Do they really believe that abortion is murder?

I really like to assume the best of everyone, even people I disagree with.

And I try hard to take what opponents say, at their word.

But sometimes it’s hard..

A lot of people who favor forced childbirth for pregnant women say that they believe that an abortion, even early in pregnancy, is identical to child murder. Have an abortion, shoot a four-year-old in the head; morally, it’s the same. Or, anyhow, that’s what they claim to believe.

In contrast, pro-choicers tend to think that the abortion criminalization movement is motivated by a desire – perhaps an unconscious desire – to punish women for having sex.

I used to reject that latter view as a pointless ad hominem attack. Nowadays, I’m not so sure. Although I’ve met some rank-and-file “pro-lifers” whose policy preferences were consistent with a belief that a fetus is morally indistinguishable from a child, those folks usually have policy preferences which are totally out of step with the abortion criminalization movement as a whole.

In contrast, the leaders of the abortion criminalization movement have consistently put their political weight behind policies which make little or no sense if they genuinely think that abortion is identical to child murder. And those same leaders routinely endorse policies that make a lot of sense if their goal is to penalize women who have sex – to, as I’ve heard many of them put it, make sure women “face the consequences” of having sex. And they’ve done so with the apparent backing and blessing of the vast majority of the rank and file. Let’s review:

Chart of policies or positions favored by powerful anti-choice leaders

Almost none of their policies make sense if they really see no difference between the death of a fetus and the death of a four-year-old. However, nearly all their policies make sense if they’re seeking to make sure that women who have sex “face the consequences.” are punished. After years of seeing this pattern repeated again and again, it’s difficult to take them at their word.

This entry posted in Abortion & reproductive rights, Anti-Contraceptives/EC zaniness, \"Partial Birth\" Abortion. Bookmark the permalink. 

530 Responses to Do they really believe that abortion is murder?

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  2. 502
    Sophie says:

    A little snafu resulted in my comment going *piff!* gone. XD So here it goes again.

    I wrote to point out that not everyone who feels the fetus is a person also feels abortion should be illegal or is ethically wrong, because there were a few comments equating seeing a fetus as a person as being opposed to abortion.

    Basically, I described bodily domain and how it relates to abortion. Specifically that bodily domain is the ethical construct defining the ownership of an individual over his/her/whatever body.

    Being that I am the sole determiner of what happens to my body in bodily domain, it depends on my explicit nonpermanent consent. Implied consent is not real. Consenting to something does not bind me into a contract to remain consenting either. So, say, if a man wanted to have sex with me he could not assume I consented by my clothing or manner and be exempt from being a violator of my bodily domain. And if I consented to sex initially but then needed to stop (for whatever reason that may be) he would be violating my bodily domain if he did not stop.

    Bodily domain ethically justifies the use of force to protect your BD. This force must be necessary to end the violation, excessive force isn’t really justified. This force may violate the perpetrator’s BD if that violation is unavoidable in protecting yourself from a current violation. So if the only way to stop this guy from raping me is to kill him or stab him or spray him in the eyes with something caustic, then I am justified in doing so. But if I were to be raped and then I came across him later, I would not be justified through bodily domain in killing him then.

    This still applies if the violator isn’t in control of themselves or isn’t purposefully violating you. Someone with a ridiculous level of psychosis and isn’t in control of his actions can still be responded to with force in self defense. So a lack of intent in violating my BD is not an excuse or an “avoid self defense” card.

    We can all agree on these principles. They are a necessity in our society and provide a guiding framework for how we protect ourselves and avoid harming others.

    Well, they apply to unwanted pregnancy too. The fetus in an unwanted pregnancy is violating bodily domain. It doesn’t have intent sure, but it is there without consent nevertheless. Therefore a pregnant individual may defend themselves from the violation and remove the fetus from their body. This does mean the fetus dies, but bodily domain justifies this just as it justifies killing a rapist in self defense if that’s the only way to stop him (or her, must not be sexist against men, women can rape too).

