Saturday, January 3, 2009


With several Supreme Court seats about to open and President-elect Obama's inaugaration in 17 days, many think that the anti-abortion movement is doomed for a major setback. I argue that this will only push us to rethink our approach.

Instead of taking the juciciary approach, we need to take a legislative approach. How is this possible?

What is the Blackmun Hole?

The following is a quote from Blackmun, in the majority opinion of Roe v. Wade:

"The appellee and certain amici argue that the fetus is a "person" within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well-known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, [410 U.S. 113, 157] for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment. The appellant conceded as much on reargument. 51 On the other hand, the appellee conceded on reargument 52 that no case could be cited that holds that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.


The pregnant woman cannot be isolated in her privacy. She carries an embryo and, later, a fetus, if one accepts the medical definitions of the developing young in the human uterus. See Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary 478-479, 547 (24th ed. 1965). The situation therefore is inherently different from marital intimacy, or bedroom possession of obscene material, or marriage, or procreation, or education, with which Eisenstadt and Griswold, Stanley, Loving, Skinner, and Pierce and Meyer were respectively concerned. As we have intimated above, it is reasonable and appropriate for a State to decide that at some point in time another interest, that of health of the mother or that of potential human life, becomes significantly involved. The woman's privacy is no longer sole and any right of privacy she possesses must be measured accordingly.


We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer."

Basically, if personhood were ever granted to the unborn, Roe would collapse; the pro-abortion arguments would fall apart. Roe avoided this question. Of course, embryology is much more advanced now than it was in 1973. It is for this reason that the legislative branch has the power to overturn Roe. This approach has more promise because the legislature is elected more directly by the people and sees a more frequent turnover.

Who is Personhood USA?

Personhood USA is taking the approach the antiabortion movement should have taken all along. There sole purpose is to grant legal personhood to the unborn. Microsoft is a legal person, but an unborn child is not! They aim to fix this.

Please comment on this post if you are an Ohioan and interested in putting a Personhood Amendment on the ballot.


ockraz said...

The problem with amendments (either to the federal constitution or a state constitution) is that you need so much popular support- a level that isn't there yet. After the election- well actually, after the financial crisis in Sept. that caused me to believe that there was no longer any hope for McCain- I decided that what I think needs to be done is to pursue a different demographic with the pro-life message.

The only friends of mine who are pro-life are about a dozen serious (as opposed to cultural) catholics and three evangelicals. [And only one of the serious catholics voted for McCain.] All of the rest of my peers are non-observant believers or non-believers who are politically liberal and associate 'pro-life' with church groups campaigning against gay marriage and birth control.

We need to work at getting liberals and the non-religious. I think the movement has hit a wall in terms of popular support because it doesn't appeal to this group, and today's youth are more liberal and less religious than my parents were.

You've read Hentoff about media bias and pro-choice bigotry?

That's why I'm trying to get other atheists and agnostics to join SPLASH. AAPL doesn't seem to do anything. I want there to be a non-religious liberal leaning internet based pro-life campaign.

Make people see that it isn't about religion or conservative principles. Generate memes showing parallels to slavery, sexism, racism- memes that would appeal to secular liberals. Use philosophy and thought experiments to drive home that there are arguments that don't rely on god or souls.

A&APLL doesn't do any of that to speak of.

Atheists and secular humanists are a pretty small minority, and pro-lifers are a even smaller minority amongst that minority. Without the internet, we couldn't organize.

New media grants us the opportunity to take a new pro-life message to people who've been turned of by the traditional rhetoric.

I guess I'm ranting.

I just want to get together a group of pro-life atheists who are motivated to try to make a difference.

One of the reasons I like the name SPLASH (other than its being a word- unlike a+apll) is that it makes me think of throwing a rock into a pond. Even a small rock can make a splash- and the ripples can extend to the edges of the pond.

Nulono said...

Tell me more about SPLASH.

ockraz said...

Here's the info on the facebook front page:

SPLASH: Society of Pro-Life Agnostics and Secular Humanists
Basic Info
Organizations - Political Organizations
"Even a small group can make a big splash."

-There is a common misconception that if you are pro-life, then you are motivated by religious conviction. Merely by affirming that we oppose abortion on the grounds of secular moral philosophy, we can demonstrate that this is not true.

