April 1, 2016

2 views on the connection between believing abortion is murder and wanting to punish the woman who gets one.

Donald Trump got caught in the act of being confused, and I'd like to plunk him down at this fork in Abortion-Is-Murder Road. The signpost on the left fork reads Jill Filipovic Way:
If anti-abortion advocates sincerely believe abortion is murder, they should also say that women have to be punished for it. If a fetus is the same as a 5-year-old, then a woman who ends a pregnancy should be just as guilty of murder as a woman who pays a hit man to kill her kindergartener. Claiming ignorance that murder was murder wouldn’t work.

It’s an ugly thought, and it’s electorally and socially unpopular, and that’s why some of them don’t say it out loud; others realize that while they may find abortion morally wrong, they don’t in their heart of hearts believe removing an embryo from a woman’s body is the same as slaughtering a 5-year-old. But start making those kinds of distinctions and the whole case against abortion falls apart.
Yeah, down that road you'd have to punish the woman, but the whole point is, political disaster lies down that road, and what Jill Filipovic wants is for you to run all the way back down Abortion-Is-Murder Road and go somewhere else entirely — where you see that this whole territory lies inside the body of another person and she gets full control over what happens inside there.

But hang out in this fork a tad longer. There's another way to go: It's Scott Adams Way:
Do we really need penalties for every law?... [W]e all might be better off if our government always took the side of maximizing human life while leaving room for private citizens to make tough choices as needed. A law without penalties does that.....

Governments should always favor human life, even in the gray areas. But human beings often need the freedom to make hard choices about life. If the government makes abortion and doctor-assisted dying illegal, it sends a message about the priorities of government to protect life. But by being silent on penalties for those things, government would also allow citizens and their doctors to make the hard decisions.
Adams wants to make abortion illegal, but then provide no enforcement mechanism. This is similar to having a law that's just not enforced, except the commitment to do no enforcing is locked down in the text of the statute. It's just an expressive law, the people saying "we care," but we're not going to do anything about it, because private citizens need room to govern their own private lives.

Can travelers on Abortion-Is-Murder Road take the Scott Adams fork?

147 comments:

mccullough said...

It would be like our immigration laws.

Dan Hossley said...

Fiorina is right about this issue. The argument always takes place at the fringe. Probably because it is easier than dealing with the part that most people agree upon. This is just another example of it. Trump was a fool for falling into the trap.

CStanley said...

I made an argument similar to but not identical to Adams in yesterday's comment thread.

The assisted suicide analogy is useful IMO because we do have statutes against it which punish the doctors or third parties but we don't (unless I'm mistaken) have laws against suicide- people don't get prosecuted for trying to take their own lives.

I think a similar law which would hold abortionists liable but not pregnant women would accomplish several goals. It upholds the principle that the state protects life, by having the state refuse to license doctors to kill human embryos or to sanction anyone else doing so.

It does leave out punishment for a woman who manages to self abort and those who are one party in the abortion by provider, and Prof Althouse made the argument that this is condescending toward women. But women who make that decision generally are under duress of one sort or another, and it is just as outlandish to say that society should invest in them the decision making capability as it is for us to say that she is not in the right frame of mind to make that decision. The current situation where she does have power to do that would be like having the family members of a mirder victim serve as judge and jury against the accused murderer.

holdfast said...

A law without consequences?

Sort of like the records-keeping and data retention policies at the State Department?

Or the Freedom of Information Act, where there's no punishment for deliberately conspiring to hide information from the government workers charged with responding to FOIA requests?

Hagar said...

If the woman is not to be punished, then the laws must be written to explicitly say so. Otherwise she must at least be an accomplice to a crime, a co-conspirator, etc., and so forth as the prosecutors would claim for any other crime.

EDH said...

I mentioned this yesterday in the context of the mother charged with having her children tattooed.

Doesn't this story relate in some way to Trump's abortion controversy, and Althouse's take on female agency?

The mother, not the tattoo artist, was charged with the crime reflecting her agency and her decision made affecting the children.

But if you follow the mainstream take on abortion, the tattoo artist should have been charged, as with the abortion provider, not the poor mother.

Importantly, tattooing and abortion are both commercial activities regulated by the state within its police powers, so regulation of the provider is less intrusive, especially since both activities have constitutional implications: penumbral privacy and free expression/free exercise.

Ironically, Roe allows calls for the protection of children in the womb who are above a certain age, while tattoo regulation protects children below a certain age.

TreeJoe said...

Jill uses the intellectually lazy comparison of "embryo" vs. 5 year old.

The intellectual rigorous approach is to say, do you feel deliberately ending a 1 day old baby is wrong? How about a baby in the process of being born? How about 1 day before it's born?

Now walk that backwards until you no longer feel it's wrong. Or maybe you feel it's wrong the entire time.

The intellectual challenge to folks is if you feel ending a 1 day old healthy baby is wrong, then you should feel it's wrong to end a healthy baby in the process of being born or a fetus 1 day away from being born.

And if you feel those things are wrong, then the question becomes how wrong is it, how equivalent is it, and does it need punishment.

People don't want to talk about punishment for women who choose abortion of an otherwise healthy fetus, but that doesn't mean they've actually considered why/why not.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

it’s an ugly thought, and it’s electorally and socially unpopular, and that’s why some of them don’t say it out loud; others realize that while they may find abortion morally wrong, they don’t in their heart of hearts believe removing an embryo from a woman’s body is the same as slaughtering a 5-year-old.

I have to admit I'm getting sick of this shit. Why do we let the Left ALWAYS define the terms of the argument? A just-fertilized egg or a 2-week old embryo is "just a clump of cells." Fine. How about a fetus at 25 weeks? Or 30? Or 35? No difference there, jackass? Find Debbie Wasserman-Schultz's answer to when abortion should be outlawed! Ask Hillary Clinton. The baby can be an hour away from being born and their philosophy is that since it's still a part of the woman's body it's still her choice to kill it--it's still just a fucking clump of cells.

Why the hell do we let these moral monsters define the anti-abortion position as extreme? Why the hell do they never have to account for their own extreme beliefs?

The stupidest part is that having thought about the problem, deeply, I don't support a law against abortion pre-viablility. I'm (weakly) on these people's side w/r/t the law! I don't think it should be encouraged and I don't think it's good and I don't think it's morally correct in most cases, but I don't think it should be illegal. I think the law ought to allow abortion but our culture and society ought to disapprove of it.

Why do you give people like the Time author credit for empathy and compassion, Professor? Why does no one challenge the ridiculous, tendentious terms and examples the Left always chooses to have these debates about? Utterly exasperating.

pdug said...

How could you possibly give government LICENSES to doctors to perform abortions, if abortions are illegal?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

If I say "here is an example of defensive handgun use where the right to bear arms saved this person/this family" the immediate response is "oh that's just one example, the vast majority of guns aren't used that way, blah blah blah."

When we talk about abortion it's always "well what about rape, incest, and threats to the life of the mother--what about those, you extremist?" As a %, how many abortions that are performed meet those criteria? Why is that not the same thing--using an outlier example to prove some point about the norm? I'm willing to bet money that the % of DGU per concelaed carry license is higher than the % of late-term abortions done because of rape or incest.

It's almost like if something concerns women none of the normal rules apply.

Bob Boyd said...

Pro-choice side wouldn't go for Adam's argument.
For one thing, it's already legal so why go back. They aren't going to want to say abortion is wrong.
For another it's the slippery slope. It's a lot easier to go from "something is illegal with no penalty" to "let's enact a penalty for this crime" than it is to change something from being legal to being a crime.

Michael K said...

"Trump was a fool for falling into the trap."

I'm not sure he was a fool but he is an amateur with people like Matthews.

Nyamujal said...

Re: The comparison of abortion with murder, I'm going to just paste sections of an essay I read sometime back:
" As Frances Kamm’s work points out (Kamm, 1992), in the usual case of a killing
– if you stab a person on the street, for instance – you interfere with the trajectory
the person had independently of you. She faced a happy enough future, we’ll say;
your action changed that, taking away from her something she would have had but
for your action. In ending gestation, though, what you are taking away from this
person is something she wouldn’t have had to begin with without your aid. She comes
to you with a downward trajectory, as it were: but for you she would already be dead...
.. One who is gestating is providing the fetus with sustenance –
donating nourishment, creating blood, delivering oxygen, providing hormonal triggers
for development – without which it could not live. For a fetus, as the phrase
goes, to live is to be receiving aid. And whether the assistance is delivered by way
of intentional activity (as when the woman eats or takes her prenatal vitamins) or by
way of biological mechanism, assistance it plainly is. But this has crucial implications
for abortion’s alleged status as murder. To put it simply, the right to life, as
Judith Thomson famously put it, does not include the right to have all assistance
needed to maintain that life (Thomson, 1971). Ending gestation will, at early stages
at least, certainly lead to the fetus’s demise, but that does not mean that doing so
would violate its right to life...
Now Thomson herself illustrated the point with an (in)famous thought experiment
in which one person is kidnapped and used as life support for another: staying connected
to the Famous Violinist, she points out, may be the kind thing to do, but disconnecting
oneself does not violate the Violinist’s rights. "

CStanley said...

it’s an ugly thought, and it’s electorally and socially unpopular, and that’s why some of them don’t say it out loud; others realize that while they may find abortion morally wrong, they don’t in their heart of hearts believe removing an embryo from a woman’s body is the same as slaughtering a 5-year-old.


