Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Facepalm - Writ Large

The next time I hear someone wonder aloud in false-bewilderment, "why does the rest of the civilized world think Americans are stupid?;" THIS will be my go-to answer...

(obligatory warning that remaining body of post may contain politics and/or opinions thereupon.)

A 9 week-old fetus is being called to testify as a witness before the Ohio State Legislature in support of the so-called "Heartbeat Bill," which would outlaw any abortion in the state once a heartbeat is detectable.

To be clear: They aren't speaking in symbolic terms - proponents of the bill, specifically a hardline anti-abortion outfit called "Faith2Action," are going to bring a pregnant woman before the Legislature and project her live ultrasound onto a screen. This is a real thing, happening in 2011.

I'm honestly dumbstruck that this isn't a prank of some kind... it's like something a six year-old would think up as an Earth Day gesture: "Sirs, this my fwend mister squirrel. He wivs in th fowest, and he wants you to pwetty pwease not cut down his house to make the new highway." The next time they hold hearings about a video-game ban, can I have the testimony of my Nintendog or Level-30 Snorlax read into evidence? Note the almost poetic perfection, incidentally, of the fact that they aren't simply asking the pregnant woman to speak, eh?

Meanwhile, for the sake of contrast, here's what "politics of abortion news" looks like in a grownup country, specifically The UK: The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has issued new guidelines for doctors, nurses and counselors of pregnant women considering termination - it is now official policy to inform said women that abortion is generally safer than continuing a pregnancy to term, and that the majority of women do not suffer any psychological harm.

For my international readers, please understand - even though the UK story can be accurately summarized as "doctor's reminded to tell the truth," the likelihood of any similar agency even considering using that same language is next to nil. That's how far behind we are - truth, along with science and facts, are "controversial" in that they offend the sensibilities of those who choose to ignore them.

And people wonder why I'm a pessimist?

38 comments:

Popcorn Dave said...

"why does the rest of the civilized world think American's are stupid?"

...

Nah, too easy.

Bob said...

Noted and corrected prior to reading comment.

Always good to know that people are interested in spelling and grammar, though - lost art, that ;)

Robert said...

You win Dave! ;-)

Christopher said...

Banging my head against a wall does not alleviate the mental pain I'm going through right now.

You can take whatever side you want in the abortion debate. THIS is not the FUCKING way to argue, no logical argument as to WHY abortion is wrong, you're just tugging goddamn heartstrings. Unfortunately, we don't have laws in this country against idiots, but damn I wish we did.

Nick said...

I wonder if any grown-up countries have permissive immigration laws...

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

I'm pretty sure the rest of the world doesn't give two shits about our abortion debate, Bob. There are parts of the world where a woman can be stoned to death for appearing in public with a man who isn't her husband or father. I think they have more pressing concerns than the abortion debate in America.

cedric said...

I honestly think it is a bit harsh to call these people stupid, it is unorthodox at the most. Just consider it a "visual aid".

TheAlmightyNarf said...

Again with the abortion, already?

And, honestly, this sort of court room theatrics is pretty common both here and in the UK (and I imagine most the rest of the world as well). It's no different then the prosecution bringing in the crying mother or widow who really has no relevant testimony to give, but will make the defendant seem all the guiltier anyway. I'm sure there's some legal term for it that I can't be bothered to look up.

Is it silly, unnecessary, and a bit hyperbolic? Yea, sure. It's also completely un-noteworthy, and it wouldn't have even been given a second glace if it didn't have controversial politics attached.

Martín Cerón said...

Whether the abortion debate is still an issue in developed countries is up to the extend to wich Capitalism has imposed it's ways, with religious zealotry being just an ad hoc ally, and therefore encouraged. When you realise every newborn is just a fresh slave for our corrupt system, and that breeding should be considered a crime against humanity as it constitutes a violation of a fetus' right to not be brought to such a fucked up world against their will, you don't even think twice about abortion. Since almost all forms of innovations are now subjugated to profit projections in the free market and planned obsolescence, you can forget about the next Thomas Edison, he'd be held back. So every new person on the planet is a liability, just added competition for everyone else.

And don't even get me started on the women's rights side of this thing.

Now that's pessimism for you!

Mark said...

isn't it typically the case that a witness must have some connection to the case to be called? i think that's the situation in Cal., at least. Is this fetus connected to the case, directly? Will this fetus be aborted if this law passes? Is this some sort of "class action" LAW?

motyr said...

