Talk:Abortion/Goodandevil discussion

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Introduction[edit]

Greetings, Goodandevil,

I've started this page to try and come to a reasonable middle ground that all of us (you and the rest of the community) can agree with. You seem to be the sole voice that is advocating the changes you propose against a large community consensus that your edits are misplaced.

I would like to discuss these edits with you on an informal basis--I'm not an admin, a moderator, or anyone in authority here at Wikipedia. Like you, I'm just Joe Schmoe editor. I'm hoping we can come to a consensus that we can all agree on, without the strife and discord that has been going on.

NOTE TO OTHER USERS: At this point, I'd like to offer GaE a chance to present his side of the argument without dissent. As a favor to me, could I request that other editors refrain from posting until Goodandevil and I have a chance to discuss the situation? Thanks very much.

Justin Eiler 01:11, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

First exchange[edit]

I will not continue to participate in this dialogue if anyone but Justin Eiler participates. Thank you. First off, my goal is actually that the article simply present facts about abortion in a neutral fashion. People who support abortion do not want the medical (and other objective ) facts about abortion to be discussed in the same way that other medical topics are discussed. That is my beef with this article. The article simply kowtows to the notion that abortion is potentially emotionally painful to many people, therefore we must tip-toe when we discuss it.

1. Half the world's population is opposed to abortion, and half support it. Certainly the largest church in the world (the leaders of 1 billion+ catholics) (which created the university system and funded most all scientific endeavors between 1000 and 1800, and which continues to seek out scientific experts when analyzing its theological positions to ensure that faith does not contradict reason) holds the view that for scientific reasons, human pregnancy is a HUMAN process that begins at NATURAL conception and exists until the conceptus exits the woman or it dies. There is a scientific basis to hold that implantation is a part of natural pregnancy. Thus a test tube cannot be pregnant (although it can contain a unique human creature). Human intervention into the natural process is the only thing that would create any "in-between" situation in which a conceptus capable of growing into a mature human person exists outside of the woman (and BTW, any such intervention is considered wrong precisely because it turns a natural process that creates a human person into a manipulation by man that can create all sorts of riduclous moral scenarios). This article assumes that any one holding or promoting that view is in the minority, is supect, and is opposed to science or simply unenlightened. Even scholarly peer-reviewed research that shows a majority of one city's ob/gyns rejects the "medical definition" of pregnancy is dismissed out of hand by the editors. Even uncontroverted evidence that the medical definition was changed in the 1960s is dismissed with nothing other than "we don't trust the source" but no objective basis for such mistrust.

2. When editing the article, pro-abortion sources that contain "favorable" information about abortion are treated as if all such information is trustworthy.

3. Information that makes abortion look in any way less than good is treated as if it cannot possibly be credible, as if by its very nature it is biased even if it is simply an objective fact, and no matter what the standard has been for accepting info from pro-abort sources, the standard for accepting info that makes abortion look bad is always somehow more stringent. It does not matter the extent to which such information is sourced and footnoted.

4. This article ignores the fact that the western press is undeniably in support of abortion - despite public opinion. Thus when pro-abortion doctors or researchers are quoted or reported on, these media do not label them as having any bias (since these journalists consider pro-abortion to be the correct and unbiased view). And pro-life views are treated as if they are simply irrational expressions of religious beliefs. This article's editors rely on this prevailing media view to feel comfortable about the bias contained in this article. Since all "mainstream" media do support abortion, of course the only information that sheds light on the unpleasant facts regarding abortion will be dismisseed as coming from "biased" sources.

5. Most information about abortion is published by practitioners who support abortion. In the article, anything published by these sources is considered neutral and unbiased. Medical scholars or academics who do not support abortion normally do not publish on abortion. When they do, this article dismisses them as nutjobs with an axe to grind, no matter how thorough or well-researched their work is.

6. The prevailing consensus of the editors regarding these facts is "Your POV is obvious, its wrong, and we don't like your attitude regardless of whether it is justified by our always cavalier dismissal of all that you type. Our POV is no one's business and even if it favors abortion so what? There are more of us here, so get used to it. We don't need sources for our information, you need ten for any fact you wish to include. Any abortin-friendly opinions we put into the article will be couched as normal opinions. Any abortion-negative opinions will either be censored out or couched as if only Jerry Falwell and his followers hold the view.".

