90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
The States Move On Abortion

State-level moves on abortion. North Dakota, Arkansas and more are reining it in. Where does this go?

Kris Kitko leads chants of protest at an abortion-rights rally at the state Capitol in Bismarck, N.D., on Monday, March 25, 2013. More than 300 demonstrators attended the rally protesting a package of measures that would give the state the toughest abortion restrictions in the nation. (AP)

Kris Kitko leads chants of protest at an abortion-rights rally at the state Capitol in Bismarck, N.D., on Monday, March 25, 2013. More than 300 demonstrators attended the rally protesting a package of measures that would give the state the toughest abortion restrictions in the nation. (AP)

Roe v Wade may be the law of the land, but at the state level – state legislatures and ballots – Roe v Wade and abortion are under attack right now like never before.

Last week, North Dakota joined the movement, passing the toughest restrictions on abortion in the country. Abortion forbidden from as early as six weeks. No abortion for disease or deformity. A state constitutional amendment lofted that would deny abortion even in the case of rape or incest.

Legal scholars say it all flunks Roe v Wade. North Dakota says, ‘let’s go to court’.

This hour, On Point: states throwing down the gauntlet to Roe v Wade.

-Tom Ashbrook


Tammi Kromenaker, Director of Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, the only clinic remaining in the state that performs abortions. (@tammikromenaker)

Bette Grande, representative in the North Dakota House. She sponsored the so-called “Heartbeat” bill, now law in North Dakota.

Steven Morrison, teaches constitutional law and criminal procedure at the University of North Dakota.

Charmaine Yoest, President & CEO of Americans United for Life. (@charmaineyoest)

Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate. (@emilybazelon)

Closing segment on the shooting of a Texas prosecutor and his wife

Tanya Eiserer, reporter for the Dallas Morning News. (@tanyaeiserer)

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post “What a difference three years makes. In 2010, Nebraska passed the country’s most restrictive abortion law that barred abortions after 20 weeks. By March 2013, 12 states have done so — or passed restrictions even earlier in the pregnancy, like North Dakota’s six-week ban.”

The Daily Beast “As they do each year on Good Friday, a crowd of 150 people clutching prayer booklets huddled tightly together in a line along First Street in downtown Fargo. A young man in dark clothing and dark sunglasses wielded a statue of Jesus on the cross. Their collective message for the state’s only abortion provider, the Red River Women’s Clinic: stop killing babies.”

ABC News “For women seeking abortions in North Dakota, there’s only one place to go. Soon, it could close its doors. For more than a decade, women have driven for hundreds of miles, sometimes up to eight hours, to visit the Red River Women’s Clinic in downtown Fargo — the lone abortion provider in North Dakota since 2001 — then getting back in their cars after the procedure to drive home.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Mike_Card

    These people are totally nuts.  And they’re more than welcome to that god-forsaken piece of crap geography.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=552953037 Mark Gould

      “Someone disagrees with me, they must be crazy.”

      • Mike_Card

        I think that’s “he or she” must be crazy.  And they truly are totally nuts, whether I think so or not.

  • Ed75

    This kind of event shows that people know that abortion is a serious moral evil. This law doesn’t have much hope of success, since under Roe it will be declared unconstitutional. But it’s a move in the righ direction. The science is ever clearer that the fetus is a separate human being, and we would want to protect it. 40 years of Roe was enough.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Even if you are completely correct, you cannot stop it.  A fetus is dependent on it’s mother, and if a mother is determined not to carry to term, she won’t.  Would you like to see these mothers imprisoned or executed?

      • jimino

        Doesn’t the logic of these recent enactment legally compel all miscarriages, at any level of development, be investigated by law enforcement to determine what, if any, role the woman played in its cause?  If not, why not?

    • Duras

      When I convinced my mother to become pro-choice, I asked her if she felt that I was part of her body and she said “yes.”  Notice how I used the word “I” in my statement, yet according to my mother the “I” was inseparable from her body. 

      What is undoubtedly true is that you are regulating women’s bodies, and you are trying to criminalize women and doctors.  

      • Ed75

        The science tells us that the fetus is indeed inseparable from the mother’s body, but is not part of it, the fetus had a different genetic code, etc. And the basis of Roe is not that the law can’t tell people what to do with their bodies.

        But you’re right, you can’t make a law that no one will follow. The goal is to change minds, that people would consider it no more than one would consider slavery. (See ‘The Children of men’ by P.D. James as an interesting view.)

        We’re not trying to criminalize women, the doctors yes, because they are butchers, and they should know better. But the men involved owe women support, they bear responsibility also. And society needs to change to support women.

        • Shag_Wevera

          What about my question, Ed?  Ed?

        • Duras

          “the fetus is indeed inseparable from the mother’s body, but is not part of it.”  That is a philosophical statement even with your support of the “different genetic code.”  For one, to make abortion illegal is to govern subjugate a woman’s body which is a form of slavery.  There is the other side of the argument. 

          Second, the Right to Privacy was a central issue in Roe v. Wade. 

          Moreover, before Roe v. Wade, one out of three women got an abortion; after Roe v. Wade, one out of three women got an abortion.  I don’t think Ms. Magazine should publish photos of women dead on the floor from attempting an abortion, but maybe that is what it takes.  And that went on in a more socially conservative environment, which in all seriousness is never going to be revisited. 

        • Don_B1

          It is the “back-room” abortionists, usually NOT doctors, that are butchers, who take advantage of women who see no good alternative to that action.

          Sadly to say, it is too often the woman herself who tries to abort the fetus without having a clue as to how best to achieve it.

    • J__o__h__n

      If it were a “separate human being” why is the mother still needed after conception? 

      • Ed75

        For the same reason that an infant needs a mother or father to feed it and take care of it during the first few years of life, it can’t take care of itself.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Nonsense. A fertilized egg is about as human as an amoeba. Get a grip. 

  • Ryan Snyder

    I love this “Pro-fetus” movement.  These are the same people who are trying to get rid of subsidized lunch and milk programs for disadvantaged children.  Who cares what happens to them once their out of the womb right?? 

    • Gregg Smith

      “Who cares what happens to them once their out of the womb right??”

      Exactly, Planned Parenthood has now endorsed post-birth abortion. No biggee. Like

      • Ray in VT

        Do you have a press release or some other such statement from the organization to that effect?

        • Don_B1

          Forget waiting for an answer; Gregg undoubtedly dug that one out of some dark inner recess of his mind.

          • Ray in VT

            I was sort of expecting a reply.  Maybe I won’t get one after all.

      • hennorama

        Gregg Smith – that is complete and utter inanity, not to mention inaccurate, internally illogical, and intentionally inflammatory.

    • William

      So if we outlaw abortion and give out more milk and cookies at schools we are all good?

      • Don_B1

        No; taxes have to go up enough to ensure that:

        1) Every pregnant woman has access to a full range of doctors for monthly checkups and nutritionists for consultation on their diets.

        2) Every parent can take cooking lessons so that they can cook good wholesome food at home.

        3) Every parent with children living at home has household income double the current poverty level.

        4) There is adequate child services for day care and learning for children in every town or city.

        5) There are city/town supported activities for all children so that children do not have to be kept inside the home to keep them from gang violence outside.

        6) There is a strong movement, put into law, to reduce pollution that is putting endocrine hormones in the environment to the detriment of children’s brain and other organ development, and a path for reduction of CO2 pollution that will make the world unlivable for the children being brought into this world which under current sources of energy will go from being just over-populated to severely so, until the climate change causes massive deaths, through famine, war and disease.

        If that triples your taxes, it is all for the good of the children you are championing today. It will also cause a strong growth in GDP.

        • William

           1. Why? Are most/all women unable to work and pay their own way?

          2. Makes no sense

          3. Did not happen in the previous generations why now?

          4. Did not happen in the previous generations why now?

          5. Why? Parents can have children but unable to raise them?

          6. The USA is largely under populated so we can handle any increase in new kids.

          You under estimate the average American’s ability to have children and raise them without taxpayer assistance.

          • Don_B1

            The “average” poor American’s ability to have and raise children is not anywhere near what you assume.

            1) Women in that condition often have a low-pay job with long hours and may have other children. Being pregnant is a good way to lose the job, particularly if the woman has medical issues and no health insurance. But you don’t seem to have a clue as to the life poor women are subject to.

            2) Many young people have no idea about nutrition and how to select food at the store and cook it when they bring it home. That leads to children with all kinds of medical problems, from obesity to diabetes, and households which spend too much money on food that is not nutritious.

            3) The country is paying deeply for the disfunction that is bred in inner-city households with below poverty incomes. Forcing that family to support more children, if only for the duration of the pregnancy, creates more disfunction.

            4) When the country was mainly agricultural, until roughly post WWII, women (those who did not work in one of the three occupations available, teacher, nurse, or nun) could do productive work at home and simultaneously care for children. Let’s require ALL workplaces to allow women or men to bring any and all children under their care to work! Every workplace would have to provide high level appropriate child care for children of their employees.

            5) Today’s workplace keeps parents away from supervising their children for much of the day. Wealthy people have little problem hiring a nanny or sending children to day care, but pay for even most middle class parents does not cover day care of much quality.

            6) It is not the population density that is the problem; it is the energy intensity of the American people, combined with the source of that energy, largely fossil fuels.

            Of course you knew all this from reading other posts on this site’s programs.

            Your points were largely facetious and appealed to those who are ignorant of what is going on and don’t think through the problems of the modern world.

          • William

             We can’t afford to fix people’s poor choices in life.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1155042916 Mike Hanson

      Just because we I dont think its my responsibility to clothe/feed/house/etcetera every child (thats the job of the mom and dad) doesn’t mean I think its right to murder them before they are born. 

      • Don_B1

        If you support forcing a woman who is pregnant by rape (or incest) then you need to take responsibility for raising that child. You also owe the woman compensation for the time and health problems that may come her way as a result of that pregnancy.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1155042916 Mike Hanson

          Slow down there champ … According to the CDC abortions that are performed on victims of rape or incest are about 1% of the total and those performed for reasons of health of the mother are about 3%. Since the number is so small, 1% according to the CDC, I would have NO problem supporting these children. But since the other 96% are being done because someone won’t take responsibility for what they have done I won’t pay one dime.

          • http://profiles.google.com/evoldeth On Dre

            maybe you should also pay back all the vegetarians for their tax contribution to the FDA (nevermind the subsidies that cattlemen recieve).  Maybe we should refund the tax contributions that all the anti-war people made for a war that they didnt support.  The list is endless.  Instead of that why dont you accept that some of anyones tax contribution will go to things they do not support.  Otherwise you sound like somebody with control issues.

  • Duras

    Jesus never talked about abortion or gay marriage, yet republicans carry their crosses to Washington on those issues.  While the things Jesus was public about–helping the poor and condemning the rich–republicans are not only silent, but do the opposite to Jesus’s teachings.  Charity to republicans is nothing more than a way to hold back the real policy that reduce poverty and create social mobility.   

    The right wing are not Christians.  They pick and choose Old Testament passages to moralize and solidify an ideology of control, inequality, and bigotry.  They entrench themselves with issues that are briefly mentioned in the Bible while eschewing the core morality threaded from page 1 to the end. 

    Nixon, who didn’t care about the abortion issue at all, was told that he could split the democrat party if he came out as pro-choice.  Republicans speak to the lowest common denominator with these wedge issues, giving the feeling of control over women’s bodies, stirring up racism with their nonsense “food stamp” arguments to get you to vote against your own economic interests.  That’s why the middle class has been falling apart since 1980.  That’s why average income dropped $2,000 during the W years before the recession. 

