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What If Social Conservatives Are Betrayed

Ross Douthat posts this addendum to his column on the Kavanaugh pick [1]:

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To which Terry Teachout adds:

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I wasn’t a Trump voter, but as a social and religious conservative, what Teachout says is certainly true for me. Though I too was hoping for an Amy Coney Barrett selection, Trump’s SCOTUS picks — as well as the ascent of the Social Justice Warriors on the left — have made it more likely that I will vote Trump in 2020. I’m pro-life, and want to see Roe end, but I believe that preserving religious liberty is a more pressing issue in this de-Christianizing country. Contra Teachout, I don’t know that this is a Catholic or a Protestant perspective; I think it’s rather a prudential political judgment.

For people like me, preserving religious liberty and ending abortion are both good things. We are seeing the abortion numbers decline. Last year, abortion rates sank to their lowest level since the 1973 Roe decision.  [6] This is a great victory! A subsequent Washington Post story [7] points out that while abortions have declined 25 percent in that period, it is still the case that one in four women will have an abortion before age 45 — a shocking number. So there is still work to do. At the state level, various abortion restrictions that have been found to be permissible under Roe may be having an effect.

If Roe is overturned, though, all that does is move the debate on abortion rights back to the states. That’s still a huge deal, but it won’t outlaw abortion. It is interesting to observe that America has become more pro-life even as it has become more secular. This vindicates what pro-lifers have said for many years: that the case for life does not strictly depend on religious belief.

The future of religious liberty is much, much less clear. We know that America is de-Christianizing. It’s not only de-Christianizing, but it is becoming much more secular. The fact that religious belief exists disproportionately within older populations makes these trends harder to see right now. It will be difficult to muster support for religious liberty among a population that is not religious. In particular, when religious liberty claims conflict with gay rights claims, you don’t need to be a soothsayer to know what’s likely to happen.

This is why it is imperative now to get judges on the bench who have a robust sense of the importance of religious liberty. We religious conservatives should expect that the culture will become more and more hostile to us. The best we can realistically hope for is that the law permits us to run our own institutions in fidelity to our convictions, for as long as we can, despite the contempt of the outside world.

To the question of whether or not organized social conservatism is capable of hellraising rebellion if the GOP sells it out, I don’t think it is, not at this point. It needs to get to that place, though. Given the contempt the Democratic Party has for social conservatives, we really don’t have anywhere else to go. We could stay home, though — and given how closely divided the country is, neither party can afford to take any of its constituents for granted. I don’t know how you’d poll this, but the sense of futility many older pro-life conservatives would have if a Roberts court upheld Roe would be immense. It would mean that all their political efforts over the decades came to naught. It will all have been a lie to have believed that things would change at the Court.

On the other hand, given the state of religious liberty, those same religious conservatives may not be able to indulge themselves in anger and depression over Roe.

Here’s another thing: immigration is also an issue that Americans whose conservatism is primarily social care about. It may be more viscerally important to the base than either abortion or religious liberty. But there is division there. Russell Moore is a social and religious conservative, but he’s not on the same side of the immigration issue as other social and religious conservatives.

On the hellraising point, one last thing: in 2013, several hundred thousand protesters filled the streets of Paris to march against gay marriage. [8] Here is a link to the core of the “Manif Pour Tous” (Protest For All) movement’s viewpoint.  [9] They did not win the argument in France, which now has gay marriage, but they showed themselves willing to take to the streets of the capital to defend traditional marriage and family.

We had nothing like this in the US. Nothing. We are supposedly more conservative and more religious, but we stayed docile. Why? I’m genuinely curious. I have not been able to answer this question satisfactorily for myself.

140 Comments (Open | Close)

140 Comments To "What If Social Conservatives Are Betrayed"

#1 Comment By mrscracker On July 11, 2018 @ 11:44 am

RATMDC says:

“So, Locksley, how would you like to prosecute women self-inducing abortions? ”
*******************

You could check with the states where that’s currently against the law. I’ve read about a few cases in the newspapers.

Truthfully, the current laws make no sense. Our state has a “trigger” law in place should Roe vs Wade be reversed & it has no language re. prosecuting the mother.

