Reflections on The Cider House Rules

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The Cider House Rules was a film that caused some considerable buzz in its day. It may be largely forgotten now, but it remains one of my favorites. I recommend the film to any who may not have seen it and thus will attempt to explain my admiration for the work without divulging too much of the story.

 

Now to make full disclosure I will confess to being an avowed Anglophile and for this reason I will find myself enamored of any picture that features Michael Caine in its cast. I’ve yet to see a role that he has performed that I did not like. Even with that admitted bias I believe it is still fair to say that The Cider House Rules was one of his most powerful. Caine was nominated for and won the Oscar for best supporting actor in his role as Dr. Larch.  From his voluminous portfolio this should stand as one of his greatest roles.

 

The film is based upon the John Irving novel of the same name and was billed as ” a story about how far we must travel to find the place where we belong.” Never one to shy from controversial topics or themes Irving confronted one of the great moral quandaries of our time in this tale, that of abortion. This was only one of many questions dealt with in the story, but it’s inclusion is significant, and not only for its glimpse at the history of abortion in America.  The treatment of this topic fits very well into the theme that is encapsulated in the title.

 

Dr. Larch is the director of an orphanage set in Maine in the early forties.  In addition to his kindly mission of taking and providing care to the orphaned and unwanted, striving to find good homes for them with a family, he also offers distressed young women the choice of terminating their pregnancies.  The performance of abortions was still a crime in those days. This occurred in a time and place that the people were uncomfortable to acknowledge even the existence of such things.  It is the sober recognition that any law may be passed to prohibit certain acts or behaviors, but where there is a demand for these that demand will always be met by someone, law or no.

 

Dr. Larch is a secondary character in this tale, the main protagonist being Homer Wells, an orphan, portrayed by Tobey Maguire in the film.  Homer was twice placed in a home and twice returned to the orphanage, after which Dr. Larch takes the youth on as a protege.  Again with a view towards not divulging too much of the story I’ll provide no further detail of their relationship.  It is later in the story that young Homer gains an opportunity to experience the world outside of the orphanage and lands a job at an apple orchard working alongside of migrants.  This entails housing as part of the compensation, in a bunkhouse on the estate known as the Cider House.

 

Though never formally educated Homer is the only one present among the workers who is able to read. Posted within the house are what are titled “The Cider House Rules”, a list of do’s and don’ts for the residents. Homer reads these aloud for the other workers when they are curious what the notice says. Even though they are illiterate and uneducated the workers have enough sense to understand something very profound. They observe that these are rules that are made without the consent of the occupants by people who do not live there and are thus not subject to the same rules. The workers quite logically conclude that as these rules were made by those who do not have to live there or live under the same rules, the rules are to be ignored.

 

Hence the title and this is the theme that makes the story and the film memorable. Of course the broader theme is, as it is billed, finding one’s way in life. Taking that journey to ultimately find where one belongs. These themes meet in conflict in the story just as they do in real life. There is the path that may be found by those bold enough to seek it. There is the path that may be followed at the direction of those who deem themselves fit to give it yet do not themselves walk in the same shoes.

 

I can not say if this was Irving’s intent by including abortion as a part of the story, but I can see clearly how it relates to the theme.  I usually like to steer clear of the debate that rages around the subject of abortion.  I am convinced that much of the fury from both sides of the argument are puffed up, exaggerated solely as a tactic. I may well be wrong about that but those are my thoughts nonetheless.  I am by sentiment of the pro-life camp. I am by reason pro-choice. The Cider House Rules provides a good illustration for why.

 

In the story there are young women who find themselves in difficult circumstances. We don’t know all of the specifics of their individual cases. Some may have found themselves left with child by a lover who had upon the news abandoned them. Some may have found themselves in the condition as a result of rape or incest. Or in many instances, as I suspect is still true today, these young women found themselves in a position where they were confronted with the prospect of having to raise and care for a child all by themselves and not having the means or support to do so. These were women, or more correctly mere girls in many cases, facing these daunting prospects in an era where the social stigmas were still very much at work. For right or wrong the reality was that they and their children were faced with distinct disadvantages well beyond those of an economic nature. The young mothers to be in this tale were among the fortunate few who could connect with a qualified physician who could and would perform the procedure in a sanitary and clinical environment. In that era there were many who were not so lucky.

