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City Council issues lily-livered statement concerning abortion rights

City council statementBy Roberta Millstein

Two days ago, the City released a statement signed by all five members of the Davis City Council in response to the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.  Sadly, the statement is wishy-washy and lacking in any sort of call to action.  One wonders why they even bothered.

Those who moved to Davis recently may not be aware that the City Council voted to make Davis a pro-choice City in 1989.  The LA Times quoted then-Mayor Michael Corbett: “The resolution is a political act to support women’s choice to choose their own morality. . . . I know that will alienate people, but that’s the way I see it.”  That was bold leadership, leadership that is sorely lacking in today’s City Council.  Are we still a pro-choice city today?

There are, it should be acknowledged, some positive elements to Tuesday’s statement, namely where it says:

…we cannot ignore the broader negative implications of this decision for women and for all marginalized groups.  

The strides afforded women, especially women of color, in areas of education, upward mobility, and freedom from domestic abuse are inextricably linked to the right of body autonomy women have enjoyed for 50 years. 

Furthermore, at this moment in addition to the fear and despondence felt across the nation by women there is also the creeping dread that other hard fought rights and protections are in danger of being lost. The fear felt among marginalized groups about the security of their place in the world is heavy. 

These words rightly recognize the harms to women and other marginalized groups from the Supreme Court’s ruling and from other potential rulings (Justice Clarence Thomas has hinted at implications for overturning gay marriage and contraception rights).

But right after issuing these strong words, the City Council’s statement goes on to undermine them by saying that they need to “always respect all opinions and provide a safe environment for everyone to voice their opinions and live their values.”  So – we need to respect the opinions that would ignore the broader negative implications for women and for all marginalized groups?  We need to respect the opinions that would undermine the ability of women (especially women on color) to further their education, experience upward mobility, and be free from domestic abuse – their ability to live? We need to respect opinions that would go so far as to outlaw contraception and overturn gay marriage?

Yes, of course, the City Council needs to follow the First Amendment’s free speech dictates. But it needs to move beyond the idea that “all opinions are equal” when some of those opinions undermine the fundamental ability of people to function and flourish in society.  Some opinions are not deserving of respect.

The City Council assures us that “we will not criminalize or assist in criminalizing women's reproductive rights.”  Well gee, thanks.  I would hope so, especially considering that it would be go against Californians’ constitutional right to privacy.  (Note that in November, citizens will have the opportunity to take state abortion policies a step further by voting on whether to amend the California Constitution to explicitly protect a person’s right to an abortion and birth control).

On NextDoor, someone asked me what else I would have had the City Council say or do.  I replied, “I would like them to reiterate their support for Davis as a pro-choice city. I would like them to think creatively about how we can help, e.g., by helping people who need to travel to this area for abortions (which includes people within CA who lack abortion providers in their area). They could promote, or at least express their support for, the newly proposed CA constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights. I am sure other people have other suggestions. The CC could gather them.”

We are going forward with our citywide celebration of “Independence Day,” but should we really be celebrating freedom when we are not all free?

Davis deserves a stronger City Council, and with two seats open for re-election (the ones currently held by Dan Carson and Gloria Partida), we have the opportunity to move toward one.

Comments

Ron O

I disagree with this, in that it is beyond the purview of city government. It's essentially meaningless to make these type of proclamations. Almost the very definition of virtue-signaling.

As far as helping those who want to travel to the area to seek an abortion, that would be a more active stance. However, again - I'd suggest it's outside of the purview of city government (and more applicable for some type of non-profit to step in). Or perhaps at the state level.

Alan C. Miller

I posted this on Al's corner yesterday, but it clearly belongs here. This criticizes the last two lines of the statement:

"We can assure all our citizens that we will always respect all opinions and provide a safe environment for everyone to voice their opinions and live their values."

Except that time a few meetings back where some people's telephone comments were omitted, because . . . . well . . . . words.

"We can assure all our citizens that we will always ensure all our policies never impede the freedom to fully reach all potentials."

That is QUITE a statement !!! THREE "all"s !!! Seriously, read that statement over once again and tell me if it says ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING or ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ???

===========================================

Additionally, I fully concur with Ron O.'s statement. City Council's in my opinion have no place taking empty stands on national and world issues. I have been critical of this on dozens of issues over the years, including statements I agree with.

This is even worse. It doesn't even take a stand. It implies a stand, without taking it, like the statement is written in the hopes that everyone who reads it will believe the City Council is speaking for them. This is Davis. We may be weird, we may be *ssholes, we may be giants, but we are not stupid. Most of us aren't stupid. Some of us aren't stupid.

Colin Walsh

I think the proclmation in 1989 declaring the Davisa Pro-Choice City was a bold and timely statement. I was surprised the council statement Tuesday night did not even mention that Davis is still a Pro-Choice City as proclaimed in 1989, and not doing so serves to somewhat undermine the previous stronger statement. Did Mayor Partida not know Davis has been declared a Pro-Choice City already? did the rest of the council not know? Or did they just choose to ignore the earlier stronger statement?

J.J. Surbeck

In other words, yes we should have freedom of speech, but not if it does not support freedom of choice. The language used by the author is extreme and contradictory. The statement released by the City Council acknowledged the fact that the population is divided over this issue and that one side cannot impose its views on the other.

But when the author says "Some opinions are not deserving of respect.", she unwittingly is showing her hand: SHE alone knows and can decide which opinions are "deserving" of respect or not. That is the core of the problem we're facing today: self-designated "progressives" (read "enlightened", the ones who know better than anyone else what is good for you, whether you agree or not) who show no respect whatsoever to views that differ from theirs, and of course no respect for the people holding these views, even though we all have the same rights to hold the opinions we choose to hold, right or wrong (and there will be no shortage of people who will find anyone's views wrong in some way). Beware of the candidates the author will support for the next two seats in the City Council: chances are they will share her extremist views.

