Friday Night Lights and matter-of-factness - Macleans.ca
 

Friday Night Lights and matter-of-factness

Recurring characters rarely have abortions on TV


 

Now that the episode has aired on regular TV as well as DirecTV, it’s probably safe to mention that Friday Night Lights did something that most U.S. network TV shows — or movies, for that matter — won’t do: they let a recurring character have an abortion. (Though even here, it was for a new character, not a major character who absolutely has to stick around, and the story eventually became more about the fallout for one of the actual main characters.) The linked article does a good job of discussing the modern history of abortion on TV: except for a few famous instances in the early ’70s, it’s become a major television taboo.

There are many reasons for that. One is the Roe v. Wade decision in the U.S., which helped to mobilize specifically religious opposition to abortion. The Maude episode was made just after abortion became legal in New York but before Roe v. Wade. A few years later, Norman Lear was complaining that episodes like that had become impossible. It seems strange, but when abortion was illegal in most U.S. states — and had only just been kinda-sorta legalized in Canada — it wasn’t as controversial a subject (at least on TV) as it became after it was legal. You may remember that when Manny had an abortion on Degrassi: the Next Generation, it had trouble getting shown in the U.S.

There are also a few more or less apolitical reasons why abortion doesn’t happen very often on TV, including selection bias: writers don’t usually make a character pregnant unless they intend her to have a baby. (That’s the Knocked Up thing: the movie has to dance around the abortion issue because the writers don’t want to get too deeply into the issue, but there wouldn’t be a movie if she didn’t have the baby.) But mostly it’s just an attempt to avoid controversy. When it does happen it’s one of those things that is treated in a sensationalistic or melodramatic way, the way it is discussed in political debates (with discussions often revolving around rape or incest on the one hand, or late-term abortions on the other). Six Feet Under had a character get an abortion — even on pay cable, a rare thing — but in keeping with its themes about life and death, had a tendency to bring in the ghost of anybody who got aborted. What made the Maude episode such a milestone was that it was basically un-melodramatic, and she had an abortion for the reason that most abortions occur: because she was pregnant and chose not to be.

So, whatever one’s views on abortion, FNL’s decision to have a character go through with the abortion is a pretty interesting thing in this day and age. Though it’s inherently an “issue” episode with political content, outright soapboxing seemed to be mostly left out of it and it didn’t shy away from dealing with the fact that a character can be under uncomfortable pressure to get an abortion, not just to avoid one.  What it was, was realistic, un-melodramatic, unsensationalistic; a character got an abortion for the same reasons that many people do in real life, and had to deal with what were basically a real-life series of problems before and after. Subsequent storylines got more into the political/social/cultural issues involved — as well as shifting the focus of the story to a more important character, transforming it into higher-stakes drama — but the episode itself came off as pretty straightforward.

Except for that Degrassi episode, this doesn’t happen all that often on TV. But if one wants to see real life represented (in heightened dramatic form) on TV, then it means that TV shows need to deal more with certain things that are common in real life. That’s a difference between Maude and Becky (or Manny). The 1972 episode was partly an exercise in realism, but it also played as advocacy. Now, advocacy is certainly something TV can do, but the basic purpose of the FNL storyline was just to have a character do something that she might plausibly do. Given the world as it is, a TV world where almost 100% of pregnancies end in a baby (or a miscarriage) is even more implausible than penniless characters living in huge apartments.

http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=PLpo5waBb94


 
Filed under:

Friday Night Lights and matter-of-factness

  1. In Ontario there are four abortions to every one birth. The circumstances in television certainly does not reflect this (though that can be said for a number of other circumstances). I don't know the statistics for miscarriages but it seems grossly inflated on television. I recall on Party of Five, Julia (Neve Campbell) became pregnant and decided to have an abortion but had a miscarriage before the procedure. Clearly the writers wanted some abortion drama but didn't want to go the whole way.

    I'd also like to acknowledge my favourite movie scene/quote of all time:

    Oh, Michael. Michael, you are blind. It wasn't a miscarriage. It was an abortion. An abortion, Michael. Just like our marriage is an abortion. Something that's unholy and evil. I didn't want your son, Michael! I wouldn't bring another one of you sons into this world! It was an abortion, Michael! It was a son Michael! A son! And I had it killed because this must all end!

  2. I suspect this won't be part of a larger trend. For the most part, even in today's legal and cultural environment, nobody wants to actually talk about the act of abortion. For good reason, of course. To put it mildly, it's not something anyone is really proud of, is it. At least I hope not.

    So, although an episode like this might fly under the radar, as soon as it starts getting more play, the more debate it stirs, and so on. Until it goes back under the radar, which probably suits most abortion supporters just fine.

    she had an abortion for the reason that most abortions occur: because she was pregnant and chose not to be

    And it's statements like this that start getting the debate going, and why abortion will probably never get much play on TV. It forces someone like me to point out obvious flaws in justifying abortion. The choice to be pregnant or not should be made before getting pregnant. Reproductive choices should be made before conception, not after.

    There used to be an expression: You can't be half pregnant. Well, with abortion, you now can. The expectation that people make responsible decisions before life is created seems an almost alien concept these days – and I think that's very unfortunate.

    And, if you don't like this post, it's precisely why the issue won't get much more play than this on TV. Abortion ain't a pretty thing, folks. It will always stir debate. And, in my opinion, that's good.

    • I don't want to get into the broader debate on abortion here, but I did want to say that disagree with your view that showing abortion on television naturally leads to people thinking about how bad abortion is. I would say that the effect is very likely to be the exact opposite, that if abortion is shown on television as a viable option available to women, it would go far to remove the cultural stigma. Right now, abortion is so stigmatized that very few women will publicly admit that they have had one. If you start to have TV characters that people like having abortions, a lot of women are going to feel more comfortable talking about their own abortions, which would lead to abortion being more normalized.

      • Actually, the trend is in the opposite direction. Abortion's most ardent supporters don't want it discussed. There's a good reason for that. Quite frankly, it's an ugly thing, isn't it?

        • I'm not sure we should be judging things based off of what the chief lobbying organizations say/do. There is a major conservatism to them, where they don't want to do anything that might rock the boat. Plus, maintaining the status quo (where abortion rights are perpetually "under threat") guarantees that there is a base of people willing to donate money to you. You can also see this in all sorts of other areas (the criticism of Human Rights Campaign on gay rights issues comes to mind).

          Anyway, it's possible that putting more light onto the abortion issue would turn more people against it, but I still don't think it would work out that way. And I don't think most abortion opponents really think that, either, as otherwise we wouldn't see conservative groups complain when episodes like this air. But I could be wrong, just as well as you could. I guess we won't know unless networks actually start airing more episodes dealing with abortion.

        • It's a wonderful thing. Abusers often used forced pregnancy and birth control sabotage to retain control of their victims. Aside from which, it's just kind of disgusting to watch anti-choicers make up crap about a simple surgical procedure.

    • Oh, debate is good. And we at home will wind up debating the issues raised by the fictional lives we watch. However, in real life abortion is pretty common, and TV/movies make it seem like it almost never happens. Of course the fact that something is common in real life doesn't mean it will be portrayed in popular media; sex outside of marriage, for example (which also is the subject of moral debate), used to be all but unportrayable in movies, even as it was very common in real life.

      I suppose that brings up the larger question of whether fiction should portray life as it is, or life as it ought to be (though what it ought to be changes based on one's own perspective).

      • I believe your views on the issue to be genuine and understandable. But also maybe a bit naive. I don't think abortion will ever be a dinner table topic, and for obvious reasons.

        In fact, the last thing that abortion supporters ever want to talk about is the act of abortion. Yes, they'll talk about why they think it's justified, but never what it actually is, what's involved, and the primary injustice of it.

        The more that it's done in secrecy, the better it is for its supporters.

        • I don't want to get too deeply into this, but many operations aren't dinner-table conversation, since people tend to get annoyed or disgusted when they are described in too much detail. Of course that doesn't mean abortion is just another operation, but the fact that it sounds disgusting isn't conclusive.