 

When rules and law on abortion are made by those unable to wear the same skin as those facing that choice it becomes just like The Cider House Rules.  Making rules for others that one does not have to abide by themselves.  One does not have to approve of the act and is certainly free to offer counsel against it, but to turn it back as a point of law I think would be unwise.  As long as human beings possess reproductive functions and are left free to engage in these there will be inconvenient and/or unwanted pregnancies. There is no right or wrong to it, that is just a fact. Where these conditions exist there will continue to be, just as there always has been, a demand for the service.  Any question of legality aside where there is a demand for anything there will be someone able and willing to meet that demand.  Far better this be left where it may be answered under safe, sanitary and transparent conditions.

 

I don’t believe that The Cider House Rules was penned as a morality tale about abortion. Irving chose to treat the subject for whatever motives he may have had.  This theme encapsulated in the title has much broader application.  We find ourselves living under The Cider House Rules every day.  Bureaucrats from a myriad of federal agencies, nameless and faceless beings under the guise of their agencies’ authority, make and enforce rules upon others in places where they don’t have to live.  That same nameless, faceless class of beings populate the EU congress in Brussels. They make rules and issue proclamations for some distant Cider House that they have never set foot in and likely never will.  There seems to be an inevitable tendency amongst those in authority to practice the rule of “do as I say, not as I do”.

 

Whether by a seizure through force of arms in an autocratic society, or by guile and deception as exercised through some construct of democracy, those in positions of authority are there because they sought it. The very nature of such a personality should be viewed with suspicion. Within a democracy we have the opportunity and the responsibility to apply this. This requires being informed and employing critical thinking when examining the information available. If one does not make their own effort to separate fact from fiction then they are vulnerable to all manner of manipulation.

 

If uneducated and illiterate migrant workers could see and reject the hypocrisy of The Cider House Rules the overlords of the estate would have good cause for concern. That is an aspect that was not dealt with in either the novel or the film, but we see this at work in our real world Cider House today.  The establishment, i.e. career politicians, mainstream media analysts, the academic community, these are the parties who have penned life’s Cider House Rules. They are the smart people who know best, the ones who write the rules but don’t have to follow them.  Somehow all of those illiterate, uneducated migrant workers, i.e. the electorate, have awakened and called bull shit on their game. We reject your rules, we reject what you have been feeding us.

 

Their reaction to events tells it all.  They carry on with the narrative that the people have succumbed to ignorance, seduced by populism.  They mouth the words, more to convince themselves I believe, that this current political climate has emboldened the bigots and reactionaries. The racists feeling their grip slipping are staging one last gasp against the inevitable progressive tide of history. Make no mistake that this is precisely what these people believe. It is what they believe about themselves and what they believe about all of us. When Mrs. Clinton uttered those now unforgettable words “basket of deplorables” that was no error. She meant every bit of it. This is how the elite class sees us. That we should ever wise up and reject them could not possibly be their fault. Nothing ever is their fault.

 

And sadly, in a sense, it isn’t. It’s our own fault for allowing it to go on.  It is going to take more than one set of elections before these people will go away. They are rooted deeply in many parts of our society. They are like dandelions on your lawn. It does not do to go along and just randomly pick them off here and there. If you want to be rid of them they must be ripped up by the roots.

 

The Cider House Rules is a good metaphor for the current state of our politics. It is an even better film. If you’ve not seen it I recommend that you do so. Hopefully once you have seen it that scene will come back to you again and again as you hear someone reading you rules that they don’t have to live by.

 

Comments

Doug Plumb Added Jul 17, 2017 - 2:13pm
Excellent movie.
Ian Thorpe Added Jul 17, 2017 - 2:30pm
Other than subscribing to your endorsement, it's hard to say add anything without revealing important parts of the plot. I think the way in which the abortion part of the story is handles demonstrates better than any argument I have heard or seen that the issue is too complex to be reduced to people yelling pro - choice or pro life slogans at each other.
Dave Volek Added Jul 17, 2017 - 7:32pm
I read the book and mostly took it as abortion issue. But there are indeed more than a few subplots woven into this story.  Maybe it's time for a reread.
 
