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April 15, 2010

Abortion Is Not Libertarian — Or Conservative Or Liberal

by Brad Warbiany

In libertarian circles, the abortion issue is a thorny one, for the same reason as in the general political spectrum: it depends on a priori beliefs outside those of a political philosophy.

It comes down to two different potential mutually exclusive beliefs:

  1. The intrinsic “human-ness” of a fetus begins at conception, or viability, or wherever you define — but nonetheless prior to birth.
  2. “Human-ness” begins at birth.

It’s a near-universal belief, whether libertarian, conservative, or liberal, that humans have certain rights. Libertarians nearly always define these as “negative rights”, i.e. freedom from external restraint or infringement. Liberals typically extend this significantly to “positive rights” or the common good, i.e. everyone has a right to an education, a square meal, health care, etc, and individuals may have some liberties restrained (i.e. income taxes, etc) in order to ensure provision of those positive rights for others. Conservatives, as far as I can tell, more define such positive rights as the ability to live in a stable, moral, traditional society, and are willing to curtail liberties (such as drug use, prostitution, etc) that threaten the wider societal “stability”.

But either way, they all believe that individuals have rights and murder is wrong.

If you believe the first proposition — i.e. that a fetus prior to birth has innate “human-ness” and thus human rights, to allow for that innocent “child” to be killed is murder. While there may be needs from time to time to balance rights of one against rights of another (i.e. when health of the mother is threatened, perhaps), one might side with the mother, but that would be considered a justified moral tragedy, not a dispassionate and lightly-considered “choice”. To someone who believes proposition 1, Roe v. Wade is an abomination, as no amount of privacy justifies murder.

If you believe the second proposition — that a fetus prior to birth has no innate rights, then you have no issue with abortion. At that point the fetus can be considered an invasive and unwanted growth inside ones body, and the removal of such is entirely at the discretion of the mother, as it is her body and thus her choice. To infringe on her personal privacy is thus immoral and not the purview of government.

The belief in the first or second proposition is not covered by any moral theory of libertarianism that I’ve come across. Thus, if you define your view of abortion as a logical outgrowth of the rights the fetus does or does not have, you can impart that a priori belief into libertarianism.

As with all beliefs, there are a lot of people who have gut instincts but have never put in the hard thinking to really boil this down to proposition 1 or 2, and then accept the consequences thereof. Most tend to choose a pro-life or pro-choice position and then try to work backwards to justify it in arguments… But then that’s true of most political debates — the average layman incorporates a lot of subconscious values into his/her belief system, and then chooses the political party that “feels” right based on those subconscious values.

But I personally think that the entire debate over abortion boils down to whether one believes proposition 1 or proposition 2. That is fundamentally not a libertarian, conservative, or liberal belief — regardless of the fact that there’s significant overlap between religions who believe proposition 1 and conservatives, and many secular and liberal folks who believe proposition 2. Believing proposition 1 and allowing abortion is philosophically inconsistent, and believing proposition 2 and disallowing abortion is a violation of individual freedom of the mother.

It’s as simple as that.

PS – I left this as a comment to Aaron Ross Powell’s discussion of libertarianism, but thought it widely-applicable enough to post here as a more general discussion.

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31 Comments

  1. I have a slightly more involved version of the moral conception you listed above, but fundamentally my personal position is number one.

    I think there is however, another libertarian reason to oppose discretionary abortion.

    I was anti discretionary abortion when I was an atheist, and am anti discretionary abortion now that I’m back in the catholic church(abortions for medical reasons are another story).

    I am anti-abortion from a libertarian and human rights perspective, not from a religious one.

    The part of libertarianism that many people seem to forget, is that the opposite side of the liberty coin, is responsibility. If you want to be able to make your own decisions, you have to accept responsibility for them. You made a decision to have sex, you knew the possible consequences, (even if you “used protection” you knew that it isn’t always effective) and you did it anyway. You should live with the consequences of your actions; because by not doing so, you are DELIBERATELY taking away the rights of your unborn child.

