Is being pro-choice and anti-spanking consistent?

Yes, apparently these people do exist, and they will describe spanking a child as assault.  Spanking is a horrible practice that that only lazy parents do because you should reason with your children.  It’s assault and there’s no excuse.

Anti-spanking advocates make no distinction between a swat on the rear end, and a beating.  Well, verbally they make the distinction, but not in any practical terms — hence the term assault.  “If you physically discipline your child in a way that would be legally assault if you did it to me or any other adult- then you have assaulted your child.” they say.  This of course omits certain realities:  1)  You have certain authority over your children by virtue of being their parent that you have over no stranger. And, 2) children at which age spanking is appropriate do not have the ability to reason beyond nodding and repeating back to you what you want them to say.

There are obvious limits to when spanking is a reasonable response and how the spanking is administered.  That some parents overstep how and when spanking should be done doesn’t negate the benefits of the practice all together.

In many jurisdictions spanking doesn’t meet the legal definition of assault- but it fulfills every characteristic of “assault” that we would apply to the agreed use of the word.  The only thing that changes “reasonable discipline” to “assault” is the relationship of the victim to his/her attacker and not being old enough to have a reasonable right to personal security.

This line of reasoning fails to be compelling as it regards abortion to someone who is anti-spanking and pro-choice (I mention this because the blog author is pro-choice, and I find that many, if not most, anti-spanking advocates are also pro-choice).  You see, it doesn’t matter that from the moment of conception, the fertilized egg is a complete, but not fully mature, live human being even though the term “murder” would apply to every case of elective abortion.  It fulfills every characteristic of “murder”:  Elective abortion intentionally takes the life of a guiltless human being without proper justification.  The only thing that changes is that the mother commissions a medical professional to carry out the killing.

I find the pro-choice but anti-spanking view to be ethically inconsistent.  On the one hand it is morally reprehensible to spank your child and yet morally justified to take that child’s life so long as it hasn’t passed through the birth canal.

What is it about being a parent that allows you to be justified in doing something that is assault if you do it to anybody else?  What is it about the legal definition of “parent” that absolves you of wrongdoing if you spank YOUR child, as opposed to SOMEBODY ELSE’S child?

What is it about being a parent that allows you to be justified in doing something that is murder if you do it to anybody else?  What is it about the legal definition of “parent” that absolves you of wrongdoing if you kill YOUR [pre-born] child, as opposed to SOMEBODY ELSE’S [pre-born] child?

On a side note, the same person who said this in a discussion via social media on the subject (not the author of the blog post quoted above):

hypocrite 1

Also said this:hypocrite 2

(I would assert that the child who is killed through abortion is infinitely worse off than if they were allowed to be born and then spanked, and I’m not even a “licensed child social worker”)

They also said this:

hypocrite3Why yes, that is a logical fallacy.

But don’t worry, they’re totally open-minded:



  1. I notice she makes reference to a ghostly authority with her “Stacks” of studies in reference to spanking. Her claim about the children who are spanked is outrageously ridiculous.

    Notice how her ilk keeps referring to the woman’s body, when I don’t know any anti-abortionist who is trying to tell a woman what to do with HER body, rather our concern is for the body she is carrying.

  2. I don’t know any pro-abortionists that *aren’t* also anti-spanking. One is even prominantly and actively involved in having spanking criminalized in Canada. Most of these folks do not differentiate between a swat on the bum or a smack on the back of a hand and actual abuse. To them, it is just as bad as using a belt and beating a child black and blue.

    Personally, I think anyone who reduces women to “human incubators with no decision-making power or agency” has doesn’t think much of women at all. Obviously, we are just too weak and fragile, physically and emotionally, to handle the dangers of pregnancy. How paternalistic, contemptuous and misogynistic.

    • Kunoichi

      Im suprised someone who looks down on preborn children, that they see them as parasitic enslaving tresspassers, wouldn’t be all for beating — real beatings — a child for abusing its mother by forcing her to carry.

  3. paynehollow says:

    That people may disagree with you or me on when conception and humanity begins does not in any way suggest to me that they think abusing anyone is acceptable. That you disagree with them about whether spanking is abusive is not to say that they don’t think it is so.

    I don’t see what the problem is.

    You appear to be suggesting that people who are in favor of abortion being legal don’t care about the well being of people, including children. That is an irrational conclusion, not based on real world evidence.

    In other words, OF COURSE, many people (including “pro-choice” people) are opposed to abusing children and many think of spanking as abusive. (I’m not one, I just think that it is ineffective and a bad idea and too often CAN be abusive, but does not require being abusive).