          It's an interesting question, though, whether the taboo of abortion on TV is good or bad for supporters. I would guess that when something is normalized on TV it reflects an increasing acceptance in real life, and also helps fuel it. Controversial things like pre-marital sex and co-habitation became popular on TV only after they were popular in real life, but in turn helped make them more socially acceptable.

          In any case, the current status quo in movies and TV portrays abortion as much less common than it actually is, just as they've portrayed other things as less common than they are (pre-marital sex, for example) in the past. I don't know exactly who that helps or hurts, but it certainly creates a gap between TV World and Real World.

          • Well, I'd hardly describe abortion as just any surgical procedure. It involves the killing of human life, doesn't it? That's what's unsavory about it, not the physical details.

            You see, you already don't want to get too deeply into this. That's what I'm talking about. No one does, especially its supporters.

          • Well, I'd hardly describe abortion as just any surgical procedure. It involves the killing of human life, doesn't it?

            That's what the argument has often been about. What life is, what constitutes separate personhood, etc. Which is what makes it a difficult subject to discuss. If everyone agreed on the underlying issues the discussions would be much less awkward, though equally passionate.

            Anyway, I just don't see that the taboo is a sop to the supporters, rather than the opponents. Generally speaking, when there's a taboo, it's because opponents don't want something "normalized" in popular culture. Again, we go back to the taboos on sex in the old days of movies: pre-marital sex was much less common in movies than it was in real life, because its portrayal on screen was seen as glorifying or at least normalizing such behaviour. So something can be common in real life but much less common in fiction, because it's thought (perhaps rightly) that showing it onscreen is more than just a straightforward portrayal of the way things are.

            Language is another thing — in fact, language is a better example because there are still more taboos on television (except pay cable) than there are in some comparable situations in real life. So that's an example of how popular culture doesn't always directly reflect real life.

          • I don't get it. What do you want to talk about? Do you want to talk about how over 90% of abortions kill a human that's 3 inches or less long? That 99% of abortions happen before the nervous system is functional and able to register pain? That abortion is a safer procedure than childbirth, at least for the mothers? That legal abortion is safer than illegal abortion for mothers?

          • I want to talk about the protection of life in the womb, which you're all to happy to be snuffed at any point in the pregnancy, right?

            I'd also recheck your stats, by the way. They're way off.

          • You were 3 inches long by 13 weeks. Guttmacher Institute says 88% of abortions (…at least in the States) happen by 12 weeks. The nervous system isn't up and running until 5 months in. Guttmacher, once again, says 98.5% of abortions happen by then.

            Do you have a different source for your statistics?

            Also we do protect life in the womb pretty well. Women (who want their fetuses to develop to birth) are given access to exceptional health care.

          • Do you have a source to link to? Again, they sound way off.

          • Why is it so hard for some of you to cite your own claims on here? Why do I have to read that whole document to find the numbers you claim exist? Geez.

          • Eh??

            When women have abortions*
            Eighty-eight percent of abortions occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, 2006.

            It's right there dude. really, THERE IS EVEN A BIG OLD PIECHART SHOWING THE NUMBERS!

          • "It involves the killing of human life"

            See this is where you go wrong. Supporters do want to talk about abortion and what it really is. It's just that you have a particular view of what "really talking about abortion" is and as long as they're not saying what you want to hear, you think they're avoiding the subject instead of listening to their point of view.

            I don't think that an the abortion of an embryo is killing a human life. I don't believe in the digital all or nothing view that a human life pops into being at conception. I think that it is self evident that a collection of cells without a central nervous system isn't a human life and I think that a human life comes into being later then the first trimester. So don't think that first trimester abortions qualify for your assessment. So I will have whole discussions about what abortion really is and you will simply ignore that based upon your views what the discussion should be.

            Sure we can also talk about later term abortions, but seeing that my own knowledge regarding of later term abortion is solely of those due to health complications I'm more then willing to defend those too, regardless of the status of the baby. Now I don't speak for every pro-choice person and plenty of people will have different opinions then mine, but it's clear that there is no shortage of pro-choice people perfectly fine with going deeply what it is all about. You really should try to listen more to what is said, instead of trying to dictate what we are and should be saying.

          • When an abortion is performed, something is killed, isn't it? And, if it isn't us, then what is it?

            You want to draw distinctions between different stages in life.

            So, if a newborn can't fend for itself, does someone have the right to kill it? Of course not. So then why would you accept the killing of less developed life in the womb?

          • Ah, the true colors finally come out.

            No, 'something' is not killed. So there goes your argument.

          • So then what happens. Something was alive, and then it's dead because of an abortion. If it wasn't killed, what happened to it?

            Indeed, I think I just killed your argument. Thanks.

          • Why do you accept slavery for pregnant women? Do you espouse slavery for others, or just pregnant women.

            So-called "pro-lifers" are nothing more than pro-slavers, who want to give special rights (the right to use another person's body without that person's permission) to undeveloped fetuses. You're evil and cruel and support slavery. End of story.

          • What in the world are you talking about? I don't want life in the womb killed, you do. I am pro-choice. Reproductive choices should be made before life is created, not after. Why can't women and men have choice without punishing and killing the baby?

            I'm not for slavery, but you are for slaughter – and all in the name of so-called women's rights. I think that's shameful. I'm sorry.

          • Ernst you're fighting a losing battle with this one. Obviously, Dennis_F believes in "Sperm Magic" You know, the belief that if you sprinkle sperm on something it magically comes alive. Never mind that the egg and sperm separately are already living cells.
            Also he isn't concerned about women's health. Hence the use of phrases like "protection of life in the womb." See what he did there? He completely erased the woman as a person and made her into just a womb. She's a community owned walking, talking incubator.
            He'll also make arguments about how anyone can just give a baby up for adoption as if that's a win-win-win situation. Completely ignoring all evidence to the contrary. When he strikes out against women for unplanned pregnancy (the you get what you deserve argument) he's saying pregnancy, birth and child rearing as punishment for unapproved sex. As in "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time." Sex=Crime, Pregnancy=Time (Punishment) Which is just a sad and bitter way to see what can be a wonderful process for those who want to go through it.
            Notice how he doesn't argue that we need better cheaper widespread access to birth control? As well as mandatory education on reproduction and birth control. Both of which has been proven to reduce unwanted pregnancies. Because it's not about life. It's all about punishing women for having unapproved sex. Especially hot girls that think their bodies aren't community property.

          • Shakahi, why don't you reply to me directly? Is it because you have no manners? Or because you're just afraid?

            It's hard to debate people who won't even concede basic biology. Eggs and seeds are not human life. A fetus is. I know it's a truth many of you want to desperately conceal, but it's there nevertheless. I'm sorry to break it to you.

            Who in the world said I wasn't concerned about a woman's health? You, on the other hand, are definitely not concerned with the health of the child in the womb, right?

            I believe in responsible behaviour when it comes to sex and reproduction. I don't think the child should be punished for anything. You disagree, which I guess is why it's so hard for you to confront me directly.

            I am for birth control. In fact, I'm for pregnancy control. If people want to avoid pregnancies, then they should engage in behaviours to that end, and not kill a mistake after the fact.

            I know that defenders of abortion love to hide behind so-called women's rights. I believe in full women's rights, full human rights, and rights for the unborn. I don't pick and choose rights. What any of that has to do with abortion I'll never know.

        • Secrecy? Where do you get this stuff from? Your posterior? Anti choicers are some of the biggest liars there are. Just take a look at those spurious 'crisis pregnancy centers.'

          • Oh, so woman are now announcing to the rest of the world that they're getting an abortion, how they're getting it, and taking pictures of what's happening, are they?

            Who's making it up again?

            I am for choice. I believe that reproductive choices should be made before life is created, not after.

    • "The choice to be pregnant or not should be made before getting pregnant."

      By this statement I take it you are a supporter of hormonal birth control? Since a woman can't have an abortion if her ovaries aren't releasing ova…

      Anyway, to cut the fat, I get that you don't like abortions. So don't have one. When it comes to others' lives, you have two options in life.

      The humane option:
      Encourage the people you know to have safe sex so that their odds of ever needing an abortion go down. Accept them as humans if a puck gets past the goalie and they decide to terminate the pregnancy, even though it's not the decision you would have made. Those who know you will note that you stood by your convictions AND also stood by your friends.

