2022-06-22

Church and State

PXL_20220618_171309980 SCOTUS strikes again: Court strikes down Maine’s ban on using public funds at religious schools. And, as far as I can tell, they were correct. Read the judgement here.

The point at issue is the first amendment clause Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.... But what does it mean? For the case in point, I don't much care about the "free exercise" portion, the interesting  bit is "make no law respecting". The natural interpretation of this would be that no (federal, but by incorporation state) law can say anything about religion. And so banning use of public funds on religion is as prohibited as diverting funds specifically to religion, or any particular religion.

However, there's a "doctrine" of "separation of church and state", which can be reasonably read to say that the state shouldn't fund the church. The dissent (p24) leans heavily on that doctrine: On the other hand, the Establishment Clause “commands a separation of church and state.” But, just as with Separation of powers, which isn't in the constitution, neither is separation of church and state. It is only a handy guide to interpretation; it can't override the actual words.

However, the decision itself it largely based on the FE bit, contra my wise advice, on the grounds it protects indirect coercion or penalties on the free exercise of religion, not just outright prohibitions. This is plausible, but to me rather wifflier. So I guess I'm obliged to conclude that they got the right answer, but not for all the right reasons.

Update

I was looking for someone being really really sad about this, and it looks like Noah Smith is a good example. I think he's talking about this case, and also the Gunz stuff. I'm doubtful his The Court is kind of going crazy right now, with a bunch of activist decisions that most people hate is true; but it is interesting that his solution is court packing; see-also Me on USAnian politics. Since I don't say so explicitly there, I'll say it here: I think packing is a bad idea, at least in part because I don't think the Supremes are crazy.

The New Yorker isn't happy either, but is predicatably long on complaint and short on ideas; it has none beyond the vague "It is long overdue to end the Court’s undemocratic role in U.S. society" which is not actionable.

Another example of having no idea what to do is Op-Ed: How to move forward after the destruction of Roe vs. Wade. Don't be fooled by the title. Yes, I've switch from C+S to RvW without even noticing... because in the matter of dislike-but-don't-engage, things seem analoguous. See-also A [sic] eulogy to Roe.

Uupdate: moah gunz

Gunz, gunz, gunz, gunz, everybody loves gunz. Anyway: New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen: A minor impact on gun laws but a potentially momentous shift in constitutional method is reasonably thoughtful. But notice towards the end, where he discusses the balance in the amount of regulation required. Is 16 hours of classroom instruction really needed? His answer is that some was valuable, about 2-3 hours was useful, but 16 was excessive. So I think this looks like over-regulation, and I think it is vulnerable, and in my roll-back-the-state mood, I'd welcome that. But I'd hope that, pre-emptively, DC would reconsider the amount it forces people to take.

Refs

* America’s Supreme Court requires Maine to include religious schools in a tuition programme: America’s Supreme Court is eroding the separation of church and state - Economist

The Armalite and the ballot boxGunz: constitutionalism and majoritarianism

* Reason: Alito's Leaked Abortion Opinion Misunderstands Unenumerated Rights: The Supreme Court justice is wrong when he says abortion rights aren't deeply rooted in American history.

Basement Fertility and Immigration Charities, Please Forgive Black Markets and Blame Government Instead - Bryan Caplan

* Who Sees Which Political Falsehoods as More Acceptable and Why: A New Look at In-Group Loyalty and Trustworthiness by Jeff Galak and Clayton R. Critcher via Twatter.

Two Libertarians Debate Abortion

Alito's Junk History About Lochner

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

But effectively, this ends up diverting funds to specific religions, namely those religions with sufficient density, which is generally going to be Christian schools.

William M. Connolley said...

I think that's irrelevant to the formal legal question.

And it may even not be correct. Now that such funding is allowed, people can set up schools to take advantage of it, in areas where the govt can't be bothered.

Tom said...