The thing is, the "grown up" world often has abortion debates all the time, regardless of its legal standing. I live in Canada and, recently, news has arisen that a university in our nation's capital stopped a group from protesting the legality of abortion using unnecessarily graphic imagery on signs and in other protest-related material.

I care about the state of affairs in America because they're right next door, America has had as much an influence on Canadian culture and affairs as anyone else, and some claim it to be the land of freedom, the model upon which all other new-world countries should be based.

I don't understand the issue though - why isn't as simple as IF YOU DON'T WANT TO HAVE AN ABORTION, DON'T GO TO THE CLINIC?

am I missing something?

tyra menendez said...

Yeah, Al, and those countries are theocracies, where religion, not rule of law, logic, or fact, is the governing factor for state policy.
Think maybe you can see why some of us have a problem with religion? Especially when they stick their nose in a political system that was set up specifically to be secular.
If you're against abortion, don't have one. Urging people to change their minds about their view on abortion on a social level is one thing, but forcing your morality on everyone else through legislation is a bunch of shit.
To be clear, I don't like guns, personally. Putting in place systems to make sure nut jobs and criminals can't just go buy a gun, willy nilly is a good thing, but outlawing them entirely is ridiculous as is the proposed South Dakota legislation that would require gun ownership.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

Theocracies or not, my point still stands: those people couldn't care less.

tyra menendez said...

I know, I keep doing this, but...

I want to clarify something:
I've previously said that proponents of small government can't be against abortion. What I mean, is specifically, small government means not regulating personal matters.
While on a social level, one may be against abortion and still pro small government, one can not also propose to outlaw something based on personal reasons while actually being for small government.
Creating works of fiction, documentaries, stage shows, or what have you progressing your personal ideas and beliefs as a way to promote them and attempt to sway people to your way of thinking, is your right. Actually attempting to deny it through law is a bunch of shit. Censorship, prohibition, the banning of gay marriage, these are all acts of morality police and should not be trusted.
I have said it before, and I say it (or write it) again: religion should stay out of politics, or be taxed.

Smpoza said...

@Reverend Allan Ironside

So, what, because we aren't having women stoned to death in public we're on the right track? Is that really how low the bar is? We're comparing ourselves not to ideologically and technologically similar countries, but third-world hellholes stuck in the 12th century?

OF COURSE WE TREAT WOMEN BETTER THAN PARTS OF THE THIRD WORLD! Acting like not having people MURDERED IN THE STREETS is "good enough" on its own is pretty damn lazy. We also don't imprison the innocent as much as some dictatorships; does that excuse the false convictions and (at least in the 1990s) execution of death row inmates later exonerated by DNA evidence in our country?

motyr said...

Al,

I'm aware of your point being that someone in a third-world country, who is denied basic rights and freedoms, wouldn't care about abortion law in America, but, then, don't you think it's a bit hypocritical to be sitting on a computer, on the internet, as you make that claim?

Shark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shark said...

@motyr It is not that simple for the United States to endorse that idea. Anti abortionists usually throw a temper tantrum, rant like a couple of madmen, and "protest" by showing graphic images of the fetus outside abortion clinics. Even if Planned Parenthood present their side of the story, which are logical and backed by research, the anti abortionists usually get their way because they bark louder and slander Planned Parenthood, or abortion clinic. Even worse is that some United States politicians actually buy into this garbage, and push it aggressively in Congress.

It is time that we stop talking about abortion. This is a personal issue that must be discussed privately among families who are considering getting an abortion. This delicate and controversial matter should not be discussed by a bunch of old washed-up farts who are weaponizing it to get what they want in the White House, and delude themselves into thinking that they are Ronald Reagan 2.0. These old, washed up, no necked hussies are actually desecrating the legacy of a popular president with their Idiot Ball grasping logic, and Moral Event Horizon crossing ways.

If you disagree with my opinion, I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR YOUR BULLSHIT because this is just plain sad. Its depressing on so many levels to read that pregnant woman does not have a say in whether or not she can have an abortion. Instead, a bunch of uneducated morons are letting an undeveloped fetus with no understanding of the law choose its fate, as opposed the the mother who have thoughts of her own.

I apologize for going on a rant. Its just, How can I openly defend the United States if we keep pulling stunts like this?