#2 Comment By mrscracker On July 11, 2018 @ 11:51 am

Locksley says:

Mr. Cosimano, your nightmare is my ideal. Alabama in ’55–what Heaven!”
*****************
1955 is a little too far back for my memory to go but I do remember visiting Montgomery, Alabama in 1966 & it was very nice. My mother was impressed with the AL highways back then. They seemed to have been newly paved & were well maintained & a joy to drive on.
I think they were brownish too, not the regular asphalt color.

#3 Comment By sjay On July 11, 2018 @ 12:09 pm

which would you save from a fire at the lab: a whole case of frozen embryos (freezers elsewhere are available) or one toddler?

OTOH, what if the choice was between five adult Hitlers and the frozen embryo of two saints? Choices must sometimes be made even between entities that everyone regards as technically human.

#4 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 11, 2018 @ 12:27 pm

Charles Cosimano exaggerates, as is his wont, but the chaotic possibilities he outlines are one reason that Chief Justice Roberts is unlikely to join an opinion that overturns Roe. He’ll look at it the way he looked at the Individual Mandate in the ACA … let’s not be judicial activists and rock the boat too much. There is a big difference between, I wouldn’t have joined Justice Blackmun’s opinion in 1973, and I will support overturning 50 plus years of complex jurisprudence. He may have some influence on Kavanaugh too — and frankly, Trump doesn’t give a hoot about abortion, so he won’t be sending any outraged tweets about Kavanaugh betraying his trust or anything.

#5 Comment By RATMDC On July 11, 2018 @ 12:38 pm

“But in an emergency situation when time really matters, if you have to choose between saving a healthy toddler with her whole life in front of her or people whose health and future is much less certain (either very sickly elderly people or embryos), you go with the young healthy toddlers. In other words, your question doesn’t prove what you think it does.”

It does. There’s no harm in not being born. The toddler takes precedence, and so does an adult woman who can’t escape on her own. I know that the issue of custody over frozen embryos is different than that over a pregnancy, in the latter case the woman is actually biologically carrying said embryo, and thus her desires are the only ones that matter.

#6 Comment By Kurt Gayle On July 11, 2018 @ 1:25 pm

Non-surgical, “medical” (chemical) abortions account for an ever-higher percentage of abortions in the US. As of 2014 30% of all abortions committed in the US were “medical” (chemical) abortions.

Because there may be a disproportionate under-reporting of such non-surgical abortions, claims that the total number of abortions committed (or the rate of abortions committed) in the US has fallen, may not be accurate.

In Europe Germany (23% of all abortions are “medical”/chemical), Netherlands (22%), Belgium (22%), Spain (19%), and Italy (17%) have non-surgical abortion rates lower than the US rate.

But most other European countries have much higher non-surgical abortion rates than the US: England and Wales (62%), France (64%), Denmark (70%), Portugal (71%), Switzerland (72%), Scotland (83%), Norway (87%), Sweden (92%), and Finland (96%).

Possible complications of medical abortion include: (1) hemorrhage, (2) incomplete abortion, (3) uterine or pelvic infection, (4) ongoing intrauterine pregnancy, requiring a surgical abortion for completion, and (5) misdiagnosed/unrecognized ectopic pregnancy. (From “Complications of medical and surgical abortion”. “Handbook of obstetric and gynecologic emergencies” 4th ed., p-258)

#7 Comment By RR On July 11, 2018 @ 3:01 pm

quote: “It does. There’s no harm in not being born. The toddler takes precedence, and so does an adult woman who can’t escape on her own. I know that the issue of custody over frozen embryos is different than that over a pregnancy, in the latter case the woman is actually biologically carrying said embryo, and thus her desires are the only ones that matter.”

This is a terrible, terrible line of reasoning. If the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life, which does happen in rare cases, the choice could well be between one life (the fetus) and another (the mother). In that case, abortion is an act of self-defense on the part of the mother and while regrettable, is understandable, ethical and should be legal.

However, in most cases, abortion is not to save the life or even the health of the mother. It is because the pregnancy and the possibility of raising a child is an inconvenience. That’s not a choice between one person’s life and another person’s life. It’s a choice between life and death for one person and inconvenience for another. In such a circumstance, the unborn child’s right to life should far, far outweigh the inconvenience to the mother. It is both highly illogical and highly unethical to argue otherwise.

#8 Comment By RR On July 11, 2018 @ 3:06 pm

quote: “It does. There’s no harm in not being born.”