    One’s position on abortion does not make one more inclined to support abuse any more than a capital punishment supporter is likely to be abusive because they believe it is okay to execute criminals.

    It’s an irrational conclusion you’ve reached, seems to me.


    • You miss the point. Abortion KILLS a human being. Theyre ok with that. But theyre against a swat on the bum because its abusive. Thats irrational to hold both views. And its not my opinion as to when life begins, its science, like how far away the sun is.

  4. paynehollow says:

    For what it’s worth, I’ve raised two extremely wonderful children to responsible adulthood (well, one is only 17, but she’s quite a responsible adult, already) without requiring an actual “rod” to correct bad behavior. So clearly, spanking is not a requirement in any real sense to good correction or raising of children.

    I’d defer to studies that show spanking to be, at best, ineffective.

    In one set of analyses with young children in the laboratory, time outs worked just as well as spanking for (immediate) subsequent compliance on 30 tasks assigned by the mother. Long-term compliance is decreased after spanking (Gershoff, 2002; Gershoff & Grogan-Kaylor, 2013).

    In terms of whether parental aggression (spanking) decreases aggression in the child, the answer is no. In fact, spanking tends to increase child aggression. “Spanking predicted increases in children’s aggression over and above initial levels [of aggressive behavior]” and “in none of these longitudinal studies did spanking predict reductions in children’s aggression over time” (p. 134). Instead, spanking predicted increases in children’s aggression.

    Just fwiw.


    • Im not suggesting every kids needs to be spanked. There are some kids who just listen and do everything theyre told. But most arent like that. Im saying spanking is not “never the appropriate response” thats all.

    • There goes Trabue appealing to the psychobabblers. They are against spanking, so of course their studies will show harm. I was spanked, and even walloped with a belt and fist, yet I didn’t have problems with school or making friends, or suffering intellectual or emotional problems. I wonder how that can be when these so-called “studies” say differently?

  5. paynehollow says:

    No, John, I don’t miss the point. I think you did. Consider again:

    1. You think abortion kills a human being. Not everyone agrees with that. They do NOT think that ending a fetus’ gestation is morally equivalent to killing a person. Thus, there is no reason to be surprised that they could still stand opposed to abuse.

    2. Beyond that, some parents may think their fetus is fully human, but they think that, in their circumstances, it is still the best option in a bad situation (akin to “pulling the plug” on a dying adult to end their misery). In a similar vein: That some people do not support “heroic efforts” to prolong the life of a dying person is not evidence that these people support killing people in general.

    Flip it around the other way, John: Some people think that killing a death row inmate is akin to murder. Do you think these people should say, “Well I really find it surprising that you are opposed to people murdering someone else, since YOU support capital punishment..!”?

    Not everyone reaches the same conclusions on moral issues. We should not be surprised that ANY decent people (pro-capital punishment or not, pro-choice or not) are opposed to bad behavior. To do that is a sort of demonization and demagoguery that is not conducive to civil conversations.


    • I realize they dont agree that abortion kills a human being. But im fully convinced they do know that. What is a woman pregnant with if not a human being? People deny the human beingness of the preborn only to justify abortion. This becomes obvious when they would object to mutilating the same “fetus” because someday it would be born. Well, its not ok to mutilate it, but it is ok to kill it? The proabortion view is filled with intellectual dishonesty, trickery, obscurity, and feigned intellectualism.

  6. vincedeporter says:

    There is indeed inconsistency here. Well pointed out, John.

    As you know, I’m a liberal atheist — but I do not regard abortion as a good thing.
    I actually hate abortion, especially when used as an option after careless sex.
    I must say that the few friends that confided in me having had an abortion, all of them were clearly conscious that this was a human being. There inevitably was some guilt involved. I could not be close friends with someone who would consider this lightly.

    However, I face the problem of personal decision and responsibility. It behoves me to not impose my conscience on another. The best I can do is reason with them.
    I believe that if you are careless, your child should not pay with his/her life. Period.

    Of course, there are some exceptions for abortion in my view; like for a mother in danger of losing her life; a baby with the certitude of being born with defects that will poison its life (although this is a touchy one, I concede); and I am on the fence on the product of rape, in the sense that I strongly feel I am in no position to judge (although I would prefer the option of giving the baby for adoption).

    Not all black and white.

  7. vincedeporter says:

    Glenn E. Chatfield, I too lived a normal life after being beat, belted, and spanked with extreme force. But not all deal with it as well as we do. I do not spank my kids — they are now 12 and 15, and I have absolutely no problem with them. I reason. I punish (my son told me he would prefer a spanking than a week of no video games).

    They also learn that you don’t get what you want with physical force.

    That’s my stand.

