life, this Utah bill ought to trouble you.”

      First off, there is “ought” vs. “is.” The “is” is that no law is self-interpreting — since laws are composed of words that must be interpreted by individuals, it is the interpretation of the ruling class that will prevail. No amount of wishing in the form of “ought” can change that.

      Second, I believe that legislators already know this. If they do not, they have no excuse. Frankly, since the type of person who becomes a legislator is the same as a mafia boss, the number of legislators ignorant of this, if greater than zero, is vanishingly small.

      In conclusion, the existence of any law guarantees its broad application towards the ends of the State, at the expense of the individual.

    38. #38 |  Barry | 

      Agitator is now whitelisted. As long as the ads are unobtrusive I have no problem letting them through.

      @Ben: Allowing ads on a particular site with Firefox/ABP is quite simple – right click on ABP button, then click “Disable on _______”.

    39. #39 |  Matt | 

      While back google ads ended up with a flash ad that actually had a virus in it…

    40. #40 |  Robert Chambers | 

      I have blocked all ads on your site, Radley. Thanks for reminding me!

    41. #41 |  Windy | 

      @ #2 Mike T, I agree with your opinion that it is inconsistent to be pro-choice about abortion but against taking drugs (including alcohol and tobacco) while pregnant. However, I take the opposite position from you in that I think it is not that we need to be anti-choice on abortion but rather we need to be pro-choice about drug use. After all, if the woman does drugs and does not have an abortion any consequences of her drug use on her child will be her burden to carry (or it would be if we didn’t live in a welfare state, too). So we need to get rid of the welfare state and the drug war, both! Libertarianism is a live and let live philosophy, do what you want as long as you do not violate anyone’s unalienable rights, but don’t expect society to take care of you when you fuck things up for yourself.

      @ #27 Stormy Dragon, lynching violates someone’s unalienable rights, abortion doesn’t.

    42. #42 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      conclusion, the existence of any law guarantees its broad application towards the ends of the State, at the expense of the individual.

      And we know that thousands of laws are added every year (virtually none taken away). So, the conclusion is damn easy to figure out.

    43. #43 |  Athena | 

      What I find especially concerning about laws that seek to prosecute the mother for behavior that causes death to a fetus is that, sometimes, fetal death is naturally occurring. It is entirely possible that a mother who engages in risky behavior loses her fetus through no fault of her own. Unfortunately, it is likely to be linked to the risky behavior, whether or not that determination is accurate. We’re talking about resting a MURDER charge on evidence that is dubious by its very nature.

      # 16: “The question of when exactly a fetus becomes a person is highly complicated, but I think “not until after birth is completed” is just as lazy an answer as “at the momment of conception.”

      I don’t think either answer is “lazy” if it is the result of legitimate consideration.

      I happen to be in the “not until after birth is completed” camp. Not because it’s *easy*, necessarily – there’s nothing particularly easy about coming to the conclusion that a woman has the right to terminate a near-term pregnancy. There’s nothing easy about recognizing a woman’s production of a handicapped child due to her own selfishness as her right.

      Here’s part of what factors into my unwillingness to settle with the compromise that is “the point of viability”. I am expecting as we speak. My husband and I will (hopefully) find out the gender of the unit we’ve affectionately termed “The Boss” tomorrow when we visit the doctor. I will be 19 weeks even. Viability these days is considered to be 24 weeks. That’s just over a month from now. At this junction, if I am tired of being pregnant, can I go in and have labor induced? Nope. So, really, “viability” is simply a euphamism for that point during a pregnancy in which a fetus’ rights eclipse my own. 24 weeks signals the time period I go from being an individual to an incubator.

      But, of course, it’s not about me. I’m perfectly satisfied – enthusiastic, even – with the opportunity to be an incubator. Still, is it lazy to say a pregnant woman either has rights or she doesn’t when that is the reality of the situation? If anything, I think it is lazy to scale back the rights of a large faction of society in an attempt to appeal to illogical and largely emotional sentiments.