    Bodily domain works whether the fetus is a person or not. People are not allowed to violate me. I can defend myself with force against people who violate me. Therefore, I may defend against an unwanted fetus too.

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  6. 503
    David Baker says:

    I just wanted to tell my side of the story here. So keep in mind I’m not speaking for everyone that’s oppose to abortion, just myself. I don’t consider first trimester abortion to be anywhere close to shooting a 4 year old in the head. Only a truly evil and despicable person could even think of performing an execution on any child (by child I’m not meaning fetus but a fully formed human). However, I do not consider abortion to be the responsible solution to an avoidable situation.

    You see, I am not a religious nut like some that I think you were referencing. While I still hold a hope that there is a presence bigger than us and am partial to the idea that when I die maybe I will get to see some of the loved ones in my life that have already passed away. That is as far as me and religion go.

    That being said, pregnancy is completely avoidable. I believe anyone who can’t be bothered to use birth control or self control to avoid pregnancy should be responsible for themselves. I’m only 27 years old. 7 Years ago myself and my 18 year old girlfriend were careless and now I have a 7 year old daughter. No one in our lives pushed us to have the baby, in fact parents on both sides were willing to help us terminate the pregnancy. We both felt that it was not appropriate to go the abortion route. Not a day goes by that I don’t look at my daughter and feel ashamed that the thought of aborting her even crossed my mind.

    Since her birth her mom and I have split up and now share custody. I believe we are both better people today because of what Kali has brought to our lives.

    I don’t think I am morally better than anybody. I have faults on top of faults and don’t believe I am worthy of passing judgment on anybody. I just don’t buy the argument that our society is better off without “unwanted” children. Also I truly believe it to be out right irresponsible for women (and the cowardly men that put it all on the woman) to use abortion as birth control. The statistics show that abortions preformed due to rape, incest, and other horrible things that are certainly not any woman’s fault, only make up between 1% and 5% of abortions preformed in the U.S. In 2007 planned parenthood preformed 305,310 abortions. This number is shocking to me and it only represents part of the total which I believe sits around 1.5 million. Since 1973 our society has aborted 49,551,703 American children. How can someone see numbers like this and not be affected.

    Sorry if I rambled I just wish society (not just women) could take a little more responsibility for our actions. I don’t hate women that have had them done but if I knew a woman that was continuously going to the clinic to hit the delete button on life, I would find it hard to have any respect for that person.

  7. 504
    Elusis says:

    Pregnancy is completely avoidable. I believe anyone who can’t be bothered to use birth control or self control to avoid pregnancy should be responsible for themselves.

    Oh dear.

    David, are you aware that contraceptives have failure rates?

    I’m asking because my unplanned pregnancy, which ended in abortion, came about after correct use of birth control.

  8. 505
    David Baker says:

    I am aware of the failures, as I am sure you are also. Pregnancy is avoidable. If you aren’t grown up enough to except the responsibilities that come with sex, don’t have sex. It’s that simple. If you are in a meaningful relationship with someone you love what can be the harm in following through with the life you started? If you think it’s responsible to have sex with guys you don’t know very well because you can fix it later at a clinic, then you are incredibly selfish and shallow to be willing to kill a human that is a part of you and in need of only the natural bond that is supposed to exist between a mother and her child. All in the name of casual sex and good times. I don’t know you and as I said before I am not interested in judging you or any of the millions like you. Life is precious, kids and what they bring into a family, community, and our ugly lives is not a burden. What could our society possibly use to excuse the “termination” of 45 million innocent beings. Whether you wanna acknowledge it or not, a pregnant woman is responsible for two lives. A fetus is alive. He or she may be inside you but they are alive. They are alive because you made them through actions of yours. If you choose to terminate your pregnancy you are killing that which is alive. YOU. Now if you wanna blame condoms for your carelessness with human life, go ahead. At least you won’t have to give up any cool parties bogged down with something that would have loved you unconditionally even when you’re old and ugly.

