On the Issues: Stand Up and Defend Life
Issue   |   Wed, 02/15/2012 - 02:06

I caught a surprising amount of flack for the fact that I named abortion as my number one issue in this election. To leftists and even some conservatives, that marks me as duplicitous, as if I’m trying to use abortion as an issue to force people with a moral conscience to support certain candidates.

Of course, most of those people haven’t considered the sheer volume of deaths that have resulted from legalized abortion in the United States. The Holocaust accounts for the systematic destruction of 12 million people; Stalin’s murderous regime in the Soviet Union has an even greater death toll, somewhere around 20 to 30 million. Sadly, millions more have been killed by legalized abortions in America since Roe v. Wade than in these two genocides combined — 50 million children were killed between 1973 and 2008, and that number is only rising.

This isn’t some O’Reilly talking point; this is a matter of life and death on a mass scale. Any serious candidate for the presidency absolutely must be dead-set against the continued legality of abortion.
I know that there are many people who are “pro-choice,” because they don’t believe that abortion is murder, want to protect a woman’s rights, don’t want to strike down abortion for every situation or for some other reason. For those people, I’d like to take some time and lay out the logic of the pro-life position.

Let’s begin at the end of the argument because it involves basic premises that are true regardless of whether you embrace the other parts of the pro-life stance. It is murder to end the life of a living human being in any situation, except that of war. Why? Because every person has a right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Thus, if a fetus is a living human being, the act of aborting that fetus is an act of murder. The fetus has a right to life, which trumps any right to choose that the woman can claim, because the right to live is of a far greater magnitude than any other. It would be wrong to kill the child in cases of rape or incest, because neither of those scenarios, no matter how sickening they are, provides grounds to deprive the child of life. Similarly, it is improper to abort a baby on the grounds that he wouldn’t have a happy life; the child has a right to pursue that happiness, even if he doesn’t attain it — but who’s to guarantee that the child wouldn’t have a great life, anyway? Steve Jobs was nearly aborted, but he turned out okay.

As you can see, it’s pretty straightforward to establish the fact that murder is wrong. It’s far trickier to prove that the fetus is, in fact, a living human being. Of course, the fact that it’s hard to prove doesn’t make it wrong or invalid. I believe that life begins at conception; individual egg cells belong to the woman and have no more rights than skin cells or hair cells, and the same holds for the man’s sperm cells, but, once they unite, they form a distinct individual with its own life and rights.

By holding that conception is the genesis of life, the pro-life argument is in possession of the most logical place to draw the line between life and non-life. Any pro-abortion stance must choose a different point at which to decide, categorically, that any fetus who is younger is non-living or non-human and that any older fetus is a living human.

It’s popular to say that a fetus isn’t a living human because it can’t support itself or live independently from its parents. That argument backs into ridiculousness, though, because such a definition would also include infants, who need constant care and feeding to survive — and such an argument could apply even to college students, most of whom aren’t self-supporting or independent in any meaningful sense of the word (as in, we’re a drain on our parents and society; but it’s okay, we’ll live through it). Very few people are so committed to that point as to concede that post-delivery infants are non-living, and I don’t know any person who, having held a baby, would be so cruel as to make that argument.

Let me take a quick break from the argument about the beginning point of life to make a quick point to save myself from repeatedly needing to type out the phrase “non-living, non-human.” The child is incontestably human from conception, regardless of what anyone can argue about whether or not he’s alive. The fusion of a human egg cell and a human sperm cell will always produce a human; no woman will become impregnated with a grapefruit, and you’ll never see a giraffe coming out of the delivery room. Proponents of abortion may wish to deprive the fetus of his humanity in order to make him easier to kill, in the same way that soldiers dehumanize their enemy, but it goes past silliness to argue that the fetus is, at any point, non-human.

That said, the next point at which one could contend that the fetus is non-living is immediately before delivery, which is the position held especially by supporters of partial-birth abortion. This position is highly problematic, though, because there is no fundamental difference between the baby in the moment before and after delivery. So he breathes air after delivery, but not beforehand — so what? I’m not breathing while I type this sentence — oh wait, now I am: I must be human now.

But in all seriousness, what’s the difference between a full-term baby before and after delivery? To say that a fully-developed, 40-week old baby inside the womb is less alive than, say, a one-month premature child should cause some serious problems for such a position. And it gets more and more difficult to draw a line from there: is a two-month premature baby more human than a full-term baby in the womb, or a baby that has been in the womb for eight months? What about a preemie who exited the womb after six months, compared to a baby who is still inhabiting it happily after seven? It’s clear that all of these hypothetical children are living.

Then where can the line be drawn? Five months? Four months? Three? The presence of a heartbeat, which occurs within the first month? None of these positions mark any fundamental shift in the fetus which marks it as living, in distinction to its former existence. Any line between life and non-life drawn between conception and delivery is nigh unsupportable, and it is a supreme act of arrogance for any person to decide that the fetus isn’t alive without incontrovertible evidence.

Even the federal government acknowledges the fact that life begins before a being has ended the embryonic stage, as it prohibits the destruction of a bald eagle egg with a fine of $250,000 and up to 10 years in prison. If it’s not alive, what’s the crime? Similarly, if it’s not a bald eagle while it’s still in the egg, there’s no offense against the endangered species that serves as our national bird. The same logic applies to a human fetus.

The fetus is living, at every stage of development (sure, I’m making a logical leap, but one that is impossible to disprove), and thus it is murder to abort a baby at any point in the pregnancy. Sure, the doctor doesn’t believe the fetus is a living human, so it’s only manslaughter, but that’s still a pretty hefty felony, last I checked. The only instance in which it is not an act of murder to take the life of a fetus is in the rare case of an ectopic pregnancy, in which the fertilized egg cell becomes implanted outside the uterus; here, abortion is not an act of murder, but of mercy, as it saves the life of the mother when otherwise both people would certainly die.

Abortion is never acceptable, but there are alternatives. It is becoming increasingly possible for young mothers to raise children as a result of increased awareness and community support; my high school is the teen pregnancy capital of the state, but many of those mothers still graduate, in part thanks to the provision of a day care center. Adoption is also a wonderful, if hard, choice to make; not only is the mother protecting the gift of life for the child, but she is giving the gift of parenthood to people who have the time, love and resources to care for and raise a baby.

I’m conscious of the fact that abortions will take place whether or not they’re legal, but that alone is not sufficient reason to legalize them. For the state to declare abortion legal is tantamount to it giving moral legitimacy to murder. The state is responsible for making moral judgments to protect the natural rights of human beings, and it has no grounds on which to do the opposite. Thus, the very act of providing funding to groups that provide abortion services, such as Planned Parenthood (which killed 300,000 babies in 2009), even if the funds don’t directly support abortion, serve to legitimize the group. The federal government and other groups that fund agencies that provide services to women must divert their funds to groups that don’t condone murder, lest they be accomplices to the crime (I’m looking at you, Susan G. Komen Foundation).

