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The Abortion Issue Isn’t About ‘The Patriarchy’

On Wednesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the most restrictive ban on abortion in the United States. The legislation bans all abortions—even in cases of rape and incest—with exceptions being offered only to pregnant women whose lives are in serious danger. Medical practitioners who perform abortions will be liable for felony charges, which carry a potential sentence of up to 99 years in prison. (Mothers will not be liable.) Alabama has gone even further than other states that recently have passed anti-abortion laws, since those laws ban the practice only after a heartbeat is detected—usually at six or eight weeks into a pregnancy.

The Guardian’s headline on the Alabama story—These 25 Republicans—all white men—just voted to ban abortion in Alabama—channelled a dominant social-media meme by putting gender front and centre. Twitter and Facebook were rife with claims that Alabama’s bill, like other anti-abortion laws, was really all about men attacking women’s rights and bodily autonomy.

Perhaps the most succinct articulation of this view goes back to 1971, when feminist Gloria Steinem famously claimed: “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.” Her words positioned the issue of abortion as a gendered power struggle, according to which the act is seen as controversial only because it’s something women do. Insofar as it’s possible to imagine a world in which men were the ones who bore children, Steinem contended, the right to abortion would be celebrated (or at least scrupulously protected).

But this approach fundamentally mischaracterizes the reality of the abortion debate, and misconstrues why most pro-life people oppose abortion rights.

The debate over the morality and legality of abortion is one of the most divisive and enduring issues in American public life. Roughly the same number of Americans describe themselves as pro-life as they do pro-choice. For a sizeable proportion of the U.S. electorate, the question of whether or not a candidate is pro-life is the single most important issue that determines their vote. Forty-six years after Roe vs Wade was decided, 21 percent of pro-life voters still say they would not vote for a candidate who did not share their views on abortion. And so Donald Trump’s pro-life statements in his 2016 presidential campaign are likely to have played a role in his election win over the pro-choice Hillary Clinton.

Liberal feminists who argue that the fight for abortion rights is primarily a fight against an oppressive patriarchy are apt to point to the fact that in Alabama and other states that have passed anti-abortion laws, male legislators dominate politics. Many liberal feminists even argue that men shouldn’t be permitted to participate in the debate over abortion at all, since they will never be in a position to seek one themselves.

However, polling evidence suggests that American men, overall, are just as likely to be pro-choice as women. True, women are more likely to express support for abortion rights. But, surprisingly, women also are more likely to express opposition. Democrat women are slightly more likely than Democrat men to be pro-choice, but Republican women are more likely than Republican men to be pro-life. In other words, there is no major fault line in the abortion debate between men and women.

There is a very clear divide when it comes to religious belief, however. Seventy-seven percent of American atheists and agnostics describe themselves as pro-choice, with only 19 percent identifying as pro-life. By contrast, 75 percent of surveyed respondents who attend religious services on a weekly basis are pro-life, while only 20 percent are pro-choice. It’s no coincidence, then, that in America, the most vocal opponents of abortion rights tend to be Christians.

A feminist might respond with the argument that Christian voters’ support for pro-life positions is merely a symptom of the patriarchal streak embedded within religious doctrine more generally, which has always lent itself to implementing control of women’s lives. But Islam, which in many respects is regarded as more patriarchal in outlook that Christianity (especially when it comes to codes of conduct and dress), is comparatively more supportive of women’s right to abortion than Christianity. Both Sunni and Shia traditions typically prohibit abortion only after 120 days, as this is thought to be the point of “ensoulment,” at which time a human fetus develops its own right to life.

Most traditional Christians, by contrast, view conception as the point at which a human fetus—or, more accurately, a human embryo—develops an inviolable right to life. For these pro-lifers, the central issue tends to be relatively straightforward: Abortion is viewed as reprehensible because it is seen as the intentional ending of human life, tantamount to murder. This isn’t something that can be chalked up to “patriarchy,” and it is false to attribute such attitudes to the desire to control women’s freedoms.

The vast majority of Americans who support a pro-life position don’t dispute that women should have control over their bodies. What they do dispute is that bodily autonomy should include the right to end the life of a human fetus or embryo, which they view as morally equivalent to your life or mine.

This should be clear from the Catholic Church’s sustained opposition to embryonic stem cell research. Research of this kind doesn’t involve the controlling of women or the policing of their reproductive health, yet it has been opposed purely on the grounds that it involves the destruction of human embryos. It’s one thing for liberal feminists to disagree with the pro-life position, but it’s another to pretend that the moral status of the fetus isn’t the central point of concern for those who oppose abortion.

Claiming that a human embryo is “just a clump of cells” without significant moral worth might seem plausible in regard to the first few weeks after conception—which is why over 60 percent of all Americans support the legal right to abortion in the first trimester. But that support drops substantially—to 28 percent—when it comes to the second trimester. And only 13 percent support so called “late term” third-trimester abortions.

Interestingly, the 60 percent of Americans supporting the right to first-trimester abortions includes a small but significant percentage of the 48 percent of Americans who call themselves pro-life. So there is some shared ground at play. But that shared ground shrinks when activists stake out unrealistic positions: When liberal feminists focus their campaigning around the themes of complete bodily autonomy, including the right to late-term abortions, the polling data suggests they may be pushing some people away from a moderate pro-choice position toward a pro-life position.

Those who support abortion rights in some form should be prepared to argue their case on the terrain that pro-lifers have traditionally claimed as their own: the apparent right to life (or lack thereof) of a human fetus during pregnancy. Continuing to assert a woman’s bodily autonomy is unlikely to progress the abortion debate, because very few people dispute that women should be in charge of their bodies. Nor does it advance the debate to focus on whether it is men or women who are passing laws in this area, since it tends to be religious viewpoint, not sex, that is correlated with attitudes.

Alabama’s new law has exacerbated a divide that has existed in the United States for generations, and which won’t be bridged soon. Though it is guaranteed that people will continue to disagree about abortion, we should at least direct the argument over the issue to the real issues that separate us, not to slogans that have little bearing on what anyone truly thinks or feels.


Andrew Glover is a sociologist. Follow him at @theandrewglover.

Featured image: Protesters at the International Women’s Day March in Barcelona, March 8, 2017. 


  1. The question of when life begins, or more accurately, when does a fetus get a soul, has vexed us for centuries. Most conservatives believe that the soul is implanted at conception. I decided to look into the scientific and theological issues this question raises.

    First look at science. I am an astrophysicist whose last job was at the NIH’s Human Genome Research Institute, where I learned the latest biology. In short — biology gives us no answer. There are no binary black and white characteristics in biology.
    When does a child become an adult? Do you mean sexually, physically, intellectually, or emotionally? Even if you chose one, other than sexual, there is no clear boundary.
    For years, Lamarck’s theory that children can inherit acquired characteristic from their parents ( e,g a blacksmith’s son will be born with strong arms ) was considered pure nonsense. Now it turns out that while life experience cannot change your DNA, it can change the epigenetics that control your DNA’s expression, and under some conditions can be inherited for a few generations. Another sharp boundary broken.
    Some argue that since a fertilized egg contains all the requisite DNA ( and epigenetics ) that this makes it a complete person. Almost every one of the trillions of cells in your body contains all your DNA. We are close to being able to clone a person’s delayed identical twin from a single skin cell. (This ethical issue is a totally different discussion ) When you scrub your hands and send large numbers of skin cells down the drain, does that make you a mass murderer?
    The question of when a soul enters is even more vexing, as there is no biological definition of a soul.

    For over 10 years, I have gone twice a week to bible classes. In one class, we read and discuss a section in English. In the other, we read it in Hebrew and discuss it in English. I am familiar with the Hebrew Bible.

    In the Jewish tradition, following Gen 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, man became a living soul” (King James ), the soul enters at the first breath.
    This does not mean the Rabbis are in favor of abortion, just that it is not a life-or-death matter. They frown on abortion because of the injunction in Gen 1:28 “Be fruitful, and multiply” (KJ). However, if there is any question of danger to the mother, abortion is indicated.

    I took one class in the Christian scriptures and read some of it, but do not claim any level of knowledge. Instead, I will look at Catholic teaching as a proxy.
    I know little of Catholic theology, so I will depend on Professor Wikipedia. (

    Abortion has always been a forbidden moral evil, but until the fetus was ensouled it was not murder. Some early Christians held that the soul entered at conception. Following Aristotle who stated that the fetus did not have a soul until it was formed, the later prevailing view among theologians, including Aquinas, cited this teaching. The 1312 Council of Vienne affirmed Aquinas’s view.

    In 1588, Pope Sixtus V issued a Bull which equated all abortion with murder, but three years later Pope Gregory XIV limited the excommunication to abortion of a formed fetus.
    Pope Pius IX in 1869 issued a Bull, Bull Apostolicae Sedis, and re-enacted the penalty of excommunication for abortions at any stage of pregnancy. That ended the issue for practicing Catholics.

    I do not know the history of the issue for the Orthodox. Protestants are obviously split on the issue.

    The main point is that, unlike homosexuality, on which Scripture is very clear about, teachings on fetal ensoulment have varied over the centuries

    • E. Olson says

      Thank you for the very thoughtful and well researched comment interguru. I think one key distinction not brought out in your biological section is the fact that skin cells placed in a womb will not produce a fetus or baby, while the “clump of cells” that comprise the fertilized egg will. Furthermore, it becomes increasingly problematic to utilize fetus “viability” or some such similar concept as the morally, legally, or medically approved to abort delineation point, because modern medicine keeps pushing viability back to where I am certain we will at some point in the not very distant future have artificial wombs available that can gestate the egg from the moment it is fertilized to delivery date (or anything in between).

      • Jack B. Nimble says

        Rod Dreher, posting over at the American Conservative, illustrates the confusion among religious conservatives over abortion:

        “…..I don’t think the inconsistency [laboratory-created embryos can be destroyed without penalty] of the Alabama law can be honestly chalked up to a desire to “control women’s bodies.” I think it’s because IVF* is widely used by Christians, and a consistent, logical pro-life position would outlaw it. If life begins at conception, then all those embryonic lives created in the laboratory and later discarded are human beings. This is something many Christians do not want to face……..”

        Notice the phrase ‘….IVF is widely used by Christians….’ Dreher and others on the right are in denial over the fact that abortion is also ‘widely used by Christians,’ in the US and in other countries. But Dreher apparently is unable to see Christian women who have abortions as REAL Christians.

        Bottom Line: if conceptuses are fully human, then women who miscarry as a result of an accident are guilty of negligent homicide. And IUDs that prevent implantation, and hormonal emergency contraceptive pills, are just another form of abortion–who gets charged with felony murder in those cases?

        *invitro fertilization. Source of quote:

        • EK says

          Wiki says and personal observations confirm that most states already make the negligent or intention killing of a fetus some kind of homicide.

          • Jack B. Nimble says


            I was referring to an accident leading to miscarriage, but even a spontaneous miscarriage is problematic under the new laws:

            “The Georgia “heartbeat” law, in particular, generated concern among many after Mark Joseph Stern of Slate reported that it could be used to prosecute women who seek abortions or who have a miscarriage.

            At this point, reproductive rights advocates say they’re not sure if the law would ever be used in this way….If the Georgia law does go into effect, it’s more likely that a person who miscarries would be pulled into a criminal investigation of a doctor or other provider, rather than that she would face criminal charges herself, Staci Fox, president of Planned Parenthood Southeast, told the Washington Post.

            The symptoms of a miscarriage can be indistinguishable from those of an induced abortion, according to OB-GYN Dr. Jen Gunter. Miscarriages are extremely common, occurring in about 10 percent of recognized pregnancies, as pediatrics professor Aaron E. Carroll writes at the New York Times……”

            If a doctor at a women’s clinic refers a patient with vaginal bleeding to an ER, how do the doctors there know if she had an abortion or a miscarriage??? Would the ER doctors protect their own legal interests by calling the police on the clinic doctor? Can you imagine a woman who just miscarried being interrogated by the police?


        • maryedith says

          Catholics and fundamentalist Christians are equally pro-life, but for different reasons that shouldn’t be lumped together. The Evangelicals seem to have no problem with IVF, while the Catholic church churchi explicitly forbids it. Many Evangelical churches are also ok with abortion in cases of rape and incest, while the Catholic church still sees it as murder in these cases. The Evangelical position, therefore, seems to be more about childbirth as punishment for the sin of recreational sex, while for the Catholic church it’s all about the personhood of the fetus.

        • Bill says

          if negligence causes a bad event, it was not accidental.

      • David of Kirkland says

        @E.Olson – Are fertilized eggs frozen legal human beings? If so, in vitro fertilization must be illegal. And if that’s illegal, there’s no way science will develop such a machine as every human clump of cells will be murder when it fails.
        The issue is legal protection, and most believe that live birth matters. All others produce unnatural situations, like most natural miscarriages being a form of homicide, pregnant women being allowed in car pools, having to buy two tickets, abusing a minor if they drink alcohol or otherwise behave in a way that risks that life, goes into a bar or tattoo parlor or R rated movie. Does conception confer citizenship as they are natural persons created in the country? Can a father demand custody if the mother is not taking care of herself?

        • E. Olson says

          David – science will certainly develop artificial wombs if for no other reason than to help maintain human populations in an age when more and more women (especially the smart, educated, career women) don’t want to take the career hit that comes with pregnancy. Simply donate a egg and 9 months later you take delivery of a baby you can immediately leave for the nanny or state/corporate supported daycare to take care of while “mother” dashes back to important meetings and planning sessions. The law will have to evolve to address the issues such new technological possibilities will bring.

          I don’t have answers to your questions, but just wanted to point out that the “clump of cells” argument is not very strong justification for declaring abortion to be not be taking a human life. Society decides when taking a life is justified (self-defense, war, policing, terminal illness, etc.), and the Roe v Wade decision short-circuited a societal discussion and decision on abortion in the US that should have been enacted via democratically elected means.

          • Jack B. Nimble says


            ‘….the “clump of cells” argument is not very strong justification for declaring abortion to be not be taking a human life……..’

            But that clump can divide to form two identical twins!! Was the clump prior to twinning two persons under the law? Or are the two clumps after twinning each 1/2 of a person? How can one person/soul become two???

          • jakesbrain says

            I’m tired of the “clump of cells” trope. You know what else is a clump of cells? Me. You. Every human being. Pretty much every form of life on this planet more complex than an amoeba, in fact. You’re right, it’s a weak-as-hell justification.

        • DNY says

          Not quite. In Italy there is an IVF protocol: one fertilization, one attempt to implant the (on the view of the Latin Church leaves the life or death of the embryo in God’s hands).

    • This is an outstanding piece of journalism, offering calm discourse and clear understanding. I can’t remember the last time I read an article not angling and obfuscating with polemical rhetoric and distorted presentation of statistics.

    • Stephanie says

      Interguru, your biological analysis is riddled with fallacies (I won’t address your theological points because they are irrelevant to public policy in a secular democracy). Best not to hide behind self-proclaimed scientific credentials.

      There are indeed no hard lines for when a child becomes an adult, a toddler becomes a child, an infant becomes a toddler, a baby becomes an infant, or a fetus becomes a baby. This makes deciding at what point a human is worthy of legal protection potentially extremely subjective.

      Thankfully, there is a hard line between two haploid gametes (sperm and egg) and one diploid zygote. At that point, mom and dad’s sex cells with half the proper amount of DNA combine to form a totally new human individual with a full set of DNA. This is the objective starting point for a new human life. There is no dispute about this among biologists.

      There is still a little bit of wiggle room, because many zygotes do not succeed at implanting themselves in the uterus. It is a hostile place for life to grow, because the great cost of pregnancy means the body wants only the strongest. The morning after pill can prevent implantation, extending the body’s hostility towards pregnancy to a woman’s conscious mind, providing a neat solution for rape victims wishing to avoid pregnancy.

      The most interesting part of this article for me was that a large majority of atheists are pro-choice, meaning they are either ignorant of this basic biology or are unable to extrapolate moral implications from that biology. This is a serious blow to the secular humanist claim.

      • Frank Knarf says

        Your comment is another one of those Poe’s Law situations where I can’t tell if you are mocking people who make this argument or actually are sincere.

      • I will not dwell on my disagreements but just note how surprised and gladdened I am to see a rare civilized discussion on abortion. Kudos to Quillette and its readers.

        • Ann says

          Civilized? Hmmm. I’m not so impressed. I detect more than a few snarky comments.

          I would let women decide at any point because I trust them to make good decisions. They will terminate a pregnancy as early as they can if that’s their decision. Later terminations are of wanted pregnancies and due to complications. I don’t throw around the term “patriarchy” all the time, but I’m with Gloria on this one.

          References to innocent life concern me. I’m not a believer in original sin, but for those who are, are babies guilty at birth? Is that why there’s so little concern about any person once born? I truly don’t understand the passion about abortion in the absence of concern for those born into poverty, including extreme poverty since the US also exports restrictions on family planning and abortion.

          • Shawn T says

            Ann. There is a medical problem with statements like, “Later terminations are of wanted pregnancies and due to complications.” At what point is it a delivery versus an abortion? To state an abortion due to complication is necessary at, say, 7 months is absurd. Delivery relieves the complication in the same way abortion would and is part of the procedure anyway. The same statement, however, applied to 20 weeks (if that is what “later” means) is an entirely different conversation. Is it, therefore, a “good decision” at 7 months and should the person making the decision be “trusted” to make it?

          • Tony says

            Then I guess that’s where you and I differ. She didn’t make a good decision by having sex with a guy with whom she didn’t want to have a child. Why would I believe this decision would be any better?

      • Daz says


        I imagine that the neat solution of ” whoops, I’ve just been raped, I better run down to the pharmacy” is a credible statement.

      • Andrew Roddy says

        (I won’t address your theological points because they are irrelevant to public policy in a secular democracy)

        I am not sure if you are giving secularism a bad name or simply illustrating why it might prove to be an unsustainable myth. In certain religious systems there were, and remain, ideas that could not be admitted or considered for discussion. They were called heresies. Secularism was largely conceived and championed by independently minded people who found this state of affairs intolerable. And now you seems to be arguing for this doctrinal intolerance and declaring that ideas grounded in a religious matrix are inadmissible and, for all intents, heretical. It should be noted that you are not burning any books or, for that matter, people and that, at least, seems like progress.

        • Stephanie says

          Andrew, I think religiously-based ideas are important only insofar as they are foundational to our society’s values. That all humans are equal under God and have intrinsic worth is one of them.

          What I don’t think is relevant is the musings of mystics who claim some arbitrary time of ensoulment.

          • Andrew Roddy says

            Thanks, Stephanie. That’s easier to get a grasp on. Sanctity and pragmatism are uneasy bedfellows. But ultimately, I feel, you can’t have one without the other.

      • jakesbrain says

        Meanwhile, I’ve seen several atheists making the pro-life argument on Twitter — using very much the same reasoning you did.

        In fact, I’ve used the same reasoning myself (though I’d prefer to call myself an agnostic): Is that so-called “clump of cells” part of the mother? No, it only shares half her DNA. Did it come from the father? Impossible, it only shares half of his DNA. It is a new and genetically unique being, which if all goes well will become a fully formed human — and I have trouble believing that it has no right to go on existing.

      • nicholas henderson says

        Stephanie you are 100% right. It blows my mind that the ethical implications of abortion are largely ignored by the atheist community. I’m an atheist, and I’m pro-life. Abortion says something about our disdain for our own lives, about the rampant anti-human sentiments in our modern culture.

        • Andrew Roddy says

          Could you manage a clear categorical statement of what these ethical issues are? Thanks.

    • Allan Donkin says

      You misunderstand something. ‘Ensoulnent’ is not a biblical concept at all. Please see this short clip explaining the biblical meaning of ‘soul’.
      You can also find lectures by David Bentley Hart on this online.

    • Merlin Tumwater says

      “In the Jewish tradition, following Gen 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, man became a living soul” (King James ), the soul enters at the first breath.”

      This is logically flawed.

      Note also that Adam doesn’t become a living soul on his first breath—he’s a passive recipient of oxygen, just as fetuses are passive recipients of umbilical oxygen.

    • S.Cheung says

      interesting perspective.
      For me, the basis is in the science and medical representation of “viability”. Prior to that time, but for the woman, “the clump of cells” goes nowhere, and in that timeframe, I’m for the woman being able to make those decisions.

      So as of 2019, that’s somewhere up to around 20-22 weeks where I am pro-choice. But I’m also in the B. Clinton camp of “available, safe, and rare”. And as E. Olson mentions earlier, medical viability is a moving target, and so too is my threshold for choice in this realm.

      Where these Alabaman legislators truly belie their motivation is in where their proposed law stops. So you essentially force the most financially downtrodden women to carry their pregnancies, which they may not want, to term (presuming that all others with the desire and financial means will simply go out of state). And what do they propose for all these potentially unwanted new beings with the least financially secure new moms? Not a heck of a lot, as far as I can tell. THis seems in line with the common refrain about religious conservatives…they care a heck of a lot until someone is born, but not a heck of a lot thereafter.

      • aljones909 says

        “available, safe and rare”. The number in the US hovers around 650,000 per year

    • Bill says

      since scripture is clearly advising evil when it addresses homosexuality, why would scripture be consulted on anything at all? a source that counsels evil is best avoided.

      there is no ‘scientific question’ about the soul posed here, and certainly no answers about it. define and measure it, and then we’ll talk about it.

      what occurs at conception is the formation of a unique human individual, no magical ensoulment required; or even resoling, in the case of reincarnation.

      rather than review a western parochial history of superstitious men with little notion of of the matter under discussion, addressing the underlying moral question would be more satisfying; that elective abortion is contrary to our present concepts regarding science, and human rights.

      give a reason that permits withholding basic human rights from a unique human individual. it is hard to come up with one that cannot be shown questionable. viability, dependency, possible future life difficulties, maternal bodily sovereignty,

    • Fred says

      Very thoughtful interguru, but I would take issue with your hand-washing analogy. The cells you wash off your hands have no independent life of their own. The DNA in those cells is yours, and they will never develop into anything but skin cells. If I take a skin cell and implant it in another huma being, it will not gestate and become a baby at any point. So I think that is a false analogy.

    • Tony says

      It seems that the “ensoulment” argument seems to be a dodge. Since if you leave the child alone, it will either miscarry or receive a soul. Interfering with this process before this happens seems to be a technical cheat.

    • KAM says

      “The question of when life begins, or more accurately, when does a fetus get a soul, has vexed us for centuries. Most conservatives believe that the soul is implanted at conception.”

      No, most conservative theologians today do NOT believe that a fetus “gets a soul” at some point. (As if souls were lined up in the heavenlies waiting to drop down a chute into a body.) We believe that at conception a human being IS a soul—body/mind/will/life/being united inseparably. The Hebrew nefesh simply means “life” and refers to animals other than human beings. Humans are created in God’s image—as such—and therefore have inherent dignity. Theological anthropology today, following biblical theology, rejects the bipartite or tripartite notions in favor of the notion that the human being cannot be divided into parts without disintegration.

      In technical terms, a person whose soul is separated from their body is “dead”.

    • BobbyV says

      Although the concept of quickening was not developed initially by the Roman Catholic Church, much of their histories are intertwined. Quickening, the point at which a pregnant woman can first feel the movements of the growing embryo or fetus, has long been a pivotal moment in pregnancy. Historically, it has also been a pivotal moment for law and the Church in deciding the criminal and religious sanctions for women who intentionally procured an abortion.

    • domzerchi says

      Timing of ensoulment is not a theological question in Catholicism, which is why “teachings” have varied. They are not theological or biblical teachings they are the teachings of biologists or natural philosophers. Catholic moral doctrine on the question is simply that murder is a grave sin. The question of when the life of a person begins, “ensoulment” is left to biology. Catholics accept what biologists and embryologist say, that the life of a baby begins at fertilization, even while they deny that a human soul, the principle of life, is purely material.

  2. the gardner says

    If the issue is that a woman must have control over her body, then she needs to control it so it doesn’t become pregnant. But women want their cake and eat it too. Rape and incest—- tiny proportion of unwanted pregnancies. Women perpetuate a stereotype of helplessness by insisting society pay for their abortions while they indulge in unprotected sex.

    • Daniel V says

      @gardner Yet there is also a push against teaching sex education or making contraception available. So the only avenue for control being allowed is to just not have any sex which isn’t remotely practical. Talk about social engineering and trying to force people into an absurd life of purity and religious devotion!

      • the gardner says

        @Daniel V—- contraception not available? where do you get that idea? Condoms are everywhere and BCP pills are $5/ mo. Sex education? I know of some pushback against teaching 5 yr olds about gay sex, but other than that, sex education can occurs in age appropriate classes. And at home— what a concept.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @the gardner

          Daniel does have a point tho. The same folks who oppose abortion have traditionally also opposed sex ed and birth control, let’s be honest. The idea was to not only try to control unwanted pregnancy but STD and promiscuity and general sexual impurity as well, no? Freely available contraception was thought to be exactly what it is, namely a license to screw and traditionally religious folks wanted their daughters to not only be unpregnant, but also to be virginal, no? That’s me, BTW.

          • Rohit says

            “The same folks who oppose abortion have traditionally also opposed sex ed and birth control” Actually I do not think it is the “same people” a claim made by you without evidence. True SOME of the people who oppose abortion also oppose sex ed, but most do not. So your expression, “same people” is deceptive.

          • the gardner says

            Ray, please get out of the 1960s. In the 1980s we had the new reason for abstinence— AIDS. Or do you think it’s worth the risk so women can have sex whenever they want?

          • Ray Andrews says

            @the gardner

            I’m making a very broad historical generalization, but it is true nevertheless is it not?

          • D.B. Cooper says


            Objections to a puritanical mission creep are as legitimate as they are tangential. Criticisms of this type are largely besides the point unless or until a firm answer – by science or sheer reason – can be had on “resolving the difficult question of when life begins” (Roe, 410 U.S. at 159).

            The right to an abortion turns on the question of whether a fetus is a life. If it’s a life, you can’t kill it. If it’s not, you can (as an aside, I’m not sure how one would go about killing something that’s not alive). In any case these whataboutisms are obfuscation by committee.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @D.B. Cooper

            “The right to an abortion turns on the question of whether a fetus is a life.”

            I profoundly disagree, but I’m glad you mentioned it. I think that looking for the magic moral marker moment is in vain. We have a separate person at conception and that’s just the plain fact of the matter. It seems to me that the legalities of the situation must rest, not on abstract morality, but on gritty practicalities: How much restriction will society tolerate? OTOH, how much murder will society tolerate? What laws are enforceable? Banning, say, the morning after pill seems to me to be unenforceable as well as unreasonable and I’d base my law on that observation, not on moral abstractions. Banning the abortion of deformed fetuses seems more cruel than moral. But 3d trimester abortions of healthy fetuses seems to be repugnant to most people and the law should reflect that. ‘Fetal tissue’ doesn’t cry and instinctively reach up for it’s mother.

            “In any case these whataboutisms are obfuscation by committee.”

            So yes, I think that what the law should do is abandon moral abstraction and tear it’s hair out on the whataboutisms. It’s the best we’re going to get. Abortion is never going to go away, and it is never going to stop being murder, either, so we just hafta find some workable compromise. Think Lincoln on the question of slavery.

