Columns Gender & Sexuality Mark Silk: Spiritual Politics Opinion

On punishing murderers of the unborn

The teapot of American punditry enjoyed a bit of tempest last week when Kevin Williamson, the conservative writer hired by the Atlantic, was quickly fired after Media Matters revealed that he supports hanging women who have abortions.

Editor Jeffrey Goldberg explained that his decision to let Williamson go had to do with the Atlantic’s “tradition of respectful, well-reasoned debate, and to the values of our workplace,” rather than the writer’s “views on abortion.” Really?

Love him or hate him, Williamson has always been about provocation, not civil discourse. As for his views on abortion, these consist in the following syllogism:

   Murder deserves the death penalty.
   Abortion is murder.
∴ Those who obtain abortions should get the death penalty.

Along with the corollary that, in Williamson’s opinion, hanging is preferable to “antiseptic” lethal injection.

You can’t say that this position is poorly reasoned. It is, however, beyond the pale in our public abortion debate. Indeed, the very idea of imposing criminal sanctions on women who get abortions is beyond the pale.

During the last presidential campaign, you’ll recall, Donald Trump said that, yes, “there has to be some form of punishment for the woman.” Immediately, mainstream pro-life organizations threw a fit.

“No pro-lifer would ever want to punish a woman who has chosen abortion,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. “This is against the very nature of what we are about.” And there was this from National Right to Life:

And so Trump, the born-again pro-lifer, did a U-Turn, releasing a statement saying that “the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman.”

So no one should be surprised that the right-to-life community did not leap to Williamson’s defense.

There are really two possibilities here. One is that pro-life advocates are just pretending to be against sanctioning women who get abortions, imagining that a time will come when, public opinion having changed, the woman will be held legally responsible. That’s the view of some on the left.

It would be along the lines of the fourth-century Christians who supported religious tolerance for all until they were powerful enough to bring the hammer down on all non-Christian religions.

The alternative is to take the mainstream pro-lifers at their word, which is to say that the only people who should ever face criminal sanctions for the taking of unborn life would be abortionists and perhaps, in the case of medicinal abortions (now running at one-third of the total in the U.S.), the purveyors of the abortifacient drugs.

Which would be along the lines of charging gun manufacturers with murder when someone uses one of their products to kill someone.

I can see how, from the pro-life standpoint, some women might be absolved of personal responsibility for having an abortion. A petrified, impoverished teenaged girl, for example. But a well-to-do married woman who chooses to abort rather than have a child with Down Syndrome?

If pro-life advocates are indeed sincere about not holding the woman legally responsible, then they ought to stop calling abortion murder. Because their actual position is that, for women, it’s permissible homicide.

For those of us in the pro-choice community, it is, of course, permissible period.

Tags

About the author

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

183 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • American jurisprudence justified abortion, making themselves gods. Genocide would be a better word than murder.

  • One suspects that mainstream pro-lifers’ views are comparable to those of mainstream vegetarians’ who hold that killing animals for food is morally wrong—but don’t want capital punishment for carnivores. The idea is, ‘in our view this is really bad. But that’s controversial, and we recognize that other rational people of good will [carnivores, women who get abortions] disagree’. It’s a matter of conscience about a controversial issue and most pro-life people recognize that.

  • Abortion is murder. It doesn’t matter if she drowns the baby or has a boyfriend smash its skull on the cement. A mother having an abortionist smash her baby’s skull is murder.

  • A human being is a human animal and it’s controversial whether and when it’s morally ok to kill human beings. War? What is a just war. Capital punishment? The issue is that we’re dealing with a moral issue that’s controversial. I’m absolutely convinced that capital punishment is wrong, but because it’s controversial don’t regard advocate or people who administer the lethal injection as murderers who should be punished.

  • A just war is waged in self defense. Little babies are not attacking anyone. There is no controversy about it. It is murder because it is killing innocent human beings. Capital punishment is not killing innocent human beings but murderers.

  • I’m considering the metaquestion. It may be absolutely terrible but are rational people of good will who condone it? Yes. My own view is that it’s an animal rights issue and, once again, rational people of good will disagree about how non-human animals of various sorts should be treated.

