What’s The Dilemma

With the 38th anniversary of Roe v Wade on January 22 this year, the proponents of both sides of the issue came out to emphasize their apologetic for their side of the abortion debate.  This has got me thinking, why do pro-abortion abortion advocates get so heated?  Having listened to arguments they offer in support of protecting a woman’s ability to secure an abortion, why do they get so emotional?  Their emotional fervor seems to belie certain defenses, particularly that abortion is not a decision made lightly and therefore should not be trivialized.  And that abortion merely removes a mass of tissue and not a human life, and therefore cannot be said to be an immorality.  But are these particular defenses compatible given the nature of the atmosphere surrounding the abortion debate?

If pro-abortion advocates truly believed abortion simply removes a mass of tissue, why is it such a difficult decision not taken lightly?  Tumors and blood clots are masses of tissue, but surely removal of these masses of tissue are not difficult decisions to be taken lightly, why not?  I suppose one could dig their heels in and claim the procedure for removal of clots and tumors could pose a medical threat creating a weighty decision.  But when people claim abortion is a weighty decision, it is not the medical procedure (the anesthetic or instruments) they are talking about.  The burden of the decision is on what is being removed.  So why then is the decision so burdensome? 

 We all know what it means to be pregnant.  Could it be that deep down we know it is not a mass of tissue, but rather a child that is being removed?  The truth is no one suffers emotional trauma or stress by making a decision to trim their finger nails, or cut their hair.  The advocate’s insistence that they believe abortion does not take a human life is betrayed by their emotion and passion.  There should be no sense of burden or remorse if there is no difference between abortion and a hair cut if what is being aborted is not a human life.

Questions for pro-abortion advocates:

  • Why is the decision to have an abortion so weighty if what is being removed is a non-human mass of cells
  • In what way is abortion different from trimming your nails if a fetus is not human
  • Why should abortion be rare if there is nothing immoral about it


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  1. I think you are a pretty open-minded person, and so I have decided to take your bait and explain the difference (for me) between ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-abortion’ – which you seem to have missed.

    First, if a woman in early-term pregnancy came to me and asked for my advice about her decision whether to carry the baby or (for x,y, and z reasons) to have a (legal) abortion, I would do two things.

    First, I would try to help her see all sides of x,y, and z, to be sure they were cogent reasons.

    And second, no matter how cogent her reasons, I would make sure she realized that her decision was about life and death, and that, though it would have no legal consequences, she should be honest enough with herself to accept the personal consequences for conscience, remorse, religious guilt, etc.- because ultimately these are more serious than legal rights and wrongs in the long run.

    I would make sure she understood that taking life legally does not make it right – for example, I would tell her that I respect the right of states to make capital punishment legally OK, but I do not believe that it is in fact a morally acceptable alternative to life imprisonment. Then I would also tell her that I did not respect the right of states to make similar misinterpretations of moral law when it came to abortion decisions – and that I would defend her right to decide either way.

    If she did not ask for my advice, however, I would not think it was necessary for me to tell her anything (i.e., it is I think ultimately a personal decision).

    I offer these thoughts because I believe the pensive woman pictured at the top of this post could be imagined to be saying two different things to herself –
    1. “If I have an abortion, will I be able to live with myself, my partner, my God?”
    2. “If I have an abortion, will I end up in prison for murder?”

    It is important I think to keep the first question on the front burner, and not the second question, and so I believe it is a mistake to criminalize this particular act.

    • I have only very little to disagree with about your reply. I think you and I do have a responsibility to encourage women to carry their pregnancies to term IF abortion takes the life of a human child. Would you sit idly by while while a woman you knew was physically abusing her children because she didn’t ask your opinion on the issue? I wouldn’t. The fact that abortion is a “personal decision” doesn’t hold any weight with me either. What if slavery were legal and I were to tell you that owning slaves was a personal decision every citizen has to decide for themselves? I am personally against slavery, but because the idea of enslaving another human being is a personal decision, it is not my place to interfere.

      You see the personalization of the decision does not dictate the morality of the issue. To say you shouldn’t interfere because it’s a personal decision is only justifiable if the same argument also works for infants and todlers. If you wouldn’t kill a todler for the same reasons you allow for abortion, the justification is not proper no matter how personal.

      And if abortion takes the life of a human without proper justification, why should there be no penalty?

  2. I’ll check the article, but I was talking about what you have in mind for the woman in the picture above who breaks your law. Or are you just planning to execute the doctors? No dilemma there, right.

    • Perhaps we apply the law equally to anyone who takes the life of a human without proper justification? I see that you are attempting to argue from emotion on this. I ask why is it women are allowed to kill their own children, but others are charged with murder? For example, California’s penal code for murder reads:

      187. (a) Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a
      fetus, with malice aforethought.
      (b) This section shall not apply to any person who commits an act
      that results in the death of a fetus if any of the following apply
      (1) The act complied with the Therapeutic Abortion Act, Article 2
      (commencing with Section 123400) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 of Division
      106 of the Health and Safety Code.
      (2) The act was committed by a holder of a physician’s and surgeon’
      s certificate, as defined in the Business and Professions Code, in a
      case where, to a medical certainty, the result of childbirth would be
      death of the mother of the fetus or where her death from childbirth,
      although not medically certain, would be substantially certain or
      more likely than not.
      (3) The act was solicited, aided, abetted, or consented to by the
      mother of the fetus
      (c) Subdivision (b) shall not be construed to prohibit the
      prosecution of any person under any other provision of law.

      So it is considered murder for anyone to kill a fetus without the mother’s concent (by the way, the idea of “mother” only applies if the fetus is an actual child. The term “mother” makes no sense if it is applied to masses of tissue). So the law allows for women to kill their children whenever they desire to, which is what the term “theraputic abortion” means. What is the fundamental difference, what is ontologically different between the wanted fetus, and the unwanted fetus? What is the real difference that allows one to be killed and the other protected? There is no difference except the mother’s desire to kill or let live, and the law should reflect no difference. A person’s desires do not change what is in the womb.