          • D.B. Cooper says


            The right to an abortion turns on the question of whether a fetus is a life.

            To be fair, I was referring to the constraints of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the right to life (14th amendment, I believe).

            Abortion is never going to go away, and it is never going to stop being murder, so we just hafta find some workable compromise.

            I tend to agree with you that it is murder, if by murder we mean the ‘premediated killing of one human being by another’; however, it does not follow from the fact that abortion is never going to go away that we should, therefore, find some workable compromise. You could apply that reasoning to any unlawful act (including the murder of one adult by another adult) in the criminal penal code.

        • Daniel V says

          Teaching people just not to have sex isn’t sex education. How about this concept: teach your religious morals at home.

          I don’t have the time to drag up statistics but the rates of unwanted pregnancy rise when sex education consists of sex is bad don’t do it. The right likes to talk about the left being overly maternal and trying to shield kids from the world but that’s exactly what this approach is about.

          Not to mention one of the best way to get teens to do something is to make it taboo. Particularly when you tell them something immensely enjoyable without immediate negative consequences is framed as being dangerous or bad. They’ll try it, see the sky didn’t fall, then do it more.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @D.B. Cooper

            “You could apply that reasoning to any unlawful act”

            Glad to have your response DB, my notion of changing the entire grounds for the law is certainly dangerous and warrants some discussion. I don’t think there’s much doubt that everyone likes the idea of the law being based on moral purity. We say that murder is just wrong and the law will never try to regulate it, but always to stop it. It’s not negotiable. But I think there are times when the law must work with unpleasant realities. Prohibition was a ‘moral’ law, and it failed spectacularly. Folks are going to drink, and take drugs. As to the latter, it can be argued that the ‘moral’ law forbidding it, has done far more harm than good and a more pragmatic stance would be beneficial even if not so virtuous. I think abortion is to be viewed the same way, although, as you say, the idea of ‘regulating’ murder is distasteful to say the least. But then again most folks don’t consider it murder so what can you do? As with Lincoln and slavery, he understood that trying to force the South to abandon it was not going to happen short of war, and thus he attempted compromise. That failing, you had a bloodbath and a hundred years of Jim Crow which is what happens when people have been forced into a morality that they do not accept. Difficult.

          • D.B. Cooper says

            @Ray Andrews

            I think there are times when the law must work with unpleasant realities. Prohibition was a ‘moral’ law, and it failed spectacularly. Folks are going to drink, and take drugs. As to the latter, it can be argued that the ‘moral’ law forbidding it, has done far more harm than good and a more pragmatic stance would be beneficial even if not so virtuous. I think abortion is to be viewed the same way, although, as you say, the idea of ‘regulating’ murder is distasteful to say the least. But then again most folks don’t consider it murder so what can you do?

            Before I get to my rebuttal, I wanted to say that I appreciate your willingness to defend a viewpoint as unfashionable and inauspicious as murder; even if doing so is largely academic, there are few positions in the contemporary discourse as orphaned on the periphery of the defensible as is murder. Now, let us see

            The force of this objection rests upon a recognition that in some instances there exists a significant distinction between regulating an act(s) in theory and regulating it/them in practice. For example, you contend that the imposition of some ‘moral’ laws, arguably, do more harm than good and that in such cases – abortion being one such case – taking a more pragmatic stance would be of benefit.

            Of course, I do not deny there’s often a difference from the theoretical to the actual. That’s true on the face of it. What I do object to, however, is that the attempt to derive a substantive conclusion about the unpleasant realities of a subject from the mere fact that a “pragmatic stance would be beneficial.” But beneficial to whom exactly? ‘Moral’ laws, such as abortion, do more harm than good to whom exactly? Is it really the case that the person (mother) who suffers the slings and arrows of having an unwanted child (who you could then give up for adoption) incurs more harm than the person (child) who is actually murdered? Likewise, are you claiming a mother would incur great benefit if allowed an abortion than a child would if allowed to live? In short, it’s not clear your calculous has taken into account the other side of the ledger. There are two, after all.

            Aside from your utilitarian, more-harm-than-good, pragmatic approach, your view also seems to take the curious stance of adjudicating the rightness (good) or wrongness (harm) of abortion in relation to contemporary cultural norms and values, and being that “most folks don’t consider it murder” we should simply yield to the sly duplicity of an empty pretense. Unfortunately, this argument is fallacious, since it does not follow from the fact that “most folks don’t consider it murder” that it (abortion) is then not murder. An allergy to truth is not a civil right. If I asked whether the same principle should be applied to overturning laws against using children as sex slaves or minorities as slave labor, would that be legitimate? I don’t mind telling you, pedophilia is not really my thing, but if murder is up for grabs, then anything should be. All I’m asking is let’s at least be consistent here, shall we?

            The truth is, if this discussion of laws respected either logic or honesty, we be happy to admit objective facts are what they are, they don’t stop being true just because a majority of us stop believing they are. The solution to an unpleasant reality cannot be extirpating the biological imperatives of one group (babies), in order extricate the imperatives of the other (mothers) under the guise of deftly parried ideals, such as pragmatism. It is no sign of health to be well-regulated to a society in the grip of a terrible delusion.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @D.B. Cooper

            “I appreciate your willingness to defend a viewpoint as unfashionable and inauspicious as murder”

            Firstly, recall that in a binary world I’m pro-life. My legal stance would be to reduce the slaughter as much as I possibly could but not so much that there would be a social fracture. Ditto Prohibition — however much I might want to reduce the evils of drinking, outright prohibition did more harm than good, no? So I’m not ‘defending’ murder any more than my libertarian views on drugs ‘defend’ selling meth. I believe that sometimes we have to negotiate with the Devil. Pigs will be pigs, and asses will be asses.

            Second, the uncomfortable fact is that not all people agree on what constitutes murder. Capital punishment? Probably most folks who are pro-abortion are anti-capital punishment (which is hilarious) and they’ll tell you that the latter is ‘murder’. Euthanasia? Catholics traditionally call that murder, and so did/does the law. War? Your basic pacifist thinks that all war is murder. Certain Orthodox Rabbis held that every time you don’t have sex you are murdering the kids that might have been conceived

            “that the attempt to derive a substantive conclusion about the unpleasant realities of a subject”

            Just the contrary. The moral stance says that we must always do the ‘moral’ thing and since certain women want the right to abort and since that is very clearly not moral the solution is to simply pretend that it is. Thus a baby born alive and then murdered is (the baby) ‘fetal tissue’. I myself find this sort of lie to be deeply, deeply toxic. By adopting the pragmatic stance, we make it possible to abandon the lie. I say in effect: “Ok, lady, you want to kill your unborn baby (you’re poor, you have an IQ of 65, you have ten kids already none of whom know who their father is, your eldest is already in jail, ….) alright lady, but do it QUICKLY and we’ll look the other way, better than than the coat-hanger.”

            “In short, it’s not clear your calculous has taken into account the other side of the ledger.”

            Again, do not mistake me for a pro-‘choice’ person. Tho I do attempt some generality about the prospects of the kid in my story above — which are not good — I am essentially deciding on what can be achieved. Female goes for back-alley abortion at 8 weeks, who can prove it? IMHO the law should not attempt more than the law can achieve (Prohibition again). It this a matter for the courts? I say that, realistically, no, it is not. Ditto for someone smoking a joint.

            “in relation to contemporary cultural norms and values”

            Yes, and pointedly so. In a democracy I don’t know what other stance is possible. Who is to decide on the higher, better standard? Right now the SJWs are imposing their Correct view of the world upon us. Good? After all they think they know what’s best.

            “laws against using children as sex slaves or minorities as slave labor”

            Again I refer to Lincoln. Trying to force morality on a people before they are ready for it backfires. As with child-labor, it ends when a people develop sufficient morality that they will give assent to such laws.

            “but if murder is up for grabs”

            But capital punishment is up for grabs is it not? Folks have very strong opinions on this. Some say it is outright murder and they’d kill to have it stopped (irony deliberate). Others would kill anyone who stands in their way as they lynch someone. My view is that the best we can do is democratic assent to law.

            “they don’t stop being true just because a majority of us stop believing they are”

            Agreed. But law does not decide what it true, it decides what is to be enforced.

            “under the guise of deftly parried ideals, such as pragmatism”

            I don’t deftly parry, I blurt it out: The moral/ideal stance can make liars out of an entire society (if ‘choice’ wins) OR try to force unworkable laws onto the backs of an unwilling people (if ‘life’) wins. I say that only as much ground as can be held should be defended. That means coming up with a vulgar, dirty compromise and not pretending that it is anything other than that. IMHO all laws in a democracy are vulgar, dirty compromises.

            So, in summary I’m saying that the ‘moral’ stance when it comes to law — the idea that the law should reflect our noble aspirations — can backfire. I say that the law should not attempt more than it can achieve, which means that if you are breaking the law, that’s not an indication that the law considers you to be a naughty boy (smoking a joint with the cop who’s come to check out your grow and then giving him a baggie of your best for his trouble), it is a warning that what you are doing WILL BE prosecuted in all likelihood. Try for utopia and you end up in hell. Try for something half-ways decent and you might just get there.

          • D.B. Cooper says


            I appreciate the insight. It’s always nice to have a discussion with someone who’s willing to consider the issues for their own sake and not because they’re emotionally involved with it.

            For now, I’ll leave it where it lies; although I’m sure we’ll get another crack at it. Divisive topics have a way of returning to the forefront, and if the number of comments on this page is any indication, I feel certain it’ll be sooner rather later.

          • Fred says

            Actually, Ray, that’s a myth. Prohibition did work if by “work” you mean produced the lowest rate of alcohol consumption this country has ever experienced. You can argue against it on other grounds, for example, that it produced violent crimes ancillary to production and sale of an illegal substance, that the quality of alcohol was unregulated and some sickened or died from impurities, that it made criminals of otherwise productive and law abiding citizens, etc. But you cannot say it didn’t do what it was designed to do, drastically reduce alcohol use and abuse. The question is whether that reduction was worth the cost. I don’t think sufficient data is extant to answer that question. In any case, I strongly suspect that an anti-abortion legal regime would drastically reduce the abortion rate in this country. And in this case, I think there is a much stronger case that the benefit, saving millions of innocent lives, is worth the cost of any foreseen or unforeseen consequences.

        • Ray Andrews says


          “Actually I do not think it is the “same people” a claim made by you without evidence”

          When a broad generalization is made, no evidence is possible, it’s not the sort of thing that can be reduced to data. We agree to be honest about such things, or we chose not to. So you disagree that the sort of people we might call ‘conservative Christians’ would not oppose abortion and birth control and sex ed? Or that at least they did not do so in the past and would do so again if they could? It is true that the issues of contraception and sex ed have largely been ceded, but by choice or by realizing that that battle can no longer be won? My point is just that @Daniel V was correct to point out that conservative religions want more than an end to out of wedlock pregnancy, they want chastity, too, so they tend to dislike contraception and sex ed. It’s pretty obvious, but it’s also merely a tendency.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @D.B. Cooper

            “For now, I’ll leave it where it lies; although I’m sure we’ll get another crack at it.”

            I hope so. I realize that changing the very grounding for legal practice is no small thing, it merits further discussion for sure. But the grounding should be spelled out either way. I think a lot of trouble results when folks are pretending to have one grounding but really advocating for the other. Thus we had Confederates trying to make the case for the morality of slavery. Best not to try.

      • AndyC says

        Daniel, your claim that not having any sex isn’t remotely practical is rather extraordinary in my view. Do you have any evidence to support that claim?

        • Daniel V says

          @AndyC Just look at history and the world. Religions have tried to force the people not to screw each other, sometimes under the pain of death, and they still do. Even the apparently pious and pure clergy, in ALL religions, have tons of sex which is often highly depraved or forced.

          We are hairless apes that are driven to hump each other to reproduce and we are most actively wanting to do this shortly after puberty. You can either accept this fact then educate people on how to do so safely, or you can be idealistic and just blame other causes when abstinence does nothing to stop it.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Daniel V

            “Religions have tried to force the people not to screw each other”

            (outside of marriage!) … with remarkable success. Illegitimacy used to be quite rare in the Western/Christian world, and very rare in the Islamic world. In every civilization that has ever worked, men have had the right to know who their children are, and the responsibility to look after them.

    • Pierre Pendre says

      It seems not to have occurred to Steinem that if men could get pregnant, they might be a lot smarter about not getting pregnant in the first place and in being less devious in using pregnancy as a means of entrapment.

      • realist says

        if men could get pregnant they would be women

      • Nakatomi Plaza says

        Yikes. Nope, no patriarchy here. And toxic masculinity that paints women as stupid and devious? Nope. Never.

    • E. Olson says

      Gardner – you are absolutely correct that there is no excuse for unintended pregnancy during these days when extremely reliable birth control is easily and cheaply available for those who just can’t say NO. I also expect that the vast majority of pro-lifers would accept legal abortion in the extremely rare cases of rape or incest, or if the life of the mother is in danger.

      I also expect that such exceptions would lead to a sudden and “unexplained” rise in the number of rape caused pregnancies or mother endangerment pregnancies that allow an abortion, which will no doubt lead to some sperm donors being very surprised to be facing prison time for “rape”, and Planned Parenthood doctors claiming mother endangerment based on pregnancy related mental distress.

      • Daniel V says

        E Olson – Sperm donors facing rape charges? Oh yeah, it’s clearly liberals that have their heads in the clouds.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Daniel V

          I must agree. That is going a bit far. After all the paperwork is completed as to a sperm donation, even now we are surely not at the point where the recipient could claim rape.

          • EK says

            But a suit in bastardy would still lie in English common law jurisdictions absent some legislation that protects sperm donors.

        • E. Olson says

          Daniel V – what do you think will happen when a pregnant woman comes into a medical office demanding an abortion because she was raped? My guess is that the aborted fetus will be tested to determine the genetic markers of the “rapist”, and the matching sperm donor will then be arrested for rape (and by sperm donor I mean anybody from fertility clinic sperm donor to legal husband of the “victim”). Of course in such cases the rape “victim” might recant, but then she might/should be charged with murder since she lied in order to get her abortion. Lots of men have been convicted of rape with much less evidence that this.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @E. Olson

            Come off it E. There’s a mountain of paperwork and legal protections. Sperm donors have always known what might go wrong, mostly being sued for support, and their are very careful protections in place. It’s perhaps the one and only case where fathers actually do have Choice.

            ” but then she might/should be charged with murder since she lied in order to get her abortion”

            It would follow, legally, would it not? That’s a very good point.

          • E. Olson says

            Ray – you are taking “sperm donor” to only mean someone who donates sperm to a sperm bank, but I mean whoever fertilized the egg with sperm, which might be the husband using the “traditional” method. A woman can legally claim her husband raped her, she could also claim the sperm bank donor impregnated her via rape rather than test tube, or a man wearing a MAGA hate raped her at 2 AM in a blizzard as she returned with a sandwich, and in all these examples unless the “rapist” has an alibi there would be DNA proof that they were the sperm donor “rapists”.

            We already know that between 4% and about 40% of rape claims are fake, so if rape becomes a legal excuse to get a wanted abortion, I can just about guarantee that some women will happily send innocent men to prison if it means they can get the abortion they desire.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @E. Olson

            ” you are taking “sperm donor” to only mean someone who donates sperm to a sperm bank …”

            Ok then.

            “she could also claim the sperm bank donor impregnated her via rape rather than test tube”

            Surely not. Donors don’t even know where their sperm goes and they are vetted for their good character. What are the odds that a sperm donor, who just happened to be a rapist, would quite by accident end up raping one of his recipients? And a case like this would honestly be brought? The women clearly having a motive, and the donor being unable to provide an alibi? She’d risk a talking-to from the judge for false accusation.

            “I can just about guarantee that some women will happily send innocent men to prison if it means they can get the abortion they desire”

            Ok, but it will be a husband or a boyfriend surely — someone whom she admits to having had sex with and has only now, months latter, come to realize is was rape, just coincidentally at the time she decided to abort. In a sane world there would be sane checks on such things.

          • Jean Levant says

            That’s a good start for a political fiction, E. You’re right : it’s perfectly possible in such a rule of laws as you described it and funny enough (except for the so-called rapist), I must say.

        • Nakatomi Plaza says

          E. Olson is fucking insane. I think his entire head must be wrapped in tinfoil he’s so paranoid that everything under the sun is a liberal conspiracy to deprive him of…whatever.

          • E. Olson – Catastrophizer par excellence. If he can imagine it, it’s happening damnit!

      • Stephanie says

        E. Olsen, I don’t think most pro-lifers would approve of abortion in the case of rape or incest. The pro-life position is that it’s wrong to kill a young human. That calculus doesn’t change if the father of the young human was a rapist.

        I suspect some people approve of that exception because it seems harsh to make a woman carry her rapists’ baby, or their problem with abortion stems from the abdication of responsibility it entails rather than the right to life.

        • Stephen Phillips says

          My wifes mother was raped in the 1960s (he went to gaol) and carried the baby to term; then had her adopted.
          During the 1980s they were reunited and now we have a close relationship with the whole family.
          My wife always says she has 2 brothers AND a sister who she loves.

        • E. Olson says

          Stephanie – you are of course correct that even the product of a rape would still be an innocent victim of abortion, but all but the most hard core pro-lifers would have great difficulty in ever expecting a raped woman (or victim of incest) to carry the baby to term. Of course such exceptions also bring complications, including a pregnant woman deciding 5 months later she was raped and needs an abortion. Nevertheless, based on most poll results I suspect most pro-lifers are willing to accept some compromises and exceptions in order to prohibit the great majority of killings from abortion.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Perhaps, but then sex education must be mandatory; all forms of contraception must be freely and easily available to them; the morning after pill included; and of course the males will be legally on the hook for all expenses even if the woman doesn’t want the man in her life (like in rape and incest). And what if she doesn’t know who the father is? Will tests be mandatory to prove paternity?

  3. Andrew Elsey says

    Feminists are patently not the brightest of their well-defined, binary gender. Low-IQ populists of the Gloria Steinem variety make a strong case for biblical totalitarianism.

    Pregnancy should be considered, by law, a shotgun to the head of the father, too. It should be enforced more, were abortion banned. If you are an irresponsible male who accidentally gets a girl pregnant, you should pay the consequences for bringing a helpless life into this world.

    The only thing abortion has accomplished, thus far, is sending us into relative population decline and, more importantly, breeding several generations of entitled brats, my generation included, who have little conception of responsibility or self control.

    • E. Olson says

      Andrew – perhaps a good rule of thumb for sex education lessons is for both males and females to not have sex with anyone they can’t see themselves raising a child together with for at least the next 18 years. Another lesson might involve not having sex with anyone you need to get drunk to tolerate copulating with.

      • David of Kirkland says

        Yeah, why can’t people only behave rationally when it comes to the sex drive?
        And children who can have a baby are clearly legal adults who must be forced to raise a baby for 18 years because they thought perhaps sex would be fun.
        Authority and tyranny run strong on this topic…

        • E. Olson says

          David – you are correct that sex drive can be very strong, but people are taught rape is wrong and therefore most don’t rape even when their sex drive is urging them to have sex by any means necessary. I don’t see why morals, ethics, and economics can’t be part of sex education instead of simply body mechanics and the perils of STDs. It won’t work on everyone, but I expect it would reduce the incidences of unsafe sex and unwanted pregnancy, which would be benefits to the individual and society. And as I have noted in other comments, the other option for unwanted pregnancy is adoption. Lots of couples want to adopt, and it seems very strange that for many the only option is overseas adoption, while “home-grown” potential babies get aborted.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Andrew Elsey

      “you should pay the consequences for bringing a helpless life into this world”

      But they do. Of the top of my head I can name half a dozen men who had to pay child support for 18 years, and spousal support for ever, and not one woman who has had to do the same. A pregnant female has Choice but the male has none whatsoever either way. Suppose we were to decide that men, too, have Choice? That is, the male related to a certain pregnancy should have the right to say to the female: ‘It’s your Choice whether or not to have this baby, but I’m Choicing not to support it, if you do.’

      • Daniel V says

        Ray Andrew – What about if both the mother and father don’t want the baby and don’t want to stay together? Why should they both not have the choice to terminate if it’s early in the pregnancy? Particularly if they’re Christians that don’t interpret the Bible to say life begins at conception?

        • E. Olson says

          Daniel V – ever heard of adoption? Its a concept where the “unwanted” baby gets put into a home that has to prove they are qualified and financially able to support the child. In many cases the adoptive parents will even pay for the medical care of the mother during pregnancy and delivery. There are even family willing to adopt babies addicted to drugs, or handicapped, or of a different race. It is really quite a concept.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Daniel V

          Notwithstanding E’s comment just now concerning adoption, I myself favor 1st trimester abortion, I think it’s the least worst evil. But partial birth abortion? Where the baby is murdered while being delivered? Or a botched hysterotomy abortion where the kid cries before being murdered on the table? Nope.

          • Daniel V says

            Ray – I agree pretty much completely, expect to add abortions in later trimesters should be allowed in certain circumstances. Just imagine going to the hospital with your wife for the birth of your child, finding out there are severe complications that can only be avoided by aborting the pregnancy, but then that being illegal because it’s too late in the pregnancy. Personally I think the law should never be that blind.

            There is also the religious beliefs of the individual that should be considered. I personally believe in order for something to be considered a person there needs to be a real sense of self awareness and consciousness. Which I don’t believe are present in the first trimester. If me and my wife got pregnant despite all our precautions I would not want the state telling us we can’t abort because according to them as soon as that sperm and egg do their thing, boom, you got a person. In the grand scheme of things us terminating the pregnancy has zero effect on anyone outside of our own family.

          • David of Kirkland says

            Good, since there is no such thing as a trend for partial birth or after birth killing of a baby.

          • E. Olson says

            Daniel V – again I expect the vast majority of pro-life people would agree to the option of legal abortion in the case of severe birth defects, although I’m sure there would be some argument regarding the definition of “severe” (i.e. is a girl fetus a defect, left-handedness, baldness, blindness, missing limb?).

            As for your definition of “personhood” being based on self-awareness and consciousness – the literature suggests that doesn’t occur until about 15 months after birth at the earliest – do you support abortion until then?

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Daniel V

            “to add abortions in later trimesters should be allowed in certain circumstances”

            Of course. A bit of humanity now and then eh? It’s the dogmatists on both sides who I can’t stand. This is the ultimate difficult issue, there are no solutions, just the best possible compromise. To quote MacBeth, “If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well It were done quickly”. Nuts, my mother had an abortion. Do it quickly and quietly and please don’t preach it, and I’m sure most pro-life people will look away for a moment. We aren’t monsters. But no murdering of babies after they are born please. I understand there were contemplating that in Virginia.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @David of Kirkland

            “Good, since there is no such thing as a trend for partial birth or after birth killing of a baby.”

            Yet there are fundamentalist choicers who would have us believe there is not even the hint of a moral issue with either and both should be performed on demand.

          • jakesbrain says

            @Ray Andrews
            Any system that unwittingly permits the flourishing of amoral monsters like Kermit Gosnell needs reexamination.

        • Andrew Elsey says

          Daniel, your 4th grade logic has been debunked time and time again. To this day, there is no secular or otherwise argument for abortion that can stand up to any rational scrutiny. To be honest, I think I could actually appreciate fools like yourself more if you could at least drop the dissemblance and make your rationale for abortion: “Who cares? Piss off, We’re going to do it anyway”, which, at the end of the day, is what your sophism boils down to.

          At this point, I don’t think there’s any fitting karmic end for abortion defenders, other than happenstantially ending up in the middle of the woods with 2 people who decide they don’t like you anymore and decide to end you, because, well, they don’t believe in the Bible!

      • Andrew Elsey says

        Ray, I’m specifically not addressing divorce laws and spousal support. Clearly our current
        system engenders unscrupulous women (which is to say, a lot of them, as is certainly the same is with men) to find the first idiot with a stable career/money they can find, pop out a baby or two, find a good excuse, and cash out at the right time. This is clearly unfair and any man who sporadically reads the news would agree.

        However, if you happen to impregnate a girl whom you’re not married to/in a long term relationship with, a lot of guys have a reasonable shot to skip town and cut off all contact with the girl (and often do), shirking off responsibility, which clearly the girl is not in a position to, sans abortion. Hence, assuming abortion were made illegal, I think there should be increased punitive measures/stricter enforcement against this behavior.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Andrew Elsey

          I won’t answer because I found your rudeness to Daniel offensive. His views are moderate and if there are flaws in his thinking, pointing them out would be more helpful than attacking him personally. Surely there is too much shit-slinging over this matter already? Why don’t you argue the issue and leave off the ad hominems?

          • Andrew Elsey says

            Ray – Here is his original reply to me: “you even suggest these “babies” are a punishment shows your true moral depravity in the matter.” Maybe you are lacking in reading comprehension skills as well, otherwise, I don’t know what planet you live on where you think that you would infer that I’m the one initiating ad hominem and declining to argue the issue.

          • Stephanie says

            Killing innocent humans isn’t one of those things you should aim to be moderate about. All the same arguments about consciousness, dependence, and age could easily be applied to mean it is acceptable to kill the elderly and disabled, indeed in some places they are.

            There is no medical situation necessitating abortion after the point of viability, which is earlier every year. If the mother is sick, the baby can be removed. If the baby is handicapped or ill, it makes just as much sense to kill it as it does to kill a handicapped or ill toddler. Which, no surprise, is now deemed acceptable in places that have put qualifiers on the right to life.

            No religious inclination is required to accept the biological fact that a new human life begins at conception. Our constantly improving understanding of fetal development is making clear that at no time is a human just a “clump of cells.” There is always order. Before the first missed period, all the important bits are there, and it just grows. We have videotaped babies moving at 8 weeks.

            There is no biological basis for distinguishing a person from a human, it is simply a dehumanization tactic.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Get excited and shoot your load having sex when and then you “pay the consequences” for 18+ years just because you think others must have babies they don’t wan? Good grief…that you even suggest these “babies” are a punishment shows your true moral depravity in the matter.
      How about people who want babies have them rather than forcing those who do not?

      • Andrew Elsey says

        David, I didn’t suggest these babies ARE a punishment; perhaps your reading comprehension skills are lacking. I suggested that morally depraved people who are unwilling to accept responsibility might consider them as a punishment, which, in all likelihood, includes you, based on your comment. I won’t really debate your points, as patently you are providing a great example of the selfish and entitled people I was referencing in my original comment. Hopefully nobody will stand up for you when another group with power decides that you are unworthy to live, as humans tend to do quite often.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @David of Kirkland

        “How about people who want babies have them rather than forcing those who do not?”

        Duty. I saw a stat that was educational (remembering of course that all statistics are open to question). It seems that the year after abortion was legalized in California, incidents of child abuse increased fourfold. After all, if you can murder kids outright via abortion then what’s the big deal abusing them once they’re born?

