Keeping the baby vs. abortion: Americans muddled morality about the unborn (COMMENTARY)

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A pregnant woman looks at her ultrasound photo.

Photo courtesy of Srdjan Fot via Shutterstock

A pregnant woman looks at her ultrasound photo.

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(RNS) The debate over abortion reveals our society’s inconsistency: We only affirm the humanity of the unborn if the child is “wanted.”

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  • Larry

    Declaring “personhood” for a fetus in order to protect pregnant women from attacks is like using a flamethrower to light candles. The whole purpose of fetal personhood bills is to ban abortion and make fertility treatments difficult.

    Most states with sane legislatures not overrun with lying sneaks trying to create a backdoor abortion ban treat the issue as an aggravated crime against the mother. For example in New York, “an abortional act” is the unconsented attack of a woman for the purposes of killing her fetus. It is not a crime against the fetus but adds on to the charges of battery against her.

    How hard is the concept of consent for people? I guess since many times we are talking about people who would ban abortion, even in the cases of rape, consent is not a term on their radar.

  • opheliart

    Dynel Lane committed murder. No matter where you stand on the matter of abortion … this can’t be seen as anything but. Mother and child are already in bonding ‘places’ and anyone who is unable to acknowledge this needs to sit out of the discussion. This case is really a death on mothering—a dual death—which is very different when male and female refuse life.

  • Garson Abuita

    This article implies that Lane was not charged with a crime and thus Watkins will be “denied justice.” In fact, she was charged with attempted murder and a host of assault charges. It also is blatantly false that Lane will not face any charges for the death of the baby — she is being charged with the CO equivalent of the law cited above by Larry, unlawful termination of a pregnancy.
    It is not “cognitive dissonance” to take joy in your pregnancy and still want abortion to be legal.

  • Melody

    If I consent to you being killed, is it right? It’s as simple as that. A person doesn’t cease to be just because someone says they don’t have permission to be here.

  • Melody

    No it says she will not be charged with any of the charges that is appropriate when actions result in death. Murder or manslaughter is not equal to battery.

    Have you ever lost a baby? It’s bad enough when a woman loses a child in a normal way when people do not recognize the precious human being that she was on the most intimate of terms with. She is expected to get over it quickly. Or the unkindest – you’ll have more children. As if we are talking about a car.

    This poor young woman lived through something horrific. Her baby was killed. Not only will she not get justice for her child but a whole lot of people will speak like she just lost a product of conception.

  • Shawnie5

    “We only affirm the humanity of the unborn if the child is “wanted.””

    This is PRECISELY the view of “humanity” that enabled the ancients all over the world to practice infanticide so frequently and casually–that human dignity is acquired via social ties or a given (and arbitrary) set of attributes or abilites, not inherent and inalienable.

    It’s the same view of humanity that is making the revival of infanticide a real possibility in our times:

  • Garson Abuita

    Yes, my wife and I did suffer a miscarriage. It was a horrible experience to be sure.
    The article states, “no one will be charged in the death of the baby she lost.” That is absolutely untrue, whether you think the fetus was the full equivalent of a human being or not.

  • James Carr

    There’s no morality debate towards abortion; it is murder in the 1st degree. Since human life begins at conception, the mother deciding to abort it is murdering another human being……one that by her actions she gave life to.
    It is genocide on scale with the Holocaust.

  • Philip

    “Nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don’t. Why should we? They talk about the people and the proletariat, I talk about the suckers and the mugs – it’s the same thing!
    Have you ever seen any of your victims? You know, I never feel comfortable on these sort of things. Victims? Don’t be melodramatic. Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever?” Dialog from the movie, “The Third Man”.
    Did America care if the dots in Auschwitz stopped moving? Or the German people? From above 30,000 feet, did anyone care if the dots stopped moving over Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
    From the Supreme Court to the Congress, the Senate ( Republican or Democrat), you or me, or the woman on an abortion table does anyone really care if the dot stops moving?
    The author is correct. Science knows what life is. Tell that to Harry Lime and everyone else in the ferris wheel looking down on a Vienna landscape as the little dots move…

  • Melody,

    Perhaps the Government should force you to take out one of your kidneys.
    Good news – it will save somone’s life.

    While they are at it they are going to take some of your bone marrow for a transplant to save the lives of some Leukemia patients.

    And they are going to cut a small piece of your liver to save another person’s life who needs a liver transplant.

    If you grant the Government ownership of your Uterus, I guarantee YOUR NEXT PROBLEM will be how to stop Christians from stealing other body parts to save other people’s lives.

    What is it about Christianity that makes people stop thinking?

  • Contraception cures Abortion.

    Wherever Women’s emancipation is tried, it succeeds in reducing unwanted pregnancy and poverty. Let women decide what to do with their own bodies.

    Otherwise, we should force men BY LAW to donate a kidney to save a life too. How would you like that, guys?
    Or, would Christians also like to enforce the removal of the penises of the men who fathered these unwanted children?


  • “our muddled inconsistency will deny justice to Michelle Wilkins, and no one will be charged in the death of the baby she lost.”

    The vast VAST majority of abortions happen within a couple of weeks of pregnancy – these are not “children”.

    Though it is distasteful to consider abortion, these are incredibly difficult choices for women and the complete responsibility is on that woman – it is not anyone else’s choice regardless of how difficult that may be to watch from the outside.

    Pregnancy cannot be an unquestioned commitment to incubate children. All of the responsibility for such moral dilemmas must be on the mother – and not the rest of us – and certainly not on the doctor.

    Of course it is a moral question. HOWEVER.
    None of us should be obligated BY LAW to donate 9 months of our lives putting our bodies in the service of another person’s life – under any circumstance.

  • Diogenes

    Your final statement is a complete logical fallacy.

