The Watering Hole, Thursday, August 23rd, 2012: Roe v. Wade, “Personhood” Laws, and Colonial Times

What I started out researching for today’s thread, and what follows, bear little relation to each other. I had wanted to explore the history of Presidential nominees whose campaigns included promises to repeal Roe v. Wade, and any resulting attempts at legislation. That effort met with little success (though there was plenty of other fascinating information, too much for me to do more than a cursory scan), but luckily I got distracted by this bright shiny object: Footnote Number 6 on Wikipedia’s Roe vs Wade page:

Wilson, James, “Of the Natural Rights of Individuals” (1790–1792): “In the contemplation of law, life begins when the infant is first able to stir in the womb.” Also see Blackstone, William. Commentaries (1765): “Life … begins in contemplation of law as soon as an infant is able to stir in the mother’s womb.”

So, am I wrong in interpreting those quotes as: before the American Revolution, and continuing after the establishment of the United States of America, life in a woman’s womb did not legally begin until the fetus starts moving?

WebMD says, “You should feel your baby’s first movements, called “quickening,” between weeks 16 and 25 of your pregnancy. If this is your first pregnancy, you may not feel your baby move until closer to 25 weeks. By the second pregnancy, some women start to feel movements as early as 13 weeks.”

Even if one uses the figure of 13 weeks, or let’s say even 12 weeks, it appears that it was settled law, way back during the era of our Founding Fathers, that an embryo was not legally a living human being until three months into the pregnancy. Hmmm…if this was the generally accepted definition of ‘when “life” begins’ back in the 18th century, how can the Teapublicans in Congress reconcile this with their (false) claim that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, and should therefore be ruled by the Bible? How can they justify – or even implement – “Personhood” legislation? And just which exactly is the United States citizen, the woman or the not-legally-“life” zygote or embryo? Which comes first in the hearts of those Teapublicans, their Oath to their country, or their Old Testament god?

Footnote Number 6 led me to more fascinating reading in James Wilson’s “Of the Natural Rights of Individuals.” Here’s some excerpts:

“The opinion has been very general, that, in order to obtain the blessings of a good government, a sacrifice must be made of a part of our natural liberty. I am much inclined to believe, that, upon examination, this opinion will prove to be fallacious. It will, I think, be found, that wise and good government — I speak, at present, of no other — instead of contracting, enlarges as well as secures the exercise of the natural liberty of man: and what I say of his natural liberty, I mean to extend, and wish to be understood, through all this argument, as extended, to all his other natural rights.”

“…what [my description of] natural liberty is:
“Nature has implanted in man the desire of his own happiness; she has inspired him with many tender affections towards others, especially in the near relations of life; she has endowed him with intellectual and with active powers; she has furnished him with a natural impulse to exercise his powers for his own happiness, and the happiness of those for whom he entertains such tender affections. If all this be true, the undeniable consequence is, that he has a right to exert those powers for the accomplishment of those purposes, in such a manner, and upon such objects, as his inclination and judgment shall direct; provided he does no injury to others; and provided some publick interests do not demand his labours. This right is natural liberty.”

If this description of natural liberty is a just one, it will teach us, that selfishness and injury are as little countenanced by the law of nature as by the law of man. Positive penalties, indeed, may, by human laws, be annexed to both. But these penalties are a restraint only upon injustice and overweening self-love, not upon the exercise of natural liberty.

“Let the constitution of the United States…be examined from the beginning to the end. No right is conferred, no obligation is laid on any, which is not laid or conferred on every, citizen of the commonwealth or Union — I think I may defy the world to produce a single exception to the truth of this remark. Now…the original equality of mankind consists in an equality of their duties and rights.

Duties and rights” – note that he puts “Duties” first. An idea which the Teapublicans either have deliberately abandoned, or are too ignorant or oblivious to understand. Or perhaps both. (sigh)

This is our daily open thread — got something to say about something?