  • It is not rational to equate humans with animals for the sake of murdering them. That thinking makes one a genocidal maniac.

  • Murdering human beings is immoral. But then, I’m and atheist and a secularist, so my morals are not dependent on whether god says it is ok to murder people, which he does.

  • no. Your morals are dependent on how you feel at the time, with no regard for consistency.

  • Goshes. I guess being anti death penalty for 50 years makes me inconsistent. Who knew?

  • perhaps one, out of how many decisions Ben, or have you only made one decision in your life?

  • Good to know:
    1. Your concern for life only matters for those unborn
    2. S1utshaming and hysterics are pretty much all you have to support your view.

  • Actually you have no morals to speak of. You simply proof-text the Bible to justify whatever self-serving position you have chosen. Claiming one’s position is God’s will and therefore moral is not actually showing morals. Only that any atrocious act can be excused by claiming divine authority for it.

  • Yes. There is no difference between murdering babies, teenagers, or the elderly. What stage of life you are in does not diminish your humanity.

  • Victims of genocide are born. Fetus worshipers declare themselves slavers by proclaiming authority over women. That they are nothing but chattel property to be commanded.

  • Much obliged. 🙂

    A little bit of honesty is necessary to this discussion before the hysterics reach their fever pitch.

  • Good thing babies, teenagers or the elderly aren’t involved at all with abortion. Those people are born. Unless you can physically separate a fetus from the womb of its mother, there is a very big difference between born and unborn. But that requires a level of honesty you will never exhibit here.

  • Nope. A child is born. A fetus is not. A child is a person by dint of being born. A fetus is attached to its mother and has no personhood until that condition ceases.

    But of course a fetus is considered more important to your thinking than a person is. A woman is somehow your property to command and children can all die off for all your concern.

  • You are equating women with your property.

    A person who has no command over what goes on in their own body is a slave. Property. You are claiming ownership of women and demanding that they not make personal intimate decisions without your approval.

  • “It is only a fetus” is only a term like saying “it is only a child so kill it”.

  • Nope. One is inside a womb. The other can be left in the custody of any reasonable adult.

    Again, there is a high level of dishonesty necessary to pretend a fetus is indistinguishable from a child. Get back to me the next time you can care for a fetus while the mother goes elsewhere.

  • Being born certainly does. One has to be born to be murdered or a victim of genocide.

    Until it is out of the womb, your opinion as to what a woman can do with her pregnancy is of no importance. You have no say in the matter, nor is it required. Her body is not yours to command.

  • Considering that two out of three forced-birth commenters here have openly endorsed capital punishment for women that get abortions (and I’m preeetty sure the third would be on board based on his track record), the “mainstream pro-lifers'” assurances to the contrary fill me with zero confidence.

  • Definition of child

    plural children play ˈchil-drən, -dərn
    1 a : an unborn or recently born person
    -Websters Dictionary

  • No link. Fake entry. Unborn person is a contradiction in terms. A person is one already born. A being with an autonomous and distinct existence. [You will feign ignorance as to what that means, your opinion on autonomy means zilch to me]

    Still not a child. When you can spend time with a little time with a fetus without its mother being present, the distinction will be meaningless.

    But you are not going to be honest enough to acknowledge why such a distinction is important. That requires being able to treat women as people and not your property. You are clearly unable to do that.

  • Don’t use big words that you don’t understand.

    Genocide: Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. (Article 2 CPPCG)

    Every abortion is sad – some are tragic – but the vast majority happen without human intervention (most unknown by the potential mother) – either because that’s how we evolved or, if you so believe, because your God caused them to be aborted.

    Simple answer therefore for the religiously inhumane – to reduce the number of abortions to a fraction of those that happen – KILL GOD.

  • So are you also against police and military personnel killing “in the line of duty”? Killing is killing right? Then you should also be against people allowing children to starve to death, against the war in Syria, etc., etc. Killing is after all killing, no justification for any of it.

  • You conceded that your prior “dictionary” entry was phony. Fetus worship involves constant lying

    A pregnant woman is “with child” If she chooses to consider it such. Subjective and euphemistic as opposed to substantive and relevant. Just like it is her choice to terminate a pregnancy. Abortion is neither murder nor involves a child.