I forgot to add, abortion isn’t the same as contraception. Contraception prevents a sperm and egg from coming together to form new human life. In that case, there is no harm. On the other hand, abortion destroys existing human life, often literally crushing the skulls and ripping limbs off fetuses in the process. You can’t be serious if you argue there is “no harm” in that.

#9 Comment By James Kabala On July 11, 2018 @ 5:38 pm

What about the March for Life?

#10 Comment By Nelson On July 11, 2018 @ 6:40 pm

You would get a lot more support for protecting religious freedom if you framed it as the right to protect immigrants (sanctuary) rather than the right to discriminate against gays.

#11 Comment By swb On July 11, 2018 @ 6:42 pm

Of course social conservatives are going to be betrayed, your position is a minority one and the republicans know you are going to vote for them anyway. Why is this a question at all? I mean, have you not paid attention for the last 40 years?

Roberts is not a fool, his agenda is to increase the power of corporations and wealthy individuals. That goal is simple to accomplish because religious conservatives approve of those goals and he can count on numerous religious conservatives to attack progressives. Why would he bother to make his legacy one in which he signed on to the kind of badly written opinion you want to see when that doe not help, and could hurt, his core agenda?

Your response to that betrayal will be angry postings on the internet, then you vote for Trump. If Trump gets a second term, he has absolutely no use for any of you conservative religious types at all, he can do what he does best, shake down folks for money and do photo ops. Why would he waste a third court nominee on a religious hard liner when he can get a solid big business capitalism loving justice?

#12 Comment By RR On July 11, 2018 @ 7:14 pm

quote: “Charles Cosimano exaggerates, as is his wont, but the chaotic possibilities he outlines are one reason that Chief Justice Roberts is unlikely to join an opinion that overturns Roe.”

If Roe v. Wade is both unconstitutional and unjust, which it is, the fact that it might lead to “chaotic possibilities” isn’t a good reason not to overturn Roe. By way of comparison, the 1954 Brown v. Board decision unanimously overturned the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision. And completely dismantling Jim Crow, particularly with schooling, led to much greater change (Jim Crow shaped almost all of society in much of the nation) and “chaotic possibilities” than ending Roe ever could. The Brown v. Board decision was the just and constitutionally sound. So too would be overturning Roe, or at least significantly gutting it.

If a supposedly conservative dominated Supreme Court doesn’t undo Roe in one way or the other, pro-lifers will start disengaging (becoming swing voters, staying home) from the Republican Party. And there is no way they can win majorities in Congress or the presidency without pro-lifers. At some point, they will have to real come through for pro-lifers who see undoing Roe as extremely important if they want to stay in power. Pro-lifers would like see the Roberts court upholding Roe to prevent “chaotic possibilities” as a great betrayal. It could well scramble our current political order.

#13 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 11, 2018 @ 7:54 pm

From what I’ve heard from the French, that’s why historically you could have the family structure intact whilst the father-sometimes routinely-kept a mistress. Indiscretions didn’t topple a marriage because the family took priority.

But what if the good Madame was caught taking a lover, rather than the husband/father having a girl on the side? I don’t know know how this worked in traditional France, but I know how it worked in the US up until the rise of no-fault divorce: if a man had a mistress, his wife was more or less expected to tolerate it. If SHE cheated, however, she was ruined.

#14 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 11, 2018 @ 8:10 pm

Knowing how absolutely abysmal Trump is,you’re seriously considering voting for him in ‘20? Some of his voters in ‘16 thought he might mellow or “grow into” the job and become presidential- a slender reed of hope but understandable. That faint glimmer has been extinguished and he’s as awful as we thought and worse. Is control of the judiciary worth selling out all that you ostensibly value & hold dear? A previous poster noted that you’re on a dangerous path and they’re correct. Flirting with nationalists whether in the US or Hungary is asking for trouble. I’d think twice about attaching my good name to anything that resembles endorsing Trump and his ilk.

It’s called “radicalization”.

As you become more and more convinced that the “other side” is your enemy and seeks to destroy you, you become open to more and more desperate measures.

Trump likely wouldn’t have been elected had large numbers of “conservative” voters not believed that 2016 was a “flight 93” election; that Hillary would have meant their destruction. The left–many of whom disliked Clinton and thought she and Trump would of similar nature–won’t have her to kick around this time (and have been largely disabused of that notion–Bill Clinton had his bad moments, but even his worst were far better than what Trump has given us).