    If only these tribal right wing ideologues would actually read the Bible and actually follow the principles Jesus lays down, we may return to the political economy that built the great American middle class. 

    Jesus never said, help the rich, cut healthcare for the poor, and let the moneychangers do as they please.   

    • brettearle

      I’m pro-choice.

      But you can’t deny that Jesus would obviously be fully pro-Life–with regard to the abortion issue.

      We can’t literally prove that, of course–because medical technology, that would cover safe and legal abortion, was never there, during Biblical times.

      But everyone can extrapolate, nearly 100% that Jesus would be fully against abortion.

      That is the point.

      Your other points, while essential, are not the issues that we’re debating.

      Even if they should be the issues to debate, they aren’t.

      The real point is that once again–over and over–we see Right wing Ideologues trying to legislate what they consider to be Morality. 

      • Duras

        The bigger point to my argument is not what we can extrapolate but the nature of religiosity and the what should be the focus of a person who claims to follow the footsteps of Jesus. 

        And I disagree that everyone can extrapolate 100% that Jesus would be fully against abortion.  In St. Augustine’s Confessions he cannot decide whether or not he had a soul while he was in his mother’s womb and he leaves the conversation on that matter undecided.

        And I think my comment gets at what is underneath this issue: republican politicians like Bush and Ryan, etc. don’t care about abortion but use the issue for what really matters: economics.   That’s not to say abortion wouldn’t be a big issue if Nixon hadn’t started the ball from rolling, but republican politicians who don’t really care about the issue have energized the pro-life movement.

        • brettearle

          You make interesting points–some of which from my own point of view, may, or may not, be sound. 

          I would argue two points.

          Your cynicism, about the Right, goes too far, I think.

          There are surely some right wing lawmakers who feel strongly about the Abortion issue, as a moral problem–regardless of Economics.

          Does Christianity define the soul as un-alive, not awakened, or un-emergent, while in the womb?

          Or is that St. Augustine’s `take’? 

          For St. Augustine to question when Life begins, based on the life of the soul, may not necessarily be the way that the consensus of Christian thought sees it.

          But he could be right.

          Certainly, to point out Right Wing hypocrisy, regarding the poor and scripture, is spot-on.

          • Duras

            I agree with you that my cynicism of the right goes too far.  I did try to keep it measured when I mentioned Bush and Ryan instead of mentioning Bachmann and Santorum who to my mind actually believe what they say.

            As for St. Augustine, I was going to write the passage out but it is too long.  It comes specifically from Confessions Book I, chapter 9 – 12.

            He is perplexed and indescribable but he uses biblical evidence to suggest that a soul doesn’t exist until birth with the notion of original sin: “none is pure from sin before you, not even an infant of one day upon earth;” (Job 14: 4-5 LXX).  But he is cautious because of his belief that God is in all things mutable.  He just can’t decide if the unborn are people.

            To me, barring his beliefs about the social rolls of women and the roll of the laity, St. Augustine is a brilliant theologian, and a good articulate of the best moral of the bible: that a person of means has obligation to stop suffering.  He a good example of a follower of Bible’s core ethics.

            And he seems to be cautious of giving personhood to anything outside of living, breathing human beings.  Something the right wing has a terrible habit of doing.  St. Augustine doesn’t seem to have that tragic flaw.    


          • brettearle

            I may very well not be as schooled as you are on these matters.

            With or without the benefit of a good education at an institute of Theology, when you say “that a person of means has obligation to stop suffering”, as the best moral of the Bible…..

            Are you saying that those who have had an opportunity to be saved, by recognizing Jesus as their personal savior, are the ones who will be blessed, on Earth as it is Heaven?

          • Duras

            I’ll state it a little better, but I state in the form of negation:

            If you have the means to stop suffering but do not, you are immoral.  It is the “good Samaritan” law, and Jesus was a good Samaritan.  I think there are three ethics that run through the entire Bible, the before mentioned, fidelity to God, and revenge (which is really God’s). 

            To me, the best Christians are ones who find God in a morality that works in every situation like “stopping suffering,”–one doesn’t have to believe in the miracles, take the text literally, or follow the 613 commandments to be a good Christian. 

          • brettearle

            Why do you think it’s necessary for God to seek revenge–even if it’s justified?

      • skeptic150

        1) I am not convinced Jesus actually existed.
        2) Abortion has been around since before the existence of Christianity.
        3) Again, I think Jesus’ views would be whatever the Christians du jour decide – I think that much we actually can reasonably predict.

    • Ed75

      In the earliest document of Christian practice, the Didache (ca 100 A.D.), abortion and infanticide are named as a terrible crimes to be avoided. And the Catholic Church has always taught this. A pagan writer wrote of the Christians ‘…they share their food … but not their wives … they do not expose their childen’.

      Jesus did say of Judas ‘It had been better for him had he never been born’, implying that to be (conceived), but never to reach birth, is a bad thing, though not the worst thing possible. There is hope for these children.

      • Duras

        First off, in the Old Testament, God aborts fetuses.  Not to be crude, but that is a minor point.

        Second, like I told brett, St. Augustine didn’t give personhood to the unborn.

        Third, Judas is actually the real tragic hero of the story: he was the one whose love for Christ was the greatest, and it was for this reason that Christ considered him strong enough to fulfill the horrible mission of betraying him, thus assuring the accomplishment of Christ’s destiny (the Crucifixion).  The tragedy of Judas was that in the name of his dedication to the Cause, he was prepared to risk not only his life but even his ‘second life,’ his posthumous good name: he knows very well that he will enter history as the one who betrayed the Saviour, and he is prepared to endure even that for the fulfillment of God’s mission.  Jesus used Judas as a means to attain his goal, knowing very well that his own suffering would be transformed into a model imitated by millions (imitatio Christi), while Judas’s sacrifice is a pure loss without any narcissistic benefit.

        That isn’t so much of a point as it is something I like to tell Christians in order to remind them that they don’t really know what they are talking about.

        Fourth, don’t mention what Pagan’s say about Christians because Christians destroyed their libraries and universities and killed them.  Read the story of Hypathia which is pretty much the starting point of the Dark Ages. 

        • d clark

          Well, the people who knew Judas didn’t consider him a hero. They considered him a traitor (Matthew 10:4) and a thief (John 12:5-6).

          • Duras

            Of course, that’s the point of my reading.  What is true humility? 

        • brettearle

          Without becoming too esoteric–if that’s possible, because this subject lends itself, naturally, to esoterica–how are you defining narcissistic?

          I certainly think Christian theologians would take issue with you–if you ascribe narcissistic to Christ’s motives.

          I can sort of see why you are saying that–but, literally, your interpretation could very well be seen as a very high form of heresy.

          • Duras

            No doubt my interpenetration can be seen as heresy.  And I am being intentionally provocative, but it is a dynamic reading of the New Testament and I thought was worth sharing.

            I define narcissism as a desire to set oneself apart from others (and humanity) in heroic fashion.  But, I say that there are healthy forms of this desire, and I think Jesus story is a health form of narcissism, but narcissism nonetheless, especially when compared to the role of Judas.

            As far as religions go, I think Judaism is the best, and I think the story of Jesus was initially an attempt to reform Judaism.  I like the religion because their god is a radical otherness, and projecting likeness to humans and the human world is narcissistic and polytheistic.  Judaism is probably the only true monotheistic religion.  Moreover, the Jews have generally gotten past literalism and views their religion metaphorically, which to me is a more genuine theology.    

          • brettearle

            Obviously, I know what `metaphorically’ means–but how are you using it, when contemplating Yahweh? 

      • J__o__h__n

        What about the poor Egyptian first born sons?  They certainly had heartbeats. 

        • Ray in VT

          They had it coming.

        • Ed75

          Not for long…. (We just heard that read on Saturday.)

      • sickofthechit

         To me it doesn’t imply that.  It implies that their is a difference between the born and conceived.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Don’t you know that Jesus was actually the CEO of Galilee Capital Management?

      The most absurd argument in this whole debate is that a fertilized egg is a human being. Geez, talk about throwing common sense out the window!

      St Thomas Aquinas said the soul doesn’t enter a fetus until about 3 ms, and that sounds reasonable to me….not that I think that the religious have any special status in this matter.

    • skeptic150

      It appears the mythological Jesus had/has whatever views the Christians du jour decide.

  • margbi

    After Obama was elected in 2008 Republicans developed a strategy for mid-term and state elections. They SAID they were going to provide jobs – that was the most important thing and   that was their whole program. So they got into office and what happened? A ton of legislation devoted to criminalizing abortion and  controlling women’s reproductive health.  And assuming that their program was successful, would it work? Highly doubtful – women have tried to control their lives forever, no matter the obstacles. It’s a shame we have to revisit issues we thought were long settled.

    • brettearle

      Just pray that the Republican President in 2016–and I believe the country will want a party change, in 2016 regardless of the current President’s legacy–doesn’t chose Chief Justices, for the Supreme Court, as successors to ones who might retire or whose medical conditions renders them unfit for the seat.

      Because, if your prayers aren’t answered, you might (certainly, not definitely) be looking at Roe v Wade being overturned.

      Ginsberg, Breyer, Kennedy and Scalia might be on the verge of departure.

      Those aren’t the greatest of odds–if you’re Pro-choice.

    • Don_B1

      Not only are Republicans pushing laws to eliminate the possibility of abortion, they are pushing laws to cut access to inexpensive contraception, which will increase the number of women who become candidates for an abortion.

      Remember that at least 60% of the women who do have an abortion are already mothers.

      The pregnancies that are aborted by these women are likely viewed by the women as more than they can deal with and, for the type of employment that many women have, just the pregnancy could result in their loss of the job that supports the children that they already have.

      But the people who adamantly pursue these measures to restrict the ability of women, mostly poor women, to control their own bodies, have no idea of the effects their actions will have on the lives of these women.

  • Markus6

    I disagree with the anti-abortionists and wish they’d stay out of a decision that’s not theirs to make. However, I don’t question their sincerity and respect their position that life begins earlier than I think it does. 

    But they’re screwing up the bigger picture. We’re almost 17 Trillion in debt. Just at the time when we need fiscal conservatives (as opposed to the supposedly conservative republicans in Congress), these folks will drive voters to the party that appears to be even more comfortable with debt than the republicans.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    If everything is God’s Will aren’t any abortions that occur intentional by design?

    Why are those who constantly shout how much they love their god the first to break one of the fundamental tenants of Christianity?

    Judge not.

    • Ray in VT

      I’ve sometimes contemplated your first question, Drew.  The response seems to boil down to that it is God’s will if it is something that you fits into your conception of God’s will, but if not, then it isn’t.  That’s how God can direct hurricanes but not stop an abortion.  It also makes me think about those who promote predestination.  If everything is destined and predetermined, then what is the motivation to do anything, as your fate is already known.

      • brettearle

        But your fate is not necessarily known to yourself.

        That is one of the ultimate quandaries.

        [And, of course, God’s Will, if it exists, may very well be extraneous from our beliefs.

        There is no way of knowing how selective or non-selective God is–about how He can arrange circumstances to allow, direct, or disallow, either Hurricanes or Abortions.

    • Ed75

      Not everything is God’s direct will. Many things are God’s permitted will – he allows it to happen, for example out of respect for our free will. God also allows the consequences.

      • J__o__h__n

        Is punishing sinners with natural disasters part of his respecting free will and its consequences? 

        • Don_B1

          Particularly when the natural disaster punishes more innocents than sinners, how does that power of “God’s direct will” reflect to the “glory of God”?

