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Eighth Circuit Court Says Causality Doesn’t Matter in Abortion Restrictions

Last updated on 2013.02.17

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld South Dakota's requirement that doctors tell women they are more likely to kill themselves if they have an abortion. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals got it wrong.

The contested legal clause is the following portion of the statements SDCL 34-23A-10.1) requires South Dakota doctors to make to women seeking abortions:

(e) A description of all known medical risks of the procedure and statistically significant risk factors to which the pregnant woman would be subjected, including:
(i) Depression and related psychological distress;
(ii) Increased risk of suicide ideation and suicide;

Abortion does not subject women to more suicide. There is no post-abortion syndrome. Women with unwanted pregnancies are already in a group with higher incidence of mental health problems; having an abortion does not change that risk for mental health problems. The court has thus authorized the state to compel doctors to speak falsely and misleadingly to patients.

Read the court's opinion. You'll find the judges working very hard to say that the state doesn't have to demonstrate a causal relationship to force this speech. They offer this analogy in a footnote:

This difference may be better illustrated by an example less contentious than abortion. One recent study found that prolonged television viewing resulted in an "increased risk" of mortality for individuals in any given age group. See Anders Grøntved et al., Television Viewing and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and All-Cause Mortality, 305 J. Am. Med. Assoc. 23:2448 (2011). We would not demand proof that television viewing itself directly caused the adverse outcome (for example, proof of an actual decline in the health of heart muscle tissue to a fatal level during viewing) before acknowledging that a prolonged television viewer is "subjected" to the increased risk of mortality. Indeed, a measure of increased risk based on a discrete, easily reportable event such as television viewing is useful precisely because of the difficulty of tracing exactly whether and how a given action combines with other factors to directly "cause" a particular death [Planned Parenthood v. Rounds, U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, 2012.07.24, p. 10].

Note that the analogy says it doesn't matter whether television kills or whether other conditions—obesity, depression, low intelligence—are the real causes of both increased television viewing and increased mortality. The analogy ignores the possibility that telling someone "people who watch TV die faster" may discourage people from watching TV but entirely miss the real cause of their mortality risk.

The court holds that the state need only demonstrate association, not causality, to justify its anti-abortion policy. Wow: I wish the Legislature would allow us environmentalists to appeal to that low bar when we advocate policy to address climate change associated with human activity.

The ruling appears to hinge around the use of the passive voice. The statute says "would be subjected." One would think that, since the statute is all about abortion, the clause includes an understood "by abortion." But the court makes agency and causality disappear right along with responsible medical practice. It doesn't matter to the judges or the state or the celebratory anti-abortion anti-woman theocrats that it's the stress of an unwanted pregnancy or prior health and social issues that have already placed abortion-seeking women in the mental-health-risk category.

Of course, if we are really interested in helping women make completely informed medical decisions, we now need to require South Dakota doctors to tell their pregnant patients that carrying their fetuses to term will subject them to an increased risk of death, higher than that experienced by pregnant women in numerous other industrialized nations.

But we won't tell them that, because our abortion laws aren't about straight science. South Dakota's abortion laws are about an ideological crusade to subjugate women to state control.


  1. Julie Gross (Nebraska) 2012.07.25

    On any other matter, libs would be screaming about infroming patients (especially po' women) about all possible risks.

    Why else did the US ban silicon implants for so many years?

  2. larry kurtz 2012.07.25

    An appeals court comprised of judges from mostly red states has upheld another chilling effect on the rights of women in South Dakota.

    Numerous American Indian tribes without reservations in the state, many of whom are sensitive to the reproductive rights of women, own land in South Dakota. Indian Country Today posted a June story of a Lakota woman fighting for full access to health care without the strictures of an oppressive legislature.

    Here's a snip from Eisa Ulen's piece:

    "Just months after the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center (NAWHERC) published a startling February 2012 report, “Indigenous Women’s Dialogue: Roundtable Report on the Accessibility of Plan B as an Over the Counter (OTC) Within Indian Health Service,” [Sunny] Clifford’s petition is over 100,000 signatures strong and well on its way to meeting its goal of 150,000 signatures. “There is a chance I could face backlash,” Clifford continues, “it could be violent. But it doesn’t scare me as much as thinking about a woman who has been raped and can’t get healthcare. I’m much, much more scared about that. Which is more important?”"

    Federal law permits tribes owning off-reservation land to adopt economic development strategies on any land that they own: that includes the sovereignty of mobile clinics.

    South Dakota women: stand for your rights and push this opportunity!

  3. Julie Gross (NE) 2012.07.25

    I agree. All Native women, including those females who are the primary victims of Abortion, Inc., should stand up for your rights--the right to life mainly.

    Leave it to males to patronize Native women, and to support the elimination of so many women by so many male abortion doctors. Geez, Custer and the KKK could not have done any better to more thoroughly commit genocide against minority women. At least the master of old got a new slave out of the deal--today, men get to have their fun, and blog about how their women should stand for their rights and push the opportunity to get rid of the messy result.

    Yeah, push the opportunity to commit genocide in the name of exercizing a "right". Peachy, sir.

  4. larry kurtz 2012.07.25

    Rape is a lousy way to preserve a culture: just ask the Jesuits.

    Nebraska scored better than SD did in the newest Kid's Count Survey as tribes there have better access to community health care.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.07.25

    Julie, I don't mind informing women about genuine risks. I take issue with giving them false science to satisfy someone's religious agenda.

  6. Julie Gross (Nebraska) 2012.07.25

    We, and you, use "false" science all the time, whether to oppose Keystone or whatever. Instead of arguing about what the science is and what it means, it's easier just to call it "false science" or a "religious agenda", right?

    What were the genuine risks with silicon implants or vaginal contraceptive inserts? None, other than some women were very vocal about their health problems that they said were caused by the implants.

    Likewise, there are some women who attribute their mental (and sometimes physical) problem to abortions. That is scientific evidence. Is is causal? Good question. But with any other product or procedures--especially product/procedures for women--there would have been a clarion call to error on the side of caution.

    In many ways, science has become a religion. Just consider global warming: you have high priests of the cause (Al Gore), you can buy indulgences to be absolved of your sins (carbon credits), you have "interpreters of the bible" who may fudge the results now & then (NOAA & Climategate), and even have televangelists who create churches that profit off of the selling of indulgences (Al Gore again).

    And let's say you're right about the "religious agenda"--do religiously motivated people have less a say in public policy discussions and decision-making any more than those who claim to use science to further their agenda, which in many cases, involves an agenda of profit (Planned Parenthood & Al Gore for examples)?

  7. Douglas Wiken 2012.07.25

    Science is testable. Religion is not. Religion is a tautology as is most mathematics.