  • Mr Hicks Can you possibly try to imagine what it must be like for the woman who feels that her ONLY or her BEST option is to get an abortion? Do you support social welfare programs, universal health care, public education, job training programs? IF NOT then you are in some instances also committing murder. Allowing children to starve to death or die from a treatable illness is murder when you could have supported the programs that could prevent it.

  • I am not the one who can’t tell the difference between what is in a womb and a teenager. That takes some major level self-delusion.

  • NO your best option is to keep your mouth closed. That comment shows you are totally ignorant of life. AND pretty stupid to boot!

    Many women have no choice, be raped or murdered. Many husbands will beat their wives if they refuse their sexual advances. EVEN when the man knows having another baby is not in the woman’s best interest.

    Many men will deny women access to birth control and health care. Without proper pre-natal care the woman’s life and that of a fetus are in jeopardy.

    Preganancy can be very hazardous to a woman’s health, causing lifelong health problems and death for her and her fetus.

    The abortion issue is about women taking charge of their own health care decisions and doing what is right for them and their particular circumstances. AND those decisions are never easy ones to make. Despite what some ignorant fools like you say.

  • One more thing Mr. Hicks, since it takes two to tango shouldn’t the men who contribute to an unwanted preganancy also be punished, by your reasoning, they are just as guilty of murder as the woman. Shouldn’t they all be castrated?

  • Mr. Hicks,
    As a dues-paying member of Democrats for Life, shame on you. Women who have abortions go through enough. Criminal sanctions would serve no purpose. They need love, support, and healing after abortion.

  • Re: “You can’t say that this position is poorly reasoned.” 

    Actually, you can. The entire basis for the syllogism (one might even call it its “zeroth premise”) is the presumption that “life is sacred.” Any form of capital punishment, however, rather brazenly contradicts this principle. 

    I’d call that flawed logic. 

    I won’t even get into the second premise of that syllogism being untrue in the US. That should hardly even need to be pointed out. 

    Re: “It would be along the lines of the fourth-century Christians who supported religious tolerance for all until they were powerful enough to bring the hammer down on all non-Christian religions.” 

    Christian hypocrisy dates back even further than that. They’d raised it to an artform long before the 4th century even dawned, even though the founder of their religion condemned hypocrisy utterly. 

  • So, you murder the child because someone abused you into sex? Makes her just as bad as the abuser – worse, she is still alive.

  • Their “actual” position is not that it’s permissible homicide for women, rather that to some degree they bow to present legal realities even as they seek to alter those realities. Compassion and forgiveness are the proper streams of the Pro Life position insofar as it relates to the woman and her child.

  • Not so, it is not for you to set the terms of the definition of “person,” nor necessarily in some senses is a dictionary. (But I am on a tear today (ter) V.T. aren’t I, what has gotten into me.)

  • My definition of person is:
    A being with both autonomy and independent existence. It is the most reasonable definition of a person you are going to get.

    Fetal personhood is a ridiculous and dishonest concept. It ignores the basic immutable fact that a fetus does not exist outside of its mother’s body and will. An existence unlike any person who meets my definition. From birth to death there is no condition of a person which is analogous to a fetus.

  • One can only be aborted before they are born. Babies, teenagers and elderly are way past that stage. Those facts support everything I have said. 🙂

  • Christianity doesn’t have a good record of restraint or humane actions where they gain absolute power. Their historical record is littered with atrocities, torture, and cruel punishments. So, many of us are leery of them gaining political power over our nation or any other. Their current actions in Africans nations, pushing for laws to arrest and execute gay people show they’ve still not learned to behave humanely. So, women should be rightly leery of what they’d do to them if they succeed in making abortion illegal.

  • God is the most prolific abortionist.
    Millions upon millions of natural miscarriages occur worldwide daily.

  • Your bible (thank god!) does not define the laws of the United States – where currently abortion is legal and not murder. You disagree? Fine – change the laws if you can but until you do so we operate under the laws of the US.

