Abortion Is Murder

I'm having a little discussion with a commenter at The Other McCain about abortion. I know more than a few social conservatives read this blog so maybe they can help me out. Here is the comment I was replying to:

The Indentured Servant Girl said...

M. Simon: women were not, and would not be charged with murder for procuring an abortion. It is the doctors that the law goes after.

So I have a few questions.
You mean the women are not at least accomplices in premeditated murder? Then abortion is not really murder is it?

Suppose there is no doctor? Just a black market RU-485 pill? Or ergot? Or oxytocin? Or a heavy dose of birth control pills? Still not murder?

It would be really nice to see a person with real conviction arguing that abortion is murder. I have yet to find one.

The question for me is enforcement. How intrusive will the government have to get to make it work? Weekly pregnancy tests? (the Drug War precedent) And of course with new technology coming on line - maybe electronic sniffers to look for changes in the body? Then every miscarriage becomes a murder investigation.

Wouldn't it be safer for your liberties to keep government out of it and just convince women not to have an abortion?

So could one or more of my social conservative friends please explain it to me? If abortion is murder why wouldn't the woman involved be at least charged as an accomplice to premeditated murder? After all in these kinds of cases (the vast majority any way) the woman is not kidnapped against her will and forced to get an abortion. She is an active participant and pays money to get the job done.

So is abortion premeditated murder or not?

Well maybe pregnant women are not in their right mind. So I could see that as an out. Of course that argues that pregnant women ought not be allowed to vote. Maybe menstruating women too. In fact with the monthly hormone roller coaster ride I can see a lot of things women in their child bearing years should be denied the opportunity to do. You know how some women get PMS? We need laws to protect us from those she devils.

Or maybe the government should just stay out of reproduction all together. It might just wind up another expensive boondoggle like the Drug War.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 11.04.09 at 11:56 AM


Why would one think a debased culture would arrive at a rational or moral judgement regarding issues of life and death. The Germans and their courts under the Nazis came up with some rather exotic interpetations too.

Brad   ·  November 4, 2009 12:33 PM

My memory could be wrong on this, but I have some vague recollection of women being charged with both child abuse and murder while pregnant. I believe it primarily depends upon locale and the political leanings of the DA as to whether or not they will be charged.

Hoss   ·  November 4, 2009 12:50 PM

To follow up, I'm sure you've read the story a few weeks back about the Puerto Rican who had 16 abortions in the last 15 or so years? Serial? Of course, But how do you charge her when other women use abortion for selective genetics (e.g. They test the baby's sex.) Serial? Again, yes.

Abortion has been going on for millenia and unfortunately, this has just become a mores for this society.

The end result may be when the world looks at China and sees the disaster that abortion has caused it with very few women and way too many men.

Anonymous   ·  November 4, 2009 1:02 PM


That is exactly the problem I see. Once the state gets involved what is to prevent them from going from abortion is prohibited to making abortion mandatory as the regimes change?

M. Simon   ·  November 4, 2009 1:08 PM

Hear, hear! I've never understood how anyone could be Pro Choice and Pro Drug Prohibition.

And the hypocrisy of Gender Feminists on pornography and prostitution gets my goat as well. Okay, a woman has the wherewithal to make a decision about her body to have an abortion but is not capable of making a decision to pose naked or have sex for money.

Royce   ·  November 4, 2009 1:55 PM

Your questions are exactly why it's such a difficult issue. It's not really a matter of objective truth since the issue is based on values and judgment. I happen to think that abortion is a wrongful killing of a person. But the law already distinguishes between various types of murder and homicide so there's a precedent for treating abortion differently from other types of homicide.

In fact, I know that I feel differently about abortion than I do about murdering an adult. I know women who have had abortions and I did not feel about them the same way I would feel about someone who murdered their child.

And honestly, I don't know what the right answer is. I don't like making it legal for women to terminate pregnancies at will at any time during the pregnancy. Killing an 8 month fetus is almost identical to killing a newborn baby.

But, like you, I don't want the government monitoring pregnancies and trying every woman whose pregnancy ends prematurely to make sure it wasn't deliberate.

