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Abortion 💔

Undoubtedly someone who reads this has had an abortion. I love you and would be honored to help you. If you are in a crisis pregnancy, I would be honored to help you (and have worked with crisis pregnancy groups in the past). But as our country is dealing with an issue that is so impactful, the discussion must be straight forward.

With the latest political developments, I’m so absolutely appalled at the horrific turn our country has taken that I’m breathless. I’m shocked. I’m angry.

A child is a human life. It is of infinite worth.

If a woman’s life is actually in danger, there’s an actual equal value proposition, and I understand that as a heartbreaking situation with different parameters than most we encounter. I also understand that women bear the far greater burden of pregnancy—and that is a complex part of the legality—but I don’t believe it’s a morally complex issue.

This subject came up today in a group I’m in and my thoughts were too long and unwieldy to post there. So—in a completely non-academic stream—here are the points that have formed over decades of thinking about this issue, watching our culture devolve, and being amongst those who long predicted the obvious end game of all of this.

  1. It’s not your body anyone is talking about.
  2. That life begins at conception is an issue of science, not religion. Per Maureen Condic, Ph.D.:

    The conclusion that human life begins at sperm-egg fusion is uncontested, objective, based on the universally accepted scientific method of distinguishing different cell types from each other and on ample scientific evidence (thousands of independent, peer-reviewed publications).

  3. There is no doctrine on when the spirit enters the body. I dare say that, “We don’t know, so it’s OK to kill it.” is a morally vacant position.
  4. I am the product of an unwanted pregnancy. I would not prefer to be dead. Even though life is hard and even though my birth mother didn’t want me.
  5. The pretty, purified euphemisms used around abortion are dishonest, at very least. This isn’t about “choice” or “women’s rights” or “reproductive health.” It’s about the “choice to end the life of a baby” or a “woman’s legal right to end the life of her baby” or “reproductive death.”
  6. Do you oppose sex trafficking? Do you think it should be illegal? I’m going to say there’s an unqualified yes to that. So…do you demand that all those who said yes (you!):
    1. Personally participate in child-rescue sting operations?
    2. Personally adopt all the rescued children?
    3. Personally pay for the stings and rescued children?
    4. Personally ensure that everyone who might one day buy a sex slave get adequate education and training about how to not buy a sex slave?

    I loathe when pro-aborts claim that in order to have a rational/ethical position on an issue one must take personal responsibility for all the actions of others.

    It’s utterly irrational and impossible. Of course, that’s the point. Purposefully demand something that cannot be accomplished as some kind of “proof” that the person with the position doesn’t “care enough” to be granted the right to have a position in order to avoid the actual discussion. It’s fallacious ad hominem that proves nothing.

    Most of you likely even opposed to drunk driving. But somehow you are not parked in front of every bar every night to drive home all the people who throw back too many.

    The logic is so incredibly flawed.

  7. If you support the legality of abortion (however you want to parse that), you should at very least be well informed on the actual medical process, just as you would be with any other procedure you were supporting. The baby is burned, dismembered, has their skull impaled, etc. It’s a horrific process for both the mother and the baby. But the baby dies.
  8. Claiming that you support abortion legally but not morally is untenable. We aren’t talking about drinking coffee or screwing around with whomever you choose. We are talking about life and death. It is the single most significant issue we deal with as a society.

    Do any of you claim that you “support wife-beating legally but not morally”? Or even that you “support men leaving their wives and children and refusing to support them legally but not morally”? None of you do. Yet when it comes to an actual human being brutally killed, you are suddenly passive about what immoral things should be legal. Because you’d never want to impose our morality on someone else. So, you’ll have to just tolerate the slaughter of babies and look the other way.

  9. Aborting a child because they might have pain or might have a hard life or might feel bad because they were “unloved” would be laughable if it were not lethal.

    Someone might have a tough life (who doesn’t?) so they will be better off dead, you know, so they don’t risk dealing with crap?

    Guys, that is what this is saying. This is the pretense of compassion for possible suffering that is addressed by killing the other person so they don’t have to risk suffering.