    44. #44 |  ZappaCrappa | 

      Drunk Cop – I know that I have been very very critical of cops here on this site. I just want to say that THIS story is why I am of the opinion that there are VERY few “good” cops. Sure….folks make the argument that there are more good cops than bad cops….waaaaay more. I guess it all depends upon your definition. Sure there might be plenty who don’t abuse us civilian nobodies and even go out of their way to help and be polite doing it without a superior attitude. I’m sure there are plenty who go ABOVE and BEYOND what they are required to do. However, situations like this and your code of silence makes you a “BAD” cop in my book regardless of how many babies you birth in the backseat of your car or little old ladies you help across the street. THIS is why your reputation is crumbling and until YOU cops take a stand, more and more of the public is going to view you with suspicion, disdain, and put every move you make under a very critical microscope.

      Your choice….clean it up…or learn live with your pig moniker. Own it proudly because that is what each and every one of you that behaves in the fashion of the story, looks the other way when you see it going on, and LIES to cover your blue brother’s ass deserves the handle.

    45. #45 |  Drew | 

      Mike T: I don’t think your argument is very compelling.

      It’s perfectly consistent to oppose harming the development of a fetus that will eventually be brought to term.

      If I alter the genes in my sperm so that IF I have a child, it will be born with painful birth defects, that’s as unethical as drug use during pregnancy: not because it harms a fetus (the fetus doesn’t even exist yet in the former case), but because if the baby is brought to term it will suffer from those defects, and the baby will suffer.

      The whole debate over abortion is about when in the reproductive process some new being gains capacities that make it a pressing moral concern in its own right, separate from the mother. You can’t cheat your way into an answer on that question that by mixing up fears about the harm of an eventual being everyone agrees has particular rights with those of a potential being that people don’t agree on the moral status of.

    46. #46 |  Juice | 

      As far as ads go, it it’s just a bar or something on the side or top of a webpage, that’s one thing, but when I click on a page and an obnoxious flash ad pops up and totally blocks me from viewing the page, that sucks.

      But the answer to that is simple. Turn off JavaScript.

      Then turn it back on when you visit a page with flash content that you want.

    47. #47 |  Mike T | 

      #7

      Mike T, I’m not sure what your point is. I don’t know any pro-choicers who advocate laws to restrict what a woman can smoke/drink/ingest while she’s pregnant.

      I’ve met quite a few.

      #9

      If you are a libertarian as you claim I am not entirely sure how it is that you can be accepting of this law.

      Stop right there. You just clearly showed that you didn’t read my comment, as I explicitly made a distinction between the principle and the actual wording of this law. That was your first clue that I am skeptical of the utility and justice of this law, but am not inherently opposed to the idea of prosecuting a woman who uses so many drugs her kid is born retarded (should a bona fide medical case be made that her behavior had a causal link there).

    48. #48 |  Ben | 

      There is no reason for me to use an adblocker.

      This is a person who has never gotten a virus, trojan or various other malware that can get through on ads.

    49. #49 |  Mike T | 

      In the greater scheme of things, abortion is a pick your poison issue for libertarians. Most of you believe that a baby is just a blob of cells with no right to life until it is dumped into the arms of a hospital staffer at the great sufferance of its mother who, having chosen to not dispose of it via “materfamilias,” has given it permission to live.

      I, on the other hand, embrace the simple standard that “any life form that, in the natural course of its development will be a sentient being is a rights-endowed being.”

      You have two choices: respect the mom’s “rights” and thus get us on the slipper slope of determining that human beings are not rights-endowed beings at certain stages of life or deny her that autonomy and declare at “in all times, in all phase of development, a human life form is a rights endowed being with an inviolable presumption of a right to live.”

    50. #50 |  Stormy Dragon | 

      Are you really equating abortions which lynching?

      If a fetus, at the point when an abortion occurs, is vested with rights, then yes, it is equivalent to lynching in that both involve someone killing someone else they consider a non-person and expecting everyone else to not get involved because it’s “none of their business”.

      I don’t accept the pro-life movement’s assertion that all abortions qualify as such. But neither do I accept the extreme pro-choice argument that no abortions qualify. I find the argument of some (e.g. #41) that an 8.5 month old fetus has absolutely no rights to be monstrous.

    51. #51 |  Fay | 

      I am even willing to stipulate that the fetus is a person… but it is a person who lives inside the body of ANOTHER person. And the person whose body houses the fetus, has rights; it is not the State’s place (or anyone else’s) to tell her whom she must house.

      http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil160,Fall02/thomson.htm

    52. #52 |  Lee | 

      Re: AdBlock

      For some reason I do not get ad when visiting the site with Opera (no AdBlock installed).

