Thanks be to…

Let’s preface this post by saying that it might be a good idea to read this article from Rae of Bookmark Chronicles, and this one from Violet Wisp.

Both articles offer an important perspective on the divisive issue of abortion – namely, they offer a female perspective. I have pointed these articles out to those in discussion on this issue over at Blogging Theology, where I have had discussions in the past on this very issue. My comments are in blue, and where I quote from Rae’s article, it is in purple. The first part actually concerns a brief remark about discrimination practices, before moving on to the abortion issue.

As I have said before (in comments here, elsewhere and on my own site), a business is a public institution and as such, has agreed to abide by anti-discrimination laws. At what point is the line drawn Ken? Should a Christian business be allowed to refuse service to a Muslim, or vice-versa? Can a business started up a white supremacist be permitted to refuse service to people of colour?

The bottom line is, if you are prepared to start up a business that expects to deal with the public, you cannot pick and choose on religious lines, or sexual orientation, or skin colour, sex, or faith. Not unless you want to open the floodgates to arbitary discrimination.

On the abortion issue, I would urge you to consider these words, from a woman (you know, women, who are affected far more than men on this issue, yet were curiously absent from representation when Trump was signing his order):

As for abortion, like I said I am pro-choice. Meaning that I think women should be able to choose not to have a baby if they are not ready to. I don’t think it’s fair to be forced to have a baby just because someone else thinks you should.

Some people think that others just aren’t careful and decide, “I don’t want kids but I’m just going to have a lot of unprotected sex and then get an abortion.” I have a feeling that those thoughts don’t run through a lot of people’s minds. Not like that.

Then there’s the “well then you shouldn’t have had sex” argument. This needs to stop.

Firstly, it’s usually directed at women when we all know it takes two to make a baby.

Second, no birth control is 100% foolproof and I think that’s forgotten a lot of the time.

It is possible to be on the pill, use a condom, take the day after pill and still get pregnant. What’s the argument then if everything was done “the way it should be done?”

What about the person whose life is hectic and forgets to take their pill just that one time? Shit happens. Sometimes life gets in the way. No one is perfect.

What about rape victims?

What about people (like me) who are chronically ill and can’t carry full term anyway?

What about people who are disabled and/or physically incapable of enduring the stress that pregnancy puts on the body.

What about the people who are incredibly careful but also don’t want children?

What about the people who just know that they are not financially capable of giving a baby it’s best life.

Yes, adoption is an option but look at all of the things that I just listed. On top of that child birth is painful. It’s really not something that one should have to do if they don’t want to.

Did you know that you can’t even get your tubes tied without being harassed by doctors? Some women don’t want children, it shouldn’t have to be up for debate, it should be accepted. It’s also common after the first child that the woman decides she doesn’t want any more. Some doctors refuse to do it. They say that they should wait until the second child. Or they think that the patient will change their mind. If you’re single, they’ll ask well what your future husband wants children? They won’t let you make a choice about your own body because of someone who possibly hasn’t even come into your life yet. Or might not come into your life at all. I mean, really how fucked up is that? They completely ignore the fact that the choice is not theirs, but they clearly don’t think it should be yours either.

My cousin recently had a baby and then got her tubes tied. Her doctor said, “oh, I was sure that you would change your mind” her response was, “Why, I told you that I wouldn’t.” So the question is why? Why do men and doctors think that they should choose whether or not we have children. It’s not their decision. It’s not their body. A woman in the U.S. had to go to the Supreme Court just to get her tubes tied. That’s absolutely ridiculous. Things like that should not happen.

From the comments (posted by a woman called Quinn, and highlighted in green):

If you google Savita Halappanavar you’ll see that she was a 31 year old woman who died in Ireland about four years ago. She had a septic miscarriage, where the foetus was still technically alive but was going to definitely die. It was infecting her, and killing her. She asked for them to abort the foetus and save her life and they wouldn’t, because laws hadn’t been put in place to allow that to happen. The doctors’ hands were tied; they couldn’t remove the foetus until its heart had stopped beating, and they couldn’t force the heart to stop beating. Eventually she delivered a stillborn girl, but it was too late, and Savita died four days later. For what?

Twenty years ago, a 15 year old schoolgirl went to a grotto behind the church (you know, those stony areas with the statues of Mary in an alcove) after school, and tried to deliver the baby she’d been secretly pregnant with. She was completely alone, with a pair of scissors in her backpack to cut the umbilical cord. She bled out and the baby died of hypothermia. For what?

This is what you end up with when you have pro-life legislation. These situations are what happen when shame and blame and backwards laws (that completely hamstring doctors and make them unable to save their patient) are in effect. Sorry, this was less of a comment and more of a blog post all of its own, but there’s a huge push now in Ireland to try to repeal the 8th Amendment and it’s been a long time coming.

