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[flagged] Facebook removed a fact-check on anti-abortion video after Ted Cruz complained (businessinsider.nl)
121 points by dubmax123 33 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 131 comments

I'm seeing a couple of comments on here to the effect of, "what did you expect when you started asking companies to screen/moderate content?"

This is not a good example of screening being impossible to do, or being too subjective to nail down. Facebook moderated the video on largely neutral terms; not asserting that abortion was right or wrong, just that the claims the video made were scientifically false. It should be the type of fact-check that Republicans can get behind: objective and verifiable.

This specific story isn't that Facebook can't fact-check, it's that ultimately Facebook is willing to define neutrality based on what Lawmakers are complaining about at the moment. It is specifically Facebook's commitment to "neutrality" in this case that makes it easy for biased groups to manipulate the platform.

I'm pretty sympathetic to the idea that increased calls for global moderation may have unintended side effects, and on average I tend to disagree with people who conflate neutral tools with complicity. But this particular story is definitely evidence in the opposite direction -- that Facebook is not opinionated enough, and that a commitment to avoiding even the appearance of bias can lead companies to make ineffective, gutless moderation decisions.

I'm pro-life, and I agree with the fact check. I don't like Facebook being partisan, which is exactly what this looks like.

> This specific story isn't that Facebook can't fact-check, it's that ultimately Facebook is willing to define neutrality based on what Lawmakers are complaining about at the moment.

No, for me it's that what constitutes "neutrality" shifts with the powers that be, and in this case it shifted quickly; because abortion is an issue that facebook doesn't care about, it was willing to go with a scientific consensus, but when a politically powerful person insisted that the scientific consensus wasn't "neutral" it abandoned it.

We're watching the process of moderation in real time, not watching the corruption of a process that has never existed: of neutrality creation that is entirely independent of power. The solution isn't that Facebook isn't cleaving the the standards you hold to be objective enough. That's just kicking the can down the road. Get enough power to dominate Ted Cruz, and you can get him to delete the video yourself.

edit: I'm not against Facebook moderating their platform, but they should have all of the editorial responsibilities and liabilities that come with that. Which, instead of this process happening informally, puts it into the justice system where standards can be publicly agreed upon.

> I'm not against Facebook moderating their platform, but they should have all of the editorial responsibilities and liabilities that come with that.

I read the first part of your post as an argument that the actual definition of neutrality is prone to bias and corruption, and that politicians can't be trusted to define what is and isn't neutral.

Given that reading, I don't understand how adding legal liability would help keep Ted Cruz from subverting moderation efforts or redefining what neutrality means. Wouldn't that just give him more ammo to throw at Facebook when he claims that they need to to adhere to a constantly changing standard?

This video is absurd. The headline on the video "Abortion is never medically necessary", but then goes on to state that "removal of an ectopic pregnancy" doesn't count because it's not an abortion. Umm, OK. She's really just defined all of the "medically necessary abortions" as not abortions.

This comment has it correct; she defines abortion in a specific way (a common practice in documents / research papers / etc), and then makes a claim using this specific definition. The definition is left out of the headline, understandably and predictably, leaving a flamewar about a straw man.

This does not sound like a good-faith definition of terms. It's a no-true-scottsman instead, which is not a common practice, or at least not a reputable one.

Why bother with actual definitions when you can make up your own? This has been a common thread I've seen going around in my different groups lately. I don't know if it's the start of a new trend or a temporary resurgence of the fallacy. It's not like it's uninformed zealots either, many of the people I interact with are generally decent, logical people with serious flaws in logic. While I'm comfortable with cognitive dissonance, I'm not comfortable with blatantly twisting facts by people who should be aware that they are doing it.

i don't think the act of defining a term for later usage in an argument can be described as "no true scotsman", which is typically a mid-argument dismissal of a counterexample that contests a generalization.

to be such they would have had to (for example) been in the midst of debating the topic, and said something like "but a real abortion..." where their operating definition of "abortion" was effectively changed.

The term for this is a "stipulative definition." [1] It's only a fallacy if one does not clarify that one is using a stipulative definition instead of a more common one.

1. https://www.thoughtco.com/stipulative-definition-1692143

Even if one is clear about the definition in use, it's the fallacy of equivocation if it is used to counter an argument using a different definition.

Letting people share medical information and pay to promote it seems like a never ending recipe for problems. I’m sure someone at FB has done the math on just blocking all this content.