I'm not so sure of your analogy to this so-called "Deep State" that has been floating around WB lately. While I agree that your average citizen feels disconnected with the rules, most rules have some degree of popular support behind them. 
 
Take major pipelines for example. Whether a future major pipeline gets approval or not, whatever decision that has been made is based on a significant degree of popular support. If we support a particular pipeline project--and it gets rejected, should we blame the deep state? Or if we oppose a particular pipeline project and it becomes accepted, should we blame the deep state?
 
If there is a conspiracy of a deep state, I would say it has been created to keep the citizenry disunified--so the deep state gets to do whatever it wants even though it gets all the blame.
 
If we want to rise above this so called deep state, then maybe the TDG where we should be going. The TDG is a very organic method of selecting people to govern us.
 
 
 
 
 
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 18, 2017 - 5:16am
Dave -
 
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. In a way you make a valid point with the example of the pipeline project, but your elaboration on this point in some ways bear out the point I wish to make.
 
In anything where a decision or an action is taken that will impact the public there will be differing opinions. The end result is that always one side or the other will be left to find that theirs is the ox to be gored. While I agree that a broad set of rules which are generally agreed upon ( there is little that will be universal ) are a good thing to be encoded to a social construct, there needs to be space allowed for the formation of spontaneous order. When there are too many laws the likelihood of greater and greater numbers of people left disadvantaged by those laws are naturally increased. A state that becomes entagled with law finds itself at need for further instruments to enforce those laws. Too many laws = Too many cops, if you will.
 
Too assign it with a title like "the deep state" gives a nefarious connotation, I'll agree. It is a label that shades the idea as being something of the more conspiratorial nature. Still, even some of the most bizarre conspiracy theories may have at least a hint of truth to serve as the seed for their birth.
 
There is a very overused term that is often misapplied: the establishment. It has become a catch all of sorts. Often people make the error of identifying the institutions as being the "establishment". It is not the institutions themselves which are the establishment, rather it is an establishment that occupies the institutions. The establishment are a class of parasitic organisms that inhabit these institutions as their host and through these wield their power and influence. They are just like the weed analogy I've used.
 
When people of poor character populate an institution they will abuse the institution to further their own selfish aims. This is why Jefferson's admonition of " that which governs least governs best" is so true.
Dave Volek Added Jul 18, 2017 - 8:04am
The Burghal Hidage
 
I have to agree with much of what you have said. I'll just have to try to elaborate.
 
My vision of the future is fewer laws, but decisions will be made by well respected citizens who apply sound principles and common sense. But right now, western democracy really can't find (or train), recognize these people, and give them a forum to conduct their work. And I can't western democracy ever evolving in this direction, so until then, we need lots of laws that define how we are to behave.
 
I guess I would be one of these establishment people as I work for the government and believe my services are of value to the public. So does that make my colleagues and I parasitic in nature? If one is bent on a certain right-wing ideology, there should be no question that we should be fired and find our living in the private sector. But the services we provide to society would be lost. Again, some public oversight is necessary to determine whether a particular section of government is of value or not. I guess that is what politicians are for to figure this out. But I don't see them putting much effort in determining value. Again, western democracy is flawed in getting the right balance. And I should say that even businesses have their parasitic employees who somehow overinflate their value to the organization. We should not be surprised that governments sometimes get this way too. 
 
Jefferson lived in simpler times. People did not have as much potential to interfere with each other as they do now. We are more crowded together; our relationships are more complex. I think it's folly to say "Let's reduce the number of laws," and somehow expect there will be no ramifications. 
 
I would like to bring up the example of laws in regards to food safety. We can say that this industry is over-regulated, but I also like to know that this industry is forced to comply with these laws so that I don't have to worry about being poisoned if I buy something at a grocery store or take meal in a restaurant. If we relax the laws, there are going to be a lot more nefarious operators out there, eager for a quick buck rather than the welfare of their citizens.
 
 
 
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 18, 2017 - 9:02am
Dave -
 
Don't disagree with you in principle. Laws, or in the case of food safety regulations, that are designed to set a standard to assure safety are good things. These would fall within that category I describe as rules which are generally agreed upon.
 