  • Nope. Because children are born. More importantly, you miss the part where anyone even has to justify the act to you or anyone else. Her body means her choice. What one does with their body is not subject to approval from anyone.

  • Interesting, I just saw a reference to Numbers 5:11-21. “May the Lord cause you to become a curse among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell.” Isn’t that abortion.

  • For his final meal, why did the D.C. sniper request a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, a can of Pringles potato chips, a Nestle chocolate bar, and a Mountain Dew?

    Because he had endorsement deals with all of these companies!

  • but the baby isn’t her body. It has it’s own and it’s own blood supply; it’s murder

  • you turkeys have no facts….none.
    You know nothing about women’s bodies, reproduction, women’s rights, women’s agency to make decisions on her own behalf.
    Men don’t make the decisions. You certainly don’t. You and the turd, Jeffrey.

  • you get a life….good luck. The Democrats are prochoice and you goobers are not going to make any progress in enslaving pregnant women.

  • he feels nothing. This is a game for him. A stupid hobby. He has no life. Just a paid troll or bot. A loser.

  • such damned ignorance. The fetus cannot survive without the woman’s blood supply. She breathes for that little parasite within her. She feeds it. If she cannot finish the pregnancy, the has the legal right to an abortion and you toadstools can do NOTHING! But sputter and rail and raise your blood pressures. Total turkeys.

  • your answer is idiotic. You are totally ignorant of what happens when women make legal choices on their own behalf. Go away and grow up baby-cakes.

  • The baby has it’s own blood supply and heart beat. It is it’s own person and in a very short while, it can live on it’s own.

  • Jeffrey is paranoid, a little toddler who grabs his pee-pee when he’s frightened. He’s paranoid about real women. We scare him. Pathetic.

  • it’s perfectly clear and a classic. Alas, you goobers keep attacking with the same lies.

  • Your comments are completely illogical. You can’t think crucially and just keep spouting off. Get a life.

  • Their god is a violence prone hater. He rode to war in a war chariot. He slaughters innocents. He decrees that it’s okay for Lot to rape his daughters. Shame on god and the horrible things he inflicts on people…even his own (supposed) son. God is a divine child abuser.

  • how many babies have you adopted??
    how many women have you supported throughout their pregnancies?

  • The just war theory is flawed, a way to keep control what will never be controlled, the human penchant for violence. Capital punishment is vile and uncivilized.

  • If it can’t get out of her body, then it is a distinction without difference.

    The ridiculous part of the fetus worship POV is where they feign complete and total ignorance of human biology.

  • he wants to enslave women so they stay docile and under the thumbs of males. That is the only way the sexually inadequate goober called Jeffrey Hicks would feel safe. Wha-wha-wha….his mommie didn’t like him. I don’t blame her.

  • complete error in basic logic. American jurisprudence is not based on the bible or the koran. It’s based on settled laws which are based on human arrived ethical and legal norms established over centuries.

  • God is the world’s biggest abortionist. “He” or the woman’s body, rejects malformed or undeveloped eggs. They flow out with the woman’s next period. Fifty percent of ‘conceptions’ never implant. God is like an oak tree which throws out hundreds of acorns and only a few ever take root–never mind grow to a mature tree. It’s a crap shoot in those fallopian tubes.

  • Most abortions are done before the fetus has a skull to ‘smash’. Your religious imagination is creating a Dali like weird fantasy.

  • Well, Susan, I don’t think I would go with castration. But, I think if abortion is made illegal, if women are forced to be slaves to the contents of their wombs, then all men should have their DNA recorded and that information placed in a data bank accessible to all women who do get pregnant. The man then becomes responsible for caring for the pregnant woman – She did not get pregnant on her own and the man is as responsible for the welfare of the child as the woman is. But, remember she is a slave at this point and not considered capable of making her own decisions. The man provides food, clothing, shelter, medical care for the slave and the child in the slaves womb during the pregnancy and for, say, 6 months after. Then, the man is responsible for providing for 1/2 of the needs of the child until the child reaches maturity.

    If women are forced to donate the use of their wombs to succor life of another, why not demand that women also give up a kidney if they are a match for someone who needs one? Better yet, if women must “donate” their wombs maybe men should be required to “donate” their kidneys.