EDIT: Had to correct an error

Matt said...

You know, as a nominally pro life type of person, I normally would say something about this but you know what.

NO, fuck NO, this is stupid. Debate is one thing, this is theatrics for the sake of it. Who the fuck thought this was a good idea?

This is why I came to hate ALL politicians YEARS ago, no matter WHAT side of the isle they were on.

Cause of BS like this.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

Mayy, this is why in the next election we need to vote for a candidate who we know where he stands.

VOTE ROBOT NIXON! ARRWOO!!!

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ tyra menendez

"but forcing your morality on everyone else through legislation is a bunch of shit."

Aren't ALL laws us forcing our morality on everyone else, though? I mean, different cultures have very different ideas what what constitutes murder, theft, or rape (when they're recognized as crimes at all), but none the less the government enforces our culture's morality on the issue.

Here's a good example for you: In the US we see pedophilia as morally wrong, but in many areas of the world (especially Southern Asia) it's not seen as especially wrong. In fact, in some areas it's seen as perfectly normal. So, would it be wrong of the "morality policy" to enforce there views of pedophilia on immigrants who see nothing wrong with it?

Arman said...

Dr. Kermit Gosnell

That's all I'm gonna say.

Jonathan said...

I'll just leave this here

Anyways, as for the whole "abortion stops a beating heart" stuff… well, with modern medicine a headless cadaver can have a beating heart. So beating heart=/=life.

Such arguments do not help brutally intelligent severely lapsed Catholics (especially if they went the George Carlin route instead of the Martin Luther route) see why a zygote (or multiple zygotes in the case of chimeras) should be given the same protections as a newborn, or see that those who are most vocal about abortion do not care what stage the pregnancy is in, or even if the mother to be actually consents.

As an aside... I will need more data, but I do not buy the "amerykuh is (exclusively) SOOO BEHIND THE TIMES compared to the rest of the civilized world" argument, as if the abortion/homosexuality/public pension funds/whatever debate is exclusive to the United States, or that the U.S. is the most "right of center" on those issues amongst industrialized democracies.

Chris Evans said...

So, you're point is it's stupid to provide evidence that a 9 week-old fetus has a heart beat? Sure it's a stunt the the stunt is demonstrating how early a fetus has a heart beat in a bill about fetuses and heartbeats.

John Edwards channeled the words of a dead, aborted baby girl and is nearly vice president. Or is it just that he did it to support abortion so it's ok?

I think it better shows why people don't respect Lawyers.

Jonathan said...

Did I just link to javascript:void(0)? I did didn't I.

Let me try that again

Oh, and Bob, if javascript can work in some links, then you need to fix that ASAP.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Jonathan

While I disagree with "beating heart" standard, I kind'a see where it's coming from. Through-out most of the US you are considered "legally-dead" when your heart has stopped beating and doctors are unable to get it started again. So, I can see how it stands to reason that once a fetus has a beating heart, they should be considered alive. It's a bit arbitrary, but at least it's based on the actual biological state of the fetus and can be accurately detected.

WilhelmVonHaig said...

Bob, your right. Britain is a more moderate and reasonable country than america. I'm not being sarcastic, I've lived there and it is. there are plenty of people in Britain who are anti-abortion, but for the most part the dabate is civilised and they wouldn't resort to pathetic, propaganda shock tactics like the incedent your talking about.

David said...

Good post. Whole bunches of good words.

Arman said...

As for why the rest of the "civilized" world finds America stupid. Its because people like Bob continue to insist that it is. And why? Because more people happen to believe in the human right to LIVE than people who believe its okay to kill a human being in order to avoid responsibility for your own decisions?

That the world might actually believe that the society that has done the most science, and brought forth the most advances in technology and culture in the history of the planet is somehow "stupid" is meaningless to me.

And that someone on the left might call me "stupid" means as much to me as someone on the left calling me a "racist"...which is to say...it means nothing. Just a vapid insult used when coherent argument is exhausted.

Jonathan said...

Arman, the whole "Americ#$!s are so thick-headed (and thick-bellied)" silliness has to do with our nation's current average college entrance exam and standardized test scores as compared to other developed nations. (semi-related: Luxembourg)

Arman said...

Indeed, and public education, despite being overfunded, has failed us all. A damn shame, really. No wonder so many people vote Democrat (:p)

Smpoza said...