      As for capital punishment, see the other article and pick it up there.

  3. I guess I lied about checking your article – life is too short to spend 5 minutes of it on ‘articles’ by incompetent judges. Or do you have a law degree? However, I think I am beginning to understand why you are unable to see a dilemma in this issue.

    But what about abortion drugs? Won’t drug companies be able to continue producing them and simply cop the plea used by gun merchants – that “abortion drugs don’t kill fetuses, only women kill fetuses?”

    Another concern is that criminalization of abortion will mean that only friends (and owners) of the law enforcement community will be able to procure safe abortions. This is related to the possibility that even now the Republicans who act like they want to do this for you (most of them only want your vote) are likely to be able to continue getting abortions for their daughters and wives even if the law passes.

    Another problem is that the ‘rights’ you are trying to create for the fetus don’t extend to any ‘responsibilities’ or liabilities – fetuses are not blamed or punished (even if they survive) for a woman’s death by childbirth or from other complications of pregnancy.

    • I don’t understand your first point, it seems scattered. Maybe you could get back on that.

      But there is a fundamental difference between an abortion pill and guns. The abortion pill serves only one purpose, and has only one intended purpose: to kill a child in the womb. Guns on the other hand serve a variety of purposes and are produced for a number of purposes. Target sports, self defense, and hunting game for example. It is only by the misuse and abuse of a gun which kills someone without proper justification. This is not the case with the abortion pill. Your analogy has omitted the intended purpose and range of function.

      Whether the laws prohibiting abortion were to pass, anyone procuring an at-will abortion which was not for the protection of the life of the mother would be illegal. I for one do not see the reasoning of keeping abortion legal just to keep them safe–if in fact abortion takes a human life without proper justification it doesn’t follow that we should keep them legal to keep them safe. We wouldn’t accept this reasoning for, say, a law prohibiting convenience store clerks from keeping weapons for protection because too many robbers get shot. We don’t prevent from making laws because violators might get hurt while breaking the law.

      We don’t prosecute infants who cause their mother’s death during child birth. There is no malicious intent to kill or harm the mother. No part of whatever condition whe mother or child may suffer is ever cause by the will of the infant. This argument really is just silly. If you cannot see the difference between a woman who dies inadvertantly during the birth due to delivery complications; and a woman who decides to go to an abortion doctor, pay the money to comission the doctor to, in one of the most violent ways kill the child (maybe you should find out what exactly is involved with an abortion, see what a fetus looks like after an abortion) growing within her than you need help. But I don’t really think you believe they are equal, you seem to be defending turf and so are grasping at straws with all these scenarios here.

  4. Thanks John

    Sorry I interrupted you. I stand by my first reply. It’s wrong, but it’s a greater wrong to make it a crime. Government intervention in medical cases is prevented by 4th amendment rights. It would establish a precedent which will make reasonable euthanasia hard to protect against similar encroachments.

    I’m guessing you don’t have any children (or you wouldn’t keep calling fetuses children and then dissing me for trying to make an emotional appeal on behalf of the woman) – and I’m sure you could never get pregnant. So it looks like there’s no moral issue at all for you (therefore no dilemma). You are trying to make law in a realm that puts others in prison but could never put you in prison and that’s kind of suspect in my view.

    • I have 2 children.

      But because I cannot get pregnant has no bearing on my ability to weigh in on the issue. I don’t sell or buy illegal drugs, but I can certainly address the moral aspects of drug abuse. I could never go to prison for many issues which are immoral but that doesn’t make my opinions of them suspect at all.

      Maybe I should be more clear when I say you are making an emotional appeal. What I mean is, if I understand you correctly, you believe what is growing inside the mother is in fact a child, a human child who is alove. But you defend abortion with arguments which are vacuous if that is true since I’m sure you don’t argue for the right of a woman to kill her 2 year old. Why not? You want me to feel sorry for the woman, and feel sympathy for want to kill her child, and grant her legal protection to do so.

  5. No, you’re wrong about me. I do not equate 2-year olds with fetuses. Fetuses are a life form with an incredible potential for good or ill, but they are not 2-year olds. They are not 1-day olds. As far as I am concerned, abortion is wrong only for me – not for the woman whose body is not my area of concern. Society does not have a right to go there either, in my view. The real issue is how far society has a claim of intervention. Did you understand my reference to the 4th amendment?

    You have found a simplistic equation which allows you to move from a sense of its wrongness to a desire to punish other people, and the simplicity of your equation allows you to escape the dilemma. That is all I can see or tell you.

    • 1 day olds have the potential for good or ill and so do you, so do 2 year olds, what is the difference between the 3 that one may be killed at the desire of its mother? And if something is truly wrong, everyone has an obligation to take a stand. Would you make the same consession if the topic were slavery or sex trafficing of children? “It’s personally wrong for me, but who am I to keep others who wish to capture and enslave other people, or force children into prostitution, thats their personal choice” Are you in support of slavery or sex trafficing? Are they just decisions you wouldn’t make, but others are free to determine for themselves? I hope not, but why not?

      The whole issue of abortion comes down to what is in the womb.

      I think your reference and anyone else who links the 4th amendment to an invasion of medical rights hollow. Preventing abortion on0demand does not violate an warrantless-without cause search and seizure. If you think even for a minute that the authors of the fourth amendment added it to allow women to kill their children, I don’t even know what else to say to you.

      If abortion takes the life of an innocent human being without proper justification (and it does), no defense for it can be made. And certainly not for the reasons women get abortions.

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