As others have pointed out, the comparison to a 5 year old is used for convenience for her argument. In addition to that rhetorical device, she also presents a false dichotomy. People who believe in right to life for the fetus do not fall into two camps, those who want to punish mothers but can't say so for political reasons and those who don't really think the fetus has equal status to a born child. I've already pojnted out that it is possible to have the view that the pregnant woman who aborts has committed murder but there are reasons to exempt her from punishment. Those reasons do not have anything to do with the status of the fetus, any more than it would be so if a murderer is found not guilty by reason of insanity (this does not mean that society finds the victim in sufficiently human to warrant punishment for his killer.)

dbp said...

The pro-abortion left would love to define the pro-life movement in whatever way makes it hardest to defend. I don't blame them for trying but we should never forget that they are acting in bad faith: members of the pro-life movement do not believe in punishing women.

As for the law, it could be very simple: If abortion was legal for whatever period in which drugs work and then legal surgically only in extreme cases, the remainder could easily be regulated in the way medical care is currently done. Practicing medicine without a license or performing operations which are illegal can both be prosecuted. To my understanding, practicing medicine without a license is rarely if ever enforced when it is a person practicing on themselves. And a patient of an illegal practice or practitioner is usually not prosecuted.

M Jordan said...

Scott Adams' position is best. It preserves the rule of law while allowing for social mores that conflict with that law.

A gentleman in our church, now deceased, was as ardent a pro-lifer as they come. It is always wrong, he declared over and over again. It was his main issue. Then something happened. His daughter, a devout German Baptist woman (as this gentleman had once been), got pregnant and, in her pregnancy had a life-death situation arise. It was either her life or the child's, the doctor told her and her husband. They chose to save the mother's life.

This older gentleman was not the same after this. He simply ceased to discuss abortion. He knew the family had made the right decision. More importantly, he realized that truth is very, very complex. He went to his grave a wiser, but sadder, human being.

CStanley said...

M Jordan with due respect, it rally isn't that complex to say that the mother's life has primacy. It's been complicated, intentionally, by the abortion rights rhetoric that insists on also including "health" exceptions which have led to de facto abortion on demand.

Owen said...

The terrible irony of abortion (it seems to me) is that its advocates summon the State to protect them from all consequences of a decision to abort. That is impossible. The State may agree not to criminalize the act, but it cannot expunge the moral and personal effects. Net position here: get the State out of this arena (except to provide subsidized abortion services).

A related irony is the sudden efflorescence of sexual assault laws and rules, on-campus and off. What might once have been negotiated privately, by the action of conscience or social opprobrium, is now criminalized. Net position here: get the State to police the bedroom.

To ask these people --often and even usually the same people-- to be consistent in defining the desired role of the State, is apparently too much.

Lyssa said...

I think discussing who should get punished misses the point (something that both sides are very apt to do)- the goal is for it not to happen, not for people to do it and get punished. So, the question of who should get punished when it does happen requires determining what sort of punishment would best discourage people from doing it. Seems like the doctors are going to have more to lose.

Ryan said...

To answer Althouse's question, arguably they can take the Adam's fork:

If you are against abortion, you might pick the second path believing that some people would be deterred from getting or providing abortions because it is illegal, even if no penalty is expressly defined. Law abiding citizens don't like breaking the law, period. In this way it would be a deterrent, similar to the way I believe Althouse views marijuana.

Fen said...

Oh I get it - if we aren't willing to imprison women for murdering babies, then we have to let them keep murdering babies. Okay fine, throw them in jail.

Lincoln had it right: "I have always thought that all men should be free; but if any should be slaves it should be first those who desire it for themselves, and secondly those who desire it for others."

Its not complicated
1) you know intercourse carries a risk of pregnancy, you made a CHOICE to accept that risk
2) you know birth control is not 100% effective, you made a CHOICE to accept that risk too
3) you don't get to whine about your CHOICE once another human life is at stake.

And if you planned on abortion as a fail safe, it means you are willing to murder for sex. Even rapists draw the line at killing for sex. Buy a vibrator or a fuck machine if you can't restrain yourself from killing babies.

Accept the consequences of the choices you made. Its not your property to dispose of.

Fen said...

When we talk about abortion it's always "well what about rape, incest, and threats to the life of the mother--what about those, you extremist?" As a %, how many abortions that are performed meet those criteria?

Its 1% for each. A pro-choice group did a study in the 1980s, didn't like the results and tried to memory hole it.

Hagar said...

Professor, what is this about "wanting to punish?"
Is not the practice of law supposed to be governed by "cruel neutrality," strictly separated from personal opinion, not to mention "inflamed passion"?

Ryan said...

Following up on my own post, the Adams fork can be justified in the minds of an "abortion is murder" believer, because abortion is morally "wrong" in the same way that breaking a law (even if there is no express consequence) is morally "wrong."

In other words, God could provide the necessary punishment for the law-breakers. Since the god-fearing people made it "wrong," God won't punish them for sanctioning what they believe to be murder. God will double-punish those who get abortions.

YoungHegelian said...

@Nyamujal,

To put it simply, the right to life, as Judith Thomson famously put it, does not include the right to have all assistance needed to maintain that life (Thomson, 1971). Ending gestation will, at early stages at least, certainly lead to the fetus’s demise, but that does not mean that doing so would violate its right to life...

In grad school, I read Thomson's famous essay about pregnancy as analogous to being taken captive & having one's body drained to support another person. I remember discussing it with a friend who was as pro-choice as they come. His words, which I've never forgotten, were "Think about what Thomson's essay says about her view of human sexuality". As pro-choice as he was, he was still more pro-sex, & he found the analogy appalling.

Fen said...

"One who is gestating is providing the fetus with sustenance –
donating nourishment, creating blood, delivering oxygen, providing hormonal triggers
for development – without which it could not live."

That doesn't follow. A fetus can exist outside the womb without the mother's aid, and a baby may not survive after its birth without the mother's aid. Such logic would permit women to kill their babies weeks after they were born.

eric said...

This is one of the things I've come to like about Trump. He exposes a lot of thinking on the right. And a lot of the reasons why we lose. We lose because we don't fight.

If we want to win, we have to change the culture. And we can't change the culture if we surrender before we even fight.

Before a week ago, I thought the pro life politicians and charities were on my side. I thought they agreed with me. Abortion is the killing of innocent children. And it ought to be illegal and the killers ought to be punished.

Now I've learned they really aren't on my side. That they believe murderers should be coddled, and given therapy, and that teaching will result in less murders.

WTF? If this isn't straight out of the leftist handbook, what is?

Now the Donald has exposed these people to me. Shown me their true colors. Now I know they don't mean what they say. They are just after my vote, or my money. And worse, they have told me that those who believe as I do aren't really pro life and we are setting back the pro life agenda.

Cowards.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Comparisons are important. I've seen comments above raise the "what" issue as in what is being killed, and the "when" issue as in does it really matter when its done?

But I like to ask about these comparisons as well:

Killing a child in-utero by the mom (abortion) vs. by a third party (say, an attacker) which raises the "who" issue as in does it make a difference who is doing the killing? (punish when an attacker causes the death, but exonerate the mom when she causes it?) Does it matter if it's a clump of cells vs. a life? and

Killing the child in-utero where mom wants the child vs. where mom does not want the child, which raises part of the "why" issue as in should we punish or not punish based upon mom's wants (and only hers). (punish the attacker for the death when mom was on her way to Planned Parenthood for an abortion?)

Professor, I wonder if you've ever used these types of hypotheticals in your law school exams? What is the difference in culpability (and why) in three scenarios:

1. Mom wants the baby and is attacked by stranger and baby is killed.
2. Mom doesn't want the baby and is attacked by stranger on the way to Planned Parenthood for her abortion (baby dies from attack).
3. Mom doesn't want the baby and makes it to PP and has an abortion.

Honest intellectual discussion requires wrestling with all these distinctions. Sadly we rarely have honest intellectual discussions in this day of 140 character arguments.

mikee said...

I recall Ross Perot's Veep candidate, Admiral James Stockdale, replying with one line to the question of abortion, and the following exchange with the moderator Bruno:

STOCKDALE: I believe that a woman owns her body and what she does with it is her own business, period.

(APPLAUSE.)

Period.

BRUNO: That's it?

(APPLAUSE.)

STOCKDALE: I don't -- I, too, abhor abortions, but I don't think they should be made illegal, and I don't -- and I don't think it's a political issue. I think it's a privacy issue.

(APPLAUSE.)


Gore and Quayle and their multiple paragraph epistles on the question didn't have the honesty, the simplicity, nor the political realism of this answer.

Where is there an honest man like Stockdale today?

Smilin' Jack said...

Adams wants to make abortion illegal, but then provide no enforcement mechanism.

So it would be sort of like tearing one of those tags off your mattress.

Fen said...

STOCKDALE: I believe that a woman owns her body and what she does with it is her own business, period.

God what an idiot. The baby is not her body, its got DNA from someone else.