  • Diogenes

    My comment is in reference to G.A’s comment on cognitive dissonance, not his family miscarriage

  • James Carr

    Women can keep their legs together, that is their only legitimate control they have in governing their body. Once pregnant, they are the natural host of a human being….seperate from them. Why should choice of life for the child end there….why can’t they kill their toddlers, or teenagers?
    If you eat like a pig, you become fat as a pig. More women should concentrate on aborting their fat than killing children.

  • opheliart

    “James Carr March 31, 2015 at 6:34 am
    Women can keep their legs together, that is their only legitimate control they have in governing their body. Once pregnant, they are the natural host of a human being….seperate from them. Why should choice of life for the child end there….why can’t they kill their toddlers, or teenagers?
    If you eat like a pig, you become fat as a pig. More women should concentrate on aborting their fat than killing children.”

    James Carr, have you ever been raped?

    Your post is a disgrace. What doctrine taught you to think this way?

  • James Carr

    Common sense is all anyone needs to oppose fetal murder. And, no, I have never been raped. Your point?

  • James Carr

    We absolutely should be bound legally to permitting a human birth. It is insane to think otherwise.

    Humanity trumps lust.

  • opheliart

    If you can’t see on this—what you wrote …
    maybe one of your Roman Catholic members would be kind enough to remove you from posting on these articles.

  • Eleanor

    All of the charges involve harm to the woman — not to the fetus/unborn child.

  • Paolo Romano

    “Christians stealing body parts”…good God that’s absurd.

  • Paolo Romano

    To the author, the crime is murder. He clearly wrote:
    But this crime took place in Colorado, and therefore, the attacker will not face murder charges.

  • Eleanor

    The government forces the men who fathered these unwanted children to pay child support.

    It all comes down to responsibility. I’m all for birth control, but it doesn’t work 100% of the time. There’s always a risk of pregnancy with sex. If sex is voluntary, both the man and woman are taking on the responsibility for that risk.

  • James Carr,

    “Humanity trumps lust.”

    1. Humanity IS lust and WILL lust whether you like it or not.
    2. Who put you in charge?
    3. The question is “who decides?” You or the woman whose body it is! Your arrogance is to claim the right to make these decisions for a woman – and her body is none of your business.
    4. Contraception cures Abortion – yet religion forbids it on account of ignorance.

  • @James Carr,

    “deciding to abort it is murdering another human being”

    THAT is just ignorance on your part.

    A ZYGOTE is not a human being! It feels no pain – it has no pain receptors.
    Calling a ZYGOTE a human is like calling a dead skin cell a person!

    For crying out loud, the anti-abortion people have no idea what they are talking about. The first few weeks of a pregnancy you are talking about a bundle of cells no more of a person than a TOENAIL CLIPPING!

    Religious ignorance is absolutely off every scale.
    Humanity and civilization will not survive at this level of ignorance!

    Women who get abortions within the first few weeks of the first trimester (the VAST VAST majority) are doing nothing more than clipping a toenail!

    STOP this nonsense – don’t call a zygote a person! And don’t claim the right to determine such a thing on behalf of a woman who owns the uterus.

  • RIGHT WING Christian Republican:
    Someone who piously claims to care about children before they are born. But won’t fund its day care, medical treatment, scolds its mother, scolds its father, won’t fund Obamacare for families, won’t pay for school or education or welfare,

    This whole Abortion argument is a Christian lie.

    If you knew the science you’d allow these women to get their abortions – 99% of them happen before the ZYGOTE becomes more than a bundle of cells the size of a pimple!

    What this is really all about is Christian bullying and Clerical Dictators who insist on living in abject ignorance and servitude to each other.

    Religion is an abortion of the thought process.

  • “Absurd”

    Christians are claiming the right to control every woman’s uterus.
    Why stop there?

  • mike

    Well-written and unbiased piece. I’m pretty sure the mother’s desire or lack of desire to have the child is really shaky ground upon which to determine the child’s nature and worth. It won’t hold up – so, where will that leave us? It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

  • Larry

    Are you incapable of independent existence without being physically attached to another human being for your very ability to live? If the answer is yes, then you have no say in the matter. 🙂

    The anti-abortion crowd loves to pretend there are no distinctions between being born and unborn. The chief way of doing this is by ignoring the existence of the mother. Pretending she is not part of the equation, insulting her, demeaning her, pretending narcissistic moralizing is as important as her private personal decisions. The fetus can be ignored because it has no existence outside of the mother’s will to keep it alive.

    I will say this, it doesn’t matter one bit what you think of the decision of a woman to have an abortion, its not yours to make unless its your body. You don’t have to like their decisions.

    The author is dishonest at all levels here. Using criminal abortional acts as an excuse to ban abortion. Lying for the Lord, what else is new.

  • Larry

    The author is full of crap. Its his opinion, but its not worth a damn. He wants to use the incident as an excuse for nonsense fetal personhood laws. Laws whose sole purpose is to ban abortion and make fertility medicine difficult.

    The crime was attempted murder of the woman and unlawful termination of a pregnancy. The woman is the victim of the crimes and the loss of her fetus is an aggravating factor.

  • Larry

    You only affirm life which is “innocent” or “not mired in sin”. The humanity of the pregnant woman is ignored in favor of insults and cheap moralizing. After all she was just a cheap tramp for getting pregnant outside of marriage.

    That is how the anti-abortion crowd treats born people. Love of thy neighbor for Christians is conditional on whether their personal prejudices consider a person “sinful or not”.

    Abortion is not infanticide. But don’t let little things like material differences in facts get in the way.
    Show me where the father can take custody of the “child” in the picture below:

    As opposed to the picture below where the mother is not even a necessary part of it.