I dont suggest that all in government are parasites. The establishment inhabit more than government. They are in media, academia and government, as well as other institutions. These are people who advance an agenda under the guise of and legitimacy bestowed upon the institution in question.
 
Prime examples in academia:
 
Those who act to stifle debate, promote political correctness, those who invent and spread such nonsense as safe spaces, racial privilege, microaggressions and "the rape culture"
 
These are all lies and manipulations cloaked within the prestige of the institution.
 
In media:
 
Those who deliberately and repeatedly feed lies and call them the truth, promote false narratives, conveniently omit demonstrable truths when these are in conflict with a narrative they wish to promote
 
In government (elected and more often un- elected):
 
There are instances too numerous to list here, but a prime example is this.
 
Smoking is bad for your health. We all know this. Here are some examples of how government commits abuses and dishonest policy under the guise of guarding against harm from tobacco products.
 
1) allow the product to remain legal while still profiting handsomely from the sale of the product through sin taxes
 
2) create public service messages where young people are told " every time you light up you are filling the deep pockets of big tobacco". What is conveniently omitted from this message is that in spite of the fact that government does nothing to make, manufacture, package, advertise or distribute the product, out of a national average purchase price 7$ per pack "big tobacco" realizes less than one dollar of that sale. Distributors and retailers realize an even more miniscule percentage. 80% of every dollar spent on the product goes to local, state and federal treasuries.
 
3) allow the legal purchase of the product while continually expanding the reach of areas where the consumption of the product is criminalized. In some jurisdictions attempts have been made (and sometimes succeeded) to expand this prohibition to private spaces such as hotel rooms, apartments and one's own personal vehicle.
 
4) assume under regulatory authority the control over non tobacco products that simulate smoking (e-cigs or vaping products). These are products which have helped many to successfully kick their tobacco habit. Since their stated motive is to protect public health one would think that they might endorse and encourage the use of these products. Why regulate them, even though they contain 0% tobacco? Well, a failing tobacco industry seeks to regain some of their sales by developing e-cig products of their own. The regulation eliminates the growing number of private vape makers to protect not the public health, but to protect tobacco companies from any competition
 
5) last but not least...
 
     Despite all of the aforementioned measures ostensibly designed to protect public health state and federal governments still pay subsidies to tobacco farming
Ari Silverstein Added Jul 18, 2017 - 2:57pm
As it relates to abortion, do you believe a woman should be allowed to have a very later term abortion like the type of abortions Dr. Kermit Gosnell was performing?  If you recall he went to jail because in some cases he was severing spines and crushing skulls to make sure the “fetus/baby” was dead.  Hopefully, you answer “no, I don’t believe extremely late term abortions should be legal.”  However, if that is how you answered that question, it would also mean your larger point about abortion and others determining what you can and can’t do to be invalid. 
Katharine Otto Added Jul 18, 2017 - 2:59pm
Burghal,
Haven't seen the film, but Cider House Rules was my favorite John Irving book.  I remember the abortion part better than the rest.
 
I see a difference between rules (or laws) and guidelines.  The law requiring people to drive on the right side of the road could just be a guideline, instead, because it makes practical sense.  In Georgia, the seat-belt law was supposed to be enforced only if people were stopped for something else.  No more. It's now a profitable law for the police.
 
Dave V,
You make interesting points, and thanks for admitting you work for the government.  The pipeline analogy hits home, because in Georgia, Kinder Morgan is seeking the right to use eminent domain to run its Palmetto Pipeline through 210 miles of Georgia coast, to send oil, gas, and natural gas to coastline ports for export.  While the state refused at first to grant this precedent-setting right (to a publicly held corporation), Southern Company (a virtual monopoly utility in Georgia) has partnered with Kinder-Morgan by giving $1.5 billion in cash.  How long will elected officials hold out against the double-whammy of megalomanaical corporations?  Whether you are for or against pipelines doesn't matter when the powers that be claim the right to steal your land, more or less, through eminent domain.  
 
What good are laws if they only protect the government and corporations from the individuals?  I believe this is the take-home message from Cider House Rules.
 
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 18, 2017 - 4:08pm
Ari -
 
I think that is less a question of whether or not the woman should be allowed than it is a question of should the doctor perform the procedure.
 
