Thursday Highlights

Good morning. 41F here in Atlanta (with an expected high of 58) and sunny. The sun! Visible! What a odd winter notion for a Chicagoan. In Chicago it’s just below freezing the digging out resumes.

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27 comments

  1. James Skaggs says:

    Mark,

    You say:
    I respectfully disagree. Meaning, I think civility does not imply hiding our differences but that we should always remain respectful and civil.

    And I agree with you. I probably should have included more of the article from First Things in my post. Miller is reacting to those who use calls for “civility” to shut down the debate.

    Thanks for the frequent linking.

    Jim

  2. The hubris of the pro-abortion professional.

    Look, agree or disagree with abortion providers, they are among the most courageous and dedicated people I’ve ever met. They know that their lives may be in danger. They know that they will be despised by many and have to face the protesters every day of their lives. They know they’ll get threats. And they do it all anyway.

    Listen to the story of Dr. Susan Wicklund. She often wears a bulletproof vest and carries a gun because of the crazy “pro-life” crowd. Here’s an article about her. An excerpt:

    She writes that at the sight of its tiny arm she decided she would perform abortions only in the first trimester of pregnancy. She says late-term abortions should be legal, but her decision means she occasionally sees desperate women she must refuse to help…

    On the other hand, Dr. Wicklund has little use for requirements like 24-hour waiting periods, or for assertions like those of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who said in a recent Supreme Court decision on abortion that the government had an interest in protecting women from their own decisions in the matter.

    “It’s so incredibly insulting,” Dr. Wicklund said in the interview. “The 24-hour waiting period implies that women don’t think about it on their own and have to have the government forcing it on them. To me a lot of the abortion restrictions are about control of women, about power, and it’s insulting.”

    Dr. Wicklund said she would put more credence in opponents of abortion rights if they did more to help women prevent unwanted pregnancies. Instead, she said, many of the protesters she encounters “are against birth control, period.” That is unfortunate, she said, because her clinic experience confirms studies showing that emphasizing abstinence rather than contraception may cause girls to delay their first sexual experience for a few months, but “when they do have intercourse they are much less likely to protect themselves with birth control or a condom…”

    And then there is Dr. Wicklund’s maternal grandmother, a woman she was afraid would disapprove of her work. But it turned out that she had a story of her own. “When I was 16 years old, my best friend got pregnant,” is how the story began. Her friend turned to her and her sister for help. They did the only thing they could think of — putting “something long and sharp ‘up there,’ ” according to the book. The girl bled to death, and the cause of her death was kept secret.

    “I know exactly what kind of work you do,” the grandmother told Dr. Wicklund, “and it is a good thing.” One question Dr. Wicklund hears “all the time,” she said, is how she can focus on abortion rather than on something more rewarding, like delivering babies.

    “In fact, the women are so grateful,” Dr. Wicklund said in the interview. “Women are so grateful to know they can get through this safely, that they can still get pregnant again.

    “It is one of the few areas of medicine where you are not working with a sick person, you are doing something for them that gives them back their life, their control,” she added. “It’s a very rewarding thing to be part of that.”

    How many people do you know who dedicate their lives (and possibly risk them) solely to helping other people?

    Hubris indeed.

  3. Kyle says:

    on useful ≠ necessary: not all things that are useful can be done in a limited number of hours, nor even most, so you must choose. On the other hand, all those things which are actually necessary, by definition, can also actually all be done. At least if you take necessity to be a signifier of those things that count as duties. To quote Mr. Knightly from Emma: “There is one thing which a man can always do, if he chooses, and that is his duty.”

    On the other hand: If one is a member of a church where lent isn’t even on the radar, celebrating it may not even be useful. It could be counterproductive by insinuating a “super” Christian attitude.

  4. Mark says:

    JA,
    Calm down dude. 😉

    Dr Wicklund is not the person quoted. Mr Romalis intimating that he can fix all a woman’s problems in 5-minutes seems a thing to which hubris is not a bad allusion.

    As one who takes their profession as one of killing a thing of value … one imagines there were principled loyal party apparatchik’s behind the Iron Curtain.

    Jim,
    I find myself agreeing with you a lot, actually. It might more than just being both fans of Mr Foyle. 😉

    Well, I have to say, of the five or six blogs I picked up on from Joe Carter’s top 100 blogs that I had never read and was (am still) following, I have to say yours is a gem.

  5. Mark,

    I don’t mean to come off as too… un-calm, but I have known women in the past who have literally risked their lives to do what they consider service. The blithe assumption that their work is evil or frivolous is an insult. At the very least, consider that they at least believe that they are dedicating their lives to service.

    Here is what Dr. Romalis wrote:

    I can take a woman, in the biggest trouble she has ever experienced in her life, and by performing a five-minute operation, in comfort and dignity, I can give her back her life.

