Talk:Abortion for boutique eugenics

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[edit] Midian said

Margaret Sanger was a known proponent of negative eugenics. Negative eugenics is aimed at lowering fertility among the genetically disadvantaged. This includes abortions, sterilization, and other methods of family planning.

By promoting abortion as the best alternative to the poor, uneducated, masses, Margaret Sanger, through her organization Planned Parenthood, hoped to prevent the breeding of "morons" by killing as many as she could in the womb. "The undeniably feeble-minded should, indeed, not only be discouraged but prevented from propagating their kind." As long as the state sponsors abortion by funding such organizations, it promotes such behavior.

I'm all for freedom of abortion, I'm not in favor of the government promoting and paying for it with my tax dollars.

[edit] Woozle said

First, negative eugenics:

I don't see anything inherently wrong with negative eugenics; the only kind of eugenics that seems wrong to me is when it's coercive, whether the eugenics approach is positive or negative.

If you were poor and knew you couldn't afford to raise a lot of kids, wouldn't you want to have access to the resources to make sure you didn't end up with a lot of kids to raise? Or, in other words, wouldn't you at least want to be able to make that choice? Non-coercive negative eugenics basically equates, as I understand it, to providing those resources; non-coercive negative eugenics for the genetically disadvantaged, then, equates to a focus on making those resources available to poor people and people with known genetically-transmitted weaknesses.

People who are better off financially either have access to those resources via other means or else can afford to have those kids, so this policy seems like exactly the right thing. Any expenditure of government funds towards this end is further offset by the reduction of the social burden of all those unwanted kids and their unwanted (as determined by the potential parents, mind you) genes.

So... remind me again, how is non-coercive "negative eugenics for the genetically disadvantaged" a bad thing, either for society or for the genetically disadvantaged? How is it not a good use of taxpayer money? What alternative solutions would you prefer to see taxpayer money spent on? (I can guess, but I don't want to put words in your mouth.)

Now, on Margaret Sanger...

It's not clear to me to what degree she advocated coercion, although she may well have done so. To the extent that she did, I agree that this is not morally defensible, however logical or rational a solution it might seem. Forcing poor people to have sterilizations or abortions or even to take contraceptives, as a precondition (say) for receiving government aid, strikes me as being on a par morally with the Bush administration's revocation of habeas corpus, i.e. morally reprehensible: both actions take away important, life-and-death decisions from the individual and place them in the hands of the government, which has a historically terrible record at making such decisions.

Do you have evidence that Planned Parenthood is supportive of coercive measures? If so, I would think that this would be a serious indictment of their efforts. Please feel free to post (preferably with links to original sources) any such information you may have about them.

[edit] Midian said

How is promoting abortion as a "choice" instead of the truth not coercive in an underhanded way? Truthfully, an abortion is the ending of the development of a human being. If we were to do it to animals, it would be brandished as genocide. Most people who undergo abortion suffer long-term depression and regret, which is never discussed with them when they go to abortion clinics.

How is subsidizing abortions with government funding (taxpayer dollars) not coercive? How is lack of proper education about birth control not coercive? How is allowing people to be free from the responsibilities of their choices not coercive? Positive incentives are just as coercive as negative ones.

[edit] Woozle replies

Your comments are prefixed with "[M]" and italicized:

