God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: Abortion – From Symbol to Substance

posted by gp_intern

In a long-awaited decision, the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a congressional ban on the procedure called “partial birth abortion,” the first time a specific abortion procedure has been banned. “Pro-life” forces are claiming a great victory, and “pro-choice” advocates are lamenting a terrible defeat. Both sides hope or fear a slippery slope toward, or away from, their ultimate goals.

The procedure in question is a particularly objectionable form of abortion that Sojourners has long opposed, and even some pro-choice supporters have had problems with. And the law in question had strong bipartisan support when it passed Congress in 2003 – a 281-142 vote in the House (including 63 Democrats) and a 64-34 vote in the Senate (with 17 Democrats.) In a 2003 Gallup poll, 68 percent of Americans thought that “late term” or “partial birth” abortions should be made illegal.

The procedure involves very few abortions – about 2,200 out of 1.31 million in 2000, the last year for which numbers are available. And simply banning one procedure means that there are alternative procedures that will now be used. But the furious arguments on both sides again show how mostly symbolic the abortion debate remains when focused on primarily legal questions. After ten years of heated debate, the Court’s decision does nothing to reduce the number of abortions.

Most Americans are alarmed at the nation’s high abortion rate, but don’t support criminalizing it. They want to keep abortion legal, but make it genuinely rare. In 2005, 68 percent of Americans agreed that abortion should be legal, at least in the first three months of pregnancy. We have supported a “consistent life ethic” – which seeks a dramatic reduction in the actual abortion rate in America, without criminalizing what is always a tragic choice and often a desperate one. Others also question if total abortion bans are really pro-life because of the likely consequences of back-alley abortions, especially for poor women.

It’s time for concrete action that would actually and seriously reduce the number of abortions in America. A better approach than the symbolic legal battle would be to gather new energy for a commitment to advancing real solutions. A constructive dialogue should include how best to prevent unwanted pregnancies, support pregnant women who find themselves in an unexpected situation, and effectively reduce the abortion rate.

Legislation that could make a real difference in changing the circumstances that make abortions more likely has been introduced again in the new Congress. The Reducing the Need for Abortions and Supporting Parents Act, introduced by Reps. Tim Ryan and Rosa DeLauro “aims to reduce the abortion rate by preventing unintended pregnancies, supporting pregnant women, and assisting new parents. One in five abortions are obtained by a teenager and 60 percent are obtained by women with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty line.” We supported this legislation in the last Congress and will again. Other legislation may be introduced again by Rep. Lincoln Davis, and Democrats for Life continues to promote its 95/10 Initiative, which is still a good one.

It’s time that both pro-life and pro-choice supporters come together and support these measures, and actually do something serious and substantial in reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies and dramatically reducing the abortion rate. Who could be against that? Let’s indeed save unborn lives. It’s time to move from symbols to substance.



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kevin s.

posted April 20, 2007 at 10:13 pm


“We have supported a “consistent life ethic” – which seeks a dramatic reduction in the actual abortion rate in America, without criminalizing what is always a tragic choice and often a desperate one” By definition, this is an inconsistent ethic, insofar as you would keep one method of ending human life legal, while other methods (e.g. murder) remain illegal. Another way to say this is that Sojourner’s is essentially pro-choice, and that they support expanded federal assistance programs, which is hardly a novel position.



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Mike Hayes

posted April 20, 2007 at 10:22 pm


Jim, Well said! I hope that Sojourners and other similar groups will coordinate a “take action” opportunity to ask our members of congress to support one or the other version (with or without contraceptives) and to stay with it until some compromise is achieved. Such a “take action” opportunity should be a periodic effort. The message ought to be sent more than just once. Thanks for all that you and the other members of Sojourners do in support of the values identified in “God’s Politics”.



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jesse

posted April 20, 2007 at 10:36 pm


I agree that we should support policies that “dramatically reduce” abortions. The policies Jim mentions have bipartisan support, but few believe they will lead to a dramatic decrease. If they are passed, and the US still has a very high abortion rate (one of the highest in the West), then what? Does Wallis see any value in legal protection for human life? Even if the abortion rate is not significantly impacted (there are many signs which suggest that it WOULD be impacted), laws reflect the value that society has for life and the stand society takes against injustice. How can you say you care for unborn children but withold giving them any protection? The two are incompatible. The “consistent life ethic” is another instance of Wallis trying to change the meaning of common terminology (e.g., “prolife”). All those supporting this ethic also support legal protection for unborn children. It is Wallis’ reluctance to support legal protections that indicate that he holds an “inconsistent life ethic”, as Kevin said.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 20, 2007 at 10:37 pm


And we might be surprised by the related steps it really takes to reduce or eliminate abortion: 1) Proper nuturing in families, especially from fathers, so that their daughters aren’t running into some lech’s arms just to get a hug. 2) Either good, meaningful work or time away from their work for those same fathers so that they can raise their children properly. 3) Dealing with racism. 4) Addressing our oversexed, substance-addicted, materialistic society. 5) Relating to the other sex as human beings and not as objects for our pleasure. But these in contrast are difficult — which is why it’s easier simply to make abortion illegal.



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Blake

posted April 20, 2007 at 11:02 pm


Rick, Those steps would also apply to various other criminal activities, and yet, they’re still criminal. It doesn’t have to be an either/or on this issue. It can be both/and. We need to work on the “Nowlin 5,” but at the same time don’t we need to defend the defenseless?



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Carl Copas

posted April 20, 2007 at 11:03 pm


Jim, thank you for a thoughtful article. Rick Nowlin, you are right on the money.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 20, 2007 at 11:12 pm


It doesn’t have to be an either/or on this issue. It can be both/and. We need to work on the “Nowlin 5,” but at the same time don’t we need to defend the defenseless? Absolutely, and I have always opposed abortion, legal or not. But it’s far easier to raise money and passion by focusing on abortion itself than in dealing with the underlying issues. In fact, much Scripture has been taken out of context to justify the anti-abortion crusade.



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kevin s.

posted April 20, 2007 at 11:51 pm


I have no problem with Nowlin’s list (who doesn’t want to deal with racism?). I would add the following. 1) We must eliminate the red tape and enormous expense that prevents loving couples from adopting babies. 2) We must substantially increase the penalty for deadbeat dads. We could establish workhouses for dads to pay off their debts on weekends. If they don’t show up, we can send them to special deadbeat dad prison where they can go without meals and heat for awhile. 3) When abortion is illegal, make it a felony to coerce an abortion. In other words, if you are caught trying to mnaipulate your girlfriend or daughter into taking a Eurpoean vacation, off to prison you go. In fact, why not ban the practice of coercing abortion anyway? Papa don’t preach, or it’s a $50,000 fine. All of these steps will level the playing field for women and children, yes? Surely they would reduce abortions. Who could be against that?



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 21, 2007 at 12:10 am


We must eliminate the red tape and enormous expense that prevents loving couples from adopting babies. The biggest problem with adoption is the lack of supply — in certain cases. In other words, if you are caught trying to mnaipulate your girlfriend or daughter into taking a Eurpoean vacation, off to prison you go. In fact, why not ban the practice of coercing abortion anyway? This is, of course, assuming she’s being coerced. (And it is my understanding that abortion laws in most European countries are even stricter than here.)



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Summer

posted April 21, 2007 at 12:37 am


pro-choice people aren’t wallowing in defeat. no one sane approves partial birth abortions.



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D4P

posted April 21, 2007 at 12:59 am


?Papa don’t preach, or it’s a $50,000 fine Reminds me of Chris Rock’s idea of making bullets cost $50,000 a piece. Surely that would reduce gun deaths. Who could be against that?



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kevin s.

posted April 21, 2007 at 1:25 am


“The biggest problem with adoption is the lack of supply — in certain cases.” Hmmm… I wonder how to remedy this? “Reminds me of Chris Rock’s idea of making bullets cost $50,000 a piece. Surely that would reduce gun deaths. Who could be against that?” Hunters, the federation of police, and et al… What is your point?



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neuro_nurse

posted April 21, 2007 at 2:04 am


I suspect that the political reality of abortion is that it will never be outlawed in the U.S. Just as there is a substantial segment of the population that wants to see Roe vs. Wade overturned, there is also a substantial segment of the population that does not. While we can argue the immorality of abortion, we cannot presume that the majority of Americans share those beliefs or Christian values. I m sure that there are people here who will not agree with me on this point, but if we concede that we cannot change the legality of abortion, then the only logical approach, as I see it, is to reduce the demand for abortion, that is, reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. Even if abortion were to be outlawed in the U.S., it would take years to accomplish. Consider the cost of doing nothing to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies in that time.



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Wolverine

posted April 21, 2007 at 2:04 am


D4P Who could be against $50,000 bullets? Legal gun owners who might want to practice using their pistols without spending the cost of a high-end sports car. But even more important is who might be for it. Bullets are small and pretty easy to smuggle. You’re liable to create a black market on a scale we haven’t seen since prohibition. Organized crime wouldn’t mind one bit. Other than that, no problemo. Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted April 21, 2007 at 2:15 am


In order to reduce abortion, I think we need to re-establish the two-parent family as a norm in American family life. I’ve been over this before: We need to rethink the whole no-fault divorce thing. I feel so strongly about this that I would be willing to deal with the progressives on this and back down on gay marriage in exchange for the end of no-fault divorce. Wolverine



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neuro_nurse

posted April 21, 2007 at 3:20 am


Wolverine, “We need to rethink the whole no-fault divorce thing. I feel so strongly about this that I would be willing to deal with the progressives on this and back down on gay marriage in exchange for the end of no-fault divorce.” Hey, I’m with you on that one, but I think we might find some resistance from some of our coreligionists: “In one of George Barna’s largest national surveys on marriage and divorce, the pollster has confirmed previous findings that born-again Christian adults have the same likelihood of divorce (35 percent) as other Americans.” “Faith perspectives make a difference in whether adults agree with the teaching that divorce is a sin unless adultery has been committed but not as much of a difference as might be expected, according to Barna. Born-again adults were twice as likely in the 2004 survey as nonborn-again adults (24 percent against 10 percent) to affirm that teaching. However, a majority of the born-again group (52 percent) disagreed that divorce without adultery is sin.” Christian Century, Oct. 5, 2004 http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is_20_121/ai_n7069172 “Born again Christians are just as likely to get divorced as are non-born again adults. Overall, 33% of all born again individuals who have been married have gone through a divorce, which is statistically identical to the 34% incidence among non-born again adults.” “While college graduates are typically more liberal in their political views and lifestyle than adults who lack such a degree, adults who have a college degree and have been married are comparatively less likely to get divorced. Thirty-one percent of college grads that have been married have been divorced versus 36% of adults who did not earn a college degree and have been married. “Residents of the Northeast and West are commonly noted for their more liberal leanings in politics and lifestyle. However, the region of the nation in which divorce was least likely was the Northeast. In that area, 28% of adults who had been married had also been divorced, compared to 32% in the Midwest, 35% in the South, and 38% in the West.” http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdate&BarnaUpdateID=95



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Bill Samuel

posted April 21, 2007 at 3:33 am


Supporters of the consistent life ethic (CLE) in fact are a fairly diverse lot. There are a fair number of CLE folks who are highly skeptical of government at all, such as Catholic Worker folks, and these naturally are not too comfortable working for legal restrictions. Even among those who believe in government, there is diversity as to what should be the law on abortion. But many who favor an activist government find it logical to favor legal restrictions on abortion. My own view is that efforts such as the 95-10 Initiative to make it easier to choose life are complementary, not contradictory, to efforts to restrict abortion legally. They are different components of a wholistic approach. The approach often taken by Republicans of supporting criminalization without supporting social programs is inadequate and unbalanced, but so is the approach of supporting social programs but not legal restrictions. Summer’s comment that “no one sane approves partial birth abortions” is interesting in view of the fact that the Democratic Presidential candidates almost all support PBAs. Note recent statements by frontrunners Hillary Clinton (the candidate of Emily’s List, the leading pro-abortion PAC) and Barack Obama. Both of these have essentially been promoted by Sojourners. Since these politicians are consistent death ethic, this seems somewhat strange for an organization that officially supports the CLE. Certainly it can be said that the political system in the U.S. tends to result in insane policies. Democrats for Life sought to get Congressional pro-life Democrats, including both Tim Ryan and Lincoln Davis, to unite behind its 95-10 Initiative. But Tim Ryan jumped ship with his “Reducing the Need for Abortions and Supporting Parents Act”, a misleading name. This Act would result in increased funding for Planned Parenthood, the top abortion provider in the U.S. which also spends much money on lobbying against all abortion restrictions. Most pro-lifers do not support the bill, and Democrats for Life does not endorse it. Public statements by Jim Wallis sometimes seem to say that politicians should be working on other life-related issues in addition to opposing abortion, but sometimes seem to be saying they should be working on other issues instead of opposing abortion. Wallis’ and Sojourners’ position on abortion has seemed to be cast differently depending on the primary audience. I wish Wallis and Sojourners would be more clearly and consistently CLE in approach. Wallis has actively cultivated establishment Democrats. That could be a good thing if he used his ability to be heard by them to preach prophetically to them on such issues as abortion and war. The problem is that he has generally avoided such issues in relating to them, and thus given the impression of being sympathetic to their support of abortion, militarism and often the death penalty (both Obama and Clinton support the death penalty in addition to abortion and scandalously high military budgets). The Democrats for Life of America annual Hall of Fame Conference and Dinner on June 20 focuses on the CLE. Will we see Sojourners folks there?



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neuro_nurse

posted April 21, 2007 at 3:43 am

Rick Nowlin

posted April 21, 2007 at 4:47 am


Hmmm… I wonder how to remedy this? In truth, there already are plenty of children to be adopted. Thing is, there’s a racial component to that as well. I’ve been over this before: We need to rethink the whole no-fault divorce thing. I feel so strongly about this that I would be willing to deal with the progressives on this and back down on gay marriage in exchange for the end of no-fault divorce. I would go even further than that. My concern is that it’s too easy to get married in the first place, especially for the wrong reasons. That gives kids a faulty foundation for relating to the opposite sex, which is at the heart of the abortion issue. As for a “consistent life ethic,” Evangelicals for Social Action has always been that way — in fact, Ron Sider wrote a book a couple of decades ago called “Completely Pro-Life.” If I remember correctly, Sider sits on Sojourners’ board of directors, so I hope he’s making his voice heard.



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HAC

posted April 21, 2007 at 5:42 am


That’s like saying, “instead of focusing on outlawing murder, we should seek to reconcile the issues that make murder seem like the only choice to some.” Come on, Wallis, be at least intellectually honest with what you’re supporting. You are solidly in the “pro-choice” camp.



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Barb

posted April 21, 2007 at 6:20 am


Safe, legal, and rare. I think we can all agree that abortion is better prevented whenever possible. To me, that speaks to the need for actual birth control education–from abstinence to condoms to Depro-prova and more. Teaching kids that sexuality and self-respect walk hand-in-hand. Teaching kids that even if they choose not to use this information, they can pass it along to others (I can’t tell you how many people I have shown how to use a condom–despite my being a virgin). In my small town, there was direct correlation between those kids whose parents allowed them to take sex education classes both delaying sex *and* not getting pregnant (many delayed until engaged or married) and those whose parents did not allow them to take these classes (and who engaged in sex *and* got pregnant). And for the girls, delaying pregnancy often means better education and better quality of life. I mean, it is hard to finish high school and go to college with a baby! Prevention is the key. And in my town, at least, the girls who got pregnant all had very strict, very fundamentalist parents. The girls who delayed sex and/or didn’t get pregnant all had religious backgrounds too, but parents who talked about sex. As for the boys? Well, who knows who they got pregnant!



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 21, 2007 at 6:32 am


And in my town, at least, the girls who got pregnant all had very strict, very fundamentalist parents. The girls who delayed sex and/or didn’t get pregnant all had religious backgrounds too, but parents who talked about sex. But once again — what kind of relationships did these girls from “fundamenalist” backgrounds have with their fathers? Were they nurturing or overbearing? If a girl does not feel her father really loves her she will seek that elsewhere. It’s one thing to tell people not to have sex; it’s another to build a “hedge of protection” around her so that she won’t even look for it. That’s why sexual contact — and thus pregnancy and abortion — isn’t the main issue.



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kevin s.

posted April 21, 2007 at 7:55 am


“Safe, legal, and rare. I think we can all agree that abortion is better prevented whenever possible. ” I think it is almost always possible to prevent abortion if it is not legal. Further, if it is not legal, it sure makes the issue of birth control and postponing pregnancy a lot more important, yes? “While we can argue the immorality of abortion, we cannot presume that the majority of Americans share those beliefs or Christian values.” Actually, I don’t think it is solely a Christian value. I despise the idea that government should choose what does or does not constitute life. I just think there needs to be an awakening among the American populace.



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Cads

posted April 21, 2007 at 9:58 am


If all of you pro-life people insist on unplanned and unwanted children being born, could you please pay the welfare costs of raising them until they’re 18 and leave me out of it? There should be a “financial responsibility” law to keep people from giving birth without proving they can afford to raise them.



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Barb

posted April 21, 2007 at 10:11 am


Rick–you are quite right. They didn’t feel safe/comfortable talking with either their mothers or their fathers (or other relatives/trusted adults)about natural sexual feeling and how to handle them responsibly. It was something that was not acknowledged, and then when acted upon, something shameful that had to be hidden from their parents until–surprise!–the results (for the girls, at least) could no longer be hid. I have no idea about the prevalence of STDs in the community, something that would have affected both boys and girls. Kevin–actually, there was a lot of abortion occurring before it was legalized. That is why the medical community writ large supported legalization–they had seen the horrific results of backstreet illegal abortions. Septicemia, ruptured uteruses, perforated vaginas, infertility, death…very shocking. Even for women who were ‘lucky’ and survived it, it was very difficult. And it was wide spread. Country girls were perhaps more likely to “go visit a relative” (i.e., disappear before the pregnancy was visible and then return after birth, with the baby going into a foundling home, as adoptions were *not* wide spread), while their urban sisters had more access to abortionists. And again, lest they be demonized; these were women from all different economic backgrounds, married and unmarried, good girls who were raped and ‘bad girls’ who fooled around. Many of them–now in their 60s or older–still do not talk about this period in their lives, when birth control was not widely available, women’s status was lower (i.e., often could not support herself financially as an unwed mother), and there was much social judgement against women who got pregnant. My mother had abortions. My aunts had abortions. I have a female relative (different branch of the family) who died in the 1920′s from an abortion. They were all illegal. I am profoundly grateful that the revolution in female birth control means that I will probably never be faced with an unwanted pregnancy. But if I do, I am also grateful that there are options available to me that my mother, my aunts, and all of the women of her generation did not have (from being able to raise a child on my own, to open-adoptions, to legal and safe abortion). But to say that making abortion illegal will do away with it really flies in the face of history. Oh, and in case it comes up–all of the women mentioned feel that it was the best decision they could have made at the time, under those circumstances. They also know that God loves them–they are all practicing Christians–and understands why they made the decision that they made.



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Sarasotakid

posted April 21, 2007 at 12:44 pm


“I’ve been over this before: We need to rethink the whole no-fault divorce thing. I feel so strongly about this that I would be willing to deal with the progressives on this and back down on gay marriage in exchange for the end of no-fault divorce.” Wolverine Conservatives are always railing against “activist judges” but when it comes to their moral agenda, they are all for giving them more power. Go figure. If you remove “no fault” divorces you are going to empower the courts to unravel every detail of the litigants’ personal lives. Probably good material for CourtTV but certainly not good public policy. A very anomalous position for advocates of “limited government.” It also smacks of a theocracy. I too have heard many preachers on the radio make similar calls for the end to no fault divorce and I have to say to myself that they haven’t the slightest idea of what they are advocating will actually mean and do. I guess if they do that, then the conservatives will have a reason to rail against these judges, even though they will be the ones who have empowered them.



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kevin s.

posted April 21, 2007 at 5:24 pm


“If all of you pro-life people insist on unplanned and unwanted children being born, could you please pay the welfare costs of raising them until they’re 18 and leave me out of it?” Sure, we can go ahead and murder poor children while we are at it. “There should be a “financial responsibility” law to keep people from giving birth without proving they can afford to raise them.” What about my idea to send deadbeat dads to debtor prisons?