    All of you are going to suffer sometime during the rest of your lives. 100% certainty. Should someone else be allowed to decide to end your life if they don’t want to deal with that risk? (Because as of today, all of you are willing to deal with that risk…or you wouldn’t be reading this.)

  10. Aborting a child because they won’t survive long after birth isn’t compassion. None of us will survive indefinitely. Should someone else have the right to put us to death so it won’t be such a bother to them or so they won’t have to deal with our natural death?Which sounds worse to you personally?
    1. Live birth; palliative care; tenderness from people who love you; die naturally
    2. Dismemberment or scissors crammed in the base of your skull followed by brains being sucked into a bucket

    Which would you chose for yourself? Why would you choose differently for an innocent baby?

  11. Whether or not a pregnant woman has difficulty making the decision to abort a child doesn’t change the outcome to the child.
  12. If you believe God will not allow anyone to be robbed of life due to the actions of others in abortion, you cannot believe in murder—unless God sanctions it.

    In other words, there is no such thing as murder because everyone whose life is ended at the hand of another will be reincarnated (or something?) and still get to live that full life. So it doesn’t really impact the victim.But we do believe in agency. Even in agency that impacts others in the worst possible ways.

  13. Whether or not there is adequate (whatever that means) sex ed doesn’t change the moral value of a life.
  14. Whether or not there is “access” to birth control doesn’t change the moral value of a life. And, for the love of all that is holy, people, condoms cost 50¢ a pop—and work remarkably well when used correctly—how much “access” do you need?
  15. If someone hurts me, it does not justify me in hurting someone innocent.

May God have mercy on us.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Katie February 11, 2019, 10:59 am

    I can tell you have put a lot of thought and effort into this, I understand that you’re giving your responses to others, and I got the impression that you don’t want any responses. But I thought I would address a few things.

    Anywhere I have numbered my paragraph, that thought refers to your use of the same number.

    ~~~~~

    – You start out by offering your support. How far does your support go for crisis pregnancies? What kind of support is available out there? If a pregnant woman gets deathly ill, and then takes a couple months to recover after the pregnancy, are there organizations or people who will pay for all her family’s necessities for 10-11 months? For me, the absolute basic necessities of mortgage, basic utilities, health insurance, and cheap food would be $4,000/month. Are there *really* organizations out there that give that level of support? I would like to know about them so I could share them if it is ever needed. I was not aware there was anything like this available. I thought it was stuff like access to a food bank, a few diapers, and a pat on the back.

    I realize that you are only giving responses to what others have said, and you’re not trying to discuss the entire body of knowledge on abortion, but it feels like you don’t understand how complicated it can be for people. The discussion is NOT straightforward. There are many ways it can be complicated, and every one of those is why we allow people to make the decisions for themselves. There is no way we can legislate all of these situations.

    You know that if a single mom is pregnant and sick and can’t access a high level of financial support, she could lose her home and even lose her kids. This is a not-rare occurrence. Many people live on the edge of ruin financially and do not have strong family and community support. Some of those people even believe that women should have open access to sex and that life does not begin at conception (I understand you gave the medical definition, but some people don’t go by that.)

    {I am still recovering from going into debt to be able to stay home with my last baby for 10 weeks after birth. My son was saying how stupid people are who would be financially unstable if they got pregnant. I told him we would probably lose our house if I got pregnant and couldn’t work for 3 months or more. I don’t think this gave him any compassion — he now just thinks I’m extra stupid.}

    I am sure you know that in some states, a rapist can get parental rights, even if the woman places the baby for adoption. Seven states have no laws preventing rape victims from getting parental rights. 20 other states (including Utah) require a rape conviction before rights can be terminated. You will probably say that this is incredibly rare. Yet it happens, and no legislation can properly account for it. You already know how nearly-impossible it is to get a rape conviction. I can’t even imagine the additional layers of bureaucracy involved if a pregnancy occurs.

    Are either of these situations really better than an abortion a few days after conception? What if it’s 2 weeks after conception? (I would know with absolute certainty I was pregnant within 2 weeks, and I imagine many women are in the same boat.) 4 weeks? Where’s the cutoff?