    This is purely a “your right to swing your fist ends at my nose” sort of thing; and for those who say “well this unwanted pregnancy is swinging its fist at MY nose” the answer is “you’re the one who TOLD it to, by having sex. Sorry, no free pass”.

    Now, if you are pregnant by force or coercion, that’s another “different story entirely”.

    That said, all of this is a moral question, more than a legal one (or a practical one for that matter). Law, and government, are ill equipped (in fact I can’t imagine a worse arena for government to attempt to deal with) to involve themselves in questions of “what is a human life” etc… etc… Frankly, I don’t believe we should even consider giving the government the authority to determine that, nor anything close to it.

    I think the government should be out of it entirely, except that once a child is viable, it should be considered homicide (which could be considered justifiable, manslaughter, or murder depending on the circumstances) to deliberately or negligently end its life (with the exception that if the survival of the mother is in question); and critically, that it should EXCLUSIVELY be the province of the doctor as to what “viable” means, or when a womans life is in danger.

    There should be no legal, especially no federal, standard for what “viable” or “danger to the mothers life” means. It MUST be solely at the discretion of the doctor.

    Comment by Chris Byrne — April 15, 2010 @ 11:11 pm
  2. Well, #1 is provably false, so #2 is the only option. The ONLY way to accept 1 when the vast majority of abortion occur pre-12 weeks is to accept that a cluster of cells with mo brain, no nervous system and no independent life sustaining functions is as human as you or I. That requires an acceptance of mind-body dualism, which is an innately religious belief. It is to call an acorn an oak.

    It is also somewhat irrelevant. Person or not, human or not, no one or no thing has the right to violate my bodily integrity or to live off of my body in a parasitic fashion without my consent. And without my consent, I may defend myself against what is an assault with as much force as I need to make it stop, including deadly force.

    So either 1 (which is weak) or 2 can be the case and abortion can be justified.

    Comment by Mike — April 16, 2010 @ 2:27 am
  3. In order for their government to properly protect the people, we must first define “people”.

    When does a person come into existence? When does that person cease to be a person? During the interim, libertarians hold some common principles defining where force between those people is acceptable. But since the ends are subject to debate, so then are the conclusions – even among people who hold common political philosophies.

    Comment by Akston — April 16, 2010 @ 4:47 am
  4. “[I]t depends on a priori beliefs outside those of a political philosophy.” This is the problem with the abortion question specifically and the political beliefs of nearly all Americans at large.

    One’s political philosophy should derive from one’s ethics, epistemology and metaphysics, not be in conflict with it. There should be no disconnect, no contradictions. It is because most Americans hold political and economic views that are disparate from their moral/metaphysical/epistemological views that we have all the problems we do. As Ayn Rand said, “Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.” Words we should all live by.

    Comment by Kelly — April 16, 2010 @ 5:03 am
  5. Of course, you could go full-blown Rothbardian and insist that there is no “right to exist at the expense of another” – PERIOD! So even despite having obtained “human-ness,” the unborn child still has no cognizable right to force the mother to incubate it.

    Not my position, but one held by some if not many libertarians. (I’m more the “you voluntarily make it, then you raise it” type.)

    Comment by KipEsquire — April 16, 2010 @ 5:58 am
  6. “you voluntarily make it, then you raise it”

    Having sex does not equate to “voluntarily make it”

    But that sentiment betrays the false dichotomy we seem to arguing over here.

    In my opinion, many so-called “pro-life” folks don’t really give a rat’s ass about the unborn (though they will try to convince themselves otherwise). For them, preventing abortion is really about punishing the woman for having sex. Although I’m sure that’s not how Kip meant it, in my experience, that is how they mean it.

