Saturday, January 29, 2005

It's official...

Iraqis are voting! I congratulate them and wish them well.

Update 1/30/05: Polls are closed. An early report of up to 72% turn out seems to have been somewhat high. Estimates now peg the number at 60% of eligible voter turn out, or about 8 million. Pretty impressive considering the threats of carnage by al Zarqawi, even in the Sunni Triangle. Sadly, there were 35 innocents killed plus 9 dead bombing scum reported but even in Fallujah, women and men came out to vote! If this is all al Zarqawi has left in his atrocious bag of tricks, he's on the tail end of his joy ride. Little Green Footballs has two emails from Iraq that are definitely worth a read.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Time for a new question?

I've been lax in moving our discussion along. It's time for a new question. We have a couple of topics to choose from already. They are:

National Security; and

The proper role of Government.
As usual, I am open to other topics but perhaps we should address these first. As this is your blog as much as mine, I put it to you...

What do you want to talk about next?"

Friday, January 14, 2005

I've had my say, how about you?

There are now three posts on the question:

How can it be assured that as many pregnancies as possible are wanted pregnancies so that abortions are as rare as possible?
I'm happy for everyone's contribution to our discussion. Thank you all. I am still accepting contributions and comments are, of course, welcome. Just remember the groundrules.

In composing a post or comment for our discussion, remember the ground rules which are:

1. I'm looking for reasoned debate, not ad hominem attack.
2. Foul language will be edited or even form grounds for rejection.
3. Articles will be expected to remain on the given topic.
4. Articles should be no longer than 1,000 to 1,500 words
5. Please frame views that do not agree with yours in positive terms
that proponents of said view use with respect to their views.

Other than that, any position on the topic is acceptable. Please submit your contributions to me at

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Entry Four

One of the most effective ways to minimize unwanted pregnancies is to change the current mentality about children, which is not very favorable. Children are not often seen today as blessings, but rather as financial burdens, hindrances to the adult lifestyle or (insert your favorite reason children are a drag).

As a homeschooler, I am home all day, every day, with my three children, and I can't tell you how often I have had other women tell me that they could never spend all day with their own children. Why in the world would they rather be anywhere else? I think in part, this may be because of the trend in society towards extremely permissive parenting, meaning that more and more parents are raising undisciplined and bratty children. My children are certainly not perfect, but on a normal day, when my hormones are not at their nadir, they certainly do not make me want to pack up and leave home for 10 hours each day.

The media certainly doesn't enhance our view of children, especially their financial impact. Several times every year I come across some article telling people that they can expect to spend some astronomical six-figure sum to raise each child to adulthood. The problem with these figures is that they are assuming that the cost of hospital births, fancy nurseries, day cares, sports uniforms, designer clothes, extravagant christmases, college tuitions and (insert your favorite modern "need" here) are somehow inherent in the childrearing process. My oldest is 11 years old, and including her homebirth, which cost 2,000, I can honestly say we have not spent more than 7,000 (if *that*) to raise her, and that is including medical expenses, purchasing thousands of books for our homeschooling purposes, etc.

Family life itself has been all but shattered in modern times by the rise of the institutional mindset, which includes the almost universal acceptance of working mothers, government schools and extra-curricular activities. Most family members of all ages routinely spend huge amounts of time away from their homes, building relationships with peers at the expense of family closeness. The alienation between adults and their adolescents can be directly traced to the peer mentality that dominates the lives of most children today, as their most important beliefs, interests and relationships are forged outside of their homes, in schools and by popular culture.

So much more could be said on this very important topic, not least of which is that many people are once again turning away from the anti-child mentality and embracing large families and home-centered lifestyles. This change of mindset is the most important component in ending "unwanted" pregnancies.

Our Third Entry

I’ve been pondering this question myself for some time. I attend an evangelical-fundamentalist-fire-and-brimstone sort of church, and the topic always comes up when there’s an abortion protest about why I refuse to attend.

