Actually Ending Abortion

A Supreme Court document had leaked today that suggests that they are going to overturn Roe v. Wade, in the process allowing abortion to be outlawed in 26 states immediately, as well as potential implications for undermining the previously-established rights to birth control and same-sex marriage.

For those who believe that abortion is a violation of the human rights of the child and should be illegal, this isn’t the supreme victory some will no doubt treat it as. Why is this? Because the goal is to end abortion, not to outlaw abortion. We have a meth crisis in our country despite the fact that meth is illegal. If you want to end the “abortion crisis,” it’s not going to be done by outlawing abortion, but by fighting the reasons abortions happen.

Almost every single not-medically-necessary abortion happens for one reason: Somebody got pregnant who didn’t intend to be pregnant. Many such people are absolutely desperate, their livelihoods at stake, or their standing in their community (especially for Christian communities), or even their lives in more extreme circumstances. Often the people most harmed by unwanted pregnancy are the people who have the least education and the most pressure to be having sex. So this creates the perfect storm for abortion: People who lack the sex education and resources to avoid pregnancy are the same people who have the most to lose if they get pregnant, and the fewest resources to raise their child. Abortion becomes a very attractive option to many such people, even if they might be against it on paper. Even in places where they’re illegal, abortions still happen. They’re just under the table, often in unsafe environments that can cause terrible infections, serious blood loss, infertility, or even death.

For people in these situations, an abortion is a tragedy. Not getting an abortion is also a tragedy. A child is born into a home that can’t support it, with parents that aren’t prepared (often just one parent), which also shuts the door on most chances for higher education, job advancement, and other ways of self improvement for the biological mother. They could go into foster care, but that system is so strained for resources and not best for children. There are no good solutions except one: Prevention.

Regardless of how one feels about the legality of abortion, the best course of action is to minimize unwanted pregnancies. Statistically speaking, nothing works better than easy access to contraception and comprehensive sex education in all schools, teaching that the absolute best way to avoid pregnancy and STDs is abstinence, but also about contraception and how to use it safely and effectively. On top of this, it also teaches consent, which seeks to combat rape. Sexual education that only teaches abstinence has been found to be less effective, causing more pregnancy and more abortion, even when abortion is illegal.

Not everyone believes in contraception, but nobody has to use it if it’s against their beliefs. People who choose to stay abstinent without contraception are still doing their part to fight abortion, but the evidence shows that people deprived of contraception do not refrain from sex. They just have unprotected sex and pregnancies happen. And when that happens, abortion happens. Remember, a “good Christian girl” who gets a secret abortion never gets in trouble for having sex.

We can talk all day about what “should” happen, but at the end of the day if your goal is to save the lives of the unborn, you can’t live in the ideal world. You have to live in the real world, and fight from all angles. And if contraception rights do get gutted by this ruling or a ruling that comes after, anyone who considers themselves pro-life should be on the front lines of guaranteeing the return of those rights.

This is a really important point. I’m reminded of the failures of the “war on drugs”. When I was in school, there was a lot of talk about all the trouble you could get into for doing drugs, and almost no discussion about the reasons people do drugs in the first place. (At least, none of the real reasons; turns out, people don’t do drugs just to “look cool” like all the TV spots said.) Focusing exclusively on “supply” and neglecting the “demand” is a recipe for ineffectual policies. Both are important pieces to the discussion.

I want to protect life, but not just unborn life. It’s not enough to just be against elective abortion. Anyone who really, truly cares about the well-being of an unborn child should also be willing to support that child and their parents during the most critical years of development (and beyond). Anyone who sincerely believes that parenthood and the powers of procreation are sacred responsibilities should also support easier access to tools and information that help people make decisions regarding pregnancy.

Of course, that smacks of pluralism, which is increasingly hard to come by in the U.S. In recent years, both sides of the political spectrum have focused on gaining a supermajority so they can force everyone to do what they want. Instead, we need to engage with each other, especially those we disagree with. We need to be curious enough to find out why people think the way they do. To Sleet’s point, that would mean finding out why so many people seek abortion, instead of making assumptions about them.