Please let me know point for point what problems you have with these 6 statements. This particular edit controversy exemplifies my concerns:

If the policy-based manipulation of the definition of pregnancy is a fact (and there is every reason to believe it is), then that is: (a) shocking news to most of us and a bit disappointing to the many who don't like to be manipulated by the intellgentsia, and (b) a significant objective fact that this article should contain as a sservice to its readers. If true, then the fact that such information does not fit in with the prevailing paradigms (that all opposition to abortion is religious in nature and that the medical community always takes the unbiased high road) is no reason to keep it from the article. Such information is actually a coup for wikipedia. The fact that such information (if true) would never be printed or even investigated for its veracity - for political reasons - by most encyclopedias or other media is precisely one reason why people look to wikipedia for information. If the article continues to subtley hints that those who reject the "medical definition" are religous zealots who are out of the mainstream, then this article will simply be on record as denying reality. But noting that there are two medical definitions, and that the change was politically (as in "policy") motivated, would demonstrate to the world that wikipedia is serious about its NPOV policy.

I was pleasantly surprised by the recent talk page dialogue about "death" and also about the history of the definition of pregnancy. It seems that some of you have some inclination to see my criticisms could have some validity. 136.215.251.179

Allright, I took the liberty of arranging our discussion into separate sections. You raise many objections, but it seems that the fundamental objection is to how this particular article has been managed. Let's take a look at each of the six points you bring up.

Point one[edit]

You said:

1. Half the world's population is opposed to abortion, and half support it. Certainly the largest church in the world (the leaders of 1 billion+ catholics) (which created the university system and funded most all scientific endeavors between 1000 and 1800, and which continues to seek out scientific experts when analyzing its theological positions to ensure that faith does not contradict reason) holds the view that for scientific reasons, human pregnancy is a HUMAN process that begins at NATURAL conception and exists until the conceptus exits the woman or it dies. There is a scientific basis to hold that implantation is a part of natural pregnancy. Thus a test tube cannot be pregnant (although it can contain a unique human creature). Human intervention into the natural process is the only thing that would create any "in-between" situation in which a conceptus capable of growing into a mature human person exists outside of the woman (and BTW, any such intervention is considered wrong precisely because it turns a natural process that creates a human person into a manipulation by man that can create all sorts of riduclous moral scenarios). This article assumes that any one holding or promoting that view is in the minority, is supect, and is opposed to science or simply unenlightened. Even scholarly peer-reviewed research that shows a majority of one city's ob/gyns rejects the "medical definition" of pregnancy is dismissed out of hand by the editors. Even uncontroverted evidence that the medical definition was changed in the 1960s is dismissed with nothing other than "we don't trust the source" but no objective basis for such mistrust.

There are several claims that need to be discussed here. "Half the world's population is opposed to abortion, and half support it." While I have some doubts about the precision of the above quote (not all Roman Catholics are anti-abortion, for instance), it's actually only relevant to the discussion of public opinion, which is competently discussed in the article.

Point two through five[edit]

2. When editing the article, pro-abortion sources that contain "favorable" information about abortion are treated as if all such information is trustworthy.
3. Information that makes abortion look in any way less than good is treated as if it cannot possibly be credible, as if by its very nature it is biased even if it is simply an objective fact, and no matter what the standard has been for accepting info from pro-abort sources, the standard for accepting info that makes abortion look bad is always somehow more stringent. It does not matter the extent to which such information is sourced and footnoted.
4. This article ignores the fact that the western press is undeniably in support of abortion - despite public opinion. Thus when pro-abortion doctors or researchers are quoted or reported on, these media do not label them as having any bias (since these journalists consider pro-abortion to be the correct and unbiased view). And pro-life views are treated as if they are simply irrational expressions of religious beliefs. This article's editors rely on this prevailing media view to feel comfortable about the bias contained in this article. Since all "mainstream" media do support abortion, of course the only information that sheds light on the unpleasant facts regarding abortion will be dismisseed as coming from "biased" sources.
5. Most information about abortion is published by practitioners who support abortion. In the article, anything published by these sources is considered neutral and unbiased. Medical scholars or academics who do not support abortion normally do not publish on abortion. When they do, this article dismisses them as nutjobs with an axe to grind, no matter how thorough or well-researched their work is.