    It is not science indicating women who have abortions develop mental problems. It is more likely an artifact of poor statistical design as Cory has indicated.

    Requiring Doctors to lie to women is a fundamental restriction of freedom of speech as well. The court's labored stretch to make TV watching the same or complaining about the probable health impacts of inactivity is a case of apples and aardvarks. The two are not remotely comparable in actuality or impact or as restrictions of freedom of speech and perversion of professional responsibility.

  8. Donald Pay 2012.07.25

    You might be able to tease out some statistical information about what impact abortion has on suicide or other mental problems, but you would have to look simultaneously at other factors to figure out whether the correlation is real or the result of some third factor.

    I recently read an article about hip fractures/bone density/osteoporosis. We used to think there was a pretty clear causal affect of decreased bone density leading to hip fracture. Data indicated that was not the case, and there are a number of risk factors with decreased bone density being just one factor.

    I suspect abortion, coupled with bad follow up care, might lead to some mental issues, just as having a child may lead some women into post-partum depression. I don't have a problem with doctors mentioning this as something a woman should be on the look-out for following her abortion, while stressing the need for follow-up.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.07.25

    No, I don't use false science. Science is not a religion, as Douglas concisely explains. You don't get to draw a false equivalence between your weak arguments and our honest ones. Abortion does not cause suicide or mental illness. Period.

  10. Steve Sibson 2012.07.25

    "Women with unwanted pregnancies are already in a group with higher incidence of mental health problems; having an abortion does not change that risk for mental health problems."

    So those seeking abortions are crazy from the get go? And killing their children will fix that?

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.07.25

    Neither, Steve. Women with unwanted pregnancies aren't crazy. But they are already experiencing emotional and social pressures well before they reach the doctor's office. Having an abortion doesn't change that... which is exactly the point here. I don't want doctors telling women the falsehood that an abortion will solve all their problems; I also don't want the state requiring doctors to tell women the falsehood that an abortion will cause them more problems than not having one.

  12. Steve Sibson 2012.07.25

    "Having an abortion doesn’t change that"

    Abortion is a life altering event for all members of the family.

  13. Linda 2012.07.25

    "I take issue with giving them false science to satisfy someone’s ...agenda."

    Haven't the pro-abortion lobbyists been using false science for years to promote their agenda? The science has evolved hugely in recent years since the passage of Roe v Wade regarding the development of an unborn human being. False science is still being used to persuade women that the unborn baby is not alive, not human, has no feeling, etc etc.

  14. Justin 2012.07.25

    Lots of talk about "false science" from the wingnuts, no examples.

    If life defined as life is so important, you better not kill any plants or animals.

    Life begins at the first breath. That's my opinion.

    Catholics are against birth control but 98% of Catholic women use it. What a bunch of unprincipled whores, right? I say take birth control away from the Catholics and watch how the GOP definition of the beginning of life changes.

  15. Vickie 2012.07.25

    Abortion blah blah blah. Copy and paste blah blah blah. Calling almost everyone on this blog various names: Communist etc. blah blah blah. I've said it before and I'll say it yet again. If you don't want an abortion,then don't have one.

    Personally,I've never had one.Why you may ask? Because I was never able to have children even though I wanted to,but unfortunately,my ovaries and uterus kept trying to kill me so they had to be removed. I wonder,does that make me,in some people's eyes,a baby killer? Probably,but I don't care one iota what those people think.

    Once again I have to ask,does a woman's decision to have an abortion require that they be misled into believing that an abortion solves all of a woman's problems or that they could quite likely have even more problems than if they carried the fetus to term? And then there's the all important question of if a woman maintains an unwanted pregnancy and puts the baby up for adoption,just who will care for that child for the rest of his/her life? Will the anti-abortion people adopt all of these children and provide safe loving homes for them? Not likely. Instead they will sit around ranting and raving about how their tax dollars are being spent to care for those kids that they wanted to be born but don't want the responsibility of caring for them. You can't have it both ways. Either put up or shut up.

    So,as I wait for someone to slap some ridiculous label on me because apparently they are so perfect while everyone else isn't,I implore you to type calmly and slowly so that you don't have a CVA,MI,mental crisis,or at least a broken fingernail.

    Oh I almost forgot...guess what? Due to a horrible MVA and that whole cancer thing: I receive SSI,food stamps,Medicaid,and heating assistance. I've taken the liberty of making a few phone calls and asking that all of my future benefits be deducted from a few different people's paychecks instead of using up all of the taxes that I paid into the system for over 30 years. It was hilarious for me and the officials that I spoke with. :)

    P.S. Don't bother with the senseless babbling about how I have just made several personal attacks on someone and that that means you somehow win. This isn't a competition. It's real life....which is a truly fascinating concept that a few people here might actually benefit from practicing. Now run along and cry to someone that gives a rip about your goofy closed-minded opinions.

  16. Linda 2012.07.25

    OK, Justin, here is a report from our own govt that cites scientists who believe life begins at conception.

    "Some of the world’s most prominent scientists and physicians testified to a U.S. Senate committee that human life begins at conception:

    A United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee invited experts to testify on the question of when life begins. All of the quotes from the following experts come directly from the official government record of their testimony."

    Please read the whole thing, complete with footnotes. You are free to believe what you want, as am I. But to stoop to calling people names and whole groups of people names does nothing to endear people to your side of the argument.

  17. Justin 2012.07.25

    A sperm and an ova are both life forms too. Multi-cell organisms with dna.

    Birth control and jerking off are murder!!!!!

    The Catholic chicks that don't follow their own damn beliefs but insist everybody else does just kill me.

    What am I supposed to say if you have one scientist that believes life begins whenever? He probably

  18. Justin 2012.07.25

    Oops, he probably believes in God too, is that proof of the existence of God?

  19. Roger Elgersma 2012.07.25

    So if promisquous people have more depresson problems and more abortions. What came first the chicken or the egg? Neither, the promisquity came first.

  20. Donald Pay 2012.07.25

    What is a human life? There are more bacteria cells in a human body than there are human cells. Maybe we are just vessels to carry on the life of bacteria. Humans really couldn't process food without the bacteria in their gut. We would be dead, or certainly not human, without our gut bacteria. Maybe part of a definition of when human life begins has to be whether we have acquired the necessary gut bacteria to allow us to process food to obtain energy and nutrients.

