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Life versus Choice?

Pro-Life 100%
5 (21%)
Pro-Life ... unless its a health risk to mother
1
Pro-Life ... unless its a health risk to child
0
Pro-Life ... unless its sexual crime
2
Pro-Choice ... via contraceptives
4 (17%)
Pro-Choice ... up to 1st trimester
3 (13%)
Pro-Choice ... up to 2nd trimester
1
Pro-Choice 100%
7 (30%)
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Tough Call by GreatWhiteDork

I think the process is disgusting, and my wife and I are personally Pro-Life 100% in our own practices. That’s where we diverge.

My wife, a devout baptist, is completely Pro-Life. No arguments. End of story.

As far as me: I can’t tell others what to do. I would be completely pro-choice with a couple of caveats:

  • Late Term – At some point between conception and birth, the fetus is completely capable of living outside the mother. In my mind at that point, if the woman decides the baby is unwanted, it should be taken from the mother and put in the NICU and put up for adoption. This is just my opinion. YMMV.
  • Partial Birth – Not at all! The argument that a fetus is not life just broke down. As soon as part of the baby clears the birth canal, the fetus is born. Now it’s a baby. Furthermore, it’s a U.S. citizen, having been born in the U.S. It therefore cannot be killed without it being a murder. Hell, if you are going to do this, why not wait until the fetus is, say, two years old? See what the kid’s like as a toddler and “abort” it if it’s a little crap-weazel. Eat those peas, Timmy! Mommy’s got the doctor’s number again!
  • Under no circumstances should it be a federal law either for or against. It is not within the federal government’s power to make such a law. The states retain that right IAW the 9th and 10th Amendments. Even when the states pass STUPID laws that make life start before intercourse, it’s their right to let the idiots in the state vote on it. If you don’t like your state, you can move and still live in the U.S.

Again, just my two cents.

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RE: Tough Call by scottb

Under no circumstances should it be a federal law either for or against. It is not within the federal government’s power to make such a law.

I disagree. Any law regulating abortion is ultimately regulating the ability of people to contract for abortion services, and it’s arguably within the scope of the federal government’s powers to regulate — the commerce clause says so. The federal government clearly can write a law saying that it’s not permissible for a state to prohibit doctors from offering and performing abortion services.

I think the idea that the individual states are somehow “ultimately” sovereign, as they were prior to the ratification of the Constitution, and were even in the early days of the republic is ridiculous and outdated. I think it’s an attempt to get a free ride on the efforts of others.

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RE: Tough Call by Occams

Implied contracts are everywhere, so by that argument the Feds could legislate on just about anything, and that was not the deal. It it were then many states would not have ratified the Constitution. It was very difficult to get their agreement to the limited jurisdiction proposed at the Convention.

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RE: Tough Call by scottb

And, yet, the interpretation of the Constitution since then has very rarely found a situation that the commerce clause doesn’t permit the federal government to act.

Moreover, this has been a good thing. Had we not allowed the central government to become as strong as it is, we’d never have survived over 200 years.

Personally, I see very little value instate-level differences in the law. Back when it took several days to travel between states, and communication was limited to the transport of physical media, there might have been more case for it — today it’s mostly an excuse for parochialism.

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RE: Tough Call by Occams

I agree with all that, but them I am pessimistic about the federal system. I think one nation works better with one government. We need a better one that we usually get, but there would be more hope of achieving that if we did not also have to put togerther 50 state governments.

The local allegiances of our politicians leads to pandering and corruption.

In matters of law, particularly human rights, there can be no valid reason for Americans living in different parts of the country to be treated differently. Where that differentiation exists now seems to be mostly because of the historically non homogenious spread of puritanism and conservatism. Having one central government would integrate moral beliefs as expressed in Congress.

All this was very clear during the Constitutional Convention, but the former thirteen colonies were so entrenched by then that no other solution was possible.

integrate moral beliefs as expressed in Congress

UGH! SHUDDER! LOL!

Anyone looking to Washington D.C as a moral compass is in serious trouble.