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kevin s.

posted April 21, 2007 at 5:36 pm


“Kevin–actually, there was a lot of abortion occurring before it was legalized. That is why the medical community writ large supported legalization–they had seen the horrific results of backstreet illegal abortions. Septicemia, ruptured uteruses, perforated vaginas, infertility, death…very shocking.” Very sad indeed, and yes I was aware. The problem with this argument is that it presupposes that an unborn child is not a human life, and therefore must be sacrificed in order to prevent the maladies you mention. How many of these deaths would happen if we legalized abortion. As it stands, we are approaching some 50 million legal abortions since 1973. Why was legalizing a travesty of this magnitude the only answer to the question of how to prevent women from injuring themselves. “And again, lest they be demonized; these were women from all different economic backgrounds, married and unmarried, good girls who were raped and ‘bad girls’ who fooled around” Demonized by whom? The stigma of single-motherhood has changed dramatically since that time (sadly, so has the stigma of absentee fatherhood). Adoption programs are better funded and more accessible, if absurdly bureaucratic. “But to say that making abortion illegal will do away with it really flies in the face of history. ” Nobody said this. “Oh, and in case it comes up–all of the women mentioned feel that it was the best decision they could have made at the time, under those circumstances. They also know that God loves them–they are all practicing Christians–and understands why they made the decision that they made.” That doesn’t mean it should be legal. People can justify all manner of awful behavior to themselves. This is why the law must intervene to protect those who have no voice. See, all of the anecdotes you describe are available to you because they come from human beings who were old enough to to communicate their story. The anecdotes are colorful, tragic, and moving. Alas, the babies in these scenarios cannot express themselves in any manner. They cannot wait for God to understand their decisions, or be grateful for anything. They died before they had the opportunity to tell their story. But I am unwilling to hold that against them.



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kevin s.

posted April 21, 2007 at 5:41 pm


“I guess if they do that, then the conservatives will have a reason to rail against these judges, even though they will be the ones who have empowered them.” You misunderstand what conservatives mean by judicial activism. Divorce courts pick apart people’s personal lives anyway. Does a judge simply flip a coin to determine who gets custody (or the BMW?).



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neuro_nurse

posted April 21, 2007 at 6:59 pm


Barb | 04.21.07 – 12:25 am There is peer-reviewed data that demonstrates the failure of abstinence-only education. Here are a couple of articles with which I am familiar: Abstract Purpose: To examine the effectiveness of virginity pledges in reducing STD infection rates among young adults (ages 18 24). Methods: Data are drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative study of students enrolled in grades 7 12 in 1995. During a follow-up survey in 2001 2002, respondents provided urine samples, which were tested for Human Papilloma Virus, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Trichomoniasis. We report descriptive results for the relationship of pledge status and sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates as well as health behaviors commonly associated with STD infection. Results: Pledgers are consistently less likely to be exposed to risk factors across a wide range of indicators, but their STD infection rate does not differ from nonpledgers. Possible explanations are that pledgers are less likely than others to use condoms at sexual debut and to be tested and diagnosed with STDs. Conclusions: Adopting virginity pledges as intervention may not be the optimal approach to preventing STD acquisition among young adults. Bruckner, H., Bearman, P. (2005). After the promise: the STD consequences of adolescent virginity pledges. Journal of Adolescent Health, 36, 271-278. Abstinence as a behavioral goal is not the same as abstinence-only education programs. Abstinence from sexual intercourse, while theoretically fully protective, often fails to protect against pregnancy and disease in actual practice because abstinence is not maintained. Providing abstinence only or abstinence until marriage messages as a sole option for teenagers is flawed from scientific and medical ethics viewpoints. Efforts to promote abstinence should be based on sound science. Moreover, abstinence-only programs are ethically problematic, being inherently coercive and often providing misinformation and withholding information needed to make informed choices. In many communities, abstinence-only education (AOE) has been replacing comprehensive sexuality education. In some communities, AOE has become the basis for suppression of free speech in schools. Abstinence-only education programs provide incomplete and/or misleading information about contraceptives, or none at all, and are often insensitive to sexually active teenagers. Santelli, J., Ott, M. A., Lyon, M., Rogers, J., Summers, D. (2006). Abstinence-only education policies and programs: a position paper of the Society for Adolescent Medicine. Journal of Adolescent Health, 38(1), 83-87. kevin s. I don’t think it is solely a Christian value. I despise the idea that government should choose what does or does not constitute life. I just think there needs to be an awakening among the American populace. My comment did not infer that non-Christians do not share some/many/all of our values. The comment I made that included a reference to Christian values was prefaced by stating that there is a large segment of the population who vote who do not want to see abortion outlawed. I agree whole-heartedly that there needs to be an awakening among the American populace, but I think that as Christians, we also need to be aware that others in this country and around the world do not share our values and beliefs, and that they are free to make that decision. Abstinence-only education serves as an excellent example of the failure of a program based on a predominantly, but not solely, Christian value. Granted, abstinence until marriage is the ideal, the only completely effective method of avoiding sexually-transmitted infections and pregnancy, but as Barb s anecdote as well as peer-reviewed medical literature has documented, it doesn t work for everyone.



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jesse

posted April 21, 2007 at 7:27 pm


After reading Wallis’s post again, I still find it hard to believe that he could not even summon any praise for this decision. Is he so committed to being liked by Democrats that he can’t even condemn something this barbaric? Is there any part of him at all that sees this as an injustice? At the very least this decision indicates a certain respect for life…is that not praiseworthy? This was a description of PBA taken from testimony from a nurse who witnessed a PBA performed on a 26-week-old fetus: “Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed the baby’s legs and pulled them down into the birth canal. Then he delivered the baby’s body and the arms–everything but the head. The doctor kept the head right inside the uterus… . ” ‘The baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall. ” ‘The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby went completely limp… .”



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jesse

posted April 21, 2007 at 7:40 pm


neuronurse, A reanalysis of the adolescent health study you cite had different findings: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Abstinence/whitepaper06142005-1.cfm People often criticize abstinence programs for their ineffectiveness… yet the programs are varied, and it’s not known yet which components may or may not be effective. There’s been a lot written about how abstinence programs are a waste of taxpayer money. But these people ignore the ineffectiveness of many of the “comprehensive sex-ed” classes and the money they have wasted.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 21, 2007 at 8:30 pm


jesse, That s an impressive article, but please describe the peer-review process for Heritage Foundation publications. A description of the peer-review process for all of the articles I have cited is available from the publishers. I m sorry, but in my world, it doesn t count if there is not an appropriate peer-review. By their own admission, the Heritage Foundation s mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense not exactly unbiased, is it? Meanwhile: Nationwide, over half of teens aged 15 to 19 are sexually active. Most of the decline in the teenage pregnancy rate over the past decade can be attributed to increased contraceptive use, with a small contribution from decreased sexual activity. To reduce the rates of teen pregnancy, programs must either improve teenage contraceptive behaviors, reduce teens sexual activity, or both. [O]ur results indicate that the majority of abstinence-plus programs increase rates of contraceptive use in teens, and one study showed the effects to last for at least 30 months. Whether abstinence-only or abstinence-plus programs will prove more effective at altering teens sexual behavior remains an unanswered question. In the absence of strong evidence that either type of program can affect sexual activity, prohibiting contraceptive education in school-based pregnancy prevention programs prevents students exposure to information that has the greatest potential to decrease the pregnancy rate. Bennett, S. E., Assefi, N. P. (2003). School-based teenage pregnancy prevention programs: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Adolescent Health, 36(1), 72-81. This paper examines the history of abstinence education in the United States and the empirical evidence of its effectiveness in preventing teenage pregnancy. It concludes that abstinence education has not yet been proven effective, and therefore recommends that federal policy and funding should be directed towards teen pregnancy prevention programs that have demonstrated success. Perrin, K. K., DeJoy, S. B. (2003). Abstinence-only education: how we got here and where we re going. Journal of Public Health Policy, 24(3-4), 445-459. What is obvious from these guidelines is the absence of any fact-based sex education as we traditionally know it. There is no mention of contraception, healthy sexuality, condoms, safer sex, pregnancy resolution, etc. There appears to be a focus on the negative consequences of sexual activity and a values-based approach to avoiding sexual activity outside of marriage. There also are examples of inaccurate and misleading content in these curricula. One program offered the following statements in printed material (Wilson, Goodson, Pruitt, Buhi, & Davis-Gunnels, 2005): The outward direction of sperm cells is supported by emphasis on an outward direction in the male s personality . . . The ovum, by contrast, is receptive and inwarddirected . . . the female personality is generally more receptive and inward than the male s. [A] recent evaluation of abstinence-only programs in Texas found that rates of sexual activity among teens exposed to these programs actually increased for both boys and girls after completion of the program offered in 29 schools across the state (Goodson et al., 2004). In another review of abstinence-only programs, there was an increase in the number of pregnancies in the partners of male participants (DiCenso, Guyatt, Willan, & Griffith, 2002). A large study of 7,000 adolescents reported that those who received abstinence-only education were as likely to become sexually active as the control group and pregnancy and STI rates were similar (Kirby, Korpi, Barth, & Cagampang, 1997). Katz, A. (2006). What s the agenda? Abstinence-only education programs. Association of Women s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses, 10(1), 30-32. There s more where that came from.



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l'etranger

posted April 22, 2007 at 12:25 am


neuro_nurse – have you come across the study just published which seems to suggest that mean age of first sexual experience is identical for children experiencing abstinence only and comprehensive sex education programs alike. Could you provide a link if you know it. I can’t find the original paper, although it’s been widely reported. I’m afraid I’ve never taken the heritage foundation seriously since a hugely distorted report (massively and, I believe deliberately, methodologically flawed) into the economics of single and multi-payer health systems, they produced. Slightly tangential, but did you ever read Everett Koop on the demand to produce a report on the effects of abortion on women. The Reagan administration wanted to produce something showing that they were adversely effected. He spent the best part of six months reading the literature and decided there was nothing that was unbiased by one side of the debate or another. Being an honorable Christian and an honorable and honest conversative he refused to write anything that debased science, while taking a personal pro-life stance from a moral position. I think there’s an analogy to the abstinence sex education debate. We could really do with more like him now.



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Chance

posted April 22, 2007 at 12:46 am


When I first heard of Jim Wallis, I thought he had a novel approach to religion and politics. I thought he took the ideas of the Left and Right that seemed to line up with God’s word. However, the more I read this stuff, the more I realize there is a whole bunch of Left and not a lot of Right. And that’s okay, but I think he has the pretense of having some new novel approach to politics, he always harps on the idea that “God is not a Democrat or a Republican”…but that saying only makes sense if you actually agree with the Republicans on something. His view on government is very similar to many liberals who happen to be Christian. When it comes to Jesus’ commands to take care of our neighbor, government and God’s word are one and the same. However, when it comes to anything remotely right-wing, including abortion, the tune changes and there is this idea of “let the church take care of it” or “let’s fix it, but through left-wing ideals.” Abortion is not bad enough to outlaw, but it’s bad enough to justify our pre-existing ideals on welfare and such. Jim, and the Sojourner’s site, have beliefs that line up pretty closely with many Catholics, but without the pro-life beliefs, and I believe the Catholics are way more consistent.



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Chance

posted April 22, 2007 at 1:21 am


“If all of you pro-life people insist on unplanned and unwanted children being born, could you please pay the welfare costs of raising them until they’re 18 and leave me out of it? There should be a “financial responsibility” law to keep people from giving birth without proving they can afford to raise them.” So we cannot oppose aggression against someone unless we are completely willing to pay for their cost of living? Look, I know you see a fetus differently from a toddler, but I don’t, so that argument makes no sense to me. That’s like saying, you shouldn’t support killing toddlers unless you are willing to pay for their stuff till they are 18.



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Sarasotakid

posted April 22, 2007 at 1:52 am


Divorce courts pick apart people’s personal lives anyway. Does a judge simply flip a coin to determine who gets custody (or the BMW?). kevin s. Not on the level that they would if no fault divorce were no longer used. By the way Kevin, how much legal training have you had, or are you just shooting from the hip again? “You misunderstand what conservatives mean by judicial activism.” I understand very well Kevin. When judges do something conservatives don’t like it is judicial activism. When they rule in a way that conservatives do like, it is called be a good principled judge.



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squeaky

posted April 22, 2007 at 2:19 am


Chance–I think Wallis has an excellent point in the article. What he’s saying is we need to stop politicizing abortion if we really want to see it stop. So we spend all this effort over arguing whether it should be legal and if so, are there exceptions and yada yada. Meanwhile, no headway is made in actually preventing unwanted pregnancies because all the effort and resources are put into making it illegal or keeping it legal. No one seems to be interested in finding common ground. And there is a reason for that–as long as each party stakes their claim as either pro-life or pro-choice, they have a wedge issue to divide people with and mobilize their supporters. The last thing either party wants is for people to find common ground on such an emotion-laden issue that many see as black and white. both parties realize they have supporters who are only supporters because of this one issue. For a very long time I voted Republican for this issue only, even though I disagree with the Republican agendas on pretty much every other issue. I was a one-issue voter. And those can be very powerful blocks of people, unfortunately. I am staunchly pro-life, but I would concede that we take the legality issue off the table so we can stop arguing about that and get down to business about how to take care of the root causes. Making it illegal will not stop abortion, but dealing with the root causes will. I also find it ironic that many who are pro-life are also against sex education that is not abstinence only.



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Chance

posted April 22, 2007 at 3:02 am


“I also find it ironic that many who are pro-life are also against sex education that is not abstinence only.” I’m for school choice that allows parents to choose how they want to educate their kids. I see your other point, squeaky, but let’s look at the issue of racism and civil rights. With racism, I agree, that we as Christians, or whoever, need to work to promote love of people different from us. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to ensure that minorities receive equal protection under the law, even if it doesn’t change the hearts of people involved. I agree wholeheartedly that abortion is more than a political issue. I greatly admire those who get involved and try to help the mothers and really address the issue on a personal level. That is the most important part, but I think equal protection under the law for everyone is vital.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 22, 2007 at 3:25 am


l’etranger, I have to admit when I first saw jesse s link to an article on the Heritage Foundation website, I snorted, partially out of indignation and partially because I thought it ironic that he would expect me to take it seriously. Sorry, jesse, but I wouldn t insult you by providing a link to an article on MichaelMoore.com. The Heritage Foundation is as credible of a source to me as MichaelMoore.com is to you. I have access to a medical library and its multiple data bases, so I have an unfair advantage to most SoJo readers when it comes to searching the medical literature. When I combined the terms abstinence-only and sexual debut (losing one s virginity in medicalese) the search engine I used gave me 159 citations, none of which sounded like the study to which you referred. Was that something that was in the popular press? If so, do you know where the study was conducted, who the lead investigator was, or in which journal it was published? If it was published in the last month, it may not yet be available on the medical library databases. I d be happy to look for it, but I need a little more information. I forget where I read about C. Everett Koop and the attempt to publish a study on the effect of abortion on women, but yes, I did hear about that. Incidentally, while the overall abortion rate in the U.S. has declined since 1990, [a]bortion trends by age indicate that since 1973, abortion ratios have been higher for adolescents aged [less than]15 years than for any other age group. The abortion rate for girls under 15 has increased since 2000, to 830 per 1,000 live births in 2003. Abortion Surveillance — United States, 2003 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5511a1.htm?s_cid=ss5511a1_e



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Barb

posted April 22, 2007 at 3:48 am


Neuro-nurse–actually, I agree with you. Abstinence is a fine concept, but abstinence-only sex education does not seem to work. Again, I am only arguing from personal experience, so I am aware of how this isn’t a scientifically validated study. But the girls in my town who got pregnant were the girls who knew no other form of birth control, so when they fell off the abstinence platform (often with the help of an equally gormless abstinence-only boy, as they were the only ones who could date each other), they could take no other form of protection. I find it hard to believe that if you have raised your children to respect themselves, birth control/STD prevention knowledge is so dangerous. If your children share your values, they can learn about these things and not personally act upon them. I find it similar to drug education. How many of us, after learning about drugs, went out and started taking them? Given that that is a common argument against teaching sex education. In all honesty, our ex-military science teacher taught us about STDs in junior high biology, using slides from the military (I think it is the same talk he gave recruits), and it was an impressive show of what can happen when you have sex with someone. However, our school did not follow that up with sex education (birth control, STD prevention), so parents controlled what their children learned. Well, some girls learned that you can indeed get pregnant the first time you have sex, despite ‘common knowledge’ to the contrary. Kevin–the women who have had abortions are frequently demonized by the very churches that claim to love them. I am glad that you have been sheltered from such an experience, because it is horrible. To have members of your church family refer to you as a witch,as a slut, as a baby-killer, to spit on your children or be abusive to them at school, put pictures of aborted fetuses in your mailbox, well, it is a good reminder that the slogan What Would Jesus Do doesn’t really sink home for some people. However to respond to your question of how many of these deaths would occurr if abortion were illegalized–in legal abortions, only the fetus dies. In illegal abortions, the fetus and often the woman dies. Given that abortions will continue to occurr whether or not they are legal, I find it hard to say that women should die for a decision that some Christians disagree with. Particularly when these same Christians could support better sex education in schools that could prevent girls from getting pregnant and thus even considering abortions. For those whose religious beliefs prohibit use of birth control or sex before marriage, their children would still have to learn the information, but would then be told at home that they should not (for x,y,z reasons) use that information. Because again–sometimes it isn’t information the individual uses for him/herself, it is information that is available to be passed along to another person who really needs to know. And given how much nonsense is passed around by teenagers about sex, the more acurrate info we can give them the better.



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jesse

posted April 22, 2007 at 4:48 am


Neuronurse, I didn’t expect you to accept the Heritage article like you would any other, but I thought you’d at least be open to examining research critically, rather than accepting anything that’s been published unquestioningly. For ex., the Heritage authors mentioned that the JAH article you cited also found that condom use didn’t decrease STDs. What to make of it? If everything that is published in a peer-reviewed journal is 100% true, what do you make of studies with contradicting findings? I know we’ve spoken before about this with the Iraqi death study, but the truth is bad science is published all the time. I’m a scientist. I know it. Everyone in my field knows it. You can’t rely on one study…it’s the accumulation of knowledge that is key. That’s why I say further research needs to be done to examine what aspects of abstinence education could potentially be effective. There’s certainly a lot of sex ed programs out there that have had no effectiveness. Why the double-standard with abstinence programs? Mind you, in the end I think parents should ultimately be in charge of the type of sex education their kids receive. So it’s not an empirical question for me about whether we should have abstinence ed or comprehensive sex ed. It’s about parental rights in the end.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 22, 2007 at 6:08 am


“…condom use didn’t decrease STDs. What to make of it?” It’s too late for me to bother with looking up the research on that, but I can tell you without a doubt that that is not true, and even more to the point, a lie. Maybe tomorrow I ll do a literature search, or just pull one of the infectious disease textbooks off of my bookshelf if it will make you happy. “If everything that is published in a peer-reviewed journal is 100% true…” I wrote, it doesn t count if there is not an appropriate peer-review. How on earth do you construe that as saying everything that has undergone peer-review is true? There is no logic in that conclusion. If you are a scientist, then you know that in statistical analysis there are, by definition, no absolute certainties. Hypothesis testing results in either sufficient or insufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis. In the Iraqi death study, the argument was not over methodology, but the confidence interval (sample size). In most medical research, we look at the p-values, but you know that already. Why the double-standard with abstinence programs? There is no double standard, abstinence should be taught as part of a comprehensive sex ed program, no one is denying that, but abstinence-only is an all-or-none proposition. You can’t rely on one study That s one of the reasons I posted abstracts and excerpts from a couple of other studies above. I think parents should ultimately be in charge of the type of sex education their kids receive. Fine, you are entitled to that opinion, but we are talking about public health, not morality, and that is the very grave error that the religious right makes in their politicization of sex ed, an error that can cost the lives of people who did not receive the appropriate information.



