The Jury Talks Back


Some Criticism for Both Sides of the Abortion Debate

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 11:13 pm

Alternate title: aunursa attempts to walk a tightrope.  Oh well, here goes…

Abortion Rights Supporters

Pro-choice.  Stop calling yourselves that.  The majority of you are, ironically, anti-choice on an amazing number of issues.  Many of you want to decide what foods I may not eat, what cars I may not drive, and what words I may not say.  You want to decide (through government mandate) how my money is spent and what my children are taught.  You don’t get to call yourselves “pro-choice” based on just one issue.  No euphemisms — don’t be afraid to use a term that actually includes the “A” word — you know, the issue you’re contesting.

Buffer zones.  Stop calling for them.  Certainly anyone who threatens, harasses, or obtructs patients or workers should be prosecuted under existing trespass and assault (and related) laws.  That said, the fact that some opponents are disruptive should not allow the government to curtail the First Amendment rights of all of your opponents in a manner not applied to other disorderly partisans (Prop. 8 opponents, for example.)  Be honest — are the sensitivities of workers and patients really so fragile that they require protection from a peaceful protest?

Late-term abortions.  Don’t restrict them.  If it’s about bodily autonomy, as you claim, then a woman should be able to exercise her reproductive freedom at any point during the pregnancy.  Yet some of you are willing, for political expediency, to agree to a ban in the 3rd trimester.  What happens during the 27th (or 30th … or 35th) week that suddenly provides the fetus with a right to be born?

Abortion Opponents

Pro-life.  Stop calling yourselves that.  The term actually covers a broad range of issues, including opposition to euthanasia, assisted suicide, population control, and capital punishment.  Since many of you support at least one of them, you don’t get to imply a false consensus.  Use a term that includes the “A” word, and don’t be afraid to define yourselves in opposition to the issue you’re contesting.

Rape and incest.  Don’t allow exceptions for them.  If abortion is murder, as you claim with pious certainty, why would some of you allow the innocent baby to be killed based on the circumstances of the conception?  Here, too, it’s for political expediency, one that you wouldn’t accept for other situations you consider life-threatening.  Makes me wonder how serious some of you are about equating the “A” word with the “M” word.

Posters of aborted fetuses.  Don’t use them.  You may think that they’re effective, but they actually turn off the ones you most want to convince.  Most observers become disgusted, not with the concept of abortion, but with your shocking tactics.  Want to draw people to your side?  Display giant posters of beautiful, healthy, in-utero babies.


  1. Fine, I’m not pro- all life, just innocent human life. Kill as many animals as you like, and as many murderers, terrorists, pirates, etc. as you can track down. But leave innocent people alone, even if they can’t breathe without a respirator or an umbilical cord. And yeah, it’s no more just to kill rapists’ innocent children than it is to kill murderers’ children, or traitors’ children. Corruption of the Blood is explicitly banned in the US constitution, and is not practised in any civilised country. I’ve never understood the exception for incest; I don’t even understand why incest is illegal in the first place. But if those posters disgust you, then the crime that produces them should disgust you even more.

    Comment by Milhouse — 11/27/2008 @ 3:28 am

  2. And then, as many abortion-issue polls show, lots of us are neither anti-abortion nor anti-fetal-rights. We may be fine with abortion-on-demand in the first trimester, but have a big problem once the last few months roll around and the fetus is now viable outside the womb. At that point abortion for any but the most existential reasons becomes abomination.

    The real annoyance to us in the middle is that the two sides are talking screaming past us and at each other. Preaching to the other choir if you will. It’s old, pointless, loud, and annoying.

    Public opinion hasn’t moved in years. Isn’t it about time we settled this issue on the terms that neither extreme the majority wants?

    Comment by Kevin Murphy — 11/27/2008 @ 11:03 am

  3. Comment by Kevin Murphy — 11/27/2008 @ 11:03 am

    You’re way too rational for this debate.

    Comment by Another Drew — 11/27/2008 @ 1:27 pm

  4. Like Milhouse above I distinguish between innocent life and murderers. I see no inconsistency in trying to protect a baby and favoring capital punishment for convicted 1st degree murderers.

    I do not oppose abortion where the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother. It is not for the state to choose between two forms of innocent life.

    I don’t think the state should force a person to accept the consequences of an act to which she did not consent. While I would hope that a rape victim would allow the baby to live, I would not deny her an abortion. Incest involving an older male and an underage female involves manipulated consent and I would treat it like rape.

    Comment by Stu707 — 11/27/2008 @ 4:35 pm

  5. Stu, doesn’t every crime victim have to accept the consequences? If someone is robbed, they have to live with the consequences. They don’t get to rob someone else to make up the loss — not even the robber’s relatives. So why does a rape victim get to take revenge on the rapist’s innocent child? Executing the children of criminals is something from our dark past.

    If a rape victim doesn’t want to have to cope with a possible pregnancy, let her take care of it before she knows whether it ever existed. As the police are done with her let her get herself cleaned out, and/or take the “morning-after pill”. The odds are very good that she was not pregnant, and now she’ll never know different. Even those who believe an embryo is a person right from the moment of conception differ on just when “conception” happens, so even they have wiggle room. But once you know the baby exists, killing it just because of who its father was is no different from killing the same rapist’s already-born children.