      But thru the RSS feed (Google Reader) and IE, I get ads.

    53. #53 |  Michaelk42 | 

      =ahem=

      http://techdirt.com/articles/20100306/1649198451.shtml

      But what worries me more than viruses through ads on my computer? Virus ads getting through on my far-less-security-savvy parents’ computer. Sorry, not worth the risk. The flash garbage stays blocked and NoScript stays on.

    54. #54 |  Zack | 

      I have nothing against ‘regular’ ads(non intrusive/no noise, not pop/unders, not nsfw), but I have a lot against websites using javascript. It is incredibly dangerous, and I only enable it for websites that ‘need’ it to function. If a website chooses to deliver ads via JS, then that’s too bad for them. I have noscript installed, but no ad blockers.

    55. #55 |  Frank | 

      Drunk cop – Why are you all so excited? This happened in Albany NY a few years back, the drunk cop managed to burn down an apartment building with his car.

    56. #56 |  Will | 

      http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/brown-now-dicking-about-with-fish-and-chips-201003042527/

      The Daily Mash gets it it right:

      And Charlie Reeves, a chip eater from Stevenage, said: “What are you doing? Seriously, what do you think you’re doing?”

      “I’ve had a hard day at work and I am just trying to have a bag of chips, you utter fucking prick.”

      He added: “I’m telling you right now – fuck the deficit, the environment, Afghanistan and the NHS. I will vote for whichever politician says this exact sentence – ‘Chip shops can serve chips in whatever size they want’.

      “I’m so tired.”

    57. #57 |  j a higginbotham | 

      Is there any means of sending stories to Radley? Or is he too inundated with email to check? I used to email links, but that didn’t seem to work. The cop story was posted in comments to the last lunch links.

    58. #58 |  David in Balt | 

      @ Mike T

      I did read your post, but nice attempt to dodge your errors anyway. The problem with your post is that you support the principle behind the law at all, as I clearly drew out in my post to you. There is no problems in the abortion issue for actual libertarians. Now religious fascists who want to enslave women, they have a problem with libertarianism. Lets keep this post simple though, since you do not seem capable of actually addressing arguments made to you, should a woman be forced to die instead of receive a medically necessary abortion? That is a simple yes or no question, can you answer that?

      @ Stormdragon

      Who exactly gets to decide at what point a fetus has rights? I have no problem with doctors organizations coming to a general consensus on where a line for non-medically necessary abortions should be drawn, as I believe most of them already have. That being said I have yet to hear any of the simpletons in the anti-woman camp arguing for medically necessary abortions, or even more importantly for sex education, ready availability of condoms and morning after pills, etcetera. But this is not what the anti-woman’s rights groups are agitating for is it? What they are attempting to do is impose their barbaric religion on others.

    59. #59 |  Stormy Dragon | 

      Who exactly gets to decide at what point a fetus has rights?

      Who exactly gets to decide anyone has rights?

      And for the rest, what does your disagreements with what completely different people are saying about completely different issues have to do with what I’m saying about this issue? And to be clear, I’m not arguing in favor of this law. I’m just arguing against the assertion by other commenters that anyone who doesn’t favor abortion on demand at any time under any circumstances wants to enslave all womankind.

    60. #60 |  Timothy | 

      What I want to know is pretty simple: do the whiny bitches at ArsTechnica have TIVO? If so, do they think they’re stealing from ABC?

    61. #61 |  David in Balt | 

      @ Stormydragon

      Why is it that people who are opposed to woman’s rights on this blog are incapable of answering even the most basic questions? You have made the silly assertion that abortions=lynchings, and when asked why you state that it is because fetuses are rights-bearing things. So I ask you to explain your silly assertion, and rather callous and ignorant actually, and instead of answering you dodge. Why is that? Why won’t you simply answer when you think a fetus gains rights.

    62. #62 |  Kimberly | 

      I am fairly agnostic on the issue of abortion. Ihate HATE the idea, I think that my 17 month old son really was looking like a baby at his 9 week ultrasound, and I judge those women who use abortion as birth control. I also think that in a question of saving my life or his, while I was pregnant, I would have chosen mine (now I’d choose his:). And I think there’s more harm from illegal abortions than legal.