      The moralist option:
      Continue talking about abortion as if it's only something that irresponsible people do and it's unjustifiable and ugly and etc etc etc. Your words will probably change no one's heart or mind. If the people you know ever decide to have an abortion, tell them how horrible of people they are until they either agree with you or stop talking to you.

      If that second option somehow makes you feel better about humanity then …more power to you, I guess?

      • Well, I really don't want to get into yet another debate on birth control. However, if you don't want a pregnancy, then you engage in behaviours to avoid one. Abstinence is one answer. Artificial birth control is another. Although, with the latter, I'd argue that it promotes the very behaviour that leads to pregnancy: sex. All forms of birth control are flawed. So, the more you do it, the more likely you are to result in pregnancy. This is a basic biological fact that I believe abortion supporters want to deny.

        It's not a matter of whether or not I like abortions. It's a matter of whether or not we allow or condone the killing of human life in the womb.

        I believe the most humane option is to preserve human life – in the womb.

        If pregnancies are to be avoided, then engage in behaviours accordingly. Yes, mistakes happen. So, if they do, make sure it's infrequent, and with someone you'd want to have a baby with if and when it happens.

        That's humane, isn't it? Not killing life in the womb.

        • Hi. Abortion supporter here. Why do you think we want to deny biological facts? I thought I was admitting lots of biological facts. Like, for example, that humans mate. Often. They can abstain but not forever, and when sex does occur, it can be almost reproductively-free.

          So, sure, birth control doesn't always work. In the instances when it doesn't, I'd rather live in a world in which women can get an abortion that doesn't threaten their own life. Would you rather live in a world without safe abortion?

          So, if your friend did get an abortion, would you love them as you love yourself, or would you tell them they've sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and thus are no longer your friend?

          • Who in the world is talking about the mother's life being threatened? It hardly ever happens, yet here you are obsessed with it, and bringing up God and sin. You seem rather obsessed here.

            It's a biological fact that people have to have sex and get abortions? Are you serious? What kind of a world view is this?

          • You're misreading me. I'll restate and make sure I label everything.
            Biological fact: humans mate. A lot.
            Biological fact: sometimes humans produce more humans without having the means to raise those humans.
            Societal implications: birth control, elective abortions, and infanticide will exist.

            All of us here can agree that the last of those three topics is wrong, all the time. You are stating that the second topic is wrong, all the time (I think?). You didn't really state your opinion on the first topic.

            I talk about a mother's life being threatened because if we can all agree that there is sometimes a need for an abortion, then there is no weight behind the anti-choice argument. One can't argue that abortion is always wrong, and yet also claim that there are cases where it is justified.

            Also I bring up God and sin because … well, I assumed that you were arguing from a God worldview. Sorry for my mistake.

            Also, if your friend or neighbour or relative or whatever had an abortion, would you treat them as a human being who had to make an unfortunate decision that you don't agree with, or would you tell them they committed murder and that you could no longer be civil with them?

          • I love it when people overestimate their own intelligence by being condescending to others. And here some of you were claiming that you have no hesitation in debating abortion on its merits. Whatever.

            It's a biological fact that humans mate a lot. Hmmm. I think it's an integral fact of being human that we choose when to mate.

            Human being reproduce too much. Well, that happens less when we act responsibly. There are also adoption waiting lists too long to fit in this space. Why punish the baby for other people's choice and mistakes.

            And you're the only one bringing God and religion into it, or trying to make this personal. I am sticking to facts and logic. You aren't. What does that say?

          • I quoted factual statistics in another comment here. You said they were off…

            I used logic to argue that if you're for the lowering of abortion rates, then you must be for birth control since it prevents pregnancies from happening. You said that it doesn't.

            Pardon me. What's my motivation for using facts and logic if you are unmoved by them?

            The merit of abortion is that it enables people to have sex while lowering the odds that sex will lead to reproductive responsibility.

            …I don't know what else there is to say.

            You think that's not a good thing, I think it is. We disagree on a basic tenement of human social interaction and neither of us is likely to change our opinion. Cool.

          • Yes, I said your stats are off and, after numerous requests, you still haven't provided them, nor your claims about the Bible.

            I used logic to argue that if you're for the lowering of abortion rates, then you must be for birth control since it prevents pregnancies from happening. You said that it doesn't.

            Where did I say this again? I mean, are you making this up, too, along with your claims about stats and the Bible?

            The merit of abortion is that it enables people to have sex while lowering the odds that sex will lead to reproductive responsibility.

            All goals that can be achieved without killing the fetus. How is your view responsible? You're saying that life can be killed after the fact. Holy cow.

          • "What kind of a world view is this?"

            A realistic one? no matter your ideology, whether you agree with it or not you should be able to recognize it as a simple truth.

            Name a single time where either people didn't try to have sex, or didn't have abortions. In all of known history both have always happened in greater or smaller degree. Do you really believe that abortion can be brought down to zero?

          • So, I have to recognize something as a "simple truth" because you say so? Whatever.

            Yes, Ernst, people have sex. Duh. And, yes, people will have abortions, just as we'll always have murder, theft, rape, and so on. Do we legalize the latter because they'll always exist. We know the answer, don't we.

            However, I will concede some of the spirit of your argument. Is the culture at large responsible for our attitudes toward sex, and does that in part influence our attitudes towards abortion? Yes. In a world where sex is removed from its reproductive nature, in which it's treated as though it were a bodily function, yes, the status of life in the womb will be minimized to the point where abortion is tolerated, or even championed in the name of so-called rights. Yes, I will concede that point.

          • It's funny, not a single point of your concession is something I ascribe too or argued for.

            Really I said this before, Read more what people are saying, instead of filling in what they are saying with what you think their argument should be.

          • I'm not the one who has quit justifying their argument with facts and reasoning. Is it my fault you don't have a response?

            This is what I said would happen. In the end, abortion supporters will not want to debate this. Abortion is an ugly thing to defend, and is only done so in the name of so-called women's rights.

            I believe in full women's rights. Full human rights. Not the killing of life or rights in the womb. Thank you.

          • HAVE YOU EVEN READ A SINGLE COMMENT OF MINE? I have written dozens of comments explaining what my arguments, I've substantiated them. are and. you. haven't. argued. at. all.

            You suddenly pull a whole set of statement out of NOWHERE and say that that is what I believe. When I say that I haven't said any of those, you suddenly accuse me of quitting justifying their arguments? Quote where I said anything like that and you have a case.

            Otherwise you are just a lying piece of dishonest …

            Give me those Quotes. Show me where I've argued;

            the culture at large responsible for our attitudes toward sex, and does that in part influence our attitudes towards abortion.

            Quote where I have used the word womans rights or used them to justify abortion.

            You can't. You simply can't. Come on, show me those quotes.

          • I wrote a post where I answered your points, and you turned around and accused me of nonsense and brushed me off.

            I'm sorry. I'm answering a few posters on here. If you're not justifying abortion in the name of so-called women's rights, then what in the world are you using to justify abortion? Please clue me in. I'm eager to learn of it, and see how much angrier you get in defending the killing of life in the womb.

          • Again, no you didn't, you made up some stuff non of which I said. That's why I'm pissed at you. You just make stuff up.

            And dude I already did. learn to read, seriously.

          • Well, I didn't get angry at you, despite plenty of provocation. I'm confident in my beliefs and what I stand for: women's rights, human rights, unborn rights. The entire deal, instead of picking and chosing rights.

            And maybe I did miss it. What justification do you use for killing the human fetus (we can at least agree on that, right?) in the womb, if not so-called women's rights?

            Or do you simply not have an answer?

          • So you support the right of women to be enslaved to another person? That's your definition of "full women's rights?"

            You sicken me, you slaver.

          • You obviously have some problems. Thanks for showing up.

          • Allow me to explain this briefly. Most people accept that we do not have the right to take the life of another person. Those that do not, we typically have particular medical names to describe, such as "sociopath". Most people, in this country at least, even believe that the state does not have the right to take the life of a person, even if they are convinced of the most serious of crimes in a fair trial. This line of reasoning is followed explicitly by the pro-life movement: if we do not believe it is acceptable to end each other's lives, and do not feel it is acceptable to end the lives of the most heinous of people, it is hardly unreasonable to feel that it is acceptable to end the lives of arguably the most innocent of our citizens. Our morality, if anything, gives children and babies special protection beyond what is typically afforded of adults.