          I somehow think Ed75 may have a problem there.

  • Jasoturner

    Three thoughts:

    If it were men who were subject to abortion services, I strongly suspect it would  be legal and widely available.

    It has always struck me as odd that with hundreds of thousands of non-Americans dying from starvation and genocide and war around the world each year that these folks don’t focus their attention and money on places where they would be almost guaranteed to help prevent death, rather than try to overcome the convictions of an American who disagrees with them and chooses to have an abortion.

    The willingness to impose one’s moral beliefs on others, regardless of the sincerity or intent, is anti-democratic.  Moral persuasion has a long and honored place in our history, denying freedom of choice on a personal decision, not so much.

  • Ed75

    Bravo for Charmaine Yoest!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=779240187 Meghan Kirkwood

    I find it hard to take seriously the care for life when measures such as these are not proposed alongside measures to reduce childhood poverty, and, specifically in the North Dakota case, increases in funding for special education. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=779240187 Meghan Kirkwood

    I find it hard to take seriously the care for life when measures such as
    these are not proposed alongside measures to reduce childhood poverty,
    and, specifically in the North Dakota case, increases in funding for
    special education.  

    • TomK_in_Boston

      The righty commitment to life begins at conception and ends at birth.

      • pete18

         Nope, no talking point there. Everybody move along.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          If you ever have a thought, I’d be happy to hear it.

  • Coastghost

    Boston, the self-proclaimed “intellectual capital of the United States”, leading a discussion on states’ “reigning in” (sic) abortion laws? There’s fatuous nonsense, and then there’s fatuous nonsense. Or no: someone is merely being too clever by well over half. (Or: theirs fatuous nonsense, and then they’res fatuous nonsense.)

    • d clark

      And your attempt at intellect has ended in venomous vacuity and silly sophistry. Get thee to a Thesaurus!

      • Coastghost

        I make no claim about my intellect: I’m merely a competent proofreader.

        • J__o__h__n

          Shouldn’t you have used ; not :?

          • Coastghost

            When I’m not a competent proofreader, I’m a competent stylist: plus, I hold a mild aesthetic animus towards semi-colons. (Granted, I haven’t used any Chicago Manual of Style since the 13th edition.)

          • 1Brett1

            Interesting…most find the colon more aesthetically unappealing than the semi-colon. 

        • brettearle

           Somebody has to rain in the Webmaster’s copyeditor.

      • Don_B1

        Ad hominem attacks are used because they appeal to those who have no wish or ability to think deeper on the subject, and will accept anything that confirms their prejudices.

  • Coastghost

    –and to the kid holding the “TRUST WOMEN” sign for prominent display: grow up and read Machiavelli’s “Belfagor”. Then read Juvenal’s Sixth Satire. Then read Aristophanes. (Be advised: you may have to read furtively, schoolmarms can tolerate only so much dissent.)

  • creaker

    ? – no mention of the new law ND passed – no abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detectable. Depending on the equipment used that could be at as little as 5 weeks. Given pregnancy tests don’t work until the embryo has implanted, that could give a window of less than 3 weeks to figure out you’re pregnant, schedule and receive the abortion. And the possibility of aborting because of birth defects or a nonviable fetus is out the window.

  • creaker

    There should be some talk of safe haven laws and the costs for the state to raise children, especially those with special needs. If abortion is no longer a possible legal option, this becomes the next viable legal option.

    • creaker

      Thinking along these lines I wonder, if this all has less to do with the sanctity of life, and more to do with creating a new industry – child warehousing for profit, much like the prisons for profit which are becoming more and more common.

  • Ray in VT

    So, here’s a real situation.  My sister was pregnant, and during the course of the pregnancy her doctors determined that the fetus was so terribly deformed (I don’t know the exact conditions) that it would not survive.  She, her husband and her doctors chose to abort and try again (she lost her next pregnancy at about 8 months, just FYI), based upon that medical diagnosis.  So, would there be no level of horrendous deformity that would be cause to allow for an abortion under this North Dakota law?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      You got it. Hate to break it to you, but some people think your sister isn’t a being with agency, she’s merely a vessel.

      My condoleces. Your patience is commendable. If that happened to someone so close to me I’d be seething about it.

      • Ray in VT

        It’s a tough situation, and she and I have never directly spoken about it.  Our mother gave me the details.  As for her later pregnancy, that was the tougher one, I think.  My brother in law says that my sister has held onto the things that they had for him, and that he catches her crying over them every now and again, and it happened 10 years ago.  They had a name and everything.  He could have made it, but something very drastic happened very fast, and I still don’t think that they quite know why.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          I don’t wish to sound crass, but at least you didn’t have a Terry Schiavo situation where your sister’s health was a fixation for a clatch of very science-ignorant public figures inserting themselves between doctor and patient.

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t think that you sound crass.  The Terri Schiavo was so tragic.  I think that it was so sad that it got kicked around as part of the politics of the issue.  It certainly should compel people to make sure that they plan ahead so that should such a tragic event befall them that their wishes are known and can be respected.  I understand, to a certain extent, the position of the parents in that case, though.  It must be a terrible thing to lose a child, or, worse yet, to have them stuck in some situation that is in between.  I can understand how they did not want to let her body go, even though her mind was already gone.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            “I don’t think that you sound crass.”

            Well, thank you.

            Like I always say, the internet scrubs off vocal inflection and non-verbal language, making some kinds of coummunication more difficult to do properly than face-to-face.

          • Don_B1

            First, my deepest condolences to everyone in your family.

            But i can imagine the further horror, beyond the Terry Schiavo case, for families like yours, would be when, after either lost pregnancy, and probably worse following the second, would (and will in these kind of states) occur when the District Attorney came by to impound the remains and grill all the family, doctors, etc. to decide on taking them to court on killing a fetus.

            The trauma of a criminal investigation on top of that of losing a highly desired child is something that I could and would not even try to imagine.

            The continuing destruction of the lives of families living through this is widely unknown generally.

            But many marriages break up following the loss of a pregnancy or the birth of a child with great disabilities.

            How will increasing the trauma for such families help the lives of children already members of those families?

            Again, my deepest sympathy for your sister and her struggle to deal with the loss of two children.

            The inability of Republicans, who generally profess great religiosity,to empathize with those types of situations is the aspect I cannot empathize with.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that you have brought up an interesting issue regarding these personhood moves.  In the cases of a miscarriage or a stillbirth, then would that not be considered some sort of suspicious death that just might require and investigation?  Would a woman who suffers a miscarriage be required to obtain a death certificate, just as one would if a week old child died?  It raises some “interesting” legal and proceedural issues.

    • Human898

      Under the proposed ND law, there is the possibility that some, perhaps all, miscarriages will require an investigation and certification that they were not caused by anything, but some natural occurrence. In addition, what will the fines or sentencces be under prosecution be for those who “murder” a part of their own body?

    • 1Brett1

      I proposed a scenario to you just the other day, Ray, without knowing of your own experiences with these issues…seems you knew first-hand what I was talking about.

      There have been so many of us affected by these issues in real ways, in real-life situations…My beef is with the zealots who stand on sanctimony and religiosity as their argument and dismiss the various real-life problems that go along with restrictions on abortion and on an individual woman’s reproductive rights. 

      • Ray in VT

        It does seem that the approach that the pro-life (and I will use that term at least this one time I guess) groups is to make access as difficult as possible while still having it be theoretically legal, and, as your scenario laid out, such obstacles could quickly cause one to run through any limited funds that one might have available.  I have severe doubts about abortion the further along the pregnancy is, but I do not think that people take these decisions lightly, and I really would prefer in as many cases as possible, if not all cases, to allow for the decisions of the patient and the doctor to be the ultimate deciders, and not legislators.

        • 1Brett1

          That is well said, Ray. At least it is expressed in the way I would express my feelings about the issue. 

    • lilroyal

       Heres another real situation  (I apologize for my spelling and writing clumsiness in advance): I had a tubal ectopic pregnancy about a year ago (My husband and I are/were wanting children, and this was our first attempt). I ended up in the ER last Easter; they didn’t see anything on the ultrasound, so they thought I had miscarried. 2 weeks later, my blood results were still coming back as pregnant; at which point they did another ultrasound and determined that it was a tubal ectopic pregnancy. I was well past the 6 week mark.

      A tubal ectopic pregnancy is considered a medical emergency, and despite a random blogger or two claiming that they “know someone or read somewhere”, an ectopic tubal pregnancy cannot result in a successful pregnancy/viable fetus.

      Your choices with a tubal ectopic pregnancy: Wait until your tube ruptures and hope that you make it to the hospital before you bleed out; have surgery to remove the tube (the catholic church now accepts this option, as it is not considered abortion because you are removing the tube to save the mother;as a primary reason; but is still terminates the pregnancy). The third option, a shot of methotrexate which causes the cells to stop growing, ending the pregnancy.

      We chose the option that our Dr. recommended. And we are still trying a year later to get pregnant. “Being Responsible” as stated in other replies, has nothing to do with it.

  • Emily311

    Laws like North Dakota’s miss the point. Women got abortions all the time before Roe. The law ensures that these are taking place safely- not using coat hangers or something equally awful.

    • Coastghost

      –like an unregulated, uninspected Pennsylvania abortion clinic, for instance.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Remember when right-wingers running for legislatures everywhere trumpted that told us that Jobs are Job 1?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Wow, Grande calls a fetus with a heartbeat a “potential life”.

    Piker! Why not call it a child, like every other forced birther?

    The more I hear her prattle on uninterrupted, the more I think this show needs a real scientist.

  • Rex Henry

    The bill states that a heartbeat is still a POTENTIAL life. If the fetus has a genetic defect, does it cease to be a potential life?
    Oh, and we aren’t picking and choosing- SCIENCE and life is picking and choosing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jhayesboh James Hayes-Bohanan

    Rep. Grande has a lot of nerve using the word “we” repeatedly when referring to decisions that are to be made by the Mother. She might as well file a bill for secession of her state from the Land of the Free.

  • MrNutso

    Good question Tom.  What if it’s Satan?

  • Eric Herot

    Since your guest is so concerned about “not discriminating against the disabled,” I must assume that this bill also includes provisions to help parents of disabled children pay for the care of those children, no?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Does a woman know at 6 weeks whether she’s pregnant or not?  Younger women, in their teens, and older women, I suppose lots of women, have irregular periods.  I suppose a woman could say if I ever have sex, I’ll take the day-after pill.  It seems pretty drastic.

    • 1776US

      Oh, but that pill may be illegal, too: especially for teens.

  • Human898

    It’s OK to “pick and choose” after birth, but not before?

    What is the definition of “birth” and what business is it of anyone’s, but the mother, when it comes to whether to give birth to a life.   What’s sad is that Betty IS making “those decisions”, yet wants to deny others their ability to choose.

    What about the big business adoption and human trafficking is? http://www.originscanada.org/infant.pdf

    • 1776US

      Yes!  There is so much nonsense around this that it shouldn’t even be an issue.

  • CatInBoston

    You know what the best way to prevent abortions is? Preventing unwanted fetuses in the first place! If you want to ‘protect life,’ then you should be 100% behind universal contraception accessibility. If you’re against abortion AND contraception? You’re not for life. You’re for controlling women.

    • 1776US

      Nicely said.

  • Lorna Lippes

    And is the state of N. Dakota going to pay for this lifesaving inside the womb surgery?

  • creaker

    A lot of women will be forced to stay pregnant with a fetus that is known won’t survive. What’s the point of that?

    • 1776US

      God’s will, I guess.  God doesn’t like women, or their bodies.