Is it just me or does putting FACT CHECK above an article immediately make anyone else not want to click on that article?

Same here, just makes me think who has connections to get themselves declared fact checker. Can you imagine how awesome it must be to have major media outlets coo about how whatever you the fact checker says should not be questioned?

This comment is a dog whistle.

Why are HN moderators allowing this account to post comments on this forum?

Here is a previous comment on this account:

>tBut the progressive revolution has entirely skipped over the struggles of non-Jewish whites merely because of their skin color.


and another one:

>Let's just be honest here, the only people experiencing fall-out from the Epstein case are not Je-yank


It is very very concerning that HN moderators police tone but not substance and allows accounts like this one to proliferate conspiracy theories.

You say that, yet it didn't concern you enough to let us know about it? That doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

The idea that if you see something unmoderated, it must mean that the moderators secretly agree with it, is a monster of a non sequitur. What's actually happening is that we only see a portion of what gets posted to HN, and we can't moderate what we don't see. That's why the site guidelines ask you to flag bad comments and, in egregious cases, to email hn@ycombinator.com. Fortunately, another user chose to follow the site guidelines and did so.

Please see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21003570 for more.

>The idea that if you see something unmoderated, it must mean that the moderators secretly agree with it, is a monster of a non sequitur.

Yes. That's what happens when you provide a self-publishing system. You agree to that contract whether you want to or not.

And it's not just this comment. It happens all the time.

>That's why the site guidelines ask you to flag bad comments

I literally cannot do that. Surely you know that.

>Fortunately, another user chose to follow the site guidelines and did so.

You don't think it's a problem that only one other user decided to _email_ you a problem. Doesn't that indicate a problem with the site culture?

I'm one person, a consumer of this site. Not a moderator. I called attention to it using the one capability given to me on this site. Saying "that's not good enough" is extremely asinine when I literally am not able to do anything else on the site.

It's trivial to get enough karma to flag posts on HN. We keep the threshold low on purpose so that anyone who wants to use HN as intended can easily cross it. The reason you haven't is not because we're somehow excluding you. It's because your many accounts consistently break the site guidelines, causing your posts to get downvoted.

But you can always email us, as anyone can. The fact that you didn't shows that you're not truly concerned about keeping HN free of the abuse you're complaining about. Rather, you're using other people's abusive comments as an excuse to post abusive comments of your own, smearing the community—who don't support the dreck that shows up here, just like it shows up everywhere on the public internet—and trying to undermine it. When you imply that moderators somehow support the dreck, I don't believe you're doing so in good faith. Anyone who's been around HN as long as you have knows that's false. Rather, the name for what you're doing is poisoning the well. That is another form of trolling.

Would you please stop creating accounts to break HN's guidelines with? This site is for people who sincerely want to use it as intended, and the intended use is laid out clearly at https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html: intellectual curiosity and kind, thoughtful discussion.

I noticed the sudden drop of points in my comments score in the past hour, which I must deduce is you going through and downvoting all my posts? Please remember the HN guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

>When disagreeing, please reply to the argument instead of calling names. "That is idiotic; 1 + 1 is 2, not 3" can be shortened to "1 + 1 is 2, not 3."

>Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith.

>which I must deduce is you going through and downvoting all my posts?

I haven't touched a single post of yours, and indeed it is impossible for me downvote _anyone_ with the current status of my account.

Pretty poor theory for a pretty poor person.

OK, maybe you shared my account with someone who can downvote, it doesn't matter. If you have something to reply to my comments, you can reply to me directly with what you disagree with and why, I have always engaged productively with many people on HN whether their viewpoints are similar or different. From your prior comment I know you disagree with something I've said but you haven't stated why you think those things are incorrect, not that this thread is particularly relevant to all of them, it would make sense if you replied within the relevant discussions.

Yeah, I shared it with this forum. When I linked to your comments.

I clicked your links and don't see any replies from you to those comments.

> says should not be questioned

do you have examples of this happening?

I am not from US so can someone explain why the antiabortion thing seem rise in this last year? Is there some elections and some party is trying to gain votes or some social media trend?

My question is about the timing(why now?) and not on "who is the good/bad guy" here.

> I am not from US so can someone explain why the antiabortion thing seem rise in this last year?