    Otherwise, how does one explain how most “pro-life” fetus fetishists care so deeply about “babies” while they are in utero, but don’t raise a finger to help them afterwards – indeed, they often are the ones who turn around and marginalize and ostracize women. When there are millions of children in orphanages and foster care around the country that go seemingly unnoticed by the throngs of Operation Rescue fanatics screaming abuse at women all around the country? Worse yet, most of these same people also oppose birth-control and sex ed, the absolutely best ways to prevent abortion from even being needed to be considered?

    No, they aren’t pro-life, they are anti-sex and outlawing abortion is about punishing those women who dare violate their idea of morality.

    And sadly it is also based on a complete strawman impression of who are having abortions. The “pro-life” zealots are convinced it is slutty young women who use it as birth control and decide on abortion as casually as they decide what to wear in the morning.

    In reality of course, it is entirely different. According to studies in the US, Canada and Australia, the profile of the typical woman that seeks an abortion is a married or recently married woman between 24 and 36 with at least one other child. They agonize about the decision and make it based on the well being of their families and other children.

    Not to mention that 92% of abortions occur before 12 weeks (when there is no nervous system or brain) and 98% before 20 weeks (the earliest possible point physiologically a fetus could survive outside the womb and the point at which brain wave begin). Abortions after this time are rare and to non-existent, except where the life of the mother is in danger OR the fetus would not survive birth.

    Canada, ironically, is a perfect example of this. We have had NO law on abortion of any kind for 23 years. Yet abortion rates are going down and abortions after 20 weeks are rare, because women do ask and doctors won’t perform them, unless there are dire, life threatening circumstances.

    In other words, this is about forcing mores on others against their will, about punishing people who choose to have sex, rather than about the sanctity of life (which is promptly ignored once the fetus is born.)

    I think that makes it pretty clear where libertarians should fall.

    Comment by Mike — April 16, 2010 @ 6:45 am
  7. Chris,

    If you fit into proposition two, though, there’s still a matter of responsibility and consequences. The potential consequence of a lifetime of smoking is a gigantic tumor on your lung — nobody is arguing that you shouldn’t be able to have a doctor remove it.

    Fundamentally the “responsibility” argument is moot if you accept proposition two, and it is superfluous if you accept proposition one (as it then becomes a human rights, not a responsibility, matter).

    Kip,

    You could go even fuller Rothbardian and suggest that a born child has no right to exist at the expense of another — after all, why do I need to spend my hard-earned tax dollars feeding this sniveling little helpless “thing”?

    But as for the responsibility argument, see my response to Chris above. Your debate over “if you make it, you raise it” hinges largely on when “it” becomes him or her, rather than it.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 16, 2010 @ 7:24 am
  8. Kelly,

    You got my point exactly. Thanks for the Rand quote, that fits perfectly.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 16, 2010 @ 7:26 am
  9. Mike,

    My question for you is whether you draw any distinction prior to birth as to whether abortion should be restricted? After all, you seem to point out that most abortions take place prior to 20 weeks, and use it as a defense of the practice of abortion.

    That would suggest an implicit acceptance of point 1 — with perhaps the belief that human rights begin prior to birth, closer to the date of brain/CNS development.

    Fundamentally one must draw an arbitrary line around those rights. We currently draw that line at the date of birth. But I think a pretty compelling case can be made that the line should be drawn at viability (i.e. 20-24 weeks). As I point out, at some point the rights of the baby compete with the rights of the mother (a fact that extends well beyond birth, as my tongue-in-cheek response to Kip points out). Do you accept the argument that this line might conceivably be drawn prior to birth?

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 16, 2010 @ 7:34 am
  10. I merely point out that much of the wailing and teeth gnashing amongst those pro-claiming to be “pro-life” is based on either mistaken (if I am being nice) or utterly false information. They seem to be fighting against something that doesn’t happen, except in instances when even but the most radical of of them would agree are excusable circumstances – a fetus that would not survive birth or a mother whose life of health was in danger.

    And I point out that this happens here in Canada with no need of state interference in the decision a woman and her doctor make on the matter (this is the pro-choice position, after all).

