The abortion debate

One of Heather’s recent posts (Lies make the baby Jesus cry) has attracted a few comments. This is odd because most of our readers rarely comment (shame on you) but in some respects unsurprising because the post was on the constantly emotive topic of abortion. In a nutshell, Heather expressed some doubt on the “testimony” presented by an anti-abortion website which described very late term and post-birth “abortions” (murder to normal people) as if they were regularly carried out.

The source had a statement which read: “Generally the practice at the time….and up until 2002 was to end the life of an abortion survivor by strangulation, suffocation, leaving the baby to die, or throwing the baby away.” Heather quite rightly (IMHO) pointed out that this was most certainly nonsense. Strangling a baby after birth is not an abortion.

Anyway, one of the commenters (Lee) has brought up a few points that I felt needed to be elevated beyond the comment thread and given a post all of their own:

Aren’t you talking about an old issue? The girl in the video was born in the 70’s…

Got to answer this yes and no. This is an old issue in that people have argued (and lied) about abortion facts and figures for a long time. The website Heather addressed stated this practice continued until 2002 (old only in internet time). The post itself was made on 17 December 2008, that isn’t even old in Internet time.

The woman in the video was born in 1977 (still not “old”) and yes, US Abortion law has changed between then and now. The “landmark” Roe vs Wade was in 1973 and allowed for an abortion to take place up to three months into the pregnancy. This is not final term and is not post-partum.

Killing a baby after it has been born is now, and was then, murder. In 1977 it was illegal to terminate a baby who was about to be born naturally, unless a doctor stated the mother’s health was at risk (Doe vs Bolton). You can argue that “corrupt” doctors would sign off on anything being a risk to allow a late term abortion but that is a whole different discussion – and can never be prevented unless you rate the mothers life as subordinate to the unborn child.

Maybe I misunderstood the point of your post.

It seems likely, but I actually think you got the point.

It seemed to me you were implying that the girl in the video is lying about the circumstances of her birth.

Yep. If Heather wasn’t implying this, she should have been.

Now it gets fun:

I watched the video (thanks again for the link), it seemed interesting, she didn’t seem to be lying…

Ok. You watched it and thought she was telling the truth. I watched it and thought she was lying. Where do we go from there?

People lie for all kinds of reasons and people will also present a lie as the truth once they have become conditioned to believe it. If the woman in the video was brought up to think they were the circumstances around her birth, she will believe it with all her heart and can easily pass a polygraph. It doesn’t make it the truth though.

I did some research.

So did I. This is why I think there is a healthy dose of lying for jesus going on here.

Not extensive…

Maybe you should try to do some more extensive research. False modesty is not a virtue.

I’m just a blog reader, but it was pretty easy to find information that proved what the girl in the video claims.

I can search the internet and find proof the Earth orbits the Sun. I can find proof the Apollo moon landings were a hoax and proof that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is false. Doesn’t make any of them true. What she describes is illegal, and was illegal in 1977. Who was prosecuted following this? Where are the court records of the trial?

I suppose lots of other people would have proved her birth certificate (signed by the abortionist) and her medical records wrong by now if she was lying.

How? Show me her medical records detailing her birth. Her birth certificate would have been signed by a doctor just like everyone else, it wont have “Abortionist” in big letters after his or her name. Equally, claims like this – which hit the emotional triggers of lots of people who want it to be true, rarely get subjected to scrutiny.

Crucially, read / listen to what is actually said. The woman claims she was born alive before the “abortionist” arrived and was transferred to a hospital. Her records will begin there. She (and her parents) can make any claims they want about the precursor events.

The claims are unverifiable. They are improbable based on law at the time. They are unlikely based on human nature. What conclusion do you draw from that?

Are you saying that these kinds of failed abortions didn’t happen, or don’t happen? (now there is a law against letting infants die if they survive an abortion…so hopefully they don’t happen anymore).

“Failed abortion” is a wide-reaching phrase. Abortions are carried out in the first trimester (and were in 1977) so it is monumentally unlikely a natural, live and viable birth could take place while in the abortion clinic waiting room. I would be surprised if you honestly thought that US hospitals in the 1970s left babies to die.

The US congress took it seriously:
Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2001 [Linked to]

The link to the Right to Life website speaks volumes as to the selected choices of information sources. The fact that Congress were convinced to “take it seriously” in 2001 doesn’t lend much support. The blog Heather referenced said this was still going on in 2002 and, there is a tendency to pass legislation on things that are already prohibited if there is enough political pressure to do so. With abortion there is certainly the political pressure.

It does raise one big set of questions though. Prior to the legalisation, and regulisation, of abortions how many babies were left to die, how many were born then strangled, how many mothers died due to complications, how many women died in back street abortions? (etc). Anti-abortionists are not “Pro-lifers” if the mother’s health is sacrificed for the baby. Banning abortion does not make it go away.

If you really want to reduce abortions, without going down the dreaded road of contracption, then plough all your funds into making society better for the parents. Improve healthcare, improve education, improve social supports – just be ready for when a certain section of society realise they get paid for having kids and breed like rabbits. Despite what the anti-abortionist propoganda claims, 99% of abortions are not “lifestyle choices” made by people who feel a child will cramp their demon-worshipping activities.

7 thoughts on “The abortion debate

  1. I responded on the other thread.

    The point of my first comment was not to defend pro-lifers or anti-abortionists. My point was to show to point out that babies born alive after attempted abortions were left to die and given “comfort care.”

    I didn’t say anything about abortion itself. I think it’s revealing that you end this post with a rant against pro-lifes/anti-abortionists.

    Peace out. Happy New year.