Roberta L. Millstein

J.J. Surbeck, that's correct. I don't respect or support opinions that prevent me and others from living our lives to the fullest extent possible, in health and safety. I don't think that's extreme, but I will let other readers decide for themselves.

Keith

I'm a conservative that is pro-choice as long as it's not late term abortion. That said, this is a very dividing issue and the council is right to state that they need to “always respect all opinions and provide a safe environment for everyone to voice their opinions and live their values” regardless of what your politics are.

"(Justice Clarence Thomas has hinted at implications for overturning gay marriage and contraception rights)."

Not going to happen, it's just being used by the left to work people up for the coming election. On top of that CA is a pro choice state and will stay that way which aligns with the SCOTUS decision to let states decide for themselves.

" I would like them to think creatively about how we can help, e.g., by helping people who need to travel to this area for abortions"

Help in what way? Fund their transportation? Fund their abortion,? Fund their housing while in Davis? Who's going to pay for that?

Alan C. Miller

J.J. Surbeck said -- "In other words, yes we should have freedom of speech, but not if it does not support freedom of choice."

Not at all. Your comment was posted.

"The language used by the author is extreme and contradictory."

Not at all. Strong, yes.

But when the author says "Some opinions are not deserving of respect."

Just an opinion. And you were heard as well. Not being permitted to be heard is where 'freedom of speech' comes in.

That is the core of the problem we're facing today: self-designated "progressives" (read "enlightened", the ones who know better than anyone else what is good for you, whether you agree or not)

I agree. I also don't believe R.M. is a progressive in the way you define. Rather, more a traditional liberal who believes in free speech.

. . . who show no respect whatsoever to views that differ from theirs, and of course no respect for the people holding these views, even though we all have the same rights to hold the opinions we choose to hold, right or wrong.

You do have that right, as R.M. has the right not to respect your view. That is different from the suppressing of your expressing that view, which no one here did.

If you want to experience actual progressivism of the type you describe, where your dissenting statement may not even be posted, try the Davis Vanguard. The actually do omit comments if they don't like the comment, or the point of view, or the person writing it, or if it's Tuesday or Saturday, or the moderator has a tummy ache or a cactus spine in their thumb.

Which is why the Davis Vanguard can go f*ck itself.

Ron O

J.J. Surbeck: "Beware of the candidates the author will support for the next two seats in the City Council: chances are they will share her extremist views."

I doubt that anyone on the council (or anyone running for a council seat) is "anti-choice".

Nor would the question normally even come up. (David Greenwald attempted to make this an issue regarding the district attorney - which was also irrelevant.)

There's plenty of (other) valid reasons to pursue a different makeup of the council.

Keith

"If you want to experience actual progressivism of the type you describe, where your dissenting statement may not even be posted, try the Davis Vanguard. The actually do omit comments if they don't like the comment, or the point of view, or the person writing it..."

Or if your comment is a little critical when the article's author is a member of one of the Vanguard's protected classes. Adult college students come to mind.

Roberta L. Millstein

Keith, in reply to your comment of 12:38 PM:

If someone said that they were in favor of slavery, would you respect that opinion? You might support their right to express it, but respecting it is something else entirely, as Alan Miller points out.

Now, I don't think that abortion is the same as slavery, but they both involve a serious loss of autonomy -- a more severe loss in the case of slavery. I cannot and will not respect the opinion that it's OK to violate someone's autonomy to that degree.

As for how the City could help, you ask a good question about funding. Perhaps it would be possible for the city to contribute monetarily, but there are other ways for the City to help coordinate -- just as it did with Healthy Davis Together. Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think the City actually expended any money for HDT. It did, however, provide some facilities, and perhaps that could be possible with people seeking abortion (i.e., a place to spend the night or a few hours), or some other form of coordination. The City could assure people who came that they would be protected, just as any visitor to the City would be (and this is a real issue for people seeking abortion). I don't claim to have all of the answers for what the City could do and how they could do it. What I am asking for is some commitment to seek and implement those answers, not a wishy-washy "good people on both sides" type of statement.

Ron O mentions non-profits. Sure, they have a role to play too, and again, could coordinate with the City. For example, I would think that an organization like Mayor Partida's Phoenix Coalition would be interested.

Keith

Roberta, we're not talking about slavery here, we're talking abortion rights. No one would respect anyone who promoted slavery, that's obvious. But for the council to say that they respect all people's opinions on the issue of abortion is in no way an over the top statement. The country as a whole is very split on this with a majority being against abortion after 24 weeks of a pregnancy. But yes Roberta, you have the right to not respect other's opinions just as they have the right to not respect your opinion on any given issue. I don't think I stated anything contrary to that.

Roberta L. Millstein

I know that slavery and loss of abortion rights aren’t the same and I said that very explicitly. But they do also have something in common, as I said - a serious loss of autonomy. Someone is forced to be pregnant against their will, to go through everything that entails even though they don’t want it. Pregnancy can have both short term and long term negative health impacts, often serious, sometimes life threatening. It can utterly derail a person's life plans. It can make them more likely to suffer domestic abuse, even murder (I can show you the statistics) from a partner who doesn’t want a baby either. Someone who says that all of this is A-OK with them — and I understand that you are not in that camp, Keith, with the exception of late term abortion (a conversation for another day) is not saying something that is deserving of respect. Forcing life threatening, life derailing situations on people who don’t consent to them is unethical.

Yes, there is a significant minority in the country who thinks it is OK to remove a woman's right to control her life and her body. There was a time when the same was true of slavery - a majority even. Our society moved forward on that point (for the most part) and it’s time to move forward again.

Davis was proclaimed a pro-choice city in 1989. I’m asking us to live up to that. It is the right thing to do. Yes, that is my opinion, and I have also given reasons for that opinion. City Councils are permitted take a stand and act on it, as the city did for climate change. (Well, it’s yet to act on that one… just promises of actions so far).