  • Larry

    Morality is not the basis of laws. Abortion is the acknowledgement that an act may not be moral by one’s standards but preventing it under color of law is even more immoral. Much like Prohibition was a very moral law but a very bad one as well.

    The personal liberties of a woman to make personal and private decisions is not subject to your approval. Her body always means her choice.

  • Larry

    The man and the woman do not share the risk equally. So there is no need to treat their interests as equal here. The guy can run off the minute he finds out she is pregnant. She has to carry around the fetus in her body.

    She carries all of the physical risk so she carries all of the physical responsibility. So its her choice and her choice alone that is relevant here.

  • Larry

    As it should be. Born people can be murdered. The crime is against a woman who did not consent to have her fetus terminated.

  • MarkE

    The bottom line is this; Who decides? The woman in Colorado who was attacked had no choice in the matter – her attacker took that away. So using this situation as a strawman for abortion choices is pretty much bogus. And referrring to a mushy position among most Americans on abortion and “unborn” children kind of tilts the plate in the writer’s direction – after all, this is an opinion piece, not objective reporting. But again, the bottom line is: Who decides? Whose choice matters? Is it the woman/mother or is it the government, on behalf of the nation? On this, it seems that small-government conservatives and libertarians need to do some clarifying of their philosophy.

  • David

    Looks like we got another biological flat-earther here!

    Max, you need to open any textbook of embryology.

    Of course the human conceptus/zygote is A HUMAN BEING!

    (whereas no skin cell is!)

    WOW, such (willful) ignorance still prevails!

  • Larry

    Max is just confused about the argument. A fetus is not a person. A person is a being who has autonomous existence. A fetus may be human, but its existence is no more separate than of the woman’s organs. A fetus and zygote can’t be considered a person because it doesn’t exist outside of the will of the mother keeping it alive.

    Once it becomes a baby, ie is born, it exists outside of the mother’s will. A newborn does not require its mother to survive. Hence the existence of midwives, maternity wards and adoptions at birth. This is why abortion is not infanticide.

  • Leo

    First, a male has no business writing this. Any real man knows this.

    Second, Roe v. Wade is a wisely written law, which is why it has stood the test of time. If despite human technology a baby cannot survive outside the womb, then it is the Mother’s body which determines survival, and therefore the Mother’s choice.

    To say anything different is to grossly disrespect women.

  • Leo

    I’m frankly a bit surprised this site ran this piece. Religion News generally seems to avoid the worst excesses of evangelical male sexism.

    Guys, what women do with their bodies is *their* choice. And, if a baby – despite all technology – cannot survive outside Mom’s body, then that baby remains part of *her* body, subject to *her* choice.

    It’s a peculiar mind that believes it can shove laws inside a woman’s womb. If you truly want to help, focus on adoption and foster care. These programs are starving for funds and volunteers in virtually every State.

  • Leo

    It speaks volumes that 90% of the comments on this thread are from males (several of whom do not qualify to be called “men”).

    Women, on behalf of men, I apologize for the idiots and idiocies in this thread. I hope you can take some consolation in the long term trend towards greater respect for your bodies, your rights, and your dignity. You have many, many allies.

  • Eleanor

    I’m not saying the burden isn’t greater for women.

    This is what it comes down to for me: 9mos of physical responsibility/pain/discomfort or the death of a human being (whether a person or not, biologically the fetus is a living member of the human species).

    When a woman voluntarily engages in action that could result in the creation of another dependent human being, she takes on that risk and potential responsibility – just as a man takes on the risk/responsibility of paying child support or facing jail time if he doesn’t.

    On the “burden” scale, I believe killing a human life is a greater injustice than requiring a woman to go through 9mos of physical/bodily responsibility for a human being’s life that she took the risk of creating in an act that she willingly engaged in.

  • Larry

    You are claiming the burden is somehow equal enough for the guy to have a say. It isn’t. Unless he can share the burden of pregnancy, he must abide by the woman’s decision.

    The only person responsible for the life of the fetus is the only person keeping it alive. The pregnant woman and her alone. More importantly her decision is not subject to the approval of any other human beings on the planet. You don’t have to like her decisions one way or the other, nor do you have a right to have a say in it either.

    I see how you are trying to minimize or eliminate the woman from the discussion. It shows the fundamental dishonesty of anti-abortion rhetoric.

  • Shawnie5

    You have a little girl’s understanding of legal “innocence.” In the Christian view ALL human life is mired in sin so that is not what we’re talking about. The legal concept of “innocence” distinguishes ordinary murder or manslaughter from a killing which is lawfully carried out by the state as a result of being judicially convicted of a capital crime.

  • Shawnie5

    No one has autonomous existence for a number of years.

    Again, this is why infanticide was universally practiced and accepted in the pre-Christian world.

  • Shawnie,

    So how many years are you going to send a girl to prison for going into a back alley and using some horrible method to abort her baby?

    Or are you just going to hope she dies in the attempt?

    What punishment do you Christians suggest for the poor girl? One year for murder of her zygote? or Life in prison for murder of a human?

    When you wash yourself in the shower you lose dozens of cells!
    Should you go to jail for killing potential babies?

    What about masturbating men? Are they to go to jail for killing so many potential babies too?

    Maybe women should go to jail for menstruating – all those lost eggs dying for nothing!!!

    You religious people have no idea what you are talking about.

  • Shawnie5

    Then you disagree with Jefferson that “”It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings, collected together, are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately?”

  • Melissa

    A newborn baby is incapable of independent existence. He depends on a caregiver to survive and thrive. Age 1, 2, 3, and probably higher than that can not survive without a caregiver. Being physically attached is irrelevant in this dependent vs. independent line of thought. At what age should a child be considered non-disposable?