  21. DK 2012.07.25

    Douglas (though this applies to Justin too): You are completely right about science being testable. But what do you mean when you say that religion isn't testable? Do you mean that a certain religion's beliefs can't be tested? That may be true of some (maybe even most) beliefs, but it's not true of them all. Can I prove God to you using science? Of course not. But sometimes churches make beliefs that can be proven or disproven with science. From the official Scientology website, about their beliefs against psychiatry: "Nor do Scientologists believe people should be stigmatized with labels and “treated” with “cures” that have no basis in science and are brutal in the extreme." [] Isn't psychiatry based in science? However, just because a belief, religious or not, cannot be proven with science does not make it wrong (morally) or incorrect (not true.) Can I prove to you that I love my mother? I can tell you that I call her often, give her help with the computer when she needs it, and listen to her when she needs to blow off steam. You might think that that proves it. But what if I beat her in between those times only to apologize later and say that I'll never do it again? Science can't tell you that I love my mother. Does that mean that I don't?

    Justin: The Catholic Church has lots of dogmas laid out that define the Church's beliefs. Among the necessary beliefs is an infallible doctrine that contraception is illicit. In other words, you MUST believe that contraception is wrong if you are a Catholic. So does it make sense to say that "98% of Catholic women use" [birth control]? A better way to state that is: 98% of women who claim to be Catholic use birth control. (Note: I'm not saying that your statistic is or isn't correct because I don't know the statistics off hand, though I do know that the figure is very high.)

    Vickie: First off, I'm sorry that you were never able to have children. I'm sure that must have been (and maybe still is) very difficult for you.

    Now, I've heard people say many times "If you don't want an abortion, then don't have one." Does the same follow for people who don't agree with incest? Let's assume for a moment that my brother and I are both adults and are madly in love with each other. We frequently have sex. Do you have a problem with that? I start with incest because I don't believe that incest is illegal (or at least prosecuted?) everywhere in the United States as long as both parties are adults. But, really, this logic could be applied to anything, whether it's legal currently or not. Perhaps I want to kill an abortion doctor. Do you want to kill abortion doctors? No? Then don't kill them. What about gun control? Can't those people who don't want to own guns just not buy any and leave it at that?

    Should women who wish to have an abortion be told lies to prevent them from having them? No. Definitely not.

    Does the fact that not every "unwanted" child will be adopted by anti-abortion people mean that many anti-abortion people don't try to help these children? I agree with you that there are lots of anti-abortion people who at their core are not good people, or who at the very least don't make good or even logical decisions. There are undoubtedly those who don't believe in abortion and then "rant and rave about how their tax dollars are being spent to care for those kids that they wanted to be born but don't want the responsibility of caring for them." However, I'm anti-abortion, and I'm proud of those tax dollars that go to care for "unwanted" kids. I can't say the same for the tax dollars of mine that go to fund abortions. I don't want it both ways. So please don't paint us all with one brush.

    By the way, I'm not perfect BY A LONG SHOT. I'm a huge sinner, and I know it. Furthermore, I'm not judging you. I wish I could prove those two things to you, but, alas, that pesky science hasn't caught up with me yet. I do fervently hope that you will take my word on this anyway, though.

    Everyone: Perhaps you can help me to understand something that confuses me. Bald eagles, their eggs, and their nests (which are important for the healthy development of their eggs) are protected by federal law. "This law, originally passed in 1940, provides for the protection of the bald eagle and the golden eagle (as amended in 1962) by prohibiting the take, possession, sale, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, of any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg, unless allowed by permit (16 U.S.C. 668(a); 50 CFR 22)." [] Perhaps this is an incorrect assumption, but I assume that the eggs are protected because while some undoubtedly will not make it out of the egg, most of them will develop into adult bald eagles, healthy or not. Please correct me if I am wrong about why the eggs are protected.

    I do not think that I am incorrect (or, at the very least, not far off base) in calling an eagle while still in the egg an "embryonic eagle." I know that I am correct in stating that I was once a human embryo along with anyone who will ever come to read this.

    I'm sure you all knew where this was going from the beginning. Why are bald eagle eggs protected but not human embryos?

    One last unrelated thing: I read this blog in spurts. I normally stop for one of two reasons: health problems prevent me from continuing or my thin skin means that I take some of the mean-spirited attacks (on beliefs that I also hold) personally so at some point I can't take it anymore. In fact, I've never posted here before because of my thin skin. I know that this plea will eventually be ignored, and I have a feeling that I'm going to get run down by someone anyway. But can we all try harder to treat EVERYONE with respect? Pro-lifers: The vast majority of pro-choice people aren't evil. They truly believe that abortion will be better for the mother and/or the child. They are wrong, but they are human. And fallible. Exactly like you. Pro-choicers: Most pro-lifers do truly believe that embryos are people. By extension, then, abortion is murder. I'm sure that you don't believe in murder. I've seen both sides pull out ugly attacks against each other on this blog. My hope is that one person, no matter which side he or she is on, will think a little harder before posting next time.

  22. Justin 2012.07.25

    The statistic is that 98% of sexually active HAVE used I believe.

    Pro Choicers I can't speak for as a group. But I see it as a religious dogma with the experiences and education of my life. And I'm no inexperienced, uneducated palooka. I feel we have freedom of religion, which means no official religion, which means no placing one religions beliefs into codified law.

    I also believe one of the tenets of liberty is you don't make other people's decisions for them. I used to pride myself on calling myself libertarian until a bunch of fascists that determined just wanting lower taxes above all economic reason borrowed the word while trying to ban gay marriage, women's choice and victimless crimes like prostitution and non "government approved" drug abuse.

    Theoretically we as a government have a responsibility to prevent behavior that is a public threat. That's about as far as I would take it as a Libertarian. Certainly making other people's medical decisions by using a popular majority correlated strongly with religious affiliation is offensive to my own beliefs.

    I wish I could start my own religion where I can specifically not have to believe in the ridiculous stuff any other person believes.

  23. Vickie 2012.07.25

    DK: I thank you for your kind words in regards to my medical problems.
    2nd: What two consenting adults do is their own business,although I would be very concerned if the brother and sister are born of the same parents and accidentally produce a child and the risks of birth defects of that child. If the incest involves an adult and a minor...I have a huge problem with it.
    3rd: Do I want to kill abortion Drs. or anyone else? No,I don't. Not unless an intruder breaks into my home and threatens my family or myself and even then,I would make every attempt to wound them as opposed to killing them while I wait for the police to arrive. Do I own a gun? Yes I do. I will protect myself and my family as I stated before. I f someone doesn't want to own a gun then they shouldn't own one and be happy with their decision.
    4th) I applaud you for standing up and being proud of your contributions to the care of "unwanted" kids. I wish there were more people that felt the same way as you do. I never intended to "paint everyone with one brush." My Comments were/are directed at those who say one thing,but never follow through with what they say. I apologize if I have offended you.
    5th)I'm not perfect either. No one is. I know a great many people who seem to think that they are perfect. :)

    I'll take you at your word and hold no ill will towards you nor will I sit in judgement of you.