There has been a shift in the Supreme Court with the appointments under Trump, particularly the replacement of Justice Kennedy, widely regarded as having been the “swing” vote on the issue, which makes it widely perceived to be more likely that existing precedent sharply limiting permissible government restrictions on abortion would be struck down, should a case involving the issue reach the Supreme Court.

Consequently, many state legislatures that are dominated by the faction opposed to abortion are implementing sharp restrictions on abortion in state law in an effort to get sued over them, get the case to the Supreme Court, and have the existing abortion rights regime abolished.

There's some more, but that's the single biggest factor.

It's not just now? Anti-abortion has been a huge part of the Republican platform for a very long time, maybe at least the 60's? At least since Roe v Wade (1973). The reason is that there's a large swath of voters who only seem to care about abortion abolition, and will vote for anyone who pushes it, no matter what.

I mean it is a popular subject here on HN and I seen some articles on BBC this year, as I said I am not from US and this "anti-abortion laws" remind me of the communist regime here in Romania, so I was a bit shocked to see this topic debates in US (it was not visible for US outside) .

Evangeticals and other anti-abortion religious groups are also one of the groups that are consistently politically involved via voting, being kept informed, campaigning, etc. In a nation with very low voter turnout, the few demographics that vote significantly more get a disproportionate influence on the direction of government.

Abortion was long considered a settled issue due to the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision many years ago. However, a lot of attention has been directed at the current court, which has insinuated that they're interested in overturning the ruling, which would be chaotic and deeply controversial.

I don't think anyone considered it a settled issue. Upholding or overturning Roe v Wade has always been a major issue in elections and SC nominations.

Politically, abortion is a very useful issue because it's emotional and it will never be resolved completely one way or the other. So when other political factors fail, abortion can still "move the needle" on parts of the electorate.

A lot of those other factors seem to be failing for President Trump right now, so his administration and other Republican supporters are leaning into abortion as a topic for the next election.

The general election is not until early November 2020, but Democrats are getting a ton of air time now with their primary process, and Republicans don't have much success to sell right now other than all the federal judges they've confirmed. Basically these judges have been the #1 focus of the Republican-controlled Senate for the past 2 years.

There are a lot of reasons they have been focused on judges, but abortion is the easiest way to talk about it with large groups of Republicans.

The Supreme Court's rightward shift under Trump is likely to have significant impact on the legality of abortion in the US.

Is Trump and his group declared anti-abortion? Would this gain more votes the one lost?

I was thinking that our politicians would use a technique to say or do something controversial at convenient time so all media and public would be distracted from the actual thing happening. This smells like such a thing but it is probably what you said;

The currently-posted national Republican platform (presumably written during the 2016 election cycle, given the “current adminstration” reference) says this:

“Through Obamacare, the current Administration has promoted the notion of abortion as healthcare. We, however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well-being of women, and we stand firmly against it.” [emphasis added]

So, yeah, Trump’s “group”, stands “firmly against” abortion.


Trump got elected, in part, because a lot of religious conservatives hoped he would appoint conservative (read anti-abortion) judges to the supreme court. Religious conservatives don't, for the most part, like his obvious loose morals but many are willing to "hold their nose" and vote for anyone who will make it more likely that abortion will banned in the Unites States. I personally know people who have this attitude.

It just happens that conservative judges would overturn Roe vs. Wade, or other rulings, leaving states free to outlaw abortion. So there's a coalition between pro-life people and more sagebrushey sort of conservatives, who like conservative justices for their upholding of the bill of rights and having a universalist outlook.

Part of the issue with fact checkers is how charitably they are interpreting the words. For example:

Weather Reporter: The sun will rise at 6 AM Tomorrow

Fact Checker: False. The language talking about sun rise is implying that the sun rotates around the earth, and that has been known to astronomers to be false for centuries.

In her video, Lila Rose is saying that abortion as defined as intentionally killing the fetus is not medically necessary.

From the captions on the video: "Now, you could perhaps do an early delivery if she's experiencing or she has a very severe condition that you need to deliver that baby early, but in that situation you don't go in with a needle or forceps to destroy that baby before birth. You give that baby a fighting chance, and that is not an abortion."

She is saying that the baby may die as a consequence of early delivery, but the goal is early delivery, not the destruction of the baby.

Fact check says "Certain medical conditions such as placenta previa and HELLP syndrome can make abortion a necessary medical procedure in order to prevent the mother's death."