        You say ‘want babies’. Ok, then if the wanting is what matters, then supposing that some woman or couple stop wanting their kids? You might say that what they want doesn’t matter, they have an obligation, and I agree. But I’d say that obligation started with pregnancy. There is no magic moment when ‘fetal tissue’ becomes a baby, the becoming starts at conception. And the attitude of duty should start then too. The idea that you can turn on the instinct to care for kids like flipping a switch is mistaken.

  4. Steve says

    In response to comment, The Gardener, some women DO use contraception, urge their partners to wear condoms, yet can STILL fall pregnant.
    It is known to happen.

    • E. Olson says

      Steve – and some pregnant women claim to be virgins, and can’t understand why they are gaining weight and have cravings for pickles and ice-cream.

  5. bumble bee says

    What is apparent here is that the same old reasoning for supporting abortion has lost it’s logic.

    Women are indeed in control of their bodies, unlike times past when husbands could override a woman’s ability to decide their own medical care. The argument of bodily autonomy is null and void today. This is directly related to the charge that men are making decisions about women’s health (which I am not using as a euphemism for abortion but in the context of overall health). Which again is null and void. Today, in the US, women have the ability to seek out medical care with any professional and proceed with treatments as they so choose.

    It is true that pro-life/pro-abortion support is based on people’s own moral character, in which ones faith can play an important part. The example of Christianity being a driving force for pro-life is true, but it is the faith rather than the church ( the hierarchy of men) that provide pro-life support. The use by pro-abortionists to claim that those religious men are to blame is again null and void, since it is again faith and the morals and ethics that are derived from that faith that Christians support pro-life. Again, Christian women are no longer viewed as chattel as they once were when especially catholic women were “encouraged” to have as many children as they could. Families of 6+ children from “good” catholic mothers has become rare. The plight of christian women in general has drastically changed from before. They do make their own decisions.

    What i would like women to start discussing, being one myself, is responsibility for our own sexual behaviors. While the sexual revolution changed the sexual paradigm from before, it has however gotten to a point where there is no personal accountability. Society has become so overly sexualized, being bombarded by sexual messages, as well as being socially marginalized if one is not “scoring” every weekend, that women have actually lost control of the situation. Now rather than abortion being for extreme circumstances, it is now a method of birth control. This even includes now in a few states, with more to come, being able to abort after birth. How is that not murder? In fact, when preemies can be born at 1lb and still survive how is aborting those much further along also not be considered murder? Perhaps that should be the cut off date to abortion, to coincide with medical advances at which life is viable. Women are going to need to start being mature enough to understand outcomes when having sex. Feminine power and autonomy is not about deciding whether to end life, but in having the ability to make decisions before hand on what the woman wants with regard to pregnancy and doing what is necessary to achieve that before engaging in sex..

    We have all heard the stories of girls being impregnated by abusers or other similarly tragic stories. They break ones hearts hearing of girls being abused as such. These rare occurrences should be the exception, however they are often used by pro-abortionists as being the norm. They are searching for a icon to use to not just highlight tragedies that occur, but to get people believing that all abortions are derived from such instances. So because a young girl has endured horrors, every abortion needs to be legal. What is glaringly omitted as well is that how many men have forced women to get abortions against their will because they are legal in an attempt to avoid child support.

    Women, especially feminists, have taken abortion from being accessible in certain circumstances for REAL women’s health, into an abortion mill where life no longer has any meaning. They have turned giving and growing life into an inconvenience rather than empowering women to acknowledge that every sexual act can result in pregnancy, and by choosing sex they understand what that means. If women want to really be empowered, being able to say NO to sex, unless you want to be pregnant, is the most empowering.

    So in a nutshell, the lives of women are no longer bound the the 50’s and before, men are not the driving force behind pro-life, engage in sex with the understanding that you may get pregnant ( that’s the ultimate purpose of sex), have the personal empowerment to not have sex thereby negating pregnancy, and understand that those tragic stories meant to get people to support abortion are the exceptions. The unborn does not need to die because you were irresponsible.

    • E. Olson says

      BB – you raise a very interesting issue, which is how often extreme cases are used to defend abortion rights. Rape, incest, abusive relationships, etc. are always fore and center in any discussion about restricting abortion, and yet comprise tiny portions of potential abortion cases.

    • the gardner says

      BB—- thank you, could not agree more. Women want to have it both ways—- sex, maybe protected, but if not, so what? Just kill the fetus with no regrets or a second thought. Given that PP performs 300,000+ abortions a year, there is no way more than a small percentage could be due to rape or incest. It is time women accepted the biological fact of life and deal with it responsibly. BCPs are 99+% effective and cheap.

      • LIsa Canner says

        I agree, particular with the “My Body My Choice but not my responsibility, if I can’t support that baby and have to rely on the taxpayers”

        • E. Olson says

          Lisa – its bad enough when citizens who can’t support a child get pregnant, but even worse are the pregnant illegals or visitors who arrive at a US hospital in labor with no insurance and must be given medical care for the delivery of the baby at taxpayer expense. These babies gain immediate US citizenship and the anchor the entire family to remain in the states and get immediate eligibility for welfare benefits. In many border counties in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, such anchor babies make up the majority of live births. Clearly abortion is a non-issue for people looking to use babies as a financial resource via the welfare state.

      • Cora says

        Condoms are 98 percent effective, cheap, avalable at 2 am in any pharmacy, and also protect against STDs. Oooops. Condoms are used by men. I think it’s time men accepted the biological fact that their sperm is necessary for a pregnancy.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Why the hell do you care about that fetus? Every day, we are bombing post birth humans in other countries, but not a peep?
      Do you agree that the state should raise all children, pay for their education and healthcare?
      Accidental pregnancy is not rare now or ever before. How about if you want a baby, go have one and stop forcing others to reproduce who don’t want to?

      • Jairo Melchor says

        Unlike you and many on this post, abortion is really not a difficult issue to understand if you actually leave morals of being right and wrong behind.

        It’s not as simple as “let others to decide if they want offspring”. Simply because we already have many many ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies, condoms, after-day pills (only in extreme case), daily pills, IUD’s, vasectomy, among others. Sex education has been a standard for more than two decades now (if i’m not mistaken).

        Now, you would say: “Well, accidental pregnancies happen, it is known.”

        And to answer that, i have to remind you that accidental pregnancies are a very tiny minority, and when they happen they usually do because of the lack of proper manipulation and use of the contraception method (people not knowing how to use a condom, a man touching his penis and then the woman’s vagina, etc etc). There has been rare cases in which there have been pregnancies despite not being anything wrong with the use of the method, but again, they are even more rare.

        So, there’s no really excuse for when a woman does not use a protective mean to not have a baby, the same applies to men who talk their partner into having unprotected sex. Now, what’s the point in sex education and having all those protected sex methods if people aren’t really gonna get any “bad” outcome after being warned of not doing it?

        It’s not about being the right or wrong morals, it’s about people knowing there has to be standards and their decisions can have unintended consequences. Also, let’s not forget the daily threat of catching an STD.

        May i also add that even if abortion was legal in any possible way, it’s not as simple as going to the hospital and getting a candy from a doctor for being a good patient. The deaths due to abortion increase in illegal places where there are not sanitary rules, but they always exist no matter what. Risks like heavy bleeding, infections, damage to the reproductive organ, those physical dangers can occur DURING and AFTER the abortion.

        There are even emotional and mental risks before and after the abortion, have you ever heard of post-pregnancy depression?

        People in the debate (whether they are pro-life or pro-choice) like to talk about being right or wrong, but they never mention the technicality of an abortion, they never mention the bad and the ugly side. They just shout “i’m good, you bad” and paint things with a rainbow shade.

        • E. Olson says

          Good comment Jairo – you bring up a point I haven’t seen mentioned, which are the physical dangers of abortion even when “properly” done. Abortion supporters always protest any attempt to regulate the safety of abortion clinics by making sure they provide hygienic conditions, modern equipment, trained staff, and admitting privileges to hospitals in case of unexpected emergencies. The Gosnell case is an example of what can happen in unregulated abortion mills, but the lack of concern shown about patient safety during abortion just shows how feminist abortion dogma trumps concern for the safety of female patients, as does the total lack of concern about the mental trauma of abortion.

  6. Pierre Pendre says

    If bodily autonomy were a right, men could refuse conscription by the military in time of war and the risk of losing their life. At Verdun, French poilus were sent into battle with orders to fight until they were killed. People with contagious disease lose their bodily autonomiy under quarantine. There are times when society in order to protect itself and the common good asserts a higher right over the right claimed by the individual. Pro-lifers assert this higher right on behalf of the foetus. the perpetuation of the species is more important than the vessel that perpetuates it.

    This is an argument against abortion itself and also against the claim by some feminists that men should be denied any part in the debate. It seems most people, whether pro-life or pro-choice, agree that there should be a qualified right to abortion regardless of the unanswerable question regarding the moment when life begins.

    It is interesting that the abortion issue is as politically divisive today among Americans as it was when the supreme court legalised it. In Europe, where abortion was legalised by parliaments, abortion is still debated as a moral issue but does not inflect politics. The solution for the United States might be for Congress to do the job it failed to do in the 1970s. But it may be that both the Democratic and Republican parties prefer to keep the status quo as a matter of partisan political convenience.

    • E. Olson says

      Pierre – you raise a very important point. Abortion is controversial in the US in part because it was never the will of the people to nationally legalize it. Prior to Roe v Wade the legislatures of several states had legalized abortions, while other states restricted it, which in all cases were based on the local preferences of the citizens. It is also important to note that almost all abortion restrictions were originally put in place to protect the life of the mother in an era when medical technology and training was very poor, and botched abortions often killed women (even when the abortion was legal). The anger with Roe v Wade is therefore not only about protecting the rights of fetuses, but also about using the Supreme Court to thwart the will of the people by parties who had failed to convince the populace or democratically elected legislators to legalize abortion on a national level. Interestingly enough, Jane Roe of Roe v Wade had a chance of heart about legalizing abortion, and regretted her part in the case (see link).

    • David of Kirkland says

      It is fair to remain a moral issue. Just don’t make such a hard decision and issue a legal one. Criminalizing and forcing abortion underground or only for those who can afford to go to another state, etc. isn’t helpful to society. It is just an expansion of authoritarianism, where other people control your life because they think it’s right.

      • Stephanie says

        Who is the government to tell me I can’t kill my offspring? Forget about abortion, killing anyone who is dependent on you or inconveniences you should be legal. Anything less is authoritarian.

        • S.Cheung says

          any of those other people are “viable”…which means they can survive without you, the woman involved, and/or the mother. Now, they will still need to be cared for, but others can step up to do that…which is why that’s not the critical aspect of “viability” in the abortion discussion. For “viability”, but for the mother, the “clump of cells” is kaput, and not even the hand of your god can do bupkiss about it.

  7. Lightning Rose says

    The problem blew up when married monogamy as an ideal was thrown overboard by the Left. The great error was to try and equate women’s sexuality with men’s; the idea you can just run around doing as you like, consequences be damned. When the sex act became decontextualized from its primary function as reproduction and re-branded as recreational, ubiquitous and ultimately of very little value, suddenly the value of any product of conception was moot; demoted to a “mistake.” That’s a little harder to sustain today for the younger generations, now that we have ultrasound, which might be in part why there is less sexual irresponsibility among today’s college crowd.

    Have you noticed that every election cycle these “in your pants” issues have to blow up again? I’m sick of the distraction from far more pressing issues that affect far more than a micro-minority of people. If you don’t want to get pregnant, use BC and have your partner use a condom. If that fails, abortion should be safe and legal BEFORE the point of medical viability, yes, but acting like it’s something to be celebrated is just plain sick. Maybe you ought to think twice about having sex to begin with if you can’t contemplate, even symbolically, raising a kid with that partner. This is the peril of thinking you can rewrite Natural Law.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Lightning Rose

      Well said. Isn’t that pretty near exactly the case?

    • Stephanie says

      Lightening Rose, the problem with the viability standard is that it depends on geography and what the parents can afford. It’s ethically problematic to say a baby deserves legal protection if her parents are rich city-dwellers, but a baby exactly the same age can be killed with impunity if the parents are poor or rural.

      • S.Cheung says

        that might be a contention if “medical viability” were to be applied as a world-wide standard. But this is always going to be a jurisdictional issue, and medical viability is no different in downtown LA as it is in rural Alabama. Parental finances might be an issue if you actually had a fetus delivered at 21 weeks gestation, but that has no bearing on the discussion of medical viability as a metric for abortion purposes.

    • S.Cheung says

      Lightning Rose,
      precisely. The religious right wield this to get their base frothing at the mouth, and the feminists do the same with their crowd. It’s Pavlovian political theater.

      I am precisely in line with your thinking on this issue, especially wrt viability as the determining factor.

  8. Fuzzy Headed Mang says

    The abortion question is one of what is the lesser of two evils? If abortion is outlawed, the mother may get one anyway by unsanitary and unhealthy methods that could result in injury or death. Some religious people might say she got what she deserved for her sin. I don’t want to go back to those days. As for Natural Law, we rewrite natural law every day when someone takes the pill. The author says Islam is easier on abortion than Christianity. The difference is that if you do get one in a country ruled by Sharia Law, like Saudi Arabia, there’s severe punishment, unless three physicians have approved it. Abortion has been illegal because women did not have the power to vote, or to be in politics, so in fact men have had a lot to do with this. “The Patriarchy” though is a pejorative and invented term, as if all men think the same, or there’s some kind of male cabal to keep women pregnant and in the kitchen. It’s an invention of conspiracy theorists, but provides a convenient stereotype.

    • bumble bee says

      @Fuzzy, “If abortion is outlawed, the mother may get one anyway by unsanitary and unhealthy methods that could result in injury or death.”

      That is an argument, but if we are to look at the case of Dr Gosnell who was providing legal abortion services, we have all found what a horror he was actually providing. If you do not know who he is please google him, as there is too much information to cover. He was those same unsanitary, unhealthy, providers except he had a store front for anyone to access. He kept body parts from abortions for no medical reason, and at least one woman died from his care. He may be the epitome of everything wrong, but what has amazed me more is the reaction from pro-abortionists. If their logic, as you stated, is to provide healthy abortions, why is it that they did not want to support abortionists mandated to have admitting rights to the nearest hospital? What happens are those women who have complications? They are taken by ambulance (if they call one) to the nearest emergency room without any accountability or follow up from the abortionist. How is that providing safe, proper care?

      We have to acknowledge that there are still back alley abortionists providing their services in total disregard to proper medical protocol. They are just not operating from the alley any more. Then there are people totally unqualified, unlicensed, doing these procedures as well. Sometimes the receptionist is assisting as well. Nothing is mentioned about changing those issues from the pro-abortionists. In fact, when such measures were going to be passed, (I forget the state(s)), all the PA kept repeating was that it was going to make getting an abortion harder, “limiting access”. Again, where is the concern for the women. Those that support abortions in one breath, apparently feel just fine about having substandard care for all women just so long as its available. The poor are still being treated in the same manner as before RvW.

      • Fuzzy Headed Mang says

        Bumble Bee: This Dr. Gosnell’s an anomaly, an American problem due to a profit motivated, unequal health care system. In Canada, where I live, abortions are provided in hospitals and government funded clinics free of charge. So poor women are treated equally as anyone else when it comes to the procedure. This is also true in much of Europe. If abortion were illegal, the law of supply and demand would indicate that there’d be many more such horror stories as Dr. Gosnell’s.

        • E. Olson says

          So Canada provides free abortions in government run hospitals? As a non-emergency procedure, does this mean the abortion requester must wait in the typical queue of several months to get the procedure done? What happens if the baby is already born by that time?

          • Fuzzy Headed Mang says

            Hi E. Olson: You make a good point but there are government funded abortion clinics. A woman can go there to receive timely service. A wait may be a day or a week, maximum.

    • Fuzzy – islam is ok with abortion because islam is ok with murder, hell, it’s their duty. I would never expect Christians to advocate what they see as murder. But abortion is a medical matter, not a religious one, in our society, which keeps church and state separate.

  9. Morgan Foster says

    White conservative male, here.

    Yes, abortion takes a human life. And yes, I am in favor of legal abortion.

    I’m also pro-capital punishment (the killing of convicted criminals), so I suppose my views on the sanctity of human life are little off from the norm.

    In any case, I would not force a woman to bear a child against her will, no matter how careless or irresponsible she’s been.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Morgan Foster

      But should a man be forced to support a woman against his will, no matter how careless or irresponsible he’s been? If so, why the obligation for one, but not the other?

      • Morgan Foster says

        @Ray Andrews

        That’s a pretty awkward analogy, and I can only guess that you’re referring to court-ordered alimony or palimony.

        And that, as any family law attorney will tell you, depends.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Morgan Foster

          But it seems to almost invariably end up that the male pays, no?

          • Increasingly, no. As a practicing domestic relations attorney, there are several factors that are taken into consideration, but if the mother/wife earns more than the father/husband, and Dad is involved in the child’s life, she is going to pay child and spousal support.

            Further, it is increasingly rare for Dad to only have every other weekend, or minimal parenting time. Joint custody and an equal parenting schedule is far more common. The Court’s general presumption is that both parents should be equally involved.

    • E. Olson says

      Morgan – I can respect your opinion, but what I can never understand is the opposite view commonly held by the Left, who are often happy to support the killing of an innocent fetus, but go crazy mad if some mass-murderer might die for his crime. I also have never understood why prisons go to heroic levels of medical intervention to save the lives of lifer and death row inmates who attempt to commit suicide.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @E. Olson

        It’s interesting to consider why. One theory I like is that since leftist sharing and caring is more performance than hard work, and more selfish than it presents itself to be, folks who are already ‘here’ no longer have to worry about being aborted so they have zero worries and thus zero empathy concerning fetuses — I will never (again) be one of them, so who cares about them? But the possibility of being arrested for a crime is real, however unlikely, therefore, since I might yet become a criminal, how criminals are treated is a matter of concern — nothing I might ever do should result in severe punishment.

        When something is highly visible it is highly usable for virtue performance. Thus the situation with crime/criminals is very visible and thus much performative virtue is to be expected. But fetuses die in silence and in private and whereas the religious person might hear the silent screams, the leftist performer can easily pretend that they don’t exist and thus ignore them. In the same way, we weep for an overturned raft in the Med, that we see on TV, but the millions who die in Congo are easy not to notice.

        Keeping a murderer alive is merely an expense on the state, it has that socialist thing, whereby the government basically, has infinite money to look after everyone, including mass murderers. But having to carry a fetus to term is an inconvenience! Yes, a burden on the selfishness of a specific person which can’t be dispersed and is therefore an insult to the notion that the state can carry all burdens and solve all problems. No Victim ever has a responsibility, only rights. Oppressors, on the contrary, have responsibilities.

      • Morgan Foster says

        @E. Olson

        There is a bizarre and difficult-to-fathom intellectual disconnect for those on the Left who believe that society does not have the right to end the life of a serial murderer, but it’s perfectly okay to end the life of a fetus (a baby, to be quite honest).

        And you are perfectly correct when you describe the fetus (a baby) as being innocent, but for most Lefties, guilt or innocence doesn’t really enter or into their thinking for either abortion or capital punishment.

        Take serial murderer Aileen Wuornos as a hypothetical. We have no reason to believe she was ever pregnant while in prison, but let’s pretend for a moment.

        Guilty Aileen Wuornos, innocent fetus (baby). To the Lefty:

        Morally wrong to kill the guilty Aileen Wuornos.
        Morally okay to kill the guilty Aileen Wuornos’ innocent baby (fetus).

        Every attempt by a Leftie to explain this intellectual disconnect, this double-think, has made no sense that I have ever seen.

        (I’m glad Wuornos was killed by the State of Florida, btw.)

    • Daniel V says

      Morgan you’re showing why this debate can be so frustrating and absurd for people on the center or right. It’s exceedingly rare to see principles applied consistently.

      In one breath it’s all about every human life mattering, in the next there is talk of capital punishment or war. That’s inconsistent. I’m sure if war breaks out with Iran there will be more than a little overlap between the pro war and pro life crowds.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @Daniel V

        “That’s inconsistent.”

        That’s honest, but I think you misunderstand. Life is sacred which is why abortion is wrong, but the murderer, by violating that sanctity, has chosen to put themselves outside the circle of sanctity. But the fetus is innocent, she has committed no crime, should she die simply because her mother would prefer a boy?

      • Stephanie says

        It is not inconsistent if your stated belief is that it is wrong to end an innocent human life. Capital punishment and war do not (ideally) end innocent human lives. They end the lives of violent, dangerous criminals. In the case of war, that may be terrorists, genociders, Nazis, communists, invaders, or other people guilty of violence against their own or others. History has shown there is a cost to avoiding taking care of these people, almost inevitably causing the problem to grow until it cannot be easily handled any longer. Of course there will be innocents that die in the cross-fire, but that is not on purpose the way an abortion is done on purpose. This is all quite simple and consistent, a fact that I don’t believe pro-choice people couldn’t grasp if they tried.

      • Peter from Oz says

        Black lives matter, as long as they’re not balck foetus’ lives.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Peter from Oz

          Best comment of all.

    • Jonathan Andrews says

      Morgan, I agree. The lesser of two evils is the only way I can address this. I can’t get around the thought that life begins at conception but realise that women may still choose to abort an unwanted child. It seems to me it is preferable that this happen in a safe and open way. I suspect too that most for most women who have an abortion the choice and procedure are extremely distressing and they should not be judged harshly. Having said that, some of the rhetoric of the pro-choice lobby is very unpleasant.

      Related is the issue of the role of men in a decision. There was a case some years ago in the UK were a man failed to use the court system to prevent his former partner having an abortion. While the potential fathers do undoubtedly have an interest, the casting vote must go to the potential mother (who must obviously carry a child to term otherwise). My point is while men are secondary in this, they are not irrelevant. Much of the pro-choice rhetoric misses this.

      I compare it to the death penalty as you do but come to the opposite conclusion. While terribly cruel murderous men probably deserve to be executed, I fear the inevitable wrongful conviction. Keeping a few terrible people alive in prison for the crimes seems a lesser evil that the state killing an innocent person.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @Jonathan Andrews

        The balanced and honest view. Thanks.

    • David of Kirkland says

      A pregnant woman was no more “irresponsible” than the male. And these laws don’t even account for the fact that god’s loving gift of life can start with a rape or incest.
      Real mothers would die for their babies. This tells you pregnancy isn’t the same as motherhood.

    • S.Cheung says

      My silo is “Asian centrist male”.

      Your honesty and consistency are refreshing. I’m pro-choice, not pro-abortion, but do want it to be “available, safe and rare”. My guide is fetal viability. Prior to viability, I feel it should ultimately be the woman’s choice. So in view of your guiding principle, you’re probably even farther on the pro choice path than I am.

      But for capital punishment, that’s the state ending a life. Whereas you find consistency in the aspect of “taking of a human life”, i would find disparity in state-sanctioning versus individual choice.

      There will be a range of opinions regarding the value of punishment, vs retribution, vs deterrence. The difference between prolonged (several lifetimes’ worth) imprisonment vs cap punishment is really in the retribution part, i would say. THe difference obviously is also in the absolute nature of the latter.

      I’m also one for people making choices, and living with the consequences. If a woman chooses abortion and comes to regret it, that is a cross for her to bear. But if a person is wrongfully convicted (which of course does happen) and receives cap punishment that proves to have been unjustly administered after the fact, who bears that price besides the innocent guy who got executed? The woman lives with having gotten an abortion, but the dead guy “lives” with being wrongfully executed (a rare but finite possibility). That’s what makes me stand against cap-punishment, in a way that has nothing to do with my viability threshold for abortion.

      • E. Olson says

        S. Cheung – so you are against capital punishment even when there is zero doubt about guilt to a heinous crime? Do you think that painlessly killing a the rare wrongfully convicted person is worse for the individual or society than locking the person up for 20-50 years and then letting them out with an “I’m sorry we were wrong”?

        Further, you state you are ok with a woman (as an individual) deciding to terminate her pregnancy prior to viability, but are uncomfortable with society deciding to end a life of a heinous criminal. What if the criminal purposely kills a mother’s 6 month year old baby – should the mother have the choice to take the criminal’s life (i.e. would you choose to convict her for shooting the killer in the back as he ran away from the murder scene, OR say she had no right to demand the state execute the killer after conviction in court)?

        • S.Cheung says

          E. Olson,
          I would be fine with cap punishment IFF there was zero error rate for convictions. When will that be?

          “Do you think that painlessly killing a the rare wrongfully convicted person is worse for the individual or society than locking the person up for 20-50 years and then letting them out with an “I’m sorry we were wrong”?”
          —it would NOT be worse for society in the sense that the newly freed person will be suing said society up the wazoo, and rightfully so. Would it be better or worse for the individual to be dead vs locked up for 50 yrs then released and given right to sue? i think that would be a very individual judgement call. After 20 yrs? Still judgement call but I’d be leaning towards “worse” being dead. But it seems to me you’re taking the judicial error out of it, and essentially asking “is dead better than jail for 50 years”, with the implication that 50 yrs in jail is worse. That is an interesting tact because, as I said, I’m fine with the punitive and deterrent purposes of the system, and if jail for 50 years is to be perceived as more punitive and more of a deterrent than death, why take that out in favor of the quick retributive fix? You’re going to do the guy a solid by giving him the needle? If he’s that heinous, why not let him rot for 50 large? (Given your usual position, you might feel feeding a guy 3 squares a day for 50 years is bad use of $, but the legal costs of a guy on death row can’t be cheap either. I wonder if there is a fiscal “break-even” point for that, just as a curiosity-aside.)

          Your example would be better served with a 16 week in-utero “clump of cells”…assuming a mind exercise where the mom was assaulted, could know with certainty the fetus was dead in real time, but was physically still capable, despite the serious assault, of killing the assailant in real time (maybe like a female John Wick with a 24/7 fetal heart monitor, one that she obviously would have inserted and sewn in herself). That would be a head-scratcher with some serious what-if’s baked in.

          For your actual example, that’s just murder…and judgement for that is not left to the individual, so none of that eye-for-eye stuff would apply, and she would be confined to the mechanism of our current legal system. So I’m a bit unclear about your question. There is presumably no issue of wrongful conviction (I’ll assume “the guy” is accurately identified by the mom), but nor is there any concept of fetal viability at play. Are you asking whether a case with zero error possibility should qualify for cap punishment? My answer would be yes…but how do you codify that? “We will allow cap punishment for heinous crimes with zero error rate for convictions”?

          • E. Olson says

            SC – my main point was is it less cruel to lock up an innocent person for 50 years for a heinous crime he didn’t commit, than it is to stick a needle in him for the quick and painless punishment? Personally, unless I knew that there was evidence readily available that could show my innocence (unlikely since it would have been used at trial), I would rather be killed than spend 50 years in prison – let my family sue for damages when my innocence is declared since they will enjoy the money more than I will at 75 or 80 years old.

            But the fact is there are extremely few (perhaps no) cases where innocent people are convicted to die, as evidence must be very certain and the crime very horrible for most prosecutors to even consider the death penalty. Almost all of the death row types that get off on appeal do so because of some trial technicality not because of doubts about the crime. I would be happy to put the needle into prosecutors who knowingly put someone to death that was innocent by hiding evidence or other unscrupulous activities that contribute to wrongful conviction, just to make sure they have some “skin in the game”.