See, I’m sort of the unwilling church poster child for the Pro-Lifers. Or, rather, I’m the mother of the poster child. When I became pregnant with my son, Joey, I had a blood clot left over from my first pregnancy. My obstetrician, a devout Catholic, came to me with the dire news. The best chance she could give me was 50:50 odds that either I would survive OR that she could save the baby. OR...not both. At the time, my daughter was five months old. I had to decide if risking my life to bring my son into the world was worth the chance that my husband might have to raise her alone. Because of my faith, I did not hesitate for a moment in my decision not to terminate the pregnancy. I’ve never regretted that decision; however, I’m glad that I live in a world where I had the right to make the decision for myself. My political beliefs, which are to a degree separate from my religious beliefs, tell me that it’s none of the government’s business whether or not I carry a baby to term. That decision was between me, my husband, our doctor and God. I’d rather Jerry Falwell and George W. Bush not have a say in the matter, as it was, quite frankly, none of their concern.

I wonder why the Christian community focuses so hard on ending abortion, when, in fact, ending unwanted pregnancy would be a much more successful campaign. I believe that one of the reasons there are so many unwanted pregnancies in our modern world is because people are out there having irresponsible sex trying to fill the emptiness in their lives. Birth control is, of course, one solution. Another solution might be for the Christian community to spend less time passing judgment about people’s private lives and more time in spreading the love of Jesus Christ. I’m not saying that churches should condone immoral behavior. My point is that Christian people nowadays seem to think they have to be the morality police, and instead of reaching out to people, they’re pushing them as far as they can go in the opposite direction.

From my standpoint as a parent, I intend to teach my kids about birth control. Teenagers have been having sex probably since about thirteen years after God created the Earth. Telling them how to prevent getting pregnant is not going to give them any new ideas. I also intend to teach them that sex, used irresponsibly, is a weapon that can ruin a life. If you’re not old enough to face the consequences of sex, you’re not old enough to have sex. Furthermore, I hope to teach them to respect their own bodies in a way that they will decide to save sex for that really special someone.

Mary Nichols

Abortion Question

In response to your question: 'How can it be assured that as many pregnancies as possible are wanted pregnancies so that abortions are as rare as possible?' I tend to side with the comment by 'Maddie Dog' who said:

'Wanted'? Well, if the early preg. is carried full term then it is wanted. If aborted (early) then it is not wanted.'
Your question, you see, carries the implication that abortion is wrong (murder or whatever you want to call it). I can't buy that argument because of the overriding implication that it's any of your (or my) business what a woman does with HER potential child in HER body.

A line should have been drawn long ago -- and was in fact drawn by the Supreme Court -- its called Roe v. Wade. My philosophy: If a child is born its not your child, not my child and not society's child (unless its being neglected or abused). Likewise, if a child is aborted its still not anyone's child except the mother's and still noone's business (except the mother's).


Friday, January 07, 2005

Maximizing Wanted Pregnancies - Minimizing Abortions

This post assumes the current situation under Roe v. Wade with relationship to abortion. It does not address the morality or advisability of abortion since this issue has already been discussed on this forum. Because it only addresses the question of how to bring about conditions such that unwanted pregnancies and the abortions that are sought because of them may be kept to a minimum, situations in which the termination of wanted pregnancies, either because they have been deemed necessary by a medical professional for the preservation of the life or health of the mother or because of various genetic problems impacting the viability of the unborn baby, are not addressed.

I have undertaken to answer the question: how can it be assured that as many pregnancies as possible are wanted pregnancies--or stated another way, as few pregnancies as possible are unwanted pregancies--so that abortions are as rare as possible? This question assumes that not even the most pro-choice individual finds abortions to be desirable in and of themselves but merely that free access to abortion is essential in a far from perfect world. It must be admitted, even by the most pro-life individual, that the world we live in is far from perfect.