Ron O

Roberta: No argument from me, regarding what you've stated.

But those who oppose abortion are (generally) doing so out of deep-seated religious beliefs. I am surprised that (in this day and age), those beliefs still hold a lot of sway.

As far as "respecting" those beliefs, I sort of do (until they foist those beliefs onto others). Of course, no one was forcing anyone else to get an abortion, if they chose not to do so.

Truth be told, I see the Supreme Court as being asked to "enforce" what Congress declines to do (in many ways, not just related to abortion). (If I'm not mistaken, Roe vs. Wade was primarily based upon "privacy".)

I suspect that the legislative failure is largely the result of having two senators from each state (regardless of the size of the state), as well as the electoral college. Both of these institutions work together to ensure that decisions do not necessarily reflect the majority of public opinion.

Not to be crude, but I recall George Carlin as stating that "not every ejaculation deserves a name".

Roberta L. Millstein

But those who oppose abortion are (generally) doing so out of deep-seated religious beliefs.

Yes, and foisting their particular religious beliefs on those who have different religious beliefs or on those who lack religious beliefs. Notice I am not objecting to their beliefs per se, but rather their insistence that others must, by law, adhere to them.

Congress screwed up, no doubt about that. But I do think that privacy is a reasonable basis. What I do with my body is none of anyone else's business.

Sharon Montooth

"Pro choice" and "Pro life" are hazy terms. There is a fair amount of grey. What does the city mean when it says it's pro-choice? I haven't seen a definition.

Anja

I'm reminded of something a speaker said in a social justice seminar back in college - I wish I had written it down verbatim because the message of it stuck with me. To paraphrase it:
"All sincerely held beliefs and opinions are valid in that they are true for the individual, but not every opinion deserves an equal seat at *every* table."

Essentially, someone holding a deeply seated religious opinion about abortion absolutely is valid when applied to themselves. They also deserve equal space to voice their opinion at the tables of "religious objections to abortion" and "why I will not have an abortion". However, at the tables of "does a person have the right to have an abortion" and "should we allow or punish those who have abortions", they do not get to have louder voices and more talking space than the rest of us. Their time to speak should be equitable, not domineering, because again their personal religious beliefs and opinions should only dictate their own life. Can they use their time to speak to try to persuade others to make the same choices? Absolutely. Can they take time away from other's to shame, guilt, and talk over everyone else? In a just society that values freedom, no.

A catch phrase I picked up a few years ago from the podcaster Dylan Marron, and find myself using in increasing amounts and environments:
"Empathy is not endorsement."
You can empathize with a person's experience, validate their feelings, and show them respect without endorsing their behaviors, actions, and beliefs.

Roberta L. Millstein

Thanks, Anja. To my way of thinking, we should always treat others respectfully, but that doesn't mean we should respect their opinions. I think that's an important distinction that gets lost sometimes. And yes, you can empathize with a person's experience and validate their feelings without respecting their opinions.

Keith

Good discussion here. I think everyone is pretty much in agreement that views should be allowed to be expressed and that even though everyone doesn't have to respect those views at the same time no one's opinion should be censored unless their comment/view is completely over the top or hateful. Unfortunately we're seeing more and more repression of free speech in this country today. Thanks again to the Davisite for not going that route, unlike another nameless blog we all love. cough...cough...

Alan C. Miller

Keith: "Unfortunately we're seeing more and more repression of free speech in this country today. Thanks again to the Davisite for not going that route, unlike another nameless blog we all love. cough...cough..."

I'll name it: The Davis Vanguard The Davis Vanguard censors -- spasmodically & erratically -- comments it doesn't like or from people it doesn't like. The Davis Vanguard sucks, forever and always.

Anja

@Keith -
I'm curious who you believe should be deciding what comments are over-the-top or hateful.

I think a lot of community moderating gets labeled as "censorship", when really it is just keeping the discussion on track with the community's values and keeping the community members safe. If a community's stated values include things you don't agree with, you either need to a) find or create a better community to suit your needs, or b) work within the community to find compromise. By joining a community you are agreeing to abide by their rules - to join, refuse to comply, and complaining about it you are setting yourself up for failure a the community for a lot of conflict.

It's tricky when you are born into a community, are forced into it by circumstance, and/or are unable to leave. But communities that you voluntarily participate in? There's no excuse. Either be part of changing the community from within or leave - trolling and being contrarian is a waste of everyone's time and energy.

Sharla Cheney

I don’t think I can respect another’s opinion that a woman’s right to privacy regarding personal reproductive healthcare is unconstitutional. I don’t think there is a valid opposing view or opinion. The only opposing view seems to be religious, but not my religious view. I can respect another’s efforts to follow their faith, but not efforts for me to follow their faith.

Keith

"Either be part of changing the community from within or leave - trolling and being contrarian is a waste of everyone's time and energy."

What's the definition of being part of the community. Does one have to go along with the crowd to be part of the community? And if they don't is it considered trolling when they voice their views? If one is considered contrarian because they don't align with the majority views of a community should they be censored or an outcast? I would think that minorities, LGBTQ and other groups that were once considered contrarian or outcasts for airing their views might have a different opinion as to being a "waste of everyone's time and energy".

Alan C. Miller

"I'm curious who you believe should be deciding what comments are over-the-top or hateful."

I can't speak for Keith, but I vote for Don Shor. He's an incredible moderator of speech. Have you ever seen his act? Of course not, because his handywork is in what you don't ever see. Don is so good at blog moderation that he should decide what comments are over-the-top for the entire world. He clearly believes he knows what is over the top and hateful. Really, almost like a God. Which is why I will vote Don Shor for King Lord God Bufoo World Blog Censor.

I think a lot of community moderating gets labeled as "censorship", when really it is just keeping the discussion on track with the community's values . . .

Community? What community? What community moderating? On track with what, or who, why? What community values? What are you talking about?

and keeping the community members safe.

Safe? From what? From whom? From other members of the community? From *ssholes like me?

