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Birth Right?

Matt Bors
© Matt Bors

Yes, North Dakota purposely passed anti-abortion laws that they knew were unconstitutional.



  1. PatriotSGT wrote:

    This issue like so many in our times is being drawn up as a must be all one way or the other with no middle ground. There are politics being played by both sides and both sides are trying to make it a winner take all fight. Has anyone seen any of the philadelphia abortion trial news, or heard about the live birth abortions performed there, or the horrible conditions of that clinic? Has anyone heard of the women who died because she was refused an abortion?

    Right now abortion is legal, the supreme court settled that I fairly sure in R vs W last century, so that should be a done deal. The pro lifers have the right to state their points of view and try for legislation, just like the the other side or the gun control groups, I really don’t see anything wrong with that and think it’s good. I also think there is a media blackout on the Philly issue, heck I hear more about the Arias trial, which I could care less about then the Philly trial.

    Personally, I believe no abortions should be done past the 1st trimester except when the mothers life is in danger or the fetus is not viable. If you google “philadelphia abortion trial” you will read accounts that turn your stomach and should make you scream for tighter controls on abortion, it did for me.

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 10:05 am | Permalink
  2. wildwood wrote:

    This issue is one that can’t be done with a compromise, as much as I would like it, because the anti-abortion groups will not agree to any. They want it their way or else. That leaves the pro-choice side with no room to maneuver. You have to, when bargaining, ask for more than you want or expect, in order to come to a middle ground. I think the pro-choice side is, for the most part, agreeable to a middle ground, but can’t take that stance for bargaining reasons.

    I am not aware of the Philadelphia abortion trial, but I don’t think it will change my mind about abortion. It might change my mind about how abortions are forced to be done in clinics instead of hospitals, about the lack of oversight, about the fact that this gives fodder to the opposition side, about the general condemnation of the doctors and clinics that provide this much needed service, about the climate that has been created to demonize the people involved.

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink
  3. PatriotSGT wrote:

    My point exactly Wildwood “I am not aware of the Philadelphia abortion trial”. Theres a whole side to the story that simply gets ignored. Pro choice only puts out their side, pro life only their side. Neither will mention the other so as to not give an opening, athough the solution lies in the middle. Google it and see.
    I am pro life, I was adopted and so feel as though I have a stake, however I am willing to find middle ground and so my previous statement. I think most people are in that boat, unfortunately it’s the loud extremes that get the most attention.

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink
  4. Don wrote:

    The big money behind the social conservative movement in this country has been conducting a very well put together campaign to undermine a wide range of currently allowable personal choices. The only one they’re losing on is gay marriage.

    Their attacks against voting rights for minorities, their moves against abortion, and the more recent attacks on birth control and sex education are being orchestrated by groups with significant financial backing whose agenda is being fed to the American people through states where all bodies of the legislative process are controlled by conservative Publicans.

    There is not middle ground anymore. This is about returning abortion to the back rooms. This is about restricting knowledge and rights. From their point of view, there is not compromise.

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink
  5. wildwood wrote:

    And Don, don’t forget, environmental issues, worker’s rights, immigration, and gun control. They are so well-funded and can hit on so many fronts that it makes your head spin some days. I feel like we are bailing water in boat with too many holes to keep floating. And oh yes, the USPS. Sigh!

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink
  6. Michael wrote:

    “I believe no abortions should be done past the 1st trimester except when the mothers life is in danger or the fetus is not viable.” Patriotsgt, I really mean you no disrespect when I say this, but statements like this betray a vast amount of ignorance regarding second and third trimester abortions.

    Here’s a list of things to look up: Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), hydrocephaly, anencephaly, trisomy 13, trisomy 18, just to name a few. Some of these are inherently lethal, others not necessarily so. Some fetuses with these conditions go on to live for years and years. The quality of life, though, can vary a lot.

    Take OI, for example. OI is commonly known as brittle bones disease. In severe forms, a simple touch can lead to shattered bones. Shake their hand with any pressure and you crush it. If they bump their head by standing up underneath a table, they’ve shattered their skull and smashed bone fragments into their brain. But…the fetus was viable.

    Pretty nasty stuff, huh? Oh, by the way…these things are not detectable in the first trimester. The first trimester ends about week 12 or 13. While early testing (CVS) can be done as early as week 11 or 12, amniocentesis cannot be done until at least week 15.

    Or some of the other conditions… You give birth to a live baby, knowing that it will spend its 3-6 months of life struggling to breathe and in constant pain. Your prenatal specialist told you in week 16 this was going to happen. So you spend 24 weeks (almost 6 months!) preparing to give birth to a baby that WILL die a couple of months later. But the fetus was viable.