-Because the opposition to abortion is portrayed as a religious movement, the argument is frequently made that one ought to support a legal right to abortion if you wish to maintain the separation between church and state. We are in a better position to refute this argument than supporters of a right to life who happen to be religious.

-Many people who identify themselves as pro-choice are turned off by the culture of evangelical Christianity, by religious rhetoric, and by the conservative politics with which they associate these things. We hope to address those people. By putting forward secular arguments which present parallels between the opposition to abortion and other social justice issues, we hope to expand support for the pro-life movement beyond its religious base and change the nature of the dialogue.

ockraz said...

I put it up around the inauguration.

It's slow going.

I've only got two people to join so far, but I'm still at it.

If the group gets up to 20 or so (which I consider fairly respectable), then I'm going to stop trying to recruit one on one and just send a standard e-mail letter.

ockraz said...

So- why would SPLASH be better than A&APLL? There'd be a different approach.

A&APLL functions sort of like a registry. People can put themselves on the list and then... then they're on the list. That's fine. It is absolutely a good thing that it is out there, but I want more.

It is sort of like A&APLL is a petition, but even petitions need to tell people that they're there.

This is what I'd like to see in the future:
-first, the stand alone webpage with info about being prolife as a secular position and media bias as well as updates on relevant news and 'actions' like writing to your representative when appropriate
-an FB pg with some actual traffic
-a discussion board and a blog
-letting all the atheist forums know that we're out there so as not to miss anyone
-polls of the members (to counter arguments such as: pro-lifers support the death penalty and oppose condoms)
-a core group that goes on liberal leaning blogs to make their presence known and which can help one another not to get "shouted down" by pro-choicers
-members writing essays or even editorials to papers
-web based campaigns which would include illustrations and even online videos targeting people who would typically view pro-lifers as fundamentalist nutjobs (one possibility might be an anti-domestic violence campaign that included abortion as another form of domestic violence)

Nulono said...

This is a brilliant idea that I've wanted to do forever. Do me a favor and make a pitch all in one piece and I'll post it as a blog entry.

Anonymous said...

Both abortion and contraception are immoral. No that isn't a "logical fallacy." That is a fact. Just ask God. Oh wait,none of you would get that since you hate God, and are either atheists, or follow your made-up, feminist, angry, intolerant, hate-filled, "religions" that front as peaceful, accepting, and caring. Clearly they are not, if you suppot abortion or birth control. Both are unethical, faithless, godless, dangerous, spiritually damaging, dysfunctional, and disrespectful . Any woman that uses birth control is a whore, FACT. If she wasn't , she wouldn't need itm would she?. Yes, that includes married women and mothers, and any woman who gets it because she CLAIMS she was "rape" (which doesn't really exist btw.) Any man that has sex with a whore that uses birth control, is a coward and does not know how to responsibility and act like a man. He is a little boy,that chicken-shits out of everything and has an entitlement mentality. He is useless to society. Any woman that has sex with a man that insists on birth control, had no self-respect or sense of worth, If she did, she wouldn't need birth control to protect herself agaisnt these scummy , low life guys she lets puts their penis inside of her. That isn't liberation, or freedom. If you were liberated and free, you wouldn't need to go to extreme measures to protect yourself against these guys you clearly don't feel safe around. If you don't trust them, or need to protect yourself, why are you doing the most intimate thing there is with them? That makes no sense, other than you are brainwashed to believe you are suppose to let any guy use your body, because that is all you are worth, and as long as you use contraception it is ok. Contraception and aborion do not give rights, or independance. It takes all that away, by making women into slaves who think if she isn't having sex with everythign that isnt' already nailed down, something is wrong with her. A right to your body means you don't have to be passed around like a joint. Teaching young women about birth control and "sex education" is actually them they are not cool, progressive,unique, liberated , or taking charge of their life. We program girls from the getgo that they are simply there for men to use as pleasure. The feminist movement and pro-abortion/birth control movement does more to set women back and hinder women's advancement and self-awarness. If you are pro-abortion, and/or pro-contraception, you hate women and view women as nothing but meat. If you are a woman and believe in that stuff and use it, you hate yourself...and you are nothing but a low-down, jizz bag whore , and that is all you will EVER be, because you don't have the intelligence or mind to know any better. You are an indoctrinated ape. Now go bow to your Obama shrine and thank him for the air you breath, since you clearly believe he gives you all things good and you can't do anything for yourself unless the government does it for you anyway. You are too stupid and weak as a woman.