    I am not in agreement with all abortion all the time. I do think we need to draw some lines around late term abortions, when the fetus is viable and could survive outside of the womb. We need to look at sex selection abortions and abortions in cases of fetal defect. We need to move away from the absolutism of both sides and find what makes sense. If we could all get off our high horses, maybe we could look at what some European countries have done – abortion no longer rules their politics.

  • in some cultures a baby is not fully a human being until it is two!!! You are using western concepts which are CONTINGENT. They are based on a specific way of thinking.
    In the bible the fetus is born and not a person until it draws breath. “Nepesh” and “Ruah”- look them up.

  • they can’t be bothered learning about reproduction, so their arguments are totally bizarre.

  • don’t hold your breath. It’s not a ‘baby’ or ‘unborn’. It’s a fetus and it won’t draw a breath for maybe 8 months.

  • but it will get out of her body, Spud. You must have taken sex ed at some point in your life.

  • Murder is not a choice.

    Why would someone be upset about deporting children but not aborting them?

  • Abortion: “one side is depersonalizing the victims as not having human rights. “ Russell Moore

  • pennyroyal,
    You are mistaken. About 30 percent of Democratic voters are pro-life. We stick with the Democrats because other than the life issue, the Democrats’ agenda aligns with ours more than that of the Republicans. Democrats for Life wants a better health care system and more supports for women and families, among most other issues important to Democrats.

    These next statements are mine alone and may or not reflect the views of individual members of Democrats for Life. I have no problem with contraception because it would prevent abortion. Who shouldn’t want to decrease the number of abortions? I’d personally would love to see many more Democrats elected to state legislatures, governorships, and the US and Senate this November. But Democrats need to pick candidates suited for their districts. Not all voters consider abortion their key issue when they vote. If a Democrat can win by focusing on other issues important in a district, she or he should do just that.

  • Ms. Humphreys,
    I do support these programs, and I am pro-life. Mr. Hicks is speaking abominable things and appears to have a low opinion of women. He’s also ignoring rape or incest, where I personally believe abortion should be legal, as well as in cases where an unborn child has abnormalities incompatible with life (this doesn’t mean severe handicaps; it’s when he/she would live only minutes, hours or a few days after birth), along with threat to a mother’s life of course.

  • Murder only applies to the born. Children are born. A fetus is not.

    “Why would someone be upset about deporting children but not aborting them?”

    Because no child’s right or existence is contingent on another person. A fetus is not. You can’t “protect” a fetus without attacking its mother. Being a sane person, I value personhood and the lives of people. I do not presume to have authority over the lives and bodies of others. You start from an immoral position and reinforce it with dishonest language and hysterics.

  • He’s also the most prolific murderer humanity has ever known. Millions upon millions of natural deaths occur worldwide daily.

    So…are we to conclude that murder should be permissible.

    #sillyprochoicelogic

  • I don’t believe Mr. Hicks invoked the Bible in his argument. In fact, contrary to what many pro-choice advocates would have you believe, most debate on the topic never ventures into religion because religion is not necessary to make an argument in support of or against abortion.

    As for the legal argument, the law that makes abortion legal is an extremely poorly reasoned decision that heaped extra-constitutional law upon more extra-constitutional law to invent a “right” to abortion out of whole cloth. If the Supreme Court overturns that decision, will you accept this as an argument: “You disagree? Fine – change the laws if you can but until you do so we operate under the laws of the US.”

  • Senile individuals are neither autonomous nor independent. Neither are small children. Not persons?

  • When does human, ensouled life begin?

    “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

    Is it when (s)he can take that first breath and become alive, when (s)he is exposed to the breath of life (air) and is sustained by that air breathed into her/him by God? And before that, before God’s air goes into the nostrils, is it a living soul?

  • Not at all. You want to use the term because it is inflamatory. But it is wildly inappropriate. Much like the concept of pretending you have authority to intervene in the personal choices of women and the pregnancies going on in their bodies.