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RE: Tough Call by Occams

Anyone looking to Washington D.C as a moral compass is in serious trouble.

Indeed, but do Americans want their government to set their moral compass. I certainly don’t. Morality is a deeply personal thing and must not be inflicted on others: I believe this, therefore you must do that. The government should reflect the diverse moral compasses of the people. This means a compromise in which there will probably be a wide deviation from the true north of many of the people. It is best if that compromise is done across the entire country. I think that is what we have in Washington: or we would have if there were no state governments.

In the states we are much more likely to see wide regional compass deviations: for example: Mormon influence in Utah; evangelists in Georgia: Mexican haters in Arizona; etc.

Of course, this is ignoring the straight corruption of many of our representatives. That is mostly a criminal matter which should be treated accordingly as a different issue. We are far too tolerant of the criminal behaviour of our politicians and public servants.

When I studied public policy at college we were taught that the more democratic a country is, the harder it is to govern. A truly free nation is ungovernable. Countries with only one government and a strong leader are more robust because they are able to react more quickly to national and international emergencies. This was seen quite dramatically in the way Margaret Thatcher was able to get the UK moving quickly in reaction to the invasion of the Falkland Islands.

For the same reason, New Zealand is adamant that it does not want to become a state of Australia.

Perfectly stated. I can and will add nothing. (other than this statement itself).

>the commerce clause says so
No, the Commerce Clause says “To regulate Commerce with forign nations, and among the several states, and with the indian tribes.”

So unless you live in one state, and the doctor you are asking to perform the abortion in another, the commerce clause would not apply.

I have seen the commerce clause, in conjunction with the “necessary and proper” clause at the end of section 8 to justify more federal power grabs than any other clause. (with the “promote the General Wellfare” found in the pre-amble a close second )

And “regulate” in this clause is meant to be “to make regular”, as in equal, fair, etc. It is to keep, say, Indiana from imposing a tarriff on goods from Ohio. Or to prevent Maryland from banning goods made in Pennsylvania. It is not “REGULATE” as we use it by unfortunate precedent today to mean “Completely control”.

>individual states are somehow “ultimately” sovereign
You are correct: they are not ultimately soverign. They must operate within the general framework of the greater republic, and certain rights are NOT granted to the states. These rights denied to the individual states are clearly enumerated in the consitution. They may not mint coin, raise armies, or conduct separate foreign policy, for example. But in issues where the Constitution does not enumerate powers to the federal government, (See Article 9 and 10 of BoR) the states decide how they each want to handle those items.

>I think it’s an attempt to get a free ride on the efforts of others.
I don’t understand how. Please explain further.

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RE: Tough Call by scottb

Blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard all that libertarian crap before. I even used to believe some of it.

When you say, “I have seen the commerce clause, in conjunction with the ‘necessary and proper’ clause at the end of section 8 to justify more federal power grabs than any other clause”, you’re really saying, “I think those clauses should be more narrowly interpreted, but the Supreme Court doesn’t agree with me.”

This stuff has been in front of the Supremes, and they almost never take that narrow reading. And it’s been damn good for the country.

>> I think it’s an attempt to get a free ride on the efforts of others.
> I don’t understand how. Please explain further.

I think it’s an attempt to avoid change. To wallow in backward, self-destructive atavism.

It’s a Blotto game — the smaller side wants to force the larger side to fight on more and more battlefields until the larger side’s resources are so spread out that the smaller side can overwhelm them in a few places to claim victory.

Liberal abortion laws make the US a better place — the maternal death rate drops, there are fewer unwanted children, it may even reduce crime rates. Making it a state-level issue will ensure that there are enclaves where one can pretend some sort of moral superiority, while also ensuring that abortion will be available for those “deserving” (which, from a conservative perspective, seems to mean those with money).

Blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard all that libertarian crap before.

I concede your point.

When you say, “I have seen the commerce clause, in conjunction with the ‘necessary and proper’ clause at the end of section 8 to justify more federal power grabs than any other clause”, you’re really saying, “I think those clauses should be more narrowly interpreted, but the Supreme Court doesn’t agree with me.”