There are religious schools from other religions here in the U.S. I'm curious to see how they will be affected.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the government should be funding schools that choose to discriminate against religions.

William M. Connolley said...

And before you beat me to it: Held: The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the
people and their elected representatives
.

Phil said...

By the same reasoning, no right of access to contraception, no right for interracial marriage, return of sodomy laws, and more is on the table.

Griswold, Loving, Lawrence.

Any guess as to how far this goes?

Phil said...


https://www.cnbc.com/2022/06/24/roe-v-wade-supreme-court-justice-thomas-says-gay-rights-rulings-open-to-be-tossed.html

William M. Connolley said...

From The Economist: most Americans want to maintain abortion rights. But this is not up to their usual standards. "keep" gets 49%, not gt 50%; "overturn" and "not sure" make up 51%. Perhaps more interesting, "When should abortion be allowed?", only 30% say yes for "Woman wants it for any reason" which is the Roe position.

Phil said...

Which might be interesting if that was the point under discussion. At any reason at any point in the pregnancy isn't likely to get many "yes" responses.


"The public’s views on abortion are notoriously hard to measure, with large segments of the public often seeming to offer muddled or inconsistent answers."

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/us/abortion-laws-roe-v-wade.html?unlocked_article_code=AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACEIPuomT1JKd6J17Vw1cRCfTTMQmqxCdw_PIxfs9gGPzNiGeVTdcwqNPW9LavFrWIqNpYMEv3jOdAdtIL6RqXvt_i_EaIEVhRk-ovp6A0twjEhkClLiSDCkwzo6fGvc59yPndGCyNOZhyfrjthzZYTS7UbiO1Sd3OApvpJF6Jl-r22gLx6jPQLRy3dh9if8xF9stE2d7ESqPvffiCR58OMzXLU2Pr1lrBJwKHG3bjtWe6LkfcQpNCl-gT3l35G807do0K8pAde-kbEZmIJyi9O1XXm94L46pBIkzQZzUkthqs73LqB-Kyamm1j5SS0RpRMCc8Rduzi2GBO8&smid=url-share


Most US state abortion bans don't include rape or incest. While some States have "When the life of the mother is threatened", these are often narrowly drawn so as to be nearly meaningless. "Life of the mother in a medical emergency" means that a tubal pregnancy can't be terminated until the woman starts to bleed out. Even though that is known that will happen weeks before. Time for the woman to get her affairs in order, and rent a room close to the hospital.

A tubal pregnancy is almost always fatal to the woman.

Phil said...

Another link.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/04/upshot/polling-abortion-states.html?unlocked_article_code=AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACEIPuomT1JKd6J17Vw1cRCfTTMQmqxCdw_PIxftm3iWka3DIDm4eiPkNGIiH5wDVYq5nZt08mj2RQ8VdMbgpAedux_NSJAptVwys6NOiqagyHh8U-8i1T39kmNXER6w5-jvnKTLkcLsnmLDl-h7cazT1XPCJ2WkqIA42vZtlcFis0SMMwK_PFvVnmYUrhYdXDZ57QzYBZyCJrqOoX004YIPaG0mavgomWOhZWiXRmsqc798CcQZQClHESxBv8Dp2qYMcaJ5MYvGJf1N3c9H-gL4RFmVtMIyuYpQzTIHUnLxu2qXfH2lnTfHnHhCwPyy8Mtn95Q&smid=url-share

Anonymous said...

At which point in its development does a baby have a right to life? This has always been the point of contention around abortion and has no parallel in the other issues you mention.

William M. Connolley said...

Which offers stuff like The public’s views on abortion are notoriously hard to measure, with large segments of the public often seeming to offer muddled or inconsistent answers. Polls consistently show that around two-thirds of Americans support the court’s decision in Roe v. Wade and oppose overturning it. Yet just as many Americans say they support banning abortion in the second trimester, a step barred by Roe. Which is a nuanced view you won't find on banners. People genuinely find this a difficult issue; and I don't think that supports a blanket "right".