            [continued]

          • With this as a context, if we accept the position that a fetus is, at some point during gestation, a living person, then that person is entitled to the same rights as anyone else, and ending their life is just as despicable. The question is, exactly what point during/after gestation is that fetus a person? The mother isn't really relevant per se: there are virtually no circumstances under which one person has the right to take the life of another. The obvious corollary is this: for the points during the gestation period where the fetus isn't a person, then abortion is perfectly defensible.

  3. "because she was pregnant and chose not to be."

    Kinda like how Robert Blake chose not to be married anymore.

  4. I guess it would be hypocritical of me to quibble with anything that succeeded in getting more viewers for FNL, the Best Show on TV. Not that I have anything to quibble about in how they handled this.

    But I suspect that the show is not finished with this issue, given that the father's Christian parents know Becky was pregnant.

    Of course, I could search online and spoil the suspense for myself, but I won't.

  5. I like how Dennis_F, a pro-lifer, speaks for pro-choice people. As someone who is pro choice, I DO support more discussion of abortion, in real life and in TV. Contrary to popular belief (PARTICULARLY among pro lifers), not all women who get abortions suffer mental anguish or have any adverse physical or psychological effects. It'd be great to see more realistic portrayals on TV.

      • Personally, I'm opposed to any attempts to quash free speech. But just because university student councils are radical enough to ban speech doesn't speak for the average pro choice person.

        The fact that a lot of women keep it "secret" is because it's personal. And while I'm willing to agree it's not just like any other medical procedure, it IS a medical procedure, and people don't often talk about that.

        As to your last point, let me state the obvious: Just because you happen to consider life to occur at conception, doesn't make it so.

        • If it's not life that starts at conception, then what is it?

          • To be blunt, it's a fertilized egg. It's a potential life, but it's not a person yet.

          • I think that what you mean to say is that it's a potential person, but it certainly is a life, isn't it? It is alive, it is human, and it gets killed when an abortion is performed.

            Yes, you have to be blunt, don't you?

          • Every functioning cell in your body is also "alive" but I don't think you'd refer to each of them as a life.

            I think what you mean to say is that a fetus has a soul, and is therefore a life. Since I don't believe in souls, my opinion differs.

          • so for me, life begins when a baby is born and has developed enough to survive.

          • A doctor doesn't create life at birth, but merely delivers it outside of the womb. The life that is a human being already existed, and can be terminated with an abortion. That's the whole point, right?

          • Does that mean that your moral system allows for babies that are born but not developed enough to survive to be terminated at the discretion of the parents? And if so, at what point, exactly, is a person "developed enough to survive"?

          • That's ridiculous. Babies born that aren't developed enough to survive DON'T SURVIVE. What I was talking about, as opposed to the moronic straw man you tried to construct, is that a fetus at a stage where the brain or nervous system hasn't developed, shouldn't be considered a human, just a potential human.

          • What about when the nervous system has developed? Is it life then?

          • What exactly do you mean by "developed enough to survive"? A two-year old child has not developed enough to survive without explicit support from their parents; a thirty-five year old person with severe mental disability may not be able to survive without explicit support from caregivers. This idea that a baby can magically survive on its own as soon as it comes out of the womb is utter nonsense.

            Just to be clear:
            "An organism that can survive on their own without assistance is alive" is a defensible position.
            "An organism with a functional central nervous system is alive" is also a defensible position.

          • But the meanings are very different!

            Incidentally, some philosophers who ascribe to a variant of the second position, which does, at least in principle, allow infanticide up to a given point. At very early stages in life, a human baby is less functional than many intelligent animals–perhaps most troublingly pigs, which are inconveniently also a food animal. Hence accepting that food animals can be terminated for our convenience necessitaties a more liberal definition of "alive".

          • No, that's not what I said. All our lives start at conception. Life is not created at birth. A baby doesn't all of a sudden become "alive" when it leaves the womb. It simply enters another stage of life. However, it's life does end when it is being aborted, isn't it?

            We're not talking about warts here. We're talking about life that, let unimpeded, grows to be you and me. It's when life starts. A doctor doesn't snap his fingers and create new life at birth, she merely helps the separation from the womb in the mother.

            We grow through all kinds of physical stages as human beings. That we're less developed at certain points, both before birth and after, doesn't make us lesser human beings. A baby who can't walk isn't a lesser human being than an adult who can fend for themselves.

            Yet, for some reason, we want to completely nullify the life in the womb. Why? I'm not completely sure.

          • Simply repeating "All our lives start at conception" doesn't prove your argument.

            You can compare a fertilized egg to a living, breathing baby all you want, but we're obviously not going to agree. You might as well mourn every time a woman has her period and expels the egg or every time a guy masturbates into a sock, because those potential lives have been lost as well. The sperm and egg coming together is a necessary prerequisite for life, but until it develops into a person, treating it as such is irrational.

          • and simply repeating "it doesn't" doesn't prove yours either. Geez.

            A fertilized egg is a conceived human being. You can want to treat it like trash all you want, I won't.

            Life starts for us at some point. It's not at birth. If not, then when is it? How about conception? That's when the spark starts. You obviously resent the fact, but it's a basic fact of life, isn't it?

            And the rest of your post just proves that you have to descend into silliness. An egg is not human life, neither is sperm. Biology 101, dude.

            You may want to treat the responsibility of producing new life so irresponsibly, but I think that says a lot about your view of the world. Thank you.

          • What exactly is the "spark" you're talking about?

            A fetus is not a human life, Biology 101, dude.

            You may want to tread on the rights of women to do what they want with their bodies so irresponsibly, but I think that says a lot about your view of the world. Thank you.

          • You can't possibly be of the belief that life begins at birth? A doctor is not God. They don't create life. You know that, right?

            You can accuse me of anything you want. I believe in full women's rights. I believe in full human rights. What that has to do with abortion I'll never know.

            It just proves that you're angry. That's all.

          • Seeing as how I don't believe in God, that's a useless argument. I'm sorry but "God" didn't create life. It's a biological process. And a fertilized egg, while 'alive' is not yet a human being. Like Ernst above, I'm willing to consider a fetus a life when it's developed a nervous system, but the fact that you talk about a magic "spark" and about God shows your belief in when life started is rooted in religious fantasy and not biology, physiology or logic.

          • For crying out loud. Is a fetus alive or isn't it? Of course it's alive. Whether or not you want to consider it a person with rights is a different issue, but it's not a dead thing that sparks to life at birth, right?

          • A fetus is alive just like most of the individual cells in your body are alive. The more it develops the closer it gets to human life.

          • So, it is alive. Check.

            All the other cells in our body don't become people. That's pretty silly analogy, wouldn't you concede?

            When referring to a fetus, or an embryo, we refer to "human" fetuses and "human" embryos, right?

            So, they are human, and they are alive. Right.

          • Actually no. Both are cells, and alive as cells. Skin cells don't become somebody. A Fetus does become somebody. And as soon as it does becomes somebody, it's a human life, not beofre.

            The key word is in your own comment. "become"

            Become has a specific meaning. Isn't yet.

          • Wait a minute. We have embryos and fetuses that belong to different species, right? They're not all the same. Some become chickens, others ducks. It's only HUMAN embryos that become human, right? We're not talking about what roosters and hens produce, are we.

            The fetuses in discussion are human. And they're alive – at least until killed from an abortion, no?

          • No they aren't human. They are human FETUSES. Just like an egg isn't a chicken. It's an egg.

          • Oh my God. I'll go nice and slow if I can.

            They are HUMAN…..FETUSES.

            Yes?

            Not CHICKEN fetuses that we're talking about.

            Not COW fetuses that we're talking about.

            Or even the fetus of ALF or any other extre-terrestrial beings, right?

            We're talking human species fetuses, no?

            They can only grow as HUMAN beings, right?

            Wow.

          • You keep talking about what it will be. Not what it is.

            This is your logic:

            An egg grows into a chicken, therefore it is already a chicken.