No, what I’m really saying is “I have seen the commerce clause, in conjunction with the ‘necessary and proper’ clause at the end of section 8 to justify more federal power grabs than any other clause”, but I agree with your version, too.

I think it’s an attempt to avoid change. To wallow in backward, self-destructive atavism.

Actually, there’s a lot of change that needs to be made, much of it regulatory. I just don’t think that this topic is one the Federal Government needs to be involved in. Precicely to avoid the blotto game you speak of. I’d rather they solved the more pressing issues of the day before bothering with abortion. How about economic reform? Breaking the stranglehold multi-national corporations have on congress? Slashing Monsanto’s grip on the world’s food supply? Water rights? Waste reduction such as is discussed in The Story of Stuff? I see the federal involvement in abortion (or gay marriage) as Bike Shedding

Liberal abortion laws make the US a better place — the maternal death rate drops, there are fewer unwanted children, it may even reduce crime rates.

What are your views on Eugenics? That could also have this effect, much for the same reason as abotion. Eugenics is arguably nothing more than ultra-late term abortions.

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RE: Tough Call by Occams

Eugenics is arguably nothing more than ultra-late term abortions.

Retrospective abortion might be a tempting option in the case of certain politicians, but it is unlikely to be a sustainable solution in the general case.

Eugenics was misguided academic research that appealed to racists and was given far too much oxygen in the facist regimes of the 1930s. Certainly it did appeal to those who believed that the breeding of people was most important, including certain members of the UK Royal Family. I think it was more about classifying people than murdering them, although it was used for that pourpose by the Nazis.
We are straying into Godwin’s Law territory here.

Mercifully, Eugenics has not been connected to the abortion debate in the USA. Let’s try to keep it that way.

Yeah, as I was driving home yesterday I was realizing that the analogy didn’t hold water. I’m not sure how it made sense at the time.

But by then it was too late and I was waiting to catch hell for it.

I had the same thought about Godwin’s law.

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RE: Tough Call by scottb

Precicely to avoid the blotto game you speak of.

Addressing it at the federal level is exactly how you avoid the issues of the Blotto game. There’s exactly one “battlefield” and the results are applied uniformly — no opportunity to split the troops.

The fact is that the overwhelming majority of Americans are in favor of abortions being available, at least early on. The statistics are something like 2:1 in favor. But there’s enough local variation — especially in rural areas — that by forcing regional votes, you can get a number of places where it’s voted down.

I’d rather they solved the more pressing issues of the day before bothering with abortion.

I agree, but you’re making the wrong complaint — the pattern of abortion under the current abortion laws are pretty close to what studies show people really want. Abortions overwhelmingly occur in the early stages of pregnancy, and late stage abortions are usually medically necessary. So the current laws are just fine — the problem is that we’ve got a bunch of hyper-conservative religious nuts out there who insist that we need to change the laws to suit their superstitions.

So, yes — we’ve got better things to to. But it’s not the Federal government that’s trying to focus attention on abortion.

Gay marriage is a different story — I disagree that it’s a triviality. It’s no more trivial than women’s suffrage, or ending laws against interracial marriage. There are considerably more gays in the US than, say, Jews, and most people would consider it an outrage if Jews weren’t allowed to marry.

I think it goes to the heart of the American notions of freedom and equality. We’ve got a class of people for whom even some very basic notions of equality don’t apply — this is a great wrong, and it’s important to address it. I have little doubt that in a couple of decades, we’ll be looking back on today with the same kind of embarrassment that we feel today when we look at this.

What are your views on Eugenics?

I think it’s completely irrelevant. Eugenics is generally not “ultra-late term abortion” — it’s really about breeding. Choosing the “right” breeding pairs to improve offspring. It’s also usually a bad idea — it gets in the way of so many other basic freedoms. On the other hand, it is, technically speaking, a form of eugenics that we already practice in requiring couples to have blood tests before marriage to warn about certain complications. It’s technically eugenics at work when parents discourage their children from marrying outside their race or religion. Some forms of breeding control between humans are seen as perfectly ordinary. It’s a centralized form of eugenics enforced by law that’s abhorrent, not eugenics per se.