This has been a long and weighty article, but it was about the weightiest of topics; I believe with all my soul that abortion is one of the greatest evils in America today, and that it, like slavery, stands to cast a dark blot over our nation’s history. Thank you for making it through this article — I hope it gives you a reason to stand up and defend life.

Not a misogynist (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 12:53

I can't even begin to describe the magnitude of the stupidity displayed in this column. Even if one grants fetuses person-hood and all the God-given rights that go with that status, abortion would still be a fundamental right for women. An unwanted fetus is an invader in the woman's body the she has the right to remove by any means necessary. Judith Jarvis Thompson, an American moral philosopher, illustrated this point by means of a simple thought experiment. Imagine that you, Andrew Kaake, wake up one morning and find that you have been physically attached by an IV line to a famous concert violinist and philanthropist. A doctor informs you that the violinist has been attached to you in order to save his life. Due to a rare disease, the violinist's body has lost the ability to metabolize nutrients on its own, and he needs a host in order to eat his food for him. However, after nine months his body will have healed sufficiently for him to again live on his own. If you choose to disconnect the violinist before that time, he will die. Of course, since you have a violinist attached to you, your former life is more or less over. You lose your autonomy; you are bound to the violinist. How is this scenario substantively different from abortion. The violinist clearly has a right to life and clearly has a meaningful life ahead of him. Forcing women to carry fetuses they don't want, regardless of the fetus' right to life is, essentially, slavery. It follows from the three central rights you mention that you cannot be forced to support another person without your consent. As such, it follows that you have a right to remove the violinist/fetus from your person, even if it would result in death.

Moreover, studies have shown that prohibiting abortion actually increases the number of abortions performed (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_IAW.html). Thus, if your goal is to decrease abortions, the right approach is not to ban abortion and force women to seek out unsafe, illegal practitioners, but to provide counseling and support for women in stressful pregnancies. Also, increasing access to contraception and encouraging respect for women and safe sexual practices will go a long ways to decrease the demand for abortions.

Chauvinism and misogyny will not get us anywhere on the issue of abortion. Demonizing the women and doctors who are involved with abortion is asinine and immature. You really should reconsider how you relate to the world and stop being such a (not going to write the word that I'm thinking).

stewcanoe (not verified) says:
Sat, 02/18/2012 - 01:26

Not a misogynist, it is you, not Andrew, who has fallen back into hateful thinking. Andrew never said anything misogynistic or chauvinistic in his article; I'm afraid you're just assuming that anyone who argues against abortion must be chauvinistic.

You concede that fetuses are alive and have a right to life, but that the mother has a right to kill a fetus within him/her anyway. Having read Judith Jarvis Thompson, I can tell you that she never provides a single warrant throughout her paper on abortion. She merely comes up with a situation, then asserts a right exists to kill someone who is dependent on you if they impede your freedom. So why don't we let parents kill their children if parenthood becomes a burden to their freedom? Why don't we let a husband murder his wife so he can marry someone else he thinks is more special? Her argument justifies such murders just as well as it justifies abortion, because at the core of her argument is the assumption that it is a prima facie good for individuals to be able to act upon and satisfy their interests and desires. There are four problems with this. First, satisfying one's desires isn't inherently good in and of itself, let alone being in a position to satisfy them. That's like saying because someone desires to kill someone else, that desire is automatically good, and that it is automatically good to put oneself in a position to kill. We can't look to what we desire for what is right or wrong, but rather what the end of that desire is, and whether that end is justified. Insofar as a fetus is a human, abortion is akin to the maxim, "It is justified to kill another human so I can advance my career, avoid an annoying pregnancy, not have to pay as much money, etc." But this maxim is fundamentally inconsistent with a respect for human beings, rather than advancing it. If Steve Jobs and George Bush are competing for a job writing computer programs for Apple, it makes no sense to say that George Bush is justified in killing Steve Jobs because that job would have been great for his career. There is no reason self-interest takes precedent over a respect for human life!

Second, Thompson assumes that the interests and desires of the mother always outweigh the interests of the fetus. On what grounds? Fetuses are humans, and have all the rights that come with being a human, as you conceded. Therefore, the mother is in no position to "outweigh" the interests of the fetus with her interests. This is a matter of right and wrong, not of what each party wants and don't want.

Third, Thompson's argument would mean that any form of unwanted dependency would allow us to kill the person who is dependent on us. So if Grandma gets old and becomes a burden to me, there's nothing wrong with killing her? Or the infanticide situation earlier? Why is my "freedom" so important that I can kill other people for it? And contrary to your idea that pregnancy is "slavery," pregnancy does not remove any rights at all from the mother and therefore is not slavery--unless you assume that someone has a right to kill anyone dependent on them. There is no basis for such a right, as I argued before; therefore, there is no right to abortion.

Fourth, the fetus is far less of a restriction on the mother's autonomy than Thompson or you make it out to be. Yes, there is a period where the mother's mobility is restricted because of the baby's size. There are unpleasant physiological effects as well. Both of these are major annoyances, but they don't truly restrict the mother's autonomy. For most of the pregnancy, the mother can still work, interact with other people, and make decisions about her life. What she cannot do is what everybody else cannot do--deprive someone of their right to life without adequate justification. As I already pointed out before, her own self-interest does not justify any wrong she might do, especially something as serious as killing someone.

Finally, you use some really strange terms to refer to the fetus. The fetus is an "invader"? It is not attacking it's mother! It is not a Trojan Horse! It has no malice whatsoever. It's mere existence is not an assault upon the mother's life, but a natural biological process of growth before birth.

I understand that mothers want to go on with their lives, and not get caught up by an unexpected pregnancy. Even more horrific to imagine is a rape survivor having to deal with the pregnancy. I truly pity them. But the baby also wants to go on with its life as well. At the very least, we can appeal to the principle that we should do the least harm whenever possible. If the mother waits 9 months to give birth to the child, she has done infinitely less harm than if she had killed the baby, because the baby only caused her inconvenience.

I thank you for raising J.J. Thompson's paper, because it's a prominent argument Andrew didn't have time to address. As you can see, there is no basis for a "fundamental right to abortion." Saying that is like saying there is a fundamental right to kill anyone who stands in the way of your self-interest.

Kristin Ouellette (not verified) says:
Sun, 02/19/2012 - 14:36

"Finally, you use some really strange terms to refer to the fetus. The fetus is an "invader"? It is not attacking it's mother! It is not a Trojan Horse! It has no malice whatsoever. It's mere existence is not an assault upon the mother's life, but a natural biological process of growth before birth."

Haven't you seen "The Omen," "The Ring"?


Jill (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 13:00

In this article you say, "I’m making a logical leap, but one that is impossible to disprove." Absence of disproof is not the same as proof. Your statement that "The fetus is living, at every stage of development" simply follows from the fallacy of Argument from Ignorance. Your argument is then undermined because your premises do not support the conclusion. As such, your argument is invalid.