    As for the eagles: I sincerely believe that they are protected because they are symbols of our great country and it's freedom.

    I totally understand your points of view of how not all pro-lifers and pro-choicers are evil. As you have seen,there have been some rather heated exchanges between folks on this blog.

    My post was well thought out and after repeatedly reading some of the things that certain people say to others here,I felt compelled to share my thoughts. My wish is that certain people that post here regularly,would do so in a civil rational manner instead of being so incredibly condescending and hateful.

  24. DK 2012.07.26

    Justin: Just so we're clear, I don't take you for inexperienced or uneducated. But even if I did, that wouldn't make your beliefs less real to you. As long as something is real to someone, whether the position is logical or not, I think it is worth discussing, and discussing in a respectful manner at that.

    There are two things that I would disagree with in your post. First, though, I probably should define something that otherwise wouldn't be immediately clear. People think of different things when someone says "religion." Some think of organizations (Muslim, Lutheran, Buddhist, etc.). Others think of "spirituality"...more of a nebulous belief system that involves some kind of god or eternal good or something.

    I see "religion" in different ways depending upon the context. In dealing with religious beliefs being written into the law, however... (this is hard to explain to someone else, so bear with me) I see "religion" as simply what someone believes and how someone lives his or her life.

    The reason I see it that way is simple. I am a religious person. I believe with my entire being in what my religion teaches. I screw up and do things wrong, but I apologize to God, move on, and try harder to do as I believe. I cannot separate my "religious" beliefs from my "personal" beliefs because they are one in the same. I honestly don't understand what people who aren't spiritual/religious/whatever mean when they ask me to separate the two. (If you understand this, maybe you can explain it to me?) To me, if they could be separated, one would be a lie. So a person's "religion" in this specific instance and in my eyes encompasses his or her beliefs, way of life, and what he or she thinks is important. An atheist's "religion" in this case would simply be the belief system he or she follows.

    Now, many religious organizations (probably even most, but I'm not very well studied in world religions to make that claim) teach that stealing is wrong. The same goes for killing, cheating, etc. It is illegal to steal and kill, and it is "against the rules" to cheat in school. The men who founded this nation were Christians, and stealing, killing, and cheating are sins in Christianity. Assuming that they believed in their religions in the way that I believe in mine, there would be no possibility BUT for their religions to influence the law. Why is stealing (or killing, cheating, etc.) illegal in the United States? How long have those things been illegal for? Were they added into the law by a religious person? If so, did that person's faith affect his decision? The forefathers did not establish a state or official religion. But unless I'm missing something, how could their Christian beliefs not have affected our codified laws today? Please let me know how you see this situation so that I can understand things a little better. Also, how do you reconcile that many beliefs that religious organizations hold are also held by those who aren't religious? I guess what I'm trying to get at here is: Where do you draw the line in "placing religions beliefs into codified law"? What makes one belief religious to you and another one not?

    Second, what is a law if not "making other people's decisions for them"? I'm being serious in asking that, not sarcastic at all. Don't we have laws to try to force people to act in some way? Granted, laws can't stop things from occurring entirely. You don't have to drive far down any road with many vehicles on it to find someone speeding. But aren't speed laws trying to "make a decision" for someone not to go over a certain speed?

    Please define "public threat" as you see it for me. Once again, that is something that people will understand differently. As I see it, medical decisions for an individual affect lots of people in lots of various ways. For instance, someone who has epilepsy cannot legally drive a car if that person has had a seizure recently so that no car accidents will be caused by the seizures. Someone who commits suicide will likely cause great emotional distress to any family or friends who that person was close to. Suicides can even be "catchy" and might spark other people to kill themselves. Whether you or anyone believes that an embryo is a person yet or not, there are only two options: 1) It is a person, or 2) It will be a person, given enough time. If it is a person, abortion is definitely wrong. But, assuming it is not yet a person, taking the chance away for an embryo to live seems wrong to me and on the scale of a public threat. And that's just covering part of one side for why I disagree with abortion.

    This isn't something I disagree with because it's not something that can really be looked at that way, but I think it is worth mentioning. You said that "making other people's medical decisions by using a popular majority correlated strongly with religious affiliation is offensive to my own beliefs." Can you explain that for me too? (Once again, there is no sarcasm in that.) I guess I can understand how it can hurt, because people make decisions that I disagree with all of the time and some of those decisions have hurt me. And I can definitely understand how you could disagree with that. But I don't see that as being "offensive." I've never felt that anyone's beliefs are "offensive" to me as long as they attempted them in good faith.

    Finally, why not start your own religion? Lots of "splinter" groups are out there.

  25. DK 2012.07.26

    Vickie: I completely understand on the medical problems. I have them too! Lots of them.

    Following your logic, what does it matter if a genetically related brother and sister had a child together? Couldn't that child simply be aborted?

    Do you agree that murder should be illegal? Assuming so, why? Can't someone just not murder other people if they don't believe murder is right? Why do those who want to murder have to avoid it just because others think it is wrong? Why does the United States have any laws at all considering that we could just adopt a policy like you described: If you don't want to do it, don't do it, but don't stop others from doing it. (Before you say that almost everyone believes that murder is wrong: If you had grown up in Ecuador in the Waodani tribe in the early 50s, murder would have been common. Things changed because Christian missionaries taught them that murder was wrong. Should the Waodani have been left alone to their own beliefs? And could this situation hint that if religion as we know it had never come into existence that the widespread beliefs of today that even nonreligious people hold would be radically different?)

    You didn't offend me. It's just easy to get carried away or careless with how we relate to people/how we come across to others (or something along those lines) when we're talking about "the other side." It seemed to me that you were really only focusing on the bad of some of the pro-life people while completely forgetting that most of us are pretty okay, even if we do disagree on this issue. But I'm guilty of stuff like this too.

    Are eagles, as symbols of our freedom, more important than humans that their embryos are protected but ours aren't? Would freedom even exist as we're speaking of it if there weren't humans?