My guess that Lila's response would be that that it is the early delivery that is saving the mother's life, not the abortion. The mother's life would still be saved if the baby survives through appropriate medical care.

I don't know if Lila is Catholic, but a lot of her reasoning seems to fall under the "Principle of Double Effect."


"Classical formulations of the principle of double effect require that four conditions be met if the action in question is to be morally permissible: first, that the action contemplated be in itself either morally good or morally indifferent; second, that the bad result not be directly intended; third, that the good result not be a direct causal result of the bad result; and fourth, that the good result be "proportionate to" the bad result. Supporters of the principle argue that, in situations of "double effect" where all these conditions are met, the action under consideration is morally permissible despite the bad result."

The argument is that doing a delivery with intention to save the mother's life is good, even if it has the consequence that the fetus dies, since the death of the fetus was not the intention, and thus would not be called an abortion, since the fetal death was a secondary effect and not the primary intended effect.

The issue with the fact check is that the fact-checkers were so eager to label something they disagreed with as false, that they did not appreciate the nuance.

And among "other medical conditions" would sit ectopic pregnancy, which not only you cannot deliver, you cannot even allow it to get to 12 weeks or the mother could die, so no attempt at delivery would make sense. How much medical case history would need to be in a fact-checking judgement to be accepted as fact?


Many people including ob-gyns do not consider surgery for an ectopic pregnancy an abortion.

You found an anti abortion doctor to agree with you. Moving the goalposts because of your beliefs. Stop trying to make definitions up when facts disagree with your political opinion.

> The argument is that doing a delivery with intention to save the mother's life is good, even if it has the consequence that the fetus dies, since the death of the fetus was not the intention, and thus would not be called an abortion, since the fetal death was a secondary effect and not the primary intended effect.

This description, unlike the quoted material that precedes it, is an inaccurate application of the principle of double effect on a number of levels.

The principle of double effect does not make an act that results in death through intentional acts with the actual and known-in-advance-to-be-likely effect of necessarily licit (even if done with good intent) or even not-homicide (nor does it make them not-abortion if it involves termination of a pregnancy and the incident death of the embryo) it makes them indirect homicide (and indirect abortion) rather direct homicide/abortion. Indirect homicide (including indirect abortion) is (as the material you quote before your summary notes) only licit when committed for proportional reasons (which would apply to termination of an ectopic pregnancy where there is a moral certainty that both the mother and embryo.)

That is—critically to the attempt to justify the videos creative definition of abortion and thesis that abortion is never medically necessary that depends on that definition, by using the principle of double effect—under the principle of double effect, termination of an ectopic pregnancy (with the accompanying and certain, but not actively sought as either an ends or means, death of the embryo) to save the mother’s life would generally be a licit (in part because of medical necessity, though that alone would be insufficient to make it licit) act of indirect homicide and abortion, not not-abortion or not-homicide.

"I don't know if Lila is Catholic, but a lot of her reasoning seems to fall under the "Principle of Double Effect.""

She in fact is.

This is a helpful comment. Thank you.

ASK HN: We really need a politics tab at the top of hackernews. Can we make that happen?

I can get behind a tech-only tab which hides political/non-technological posts. Watching American software developers/computer scientists making unsubstantiated grand claims on foreign political matters or mathematics/economics proves to be bad for my blood pressure.

I'd rather not. Most political stories get flagged to death unless there's something specifically interesting about them that HNers would find interesting.

Unfortunately, we occasionally end up with something like this, where it _is_ interesting from a public/private policy perspective, but the political aspects are too strong and overcome that.

Perhaps that is not a great idea. It would be nice to have more politically volatile discussions pushed into a corner. Unfortunately, political discussions online among strangers are often less than productive.

Not sure how others feel, but personally, I'd be more interested in a tab that shows everything except politics rather than a politics tab.

Hey Guys, to widen the discussion and make this more searchable, I'd hope for your feedback here for the whole community: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20966349

It's unfortunate that big tech is essentially acting as a "morality arbiter" in such cases -- perhaps we need not only a separation of church and state, but also of tech and state.

How are they in this case? Seems like a straightforward fact based claim. The one side claimed there is never a medical reason for terminating a pregnancy and the fact check organization listed a series of such medical condition such.

What's stranger is that the person claiming there's no medical reason for termination then goes on to list an acceptable medical reason for termination (ectopic pregnancy).