Of course, mixing up language on rights and opinions is also muddled. If you believe in some abstract "right", then popular opinion is irrelevant; the "right" exists independent of popular views. Conversely, if you believe that if a majority wants a thing it should get it, then the "rights" become irrelevant, except as a label. This reminds me of the GW denialists, who also muddle their language and have vague overlapping ideas to support their pre-made conclusions.

If different people in different places have different opinions, perhaps there should be different laws?

Nathan said...

Ummm... So are all medical treatments voted on?

Why should abortion be different?



William M. Connolley said...

For the obvious reason: it isn't purely a medical treatment. At some point between conception and birth, it involves killing a potential human being. Since that line is inivetably blurred, people disagree where it is. And since it involves killing, people get upset.

There's a lot of propaganda in all this. Pro-choice do their best to present it entirely as medical, or in terms of the outcome for the mother. But that is only partial, and fails to engage with the arguments of the pro-life. And the pro-life do the reverse.

Watching the post-decision commentary - I was going to say debate, but there has been little debate, more just people talking past each other - I see little hope that people will knuckle down and try to work for solutions, instead of just grandstanding.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Maine is trying again - they acknowledge that they can't refuse to provide funding for a school just because it is religious, but they now state that they _can_ refuse to provide funding for a school that discriminates "because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability" - which would rule out the two schools from the original lawsuit. So in a couple of years, this will probably end up at the Supreme Court again.

Anonymous said...

Forgot link: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/religious-schools-supreme-court-ruling-lgbtq/

William M. Connolley said...

Sigh. People are so inclined to be unreasonable, and to push the law. But then again, the reasonable people who can just rub along with those they disagree with don't make the papers.

Anonymous said...

I find that the Weekly Sift generally presents a view that is consistent with mine, but better researched. https://weeklysift.com/2022/06/27/three-supreme-court-decisions-with-long-term-consequences/ discusses the recent Supreme Court decisions. Generally, I disagree with any decision in which Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer are in the dissent. My opinions tend to be based in my underlying beliefs rather than the specifics of the law: however, I also disagree with the legal reasoning behind the majority decisions when they pick and choose from 19th century caselaw ignoring a) any opposing precedents, and b) any changes in underlying societal circumstances (except when convenient: e.g., saying that colonial laws prohibiting handguns are no pertinent because handguns are now common, while ignoring the possibility that much higher population densities makes gun regulation more reasonable rather than less, as well as ignoring the vastly increased lethality of weapons today which would also make gun regulations more reasonable). And when their reasoning is often inconsistent from one decision (guns) to the next (abortion).

Anonymous said...

"If different people in different places have different opinions, perhaps there should be different laws?"

This makes some sense when it comes to questions of taxation: every jurisdiction (federal, state, city) can choose to levy taxes to support their activities, and some states or cities will choose to have higher taxes and more services and others less taxes and less services. Great! It makes less sense when it comes to fundamental rights: the Civil War decided the question of whether slavery should be decided state-by-state. Also - let's say you were right, different places should have different laws. Well, what if you live in a blue city in a red state - why couldn't Austin, Texas, say, decide to make abortion legal even if greater Texas thinks it should be illegal?

I agree with you that there's a fundamental disagreement about a) the strength of the right of a woman over her own body, and b) the right of a fetus at different stages of development. One could imagine a Y axis that is labeled "rights" from 0 to 100%, an X axis that is labeled "fetus age" for 0 to 9 months, and two lines representing the mother's rights (horizontal at some percentage) and the fetus rights (presumably growing over time). A forced-birth fundamentalist would set the fetus rights at 100% starting at conception, and the mother's rights at some level below 100% (abortion is never okay). A pro-choice radical would set the mother's rights at 100%, and the fetus' rights at some level below that (abortion is always okay). Supporters of the "viability" threshold would set the mother's rights at some level X%, and the fetus would start near zero at conception and grow over time, crossing the "X" level at viability.