Stockdale would have defended slavery because of property rights.

Rick said...

I find it interesting the pro-life faction has adopted so many of the political left's tactics. In this case they want to punish the provider but not the the consumer. This instantly recalls Bloomberg's soda ban, but of course that was based on a long history of social management aimed at businesses rather than consumers. The left learned this works better politically because consumers don't understand how their choices are being limited, and if they do realize they often blame the business rather than government. Enforcement is much easier also. Businesses register with the state, pay taxes, etc. They can't hide. Plus the enforcement is focused on people assets to lose.

Along the same lines pro-lifers used the "regulate out of business" model on Texas abortion clinics recently championed by Obama on the coal industry but whose use by the left also goes back decades.

I find it interesting the left decries the tactics as unfair, of course without acknowledging their own long and persistent use. But it's also interesting only this sub-group of conservatives is sufficiently motivated to adopt the left's tactics. In terms of implementing an agenda they're miles ahead of conservatives (and libertarians) on other issues.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

we don't (unless I'm mistaken) have laws against suicide- people don't get prosecuted for trying to take their own lives.

We used to.

United States: In the past, many states had laws that regarded the act of suicide as a felony, but these laws were seldom enforced. In the 1980s, 30 out of 50 United States has no laws opposing suicide or attempting suicide. With that said, all 50 states had laws stating that assisted suicide is a felony. Currently there is no law against the act of committing suicide in the United States.

http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2014/07/24/is-suicide-illegal-suicide-laws-by-country/

I believe those laws were eliminated because everyone came to realize:

1) They were stupid
2) People committing suicide who didn't succeed needed counseling, not incarceration
3) They were only harming themselves
4) The laws were stupid

Yeah, I know I said the laws were stupid twice, they were just that stupid.

Anyway, I think its quite clear that if abortion is murder (and I think it is) then it should be made illegal and the mother (absent a finding of not responsible due to the inability to tell right from wrong) should be held legally responsible.

Its not an "ugly fact." It is a natural consequence of the moral stand you are taking.

However, it is not a politically tenable position.

Therefore, pro-life politicians (and Donald Trump who is representing himself as pro-choice purely for political benefit) should answer hypothetical questions about doing so, as well as questions concerning rape and incest and health of the mother, by pointing out that the Supreme Court has declared abortion to be a civil right and that even in the extremely unlikely event that that decision was ever overridden, abortion is a matter for the states.

And since it is the case that the POTUS, whose job is to see to it that the executive branch of the government is administered so that the VA is not killing vets via neglect and the IRS is not persecuting his political opponents and to ensure the safety of its citizens from foreign threats and secure the borders, then perhaps we should skip discussing non-consequential matters that do not concern him and move on to more substantive matters.

Now this might upset some pro-lifers, but in the current climate the best we could hope for is a compromise such as that reached in Germany that abortions are illegal after 12 weeks.


Amanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Sylwester said...

This is similar to having a law that's just not enforced, except the commitment to do no enforcing is locked down in the text of the statute.

The Constitutional requirement that the US President be a natural-born citizen lacks an enforcement mechanism in the judicial branch. The enforcement mechanisms are 1) the electorate and 2) the Electoral College.

That's why our election process should compel Presidential candidates to facilitate the release of relevant documents when the issue arises.

/thread-steal

Amanda said...

"Now the Donald has exposed these people to me. Shown me their true colors. Now I know they don't mean what they say. They are just after my vote, or my money."

The pro life movement can't just come out and say that the woman getting the abortion should be jailed. That would paint a truly bad reality, something which pro lifers are unwilling to talk about openly. Not only would if be unpalatable in a modern society to force women to give birth, it is equally unpalatable to hold them responsible for killing the fetus. If abortion becomes illegal, the logical next step is to consider it a crime. Crimes that don't get punished aren't really crimes, now are they? Pro lifers need to put their principles into action and face the blowback from society. Maybe then they will keep their noses out of a woman's private affairs

Mike Sylwester said...

Nyamujal, 11:43
As Frances Kamm’s work points out (Kamm, 1992), in the usual case of a killing – if you stab a person on the street, for instance – you interfere with the trajectory the person had independently of you. She faced a happy enough future, we’ll say; your action changed that, taking away from her something she would have had but for your action. In ending gestation, though, what you are taking away from this person is something she wouldn’t have had to begin with without your aid. She comes to you with a downward trajectory, as it were: but for you she would already be dead ...

Thanks for providing that interesting argument.

Saint Croix said...

This argument is designed to keep the focus on the woman and take our attention away from the baby, who is currently defined as sub-human property by the United States Supreme Court.

It's like asking an abolitionist if he's going to punish George Washington for kidnapping, or Thomas Jefferson for rape, or James Madison for murder.

They want us to think about the people who need to be charged with crimes in this new society. Do you really want to punish George Washington for kidnapping? But this is a crock. Abolitionists don't want to punish Washington, or anybody else. What the abolitionists wanted to do was recognize the humanity of Africans.

they don’t in their heart of hearts believe removing an embryo from a woman’s body is the same as slaughtering a 5-year-old.

Does the author really think that abortion is limited to "an embryo," or that all that happens to said embryo is that she is "removed"?

And if abortion is not a homicide, if no baby is ever killed, why is our media so determined to censor abortion photographs? It's almost like people would be upset if we actually saw this violence.

Birches said...

Lyssa is right as usual.

I love that prolifers are being criticized for being too compassionate.

Roughcoat said...

Abortion is murder. But women shouldn't be punished for having abortion and neither should the physicians who perform abortions. Abortion should be legal.

Yeah, I know. So what.

Abortions will never be made illegal in this country and women will never be punished for having abortions. But even if it was made illegal and women were punished abortions would continue.

The only way to stop abortion is to change the culture, change the hearts and minds of people.

So let the murders continue. I know, murder is supposed to be punished. But in this case it can't be and it won't be. But just because that's the way it is doesn't mean I have to quit thinking abortion is murder.

Forget about it Jake, it's Chinatown.

Joe Blow said...

A longtime lurker, who can no longer resist...

I wonder whether the overturning of Roe v Wade would be the functional equivalent of the Scott Adams path. Each state left to its own devices to define and enforce the murder statute as it applies to the unborn. Each prosecutor, judge and jury left to struggle with whether throwing the book or granting mercy is appropriate under the circumstances.

And if this is the case, why can't a GOP candidate for president admit that "I have no idea what to do about abortion, except to overturn Roe v Wade and let the states figure it out. Next issue, please."

Amanda said...

The only way to decrease abortions is to make birth control even more readily available to girls and women. The pro life movement makes a monumental error when they discourage birth control by pill or by IUD and the emergency/ day after medication that inhibits implantation or fertilization. Why would the pro life movement be so stupid? One would think that the best way to prevent an abortion is to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

Birches said...

Abolitionists don't want to punish Washington, or anybody else. What the abolitionists wanted to do was recognize the humanity of Africans.

.And if abortion is not a homicide, if no baby is ever killed, why is our media so determined to censor abortion photographs? It's almost like people would be upset if we actually saw this violence.


This needs to be emphasized. It is also one reason why prolifers do not want to punish mothers. Our culture has hidden the truth from so many, it's impossible to know who really understands what they did. Doctors understand. They have to. Consider if murder were legal for fifty years. And not just legal, but celebrated by the segment of society that determines culture. We have to change hearts, not punish.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

why can't a GOP candidate for president admit that "I have no idea what to do about abortion, except to overturn Roe v Wade and let the states figure it out. Next issue, please."

Excellent, and much less long-winded than my suggestion.

Fen said...

Does the author really think that abortion is limited to "an embryo," or that all that happens to said embryo is that she is "removed"?

No. But she has to define them as subhuman to justify what she does to them. Same way her kind defined Native Americans as "savages" to justify exterminating them, same way her kind defined blacks as "subhuman" to excuse enslaving them.

On some level, she knows its murder and that the process is cruel. Its why she has to pretend they aren't really human.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

The pro life movement makes a monumental error when they discourage birth control by pill or by IUD

My God Amanda, do you buy your straw by the semi-trailer load?

Fernandinande said...

Nyamujal said...
She comes to you with a downward trajectory, as it were: but for you she would already be dead..... One who is gestating is providing the fetus with sustenance – donating nourishment, creating blood, delivering oxygen, providing hormonal triggers for development – without which it could not live. For a fetus, as the phrase
goes, to live is to be receiving aid.


Two glaring problems with that:
- Anyone can live quite nicely without an abortionist.
- Five-year olds (or two-month olds, or disabled people, or maybe even everybody) - can't live without aid, either.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Amanda said... it is equally unpalatable to hold them responsible for killing the fetus.

What? Why? That doesn't make sense. Do you mean to say "it is equally unpalatable to jail them/prosecute them for killing the fetus?" If so your statement is repetitive. As written it's either the stupidest thing I've read all day or incomprehensible. Do you mean to say women aren't responsible for their voluntary actions and it's wrong to think that they are? What?