  • Good luck turning the democrats. We are more and more adamant to protect women’s right to choose. Your way would never stop abortions. More women would die.
    I am no fool who will fall for your shite. A peanut has peanut-sized brain. You’re probably a Christian zealot. I was a student nurse before Roe v. Wade and you and your tribe will NEVER destroy choice.

  • A baby is born. It’s a fetus. It exists inside a woman. You have no decency. Especially if you think you have authority to demand a part in the decisions others make with their bodies. It’s not like you have ever shown respect for the lives of others. It’s all about self serving delusions of how others must follow you.

  • I agree with your first first sentence.
    Your second is nonsequetorial.
    Your third is illogical.
    Your comment in toto is irrelevant to the substance of the article.

  • My point is that your comment is totally meaningless. What is the point, if not the confusing argument pushed by Bill Nye and others that because spontaneous miscarriages happen, that somehow makes abortion ok?

  • Is this the God you worship ?

    According to UNICEF – about 29,000 children under the age of five – 21 each minute – die every day.

    During the Black Plague in the Middle Ages some 75,000,000 to 200,000.000 infants – toddlers – teenagers – adult men, women, pregnant women, deacons, nuns, priests, RCC hierarchy, as well as Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus as well as all other Religions were killed as well.

    The Spanish Flu of 1918 killed from 50,000,000 to 100,000,000 of the above.

    According to HHS, in 2012 some 21,000,000 fetuses worldwide suffered
    miscarriage and died.

    Why does God so torture and prolong the death of so many who are suffering so horribly – especially the children ?

    Is this the God you worship ?

    Or are you – perhaps – an atheist ?

  • It’s not a religious debate. My religion or belief about the causes of suffering in the world are irrelevant to the topic of abortion. Now, what was your point in your original comment?

  • Discuss changing he law all you want. Until then it’s legal and not murder by the laws of the US. I personally don’t like the idea of abortion but women should have the final say re their reproductive rights. Regardless of what some book of mythology claims.

  • I don’t have to pretend something attached inside a person’s body is exactly the same as a being already born. Neither do I have to pretend that pregnancy reduces a woman to the point of property.

  • Who mentioned a book of mythology? The only people bringing up religion in this thread are people supporting abortion rights.

    Personally, I don’t think abortion is equivalent to murder, although I do think it is morally wrong and should be illegal in most circumstances. But those who say it is murder are making a moral argument, not a legal argument. Stating what the law currently is contributes nothing to the moral argument or even to the policy argument.

  • I support a woman’s right to choose. I am however also pro-life, in every sense of the word. I believe that the woman’s life is as important as a fetus life. AND it is not my business to challenge or condemn another woman for the choices she makes when it comes to issues about her own body. The “pro-life” position implies that their opponents are “pro-death”. AND that is morally repugnant and makes those that claim they are “pro-life” morally repugnant.

  • You got me! I made an invalid assumption that all those opposing abortion are religiously motivated. Most, but not all.

  • My point is that it doesn’t matter if individuals making an argument are religiously motivated; what matters is whether the argument is fundamentally a religious argument. For example, my opposition to the current president’s immigration and environmental policies are motivated at least in part by my religion, but that doesn’t somehow invalidate my arguments that are based on common moral principles or practical policy considerations.

  • pennyroyal,
    I’d never stoop to question your intelligence as you tried to do with mine. And not even all pro-choice people are as hard-line as you. I had a cordial conversation about abortion with a board member of our metro area’s (1.7 million) NARAL/Pro-choice America last fall. We discussed our pro-choice and pro-life stances in a respectful manner. At the end of our conversation, she asked me, “Bottom line. What would you really like to see happen about abortion?” I answered: “Laws that restrict abortion are good, along with the social and medical supports that allow women to keep their babies. But ultimately, it’s about changing hearts and minds. I would like abortion to be unthinkable except for very rare circumstances.” She said, “So would I.”

    And for the record, I deplore picketing abortion facilities and shaming women who have had abortions by calling them murderers. I’ll never apologize for my Anglican Christian faith, though. But anyone who knows me would hardly call me a zealot.

    And are you aware that there are secular people who are pro-life (see secularprolife.org, along other groups? It’s by no means limited to religious people.