Curious (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 13:14

Cancer caused 7.8 million deaths in 2008 alone. Why not make free healthcare and subsidies for science & research a top priority instead?

And Curioser (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 13:31

"It is murder to end the life of a living human being in any situation, except that of war."

"For the state to declare abortion legal is tantamount to it giving moral legitimacy to murder."
...and curiouser! The contradiction in these two statements is glaringly obvious despite being separated by a good seven column inches of sermonizing hot air.

And even if you stand by the exception made by your first statement (which I hope you will, as I'd like to hear the reasoning), there is still the question of the death penalty.

Shannon (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 14:12

I stopped at the rape and incest portion of this article, because quite frankly, I find YOUR argument to be sickening. Do you take into account a woman's right to choose? No shit, rape and incest are sickening. No shit, rape and incest are traumatizing. To you, however, it's right for a woman to live with an unwanted child growing inside of her. It's right for a woman to give birth to a child that was forced upon her.
YOU are sickening. I don't care if it has to do with your Christian beliefs, I really don't. Just the idea that you can bat an eyelash and feel nothing about that is ridiculous.

gamm (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 14:21

*Trigger warning-- rape, incest*

Mr. Kaake, please just close your eyes and try, try oh-so-hard, to imagine this again.
You are a sixteen year old African-American girl. Your father breaks down your door every nigh to molest you and you can't fight back. Eventually, he rapes you. He violently and forcefully has sex with you while you struggle to resist. He cums. You become a broken woman for a long time, unable to ever truly feel happy or trust, unable to be touched by anyone even casually, without triggering a flashback. This never truly goes away. Ever. Just for some reference.

You take a pregnancy test a few weeks later. The worst has happened. You're pregnant.

Now, thanks to new laws written up by white guys like Andrew Kaake, you are forced to watch this fetus grow INSIDE OF YOU.

An alien, latched on to you, sucking nutrients from you, spawned from the worst event of your entire life, taking over your body and NEVER LETTING YOU FORGET what happened.

Eventually, you go through horrible and painful childbirth. Chances are, the baby--a boy-- has a physical deformity because of the fact that it is a product of incest. You can't look at him, you can't bear to look him in the eye, they take him away and put him straight up for adoption.

Just something to know: He was a heavy baby. Your vagina will never look the same, you've given birth now. Every time you you look down at your genitals you will remember your rape in full detail, followed by the painful childbirth.

Now, what's happening with the little boy? He went to adoption, so surely he's avoided a miserable life.

But no, he's African-American. Strike one, children who are minorities are adopted MUCH less frequently than little white children.

Oh, and oops, he's slightly physically disabled! Strike two. Another huge deduction in Chance He'll Get Adopted.

And, uh oh, strike three, he's male. Even less likely to get adopted.

So he is put into a foster home, like so many have been before him and so many will after. Foster homes are very often just run by abusive or negligent parents who want to profit, so the life isn't pretty.

Eventually, he grows into an adult. Yes, he has had moments of happiness but overall his life has been utter crap. He then learns the origin of his birth and how his mother wanted an abortion but was forced to carry him to term.

And he comes to the conclusion that he would have understood if his mother had gotten an abortion all those years ago. He isn't suicidal, he doesn't hate his life, but he understands that if he had simply never existed, he would not have known, known anything, therefore he wouldn't be able to feel any emotions about that fact. But his mother could have been much happier, had a much easier recovery, and grown up to be a much more stable woman.

Andrew, hypothetical situations like this are REAL and they are the very possible result of a law that would rip away a woman's right to control what is inside her own uterus. Just try your hardest to put yourself in her shoes.

And if the last part, about maybe being ok with the fact that you could have been aborted, sounds insane to you, do some reading. Many, many pro-choice people are babies that could have been aborted, and they UNDERSTAND that their not-yet-existent life, at the time, did not have to take precedent over the very matured and real life and well beings of their mothers.

Thank you for your time.

not a woman (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 14:33

And I thought your previous articles were moronic....Articles like this make me want to stand up and defend women's rights from misogynists like you.

Being OK with murder in the context of war does not make you pro life. You're against abortion--nothing more. Please do not insist on using the term pro-life unless you are willing to support the maintenance of life in all cases. Would you have supported keeping Osama bin Laden alive?

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 15:14

"...the federal government...prohibits the destruction of a bald eagle egg with a fine of $250,000 and up to 10 years in prison."

I would hope that you would face much more dire consequences if you ever removed a fetus from its mother without her consent. The bald eagle's egg isn't yours and it's not in your body; therein lies the distinction.

Daniel Diner (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 16:55

To make the point above mine a little clearer:

The destruction of a bald eagle egg doesn't hold such a stiff punishment because we find the destruction itself immoral; it is because the species is (was) endangered and such an act intensifies the danger for that species. If humans were endangered, a stiffer penalty would probably be attached to abortion.

And Kaake, I hope you realize by the pages of comments in front of mine that your article was, in fact, extremely offensive. You have implicitly implied that the practice of terminating fetuses in the United States is in some way more morally disastrous than the Holocaust, an event that has literally deprived me of a (once-living) extended family. May you regret this.

From a Student ... (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 03:53

While I do hate death by immoral action (specifically in this case the death(s) of your extended family during the time of the Holocaust; my condolences), I will not allow my hate of immoral murder to allow me to ignore, what I see as, your poor argument:

Please explain why you believe that the murders of the Holocaust are "more morally disastrous" than those of abortion. (And, of course, you never stated this explicitly; I'm assuming that you do believe this because you obviously don't believe that abortion is more morally disastrous, and it's only safe to assume that you don't believe that they are equivalent moral disasters.) I'm interested in your reasoning, and I believe that you're not explaining your presuppositions well enough.

If I am not mistaken, Andrew Kaake has proposed as the thesis of this essay that, because abortion is immoral, it should be illegal. This is a perfectly valid argument, assuming that moral laws (laws that deal with moral issues, as opposed to something like a traffic law) are created to enforce what the powers that be are convinced are moral or correct or right or just, etc. In order for your comment to be relevant to the focus of Mr. Kaake's essay, you should question his premise that abortion is immoral. I don't see you doing that. Rather, you seem to be attacking a less fundamental idea that Mr. Kaake expresses: namely, that he finds sorrow in knowing that abortion has been the creator of millions of more deaths than the Holocaust and the Soviet Union combined have been the creators of.