If a community's stated values include things you don't agree with . . .

What if the person is part of community, but has values different from other members of the community?

you

You who?

either need to a) find or create a better community to suit your needs,

Create a new community? That sounds like a lot of work. I'd rather annoy the community I'm in.

or b) work within the community to find compromise.

Still wondering: what community, what issues?

By joining a community you are agreeing to abide by their rules

You are? I usually join communities to annoy them.

to join, refuse to comply, and complaining about it you are setting yourself up for failure a the community for a lot of conflict.

What if conflict is my goal, then I have succeeded!

It's tricky when you are born into a community,

It might be tricky, but it happens to all of us.

are forced into it by circumstance,

Do tell.

and/or are unable to leave.

This blog has walls. This city has walls!!!

But communities that you voluntarily participate in?

I do. Except when they don't let me. Or I don't want to.

There's no excuse.

There is an excuse. What were talking about again?

Either be part of changing the community from within

What if I want to change the community so that everyone agrees with me?

or leave -

But I was just changing everyone's mind. It's time to leave already?

trolling and being contrarian is a waste of everyone's time and energy.

Not my time or energy [he says in contrary to the antecedent commenter].

And I'm the only one that matters :-|

g

Keith

"@Keith -
I'm curious who you believe should be deciding what comments are over-the-top or hateful."

Someone who is neutral and doesn't let their personal biases or politics enter into their moderating decisions. The word "moderator" comes from the word "moderate". So a moderator should be someone who is moderate in their views and fair to everyone when making moderation decisions regardless of their and the commenter's views.

Alan C. Miller

To continue on Keith's theme:

Example: I moderate Al's Corner (most of the time; sometimes my cat does it)

The only person I've had to "moderate" is myself, once, at the suggestion of other moderators, and I agreed with them that I crossed a line we all agreed with. I've posted everything else, though once 'flagged', not deleted, a comment and suggested it was approaching/over the line, but left it up so people could know what over-the-line looks like. I would only delete if the same person crossed that same like repeatedly, and that has not happened.

The 'community' isn't defined by one. The community is everyone who chooses to participate. All views allowed to be heard. I DO NOT believe people need to be kept "safe" from ideas or opinions. In fact, I believe people need to be kept safe from JUDGEMENTAL, MEGALOMANIACAL people, and blogs, that believe they have the knowledge and power to know what ideas others need to be protected from. The world is an ugly place; suppressing that is the worst tact.

As I have said many times, I am a Jew who supports the rights of Nazi's to march and express their ideas, however much I abhor those ideas, i.e. the *A.C.L.U. (the Skokie Case):

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjkq5Cg2dr4AhVyKEQIHdi_AVkQFnoECAYQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.aclu.org%2Fother%2Faclu-history-taking-stand-free-speech-skokie&usg=AOvVaw3RZQRC5Xl-FS4LNrqVL-mQ

*the good old A.C.L.U., not the new progressive one.

Ron O

Keith: As far as I'm concerned, your comments and views are welcome on here. In fact, I don't recall you (personally) attacking anyone else for their views. You also have a sense of "fairness", in regard to sticking-up for those who are personally attacked - regardless of their views.

Those traits make you welcome in any "community".

As far as the Vanguard is concerned, their moderation is not consistent with their own policy.

(I posted a similar comment yesterday, but it must have been overlooked.)

Suggesting that someone "leave a community" because of their political views is vile. It also results in a "community" becoming an echo chamber, and fosters division with other "communities". (This is essentially what's occurring in the larger political world, these days.)

George Galamba

I'm a retired community college ESL teacher. Years ago, in discussion classes, I'd bring up abortion. It always got students talking (screaming) in English, which was good, but never did it lead to consensus or harmony. I gave it up. I have no personal objection to the mayor's emotional statement, but I do have a few questions:
1. The item was not agendized, but was voted on and approved as a city policy by the council. Does this not violate the Brown Act?
2. Does the city council have jurisdiction on this? Is it proper for the city to take positions where it has no jurisdiction? (e.g. declaring Davis a nuclear-free zone.)
3. The statement opposes restriction to access to abortion in Davis. Who is trying to restrict this access? It's kind of like declaring that all Davis residents should have access to low-fat milk. What Davis problem is this declaration trying to solve?
Although most Davis residents support choice, it was inappropriate (if not illegal) for the council to create this policy in this manner.

Roberta L. Millstein

George, thank you for your comments, and for (1) bringing up the Brown Act issue in particular. I was wondering about that myself but hesitated to bring it up because I didn't watch the meeting and thus didn't have the full context. I'm OK with your (2) because I think it does affect things we might do as a city (as I tried to suggest above) but I found (3) puzzling as well.

On a related note, I used to teach bioethics and we would do a unit on the ethics of abortion. I managed to avoid any screaming but then again we weren't trying to find consensus, only to evaluate the arguments that were in the readings we did (and there can be a bad argument for a position you agree with, or even a good argument for a position you disagree with).

Keith

Here's a perfect example of censorship:

I tried to post this comment on the Vanguard this morning but for some reason they won't allow it even though I didn't break any Vanguard rules that I know of.

Here's part of the article:
"Understand that this is not about what type of abortion is considered murder, or when an abortion is considered murder, or not giving an unborn child a chance at life."

My comment that wasn't allowed:
"I think that's exactly what "this" is about for a pro-lifer."

https://www.davisvanguard.org/2022/07/guest-commentary-after-roe-what-will-they-take-from-us-next/

Colin Walsh

Keith, that is a good example of censorship. wish I were more surprised the Vanguard was blatently censoring.

Keith

Yes Colin, why does the Vanguard even have commenting rules when they aren't applied evenly and fairly to everyone? I asked a couple of times what exactly was wrong with my comment and what Vanguard rule(s) were broken. No reply.

Alan C. Miller

Keith said:

My comment that wasn't allowed:
"I think that's exactly what "this" is about for a pro-lifer."