  9. 506
    Elusis says:

    I don’t know you and as I said before I am not interested in judging you or any of the millions like you.

    [reads David's previous several sentences]

    I do not think that sentence means what you think it means.

    I won’t bother correcting any of the many erroneous assumptions in your paragraph, because you’re not here to talk to anyone, just to talk at people. If you can say “pregnancy is avoidable” and yet say you know about failure rates, you are showing a level of dishonesty, either with yourself or with your audience, that makes you utterly uninteresting to converse with.

  10. 507
    David Baker says:

    What are you talking about? Sex is a choice. What exactly is dishonest about that. You don’t have to engage in intercourse. It is a choice. How is this dishonest? Maybe I am unaware of some terminal condition that can only be cured through sex. Otherwise maybe I’m not the dishonest one. I just happened to stumble upon this little blog of yours and thought your view towards the half of the country that respect life was maybe missing something. It’s not about you. I don’t hate women. I don’t think the idea of forcing women to give birth for punishment is even rational. I’m just not for snuffing out life. I think the numbers suggest that generally speaking abortions are primarily used for birth control. Since the vast majority of unwanted pregnancies are completely avoidable I feel it is irresponsible at best to use this drastic and brutal method of birth control. What in any of this was dishonest?

  11. 508
    PG says:

    I think the numbers suggest that generally speaking abortions are primarily used for birth control.

    David, I think you’re really dodging around in your arguments here. On the one hand, you speak of “birth control,” yet on the other, you acknowledge that what most people call “birth control” (condoms and other contraceptives) can fail and that what you actually mean is that no woman ever ought to have heterosexual intercourse without being willing to bear a child. Total abstinence =/= birth control.

    Also, I’m really troubled by your assumption that anyone who has sex in a loving, committed relationship therefore must want to have children. It is an extremely essentializing view to take of women that all of them must want to be mothers. Some women do, some women don’t. Those who don’t should still be able to have loving, committed relationships that include sex. If you criminalize abortion (which appears to be what you are advocating), then you are saying no woman should be able to have sex without becoming a mother, and any woman who doesn’t want to be a mother never should have sex.

    Finally, your daughter was never an “unwanted” child; she was born of an unplanned pregnancy. That’s not the same thing. You and your ex evidently wanted her, or you would have had her adopted at birth. Thus your sentiments about your daughter are wholly inapplicable to what is meant by “unwanted children.”

  12. 509
    Dianne says:

    David Baker: Sex is not always a choice. Ever heard of rape?

    Furthermore, total abstinence for life (except for when you want to become pregnant) is an extremely unnatural state and may well be bad for your health. Why should a person suffer ill consequences to their emotional and physical health simply because s/he is not interested in having a child at the moment? Consistent use of birth control (as in use birth control EVERY TIME, no “being careless” as you and your ex were) reduces the risk of pregnancy greatly. If an occasional pregnancy occurs nonetheless, well, auto accidents happen too, even to people who are not drunk or talking on their cell phones. Does that mean that they shouldn’t receive medical care for their injuries because auto accidents are 100% avoidable by not driving?

    And, yes, an unwanted pregnancy is an injury acquired during sex. A potentially deadly injury. Women have died from pregnancy. An epidemic of H1N1 (“swine”) flu is expected this year. Current predictions are that treatment of severe flu will require 150% of available ICU bed capacity. One group of people most likely to be severely sickened and killed by the swine flu is pregnant women (several pregnant women have already died of it.) So this year is a particularly dangerous time to be pregnant. Do you wish to force someone else to take this risk-a risk you will never have to bear?

  13. 510
    Wayne says:

    @Dianne
    Just because rape isn’t a choice doesn’t give you a license to kill.

    I don’t understand the first policy argument. Would someone explain?

    Pro-lifers are not against sex ed. Some, including myself, are against contraception because it does NOT save tens of thousands of children from being murdered. Instead, it prevents the proper forming of life in the womb.

    Your argument against the banning of D&X abortion does is not valid because we are also against any other form of abortion, therefore we believe that doctors should not perform the abortion in anyway.