interested alum (not verified) says:
Mon, 03/05/2012 - 23:15

In defense of Mr Diner, to "From a Student": you can't have it both ways. It doesn't make sense to criticize Diner for pointing out what to him was an offensive comparison of abortion to the Holocaust by arguing that Diner should only address Kaake's stance on abortion itself, and not his (Kaake's) inflammatory comparisons -- and then go on to reassert those comparisons yourself. It's even more difficult to swallow the gist of this post, given that you ascribe an argument to Mr. Diner that he doesn't make, and then, after admitting that you are making an assumption, go on to claim to prove, without evidence, that your assumption must be true. But Mr. Diner was making, I think, a different point: namely, that comparing the moral offensiveness of various instances of murder is both noxious and illogical. This was the point that Mr. Diner was trying to make, and which you try to refute by unconvincingly accusing him of the same fault, while going on to do the same yourself, reasserting Mr. Kaake's supposed "sadness" at the comparison (a comparison, I might add, that Mr. Kaake selected himself in order to imply a connection between U.S. law and the most famously tyrannical regimes of the last century -- his selection here is politically motivated, not emotionally expressive). Your post is not an argument, but a crude attempt at one-upmanship. The cry of "Abortion is worse than the Holocaust! Worse than Stalin!" is little more than demagoguery. In the absence of any consideration of the difficulties women face regarding unwanted pregnancy, along with an ill-considered grab-bag of the kind of pseudo-logical examples one might find in a poorly considered first-year philosophy paper, Mr. Kaake comes across as more conceited than authoritative on the issue. In his first paragraph he claims "surprise" at the amount of flack he "caught" for taking an extreme position, and in the last he makes an emotional appeal for the fervency of his own soul, while tossing in another inflammatory reference (this time to slavery) in order to equate the depth of his moral feelings with those echoed around different moral issues on the Left. I get it: Mr. Kaake wants to convince us all that he is right, and that his political views should have equal status with those who must continue to defend settled law (i.e. the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade) against such self-proclaimed moralists. I, for one, remain unmoved.

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 17:33

"The only instance in which it is not an act of murder to take the life of a fetus is in the rare case of an ectopic pregnancy, in which the fertilized egg cell becomes implanted outside the uterus; here, abortion is not an act of murder, but of mercy, as it saves the life of the mother when otherwise both people would certainly die. (new paragraph) Abortion is never acceptable, but there are alternatives."

If you believe that abortion is never acceptable, then you CANNOT allow for any "mercy rule" to save the life of the mother. If you think it's murder, then it's murder in every case, regardless of the mother's fate. The fact that you believe there's even a single reason to value the mother's life over that of the fetus is a huge flaw in your argument. If you want to have any consideration for the mother's life, then let her control her own body.

I agree that is difficult, if not impossible, to determine the point at which a fetus becomes a human being. But I cannot accept that a few cells with the potential to become a human have an equal value to the woman upon whom their existence depends.

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Fri, 02/17/2012 - 23:38

So a mother cant kill someone who is about to kill her child? A cop cant kill a suicide bomber if hes about to blow up a building? (if you believe that murder is wrong)

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 20:18

Thanks to the above commenters for articulating important points so clearly--and for making me feel like I can keep my own comments to a minimum.

As others have noted, this piece displays a remarkable lack of regard for the women who are impacted by unwanted pregnancies, and, I might add, for the fate of those children after they are born in the "ideal" world the writer imagines.
Saying, "who’s to guarantee that the child wouldn’t have a great life, anyway? Steve Jobs was nearly aborted, but he turned out okay" is an attempt to make a rule out of an exception. Rather than spilling so much ink over the question of potential life, you might want to spend some time thinking about how we support the life that already exists in this country rather than leaving that happiness up to chance.

Moreover, you are willing to make an argument that killing people in times of war is okay, ostensibly because war threatens the well-being of the nation, yet when a woman needs to kill a fetus because that fetus threatens her own well-being, you want to render illegitimate her decision--even though that woman may stand to lose far more from that pregnancy than the average citizen in times of war and even though not all wars are existentially necessary (WWII definitely doesn't meet the sort of "direct threat to life" standard on which you base your ectopic pregnancy argument). Frankly, given the totally detached and unrealistic nature of your argumentation, I get the impression that you are utterly blind to structural violence.

I live in Pond (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 20:46

Mr. Kaake,
I can only imagine some future column you write that references this comments section, and claim that you offer a "moral," "conservative" voice amid Amherst College's liberal demagogues. I bet you're proud. Here's my response to you: your comparison of an elective, legal, medical procedure to the Holocaust offends me deeply. As Daniel Diner writes above: "You have ... implied that the practice of terminating fetuses in the United States is in some way more morally disastrous than the Holocaust, an event that has literally deprived me of a (once-living) extended family." Your efforts to shock us into agreeing with you failed.

Anon (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 22:31

I totally agree. Believe it or not, "offense" is not a phrase I throw around often but I was truly offended by the implication of malicious intent in the case of abortion on a level comparable to GENOCIDE. I mean, listen to yourself. The conservative, pro-life fear that women will choose to get abortions lightly, or even with glee is just utterly absurd (i.e. states that try to require women to see images of their fetus before the procedure, etc.). Terminating a pregnancy is often a hearth-wrenching decision made at a time of panic, pain and fear. To equate a terrified teen mother who wants to go to college with a nazi is to lose the respect of your opponents. Also, your facebook status about sitting back and eating popcorn while liberal comments roll in on your article makes it clear that you don't take debate seriously, and it makes you look like a jerk. I wont even get into your incredibly misogynistic trivializing of sexual assault.

Emily Belanger (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 20:56

I'm going to stick up for Kaake. As a biology lover, I know there are no rules. No rules. No God. Just us people down here trying to not die. But I know then that there is no distinction between a 3 week old fetus,a premature baby, and a baby who's been born but time alone. We try to draw lines that say "it's alright to destroy this child now, but in a few weeks it is murder" to take away the pain that killing your own genes must cause. But the disgrace is still there. No one should be pro-abortion, and I don't think anyone who above commented is. It's a terrible thing that we do, and is a taboo to even discuss. I do know that a fetus isn't technically a human being, it is not aware of what is happening to it, and in many instances it is no more than a cluster of cells which can be flushed out of your system with a simple pill. But all it needs is time. As an atheist and a humanist, I know there is nothing more important than life. "The dead know only one thing; it is better to have been alive." Rape and incest are awful and no one should have to deal with that. I don't know if they should be so often brought up in discussions of abortion because I don't know how often abortions occur in those instances, but I'm sure most abortions are performed because of simple unwanted pregnancies. Or wait, aren't pregnancies with rape and incest also unwanted? So if a woman wants an abortion as a result of consensual sex, we can argue about the ethics of her choice, but if she wants an abortion because of non-consensual sex, we give her a pass. An unwanted child is an unwanted child! Why does it matter how it was created? Are we still stigmatizing women who have consensual sex outside of marriage by deeming their pregnancy (assuming they knew the risks) something they more or less "deserve"? This rant is outside the main topic but I think many fail to see what underlies the argument for excepting instances of rape and incest in anti-abortion laws.
Abortions aren't like genocide, but they do suck. Mothers in serious danger of death should be allowed to remove the fetus as a drastic but needed measure. Life is precious, more precious likely than religious people can imagine.The fact that you even exist is a miracle ( well, statistically very unlikely and so colloquially referred to as a "miracle") All we are saying, is give babies a chance.
I am pro-babies. ( They are adorable.)