A woman getting an abortion (at the requisite point in gestation) is killing the fetus--she's responsible for killing the fetus. Why would the woman not be held responsible for that? You can argue that "held responsible" does not include violating some law/being found guilty of a crime, and most people seem to agree with that, but how the hell can you say a person who gets an abortion isn't responsible for getting an abortion?
You have it exactly backwards w/r/t which "side" wants to ignore the unpalatable/uncomfortable truth about responsibility/what an abortion does. The pro-choicers go to ridiculous lengths like calling a 22 week old fetus "just a clump of cells" and the like in order to avoid the conclusion that an abortion at that point is killing a fetus.

Pro-lifers aren't comfortable with the moral judgement implied by the belief that a fetus (and possibly embryo, blastocyst, and zygote) is a person and/or worthy of protection; that belief implies that women who choose to get abortions are murderers and that's unpalatable, sure (esp. since the procedure is as common as it is).

Pro-choicers aren't comfortable with the idea that an abortion actually does something other than get rid of a "clump of cells," since that would make the choice to do so voluntarily morally bad--the idea that a fetus (at any point in development) is in any way different from a zygote would imply that the fetus itself might deserve some moral consideration and that's unpalatable. Thus the ridiculous comparisons and extreme examples given ("a fetus isn't the same as a 5-year old; what about rape or incest") to obscure the reality.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Five-year olds (or two-month olds, or disabled people, or maybe even everybody) - can't live without aid, either.

This is also a very good point. Humans are social animals. We need the company of others to survive. Indeed, people placed in solitary confinement for extended periods go mad.

As for physical aid, try going out into the wilderness alone and with just your bare hands, see how long you last.

Rick said...

The only way to decrease abortions is to make birth control even more readily available to girls and women.

Birth control is already available everywhere. Even making it free has had almost no impact on abortions, but the rhetoric pushing this ineffective policy as a "solution" does show movement's true goal which is to fund everything the left supports via taxpayers.

The pro life movement makes a monumental error when they discourage birth control by pill

The legal reform movement makes a monumental error when they advocate no prison time for any crime.

sinz52 said...

"A law without penalties"

We already have that.

Congress routinely passes laws without penalties. They're called "Sense of the Congress resolutions" or "Sense of the Senate resolutions." They're used to declare the Congress's opinion on some issue, not mandate a solution to it.

The Senate may pass a sense of the Senate resolution to declare the eggplant the honorary national vegetable for the month of February. Or they may pass a sense of the Senate resolution to honor some American citizen or pet animal who did something heroic or brilliant.

So sure, the Senate could pass a "sense of the Senate resolution" declaring:
"We hereby assert that abortion is a really tough and divisive issue that all adult Americans should give a lot of thought to."

Birches said...

What hoodlumdoodlum said at 1:47 especially with the regards to the law. Just because a woman will not be found legally responsible doesn't mean there isn't consequences.

Birches said...

And kudos Ron for comment at 1:42.

Amanda said...

Hoody,
I'm not saying the woman isn't the responsible party when she chooses to get an abortion, read more carefully. She most certainly isn't being forced by the abortionist to get an abortion.

It would be unpalatable for most people to see women going to jail for getting abortions, that's a reality. I'm saying that the pro life movement is unwilling to take responsibility for helping create the law that would make the act of abortion a crime. If they feel so deeply that it is murder, they should be willing to be in favor of enforcing anti abortion laws and the punishment of the the murderer. They know that there would be huge negative blowback from society as a whole, if women who aborted their fetuses were to be jailed.

Roughcoat said...

Peggy Noonan speaks directly to this issue in today's Wall Street Street. Good column.

n.n said...

So, when and by whose choice does a human life acquire and retain the right to life?

This is a philosophical question with liberal or variable responses, ranging from the scientific and principled to the State-established religious instruction from gods in the twilight zone, or in modern jurisprudence "emanations from a penumbra", and pro-choice/selective.

As for why women commit or contract for elective abortion of their inconvenient children, and its progress to clinical cannibalism by Planned Parenthood et al, this requires an evaluation of both State religious indoctrination and an education system that has clearly failed to recognize human rights and scientific evidence of human evolution from conception, respectively.

rhhardin said...

1. You learn to be a human. You're not born that way. You're human but not a human. You learn by to be a human by being treated as one. There are years of say-foring and overlooking imperfect performances.

So there's no bright line at birth, as far as being a human goes. You do start picking up helpful experience.

2. The instinct to care about babies starts when you can see the baby. This is when you start treating it as a human. That's not a fact about the fetus but about you.

So the line for legal abortion will get pushed back until it can't be made cute any longer, by this or that technology.

So: the no-bright-line argument that pushes it all back to conception is wrong because it's wrong about being a human, if being a human is learned. It's not a human at birth either, it just starts getting treated as a human. That's a fact about society when a baby falls into its hands.

Technology will push the point of abortion earlier so long as it's shown as cute. Then you get a stable compromise point.

The woman loses control over what's in her body at that point, but presumably she can see it as cute herself then.

Parents who want the child see it as a human right away at the first missed period: it fits in their plans and has a role; parents who don't, don't.

That does away with the abortion is murder line entirely, before the compromise point.

CStanley said...

@Amanda- that is right, women are not forced by abortionists to undergo the procedure (many of them are coerced, but that's a discussion for another day.)

By the same token, with the rare exception of women who become pregnant as a result of rape, they are not forced to become pregnant

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Amanda said...If they feel so deeply that it is murder, they should be willing to be in favor of enforcing anti abortion laws and the punishment of the the murderer.

False dichotomy/false choice. YOU are the one asserting that "holding responsible" means "sending to jail." YOU are asserting that pro-choice people MUST believe that women who abort must be jailed.

If I said "Lefty vegetarians who actually care about animal welfare ought to make it a crime to eat any kind of meat" and on that basis questioned the depth of the belief of people who call themselves vegetarians you would say that's unreasonable and fallacious. You're doing the same thing--you're dictating what other people must believe, and in fact you're stating a conclusion about what people who disagree with you have to think while failing to prove your assertion is logically correct and at the same time ascribing beliefs and motives to people (with whom you disagree) that aren't supported by those people's own statements.

Someone less polite might say "you're full of shit and don't know what you're talking about," but I prefer to simply say your conclusions are unwarranted and unsupported, Amanda.

Saint Croix said...

It's just an expressive law, the people saying "we care," but we're not going to do anything about it, because private citizens need room to govern their own private lives.

I cannot emphasize enough how dishonest our media is. It's easy to deny any violence is happening when our media hides the bodies. And we've been hiding the bodies for 40 years.

Who can defend this censorship? Nobody!

Even pro-choice people have to acknowledge that a woman should be fully informed when she makes her choice. Why this hostility to ultrasounds? Why this determination to censor abortion photographs?

To hide the reality of abortion is propaganda, pure and simple. You have to hide the reality of it--you have to lie--otherwise you know ordinary people would be appalled by it.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Here's one you might like, Amanda. Do you support a total ban on civilian ownership of firearms? I mean, you care about kids and innocent victims of gun violence, right? Well then you must support a law that bans all ownership of firearms of any type by private citizens and makes ownership of so much as a single round of ammunition a criminal offense punishable by lengthy prison sentences.

Sure, such a law's unpalatable (what with millions of firearm owners in the nation today) but since you think guns are dangerous that must be your position. Sure, no national politician, no matter how Left they are, has proposed such a law lately, but that's just because they're hiding their true desires because there would be a backlash.

See? It's a BS argument. Some pro-life people would favor a law that criminalizes abortion, and some anti-gun people would favor a law that criminalized all firearm possession, but that does not mean all pro-life or anti-gun people MUST hold those views to be logically consistent.

n.n said...

The establishment of universal human rights begins with a religious and education change in liberal societies. Neither pro-choice or selective principles nor secular indoctrination into material and libertine orientations is capable of exceeding their primitive foundations.

Sebastian said...

"But start making those kinds of distinctions and the whole case against abortion falls apart" No.

Even SCOTUS was not as idiotic as Stockdale, in fabricating some restraint beyond the first trimester.

The whole Kamm/Thomson business is foolish, and even if taken seriously the gestation argument only applies to "embryos" before viability.

Roughcoat said...

2. The instinct to care about babies starts when you can see the baby. This is when you start treating it as a human. That's not a fact about the fetus but about you.

Wrong and stupid. For most "humans" the instinct to care and treat the baby as human starts the moment you are told or realize you're pregnant. It gathers force when you see your first sonogram, when you first feel the baby kick. Your entire post is wrong and stupid.

Amanda said...

Hoody,
Pro life organizations have maintained the public stance that punishing the woman who is getting the abortion should not be punished, why else are they upset with Trump saying the woman should be subject to punishment? As the public spokespeople for the pro life movement that is what gets heard by the general public. Of course individual pro lifers may disagree, but since they don't have access to the general public, the general public hears what the pro life organizations put out to the public. If enough pro lifers disagree with this they should contract the pro life organizations and complain.

Tom said...

I had Trump-esque business leader I was working with tell me that he was "often wrong, rarely confused!" I think that sums Trump perfectly.

Mark Caplan said...

Just vaguely saying the woman should be punished for having an abortion doesn't tell you anything, since the "punishment" could be a $1 fine, or a month of waterboarding.

Amanda said...