And of course, when one faction gets radicalized, other factions often radicalize in response, and each views the radicalism of the other as justification for their own.

#15 Comment By Kurt Gayle On July 11, 2018 @ 8:24 pm

Charles Cosimano says (July 10-5:55 p.m.) that if Roe v. Wade were overturned “it would not end abortion at all. It would merely return the matter to the states.”

I’m with you so far, Mr. Cosimano.

But then you say: “Ultimately the Democrats get control of the Presidency and Congress. The first thing on the agenda is legislating Roe…”

If the Supreme Court has “return[ed] the matter to the states” how do you figure that Congress can legislate Roe?

#16 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 11, 2018 @ 8:28 pm

It’s a very ancient principle of jurisprudence that a government cannot criminalize things that do not happen under its jurisdiction. This is why the slave states had to get the feds to enact a fugitive slave law, because their own state governments had no power to enforce slavery outside their boundaries.

With all due respect, this is incorrect.

There are many examples of laws on the books where a government will impose obligations on its citizens that extend beyond its borders. Ireland, back in the day, did make it illegal for Irish women to travel abroad for the procedure, and did often enforce that. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act has long made it illegal for US multinationals to bribe foreign officials (even if all of the conduct in question occurs on foreign soil). And certain crimes against humanity are, by international treaty, subject to universal jurisdiction (any competent legal authority anywhere can prosecute such offenses regardless of where they occur).

It’s generally considered foul for one government to criminalize behavior it has no interest in (neither occurring within its jurisdiction or being committed by its subjects), and enforcement is an issue–but there is ample precedent for a government to attempt to restrain the conduct of its citizens, even when outside its territory.

(How this would work in the context of interstate relations, I suppose, is an interesting question. The US federal system may preclude such things as one state prosecuting acts by its residents that occur in another state.)

#17 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 11, 2018 @ 8:30 pm

Regarding the whole frozen-embryos at the fertility clinic.

Is someone who switches off the freezer guilty of murder (or manslaughter if unintentional)?

#18 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 11, 2018 @ 9:48 pm

Non-surgical, “medical” (chemical) abortions account for an ever-higher percentage of abortions in the US. As of 2014 30% of all abortions committed in the US were “medical” (chemical) abortions.

Referring to a hormonal treatment hours or days after intercourse as an abortion is really pushing it. So the zygote doesn’t get to embed. So the blastocyst is flushed out. So what? No torn limbs, no fractured skulls, nothing remotely self-aware.

#19 Comment By Kurt Gayle On July 12, 2018 @ 1:03 am

Siarlys Jenkins first quotes me: “Non-surgical, ‘medical’ (chemical) abortions account for an ever-higher percentage of abortions in the US. As of 2014 30% of all abortions committed in the US were ‘medical’ (chemical) abortions.”

Mr. Jenkins then says: “Referring to a hormonal treatment hours or days after intercourse as an abortion is really pushing it. So the zygote doesn’t get to embed. So the blastocyst is flushed out. So what? No torn limbs, no fractured skulls, nothing remotely self-aware.”

Mr. Jenkins is confusing the so-called “morning-after pill” with the “abortion pill” — the popular name for using two different medicines to end a pregnancy: mifepristone and misoprostol. The “abortion pill” (non-surgical, ‘medical’/chemical abortion) accounted for 30% of all US abortions as of 2014 – a percentage that is rising.

Use of the “morning-after pill” — commonly referred to as a “contraceptive,” but which is actually an abortifacient if taken after the egg is fertilized – is not included currently included in US abortion statistics. If it were, the percentage of “medical’ (chemical) abortions in the US would be much higher than 30%.

#20 Comment By JonF On July 12, 2018 @ 6:48 am

Re: With all due respect, this is incorrect.

No it is not. The principle is so old even the Romans had a name for it: Sine lege nulle crimen. Yes, governments occasionally attempt this and in the modern age it can be dicey as to where the “crime” actually occurs– a US based corporation is still in some respects located in the US when it bribes a foreign official. However the general principle is sound: Governments have no jurisdiction outside their physical boundaries, except as specifically granted by treaty with other governments.

#21 Comment By JonF On July 12, 2018 @ 6:50 am

Rre: If the Supreme Court has “return[ed] the matter to the states” how do you figure that Congress can legislate Roe?

What the Court would do is state that there is no constitutional protection for abortion. This would ;eave open the possibility of the Feds also legislating on it, every banning or permitting it.