      • Don_B1

        Stripping the appropriate sarcasm in your post, it’s more likely some human’s view of God’s will.

  • OnpointListener

    Tom -

    Can you please confine your guests to the appropriate scientific terms:  ovum and sperm-zygote-embryo-fetus-child.

    A zygote is not a child.  

    Without interference, up to 70% of zygotes will never mature to viable pregnancy resulting in the birth of a child, due to a failure to implant or due to miscarriage.  Somewhere between 30-60% of embryo’s never implant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/caroline.m.hale Caroline Miller Hale

    Ask Betty Grande or any of your guests if her state is financially able to care for the children who are given up for adoption because they have Down’s syndrome or are born from rape or incest.

    • Don_B1

      Right now, most North Dakotans probably feel flush with the money from fracked oil. But in 30 years or so, when the fracking process has depleted most of the easily retrieved oil, it will likely be a different story.

      Also, the demand for oil should be a lot lower if this country has made the necessary investments in clean sustainable non-fossil-fuel energy.

    • 1776US


  • hellokitty0580

    Its all well and good for conservatives to force children to be born, but forget any laws that increase funding for early childhood education or education in general. Forget any increase in welfare programs for young and struggling single parents or families. Forget any laws that address growing populations and the detriment that its doing to our environment. And FORGET any laws or IDEALS that protect a woman’s right to HER OWN BODY and her right to decide how she wants to care for it.

    So basically what it comes down to with conservatives is they can determine when and where people are brought into this world, but forget the rest of the life they said was so important it outweighed the rights of the woman carrying that “potential life.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/atomicdesignads Robert J Zeleniak

    Rep. Grande made several comments about what happens “inside the womb.” Perhaps she could turn her attention to the discrimination of her LGBT constituents. No provision of North Dakota law explicitly addresses discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Emily311

    If ND wants to pass laws like this, they ought to pay for a child’s healthcare, college education, clothes, food- everything.

  • ggiotopoulos

    Bette Grande represents all that is wrong with politics and this country. Instead of focusing on issues like the economy, jobs, US competitiveness in the world and social justice she focuses on some foolish religious issue.

    I’d like you to ask her if she’s done anything of value for her state? Has she? Or is she just focused on this crap?

    It would be justice if someone close to her was raped and had to keep the baby. She deserves that.

    • sickofthechit

      No one ever deserves that.

      • ggiotopoulos

        Is this to my comment?

        If so, yes she does deserve that choice-less choice. This idiot is restricting our freedom. So, let it happen to someone she loves and I can bet you that girl would be on the first plane to Massachusetts where she would get her abortion.

        • Don_B1

          Ms. Grande probably does deserve to have a costly event in her life; but the other members of her family may not. I can not justify bringing problems to someone who may not deserve them in order to get vengeance on someone else who does.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Discrimination in the womb is becoming refined exponentially with genetic testing and greater understanding of the effects of toxic exposures, for instance, even a couple of generations back.  I know I’ve always felt that I needed to personally stand up to the prevailing social mores that say anybody giving birth has societal privileges and respect.  My own body was always weird, and doctors did not have any way of understanding it.  Especially under those circumstances, I would consider it very unfair to an infant to be born of my particular body.  If it came to it, I would go the coat hanger route.  Half a century later, I have a pretty good understanding of what was going on with my body.  
        But there is an extent to which a woman maybe knows better than anyone else what is fair or unfair to the offspring.  If she does know, she knows.  Or has an intuition.  If not, that’s another story.

  • MarkVII88

    I’m frankly amazed.  Republicans and conservatives failed this last election cycle due in large part, by their own admission, on a failure of their policies, image, and messaging to resonate with young people and minorities.  These are the same groups of people who are most likely to be of child-bearing age and be effected by anti-abortion legislation.  What’s really behind this effort against abortion?  Distraction from the real (ie.fiscal) issues negatively impacting our country?  Are they trying to come up with something they can appear strong on, driving the debate towards the same social issues conservatives have historically gravitated towards?  Is this a way to try and restore some kind of cosmic “balance” given the increasing levels of support and publicity of marriage equality recently?  Or is this just how Republicans/conservatives metaphorically “jerk off” and get their jollies?  Seems like a real waste of time and effort/money.

    • Don_B1


      And while the financial conservatives are undoubtedly deeply worried about these “social provocations,” the “social conservatives,” mostly evangelicals and conservative Catholics, have blinders on and are marching to their drummer, as they have no worries about temporal things and see themselves preparing their lives in heaven.

  • creaker

    Just for perspective on the viability thing – a fetus at 6 weeks is about 2-3mm long.

  • bostonsinger

    I am unclear how ‘pro-life’ has become such a passionate ‘Christian’
    movement, it’s not very clearly addressed in the bible, and in one place it
    says if you accidentally cause a fetus to be lost, just give the family some
    money and it’s fine. I heard it was an issue that was drummed up in the 60s for
    political strategy and hardly existed in politics before that… is that true?

  • Kathy

    The guest is lying.

    • Don_B1

      Which guest and on what issue?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jhayesboh James Hayes-Bohanan

    Good job, Tom, deflecting Rep. Grande’s effort to bully the professor. Among many other things, she needs to understand the purpose of universities.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jhayesboh James Hayes-Bohanan

      She enthusiasm for science is also amazingly selective.

  • Anita Paul

    I guess if a child is raped by their father, brother, male cousin is just too bad.

  • Annie Tye

    Unless pro-lifers are adopting unwanted children, they should re-think the relevance of their opinion.  There are too many children languishing in foster care, why don’t Bette Grande and colleagues care about them??  So sad!

  • creaker

    Have ND lawmakers done any research and planning for what this will cost? Ethics aside, they’ll need to pass the budgets to cover all this and they better start planning ahead.

  • bostonsinger

    I am unclear how ‘pro-life’ has become such a passionate ‘Christian’
    movement, it’s not very clearly addressed in the bible, and in one place it
    says if you accidentally cause a fetus to be lost, just give the family some
    money and it’s fine. I heard it was an issue that was drummed up in the 60s for
    political strategy and hardly existed in politics before that… is that true?

  • MrNutso

    Can she be any more stident?

  • Chuck Penn

     If North Dakota was a pro-life state before territorial times then why did we kill so many native peoples who were living there?

    • Don_B1

      Because the native peoples could inflict pain on the white settlers who wished to displace them.

  • skeptic150

    Chickens, cows, and pigs have heartbeats (and are more sentient than fetuses). Are these lawmakers banning inhumane treatment and slaughter of chickens, cows, and pigs?

  • copyjill

    There is such hypocrasy in the far-right pro-life movement. For instance, making a woman, or girl, go full-term when she has been raped, isn’t just about delivering a baby for this mother. If she chooses to keep the baby, she’s faced with a lifetime of work to keep that child healthy, happy and educated. Where are our far-right conservatives then? Lobbying to cut the very services that can help this continually-victimized mother. It’s rape all over again.

    • 1776US


  • Scott B

    “Potenial life” would then be an unfertilized egg and a sperm cell.

    At some point even medicine can’t make an earlt stage fetus viable.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Caller Craig goes right to the same old anti-abortion laundry list.

    Does Craig sound like black flag pro-choice operative just reciting all the crazy right-wing crap?

  • Scott B

    The pro-life people make it sound like the women getting abortions do this in a whim, like they’re going to the mall for shoes, a take in a movie, and get an abortion. That, somehow, these women are heartless beings without a conscience, and don’t understand their bodies, their minds, their hearts, or their social and economic situation. 

  • http://twitter.com/magsiniowa Militant Mags

    Somebody shut this ranting woman Grande (Fred’s little sister maybe?) up – please Tom you are turning On Point into the next Jerry Springer show by allowing these fringe lunatics on, its decreasing the quality of this show! And allowing “Greg” from Cedar Rapids on isn’t helping to change this (he does NOT represent . This isn’t states rights, this is a woman’s right! If Rep Betty insists on forcing women in ND to carry these fetuses then maybe she should stop being such a huge repug hypocrite and support these children AFTER their born!

  • Emily311

    So, if you don’t like a Supreme Court ruling, just ignore it. 

  • John Travers

    In my opinion, laws of this sort violate the laws against involuntary servitude. Any woman may be forcibly impregnated and forced to carry the fetus to term. This is completely objectionable. Where is the responsibility of the male who creates this pregnancy?

    • 1776US

      Nice point.

  • d_w_f

    If Big Brother government does not allow a woman the possibility of abortion, it should pay child support to the woman.  Maybe, $10,000 or $15,000 per year until the child is 18.

  • DeJay79

    As a “potential life issue” does that mean the State can say I can’t have a vasectomy because that kills future Potential Life?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Even moreso: Will an undue drop in a males’ sperm count rise to the level of infanticide?

    • Human898

      I’s the future, but then, there are no absolutes, even the so called “pro-lifers” (anti-choice) get to pick and choose, for others!

    • 1776US

      … And forced motherhood is also forced fatherhood.  How many pro-lifers ever made a youthful indiscretion?  Do they want to pay back child support?

    • Don_B1

      I can’t wait until the Pro-Life group works for a law requiring a woman be found to carry to term ALL the frozen zygotes from the IVF companies.

      • DeJay79

         exactly, what about the rights of IVF zygotes, they don’t have a heart beat yet but they could and we should protect their right to live!

        Free the frozen zygotes!

  • Brian Colleran

    With all that oil money, why doesn’t the representative offer women withunwanted pregnancies full financial support to carry the pregnancy to term, and provide a home for the baby once it’s born. Oh, and make it optional. She can be as supportive as possible of babies, and still not force her opinions on anyone. She’d have a greater impact reducing abortions this way instead of making a fuss in a culture war. 

  • skeptic150

    “Potential life” is problematic. Philosophers,
    theologians, scientists, and doctors do not even agree as to when “human
    life” actually begins.  Politicians are the least qualified (and, in general, least educated, it appears) to comment on this, much
    less pass legislation related to this.

  • Jenny Williams

    This is one of the most complex issues of our time, but pundits and activists frequently oversimplify it. By the logic of the pro-lifers, fertilized embryos would have to be implanted and carried to term. I escorted women through protesters at abortion clinics in the eighties and have consistently voted pro-choice, but the older I get, the more opposed to abortion I become. However, this is MY opinion, and I don’t want to legislate it to others. If ALL of us, pro-choice and pro-life, would focus our energies on preventing unwanted pregnancies, we would better serve women and humanity.

    • Human898

      Unwanted pregnancies are dropping in number due to people and organizations like Planned Parenthood, working towards preventing them, in spite of and despite those who want to suggest abstinence is the only form of preventing unwanted pregnancies they’ll accept.

    • J__o__h__n

      A large number of the anti-abortion advocates also oppose contraception. 

  • creaker

    I can imagine a strategy of states passing an endless stream of unconstitutional anti-abortion laws, which would by enforced be the states until they are judged unconstitutional. Like it was said on the show the law would be constitutional until it is ruled otherwise.

  • Scott B

    The same people that don’t want abortions to be legal, nor to fund them through social services aid, nor even private insurance, are very same people that fight sex education, free condom programs, and ignore known costs to tax payers and society in increased use of social services and medicaid, lost wages, even increased crime.