            A child grows into an adult, therefore it is already an adult.

            A fetus grows into a human, therefore it is already a human.

            I see thing differently

          • I'm using the word human as an adjective, not a noun.

            We've already made the remarkable concession that a fetus is alive. And, you yourself have used the adjective "human" to describe what kind of fetus it is, right?

            So, when I say that human life is being killed in the womb, I'm not being inaccurate, am I? I'm not using the term "human being", nor even the term "child". Just human life.

          • Actually, we've maintained the ENTIRE TIME that it is a POTENTIAL human life.

          • I know, but it is SOMETHING in the HERE and NOW, isn't it? It has a status of its own in the meantime, doesn't it? And I'm saying that, at the very least, it is a human life. Not a human being, or even a child – at least not for the sake of this argument.

          • And I'm saying it's not a human life, it's a POTENTIAL human life. That's the whole argument. That's why terminating its existence is not the same as killing a baby. That's been the whole argument we've had ALL DAY.

            Only you, a clearly intelligent person, are being intellectually dishonest and intentionally dense by ignoring what I and people like Ernst have been writing.

            I've conceded that there is a point at which abortion is unacceptable (like terminating a fetus in later stages of development). But I won't concede that destroying a fertilized egg is killing human life, only a potential human life, EVEN if I'm willing to concede the fetus is "alive" (because, as i've stated several times, I see it as alive in the same sense as we would say cells are alive).

          • Oh brother. You keep skirting the issue. What is a human fetus in the here and now, regardless of what anyone claims it will eventually be? Well, a fetus is a form of life, isn't it? And a human fetus is, well, human as opposed to another species, right? So how am I incorrect in describing the life in the womb as human life? Indeed, it's a very modest characterization, but nevertheless an accurate one, imo. Because words like being and child have also been used, but which I'm not resorting to because it's not needed for present purposes.

            So, I suggest you stop trying to discredit my motives, and start addressing the actual statements I am making. Thank you.

          • You hit the nail on the head of the crux of the argument when you write "regardless of what anyone claims it will eventually be"

            Regardless? THAT is dismissing the entire point. The potential is not the thing it will be.

            An apple seed is alive, but it's not an apple tree. A human fetus is alive, but it is not a human life, it is a POTENTIAL human life.

            And now I'm just repeating myself, because, as I said, you're being intentionally dense about the distinction i'm making.

          • Look, you can't answer the question, so you lash out at me. What kind of argumentation style is that, dude?

            I am not claiming that a fetus is a seed, for crying out loud.

            You're the one who keeps bringing future potential into it. You're the one who can't focus on what a human fetus is in the here and now.

            But, OK, let's take a step back. By supporting abortion, you support the killing of a human fetus, right?

            Can we at least agree on the much without yet conceding that its life, and that it's human life?

          • Holy crap, I KNOW I'm the one bringing potential into it, that's precisely where we differ. That's exactly my argument. To me it's a potential human life, to you it's already human life. Got it?

            And yes, abortion kills a human fetus.

          • Yes, but it's something now without bringing potential into it. Yes? So, what is it now? It belongs to the human species, and it's alive, isn't it?

            And you support a choice that involves the killing of a human fetus in the womb, right? You support the killing of life in the womb, don't you?

            How about that? Life is being killed in the womb. Can we agree on that?

            Or here's another angle. When we all say that we have life, or are alive, when did that start? At birth? No. So when?

          • hahaha. you're treading in circles.

            What is it now? It's a fertilized egg. A cell, or a cluster of cells. Alive, but NOT LIFE.

            Sorry, I see you're trying to get me to go down a particular road, but I'll repeat: a fetus is only a POTENTIAL life. It's not a life.

            And before you ask, if you scan the rest of the giant thread here you'll see I that I don't view life as happening magically in one instant through the hand of God. It's a development. When the fetus gets to a certain stage in development (i.e. it can live outside the womb without medical assistance) it is then life.

          • No I'm not treading in circles. I've consistently asked you a question, and you've finally given some kind of an answer.

            So, a fetus at eight months is still a cluster of cells is it? And, if it isn't, then when did it's status change?

            Fetuses can live outside the womb at some point much earlier than full nine months to birth. So, at that point you think it's life, in the womb?

            I think you need to clarify yourself on this issue. When is it potential life, and when is it not potential life – in the womb?

            And why even draw that distinction?

          • You're asking me to clarify something I've ALREADY clarified.

            I've mentioned NUMEROUS TIMES I'm opposed to late-term abortions precisely because I believe the point at which a fetus becomes viable is the crucial one.

            That distinction is important in the sense that killing something that can feel, has a fully developed brain and nervous system, etc. is different than killing something that doesn't.

            I draw this distinction, because unlike you, I'm not an absolutist.

          • You might not be an absolutist, but you've just destroyed your own argument. For, you just conceded that a fetus can be both potential and full human being. How can that be? does it have rights sometimes, or all the time. You're clouding the issue further as you go along here.

          • Actually, my argument is completely consistent with the perspective that life DEVELOPS, it doesn't just "spark" into existence by the hand of God. Thanks for playing though.

          • EXACTLY.

          • This is EXACTLY what Bob and Ernst have been sayingall along, but you've been ignoring it Dennis!

          • See new thread for answer. These are getting WAY too thin. lol

          • See below.

          • At birth, yes. Not before. Never before. At birth and ONLY at birth.

          • Who made you God?

          • You believe in full women's slavery, and special rights for unborn clumps of cells. That is an evil position,and you are an evil person.n.

          • " An egg is not human life, neither is sperm."

            So why is an egg + sperm a human life? It's the same two cells. From a biology point of view, an egg+sperm is about the same level of organism as a bacteria: it's a bunch of genetic material in a protective shell that has the ability to replicate. It doesn't think or feel, because it as yet lacks the organs that give it the capacity to do so.

            There are several places that might be morally defensible places where a being could be "alive". Or, perhaps, "sentient" is a better term. There are many things that are alive that we don't care about killing–plants, bacteria, etc. Sentience implies some level of self-awareness. One might, for example, argue that a sentient being requires a nervous system. Or it might require certain higher brain functions. Depending on what you feel is appropriate will set the criteria for when abortion (and things like euthanasia) are justified.

          • So why is an egg + sperm a human life?

            Because that's how human life is created, for crying out loud. Do any of you even know how babies are made? Wow.

          • Actually no, combine a an egg and a sperm and nothing much happens.

            in order to develop a human life you'll also need a boat load of specific hormones, and other triggers. Minerals, and other building blocks. Each of which are not only needed to create the human life, but also to shape it. How much testosterone there is in the womb, how much estrogen can be more important for that human's life then it's mere DNA.

            For somebody who is so vocal about this subject and basis his viewpoint on it so much, you seem to know little about the actual biology behind the conception and development of human life.

            Seeing how interested you are in the starting point of life and pregnancy I would advice you to take a course in evolutionary biology focusing on that subject. It's really fascinating stuff.

          • All you're describing are the conditions under which an egg and a sperm become fertilized, right? And? This is why you consider yourself to be an expert in evolutionary biology, is it?

            It's like saying human being have sex to procreate, then someone coming along and suggesting, well, that's not true. They need air to breath, some space for themselves, and access to cigarettes afterwards. Brilliant, dude!

            You'd think that a person who considers themselves so clever on the topic would have recourse to better material. I guess not.

          • No, he's talking about after fertilization.

            The DNA in the egg and sperm are blueprints. They give instructions on how to build particular proteins. In order to actually build those proteins, however, you need materials, and you need builders. The vast majority of these things come from the surroundings.

          • Yes, a fetus needs an environment in which to survive and grow. I certainly never disputed that.

          • So dense, so unbelievably dense. And just to note, you were the one starting with the put downs. You don't even seem to know how unbelievably little you know.

            No, the environment makes the fetus. The womb isn't just an environment in which to survive and grow. it's integral into forming and shaping the fetus as well.

          • No, you need to do this. It's like I said. You can't defend the act of abortion, so you need to resort to these tactics. I said this right from the beginning.

            The environment makes the fetus. Wow. Now you've got wombs creating babies all by themselves. Yes, I certainly have to cede to that kind of brilliant biological wisdom, don't I.