One more thought, women seeking abortions by and large understand that what they are aborting is alive and human. To say that these women are uninformed as to what is happening inside their uteri before they choose to abort is to infantalize the woman herself. The decision to go through with an abortion isn't taken lightly by the vast majority of women. They know what is happening, no one is twisting their arms to abort their fetuses.

Amanda said...

If you believe abortion to be murder of a person with full constitutional rights, it would stand to reason to make the punishment be equal to the "crime". Put your principles to work. Or shut up.

CStanley said...

Rhardin is somewhat correct about the emotional attachment though. But that's a lousy way to make law. If your kids turn out to be not so cute and kind of demanding, you can't terminate them.

Saint Croix said...

Pro life organizations have maintained the public stance that punishing the woman who is getting the abortion should not be punished

None of the aborting moms were punished in the Kermit Gosnell murders.

To criminalize an abortion is to make an act, inducing an abortion, a crime. This is why the focus has always been on the abortionist. It's never been a crime to have a miscarriage.

You could, of course, prosecute the woman receiving the abortion as a co-conspirator. But the person performing the abortion is the one who is doing the crime.

A woman can, of course, abort herself. Such a woman could (and should) be prosecuted under a criminal abortion statute.

But all of this discussion is irrelevant until we recognize the humanity of the unborn child, and educate our people in regard to this awful violence.

Amanda said...

The person who hires the hit man is equally as guilty as the hit man, no?

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Althouse asks: "Can travelers on Abortion-Is-Murder Road take the Scott Adams fork?"

Yes, but it devalues Law and diminishes respect for the Law. No vale la pena.

Brando said...

Adams makes a decent point though--you could make something illegal without criminalizing it. Abortion clinics could be shut down, it'd be illegal to advertize such services, you could lose your license for performing them or be subject to fines, but no one would be jailed for it. It would fit a theory that abortion is wrong, but not equivalent to murder. Which I think a plurality of people seem to agree with, judging from most polling on the subject.

Static Ping said...

If birth control was supposed to reduce the number of abortions, it is one of the greatest failures of all time.

CStanley said...

Amanda, if women by and large are aware, then why do we constantly hear that feti are clumps of cells, that an abortion is like clipping your toenails or having a cancerous growth removed, and that the "products of conception" are part of the woman's own body? Why the frequent attempt to demean prolifers by comparing fertilized ova to a man's ejaculate?

My guess is you're from the older generation when the talking point was "legal, safe, but rare." Nowadays it's no big deal or even cause for celebration among the whacko eat of the fringe.

Get with the program....progress baby!

Amanda said...

At what point does the unborn child receive full constitutional rights? Conception, 8 weeks, 16 weeks? When? How can we criminalize the death of a fetus that doesn't have rights?

Saint Croix said...

6 weeks after conception, with the start of activity in her brain stem. That's the point when she's a live human being, and a legal homicide can occur. (If our death statutes are right in regard to the important biological criterion).

Amanda said...

I don't buy that "clump of cells" nonsense. Pro choice people ought to take a look at their own honesty, as well as pro lifers. We all need to be realistic about the fact that women have aborted their fetuses for quite sometime now (before that committed infanticide) and won't stop should it be illegal. I am In favor of adjusting the laws to reflect the viability of the fetus, which continues to be earlier due to advances in modern medicine.

I would like to know when the fetus becomes a "legal" human. Do we give full constitutional rights to a zygote?

R. Chatt said...

I am personally repulsed by the idea of abortion, have always been so, and arranged my life to prevent that from ever happening.

I also have a hard time believing that the most ardent pro-lifers I see here really care that much about the life of every single person on earth or providing for each and every child who is born until they are eighteen years old. Mostly Conservatives, those people would likely resent increasing their taxes to provide better health care, schools and opportunities for all the children in the world.

I believe what I read in their comments is not their overwhelming love for life and their fellow human beings, but a deep resentment and animus towards women and the power women have in this one, albeit important, realm of life. The woman doesn't matter, only the unborn child matters! Once the child is born, who cares?

I fully respect the values and opinions of people who are opposed to abortions and respect their refusal to ever have an abortion, even if that means having a severely deformed child. But what I don't respect is their insistence on imposing their values and beliefs on others. Not everyone believes that a zygote or day old fertilized egg is a human baby but they still cherish and value life. I think terminating or ending that potential life is just that, calling it murder is an exaggeration for emotional effect.

I don't believe we can go back and make abortion illegal. Once a freedom or right is established you can't reverse that. It would be like trying to reinstitute slavery or forcing gays back into the closet.

Just offering my opinion. I think this airing of opinions is healthy and important.

Amanda said...

Saint Croix,
So abortions should be legal up to six weeks? With abortion clinics being closed and restrictions being tightened, how much of a burden on the woman is it to require her to abort by the sixth week? A huge burden I would think.

n.n said...

The recognition of human life throughout our evolution from conception to a natural, accidental, or premeditated death has implications that the left, undecided middle, and many on the right are not prepared to consider. So, we adopt a pro-choice or selective religion and defer to future generations to reconcile first principles, uncontroversial scientific evidence, and self-evident knowledge. In the meantime, reactive and planned parenthood are a normal part of our "enlightened" civilization for purposes of wealth, pleasure, leisure, egoism, democratic leverage, revenue (i.e. taxation), and whatever Planned Parenthood et al do with the unwanted whole but lucrative parts.

Franklin said...

I just want to bring our laws in line with enlightened states like Norway - no abortions after 12 weeks without a commission's OK.

That's honestly a reasonable law that is in line with most bioethical philosophies.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Amanda -- that's not responsive to what I said. Why should pro-life people take direction from you? It'd be like me telling vegans/vegetarians how they should run their lobbying organizations.

If you believe abortion to be murder of a person with full constitutional rights, it would stand to reason to make the punishment be equal to the "crime". Put your principles to work. Or shut up.

Ah, "or shut up" there it is. Unless you advocate for the jailing of women who get abortions Amanda says you should shut up if you're pro-life.

Ok, let's play that game, Amanda. Do you think private gun ownership ought to be legal? If not do you support a complete ban on gun ownership, w/jail time for people who continue to own guns? Put your principles to work, or shut up. Hey, like the current President. He talks about how terrible gun violence is, how no one needs scary assault-style weapons and large magazines, but he's not pushing for any law to make all gun ownership illegal (or even, really, to outlaw those particular types of firearms/items). Should he shut up? Or are you applying a standard you made up only against people with whom you disagree? I kinda think it's that one, Amanda.

Anglelyne said...

HoodlumDoodlum:

I'm a little concerned about your current blood pressure readings, but I am admiring your "fed up to the bloody back teeth and I'm not going to tolerate this shite one minute more" comments of the last couple of days.

Saint Croix said...

Why are we arguing about the form a criminal statute should take?

"It should be a crime to perform an abortion."

"No, it should be a crime to undergo an abortion."

Note how the author is arguing that belief in the first, but a disagreement on the second, means that you do not think an unborn baby is a person with a right to life.

Maybe it's just a disagreement in regard to the form a criminal statute should take!

Why are we censoring abortion photographs?

I think we do this because we know that the unborn is a baby. And we know this violence is awful.

And yet many people deny the unborn has any right to life.

But your censorship is a tacit acknowledging that awful violence is occurring. And it's so bad you can't look at it, and you refuse to show it to anybody. This violence is so upsetting, you can only deny it and pretend it's not happening.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Amanda said...I am In favor of adjusting the laws to reflect the viability of the fetus, which continues to be earlier due to advances in modern medicine

So if the law said that abortion wasn't allowed after viability, Amanda, what would the enforcement of that law look like? What penalty would someone who broke that law (who voluntarily aborted a fetus after viability for reasons other than health) face? Jail? So now YOU are ok with "sending a woman to jail for having an abortion?!" Put your principles to work!

Rick said...

Amanda said...I am In favor of adjusting the laws to reflect the viability of the fetus, which continues to be earlier due to advances in modern medicine

Note though this position doesn't follow from her principles. You'd think on a thread where she's acting as if pro-lifers have committed some major error for not supporting a position that follows from their stated principle she'd be a little more aware. Perhaps only her opponents are expected to reason from principles so her error is unimportant.

Saint Croix said...

So abortions should be legal up to six weeks?

No, I think all abortions should be illegal. You were asking when the baby became a person with a right to life under our Constitution.

I think early abortions are very bad, and would make them a crime, too. But they don't constitute a homicide, under our death statutes.

I wrote a book on the subject, if you're interested.

n.n said...

The issues of "one child" and "selective child" policies are not equivalent. The former reflects the choice of a minority, while the latter reflects the choices of the general population. Albeit normalized or promoted by minority political, judicial, industrial, and chauvinist factions. The former ended with the reformed choice of a minority, and the latter will only end with a cultural change. The dysfunctional revolution, anti-native policies, devaluation of capital and labor, "secular" education, and State-establishment of a pro-choice or selective religion has had progressive consequences with comprehensive intermediate causes.

Birches said...

I like how Amanda completely ignores the gun control thought play and goes straight back to telling us what we should believe.

Amanda said...

Doody,
Yes, she should be jailed should she abort after 20 weeks, as well as the person who would perform the abortion after 20 weeks. I'm not embarrased to say so. IF the fetus is given full constitutional rights at that time, we should consider that child is deserving of full protection under the law. Most people recognize that 20 weeks is sufficient time in which to abort. A fetus/ preemie can now survive if born by 21 weeks.