My guess is that because you posted a comment that doesn't fit their narrative, they assume that belief is yours, and therefore must be stamped out. Alternative points of view to an extremist progressive are wrong, spooky, scary and 'harm'-ful and must be destroyed. Your expressive this absolutely truthful statement in the Vanguard could have caused 'harm', and the Vanguard would have enabled that harm. Better that college-aged adults live under a rock, eh, Van Guard ?

There has been a lot of talk about respecting opinions. But one opinion I will not respect are those born of one who will not engage and publish opinions they are not in agreement with (that is, those they don't agree with by their un-published and chaotically inconsistent moderation). Yes, what I am saying is that I have no respect for those who participate or enable in the megalomaniacal, narcissistic judgement of the worthiness of specific comments such as takes place daily over at the Davis Vanguard.

What are you all afraid of over there ? Ideas ?

Ron O

I tried to post the following comment this morning in the Vanguard, but they've apparently declined to allow it. (Same article that Keith referenced.) I wasn't going to bother posting it on here, but I see that Keith is also experiencing unexplained deletions.

Ron O July 4, 2022 at 10:17 am
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Author: "Then there is the question about men: What law governs them and their bodies that, at any moment, can be reversed, depriving them of autonomy?"

My response: The entire criminal justice system, the results of which disproportionately-impact men.

Author: "How many women were a part of the initial discussion to reverse Roe v. Wade? How many of their voices versus men’s were a part of the ultimate decision?"

My response: A lot of women oppose abortion. A lot of men support the ability to choose. (Men never had an opportunity to make a choice, but are still subject to its consequences – in the form of child support.)

I assume that we’re referring to traditional definitions of “men” and “women”, here.

Roberta L. Millstein

Ron, the author asked "what law?" and you answered "the criminal justice system." While it is true that the criminal justice system disproportionately impacts men (and especially men of color), it is not a law.

The author asked, "How many women were a part of the initial discussion to reverse Roe v. Wade? How many of their voices versus men’s were a part of the ultimate decision?" I have to admit that I don't fully understand these questions, but as I read them there are 9 Supreme Court justices, so I think we know the answers?

Ron O

Roberta: Perhaps my grammar wasn't entirely accurate, but just about every law related to the criminal justice system disproportionately impacts men. This is not an opinion - it's a fact.

I'm not claiming that this is based upon discrimination, however.

In any case, LOTS of women are "pro-life". LOTS of men are "pro-choice".

I don't know how many of each, but religious beliefs appear to be the largest delineating factor.

And when conservatives are on the court, they tend to interpret the laws closer to what is actually written. (Again, not an issue necessarily related to the sex of those making such decisions.)

I don't think it takes much imagination to envision how pissed-off one might be to have the government interfering with such personal impacts and decisions. Again, such empathy is not related to sex.

For that matter, women are only able to conceive for a relatively-short period in their lives.

And again, men are impacted - in that they are subject to child support (even when women are "allowed" to choose, under the law).

On a related note, I recall that "Family Guy" once showed "Roe's boyfriend" reaction to the original Supreme Court original ruling, which I found amusing. Not sure if it's in here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6bv3uL5oNw

Roberta L. Millstein

Ron, you say, "just about every law related to the criminal justice system disproportionately impacts men." And that is true. But the laws banning abortion in half the states in the country don't just disproportionately affect women. They only target women (or people who can get pregnant). That is an important and significant difference. I don't think you can name a law that only applies to men.

And yes, there are women who are pro-life and men who are pro-choice. I was just trying to say that I can't tell if that point is relevant to what the original author said because I can't make heads or tails of the original comment, which reads like it's just about the Supreme Court's decision.

Women are only able to conceive for a short period??? Well, it varies, but these days some girls are able to conceive at 10 or even earlier. Some women don't go through menopause until they are 60. That's a lot of years to be able to get pregnant and trust me, worrying about that is not something that anyone would forget.

Although men are impacted, it is nothing like being pregnant for 9 months, nothing like the health risks, including risk of dying, nothing like the pain and stress that the person bearing the child goes through -- not to mention that even in this day and age the woman is still the default caregiver in the vast majority of cases.

Ron O

Roberta: The author of the Vanguard article stated the following:

Author: "Then there is the question about men: What law governs them and their bodies that, at any moment, can be reversed, depriving them of autonomy?"

I simply noted that most laws disproportionately impact men. In fact, it's not even "close", and yet - the article was written by someone who is incarcerated (and should know this).

You stated that the overturning of Roe only impacts women, then go on to state that it also impacts men. Of course it's not the same, due to basic differences in biology.

Opponents of abortion aren't even focused on the "carrier" (women). They're focused on what they refer to as the "unborn child". Usually out of a belief that this is a creation of God.

However, there is one "difference" that essentially favors women: Women ultimately control the decision, while men have to share the responsibility of that decision for at least 18 years (if the woman chooses to have the child).

I'm not arguing that this situation should be "different". However, I don't think you can name one similar situation in which a man can "force" a woman to live with the consequences of a man's unilateral decision. (At least, not in this country.)

The reason I brought up the timeframe in which women can get pregnant is because this (also) does not usually correlate with beliefs regarding abortion. In other words, a person (in this case, a woman) does not normally/suddenly "change their beliefs" when they are personally no longer able to conceive.

This is also essentially the same reason that differences in beliefs are often not driven by sex of the individual.

That's why (for me, personally), arguments that "men" are causing "women" to bear children fall flat, with me. I'm quite certain that 9 potential female Supreme Court justices can be found, who would also overturn Roe vs. Wade. (One of them can be found on the Supreme Court, already!)

In contrast, I'm equally certain that 9 potential male Supreme Court justices can be found who would support Roe vs. Wade.

In other words, beliefs and values are not always driven by potential/personal impacts for an individual.

My point here was not to engage in a debate, but simply noting that my comment was not even allowed on the Vanguard. I did not expect to receive a response, here.