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 21:46

The above comment is a mess.

"To take away the pain that killing your own genes must cause;" "It's a terrible thing that we do"--This assumes that abortion is always more painful and terrible than the alternative. Unless you are the person who has to make that decision, you CANNOT make these kinds of assumptions.

"We try to draw lines that say 'It's alright to destroy this child now, but in a few weeks it is murder'"--Actually, proponents of abortion rights don't tend to draw those kinds of brightlines between trimesters; they exist because of lobbying by pro-lifers, the intent of which is to push the brightline back over time and thus diminish access to abortion. Abortion rights arguments have become more subtle than the simple "It's my body, I do what I want argument"--they usually recognize that abortion DOES entail harm to a cluster of cells that nominally resembles a human, but that ONLY the mother can make the decision to abort that entity because ONLY the mother is being burdened with the task of caring for it.

"As an atheist and a humanist, I know there is nothing more important than life. 'The dead know only one thing; it is better to have been alive.'"--Have you been dead? No? Then stop making assumptions, please.

"So if a woman wants an abortion as a result of consensual sex, we can argue about the ethics of her choice, but if she wants an abortion because of non-consensual sex, we give her a pass."--No, we shouldn't argue about the ethics of her choice. No one has advocated that. But cases of rape and incest make the denial of a woman's right to choose especially repugnant.

The commenter then proceeds to needlessly insult religious people:

"Life is precious, more precious likely than religious people can imagine"--The points made in this thread are not anti-religion, they are anti a perversion of religion that deprives women of crucial choices. I'm not sure this qualifies as "stick[ing] up for Kakke."

Daniel Diner (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 22:12

Emily, your argument is a perfectly reasonable one for why you, personally, would choose not to have an abortion. According to your personal morals, it would be wrong for you to have an abortion. Plenty, plenty of pro-choice advocates feel similarly. That is why they call themselves pro-choice, not pro-abortion.

The issue with Kaake is that he is now trying to take this single system of morality and forcibly impose it on everyone else. In addition, he attempts to guilt people into agreeing with him by offering inflated, ridiculous claims. This is not permissible.

emily (again) (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 22:12

I did not insult religious people. I simply meant to argue anti-abortion from a humanist perspective, which I felt a largely liberal community would find more accessible.
No I have never been dead. I have only been alive, and thankful for it.
The "right to choose" is a nice way of putting "the right to not bring a being to life" and give it the only thing we have to give, a chance to live.
Do I presume to know what happens after we die? NO. Is it really a terrible presumption to make though, that life is worth having? Do you know what happens after death that you are so certain it is worth ending the life of a fetus?
Ask a person if they felt good about getting an abortion. I HAVE. No one I know has said they felt anything but BADLY. And those that do actually have abortions (not just those that show up at pro-choice rallies and attempt to push through legislation) block out the idea that it is a human life by the very justification that there is a LINE, and it is still "too early" to be a real baby. It goes against human nature to NOT propagate ourselves. Do I understand WHY people have abortions? Of course I do. I just believe that whatever reason they have is not good enough to not at least put a child up for adoption.
Again, I just wanted to emphasize that there is a humanist way to argue for pro-life legislation. I have the utmost respect for religious people, I simply felt that their worldview did not take into account the miracle of happenstance that brings a person into being and how unlikely it is that we exist as we are.
Also, I know you are trying to make this impersonal but your reply was pretty scathing. We all go to school together. Expressing opinions can be heated but still respectful.

emily (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 22:46

I get it though. I am arguing for my choice. I do not know if I could force that choice on others. People will still get abortions regardless of the law, so why not make it safe? On the other hand, why should we condone that activity, considering that the polity is bound together by shared morals? I can only try to convince others through this reasoning.

Akira Fanboy91 (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 23:23

I respect the fact that other people have different views regarding difficult topics such as abortion. That said, as a close friend of a girl who had an abortion in high school, I'm frankly infuriated by Kaake's article and how you suggest abortion to be considered as murder, even if the girl was raped or a victim of incest. As disturbing as the idea of abortion is, it doesn't make it right to force a teenage girl, especially one who got raped or been forced to commit incest, to undergo 9 months of carrying a child she doesn't want to raise.

And even if a girl wanting an abortion wasn't raped or got involved in incest, it is difficult for a single, unwed, and immature mother to raise a child. Imagine being an emotionally wounded 10th grader without resources living in a state where laws Kaake suggested have made abortions de-facto impossible. She doesn't have any money, but because of the laws, she'll have to carry the kid to term anyway. If she keeps the baby for her self and goes to the daycare centers, she could graduate with a high school diploma. But in a world where competition for jobs is only going to increase, she'll be forced to toil in a minimum-wage job to make ends meet. On top of that, she would most likely spend the rest of her life resenting her child. While not impossible, such factors makes it much more likely for her said child to live a rough life filled with crime and drug addiction than if the child lived in a married and financially-stable household.

As for adoption, it is a possibility. However, as one of the above comments point out, it is much less likely for children of minority race or physical defects to be picked up by a loving family. This forces the said kid to live in a foster home, which is not nearly as nice as the media or conservative politicians state it to be. Yes, there are some foster parents who genuinely care for the kids. However, most registered parents are more into making money from the state and will neglect their children. This, too, makes it more likely for the child to live a miserable life and turn to crime or drug addiction. As for the biological mother of that child, she'll live for the rest of her life regretting her pregnancy, which could leave a negative psychological impact on her.

And it's not like abortion is going to suddenly stop if a law Kaake suggested goes to effect. Take a look at Burma for example. The government there utilizes much of what Kaake's is suggesting and makes abortion technically legal only "to protect the woman's life" And countries that outlaw abortion normally don't provide sexual education to the younger generations. Because of this, the Burmese teenage women, who had little, if any, sexual education, have to look for dangerous back-alley operations. "This naturally results in high numbers of unplanned pregnancies. Post-partum hemorrhage and unsafe abortion are the leading cause of maternal mortality for Burmese women. Small wonder given the scarcity of hospitals, the difficulty of traveling through conflict zones, and the generally low priority given to women, period, let alone when they are pregnant" (http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/02/10/lack-contraceptive-acce...).

While I understand that students like Kaake have different views regarding abortion, he needs to understand what banning limiting a women's right to choose would mean to the teenage girl who is pregnant, has no money, and nowhere else to go. It's not that girls who exercise their right to choose want to undergo the procedure. It's that they understand the bleaker reality of what raising or putting their kid up for adoption would be. All in all, as Becky tearfully told Tami in a fantastic episode of Friday Night Lights, “I can’t take care of a baby... I can’t.”