      That said, this law concerns me for another reason: labor choices. Do y’all realize how many hospitals ban VBACs (vaginal births after cesareans)? How many doctors consider it reckless to have a home birth? How many women are court ordered to undergo cesareans or to be placed on bedrest? All for the safety of the child. The woman’s choice is meaningless at that point.

      Some women go to other states to attempt VBACs, others choose to have home births. Very, very rarely are there problems. But they happen (low risk homebirth is generally safer than hospital birth, but not according to the AMA). I can easily see these women being charged under this law. After all, a doctor found their behavior “reckless” and a baby died. Murder?

    63. #63 |  David in Balt | 

      @ Kimberly

      Do you have any links to articles or statistics about court ordered cesareans and/or bedrest? I can’t say that I would be surprised to find this true. As I said before laws like this treat women as a means to an end, effectively relegating them to the status of property to be used as an incubation chamber. I would not be surprised if an overly honest proponent of such things ever admitted that the baby was simply incidental and the real objective was to re-relegate women to subhuman levels.

    64. #64 |  Stormy Dragon | 

      Why won’t you simply answer when you think a fetus gains rights.

      Because I don’t know. At some point between conception and birth we go from a situation where we have one rights bearing being to having two rights bearing being who’s rights are in conflict. It’s a complicated issue. But neither side seems to want to recognize that and act like there’s an obvious solution at one of the two extrema.

      When do you think people become rights bearing being. To answer specific point, the reason the point of birth can’t be the point is because I believe rights are inherent in the individual, and the birth process doesn’t cause a change in the fetus’s state.

    65. #65 |  David in Balt | 

      @ Stormy Dragon

      It does cause a change in the fetus state though, doesn’t it. If it is birthed then it is no longer a fetus is it? Your making assertions without any evidence to back them up and which are by definition wrong. Furthermore, you have no point at which you can state that a fetus is no longer a fetus (even though if you did it would still be by definition not a person), and even if you did I have the feeling you wouldn’t have a cogent argument as to why we should accept that point instead of another.

      Despite your not being able to meet even the most basic requirements to move this conversation productively forward I will still go ahead and ask my next question. At this undefined stage that you have vaguely in mid where a fetus gains rights, what is the process that a woman must go through to terminate the pregnancy? If you could provide a differentiation for necessary vs. unnecessary abortions and what legal and practical measures you would recommend to stop a woman from attaining an abortion.

    66. #66 |  Athena | 

      #63: David, about a year ago, a Florida court ordered a woman to bed rest. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/florida-court-orders-pregnant-woman-bed-rest-medical/story?id=9561460

      “But when the 26-year-old resisted — learning that she might have to stay months until her delivery, away from two toddlers at home — hospital officials obtained a court order to force Burton to submit to anything to “preserve the life and health of [her] unborn child.”

      Court-ordered cesarean sections are much more common. Nine cases are reviewed here: http://www.lifescapes.org/Papers/COCS%20Hahn%201987.htm

      #64: “…and the birth process doesn’t cause a change in the fetus’s state.”

      I think this statement goes a long way to illustrate just how fundamentally different two people’s conclusions can be when they’re looking at the exact same thing. If going from being inside a person, relying solely on their oxygen and nutrients, to being an independent individual, capable of processing your own oxygen and ingesting 3rd-party nutrients, isn’t a change of state, I’m not sure what is.

    67. #67 |  BMB | 

      I harmed you for one page of ads just to mention that I love your ad-free RSS feed where you mutilate the hell out of yourself every day. :)

    68. #68 |  David in Balt | 

      Thank you for the links Athena.

    69. #69 |  Leah | 

      Athena and Kimberly – you may already know this but you might want to follow the info coming out of this week’s NIH conference concerning VBAC. So far it seems really positive (focused on increasing informed consent and decreasing forced/coerced sectioning) but we won’t know until they come out with their write-up what they are actually going to recommend.

    70. #70 |  Windy | 

      Stormy Dragon, a fetus becomes a “rights bearing being” as soon as it takes its first breath of air. Prior to that point, it receives it’s oxygen and all necessary nutrients from the woman’s blood, it also sends all its waste products out via its mother’s blood. So, as long as the pregnant woman is breathing, eating and defecating for the fetus, all the rights accrue to her; and her health and life are more important than the health or life of the fetus. As soon as the umbilical cord is cut and the infant takes its first breath, it then has its own rights (that’s also the point at which the soul enters the infant’s body — “the breath of life”). Simple and logical.