206 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Thursday, August 23rd, 2012: Roe v. Wade, “Personhood” Laws, and Colonial Times

  1. Major Networks To Skip Ann Romney RNC Speech

    The broadcast news divisions, which have been given only an hour in primetime Tuesday-Thursday of the Republican National Convention, will be skipping the speech from Ann Romney Monday night

    I’ve heard the convention will be rescheduling Ann Romney’s speech, but who will get bumped from the spotlight to make room for her in that single hour, presumably Tuesday night? Plus, the hour that ABC, CBS, and NBC are covering is the 10-11pm (all times eastern) time slot, all three nights. Current is covering all four nights from 7-11pm, while MSNBC’s schedule lists their regular shows, Ed, Rachel, and Lawrence, who will presumably peek in as warranted. PBS will follow Newshour with coverage from 8-11pm, while C-SPAN will cover pretty much all day, on all four days.

    • I’d rather watch a Spongebob Squarepants marathon at that time – I will learn much more about the human condition by doing so.

      • I looked through a slideshow of the set for the RNC and was impressed — they’re clearly moving toward something Nuremberg-y but aren’t there yet. Maybe they realized that it would only be effective with thousands and thousands of people.

  2. via Tequila at C&L:
    Pastor Rick Warren Cancels Presidential Forum

    Pastor Rick Warren says he’s canceled plans for a “civil forum” featuring the presidential candidates because their campaign is so uncivil.
    Neither the Obama campaign nor the Romney campaign says their candidate had committed to appearing at the forum at Warren’s Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., near Los Angeles. The forum had been planned for this week.

    pRick, you canceled your little circle-jerk when nobody was willing to show up, which was because you don’t really matter all that much.

    • I’d love to see 25K of ’em locked in a convention center with minimal supplies, all exercising their Randian self-interest. I’m feeling sort of evil this morning.

      • Outstanding — 25K GOP reps locked in the convention center? that would be the perfect irony. Just the mental image makes me smile.

          • And a cheery George W Bush waving at them from a plane….

            Yes I’d like to see what these people would do when the ice machines stop working and the toilet paper runs out.

    • As I recall, they were also trying to defund the National Weather Service because private sector companies like AccuWeather were doing the job. They were oblivious, d’oh, to the fact that the private sector companies have no equipment of their own in the field and rely entirely on data from the NWS. Again, d’oh.

  3. Nice post, Jane.

    I think that part of the problem here in defining when life begins is a result of the double edged sword of science that allows us to determine with certainty by a woman being able to determine with certainty in the privacy of her own home whether or not she is pregnant. Add to that the ability to “look” inside the womb with the aid of ever more distinct ultrasound “pictures” of the fetus. This ability to see inside the womb earlier and earlier with the desired effect of determining the viability of the developing fetus has also provided the pro-forced pregnancy crowd ammunition to say that a fetus can “feel pain” which is the latest rational to reduce the number of weeks that a woman might be able to obtain an abortion from 21 weeks to 18.

    Akin’s attempt to use psuedo-science to justify denying the ability of a woman to obtain an abortion in the event of an act of rape is no different from the anti-abortion crowd lying to women that they will increase their chances of getting breast cancer if the have an abortion. The RWNJs, while not fully believing in science, try to use scientific sounding justifications to try to convince women that not continuing a pregnancy will harm the women in some way in the future. It is a means to an end for them. Machiavellian, don’t you think?

    • hmmmm…..i personally can’t recall any pain i felt as a fetus, nor do i recall the birth experience or circumcision. i suppose maybe i missed something as my cells split exponentially to form my little zygote body too…

      maybe i’ll seek therapy….

    • Hmm, an easy answer to the “Well 50% of Americans pay no tax!” canard is right there – “50% of Americans have almost no money (less than 1% of it)”

      And everyone seems to want to be Sweden ….. why yes of course we do…. Agnetha Falkstog …. mmmm.