Granted, in the short run, I don’t know if understanding what motivates a person to be pro-choice or pro-life is likely to change any Supreme Court decisions in the near future. But it might put us on the path to respecting and caring for one another better, which will hopefully lead to putting laws and systems in place that protect everyone, not just those who haven’t been born yet.

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For several years now I have been what you could call a Pro-Life activist. I believe that abortion should be illegal in most circumstances except for instances where the mother’s life is at stake. As for the “Rape Exception”, I think it’s kind of a moral gray area. On one hand, I understand why someone would want to abort a fetus that was the result of rape. Rape is a traumatic experience, and it’s totally understandable why someone wouldn’t want to carry a 9-month reminder of it. But on the other hand, the baby shouldn’t be punished for the crimes of the father. I know I will never be pregnant, but I truly believe the best moral option is to carry the baby to birth and put her up for adoption (more on adoption later). I usually focus on abortion as a means of birth control, which is entirely abhorrent as it is killing a child who’s only crime was being inconvenient.

Anyway, I digress. I do think that overturning Roe V. Wade is a step in the right direction. Sure, people may still get abortions, but at least it won’t be sanctioned by the law, and at least our tax money won’t go to it. However, it will open up many unwanted doors that it will be up to Pro-Lifers to shut. For example, many people don’t want to put their children up for adoption because the adoption/Foster Care system in this country isn’t great, to say the least. Therefore, as abortion becomes more and more restricted, the Pro Life movement should shift their focus towards reforming the Adoption/Foster Care system if we truly care about children. I am not well versed in the problems with the system to name specific things we must do, but if many people would rather kill their children than put them up for adoption, I think that says enough about what has to be done. Also, I do support access to non-abortive birth control. I know my view is probably a minority among many pro-lifers, but it’s better to prevent a fetus from forming in the first place than to dismember the fetus, whether legally or not. I believe it’s the right of certain churches and religious groups to not allow birth control in their own circles, but women also have the right to non-abortive birth control, and I think if we truly want abortion to end, we must choose the lesser evil and protect this right. As many people have said before, abortion shouldn’t just be illegal, it should be unthinkable, and reforming the Foster Care System and protecting access to non-abortive birth control is what I believe to be the way towards making abortion unthinkable.

I’m a member of the United Utah Party, and their view on abortion pretty closely aligns with my religion’s values.

In my religion, the only reasons somebody MIGHT be able to have an abortion without it being wrong are these:

  • Rape
  • Incest
  • Mother’s life in danger
  • Baby has severe deformities such that it will not survive beyond birth

But these don’t automatically justify it in my religion. UUP would only legalize these scenarios.

Now these exceptions matter a lot to me, enough that I would rather pick an entirely pro-choice position over pro-life if that means getting rid of any of these exceptions.

But keeping other types of abortions doesn’t really actually help. You trade mortal shame for possibly eternal punishment, and that’s not worth it to me. Indeed, we need to fight against why people want to have it. We need to be able to make people feel like they don’t have to hide it if they made a religious mistake regarding sex. We need to not hate people for doing the wrong thing.

Easy contraception access is probably a good idea, especially because there are those who cannot get pregnant and be physically able to handle it. Some also end up doubling up as treatment for something else.

The other thing is this: if the only thing stopping people from having sex is the fear of pregnancy, that’s not even a good reason. Believing sex in certain scenarios is wrong is far more sustainable of a barrier.

I don’t typically throw my hat into the ring on these Serious Discussion topics, but for this one I actually will. Though a few of my views are really harsh, just bear with me.