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jesse

posted April 22, 2007 at 7:35 am


It’s too late for me to bother with looking up the research on that, but I can tell you without a doubt that that is not true, and even more to the point, a lie. Maybe tomorrow I ll do a literature search, or just pull one of the infectious disease textbooks off of my bookshelf if it will make you happy. –You misunderstand the claim, which is that the author’s JAH analysis also shows no effect of condoms on STDs, which suggests they’re doing something incorrectly. In the Iraqi death study, the argument was not over methodology, but the confidence interval (sample size). In most medical research, we look at the p-values, but you know that already. –Actually, it was about the methodology and the sample size, both of which were flawed in the Iraqi death study. Medical research looks at p-values, but if you’re doing the wrong analyses or have the wrong methodology, p-values will be meaningless. Why the double-standard with abstinence programs? There is no double standard, abstinence should be taught as part of a comprehensive sex ed program, no one is denying that, but abstinence-only is an all-or-none proposition. –There is a double standard because people are trashing abstinence programs because there’s some data showing that they don’t work. Lots of comprehensive sex ed programs don’t work, either. Head start doesn’t work. A lot of government programs don’t work. The task of researchers is to figure out what does work. This task is not as simple as it seems.



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kevin s.

posted April 22, 2007 at 7:45 am


“Not on the level that they would if no fault divorce were no longer used. By the way Kevin, how much legal training have you had, or are you just shooting from the hip again?” You just restated your opinion more adamantly, and added an insult. Can you please apply your legal background to the question of why a judge would scrutinize proceedings related to divorce more ferociously than those related to child custody? “I understand very well Kevin. When judges do something conservatives don’t like it is judicial activism. When they rule in a way that conservatives do like, it is called be a good principled judge.” Cute. When conservatives refer to judicial activism, they are referring to the tendency of some judges to render opinion in accordance with their own beliefs, rather than as the law dictates. Conservative do not expect judges to remain mute in their own courts, acting as a passive observer of the case presented to them. As such, there is no tension between opposing judicial activism and raising the standard for divorce.



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kevin s.

posted April 22, 2007 at 7:51 am


“I am staunchly pro-life, but I would concede that we take the legality issue off the table so we can stop arguing about that and get down to business about how to take care of the root causes. ” I don’t buy into the argument that we should not seek to change something simply because there is opposition to that change. Abortion is just about the only issue wherein I see this argument. Wallis would never say that we should not urge government to care for the the least of these by way of increasing the minimum wage, by virtue of the fact that there exists strong opposition to increasing it, and that we therefore ought to find a way to supplement worker incomes. Neither should he. If he believes that a minimum wage is a moral imperative, then he should advocate for a bill increasing minimum wage.



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jesse

posted April 22, 2007 at 8:07 am


Neuronurse, I should add that the first Adolescent Health study you cite has nothing to do with sex ed. It just has to do with whether people took pledges or not and whether taking an abstinence pledge is effective. They did not consider the type of sex education these people received. I’d bet that over 90% of all of those public school kids in the sample received some education about condoms and STDs. The second article you cited is not a research study…it’s a review article/opinion piece.



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kevin s.

posted April 22, 2007 at 8:12 am


“Kevin–the women who have had abortions are frequently demonized by the very churches that claim to love them.” I’m sorry to hear that. That should stop immediately. “However to respond to your question of how many of these deaths would occurr if abortion were illegalized–in legal abortions, only the fetus dies. In illegal abortions, the fetus and often the woman dies.” Not always, or even the majority of the time. There is simply no way we have saved anywhere in the vicinity of 48 million women’s lives by keeping abortion legal. As such, even if I cede the first argument (which, while flawed, is easily the most compelling for the pro-choice side), the argument fails on the very utilitarian grounds to which it appeals. “Given that abortions will continue to occurr whether or not they are legal, I find it hard to say that women should die for a decision that some Christians disagree with.” You have oversimplified every aspect of your argument to your favor, here. Again, the number of lives saved does not outweigh the number of lives lost. The fact that some Christians disagree with the decision does nothing to add weight to your argument. “Particularly when these same Christians could support better sex education in schools that could prevent girls from getting pregnant and thus even considering abortions.” Okay, ban abortion as part of a bill that ensures both abstinence education and proper birth control use are taught in public schools. If this doesn’t put us on the same page, then your point is irrelevant. If it is relevant, I would also add that the most recent study ordered by congress (and performed by Mathematica, not Heritage) indicates that there is no increase in unprotected sex among those in abstinence-only education programs.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 22, 2007 at 9:05 am


I didn’t expect you to accept the Heritage article like you would any other, but I thought you’d at least be open to examining research critically, rather than accepting anything that’s been published unquestioningly. I think you missed his point. I’m not an academic, but I believe he’s saying, “What do other researchers say about Heritage’s findings — are they valid or ideologically flawed?” I’m in media, and they seem to work the same way — multiple sources. When conservatives refer to judicial activism, they are referring to the tendency of some judges to render opinion in accordance with their own beliefs, rather than as the law dictates. And that’s just the hypocrisy being referred to. That’s why hard-core conservatives have tried to pack courts with their own, to overturn laws they don’t agree with.



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Antonia

posted April 22, 2007 at 12:51 pm


I think sex education has to begin with children at a much younger age that our society normally thinks. That education should include frank discussion of the human body, and procreation (in simple terms), but also, and mostly important, information about using birth control, the availability of abortion, and STDs. I’m of the view that the more informed people are, the more likely they shall act in a responsible manner. I think a study came out recently this past month indicating that abstinence-only did not decrease sexual activity among teens. This was not surprising to me; when I was growing up, the most promisicuous girls were the least informed, and learned about sexual specifics at much later ages that the girls who were more informed and more conservative in their relationships (and also tended to have better bonding with their fathers – as the other poster mentioned the importance of there). I think we tend to view these courses as preparing teenagers for having sexual relationships as teenagers. And certainly some of them shall. But they would be doing that anyway. The school is not likely to reach many at this point. But the greater truth of the matter IMO is that these students will go into the world as young adults and need this information in their lives later on as well — when they’re off in colleges, if they get married, and so forth. This is a life-preparing subject that should be a basic requirement and frankly deal with material as any other course in, for example, reading, writing, biology, mathematics, etc. I also think there’s a need for greater emphasis on the boys and how they handle this. I think, as a society, there is still this aspect that says, “well, it’s o.k. if he does it.” (and it’s even a feather in the cap!) There are so many factors involved, and peer pressure IMO is a big one. That, along with the whole macho locker room head that people IMO are afraid of moving away from. Can we tell our sons (and really believe it) that they will still be men if they are virgins? Can our sons feel comfortable with that kind of experence with their friends instead of what the norm seems to be out there? What messages are our fathers giving their sons in this respect? Lastly, I was disappointed by the court’s decision, and yes, I am quite sane too (a poster wondered if a person with such views could be sane). The fetuses in question are terribly malformed, the malformation coming later in the pregnancy, they are already doomed, and the procedure is rare — with the part that is most horrific to people performed when the fetus is already dead. And here, I cannot see why gruesomeness of procedure should be a determinant of its morality or advisability, especially when the health of the mother is at stake. I think people in this specific situation are faced with a very difficult dilemma not unlike that faced by families deciding whether or not to take a family member off life support systems. I don’t think the state or other people’s personal or religious views should come into play here. It’s between the family member, their doctor/s, and any religious leadership they wish or wish not to bring into the equation. Thank you. (Sorrry if there are a lot of typos — it’s late here … ) Peace.



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Antonia

posted April 22, 2007 at 12:54 pm


postscript I’d also like to add that we can not hope to reduce abortion without an educated populace having widespread access to birthcontrol, along with early day and childcare programs that working parents, and especially working single mothers can afford. Personally I support extending the public system down for infants, on a optional basis for parents who need such arrangements.



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Mike Hayes

posted April 22, 2007 at 2:32 pm


I think it all reduces to pushing our respective members of congress for a decision… if left and right among us would just start hammering them to take a position in favor of one version or the other (with contraceptives or without). If we would then stick with it until the congress passes some version of either one in each chamber and then stick with it until they reach a compromise and then stick with it until something is signed in to law, we’d have a starting point to reduce abortions. But, there is no push from anyone to do that. So, the ongoing political football that is the effort to ban abortion and to prevent a ban will continue. How long?



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Sarasotakid

posted April 22, 2007 at 2:32 pm


Can you please apply your legal background to the question of why a judge would scrutinize proceedings related to divorce more ferociously than those related to child custody? Kevin S. Admitted attorney in two States- New York and New Jersey. I have done family law cases and I have argued cases before appellate courts both on the State and Federal levels. “Why a judge would scrutinize proceedings related to divorce more ferociously than those related to child custody?” Very simple Kevin. In the pre non-fault days, in order to obtain a divorce, the complaining party had to PROVE misconduct on the part of the party they were seeking to divorce. This led to the result of the other party’s misconduct (whether it be sexual or any other kind of misconduct) being aired in a public forum in a full blown trial. The harm was two-fold: everybody’s dirty laundry was laid out on public display and yes, even the children often got wind of these proceedings and their content, which was harmful to them OR maybe the parties just couldn’t get along anymore and wanted a divorce so they made up charges against each other to get out of the marriage. This is different from dividing property and child custody issues where the parties’ moral conduct is not at issue, rather the equities of the ownership and division of property is at issue and the best interests of the children are the standard employed in the courts. For example, if a woman stayed home and did not work for 30 years and the husband went out and made the $$$ and then dumps his wife for the beautiful young secretary. The wife who is being divorced normally gets large sums of money in alimony payments because she had acted all those years in reliance on her husband’s salary. But the judge will not hear the salacious details of the husband’s affair. Now, Kevin, please state your credentials,your reasons and the sources that you used in coming up with your position on the issue. I suspect that they are equally substantive and “intellectually lazy” (a term you so like to assign to others who do not agree with you on Christian pacifism issues) as your comments.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 22, 2007 at 6:32 pm


You misunderstand the claim, which is that the author’s JAH analysis also shows no effect of condoms on STDs, which suggests they’re doing something incorrectly. You re absolutely right. Condoms do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STI HIV in particular has a long latency period, so one may be infected with HIV yet not show any signs of disease) unless they are used correctly. –There is a double standard because people are trashing abstinence programs because there’s some data showing that they don’t work. Lots of comprehensive sex ed programs don’t work, either. Head start doesn’t work. A lot of government programs don’t work. That s true as well, and it is acknowledged in most of the articles I cited. The D.A.R.E. program did not work. Let s get this straight, I am not opposed to abstinence programs, the term you have used a number of times. Abstinence works, no doubt about that. My opposition is to abstinence-only programs, which do not provide potentially life-saving information to the half of U.S. teenagers who are or will become sexually active (Bennett, S. E., Assefi, N. P., 2003, see citation above). Let s stop moralizing a serious public health issue. It has been demonstrated that not only do many abstinence-only programs fail to provide important information, but actually provide serious misinformation (i.e., condoms do not reduce the risk of STIs) I’d bet that over 90% of all of those public school kids in the sample received some education about condoms and STDs. That s a very bold claim. Do you want to look that up, or shall I? (try http://www.cdc.gov you might find it in the MMWR) The second article you cited is not a research study…it’s a review article/opinion piece. No, the second article I cited was the position paper of the Society for Adolescent Medicine the opinion of the association of MDs who specialize in adolescent medicine. is no increase in unprotected sex among those in abstinence-only education programs. (kevin s.) The articles I cited did not conclude that there was an increase in unprotected sex in abstinence-only students; they concluded that there was no difference in the acquisition of STIs between those who had received abstinence-only education and those who had not. “What do other researchers say about Heritage’s findings — are they valid or ideologically flawed?” Thanks Rick. Peace!



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Theo

posted April 22, 2007 at 6:43 pm


“We have supported a “consistent life ethic” – which seeks a dramatic reduction in the actual abortion rate in America, without criminalizing what is always a tragic choice and often a desperate one.” This is very sad coming from someone from whom I caught a burning passion for justice some three decades ago in my youth. I could play the game of asking him to substitute “murder” or “slavery” for “abortion” and see whether this still flies, but others have already done this to death. The biggest flaw in Wallis’ approach is that it somehow manages to be both moralistic and pragmatic. To say that a budget is a moral document doesn’t help us all that much, and it certainly can’t decide an issue as complex as, say, the minimum wage. As for the pragmatic element, why should someone claiming a concern for justice be deferring to public opinion polls ostensibly indicating that “most Americans . . . want to keep abortion legal, but make it genuinely rare”? Moreover, his approach doesn’t even attempt to account for the place of law and politics in God’s world. What, pray tell, is amiss in asserting that laws are in place to protect the legitimate interests of those subject to them? This, after all, is a big part of the meaning of justice. Why should this not include protections for unborn children? I would be the first to admit that pro-lifers are unlikely to achieve full protection for the unborn, given the realities of our culture and its priorities. But this can hardly be an argument for abandoning an effort to push for some legal protection, which Wallis and company appear to have done. As I said, this is all very sad.



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butch

posted April 22, 2007 at 7:11 pm


2) We must substantially increase the penalty for deadbeat dads. We could establish workhouses for dads to pay off their debts on weekends. If they don’t show up, we can send them to special deadbeat dad prison where they can go without meals and heat for awhile. I would identify the father genetically and he then is financially responsible until the child is 18. Dranconian punishment like prison will not help, never has.



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butch

posted April 22, 2007 at 7:15 pm


In order to reduce abortion, I think we need to re-establish the two-parent family as a norm in American family life. Wolverine It has never been the norm except in the minds of those brought up watching TV shows like “leave it to beaver”.



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butch

posted April 22, 2007 at 7:24 pm


If a girl does not feel her father really loves her she will seek that elsewhere. Rick Nowlin Rick you are a bright fellow who I think is trying to find answers but why not ask women to talk about what led them where and why and when. Very common is talking about sex from a woman’s point of view as a man. Maybe I just don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. After I was married about 10 years my wife told me about sexual abuse as a child and that many, many of her female friends were sexually abused. I had no idea.



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kevin s.

posted April 22, 2007 at 7:28 pm


“I cannot see why gruesomeness of procedure should be a determinant of its morality or advisability,” I agree with this completely. It is no more or less moral to perform this type of abortion vs. any other.



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butch

posted April 22, 2007 at 7:30 pm


Conservatives are always railing against “activist judges” but when it comes to their moral agenda, they are all for giving them more power. Go figure. Sarasota Everyone seems to want to empower those who agree with them and disempower those who disagree. Activist judges is nothing more than a sound bit.



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kevin s.

posted April 22, 2007 at 7:45 pm


“Admitted attorney in two States- New York and New Jersey. I have done family law cases and I have argued cases before appellate courts both on the State and Federal levels.” I didn’t ask if you were a lawyer. I assumed you were from your statement. “This led to the result of the other party’s misconduct (whether it be sexual or any other kind of misconduct) being aired in a public forum in a full blown trial.” This happens today, I can assure you. The question of infidelity has quite a bit to do with who gets kids, cars etc… Surely you are not going to disagree. “But the judge will not hear the salacious details of the husband’s affair.” What does this have to do with whether a judge is an activist? Why is it inherently bad to have the question of an affair brought into a courtroom? Are you arguing that questions of marital infidelity do not enter into divorce court proceedings at present? Either way, why does the question of whether no-fault divorce is allowable center around these questions? “Now, Kevin, please state your credentials,your reasons and the sources that you used in coming up with your position on the issue.” I did exceedingly well on practice LSAT’s… But I don’t need to be a lawyer, or do research, to dissect your argument that no-fault divorce would create an atmosphere of judicial activism. “I suspect that they are equally substantive and “intellectually lazy” (a term you so like to assign to others who do not agree with you on Christian pacifism issues) as your comments.” I explained what I meant by my use of the term several times, so either you are being dishonest, or you lack the capacity to understand the nuance. Neither is the marking of a good lawyer.



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butch

posted April 22, 2007 at 7:48 pm


People often criticize abstinence programs for their ineffectiveness… yet the programs are varied, and it’s not known yet which components may or may not be effective. Neuro In my life the only things that have worked is unbiased knowledge which I use effectively. More bed things have happened to me out of ignorance than knowledge. Teacher friend had a pregrant 6th grader who could not understand how she got pregrant because they used “Saran Wrap”. Where did she get such a crazy idea, from her peer group? We need peer group rewiew not peer reviewed groups.



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kevin s.

posted April 22, 2007 at 7:51 pm


“I would identify the father genetically and he then is financially responsible until the child is 18. Dranconian punishment like prison will not help, never has.” So we shall do away with prisons then? “But this can hardly be an argument for abandoning an effort to push for some legal protection, which Wallis and company appear to have done.” More than abandoning it, he outright opposes the effort.



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butch

posted April 22, 2007 at 8:11 pm


I went through the post fast and could only find 2 women and a lot of the same men over and over including me. My simple opinion is that men have no voice in this matter period. Men operated the slave trade, men said women should not vote, men promote female castration, men beat women with sticks if the don’t cover their face, etc, etc, etc.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 22, 2007 at 8:30 pm


Rick you are a bright fellow who I think is trying to find answers but why not ask women to talk about what led them where and why and when. I’ve known a number of women like that and even dated some. Two of those were sexually abused, one, much older than I (and I’m 46), repeatedly for as long as she can remember until her teens.



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butch

posted April 22, 2007 at 8:36 pm


I’ve known a number of women like that and even dated some. Two of those were sexually abused, one, much older than I (and I’m 46), repeatedly for as long as she can remember until her teens. Rick Nowlin | Take this as a serious question, how could you know anything about her emotional state? How could you know what decisions she made in her life? Without knowing the answer to these questions how could you know what she should do. Barb seems to be trying to work in this area, what can she teach us? We need answers not moralizing and I’m not acusing you of doing that but I do ask what can you know as a man?



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butch

posted April 22, 2007 at 8:42 pm


Teaching kids that even if they choose not to use this information, they can pass it along to others (I can’t tell you how many people I have shown how to use a condom–despite my being a virgin). Barb How can we teach kids from outside their peer group? I’ve talked about a system of small groups in schools where our children meet then come and ask questions of trained counselors in confidence, BIG note confidence. Barb would this work from your experience?



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Carl Copas

posted April 22, 2007 at 9:07 pm


What is the position of posters on here re: when does a fetus become a human being? A nano-second after fertilization? 1 month? 6 month? And what is the position of posters re: abortion to save the life of the mother? I can’t offer a rational or even logical explanation for why, but somehow it bothers me less if a 2-month old fetus is aborted to save the mother than if the fetus was close to birth.



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Sarasotakid

posted April 22, 2007 at 9:08 pm


I did exceedingly well on practice LSAT’s…But I don’t need to be a lawyer, or do research, to dissect your argument that no-fault divorce would create an atmosphere of judicial activism. Kevin S. LSATS, as you know, do not test have any knowledge of substantive law. (Or maybe you don’t know that) They allegedly predict your aptitude to learn law. You need to do research to at least see if your argument has any basic in logic or fact. Yours does not. The fact that you did not study law and that you made a blind assertion without research is tantamount to intellectual laziness. [With regard to intellectual laziness]..I explained what I meant by my use of the term several times, so either you are being dishonest, or you lack the capacity to understand the nuance. Neither is the marking of a good lawyer. kevin s. I am not being dishonest and I fully understood your implausible explanation for your rude statements. Not admitting it when you have been gratuitously nasty (as you certainly have been) is not the marking of a good Christian. “This led to the result of the other party’s misconduct (whether it be sexual or any other kind of misconduct) being aired in a public forum in a full blown trial.” Sarasotakid This happens today, I can assure you. The question of infidelity has quite a bit to do with who gets kids, cars etc… Surely you are not going to disagree. Kevin S. Yes, I do disagree and based on your statement, I am absolutely convinced that you are shooting from the hip and that you are ignorant about the subject about which you are writing. There is a difference between something coming out in a legal proceeding as an ancillary issue and it being the centerpiece of the litigation where it is a trial. These issues come out, of course, between the private parties and those private parties tell whomever they want to know about the details. That is quite different from being a trial issue where you have burdens of proof, evidence etc. I don’t expect you to understand this Kevin because you have not studied law, although you did score high on the LSATS (that is so good, Kevin! Good job!) and you have not researched it. The point about judicial activism is this: Conservatives are constantly complaining about judges having too much power. Yet when it comes to their pet moral issues, Conservatives are more than willing to give judges nearly absolute power. The point that conservatives are trying to make is that judges have too much power. Well, go ahead and hand them some more power.