  • Nonsense. Fetuses are not “babies,” so your efforts to find “moral equivalence” fails on its face. There are very pragmatic legal reasons that have developed and endured with time as to why human rights do not confer upon the unborn until they are viable outside the womb. Non–viable fetuses cannot be reasonably given human rights without totally abrogating those of the mother.

  • No one ever says “only a fetus,” except for holy hypocrites trying to mock and deride the views and values of of others.

  • Truth is not foolishness. Seriously. Look at this thread. Search for the words “God” and “Bible”. The people bringing that up are almost exclusively either a) dismissing the pro-life position based on religious freedom or b) arguing that the Bible permits abortion, even though in both cases, the person they are responding to never said anything like “abortion should be illegal because God says it’s wrong”. Attacking the religious straw man is easier than coming up with a personhood definition that excludes a fetus but includes children or the comatose.

  • religious ‘truth’ is irrelevant here. Other religions can hold the opposite opinions. Many religious leaders are pro-choice.
    And you don’t get to define “personhood” which is a made up term by the religious right. It’s not my job to define something that is not existent
    And I note how you want to say a fetus and a comatose child are the same thing. You can’t think your way out of a paper bag.

  • you are irrational. Above, you tried to equate a fetus with a comatose child.
    Legally there is a huge difference. Pro-choice people want living breathing child (a person) to receive healthcare. But they way healthcare laws are it’s the GOP zealots who would see an Ill child, as simply sucking healthcare services and they want the plug pulled. Especially if that child is a minority. Funny how the statistics show that Black babies don’t survive as well as White ones. You are a hypocrite.

  • if you look at the bible, followers of Jehovah regularly bashed young children’s brains against stones. Surely you know the passage in the bible…..

  • “religious ‘truth’ is irrelevant here. Other religions can hold the opposite opinions. Many religious leaders are pro-choice.” Correct. I haven’t made a religious argument. You’re really proving my point about the religious straw man.

    “And you don’t get to define “personhood” which is a made up term by the religious right. It’s not my job to define something that is not existent” Wow, you really are thick, aren’t you? Personhood is central to the philosophical and legal debates surrounding abortion. In a legal context, “persons” have rights, but non-“persons” do not. Although it is possible to make a pro-choice argument that admits the personhood of the fetus and a pro-life argument that does not, most debates on the topic heavily rely on whether a fetus meets the moral and/or legal definition of a “person.” If you are not familiar with that fact, you clearly have never had a serious discussion on this topic.

    “And I note how you want to say a fetus and a comatose child are the same thing.” How are they not the same? Both are members of the species Homo sapiens that undergo homeostasis, metabolism, and other markers of life that are neither conscious nor independent and are completely reliant on others for survival. So would you explain to me in what morally or legally significant way they are different?

  • if you can’t see the distinction, either legally or ethically, I’m not going to be able to help you.

  • “Pro-choice people want living breathing child (a person) to receive healthcare.” That’s not the definition of pro-choice…

    “But they way healthcare laws are it’s the GOP zealots who would see an Ill child, as simply sucking healthcare services and they want the plug pulled.” This sentence is so filled with spelling, grammar, and capitalization mistakes as to make it almost unreadable. If I understand you correctly, you are attempting to make a fallacious guilt-by-association argument. That’s a bad argument for two reasons. First, the argument is inherently invalid. If Persona A holds two beliefs, X and Y, Y is not untrue even if X is conclusively proven false. Second, I’m not a Republican. I support a “Medicare for all” style of universal healthcare.

    “You are a hypocrite.” Probably, but not for the reasons you think, as I just demonstrated.

  • oh, so wiki is your bible, now.
    I suppose you’d like to punish males who masturbate.
    Go look up “Every Sperm is sacred” and watch the video. Your brain is beholden to a flawed and disagreeable zealotry.

  • “oh, so wiki is your bible, now.” No, but it’s an easy to access source that you could benefit from reviewing.

    “I suppose you’d like to punish males who masturbate.” ????

    “Go look up “Every Sperm is sacred” and watch the video. Your brain is beholden to a flawed and disagreeable zealotry.” That’s a satire, and the logic behind it is flawed. Sperm and ova are gametes; they are not organisms. They lack the essential characteristics of an organism.