  • skeptic150

    1) The risk of death from pregnancy and delivery is greater than the risk of death from an elective pregnancy termination. Politicians should not take away a woman’s choice to avoid a greater risk of death from pregnancy and delivery. Pregnancy termination should be a decision between a woman, her physician, and her spouse/partner as applicable. Politicians (predominantly white, male, Christian fundamentalists) have no business in this decision making via legislation.
    2) Besides viability, should we not also be considering sentience? Related to human sentience – per “When is the Capacity for Sentience Acquired During Human Fetal Development?”1992, Vol. 1, No. 3 , Pages 153-165 Susan Tawia†:
    “It is concluded that the basic neuronal substrate required to transmit somatosensory information develops by mid-gestation (18 to 25 weeks), however, the functional capacity of the neural circuitry is limited by the immaturity of the system. Thus, 18 to 25 weeks is considered the earliest stage at which the lower boundary of sentience could be placed. At this stage of development, however, there is little evidence for the central processing of somatosensory information. Before 30 weeks gestational age, EEG activity is extremely limited and somatosensory evoked potentials are immature, lacking components which correlate with information processing within the cerebral cortex. Thus, 30 weeks is considered a more plausible stage of fetal development at which the lower boundary for sentience could be placed.”

    • 1776US

      Excellently put.

    • Prodigal Kat

       Thank you.  Well said.  Opinion is one thing (hear that, pro-lifers) science is fact.

  • Steve_in_Vermont

    “It is constitutional unless ruled otherwise”. Just think of the implications of this. Any behavior, any form of speech, is acceptable until some court says, specifically to that issue, otherwise. The folks who oppose abortion want to do away with it entirely, not just limit it. Since they can’t convince the general public of their cause they turn to the courts.

  • adks12020

    Canada is radical?!  haha…this guest is totally discredited already

  • hellokitty0580

    Radical public policy? In line with North Korea and wait for it… CANADA????

    Who is this woman? What planet does she live on?

  • MrNutso

    Yes guest.  But what you fail to say is that although many countries have restrictions, you can get an abortion anywhere.  Anti-choice people not only want to restrict abortions, they want to make it impossible to actually get an abortion.

    • Don_B1

      What you are talking about is an abortion that is not illegal.

      Illegal abortions are already increasing, almost always in states with strong restrictions on legal abortions, and THOSE abortions will always occur, probably at nearly the same rate as all abortions do today.

      What will be different is the number of pregnant women who die or suffer life-changing damage to their health.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=591295803 Amina Jan

    How are we determining when life begins?  The North Dakota rule says life begins at conception.  How did they determine this?  At conception there is neither heartbeat, nor brain, and certainly that cluster of cells cannot survive outside of the uterus.  How then have they determined that it is life as per their personhood amendment?  There is no scientific basis for that determination, therefore it must have formed this soley on the basis of their religion.  In my religion life does NOT begin at conception.  Life does not begin until viablity.  There is no “consciousness” at 6wks.  One can also see a heartbeat in an ectopic pregnancy, so the heartbeat rule seems to suggest that, whatever their talk about “exceptions for life of the mother” they would, in fact, ban ALL abortions whose fetus has a heartbeat no matter the cost to the woman.  Terminating an ectopic pregnancy is still terminating a pregnancy, though that pregnancy is no viable and really has no chance of producing real life.

    The “right to life” people need to define life.  What is it, what does it mean.  If it’s just a heartbeat, what does it mean that we are “right to life” but support capital punishment?  What does it mean that we support all life, but North Dakota would NOT pass a bill allowing free milk and juice to impoverished children?  It seems that the “right to life” people only care about life BEFORE it’s actually born, BEFORE it’s really life.  Once you are born it sucks to be you.  It seems then than the “right to life” crowd, which prohibits abortion, is in favor of that most heinous of practices, infanticide.  They won’t say it in words, but if you follow the legislative agenda of cutting medicare, medicaid, cutting school lunch funding, the overall agenda becomes quite obvious.

    • William

       Does the morning after pill proves life beings at conception?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF


        “Just when I think you’ve said the stupidest thing ever, you keep talking!”

        (h/t Hank Hill)

        • William

           As expected…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=591295803 Amina Jan

        The “morning after” pill is simply a large dose of hormone based contraceptive pills.  There is no guarantee that it works.  Also, there is no guarantee that if a woman became pregnant that pregnancy would be viable.  Nearly 20% of KNOWN pregnancies end in miscarriage.  That 20% rate is the prime example of how life does NOT begin at conception.  If it did then God HIMSELF is the biggest murderer of unborn children.  Is the “pro-life” camp planning on prosecuting women are so unfortunate as to experience miscarriage now?

        • William

           That remains the question to ponder. When does life being and is it right to end it.

    • 1776US

      Right-to-life also does not take into account the medical life, physical life or psychological life of the woman.

  • manganbr

    “north korea, and, um, canada” .. . .hilarious

    • Trond33

      I come from a Scandinavian country – and, in the USA, I have meet conservatives that in all seriousness have equated northern European market socialism to that of communism, often lumping it in with North Korea, China or Cuba.  Don’t underestimate the power of ignorance.  

      If they only realized what society can do if you reign in the power of greed.  For it is pure greed that relegates the USA to the top of the second world rankings, and in some social statistics, a third world nation.  Do not fool yourself, the USA is no longer a first world nation. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001980025169 Joanne Doolin

    It is my understanding that no person is required to give up a body part for transplant even though he/she is the only match and a life is at stake.  Does this not apply to pregnancy as well? Why then should a woman be forced to use her organs to support an unwanted fetus.

    • 1776US

      Good point.

    • Gordon Green

      Exactly.  If something is living in and depending on my body, I should have absolute control over it until it is a separate entity.

      • pete18

         So, legal abortions up until the age until children get a job and leave the house?

        • mamram

          Where you’re from, do children typically reside inside their mothers’ bodies until they can afford to pay their own rent?

          • pete18

            Where I’m from children are usually dependent on their parents for life and sustenance well beyond the point that they leave the womb, so I find Gordan’s dividing line to be a weak argument for playing god with a living being.

          • mamram

            Are you saying that the distinction between sharing a house with someone and having them actually living inside your body is arbitrary?  Are you also in favor of forcing parents to donate organs and blood to their children when necessary? 

          • pete18


            No, but I’m saying that distinction doesn’t mean you have
            the right to kill it.


             “Are you also in favor of forcing parents to donate organs and blood to their children when necessary? ”

            No, but no one’s forcing you to donate your organs during a
            pregnancy. The point is a baby’s not an alien disease that has been implanted
            in your body when you weren’t looking. It is a living thing that comes forth in
            a quite predictable manner after certain activities.  You don’t have absolute primacy over your
            “bodily anatomy” when it comes to your responsibility to a child after they’re
            outside the womb. Your right to move your fist around anyway you please ends at
            a child’s nose. Your right to put your body far away from your child’s body
            when they need your attention and help is also curtailed. You give up quite a
            bit of control over your body when you become a responsible parent.

          • mamram

            “Your right to put your body far away from your child’s body

            when they need your attention and help is also curtailed. ”

            I’m unaware of any state where this is true.  Any parent that can afford childcare is free to put themselves wherever they like, as long as their child is cared for.  We as a society might require that parents spend their time and money on their children as necessary, but there is no expectation (as far as I know although I’d love to hear the specifics if I’m wrong) that parents forfeit their right to bodily autonomy. 

            You also seem to be wildly underestimating the risk and strain of pregnancy if you think that forcing a parent to donate blood or bone marrow to a child is a more burdensome expectation than forcing someone to stay pregnant and give birth.  

            “You give up quite a bit of control over your body when you become a responsible parent.”
            Well first, this is about AVOIDING becoming a parent, so maybe that’s your confusion right there?  That aside, do you have any actual specific examples of this?  I’m coming up blank.  When, other than in pregnancy, are parents required to compromise their bodily autonomy for their children?  Please note that I said “bodily autonomy,” and not “property rights.”

    • mamram

       Indeed!  The forced birth crowd likes to pretend that it’s just a matter of the right to life superseding the right to bodily autonomy, but somehow this only comes into play when the body in question is necessarily a woman’s.  In every other case, Americans actually do recognize that bodily autonomy is fundamental, so much so that we don’t even require organ donation when the donor is already dead! 

      To anyone who thinks the “consequences” nonsense makes abortion qualitatively different, consider: why don’t we force motorists to donate organs or blood to pedestrians or cyclists that they hit, even when necessary to save their lives, and even when the motorist is criminally negligent?  A accident is just as foreseeable an outcome of driving as conception is of having sex. Why is it that women who have sex forfeit their right to bodily autonomy when motorists do not? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Deborah-Moore-Knittel/100001081886028 Deborah Moore Knittel

    I understand the passion of the pro-life constituency and honor their commitment to their beliefs. And while medical procedures have progressed to the point where fetuses can be operated on to correct abnormalities, these procedures are not widely available (where are they available in N. Dakota?) and are not available to those who do not have insurance. So, esp. if Obamacare is eliminated, the ability to ensure that those fetuses who exhibit gross abnormalities that would inhibit viable life after birth or anything close to a normal life after birth, would actually be available to all who need it or even some who need it would depend upon the financial class of the mother. Who cares for these children then? The state? Please do not push our country  back to the place where one class of people has more “rights” than those who are in a lower class. As for doctors not being able to honestly discuss the condition of the fetus with the mother, how does she and her family prepare themselves emotionally and financially to manage their lives with a severely disable child. Who will help them?

  • creaker

    Downs is a bad example – Tay–Sachs is a much better one. Child suffers until they die at around 4 years.

    • Jenna Smith

      Let’s say I’m carrying an unwanted pregnancy and do not have the financial means to travel in order obtain an abortion out of state.  Let’s then suppose the fetus is diagnosed with something like spina bifida or even better, a cardiac defect that would be fatal without intrauterine surgery.

      I’d refuse surgery.  For the record, I’d also refuse a c-section to save the life of any unwanted fetus.  Where does this legislation end?

      • 1776US

        Oh, they’d put you in jail & force the surgery upon you.

  • Anita Paul

    Where is their actual data that women are chosing abortion for sex selection?  The women speaking has already misspoken about the polls regarding abortion.

    • glenn keefer-mcgee

      well, China of course.  And China scares the heck out of Republican Christians, so it works for her.

  • Human898

    Canada is so “radical” as we know, don’t we?

  • MarkVII88

    For all the babies that, theoretically, will now have to be born, how many families won’t be able to afford them?  How many more Medicaid and Welfare recipients will anti-abortion legislation create?  Will the states supporting this anti-abortion legislation similarly bulk up their adoption programs and make it easier for these “unwanted” babies to go to families that will love them and can afford them?

    • glenn keefer-mcgee

      No, they won’t.  They love babies right up until they are born.  Then they are “takers” sucking on the teat of the “makers”.  Just like every single hard right Christian family is not adopting black/Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/drug addicted babies.  If you vote pro-life, you better have at least one adopted child.

      • MarkVII88

        One member of my family had what I would call a bad experience with adoption in that the child they adopted at a young age (2yo) and loved came from a troubled family and had a number of issues including ADHD/anxiety and habitual lying.  As an outside observer I saw nothing but the pain and heartache this child caused as he continued to fail and fall into a downward spiral of drugs, bad human associations, and jail no matter how much love, effort, or money was spent to enrich his life and lead to his successes.  I wish my own parents spent as much money on me growing up as these other family members spent on education, enrichment, and therapy programs for their son. To this day decades later, they still love their son, but through no fault of their own, he is a failure and has so crippled his chances at leading a comfortable and productive life that he’ll likely always need help and support just to get by. This is absolutely awful, but I can’t help but believe my loved ones (and family as a whole) would have been better off if this adoption decades ago never occurred. I won’t ever adopt a child because of this peripheral experience I’ve had in my own family.