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kevin s.

posted April 22, 2007 at 10:21 pm


“LSATS, as you know, do not test have any knowledge of substantive law. (Or maybe you don’t know that)” Yes… That fact is pretty obvious. I was being tongue-in-cheek. “I am not being dishonest and I fully understood your implausible explanation for your rude statements. ” No. I apply the term to those who are not pacifist, but evoke pacifistic arguments in opposing only certain military combat endeavors. “Not admitting it when you have been gratuitously nasty (as you certainly have been) is not the marking of a good Christian.” You accompany virtually every statement you make with a gratuitous insult. “Yes, I do disagree and based on your statement, I am absolutely convinced that you are shooting from the hip and that you are ignorant about the subject about which you are writing” You may disagree, and you may be a lawyer, but you aren’t correct, particularly in states which already allow for fault-based divorce proceedings. But this is a tangential issue to the central point. “I don’t expect you to understand this Kevin because you have not studied law, although you did score high on the LSATS (that is so good, Kevin! Good job!) and you have not researched it.” I didn’t take the LSAT. I thought my tone was pretty obvious, but you seem more interested in finding grounds for (rather gratuitous) insult, so I’ll refrain from any offhand or light-hearted remarks in the future. “The point about judicial activism is this: Conservatives are constantly complaining about judges having too much power.” I understood your point completely, and it is based on a misunderstanding of what conservatives mean by judicial activism. It is a political short-hand for judges who craft proxy legislation by way of decisions that are out of line with the law.



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squeaky

posted April 22, 2007 at 10:29 pm


Sheesh, Kevin S.–if you took the time to take Butch’s statement in context, you would understand he was saying prison wouldn’t work in terms of getting deadbeat dad’s to take care of their kids, NOT that prison never works for any crime.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 23, 2007 at 12:08 am


//Here we go…// Half of all new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections in the United States and two thirds of all sexually transmitted diseases (STD) occur among young people under the age of 25. It is estimated that by the end of high school, nearly two thirds of American youth are sexually active, and one in five has had four or more sexual partners. Despite these alarming statistics, less than half of all public schools in the United States offer information on how to obtain contraceptives and most schools increasingly teach abstinence-only-until-marriage (or abstinence-only ) education. There is little evidence that abstinence-only programs are successful in encouraging teenagers from delaying sexuality activity until marriage, and consequently, avoiding pregnancy, or STD or HIV infection. Comprehensive sex education, which emphasizes the benefits of abstinence while also teaching about contraception and disease prevention methods, has been proven to reduce rates of teen pregnancy and STD infection. During a recent appearance on the music television network MTV, Secretary of State Colin Powell told a global audience he believed condoms were part of the solution to the HIV: In my own judgment, condoms are the way to prevent infection and, therefore, I not only support their use, I encourage their use, he said. Powell added: Forget about taboos, forget about conservative ideas with respect to what you should tell young people. It s the lives of young people that are put at risk by unsafe sex, and therefore protect yourself. In late June 2001, former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher sounded the alarm on the current public health crisis facing American youth with his Call to Action to Promote Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior. The report urged communities and individuals to take responsibility by engaging in a national dialogue on sexuality and responsible sexual behavior, increasing educational interventions, and strengthening the scientific basis of such interventions. An essential aspect of Satcher s recommendations is the need for comprehensive sex education. As the Call to Action points out, studies of comprehensive sex education programs show that providing information about contraception does not increase adolescent sexual activity, either by hastening the onset of sexual intercourse, increasing the frequency of sexual intercourse, or increasing the number of sexual partners. * Starkman, N., Rajani, N. (2002). The case for comprehensive sex eduction. AIDS Patient Care and STDs, 16(7), 313-318. * From: United States. Public Health Service. Office of the Surgeon General. (July 9, 2001). The Surgeon General s Call to Action to Promote Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior. http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/sexualhealth/call.htm This paper examines the effects of AIDS education at school and at home on the sexual behavior of American youth. Multinomial logit equations of the probabilities of abstinence, sexual intercourse with a condom, and intercourse without a condom are estimated using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Supplement of the 1992 National Health Interview Survey. We find no significant effects of AIDS education on the probability of abstinence, but we do find that AIDS education significantly raises the likelihood of condom-protected relative to unprotected intercourse. These results indicate that risk-altering and risk-revealing AIDS education dominate any utility-altering effects favoring intercourse over abstinence. We also find that young women are influenced by AIDS education to a greater extent than young men. Overall, our results suggest that educating young people about AIDS does not promote sex and encourages safer sex, reducing the likelihood of HIV transmission and lowering the subsequent social costs. Tremblay, C. H., Ling, D. C. (2005). AIDS education, condom demand, and the sexual activity of American youth. Health Economics, 14(8), 851-867. In the United States, there exist a multitude of different approaches to reducing adolescent sexual risk-taking, unintended pregnancy, childbearing, and sexually transmitted disease, including HIV. While many of these approaches have some positive effects upon some outcomes (such as greater knowledge), only some of these programs actually delay the initiation of sex, increase condom or contraceptive use, and reduce unprotected sex among youth. This article summarizes a review of 73 studies and their respective programs, and describes four groups of programs which have reasonably strong evidence that they delay sex, increase condom or contraceptive use, or reduce teen pregnancy or childbearing. These four groups of programs include (a) sex and HIV education curricula with specified characteristics, (b) one-on-one clinician-patient protocols in health settings with some common qualities, (c) service learning programs, and (d) a particular intensive youth development program with multiple components. Kirby, D. (2002). Effective approaches to reducing adolescent unprotected sex, pregnancy, and childbearing. Journal of Sex Research, 39(1), 51-57. //Are you getting the impression that this is really easy for me?// A random telephone survey of 517 Indiana residents was conducted from July through October 2003 to assess public opinion about education on correct condom use for HIV and STD prevention; condom availability in Indiana public high schools; and issues related to condom use, effectiveness and promotion. Data were analyzed using bivariate and linear regression techniques. RESULTS: A majority of respondents strongly or somewhat agreed that instruction on correct condom use for HIV and STD prevention should be provided in public high schools (77%), classroom instruction should include condoms (71%), only medically accurate information about condoms should being given (94%) and the federal government should promote condoms (70%). Fewer than half (48%) strongly or somewhat agreed that condoms should be made available to teenagers in public high schools without parental permission. Nearly all (92%) considered condoms at least somewhat effective in preventing HIV and other STDs. Non-Republican party affiliation, younger age and condom use within the previous five years were each significantly associated with having positive opinions on many of the condom-related statements. CONCLUSIONS: Public opinion appears to support the provision of correct condom use information in Indiana public schools. Schools should consider providing only medically accurate information about condoms and including condoms in instruction so students can see and touch them. Yarber, W. L., Milhausen, R. R., Crosby, R. A., Torabi, M. R. (2005). Public opinion about condoms for HIV and STD prevention: a Midwestern state telephone survey. Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health, 37(3). 148-154. Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In addition, correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/od/condoms.pdf CDC. (July 12, 2006). Condom effectiveness. http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/od/condom_effectiveness.html



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butch

posted April 23, 2007 at 12:53 am


You said that prison doesn’t work and never has. But yes, my statement was more to say “what are you talking about, Butch?” kevin s. We must have prisons and some need to be separated from society but prisons do not fix any problems. Prisons only separate some that we don’t think or know how to include in civil society. I don’t have enough experience with pedophiles but them seem to go to prison, get treatment and come out and do it again. Prison didn’t fix them!



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jesse

posted April 23, 2007 at 1:15 am


Butch, You must know that pedophilia is a specific problem that is associated with a high rate of recidivism…other crimes (e.g., tax fraud) have lower rates, of course. The purpose of prison isn’t just to reform criminals. It’s also to deter would-be criminals from committing crimes. Heavy penalties for dead beat dads would likely have an impact in both of these ways.



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butch

posted April 23, 2007 at 1:24 am


I am staunchly pro-life, but I would concede that we take the legality issue off the table so we can stop arguing about that and get down to business about how to take care of the root causes. Making it illegal will not stop abortion, but dealing with the root causes will. Squeaky I feel that we live in a “basketball/football coach” society. Give 100 or 110%, which is of course BS. Those who study human behavior suggest a really sharp person is operating at 60-70%. We have to accept less than 100%, celebrate the 60% and quit griping about the 40%. If you are opposed to abortion then go work in a clinic that counsels against abortion AND be there for the ones who don t have an abortion. If you think counseling against is enough then stop there and start again the next day. I promise that will be all you can say grace over. I think I m echoing your point of fixing the cause, if you get to 60-70% fixing the cause you will be world famous. Jesus came to forgive, forgive others and yourself for less than 100% of whatever your position is.



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jesse

posted April 23, 2007 at 1:29 am


Neuronurse, I don’t doubt that there are some programs out there that have been shown to have some level of effectiveness …but there are a lot of ineffective programs, as well. And I would wager a heavy sum that the sex ed programs found to be reliably effective have a very small impact on pregnancy and abortion rates, which was, after all, the topic of this post. Are you aware of any specific government program that has been consistently found to lead to major decreases in abortion rates? I’d be interested in reading anything about such programs.



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butch

posted April 23, 2007 at 1:33 am


Neuro-nurse–actually, I agree with you. Abstinence is a fine concept, but abstinence-only sex education does not seem to work. Barb I go back to my previous point about 100%, nothing works 100%. The problem with the give 100% crap is if it doesn’t work 100% one side or the other is griping. What is wrong with teaching abstinence and birth control in the same class? I personally taught my children that sex was wonderful and terrible and should be approached with care and respect. If you decide to have sex don t create a baby until you are ready to feed and care for it.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 23, 2007 at 1:36 am


“Medical research looks at p-values, but if you’re doing the wrong analyses or have the wrong methodology, p-values will be meaningless.” That’s the whole point behind peer-review. Remember that medical research is reviewed almost exclusively by medical doctors. Keep that in mind before you start tearing into the abstracts and quotes that I cited above as bad science. I cannot provide links to the full texts of these articles, but if you provide me with your Email address, I d be more than happy to send you the full text to each one of the documents I cited above. You can read through them and inform me of the flaws in these articles that the physicians who reviewed them missed. I ve only skimmed the surface of the research out there. Abstinence-only education is based on bad science.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 23, 2007 at 1:42 am


“I don’t doubt that there are some programs out there that have been shown to have some level of effectiveness” See Kirby, D. (2002). Effective approaches to reducing adolescent unprotected sex, pregnancy, and childbearing. Journal of Sex Research, 39(1), 51-57, cited above.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 23, 2007 at 1:58 am

jesse

posted April 23, 2007 at 2:02 am


Abstinence-only education is based on bad science. –You could say the same of the sex-ed programs your article mentions that were not effective. The only programs it mentions as having an impact on pregnancy rates have nothing to do with sex (they’re service learning programs). The truth is that both sides of the debate overstate the evils of the other side. Abstinence ed people appear to be wrong that comp ed increases sexual activity. And there’s evidence that abstinence ed doesn’t increase risky sexual activity (see the recent Mathematica study). It’s also deceptive to call many of the comp ed classes “abstinence plus”, as they often poo poo the notion of abstinence and teach that premarital sex is a normal, healthy thing to do. The truth is that there are a lot of ineffective programs out there, and it’s important that each undergoes empirical scrutiny. You may not have realized this when citing it, but the promise pledge article you mention above is actually evidence in favor of such pledges, as they are associated with delays in sexual activity.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 23, 2007 at 2:39 am


The only programs it mentions as having an impact on pregnancy rates have nothing to do with sex (they’re service learning programs). Did you read the article? Sex and HIV education programs, clinic protocols, and service learning programs are complementary: The first two groups of programs focus upon the sexual antecedents of sexual risk-taking (e.g., the sexual beliefs, attitudes, norms, and self-efficacy related to sexual behaviors) in different settings and in different formats (group sessions vs. one-on-one), while service learning programs address nonsexual antecedents (such as connections to adults or belief in the future). there’s evidence that abstinence ed doesn’t increase risky sexual activity I don t recall anyone making that claim certainly not I. It’s also deceptive to call many of the comp ed classes “abstinence plus”, as they often poo poo the notion of abstinence and teach that premarital sex is a normal, healthy thing to do. Do you have a reference for that (consider the source), or is that your opinion? The truth is that there are a lot of ineffective programs out there, and it’s important that each undergoes empirical scrutiny. You get absolutely no argument from me that s why I posted these citations. the promise pledge article you mention above is actually evidence in favor of such pledges, as they are associated with delays in sexual activity. The Kirby article states, Although none of these three studies found significant effects upon behavior, the primary conclusion reached is that the evidence is not conclusive about the impact of abstinence-only programs. Br ckner & Bearman (2005) state, Pledgers are consistently less likely to be exposed to risk factors across a wide range of indicators, but their STD infection rate does not differ from nonpledgers. Possible explanations are that pledgers are less likely than others to use condoms at sexual debut and to be tested and diagnosed with STDs. The desired outcome is reducing STIs and teen pregnancy. (There was no differentiation as to whether or not the nonpledgers had received comprehensive sex education)



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Sarasotakid

posted April 23, 2007 at 2:53 am


Kid, it happens to all of us sometimes. If we didn’t have strong opinions and beliefs, and we didn’t think this stuff matters on some level, it would be a dull blog. Carl Copas Thank you for your kind words, Carl. Peace.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 23, 2007 at 3:13 am


The only programs it mentions as having an impact on pregnancy rates have nothing to do with sex (they’re service learning programs). “In sum, these data strongly indicate that sex and HIV education programs do not significantly increase any measure of sexual activity, as some people have feared, and that to the contrary, may delay or reduce sexual intercourse among teens. These results are also consistent with reviews of programs evaluated in other countries that have also found that sex and HIV education programs do not increase any measure of sexual activity (Grunseit, Kippax, Aggleton, Baldo, & Slutkin, 1997). “These studies also demonstrate that some programs increased condom use or contraceptive use more generally. Of the 18 programs for which impact on condom use was evaluated, 10 programs (or more than half) significantly increased some measure of condom use (Coyle et al., 1999; Hubbard et al., 1998; Jemmott et al., 1992, 1998; Magura et al., 1994; Main et al., 1994; Rotheram-Borus et al., 1991; St. Lawrence et al., 1995; Walter & Vaughn, 1993). Similarly, 4 of 11 programs that measured contraceptive use more generally significantly increased its use (Aarons et al., 2000; Coyle et al., 1999; Gottsegen & Philliber, 2000; Kirby et al., 1991). None of the programs reduced either condom or contraceptive use. Taken together, these results are quite positive. “A disproportionate number of the programs that significantly increased either condom or contraceptive use more generally were HIV education programs that increased condom use. Eight out of 11 HIV education programs found significant effects on condom use, while two out of seven sex education programs found significant effects on condom use and 4 out of 11 sex education programs found significant effects on contraceptive use more generally.” “These three studies clearly indicate that certain school-based and community-based sex and HIV education programs can delay sex, decrease the frequency of sex, increase condom or contraceptive use, or decrease unprotected sex. In previous years, few studies measured or found long-term effects. However, that too has changed. Several recent studies have found lasting effects for 1 year, some have found effects for about 18 months, and one study found effects that lasted at least 31 months after the intervention (Coyle et al., 2001).” Kirby, 2002



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 23, 2007 at 3:39 am


Abstinence-only programs represent not so much bad science as bad sociology. I mean, simply saying “no” to sex without saying “yes” to something else — not necessarily sex, of course — makes for total nonsense. There has to be a substitute for sexual activity.



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butch

posted April 23, 2007 at 3:42 am


Heavy penalties for dead beat dads would likely have an impact in both of these ways. jesse I personally know a man who has run from paying child support for years and he has been jailed, hasn’t changed a thing. Prison is not an answer, for this discretion. An ankle monitor might be a way but taking them out of the workforce, to punish is not the way. We have heavy penalties for drug use, I rest may case.



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butch

posted April 23, 2007 at 3:44 am


There has to be a substitute for sexual activity. Rick Nowlin I haven’t found one since I was 13, how bout the the rest of you?



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kevin s.

posted April 23, 2007 at 3:54 am


For the record, my proposal was to force dads to work, either in or out of jail.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 23, 2007 at 4:08 am


I haven’t found one since I was 13, how bout the the rest of you? Sports, chores, jobs, studies, community work — anything to keep busy and out of trouble.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 23, 2007 at 4:31 am


“Abstinence-only programs represent not so much bad science as bad sociology. I mean, simply saying “no” to sex without saying “yes” to something else — not necessarily sex, of course — makes for total nonsense. There has to be a substitute for sexual activity.” I agree to a point – the point being, that the majority of U.S. teenagers have had sex by the time they graduate high school ( It is estimated that by the end of high school, nearly two thirds of American youth are sexually active Starkman & Rajani, 2002; Nationwide, over half of teens aged 15 to 19 are sexually active Bennett & Assefi, 2003). It is na ve to think that any intervention will reduce adolescent sexual activity to the point where the life-changing events of pregnancy and STIs will not be a public health problem for that population. Teenagers are not dumb. If you conceal information or give them misinformation, they are going to figure it out, and you will have destroyed your credibility. It is easy to mistake adolescent sexual activity as a moral issue. It is a public health issue that requires public health interventions. It is also na ve to think that your moral values are universally accepted. We cannot condemn people who do not share our values, particularly when our morality causes us to believe it is in their best interest to withhold potentially life-saving information from them. People cannot accept Jesus as their Lord and personal savior when they are dead. In addition, there are the costs to our society incurred from unwanted pregnancies, the chronic illness known as AIDS, and medical costs associated with other STIs. Our desired outcome cannot be to stop teenagers from engaging in sex. It s not going to happen. Our desired outcome has to be the reduction of teenage pregnancies and STIs. We cannot achieve the desired outcome through abstinence-only programs.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 23, 2007 at 4:34 am


“I haven’t found one since I was 13, how bout the the rest of you?” I don’t recommend the substitute I used.



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jesse

posted April 23, 2007 at 5:10 am


Neuronurse, You do realize that the stuff you quoted said these sex ed programs led to increases in condom use. It said nothing about whether they decreased pregnancy rates.



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jesse

posted April 23, 2007 at 5:24 am


As far as condoms decreasing the risk of STDs. I could see them being effective when people are using them for one-night stands. But people tend to stop using condoms when they are in a relationship (I’ve just heard a professor talk about this…I’m not familiar with the research). It makes intuitive sense that people would stop using them after they are in a committed relationship, or at least use them less often. I’m guessing this is why HIV and other STD rates have continued to increase, despite the widespread messages about condom use over the past few decades. There are also so many factors that inhibit the use of condoms every time people have sex (drinking, drugs, getting caught up in the moment).



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butch

posted April 23, 2007 at 6:49 am


There are also so many factors that inhibit the use of condoms every time people have sex (drinking, drugs, getting caught up in the moment). jesse The burden of education is to teach, of course. You can’t leave the classroom with them and see what they do. I think a piece of the education is how really dangerous sex can be. If you enter a sexual relationship disease testing should be done before the condoms stay in the drawer. We need cheap disease testing to halt STD transmission. The right wing argument is always the silly it sends the wrong message . It wouldn t send the wrong message if testing saved my grandchildren from AIDS. I don t care how they are saved. My grandson is the only one old enough and he is pledged to abstinence, if it works I couldn t be happier but again I don t care what works and probably different messages will work for different people. Could it be that unlike condoms, one size doesn t fit all.



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butch

posted April 23, 2007 at 7:04 am


I haven’t found one since I was 13, how bout the the rest of you? Sports, chores, jobs, studies, community work — anything to keep busy and out of trouble. Rick Nowlin I did all of those, what about you and did those or others change your sexual behavior.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 23, 2007 at 1:51 pm


I did all of those, what about you and did those or others change your sexual behavior. I think you may have missed the point. The idea is to keep kids distracted sufficiently so that they don’t have the time. Combine these with a strong family and (hopefully) church life and they won’t be emotionally vulnerable to sexual temptation. See, in this culture everyone wants a “magic bullet,” an instant solution, to the problem of teen sexuality (and thus abortion) where it just doesn’t exist. There’s also the biblical admonition to “treat younger women as sisters, with all purity” — and you certainly don’t treat your sister as though she were a slut.