  • [M] "How is promoting abortion as a "choice" instead of the truth not coercive in an underhanded way?"
    • What do you mean by "instead of the truth"?
  • [M] "Truthfully, an abortion is the ending of the development of a human being."
    • I don't think anyone is denying this.
  • [M] "If we were to do it to animals, it would be brandished as genocide."
    • Uh, no, it wouldn't. Genocide is the attempted destruction of an entire subspecies. Voluntary abortion in no way threatens humans or any group of humans, and nobody is promoting involuntary abortion.
  • [M] "Most people who undergo abortion suffer long-term depression and regret..."
    • People who want abortions and are denied them, or cannot get access to one, probably suffer long-term depression and regret as well. (For that matter, I'm sure many parents regret deciding to become parents, though I don't know if there is any reliable data on this.) There is pretty clear data that the unwanted offspring also suffers when compared to offspring who were wanted.
  • [M] "How is subsidizing abortions with government funding (taxpayer dollars) not coercive?"
    • Because nobody is being coerced into having an abortion. Are you suggesting that government-funded tonsillectomies would be coercing people to have their tonsils removed?
  • [M] "How is lack of proper education about birth control not coercive?"
    • I don't know that it's coercive, but it's certainly a major problem. We are on the same side, here -- unless you mean something different by "proper education about birth control" than I do. Advocates of reproductive choice are very much in favor of full education about contraceptive methods -- how to use them, the risks involved, and the benefits of each.
  • [M] "How is allowing people to be free from the responsibilities of their choices not coercive?"
    • Because "allowing people to be free [of anything, whether or not this is good]" is pretty much the opposite of coercion. (You're getting lost in your rhetoric here, I think.)
  • [M] "Positive incentives are just as coercive as negative ones."
    • I think perhaps "coercive" isn't the word you want to be using. "Persuasive" might be applicable here. By funding a service (e.g. abortion), the government encourages it more than if they were refusing to fund it.

This last point (if I've interpreted it correctly) is a valid one to raise, and it's one of the central disagreements between the pro- and anti- choice movements.

If you deny abortion on demand (I assume you accept the need for abortion when the mother's health is at risk), the alternative is an involuntary parent raising an unwanted child. I keep emphasizing that if you want to reduce the abortion rate, the recipe is not to fight it head-on by making it illegal or even restricting access to it (because it has been shown that this simply does not work), but rather:

  1. Education, education, education: if people know how to use contraceptives (and how reproduction works), they are less likely to reproduce accidentally
  2. Make adoption more appealing: offer incentives for having the child and giving it up for adoption, rather than aborting; fund programs to ensure that all adopted children are well cared-for. (You complain about the government offering incentives to do what you see as the wrong thing; why not advocate incentives to do what you see as the right thing?)

[edit] Midian responds

Abortion isn't about freedom of choice. You make your choice when you choose to have unprotected vaginal intercourse. Pregnancy is the outcome of that choice, and the responsibility of that choice is to take care of the life you created by your choice. Abortion (except in less than 1% of the cases where it is about the life of the mother, or in the case of rape and/or incest) is about shirking that responsibility, and the government is helping you do it.

If I offer to pay for you to do something, while it is persuasive, when I use someone else's money I am forcing THEM to pay for you to do what I want you to do, whether they agree or not. I am also pushing you down the path you may not have chosen for yourself. That to me is coercion: "to compel to an act or choice". While I'm using a carrot instead of a stick, it is still coercion.

If the govt. funded tonsillectomies, yes, I can guarantee you that many would get them that didn't really need them despite better options (that they would never be educated about, because the money is in the operation, not in education or counseling), and it would have a negative impact on their overall well-being.

I don't think abortion should be illegal. That only makes the problem worse. The path of the pro-life extremists, tackling the problem at the hind end, is the wrong path, they need to direct people to make better choices at the beginning (see above about "choice").

However, by funding it, we are guaranteed to make more of it. That has been shown consistently, govt. subsidization increases whatever it is subsidizing. And when that funding goes into the hands of Pro-abortion, money focused clinics like Planned Parenthood, we are guaranteeing they are not seeking what is best for their patients, but that they are seeking only the largest profit; and that is not from education, that is not from post-abortion counseling (which I don't believe they even offer), or even offering any options other than abortion.

On education we agree. If only those in politics focused more on the people they represent and not their own pockets.

  1. Proper, FULL, education on sex, STDs, birth control, abstinence, etc. so young adults can at least make informed choices BEFORE it affects their lives deleteriously.
  2. Eduction on abortion, what it REALLY is, what it does, its after affects, etc. That would decrease the amount of abortions.

