Jude Collins

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Hooray for Todd Akin!

I’m in Boston and I’m itching to write about the different feeling you get from this society. Once, that is, you’ve got through US immigration, which isn’t necessarily easy. But I won’t, or not yet at least. I’d rather talk about  Todd Akin. He’s the  Republican who has put a banana skin under Mitt Romney by suggesting that a raped woman’s body  ‘shuts down’ and (I think this is what he said, it’s not clear) stops the raped woman become pregnant.

Nice one. Anything that keeps Mitt Romney out of the White House is OK with me. But on the broader topic of party and personal attitudes to abortion, there are two points that could use more thought.

One, when you vote for a party or a candidate, you vote for a range of issues – let’s call them A-Z. The chances that you’ll agree with the party or the candidate on every single letter in the alphabet are near to nil. So what most people do is – if they bother to check A-Z in the first place and don’t vote because they like the way the candidate combs  his/her hair –  they put their tick beside the name of the candidate or party that comes nearest to their thinking on the issues that they believe matter most. The problem with anti-abortion/pro-abortion debate in the US (and elsewhere) is that it masks all the other letters in the alphabet.

Two,  I don’t understand the anti-abortion-except-in-cases-of-rape argument. If you believe that the foetus is a human being, then it’s still a human being when it’s the result of a rape. So it’s a bit illogical as well as savagely cruel to respond to the crime of the rapist by killing an innocent, defenceless human being.

Three ( yes I know I said two things but I changed my mind – OK?), I don’t understand the the-foetus-is-not-a-human-being-but-having-an-abortion-is-a-deeply-serious-decision argument. If the foetus is not a human being, having an abortion  isn’t any more serious than cutting your nails or blowing your nose. It's just a cluster of unwanted tissue that you want rid of.  

Answers, please. Keep them  crisp and free of abuse.


  1. Well I think part of the answer is that people are not robots they are human beings with feelings. A foetus, no matter what stage it is at has the potential to be a person. Your nails or hair have no potential.
    Considering that potentiality no-one could or should take the decision lightly
    As for pregnancy through rape, are we going to lock up pregnant women and force them to give birth.?
    On another subject, I am surprised you haven't blogged on young Prince Hal yet.
    A member of the Royal family in disgrace; the empire has no clothes, it practically writes itself. You are slipping Jude.

  2. Most people have lines in the sand when voting - issues that they feel they can never support so cannot vote for a particular canditate. You might think the BNP have a great economic policy but can't vote for racists, or like DUP pro-life policy but won't vote for unionists.

    The notion of "potential to be a person" is flawed when applied to a foetus - it's already a human being, the notion of "personhood" is used by pro-choicers to avoid biological reality. An egg or a sperm is a potential human, a foetus is one.

    As for locking people up, we don't normally lock people up if they haven't already committed a crime (except sometimes in northern Ireland). We don't lock up men who might become rapists. So the fact that I would happily lock up convicted abortionists does not mean I have to adopt the straw man argument and lock up pregnant women.

    Looking forward to Obama being a one term president.

  3. " are we going to lock up pregnant women and force them to give birth.?"

    You make it sound as though giving birth is a crime against nature.
    Two wrongs don't make a right.
    It is wrong to rape someone, but it is also wrong to murder an unborn child.
    You should get your priorities straight.

  4. Catholicus
    A sperm is not a potential human. If you leave a sperm cell for a hundred years it will never become a human.
    As for a foetus, well that is where the debate lies. And it is too complex to get into here.
    I simply ask you and Jim Lynch how will you compel women to have children they do not want?
    Because that is the inevitable outcome of what you argue.

  5. Giordanobruno - there is no scientific debate and it is not complex. A foetus is a human being. You don't have to do something to it for it to become a human being and if you leave it alone it becomes an older human being, it doesn't transform into something else. Eggs and sperm have the potential to become a human being (which clearly hair and nails don't).

    How you compel, in your words, a woman to have a child, is to remove the legal choice to destroy the child. Some will still find ways to kill their child and then you use the law to prosecute them.

    That's how a society based on the rule of law works. Things we regard as wrong - such as rape and abortion - are prohibited by law - but as we don't live in a police state we don't follow people around and monitor their behaviour. And we offer positive incentives, such as marriage and income supports to lessen the likelihood that people will commit crimes.

  6. "how will you compel women to have children they do not want?"
    My answer to that is we will work to change the law. By the way there are many, many couples who would love and nourish these "unwanted" children.
    I think your problem with a woman having an unwanted child is, some women find it an inconvenience to carry the child to term. In other words another form of birth control.
    That's not a reason to terminate life.

  7. Catholicus
    Not everyone will see marriage as the wonderful incentive that you do.
    I am not sure how you can be unaware of the debate about when a foetus is deemed to be a person.
    You are presenting your views as though they are facts. Do you acknowledge the other side of the argument at all?
    And once again neither eggs or sperm are potential human beings unless you put them together.

  8. Hey Jude,'your'man in the White House is a great champion of un-restricted late term abortions,as is the rest of the Democratic Party

  9. Giordanobruno. My point was just that marriage helps regulate sexual behaviour - obviously it's not for everyone.

    The so called debate about when a foetus becomes a person has got nothing to do with biology or science. It's an entirely philosophical notion promoted by those who support abortion and pro-life people naturally don't accept the premise of the question. The pro-choice position in the "debate" is to pick the point at which they want to be able to kill the child and then declare mysteriously that personhood begins then. The most extreme, like Obama, will pick a point at which society embraces the child - so that if a child survives an abortion and is born alive, or is simply born with a defect - they don't gain personhood and you can drop them in a bucket and leave them to die. Similarly, at the other end of life, they lose their personhood at the point their family can't be bothered looking after them and a pillow can be applied.

    So no, I don't acknowledge another position if we are discussing biology - human life begins at conception. All scientists, unless utterly corrupted, will agree with that.

  10. Catholicus
    I don't think there is any point in debating abortion with you. It would get us nowhere.
    Perhaps we can agree that better access to contraception and good sex education will help to remove the need for abortion.
    That would surely be the way to go.

  11. You are very droll, Giordanobruno. You know of course that I will not agree with that one. Don't believe in contraception, don't believe in most sex education. Believe in marriage and fidelity and chastity; if the sex education promotes those things then I'll buy it.

  12. giordanobruno: There is no need for abortion, period.
    Scientific research has show life begins at conception. Medical science has concluded beyond any doubt, life begins at conception, therefore abortion terminates a human life. (murder, manslaughter or what ever you want to call it.)