Personally, I set the mother's rights at slightly below 100%: my analogy would be the rights of an adult conjoined twin to unilaterally decide to perform a procedure detaching their other twin even if that would lead to the other twin's death (unfortunately, there isn't much case law for this case). However, I would set the fetus' rights at near zero at conception, growing over time but never coming close to the level of the mother's rights. Basically, in a hypothetical world where a fetus could become sufficiently developed to be able to give or withhold informed consent, then I think it's rights would at least equal the mother's rights, and create a difficult ethical situation. Some pro-choice advocates would disagree. But in the real world, I don't think a fetus ever comes close to that threshold. So I'm effectively radically pro-choice even if I'm theoretically not 100% on board with their usual reasoning.

Nathan said...

Well, it is a medical treatment. It's not a matter of opinion or framing.

Suggesting that we as a society get to decide if a woman gives birth, rather than the mother is wrong. It is purely her decision.

Where's your libertarian spirit now? Does it not apply to women?


William M. Connolley said...

I didn't find tSW valuable, because it is much the same opinions as may be found elsewhere, but lacking the one thing that makes any discussion of this worthwhile: that other opinions exist, and that it is not possible to decide these matters unambiguously within the legal framework.

The KSB dissents I generally find over-polemical; rather than careful legal analysis they self-indulgently stray over into wailing-at-loss.

> growing over time but never coming close to the level of the mother's rights... So I'm effectively radically pro-choice...

Which is fine. But if attempting to discuss these matters rationally, your own personal views aren't particularly relevant. They should emerge from the analysis, not pre-condition it.

> we as a society get to decide if a woman gives birth, rather than the mother is wrong

Your opinion is that there is only one possible morally correct opinion, and that it is your opinion. Lots of people feel like that, but many of them disagree with you as to what that correct opinion is.

Nathan said...

Yeah well I guess a lot of people thought slavery was ok too.

I would like to know why you think society gets to force women to give birth, against their will?

But I guess you will simply prevaricate and not give an opinion.

Nathan said...

"But if attempting to discuss these matters rationally, your own personal views aren't particularly relevant."

well, given that this is ALL opinion, yes? Personal opinions are what matter. Where is the objectivity when it comes to individual rights?

William M. Connolley said...

> I would like to know why you think society gets to force women to give birth, against their will?

I can, but first a test for you: what is the generally given reason for prohibiting abortion? And / or: would you accept any restrictions on abortion, or is nothing short of abortion on demand under all circumstances the only acceptable solution to you? From your comments so far, you would seem to be unaware of it, which would speak of a curious blindness on your part.

> Where is the objectivity when it comes to individual rights?

http://mustelid.blogspot.com/2021/07/book-review-righteous-mind.html

Nathan said...

" but first a test for you: "


"what is the generally given reason for prohibiting abortion?" religious beliefs or because of the rights of the unborn

"would you accept any restrictions on abortion, or is nothing short of abortion on demand under all circumstances the only acceptable solution to you? "

It's not for me to say - it's nothing to do with me. It is solely the prerogative of the mother. I am not demanding anything. I am not going to demand that someone I don;t know must have the baby, it's not my choice.


Lastly prohibiting it doesn't work anyway.


So, now your turn

Nathan said...

"> Where is the objectivity when it comes to individual rights?

http://mustelid.blogspot.com/2021/07/book-review-righteous-mind.html"


heck the judgement was even called 'Opinion' - it's all opinion.

Anonymous said...

"The KSB dissents I generally find over-polemical; rather than careful legal analysis they self-indulgently stray over into wailing-at-loss."