            While I appreciate the concern about executing innocent people, the problem with abortion is it always involves killing innocent people, and it is very problematic for a variety of reasons to argue that fetuses are “clumps of cells” one day and viable and protected the next day. To use another analogy – would we convict a nurse for killing a patient who was otherwise expected to recover in a few days or weeks by purposely unplugging the respirator during a medically induced coma?

          • S.Cheung says

            E. Olson,
            your position is reasonable and intellectually consistent within your own conception of the issue, but I’m not sure it would scale. I don’t think most people get around the wrongful state execution conundrum with “well, they’re better off dead cuz of the cruelty of continued wrongful incarceration”. I think most people want to right the wrong rather than just to lean into it.

            But again, to you, if “dead” is better than “jailed” for the wrongfully convicted, might it also be so for the rightfully convicted? And if so, you are still offering what you would consider the easier way out for the true heinous murderer. I honestly didn’t think that would be in your repertoire.

            You are correct that “true errors” and reversals in capital cases are rare, although we are limiting consideration of “true errors” to the ones that were both truly erroneous, and recognized and acted on before expiry date. So there are some known unknowns there. It is also true that some of those “errors” were technicalities, not factual innocence. But then our legal system has always been a quasi-scientific method one: the state hypothesizes the guilt of the accused, and the burden is on the state to sustain that hypothesis; the accused cannot be expected to prove the null of its own innocence. That it is a high bar for the state to clear when the stakes are highest seems reasonable when the same bar is required when the stakes are more trivial. I would approach from other end: is “beyond a reasonable doubt” among 12 of your peers, some of whom may be abject morons, really the only barrier to you strapped to a gurney? I’ll leave malicious prosecution out of this because that is unique and case-specific, and not a systematic issue.

            What I will acknowledge though, is that most of the new exculpatory evidence we hear about seem to address older cases where current DNA tech provides new info that actually “proves” innocence. Since that current tech is already used for current cases, my suspicion is that such bases for exoneration will be less prevalent in the future…but this also ignores the possibility that science will come up with new ways to extract info from trace evidence in the future, and I’m rarely one to sell science short.

            I think the concept of viability is binary. Either the clump of cells is, or it isn’t. The demarcation will change, as you’ve suggested, but that demarcation itself is science based, with no appeal to emotion or some of the other less objective standards on display in the comments section. And judgement of “an act” has to be based on the realities contemporary to that act. That “nurse” will be convicted yesterday, today, and tomorrow, because but for him/her pulling the plug, that comatose patient would be alive on all 3 of those days. In the case of the clump of cells, prior to viability, but for the mom, it would have no potential to be, on any of those 3 days.

          • Saw file says

            I haven’t come into this thread, as Ray and SC where carrying about 95% of my own POV, but some of your aversions about cap.pun. need to be addressed.

            “evidence readily available that could show my innocence (unlikely since it would have been used at trial)”

            There have been no shortage of serious criminal cases where the police and prosecution have suppressed/destroyed exculpatory evidence. There’s also no shortage of cases that have been overturned due to borderline incompetence (and occasional collusion) of public defenders.

            “let my family sue for damages when my innocence is declared since they will enjoy the money more than I will at 75 or 80 years old.”

            I’m not a legal expert, but I assume that a wrongful conviction civil lawsuit would be based on “pain and suffering”. Being that that type of lawsuit dies with the plaintiff, I don’t see how it could even be initiated without one.

            “But the fact is there are extremely few (perhaps no) cases where innocent people are convicted to die, as evidence must be very certain and the crime very horrible for most prosecutors to even consider the death penalty.”

            In fact many truly innocent have been exonerated due advancements in the sciences used in forensics. As a single example, DNA is a pretty good one. What at trial can be considered as ‘certain’ inculpatory evidence can later become ‘certain’ exculpatory evidence.
            I think it’s also important to remember that the office of the prosecutor is political, and sometimes seeking the death penalty is a political move.

            “Almost all of the death row types that get off on appeal do so because of some trial technicality not because of doubts about the crime. ”

            Yes, that unfortunately happens, but they don’t generally “get off”. They’re more often still convicted of a serious ‘lesser’ crime.

            I know you are a knowledgeable person, so I’m not going to bother with examples or citations. They are many and vast.

            I’m pro-cap.pun. for certain heinous crimes but having witnessed the example of the David Milgaard tragedy, I’m always forced to temper any fervour.


            I’m sure Ray and Stephanie are familiar with this horrific miscarriage of justice.

  10. E. Olson says

    Good balanced and thoughtful article. One point that is not addressed, however, is the fact that the pro-abortion Left often criticizes the pro-life Right as patriarchal and racist, and yet which gender and races are most likely to be aborted when abortion is largely unrestricted? The answer is females (100+ million more females aborted globally – see first link), blacks (37% of abortions, 13% of US population), and Hispanics (20% of abortion and 15% of population) (second link). It is also important to note that the battle for legal abortion has very often been racially motivated by the eugenics movement – Leftist idol Margaret Sanger gave talks about population control to the KKK.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      You’re so pathetically dishonest, I don’t know where to begin. You’re blaming the proclivity of people of certain backgrounds to abort on the left? Indians historically value males, so you’re blaming that on the left? What does that have to do with the issue at hand? That logic is ridiculous.

      Margaret Sanger? You mean a speech from 90-100 years ago? And if I dig up unflattering details about the right from 90-100 years ago you’d accept the validity of that to this argument? Who on the left has anything to do with eugenics today? Nobody. That’s a cheap smear tactic.

      Find some credible sources. “” You cannot be serious with that horseshit.

  11. Lightning Rose says

    The entire issue for me has always come down to this:
    What is the GOVERNMENT’S interest in FORCING a woman to bear an unwanted child to term?
    Whereupon both she and, if he can be held responsible, the father are then forced to support and raise a child they did not want for the next 18-20 years? Given also the present welfare state, the taxpayers may very well wind up paying the lion’s share of the upkeep for said misbegotten child?

    If someone’s got an idea, I’d love to hear the answer!

    • E. Olson says

      LR – I think the government’s interest is purely about protecting the Life, Liberty, and ability to Pursue Happiness of citizens. Motherhood isn’t or shouldn’t be random in this day and age of effective birth control, so unwanted pregnancies should be very rare, but in such cases where the mother does not wish to have a viable child, the answer is adoption not abortion. Lots of qualified and financially secure families are willing to adopt, which is likely an ideal solution as the child receives love and care from people who really want and can afford the child, and the state is spared the cost of supporting a (likely) single mother and child who may be indifferent or abusive parent and create a future welfare dependent adult. Unfortunately, the adoption option has fallen out of disfavor by the Left, often because of feminist dogma or racist concern about cross-racial adoptions (i.e. black children shouldn’t be raised by white adoptive parents).

      • the gardner says

        Hear! Hear! And adoption should be made a whole lot easier than the ridiculous process require today.

      • E., I would do more research on adoption before advocating it. It’s a ‘solution’ with a whole new set of problems that only the initiated can understand. In today’s crazy world all the younguns are obsessed with ‘identity’. You can ‘identify’ as anything. Adoptees grow up immersed in such madness. Many (the lucky ones) aren’t smart enough to see it; they’re perpetually in the cave. Those who wake up go through hell. Many don’t survive. Adoptees have a high suicide rate, among their other issues.

        • E. Olson says

          BC – perhaps you have better information, but from what I understand adoption has much higher qualification standards than pregnancy requires, although I am sure such screening criteria are not full-proof means of providing a loving and supportive home for all adopted children. As for suicide rates of adopted children, from what I understand it is mostly related to children adopted well after their birth who have suffered from abuse and/or the trauma of being separated from a biological parent, which would not be the case for newborn or even most infant adoptions. In any case, I am sure the survival rate for adopted children is much higher than the survival rate of aborted fetuses.

        • Tom says

          Even if it was true, although it’s probably very relative in this case, “High suicide rate” sounds like quite a better chance of survival than 100% guaranteed death, promised by abortion, don’t you think?

    • bumble bee says

      I think your wording is a little off. The government is not forcing people to bear unwanted children, they are preventing people from ending a life. Just as the government passes laws for the protection of people, their things, for equality, why should they not also protect the life of the unborn.

      You speak of welfare negatively for single mothers who do not abort, and yet the left has no problem with welfare or assistance in any other circumstance. If you want to talk about tax dollars and how they are spent, there are plenty of other tax uses that could be removed instead. There are the millions or even billions that our government gives to other countries, and countries that do not have a mutual friendships with us. Then of course there is the millions the US gives to places like Planned Parenthood to provide abortions either through “healthcare”, or preventative screenings like mammograms.

      If people are not mature enough to deal with pregnancy, then again they are not mature enough to have sex. People do not have to have sex, they choose it or are manipulated through our hyper-sexed society.

    • Peter from Oz says

      When a woman can, without the assistance of anyone else, give herself an abortion, then she can be the sole arbiter of whether she has an abortion or not. Until then, society has an interest. Just because man’s ingenuity has made it possible to end a pregnancy doesn’t mean that doing so is the right thing to do. We invented guns too, it it doesn’t make it right to kill people in cold blood

      • Nakatomi Plaza says

        You don’t think a woman can self-abort if she really wants to? And what if another woman helps her? Does that count in this bizarre world you live in?

        And guns? What a stupid analogy. Your critical thinking skills are awful.

        • Peter from Oz says

          You live in bizaaro lefty land where rainbows and unicrns mean that you can avoid reality all together; the land of the intellectual pygmy for whom every isue is all about feelings not ratiocination.
          So women can self abort or ”phone a friend”? Are you serious? The whole point of the abortion debate is that women don’t want to do either. They want the government and the medical profession to provide them with safe abortions. They have the right to ask, but not the right to compel others to carry out the operation. And because others are involved, not least governments, then society has a say in whether aboirtions are carried out or not.

    • S.Cheung says

      well said once again. If a government wants to forcibly rent a woman’s womb, then that government should be duty bound to bear full custody of the tenant as soon as eviction is allowed to proceed. But the religious cons are all over the former, and nowhere to be found with the latter.

  12. LIsa Canner says

    Most women having abortions are low income single women. No one wants poor people making more poor people. Which is why society will always keep elective abortion legal. This is also why there is a push to give LARCs to low income women.

    The unspoken hope is that the poor will contracept and abort themselves out of existence.

    • E. Olson says

      Lisa – I would be very happy to have the welfare system provide women who can’t afford to care for a baby free LARC as an alternative to abortion or welfare assisted single motherhood, but I am unaware of any “push” to actually do this – can you provide a link to some source? In fact, from what I have seen it is the opposite, as any suggestion to link welfare benefits to LARC is usually met with charges of racism or elitism or other “isms” from the Left, which means it never becomes enacted.

      • LIsa Canner says

        E Olson
        On LARCs

        Quote: “the National Women’s Health Network has recently been raising its voice to caution against the overly aggressive promotion of LARCs by reproductive health advocates and public officials, particularly to young, low income, and uninsured women”

        Quote: “However, several women reported that their preferences regarding contraceptive selection or removal were not honored. Furthermore, many participants believed that providers recommend LARC disproportionately to socially marginalized women.”

    • David of Kirkland says

      Untrue if the idea of “most” is more than 50%. “Results. Between 2008 and 2014, the abortion rate declined 25%, from 19.4 to 14.6 per 1000 women aged 15 to 44 years. The abortion rate for adolescents aged 15 to 19 years declined 46%, the largest of any group. Abortion rates declined for all racial and ethnic groups but were larger for non-White women than for non-Hispanic White women. Although the abortion rate decreased 26% for women with incomes less than 100% of the federal poverty level, this population had the highest abortion rate of all the groups examined: 36.6. If the 2014 age-specific abortion rates prevail, 24% of women aged 15 to 44 years in that year will have an abortion by age 45 years.”

      • LIsa Canner says

        Quote: “Researchers also know that 75% of women who obtain abortions are low-income, with nearly half living below the federal poverty level.”

        Abortion is increasingly concentrated among poor women

        The question is why don’t low income women use contraception as consistently as women from other groups?

        • E. Olson says

          Lisa – thank you for your research and links. To answer your question about why low income women don’t use contraception, a very likely culprit is low IQ. Low IQ is highly correlated with greater frequency of high risk activities (i.e. unprotected sex with a wide variety of partners), greater substance abuse (i.e. having sex while intoxicated with judgment further impaired), and just generally poor decision making quality (i.e. not thinking through consequences, not learning from experience). Thus preventing low IQ people from getting pregnant and aborting or birthing low IQ children, requires some means of protecting them from their own lack of intelligence, which likely means some form of mandated/incentivized LARC use.

        • Saw file says

          Most do use contraception after the first births, and then between later births.
          Too often among many low income women, “unintended” children are (in reality) state pay cheque’s. And claiming no knowledge of paternity allows the sperm donor off the hook. So the state bares the entirety of all the costs.

  13. John Kenney says

    Can somebody tell me why under the Alabama legislation the doctor is liable but the mother is not? If it’s a crime for the doctor to end the pregnancy, why would it not be a crime for the mother to hire the doctor to commit the crime? (I think this is also the structure used for other states’ abortion laws.) BTW, I don’t believe either should be a crime, just asking about the apparent inconsistency.

    • Grant says

      @John Kenny

      None of it makes much sense. If I refer you to an abortion clinic in another state am I an accessory to murder? How can the Dr be responsible but the woman not? If a woman in that state takes an illegally imported drug to end a pregnancy is the company criminally liable?
      I understand that the proponents of these bills think that the proposed law is simple enough to force the Supreme Court to revisit Roe v Wade. I think that they may easily decide not to revisit it at all.

    • E. Olson says

      JK – simple political math – the are many more female voters likely to get pissed off if members of the sisterhood can be punished for aborting a fetus, who might vote for political opponents of current legislators. In contrast, there are very few abortion doctors voters, and if you piss a few off by putting them on the hook for doing abortions, it likely won’t harm their re-election chances.

    • Ron says

      The focus of this bill is on life and murder. In this case, the doctor is the murderer.

  14. Respek Wahmen says

    I think wahmen should be allowed to murder their would be babies. Life is overrated.

    Part of the reason we forbid the murder of someone with agency, family, friends, relations is to end a possible cycle of retribution. Who beside the potential father would be motivated to avenge the fetus? Does that happen much?

    And it’s not like this would be mother is any danger to society generally, or in need of rehabilitation etc.

    No real non religious based objection exists. As they say it should be rare and legal; discouraged even, since it often carries with it a heavy emotional impact.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Yes, increase access to sex education and birth control, including the morning after pill. Abortion goes down best when unwanted pregnancies are not started.

    • Stephanie says

      Respek, a purely scientific reason to end the abortion loophole for murder is that life unambiguously begins at conception, and drawing the line for legal protection anywhere else is arbitrary, and thus baseless.

      The reason we forbid murder is because it is wrong to kill an innocent human. If your standard were in place, it would be fine to kill many homeless, prostitutes, elderly people, children, ect.

      • S.Cheung says

        it’s the potential for life. Otherwise it would be viable from day zero, which it is not. In 2019, the ONLY way for that clump of cells to reach viability is in the mother’s womb…which distinguishes it from any of the other sick kids or frail elderly you have alluded to, where medical care provided by anyone could preserve their life.

        • E. Olson says

          S.Cheung – but viability is a moving target, and even in 2019 I suspect that a fertilized egg or “clump of cells” in the first few weeks of gestation could be transplanted to another woman’s womb to continue development, which makes it much more similar to a case of a sick/elderly/handicapped person needing serious medical or social intervention from other people to recover/survive.

          • S.Cheung says

            agreed. My understanding is it’s currently in the 20-22 week range. It is likely to move earlier. However, it is also pretty likely to never get to day zero. But I would go with whatever the contemporaneous medical point of viability is determined to be, tomorrow, or in the year 3000.

            I’ve heard of fetal transplantation, but not of actual transplant of an entire fetus from one womb to another. That would actually be the holy grail. The regrettably pregnant one no longer has to be pregnant, and does not have state mandated pregnancy and forcible childbirth with their inherent risks (you mentioned medical risks of abortion elsewhere, but pregnancy and childbirth aren’t always medical walks in parks either). And no potential “clump of cells” need be lost. It will be next level surrogacy. But I don’t think we are there yet.

            Thanks, though, for recognizing the difference between putting grandpa on life support vs abortion. I don’t think Stephanie is making that distinction, which seems bizarre to me.

  15. Pingback: Briefly on Alabama and the Abhorrence of Male Feminism – ct casberg

  16. Kevin Herman says

    There are just as many pro-life women as men if not more. The idea,whether you agree with it or not, is that the child at any state of natal development is a human being with individual rights separate from the mother. I feel like that is not a crazy idea on any level again even if you don’t agree. A fetus is a human being in development unless you think it’s a magic bean or something. It has nothing to do with trying to control or take away anyone else’s rights. This is another area where the press is in lock step with the left to distort the issue. I feel like you shouldn’t even have to be religious to pro life. What other living creatures does this? I also feel like both sides could be more sympathetic to each other but let’s be honest the pro life side is treated like dirt by the media and pop culture in general.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Pro life men and women are free to have as many children as they want.
      Let those who think otherwise not be forced to live the lives of others demand (tyranny/slavery).

      • FisF says

        @David of Kirkland “Pro life men and women are free to have as many children as they want.
        Let those who think otherwise not be forced to live the lives of others demand (tyranny/slavery).”

        Humans being forced away from their families for 7 hours a day 5 days a week without agreeable compensation and then forced to work another 2-4 hours at home is slavery and tyranny but we call it “public education”. It is connected to bullying, suicide, high stress, underage pregnancy, STD’s, criminal records, and overall unhappiness.

        Anyway, back to your comment. I’ll agree to your comment if no pro-lifers, their companies, or their taxes are forced, or uses, to help fund such activities or any “preventatives” for the behaviors that cause them. Okay?

      • Stephanie says

        It is easy to avoid pregnancy, so people who don’t want to become parents can easily do that. Once they have reproduced, it is simply unacceptable to kill the offspring. Does that qualify as tyranny or slavery in any sense of the words?

        • Maria says

          Stephanie, I agree, in most cases. Except for rape and incest.

          • S.Cheung says

            precisely. Most of the moralisers and navel-gazers around here fixate on pregnancy itself being a choice in 2019, and the prevalence and effectiveness of modern contraception (though few have noted it to be less than 100%), yada yada. Not that I agree with such a narrow view, but even from that vantage point, you would have to make exceptions when one becomes forcibly pregnant against one’s will via rape/incest…or at least one would have thought. Sadly, some of those people are too clouded by their moralizing to do much thinking, it seems.

      • BrainFireBob says

        They either should not have sex or undergo voluntary, reversible, sterility.

        Problem solved. Sex is a loaded weapon, the real issue is trivializing it.

  17. gda53 says

    Not a fan of the Alabama law. But Roe vs. Wade is execrable Law. It’s a joke, really.

    Things that make me go hmmmmmmm:

    a disproportionate number of PP clinics are in poor, black neighbourhoods
    a disproportionate number of abortions are performed on poor black women.
    a disproportionate number of abortions are performed on poor, black, low-IQ women.

    So how is this different from Margaret Sanger’s eugenic “solution”?

    Here are a few choice quotes:
    “We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”
    “They are…human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ’spawning… human beings who never should have been born.”
    “Birth control is nothing more or less than…weeding out the unfit.”

    Does it seem a tad peculiar that the left, supposedly the champions of the poor and downtrodden, are the ones supporting a “final solution” for the “human weeds” of the black race?

    I guess the dichotomy can be ignored, just as many other dichotomies and obvious flaws connected with the “progressive” movement are ignored.

    Advances in science have made a mockery of their positions on abortion, even ignoring their ugly eugenic proclivities.

    Time to oust the Roe vs. Wade abomination and adopt a common sense approach. Let’s start with a ban on all but 1st trimester abortions and go from there.

    • E. Olson says

      GDA – funny how the pro-abortion people never much talk about such things.

    • Jack B. Nimble says


      You are quote-clipping [quoting out of context] Sanger. Here is the quote in context:

      ‘….The ministers work is also important and he should be trained, perhaps by the Federation* as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach. We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members. …..’

      *Birth Control Federation of America

      See for more details:

      ‘………Sanger reiterated the need for black ministers to head up the project in a letter to Clarence Gamble in Dec. 1939, arguing that: “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

      This passage has been repeatedly extracted by Sanger’s detractors as evidence that she led a calculated effort to reduce the black population against their will. From African-American activist Angela Davis on the left to conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza on the right, this statement alone has condemned Sanger to a perpetual waltz with Hitler and the KKK. Davis quoted the incendiary passage in her 1983 Women, Race and Class, claiming that the Negro Project “confirmed the ideological victory of the racism associated with eugenic ideas.” D’Souza used the quote to buttress erroneous claims that Sanger called blacks “human weeds” and a “menace to civilization” in his best-selling 1995 book The End of Racism. The argument that Sanger co-opted black clergy and community leaders to exterminate their own race not only gives Sanger unwarranted credit as a remarkably cunning manipulator, but also suggests that African-Americans were passive receptors of birth control reform, incapable of making their own decisions about family size; and that black leaders were ignorant and gullible………..’

      • E. Olson says

        JBN – Lots of effort by PP and other pro-abortionists to sanitize and hide Sanger’s record, but she did lecture about birth control to the KKK – its in her autobiography (first link). Sanger was also very supportive of Nazi eugenic policies (second link).

        • Jack B. Nimble says


          Sanger was not a liberal or progressive by any yardstick. Her views seem in retrospect to be a mash-up of contrarian and popular opinions that circulated in the first decades of the last century:

          Yes, she did talk once to the women’s auxiliary of the KKK in Silver Lake, NJ

          Yes, she was influenced heavily by the eugenic ideas of Havelock Ellis and others

          H. Ellis and some others took a Lamarckian view of heredity in which environment rather than genes played the biggest role in life outcomes. This view, while false, is inherently NOT racist.

          Sanger opposed abortion while advocating birth control

          Sanger was in favor of restricting immigration and supported the 1924 US immigration law

          Sanger wrote ‘… fostering the good-for-nothing at the expense of the good is an extreme cruelty…’ in an article entitled “The Cruelty of Charity” published in 1922.


      • gda53 says

        @ Jack B. Nimble

        As to “quote clipping” – Guilty as charged. Mea culpa.

        However, that was never my main point, and it seems strange you would prefer to niggle over minor details rather than address the elephant in the room.

        My main point was to demonstrate that the rabid supporters of abortion and PP are not rational, and follow an ideology which says one thing, yet does the opposite in too many instances.

        So blacks are valued because they are “victims”, yet “progressives’ gladly conspire to kill their babies.
        Or Muslims can’t be criticized because of their “victimhood”, yet the fact that their men use women as slaves and throw gays off roofs is excused or ignored.

        Hard to justify that rationally, so they don’t.

        Personally, I’m all for some form of humane eugenics which does not involve killing babies in the womb.

        Margaret Sanger might well be my sort of gal. Lets by all means find a humane and sensible way of eliminating, or at least drastically reducing, the number of morons, imbeciles and idiots which are born each year.

        I mean, why do you think every major Western country (except the US) has an immigration system which favours talented immigrants, rather than talentless idiots, imbeciles and morons, the old and infirm, or even those within a range of normal IQ (but without needed skills). IOW, they want immigrants who can contribute and are not simply a burden, economically and otherwise, to their new home.

        It’s really just eugenics by another name. Sans the baby-killing of course.

        Coincidentally, the WH has just introduced such a plan. Bravo. Will it ever get passed? Not until common sense returns to American politics.

        So, no, never.

        • Jack B. Nimble says


          You and others are implying that eugenics was some sort of liberal or progressive project in the 1920s and earlier. But the real history is very different, with persons across the political spectrum and religious spectrum [excluding Catholics and some Jews] supporting positive AND negative eugenics. Here’s what Amity Shlaes, hardly a liberal herself, said about the politics of eugenics:

          ‘………..Coolidge signed the 1924 Johnson-Reed Act, which tightened [immigration] quotas, and another Republican, Warren Harding, signed an earlier law that restricted entry. And, yes, most politicians, including Coolidge, Harding, Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, uttered unattractive, eugenicist statements from time to time…………’

          When Hitler made eugenics or ‘race hygiene’ a mainstay of Nazi policy in the 1930s, liberals in the West mostly bailed on eugenics, although some reactionaries [like those at the US-based Pioneer Fund] remained defiantly supportive of eugenics.

        • Lightning Rose says

          Can’t disagree with Sanger about “by all means find a humane and sensible way of . . . at least drastically reducing the number of morons, imbeciles, and idiots which are born every year.”

          This is not a small issue. People regularly birth children who in any other age would have died before viability or immediately upon birth, or who are profoundly compromised such that they will require (very expensive) intensive hospital care with zero chance of a normal human life. And most often, it’s the taxpayers on the hook. An example might be people who, having already had one child with Cystic Fibrosis, profound Autism, or Down’s continuing to go ahead and produce 3 more of like affliction. The taxpayers, ultimately, get the bill.

          Any half-decent dog breeder knows you don’t take a dog with hip dysplasia and cross it with one who bites and has seizures; shouldn’t we have at least THAT much common sense in our own breeding decisions? We need to move past “The Nazis!” and talk about biological practicalities. In the age of genetic testing, there is little excuse left for willful production of
          biological trainwrecks and then sticking the taxpayers with the everlasting bill; not to mention dooming the poor offspring to a short, brutal and nasty life. Sometimes, the responsible choice is to NOT reproduce.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @L R

            ‘……….An example might be people who, having already had one child with Cystic Fibrosis, profound Autism, or Down’s continuing to go ahead and produce 3 more of like affliction….’

            Do you actually KNOW any families with affected children? Most are desperate to avoid having more affected children and seek genetic counseling and/or testing–when such is available and affordable. But observant Catholics and some Jews have few reliable methods that they can use if there is a history of genetic disease in their families–except a celibate marriage.

            And you conflate 3 very different disorders:

            1…..Cystic fibrosis–usually a single gene defect, in utero test available
            2…..Down syndrome–usually a spontaneous chromosome abnormality that is non-transmissible, in utero test available
            3…..Autism–complex genetic/environmental causation, no definitive diagnostic test available even for children and adults.

            ‘……We need to move past “The Nazis!”………’

            I agree. A Nazi propaganda poster from 1936 is titled ‘Wir stehen nicht allein [we do not stand alone]** and lists countries that had passed laws similar to the German compulsory sterilization law for defectives of 1933:


            So much for those leftist Scandinavians! The US and UK created eugenics, not Hitler.

            Bottom Line: genetic testing and therapeutic abortion should be encouraged but not mandated. The fascist impulse to demonize the poor and the disabled must be resisted.