    • I use(d) spanking when my children challenge my authority, not as a punishment for, say, spilling something or breaking something. I have in the past, I think spanked when I shouldnt have, but that was my fault. I dont think my misuse or someone’s tendency to misuse it means it isnt a useful and/or valid form of discipline.

      • vincedeporter says:

        I do agree. I know children who do not understand reason. So there are exceptions.

        I also agree that misuse of anything does not obliterate any practice. Absolutely.

        • I also want to point out that I would never punish children for accidental spillage, or breakage. Accidents are a part of life, and if children are punished for accidental breakage (I’m not talking about a violated rule about not touching what was broken), then they see the object as more important than they are.

          We knew a family who punished children for accidents not due to rule violations, and my son saw it happen. When he was six years old he was near a shelf where I displayed my model airplanes (tall item with shelves starting three inches from the floor), and while playing with his older sister he lost control of a toy that landed on one of my 1/72nd scale aircraft, causing substantial damage. He started crying to his sister about how he was going to be punished and was quite afraid of getting what he’d seen his friend get. I just sat him down and told him he was more important than a stupid model, and that I knew it was not on purpose. He never again came close to the shelf in any of his playing because he knew that accidents could happen. What would have been a benefit of spanking? Yet that is what I see with those who spank for just about anything.

    • Children are never the same personality type. Some personality types require more severe discipline than others.

      We were only blessed with two children – a boy and a girl. I spanked our daughter once and never spanked our son. Our daughter was a particularly rebellious child who didn’t always want to listen to reason, and there was one severe infraction which led to a single swat on the rear end when she was about 8. That type of infraction was never repeated. Our son, on the other hand, was quite compliant because he didn’t like any punishment meted out (usually time-outs, sitting in a corner, relinquishing of privileges, etc.).

      When in the process of adopting two girls (sisters 5 & 7), the 7-year-old had been raised with virtually no discipline, and was a terror to her school teachers. Being in our home came with rules, and soon encountered every method of discipline. Then one day she didn’t like the idea of sitting in a chair in a corner and so attacked my wife, and began to scratch her all over. That was too far, so she got two swift swats on the rear end and that was the end of that sort of problem!

      The Bible calls for proper use of corporal punishment (the “rod”), but that does NOT include anything abusive. For those who claim there is never a need for corporal punishment, I just say they are speaking foolishly for lack of experience with rebellious personality types. They are ideologues of the worst kind, spouting emotionally-driven platitudes with no real-world experience in proper corporal punishment.

  8. Dan mentions the idea that, for some, abortion is simply the least-bad option, while others deny that the victims of abortion are human beings in the first place.

    Slavers no doubt used many of these same arguments, but he doesn’t seem to mind that.

  9. vincedeporter says:

    Bubba, the disagreement, at least on my side, is about WHEN the cells can be called a human being. Bear in mind that nature itself aborts the first stages of pregnancy. Is a blastocyst a human being. I will argue it is not. Is it potentially a human being, I would say yes. But as I just mentioned, pregnant bodies naturally aborts in the first stages of fertilization.

    • Vince

      Have you considered that if one is going to defend abortion by saying the body naturally aborts, by extension, killing a 20 year old because people die of natural causes all the time in their early 20s is a valid defense.

      We must make the distinction between a natural death (the mother’s body “aborting” on its own) and an intentional taking of life (elective abortion).

      • vincedeporter says:

        Fair enough. I do see a difference with the 20 year old reference, but I do see where you are coming from.

  10. Dan,

    The fact people are too stupid, ideological, or both to realize that abortion absolutely kills a human being has no bearing on the fact that it does, in fact, kill a human being. And when presented with the scientific reality, people should either accept it as such or join the Flat Earth society.

    John is absolutely correct that being anti-spanking and pro-abortion is inconsitent at best, and face-palmingly stupid at worst.

  11. vincedeporter says:

    Okay John — I just listened to your debate wit J.Schieber. You have nailed the argument. There is no way I could dispute your perspective on this. Good job on using Science to back your argument. I’m have nothing… you have convinced me.

  12. vincedeporter says:

    See? I can change my bias when proven wrong.
    And I was dead wrong.
    I was surprised how “my side” desperately rationalizes this simple fact — if the abortion is not executed, the life in progress will be born and have a future. Where you have convinced me, is with what Science now understands life to be, and when it starts.

  13. vincedeporter says:

    Thank you for your reasonable presentation. It hit all the right notes where my bias was, and it did ease some cognitive dissonance I was battling with. You have a new friend in me, and although we don’t agree on everything, I have the utmost respect for you.

  14. vincedeporter says:

    John, I have referred to you in an edit I did in my own Blog.
    Again, thank you.

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