    ‘Dr. Bradley M. Patten from the University of Michigan wrote in Human Embryology that the union of the sperm and the ovum “initiates the life of a new individual” beginning “a new individual life history.” In the standard college text book Psychology and Life, Dr. Floyd L. Ruch wrote “At the time of conception, two living germ cells—the sperm from the father and the egg, or ovum, from the mother—unite to produce a new individual.” Dr. Herbert Ratner wrote that “It is now of unquestionable certainty that a human being comes into existence precisely at the moment when the sperm combines with the egg.” This certain knowledge, Ratner says, comes from the study of genetics. At fertilization, all of the genetic characteristics, such as the color of the eyes, “are laid down determinatively.” James C. G. Conniff noted the prevalence of the above views in a study published by The New York Times Magazine in which he wrote, “At that moment conception takes place and, scientists generally agree, a new life begins—silent, secret, unknown.”‘

  • Cool. You are arguing with straw men, criticizing me for listing any source, refusing to answer questions, using patently illogical arguments, and I’m the one who can’t think straight.

  • Look, it’s clear that you are either 15 and angry or 50, overweight, and unemployed. Your opinion of what constitutes drivel is of little concern to anyone.

  • Spuddie…You made your point, I get that. I don’t agree with you, I’m sorry. I wish you well.

  • your anti-abortion zealotry is irrelevant.
    Abortion rights are growing with medical abortions, more use of IUD’s which are highly effective, women waking up, and better access online to services Hope you choke on these trends

  • Fair enough. I wish you the best. I apologize for being a bit rough. You don’t deserve that.

  • IUDs prevent pregnancy; they don’t cause abortion. I think I’ve narrowed it down to 15 and angry.
    And public opinion regarding the legality of abortion basically hasn’t changed in the last three decades. Nice try though.

  • Ignoramus, the Religious Right argues that IUDs cause abortions by preventing implantation.

    GOP is anti-abortion except when it involves them.
    Michael Cohen, the president’s Fixer arranged for a GOP fundraiser to help his ex girlfriend get an abortion. Trump most certainly got women pregnant and there are reports that he paid for an abortion or more.
    ____________________

    How outraged I am

    “Trump’s lawyer negotiated a more than $1m settlement to hide the fact that Republican fundraiser got a Playboy model pregnant. She later had an abortion, once again showing that the GOP is against abortion only when it’s convenient.”

  • There’s that guilt by association argument again.

    You are calling me a zealot and pointing to an argument that I don’t agree with. Then, for some reason, you start talking about a president that I hate and a party that I don’t belong to. Your inability to grasp basic logic rules is stunning. If you ever get into college, take a class in formal logic.

  • I reject the notion that the woman is somehow the victim in this unless she’s forcibly dragged to said abortion clinic, strapped down, and forced to endure the procedure against her will. I reject the notion that it’s the man’s fault that she got pregnant since she has contraceptive options that the man doesn’t have a right to know she’s using. His condom use can be verified by her. Also some doctors won’t perform vasectomies on married men without their wife’s consent. Neither has the right to know the medical procedures of the other against the will of the other. If she says she’s using contraception, but is lying in doing so, or stops after the fact without informing her partner (lying by omission) she’s demonstrated she cannot be trusted. IMO she’s not a victim if he dumps her, that’s her fault for her dishonesty.

    If she chooses to go to acquire an abortion, how is she not an adult acting on her own volition, assuming she’s 18+? Why should she be excused, as an adult, for the actions that she takes of her own free will? Why shouldn’t accountability apply to the woman, the same as the doctor? The man? Only if he participated in the abortion himself. Impregnating her IMO doesn’t constitute participation in the abortion, especially if stealthing wasn’t involved.

    For those of you who don’t know stealthing is where the male sabotages contraception, or tells a woman he’s using a condom/has a vasectomy but is lying when he says so.

    I don’t agree with outlawing abortion, but if you do, then all parties who participate in the abortion of their own free will, should be held accountable criminally. I think this is an inconsistency in your position at best, unnecessary gynocentrism at worst.

ADVERTISEMENTs