  4. So if the hurricane hits, and destroys roads, sewers, bridges, water supply lines, water treatment plants, part of the power grid, buildings such as the arena where the GOP fib-fest is going to held; I trust business owners will repair all that stuff. And that no public money will be used.

  5. Meteorologist: ‘I Don’t See Any Way Possible That Tampa Will Be Missed At This Point’

    If disaster is averted the wingnuts will claim it’s because they prayed real hard to God to be spared.

    Of course, we won’t tell them that the strip club owners and hookers prayed even harder.

  6. Rush Limbaugh blames Obama for Hurricane Isaac — RT

    What did the one giant, detestable blob of hot air say about the other? If you managed to catch conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh’s Wednesday morning rant about Hurricane Isaac, you may already know.
    During Wednesday morning’s broadcast of Limbaugh’s nationally syndicated radio show, the legendary host called attention to the tropical storm slated to hit Florida next week right at the same time that Republicans from across the United States are expected to scurry down south for the GOP National Convention.

  7. Speaking of the convention. I just realized that there official theme is “we built this”. And this is an event held in a public building built with government funding. If anyone managed to teach the GOoPers the meaning of “irony” the whole damned bunch would burst into flames.

  8. Patrick Chovanec underscores legitimate concerns about the real red scare:

    “[F]ears of an unstoppable Chinese juggernaut are misplaced or outdated. What we really should be worried about is a China that is stumbling badly and doesn’t know what to do next.”

    And eyerolling at the Republican ticket’s calling for a more “aggressive stance” on China:

    “Ryan has signed on to Romney’s team, and as such, he’s stuck playing the same game. That means trying to simultaneously use China bashing as a populist lever on the campaign trail, while at the same time, in those fund raisers and in meetings with campaign donors, reassure the business community that they really don’t mean what they say.”

    Here’s a particular irony: Sheldon Adelson has contributed at least $35 million to the GOP this year and is under investigation for his dealings with the Chinese government.

  9. Nice post Jane BTW. And what does this say about the tendency of Teabaggers and their heroes on the SCOTUS about ‘Constitutional Originalism’ – you know, the Founders wrote a perfect document, so rednecks can carry AK47s and so on ….. seems to me that there is also a huge inconsistency here.

    You know, I wonder how this personhood bill would go if the Dems said “Ok, you can have your blastocyst be a person as long as you can *only* get persons from blastocysts – so that means Exxon, Halliburton, Bank of America – sorry ‘people’ – you are off the list along with every judicial precedent you think you have after the 14th Amendment” – I wonder how calling those bastards bluff would go.

  10. Some how, down the line, I missed this gem:

    In the 1830s, leaders of the Mormon Church declared a rural area of northwest Missouri to be a holy site. Today, the church owns more than 3,000 acres of Daviess County, most of it farmland leased to non-Mormon farmers.

    Amidst the rolling fields of Daviess County corn stubble, you’ll find the spot that Mormon founder Joseph Smith declared that Adam (of Adam and Eve) lived after the Fall. Church doctrine also holds that it is where Jesus Christ will first step down when he returns for the Second Coming and says that the actual Garden of Eden was located near Independence, Mo.

  11. Rudepundit’s part 2 on Obama’s Unliberal Actions

    Part 1 dealt with ongoing drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan. On Monday the Guardian dealt with the ongoing tactic by the US military to attack the rescuers/neighbours/Good Samaritans of people they’ve just bombed. It includes a reference to the 2010 Wikileaks publishing of an Apache in Iraq which hung about long enough blast a van (with two children in the front seat) of a man who came to help several men on the ground who had just been shot by the same the Apache….

  12. Michael D. Higgins, president of Ireland, unloads on Michael Graham, teabagger. I wish he would consult with President Obama on the content of his speeches. It’s a couple years old but probably more appropriate today.

  13. This morning the Greek Prime Minister floated an idea to bring revenue into this bankrupt country. He suggested that Greece sell some of their uninhabited islands.