    IF there is such policy as advocataing less generous welfare for poor single mothers (rather than just people in general), there are plenty of people willing to help like pregnancy help centers (not planned parenthood).

    Pro-lifers are not opposed to having a vaccine against HPV.

    The key thing about pro-lifers is that they are PRO- LIFE in all forms. The bombing of abortion clinics (if there were people inside) would therefore be injuring, if not killing, the doctors, patients, and anyone else in the buildings.

    Pro-lifers would oppose the use use of birth control. Therefore it is valid that pro-lifers would oppose the funding of the Population Fund.

  14. 511
    Amy says:

    Women are constantly told that sex is a good thing. However, it’s derogatory to women for the most part. If we don’t give in, we’re seen as prudes, and we’re rejected by society as a whole. If we do give in, we’re seen as easy, but accepted by society. It makes us into pieces of meat, solely to be used as sex toys for the enjoyment of men. We have the right to say no to men. The masculist society tells us we must say yes to sex in order to be accepted. A truly equal society would NOT say this. A truly equal society would tell women that it IS okay to say no to sex! A truly equal society would criminalize those who use women as sex objects!

    Men force women into abortion in order for THEM to escape the consequences of sex. It’s not the woman’s fault. It’s the man’s fault.

    There are more women that die from abortions than die in childbirth! There are many consequeces of abortion, including, but not limited to: Post abortion syndrome, post traumatic stress disorder, sleep disorders, anxiety/nervous disorders, grief, eating disorders, substance abuse, divorce, chronic relationship problems, self punishment, child abuse, suicide, breast cancer, cervical caner, ovarian cancer, liver cancer, uterine perforations, cervical lacerations, endometriosis, infection, excessive bleeding, embolism, ripping of the uterus, anesthesia complications, convulsions, hemorrhage, cervical injury, toxic shock, fever, chronic abdominal pains, second degree burns, Rh sensitization, vomiting, gastro-intestinal disturbances, and death.

    So, either way, there is a consequence for sex. In all reality, having a child is a lesser consequence than abortion. It decreases the likelihood of breast cancer, it increases bone density, it makes the body healthier. Abortion breaks down the body. Plus, to quote Patricia Heaton, “A woman who experiences an unplanned pregnancy has the right to experience an unplanned joy!” Childbirth and children are not punishments, they are blessings!

    There are many arguments against the many types of contraception in the world. Condoms: There are naturally occurring holes in rubber, including that of the latex in condoms. Those holes are 50-500 times larger than the size of the HIV/AIDS virus. Condoms give a false sense of security.
    Birth control pills: There have been many studies that show that birth control pills are just one cause of breast cancer by manipulating the estrogen and progesterone in the body.
    A person’s best bet for not contracting an STD is to not have sex in the first place.

    Abortion makes the psychological trauma from rape and incest worse. Many women have gotten pregnant from rape and incest. Those who aborted their children say that it was the worst decision they ever made. Those who have given birth have said that at least something good came from something so bad.

    Partial birth abortion can only be done in cases where the baby is large enough for the doctor to disect, and is therefore viable. If the baby is viable and is partially delivered, it should be fully delivered, put into a hospital, and allowed to live.

    I agree that we should be advocating welfare for those who have less.

    The vaccine for HPV has caused more illness and death than it’s helped. It’s caused over 30 deaths and a few hundred cases of complications from the vaccine in the past couple of years. Does that sound safe to you?

    People who bomb abortion clinics are NOT pro-life. Furthermore, there has been more violence purpetrated by pro-aborts than by pro-lifers. It’s just that the mainstream media is so pro-abortion that they shut down stories about pro-aborts causing violence, and build up stories about anti-abortion violence.