  18. Grant says

    There is no answer to any of this which makes it difficult. We’ve been killing unwanted children for thousands of years. We’ll likely go with the general mood of society that overwhelming is ok with first trimester abortions, less comfortable by second trimester abortions and horrified by late term abortions.
    How bout we concentrate on wide spread easily obtained and used birth control.
    The left will always try to make this about men hating women and the patriarchy. But the most strident anti abortion people I come across are women. If you are still pregnant beyond about 12 weeks you will almost certainly carry that child to full term. Many women recognize that and feel a great deal of loss and guilt after an abortion for that reason.
    I don’t think Roe v Wade changed that fact the past 50 years.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Americans have express so little concern for babies in other countries; we bomb and kill from fetus to the elderly on a near daily basis somewhere. Holding a cell phone while black, shoot them. Is that an untaxed cigarette you are selling, choke him to death. Are you a child in a park with toy while black, shoot them. Arrest that homeless women who is pregnant or has children? Separate families at the border? Force unwilling parents to give birth? Centrally planned tyranny isn’t a solution.

      • Denny Sinnoh says

        I love all of your fantasy examples!

    • Denny Sinnoh says

      Yuck. “Used birth control”. How big of a Libtard would they have to be to share a rubber.

  19. neoteny says

    As the saying goes, a woman is willing to do anything for two reasons: to have a child – and to not have a child.

    I am glad to live in Canada where there’s no criminal law about abortion. It matches my exact position on the issue, i.e. that the woman is the ultimate decision-maker as she’s sovereign over herself. I’m able to empathize with the pro-life position but I can’t in good conscience support it.

    Feminists of the 60s came up with the slogan “the personal is political”. I think the exact opposite is the case with abortion: it ought not be a political question, i.e. there ought not be criminal laws sanctioning it in any form. And I definitely don’t think that every abortion is a battle won in the war with the Patriarchy.

    Yet I very strongly agree with Jordan Peterson’s point about the fact that all human societies exercised some control over women’s sexuality. For gregarious animals — like humans are — sexual competition/rivalry was an ever-present source of conflict. But the employment of violence is costly: so we came up with rules in order to minimize the price paid by all involved, at least within a particular community. As with everything else in life, even in the best circumstances there are various tradeoffs involved with such a set of rules. Which makes them prime targets for radical ideologues: and it takes some moral courage (and a sharp mind) to be able to stand up for them and their usefulness for all involved. Which is an ongoing and never — as long as we remain human — ending project.

    • E. Olson says

      neoteny – I respect your position, but Canada has been importing lots of Asian immigrants in recent years, who come from cultures that greatly prefer boys to girls, and where abortion is used extensively to eliminate girl fetuses. How far removed from 50-50 male-female are you prepared to allow before you would favor legal restrictions on abortion?

      • neoteny says

        Yes, a hundred million Chinese dudes without girlfriends indeed spells trouble. Of course it is a self-correcting problem over time: as daughters become more scarce, having them provides advantage for a family so they start to abort male feti. Which may take some time (50-100 years or so).

        I would never lobby my govt for the passage of any law. If the Swiss system operated in Canada, i.e. there could be a referendum about any newly passed law, then I’m sure that I would regularly go just for the sheer joy of voting down laws.

        Apparently there’s some prenatal sex selection is going on in Canada, but this article talks only about Ontario:

      • Just Me says

        Canadian here.

        Don’t think it’s a major problem, and not likely to last longer than a generation or two as the children get acculturated to Canadian cultural values, and feel the effects of living in a much more economically secure context.

    • Stephanie says

      Neoteny, women are not sovereign over their bodies… when they are very young. At their most vulnerable, they can and are killed with impunity, just for being a temporary inconvenience.

  20. Kristina says

    I think part of it is how you answer whether there are fates worse than non-life. For anti-abortion people, the dichotomy is as simple as life/non-life, with no room for consideration of the quality of that life. And life will always win out over non-life. For pro-choice people, the dichotomy is so much more complicated. It is life/unwanted children growing up in squalor, life/unplanned children growing up in squalor, life/children born with devastating disabilities or medical conditions, life/wishes of an already-alive person. Pro-choice people realize that there are many fates worse than non-life.

    I wonder how attitudes correspond between the abortion question and the end-of-life-care question. Do anti-abortion people also want every possible medical intervention done to try to prolong a person’s life, no matter the quality? It seems to me that is a circumstance that might shed light on this question. If a relative was dying, would you accept that death might be the kindest option, or would you insist that life be prolonged above all else, because life is the only value that matters?

    • Howdy says

      @Kristina there is a difference between murdering someone and letting someone die.

      Letting, not making, letting, someone die who will die without constant, major-medical intervention is not murder.
      IMO, giving someone dozens of surgeries before they are 18 with no real life but medical research and a living of horrific pain (and a young death anyway) is cruel, IMO.

      Ending a person’s life intentionally, (as in something and someone has to come along and physically, intentionally, assist) whether they are healthy or sick is MURDER.

      If Pops forgets where we live so that he needs watched for his safety and I kill him so I don’t have to watch him, I am a murderer. If Pops cannot/will not eat and I do not force him to, I am not a murderer. Killing the elderly is wrong but choosing not to force-feed them or keep their hearts beating or lungs expanding with machines is not murder but accepting that life has a 100% mortality rate. That doesn’t mean I wont say “Come on Pops, try a bite of soup today”.

      “I wonder how attitudes” of Pro-abortion people are about criminalizing people for walking past 15-40 year olds who need medical assistance after an attack or accident? They want anti-murder people to ignore the brutal murder of innocent, helpless unborn human children but I bet they believe people should stop and save the life of the 15-40 year old laying on the road in a puddle of their own blood.

      If you are appalled by teens being shot in schools and think the gun should be banned, how are you at a loss to comprehend it when others are appalled about babies being ripped apart and who want abortion clinics banned? The number of teens killed in school shootings is minuscule compared to the massive number of babies murdered every day.

      And last of all, if you read this far, there is no such thing as “non-life” where humans are concerned. If you know that a person typed this reply, and that there is no way that these letters could have possible came together on accident to form information that you can decode, you should know that this is the same with the complexity of life. God created, it is obvious to any who are not wanting to deny it. You will face the creator God.

      Death is an unnatural state, a curse on creation due to man’s rejection of God and God’s law. Death in these human bodies is not the end of life, it is just the end of your chance to reconcile with God before you face His wrath.

      • Lightning Rose says

        “Death is an unnatural state.”

        REALLY? With all due respect, Howdy, you need to intersect with biological reality once in awhile. I’m surrounded by aging dogs, aging horses, predatory wildlife who like to eat the herbivores. I eat them myself!

        Out here, it’s hard to maintain the illusion that humans are somehow “above and beyond” the basic natural laws. We’re born; we grow; we reproduce if we choose; we age, decrepitate and die. And “God,” not we, determines most of those parameters. “God” can be a proxy word for biology, natural law, cellular aging, or Mother Nature. But I’m not aware of any way even the strongest faith can change its reality.

        Should you ever find an actual exception to that equation, tell me and we’ll both know! Until then, we’re just another animal species subject to biological restrictions like everything else.

        • Howdy says

          Rose, I did not say things do not get old or die; I said death is unnatural. I actually said “life has a 100% mortality rate.” The issue may be how we each define unnatural. God did not want death to reign in His creation. Humans broke fellowship with their Creator and we now have a dying universe. Everything is dying, and yes, it is obvious. BUT, death is not how things should be and one day death will be no more. Furthermore, I did extremely well in biology. I did so well that I had a momentary thought to change a major but then I thought, eye-rolling at all those logical fallacies would wear out my eyeball. 😉

    • Stephanie says

      Kristina, that is indeed how each side thinks. Frankly, it seems horrible to tell every kid that grew up poor or with an adopted family, or who is disabled or has a genetic condition, that their life wasn’t worth living and their mother should have killed them when they were young. Particularly when there has never been a better time to be poor or disabled.

  21. Lightning Rose says

    Short Synopsis: The Left went full infanticide and the Right freaked out and went full restriction. What a shame both lunatic fringes control the discussion in this country, as always. What about a Federal law, ratified by all the States, restricting it to 12 weeks unless it’s a non-viable pregnancy or the mother’s life is in danger (and I don’t mean mental health). Reasonable compromise? Nah, not this year because both sides are too busy mobilizing their bases with the usual nonsense.

    Personally; I hope Roe stands for other reasons: The right to bodily privacy. I want to retain the right NOT to be microchipped, smart-watched, force-medicalized and have the government mandate “lifestyle” interventions. If you think all this is not coming, you’re not paying attention!

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Lightning Rose

      If Roe is overturned it will be because the current Supreme Court finds that the Roe court exceeded its authority and completely made up a Constitutional right that no one – not even the people who wrote the Constitution (and its amendments) – knew was there.

      The current Supreme Court seems inclined to think that the Supreme Court should not make things up just because people let them get away with it. So Roe may be overturned very soon.

      That doesn’t mean Congress can’t create a federal right of abortion that supersedes any state law. This would fall within Congress’ authority.

      • Denny Sinnoh says

        I bet it would hurt to be overturned.
        Not as bad as being aborted though.

    • Stephanie says

      Lightening Rose: what magical thing happens at 12 weeks, 0 days that means a human a day older is safe from indiscriminate murder and a human a day younger is a clump of cells that can be disposed of at will?

      We need an objective standard based on good science and consistent ethics. Arbitrary determinations are not acceptable.

  22. FREEDOM! says

    Women have a RIGHT to declare all males in the womb to be ripped out, torn apart, and thrown in the trash where they belong! Women have a RIGHT to reproduce in the (think similar to Dolly) clone method and destroy the vile mass of hopelessly evil men from the planet. Men must be annihilated from the planet, the female has the right, no, she has a DUTY to the earth to rise up and erase the patriarchy forever! Women are the door to humanity and women control who gets to live and who MUST die! Women can faze out men completely in less than 100 years. This is the future, this is the next stage in human evolution…

    • tarstarkas says

      You have just made yourself a target of the trans activists. Enjoy.

      • FREEDOM! says

        Nah, they’ll know it is just twisted dark satire…

  23. Just Wondering says

    In your mind, @ Ray Andrews, does having to pay $ to help support a child you fathered feel the same as bearing and parenting a a child? Are they equal consequences as far as you see it? And if you had unprotected sex and accidentally fathered a child (I’m assuming you’re a man) would you be willing to raise that child on your own as long as the mother gave you money to help with some of the cost? This is a sincere question. I totally get why many men feel caught and out of control when they accidentally get someone pregnant and then are stuck with a large financial burden they didn’t want and aren’t prepared for.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Just Wondering

      “Are they equal consequences as far as you see it?”

      I don’t think the question can be answered. I merely point out that whereas women have Choice, men do not. If men have no say in whether their baby lives or dies, Then neither should they have any obligations. Let’s have Choice for both sexes. Or for neither. Note the corollary: if women have (usually) the duty to carry their fetuses to term, then likewise men have a duty to look after them financially.

      • Just Wondering says

        Oh. OK. That makes sense. I can see that argument from an intellectual perspective. Men don’t have the same choice as women here. Would your preference by for a pro-choice world where all parties have choice, or for a pro-life position where all parties are responsible for the consequences of unplanned pregnancy.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Just Wondering

          “Would your preference by …”

          Now that’s an honest and difficult question. Mostly pro-life, with all parties responsible, but I’d still look the other way for 1st trimester abortions. Perhaps men should have the right in the first trimester to sign something to the effect that they don’t want the child and will be declining to support it if the female chooses to have it. Tricky stuff eh?

          • Just Wondering says

            That’s pretty reasonable, actually. Maybe I could be convinced otherwise, but I’ve never thought it was totally fair that woman could choose to have a child that the man didn’t want and they he would be responsible but had no voice in the matter. I just wish that more men would put themselves into the shoes of women who become pregnant on accident and imagine that if they were that woman, what it would feel like to be facing such an agonizing choice, especially if they were completely under resourced and unprepared to have a child. (not saying you’re doing this, btw). In most cases, we’re all doing our best I think.Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • scribblerg says

      Being “willing” has nothing to do with it. As the father, if the child is born, you are legally obligated to financially support it. What is the point of your question?

      • Just Wondering says

        Oh I don’t know. I just keep feeling like even though men have responsibility and consequences, the cost of and responsibility of unplanned pregnancies fall so heavily on women. I really wonder if perspectives would change if the costs were distributed more equally to men. I’m sure you won’t agree, it’s just that under all of this “discussion” are real people trying to make decisions in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. I am hesitant to judge. There but for the grace of god and all that. None of these are good options and I suspect that is why we all so passionately try to sort it out.

        • scribblerg says

          We managed all this for thousands of years without killing 60 million babies in 50 years. I think there is some way forward. Fyi, illegitimacy doesn’t skyrocket until the ’60s, why do you think that is? Could it be that abortion makes many women take more risks of pregnancy? Or do you not see the cause and effect?

          • Just Wondering says

            Oh sure. Abortion and birth control and relaxed cultural norms make everyone (men included, and let’s be honest, men have benefitted tremendously from these things, because every man I’ve ever met loves having sex and with few exceptions wants it more than the women in their lives) take a lot more risks with pregnancy. All of these things that give women more control of their own bodies have also made life a lot better for women and given them more choices and agency over their lives. It’s a lot better time to be woman in this country for sure than it was before the 60’s. We have a lot more choices anyway. I’m grateful for that. And I get that you are very clear in your perspective. I respect that. You have a moral lens through which you see this issue and there’s not really room for any other way to look at it. I personally don’t see it that way, but I respect your clarity of intent and don’t need to convince you you’re wrong. I can understand it.

  24. Somewoman says

    Abortion is two sides of a debate talking past each other. The pro choice largely doesn’t care when a developing human should gain the right to life and is only focused on the right of woman not to have to deliver a child. To pro choice people, requiring that a woman’s body support the body of another living form is basically slavery. In virtually any other situation, one could renege on an agreement to do something with ones body even if it had been promised before without a jail term.

    The pro life side is not concerned with a woman’s right not to be forced to be life support to a fetus. They are concerned with the right to life of the unborn.

    The rarer type is like me who doesn’t care much either for the right to life of the unborn or the right to bodily autonomy of women. I fully support abortion because it’s largely the most irresponsible and ill equipped women who are getting them. They tend to be far poorer than average, unmarried and unlikely to keep the father in their lives and lower education than average. A disproportionate amount are already on welfare with other children they can’t support.

    Anyone who opposed mass migration of low skilled migrants and also opposes abortion is kind of self defeating. Opposing abortion is asking for millions of low iq low potential citizens added to the welfare role for the long term.

    • Somewoman says

      This article explains a little about who actually has abortions

      42% poor compared to 27% of the population in general. 75% are either poor or low income. Most already have a child.

      People can talk theory about how people should be responsible. Well the people getting abortions are not responsible and are not going to become responsible if you take abortion away. Otherwise they would have avoided having children they can’t afford. Illegalizing abortion is not going to result in these people getting married or being more responsible next time. It’s going to result in millions of unwanted children of stupid irresponsible mothers on welfare.

      If you oppose abortion, you are asking for your country to vote for reparations and ending “mass incarceration” and everything else miss ocasio Cortez harps about in 18 years when this mass of unwanted children of mothers who make bad decisions on welfare grow up.

    • Simon says

      @Somewoman :

      Lol. My views are symetrically opposite to yours. I am as concerned with the right of life to fully develop from the time of conception as I am concerned with the right of women not to be under biopolitical scrutiny.

      Furthermore, I am not in favor of social eugenics because I tend to think that aversion to vulnerability is indicative of a flawed collective moral landscape.

      It makes me think that abortion is just an epitome crystallizing a wider range of unexplicited, ethical choices. The pro-life/pro-choice debate is not so much about abortion than a whole set of other societal values. The problem of this kind of debates is that it never reaches the meta-ethical level and remains stuck in ideological or emotional assumptions.

      I’d say that contemporary biopolitical positions can be classified from left and right-wing malthusianism to left and right-wing bioconservatism. The main parameters along which these positions are framed are, horizontally, the hedonism/ascetism criteria and, vertically, the individual/collective criteria.
      Left-leaning social hygienism puts the emphasis on hedonism and individual choice (sexual freedom without responsibilty) while right-leaning eugenism puts the emphasis on ascetism and collective regulation (sexual responsibility without sexual freedom).
      Left-leaning bioconservatism (integral ecology) puts the emphasis on hedonism and individual, moral sophistication (freedom with responsibility), while right-leaning bioconservatism (biblical theconservatism) puts the emphasis on collective regulation and aversion to sexual pleasure (neither freedom, nor responsibilty).

      You’d guess where my claim is.

  25. Outraged says

    Well, the hypocrisy of the RIght is writ large here. Lots of punishment for the doctors, but the mothers get off scot-free. It demonstrates that pro-LIFE isn’t really what this is about. It’s about men “abdicating” the responsibilities of parenthood so as not to have to become nice, compliant business drones.

    But just where, may I ask, is it written that a child belongs primarily to the mother and only secondarily to the father? Both Left and Right would sooner bring about the apocalypse than question this assumption.

  26. Frank Knarf says

    Most are opposed to late term abortions, until a family gets the devastating news about what to expect if a pregnancy gone terribly wrong is carried to term. Attitudes suddenly change.

    • Somewoman says

      I don’t really see what’s productive about forcing people who get pregnant with babies with lethal disorders that will take hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to alleviate over years to carry their children to term.

      I had a cousin who was born with a missing chromosome 13. She never spoke a word, couldnt use the bathroom or eat on her own and died at 15. Before then she needed a vast array of healthcare ranging from feeding tubes to a nurse that came by to medicate her daily.

      Her parents didn’t know she had this when she was born, but why would we as a society force people to have children like this knowing fully well what the result and cost will be?

      • bumble bee says

        I feel sorry for you if all you can see is dollars and cents. Well if we are to go down that road, then lets limit healthcare to a lifetime of 1 million dollars each. Once you reach the limit, lights out. It does not matter if a simple antibiotic will save you, because life is about costs and you have to draw the line somewhere.

  27. Andrew Roddy says

    Can anyone tell me are there jurisdictions where the law makes distinction between the death of a foetus by criminal assault and medical intervention? I am not framing this well. I am talking about the right to life. I imagine murder as a violation of the right to life. Are there jurisdictions where abortion is legal but where murder or manslaughter cases can be brought against someone for the death of an unborn child as a result of violent assault on a pregnant woman?

    • Andrew Roddy says

      I am curious if someone can tell me how this is handled in law and is the right to life considered a pertinent legal concern here.

    • Somewoman says

      New York is probably the only state that explicitly bans charging someone who caused the death of a fetus with a crime, even if doing so devestated the mother (but they can still be charged if they did something to the mother like assault).

      Interestingly this issue is addressed in the Old Testament and the penalty for causing the death of an unborn is a moderate fine, far less than the penalty for murder or manslaughter in the Old Testament. It’s the only place the Bible specifically addresses the value of the life of the unborn and there it’s clear that the life of the unborn is valued far less than the life of the born.

      • Ray Andrews says


        “the penalty for causing the death of an unborn is a moderate fine”

        It is highly questionable that that is the correct interpretation of Exodus 21:22. A better reading is probably that in case of premature delivery there will be the ‘small fine’, but in case of death of the child then it is life for life.

        • Andrew Roddy says

          @Ray Andrews

          Yes. I wasn’t aware of the passage but having googled it there are, surprise, surprise, various translations that seem carefully crafted to support one interpretation or the other. Common to any version I read is the notion that, where the child is born unharmed after an assault on the mother, the offender shall be fined as the woman’s husband demands.

          This clause surely proves how hopelessly anachronistic Old Testament legal injunctions are for. Is Exodus 21:22 not perfectly, evenly comically, off the mark in this discussion?

        • Somewoman says

          That’s not a better reading. That is wishful thinking to make it seem like the penalty for fetal homocide and murder could be the same in the Old Testament: the idea that the penalty is a fine for causing early delivery makes no sense in the context of when it was written. They didn’t have life support interventions for premature babies back then and lungs dont function independently until a few weeks before birth. A trauma induced delivery at the time of the Old Testament was the same as fetal homocide. Plus, trauma induced deliveries are probably about 1000 times rarely than trauma induced miscarriages there is little sense in them bothering to have written a law for something so unlikely to happen.

          • Ray Andrews says


            You are a Hebrew scholar then? Those who are Hebrew scholars consider the matter debatable and it seems the weight is against you. Sorry if the Bible doesn’t say what you want it to say. However it seems to my amateur eyes that the ad-hoc and clearly minor nature of the penalty here proves that this is a case where no one dies but there has clearly been a traumatic incident for the mother. There are lots of Jewish laws about very esoteric things.

  28. Frank Knarf says

    There are four basic arguments for outlawing abortion being made in these comments: My religious doctrines should determine abortion law, my religious doctrines dressed up as biology should determine abortion law, my resentment over women having autonomy and freedom should determine abortion law, and sex is icky and dangerous.

    • Andrew Roddy says

      @Frank Knarf
      Have you any feelings around the substance of this issue as distinct from your feelings about the groundlessness of the moral positions of people with whom, I suspect, you disagree?

  29. Andrew Roddy says

    @some woman
    Thank you. My first thought on scanning the link is that pre-meditation is unlikely to be a factor in the majority of cases of foetal homicide as a result of criminal assault. It could be considered ironic that pre-meditation is likely to be a factor in 100% of medical terminations. Perhaps not ironic but further illustration of why taking the life of the unborn remains so troubling and controversial.

  30. Rando Hornswaggle says

    Abortion and Crack should be legal for the same exact reason : the people that are going to do either will do it regardless of how illegal it is.

    If they are legal, they can be done in a way that maximizes the least harm to both the individual and Society. I.e. regulatory oversight. I want my abortions done by licensed doctors , and my crack from licensed pharmaceutical companies.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Rando Hornswaggle

      And your slaves from reputable dealers and your wife beaten by someone trained and qualified to do it safely and effectively.

  31. Cynical Old Biologist says

    Judging from the comments on this article, medically-supervised abortion has been available for far too long. It seems people have forgotten what happens when it is not available – many young women die. If medically-supervised abortion is not available then many women with unwanted pregnancies will find ways to attempt abortion anyway – and there is nothing any law or regulatory system can do about that. (It is just like prostitution – it is always present in every society no matter the legal system in place.) I suppose the fundamentalist-minded might think that the women who die deserved their fate for interfering with the life of the embryo. As a biologist, I find the sanctification of a cell-fusion event (fertilisation) beyond curious.

    • Andrew Roddy says

      It’s to your credit that you wear your cynicism on you sleeve.

    • E. Olson says

      COB – the difference in comparing today to the “old days” is that: 1) effective birth control is widely available and cheap (or free), 2) the stigma of being a sexually active single person or “single mom” is totally gone, and 3) the modern welfare state is very generous in supporting people with children (perhaps too generous).

  32. augustine says

    Exactly how autonomous is a woman in the case of consideration of abortion? It seems to me that if a woman were parthenogenic, then she could claim authentic autonomy. Until then– until trans-humanists realize their wildest dreams– men have a very real stake in reproductive issues.

    As with racism, immigration. etc., liberals advocate egregiously false and misleading positions to gain more ground. I’m glad the author brought out the fact that this is a morality issue and not a men vs. women issue.

  33. Donald Collins says

    I am prolife because life is precious. I am against the death penalty, again because life is precious. Life is precious not because of the one who has it but because it in and of itself is a gift, whethewr from God, or the Universe, whichever you believe in and it is not easy to come by, but death is everywhere and it is final and for that reason when it comes down to it I will always err on the side of life.

    Once we decide which or who’s life is more deserving we then make ourselves gods and that is a dangerous power for any being to have as it tends to filter into all aspects of life

    • Anj of Green Gables says

      Yes, life is precious. Tell it to a pregnant 11 year old incest victim. Aren’t you deciding what she ‘deserves’?
      What kind of disgusting depraved monster forces a child to give birth to a child?
      Get back to us when ‘decide’ this for your own daughter….

      • Donald Collins says

        You are making a strawman argument as that is so rare as to be non exsistant but in those cases law has already made exceptions and so do all the bills that have come out…but that is not the issue of my post hence the strawman

        My post tells you why I feel as I do, NOT how you should feel. Do what you will and I will do what I do, but I told no one how to live

        • Anj of Green Gables says

          Donald, the Alabama law makes no exceptions other than the safety of the mother.
          Rare? You know the stats? & you think those stats are accurate?
          The only ‘rare’ here is rape victims speaking especially young ones.
          For the record, I support your freedom of choice to believe whatever. My problem is when ones personal beliefs are used to encroach on the rights of others as they have clearly done on this issue.
          Oh & the “I told know one how to live” defence of bad ideas isn’t a get out of jail card of critique of them nor is yelling “straw man” a valid argument.

          • Donald Collins says

            Do you know how many prganancies, not just births, but pregnancies there are every year…..statisticallky that makes your scenario rare.

            It does make exceptions…get with the times link here

            For the record I to support freedom of choice…I did not say otherwise, I am a libertarian by nature thus the rreason I said I err, not folks should err on the side off life

            Oh, I told no one how to live but rather how I approach life as an issue is not a bad idea, it is a sound idea, as death is permanant, not just an oopsie

          • Anj of Green Gables says

            Donald the amendment was rejected after this link was written. Read the link carefully they were going to meet again to reconsider.

          • Andrew Roddy says

            ‘My problem is when ones personal beliefs are used to encroach on the rights of others as they have clearly done on this issue.’

            Is this ‘encroachment’ not arguably a factor in all legislation that sets limits on behaviour? And what laws don’t?

            Statutes are founded on the beliefs of persons – individuals and collectively. Are you implying you object to law-making.

          • Anj of Green Gables says

            Hello Andrew,
            The difference being there is usually reasonable rationale accompanying those beliefs that inspire law for the betterment of all society rather than some subjective particular interpretation that on balance is of detriment to it & is not aligned with majority community standards.

  34. Brother says

    Anyone advocating the ‘my body, my choice’ mantra – especially mid- to late-term abortions – should watch Dr Anthony Levatino explaining a common abortion procedure. He appears to deliberately speak in a clinical, monotone voice, maybe to simulate the coping mindset of pro-choicers – “it’s just a simple medical procedure”.

    Take a look:

    The clip ends with him cynically pronouncing, “[c]ongratulations, you’ve just successfully performed a 2nd trimester D&E abortion. You’ve just affirmed your right to choose.”

    Then, after you’ve thrown up into a bucket and wiped the tears away, let’s hear you explain again how it isn’t what it is.

    Or we can keep believing what we want to believe so that we have a fail-safe if our ‘right’ to sex gives us unwanted consequences.

    Who wants the truth?

  35. Peter from Oz says

    This was a very good article. I agree that I find the American pro choice argument is very poor. That is because in my opinion it is based upon a false premise. Let me explain.
    A woman cannot perform a pregnancy termination on herself. It takes a village to abort a foetus. She has to rely on the services of others and on technology that was invented by men.
    So society immediately has an interest.
    The woman may have the right to choose whether she has a termination, but she has no right to expect society to provide her an abortion without first having its say.
    The argument that only women can discuss abortion is thus patently false.
    I must add that I am against abortion, but I am not in favour of using the law to ban it in all circumstances. In other words if a woman can to me and asked me whether she should have an abortion, and she was not the victim of rape or incest, I would do my best to argue her to keep the baby. However, I think that it would be wise for the law not to intervene to stop her having a termination until such time as the foetus is a “baby”.
    So as someone said above, the real issue for most people is establishing where the time limit should be.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      Why do you assume that this “village” of yours is necessarily against abortion? A majority of Americans support abortion under certain circumstances, by a huge margin ( The “village” has spoken, and it isn’t even close.