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Daniel

posted April 23, 2007 at 3:19 pm


105 comments so far, maybe 10 of which generate some sort of valuable insight or discourse (most of which are ‘neuro nurse’). *Sigh* I hope the following posts of mine will be of some value to someone.



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Daniel

posted April 23, 2007 at 3:19 pm


Jim Wallis: If the legality of abortion is a separate issue from whether abortion is right or wrong, as we agree it is, then the only proper arguments I’ve heard for keeping abortion legal are (1) it’s popular to do so and (2) not doing so is unfair to women, who often do not have other options at the ready. If we can agree thus far that these are the two central arguments of the “pro-choice & life” position then I have two questions: 1. Isn’t relying on the popularity of keeping abortion legal directly contradictory to your roots in the biblical Prophets and the American civil rights movement? 2. Snice you believe abortion should be rare, I take it that unborn life or at least potential life has some ontological value in your estimation; those lives or would-be lives mean something sacred. So, then, what is the rationale for believing that we cannot simultaneously work to give women more choices and more support while also supporting the unborn by making it illegal to kill them or prevent them from living? respectfully submitted,



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Daniel

posted April 23, 2007 at 3:29 pm


Detractors (kevin s, jesse, etc): There is this ubiquitous objection to Wallis’ idea that pro-choice and pro-life are not inconsistent. The first comment above was Kevin saying that the two are by definition contradictory, and jesse reaffirmed this objection, calling it an inconsistent ethic of life. I have a few questions: 1. Isn’t there real value in agreeing with people who hold this position that we do, in fact, need to take concrete measures to reduce the number of abortions, indepentlt of the legality issue? Or is the pride of our consistency worth sacrificing some more lives to hold onto? 2. Isn’t law separate from morality? Whether something is legal (i.e. promiscuous fornication) or illegal (i.e. jaywalking) does seem to express moral principles for social life but don’t those break down at the individual level? Wouldn’t it be good to jaywalk in some situations and bad to fornicate promiscuously in all others? If so, then isn;t the debate about whether abortion is right or wrong separate from the debate about whether it should be legal or illegal? If so, shouldn’t you separate out your arguments and make a compelling case for making it illegal? Will you do so? Respectfully submitted, 2.



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Daniel

posted April 23, 2007 at 3:32 pm


Apologies for the typos & errors above!



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jesse

posted April 23, 2007 at 4:17 pm


Daniel, I don’t think any of us have been taking issue with your point #1. As I said, “I agree that we should support policies that “dramatically reduce” abortions. The policies Jim mentions have bipartisan support, but few believe they will lead to a dramatic decrease.” Cutting off Medicaid funds for abortion and making it illegal would definitely lead to decreases, though (Wallis’ favorite candidates are willing to do neither). For point #2, I agree that there is a difference between what is moral and what is legal. You could apply the same argument to murder, though. It is immoral, but why should it be illegal? I don’t really know what reason Wallis would give for making murder illegal yet leaving the unborn without legal protection, but I’m guessing it would rely on characteristics such as location or dependence of the child. Does something as arbitrary as location really determine whether murder should be legal? Does whether a child is dependent on the mother count? Children outside the womb are dependent, too (and many rely on significant support from dads, I should add). As are many of the elderly and disabled…should their legal protections be revoked, as well? What if child support payments made dads have to work 10-20 extra hours a week, which led many to develop heart conditions in response to all the stress and strain? If many died as a result? Would that give them the right to kill the children they supported? This seems to be the argument Jim is making when referring to back alley abortions (which fails to take into account possible deaths that could result from LEGAL abortion being so widespread).



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jesse

posted April 23, 2007 at 4:22 pm


I would add that the other argument Jim is making for keeping abortion legal is that it’s popular to do so and nothing could be done about it…that seems to be his main argument in this post. Of course, the same could be said about slavery at some point. And these factors also wouldn’t keep him from working for policies that might not receive popular support (e.g., living wage, universal health care, pacifist foreign policy). I agree with Kevin that you only really hear this argument made with abortion.



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kevin s.

posted April 23, 2007 at 4:23 pm


“The first comment above was Kevin saying that the two are by definition contradictory,” While I agree that they are, my point was the Wallis holds an inconsistent ethic of life. Regardless of whether you feel his position is right, it remains inconsistent in its application of justice on behalf of the born and unborn, respectively. Isn’t there real value in agreeing with people who hold this position that we do, in fact, need to take concrete measures to reduce the number of abortions, indepentlt of the legality issue?” Sure. I support crisis pregnancy centers, adoption reform, tougher laws for deadbeat dads, parental notification laws etc… Aside from banning the practice, the best way to curb abortions (from a public policy perspective) is to address the woman who are pregnant. “Isn’t law separate from morality?” In a certain respect. You could argue that laws against murder relate to a stability that is necessary for a government to function. However, if we legalized murder, our outrage would extend beyond simple worries of societal stability, yes? “If so, then isn;t the debate about whether abortion is right or wrong separate from the debate about whether it should be legal or illegal?” Yes. “If so, shouldn’t you separate out your arguments and make a compelling case for making it illegal? Will you do so?” Sure, but Wallis’ post frames the debate here, and he has certainly not made a compelling case for keeping it legal. I can state my case, but later, as I have to run to a meeting.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 23, 2007 at 4:28 pm


You do realize that the stuff you quoted said these sex ed programs led to increases in condom use. It said nothing about whether they decreased pregnancy rates. You are correct, and I owe you an apology for diversion back towards reduction in STIs and condom use. However, I don t see that reduction in teen pregnancy was a measured outcome in any of the sex ed programs. The Kirby article used measures of teen pregnancy as one of inclusion criteria for his review. Are you aware of any specific government program that has been consistently found to lead to major decreases in abortion rates? No, and I doubt that you could demonstrate an association between any program and the decline in abortion, much less causality. Incidentally, the abortion rate in the U.S. peaked in 1990 and has been declining since, except that between 2000 and 2003 the rate of abortion among girls under 15 years of age has been increasing. You can check the CDC s abortion surveillance (search ‘abortion surveillance 2003′on cdc.gov – 2003 is the most recent) if you wish, but I believe that girls under 15 account for about 1% of all abortions in the U.S. I do recall that the abortion rate for under 15s is 830 per 1000 live births (for every 100 live births to girls under 15, 83 girls under 15 have an abortion)(I recall that because I was shocked by it and talked about it with my wife). As far as condoms decreasing the risk of STDs. I could see them being effective when people are using them for one-night stands. But people tend to stop using condoms when they are in a relationship That may be true. I suspect that many people in committed relationships who have been using condoms as prophylaxis against pregnancy and STIs have themselves tested before abandoning their use. The reality of any public health intervention, be it smoking cessation, childhood immunizations, wearing seat belt or cycling helmets, is that you cannot expect 100% compliance. As I wrote above, I think it would be na ve to think that any intervention would reduce the incidence of pregnancy and STIs in adolescents to the point where we wouldn t have to worry about it anymore. More realistic goals are reduction of the incidence of the targeted health issue and a reduction in the disease burden. There are also so many factors that inhibit the use of condoms every time people have sex (drinking, drugs, getting caught up in the moment). Very true, and I know that public health workers are addressing this issue. I see posters about the association between alcohol, drugs, and sex when I visit the undergraduate campus (as infrequently as possible). I’m guessing this is why HIV and other STD rates have continued to increase, despite the widespread messages about condom use over the past few decades. I m not really sure what the trend has been in STI rates. That information is readily available in the MMWR (cdc.gov), but I ll concede that that may be partially true. I suspect (conjecture on my part) that part of the reason is that people may have grown tired of the message, or do not perceive themselves as vulnerable to STI or that STI are not a serious threat to their health. Finally, I hope that you feel our discussion’ has been in the spirit of debate, but I m afraid that I have been responsible for the adversarial elements between you and I on this thread, and I apologize. I have no doubt that our core values are very similar, and we want to see the same outcome (reduction in the abortion rate and teen pregnancy). Today is the second anniversary of my marriage, and as you probably know from reading my posts here, she is a conservative. She and I have had this discussion, but I have not been as tenacious with her as I have been with you. Ultimately, even though she and I come from very different backgrounds, our marriage is built on a firm commitment to the Lord. We ve found that at the heart of any difference of opinion that she and I have, we usually have the same values, just different perspectives. I have found this to be one of the most richly rewarding aspects to our marriage. Peace!



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jesse

posted April 23, 2007 at 4:39 pm


Neuronurse, Thanks for your comments…they are appreciated! It’s been nice discussing these things with a fellow New Orleans native (I live in Texas now). Best,



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 23, 2007 at 5:07 pm


Isn’t relying on the popularity of keeping abortion legal directly contradictory to your roots in the biblical Prophets and the American civil rights movement? Not necessarily, because when conservatives rail against abortion they do so simply for the sake of procuring and maintaining authority rather than Biblical justice. It’s so much easier, as I’ve mentioned on other posts, to make abortion illegal than really to do something about it — which takes cultural change. Of course, the same could be said about slavery at some point. Oh, I dunno … the same people who supported slavery as a rule then would oppose abortion today. It was the Jim Wallis-style evangelicals of that day who tried to overturn slavery. Several posters have said that Wallis is unequivocally “pro-choice” on abortion, and while that’s not clear to me, he has always said, and is saying now, that people on both sides need to work together to work to reduce — and hopefully end — abortion. This isn’t new, by the way; back in 1989 I read an article in USA Today about small groups of people in three cities who were doing just that. Did they change their positions? No, and they had no intention of doing so. But if a woman decides not to terminate a pregnancy the “pro-choice” side would applaud that. Those of us (and I include myself in that) who are “pro-life” need to exploit that opening.



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jesse

posted April 23, 2007 at 5:42 pm


Rick, I’m sorry, but those are some silly, sweeping judgmental statements to make. It’s nice that you can see inside our hearts to know that we care about “authority”, rather than “Biblical justice.” I will try not to entertain these ad hominem arguments you have a tendency to make, but I will tell you again: they make for fruitless discussion and only serve to provoke rather than engage. And you could also say that many of the same people who supported slavery support abortion today and many of those who opposed slavery oppose abortion today. Of course, all of this is meaningless and says nothing about who’s on the right side of the issue today.



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Payshun

posted April 23, 2007 at 6:24 pm


Jesse, A case can be made for Rick’s argument about authority being the central aim because of the value for unborn life that many conservatives champion over much else. That doesn’t mean that other sweeping issues about ending unborn life and creating a safe womb are not part and parcel of this discussion (ie the sacredness of life, the innocence of the unborn ((even though that last one is a myth.)) I think you bring up a good point about Rick’s remarks dividing us and I think there are times where it is right for Rick to do exactly that. You were the first to bring up the American Civil rights issue in connection w/ abortion, and pro-life strategies. But then when confronted w/ the rights’ abyssmal support of black people you then say Rick is not engaging in support. You can’t have it both ways. Either you accept the criticism and take the support w/ it or there is no real dialogue just some weak kneed talk that leads to know where. I know hearing the critique is hard (as well it should be) but maybe if you listened to it and took that seriously this conversation, dialogue or what have you could get to much deeper fair and come up w/ solutions to this problem so that both sides can come to a consensus. The truth is we need you all and you need us. We are in this together and the civil rights era can’t be merely used by you folks on the right to bolster your argument and then thrown away so simply when it critiques you all of failed practices. I am tenth generation member of that generation. I don’t see it ending simply because the Voting Rights Act passed. It’s still ongoing and I as a member of that need for justice need people like you that will stand in the gap w/ us against continued oppression, injustice and racism. Just like you want us to stand in the gap against abortion and the death of the unborn so too do we need you. That means that both sides of this issue are going to have to embrace some of the sacred cows of the other and vice versa. p



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jesse

posted April 23, 2007 at 6:39 pm


Payshun, You’re basically asking for me to concede that all conservatives are evil and don’t care about black people or others outside the womb. I’m sorry…I won’t do that. The idea that conservatives only focus on laws is also proved false by the hundreds of crisis pregnancy centers and homes for unwed mothers set up and run by thousands of conservatives all over the country. But this is an old point that many here just insist on ignoring. The real problem is that Rick and many here (including Wallis) don’t think that Jesus-loving believers can have honest disagreements about public policy. This is especially unfortunate because I consider Rick to be a brother in Christ.



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butch

posted April 23, 2007 at 7:01 pm


I think you may have missed the point. The idea is to keep kids distracted sufficiently so that they don’t have the time. Rick Rowlin Let me see if I have your point, here son take this basketball and dribble until that erection goes down then come back and I’ll have you cut the grass so you won’t get another erection. BTW you didn t tell us at what age you first had sex or are you afraid it will send the wrong message. I think you missed the point. Nothing is more futile than trying to distract someone from interest in sex.



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butch

posted April 23, 2007 at 7:06 pm


I hope the following posts of mine will be of some value to someone. Daniel Dan you will have to define the values you want then we can get in line?



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kevin s.

posted April 23, 2007 at 7:23 pm


“A case can be made for Rick’s argument about authority being the central aim because of the value for unborn life that many conservatives champion over much else.” Yes. A case can be made for some of Donny’s statements about liberals and sexual immorality. But he doesn’t make a case. He simply declares, which does nothing to contribute to the discussion. ” Either you accept the criticism and take the support w/ it or there is no real dialogue just some weak kneed talk that leads to know where.” So the only way to have real dialogue is to concede that conservatives would support slavery? Do i understand you correctly? Either way, Jesse’s point was not to trumpet conservatives’ record on civil rights. His point was that an analogy can be drawn between how we handled slavery and how we handle abortion, and that it was incongruous to oppose slavery without proposing to ban the practice.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 23, 2007 at 8:22 pm


I will try not to entertain these ad hominem arguments you have a tendency to make, but I will tell you again: they make for fruitless discussion and only serve to provoke rather than engage. I’m sorry to have to keep saying this, but conservatives have this problem that they will not address — when you do, and I know this from experience, you are labeled a “liberal,” “socialist” or some other derogatory name that contributes even less to the discussion than anything I’ve said. My statement thus stands. The real problem is that Rick and many here (including Wallis) don’t think that Jesus-loving believers can have honest disagreements about public policy. No, it’s not that WE can’t. In our experience, because of what I said before, the RIGHT can’t. If that were the case this blog would have no need to exist. Let me see if I have your point, here son take this basketball and dribble until that erection goes down then come back and I’ll have you cut the grass so you won’t get another erection. Droll. The idea is to focus less on sex in the first place, which is hard to do with all the time on your hands. After all, before the 1950s that’s how it was done. So the only way to have real dialogue is to concede that conservatives would support slavery? Do I understand you correctly? I’m saying that, given history, anti-slavery and anti-abortion are on opposite ideological sides. That said, it would have been likely that the political right would have supported slavery, which is not necessarily the same question, but it does strike me as a bit hypocritical.



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Sarasotakid

posted April 23, 2007 at 9:10 pm


Rick, you are so right. The conservatives would have supported slavery given their love of the status quo no matter how unjust. Now you have to decide whether to continue debating and feed the trolls or let them starve fuming in their own anger.



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Kristopher

posted April 23, 2007 at 9:10 pm


Contrary to a couple posts above, I have found this debate to be pretty interesting. I wish that I could have gotten in a little earlier. In regards to the sex-ed debate, I can’t help but see a little cultural Marxism shining through. I am not being accusatory, and I am not flinging out conspiracy theories, but the way that sex-ed is taught now-a-days is adding to the over sexification of the generation that it is being taught to. I am not saying that sex-ed is as extreme as it was when Georg Lukacs was trying to de-Christianize Hungary back in the early 20′s, but there are some similarities. Kids are being bombarded with sex everyday, whether it is the clothes being sold, the music that is played, the trash on TV, even down to the language that is being used. Then they go to school, and are taught how to have sex. Don’t get me wrong, there needs to be an education on the consequences, responsibilities, and the health aspect, but having the attitude that “they are going to do it anyway so we might as well make sure they are doing it safe,” isn’t responsible. I do have to admit that I don’t know what the answer is, and I don’t know the right way. I am sure that some of you would say that after saying all of that, all that I have written is simple mutterings, but I think that it is a concern that we may never come up with an answer to. Just like someone said earlier, we will never be 100%, but I can t help to think that the only way we guarantee that we will never be at 100% is to have the attitude that 100% is impossible. I was one of the kids whose parents didn’t let him go through sex-ed at school. Fortunately, my 6th grade Sunday school had a program to teach us an abbreviated version of sex-ed. I don’t know if it was special circumstances, but no one that I knew ended up getting pregnant, or having abortions. To the best of my knowledge most of the kids that I grew up with in my church didn’t have sex until they got married, myself included. Maybe sex education should be the job of the church, and not the government. Have there been any studies on this? By the way, Butch, if you were wondering, I was 22 when I first had sex, which was with my wife on my wedding night. I am actually pretty proud of it. And I don’t want to sound “snarky”, or unleash the wrath of the Sarasotakid on me, but… Kid, in the divorce debate, seeing how you have had some family law cases, wouldn’t you have monetary motivation for your argument against banning no-fault divorces? I may have missed something, cause I am sure that Kevin would have picked up on this, but it seems to me that no-fault divorces are quick and easy, and probably come with a pretty good pay day, as since they are easy the volume is pretty high. If divorce wasn’t as easy, and took more time, though there would be more billable hours, the ultimate payout at the end in terms of shear volume of cases wouldn’t be as high. I may be way off base, and I am sure that a scathing rant will be directed toward me, but I thought that I would voice my observation.



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kevin s.

posted April 23, 2007 at 9:23 pm


“Rick, you are so right. The conservatives would have supported slavery given their love of the status quo no matter how unjust.” But the status quo w/r/t abortion is for abortion to be legal. This doesn’t even make sense.



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Kristopher

posted April 23, 2007 at 9:25 pm


“I’m saying that, given history, anti-slavery and anti-abortion are on opposite ideological sides. That said, it would have been likely that the political right would have supported slavery, which is not necessarily the same question, but it does strike me as a bit hypocritical.” Isn’t it weird that the political left have an acting senator who is an ex-KKK member.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 23, 2007 at 9:32 pm


After reading my last paragraph I need to restate and elaborate on my answer to Kevin’s question. Even I concede that it didn’t make any sense. When abortion was originally outlawed in the late 19th century, “pro-lifers” did not focus simply, or even primarily, on changing laws. Rather, the focused upon changing sexual ethics, encouraging men to stay sexually pure and women not to have sex without commitment (and, according to my sources, illegitimacy also was a major problem). So by the time anti-abortion laws were passed there was hardly a peep. This is not what you see today because the dynamics have changed in the last few decades. Women of course have become more sexually “free” — some feminists believe that prudish conservatives fear powerful women they can’t control — and the ability to “control their bodies” is part of that mentality, which is where the conservative anti-abortion mentality comes in. (I don’t agree, but it’s beside the point.) On the other hand, you still have the double standard that men are still supposed to “get theirs.” (I mean, how many products do you see on TV about women’s sexual dysfunction?) I hope this explains.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 23, 2007 at 9:36 pm


Isn’t it weird that the political left have an acting senator who is an ex-KKK member. Assuming that you’re talking about Bob Byrd, if you examine all of his political positions — he’s “pro-life,” BTW — he doesn’t look all that liberal.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 23, 2007 at 9:42 pm


If divorce wasn’t as easy, and took more time, though there would be more billable hours, the ultimate payout at the end in terms of shear volume of cases wouldn’t be as high. I may be way off base, and I am sure that a scathing rant will be directed toward me, but I thought that I would voice my observation. That’s why “no-fault” divorce was instituted in the first place, to lessen the trauma. However, it is my contention that it probably should be just as hard to get married in the first place, if not harder.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 23, 2007 at 9:46 pm


Kristopher, “way that sex-ed is taught now-a-days is adding to the over sexification of the generation that it is being taught to.” I agree that our society sexualizes children (look at the way prepubescent girls are dressing), but a couple of the articles I cited above contradict the notion that sex ed increases sexual activity among teenagers.