    Ok, I need to liquidate everything…..

  14. OK… so Republicans don’t want women to have an abortion if they are raped because they might have lied about getting raped in order to get said abortion.

    But, Republicans don’t want to give victims of “forcible” rape any government support to raise the child of rape because then women will be lying about getting raped in order to get said government support ( a variation of the welfare queen).

    So, basically, Republicans just think women are a bunch of liars.

    Do I have that right?

          • Maybe that’s why Santorum was worried about man on dog sex?

            Oh wati…Is that why Seamus was going on vacation with the Romneys? Ewww…

            • i think they have sex with watermelons and cantaloupes…..if you see some guy thumping on a melon in the local market…you know the real truth.

            • fatherbob!!
              Now, what am I gonna do the next time I am at the grocery store and see a guy manhandling a melon? People are gonna think I am crazy when I burst into laughter seemingly for no reason. 😉

            • ever see a watermelon laying on someone’s picnic table warming up in the sunshine?

              LMAO!!……a friend of mine told me about “melon sex” jokingly…er…i think

  15. Rmoney (R- Head up his Ass) says the US will be energy independent by 2020 with him (and there are fairies at the bottom of the garden too ….)

    First – let me give him that he said ‘North America’ – meaning he expects the Mexicans and the Hosers just to keep on selling the US their stuff. Let’s just give him that one – it makes no difference.

    Simple points:
    1. The US consumes upwards of 20 million barrels of oil per day
    2. US oil production peaked at 9.6 million per day back in 1970-ish – it’s still well below that today – despite what that nice lady from the API says on your telly every day.
    3. Mexico and Canada combined (with the nasty oil sands) are exporting to the US about 3 million BPD (they produce about 6 million I think off top of my head – maybe they still wnat to use that themselves – who knows – but let’s assume the US is not going to invade Canada or Mexico in the Romney plan)

    So what’s that leave us? Ooh about 8 million BPD of just oil.

    Saudi Arabia on a good day produces 10 million BPD or therabouts and that took about 30 years to find, develop etc etc…..

    So…..without any projected increase in demand, assuming that electrical power is by nat gas/coal/nuke/hydro/wind as status quo, Mitt says that the United States is going to find, develop and bring to market a whole new Saudi Arabia in 7 years…..

    Read that again ….. one whole new Saudi Arabia 7 years from now….. and let me guess, the Ignoranti cheered and pumped their fists in the air “USA, USA, USA” instead of pissing their pants laughing….

    …. this man is a serious candidate for running this country.

    I’ll be back sometime when this ‘napkin sketch’ of mine has been superceded in depth by people at the Oil Drum

    • The thing that they never mention is that we are currently the third leading oil producing nation on the planet and the leading exporter of refined petroleum products. I believe we’re also the leading producer of natural gas. We don’t have a supply problem, we have a demand problem.

      The maddening part is that much of that demand is pure greed and vanity. We Americans have an insatiable appetite for going fast in big cars. A gal I worked with, nice woman in her fifties with grown children and who almost never carried a passenger much less cargo, was bragging about how fast her new 5,000 pound SUV would go. I tried to pin her down on why she needed a big fast SUV and she finally tired of it and said that she liked the convenience of not having to lift groceries out of the trunk! I had to walk away or I would have totally ruined the relationship.

        • I gave up pursuing the matter but I assume she meant that she hated walking all the way to the back of the car, having to use a key instead of a door handle to open the trunk, and then had to lean into said trunk for the groceries. The sad part is that she worked in a warehouse and spent her days flinging big boxes around but just couldn’t seem to mange a slight bend to reach all the way in the trunk.

          Stupidest justification for a gas guzzler I’ve ever heard. Of course, the real reason was that it was big, fast, and shiny even if it had no useful purpose but some people just can’t admit their own vanity.

      • And that is what the Keystone XL is for – taking Canadian crap oil sands bitumen and exporting it from the Houston Free Trade Zone ….. ordinary Americans get nothing.

