My counter is that an even more responsible choice would be to not get pregnant in the first place.
Agreed. Anecdotally, I don't know a single woman who said "Man, I'm going to have all the *** I want because I can abort. No need for birth control! Oh wait! Instead of aborting I'll go on welfare!" It could be my social group, though.
Welcome to the concept of unintended consequences. No one chooses to end out in jail either. They choose to commit a crime. No one chooses an unwanted pregnancy, but they choose to have ***. No one chooses to get into a car crash, but they might choose to drink and then drive. Assuming we can both accept that lots of things happen to people without them choosing that outcome, then shouldn't we look at the choices being made and assess how things affect those choices rather than throwing out the relatively weak argument that one thing can't be a causative factor for an outcome simply because no one would choose that outcome?
The existence of a safety feature absolutely does increase the likelihood of it having to be used. That doesn't mean we should stop putting in safety features. That's not what I'm proposing. I am saying, that if the rate at which the negative thing your safety feature is supposed to prevent is increasing, you might want to look at why instead of just praising the fact that you built this safety feature.
Did you think that I was claiming that a polio vaccine causes more people to have polio?
So... you're saying abortion helps the problem! But it also makes the problem in the first place. So again, show it.
Yes. In the same way that protective gear in football helps people avoid injury, but at the same time increases the likelihood of them engaging in dangerous activity which might cause them to get hurt. The polio example wasn't intended to illustrate that causative relationship but purely to show that even in the absence of any causative relationship, you'd still not praise something if the end results were an increase in the bad thing you were trying to reduce. I'm trying to cover all the bases here, and I understand that this confuses people sometimes. But that's how I think. I divide an issue into cases and examine each one. What I see here is that under no case should we be looking at the availability of abortion as some kind of wonderful thing that has freed women from the servitude of unwanted marriages or single motherhood. Even if you don't accept that the availability of abortion has any effect on the likelihood of an unwanted pregnancy, my general statement still stands. It hasn't increased the rate at which women do make that responsible choice, has it?
I think what you want to say is "Birth control has increased the amount of *** going on in our country. Abortion provides a final guard against becoming an unwed mother." But even in that case, it's helping the problem (not the amount of ***, but according to your statistic, unwed mothers).
Sure. But yet the end result (rate of children born to unwed mothers) has gone in the other direction, hasn't it? So that "final guard" isn't working.
You are of the opinion that, if abortion were to disappear today, but birth control and welfare remained the same, there would be fewer unwed mothers, correct? Or, on the other hand, if abortion remained legal and welfare and birth control disappeared, we'd have much higher rates than the 50's for unwed mothers?
I think it's possible. But my larger argument doesn't rely on that being true. I'm not proposing that we eliminate abortion. I'm saying that we shouldn't pat ourselves on the back because we made abortion legal when one of the core reasons for doing so has gotten worse. I followed this up with a whole diatribe about how we sometimes get so focused on the cause we assume is important because of something, that we forget to check the thing that is really important. We adopt affirmative action programs (at the risk of adding yet another side topic) on the assumption that it'll help balance things out in terms of racial statistics. Then we fight huge battles over the issue of affirmative action. And when those are "won", we praise ourselves for doing the right thing. And all the while we don't bother to check to see if those social imbalances are actually being fixed.
Or, to present another example: We create programs to help poor and minority people own homes. Why? Because statistically home ownership is the path to wealth and prosperity. We push the programs to the point where we bankrupt our financial industry, all the while patting ourselves on the back at how much we're helping all those people. We measure the number of loans given out to those who might not have gotten them and use those numbers to calculate how wonderful our actions are. But at no point are we looking to see if the end result is positive. We fail to get that those things are paths to prosperity for those who can afford them, but helping someone who can't to get a loan they can't afford doesn't do anything but make our stats look good on paper. But since we're judging our success based on how many of those loans we help make happen and not whether we're actually helping people obtain prosperity, we miss the forest for the trees.
I just think that we often replace the objectives we want with the specific methods we assume are needed to achieve those objectives. And sometimes we do this to such an extent that we cease to even look at the reality of what's going on and just look at the adoption rate of the methods we're using. We assume that more kids attending after-school activities means less crime and drugs. We assume that more seats filled at a homeless shelter means we're fighting homelessness. We replace solving the problem with treating the symptoms and often don't even notice that there's a difference.
My argument is much broader than just abortion. That just happened to be the specific issue at hand. I saw someone essentially praising abortion for allowing women to be responsible, but I don't think that choosing to abort after becoming pregnant with a child you don't or can't raise is responsible in the first place. It just struck me as odd.
And you'd kinda shut up about the safety features on the Titanic while the **** ship is sinking, right?
If the safety features were more boats, or better pumps to allow more time for rescue to arrive, **** no. You'd string up the guy who advocated getting rid of those because "The ship is sinking anyway," because following his advice would have killed many more people.
But they weren't. That's the point. In the same way that all the added ability for women to be responsible and get abortions instead of becoming single mothers hasn't actually resulted in fewer women ending out as single mothers. You're doing exactly what I wrote about above: Focusing so much on the details of the methodology that you fail to see the bigger picture. Obviously, we can argue that had the Titanic not had any water tight bulkheads and pumps and life rafts and had still hit the same iceberg at the same speed in the same manner, that many more lives would have been lost. But at the same time, we can argue that because they had such "advanced" bulkhead and pump systems, they didn't think the ship could sink, so they didn't put as many life rafts on it as would be needed *and* it increased the confidence of those operating the ship, leading them to travel faster than was safe, and leading them to fail to ask for help even after hitting the iceberg because they assumed that the ship wouldn't sink.
Does this mean we don't put those features on ships (or even better ones)? Absolutely not. But it does mean that we need to not assume that their mere existence solves the problem. But what I see around me is a culture where we teach "safe ***" via contraceptives to our kids in our schools, we inundate them with images of sexuality on TV and in movies, we fight for the availability of abortion even for teens without the knowledge or permission of their parents, and then we wonder why each generation for the last 40-50 years has had many more children born to single mothers than the previous one?
There's also a chicken and egg issue to this: Do we argue for the importance of contraception and the availability of abortion because people are more sexually active today? Or are they more sexually active because those things are available? Does that in turn translate to a greater acceptance of sexuality in our society, which then results in more portrayals of such on TV and in film? And does that create some kind of feedback effect as well? This is why I said that there's no single cause. But it's clear that if we care about children being raised by single mothers in our society, then we maybe ought to look at that rather than just praising various things which we think should help, but apparently are not.
We clearly do seem to be acting as though the safety features we've put in place solve the problem. And as a result we don't actually act responsibly, and thus make the problem worse over time. At least, that's how I see it. Edited, May 3rd 2011 7:46pm by gbaji