Roberta L. Millstein

Ron, the Davisite is a place for community discussion. While we are OK with you posting appropriate content here that was not accepted on the Vanguard, we don't exist for that purpose. You should expect that anything you post here may be engaged with. That's something that people forget about free speech sometimes -- it's a two way street.

I'm just going to try to reiterate my main point so as to not get bogged down. There are no other laws that targets only one sex, period. Just abortion bans. Any impact that falls on men because of an abortion ban are the result of other laws, like child support laws. A man might not even know that he is the father of a child born an unwilling mother; it happens all the time. And men who do have to pay child support do not, in the vast majority of cases, bear the same health and life risks that a woman does in having to bear an unwanted child.

There is nothing that so dramatically illustrates how little our society thinks of women as the abortion bans that are now in force in about half the states in this country.

Ron O

O.K., Roberta.

I would actually disagree that the law "targets" women in the manner in which you state.

They are "targeted" simply due to biology. Again, the focus of those who are opposed to abortion has very little to do with the "carrier" (mother), and everything to do with the "unborn child".

Women (due to biology) are ultimately in a position to make a unilateral decision which would impact their partners (for at least 18 years - if they choose to have a child that their partner doesn't want). In this sense, women have far more control over the situation than men do. (If you think that men aren't concerned about this possibility, you're mistaken.)

And in the past (when more men worked than women), child support itself fell disproportionately upon men. (Courts also tended to favor mothers, when it came to custody.)

So again, the law is not intended to "target" one sex. The fact that it does is due to biological differences.

It's a law I don't support, as I don't believe fetuses are "babies". (I wouldn't be able to tell you exactly when I would consider them to be babies, given that they can increasingly-survive outside of the womb.

I personally would have trouble "aborting" a late-term fetus. I don't see a great deal of difference between a fetus (one day before it's born), vs. a baby (on the day it's born).

One wonders if there might be a time when "carriers" (mothers) aren't needed at all, which would mean that one sex does not bear a unique burden. At which point, when/where would the "abortion" occur?

Ron O

Follow-up:

In response to your question, I just realized that there is an actual law (regarding the same issue) which "targets" men:

The law which allows women (in some states, at this point) to make unilateral decisions (regarding whether or not to continue a pregnancy) which impacts their male partners.

As such, men are disadvantaged, by law. (An 18-year disadvantage, if you want to look at it that way.)

Keith

"That's something that people forget about free speech sometimes -- it's a two way street."

Roberta, thank you for noting that. Knowing Ron I doubt that he has any problem with people engaging or disagreeing with him. Where he, I and others have a problem is when views are censored or stifled for no other reason than biases and politics. Thankfully the Davisite doesn't resort to that.

Alan C. Miller

"I don't think you can name a law that only applies to men."

There was the "Penis Removal Act" of 1879, largely lost to the history books and repealed soon after in 1881 :-|

Yay free speech and engagement !!!

I have what is either a unique view or one that most people won't utter. I do believe the fetus is a life and abortion is a killing (not necessarily murder, which is a legal term defined by humans). This isn't out of a religious belief, more out of spiritual understanding -- to me this is patently obvious.

I also believe a woman has a right to make the choice to keep her baby or have an abortion. The decision is between a woman, her child, and her God, not mine or anyone else's non-right to impose their beliefs on another. And, in practical terms, "banning" something so prevalent will not significantly reduce abortions, but only make them more dangerous and force them underground.

For some reason the common thread is that if one believes a woman has the right to make the decision, they apparently must also believe the fetus is not a life or a child. While it may be more painful and complex to believe both, I suspect more people believe this in their hearts than are willing to admit it.

Roberta L. Millstein

Ron, to say that women are not targeted, but are targeted simply through their biology makes my head spin. For most of human history (at least Western human history) women have been primarily understood as the half of the human race that has the capacity to bear children. You can't separate that capacity from society's understanding of women! Women, understood in the traditional societal way as the people who have the capacity to bear children, are the people for whom the bans -- the loss of autonomy -- applies. That's all that I mean. I can't tell if Alan is joking about a "Penis Removal Act" but that would be an equivalent sort of targeted law in the sense that I mean it.

Child support does fall disproportionately on men, but women still can be forced to pay child support. There is no man -- understood in the traditional societal sense -- who can be forced to carry a baby to term. The scope of the former law is all people. The scope of the latter law is just women.

In response to Alan's comment: I genuinely think that an early-term fetus -- the stage at which most abortions are performed -- lacks many morally relevant features: ability to feel pain, ability to think and reason, ability to make choices and decisions. After somewhere in the area of viability, then yes, we get into the more challenging ethical zone. For me, that is the zone where I have more trust in the woman and the doctor to know the details and to make the right decision (say, if the woman's life or mental or physical health is threatened) than I do the legislator.

Alan C. Miller

I can't tell if Alan is joking about a "Penis Removal Act"

Clue: I often make points via the absurd.

Sharon

Alan, Your view is not unique. I share it.

Roberta, I disagree with this statement: "Any impact that falls on men because of an abortion ban are the result of other laws, like child support laws."

There are some men who would be ready and willing and want to care for "their" child and would be disappointed if it were aborted. I still believe it's the woman's choice, but I think to say men are only impacted for financial reasons does a disservice to men.

"A man might not even know that he is the father of a child born an unwilling mother; it happens all the time." There is tragedy in that, IMO, and definitely affects men.

sharon

And an addendum: I'm an atheist, my belief that life begins at conception has nothing to do with a god.

Alan C. Miller

I don't believe in atheists :-|

Ron O

If I were able to select between having a "choice" regarding whether or not to abort a fetus, vs. depending upon my partner's (unilateral) ability to make such a decision (by law, no less), I'd probably choose to be the partner with the "choice".