All three of these points, are, substantially, the same claim--that pro-abortion sources are treated with greater weight than anti-abortion sources. GaE, I think the actual problem here is that the specific points that you, personally, have brought up are frequently regarded as untrustworthy. Other anti-abortion sources have been used, with no reservations, and I am somewhat skeptical of your claim that there is a general rejection of such sources.

Point six[edit]

6. The prevailing consensus of the editors regarding these facts is "Your POV is obvious, its wrong, and we don't like your attitude regardless of whether it is justified by our always cavalier dismissal of all that you type. Our POV is no one's business and even if it favors abortion so what? There are more of us here, so get used to it. We don't need sources for our information, you need ten for any fact you wish to include. Any abortin-friendly opinions we put into the article will be couched as normal opinions. Any abortion-negative opinions will either be censored out or couched as if only Jerry Falwell and his followers hold the view.".

GaE, I honestly feel that this point is based on claims 2-5, so I must admit a degree of skepticism. However, if you can point to such a situation (a specific difference, or an example of a proposition that you feel has been unduly questioned), I am more than willing to look at examples.

Conclusion[edit]

I know it shounds like I'm being rather difficult. There is a reason for that--I am opposed to elective abortion, and only support therapeutic abortions with the greatest of regret. However, I am also completely and totally opposed to fighting abortion with unproven rhetoric, specious or questionable arguments, or (as I have seen some pro-lifers stoop to) lies and dishonesty, or worse.

Given my views on abortion and honesty, I'm very possibly going to be the most critical person you've ever run your arguments by, perhaps even more critical than many pro-abortionists. That does not mean I oppose you or your goals ... it simply and solely means that I will resist any argument from my side of the abortion debate that runs the risk of weakening our goal.

And if that means you do not choose to continue this conversation, I will certainly understand and respect your decision. But if you do choose to consider it, I guarantee I will give you as much support as I can, provided I can do so in good conscience. Justin Eiler 03:33, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

You have not addressed points 4 or 5 at all. This is the biggest problem. It is linked to point 1 (that being pro-life is just as mainstream as supporting abortion). Precisely because (a) the press favors abortion and (b) most all abortion research is done by abortionists and casts abortion in a favorable light, the editors here make the gross error of assuming that the "neutral" view favors abortion. Again, I simply want facts in the article. The facts about abortion are enough to make everyone reject it. I am not asking that opinion be included in the article - simply that the opinions that are in the article (prevailingly in favor of abortion) are removed or balanced with the widely held alternative opinions. The article is filled with subtle wordings that make it seem (as I stated and you have not addressed) as if the generally accepted view is to favor abortion, and the fringe (and always religious) view is to oppose it. I am non-plussed that you would (if you actually don't support abortion) suggest that this topic has no relevance to the abortion article itself and how it is edited (which DOES impact its content).
You make a broad statement about my contributions. Please point to any instances where I have asked for non-factual information to appear in the article. You have not even addressed the one specific instance [1] that I noted (the ACOG re-definition that is well-sourced). I can't take your dialogue here seriously if you simply poo-poo me away with no attempt to address the concerns I have rasied.

84.146.221.240

You said "You have not addressed points 4 or 5 at all." Points four and five are substantially the same argument as points two and three--that you feel that pro-abortion sources are treated with greater weight.
You said "Please point to any instances where I have asked for non-factual information to appear in the article."
  1. You state that the definition of pregnancy, before 1964, was defined at conception. This is utterly unsourced, and seems to be contradicted by Dr. Guttmacher's summary of Uterine 2.
This has been extensively sourced. Please read.84.146.213.216
You have certainly provided documentation that the Uterine 2 conference discussed the definition of pregnancy. What you have not sourced is your assertion that the pre-1964 definition of pregnancy started at conception, as I have noted several times on the talk page. Rather than making snide or specious accusations that I should "please read," perhaps you might wish to follow your own advice. Justin Eiler 21:39, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
You apparently missed the pro-life article in the talk page that lists its sources and quotes the ACOG doctor who caused quite a stir by opposing the re-definition. [2] Again, please read it, along with the peer reviewed research, and then tell me why this ob/gyn who was there and on record as a dissenter from the change, and the author of the peer-reviewed research are both to be ignored. You also missed this "In the actual article, the author notes that the ACOG created these new definitions in 1965 and 1972." This is a peer reviewed published scholarly article. Again, the unbiased sources for the fact of redefinition were provided in talk over a week ago [3] Several hundred medical doctors have officially endorsed this view [4]:
  • "In 1965, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) responded with its own semantic answer: "CONCEPTION is the implantation of the fertilized ovum." xi
  • xi ACOG Terminology Bulletin, Terms Used in Reference to the Fetus, Chicago, American College of Obstetrics ad Gynecology, No. 1, September 1965.
  • Not everyone accepted these manipulations. Dr. Richard Sosnowski said he was troubled: "... that, with no scientific evidence to validate the change, the definition of conception as the successful spermatic penetration of an ovum was redefined as the implantation of a fertilized ovum. It appears to me that the only reason for this was the dilemma produced by the possibility that the intrauterine contraceptive device might function as an abortifacient." xii
  • xii Dr. Richard Sosnowski, head of the Southern Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists "The Pursuit of Excellence: Have We Apprehended and Comprehended It?" American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 150. No. 2 (September 15, 1984) 117."