The thing to note in the supposed connection between abortion and crime rates is that nobody is forcing these women to abort. They know they’re in no position to do a proper job raising a child, and they take a very reasonable and sensible step on their own. It’s nothing to do with any notions of eugenics.

Certainly I’d advocate making it easier for them to avoid pregnancy in the first place, too — education, easy availability of contraception, and so on.

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RE: Tough Call by Occams

While I agree with you Scott, I think you are ignoring the main problem for the pro lifers. If they really believe that abortion is murder, then they have to support it being made unlawful.

Self interest a motive for many, but arguments about why it is desirable or necessary just will never get there. Murder can be desirable, convenient, and life-enhancing for others in some cases too.

You must prove that it is not murder. To do that you have to show that the object being removed is not a human life which inevitably is endowed with an immortal soul? Science cannot prove a negative.

The problem is that many religions are pro life and people cannot be argued out of irrational beliefs through reason. Even a total understanding of the biology will not come close to addressing the religious belief that the object is a human, and consequently the act is murder.

That is why we have reached an eternal impasse, and this subject has degraded to an election stunt.

Truth be told, if you look at my initial posting, I am neither religious or pro-life. As an athiest, I can’t exactly claim the religious stance on the issue.

I just don’t want the federal government involved in something that everyone should be able to choose for themselves for whatever reason they have (illogical religious or otherwise). Even if your choice means that you have to move to a state that aligns with your beliefs. At least the whole country isn’t beholden to the ideas of a few.

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RE: Tough Call by scottb

I don’t understand that logic.

There are no circumstances under which abortion is mandatory. The law already says that “everyone should be able to choose for themselves for whatever reason they have”, and doesn’t require anybody to move to a different state.

Why is it bad for the whole country to be “beholden to the ideas of a few”, but it’s somehow OK for a whole state to be so?

It seems to me that legal abortion is the only legitimate stance, here. Anybody who believes it’s wrong should simply not have one. Like premarital sex — if you believe it’s wrong, don’t do it. Nobody’s “beholden” to the ideas of anybody else.

Even more — it seems to me that it the government should go out of its way to make sure that they really are available. Currently, there are a lot of places where you’d have to drive many hours to find a doctor who’s willing to perform an abortion — not necessarily because of conscience… many are simply afraid, and that shouldn’t be.

I don’t understand that logic.

Then I’m not expressing it clearly. Sorry, let me take another stab.

Why is it bad for the whole country to be “beholden to the ideas of a few”, but it’s somehow OK for a whole state to be so?

It’s only ok in that the state government is more closely tied with the state in which it resides. For example, when I lived in MN, I could drive down to the state capitol (with appointment, of course) and talk to my state government. I could e-mail and call their staffers and actually get a semi-human response. I was more closely tied with voting these people in and out of power. Because of this, I was more likely to accept their lawful decision, even if I didn’t always agree. Furthermore, if their laws were unacceptable, and I was out of the majority enough to not be able to remove them from power, then I could still move to, say, Wisconsin to live with like minded people.

If the decisions are all made at the federal level, there is little influence I can have and no way to escape the judgement of the few.

It seems to me that legal abortion is the only legitimate stance, here. Anybody who believes it’s wrong should simply not have one. Like premarital sex — if you believe it’s wrong, don’t do it. Nobody’s “beholden” to the ideas of anybody else.

I fully agree, with a single caveat: Partial Birth. Clearing the birth canal = being born = becoming a U.S Citizen. That’s murder of a U.S. Citizen, and no longer an abortion.

For the most part, I agree with your stance on abortion, I really do. It sounds like our main issue is Federal Power, which is a separate issue.

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RE: Tough Call by scottb

If the decisions are all made at the federal level, there is little influence I can have and no way to escape the judgement of the few.