        Its kind of ironic, because that’s what Western oil companies have done everywhere else: bribed the governments, run their pipelines and shit all over the country, export the oil to somewhere else, doesn’t matter what the local savages think or do, use the local military to shoot a few every now and again to keep the rest in line.

    • Everyone knows that when one retroactively retires, one is not responsible for anything one did before one retroactively retires.

      • Or after. Or at any indefinite time in the future.

        Can you imagine Mittens’ discussion with the accountants? “I want everything in a blind trust. I want it so blind that I’m the only one who can ever see it!”

  16. Love the new memes from Willard. Gonna fix Medicare! Obama and ACA are already doing that. Gonna push for more US drilling and oil production. Obama has already been there, done that.

    • Instead of being the last nation on the planet with oil reserves, which would be the best plan for national security, we’ll be the first one to run out entirely, thanks to the spoiled children in the GOP.

  17. The Gawker document dump:

    Dan Primack of Fortune calls the documents “worthless”:

    “I saw many of the exact same documents months ago, after requesting them from a Bain Capital investor. What I quickly learned was that there was little of interest, except perhaps for private equity geeks who want to know exactly how much Bain paid for a particular company back in 2006. Sure I would have loved the pageviews, but not at the expense of tricking readers into clicking on something of so little value.”

    But Alex Seitz-Wald homes in on one discovery:

    “[O]ne immediate revelation is that Sankaty fund, based in Delaware for tax purposes, lent over $3 million to Las Vegas Sands, the casino company owned by Adelson. The fund made two loans of $2.4 million and $600,000 in 2009 to the Sands. Romney’s IRA held between $250,000 and $500,000 in the partnership, and made $50,000 and $100,000 from it in 2011. Adelson has become the largest donor to the Republican Party and conservative outside groups, dropping at least $70 million.”

    • So….. does Mormonism forbid gambling or having anything to do with gambling …. or did Mitt get to play his ‘Dominionist’ card and that f***ing with the Gentiles gives Brigham Young’s mouldy corpse a woody and therfore it’s a-OK?

      • In my limited experience it seems to me that Mormon “laws”, like those of most any religion, only apply to other people. Especially people who are “other”.

  18. I’m watching MSNBC on TVPC. It’s a channel out of Florida, so I’m seeing their commercials. Wow, those people are being bombarded with lie after lie after lie.

  19. I’m a simple man who only wants two things out of life. God and Republicans. With both of them gone, I can easily deal with the rest.

  20. Hewlett-Packard Sales Slump Shows CEO Whitman’s Challenge

    Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) posted a record quarterly loss and reported slumping sales for personal computers and services aimed at businesses, underscoring the turnaround challenge facing Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman.

    Almost a year into her tenure at the helm of the largest personal computer maker, Whitman is boosting investment in research and development and revamping the PC, printer and enterprise-services units.

    They didn’t learn with Fiorina, so they hired an even richer woman from California, who has taken them to their worst quarter in their history. Dump your HP stock, if you have any.

    • What was that? The part in the middle? Oh yeah, I think I have it now. In Reichworld the Dem is supposed to drop out because she only picked up about 20% in less than a week.

      In the sane universe i just have to laugh about the whining over “attacks”. These freaks just can’t understand that repeating what they said, in context and at length with multiple opportunities to just say “I shouldn’t have said that and I beg your forgiveness for being an insufferable pig”, isn’t an “attack”. It’s simple reporting. I’m by no means an unqualified fan of Ms. McCaskill but her smartest move right now would be to go spend a couple weeks at the beach and just let Akin keep digging. He will manage to drive away all but the craziest 27% without any help.

      BTW. His kid might be creepier than the old man. I love it when someone who denies evolution and virtually all science proves that there might be something to the whole theory of inherited traits.

  21. Ann Romney’s miscarriage, which was never before known publicly, was revealed in recent profile.

    Nice timing. And I still don’t think it makes her “more human.”