  • Melissa

    I am am anti-abortion person who loves women, too. We adopted our son from a woman with an unwanted pregnancy. She and her extended family are part of our family now, too, which is really fun because they are true Cajuns from Louisiana, and bring a new culture into our multi-ethnic family. I do, so much, feel like the pro-life camp needs to express their love for women, and be willing to step up and provide hands-on support for women and their unborn babies. The pro-abortion camp comes across as being callous about life, and that is not true either.

  • Shawnie5

    Yawn. Pro-choicers have no more regard for the views of women who oppose abortion than men. While percentages of pro-life men and women are statistically equivalent, women in my experience are the powerhouse of the pro-life movement, while most men could hardly care less.

  • Larry

    “At what age should a child be considered non-disposable?
    Birth or viability outside the womb. A clear unambiguous bright line

    “A newborn baby is incapable of independent existence.”

    Bullcrap. They exist outside of the mother’s body. We have maternity wards full of newborns independently existing autonomously without depending on their mother as the sole source for their survival.

    Having a caregiver means any human being on the planet other than the mother can keep a baby alive. The father can hold a newborn and care for them. ONLY THE MOTHER KEEPS A FETUS ALIVE. You are deliberately ignoring or distorting material factual distinctions. The fact that you can equate a caregiver with pregnancy shows how much you are willing to distort facts and lie to support your position.

    “I am am anti-abortion person who loves women, too”

    Nothing you say shows that is your position on the subject in any way. You are lying.

  • Larry

    “No one has autonomous existence for a number of years.”

    Everyone is a conjoined twin or has umbilical cords attached to their mothers?

    Buh Bye.

  • Larry

    An appeal to authority from a quote mine is not worth responding to.

  • Larry

    Oh those evil pro-choicers arguing about the protection of privacy of women have no regard for them whatsoever.

    Shawnie feel free to comment on James Carr’s remarks about women keeping their legs shut and then get back to us about how anti-abortion types value women.

  • Larry

    It helps that the people using “innocence” as the criteria for whether someone is worthy of consideration are immature nosybodies.

    Your take on the Christian view, is that people are to be devalued, ignored, attacked and otherwise treated badly if there are sufficient excuses under scripture to do so. Glorified sociopathy.

  • Eleanor

    Maybe I wasn’t clear. Yes, the burden of pregnancy is heavier on the woman than the man. I’m not denying that or trying to minimize that. Not at all. Pregnancy is very difficult. Parenting is very difficult. I’m a woman. I understand.

    My problem with abortion is this: There are two human lives directly and physically affected by pregnancy and abortion: the woman and the fetus. When I compare the two lives’ situations (bodily autonomy of the woman vs. life of the fetus), I think killing a life is a greater injustice (9mos vs. a lifetime) — when, as I’ve said before, the woman willingly engaged in an act that risks creating the life that is dependent on her body.

  • Brian

    The curse of semantics.
    Taking, ending, or terminating life, (age and location is immaterial), is murder.
    Plain and simple.

  • James Carr


  • Larry

    No Eleanor, you were clear. But you are insisting on ignoring everything but your stipulation that somehow people have to abide by the decisions and opinions of others when making personal private decisions.

    In the grand scheme of things, only the mother keeps a fetus alive. So the mother’s will is the only thing to be considered here. One cannot think of the fetus without discussing her will to keep it alive. Therefore nobody needs to consider the fetus at all. The mother’s will to decide what to do with the fetus is always going to be the only factor that matters. Not your opinion, not the concerns of the father. Just because she has sex, doesn’t mean she is obligated to keep a fetus alive. Its in her body, she can make her decisions.

    Your opinion of how she got pregnant is none of your business. Nor will it ever be. You may consider having sex an obligation to give birth, but nobody else has to. Just because you consider pregnancy a punishment, doesn’t mean others have…

  • samuel Johnston

    The wold is full of harsh truths. A sizable proportion of humanity is malnourished, therefore suffering with serious health consequences. A larger proportion has no, or inadequate health care. Large populations live in war zones, flood, earthquake, and disease infested areas. Child birth is dangerous and often fatal in such places. Yet, still the population of the planet is on the increase.
    Ironies abound. It seems the more prosperous areas have the highest abortion rates and the lowest, or even negative population growth. The demand for healthy babies to adopt is at an all time high.
    What can/should society do? Should the mother be the sole authority? The father?
    The family. The state?
    Finally, life does not begin. Life is a continuous process, and any attempt to draw a line is artificial. It was thought for centuries that sperm was determinative, and that the egg was just nourishment. Likewise, viability is just another stage of dependency, but just not exclusive to the…

  • nate

    “Having a caregiver means any human being on the planet other than the mother can keep a baby alive. The father can hold a newborn and care for them. ONLY THE MOTHER KEEPS A FETUS ALIVE. You are deliberately ignoring or distorting material factual distinctions.”

    That’s a direct quote from you randy. Your point becomes irrelevant when considering examples of premature babies. Babies born around 27 weeks have higher than 90% survival rates nowadays. This means that according tou you, they aren’t REALLY dependant on their mother anymore, since they could survive IF they were given a chance to be born. Since at this point they could survive aside from the mother, how do you rationally explain the killing of any baby at or past the 27 week point of pregnancy? At that point, you must admit they have worth? Your whole system seems to rest on the premise that a baby only has worth when it is viable to survive apart from the mother: according to your own logic a 27 week baby now has…

  • Eleanor

    Larry, please don’t put words in my mouth. I’m trying to have a civil conversation. We obviously disagree very strongly, but please don’t put words in my mouth. I never said pregnancy was a punishment. Some women enjoy being pregnant. Some don’t.

    Yes, sex involves risks and potential responsibility. A lot of our actions do. And when the result of our actions affect other human beings, we have a responsibility to not harm them. Our legal system reflects that.