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Payshun

posted April 23, 2007 at 10:20 pm


I agree w/ neuro-nurse. I was a teacher and kids were not watching porn in sex ed. Quite the opposite. They were taught to put condemns on correctly and to not be afraid of their sexuality. The problem is society at large has been bombarding our kids w/ sex since the time they were children. I know you all on the right like to think that hiding human sexuality is the best thing possible but some kids are having sex. For those kids that are I think teaching them abstinence only is dangerous. I don’t think teaching someone how to use a condemn is teaching them how to have sex. Like human beings need help in that department. (They do but that’s a whole other post and reserved for smarter people than I to talk about.)That drive is pretty natural. “Isn’t it weird that the political left have an acting senator who is an ex-KKK member.” Isn’t weird that all those racist southerners went and joined the republican party when Kenedy signed the voting rights act? Don’t you all conservatives believe in redemption? p



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Payshun

posted April 23, 2007 at 10:30 pm


Jesse, You’re basically asking for me to concede that all conservatives are evil and don’t care about black people or others outside the womb. I’m sorry…I won’t do that. Neither am I asking you too. I am saying that the right has had an horrible history of not supporting black people. That’s a fact. That doesn’t mean that some do care. Some do and Some don’t but I have seen this racism on both sides of the political track and even in my heart so I am not here to judge anyone, I am just pointing history. “The idea that conservatives only focus on laws is also proved false by the hundreds of crisis pregnancy centers and homes for unwed mothers set up and run by thousands of conservatives all over the country. But this is an old point that many here just insist on ignoring.” Considering some of the really bad theology and judgement some of these girls get there, I wish many of those centers were shut down and they went somewhere that offered secular care. Ok that was harsh and wrong. I know plenty of Christian places that offer apartments, funds… to unwed mothers. I applaud their efforts they are truly doing good. But by that same token some do tremendous harm. I wish you all would focus on cleaning those lame ones. “The real problem is that Rick and many here (including Wallis) don’t think that Jesus-loving believers can have honest disagreements about public policy. This is especially unfortunate because I consider Rick to be a brother in Christ.” I am still trying to understand here. What type of support are you looking for from Rick? What do you want the left to do help or support some of your efforts? p



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Payshun

posted April 23, 2007 at 10:30 pm


Oh and Butch I agree w/ you completely. p



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Carl Copas

posted April 23, 2007 at 10:32 pm


When does a fetus become a human being?



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avoiceofreason

posted April 23, 2007 at 10:37 pm


While the decision may be significant in that it is a first, I don’t think it is something to dance in the street about, or for those in favor of pro-abortion legislation to mourn too much over, due to the very limited scope of the decision. I am curious about this blogs silence about the increase in forced abortions in China. It would seem that this issue is one of importance that has been reported on several blogs, though the media in our nation refuse to cover it in any large scale other than NPR in today’s morning drive. This is particularly disconcerting in that the victims targeted are typically Christians in China or Buddhists in Tibet. I am not accusing about other reasons in the decision not for the editorial staff to remain silent on this basic violation of human rights, and wonder if it is due to ignorance of the incidents last week, lack of conviction in interfering in a nation’s policy, even if it is among the more evil policies from a moral vantage, or if there are other “political” issues which would generate more interest. I don’t expect an answer, but felt this was not an inappropriate place to voice concern and a bit of unhappiness.



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butch

posted April 23, 2007 at 10:43 pm


Rick, you are so right. The conservatives would have supported slavery given their love of the status quo no matter how unjust. Now you have to decide whether to continue debating and feed the trolls or let them starve fuming in their own anger. Sarasotakid Don’t know if I agree with comparing abortion to slavery but it brings in different circumstances and times leading to different interpretations. Roe v Wade codified rights under the constitution based on Supreme Court rulings that are now changed with a new Supreme Court ruling. The Supreme Court is the final word on our rights like it or not. I m troubled that this ruling will lead to so many State laws that you will not be able to count them leading to so many cases going back to the Supreme Court to rule on. Leaving this subject to be used by various political leaders, parties, and etc. to manipulate our political process, but it doesn t matter that is the final word today.



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Kristopher

posted April 23, 2007 at 10:51 pm


“That’s why “no-fault” divorce was instituted in the first place, to lessen the trauma. However, it is my contention that it probably should be just as hard to get married in the first place, if not harder.” I honestly don’t know how I feel about this statement. In some ways it makes since, on the other hand, more regulation isn’t what we need. How would you make it harder anyway? Would their be screenings before marriage? Manditory pre-marital counseling? Psychological compatability testing? The funny thing is, a lot of pastors make certain things like this mandatory before they will marry a couple anyway. I wish that the church could at least be an example for strong marraiges. When I hear the statistics about the divorce rate in the church, it makes me sick. I think that the liberal mindset has hurt Christian marriage. When I say liberal, I am not necessarily meaning in the political sense, and maybe liberal isn’t the right word, but the idea that “we dont get a long anymore” is means for a divorce is disgusting. People don’t look towards marriage as a sacred/Godly institution anymore. This brings up another debate, gay marriage, that I won’t get into. Rick, you might be right, making it harder to get married might help the divorce rate, but I think making it harder to get a divorce would work also. “Nihilo sanctum estne, is nothing sacred?” -Rosemarry Cross



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butch

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:00 pm


Droll. The idea is to focus less on sex in the first place, which is hard to do with all the time on your hands. After all, before the 1950s that’s how it was done. Rick Sex is such a powerful influence that thinking about focusing less on sex is utterly impossible. Responsible informed behavior is the only possible path to any answers. Rick you have not answered directly who and or how anyone changed your behavior. Who’s behavior has been changed and how. All of Neuro’s studies show little change in behavior and there are many other studies going further back than the 80′s or 90′s.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:01 pm


“maybe liberal isn’t the right word” “The Barna Research Group’s national study showed that members of nondenominational churches divorce 34 percent of the time in contrast to 25 percent for the general population. Nondenominational churches would include large numbers of Bible churches and other conservative evangelicals. Baptists had the highest rate of the major denominations: 29 percent. Born-again Christians’ rate was 27 percent. To make matters even more distressing for believers, atheists/agnostics had the lowest rate of divorce 21 percent.” http://www.adherents.com/largecom/baptist_divorce.html



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jesse

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:02 pm


Payshun, Neither am I asking you too. I am saying that the right has had an horrible history of not supporting black people. That’s a fact. That doesn’t mean that some do care. Some do and Some don’t but I have seen this racism on both sides of the political track and even in my heart so I am not here to judge anyone, I am just pointing history. –You didn’t really make the distinction between “the past right” and “the present right” (you just spoke of “the right”), nor did you acknowledge that many racists of the past were not conservative (e.g., Robert Byrd). But this talk of civil rights is generally beside the point. The only reason I brought up slavery was because Wallis wouldn’t have had the attitude towards it that he has towards abortion…”opposing” while being content with its legality. I am still trying to understand here. What type of support are you looking for from Rick? What do you want the left to do help or support some of your efforts? –My point is that it would be nice if Rick acknowledged that all conservatives are not evil and racist. But he seems to only see evil in the hearts of those he has ideological disagreements with. That’s fine, but don’t expect a discussion to last very long if you keep saying that I’m evil.



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Payshun

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:11 pm


–You didn’t really make the distinction between “the past right” and “the present right” (you just spoke of “the right”), nor did you acknowledge that many racists of the past were not conservative (e.g., Robert Byrd). But this talk of civil rights is generally beside the point. The only reason I brought up slavery was because Wallis wouldn’t have had the attitude towards it that he has towards abortion…”opposing” while being content with its legality. Well that’s because there is very little if any distinction for me. I can see your point. But i have a really serious question to ask. How does one stop a woman from having a procedure done to her own body while the life (parasitic at may be) is still growing? ” –My point is that it would be nice if Rick acknowledged that all conservatives are not evil and racist. But he seems to only see evil in the hearts of those he has ideological disagreements with. That’s fine, but don’t expect a discussion to last very long if you keep saying that I’m evil.” I am going to take liberty and speak for him. Rick does not see you as evil. He just thinks that there is evil in the hearts of conservatives just like in everyone elses. p



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Sarasotakid

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:18 pm


When does a fetus become a human being? Carl Copas Interesting you would ask that question, Carl. In the Talmud, fetuses were not thought to have the rights of a person who was already born. So there is not the same level of opposition to abortion in the Jewish religion as in Christianity- although there is some. I am not saying that I agree with the rabinnical interpretation, but it does provide one argument for the state respecting a woman’s right to privacy, i.e. there are other religions that view the beginning of life differently. That’s why I think that the SOJO position of seeking to reduce abortions as much as possible without an outright ban, is a legitimate and defensible position for a Christian organization.



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Kristopher

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:30 pm


I find it very offensive that some of you would suggest that I would have supported slavery. To generalize a group of people, and then speculate what they would have done or a position that they would have taken if they were in that time period is not only arrogant, but absurd. “Isn’t weird that all those racist southerners went and joined the republican party when Kenedy signed the voting rights act?” What is weird is that the voting rights act was passed in the senate by a vote of 77-19, and only 2 republicans voted against it. Where as 17 senate democrats voted against it. Is your theory that a bunch of them racist hicks moved to the republican party just speculation? Or is there fact behind that? by the way, Kennedy didn’t sign it, LBJ did.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:34 pm


When does a fetus become a human being? “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.” Catechism of the Catholic Church 2270 http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt3sect2chpt2art5.htm “Use of sensitive pregnancy tests suggest that approximately 25 to 40 per cent of conceptions may be lost [preimplantation] before they are clinically perceived.” Creasy & Resnik (1994) Maternal-fetal medicine, 3rd edition.



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jesse

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:37 pm


I am going to take liberty and speak for him. Rick does not see you as evil. He just thinks that there is evil in the hearts of conservatives just like in everyone elses. –Okay, let me rephrase…Rick believes that all conservatives do not care about women, blacks, or even unborn children. It doesn’t make having any kind of civil conversation with him any easier.



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Sarasotakid

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:42 pm


“And I don’t want to sound “snarky”, or unleash the wrath of the Sarasotakid on me, but… Kid, in the divorce debate, seeing how you have had some family law cases, wouldn’t you have monetary motivation for your argument against banning no-fault divorces? I may have missed something, cause I am sure that Kevin would have picked up on this, but it seems to me that no-fault divorces are quick and easy, and probably come with a pretty good pay day, as since they are easy the volume is pretty high. If divorce wasn’t as easy, and took more time, though there would be more billable hours, the ultimate payout at the end in terms of shear volume of cases wouldn’t be as high” Kristopher Kristopher by asking legitimate questions and positing valid points, you are not going to “unleash” my wrath. I do get upset with obstructionist trolls and you are not one of them. You have examined both sides of the issue. The scenario that you are posing, i.e., more billable hours, increased litigation, etc. might well accrue to the benefit of attorneys. Possibly attorneys would make more under a fault divorce regime. Why? Sadly enough the mores of society have changed and people will seek divorces. The question is then becomes do we make our courtrooms little ayatollah/moralistic proceedings or do we try keep the parties from hurting themselves further by not airing all of these issues in the open. While the proponents of returning to the “fault-based” divorce system have the laudable goal of wanting to reduce the divorce rate, I fear that if they do achieve success in reducing the divorce rate, it will be staistical success but not solve the underlying problem- i.e. families are disintegrating b/c of a number of social factors. So now, people would stay married on paper, but then they would live separately, have another partner on the side, etc. I see that often where countries make divorce more difficult through a fault-type system. In any event, the attorneys will make their money either way- with fewer higher paying cases or with more volume. Peace.



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CRP

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:47 pm


“I cannot see why gruesomeness of procedure should be a determinant of its morality or advisability,” “It is no more or less moral to perform this type of abortion vs. any other.” I disagree. Aborting a blastocyst or zygote is NOT the same thing aborting an embryo. “Nature” aborts nearly half of fertilized eggs spontaneously. While half of those spontaneously aborted have chromosomal damage, half do not. And women cannot even try to catch them with a very small fishing net, because many are reabsorbed into the woman’s body directly. What’s a Christian to do? Make plan B available.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:52 pm


Rick believes that all conservatives do not care about women, blacks, or even unborn children. It doesn’t make having any kind of civil conversation with him any easier. From a personal standpoint, many do care. But the ideology says otherwise, and many conservatives simply are unwilling to buck it in order to do what they know to be right lest they are no longer perceived as “conservative.”



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 23, 2007 at 11:59 pm


Is your theory that a bunch of them racist hicks moved to the republican party just speculation? Or is there fact behind that? Thanks to Barry Goldwater, that’s precisely what happened. It’s no accident that the solid Democratic South is strongly Republican today.



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Payshun

posted April 24, 2007 at 12:00 am


Kristopher, yah after LBJ signed it into law (thanks for the correction btw) the south never went for another democrat and have not voted for another black senator since Reconstruction. They have consistently voted for republican candidates ever since. Not only that but there significant party shifts aswell. Strom Thurmond, Barry Goldwater and others switched sides because they did not feel the democratic party represented their interests any more. here are some links that talk about that. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4619346 A quote from this. In a critical phone call on King s birthday in 1965, Johnson advised King to hammer on examples of outrageous discrimination in his speeches, such as requirements that blacks be able to recite passages of the U.S. Constitution before being allowed to register, a feat Johnson doubted any white voters would believe they could perform. King suggested to Johnson that the South could retain its Democratic Party affiliation, recently shaken by the 1964 election in which the Deep South states went for Barry Goldwater, the Republican candidate, if a coalition of blacks and moderate whites could be united over the racial integration agenda. http://www.law.virginia.edu/html/news/2005_spr/kotz.htm p



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 24, 2007 at 12:04 am


How would you make it harder anyway? Would their be screenings before marriage? Manditory pre-marital counseling? Psychological compatability testing? The funny thing is, a lot of pastors make certain things like this mandatory before they will marry a couple anyway. In Oriental societies, marriage — and the pursuit of such — is a communal, and generally family, responsibility. In the church, we Christians are supposed to be “siblings” and you wouldn’t dare do anything to hurt someone in your family — which includes treating a “sister” like a slut. Perhaps that’s the issue we should address — especially since, according to a book I read over a decade ago, one out of every six abortions happened to an evangelical woman. (Someone else told me it was higher than that.)



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Payshun

posted April 24, 2007 at 12:06 am


Yah I have not made up my mind about what Sojo’s positions about abortion are or if they are good. All I know is that I have to love people, from the men and women that have abortions to those that don’t. I have to obey and watch what God does. p



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butch

posted April 24, 2007 at 12:11 am


I still ask were are the women, why don’t all you men who think you know what should be done one way or the other go ask your woman or a woman her opinion. Post that or ask them to post their opinions. I don’t give a shit what a bunch of men think on the subject, until they are informed about what women think. When we start talking about castration I’m going to be right in the middle of it.



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Payshun

posted April 24, 2007 at 12:11 am


Rick, Minor correction. I would not use the word oriental to describe Asian societies. It’s like saying they are rugs.It’s not about being PC or anything like that but I would not want black people called the watermellon people or the spearchuckers either.p



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Payshun

posted April 24, 2007 at 12:23 am


Butch, I think there are some other options available for men besides castration. why not talk about that? p



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butch

posted April 24, 2007 at 1:48 am


I think there are some other options available for men besides castration. why not talk about that? Payshun Not really my point, unless men are completely informed about how women feel about the abortion issue I don’t think men have a voice and then only to support women’s view. Any option or choice aforded men pales by comparison to a womans decision.



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butch

posted April 24, 2007 at 2:43 am


Pay, Interesting with all the male talk, no one mentioned vasectomy as a way to reduce unwanted pregancy.



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Sarasotakid

posted April 24, 2007 at 3:48 am


Pay, Interesting with all the male talk, no one mentioned vasectomy as a way to reduce unwanted pregancy. butch That reminds of that scene and song in the Monty Python movie, The Meaning of Life.



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amba

posted April 24, 2007 at 4:48 am


I would like to invite you all to read two blog essays I wrote on abortion (including my own, which I will always regret) that attempt to define a common ground that can be shared not only by pro-choice and pro-life but by religious and secular people. Most importantly, I wanted to say to young people, “Fear abortion as much as we used to pre-Roe, but not because of the law or the dirty scalpel, but because you really get what is at stake. Do everything you can to avoid a pregnancy you don’t desire and aren’t ready for: abstinence, birth control, Plan B. If in spite of your best efforts you still get pregnant, consider that maybe something or someone — God, the universe, an adoptive couple, a future friend or mate, your own future — wants that person here.” I am very happy that these essays are now being discussed by young people on Facebook.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 24, 2007 at 5:12 am


I would not use the word oriental to describe Asian societies. I meant that in a broader sense — that is, anything east of Europe. To me, the Middle East is also Oriental (in fact, Orient simply means “East.”



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Bren

posted April 24, 2007 at 7:40 am


Although I have read a lot of words–some of them off topic–there are a few important things not yet mentioned. 1) not all people who become unexpectedly pregnant, and who may seek abortions are teenagers! There are married women who have been raped (by their husbands or by others), for example. For those who work to create a world where abortions are not necessary, what do you/we do for these women? What are we doing to end domestic violence? 2) Poverty, inability to house and feed ones children, is one big reason why some women feel compelled to seek abortions. What are we doing to end poverty, poverty so extreme that people have to choose between feeding their children and feeding themselves? 3) In the discussion about sex education for teenagers, it’s often mentioned that parental rights require that we get parental permission for students to get sex ed. What about CHILDREN’S rights, particularly the right to be educated so that you can protect yourself from harm? Trust me, the parent will not be around when a young person is faced with sexual arousal or sexual bullying! Do we leave the young person up the creek without knowing about paddles or do we arm our youth with information that will protect them and will enable them to make appropriate choices/decisions?



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kevin s.

posted April 24, 2007 at 10:01 am


” For those who work to create a world where abortions are not necessary, what do you/we do for these women?” Make abortion legal. This is a compromise readily accepted by the pro-life side. “Poverty, inability to house and feed ones children, is one big reason why some women feel compelled to seek abortions.” Great. Can you provide a compelling reason why they should not choose an adoption instead? Does this compelling reason outweigh the death of a human being, or are you conceding that you don’t think a fetus is a human? If you don’t believe it is a human, then why do you care about the fetus? ” What about CHILDREN’S rights, particularly the right to be educated so that you can protect yourself from harm?” So, in the name of children’s rights, government ought to take the role of sex education from the parent? The rights of a child reign supreme, but only insofar as the government can then dictate what those rights are? This is your argument?



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Christina Spurling

posted April 24, 2007 at 2:48 pm


“Guilty? Yes, no matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; but oh! thrice guilty is he who, for selfish gratification, heedless of her prayers, indifferent to her fate, drove her to the desperation which impels her to the crime.” -Susan B Anthony This is a sensitive issue. I don’t believe anyone can claim to understand all the reasons behind a decision to have an abortion, and for that matter, push for its illegalization. I agree with your article, let’s put our efforts into preventing the unwanted pregnancies rather than into forcing women to have unwanted babies without any consideration for them. Abortion is a sensitive, personal issue–please treat it as such.