  • Emily311

    Charmaine Yoest’s comments on taking care of children with disabilities is just wrong. Taking care of a child with a severe illness causes their parents bankruptcy, exhaustion, and huge amounts of time.

    • glenn keefer-mcgee

      Now, if all those services were provided by a National Healthcare system, that might be different.  But since the care of that child is being sold to for profit companies, the parents are ruined.

      • 1Brett1

        You don’t even begin to know what you are talking about. Most human service programs that care for children (and adults) with severe intellectual and physical disabilities are Medicaid programs, either receiving all or most of their money from local, state, and federal programs. Of the ones that don’t, the cost is borne by the parent or some benevolent benefactor. 

        Both Ms. Yoest’s and Ms. Grande’s comments about there being adequate services for children with severe disabilities were incorrect. The problem gets even worse when these children grow up. Systems can’t care for the current numbers, let alone those increased numbers that bills such as the one proposed in N.D. will cause.

  • J__o__h__n

    Why is the pro-choice advocate on the show outnumbered two to one? 

    • glenn keefer-mcgee

      Because she is wrong.  She is anti-freedom and UnAmerican.

      • 1776US

        What about her freedom to her own body, and to choose her path in life?

      • jefe68

        Oh please, unAmerican. You people who wave your flags and go on about freedom and yet you want to control a woman’s freedom to chose how to deal with her own body. On top of that the anti-abortion advocates are aslo against birth control, and have no interest in the health care interest of women. 

        Sinclair Lewis was right: “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

  • Sandra Carr

    I felt like this radio show was Tom Ashbrook’s opinion against the guests – not so much a fair & balanced discussion. Tom needs to think who is he representing? We have all been brainwashed into thinking in order to protect women’s rights we can legally, without conscience kill fellow humans beings, just because they cannot defend themselves. I applaud North Dakota and others who move to “rock the boat” and start the conversation going again that may slap some sence into this zombie nation. At least take a mature view and teach your children the same that there are consequences to all decisions, life takes turns we don’t expect, and standing & taking responsibility for our actions and valueing our own lives and ALL others, is our right, responsibility, and should be a plumb line we desire and nobely take on. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=591295803 Amina Jan

      Consequences to what decisions?  Nobody gets up in the morning and goes “Hey you know, I think today is a good day to get raped.”  What decision was that?  Do you even know anything about women and why they get abortions?  God is the biggest Abortionist, as 20% of KNOWN pregnancies end in abortions/miscarriage.  What then?  Are we going to start prosecuting women who have natural miscarriages?  As for children with serious birth defects (cleft palate is NOT a serious birth defect) that is a decision mothers take to PROTECT their children from pain.  We euthanize dogs as a HUMANE way to end their lives, rather than let them linger in pain when they are very ill, why we cannot do the same for a child that, upon being born, would face a lifetime of pain due to serious physical defects like upper spine spina bifida, a child who would need many many surgeries because their intestines formed outside of their body, trisomy 18 (much worse than down syndrome), especially considering that the states are constantly cutting medicaid and other medical support for poor children.  If a woman is seriously addicted to drugs and becomes pregnant through some means (not necessarily her choice, perhaps her birth control failed or she was raped) if that child is born it will go through months of incredibly painful drug withdrawal.  What mother would force a child to endure pain just for her own selfish need for that child to be born?  That is the definition of sadistic cruelty to force pain on another.

    • Sharon Diehl

      Then someone needs to tell ‘god’ that he’s murdering human beings…oh, wait…’he’ doesn’t care about the ‘unborn’. 60-80% of fertilized eggs, that’s embryos, honey, are flushed from sexually active women during their menses. Not just unfertilized eggs go out in the menstrual flow. 50% of pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion, i.e., miscarriage–which, by the way, Utah has made a crime unless a woman can prove it occurred naturally–half the time a doctor doesn’t enough know what causes a miscarriage.

      You start hold holding funerals for women’s tampons and pads for those embryos, then maybe I’ll take you seriously….and until stupid religious Rethugs stop passing idiotic bills over my body–like the “Women As Livestock” bill sponsored by Terry England, R GA, to force a woman with a stillborn fetus to go to term with it because by dang the cows and pigs on the farm do, I’m voting for Democratic candidates that respect my civil rights to my own damn body.

    • ggiotopoulos


  • 1776US

    (1) Not to mention children brought unwanted into the world: abuse, crime.  (2) Pregnancy can ruin a woman’s body, and even in first-class American hospitals women still die in childbirth.  Who’s going to pay the medical bills for an unwanted pregnancy?  Or the ongoing bills for psychological/medical care afterward?  This is nothing less than a form of slavery: not just for 9 months, but for the mental — and sometimes physical — life of the woman ever after.

  • MrNutso

    So if we think the coutry is moving towards more restrictions on abortion, our elected legislators should enact restrictions.  Then if the coutry is moving toward more gun control our legislators should enact gun restrictions.

    The latter is not happening.  This is because legislators enact legislation pushed by their puppet masters, not by the public that elected them.

  • http://twitter.com/MilesWHoward Miles Howard

    The pro-life movement belongs to the same school of thought as the fanatics who mutilate female genitalia. It’s an attempt to repress women who are sexually active. These people can’t be taken seriously. They bemoan “the sanctity of unborn life” but once a baby is born, they’re more than happy to deprive it of state-funded resources like food, shelter, and education. Bottom line: a woman’s body is hers to control. 

    • 1776US

      The problem is that these people are loud, they pass laws, and they do get taken seriously.

  • Steve_in_Vermont

    Regarding the shooting in Texas, we need to take this seriously.  It is nothing less than domestic terrorism, akin to 9-11, and we need to go after those responsible with all the resources available. This is an assault on our form of government and, left unchecked, will result in more killings in the future.

    • glenn keefer-mcgee

      Why?  It’s probably someone just exercising their 2nd amendment rights to address a perceived wrong?  And in Texas, no less.  They want smaller Government there, after all.

  • Chuck Penn

    All of the staunch supporters of pro-life always seem to be for smaller government and freedom for all.  That is unless you want freedom of choice.
    On another note I wonder how Mrs. Grande feels about gun control, if she is so pro-life then she should be pro-gun control on assault weapons and large capacity clips.

    • sickofthechit

       And she should be against the death penalty.

    • hennorama

      Chuck Penn – right.

      All strident “pro-life” crusaders should also be anti-war, and anti-suicide.

      Of course, that implies that logic and consistency are part of the agenda.

      Perhaps this was just an eleborate April Fool’s Day joke from On Point.  One could certainly take Bette Grande as a joke, at least.

      HAHA, Tom.  Good one!

  • Scott B

    Downs Syndrome isn’t “fixable” like a cleft palate.  Not to justify aborting a fetus with a problem, but the pro-lifers on the show are bringing the money issue into it, so the other side needs brought to the fore, too. The same conservatives that want to ban abortion also don’t want to pay taxes, and want to slash funding for social safety nets like Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, that those children, and their parents,will be not just entitled to, but very much needing to have any quality of life.  I don’t think that many of the pro-lifers grasp what it is to raise a child with special needs. People think of the Downs Syndrome kids they see on TV, like “Corry” from “Life Goes On” , who’s on the higher end of the scale.

    They don’t see the stress even a moderate health issue with a child causes, not just financially from medical bills,, transportation, aides, and even diet; but all the stress it puts on relationships within the family, not just mom & dad, but siblings, and relatives further out, and friendships.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=591295803 Amina Jan

      Not to mention the pain a child with serious abnormalities will face.  How do you force your child to endure pain like that just because of your selfish desires to be “pro-life”.  We euthanize horses that have broken legs because of the pain they would face, we euthanize cats and dogs because we love them and don’t want them to face pain, yet if our children will face a lifetime of pain and disability that child MUST be born.  If you KNOW the child will face pain, be subject to endless surgeries that will never correct their issues, how can you say that you are pro-life?  The child of a drug addict who will have to go through months of extremely painful withdrawal symptoms, just for the mothers selfish desires of having that baby, how is that humane?  If you have the choice to safe your child from a lifetime of pain, is it the loving thing to save your child from pain.  How do “pro-life” people not understand this concept?

      • Scott B

         Quality of life has to be a consideration. 

        Sparing a newborn from the trauma drug of withdrawal is not on the same level as bringing a fetus  with a devastating medical issue, but the odds are that that child is going to have many issues, not to mention just the initial cost of treatment of drug-addicted babies which can be in the hundreds of thousands from them being addicted and underdeveloped, to the costs they often incur later from being developmentally disabled, even if they’re lucky enough to escape the many other issues they often experience

        Some people are willing and able to take care of a special needs kids. Great for them!  But many people are not.  It’s not an easy thing they decide, especially later in the pregnancy, to end a pregnancy, especially a wanted one.  The pro-lifers have a nasty catch-phrase, “partial birth abortion”, which sounds horrible, but it’s a misnomer, and most people are terribly uneducated about the process, and the toll it takes on the parents to make that decision.

        Most late-term abortions are for major things like hydrocephaly (“water
        on the brain”), where the brain never grew much beyond the part that
        keeps a heart beating, and won’t keep that heart beating, nor the lungs
        breathing, outside of the womb.  Hydrocephaly does have a range of
        severity, but for the vast majority it’s fatal, almost instantly for many.

        This a not a pair of old shoes they’re deciding to throw away. Even knowing that had the fetus gone full term, that it would have died at birth, or soon after, and/or killed the mother, it’s still an agonizing decision, and not one made in any great hurry without much deliberation and soul searching. The process itself can take well over a day. It’s not an hour long procedure that ends in scissors. The woman has to lie an bed, hopefully her husband by her side, fully aware on every level of what’s happening to her and the fetus.

    • RolloMartins

      A friend of mine recently was told to have an abortion. The fetus had Downs. She had it anyway and the baby is perfectly healthy. 

      • 1Brett1

        And for every baby with Down’s Syndrome who is perfectly healthy, there are a hundred children with Down’s Syndrome who are as far from healthy as a human being can be, with a whole lifetime in store for them of needed supports to even begin to function at all in daily life (and those supports will be needed long after a disabled person’s parents have passed away).

        Your friend has a lot to be thankful for; one example such as this doesn’t, however, do much to bolster the argument that parents of a fetus with severe disabilities and severely malformed development shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions for themselves which might include aborting the fetus. 

    • 1Brett1

      Well put, Scott. I was floored at Ms. Grande’s use of the image of a child with a cleft palate as an example of children who need to be saved from abortion…Please. You are also spot on in drawing into question of using the Down’s Syndrome image, itself. Most people who come into contact with the cute, high-functioning person with Down’s Syndrome in the community don’t see the other majority of people with Down’s Syndrome who are very low functioning, have severe organic damage to their being with myriad birth defects and lives of utter misery (because those people are not out in public/are actors on Lifestyle Channel-type drama/comedies). 

  • Bruce94

     Did the lady from Americans United for Life just include Canada in a list of radical countries like N. Korea?  Sorry, I haven’t stopped laughing long enough to listen to the remainder of the show. 

    Reminds me of Dr. Ben Carson, the new darling of the reconstructed Far Right, when he lumped together gays, pedophiles and bestiality in his recent interview with Sean Hannity.


    • sickofthechit

       We can only dream he will be their candidate for 2016…

      • Bruce94

         Dare I say it?  “Yes We Can”  :-)

    • hennorama

      Yet another instance of the South Park folks getting it right:


      • Bruce94

        I don’t think I’ve watched this show, but according to wiki, South Park is noted for its “dark, surreal humor” that I’m guessing some of the more extreme panelists on today’s show weren’t aware that they were mimicking.  Thanks for cluing me in.