    For the record, my cutoff is not at conception. For me, a fertilized egg has a different moral value than a 6-week or 12-week or 38-week fetus/baby. I would probably feel comfortable taking the morning-after pill to try to prevent a pregnancy in case of a birth control failure. I’m not sure how I’d feel after that. But I cannot make that call for anyone else.

    ~~~~~

    1. As soon as you get to #1, we diverge on to different planets. If you are not talking about and valuing the woman’s body, we are in different universes. In my view, an abortion *always* involves a woman and her body. Nearly everyone who is talking about abortion *IS* talking about the woman’s body too. Prior to viability, there is no question about this. After viability, I think it’s a lot more murky.

    2. You castigate people for not being consistent about several moral positions. In order for you to stay consistent, I hope that you are totally against, and have never used, any type of hormonal birth control or IUD. There is a slim chance with all of these methods that an egg could be fertilized, and then not implant because of conditions in the uterus. (Even if research reveals that eggs are never fertilized, we thought they could be for decades.)

    3. Are you sure this is what people are saying? Or are they saying that there’s a difference between an embryo one day after conception, and a live full-term baby? Medicine and government have to draw the line somewhere. Are you saying that for you, the line is at conception? I have given birth to an 11-week fetus. His/her arms and legs and fingers and toes were formed. But I seriously doubt that baby could feel any pain. There are points along the way where the situation changes.

    6 and 8. Sex trafficking and these other situations are not analogous to abortion for many reasons. As one example, in none of these situations can the perpetrator be required to give up their life or health to avoid taking the negative action.

    7. You are describing *some* types of abortions, and I agree that people need to understand what those procedures are. You are not describing the *vast majority* of abortions. It seems like you are intentionally making it sound like the majority of abortions are of the type you describe. I did notice that mainstream medical websites make it impossible to understand abortion procedures. Literally no medical or government website I visited described the actual procedures. They said things like “medical instruments are used” to describe the process of dismemberment. You have to go to an anti-abortion site to get actual descriptions.

    10. You don’t get to decide whether this is compassion or not for other people. Other people with equal intelligence, equal morals, and even equal faith as you believe that it IS compassion. You don’t get to make a definitive statement that it’s not, for them. Even L. Tom Perry agreed that it was morally acceptable for Mark Barnes and his wife to have an abortion for a baby with severe lethal spina bifida. Perhaps it’s unfair for me to cite that example, because I personally don’t accept any LDS apostle as a moral authority on anything, but I know many people think of LDS apostles as having some level of understanding of morality. Maybe they know more.

    And again, with your part ‘b’ you are misrepresenting how the majority of abortions for these reasons take place. The majority of them happen with an injection to the heart.

    Can you TRULY say that if you KNEW your baby would die an excruciating death within hours of birth, that it is more compassionate to allow that, than to cause them to suffer the pain of a single lethal injection? I can’t. Personally, I don’t think I would be courageous enough to end my baby’s life if I was in this situation, but I know that I would feel like a morally bankrupt coward. There would be no satisfaction in choosing not to end the baby’s life. I would feel so selfish. I’ve never been in that situation, but I already know I’m a coward when it comes to making moral decisions, and this is what I think I would do.

  • Alison Moore Smith February 11, 2019, 4:15 pm

    I’m happy to have responses. Thank you for taking the time, Katie.

    Up top, here is the answer to all your questions:

    If X, should a mother be able to choose to kill her child?

    As I said, unless it is an actual life for life proposition, no. Everything else (cost, inconvenience, disruption, embarrassment, annoyance, pain, fear, career probs, etc.) pales in comparison. If we don’t have a fundamental right to life, no other rights matter.

    You start out by offering your support. How far does your support go for crisis pregnancies? What kind of support is available out there? If a pregnant woman gets deathly ill, and then takes a couple months to recover after the pregnancy, are there organizations or people who will pay for all her family’s necessities for 10-11 months? For me, the absolute basic necessities of mortgage, basic utilities, health insurance, and cheap food would be $4,000/month. Are there *really* organizations out there that give that level of support?

    Per the post, the rest of this is peripheral and doesn’t address the morality of killing a child. But I’ll humor the side show questions that, again, don’t address the morality of killing an inconvenient, expensive, troubling mass of cells and goo and…humanity.