The gov. already provides incentives for adoption, but only for children who are within the foster care system. That means that pregnant girls have to first give the baby up to the state, then the prospective parents have to go through the gov. red tape and waiting periods to adopt. Then they receive about $400/child/month (more if they are disabled). If the option of adoption was presented to pregnant mothers properly, more would take that option. Too many see abortion as the "only" way, due to lack of education and coercion (monetarily and directly by PP et al.)

The problem I have with a gov. incentive for the "right thing" (giving a baby up for adoption) is that it again subsidizes improper behavior, and is guaranteed to create more of it. If I were to want the gov. to subsidize anything (and I really don't. It isn't the business of the federal gov, nor in the Constitution, to subsidize things) it would be to someone offer incentives to those who made the right choices. Off the top of my head I can't think of a way to financially promote and regulate something like safe sex or abstinence. But we shouldn't have to, the long term benefits of both are known...if only we had proper education.

[edit] Woozle responds, 10/30-10/31

[edit] points of agreement

  • Complete, comprehensive sex education:
    • Do we agree that it should be mandatory?
    • Should cover:
      • all forms of contraception, how to use them, success/failure rates
      • human sexuality: how reproduction works; debunk myths spread by the religious right
  • Abortion education: teens and pregnant mothers (possibly to differing extents) should be fully educated regarding what the science says about the effects of abortion on the individual and on society, both positive and negative, so everyone can make the best possible choices.