Did you read the article? The fact check has nothing to do with being a morality arbiter. They simply provided the facts as they pertain to the claims. It's up to the viewer to take that information and process how they feel about it from there.

How many videos from the other side do they 'FACT CHECK' in big bold letters? Its not the factchecking in and of itself thats the issue.

Someone else in a separate comment chain in this thread posited the same point (that fact checks happen more often for right-leaning videos than for left-leaning videos). I asked for data to support that assertion but wasn't provided any. Do you have data to support what you are inferring?

The separation of church and state has been doing wonders, so far. \s

Why the sarcasm? Are people being defenestrated in Prague and I didn't notice?

Religious conflict has been on a huge downswing for like 300 years.

If I had to make a guess the users comment aims at the American system where a privatisation of religion in combination with unrestricted free religious speech has mostly let to radicalisation.

The alternative would be models like the UK, Germany or Denmark, where although churches have state representation, the reverse is also true and the state has effectively securalised and reigned religious institutions in.

if you want a social network where you can say whatever you want without interference go use gab or 4chan. it's facebook's choice whether or not they want to do this.

edit: "whatever you want" supposed to be figure of speech, seemingly this must be pointed out.

You mean 8chan? I don't know about gab but you can not say whatever you want on 4chan...

8chan was still down since Cloudfare cancelled it last I checked. “Big tech”s reach extends beyond the mega platforms onto smaller independent sites too.

Few sites are totally unmoderated either, I doubt gab is totally unmoderated either. They all take down spam, illegal stuff, and harassing/abusive people afaik. If not I dont see how their communities would last very long.

Gab is a far right platform that moderates away anything left of Rush Limbaugh. They were upset that Reddit banned some really terrible and often times illegal acts from their platform. So they moved to their own platform. Their community is very open to fringe talk, hate speech as a form of free speech, and doxxing. A link for reference but far from the only instance.


> but you can not say whatever you want on 4chan

Since when? Probably depends on which board you're talking about I guess.

4chan (and 8chan) have a Global Rule #1 which says you can't post anything which violates U.S. or local laws. Also trolling and racism are quarantined to /b/

I doubt there are any "anything goes" social networks in existence.

I don't know why that expression is being taken literally. Obviously if you make terroristic threats to the US government you're going to be in trouble no matter where you post. Obviously the context is given by the original submission.

The point is that the attitude I was responding to is extremely entitled. You're not entitled to use Facebook. You're not entitled to post about abortion without a fact check from Facebook, that is up to them. If you don't like it, leave Facebook.

I'm tired of the public square narrative, as if Facebook is the only forum for discussion on the Internet. If Facebook blocks my speech, I can talk about it on Twitter, or Hacker News, or Gab or chan boards (using these as an example), or my own website, or any other number of places for discussion.

Facebook is a private company.

Facebook may be a private company but it doesn't absolve them from criticism due to the size of their userbase and influence on society. Antitrust law may also apply since they control Instagram and Whatsapp as well.

Sure, you can post on your website (that nobody would discover), or Gab (which is blocked in Apple and Android stores), or 8chan (which is down)...but for better or worse people still use Facebook so people still complain about it.

Criticism is fine, nobody has to be happy with the decisions Facebook makes, and are welcome to loudly and aggressively voice their opinions.

Suggesting legal measures against Facebook, "perhaps we need not only a separation of church and state, but also of tech and state", is entirely different and completely unwarranted on the basis of them "regulating (or interfering with) speech" as seen in the submission.

I'm not a user of Gab and unfamiliar with their apps, but I assume it can be accessed through a standard web browser (Safari, Google Chrome).

Too much centralized cnotrol.

At some point there's going be some form of court system(s) evolve out of this, or else case law is going to lay down some rough guidelines for companies like Facebook that are going to have to operate their own internal courts. I could imagine a court overturning a decision by an internal company court on censorship, for example. Maybe it's already happening.


"Going" downhill?


"Since 1977 there have been eight murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings, and 186 arsons targeted at abortion clinics and providers across the United States. In some cases, a small group of clinics have been targeted multiple times."

I mean, that is terrible, but abortion clinics commit millions of murders each year according to pro-lifers, so your comment falls on deaf ears.

Globally? In the United States, this is not true[1]. Anti-choicers can claim whatever they want but we still shouldn't be repeating false data.


From your own link... from 1978 to 1997, there were more than a million abortions each year.