      Oh and I don’t condone an abortion of convenience after the halfway point (4.5 months), but I also do not vilify a woman for making that choice, usually at that point such a choice is made due to a drastic and serious change in the pregnant woman’s life or for medical reasons. At that point in pregnancy, a bond with the fetus has been forged (hormones see to that), and most women, unless seriously twisted, would not choose to end their pregnancy, after that bonding.

    71. #71 |  Stormy Dragon | 

      Well, my general assumption is that rights is somehow tied to mental development: when a human being’s brain reaches a sufficeint level of complexity, they become a person, a status they retain until such time as injury, illness, or death causes them to fall back below that point. In that light, birth seems an odd line because a newborn is no more mentally developed than an about-to-be-born fetus.

      Your method, linking rights to the ability to independently breath and digest food seems rather odd. By your criteria, for example, when my then 12 year old brother was on a respirator and IV for three days following lung surgery, he was no longer a person since he was not capable of “processing [his]own oxygen and ingesting 3rd-party nutrients” for the duration. Should my parents have legally been permitted to kill him in the recovery room, if they had so desired?

    72. #72 |  supercat | 

      //And the person whose body houses the fetus, has rights; it is not the State’s place (or anyone else’s) to tell her whom she must house.//

      Someone who gets tired of being a landlord isn’t allowed to simply shoot his tenants. I think even the most libertarian-minded people would acknowledge that a landlord must allow his tenants a reasonable opportunity to leave with his possessions intact.

    73. #73 |  David in Balt | 

      @ Stormy Dragon

      Are you going to answer my questions or have you conceded?

    74. #74 |  David in Balt | 

      @ Supercat

      Sure, Supercat, I’ll bite. If the tenant was going to kill himself and the landlord unless the landlord shot him, then yes, I would be of the position that the landlord had every right to do it. So now that I answered your question, let me ask you the questions that Stormy Dragon is either incapable or refuses to answer. At what point does a fetus gain rights? Once the fetus has those rights what is the procedure by which a woman can obtain a medically necessary abortion? What about an unnecessary abortion? What legal and practical measures do you suggest to keep a woman from having an abortion?

    75. #75 |  Stormy Dragon | 

      Are you going to answer my questions or have you conceded?

      You refuse to answer any of my questions and have repeatedly attacked me personally, so no and no.

    76. #76 |  Athena | 

      #71: “…he was no longer a person since he was not capable of “processing [his]own oxygen and ingesting 3rd-party nutrients” for the duration…”

      I suppose I should have phrased it in an attack-proof manner, but I try to avoid being unnecessarily verbose. The key, here, is that your parents weren’t breathing FOR him (yes, a machine was, but that is 3rd party, and if he was incapable of processing what was delivered to him, I would imagine he would have not survived). Their blood was not his sole source of vitality. While he needed assistance, that assistance didn’t have to come at the price of another individual’s rights.

      Now, if, in order for your brother to survive, your mother or father had to get physically linked to him so that their bodies could provide him the things he needed, I would support their right to refuse. Sometimes, there can be no compromise. Sometimes, life is unfair, and one party’s rights are in direct conflict with another’s. In these situations, one party must lose.

    77. #77 |  David in Balt | 

      What question? Where do I believe a fetus gains rights? I already clarified in my original post that I defer to the judgment of the doctors in the field, who generally set the mark around the beginning of the third trimester for non-necessary abortions. You would know this if you read my posts.

      As far as “attacking you personally,” yes I have been snappy. I do not take lightly to people who advocate stripping women of their rights for no other reason then they feel its wrong to terminate an unwanted and potentially lethal fetus. I do not take kindly to people who believe they should and do control 50% of the populations body and what they can and can not do with it.

      I think you do not want to answer because you are aware of what a monster you will appear to be when you have to elucidate your position.

    78. #78 |  Stormy Dragon | 

      Athena:

      Even after birth, it is legally required for parents to do many things for a baby. They have to feed it, clean it, etc. They are generally required to do these things unless they can find a specific person to affirmatively take over those responsibilities. For instance, they can put the baby up for adoption, but they are required to care for the baby until that process completes, no matter how long it takes. They can’t just toss the baby in the trash because they’re no longer interested in being required to care for it.

      Do you feel those laws violate the rights of the parents?

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