      Your entire argument is based on a false premise, just so you know what that error actually looks like.

      (And E. Olson, this is how you deploy research. A recent gallup poll, not some garbage, right-wing site that just makes you look stupid.)

      • E. Olson says

        NP – you are about the only person in this comment section who continually makes personal attacks against people writing comments with content you disagree with. Just disliking something and then insulting the source is not how to have a debate on a subject where there are clearly multiple sides – if you can’t come up with any real counter-arguments besides calling someone stupid you should just keep your fingers off the keyboard and not write anything. Speaking of polls, I dare say that if I asked the Quillette audience to evaluate the rationality and thoughtfulness of your comments and my comments to this thread (or any other article thread), and determine who the “stupid one” is – you would lose very badly.

        If you read my comments (doubtful), I actually do not take a personal position on abortion, but merely note many dimensions where the pro-abortion arguments don’t make sense in terms of law, history, ethics, or medical advances. I also note several areas where polls indicate some likely paths towards compromise that would make abortion legal but rare, which is probably the best that each side can expect while keeping reasonable peace and protecting as many individual freedoms as possible (including of the fetus).

      • Blue Lobster says


        While I disagree with E.’s positions at least as often as not and concur that he has a tendency to link to sources that I do not consider reputable, he is absolutely correct that your antagonistic style of engagement does you no favors as far as convincing readers of the merits of your arguments such as they are. It’s not really even clear precisely what your opinions are because you don’t usually take the time to articulate them. It seems that you don’t really care to do so because you’re not interested in participating so much as expressing your disgust at the opinions with which you disagree. That’s disappointing because it’s refreshing to see views which diverge from the generally right-wing background sentiment which pervades the Quillette comment section. I think Quillette is worthwhile and often has something interesting to say and you clearly experience some attraction to it for whatever reason, so why not put yourself out there and respectfully make your case if you’re going to bother commenting at all?

      • Shawn T says

        NP. Perhaps you didn’t notice that the argument you deployed your research against was not based on a majority, plurality nor any other statistical dscriptor with regard to public opinion on abortion. It is a logical argument. Because abortion requires community resources, this individual issue becomes a public issue. As a public issue, it, therefore, involves men in the discussion. You did not address this argument as valid or invalid. Further, had you read through the survey, you would have found your majority obscured in the follow-up and later questions. This issue is very difficult to poll and the results are often objectively meaningless, making discussion all the more difficult. For a decent breakdown of this difficulty from a left-leaning source (being kind) published in 2016:

    • Andrew Roddy says

      Interesting argument, Peter. I hadn’t thought of this.

  36. Allan Donkin says

    You misunderstand something. ‘Ensoulnent’ is not a biblical concept at all. Please see this short clip explaining the biblical meaning of ‘soul’.
    David Bentley Hart is good to read on this.

    So if a fetus is alive, it IS a soul. If a fetus has died then it is a dead soul. At no point can one say that a fetus has or does NOT HAVE a soul. That would not be the biblical understanding. Perhaps a different though borrowed from the Greeks.

  37. Anj of Green Gables says

    Do pro lifers condemn nature when it makes the ‘expendable’ call?
    Plenty of the mummies who would happily throw themselves in front of a train for their children are completely indifferent after an abortion. The lack of nurturing instinct in such an instance speaks to natures call on the issue.
    Or is it todays selfish ‘convenience’ as Shapiro sneers that makes us so ‘cold’?
    Coldness comes in a spectrum, turning away from a pin head in utero doesn’t hold a candle to turning away from millions of malnourished &/or un immunised children who could be saved for a fraction of the pro life/pro choice lobby budget.
    I agree that a more sophisticated genuine discussion on the value of life is wanting. Practical ethics anyone?

  38. Peter says

    A devout Catholic MD in a radio interview said that he cannot support a total ban on abortions, since he often faced terrible consequences of illegal abortions. I knew a woman, who wanted an abortion when it was illegal, and ended in a shed where a woman quack penetrated her with a knitting needle.

    A recent study in Netherlands showed that a third of the women, who have a legal abortion, suffer real emotional trauma, and a third just go on with their lives without any remorse. For many women and girls, it is a choice between several evils.

    Some years ago I listened to an American sociologist. He explained that the Religious Right was called into life in the thirties by the rich and by the corporations. They feared and hated the New Deal as some form of socialism and did not like its popularity. They had the brilliant insight that preachers had a lot of influence. They showered the receptive ones with money and technical support. In turn, these ministers twisted the Christian faith a little and began preaching that wealth is good, forgetting the story about the rich man and the camel. They also had the brilliant idea of diverting the anger of their flock to issues like abortion. Amazingly, this seems to work almost a century later.

    I find this explanation quite believable, since so many nominally Christian conservatives worship Ayn Rand and her decidedly anti-Christian preaching.

    • E. Olson says

      Peter – it must be remembered that modern capitalism, democracy, and the productivity enhancing power of fossil fuels were not known entities in Biblical times, and 99% of the population was dirt poor by modern standards. Global poverty is today at an all-time, and this happy result is almost entirely due to capitalism, democracy, and fossil fuels. In contrast, the pockets of continued severe poverty are entirely in places that do not practice capitalism or democracy or have decent access to fossil fuels. Thus it is entirely reasonable for Christians who desire to help the poor to promote capitalism and democracy despite the unequal wealth outcomes they bring, because all known or “fairer” alternatives do a much poorer job of eliminating poverty and improving quality of life generally. Similarly, wealthy countries that utilize the most fossil fuels per capita not only have the least poverty, they also have the cleanest environments, because only rich people can afford to be environmentalists and pay for pollution reduction and cleanups. Thus true Christians should also be a the forefront of “Drill baby Drill” movements.

      • Peter says

        Everybody knows having some wealth is nice, so there is not any need to preach that. Faith is supposed to moderate some of our bad sides. BTW, many studies have shown that excessive wealth does not bring more happiness. Extremely rich people do have problems: they as a rule trust almost no one, except maybe their employees.

        Is the enormous wealth of George Soros now serving a good purpose? Did his financial speculations benefit mankind?

        For me democracy and smartly regulated capitalism are the only viable solutions. Several decades ago I read an interview with a billionaire in Paris Match. Asked how to become a billionaire, he said: »First, arrange so that you do not pay taxes.« How can I arrange that for myself? Is this equality before the law?

        • E. Olson says

          Peter – Christian doctrine would suggest that those who earn great wealth also use some of it for charitable purposes, and very many of them do. Research also suggests that such charitable giving is likely to yield greater happiness to the giver than buying another mansion or private jet. George Soros is not religious from what I understand, although he is genetically Jewish, so using him as an example of Christian character is not accurate, although he does make charitable gifts to various far-Left causes. Which is a problem with much charitable giving, because Leftism in charity like Leftism in government rarely solves problems of poverty, but merely “manages” them with well-paid bureaucrats, or in many cases makes them worse.

          • Peter says

            Paying decent salaries to one’s employees is IMHO much more important than charity. My priest recently suggested that to some wealthy members of the congregation — and was immediately rebuked as »You do not understand business.« The priest was frustrated and his commentary was: »People like these are the worst advertisement for Christianity.«

            In the US, laws against predatory lending are regularly opposed by the conservatives. Extracting money from the poor with payday loans is so lucrative.

            I did not suggest that Soros was a Christian. Many of the extremely rich gained their wealth through financial speculations and I doubt they are »job creators…

  39. E. Olson says

    Anj – Practical ethics? Perhaps these might work:

    Don’t get or make someone pregnant unless you both want a baby AND can emotionally, mentally, and financially (without taxpayer subsidies) support a baby.

    The most effective means of avoiding unwanted pregnancy is to not have sex.

    If sex cannot be avoided, the next best way to avoid unwanted pregnancy (and STDs) is to use birth control pills and a condom. If sex without wanting pregnancy is likely to be a regular occurrence it would be very smart to consider long-term reversible birth control implants.

    If you are too intoxicated or otherwise incapacitated to remember birth control (or properly use it), don’t have sex. If you must get intoxicated, don’t do it around members of the opposite sex or without a designated non-intoxicated wingperson who will keep you from doing stupid things like having unprotected sex (or driving or fighting or vandalizing or drowning in your own vomit, etc.).

    If you somehow still stuck with an unwanted pregnancy – strongly consider adoption before abortion, and try to learn from your mistake so you don’t repeat it.

    • Anj of Green Gables says

      Hello E. Olsen,
      Yes! Yes! Yes!
      Don’t have sex indeed men, especially rapists!!!!
      Or get a vasectomy. There, fixed it.

  40. Anj of Green Gables says

    Pro life men are not pro life they are pro birth, after that they don’t care.
    Probs evolutionary biology.
    Scared their missus might try & speed up evolution on their dud seed by ‘taking out the trash on them’….

    • Denny Sinnoh says

      That makes perfect sense …
      In Crazytown.

  41. Leah the Cow Who Jumped Over The Moon says

    For a very tragic example of what happened in Romania when all abortions were banned check out the essay by Amy MacKinnon titled What Actually Happens When a Country Bans Abortion. It is on the Foreign Policy website.

    • scribblerg says

      And I care what happened in Romania why? Something there would convince me that killing 60 million babies since Roe is a good thing? How about you, are you a big fan of 60 million dead babies?

    • E. Olson says

      Not relevant at all to the discussion, because Romania under Socialist Totalitarianism banned abortion AND birth control, which is not even under discussion anywhere today. Lack of contraception options are why most of Eastern Europe in the days under Socialism, made abortion the defacto method of birth control.

  42. scribblerg says

    60 million abortions in the U.S. since Roe. I don’t need to know any more. Ban it. We have slaughtered an entire generation of Americans. All you abortion promoters here, answer me: Are you okay with 60 million dead babies as a result of Roe?

    Hint: I’m 56, and I’m old enough to remember this debate growing up. If we’d been told that by 2019, we’d have killed 60 million babies, nobody would have supported abortion. SCOTUS would not have made up a right to abortion, this is according to Ruth Bader-Ginsburg who openly admits Roe is a bad court decision – what, is Ruth a patriarchy supporter?

    It’s very simple at this point. Are you for en masse baby killing or not? I’m not quite sure why this question is so hard, cuz if you are for en masse baby killing you are a piece of shit, easily dismissed morally. Wake up – this issue isn’t that hard to figure out morally.

    • Morgan Foster says


      I have lived long enough to have had a number of women in my life who have had abortions. Some, members of my family.

      Without exception, they want other women to have access to legal abortions.

      Not a single one of them is a piece of shit. Most of them vote Republican.

      Make abortion illegal and I feel certain that every one of them will turn Democrat.

      • scribblerg says

        Hi Morgan – Got it, you don’t have a problem with 60 million dead babies. This makes you human garbage, fyi. I don’t care about the politics, you loon – I care about 60 million dead babies.

        Simple question, you can’t seem to answer it. Are you okay with 60 million dead babies or not? Have the guts to answer the question on your own account instead of offering political analysis. And I don’t care who gets elected if we are slaughtering enough babies to populate a medium sized nation. I mean you do get that this is like killing every person in Sweden 6 times over yes?

        Just answer the question. And be known as someone who supports the en masse slaughter of babies or not. .

    • Respek Wahmen says

      “Are you okay with 60 million dead babies as a result of Roe?”

      Yeah. Thinking about dead babies gives us a kind of calming feeling.

      “Ruth Bader-Ginsburg who openly admits Roe is a bad court decision – what, is Ruth a patriarchy supporter?”

      Nah, she’s just smart enough to notice the obvious. Or, I mean, was smart enough. RIP. Maybe her clerks will vote to overturn?

      Personally I’d support it being overturned, not to save babies, but rather to see Alyssa Milano’s reaction on twitter. Don’t really see the problem here, as it would mostly only affect the poor of al, ga et al–crap, I used al twice–who are easily dismissed morally.

    • Anj of Green Gables says

      Don’t look now Scribbler, but your silence is ‘murder’ of much more than 60 million.
      LIVING children are dying of malnutrition & lack of immunisation whilst old timers & religious fanatics quibble over pin heads in utero.
      Seems all lives are not equal…

      • scribblerg says

        @Anj – This is perhaps the most bizarre argument of all. Those children have parents, they live in states with child protective services, we fund welfare to the tune of hundreds of billions a year – yet you prattle on as though they are lying in the streets and we crap on them. I don’t ignore them at all, in fact, I live in an incredibly generous society that helps such people out every day. What – did you miss that, you maniac?

        You seem to have missed the stats. Many Americans don’t support abortion – it’s not “old timers and religious fanatics”.

        And you didn’t answer the question either. Are you okay with 60 million dead babies, or not? Simple question. Why didn’t you provide a direct answer?

        • Anj of Green Gables says

          I’m A ok with trillions because an acorn is not an oak tree. You can believe it is if you want to but it doesn’t make it one unless if a sky fairy tells you.
          Oh, & it is you that have ignored the question of dying children world wide.
          Wash the blood off your hands by paying the tax man? It all just goes away?
          & you pontificate on the value of life?
          Back in your comfy bubble el bizzaro…

          • scribblerg says

            What a freakish jerk you are, Anj. Seriously. Your “argument” is a dictionary example of a straw man argument combined with a red herring – get that. You aren’t doing debate, you are doing agitprop. You are a sick, depraved human being and you think preening it about and being cavalier about it makes it cool or not disgusting or something. Newsflash: Nope.

            You pretend all the abortions are for health reasons, but of course they are not. CDC stats from 2015 show 25% of abortions being for medical reasons. That means 75% are birth control. Killed just for convenience.

            I’ve nurtured three new generations of life into this world. First was the baby my Mom died delivering when I was 11yo (had to learn how to care for an infant fast as Dad was useless). Oh yeah, our doc told us the baby would kill her but she had it any way. The next was my own daughter (former wife had 3 miscarriages or I would have had more) and now my granddaughter. Most people think I’m actually great with kids, I moved in with my sister to care for her infant son after she was born and had to run back to work. I had my own online biz and money in the bank, and since I helped raise her, she was happy to have me care for her son rather than putting him in daycare.

            We could count how much I care about children in terms of how much time I spend with my niece and nephew, with whom I’m very close, or maybe how many diapers I’ve changed in my life or how many crying babies and children I’ve comforted? But I get it – none of that means anything to a maniacal, angry, baby-killing left wing hack like you. All that matters is political virtue signaling. As long as you “care about” some abstract underprivileged child somewhere else, you are better than me.

            You disgust me.

          • Cora says

            scribblerg: “Oh yeah, our doc told us the baby would kill her but she had it any way.”

            Immaculate conception?

            Your poor mother. Birthed an idiot. Then died birthing her last child.

      • E. Olson says

        Anj – abortion policy has nothing to do with how many children around the world are living in less than ideal circumstances. Pro-Lifers are concerned about the legalized killing of innocent fetuses, but there is no movement to actively legalize the killing of living children, which means there is no need for the equivalent of “anti-abortion” laws to protect the lives innocent living children. Furthermore, thanks to economic development, international aid, and welfare programs there are fewer children than ever living with poor nutrition or medical care, and there is no reason to believe that unaborted fetuses would add to the total of abused children. Pregnant women who don’t wish to have a child (or another) should give up the child for adoption, and avoid getting pregnant in the future, or at least until they are able to properly support a child.

        • scribblerg says

          Don’t reason with this degenerate. Denigrate and her and treat her like the horrible person she is. Babykiller and proud of it – children in the womb are just like acorns…I truly wish she’d been aborted.

          • Anj of Green Gables says

            Scrib, you would force a child to have a child & i’m the degenerate?
            ‘Cared for’ any virtually brain dead babies lately?
            Congratulations, you cared for your loved ones. You are now ‘special’ & deserving of authority to lord it over society.

        • Anj of Green Gables says

          Oh yes it does. Pro lifers are all about the ‘sanctity of life’ till the child is born. After that not so much.

          Nary a whisper re open borders, adequate health care, housing etc for these ‘sacred’ lives so as Noam Chomsky says you can’t take these people seriously because they are inconsistent.

          I agree over the last 100 years poverty has improved but that’s not a licence to excuse hypocrisy by ignoring the millions still waiting. Pro life lobby budgets would indeed save countless lives not to mention lobbying for support of these lives.

          Diversion, silence & inaction is killing living children but when one doesn’t want to see the connection one won’t. And in any case, it’s much more comforting to stand in judgement than it is to act for what one purports to believe.

          “You should” do this “you shouldn’t” do that but what do YOU actually do?

          Walk the talk then get back to us about should & shouldn’t or as one very wise guy said “get the log out of your eye”…

          • scribblerg says

            Never asked for congratulations, you deranged madwoman. I merely explained how I care for children, which you said I didn’t. I’m actually trying to deal with the insane bullshit that flies out of your mouth nonstop. You have no idea how unhinged a hack you’ve become. Carry on. God help you.

  43. Alan says

    To me the issue of abortion is about the rights of the unborn baby.

    There are two questions that need to be answered:

    1) Is the baby a human being before it is born?
    2) At what in point after conception does it become a human being?

    I think we can all agree that every human being should have equal rights before the law, which includes the right not to have their life ended by another.

    The fact that premature babies survive to become normal people, and that killing such a baby after it was delivered, would be considered murder in most humane societies, makes me think that a baby must be a human being before it is born.

    So then the remaining question is at what point after conception should a baby be considered a human being by the law?

    I do not have a firm view on that myself, but I think a reasonable answer is when that baby has a heart beat, which is something that can be easily determined by any doctor.

    I think this gives some leeway to those who feel abortion is acceptable early on, while protecting the rights of the unborn baby, who is another human being, just like the rest of us.

    I do not see how this sort of approach violates women’s rights?

  44. Ike the Spike says

    Not only is the pro life position not about the patriarchy, in the developed world, the world of functioning liberal democracies, there is no patriarchy,

    You’re welcome.

  45. A good post, with a generally good discussion following. Thank you, Quillette, for publishing this.

  46. Stuart Chambers says

    Gov. Kay Ivey admitted that her belief in God guided her decision. This is based on the sanctity of life principle in the book of Genesis. But laws are supposed to be secular, and U.S. lawmakers pride themselves on separating church and state. Hence, the anti-abortion laws are made by religious zealots who have zero respect for the constitution.

    • E. Olson says

      Stuart – thank you for your careful legal analysis, but could you please point to the explicit part of the US Constitution that approves abortion rights?

      • Stuart Chambers says

        In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruled that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides a fundamental “right to privacy” that protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose whether or not to have an abortion. Sound legal enough?

        • E. Olson says

          Stuart – so the Constitution doesn’t actually mention abortion rights, it requires some serious mental gymnastics that no serious legal scholar thinks was a legally sound argument. In fact, it was one of those decisions where the conclusion was already decided by the majority based on false statistics about abortion dangers, and then they figured out a supposedly constitutional basis to support it. The links provide some nice summaries of the Roe v Wade flaws.

          • Stuart Chambers says

            E. Olson, your argument is seriously flawed. The constitution does not mention rights to assisted suicide and same-sex marriage, but these are now allowed. The constitution is interpreted like any other document. We live in an era where evidence is needed to form laws, and these laws are secular. For assisted suicide, we have evidence of thousands of people who suffer from terminal illnesses, so the courts in the U.S. decided that dignity and autonomy of patients must be protected–even if religious communties are offended. Preventing women access to abortions is a fundamental breach of their right to privacy. Religious groups want to punish these women for private decisions, but religious animus cannot form the basis of law. Remember when it was tried in 1992 in Colorado under Amendment 2 to end equal protection for homosexuals? The Supreme Court through out Amendment 2. Gymnastics, meaning hard dicsussions, is how laws get better and how we jettison religious or other biases.

          • E. Olson says

            Stuart – your argument is the one that is wrong, because you don’t understand the separation of power. The courts in establishing abortion rights, suicide rights, marriage rights is making law or rights that are not in the US Constitution, and the founding fathers didn’t give the courts that role. The courts are to evaluate the Constitutionality of laws passed by Congress, and Congress has not passed abortion laws, or suicide rights, or gay marriage laws for the court to decide. You may like the laws that the court has created out of air, but they are not supposed to be doing that, which is why the choice of Justices is so important, because it is almost always Leftist judges that bend the Constitution to create rights that Leftist legislators are unable to pass in Congress.

        • augustine says

          You appear to be arguing that virtually any novel legal adaptation can, and should, find its way into our lives under the Constitution when it derives from secular reasoning. Anything tainted by religion is bad, while rationalizations supported by science are good. You seem afraid of religious people bringing tyranny under law. I wonder if you have any such fears of an atheistic hegemony?

          Preventing women access to abortions is a fundamental breach of their right to privacy.

          This deceptive wording makes it sound like women and everyone else can do whatever they want in privacy. Yet the law prohibits all sorts of behavior that is done in private, including murder. The privacy aspect is not the issue. The act itself is the issue.

          • Stuart Chambers says

            Yes, I trust evidence-based secularism more than faith positions because that is how public policy and laws are formed. Policy changes need evidence, not feelings concerning the metaphysical realm. And when I say “right to privacy,” I mean behaviour that is not criminal. Fetuses are not people; hence, there is no murder involved. Therefore, the act is a private one and legal.

          • augustine says


            After the evidence is weighed, how does secularism guide decisions for the best outcome? Why should I believe (and that is the operative word) your scheme will bring better results than a secular process informed by religious participants? Note I am not advocating state religion here.

          • Just Me says

            I agree the privacy argument is ridiculous. There are better reasons not to make abortion illegal.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Suart Chambers

      The phrase “separation of church and state” is not found in the Constitution, so saying “Hence, the anti-abortion laws are made by religious zealots who have zero respect for the constitution” is wrong.

      The phrase comes from Thomas Jefferson who wrote in 1802:

      ” … their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”

      Jefferson did not mean this to be understood as a barrier between religious faith and the making of law. Indeed, when Jefferson wrote “Church” he was not referring to religious faith at all. He had at least two very specific church organizations in mind; the Church of England and the Catholic Church.

      We have no official “Church of the United States” operating as a fourth branch of government, thanks to Jefferson and the other founders. That was the separation he was talking about.

      Jefferson fully expected that the men (no women at that time) who served in the Legislature would be men of religious faith and the laws that they made would be informed by that faith.

      The Constitution does not forbid it.

      • Stuart Chambers says

        You answered your own question. The laws these state are passing are establishing evangelical Protestantism as the norm within law. These new laws are meant to place faith positions within secular law. According to secularization theory, religion reinvents itself within secular laws. Under the cover of an official secularism, specific religious claims about the “good life” remain operative. This sleight of hand can be used for pro-life abortion laws, those against euthanasia, those outlawing sodomy, or draconian ones like Amendment 2 in Colorado back in 1992. It’s all religious zealots doing an end-run around constitutional (secular) law. No one is buying it. The Book of Genesis cannot be the basis of law in America.

        • Morgan Foster says


          You’re still not getting it.

          The Constitution does not forbid the making of laws inspired by the religious beliefs of the people making the laws.

          It just doesn’t. It never did. And no amount of “secularization theory” will get around it.

          • Stuart Chambers says

            Morgan, you live in a bubble. Read laws concerning why sodomy statutes were eventually overturned (they were religious based before, as Justice Scalia admitted), or why same-sex marriage is allowed in the U.S. (its prevention was religious-based), or why Amendment 2 was jettisoned by the Supreme Court (religious animus against a minority could not be the basis of law), or why assisted suicide keeps being allowed in state after state (opposition was from religious groups like the Catholic Church and evengelical Protestants based on the sanctity of life in the Bible). Secular laws cannot be grounded in faith positions. It simply invites all kinds of biases against sexual minorities, women, the dying, atheists, or any group deemed sinners by the perfectionists among us. It’s all about religious control. Glad I live in Canada. If you tried to pull this anti-abortion BS as a political party in Canada, you would be dead politically. Even Stephen Harper knew that.

      • Andrew Roddy says

        Rather than fixating on Secularization Theory it might also be worth considering The Law of Secular Exceptionalism: Self-identifying secularists, in so far as they can admit to personal bias, will always be compelled to insist that their biases are more rationally grounded than those of religiously minded people.

        • Anj of Green Gables says

          Hello Andrew
          “Self-identifying secularists, in so far as they can admit to personal bias, will always be compelled to insist that their biases are more rationally grounded than those of religiously minded people.”

          Yep, theocracies are sooooo underrated.
          Results don’t count? How very rational…

        • Stuart Chambers says

          Secularists need evidence to make a claim, so yes, their “bias” is evidence, whereas religious people only need faith. If you need a cure for cancer, which group would you choose?

          • Andrew Roddy says

            @Stuart and Ann
            That’s the spirit. Keep the flag flying.
            P.S.; Don’t worry – I am only using ‘spirit’ metaphorically.

  47. TheSnark says

    The article and the comments point in one direction only: the decision whether or not to allow abortion, in what circumstances, and at what stage of the pregnancy is NOT a constitutional question. It is a political question. There are many opinions on the subject that can be argued reasonably, as to when life begins and when abortion should or should not be allowed. You cannot resolve such questions by referring them to nine guys in a room, who in the case of Roe v Wade created a “right to privacy” out of whole cloth and implicitly assumed that human life begins at birth. That decision poisoned what should have been a national debate on the matter.

    The only way to resolve such questions is through the political process, the process of debating back and forth, voting (sometimes more than once) until you reach a consensus. Everyone won’t be happy, but if the voters agree two or three times, those who disagree generally fade into the background. (That is what happened with the assisted suicide law in Oregon, also a highly contentious moral/religious issue. When first introduced in a referendum many vehemently opposed it. But when the referendum passed, and then was confirmed in a second referendum, the opposition accepted that they had lost.)

    If the supreme court had stayed out of the matter and referred it back to the states and their political processes, the issue would have been fought over for a decade or two, but would now be settled. Instead, Roe v Wade poisoned the politics and created the no-holds-barred, us-versus-them litmus test we have today.

      • Andrew Roddy says

        We are in a very similar situation in Ireland which is often historically understood to have been precipitated by fear of the Roe v Wade judgement. Those are some powerful ripples if they made it all the way across the Antlantlic. Arguably Irish conservative reaction to the judgement tied our legislators hands behind their backs for decades. The ultimate result may be that we now have abortion law that is more ‘liberal’ than it may have been without the constitutional intervention.

  48. El Uro says

    It is just a matter of responsibility.
    Marriage was the most important conquest of women. Men became responsible for the children. If women do not want to be responsible for the children, they should not demand child support.

  49. nicholas henderson says

    Abortion is the 21st century version of chattel slavery. In 100 years they will be pulling down statues of famous women because they had an abortion.

  50. Morgan Foster says

    @Stuart Chambers

    You’re getting a long way from “separation of church and state”. Much of what you’re discussing in your last reply …

    (For some reason, Quillette won’t allow me to directly reply back.)

    … was objectionable to the courts on other Constitutional grounds.

    You may wish to expand the conversation about the Constitution and how it applies to abortion rights, but I have focussed on your OP which specified “separation of church and state”.