Just to throw another level of complication into the mix, I don't think that fathers' should be completely ignored but I'm not sure what rights they should have or how they should be enforced. No matter which way you go, someone's rights will be infringed.

Bolie Williams IV   ·  November 4, 2009 2:15 PM

Abortion is an act of premeditated murder. The doctor who performs the abortion is an accomplice to murder.

Should the government prosecute the mother who aborts her baby as a murderer? No. Should the government prosecute the abortionist as an accomplice to murder? No. investigate every miscarriage as a possible murder-by-abortion? No.

Not every act that is immoral -- not every act that is morally reprehensible -- should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I want abortion outlawed (and only outlaws to have abortions). But I don't want it prosecuted as murder.

"Abortion is murder" is my value judgment. But I don't want the state to have its criminal code mimic by moral code. Am I, therefore, a hypocrite? Probably. But hypocrisy is the grease that oils the gears of civilization.

Rhodium Heart   ·  November 4, 2009 2:17 PM

Rhodium Heart,

But that is exactly the problem. Different people have different moral codes on the subject. Jewish law is in conflict with Catholic law. And of course seculars have a different code altogether.

And what about chemically induced abortions where there is no physician to prosecute?

If you let that one go you are basically back to the supreme Courts trimester system functionally and biologically.

And then you are in the realm of birth control.

So abortion in your view is akin to manslaughter, only less serious since the female involved would not be prosecuted?

You see there is a problem with enacting moral codes where you can't get 99+% voluntary compliance. Policing gets expensive and civil liberties must be abrogated. You need informants. Armies of informants.

Do you really want a Soviet Style Country?

M. Simon   ·  November 4, 2009 2:48 PM

A social conservative here, speaking only for myself: "Abortion is murder" strikes me as hyperbole. I believe--and I think Bolie above might believe--that every abortion is a homicide. The law recognizes some homicides as justifiable and others as criminal to different degrees. Just because an anti-abortion crusader says abortion is murder, we can't exegete that statement and conclude that the law must treat every abortion as it treats a premeditated murder of an adult.

notaclue   ·  November 4, 2009 3:02 PM

Law is not about justice or fairness. It's about winning - plain and simple. Black's Rule. Whoever has the most law wins. This is why murderers get away with murder, etc.

Laws on women are especially both cruel and vague. Governments seek to control via the most bizarre methods whether it's mandatory abortions in China to legal prostitution in Nevada. In America med students have to do them if they want to get government funding for education. (They're not murderers because they're forced to. This is a moral equivocation on my part, but I don't see them as doing anything different than a soldier who finds himself in a war.)

But is abortion murder or convenience? Since 50% results in the death of females is it sexist? Is is specist since vertebrates are involved? Is it racist since more blacks in America have abortions?

It's muddled.

But in the end it's strictly the choice of the woman who chooses to do it. She's the only one who has to live with the consequences of her action.

You have to wonder why the laws are adoption are so strict.

Hoss   ·  November 4, 2009 3:37 PM

If you punch a pregnant women in the stomach and the lump of tissue dies you will be prosecuted for murder one.

So, logically speaking, how is abortion not murder?

anonymous   ·  November 4, 2009 4:00 PM


Are we talking about abortion or assault? They are quite different. I don't disagree with your question. My point is about the politic of abortion and its morality. Perhaps I wasn't clear on that?

Is abortion ever "ok"? Rape? Incest? Possible death of the mother? Abortion has been around a long time.

I, for one, sure do not know the answer. I only have questions.

Hoss   ·  November 4, 2009 4:20 PM


That is exactly why I did this post. Despite the hyperbole it is not a black an white issue.

For instance Jewish law does not treat the kind of case you mentioned as murder but a compensatable injury.

M. Simon   ·  November 4, 2009 4:21 PM

According to Leviticus, which I believe is the controlling section of the Bible dealing with Jewish Law, anybody who kills another man (presumably murder) shall be put to death himself. And, whoever kills another man's animal must make restitution - life for life.