So my belief on Abortion is that it should ONLY be allowed in the extreme of cases. In which, I actually agree with mostly everything that the four of you have previously stated. In cases of rape or where the mother’s life is at extreme risk, I think abortion should be okay… HOWEVER… Where my opinion differs here is that if people are having unprotected sex without any idea of what they’re doing and wind up getting pregnant as a result, I think it should be their responsibility to take action for the life they’re bringing into the world and should be arrested if they would get an abortion over something like that. There’s absolutely no reason whatsoever for that, it’s one of those “you dug your own grave, now you lie in it” situations as I would like to believe. The same on this would go for giving up a born baby for adoption just because you don’t want it. No, YOU made the action, YOU learn to deal with the consequences. Seriously, sometimes I wonder if a lot of humanity has trouble thinking with their first head and only sees to think with their second. >_>

In fact, as far as sex itself is concerned, I do not believe in pre-marital sex in any way, shape, and form just because it goes against everything I believe in (and… I’m kind of on the judgmental side of that subject too as much as I HATE being judgmental). I think the couples who are together for a while and decide to get married and plan ahead would be the ones the most responsible for raising children.

That’s my two cents on it at least anyway :stuck_out_tongue:

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The way I’ve had this position explained to me from the perspective of “abortion is wrong but an exception can be made for rape” is that pregnancy is having a human being’s life on the line when only one person is capable of saving them. In the even of consensual unprotected intercourse, that life is the responsibility of the parents. If the biological mother did not consent to the intercourse that created the pregnancy, then not getting an abortion would be morally praiseworthy, but not morally mandatory. In other words, carrying the pregnancy to term through great personal sacrifice should be seen as a very good deed, but getting an abortion would be seen as declining to do a good deed, not doing an evil deed.

I would add to this that we need to do a better job making sure biological fathers are held responsible for the lives they create, not just biological mothers. But, unfortunately, even if the anti-abortion movement isn’t about “controlling women” for everyone (obviously), it still is a motivator for enough people that something that burdens men like that would be a really hard sell. It’s something I think the anti-abortion movement needs to reckon with and try to cast out of the movement.

This is a really great point. Purely from the perspective of “premarital sex is a sin” beliefs (and that’s even ignoring all the time married couples get pregnant unwillingly), even then, if the only thing that stops someone from having premarital sex is a threat, then they’re still sinning all the same. Jesus said the lust is as sinful as the act, after all. I don’t really like that particular way of approaching sin, myself, but even within that framework, preventing sin via mortal consequences is not actually preventing sin.

What do you mean by this, if I may ask?

I actually USED to think it was a sin, but I’ve had people change my stance on that. Even still, to me I frown upon it just because it is kind of disgusting in a manner of speaking. It’s like… you’re committing to the ULTIMATE bonding level, and when you do that it should be with the person you’ve committed your entire life to through marriage. So for me it’s more of a personal thing than a Christian belief, and I do have my reasons for it, but I would rather not share those publicly because it is… like i said… personal.

On a similar note, I’d like to ask you Sleet since I genuinely like hearing your opinions. But what is YOUR stance on the whole pre-marital sex topic if I may? ^^

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So I’m almost certainly going to be the contrarian here in suggesting that yesterday’s leak is one of the most nightmarish things to come out of our highest court.

The United States has nothing close to a functioning public healthcare system; women are still grossly underpaid doing the same work as men; we have no federally-mandated paid parental leave; rent, gas, food, and postsecondary education costs are soaring; birth control is hard to get in many places; the adoption system is strained; childcare is often difficult to find and expensive; sexual assault and harassment still regularly happen in our workplaces, and people can experience extreme medical complications from pregnancy. We are in no ethical position to force pregnant people to have children they don’t want.

Irrespective of whatever your own personal beliefs are about the sanctity of sex in and out of marriage, not everyone follows the same moral principles as each other. If I could get pregnant, I don’t know if I would have an abortion. But I absolutely shouldn’t be telling the pregnant person next to me what to do, because that’s their choice. Contraceptives and birth control can fail. An otherwise-abstinent person can be raped. People who do their best not to get pregnant can still get pregnant even if they do everything “right” to not get pregnant. And it’s not their fault at all.

And the thing is, this should be completely fine. This thread is called “Actually Ending Abortion,” which so far has been suggested contraceptives and comprehensive sex ed as ways to end abortion. I certainly think both those are good things! And they do generally reduce abortions. But built into the question is this implicit notion that abortions are inherently a bad thing that need to be stopped, irrespective of their legality. And I don’t think that’s a given. I think they’re morally neutral healthcare decisions, and they can be a good or bad thing depending on whether the person wants to have one or not. An abortion’s just an abortion. The termination of a pregnancy in the early stages of embryonic development isn’t murder. Personhood does not begin at conception.