Whether I happen to approve of the act or not is irrelevant to any judgement that either participant should face. I believe that a woman should be able to exercise the option of having an abortion. I also believe that a physician should not be compelled to perform the procedure if it burdens his or her conscience.
 
I did state that my personal sentiment is against the procedure, but as a mere mortal I am not in the position to render judgement upon those who choose it. I dont think that it is wise to use heroin either, but knowing that there are those who will do it anyway I much prefer that an option is made available for them to do so in a place and manner that can help to prevent a fatality.
 
Knowing that whether there is a law forbidding these things or not people will still do it I just believe that it is better for it to occur under the supervision of a qualified medical professional than some hack in an unsanitary back alley bathtub.
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 18, 2017 - 4:17pm
The better option of course is adoption, as there are plenty of people who would like to have and raise a child, but for whatever reason might not be able.
 
Instead of this being a question of legal/illegal I should think it better to be a question of the ethical conduct of the physician. If a woman comes seeking a late term abortion the physician, I believe, has an obligation to decline and counsel the woman " Honey if you have waited until this late to decide you are making the wrong choice. I'm sorry, but I wont do it. Lets discuss other options"
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 18, 2017 - 4:19pm
Kat - 
 
You get it! Exactly!
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 18, 2017 - 4:34pm
As it pertains to smoking again....
 
The senseless tragedy of that fellow in New York a few years ago. What was his name? Eric something, I want to say.
 
They wanted to crucify those cops for their take down procedure that left the poor man dead! First of all I would surely wish for a person entrusted with the authority of a gun and a badge to represent the state to have the good sense to step back and say " wait a minute! This is wrong. We know the guy, we know where he lives. We could just as easily avoid the confrontation , come to his house later and issue a citation for the violation." But no. They had to make the show of force!
 
The guy's "crime" was selling "loosies". Why was he selling loosies? Because low income people, who to the best of my knowledge are also legally permitted to consume cigarettes, are forced to buy them this way because of the obscene taxes levied on the product by the city and state of New York that have raised the price to 10$ per pack or more!
 
You want to know the real crime he committed? He was depriving the public treasury of their precious cut of the action! If you want to punish anyone for what happened start with the state legislators who approved those taxes.
Shane Laing Added Jul 18, 2017 - 4:46pm
Smoking in the UK cost the NHS £2 billion for care last year. Government made £12 billion in taxes from smokers.  No government wants people to stop smoking completely as they would loose so much tax revenue. If they lost it they would put taxes up for everyone to get the money back.  Tobacco is a big industry. To protect their interests they have lobbied governments to ban vaping/e-cigs i.e. in Brazil. 
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 18, 2017 - 5:41pm
Shane -
 
It is indeed further proof of my argument. One is left to wonder where the other 10 million£ has gone to, doesnt it?
Shane Laing Added Jul 18, 2017 - 5:45pm
Probably overseas aid, giving £3 million to the Kenyan or Nigerian equivalent of the Spice Girls, instead of building more prisons, recruiting more police of maybe giving nurses a pay rise.
Patrick Writes Added Jul 18, 2017 - 8:32pm
I love how every analogy, every burning question with regard to abortion in popular media and politics is always 'rape and incest' when those are less than 5% of all abortions. That's of course how the film ended as well, with an case involving both rape AND incest. 
 
How about we talk about the 95% of abortions that have nothing to do with rape and incest? 
 
How about they make a sequel where they convince us of the righteousness of the housewife who has 2 kids and doesn't want a 3rd so secretly aborts the baby, because it would be inconvenient? That would be a real tear-jerker I'm sure. Because that's probably 20 times more likely than is an abortion for rape or incest. 
 
It's like arguing that we need to tear down all bridges because a handful of people commit suicide on them. 
Dave Volek Added Jul 18, 2017 - 8:33pm
Katherine: It seems you are on the side of "NO" to major pipeline construction. If the pipeline proceeds, your version of the "deep state" to which the citizenry has no choice is obviously right-wing. If the pipeline is cast aside, then other citizens will claim the "deep state" is left-wing in ideology. So the deep state can still claim victory even while taking all the blame.
 