John Cho (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 00:55

I'm not really sure what writing a comment at this point will do- there's just so much stuff, and it's so very hard...

Dear gamm, as a privileged, Asian-American male from a comfortable home with two lovely, supportive parents, I understand that I will never be able to understand what pain an African-American teenage girl from a broken family has to endure on a daily basis- what depth of trauma she experiences from being raped and left supportless and unloved. My words here cannot do justice to the injustice that transpires here in the States and elsewhere. All I can do is grieve. My heart breaks.

I think what Andrew is trying to argue is that two wrongs never make a right. You can't correct one injustice with another.

I must speak up in defense of Andrew, because he, just like you, is heavily invested and concerned with what justice looks like. His view of justice is certainly very different from yours, right? But he still cares. And as much as your plea for the African-American teenage girl breaks my heart, so does his plea for the aborted baby. I know, it's hard to understand- but Andrew cares a lot- otherwise, he wouldn't have written this piece.

The reason why I feel I must speak up in defense is because of this line:

"Now, thanks to new laws written up by white guys like Andrew Kaake"

Two wrongs will never make a right. I'm sorry for nitpicking your words- but 'white guys' isn't necessary. I know you're probably thinking, "out of all the issues of rape, hurt, racism, poverty, violence... you choose to pick on my one line?? wow, really??" No- I admire the fire in your words. I'm not judging you for being racist or anything like that... I know that you wrote these words more out of passion than out of ill-will. I'm not even sure what I'm saying anymore because I'm just so grieved by everything. Haha.

Basically what I'm trying to say is, I know that Andrew argues very forcefully- but let's all give each other respect- not because I'm trying to be politically correct (I hate political correctness with a passion- it is so freakin stupid), but because if we can't love each other, it's all for naught.

Dear Andrew,

I respect you so much for writing this piece. I understand where you're coming from (well duh, I agree with you, but besides that...)

I can imagine your visceral response against comments along the lines of, "can't you sympathize at all with rape victims?? do you not have a heart??" I understand that those arguments are ad hominem and that many of the comments that you will receive will not necessarily address the "finer points" of your logic.

However, what is far more important than trying to understand/addressing people's logic is the people themselves. I think people are mostly responding to what they feel is a lack of understanding on your part, which they are responding to with a lack of understanding (which, I am responding to with a lack of responding...)

Also, what I addressed to gamm I will also address to you. Perhaps your diction is disrespectful- the sarcasm and the jokes could have been replaced with gentleness and salt (to use a biblical allusion). Maybe. I don't know. I feel like perhaps if you were more gentler, people would not have been so quick to judge you as having no sympathy for rape victims. Maybe. I don't know.

I hope I'm not being too preachy or whatever, but it's sincerely what's on my heart. It weighs down on me heavily. Which is much better than apathy.

Thank you so much for putting yourself out there like this.

- John Cho

whatever (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 01:07

i, for one, am absolutely shocked that andrew kaake, noted libertarian and christian white male, would write an article with absolutely no understanding of reality or his own privilege as a wealthy white dude.

eminder that kaake wrote an article complaining about how anyone would dare make fun of christians. truly, he is an oppressed man who can connect with the plight of women.

by the way, as a victim of sexual assault let me let you in on a lil something. it's not just "sickening", it's the worst thing imaginable. it's something that you will never even begin to understand or comprehend. check your privilege kaake

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 02:22

As someone whose family is noticeably smaller for the Holocaust, I share Dan Diner's resentment for your comparison. If you're going to draw moral and historical parallels between the systematic murder of millions of emotionally and physically matured human beings and a medical procedure that is performed for individual adult women on unthinking, undeveloped bundles of flesh, then you should be much more meticulous in laying out why we should consider the utterly incomprehensible tragedy that was the Holocaust equivalent to the understandable cases of women removing unthinking, undeveloped clumps of cells from their wombs.

Daniel Diner (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 10:49

The Holocaust featured living, loving humans being tortured and exterminated at a scope that was literally unimaginable for the rest of the world (it took quite some time for Americans, for example, to come to terms with death camps). Abortion features an insentient group of cells being removed from a host human's body. I don't see how the moral distinction between the two might actually attract controversy.

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 11:36

1. You're clearly not a woman, so you have no right to make a judgment on this subject.
2. You've clearly never had sex with a woman, which seems to be influencing your ignorance.
3. You're clearly unaware of the fact that overpopulation is the single greatest problem our world faces today.

D (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 12:32

If one believes that the fetus is a living human being from the moment of conception, then the brutal (yes, it is brutal) murder of these babies at an equally unimahinable scope can be compared to the Holocaust. It seemed to be taking Americans an even longer amount of time to come to terms with abortion. In defends of the comparison, its a legitimate one under the premise that it is a human being.

J '12 (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 14:31

^ This comparison would be true only if intent means nothing in how you define murder. A systematic, malicious genocide is different from women making difficult choices to determine the direction of their lives.

Furthermore, if you do believe that the fetus is a living being from the moment of conception and that killing all human beings is wrong, then you cannot leave exceptions for war, the death penalty, etc. A truly pro-life position must be absolute; if there are exceptions, you are no longer pro-life, but a hypocrite. Therefore, when Kaake says that all murder is wrong except in war, it means that some circumstances justify killing. Since those circumstances are subjective, his pro-life stance is not absolute and the only real logical premise of his argument is contradicted.

J '12 (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 14:32

Kaake, it wouldn't hurt if you took a Biology class. You might learn something about carrying capacity and overpopulation and what happens to life then. Or that you cannot support assumptions simply by saying that you can't disprove them.

Will (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 15:42

First of all, to those of you that have said 'why don't you consider the harm an anti-abortion law would do to the disadvantaged teenage mother', or something along those lines, read the article again. He addresses your point. Abortions, if they are indeed murder (which I am going to argue they are not, but allow me a short hypothetical), are worse than any harm they might cause in the life of the mother. Murder is a wrong on a moral plane incomparable to financial or psychological hardship. Therefore, the argument about abortion must turn on the point at which human life begins. And yes, I'm white. But logic is colorblind. Someone give me an ARGUMENT that nine months of struggle is worse than murder, instead of some un-examinable emotional rant, and we can go on from there.
Look, Andrew. I understand that you feel strongly about this issue. But that doesn't give you the right to sidestep the need for a real argument defending where you think human life begins. "Sure, I'm making a logical leap, but one that is impossible to disprove"? Why is it so 'impossible to disprove' that human life doesn't begin at conception? You say that the "child is incontestably human from conception", but you never define what a human is. Aristotle himself thought that the thing that distinguishes humanity from other forms of life is rationality. Do you think that a zygote can do algebra?
Obviously this presents problems when we view it from the perspective of the newborn. A baby can do no more analytic thinking than the fetus can, but it goes against our intuitions to say that a post-birth baby is not human. So this is where I break with Aristotle. I propose that a human is a being with the specific genetic code that defines humanity and the capacity for consciousness. Yes, a zygote has the human genetic code, but it doesn't have the capacity for consciousness. Not yet, anyway. But when it develops into a fetus with the biological neural network that allows it to have consciousness, it becomes human. Examine this definition with regards to all of the cases traditionally used to test our intuitions against attempts at defining humanity: the asleep, the coma patients, the newborns, and the mentally handicapped are all human beings. All have the capacity for consciousness and the human genetic code. The single skin cell, the disembodied human arm, and yes, the fertilized egg, are not human beings. None have the capacity for consciousness.
Not quite so silly, is it?