Amanda said...

Birches, I'm not telling you what to believe. Don't be threatened by me expressing myself. Believe whatever floats your boat, I can't tell you what to do, nor would I want to. I'm pointing out the hypocrisy of the pro life movement, I've even pointed to the hypocrisy of the pro choice movement.

Saint Croix said...

how much of a burden on the woman is it to require her to abort by the sixth week? A huge burden I would think.

I don't think a baby should be defined as a burden. This is a blessing from God. It's an opportunity to love. Love the child you have created!

I think people should only have sex when they are in love. If you're not ready to have a child, use birth control. But be prepared for a miracle anyway!

Causing a woman to have an abortion is not a normal thing, or a healthy thing. It's bad for your reproductive system. Among other things, it might cause breast cancer.

Birches said...

I believe what I read in their comments is not their overwhelming love for life and their fellow human beings, but a deep resentment and animus towards women and the power women have in this one, albeit important, realm of life. The woman doesn't matter, only the unborn child matters! Once the child is born, who cares?

R Chatt doesn't know any prolifers. I have a few friends who have adopted special needs children because they believe all lives matter. I personally give a substantial portion of my money and time to organizations who care for the poor and needy. Most of my friends do too. We just don't throw a party about it.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I don't find it necessary to question the depth and sincerity of pro-lifers beliefs to disagree with them. I see why pro-choicers have to resort to essentially calling pro-lifers hypocritical. You disagree! It's a big disagreement, sure, but both can be sincere in their beliefs/consistent in their principles.

Pro-choicers largely avoid thinking about/thinking through the meanings of their beliefs vis a vis where to draw the line btw. legal and illegal abortion practices. Why is 24 + weeks illegal but 23 weeks and 6 days legal? Why are some methods illegal but other methods legal--just squeamishness about the actual physical reality of what's being done? It's easier not to think about it at all, because drawing the line is difficult and it's easier to pretend that 1.) most of the contested abortions under discussion are early stage so it really is just some unrecognizable tissue and 2.) that there is really some important physical and moral difference between fetuses at whatever developmental line we arbitrarily draw (for legality). The reality is that a lot of gruesome things are legal and that we don't have a good answer as to why some things/times are legal and some aren't other than "to do otherwise will be massively inconvenient and restrict the rights/freedom of women who have a voice."

Pro-lifers largely avoid thinking about/thinking through the implications of their moral judgement given the frequency and widespread nature of abortion in the U.S. There have been teens of millions of abortions since Roe, and it is difficult to feel like so many women (of all ages, backgrounds, etc) are all monsters (morally speaking). Pregnancy is a huge burden, as is having to raise a child, and many pro-life people aren't comfortable saying that the law should force that burden on people who don't want it.

So everybody, or almost everybody, looks away to some degree. It's a tough issue, and the fact that we've reduced it down to slogans and bumper stickers makes it tougher. Pro-life people feel like the Media and larger culture is against them and doesn't treat their arguments fairly. Pro-choice people feel like they have to defend what they see as a personal right vigorously and absolutely lest they lose ground and give up what they see as a precious freedom (of choice and personal autonomy).

You end up with people taking extreme positions. Debbie WS says there can't be any legal restrictions on what gestational time an abortion can be performed. Some pro-life organizations say any actions taken after fertilization that prevent a baby from eventually being born should be illegal.

I reject the idea that only the extreme positions are defensible (in moral and logical terms). I reject the idea that only one side fails to look at the objective facts/"live their principles." Almost everyone is shaky on the reality of this stuff, that's part of what makes it such a tough issue. I think both sides can and should be treated with respect, but I understand that the legal and political fights over the issue makes that difficult.

Rick said...

HoodlumDoodlum said...
Ok, let's play that game, Amanda. Do you think private gun ownership ought to be legal?


It would be better to stay on topic. She professes an abortion is the woman's choice because it's her body. Is it not her body after 20 weeks? So shouldn't she put her principles to work or shut up?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Amanda,

Ok, so we don't really disagree, nor do you really disagree with some (weakly) pro-life people, thanks for clarifying. I hope you agree that one can oppose abortion (or even just SOME abortion) without thinking that all abortion should be illegal/that all who abort should be jailed. You might possibly even agree that some abortion (abortion at some point(s)) is morally similar if not equivalent to murder, again without necessarily also thinking all women who abort should be jailed.

It's a nuanced position. You're allowed to have one of those! So are others, pro-choice & pro-life people included. I'm glad we talked/typed that out.

Birches said...

So Amanda, is it hypocrisy to not prosecute every single person who commits war crimes? How many people were prosecuted for the violence in Sudan? Serbia? Cambodia? Showing mercy to people who have done wrong but in the midst of culture that tells them they are doing right is not hypocrisy.

Amanda said...

Saint Croix,
I didn't say that I think babies are a burden, but they may be one to women who are unable to adequately care for a child. The woman might treat that child as a burden, if she is forced to carry if and give birth. I said it would be a burden on the WOMAN seeking an abortion before six weeks if abortion clinics aren't readily available. No need to lecture me on the blessings children are to women and families that want them, I know full well what it is to have children. The fact that I wouldn't have an abortion myself doesn't keep me from seeing the necessity for women to have safe abortions should they need one, available in a reasonable period of time.

Birches said...

Well said Hoodlum at 3:46

Mark said...

So, we are going to do this again??

Well, I'm late to this discussion -- and missed the last one entirely -- but let me repeat what I said before Trump proved again his dimwittedness, when the issue came up in the context of the Indiana law and a couple of attempts were made here to bait people into saying that women who have abortions should go to prison --

From the pro-life perspective, "criminalizing abortion" means trying to save human lives. No person who is pro-life wants women to go to prison. The only ones pushing that are the pro-abortionists. Pro-lifers do not desire that women who have had abortions to go to prison, pro-lifers want to help them -- and that is exactly what they have done for the past 45 years, helping post-abortive women and helping those at risk of abortion to keep and raise their child. It is the pro-abortionists who keep talking about putting women in prison.

Pro-lifers really do not even want to put the abortionists -- even the Gosnells of the world -- in prison. What the pro-life community wants is to SAVE HUMAN LIVES. In fact, that is the purpose of all criminal laws against homicide.

If, however, anyone is deserving of prison, it is the abortionist who knows exactly what it is that he is doing, and not the woman who in times of stress and tension have been taken advantage of and lied to that what is involved is the killing of a human being.


Now, I know that it fills the pro-abortionists with rage that pro-lifers should be caring people who do not harbor malice for women who abort, and instead have universally concluded that they should be treated with mercy instead. I know also that many pro-abortionists cannot even conceive of the notion of mercy, and that they instead are all to willing to condescend to this inane accusation that pro-lifers do not really believe that the entity in the womb is an innocent living human being.

I also know that pro-abortionists are all to eager to subject women to the Gosnell butchers of the world. And if quite a few women die and are seriously injured in their clinic-room back alleys, they think that that is fine with them if they can continue to revel in their absolute power over life and death. Just like they do not care to pick up the broken pieces of the women whose babies they have induced to have ripped out of them.

Please you pro-abortionists, share us all the pretense of being a human being, much less a decent and caring one. Meanwhile, Trump, you were always a fraud from the get-go (but then you are in the same company as most Establishment Republicans).

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Rick - fair enough. I don't really want to attack the position that things change at some point or get into the logical problems of that; I honestly have the same problem in the position I take!

I don't favor making abortion illegal pre-viability. I don't think there's anything particularly special about the moment of viability and I know that that moment is both poorly defined and always moving (thanks to advances in medical science). It's not a very defensible position, honestly, and it's not very principled. I'm not particularly proud of it! It's a compromise and a relatively unhappy one, but I can't get to a better position practically speaking.

If Amanda's in the same boat I empathize and sympathize. I think it is wrong to attack people who hold sincere pro-life views for some perceived lack of consistency (w/r/t jailing women who abort) and that sure seemed like what she was doing. It sounds like she actually has a compromise (and, really, a compromised) position just like me, though, so I don't really feel like I need to try and show her that she (and I!) is wrong in that.

Shorter: it's wrong to say all pro-life people are hypocrites or insufficiently principled just because they don't hold some belief/support some action you think being pro-life necessitates. Abortion (in the context of the US/Western civilization, etc) is a difficult concept and I think most people have shaky, compromise positions--I certainly do.

Amanda said...

Birches,
Yes, it is hypocrisy to not prosecute war crimes, not only is it hypocrisy it's despicable. Show mercy, fine, but don't pretend it isn't a crime IF there are laws against it. Obama's administration chose not to prosecute the people who tortured POWs in prison camps in Iraq, GTMO and elsewhere, that was wrong.

n.n said...

The pro-choicers don't like when their religious beliefs are exposed to public scrutiny. Among other things, it exposes all of the selective practices (e.g. selective child, selective exclusion, class diversity, class warfare) they have adopted throughout the time of their establishment.

Mark said...

And then there is this to consider.

Here we are just a couple of days after Easter. Is it really that hard to comprehend the idea of forgiveness? Is it really that hard to understand that forgiveness does not mean that what was done (or not done) was not wrong or evil, but on the contrary, it is a recognition that it is wrong, gravely wrong, but is forgiven.