    I think the heart of our difference is that I think the fetus and the woman both have rights that should be taken into consideration. Whereas you seem to think the woman alone has rights because the fetus is not a person yet. Is that somewhat accurate?

  • nate

    “If you grant the Government ownership of your Uterus, I guarantee YOUR NEXT PROBLEM will be how to stop Christians from stealing other body parts to save other people’s lives.”

    Max, I think its you who needs to start thinking. There isn’t a whole lot of thought in your post. To start, I think anyone realizes how ridiculous it is to compare a kidney to a baby. Last I checked, everyone has two kidneys from the moment they are born (and before). Same goes for livers, fingers, spleens, etc. I’ve never heard of a person born with a baby inside of them. How funny: a baby was just born today, and wouldn’t you believe it! THEY HAD ANOTHER BABY INSIDE OF THEM! JUST LIKR A REGULAR KIDNEY OR LIVER! Comparing a baby to an organ is ridiculous. How many organs do you know of that will grow to become their own person? How many organs suddenly appear in another persons body, with the help of another person? Legitimately the dumbest comparison I’ve ever heard, and yet prochoicers continually…

  • Shawnie5

    “It helps that the people using “innocence” as the criteria for whether someone is worthy of consideration are immature nosybodies.

    Like 😀

    “Legal innocence refers to absence of one or more procedural or legal bases to support the sentence given to a defendant.”

  • Shawnie5

    No one can survive infancy without a near constant commitment of time and effort from another person, of course.

  • Shawnie5

    Right. Particularly when you have no answer.

  • Shawnie5

    “Larry, please don’t put words in my mouth.”

    Oh, but how on earth do you expect her to compose an argument without the aid of a strawman??? I mean, let’s be reasonable here…

  • Shawnie5

    More yawns. I’ve heard more feminists than I care to remember make the same argument about men keeping their pants zipped.

    The fact is men and women create babies together, and law usually holds us responsible for situations that we create.

  • Larry

    Nice try Sparky. But you must either read more closely or be more honest in your arguments.

    I said, to the question of “At what age should a child be considered non-disposable?”

    Birth or viability outside the womb.

    A prematurely born child is both born and surviving outside its mother’s womb. It isn’t a fetus. Its a baby when it is on the outside and living without an umbilical cord.

  • Larry

    “No one can survive infancy without a near constant commitment of time and effort from another person, of course.”

    But there is no necessity of the mother being that “another person”.
    Not so with a fetus. Hence the whole “a newborn is the same a fetus” is a really stupid argument. You know this would not be a debate with a reasonable honest person. It falls under “obvious facts”. But the anti-abortion crowd is neither.

  • Larry

    Meaning the question was meant to avoid the point I presented.

  • Larry

    Eleanor, you simply don’t want to give the full version of the argument you were making with, “I’ve said before, the woman willingly engaged in an act that risks creating the life that is dependent on her body.”

    You would not be bringing such a statement up if you did not consider the act of having sex to be one that forces the mother somehow into a duty in keeping the resultant pregnancy.

    You are under the delusions that the rights of a fetus can in any way be separated from the will of its mother. Since they are attached and the fetus is on the inside, that is a physical impossibility. So it must be a legal one as well.

  • Larry

    Come on Shawnie, tell me how James doesn’t really represent the points of view of the anti-abortion crowd. Feel free to denounce his offensive and insulting rhetoric about women.

    You won’t.

  • This is an atrocity. That baby was 7 months in gestation and under medical care could have lived outside it’s mother’s womb. It happens all the time. If the woman is not charged with murder there is no justice for that child or the mother.

  • Shawnie5

    But you are still assuming the existence of someone who will be willing to put in that time and effort. In the case of a disabled or otherwise undesirable infant, there may not be–and if would hardly be more fair to draft someone into that commitment than to require it of the biological mother. So you would be OK with eliminating it in that case?

    This is nothing more nor less than the pre-Imago Dei concept of human worth — it’s not human until it’s accepted into some kind of familial system. You ought to be proud to identify with that tradition; after all, it was once universal to the human race until the bad old Christians came along. Why are you being such a shrinking violet?

  • Shawnie5

    Your point was that laws are not based on morality. Your point was erroneous — at least in our system of government, and arguably in any other as well.

  • Shawnie5

    A, How is his rhetoric any different from the corresponding feminist rhetoric, and

    B. How does either “offensive” or “insulting” in any way bear upon legal and moral responsibility?

  • Larry

    You are getting so far from the facts of the matter than I can’t even be bothered to take you seriously. At no point is a born infant EVER in the same situation as a fetus. A being physically attached to an otherwise healthy woman.

    The fact that any human being is physically capable of taking care of a born infant besides the mother (and frequently does) renders any equivalence between the two to be completely dishonest. You refuse to accept this very basic and obvious point. There is no point in continuing in the face of your clear mendacity.

  • Larry

    Doctors disagreed about viability during the case. Either way, Mr. Wax’s justification for “fetal personhood” laws in the face of these situations is dishonest bullcrap.

  • Leo

    You’re laughably ignorant of contemporary male culture, Shawnie5. Visible respect for women is trending. But, please, enjoy the self-hatred.

  • Justin


    Hypothetical situation here: imagine that there is a set of conjoined twins. One is dominant and has his own set of organs. His brother’s organs, however, did not fully form, yet he is able to survive from the nutrition provided by the dominant brother’s stomach. Hypothetical, yes, but cases like this do happened.

    Does the dominant twin have the right to kill his dependent twin since they are physically attached and his brother can’t live without him? Why or why not?

    What if the dominant twin wants to commit suicide incidentally causing the sure demise of the sibling? Should the independent be forced to stay alive against his will? Why or why not?