#22 Comment By connecticut farmer On July 12, 2018 @ 8:35 am

It would not surprise if any attempt to topple “Roe” will fail. Though it’ll be a close vote it will probably remain on the books. And it says here that Roberts–ostensibly a conservative justice who previously bailed on ObamaCare –will in the instant case serve as the swing vote, thus effectively playing the Anthony Kennedy role, and will vote in favor of retaining “Roe”. If so, how ironic that this SCOTUS will have proven its bona fides as a conservative (small “c”) court by upholding the principal of stare decisis!

Not exactly the kind of “conservatism” pro-life folks had bargained for, unfortunately.

#23 Comment By mrscracker On July 12, 2018 @ 10:30 am

EngineerScotty says:

“But what if the good Madame was caught taking a lover, rather than the husband/father having a girl on the side? I don’t know know how this worked in traditional France, but I know how it worked in the US up until the rise of no-fault divorce: if a man had a mistress, his wife was more or less expected to tolerate it. If SHE cheated, however, she was ruined.”
**************
Good question. I’m not sure. I know that if a culture places the family unit as a top priority-above any affaires & such-it’s more likely to survive. If marriage is based more on romantic feelings I would think it’s more vulnerable.

I used to think the traditional, pragmatic French view of marriage was cynical but I’ve changed my mind. I think it promotes the permanence of marriage for the benefit of children & society, & in a practical way takes into account human weakness.

#24 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 12, 2018 @ 10:37 am

Not exactly the kind of “conservatism” pro-life folks had bargained for, unfortunately.

No, but its the kind of court one would expect if justices refrain from indulging in judicial activism. (And no, I don’t have much respect for Justice Ginsburg’s opinions either.)

What the Court would do is state that there is no constitutional protection for abortion. This would ;eave open the possibility of the Feds also legislating on it, every banning or permitting it.

Except that as other well established constitutional jurisprudence affirms, congress has no broad powers to write general criminal statutes. That IS reserved to the states. See Brzonkala and Lopez, two Rehnquist court decisions overturning federal statutes concerning rape and carrying a gun near schools. States can, did, and do, carry severe criminal penalties on the books, but the jurisdiction of federal law is limited to crimes committed on federal property.

Kurt Gayle employs the same distinction without a difference employed by those who proclaim the “morning after pill” to be an “abortifacient” because there might actually be a zygote that is prevented from embedding — as happens to a large fraction of zygotes anyway. Mifepristone is authorized for use in the first 49 days of pregnancy, which is a bit longer than “days” but it merely denies a very tiny blastocyst, embryo or fetus the ability to feed on the uterine lining. The hazards of heavy bleeding are well worth considering, but not the same moral hazard that has been alleged.

Trump likely wouldn’t have been elected had large numbers of “conservative” voters not believed that 2016 was a “flight 93” election; that Hillary would have meant their destruction.

No, Trump likely wouldn’t have been elected had significant numbers of bitter clingers who cared about their faith and their guns, and voted for Barack Obama, not been put off by the unbelievable hubris of the Democratic Party nominating Hillary Clinton.

#25 Comment By RATMDC On July 12, 2018 @ 1:33 pm

“That’s not a choice between one person’s life and another person’s life. It’s a choice between life and death for one person and inconvenience for another. In such a circumstance, the unborn child’s right to life should far, far outweigh the inconvenience to the mother. It is both highly illogical and highly unethical to argue otherwise.”

No, it’s about one non-person’s life and a person’s decisions and autonomy. Embryos have no right to life per se. Their hopes, dreams, desires, et cetera are not being taken from them, as they are incapable of having (or of ever having in the past, like someone in a coma) them; plus, they are sucking nutrients from a pregnant person.

So yes, I am serious, and the mechanics of the procedure are beside the point.

#26 Comment By mrscracker On July 12, 2018 @ 2:47 pm

RATMDC ,
You know, when we talk about children still in the womb, it’s just one of many steps in human development.
If we dehumanize life or lessen it’s value at any stage it eventually cheapens human life for all I believe.
I think I’ve read that preborn infants take in & process all sorts of information about the outside world before birth & can recognize their mother’s voice, familiar sounds, music, etc. I wouldn’t assume anything about cognition in utero. What changes so much at birth?