[edit] points of disagreement

  • [M] "Abortion isn't about freedom of choice. You make your choice when you choose to have unprotected vaginal intercourse. Pregnancy is the outcome of that choice, and the responsibility of that choice is to take care of the life you created by your choice."
    • Are you responding to one of my points, here, or is this a new argument?
    • Some pregnancies come from failure of contraception; even properly used, no contraceptive is 100% effective (including planned abstinence).
    • Regardless of whether an unwanted pregnancy is the result of a bad choice by an individual, unwanted children are a burden on society and society has an obligation to either take care of them or prevent them. At present, it is clearly not taking care of them, and on the balance I would think that preventing them in the first place is the preferable option regardless.
    • You say you support abortion in case of rape or incest. Sometimes people dismiss rape as something else. Do you support a woman's right to say "no" to her husband? Do you support a woman's right to wear whatever she pleases without being raped?
  • [M] "If I offer to pay for you to do something, while it is persuasive, when I use someone else's money I am forcing THEM to pay for you to do what I want you to do, whether they agree or not."
    • Your original argument was talking about coercion of pregnant women; here, you are talking about coercing taxpayers. Are you arguing that nobody's tax money should go towards something they disagree with? That taxpayers should have ultimate veto power over every program funded by tax money?
  • [M] "I am also pushing you down the path you may not have chosen for yourself."
    • You're arguing that the government is incentivizing abortion. This is false; the woman does not receive any compensation, so has no incentive -- except that the government is making this choice slightly more attractive than it was, while not doing anything to make the alternative more attractive. Actually, "more attractive" is probably misleading; it makes abortion possible in many cases where it would not be otherwise -- helping to prevent a future burden to society, i.e. an unwanted child. The alternatives I am aware of are:
      1. Do nothing (abortion not subsidized). Cost: more poor women giving birth to unwanted children.
      2. (carrot) Subsidize children whose mothers sought abortions for those children. Cost: You encourage all women to "seek" abortions so they can get subsidies; also short-term economic cost. Benefit: Unwanted children given more resources (to compensate for being unwanted), which and means they are more likely to grow up happy and healthy = more productive citizens = benefit to the economy (and society) in the long run
      3. (carrot) Subsidize all children, to reduce the cost of unwanted children and thereby encourage carrying to term.: Cost: Same as doing nothing, plus short-term economic cost. Benefits: fewer abortions, and all children grow up happier and healthier. Notes: This might not be a bad idea, but Republicans generally oppose any expansion of entitlements, even for children. The healthcare reform bills currently under discussion in Congress may end up doing something along these lines, however. In general, if fewer women are economically desperate, fewer of them will seek abortions.
      4. (stick) Make abortion illegal again. Cost': back-alley abortions, women dying from abortions performed improperly, social stigmas rear their ugly heads again (we do not want to go back there). Benefits: None, except maybe the anti-abortion activists finally go away (but what will they pick on next? women dressing "sluttily"? The sin of alcoholic intemperance? Moralitarianism never goes away, no matter how much you compromise with it.). No apparent effect on abortion rates.
      5. (stick) Require abortions to pass a "need" test. Benefits: assuming we were able to agree on a set of conditions under which abortion is and is not acceptable, we could be reasonably sure that every abortion passed these criteria, so everyone should be reasonably happy and we could stop killing and harassing abortion workers. Costs: Could we really agree on what the criteria should be? (Well, at least that's something we can try to hash out beforehand.) Even if reasonable people can agree on a set of criteria, it seems unlikely that the output of the political sausage machine would be satisfactory.
        • Also, if there is ever any real movement to implement this, wait for the Republican cry of "infant death panels!" in 5, 4, 3...
  • [M] "If the govt. funded tonsillectomies, yes, I can guarantee you that many would get them that didn't really need them despite better options (that they would never be educated about, because the money is in the operation, not in education or counseling), and it would have a negative impact on their overall well-being."
    • I think your argument here is that if there is money in X, then the purveyors of X will find ways to entice people into getting more X, whether or not X is of benefit to society. This is a reasonable argument. Whether it is true depends, I think, on how the rate of compensation compares to the cost of providing that service. If you want to make sure that abortion is not incentivized, then, just make sure that the rate of compensation is no more than the cost of providing it.
  • [M] "The path of the pro-life extremists, tackling the problem at the hind end, is the wrong path, they need to direct people to make better choices at the beginning (see above about "choice")."
    • Here we are in agreement on the conclusion, if not the premise (that abortion is not about "choice"). We definitely want to encourage better decisionmaking and more competent use of contraceptive techniques. As with many things, it is far easier to prevent problems before they start.
      • Better decisionmaking will require fighting back against much religious dogma which holds that contraception is somehow sinful, that masturbating is sinful, that having as many babies as possible is God's will, etc. Also opposition to "morning-after pills" needs to stop.
  • [M] "However, by funding it, we are guaranteed to make more of it. That has been shown consistently, govt. subsidization increases whatever it is subsidizing."
    • Where has this been shown? As I said earlier, I would think that it really depends on the level of subsidy vs. the actual cost.
    • If the alternative is more unwanted children, then we do want to encourage abortions; that is the point of the subsidy, yes. (I suppose we are not in agreement on this point, however.)
  • [M] "And when that funding goes into the hands of Pro-abortion, money focused clinics like Planned Parenthood..."
    • PP is money-focused? My understanding is that they are a non-profit, and receive much of their income from voluntary donations.
  • [M] "...we are guaranteeing they are not seeking what is best for their patients, but that they are seeking only the largest profit; and that is not from education, that is not from post-abortion counseling (which I don't believe they even offer), or even offering any options other than abortion."'
    • Rather than directly opposing PP on the basis of these allegations, it seems to me that closer supervision of (and more transparency into) their operations would be the way to fight the problems you say it has (if it really has them).

I'm skipping over a paragraph and a bit because I agree with much of it, see "points of agreement" above.

  • [M] "The problem I have with a gov. incentive for the "right thing" (giving a baby up for adoption) is that it again subsidizes improper behavior, and is guaranteed to create more of it."
    • I've discussed this alternative above... it has problems, yes, but it also has benefits.
  • [M] "It isn't the business of the federal gov, nor in the Constitution, to subsidize things..."
    • It is neither specifically authorized by nor prohibited by the Constitution, which means it's up to We The People to decide when and how we want to do it. Federal subsidies are currently used for many things, some of which I agree with and some of which I don't; would you do away with all of those? (agricultural subsidies, the highway system, the rail system such as it is, public schools, disaster aid...)

But yes, I'd rather see the focus on education; subsidizing abortions should be thought of as a band-aid temporary measure until we can raise the standard of education and living so that the need for abortions is drastically reduced, and those few who do need them for non-medical reasons can afford to pay for them (and/or some kind of non-government fund is set up to handle these cases).

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