    Comment by Milhouse — 11/28/2008 @ 7:22 am

  6. Milhouse, Yes every crime victim is forced to live with the consequences of the criminal act and can not legally or morally exact revenge upon innocent third parties. I agree that a rape victim can and should avail herself of morning-after pills and other medical procedures for cleansing. It is also true that very few abortions are performed on rape victims.

    In the case of a pregnant rape victim I do not see abortion as revenge upon the father who probably does not know or care about the fate of his child in any case. In having an abortion a rape victim is sparing herself additional suffering over and above that caused by the original criminal act. The physical and emotional burden and pain of nine months of pregnancy and childbirth are significantly beyond what most crime victims experience.

    Comment by Stu707 — 11/28/2008 @ 10:51 am

  7. Stu: The physical and emotional burden and pain of nine months of pregnancy and childbirth are significantly beyond what most crime victims experience.

    Do the physical and emotional burden and pain of the innocent rape victim outweigh the price that the innocent child pays?

    Comment by aunursa — 11/28/2008 @ 11:53 am

  8. No. There is no price higher than life itself. I hope that a pregnant rape victim would allow the baby to live. I am unwilling to prevent a pregnant rape victim from having an abortion.

    Comment by Stu707 — 11/28/2008 @ 1:22 pm

  9. 1. It seems to me that being pro-life can include at least one exception to the whole “we gotta be 100% pure” thing. I’m for capital punishment, and, as others have said, I see a big difference between innocent life and the lives of those who kill in cold blood. Also, using this reasoning, if you eat anything at all, then you couldn’t be “pro-life” because even plants are living. This is ridiculous.

    2. I don’t agree with rape and incest exceptions because it’s just a way to excuse the inexcusable.

    3. I don’t think grisly posters do much good. Posters of babies in utero do work better.

    Having said all that, I don’t mind making some horse trades to lower the number of legal abortions performed. So, if a rape and incest exception will get more people on board to abortion restrictions, then I can live with that. I don’t want the best to be the enemy of the good.

    Comment by Sharon — 11/29/2008 @ 5:47 am

  10. Having said all that, I don’t mind making some horse trades to lower the number of legal abortions performed. So, if a rape and incest exception will get more people on board to abortion restrictions, then I can live with that. I don’t want the best to be the enemy of the good.

    Very good. You don’t like the rape and incest exclusions but are willing to tolerate them in order to reduce the far greater number of abortions that are performed for pregnancies other than those due to rape or incest. In fact less than 1% of US abortions are performed upon women who are victims of rape or incest.

    Comment by Stu707 — 11/29/2008 @ 12:54 pm

  11. I am opposed to euthanasia, assisted suicide, and population control for exactly the same reasons I oppose abortion. And I extend my opposition to include all circumstances outside those which threaten the health of the mother. I’m not for those, but that choice, albeit difficult, is one that should be left to those whose lives are actually affected.

    As for capital punishment, it is my opinion that some acts forfeit the perp’s right to life on this earth. I hope and pray that those so sentenced use the time (should be 10) to ponder his/(her?) relationship with whatever deity they choose to recognize, but they need to answer for their crime. The only caveat is if I can be pursuaded that the punishment is not handed down in a uniformly just manner and that this flaw cannot be fixed. I suspect the former but doubt the latter.

    Ergo, I claim the mantle, Right to Lifer.

    Comment by Chris — 12/1/2008 @ 2:18 pm

  12. Ack! Above post truncated parenthetical remarks. Deaths sentences should be executed in less than 1 year, not greater than 10. Hope this text version passes the filter…

    Comment by Chris — 12/1/2008 @ 2:21 pm

  13. Just about the only point I take issue with is the one concerning the pro-life label. Yes, pro-live can refer to other issues, but the abortion issue is the primary life issue. Over a million children are aborted every year in the US. I suspect that the instances of all the other life issues are far more rare, indeed in comparison they barely exist at all today in the US.

    The crux of the issue is life. Choice conveniently skips the life discussion you correctly identify as the central issue. A fetus is a living human being. Calling the issue pro-life frames the debate as it should be framed.

    But the real reason for the term is that negative slogans like anti-abortion turn people off and play into the stereotype that it is all about choice and life has nothing to do with it. This should not matter, but it does when dealing with a largely thoughtless and easily influenced public.

    And it is accurate. We want the baby to survive. They don’t.

    Comment by Amphipolis — 12/2/2008 @ 8:43 am

  14. Yes, pro-live can refer to other issues, but the abortion issue is the primary life issue.

    In that case, abortion opponents should be called “pro-birth“.

    Comment by aunursa — 12/2/2008 @ 1:36 pm

  15. Good point. I like it.

    On a related note, I have always said that birth control ought to be called pregnancy control. Abortion is, after all, a form of birth control.

    Comment by Amphipolis — 12/2/2008 @ 8:53 pm

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