It’s easy to say that these cases are the exception. Of course they’re the exception. But as the saying goes, “Today you, tomorrow me.” One day the exception could be one of your loved ones. Someone you know. People who wave their hand in dismissal and say “that almost never happens” are conveniently ignoring the fact that it still happens. It could happen to you. Or me. Or your sister. Or your neighbour. Or your best friend.

The fact that Savita was an unlucky exception doesn’t make it any easier to bear for her husband, or her parents, or her friends. It doesn’t make it any better for Savita. These kinds of completely preventable deaths should never, ever happen in a first world country. Nobody should be using clothes hangers, or trying to overdose on vitamin c, or taking mystery pills they bought online, or dying in hospitals pleading for their lives to be saved, or delivering babies in grottos alone in their school uniforms. Nobody should be forced into a corner like that because of their gender, when there is a possible alternative. I could go on and on about this (and I have! Sorry!) but I’ll leave it there.

So the strigent anti-abortion laws in Ireland effectively permitted the deaths of women – I fail to see how that is pro-life, when such measures lead to preventable deaths, due to laws that might as class women as vehicles for child-bearing, and not as human beings. Such is the misogyny of Trump’s regime.

This is where pro-life isn’t actually pro-life. It’s ‘pro-life until certain circumstances and certainly not pro-life in respect of the mother’. As Rae mentioned, it is possible to make full use of various contraceptives and still fall pregnant. What then? What in cases where the embryo is not viable, and would die shortly after birth? What of rape victims? What of the real risk to the mother’s health during pregnancy and birth?

The first reply I had to this was from one of Blogging Theology’s authors, Paul – he did not reply to the part regarding abortion, but instead on the first point regarding discrimination. His comments will be in red:

So you would be happy if a Jewish cake shop was compelled to make a cake for the KKK with a swastika on it?

As I said to him…

I knew you’d set up your misleading question and I also knew it would be that one. Conflating a hate group like the KKK with a gay couple asking for a cake to celebrate their relationship isn’t really fair now is it? Would you be happy if a Christian who happened to run, say, a fish and chip shop, wouldn’t serve you any chips, on the sole grounds of your faith? Even though they had set up a public-facing business?

Unfortunately, Paul is fond of asking the sort of question that he asked, and equally unfortunately, won’t answer such questions himself. His reply…

So is that a yes or a no?

… completely ignored the point.

It’s a misleading and frankly dishonest question Paul. Why should I answer it? Or maybe a better question is, why do you equate homosexuality with the KKK? That’s the implicit suggestion behind your question isn’t it?

Next, Paul replied with the picture below. Make of that what you will.

I’ll take your inability to respond as validation for my point. You know full well the KKK is a hate group – there is a marked difference between them and a gay couple seeking to celebrate their relationship, but if I am being honest and frank with you, I believe your pride is preventing you from acknowledging this point. Equally, I don’t believe you would welcome any scenario where people could use any excuse they wanted to justify discrimating against anyone else. Just look at Trump using the existence of a few fanatics to deny far more people access to help and support through his immigration ban.

Other people weighed in as well. Ken Temple (a long-time commentator who also runs his own site here) had this to say – his comments are in olive:

The gays and Lesbians who destroyed the bakers, the florists, and photographers lives by taking them to court and destroying their businesses, they were the one who were hateful, because they could have just gone to another business who would not mind going to their so called ‘wedding” ceremony, etc.

No baker should be forced to put two plastic men on a cake and write “Jim and David, Love forever”. Gross. No business should be forced to cater or go to their so called “weddings”.

But if they walk in and buy a product, no problem. Like a plain cake, no problem, or flowers no problem.

The problem is forcing people to participate in celebrating things that are wrong, immoral, and sin.

My replies at this stage were quite short as I was using my phone, which isn’t a great medium for responding.

Wrong Ken. They opened a public business and have hidden behind their faith to justify turning people away. Bigotry disguised by religious arguments is still bigotry.

no; they did not turn people away; when they wanted them to go to their celebrations and be a part of the wedding, don’t you see the difference? No it is not bigotry, because their ceremonies are wrong and sin; and besides, in today’s world, they can go to another photographer or baker, or caterer, etc. It is not bigotry. You don’t understand the difference between regular service with no indication of the sexual sins, and then the special kinds of services that require the business to go to their sinful ceremonies.

You make it sound like a baker (or florist, or photographer) is being forced to marry a homosexual – they’re not. They’re being asked to fulfil a business role, one they cannot do, out of bigotry, pure and simple. This is the same sort of mentality that allows discrimination against people of colour or people of one faith to discriminate against people of another faith.

No; not true. We cannot attend or celebrate a wedding that is sinful; by nature there is no such thing as “same sex marriage” – it is not a marriage at all. It is also a butchering of language, as it redefines the word. It is sinful to be forced to put 2 plastic men together or 2 plastic women together on a wedding cake and write words of marital love and passion.

there is a difference between regular service and buying a product; and the kind of services that require the business to leave their shop and go to their so called “wedding”.