"but lacking the one thing that makes any discussion of this worthwhile: that other opinions exist"

It is interesting. You manage to criticize everyone whose opinions you don't like - which is fine, it is your blog, you are allowed. But then you object that other websites are too one sided. And that gives off the faint odor of hypocrisy: where in your main post or any of your comments or responses have you offered any criticism of the majority opinion (which is ripe for criticism), either for Dobbs or for Carson? In my opinion, you can either a) offer "neutral" analysis, and criticize those who appear to be biased and one-sided, or b) offer biased, one-sided opinions, but then acknowledge that you differ from other interpretations.

Anonymous said...

Murder: “the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.”

The Constitution doesn’t give us the freedom to go around killing people. It’s not an inherent right. It’s not a matter of personal choice.

Therefore, framing the debate as pro-choice vs pro-life is misleading and inaccurate. The real question is simply whether or not abortion amounts to murder. If yes then it is not protected even in cases of rape or incest. Case closed.

William M. Connolley said...

> because of the rights of the unborn

is the answer I would pick. Which says that it is not simply the choice of the mother, if the unborn has rights.

> it's nothing to do with me

Then I fail to see what you're complaining about, if you are not demanding anything.

> where in your main post or any of your comments or responses have you offered any criticism of the majority opinion

Well, as I say, I kinda agree with the majority. The contrary view appears to me to be the one I mention: "separation of church and state", which can be reasonably read to say that the state shouldn't fund the church. I do also say that I don't think their reasonning is strictly correct. Alas, my simple reading of the constitution - that it prohibits making laws about the church, which is what Maine was trying to do - doesn't seem to find much favour. And the decision itself it largely based on the FE bit, contra my wise advice does amount to criticism. For RvW, see I am sympathetic to this and almost agree.

Nathan said...

"Which says that it is not simply the choice of the mother, if the unborn has rights."

This doesn't follow if the rights of the mother trump those of the unborn.

"Then I fail to see what you're complaining about, if you are not demanding anything."
I'm not complaining, I am expressing an opinion. And that opinion is that the choice is the mother's, nothing to do with me.



"> I would like to know why you think society gets to force women to give birth, against their will?
I can, but first a test for you..."

So you haven't been explicit in your answer...

Phil said...

"People genuinely find this a difficult issue; and I don't think that supports a blanket "right"."

Does this apply to the "unborn"? Or is there a blanket right for the "unborn"?

William M. Connolley said...

> This doesn't follow if the rights of the mother trump those of the unborn

This is a problem with the language of rights. They tend to sound absolute. How would you rank them?

> why you think society gets to force women... So you haven't been explicit in your answer...

Indeed. Because the answer is long. Firstly, society isn't (in almost all cases, so it suffices to consider this) "forcing" women, in the sense of anything positive: instead, society is withholding its cooperation in abortion. Which is a hint towards why: we live in society, not alone; we don't have absolute freedom in anything. Personally, I think we should leave people alone when we can; see On the fundamental principle but I see very few who would sign up to that as a general legal principle.

Your view - "It is solely the prerogative of the mother" - is your own view; but it is certainly not the Roe view, so that makes you an opponent of Roe, if you wish to be consistent. It is also against the views of the vast majority, who tend to favour a sliding scale as the unborn approaches birth.

> Or is there a blanket right for the "unborn"?

That isn't a well-posed question; the (generally accepted) answer is more that there isn't a blanket unborn; the unborn moves from definitely-not-human to human as pregnancy progresses. Isn't that obvious?

Phil said...

"Isn't that obvious?"

No, not obvious. Not at all.

Opinions vary widely as to when, including before the pregnancy begins until several years after the birth.

Time of death has similar problems.

A few options for when something not human becomes human:


Every sperm and ova is sacred, and any action taken or not taken to prevent birth is a sin.

Rhythm method is OK, nothing else.

Conception.

Quickening. When the mother feels the baby move.

200 days after conception.

Viability (Roe standard)

Three, five or seven months, Hinduism.

First breath. Aka birth.

12 days after birth. No soul until then.