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Payshun

posted April 24, 2007 at 5:27 pm


Great post Christina. Kevin: So, in the name of children’s rights, government ought to take the role of sex education from the parent? The rights of a child reign supreme, but only insofar as the government can then dictate what those rights are? This is your argument? You sure did take a lot of leaps there. You seem to do that a lot. The argument was: What about CHILDREN’S rights, particularly the right to be educated so that you can protect yourself from harm? Trust me, the parent will not be around when a young person is faced with sexual arousal or sexual bullying! Do we leave the young person up the creek without knowing about paddles or do we arm our youth with information that will protect them and will enable them to make appropriate choices/decisions? The argument is give the kids (teens) the information that way they can decide from an informed place. Children are faced w/ difficult decisions about oral, vaginal or anal sex in todays culture.Parents have a lot to say about that and permission slips are handed out before sex education takes place. They can always opt out of having their children take the class or teach them before hand. The point is the parent’s job is to raise the kids before hand so that when they are faced w/ that decision about sex they might say no. The job of the state is to reinforce that w/ extra practical knowledge so that kids can start to weigh the consequences of their actions. The poor are too busy working two or three jobs to feed and clothe their families to be able to help prepare their kids for the horrors that exist in this world. I think some sex ed is ultimately better than none. p



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neuro_nurse

posted April 24, 2007 at 7:20 pm


It s been nice discussing these things with a fellow New Orleans native (I live in Texas now). Best, jesse I mentioned that yesterday was the second anniversary of my marriage. I took my wife to Commander s Palace last night which was incredible! We had driven past it on Sunday, and my wife remarked that we should eat there some day. I said, Sure, maybe someday, not revealing that I had made reservations a couple of weeks earlier. I find it very offensive that some of you would suggest that I would have supported slavery. Kristopher I m not very knowledgeable of history, but as I understand it, slavery and the civil war were more about economics than morality. I suspect that the reason many people supported slavery had more to do with the families and social status into which they were born than their politics.In Oriental societies, marriage — and the pursuit of such — is a communal, and generally family, responsibility. Rick Nowlin My wife s family has invested themselves in our marriage, made me feel welcome and loved, which I believe has had the effect of causing me to see more clearly the value of the relationship.In the discussion about sex education for teenagers, it’s often mentioned that parental rights require that we get parental permission for students to get sex ed. Bren In most of my previous posts I attempted to reframe sex ed and adolescent sexuality as a public health issue, rather than a moral issue. A parallel can be made with childhood immunizations. Some parents, for a number of reasons, decide that they do not want their children to receive the vaccines (this is a favorite soapbox topic of mine, but I ll try to keep my analogy short). That may be all well and good for their children, however, the fewer people who are immune to a disease, the lower the level of herd immunity in the population. This increases the risk that that disease will circulate in that population, and increases the risk of disease to the small segment of the population that received the vaccine but did not develop immunity to the disease (about 10% for a single dose of measles vaccine). Granted, STIs are far less contagious that common childhood illnesses (several of which are extremely contagious and require a high level of herd immunity to prevent their circulation), but in a similar sense, ignorance of STIs and risk-reducing behavior increases the disease burden on the population. The costs to our society are enormous. The financial savings of an effective (a well deserved nod to jesse) sex education program are significant. Kirby (2002) cite a study of a comprehensive sex ed program that estimated a $2.65 savings in total medical and social costs for every dollar invested in the program. Peace!



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Cads

posted April 24, 2007 at 8:38 pm


Moderate columnist, David Brooks of The New York Times, writes: If we could get this issue away from the abortion professionals . . ., we could reach a sensible solution: Abortion would be legal, with parental consent for minors, during the first four or five months, and illegal except in extremely rare circumstances afterward. Instead, we get what we saw last week: a law that doesn’t address the core issue, a court decision so tangled in jurisprudence as to be impermeable to the outside world and howling protests by people who can’t face the central concern. In that each side of the abortion debate is absolutely sure their beliefs are correct and there’s no changing either’s mind, wouldn’t the wise way to settle this debate be some sort of compromise? Five months is probably too late, so as the great arbitrator I am, I’d settle for four months and be done with it.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 24, 2007 at 9:33 pm


In that each side of the abortion debate is absolutely sure their beliefs are correct and there’s no changing either’s mind, wouldn’t the wise way to settle this debate be some sort of compromise? Five months is probably too late, so as the great arbitrator I am, I’d settle for four months and be done with it. In the eyes of many people, primarily on the “pro-life” side, compromise is on the order of weakness. Nothing but total victory will do, and if you look at the apocalyptic writings of many of your “media ministers,” and specifically in the Scripsture verses they quote to justify their stance, you’ll see how that comes about. And truth be told, philosophically I oppose any and all abortions except those to save the life of the mother. That said, I do agree with the original article that Wallis wrote. There’s been way too much posturing on both sides, especially when you consider that the original bill was (and I think I may have said this already) designed largely to separate then-President Bill Clinton from his pro-choice support but later took on a life of its own. The issue is not compromise — it’s about getting our heads together to come up with real alternatives to abortion and keeping women and girls from getting pregnant in the first place. The sad part about this whole debate is that we’ve wasted all this time, energy and money on political change when this can be solved without all the sloganeering.



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kevin s.

posted April 24, 2007 at 9:35 pm


“In that each side of the abortion debate is absolutely sure their beliefs are correct and there’s no changing either’s mind, wouldn’t the wise way to settle this debate be some sort of compromise? ” Before this happens, you have to reverse Roe v. Wade. You can’t really compromise on that issue, if you want compromise on this issue.”You sure did take a lot of leaps there. You seem to do that a lot.” No, I asked if this was your argument. And I disagree that I make leaps. Though I do take arguments to their logical ends. “Parents have a lot to say about that and permission slips are handed out before sex education takes place. They can always opt out of having their children take the class or teach them before hand.” By casting parent’s right vs. children’s rights, I interpreted you to mean that you have a problem with this outcome. If you don’t, I am still unsure what you meant.



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PhilipH

posted April 24, 2007 at 9:39 pm


Planned Parenthood contends it comprehensively serves the family planning, pregnancy prevention, and pregnancy options of women–encouraging abstinence and discouraging abortions. Crisis pregnancy centers contend they support the needs of pregnant women so they have the greatest level of support to give birth if they so choose. I am very attracted to Jim Wallis style of argument–holding elected officials to expectation they actually do something versus using the issue to beat each other up every election cycle.But his argument and so much of the comments to this point seems to assume the society at large wants something different than what exists right now.Does anyone on this blog contend that the sexual behavior of 13-25 represents anything different than an outworking of the values, norms and behavior of the 26-95 yr-old population? Formal education works as an extension, a working out, of the culture. We are in a culture that has no agreement on what it means to be male, female, married, created-in-God’s-image, reproductive, or holy. The best we could expect from a public-health oriented sex education is the equivalent of a ‘drink responsibly’ campaign in a culture in love with irresponsibe drinking. Abstinence educators contend the quality of what they do is significantly better than it was five years ago; and there are hundreds of different curriculums. Like any other sex-ed curriculum, it is one single variable related to behaviors/beliefs/attitudes that are very complex, fundamental to the human mind/body/spirit, and lived out over years. Hence, research that will really produce better results must be done in a context where there is clear thinking about what effect any of these programs can really produce–and then target evaluative research at that.



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kevin s.

posted April 24, 2007 at 9:40 pm


“I don’t believe anyone can claim to understand all the reasons behind a decision to have an abortion, and for that matter, push for its illegalization.” I would argue that the reasons are, taken as a whole, uncompelling to keep abortion legal. There is no reason (short of life of the mother) that can match the taking of human life. “Abortion is a sensitive, personal issue–please treat it as such.” You create a false choice here between agreeing with you and being insensitive. I am sensitive to the needs of unborn children, you hold sensitivity to mothers in higher regard. That is disagreement, not a sensitivity issue.



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Hali

posted April 24, 2007 at 10:20 pm


” When does a fetus become a human being?” By the time you’re a fetus, you’re pretty much one of our “young ones” ;) But what about embryo, blastocyst, zygote? What about chimerae?



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Carl Copas

posted April 24, 2007 at 10:33 pm


Thanks to Sarasotakid and neuro_nurse for responding to my question about when a fetus becomes a human being.



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Kay Shively

posted April 24, 2007 at 10:34 pm


As a pro-choice Christian mother and grandmother, I strongly resent the woman-hating sentiments of those who weep crocodile tears for microscopic lifeforms and self-righteously sneer at the real women forced into tragic decisions. Anyone who thinks a late-term abortion is an easy decision flippantly made by a woman who just suddenly decided she doesn’t want to be a mother just isn’t living in the real world. I maintain that it may be the ONLY sane, life-affirming decision left to a woman.I suggest those men holding forth on the issue hold their peace until they’re pregnant. This isn’t their decision.



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Ngchen

posted April 24, 2007 at 11:52 pm


Something that I believe often gets lost in the debate is the point Chuck Colson made a few years ago. In spite of all this “pro-choice” talk about rights to the body, etc. etc., the (alleged) REAL motivation behind the “pro-choice” movement is really to support being able to sleep around without any consequences. This is an interesting claim IMO. If true, when will people realize that there is nothing liberating for a woman to be treated like a piece of meat for irresponsible men to have sex with? Something else to ponder. I think we can all agree that sex-selective abortions are wrong. Yet, if the embryo is merely “potential life,” “a parasite,” “merely tissue,” or something else, how can anyone argue that they are MORE wrong than simply prefering a child of one sex versus another? But we know it is a greater wrong. Finally, this question raises a point for the pro-legalized-abortion feminists. FWIW, sex-selective abortion has tended to be used to reduce the number of girls born to the world. How can one support the legalization of a practice that de facto is used to eliminate so many more daughters (as opposed to sons), and honestly call oneself a feminist? Feminism includes daughters’ rights too, right?



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neuro_nurse

posted April 24, 2007 at 11:55 pm


Thanks to Sarasotakid and neuro_nurse for responding to my question about when a fetus becomes a human being. Carl CopasI don’t think I really answered your question, presuming that you are asking for my opinion. From a biological perspective, I would say that a zygote, the union of a spermatozoa and an ovum, has a full set of human DNA and is therefore human, or at least, has the potential to become a human being (person). I can recall being asked to assist with a therapeutic D & C, which is essentially scraping the products of conception out of the woman s uterus. I declined. I was not aware until I looked up the section on abortion in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that the Church considers participating in an abortion grounds for excommunication. I declined to assist because I felt it was wrong for me to do so, independent of the Church s teaching on abortion. A couple of people in previous posts compared opposition to slavery to opposition to abortion. I have to say that I find that a compelling argument, one that I had not considered. If we believe that abortion is morally wrong, should we not then challenge its legality, as did our predecessor who opposed slavery. I believe that there is an individual choice to be made. How are we as Christians to respond to issue of abortion in our country? What is the most effective use of our time and effort?What effect has the picketing of abortion clinics had if not to strengthen the resolve of abortion rights advocates? Prior to the last two presidential elections, Catholic Answers (catholic.com) published a voters guide that essentially reduced the scope of the election to the issue of abortion. I don t see the world that simply. I m not going to ignore the issues of a candidate s stance on the war in Iraq, poverty, or presumed moral superiority (abstinence-only education being a prime example). The Lord has given each of us different sets of skills and different opportunities to serve him. We are all part of one body. I have argued that teen pregnancy, contraception, and prevention of STIs are public health issues. It is my belief that it is na ve to think that the abortion laws in this country will change any time soon, and regardless of whether or not the laws are changed, the problems of adolescent sexuality, unwanted pregnancy, and much less the problems of STIs are going to go away without public health interventions. My perspective is that we would be extremely negligent in our influence of society is we allowed political rhetoric, fear, and ignorance interfere with our objectivity in dealing with any social problem. I know what that means for me.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 25, 2007 at 12:02 am


erratum: the problems of adolescent sexuality, unwanted pregnancy, and much less the problems of STIs are *not* going to go away without public health interventions.



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PhilipH

posted April 25, 2007 at 1:53 am


Kay Shively Do you feel expressions here are, in your words, “woman-hating sentiments of those who weep crocodile tears for microscopic lifeforms and self-righteously sneer…?”



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Sarasotakid

posted April 25, 2007 at 2:13 am


Neuro-nurse, I enjoy reading your posts. I get a lot out of them.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 25, 2007 at 4:29 am


Something that I believe often gets lost in the debate is the point Chuck Colson made a few years ago. In spite of all this “pro-choice” talk about rights to the body, etc. etc., the (alleged) REAL motivation behind the “pro-choice” movement is really to support being able to sleep around without any consequences. This is an interesting claim IMO. If true, when will people realize that there is nothing liberating for a woman to be treated like a piece of meat for irresponsible men to have sex with? That’s an oversimplification — after all, it takes two to tango. Many always felt that conservative men fear powerful women in general and sexually confident women in particular do to loss of “control.” As I mentioned, there is still a double standard because men are still somewhat expected to have indiscriminate sex — while men may encourage their sons to “get some,” they don’t feel the same about their daughters.



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Ngchen

posted April 25, 2007 at 5:24 am


That’s an oversimplification — after all, it takes two to tango. Many always felt that conservative men fear powerful women in general and sexually confident women in particular do to loss of “control.” As I mentioned, there is still a double standard because men are still somewhat expected to have indiscriminate sex — while men may encourage their sons to “get some,” they don’t feel the same about their daughters. True enough. I don’t think this is a liberal vs conservative issue though. The irresponsibility goes both ways. The man shouldn’t be having indiscriminate sex. And the woman shouldn’t consent to it. Lots of men don’t want to bear the responsibility for their wrongful actions. No doubt the double standard exists, and it’s just one more sign of how fallen the world is.



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kevin s.

posted April 25, 2007 at 5:41 am


“I strongly resent the woman-hating sentiments of those who weep crocodile tears for microscopic lifeforms” Crocodile tears? How so? You go on to mention late term abortions. Fetuses aborted late in their term are not microscopic. “and self-righteously sneer at the real women forced into tragic decisions.” Well, if you equate disagreement with self-righteous sneering, then I can see why you might be upset. However, I am entitled to have an opinion about whether real women may end their baby’s life in accordance with the law with out being self-righteous. In fact, I would argue that the fact that many woman can rationalize this decision to themselves is a reason to ban the practice. “Anyone who thinks a late-term abortion is an easy decision flippantly made by a woman who just suddenly decided she doesn’t want to be a mother just isn’t living in the real world.” You are correct, if unintentionally. You created a straw man which, by definition, does not live in the real world. How about contending with the points that people are actually making? “I maintain that it may be the ONLY sane, life-affirming decision left to a woman.” On what grounds? I disagree with you. I do not think it is life-affirming to end life. That is oxymoronical.”I suggest those men holding forth on the issue hold their peace until they’re pregnant.” I am not going to heed your suggestion because you have provided no rationale for it. We do not have a separate set of laws for men, and another for women. We do not have female elections and male elections. If I am correct, and abortion results in the death of a human, then I shou advocate for banning the practice whether I a pregnant or not.Further, this argument is inherently unfair. One cannot flip the argument around to say “unless one has been an aborted fetus, they should hold forth on their opinion on this issue” because, by definition, the aborted fetus relate their experience. That said, I would be curious to know what would happen if only pregnant women were allowed to craft policy around the issue. I am not sure the results would be so favorable to your point of view as you imply here.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 25, 2007 at 5:59 am


Lots of men don’t want to bear the responsibility for their wrongful actions. No doubt the double standard exists, and it’s just one more sign of how fallen the world is. Well, I once heard a teaching on a Christian radio station, something to the effect that the woman is primarily responsible for how far a couple may go — but, interestingly enough, the Bible doesn’t say that. In fact, one of the reasons Jesus let the woman go who was caught in adultery was precisely because, according to Mosaic Law, the offending man was also to be stoned but in this case was nowhere to be found. Besides, and I’ve been confronted with this over the past two decades, females also have sexual desires and needs — but they’re expressed differently. (I’m a single, celibate man — I don’t know this from personal experience.)



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Anony

posted April 25, 2007 at 6:30 am


It’s because we don’t have definitive answers to many of the questions posed here that we let people arrive at these very personal decisions themselves – and with whom they see fit (or not) to include in that process, such as other family members, religious leaders, and of course, their physician/s. But whether one thinks that person has done the proper amount of agonizing over a decision is not anyone else’s concern. Nor do I think anyone on this board of any opinion is in a position to judge that many others.



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Anony

posted April 25, 2007 at 6:42 am


Postscript It’s just that I see a certain amount of bickering over whether or not the decision is a difficult one. Well, if you had a family member on life support, and they were going to die anyway, and you had to make a decision as to whether or not to prolong their life, would that decision be difficult? With all due respect to one’s fellow man, of course it is. Do some people just flippantly pull the plug, or, visa versa, tell the doctors to vigorously revive regardless of the pain and suffering of that family member? I suppose so, but I’m not God, and I don’t know. I only have the directive to respect the rights and space of others. And that directive tells me that it’s a difficult time and decision, regardless. If a man is on the battlefield with his companion direly wounded, and that companion is going to die, and begs him to put him out of his misery rather than suffer for hours pointlessly, what is the moral and right thing to do? Is the hero the man who grants his companion’s request, or the one who says, my conscience cannot allow to do such a thing? Who has the answer to such questions?



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Payshun

posted April 25, 2007 at 6:55 am


“By casting parent’s right vs. children’s rights, I interpreted you to mean that you have a problem with this outcome. If you don’t, I am still unsure what you meant.” No Kevin my point in responding to your argument was to refute the premise of you question. Kevin: So, in the name of children’s rights, government ought to take the role of sex education from the parent? The rights of a child reign supreme, but only insofar as the government can then dictate what those rights are? This is your argument? Let me make this clearer. The government cannot take the role of sex education from the parent. That is a false premise and question. Parents can abdicate their role as educator but no one can take it away from them (unless they are bad parents.) My argument is that children lack rights. They have very few protections in this world or in American culture. Their voice is marginalized and even then they rely on adults for everything. There are exceptions ofcourse. That means that parents and government have to come together and create a set of guiding laws that ensure protecting children from themselves and other predatory adults. That doesn’t take away anything from parents even though the government already has the power to destroy parental rights when parents are deemed unfit. p



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God's Politics Moderator

posted April 25, 2007 at 4:59 pm


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Carl Copas

posted April 25, 2007 at 7:12 pm


thank you for the thoughtful post Neuro_nurse. Sarasotakid: “Neuro-nurse, I enjoy reading your posts. I get a lot out of them.” Took the words right out of my mouth Kid. God’s blessings to all.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 25, 2007 at 9:13 pm


Carl Copas & Sarasotakid, Thanks! I hope that from my 04.24.07 – 6:00 pm post I gave the impression that I have more questions than answers as to how a Christian should respond to the legality of abortion in our country. Abortion is a complicated issue. I think one of the biggest complications is that it is a legal issue, and there is a segment of the population that wants to keep it legal. Changing the abortion and/or divorce laws in the U.S. is not going to create a moral society. It will not make our problems go away – any more than repealing the second amendment would end gun violence in this country.So, in the name of children’s rights, government ought to take the role of sex education from the parent?Talking about sex makes most people I know squirm. As a nurse, I can discuss sex with a clinical detachment, but then I don t have children and can see that I might be very uncomfortable talking about sex with my child. I have no doubt that many adults have misconceptions about sex not the least of which is that his or her child would never engage in sex outside of marriage. Wake up! Sex outside of marriage may be less common among conservative Christians, but it certainly not out of the ordinary.A person’s faith leanings and commitment were clearly related to co-habitation. Among born again Christians, just 25% had co-habited. Among individuals who called themselves Christian but did not have beliefs that classified them as “born again,” 37% had co-habited. Forty-two percent of adults who associate with a faith other than Christianity had co-habited, while atheists were the most likely to do so (51%). Among people who attend a Christian church of some type, 36% of Catholics had co-habited, compared to 30% among those aligned with a Protestant church. http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdate&BarnaUpdateID=95 If 25% of born again Christian have shacked up (within two standard deviations of the mean, so not unusual), then what s to say that your child would not engage in sex outside of marriage? I thought it was sad but very revealing that the highest rate of abortion in the U.S. is among girls under the age of 15. I think we can all agree that that is a problem. I wonder how many parents of girls under 15 in this country have had the talk with their daughters. Apparently, not enough.