    Where’s the hubris? You don’t think he has treated dozens or hundreds of patients who fit that very description? Do you doubt that many have not been in bigger trouble? Or are you questioning the idea that having an unwanted baby can drastically alter a life?

    Oh, and by the way, a Google search shows that Dr. Romalis himself was shot by a “pro-life” activist.

    Yeah, I’m gonna not be so calm about that one. Think about it like someone insulting one of our active-duty soldiers. However you feel about the war, you just don’t go there.

  6. Mark says:

    JA,
    Risking of life for a cause is not in and of itself validation of that cause or their service. Consider for example the suicide bomber, to which I am not repeat am not comparing the Dr’s to. I am however comparing them to a “principled loyal party apparatchik’s behind the Iron Curtain”, e.g., the STASI.

    And yes, the notion that “a five minute fix” of all her problems is one of hubris. If she is such trouble … there are deeper problems in her life than is amenable to a five minute outpatient surgical fix and thinking so is just so wrong.

  7. Risking of life for a cause is not in and of itself validation of that cause or their service.

    No, it’s not. But it does tend to make their supporters (like me) a little sensitive when people start insulting them. And these people are doctors, not political apparatchiks.

    And yes, the notion that “a five minute fix” of all her problems is one of hubris. If she is such trouble … there are deeper problems in her life than is amenable to a five minute outpatient surgical fix and thinking so is just so wrong.

    Her trouble is that she’s going to have a baby she doesn’t want. She’s going to be visibly and uncomfortably pregnant for months. Maybe she lives in an area with a lot of pro-lifers who would shun her and destroy her life, like in the “good old days” before abortion was legal. Now that obviously doesn’t compare to, say, lung cancer, but it’s not exactly like having your cable go out in a thunderstorm, either.

    Ask yourself why so many women risked their lives to have abortions before it was legal, if it’s not that much trouble having an unwanted pregnancy? Why are these courageous doctors willing to risk their lives to help those women?

  8. Evaluate the doctor’s comment in that context, actually. In five minutes, he’s taken a woman from a state in which she would possibly risked her life to change to a completely normal one. Is calling that “giving her back her life” such a hubristic stretch?

  9. Mark says:

    JA,
    You’re buying into myth. While the annual numbers of legal abortions is running about 1 million a year, the “back alley” abortion industry and the numbers of women “risking their life” via the same was many orders of magnitude smaller. Ask yourself why these doctors perform thousands of abortions of which one in a hundred is due to rape or incest and likely less (1 in 1000 to 10,000) is actually a situation where that back alley solution might be risking the woman’s life.

    “Visibly and uncomfortably pregnant” is a overstatement as well. For many if not most women the pregnancy experience is not all to the downside. Be realistic and I’ll try to do the same.

  10. Mark:

    You’re buying into myth. While the annual numbers of legal abortions is running about 1 million a year, the “back alley” abortion industry and the numbers of women “risking their life” via the same was many orders of magnitude smaller

    I didn’t say otherwise. My point was just that if many women were risking their lives for abortions, it’s good evidence that abortion can be fairly referred to as “giving a woman her life back.”

    Ask yourself why these doctors perform thousands of abortions of which one in a hundred is due to rape or incest and likely less (1 in 1000 to 10,000) is actually a situation where that back alley solution might be risking the woman’s life.

    I don’t follow. I never said they were doing it only to prevent “back alley” “solutions.”

    “Visibly and uncomfortably pregnant” is a overstatement as well. For many if not most women the pregnancy experience is not all to the downside. Be realistic and I’ll try to do the same.

    I was alluding to the adoption alternative, in which the pregnancy experience would make up quite a sizable chunk of the downside — the rest being the potential trauma of giving up an actual baby.

  11. Mark says:

    JA,
    But it can’t be called “giving a woman back her life” if it is one in a thousand or so where that’s actually what’s happening.

    And I was alluding to the notion that pregnancy in an of itself isn’t all downside. There are physical and emotional upsides accompanying the experience as well.

  12. But it can’t be called “giving a woman back her life” if it is one in a thousand or so where that’s actually what’s happening.

    To be fair, the doctor wasn’t saying that was always the case. He said, “I can take a woman, in the biggest trouble she has ever experienced in her life…”

    And I was alluding to the notion that pregnancy in an of itself isn’t all downside. There are physical and emotional upsides accompanying the experience as well.

    Probably very few emotional upsides in an unwanted pregnancy. And I can’t imagine anyone would volunteer for the physical “upsides.”

  13. Mark says:

    JA,
    Is “can” honest when “can” is rare?

    Midterm pregnancy is associated with feelings of health, well-being, heightened sexual interest all as as result physical changes (hormonal and metabolic). Now it may be you’ll resent feeling good on account of an unwanted thing, but that’s a stretch.