But it’s not “the judgement of the few” — to get it passed at the federal level requires a majority of representatives in both houses of Congress. In effect, it requires a majority.

The very reason conservatives want to treat it as a state’s rights issue is to turn it into a Blotto game, which allows minority views to hold sway in areas it couldn’t, otherwise.

I think the notion of relatively power state level governments was a good idea two centuries ago when it took several days to go from state to state, and communication rates were limited by the Pony Express. In today’s world, there’s no reason we should have significantly different laws from state to state.

I fully agree, with a single caveat: Partial Birth. Clearing the birth canal = being born = becoming a U.S Citizen. That’s murder of a U.S. Citizen, and no longer an abortion.

I think you’ve been listening to too much propaganda. Even before the Federal ban on “partial birth abortions” in 2003, very few of them were done — fewer than 1% of abortions. And the overwhelming majority of them were done for medical reasons — maternal health, or because the fetus was severely malformed and likely to die anyway.

I don’t object to the supposed principle behind the ban — I think that twenty weeks is plenty of time to decide whether to abort or not. On the other than, I think it’s a terrible mistake that the law doesn’t include an exception for maternal health.

By the way — did you know that “partial-birth abortion” is not a medical term? It was invented by anti-choice lawyers to stir up the media. The clinical term is “Intact Dilation and Extraction” (IDX). The basic procedure is to dilate the cervix, partially deliver the fetus (usually in breech position) to give the physician access to the head to let him suck out the brain so the head (the largest part of the fetus) can be delivered more easily.

The description sounds pretty horrible, but did you realize that, clinically, IDX came to replace an earlier procedure in which the fetus was dismembered while still in the womb and extracted in pieces? Physicians found that an intact fetus helped some parents grieve better. And, of course, the wording of the ban on “partial-birth abortion” doesn’t prohibit the older procedure.

In my opinion, the prohibition of “partial-birth abortions” is stupid. It doesn’t actually prevent what it’s trying to prevent (late term abortion — which is already separately prohibited in many states, anyway), and it fails to provide for cases of medical necessity.

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RE: Tough Call by scottb

While I agree with you Scott, I think you are ignoring the main problem for the pro lifers. If they really believe that abortion is murder, then they have to support it being made unlawful.

Yes, and no. They live in a country in which religious freedom is a central value. In particular, that means we’re free not to believe what they believe, just as they’re free to believe what they do.

They need to learn to live in that sort of society. We’ve decided this question — the morality of abortion must be left to the conscience of the individual. Slightly more than half of Americans believe abortion is immoral — even though over two thirds believe that abortion should be legal. That’s not inconsistent: if you think abortion is immoral, don’t have one.

It’s no different from Muslims who believe that drawing pictures of Mohammed is a grievous sin. Too fucking bad — you have to learn to live with your neighbors who don’t hold those same convictions.

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RE: Tough Call by Occams

Agree with all that, but I don’t expect anyone who believes that abortion is murder would change their mind on that basis. That is their conscience vote, and if there are enough who feel like that then it will be, and should be, the law. If it is not the law, they can be, and should be, ignored. What they say in a poll is irrelevant, unless it is an election.

Muslims do not have a right to not be offended by images of their prophet. If they break the law in protest at such an offense, then they should be charged and prosecuted in the normal way. On second thoughts, the justice system should pursue angry Muslim mobs more vigorously than other similar offenders to send a strong message that religious beliefs are not sacred under the law, and provide no exemptions.

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RE: Tough Call by scottb

Agree with all that, but I don’t expect anyone who believes that abortion is murder would change their mind on that basis.

Nobody expects them to change their mind. I wouldn’t expect a Muslim to change his mind about drawings of Muhammed, either — but I damn well expect them to learn to live like civilized beings and keep their shit to themselves.

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RE: Tough Call by Occams

Fat chance. Religious fanatics always want to infect everyone else.