    My personal level of support would depend entirely on the circumstances of the individual situation. If you know an actual women in a crisis pregnancy who would accept assistance, please pass on her contact info to me (or pass on mine to her). I will not leave her without resources. I doubt that I need create a compilation of crisis pregnancy resources for the purposes of this post—as they are easy to google. But If I am speaking to an individual, I will certainly do the legwork necessary for them to get help and personally help in any way I can.

    Again, however, this is an old saw. It says that if I (or someone) isn’t personally able/willing to take on full responsibility of all “unwanted” children, then I cannot expect them to be granted life. That’s a ludicrous position, per the examples of child sex trafficking, drunk driving, [name your problematic or immoral behavior here].

    But, let me return the question. Since you are in favor of abortion, are you willing to pay for all abortions, any complications, emotional counseling, etc? Are you willing to clean up the dead, scalded baby and/or baby parts after the abortions and…hmmm…dispose of them properly? (I’m not sure what that entails. Burial? Dumping? Selling the “product of induction” for cash?) How far is your support willing to go?

    …but it feels like you don’t understand how complicated it can be for people. The discussion is NOT straightforward.

    Do you genuinely believe I’m unaware that having children can be complicated? 🧐 But, yes, it’s straightforward.

    If you don’t want (for whatever reason!) your baby, give it to someone who does. Don’t kill it as some kind of solution. It’s not a solution, it just pretends the baby isn’t a baby for the sake of self-soothing and ends a life in the process.

    You know that if a single mom is pregnant and sick and can’t access a high level of financial support, she could lose her home and even lose her kids. This is a not-rare occurrence.

    Can you share the stats on single, pregnant women who lost their home and kids because they chose not to abort and show there were no alternatives to that? Better, please share some current situations where women are about to lose their homes and kids because they aren’t willing to abort. I will make sure that doesn’t happen if that, indeed, is the cause.

    Some of those people even believe that women should have open access to sex…

    I don’t know what that means. What women do not have “open access to sex”? Unsure what that has to do with the discussion. Having sex can lead to pregnancy. If you want “open access” that’s a side effect. So, you know, if I don’t want to get high, I avoid smoking the weed.

    I understand you gave the medical definition, but some people don’t go by that.

    I know. 😂 They go by the don’t “shame” me with facts definition. It’s so horrifically self-serving.

    I am still recovering from going into debt to be able to stay home with my last baby for 10 weeks after birth. My son was saying how stupid people are who would be financially unstable if they got pregnant. I told him we would probably lose our house if I got pregnant and couldn’t work for 3 months or more. I don’t think this gave him any compassion — he now just thinks I’m extra stupid.

    I’m willing to help anyone in a crisis pregnancy—stupid or not—because I value life more than almost anything. But…why do you think your son should have pity on you for (theoretically) getting pregnant when you would lose your house for it? What is that supposed to be aimed at here? That you didn’t know how babies are made? That you don’t have an emergency fund? That you are willing to have sex even though the possible pregnancy could be devastating?

    Yes, I’m utterly willing to help any women in a crisis pregnancy. I’m also willing to note that the vast majority of people who have crisis pregnancies could have avoided them with responsible adult behavior. Once someone is pregnant, that’s a moot point. But for those who have not yet had one and for those who have had one and are still being irresponsible, those are valuable, needed discussions.

    Today while at the gym I was listening to a video and the woman mentioned a college couple who “found themselves pregnant,” as if they were just strolling down campus one day and came across this embryo that attached to them. Um…no.

    I am sure you know that in some states, a rapist can get parental rights, even if the woman places the baby for adoption. Seven states have no laws preventing rape victims from getting parental rights. 20 other states (including Utah) require a rape conviction before rights can be terminated. You will probably say that this is incredibly rare. Yet it happens, and no legislation can properly account for it. You already know how nearly-impossible it is to get a rape conviction. I can’t even imagine the additional layers of bureaucracy involved if a pregnancy occurs.

    My answer, again, is:

    If X, should a mother be able to choose to kill her child?

    Of course this is a horrible, difficult situation. But let’s not pretend that (a) the law makes no sense and (b) the difficulty means the child would be better off dead. Which is the proposition!

