Paul Ryan: "The method of conception doesn't change the definition of life."

Paul Ryan: "The method of conception doesn't change the definition of life."


Rape is now a “method of conception.”

*shakes head*


  • cranky critter

    Huh. What do you mean “now?” It didn’t used to be? Claude Akin used to be right?

  • mw

    I’m probably going to regret this, as I’ve generally avoided commenting on abortion debates, but here goes.

    You can agree or disagree with Ryan’s position on abortion (and I disagree), but the outrage about this particular statement, in and of itself, is nonsensical and unsupportable.

    His statement is certainly true from both the perspective of pro-life and pro-choice advocates. You can put this exact statement “The method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.” in the mouth of a Pro-choice absolutist and it remains completely coherent and compatible with a Pro-choice perspective. From a pro-choice perspective the fetus becomes a human vested with an independent right to life at the moment of birth and not before. Up to that moment the woman carrying the fetus/baby has an absolute right to choose an abortion. Nothing in how the baby was conceived changes that. Exactly what would it mean to the position of a Pro-choice advocate if if the “means of conception” did matter? Does it mean that an abortion of a pregnancy conceived by rape has an extended time-line? Beyond birth? A minute or an hour after birth? Obviously not.

    The rape and incest exception is an argument that points out the weakness and fundamental irrationality of granting a zygote independent human rights that supersede the rights of the mother at the moment of conception. But a rape or incest exception does not make abortion prohibition any more acceptable to a pro-choice advocate.

    Similarly, the late-term abortion exception argument in our pro-choice world points out the weakness and fundamental irrationality of not vesting a baby who would be viable outside of the womb any rights to life a few weeks before birth, when killing it one minute after birth would be considered murder. Still, a late-term abortion prohibition/exception does not make legal abortion any more acceptable to a pro-life absolutist.

    BTW – I am a pro-choice absolutist. But I do recognize that the “moment of birth” and “moment of conception” are equally arbitrary and absurd points of time to vest a zygote/fetus/baby with an independent right to life. The debate just does not lend itself to positions with any gray area. As a matter of principle, you seemingly have to pick one or the other. It’s a horrible choice, but of the two I’ll go with moment of birth, because you’ve got to pick something. In this situation you just have to defer to the mother to make that really tough decision, and I am just grateful that I will never be faced with that decision.

  • cranky critter

    Personally, I prefer viability over those two, although it’s also not without flaws.