    I side with evolution and nature as to when a fetus becomes a person – at the moment they are no longer a wholly dependant part of of another. That is, the moment they are born alive.

    Prior to that they cannot survive, even if they are “viable” without invasive medical technology or with. The moment they can survive, the moment they transition form being potential humans to be actual humans, they are born.

    Nature takes care of the decision.

    Now that doesn’t mean to say people shouldn’t be allowed to use technology to save viable foetuses if they choose, but nor should they be prevented from exercising the autonomy of their own bodies because of what someone else believes either.

    I would question, whom, exactly, are the “pro-life” adherents trying to protect? 8-month old fetus (or even a 24-week old fetus) from abortions that never occur (because women who get to that point in a pregnancy never want an abortion, making your argument moot), or, for well over 90% of the instances, a cluster of a few hundred cells with no brain and no nervous system that is no more a “human” or a “person” than the hair follicle cells on my head.

    I’m in the Rothbardian camp on this one. And it seems that while Chris an I probably disagree about a lot, we do agree that any decision about an abortion is between a woman and her doctor and no one else, least of all the government.

    Comment by Mike — April 16, 2010 @ 7:59 am
  11. Oh dear. You went there.
    I predict 50+ comments. Any takers?

    Comment by tfr — April 16, 2010 @ 8:08 am
  12. Your basic point is correct, but there is not a fundamental need to make “humanness” an Aristotlean binary.

    Indeed Roe-v-Wade can be seen as taking an incremental approach to the issue (and seems to have been based on the best science of the day). It goes like that:

    * At conception that cluster of cell has very little of that-which-makes-us-human, and the potential mother’s right to be make her own choices in all things rules.
    * By the onset of the second trimester, the fetus has enough of that-which-makes-us-human to justify restricting the mother from making an arbitrary decision to end the pregnancy (that is, the state has justifiable authority to restrict her in some, but not all ways).
    * By the onset of the third trimester there is a non-trivial chance that the baby could survive outside the womb, and it is thus human enough that the state has nearly the same authority to protect the child as they have for a fully qualified legal human.

    Important caveat: if you take this point of view, the changing state of the medical art is going to affect things. In particular, these days it is not unknown for children born not much beyond half-term to survive. Does that mean that the rules the SCOTUS set for the third trimester should be applied at the halfway mark? I suspect that they should.

    But I agree that the whole issue revolves around a moral judgment about the what makes a human. And I would suggest that caution should be used when drawing people out of *that* circle. It has been the justification for much evil over the years.

    Comment by EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy — April 16, 2010 @ 1:24 pm
  13. “Important caveat: if you take this point of view, the changing state of the medical art is going to affect things. In particular, these days it is not unknown for children born not much beyond half-term to survive. Does that mean that the rules the SCOTUS set for the third trimester should be applied at the halfway mark? I suspect that they should.”

    Be very careful of perpetuating myth in the name of ideals. While it is not “unknown” it IS uncommon and rather unlikely. Point of viability (about 24 weeks – NOT that 20 week crap Nebraska is trying to pull) is when about 50% of fetuses COULD survive with EXCELLENT medical care and a little luck. In other words, it’s a bit of a crapshoot. Medical science can only push this back so far, because thalamic brain connections and the majority of lung development don’t occur until the third trimester.

    Am I saying this doesn’t make a fetus human? Not at all. But trying to distort medical science to fit one’s beliefs is poor logic and bad policy. At any rate, I am of the belief that the government has NO PLACE in this discussion. None. Given the information I mentioned above, I laugh at the idea that some legislatures believe their MORAL beliefs should trump the doctor-patient relationship in this situation. Moving back the SCOTUS decision would do just that – take a potentially heartbreaking decision and slap some arbitrary rule on ALL situations regardless of individual circumstances. In what other area of medicine do we do this?

    I am genuinely offended by people who advocate for LESS government intrusion unless they are trying to restrict women’s control over their own bodies. It’s blatantly hypocritical.

