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Thread: Fifty Years Ago American Evangelicals Didnít Care Much About Abortion. What Changed?

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    "Nothing shocking or revealing in it in it, but it emphasizes just how the language and focus has shifted in the last 40 years. Its absolutely amazing how successful political groups and (what would once be considered extreme) religious institutions have been when it comes to "changing the norm". While i dont mean to derail the thread, its worth highlighting how one of the main points in the various cases half a century ago wasnt necessarily "having the child or not", it was "having a safe abortion or having a dangerous abortion", its fascinating how thats been almost completely thrown to the side and is now merely a minor discussion point. With that example in mind, its not surprising that the focus has continued to shift and is now being spun into a religious rights debate."

    I'm not quite sure what you're getting at, and you can correct me if I'm misintepreting what your saying, but the issue in Roe v. Wade was whether there is a constitutional right for a woman to have an abortion. The later cases are about what restrictions the state can put on that. Coming from someone that's pro-choice, some of them ought to be fairly uncontroversial, such as whether and under what circumstances the state can outlaw abortion in the third trimester. (Basically where do you draw the line between abortion and infanticide). Others are obvious attempts to make abortion a practical impossibility. Courts have struggled to distinguish the two.

    My personal view of the matter, from a strictly legal perspective, is that the constitution doesn't have anything to say about abortion one way or the other. However, since I'm pro-choice, it's a little bit of judicial intellectual dishonesty that I'll let slide.

    What I can say though is that majorities are perfectly within their rights to say that they don't want the taxpayer or employers to pay for them, whether on religious or any other grounds. Majorities can say that they don't want the tax dollars to go towards any kind of medical procedure or medications. I don't see why contraception or abortion is somehow different.
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    "Strict scrutiny is the highest constitutional standard in the land. There is not some higher standard, and it's the standard for religious freedom and for reproductive rights. Has been since Roe (which also defined reproductive freedom as a compelling interest). They're on equal footing whether you like it or not.

    The religious freedom of the owners of Hobby Lobby is not at stake here, since they are not compelled by anything to own their business (nor or they paying for anything directly; the corporate entity does). They can sell, just like Lester Maddox did back in the day. The case here is built once again on the religious freedom of the corporation itself. The owners can't sell without that entity being dissolved. So you can thank Citizens United and corporate personhood once again for helping make your point."

    Oy vey is this tedious.

    Go have a semantic or technical debate with your law journal buddies about what level of scrutiny ought to apply, strict scrutiny, intermediate scrutiny, rational basis, if it makes you feel better. It's really neither here nor there for purposes of the issue of whether people who own businesses can be compelled to pay for something that violates their religious beliefs, to what extent, and under what circumstances. Sounds to me that you think there are no restrictions on it at all. Hey, whatever floats your boat. Unfortunately for you though, all of your other justifications don't really hold water. It won't really prevent women from obtaining contraception. There's a perfectly straight forward and simple mechanism to apply to ensure that it won't lead people to claim their religion requires them to racially discriminate or to keep wage slaves, so your parade of horribles is just a figment of your imagination.

    I will give you credit though. I made a fairly innocuous point that the whole case and the contraception debate that has been going around in the past couple of years is a big distraction, i.e. an uncommonly silly debate. But for some reason I still feel compelled to respond to rebuttals that don't really address the point. It takes a certain kind of talent to do that.
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  3. -23
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Dolphan View Post
    .
    Initially a disclaimer... I'm pro-choice and actually think there are situations where contraception should be legally required or at least encouraged.
    I'd go a step further, and say forced sterilization. Of course then it'd go from a slippery slope to a free fall.
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  4. -24
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Dolphan View Post
    Go have a semantic or technical debate with your law journal buddies about what level of scrutiny ought to apply, strict scrutiny, intermediate scrutiny, rational basis, if it makes you feel better.
    You're the one who brought it up without really knowing what you're talking about. Sorry if the facts ruined your party.

    It's really neither here nor there for purposes of the issue of whether people who own businesses can be compelled to pay for something that violates their religious beliefs, to what extent, and under what circumstances.
    Yeah, actually it is. The law only now has to pass strict scrutiny because freedom of religion might now also apply to corporations and not just people. But reproductive rights fall under strict scrutiny, too. And there's a compelling state interest in contraception covered by insurance (at least I think there is; I've yet to see you make your opinion known on that point). So legally it's sort of a wash.

    It won't really prevent women from obtaining contraception.
    And a racist stopping black people from eating at his restaurant does not stop those black people from obtaining food. Nevertheless we don't allow the restaurant owner to do that.



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  5. -25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bumpus View Post
    I'd go a step further, and say forced sterilization. Of course then it'd go from a slippery slope to a free fall.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Dolphan View Post
    I'm not quite sure what you're getting at, and you can correct me if I'm misintepreting what your saying, but the issue in Roe v. Wade was whether there is a constitutional right for a woman to have an abortion. The later cases are about what restrictions the state can put on that. Coming from someone that's pro-choice, some of them ought to be fairly uncontroversial, such as whether and under what circumstances the state can outlaw abortion in the third trimester. (Basically where do you draw the line between abortion and infanticide). Others are obvious attempts to make abortion a practical impossibility. Courts have struggled to distinguish the two.