    Thank you for your kind answers. I finally felt compelled to share my thoughts too, even though I'm still a little scared that someone is going to lay into me yet. Part of the reason I ended my response in the way I did was to get people to think about their actions. I don't think anyone here IS condescending or hateful, though they sometimes act in condescending, hateful ways. Sometimes just a little reflection is all that is needed to stop that...for at least a couple of posts. :)

  26. Justin 2012.07.26

    1. What does this have to with the Founding Fathers? Was this law passed by the Founding Fathers? We have living constitutions and this is now the law of the land.
    2. Our Bill of Rights is still part of that living constitution and it is clearly stated there shall be no official religion. It didn't say (*except in a couple Hundred years you can poll our religion and make it your religion)
    3. What's a public threat? You listed some of them yourself: "It is illegal to steal and kill, and it is “against the rules” to cheat in school. " Of course there is a better name and more complex ethics discussion that could go on forever on how we define that.
    4. "The men who founded this nation were Christians, and stealing, killing, and cheating are sins in Christianity. " Sorry but I think this connection is batshit crazy. Christians have no monopoly on those moralities and you are insane if you actually believe it.
    5. "You said that “making other people’s medical decisions by using a popular majority correlated strongly with religious affiliation is offensive to my own beliefs.”
    Just as your religion is something that is such a part of you, so are my beliefs. Because I don't belong to the majority religious party, my rights are infringed upon when laws are passed that are only supported by a group of people that believe in somebody other than my Flying Spaghetti Monster.
    6. "aren’t speed laws trying to “make a decision” for someone not to go over a certain speed?" Yes, because of a public threat.
    7." Whether you or anyone believes that an embryo is a person yet or not, there are only two options: 1) It is a person, or 2) It will be a person, given enough time."
    NO, it is a zygote. If it is found in a petri jar as an "extra" for in vitro or put in as an "extra chance" in vitro it is not likely to live. Nor is it with a mother that is in no position to raise it or or to be pregnant. Miscarriages are extremely common. Again, sperm have multiple human cells and DNA, the magical soul floats down from heaven at the precise moment a sperm penetrates an ova. Apparently a majority of SD citizens have voted twice they don't believe that and they don't care enough about your opinion to give you the right to tell others where your vision of the beginning of life is. yet we keep getting this horse crap from pierre telling us that even the majority of us are wrong.

  27. DK 2012.07.26

    1. Our Founding Fathers made our first laws. Since their beliefs were Christian, I would stand to reason that their Christian beliefs came through in the laws they left us with. It doesn't matter if they had been Muslim, Atheist, or Jewish... Their beliefs would have come through regardless. Religious (or non-religious as it may be) beliefs come through in every law that is passed, because everyone has personal beliefs.

    2. Amendment 1 of the Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." We don't have an official religion in the United States, nor are we close to having one. An "official religion" is what England has in the Church of England. No one has polled voters and asked them to pick an established religion.

    3. You gave me examples of public threats. If I don't understand how you define a public threat more generally, it is impossible for me to answer your point that the government has "a responsibility to prevent behavior that is a public threat." Neo-nazis probably define "public threats" much differently than you do. I may define a "public threat" exactly the same as you. Or maybe I disagree with you. Either way, it is impossible for me to respond to your point without knowing what guides the statement you made.

    4. I never said that Christians had a monopoly on those moralities. I did say, "Now, many religious organizations (probably even most, but I’m not very well studied in world religions to make that claim) teach that stealing is wrong." I do assume that most religions believe those things are wrong, though I'm not well read on Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and many others, so I didn't explicitly claim for those religions that that was their belief. Rather I said that those were Christian beliefs. That was all I said. I don't see what is wrong with stating what Christian beliefs are.

    5. I'm glad that your beliefs are so important to you. However, and I say and mean this as gently as I can, I doubt that your rights are truly being infringed upon. Have you heard of Majority Rule, Minority Rights? "Majority rule is a means for organizing government and deciding public issues; it is not another road to oppression. Just as no self-appointed group has the right to oppress others, so no majority, even in a democracy, should take away the basic rights and freedoms of a minority group or individual." [] That whole link is good, actually. I may be wrong about your rights, though, so please tell me which rights of yours are being infringed upon. Maybe you'll get me to change my mind and my assumption is premature.

    6. I can't add to this without a more general explanation of "public threat."

    7. Actually, I really did mean embryo. "A single sperm penetrates the mother's egg cell, and the resulting cell is called a zygote. ... The zygote continues to divide, creating an inner group of cells with an outer shell. This stage is called a blastocyst. The inner group of cells will become the embryo, while the outer group of cells will become the membranes that nourish and protect it. ... The blastocyst reaches the womb (uterus) around day 5, and implants into the uterine wall on about day 6. ... The cells of the embryo now multiply and begin to take on specific functions." [] Unless I'm wrong, there is no defined day when a blastocyst becomes an embryo, though it does happen in fairly short order. However, as you can see, the zygote has become a blastocyst by around day 5. Women can't even know if they are pregnant before around day 10. Yes, women can take emergency contraception right away, which would affect only the zygote. However, I believe that most induced abortions occur on either embryos or fetuses. I used only the word embryos for simplicity.

    We can talk about in vitro if you want, but I think it might be easier for now to stay focused on simply abortion. We have quite a bit going on already. Your choice. Let me know.

    Many, many children are given up for adoption when they are "unwanted," and those children have lived. Can you explain how a child is not likely to live if the mother "is in no position to raise it or to be pregnant"? Also, can you define "no position" for me?

    Miscarriages are spontaneous abortions. No one can stop those, though the vast majority of people would if they could. My sisters have both had miscarriages. So has a woman who I work with recently. They were all really broken up over them.

    I never said anything about souls. Therefore I don't think it is fair of you to assume that that is why I am against abortion. That hasn't been in any of my rebuttals.

    I'm lost on this part: "Apparently a majority of SD citizens have voted twice they don’t believe that" Will you please tell me what "that" refers to?

    I never stated an opinion about when life begins. I simply said that if an embryo is given enough time that it will become a person (will be born.) I should have qualified that with something like "Barring any intervention or unforeseen tragedies, it will be a person, given enough time." Even so, stating that many (most?) embryos will be born is hardly opinion on when life begins.

    I'm sorry that you disagree with much of what happens in Pierre, but I don't live in South Dakota and therefore can't vote there.

  28. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.07.26

    Linda, as you know, the question of when life technically begins remains moot in my approach to the question of women's rights to control their bodies. Certainly, a living organism exists within the womb and abortion kills that organism. However, the woman's right not to be placed in bodily servitude to that organism trumps that organism's claim to existence.

  29. Justin 2012.07.26

    I mean our state has held two referendums, first with a psycho no rape or incest provision. Then later with provisions and they were voted down two times. The margin was much larger in the more recent one.

    I'm not in any way suggesting America is libertarian, but you made my point for me about majority rule. The majority have spoken, why are we continuing to legislate against the will of our voters?

    If you don't live in south dakota I don't see much point in discussing this since my issues are completely at the state level.

    One of our opinions is validated by our Constitution... and its not yours or Dennis Daugaard's.

  30. Steve Sibson 2012.07.26

    "Lots of talk about “false science” from the wingnuts, no examples."

    Evolution is a huge "false science" that forms the basis to the New Age Theology.