            • You’ve written the truth, Zooey.
              She has as much warmth as the man she married – together they couldn’t melt ice cube.

            • Zooey, it’s not bitchy. I don’t know your history, but most women have had a miscarriage. Many of us have a friend or family member who has had breast cancer, if we’ve not had it ourselves. MS is devastating, and like mercy, falleth on the just and the unjust alike. Using any of these events in an attempt to prove that one can identify with those who’ve also suffered just creeps me out. The early miscarriage is a different matter to the women who is likely facing her last chance to have a child than it is to a woman who is very fertile. Breast cancer can be easy (a scare and a lumpectomy) or difficult (stage IV and a death sentence). MS can be more readily dealt with if one can afford help when one tires. Ann’s experiences would resonate with a lot of folks if she had ever done anything with them. Has she reached out to others in the same circumstances? Has she started a charity to help young mothers with MS to get through the rigors of their days? Has she ever said that every woman should have access to care that leads to early diagnosis of BC, and appropriate care after diagnosis? Not that I know of. If I’m wrong I’ll apologize, but what good is surviving any of these things if one takes no lesson from the struggle?

            • Zooey, it’s hard to feel much sympathy for someone who can unthinkingly write a check to the country’s (even the world’s) best doctors, specialists, etc., And it’s even harder to feel any warmth toward that person when one is under financial and/or emotional stress – which we’ve all been under since at least 2000.

            • Outstanding, I meant to add that I agree with you about Ann’s possible activities or involvement in outreach or support programs for other victims of the various diseases. And how does she justify the implication that she automatically deserves the kind of medical care she receives solely because she has the means to pay for it…and therefore people who suffer the same illnesses from which Ann suffers, but don’t have the means to pay for that level of medical care, simply have to continue to endure the ravages of those illnesses?

  22. Can we start charging these freaks with murder? That’s what it is. Children are dying of preventable diseases because stupid people listen to the likes of Trump and Jenny McCarthy. Here in Minnesota and elsewhere around the country there’s an epidemic of whooping cough in infants who have not had time to be fully immunized and they’re catching it from the children of the people who have refused immunizations based on a lie.

    And that’s only one of the diseases making a return, bigger and badder and harder to treat than ever. What’s next? Polio? Smallpox? A few million innocent victims of congenital rubella syndrome? I’ll even throw Bill Maher on the pyre if this keeps getting worse.

    • Trump is worse than gum on the sidewalk. And just as annoying.

      Here’s an interview with Paul Offit, M.D.
      author of a very informativ, well researched book about vaccines and why they are needed.
      He’s debunked the emesis of people like Trump.
      (damn I detest that effen Dump)

      His latest book Offit, Paul A . Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All. (2011) is most insightful.

    • To be fair, the person that we should be blaming is the “doctor” who published an article in JAMA with faulty statistics….this myth persists because of that article that has long since been rescinded. This is the danger of faulty science and the persistence of lies.

  23. I tweeted this just as Rachels’ show was ending. (No, she doesn;t display them.)

    Then Lawrence started, so I modified it and tweeted this. I figure i’ve got both audiences (most of which overlap) covered.

    • You know – Ryan could be oh so specific about which loopholes he could close and shut everyone up about his flawed plan – just start waving Romney’s tax returrins around and say “well we’ll close this one, this one, this one and this one and he average Vulture Capitalist will contribute $xxx more millions to the tax revenues – ta-da!”

      No? No I don’t think so either.

    • Hell Wayne, a lot of those people didn’t even think Treyvon Martin’s life was precious. I’d love to see some of the fetus lovers forced to sport a feet pin the size of teenager feet on their lapel.

  24. The Dope awards this week alone:
    Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, and now

    The Dope doped:

    USADA to ban Armstrong for life, strip Tour titles

    U.S. Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart says the agency will ban Lance Armstrong from cycling for life and strip him of his seven Tour de France titles for doping.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s