    I am genuinely curious to see how you answer.

  • Lucy

    Abortion vs. Miscarriage – If one assumes a fetus is a human then every woman who has ever had a miscarriage for whatever reason is a murderer. The process is the same whether induced or natural selection. This is a preposterous assumption. Women are only half the equation. If men rape or coerce women into sex, then they are as responsible as the woman. Personally rape is worse, whether violent or statutory. Maybe the solution to the problem would be to castrate all men who have “harmed” a woman by getting her pregnant. Then abortion would not be as much of an issue.
    As far as “changing her mind” regarding carrying a baby, a whole lot of men “change their minds” when expected to provide child support for a baby/child that was even a “joy” at one time, leaving the women and children to struggle to survive. Is this a better option than the loss of a potential human being? Is it better for that potential child to be abused or killed after it has begun life as a…

  • Shawnie5

    “The fact that any human being is physically capable of taking care of a born infant besides the mother (and frequently does) renders any equivalence between the two to be completely dishonest.”

    Still assuming that there IS one capable and willing. That is not a given. The infant is NOT autonomous.

    “You are getting so far from the facts of the matter than I can’t even be bothered to take you seriously.”

    Meaning, you are approaching the limits of your logic, having to deal with the premises upon which you unthinkingly operate.

    BTW, considering the frequency with which you repeat the phrase, WHY exacly do you think anyone needs to care whether you “take them seriously” or not?

  • Shawnie5

    “Contemporary male culture?” ROFL!

    Throw that nonsense line into a den of feminists and watch them proceed to dismember you for a sexist, your bowing and scraping notwithstanding.

    You just can’t make stuff up to compare with real-life displays of naivete and silliness.

  • Shawnie5

    “If one assumes a fetus is a human then every woman who has ever had a miscarriage for whatever reason is a murderer.”

    Murder requires a mens rea.

  • Nate,

    You miss the point! Your kidney will save a life!
    In order to save a life where is the line?

    So let’s have a religious decree to permit the government to come and take YOUR kidney tomorrow TO SAVE A LIFE.
    This is what happens when religion gets its way.

    That is how it feels for women who are told what they must do with their body parts – in order to save a life!

    If a woman’s Uterus is the government’s business
    Then what you do with YOUR KIDNEY can be my business!

    Keep your religion out of our laws!

  • Lucy

    No Kidding. That’s exactly the point. I have 5 daughters, at least two of which had miscarriages, and one whose fetus died in the womb due to a congenital defect.. I don’t believe that any of these were murder, but they could have been tried for murder if the death of a fetus was considered a crime. That would be just plain stupid and add insult to injury. The mothers were heart-broken.
    Even if they had had abortions for whatever reason, they should not be considered murderers. It’s their body and their decision. No one other than the woman can understand any and all complexities that lead to some choices she makes. Unfortunately too many people try to enforce their beliefs on others.

  • Ryan P

    Hey Larry,
    I think that you’re missing the point. This is not a matter of “declaring” personhood. The issue is that people will hypocritically pick and choose when they wish to call a baby just that, a “baby” or a “fetus” (latin word meaning “a human being or animal in the later stages of development before it is born” – It’s our insane desire to lord over “life”. “I choose when it’s a baby, not the Creator.” That’s the issue. So please calm down, pro-lifers aren’t after stealing “rights”, they are shedding light on the indefensible act of playing god by picking and choosing when destroying a “human being” is right or wrong. The unfortunate part is how many people in our society speak about this matter so confidently and even come across condescending, yet fail to examine or acknowledge how pitifully weak and illogical their arguments are. Larry, please read the article again.

  • Larry

    No, its hypocritical and factually ridiculous to pretend a fetus is in the same situation as a born child. Baby is a born being, fetus is gestating. Conflating the two is dishonest.

    Personhood is for the born. Those whose existence is clearly separate and distinct enough that its interests aren’t a zero-sum game with its mother. There is nothing arbitrary about using birth as the dividing line here.

    “pro-lifers aren’t after stealing “rights””

    Bullcrap. They want to protect a fetus at the expense of its mother. The mother being the only life on the planet which sustains the existence of a fetus. You have to attack the woman to protect your interest in the fetus.

    So please take your patronizing “calm down” tone elsewhere. The only ones playing god here are the ones who think they can make personal decisions for pregnant women due to their alleged moral superiority. Your body, your decision. Since you can’t take possession of a fetus you are SOL.

  • Larry

    Co-joined twins are not an abortion situation. When you have a fetus who can speak for its own behalf, we can discuss this further.

    In cases of co-joined where separation will kill the other twin, they usually avoid the operation unless the twin least likely to survive consents to die. Of course we are still talking about born beings here. Since both twins are capable of a dialogue, they can work it out themselves.

    Again until a fetus can speak up, it will always be subordinate to the life which keeps it alive. 🙂

    Analogy is the last resort of those who can’t deal with facts.

  • Molly

    An ignorant argument if I’ve ever heard one. Using the “rape” example to legalize abortion better illustrates a flame thrower. We have used a situation that makes up less than half of one percent of all abortion cases to create emotion and legalize the murder of babies even up until the point of delivery. If a woman is raped, she should seek immediate medical attention so that the evidence can be collected and the hospital can literally scrape, clean or give her plan b. To use these rare and unfortunate incidences to justify the irresponsible and inhumane acts that are the basis for 99% of other abortions is a stain on the fabric of our nation. As a woman carrying an “accidental” baby, I will say that we need not provide a cold and convenient way out of these situations, but if we are the compassionate nation we claim, we should rather come along side women and offer them support and resources. We are biologically programmed to protect our babies – society should help us do this.

  • Molly

    I would also like to say that I find it incredibly insulting that the vehement defense of abortion of this thread is coming from men.