#27 Comment By cka2nd On July 12, 2018 @ 3:06 pm

johnny reb says: “What I was trying to say is that if I own a small business that provides some non-essential service like a cake shop or a flower shop, I should be free to reject any customer or class of customers for any danged reason”

The problem with this idea as broadly stated as you put it is that it brings us right back to the Jim Crow era of “No Blacks Allowed,” “No Jews Allowed,” and, prior to Jim Crow, “No Dogs or Irish Allowed.” So, when it comes to simple public accommodations, be it a restaurant, an inn or an apartment building, I disagree with you. On the other hand, the argument that I have found convincing regarding cake shops, flower shops, photographers, printers and painters is the difference between public accommodation and artistic expression or, in some respects, coerced speech. So, if a gay couple comes into johnny reb’s cake shop and wants to buy an existing cake, you have to sell it to them just as you would to any other member of the public. Ditto for the florist selling pre-arranged bouquets of flowers or printers selling pre-printed, generic, fill-in-the-name wedding invitations. But if the gay couple asked you to bake a cake for them, you could refuse to do so on religious grounds, although such grounds might have to be somewhat narrow, e.g., opposition to SSM on religious grounds is well established, while opposition to a gay couple celebrating 30 years together as a couple on religious grounds is not. This may not prevent all arguments or litigation – there are religious grounds to oppose adoption by same-sex couples, but johnny reb refusing to bake a cake for the child of that gay couple might stretch the sympathies of even someone as flexible as me, even if I sided with you as a matter of law – but this kind of a carve out from public accommodation law seems reasonable to me in a way that religious liberty exceptions for medical professionals like pharmacists do not.

johnny reb says: “And before somebody comes back and says: ‘Oh, but xxxx are a legally ‘protected class’ and Christians aren’t”

But Christians are, johnny, in the same way that anyone is protected from religious discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaws discrimination based on race, color, RELIGION, sex, or national origin [emphasis added]. And even though I am an atheist, I share your frustration that some folks have forgotten that religious discrimination is against the law, too.

#28 Comment By cka2nd On July 12, 2018 @ 3:12 pm

route66news says: “Because many pro-life people — not all, mind you — know deep down they might have a relative who eventually will want an abortion, and will acquiesce to that demand for sound and not-so-sound reasons. A hard line doesn’t look so hard when family is involved.”

As has been demonstrated time after time by the anti-abortion demonstrator or sidewalk counselor who suddenly shows up at the clinic one day dragging their wife or daughter in because “We can’t afford another kid” or “She’s too young to have a baby.”

#29 Comment By cka2nd On July 12, 2018 @ 3:21 pm

JonF says: “There is no such thing as ‘freedom of association.’ No one gets to chose who he shares the world with. We’re all stuck with each other– deal with it.”

Um, JonF, there’s a whole Wikipedia page about it, with references to the United States Bill of Rights, article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, articles 20 and 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work by the International Labour Organization.

#30 Comment By cka2nd On July 12, 2018 @ 3:24 pm

RealAlan says: “Freedom of association was the argument used to justify opposing the Civil Rights acts. If you want to give ammunition to those who wish to conflate disapproval of homosexual behaviour with racism, putting ‘Freedom of Association’ on your banner is a good way to do it.”

Governing magazine has been doing stories for months on the revival of “State’s Rights” by liberal and centrist Democratic governors and legislators, so why shouldn’t “freedom of association” be used across the political spectrum, too?

#31 Comment By cka2nd On July 12, 2018 @ 3:31 pm

“[NFR: But doesn’t that prove my point? We won’t raise hell. Gays and their allies, though — they’ll raise hell. — RD]”

D’oh! I mention it enough that I’m surprised I didn’t “answer” this statement the moment you posted it. Operation Rescue certainly raised hell, at some blockades more than others, I’ll admit.

#32 Comment By genotypical On July 12, 2018 @ 3:57 pm

mrscracker–What changes so much at birth is 1) oxygen (very low oxygen pressure inside the placenta) and 2) loss of sedating substances that are pretty constantly flooding the uterine environment. After the nerve structure that allows consciousness to exist at all is in place (AFAIK late in the second trimester), the fetus is apparently in a state resembling deep sleep. I’ve never seen any solid evidence for information processing before birth, but maybe someone else here knows more about that.