    • Stuart Chambers says

      What these states that pass anti-abortion legislation are doing is unconstitutional–period! It is offensive to women’s right to privacy. Anti-abortion advocates want their religious animus against abortion to form the basis of law, just like religious zealots in Colorado did back in 1992 with Amendment 2. Religious animus cannot form the basis of any secular law. Simple as that.

  51. Morgan Foster says

    @Stuart Chambers

    “What these states that pass anti-abortion legislation are doing is unconstitutional–period!”

    If the Supreme Court says these state laws are unconstitutional, they’re unconstitutional.

    But what if they say these laws are constitutional?

    What if the Supreme Court overturns Roe? We kind of suspect there’s a chance of that, don’t we?

    Are you then going to argue that there actually is a constitutional right to abortion and the Supreme Court is wrong when they say there isn’t?

    They’ve been wrong before.

    • E. Olson says

      The pro-abortion worries about Roe being reversed/overturned is precisely because the original decision was so weakly justified. Even law professors who support abortion rights typically don’t support the basis of the Roe decision – it was just bad law making by a court that is Constitutionally not supposed to be making law.

      • Morgan Foster says

        @E. Olson

        And it was not the first time the Supreme Court committed fraud in the name of the Constitution.

      • Stuart Chambers says

        Roe v. Wade is weak in only one area. The U.S. does not need a law on abortion. Just make it a decision between a woman and her doctor. We have no abortion law in Canada, and we no problems with abortions (outside of religious zealots whining about it).

    • Stuart Chambers says

      Of course they have been wrong before (i.e., Georgia’s reinforcing of sodomy statutes in the 1980s), but decades have passed, and nothing since Roe v. Wade convinces me that religious ideology should guide law. Since more and more states are permitting assisted suicide, what does that tell you about the “sanctity of life”? It’s a dead doctrine, even if religious zealots want to hold on to it. The only reason to overturn Roe v. Wade is for religious reasons. If you want that, great, but there is no secular legal principle involved in that regression.

  52. 370H55V says

    Amid all the discussion and outrage about “25 white Republican men” was lost the fact that the legislation was first sponsored in the Alabama House by a GOP woman, Rep. Terri Collins of Decatur, and signed by a GOP woman governor.

  53. Lightning Rose says

    The issue below the surface here is “welfare” payments. If everyone was willing and able to take personal financial and social responsibility for their begettings, no one would care how many children anyone had. It BECOMES an issue when responsible taxpayers, who have lived their lives such that they avoid self-inflicted poverty and are productive assets to our country become liable forever to service the financial inadequacy of those whose irresponsibility, immaturity or lack of understanding of consequences brings us a permanent underclass who must then be supported for life; or to put it clearer, we reward sexual irresponsibility with subsidies. Many of the children of this underclass go on to the social pathologies of drug culture, crime, and vagrancy. Net loss for society from beginning to end.

    Whatever you subsidize, you will get more of.

    • E. Olson says

      LR – you are absolutely correct – we are living in an era where for the first time in recorded history the underclass is outbreeding the middle/upper classes, because for the first time in recorded history society has decided and has the means to subsidize and support the lower classes from womb to tomb.

  54. I am a doctor , not working in reproductive health but with an overlap in the area. In my time I have seen a 13 year old pregnant by her father, a woman in her 30’s who had 10 abortions ( using them as contraception), and a third trimester ‘abortion’ ( rather an induction of labour with the result being death of the baby) as the foetus had a lethal rare untreatable tumor but waiting for a term delivery would have necessitated a cesarean with implications for future babies and mum’s health. They say hard cases make bad law, but these were all real people with real lives and all at the ‘extreme’ rare ends of the arguments people are making here , both pro-life & pro-choice.

    • Alan says

      Yes but that says nothing about what you believe should be the norm from a legal point of view?

      Should the baby be considered another human being with equal rights to the mother before the law, or should it be considered to be a thing, which can be disposed of for any reason without any consequences?

      That is the key question here.

      Once that is established, then that principle can be used to make decisions in the hard cases you mention.

      Personally I think in cases where a choice needs to be made between the life of the baby vs the life of the mother, then the decision should be left to the mother.

      I’m not sure what to do in the case of incest and rape, other than one has to recognise that the baby has rights if it is considered to be another human being. Also if you accept that abortion is acceptable in the very early stages of conception (I would say before a heart beat), that should address that problem?

  55. Steve Hamlett says

    Andrew, please. It’s “Democratic women’ and ‘Democratic men’. Don’t give in to the GOP’s lexicographical warfare.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Steve Hamlett

      We are all democratic in the sense that we live in a democratic system. Republicans are democratic, too.

      Democrats is the more accurate and appropriate term for a person who votes Democrat.

    • Andrew Roddy says

      Is that addressed to me? Is it my use of the word secularist that irks you? I don’t mean it in any parochial American sense. I am Irish – we don’t have Democrats. We do have democrats – but not as a badge of tribal identity. As you might imagine though we also have broad pro-life/religiius and pro-choice/secular correlations. The Law of Secular Exceptionalism (as I understand it) has international application.

  56. Respek Wahmen says

    Anti abortionists relying on the fact that the legal basis for Roe is dodgy, and therefore should be overturned,, must also want segregation.

    What’s the difference between “abracadabra, wahmen privacy” and “separate by equal is inherently unequal” ( based on dubious social science)?

    Judicial activism is fine as long as they agree with you.

  57. jimhaz says

    Human life is just nowhere near as “sacred’ as people like to believe, although I do understand why virtually everyone believes that it is.

    A soul is clearly nothing more than a personality. I should ask religious people what sort of life a fetus might have in heaven!

    Anything involving my body is my choice. If I contract a nasty fatal disease, it will be my choice to kill myself or not. The same applies to pregnant woman and abortion. It is not something the herd should be dictating via the application of strong penalties.

    I would not knowingly go out with either a) a girl that was pro-life or b) a girl that had had more than 1 abortion based on carelessness.

  58. Leah the Cow Who Jumped Over the Moonn says

    Patriarchy rules OK!
    Want some proof?
    Check out the essay on the dailykos site by Walter Einenkel titled GIFT FROM GOD and other reasons why rape is not rape according to Republicans

  59. Helena Rudolph says

    Penny’s thoughts
    May 20, 2019

    After having read the many salient comments and thoughts expressed here, I am offering a human, feminine, very personal and, I think, rational perspective. Should I ever have experienced the predicament of an unintentional and inconvenient pregnancy, and I was living in a modern country, I would proceed as follows:
    1. Being an educated woman, I will know how my menstrual cycle works and I will know when I have had sex.
    2. If I had access to the morning after pill I would obtain it and be thankful that the worry and stress are over.
    3. However, and this happens frequently around the world, should I have been too busy to remember and I noticed the first absent period, I would go to the nearest facility in my modern developed country, and have a D & C procedure (dilatation and curettage or, in plain English, the scraping of the womb lining consisting of tissue, which approximately six weeks after conception, that is exactly what it is).
    4. Lastly, but most importantly, I shall keep QUIET about my medical procedures as they are my business and mine alone. Not even the prospective ‘father’ will know. And I shall be strong enough to live with myself afterwards and make a meaningful contribution in other fields of life. I know that to bring up a child is the work of a lifetime which will be my prime responsibility, and if I am not ready, able or willing to undertake this mammoth task, it is for me to make this decision in the 21st century of Our Lord.

    No religious, secular, or patriarchal elements, or even the word ‘abortion’ have ever informed this decision.

    P.s. As for the barbarism and inhuman cruelty to the mother and the child of refusing to make allowance for rape or incest, the mind boggles. That is another topic altogether.

    • Cora says

      Doctors can, and do, refuse to prescribe BCPs (but the same doctor can, and will, prescribe Viagra. I know several). No one, not even a woman with a lot of money (as your example woman must be) will be able to order a D&C like she orders a burger at a take out window. It’s a surgical procedure, not done by all doctors, appointments must be booked, first to see said doctor, and the surgeon and a hospital and operating room have to be booked. Take your number. Oh look, your six weeks are up.

  60. LasseLiten says

    Seen from pragmatic, left-wing northern Europe, the US debate is uncanny. Not only is the debate dominated by extremists, eager to take principled stances on an issue whose complexity obviates simple solution, the two sides completely ignore the fundamental arguments of the other. Screaming abortion is murder is as toxic and counterproductive as wearing your abortion as a badge of honour.

    And yet, the solution is so obvious. Abortion is legal in my country, Sweden (at least for the first trimester). But it is, in practice, less common than in the US – and late term abortions are extremely rare. Why? First of all, by making contraceptives widely available through the health care system, with minor, income-based copayments. Second, by taking the issues that lead to teenage pregnancy, such as poverty seriously. And third, by putting a place a benevolent but rigorous system of counselling to make sure women do not make choices they will regret for the rest of their lives (as would I if I ever hat to decide to get rid of what would be my own child).

    Is such a system pro-choice or pro-life? Arguably – both. It leaves a choice, but as a last resort. And it reduces the need for actual abortions, apart from those carried out for urgent health reasons. To the extent this issue reaches the realm of politics, the question at hand is more about which screws to tighten and which ones to loosen.

    And yes, so far, most of those whom I met who are pro-life are actually women. This is not a gender issue; in fact, if men were acting in their self-interest, they should push to expand abortion rights to include the option for men to absolve themselves of both rights and obligations (stopping short, of course, of any right to influence the abortion decision itself).

    • E. Olson says

      Good comment Lasse – I think most would agree the best solution is to eliminate any demand for abortions by eliminating as many unwanted pregnancies as possible. Sweden has it a bit easier in achieving this goal, however, because the country is historically homogeneous religiously (Lutheran) and is currently largely irreligious (with the exception of many new arrivals). Furthermore, Sweden has historically not had much of an underclass of people with different racial/ethnic backgrounds, and is only starting to gain that “diversity” with the recent arrivals. In the US, there is a large Catholic population, and some other Orthodox and Evangelical religions that have been highly critical of widely available birth control and legalized abortion, which makes enacting political solutions that don’t interfere with Constitutional right to Freedom of Religion more difficult (such as free and widely available birth control or family counselling). Second, having underclasses dominated by certain “victim” class minorities who are the predominant users of abortion, also makes solutions more difficult without having “reformers” being called racist for one reason (i.e. not letting people decide on their own) or another (pointing out that most people getting killed by abortion are black).

    • S.Cheung says

      well said. You nailed 2 points.
      First, there is a clear and meaningful difference between pro-choice and pro-abortion. Pro-lifers conflate the two either willingly or blindly…I can’t say for sure…but many lack the capacity to perceive the difference.

      Second, the right-wing part of the discussion has long been hijacked by religious conservatives, who only speak of the abortion issue to the exclusion of everything else on the reproductive spectrum. So you get businesses and organizations who oppose abortion, but who also oppose paying for birth control….the exact same method that other right-wingers say should allow people to avoid getting pregnant in the first place and thereby do away with the very unwanted pregnancy that fuels the market demand for abortion. So the religi-nuts get in the way of a practical solution or moderator that women may instead choose to seek. How stupid is that? And then you get the religi-nuts who give every damn up until the fetus crowns, then cannot give 2 shits beyond the birth canal. It would seem that a way to entice/bribe/cajole reluctant moms to carry through with the pregnancy is to ensure myriad services and options are available for those who do make that choice on behalf of the state and pro-lifers everywhere. But it’s crickets out of these very same people. So between appeasing these “deep thinkers” on the right, and dealing with the feminist zealots on the left, pragmatism falls by the wayside and we are left with recurring political theater.

  61. A very tired woman says

    I can’t read through all the pedantic comments.

    Women’s periods are messy. They do not all come at exactly 28 days, certainly not when menses begin or end. Pregnancies naturally end in miscarriage about 15% of the time. Many women may not even know they have had a miscarriage when a bloody clump falls into the toilet. It just seems like a bad period.

    Many many abortions happen within committed relationships, yes even marriage. A society that values babies might consider valuing prenatal care, post natal care, and daycare. Many abortions happen because the family cannot sustain ANOTHER baby. And a woman will have a hard time turning down sex in a committed relationship when the man is there using every argument in the book why he must have sex.

    Contraceptives and honest sex education would go a long long way – towards asking unwanted pregnancy rarer, and towards not needing to explain female biology to men. To all the men who think birth control is super simple and easy and accessible: sometimes you need to see the doctor more than once to choose a viable option. You need accessible affordable health care for that.

    Some women cannot take latex condoms, some women cannot take the hormones in the pill, some women cannot take an IUD. Men dismissing that as a trip to the drugstore is patronizing.

    Men’s biology shows a decline in erectile function as they age. That’s natural, yet we use medicine to change their biology.

    Some evangelicals are saying that an IVF baby does not have the same “rights” as a baby in a womb. What???? If anything they should be praising IVF for making and saving wanted babies.

    A legal abortion is medically safer and has far fewer biological consequences than pregnancy and childbirth, which are still causes of death for some women.

    Late term abortions are almost always of wanted babies that are not viable. How can people not understand that? These are parents who mourn the death, but understand the medical reality.

    I hated those old westerns where the woman is in labor and the doctor turns to the father and asks – in the case of an emergency who do I save – the baby or the mother?

    The pill means no ovulation occurs so there is no egg, so fertilization is an impossibility. No abortion-like qualities, so obviously health care should cover it, no questions asked. How do people (men or women) think they have any business in any other women’s reproductive health? It boggles the mind.

    Abortion or forced miscarriage is as old as medicine – the kind that the women practised with medicinal plants. Men were just not very aware of it.

    When you have had many periods and sometimes is it a blob, it’s hard to see that blob as a baby. And since it happens naturally so often and easily, it’s easy to see any blob as that blob.

    I find the arguments made so very very tiring.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @ A very tired woman

      “I can’t read through all the pedantic comments.”

      Fair enough. I didn’t read through yours, after that bit.

    • E. Olson says

      If you can’t be bothered to see a doctor and get effective birth control prescribed, then simply demand that your sex partner wears a condom, which are available in just about any store at very low cost, and come with instructions on how to use. Latex allergies effect less than 8% of the population, and condoms are 98+% effective, but for the few who remain “unprotected”, there are also non-latex condoms, and assuming you are able to keep track of your monthly cycle, you might also refrain from sex entirely during the days of peak fertility to almost entirely eliminate any chance of unwanted pregnancy. Simple and easy to eliminate almost any need for abortions.

      • A very tired woman says

        “Assuming you are able to track your monthly cycle.” The stories I could tell you about women I know and their problems!! Many men in relationships do not want to wear condoms. Some men do not want to refrain from sex when they are within relationships. Many abortions occur within relationships due to failed birth control.

        In some states in America female health care is completely undervalued. Some women are not able to access the medical care they need. Why would insurance not cover a health need like birth control?
        I do not live in the USA, but I read about the maternal mortality rate in some southern states being the equivalent of much less developed countries.
        One male legislator in the USA said that ectopic pregnancies (which are a real risk to the health of the mother) can simply be transplanted to the uterus (completely untrue.)
        Once the men weighing in show more knowledge of women’s reproductive health, then perhaps I will consider their opinions as equal.

        Most men that do understand the myriad ways this affects women DO support an individual’s right to choose. I find some comments very blithe and dismissive of women’s realities.

        There remains a snide undertone to many comments (not saying yours) that it’s a punishment for a woman having sex. (Only have sex with someone you are positive you will procreate with. Seriously?) Do we want children to be a burden or a joy? Let women plan their pregnancies (including abortion when chosen). Make reproductive health care affordable AND accessible to ALL women.

        • augustine says

          It sounds like you believe that an individual’s right to choose supersedes all else. If I understand the thrust of your comments here correctly, literally everything that can be conceived (no pun intended) is subordinated to personal autonomy and personal choice. If our social and political capital is reduced, or atomized in this way, will we not be more vulnerable to forces that care little for women’s rights, or even human rights?

          • A very tired woman says

            When it comes to my body, yes I have the absolute right to choose. This does not necessarily apply to other areas of life, (because I’m not sure where you are going with this) and remember this is a very very specifically gendered issue.

            If you want to pick this apart, go ahead. I’m used to the arguments that go that way.

            Every woman’s life is different. Every woman’s abortion story is different. I know women who have had abortions. No two stories are the same. I support each and every one of them. It’s nobody’s business, certainly not law enforcement.

            I know a man whose wife had a non-viable pregnancy, which would have endangered her life had it continued. It was gestated enough to remove in a whole state for the man to see it and mourn. The procedure was done by the leading abortion doctor in his Republican city (blue state). Yet he doesn’t think it was an abortion because they wanted it. But he assumes all the other women getting abortions are sluts looking for an easy way out. Our “friendship” disintegrated after Trump was elected. His vitriol about everything was too much to take.

            I live in Canada, feel free to look up the legalities of abortion in Canada.

            And for the guy below, black women in Canada are not dying at the same rate that we both agree black women in the USA are dying. Health care overall impacts reproductive health. Just glad I live in Canada.

        • E. Olson says

          AVTW – the mortality rate in southern states is driven more by racial differences than health care access or quality. Black women across the income/education spectrum are 3 or 4 times more likely to die during pregnancy or delivery versus white women. Part of the problem is anemia, hypertension, diabetes and obesity that US black women are more likely to have problems with than white women from the same socio-economic level, but higher rates of black maternal death are found around the world.

          This is one reason that US health statistics often look poor compared to other developed countries, as the diverse US population has great disparity in health outcomes that are genetic or culturally based rather than signs of discrimination or poor health access. Swedish Americans live longer on average than Swedes in Sweden, Chinese Americans live longer than Chinese in China, and African Americans live longer than Africans in Africa (and so on and so on), but when racial/ethnic groups are combined the US averages are often worse than comparisons to many homogeneous population countries.

          • Hi E!

            I read through all of your comments and it is clear that you have strong convictions about the matter and are learned on the subject. Your views, as usual, reflect my own generally. It is clear that the topic of this thread has been discussed in a serious and meaningful way on this page. It is not a matter to make light of.

            Notwithstanding, it being my nature to play with the politics of matters, you might wish to view something I put together the other day and comment on by way of email to me (email link is on the site). That is, assuming you might return and see this. You’ll find it here –


        • augustine says

          Thank you for your reply. The absolutism of a woman’s right to make choices with regard to her own body is mistaken I think. Without the male “compliment” there would be no fetus or zygote to argue about. If you want to venerate absolutism in this way then make sure that pregnancy is absolutely the province of woman, biologically and otherwise. Currently this cannot be done.

          It’s nobody’s business, certainly not law enforcement.

          To some extent I agree with you here (the law part) but it is not that simple. Society, family, friends, church, are involved. It is simply not possible to isolate individual women to the radical degree that you suggest is not only possible but desirable and your right. BTW you cannot even attempt such an innovation without law enforcement.

          We all have some stake in this matter. Life itself is where we all come from and where many will project their inheritance into the future. As this article points out, it is false to assert that abortion is mainly a men vs. women issue. There is no good outcome along those lines.

          • A very tired woman says

            Augustine, look up the legality of abortion in Canada (I live in Quebec). No law enforcement.

            Health care. Bodily autonomy. Trusting women to make the right decision for themselves. My health care is nobody else’s business.

    • Shawn T says

      AVTW. I agree with much of what you have to say, even with the derision, condescension and dismissiveness with which it is delivered. My main point of disagreement is with your statement: “How do people (men or women) think they have any business in any other women’s reproductive health? It boggles the mind.” As a public health issue for which you and others demand public payment and resources, it becomes everyone’s business. The argument that men (or women) aren’t allowed an opinion, but are forced to write a check in blind support of anything deemed “reproductive health” is, itself, very tiring.

      • A very tired woman says

        Reproductive health is long, starting with our periods, extending through many possible issues throughout our lives. I just don’t think men appreciate how much we deal with and the things that can go wrong. It’s not just pregnancy. There is the pap smear for the cervix. Cryogenic burning of the cervix when irregular cells are detected. Some women have problems with their uterine lining. UTIs. Yeast infections. Some have painful periods, really painful, passing way too much blood. Cervical, Ovarian, Uterine, and Breast cancer. Menopause has its own health challenges. It’s all part of our reproductive health. It’s healthcare for half the population, including your mother.

        The idea that the public has to approve my health care is odd to me. (Remember I live in Canada.) I don’t weigh in on anyone’s treatment for whatever health issue they are facing.

        What if I thought the money spent on Viagra would have been better spent elsewhere? What if I thought that expensive lifesaving treatments were wasted on old people? (I do not.) I don’t get to choose for other families. My opinions are not more important than the doctors.
        How about my taxes pay for health care for everyone, and your taxes pay for the part of the government you support.

  62. A very tired woman says

    Hello Morgan, I read a lot of the comments, and couldn’t choose just one to reply to. As I read, the comments became repetitive. Therefore I did not read through ALL the PEDANTIC comments. I did read some, but decided to comment without parsing through to find the exact comments where I should express myself.

    There you go.

    • @ A very tired woman,

      Hi, I read some of your posts above and the picture you paint of the downsides of womanhood are troubling to myself, a man. Your writing is most enlightening.

      One of the matters that I didn’t see written in any of the contributions above (it might have been covered but I didn’t see it), is the role a man has to play in the business of babies. Politically and morally men have been written out of the equation of women, babies and family by successive governments and their legislation. The man only being considered with respect to paying up for the outcome determined by the woman and her choices, doctors and government.

      I’m an old fellow and so I remember the attitudes of old. A woman getting pregnant when single then was taken very seriously and naturally gave rise to the shotgun wedding. Many of these marriages stood the test of time. A man deserting a family at that time was considered a heinous villain by the community so there was a tendency for those marriages to stay together, and last, for better or for worse.

      Now those days are gone, women to a great extent have pushed men out of their lives and as a result I feel that men don’t display the same amount of consideration, caring and respect for women that used to exist in the old days. Men are equally responsible for the creation of babies and I believe that men then were more responsible about sex with women. It was a sort of moral code. That’s now gone. If you got her pregnant, you “did the right thing” and married her. The new way did away with that respect for women. Availability of abortions allowed moral decline of both men and women.

      Men need to be more responsible about sex today, but it’s a hard call to expect them to care when they are simply considered as a walking sperm bank and wallet to pay for the aftermath. What’s missing in this mess is men, their responsibility to women, children and family. Lots of women are walking alone these days with the brunt of harshness you described, which I’m sad to say, is the outcome of what women brought upon themselves by buying the farm of feminism. But some women today are starting to wake up. Morality may be coming back, slowly.

      • A very tired woman says

        Yes getting pregnant when young was catastrophic for the girl. And if you’ve ever been a teenage girl you know all the time teenage boys will put into nagging, begging, bargaining, convincing, persuading and coercing you into sex.

        Some of those shotgun weddings turned into horrible marriages. Especially when young, people should have options. Men who will be good husbands and fathers do not need to be coerced by moral rules externally pushed by society. They just are good men. They are not all men.
        My friends and I talk about our fathers, all born of the Great Generation, and how differently they treated their wives and marriages. One man, a gym teacher, beat his family, and his wife was told by the church to be a better wife. She never left him, and he stopped when she got breast cancer. The men who were great fathers tended to have daughters who married well (I don’t mean financially, but to good men who are good fathers).

        Being a feminist is completely consistent with being a moral person. Every ism has people that falter.

        I can’t imagine being with my first boyfriend forever. It would have been horrible. Thank God for birth control.

        I feel a bit of a finger wagging scolding. Now listen Missy, back in my day….

        • Hi A very tired woman,

          Many thanks for your response. Your words; “Now listen Missy, back in my day…” brought a big smile to my face. Thanks.

          I’m not one to preach to anyone, I’m not a preacher, so I don’t. I will recommend a video to watch. It’s only short and the bit that is related is in the first minute or so. Maybe you’ve already seen it, but if not please do view. It’s about family. It’s by a pretty little girly named Candace Owens. She’s powerful. She’s worked it out.

          Here’s the link –

          BTW, you seem to have perked up a bit, not so tired anymore. Good for you. All the very best.

          • A very tired woman says

            1) condescending in the Good For You. Going to ask me to smile next?
            2) Candace Owens? Seriously? “pretty little girly” ?
            are you a good widdle boy?

  63. Geary Johansen says

    The writers comments about the islamic principle of ensoulment are particularly relevant, given that for once science and islam agree.

    The earliest instance of brainwaves having been detected in utero is around 110 days, so it could be argued from a purely rational perspective that the foetus becomes a baby at this point.

    There is something eerily synchronous when recent advances in scientific understanding concur with ancient wisdom.

  64. ADM64 says

    “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”

    This is exactly what it has become: the one and only utterly absolute right in the entire (leftist) political universe. Rights of speech, assembly, property, self-defense, presumption of innocence etc., are not only limited but frequently conditional in modern politics. Not so abortion.

    • A very tired woman says

      None of those other rights are about health care. Abortion is about reproductive health care.

  65. Stuart Chambers says

    As the author states, “For these pro-lifers, the central issue tends to be relatively straightforward: Abortion is viewed as reprehensible because it is seen as the intentional ending of human life, tantamount to murder. This isn’t something that can be chalked up to ‘patriarchy,’ and it is false to attribute such attitudes to the desire to control women’s freedoms.”

    Since the result of restrictions controls women’s freedoms, then yes, pro-life supporters need to control women’s choice to engrain their religious positions into law.

    • S.Cheung says

      the author may be splitting hairs here, for sure. Perhaps pro-lifers are not motivated by the need to control women, as their primary ends. But the means to their ends is to control women, or at least to wrest control from women. So from a woman’s standpoint, I would think the “desire” vs the “end result” would not make one iota of difference.

      • Stuart Chambers says

        I agree. It’s all about control of women, motivated by religious ideology.

    • Raj says

      “it is seen as the intentional ending of human life”

      Bollocks. Given pro lifers inconsistency in their interest in human life after birth the ‘sanctity’ excuse is disingenuous.

      This piece is just another flattener:

      Don’t blame it on the sunshine
      Don’t blame it on the moonlight
      Don’t blame it on the good times
      Blame it on the feminazi’s

      I just can’t I just can’t I just can’t control my fear….

    • Just Me says

      All laws are made to control other peoples’ freedoms, and often the freedom of what to do with their bodies, in the name of what society considers the common good.

      So what’s your point? Why should this be any different?

      • S.Cheung says

        Just me,
        the difference is a doctor won’t go to jail for taking out your tonsils, or your appendix. But an Alabaman doctor will now go to jail for taking out this particular clump of cells.

        • Just Me says

          The difference is in the premise, that this is just a clump of cells being removed rather than a human being being killed.

          It isn’t a matter of control of women’s bodies in particular.

          • S.Cheung says

            Just me,
            until that clump of cells is viable on its own, it’s really no different than your tonsils or appendix.

            I agree that, at least as far as the ends go, it’s not about control of women’s bodies. But the means to that end gets pretty close.

  66. Stuart Chambers says

    A woman’s human rights should not be decided by polls. She controls her own decisions regarding pregnancy termination. It’s not a popularity contest.

  67. rambam says

    Let’s cut through all this high-falutin’ talk and get to the heart of the matter.

    The only “right” that abortion preserves for women is the “right” to have unprotected sex anywhere, anytime, and with anyone, particularly with men who are anything BUT father or marriage material. In other words, the women want to act like the horny, nasty, filthy MEN they profess to despise.