    Women don’t get second or third trimester abortions for the fun of it or on a whim. It’s not like they wake up one day and say, “You know, I don’t think I want this baby after all.” Later abortions are inherently more dangerous to the mother and more painful (emotionally and physically). The reason many women choose them is because, in their particular case, they find abortion to be the humane solution to a horrible nightmare. To them, it is not much different than making the decision to take a loved one off of life support. It is sad, but it is better than the alternative.

    While blanket statements about only restricting second and third trimester abortions may sound reasonable, that is only because you do not know why many women would choose to have one. Once the government draws a line somewhere, the government is choosing to make some woman experience utter hell and their worst nightmares.

    And, oh, by the way, a fetus is not viable through most of the second trimester. The second trimester ends around week 26, whereas a fetus born at week 24 has only a 50% chance of survival. So the claim “no second abortion unless not viable” is almost self-contradictory.

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink
  7. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Michael I agree, I suppose if needed I can expand on the “not viable” portion of my statement. I did not mean that literally, but did fully intend it to mean including various disablilities that would cause great pain, suffering and distress and ultimately lead to a slow agonizing death.

    I am however referring to the abortion after week 24 (1 out of 2 survive and increases every week of gestation)of otherwise healthy fetuses that could survive out of the womb and develop normally. That, I do believe, is murder although it seems that those individuals do not, in certain circles, have any rights since they have not had their “bithday” before being terminated. Did you google the philly abortion trial, that my friend also has some pretty horrible stuff.

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    Ok, PSgt, I googled “Philly abortion trial” and was not surprised when the first result was from Fox News. But I read it and some other articles anyway.

    I’m not sure why you think this case is relevant. They are on trial for doing things that are illegal. Some of the employees have already pleaded guilty. The owner is on trial for murder.

    Since what they did was already illegal, how is this relevant to the current abortion debate? Why does this case “scream for tighter controls on abortion”? It seems to me that making abortion more difficult to obtain would cause more things like this to happen, since the Philly clinic was taking advantage of women who were desperate to have an abortion. Would you rather they do it themselves with a coat hanger?

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Permalink
  9. Michael wrote:

    Dang. IK beat me to it. Yes, I’m familiar with the case. As IK points out, just about everything they did was illegal. I actually do think it is relevant to this discussion, though.

    What, precisely, is the line? If a doctor induces at 25 weeks, at what point does it become–legally–murder? Snipping spinal cords, as in the Philly case, sure. But what about letting the newborn die of malnutrition? How can you really prove that the newborn died of malnutrition (intentional action after birth) or as a direct result of the premature birth (no intentional action after birth)? This does not hold up in court: “So-and-so was responsible for these 20 deaths. According to statistics, 10 of them–we don’t know which ones, though–should have lived. Therefore, he is charged with 10 counts of murder.” In order to have a charge of murder, you have to have a precise accusation that he deliberately killed person X. You must also show that person X died explicitly of the malnutrition and would have otherwise lived. Frankly, you cannot prove that.

    So where is the line? Is it the induction? At what precise time? 24 weeks and 0 days? What about 23 weeks and 6 days? It turns out gestational age is not that precise. It is calculated based on the woman’s estimate of her last menstrual period (LMP). Conception typically occurs somewhere around 14 days after there, but not exactly. Ignoring the precision issue, are the odds of survival for the 23-and-6 fetus any different than the 24-and-0?

    OK, so let’s settle on exactly 24-and-0 and leave it at that. Now define viable. In your previous post, you said you had to “expand” on what it means to be not viable. You included disabilities that would cause pain, suffering and distress. What constitutes pain, suffering and distress? Where does Down Syndrome fit into this? What if the child would be born, otherwise healthy, but will never have the IQ of more than 60? 50? At what precise and legally binding point do they meet the definition of distress?

    What happens if the diagnosis was wrong? Can a doctor be charged with murder for inducing a 25-week fetus that turns out to not have that debilitating condition? Does the fact that he tried his best really change the outcome?

    Then, of course, there are the questions of who gets charged. The doctor? Sure. What about the nurses? Accomplices. What about the mother? No one had any sympathy for Susan Smith. Would we have had sympathy for her if she paid someone else to drown her kids? If we are going to treat late-term abortions as the legal and moral equivalent of murder, the only logically consistent approach is to charge the mother. Furthermore, what about health care providers who are tangentially involved? Prenatal testing companies and genetic specialists who diagnose the problems, for instance. The way many of these ham-fisted laws are being written, they could be charged as accomplices to murder.

    Let me state it clearly: I find the actions of the Philly doctor morally repugnant and deplorable. I also strongly disagree with third trimester elective abortions as a general practice. However, I cannot write a clear and definitive law that proscribes exactly the cases that I believe are “bad” without having a negative effect on those that I think are “acceptable.” Furthermore, where I draw the line between bad and acceptable lies in a different place than others. In short, any attempt to restrict access to abortion, even in the third trimester, will cause some woman a great deal of harm, emotional distress, and physical risk. It is inevitable.