    Physical upsides are real. Downsides for most women are first trimester (for some), i.e., nausea (morning sickness), and the third.

  14. Is “can” honest when “can” is rare?

    I think so. A firefighter: “I can go to a burning building and take a person facing the most threatening event they’ve ever faced and save their life.”

    Midterm pregnancy is associated with feelings of health, well-being, heightened sexual interest all as as result physical changes (hormonal and metabolic). Now it may be you’ll resent feeling good on account of an unwanted thing, but that’s a stretch.

    Come on. 🙂 You can cite larger breasts as well, but that doesn’t mean that women are going to like, on balance, the physical effects of being pregnant.

    Physical upsides are real. Downsides for most women are first trimester (for some), i.e., nausea (morning sickness), and the third.

    Look I’m not saying it’s torture, just that many women would really really not want it at certain points in their lives.

  15. Mark says:

    JA,
    A firefighter in a residential area has a reasonable expectation (at night for example) of finding people to save. If there was not such a reasonable expectation we’d find his “can” save dishonest.

    I will claim women on the balance like the physical effects of being pregnant in the middle trimester.

  16. I’d bet the doctor sees a lot of women who feel the way he describes — especially young ones. Probably way more people than a fireman saves in a year.

  17. Mark says:

    JA,
    We’re getting off topic. The point is the Dr’s aren’t “fixing” any problem, they are at best patching a symptom. The “biggest problem” in her life isn’t that she chose to get pregnant. Her biggest problem is living in a condition where she finds pregnancy life threatening and the Dr does nothing for that and if he thinks he/she did, that’s hubris and a lie.

  18. The “biggest problem” in her life isn’t that she chose to get pregnant. Her biggest problem is living in a condition where she finds pregnancy life threatening

    You know, I never put too much stock in the feminist idea that anti-abortionism is largely about controlling women, but you’re starting to convince me. Who are you to say the the biggest problem in her life is that she really doesn’t want to be pregnant?? Is that what this is about? Women should always be ready to drop everything and be pregnant?

  19. Mark says:

    JA,
    Uhm, are you proposing that everything in this girls life is just perfect, just that pregnancy leaves her no alternatives to “coat hangers or other suicidal life threatening alternatives. My suggestion is that pregnancy is a threat then her life contains bigger fundamental problems of which catastrophe=pregnancy is a symptom not a cause.

    Women should always be ready to drop everything and be pregnant?

    ?! huh? Pregnancy is a choice (unless she was raped and I don’t think we’re talking about that).

  20. My suggestion is that pregnancy is a threat then her life contains bigger fundamental problems of which catastrophe=pregnancy is a symptom not a cause.

    Suppose a 16-year-old girl in a conservative community. A woman with several kids who just can’t handle another one?

    Pregnancy is not a choice — a tiny risk of pregnancy is a choice. Every time I play basketball, I take a small risk of spraining an ankle. Does that mean that if it does get sprained, it would be wrong to treat it?

  21. More to the point, does it mean that I chose to sprain it?

  22. Mark says:

    JA,
    In means if you are accepting as a risk sprains (and worse perhaps) when you enter the game. It means you accepted the risk when you entered the game.

    Your examples above, demonstrate my assertion that the pregnancy is just a symptom of larger fundamental problems in her life which abortion is not going to fix and the doctor’s assertion that he’s “the cure” is arrogant.

  23. It means you accepted the risk when you entered the game.

    Agreed. That doesn’t mean I can’t treat the sprain.

    Your examples above, demonstrate my assertion that the pregnancy is just a symptom of larger fundamental problems in her life…

    You can look at it that way, I guess. Those “problems” are likely out of her control, though.

  24. Mark says:

    JA,
    child=sprain. Gotcha. That’s where they get the whole culture of death thing I guess.

  25. Mark says:

    JA,
    Oh, on those problems being out of her control. What does that matter with respect to the Dr’s comment. He said he’d fix her problems in 5 minutes. … Which is my point.

  26. Mark,

    child=sprain. Gotcha. That’s where they get the whole culture of death thing I guess.

    Really? You’re going to be that snide? I’m using the sprain as an analogy solely to respond to your idea that accepting a risk makes one somehow obliged to accept even avoidable consequences.

    Oh, on those problems being out of her control. What does that matter with respect to the Dr’s comment. He said he’d fix her problems in 5 minutes. … Which is my point.

    I think you’re being overly pedantic here.

  27. Mark says:

    JA,
    Sorry (on the snide remark).

    You asked why I thought he was being overly proud by thinking he’d fix her problem in five minutes. The answer is that the pregnancy isn’t her problem and thinking he’s really “fixing” much is prideful.