But... now that we know abortion clinics only murder a few hundred thousand, that makes them like twice as good as they used to be. That's how this works, right?

Looking at the data with compassion, I would say that access to abortion didn't result in more abortions. In fact, the opposite occurred; access to abortions appears to have reduced the abortion rate over the long term. So if you are truly pro-life, then you would want abortion to be very easy to access; this will save (prevent the "murder" as you say) babies by the millions. Obviously it isn't access alone, though, probably the real cause is that increased access to abortion comes with increased sex education and access to birth control for women, which in turn lowers the rate of unexpected pregnancies, which in turn lowers the rate of abortions. Now if only we could all agree on improving sex ed!

By that logic we should kill poor people who may go on to have abortions

They forget all the manslaughter by mothers who miscarry, plus all the fratricide when one twin absorbs another. It's a god damn slaughter in America's uteruses!

And fertility clinics commit even more. Yet no one talks about them.

The Catholic church, the largest pro-life organization, is pretty vehemently against IVF, in all cases, for any reason. It talks about them quite often, but there is little support for it outside the church (most protestant denoms do not agree with the catholics here), so it receives very little mainstream attention. However, within the 'Catholic bubble', fertility clinics probably get as much ire.

> The Catholic church, the largest pro-life organization, is pretty vehemently against IVF, in all cases, for any reason.

Note that the Catholic heirarchy is, in fact, opposed to all forms of conception that don't involve a sex act between married partners, including homologous artificial insemination within marriage.

> However, within the 'Catholic bubble', fertility clinics probably get as much ire.

They really don't; they rarely get mentioned outside of fairly academic discussions of the relevant theology, even by most of the people within the Church that engage in intense advocacy on abortion and/or family issues.

They do get some ire by extremists on the opposite side of the heirarchy’s position than the general society, the types that put out pamphlets or go on Catholic radio using arguments like “clones—and IVF babies—have no souls” (seriously). But they don't get a lot of attention in mainstream circles. If a couple asks their pastor about it, they’ll probably have the official positioned mentioned, but unlike abortion it's not something you're likely to hear mentioned in a Sunday sermon or as the focus of a heirarchy-led public advocacy campaign.

What about embryos that aren't implanted? That just don't make it naturally? 1 in 3 eggs don't make it for every kne that does. Does the Catholic church want to do anything about those? I quick Google search didn't bring anything up.

> 1 in 3 eggs don't make it for every kne that does. Does the Catholic church want to do anything about those?

The Catholic heirarchy views that no differently than other natural death, which, while it might be something better to reduce, is not an active moral wrong the way homicide (including, in the view of the heirarchy, direct abortion) is.

(I say “heirarchy” rather than “Church” here because the evidence suggest that the mass of the faithful, the body of the Church, aren't particularly in line behind the heirarchy on this issue—polls in the US, for instance, fairly consistently see virtually no difference in distribution of political views on abortion between Catholics and Americans generally.)

The church would support medicines to help these children implant and make it. However, it is also the same as natural death (trying to increase the chance of non-implantation is the same sin as abortion). Speaking from personal experience with our recurrent miscarriages, Catholic doctors cared the most, and ultimately, their diligence and dedication is why we have our daughter. The rest told us to just forget about it. The Catholic ones cared, and are why we have living children.

Perhaps instead of "pro life", a better moniker would be "forced birth"


That would make sense if both parents were the only ones facing equal repercussions but alas an innocent child potentially has to suffer in the process.

Taking responsibility for being raped?


Just to recap:

-One person lamented discourse relating to abortion "going downhill".

-Someone pointed out that its hard to say its going downhill when its been happening since the 70s.

Your takeaway:


Its simply impossible to have those inputs and create this output without having a massive, obvious agenda. Maybe take that elsewhere?

I believe that pcj50's point is that the debate has not been "going" downhill. It's been down, at the very bottom, for a very long time, and there's nowhere further down to go (short of a real shooting civil war).

The most I've ever seen it evoke from pro-lifers is something along the lines of "ya hate to see it"


Unborn babies are always biologically distinguishable from babies that are already born. Unborn babies haven't yet taken a breath, have not been exposed to light, and still gather nutrients from the placenta. Inflation of the lungs happens immediately after birth, among a cascade of other events that happen quickly following birth, clearly distinguishing an unborn baby from a born baby.