That’s how The USA was founded: by fundamentalist Christian Puritans who hated the liberal religious laws of Stuart England, where they were forced to respect and tolerate other faiths. They came here so that they could punish anyone who did not believe as they did. They were worse than today’s fanatical Islamic migrants in many ways. Islam is out of phase with Christendom by about four centuries.

At least it was that way in the New England settlements . Virginia was more about trading and markets – America’s other national religion which is also intolerant of dissenters.

Gay marriage is a different story — I disagree that it’s a triviality. It’s no more trivial than women’s suffrage, or ending laws against interracial marriage.

No, currently it is not a triviality, but it should be a triviality. Let me explain:

First off, I don’t care what other people do. Gays should be allowed to get a marriage certificate as it is currently defined.

But here’s my issue:
I don’t think the government should be involved in a marriage at all. Gay or straight.

The government can and should be involved in a civil union whereby two citizens can declare that they are joined for tax and inheritance purposes. This is what the current marriage certificate does, but should not be called a “marriage” at all.

Who should be allowed into a civil union? Anyone. period. There should be no questions about this. And no group of religious people can prevent any two gay or straight people from doing exactly what they wish in this respect.

The religion-based marriage ceremony has nothing to do with taxes or inheritance or anything like that. It’s a strictly religious ceremony where two people are joined in the eyes of their God (or the FSM).

Who can be in a marriage? Anyone who can convice a priest or pastor to perform the ceremony. If the pastor says “No, our congregation doesn’t support gay marriages.” Then the two guys or girls can go to a different church that will. Or they can switch religions. Or they can just go to the courthouse for a civil union. But nobody or no government edict should be able to force the pastor to perform a religous ceremony that runs against the tenets of the religion.

Before I get the comments: This is not a case of “separate but equal.”
There should be no comparison or equality between a stricly civil proceding whereby two citizens are joined, and the religious ceremony of marriage.

The problem is that the governement is so used to interfering that we can’t seem to get it out of the bed room.

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RE: Tough Call by scottb

But again, your complaints are misdirected. The government would, on the whole, be happy if it didn’t have to deal with the issue — and in general, it probably doesn’t really care which way it goes.

You’re complaining about “the government” doing things it shouldn’t, but the problem is that our society — independent of government — has created a culture in which far too much “respect” is granted to the superstitious whims of its majority religious group (Christianity). The government is forced, whether it wants to or not, to address issues like abortion and gay marriage because it’s demanded by vocal Christians.

It’s not the government “interfering”, it’s the religious right. That’s where your anger and indignation should be directed.

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RE: Tough Call by Occams

Agreed, access to the civil marriage should be open to all: although I would exclude those who are already married, or are in prison, or who want to marry their close relatives, or pets.

I think that many gays would still fight for the right not to be excluded from the religious ceremony by their church. I am with you on that. It is a club rules thing: take it or leave it. We should take away the right to religious leaders to register the civil union.

I think Germany already has this arrangement. There, the civil union is compulsory for all, regardless of any religious ceremony, and it is the only thing that counts in the law.

Addressing it at the federal level is exactly how you avoid the issues of the Blotto game.

We may be in violent agreement, with merely differing terms. Well, terms and fundamental beliefs in the role of the central government.

I think you were referring to the many state battlefields with each issue, right? I don’t really have a problem with that. If the overwhelming majority supports the issue (and I don’t disagree that they do), then the overwhelming majority of the states will support it. The will of the people gets served. If the states pass stupid laws, the people will leave and go live somewhere that doesn’t have stupid laws.

I was talking about one federal battlefield with many differing topics dividing our limited time while congress is in session. Congress spends time on things like H.R. 4040 and bringing up new ways to overturn Roe V. Wade instead of fixing more pressing issues. The more issues we remove from their consideration, the more likely they are to focus on something meaningful.

Besides, what if meatheads like This from Arizona get control over the congress? Removing the issue from the federal discourse can prevent such an idiocy from being enacted at the federal level.

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Contraceptives by Brandon

Using contraceptives makes me pro-choice, eh? I guess I can see that. Don’t know if my new compadres will be happy to have me, though. :)

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