    I think we can all agree that the world would be a better place without second and third trimester abortions. (While we’re at it, the world would be a better place without cancer, war, and drunk driving…) Rather than trying to pass poorly written regulations, let’s work to actually reduce the number of such abortions. Increase access to contraception and first trimester abortion, increase access to sexual education, provide true support networks for alternatives to abortion (NOT crisis pregnancy centers, which spread misinformation–such as abortions cause breast cancer–and emotionally manipulate women with guilt trips), and ensure a strong social safety net for neonatal and early childhood development.

    Provide women with the resources they need, and trust them to make the best choice for their own lives.

    Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink
  10. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I agree Michael and that was my point although you said it much better. There needs to be controls, that DR in Philly was an MD, licensed and sanctioned by the gov’t. His employees knew what they were doing, but used the just following orders excuse. If those who want to “win” the pro chioce debate are serious they’ll more publicly explain what they feel are appropriate uses of abortion and it just can’t be whatever the mother wants (Would you call it murder if a mother killed her disabled 2 yr old). Even pro-choicers would probably denounce the philly example. Everyone is right, abortions must be allowable under a set of conditions to make the procedures safe for the mother, but there also needs to be some protections for the unborn.

    Here’s how I think through in my mind the difference between what I would consider murder or not. Lets look at all disabilities in this light; if you would allow the termination of a fetus because of some medical condition, then are there any living persons who have reached say 10 years old and survived. If there are then aborting a child with the same disorder should be called murder the same as if you ordered the execution of stephen hawking because he has a poor quality of life. I don’t think anyone on this site would be in favor of giving that order. By the way I do not think down syndrome is an excuse to abort any child, neither a low IQ. I know some very happy people who are in both categories and they are special and a joy. If we start aborting all non perfect people, we’ll be out of people pretty soon.

    Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink
  11. Don in Waco wrote:

    “If we start aborting all non perfect people, we’ll be out of people pretty soon.”
    Do tell, PatriotSgt. The planet is at 6 billion and rising. Of all the forces affecting population growth, abortion is pretty insignificant, even if you include the rather unfortunate abortions of fetuses due to being female. Abortion, like so many other things, will continue to exist due to demand. People of means will continue to have safe abortions. Poor people will just go to the emergency room after their appointment with a butcher.

    Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink
  12. Michael wrote:

    “…it just can’t be whatever the mother wants.” Did you see my last sentence? I actually said that, when talking about legality, it should be whatever the mother wants. The decision should be made by the mother in consultation with her doctor. You should not be involved. I should not be involved. The government should not be involved. Laws–legal restrictions–are government involvement. There are far too many exceptional cases to consider. It is far too personal of an issue to have some third party imposing its will.

    The references to killing a 2 year old and a 10 year old are completely inappropriate. There is a logical and biological difference between a fetus, who is physically bound to the mother, and a child, who is not. No one here is discussing post-birth euthanasia.

    “By the way I do not think down syndrome is an excuse to abort any child, [nor] a low IQ.” Neither do I. If my wife were to become pregnant and the fetus was diagnosed as such, we would choose to carry the pregnancy to term. Choice is the key, though. Others might choose a different response. I may disagree with their choice, but I respect their legal right to make it.

    “If we start aborting all…” RED HERRING. Absolutely NO ONE on the pro-choice side suggests forcible abortions. Absolutely NO ONE on the pro-choice side is arguing for counseling that encourages women to choose to have an abortion in those cases. The stance is pro-choice, not pro-abortion.

    “If those who want to ‘win’ the pro-choice debate are serious, they’ll more public explain what they feel are appropriate uses of abortion.” No, no, no, no. Absolutely not. This is fighting on ground that is framed by the anti-choice side. (Note that anti-choice is a much more accurate description of their stance. The policy effects of their stance is to restrict a woman’s right to choose; it doesn’t matter that they are motivated by the idea that “All babies want to get borned.”) Having to carve out times of when it’s okay to have an abortion is giving in to the argument that choosing an abortion is inherently immoral.

    It’s a stretch of an analogy, but compare it with alcohol prohibition. The anti-prohibition stance did not when by saying it’s okay to have a glass of wine with dinner or at a wedding or other certain times. The stance won because it was successfully framed as a matter of personal choice and morality.

    The anti-choice stance is, in essence, using the force of government to make the moral decision on behalf of the mother. The anti-choice faction has not been able to win by convincing the mothers to choose life. Instead, they are trying to use government, in the form of laws, de-funding, and impossible-to-satisfy regulations, to make the choice impossible.

    Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink
  13. ebdoug wrote:

    News stories: AP raw news has been covering the Philly trial daily. Uncensored, unbiased news.
    Latest update:
    I read nothing else except some local news. I’m finding if the local news is important enough, it will be on AP news. No need to Google the story and get bias. All sports. All silly who did what to whom in the entertainment world, etc.

    Friday, April 12, 2013 at 6:22 am | Permalink
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    Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink