May 7, 2012

While [the natural law] argument would be merely annoying if invoked in abstract, it is sometimes assumed to be valid, and then used to justify all manner of harm:

“…tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery.”

Basing regulations on the non-existent natural law is dangerous and detrimental to those caught outside the realm of what the authority deems acceptable. Two women that are in love, or a man that wants to leave his abusive wife, are shit out of luck because those things are ‘against natural law’, as though loving who you choose and self-preservation are some kind of irrational goal.


May 7, 2012

Mark at #27:

“Wow, calling a human life a parasite.”

As a zygote and fetus, it is parasitic. During those stages of development, the one (zygote/fetus) isn’t separate from the other (parasite). The earliest part of the human life cycle is a parasitic cellular collection.

“So, when does it stop being a parasite and become a human being?”

Mark, the point is, the opening stages of the human life cycle is parasitic. The parasitic stage of the human life cycle stops upon birth and excision from the umbilicus. At that point, the life form may be sustained by resources outside (if necessary) that of the host. Food, oxygen, shelter, and so forth, may be provided independent of the host. Up until that point, the life form remains parasitic.

I would argue that the status of human being as organism with rights defined in a collective social environment and acknowledged within legal and other social systems therein, also starts at birth and host-independent viability, as well, though there have been socio-cultural systems that argue that actually happens later.

Here’s the thing about all this: it’s not an insult. It’s not a “bad” thing. Before I was born, I was a parasite on the system of my mother (and I didn’t have enough cellular structure or collective complexity to have self-awareness of an identity as “I” or “me,” incidentally). It’s just the circumstances of the biological system. Ultimately, however, during the zygote and fetus stages, the host system is the viable system, and the host’s independence is paramount in terms of rights and autonomy. The host gets to decide. I don’t get to decide, even if my spermatozoan managed to fuse with the host’s ovum. I hope I might be a party to the discussion if I did contribute a spermatozoan, but ultimately, the host (the mother, the woman) is the one who’s ultimate autonomy about health and life decisions are paramount.

You’re trying to re-categorize this issue as one of tyranny of one life over another (host over parasite), when in fact your own re-categorization is an imposition of tyranny of one life over another (your opinion over the independent health decisions of a woman, any woman). Your re-categorization demonstrates the extent to which you don’t value both the life and autonomy of women.

The maintenance of that choice – the choices women make about their own health – exceeds the potentiality of a cluster of cells. Moreover, working to ensure that choice of health and well-being decisions remains with the person most dramatically affected (and in the case of pregnancy that is the woman, not the cluster of cells) actually helps improve the health and life chances of women and clusters of cells alike.

I know it may be hard to see, but better availability of choice, and better infrastructure to support the outcomes of those choices, actually helps reduce long term human suffering. You want things to get better for potential clusters of cells?

Start working to ensure that women have independence, autonomy, and choice in their health care decisions.

“I have the power and you don’t because you are a parasite in my eyes.”

One of the problems of religion and its effect on human psychology is how perfectly legitimate terms used to describe an elegant classification system have been appropriated as pejoratives. Now maybe you, Mark, aren’t religious, but here’s what happens:

“Animal” becomes an insult. “Parasite” becomes something abhorrent.

Except that I am an animal, nothing more, nothing less. I share many characteristics, down to the atomic level, with many other animals. I am a chordate, but that’s not unique to me or my species. I am a mammal, but that’s not unique to me or my species. I am a social animal, but that’s not unique to me or my species. I have multiple systems of communication, but that’s not unique to me or my species.

And during the cellular collection that would eventually gain independence from its host such that it might continue to grow and attain enough consciousness that it identifies as “me” (even though that consciousness is strictly a manifestation of the material organism), I was a parasite.

I was a parasite, but that wasn’t unique to me or my species.

“It is amazing how human beings can De-humanize another human being to justify killing them.”

I agree, especially the way many men (and some women) will de-humanize women to justify killing them or oppressing them by enforcing parasitic development that threatens the health and well-being of the woman, and by trying to remove the autonomy of choice from women such that they cannot make the best possible and most well-informed decision possible.

“Oh, you aren’t human you are a parasite.”

As I’ve explained, the one doesn’t exclude the other. I’m a human, but also an animal. I am a member of a species that biologically starts off in a parasitic state before achieving viable independence, and remains an animal throughout it’s life cycle.

There’s a kind of special pleading that sometimes comes from religious believers (though perhaps you’re not a religious believer, I don’t know) who think that “human” is some sort of special achievement, some sort of unique state of being, a boss-level that you unlock in the X-box game of life. It’s easy to understand where that comes from if you imagine (as many religious believers do) that the universe is specially created for humans by a being that holds humans dear above all else.

Except that’s not the case. Sure, there are some features that don’t appear very frequently elsewhere in other animals, but at our most elemental, we’re just organisms, long chains of hydrogen and carbon, and we share many other features, such as complex neurological systems, certain environmental adaptability (within limits), tool use, omnivorous diet, an endoskeleton, certain sexual proclivities, and so on, with other animals.

And there’s no evidence that we’re special outside our own socio-cultural and psychological behavior of meaning-making. There’s no evidence of a universal creator that holds us dear.

We’re not particularly special outside our socio-cultural meaning-making. It’s actually not a bad thing (or a good thing) to have started on the road to present consciousness (as an extension of the electro-chemical neural net) as a parasite. It’s just how it is. My mother happens to love her youngest former-parasite (she’s given birth to three of the little previously-non-independently-viable-collection-of-cells), but it still started as a parasite. Now her youngest has attained viability independent of host. Guess what? Mom still loves it, even when it doesn’t believe in the god that she does!