In my opinion, we are never going to live in a world where all pregnancies are wanted. There will always be rapists and molesters who impregnate their victims. Such traumas are devastating enough to the emotional well being of the victims even without a resulting pregnancy. It would take a remarkable woman, indeed, to want to be pregnant from a rape and it seems likely that children may not safely bear children even if they so desired. These are examples of instances that, for the foreseeable future, are likely to continue to result in unwanted pregnancies.

I see no viable way to prevent these problems. Few individuals whose proclivities run to violent violation of unwilling victims and sex with children seem to be able to control themselves. There is some evidence (this is the abstract; the study itself is available in PDF format by pressing 'PDF') that, if they can become engaged in group therapy (as opposed to merely court-enforced attendance) and will admit to their culpability in the offence, progress can be made toward limiting repeat offenses. This conference report emphasizes the need for rapists to both accept responsibility for their actions and recognize the short-term and long-term consequences of their actions (p. 19) if they are to be successful in their life after release from prison. Even successful rehabilitation does not prevent the crimes, but it does limit future crimes of this nature, which does bear positively on our question. How are such successes achieved? This is beyond my scope of knowledge.

The only preventative measures of which I can conceive would be if we could discover, in advance of their crimes, which individuals will commit rapes or molest and separate them from society before the fact. It seems unlikely that a method of such discovery will be soon forthcoming. Even if we could discover genetic or psychological traits that mark likely rapists or molesters, unless or possibly even if such traits could be proven to infallibly point out future offenders, separating out such individuals before they have actually committed any crime is constitutionally problematic.

In a different category are women who, for example, would like to get a college degree and make her mark in some profession or vocation but, unfortunately, the condom broke at her most fertile moment, in other words, unplanned pregnancies that pose an impediment to the course of life planned by the mother.

Such instances can be minimized by the consistent use of more than one reliable birth control method, for example, a condom containing a spermicide and the pill. They could be eliminated altogether, of course, by abstaining from intercourse until ready for children, however, few adults, especially married adults are likely to go this route. It is, however, my preferred route for unmarried teens for whom pregnancy would completely alter their desired life course.

The sex-drive, being as strong as it is, especially in the teen-age years, it seems likely that, even with a commitment to abstinence on the part of teen girls, some will fail in their commitment and have intercourse that could result in an unwanted pregnancy. The availability of multiple forms of birth control to such teens and an understanding of their proper use and a commitment on their part to use more than one form of birth control properly and consistently will greatly reduce the occurrence of unwanted pregnancy as discussed in the above paragraph. To provide abstinence training with no availability or knowledge of the proper use of multiple forms of birth control will likely result in more unwanted pregnancies.

Some might object that providing birth control and education in their use to young teens will result in an increase of intercourse among young teens. While I don't know that this would inevitably result, I concede the possibility. I would find that preferable, however, to the alternative, namely, unmarried teens having unprotected or improperly protected sex resulting in unwanted pregnancies and/or the transmission of STD's.

The Editor

Monday, January 03, 2005

A new topic of discussion is proposed.

I hope that everyone has had a safe and enjoyable New Year celebration. It's also time for a new topic for debate. We have already discussed the question of whether stopping abortions altogether is a desirable thing. If you have not done so yet, please follow these links and read these articles and comments. This will alow you to avoid rehashing that discussion. There was a wide range of opinion but all agreed that there must be room for abortion to save the mother's life, at least, it would seem that we should discuss the question:

How can it be assured that as many pregnancies as possible are wanted pregnancies so that abortions are as rare as possible?
In composing a post for our discussion, remember the ground rules which are:
1. I'm looking for reasoned debate, not ad hominem attack.
2. Foul language will be edited or even form grounds for rejection.
3. Articles will be expected to remain on the given topic.
4. Articles should be no longer than 1,000 to 1,500 words
5. Please frame views that do not agree with yours in positive terms
that proponents of said view use with respect to their views.
Other than that, any position on the topic is acceptable. Please submit your contributions to me at