    My personal view of the matter, from a strictly legal perspective, is that the constitution doesn't have anything to say about abortion one way or the other. However, since I'm pro-choice, it's a little bit of judicial intellectual dishonesty that I'll let slide.

    What I can say though is that majorities are perfectly within their rights to say that they don't want the taxpayer or employers to pay for them, whether on religious or any other grounds. Majorities can say that they don't want the tax dollars to go towards any kind of medical procedure or medications. I don't see why contraception or abortion is somehow different.
    Ultimately Roe v Wade was about abortions, there can be no denying that. But its important to remember that the verdict of the case was decided on whether that particular medical procedure fell under the 14th Amendment(specifically the right to privacy) and the women's health. While the results of the case are obvious to everyone, its important to make a distinction on why/how these lawsuits were decided, because it creates precedents for the future.

    Regardless, my post wasnt particularly directed at Roe v Wade, i was instead commenting on national debate before and after that lawsuit appeared before the Supreme Court. Advocates for abortion successfully made the argument of having abortions safely a focus for debate. Instead of the narrative being "having the child or having an abortion", they shifted it to "having a safe abortion or having a dangerous one". That shift allowed people to accept that abortions were going to happen in any case, making it easier to accept.

    Since then that winning tactic has been completely dropped or worse: used against pro-choice advocates. In hindsight, its a remarkable change. What was once a slam dunk discussion point is now largely considered a minor factor. I agree with the article i linked that the schism between the generations of feminists is a damning reason why this has happened but i have to give most of the credit to the opposition. They got very clever in how they attack that particular issue. For years they got beat up in court or resorted to violence. After awhile, they learned from their mistakes and spun the debate to get the results they want.
    How the "safe abortion" topic has been all but dropped from the national debate and how an enormous focus of the topic of abortions(and other issues) is focused on religion is indicative of how far its drifted away from the original points. Religious rights is an attractive platform to attack issues from and it has a lot of support. It gives the arguments a legitimacy and advantage that they do not deserve.

    To answer your question more specifically: my earlier post didnt really have a particular point other than an observation about what i found interesting and another example of the "sea change" that Walrus referred to in his original post.
    That said, i'll comment on your final point about majorities having a say: i'll agree, they deserve the right to have a say. But i dont believe that has any legal weight. Just because a majority of Americans want something doesnt mean they can get to have it through the legal system. Id be willing to bet that over 50% of the population would love a reimbursement for the Iraq war, but that doesnt mean the courts should entertain those lawsuits. I seriously doubt its an exaggeration to say the overwhelming majority of Americans dont want to pay taxes period. So where should these majorities have their voices heard? During elections.
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    [My quote function doesn't work for some reason]

    Re Spesh: The problem with talking about who "won" the abortion debate and on what terms is that if there was a debate, it was one that was resolved by a handful of judges and lawyers. There are polls that you can rely on, but that's about it. Clearly there are some states that want abortion to be illegal and others that don't.

    Re: Walrus: I think I figured out what makes you so irritating, it's the strawman arguments, which are probably designed to do just that. I did not bring up "strict scrutiny" or anything of the sort. You talked about a parade of horribles, i.e. people are going to claim their religious beliefs require them to racially discriminate or disobey building codes, minimum wage laws, whatever. I then said, it's completely implausible as a practical matter, but that there is a simple judicial mechanism to address that if someone tries to bring it up, e.g. having people not work as virtual slaves outweighs what could be a religious belief that requires you to have slaves. Actually, I'm pretty sure that would happen now, as an individual (not corporation since it's a distinction that you think matters for reasons that never seem to be explained) would not get very far if he claimed that he followed a very literalist and primitive understanding of the Koran which prescribes slavery, and therefore didn't have to pay his housekeeper the minimum wage. And it actually happens in prison litigation all the time, and the world isn't falling apart.

    What this comes down to, is that it's a religious guy that owns a business (or a "corporation", scary) that has religious objections to paying for his employees birth control pills. Objectively speaking, there are not a large number of businesses lining up to make this objection, and certainly not even close to a point where the employees of Hobby Lobby are going to have to make a choice between poverty and their birth control pills, there just isn't. Almost always a Congressional committee is able to bring out some sob story to prove that legislation is needed, but they could only present a spoiled rich girl who supposedly could not have the full law school experience at Georgetown unless someone else paid for her birth control pills. You only have distinctions without differences (Mr. Hobby Lobby actually runs his business in corporate form) and technical arguments (strict scrutiny is only reserved for the most important cases). In other words, nothing.
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  8. -28
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    I'm Pro-Choice for a reason that may seem a bit cold, but its simple: population control. Nature, disease and the harshness of life used to cull the herd, but with the medical advances of the 20th and 21st Centuries, populations and life expectancies have increased to unsustainable levels. Abortion doesn't really even replace the natural methods of population control from the pre-industrial eras, but at least it has some impact on the population, however slight. We need less people in the world if we are to survive as a species.

    That being said, I am still not a supporter of mid to late-term abortions. That's straight up murder.
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    If abortion is performed within 4-6 weeks of conception, I am OK with others having that option. For my wife and I, it would not be an option.
    I am completely opposed to late term abortions. It is murder pure and simple.

    Minors should have their parents consent IMHO.

    Regarding the issue of Christians taking up another view point on the issue. It has become to easy to get abortions. Once the access increased it created new moral questions.
    The "pro-choice" movement had a lot to do with the turn around.
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