    Like any of you could ever even understand what this argument is about. Mentally, emotionally, and physically – I have watched many of my female peers suffer in the a aftermath of abortions, many times encouraged, sometimes even threatened onto them by their “loving” boyfriends or even husbands. This whole abortion thing started because women were given second rate status and couldn’t work and had limited protection to provide for their children outside of a man’s care. Women are constantly told they cannot have or do it all – well that is ridiculous. Seriously men, you have done enough. We know the damage and we recognize the mistake (just like Roe did) and if you would just stay out of it, I guarantee abortion would be overturned tomorrow. But how inconvenient would that be for all the men of the world that would then be stuck with child…

  • Molly

    Lucy – a miscarriage is not the same thing as a “intentional” act of violence. Your daughters did nothing to intentionally end their pregnancy. Even if abortion was illegal and babies had fl protection, your daughters would still be looked on with care and sympathy – probably more so because at that point society would recognize it as a true loss, not just the passing of tissue as so many people refer to it as. There is not a person on the planet that would count a miscarriage as a murder. I’m sorry this happened to your daughters, but why even relate their tragedies to the defense of intentional feticide. Girlfriend, you need to get on the side of real women’s rights and stop giving men a screen to hide behind. Stop making excuses, look at the ultrasound and what God and technology/science is showing us. Just like with slavery, our nation needs to admit its wrong, that we have no right to exploit others out of convenience. Please get on the side of women and what is right.

  • Larry

    Hey Molly nobody has to care whether you think their pregnancy is inconvenient or women seeking abortions are being selfish. If its not your body, its not your call to make. What makes you think people have to clear their private, personal decisions for your approval? You are a nosybody who thinks everyone has to do what you say.

  • Jack

    I’ve only read through some of the comments, but it leaves me wondering whether anyone actually bothered to read the article.

    I guess the first people to post in response to an article are more likely not to have read it than those who post later on.

  • Jack

    Reading through these posts, I can’t quite decide whether it’s Shawnie’s combination of humility and brilliance or Larry’s combination of arrogance and ignorance that’s the dominant factor.

    I’ll call it a draw and say it’s 50/50.

    If this were a real fight, Larry would be flat on his back, gesturing at the referee to end it.

    But it’s a verbal fight, and so Larry, like a cartoon character, lives on to fight another day.

    He can even declare victory while on the ground — much like Israel’s enemies do when they pick fights with Israel and lose. So long as their lips and move and they can emit sounds, they say they’re victorious.

  • Jack

    “Morality is not the basis of laws.” (Larry)

    “Laws generally reflect somebody’s morality.” (Common sense)

    Larry v. Common Sense….like Don Quixote tilting at windmills.

  • Jack

    Eleanor, after reading the content of Larry’s dozens of posts, did you really think your conversation with him was going to be civil?

  • Jack

    Larry, you’re assuming the author is a calculating cynic like you are. The more likely explanation is that what we’re seeing is what we’re getting — an article showing us all the incongruity of calling what’s in the mother’s womb an unborn child when we want it and a fetus when we don’t.

    That’s it….

  • Jack

    Against the “mother?”

    But that would make the fetus a……er…….um…….yikes…..

  • Jack

    So in Max World, the government alone should do everything for everybody except protect life in the womb.

    Forget families….let the government do it. Forget friends…..let the government do it….Forget charities and other nonprofits…..let the government do it. Forget businesses…..let the government do it. Forget neighborhoods…..let the government do it. Forget communities….let the government do it. Forget personal initiative….let the government do it.

    But when it comes to human life? Get government out.

    Such is the “mind” of an easily-led sheep with no independent thought life of its own. Once a religious sheep….now an anti-religious sheep.

  • Jack

    Max, you failed to address the matter of autonomy….the fact that it doesn’t magically occur after birth…..a baby can’t live on its own. It can’t provide for itself, it can’t really do anything but rely on the adults.

    Instead of spewing empty rhetoric, you should man up and deal with the issue.

  • Jack

    So here’s a guy, Larry, who takes a fanatical view that abortion should be legal any time, anywhere, for any reason, no exceptions, arguing with a woman that it should be a woman’s choice.

    Funny how the woman doesn’t agree.


    In LarryWorld, all men (except Larry) are pro-life and all women are pro-choice, but in the real world, women are no more pro-choice than men are. There is no gender gap on abortion, nor has there ever been.

  • Jack

    You’ll have to forgive Max who is obviously going through a “free-at-last” midlife crisis….and, having slept through biology class, apparently believes that babies are magically and suddenly made at birth.

  • Jack

    The world is indeed filled with harsh truths, but on the bright side, more people over the past quarter-century have been lifted out of starvation and into the middle class than at any point in history. It is truly the untold story of our time.

    Interestingly enough, the modern obsession with abortion began with the Malthusian nonsense that the world was under-producing food and over-producing people….not realizing that more people ultimately meant more ideas which created better technology, resulting in record food productivity.

  • Jack

    The problem, Leo, is that millions of women disagree with you and say it is you who are disrespecting them.

    Or haven’t you noticed that most of the most passionate pro-lifers tend to be women, as is the case with pro-choicers?

  • Jack

    But Sharon, you’re a woman…..I thought all women were supposed to be pro-choice all the way to birth.

    At least that’s what Larry, Max, and Leo have told us…..

    Now get back in line and be pro-choice so you can make the Three Stooges happy.

  • Jack

    But Molly, you’re a woman….and here I thought all women were pro-choice….at least that’s what half the men on this board would have the rest of us men believe.

    You’re right, of course. It’s why the original feminists were pro-life. They realized that abortion was, among other things, a free ticket for men to get out from under the responsibility of fatherhood after getting someone pregnant.