Also:

  • Joseph A. Spinnato, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky

email: Joseph A. Spinnato (JASPINO1@ulkyvm.louisville.edu)

  • Keywords: conception; pregnancy onset; informed consent
  • Abstract: The purposes of this study are to assess the use of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' (ACOG) definitions of conception (a synonym for implantation) and the beginning of pregnancy (at implantation) in the clinical practice of its members and to explore the implications of differing definitions of conception and pregnancy onset for the process of informed consent. A survey was mailed to 112 members of the Louisville Ob/Gyn Society asking what definition of conception they used in their clinical practice and when they judged pregnancy began. A second mailing was sent to nonresponding members. Using logistic regression analysis, the responses to these questions were evaluated with respect to practice type, number of years in practice, and the ACOG membership. Responses were received from 86% (96 of 112) of the members. A total of 73% (70 of 96) (95% CI 69-77%) of the members indicated that conception was a synonym for fertilization, and 24% (23 of 96) (95% CI 21-28%) indicated that conception was a synonym for implantation (P < .001). Of the members, 50% (48 of 96) indicated that pregnancy began at fertilization, and 48% (46 of 96) indicated that pregnancy began with implantation (NS). Regression analysis failed to demonstrate a significant relationship to type of practice, years in practice, or the ACOG membership for these responses. Neither ACOG definition has been consistently adopted by its members whose definitions are more consistent with lay and embryologist definitions. Potentially, the process of informed consent is jeopardized by these ambiguities. The ACOG is urged to reconsider its definitions. J. Matern. - Fetal Med. 7:264-268, 1998. © 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

My additional comment from talk page: In the actual article, the author notes that the ACOG created these new definitions in 1965 and 1972.


84.146.227.229


  1. You argued against the ad for Tansy Pills.
I simply wanted the description to be accurate. Ads indicate the service is available - not that anyone availed themselves of it. I have placed ads that got no response. It happens quite often. Nothing can be said of demand simply because an illegible ad for Tansy pills was supposedly run 100 years ago (in which paper - I could not tell from the tiny ad)? 84.146.213.216
The specific assertion that the article makes is thus: "Abortion in the 19th-century continued, despite bans in both Britain and the United States, as the disguised, but nonetheless open, advertisement of services in the Victorian era suggests." There is no claim regarding any demand--only that the service was offered. Justin Eiler 21:39, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
I am the one who removed the improper reference to "demand" that these ads suggest. The previous wording was that ads suggested demand for abortion. Logically, the ads sugest supply, and demand may or may not have been present. In any case, you are simply wrong to bring this issue up as evidence of anything other than godd editing based on facts and what those facts actually tell us. 84.146.227.229


  1. You argued--blatantly and grossly against fact--that therapeutic abortions are a subcategory of elective abortions.
One can choose abortion for many reasons. Among them are therapeutic reasons. Even at least one pro-choice advocate has argued as much on the talk pages in reply to my posting that elective and therapeutic were NOT in the same category.[5] Funny how by magnanimousl adopting the argument of an abortion supporter I am now "blatantly and grossly against fact". 84.146.213.216
The division of therapeutic and elective abortions is that elective abortions are defined as follows:
  • Elective abortions are those initiated by personal choice. Therapeutic abortions are those recommended by the health care provider to protect the mother's physical or mental health. [6]
Your attempt to state that therapeutic abortions are "elective" because the patient can choose to accept or reject the recommendation of her care provider is rhetorical, in that it ignores the basic definition of the term. Justin Eiler 21:39, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
My attempt was to adopt the argument of those editors who had an opposing view, and then apply that adopted view to make appropriate edits based on consensus! Again, you paint that as a sign that I am inserting my POV or excising the POV of others. I adopted a consensus I originally opposed and then used it in an argument. Sadly, even though I did adopt the view of those other editors, the goalposts were moved as soon as that consensus was inconvenient. You sure pick strange things to use as smoking guns against me. 84.146.227.229
Those three are enough to start with. But accusations and counteraccusations are not the point of this discussion--the point of this discussion is the accuracy of the article. GandE, I want to make this an accurate article--one that gives the facts, rather than bowing to either pro-abortion or anti-abortion dogma. Justin Eiler 18:13, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