For what it’s worth, I can totally understand being bothered by the question of embryonic personhood—it’s a messy one, for sure, and one I chew on quite a bit—but I don’t think yesterday’s leak was about that. I think it has far more to do with conservative politics and reactionism. The precedent here is really concerning, because it also threatens the “right to privacy” that has kept Obergefell (gay marriage), Lawrence (decriminalizing homosexuality), Griswold (easy access to contraceptives), Skinner (no forced sterilization), Meyer (no forced English-learning), and Loving (legalizing interracial marriage) afloat.

Easily-accessible contraceptives, comprehensive sex education, paid parental leave (for any parent!), free and/or affordable healthcare, rent/shelter, food, childcare, and education; paying everyone equally for the same work regardless of gender, and a major overhaul of the way we handle sexual harassment and assault will do far more to reduce the (morally neutral) number of abortions in our country. We continually place the burden on women to figure this out rather than holding men accountable for causing unwanted pregnancies. Yesterday’s leak is deeply concerning.

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The movement to increase regulation of abortion is a diverse one with lots of different motivations (as is its counterpart, for that matter). As a result, it’s inappropriate when people try to paint the entire movement as just about controlling women or regressing to a deeply patriarchal society. That said, that element still very much exists within the movement. And while I would imagine you’re far from alone in the movement for wanting to make sure men are held responsible for pregnancies they help create, the sad fact remains that there are people who feel otherwise who make up enough of the movement to make a difference. Increasing the burden on women is an “acceptable sacrifice” but increasing the burden on men is a bridge too far for them. Which makes any attempts at this one harder to sell within the movement, sadly.

To be fair this also isn’t a given. The entire debate is wrapped up in a very complicated ethical scenario that I think 99% of people on all sides of it fail to give its due consideration. It’s far too attractive to just see everything through the light of “my views are obviously self-evident and those other people are just being evil.” Because let’s face it: Being wrong on this particular topic is terrifying. Could you imagine advocating for harshly restrictive reproductive rights for no reason? Could you imagine advocating for legalized murder for no reason?

I don’t mean this to say “so let’s just never decide anything and hand-wave away the issue,” I just felt it was important to recognize. Because as things stand right now we have a ton of people talking past each other, choosing to look at the best representations of their own movement and the worst representations of the opposite.

I specifically brought it up from this perspective because I feel like that’s where there’s the most to say. From the perspective of “abortion should be legal in most if not all situations” I think it goes without saying why this might be horrifying. But especially in a community where a lot of people don’t feel that way, I wanted to emphasize that they, too, should be worried. And I want to do my best to help create a world where so-called “pro-life” and so-called “pro-choice” people can still work together to improve the safety and freedom of women and children and minimize the number of scenarios where people even have to make the difficult choice in the first place.

I did want to push back a bit on the idea of abortion as “neutral,” however. Even if we take as an assumption that a fetus is a non-person who is of no moral consideration whatsoever, an abortion is an invasive, often emotionally traumatic medical procedure with risks. Illegal abortions are so much more dangerous and so much more traumatic, but from a medical standpoint, even a “safe” abortion isn’t without its risks. For maximizing medical outcomes, minimizing the number of abortions is a public health good, even without factoring in any moral consideration of which bodily rights, if any, the fetus has. In medicine, prevention is always superior to curing.

Agreed entirely and I really want people to be talking about that. This could get very scary for everyone. This is a wonderful (horrible, really) example of why “doing the right thing for the wrong reason” can be so dangerous (of course, operating under the assumption that it’s even the right thing in the first place).

That’s the other thing that bugs me a lot about this. Much of the American Right (much, not all) is so hesitant to make any sacrifices of purity such as “raising taxes to take care of these children” or “providing free birth control” or whatever, but as soon as women’s autonomy is what’s at stake then suddenly no sacrifice is too great for the unborn. It’s gross.