If homosexuals and Lesbians want to buy a plain cake, that is fine, – they can take it and decorate how they like on their own.

So you favour being allowed to refuse service to someone along any arbitrary grounds you see fit?

The lines and grounds of these are clear about going to the wedding ceremony and having to write evil wording on the cake or put two plastic men on a cake ( a disgusting thing in itself)

Ken,

Making a cake is NOT the same as going to the ceremony. No one is forcing anyone to take part in the wedding itself. After all, when cakes are made for heterosexual couples, the baker isn’t actually taking part in the wedding, they are simply making a cake. Imagine the fury among the reactionary religious right if a gay baker (or florist, or photographer) refused to fulfil their obligation to a customer, on the grounds of the customer’s faith.

Making a plain cake is fine.
the problem is the wording and 2 plastic men or 2 plastic women kissing or together. Sinful. the government forces these businesses to sin.

No, the government expects public businesses to abide by fair and reasonable anti-discrimination laws. You want those laws cast aside, you’d better be prepared for the consequences. You will open the floodgates to a very unpleasant experience.

If they operate a public business they have zero right to use their faith as an excuse to pick and choose the members of the public that they serve. No one is saying they have to actually participate in the ceremony – making a cake is in no way doing that.

What’s the difference between refusing to honour a business agreement and refusing to hire someone based on their orientation? The answer is – nothing. It’s bigotry, simple as that.

No; I don’t accept you imputing bigotry to Christians and freedom of religion and Christian’s understanding of sexual sins and what marriage really is.

It is the Leftist-Marxists – Rioters that are bigots – like the ones setting fire to the buildings at Berkley and rioters and rock throwers and thugs and leftists who defecated on police cars at “occupy Wall-street”, etc. It is the extreme political left that does most of the bigotry nowadays. (in the west)

It’s right-wing fascists who carry out acts of outright murder Ken – the shooter in Québec being one such person. It’s the religious right that continues to create an environment where the LGBT community, women and minorities are denied rights, on a scale that dwarfs your faux outrage.

the government turned evil by approving of those sinful so called “marriages”. The Obergfell case ruling was evil by the Supreme Court – they forced all states to comply and over-ruled the state’s legislature and people’s authority to vote and legislate. The Supreme Court made new law rather than interpreted the law according to the Constitution. And the judges who punished Christian businesses are evil.

Ken,

The government did what it is supposed to do and kept religious interference out of peoples’ rights. There is no such thing as a ‘Christian business’. A Church is not a business, and is a private institution. They are not obliged and cannot be forced to carry out same-sex marriage ceremonies. A business though, is a PUBLIC INSTITUTION. They do not have the right to freely discriminate, and this is the point you keep missing – where does it end Ken? Should a Christian business be allowed to refuse service to Muslims and Jews and anyone who isn’t a Christian? Should any business be permitted to discriminate on any grounds they see fit (which is what you are advocating, and you have yet to address this)?

Maybe I should open up a business, sign up to rules and regulations (and do so knowingly), then decide I can pick and choose what customers I serve and who I employ, along racial, gender and ethnic lines? Would that be fair of me Ken?

This is the point I strive to make, but one that continues to not sink in – for all the cries of ‘religious freedom!, there is much greater freedom for Christians in America than for the LBGT community. Globally, the situation the LBGT community finds itself in is awful, yet there is no outcry about any of this.

There are several states in the US which offer only state employment protection for the LBGT community, and still others which offer zero protection. Meanwhile, Ken is complaining about making cakes.

Another poster (William Shraffner, whose posts will be in sky blue) weighed in on the abortion topic.

Is there something wrong with contraception? It’s rather cheaper, easy to use, and far less evasive than abortion.

Note – he meant ‘invasive’.

There’s nothing wrong with it, except that (as you will have read in the quoted article) it isn’t 100%. Plus the facilities that are under threat from Trump are the sort of places that would offer contraceptives and education.

So the massive abortion industry is due to the fact that contraception doesn’t have a 100% success rate?!

Define ‘massive’.

Fact 1 – no form of contraceptive is perfect. It is possible to take every precaution available and still get pregnant. The woman has her reasons for not wanting to become a mother and despite her efforts (and those of her partner) pregnancy has still occurred. Is it therefore reasonable to force her to proceed with the pregnancy (even though pregnancy carries an increased strain on the woman’s body, and childbirth is actually dangerous)?

Fact 2: there continues to be a social stigma around birth control. Call it ignorance. There is still the widespread belief that people (especially women) shouldn’t enjoy sex or regard it as anything other than a procreational act. As such, there is a prevailing ignorance about contraception and sex education, usually from the same sources as those oppose abortion (who are therefore creating a rod for their backs). I provided a link within this thread (and quoted from it), and I would urge you to go and properly read it, and to converse with the people who are commenting on it, so you may better understand a woman’s perspective.

That’s the discussion as it stands. I open this to the floor to discuss further.

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