  2. Lee,

    For some reason when a post gets more than a few comments, the blog eats anything with a URL in. We haven’t worked out how to solve this yet.

    I will address your points with a new post to keep things cleaner.

    The rant against anti-abortionists was pretty generic, this is a blog with around 400 readers a day so, while the post addressed points in your comment it was still my opinion.

    You didn’t need to say anything about abortion itself, your position is demonstrated by your choice of websites for research and the general angle of your comments. Avoiding taking a public position is not a valid position.

  3. What does being pro-life or pro-choice have to do with heather’s post? The girl in the video is not lying– or she would have been discredited by now.

    You’ve distracted from that issue by engaging in a “generic attack” against pro-life people (and now again by making this about which side i’m “for”).

    I don’t think distraction is necessary to defend your position.

    You could just admit your error and then jump into a discussion of how you think the video is ineffective.

  4. What does being pro-life or pro-choice have to do with heather’s post?

    Quite a bit really. The problem is anti-choicers (pro-life is a misnomer, both sides are pro-life) have a tendency to exaggerate the issues involved. I am not suggesting the pro-choicers are whiter than white, but (so far) the balance is on their side.

    The girl in the video is not lying– or she would have been discredited by now.

    Not at all true. As I said previously she may even be saying what she thinks is the truth. My position, and I suspect Heathers’ as well, is that at best her testimony is atypical and indicative of a series of other, possibly criminal, activities that took place.

    As you request I will dwell any further as your position on the matter, you are correct it is (largely) irrelevant.

    If we look at the blog post cited in Heather’s contains the following quote which it claims is from Gessen’s testimony:

    “Generally the practice at the time….and up until 2002 was to end the life of an abortion survivor by strangulation, suffocation, leaving the baby to die, or throwing the baby away.

    That is a lie. It makes a broad reaching claim about something being general practice from 1977 to at least 2002 when it wasn’t. It was illegal in 1977 and it was illegal in 2002. The 2001 legislation was, largely, superfluous but it isn’t the only example of legislation to prohibit things already prohibited. The 2001 legislation was there to clarify the states position, but the position was the same in 1977.

    The testimony is second-hand (at best) from Gessen, she has no idea what actually happened and relies on what she is told by her family and her community. This does not mean it is a lie, but it also does not make it true.

    She is not an abortion survivor. No abortion took place. Her testimony is worded in such a manner as to trigger an emotive response in people who listen to it. Her testimony is worded in a manner that appears to have been coached and prepared for the very purpose of distorting how the events are perceived by the listener/reader. This is not an example of how people talk naturally, and as such makes me suspect there is lying involved. As I said, she may be telling what she thinks is the truth. Doesn’t mean it is though.

    One last point, the blog post Heather cited begins with:

    Why don’t we care about children’s rights before they are born?

    What a farcical question. Pro-choicers care about “life” just as much as the anti-choicers.

  5. That question doesn’t really work for me – there are two assumptions built into in which are the very things we’re supposedly discussing.

    Why don’t we care about adults’ rights before they are born?

    The opposition to abortion never phrases the question like this. In the case of Gianna Jessen we are talking about an adult. In fact I would argue that the reason babies and children are special is their capacity to grow into adults. This seems testable. Whilst out with friends roll around on the ground screaming, vomiting and soiling yourself and see what the reaction is. The whole aim of parenthood is to remove the anti-social behaviour of the newborn infant to integrate it into human society.

    So why talk in terms of babies or children but never adults? The concept of an unborn adult might seem ridiculous, clearly an embryo or foetus isn’t an adult. Neither is it a child. It isn’t even a baby which is one reason we have words like foetus or embryo. This is important if you think that rights vary with development. For instance we don’t give children the vote. Older children may be considered to have rights to privacy that younger children lack. If you accept that children have different rights from adults then it’s not unreasonable to ask if foetuses or embryoes have a different set of rights too.

    The next problem is the assumption that people don’t care. The time that Heather, Lee and TW have spent discussing it shows this assumption is incorrect. People clearly do care, at least in the UK.

    Where I would say she is wrong (and I’d use the word mistaken rather than lying) is where she thinks and being anti-abortion is a Christian position. That’s because I’ve read Exodus 21:22-23, Leviticus 27:6, Numbers 3:15-16 and Matthew 5:17-20. God doesn’t count someone as a person till one month after birth. Fortunately I’ve not met any Christians who take those bits of the bible seriously.

  6. This thread is hilarious. Anyone who is familiar with U.S. abortion law knows that late term abortions have never been banned in the U.S. at a federal level. There have always been widely interpreted exceptions, AND that the practice of leaving abandoned tissue to expire was a practice, whether legal or not is another question.

    The whole basis here stinks of ignorance, but go ahead and drag out all the bible bashing you want, unfortunately it’s completely irrelevant.

    Before you go bashing people’s credibility based on the notion that “people have argued (and lied) about abortion facts and figures for a long time.” so it must be true in this case right? Good grief, straw man, ad hominem attacks have nothing to do with the point. The point is, why are you saying she’s lying? Do you have anything to base your belief on?

  7. This thread is hilarious.

    I agree. Your cooperation in keeping it so is appreciated.

    Anyone who is familiar with U.S. abortion law knows that late term abortions have never been banned in the U.S. at a federal level.

    Really? Are you saying only early stage abortions were prohibited? If late term abortions have never been banned, why is there legislation permitting them in certain circumstances (such as to save the mother’s life)? Or is it just that you meant to say there have always been circumstances in which a late stage termination can be carried out?

    The point is, why are you saying she’s lying? Do you have anything to base your belief on?

    Yes. Go back and re-read the comments. I explained why I felt why her testimony was false. At best she is repeating a lie told to her by others.

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