Seems to me that the principle is the same in both cases. If you deprive a man of his life, you cannot replace it, so you must be deprived of your own as an example, a punishment and a deterrent. However, if you deprive a man of his animal's life, you can replace the animal, and so you must give life for life. I dunno how the Israelites felt about pets, though.

Furthermore, Jewish Law provides for 'cities of refuge'. If you accidentally kill someone, you have legal protection. Also, that Jews themselves over time and space have wrangled over this very issue (cf Exodus 21:22-23) of what 'mischief' means.

As a matter of fact, I don't think it so horrible if we were to watch all pregnancies stringently. What, exactly, would you think was the problem? It may very well make people think twice about getting pregnant and doing stupid things. And if things cannot be proven? Then they cannot be proven. It doesn't even have to hit the law courts. Or merit a police investigation. Or, generally speaking, any inefficiencies in the free market at all. I note that extreme cases make for bad case law.

But I point out that something does not need to be illegal without being subject to public disdain and contempt and condemnation. Witness the excoriation of Tea Partiers and Ron Paul supporters - not to mention Ron Paul himself.

Gregory   ·  November 4, 2009 9:38 PM


I have actually studied Jewish common law. Leviticus is not the last word.


And of course. We should all be spying on women. In fact we should all be spying on each other. We have way too much privacy. It takes a village.


Are you nuts?

M. Simon   ·  November 4, 2009 9:45 PM

BTW Gregory - your mistake is a common one. You read some translation of the Torah (roughly the Jewish Constitution) and think that is all there is. But Jews have implementing laws. Just like we do in America. And then there is the common law tradition. Judge made law.

It is as if you read the US Constitution and then began declaiming on the Commercial Code without studying it.

M. Simon   ·  November 4, 2009 9:52 PM

Laws determine what is illegal. Morals are concerned with what is right. Sometimes they overlap, ie, agree that something is both illegal and immoral.

For myself, abortion is always immoral with the only exception being to save the life of the mother. However, I've never believed I have a legal right to impose my morality on others.

But that's only the beginning... so many questions follow. Way too many for a blog comment.

Donna B.   ·  November 5, 2009 3:54 AM


I know it is cold but I think of abortion as Darwin in action. We will eventually wind up mostly with people who WANT families.

Those whose reproductive instincts are weak will die out.

I'm doing my part - 4 kids.

M. Simon   ·  November 5, 2009 4:09 AM


Darwin in action? I'm not convinced of that.

As difficult as it is to understand, explain away, discuss, etc., abortion - it will always be nothing more than birth control.

Abortion isn't animalistic. Animals copulate for reproduction and depending upon the species, do it quite often for a variety of offspring in as diverse a gene pool as possible.

What is the rate now? 1 in every 3-5 women have had an abortion? So the number of woman who start families have more than likely have had an abortion? I understand the point you're making. I'm just being argumentative I guess. I know in Ukraine the average 18-21 year old has had several or more abortions.

Once man reduces himself to sex for pleasure only, he's not an animal. He's an addict.

Hoss   ·  November 5, 2009 8:52 AM

At minimum 99% of my sex has been for pleasure. I have fathered 4 children.

What is the difference between a father and an addict? So little it is difficult if not impossible to tell the difference.

M. Simon   ·  November 5, 2009 8:57 AM

I understand your point.

Mine is that sex strictly for pleasure without any desire to ever reproduce is addiction. Surely you've heard or read about sexual addiction?

I once heard a sermon where the preacher said,"God gave us kids so we wouldn't enjoy sex so much".

But this thread is about abortion. Hope I haven't derailed it?

Hoss   ·  November 5, 2009 9:26 AM

The fundamental driver for all of this the basic biological facts of mammalian pregnancy - the mother carries the fetus to term. This blurs the interest(s) between the two parties of the mother and the fetus(es). If we were a race of egg-layers the whole knarly knot of a problem would not exist. (There would be other problems, true, but never mind that.)

I am a technophile. I believe that advances in technology has and will solve problems (even taking into account the downsides and trade-offs) that are intractable to normal social processes (like politics). In this case, the obvious technical solution would be artificial wombs (AW) (or artificial eggs, if we are adapting the terminology of the above counter-factual). Then, if mom does not want the fetus, then put it in a the AW, give the father (if he can be found) first right of refusal of custodial duties, and if he declines, then he, and in both cases the mother, is on the hook for child support, just like dads are at the whim of the mother now. Equal pain for everybody - a lot fairer.