Fifty years ago, the citizenry had few legal tools when big business and big government teamed up to build these controversial projects. Today is a much different story. Putting a pipeline in the ground today is much more difficult than the 1960s. Both sides can expect to win some battles and lose some battles. Hopefully there is enough wisdom in government to pass the better projects to pass--and fail the worse projects.
Dave Volek Added Jul 18, 2017 - 8:38pm
Katherine and TBG: Sorry for taking this topic away from the Cider House Rules. It's been about 15 years since I read the book, and I'm having a little trouble seeing the connection of the "rules" to the real world, especially when the ending is about the low-level person who despises the rules ends up making his own rules, which aren't very good. Definitely a re-read is necessary.
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 18, 2017 - 10:38pm
Patrick -
 
Thanks for giving away the story for any who may not have seen it.
 
I was not trying to offer an artistic critique of the film but thanks for sharing yours. On that point I would just say this: it is John Irving. If you are familiar with his other works then none of it should come as any surprise. If you go to see a film of any of the Marvel Comic franchise you should know what to expect going in. Same with John Irving.
 
I did not see this as a film in favor of or opposed to abortion either one. It is just a topic that Irving chose to treat in the story. Just like he chose to treat the topics of infidelity and transsexualism in the World According to Garp, or incest in Hotel New Hampshire. In all cases these were not what the stories were about exclusively; they were only parts of the overall narrative.
 
As for the statistics for the motives behind abortion? Who can say for certain? Do they conduct exit polls outside the clinics? The reasons/motives behind any are of little consequence one way or the other when the end result is the same. They are no business of mine. You may very well be correct in your assertion, but just the same, what makes it your concern? You are free to object and to voice those objections, but you are not free to make judgements for any choice that you would not have to make for yourself.
 
Because it is included in the tale and it is a topic with some controversy I chose to include my own opinions and thats all they are: opinions. The main theme of the story as given in the title remains The Cider House Rules, as posted in the bunkhouse: rules made for others that the rulemakers do not have to abide by themselves. In that one very brief moment of the story Irving illustrates the hypocrisy and the fact that it doesnt require a PHD to know that is bull shit.
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 18, 2017 - 10:43pm
Dave - what can I say? It is an artistic work. Its fiction, therefore it is subjective. To me it is illustrative of "do as I say, not as I do". I can use that interpretation to help illustrate a point. Not everyone sees it the same.
Katharine Otto Added Jul 18, 2017 - 11:52pm
Dave,
You completely missed my point.  It's not about pipelines, but about eminent domain, which the governments, including state and local, use willy nilly to justify land grabs by corporations or in support of their needy contractor friends.  I'm also thinking of the Kelo decision, in which New London, Connecticut eminent domained an entire neighborhood to build a convention center next to Pfizer's global research facility, but oops Susie.  Pfizer backed out and the formerly established neighborhood is now bare land. After the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Pfizer contingent, local governments across the country went wild eminent domaining for such flimsy excuses as "blighted neighborhoods,"  then employing their contractor friends to build government-planned developments.
 
This is not a right vs. left issue. Nor is it a "deep state" issue.  It's a gang bang issue, with the GoverCorp bullies and cons preying on the taxpayers who pay their way.
Katharine Otto Added Jul 18, 2017 - 11:55pm
Burghal,
Thanks for the thumbs up.  I agree with you that it's senseless to have unenforceable laws, or laws which are inequitably enforced.  
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 19, 2017 - 12:10am
" The United States is a country of laws poorly written and randomly enforced"
 
Frank Zappa
 
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 19, 2017 - 12:26am
Kat -
Here are links to two excerpts of the novel posted on the WordPress site. The first is a sort of intro providing the back story for one of the main characters. The second is the intro piece for the third and final phase of the novel. If you have the time check them out and let me know what you think
 
https://theburghalhidage.wordpress.com/the-novel-page/
 
https://theburghalhidage.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/march-2019/
Patrick Writes Added Jul 19, 2017 - 12:35am
I'll remove my first comment then. It's not my intent to ruin the movie for any who haven't seen it. I did find it preposterous though. 

I think it's perfectly fine to debate abortion statistics personally because every single time the topic is mentioned, it goes straight to 'rape and incest' when that is less than 5% of abortions. 
 