    “This situation sucks. If I kill my baby I won’t have to deal with this sucky situation.” At least not after the baby is sucked into pieces into a bucket. No more suck after that.

    You might know I’m an adoptee. Last fall I completely accidentally found my birth family. I don’t have all the details (and I doubt I ever will), but I do know that my birth mother chose to place me for adoption and my birth father looked for me until his death (I was born after the divorce). It was, in fact, his daughter from his subsequent marriage that found me because she continued the search. (My birth mother is alive and I am in contact with pretty much every other living relative, but I have left up to her the choice (love that word!) of whether or not to contact me. To date, she has not.)

    It seems to me thus far that my bio mom wanted to place me for adoption, but my bio dad did not. Given the timeframe of my birth (1964), it’s likely that bio dad had little/no say in the placement.

    Is that OK? Mom gets to choose adoption and dad can’t choose to keep the child? He has no say in the future of his biological children? (And if so, why can’t he relinquish his rights up front and avoid child support?) Abortion is worse. Mom gets to kill the child, dad has no say. Wow.

    Is it horrible if a woman is raped and can’t get a conviction? Of course, that’s horrific. But of course someone has to be convicted of rape to endure the consequences of rape. What do you suggest as an alternative? “Believe all women?”

    Are either of these situations really better than an abortion a few days after conception? What if it’s 2 weeks after conception? (I would know with absolute certainty I was pregnant within 2 weeks, and I imagine many women are in the same boat.) 4 weeks? Where’s the cutoff?

    Yes, the child is better off alive than dead. Yes. Even if things are tough. How many adoptees do you know who fantasize that they were aborted? Even if life is tough?

    If you want to commit suicide, I will try to help you. I will try to show you your life is valuable. I will try to help you find purpose. (I have worked a lot with depressed individual with this very goal in mind.) But if you want to believe you can determine the value of someone else’s life and that they would be better off dead, I will fight you for the rest of my life. It’s not your call.

    But I cannot make that call for anyone else.

    And, thus, we have no legalized abortion up to labor and dilation.

    If you are not talking about and valuing the woman’s body, we are in different universes. In my view, an abortion *always* involves a woman and her body. Nearly everyone who is talking about abortion *IS* talking about the woman’s body too. Prior to viability, there is no question about this. After viability, I think it’s a lot more murky

    Abortion isn’t about killing the mother. It’s not an adult “post-birth abortion.” It’s not the mother’s body that is being scalded with saline. It’s not the mother who dies. It’s the baby. If you want a tattoo or a boob job or braces or to inject your face with silicone, I might advise against it, but I won’t try to legislate against it. But if you want to kill that child who is (unfortunately) residing for a time within your womb, I will.

    Of course pregnancy “involves” the mother. That’s the only reason it even became a legal issue at all. Of course it’s unique in many ways. But the fundamentals exist throughout society.

    If I have to get up to feed my baby at night and I’m super tired and it’s causing me stress and disrupting my career and making me sick…can I kill it? I mean, it’s impacting my body and my health!

    In order for you to stay consistent, I hope that you are totally against, and have never used, any type of hormonal birth control or IUD. There is a slim chance with all of these methods that an egg could be fertilized, and then not implant because of conditions in the uterus.

    1. People can learn and grow and change their positions. Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe from the infamous Roe v Wade fought for the “right” to have an abortion (she actually gave birth during the long trial phase and placed the baby for adoption—lucky for that baby) and later became a pro-life Christian advocate for Operation Rescue. I was much more liberal on my views when I was a teen and have consistently studied the issue and tried to reconcile my position with logic, science, and my values. You probably notice that my positions do not align with the church’s, because I don’t think they are cohesive.
    2. People can only act on the information they actually have. You can be utterly morally consistent and still change position when you learn more that causes conflict.
    3. I’m sure it will disappoint you, but, yes, I intentionally chose not to use any abortifacients and chose not to use birth control that prevented implantation of a fertilized egg. I specifically researched each option at the time with the available information.

    Are you sure this is what people are saying? Or are they saying that there’s a difference between an embryo one day after conception, and a live full-term baby?