  • amy_ri

    Like others commenting, I am wondering how the anti-abortion groups can call themselves “pro-life” when they reject efforts to protect life for those who are already living?
    Their sanctimonious preaching about the value of life for the unborn rings hollow and hypocritical when once that child is born, he or she can get gunned down by assault weapons because of the refusal to institute some kind of reasonable control.
    While eager to control what takes place inside the woman’s womb, they reject any sensible gun reform and cry foul over ‘government interference.’

  • Prodigal Kat

    The same people who want -through government legislation- to affect women’s control over their own bodies are the same people who complain there is too much government intrusion in their lives. This is the highest form of hypocracy.  They are not ‘pro-life’. That is spin. They are pro-”I am the boss of you”.  By refusing a diabetic woman the right to abort they are risking her sight and her health for the rest of her life.   Laws like this are like reaching into your home and telling you how to live your life.  I personally believe that people who smoke, who eat any sort of fast food or fatty foods- french fries- potato chips- steak- AND feed these things to their children are on the path to poor health and shortening their lives.  They shouldn’t be allowed to do that!  But I’m not advocating laws to eliminate those foods and that behavior because It’s NOT MY BUSINESS.  Just like it’s NOT THEIR BUSINESS to mess with my body.

  • Scott B

     Adoption is a great thing. I’m adopted.

    But we have orphanages and foster homes overflowing with living breathing kids, many of them older children that “aren’t cute anymore” that aren’t being adopted.  I don’t see the pro-lifers lining up en masse to pay for the fetuses to come to term; supporting the mother, paying the medical bills, taking care of the child from the cradle to college, let alone the living breathing children that are already here.  I wonder what their opinion would be if they HAD TO take home, care and provide for, a pregnant girl or woman that was about to get an abortion?   I’ve actually told a few pro-lifers to go do just that and they ALL, to a one, said the same things (singly or in combination):”That’s for someone else to do.”  “I can’t afford a kid.”  “I’m just worried about the unborn.” “We can’t be responsible for all of them.” 

    As I said, I am adopted. My wife and I would love to adopt, a older child in particular. I’d love to pass the legacy of love my parents gave me! But it’s cost prohibitive. Just the legal fees are staggering for us, let alone all the other fees (like parenting courses, never mind that we’re already parents) that can easily exceed $10,000.

  • Prodigal Kat

    In reply to Mark Gould: What a ridiculous thing to say. Don’t pronounce, join the conversation.

  • 1Brett1

    For children who are born with severe intellectual and physical disabilities now, even with abortion being legal and safe, human-service delivery systems can not even begin to accommodate their current numbers. For Ms. Grande to suggest that there is enough funding and services to accommodate not only current numbers of children with intellectual and physical disabilities but increased numbers based on laws, such as the proposed bill in North Dakota, is either disingenuous or ignorant. 

    She said on the program she has worked on such matters in her private life (without citing any examples); one thing is certainly true, she hasn’t herself introduced any legislation in North Dakota for increased funding in human services. She was vague about her mention of legislation from the time a woman finds out her fetus has a “defect” up to early childhood. However, even if this is true, the real cost is not during this time period but as the child grows up, and especially when the child becomes an adult. 

  • TomK_in_Boston

    I agree with Aristotle and the ancient greeks:

    “”The line between lawful and unlawful abortion will be marked by the fact of having sensation and being alive.”

    Wikipedia: In Aristotle’s view, abortion, if performed early, was not the killing of something human.

    Hey, does this mean that if we keep to common sense and allow early abortion, we’ll “Be like Greece”, just like the deficit chicken littles are screaming? And, the greeks were pretty gay, too :)

  • sickofthechit

    How generous or tight-fisted is North Dakota with Plan B morning after pills?  Condoms?,  birth control pills?  Early sex education?

    • TomK_in_Boston

      You probably get life in a private prison run by a company that has donated heavily to the state legislators :)

      Sorta like how the NRA TP is that gun violence is really a mental health issue, never mentioning that the righty agenda is to cut all funds for mental health.

    • Bruce94

      Check out Ray in VT’s link (above) to an article explaining how Grande spearheaded an effort to kill a fed. grant for sex education.  Extremist legislators like her and the rabid constituencies she represents are not unknown to me having lived in some of the most socially conservative states and districts in the country.  The hypocrisy of these religious zealots is exposed when they are asked, as many on this board have observed, whether they also  support programs and services that benefit the women they would deprive of reproductive freedom and the children they would force these women to bring into the world regardless of the circumstances.  Typically, they oppose or want to defund not only the preventive services you cite, but also those very programs that would mitigate the poverty or improve the circumstances of these women and children including Head Start and Early Intervention Programs, WIC Nutrition, Medicaid, TANF, etc. After you peel back the facade of “family values” and “the sanctity of life,” you find at their core that many of these folks (not all, but many) who have adopted an anti-choice and anti-gay agenda, are among the most mean-spirited, narrow-minded and bigoted people you can find on the planet.  At their core is an intolerance and bitterness that originates from a place I can’t begin to imagine. 

      Maybe Tom and On Point can put together another show that would explore the roots of this pathology and help us understand where it’s coming from.    

  • OnPointComments

    “On Point” starts each program with “Responsibility.  What’s your policy?”
    Too many answer the question with “It’s not my responsibility.”  If I want to have sex, it’s the government’s responsibility to provide me with contraception.  If I have sex without contraception, it’s the government’s responsibility to provide me with medical care or an abortion.  If I have a child that I can’t afford, it’s the government’s responsibility to pay for the child.  
    Apparently the only responsibility that some have is engaging in irresponsible sex.
    The better moment to prevent pregnancy is before conception, not afterwards.  Prevention of pregnancy before conception is the responsibility of the woman and man engaging in sexual intercourse, not the responsibility of the government.  And yes, if the couple can’t afford contraception, then they should forego sexual intercourse.  It’s not a radical idea; it’s being a responsible person.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      You’re ignoring so much about the right’s war on contraception that we’ve gone beyond “laughing at you” to “stunned silence”.

    • SFKD

      Humans are animals (in the best sense of the word), driven to have sex. You will never stop teens from having sex. But you CAN educate them and provide access to birth control. And birth control DOES fail. Further, a loving, married couple making minimum wage simply can not afford birth control, let alone health insurance.  So you are saying a married couple should forego sex? Or be forced to have 14 children like many in developing countries — and of course, drain public resources yet more through public education, medicaid, and likely, an exhuasted, sick mother unable to work any more due to being pregnant and caring for young children constantly. Your argument makes sense only in a dream world, or an upper-class one.

    • DeJay79

      That is a great point and one many people need to learn.

      but unfortunately it is not something that can be made into law. If only we could make responsible thinking a legal requirement.

    • 1Brett1

      At issue in today’s topic is whether abortion should remain safe, legal, and accessible, for (including, but not limited to) women who find out from their obstetricians that they have a severely deformed fetus, women who have been raped, and women who have become pregnant due to incest. In the bill being introduced in North Dakota–as just one example of many states introducing excessively-restrictive reproductive rights legislation–at issue is a whole host of components that have little to do the the morality and responsibility of unprotected, consensual sex itself. In that bill is a restriction on abortion itself and not how it is funded or whose responsibility it is (aside from the bill making it North Dakota’s government’s responsibility to dictate how women make decisions regarding their own reproductive rights).

    • Bruce94

      So, if you’re serious about making prevention of unwanted pregnancies a priority (as you apparently are), you would agree that contraception should be made available by whatever means necessary including govt. subsidy for high-risk, low-income folks, right?  

      • Ray in VT

        Hi Bruce.  See my link above, where Rep. Grande is also opposed to a federal sex ed grant.

        • Bruce94


  • SFKD

    Tom, you missed far too many VERY good points from the writers below, repeated the same constitutional questions, and gave too much time to anti-choice guests. Thanks for the show topic, but a better job at presenting more arguments and correcting the false statistics proffered by the conservative guests would be responsible journalism.

  • Trond33

    I think the “pro-life” anti abortion minority is just that, a vocal minority.  They seem to be making a surge through their manipulation of state legislatures, but I believe this to be the last grasps of a outsized minority before the tsunami of public opinion relegates them to the dustbin of history.  Look at the issue of gay marriage, where for year the rightwing held the topic hostage by their irrational fear of the unknown and their homophobic fears.  Today, the will of The People, the majority, is being heard and correcting the situation.  I believe a similar seismic change will, in the next decade, transform the laws on gun ownership.  

  • Klay Lund

    Here’s my view – abortion consists of a collision of rights; that is, between the potential mother and the potential baby.  The Supremes hammered out the viability test as a compromise, as messy as that is.  The woman never loses her rights, but the growing fetus gains legal protection once she is viable outside the womb.  That fetal right is circumscribed by the resurgent right of the mother when her life or health are at risk from continued pregnancy; in that case, the fetus is on her own.
    That system seems fair. 
    My question with respect to the emergent notion of fetal rights emerging from fertilization under the rubric of “personhood” is, does the woman gain a right to bring suit against an unwanted fetus?  Wouldn’t that fetus, having personhood, be subject to lawsuit?  If so, could a woman sue for eviction? 

  • Joann Moschella

    Tom, a question: would you use the word ‘family jewels’ to describe the contents of your scrotum? If the answer is “no” then please stop saying “womb’, it is neither a medical or legal term and it skews towards old timey sexism, Okay? Please drop it!

    • Alex Goldstein

      Bit of an overreaction, no? “Womb” is just another word for uterus. What on earth is sexist about it?

  • http://4red3s.myopenid.com/ Four Red Threes

    Alabama Legislature HB108 Currently: Pending Committee Action in Second House (edit: last action 21 February 2013)

    The Senate is in adjournment until 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 ~ Back in business

    This bill would create The Religious Liberty Act of 2013. With certain exceptions, this bill would provide that a religiously affiliated or motivated employer shall not be required to provide contraceptive or abortifacient drugs, devices, or methods to its employees directly, through any insurance policy or in any other way, and may require its insurer to provide an insurance policy without coverage for contraceptive or abortifacient drugs, devices, or methods because providing or paying for coverage of these drugs, devices, or methods is contrary to the beliefs of the religiously affiliated or motivated employer offering the plan. Additionally, no provision of this bill shall be construed to authorize a religiously affiliated or motivated employer to obtain an employee’s protected health information or to violate the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or any federal regulations adopted pursuant to that act.

  • turnerware

    The speed of the court challenges in enjoining these laws seems a beautiful testament to the strength of the US constitution and humane freedom and dignity.

  • Ray in VT

    Representative Grande also sponsored an amendment that would “kill a three-year, $1.2 million federal sex education grant for North Dakota State University” which “provides funding for sex education for Fargo-area teens, with parental consent.”


  • RolloMartins

    I was shocked when I heard Tom questioning about how nobody will be able to abort Down’s Syndrome kids…so you’re suggesting Down’s Syndrome kids are better off aborted? Really? How sensitive of you, Mr Ashbrook.

  • Call_Me_Missouri

    I have no trouble with states banning Abortions but…  if a state is not going to offer cheap abortions to poor people, that state should forfeit all federal money.

    Do not make other states pay for your UNWANTED BABIES!  Give us our money back!