akaake14 says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 16:21

First of all, thanks for your comment. Second, I'd like to ask what you mean when you say that the fetus has no capacity for consciousness? I would contend that, in a relatively short period of time (9 months, at most), the fetus will in fact attain consciousness, so the capacity is definitely there. While I'm no expert in biology (as several people have kindly pointed out), I am aware of research indicating that fetuses can feel pain as early as the second trimester; does this have no bearing on a contention for consciousness? Also, I'm not so sure the requirement for consciousness is as important to the debate on being human as it is to the debate on being alive; if you were to extract tissue from my body, it would be human tissue, whether it was sentient or not.

Kristin Ouellette (not verified) says:
Sun, 02/19/2012 - 14:46

Lobsters feel pain too when you boil them. No one gives •that• a second thought.

Michael (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 18:29

I hesitate to respond to Andrew's most recent self-important, insular blather, and by responding validate it, but this time he has struck in me a nerve he seems unaware could exist, and I'm afraid I won't be able to accomplish anything worth my time until I've put down my thoughts. Though I hesitate to begin, now that I've decided to post I definitely won't hesitate to attack him personally. Though I appreciate your desire for a quiet, modest debate, you have to realize that this particular forum began when Andrew explicitly and publicly labelled all men and women who make the decision to terminate a pregnancy MURDERERS, judged them to be of equivalent moral standing as slave-owners, comparable to Nazis, and, since they must fail to understand his blindingly lucid logical exercise, irrational, or just plain stupid. Your friend's pride in putting forth such remarkably naive, insipid and unoriginal opinions has opened him up to attack, and not in an eye-for-eye way, but because he needs to learn that, if he chooses to shame publicly moral and thoughtful individuals about whom he knows nothing, he will be humbled.
I think the strain of response that highlights Mr. Kaake's privilege has nothing to do with race or sex as such. 'White' and 'male' are signifiers, which, in this country, typically stand for 'out of touch.' There is little doubt that Mr. Kaake is out of touch, or he has at least convincingly appeared so. From his article, we can guess that his closest brush with 'unwanted pregnancy' is at his high school, where a few girls (he presumably didn't speak to them, or he probably would have had a more nuanced understanding of their situation) were given public support for their struggles. Don't you think its strange, then, that he feels comfortable holding forth in such broad stokes on this topic? Granted, politics often involves interpreting the motives of people with whom you have little contact (too often, I think, but it may be unavoidable). Luckily, Andrew wouldn't have to go far outside of his bubble of Christianist pals to come in contact with some real, breathing women who have had to make the decision to have an abortion. As some of the other commenters have suggested, abortion is for many women (and men, for that matter) a painful reality, not a hypothetical situation, and not a statistic.
The dialogue in this country about abortion too often takes place in the realm of 'thought experiment' and logic, and too rarely is it colored by compassion and empathy. The problem with Andrew's article isn't his 'diction,' John, but his disgusting condescension towards people he is evidently too proud to understand.

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 18:46


stewcanoe (not verified) says:
Sat, 02/18/2012 - 01:54

Michael: So your argument is that, because Andrew is a white male, he's out of touch with reality? And therefore his argument is wrong? Talk about ad hominem. And I am insulted by you implying that his "bubble of Christianist pals" are less alive than other people. I'm Andrew's friend (or so I like to think, the short time that I've known him), and I'm pretty sure I"m real and breathing.

Of course abortion is real! Do you think Andrew would argue against it if it weren't real? This isn't a hypothetical situation at all, but rather an extremely relevant argument about a real-life situation.

Just because Andrew isn't a woman doesn't mean he can't argue about what is right and what is wrong. And unless I misinterpret your point, his argument isn't valid or relevant unless he "colors" it by compassion and empathy. Isn't Andrew being compassionate towards the fetuses? Where's the compassion for them? And doesn't he express empathy for women who are in situations where they want to end their pregnancies, empathy for women who are raped? He states it explicitly. Arguing that no one has a right to kill a human being is the opposite of pride or contempt or hatred. It's compassion with the weight of moral argument aided to it. Argue with the moral argument, not with Andrew's emotions, skin color or gender.

R (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:33

It took a lot of will power for me to continue reading after "except that of war". Really? Look, I can understand the "pro-life" stance that it sucks to think about abortions in terms of ending the life of a fetus. But I have met very few "pro-life" people, if any, who could not constantly contradict themselves.

There is no way you can make the argument that killing people in war is not the same thing as murder. We may not try it as murder, but it's still taking away those lives. Sure, maybe some of those lives were filled with hate, anger, greed, etc, but if you killed a regular, yet perhaps unsavory character, in America, you would be tried FOR MURDER.
Obviously the philosophical argument behind whether or not to allow the death of a truly terrible person would go on for ages, so I'm not going to touch on that. In my personal opinion, we should not attempt to kill those who have committed heinous crimes - instead we should lock them up for the rest of their miserable lives and let them suffer. Death can sometimes be too kind.

Before I go on, I want to point out I'm not trying to sound like a lunatic who just wants people to die. I'm just trying to say that you cannot under any circumstances say, "I'm ok with killing people (a majority of whom would be innocent), in war, but holy moly if that person is not even biologically capable of existing in the outside world.. nope, they gotta live".

Now I'm not saying that fetuses or whatever else you are talking about wouldn't ever be able to live outside the womb. But while in the womb, it is a part of the woman's body. I'm pretty d*mn sure that if men started getting pregnant they'd fast be ok with abortions.

My final argument so that this post doesn't get to be an essay. I don't actually know whether or not you are, but are you for universal healthcare? Because if you are not, you cannot, ever, ever, ever argue about life. Ever.


Whenever I hear a "pro-life" person say they are against affordable, universal healthcare, I have an urge to smack them upside the head. Really? Ok so, when in the womb, everything is sacred and worth caring for and using lots and lots of resources to save... but once you're born, ha! Everything's on you. No longer are we responsible for ensuring your safety and health. Sure, we forced you to live, but we are NOT going to help you after that.

See what I'm saying? For a surprising number of human beings, once born, they will effectively be sentenced to death if they cannot get access to good, affordable healthcare. The more often I hear people say that it's not on our government or on the people of society to help our fellow human beings get proper healthcare, the more I feel like we are losing the very ground upon which we have been desperately clinging to for hundreds of years.