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Hali

posted April 25, 2007 at 9:16 pm


Neuro_nurse, Thanks for your compassionate and thoughtful posts. If abortion were an easy subject, we would have solved the problem already. It is a shame that so many people assume it’s a right/left political issue. I will say right up front that I believe abortion is murder. I therefore can’t reconcile being “pro-choice” politically with my own ethics. I believe that murder should be illegal. However, because abortion is likely to remain legal in the near future, and because it’s often on the opposite side of the political divide from most other pro-life positions, I have seldom voted for the anti-abortion candidate because of this position alone. Even the partial birth abortion ban doesn’t really address the saving of lives – it leaves procedures in place that are even more horrific (in-utero dismemberment, for instance, with the higher risk of perforating the uterus with pieces of the baby). Furthermore, a reversal of Roe v. Wade would not automatically stop abortions or make them illegal. The way to stop them is to reduce the demand and the pressure (“need” is very different and very rare). Anyone with a knowledge of women’s anatomy should guess that abortion really is not a preferred method of birth control. It uncomfortable, invasive and disrupts a natural process in the body. I have four children – only one of them planned – and with every one of them but the last there was some MAN (husband or boss) pressuring me to get an abortion. So when it comes to men trying to control women’s bodies, it works both ways. I do believe that birth control should be affordable and available to everybody, even if this means government intervention. And it is our obligation as a society to take care of our most vulnerable members, instead of marginalizing them. Pregnancy is too often treated like an illness rather than an ability. (Stop me here before I go on a long rant about what’s wrong with how society treats mothers…) The point is that abortion does not exist in a vacuum, and we have a lot of repair work to do on society.



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kevin s.

posted April 25, 2007 at 10:16 pm


Payshun,Again, you mentioned Children’s rights seemingly in contrast with the rights of parents to offer (or withhold) permission for sex ed. If you have no qualms with parents withholding permission, then I have no disagreement. I haven’t seen a lot of compelling evidence (from Neuro’s stuff and otherwise) that our students are that well served by our devotion to sex ed. in the classroom. Given that our schools are barely able to get kids reading, I am going to go ahead and trust myself to administer sex education to my kids. But then, my kids won’t be going to public school.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 25, 2007 at 11:12 pm


“If you have no qualms with parents withholding permission, then I have no disagreement.” Not in the least. I brought up the fact that some parents decline to have their children immunized. It is my sincere belief that those parents are misinformed about the risks and benefits of vaccines, but most states allow parents to defer immunization. In public health parlance, those parents are free riders of herd immunity. The ethical issue in this instance is autonomy vs. paternalism. This thread has also prompted me to consider my view on parental notification. I will concede that this appears to be a sacred cow of abortion-rights advocates. I would not participate in an abortion, but as a health care professional, I would be very frightened of the legal liability of performing a procedure on a minor without parental consent. The knowledge that the demographic with the highest rate of abortion is under 15 years old drives this point home for me and leads me to speculate whether or not the parents of these girls are the ones taking them in for their abortion.



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Payshun

posted April 26, 2007 at 12:53 am


Kevin: Again, you mentioned Children’s rights seemingly in contrast with the rights of parents to offer (or withhold) permission for sex ed. If you have no qualms with parents withholding permission, then I have no disagreement. Good. Then there is no disagreement. So you plan on homeschooling your kids or private school? p



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Canuckelhead

posted April 26, 2007 at 6:49 am


When does a fetus become a human being? “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.” Catechism of the Catholic Church 2270 Does that tidbit from the CofCC apply to post-fetus life too? Say, like altar-boys and students in residential schools?



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kevin s.

posted April 26, 2007 at 7:34 am


“Good. Then there is no disagreement. So you plan on homeschooling your kids or private school?” I guess charter schools are in the equation, too. In Minnesota, we have school choice. We live in north Minneapolis, where the schools are, um, not working. Whether or not to home school will depend on my wife’s sanity, but it has been my desire for quite some time to home school my kids. There are good charter schools, but parents literally put their kids on the waiting lists (for those schools that don’t have lotteries) as soon as they are born, and some push to get them on during pregnancy. There are good private schools, but I don’t want my kid growing up around a bunch of rich kids. Sex ed. isn’t going to factor into the equation. My school taught sex ed. in the 4th grade. Our science teacher showed us how to put a condom on a broomstick. I thought to myself “is this really necessary?”



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kevin s.

posted April 26, 2007 at 7:36 am


“Not in the least. I brought up the fact that some parents decline to have their children immunized. It is my sincere belief that those parents are misinformed about the risks and benefits of vaccines, but most states allow parents to defer immunization. In public health parlance, those parents are free riders of herd immunity.” Hmmm… I don’t want my kids to have mercury injected into them. I am on the fence on vaccines.



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Hali

posted April 26, 2007 at 6:44 pm


Canucklehead responded: ‘When does a fetus become a human being? “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.” Catechism of the Catholic Church 2270′ Won’t someone please google “human development”? An organism at conception is not a fetus. We go through some amazing transformations before then. Canucklehead’s quotation makes it clear that according to the (Roman?) Catholic Church, a zygote has the moral status of a child. In that case, what does the Catholic Church – and others who hold that view – say about naturally occurring chimerae? This is a serious question. As a formerly firm believer that individual life begins at conception, I find myself wavering on this one.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 26, 2007 at 6:59 pm


“Does that tidbit from the CofCC apply to post-fetus life too? Say, like altar-boys and students in residential schools? Canuckelhead” Cheap shot – completely un-called for. “Hmmm… I don’t want my kids to have mercury injected into them. I am on the fence on vaccines. kevin s.” I’m very well prepared to debate you on this one, but I have an assignment due – some other time.



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Canuckelhead

posted April 27, 2007 at 6:57 am


“Does that tidbit from the CofCC apply to post-fetus life too? Say, like altar-boys and students in residential schools? Canuckelhead” Cheap shot – completely un-called for. neuronurse cheap shot, how so? why is the outcry in the U.S. over abortion always, always far stronger than it is over the Catholic church’s brutal record on sexual abuse of young people? as if their lives are less valuable, less vulnerable; in what sense is that vacuum consistently pro-life? or is it assumed that “just say no” is a sufficient remedy? heck, at least many abortionists make no pretense to having any kind of religious faith as they perpetrate their misdeeds!



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Aussie_Mik

posted April 27, 2007 at 7:05 am


I am curious to know why Kevin_s and others like him think women would choose to have an abortion? It seems to me that unless you know why women are having abortions in the first place, you can’t put strategies in place to reduce the number.



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Bren

posted April 27, 2007 at 8:19 am


Thank you, Aussi_Mik. There are an awful lot of men making decisions about what women can and cannot, should and should not do–without any understanding of what a woman goes through. I am particularly appalled by the folks who would disallow abortion even if a woman were raped! Yes, let’s beat her up some more! Force her to live for almost a year with the results of extreme violence on her–that seems to be the message of that proposed legislation. Before suggesting it, or condemning women who consider an abortion, how about spending time with them, LISTENING to their story–not condemning out of hand. It is not our role to judge; our role is to love one another.



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timothy Wright

posted April 27, 2007 at 8:39 am


wow, how radical, imagine having a sojourners booth outside dachau and saying we must somehow redue the number of people we are killing today-lets talk about it.No, we must outlaw the killing of children, why are women having unwanted children–the children are not unwanted. How many babies do you see for adoption in the US? Lets be brutally honest, we will offer every women who wants an abortion $100,000—$250,000 for every child they don’t kill. lets see how wanted they will become then. Next great sojourners idea will be, “Why are men raping women” lets form a committee and find a way forward on this issue. Tim



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Aussie_Mik

posted April 27, 2007 at 5:13 pm


But Tim, why do you think women do it? It’s a pretty daunting decision. Surely it’s not something that is done lightly. Here’s an example: My friend, aged 39, found out at 12 weeks gestation that this second baby had a 99.9 % chance of having Down’s syndrome and/or other severe disabilities. She and her husband considered the possibilities: A society where there are fewer and fewer disabled people and services for them; a time in 30 – 40 years when she and her husband would die and a big question mark over who would be prepared to look after her disabled child; frightening statistics about marriage breakdown when there is a child with a disability. She and her husband decided that they couldn’t provide an adequate guarantee of a good quality of life for this child, so sadly, they ended the pregnancy at 14 weeks. It was not a decision they took lightly. If society looked after disabled people better, and could guarantee to do so in the future, she may have considered differently.Do you have any other solutions for this problem? Making abortion illegal is a very blunt instrument to combat a genuine problem. Murder of people, post-birth, is illegal, but that doesn’t stop your country having an extremely high murder rate. Driving with a blood alcohol reading of more than 0.05% is illegal here in Australia, but people still do it and often with tragic consequences. Again Tim, I ask, why do you think women do it?



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neuro_nurse

posted April 27, 2007 at 6:38 pm


Canuckelhead, I will not attempt to defend those actions. It was a tragedy, but I m not going to stop being Catholic because of it. How is your bringing that up here anything other than garden variety anti-Catholicism?Despite headlines focusing on the priest pedophile problem in the Roman Catholic Church, most American churches being hit with child sexual-abuse allegations are Protestant “The Catholics have gotten all the attention from the media, but this problem is even greater with the Protestant churches simply because of their far larger numbers,” Clayton, M. (April 5, 2002). Sex abuse spans spectrum of churches. Christian Science Monitor, http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0405/p01s01-ussc.html Welcome to a collection of news reports of ministers sexually abusing children, http://www.reformation.com



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timothy Wright

posted April 27, 2007 at 6:43 pm


Hi, “Murder of people, post-birth, is illegal, but that doesn’t stop your country having an extremely high murder rate.”It is still illegal to murder people in the US, but the way it is going in 25 years I am not so sure. I can’t identify with your friend who aborted their child because of the possibility of down syndrome.My friends were told by their Dr that their baby was down syndrome and the DR encouraged abortion, the child was born and was not down syndrome. I spent 9 years of my life working in a home in the community living with 2 people with down syndrome. They changed my life, but they were not my children. I see that all people are created in the image of God and every life is precious. I agree that society does not value the old, infirmed, “less than normal” people. I am responsible for electing people who value life so little. I am not here to condenm your friend. My wife and I had to fly around the world to adopt our daughter from China. Lets be honest. Adoption is buying children-in this case from the gov. of China. I want to work with anyone who wants to reduce abortion in every way possible, but I only vote for republican in the US for one reason!!!! So Conservative judges get on the Supreme Court and overturn Roe V Wade. I also agree with some things that Jim Wallis says that we should take care and value every child who is born into a very selfish country the USA. I pray for the end of abortion in the USA and the world. I believe that the reason that people don’t value the living is because we don’t value the most vulnerable people-children in the womb. Peace Tim



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Hali

posted April 27, 2007 at 8:58 pm


Aussie_Mik asked, “I am curious to know why Kevin_s and others like him think women would choose to have an abortion?”Kevin_s will probably be the first to agree that I don’t fall into the category of “others like him,” but I AM pro life (if that’s what you really meant by “others like him). I am also a woman, and have faced unplanned pregnancy and poverty, and have comforted friends who have gone through abortions. The women I know who “chose” abortions did so because they felt there was no other choice. And in our society, especially since Ronald Reagan and his villification of “welfare mothers,” the pressure has only gotten worse. By “society,” I don’t just mean governmental structures or policies, but attitudes towards health care, contraception, sex, pregnancy, motherhood, and women in general. One of my friends, a devout Catholic girl, had an abortion because she was so afraid to face her parents that she would rather do something that she knew was seriously wrong. I can’t imagine having to live with that kind of grief. I know her parents would have been horrified if they had known – but I can imagine their reaction if she had told them she was pregnant. When I got pregnant with my first son, I was using an over-the-counter form of birth control that later was withdrawn from the market, but I couldn’t afford health insurance (even if I could have, many plans didn’t cover contraception). My husband put enormous pressure on me to have an abortion. I almost acquiesced. Occasionally, the media make a big deal out of some guy trying to prevent his partner from having an abortion, but we hardly ever hear about a man pressuring a reluctant partner into one (the Lorena Bobbitt case is the only one I can think of off hand). But this is commonplace, and, frankly, stems from the typical dynamics of male-female relationships even now in the 21st century. Sex is used to subjugate women. We are valued principally for our physical attractiveness, which is linked to male fantasies of nubile adolescents. Mothers are, at the very least, desexualized, and thereby robbed of their value (we pay lip service to motherhood, but there is always a disconnect between a society’s stated values and its actual values). If a mother choses to give up her baby, the baby is treated like property, and the people involved do not acknowledge her emotional bond to the child. If a young unwed mother keeps her baby, she is treated like trash. We are also assumed to be weak and stupid. Go to any abortion clinic and ask about the procedure. You will hear about “products of conception” or “fetal tissue” or “the contents of the uterus.” You will hear nada about embryonic and fetal development. I don’t know why they’re so evasive about describing a fetus and what happens to it, if there’s nothing wrong with that. Euphemisms are always a good clue that somebody’s trying to hide something. While I do not think that abortion should be legal, I am not optimistic that a reversal of Roe v. Wade will fix anything. Poor women will go to the back alleys again, and rich women will go to Canada. We need a major shift in attitudes on all sides.



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Aussie_Mik

posted April 28, 2007 at 1:06 am


Hali writes: “While I do not think that abortion should be legal, I am not optimistic that a reversal of Roe v. Wade will fix anything. Poor women will go to the back alleys again, and rich women will go to Canada.” And surely that is the crux of the matter. Making it illegal will not stop abortions, any more than making some drugs illegal will not stop people using them. So why not look at solving the problems that force women into making this choice in the first place?I don’t know what levels of smoking you have in the US, but here in Australia the levels have plummeted due to a very coordinated anti-smoking campaign. It is recognised that smoking causes massive health problems and subsequent costs on the health budget. So, smoking is not desirable. But rather than make it illegal which wouldn’t work, governments have used a multi-pronged approach: People are given alternatives to getting their nicotine fixes through patches; They are supported in their decision to quit smoking through help-lines, support groups etc; cigarette advertising is banned from everywhere including sporting sponsorship, magazines etc; selling cigarettes to under 18s is illegal and punished by high fines for retails who break the law. So far, it’s working. Our adult smoking levels are now among the lowest in the developed world. It will take years for the subsequent benefits in terms of lower rates of smoking related diseases, but overall, it seems to be successful. A similar approach is needed to tackle abortion. It will cost money, and needs to be part of a bigger social picture. But simplistic measures such as making it illegal just won’t work.



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Canuckelhead

posted April 28, 2007 at 3:11 am


“Canuckelhead, I will not attempt to defend those actions. It was a tragedy, but I m not going to stop being Catholic because of it. How is your bringing that up here anything other than garden variety anti-Catholicism?” Because being completely pro-life means you respect, care for and nurture the fetus (child) far beyond in utero maturation and delivery. Because we have yet to hear anything remotely resembling an apology for the rampant sexual abuse of children in Catholic circles from the church’s hierarchy at the Vatican. Here in Canada, most of the mainline Protestant denominations have publicly apologized for the residential schools scandals involving aboriginals (and paid big bucks as ordered by the courts). I have yet to hear such from RC circles here nor, as far as I know, has there been such from American RC quarters. Why not? I don’t expect and wouldn’t recommend you cease being Catholic b/c of it. I do however suggest RC laypeople need to up the ante in holding their hierarchy’s feet to the fire on the matter.



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Canuckelhead

posted April 28, 2007 at 3:16 am


BTW, neuronurse, I once wrote a thesis on sexual abuse in the church and, sadly but as you rightly point out, found it to be every bit as rampant in both Prot/RC circles as your sources suggest. So I don’t mean to Catholic bash here. I just do not understand why, as Andrew Greeley has asked for years, the RC hierarchy won’t take responsibility for its priests’ wrongdoings. Or have I missed some public pronouncement somewhere?



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neuro_nurse

posted April 28, 2007 at 3:54 am


“[T]he RC hierarchy won’t take responsibility for its priests’ wrongdoings. Or have I missed some public pronouncement somewhere?” CanuckelheadA Catholic Response to Sexual Abuse: Confession, Contrition, Resolve U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, June 13, 2002 http://www.usccb.org/bishops/presidentialaddress.shtml Statement by the president of the U.S. Catholic Bishops on sexual abuse. (June 14, 2002). New York Times, A32.The Holy See, above all, would like to convey full solidarity with the Bishops of the United States in their firm condemnation of sexual misdeeds against minors and is deeply concerned about the distressing situation that has arisen in recent months in the Church in the United States. http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cbishops/documents/rc_con_cbishops_doc_20021018_re-usa_en.html Zezima, K. (May 30, 2006). In Boston, Church leaders offer atonement for abuse. New York Times, A.14. Guccione, J. (Dec. 10, 2004). California: Orange Bishops to apologize in huge abuse settlement; a record-setting $100-million agreement in the Catholic Church s sex scandal also will make confidential files public. Los Angeles Times, B1. Gillespie, E. M. (Feb. 23, 2003). Archbishop gives apology for abuse: Church failed, he says at victim s funeral. Seattle Times, B2. Catholic Church undertakes acts of contrition; priests are apologizing to victims of abuse and performing acts of penance in an effort to rebuild trust. (Dec. 23, 2002). Christian Science Monitor. 01. Lodbell, W. (Dec. 19, 2002). Priests begin public penance in O.C.; sixteen clerics perform acts of contrition meant to apologize for their colleagues sex abuse. Los Angeles Times, B1. Getlin, J., Baum, G. (Dec. 14, 2002). Cardinal Law steps down, apologizes for mistakes ; many hail the move as important step toward recovery from the sexual abuse scandal in Boston, but say the process has only begun. Los Angeles Times, A1. Lambert, B. (June 10, 2002). Bishop offers sorrowful apology for sex abuse by priests. New York Times, B6. Heinen, T. (May 25, 2002). Milwaukee archbishop resigns Archbishop Rambert G. Weakland plans to make public apology. Yakima Herald-Republic, A3. Henneberger, M. (April 24, 2002). Pope offers apology to victims of sex abuse by priests. New York Times, A1.



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Canuckelhead

posted April 28, 2007 at 7:41 am


N-N, I stand corrected big time and I thank you.



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timothy Wright

posted April 28, 2007 at 9:17 am


The idea that people will always seek abortions so outlawing it is a blunt instrument or not the way forward ignores the basic responsibility of every choice that we make. The high paying executive of TV guide molested over a weekend when I was 11. That was wrong. He had this desire for young boys, if he couldn’t do it in the US he would travel to asia where it is an open market. His desire to engage in sexual behaviour with little boys is wrong just as abortion is wrong. Just because he isn’t going to change his desire is no reason not to have a law against having sex with children. Have you ever heard of NAMBLA. Check it out on the web. It is the North American Man Boy Love Association. They want to lower the age of consent for kids to engage in sex to 11 years old. This is wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now you may say that he forced himself on him. Yes he did, but no different than a mother paying someone to abort her child. This child inside her womb, doesn’t have a choice. Have you ever seen the video when the baby fights off an abortion being done on it. If thats not being forced I don’t know what is. No difference between what happened to me. I didn’t have a choice and neither did that baby. Peace Tim



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Anne Feczko

posted April 29, 2007 at 10:29 pm


I was pleased with Jim’s seemingly balanced approach to this difficult issue until I got to the line about a “consistent life ethic.” This terminology actually refers to the ethical connection among all forms of violence against life: abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, war, poverty… the list goes on. (The term “consistent ethic of life” was first introduced by Cardinal Joseph Bernadin. I would strongly recommend reading an article by Father Ken Overberg at http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0798.asp to learn more.) In reality, most, if not all, people who endorse this consistent ethic of life believe that abortion, like the death penalty and euthanasia, are fundamental assaults on the dignity of human life and thus should be illegal.



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Bren

posted April 30, 2007 at 8:35 am


Does this last comment mean that you agree that the death penalty should be illegal? I’m very excited by that possibility since so many people I read are against abortion but for the death penalty–totally contradictory, in my book.



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bhoover

posted April 30, 2007 at 8:31 pm


I agree with both Bren and Anne… it continues to seem very incomplete to me to talk about abortion without touching on other life issues, such as the death penalty. We are talking about a larger theme than a procedure. When we alienate the issue to just abortion, it gets really messy, as we can see above. But when we talk about valuing life and a consistent ethic of life, all the issues that Anne spoke to come into play. I am continually amazed at the power of our polarizing political system to separate these issues out by dividing life ethic on party lines. More often than not, the public is suprised by any connection drawn between the two when they seem to me to speak to such a common set of values. It is not until Christians begin to understand the phrase “consistent ethic of life” that we can actually talk about how our values play into that.



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I’ve learn a few good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much attempt you set to make one of these magnificent informative web site.



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Michael Bray

posted August 3, 2013 at 1:01 pm


Why would you want to “seriously reduce the number of abortions in America”?



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