  31. Justin 2012.07.26

    Yes, clearly the signs point more toward the earth being formed 3,000 years ago.

    The continent shifting must have been brutal over the first few years.

  32. Justin 2012.07.26

    Trust me the rest of is see the resemblance between you and a monkey even if you can't.

  33. larry kurtz 2012.07.26

    Sibby is a fine example of how christian ideation evolves for some men who hated their fathers for believing in the Whore of Babylon.

  34. Julie Gross NE 2012.07.26

    Science is testable.

    If that's true, then 99% of psychology & sociology are religion-based; 95% of drug-based psychiatry is a religion.

    In chemistry, when you mix sodium metal with water, you always get an mild explosive reaction. Always.

    In psychiatry, when you proscribe lithium for a bipolar disorder (or mania), it is at best 40% effective. In other words, it's provably false. And on and on with various mental disorders and common "treatments" by the "scientists" who call themselves psychiatrists. In fact, there is no known location in the brain or physical location within the human body to which ANY mental disorder can be ascribed, or any drug therapy for any mental disorder that is 100% reproducible. So, according to your definition, psychiatry is not a "science".

    Conceded, it is worthwhile to treat mental disorders as best we can, and to continue to study them, but neither the diagnoses nor the treatments constitute a science according to your definition since they are no where near 100% effective or reproducible.

  35. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.07.26

    So if you are denying the scientific validity of psychiatry, I guess you're saying there is no justification for doctor's informing women of the allegedly scientific research showing mental illness impacts from abortion. O.K.

  36. Julie Gross NE 2012.07.26

    Abortion does not cause suicide or mental illness. Period.

    1. That's not the information that SD wishes to provide to abortion seekers.
    2. There is a body of scientific study that links abortions to increased risks of suicide. We can argue all you want about a causal link, but the science is out there. (for example: Garfinkel, et al., Stress, Depression and Suicide: A Study of Adolescents in Minnesota, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. Extension Service, 1986).

    It never ceases to amaze me how so many libs can proclaim just how open-minded they are, and outright refuse to even acknowledge a body of science that might lead them to a different conclusion. Amazing. I of course am willing to concede that the abortion-suicide link is arguable, but it always amazes me how many people scream about their infallible worship of science, but refuse to at least recognize differing SCIENCE-based views.

  37. Julie Gross NE 2012.07.26

    --No, I don’t use false science. Science is not a religion, as Douglas concisely explains
    --So if you are denying the scientific validity of psychiatry.

    Actually, you denied the scientific validity of psychiatry when you agreed with Douglas and his definition of science.

    I've not agreed with your or Douglas' definition of science. I've simply pointed out the inherent contradictions in using such a bizarre definition of science. And I glad to see that you were able to formulate another contradiction once one uses such a simpleton's definition.

    Interesting how you bend science to your own desires--that of course, would be unscientific.

  38. Steve Sibson 2012.07.26

    "Science is not a religion, as Douglas concisely explains"

    Yes it is. It is a belief system that man can become a god.

  39. Steve Sibson 2012.07.26

    Question, if man evolved from a monkey, why did we lose the fur to keep warm and for protection?

  40. larry kurtz 2012.07.26

    Some get it. Some don't.

    Paul of Tarsus was hung over and had been smoking opium when he was overcome with it. Jesus of Nazareth was tempted by it in the desert after fasting. Joseph Smith was 18, drunkenly praying that God would forgive him for sins of debauchery when he got it. Wovoka witnessed a solar eclipse on peyote that compelled a generation of Ghost Dancers.

    Metanoia, visions, angels, the Holy Spirit--God's work on Earth, Right?

    Maybe it's all in your head.

    NPR's religion correspondent, Barbara Bradley Hagerty, went looking for the "God Spot," that place in the human brain that receives the Holy Spirit then compiled her results in a book she called The Fingerprints of God where she describes Temporal Lobe Epilepsy with a scientist's fascination in exquisite detail.

  41. Bill Fleming 2012.07.26

    What is your definition of science, Julie?

  42. Bill Fleming 2012.07.26

    From American Heritage Science Dictionary:

    science (sī'əns) Pronunciation Key
    The investigation of natural phenomena through observation, theoretical explanation, and experimentation, or the knowledge produced by such investigation. â—‡ Science makes use of the scientific method , which includes the careful observation of natural phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis, the conducting of one or more experiments to test the hypothesis, and the drawing of a conclusion that confirms or modifies the hypothesis. See Note at hypothesis.

  43. larry kurtz 2012.07.26

    sunlight: yer such a liberal, bill.

  44. Bill Fleming 2012.07.26

    Umm... thanks, Larry. (I think.)

  45. larry kurtz 2012.07.26

    I still think Julie is PP using ip address changing software: it's showing up in my stats.

  46. Julie Gross (NE) 2012.07.26

    --NPR’s religion correspondent, Barbara Bradley Hagerty

    Gawd, that is hilarious. NPR has a "religion correspondent". And she has three names, of course!


    [CAH: now there's an irrelevant comment.]

  47. larry kurtz 2012.07.26

    Dan Lederman, patriot: hilarious.

  48. Bill Fleming 2012.07.26

    So much for Julie and her critique of science...

  49. Steve Sibson 2012.07.26

    "Science makes use of the scientific method , which includes the careful observation of natural phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis, the conducting of one or more experiments to test the hypothesis, and the drawing of a conclusion that confirms or modifies the hypothesis."

    So do you have a link to the experiment where a monkey was turned into a human being?

  50. Bill Fleming 2012.07.26

    I don't recall anyone ever saying that a monkey was turned into a human being, Sibby. I think the current hypothesis is that the line that became Homo Sapiens branched off BEFORE the monkeys. So you might say "we turned into monkeys." I think you demonstrate that routinely, here on this blog, Steve. And in so doing, have become your own personal, empirical anthropological, evidentiary data set..

  51. Vickie 2012.07.26

    DK: "Following your logic, what does it matter if a genetically related brother and sister had a child together? Couldn’t that child simply be aborted?" Yes, I suppose that he child could be aborted. Unless,of course,the parents are against abortion.

    Do I believe that murder should be illegal? Yes I do. It is against the law. Do many people believe that abortion is murder? Yes,they do,but the law states that it is not illegal so that's what I have to go by...the law. Certainly,if someone doesn't want to murder then they won't. The laws of this country exist in order to keep order. As it stands,abortion is legal and even though I wouldn't have ever had one,it's not my place to demand that any woman doesn't have the right to not have any control over her medical decisions. That's between her,her Dr.,and her Higher Power.