          • Do you know the meaning of the word integral?

            And I find it amusing that every time you take the topic off of abortion to make snide comment you accuse us of it doing it. Cute. but this it.

            Bye! I'm going to bed. But I'll pray for your misguided soul. It's clear you'll need it.

          • Look, you claimed that the womb makes the fetus, didn't you? I know we're all getting a bit tired here, but you're the one who was trying to mock my knowledge of "evolutionary biology" weren't you? I simply shot back, and with good reason.

            And, again, I didn't bring religion, souls, or the Bible into this. I don't need to. You do. Rather ironic, isn't it?

          • Yes, I did bring the bible and religion in to this, and both times I was making a serious point.

            Why is it ironic? Why is it so strange to believe that I might pray for a misguided soul, not misguided because of his belief around abortion. But misguided because his social graces and ability to argue are so compromised? I think you mean well, but it's obvious you have real trouble beyond arguing your own point. Almost all replies I've seen you make o comments of mine or of anybody else, weren't about their actual comment but of your own version of it.

            Same with this last comment. I said:
            No, the environment makes the fetus. The womb isn't just an environment in which to survive and grow. it's integral into forming and shaping the fetus as well.

            At no point did I say wombs creating babies all by themselves. You took a single sentence part of the bigger whole, where I explained what I meant and you quoted it out of context in order to make it sound bad.

            That's why people get mad at you at this sort of discussion, that's why you're not reaching anybody who doesn't agree with you. And why this discussion keeps going round in circles.

            Anyway, this time I'm logging off for real. Peace be with you.

          • You are some piece of work. Again, you can't justify the arguments that you've tried to make, so you resort to this condescending nonsense and unjustified attacks.

            Like I said from the beginning, abortion supporters love the status quo, which is why they have so much difficulty defending it when challenged.

            You said that this: "the environment makes the feuts" and this after you specifically called me "dense". Seriously, if that comment of yours isn't incredible dense, then what is? And I tried holding back on the retort, but you left me no choice.

            I told you people get mad at these kinds of discussions, which is why abortion supporters don't want to debate this. I specifically said this would happen, didn't I?

            But, nooooo, you had to put up a pretense. You had to try and make people believe that abortion can be defended with sober thought and reason. How did that go, eh?

            Bye.

          • And you will happily enslave women to ensure a fetus gets that environment. Disgusting.

          • Life started billions of years ago and has been one long chain of organism giving rise to another organism since then.

            An individual human life starts at conception. You apparently think that every human life gets all the rights of a non-gestational human immediately at conception, including the right to not be killed. Does this always apply? If the development of a gestational human threatens the life of a non-gestational human, what do you advise?

          • Funny how you have to equate human life in the womb with just any organism.

            I'm not a medical expert, so I don't know how common the dilemma that you describe is, or even if it's a necessary either/or decision.

            However, what I do know is that what you have put forth is the idea of abortion being a medical decision, and not a choice.

            So, you're willing to concede that point, are you? That abortions should only be allowed when the life of the mother will end otherwise?

            If that's the case, then the entire justification for abortion is nullified. It's not choice. It's a necessity in a small number of cases, at least according to your premise.

          • …do humans have an innate quality that makes us different than other organisms?

            I mean we all, as humans, agree that humans should get special treatment, but (as Bob is saying above) we (in the 21st century first world) also define human beings as being separate individuals. Before 5 months of pregnancy a human is not viable. The majority of abortions happen before 5 months. Ergo, most abortions do not happen to separate individuals, they happen to beings that are intimately linked to their mother.

            If you think that humans get all their rights, immediately, upon conception, then anyone who threatens or takes the lives of zygotes, embryos, or fetuses is breaking the law, right? So what jail time do you suggest for women who opt to have abortions? What if they just drink a few beers during pregnancy? Or go driving without a seatbelt?

            I was asking _you_ what you would do in the case of pregnancies which threaten the life of the mother. I am not conceding any points. Abortions should be allowed whenever the mother thinks they should happen. Until pregnancies can happen outside of women I don't think any men should have the right to restrict them.

          • A newborn baby isn't "viable" without help from others, right? Why does it have rights?

            According to you, a woman have every right to feed her baby alcohol, drugs, and any other kind of crippling substances for the baby.

            Obviously , the doctor that does the killing should be charged. As for the mother, I'd have no problem with the father being charged, too. He should be responsible, too.

            I answered your question about threatening the life of the mother.

            And, yes, you want to justify the killing of life in the womb in the name of women. My God, what an agenda.

          • I justify the killing of life in the womb in the name of women because women actually bring life into the world, and it is thus their responsibility to decide if they want to or not.

            And, uh, oddly enough, the law in Canada basically agrees with that sentiment. So. It's up to you to change the law back.

            Good luck with convincing people to go back to the laws of 1966.

            Thanks for being honest about your belief in the criminality of abortion. …like I said earlier, I hope that you never get one, since it sounds like it would devastate you.

          • women actually bring life into the world, and it is thus their responsibility to decide if they want to or not.

            a) Here we go again with when "life" starts. If it starts at conception, and not birth, then women don't bring it in. However, they are integral in its early stage development. It's a responsibility, which is why both women and men should behave responsibly before life is created in the womb.

            b) I believe in choice, too. Reproductive choice should be made before life is created, not after.

            There used to be a time when we attached responsibility to the reproductive act. Now, no more. People can conceive all they want, and kill all they want. How this is responsible behaviour I don't know.

            I agree that the culture at large is in part responsible for abortion. When we separate sex from its reproductive component, we treat reproduction as an afterthought – as something to be aborted if mistakes are made.

            Again, I've already conceded that point, and will keep conceding it.

          • If an individual human life starts at conception then, yes, women do bring it into the world, unless the zygote / embryo / fetus is being formed in vitro.

            If an individual human life starts at birth, then, once again, women do bring it into the world.

            You say you're for womens' rights so you've obviously talked to women about their experiences with pregnancy and maybe abortion. According to them, when do they consider an individual human life to start?

          • If an individual human life starts at conception then, yes, women do bring it into the world

            I don't want to get pulled into a semantic debate here, but if life starts at conception, then it's already there. Nobody brought it anywhere.

            And, again, some of you feel the need to take this personal in order to justify your views of abortion. Why is that?

            You're saying that all pregnant woman consider life to start at birth? I doubt that. And, if you're not saying that, then what are you saying?

          • Why is a conversation about abortion personal? Because abortion affects people. I don't see why I need to state that. We can have a fantastic theoretical conversation here about when an individual life starts BUT every one of these individual lives is starting inside a human. And all of those humans are women.

            And yet neither of us is a woman.

            Sooooooo.

            We're kinda acting like armchair quarterbacks, except in this case the football is an embryo.

          • The bible is clear on this subject, it's life starts when the baby is born and the first breath is taken. However, in our society, with our laws, we don't have such a clear point of when human life starts, some say that merely having a single cell of unique DNA is enough to qualify. But at that point it's just a mechanical protein factory, without will, thought, awareness, as much alive as any complex machinery is. All it is an automated function, a biological computer program. Having that single cell cease to function for whatever reason is no more ending a human life as the death of any single cell is.

            We all believe that somewhere along the way from a single automated cell to a fully grown human life starts, Nowadays almost everybody, me included believes it starts sooner then the bible tells us, that live comes into being in the womb. Personally I don't think a human life starts as much as it grows, accrues into being. That being a human is the result of the development and interplay of masses of unique and different cells. and that conception itself is nothing more then the creation of the blueprint.

          • The bible is clear on this subject, it's life starts when the baby is born and the first breath is taken.

            You've got to be kidding me.

            OK, so you agree that human life exists somewhere in the womb? So, then, you would be against abortion at that point?

          • You've got to be kidding me.

            I know, right? Who references the Bible for scientific facts?

          • Then reference the Bible, genius, and do it in context. I'm not stopping you. But it's the first time I've ever heard that the Bible justify the killing of life until birth.

          • Actually, I didn't justify it, I merely mentioned it because the bible is so many times used to justify banning abortion as it kills life, I always find it useful to mention that the bible is actually more extreme then all the pro-choice movements together. Even if it's not actually mentioned in the discussion.