    Comment by Miss — April 16, 2010 @ 3:23 pm
  14. This essay comes pretty close to my opinion on the subject of abortion. I consider that the right to life is intimately tied to sentience. Sentient beings have a right to life, and it is murder to intentionally kill a non-consenting sentient being (note that I consider suicide and assisted suicide to be a person’s right).

    A mated egg and sperm cell are undeniably human seconds after conception. But they are not sentient. A baby at birth is, to my mind, not yet sentient. That is a gradual process that occurs, with most, over the first year or so after birth. But I’m not comfortable with killing any animal for no good reason, so I’m happy to stick with birth as the point after which abortion may not be done, even though I consider young children to be largely their parents’ property, gradually gaining independent rights. Before birth, though, the fetus is part of the mother, hence nobody else’s business.

    But exactly when sentience begins in humans, and whether it exists in other animals, is a religious issue, which cannot be rationally decided. Which is why the abortion debate is a total waste of time.

    Comment by Bill St. Clair — April 18, 2010 @ 6:46 am
  15. Having once been been agnostic on early term abortions I then had kids.

    My wife went through multiple pregnancies, several of which went to full term and others that miscarried. In early term sonograms, I heard my children’s beating hearts and I saw their active, lively and precious human forms. I also saw the lifeless blobs that miscarried.

    Seeing and hearing are believing. I have no doubt now that women who have abortions kill a nascent human being. They are selfish, evil and immoral. I have no respect for people who insist on their right to kill.

    Comment by Let's Be Free — April 18, 2010 @ 5:06 pm
  16. If potential of human life prevails, then how can there be any such thing as death when the heart still beats, but there is no brain function.

    Comment by VRB — April 22, 2010 @ 6:48 pm
  17. Lets be free.
    Then why were you still trying to have children after a miscarriage? Were you willing to murder in order to get a child?

    Comment by VRB — April 22, 2010 @ 6:54 pm
  18. If potential of human life prevails, then how can there be any such thing as death when the heart still beats, but there is no brain function.

    There is a difference between death and murder. That difference depends heavily on rights.

    I.e. if I kill a cow for food, that is death. But since we don’t live in a worldview where that cow has rights, it is not murder.

    The question that prompts all of this, is whether a human zygote/fetus has reached a level of “human-ness” where it has rights. As I say, it’s really an a priori moral determination (whether scientific or religious), not obtainable by the use of political reason. Political reason (i.e. whether you criminalize abortion) is a function of taking that a priori belief and plugging it into your political philosophy.

    You appear to fall into camp #1, where human-ness begins at conception. I’m not going to agree or contradict you on that, only point out that this belief necessarily causes you to consider abortion to be murder, whereas the opposite belief you’d see it a no more morally troubling than the killing of an animal.

    (PS – I’m a bit confused by your language, and extrapolating what I think your position based on my reading of the three sentences limited you wrote. If I reversed your position, I apologize.)

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 23, 2010 @ 12:10 pm
  19. Let’s Be Free,

    I’m not that different. Prior to my wife and I having children successfully, we suffered two 1st-trimester miscarriages. These were very sad events.

    They were sad for many reasons. First, of course, there was the loss of the child that we hoped to have. Second was the worry that perhaps we had some sort of medical issue that might prevent us from having kids (doubly after the second miscarriage).

    But at least for me, I didn’t really mourn for the fetus, because it was so early in the term that even with a heartbeat, it still seemed to be the loss of a *potential* child, not the loss of an *actual* child.

    The opposite case, of course, was my wife’s aunt who lost a baby at 7 months. At that point, you can’t deny that you’re losing a child, not a non-person fetus.

    This is, of course, one of humanity’s most difficult moral questions. But my whole point of this post was to point out one thing: If the people of the world were to agree on the moral beginning of “humanity”, it would be a remarkably easy political question to solve.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 23, 2010 @ 12:21 pm
  20. “If the people of the world were to agree on the moral beginning of “humanity”, it would be a remarkably easy political question to solve.”