At the end of the Civil War, Lincoln did not condemn the South and desire bloody vengeance for the war. Instead he said, "Malice toward none, charity for all." By saying this, Lincoln in no way suggested that the 600,000 Americans who were killed were not killed after all.

That authentic pro-lifers in general -- like the Church -- would treat abortive women with mercy and forgiveness, rather than condemn them, does not mean that the action is not evil. It is. It is a horrible evil. But if we are going to heal from the scourge of abortion, either individual women or the nation as a whole, such mercy is necessary.

Mark said...

If you had your choice between having (1) the prisons all overpopulated (as they are now) because of all the many different crimes that have been committed, or (2) the prisons empty with the criminal laws still on the books, but people have instead chosen virtue over crime, which would you prefer?

I'd rather have empty prisons myself. That does not mean that I think the criminal laws should all be repealed. Or that the police force should be abolished.

Rick said...

HoodlumDoodlum said...
Rick - fair enough. I don't really want to attack the position that things change at some point or get into the logical problems of that; I honestly have the same problem in the position I take!


This isn't an attack on that belief. It's simply showing the argument she claims invalidates others' positions also invalidates her own and that of most abortion supporters. Abortion extremists emphasize the "her body" element because it precludes any compromise. If they admit other principles apply it becomes obvious we're only debating small differences in time when X happens or Y should become illegal. When this happens the power of outrage [Slavery!, Forced Childbirth!] disappears. So even though most don't believe it they present it.

The response to "her body her choice" is to ask whether the mother should be able to abort on the delivery table. Why not at 7 months? Is it not still her body? When you bring this up opponents will fall into two camps. Some will want to retain some credibility and fall back to viability, the remainder will reveal their extremism. The ones who fall back violate their own principles and so you should not accept such an argument from them. The ones who reveal themselves you should give a megaphone. Make it toxic, make everyone understand her body her choice means unlimited abortion.

While I think abortion opponents do a good job generally advancing their interests their framing and response to this particular argument [which comes up all the time by the left's design] could be better.

Birches said...

Amanda, I find it interesting that I brought up large scale cases of genocide and war crimes where large numbers of a population would need to be prosecuted and you bring up small scale incidents that could easily be handled. It's a difference in perceptions.

What Mark just said, I second.

Birches said...

What he said at 4:11

Rusty said...

Mark. I'd just like them to call it by its proper name. infanticide. And it isn't a matter of if I forgive them. It's legal and I don't care what you do as long as its legal.
But just as a point of interest it might be helpful to these women to explain to them just how babies are made. You know. So they can avoid this process in the future.

Qwinn said...

"The reality is that a lot of gruesome things are legal"

Aside from war, I'm really having a hard time coming up with any examples that can't be filed under "abortion". At least not anywhere in the same category of gruesome that sticking a spike into a baby's skull and sucking out the brain until the skull implodes entails. Can you enlighten me as to what the second most gruesome legal thing would be?

Mark said...
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Mark said...

I believe what I read in their comments is not their overwhelming love for life and their fellow human beings, but a deep resentment and animus towards women and the power women have in this one, albeit important, realm of life. The woman doesn't matter, only the unborn child matters! Once the child is born, who cares?
___________________________

I suppose I should not be surprised to see this evil crap of a lie yet again. And, as I said before -

Aside from an advocate for the culture of death having the gall to define what it means to be "pro-life," it is exactly because pro-lifers are supportive of all human life "from conception until natural death," to borrow a phrase used for many decades now, that pro-life organizations are the number one private provider of charitable services, including providing food, housing, clothing, employment services, legal services, medical services, mental health services, education, end-of-life care, and more to pregnant women, new mothers, children, and other women and men of every age, race, ethnicity, sexuality, etc.

Amanda said...
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Amanda said...

There is nothing to keep us from showing mercy and forgiveness toward anyone that commits any crime. Of course show mercy, of course forgive, but don't pretend it wasn't a punishable offense when there is a law against it. My opinion, do as you see fit, I'm not telling you what to do. I have enough trouble following my own rules.

Mark said...
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Mark said...

It is only because there is a punishable offense that you can have mercy and forgiveness in response to it. If something is not wrong, then there is nothing to forgive.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Qwinn - I was specifically talking about "things" related to abortion--those are by far the most gruesome, I agree. If I had to give other examples I'd have to go to something like medical or psychiatric procedures for the mentally ill, I guess, or maybe something like the type of life some young children have (in a cult or something like that) where their treatment isn't technically abusive but is what most of us would consider terrible. All sorts of medical procedures are icky but I agree the procedures that can be used in abortion seem to be the worst by far.

Rick - Another example I've seen gain some traction lately is to leverage people's distaste for abortions provided for certain reasons to question why some reasons are valid and some aren't. I think there was even a post here recently talking about proposed laws against sex-selection abortion and bumping the feminist belief that abortion for purposes of sex selection is wrong against the pro-choice belief that women should have the right to choose to abort for whatever reason they decide. A standard hypothetical is to posit an identifiable marker for homosexuality and ask if it would be legally permissible to choose to have an abortion if that marker was found--and if not why that choice was off limits but obtaining the same out come for any other reason would not be.

Freeman Hunt said...

One might assume doctors would be the targets of prosecution because it would be logistically impossible to investigate the women given the number of stillbirths and miscarriages. That wouldn't accede to the idea that the women aren't doing something horrible or that they shouldn't be punished.

Rae said...

African American women abort at 3x + the rate of white women. How many more African Americans would there be today - with that much more political power - if that were not true?

Why is abortion not a last resort here? Give a tax break for giving up your baby for adoption. Make it worth carrying the baby to term. Or even better, for five years after giving up the baby.

Rick said...

HD:

Exactly right. Along the lines of asking why Bill Clinton's safe, legal, and rare included rare. Do we worry that cyst removals are rare?

They can choose intellectual consistency or they can choose to not be monstrous, but they can't choose both. Both choices are losers (although one a much faster loser). The point is to make them choose, which is why people like Amanda run rather than answer.

Fen said...

Amanda: I would like to know when the fetus becomes a "legal" human. Do we give full constitutional rights to a zygote?

Our justice system refuses to kill a human unless it can be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt" that he murdered someone. We err on the side of caution when a human life is involved.

The current corrupt mindset is that the baby must prove it is human. That's backwards, the abortionists should have to prove that its not.

Gahrie said...

Amanda: I would like to know when the fetus becomes a "legal" human. Do we give full constitutional rights to a zygote?

Oh that's easy. We use exactly the same standard that we use to legally define death...brainwaves.

If it has brainwaves...it is alive and has all its rights.

n.n said...
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n.n said...

The pro-choice baby trials. If it doesn't cry, poison it. If it cries, decapitate it. When it stops crying, Planned Parenthood will cannibalize it for its lucrative parts. The progression from extreme to something altogether barbaric.

Bill Peschel said...

If you can handle something challenging about murdering your children, pick up "Mabiki."

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DEENTZM/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1

It's a discussion of the role killing infants played in keeping Japan's population in line with its resources. Fascinating book.

Here's the description from Amazon:

This book tells the story of a society reversing deeply held worldviews and revolutionizing its demography. In parts of eighteenth-century Japan, couples raised only two or three children. As villages shrank and domain headcounts dwindled, posters of child-murdering she-devils began to appear, and governments offered to pay their subjects to have more children. In these pages, the long conflict over the meaning of infanticide comes to life once again. Those who killed babies saw themselves as responsible parents to their chosen children. Those who opposed infanticide redrew the boundaries of humanity so as to encompass newborn infants and exclude those who would not raise them. In Eastern Japan, the focus of this book, population growth resumed in the nineteenth century. According to its village registers, more and more parents reared all their children. Others persisted in the old ways, leaving traces of hundreds of thousands of infanticides in the statistics of the modern Japanese state. Nonetheless, by 1925, total fertility rates approached six children per women in the very lands where raising four had once been considered profligate. This reverse fertility transition suggests that the demographic history of the world is more interesting than paradigms of unidirectional change would have us believe, and that the future of fertility and population growth may yet hold many surprises.

n.n said...

The goal should be to reconcile individual dignity and intrinsic value with natural imperatives. There are three extreme positions: deny the first, deny the second, deny the third.

Freeman Hunt:

It is unreasonable to believe that a natural right could ever be denied. Since it is impossible to monitor let alone prevent murder at any stage in human evolution, before or after birth, the practical position to start from is the denial of all elective abortions. The legal precedent is that a human life can only be terminated in cases of self-defense. This must be done in conjunction with addressing underlying and contributing causes (e.g. economic, social, cultural, educational, democratic) and replacing the State-established pro-choice religion with a moral philosophy that is internally, externally, and mutually consistent. That is a reconciliation of two moral principles or axioms: individual dignity and intrinsic value, with natural imperatives (e.g. evolutionary fitness, resource development, etc.). This has implications that disturb the ideological left, right, and middle.

n.n said...