We are by nature a selfish race. That doesn't mean we individually have to be ignorant and greedy. If you cut people off from education about sex, about health, from access to preventative measures in terms of health and sex, and then once they make a mistake blame them and make them suffer for it, I really don't see what the difference is between you, and the criminals holding the guns or the supposedly abhorrent mothers who abort their babies.

Take a moment to consider this. Have you figured it out yet?

You cannot ever be pro-life when you have no qualms with killing people in other countries or own your own soil, or with the death penalty.
Or if you think that denying someone care to the extent that they may die is permissible just because they can't afford it or whatever else god forsaken excuse you morons think of.

Daniel Diner (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 19:39

Kaake, "feeling pain" does not qualify a fetus as being conscious. Second order thinking (or the ability to think about what one is experiencing, or thinking) does. This is why we consider eating animals to be moral - they may be able to "feel pain" but we generally believe that it doesn't go beyond that. The fetus does not develop such thought processes, therefore it is not conscious.

A batch of your cells wouldn't constitute a "human" just because they came from a human source. Your point is irrelevant.

Samanha Schmidt (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 20:29

If you want to really stick it to Andrew Kaake, please donate to the Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts in his honor http://arfwm.org/en/donate.htm . You can even let him know via email that his article inspired you to help the many women who need abortions to afford one. If you would like to be involved in abortion rights activism at Amherst or work in an abortion clinic this summer, please email me: sschmidt12@amherst.edu.
We can rant and rave all day about how idiotic this article was, but I hope that it reminded us all that there are many people with this ridiculous view and the best way to fight them is with our voices, our votes, and our money.

Hold up (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 21:19

The title of this topic says to stand up and defend life, so I think I will. Conservatives label themselves as "pro-life" because they support the life of the fetus and continue to support this fetus after birth, especially if it is born into immense poverty -- oh wait.
It's so easy to jump to extreme points when debating issues like this. Being pro-choice means having the choice to either keep the fetus or not. A choice. Not a law saying all women should have abortions if they get pregnant at 16 or are raped. A choice. And that choice ultimately lies with the one person who will be the most impacted by said pregnancy -- the woman. It's kind of sad I need to say this, because some people seem to forget she's a living, breathing human being, not a machine or vessel.

D (not verified) says:
Fri, 02/17/2012 - 13:54

We're not forgetting about the woman here. Of course her life is incredibly important, but so is the baby's. Abortion is a traumatizing experience for the mother. As for the mother being the one most impacted by the pregnancy--the baby's life is being terminated. I'd say that's a pretty big impact on their life, wouldn't you?

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 23:41

"If you want to really stick it to Andrew Kaake"
I'm not a fan of Andrew Kaake or his article but this was an unnecessarily disrespectful way to begin your charity plug.

akaake14 says:
Thu, 02/16/2012 - 23:55

Just wanted to set you all straight on a few things, since you have presumed greatly past any logical bounds in your relentless, ad-hominem attacks upon me. I don't hate women, and I do hate rape; I'd be completely willing to write an article about exactly how heinous it is, and how it needs more attention, especially in the college setting. But no, you all assume that, because I'm white or male, I have no idea what the horrors of sexual crimes are. Guess what? You're wrong; but you wouldn't know that, because most of you don't know anything about me, other than that I have the guts to say what I think is right and attach my name to it. I won't say more on the internet, for the privacy of myself and my family, but just be aware that you're not talking to someone who's ignorant. I'm a virgin, and proud of that fact, but I talk to women (rather frequently), including ones who are or have been pregnant. I'm well aware of both the horrors and trauma of rape, and of the inconveniences and dangers of pregnancy, but I'm also aware that murder is unjustifiable; you can't kill the baby because you suffered. I'd like to point out that cases of rape or incest only account for 2% of abortions, so 98% of abortions can't even claim that as a reason. But it's wrong to abort in any circumstances. In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, both the mother and child would die. It's not "kill one to save the other", it's save whoever you can, however you can. As far as the simplistic idea that I must abhor war and the death penalty to be pro-life: go read Locke's "Second Treatise on Civil Government", and then we can have a thoughtful conversation. Also, apparently people think I hate Jews because I compared the Holocaust with legalized abortion. That's a fairly ridiculous non sequitur, especially because my point is incredibly valid: both instances involve a mass destruction of a target population based on an assumption that its members were sub-human. I also don't hate black people, but the abortion industry does: more African-Americans are killed by abortion than by AIDS, violent crimes, cancer, heart disease, and natural disasters combined. On a less related note, I laughed out loud when someone on here called me rich; if you want to be technical, every man, woman, and child in America is rich compared to global averages, but I'm not even in the 30%, let alone the 1%. Now that I've adequately defended myself (for the moment), I'd welcome any serious inquiries into this topic; if you're just going to join the hordes of people slandering me in various ways with no knowledge of the truth, please don't bother. Also, if you're following Samantha's lead and donating, please have your receipts forwarded to my email (akaake14@amherst.edu); I'm not wealthy, but I'll make sure that there are enough donations to the National Right to Life Committee to balance them out. Similarly, if you have been moved to action against abortion, please either donate to them (https://www.nrlc.org/donate.html), write to your congressmen, or contact me with any other ideas for things to do.

Akira Fanboy91 (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2012 - 19:43

Just to make one thing clear: I'm pro-choice but I also thought the donation stunt was uncalled for. Having said that, I was looking at the article again to see what other students had to say when I ran into your response. C'mon Andrew, you and I might have different opinions on the topic, but I thought you were more mature and professional than that.

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Fri, 02/17/2012 - 16:55

I'm certainly not in any way pro-life, but all the people who are getting up in arms are kind of ridiculous. Obviously there are massive problems with declaring that "life begins at conception" (what about identical twins? Are they one soul in two bodies, then? How about all those natural miscarriages? Among other salient questions). But if you grant that a fetus has a life with some sort of moral value, then the conclusion is rather inescapable that there is an appalling amount of killing taking place continuously in this country, on a scale that does indeed dwarf the Holocaust.

I admit, I didn't even read the article at first, because I knew scrolling down and reading the comments would be terribly entertaining. I was right. I don't know about anyone else, but seeing this level of vitriol come from Amherst students is pretty embarrassing. I thought we were supposed to be a school full of thoughtful and intelligent people. I may think Andrew's position is insane, but at least I respect him. I can't say the same for most of you.

tolerate my int... (not verified) says:
Sat, 02/18/2012 - 01:24

sorry, but there's no reason to respect people's views just by virtue of their existence.

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Fri, 02/17/2012 - 21:53

"Steve Jobs was nearly aborted, but he turned out okay."

Hitler's mom considered abortion....

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Fri, 02/17/2012 - 22:31

As a humanist and a biologist, I'd just like to say that I am both appalled and disappointed by Emily Belanger's words, and I hope that others reading her comments don't project them back onto the fields she claims to "love."