    The UN Population Fund doesn’t decrease the likelihood of disease, it increases it. See my arguments against contraception above. Furthermore, those in Africa that the UN Population Fund is giving condoms to don’t believe in using birth control because of their religious beliefs. Also, the ones that are causing the spread of AIDS in Africa are the guerrilla fighters who rape to bring shame upon those people and their families, and to show that they’re in power. They look at it as a tool of war. Putting in Planned Parenthood offices and giving out condoms and other forms of contraception will not work. Maternal death and fistula are caused by not having the hospitals and doctors that those of us in the first world have. If you want to end health issues, fund medicine, the building of hospitals, and the education of doctors, not abortion. By funding abortion, you just add to the poor health of those third-world countries.

  15. 513
    Taylor says:

    Jivin J :

    I live in Texas. And the HPV vaccine is a campaign issue. We have 2 conservative republicans (gag) running for governor. And one of the attack adds against Rick Perry by Kay Baily Hutchison is about how “Rick Perry forced your girl to get a shot against a SEXUALLY!!!! transmitted disease. Why is the state telling our girls about sex? ”

    No lie. No mention of cervical cancer…nothing. Texas is the second most populated state, has the most uninsured children, the most single parent homes in the US, and has the most children living in poverty. But they do not give comprehensive sex ed (only an optional Abstinence only course– I teach High School and that’s the policy here). Its like they have this utopian society idea, where no one has sex outside of marriage. Then once married they roboticly and with out any sort of enjoyment, have sex solely to have children and only with their husbands.

    And this sort thing only ever focuses on the pregnant women. They did not wake up pregnant. There had to be a sperm as well as an egg. Yet, they only want the women to “face the consequences”. This sort of thing really makes me angry. But all I can do is rally against it, vote against it, and raise my future daughters to be smart, strong, and sexually educated.

  16. 514
    Taylor says:

    Amy, Please check your facts.

    U.S. maternal mortality rate 13 deaths per 100,000 live births — National Center for Health Statistics

    U.S. maternal mortality during an abortion is only 1per 1,000,000 if done before 9 weeks. – National Center for Health Statistics

    That means Childbirth is 10x more likely to result in death than an abortion.

    Also men do not FORCE a woman to have an abortion. She does not have to. He should be able to share what he wants to do about the unplanned pregnancy with his partner. But the power is solely in the woman’s hand. I have known lots of men who have wanted to be a father, but she elected to get an abortion. So your claims are silly.

    ALSO: THERE IS NO, I REPEAT NO, LINK BETWEEN ABORTIONS AND BREAST CANCER.

    NOTE: The HPV Vaccine: * about 11,270 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed and about 4,070 women will die from cervical cancer. And 70-75% or Cervical Cancer is caused by HPV.

    I dont know how good your math skills are but correct me if I am wrong 4,070 > 30

    Also, when was the last time you went to Africa? You are gravely mistaken in saying that the only reason AIDS is spread is because of guerrilla fighters. I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. And let me tell you this is not the case. Its ignorance of how HIV is spread and lies from missionaries. Many Many Many children are born with HIV. Also, Your facts on condoms are simply false. They are over 99% effective in preventing the Spread of HIV. The Information you are saying is KILLING people.

    Please get educated and stop spreading Fundamentalist Propaganda.

  17. 515
    Raphael Margolin says:

    Your chart makes an assumption then works to prove it without consideration for other possibilities. There is a difference between “punishing” women for having sex and wanting both parties involved in a sexual encounter to be responsible if they produce a child. DNA tests could resolve this by identifying unknown fathers.

    check out my post on this issue at http://raphe1969.blogspot.com/2010/04/why-i-am-anti-abortion.html

  18. 516
    Ampersand says:

    Raphael, I don’t really see much distinction at all between saying that women should “face the consequences” and saying “to be responsible.” They seem to be different ways of stating the same basic thought, which is that anything that allows women to enjoy sex and avoid the consequence/responsibility of childbirth is wrong.

    Also, I don’t see anything irresponsible about having an abortion. By having an abortion, childbirth is avoided, and therefore no child is created at that time who will need food, clothing, care, etc.. That seems very responsible to me.