I think we can do better, and those who want to be better need to hold their own movement accountable.

I don’t expect Roe v Wade to ever be overturned, but I’m praying that it does. Even if it does get overturned, won’t the ultimate decision be left up to the states?

James brought up some excellent points here. I certainly don’t want my tax money to pay for something so terrible. And families who fight against abortion can offer to a mother to adopt to personally adopt her baby if she’s considering abortion. I realize that not everyone is in a situation to adopt, but I personally know two families who have offered to adopt to mothers in that situation. I don’t know the legal qualifications for that, but it may be worth considering for some pro-life families.

One argument I’ve heard for abortion legality is that outlawing abortion will lead to a spike in illegal abortions that are unsafe for the mother. While that’s probably true, shouldn’t we support what is right and abhor what is evil? Shouldn’t our laws reflect that? Humans are precious and made in the image of God. In my opinion, the only abortion that should ever be considered as justifiable is when the mother’s safety is at risk.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember to treat others with respect when you’re fighting for what you believe to be right. We need reminders that everyone has value. Speaking the truth in love is easier said than done, but you still need to voice the truth. The context for speaking the truth in love in Ephesians 4 is talking about the Christian walk and interaction with fellow believers, but I think it applies to anyone you might meet. Abortion activists included.

In 1978, Pennsylvanian asbestos worker Robert McFall was suffering from a disease called aplastic anemia. It’s a rare condition where bone marrow stops producing blood cells in sufficient quantities to replenish ones being lost, and it is fatal without a bone marrow transplant. Mr. McFall needed a donor or he would die. The people most likely to be matches are direct siblings.

That being said, Mr. McFall’s cousin, a crane operator named David Shimp, was a match – the only match at the time – and he was initially willing to be Robert McFall’s donor. With the transplant, doctors estimated that Robert McFall would have a fifty to sixty percent of survival and recovery. The procedure was also relatively without risk to Mr. Shimp.

However David Shimp had recurring nightmares of the procedure going wrong. He rescinded his agreement to be Robert McFall’s donor. McFall was certain to die. Shimp was sued in order to force him to provide the bone marrow necessary for McFall’s survival.

On July 26, 1978, Allegheny County Judge John P. Flaherty ruled in the case McFall v. Shimp that while he found Shimp’s position morally indefensible, he refused to order McFall to donate his bone marrow, stating it “would defeat the sanctity of the individual and would impose a rule which would know no limits, and one could not imagine where the line would be drawn.”

Robert McFall died a month and a half later.

Access to David Shimp’s bone marrow – to his body – likely would have preserved the life of Robert McFall. Shimp not consenting to the donation of his bone marrow resulted in Robert McFall succumbing to aplastic anemia. Despite being an American citizen, despite clearly being a person, despite dying without it, despite the medical procedure posing no great risk to the patient, Robert McFall’s right to life did not supersede David Shimp’s right to bodily autonomy.

I bring this up for two reasons:

One, it eliminates the question of whether life begins at conception as a consideration regarding abortion. Robert McFall had the full privilege of being a citizen and a person without any ambiguity; he was not granted state sanction over the body of another citizen to maintain his life. Where you personally consider life to begin – when you consider someone to be a person – is just as valid and as irrelevant as where I consider life to begin and when I consider someone to be a person. It isn’t a question that needs to be settled; it is a red herring that distracts from the issue. I am willing to grant the beliefs of anyone as to when someone is a person and where life begins. It will not change the principles that apply, and it will not change the conclusion that is reached from those principles.

This brings me to my second point. Abortion is a question of the rights of an individual citizen to their own body. If you believe a person is a person at conception, aborting a pregnancy results in the death of that person, since they cannot survive independent of the pregnancy. There are two consistent options to address this: sanctioning the government to use the bodies of citizens to preserve the lives of other citizens, or affirming individual liberty and the personal freedom of citizens, in spite of potential people who could die without mandated access to other people. The former would grant the government dominion to your body for any reason deemed in the public interest. The latter would not.

