modicum home A supposedly fair assessment of the pros and cons of:

Abortion.

What's your opinion on Roe vs. Wade?
Dan Quayle: I'd rather float.

(Don't freak out about the graphics of this page; whether it's right or wrong it's still a bloody mess, like any surgery.)

For an unbiased overview of the legal facts regarding abortion law in the United States,
visit the incredible Abortion Law Homepage.  Here I've summarized the first few paragraphs of their overview:

Abortion law comes from (1) the states, and (2) the U.S. ("federal") Supreme Court. States widely criminalized abortion until Roe vs. Wade in 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provided a fundamental right for women to obtain abortions; they held that the "right to privacy," established by the contraception cases of the 1960’s/early 70’s, assured the freedom of a person to abort unless the state had a "compelling interest" in preventing the abortion.

Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
Article. XIV. [Proposed 1866; Ratified during Reconstruction 1868]
Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

International Abortion Laws

Check out A Global Review of Laws on Induced Abortion, 1985-1997 from International Family Planning Perspectives, published by The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), a "non-profit organization focused on sexual and reproductive health research, policy analysis and public education."

I got the numbers below (similar to those in the above article), from "The World's Abortion Laws" at the
Center for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP)
 
Abortion restrictiveness in 5 categories: # of Nations  % of World's Pop.
1) Prohibited Altogether or only to Save the woman's life* 74  26.0 %
2) Permitted to protect the woman's life and physical health 33  9.9 %
3) Permitted to protect the woman's life,  physical and mental health 20 2.6 %
4) Permitted on socioeconomic grounds** 14 20.7 %
5) Permitted without restriction as to reason*** 50 40.8 %
*31 of these nations make an explicit exception to save a woman's life
**Permit consideration of a woman's economic resources, age, marital status, and number of living children.
   Such laws are generally interpreted liberally.
***Most nations in category 5 impose some time limit
-----------------
 
 

Discussion


The Only Issue
The only issue is whether the fetus is a "life" or not. "Right to life" and "A woman's right to choose" have no meaning whatsoever and DO NOT RELATE to each other outside of that context, so SHUT THE FUCK UP! Continuously spouting out these meaningless phrases and pretending yours is the only side to the story is useless and just plain IGNORANT.

In other words, if the fetus is a life, then you don't have any more right to terminate that than if your child was one month old; but if the fetus isn't a life, then you can do whatever you want with it, the same way you have the complete right to decide if you want your own appendix out.

So we see that: Abortion falls somewhere between having your appendix taken out and murdering your one-month-old child.


to the LEFT to the RIGHT(?)
Let me Rephrase You
The only correct way to phrase your "pro-choice, anti-life" opinion:
I'm sorry, but I believe that the importance of a human being's right to choose what they want to do with their own body, especially when their health (and even their life) is at stake, outweighs the importance of a mass of cells that would most likely grow into a human being but at the moment CANNOT LIVE ON ITS OWN..
The only correct way to phrase your "pro-life, anti-freedom" opinion:
I 'm sorry, but I believe that the importance of allowing a mass of cells
that is the beginning of a human being to grow to live on its own
outweighs the importance of a human being's right to choose
what they want to do with their own body, even if their own health (or life) is at stake.
Do you get the picture, slackers?
Your Body?
You say you have the right to choose what you want to do with your body.  The most accurate situation to that scenario is whether you get to decide if you want to have your own appendix out. No one is telling you you don't have the right to decide that, in fact you are completely correct, you do have that right.  But in an abortion there is something a lot more important involved, and the decision is not that simple.  A life is almost definitely at stake... and it ain't yours.
Slavery
What sucks is that forcing someone to endure unwanted pregnancy against their will is forced slavery and that's against the law AND the spirit of the constitution, no matter what's inside. Both pregnancy and abortion are potentially life-threatening. What is more personal than the right to decide what you can and can't do with your own physical person when your own permanent health and even your very life is at stake?  (The right to defend yourself from a threat outside of yourself is certainly less personal.) There is no right more basic than that and NOBODY has the right to take that away. 
So is the fetus a life?
Morally, probably yes. When you were a 1-week-old fetus in your mother, that was YOU!  There is no way you can deny that. If your mother would have had an abortion you wouldn't be here now.  One is a direct result of the other (minus the chance that you would have died sometime between the time of abortion and now).* Legally, no. The constitution does not define a fetus as a life. Even in the Old Testament of the Bible, the fetus was not accorded the same rights as the mother. And God is not the law in this country anyway. If it were, freedom would not exist 
.
*Of course if your mother had used birth control when you were conceived, you wouldn't be here now either.  The fetus may be a life in a moral sense but unfortunately can't live on its own, and the life and health of the mother is inexorably linked to it, and therein lies the problem
Selfish Left-Wing Bastards
Should you be allowed to decide if you want your one-month-old child to live or die?  Why not?  It's "yours."  It can't live on it's own; it needs you to live. It takes your mental and physical time and energy. What if you decide you don't want it anymore?  What if you lose your job or your spouse leaves you or you find out your spouse is a pedophile and you decide your child won't have a happy life?  What if you didn't "realize" that having a baby could lead to this, or think it would happen to you?  There is time in effort involved in caring for it, and emotional trauma and personal sacrifice involved in putting it up for adoption.  Should you be forced to go through that (even if it was for nine months) when it is so much easier just to stab it to death and put it in the trash?  What do you think of that, you selfish left-wing bastards?  Why don't you try using birth control next time, or take responsibility for your actions?
Meddling Right-Wing Shitheads
A fetus isn't really anything yet. If you take it out and put it on a table, it isn't alive - it's only alive as part of the mother. It can't do anything by itself; it's justs a mass of cells that has been growing for a couple of months. You're only eliminating the possibility of something, not something that is real now, the same as you do when you use birth control.  Should we not allow birth control because of the miracle of the creation of a child that will occur if birth control isn't used?  Also, if you are against abortion you really can't make exceptions for cases of rape and incest, because no matter how hard it is for the victim, it's still not the baby's fault; it doesn't deserve to die as a result of something someone else did to someone else. What do you think of that, you arrogant right-wing bastards?  Why don't you adopt a few unwanted children or just keep your busybody, everyone-has-to-behave-the-way-I want-them-to mouth shut?