Here's something else to ponder:

As Matt Walsh asks, "What is a Woman", in the first place? (Also a question asked of the newest Supreme Court appointee, to which "she" could not provide an answer - legally, or otherwise.)

(Thought I'd go ahead and "push the envelope" regarding the conversation.) :-)

Keith

Well looky here, 49 comments so far and a good discussion where not everyone agrees but they're still allowed to say it. Are you taking notes Vanguard?

The Davisite is the place to be...

Alan C. Miller

They are not taking notes.

They are having a dull discussion about what to do after the failure of Measure H.

Tomorrow housing in Davis, Reisig is the Devil, the Chesa-ire Cat, and Gas Con. AGAIN!!! and AGAIN!!! Expect much regurgitation and comment censorship! Because that's what THEY do. Did you all know there is a HOUSING CRISIS #scary-music# in Davis? Did you? Did you?

Oh but exciting news - a new website is coming! Someday, maybe. If you contribute money, money, money, cuz they didn't get the grant they #cough# had in the bag. So sad. #sniff#

Roberta L. Millstein

Alan: Thanks for the clarification. :-)

Sharon: You misunderstand me. I said, "Any impact that falls on men because of an abortion ban are the result of other laws, like child support laws." The key word there is "ban." If abortion is banned, then (quoting your words) "men who would be ready and willing and want to care for their child and would be disappointed if it were aborted" are not negatively impacted. They should be pleased. You are talking about the impacts of allowing choice, which is a different question than the impacts of an abortion ban. So, my original point that an abortion ban targets women and is the only sort of law I am aware of that limits the actions of women alone.

Ron: You say you would choose to be the partner with the "choice". Would you choose to be the partner who has no choice in whether to be pregnant for 9 months and no choice in whether to give birth, suffering any life or health impacts that might entail? Because again, that is what millions of women in the U.S. are now facing with the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Keith

Alan, don’t forget the Davis fiscal Cry (wolf) Sis. It’s been coming for a decade and the Vanguard has been writing about it for about as long. Some day it might actually happen, a broken clock is right twice a day.

Ron O

Roberta: The overturning of Roe vs. Wade returns the decision to the states - where it will remain legal in many of them.

Hopefully, some organization will "step up" to assist those living in states where it's banned (e.g., with travel to a "legal" state - as needed).

I don't see any realistic possibility that abortion will be banned across the U.S.

In my opinion, the states that are enacting strict bans are likely hurting themselves (financially, and otherwise).

Keith

Alan, I forgot to mention the Covid in prisons articles. I can’t get enough of those. There are 2 posted just today. And I’m always on the edge of my seat anticipating the “Looking Back” articles by some guy named Jeffrey Deskovic. It’s a scintillating blog, that Vanguard.

Sharon

Roberta you are correct, I did misread. However, I still think there will be an impact on men from an abortion ban (dead, injured partners from illegal abortions comes to mind).

Roberta L. Millstein

Sharon, yes, true. 😔

Ron, yes, states are trying to step up, CA especially. But here is why overturning Roe v. Wade will still impact many, many women. First thing to keep in mind is that large swaths of the midwest and the south will have bans in place. So then you have:

Time - time can be of the essence with an abortion, but it takes time to travel. That might rule out abortions for some
Time again - people will need to take more time off of work, which they may not be able to get.
Money - even if there are funds to apply for, people will have to know where and how to apply.
Complexity - I would hope that helping organizations will make things as simple as possible, but that tends to be not how this sort of things go.
Complications - What if the person has medical complication on the way home?
Legal uncertainties - some states want to ban people traveling out of state for an abortion. Or allow legal action against anyone who helps anyone get an abortion. It remains to be seen how those will shake out.
Age - A young preteen/teenager might be able to get themselves to a clinic, but across state lines? Suppose there is no one to go with them, no one they can trust? No way for them to get away? [This might be true not just of young people]

Bottom line? It's going to be the most educated and most affluent people who are able to navigate things well enough to be able to travel for abortions. Less educated, less affluent, not so much. So overturning Roe v. Wade has a disproportionate impact on those in the most dire situations. Same as it ever was. :(

And I am not nearly as sure as you that there won't eventually be a nationwide ban. There is no longer any constitutional protection against a federal abortion ban and even though a majority of people are pro-choice, states have been well gerrymandered. I predict that "states rights" mantra would be dropped like a hot potato.

But my main point here is that overturning Roe v. Wade is, in fact, a big deal. In truth, wealthy women have always been able to get relatively safe abortions, even when it was illegal everywhere. We've gone back to those days. (Even in CA, there are counties where there are no abortion providers and the same complications about money, travel, and time from work occur).

Ron O

Yeah, Roberta - it's bad news.

But I understand that some states (and even some counties in California, as you noted) never did have much access.

And yes - it's going to be the people who can least-afford it, who get stuck with kids they didn't want or can't afford. (It doesn't take much imagination to realize that society at large will suffer as a result of kids growing up in such households.)

Like I said, the states and locales that are already "challenged" will be that much more "challenged".

And higher-educated, wealthier people will avoid living in those locales - even more than they already do.

However, I'm surprised that Texas hasn't changed yet (regarding this and other issues), given all of the Californians who have moved there.

I've heard that some states are even trying to ban the "morning-after" pill.

In any case, I do see a possibility that decision will ignite a positive change.

Roberta L. Millstein

Ron, yes, until recently all states had some abortion access, but in recent years various laws and policies had chipped away at that. So Roe v. Wade being overturned takes this to the next level. I think you summed up some of the consequences of that well.

I certainly hope that people mobilize for positive change. So far I am not seeing signs, but perhaps we'll get it together.

J.J. Surbeck

Great discussion all around. And yet, the core issue has not been tackled: what is a fetus, what does it become over the pregnancy months and when can we agree it has enough autonomy (not to mention a soul) to be considered a separate entity rather than a mere organ of the mother, to be disposed of if inconvenient as if it was a mere appendicitis. When does this removal become murder? Only when the umbilical chord is cut and we have actually a full live baby or long before? No one knows and therefore no one wants to address these questions.

