Comments of the Week: ‘Pro-Choice,’ Guns and Notre Dame

Storified by The Nation· Fri, Jan 18 2013 13:20:00

As the public’s attention was focused on the scandal involving Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o and his fake girlfriend, Dave Zirin pointed out that the college had previously swept a far more important scandal under the rug: the suicide of Lizzy Seeberg, a student whose allegations of sexual assault the school failed to address. Our readers were similarly outraged. 
Was waiting for this article. Notre Dame, where the media cover a fake girl, ignoring the tragedy of a real one. Hoke
People always want to know why I dislike Notre Dame. This guy sums it up better than I could.
Thanks Dave. I thought Te’o thing was weird and kind of funny in a train-wreck way, until I realized that Swarbrick was calling Te’o a victim and while ignoring Lizzy Seeberg. Then it was just
This week, Planned Parenthood unveiled a plan to back away from the term “pro-choice” with their new “Not In Her Shoes” ad. Our readers had a lot to say in response to Planned Parenthood’s decision and Katha Pollitt’s take on the campaign. 
Laura Wershler: 
Good analysis of the potential problems with doing away with the "pro-choice" frame. It opens the door to everyone having an opinion about any woman’s personal decision to have an abortion,  even though the intention may be to encourage everyone to acknowledge that other women’s reasons for choosing to have an abortion are really none of our business. I call this the "no-proviso pro-choice position." There can be no "it depends" unless we are talking only about
I would really like to see some more research on this as to what "it depends" people say when asked *what the law should be.* What do they think should be legal or illegal? How should the regulations be written? I don’t particularly care if someone thinks abortion is moral or not as long as they support it’s legality. I’ve asked my "pro-life" friends and a lot of the time the answer is "I don’t know" or "yeah it should be legal, even though I disagree." So if anything it’s "pro-life" that’s a meaningless term as many of the people who claim the label don’t support outlawing abortion the way, for example, Paul Ryan
@thenation will every new generation of childbearing age women have to battle for their reproductive rights? Shame on us.Merry Terry
I think also the labels have come to have bad connotations. Both tend to have their stereotypes, which can turn people off of adopting them to explain their own beliefs. (Compare calling oneself  an ‘environmentalist’ – the stereotype of said is extremely negative, and so people may feel uncomfortable to explain their beliefs with that particular term, and instead choose others like ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘sustainable’. They’re still saying the same thing and espousing the same beliefs, but with a word that has less negative stereotypes associated with it.) Although it also seems reading this that people have difficulty separating their own situation and what their own personal reaction would be from what others may feel. I’ve heard many people ask ‘am I still pro-choice if I wouldn’t have an abortion?’ The answer is, do you support the right of others to choose? The point is not what you would do yourself. If you support someone’s right and ability to choose their outcomes as much as possible, then you are pro-choice, regardless of what you might do or have done in a similar situation. (For a similar point from the other side of the fence, read a post called ‘The Only Moral Abortion Is My Abortion’ (or similar, I can’t recall the full title) for a further explanation; it’s very long.)
@thenation No, but I’ve a problem w/ people equating pro-choice to pro-abortion; trivializes what must be an emotionally painful decision.Karen Mercury McCoy
Also this week, commenters engaged in a heated discussion in response to Greg Mitchell’s “What’s Wrong With Bigelow’s Defense of ‘Zero Dark Thirty.'” 
Bigelow’s view is very narrow–that’s what  makes her film so good while you are watching it, it is the boots-on the ground, spare action film she won the Oscar for. The narrowness is also the root of her immorality in not caring about the wider issue of torture which she clearly does not in her film . What she personally thinks is one thing (and I don’t question her sincerity) but her film does not sanction torture as rather simply accept it as a routine part of the US government, and a routine part of an exciting ten-year quest, ignoring every competing voice or argument against
Finally, commenter revlindacarter added to Patricia Williams’ thoughtful column, “Guns, Democracy and the Supreme Court.” 
Professor Williams draws us to consider whether one person’s unbounded personal liberty is good for the rest of us. It seems that a society would want to care for all its participants, rather than "just us." When we neglect child care, childhood health care, and children’s education, even if it is for "only" 20% of our children, are we not preparing a disaster for the future? Those children will be more liable for dependency, for disabling health conditions, for the inability to fulfill their highest potential. They will be unable to be productive members of our economy, and eventually become parents with so many roadblocks in their life they are unable to parent their own children.  So the cycle has been, so it will be. The insidious nature of the "politics of personal responsibility" is the assumption that everyone is able to be responsible for their own persons. Children will have a hard time assuming responsibility if they miss receiving the tools to do so. Homeless people have little chance of changing their circumstance. With no address, no assets, no wardrobe, no health care or a place to clean up, without help from a robust social system, how can they get on the ladder of success? A person abused physically, sexually, or psychically labors under a heavy burden of damage to their self-worth. The mentally ill and those whose mental capabilities lie on the left side of the IQ curve are unable to keep up with the demands of today’s workplace. Yet we as a nation are so willing to blame others for our own shortcomings: blame the teachers for the breakdown of the education system, blame the poor parents for not taking care of their children well, blame the unemployed for not being able to find a job, or for not accepting one that will not support a family, however meagerly. No, we should not point the finger at the people least able to solve the nations problems. Instead we should shine a light on the real cause of all this misery: the stinginess of the powerful to grant full citizenship to the lowest of the low. Margaret Atwood noticed that we use the phrase "trickle down economics." Strange that so many of us are at the end of that slowly leaking faucet. Will we ever get a drink?