    The Waodani tribe: Were they murdering their own people or were they murdering their enemies to protect their own people and lands? If their murderous ways were a result of the latter rather than the former,then perhaps they were justified in their ways as they had to do so in order to survive enemy attacks...just as our own native tribes were slaughtered. Someone else came along and decided that they could take what wasn't theirs and therefore labeled our native tribes as savages that were to be killed for defending themselves. Makes me somewhat embarrassed to be white.
    I'm one of the non-religious people,but I don't go around harming others just because we have differences of opinion or we just plain don't like each other. What I'm getting at is this: Some people are just plain bad and will do whatever they want to whomever they want until the law catches them.

    "It seemed to me that you were really only focusing on the bad of some of the pro-life people while completely forgetting that most of us are pretty okay, even if we do disagree on this issue. But I’m guilty of stuff like this too."

    Yes,you are correct that I was focusing on the bad of some pro-life people. I know that not all pro-life folks are terrible individuals just like not all pro-choice folks are terrible.

    The eagle issue: They are considered,by law,to be endangered species. As far as I know,humans aren't an endangered species unless they are living in absolute poverty in third world countries which is simply heartbreaking.

    I thank you for your civility and rational discussion. Unfortunately,there are people who show up here and are extremely condescending and downright hateful. They may shut up for a post or two,but then they go back to their same old ways even after claiming that they won't be so harsh,insulting,or hurtful to others here. Don't be afraid to post and participate in discussions here. Cory runs an excellent blog...just ignore the bozos that deliberately pick fights etc. You can spot them a mile away. Don't engage them when they're out of line. Typically,ignoring them will make them so spitting mad that they aren't even capable of rational thought let alone typing worth a darn.

    While you and I may have differing opinions,we can easily have sane rational discussions with no hard feelings towards each other. There are plenty of people here that are the same way. There are also a few people here with tremendous senses of humor and can make me laugh on a regular basis.

    I show up here frequently just to read,but won't comment if what I want to say has already been said a zillion times. Besides,I learned at a very young age,that if you just sit quietly sometimes while paying can learn a lot about not only the content being discussed,but about the people that are posting. ;) You are more than welcome here.

  52. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.07.26

    Vickie, DK, good subthread! I'll just add this: the only people who believe abortion is murder are the people advocating that we give women a mandatory life sentence or the death penalty for having an abortion. Any takers here?

  53. Jana 2012.07.26

    Hello Julie Gross. Welcome to the Madville Times.

    Just guessing that there are probably some things we might agree on that might surprise the both of us...but maybe not.

    Your criticism of NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty interests me.

    What did you mean with your snide comment of "And she has three names, of course!"

    I get it that you think NPR is incapable of having a religion reporter, small, closed minds are often wont to rationalize bigotry through stereotypes...but I don't know you well enough to make that judgement.

    What is it about having 3 names as a professional byline is it that bothers you? And how does your implied statement that having 3 names makes her less of a professional to cover religion?

    Is it your firm belief in 1 Corinthians 14:33-35?

    So you don't have to look it up, that's the one where Paul says - “As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”

    Take that Mother Teresa!

    Did you cheer Michele Bachmann when she said that women should be subservient to their husbands in a political speech and then boo loudly when a reporter (he only had two names) asked her if she would be subservient to her husband in the GOP primary debates.

    By the way...did you get approval from your husband before you commented in a public blog about religion?

    Heck, if he says it's OK, keep on commenting. You'll drive a little more traffic to Cory's site and possibly spark some discussion.

  54. Barbara Hall 2012.07.26

    Not that this will make any difference to the debate thread here, but as a physician who finds state-mandated lying to patients incompatible with professional integrity I am interested to read this:

    Earlier this year, an analysis by leading researchers completely discredited a key article used as "evidence" by the state of South Dakota and anti-choice supporters in their arguments to the 8th Circuit Federal Appeals Court supporting a law forcing doctors to tell women seeking to terminate a pregnancy that abortion is linked with higher risks of suicide and depression.

    The researchers also called on the editors of the Journal of Psychiatric Research (JPR) in which the article was originally published in 2009 to retract the article, a step now under consideration by the editors, one of which cited the article's "serious deficiencies."

    The errors are especially problematic... because Coleman later cited her own study in a meta-analysis of studies looking at abortion and mental health. The meta-analysis, which was populated primarily by Coleman’s own work, has been sharply criticized by the scientific community for not evaluating the quality of the included studies and for violating well-established guidelines for conducting such analyses.

  55. DK 2012.07.26

    Long, bad day. I'm not running away, but don't have time to respond tonight. I'll be back tomorrow.

  56. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.07.27

    No problem, DK; I don't consider most discussions here time-sensitive.

    Bill, interesting graphic on evolution. Two things jump out at me: first, that over the last eight million years, the climate has trended cooler, and second, that the period of greatest climate fluctuation, the last 800K years, correlates with the period of greatest brain growth. Maybe our current climate change will make us smarter?

  57. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.07.27

    But before I roll out the climate change welcome mat (still hoping for farmland in Nunavut), I should also note from that chart the period from 90K to 70K years ago, when severe drought caused the human species to dwindle to perhaps 10K.

  58. Bill Fleming 2012.07.27

    Yeah, Cory, perhaps the most obvious information on the chart is the (spooky) evidence of how many species of hominid have become extinct.

  59. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.07.27

    (A dating pool the size of Brookings... wow! But I guess that wouldn't be all bad; after all, I married a wonderful Brookings gal. ;-) )

  60. DK 2012.07.28

    First, sorry to all I was speaking with for the delay. I have been and continue to be really busy right now. Bad time to start a debate. :)

    CAH: Why does "the woman’s right not to be placed in bodily servitude to that organism trumps that organism’s claim to existence"?

    As far as the death penalty for abortion goes, that starts to get into my belief concerning the death penalty as well. While I'm not 100% against the death penalty, I don't think it should be applied in the VAST majority of cases. For the sake of brevity, I'll say that I'm against the death penalty, and therefore I don't think it should be applied to abortion cases. (If you want a deeper discussion on the death penalty, I'd be happy to, but it will take me longer to explain.)

    I wouldn't be against a mandatory life sentence for a woman who has an abortion. But, keep in mind, not all murderers receive mandatory life sentences. As with any murder case, the circumstances would affect the outcome. To say that EVERY woman who has an abortion should be sentenced to life in prison would not reflect my view.

  61. DK 2012.07.28

    Justin: Those of us who are pro-life continue to fight for our beliefs because we believe in them so deeply. We continue to fight because, legally, we are allowed to. Where would we be today if people had simply let slavery continue because it was legal at the time? What about the Jim Crow laws that mandated segregation? If abortion is ever outlawed, I'm sure that pro-choicers will fight for it to come back. And while I would still disagree with them about their stance on abortion, fighting back would be their right, which I wouldn't disagree with at all.