Frankly, if we are going to try to advance various medical technologies for political reasons (like stem cell research), then it seems to me that a Federal crash project to develop AW technology would be called for, hmm? That is, if one is really interested in solving this problem, instead of just imposing one side's will on the issue or milking it for political purposes.

Eric E. Coe   ·  November 5, 2009 10:39 AM

Artificial wombs? I don't know why the scenario you describe brought Lebensborn to mind? It also propped the memory of unwanted newborns in ancient Rome being left by the fountain to be picked up by slavers.

I don't think there is equal pain in your proposal Eric.

Hoss   ·  November 5, 2009 11:00 AM

Hoss: What are you talking about? After looking up Lebensborn, I don't really see the parallel. Nor the Rome thing. In fact I am tempted to call Godwin on you right from the start.

I am talking about an enabling technology in context of our current political and legal environment. Not the distorted environment of Nazi Germany, whose twisted and totalitarian ideology tainted and corrupted every other social institution and practice.
Nor in the environment of pagan Rome, which, like most ancient societies, practiced infanticide by leaving un-named newborns on the garbage midden and where (in Rome) fathers had the right to sell any minor child into slavery.

I am talking about a fetus being considered a legal person from the moment of conception, with a separate interest that the law must pay attention to - is this not what pro-life people (at least claim) to want? And on the other hand, by having an alternative here to our current practice of killing the child via. an abortion (the availability itself being the result of advances in medical abilities), and instead transferring it to an AW where it's rights can be asserted independently of the mother's; is this not what the pro-choice people claim to be primarily interested in - the right of the mother to have complete control of her body; to not be forced to carry a baby to term.?

And my tongue-in-cheek comment about equal pain is in reference to the current unequal legal powers and obligations of men vs. women in this area. Obviously, the pain of being rejected by both your parents before you were even "born" would be terrible -- but I judge it better than the alternative (being dead), and maybe it's better to know where you stand with your folks right from the start.

Anyway, I have to wonder why you're coming off with such an over-the-top and hostile response. Maybe someone peed in your cornflakes this morning?

Eric E. Coe   ·  November 5, 2009 12:04 PM


I wasn't being hostile. You're reading more into my comment than is there.

" if mom does not want the fetus, then put it in a the AW, give the father (if he can be found) first right of refusal of custodial duties, and if he declines, then he, and in both cases the mother, is on the hook for child support"

The AW brings to MY mind those things. I see technology as more of an enslaver than a liberator. Having been a SysAdmin for the past 15 years, I loathe a beeper.

"and instead transferring it to an AW where it's rights can be asserted independently of the mother's..."the right of the mother to have complete control of her body; to not be forced to carry a baby to term.?"

But what happens if neither parent wants the child? Does it become state property? Yes, your proposal gives a woman "complete control" (actually more than she has now), but doesn't it remove her morality?

I don't think I'm being hostile or flippant? Sorry if I'm coming across that way.

Hoss   ·  November 5, 2009 12:24 PM


Surely you've heard or read about sexual addiction?

My mate tells me all the time that I'm a sex addict. And at my age (unless I get a younger woman) reproduction is not in the cards. So I guess she is right.

The whole sex addict thing is nuts (heh) IMO.

Just another reason for beating up on men.

Men's sex drive is about 1/2 standard deviation stronger than women's. (figured from 1% of women interested in fetishes vs 3% of men) Which means at the upper extreme there will be significantly more "sex addicted" men than women. Roughly 3X as many.

And out of this natural variation you want to create a "disease"? Pardon me if I'm not buying what you are selling.

M. Simon   ·  November 5, 2009 12:34 PM

Those of you still interested in the discussion might like:

Abortion Litmus Test:

M. Simon   ·  November 5, 2009 12:36 PM

Of course, there are more than a few downsides to this idea - for one thing, it would pad the pockets of more lawyers - think of all those court-appointed "Baby Doe" advocates who then can proceed to sue both parents for support costs (and legal fees), etc. It would put an extreme strain on governmental systems that don't run well anyway (CPS, Foster Care, etc.).