    Somehow, I doubt it. The “leaders” of the states of the world seem perfectly happy to send their young men and women off to kill and die, by the thousands, in foreign wars. And to kidnap and cage their own citizens for inhaling the smoke of a burning weed. It’s hard to imagine people who can engage in that kind of insanity responding in a moral and rational manner to much of anything.

    Comment by Bill St. Clair — April 23, 2010 @ 12:30 pm
  21. Brad,

    There’s the rub…we all will never agree, especially as to the exact moment.

    This is why this needs to be a deeply personal decision, which creates an emergent bottom up “rule”, rather than an imposed, arbitrary rule from the top down.

    Everyone agrees that a 7 or 8 month old fetus is a “baby”. Indeed, this is borne out by the fact that these fetus are never aborted unless they are not going to survive birth (women at that point want to have the baby).

    Everyone agrees that a cluster of 100 or so cells with no nervous system and no other morphology is “human” in any but the genetic sense. And this is when well over 90% of abortions occur.

    The problem isn’t really abortion, its trusting people to make choices. We are discussing this because somebody wants a rule they can use to impose their will on another person, because they are afraid that person will make a choice that they do not agree with.

    We can dress it up as anything we want but its authoritarianism at its core. Part of being free is allowing others to make choices that you would not make, choices that you believe are wrong and that you do not agree with.

    It is up to each woman individually to be prepared to make that choice and to live by it and for all of us to understand that others cannot be made to live by choices we want.

    That is why, whether you think a one minute old zygote is a human being or it doesn’t happen until some magical moment in week 22 or until the child is born alive (as you and I have both experienced, it could not survive up to the moment it is born), it is up to you to live your own life by that standard and let others live their lives by theirs.

    We need to trust women to make those choices. Most of time we will agree and when we don’t, then it will be thw women making the choices who will live with the consequences and not us.

    Trust women to make choices about their family and their bodies and you will not be disappointed.

    Comment by Mike — April 23, 2010 @ 12:48 pm
  22. Lets be free,

    Funny, I had the same experience and came to the exact opposite conclusion.

    I think those who would tell a woman what she can do with here body and when are no less advocates of human slavery than if they were trying to buy and sell them in a market.

    If you thinks its wrong, don’t do it.

    Comment by Mike — April 23, 2010 @ 12:52 pm
  23. Brad,
    I think that a definition of life is dependent on the definition of death. I think for the most part we define death as the lack of consciousness, the brain death. I see that a zygote and fetus as living, the cells dividing, the heart beating, but not having consciousness, thus not having life. I do agree that at some point the fetus has life and consciousness, even though I can’t say when for some else’s child. I guess that is what you would call human-ness. I am neither #1 or 2. While carrying my son there was a point that I felt he had intention and personality, sometime in the sixth month. It’s not scientific or was it spiritual.

    I posed the question, because I want to know if you accepted 1 how could you except the medical concept of death? I don’t think society really deals with these kinds of issues until they are ask to pull the plug or in a untenable position while pregnant.

    I am pro-choice, but I would prefer that society do more toward unwanted pregnancy prevention to reduce the numbers of abortion. I don’t want in a secular society, the position that abortion is murder, that the reason for sex is procreation and all birth control is abortion, to become embedded in health policy or laws regulating abortion.

    Comment by VRB — April 23, 2010 @ 4:13 pm
  24. Bravo VRB my sentiment exactly.

    Comment by Mike — April 23, 2010 @ 4:25 pm
  25. I tend to use the term “person”. When does a person first emerge? When does a person cease being a person?

    Person is a word often used in law to describe a human with rights (setting aside corporate persons for the moment). And rights are what are at issue here. As Brad wrote, killing cattle is not generally considered murder. This is because cattle are not recognized as having rights in most human cultures.