I am immensely sympathetic to Robert McFall. I am frustrated that David Shimp refused to consent to the procedure simply because he was scared. But regardless of the validity of his reason, if you are willing to acquiesce control over someone’s bodily autonomy and force them to preserve the life of another, what powers are really being given to the government? And how might their new powers be used against you?

The Supreme Court of the United States is poised to overturn Roe V Wade, erasing half a century of right to privacy precedent that the conservative majority on the court has now determined is not in the Constitution and therefore does not exist, spelling trouble for all enumerated rights not found in the literal text of the Constitution.

I don’t know how to end this. In conclusion, I think things are going to get worse for everyone, I guess. Goodnight.

This is, thankfully, not true. I would not trust any source that would publish something like that anymore.

Thank you, Sleet. It’s hard finding reliable news sources sometimes. I will edit my original post accordingly.

I definitely think that preventing unwanted pregnancies by increasing access to contraceptives, clearly communicating consent, and safe sex practices definitely helps avoid these messy situations from coming up in the first place. If an abortion isn’t necessary because the unwanted pregnancy never occurs, then there’s no worry about invasive procedures.

My point’s really more that framing the debate as minimizing the occurrence of a bad thing (an abortion procedure) is not universally accepted. Any surgery or medical procedure can come with risks and the possibility of emotional distress, and abortions aren’t any different. When I say “neutral,” I don’t mean to suggest that abortions are emotionally mundane. I mean to say that I don’t personally believe that they’re right or wrong in itself, and that the goodness or badness of an abortion decision should be made between a pregnant person and their doctor. Many people feel relief or do not regret their abortions at all.

I respect your right to have concerns about the morality of abortion and that you are inclined to frame it as reducing the number of possible-humans to be born. This is particularly true when accompanied with the belief that personhood is present in embryonic development (as you do). I just want it to be represented in this thread that many in the conversation consider abortions to be no more traumatic, invasive, or negatively-connotated as any other healthcare procedure.

How can you justify saying that you’re supporting “what is right” and “abhor[ring] what is evil” when you explicitly concede that the policy you are advocating for will lead to unsafe and life-threatening situations for pregnant people?

I don’t quite follow, but I want to understand. There’s definitely a difference between taking an action that would end a human life and choosing not to take an action that would have saved a human life. But wouldn’t choosing to get an abortion be the former, not the latter?

I think that distinction is also relevant to the bone marrow transplant example that @Peameal brought up. I agree that I don’t want the government to be able to force us to use our bodies to save another’s life, but isn’t there a difference between that and preventing someone from actively seeking to destroy another’s life? (Again, assuming that an unborn child qualifies as human life.)

“… but isn’t there a difference between [choosing not to take an action that would save a human life] and preventing someone from actively seeking to destroy another’s life?”

That’s a fair question. I think legislators will initially use the overturning of Roe v. Wade to introduce laws that restrict reproductive rights, so practically, they will target the circumstances of bodily autonomy which a plurality of the public already oppose: abortion. I don’t have the imagination or sufficient legal knowledge to know the full consequences of repealing fifty years of right to privacy precedent, but I suspect it’s a grim sign for many enumerated rights not found in the literal text of the United States Constitution, and that has the ability to radically reshape the country into a very different place.

If we are asking if McFall v. Shimp and abortion are different because David Shimp did not consent to his bone marrow being donated to Robert McFall while a pregnant person is destroying the life of another person, I understand why they are perceived differently. I can show that they are principally the same thing, though.

Abortion terminates a pregnancy. Not all abortions kill. A cesarean section is an abortion that surgically removes the baby from the abdomen of the pregnant person. It’s actually how I was born. They are performed when a vaginal delivery is not possible or safe for the mother or baby. Late term abortions, which may be needed if the life of the pregnant person is at risk, do not necessarily result in the death of the child if the child is viable outside the womb (typically around twenty-five weeks of maturation they are likely to survive, with greater odds every subsequent week). The purpose of an abortion is not to actively seek to destroy another’s life. It is to terminate a pregnancy. That a life or person may die from that procedure is incidental; it is not the goal.