One year after birth. Two years after birth. (these made sense when infant mortality was high)


I'm quite sure I've missed some opinions. And I'm quite sure your opinion is absolutely correct.

Phil said...

A quick search find this:

https://www.salon.com/2022/06/28/interesting-shift-americas-religious-groups-are-divided-on-abortion-_partner/

Nathan said...

"Indeed. Because the answer is long."

Take all the time you like.


"Firstly, society isn't (in almost all cases, so it suffices to consider this) "forcing" women, in the sense of anything positive: instead, society is withholding its cooperation in abortion."

Potato, Potarto.

Nathan said...

"It is also against the views of the vast majority, who tend to favour a sliding scale as the unborn approaches birth."

This is not your view, though. Weird that you won't actually say what you think?
It's bizarre that you're trying to characterise my view as somehow 'unpopular' without reference to statistics.

You should also have statistics on the number of women that have late-term abortions And why they have them. Because they are pretty rare.. I would be amazed if any late term abortions happened for any other reason than to save the life of the mother, or to terminate a pregnancy before birth as the baby is either dying or will not survive outside the womb.

In Australia late term abortion requires Dr approval.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_Australia




Anonymous said...

To be not that anonymous, I used to comment here as wereatheist.
The evangelicals in Georgia have already concocted a law that having an abortion somewhere else is nevertheless a felony punishable by death. And Texas gives bounties for the zygote police.
The smallest gummint fits easily in the bedrooms of those other people. And that's is what it's for.

Gator said...

"Firstly, society isn't (in almost all cases, so it suffices to consider this) "forcing" women, in the sense of anything positive: instead, society is withholding its cooperation in abortion. Which is a hint towards why: we live in society, not alone; we don't have absolute freedom in anything. Personally, I think we should leave people alone when we can; see On the fundamental principle but I see very few who would sign up to that as a general legal principle."

This is far from what is happening in the USA - are you that unaware of the laws around abortion? Women can be and have been jailed for miscarriages. Doctors can be charged for aiding abortions. "Society" (and who the fuck is that? religious authoritarian nuts in this case) is not "withholding cooperation" it is demanding compliance with all the force of the state. This is the exact of opposite of the principle you pretend to believe in.

William M. Connolley said...

> The evangelicals in Georgia have already concocted a law that...

And this is a bad thing. I really don't understand what motivates these people; whether they really are that mad, or they are doing it cynically for political advantage, or what. But perhaps it doesn't matter too much why; we have to deal with what they do.

I think most of these laws are likely to turn out null, because they will be stayed judges, and wend their way up the chain of courts, hopefully being rejected. In the meantime, the answer is as before: elect sane people.

> are you that unaware of the laws around abortion

Reluctantly, because I like my original thought, I think you're right to object.

Gator said...

General comment - I have family in the UK, I was just in the UK - y'all don't understand the situation in the USA because 1) it is crazy, and the UK, despite BoJo et al, is still mostly sane ... you cannot use UK culture to predict USA results. 2) the USA was founded by religious fanatics, and that strain still runs strong. America is still deeply divided along racial and cultural lines - the religious fanaticism is twisted towards authoritarian support (i.e. Repubs are anti-abortion therefore have the support of people who are otherwise damaged by Republican policies - tax, trade, "right-to-work", destroying public education and social safety nets.)

Perhaps it is my rosy glasses but even with the Tories in charge the UK still looks like a fundamentally more compassionate and humanist society than todays USA. You'll probably lose that if the Tories are able to carry out their plans but there you are.