> Inflation of the lungs happens immediately after birth, among a cascade of other events that happen quickly following birth, clearly distinguishing an unborn baby from a born baby.

But like literally none of this happens in the case of premature enough babies who often need intubation, and yet who -- if intentionally killed -- would trigger a murder investigation

i feel like this may be equivocating on "biologically distinguishable", particularly given the chosen examples.

So we can freely kill people who haven't seen light?


However forcing someone to carry a baby to term is also morally problematic. Even non-life-threatening births carry risks of bodily harm.

Not to mention the psychological trauma of carrying a child that can be "safely" birthed but will immediately begin a slow, painful death after leaving the womb. This is the typical case for most so-called "late term abortions" that everyone clutches their pearls over.

Anyway, I find people's thinking around the morals of abortion to be quite fluid . The termination rate of pregnancies with chromosomal abnormalities far exceeds the percentage of people who identify as "pro choice" and cannot be explained simply by pro-choice people being more prone to fetuses with such conditions.

> However forcing someone to carry a baby to term is also morally problematic

There are plenty of pro-choice arguments, but this is not a very good one.

Coercion is often justifiably used when lives are at stake. For example, the government might "force" sick people in a quarantine given an epidemic outbreak. What you want to show is that the fetus is not a person and, therefore, doesn't have the same rights as the mother. This is difficult, but not impossible -- although there are some concessions that need to be made along the way.

Justification for mid-to-late-term abortions is further mired that it's becoming increasingly more difficult for women to have access to early-term abortion services, thus forcing them into mid-to-late-term abortions.

> Your inflammatory pseudo-counter-argument doesn't change the fact that abortion in cases of non-life-threatening births remains morally problematic.

Says the person who has the need to argue about what women can and can't do with their bodies while not having a uterus himself.

As a trained philosopher, I'm inclined to be as charitable as possible, and even though you make a valid point, yours is quite a weak argument. For example, I'm not a soldier, but I can still posit that engaging in combat with non-military civilians is not morally justifiable.

I can make these kinds of arguments by analogy or generalization. So I hope you can see how (and more importantly why) we can think about morally-difficult problems like abortion even though we're not women, war even though we're not soldiers, etc.

I agree.

The discourse in your country doesn't seem to revolve about facts any more. At the moment it's just political. I'm wondering why this is on HN at all. We all know whatever is going to be said about this topic is going to be political eventually.

(wow fastest downvote ever, I just posted this, like 5 seconds, and it already got a downvote :)

Agreed on all points. I've lurked HN forever and consider it one of my very few feel-good places online. This post, and (already) some of the comments are not appropriate to my understanding of the site.

Edit: to be clear, by "feel-good" I do not mean "positive," emotionally, just not subject to the same level of useless vitriol common elsewhere--which is where this thread is going.

The US is just much much larger than all other Western democracies. Sensitive topics are going to be much more political and take their time to resolve. It's like comparing how a group of 10 people resolve issues versus a group of 300. The dynamics are very different given the information asymmetry.

I'm so glad big tech screens videos for the correct political viewpoint. Nobody could have predicted events like this.

They screened videos to ensure the facts pertaining to a medical procedure were correct. The fact check itself had nothing to do with politics.

I missed this before, but the problem is _what_ they choose to fact check, not how; and this is evidence of how susceptible they are to political pressure (in a negative way, this time).


This... this is fascinating. Do you have any good sources?

No, because it's BS. Five seconds on Google:


There was one particular example, intended to encourage pregnant women to allow their Downs-syndrome babies to be born, that was disallowed by the group that determines what may be shown on French television. So not illegal, but the effect was similar, at least in that case.

Unsurprisingly, it's a bit more nuanced in that case. Google Translate isn't great for legalistic documents, but that decision (https://www.conseil-etat.fr/fr/arianeweb/CE/decision/2016-11...) seems to rest quite a bit on whether or not it's an issue advocacy ad, which apparently require disclosures in France similar to how US campaign ads have to have "I approved this message" sort of things.

"France requires political ad to include disclosures" is, of course, slightly less punchy as a news item.

That's a really interesting read, insofar as I am able. Thank you for digging it up.

I'm not sure your characterization is quite correct, however. If I'm reading point 10 correctly — and that's not certain, as neither my French nor Google Translate is quite up to the task — it sounds as though the determination that it was an issue-advocacy ad and therefore inappropriate to broadcast was made largely on the basis of its psychological effect on women who had already chosen not to give birth to babies with Down Syndrome.