    Yes. Except they don’t use the word “kill” because it’s icky. Yes, they say that “since we don’t know and no one can say” when the spirit enters the body, no one has a right to say anything about it. Except the mother who, apparently, knows exactly when it’s a “real baby” and when it’s just a bundle of goo. But I sure wish these all-knowing scientists would share their insight with the world!

    FTR, my latest miscarriage (I had five) was at 16 weeks, but guessing as to the level of pain isn’t really relevant.

    Medicine and government have to draw the line somewhere. Are you saying that for you, the line is at conception?

    Yes.

    Sex trafficking and these other situations are not analogous to abortion for many reasons. As one example, in none of these situations can the perpetrator be required to give up their life or health to avoid taking the negative action.

    No one is required to give up their life for the unborn child. Per the post explicitly. At the top. So, you’re calling the mother the “perpetrator”? Don’t understand the rest.

    You are describing *some* types of abortions, and I agree that people need to understand what those procedures are. You are not describing the *vast majority* of abortions. It seems like you are intentionally making it sound like the majority of abortions are of the type you describe.

    I think the “etc” indicates there are other methods. But are you saying you do oppose the type I describe? So when you say, “…I cannot make that call for anyone else.” you are only including a particular subset of abortions done other ways? If so, we at least have a starting point and you would oppose the newest laws that allow abortion at any point.

    All pro-lifers I’ve worked with would be thrilled to outlaw those abortions described without any conditions and then have separate discussions about the others.

    You don’t get to decide whether this is compassion or not for other people.

    Katie, I can decide whatever I choose. Because pro-choice, right?

    Other people with equal intelligence, equal morals, and even equal faith as you believe that it IS compassion.

    And I disagree. Was it unclear that this post is about my personal positions? But, again, if you (or anyone on the compassion train) wants to let someone else chose their death date—particularly someone with a compelling conflict of interest—please let me know!

    But, again, why do you think it’s actually better for someone to be killed than to be born and receive care until death? Other than, you know, the mom can pretend it’s not a real human. (And, yes, I have infant deaths in my family with known conditions and, yes, was counseled to abort one of my kids.)

    L. Tom Perry agreed…I personally don’t accept any LDS apostle as a moral authority on anything

    Let me clarify. I make my own decisions based on the best info I have. I disagree with a ton of things past and present apostles have said. Given that you read here decently often, you probably know that.

    And again, with your part ‘b’ you are misrepresenting how the majority of abortions for these reasons take place. The majority of them happen with an injection to the heart.

    And are you OK with someone with a compelling conflict of interest to determine that you would be better with a heart injection? Because, compassion.

    Can you TRULY say that if you KNEW your baby would die an excruciating death within hours of birth, that it is more compassionate to allow that, than to cause them to suffer the pain of a single lethal injection? I can’t.

    Yes. Children are not dogs. I could put down a horse in pain. I would never choose the end the life of another human.

    I had a child in excruciating pain. His appendix ruptured—he has an unusually high pain tolerance and was out playing soccer and didn’t mention he felt unwell at all until after the rupture—and caused massive gangrene and infection in his body and later a bowel blockage that required a second abdominal surgery. So I lived in PICU and held my son in my arms nearly 24/7 for a month. His surgeon, who has performed hundreds and hundreds of appies, said it was the worst case he had ever seen—and he was already in partial retirement from Primary Children’s Hospital. It was horrific, but nothing compared to what others have endured with chronic illnesses, etc.

    Still, as he is about to leave on his mission in nine days and in spite of the pain he endured, he’s glad I did not order a heart injection to save him from his suffering. So there’s your “moral bankruptcy” for not offing him. And he’s really glad I was so “selfish.”

    My father lived with my for the last three years of my life and died in my home. We took care of him, had hospice assistance, and pain relief as needed, as well.

    Pain care for painful and life-threatening situations isn’t the same as pain care for terminal illnesses, as you can imagine. I even know someone who was placed in a medically induced coma to remove the pain. But, yes, it is often painful. And, no, I won’t kill someone else in the name of “compassion.”
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…My Definition of God and a Possible Response to Homosexuality in Church PolicyMy Profile

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