    If you're not up for any more discussion that is fine, but just because I don't live in South Dakota doesn't mean that I'd turn down speaking with you about this in the future if you were open to it.

  62. DK 2012.07.28

    Vickie: Just so we're clear: Are you saying that if abortion was illegal that you would support that because it would be the law? I don't think that is what you are saying, but I'm not 100% positive, so I thought I'd check.

    Would you please define "order" (its second use) when you say "The laws of this country exist in order to keep order."

    The Waodani have murdered some people from outside their group, but the majority of the murders (and the ones I was speaking of) were murders of their own people. See:

    I didn't mean to say that nonreligious people harm others due to differences of opinion or not liking each other. Hopefully that's not what you thought I meant. I was trying to give an example of something that most people in the US believe is wrong being, at the very least, widely tolerated in a culture far removed from ours. My first question was asking whether you thought the missionaries were being intrusive, seeing as how the Waodani society either had no laws against murder or allowed it to continue anyway. My second question was a bit rhetorical. I was wondering out loud how the people of the US, both religious and nonreligious, would be different today if "religion as we know it" (in general, recent Christianity) either never existed or didn't exist in the US at all. I didn't really expect an answer to that, as I was wondering as much to myself as to you or anyone else.

    I agree that some people either are just bad or make bad choices because that's what they want to do.

    Actually, bald eagles aren't endangered. "On August 9, 2007, the bald eagle was removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species." [] "The bald eagle will continue to be protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act even though it has been delisted under the Endangered Species Act." [] So once again I ask, why are bald eagle eggs protected but not human embryos?

    It is great talking with you. Thank you for being so welcoming. I figure with those who aren't so nice that if they aren't harsh for even one post, that is one less possible hurt thrown out there. It's so strange to me... Bullying is in the news so much lately. Do they honestly think that name calling, put downs, and treating "the other side" so badly is NOT a form of bullying? Or at least wrong?

  63. Vickie 2012.07.28

    DK: What I'm saying about abortion is that if it ever becomes illegal,I'd expect people to obey that law even though it's very likely to lead to the so-called back alley abortions that result in the death of not only the fetus,but also the no I couldn't be supportive of that particular law because I simply don't believe that it is any man's right(and the most recent Government panel on this issue was comprised of a number of men and no women)to interfere or legislate a woman's choice regarding her medical care in this situation as I had stated in an earlier post. Men can't get pregnant,but they sure do enjoy the act required to get a woman pregnant. Odd,how some men feel that they can tell a pregnant woman what to do,but I have to wonder just where the fathers are at in their thinking/feelings if their child could possibly be aborted. Do they struggle with the abortion decision just as much as the woman does? I really don't know.

    The "order" that I was referring to is the laws protecting citizens from those that steal,assault,rape,drive under the influence,molest children,etc...I could go on and on...
    We NEED laws in place to maintain that "order" and to serve justice. I can't justify the prosecution or imprisonment of a woman that has had an abortion. (Our definition of murder is getting broader and broader here.)

    The Waodani/Huaorani murders,as I have just read from your link,resulted from breakdown of clan relationships/their society around ten generations prior to WWII. It is quite sad that the Christian missionaries were killed by the Waodani. One has to wonder if the tribe decided that the missionaries weren't really their allies and there to help them,but with such a severe breakdown of the tribe's society it is understandable that chaos erupted and violent hostilities towards each other ensued.(another justification as to why the USA has laws in place to prevent that sort of thing from happening here.)Perhaps the tribe should have been left to their way of life,but yet the Christians teaching them that murdering each other was wrong probably save many of their lives and allowed them to grow and prosper instead of becoming extinct.

    The Civil War here in the USA cost a great many people their lives because neither side couldn't/wouldn't compromise and work together to form one strong nation that worked together to defeat our enemies and protect our citizens. What if that same societal breakdown occurred here again? There are numerous established religions in the USA. Some that are rather despicable,hypocritically judgmental,and downright hateful towards those that don't share their beliefs. Breeding grounds for radical factions of certain religions that wish to harm others? I would say yes.

    Perhaps if the Waodani/Huaorani people had leadership of some sort or chiefs to put there foot down and say ENOUGH,things may have been different. I see that the tribe,even though they have lost 2/3 of their lands,are doing fairly well.(according to the article.) Still,I see that as late as 1987,a Catholic Bishop and a Nun were also murdered by the very people that they were trying to help. To me,that is a big step backwards. Evidently some of the Waodani/Huaorani aren't or weren't happy about the teachings of the Christians. Again,I don't know that for sure and I don't believe that anyone else knows either.

    My point(and I do have one): Would it make a darn bit of difference if any religions existed in this country? Yes and no. Yes,to the extent that many find great solace,wisdom,and comfort in their faith and that is just fine by me. I don't have a problem with the vast majority of religions. What I DO have a problem with is the people that like to condemn me to hell because I don't share their views. Those are the "religions" that I would classify as cults,and scary ones at that. You have no idea of some of the interactions that I've had with the ones that show up at my door trying to convert me to their ways. Some that I have found hilarious(I am an admittedly proud smart-ass)and some that I've had very calm,rational,civil conversations with. :)

    The eagles: Ok. Ya got me on that one. :) I wasn't aware that they were removed from the threatened/endangered list. Nonetheless,the law says that you can't mess with them. And again,I reiterate that abortion is still legal. Will I fight to make it illegal? No.

    Lastly: The bullying. I have a theory or two about that and when it happens to me I throw the BS flag(Oh how I wish football would start soon) and I laugh at them because the clowns that I've encountered are the ilk that(in their minds) are always right and how dare anyone challenge their opinions! Oooooh the outrage!! *snicker* They don't care if they are behaving badly or if it's wrong. They actually enjoy it. ONE of my favorite things here is when the know-it-all bullies get their precious overblown egos knocked down a few thousand notches by someone vastly more shuts them up for a bit so that they can go lick their wounds and pout before they come back again.

    As always,thank you for your civility and discussion. It's been a pleasure. And now,I shall go try to rest a bit since I've been feeling incredibly ill today and have gotten very little accomplished...but everything that needs to be done WILL be done.It just takes longer is all.

  64. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.07.28

    DK, I appreciate your consistency on penalty for abortion and murder. I can certainly see that the principles that lead one to oppose abortion could lead one to oppose the death penalty.

    However, your consistency seems exceptional. I hear lots of shouting from others that abortion is murder, but I have yet to see any advocates or legislators (at least in South Dakota) step forward and seriously advocate pursuing the same legal penalties against women having abortions as against murderers.

    By the way, for Class A felony murder, a life sentence is the mandatory minimum in South Dakota.

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