          • Then cite some of the Bible, for crying out loud.

          • I'm not Ernst and so I don't know what they are referring to, but the character of God in the Bible does tell his followers to kill life before birth, and the Israelites do ask God to have their enemies miscarry, which also kills life before birth. So… Maybe it was only justified back then?
            Hosea 9:11-16. Numbers 5:11-21. Numbers 31:17. Hosea 13:16. 2 Kings 15:16

            More on the topic at http://www.evilbible.com/god%27s%20not%20pro-life

            Of course, if people are getting their morality from a series of books written thousands of years ago then they probably aren't going to have good ideas for what to say about 21st century medical ethics.

          • Wait a minute. You want us to read as a source something called "evil bible"??

            You're the ones bringing the Bible into this. Cite, on here, any justification for the claims you have made about abortion and the Bible. Why should I have to search my Bible for your quotes?

            Why is this so hard? Geez. I'm not making these claims, you are. Why should I research your claims?

          • No I'm very, very serious. The new testament is silent on the matter but The bible directly states in the old testament that life comes with the first breath. The bible is also very clear in exodus that intentionally causing the miscarriage of a pregnant lady is not murder. Job states that if he had been miscarried or aborted, he would not have been, at all. Not hat he would've died, but that he never would have existed.Don't get me wrong, I don't advocate using the teachings of the bible here, as in many other places. The bible demands the death penalty for the most trivial of infractions on some subjects. But it always amazes me that so many people ascribe their own views to the bible instead of learning what the bible really says about the subject.

            Yes I do believe that life exists somewhere in the womb, somewhere after ther first trimester. And because of that I'm personally against most abortions after the first trimester for most lifestyle reasons.

            However, seeing that my cousin had to have a 3rth trimester abortion twice or she would have died I'm very careful about making any statements about when it should be allowed or not, or for what reason. I can't ignore the fact that pro-life people that are agitating for a blank third trimester bans are in a very direct way trying to cause the death of women like my cousin. Because I had that experience, I'm very careful about setting limitations. While I would not like to measure the worth of an 18 week old pregnancy against that of a cousin, who is also a sister, daughter, wife and mother. I do not think them equal by an order of several magnitudes.

          • You know the Bible comes with these things called chapter and verse. I thought most people knew that and, if they wanted to cite something directly from it, they'd actually use these biblical devices. Or maybe that's just me. I don't know.

            I can't possibly rebut third-hand personal accounts. However, if you're willing to concede that abortion should only happen if medically necessary, whatever that means, then let's go with that, no?

          • My g*d, you really haven't been reading anything I said did you?

            I would be more then happy to dig up the several dozens of verses needed for each point, but right now I have so little faith in your willingness to listen or understand, or your capabilities to either that I shall take a pass. A very good primer is http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d050201.htm, it's very, very bare bones but right now it'll have to do.

            As for the rest. please, please, please. LEARN TO READ! I have very specifically SPELLED OUT what I think about abortion, WHEN, HOW and WHY! Why do you need to constant change what is actually said into some weird unrecognizable talking point version?

          • Let me get this straight, you're blaming ME for YOUR inability to cite your own claims on here. Unbelievable.

            Like I said, abortion is a hard thing for its supporters to defend, so they have to resort to these personalized attacks, right on cue.

            I have answered every single attack directed against me with facts and reason. That this frustrates you is something I had predicted, isn't it. Thank you.

          • And why on earth would you want to rebut my own personal experience of having a family member that would have died if not for a third trimester abortion, twice?

            What is there to rebut? if it's shown that such a situation happens only rarely and my cousin is an outlier. (and by g*d I hope it such situations are extremely, extremely rare) would I then suddenly think that blank bans are o.k. or that we should take less care setting the law? of course not! Nor do I even think you would want such a stringent ban, or a careless one. For all your troubles reading the arguments made against you and substituting your own versions of them instead you seem a thoughtful man. I just wish you wouldn't have such preconceived notions of what people are trying to say to you.

          • I don't know who you are, or what circumstances you're describing. For all I know, you could be making it up, right? That's why I try to stick to claims and assertions that are verifiable. You can't even cite your own claims about the Bible, for crying out loud, and now I have to take your account about another person as the Bible, too?

            I don't need personalized accounts. In fact, I haven't even resorted to posting pictures on here of the aborted fetuses that you say weren't living. I've kept it impersonal. You haven't.

          • I GAVE YOU A LINK WITH THE CITES AND AN EXPLANATION! are you that dyslectic? Time and time again you put words in my mouth that I haven't said. Now you keep going on about me not giving you the cites, against somebody else you complained that the very data they gave you didn't contain the numbers while they were even shown as a big as pie chart. And kept it impersonal? my god you started with the put downs hours ago.

            You really are just trolling here, trying to get a rise out of everybody right? because you can't accidentally distort so many comments without trying.

          • This is what I said would happened. It's like nobody is allowed to disagree with the abortion agenda. As soon as they do, these kinds of attacks ensue.

            Somebody finally justified one of their claims with a pie chart. Not all their claims, and only after numerous requests.

            Still nothing about the Bible, though.

            I know defending abortion is hard. It's what I said from the beginning.

            I know. I know. You'll make another angry post. Is it because it's an angry and mean agenda?

          • No I make an angry post because of you. For example I've already pointed out several times that I gave you a link with an explanation and the cites you asked for. It's six post up. The comment been there for over and hour, you responded to it. And yet you keep up the lie that I didn't do that.

            You keep repeating statement and ascribing them to me and other people although I or they hadn't said them. All that makes people angry. You don't read what they say, you make snide comments, and every time you get called out on it you try to make it out that we do it so we don't have to defend abortion even though I've extensively defended it and you haven't made a single coherent argument against it.

            You are a passive aggressive troll. It's not the subject but it's you that's the problem and the reason people react the way they do.

          • I'm debating two people about stats. One person finally sourced their claims about when women get abortions, and only that claim. No one else has sourced their claims about the Bible.

            So, you can get angry at me for rebutting your defence of abortion all you want. It kind of proves my point, though, doesn't it? Thanks.

          • It isn't hard to defend abortion. A woman's body is her own, and she alone gets to decide where she will put her body's labor toward. Any other position is tantamount to sdvocating slavery for women.

            You are a slaver, nothing more, nothing less.

          • Yes, and shouldn't that decision be made before life is created, and not after? Why should the baby have to suffer and die for someone else's actions?

            I believe in rights for every living human entity. You believe in rights only for the woman to have her baby killed in the womb.

            Again, thanks for showing up.

          • Life begins at birth, when the Breath of Life is first taken. Not before.

          • So, when a fetus punches and kicks in the womb, it's not alive? When it undergoes an abortion, it's not killed?

  6. There might be one abortion for every 5 births in Ontario, but it is certainly NOT the other way around.

  7. Abortion for some. No abortion for others. Miniature American flags for all?

    I think a contrast between Juno and Palindromes (I realize these are movies, and have a bit more freedom since they don't rely on repeat viewership) makes for a good study of how to do abortion without scaring off your audience. Juno is a fairly pro-life movie. It is about a teenager that keeps a baby – largely convinced that perhaps fetuses are indeed humans (they have fingernails). The rest of the movie is spent justifying this to liberals, largely by emphasizing how cool, mature and like them Juno is. The movie was a sleeper hit, and Ellen Page went on to do Cisco commercials that I don't quite understand.

    Palindromes, by contrast, was a hard-hitting look at the inherent hypocrisy of both pro-life and pro-choice camps. On the one hand it portrayed abortion doctor killers, while on the other it examined the role of parental coercion against children that choose to keep their babies. The movie was not well-received, and alienated almost everybody – even compared to other Todd Solondz films.

    Nobody wants a fair and balanced look at abortion (even though the majority of people in both Canada AND the US can be considered moderates on the issue). Likewise, a slanted look at abortion caps one's audience at half the population. The only way to succeed is to convince both sides that you are on their side. Juno succeeded at doing this by appealing to pro-lifers with its content, and to pro-choicers with its hearty embrace of their cultural symbols (abortion is, after all, but one front in a larger culture war).