I have not advocated for dogma anywhere. I am consistently arguing against pro-abortion dogma. I would bet a billion dollars that no pro-life dogma will ever appear in the article. That would be a sight to see. You still have not addressed the 2/3 or 4/5. You simply ignore them. Apparently you have no response that makes any sense other than to dismiss my points as silly. And you still have not addressed the one point I am very specific about. [7] that I noted (the ACOG re-definition that is well-sourced). You could not have read my initial source I cited (which was chcok full of citations) or the follow up sources (or even the Uterine 2 statments) or else you would not be making the statement you just made. 84.146.213.216

You said "I have not advocated for dogma anywhere." Even in your first assertion that "Half the world's population is opposed to abortion," you have already completely disregarded the evidence provided by the article. Yet you have repeated the above assertion more than once, despite being challenged on it. That, GandE, is "advocating dogma," plain and simple.
You point to public opinion surveys of several Englsih speaking nations to counter my assertion that half the world opposes abortion? Come on. Get real. And I did not make it as a definitve statement that precisely 50% of the globe has a certain view, but to make the general point that billions of people don't favor abortion. Roe v Wade overturned the laws of most states, after all. Its hard to argue that the cultural norm is to favor abortion rights when so much debate goes on. My assertion is that a huge portion of the planet opposes abortion. Half is a good estimate. It was not an assertion made for inclusion in the article - it was made simply to remind editors that the unbiased norm is NOT to accept abortion. THe article, however, is edited from a perspective that abortion is good and accepted by normal people and only fringe kook religious zealots oppose it. You won't address this point. 84.146.227.229
Now, as I stated before, accusations and counteraccusations are not the point of this discussion--the point of this discussion is the accuracy of the article. NPOV means that all views are represented--but you seem determined to silence or remove pro-abortion views. Is this your goal? Justin Eiler 21:39, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
You have failed miserably to dialogue. You are too interested in not offending your pro-abortion admin friends. Perhaps I am too harsh in that assessment. I do invite you to actually read the information that has been provided in talk for a long time before dismissing information. And read history beofre making allegations (such as those yuo made about the Tansy ad and Elecitve/Therapeutic definitions). In effect, all three examples you have listed fall on their face when you dig a little deeper.

Recap:

1. Tansy ad: I simply advocated to change the wording to show the ad evidenced supply, not demand. That changed was adopted weeks ago and is now contained in the article. You have totally misunderstood and mischaracterized that issue. 84.146.227.229

2. Elective/Therapeutic definitions: I first posted definitions that distinguished between therapeutic and elective. I was corrected [8] and adopted the consensus view as stated by longtime "respected" editors. Later, when I edited in accord with that consensus view, I was criticized. Hardly dogmatic of me. This demonstrates the futility of trying to make edits in this article, not any POV error on my part.

3. ACOG re-definition: you have not read the material that has been in talk. If you had read it, you would see that the fact of redefinition is well-sourced. Likewise, there is ample reason to include BOTH medical definitions (implantation or fetilization) in the article since both are accurate and mainstream: [9]

4. Half the world: I never advocated inclusion of this general assertion in the article. It has been a generlaized point that I made to remind people that there are two widely held general views on abortion: acceptance and rejection. Of course there are also gradations in between. In context most people can understand that I was not in any way advocating to have the article state "half of thw world rejects abortion". I was simply noting that the bias of the editors ignores that billions who do reject abortion.

5. There is no place where I have advocated dogma be included in the article. You cannot find any. Please step back and start over and address my concerns instead of trying to come up with reasons to dismiss me. You seem reasonable and genuinely interested in progress. Stop resisting.

84.146.227.229