David Shimp did not actively seek to kill Robert McFall by not allowing McFall his body, but McFall died without the bone marrow transplant. Shimp did not consent to the procedure. McFall’s death was incidental to that, but not Shimp’s goal. He just didn’t want to do the bone marrow transplant.

For their reasons, some people are pregnant who do not consent to it. A pregnancy is a life altering event. It can permanently change the body of the pregnant person. It requires major adjustments on the parent to accommodate a dependent, regardless of their socioeconomic means, status or ability. Unlike a bone marrow transplant, pregnancy is comparatively more dangerous with more complications that can arise. In the United States childbirth is fourteen times more dangerous to the pregnant person than an abortion.*

Abortion terminates the pregnancy. It is a person not consenting to their body being used to support the life of another. The goal is to end a pregnancy, not kill someone. And if you expect others to be forced by law to have their body support the lives of other people, principally you should be willing to have your body available by law to preserve the lives of other people as well.

*The comparative safety of legal induced abortion and childbirth in the United States - PubMed

In this situation, I would think the act is basically removing the person from your body, and the fact that they cannot survive without your body is just an unfortunate side effect. There then is the question of lethal abortion vs. removing the fetus safely and letting it die on its own, which I think a lot of people would consider basically medically equivalent, or even the latter being an act of cruelty.

Also, I think considering a cesarean section to be an “abortion” is kind of an immaterial turn of semantics. Medically speaking, the term “abortion” is used specifically to refer to the fetal death, and the thing not commonly called abortion that’s technically an abortion is not a cesarean section but rather a miscarriage, technically referred to as a “spontaneous abortion” (rather than an “induced abortion”).

Thanks, that does at least help me understand the reasoning a bit better. It still feels different to me though. Assuming we are talking about an abortion that results in the death of the fetus (which I think is what we are talking about in the vast majority of cases when we are discussing abortion), and assuming one knows that will be the result of the procedure, regardless of whether or not killing the fetus is the desired outcome, they are still choosing that by going through with the procedure.

In the case of rape, it is extremely unfair for the woman to be put in that situation where they would need to make a choice like that in the first place. She never had the chance to consider whether her body was physically ready to carry a child to term. That’s why I am more on the fence for that particular scenario.

But going back to abortions that don’t result in the death of the fetus for a moment: I have never, and I mean not even one single time, heard a cesarean birth referred to as an “abortion.” I suppose that technically does terminate the pregnancy sooner than it would have ended on its own, but then again, so does medically inducing a pregnant woman to go into labor. I’ll leave it up to the medical professionals to determine whether the term “abortion” correctly applies in these cases.

Still, @Peameal’s post did remind me that while we may have a general idea of what we mean when we say the word “abortion”, without clearly defining it, it could mean more than we think. There is ostensibly-pro-life legislation that I am opposed to, and that is legislation that is sloppily or hastily written. The most recent example I’m aware of is Missouri HB 2810. Critics of the bill say that it would ban treating an ectopic pregnancy. This is when the fetus begins developing inside the fallopian tube instead of in the uterus. The only way to treat this condition is to remove the fetus. This results in the death of the fetus 100% of the time, but so would not removing it; there is no way for a healthy baby to develop in this scenario. Moreover, not removing it is fatal to the mother. Now, there is debate over whether or not the language in the bill would apply to ectopic pregnancies. And proponents of the bill claim that ectopic pregnancies were never intended to be included in the bill. However, the fact that two different people can read the bill and come to different conclusions as to whether or not it applies to ectopic pregnancies should be very concerning. It reveals a lack of care on the part of those writing the bill. If the goal of pro-life legislation is to protect life, then we must demand better of the ones drafting said legislation.

Also, slight tangent, but I often hear the phrase “incest or rape” when discussing abortion laws. In this context, what is the distinction between the two? I was under the impression that the term “incest” here refers to non-consensual sex with someone you are closely related to (like a sibling, parent, etc.). If so, wouldn’t that also be rape? Why use a different word for it? Is it because it’s especially heinous and so it deserves its own category, even if it is also rape?