    In your post, you say you see no difference between the murder of a born human and an abortion. So let me ask you — what do you think the punishment for women who have abortions should be?

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  22. 517
    altın çilek says:

    I live in Texas. And the HPV vaccine is a campaign issue. We have 2 conservative republicans (gag) running for governor. And one of the attack adds against Rick Perry by Kay Baily Hutchison is about how “Rick Perry forced your girl to get a shot against a SEXUALLY!!!! transmitted disease. Why is the state telling our girls about sex? ”

    No lie. No mention of cervical cancer…nothing. Texas is the second most populated state, has the most uninsured children, the most single parent homes in the US, and has the most children living in poverty. But they do not give comprehensive sex ed (only an optional Abstinence only course– I teach High School and that’s the policy here). Its like they have this utopian society idea, where no one has sex outside of marriage. Then once married they roboticly and with out any sort of enjoyment, have sex solely to have children and only with their husbands.

    And this sort thing only ever focuses on the pregnant women. They did not wake up pregnant. There had to be a sperm as well as an egg. Yet, they only want the women to “face the consequences”. This sort of thing really makes me angry. But all I can do is rally against it, vote against it, and raise my future daughters to be smart, strong, and sexually educated.

  23. 518
    Jawnita says:

    No woman should become pregnant, if she doesn’t so desire. With the contraceptions available today, this is a reality.

    This claim occurs several times in this thread, and I just have to say: Incorrect. First, even outside of media-recognized rape cases, there are a whole lot of ways sex is not always perfectly consensual. For example, a man cajoling his female significant other with, “Hey baby, if you really loved me, you’d let me stick it in,” is not exactly likely to listen to her pleas to wear a condom (and this is especially insidious within marriage, where there is a widespread belief that her ability to revoke consent was signed away with the marriage license). Sure, that’s an example of an unhealthy relationship that it sounds like she’d probably be better off without, but one of the major tenets of the pro-choice position is that we have no idea what the specifics of her situation are.

    Second, I don’t know if you’ve ever been on hormonal birth control, but there are many ways it can seriously mess with a woman’s body. Depression, migraines, and constant nausea are common side effects of hormonal birth control — these are things that can seriously derail one’s day-to-day life, including one’s ability to work — and life-threatening effects like deep vein thrombosis are not unheard of, either. As such, hormonal birth control is not an option for many women. Without the hormonal options (pills, ring, patch, implant), birth control is pretty much limited to condoms (not exactly effective against coerced sex, and generally considered a less-effective form of birth control even under the best conditions) and IUDs, which are very expensive, can be very painful, and are generally not prescribed for nulliparous women. Even if a woman can physically be on hormonal birth control, it is often expensive; mine is $80/mo, which my insurance refuses to cover (despite its willingness to cover Viagra and fertility counseling, of course!).

  24. 519
    Libertys Rest says:

    Although I agree with Gengwall earlier that many pro-lifers approach the issue from a religious standpoint and that that doesn’t necessarily invalidate the endpoint itself, I also think it is important for people to properly frame their arguments in teh context of a base idea and logic. Abortion has so many ways you can go with that, and I start getting into some of them here: http://libertysrest.blogspot.com/

    However, there are some inconsistencies in that chart. Starting with sex education, it really depends on the details. I am all for people being educated, but being libertarian I don’t think the government should pay for that education. That is consistent with abortion views, since the motivation is not the endstate on women, but the Constitutional legality.

    Second, outlawing partial birth abortions is in line with protecting life at all stages and outlawing all other abortions. I don’t understand how that one got a “No.”

    Advocating less generous welfare for mothers falls into the same line of thought as the first one–government shouldn’t provide welfare to anyone, so the reasons for that belief are not inconsistent.

    Finally, the clinic bombings. Your rational assumes only utilitarian morality, where teh moral thing to do is whatever is best for most people. Some people adhere to more rigid morals, and can condemn both abortions and killing those who give abortions as wrong. Take the libertarian principle of non-initiation of violence–consistently applied, it can condemn both.

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