This is an old NY Times article that says those make up 1% of all abortions : http://www.nytimes.com/1989/10/13/us/rape-and-incest-just-1-of-all-abortions.html
 
Todd Akin was a Missouri Congressman for 12 years until 2013. He was running for the Senate and was favored to win. He was outspokenly against abortion and the press hounded him on this during this 2012 election, asking about 'rape and incest', 'what about rape and incest'. He made some stupid comments about rape victims (referring to it as a 'legitimate rape' then rarely leads to pregnancy anyway).
 
Richard Mourdock ran for the Senate in Indiana in 2012 and was against abortion. In the debate 2 weeks before the election was asked "what about rape and incest", said for him it's still wrong and he's against abortion even for those cases, and it completely sunk him and he lost. 
 
It's a common technique for anyone who says they are against abortion 'what about rape and incest'. And if they favor exceptions for rape and incest, then attack them until spot inconsistencies in the logic applied and walk away with 'see they are all hypocrites and idiots'. 
 
So forgive me if a "pro-abortion" movie that uses as it's final conclusion to prove to the protagonist and audience that abortion is good a case of rape AND incest. 
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 19, 2017 - 3:34am
Uhhh....youre forgiven. I guess. For not liking the movie?
Ari Silverstein Added Jul 19, 2017 - 8:15am
We’re not talking about personal sentiment here, we’re talking about what laws should exist in a society that holds freedom in very high regard.  So no offense but I find that response to my question to be very weasel-ly. So allow me to re-phrase so that there is no weasel room, should it be illegal for doctors to perform extremely late term abortions?  In other words, should there be a law that expressly forbids an abortion whereby the aborted “baby/fetus” needs to have its spine severed or head crushed to make sure it is dead?  As you ponder that question, also note, extremely late term abortions are very dangerous to the woman having one.  In addition, a law against such a practice would dramatically deter the likelihood of a woman having a late term abortion, and would encourage more early term abortion. 
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 19, 2017 - 8:48am
....which you obviously dont approve of either. I know what you are trying to do Ari, but I'm not taking the bait. We just disagree. Thats OK
Katharine Otto Added Jul 19, 2017 - 11:16am
Burghal,
I plan to read your novel excerpts ASAP but get distracted by all this great repartee on WB.  
 
Ari,
I'm not sure there needs to be a law specifically against late term abortion.  I would contend that ethical doctors would refuse to perform them.  The unethical ones will eventually sabotage themselves.
 
Patrick,
I didn't know that rape and incest stats were so low. Thanks for the info.  
 
Since I oppose Congress and the Supreme Court practicing medicine, especially since both are dominated by men, my stance on abortion is more allowing.  While I wouldn't have one or perform one myself, I have a hands-off approach to others who decide to abort a fetus.  I figure being saddled with an unwanted pregnancy is punishment enough for a woman, and no matter what she decides, the memory will haunt her for life.
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 19, 2017 - 12:51pm
Indeed Katherine, and you are doubly qualified to say so, as both a Doctor and a woman
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 19, 2017 - 1:03pm
I do not subscribe to the whole "rape culture" premise, but here is where I think the woman has the right to decide this for herself. If a man forcibly plants his seed in the womb ( and by the way Ari there are ways that this is done other than rape or incest) the women should have the ability to remove the undesired fruit, so to speak. Before we were civilized (this too is debatable) a female might become impregnated with what she perceived, or instincts told her, were undesirable traits she would by the consumption of certain plants or other organic material induce a miscarriage. These things were known then and have been documented in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and China. In some parts of the world I would be willing to bet that some of these may yet be used to the same purpose today.
 
It is insulting to women, at least in my opinion, to say that a man may unilaterally decide that a woman is to bear his child and the woman not also have the unilateral right to say "uh-uh, fella. I don't think so"
 
In spite of what some might have us believe, a woman is an equal but different human being, more than just a reproductive vessel.
The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 19, 2017 - 1:07pm
And Kat your point about the physician determining ethical practice is exactly what I was saying. There may be some equivalent in medicine, but the closest analogy that comes to mind is from the land of the stock market: Bulls make money, Bears make money; Pigs always get slaughtered