    • A very tired woman says

      Wow, what woman pissed in your cornflakes?

      When a family with four children decide together to abort a fifth, how does that fit in your narrative?
      And women having sex for fun would rather have an abortion than use birth control? I better tell my friends they were doing it wrong.

      It must be emotionally frustrating to see the world through that lens.

        • A very tired woman says

          I never expected to change your mind. Part of this conversation is for other readers.
          You represent a certain point of view of certain men.
          I think it’s uninformed, emotional, and full of misplaced anger.

  68. Theologically, it is true that the Catholic Church has had evolving nuanced stances on abortion, but since it has always been predicated on the notion of personhood and life, any migration is now confirm by the biological notion of the beginning of human life at conception. But theology is a revealed belief system and is dogmatic so it has limited export.

    Philosophically then, the pinnacle issue is personhood, and the ultimate distinction is that in order to uphold bodily autonomy (which evidently is never absolute…a human person may have a mole removed without moral or legal concern, but cannot assert autonomy to say, sell a kidney) it cannot extend to the detriment of another human person. The unborn may biologically be a ‘part’ of the woman, but it too has an autonomous moral stance as the womb is the proper place for development. Which begs the question of personhood. And even if that becomes difficult to philosophically define, one may try to work out the converse of what would qualify as a non-person human life. And then further, be consistent in applying that definition to all stages, which should not be determined by aesthetics (it’s not yet formed) or a web of sympathy (no one would want to live like that). There then at least a unified ethical theory may be applied.

    In this regard then, theology (at least Catholic theology) converges with philosophy (reason and faith cannot contradict) by asserting that there is no just position where one can conceive of any human life that is not also a person.

  69. Meg says

    Please don’t blame these diabolical laws on Christians! There’s a growing number of Christian feminists in America. who see them as a sign the church patriarchy has sold out half its flock.

  70. Elizabeth says

    The fact that other patriarchal religions and societies don’t all do patriarchy the same way does not mean that the Alabama law isn’t about controlling women’s sexual and reproductive autonomy or denying women their agency and personhood. Extreme right-wing evangelicals don’t practice female genital mutilation either, after all, as some other patriarchal cultures do.

    The most striking thing about the Alabama law is not its adherence to some sacred Christian notion of biological life. It’s the valuing of the fetus’s personhood and subjectivity over that of the mother. Doctors (masculinized, if not actually male) have agency here, as killers. Pregnant women are legally presumed incapable of rational decision-making and so cannot be held responsible for what (we are supposed to believe) is a first-degree-but-not-capital murder. And the life of a six-week (or two-day or whatever) fetus must always be protected at the expense of an existing woman regardless of her age (maybe 12?) the circumstances of conception (rape? incest?), the pregnancy’s impact on her health or psychological well-being and so on. Of course this is a patriarchal attack on women’s rights and bodily autonomy.

    • Just Me says

      Not making an exception for rape or incest is perfectly rational if the goal is in fact not to punish, but to protect innocent life. It isn’t the child’s fault it is a product pf rape or incest.

      Not saying I agree with the premise, but this does logically follow.

  71. Jerome Ayalon says

    I agree with the article premise that using the “Patriarchy” argument is losing focus in the battle for abortion rights.

  72. Herb Koplowitz says

    I agree with the point made. However, you are mistaken in stating that “most pro-life people oppose abortion rights”. I am in favor of a woman’s choice, but I am pro-life as, I expect, are almost all of your readers. Do you know anyone who is anti-life or pro-death? If by “pro-life” you mean “against abortion”, then by definition ALL “pro-life” people are anti-abortion. But many who identify as “pro-life” are in favor of the death penalty and would vote ferociously against ensuring that newborns get the medical care and nutrition needed for life. Please use descriptive language. (This applies to those who reply as well.) If someone is opposed to abortion, refer to them as “pro-birth” or “anti-abortion” or put their term in quotation marks unless they show support for life. To use their branding is to collude with their marketing and to mangle the English language.

  73. Just Me says

    So sick of this silly debate.

    IMV, neither extreme is defensible.

    It isn’t about controlling women’s bodies for its own sake, or “the Patriarchy”, it is about when human life begins, and should be protected, a serious issue humans have grappled with for centuries, and at what cost to the existing human being, i.e. the woman.

    Sometime between conception and birth, a clump of cells becomes a human baby. Only some religions view this as beginning at conception, and that isn’t rationally defensible. Like other stages in development, there is no abrupt, clear change from one stage to another, it is gradual. The religious authorities that have declared that life begins at conception are simply wrong.

    At the other extreme, some societies have considered that a baby doesn’t become human until it has officially been accepted into society, and allowed infanticide

    But somewhere around 4 months seems reasonable, and whether abortion after that is killing a human being is a reasonable question. Before that, it is just a potential human being.

    And on the other side, is the fact that childbirth is extremely painful and can be dangerous, and pregnancy itself does drastic things to a woman’s body. When gladly chosen, these may be worth it, but when forced to endure them against one’s will, that is a form of imprisonment and torture. So abortion can be considered self-defence against an assault from inside the body that takes your body captive against your will for its own purposes, one of the most horrible experiences one can imagine, similar to a cancer or other devastating disease.

    And then there is the emotional cost of giving birth to a child after all that and either giving it up or having to reconfigure one,s life to accommodate raising it, as the recent article in The Atlantic explains very well.

    Then there is the difficulty of actually enforcing these laws in any humane manner.

    But while I end up coming down on the pro-choice side, I find the flippancy and bad faith with which many proponents treat the issue repellent.

    The value of human life is a serious and complex issue that deserves to be treated with respect, and cannot be reduced to a “woman-controlling Patriarchy”. Or to some biologically illiterate comparison like, “why not make masturbation illegal then, all that wasted sperm…”

    • A very tired woman says

      “And on the other side, is the fact that childbirth is extremely painful and can be dangerous, and pregnancy itself does drastic things to a woman’s body. When gladly chosen, these may be worth it, but when forced to endure them against one’s will, that is a form of imprisonment and torture. So abortion can be considered self-defence against an assault from inside the body that takes your body captive against your will for its own purposes, one of the most horrible experiences one can imagine, similar to a cancer or other devastating disease.”

      Thank you Just Me for articulating this. You get it. Every woman is an individual. Let each woman decide for herself. Baby as punishment is not in anyone’s best interests.

  74. Asenath Waite says

    Technically (biologically) a zygote is a human being, but practically speaking it isn’t really. A zygote clearly has no sentience, any more than a yeast cell has sentience. Of course there isn’t a magic line dividing sentience from non-sentience, but it would be completely impractical to confer the legal rights of an adult human being onto a zygote for many reasons. On the other hand, a baby a week away from being born clearly does have sentience and deserves the legal rights conferred to any human being. Therefore it is unfortunately necessary from a practical perspective to draw an arbitrary line between these two extremes when considering the legality of abortion. As there is no correct answer for where to draw this line, the debate will go on forever.

  75. Just Me says


    Another consideration.

    The accusation of patriarchal self-interest in forcing women to have babies they don’t want, is bizarre.

    Abortion gets men off the hook just as much as women, especially now that we have DNA tests and that many jurisdictions have laws making men financially responsible for the children they father no matter inside or outside marriage.

    How many men have tried to talk the woman into having an abortion she didn’t want? This affects men as much as women.

    • A very tired woman says

      Here is an example of patriarchal self interest.

      As the relationship progresses, he becomes more jealous (irrational jealousy) and possessive. She realizes she must leave him. He knows if she has his baby, he can keep her and control her (often economically, for example). It happens.

      Also men are not just interested in the fate of the woman they are with.

      Rambam (above) clearly is very very angry at the thought of women being slutty. That’s a societal control imposed to control women. The double standard.
      (It reminds me of the old joke “What’s the difference between a bitch and a slut? A slut will fck anybody. A bitch will fck anybody BUT YOU.” I assume he has run into what he considers “bitches” and is mad they sleep with other men. And he came onto an abortion debate in order to make this point.)

  76. Just Me says

    Tired woman-

    so there is patriarchal self-interest both ways. Unless a man has control over both options, i.e. force her to have the baby or force her to have an abortion, as happens in really patriarchal societies, it,s pretty much a tie as to which, being pro or against the right to abortion, is more in men’s self-interest.

    Depends on their stage in life and their preferred lifestyle, married or sleeping around.

    Men like Rambam exist, but they are hardly representative of most men, and I doubt they are anti-abortion activists.

    And BTW, the way I read him, it is more that he is angry at the perceived double standard of women/feminists who criticize/despise men for behavior they defend in women;

    “women want to act like the horny, nasty, filthy MEN they profess to despise”

    He has a point there.

    • Asenath Waite says

      @A very tired woman/Just Me

      I’d wager it’s far more common for a man to want the woman to have an abortion when she doesn’t want to than it is for a man to want her to keep the baby when she wants to abort it. Either way, men have no say in the matter. I’d much rather be a woman with an unwanted pregnancy than a man who has accidentally gotten a woman pregnant.

  77. A very tired woman says

    NO he does not have a point. If a woman wants to be horny and have sex, she probably wants to have sex with a horny man. They don’t want to be what they despise, that’s just silly. They want to take advantage of life the way a man does. Those that despise that behaviour are not the ones copying it. It’s a false conclusion. We know all women are not a monolith of thoughts and beliefs, neither are all men.

    The whole point is every man is different, every woman is different. Some men (more than you may think) do want slutty behaviour (of women) punished.

    I just posted some examples. I have never claimed either is representative of all men. All men are different. Some men (including certain legislators who do not understand female anatomy) feel they have the societal authority to impose rules on women’s bodies.

    I maintain a woman has the right to bodily autonomy.

    • Just Me says

      Tired –

      Can’t agree there. Plenty of women, self-described feminists or not, decry men’s promiscuity as a symptom of patriarchy, then turn around and glorify women’s as a sign of liberation, etc.

      That angers a lot of men, with good reason.

      Either sexual restraint and responsibility are good for both genders, or they are bad for both.

      • A very tired woman says

        Doesn’t anger the “players”

  78. A very tired woman says

    One more point. I read an article some time ago called The Only Moral Abortion Is My Abortion. It featured stories of people who worked at abortion clinics in the USA and the instances when the protesters that usually hung out outside their clinic came in for their own (or their daughter’s) abortions. They would explain to the clinic workers how their circumstance was different and special, but they would continue to protest legal abortions for those other women.

  79. A very tired woman says

    It seemed to not go through, so I will type it out again.
    I read an article some time ago called The Only Moral Abortion Is My Abortion. It recounted stories of abortion clinic workers in the USA telling about the protesters that usually hung out in front of their clinic coming in for their own (or their daughter’s) abortions. They would explain to the clinic workers how their case was different and special, and then they would continue to protest legal abortions for those other women.

    • Just Me says


      Well that’s pretty much human nature for you.

      Happens with pretty much anything illegal I’d wager. People agree it is wrong in general, but in their case, it’s different, they had a perfectly good reason…

      • A very tired woman says

        And the wealthy and the connected can often skirt these laws. (I am thinking of the laws around morality: sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling.)

        So they shouldn’t be advocating for laws on the “regular people” that they know won’t necessarily apply to them.
        If I am a marijuana smoker, I am not going to advocate for prohibition.

        Rich women will always be able to get proper abortions.

  80. Jeremy Ashford says

    All about rights and nothing about responsibility.

    “… abortion rights … abortion rights … abortion rights … ” Does saying it three times make it a fact? No. There is no such thing as an abortion right. Abortions are permitted, allowed, legal … in some places. That is far from being a right.

    But, some women may say, it is my body so I claim all rights over it. Then likewise the body they have participated in creating is NOT their body so they have NO RIGHTS over it. They created the human inside them. They have no rights over it but they do have responsibility for it.

    Abortion responsibility. Now there’s a concept.

    This subject is not just academic to me.

    As a young liberal male atheist, and I’m talking decades ago, I did not really give much thought to abortion. I followed the party line that it was a woman’s right to choose. I went along with it when my girlfriend decided to have an abortion. I supported her. And I have regretted it every day since. Acquiescing to the killing of my own child is one of a very short list of regrets in my life and something I don’t ever see me forgiving myself for. Since then I have only had one child and his life is more precious to me than anything. When you watch your only child stop breathing from a drug overdose and you don’t have a spare (child) it is devastating. If you leave this life without creating a new one what was it all about? Fortunately my wife is a doctor and was able to call the nurse in to administer the antidote.

    One for two. I’d prefer two.

    • S.Cheung says

      ” I’d prefer two.”

      But that’s kind of the point here. Must your preference become the preference of anyone other than you?

      • scribblerg says

        Yes, that’s what societies do you ninny. We come up with moral standards and enforce them.

        • S.Cheung says

          what a dumb comment. Who the hell is “we”? Most folks are not with “you”, over there flying off the deep end. I couldn’t give two flips what “you” want…and right now what “you” want isn’t what yer gonna get…so feel free to go pound sand.

          The point to Jeremy is precisely that it is “his” preference, but it needs to be much more than that before his preference becomes any one else’s preference or command. So reaching for “moral standards” from the depths of your butt is for idiots.

    • Just Me says

      Jeremy –

      The crucial point here is that you have a conflict between the interest of an actual human being, the woman whose actual body is being taken over against her will, with drastic effects on her body, hormones, and emotions, and the abstract “interest” of something that is not yet a human being, at least before month 4. Until some potential human being actually is one, it is clear to me this is self defence on the woman’s part if she does not want it.

      After month 4 one is dealing with a different issue, the conflict between the rights of two human beings, one not yet developed but who is using another one’s body to be able to even exist.

      Nobody has the moral right to invade and take over someone else’s body for their own purpose against their will, or the obligation to let it happen, no matter the reason.

      Let’s imagine a horror movie in which you woke up one day to find a stranger had been somehow medically fused with you, and with your hormonal system, and you had to carry them everywhere for 6 months and feed them, etc., or they would die. Would it be your obligation to do so, or would you have the right to detach yourself no matter the consequences to them?

      That would be a horrific scenario, with a dreadful moral dilemma.

      No doubt it would be admirable charity, self-abnegation, etc. to accept the burden, but would it be a legal obligation?

      Is there a moral and legal obligation to donate a kidney or some other part of your body to someone else if they absolutely need it? If they are a relative?

      Same principle here.

    • A very tired woman says

      Jeremy, this is what you are grappling with “If you leave this life without creating a new one what was it all about? ”
      You have a personal life regret. That happens in life. If she had obtained an illegal abortion, she may have died.
      Many people lose children in cruel horrible ways. Life is full of regrets. The secret is finding the higher purpose of being human. I have chosen not to have children. (No, I never had an abortion.) But there is great meaning in life. Reproduction is not the only way to have purpose.

      You are hurt on an existential level and reach out to express it.
      My condolences on the pain your child has gone through, and my sincere empathetic relief that your wife was given the gifts to save that child.
      As your family heals, may you find more answers. Lashing out may bring temporary respite, but you and your family need to turn to each other for true peace.

  81. JM says

    Keep abortion safe and legal. Because they have been performed since women figured out how to perform them, and that would be…..since time immemorial. And that’s the way it is.
    Thanks to some of the commenters who went out of their way to explain this.

  82. scribblerg says

    As a conservative, it seemed to me that the morality of abortion was a private decision, and while I am personally pro-life, I figured this decision was up to the individual as many moral choices are in a free society. But then we had 60 million abortions since Roe v Wade in the U.S..

    60 million aborted babies. 75% or more for non medical/non-rape/non-incest purposes, basically for birth control (medically required abortions are much more rare than the stats but as usual Leftists have corrupted the system as many abortions reported as medically required are nothing of the sort as now mere anxiety or depression can be a medical reason). 60 million is 10x the population of Sweden. 60 million is more than the number of people living in California. We killed off an entire generation of people in our society. What the fuck is wrong with us?

    As you break down the data, it gets worse. We’ve terminated 22.5 million black babies – population of black Americans is about 44 million. In NYC, a black fetus is more likely to be aborted than brought to term. I also saw an analysis of the disproportionate presence of Planned Parenthood clinics in black neighborhoods. This should horrify anyone. But it’s not even discussed by the Left.

    Not what I was promised by the left. Abortion was sold to me as “safe, legal and rare”. 60 million dead babies is a genocide. Not rare. It’s 10x the 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.

    What happened is that the sexual revolution and the destruction of traditional values made abortion a birth control tool for irresponsible and immoral women. We used to shame people who behaved this way – but we were told that was “oppression”. What, this kind of “freedom” is better? Women have a right to end 60 million gestating human lives? In what fucking moral universe is that okay?
    Not mine…

    Let me put it more directly to you women out there. You got this legal power from us and have abused it to a ridiculous degree. I want to take this privilege away from you cuz you can’t handle the power and responsibility of it. Get that. Many women do handle this responsibility well – so it’s doable. I have no mercy for you baby killers. You had your chance and you abused us all – so now we are going to clamp down on you maniacs. We are not reproducing at replacement rates – that’s society ending. So I have a real stake in this and a moral right to want it to be stopped. I get that most woman cannot even process this reasoning – I don’t give a fuck what such women think anymore.

    Last. Notice there is zero mention of adoption this article. Why? There are many more people waiting for babies to adopt than children available for adoption. Why on earth don’t more women adopt? I have the answer – you are all being a bunch of selfish, horrible, immoral people. Pro-choice is a myth – you folks are pro-abortion. And as such, you are morally defective and are destroying my society and people. Period.

    • S. Cheung says

      Wow. Just wow.

      When the author Andrew Glover wrote in this article, “that shared ground shrinks when activists stake out unrealistic positions”, he’s talking about you, pal.

      And when he argued that this wasn’t about patriarchy (which I happen to agree with), he evidently had yet to come across you.

    • Just Me says

      scribblerg –

      for thousands of years, until just now, women bore all the risks of sex, while men could just shrug them off. So men could afford to be irresponsible about it, with the onus on the woman to be the gatekeeper, it was her fault if she got pregnant when she shouldn’t have, leaving women to hold the bag if they got pregnant, socially, economically, physically.

      With DNA and paternity tests and many jurisdictions now making men financially responsible for their children even if not married, now the tables have turned to some extent, and men like you are furious about it.

      But the reality remains that it is only women who have to go through 9 months of pregnancy, with its drastic changes to her body, discomfort, often pain, and giving birth, still a painful, dangerous process that can result in permanent injury and death. No man has to, ever, feel anything remotely like it, so easy for you to brush it off.

      The immorality is brushing this reality off as inconsequential in your grand abstract scheme of things.

      There is no immorality involved at all in the first trimester, when almost all abortions occur, unless you believe in the religious concept of the soul which exists since conception, etc. There are not millions of “babies” killed.

      As for bringing race into it, better to ask why so many black women want to abort, not force them not to because they are black and have some duty to reproduce. They are people too.

    • A very tired woman says

      “You got this legal power from us.” The Supreme Court decided. And women are on the Supreme Court.
      “I want to take this privilege away from you” YOU have no moral authority over what happens in my body. My bodily autonomy is not a “privilege”.
      “you abused us all” I guess I’ll let that speak for itself.
      “We are not reproducing at replacement rates.” The world population keeps getting bigger, so that is not “society ending”

      I have met men like you. Fortunately I have not met you.

      The more often men like you get to decide what women are “allowed” to do, the more we push back. Leave us alone.

  83. Mibikibi says

    I appreciate this article, as it the first one that I have read that sees it as it is, whether or not a fetus is part of the mother’s body…or not. To me, it is as simple as that. My views point libertarian, agency for each to choose for oneself, as long as it hurts no one. Abortion hurts (kills) someone. I don’t see it as a male/female issue. The fact that nature only produces offspring in females is not up for debate, and is as simple as women will never have prostate issues. Fair or not, it is what it is. Life isn’t fair. I remember the day in 1973 that my mom sat my sister and I down to discuss Roe v Wade. Although I wasn’t very old and didn’t really understand, I remember two things that she told us that day. Everyone has a right to be born (and that all those pro-abortion people have already been afforded that luxury) and most interestingly, she told us that in 50 years, after being legal for so long, even good people might see it as “okay”. I wondered how that could be, but I understand it now. I appreciate this article, as it seems to be focusing on the less emotional side of things.

  84. Helena Rudolph says

    @All bloggers
    Remember Monty Python ‘every sperm is sacred’. Please people, stop this controversy right now and allow women to do what they think right in the moment of their circumstance.

    And to all those sanctimonious pro-lifers and bible punchers out there: ‘Judge not and thou shalt not be judged”
    Amen, and I hope that this is the end of this senseless ‘debate’.

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  86. Sydney says

    Women have always ended pregnancies. They are ending pregnancies as we speak. They will always and forever continue to end pregnancies.

    Women’s bodies (and hence lives) are complex, unpredictable, and messy; this is a fact that misogynists and moral grandstanders choose to ignore.

    Humane nations remove pregnancy termination from criminal codes altogether and leave the issue to women (and the guidance they choose).

    Totalitarian/authoritarian nations seek to own women’s bodies (while leaving men free).

    Think you know better for a woman than she does? Consider this:

  87. R Henry says

    The essential element of the abortion debate is not medical. The issue is cultural, and more specifically, who wields power in it. The bit about Gloria Steinham framing it as females grasping for “power” is largely correct.

    Progressivism, especially the Feminist branch, has evolved to include the radical concept known as Autonomy. Essentially, this concept holds that a woman has unlimited freedom to control her own physical body, regardless of effect on others. To a limited extent, tattoos and body piercings illustrate Autonomy, as does the Transexual movement, but no act more loudly proclaims bodily Autonomy than a woman demanding a doctor kill the fruit of her own womb.

    A radical Autonomy advocate claims all power to herself. She does not believe in a larger community, only herself. She is radically selfish, unconcerned with other people or their rights. Autonomy is a demand for absolute personal control. Autonomy is, at core, anarchy.

    As with nearly all Progressive pieties, the concept of Autonomy is ignored in some instances. Many radicals who consider physical Autonomy a moral imperative will be ready with a needle to forcibly inject you, or your daughter, with a vaccine you don’t want.

    • A very tired woman says

      Radical? If people were passing laws about men’s testicles, penises, or fertility, they would be all over bodily autonomy.
      I believe in other people’s rights to bodily autonomy, so I do care about other people’s rights. I don’t think I have the right to break into my neighbour’s house and steal their stuff. I think you are letting your emotions get the better of you.

      • R Henry says

        Radical bodily autonomy is counter to the philosophical foundation of Western Culture. We, as humans, are all part of a human community. What we do as individuals most certainly effects the larger human community. I believe the concept of Autonomy is an exercise is self-delusion.

        As far back as Aristotle, the inter-relatedness of all humanity was clearly understood. They understood that Autonomy is a mirage…save for the loner in the desert. That such understanding is lost on contemporary Progressive ideologues is beyond comprehension.

        • A very tired woman says

          Luckily I live in Canada. Which is part of Western Culture. Look up the legality of abortion in Canada.

          Also our overall health and lifespans are better than the USA. And our diversity is greater. My reproductive bodily autonomy is mine, all mine.

          I do not steal. I pay my taxes. I contribute to society in myriad ways.

          You go your way, I’ll go mine, which is to say I’ll stay where I am, safe in Canada.

          (By the way, are their any laws that govern men’s bodies in any significant way? Just curious.)

  88. domzerchi says

    For Christians, or at least Catholics, the question of when the child’s life begins is not a theological or religious question. Catholic moral theology simply says that murder is a grave sin. Catholic theology accepts the expert opinion of contemporary biology and embryology that the individual human life begins roughly at fertilization.

    So why is it that seven out of ten atheists are pro-choice on abortion while the opposite proportion of active Christians are pro-life? And why is there a similar discrepancy on other life questions, such as euthanasia? Atheists don’t support murder, per se, so why should atheists and Christians have opposite opinions on life issues?

    • Just Me says


      Because it IS a theological question.

      Those religions that take an absolutist position do so because they believe in a soul, a theological concept, present at birth.

      Others, like Islam and Judaism, believe there is a soul, but it appears at some later point, i.e. “ensoulment”.

      Atheists do not believe in souls, they believe in personhood, and personhood depends on having a working mind, not just a breathing body and a beating heart.

      Religious people also believe only God has the right to decide on life and death, atheists believe the person does.

  89. A very tired woman says

    Women have been performing some kind of abortion since at least Biblical times. It is not in the Bible. There are a couple of verses valuing children less than adults in Leviticus. There is a verse somewhere about compensation for death of a pregnant woman. It values the potential life far less than the living human. It does not place equal value in the Bible.

    If God knows all right up to the end of the world, then certainly this issue would be clearly stated.

    Also, a lot of religious people in the USA support the death penalty (the only First World country to still have the death penalty).

    It is a theological question of the modern age, traditionally debated by male clergy in the abstract. We know the repercussions of using the church to push norms on society. Race-based slavery, genocide of indigenous peoples, and controlling women’s bodily autonomy have all been backed up by theological debates, until the people push back.

    Also we interfere with life and death in medicine every day. Is saving premature babies in incubators interfering with life and death? Should the church be involved in medicine?

  90. Max says

    Corrollary: the anti-abortion issue isn’t about conception. If it were, activists would have gone after lower-hanging fruit, like fertilization clinics. The issue is sociological, concerning irreconcilable views of family and gender roles.

  91. dirk says

    Snt Augustine was a church father of the 4th century. He must have known about the systematic observations of Aristotle, the first scientist to study the progressive phases of a fertilized chicken egg (first stage: the zygote and the blood arteries in the yoke). Augustine taught that female fetuses got a soul at 3 months,the male at 4 months after concepcion (if I remember well). I wonder, what the catholic canonical law system has done with this speculation, in relation with abortion, and what it is right now, after so many centuries. Considering that even all artificial anti-concepcion measures are not permitted and sinful, I fear the worst, whether a soul or not.

    • dirk says

      I’m sorry, just read in a letter of an Irish bisshop (so, not in Wikipedia) that not the girl, but the boys have ensoulment first: for the girls it is at 80 or 90 days after conception , for the boys about a month earlier (as well with Aristotle, Augustine as Aquinas( why the boy so early? that’s because boys, the male principle (??), are more agile and quicker. Oh, oh, oh, those philosphers of once, all old, grizzled white males themselves of course.

      BTW (permitted, because at the end and over 400 now): reading this I immediately asked myself, why , even then, not just ask some doctors of that time to note down at which day of the pregnancy the women noted the first movements in the whomb, and annotate the sex lateron. Why just speculate? Why not simply observe , let evidence speak, and make systematic notes? Thus, however, was our Christian history ( and, alas, Muslim faith even now), only much later came that methodology of observing, comparing, averaging and trust in your own eyes and individual knowledge (instead of in the inner thoughts, logic or revelations of some savants or prophet centuries ago).

  92. The abortion ‘debate’ was never really a debate so much as an ideological shunting exercise as part of the roll out of consumer side of Indulgence Capitalism and the conversion of sex from being ‘the dance of life’ to a consumer commodity with some inconvenient trailing edges that needed to be ‘tidied up’.

    Chapter 21 ‘The case of abortion on demand’

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