  • Jen Wittke

    Since so many have spoken about one side, I want to mention the other component: I terminated a pregnancy last year due to a fatal diagnosis.  I went through a handful of ultrasounds, heard the heartbeat, watched it grow, only to be heartbroken that my wanted pregnancy would not be.  The representative mentioned something about case by case determinations for fatal diagnoses, but who really gets to decide with such a law?  I couldn’t imagine being forced to carry that fetus until died and I had to give birth to a stillborn, or carry to term and deliver, only to have the baby die within hours.  How is that humane and pro-life?  How would it have been fair to continue a pregnancy that would only have caused suffering for my child?  This is a private choice that women and their significant others need to make, not lawmakers or loud religious voices.  I respect someone’s choice to continue with a pregnancy regardless of the outcome, so respect and allow me the right to do what is best for my family. 

    I can’t imagine this will stay as law, and for the sake of the women in ND, I hope that is not the case. In the meantime, what can we do to prevent such laws from spreading?

    • hennorama

      Jen Wittke – Thank you for sharing your heartbreaking story.  My deepest sympathies for your loss.

      You clearly had to struggle with your choice, and are fortunate that such a choice was available to you.  Those who wish to deny such choice seem to see you as merely a medium for cultivation of other lifeforms, and that there should be absolutely no consideration given to the fact that you are a living, sentient human  being.

      Thank you again for sharing your story.

  • Traci Joy

    This is taking us back YEARS. I had an abortion and the decision was not made lightly. But I stand by my decision and know that I could not have given that child the life it should have had. If I lived in a more conservative state (and mind you, this was in MA and there WERE plenty of anti-abortion protestors outside of the clinic…) and had to legally KEEP the baby, or illegally get a dangerous abortion, I am not sure what I would have done. I just don’t understand WHY and HOW this is occurring in these states? It is a woman’s body and woman’s right to choose what to do with her body and her life!

    • hennorama

      Traci Joy – Thank you for sharing your story.

      One imagines that the vast majority of such decisions are made only after considerable emotional and spiritual struggles, and only after consideration of available alternatives.  Not everyone would make the same choice, but it’s important to HAVE a choice.

      Thanks again for sharing.

  • skeptic150

    1) For those who use the Bible or religion to justify their “pro-potential human life” views, I suggest rereading the Bible (if you’ve even read it once from cover to cover) and also consider the following. There are ~140 million births per year globally. That means there are likely ~70-140 million spontaneous abortions/miscarriages globally per year (many clinically unrecognized). So, nature/”god” is actually not very “pro-life.”
    2) For the “religious” folks out there, where do all the aborted (spontaneous or elective) babies go? To heaven? If they were not aborted, they would have to go through life and face judgment like everyone else, correct? And isn’t it true that most people don’t actually make it to heaven (according to the Bible)? So, by banning abortions, you would actually be condemning more people to hell.  Now, I don’t believe such nonsense, but if one uses Christianity/religion as a justification for “pro-potential human life” positions, such considerations seem quite problematic to me.

  • Gregg Smith
    • Ray in VT

      That is exactly what I thought that you were referencing when you said “Exactly, Planned Parenthood has now endorsed post-birth abortion.”  So Planned Parenthood has now endorsed post-birth abortion in the same sense that the State Department declared the War on Terror to be over, that Johns Hopkins University opposes same sex marriage and that the GOP wants to put women who get abortions in jail for 15 years.

      • Gregg Smith

        I don’t know about all that, it’s just chilling. That’s all.

        • Ray in VT

          She probably should have stuck with her prepared statement:

          “Planned Parenthood condemns any physician who does not follow the law
          or endangers a woman’s or a child’s health, but we don’t believe that
          politicians should be the ones who decide what constitutes the best,
          medically appropriate treatment in any given situation,”

          rather than getting into discussions about hypotheticals, which seem to be often derided around here.  This might have also been a better position for her to emphasize:

          “She had said earlier that Planned Parenthood’s primary objection to the
          legislation is that it doesn’t include a “neutrality clause” that would
          make clear it does not change the legal status of a baby before being
          born alive.”


          • hennorama

            Ray in VT – Ms. Snow’s testimony starts at about 37:30 into the video in the link below. The Weekly Standard completely cuts off the first 2+ minutes of her testimony, picking up instead at about 39:40 into the full video.

            The omitted portion includes Ms. Snow’s prepared statement and her first reference to the Federal Born Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002 (BAIPA).

            What a surprise.

            Quoting some of those who first commented on Mr. Romney’s infamous “47%” video – “Where are the two minutes?!”

            The entirety of Ms. Snow’s testimony, including “the two minutes”, can be found here, again beginning at about 37:30. You can also see legislators explaining how one could be against the bill, especially starting at about 53:10:


          • Gregg Smith

            It’s not new, Obama was the only vote for something similar as an Illinois Senator.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh yes, the old Obama supports infanticide meme.  I was waiting for this one as well.

          • Gregg Smith

            It is what it is.

          • Ray in VT

            Yup, another made up scandal by people desperate to paint Obama as something that he is not.  Maybe we can talk about Obama’s new pastor problem.

          • Gregg Smith

            Sugar coat it all you want, there is nothing made up.  

          • Ray in VT

            I am more concerned with what is not there, as omissions can create a very false impresion, especially if one allows one’s biases to affect one judgement.

          • Gregg Smith

            It has meaning when the rubber meets the road.

          • Ray in VT

            Also, the article says nothing about Planned Parenthood endorsing “post-birth abortion”, merely the questionable statements of one of their lobbyists.

    • hennorama

      Gregg Smith – The Weekly Standard headline, article and video  were discussed over the weekend on the WITN thread, starting with this post from WftC:


      Multiple points:

      1 . inanity.  Your claim that “Planned Parenthood has now endorsed post-birth abortion” is simply completely lacking in substance.  It is untrue.  There’s no “there” there.

      2.  inaccurate.   Planned Parenthood and Ms. Snow did not “endorse” anything other than the neutrality clause contained in the Federal Born Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002 (BAIPA).

      3. internally illogical.  The WS headline and article, video, and you, all use the term “post-birth abortion”.  There is no such thing, and there cannot be any such thing, by definition.

      Abortion in this context is the termination of a pregnancy.  Once there is a birth, there is no longer a pregnancy.  Therefore, one cannot terminate a pregnancy “post-birth” as by definition, birth ends a pregnancy (except in the instance of multiple fetuses).

      4.  intentionally inflammatory.  Speaks for itself.  This inaccurate headline and article merely seeks an emotional response from the reader.  It is at best a wild exaggeration, and at worst, a complete fabrication.

      Also known as a LIE, which is definitely NOT part of “open and honest debate”.

      • Gregg Smith

        Infanticide is probably a better word.

        • hennorama

          Gregg Smith – Whatever term you care to substitute, your statement is a lie.

          • Gregg Smith

            The hell it is, I NEVER lie. Have courage, this is your party.

          • hennorama

            Gregg Smith – here are four of your own statements:

            1. (04-02-2013) “The hell it is, I [Gregg Smith] NEVER lie.”

            2. (03-27-2013) “Obama’s approval rating in the world is way down.”

            3. (03-27-2013) “In Africa Bush was loved and even idolized.”

            both 2. and 3. above are from this post:


            Then, in the same thread, you wrote:

            4. (03-28-2013) “I [Gregg Smith] wrote about America’s approval not individual Presidents approval.”


            Are all of these statements factual, true, and honest, especially #4., in light of your prior statements #2. and #3.?

            Perhaps you merely had a memory lapse, and therefore this is all part of your thesis “One cannot be lying if one doesn’t know one is lying.” If so, you might consider being thoroughly checked by a health care professional, as such memory lapses can be signs of serious illness.

            Here’s another of your statements:

            (04-01-2013) “Exactly, Planned Parenthood has now endorsed post-birth abortion.”

            Is this statement factual, true, and honest?

            Perhaps you believe this all fits into your definition of “open and honest debate”. It is not.

            It is, in fact, a lie.

          • Gregg Smith

            Truer words have never been spoken, top to bottom.

          • Ray in VT

            I would certainly contend that many truer words have been spoken, especially concerning the statement “Planned Parenthood has now endorsed post-birth abortion.”  In related news, the GOP has now endorsed the public hanging of abortion providers, based upon the same standard that you have used regarding that statement:


          • hennorama

            The headline was accurate, and NC Republican Rep. Larry Pittman was QUOTED ACCURATELY, unlike Smith’s and the Weekly Standard’s lies.

          • Ray in VT

            That same guy is backing some sort of nullification bill too.

          • hennorama

            Gregg Smith – as I’ve pointed out before, it seems you have been around horse manure so long that you can no longer recognize it when it flows from your keyboard.

  • Duras

    Well, first I want to clarify something: I call myself an atheist (but I’m not exactly sure what atheism means, I just don’t value belief, nor do I have many beliefs.

    As for the Jewish God of radical otherness, that view of God does rub up right against atheism, but it is a way of seeing God without anthropomorphizing God.  The contemplation of Yahweh is difficult and minute; it is the opposite of the Christian notion of getting to know God.  Christianity as it is generally practice is a paganism in the disguise of monotheism. 

    But the further one gets away from literalism, the closer they get to monotheism.  Otherwise, people might as well believe in Zeus and his son Dionysus.

    But if one looks at the Jesus story as an articulation of a great morality that works in any situation, I think we can call that an eternal morality, and thus that is where God is and how we can have a genuine understanding of God without projecting ourselves unto God.

    Does that get at what you were asking?   

    The New Testament is a great articulation of an 

  • Duras

    I don’t.  As far as good and accurate literary criticism goes, revenge is a major theme in the Bible.

    The mother of my problems with Christianity is its revenge themes.

    Ultimate love is punishing to educate and better as soul.  Some Christian sects believe in that form of punishment and think Hell is a metaphor for life without God.

  • bvan

    Medically speaking, death is determined by lose of brain activity (they wait a minimum amount of time to insure it doesn’t return).   

    Why shouldn’t brain activity be the marker of when life starts, which is when the fetus is around week 24 or so. 

Aug 21, 2014
In this November 2012, file photo, posted on the website freejamesfoley.org, shows American journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. (AP)

An American is beheaded. We’ll look at the ferocity of ISIS, and what to do about it.

Aug 21, 2014
Jen Joyce, a community manager for the Uber rideshare service, works on a laptop before a meeting of the Seattle City Council, Monday, March 17, 2014, at City Hall in Seattle. (AP)

We’ll look at workers trying to live and make a living in the age of TaskRabbit and computer-driven work schedules.

Aug 20, 2014
In this Oct. 21, 2013 file photo, a monarch butterfly lands on a confetti lantana plant in San Antonio. A half-century ago Monarch butterflies, tired, hungry and bursting to lay eggs, found plenty of nourishment flying across Texas. Native white-flowering balls of antelope milkweed covered grasslands, growing alongside nectar-filled wildflowers. But now, these orange-and-black winged butterflies find mostly buildings, manicured lawns and toxic, pesticide-filled plants. (AP)

This year’s monarch butterfly migration is the smallest ever recorded. We’ll ask why. It’s a big story. Plus: how climate change is creating new hybridized species.

Aug 20, 2014
A man holds his hands up in the street after a standoff with police Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

A deep read on Ferguson, Missouri and what we’re seeing about race, class, hope and fear in America.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Your (Weird? Wonderful? Wacky?) Roommate Stories
Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014

We asked, and you delivered: some of the best roommate stories from across our many listener input channels.

More »
1 Comment
Our Week In The Web (August 15, 2014)
Friday, Aug 15, 2014

On Pinterest, Thomas the Tank Engine and surprising population trends from around the country. Also, words on why we respond to your words, tweets and Facebook posts.

More »
Nickel Creek Plays Three Songs LIVE For On Point
Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014

Nickel Creek shares three live (well, mostly) tracks from their interview with On Point Radio.

More »