    The pro-abortion movement did not historically arise from feminism, but from the population-control movement… had nothing to do with women’s rights and everything to do with quack theories about population growth and Social Darwinism and even eugenics that had nothing to do with real science or any other manifestation of reality.

  • Jack

    For those who didn’t know how the loony-left mind works, this board has been a “teachable moment.”

    Here are some conclusions:

    (1) Leftist men try to shut down pro-life men by saying that it’s a woman’s right to choose. But note the irony. They’re ignoring the millions of women who are pro-life and resent lefty men claiming the right to speak on their behalf.

    (2) Leftists accuse everyone else of being anti-science when they dare to push back against ideology masquerading as science. But on abortion, leftists abandon science for magical thinking when it comes to fetal development. They seem to believe babies are magically formed at birth and not a moment before it.

    (3) Leftists justify abortion at every stage by saying it’s okay of the baby is dependent on its mother. They forget that after birth, the baby remains dependent on its mother. There are no infants driving cars or buying their own food or doing much of anything other than being dependent.

  • Jack

    Leo, you’re forgetting that women are no more pro-choice or less pro-life than men are. You don’t speak for all women any more than I or any other men do.

    There is no gender gap on abortion… and women alike are all over the map on it.

    But nice try, though….

  • Jack

    Leo, tell that to the millions of women who are pro-life. Your stereotyping makes you sound like some old Marxist from a bygone era….standing up “for the gals.”

  • Jack

    Moe and Curly…..or, rather, Larry and Max, need to get their signals straight.


  • Jack

    In other words, Leo is “surprised” that this site doesn’t run articles that agree on him on everything all of the time.

    Sorry, Leo, but there’s a whole world out there….beyond your own. Part of being a tolerant human being is to admit it and deal with it, not try to make it go away.

    You talk a good game on tolerance, but for you, it means others must be tolerant of you, not the other way around.

    On abortion, the fact remains that you are an extremist on the issue — your view is as foreign to most women as it is to most men. Most people, men and women alike, are profoundly torn on the issue. They don’t see abortion as some absolute right that ignores the humanity of the fetus.

    When they see a sonogram, they see it as is, unfiltered by ideology. When you see a sonogram, assuming you’ve ever seen one, it’s through ideologically tinted glasses. Your ideology forces you to dehumanize what you see.

  • Jack

    Here’s a guy, Leo, who probably calls women words like “toots” or “broad,” lecturing to other men about women, all the while stereotyping every woman as agreeing with his extremist view on abortion.

    A man who thinks this way is a man who sees women as mainly sexual objects and little else. It’s so obvious it hardly needs to be said.

    It’s crass attempting to masquerade as class and it’s in equal measure hilarious and pathetic.

  • Jack

    Max says “the vast majority of abortions happen within a couple of weeks of pregnancy.”

    A couple of weeks?

    There Max goes again, taking a basic truth — that most abortions do occur early in a pregnancy — and stretching it beyond absurdity.

    Yes, Max, they occur very early….but not that early.

    And if you don’t know why, then that’s pretty sad.

  • Jack

    Max, what’s really going on is the opposite — men don’t want to take responsibility for getting a woman pregnant. For countless women, abortion is not some act of liberation. It’s a boy friend twisting his girl friend’s arm to get the abortion, saying that he will leave her if she doesn’t. That is anything but the monolithic depictions of abortion as empowerment that we are led to believe. Very often, it’s a very scared young woman being pushed hard to do what she would rather not do.

    For men, sure, it’s liberating… without responsibility or having to become a father……for women, at best, it depends on many things.

  • Jack

    Max, you’re claiming the right to speak for all women, and it should be obvious from the posts I’m reading on this board alone that you don’t.

    You speak for women who share your pro-choice view but obviously not for women with a pro-life view or something in between.

  • Larry

    He works for a Christian publishing house, of course he is an opportunistic cynic. He makes money off of catering to the uncritical and gullible. Appealing to the anti-abortion crowd is good business sense. Just another religion hustler making a buck.

    He is making a bullcrap analogy between an assault with an abortion. Leeching off of a current news event to stump for one of the most ridiculous concepts to see various state legislatures.

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  • Larry

    Shawnies humility???


    Do you have something to say on the topic or did you just come here to fling poo?

    I have a simple point: a baby is not a fetus. Being inside a body on an umbilical cord is not the same as being born. Biology backs me up here. If God wanted to preclude abortion, he would have given sapience to the platypus.

  • Larry

    I guess tone trolling is all you have left Jackie. What else is new.

  • Larry

    One harsh truth is that a fetus is not in the same position as a born child. But it is one every anti-abortion supporter likes to ignore. Biology is a harsh mistress. Praying to God doesn’t change its nature.

  • Shawnie5

    @Larry: Being born may not be the same as being unborn but that doesn’t address the question at all. The justifications for not according personhood to the unborn can be applied to the born as well–even to born ADULTS in some cases.

    @Jack — Good to see you as always. Thank you for your kind words.

  • Shawnie5

    “Or haven’t you noticed that most of the most passionate pro-lifers tend to be women?”


    In fact, out of all the people I have ever known in my own life, I am hard-pressed to think of even one man who particularly cared about the subject.

  • Shawnie5

    You nailed it, Jack.

    Back when I used to be interested in gender issues I had a lot of online discussions with radical feminists, and I discovered from these dialogues that the only creature they despise more than an MRA (men’s rights activist) is a “Nice Guy” who professes all the right feminist party lines–and therefore feels entitled to their sexual favors and is confused/resentful when they are not forthcoming.

    Leo is either the most pathetic version of the Nice Guy I’ve ever seen, or a woman using typically woman-firster (NOT feminist) shaming language (“real/not real men”) to silence men who voice opinions on the subject.

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