  8. How does it destroy my argument to say that the fetus develops from mere cells into a viable human being? My support for early term abortions and opposition to late-term abortions is what MOST PEOPLE adhere to.

  9. This is in response to the point that some are making that life doesn't simply start with a spark, but that it "develops."

    OK, so when does human life start? And if it doesn't start in an instant, it certainly can stop in one, such as when an abortion occurs, right?.

    • I'll repeat: viability. There isn't a clear cut-off point, which is why I think MOST PEOPLE would favour limiting abortions to the first trimester (when most DO occur, according to the stats people have cited above).

      • Why use that criteria? Isn't that arbitrary? And unclear? A trimester, if I'm not mistaken, is a human concept, like age. The body doesn't know it passed from one arbitrary age assignment to another, it just continues to develop apace.

        Indeed, if a fetus is viable early, and it's killed, then would this not be murder, at least according to your criteria?

        I'm not so sure about the stats. As an article I posted suggests, Stats Canada at least is very tight-lipped about late term abortions. I wonder why. Anyhow, it's a bit of a side issue.

        To me, I'm just not sure what distinctions people use to determine when an abortion is and isn't murder.

  10. You know, Dennis, you're being a disingenuous asshole and so the next time you sprout a womb and actually are dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, please feel free to let us know. As the situation is, we'll let you go ahead and remove that appendix (made of human!) without our approval. Because personal medical decisions are personal, and we'd like you to butt your fucking panty-sniffing nose out of ours.

  11. I thought I replied to this an hour ago but I am not seeing anything. I don't get it.

  12. I thought I replied to this an hour ago but I am not seeing anything. …so. Take 2, more briefly.

    According to Statistics Canada (http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-223-x/82-223-x2008000-eng.pdf) about 100000 abortions occur in this country. If Margaret Somerville is correct in her estimate that 800 post-viability (defined as post 20 weeks) abortions occur in Canada, that means 99.2% happen before or at 20 weeks. The statistic I cited from the US was that 98.5% of abortions (…at least in 1999) occurred before or at 20 weeks.

    So as far as I can tell my statistics are still correct? It still appears that the (vast) majority of abortions kill a human being which, at that time period, can not live without being bonded to a womb, and which also doesn't have a nervous system capable of registering pain. This suggests that most abortions don't cause suffering. They cause death. The would-have-been mother goes back to her life as a productive citizen. Maybe goes on to have kids happily when she can afford to provide them a safe upbringing. The choice of abortion makes childbearing into a choice that women can freely go into and enjoy, rather than a burden they have to endure regardless of ability.

  13. The only reason I brought up the character of God killing unborn children was because you said somewhere else in these comments that you never "heard that the Bible justify the killing of life until birth" and so I brought up the few mentions that the Bible makes of God or the Israelites saying it's justifiable to cause harm to a prenatal human. The Genesis and Numbers 5 references both have nothing to do with killing enemy life, they have to do with punishing a woman for either being a whore or being accused of adultery.

    As far as your original Bible remark… The Pentateuch makes some odd wording choices as far as whether prenatal or neonatal humans are people or not. Numbers 3:15-16 has Moses counting the children of Levi, he only counts males from the age of a month or older, which places male children under the age of 1 month and all women in some different category. Exodus 21:22 says that causing a miscarriage is worth paying the woman's husband, although no mention is made of the exact price. Leviticus 27:3-7 puts values on human lives, but no value is placed on lives of babies a month or less in age.

  14. Regarding my last points. Honestly I think women can use whatever justification they want to get an abortion. It's the least that western civilization can do after treating them as second-hand citizens for a few thousand years.

    Adoption statistics in Canada suggest that about 3000 children get adopted a year. So in order for adoption to save the lives of all those aborted prenatal humans, adoption is going to have to increase. A lot. http://www.familyhelper.net/ad/adres.html#daly
    That article (…from a while ago, unfortunately) estimated that about 23000 adoption requests happen in Canada a year. So in order to save all those aborted prenatal humans, every couple and individual in Canada who wants to adopt, would have to adopt. 4 kids. Every year. So everyone who has room in their house for an adoptable child should take at least one. Immediately.

    I just can't ever take abstinence seriously, and I don't really think I need to explain why not. The idea rests on requiring humans to all be responsible and not have sex unless they can definitely handle having to raise a human being for the next 18 years. This requirement is being given to the same species which has to be policed in order to wear helmets when driving a motorcycle, or wear a seatbelt when driving an automobile. Short-term thinking. We are masters of it.

    • Yes, you believe that women can use whatever justification they want to kill life in the womb. We know that's your position. And you apparently hold that position because of some bizarre notion of revenge. Although I will agree with you that we're where we are today in part because of injustices to women, but I don't think that unborn children should suffer as a result.

      Yes, there are people waiting to adopt. But how about reducing some of those 100,000 aborted fetuses that happen every year? How about saving some of those lives, or not putting them at risk in the first place?

      How did human civilization carry on before abortion and birth control? Hugh Hefner was a virgin before he went to college. Why? Because it was considered the norm? Now? People like you think we should bang away, and who cares about the consequences? Who cares if lives are killed as a result?

  15. Oh, and I will add one more general point that addresses something others have put forth here. Specifically, the state of public opinion. Indeed, some of you have already conceded this point. That is, the unacceptability of late-term abortions. Canada has no abortion law. Many countries that do, including progressive European states, forbid that practice aborting babies shortly before birth. So, it's probably not unreasonable to assume that, if and when Canada does adopt some laws on the topic, they might mirror those of our European counterparts. That's if we don't want to mimic our American cousins south of the border and simply allow anything in the womb/mother to be aborted.

    Indeed, the fact that Canada has no abortion law kind of proves my original point in that abortion supporters would rather have things carry on as they are without debate, rather than do the civilized thing and have some laws in place regarding reproductive rights – for all people.

    And, of course, the fact that late-term abortions are so abhorrent to so many provides a logical and even moral dilemma for abortion supporters. Because, if you acknowledge that a human life in the womb should be afforded protections, then at what point do you stop affording such protections.

    Some people use the term "viability", but who gets to decide that? Technology, doctors, who? Why is it that only when a fetus starts to look more like a full baby does it have more rights than when it doesn't?

    Interesting questions, no?

    And, after over a 150 comments in a thread about a TV show, I think my original proposition stands. More open talk of abortion will not happen on TV or anywhere else. Why? Because abortion is a controversial topic, and rightfully so. The more that it's discussed, the more that the abortion agenda is in jeopardy. The more that people will see and realize just what in the world is occurring in the name of one set of rights versus others.

  16. I think Weinman has made a very interesting observation. It is unquestionably true that elective abortion is done far more frequently in real life than on the silver screen. Getting into the reason for this likely sheds considerable light onto the thinking of our society.

    For what it's worth, I have been in many, many debates with abortion supporters of all kinds, from the overtly violent ones, to the non-violent shouters, to the polite and well-spoken, to the completely uninformed who simply follow the herd. In every single case, there has been an effort to avoid discussion concerning the actual deed, and instead discuss the ramifications for the mother who can't get an abortion.

    One sees this in public life too: "settled law" is the phrase that is inevitably brought forward, whether it's Canada's current pro-abortion Minister of Justice dodging questions or whether it's pro-abortion Democrats in the US Senate questioning a Supreme Court nominee. Abortion supporters prefer to treat the subject as closed. This is understandable: they have what they wanted, and a close look at the details may cause people to stop and reconsider the current lunacy of no abortion law whatsoever in Canada through all 9 months of pregnancy.

    Hollywood is notoriously left-leaning. It may well be sub-conscious, but I think they would prefer not to bring these issues into the public eye unnecessarily.

  17. I would suggest that abortion is not readily discussed on TV for the same reason it is not discussed around the water cooler, the dinner table or other social gatherings. Despite how common it is, it is not the incredibly empowering experience proponents said it would be. Though it may not result in deep psychological problems, not many women are bouncing into their places of, work, school or play announcing “I`m off to have an abortion, and I`m on top of the world!“ Women discuss all kinds of awkward stories (think excited conversations about labour) but don`t exchange abortion stories because regardless of the reason for the abortion, having one somehow doesn`t leave very many women feeling elated and empowered.