That doesn’t change the fact that Mom loves it because loving is a behavioral characteristic of many examples of the species, and because our psychology makes meaning.

“Sounds a lot like the people in Rwanda when they slaughtered thousands of people and they called them cockroaches.”

Except that those were viable humans killing other viable humans, not zygotes and not fetuses, and not in consideration of the mother’s health and well-being. Those weren’t health decisions about the integral bodily autonomy of a host, and they weren’t health decisions made by the person most affected by the health circumstance. Those were just socio-political differences fallen under that age-old human method of resolution: violence.

Nice try, but what you’ve created there is what’s known as a false equivalency, and it doesn’t work in arguing against abortion (or pretty much any other argument, for that matter). Try again.


So, some silly forced-birth troll decided to take on a trained biologist in the wake of Abby Johnson’s rage-bait presentation at UW, “Do women have too many rights?”

Hold on, just blacked out for a minute there from the sheer force of the eyeroll I get typing that question out…OK, I’m back.

The comments are amazing—I really recommend you check them out if you’ve got some free time—but this one in particular is one of the most eloquent, well-reasoned deconstructions of some of the most common and galling forced-birther fallacies I’ve ever come across. I love this comment. If this comment were a person I’d be writing its name on my Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper and constructing elaborate romantic fantasies about our futures together.

May 7, 2012
"Anything with the trolltastic title “Do women have too many rights?” is destined to be enraging and pointless."

May 7, 2012

Republicans, Get In My Vagina! from Kate Beckinsale

May 5, 2012
"The American right is undertaking a huge project of trying to put right-wing politics beyond criticism by shouting “religious bigotry” any time someone gets in the way of their political agenda. If they can create a consensus that it’s somehow off-limits to criticize teaching that gay people are subhuman as long as you wrap it up in religion, that gives them a huge political advantage. Taken far enough, merely stating out loud in public that you don’t believe gay people are evil could be cause for the fainting couches to be pulled out and accusations that Christians are being oppressed. Sounds ludicrous? Well, consider that we’re currently debating whether or not it’s oppressing Christians to accurately state what’s in the Bible. Anyone who is actually supportive of gay rights shouldn’t be playing along with this feigned umbrage. It won’t stop until opposing anti-gay actions is considered completely off-bounds on the grounds that it’s an attack on religion."

May 5, 2012
"I said it before and I’ll say it again - I loved scouting. That’s part of why this all pisses me off so much. Here you’ve got this incredible organization with all this history and all these resources and so many great things to teach, but then right there in the middle like a festering sore is this blatant bigotry. The Girl Scouts has no such policy, nor does Camp Fire, nor does Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Hell, no less than the United States military did away with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. And while the rule no doubt has its supporters, I’d be willing to bet that an enormous percentage of the people involved in Boy Scouts today would like to see it done away with. So why, in 2012, is such discrimination still in place?

I think we can guess."

May 5, 2012

Rokita’s bill is currently stalled in committee. But it offers a hint of what kind of legislation could become law if Republicans gain control of the Senate and the White House. After introducing the bill in March*, Rokita told an Indiana television station: “Take the federal government out of the way and you get the cookie-cutter mantra out of the way, and you let the state’s governors and officials have the flexibility, the say, to stretch those dollars, you find you really don’t need as much money over the years to serve those people that really need it.” Unless, of course, that flexibility extends to abortion access, in which case Rokita’s bill would give federal government the final word: no.

Brian Straessle, a spokesman for the Republican Study Committee, called Thursday to note that states could hypothetically still cut checks directly to abortion providers if they so choose. That’s true, but the GOP bill would forbid states from spending those state dollars “in conjunction” with federal money, which means that the abortion payments would have to be administrated separately and likely managed by staffers outside the broader state health bureaucracy. This would represent a large, potentially costly change from existing law, requiring state governments to take on tasks previously handled by private-sector insurers. States currently cover some abortions through managed care policies for a reason: with managed care, private insurance companies handle the administrative work, and the state doesn’t have to hire additional government employees to do it. The GOP bill would make those kinds of partnership with outside insurers illegal unless the insurance policies (which also cover everything from checkups to cancer treatments) were bought entirely with state funds or didn’t cover abortion at all.


May 5, 2012


Bryan Fischer, the Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association, boasting that driving Mitt Romney’s foreign policy adviser, Richard Grennel, out of the Romney campaign because Grennel is gay is a “huge win” for the group.

It’s good to stay focused on the things that matter. Since, after all, we’re only talking about the security and economic livelihood of the United States.

Because if you’re Bryan Fischer, being an out gay man is enough to make you a “homosexual activist.”

There’s nothing I can say about this man that’s more damning than the shit that comes out of his own mouth.

May 5, 2012
"Sure, Katniss [Barbie] is a welcomed sight among the sparkly swimsuits and glittering garbs that adorn many of the other selections on the site. But Mattel has been complicit with culturally commodifying women for decades. Now when they appear to softly step outside the box to capitalize on Katniss and grab a slice of the prosperous pie that is The Hunger Games, they are to be lauded? I don’t think so."

May 5, 2012

"Make no mistake, this is the most relentless attack on women’s health in 40 years.

Politicians have been playing ugly games with women’s lives.

One year after we brought the Pence Amendment down, we remember who turned their backs on us, and who voted to keep us healthy.

November is just around the corner.

Soon it will be our turn to vote.”

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