In effect, then — again, assuming I read it correctly — the assertion made above is essentially correct: the ad was not allowed because it would upset women who had aborted Down Syndrome babies.

No, even if that's the basis for determining it is an issue advocacy ad, it was not permitted because it lacked the required notifications for such an ad, not because the content was prohibited.

The alternative you present is equivalent to arguing that campaign-sponsored ads are prohibited in the US, since they will be found illegal if presented without required notices.

> It had nothing to do with politics.

Surely you can see that this is impossible. There is no component of a video like this which has "nothing to do with politics."

No, it's not. Please re-read my post. I said that "the fact check itself" is not political. I did not defend the political bias of the video itself.

You would also do well to actually read the article, especially the screenshot of the fact-check. You'll notice that the fact-check, per my post, simply addresses the facts of the issue and does not make a single political statement.

Edit: You also modified my statement when quoting me, making it more ambiguous than I had written it. Please be sure to quote people accurately in the future.


>The thing is FB is not fact checking leftist videos the same way they were doing with the right.

Can you please provide data that supports this statement?

>Untrue facts about guns for example are never pointed out.

Using absolutes such as "never" in a statement like that can often be a bit of a stretch. Like my last question, do you have proof that Facebook has never fact-checked a single gun video?

> Can you please provide data that supports this statement?

What kind of data do you believe would be necessary for a negative claim like this?

Do I have proof there is no teapot between the Earth and the moon? No. Do you believe this means you can dismiss my claim that there isn't a teapot floating between the Earth and the moon?

>What kind of data do you believe would be necessary for a negative claim like this?

It's literally as simple as a total count of left-leaning and right-leaning posts/videos/photos that have been fact-checked.

It's not that simple.

You'd have to also determine the respective frequencies of left-leaning and right-leaning posts/videos/photos containing falsehoods for those numbers to be useful.

Fair point.

I mean the burden of the proof is on you not on me. Find an anti-gun video or content that has been fact checked by FB. And you can't. All the fact checks we are seeing is against right wing content.

"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

It's just because you can't find any content. It will be very easy to prove I am not right on this one by pointing to one video.

I believe Facebook is censoring the existence of molemen located deep within the third layer of our hollow earth.

I am correct, because you cannot find a single video on Facebook which posits the existence of said molemen. Therefore, Facebook is censoring those videos.

You can find tons of videos on FB advocating gun control. But none are fact checked. Despite containing blatant untrue information.

Most (many?) leftists don't support banning guns by the way. At the very least it's widely debated on the left. The term you're looking for is "liberal" or Democrat.

The Socialist Rifle Association, for instance, consists of left-leaning individuals who like guns.

I thought US lefts = US liberals == US Democrats?

There are quite a few centrist and even right-leaning Democrats. Joe Manchin, for example.


In more detail, “liberal” in US politics has a lot of conflicting uses and is almost a useless term. The US Democratic Party is dominated (though somewhat less so today than a few years ago) by a neoliberal, centrist (arguably center-right) pro-capitalist faction, which tends to also be where the most consistent support for gun control in the Democratic Party, or mainstream US politics more generally, is.

It’s next biggest faction (the closest mainstream US politics has to a “left”) is a center-left social democratic faction (some of which self-identifies as democratic socialist); this faction has a mix of people who are less supportive of gun control than than the neoliberal faction of the party, and those that favor more extreme gun control, and everywhere in between.

The actual American left, which is largely outside of the major parties, is also quite mixed on gun control.

Objective truth does exist. That abortion is medically necessary in certain cases, including before 24 weeks, is an objective truth. Those wishing for alternatives sometimes will claim that the technology for resolving cases without abortion could exist if we researched it might have a point, but it remains theoretical and therefore, given today's technology, abortion is sometimes medically required. The rest of it might be politics, but that doesn't mean we have to ignore objective facts.

Let's say 30-40% of the population takes the political position that the eye is directly attached to the knee.

Saying that's not true isn't a political position, even if the falsehood it's debunking is one.

The embedded video in the article is logical in its assertions and therefore doesn't leave room for argument (obligatory replies to this comment aside).

Unfortunately, logical arguments in an emotionally charged topic are usually heard as inflammatory, as many logical married individuals can attest. So this political tug-of-war response should come as no surprise.

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