For most of my life I supported the pro-choice wing of the debate. In hindsight, I think now that's because I never stopped to ask myself these questions. Now that I have, I am not so sure any more and I tend to be on the side of allowing abortions for a limited time (3 months max) and of course in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is at risk. Other than those, I don't see any valid reason except convenience, when a minimum of caution would have avoided the problem. That raises the question of personal responsibility, which is in dire need of being resurrected in a society that tends to excuse all behavior, even nefarious ones. Roberta painted a quasi apocalyptic picture of the consequences of unwanted pregnancy. That's one view, but then wouldn't it seem obvious that more caution should be displayed rather than irresponsible behavior? Why not? Do whatever you feel like and let's not even think about the consequences? If this motto was applied to all aspects of our lives, where would we be today as a society, not to mention a nation?

Last point: religion is undoubtedly a big motivator for many opponents of abortion, but that was not the point made by the Supreme Court. The Court found that Roe vs. Wade had been an abusive interpretation of what the Constitution actually said, which is ... nothing as far as abortion is concerned. The "privacy" argument was overstretched to a point that it should never have. They merely corrected that misuse of our Supreme Law and restored its actual meaning and reach. And contrary fo all the screaming opponents, abortion has NOT been banned. That decision has been restored to the States where it belonged. What the supporters of the pro-choice wing bemoan is the fact that States are not prevented any more from banning abortion. In other words, they're unhappy that the nationwide diktat of Roe vs. Wade (i,e, the imposition of one standard on everyone) has been removed.

PS: as a relative newcomer to Davis, I've commented a couple of times on articles in the Vanguard and, admittedly to my surprise since I objected to their content, my comments were published. For whatever it's worth. On the other hand, one publication that could use a comment section and has altogether rejected it is The Enterprise. I had an exchange with the editor in which he ran all the possible excuses for not allowing comments, from the need for a moderator to the cost of one of the moderating processors to unnamed and unidentified "right wing trolls" who according to him monopolized comments. A sad and somewhat cowardly attitude in my view. If anything, Davissite is proving them wrong.

Ron O

J.J. Surbeck: "Great discussion all around. And yet, the core issue has not been tackled: what is a fetus, what does it become over the pregnancy months and when can we agree it has enough autonomy (not to mention a soul) to be considered a separate entity rather than a mere organ of the mother, to be disposed of if inconvenient as if it was a mere appendicitis."

Valid questions, and actually much deeper than abortion itself. Touches on the nature and definition of life, itself.

I'm tempted to point out (again) that the most recent Supreme Court appointee cannot even define what a woman is - legally, or otherwise. And she is not alone - she's just "reflecting society" regarding that (and trying to dodge the question). Forgive me in advance for referring to "her" as "she", but her gender has already been "celebrated" in the news - so I figure that's been established at this point.

In any case, I doubt these types of questions will ever be settled. As such, I'm comfortable letting pregnant women themselves decide.

Ron O

And if we are going to start defining fetuses as babies, what exactly is "wrong" with the argument in the following article? (At the very least, it's amusing.)

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/pregnant-woman-given-hov-ticket-argues-fetus-is-passenger-post-roe/ar-AAZoI2r?cvid=88f744047d6748a0a6f48d704b4c293f

Roberta L. Millstein

Replying to J.J. Surbeck:

"..the core issue has not been tackled: what is a fetus, what does it become over the pregnancy months and when can we agree it has enough autonomy (not to mention a soul) to be considered a separate entity"

There are literally decades of work on the issue of personhood. "Soul" is a religious concept only accepted by some religions.

"to be disposed of if inconvenient as if it was a mere appendicitis."

This displays a serious disregard and disrespect for the gut-wrenching decision that the vast majority of women face regardless of the status of the fetus. I find it very revealing.

"Only when the umbilical chord is cut and we have actually a full live baby or long before? No one knows and therefore no one wants to address these questions"

and yet:

"I tend to be on the side of allowing abortions for a limited time (3 months max)"

So, it seems that you have answered the question for yourself. Why should others accept your answer?

"of course in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is at risk."

You say "of course" but right now a number of states aren't making those exceptions.

"Other than those, I don't see any valid reason except convenience, when a minimum of caution would have avoided the problem."

This shows a serious lack of knowledge about the many circumstances women can face, some of which I have described already. It is also callous.

"That raises the question of personal responsibility, which is in dire need of being resurrected in a society that tends to excuse all behavior, even nefarious ones."

Ah, now the rubber is hitting the road. For one event, which may or may not have been consensual (since giving consent comes in degrees and rape can't always be proven), you think that a person has to risk their health and their future? Let's suppose the fetus is at a stage of personhood. How does one night make the woman owe anything that serious? If you promised a kidney to someone and then changed your mind, would you still owe the kidney? It's hard not to see some serious moralizing and judgemental thinking going on here -- thinking that many shared.

"wouldn't it seem obvious that more caution should be displayed rather than irresponsible behavior? Why not? Do whatever you feel like and let's not even think about the consequences? If this motto was applied to all aspects of our lives, where would we be today as a society, not to mention a nation?"

Again, this is extraordinarily judgemental for circumstances that you know nothing about, since they are particular to the individual and their situation.

"And contrary fo all the screaming opponents, abortion has NOT been banned."

By overturning Roe v. Wade, abortion had been banned in a large number of states. This was a known consequence. No one has claimed that there is a federal ban, but for women who can't get an abortion at ANY stage and for ANY reason, it is a distinction without a difference.

"That decision has been restored to the States where it belonged. What the supporters of the pro-choice wing bemoan is the fact that States are not prevented any more from banning abortion. In other words, they're unhappy that the nationwide diktat of Roe vs. Wade (i,e, the imposition of one standard on everyone) has been removed."

States rights -- the same reason that was used to defend slavery.

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