It's funny how you often accuse others of ad hominem arguments, yet (at least to me) you seem to take almost every opportunity to insult your opponent's intelligence/motives (i.e, implying all democrats are stupid or uneducated, implying that reducing military spending is tantamount to cowardice, implying that because your opponent wants to cut different things than you do that they don't really care about the issue at all, implying that because a media source printed a story you disagreed with that they are completely untrustworthy, comparing people who disagree with you on what needs to be cut to petulant children, etc.) I mean, I act like a jerk, but I'm not accusing others of acting like a jerk; I'm admitting it. Although I suppose I sort of just accused you of being a jerk. Oh well.

Anyway...

While I wouldn't describe the system as overfunded, it can certainly be argued that we're using the money the wrong way. As a student, I feel the problem lies in salaries. The low salary of the teacher not only drives away droves of potential employees, but also justifies tenure, which in my state means that a teach can't be fired unless they eat somebody during class. Eliminating tenure while also dramatically raising teacher salaries would make the job more attractive to young, talented, not-desperate people and make it much easier to replace bad teachers with good ones. In fact, while the US does spend more than most nations on education, we make our teachers work longer for at best, mediocre pay:

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/09/teacher-pay-around-the-world/

And yes, this is an article from the New York Times, but the graph/data is from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which probably isn't part of a massive liberal conspiracy to use facts and numbers and whatnot.

tyra menendez said...

Funny how they consider the heart the standard of life, not the mind...

Anyway, Narf, what the fuck are you on about? I'm talking about the standard of small government, specifically in the US, not some backwards, 3rd world theocracy.
Creating a law that allows for assisted suicide or abortion is not the same as one that mandates or bans one; the former allows the option without condemning or condoning, the later enforces a specific opinion.
No, all laws are not forms of enforcing morality. Laws against theft and rape are simple protection of person and property. However our ideas of pedophilia has changed over time and our laws reflect that. It wasn't that long ago that a 30 year-old man could marry a 16 year-old girl and no one gave a second look. Again, this is a protection of person and while one could argue that considering children to be more than just property is a form of morality, it is one that is generally agreed upon in current zeitgeist, in the western world, certainly. I'm not about to go on about laws of countries that I'm not familiar with, where I don't live.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ tyra menendez

Because the mind is still very poorly understood and completely impossible to test in a fetus.

Yes, laws against theft and rape protect person and property... because those as are things seen morally wrong in our society. Our culture sees the rights of the individual over person and property as important, so our laws reflect that. However, that is no more than a product of our culture and not a universally accepted fact. It's your personal morality that some one being victimized makes something wrong (and, yes, obviously mine as well), but you can't assume that's something everyone else necessarily believes.

When ever you bring up the "backwards, 3rd world theocracy", it exposes what you really think, though... That your morals are right and their morals are wrong. That some how you are either better, more intelligent, or more enlightened than they are and that forcing your morality on them may not be such a bad idea.

Nick said...

Well, the fetus was called to testify, and it didn't go over so well...

Nick said...

When ever you bring up the "backwards, 3rd world theocracy", it exposes what you really think, though... That your morals are right and their morals are wrong. That some how you are either better, more intelligent, or more enlightened than they are and that forcing your morality on them may not be such a bad idea.

Yeah, how about that, we think that people who systematically deny women the right to appear in public with a man who isn't their husband or father have INFERIOR MORALS to us. How elitist of us.

(oh, and for the record: I do think abortion should be illegal once the fetus has passed the point of viability and if there is no related threat to the woman's well-being. Of course, since women don't actually GET abortions under those circumstances in the real world, it would seem like a waste of time enforcing it)

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Nick

You should probably read my last few comments so that you see the point I was actually making

I have absolutely no issue with someone thinking their morals are better then some one else's. Just about everyone feels that way, but most people (including a few commentators here) seem to be in denial about it. While they're completely opposed to anyone "legislating morality" that they disagree with, it's suddenly perfectly OK if a morality they personally support. Why? Because it's not subjective morality anyone when they support it... they're right.

Fact is, no one really believes that the government shouldn't enforce morality through legislation. They just don't want people they disagree with doing it.

Adam said...

Laws against theft and rape are simple protection of person and property.

Pro-lifers genuinely believe a fetus is a person, hence are trying to legally give them "personship" so that an anti-abortion law would in fact be a protection of person. Therefore, using your argument, it would not be legislating morality.