No Real Boundary Between Conception and Death

There is no real boundary that separates conception from first second and third trimester from birth and then on to death. The actual date that a baby comes out of the womb is meaningless given that it can live if it comes out long before that (with help), and that it can't live on it's own (without help) for a few years afterwards either.  Growth is a continuum from conception to death, considering that conception triggers that growth.. "Trimesters" are not a reality, only a fabricated delineation. But maybe the best compromise we'll get?

Technically a sperm cell is also a potential human being, that only needs an egg and about 9 months inside a woman, whereas a fetus is a potential human being that only needs 9 months inside a woman, so even that step of fertilization is part of the continuum, although it's a pretty big jump. But I guess there are billions and trillions more sperm cells than there are fetuses, and we don't really have any say in their creation. But there are many fetuses to go around too and whenever one is terminated there is another one to take its place.

Bottom Line: The Answer

Allowing abortions during the first and/or second trimester, but not afterwards unless the health of the mother is in danger, is an amazingly fair compromise, given the volatility of the issue.  You have three months to decide what to do when the fetus can't possibly exist on its own and it's still less than 3 inches long.  Then after that, you've had your chance and now you have to respect the potential life, but if your long-term health or your life is at stake you still have some choices.  It's so beautiful in its simplicity!  I think we should stick with what we have and everyone just shut the hell up so we can get on with our non-aborted lives.  Next!

(Maybe with the advent of better contraception and morning-after pills all of this will be moot anyway.)

The Bible

The word "abortion" NEVER appears in the Bible. Jesus doesn't say ONE SINGLE THING about it (or homosexuality either, but he talks a lot about divorce, and not judging or seeking vengeance against others...Priorities, people!).  In Exodus 21:22, if men are fighting and cause a miscarriage, if the woman isn't hurt the penalty is only a fine, I repeat, ONLY A FINE for the miscarriage. But if the woman is hurt then the penalty is an eye for an eye, a burn for a burn, etc. So even the Bible does not count the unborn as equal with the living.

In fact, according to Judaism 101 (jewfaq.org) and her Kosher Sex page under Abortion (the whole page is pretty interesting), "Jewish law not only permits, but in some circumstances requires abortion. Where the mother's life is in jeopardy because of the unborn child, abortion is mandatory." Because the existing life is more important that the potential life.  (We do have to be careful when trying to apply Old Testament law to modern times, because there are many things in that law that we would never follow in this day and age, for instance we're allowed to eat pork, you can't sell your daughter into slavery, and the penalty is no longer death for adultery; in Christian terms we are under a new covenant. And the laws were much harsher back then so they would be less so now.) 

The Bible also says God knew us before we were in the womb, which is not saying that life started before conception, just that God is omnipotent (so in fact he's known each of us since the beginning of time).  See a more complete discussion of all this in the article Is the Fetus a Person from the list of Articles by Respected Theologians on the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice site. The Supreme Court in their decision on Roe v. Wade (which went 7-2 by the way), the Court looked at common and formal law throughout history and found that the fetus has rarely been accorded the same importance as viable human beings.