Bill Peschel:

The real world does not exhibit and rarely tolerates progressive processes. Human life is itself an evolutionary or chaotic process that follows a semi-stable path directed by internal and external causative forces with a well-defined source (i.e. conception) and sink (i.e. death). In between, the fitness function given by nature is characterized by reproduction or extinction. Few will choose to voluntarily establish a dodo dynasty, but if they do, society will eventually collapse, and they are replaced by a fitter population, typically by force and occasionally through invitation.

Roughcoat said...

I'm Catholic. The belief that abortion is a mortal sin is a tenet of my faith. For me this is a religious issue. It's not a legal issue because it's not illegal. I'm rendering unto caesar. I'm obliged by my faith to do so. I don't think that it's possible to make abortion illegal and I believe that it's a fool's errand to even try. I don't think abortion should be illegal. Rather, I think it shouldn't be done. I do believe that it's possible to change hearts and minds about abortion. That's the only way abortion can be made a thing of the past. But it's going to take a long time to achieve this goal. A very long time.

cyrus83 said...

I think that laws need some sort of penalty and enforcement, however minor, to be something other than a dead letter. But there are at least two other possible forks in this path: penalties on the doctors and penalties on the fathers.

With doctors, one way to reduce the economic incentive to perform elective abortions is to prohibit the charging of a fee for what would be an illegal procedure. That would make it less likely that most doctors would do it absent true medical necessity, although doubtless some would continue to do it, most likely under the aegis of something like Planned Parenthood, which could presumably collect donations to offset the costs.

Men have a very strong incentive to convince a woman who isn't their wife to have an abortion since that would free them from close to 20 years of child support payments and the commitment that having a child takes. In most cases, it makes financial sense for them to pay for the abortion and do anything else it takes to make sure that financial liability doesn't reach birth, and once the abortion is done, they can skip out free and clear of any further obligation. I'd prefer to impose a penalty on the father of the aborted child rather than the mother to reduce this incentive.

Mark said...

I'm rendering unto caesar. I'm obliged by my faith to do so. I don't think that it's possible to make abortion illegal and I believe that it's a fool's errand to even try. I don't think abortion should be illegal.

This idea of blindly following the civil law is abhorrent to Catholic teaching. On the contrary, you are obliged by your Catholic faith to oppose unjust laws and work for civil laws that protect human life.

As Pope John Paul II affirmed --
71. In the Encyclical Pacem in Terris, John XXIII pointed out that . . . "Thus any government which refused to recognize human rights or acted in violation of them, would not only fail in its duty; its decrees would be wholly lacking in binding force."

72. The doctrine on the necessary conformity of civil law with the moral law is in continuity with the whole tradition of the Church. This is clear once more from John XXIII's Encyclical . . . "laws and decrees enacted in contravention of the moral order, and hence of the divine will, can have no binding force in conscience...; indeed, the passing of such laws undermines the very nature of authority and results in shameful abuse."

This is the clear teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas, who writes that "human law is law inasmuch as it is in conformity with right reason and thus derives from the eternal law. But when a law is contrary to reason, it is called an unjust law; but in this case it ceases to be a law and becomes instead an act of violence."

73. Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. From the very beginnings of the Church, the apostolic preaching reminded Christians of their duty to obey legitimately constituted public authorities (cf. Rom 13:1-7; 1 Pet 2:13-14), but at the same time it firmly warned that "we must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). In the Old Testament, precisely in regard to threats against life, we find a significant example of resistance to the unjust command of those in authority. After Pharaoh ordered the killing of all newborn males, the Hebrew midwives refused. "They did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live" (Ex 1:17). But the ultimate reason for their action should be noted: "the midwives feared God" (ibid.). It is precisely from obedience to God-to whom alone is due that fear which is acknowledgment of his absolute sovereignty-that the strength and the courage to resist unjust human laws are born. It is the strength and the courage of those prepared even to be imprisoned or put to the sword, in the certainty that this is what makes for "the endurance and faith of the saints" (Rev 13:10).

In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to "take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it".

Mark said...

For those who are not Catholic, you too have a solemn obligation to oppose unjust laws that are mala in se, and not simply have the attitude that "the law is the law," as recognized by the Nuremberg tribunal.

Rusty said...


"If it has brainwaves...it is alive and has all its rights"

It is alive. Once it starts dividing it has all the genetic material of a complete human being. It is living tissue.

CStanley said...

I agree with Mark. I'm Catholic too but admit I have wavered on the issue of legality. I agree with Roughcoat that ultimately the changing of hearts and minds is critical (otherwise we really will return to back alley abortions and women harming themselves.)

But the reason the law is important is that laws give a foothold to the entire philosophy of the hierarchy of rights. It has become impossible to argue against people who say that abortion is a natural right when they have the force of the Supreme Court decisions behind them.

jr565 said...

Trump now says he wants the laws on abortion to remain the same. I have no idea where he stands on abortion. He's all over the place.
As for how to treat abortion, how would we treat a Gosnell? How would we treat doctors who perform late term abortions when there is no health risk to the mother. I see no reason why we couldn't fine doctors who perform illegal abortions.
Should we charge the mother? We would if they killed a baby after it was born. So, perhaps we should start doing so if it's third trimester abortion. We could have differing degrees of penalties depending on how far along the woman is and how necessary the abortion is at that point. Luckily, not that many third trimester abortions take place.

jr565 said...

Why do we charge people like Scott Peterson with a double murder if they kill the mother and the fetus dies? How should we charge a man who tries to induce a miscarriage by kicking his girlfriend in the stomach? Does it matter if she wants the baby or if she's on her way to the abortion clinic when he does so?

jr565 said...

There was a case where a boyfriend and girlfriend both hatched a plan to induce a miscarriage. He kicked her in the stomach, with her consent, and it did in fact kill the fetus. He was charged with murder. And she was charged with... Nothing. Because a woman has a right to choose. (Can't find a link to the story) Either it's a death or it isn't. If we want consistency, shouldn't the most he gets charged with be assault? Because all he's doing is killing a clump of cells, right?

Moneyrunner said...

Chris Matthews called Christians opposed to abortion fascists.

In all the controversy about Trumps responses to Christ Matthews badgering about abortion, what has been overlooked is that Matthews actually called people who oppose abortion Fascists.

Let's go to the transcript:

TRUMP: So you're against the teachings of your Church?

MATTHEWS: I have a view -- a moral view -- but I believe we live in a free country, and I don't want to live in a country so fascistic that it could stop a person from making that decision.

There is no getting around it. Oppose abortion and, according to a leading member of the media and Democrat - but I repeat myself - opposing abortion is fascistic.

Let there be no question about it: Democrats not only celebrate abortion, demand abortion on demand up to - and after - delivery of the child - but believe that Christians who are apposed are Fascists.

Roughcoat said...

Mark is right and so is CStanley. I'm persuaded.

Roughcoat said...

Except this: you're not going to change the law without changing hearts and minds.

So, you work to change the law and I'll work to change hearts and minds. We'll see who reaches the finish line first.

M Jordan said...

Laws ultimately reflect the society that writes them. They encode what the people already believe to be moral. Our society has decided that the woman's right is greater than the child's. It's that simple. Whether that is the correct position on the morality scale doesn't really matter because our society accepts it.

Conservatives lose so many debates because they take on a purist position which, if pressed, they can never defend. Democrats have always been more savvy, understanding the pulse of the masses better.

That all said, as Roughcoat just posted, Change hearts and minds before changing the law.

Mark said...

Except this: you're not going to change the law without changing hearts and minds

Nothing in what I said is contrary to "changing hearts and minds." And to suggest otherwise is to create a false dichotomy. It is not either-or, but both-and.

In fact, as a practical matter, conversion of hearts and minds is essential in order to restore the protections of the law to all human life, and to keeping those protections. Furthermore, going back to Church teaching, in no way shape or form is it ever suggested that conversion should be forced. The Church proposes, it imposes nothing. It seeks to speak to the consciences of people so that they might of their own will turn toward the good.

Roughcoat said...

Okay, Mark. I think you're being slippery on this issue. But enough, this thread is dead. We'll resume this conversation in a future thread. I'm sure Althouse will return to the subject.

Roughcoat said...

P.S. to Mark: I also think you're being deliberately obtuse with respect to what I wrote.

iowan2 said...

Return to pre Roe. Abortion was always legal. For cause. The community standard determined cause.
Roe flamed the constitution and forced the people to obey 5 robed Oracles. Roe did not legalize abortion, it just granted immunity from prosecution. Granted immunity on a national level across hundreds, or thousands of varying cultures. 5 people forced their morals on the entire nation.

Trump is showing his lack of thought on these issues. Not at all a disqualifying feature. Presidents don't decided these things, they don't have the power to write amendment proof legislation. No one person does, no one party does (yes ACA is the exceptions).
For today, the right answer is, SCOTUS starts honoring local control, and stop meddling in areas the Federal Govt absolutely fails to function in. Abortion is one of those areas. Today SCOTUS is forced to steal self governance from the people, in order to protect their very flawed Roe ruling. The critics of Roe predicted that the ruling would turn abortion into de facto birth control. Just what happened, to the detriment of women specifically, and society as a whole. The Nation is no better today because of Roe. It is worse on many areas.

iowan2 said...

M Jordan, Society has not decided abortion. 5 non elected judges decided for the people. Before Roe, Society was doing a fine job deciding who society viewed society.