#33 Comment By LFM On July 12, 2018 @ 5:04 pm

Siarlys writes, “Referring to a hormonal treatment hours or days after intercourse as an abortion is really pushing it. So the zygote doesn’t get to embed. So the blastocyst is flushed out. So what? No torn limbs, no fractured skulls, nothing remotely self-aware.”

Poison tears no limbs and fractures no skulls, yet its administration is still attempted murder. Nor is self-awareness, or the lack of it, one of the criteria by which we (Catholics or anyone else) define humanity. A dead blastocyst is still a unique being.

I grant that its destruction does not, cannot seem as terrible as the death of a baby; for one thing, it’s impossible to grieve over the death of someone we don’t know, who is in the nature of things unknowable. Again, though, to dismiss this curious creature as one of an undifferentiated throng is a mistake: the creature is unique, and our failure to take that in is a failure of imagination as well as heart. It also makes it much easier for people to think of any of the later stages of infant development in the womb as being that of a kind of blank slate that will magically become human once its mother acknowledges it.

#34 Comment By mrscracker On July 12, 2018 @ 5:21 pm

genotypical says:

“I’ve never seen any solid evidence for information processing before birth, but maybe someone else here knows more about that.”
**************
I think I read about that on the BBC site. If I can find the article I’ll try to share it. Thanks!

#35 Comment By RATMDC On July 12, 2018 @ 6:03 pm

“You know, when we talk about children still in the womb, it’s just one of many steps in human development.”

Sure, that’s why the issue is personhood, not birth.

#36 Comment By mrscracker On July 13, 2018 @ 4:06 pm

Sorry, I didn’t locate the BBC article but I think it may have referred in part to this UK study:

“The visual development of babies in the womb has been explored for the first time ever, revealing a clear preference for face-like shapes.

Researchers have found that fetuses at 34 weeks are like newborn babies in preferring face-like stimuli…The team used a light source to project a pattern of three dots in the shape of eyes and a mouth through the uterine wall and measured the way the fetus responded using ultrasound.

The findings show that fetuses of 34 weeks gestation will turn their head to track the face-like pattern.

But there was no such movement when the team projected three inverted dots in the shape of a triangle, demonstrating that it was not the pattern itself which the fetus preferred.

“We are improving the light source and plan to examine other aspects of fetal perception and cognition via visual systems. All sorts of aspects of human vision can now be explored…

“Newborns can discriminate numbers and quantities. Does the fetus in the third trimester also have these capacities? Exploring the transition from fetus to infant is also a very exciting possibility.”

[10]

#37 Comment By mrscracker On July 13, 2018 @ 4:16 pm

PS, Lancaster U. has some other interesting articles online re. fetal brain responses to visual and auditory stimuli :

“Do fetuses move their lips to the sound that they hear?: an observational feasibility study on auditory stimulation in the womb”

[11].html

#38 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 13, 2018 @ 8:50 pm

Researchers have found that fetuses at 34 weeks are like newborn babies in preferring face-like stimuli…

That must be why the federal constitution, as expounded by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, left states entirely free to outlaw abortion at, inter alia, 34 weeks, unless there is a threat to the life or health of the mother. (Even then, its her choice —

it’s impossible to grieve over the death of someone we don’t know, who is in the nature of things unknowable.

Exactly. There are moral arguments worth examining, but they don’t lead to a sound basis for coercive criminal penalties until around 20 weeks. Whether we are discussing a “creature” at all is dubious. The original paradigm for pregnancy is an amoeba dividing in two. At what point in this process are there two amoebae? At some point there certainly is an independent life, but when?

#39 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 14, 2018 @ 12:39 pm

That must be why the federal constitution, as expounded by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, left states entirely free to outlaw abortion at, inter alia, 34 weeks, unless there is a threat to the life or health of the mother. (Even then, its her choice —

There is a phrase missing here, and I don’t know whether that is the fault of the gods of cyberspace, some stupid finger reflex of mine on the computer, or a whim of the editor.

Even if there is a credible hazard to the life or health of the mother, she still has the legal right to choose to risk death to carry her pregnancy to term. Some women do. But the police powers of the state may not require that of her. In the absence of such hazards, in the third trimester, the state may prohibit abortion, and most do.

#40 Comment By Mike Schilling On July 14, 2018 @ 9:18 pm

Even though I think life begins at conception, I am concerned that, under our current welfare system, overturning Roe would result in America being overun with hoodrat thugs.

Agreed. The mind reels at how many more Trumps would be running around.