Court Appointments

It is interesting to note that Roe v. Wade was decided 7-2, even though six of the judges had been appointed by Republican Presidents. Webster (1989) and Casey (1992) still upheld the "central holding" of Roe (though weakening the decision somewhat), even though in 1992 eight out of the nine justices had been appointed by Republican Presidents.  I wasn't aware of these imbalances; if the Republicans complain about a recently historically Democratic congress, at least it is balanced by a recently historically Republican Supreme Court, although I don't think that "conservative" necessarily means the same thing for a Federal Judge that it does in political ideology. But thank God for a balance of power in our country.

The Right To Die

What really sucks is, we don't even have the legal right to decide whether WE want to die or not. Forget about having a right to decide if someone else gets to live or not. Who do we think we are that we can deprive another being of life just because we don't FEEL like bothering with it? Particularly when it's our fault they got started in the first place. Ask a retarded child or an orphan if they'd rather be dead. Go ahead. Maybe they should be allowed to decide if they want to end their own life or not.  If you think you should be able to do it for them before they even get a chance to see what life is like, how arrogant are you?! All they would want if you could ask them is the same chance you have had. A chance to live.  Isn't even a miserable life better than NO LIFE AT ALL?  If you want the right to choose they should have it too.  But what kind of life is it if you can't decide what you can do with your own?

Truth of Consequences

The one obvious difference in a pregnancy that results from rape is that the woman didn't make the choice to engage in the act that included the inherent risk of prenancy. Concerning the voluntary act, there are other instances where if you engage in a particular activity, we (through our government) require you to do certain things as a consequence, for example if a family has or adopts a baby, they are required to take care of it and not to neglect it. If you drive a car, you are required to maintain it and drive responsibly. This could be used as a precedent to require that any person who has sex is required to face the consequences, such as effects on their time, energy, limitations on their rights, and yes even their body.  The man, of course, would have to be required to face as many of the same consequences as possible.  But there is a difference between something as personal as your body, vs. only your time, thought, emotions, resources and energy.  Still...

Pretty Please

Just please, please, please think of how wonderful it is to give someone else the same chance you've had to live, to breathe, to feel a million feelings and emotions pouring through your body and incredibly complex mind; to think a billion thoughts that no-one else has had, to move your fingers, to breathe fresh spring air (or even smoggy industrial air), to smell the grass just after it's been cut, to run jump and yell, to feel anger, depression, joy, frustration, to hear music, to dance, to run through an open field (or an empty lot), to think, to make plans, to feel that tightness in your loins, the tingling excitement of a kiss, the nervous antipation of sex, the warmth of holding someone you love. And of course I could go on and on for a million pages. Isn't even a small chance of that worth far, far more than any suffering you could endure?  Let alone only 9 months' worth?  Wouldn't you have wanted to have the same right?  Oh I'm sorry, that's right, you DID.

Better Way

Here is a great quote from an article titled "Fetal Frenzy" by Judith Lewis, that appeared in the April 5-11 edition of the L.A. Weekly:
     "History has shown that prohibiting abortion does little to stop the procedure; in counties from Nazi Germany to Romania to the United States, banning abortion has led to death and injury among women of childbearing age.  Abortion rates have declined, however, in countries that combine liberal abortion law with sex education and access to contraceptives, and birthrates happily rise in societies that reward mothers with subsidized day care and affordable medicine. Norway has integrated into its abortion law a pledge that "all children enjoy conditions for a secure upbringing"; France gives financial incentives to mothers; Sweden offers a promise that having a baby alone, or under financial duress, will neither stigmatize them socially nor consign them to poverty.
     These societies, which arguably need abortion the least, offer it without restriction in the first trimester, free of charge, and yet theirs is a social policy I can without reservation call pro-life.  Those who would be moved by the image of the embryo and their various gods to stop women from having abortion -- and my high regard for religious freedom demands that I respect their views -- would do well to abandon their "truth trucks," and get to work making the world a more hospitable place in which to raise a child.  And then this magical image of the embryo in the womb should symbolize a different political movement: One that seeks to construct a social policy in which no mother, whatever her economic circumstances, attitude or marital status, lacks the resources to feed her children."

OR:

Fuck and duck.

Abhortion

Give me adoption or give me death.

Blood is thicker than water,
but not than shame.
Sons and daughters,
are you glad you came?
--Tom Minkler

Just for laughs, check out this cartoon.

What do you think?

To follow someday: a "cost" benefit analysis of abortion vs. forced to carry to term.
Also links to anti-life and anti-rights sites.

Have a nice day! :)

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Last updated December 2003
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