    Anything with traits like metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation to the environment originating from within the organism can be called “life”. Tapeworms are alive, yet happily and legally dispatched by humans.

    Also, arguably, much of the physical aspects of being “human” can be expressed in DNA. A life with human DNA can be said to be human.

    But when does a life – a human – become a legal “person” with rights? And when does a person with rights become just a life? A blastocyst is undeniably life and a genetically unique human. If it is also a person, would a miscarriage then be Involuntary Manslaughter? A severely injured person in a permanently vegetative state of brain death can be kept alive by machinery. The body is undeniably human. When the brain is dead, is the person rendered simply a living human?

    Persons have natural rights. Among these is the right to their life.

    I am not advocating an answer with these questions, simply wondering if language can help focus thought.

    Comment by Akston — April 23, 2010 @ 9:30 pm
  26. I’m a bit concerned about the unintended consequences that could result from giving an unborn human enforcable rights. As technology advances in genetics, it is conceivable that any cell containing DNA could be considered a viable human. I’d hate to see the day when someone could be forced to “donate” cells or tissue against their will for the “benefit” of someone else.

    “Persons have natural rights. Among these is the right to their life.”

    This is absolutely true and I think that should include the right to their own genetic material, but we have seen that this is not the case if you are suspected or arrested for a crime.

    As far as abortions go, I have decided that I will never have one, nor will I force anyone else to. This is not because I believe it to be wrong, but more out of a sense of responsibility for my actions.

    The only form of birth control my wife and I use is the rhythm method, all three of our children are very much loved and wanted. The fourth is due to be conceived in June of this year.

    Comment by John222 — April 24, 2010 @ 2:30 pm
  27. John222,
    I thought that you were male.
    Don’t even think that you share a pregnancy as your wife.

    Comment by VRB — April 24, 2010 @ 2:57 pm
  28. I would never even attempt to imply that I share a pregnancy with my wife. Nor would I want to. I do as much as I can, I’m simply not equipped to do more.

    As a male, it is very easy to say with confidence that I will never have an abortion. Unless a female is an unwilling participant, she should be able to do the same. I look at it kinda like Russian roulette, if you don’t want to see your or someone else’s brains spattered all over the place, don’t play the game.

    In the game of creating life, women bear the brunt of the burden and in far too many cases the responsibility as well. For this reason, they should be more careful. I know that if I were the one who had to gestate, birth and feed our children, we might not have had more than one.

    My statement was somewhat tongue in cheek, but still valid.

    Comment by John222 — April 24, 2010 @ 5:21 pm
  29. On a completely unrelated note, you will notice that some of our comments are being repeated, verbatim, but by different users. Right down to repeating typos…

    DO NOT CLICK on the author’s name link, to see their blog.

    This is a new technique by spammers for spreading malware and if you follow a link, there is a possibility you will be infected by a “drive by” download

    http://pandalabs.pandasecurity.com/spammers-blogs-new-techniques/comment-page-1/#comment-4972

    Infosec is what I do for a living and I only noticed the pattern in my gmail this morning.

    I hope no one has been infected.

    Pity our relatively civil and intelligent debate has been interrupted by this

    Comment by Mike — April 26, 2010 @ 2:28 pm
  30. Thanks for catching that, Mike. I went through the comments for this post (and several others) and cleared it up.

    I guess I need to start looking into better spam filters.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 26, 2010 @ 8:18 pm
  31. Brad,

    No worries, its a pretty new technique. Even the Panda guys only noticed it last week and I’m not sure there are any spam filters that would catch this right now because there are no unusual links in the body (in fact, its using body text it knows will bypass the spam filter, since its content already posted.)

    The only easy way to avoid it, as I can see, would be to alter your posting settings such that only people who previously posted can post and a moderate must OK first time posters. Perhaps through in a CAPCHA as well to ensure only real people can enter comments and not web bots. WordPress allows all of this

    Hope this helps.

    Comment by Mike — April 27, 2010 @ 4:11 am

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