"I think most of these laws are likely to turn out null, because they will be stayed judges, and wend their way up the chain of courts, hopefully being rejected. In the meantime, the answer is as before: elect sane people."
This will not happen. The point of the Supreme Court ruling was exactly that the laws passed in Texas and Mississippi are now perfectly fine. There are no other courts to stay the laws. And many (most) red states will follow up. There is talk about passing laws making it a crime for a woman to leave their red state to obtain abortion services. That might get a stay as it would seem to involve intra-state commerce, but I'm sure there is a way for a motivated state to write a law to punish women that would pass judicial scrutiny - just like the law in Texas allowing private parties to bring suits against people involved in an abortion.
Add in that many red states are actively passing voter suppression laws, are incredibly gerrymandered, and have primary systems that promote the success of the more extreme candidates and electoral change looks very difficult indeed. The red states are locked up at the state level, which then makes grid lock on a national level because of our senate system. We seem to be locked into a death spiral, which seems to be what the current Republican party actually wants. A weak civic culture allows for something like Fascism (literally - strong nationalistic government with strong corporate links) to rise in the USA. That seems to be supported by 25%+ of the American people.


"Reluctantly, because I like my original thought, I think you're right to object."
This is an example where I think the fact that you seem to be a fundamentally decent person from the UK actively harms your understanding of the situation in the USA. It's a new era in the USA. We are way passed "no public funds for abortion" we are at "we will hunt down you and anyone involved and possibly try you for murder." Even ectopic pregnancies! No exceptions! This seems to be as far from the libertarian ideal as you can get.


Anonymous said...

The US is about 51% sane and about 49% religious nutter, but the geography/demographics are such that the minority is able to elect more governors and senators, and often win the house and presidency as well.

The religious nutters tend to have a literal view of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, and see liberals as evil heathens.

American politics in a nutshell.

Tom said...

I was going to write a long comment saying that Gator was exaggerating. I read his comment again and realized he really wasn't.

It's actually as bad as he writes.

Nathan said...

Buttgeig gets to the heart of the issue:

https://twitter.com/TaraMaddock/status/1543627478303924224

William M. Connolley said...

Buttgeig says essentially the same as me: that as a matter of personal morality, it would be better for the govt to back out and leave people to make up their own minds. Except that as a pol, he is obliged to waffle and say so unclearly. And of course he restricts that to abortion; he wouldn't accept that as a general principle. Quite how you end up strongly approving of his position and disagreeing with mine is a mystery.

However, you are wrong: personal morality isn't the heart of the issue; this is a point that many people seem confused on. The issue is society as a whole; what should the laws / rules be, and how should we determine what the rules should be. You cannot just ignore the written law and substitute your own morality; and we know that people don't agree on what is moral. Or, in this case, you cannot just read arbitrary things into the written meta-law and assert that they are clearly present.

Nathan said...

"Quite how you end up strongly approving of his position and disagreeing with mine is a mystery."

I don't really know what yours is... It's not been expressed clearly.

He's clearly saying the choice should be the woman's and that medical intervention should be an option. He's also saying the Govt shouldn't prevent a woman having a late term abortion. Which is what I have been saying


"You cannot just ignore the written law and substitute your own morality"
I disagree entirely. I will and I expect others will go by their our morality.
Take slavery for example. Or any other issue that has led to Civil Disobedience. Nothing would change if we followed your philosophy. Women wouldn't be able to vote, No five day working week...

Civil Disobedience has a long and proud history

Phil said...

Society as a whole has a vital interest in some actions. Abortion doesn't seem to me to be one of these actions, but of course other opinions differ.

When does the fetus become a person that is part of society? Seems to me like a social definition rather than a moral decision. A society is a group of people that interact. There is no social interaction of the fetus with anyone until "quickening" at minimum, or viability or perhaps until birth. Or maybe even later. So how can a fetus be a person that is part of society?

Exactly what vital interest of the state requires a 10 year old rape victim to carry the rapist's fetus until it becomes a person? Exactly what vital interest of the state is served by requiring a woman to die to support a fetus for a few more days when that fetus is going to die anyway?

https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/3544588-10-year-old-girl-denied-abortion-in-ohio/

If society is going to regulate abortions, the regulations need to make sense.