But it would end the "holocaust", as the pro-lifers put it. That ought to be worth a lot.

Eric E. Coe   ·  November 5, 2009 12:39 PM

Simon --

I must not being coming across in what I'm writing? Probably not?

As addiction is not a disease.

What I wrote earlier,

"Once man reduces himself to sex for pleasure only, he's not an animal. He's an addict.";

is meant to apply to sex for sex sake. Nothing more. I'm not talking about post-menopausal. You have kids. You've reproduced. Now you have sex. Nothing wrong before or after that. You got married and decided to procreate. It's not even a problem if you elected not to have kids. That's not what I'm referring to. I guess the best example might be constant one night stands? That is not animalistic. That's the addiction.


Hoss   ·  November 5, 2009 12:54 PM


I'm still not buying it. I went through a period of that sort of activity. I'm near the high end of the sex drive curve. So what.

M. Simon   ·  November 5, 2009 1:01 PM


Do not run down the virtue of the male libido. I am personally convinced that the human race would have died out long ago without it.

Social controls on when, where, why and how we exercise that libido is entirely appropriate to proper functioning of civilized society.

But without the basic urge to motivate...

As far as the "state property" thing, no-one is state property (legally speaking). Not if they are on welfare, not if they are orphans or children taken from troubled homes by CPS. We have a malfunctioning foster care system that sometimes treats the children in it's care badly, and this technology could add to that problem.

But that is the sort of problem politics *can* solve, with the right approach, and should be working on right now anyway.

Eric E. Coe   ·  November 5, 2009 1:01 PM

Simon / Eric -

I'm not bashing males. I have met male and female, gay and straight sex addicts. These are people who have ruined their families and relationships because of their addiction. They have gone way beyond the drive you or I had in HS or college. This is the kind of addiction that orgasm is not that satisfaction as much the time the actual act lasts. Sorry if that isn't clear but this thread is supposed to be about abortion and I seem to have sent it south.

Too much libido can be disasterous. Just ask anyone who has priapism and doesn't have a partner who can keep up.

Eric - I think I would argue that anyone on the public dole is state property just more so that any citizen of any country is. People on the dole are more easily tracked and controled, albeit the system that might foul up.

I can see how your AW could be an albatross, both kind and malevolent.

Ho   ·  November 5, 2009 1:29 PM

When I was younger time on target was my specialty. Some ladies loved it. Others had a different reaction. These days I'm only average. For a 20 year old.

Try again.

BTW given the M/F mismatch some men are going to have a problem. So what? In times past there were women who esteemed quantity over quality and they tended to balance the equation. But we have outlawed prostitution so the men who need the personal touch (the internet won't do) are therapized. Yuck.

I just hate the fact that people on the upper end of the bell curve are made to feel bad about their nature.

BTW when I was gallivanting around I used to turn down ladies who weren't absolutely sure they wanted to engage. Self control was another of my specialties. I don't ascribe that to a superior moral nature. But I am totally in to the idea that non-consent is despicable and should be punished. Consenting adults and all that.


Thread drift is no problem here.

M. Simon   ·  November 5, 2009 1:52 PM

"Try again"

??? You lost me. I'm not understanding unless you're discounting sexual addiction as a real disorder? SA is the driving force behind nymphomania and satyriasis.

You might enjoy reading "Dr. Tatianna's Sex Advice to All Creation" by Olivia Judson. It's a fun and informative read.

"Upper end of the bell curve?" Need over demand? Or availability?

I guess that info would be available in the FBI crime stats for Nevada?

Hoss   ·  November 5, 2009 2:13 PM


If you know anything about statistics you would know that distribution does not imply dysfunction. They don't call it natural variation for nothing.

Now baring coercion I don't see natural variation as a problem. However, some galoots in the middle or the bottom of the curve go around making folks at the top end of the curve feel bad.

I don't like it.

M. Simon   ·  November 5, 2009 3:21 PM

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